Posts you will never see

June 25th, 2009 — Wordman

Looking at my blog’s “drafts” section reveals a number of posts that have been languishing, half-formed, some of them since before I made this blog public. Many of these occupied my mind at the time, but since have lost their timeliness. Some needed a bit more polishing. Some didn’t have enough legs to turn into a real post. Others I just haven’t fully formed in my head. Rather than keep them in the “maybe someday” box, they will be pasted in raw form into this post for posterity, and the originals will be deleted, just to get them out of my head.

In these descriptions, text in italics represents text added today for the purpose of explaining the post’s idea. Any original text from the draft will remain un-italicized. The are presented youngest first. In some drafts, text is fairly close to final. Some are only scattered notes. Most are a mix of lucid sentences with random phrases to remind me what I was thinking.

If these scattered thoughts trigger any musings in your own brain, I’d love to hear about them in the comments section.

Fighting illiteracy

Initially created April 2009

A post about how what’s really going on in the Middle East is a conflict of knowledge vs. ignorance. The main point here was to suggest a strategy in Iraq of taking over their educational system, under the assumption that educated masses are less likely to buy into fundamentalist attempts to manipulate them. Also, the point was to change the rhetoric of the United States to be more about enlightenment and opportunity, rather than the stupid “war on abstract concepts” language they use now. I never really got this working in my head.

In the modern world, intimidation and intolerance is the only is the only real path the illiterate have to power.

US pitches the war stupidly: “they hate us for our freedom” “evil-doers”, “war on terror”.

Symbol: the destruction of the Buddhist statues looked like nothing more than “boys with toys”.

Counterargument: reading doesn’t help US fundies from being idiots.

The vegetarian case for cannibalism

Initially created August 2008

In the later chapters of his book The Omnivore’s Dilemma, author Michael Pollan spends a great deal of effort thinking about the morality of eating animals. In particular, he wrestles with a moral argument laid out by Peter Singer in his book Animal Liberation, claiming that it “demands you either defend the way you live, or change it.”

Aristotle. I don’t remember the point I was going for with Aristotle. Possibly something about the risk that using reasoning based on assumptions depends significantly on the bias of your assumptions. (I also have a pet theory that at least some of the dark ages was created by the seemingly complete inability of people to doubt what Aristotle said, even when it was obviously wrong, and that the Renaissance happened when people got over this. Uh, and stopped being set on fire for heresy. Anyway…)

Essentially their logic leads to “point A”, at which time they ask “given that most people object to exploiting the retarded, why is it mortal to exploit animal”.

But using the same logic, you can ask “given that most people have no problem with exploiting animals, why is it immoral to exploit the retarded”.

To be convincing, a line of reasoning needs to lead inexorably to a single conclusion. Singer’s argument doesn’t: it leads to many. Worse, most of these contradict each other. So, while there may be some logic to it, it is not a tool for reasonable conclusion of anything.

Singer says “we have a strong interest in convincing ourselves that our concern for other animals does not require us to stop eating them”. It seems to me this should be turned around. Our strong interest in continuing to eat other animals requires that our concern for them is not convincing.

All this rambling was intended to illustrate how, using the same techniques that zealot vegetarians use to “prove” that all should stop eating meat, you can just as easily “prove” that all should start eating human flesh. I pretty much just lost interest in this one, though, so it doesn’t really form any coherent point.

Wheat and chaff

Initially created July 2008. I have no idea what the point was supposed to be.

Things which let you see bias:

The “whiners” comment, exposes party parrots.

Apple’s MobileMe launch.

Atheists for Jesus

Initially created May 2008

Basic idea is that it is possible to embrace many of Jesus’ teachings even with the spiritual side of them removed. Much of the rationale for Christians following them is that “the only way to heaven is trough me”, but that is a “why should I do this”, not a “what should I do”.

There is some meat there, but seems like others have probably tread over this ground before.

