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

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

"We will support the Afghan people for as long as it takes -- let me repeat that, for as long as it takes"

CNN) -- NATO will stay in Afghanistan "for as long as it takes," the military alliance's new leader said in Brussels, Belgium, Monday.

Anders Fogh Rasmussen became NATO secretary general on August 1.

"We will support the Afghan people for as long as it takes -- let me repeat that, for as long as it takes," said Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former Danish prime minister who became secretary general on August 1.

He said success in the country was NATO's top priority "to help prevent Afghanistan from becoming again the Grand Central Station of international terrorism."

"Anyone who believes in basic human rights, including women's rights, should support this mission," he said.

But he said the country must take "lead responsibility" for its own security over the course of his five-year term

Heroic words for a noble cause, two concepts that have a very short shelf life in the nano second world of 2009.
All the same just who are the Afghanis with whom we will be investing our blood and gelt?


  1. For as long as it takes,
    to do just what?

    Let me repaeat that, to do just what?

    With two years and nine months left to the mission timetable that the President outlined, publicly, when assigning the six stars over Afpakistan.

    It is really the Pakistan part of the campaign that is important to the goals that I hold dear for our continued presence in Afpakistan.

    Osama's head on a pike.

    The other stuff, is eyewash, window dressing. Expensive, but ultimately, just another canal project that'll never meet any reasonable definiton of success.

  2. That is one nasty-looking box-of-rocks.

  3. Maybe it's time to be harsh...

    Let the swine flu rage around the planet...

    those that will bow down and kiss the asses of the jewish, christian & pagan scientists can get a vaccine..

    those that refuse?

    embrace natural selection

  4. "Maybe it's time to be harsh..."

    You know, What Is, sliming the Spin Gar would have worked a neat trick for half a generation at least. But even under the most generous understanding of military necessity, no one would have accepted it. Maybe a week or two after 9/11 the President was asking American school children to send money to Afghan children. Standing in my kitchen back home, four jaws dropped to the floor.

    Doesn't bother me any more.

    Think for a moment of what Israel COULD do and she doesn't. Not many spectators do, but it's worth considering the world of hurt, conventionally understood, that she could deliver and does not. Rather, it's worth simply considering the fact that she does not.

    And there she is, still, after all these years. The world's biggest pain in the ass. : )

  5. Afghan, ISAF forces launch Operation Spin Ghar

    25 Oct 2007
    PR# 2007-689

    Kabul, Afghanistan - Afghan and ISAF Forces have launched the next phase of operations to target and clear Taliban from the area around Tarin Kowt in Uruzgan Province in order to consolidate an enduring security presence in the area.
    Soldiers from the Afghan National Army and ISAF are involved in the operation ‘Spin Ghar,’ which began today, to identify Taliban Forces and drive them out of their strongholds.

    The operation’s key objective is to create a secure environment, free of Taliban, for the citizen of Uruzgan and to support the Provincial Government and its new Governor in their efforts to bring vital reconstruction and development projects to the Province.

    The operation is being conducted in consultation with local leaders and Governor Hamdam and has the support of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan.

    “Operation Spin Ghar is designed to consolidate security around Tarin Kowt and expand the influence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan. This joint operation will enable the ANSF and ISAF to have freedom of movement in the area around Tarin Kowt by pushing the Taliban out,” said an ISAF spokesman Wing Commander Antony McCord. “This will set the conditions for an enduring presence of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan and set the conditions for long term reconstruction and development. It is crucial that the Taliban are prevented from terrorising the local people so that they can go about their daily lives without fear of intimidation. The operation is part of a series of operations forming a well developed plan to provide protection and security for the people of Uruzgan.

  6. Osama bin Laden has been dead for nearly eight years.

    While team of forensic anthropologists, given sufficient time, might be able to paste together enough skeletal remains to hang from a pike, would it be worth the effort?

    Any day now, JFK, Elvis and Osama are going to make their grand reappearance from the belly of the giant, heretofore invisible, mother UFO. And the lion will lie down with the lamb...

