“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 24, 2009

Not enough troops in Afghanistan; Now what?

Keeping it real. The more the Taliban kill, the more encouraged they will become to kill more Americans. That is how they roll.

The Afghans will play a war of attrition longer than the US public will tolerate and the US military can afford. The Afghans have outlasted every adversary that has tried to beat them at that game on their turf. Afghanistan is a land locked tribal theme park that does not function as a country. It is a medieval narco-religious insane asylum where some good unfortunate people are trapped.

That is their misfortune. It is not our mission to help them. Theirs is a Darwinian fate. It is not our problem.
It is best to leave them alone.

If the Taliban make the mistake of allowing AQ to regroup in Afghanistan, we can respond in a way that the Taliban will regret.

In the not too distant past, the US military could have destroyed AQ camps at will, with weapons of our choice and killed them and their supporters on the cheap. That did not happen. Ask why not.

Who stopped the US from doing so? Americans stopped them. Government lawyers stopped them. American politicians stopped the US military from killing AQ in situ. If you choose not to kill your enemy and they escape and come back to kill you, you lose. You deserve to lose.

We spend hundreds of billions on weapon systems that can slaughter enemies wholesale. Use them. If we do not have the national stones to use those weapons, don't kid yourselves and think a GI knocking on an Afghan door is an acceptable alternative.

Go big or stay home.


U.S. Military Says Its Force in Afghanistan Is Insufficient

Published: August 23, 2009

BAGRAM, Afghanistan — American military commanders with the NATO mission in Afghanistan told President Obama’s chief envoy to the region this weekend that they did not have enough troops to do their job, pushed past their limit by Taliban rebels who operate across borders.

The commanders emphasized problems in southern Afghanistan, where Taliban insurgents continue to bombard towns and villages with rockets despite a new influx of American troops, and in eastern Afghanistan, where the father-and-son-led Haqqani network of militants has become the main source of attacks against American troops and their Afghan allies.

The possibility that more troops will be needed in Afghanistan presents the Obama administration with another problem in dealing with a nearly eight-year war that has lost popularity at home, compounded by new questions over the credibility of the Afghan government, which has just held an as-yet inconclusive presidential election beset by complaints of fraud.

The assessments come as the top American commander in the country, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, has been working to complete a major war strategy review, and as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Mike Mullen, described a worsening situation in Afghanistan despite the recent addition of 17,000 American troops ordered by the Obama administration and the extra security efforts surrounding the presidential election.

“I think it is serious and it is deteriorating,” Admiral Mullen said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union” program. “The Taliban insurgency has gotten better, more sophisticated, in their tactics.” He added that General McChrystal was still completing his review and had not yet requested additional troops on top of the those added by Mr. Obama.

The American commanders in Afghanistan spoke this weekend with Richard C. Holbrooke, Mr. Obama’s special representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Over the past two days, Mr. Holbrooke visited all four regional command centers in Afghanistan, and the message from all four followed similar lines: while the additional American troops, along with smaller increases from other NATO members, have had some benefit in the south, the numbers remain below what commanders need. The total number of American soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan is now about 57,000. It was unclear whether the commanders told Mr. Holbrooke exactly how many additional troops might be required.

Eastern Afghanistan, in particular, has been a trouble spot. On Sunday, during Mr. Holbrooke’s stop at the Bagram military base, Maj. Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti, commander of the United States and NATO forces in eastern Afghanistan, told him and visiting reporters that the Haqqani network was expanding its reach. “We’ve seen that expansion, and that’s part of what we’re fighting,” he said. American commanders believe that the network, whose leaders Jalaluddin Haqqani and his son Sirajuddin have been linked to Al Qaeda, are using sanctuaries in Pakistan to launch attacks against American and Afghan forces.

The problems in Afghanistan have been aggravated by what the American commanders call the Pakistani military’s limited response to the threat of militants based there. Although General Scaparrotti said that cooperation by Pakistan and the United States against the militants had improved recently, he stressed that it was important for the Pakistanis to keep up the pressure, particularly after the reported killing of the leader of the Pakistani Taliban, Baitullah Mehsud.

That echoed concerns from Obama administration officials who worry that with the absence of Mr. Mehsud, who was the Pakistani government’s enemy No. 1, the military would shift its emphasis away from the tribal areas where the Taliban and Al Qaeda operate. “They think it’s ‘game over,’ ” one senior administration official said. “It’s more like, ‘game over, next level.’ ”

The White House has been concerned about declining support for the war among the American public. After recent polls illustrating the decline, Admiral Mullen and Karl W. Eikenberry, a retired general who is the ambassador to Afghanistan, went on Sunday talk shows to discuss the direction of the mission.

