Last year was the warmest in the continental United States in the past 112 years -- capping a nine-year warming streak "unprecedented in the historical record" that was driven in part by the burning of fossil fuels, the government reported yesterday.I wrote last year that global warming is a greater threat to the United States than terrorism. Because global warming involves no swarthy Muslims who want to kill us in horrific ways, people don't get as excited about it. But a future in which our economy is ruined, cities are drowned, and we live with scarcity unprecedented in modern times and swarthy Muslims are trying to kill us, sounds pretty scary to me.
According to the government's National Climatic Data Center, the record-breaking warmth -- which caused daffodils and cherry trees to bloom throughout the East on New Year's Day -- was the result of both unusual regional weather patterns and the long-term effects of the buildup of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.
"People should be concerned about what we are doing to the climate," said Jay Lawrimore, chief of the climate monitoring branch of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. "Burning of fossil fuels is causing an increase in greenhouse gases, and there's a broad scientific consensus that is producing climate change."
The center said there are indications that the rate at which global temperatures are rising is speeding up.
Oh, and about those terrorists:
...over the past two months, as the security situation in Iraq has deteriorated and U.S. public support for the war has dropped, Bush has pushed back against his top military advisers and the commanders in Iraq: He has fashioned a plan to add up to 20,000 troops to the 132,000 U.S. service members already on the ground. As Bush plans it, the military will soon be "surging" in Iraq two months after an election that many Democrats interpreted as a mandate to begin withdrawing troops.
Pentagon insiders say members of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have long opposed the increase in troops and are only grudgingly going along with the plan because they have been promised that the military escalation will be matched by renewed political and economic efforts in Iraq. Gen. John P. Abizaid, the outgoing head of Central Command, said less than two months ago that adding U.S. troops was not the answer for Iraq.
Oh and also, if they don't agree to it, they'll be fired.
Others familiar with Bush's thinking said he had not been happy with the military's advice. "The president wasn't satisfied with the recommendations he was getting, and he thought we need a strategy that was more purposeful and likely to succeed if the Iraqis could make that possible," said Philip D. Zelikow, who recently stepped down as State Department counselor after being involved with Iraqi policy the past two years.
Apparently, the plan's liklihood of success is not influenced by the fact that it's coming not from military commanders on the ground, but from the same think tank pundits who've been wrong about every other aspect of the war since the invasion. At this point, any rational man would say "Get me people who've had nothing to do with the war to this point." Of course, a rational man would not have invaded in the first place, but that's neither here nor there.