Monday, May 30, 2011

Remembering America's POWs / MIAs

"They're Americans. Bring them home!"

Many people are unaware of just how many Americans involved in combat operations are now confirmed held as prisoners of war (POWs), listed as missing in action (MIA), or for some other reason as yet unaccounted for. On this Memorial Day, and with 400,000 motorcycles in town for Rolling Thunder XXIV, I tried to find out the actual number of American POWs and MIAs. The bottom line is that from WWI until today, there are roughly 85,500 Americans still unaccounted for.  Please see Defense POW MIA Office for more information about 13 Americans accounted for so far this year.

• Of approximately 80,000 American dead in WWI, some 1,600 have never been identified. 
• The bulk of our MIAs are from WWII where over 400,000 died. Not counting those deliberately buried at sea, there are 73,792 missing. Of that number, perhaps as many as 35,000 could be recovered if found. The remainder are entombed in sunken vessels or lost at sea. 
• From Korea, we have 8,001 missing.
• From the Cold War, there are 127 still missing, down from 165. These are mostly flight crews, and the number is declining as crews are discovered and their remains repatriated.
• From Vietnam, we have 1,689 still missing. It is thought that some MIAs are still held alive in secret POW camps, mostly in Laos. 
• During the 100 hour Gulf War, there were 49 captured or unaccounted for, including then-Major Rhonda Cornum, now a Brigadier General in the Pentagon. With the identification of M.S. Speicher’s remains in August 2009, 47 Americans have been rescued, released, or recovered. The remains of 2 naval aviators were lost at sea.
• In the Global War on Terror, we have 2 POWs. Specialist (now Staff Sergeant) Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie was kidnapped Oct 2006 by Shi’ite militants in OIF. He is being held for ransom. The Army has promoted him twice in absentia and, while refusing to negotiate with his captors, continues to search for him. Private First Class (now Specialist) Bowe R. Bergdahl was captured in June 2009 by Taliban in OEF. The Army promoted Bergdahl in absentia and is still searching for him. Bergdahl is being held for $1M and the release of 21 Afghani prisoners.  

Rolling Thunder started in 1987 to educate people about the plight of many Vietnam-era POWs and MIAs, and to increase public pressure on the government to get a full accounting of all Americans. Some of our Vietnam families have endured the purgatory of uncertainty for over 45 years. The mission expanded to prevent Gulf War combat troops and their families from facing the same uncertain fate. Since 1987, Rolling Thunder has continued to educate the public about POW / MIA issues and pressure the government for action on all POW / MIA cases. 

Today I'll remember the fallen, the captive, and the missing. And I support all efforts to rescue, or recover and repatriate all our POWs / MIAs. 

The motto of the Joint POW / MIA Accounting Command (JPAC) is, “Until they are all home.” 

Amen to that!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Numb3rs Math Activities

If you are a fan of the CBS series, Numb3rs--or, if you just like math, check this out: Numb3rs Math Activities

The main page is a list of each episode in the first 5 seasons of Numb3rs. You can click on any episode and see the problem and Charlie's mathematical solution. There is a link to the series webpage, and another link where the episodes are sorted into the math topics covered.


Hat tip to Nathan

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

A New Gauge Helps to See What’s Beyond Happiness

Marty Seligman replaces "Authentic Happiness" with "Flourish," a more holistic view of well-being.

“Well-being cannot exist just in your own head,” he writes. “Well-being is a combination of feeling good as well as actually having meaning, good relationships and accomplishment.”

Saturday, May 14, 2011

L.I.N.K.S. that Lure, Intrigue, Nurture, Kindle, or Stimulate, Part 4

This collection of L.I.N.K.S., fourth in the series, has a theme: building informed and engaged organizations, teams, and individuals. There are three links for each of the three levels. Please comment on these or share your favorites.

1. Organizations can be corporations or cities--large, complex groups of people with many constituent sub-groups. Here, the goal is to recognize and understand diversity, and promote peace and understanding in the pursuit of mutually beneficial objectives.

2. Teams can be business units, companies, sports teams, tactical military units, home owners associations, and so on. As opposed to larger, more diverse organizations, teams usually are organized around a smaller number of mutually agreed upon goals and objectives. Individuals in teams usually have a role to play and are accountable to teammates and others who rely on them.

