Friday, June 02, 2006

"Ozone man" and the mainstreaming of green

Perhaps the most astonishing political moment of 2006 occurred back in January, during the State of the Union speech, when President Bush suddenly started talking like some kind of dreamy-eyed tree-hugger, as he extolled the virtues of hybrid cars, wind technologies, wood chips, and switchgrass.

All that green stuff sounded a tad odd rolling off the tongue of an ex-oilman -- he reminded me of Frank Sinatra back in the '60s, when Ol' Blue Eyes sought to stay hip by crooning a few Beatles tunes -- but Bush's rhetoric was significant. It was a recognition that the environment was gaining ground as a cutting-edge political issue, and that the administration knew it needed to get hip really fast -- in order to dispel the widely held perception that the White House, and the GOP, are allied with the global warmers.

Now comes Al Gore's global-warming documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, which I caught at a screening last night, and it's doubly clear what many Republicans (and their energy industry patrons) are worrying about. The film is not perfect -- it skirts a questionable episode in Gore's personal history; it is far stronger on dire predictions than on realistic political solutions -- but, as pure cinematic argument, it is powerfully effective. And, despite its largely non-partisan tone, it offers the perpetually wayward Democrats a campaign issue on a silver platter.

This explains why conservative critics have been working so hard to discredit the film. It has not been an easy task, particularly since global warming - and man's role in causing it - is now considered a settled issue by, among others, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the National Academy of Sciences (in conjunction with its counterparts in Britain, China, Germany, and Japan), the American Geophysical Union, the American Meterological Society, the National Climactic Data Center, and 928 peer-reviewed scientific papers. Even the Bush administration's Climate Change Science Program concluded in May that it had found "clear evidence of human influences on the climate system."

Faced with such sentiment in the reality-based science world, and realizing that many once-skeptical Americans might well conclude that Gore was actually a far-sighted guy with a prescient message, the opposition has sought to undercut the message by personally assailing the messenger. In recent days, I have been compiling a list. Some highlights:

1. Al Gore is "crazy," with his "long slide into insanity." (Patrick Hynes, at
2. "Wild-eyed" Al Gore is a "zealot" and a "nut." (Tucker Carlson, on MSNBC)
3. Al Gore is "clinically insane." (Ann Coulter)
4. Al Gore is "one slice short of a loaf." (Syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker)
5. Al Gore, in so many words, is a fraud: "After all, some people do believe in the DiVinci Code, so some will believe the DiGore Code." (Steve Forbes, the ex-GOP presidential candidate, on Fox News.)

None of those putdowns can compete with the prizewinner, uttered in 1992 by President George H. W. Bush, who said of Gore, "Ozone Man, Ozone. He's crazy, way out, far out, man...(If Gore gets his way), we'll be up to our neck in owls and outta work for every American." But the sheer vehemence of the insult campaign suggests fear in certain quarters that the film -- and environmental issues more generally -- could resonate widely if left unchallenged.

The film is being inadvertently aided, however, by those who seek to dismiss it. A group called the Competitive Enterprise Institute, which is heavily financed by the oil industry, notably ExxonMobil, has crafted a pair of TV ads that appear to have been written by the parodists on Saturday Night Live. In one ad, seeking to preempt the film's evidence that rising levels of industry-generated carbon dioxide are trapping excessive amounts of heat in our atmosphere, CEI's narrator intones, "They call it pollution. We call it life."

A second CEI ad declares that ice in the Antarctic is actually getting thicker, not thinner as Gore suggests; for evidence, it cites a study by University of Missouri scientist Curt Davis. The problem with the ad is, Curt Davis has denounced it. He released a statement the other day saying that the ad distorts his findings, and that, overall, both ads "are a deliberate effort to confuse and mislead the public..."

These attacks are playing into Gore's hands, because he addressed his critics in the film, contending that "their objective is to reposition global warming as theory rather than fact," and noting the similarities between that strategy and the tobacco industry's long campaign to dispute the link between cigarettes and cancer. He cited an old line from a Brown & Williamson document: "Doubt is our product."

