“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."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Had we gone into Afghanistan in 2001, knocked over the Taliban, driven out al-Qaida and departed, we would not be facing what we do today.

Losing Afghanistan
Posted on August 13th, 2009 by Patrick J. Buchanan
American Conservative

“Taliban Are Winning: U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Warns of Rising Casualties.” Thus ran the startling headline on the front-page of The Wall Street Journal.

The lead paragraph ran thus:

“The Taliban have gained the upper hand in Afghanistan, the top American commander there said, forcing the U.S. to change its strategy in the eight-year-old conflict by increasing the number of troops in heavily populated areas like the volatile southern city of Kandahar, the insurgency’s spiritual home.”

Source for the story: Gen. Stanley McChrystal himself.

The general’s spokesman in Kabul was swift to separate him from that headline and lead. They “go too far,” he said: The general does not believe the Taliban are winning or “gaining the upper hand.”

Nevertheless, in the eighth year of America’s war, the newly arrived field commander concedes that U.S. casualties, now at record levels, will continue to be high or go higher, and that our primary mission is no longer to run down and kill Taliban but to defend the Afghan population.

What went wrong?

Though U.S. force levels are higher than ever, the U.S. military situation is worse than ever. Though President Karzai is expected to win re-election, he is regarded as the ineffectual head of a corrupt regime. Though we have trained an Afghan army and police force of 220,000, twice that number are now needed. The Taliban are operating not only in the east, but in the north and west, and are taking control of the capital of the south, Kandahar.

NATO’s response to Obama’s request for more troops has been pathetic.

Europeans want to draw down the troops already sent. And Western opinion has soured on the war.

A poll commissioned by The Independent found 52 percent of Britons wanting to pull out and 58 percent believing the war is “unwinnable.”

U.S. polls, too, have turned upside down.

A CBS-New York Times survey in late July found 33 percent saying the war was going well and 57 percent saying it was going badly or very badly. In a CNN poll in early August, Americans, by 54 percent to 41 percent, said they oppose the Afghan war that almost all Americans favored after 9-11 and Obama said in 2008 was the right war for America to fight.

The president is now approaching a decision that may prove as fateful for him and his country as was the one made by Lyndon Johnson to send the Marines ashore at Da Nang in December 1965.

Obama confronts a two-part question:

If, after eight years of fighting, the Taliban is stronger, more capable and closer to victory than it has ever been, what will it cost in additional U.S. troops, casualties, years and billions to turn this around? And what is so vital to us in that wilderness land worth another eight years of fighting, bleeding and dying, other than averting the humiliation of another American defeat?

From Secretary Gates to Gen. Petraeus, U.S. military and political leaders have been unanimous that the Afghan war does not lend itself to a military victory. Unfortunately, the Taliban does seem to believe in a military victory and triumphal return to power, and imposing upon the United States the same kind of defeat their fathers imposed upon the Soviet Union.

Whatever we may say of them, Taliban fighters have shown a greater willingness to die for a country free of us Americans than our Afghan allies have shown to die for the future we Americans envision for them.

In days, McChrystal is to provide the president with an assessment of what will be required for America to prevail.

Almost surely, the general’s answer will be that success will require thousands more U.S. troops, billions more dollars, many more years of casualties. And if Obama yet believes this is a war of necessity we cannot lose, and he must soldier on, his decision will sunder his party and country, and put at risk his presidency.

If he refuses to deepen the U.S. commitment, it is hard to see how the United States can avoid what is at best a bloody stalemate.

But if he chooses to cut America’s losses and get out, Obama risks a strategic debacle that will have our enemies rejoicing and open him up to the charge that he, the first African-American president, lost the war that America began as retribution for 9-11 and fought to prevent a second 9-11.

Had we gone into Afghanistan in 2001, knocked over the Taliban, driven out al-Qaida and departed, we would not be facing what we do today.

But we were seduced by the prospect of converting a backward tribal nation of 25 million, which has resisted every empire to set foot on its inhospitable soil, into a shining new democracy that would be a model for the Islamic world.

Now, whatever Obama decides, we shall pay a hellish price for the hubris of the nation-builders.

Patrick Buchanan is the author of the new book Churchill, Hitler, and ‘The Unnecessary War,’ now available in paperback.


