Beginnings, and endings.

So much for rain, sleet, snow or gloom of night. My postal person (pretty sure it’s a woman) hasn’t visited my mailbox since last week. It only bothers me because I have an important thank-you card for my sister and brother-in-law for giving me a great trip to Germany and letting me stay with them for more than two weeks.

I really like the card. On the front beneath a bunch of donkeys holding hands it says, “Thank You! Or as they say in Germany . . .” And on the inside it finishes, “Donkey Chain!”

The only other things in the mailbox are unimportant “no postage necessary” business reply cards for a free magazine and some other nonsense I’m sure since I can’t remember what it is.

But, really: No postal service? If I can drive in this little “ice storm,” our postal delivery workers should be able to as well.

Speaking of which, why are all my friends wusses about driving in this? Especially during the day. “My street’s frozen over.” Bullshit. My icicles are melting and my non-salted/non-sanded street isn’t frozen. Hell, not even my sidewalk and brick path are frozen. Give me a break. Stay on the surface roads and don’t be such little bitches.

Sorry. I’ve gotten a little stir crazy with cabin fever and frustrated that no one wants to come out with me and alleviate my loneliness.

Ever since I alienated my little brother and his new-ish girlfriend — sorry, fiancee — it’s been pretty lonely around the house. Just me and Lady.

Lindsay gets back tonight, though. She should have been back last night, but all the flights to Austin were cancelled. She made it to Dallas. (The news also reported that the Austin airport ran out of de-icing materials. Jackasses.) So she met up with a bunch of other guys who were heading to Austin and, instead of renting a car, decided to take the train down here. Way better than driving. While I’m certain her New York experience would allow her to drive fine, it’s all the stupid Texans who can’t drive in this weather you have to worry about.

Anyway, I’m looking forward to having my baby back. It’s been since December 17 — one month exactly — that I saw her last, what with me in Germany and her in Miami.

[Short note: I have finally discovered the wonders of torrents (file-sharing apps) and am addicted. Worse than cigarettes or heroin or crack cocaine. It’s awesome. It’s already interfering with my family life. I can’t pay attention to them on the phone — I’m too busy forcing my ancient, slothful computer to transfer songs to iTunes or searching for specific torrents. I need my fix, man.]

On a more political/military note, I want to briefly discuss President Bush’s new plan to increase the number of troops in Baghdad and Anbar Province — a total of 25,500 troops if I heard his address correctly: 21,500 Army soldiers for Baghdad and 4,000 Marines for Anbar.

First, I don’t think the increase in troops is a new strategy in and of itself. Once we achieve the new force level in-country, we still won’t have exceeded the number of troops we’ve had in Iraq at different times in the past three, going on four, years.

The real strategy shift — if there is one — is the appointment of General David Petraeus as ground commander in Iraq. He is, from what I know through reading about him throughout the war, well-versed in counterinsurgency operations (COIN). Indeed, when the insurgency first started in Iraq, he knew that the best strategy would be to spread troops throughout the neighborhoods where they would remain based at police stations or other small garrisons. They would patrol the neighborhoods, talking and — hopefully, finally — gaining the trust of the Iraqis in their small area of operations. Thus leading to more reliable intelligence, the apprehension of insurgents and the eventual calming of the neighborhood. While, also hopefully, improving attitudes toward Americans.

The strategy worked well for him when he commanded troops early in the war — before the Americans went for a kill and destroy strategy (see assault on Fallujah, twice). And the problem with the strategy now is that it may be too late with too few troops dedicated to that specific mission.

Should the plan bring success, though, I would attribute it to Gen. Petraeus and his understanding of COIN warfare, both as a combat veteran and commander of the U.S. Army Combined Arms Center, which provides education and training to military officers, among other tasks. I like to think of it as part of the intellectual core of the military.

The success won’t be the Bush administration’s to claim — aside from finally having the wisdom or balls or just plain dumb luck to appoint someone who may actually know what he’s doing.

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