Because the attacks have been so crude, the film seems almost saintly, and impervious to criticism. Actually, it is not impervious. While drawing parallels between the tobacco industry and the oil industry, it also dwells on a painful episode in Gore's past, the 1984 death of his older sister Nancy from lung cancer. She had been a smoker, and Gore the narrator mentions that after she died, the Gore family farm stopped growing tobacco. (Cut to shot of abandoned tobacco shed.) The film fails to mention, however, that Gore didn't cut his ties to tobacco farming until 1991, seven years after Nancy's death; and that in 1988, while stumping for votes among tobacco farmers, he bragged about how he'd grown it, "shredded it, spiked it, put it in the barn and stripped it and sold it."

And on global warming itself, Gore skates past certain issues. He mentions that the U.S. is one of the few western nations not to sign the Kyoto Protocols, and we are left to assume that this is Bush's fault, since Bush opposes ratification. But he omits the fact that Kyoto was rejected in the Senate by a vote of 95-0 during the Clinton-Gore era. He's also short on specifics about what proposals to halt global warming might be realistically feasible in polarized Washington (a modest carbon tax, at least for starters? caps on greenhouse gas emissions?), and especially at the state level (as a safety measure, would he propose mandatory curbs on shorefront development-- which no doubt would be denounced as an attack on free enterprise?).

I am not a scientific expert, but I also got the feeling that Gore was loading his entertaining presentation with a lot of worst-case scenarios, just to ensure that public apathy is sufficiently dispelled; in fact, he has implied that he did so. In one recent interview, he stated:

"Nobody is interested in solutions if they don't think there's a problem. Given that starting point, I believe it is appropriate to have an over-representation of factual presentations on how dangerous it is, as a predicate for opening up the audience to listen to what the solutions are, and how hopeful it is that we are going to solve this crisis."

But it's tough for his opponents to attack him, even for that, because of their own credibility problems. Gore occupies the high ground on the global warming issue in part because the Bush administration has done so little. It hired Philip Cooney, a former oil industry lobbyist, a guy who lacked scientific training, to run the White House environmental program; in that capacity, he watered down scientific reports on global warming, at one point writing in the margins that the conclusions were "speculative findings/musings." The White House has also sought to muzzle NASA's top climate scientist from speaking out against global warming (the scientist, James Hansen, complained publicly about the muzzling effort in January).

Hence, the political opportunity for Democrats. Dick Morris, the ex-Clinton pollster who has also worked for Republicans, wrote a column this week on the topic. He argues that voters are beginning to see the environment and national security as facets of the same issue -- that our oil dependence (a) harms the earth, (b) leaves us vulnerable to high gas prices, (c) and finances our enemies abroad. Morris says that Gore's movie "threatens the Republican grip on Washington" because climate change is now being linked "to a broader public anger..."

Goaded by the Gore movie, Democrats might arguably embrace the environmental issue, not just on its merits, but as way to draw clear contrasts with the GOP. There was a time, back in 2000, when candidate Gore's strategists didn't want him talking about the environment, figuring that only the lefty greens cared and that those folks were already in his camp. But today, with the scientific community now having reached consensus on global warming, the environment seems poised to be a swing voters' issue in the years ahead.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

War defenders tap their inner Ovid

In the year 8 A.D., a lauded Roman poet named Ovid pondered the topic of warfare and famously asked, "Isn't the best defense always a good attack?"

Apparently so. Ovid's credo is alive and well today. The conservatives who defend the Iraq war are clearly rattled by the increasingly credible allegations that some U.S. Marines killed 24 innocent Iraqi civilians, including women and children, in the town of Haditha last November. A new report today lays out the imminent findings of the U.S. military's probe: the incident did occur; some officers lied in an effort to cover it up; and their superiors missed the clues that would have enabled them to detect the lies.

This incident obviously involves only a small handful of Marines, and is atypical of the manner in which the vast majority of U.S. troops have been conducting themselves, even under the most stressful circumstances. Nevertheless, during the months ahead (bad timing for the GOP, which doesn't want Iraq to dominate the '06 elections), Haditha will fuel more public discussion about the administration's well-documented failure to anticipate and plan for a long and bloody occupation.

Hence, the quandary for the pro-war right: Realizing that Haditha is impossible to defend on the merits, particularly at a time when the majority of Americans have turned against the war and against the president who launched it, conservative activists have tapped their inner Ovid and decided that the best defense is a good attack.

