“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Ten French Troops Killed in Afghan Fighting

PART TWO OF VIDEO ( Previous military engagements)

Ten French troops killed in Afghanistan
Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Ten French soldiers have been killed in fighting with Taliban insurgents east of the Afghan capital, an Afghan military official said today.

The soldiers, part of NATO's International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), were killed in a major battle with insurgents that began on Monday about 30 miles east of Kabul, he said.

It was the biggest single loss of French troops in Afghanistan since US-led and Afghan forces toppled the Taliban after the 11 September 2001 attacks in New York.

France has 1,670 troops in Afghanistan having sent an extra 700 soldiers this year, responding to a US call for its NATO allies to send more forces to check a surge in violence.

ISAF said its troops were engaged in a "major battle" with insurgents in Kabul province that began on Monday, but spokesmen declined to comment on the French casualties.

The Afghan Defence Ministry said 27 insurgents have been killed or wounded in the clashes in Ouzbin area to the east of Kabul and at least two Afghan soldiers have been wounded.

The Taliban said on its Web site that 20 US soldiers had been killed in the fighting, which they said erupted after militants ambushed a convoy of Afghan and foreign forces late on Monday. That claim could not be immediately verified.


  1. The French will have more than Afghanistan to concern them. Pakistan has some hard days coming. Its economy is in tatters and its polity is divided. It is now being hit by factional terrorist bombings and leaders of all movements fear (wisely so) that they may be targets of assassination by other factions.

    The big problem is that the basis of Pakistan was to be a Pure Muslim (Pak in Urdu) nation (Stan in Urdu and other CA languages). Where all ethnicities were supposed to get along under Islam and a British Democratic derived, Islam-modified system.

    It hasn’t worked recently as Baluchis fight Punjabis and the Sind and Punjabi and Indian exiles contend with the dangerous and independent Pashtun and Kashmir separatists. Ethnicity and degree of Islamic radicalization have trumped the national dream of 60 years ago and created a near-failed, nuclear armed state.

    It’s exceptionally dangerous because Pakistan desperately added more Islamization, getting the bomb, and nationalist hostility on “never” giving up the jihad for Kashmir. And any that advocate backing away from those positions gets killed. And only the military holds the mess at a pressure below that of an explosion and civil war.

    And in all that, Pakistan has a well educated middle class that is justly fearful that their prosperity and position is being negated…
    And to make matters worse, the Pashtuns have used their autonomy, radical Islam to make inroads into the ISI and military and offered training and sanctuary to all Islamic terrorists under the shield of Pakistani sovereignity. And that is putting them square in the crosshairs of India, the US, the EU - as they realize how their domestic Muslim terrorists are aided and even trained by bad guys sheltered in Pakistan. And Russia. And Iran, which has a long history of enemity - from ancient Persian, Mogul Empire days to Sunni Pak persecution of Iranian and other ethnic Shiites directly, or within Afghanistan. Even China, Pakistans other twisty as the situation demands ally during the Cold War, besides the USA, has major concerns as it is finding its Muslim rebels are being trained in Pashtun lands.

    A country with the bomb, falling apart - with every other major power now deeply concerned about it being the training source and sanctuary of global terrorists. And the spiritual homeland of the growingly terroristic and fundamentalist Pakistani diaspora now “blessing” the West as immigrants or descendents of immigrants.

    The people talking Partition of Pakistan may have about the only solution short of war to a dangerous ungovernorable place. Strip off the ungovernable Northwest Territories and Baluchistan. Make the welcome of those ethnicities remaining in what’s left conditional on not subverting it. The Punjabis, Sindhs, and Indian exiles all seem to work well together and have the same goals of education, prosperity, and building the Pakistan of 60 years ago that Muhammed Jinnah and the Muslim League wanted. Present-day Pakistan isn’t it.

  2. To think that Michael Yon predicted this in print going on 3 years ago.

    As humiliating as POTUS playing volleyball as he repeats dad's sellout of the Shiites, this time in Georgia.

    ...for want of a single B-2 mission.

  3. You got your Peak Oil, and you got your NATIONALIZED OIL!
    Geopolitical Peak OilAs Oil Giants Lose Influence, Supply Drops

    Oil production has begun falling at all of the major Western oil companies, and they are finding it harder than ever to find new prospects even though they are awash in profits and eager to expand.

    Part of the reason is political. From the Caspian Sea to South America, Western oil companies are being squeezed out of resource-rich provinces. They are being forced to renegotiate contracts on less-favorable terms and are fighting losing battles with assertive state-owned oil companies.

    And much of their production is in mature regions that are declining, like the North Sea.

    The reality, experts say, is that the oil giants that once dominated the global market have lost much of their influence — and with it, their ability to increase supplies.
    As late as the 1970s, Western corporations controlled well over half of the world’s oil production. These companies — Exxon Mobil, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total of France and Eni of Italy — now produce just 13 percent.

    Today’s 10 largest holders of petroleum reserves are state-owned companies, like Russia’s Gazprom and Iran’s national oil company.

    Sluggish supplies have prompted a cottage industry of doomsday predictions that the world’s oil production has reached a peak. But many energy experts say these “peak oil” theories are misplaced. They say the world is not running out of oil — rather, the companies that know the most about how to produce oil are running out of places to drill.

    “There is still a lot of oil to develop out there, which is why we don’t call this geological peak oil, especially in places like Venezuela, Russia, Iran and Iraq,” said Arjun Murti, an energy analyst at Goldman Sachs. “What we have now is geopolitical peak oil.”
    …eager to expand.
    And we remain the only country on Earth that treats our Natural Resources as Environmental Hazards.

  4. ABC News U.S. Base in Afghanistan Attacked

    Suicide bombers tried unsuccessfully to storm a U.S. military base near Afghanistan-Pakistan border in a daring attack on a major American installation, officials said Tuesday. Six insurgents detonated their vests after being surrounded.

    The attack came a day after a suicide bomb outside the same base killed 10 civilians and wounded 13 others. The fighting was still going on early Tuesday, said U.S. coalition spokesman 1st Lt. Nathan Perry. There have been no American deaths, he said.

