Monday, June 29, 2009

Running over estimate

As the [Southerners] marched forward, however, their combined weight collapsed the tunnels that ran beneath the roads and wayside, falling into chaos and leaving a trench that made for a difficult advance. Beyond the fresh, raw gashes in the earth lay tainted spikes. Progress would be slow and M. swore by half the stars of heaven as he recalculated his journey toward [the capital].

A common piece of wisdom is that any construction or remodeling one plans for one's home will take AT LEAST 50% longer and cost 50% more than originally estimated. War is much, much worse.

Rumsfeld (CBS News, November 15, 2002):
"Five days or five weeks or five months, but it certainly isn't going to last any longer than that," he said. "It won't be a World War III."
Edward Yeranian, Cairo, at Voice of America, 29 June 2009:
Iraqi forces officially assumed control of Baghdad and other cites across the country early Tuesday, following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from urban areas. Celebrations in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, include music, dance and poetry.

Remember this (Dana Bash, writing for CNN on January 2, 2003)?:
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- The White House is downplaying published reports of an estimated $50 billion to $60 billion price tag for a war with Iraq, saying it is "impossible" to estimate the cost at this time.

White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mitch Daniels told The New York Times in an interview published Tuesday that such a conflict could cost $50 billion to $60 billion -- the price tag of the 1991 Persian Gulf War.

But Trent Duffy, an OMB spokesman, said Daniels did not intend to imply in the Times interview that $50 billion to $60 billion was a hard White House estimate.

"He said it could -- could -- be $60 billion," Duffy said. "It is impossible to know what any military campaign would ultimately cost. The only cost estimate we know of in this arena is the Persian Gulf War, and that was a $60 billion event."

Duffy also was careful to caution that President Bush had not made a decision to use military force against Saddam's regime.

I plot my stories and tell my tales strictly within their own context and framework. Exceedingly rare are the moments when I try to work something from now into my fictional world.

It is usually only later, as I look back on a scene or section, that I notice the parallels with "real life." In hindsight, it is easy to see how contemporary events or issues influence my thinking as I write - it's just part of what is floating around in my brain at the time. Sometimes it is more startling - a major theme of my life that is clearly (in retrospect and for those who know me very well) woven into the tale. In those moments it is evident how much writing is a form of self-therapy. I doubt that aspect would come into play without someone who knows me intimately reading the stories and sayin, "You know...."

Sweet dreams, my boisterous bobcats!

--the BB

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