  1. It is ironic that the long war concept was crafted by men who mostly did not serve when they had the chance. They never earned a "thank you for your service" through multiple deferments, or joining some reserve and guard units that never deployed.

    Some who were in those units did not bother to show for weekend training. Others, outright deserted or fled the US to be later forgiven by President Jimmy Carter.

    Some of the greatest mouth pieces in conservative radio never served a day. Buchanan never did, neither did Beck, Limbaugh, and Hewitt.

    The duration of WWI was 4 years, 3 months and 14 days. WWII was 6 years and 1 day. US participation was support until Pearl Harbor, Dec 7, 1941. Four years later the war was over.

    Citizen soldiers are best for great democracies and republics like the US. The US has yet to prove that the long wars created by those of short service, are in the lasting interest of the USA.

  2. Who in our midst, being a citizen soldier, do you recommend for the job? Kerry? please. Murtha? I think not. Powell? No way. It seems none of our recent high ranking military men: Franks, Schwarzkopf, etc. show any interest in politics.

  3. Tke "Long War" was developed and designed, by the military men, not the politicos.

    Mr Bush did not micro manage the military's efforts. He did not even critique their job performance, not until we were three years into Iraq. When he said, paraphrasing, "Mistakes were made".

    There were mistakes made, and the US military commanders made them.

    Though the ultimate responsibility was the President's, and Mr Bush has paid the price for his poor judgements and command decisions, as regards the personnel he empowered.

    As his letter to Mr Bremer so aptly exemplified, Mr Bush did not understand what his Team was doing, or how.

    The other story which well exemlifies Mr Bush's detached leadership style, on his first visit to Iraq, he asked
    "Who is in charge of finding the WMD?", the answer, "No one, we're not even looking for it". Put his leadership style in the proper perspective, vis a vie his commanders.

    He left the Military Statergery, to General Casey and the Generals, who screwed the pooch.

    The real credit for the success or failure of the "Long War" strategy, that resides in the Pentagon, not the White House.

    Seems to me.

    How Mr Obama handles his Generals, we'll have to watch and see.

  4. The US military fucked George Bush and his civilian management team, long and hard. All the while building their own little kingdoms on those mega-bases spread across the Iraqi countryside.

  5. Blogger desert rat said...

    "China is our number one trading partner."

    ummmm, NO, I believe Canada still occupies that exalted position.

  6. ...thought the last two administrations seem hell bent on changing that relationship.

  7. This comment has been removed by the author.

  8. Depends, ash, on how we are defining "trade". The trillions that the Chinse hold, in US debt, that is part of the "trade" game, too. But is not, I believe, found in the published conventional "trade" numbers.

    But as we are 'Capitalists', the buying and selling of capital is definately "trade".

  9. Besides, Canada, like Mexico is just another of our partners in America.

  10. Their "trade" is not foreign, but American

  11. Americans, through and through, our friends to the North.

  12. Not as far as the "Buy American" provision in the recent stimulus bill is concerned. There is a growing movement here in Canada urging retaliation.

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. ...and if you add to that the increasing security at the border things are getting quite ugly.

  15. A week of extremist attacks on Russia’s seething southern flank climaxed Monday with a suicide truck bombing in Ingushetia that killed at least 20 and injured scores outside a police station in the tiny republic’s main city, Nazran.

    The resulting explosion triggered a “raging fire” that destroyed a weapons room, incinerated nearby cars, and damaged nearby apartment buildings, according to an Associated Press (AP) report from Nazran. It was one of the deadliest attacks in the region in years, the AP said.

    Violence by Islamist insurgents, once confined mainly to separatist Chechnya, has gradually spread throughout much of Russia’s northern Caucasus, leaving Russian authorities increasingly unable to guarantee order, or even protect pro-Moscow officials, in the mainly Muslim region. (See map.)

    For Moscow, the stakes are huge. The northern Caucasus region is Russia’s gateway to the energy-rich and strategically vital southern Caucasus, which includes the former Soviet nations of Georgia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia

    Truck bomb signals trouble on Russia’s southern flank

  16. Russia says it has found a missing cargo vessel near the Cape Verde islands and retrieved its Russian crew.

  17. Stopped in Cape Verde to refuel once. Horrid place.

  18. I think "Discretion" would be the better part of "Valor," right now, for Canada, regarding "Trade" with the U.S.

    The Monthly Oil Report is out. Great Graphs. Tells the International Oil Story pretty well.

