“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, September 08, 2009

The blame game begins in Afghanistan.

Afghan President Accuses US of Trying to Undermine Him
By VOA News
07 September 2009

Afghan President Hamid Karzai says he believes the United States is denouncing his family and political allies in an effort to undermine his position.

In an interview with the French daily Le Figaro published Monday, Mr. Karzai said the United States is using "underhanded" tactics to undermine him.

He said he believed that recent U.S. criticism of his running mate, Mohammad Qasim Fahim, was actually aimed at him. He also said accusations that his brother is corrupt are unfounded.

Mr. Karzai also said there might have been incidents of fraud during last month's presidential election. But he dismissed them as "inevitable" in a newly created democracy.

Earlier Monday, a report in a major U.S. newspaper outlined allegations of massive vote fraud committed to help Afghan President Hamid Karzai win re-election.

The New York Times quoted unnamed Afghan and Western officials as saying Mr. Karzai's supporters created as many as 800 fake polling stations that produced hundreds of thousands of fraudulent votes.

The newspaper says the votes counted for Mr. Karzai at some polling stations may be 10 times higher than the number of people who actually voted.

Meanwhile, the Karzai campaign has accused other candidates of manipulating votes.

Afghanistan's Independent Election Commission says votes from nearly 500 polling stations across the country have been invalidated due to allegations of widespread fraud.

The commission also says it will have to clear 650 serious complaints before the results of the voting can be certified this month.

Partial election results show Mr. Karzai has 48.6 percent of the vote, while his main challenger Abdullah Abdullah has 31.7 percent. The count is based on returns from about 75 percent of the country's polling sites.

A candidate needs to win more than 50 percent of the vote to avoid a run-off.

Afghanistan's Electoral Complaints Commission has received more than 2,000 allegations of fraud or abuse from the August 20 presidential election. It says that some of the complaints, if true, would affect the final result.

Once there is a clear winner, international leaders are expected to convene a United Nations conference to discuss Afghanistan's future. A formal call for such a meeting has now been made by Britain, France and Germany.


  1. Sept. 7 (Bloomberg) -- German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier swatted back a demand by former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder to set a date to pull troops out of Afghanistan, as the conflict moved to the center of Germany’s election campaign.

  2. A rift between the US and Germany over the conduct of the war in Afghanistan widened today as both countries sought to shift blame over a botched bombing raid that led to scores of civilians being killed.

    Berlin defended the raid as "militarily necessary" to protect German troops, even though it went against the express orders of the new US commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley McChrystal, to safeguard civilians.

  3. Given how different the political cultures of North America and Europe are sometimes alleged to be, the similarity of the arguments is striking. In the States, George Will has just pointed out that U.S. involvement in Afghanistan has lasted longer than its participation in World Wars I and II combined. In Germany, the defense minister caused an uproar by predicting that German troops might be in Afghanistan for another decade; opposition leaders immediately started calling for a much faster withdrawal. Faced with public disapproval, the Canadians have had to promise to withdraw troops by 2011. The Dutch are supposed to pull out in 2010. At a conference I attended in Amsterdam last weekend, a large audience cheered when a panelist denounced the war. Demands for a time frame -- "two more years and then out" -- can be heard almost everywhere.

  4. Others disagree:
    Afghanistan matters

    ..."George Will has thrown down the gauntlet. While a few conservatives have always been reluctant about our efforts in Afghanistan, Will’s September 1, column advocating withdrawal has opened a rift on the American right with conservatives taking sides. George Will says it’s time to quit Afghanistan. As a soldier who was in Afghanistan for most of 2008 I say unequivocally George Will is wrong; Afghanistan matters."

  5. Deuce,

    Do I understand you to say that the question of culpability in the alleged massacre is not as clear cut as a regular here would have us believe, i.e. any screwup may not have been "the Army way"?

    Star light, star bright
    First star I see tonight
    Wish I may, wish I might
    Blame the Army at first light

  6. The responsibility cannot be shifted from those that dropped the weapons, try as we might.

    Those that exist within their own cult of victimhood do not want others to share that garden spot.

    It will be interesting to read how those tanker trucks and villagers posed a threat to the Germans, in their overwatch position.