3. Individuals are people, each with his own unique skills, knowledge, and abilities. Individuals also have their own motives, needs, preferences, and ways of looking at the world. As people change over time, their goals and objectives also change. 

Note about polls and poll design, and why I grouped Gallup and Pew in different levels. Public opinion polls reflect the aggregated opinions of individuals. The data can be disaggregated into constituent subgroups as well. Two types of polls are trend and flash. Trend polls are designed to show trends over time (e.g., the President's Approval Rating). For these, the same questions are asked to the same sample group on a recurring basis. In contrast are flash polls, designed to show responses to a particular question (e.g., predict who will win an election). Gallup and Pew conduct both types of polls. In my experience, Gallup has made more of an effort to aggregate poll results to national and even global levels, and Pew has more often disaggregated results to illustrate important distinctions between subgroups. Illustrative examples include  Gallup's survey of the world's Muslim population, and Pew's recent political typology study, in which people are sorted into a political bin based upon their answers to 20 questions. I grouped Gallup with Organizations and Pew with Teams to reflect this perceived difference in respective poll designs and intent. Check them both out!

Doane's Razor

We've probably all heard of Occam's Razor. (If not, a primer is HERE.) Bottom line: make your argument as simple as possible, but no simpler. If two competing explanations are both correct, chose the one that makes the fewest assumptions or takes the fewest steps. Occam's Razor is sometimes called the Law of Parsimony.

There is something to be said for being concise.

I often employ another "razor" in my thinking. I employ it so often, in fact, that I feel my razor should have a name and maybe even its own wiki page. Let me run it by you and let's see what you think. Here it goes:

Would the world be a better place if everyone (insert a description of the behavior in question)?

When considering a law or policy decision, think about the behavior you are trying to influence. Would the world be a better place if everyone observed Meatless Monday? If everyone allowed one car length of following distance per every 10 mph of speed? Abstained from smoking? Prayed?

If not, maybe the law or policy is not really that important. If so, you probably just wrote one of the 10 Commandments.

The idea of Doane's Razor is to promote the greater good, not to turn everyone into carbon copies of each other. If everyone recycled, the world would indeed be a better place. So promote recycling. If everyone drove more safely, observed common courtesy, and learned a second language, the world would indeed be a better place.

But if everyone were patient, if everyone remained calm, would anything ever get done?

Think about it.

Doane's Razor: good idea? If not, why not?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Installing Motorola Droid Motherboard - iFixit

photo by iFixit
This was fun!

Tore my Droid down and reassembled it in under an hour. Some special tools are required. Step-by-step illustrated instructions are available at iFixit.

Photo illustrates Step 18: using a spudger to pry the keyboard ribbon connector from the motherboard 

Great way to learn about how the Droid works. Don't worry, it's only a $600 hi-tech gadget!

National Cancer Research Month

The AACR acknowledges May as National Cancer Research Month.

In recognition of high quality, innovative cancer research, the United States Congress declared May National Cancer Research Month in 2007 and 2011.

Cancer research saves lives!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Data-Fueled Decision-Making

I would like to coin a term, right here in front of God and everybody. Go ahead: search the Internet. Search the texts. Search Google Books. You will not find this term, except in links to this post. This is a PhilosFX exclusive, and a Dr. Dave original!

Data-Fueled Decision-Making

We begin with three fundamental concepts regarding processes:

  • Every human activity can be thought of as a process; 
  • Every process can be improved; and
  • Any process can be modeled with data. 

Next we present two caveats regarding modeling processes:

  • Obviously, some processes are easier to model than others, either because the process itself is simple, or because the data are readily available; and 
  • The effort of modeling a problem (aka, decision opportunity), is best undertaken when the process under investigation is sufficiently complex to warrant the investment in building a useful model. 

And now, a point of clarification: D-FD-M is distinct from its infamous cousin, D-DD-M.

The phrase "data-driven decision-making" has been associated with No Child Left Behind (NCLB). Search D-DD-M and virtually all the hits will point to NCLB. In relation to NCLB, D-DD-M refers to using test scores as a performance indicator for students, teachers, and schools. D-DD-M in this narrow sense has come under fire as short-sighted or unfair for two main reasons:

  • test scores are not a comprehensive measure of education quality; and 
  • focusing on test scores encourages teaching to the test (and worse).