    The militants failed to gain entry to Camp Salerno in Khost city after launching waves of attacks just before midnight on Monday, said Arsallah Jamal, the governor of Khost. The base is just a few miles from Pakistan's border.

    Gen. Mohammad Zahir Azimi, the Afghan Defense Ministry spokesman, said Afghan soldiers, aided by U.S. troops, chased and surrounded a group of insurgents, and that six militants blew themselves up when cornered. Seven other militants died in those explosions and a rolling gun battle, he said.
    EXACTLY what Yon predicted.
    Thank God it failed.
    ...this time.

  5. Af-Pak Reporting

    Looking back on the Iraq war, for all the attention the media paid, their reporting was anything but balanced.

    The outcome of the war was being negatively affected by irresponsible journalism, some of which was intentionally misleading.
    We truly could have lost the Iraq war due in large part to journalistic travesties.
    That we won the war despite the media demonstrates just how great our soldiers are.
    And let’s never forget the price that the British and others paid, like the Poles, and even the Georgians.

    An unintended consequence of the Iraq war was that we ignored Afghanistan/Pakistan, where things only got worse. Now many are calling Af-Pak "The Good War," but let's see how long that lasts. Our NATO allies hide behind the sturdy legs of the United States and Great Britain, who do most of the real fighting in Afghanistan, just as they did in Iraq.

    Now that media attention is turning back to the Af-Pak war, let's hope that the sum of their reporting will be more informed and less biased than what came out of Iraq. If the Iraq model is followed again, the Western politicians will say whatever is expedient, bending to popular pressure created by the media, many of whom understand the bending of truth better than Einstein understood the bending of light.

    Meanwhile, the press will meander around like a herd of buffalo, occasionally stampeding in unison off a cliff, and taking public perception with them to the jagged rocks below.
    I have just left Nepal and landed in Bangkok, en route to Kabul. My plan is to spend some time in Afghanistan, head back over to Iraq in late September, then possibly return to Afghanistan before the year's end. In any case, I plan to keep my boots in Iraq and Afghanistan through the U.S. elections.

    The last time I headed to Afghanistan, I spent far more money than I earned. Folks just didn't seem to care about that war.

    I am willing to stick it out, and have already proven that willingness in Iraq, but I simply will be unable to do so without generous reader support. These days support is scant. Folks seem to think I got rich off Moment of Truth in Iraq (I didn't). There will probably be no independent journalists who spend more than a month or so in Af-Pak during any given year. Same with the mainstream reporters I know. This means there will be almost no firsthand reporting from the Af-Pak battlefields, and less than a trickle comes to today. If readers want me there, I'll commit, but reader support is absolutely critical.
    I can't do it without you, and your support is needed TODAY. I should be in Afghanistan later this week.
    Michael Yon

    KABUL, Afghanistan: Afghan leaders celebrated Independence Day on Monday with a small ceremony inside a fortified military compound, in marked contrast to the parade and public festivities a year ago and another sign that Taliban militants are bearing down on the government.The top U.S. general in Afghanistan issued a rare public warning Monday that militants planned to attack civilian, military and government targets. Only hours earlier a suicide bomber killed 10 Afghans outside a U.S. base.
    Click Here to read the entire AP article in the International Herald Tribune.

  6. We can't Win in Afghanistan, folks. There ain't no oil.

    No Oil = No Hope.


  7. cedarford wrote:

    "The people talking Partition of Pakistan may have about the only solution short of war to a dangerous ungovernorable place."

    I'm not sure who those people are but if it is US then we should think again. Not that partition is necessarily a bad idea but their would undoubtedly be some noses bent out of shape over it and we'd get some blame. Similarly partition has been bandied about for Iraq (Joe Biden for one). This is very paternalistic of US and like the British before us can be blamed for the fallout that could follow. I think it more advisable that we let them sort out their differences the best they can and concern ourselves with how the conflicts could affect US. Obviously and India-Pakistani war would be extremely nasty but any attempt by US to force a solution drags us into the swamp with them. Same goes for the Afghanistan/Pakistan swamp - we really shouldn't be trying to solve their issues.

  8. I'll never forget, doug, the Yon story of the Four Duece and that LTC being shot by the "Caught & Released" terrorist.

    The news that was discerned by the BC crowd, from that story by Mr Yon ...

    How nifty the CSM looked in his combat Ray-Bans.

    Still, the focus has just begun to shift back to Afghanistan, now, when the War should be in Pakistan.

    The US and allies playin' whack a mole, some more.

    Ol' trish tellin' us that having the Afghan tribal leaders pledge support to US and the Afghan Government, then not providing security sufficent to stop the Taliban from killing them, was a sign of success.
    Shows just how off base the Federal Collective's thinking is still, totally misguided.

  9. The War on Terror is not about "issue solving" and was never to be an instrument of that.

    The US military is far to small to solve issues, in southwest Asia except by destroying them.

    The US military is to small to even successfully occuppy Iraq, let alone Afghanistan and the Tribal Regions of Pakistan.

    But it is more than capable of destroying the infrastructure that supports the cross border terrorists.

  10. Sorry, 'Rat,
    We caint win in Af-Pak or Georgia.
    Our man in Mississsippi says there ain't enough Oil.
    Seems to me that leaves most of the World screwed, but then agin, if we elect the Messiah, we'll all be enriched by alt-Energy in 4, or at most 8, years.
    Ring the Bells for the Messiah!

  11. "then not providing security sufficent to stop the Taliban from killing them"
    I can't get the fact that ONE B-2 Mission could have accomplished the same for our steadfast allies in Georgia.
    ...oil, or no oil.
    (one billionth the expense of Iraq/Afghanistan)

  12. There just isn't anything there to defend, Doug. Just rocks.

    Don't get me wrong. We'll be there a long time. Year after year, we'll patrol around, fighting small battles, killing some folks (many of which sincerely need killing,) and keeping a baleful eye on Pakistan; but we'll never "Win."