The Dread Pirate Roberts

Initially created September 2007. Back when bin Laden videos would surface every once in a while, but there was question if it was really him, etc. I realized that it probably wouldn’t really matter if it was actually him or not. Just like the Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, maybe he could be turned into more of an office than a person:

Well, Roberts had grown so rich, he wanted to retire. So he took me to his cabin and told me his secret. “I am not the Dread Pirate Roberts,” he said. “My name is Ryan. I inherited this ship from the previous Dread Pirate Roberts, just as you will inherit it from me. The man I inherited it from was not the real Dread Pirate Roberts, either. His name was Cummerbund. The real Roberts has been retired fifteen years and living like a king in Patagonia.” Then he explained the name was the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear. You see, no one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley. So we sailed ashore, took on an entirely new crew and he stayed aboard for awhile as first mate, all the time calling me Roberts. Once the crew believed, he left the ship and I have been Roberts ever since. Except, now that we’re together, I shall retire and hand the name over to someone else.

I’d hoped to get excerpts from these videos and show the different people that were carrying the “office” of Osama bin Laden, but it was sort of hard to find decent clips, and by the time I gathered some, the videos appeared with decreasing frequency. Still, I gathered a bunch of links.

Juries are stupid

Initially created May 2006. Post intended to vent about the reality reported by two articles; however, I’ve yet to find even a half-baked solution to this problem, so I never turned it into a real article (as per the rules).

Take heed the court stenographer

The second link used to point somewhere interesting, but now is just a place to buy drugs, which pisses me off all over again.

Making sausage

Initially created May 2006

A memo to my employees, the members if the United States Government:

I approach politics the way most Americans do, with lots of opinionated complaining a no real action. Sure, I’ll talk by the water cooler about which intern blew you when and where, or how much coke you did while attending an Ivy League school you weren’t really qualified to attend, or how they finally fished your girlfriend out of the river, or how old your former slave employee was when she bore your bastard child, or what contributor got which favor, or which particular lie you got busted for this time, but I don’t really care.

Most of my fellow Americans and I seem perfectly content to sit back and mostly ignore you, content in the knowledge that you are out there extending American hegemony.

The problem is: you suck at it now.

Sure, you’ve stumbled before….

Don’t make me get off the couch and overthrow your ass.

In darkest Mordor

Initially entered April 2006. This was meant to be the expansion of an offhand comment I made in an IM conversation about the “cartoon controversy”. The post has a central idea, but I could never make anything intelligent out of it.

How the Cartoon Protests Harm Muslims

If the Muslim world really desires the severing of all ties, maybe we should just surrender and put a wall up. Within 500 years, either they would have a renaissance of their own (see “Breeding the white out”) or they’d basically become orcs.

What do they import?

When the Sizzle is better than the Sausage

No relation to reality, indeed

Breeding the white out

Initially entered February 2006. I never turned this into anything more than an observation about the inevitable elimination of the palefaces.

A solution for Iraq

Initially entered February 2006

Get the “shadow government” to convince big wigs in Iraq that they should not fear democracy, because they’ll be able to manipulate it.

Another solution: leak a memo stating how glad we are that the sects are killing each other.

Things noticed from Fahrenheit 9/11:

  1. There is a scene showing a group of soldiers knocking on the door of a house and eventually detaining a guy living within, in view of his crying family. I think Moore intended for this scene to show how the “brutal fist of the evil U.S. Army” was smacking down the poor innocent civilians of Iraq. I took away something different from it. What struck me was, to my eyes, the complete overreaction of the crying civilians. Basically the soldiers knocked on the door and said “we’d like to talk to you” and the immediate civilian reaction was seemingly genuine terror, as if they were positive they were all going to get hacked into pieces and eaten within seconds. (What that means is that we are getting completely crushed in the propaganda war.)

    The Bush administration clearly thought (if they thought at all, which seems increasingly unlikely) that the reaction of most thinking Iraqi civilians would be something like “look at what the Americans did in Germany and Japan after World War II, maybe they’ll do the same here”. Instead, what reasonable Iraqis seemed to think was “here comes another bunch of white people to ‘colonize’ and oppress us.” Given Iraq’s history, this is a completely rational assumption.