  7. "Osama bin Laden has been dead for nearly eight years."

    Gosh, if only we had known that it would have been truly a case of "money for nothing and your chicks for free."

  8. This show had no more to do with Osama bin Laden than WWII being fought to kill or capture Hitler or Tojo.

    As to Israel being a "pain in the ass", I resemble that remark ;-)

  9. Oh, and trish, chicks are NEVER free; although as the Congress proves daily, money can be had in copious amounts for absolutely nothing.

  10. Re: Hilton Head

    Will you hate me?

  11. I've got a story about Macon, Hilton Head, the Taliban takeover in Kabul, a Romanian linguist, and the CI guy at the FBI field office. Involving a beautifully restored Land Rover.

    Amazingly enough.

  12. Very tentatively (now ducking), I admit having gone to Hilton Head. I will also admit (now running) to having spent about one-third of last year there.

    As you know, Hilton Head Island is the world's largest golf course - approximately 900 holes, I'd guess. A short chip shot across a road, canal or narrow thicket will put you in play at the adjoining club.

    Alas, poor Hilton Head has not escaped the financial perils of the rest of America. No, indeed! There are persistent rumors of once independent seniors finding themselves down to their last few million in American banks. It is really heart wrenching.

    Hilton Head does offer a tantalizing glimpse into the wondrous possibilities of managed geriatric health care. With proper management and the right doses of HGH, botox and Xanax, life can be a dream…a dream…a dream……..

  13. "Very tentatively (now ducking), I admit having gone to Hilton Head. I will also admit (now running) to having spent about one-third of last year there."

    That is so wrong.

  14. This comment has been removed by the author.

  15. Reposted from 05:49:00 PM EDT due to an overlooked redaction.

    There are persistent rumors of once independent seniors finding themselves down to their last few million in American banks. It is really heart wrenching.

    By a strange coincidence, I just this morning sent my BOL an email relating the sad tale of another heart wrenching case of poverty.

    Seeking indulgence for a long comment, here it is...

    The Legend. You may recall my tales of Dirty Foot. The conniving, scamming bitch that lives in Shaver Lake, an olden days past friend of K. K said, "You remember what happened to L?" L is Dirty Foot's son, who just died a couple weeks ago of a brain tumor, or something like that.

    I said yeah. K said, "Well Betty just told me that at church Sunday they announced that Dirty Foot is pleading poverty, and wants the church members to contribute to a fund to pay for L's cremation."

    Here's the rest of the story. Dirty Foot lives in a nice cabin built by her late father on the shore of Shaver Lake. Adjoining her cabin and lot are two vacant lots. One of those lots had an offer a couple years ago of $1 million dollars, but Dirty Foot refused to sell. She also owns 40 acres across the river along the road to North Fork, as well as a different 40 acre tract astraddle Musick Creek just below Shaver Lake. A water fall is one of the features of that property. Her mother's home in Fresno, three bedrooms with swimming pool, is also in her name. I just found out this morning that she also has undeveloped property in North Lake Tahoe. Without knowing more, I can say that piece alone is probably worth millions.

    Dirty Foot's cabin at Shaver Lake now has no working toilet, the leach field probably having failed, and being on the shoreline there are no doubt new restrictions for permit that preclude replacing it. No, wait. The town of Shaver Lake had water borne sewage installed back in the early eighties which was federally funded by about 80%. Very expensive underground work, because of all the solid granite that had to be trenched through for the sewer lines. Your taxes from Montana no doubt helped fund that piece of public works. Maybe she was too cheap to hook up at that time, or she just has a sewer connection that needs service. K also reports that Dirty Foot's teeth are rotten and falling out because she's too cheap to see a dentist.

    L's body is on ice at the present time, awaiting contributions from the community to help his poor mother get him reduced to ashes.

    This is why I continue to refer to her as "Dirty Foot." Top this tale of poverty if you can. She's a legend in her own time.

