photo by phillieg
The two most important answers from last week:
But both of these subjects stopped being about winning over politicians, scientists, thinkers, the general public and kindergardeners a long time ago. We've had plenty of Perry Mason moments and the jury has been in for quite a while.
No, these debates persist only to convince those powerful few who cling to opposing views for reasons that satisfy only themselves.
Winning over a person whose point of view resides in a hardened bunker worthy of Saddam is hard work, as our president might say. A preponderance of the evidence falls laughably short. Evidence that is beyond even a reasonable doubt simply will not suffice.
No, to convince someone that she is totally, disingenuously wrong requires an irrefutable proof that washes away even the unreasonable doubts. You must suddenly find the truth tucked away in footnotes of the Prophecies of Nostradamus as well as in both the Old and New Testaments. Discover it sealed in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls' porch, just where she put it at noon today.
Or, you can expose this person as a fraud: find a reloadable gift card to Five Guys in the wallet of the King of the Vegans and 12 consecutive Burger King "Customer of the Month" award certificates framed above his bed. Bring Marshall McLuhan along wherever you go, just in case it comes up.
Failing that, you can recruit The Unassailable Ally: have his mother switch to your side. From the grave, if possible.
Well, we are almost there.
The National Intelligence Estimate, reflecting the consensus view of the US Intelligence community says that while the term "civil war" doesn't adequately capture the complexity of the situation it "... accurately describes key elements of the Iraqi conflict ... "
Defense Secretary Robert Gates still rejects the term but also seems to check and raise. "It's not, I think, just a matter of politics or semantics. I think it oversimplifies ... It's a bumper sticker answer to what's going on in Iraq," Gates told a news conference.
These debates persist only to convince those powerful few who cling to opposing views for reasons that satisfy only themselves."There are essentially four wars going on in Iraq," Gates continued. "One is Shia on Shia, principally in the South, the second is sectarian conflict principally in Baghdad, third is the insurgency and fourth is al Qaeda."
So, um, the fighting-that-we-still-won't-call-a-civil-war part is the good news, I guess.
Will the White House go so far as to assert that the intelligence community is as wrong now as it was when it declared the existence of WMDs in Iraq a "slam dunk." Or will it continue to search the floor for any more hairs to split?
On global warming, the White House is urging a global discussion since, it says, the United States is only part -- a very small part -- of the problem. If GE's declaration of "game over" nearly two years ago didn't provide enough of an impetus then it is hard to see how some namby-pamby diplomats meeting in Paris -- Hey, isn't that in France?! -- will have any impact on US policy.
Fortunately, the US response was swift, and unequivocal.
"We are a small contributor when you look at the rest of the world," U.S. Energy Secretary Sam Bodman said of greenhouse gas emissions. "It's really got to be a global discussion."
Reuters reports that the United States is responsible for one-quarter of the world's emissions of carbon dioxide and uses one-quarter of the world's crude oil. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the United States accounted for 4.6% of the world's population at the end of 2006.
Well, that clearly is minority status. The Big Boys surely need to step up first.
Where is mom when you need her? And what is that spinning in the ground over there?