  2. Compare the scene where a distraught Iraqi woman is crying hysterically and saying “please, God, kill them” with the crying of the American who lost her son.

Suggestions for virtual gesture standards

Initially entered January 2006

Eventually, and probably within the next few decades, a growing body of computer users will have reason to interact with 3D environments in a way that feels like manipulating actual objects in space, rather than clicking on a 2D screen. While the virtual reality concept of Neuromancer, Snow Crash and The Matrix seems to occupy the attention of pop culture, it’s probable that ‘immersive reality’, where computer generated objects are displayed overlaying real life, will become popular first. The most accessible demonstration of this idea takes place in the early portions of the film Minority Report, where the lead character uses ‘light gloves’ to interact objects he perceived to be floating in front of him (thanks to holographic screens). While holograms are a ways off, systems based on this idea (originally suggested by John Underkoffler) are already being built. I’m not sure what gesture interface these systems use, and I’ve remaining deliberately ignorant of it while writing this post.

I’ve been thinking about how you might use such as system (perhaps with glasses to give the illusion of objects floating in space) to sculpt three-dimensional objects. It seems to me that the gestures detailed below are the most natural for such a task. Most modelling systems can create basic shapes (cubes, spheres, etc.) but build a lot of complex interface to handle three basic properties of these primitives once created:

  • position: exact placement of the object in 3D-space
  • orientation: how the object is rotated relative to the xyz axes.
  • distortion: how the object deviates from its initial shape relative to other shapes (for example, being scaled larger) or within itself (for example, if part of the object is stretched from its initial position)

One of the less obvious problems in 3D modeling is that when altering one property, it is often difficult to control, or even identify, how your action might change the other properties. For example, if you click on a point on an object, then drag in some direction, will the object shift its position, keeping its orientation? Will it rotate around a central point? Will the part that you clicked pull away from the rest of the object?

The answer to this is usually that it depends on what tool is selected. I think a gesture system could make this much easier, by having the gesture being used imply the operation you want. As someone who “draws pictures in the air” during conversations, I think the following gestures are fairly intuitive (bear in mind these are specifically for manipulating 3D models, not a generic 3D interface):

Never got around to sussing these out. I now lack the desire. For some reason this link was at the end of this draft.

Poser data for RPS-25

Initially entered January 2006. It would have been world-shattering. For free, the world would have Poser data for all the hand positions of RPS-25, to render the epic battles in high definition, 3D goodness. Unfortunately, even I apparently don’t have that much time to waste. I’m too busy playing RPS-101.


Initially entered September 2005

I am a dangerous man. In my Home Depot bag, I hold a substance so devastating it is kept under lock and key, only sold to those the government has deemed worthy of it.

This article was supposed to be an attempt to paint me as an Orginal Gangster for the “edgy, high-crime” lifestyle of buying goddamn spraypaint, which was kept in locked cages in my county, requiring a manager to open, due to a dumb local law. It was actually supposed to be a sort of investigative journalism type piece, doing interviews with both the managers of the stores affected as well as the idiots who signed it into law. I never did figure out what the reason was, though graffiti and huffing seemed like popular bugbears. In any case, it looks like this law got either overturned or exempted to the point that Home Depot no longer has the cages. So my wrath as been quelled, for the moment.

Billions shift from side to side

Initially entered July 2005. As you will be able to tell, I never really figured out what I was saying here.

Sometimes I get images in my head that make perfect sense to me, but have difficulty explaining them.

People are sheep.

If you modeled advances of the human population as a flow of particles that gathered around specific memes, the result would look fluid, but unlike a fluid, all the advances come from those who do not follow the herd, pulling the collective in a different direction. Could this idea be used to predict things? In other words, model as a fluid that has these attractors on the fringes.

