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Careful Analysis of the Bush Speech.

Thursday, September 13, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

General Petraeus said . . .
General Petraeus implied . . .
General Petraeus holds . . .
General Petraeus told us . . .
General Petraeus agrees . . .
General Petraeus expostulates . . .
General Petraeus nods . . .
General Petraeus wonders . . .
General Petraeus winks . . .
General Petraeus smiles and . . .
General Petraeus flutters his lashes then . . .
General Petraeus forms a dimple because . . .
General Petraeus is my bestest friend and . . .
General Petraeus says I'm the Decider but . . .
General Petraeus is just being nice 'cause . . .
General Petraeus is polite or maybe . . .
General Petraeus doesn't want everyone to blame . . .
General Petraeus for this fucked up war after all . . .
General Petraeus didn't shit on the rug . . .
General Petraeus is just the guy stuck cleaning up after . . .
General Petraeus' Commander-in-Chief.

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Daily Pleasures. The Clean Version.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

Hot shower.
Dropping the kids at school.
Blog patrol.
More coffee.
Nailing 7 or more pages.
A laugh with the wife.
Coffee. Again.
Some crazy idea.
The boy gets off a witty line and makes us laugh.
The girl turns a one-handed somersault and comes up laughing.
Both kids down for the night.
Big glass of Scotch.
A smaller glass of Scotch.
Jon Stewart,
Ambien says: "Night, night."

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by Michael Reynolds

That's one for the Democrats:
RICHMOND, Sept. 12 -- Former Virginia governor Mark R. Warner will announce in an e-mail to supporters Thursday morning that he plans to run next year for the Senate seat being vacated by Republican John W. Warner.

Sources close to the former governor said Warner has told them he will announce his intention to run for the Senate in 2008, which would set the stage for one of the most competitive races in the country next year.
The Republicans are defending 22. The Dems are defending 12. That's already a very tough playing field. Mark Warner is very highly regarded in Virginia. In what is likely to be a "blue" year, if the GOP wants to beat him they'll have to run Robert E. Lee.

On the downside it means he's not available for Veep.

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Heading Toward.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

You're at the foot of a building so massive it blocks out the sun. The building is on fire. All around you are people screaming, crying, faces blackened with soot, and all of them are running away.

You know something about fire, you've seen what it does. You know something of the inferno behind that wall of glass. You can't kid yourself. You know what awaits you.

You adjust the straps on your oxygen tank, and head toward that building.

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Petraeus Shrugs.

by Michael Reynolds

The commanding general will not say that the war in Iraq -- even a successful war -- will make America safer.

WARNER: I hope in the recesses of your heart that you know that strategy will continue the casualties, stress on our forces, stress on military families, stress on all Americans. Are you able to say at this time, if we continue what you have laid before the Congress, this strategy, that if you continue, you are making America safer?

PETRAEUS: Sir, I believe that this is indeed the best course of action to achieve our objections in Iraq.

WARNER: Does that make America safer?

PETRAEUS: Sir, I don't know actually. I have not sat down and sorted out in my own mind. What I have focused on and been riveted on is how to accomplish the mission of the Multinational Force in Iraq.
If we are not fighting to make America safer, for what are we fighting?

The above exchange will be heard in every barracks in Iraq. It will be heard in base housing all over this country. It will be heard by every gold star mother.

I await the spin on the right. That ought to be interesting. But that's an aside.

I don't usually engage in mawkish emotionalism, but the thought of a father, mother, wife or child of a fallen or badly-injured G.I. hearing the above admission makes me very sad. If Petraeus cannot bring himself to say that our guys are dying to make the United States safer, then we're done.

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Monday, September 10, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

Jesus nipple-twisting Christ: is there any way MoveOn.org could be any stupider?

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The Future of Iraqs.

by Michael Reynolds

Wait! We've changed our minds.

Every time I hear someone in the administration or the media touting our success in Anbar, my skin crawls.

Cut through the bullshit and Anbar amounts to this: we're backing Sunni thugs over Al Qaeda thugs. The Sunnis are in bed with us because they need us to consolidate their power in Anbar and back their eventual play against Muqtada al Sadr and the other Shiite militia.

We are going to back Sunni killers against Shiite killers because in the long run we need Iraq to play off against Iran.

Remember the last time we did that? Remember what we got?

Scroll ahead ten years and the likely state of play is: a rump Sunni state financed by Saudi Arabia and armed by us, in a near-constant state of war with a Shiite state allied to Iran. Kurdistan goes on being Kurdistan, but with some version of the PKK turning its Semtex against Iran rather than Turkey. Instead of the line being the Shatt al Arab, it'll be the Euphrates.

