“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."

Sunday, February 08, 2009

What is the US Mission in Afghanistan?

We are getting kicked out of some shit hole called Kyrgyzstan. I shit you not.

( No reporter has of yet asked President Obama to name the president of Kyrgyzstan.) Anyway, we are history in Idontkrigafukistan.

Being a big picture kind-a-guy, I was wondering about Afghanistan.
  • What is the mission?
  • How long will it take?
  • What will it cost?
  • How will we know when it is accomplished?
  • How does Afghanistan compare with other US priorities in other regions?
  • Is there an alternative to direct US involvement in Afghanistan?
It seems to be very difficult for Americans to get into and out of Afghanistan. It has neighbors that do not like us very much such as Iran, Pakistan and Russia to name a few.

The neighbors of Afghanistan do not seem to be overly concerned about what goes on in Afghanistan and they mostly have learned through time and experience that it is not a very pleasant place to be.

Afghanistan with a population of twenty million, does not have much to sell except for heroin and most of the heroin goes to Europe.

Let's put this into perspective. Perspective is a useful thing.

There are one hundred and ten million people in Mexico. It is very easy to get into and out of Mexico. Mexico also traffics drugs. The drugs go to the US. Mexicans supply enough drugs to satisfy the demands of US drug addicts. US addicts, of which there are more than twenty million, cause more damage to the US economy and society than the Taliban could dream of in their most drug addled of dreams.

The US has more Mexicans within the US than there is population in Afghanistan.

Still, twenty million is a big number. I hear that within a year there will be twenty million Americans, who will owe more on their homes than their homes are worth. That strikes me as a problem.

I doubt there are 15,000 of that group that can find Kyrgyzstan on a map. There are probably less than a thousand that care if we get kicked out of Kyrgyzstan.

An article in this morning's NY Times informs us that we have huge problems supplying US forces in Afghanistan. We have a new opportunity.

To do what may I ask?


US: Russia Supply Decision 'Another Opportunity'

Published: February 8, 2009
Filed at 4:23 a.m. ET

KABUL (AP) -- Russia's granting of transit rights to non-lethal U.S. military supplies bound for Afghanistan will make it harder for militants to attack the American supply line, a U.S. general said Sunday.

Brig. Gen. James C. McConville, deputy commanding general in charge of support for U.S. troops in eastern Afghanistan, said Russia's announcement on Saturday ''gives us another opportunity'' to bring supplies into the country.

''As agreements are made, of course that presents more challenges to those who are trying to stop these supplies that are coming into the country,'' he told a news conference.

The supply line into Afghanistan has come under increasing threat in the last several months. Some 75 percent of U.S. supplies comes through Pakistan, but militants have stepped up attacks on trucks bringing in food and fuel. The latest attack was on a bridge in Pakistan's mountainous Khyber Pass, temporarily halting traffic.

McConville insisted that the U.S. has not seen on effect on supplies because of the attacks. He told the mostly Afghan press corps at the news conference that many innocent Afghan and Pakistani truck drivers have been killed in the attacks ''as they're trying to make an honest living.''

The Russian decision follows Kyrgyzstan's announcement last week that it will close the Manas air base used by the U.S. military for moving troops and supplies into Afghanistan.

U.S. officials suspect Russia was behind the decision, having long been irritated by the U.S presence in central Asia.

Any new transit routes through Russia are unlikely to make up for the loss of Manas, home to tanker planes that refuel warplanes flying over Afghanistan as well as airlifts and medical evacuation operations.

The Kremlin last year signed a framework deal with NATO for transit of non-lethal cargo for coalition forces in Afghanistan and has allowed some alliance members, including Germany, France and Spain, to move supplies across its territory.

Ground routes through Russia would likely cross into Kazakhstan and then Uzbekistan before entering northern Afghanistan.


  1. General P is sending 30,000 troopers or Marines, just as soon as he takes them out of Iraq.

    I do not think that the target, Osama, is in Afghanistan any more, so there is really little reason to remain, except as a staging area, for an expanded campaign in Pakistan.

  2. Afghanistan is currently the primary theatre for the worldwide hotwar with radical Islam.

    The Taliban are the spearpoint of an extreme, resurgent medieval Islam. Left unimpeded, they will regain control of Afghanistan and once again become "The Base" for worldwide jihadist operations. We cannot allow militant jihad to operate with the total blessings of any sovereign country especially one that can finance jihad with the bulk of the world's heroin production and sales.