Thus far, here are the main elements:

1. Attack some of the officials who have called attention to the killings. Attack John Murtha, the ex-Marine Democratic congressman, in particular. Murtha has been out front on this incident, clearly utilizing his many contacts inside the Marine Corps. Dallas radio talk show host Mark Davis wrote yesterday, "Mr. Murtha has led the pack of baying critics casting negative light on our fighting forces...savoring every nugget...barely able to contain the spring in his step as he basks in the grisly particulars."

2. Attack the people who have long harbored concerns about this war, and brand them as traitors and loons. Michael Reagan, another radio guy and son of the late president, writes today that "these traitorous antiwar zealots are salivating over the possibility that they can exploit whatever happened in Haditha last November just as they exploited the My Lai massacre (in Vietnam)....The worst aspect of this treasonous activity is the motive behind much of the antiwar hysteria - an insane hatred of George W. Bush and the overwhelming lust of the Democratrs to regain control of Capitol Hill no matter what it costs the United States of America in blood and treasure."
Jeb Babbin, a former defense official in the senior George Bush administration, also writes today that "the left will try to use Haditha as it used My Lai 30 years ago: as a political tool to take apart America's support for the war." (His memory, however, is very shaky. The My Lai massacre was publicized in 1971, by which time the majority of Americans had already turned against the Vietnam war. In 1970, according to Gallup, 56 percent were opposed.)

3. Attack the messenger (big surprise!). Dismiss the Haditha story as "a media feeding frenzy" (Babbin's words). Contend that the story is simply being overplayed in the press; as blogger John McIntyre at RealClearPolitics wonders, "(C)an't the story just be mentioned in passing or relegated to page A19 where they put all of the good news about Iraq and the economy, until at least the military finishes its investigation? Why the urge to cover this story on the front page...? Who does that help?"
Lastly, if it looks like the culpable Marines lied to cover up what they did, blame their lying on the media; as Philadelphia talk show host Michael Smerconish suggests, "Isn't it conceivable that...fully understanding that the media would vilify them for their mistake, they compounded their error and lied...If so, I think the lie was a mistake, but an entirely understandable one."

These applications of the Ovid credo have flaws, however.
For instance, the "media feeding frenzy," otherwise known as a free and independent press trying to do its job, is being supported by military insiders who are working to get the truth out.

Today's Washington Post story, linked above, clearly owes its veracity to an Army official who supplied key information about the incident and the aftermath. And a Marine who helped load the slain Iraqis into body bags, Lance Cpl. Roel Ryan Briones, has already spoken on the record, telling the Los Angeles Times in its May 29 edition that "they ranged from little babies to adult males and females. I'll never be able to get that out of my head. I can still smell the blood. This left something in my head and heart."

And another thing: attacking the critics, messengers, et al does not erase the larger context in which Haditha occurred. Those Marines have been working in a hot zone heavily populated by insurgents, and the mounting evidence suggests that some of them may have snapped after having been hit with one too many roadside bombs. A key sentence in the Post story reads: "One of (the investigation's) conclusions is that the training of troops for Iraq has been flawed...with too much emphasis on traditional war-fighting skills and insufficient focus on how to wage a counterinsurgency campaign."

Connect the dots on that one. The evidence is overwhelming that the Bush war planners failed to adequately anticipate the prospects of a post-Hussein insurgency. Bush himself, several years ago, told the New York Times that he had "miscalculated" on that scenario. Defense Secretary Rumsfeld told Fox News that he has also failed to anticipate the strength of resistence, although he offered an excuse: "No one has a perfect view into the future."
When the Haditha incident is fully aired in public, this failure of policy execution will be the context in which it is widely debated.

I was going to end there. But maybe we should give the last word to Samir Sumaidaie, the new Iraqi ambassador to the United States. The other day, he was warmly welcomed by Bush. He hails from the new government that Bush lauds as the best hope for democracy in Iraq. Yet he too is upset about Haditha. Here's what he said on CNN the other day: Haditha was "a cold-blooded killing" -- and, worse yet, he claims that in a separate incident, a Marine also murdered one of his cousins ("killed intentionally...unnecessarily").

Memo to the conservative talking heads: Is Sumaidaie just another Murtha, "savoring every nugget?"

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Apparently the Pentagon didn't get the memo

One year ago this week, Dick Cheney said the Iraqi insurgency was in its "last throes."
How's that assessment working out?