“I’m certainly aware of the criticality of support of the American people for this war and in fact, any war,” Admiral Mullen said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And so certainly the numbers are of concern. That said, the president’s given me and the American military a mission, and that focuses on a new strategy, new leadership, and we’re moving very much in that direction.”

He said, “I believe we’ve got to start to turn this thing around from a security standpoint in the next 12 to 18 months.”

Mr. Holbrooke visited regional command centers in Kandahar, Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif and Bagram on Saturday and Sunday. Speaking to Afghan reporters at the NATO base in Mazar-i-Sharif, Mr. Holbrooke said that part of the new strategy would include reaching out to members of the Taliban who show a willingness to lay down their arms. Many Taliban fighters, Mr. Holbrooke said, “fight because they’re misguided, or because they want a job.”

“Anyone who renounces Al Qaeda and comes back to work peacefully in the Afghan system,” he continued, “will be welcome.”

American lawmakers intensified their criticism of President Hamid Karzai, saying his government had not done enough to crack down on corruption and the drug trade that fuels the insurgency. Senator Robert P. Casey Jr., Democrat of Pennsylvania, told reporters at a dinner on Sunday at the American Embassy in Kabul that he had told Mr. Karzai, “There’s going to come a time when the patience of Americans will run out.” Senator Sherrod Brown, Democrat of Ohio, who was also at the dinner, said: “Time is not running out next week, but they have to show results. It’s the last chance.”

Concerns about fraud in the election have brought more complaints to Afghan officials. Mr. Karzai’s main challenger, Abdullah Abdullah, told a news conference in Kabul on Sunday that the number of suspected irregularities had been “alarming.”

Afghanistan’s Election Complaints Commission said Sunday that it had made a priority of investigating 35 complaints, including allegations of ballot stuffing, voter intimidation and violence. The commission, jointly led by Western and Afghan officials, said it had received 225 complaints of irregularities.

Carlotta Gall contributed reporting from Kabul, Afghanistan, and Eric Schmitt and Brian Knowlton from Washington.


  1. now explain to me again the deal at Guantanamo.

  2. It will always be something: too few troops, Pakistan, the terrain.

    In reading a story published here recently, I had to wonder if digging foxholes at an ambush site might not say something.

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  4. The argument for being in Afghanistan is to prevent the reconstitution of AQ. The previous AQ "business model" was based on camps, everyone of which was known to the CIA and Pentagon.

    Bill Clinton shot 75 cruise missiles at four camps in 1998. We had a kill ratio of two missiles per kill. That was hardly a serious effort to eradicate the camps.

    That did not happen until after 911 and within a few months of 911, the US had accomplished the goal.

    After that time, AQ changed to a campaign no longer based on large camps, but packed up and moved to Pakistan. Besides Pakistan and Iraq, the countries of Congo, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Rwanda are all places that could be used by AQ.

    If the issue is to dismantle AQ, would we be considering similar campaigns in all the other countries where AQ makes a presence? Who will support that?

  5. Before one can define success, the Goal must be enunciated, in regards Afpakistan those goals never have been well defined.

    The "Professional" Military, in the US, does not roll that way. There would be accountability for their failures, if they did.

    In their CYA world that is not allowed, on a regular basis.

  6. Democracy? We're just wasting brave lives on a country we'll never free

    Peter Hitchens Daily Mail

    It is certain that British troops will quit Afghanistan in the next few years, leaving that country, as it is now, corrupt, repressive and ruled either by warlords or mullahs.
    When that day comes, what will politicians of both major parties say to the families of those soldiers who die between now and then?
    Or to the many who will be horribly injured in the same period?

    Read more: here

    The contrast between the dutiful, courageous hearts of the soldiers, and the craven, slippery dishonesty of the politicians is so shocking that I dare not allow myself to think about it too much, in case I become too angry to speak or write.

    I have little enough time for our present political class, and (having spent years in their company back in the Eighties) do not have much to do with most of them now.

    Not all of them are wholly contemptible. Some show brief, flickering signs of intelligence and integrity.

    But I cannot forgive any of them who do not now begin to demand our immediate withdrawal from Afghanistan.

    The justifications for our presence there, where they are not drivel, are lies.

    If you doubt it, look at the bitterly comical ‘election’ which has just taken place. Nobody can conceal the truth. Huge numbers of voters stayed away out of fear.

    Revolting war criminals such as ‘General’ Dostum are officially on ‘our’ side, in which case I can see no moral difference between ‘our’ side and the Taliban.