    Failure in Afghanistan could have serious consequences for the future of the world, especially demographically vulnerable Europe but also emerging Southeast Asia.

  3. Prediction:
    If we ever have assurances (and a confidence in their word) from the Taliban that they will not foster and abet the worldwide jihadist movement we'll make a deal with them and leave Afghanistan to the UN and the NGOs.

  4. You got played.

    You got played by Saudia. You got played by Pakistan. You got played by Afghanistan. You got played by Turkey. You got played by Iraq. You got played by Egypt, Arafat, and on and on.

    Most importantly, you got played by the useless morons at the DOS, CIA, etc.

  5. After the Soviets were defeated in Afghanistan, we made the mistake of ignoring a growing threat. The world then watched in horror as medieval Islam destroyed what was left of that country and sheltered bin-Laden and company. We've already invested too much to see that happen again. Unfortunately our early success has created a complacency in a world which would selfishly rather enjoy a "peace dividend".

  6. I can't say that I disagree with Mattie. We have been played by that cast of characters, but two can play that game.

    We're up against a bassackward Arab culture and a religion which has been a thorn in the world's side off and on since its inception. There is no question that oil dollars have been responsible for kick starting this latest round of resurgent madness.

  7. The question is whether a secular west has the strength of character and will to persevere and prevail.

  8. The question is whether a secular west has the strength of character and will to persevere and prevail.

    Begin by taking a page from Putin and start killing off the Jihadi propagandists that have infested the media. I don't want to call it our media. It's mostly in the pockets of Saudia.

  9. I know that I didn't say anything new or profound in the above comments. I was merely recapping the obvious.

  10. The Taliban is a rag tag creation of Pakistan. Pakistan is the mother of all terror in the area and the Saudis are the bankers and the intellectual font.

    We have our guys slogging it out with the shoeless and the toothless, and all the architects in the fancy gowns and suits get a free pass.

  11. The Taliban is a rag tag creation of Pakistan.

    The Taliban is Pakistan. They are Pashtun Pakis from Pakistan. Unfortunately, the useless morons at the DOS and CIA see the Jihadis as allies against Russia, instead of seeing Russia as an ally against these Jihadis.

  12. Marriage is between a man and a woman and it's best to avoid all other entangling alliances.

  13. While we waste our military in Afghanistan, this is what is going on in the border country of Afghanistan, Pakistan. This is happening in a country that is the recipient US billions in aid (borrowed from China.)


    By Farhan Bokhari in Islamabad and Daniel Dombey in Washington

    Published: February 6 2009 09:23 | Last updated: February 6 2009 22:28

    The US on Friday hit out at Islamabad after Abdul Qadeer Khan, the architect of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was freed after five years of effective house arrest for selling nuclear secrets to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

    Mr Khan, a metallurgical engineer and the father of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons programme, was declared to be a free citizen, and allowed to move around the country, in a brief order by the chief justice of the Islamabad High Court.

    “This man remains a serious proliferation risk,” said Gordon Duguid, a US state department spokesman, who said Washington was still seeking official confirmation of the decision.

    “The proliferation support that Khan and his associates provided to Iran and North Korea has had a harmful impact on international security and will for years to come.”

  14. Even with a new administration, the State Department warns about the "Axis of Evil". I thought that was just more Bush/Rove propaganda?

  15. The latest news from MEMRI:
    ANNOUNCEMENT# 89 - Exclusive MEMRI Viral Video Release For Free Download "Hamas: In Their Own Voices"

    Feb 2 IA# 492 - An Escalating Regional Cold War –
    Part I: The 2009 Gaza War

    Feb 8 SD# 2234 - Egyptian Cleric Muhammad Al-Zughbi Draws Lessons from the Battles of Early Islam, Prays for the Annihilation of U.S., European Leaders

    Feb 6 SD# 2233 - Ayatollah Khatami In Iran Friday Sermon: U.S. Should 'Die Of Anger' At Our Progress; 'Neither Iranian Nor Other People Worldwide' Believe Obama's 'False Gestures'

    Feb 6 IA# 495 - The PLO-Qatar Conflict

    Feb 5 SD# 2230 - New From MEMRI's Jihad And Terrorism Threat Monitor

    Feb 5 SD# 2229 - Egyptian Cleric Galal Al-Khatib Explains Wife-Beating in Islam

    Feb 4 SD# 2228 - Hamas TV Bunny Assud Killed; On Deathbed, Calls for Liberation of Tel Aviv and Haifa

