Iraq war backers must admit our errors

first_imgBACK during the early 1990s, when the puppet regimes of the Soviet bloc collapsed in rapid succession, there was a bewildering silence from the liberal Western punditry. The once-vitriolic critics of Ronald Reagan – who warned he would lead us into nuclear war, who said communism was here to stay and must be accommodated – refused to acknowledge their error. Now as we approach the fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq – which I loudly, even obnoxiously, supported – I can sympathize with the anti-Cold Warriors’ reluctance to admit being wrong about the pre-eminent issue of the day. There’s no longer any denying the war was a mistake. Although the Bush administration long insisted that things were going quite well in Iraq, even the administration now concedes there are serious problems. Thus, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld’s resignation and the need for a “surge” to stave off total disaster. To be sure, the world is in some important ways better off without Saddam Hussein. And I still hold hope, based on recent, midsurge reports, that the situation in Iraq may stabilize. Moreover, I fail to see how the U.S. could possibly withdraw anytime soon without handing a massive victory to our enemies or abandoning our allies to slaughter. No, the real reason for my poor judgment – and, I suspect, that of many others – has less to do with defects in our leaders’ thinking or character than with defects in our own. As a Catholic, I believe as a matter of reason and faith that the church’s “just war” criteria are the best standards by which to decide if military action is morally legitimate. Those criteria are that “the damage inflicted by the aggressor on the nation or community of nations must be lasting, grave and certain; all other means of putting an end to it must have been shown to be impractical or ineffective; there must be serious prospects of success; (and) the use of arms must not produce evils and disorders graver than the evil to be eliminated.” Although I once thought the war met those standards, with the benefit of hindsight, it becomes all too clear that I was rationalizing my ideological, pro-military inclinations, as well as an urgent need to do something – anything – about the Islamist threat that so wickedly announced itself on Sept. 11, 2001. The danger Saddam ostensibly posed may have been “lasting” and “grave,” but it was far from “certain.” Even if he did have WMDs, there was no solid reason to conclude – as I and others did – that he was likely to pass them on to terrorists. After all, in a decade he had seemingly never done so before. And while it’s fair to say that peaceful means for dealing with Hussein had proved ineffective – witness the long litany of ignored U.N. resolutions – I overestimated our “prospects of success” while underestimating the “evils and disorders” that would follow Saddam’s ouster. The seminal military event of my youth was not Vietnam, but the first Gulf War – which, coupled with the likes of Grenada, Panama and the initial, apparently easy victory in Afghanistan – led me to a foolish belief in the invincibility of American forces. I also placed far too much stock in the universal appeal of American ideals – never mind the obvious, off-putting excesses of American culture. Some of these errors were predictable, others less so. Because of my own political prejudices, I failed to take seriously the war’s critics, let alone to truly question leaders whom I perceived to be on “my side” of the ideological divide. (Little did I know these leaders would go on to embrace a horrific wink-and-nod policy on torture.) The reason I catalog these errors now is not just because it’s important to own up to one’s mistakes, but also because they weren’t mine alone. The invasion, lest anyone forget, had broad public support and received overwhelming bipartisan congressional approval. There’s a valuable lesson to be learned here about the perils of ideology and letting passion override prudence. But there’s no joy in admitting one’s intellectual mistakes or moral shortcomings. That’s all the more true in the case of Iraq, where heroes and innocents have paid the price in blood for others’ shamefully bad judgment, mine included. Chris Weinkopf is the Daily News’ editorial-page editor. Write to him by e-mail at chris.weinkopf@dailynews.com. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! Yet neither the slim reed of hope that still exists in Iraq, nor our obligation to stay there for the time being, can justify the decision to invade in the first place. It’s tempting, as some erstwhile invasion backers have done, to blame my one-time support on others. For liberals, the most popular dodge is to claim that President Bush lied about Hussein’s nonexistent WMD stockpile. For conservatives, the typical excuse is that, even though the war was a great idea, Bush and Co. botched its execution. Either way, fault lies entirely with the administration and not at all with those of us who cheered its policies. I don’t buy it. For one, there’s no credible evidence that Bush lied about the weapons of mass destruction. All the world’s intelligence agencies and the United Nations believed Saddam still possessed more of the WMDs he had used a decade earlier. That suspicion was only bolstered by the long-standing cat-and-mouse game he played with U.N. weapons inspectors. In retrospect, that suspicion was wrong, but it was entirely reasonable, given what we knew at the time. As for the incompetence argument, to paraphrase Rumsfeld: You go to war with the administration you have, not the administration you wish you had. Implicit in anyone’s support of the war was the belief that those in charge were up to the job of executing it. If they weren’t, we supporters share responsibility for a misplaced confidence. last_img read more