    Votes were bought, ballot boxes stuffed, figures fiddled.

    To my grim delight, I observed the BBC’s doughty defence correspondent Caroline Wyatt, reporting wanly from some dubious polling station, her head swathed in an Islamic veil and her torso defended by a bullet-proof vest.

    So far as I know, Ms Wyatt is not a Muslim, so why the head-bandage, if we have
    liberated the Afghans from the mullahs?
    As for the armour, I don’t blame her. The place isn’t safe for Westerners, and it never will be.

    But the combination of the two garments rather sums up the situation, doesn’t it?
    Start saying it. Start putting stickers in your car and in your front window. Get out of Afghanistan - now.

    And remember, when we do leave, those who did not have the courage to say so when it mattered.

  7. whaaaaaaaat?

    I thought the Afghanistan war was the good war, the necessary war, the war the we held up as an example of all the good we could do with our military might, the example that enabled our great success in Iraq and now the right, the proponents of the wars, are now against them???


  8. What happened to all that cheery freedom bringing optimism? It still exists in folk like this poster at ITM

    "Iraqis will eventually come to the conclusion that they can not be friends with a country like Iran that is led by a dictatorial terrorist regime. No matter what religious affiliation said regime has. Just because Iran is Shiite and so are most Iraqis, doesn't automatically mean Iran is a friendly nation. Iraqis are slowly growing up to that fact. Iraq is a young democracy and is slowly but surely growing up to be an increasingly mature democracy. For every election that has passes the Iraqi population becomes a little bit better at choosing leaders that solves their problems instead of choosing out of sectarian affiliation. It's a slow and painful process to become a fully functional free society. It requires a lot of experience in implementing pragmatic solutions, because democracies don't have the option of of heavy handed oppression that is available to despots. And Iraq has it cut out for them in terms of unfriendly neighbours to say it mildly. But there are good reason for optimism and plenty of evidence that suggest they will indeed succeed. That's the truth.
    2face | 08.21.09 - 9:23 pm | # "

    c'mon now, "plenty of evidence for Optimism" even with unfriendly neighbors about no wonder the 'pubs have sunk so low in the polls - they used to be the positive can do folk and now a bunch of whining "it's impossible" "it's government - ewww".


  9. Pace yourselves in your outrage.

    We've got a looooooong way to go.

  10. hmmm, folk like to rail against the rat but didn't he say prosecutions were gonna happen and others said "no way"?

    Front page of NY Times online at the moment:

    "Justice Dept. Report Advises Pursuing C.I.A. Abuse Cases


    The Justice Department has recommended reversing the Bush administration and reopening nearly a dozen prisoner-abuse cases, potentially exposing C.I.A. employees to prosecution. "

  11. Ash, you have intellectual astigmatism. You only see what suits your gleeful disdain. That's fine.

    I will he hopeful to read a serious well thought out Ash position sometime in the future.

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. 2164th,

    I've been arguing for many years now that the military is the wrong tool to use to effect social change. It is somewhat gratifying to see others come to a similar conclusion.

  14. See, dear host? You are on the same sheet of music after all.

    I, on the other hand, have just gotten my fifth wind. I figure that'll do me at least until the UK decides to unass - sometime in 2012.

  15. Oh, and the Canadians. A year and a half from now. (Unless they can be talked out of it, and you never know.)

    See what I mean about pacing yourselves?

  16. American troops should not be knocking on Afghani doors. That is a job for an Afghani cop. In this case it got a couple of young kid killed. Care to explain why?

  17. Honorable people may disagree on policy, but not about Quislings.

    My country's failures grieve me, Ash and DR on the other hand would gleefully dance on her ashes, squealing, "See, Mommy, it's all about’s all about me…Mommy!"

    Narcissism is a hideous monstrosity.

  18. American troops should not be knocking on Afghani doors.

    Mon Aug 24, 01:06:00 PM EDT

    I'm sorry, why not? Is knocking on doors beneath us?

    Sometimes we knock. Sometimes we kick. Sometimes we take 'er down. Sometimes we just blow 'er up.

  19. I think it is a mistake, a big one.

  20. The point is moot except for those that will be killed or maimed. The money and resolve will wear out before the mission can be weened down to leaving.

  21. I understand that you think it's a big mistake.

    Look, you're not gonna like this war. And you can post unhappy articles from now til the cows come home. Won't get anyone out any faster. Won't get anything accomplished any faster. Maybe it's cathartic. I don't know.

    Just sayin'.

