romanizzo's Articles, Page 1 of 1

16 Dec 08

Homeland Security Mission

The Deparment of Defense recently assigned a full mechanized combat brigade from the Third Infantry Division to be an on-call reaction force for natural or man made disaster on American soil. On initial consideration its a cool idea, having a 5,000 man element at a heightened state of readiness to handle anything that may arise. Defending America is the whole point of the military after all.

Putting more thought into leads me to the conclusion that this is a genuinely bad idea. First, as the referenced article points out, many of the Soldiers assigned to this mission have combat experience in Iraq. Despite my immense pride in what American troops are doing in Iraq, and the very impressive way in which they have come to deal respectfully with civilians that could very easily be insurgents trying to kill them, under no circumstances would I want them unleashed on my hometown. They are, afterall, trained to kill the enemies of the United States. Helping out in an emergency is something the Army (and the other branches, too, I suppose) have excelled at in the past, but it is not their primary mission.

19 Jan 07

Global Warming Legislation in the Face of Record Cold Snap

Global warming is a controversial subject that on one hand is causing problems for polar bears, and on the other giving Austin, Texas 59 consecutive hours below the freezing mark—for the first time since 1983. The low in Manhattan yesterday was Seven degrees Fahrenheit below the average low. Despite these conditions, Congress is considering drastic changes to legislation concerning corporate tax breaks and incentives for oil companies. Considering that the price of gasoline has finally dropped to a reasonable level, would taking $15 billion worth of tax breaks from the oil companies be a popular move in America? Is this controversial subject truly backed by science? If global warming is a true crisis, is slapping more tax on "Big Oil" going to help?

13 Oct 06

Britain's Military Expresses its Opinion

Yesterday, British Army General Sir Richard Dannatt called for the withdrawal of British troops from Iraq "sometime soon," stating that the British presence in Iraq "exacerbates the security problems" Britain is facing worldwide. 24 hours later, the General has clarified his comments, saying that British troops should be withdrawn "over the course of the next year or two or three."

Many officers in the British Army are speaking out in support of their chief using an anonymous web-forum. Some mention in their posts that if the general is sacked there should be a coup. Another speculates that the general’s agenda is "pursuing the truth and bringing the boys home." A third says that the general is finally living up to the Values and Standards that the British Army espouses.
General Dannatt’s realm of responsibility is certainly Britain’s security around the world. Is it, however, his position to make a statement to the press, or does his duty as a professional officer require him to confine his opinion to a closed forum?

08 Oct 06

Britain Unveiled

Jack Straw, a politician with the Labor Party in Britain, is demanding Muslim women remove their veils. He asserts that the veil makes face-to-face relations more difficult and that his motive is a "profound commitment to equal rights for Muslim communities."

Is this a violation of the civil rights of these women, or is the removal of the veil a worthy sacrifice to improve immigrant relations?

03 Apr 06

A Friend In Need

With the recent earthquake in Iran and the near simultaneous Iranian ballistic missile test, the US and the West in general is faced with a possible dilemma.

Could this be a great chance for the US to show the Iranians that, despite their differences, they’re not bad people? Would Iran just decline the olive branch of peace if its perceived enemy were to extend it? Does the West have an obligation to help the villagers of Iran who really have very little to do with ballistic missile testing?

24 Feb 06

Tick, Tick ... Boom

Terrorists recently attempted to blow up the Abqaiq oil refinery in Saudi Arabia. If you are wondering about the significance of such an action, a successful attack on this refinery could send oil prices to $100 a barrel and would take months to return to a nominal operating capacity.

So why on earth would a Muslim terrorist attack the House of Saud? Some feel that the corruption within the rulers of Saudi Arabia and their disregard for Islam are at the root of such attacks. Despite varying opinions, some things are indisputable: US dependence on Saudi oil, and the entanglement of US politicians and Saudi royals.

26 Nov 05

The Bill of Rights ... or Not

58% of San Francisco voters recently voted in favor of anti-gun legislation that bans handguns inside city limits. The NRA has immediately challenged the bill as being against both federal and state laws. Pro-gun lobbyists are spouting the usual rhetoric: if you outlaw guns, only outlaws have guns; proponents of the bill say that San Francisco is now a safer place, although the violent crime rate in San Fran is 24% higher than the national average. Additionally, Washington DC, with its incredibly strict gun control laws, has the highest per capita murder rate in the Western world.