    Cuts through all the OPEC/EIA Bullshit.

  19. The frustration level is building rufus and when people get angry they don't often act with discretion.

    Krugman has a good overview of the various health care systems around the developed world and he admits the mistake you pointed out in his friday op/ed rufus.

    The Swiss Menace

  20. Aug. 17 (Bloomberg) -- Manufacturing in the New York region grew in August for the first time in more than a year, reinforcing signs the worst recession since the 1930s is nearing an end.

  21. After six years, joint, "mixed formation" Iraqi units are going to be established.

    Tensions between the Iraqi Army and the Kurdish militia, known as pesh merga, have kept them from working together, and as a result Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia has been able to launch devastating attacks on small villages not controlled by either side, the commander, Gen. Ray Odierno, said on Monday. A series of bombings of villages in Nineveh Province has killed more than 150 people in the past week and a half.

    “Al Qaeda is exploiting these fissures you’re seeing between Arabs and the Kurds in Nineveh Province and the K.R.G.,” General Odierno said, referring to the Kurdistan Regional Government. “What we’re trying to do is close that fissure.”

    General Odierno said he met on Monday with Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, and over the weekend with Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish Regional Government, to outline the proposal for joint, three-way military operations in the north. Both were receptive, he said.

    The plan would be to deploy mixed formations of Iraqi troops and pesh merga fighters along with American troops along the fault line through Nineveh Province and other areas in the north that separates Kurds and Arabs

    It is from the NYTimes, so maybe it is just a fabrication, and the "joint" military units are well established and ready to defend their Islamic Republic.

    But I tend to doubt it.

    The US military knowing, in their heart of hearts, that the US would never stand down especially if they ensured the Iraqi could not stand up.

  22. The frustration level is building rufus and when people get angry they don't often act with discretion.

    That applies to All sides, of course. That's why we can study "Smoot-Hawley" to death, and still convince ourselves that Protectionism is the right path, This Time.

    I didn't click onto your NYT/Krugman article, Ash. I refuse to give that traitorous publication any business by logging in.

    I haven't really studied the "Swiss" system, but I'll assume that it probably does a pretty good job for the money.

    Obviously, it's harder to "herd" Americans than it is Swiss.

    We'll have our biggest problems with the "mandates." They are absolutely essential for getting a reasonably economic result; but they will cause a hue, and cry, almost the equal of the "death panels."

    It'll be interesting to see how that plays out.

  23. "traitorous publication" oh puleeeeaze!

    The Swiss Menace

    Published: August 16, 2009

    It was the blooper heard round the world. In an editorial denouncing Democratic health reform plans, Investor’s Business Daily tried to frighten its readers by declaring that in Britain, where the government runs health care, the handicapped physicist Stephen Hawking “wouldn’t have a chance,” because the National Health Service would consider his life “essentially worthless.”
    Skip to next paragraph
    Fred R. Conrad/The New York Times

    A new blog from The New York Times that tracks the health care debate as it unfolds.

    Professor Hawking, who was born in Britain, has lived there all his life, and has been well cared for by the National Health Service, was not amused.

    Besides being vile and stupid, however, the editorial was beside the point. Investor’s Business Daily would like you to believe that Obamacare would turn America into Britain — or, rather, a dystopian fantasy version of Britain. The screamers on talk radio and Fox News would have you believe that the plan is to turn America into the Soviet Union. But the truth is that the plans on the table would, roughly speaking, turn America into Switzerland — which may be occupied by lederhosen-wearing holey-cheese eaters, but wasn’t a socialist hellhole the last time I looked.

    Let’s talk about health care around the advanced world.

    Every wealthy country other than the United States guarantees essential care to all its citizens. There are, however, wide variations in the specifics, with three main approaches taken.

    In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false. Like every system, the National Health Service has problems, but over all it appears to provide quite good care while spending only about 40 percent as much per person as we do. By the way, our own Veterans Health Administration, which is run somewhat like the British health service, also manages to combine quality care with low costs.

    The second route to universal coverage leaves the actual delivery of health care in private hands, but the government pays most of the bills. That’s how Canada and, in a more complex fashion, France do it. It’s also a system familiar to most Americans, since even those of us not yet on Medicare have parents and relatives who are.