[Liberal graph that Rob mentioned, Economic and some other axis as example]. Now imagine there were more than two axes. Things like “degree of religious observance” and “feelings about self-image”.

I hate the word meme, because it seems like you only ever hear it from the same people that say stuff like “if hierarchy presupposes sameness…”.

When whoever it is decides that “pink is the new black”, the masses shift toward a point in the space representing this idea. I’m not sure what the flow would look like, but instinctively it seems to me that it would have some characteristics of a fluid. Thinking about it now, the picture in my head sort of looks like Galactica.

There would be an unfluid characteristic though: innovators.

O’Reilly’s alpha geek strategy. Fashion industry tracking “cool people”. But that’s social. What about using math?

Visual debugging

Initially entered July 2005. This is another picture in my head that I cannot quite articulate.

Existing debuggers seem to think that what people need is more and more features. Wrong. What they need is vision, the ability to see what is going on in a malfunctioning process.

Shows a time line of a value weaving through the code. Blocks of data that expand when you look at them. Lines indicating a path through the code (would remember even if you didn’t step). Threads as threads of code on the screen, controlling them visually.

No little panes.

Order vs. Chaos

Initially entered May 2005

Reading Swarm Intelligence recently, I was struck by a comment that nature tends to organize. While this seems true to me, it flies in the face of the second law of thermodynamics, which holds that everything moves toward disorder. These two concepts can easily be combined into a flaky pop philosophy, which I will spell out now.

Part of this philosophy was to involve the weird kind of numerology that nature seems to use, where it tends to spontaneously organize things in particular ways, with certain units clustering in certain numbers. Those numbers are “two” (e.g. quarks in a meson, parents in sexual reproduction), “three” (e.g. quarks in a proton, licks to the center of a Tootsie-pop), “a few” (e.g. atoms in a molecule, wolves in a pack) and “a hundred billion or so” (e.g. atoms in a DNA molecule, stars in a galaxy, cells in an organ). That is, when natural parts gather in certain numbers, they become something greater. The pop-philosophy would fixate on what sort of ascension happens when 100 billion human brains come together.

Other parts of the idea were to focus on the natural tension between emergent order and entropy, but I couldn’t make it sound like anything other than the metaplot of season four of Babylon 5.

Computers in role-playing

Initially entered May 2005. I think laptops at a gaming table have still not really reached their potential. Seeing this projection system made me want to gather a bunch of ideas about using computers in tabletop role-playing together, but it never happened. Maybe someday.

Things I will never see

Initially entered August 2004.

  • A reenactment of the Nazis marching into Paris, but using the music and choreography of Michael Jackson’s Thriller instead of goose-stepping.

…but in their eyes

August 27th, 2007 — Wordman

Samablog’s recent mention of two articles with differing perspectives on the comparison between Vietnam and Iraq finds me returning to thoughts of a different comparison, one made before the war really started. To me, the biggest mistake made in Iraq appears to be the incorrect belief that that the Iraqis would be as active and willing in rebuilding their country as the Germans and Japanese were after World War II. They clearly haven’t been.

Up to now, I’ve gone along with the reasoning that this was because Iraq really wasn’t a nation to begin with, but rather an artificial imposition of Winston Churchill. While this seems reasonable, the articles Rob mentioned mixed in my head with a conversation I had with my wife’s uncle (a German citizen) about what life in the Fatherland was like after the war and with an article claiming (among other things) that suicide bombing is really about sex. The result suggests another key difference between post-WWII and Iraq: Immediately following the war, a large percentage of the young male population in Germany and Japan had been killed, so were not around to either help or hinder the rebuilding.

It’s hard to say what would have happened in those two countries had the young male population been around during that time. Certainly most of them would have been unemployed. You can imagine that this would have led to all sorts of things, such as increased crime, the rise of “gangs” or worse, and so on. Hitler, for example, was originally elected on promises of ending unemployment.

