Opinion: Doug Thompson and Daddy Warbucks

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Let Iraq burn
By Doug Thompson

The lead article in Foreign Affairs, the respected quarterly magazine, is a Stanford professor’s work called “The United States can’t win Iraq’s civil war.”
It’s at http://www.foreignaffairs.org/.
The four-page article is well worth reading. Consider this paragraph, a creamy dollop of common sense that rose to near the top:
“Civil wars are rarely ended by stable power-sharing agreements. When they are, it typically takes combatants who are not highly factionalized and years of fighting to clarify the balance of power. Neither condition is satisfied by Iraq at present. Factionalism among the Sunnis and the Shiites approaches levels seen in Somalia, and multiple armed groups on both sides appear to believe that they could wrest control of the government if U.S. forces left. Such beliefs will not change quickly while large numbers of U.S. troops remain.”
The author, James D. Fearon, doesn’t argue for getting out. He argues for admitting there’s a civil war, and that the puppet government we keep trying to prop up is only representative of a faction of it.
I always think highly of people who agree with me. The article argues for what I’ve argued for, starting a couple of years ago: Let the Iraqis have their civil war. Let them get a reality check. Every one of these factions thinks God’s on their side. Every one of them believes it can win.
Let them find out otherwise, then negotiate – or let’s us negotiate with the winner. Civil wars settle things.
While the White House debates the Washington press corps over whether this is a civil war or not, Fearon dryly comments that Iraq is has the 9th deadliest civil war since 1945 already. The score runs up daily.
He recommends that the United States use air power and material aide to make sure nobody wins. Eventually, they will come to a power-sharing agreement on their own.
While air power is an American panacea, there is reason to believe that air intervention in a Iraq ground war can be very effective. Look at what happened in Afghanistan. The Taliban was plastered by air power when they concentrated to fight and beaten by our allied ground forces when they dispersed.
One argument Fearon doesn’t make is about cost. It’s an undeniable fact that such an “offshore” intervention in Iraq would be cheaper in both lives and money: Our lives and our money, anyway.
There are two big problems with the president’s “hold on and hope” strategy. It doesn’t work. It cannot be sustained any more. Summed up another way, the current strategy doesn’t have public support because it doesn’t deserve it.
All we’re doing now is sitting tight while the Democrats try to work up enough courage to pull the plug.
If we’re going to salvage something from this misadventure, we need to stop hoping for a miracle and scale back to something our people can support and our volunteer service people can sustain.
I’m arguing for Fearon’s approach with some fleshing out. The Army and Marines would need to do something besides guard airbases. They need to get out of cities and into open areas where they can decisively intervene in a civil war if they have to. Everybody, especially the Iraqis, know they are very good at that.
An Iraq civil war would probably last a very long time. We’d quickly find out, though, who can fight and who’s just bragging. As Fearon argues, don’t assume all these “blocs” in Iraq are coherent. Let them fight. Let’s see whose troops have training and discipline and whose leaders can lead, and who’s all just shouting and shaking fists.
“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen, and I say let us give them all they want,” to quote Gen. Bill Sherman.
For those of you who consider that barbaric, here’s another quote from the same man: “I confess, without shame, that I am sick and tired of fighting-its glory is all moonshine; even success the most brilliant is over dead and mangled bodies, with the anguish and lamentations of distant families, appealing to me for sons, husbands, and fathers … it is only those who have never heard a shot, never heard the shriek and groans of the wounded and lacerated … that cry aloud for more blood, more vengeance, more desolation.”
We shall never have peace until more Iraqis feel that way.
War is hell. Let it burn.

Daddy Warbucks

Fret not: Stocks down, oil up
Daddy W. warned of a “correction” to the U.S. stock
market a fortnight ago. And this past week or so it
came true. But oil, that universal commodity, is still surging up
and down – mostly up. Look for $2.25 gas to be the
summer’s bargain, not the norm. You see, it is a long
time until the election season again, so there will be some profit taking and talk about alternative energy sources all summer long. The economy may be overheating and we have seen signs of that here in this hectare as well. Single home construction – even those big monster homes (those with the payments of over $2,000 a month) are slowing. And there is a glut of rental space, which has cooled the ever growing cycle of strip malls. Look for the stock market to be robust for a month of so and then settle into the doldrums of summer. The
latter portion of the second quarter is always a readjustment time. So sit back. Make wise decisions when playing the equities markets and wait and hope for a robust third and fourth financial quarter.

Sports Poor House
The red-haired step-university among Arkansas state schools, Arkansas State University, is listed among the five
poorest programs in NCAA Division I. ASU is fifth lowest in the land. Others in the bottom five were VMI, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana Tech. The trio of Louisiana schools are usually grid and basketball fodder for the program on the hill. The UA, by the way, is not among the top
five richest NCAA programs – just to let you know.

It’s back…
The AMP (Arkansas Music Pavilion) is back to the asphalt parking lot of the Northwest Arkansas Mall. (Did it really ever leave?). It’s return, after a sort of huffy effort to leave last fall, is no big surprise to Daddy W. Once Bentonville and Rogers folks (who want anything they deem a success in Fayetteville to move to Benton County) found out about the financial needs of the AMP, it was “Thanks, but no thanks.” The AMP (which is on Dan Coody’s pet projects list) will be back to the City of Fayetteville, the Fayetteville A&P, and the NWA Mall management to ask them all to step-up and keep the poorly organized effort afloat. Here is a lesson: Never be so huffy in announcing why you are leaving. It makes the crow taste better when you return.

Renovations
Customers of Collier Drug’s flagship location on Dickson Street, have noticed major renovations going on. Mel and Carl have had the construction crew moving the pharmacy from one side of the store to the other along with lots of other added attractions. Pardon their dust – as business continues at this beehive on Dickson Street.

Selling off
Don Tyson is still selling off his lion’s share of the
family’s protein empire. The amounts of premium stock
he’s selling off might make a Walton blush, but
it’s good asset management as Mr. T moves into his golden years and as the younger generation assists with the company
management. Not all the sales were wildly profitable. Some days, even a Don Tyson misses the best opportunity to liquidate an equity when it’s the hottest.

Here’s Johnny…
It came as no surprise to some well-connected folks in
NWA that John Tyson was named to the UA Board of
Trustees. It will also not be any surprise to see that
he will be a leading board member for progress and
change at the UA. He is more, much more, than just a
wealthy man interested in the athletic success of the
UA sports teams. Johnny Tyson, can and will be a
agent for change and a voice of reason on the UA
Board. Daddy W. says just watch and see.

Who’s going out?
Watch for one of the signature chain restaurants to
announce cutbacks or closures in the region soon. Too
many venues, built too close together, too fast for too
few customers, Daddy W. has heard. A witness to this is evidenced by the closed and shuttered Ryan’s Steak House near the NWA Mall, which went by another name before it closed about a year ago. Yikes.

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