    Again, you hear a lot of horror stories about such systems, most of them false. French health care is excellent. Canadians with chronic conditions are more satisfied with their system than their U.S. counterparts. And Medicare is highly popular, as evidenced by the tendency of town-hall protesters to demand that the government keep its hands off the program.

    Finally, the third route to universal coverage relies on private insurance companies, using a combination of regulation and subsidies to ensure that everyone is covered. Switzerland offers the clearest example: everyone is required to buy insurance, insurers can’t discriminate based on medical history or pre-existing conditions, and lower-income citizens get government help in paying for their policies.

    In this country, the Massachusetts health reform more or less follows the Swiss model; costs are running higher than expected, but the reform has greatly reduced the number of uninsured. And the most common form of health insurance in America, employment-based coverage, actually has some “Swiss” aspects: to avoid making benefits taxable, employers have to follow rules that effectively rule out discrimination based on medical history and subsidize care for lower-wage workers.

    So where does Obamacare fit into all this? Basically, it’s a plan to Swissify America, using regulation and subsidies to ensure universal coverage.

  24. If we were starting from scratch we probably wouldn’t have chosen this route. True “socialized medicine” would undoubtedly cost less, and a straightforward extension of Medicare-type coverage to all Americans would probably be cheaper than a Swiss-style system. That’s why I and others believe that a true public option competing with private insurers is extremely important: otherwise, rising costs could all too easily undermine the whole effort.

    But a Swiss-style system of universal coverage would be a vast improvement on what we have now. And we already know that such systems work.

    So we can do this. At this point, all that stands in the way of universal health care in America are the greed of the medical-industrial complex, the lies of the right-wing propaganda machine, and the gullibility of voters who believe those lies.

    Correction: In Friday’s column I mistakenly asserted that Senator Johnny Isakson was responsible for a provision in a House bill that would allow Medicare to pay for end-of-life counseling. In fact, he is responsible for a provision in a Senate bill that would allow a different, newly created government program to pay for such counseling."

    There is a lot of information out there rufus, don't blinker youself by only looking for stuff that agrees with your viewpoint.

  25. ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- The United States knows that the leader of Pakistan's Taliban is dead because he has not appeared in public to prove that he is alive, the top US envoy to the region told CNN on Monday.

  26. "Viewpoints" are one thing, Ash. Anti-American "Treachery" is something else.

    Supporting the NYT is just something I won't do.

    Mass, of course, had trouble with its mandates. It "mandated" that citizens had to carry health insurance, but made no provisions of energetic enforcement. As a result, a lot of uninsured blew "raspberries." Then, when they got sick, or injured, they applied for "insurance."

    Ya can't run a railroad that way. The only way you can make the program "affordable" is Everyone has to participate. And, the penalties have to be substantial enough that the would-be "freeriders" Will participate.

    Again, Ash, the One, Glaring, Irreconcilable Problem with the V.A., Canadian, French, U.K. Systems is, "They Will Greatly Stifle Innovation, and Research." You just can't get around it.

  27. It is not necessarily true that innovation would be stifled - ya build a better mouse trap...

    ...there are still free market incentives to make money under many of the systems and you can also encourage extra R&D through Government grants ect.

  28. The incoming head of the Canadian Healthcare Association says Canadian Healthcare is Sick.

  29. The quality of health care delivered by a VA facility very much depends on its location.

    As careful readers will readily note, at least once or twice a year VA is rocked by some scandal depicting horrid patient care.

    Oh, VA is not cheap. Like most Federal bureaucracies, approximately 70% of its budget goes toward administrative overhead.

    It is amazing that folks who can instantly decry the mismanagement of American foreign policy, for example, have faith unfazed by the reality that the same people would be tasked with overseeing health care delivery.

    Furthermore, folks who will instantly point out the cooking of the books by one Federal operative or another (think Social Security, if you like) will accept, without flinching, the veracity of the same bureaucrats on the proposed costs of health care delivery.

    P. T. Barnum had it so right.

  30. Ah, you just can't sell it, Ash. All new Drugs, and new Devices are designed for the American Market. It's the ONLY Market out there for a new cancer drug, or improved prosthetic device, etc.