  22. You're not going to like any of them from here on out.

    As my father was not long ago fond of saying, and probably still is, "It's shitty little wars from here as far as the eye can see."

    Which is not to say inexpensive. Our rates have gone up.

  23. But all worth fighting in your view?

  24. What War? This isn't a "War."

    This is a "Full Employment Act" for Staff Officers.

    And, yes, it will make a difference. The Media (and, the bloggers) let the "be careful not to destroy the Poppy fields" story slide by; But, it'll Come Back.

    Casualties will rise. Eventually, even the Obama media will have to start covering the IEDs, and death. This is going to be a "clusterfuck" of Biblical Proportions.

    And, No, I've Never been "for" ramping up troops in Afghanistan. I said from the start that it was an "alien" culture, and, most importantly, The Government Did not have, and would never have, THE MONEY for a real army.

    There is No "There," there.

    Every time you put gasoline in your car some money is going from Saudi Arabia to Pakistan, and, thus, to Afghanistan to keep the fight going.

    This is the first money most of these Afpakis have ever seen. They sure as hell aren't going to "Quit."

    This silly nonsense makes Vietnam look sensible.

  25. Well, that depends on what "all" comes up, ash, doesn't it?

    I think Africa's on deck. We'll see.

  26. Yes, many problems in Africa. I'm curious as to which conflicts you think US military involvement might be a good idea. The Sudan? Full scale invasion or just small scale ("shitty"?) kinda stuff? US only, in the lead, or part of a multi-national approach led by *cough* the UN...NATO?

  27. Course we could keep everyone occupied by just re-enacting Patton's march every year - somewhere within the US where the terrain provides a decent facsimile. Make it pay-per-view. Raise a few bucks.

  28. so if Israel has no right to be, as DR thinks.. it's just a city state based on terrorism, what is afghanistan?

  29. Sudan? Probably not. But I am thinking around the Horn.

    We'll give you a call.

  30. Africa makes sense. There's Oil, there. And, Arable Land.

    All we're doing, at present, is run a "Poppy Protection Racket."

  31. Canada imports a little over a Million Barrels of Oil/Day from Africa. We probably get about Two or Three Million bpd from there.

    That's somewhere in the neighborhood of Three, or Four Million Barrels of Oil/Day that North America Imports from Africa.

  32. That's damned near as much as the U.S. produces. Within a couple of years it Will be as much as the U.S. produces.

    Yeah, we'll be there.

    So, where will the troops come from? My guess: The "Rock/Poppy" Farm.

  33. That reminds me, over here on this other continent: Colombia has oil.

  34. Not much, though (in the larger scheme of things.)

    What Colombia does have though is the perfect "Climate," and Millions of Acres for raising "Oil Bearing" Crops (like Castor Beans.)

  35. No, you'd be looking at a wind-down in South Asia before Africa becomes that kind of problem. Because the problem will have migrated. We're not talking next weekend.

    Kind of like cleaning up the drug trade in Peru so it could move to Colombia, to Mexico, and so on.

    And I don't mean that to sound cynical, I really don't, but in some ways you are squeezing a giant tube of toothpaste open at both ends.

  36. where the act of squeezing creates even more toothpaste...

  37. Colombia has plenty. None of it tapped.

    So here's a suggestion: Build refining capacity. Because we need it. THEN drill.

  38. where the act of squeezing creates even more toothpaste...

    Mon Aug 24, 02:26:00 PM EDT

    Not necessarily. You wouldn't be looking at South Asia redux.

  39. Trish, as Deuce so eloquently put it, we don't have to be "knocking of doors" in Afghanistan to kill the Al Queda, there. We could just put a few more hundred UAVs in the air, and light their asses up every time they try to build a "training camp."

    There's nothing to "Protect," there.

    Africa, however, will require "boots on the ground." Lots, and lots of boots on the ground, maybe. You can't protect an oil field, or oil pipeline from sabotage from the air. A lot of Someones are going to have to be there beating them back in twos, and threes.

    We'll fuckfart around in the rock garden until the "crisis" hits. Then we'll go full-fledged "panic" mode one more time.

  40. And even South Asia isn't what it was in the late 80's to mid 90's.

    Were it, we'd truly be in deep shit and might have to exhume LeMay.

  41. Trish, our "refiners" are running at 83% Capacity. We'll be closing down refineries, not building new ones.

    If Colombia had much oil they'd be drilling like hell, Darlin. They Don't; and They're Not.

    Trish, I'd have to look it up, and I gotta go run errands, but I'd be surprised if Colombia could Ever come up with more than a couple hundred thousand barrels/day. I know that seems like a lot to people in Colombia, but

    The World uses 84 Million Barrels/Day. If we ever get out of recession we'll be needing in excess of 87 Million Barrels/Day.