    The property down along Musick Creek is exactly where I saw the beam of strange light emanating from a brilliant ball of light and doing a back-and-forth type sweep of the ground. The ball of bright light was no higher than the crest of Mt Stevenson, a loaf shaped rocky ridge that forms the west flank of the Shaver Lake basin. That was about 3am as I was driving up to Shaver to get my truck for a fire assignment in Yosemite in the early '90s. It was so strange, I stopped at one point to get a better look at it. It lingered over her place for several minutes, but by the time I got to Shaver Lake it was gone. There was however a very bright light hovering over Bald Mountain about ten miles east of Shaver. I kept looking over my shoulder all the way to Yosemite. This prompted a post card note I sent to K from Roswell, with a story about the clerk in the UFO "Museum" handing me a message as I was paying for my postcard selections and souvenirs. The message said, "Tell Dirty Foot resistance is futile!" Dirty Foot, is a fan of late night radio, and an avid follower of conspiracy theories, btw.

    Have a nice day

  16. Then I guess Doc Z's head will ahve to surfice.

    If neither are available for mounting, may as well come home, leaving the Afpakis to sort themselves out.

  17. Linear

    I can't top your story but I was raised poor. How poor you ask?

    So poor that our family ate Cornflakes with a fork to save milk.

    So poor that all my mother packed in my lunchbox was a picture of a sandwich. Some days, for a treat, she would include a picture of a cookie.

    So poor that on Saturday night we would all go down to KFC to lick other people's fingers

    So poor that the front door to our house was also the back door.

    So poor that panhandlers gave us money.

    So poor that in school I couldn't even afford to pay attention.

    So poor that my sister got married just so that we could collect the rice.

    So poor that when having a conversation I couldn't even put my two cents in.

    And, just for Rufus:

    So poor that even Republicans were willing to give us welfare.

  18. This picture show of Afpakistanis is a bit lower tech, the pictures do not move and you have to read the captions, yourself. Then you must click to advance to the next photo.

    Roggio providing more depth than techno flash.
    There's a fellow that turned his blogging into a business, of sorts.

  19. Intersting graph, if the underpinning data sets are acurrate. National Party Identification .

    While Obama's popularity is dropping, along with self identifying Democrats, their decline is mirrored by the GOP's continued declining self indentifiers.

    Those that are abandoning both the Dems and the Pubs, claiming to be independent. At 35.6% of the electorate, they represent the largest of the "Three" self identifiers.

    "Independence" has no form or substance, of their own.

  20. 33. Batman:

    re: RWE @7 You make an important point. We currently have several ongoing examples of totally government run health care. They are the Federal Prison System, the Indian Reservations, and the VA Hospitals (though, to be fair, some VA’s are affiliated with major university medical centers and that actually makes the care a little bit better). And then there is Medicaid which is government funded but only partly government run. Finally there is Medicare, government funded but requiring the individual to purchase supplemental insurance if they want top care.

    Until these presently government run programs work efficiently, does it make sense for us to increase governmental management of care?

    I have been closely involved with a local high school. Despite being in a tract already declared an “education zone” we had to spend over $2,000,000 and over 2 years on traffic abatement and environmental impact reports before we could put a single shovel into the ground for construction.

    Yet we are being presented with a huge transformation of our health care system with scarcely anyone knowing what it is or what its “environmental” impact will be. And we are urged by such as Senator Spector to hurry.

    Speculation: I wonder whether the good Senator would have had as successful treatment for his brain tumor under Obamacare? I’m certain that Senator Kennedy, who has a tumor with a cell type that is typically fatal within 24 months, would fall within the approved algorithm for Obamacare treatment.

    Oh, I forgot. He is one of the elites. Silly me.

    34. SpeakEasy:

    15. DeadButMorallySuperior:
    3. Page 58 – Government will have direct access to everyone’s finance and all to be issued a National ID card.

    National Id for health care = good.
    National Id to vote = bad.