    Feb 4 SD# 2227 - Arab-American Psychiatrist Wafa Sultan: "The Subjugation of Women Reduces Them to a Level Lower Than Beasts"

    Feb 4 SD# 2226 - Liberals and Islamists in Algeria Clash over Statements By Renowned Liberal Syrian Poet Adonis

    Feb 3 SD# 2225 - Mt. Lebanon Mufti Sheikh Muhammad 'Ali Al-Jozo Slams Hizbullah Leader Nasrallah, Iran

    Feb 3 SD# 2224 - Sheikh Yousuf Al-Qaradhawi: Allah Imposed Hitler On the Jews to Punish Them – 'Allah Willing, the Next Time Will Be at the Hand of the Believers'

  16. Let me help:

    # What is the mission? What do you want it to be?

    # How long will it take? A few Friedman units.

    # What will it cost? Nobody cares.

    # How will we know when it is accomplished? When the majority honors our need for force protection.

    # How does Afghanistan compare with other US priorities in other regions? Were you thinking of sending those troops someplace else?

    # Is there an alternative to direct US involvement in Afghanistan? Not without hearing "Who lost Afghanistan?" ten years down the road.

  17. Counterpoint:

    # What is the mission? What do you want it to be?

    ☂ There no realistic achievable goal in Afghanistan that is worth the price. You will not make it democratic and modern.

    # How long will it take? A few Friedman units.

    ☂ You did not answer the first, so this response has no context.

    # What will it cost? Nobody cares.

    ☂ I for one care. There are enough others that do to swing elections.

    # How will we know when it is accomplished? When the majority honors our need for force protection.

    ☂ See my next answer.

    # How does Afghanistan compare with other US priorities in other regions? Were you thinking of sending those troops someplace else?

    ☂ Georgia, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and California.

    # Is there an alternative to direct US involvement in Afghanistan? Not without hearing "Who lost Afghanistan?" ten years down the road.

    ☂ Afghanistan is not the US's to lose. Afghanistan is a political illusion constructed by the British.

  18. But...but...Afghanistan's a shitty little war in a shitty little place and we don't like it!

    Yeah. Cry me a river.

    I think I missed my true calling: Press secretary.

  19. The Taliban are the spearpoint of an extreme, resurgent medieval Islam.

    your forgot Arabia, Yemen, Somolia, Gaza (Hamas)

  20. After that magnificent heist known as OIF, I don't wanna hear none of yer bitchin'.

  21. Betcha Pootie Poot didn't give us something for nothing.

  22. We seem to have lost our way in war. Perhaps we mimic the British model that went into country after country and decided to stay and administer it. We made our point in WWII when we went, we saw and we destroyed.

    The Germans and the Japanese knew they were beat. The response to Japan was we used nuclear weapons as retaliation for their attack on American soil within weeks of having them.

    We developed tactical nuclear weapons in the fifties. I have no idea what they cost to make and manitain. We used to keep fighter bombers with one strapped to their belly ready for launch in three minutes. They were meant to tell the Russians that we meant business.

    New York City and the pentagon was attacked from jihadists trained in Afghan camps. We knew the location of every camp. They should have been attacked with nuclear weapons within days of identification of the nineteen. Further retaliation should have been against the Saudi financiers and architects.

    The message would have been sent.

  23. esp for Trish

    Afghan Leader Finds Himself Hero No More
    Once supported by the U.S., President Hamid Karzai is no longer in favor with the White House or his own people.

  24. This comment has been removed by the author.

  25. We shoulda let the Ruskies have Afghanistan.
    Charlie Wilson knows.

  26. Once supported by the U.S., President Hamid Karzai is no longer in favor with the White House or his own people.

    Sun Feb 08, 01:18:00 PM EST

    : )

  27. Israel seems incapable of doing anything effective about Hamas. It has been playing whack a mole for forty years. Why do we believe that same strategy will work in Afghanistan?

    It is far too early to predict what the ultimate outcome will be in Iraq. It was a brutal secular state under Saddam as was Afghanistan under the Russians. The Shiites are resurgent in the Middle east and soon they may have their own nuclear weapons in a second Islamic country. After that, they will be joined by four or five others.