    It's the tarbaby of all "tarbabies."

  13. Ms May's tattoo held Mr Bush's attention, that day, doug.

    The Russians were not afraid to use the Russian miltary, but the US would not committ its' own.

    When and where the technological superiority we maintain would have provided all the "edge" required to win the day. To set Pootie back on his heels

  14. Steve @ Threatswatch said...
    "I have a student who was born in Tblisi, has family still there.

    Says they called him and said all the killing is being done by Chechens, who ahve been loosed like dogs, first in Ossettia, then into Gori from there.

    I said to him that they were used because they don't care, and fight like animals.
    He just nodded.

  15. What is there to "win" in Afghanistan?, being rufus's point.

    The issue, in southwest Asia, is the destruction of aQ or whatever it has morphed into, now.

    The application of military force is the only lever the US has, there. We should have implemented it years ago, that we have not is exemplary of the fact that Team43 has failed to prosecute an effective offensive War on Terror.

  16. Easier to blame Georgian Military, 'Rat.
    (has happened @ BC and Westhawk) tho a tiny country w/almost no mil hardware should repulse the Sovs, when WE WON'T!

  17. (With World's Premier Hardware)
    ...on our dime.

  18. desert rat said...

    "The War on Terror is not about "issue solving" and was never to be an instrument of that."

    Yeah, well tell that to the men in charge who seem insistent upon solving Afghanistan's and Iraq's "issues".


    You seem enamored with simple solutions. Not necessarily a bad thing (I'm all for elegant solutions) but I seriously doubt on B2 mission would have changed the Georgian situation much - other then to suck US further into the battle.

  19. They should have died in place, rather than take westhawk's advise of the day before, to fight an insurgency.

    The storyline shifted.
    It is never the US military that fails, doug, but always the proxies.
    Our proxies are just never up to snuff. Whereas the other fellows proxies are portrayed as giants amongst men.

  20. ...and so it goes.
    We just want simple solutions, 'Rat.
    Ash and Trish say it's so.

  21. That is foolish, ash.
    The B2s, at the right time, when the Russian advance was in Georgia, but held at the chokepoints, at the tunnel and in the gorge, would have been decisive.

    The Russians would have stepped back, having no armored reserves to commit. The B2s would have been ghosts on that battlespace. Never seen nor heard, but delivering sheer terror upon the impact area
    That's what they do.

    Credit going to the Georgian military.

  22. As tho 41, Bubba, and 43, have not sufficiently demonstrated the "value" and "utility" of more nuanced and sophisticated methods.
    My Ass.

  23. This is where we're at, today.

    $1,450,000,000.00 Every Day Going out the window.

    It's unsustainable; and, Afghanistan doesn't do a thing for us.

  24. I'm not for sure that the "Georgian, Thang" hasn't worked out just about the way Bushco wanted it to.

    In fact, I gotta admit, I kind of like the way it's worked out, myself.

  25. I have been telling them, ash

    Best as I could.

    But they do not seem to listen.
    So one wonders why?
    What would be the motivation for the leaders to behave, as they do?

    Historical, economic, genetic or ideolgical motivations. Even to the point of informed self-interest on the part of the leaders.

    Which is why legends of Knights Templar and Illuminatti are so compelling, as they trace an elitist storyline, through the time and space, through China, Afghanistan, from ancient Eygpt through Alexander the Great to the Russell Company and the frat boys surronding GHWBush and family.

  26. As to it turning out to Team43's plan, or desires, rufus.
    I think you may be right.

  27. The fact is, "Pipelines" is just too esoteric a concept to effectively "Excite" a Western populace into War.

    In the meantime, Russia comes off looking "scary" bad; and, the cause of Missile Defense (which is, of course, a mitigation against "Jihadi" (Pakistani) Nukes) is forwarded.

    In short, the Russkies got themseles a "tarbaby," and we've got Ukraine, Poland, and, I assume, the Czech Republic suddenly finding the religion of Interceptors, and Radars.

    Not a bad days work, really.

  28. All that, too, rufus

    win-win for the leaders, on both sides

  29. But I would not count on holding Ukraine, intact.

  30. Nor chalk up our raped and murdered Georgian allies a feather in the Wuss's Cap.

  31. Vietnam and Somalia are shameful stains on the Dems, but the sold-out Shiites and Georgians are just what's happening, to some.
    Ever faithful to our allies.

  32. Shiites being perfect examples of the COST of betrayal.

  33. As I have said, for years, doug.

    It is not about Dems and Pubs.

    Vietnam, Somalia, Iraq or Georgia,
    it is the US that takes the action,
    not individuals or Parties.

    When the Government acts, it acts for all of US, like it or not.

    Love it or leave it, they used to shout!

    What was sent around,
    is coming back around.

    Love it or leave it.

  34. "Georgians?"

    I don't know nothin about no Georgians.

    Ain't that down close to Alabam?

  35. Taliban Forces Kill 10 French Soldiers and Raid U.S. Base
    The Taliban attacks on a U.S. military base and French forces near Kabul were among the most serious they have mounted in six years of fighting.

  36. Didn't "Uncle Billy" handle those Georgian upstarts well 'nough, do we really gotta go, again'?

  37. What goes around,
    comes around.
    Universal Truth.

  38. French troops have only recently taken over from American forces in the area, as part of the expanded French deployment in Afghanistan under President Nicolas Sarkozy.

    In response to the attack, the French president announced that he would fly to Kabul on Tuesday. “In its fight against terrorism, France has been dealt a harsh blow,” Mr. Sarkozy said in a statement. “My determination is intact. France is resolved to pursue the struggle against terrorism, for democracy, and freedom.”
    There has been a growing insurgency problem in the Tagab valley and adjoining district of Sarobi in recent months, mostly thought to be instigated by fighters loyal to the renegade mujahedeen leader Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, who is allied to the Taliban but not part of the movement. The chief of Sarobi district, Qazi Suleiman, said the fighting occurred in Sarkondi, about 10 miles from the town of Sarobi. He said Taliban and Mr. Hekmatyar’s Hesbe-Islami fighters were active in the area.