    Canada, or France will use their "buying power" to purchase some of our new drugs at a discount, but it's hard to see, in many cases, the Billions being spent just to "discount" to the Canadians, or Europeans.

    Socialism only works in small doses, Ash. Every place Socialism has been tried at a level above a very minimal "tipping point" it's failed, miserably.

  31. There are certainly problems with the Canadian health care system. Much of the debate in Canada revolves around whether there should be a separate pay as you play option for health care. The basic premise behind the health care act is that everyone deserves equal access to helth care and it currently outlaws a "two tier" system that allows folks to buy their way to different options.

    Even with no private option there is a large amount of leading edge innovation occurring in Canada. I'm not saying the Canadian system is the right one for the US, no am I saying that not having a private option is desirable but, for the most part, we are very happy with the health care we have here. People really bitch if they feel they need go to the States for care and the government won't cover the expenses incurred for it. Similarly they really bitch about the cost of drug therapies and the limits on how much public insurance will pay for them. You can purchase insurance to cover what the public insurance doesn't.

  32. That is simply not true rufus. There is a doctor I know of here in Canada who has spent his life pioneering care for folks with Kidney disease (Dimitrios Oreopoulos) and his motives were not for riches mined from the US market but rather a desire to relieve some of the suffering experienced by those with Kidney failure.

    He is but one example.

  33. That's the problem, Ash; he IS but One example.

    Laser eye surgery, if I'm not mistaken, was invented in the Soviet Union. I still wouldn't want to get sick, there.

    I think there is definite value in the Canadian/VA systems; but, if the rock'em, sock'em, Free Market USA system was taken out of the equation, I think the world would be a whole lot more dangerous place to live.

    As you know, I believe the answer is in an amalgum of, essentially, the Present U.S. system, and the Swiss-type system.

    I'm very content with the care I've received at the VA, but I wouldn't want to live in a country where that was "all there was."

  34. ...President Obama to the VFW:

    Shortly after Obama won the White House, McCain had pointedly suggested there was no need for the Marine Corps to bring on newer helicopters to ferry the president at a cost of billions of dollars.

    "Maybe you heard about this. Among other capabilities, it would let me cook a meal while under nuclear attack," Obama told the VFW. "I'll tell you something. If the United States of America is under nuclear attack, the last thing on my mind will be whipping up a snack."

    Good line, there! We'll see.


  35. Rent Seekers Remorse

    Clunkers Program Throws a Rod [Henry Payne]

    Detroit, Mich. — Doug Fox is president of the Detroit Area Dealers Association and the owner of a handful of dealerships in Ann Arbor, Mich. In an interview with WJR-Radio this morning, he says he has submitted 40 Cash-for-Clunkers deals to the feds in the last three weeks and they have rejected two and approved . . . none.


    And there are other problems. First, NHTSA demanded that all clunkers engines be immediately destroyed by running sodium silicate through them to satisfy green zealots that the planet-offending devils have been permanently removed from the road. But dealers got that rule changed after the first week as it became apparent that the clunkers claims wouldn’t be processed for weeks and some might be rejected — meaning they’d have to give their customers their cars back. In running order.

    Fearful of these and other legal ramifications, says Michigan dealer Fox, the NADA drew up a form for all customers to sign informing them that dealers are not liable if the feds (whenever they get around to it) reject their clunker. But NHTSA — under pressure from consumer activists this time — is now instructing customers not to sign the form, leaving dealers exposed financially and causing more irritation with the program.


    Everybody ready for government health insurance and government-run national health connectors now


  36. linear,

    The great advantage enjoyed by our government is the ability to buy off each special interest, billions of bucks at a time. If "your" ticket to the circus is "free", hey, it's every man for himself.

    With each passing day, the devil of democracy becomes more evident to the observant.

  37. The squeaking wheel gets the grease...

    Cancer Funding by Gender.

    Consider that reducing that imbalance by only 10% over the last couple of decades may have yielded substantial gains in prostate cancer cure or prevention, at which point all of the research could have been re-focused.

    The ratio of new gender-specific cancers in 2008 was 1.32 new female cases of cancer for every one male case [American Cancer Society].

    Couple all that with the fact that your urologist is likely to tell you that if you're a male and live long enough you're almost certain to develop prostate cancer.


    Raise these issues in polite company, and you get the "...he farted in church" reaction.

