Just Tell The Truth
One day in the distant future, we'll probably know the truth about Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, why he left his unit, what his fascination was or is with the Taliban, why the Obama administration made the exchange deal it did and why it made the exchange when it did.
It's not likely we're going to learn the truth from the administration, and the swap won't be undone, so continued speculation about the Army sergeant himself is fruitless.
But it does make you wonder why the Obama administration just won't level with the American people instead of spinning one story and then changing it.
Since Bergdahl's release Saturday, the president, his defense secretary and national security adviser have said publicly the reason for the prisoner swap was evidence that the soldier's health was deteriorating after five years in captivity. By the middle of the week, the story changed to the possibility that Bergdahl's life was in jeopardy from his captives.
Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle don't feel like they've gotten the whole truth, and they're right. But it's a pattern.
The suddenly changed story has echoes of the terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the death of four Americans there. The administration first blamed that on an inflammatory video but later had to admit it was an attack premeditated and carried out by Islamist militants.
And, similarly, the stimulus bill that was passed in the middle of the Great Recession, which the administration promised was full of shovel-ready jobs. It turned out, of course, there were no shovel-ready jobs, a fact the president even admitted several years after the fact.
The lesson here: Just tell the truth. Whatever it is, Americans can handle it. Imagine how much more forgiving the American people would have been if Richard Nixon stopped the bleeding after the Watergate break-in, if Bill Clinton broke off his affair with Monica Lewinsky and admitted it early on, and if the George W. Bush administration had said publicly and early it couldn't find the weapons of mass destruction that the administration (and Congress and our allies) truly believed were in Iraq.
All Climate Data Local?
Data from the National Climatic Data Center released earlier this week noted that the Northeast and Southwest are warming faster than the rest of the United States.
This is the uber liberal Northeast, which claims the most environmentally friendly people in the country and which has shed itself of much of its industry, and the more sparsely settled Southwest, where industry is minuscule compared to other parts of the country.
The places that warmed the least were the Southeast, where all the supposedly horrible coal plants are putting out huge amounts of pollution and the people are clueless about the environment (or so we hear), and the Northwest, with its heavy timber and aeronautics industries.
A climate scientist, in an Associated Press article on the data, noted this about the Southwest: that warming, especially in the summer, seems to be driven by dryness because when there is little water, the air and ground warm up faster.
Yes, it's true. The region is dryer than the rest of the country.
Another climate scientist, speaking about the Northeast, noted that less snow on the ground over the winter often means warmer temperatures.
That's also true. Winters from year to year will vary in snowfall.
And one more climate scientist, in spite of everything you've heard about the overall damage coal-burning plants do to the environment, said industrial sulfur particle pollutants from coal burning may be reflecting sunlight, thus countering heating caused by coal's carbon dioxide emissions.
The average Joe, who doesn't worship at the altar of environmentalism, hears that if it's too cold, if it's too warm, if there's too much snow, if there's not enough snow, if there are too many hurricanes, if there are too few hurricanes, if there are too many tornadoes, if there are too few tornadoes, global warming is the cause.
But "be careful," warned a fourth climate scientist quoted in the article, "about extrapolating from your own backyard to the globe."
Wouldn't it be nice if, with the honesty you'd hope for but rarely get in a White House (see above), climate scientists would speak with one voice and say, "We can't say for certain that global warming will continue, and don't really know how much of it is man-made, but we continue to believe it's to everyone's benefit economically to develop alternative fuel sources."
Even skeptics could get behind that.