  42. Protecting a valuable natural resource is your personal everyday obsession, rufus, not necessarily that of the national security establishment.

  43. You're what Pat Lang calls an "oilie." You don't see anything else and assume it's the motivation for everything we do - or it oughta be. But it isn't.

  44. (Now talking to herself.)

    Iraq certainly wasn't.

  45. Trish, Colombia is in Decline. It maxed at 830,000 bpd, and, last year, after years of rapidly escalating prices was only able to do 600,000 bpd.

    Rumors about possible "heavy" oil over by the Venezuealan border, but don't bet on it. If there is some over there, it will be a bitch to get out.

  46. Trish, if you don't think Iraq was all bout the Oil . . . .

    let's just say, I'm flabbergasted.

    Bush, and Cheney?

  47. "...don't bet on it."

    Won't be me. It'll be the Colombians.

    I'll be gone, never to give another day's thought to any foreign country.

    That's the fantasy, anyway.

  48. Rufus, you and I have gone over that business - about the oil? not about the oil? - plenty of times before.

    I'm not going to convince you and you are not going to convince me.

    I'm sorry I brought it up. Truly.

    Go run your errands.

  49. (But it sure would make all that running over hell and back with Judith, Chalabi, and the exploitation teams even funnier. In a sad, sad way.)

  50. I'm sure they thought they'd find a little something. But, the important thought is, "Why did they care?"

  51. "I'm sure they thought they'd find a little something."

    Oh, no, rufus. Not just a little something. We were going to find all kinds of shit and promptly hang it around the necks of certain European countries. With a great flourish.

    They cared because they thought that a country we were already at war with, in a manner of speaking, was in cahoots with AQ. They didn't make that steaming pile up. They believed it.

    We wuz thoroughly, totally, completely had. One for the record books.

    And then we had to go and overhaul our collection and dissemination so that future generations won't suffer the same humiliation.

  52. Cheney continued to believe it long after everyone else had conceded.

    For all I know, he still does.

    Maybe he'll tell us in his book.

  53. Yeah, They "Believed" it.

    But, WHY did they CARE?

  54. Cheney says he does. Maybe he does; maybe he doesn't.

    It doesn't matter. Cheney, and Bush, have Grokked "Peak Oil" since before they were elected.

    Eventually they were going to find a way to get bases in Iraq.

    Just like I would have.

  55. It's your rationale, rufus, not mine, nor do I believe that of the admin. Sorry.

    Like I said, your obsession is your own.

  56. And you are in good company with every rabid lefty I've ever had the misfortune of knowing. So I don't expect to slay the theory any time soon.

  57. If you look at Bush's entire Presidency in the context of a Leader, cognizant of plateauing oil production, a lot of things start making more "sense."

    Early support of biofuels,

    Lukewarm attitude toward rushing to "use up" our modest offshore reserves,

    Invasion of Iraq,

    Diffidence toward Afghanistan,

    Colombia Free Trade (oil palm, castor beans,)

    Nukes for India


  58. No, Trish; the "lefties" thought it was wrong. I thought it was "right."

    And, I don't think it's fair to disparage my opinions by saying, "Rufus is Obsessed."

    I try to see the world the way it, really, is; and, I see a world that has a very large problem looming on the not very distant horizon.

    I have read every IEA, and EIA source that I can find, and they point to a world with insufficient oil for anything even remotely resembling "normalcy" in just a couple of years (maybe sooner.)

    You call it "Obsession;" I call it "Vision."

    Or, perhaps, "Wakefulness."

  59. Oh, dear lord. You actually believe that crew was a bunch of fucking geniuses.

    Now I'm flabbergasted.

    Whatever makes you happy, friend. Whateeeeeeever makes you happy.

  60. The difference between my Opinion of Peak Oil, and your, Trish, is you posted on the Copious amounts of oil in Colombia without even doing a rudimentary Google search of "Oil in Colombia."

  61. No, Trish; the "lefties" thought it was wrong. I thought it was "right."

    - rufus

    I know. And your point is?

  62. I believe Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, Trish.

  63. The difference between my Opinion of Peak Oil, and your, Trish, is you posted on the Copious amounts of oil in Colombia without even doing a rudimentary Google search of "Oil in Colombia."

    - rufus

    Lazy day. What can I say?

    The Colombians are happy about it. If they're happy, I'm happy.