Here is the problem with D-DD-M: any time one places higher importance on Numbers than Values, one will distort reality and subvert human intellect and aspiration.

"Computers are incredibly fast, accurate and stupid. On the other hand, a well trained operator as compared with a computer is incredibly slow, inaccurate and brilliant."  --Not sure who said it, but pretty sure it was NOT Albert Einstein!  

 We need a term that speaks to the use of data as a common language, instead of a directive. Numbers do not dictate human actions. Numbers quantify. Numbers translate. Numbers scale for comparison. Numbers are the beginning of the conversation, not the end! Data-driven decision-making? No. We'd like to introduce a new term, "Data-fueled decision-making."

This post is about Data-Fueled Decision-Making (D-FD-M) and the models that a decision analyst might employ to aid decision makers. The scope is any human activity / process which is sufficiently complex as to make the investment in modeling it worthwhile, yet sufficiently simple as to make the model construction and data collection feasible.

Computer models are not necessary for trivial decision-making scenarios. On the other hand, a good model can be very helpful in complex decision making situations, especially with multiple stakeholders and a desire for transparency, which is to say, the ability for all stakeholders to audit the decision. 

In its broadest sense, and for the purposes of this post, D-FD-M is using measures of process performance to inform decision making tasks such as:
  • problem identification and definition, 
  • course of action development, 
  • analysis of alternatives, 
  • project selection, and 
  • portfolio management. 

Different types of decision analysis techniques are suited to different leadership and decision-making styles. Again, we are not referring to "fight or flight" decisions, or decisions where the choices are fairly obvious or trivial. We are referring to a class of decisions where the importance and the uncertainty are significant enough to warrant the resources required to to build and maintain a model.
  • Some decision-making is based on the informed opinion of the senior leader.  Naturalistic decision-making  relies on senior-leader experience for split-second decisions. Autocratic and bureaucratic systems, such as dictatorships and top-heavy institutions use this. 
  • Some decisions are the result of an empowered committee or a direct vote. Democratic and Republic (representative democracy) systems are like this. 
  • Some decisions are a sort of hybrid. The Military Decision-Making Process is an example of a participatory process where the senior leader retains override authority.
Data-Fueled Decision-Making is often a combination of the senior leader's strategy and scoring system plus the data supplied by a distributed workforce.

In D-FD-M, data may be used to either:

  • indicate current process performance, usually with a score; or
  • test the efficacy of proposed process improvement projects.
More later, but remember folks, YOU HEARD IT HERE FIRST! 

BBC News - Borders 'crop circle pint' created

Here's an early entry in the annual Crop Circle contest. From plow to pint! Cheers!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Why bin Laden Lost

Doug Kanter / AFP / Getty Images

Here's a link to a thought-provoking article entitled Why bin Laden Lost, just published on for BusinessWeek:

The subtitle is

Al Qaeda's leader died because he was outgunned. He lost because he was wrong.

So far, so good. 

But the article itself takes a number of disturbing turns. Here is the comment I left for Brendan Greeley, the author:

On the whole, I disagree with the article. Sure, there are good points. But the premise is that bin Laden lost because he was instigating to a grand scheme, and the US won because our founding document lacks any aspiration beyond the freedom to pursuit happiness. Conclusion: ObL is dead, so let's take a day trip or go to the spa. What a morally bankrupt and bleak way to look at the world and the gift of life.

I am interested in the thoughts and comments of other readers. Please post here in the comments section of the blog, or consider posting on the article's comment section at the above link. 

Hat tip to Randy for posting a link to this article on his Facebook page.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Where Do You Fit? 2011 Pew Research Political Typology Quiz

Are you a Main Street Republican? A New Coalition Democrat? A Post Modern? Take the online quiz and find out which one of 9 Political Typology groups is your best match. Results based on a national survey by Pew Research Center.

I thought the questions were a bit too Black and White for my Shades of Gray world, but I have to admit: I like the results; and the analysis is helpful and interesting.


Friday, May 6, 2011

Creating Your Band's Album Cover: This was fun...

You can follow this process to create a band name and design the cover of their album as I did in the example above. It was a fun way to mess around in Facebook, and I shared it here as well. It's interesting how randomly generated images and phrases can be related in a meaningful way. Everything's connected?