    Mr. Hekmatyar, who NATO officials say is based in Pakistan, has increased his militant activity in the northeast of Afghanistan at a time when the Taliban, foreign fighters and Al Qaeda have accelerated their attacks in the southeast and south of the country.

  39. The attack on Camp Salerno in Khost Province was one of the most complex attacks seen so far in Afghanistan with multiple suicide bombers and a backup fighting force that tried to breach defenses on to the airport at the base. It followed a suicide car bombing at the outer entrance to the same base on Monday morning, which killed 12 Afghan workers lining up to enter the base, and another attempted bombing that was thwarted shortly after.

    The Taliban claimed responsibility for all three attacks in Khost. Their spokesman, Zabiullah Mujahed, reached by telephone at an unknown location, said that 15 suicide bombers, equipped with machine guns and vests packed with explosives, with 30 militants backing them up, attacked the base, one of the largest foreign military bases in Afghanistan.

  40. Any EB'rs wanting to strap on the vest, I'll back you up.

  41. How did C4 make it to these parts of the woods? And why is it hanging here the same jihadi Copy & Paste drivel that it hangs up on BC?

  42. For Ashley:

    "Asked if it was true that "from 1973 to 1990 the United States sold Saddam Hussein more than a quarter of his weapons," 80 per cent of British respondents said yes. However the US sold just 0.46 per cent of Saddam's arsenal to him, compared to Russia's 57 per cent, France's 13 per cent and China's 12 per cent."

  43. Slade says it's all good here,
    as it is written according to Rufus.
    (far as I can translate Slade @BC)
    I'll just go grovel in the muc.

  44. Team43 has failed to prosecute an effective offensive War on Terror.


    It's not about the effective prosecution of war, it's about the effective redistribution of wealth from the American middle class to fat cat military contractors, fat cat war profiteers, fat cat subsidized oil mafia, fat cat Jihadi mofos, fat cat Wall Street bankers, fat cat global imperialist elite.

  45. Doug,

    So much for our certainty that Saddam had WMD for now we can't simply state "Well, we've got the receipts" unless we sold him the cheap stuff amounting to .46% of his arsenal.

  46. Israel bombed some remnants of those receipts in Syria. But you don't have to believe me, Ashley, ask Trish.

  47. Give em all Sherman neckties, those in Georgia, that is.

  48. Another excellent entry by Howard, followed with equally deserving comments:

    Clusterfuck Nation
    by Jim Kunstler

    Reality Bites Again

    The feeble American response to Russia's assertion of power in the Caucasus of Central Asia was appropriate, since our claims of influence in that part of the world are laughable. The US had taken advantage of temporary confusion in Russia, during the ten-year-long post-Soviet-collapse interval, and set up a client government in Georgia, complete with military advisors, sales of weapons, and even the promise of club membership in the western alliance known as NATO. These blandishments were all in the service of the Baku-to-Ceyhan oil pipeline, which was designed specifically to drain the oil region around the Caspian Basin with an outlet on the Mediterranean, avoiding unfriendly nations all along the way.
    At the time this gambit was first set up, in the early 1990s, there was some notion (or wish, really) among the so-called western powers that the Caspian would provide an end-run around OPEC and the Arabs, as well as the Persians, and deliver all the oil that the US and Europe would ever need -- a foolish wish and a dumb gambit, as things have turned out.
    For one thing, the latterly explorations of this very old oil region -- first opened to drilling in the 19th century -- proved somewhat disappointing. US officials had been touting it as like unto "another Saudi Arabia" but the oil actually produced from the new drilling areas of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, and the other Stans turned out to be preponderantly heavy-and-sour crudes, in smaller quantities than previously dreamed-of, and harder to transport across the extremely challenging terrain to even get to the pipeline head in Baku.
    Meanwhile, Russia got its house in order under the non-senile, non-alcoholic Vladimir Putin, and woke up along about 2007 to find itself the leading oil and natural gas producer in the world. Among the various consequences of this was Russia's reemergence as a new kind of world power -- an energy resource power, with the energy destiny of Europe pretty much in its hands. Also, meanwhile, the USA had set up other client states in the ring of former Soviet republics along Russia's southern underbelly, complete with US military bases, while fighting active engagements in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now, if this wasn't the dumbest, vainest move in modern geopolitical history!
    It's one thing that US foreign policy wonks imagined that Russia would remain in a coma forever, but the idea that we could encircle Russia strategically with defensible bases in landlocked mountainous countries halfway around the world...? You have to ask what were they smoking over at the Pentagon and the CIA and the NSC?
    So, this asinine policy has now come to grief. Not only does Russia stand to gain control over the Baku-to-Ceyhan pipeline, but we now have every indication that they will bring the states on its southern flank back into an active sphere of influence, and there is really not a damn thing that the US can pretend to do about it.
    We could have spent the past ten years getting our own house in order -- waking up to the obsolescence of our suburban life-style, scaling back on the Happy Motoring, reconnecting our cities with world-class passenger rail, creating wealth by producing things of value (instead of resorting to financial racketeering), protecting our borders, and taking the necessary measures to defend and update our own industries. Instead, we pissed our time and resources away. Nations do make tragic errors of the collective will. The cluelessness of George Bush is nothing less than a perfect metaphor for the failure of a whole generation. The Boomers will be identified as the generation that wrecked America.
    So, as the vacation season winds down, this country greets a new reality. We miscalculated in Western and Central Asia. Russia still "owns" that part of the world. Are we going to extend our current land wars there into the even more distant and landlocked Stan-nations? At some point, as we face financial and military exhaustion, we have to ask ourselves if we can even successfully evacuate our personnel from the far-flung bases in Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.
    This must be an equally sobering moment for Europe, and an additional reason for the recent plunge in the relative value of the Euro, for Europe is now at the mercy of Russia in terms of staying warm in the winter, running their kitchen stoves, and keeping the lights on. Russia also exerts substantial financial leverage over the US in all the dollars and securitized US debt paper it holds. In effect, Russia can shake the US banking system at will now by threatening to dump its dollar holdings.
    The American banking system may not need a shove from Russia to fall on its face. It's effectively dead now, just lurching around zombie-like from one loan "window" to the next pretending to "borrow" capital -- while handing over shreds of its moldy clothing as "collateral" to the Federal Reserve. The entire US, beyond the banks, is becoming a land of the walking dead. Business is dying, home-ownership has become a death dance, whole regions are turning into wastelands of "for sale" signs, empty parking lots, vacant buildings, and dashed hopes. And all this beats a path directly to a failure of collective national imagination. We really don't know what's going on.
    The fantasy that we can sustain our influence nine thousand miles away, when we can't even get our act together in Ohio is just a dark joke. One might state categorically that it would be a salubrious thing for America to knock off all its vaunted "dreaming" and just wake the fuck up.