  28. However he is a very smart dresser.

  29. The Spike and the Peak

    The figure above, from Robert Anson Heinlein's "Pandora's Box" (1950), is perhaps the first graphical representation of the concept that technology is not only progressing, but progressing at an exponentially growing rate. Today, this concept goes sometimes under the name of the "technological spike" or the "technological singularity".

    That's the strategy to apply. End oil dependence. And nukes anything that pretends to be Jihadi.

  30. Net present terror

    What do you call it when the sharks think it’s safe to come out of the water? According to reports by the Associated Press, al-Qaeda, after having been momentarily supressed in the Arabian peninsula, is making a comeback. Captured documents suggest the formerly reeling organization is feeling a renewed confidence.

    Al-Qaida has not carried out a major attack since February 2006, when suicide bombers tried but failed to attack an oil facility at the Abqaiq oil complex, the world’s largest oil processing facility, in eastern Saudi Arabia.

    Saudi Arabia issued the list on Monday and sought Interpol’s help in arresting the men. They include 11 who have been released from the U.S. prison at Guantanamo Bay and have attended the kingdom’s touted extremist rehabilitation program. Among them were two Saudis who have emerged as the new leaders of Yemen’s branch of al-Qaida. …

    Documents profiling the 85 wanted men — 83 Saudis and two Yemenis — reveal that many of them either took part in planning attacks targeting oil, security and other installations in the kingdom or provided al-Qaida members with weapons, safe haven, false documents and money.

    The documents illuminate the extent of Saudi participation in the shadowy extremist networks struggling to rebuild in the Arabian peninsula after a series of harsh crackdowns in past years. All the men on the list are hiding abroad, many in neighboring Yemen.

  31. Sorry Deuce, it appears that the whirled has become softer, gentler, more compassionate.

    Get with the program, man. Nuking jihadists....get real...please! :)

    We must wait until they nuke us first.

  32. ..nukes ^on anything that pretends to be Jihadi..

  33. And we must not respond disproportionately. That would be fundamentally unfair.

    Plus, don't forget about plausible deniability and the use of proxies.

  34. Background Music by John Lennon:
    "Like Starting Over"

  35. "We must wait until they nuke us first."
    That's why we release them:
    We're tired of waiting.

  36. 17. Leo Linbeck III:

    There once were 11 young Saudi
    Whose prospects were looking quite cloudy

    But when Gitmo was closed
    Off to parts undisclosed

    They went to become again rowdy


  37. Multiple browser tabs enable multi-thread blogging in the brave new world.

    Doug, I've responded on the previous thread.

  38. Shameful Stupidity

    America’s nuclear weapons infrastructure has suffered decline over many years. Last week I was told by an American expert that Pakistan presently has a greater nuclear weapons manufacturing capacity than the United States. Furthermore, the Russians and Chinese have produced a new generation of nuclear weapons that we know little about. The American public has never understood the usefulness of nuclear weapons, especially when it comes to their own survival. Once I heard an American senator say that a few dozen such weapons would destroy the planet. Such childish notions are not believed by Russian generals, or by those who’ve bothered to study the rational military use of these weapons. To lay things out suggestively, let us say there are ways to disarm nuclear warheads in flight – through the detonation of interceptor nuclear warheads at a distance. But American politicians are too stupid to discuss such realities. Few grasp the strategic implications of “electromagnetic pulse”, low trajectory SLBM strikes, or gray terror.

    During the 1970s, when the Australians studied the effects of a full-blown nuclear war in the northern hemisphere, they concluded there would be additional cancers due to fallout. But the overall cancer rate in Australia would go down because the imports of tobacco from the U.S. would be cut off.

    If you think in strict strategic terms, nuclear war is perfectly winnable. A few years ago China’s Minister of National Defense, Gen. Chi Haotian, remarked on the strategic failures of Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan. They should have eliminated their enemies “one at a time,” he said. “If they had … gained some time to advance their research [and] …succeeded in obtaining the technology of nuclear weapons and missiles, and launched surprise attacks against the United States and the Soviet Union using them, then the United States and Soviet Union would not have been able to defend themselves and would have surrendered.” The logic applied by the Chinese general can still be applied to the present situation. As the American nuclear arsenal rots from neglect, the prospect of a surprise attack on the U.S. can once again be entertained.

