Why Can’t the President Afford Decent Lighting?

Was it Ally McBeal that started this awful trend? Was it CSI? I can’t remember anymore. I just know that every drama show on TV features prosperous people working at rich prosperous jobs, and none of them can afford decent lighting! Scene after scene takes place in dimly-lit ambience.

The upscale law firm in Boston Legal doesn’t choose to save money by not putting every employee in their own private office, or renting space below the penthouse, or even buying flourescent lighting. They save money by turning down the expensive lights that are there. That same pecuniary concern doesn’t seem to affect the floundering firm of Dunder Mifflin, who may be losing money but can always afford to see. Roseanne Conner had her lights turned off when she couldn’t afford the bill, but never turned them down.

The worst offender? The West Wing. I can believe a lot, but I cannot believe that the Office of the President of the United States of America, the most powerful man in the world, cannot figure out a way to keep staff working in good lighting.

C’mon!!

The Iraqi Withdrawal Date

One of Bush’s attacks on Congressional efforts to end the Iraq war is that giving any specific timeline emboldens enemy attacks, and harms the troops. He is wrong.

Let’s say the bill passes with a clear deadline. Imagine it is Iraq, two weeks before that date. Question One. You are an American commander. Do you act:
(a) more aggressively
(b) about the same as ever
(c) less aggresively?

The answer is c. There is no point in risking your mens lives to achieve any short term goal when you’re just going to be packing up in two weeks. In fact, you probably wouldn’t take any offensive action at all. The only engagements you would be involved in would be defensive. Why look for trouble when there’s nothing to gain?

Question Two. You are an Iraqi fighter. Do you act:
(a) more aggressively
(b) about the same as ever
(c) less aggresively?

The answer is c, and for the same basic reason. There is no point in risking your life to achieve any short term goal when you would achieve the same goal by just waiting two more weeks. In fact, you probably wouldn’t take any offensive action at all. You’d continue the civil war of course, but not bother with the Americans. What’s the point, they’re leaving anyhow.

The mere declaration of a specific withdrawal date ought to produce a natural ceasefire before that date. I chose two weeks, but maybe the effect is longer. Maybe it’s a month. Maybe it’s two. Maybe more. Any way you slice it, the declaration of a withdrawal date ends up saving the lives of American soldiers.