  49. "woe is us" Kunstler. Not a fan.

  50. Yes, his pessimism can be a tad overbearing. But he does make some very salient observations.

  51. It's not about the effective prosecution of war, it's about the effective redistribution of wealth from the American middle class to fat cat military contractors, fat cat war profiteers, fat cat subsidized oil mafia, fat cat Jihadi mofos, fat cat Wall Street bankers, fat cat global imperialist elite.

    Maybe a nice little economic depression brought on by Barackonomics will make 'em all flat cats. We can all stand in line in the Obamavilles for soup.

  52. He needs to be on suicide watch.

  53. ms. t wrote:

    "Maybe a nice little economic depression brought on by Barackonomics will make 'em all flat cats"

    most of the fat cats have taken their money an ran thus able to weather a depression better then those who didn't.

  54. Obamavilles for soup


    LOL! Soup!

    And who be making that soup? China? Dream on, there be no soup for you.

  55. Metuselah: And who be making that soup? China? Dream on, there be no soup for you.

    The Green Graham Cracker Soup comes in, coincidentally, right after Obama signs an Executive Order setting the maximum age to 59. Logan's Run meets Soylent Green.

  56. They say the world is not running out of oil — rather, the companies that know the most about how to produce oil are running out of places to drill.

    Right, that sounds perfectly logical to me.

    Put Maxine Waters in charge, and what do you get, another dry hole, and deeper in debt.

  57. I can't imagine the Russians wouldn't have figured out it wasn't the Georgian Air Force dropping tons of bombs on them and their convoys in the middle of the night there at the tunnel.

    I'm surprised you guys seem to be saying South Ossetia is a vital interest of the USA.

  58. - Strange Creatures -
    (Found this while looking for news item about transfer of wealth from democracies to autocracies, which I haven't found yet.)

    Finally in 1991, Russia announced that it would adopt the markets and democracy of her Cold War adversary. Unfortunately, it didn't work out as many hoped. Privatization became a giant swindle in which well-positioned bureaucrats divvied up amongst themselves the vast Soviet carcass. Russians would vote, but active and participatory civic associations would never develop. Within a matter of years, power and wealth were once again highly concentrated. Former Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin remarked, in superlative Russian fashion, "We wanted it to go better, but it turned out as always."
    For centuries, a Kremlin oligarchy, whether comprising Muscovite and Kievan princes, the Romanov court, or the General-Secretary's Politburo, has governed Russia. But this seems to have finally given way to a rough and imperfect liberty. This does not mean, of course, that thousand-year-old traditions disappear overnight, or for that matter, over a decade of nights. The tiny parasitic elite is back, this time in the form of the superrich "new Russians," and the siloviki, the super-bureaucrats. These groups, as Billington notes, are the chief obstacles to democratic change.

    If you wish to understand the nature of arbitrary power in Russia, look no further than a little flashing blue light, the migalka. Available to elites with cash and connections, it confers on its owner the right to disregard any and all traffic laws. I've seen migalka-equipped Mercedes 600s and Land Rovers drive on sidewalks and fly through red lights at busy intersections.

    During the Yeltsin era, a handful of "oligarchs" built financial-industrial clans that came to control nearly half the Russian GDP. Such a concentration of wealth, especially in the absence of reliable legal and financial institutions, distorts the growth of markets. Some estimate that this thievery has created a gap between rich and poor wider than the one that preceded the Revolution. By most indicators, Russia is now a Third World country, yet it is second only to the U.S. in its number of billionaires.

    With the end of the Cold War, Russia lost half its industrial output. Each year, Russia's population declines by a stunning one million people. At this rate, by 2050 its population will have shrunk by a third. Male life expectancy is 58 and falling (it's 75 in the U.S.). One cause, according to a parliamentary report, is "stress generated by people's lack of confidence in their futures and those of their children." Another is alcoholism. The suicide rate between 1995 and 2000 was quadruple that of Europe. A sodden, depressed Russia can only be further eclipsed on the international stage.

    President Vladimir Putin is working to reverse this. In his mind, a good number of Russia's problems—poverty, terrorism, mafiosi, Chechnya—are the result of a weak and semi-dismantled state, and so he has set about rebuilding it. His soft authoritarianism, coupled with various tax, legal, and benefit reforms, has contributed to economic growth averaging 6.5% per year since 1998—though Russia's economy is still only slightly larger than that of Los Angeles County. Putin has also taught the country's most powerful men that they are nothing compared to his state. But if Russia is to democratize, the state cannot always win.
    But one thing is certain. Russia possesses one-third of the world's natural gas, 7% of its oil, one-fifth of its precious metals, endless forest and farmland, ports on seven seas, the world's second-largest nuclear stockpile, and 140 million patient and educated citizens—all spread across eleven time zones. This means that no matter how stormy its progress, Russia will matter. Like the ocean, the strength of a nation is a matter of ebb and flow.

  59. Remember this is a family friendly forum, al-Bob, don't need no talk about dry black ho's.

  60. I hit on Doug's link and get this--

    Content Warning
    Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable.