  21. At the same time, 'Rat, polls show independents shifting most against ObamaCareLess.

  22. That could be, doug. Not that it matters, much.

    They WILl pass spmething, it will be a major reform, but may well fall short of their ultimate prize. But rest assured, their eyes are on the prize.

    I believe that Obama has faith in incrementalism.

  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

  24. That is a great link, viktor.
    mat and I would go around and round about that footprint. He thought it insignifgant problem.

  25. "I believe that Obama has faith in incrementalism."
    All Commies Do
    It's worked wonders in the USA

  26. Washington Post - Zachary A. Goldfarb - ‎53 minutes ago‎

    General Electric, the giant conglomerate that owns manufacturing, media and financial companies, agreed on Tuesday to pay $50 million to settle federal charges that it committed accounting fraud over a two-year period.

  27. Rhode Island is an itty bitty state (barely bigger than the county I live in,) and Very Densely Populated. About 1,000 per Sq. Mile.

    In comparison, my State of Mississippi has a pop. density of 60 per square mile.

    I would think Nuclear would make more sense in Rhode Island than in some other places. However, "Offshore" Wind might be a reasonable technology, there. Or, maybe some ocean "current."

    Any reasonable person recognizes that you have to play the "hand your dealt."

  28. It clearly shows the superiority of nuclear. No brainer in my book.

  29. You'd have to be crazy not to see the advantages of The Big, Honkin' Nuke Plants.

    I, also, like the idea of doing some wind, and solar, ocean current, etc. just to "keep our hand in," so to speak.

    I don't like being held "hostage" to Any industry, foreign country, political party, or preacher.

  30. Except for US Healthcare Inc.

  31. What's the definition of insanity, doug?

  32. It'll be Okay, Doug. Hell, we're not going to live forever, anyway.

  33. There you go.


  34. Deuce, here's a pretty comprehensive article about the State of Nuclear Power in the World.

    I was surprised to find that Nuclear ony provided about 2% of the World's "final energy," and that it's falling.

  35. I'll take a rain-check, Trish. I'm worn out. I'm going to bed.

  36. Opponents accuse Ahmadinejad, who enjoyed windfall oil revenues in his first term, of mismanaging the economy, stoking inflation, wasting resources and manipulating statistics to cover his failures.

    Iran's stance towards close US ally Israel is also likely to harden further during the second term of Ahmadinejad, who has repeatedly said the Jewish state is doomed to disappear.

    Israel, the Middle East's sole if undeclared nuclear power, has stressed that it holds a military option to curb Tehran's atomic ambitions.

    Ahmadinejad to Take Oath

  37. From Michael Yon's latest from Afghanistan.

    "Many of us seem to share with the Afghans an equal empathy: we care for their plight as much as they care about the attacks [on us]"

    "...this is not a mercy mission. We owe nothing to the Afghans, especially not to those who continue to harbor murderers."

    Read the rest here

  38. Wissam Mahmoud Fattal refused to stand for Magistrate Peter Reardon before his angry outburst from the dock.


    The court was packed with media and family members, who were subject to security checks upon entry.

    Mr Reardon said Mr Fattal's unwillingness to stand showed disrespect to the court, saying he did not accept the accused's lawyers' assertion that it was a religious position.

    Refuses to Stand

  39. Sam

    "Mike's contradictory."

    If you are drawing that conclusion from the two paragraphs in my post then I would ask you to read the first paragraph more closely. Yon is speaking sarcastically.

    What he is really saying is that the Afghans don't give a damn about us and we feel the same way about them.

  40. Damn,
    Missed a chance for a Beer Summit.
    On Trish.

  41. Ah, sarcasm. I'm with you.

    Where's that beer?

  42. I, also, like the idea of doing some wind, and solar, ocean current, etc. just to "keep our hand in," so to speak.

    Show me a greenie or progressive's pipe dream that doesn't garner Rufus' support. Just one.