1. Go to Wikipedia and hit random. The first random Wikipedia article you get is the name of your band.

2. Go to and hit random. The last four or five words of the very last quote of the page is the title of your first album.

3. Go to flickr and click on “explore the last seven days.” Third picture (no matter what it... is) will be your album cover.

4. Use photoshop or similar ( is a free online photo editor) to put it all together.

5. Post it with this text in the "caption."

Three Crocks of Tea?

For anyone impressed by the mission of the Central Asia Institute, the recent 60 Minutes expose on Greg Mortenson was a bit of a shock and a disappointment. Mr Mortenson's book, Three Cups of Tea, is required reading for Army officers. I even have the follow-up book, Stones Into Schools, on my Kindle. That second book reads like an advertisement for the CAI written by the newly rich and famous. However, despite that oddly commercial tone I remained impressed by the simple but powerful ideas of (a) paying attention to local customs when trying to "help," and (b) using a return on investment (ROI) argument to make decisions.

As the Dad of two daughters and a person who believes in life-long learning as a path to a better world for all, I was particularly drawn to Mortenson's ROI on building schools for girls. It seems educating girls in Afghanistan returns 10 times more to the community than the same investment spent educating boys. In respect and admiration for the zeal with which Mortenson pursues his passion, I passed along a youth version of Three Cups of Tea to my 13 year old.

The admiration and support I felt explains why the 60 Minutes expose, the online brochure published by a former supporter, and the flurry of negative traffic in the social media was so crushingly disappointing. Greg's story reduced to creative fiction? Irregularities in accounting for donated funds? How could these allegations be true of someone I admired? Was my hero so deserving of all the scorn being heaped upon him in the aftermath of the expose?

I enjoyed Nick Kristof's subsequent Op-Ed piece in the New York Times. Entitled Three Cups of Tea, Spilled, it's an apology for his friend. I like Nick's search for truth and balance, and I admire the loyalty behind his desire to defend his colleague without condoning the allegations against him.

CAI's written response to 16 questions from CBS is also illuminating. Did 60 Minutes inflate some isolated tax problems in 2009 and some inflammatory comments from a former colleague to make a sensational story?

My take-away: Money and fame are corrupting influences. Further, people seem to love the bloodsport of hero bashing. So the price of a truly great idea may be meteoric fame followed by crushing ignominy. The idea of educating girls in Afghanistan and Pakistan is still a great idea. The idea of educating girls in that region as a means of making the world a better place for Americans--in parallel with or even in lieu of our other diplomatic and military efforts there--is also still a great idea.  Greg, get some better advisors, do what you need to do to get back on track, and continue with your wonderful mission.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Stop the Ignorant Calls to Bring the Troops Home

Osama bin Laden is dead and the world is better for it. But what's with the knee-jerk calls to bring the troops home? Has balance been instantaneously restored, now that the leader of al Qaeda is dead?

I don't think so.

Our National interests include, among many other things, supporting the causes of human rights, freedom, and democracy around the planet. We seek an end to tyranny and oppression. We like free trade. Education is a path to tolerance and increased cooperation among the diverse peoples of the earth. We need plenty of oil until safe, sustainable alternatives are available.

We currently have Departments of State and Defense and others who work daily to protect and promote our National interests around the world. Other Departments have significant roles, too, but by and large these other Departments, such as Homeland Security, Commerce, and Transportation, are more concerned with domestic affairs.

In a perfect, peaceful world, the Department of State avoids conflicts with other Nation States using the art of diplomacy occasionally backed up with economic pressure. In a less than peaceful world, when diplomacy and economic sanctions fail, and especially if we fall under a direct attack, then we call upon the most powerful military force the world has ever known. The Department of Defense provides an active defense force to protect our National interests. The military is an extension of policy when diplomacy fails. If necessary, the military has the mission to fight and win our Nation's wars. The point of power projection is not global domination or Imperialism. Instead, we project power to forestall a bigger battle and to keep the fighting out of our homeland.

So, this brings us back to the question at hand: now that ObL is dead, why not fold up our tents. bring the troops home, and turn our focus onto internal issues like unemployment, health care, and the budget crisis?

