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jjohn (22)

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Perl hack/Linux buff/OSS junkie.

Journal of jjohn (22)

Wednesday October 08, 2003
06:58 AM

[politics] Coulda, woulda, shoulda

[ #15117 ]
The reconstruction of Iraq is going to take a lot of time, money and effort. This is clear to everyone by now. This reconstruction effort is far more involved than the Bush administration had hoped for before the war. It was thought that a little military pixie dust and the arrival of Halliburton (who, to be honest, were already there before the war) would turn Iraq into an icon democracy in the Middle East. Iraqis were expected to cheer the fall of a vicious despot and gladly work with the US to build a better Iraq.

But things are not proceeding as expected.

The US finds itself sinking quickly into the quagmire of Middle Eastern politics, which resembles nothing so much as a laser show of conflicting agendas. Iraq is not a nation unified by nationalism; it is a political entity held together through iron will. Remember Czechslovakia? It is true that there are factions in Iraq that do want to work with the US to build a western-style democracy, but their voices are lost in the cacophony of those that want the US out of the country posthaste.

National Security Advisor Condoleeza Rice is now overseeing the political reconstruction of Iraq. At the same time, Bush is asking for a lot more money:

«The move comes as the White House tries to convince a fairly unreceptive Congress to grant an extra $130-billion to its Iraq mission.»

In many ways, Bush's Iraq policy resembles another ill-considered and poorly-executed expedition that is very familiar to computer professionals. The SCO Group has claimed that it owns several critical pieces of technology found in the Linux kernel, which it does not own. Consequently, SCO is asking users of server-class multi-CPU systems running Linux to buy a license from them. The SCO Group has presented questionable evidence to support their claims, but they have issued many provocative press releases full of bluster and self-righteous indignation. While the SCO Group refuses to show all the disputed code, the few fragments that have been presented have been outed as 30-year-old code that is probably in the public domain anyway. It is code that certainly did not originate in the SCO Group.

One tangible result of the SCO Group's efforts has been a marked increase in their stock price. Another result has been two large lawsuits, one from IBM and the other from RedHat. Perhaps the executives at SCO Group had hoped to stir up enough trouble so that they would be acquired by some large hi-tech player, like IBM. Now, the SCO Groups has to pursue this White Elephant, whatever the end. If they abandon the licensing scheme, SCO executives will be very vulnerable to charges of stock price manipulation. SCO seems set on an inexorable path to dissolution and possible criminal indictments anyway. Given a glimpse of the future, would SCO execs have pursued this frivilous adventure at all? Was there no other course of action that would have better achieved their goal?

Similar questions must also be in the minds of those in the White House now.

The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
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  • If Arnold can get elected in Cali, Dubya is going for another four years...

    • shove all of your us dollars into euros soon.
    • Find a nice Scandinavian woman and shack up
    • failing that, get a sled dog team and go north young man!

    In other words, get the hell out whist ye can as there is no democracy anymore in the US, only an occasionaly benevolent autocracy. Don't wait until next year when europe will likely have to turn back the droves fleeing from the US.

    • This surprises you?
      None of the moronic masses can tell the difference between TV and the real world anymore.
      They probably think he will strap on his sword, or pull out his machine gun, and slice/blast those nasty taxes out of existence!
    • "Get the hell out" is what I did during Desert Storm. Now I have a family, and a house, and I'm not going to just "run away". It is the easiest road to take.
      • Responding to my own comment (which indicates I hit 'submit' without 'preview'). I should not have said fleeing the US is the "easiest road to take". Having to leave friends, family, and favorite places behind to escape the insanity that is going on the US today is not easy at all. But it is an option, an almost desperate option. As Stephen Dedalus said "History is a nightmare from which I am constantly trying to wake up" we just need to get others to wake up as well.
        • Well, considering I don't want to shoot people or join the military or become sainted by being an unwitting victim of terrorism, I left. You leave your career, family, house and native language behind for a foreign land where the native language is so unlike your own that fluency might be possible in 10 years and a job may just come your way in something along the same lines. I am a stranger in an even stranger land. Easy it is not. Desperate, perhaps. I simply couldn't stay in a country that is no longer w

          • I simply couldn't stay in a country that is no longer willing to give up the comforts of the local Wal-Mart in order to take back the country.

            To be fair, Wal-Mart makes shopping very convenient.

            • Well, I suppose you can assuage a lot of disillusionment with a 10 pound bag of licorice, 20 big fat family size TV dinners, and a case of Bud to wash it all down with. In a land of endless supply and consumption it's realistic to think little will change with the rampant corruption in the government. In a way, I envy those who are content to shop at wal-mart and think that the US is better than ever. Ignorance is bliss.

    • I have a lot of my 401(k) in a New Europe fund, so I am certainly interested in Europe doing well, and expect it to do well, but the U.S. economy is coming back strong. GDP is up above estimates, unemployment did not increase for the first time in awhile, and the stock market is going to have its first positive year since ... 1999, I think. Maybe 2000. Go USA! And just in time for next year's elections. It's hard to claim that Bush has ruined the economy when the economy is, in fact, doing quite well.
  • Challenge (Score:3, Informative)

    by pudge (1) on 2003.10.08 8:54 (#24725) Homepage Journal
    I keep hearing people say the erconstruction of Iraq will be a lot more difficult than the Bush administration thought. I don't know where this comes from. They said all along it would take years and cost a lot. I think a lot of people are conflating the two distinct missions: the invasion, and the reconstruction. The invasion was what some people predicted would be a "cakewalk," and indeed it was a "cakewalk." But I cannot recall anyone related to the Bush administration who predicted it would be easy, quick, or cheap. If I am wrong, please do enlighten me.
    • It is true that there are factions in Iraq that do want to work with the US to build a western-style democracy, but their voices are lost in the cacophony of those that want the US out of the country posthaste.

    The only cacaphony of voices are the media and liberal types who amplify the voice of dissidents and ignore real facts.

    Unless you have something to counter real research on the issue []?

    There's also the interesting testimony of Khomeini's grandson that's reproduced on the (pay site). He is s

    • Jordan, I don't write my journals to cause you pain. I don't write them to troll either. That's the reason I started labeling my political entries as such. Like others [], I write stuff here so that my head doesn't explode. I sense the passion you have for your positions, but I do sometimes wonder at the ferosity of your comments on my blog. By all means, do point out my factual mistakes. That's precisely why I enable comments on these "essays." But keep in mind that even "liberals" have feelings. Att

        • But keep in mind that even "liberals" have feelings. Attack my arguments if you must, but do leave me out of it.

        Well, I apologize if you are offended by my strong language. After all, I accused you of being a "liberal type" and stating things that weren't accurate. Now, knowing how sensitive you are, I'll be more careful in the future.

        • What's more interesting than these political discussions of attrition is the question of why US politics has seemingly become so polarizing.

        Hmmm... Do you think that ma