That's not democracy. That's not anything like democracy. It's not what Americans died for. It's not what taxpayers paid for. It's not what we were promised. It is, in fact, worse than we had with Saddam.

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Ode to Science.

Sunday, September 09, 2007 by Michael Reynolds

I get up in the morning at 6:30. My electronic clock wakes me. (Science.)

I brush my teeth because I know the fluoride will minimize tooth decay. (Science.) Of course if that fails I can go to a dentist (a scientist) who will use x-rays (science) to diagnose the problem and, drawing on the accumulated observations of generations of scientists, treat me. Using a variety of techniques, products and tools brought to us by science.

With a nice does of novacaine, also brought to me by science.

I take a shower because I enjoy it and because I know that being clean will help keep me healthy. Science. Oooh, a bit of a rash on my face. Best apply some cortisone. Science. And some sunscreen. Science. Nothing much I can do about the giant, bald melon head: a failure of science.

Let me just take a moment here to put on my corrective lenses. Wow, things are so much clearer with science.

I eat two pasteurized eggs (science) and three strips of bacon. (Okay, that last would be me ignoring science.) But I don't worry about the cholesterol (a health risk I know about because of science) because I take Zocor. (Science.) I have the TV on while I cook. (Science in the electricity and the mechanics of the TV itself. And the cable.)

I open my laptop (the product of science) and go to the web (ditto) and check news reports transmitted by satellite. (Science.)

I pack my kid's lunches with a cold pack to keep them fresh (science in the cold pack, in the insulation of the lunch boxes and the production, preparation and preservation of the food, and in my thought-process as I consider their nutritional needs.)

I drive my kids to school in a machine that is so packed with the products of science that I can't even begin to name them all. On the way there I listen to music my iPod transmits to my radio. (Science and science. And rock and roll.) On the way back I listen to Howard Stern on Sirius. (Stupidity and science.)

I work a few hours on my laptop. I send e-mails to my editor. I send and receive telephone calls. (All kinds of science involved.)

If I get sick I call a scientist called a doctor. If she can't cure me with her scientific knowledge she calls other scientists called specialists, radiologists, surgeons, and they all bring centuries of science to bear.

I watch my kids like a scientist: observing, noting, trying to discover patterns, forming and testing hypotheses. (Then I yell and scream and take away their computer and TV time: withdrawal of science.)

At night I gaze up at the stars and I know that they are vast burning spheres because of scientists. I even have a vague notion of how the whole giant system of the universe is put together, from quarks to atoms to molecules all the way up to solar systems and galaxies. (Remember, I said vague.) And everything I know came from science.

Because of science I understand that I am intimately linked to every other life form. Because of science I know how fragile life can be, but also how resilient. Because of science I see the stunning variety of life. How many species of beetle are there? Ask a scientist. Is there a connection between birds and dinosaurs? Ask a scientist. What's the importance of an opposable thumb? How vital to our species was binocular vision? Ask a scientist.

The reason that I, like most of my ancestors going back to the dawn of time don't sit in the dark, roasting diseased rat over a cow-shit fire while mosquitoes inject me with microbes that will cause me to vomit up my intestines and die at the age of 32? Science.

My ancestors -- and yours -- lived their entire lives within five miles of the place where they killed their mothers during childbirth. They cowered in terror at the evil spirits that haunted the woods, and fled from animals more dangerous than themselves. So far I've been in every state and a dozen or so countries and I'm plotting ways to get to still more. The only evil spirits I fear work for the IRS. And the only animal that scares me is a cockroach. And the reason for the difference between the life of my long-gone ancestor and my own life today? Science.

I saw men walk on the moon. Science put them there.

You know how often I've had to worry about polio? Cholera? Typhoid? Tetanus? Measles? Influenza? Yellow fever? Whooping cough? Leprosy? The plague? Rabies? Worms? You know why I don't have to worry about them?

Do you know how many times I've had to worry about famine? So few plagues of locusts nowadays. You know why I don't worry about famine? Ding!Ding!Ding!: Science.

And religion?

The disease-ridden, superstitious, wolf-fearing, sleeping-with-livestock, witch-burning, edge-of-the-earth-avoiding, evil-eye-cursed, rotten-mouthed, stinking, lice-infested, seven-out-of-my-ten-kids-died, illiterate, living in a mud hut, never-seen-the-next-valley villein had religion. You know what he didn't have? Science.

The difference between that life, your life, all our lives here in 21st century US of A and the lives we would have had a thousand years ago? The simple belief that the world should be closely observed, that ideas should not be accepted unless they have been demonstrated to be true, that we should doubt and verify and doubt again. In a word: science.

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