    The U.S. nuclear arsenal is presently believed to include about 2,300 warheads. Some experts on nuclear warfare believe that anything below 2,000 warheads would be dangerous for the American side. But Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has already notified Congress of her intention to begin talks with the Russians on “deep nuclear reductions.”

    In terms of foreign policy, the arms reduction approach epitomizes flabbiness and vapidity. It is the answer one comes to expect from those who are “empty.” If this is our government, then we know what to expect. The United States is headed for disarmament. Who dares to raise an alarm against this shameful stupidity?
    - ht Larsen

  39. Plus, don't forget about plausible deniability and the use of proxies.

    Those rules only apply when you're being bitch slapped by the enemy.

  40. There's your answer.

    There by and large are no satisfactory answers. Just changes of the subject.

  41. On nearly every front these people are well over their heads.

  42. Meanwhile back on the homefront: The community organizer, in Air Force One, flew 150 miles to a Dem retreat in Virginia. There he threw red meat fighting words to the gathered faithful who "ate it up."
    My barber told me that Obama does not like helicopters. Has anyone else heard this?

  43. Biden has been conducting foreign policy in Europe. I can't wait to see how Obama/Biden handle this:
    Iran: US must rethink policies for reconciliation

    Given the left's penchant for the Euro way, I suspect they'll simply keep on mouthing warm platitudes.

  44. I think he was just trying to save taxpayer dollars and reduce his Carbon Footprint.
    Them 747's make damned efficient POV's for short hauls.
    ...and he get's to tell the acolytes what a fine ride he's got.

  45. Were gonna get tired of saying things like:

    "Can you imagine the MSM Reaction to Bush taking Force 1 100 miles? "

    ...and the enemy will have won with numbers and persistence.

  46. I think we got two choices.

    Stay or go.

    If we go, Taliban wins.

    If we stay, it's a long, hard road.

    I don't want any more planes flying into
    American buildings.

    I think Obama is probably going to go.

  47. I've got some awesome Italian tuna I'm willing to put on the line.

    You can eat it under the bed.

  48. If we go, Taliban wins.

    So what do we do?

    In hindsight, we should have left it to our friends, the Russians.

    But hindsight doesn't do any good now.

    Obama is going to skeedaddle.

  49. I'll bet your tuna for my lentils.

    You're on.

    Obama is going to skedaddle.

  50. That's free trade.

    Some people got tuna, some people got lentils.

    Trade them around, everybody wins.

    I can't eat all the lentils I got, but I'm dying for some tuna.

  51. That's un-American:
    Must be a Yankee thing.

  52. Every mom from Missourri served Lentils.

  53. Don't take her up on that Tuna offer al-Bob:
    You'll never hear the end of it with the wife claiming she can still smell it a year from now.
    In Bed.
    I Know.

  54. ...meanwhile, the lower class barmates are making altogether different types of comments about Tuna smells in bed.

  55. Let's make a deal:
    Pootie and Iran let us get the Donuts through to the troops.
    We disarm:

    "On their side the Russians are eager to encourage U.S. disarmament. There has even been liberal posturing from Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. A few weeks ago a Russian general, talking on the radio, publicly advised the Kremlin to take a more soothing stance toward the Americans. Half the American nuclear arsenal doesn’t work, he said, and the other half is seriously neglected. The Kremlin only needs a little patience and a little friendliness.

    If Russia lays low and avoids stunts like the recent incursion into Georgia, then Russia might enjoy the dominant position. President Obama wants a nuclear arms reduction agreement. All Russia has to do is sign the agreement and ignore its requirements.

    This is what the Russians have already done.
    In 1997 the famous intelligence expert, Bill Lee, warned that Russia had a hidden stockpile of nuclear weapons that nobody wanted to talk about.
    As it turns out, arms reduction is too sexy. It is something that flabby and vapid people cannot resist.

  56. Lentils is real good.

    Try 'em sometime.

    With summersauage, they're great.

    Wholesome, and makes you fart,too.

    I member one time, my friends and I, hiking to a high mountain lake, outside of McCall, Idaho, filled with a breakfast of lentils, farting like pack mules we were.

    We all laughed.

  57. Don't knock them til you've tried them, Trish.

    ...or were you talking about our shameful preparedness?

  58. "We all laughed."

    THAT's disgusting!

  59. Farting isn't funny.

    I once had a commander who thought otherwise.

    He went on to two stars.

  60. So we can conclude: Farting isn't everything.

  61. Is this a process of Elimination?

    ...don't get Bob started on THAT!