Iraq, however, and the Middle East in general, hasn’t recently suffered a World War to decimate its young males. While it’s tricky finding nuanced demographic information on Iraq, what figures there are point to more males than females, with a median age for males of 19.6 years. It’s likely that those in the insurgency now are the exact gender and age that would have been killed in something like World War II. Although a 1999 study by the U.S. Government on what makes a terrorist concluded that “there does not appear to be a single terrorist personality”, it mentions that 80% of terrorists world wide were male, and nearly all of them were under 30 years old. It claims that most suicide bombers “were bachelors aged 18 to 25” and that “Arab and Iranian groups tend to use boys aged 14 to 15 for dangerous missions, in part because they are less likely to question instructions”. This report is to old to contain information from 9/11 and recent events in Afghanistan and Iraq, but it seems clear that young men are a significant portion of the insurgency.

All of this, combined with the sectarian violence Iraqi’s seem intent on pursuing in place of rebuilding their country suggests a strategy for the US in Iraq. It is quite brutal, and probably unworkable, but I think you’ll find it has a better chance of success than any other concrete strategy you’ve seen voiced recently (any easy task, since there haven’t been any). It requires abandoning all pretense that the U.S. cares at all for Iraqi civilians, but with over half a million of them being dead already, I’m not sure this pretense is really believed by anyone anyway.

The strategy goes like this:

  1. Withdraw all U.S. forces in Iraq into Afghanistan suddenly and without warning. Destroy any bases or airfields that would make the country harder to reconquer later.
  2. Watch as the various factions in Iraq start to kill each other in increasingly creative ways.
  3. Allow any arms dealers under CIA control to go nuts selling weapons that armies would use to fight each other, like tanks and artillery. The idea would be to encourage battles between semi-military forces, rather than soliders vs. civilians.
  4. At some point, the factions will probably stop fighting each other in favor of ethnically cleansing areas under control, as this is safer than getting killed by an opposing army. When this happens, send in black ops missions to frame the other side, with the intent to refocus the factions on killing each other instead of civilians.
  5. When one side gains the upper hand (probably the Shia, since they will be getting backing from Iran) send in some cruise missiles and air strikes to even the odds, claiming that we’re striking “terrorist camps” or something similar. No one will believe us, but fortunately that will no longer matter (a fringe benefit of Bush’s “middle finger” style of diplomacy is that we no longer even need to pretend).
  6. Fighting will probably lead to fracturing of Iraq into three or more ethnically aligned “nations”. When this happens, recognize all of their governments, then sell them all weapons. Also, repeat step 4, with the idea of getting the whole region to fight until it is under the control of a single “government”.
  7. While all this is going on, finish the mission in Afghanistan somehow.
  8. Once the region known as Iraq is under a single group’s control, re-invade.

At this point, we’re back to where we started, with three important differences. The first is that it will probably be twenty years later, with a splendid excuse to fund the miliary-industrial complex for the duration. More importantly, however, all the young men in Iraq (and probably from a lot of neighboring nations) will be dead, and the local population will have a fresh taste of what happens when you don’t take a hand in making your own civilization better.

What could possibly go wrong? Well, OK, lots. In a mine field of wild cards, two stand out. First is that should an independent Kurdistan get formed in the process, Turkey would probably invade it, which would make things much scarier. Still, it would probably be possible to leverage their desire to join the EU and sacrifice some Iraqi territory to contain this. The second wild card is the third important difference mentioned above: more countries, probably including Iran, would now have nukes. This would be scary, but I still think may make the situation more manageable if handled well, not less.

On the other hand, Iran will probably invade as soon as we leave anyway, making much of the strategy moot.