  61. Team Putin-Medvedev, however, has not passed on the chance for a few digs at the candidates in the United States. In a likely shot at John McCain–far from the Kremlin’s favorite in this year’s presidential contest–Mr. Medvedev this week said he would work with any future U.S. leader that did not have “semi-senile views.”

    Mr. Putin’s response to Mrs. Clinton’s assertion last January that he has no soul was characteristically terse, as the Moscow Times reminds us:
    A state official must at least have brains,”
    he said.

    - Medvedev Hits Trail After Hillary Clintons Flub -

  62. "So much for our certainty that Saddam had WMD for now we can't simply state "Well, we've got the receipts" unless we sold him the cheap stuff amounting to .46% of his arsenal."

    -We- never stated that. People such as yourself did, unsurprisingly.

  63. George Jonas on Robert Kagan
    The biggest threat to liberalism Liberalism itself.

    Man proposes, God disposes. Man proposed the democratization of autocracies; God disposed the autocratization of democracies. Russia may have moved closer to America materially, but America has moved closer to Russia spiritually.
    I think the force with the greatest capacity for becoming a threat to liberal democracy is liberalism itself — meaning loony-liberalism, a kind of ideological ménage à trois between Timothy Leary, Karl Marx and Al Gore, at once passionate and arid, that in Western societies has all but captured the educational and judicial machinery of the state. In some, it’s a virtual state religion...
    It’s rutting season, and the deer are alert. Younger stags have retreated to the rill, licking their wounds. Some foul old stags are fighting it out in the clearing. Watching them from the hillside, a young hind is very excited.

    Which one will win, which one will win?” she presses a mature mamma-deer standing next to her.

    “I don’t know,” says the experienced hind,
    “but I can tell you this.
    Whoever wins, you and I will be screwed.”

  64. Tue Aug 19, 05:32:00 PM EDT
    The goal was not to kill a bunch of Ruskies, just eliminate their access.
    Pootie would not initiate a Nuclear Exchange over a few collaterals.

  65. "There are severe problems with both of these assertions. Spengler himself admits that “Russia has more to fear from a nuclear-armed Iran than the United States, for an aggressive Muslim state on its borders could ruin its attempt to Russify Central Asia.” Thus, it may be Moscow that needs Western assistance more than the West needing Moscow.

    Second, the West needs the cooperation of governments, tribes, and groups around the world in order to counter the threats of nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

    How comfortable will these governments, tribes, and groups feel about cooperating with Western governments if they watch these governments cast friends into the jaws of the ravenous Russian Bear?

    That is no way to gain trust and confidence, anywhere in the world."
    - Westhawk
    That's my point, al-Bob

  66. Bobal: Some readers of this blog have contacted Google because they believe this blog's content is objectionable.

    That means it's a link I'll have to surf to at home, rather than at work.

  67. Roki- Tunnel of Misfortune

    Professional mountain engineers say that it is not difficult to blow up the tunnel if you have all the geological data.
    As a rule, before a project plan is finalized, a geology experts examines the layers in the rock and gives an exact geological mapping of the layers to the engineer.
    The Caucasus mountains mostly have granite, clay and sand layers.
    The geological picture pinpoints the location of the layers and the tunnel can be blown up by mining the sand layers.

    Importantly, blowing the tunnel up in this way renders its reconstruction almost impossible, as the prevention of further collapse of the sand layers becomes impossible.

  68. Spengler himself admits that “Russia has more to fear from a nuclear-armed Iran than the United States

    I sure do agree with that. The Russians are acting emotionally, not rationally. And, they have that long border with a 1.3 billion, nuclear armed, industrializing China.

    The Russians are acting like fools, or like they are drunk.

  69. It did it again Doug. "Sonia Belle Georgia On My Mind"

  70. Mat, buy yourself some Haliburton stock, and some General Dynamics or other defense industry stock, and some Chevron stock. That way you'll save yourself the mental torment of worrying about all those
    'fat cats.' :)

  71. We really muffed up at Tora Bora.

  72. Expert warns,A large US Bank could fail

    I've heard that it could be Wachovia.

  73. Buy a D-9 and you'll have the biggest Cat in the Jungle.

  74. Three times, Johnson had finished second at these Games. But for the 16-year-old, that would not be enough.
    "You don't train for silver," Johnson said last week.

  75. Thanks, Bob. But wouldn’t that require me to buy your American dollar? :)

    Here's what my oil rich Norwegian adviser had to say about this :D


  76. Georgian prisoners were held on a Russian armored personnel carrier
    after being detained by Russian troops in the Black Sea port city of Poti, Georgia.

    On a day when Russian troops continued to dig in to positions across Georgia, the detention of the troops was further evidence of continued military activity on Georgian territory by Russia despite assurances that its troops would withdraw.

    A platoon of armored infantry was seen moving away from Georgia, although a Russian engineering platoon built reinforced trenches for a checkpoint just north of Gori, suggesting that Russian forces expect to be in Georgian territory for some time.

  77. The study showed that the geographic range of 105 birds species in France -- accounting for 99.5 percent of the country's wild avian population -- moved north, on average, 91 kilometres (56.5 miles) from 1989 through 2006.

    Average temperatures, however, shifted northward 273 kilometres (170 miles) over the same period, nearly three times farther.

    The fact that some birds have responded to climate change had already been noted in individual species.

    Climate Change

  78. Go to Nevada, Mat, and open a cat house. That way you can always be on top.

  79. You STILL have not paid recognition to Famous Ideehoe Resident Carpet Kitten.

  80. Off-screen, she led a stormy and colorful private life which included seven husbands, numerous lovers, and a famous murder scandal.


  81. Autocratic Governments Outgrow Democracies

    The wealth of autocratic governments is soaring and the wealth of liberal democracies is collapsing. As recently as 2003, democracies had $400 billion worth more wealth than autocracies, 600 billion to 200 billion. Today the autocratic governments have almost $1 trillion more wealth than democracies.
    Last year alone, autocratic assets grew 60% and democratic assets shrunk 7%.

    Autocratic governments are doing everything they can to produce more energy from existing sources, our government's doing everything they can to prevent more energy from existing sources, and it is leading to a huge transfer of wealth.

