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June 27, 2005


"And he will talk in a very specific way about the way forward to succeeding and implementing that strategy."

Let me guess ... does this "strategy" have anything to do with showing resolve and/or staying the course?

saw this at daily kos:

BRITAIN is coming under sustained pressure from American military chiefs to keep thousands of troops in Iraq - while going ahead with plans to boost the front line against a return to "civil war" in Afghanistan.

Tony Blair was warned that war-torn Iraq remains on the brink of disaster - more than two years after the removal of Saddam Hussein - during his summit with President Bush in Washington earlier this month.

RonK, maybe he'll say:

If, when the chips are down, the world's most powerful nation, the United States of America, acts like a pitiful, helpless giant, the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy will threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.

It is not our power but our will and character that is being tested tonight. The question all Americans must ask and answer tonight is this: Does the richest and strongest nation in the history of the world have the character to meet a direct challenge by a group which rejects every effort to win a just peace, ignores our warning, tramples on solemn agreements, violates the neutrality of an unarmed people, and uses our prisoners as hostages?

If we fail to meet this challenge, all other nations will be on notice that despite its overwhelming power the United States, when a real crisis comes, will be found wanting.

McNamara resigned and went on to head up the World Bank. Wolfowitz?

"There is no 'course' to 'stay'".

Makes a nice bumper sticker.

Actually, as I've been saying for more than 20 months, the NeoImps did want to do exactly what you're suggesting - refight Vietnam in Iraq and win forever erasing any public hesitancy over employing force abroad except as a last resort, that is, the so-called Vietnam Syndrome. The last thing they wanted was to become the cause of an Iraq Syndrome, but that is exactly what is happening. And just as with the Vietnam Syndrome, one of the key points is arguing that the cause of failure was the failure of all Americans to support the war policy 100%.

You and me. Been there, done that, MB. Remember this? Iraq Hearts And Minds Are Unwinnable, So Go After The Dissenters

So I think I've gotten way to suspicious of my own government. But somehow, when I hear about plans to blow a football stadium-sized chunk out of a comet, I question whether this is being done for scientific or military reasons. Rummy wants NASA to develop a Space Force, after all. I'm especially uneasy when I read this:

But not to worry. NASA guarantees that its experiment will not significantly change the comet's orbit nor will the smash-up put the comet or any remnants of it on a collision course with Earth.


The high-speed collision is expected to excavate a crater that can range anywhere from the size of a house to a football stadium, and from two to 14 stories deep. A spew of ice and dust debris will likely shoot out from the newly formed hole, possibly revealing a glimpse of the comet's core.

These guys haven't even taken all the precautions they were supposed to with the Space Shuttle. Why should we believe they've taken real precautions here?

Besides, couldn't they have just landed the spacecraft on the comet? Is there something about the American psyche that requires us to set off explosions everywhere we go, including space?

emptywheel, it's a guy thing. Do I really have to explain?

I suppose Iraq is a guy thing too?

Mixing up NASA and the military is a conservative mindset, I hate to see people apparently confusing the two even in rhetoric.

Seeing what happens with a known impact on the comet is like getting details on your enemy's next big weapon before it's deployed against you. A sampler, even if successful, wouldn't tell you if the comet can be pushed, or how hard it can be pushed without breaking up into fragments.

When one is pointed our way, that knowledge will help decide if and how it can be made to miss the planet. (If it's solid, a push; if it's going to break apart, a far gentler and more broadly based application of force).

Now, THERE is your working analogy to Iraq if you must make one --- if what you are about to be in a collision with is a solid, coherent mass, you can kick it hard and it'll turn. If what you are about to collide with is a loosely bound agglomeration of stuff that will separate, hitting it hard will change "one big bullet" into an equivalent mass of "shotgun pellets" and cause far more destruction.

So, yes, maybe the military can learn something from Deep Impact -- this: know what you're going to hit BEFORE you decide HOW and WHETHER to hit it.

If the comet is as loosely bound a collection of material as, by analogy, the soi-disant nation called Iraq, a shock and awe hard hit will just make it fall apart, and all the pieces will still do damage and be impossible to get control of. That's why Deep Impact is hitting the comet, to see how it's put together. Landing a sampler tells you what the constituent pars are but now how they're connected.

Kind of like, spying on Iraq may tell you who's active there, but not what will happen with a military strike on the country. For that, test the cohesion, learn before committing.


Like that one? Support NASA. They're trying to learn, well in advance of the need, WHAT the danger really is, rather than blindly whacking what scares them.

We could hope our military learns from the scientists. Or at least pray that's possible.

hank, everything you say may be so (and I love science), but guys still like blowing things up.

hank -- Excellent analysis.

But I think the real motivation has something to do with the shortage of acceptable sites for football stadiums.

LOL. That's where the Jets will wind up, mark my words. The Giants will get the better site on the moon.


And with the Jets luck, the crater will only be house sized. It'll make it easy to run up the score (well, that, plus zero gravity). But they'd have no space for luxury boxes. So they'd run the AFC East. And be dead broke.

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