    There must be something in the water in Mississippi.

  43. Have a couple of beers, Sam. After all, they're on Trish's tab.

    Me? I'm going to watch a movie at the top of the hour called Michael Clayton starring George Clooney and Tilda Swinton.

    Clooney is not my favorite guy but he is pitch perfect in this particular role.

    And before I sign off:

    What Doud said about Rufus @ 10:51
    What linear said about Rufus @ 01:25.

    Rufus: How do you explain yourself to yourself? Just kidding, of course :-))

    G'nite everyone.

  44. This just caught my eye...

    Cash for Clunkers - Eligible New Cars.

    2009 HUMMER H3T 3.7L 5cyl 5M 4WD Category 2 Truck

    So, why don't I just limp my old 4Runner back to Arkansas, and trade it in on a shiny new Hummer? Take advantage of that Federal Socialism largess. Get my share.

    I'd look fine in a shiny new Hummer, I reckon.


    This is amusing, too. From the Cash-for-Clunkers Q&A:

    How will this affect used-car values?

    Since the "clunkers" will be taken off the road, there will be fewer older vehicles in the marketplace. However, our analysts don't expect this program to drastically affect used-car values.

    IOW...Trust us, we're with the government.

    I was really disappointed to note that Peugeot and Citroen were not among the eligible vehicles. I'd look really good in a Citroen DS. Tooling into World Market to pick up some arugula for my BLTs.

    via Drudge, mostly

  45. ...WholeFoodsMarket to pickup some arugula...

    ...why pay less?

  46. "The Citro├źn DS is the most beautiful car of all time, according to the world's leading car designers. Assembled by UK-based Classic & Sports Car magazine, the 20 jury members placed the French sedan ahead of anything produced by Ferrari or Lamborghini."
    World Leaders come through again.
    Mom and a friend bought a used one to drive in a parade.
    For those not in the know, it had rubber air bags for springs, and you could make the entire car go up and down quite a ways from the driver's seat.
    Among a multitude of other unique features, including a one-spoked steering wheel.

  47. Mention Citroens and I think of this, guess it dates me, more than Citroens.

  48. A Citroen went like a bat out of hell, too. At least with a Frog driving it.

    Very civilized place to drive, though. In Paris at that time, it was considered rude to drive with your headlights on after dark on the well lit expressways. What we called "parking" lights were de rigueur, and if you were so gauche as to drive with your headlights on, they'd flash you like we signal other morons to dim their lights.

  49. I used to see a few of these over there, too. Always thought they looked pretty classy.

    Traction Avant.

  50. That 2CV always left me waiting for the never ending string of clowns to start climbing out.

  51. ...But the new rules also require the Marines to “be sensitive to Afghan cultural norms regarding women.” So when a gaggle of civilians fled the compound, the Marines didn’t search the females. When the Americans finally stormed the compound, they found it empty — and realized the Taliban had sneaked out, dressed as women. “Apparently these were tall, rather broad-shouldered women with hairy feet,” a Marine spokesman mused.

    Marines Wrestle With Afghanistan’s New Airstrike Rules

  52. ...I pity that future that won't ever experience the sweet feeling of motoring in a vehicle with a large internal-combustion engine running on heavy fuel. A vehicle with a glutton's diet of pure petrochemical byproducts. A car that turns the sunshine that fell to Earth on some antediluvian day 500 million summers gone into a surge of pure speed on this fine July afternoon.

    I pity my descendants who will never be able to look out at some sweeping mountain road, perfectly curved, perfectly banked, with no oncoming traffic and just "Give it the gas."

    "Give it the photons" just doesn't have the same cachet

    "The Pleasures of Merely Circulating"

  53. Citroen Traction Avant was way ahead of it's time.
    That model looks even lower than the one I always wanted.
    I'll take a Shelby GT, please.

  54. Allen doesn't play golf.

    Going way out on a limb here, I don't think bobal's complaint had as much to do with the game as the player. Shocking, I know.