  62. With lentils, you got no choice.

  63. I have to say, it's a hearty, deep fart, coming from way below, not to be denied, wholesome and true.

  64. Anyone who says they know for sure what the Obama Administration is going to do in Afghanistan is full of shit. Only two weeks in and even they don't know anymore. Ignorant preening was easy. Enlightened responsibility, less so. The idea that Afghanistan can become to their administration what Iraq was to the previous one already terrifies them.

    There's a lot more on the job learning yet to come, and the current sychophancy of the press has its limits and can only carry them so far.

    The Obama Administration is unsure what they're going to do with regard to Afghanistan. And they're terrified that Afghanistan is going to become to their administration was Iraq was to the previous one. Which would be poetic justice.

    Aside from begging and praying. Begging the neighbors to help us, somehow. And begging the openly swooning but privately cynical Europeans for a few extra batallions. All their big ideas are running up against reality.

  65. "Anyone who says they know for sure what the Obama Administration is going to do in Afghanistan is full of shit."

    Tuna. In olive oil.

    It's hard to part with.

  66. Mistresses of the Universe

    “We found that a trader’s morning testosterone level predicts his day’s profitability,” reported the study, published last year in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
    Higher testosterone meant more risk-taking and, usually, more money.

  67. "The idea that Afghanistan can become to their administration what Iraq was to the previous one already terrifies them.

    And they're terrified that Afghanistan is going to become to their administration was Iraq was to the previous one.
    You send a guy to DC and he starts substituting insightful commentary with boilerplate.

  68. Information gleaned by CIA spies in Britain has already helped thwart several terrorist attacks in the UK and was instrumental in locating Rashid Rauf – a British-born Al Qaeda operative implicated in a plot to explode airliners over the Atlantic – who was tracked down and killed in November. But some US intelligence officers are irritated that valuable manpower and resources have been diverted to the UK.

    One former intelligence officer who does contract work for the CIA dismissed Britain as a “swamp of jihadis”.

    Jonathan Evans, the director general of MI5, admitted in January that the Security Service alone did not have the resources to maintain surveillance on all its targets. “We don’t have anything approaching comprehensive coverage,” he said.

    British-born Pakistanis

  69. The new US envoy to Afghanistan, Richard Holbrooke, has warned that defeating the Taliban will be an enormous task.


    Meanwhile Afghan President Hamid Karzai has called on elements of the Taliban abroad to return to Afghanistan as part of a process of reconciliation.


    With his own reputation badly damaged, Mr Karzai also launched a strong defence of the Afghan Government in front of an audience comprised of many of his critics in the international community.

    Allies to Push Harder

  70. Never have got what part of Oz you live, Sam.
    Those fires south of Wretch are killers.
    118* and 60mph winds,
    ...and Eucalyptus.

  71. Adelaide, Doug. The fires are about a 10 hour drive east of me.

    Right about the eucalyptus. Full of oil. Goes up like gasoline.

  72. Kewl,
    We empower Iran and the Shits to the North, and the Taliban to the East.

  73. Didja ever hear of a guy named "Norman Sanders" down there?

  74. I'd ahve to disagree with whit, about Afghanistan being the "Primary" theater for the War on Terror.

    It is at best secondary, with the Primary theater in Pakistan. We can kill the toothless and shoeless, from now until the cows come home, but cuttin' down the cannon fodder in Afghanistan, bys ones and twos, or even by the dozens will never achieve any of the Goals that have been presented as US national interest.

    aQ stages out of Pakisan, now. If we are at war with aQ, the battle is in Pakistan. Has been for the past four or five years, anyway.

  75. The 45th Munich Security Conference, which concluded on Sunday, was sure to be remembered for the years to come as the new U.S. administration, determined to repair relations with Russia and Europe, set a so-called "new tone" in its foreign policy which could have deep repercussions around the world.


    Distancing away from the Bush administration's proneness to unilateralism when dealing with the European allies, Biden said it's time to open a new chapter in the transatlantic relations. He promised that Washington will "sincerely" listen to its European allies and consult with them.


    Relations between Washington and Moscow had hit low over the recent years due to differences over NATO's eastward enlargement and Washington's plan to deploy missile defense system in East Europe.

    Biden said on Saturday that America hopes to reduce tension in the relations, and relaunch cooperation in non-proliferation of the nuclear weapons, disarmament, arms control. He also said that both sides can keep differences while working together.