Unless the Department of State can manage to restore and maintain a peaceful balance of power in volatile areas like Iraq and Afghanistan, it would be foolishly short-sighted to accelerate the troop drawdown in those places. The Department of State has gotten much more capable in the crucible of the past decade's demands. However, in my opinion it still lacks sufficient numbers of trained diplomats and sufficient financial resources to control situations in places like Iraq and Afghanistan without significant military intervention. The DoS stepped up to the plate by increasing their forward presence and that has helped tremendously. Moreover, the current administration has done a great job of rebuilding international coalitions of Nation States united against such tyranny and terrorism as we have seen from al Qaeda and the Taliban. This coalition is applying concerted political, diplomatic, and economic power to influence outcomes in this region. But that's not all. The NATO forces arrayed against al Qaeda and the Taliban represent the combined military power of that international  coalition. For now, that military presence on the ground, in the air, and at sea remains essential to promoting peace and security and avoiding chaos.

ObL is dead, but whether al Qaeda and the Taliban are below our noise level yet remains to be seen. Pulling the military out too soon would invite disaster.

Sure, we have pressing problems at home. But consider this: What is the cost to our security and long term National interests of leaving southwest Asia before the situation there is stable and, if not pro-West, at least pro-Freedom and human rights? How soon after we bail out would the coalition collapse? What good is an unemployment rate back under 5% if the Caliphate is restored? Who cares about the deficit if Israel is attacked? I agree that we need to get spending under control and grow our economy but can we please push Armageddon off for at least one more generation so my kids can have a shot at a happy life?

I pray we as a Nation keep the bigger picture in mind and not be distracted by our short term problems.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

If I Could Stop the Clock?

I am a Christian and I read Our Daily Bread, among other devotional material. I have also read Jewish, Hindu, Muslim, and Buddhist holy books as part of my spiritual journey. That said, I am also a skeptic. It's possible to prefer empirical evidence while simultaneously relying on faith to fill in certain gaps. Something always seems more real to me when I can see it with my own eyes, or understand it in my own mind, or say it in my own words. Occasionally this spirit-skeptic duality produces some conflict, and that is the reason for this post.

There are three types of evidence: facts, reasoning, and testimony.

(a) Faith and science overlap on many facts. For this reason, faith and science can be quite compatible, by and large. Things get more interesting as we move down the evidence ladder.

(b) Like most scientists, I am perfectly willing to use my powers of reasoning to develop additional understanding on subjects about which facts are few. For one thing, I use reasoning to develop testable hypotheses. For another, as a decision analyst, I use reasoning to construct evaluation measures. Most metrics might be all quantifiable, but the values in scaling those data are often highly subjective.

(c) Unlike many pure scientists, I am willing to listen to and take comfort from spiritual, intuitive, and emotional sources.  Unlike many pure believers, I am willing to aim my skepticism at even my own beliefs.

Which brings me to the point. Recently, while reading Our Daily Bread, May 1, 2011 I came across this prayer:

Father, our days are filled with pleasures and struggles.
We would like for life just to have the joys, but we knowthat’s not realistic in this sinful world. Help us to waitpatiently for You to bring us Home. Amen.

"Help us to wait patiently for You to bring us Home." I have to admit, these words had an unexpectedly negative impact on me. I cannot believe that Christianity is about waiting patiently for death. We all die. We all have some choice as to how to live the moments entrusted to us before we meet our fate. Sure, life has its ups and downs. Are we to believe that the Christian life is so weak as to render us powerless in bad times? We're just supposed to endure bad times and mollify ourselves with thoughts of the endless hereafter?

Wrong answer.

I say, life is for the living. Live! Be resilient. Fight back. Survive! Death will most assuredly come, but it will come in its own time. Do not waste a minute of life waiting for death or even imagining the hereafter. I believe God wants us to live and would be offended by such a prayer as this--but you'll just have to take my word on that.

Treat Terrorism Like Cancer

I believe that the work of living in this busted world is to keep the balance of good and evil tilted toward good as much as humanly possible. There will always be evil on this earth. We will never rid the world of terrorists, thugs, and thieves.  So we must do what we can to protect ourselves and the people and things we care about as we move through our days.

Similarly, people who have cancer understand that they will always have cancer. Oncologists say the trick is not to eradicate the cancer, because doing that is too hard on the rest of the body. Instead, one must keep the cancer in check, so one can focus on other things. 

Sentient beings seek pleasure and avoid pain. The key to happiness in life is finding balance, and in managing the conflict that arises when different beings have different ideas of pleasure and pain, of good and evil. One man's terrorist is another's freedom fighter.

