The YDD Annex

Because One Blog Is Never Enough

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Back To The YDD

It's time to go back to the YDD now. Thanks for following me over here; now please follow me back...

Troop Cuts In Iraq - WHEN?

Via TPM, here's an AP story that caught my attention:

Officials: Bush to announce troop cut

Summary Box: Officials Say Bush Will Adopt Petraeus' Recommendations on Troop Withdrawals

The Associated Press
AP News

Sep 11, 2007 16:46 EDT

UPCOMING ADDRESS: President Bush will tell the nation this week he plans to reduce the American troop presence in Iraq by about 30,000 by next summer, The Associated Press has learned.

CONDITIONAL CUTS: But he will condition those and further cuts on continued progress.

ENDORSEMENT: In a prime-time television address, probably Thursday, Bush will endorse the recommendations of his top general and top diplomat in Iraq.

He'll do what? when?

Next summer equals a year from now? Our armed forces will be eviscerated by then; what good will it do to withdraw troops after hundreds (thousands?) more are dead, and that much more equipment is destroyed? And... condition the cuts on continued progress? Isn't that exactly backwards? If Iraq is a quagmire, a nation in a civil war, shouldn't the lack of progress indicate a withdrawal of troops?

Welcome to Wonderland. That's most definitely the world through the looking-glass that Mr. Bush is describing.

The Real Meaning Of September 11

My calendar informs me that this is Patriot Day. That must be so, because it is the birthday of Mad Kane, and I know of no greater patriot than Ms. Kane.

Have a happy one, Mad. May you live to see many more birthdays, and happier times than these.

Buy The Numbers

Or don't. I don't.

Spencer Ackerman has some things to say about Petraeus's methodology, his numbers, possible reasons why those numbers differ from the GAO's, etc.

Ackerman is right to ask the questions about the numbers, but regarding the methodology, there's only one significant fact: it's a secret. That's right. Petraeus tells us, "Two US intelligence agencies recently reviewed our methodology, and they concluded that the data we produce is the most accurate and authoritative in Iraq."

OK. What methodology? Which agencies? Simple questions, right? Hard to argue that that much is a matter of national security. Why shouldn't we get to know the answers?

Government, like warfighting, is not a science in the usual sense of the term. But when they use statistical methods to gather information that supports one or another course of action in a war, the public has a right to know what those methods are, and what numbers are cranked through those methods. In that one sense, government, using statistics, is a science: one should be given enough information to reproduce the results or challenge them. That has always been the nature of science. And writers as far back as Thomas Jefferson have noticed the similarity
, between science and an open society with a representative government, of openness of discussion and the requirement of reproducibility imposed on arguments. In both, you must show your work.

In this case, it's worse than that, though. Not only is Petraeus saying, "trust us," but the government whose position he is advocating... face it, his is a political errand, not a military one... has given us every reason not to trust them.

I urge you:
Do it by the numbers, but don't buy the numbers being sold by the Bush administration through Gen. Petraeus. Are they right? wrong? Who knows! But absent our ability to confirm them independently, they have the same credibility as, say, lumber companies' position papers regarding forest conservation, oil companies' statements about global warming, etc. Purchase your numbers only from a reputable source, and check them yourself if possible.

Krugman Snarks

... on TPMCafe. Here's a sample:

There’s only one word to describe Jon Chait’s book: shrill. I mean, how can Chait say that “American politics has been hijacked by a tiny coterie of right-wing economic extremists”? The cocktail-party circuit knows better.
Read the rest. Hey, if we can get straight news from Jon Stewart, why should Krugman not be a funny man when he chooses?

The MoveOn Ad

According to TPM Election Central, the MoveOn ad (note: .pdf) that refers to Gen. Petraeus as "General Betray-us" has upset GOPers so much that they are attempting a House resolution condemning it. As one who has himself used the "Betray-us" pun... condemning Bush, not Petraeus... I feel a need to respond.

Is Gen. Petraeus a traitor? Of course not. His judgment in this matter is execrable, but I have no sense whatsoever that his is a willful act against the interest of the U.S., or any sort of aid and comfort to our enemies. That's simple BS. If you want arguably traitorous actions, look to the good General's boss, the one occupying the Oval Office.

Is Petraeus lying? I don't think so. He is probably seriously misguided himself, and he is being the "good soldier" in following what I am certain are Bush's orders to say what he said.

Is the ad tasteless? IMHO, yes, it is.

Does anyone saying anything critical of any public figure deserve a congressional resolution of condemnation? HELL, NO! Have the bastards never heard of free speech? Oh, right... many of them view the Constitution and the Bill of Rights as "quaint."

Count me as a constitutional fundamentalist if you will, but I don't think the GOP believes in fundamental American values anymore... you know, the ones embedded in that "scrap of paper," as Bush is reported to have called it.

Home Away From Home

Welcome to the YDD-in-exile; thanks for making the trip. I presume that jdw (head honcho at my hosting company) is sleeping off the overnighter he pulled to move the service, physically, to a new location... a truly herculean task. Unfortunately, somebody forgot to restart the FTP and SFTP services on which I depend to post the YDD. So I'll be here at the YDD Annex until I can post the YDD.

You could say I'm fighting blog problems here so I won't have to fight them at home...

Monday, September 10, 2007

Delay in YDD Availability; Savage's Cheney Project

Not surprisingly, it's taking my host longer to complete the transition to the new facilities than was anticipated... such things always contain unexpected obstacles. But based on the status site, they are making good progress.

While you wait, you may want to read a post at TPMCafe's Table for One by Charlie Savage called The Cheney Project, which gives some background on the breadth of scope and length of time (three decades!) over which Cheney's pursuit of, let's face it, a totalitarian American government has been in the works. I'll write on the subject later today (Tuesday) once the YDD site is reactivated.


Well, this isn't fun. It's Tuesday morning, 7:40am CT, and the YDD just became visible, but I can't post to it yet. I'll try again in an hour or so. Apologies to all 2 of you who looked for me; thanks for the thought.

Scheduled YDD Outage Monday 9/10

The YDD is unavailable while the host physically relocates servers to a new datacenter. The scheduled outage is in progress at about 6:00pm CDT and should be completed by sometime this evening.