08 Nov 05

Walk the Plank

Pirates are becoming an increasingly large threat to international shipping and seaborne travel. The waters of the coast of Somalia are unsafe, and vessels are advised to stay more than 150 miles off the coast and to avoid using communications equipment. Attacks in Indonesian waters are also common, and the South Pacific is not immune from the problem either.

Pirates’ guerrilla style tactics present the usual problems for military and law enforcement officials, but very little has been done to stop these criminals. Is this a threat that is worth addressing? How will the problem be handled if it is significant enough? Finally, how does one apply to be on the boats that go out to hunt pirates?

26 Oct 05

Not So Subtle Iranians

After extensive discussion here at O-nerd concerning the Iranians and their nuclear program, a recent bit of oratory by Iran’s president clarifies some of the unknown. At an address to 4000 students, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Israel must be wiped off the face of the map. Not a new sentiment, to be certain, but rarely voiced in such plain terms by the leader of a country.
‘The establishment of Zionist regime was a move by the world oppressor against the Islamic world,’ leaves little doubt as to what the Iranians think about the US, as well. The White House press secretary said that the incident clarifies what the US government has suspected all along. Even the French ‘condemn them very forcefully.’

19 Oct 05

I Am Spain, Hear Me Roar

The Washington Post reported today that a Spanish judge has issued an arrest warrant for three American soldiers for killing a Spanish journalist. At first glance, this seems like a rational move, until you consider the details.

The unfortunate killing happened April 8, 2003 in Baghdad. If you’ll recall, it was a bit of a hot time in that city, what with the "high intensity" war going on and all. Additionally, the soldiers charged are apparently chosen at random – a lieutenant colonel, a captain, and a sergeant. Not having been there, I cannot claim one way or another, but my experience leads me to believe that a lieutenant colonel most likely did not fire a 120mm round into a hotel.

20 Aug 05

Repopulation of Nebraska?

Researchers at Cornell are advocating the re-introduction of more and more wild animals into the mid-western plains. While the re-building of the wolf population has met with mixed success and limited public outcry, this latest "re-wilding" seeks to introduce lions, elephants and camels. The article states that some of these species are as much as 13,000 years removed from the land in question.

Habitat restoration projects are of undeniable benefit to the environment. The public concerns regarding the re-introduction are acknowledged by the researchers in question. It would seem that the disregard for human safety and agriculture are just too much in this case, no matter what the environmental benefit.

29 Jun 05

Limits of Dissent

In his online column, Bill O’Reilly posted a commination concerning American media, politicians and society in general having too loud a voice in the digitally connected world.

We have senators claiming that American actions are similar to those of the Nazis, Pol Pot and other despotic regimes. Is this political mudslinging going too far? Can there be a limit on free speech? The World War II generation had no problem showing that during a time of crisis, it is best to present a unified front, and not air the dirty laundry of the nation on the front page of the Baghdad Times. 60 years of technology certainly have had an impact on this, but the general attitude of the American people has migrated across the political spectrum.

04 Jun 05

AIDS and Population Control

The New York Times reports that the AIDS epidemic is continuing to spread faster than international response can contain it. The accepted cause for this epidemic is promiscuity. The debate begins when the protection by condom use is compared to the encouragement of promiscuity by condom distribution. The pro-condom side claims that the Catholic Church is as or more responsible for the epidemic than ‘prostitution or the trucking industry.’

Some extremists have gone so far as to say that AIDS is a good thing keep the population down and the World Bank identified a silver lining in that the per capita GDP of effected countries would rise.

30 May 05

What is Going on in Europe?

Things have been just a little shaky in Europe this past week. The Germans are apparently trying to subdue the socialist urges that have been steadily growing over the past decade since Helmut Kohl left office. On top of that, the person that could make the potential change would also be the country’s first female head of state.

In"France":, citizens have decided that their national sovereignity is more important than advancing the cause of the European Union, and have managed to extend their influence to their neighbors, the Dutch, or at least that’s what the early opinion polls are showing.

23 Mar 05

Brian Nichols and his tiny guard

Two weeks ago, a 200 pound felon overwhelmed his 5 foot female guard in a Georgia courthouse. He murdered several people, including the judge presiding over his trial, and carjacked at least three vehicles during his flight. In the aftermath, there was endless discussion on the security of courthouses, the safety of judges and how police officers perform a very dangerous duty.

However, no matter how much Fox News I watched, there was one glaring oversight. Finally someone addresses the elephant in the closet: should a small grandmother have been escorting this dangerous prisoner? The fact is that an armed officer of the law was overwhelmed by an unarmed criminal. Another fact is that a small woman was easily beaten by a large man.

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