  82. Lost Horizon from Clusterfuck Nation writes:


    It's way to late in the game to actually put any substantial replacement to FF in place, that should have been started 35 years ago at the first oil embargo and coincidentally the Peak of oil production here in the lower 48.

    The "Green Bubble's" purpose will be to fleece the last dollars out of the public before the US forces Mexico and Canada, at the point of a gun if necessary, to 'join' the "North American Union" (NAU). We will all be one big happy energy family after that.

    The FF resources of both Mexico and Canada will be 'allocated' to the highest priority uses (corporate controlled farming and the military) Any FF that's left (hahahah) after that will be for 'special government projects' (crowd control and Gulags)

    The dollar, which is as we speak, on life support systems, will be replaced (miraculously) by a brand new currency, dreamed up just in time for the newly formed NAU.

    What a coincidence!

    The new currency will be called the "Amero"

    The new 'national anthem' is still up for grabs.

  83. Rufus says Ethanol's the answer, I say Oil, Coal, and everything else is the only practical immediate answer.

  84. Ralph Nader Predicts Obama To Choose Clinton

    Says Obama got his ass whipped at Saddleback.

    I sure hope this prediction is wrong. The two of them together would be hard to beat.

    Biden says it's not him.

  85. House Crumbling Down Around Pelosi
    "House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has asked her leadership team for input into how to tamp down the talk and trouble her party is having with both the energy issue and the Fairness Doctrine, both of which are energizing the conservative base leading into the fall election cycle.

    'It isn't what she wanted -- or the Democrats in general wanted -- and now we have a couple of issues that we've allowed to take over the debate,' says one House leadership aide.

    Conservative Republicans are keeping up the heat on the offshore and ANWAR oil-drilling issue, continuing to agitate for a vote in the House to allow for energy policies that would make the U.S. in the long-term less dependent on foreign oil. Likewise, House Democrat threats to once again revisit the Fairness Doctrine have sparked a whole new round of debates online and on the airwaves leading into the fall election cycle.

  86. Wallace, Idaho..

    Dad said the last traffic light to be taken down on I-90 was in Wallace.

    Did you know that one, Bob?

  87. Yeah, Sam, when my wife and I came back from Missoula, where we saw Clinton, we went that way. You just scoot on past on the four lane now, looking down and to the left at Wallace.

    Wallace was fat city for cat houses, back in the day, as you might imagine, being a mining town.

  88. Doug: The wealth of autocratic governments is soaring and the wealth of liberal democracies is collapsing. As recently as 2003, democracies had $400 billion worth more wealth than autocracies, 600 billion to 200 billion.

    Doug, the total value of just household wealth in the US was approximately $44 trillion in 2000. This excludes corporate capitalization. Your article only talks about net wealth owned by governments but you didn't read it closely enough. All it means is that assholes who run countries sitting on oil don't run budget deficits. But they don't take that money and help the people either.

  89. The combination of Oil and Wealth seems to increase their leverage on the World Stage.

  90. Hes up ten points in NY according to NY Sun.

  91. So what's new pussycat:


    Italy's ex-president admits terror deal
    Aug. 19, 2008
    Jerusalem Post staff

    A former Italian president says his country had allowed Palestinian terror groups to roam free in exchange for not attacking Italian targets.

    Francesco Cossiga's admission confirmed claims of such a deal revealed last week in an interview in the Corriere della Sera newspaper with Bassam Abu Sharif, the former chief of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine.

    In a letter published Aug. 15 in Corriere della Sera, Cossiga described a "secret 'non-belligerence pact' between the Italian state and Palestinian resistance organizations, including terrorist groups" such as the PFLP. The deal, he said, had been devised by Prime Minister Aldo Moro, who in 1978 was kidnapped and assassinated by the Italian terror group the Red Brigades.

    Nonetheless, there were several major Palestinian terror attacks on Italian targets in the 1970s and 1980s. They included attacks on Rome's airport and main synagogue, and the hijacking of the cruise ship the Achille Lauro cruise ship.

    Last month, Cossiga accused the PFLP of being behind a terrorist attack at the Bologna train station in 1980 that killed 85 people. That attack has long been ascribed to Italian neo-fascist terrorists, and two leaders of a neo-fascist extremist group were given life sentences for their role in the attack.

  92. Playing around with my electoral map, and giving McCain Nevada, Colorado, Missouri, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, and Indiana, I still come up 9 short of the magic 270 for McCain. Virginia, Michigan are possibilities.

  93. The new currency will be called the "Amero"

    The new 'national anthem' is still up for grabs.

    Nuestro Himno

    Verso 1

    Amanece, lo veis?, a la luz de la aurora?

    lo que tanto aclamamos la noche al caer?

    sus estrellas sus franjas

    flotaban ayer

    en el fiero combate

    en señal de victoria,

    fulgor de lucha, al paso de la libertad.

    Por la noche decían:

    "Se va defendiendo!"


    Oh decid! Despliega aún

    Su hermosura estrellada

    sobre tierra de libres,

    la bandera sagrada?

    Verso 2

    Sus estrellas, sus franjas,

    la libertad, somos iguales.

    Somos hermanos. Es nuestro himno.

    En el fiero combate en señal de victoria,

    Fulgor de lucha

    (Mi gente sigue luchando)

    al paso de la libertad

    (Ya es tiempo de romper las cadenas.)

    Por la noche decían: "!Se va defendiendo!"

    Oh decid! Despliega aún su hermosura estrellada

    sobre tierra de libres,

    la bandera sagrada?

    English translation:

    Verse 1

    It's sunrise. Do you see by the light of the dawn

    What we proudly hailed last nightfall?

    Its stars, its stripes

    yesterday streamed

    above fierce combat

    a symbol of victory

    the glory of battle, the march toward liberty.

    Throughout the night, they proclaimed: "We will defend it!"


    Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave

    above the land of the free,

    the sacred flag?

    Verse 2

    Its stars, its stripes,

    Liberty, we are the same.

    We are brothers in our anthem.