Team USAs Women Are An Olympic Powerhouse

The United States brought home more gold medals than any other country at the Rio Games this summer. As has become usual, the U.S.’s excellence owes much to the success of American women.In Rio, the U.S. women shined with 61 of 121 medals, including 27 out of 46 golds (59 percent). The U.S. was also atop the medal table at the end of the previous Summer Games, in London, and women were responsible for more than half the gold medals that year as well. Worldwide, more women than ever are competing in the Olympic Games: In Rio, around 45 percent of the athletes competing were women, and women’s events accounted for 47 percent of the 306 total. Of those 145 gold medals available for women, the Americans took 27 of them (19 percent). The U.S. men, meanwhile, won gold medals in 19 of the 161 male events that took place in Rio (12 percent). In the 2012 Games, the U.S. women took 29 of the 140 available gold medals (21 percent) while their male counterparts took 17 of the 162 available gold medals (10 percent). This has been the trend in most Summer Olympic Games, which leads to this inescapable conclusion: The only thing limiting the success of American women at the Olympics is the number of events available to them.Naturally, this brings us to Title IX, which was passed into law in 1972 and prohibits discrimination against girls and women in federally funded educational programs, including sports. The share of U.S. gold medals won by women at the Summer Olympics dipped in 1976, but with the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, the U.S. women began a rapid ascent into equilibrium with the U.S. men: If we take into account that women have participated in fewer events than men in all modern Summer Olympics — and therefore competed for a smaller number of medals — the divide between men and women looks even more drastic. In 19 of the 26 Summer Olympic Games in which American men and women fought for medals,1This excludes the 1896 Olympics, which had no female events, and the 1980 Moscow Olympics, which the U.S. did not compete in. the women won a greater share of the available gold medals than the men did. That’s right — if there were a gold medal for who performed better in the Olympics, women would bring that one home too. The International Olympic Committee hopes to achieve an equal number of male and female events and athletes at the 2020 Summer Olympics, being held in Japan. That’s good news for everyone, but considering recent history, perhaps even better news for Team USA. read more

Romagnoli Higuain is the best striker in the world

first_imgGonzalo Higuain is the world’s greatest striker, claims his former AC Milan team-mate Alessio Romagnoli.The Argentine striker ended a disappointing five-month loan spell in January after managing just six goals in 15 Serie A games.Higuain then opted to leave Juventus once more in another loan move to Chelsea in the Premier League, where he has reunited with his old Napoli boss Maurizio Sarri.After a subdued first two games in England, Higuain netted a brace in Chelsea’s 5-0 win over Huddersfield Town in the Premier League.And now Romagnoli has announced that he rates Higuain as the world’s best striker.“No problem,” said Romagnoli via Calcio Mercato, when asked about Higuain’s departure from the San Siro in an event in Milan.“I still think he is the best striker in the world. I am sorry he decided to leave but we respect his decision.“He is a friend of mine and if he is happy I am ok with it. Now we have other players that won’t make us regret his departure”.Although Milan made sure they signed up a replacement in Polish striker Krzysztof Piatek from Genoa for a €35m fee.The 23-year-old has embarked on a stunning start at Milan with three goals in as many games.Tammy Abraham, ChelseaChelsea hat-trick hero Tammy Abraham hopes for more Andrew Smyth – September 14, 2019 Tammy Abraham hopes this season will be his big breakthrough at Chelsea after firing his first hat-trick for the club in Saturday’s 5-2 win at Wolves.“We enjoy having him [Piatek] here and we hope he can keep scoring at least one goal per game,” said Romagnoli.“We hope to win many more games so we can reach the Champions League.“Piatek’s impressed me with his desire and hunger. You can see he wants to show what he’s all about and that’s important. He’s young and on the right path.”Next up for Gennaro Gattuso’s side will a home game against Cagliari, where three points is a must if they are to remain in the top-four of the Serie A and qualify for Champions League football next season.But Romagnoli is refusing to get too carried away at this stage of the campaign.“There are still many games left and we have plenty of things to improve. There will be many direct clashes and many games that seem easy but are not,” added the Milan captain.🔵⚪️😀🥅⚽️🏃🏽‍♂️👌@ChelseaFC pic.twitter.com/aRIu1bGSsc— Gonzalo Higuaín (@G_Higuain) January 25, 2019last_img read more