  38. talking about circuses

    I just hope I'm not too late to get in a bid for a ticket on e-Bay.

  39. Allen,

    I saw your comment addressed to viktor and me on arriving home last night. I had a grueling day on the road that began with lack of sleep, sinus congestion and headache...all better now.

    I'll try to catch up with your comment...maybe...unless life intrudes. :-)

  40. I have about as much sympathy for the rent seeking auto dealers as I had for both parties in a drug deal that went bad that was disclosed during voir dire during one of my days on jury duty.

    The defendant was accused of grand theft auto. His defense rested on his claim that the auto in question was offered as payment for delivery of a couple pounds of grass.

    During my turn in the spotlight, I was asked, "Linearthinker, is there anything else you should tell the court about your ability to render a fair verdict in this case?"

    Linearthinker: "Well, you might want to know that I'm acquainted with the arresting officer."

    After some back and forth on the nature of my acquaintance with the officer, the defense counsel asked: "Linearthinker, are you trying to avoid serving on this jury?"

    Linearthinker, staring down the beady eyed defendant and his glowering clan seated just behind the rail: "Oh, no. I'd love to be on this jury. But, if you don't like my answers, don't ask the questions."

    Defense counsel: "Your Honor, Linearthinker is excused."

  41. One of these years, the GOP might have a constructive inter-party debate on foreign and defense policy. As it stands, however, the debate, such as it is, is with the phantom Left - the DFHs - of forty years ago. That shit never gets old, never goes stale, never shows a speck of mold.

    Oh, there is a debate on military policy, but military policy is downstream from foreign and defense policy. And even that debate is not a particularly honest one.

    Do you not approve of Afghanistan? Did the light bulb turn on and what you discerningly espy is a...a...quagmire?

    Too funny. Too sad. Too late.

  42. Hells bells, we knew this was the route they were taking weeks ago.

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Lawmakers debating an overhaul of the US healthcare system are focusing on proposals that would form healthcare cooperatives to help provide medical coverage.

    Mr Obama, a study in compromise and accomadation. The Republicans never stood a chance. Theyve been set up, manipulated, from the get go.

  43. Trish, I think I have been consistent in my opinion on Afghanistan. I believed the CIA and special ops won way back when. I believe we made a mistake by not hammering Tora Bora with nuclear weapons at the time.

    I never supported trying to change Afghanistan. I doubt that is possible at a price that I would be willing to pay.

    I could understand the hysteria about using nukes on AQ, but I also believe that was overblown. We have them and should have used them then or we should just get rid of them.

    If not then, when?

    I posted a comment yesterday that said the annual cost of the Afghan venture is equivalent to nine years income for every Afghani. That is absurd.

    Fighting the war has no up side. If we wanted a secular Afghan, the Soviets had provided that and we should have stayed out. we didn't. We hired religious fanatics and supported them to punish the Soviets for Viet Nam.

    That blew up in our collective face.

  44. Washington Post - Mary Ann Akers -

    South Carolina first lady Jenny Sanford likened her estranged husband's affair with an Argentine woman to pornography addiction or alcoholism in an interview in the September issue of Vogue magazine, set to hit newsstands this week

  45. All brought to us by the collective genius of Washington, The Pentagon, and the K-court jesters, collectively known as our rulers and masters.

  46. The Associated Press - Jay Root -

    LA MARQUE, Texas - US Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison announced her run for Texas governor Monday with a sharp blast at Gov. Rick Perry, saying he has overstayed his welcome with an administration marked by arrogance and "tragic" mistakes

  47. Hutchison has said she will resign her Senate seat this fall to focus on the governor's race.

    Only two Texans — Sam Houston and Price Daniel — have made the rare leap from U.S. senator to governor, but Hutchison has been itching to come home for years. She flirted with a gubernatorial run in 2005 but ultimately decided to stay in Washington — avoiding a primary that GOP honchos feared would leave the party badly divided.

    Monday's kickoff drew high-profile supporters including former U.S. House Majority Leader Dick Armey, former Education Secretary Rod Paige and Karen Hughes, the former spokeswoman and diplomat from the last Bush administration

    Wonder why Perry does not appoint himself Senator, and then they just do a switcheroo.