Well, this little nugget was buried deep in a New York Times story today, on page 12:
"In other news, Reuters quoted the Pentagon's quarterly report to Congress on Tuesday as saying that the strength of insurgents 'will likely remain steady throughout 2006'..."

The Pentagon obviously deemed that to be a wise prediction, given the fact that, between Feb. 11 and May 13, the average number of weekly attacks by insurgents (600) was up by 13 percent over the previous six-month period; and that Sunni insurgents have been joining forces with other anti-American bands, thereby "increasing the terrorists' attack options."

But the report wasn't all gloomy. It merely said that the light at the end of the tunnel has receded just a tad: "(The insurgents') appeal and motivation will begin to wane in early 2007."

So, as they used to say in Brooklyn, wait til next year.

By the way, the new Bush domestic policy advisor, Karl Zinsmeister, whom I have mentioned several times, weighed in three years ago with a conservative magazine article about the war correspondents who were working in Iraq: "Alas, many of the journalists observable in this war theater are bursting with knee-jerk suspicions and antagonisms for the warriors all around them. A significant number are whiny and appallingly soft....I almost wished there would be a very loud explosion very nearby just to shut up their rattling."

Karl: Be careful what you "almost" wish for. Those insurgents scheduled for '07 last throes might take out some of those whiners who venture into war zones without any weaponry....Wait, they already have. Get well, Kimberly.

Oh, those tremblin' Dems

We interrupt all the reports about a GOP meltdown in the 2006 elections to bring you this reality check about the loyal opposition:

Here we are on the cusp of June, and still we find that the Democrats (a) still haven't agreed on what they stand for, (b) still haven't decided whether to highlight those issues where they do agree on what they stand for, and (c) still haven't decided, if they do choose option B, whether they should act now, or in September, or maybe they're waiting for the end of the World Series.

As reported here today, the ongoing internal debate continues. One camp still thinks that everybody should shut up and wait for the Republicans to implode, so that the Democrats can essentially win by default. But another camp still thinks that it might be a smart idea for the party to tell the voters what it stands for, so that people can make an affirmative choice, and so that the Republicans won't be free to simply paint the Dems as the party of tax hikes, "cut and run," and impeachment (which the GOP is already trying to do, as evidenced by the emails I receive from party headquarters).

Here's the most revealing quote, from an anonymous Democratic aide who hails from the shut-up camp: "If you start to [discuss] big government programs … you open yourself up to criticism in all directions, and there's no reason for Democrats to do that now."

You open yourself up to criticism...There's the Democratic syndrome in a nutshell: a fear of taking hits, a lack of confidence in their ability to advocate and persuade.

Just asking: When was the last time Republican strategists voiced any concern that standing up for what they believed would expose them to criticism?

Maybe it all depends on what the definitions of "no" and "leaving" and "resignation" are

I devoted much of my thoughts yesterday to the topic of deceit. Let's continue in that vein for just awhile longer.

Some years ago, an editor at another newspaper called me and asked whether I had any interest in their latest job opening: White House correspondent. I replied that, aside from the fact that the job title would surely impress my mother, I nevertheless couldn't imagine a worse fate -- being penned up all day, and fed a steady diet of semi-truths, creative wordplay, outright evasions, and bald-faced whoppers. (As I recall, Bill Clinton was still president.)

The Bush administration's track record certainly confirms all this. And now we have yet another example, in the wake of the news that Hank Paulson has replaced John Snow as the Treasury secretary.

Last Thursday, May 25, a member of the press corps asked the President, "Has Treasury Secretary Snow given you any indication that he intends to leave his job any time soon?"

Addressing the reporter as "Stretch" (his Bush-designated nickname), the President replied: "No, he has not talked to me about resignation. I think he's doing a fine job."

Compare that remark with what the White House press secretary said yesterday. When asked to provide a timeline for Paulson, he replied this way: "The tick tock is that the two of them (Paulson and Bush) met on the 20th of May, and there was a conversation. And Hank Paulson accepted the job a day later."

OK, I'm consulting my reality-based calendar...let's see...yes, just as I thought: May 20 and May 21 come before May 25.
Now I'm looking at my reality-based dictionary...yes, the word resignation is defined as leaving a job.