WHS SOFTBALL Wildcats Crush Winchester Qualify For Postseason Play with VIDEO

first_imgWILMINGTON, MA — The Wilmington High School Varsity Softball team (10-7) defeated Winchester by a score of 9-1 on Wednesday, May 23 in Wilmington on Senior Night. With this victory, the team qualified for postseason play .Ally Moran pitched a one hitter (no hitter broken up in the top of the seventh) and had 12 strikeouts in the win.Wilmington scored three runs in the second with 2 hits (Ryan Bailey and Emily Wright) squeezed in between 3 Winchester errors.In the third inning, the Wildcats scored three again with some great hitting from Adele Burton (single), Liz Gordon (single), and Ryan Bailey (double).In the fifth inning, Dana Goulet smacked a triple.  Antonia Kieran launched a ball to deep right field that would have been a home run in most parts, but, at town park, it went for a sacrifice fly and an RBI.All was not perfect for Wilmington, however.  There was a collision between center fielder Kacie Bourrell and shortstop Dana Goulet.   Kacie made a great catch, but both were injured on the play.Watch the game, including a ceremony the team’s seniors, courtesy of Wilmington Community Television, below:—Video Playerhttps://objects-us-west-1.dream.io/wilmington/6/d/5/d/c/c/6d5dcc67-afbc-4831-80d7-46a4964c29d51527187615.933%2B31970314.976%40castus4-wilmington%2B15271913531527187943424654.vod.720p.WHS%20Softball%20VS.%20Winchester_%20May%2023%2C%202018.mp400:0000:0000:00Use Up/Down Arrow keys to increase or decrease volume.—Like Wilmington Apple on Facebook. Follow Wilmington Apple on Twitter. Follow Wilmington Apple on Instagram. Subscribe to Wilmington Apple’s daily email newsletter HERE. Got a comment, question, photo, press release, or news tip? Email wilmingtonapple@gmail.com.Share this:TwitterFacebookLike this:Like Loading… RelatedWHS SOFTBALL: Wildcats Win Back-To-Back Games, Moran Gives Up 3 Hits While Striking Out 22In “Sports”WHS SOFTBALL: Wildcats Defeat Winchester, Lose To Arlington In Close GamesIn “Sports”WHS SOFTBALL: Wildcats Defeat Winchester (9-3) & Arlington (5-2) To Improve To 7-2In “Sports”last_img read more

Record quantity of goods imported through Benapole in 3 days

first_imgBenapole customs house. Photo: UNBA record quantity of goods was imported from India in the last three days (9 to 11 June) through Benapole port leading to revenue increase, according to customs sources.At least 354 trucks entered with goods on Sunday, 445 trucks on Monday and 382 trucks till Tuesday noon, said Mamunur Rahman, deputy director of benapole port authority.This number was only 250 to 270 last year, Mamunur Rahman added.He said also that the import increased due to the new guidelines from customs authority.Benapole Sonali Bank manager Rakibul Alam said the revenue collection was estimated Tk 110 million on Sunday, Tk 120 million on Monday and TK 80 million till Tuesday noon.In the current fiscal, the total revenue collection of Benapole customs is Tk 51.85 billion till now, he added.Importers said the customs and port operations developed after the directives issued by Benapole customs commissioner Mohammad Belal Hossain Chowdhury.Customs officials have been performing duties from 7:00am to 12:00pm in advance, keeping the slogan on day-to-day revenue under the directives.Meanwhile, India-Bangladesh customs officials have been deeply monitoring activities to bring dynamism in trade.High-level officials and businessmen including Indian High Commissioner Riva Ganguli, visited the import and export trade facility in Benapole and Petrapole on Saturday.Benapole C & F Agents’ Association president Mafizur Rahman Sajon gave the credit to the new guidelines from customs authorities for the increase of import.Benapole port director Prodosh Kanti Das said, “We have been working according to new guidelines. We work as 800 trucks loaded with imported goods can enter daily.”India is failing to provide trucks according to our demand, he added.Benapole customs commissioner Mohammad Belal Hossain Chowdhury said, several steps have been taken to speed up the import trade and revenue collection.If the import trade continues like this we could fulfill the revenue collection target this month, he added.last_img read more