…and the triple

December 31st, 2006 — Wordman

Superstition holds that celebrity deaths come in threes, but the latest triple seems much stranger than most. Watching the coverage of the funerals of James Brown, Gerald Ford and Saddam Hussein showcases how completely different these three men were. Watching these pageants, I couldn’t help but think there was some Jungian connection between it all, but can’t quite flush it out. Instead, stray observations, in no particular order:

  • While I understand the desire to represent the different branches of the armed forces at a state funeral, the mismatched uniforms of the pallbearers made the whole thing look sloppy. Maybe if there was a unified pallbearer uniform, with different insignia or something, it wouldn’t look like a bunch of guys were just picked up in a van by someone hanging out the window saying “yo! wanna carry the president?”
  • Michael Jackson may have been the only white guy invited to the James Brown funeral.
  • I’m pleased that it took very little time for the video of Saddam’s execution to hit the net. This suggests that the internet is infiltrating the Middle East more than I’d guessed. This will do more to advance freedom in the region than anything else.
  • Henry Kissinger may have finally crossed over into being a full lich.
  • It’s only a matter of time before someone suggests that Ford and Hussein coverage stealing the thunder from James Brown was a conspiracy of The Man.
  • Given that Betty Ford is rightfully praised for her public acknowledgment of her past addiction, the degree to which most of the talking heads in the press avoided mentioning “her problems” seemed somewhat insulting.
  • Americans are falling behind in the number of bullets shot into the air in celebration. (Where do these bullets go, anyway?)
  • My German father-in-law looked at the military aspect of the Ford funeral and suggested that if Germans saw a similar ceremony for a German politician, there would be an outcry that the Nazis had returned. Not sure if that’s true, but I was surprised by the comment.
  • Coloradoans give better-looking tributes than those inside the beltway.
  • The lack of former presidents at the Ford funeral surprised me. Bush, in particular, didn’t seem to care much about any of these deaths, other than as an opportunity to hint at his delusion that history will judge him well.
  • A tip to the choir: when someone in the audience passes out, just keep smiling and singing.

Holding out for a hero

February 19th, 2006 — Wordman

After reading more of John Robb’s ideas comparing terrorist operations to the open source programming ethic, I’m beginning to think that the relation is a bit more than metaphorical. It’s clear that part of this “open source warfare” are groups of Muslim vandals who have taken to defacing sites. In spite of warnings that this might lead to denial of service attacks and more serious hacking threats, none have been corroborated yet (well, at least not by anyone credible). It’s all to easy to believe they are coming though. Recently Robb suggested that infrastructure-based attacks by small “open source” guerillas may be coming soon and “much of the instruction and research passed to these groups will be done through the Internet.” I’d take this one step further and say that some of the attacks may come through the internet as well. Meanwhile, it’s becoming more evident that threats from organizations that are neither companies nor nations are growing (or have grown) beyond the ability of national armies to defeat.

All of this, though, makes me wonder: where are the white hats? Surely the Muslim world doesn’t have a monopoly on groups of hackers willing to engage in a guerilla war for a cause they believe in, without any central organizing authority. And I’m not just talking about turning Hamas into smut peddlers. Combating these Islamist hackers requires a group willing to subject them to something they should fear: scrutiny. I’m thinking of, at least, some kind of web sites that would post things like “site X was hacked by these people — here’s what we know”. Naturally, such sites would get attacked, but that would actually be useful. There would also need to be some sort of trust system to control who could post, but the net is pretty good at figuring out that sort of stuff. More crucial would be participation of the sites being attacked. Some would be willing to share logs, some would be trickier. Most important would be the reaction of the military and intelligence agencies. I’d like to think they’d welcome the help, but chances are they’d try to shut it down. An open source counterinsurgency does run the risk of accidentally ruining “official” covert action of which it has no awareness, but I suspect that’d be a risk worth taking.

Undermining the emergent mind

February 14th, 2006 — Wordman

Adam turned me on to John Robb’s article about emergent intelligence and the Iraqi insurgency. I posted a comment about it on Robb’s blog, but thought I’d reproduce it here as well.