The new press secretary, Tony Snow (no relation to John), was asked yesterday why Bush couldn't truthfully answer a straightforward question. He said that Bush's "carefully worded" response was necessary in order to prevent "chaos in the markets." (Nice try. After the Paulson announcement was made yesterday, the markets went down. Apparently the Treasury shuffle didn't matter one way or the other. Wall Street experts said that the drop was due to concerns about inflation and lagging consumer confidence.)

Maybe this should be the next question for Tony Snow: Are you having fun yet?

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Holiday? What holiday?

So much for the holiday break. So much news, so much to say. For instance:

1. John Kerry announced over the weekend that he is tan, rested and ready to take on those Swift Boat guys who have been ridiculing his war record.
As the New York Times reported, Kerry "is now fighting back hard. 'They lied and lied and lied about everything,' Mr. Kerry says in an interview in his Senate office. 'How many lies do you get to tell before someone calls you a liar? How many times can you be exposed in America today?' His supporters are compiling a dossier that they say will expose every one of the Swift boat group's charges as a lie and put to rest any question about Mr. Kerry's valor in combat."

Well. Dare I state the obvious? Perhaps it would have been better for Kerry if he had responded this way in August of 2004, instead of ignoring the Swift Boaters and embarking on a windsurfing vacation.

No doubt Kerry's people are looking ahead to 2008, and figuring that if they fight back now, they will boost his prospects of winning another nomination. I think it's more likely that Democrats will conclude that the man missed his moment.

2. The email box was stuffed last night with the usual irate correspondents who were aggrieved for various reasons by the newspaper column I wrote yesterday about Al Gore. My friends on the right charged that I was shilling for Gore (by writing about him at all), while my friends on the left charged that I was maligning Gore.

I am more interested in commenting on the latter. Several liberal readers complained that I was perpetuating the stereotype of Gore as a dissembler, because I mentioned in passing "his occasional embellishments of the facts" without offering any examples. They challenged me to cite examples.

OK, here they are: Gore's insistence that his sister was the first Peace Corps volunteer (she was a salaried office employee); his claim that he was "under fire" in Vietnam (it didn't happen); that he had provided wording for Hubert Humphrey's 1968 acceptance speech (not true, as he admitted in 1999); that he had helped sponsor the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform bill (it was introduced after he left the Senate).

And here's a new one. In my column yesterday, I quoted from a recent Gore speech that assailed the broadcast media for being superficial. He said: "One morning not long ago, I flipped on one of the news programs in the hopes of seeing information about an important world event that had happened earlier in the day. But the lead story was about a young man who had been hiccupping for three years.... He had trouble getting dates."

I was curious about that hiccup story, so I searched for it in Nexis. I soon found it. The story, about a date-deprived hiccupper in Utah, ran on CNN on April 18, 2001.
But CNN said he had been suffering from his malady for eight months, not three years. How Gore came up with three years is anybody's guess.

I'm not suggesting that Gore's various embellishments should be equated, for example, with the documented, fact-challenged track record of an administration that took America to war. I'm just saying that journalists need to check out what everybody says. I am also suggesting that partisans for any candidate, on the left or right, would be wise to never assume that their hero of the moment is perfect. Nobody is.

Having said that, it is also interesting to observe the lengths to which Gore's enemies are still seeking to paint him as a master liar, in order to undercut his current comeback.

Take Jonah Goldberg, for example. (Jonah is a conservative commentator whose mother, Lucianne, was instrumental in ensaring Bill Clinton in the Lewinsky scandal.) Jonah got suspicious last week when Gore went to the Cannes Film Festival. Gore told the press that this was second trip to Cannes: "The first was when I was 15 years old and came here for the summer to study the existentialists."

Jonah went to work, to find out what Gore was doing during the summer when he was 15. He found a passage in a Gore biography which mentioned that Gore was working on the family farm when he was 15. Therefore: Gore's a serial dissembler!

But he never called Gore's people. However, Greg Sargent, at the American Prospect website, did check with Gore's people. And a flak told him, "Mr. Gore did indeed spend an educational week in Cannes during the summer when he was fifteen. That summer he also spent a great deal of time working on the family farm."

Confronted with this statement, Goldberg is now tempted to say that Gore's big lie was that he only went for a week, and not "for the summer" (which presumably is another reason why Gore should be disaqualified for high office).

