Monday, October 30, 2006

It's prediction update time

We're fast approaching the deadline for my "95%" prediction. That is, the US getting into a shooting war (whether called such or not) with Iran before the November 7 elections.

For what it's worth, I'm a lot less confident.

Supporting the likelihood: There are sufficient assets in place - both air and sea assets - at this time. Israel's Olmert-led ruling coalition has recently put a person in charge of strategic assets (nuclear weapons) who has been heavily advocating an attack on Iran. Iran is making a LOT of noise of reaction should the UN sanctions go into place.

Against the likelihood: There's been a relative silence on the US front about Iran. The UN sanctions appear unlikely to be in effect anytime soon - and the current draft reflects the insistence of some members of the security council that it prohibits military action in the event of violations. One of the carriers in the region is nearing the end of its six month deployment (Enterprise left homeport May 2, 2006) and appears to be getting ready to sail home.

The peculiar nature of current deployments is such that after about November 12 and till sometime in mid-January any movement of assets - both air and sea - into the region will be unscheduled. In other words, they'll either be in response to or anticipation of provocation - and in turn a more obvious indicator of intent.

For the record, I hope I'm wrong. I hope we do not have hostilities in the Middle East - not soon, not ever. But I still bet on seeing shooting before the new congress is seated in January, and still think the odds favor it beginning within a week. Not 95% any more, but more than 50%.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

October 17?

I keep stumbling across this date in the various blogs and specialized news articles I read. There's almost a feeling of weight to the day.

It popped up on Firedoglake in a discussion about the signing of the torture bill (Military Commissions Act). Apparently the President told the leadership of congress that he wanted to have a signing ceremony on October the 17th. So despite it being approved some days ago it only got around to being delivered to the president's desk on the 11th of October. This started the ten day ticking clock for signing. (Constitution, Article 1, Section 7. It automatically becomes law if Congress is in session, it automatically becomes void if they're not in session.)

It popped up in an investment site I read - - in an article by Roger Weigand who says a friend he considers to be normally very conservative has said things will pop in the market on the 17th (actually, "mentioned October 17th as D-Day for some kind of markets ripping excitement.") Yes, that's headed into "someone I know says someone he knows heard somewhere..." territory. It's the date that catches the eye.

I ran into it on a military site. I ran into it on some discussions of federal grants and authorizations as an updated deadline for certain pending categories.

Now as regular readers know I believe we're going to be shooting at Iran before the elections. But I would have pegged the date as closer to the 31st. Two major reasons for this apply.

First is political bounces fade. And 3 weeks prior to the elections is - I think - too early.

Second is that my guesstimates of various logistic and forward assets deployments had them onsite no earlier than the 21st of October and more likely the 26th. Yes, they're deploying. It's bits and dribbles of information, but we've got a fair chunk of assets moving that direction. But the date... the 17th feels too early.

But it keeps popping up, and I find I'm not going to be really comfortable that Tuesday.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Mommy This

The Rude Pundit's got it almost right. The Democratic party needs to pull the whole argument into one simple meme: Democrats are for the children. Just about every position they're running boils down to that - and the Foley Protection Scheme just crystalized who really cares about the children. (Talking the talk works till it's time to walk the walk.)

The thing is, I believe there's a slightly better position - and it's one the GOP has happily been backhanding at the Dems for some time now.

The Dems are the Mommy Party. Now, the GOP's been using that as 'all soft and weepy and hand-wringing and...'. But I ask you - you ever see a mother act when her child is threatened?

" But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male."

No, let's quote the whole darn thing.

The Female of the Species

WHEN the Himalayan peasant meets the he-bear in his pride,
He shouts to scare the monster, who will often turn aside.
But the she-bear thus accosted rends the peasant tooth and nail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When Nag the basking cobra hears the careless foot of man,
He will sometimes wriggle sideways and avoid it if he can.
But his mate makes no such motion where she camps beside the trail.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

When the early Jesuit fathers preached to Hurons and Choctaws,
They prayed to be delivered from the vengeance of the squaws.
'Twas the women, not the warriors, turned those stark enthusiasts pale.
For the female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man's timid heart is bursting with the things he must not say,
For the Woman that God gave him isn't his to give away;
But when hunter meets with husbands, each confirms the other's tale—
The female of the species is more deadly than the male.

Man, a bear in most relations—worm and savage otherwise,—
Man propounds negotiations, Man accepts the compromise.
Very rarely will he squarely push the logic of a fact
To its ultimate conclusion in unmitigated act.

Fear, or foolishness, impels him, ere he lay the wicked low,
To concede some form of trial even to his fiercest foe.
Mirth obscene diverts his anger—Doubt and Pity oft perplex
Him in dealing with an issue—to the scandal of The Sex!

But the Woman that God gave him, every fibre of her frame
Proves her launched for one sole issue, armed and engined for the same;
And to serve that single issue, lest the generations fail,
The female of the species must be deadlier than the male.

She who faces Death by torture for each life beneath her breast
May not deal in doubt or pity—must not swerve for fact or jest.
These be purely male diversions—not in these her honour dwells—
She the Other Law we live by, is that Law and nothing else.

She can bring no more to living than the powers that make her great
As the Mother of the Infant and the Mistress of the Mate.
And when Babe and Man are lacking and she strides unclaimed to claim
Her right as femme (and baron), her equipment is the same.

She is wedded to convictions—in default of grosser ties;
Her contentions are her children, Heaven help him who denies!—
He will meet no suave discussion, but the instant, white-hot, wild,
Wakened female of the species warring as for spouse and child.

Unprovoked and awful charges—even so the she-bear fights,
Speech that drips, corrodes, and poisons—even so the cobra bites,
Scientific vivisection of one nerve till it is raw
And the victim writhes in anguish—like the Jesuit with the squaw!

So it comes that Man, the coward, when he gathers to confer
With his fellow-braves in council, dare not leave a place for her
Where, at war with Life and Conscience, he uplifts his erring hands
To some God of Abstract Justice—which no woman understands.

And Man knows it! Knows, moreover, that the Woman that God gave him
Must command but may not govern—shall enthral but not enslave him.
And She knows, because She warns him, and Her instincts never fail,
That the Female of Her Species is more deadly than the Male.

-- Rudyard Kipling