THE VIEW FROM CHAOS MANOR
View 259 May 26 - June 1, 2003
This is a day book. It's not all that well edited. I try to keep this up daily, but sometimes I can't. I'll keep trying. See also the monthly COMPUTING AT CHAOS MANOR column, 4,000 - 7,000 words, depending. (Older columns here.) For more on what this page is about, please go to the VIEW PAGE. If you have never read the explanatory material on that page, please do so. If you got here through a link that didn't take you to the front page of this site, click here for a better explanation of what we're trying to do here.
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May 26, 2003
In Memoriam. RIP
"It was a noble cause."
Ronald Reagan, on the Viet Nam War.
And indeed, a million people did not flee South Viet Nam until it fell; but for many years, there are those who fled to South Viet Nam from Tonkin.
Freedom is not free. It is bought at a high price. It can be squandered cheaply.
In another discussion I said:
For a man to love his country his country ought to be lovely. And Self-esteem begins with the pride of independence, of earning one's way, of being a citizen who can support his family and doesn't need charity or welfare and doesn't look for "entitlements"; without that you cannot have a republic.
Someone whose work I like has asked permission to use that in his own column; which is fine by me.
For what NASA will do about the Columbia investigation see mail.
We have actually eliminated a couple of obsolete pages. Not that anyone will notice. And I threw out five barrels of junk from Chaos Manor. That we do notice: we can actually get around up here again. For a while.
|This week:||Tuesday, May
The morning was eaten by locusts. Perhaps the afternoon will be more productive. And there is interesting mail.
This isn't my day. The weather is beastly and my head isn't working. I've been reading.
But see Mail for a warning.
May 29, 2003
Beginning a new topics page on The Patriot Act. This will be a discussion of security and privacy in the new era; given this readership I expect something to come of it.
Otherwise I am trying to write and not doing as well as I would like.
May 30, 2003
However, at one time I worked that into an article for one of Jim Baen's publications. I find that it is now on line, and while a few of the examples are a bit out of date, it reads pretty good even today. You can find it at:
They haven't found Saddam's weapons of mass destruction and at least some of the military people are beginning to think they never will: either he didn't have any, or he managed to destroy them all, or they are very well hidden indeed.
With that realization comes condemnation. Were we deceived?
Well, no. No more than we wanted to be, anyway.
First, does anyone question that Saddam had the resources to make any kind of WMD (other than nuclear, anyway) he wanted in any reasonably short time? After all, he had nerve agents, and mustard, and other such stuff, and actually used them at one time; whether they were all gone or not isn't terribly important because it's very easy, if you're a government, to get more.
To an intelligence officer, a "threat capability" is just that. Saddam had the means and the will, and what difference did it make whether or not he had kept any around this time?
The puzzlement here is why, if he didn't have anything to hide, did he go to such great lengths to make it look as if he did? Why not cooperate, more than cooperate, with Hans Blix and his Merry Band? You want to interview my scientists in Geneva, or New York, or Cancun? I'll send them, along with their families, first class tickets round trip. You want to look in my palaces? Bring the camera crew, and a good travelogue narrator, and we'll do a Public Television Special on The President's Many Palaces, or It's Good to be the President. What else do you want to see? You don't have to send in the Marines, Mr. Bush. I may not be a good guy, but I am not entirely stupid, and I saw what you did to Afghanistan: come to Baghdad and have tea. Or send your inspectors. We welcome them, and when you are done, please lift those sanctions so I can buy some food for my people, now that I've got almost enough palaces...
Why didn't he DO that? It's still the question I ask, and my guess is that he really counted on Bush being like Clinton, someone who would be satisfied with dropping a few bombs and throwing in some cruise missiles, and he could be toyed with for months to years. After all the Democrats, many of them, were saying as much. And the French and the Germans and the Russians were dead against the invasion, not like the last time, so --
It's all I can think of.
I welcome better suggestions.
I didn't care for this war, and I don't care for it now. I think the morass comes now, a low level mess, with just enough sabotage to keep people miserable and without decencies of life, punctuated by a few successes and even a few spectacular ones. I would hope that without the UN bureaucrats we can do a better job than is happening in Kossovo, where there are areas that don't have electricity restored after years of UN administration. And if I had to be occupied, I'd rather be occupied by American GI's than anyone else I know of. And clearly I am in a distinct minority: most Americans continue to approve of the war, and I don't want to be in a fight with them over it.
It's going to be a long road, building liberal democracy in a place that has absolutely no democratic traditions, in a "nation" that was formed out of lines on a map with no thought to ethnic and religious divisions, among a people who may not have made the blood feud quite as high an art form as they have in the Balkans, but who still have traditions of the Avenger of Blood, particularly among the Shiite majority.
I make no doubt we'll do better at it than most would, and I'm prepared to cheer our successes and mourn our failures; but if it were left to me, I'd pump enough oil to break OPEC, get world oil down to a competitive price -- and get the heck out of there, leaving a stern warning that harboring our enemies will get you another visit.
And I really don't care if they find real WMD.
We have got Cable Modem at Chaos Manor and it works. The cable company had to come out an install an amplifier and remove some ancient line traps, but now that they have done so, I have plenty of signal, and it's very fast.
It will be a while before I figure out how to integrate it into the network, and what safety precautions I need. For the moment it operates on a single machine not networked to anything else. It will stay that way until I know better what I am doing. Getting it operating was, well, interesting, but that's a story for the column.
Suggestions welcomed including products I ought to be reviewing for Internet Security for small offices and home offices.
May 31, 2003
Well I can connect single computers to the cable through two different routers, but I can't manage to get the network to see the router when I try to put it into the system. I'm sure I'll figure that out one day...
The router connects just fine to single computers. It goes insane when I try to connect it into the network. Clearly I am doing something wrong. Sigh.
UPDATE: ALL IS WELL. THANKS to those who sent suggestions. Full story in column. THANKS ALL again.
EDUCATION NEXT MAGAZINE
Which will give you an idea of what's going on, and why inherited wealth and social class are likely to be far more important in future than they have been in America's past.
And over in mail we have a small discussion of essential works one ought to have read. It's very easy to add to such a list. Alas.
June 1, 2003
Much to do. Updates tonight. Things are working finally. Cable is working through a router, and all seems reasonably well.
Internet connection speed tests say I have about 1.1 mb/second (just now) and Gibson Shields Up says I am invisible. I'll undoubtedly install another security box into the system at some point, but for now it looks pretty good.
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