    Munich Conference

  76. When we left the relief centre we had a police escort. The fence posts on either side of the road we were travelling on were on fire.

    We drove back just praying for everyone at Kinglake.

    The fire came so quickly there was not time for everyone to evacuate, which is why people died on the roads, in their cars and in their houses.

    Fire Tragedy

  77. As Wretch points out, they're kickin up their heels down Africa way,

  78. "Skeptics have noted that the first president elected after women got the national vote was Warren Harding — an embarrassment to female voters ever since. Yet a remarkable study published recently in The Quarterly Journal of Economics by Grant Miller of Stanford University indicates that female voters did have a profound and positive impact.

    Professor Miller examined states where women won the vote before national enfranchisement. He found that when a state gave women the vote, politicians there quickly began behaving differently — in particular, devoting about 35 percent more money to new public health programs. These programs were seen as a priority for women, and the politicians wanted to curry favor with them."
    See, al-Bob is right:
    Enfranchisement is a good thing.
    ...for socialism.

  79. To the left of the stage stood a huge poster board with Livni's silhouetted image, dubbed the "wall of hope," where well-wishers wrote sentiments like, "yes She can!" and "Give her a chance, we have nothing to lose."

    And Livni's own message, written in a looping, slightly girlish hand: "Do not vote out of fear, do not vote out of despair. Vote with faith."

    Livni's recent push hasn't gone unnoticed by her rivals. A recent Likud TV ad appealed to female voters and pointed out her checkered record on women's issues, including parliament votes against expanding alimony payments, extending maternity leave and providing child-care compensation for working mothers.

    Tzipi Livni

  80. Those stories coming out of Australia are mind boggling. Firestorms coming without warning?

    I guess we say that south Asia is the primary theater. But our ground troops (excluding spec ops) aren't in Pakistan yet.

  81. At 117' and 60mph winds. Fire moves pretty quick.

  82. Livni is going to be a big loser. She's already pretty much acknowledged this by using "the man are holding woman down" card. Pathetic, really. Lieberman is the person that's really in charge of this election. He's going to be the big winner.

  83. Lieberman began his political career working for Likud, becoming campaign chairman in the 1990s for Netanyahu and director general of his office when he was prime minister. He later formed Yisrael Beitenu, winning election to Parliament as its party leader.

    He has held several ministerial portfolios but only for short periods because of his tendency to fall out of favor with those in power.

    Lately he has also come under investigation for the business practices of a company owned by his daughter, including allegations of money laundering, fraud and breach of trust. The police have said they believe that the daughter, Michal Lieberman, was serving as a front for her father.

    Gaining Ground

  84. Better than being a front man for the US state department, which is what Netanyahu is.

  85. Far be it from me to come between the two of you.

  86. A rise in U.S. stocks and weakness in U.S. bonds initially sparked bond selling on the Tokyo market, but this was later offset by buying as bargain hunters stepped in, traders said.

    Japanese Government Bond

  87. Hey Sam, how about a tuna sandwich with Trish?

  88. See, al-Bob is right:
    Enfranchisement is a good thing.
    ...for socialism.

    The wimmin got the vote real early out here, and we'
    re still farmin'.

    It's true though wimmin vote more social programs.

    Our whole state Wen Up In Flames back in '10. I remember the old folks talking about that. You can still see the scares, some places. But, I've posted about it before.

    Nothing like a good burn to wake people up.

    That sounds mean down under.

  89. big burn, jumped right o'er the rivers

  90. Mr Packham, a Research Fellow at Monash University, said the weekend's devastation across Victoria could have been reduced had a proper regime of fuel reduction burns been in place.


    In terms of the weather conditions on the weekend, Mr Packham said the Bureau of Meteorology had very accurately forecast the extreme conditions that occurred.

    "Last Saturday we had the most intense fire weather conditions we have had in forecast history with the exception of cyclone Alby in the late 1970s in Western Australia which, if you believe, was even worse," he said.

    Fuel Loads

  91. There has been a total lack of willingness to instigate a proper fuel reduction management program based on the skills and understanding of indigenous people who after all, for tens of thousands of years, were the stewards of our environment," he also said.

    Earth First!

    environmentals are behind this disaster, you can bet on it....

  92. Idaho elk herds collapsing at the rate of 15% per year, according to the article in today's fishwrap....

    God yes, go back to nature....introduce the wolves....always hungry, and, they got teeth....