How User Behavior Is Scoring Points in the Gaming Industry and Could

first_img Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How Success Happens Listen Now December 15, 2017 5 min read Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. If you think the gaming industry is represented by the somewhat pathetic image of a 35-year-old male playing Age of Empires in his mother’s basement, you are sorely mistaken, because gaming is so much more than that. Related: How Technology Will Change the Future of Gaming IndustryIn fact, this $78.61 billion industry is a poster child for modern engineering, typically adopting new technologies before other sectors do and showing itself to be one of today’s most successful industries when it comes to understanding its customers (who, yes, are typically 35-year-old men).Indeed, gaming is a technology powerhouse constantly investing in more and more powerful machines and infrastructure. That investment has created a global ecosystem of gamers and communities responsible for generating for this sector more earnings than either movies or music.So, what does the future hold for gaming? “Strong growth will continue as more online casinos open in China and other Asian countries,” predicts NewZoo, an online games market research group. “Established markets have reached maturity and have less room for revenue growth, [meaning that] new markets will open up and increase access to gaming activities.”Today’s gaming industry, in short, is still managing to grow those margins by getting smart with data. And while big data in gaming has been around for years, only recently have AI-powered SaaS platforms been able to achieve user-focused behavioral analysis.The next phase of gaming software advancements, then, will likely rely heavily on integrating behavioral analytics to understand gamers’ tendencies and preferences. Games empowered with that kind of information can be calibrated in real time to hold user attention, increase purchases and grow the bottom line, all of which are tactics I’ve covered on my podcast.Behavioral analyticsThe goal of behavioral analytics is to identify what behaviors cause what actions. What steps did the user take before he or she made an in-app purchase? Was there a point in the game that turned the user off or caused a loss in interest? How long will a user play without winning before he or she quits?This type of path analysis, attached to a time frame, is allowing game marketers to create better user experiences.Reated: 3 Growth Strategies for Mobile Gaming“Today’s current measure of KPIs in gaming are only the headlines about your players,” Dan Schoenbaum, CEO of Cooladata, a behavioral analytics platform for online gaming, said on my podcast. “The people who manage games today already need to leverage behavioral analytics. They experience a large number of players who play on free, so the ability to convert them to a paying player is huge. If you understand user behavior, you can drive up retention, which is absolutely crucial.”Optimization for retentionGame-developers don’t just want someone to download or play their game once; they want the game played again, and again, and again. Long-term engagement creates loyalty, and that is the best way to gain a competitive edge.To achieve long-term engagement, analytics and tools must be in place to measure player engagement over a period of days, weeks or other time period; they must also be accessible and easy to understand.Schoenbaum recommends looking at user behavior through the lens of product optimization: “Following user paths, combined with specific time frames, allows game managers to glean new insights for different players, optimize their path and increase conversion rates,” Schoenbaum told me.Predicting, to be proactiveAt this point, gaming companies’ data warehouses and customer databases contain a wealth of data. Not only is that data valuable for analyzing past user behavior, but it’s valuable for game marketers, to shine a light on consumer patterns. Insights like these indicate who will purchase again, how much they’ll spend and the churn rate for those customers overall.A recent illustration of the future of predictive analytics comes from the partnership between Zodiac, a cloud-based software platform provider, and Tophouse Media, a digital media company. A match-up like theirs aims to bring predictive analytics to game marketers so they can better understand their customers and fine-tune their planning and forecasting.Moves like this across the industry also allow gaming operators to be more accurate and precise in their marketing strategies, while reducing spend and maximizing return.Identifying issues  Another intriguing aspect of predictive analytics is its capability to predict abuse or addiction — related to gaming in terms of the problem of gambling addiction. Understanding customers with this problem, in fact, is one of the top uses for today’s analytics activity.A leading money-gaming company in Europe, Pentaho, is an example: It’s using big data and predictive analytics to create a “360-view of customers, which, among other things, helps to identify those customers who show signs of gambling addiction.”As our world becomes increasingly more digital, identifying technology will play a significant role in moderating game mechanics.Leveraging data to stay aheadOnline games must have a unique user experience, but they also need back-end support to iterate quickly and cater to individual users.“Gaming is a hyper-competitive industry, and those who succeed are implementing unique identification capabilities, people-based approaches, and proactive behavioral campaigns,” Schoenbaum said.Related: Infographic: The Gaming IndustryIn sum, deploying analytics has transformed most brands and entire industries into tech companies. This billion dollar industry is expected to generate 2,857 petabytes of data per month in 2018. So, game marketers that take the time to understand that 35-year-old man in his mom’s basement will actually cross the threshold into a lucrative online gaming platform.last_img read more