Terrorism and tyranny must be opposed, or our National values are meaningless. In our quest for life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, we do not want to merely survive. We want to attain stability, success, and--if we are very fortunate--true and lasting significance. We want the same for others.

ObL was a cancerous tumor in the body of our world. Removing the tumor is a good thing, but is the body now suddenly whole and healthy? No. We need to continually check for cancer markers and do everything we can to prevent metastatic cancer cells in the body from taking root and forming new colonies and tumors. 

Life is good. The cancer of terrorism will not go away but perhaps it can be managed. God bless those willing to oppose terrorism and tyranny around the world, so that people may live in peace with freedom, dignity, and respect.


Monday, May 2, 2011

The Real Reason There Was No Ninth Season of "24"

Osama bin Laden: No longer #1

First, we learn that there will be no ninth season for the popular Fox TV counter-terrorism drama, "24." Then we watch the news that, after a period of detailed planning, US special operations forces have killed Osama bin Laden in a dramatic night-time assault on the terrorist mastermind's lair.

Coincidence? I think not. Now we know what Jack Bauer has been up to for the past year!

Where were you when you learned of ObL's demise? I will never forget where I was and what I was doing when I learned of the death of the world's most hated terrorist criminal. At 10:30 pm on Sunday, May 1st, 2011, I turned on the HDTV to watch the movie Spy Game. The now 10-year old movie features an interesting premise: retiring CIA agent Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) recalls his training of operative Tom Bishop (Brad Pitt) while working against CIA politics to free Bishop from his Chinese captors. This movie was originally in theaters just weeks after 9/11, and just as the first season of "24" started. 

As is my hyper-habit, at Spy Game's first commercial break I flipped through the other channels so I could set up the split screen with something interesting. Yadda, yadda, what the? I could hardly believe my eyes and ears when I saw the breaking news about ObL's death on all the main network stations. After all this time on the run, bin Laden was finally found and summarily dispatched. 

Coincidence? Again, I think not. The Anti-American terrorism that began with attacks on our embassies in Africa, continued with an attack on one of our ships, and crescendoed with the 9/11 attacks on our financial, military, and political centers had not only launched Operation Enduring Freedom, but also spawned movies like Spy Game and TV programs like 24. And now, while watching a 24-like movie and wondering what Jack has been up to lately, the news comes through: ObL is dead. 

I believe that our stature in the world was diminished every day that ObL evaded us. I believe the efficient assault that terminated him not only eliminates him as a threat but also restores our stature as a country willing and able to eliminate such threats. I think our respectful handling of ObL's remains will keep Muslim extremist retribution to a minimum. The burial at sea will deny ObL's followers a shared place to go and honor his memory and congregate with other pilgrims. There is a certain amount of welcome and needed closure that comes with this news.

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure." -- Mark Twain

As for justice, I am less sure. I am glad ObL is dead, but unlike my neighbors dancing in the streets last night, I am not gloating. I am not celebrating. It is not over because balance has not been restored. Lt General Tim Maude, Colonel Bud Boone, Lt Colonel Dennis Johnson, and Lt Colonel Neil Hyland are still dead. Mr John Yates and others are still disfigured from their physical injuries. Others carry emotional wounds. Many others are hurt by the loss or injury of someone dear. Despite the very real victory of eliminating ObL, we are not done with al Qaeda, nor the Taliban, nor extremists, nor terrorists. The effect of ObL's death is simply that he is no longer #1. 

You can imagine the extra security in place at the Pentagon today. Put yourself in my boots for a minute. Is ObL's death a cause for celebration? Is it the end of anything? 
ObL's death was necessary. But was it sufficient?
"I mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

ObL spent a few hundred thousand bucks to terrorize us. We lost 3K on 9/11 and 5K more military since. We have spent several hundred billion (some say 3T) to silence him. "Mission Accomplished?" People who say we should peel out of A'stan, Iraq, and Libya now because of this one act overestimate the importance of ObL and do not understand the roles of the Departments of State and Defense. If State is unable to protect our vital National interests in these areas through diplomacy--and they are not--then it's penny smart and pound foolish to remove our military forces now. Sure, I'd rather have a much more capable State department, but that is just one of many things on my wish list!

A safer, happier, and more prosperous planet. Is that asking too much?