  64. You compared my opinion to that of "all the lefties." I just thought I'd Clarify.

    And, Genius, or not, Cheney did know a bit obout the "Oil Biz."

  65. "I believe Dick Cheney was CEO of Halliburton, Trish."

    Roger that.

  66. And, if the Colombians, and Trish, are happy, then I'm happy.

    Just don't ask me to believe something that isn't so just to make you, and the Colombians, "happy."

  67. China and India will have need of ever larger quantities of petroleum products.

    Who will supply these needs and by what route will they be delivered?

    Again, the most strategically important piece of real estate in the world is that narrow strait. Who is ideally situated to control it? Who will still be based in Iraq for decades to come?

    Would we fight a war for oil? Would we fight a war for our lives?

  68. I do give the admin tremendous credit for Colombia, even though they weren't the originators. They got it absolutely, pitch-perfect right (not least by sending the right people at the right time). Along with a couple of other things that unfortunately are buried under the mountain of debris that the years 03-06 created.

  69. Chindia will need to import between 700,000 bpd, and 1,000,000 bpd more oil in 2010 than they did in 2009.

    Then, at least, a Million to a Million point Five more in 2011.

    2011 is when we run dead into the wall.

    China is all over Africa, and South America, at this moment, buying oil production for the out-years. They have Two Trillion is foreign reserves (half of it U.S Debt,) and they're "Making Deals."

    You want a new refinery so you can export value-added "product," instead of Crude? No Problemo. China will help you build your refinery as long as you contract the "product" to the Peoples Republic.

    They have no intention of "going dry."

  70. "Again, the most strategically important piece of real estate in the world is that narrow strait. Who is ideally situated to control it?"

    Allen, we can keep the straight open without Iraq. Boy did I never tire of hearing that we couldn't. Flashback to BC.

  71. Trish, just as Iraq is the most "strategically located," to coopt Allen's phrase, real estate in the World, Colombia is, by far, way and above, the most "Strategic Real Estate" in South America.

    The possibility of having a USA-Friendly, Democratic, Free-Trade Government, there, is "orgasm" producing.

    Can ship to both "coasts," and could probably provide enough biodiesel to run every truck, tractor, and train in America.

    If the Dems fuck this one up they ought to be . . . . .

    I guess I'd better be careful, the "One" might have his snitch squad out.

  72. Colombia, unfortunately however, is really our only game in South America. We've got all our eggs in one basket. The interest in the rest of it really is minimal.

    That won't change until some shit hits the fan. And I don't see anything on the horizon. That's kind of a good news/bad news thing.

    I mean, the folks here, they are the A Team for the region and in side-by-side comparisons beat almost any other country team on the face of the earth to hell, but the ME continues to suck the oxygen out of everything else. Matter of perspective and we just can't shake it.

    South America ain't sexy, man.

  73. China mulls Export Ban on "Rare Earth" Metals

    Modern Technology has to have them (a Prius has 25 lbs of them,) and China produces 95% of them.

  74. The foreign policy and security establishment is still ME-centric. Going on, what, almost forty years now.

  75. "Protecting a valuable natural resource is your personal everyday obsession, rufus, not necessarily that of the national security establishment."
    How do we maintain national security when we run out of energy?

  76. "Mr Stephens said Arafura’s project in Western Australia will produce terbium, which sells for $800,000 a tonne. It is a key ingredient in low-energy light-bulbs. China needs all the terbium it produces as the country switches wholesale from tungsten bulbs to the latest low-wattage bulbs that cut power costs by 40pc.

    No replacement has been found for neodymium that enhances the power of magnets at high heat and is crucial for hard-disk drives, wind turbines, and the electric motors of hybrid cars. Each Toyota Prius uses 25 pounds of rare earth elements. Cerium and lanthanum are used in catalytic converters for diesel engines. Europium is used in lasers.

    Blackberries, iPods, mobile phones, plams TVs, navigation systems, and air defence missiles all use a sprinkling of rare earth metals. They are used to filter viruses and bacteria from water, and cleaning up Sarin gas and VX nerve agents.
    WE ought to outlaw the manufacture of hybrids, to save precious resources for real energy savers like like bulbs and vital electronic stuff.

  77. How do other countries plan on doing it?

    Resource security is important, doug. It just doesn't drive everything. (No pun intended.)

    And did it, I would recommend following the Chinese example. Sort of.

  78. EVERYTHING grinds to a halt w/o energy.
    China and India aren't gonna stop using more.
    And more.

  79. I didn't say they were going to.

    Is everyone in the mood for an argument today?

    Christ, you people put an executive conference table to shame.

