Click here to go to Opinions You Should Have at tomburka.com. TITLE: An Apology : It's not always humor you'll find here . . . AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 08:55:00 PM ----- BODY: When I have the time to work up a humorous take on events, I do. When I don't, I just say what I wanted to say straight-on, without the satire. If you want more humor here (and I certainly do), try to think of the funny pieces as humor, and the straight-on pieces as "grim humor." -------- TITLE: Bush Did Not Want To Hear Of Possible Iraqi Resistance Before War AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 08:51:00 PM ----- BODY:
It was not all that many months ago that Ari Fleischer was... boasting, I guess... that Ari Fleischer actually said that "[General Tommy] Franks wasn't invited to the next strategy meeting because 'the president doesn't have time to listen to what the president doesn't want to hear,'" and one of the things the President did not want to hear was that Saddam's forces might fight bravely.
This (and Rumsfeld trying to cover his behind) courtesy of Brad Delong's weblog. -------- TITLE: Boy, Those War Games Sure Are Worth Every Penny AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 08:38:00 PM ----- BODY: The Guardian reports:
If the US and Iraq do go to war, there can only be one winner, can't there? Maybe not. This summer, in a huge rehearsal of just such a conflict - and with retired Lieutenant General Paul Van Riper playing Saddam - the US lost. Julian Borger asks the former marine how he did it.
Whole article here. What's really scary is that what the U.S. wargamers did is exactly what I do when I'm having a hard time in a first-person shooter. (Gamers are the same everywhere.) -------- TITLE: White House Knew Fantastic "Edge" of American Military Was An Absurd Fiction Months Before Starting War AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 07:27:00 PM ----- BODY: In Supplying the Enemy, the New York Times rails aginst the Russians for supplying Iraqis with night vision goggles, antitank missiles, and GPS jamming devices (which can essentially make "smart" weapons very dumb). The amazing part of the editorial is this: "U.S. officials say they have been pressuring Russia for many months now to end sales of these types of equipment." They knew months in advance about this? In other words, for months before committing a too-small force to this war, White House officials had reason to suspect -- and had good reason to believe -- that Iraq had equipment which could neutralize the much-flaunted and repeatedly touted technological advantages which would supposedly enable our American forces to prevail in a fortnight, at most. (Oh, and about pressuring Russia, good job. Another diplomatic and foreign relations triumph.) The article also notes that Rumsfeld is aware that Syria has been providing this equipment to the Iraqis for a certainty. We're back to the Reagan question here: when did he know this -- and if he didn't know it months before the war, why not? First: it has recently been made clear that we started this war with too small a force, regardless of our "technological advantage." Second: Oops. In street-to-street fighting in a moonlit night -- or in the desert, whatever -- the fantastic edge our guys had over the Iraqis has just disappeared. And the incredible "precision bombing" and other GPS guided weapons can now be misdirected -- to Iraqi civilians in Baghdad and, in a skirmish or major battle where our ground forces need air support, to our guys. There's enough "fratricide" and "friendly fire" wiping out our forces as it is -- without GPS jamming devices in the hands of the enemy. Third: White House officials -- Bush, Cheney, Wolfowitz, Rumsfled -- knew or should have known that this war was going to much worse than they told the American people. And the worst part of it is, I beleive that this was sheer ineptitude on the part of the big deceision makers, who were so intent on fighting this war that they neglected to get accurate intelligence or see what the intel already showed: it was a bad choice to enter this war of choice. And that's if you support the war. (Never mind the million other reasons not to fight it -- the world hates us -- destroying alliances that have taken 60 years to build -- screwing up the force of international law -- weakening the Geneva convention -- scads more -- but here's another one, now: destroying the deterrent effect of our threat to use military force, and diminishing the reputation of our fighting forces as an effective tool for peace and diplomacy.) Am I saying that we're going to lose this war? No. I'm saying that it will be much longer and more drawn out than we had been led to believe or that the White House expected -- and a lot of people -- many of them our own 19 and 20 year olds -- will die needlessly as result of White House mistakes. The Bush Administration: Inept at diplomacy. Inept at peace. Inept at war. That's foreign relations and policy. Thank goodness they're so good at domestic stuff. (For anyone who wants to quote that last bit, you must include: "uttered with the utmost bitterness and sarcasm." Or, "And then Burka, slouching over the counter of a dark, depressing bar, downed six shots of whisky in quick succession.") -------- TITLE: Rumsfeld Confuses Situation Room With TIVO, Attempts to "Pause" and "Rewind" War AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 06:58:00 PM ----- BODY: Today, Donald Rumsfeld sent White House workers into complete disarray by attempting to "pause" the war to take a phone call from his niece while going downstairs to get some ice for his Coke. Rumsfeld repeatedly punched several buttons on what he believed to be the "remote" -- but which was in fact an electronic handheld joker poker game left there by President Bush the preceding day. "This dadblasted piece of crap doesn't work for shit," he said. "And where did all these kings come from?" Rumsfield then issued orders to "rewind" the push toward Bagdad and is apparently negotiating with Lucasfilm and Industrial Light and Magic to digitally insert 150,000 more troops near Nasiriyah. (In a related story, George Lucas expressed disgust that 250,000 actual American soldiers had been ordered to engage in the war with Iraq, saying that he could have done it "with a bare handful of extras, digitally reproduced and multiplied to resemble an enormous horde of invading Americans." Upon being pressed, Lucas admitted that he would probably need one or two principals, "but nobody pricey." He also expressed dismay about the location. "You don't need Iraq at all -- Tunisia would have done fine." He also would have saved billions of dollars by getting the location shots with a second unit and fighting the rest of the war in a studio. "The savings?" said Lucas. "At least $74.9 billion.") -------- TITLE: War Paused, Posting Light AUTHOR: Tom DATE: 3/29/2003 06:33:00 PM ----- BODY: Actually, the war isn't paused, I'm on vacation (sort of). Anyway, to my scads of devoted followers (read: both of you), I'm pretty tied up until next Thursday. Or until the 4th Infantry arrives, whichever comes first. --------