Nevertheless, Goldberg did state yesterday: "(I)f I had found any evidence that Gore had been in Cannes for even a week that summer, I would not have written the column the way I did....I should take Gore at his word. I apologize for the imprecision and overly broad insinuations."

No wonder Gore says he has no overwhelming appetite to leap back into politics.

3. But enough about what Gore did or didn't do when he was 15 years old. More pressing today is what a squad of U.S. Marines did or didn't do in the heat of the moment, during the war in Iraq.

Follow the Haditha story (also here and here), because, politically speaking, it has all the earmarks of scaldingly hot potato. Credible allegations of Marines killing 24 innocent Iraqi civilians last Nov. 19 (including the shooting of a four-year-old in the chest) could further complicate President Bush's attempt to recoup his political standing at home.

His defenders, of course, are already assailing the press for focusing on the negative by tracking this story, and they are attacking Pennsylvania Congressman (and ex-Marine) John Murtha for publicizing the matter and for warning that Haditha could be "worse than Abu Ghraib." Murtha, they say, is just an antiwar partisan who is trying to convict Marines ahead of the evidence for his own political purposes. But now we also have a Republican congressman confirming what Murtha has been saying:

Minnesota Republican and ex-Marine John Kline, who has been briefed on the incident by Marine officials: "This was a small number of Marines who fired directly on civilians and killed them. This is going to be an ugly story....There's no doubt that the Marines allegedly involved in doing this — they lied about it."

For President Bush, the political perils of this incident are obvious. More questions will be raised about whether young American soldiers are being overwhelmed by their mission, and stretched to the breaking point by inadequate resources and backup. In other words, more congressional hearings and another long hot summer.

4. Last Thursday, I posted some comments about Karl Zinsmeister, the new White House domestic policy adviser who declared in print last June that the U.S. military struggle in Iraq was essentially over. But now we have a new twist in his saga:

Over the weekend, a conservative newspaper unearthed evidence that Zinsmeister endeavored in 2004 to cover up the fact that he had uttered some comments that might be read as - gasp - critical of the President of the United States. By altering his quotes after the fact.

That year, Zinsmeister, in his capacity as a scholar at a conservative think tank, was interviewed by a newspaper, the Syracuse New Times. During that interview, he said that Bush was trying to do something truly historic in Iraq. Then Zinsmeister added his own little dig about Bush's handling of the war. Here's Zinsmeister speaking in the New Times article:

"[Bush] said, 'I'm gonna do something for history.' To say nothing of whether it was executed well or not, but it's brave and admirable."

Zinsmeister never objected to the quote as published, or anything else in the piece; in fact, he wrote to the newspaper's editor in August 2004: "I just read your story online, and wanted to thank you for an extremely fair and thoughtful treatment.... I really appreciate your professionalism and kindness. You wrote it straight up, which is the best and hardest kind of journalism."

Nevertheless, when he posted the article on the website of his think tank, the American Enterprise Institute, the quote was altered. A certain little phrase now was missing. The AEI version - which was still credited to the Syracuse New Times - read this way: "[Bush] said, 'I'm gonna do something for history.' It's a brave and admirable attempt to improve the world."

He made other alterations as well: excising a quote in which he implied that all Iraqis of his acquaintance are liars, for example.

Molly English, who edited that story, is justifiably perturbed that Zinsmeister decided on his own to cleanse the record: "It's reprehensible, frankly. Once this is published, it's not his property. From that point in time, he can't just pick and choose."

Why did Zinsmeister act as he did? Take a wild guess: To protect his career options. To ensure that a prospective future employer, the dissent-averse President Bush, did not discover that he had once uttered a phrase of dissent.

But the story doesn't end here. The Washington Post weighed in today, saying that Zinsmeister feels bad about what he did. But then he offered his rationale: the Syracuse reporter, Justin Park, had screwed up, by misquoting him four times. (Strange that Zinsmeister never complained that way two years ago.)

Retroactively impugning the competence of a reporter is standard stuff in the DC blame game. What's noteworthy, to me, is that the Post didn't offer Park a chance to tell his side of the story. Welcome to the clubby Beltway culture. This is why the Washington media's many critics (in this case, on the left) believe that the watchdogs are insufficiently vigilant.