  80. I got a Purple Heart for attending Condo meetings as a manager.

  81. Well, then, you outrank me.

    Have at it.

    Just don't let rufus slip any of his bullshit on stilts past you. He's tenacious.

  82. Defending Death Panels

    Maybe granny doesn't relish the prospect of spending a couple of decades impersonating a large fleshy bedsore bedeviled antiseptic log with a feeding tube up her butt. Maybe granny would like to harvest her epidermis. (Stretchy skin has to come in handy for something.) This is an opportunity to inform her of choices. The choice of leaving her body to science. Or her teeth to Art History. Or her cherry 76 Ford Pinto to PETA. This is where you can get stuff like that out in the open. Living will time.

    People die. That's what they do. All of them. You. Me. Uncle Fred. Aunt Hoogolah. Walter Cronkite. Granny and Gramps. And no offense, but granny is probably going to beat most of us to the finish line. And it doesn't freak her out as much as it does you just thinking about her thinking about it. Hell, I bet she's already gone down the rabbit hole with her own granny. And she don't look too worse for wear (except for the stretchy skin part.)

  83. "It does raise questions about the nature of love," said Anthony Bogaert, a sexologist at Brock University in Ontario who estimated the prevalence of asexuality in 2004.

    He analyzed an earlier survey of Britons and found that 1 percent reported that they had never felt sexually attracted to anyone.
    Luckily, they are balanced out by that 1 percent of us attracted to just about anything given enough beer.

    The Perpetual Prick Tease:

    But with the discovery came revelations:
    that she could be honest with people, that she could experiment with intimacy as long as her partner was willing to stop, and that she no longer had to wait to live fully.

  84. Death Wish:

    128. Al_Batross:

    “Scotland is following in the dhimmi path of England and this is no surprise” PatriotUSA@25.

    Not exactly. Consider the man.
    Gordon Brown is the British Prime Minister.
    Gordon Brown was born in Glasgow, and is also the Member of Parliament for Kirkcaldy and Cowdenbeath, and Leader of The Labour Party.
    Before becoming PM, he was Chancellor of the Exchequer for 10 years. Try reading some of his speeches from that period, and you will see that he was already a Dhimmi, but most conservatives were too busy being upset by his economic policies to notice that.
    Consider the system.
    MPs representing Scottish seats are currently able to vote on legislation which will be effective in England, but which will not be effective in Scotland. MPs representing English seats are currently unable to vote on legislation which will be effective only in Scotland. This is known as “The West Lothian Question” (please google it for more details).
    So, England’s path is being determined by a Scot, who is able to rule with the support of Scottish MPs who can legislate for England without representing, or having to answer to, English voters.This is undemocratic, devisive, and the “Scottish cabal” is increasingly resented in England, and that resentment works to the advantage of the Islamists, for whom strong nation-states are major obstacles.
    The recent Labour proposal to attract more immigrants to Scotland may be an attempt to alter the electoral balance in Labour’s favour but, as Alexis@20 indicates, the Scottish National Party is already fielding Islamist candidates. The SNP is arguably even more of a self-hating leftist entity than Labour, whose main rival in Scotland it now is, and the sight of two leftist parties fighting over the Islamist vote is going to most interesting. Interesting, as in the opposite of good.
    The current population of Scotland is around 5 million, which is about the same as the total Muslim population of Britain as a whole. Labour has supposedly departed from it’s (initially secret) policy of uncontrolled immigration, but is not hard to imagine the balance of the population of Scotland being radically altered within 5 years or less, especially if Labour wins the next General Election.

  85. The brits are plagued with the same shit hookers that are now going after our intelligence service. A special prosecutor for being beastly to AQ. Who is the bottom that scum sucker Eric Holder has appointed to go after patriots?

    Mr. Durham, 57, became a prosecutor after graduating in 1975 from the University of Connecticut law school and a two-year detour as a Vista volunteer providing legal advice on a Crow Indian Reservation in Montana.

    Guess where his pre-dispositions are? Certainly not with the cavalry.

    Another fucking boy scout turned loose as a special prosecutor by an affirmative action attorney general, bent on breaking real men who in real time did the dirty to protect the undeserving.

  86. Couldn't find a better AG for an America Hating POTUS if you searched the World over.

  87. Thanks, Doug. I needed that.

    That's the first time I laughed out loud all day.

  88. Did look a little like me.

  89. The article says the City spends $150,000 a year on him!

  90. That's real sweet, Trish. You try to slip through erroneous information on Colombian Oil Reserves, and, when caught, you accuse ME of "bullshit on stilts."