If the five factors Robb mentions really are requirements, then the implication is that the elimination of any of them causes the collapse of the “intelligence” (whatever that means). This suggests a way to fight things like the insurgency in Iraq: destroy or prevent one or more of these factors. Taken in reverse order, this might be done as follows:

Openness to interaction is difficult to attack, because it is basically a personality trait, but it isn’t impossible. One way is to encourage “closed” men into authority by, say, eliminating rivals, providing intelligence or some other means. Another is to foster distrust between leaders. Any of these strategies, though, is fairly risky.

Pattern matching from stigmergic communication is a bit easier, because some of these environmental patterns can be manipulated or forged. Still, most of them can’t. Further, while it may be possible to anticipate the results of a pattern match, doing any of this requires high level of understanding of the insurgency thought process, which I don’t think the coalition has.

Random interactions are nearly impossible to stop. This is one area where the coalition is actively fighting (by incarcerating suspects to limit their movement). Ironically, this probably helps random interactions more than hinders them, as those few who are inevitably falsely imprisoned are certain to interact with real insurgents in an environment that breeds hostility to the coalition.

Local focus is more attackable than most of the other requirements, because it allows local action in opposition as well. Still, a crackdown in one locality likely just moves the “local action” to a different locality, so the best you could hope for here is somehow manipulating the insurgency into a locality of your own choosing. Those who subscribe to the “better to fight them in Iraq than here” mentality might reasonably claim that this has already been done successfully.

Preventing the critical mass of participants seems to me to be the most sure way to defeat this insurgency. Unfortunately, present tactics for doing so (incarceration into public and secret prisons) seem completely wrong, as they motivate individuals to participate who may not have otherwise. Fighting this requirement would seem to take a much longer timescale, essentially replacing the bias of the Muslim world’s educational system with one more slanted to the West. This is a timescale on which America is extremely bad at fighting, as its political system churns much faster.

“On the other hand, what if we threw a war and everybody showed up?”

December 27th, 2005 — Wordman

Which of the following is an impeachable offense for a United States President?:

  1. Spending most of your presidency under the influence of mind-altering chemicals.
  2. Using various government agencies to eavesdrop/investigate political enemies (take your pick).
  3. Privately negotiating with an enemy nation to keep American hostages in captivity until after you are elected.
  4. Selling weapons to an enemy nation and using the proceeds to fund the former forces of a dictator to oppose the elected government that deposed him.
  5. Being unable to remember that you sold weapons to an enemy nation and used the proceeds to fund the former forces of a dictator to oppose the elected government that deposed him.
  6. Abandoning allies after they defeated your sworn enemy, then ignoring them as they build a regime that ultimately attacks the US.
  7. Allowing a satellite owned by a political contributer to be launched by a foreign power.
  8. Lying to congress about an extramarital blowjob.
  9. Lying to congress about the reasons for taking the country to war.

(Extra credit for Ann Coulter: which of the above are treasonous?)

Clearly #8 is the correct answer, as it actually happened. I think everything else on the list is monumentally more severe, however. Item #9 became more topical a few weeks ago, when Bush held an interview that gave the distinct impression that a) he would have invaded Iraq anyway and b) he was not interested in invading Iran, a country that arguably is trying to develop WMDs. Some have taken this as a concrete admission that he lied about why we are at war, though it’s pretty clear the administration has been backpedaling on the reasons for war for some time.

While there will be some easily forgotten furor from the left about this, it won’t turn out to be nearly the uprising that it probably should be and some really foaming voices on the left will wonder why, genuinely baffled that the public isn’t furious for being duped.

I think the reason the public won’t be furious is that none of them were really that misled. Take you, for example: did you honestly, truly, deep-down believe that Saddam Hussein was rapidly preparing nukes, chemical and germ weapons to the extent that attacks with them against the US were a imminent threat clear and present danger? I didn’t. I don’t know anyone who did. I don’t know anyone who thought that the “WMD rationale” was anything other than a pretext.

Basically, the public gave Bush a pass on lying to us, just like we seem to always do with our leaders. I suspect we won’t be so forgiving about the lie that more executive power is needed to make us safe, but more on that later.