Opinion: Doug Thompson and Daddy Warbucks

Fence posts and battle-axes

By Doug Thompson

Iran would behave better if more than 140,000 of our best troops weren’t stuck in Iraq.
Let’s let the dog wag the tail for just a minute. Let’s forget the possible impact of whatever we do in Iraq on the next election. Let’s take a cold-blooded look at why Iran’s going nuts while the finest land combat forces to ever tread this planet are fully deployed next door.
It’s because those troops are stuck. If they leave, any pretense that Iraq is moving toward self-government will vanish.
Yes, it really is that simple.
Suppose we’d let Iraq have its civil war a couple of years ago.
Oh, the shame. An unstoppable American force had crushed the repressive government. The poor Iraqis would then have been left in hopeless civil strife. The invasion force that did this to the country – now a force of hardened combat veterans – would have come home, recovered, re-equipped, and absorbed the lessons of the war. They also would have been available to invade Iran.
Gosh. Think the Iranians might pay us a little more respect? After all, we destroyed an enemy Iran couldn’t destroy in a war lasting years. We did it in a few weeks.
Everything you hear about having to stand fast and not back down in Iraq is bunk. A United States that can deploy troops like the ones that invaded Iraq anywhere, anytime does not have to worry about appearing weak.
Want to support the troops? Rest them. Re-equip them. Train them some more. Let them come home. Have a victory parade. They won the war. It’s not their fault that the commander-in-chief didn’t know what to do with the victory.
The whole debate on Iraq – once you get past the politics – resembles the debate on the Western Front in World War I. We’re wearing the enemy down, and can’t avoid “diversions” from the decisive front.
By definition, the decisive front is where decisive results can be achieved. By definition, a front where the Germans as warm and dry in a trench network they can sweep with machine gun fire and call in prearranged artillery fire on selected areas is not a decisive front. It’s a trap.
Gen. George S. Patton of World War II fame kept a simple rule of thumb. If an attack by one of his units hadn’t made any headway after four hours, he’d go take a look. Often he’d decide to continue the attack. Often, he’d decide to try something different.
Whatever he would have decided in this case, it would not be to patrol rubble for four years with our men as targets.
People who think defensively take battle-axes and plant them in the ground like fence posts, the famous samurai Miyamoto Musashi wrote in his “Book of Five Rings.” People who know how to fight will grab anything – including a fence post – tear it out of the ground and go kill something.
Our troops in Iraq are battle-axes used as fence posts.
We have forgotten the Iraq is not the war. The war is the war on terror. Iraq is a battle in that war. We won it. We should move on. We’ve wasted time for years.
Now, let’s back to politics, where the real action is: My only problem with the timetable proposed by Congress is that it isn’t fast enough.
The time can’t be put off much longer.
I was sitting in Wendy’s in Fayetteville over the weekend. Two couples were sitting in a booth next to us, talking about how the government wouldn’t get out of Iraq because it didn’t want to look bad. They were pretty mad. The men left first. The ladies held back a little bit. After they men were out the door, the ladies had a good laugh at how the men were such big Bush backers in the last election.
People change their minds and admit mistakes all the time, until they get elected to represent people and do the people’s business.
The greatest check and balance in the United States’ system of governorment is applying itself. You can’t fool all of the people all of the time.

Gas prices rise…again
NWA pays state’s highest

Daddy W. has said it and he’ll say it again—gasoline prices are still gonna climb this summer reaching near the three buck a gallon rates of last year. All the talk about a ‘timeline’ pullout of the Middle East has prices escalating. No doubt NW Arkansas will keep the highest prices for gasoline because we burn more fuel and NW Arkansans keep paying more and more for the fuel than down staters. The price of a barrel of oil will, for all the wrong reasons, keep flirting with the $65-$70 range this summer. That will keep local, at-the-pump prices flirting with $3. For all those wanting more and instant bio-fuels, consider this: Once oil drops below $40 a barrel, the corn and other bio-fuels then become cost prohibitive to produce. So all this talk over 500,000 acres more of corn planted in Arkansas is good, if and only if, oil prices stay up  there and Daddy W. thinks they will for quite a while. If not, a corn surplus, will help feed all them cows, pigs and chickens, which also helps drive the NWA economic engine.

While Wal-Mart Stores Inc. failed at its first run for an industrial bank, don’t count them out on another run at the Fed to get its own credit card clearing house approved. No one knows when this next application will be made. Stay turned. It’s gonna get interested, Daddy W. says.

Once the large-format magazine often found on coffee tables and doctor’s offices in America – LIFE magazine is going kaput. The magazine was once retired, but then resurrected. Only now it looks like LIFE is headed to the magazine cemetery for good. It’s so sad in this cyber world we live in.

Again Daddy W. has heard that corporate cuts at Circuit City will reach the local stores. The electronics retailer near the Northwest Arkansas Mall survived a scare last year, but worsening economic news has some corporate folks projecting that some 70 U.S. stores will close (yikes) and some 400 jobs in the U.S. could be axed.

Wal-Mart’s top man, H. Lee Scott said recently that the world’s largest retailer has all but given up on the idea of putting a retail store in the five boroughs of the nation’s largest city. Efforts to get a Wal-Mart into NYC have been unsuccessful. So it may be back to New Jersey.

Bills in the Arkansas House and Senate, despite the outcry from the abused users of the pay-day-loan businesses, won’t be enough. There is a sadness in the fact that these businesses prey on the poorest to collect VERY high interest rates and they’ll be able to continue operating in the Natural State. Stronger laws are needed. Especially in times like these when the nation may soon be in a full-fall recession.

…in giving and fund raising by Wal-Mart store employees. The giant retailer announced last week that Arkansas Wal-Mart employees gave more per capita than another other group of Wal-Mart employees in the nation. Arkansans gave away almost $40 million, up from $37 million a year ago.

The Lowell branch of Loafin’ Joe’s, a popular NWA sandwich shop, shut its doors last week. Daddy W. heard that the “official” word was they just didn’t have enough business. Some who ate there said they had to wait too long to get their orders. But as always, more and more franchise drive-through are replacing the old delivery guys.

While Pulaski County managed to grow its housing sales 2 percent from February of last year, Benton County, the state’s No. 2 market, fell 17.4 percent and Washington County, the state’s No. 3 market, fell 15.8 percent. The state as a whole fell 11.1 percent over the one year period.

The Arkansas Music Pavillion returns to the Northwest Arkansas Mall parking lot this summer, the first “name act” is REO SPEEDWAGON.  Rock On.

Categories: Legacy Archive