  91. $150,000.00? A Year?

    I wish he Were Me.

  92. KMFA.

    That took me a minute.

    Oh, rufus, quit your bitching.

  93. Then quit trashing me in your posts, toots.

  94. Trashing you? I just provided an afternoon's worth of pointless but engaging conversation.

    I'm showing my affection.

  95. A House of Love, that's what we've built, here!.

    allen still lies with each keystroke, perhaps he believes in his alternate reality, it does not make any difference in the real world.

    wi"o' and allen both put their loyalty to their sectarian beliefs above their concern for the security and integrity of the United States.
    Which they are free to do.

    The trio, trish, allen and wi"o" are all about feelings, sweetness and light. While those other two promote ignoring historic and present realities of their sectarian fellows.

    You guys just do not know what you want US to believe.

    As ash said, I predicted the light was going to shine, and shine it will.
    For better or worse, well, that's just one more in a series of unknowables, ain't it.

    One can project the actions and behaviors of the politicos easily enough, but the consequences of those actions, that is something else, again.

    But mostly, if you did not think that Obama would shine the light of truth and justice on those abuses of authority, pursued by Team43, then you did not understand him, from the get go.

    Never understood him or his mentors. The story of General Dynamics, it being squeezed out of the F-22 and the subsequent killing of that program by Team Obamamerica, essential to understanding both Obama and the debt he owed and paid to his financial and political "Angel", Lester Crown, ex-CEO and Chairman of the Board, at General Dynamics.

  96. ohhhh, trish deigned to address me, my hearts all atwitter!!

  97. Baby did a bad, bad thing

    But a beautiful, brilliant, observant pediatrician is making it all better now. Life is good!!!

  98. "I am an idealist"
    Notes: Adolf Eichmann (shortly before being hanged)

  99. Eichmann's ideal: Juden frei

    "13 And all your children shall be disciples of the Lord,
    And great shall be the happiness of your children;
    14 You shall be established through righteousness.
    You shall be safe from oppression,
    And shall have no fear;
    From ruin, and it shall not come near you...

    17 No weapon formed against you
    Shall succeed,
    And every tongue that contends with you at law
    You shall defeat..."


  100. No, the only solution is for ISPs to start checking Windows PCs in at the Internet gate, and if they don't pass a minimum security check, we don't allow them in. If an ISP doesn't join up with this posse, cut it off from the rest of the Internet.

    This really is a case where if you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem.

    Don't like it? Tough.

    ISPs Should Check Windows

  101. In Wardak province, where insurgents also threatened voters with warning notices and fired rockets at polling places, provincial officials described an almost identical situation. Roshanak Wardak, a medical doctor and member of parliament from Wardak, said that because of the Taliban threats, only polling sites in the provincial capital received more than a few voters.

    "We really had no election at all. Even I was not able to cast my ballot," said Wardak, who filed several complaints.

    "I don't think more than a few hundred people in the whole province voted, but 52 full boxes were sent to Kabul."

    Karzai Won

  102. Well, at least we know the music that elijah likes to listen to, while he is not engaged in his own sectarian induced sophistry.

  103. "The brits are plagued with the same shit hookers that are now going after our intelligence service. A special prosecutor for being beastly to AQ. Who is the bottom that scum sucker Eric Holder has appointed to go after patriots?"

    Makes one appreciate the beauty of the new HIG. Federal law enforcement provides cover while making the President, for all intents and purposes, responsible for high-value interrogation. Sweet setup. (Unless you're the President.)

    'Course you can't go beyond the Army interrogation FM - that's troubling - but I suspect they'll employ ingenuous methods of kinda-sorta keeping kosher. Contractor heaven.

    Related (and quite funny) news: DOS will be ferrying renditions. Those guys will now fly first class on American rather than on the floor of a cargo transport. And any residual controversy will vanish because it's State, by God, and not the Ministry of Darkness.

  104. We might even take the WaPo's cue and instead of saying "interrogation of detainees" we will "talk to suspects." We're bringing the FBI and the AG on board the HUMINT train, after all; I don't see how that rebranding could fail.

  105. “I share the President’s conviction that as a nation, we must, to the extent possible, look forward and not backward when it comes to issues such as these. While this Department will follow its obligation to take this preliminary step to examine possible violations of law, we will not allow our important work of keeping the American people safe to be sidetracked.

    “I fully realize that my decision to commence this preliminary review will be controversial. As Attorney General, my duty is to examine the facts and to follow the law.

    In this case, given all of the information currently available, it is clear to me that this review is the only responsible course of action for me to take.”

    Torture Probe