  48. I have also said that the professional military is unwise. I prefer a citizen military. I have no problem with the wealthy paying a surrogate to take their place. That would be more honest than what we have now.

    I would also support a foreign legion that would give a green card to those who honorably served for six years.

  49. I just want our wars to be necessary violent and short, preferably from US bases.

  50. Mexico’s drug war is another example of an irregular war showing no regard for a formal nation-state boundary. At first, the U.S.-Mexican border suited the purposes of several interests. It sheltered much of the U.S. population from Mexico’s problems. And some of Mexico’s cartel members used U.S. territory for a sanctuary.

    But such protection could not last long. Where cartel members move, criminal commerce and violent competition have followed. And that has brought Mexico’s drug wars into America’s suburbs. The good news is that San Diego’s prosecutors seem to have won a round. But it is only the beginning of a very long bout

    Posted by Robert Haddick

  51. "I just want our wars to be..."

    Me, too. And they're not going to be.

  52. By design they'll be "Long Wars", you know.

    They could be short and brutal, but the professionals don't think it an appropriate set of techniques to utilize in modern warfare.

    College educated, each and every one of them. Master degrees at least. From Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford amongst others.
    They are thoughly indoctrinated.

  53. ... was the General George C. Marshall Award winner as the top graduate of the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College—class of 1983.[4] He subsequently earned a M.P.A. degree (1985) and a Ph.D. degree (1987) in International Relations from the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He later served as Assistant Professor of International Relations at the U.S. Military Academy and also completed a fellowship at Georgetown University.

    The thoroughly liberal credentials of General David H. Petraeus

  54. Grit up, people.

    And don't make a death panel sound good.

  55. Mega Life and Health, trish, have their own death panel.

    No reason to look the other way.

  56. Here is the way it is done at PJ media:

    "Pajamas Media appreciates your comments that abide by the following guidelines:

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    The clause regarding "hate speech" has been deleted because readers criticized it as being too loosely defined. We agreed.

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  57. Wretchard is a political creep.

  58. And he didn't have to post any rules to make that plain.

  59. I hope Bobal has enjoyed his rest and is ready for a comeback tour.

  60. I think New York would have to be hit by a comet for us to stay on topic.

  61. Let me repeat that:

    Wretchard is a political creep.

    No one listens, but I'll repeat myself anyway.

  62. What are we drinking tonight Trish?

  63. My last comment had nothing to do with the previous. I am consumed by a superb cab from Carmel Valley.

  64. Bob, on the other hand, is probably too good for any blog.

  65. It is just far enough inland to get some sun but still enjoy the cool air from the Pacific.It looks Like Costa Rica on birkenstocks.

  66. He is a delight. I never tired of his input, including his parallax view of the universe, a gentle soul, and literate observer of the human condition.

  67. God, allen, he really wasn't that.

  68. Hell, trish, thought we voted on the Wretchard and his cadre, years ago.

    That you keep going back, a tad "sadomasochistic", no?

  69. With never a link to the fine, culturally uplifting literature you're reading, now.

  70. SHOCK!
    Warning: GOP Leadership Still Doesn't Get it

    You can give him credit for answering the question directly, I suppose, but that's about it.
    Here's what I'm talking about:

    I just came from a small meeting this afternoon with a very senior member of the GOP Congressional leadership, and I can tell you with certainty something which should dismay the rank-and-file Republican voter:
    they do not have a clue why they lost the majority in 2006.
    Here's how it went down:

    In response to another attendee's question about where the GOP would head, this official flatly confirmed rumors I have been hearing for months, that Congressional GOP Leadership believes that the only reason they lost the majority in both houses was due to an unpopular war (Iraq) and an unpopular President (W). The ONLY reason.
    The understanding in his mind is clear: us silly little fiscal conservatives out here aren't going anywhere. So, I guess if you expect the NRSC to stop endorsing extreme moderates in GOP primaries or are hoping the House GOP will hear our pleas on spending restraint and abusive earmarks, you are going to be very disappointed.

  71. "College educated, each and every one of them. Master degrees at least. From Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Stanford amongst others.
    They are thoughly indoctrinated.
    A perfect match for The Club!

  72. A decade hence, the war will still be being debated by scholars in their (non) smoking jackets.

  73. trish,

    Youtube has so little on Bacon, Burke, or Hume. That was as close as I could come. Sorry ;-)

  74. ...and it's darned near impossible to find a catchy Campbell jingle...

