A sad anniversary

Something else we can go and flush down the cultural toilet—this whole thing about your “old soul.” I mean, come on. How the hell do you know how old my soul is? Just because I say/do something that's more than moronic, perhaps semi-smart, reasonably intelligent, or even (gasp) wise, I'm not sure how that reveals that the force that's animating my carbon, phosphorus, calcium, etc. is particularly old. Can't a relatively new soul, on occasion, be just like a blind squirrel? And what rates a soul as old, anyway? 100 years? 1,000 years? A million?

So many things out there to crab about. There's Nevada's mining taxes, which really do need to be tweaked a little. Just a little bump. What are Newmont and Barrick gonna do, move to Nebraska? So let's go, legislature. Tap into some good old school greed on this issue. It'll be a win/lose proposition, with Nevada winning and the mining giants losing. I'm all for it. And honestly, the mining giants won't lose that much. Let's face it. The millions they'll have to fork out in additional taxes could probably be recovered just by scraping the gold dust off the tires of those gigantic trucks they use out there in Elko County. And if you don't want to raise the actual mining tax, fine. Whip up a new tax, like a Mountain Flattening Tax. There should be one of those on the books, shouldn't there? For reducing one of our nice hills to a pile of cyanide-soaked pebbles?

Wednesday, March 20, was the 10th anniversary of our invasion of Iraq. It's an important event in U.S. history and one worthy of national self-reflection.

Of the many things that should be remembered about the Iraq War, one of the most important is the phrase “intelligence fixed around policy.” This is completely backwards, and a now obviously dangerous way for a government to go about its business. And yet, that's exactly what happened. Our government, led by Cheney and Bush (not the other way around), had a policy—we want to attack Iraq. The key players in government then engaged in a conscious effort to accept and embrace information that supported that policy, however flimsy and specious that intel was, and to disregard and reject information that contradicted the policy, no matter how convincingly it did so. The result of this “policy involving policy” was a catastrophe. As a citizen who really loves my country and wants very much to see it act intelligently, properly, and inspirationally, the war in Iraq still saddens and enrages me.

The cost of Bush's folly in death, injury, money, and ill will is probably, in the end, impossible to calculate. One thing, though, is very clear. The United States cannot afford to make another blunder like Iraq. Ever.