Monday, November 30, 2009

Af-Pak Thoughts

Looking over Obama's proposed 35K troop increase, I'm honestly not sure quite what to think.

On the one hand, thinking about the past is the classic sunk-cost fallacy: whatever time and effort we've put into Afghanistan/Pakistan is irrelevant at this point, and what matters is what makes the most sense right now and going forward.

On the other hand, I can't just dismiss our involvement to date. When we went into Afghanistan 8 years ago, we changed a lot of stuff, and integrated American presence into the every day lives of the country and it's people. If leaving means that many people's lives will change for the worse, and if our continued presence can prevent that (two very big if's) then I'm very uncomfortable with the idea of just wiping our hands and saying "see ya!" Of course, there's a temporal aspect to that as well: if our presence needs to continue indefinitely (which realistically, it can't) then it's a matter of having bad stuff happen now, or later. And since there's additional cost to us (both money and lives) the longer we stay, that points to a quicker exit. But nobody can say with certainty that there's absolutely nothing we can do.

In other words, we need to value an indeterminate number of American lives and American money against an interderminate number of Afghani lives and Afghani money for an indeterminate number of years. Argh. I do not envy Obama this decision one bit.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Enter Keys and Congressional Districts

My enter key doesn't work anymore, and it's very annoying. I haven't been able to figure out how to get a paragraph inserted via html, so you're going to have to put up with a lot of strung-together text. Also, I was searching around for info about my congressional district (where I found this awesome map btw), and found that districts #3 and #7 represent greater Richmond. Looking at it, though, I realized something. In the span of 2 miles, when driving home from work, I 1) start out in #7 when I'm on I64 2) enter into #3 when I hit the 64/95 interchange 3) go back into #7 once I get onto 195 4) go back into #3 as I exit 195 5) go back into #7 as I cross Broad St and 6) finally get back into #3 when I cross under 195 to get to my apartment building. Yowzas.