  75. "Campbells Pork and Beans are
    Mmm, Mmm Good!

  76. doug,

    Re: pork and beans

    Okay, I will admit cultural illiteracy on questions of pork. Pigs don't figure large in Jewish lore...So, flog me...

    which brings to mind

  77. as they say, timing is everything.

  78. * Fire believed linked to Mexican drug traffickers

    * Marijuana growers likely still in area

    By Steve Gorman

    LOS ANGELES, Aug 17 (Reuters) - Wildfire investigators in California are looking for marijuana growers tied to a Mexican drug cartel whom they suspect ignited a blaze that has charred more than 87,000 acres (35,200 hectares) of a national forest.

    The La Brea Fire, which erupted Aug. 8 in the Los Padres National Forest in the remote Santa Barbara County mountains northwest of Los Angeles, is believed to be the first major wildfire in the state caused by drug traffickers, U.S. Forest Service spokesman Jim Turner said on Monday.

    A joint statement issued Saturday night by the Santa Barbara County sheriff's office and the Forest Service said the blaze was sparked by a "cooking fire in a marijuana drug trafficking operation ... believed to be run by a Mexican national drug organization."

  79. Sure is nice to know we'll get the same old GOP back again if Barry tanks the Dems, ain't it?

  80. Re: Kosher body parts

    The human body is Kosher. Eating a human body is not. Trafficking in human beings is not. Theft is not. Deceit is not. False testimony is not. Etc. Etc. Etc.

    My rabbi strongly condemned this group of misfits last Saturday (Shabbat). Like me and every other observant Jew, my rabbi believes the full force of law should be brought to bear. We (Jews) are well aware of the disrepute the behavior of these men brings to our faith, feeding the Shylockian stereotypes cherished by anti-Semites. Indeed, I covered this some weeks ago on this site.

    Were you really asking a question?

  81. He indicts all the Rabbis, who were not charged on the parts thing, far as I know.

    As I understand it, just the Rosenbaum guy was selling parts, right?

  82. ...and it's darned near impossible to find a catchy Campbell jingle...

    Mon Aug 17, 08:38:00 PM EDT

    True, but the fun would be having your work cut out for you.

  83. In the universe that people actually work.

  84. PHOENIX, Arizona (CNN) -- A man toting an assault rifle was among a dozen protesters carrying weapons while demonstrating outside President Barack Obama's speech to veterans on Monday, but no laws were broken. It was the second instance in recent days in which unconcealed weapons have appeared near presidential events

    Video from the protest in Phoenix, Arizona, shows the man standing with other protesters, with the rifle slung over his right shoulder.

    Phoenix police said authorities monitored about a dozen people carrying weapons while peacefully demonstrating.

    "It was a group interested in exercising the right to bear arms," said police spokesman Sgt. Andy Hill.

    Arizona law has nothing in the books regulating assault rifles, and only requires permits for carrying concealed weapons. So despite the man's proximity to the president, there were no charges or arrests to be made. Hill said officers explained the law to some people who were upset about the presence of weapons at the protest

    Man carries assault rifle to Obama protest -- and it's legal

  85. Timing
    Alex Tabarrok

    Let's say a meeting, originally scheduled for Wednesday, has been moved forward two days. What is the new day of the meeting?

    That's a question from Mark Frauenfelder at Boing Boing. The answer says a lot about how you implicitly think about time.

  86. afghanistan

    a geographical pivot with its air bases; they serve as forward bases at the crossroads of

    three major areas: the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia and the meeting point of three growing powers: China, India and Russia

    The air bases are growing, with Iraq, and Manas to the west

    Also, Iran is strategically encircled by the US in Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Pakistan and Afghanistan, and by US naval power in the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean.

    Russia has seen the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) gobbling up the Baltic countries and threatening to "annex" Georgia and Ukraine; NATO is at war in Afghanistan; and the US is still present, one way or another, across Central Asia.

    See global expansion...
    i think an interesting capability would be to arm long loitering UAVs with the NCADE-BC May 27th


  87. doug,

    Re: Chuck's blog

    "Damn the Jews! fuel the ovens, and full steam ahead." Chuck Gilliam

    They are found in every generation. They never change.