    Environfools brought this about.

    Idaho (more pickups trucks than employees) Fish and Game Department twiddles its thumbs.

    What to do, what to do....

    "Shoot, Shovel, And Shut Up"

  93. We had a damned nice elk herd, so what do we do?

    Introduce killing machines....


  94. World's First Hybrid Solar-Gas Turbine Power Station is Under Construction in Israel

  95. Now we got to hire "biologists" at two hundred thousand a year, newly graduated from the University, to study the problem.


    No wonder I get tired paying my taxes.

  96. MORONS!

    Any shit damn fool knows if you introduce a lean hungry killing machine into the fat elk herd you're gonna have dead elk all over the landscape.


  97. It was there that Lloyd Carter, a board member from the California Water Impact Network, made this statement in a television interview....saying quote "what parent raises their child to become a farm worker? These kids, they're the least educated people in America or in the southwest corner of this valley.

    They turn to lives of crime. They go on welfare.

    They get into drug trafficking and they join gangs."

    Controversial Comments

  98. Now we got to hire "biologists" at two hundred thousand a year, newly graduated from the University, to study the problem.

    Heheh. Dammit Bob, you just had me snorting me coffee.

  99. Madness down here. Queensland flooded, under water. Victoria burned to a crisp.


  100. Google map tracks deadly Australia bushfires

  101. Coming Soon: Spray-On Solar Panels

    Spray-on tans, spray-on solar panels…what's next? Researchers at the Australian National University are working with Spark Solar Australia and Braggone Oy on a three-year project to develop spray-on solar panels that are both cheap and highly efficient.

  102. Australia's deadliest bushfires eased on Monday, but the death toll rose to 116 as firefighters and families searched for the missing in the twisted, charred ruins.


    Thousands of firefighters continued on Monday to battle the fire and scores of other blazes across the southern state of Victoria, as well as fires in neighboring New South Wales state.


    The previous worst bushfire tragedy in Australia was in 1983 when 75 people were killed. The fires at the weekend were also the worst natural disaster in Australia in 110 years.

    Dozens Missing

  103. If you look at it from the elk's point of view, it's a bummer.

  104. "The dollar's upside tends to be capped at 92 yen so profit-taking and selling by exporters set in," said Shuichi Kanehira, a senior trader at Mizuho Corporate Bank.


    The dollar's upturn should be temporary as many market participants remain bearish about the U.S. economic outlook, according to an analyst with a European bank.

    Commenting on a two-day meeting of finance ministers and central bank governors from the Group of Seven industrial countries late this week in Italy, an analyst with a major Japanese bank said, "(Unless the G-7 countries agree to act in concert to cope with the financial crisis,) the dollar should fall further relative to the yen."

    Dollar Falls

  105. Yemen Releases 170 Al Qaeda Terrorists After They Sign 'Pledges'

    Another Jihadi the US gets played by.

  106. The dollar's upturn should be temporary as many market participants remain bearish about the U.S. economic outlook, according to an analyst with a European bank.

    The US needs to keep manufacturing of green technology in the US. That's the key to the economic recovery. And no US taxpayers paid subsidies for GM to build plants in Mexico.

  107. One such publisher is Bambang Sukirno, who owns the Aqwam Group and its imprint Jazera, which got its start with Imam Samudra’s first book. He said he was only addressing a topical subject, just as “journalists and others around the world are doing.”

    “We see that this ‘terrorism’ phenomenon, whether you like it or not, has seized space in this world,” he said.

    So far, the government has taken no action against the publishers despite its crackdown on Islamists. Officials are worried about terrorist attacks but are also trying to nurture their young democracy and the freedoms that democracy guarantees.

    Militants' Ideas

  108. This comment has been removed by the author.

  109. The rebels have been fighting for an independent homeland the country's ethnic Tamil minority since 1983.

    Humanitarian groups say as many as 250,000 unprotected civilians are trapped in the area where the fighting is taking place, and the onslaught has intensified as government forces have closed in on the rebels. The aid agencies have asked for increased access to northern Sri Lanka, calling it a nightmarish situation.

    Last week, the fighting forced the closure of Pudukkudiyiruppu hospital in the Vanni region, the last functioning medical facility in the area of fighting.

    Fleeing Fighting

  110. Men in Seattle got no balls.

    New study finds smoking MaryJane makes your balls fall off.