    In fierce combat, a symbol of victory

    the glory of battle,

    (My people fight on)

    the march toward liberty.

    (The time has come to break the chains.)

    Throughout the night they proclaimed: "We will defend it!"

    Tell me! Does its starry beauty still wave

    above the land of the free,

    the sacred flag?

  94. I saw that too, Mat. Damned wops.

  95. That's darned good Teresita, brought tears to my eyes.

    Lucha por libertad!

  96. The boyz at Clusterfuck Nation were talking bout setting the new anthem to Hank Thompson's Sixteen Tons and a disco beat. :)


    Some people say man is made out of mud A poor man's made out of muscle and blood Muscle and blood and skin and bone A mind that's a-weak and a back that's strong You load sixteen tons and what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store I was born one mornin' when the sun didn't shine I picked up my shovel and I walked to the mine I loaded sixteen tons of number nine coal And the store-boss said the "Well-a bless my soul" You load sixteen tons and what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store I was born one mornin', it was drizzlin' rain Fightin' and trouble are my middle name I was raised in the cane-brake by an old mama lion Cain't no a high-tone woman make me walk the line You load sixteen tons and what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store If you see me comin', better step aside A lot of men didn't and a lot of men died One fist of iron, the other of steel If the right one don't git ya, then the left one will You load sixteen tons and what do you get Another day older and deeper in debt Saint Peter don't you call me 'cause I can't go I owe my soul to the company store

  97. BRUSSELS, Belgium - NATO pulled its punches against Russia on Tuesday, suspending formal contacts as punishment for the Georgia invasion but bucking U.S. pressure for more severe penalties.

    The Russian ambassador to NATO played down the impact of the emergency meeting of the Western alliance.

    "The mountain gave birth to a mouse," said Dmitry Rogozin.

    All hat, no cattle.

  98. About Doug's link to Sonia's blog: I have a theory about what's sexy. It might not coincide with how you gentlemen think, I don't know. Anyway, I think this is like a square of foil-wrapped Ghiradelli chocolate left on a doily on your coffee table, and therefore irresistable, while Sonia's pictures are like waking up on chocolate sheets in your chocolate bed and putting on your chocolate shoes so you can go out into the chocolate world. After a while you just go..."Meh."

  99. Tes will have to work on the disco beat.

  100. You see, here's why it's not as important as some think it is. Russia, will never make much more money than it's making right now.

    When oil goes over $100.00/bbl the whole world is full of cheaper energy.


  101. Rufus I'm waiting the day some company makes a small unit you can use on a small farm, just for your own personal use. Make a little gasoline with the alfalfa or wheat stubble or hay. If it worked well it would sell like hot cakes.

  102. That's a time honored theory T., I do believe. Kinda along the line of revealing yet concealing idea.

    More State Polls

  103. My dad used to tell a story my uncle (his younger brother) used to go to Wallace to the cat houses.

  104. August 19, 2008

    Obama campaign to hand out 'street money'

    Thomas Lifson

    The a new kind of politician is playing one of the oldest games in politics: handing out street money. Catherine Lucey of the Philadelphia Daily News reports:

    According to U.S. Rep. Bob Brady, the local Democratic Party chairman, Sen. Barack Obama's general-election presidential campaign in Philadelphia will be run different from his primary operation, which relied more on volunteers than on Democratic ward leaders and did not provide street money on Election Day.

    "We're not going to pay for votes or pay for turnout," Obama said before the Pennsylvania primary.

    But Brady said that the campaign has promised street money to pump up turnout in November. And now that Obama is the official nominee, his campaign will team up with the city's Democratic ward leaders, who traditionally help get out votes.

    Lucey notes:

    Paying money to ward leaders and other supporters represents exactly the kind of transactional politics Obama has run against. His primary campaigns were fueled on Internet-based fundraising and on grassroots organizing rather than on traditional political relationships.

    More reason to laugh at those who believe in the messiah's platitudes.

    Hat tip: Paul Shlichta
    Posted at 07:11 PM | Email | Permalink

    Democrats are amazing. They buy votes, if not street money then taxpayer money. Yes, Republicans do it but the democrats have perfected this to a art form. Street Money? How insulting is this anyway?
    Hahaha, what a joke. The entire party is a joke.
    Show me one, a single, a microscopic, a molecule sized, new idea from these guys? Tax, tax, tax.

    Posted by: DaveT | August 19, 2008 07:29 PM

    Paying money to ward leaders and other supporters represents exactly the kind of transactional politics Obama has run against. His primary campaigns were fueled on Internet-based fundraising and on grassroots organizing rather than on traditional political relationships.
    Obama Street Money versus K Street Money?

    Bush 'Tax Rebate' versus 'Direct to the Pocket'?

    You just have to love politics.

    Oh well, at least the little people get some dough this time, rather than just the pols in DC.

    Posted by: Anonymous | August 19, 2008 08:06 PM

    Need to get a Special Prosecutor ready to go for this bum.

    Posted by: Dave B. | August 19, 2008 09:02 PM

    Isn't that illegal? If BHO wins this election it'll be because he stole or bought it. Basically, VOTER FRAUD! What they do is go out six months, eight months prior, whatever, and pay people to register democrat. Then on Election Day go back to the hoods, I'm sorry that's politically incorrect, the neighborhoods and bus them to the polls. On the bus, which has the intended dem candidate plastered all over it, they hand out money (or whatever) and direct them as to how to distinguish the preferred candidates name on the ballot or tell them to just "hit the button that has D-E-M-O-C-R-A-T next to it". Believe me this is how it's done. There are other ways too, like selling absentee votes (See Alabama). Folks, there's no way this guy should win this election. Why do you think the dems fight so hard against tighter voter regulations such as ID's and other verification methods. The Democratic Party has been hijacked by socialists and they can't win on their own. It's sad and frightening. I guess they think these methods are okay because the GOP stole the 2000 election and they're owed one. I know I'm rambling, but damn! The damage they can do to this country!

    Posted by: Boudreaux | August 19, 2008 09:03 PM