  7. allen, of course, rightously blames the victims, they being Muslims.

  8. Funny, how Standards change, based upon perspective.

    Some of us will advocate for the invasion and subjugation of over a million folks, because some hundreds of bottle rockets fall into empty fields, but advise the victims of a Nato attack resulting in the deaths of dozens ...

    "Get over it"

    A bent view of equality, to be sure.

  9. DR said,

    "allen, of course, rightously blames the victims, they being Muslims."

    Allen has not blamed anyone for anything, particularly not the Army of the United States. And that, my good man, is the point.

    You came straight out of the box blaming the Army of the United States. You did so while you and your two buds beat on WiO for failing to use the upper case "A". That was rather hypocritical of you all; and revealing as well, I think. Reminds one of the last refuge of the scoundrel.

  10. The last refuge of the Scoundrel

    The desire to have the moocher at least spell your name correctly.

  11. rufus said...
    The last refuge of the Scoundrel

    The desire to have the moocher at least spell your name correctly.

    spoken like a true idiot.....

  12. dr: Some of us will advocate for the invasion and subjugation of over a million folks, because some hundreds of bottle rockets fall into empty fields

    please dr, may a few of those harmless bottle rockets land in your child's bedroom..


    you are really being an ass....

    oh, let me correct myself...

    You are REALLY being an ASS..

    Like the caps?

  13. AP Strikes Again
    Robert Gates protests AP decision as 'appalling'

    Defense Secretary Robert Gates is objecting “in the strongest terms” to an Associated Press decision to transmit a photograph showing a mortally wounded 21-year-old Marine in his final moments of life, calling the decision “appalling” and a breach of “common decency.”

    The AP reported that the Marine’s father had asked – in an interview and in a follow-up phone call — that the image, taken by an embedded photographer, not be published.

    The AP reported in a story that it decided to make the image public anyway because it “conveys the grimness of war and the sacrifice of young men and women fighting it.”
    The photo shows Lance Cpl. Joshua M. Bernard of New Portland, Maine, who was struck by a rocket-propelled grenade in a Taliban ambush Aug. 14 in Helmand province of southern Afghanistan, according to The AP.
    Gates wrote to Thomas Curley, AP’s president and chief executive officer. “Out of respect for his family’s wishes, I ask you in the strongest of terms to reconsider your decision. I do not make this request lightly.
    Even with Obama, rather than Bush, as POTUS.

  14. When is AID not aid?

    When rat chooses to ignore it...

    israel gets about 3 billion a year in military aid, of which most is pent in the good old USA.

    rat goes on to expand that to include everything from the free Whitehouse coffee coasters israeli visitors get when visiting Washington DC to trade polices...

    but rat ignores our "aid" to iraq, aid to the entire arab world (he compares ONLY his inflated aid number for israel to the palios ONLY and ignores the rest), aid to opec by keeping the shipping lanes open/reflagging tankers, going to war in iraq...

    israel has received over 100 billion dollars in the last 60 years in combined aid packages..

    we have spend almost one trillion in iraq in 8 years...

    we have spend 200 billions in afghanistan in 6 years...

    we spend 110 billion a YEAR on nato..

    if any of this was aimed towards israel, rat would be calling it AID...

    but he is silent...

    because it doesnt fit his narrative...

    he called 5000 kassam's "bottle rockets"

    rat, you are obsessed....

  15. ...possibly the first refuge of the scoundrel...

    I am not disappointed. The righteous indignation of our resident patriots takes no higher form than quibbling over upper case letters. That says all that needs be said: baloney.

    Some here may recall my having taken to task a former contributor when he belittled the work of DR's alleged Marine son, stationed downrange. That, also, says all that needs be said: integrity.

  16. I recall that, don't remember the details.
    Age Sucks.

  17. All JOOS, All the time.

    Man, this is an eye-opener.

    I've never been around Jews, much. That I know of. Maybe I was. I don't know how many Pentecosts, or S. Baptists I've been around, either. It just never came up. We were all busy, either working, or playing, or chasing women (but, I repeat myself) to talk about religion.

    In my world, if you wanted to talk about religion you went to church.

    I was aware of this constant, frustrating, neverending, low-grade conflict grinding on in Palestine. Didn't make much sense, there not being any oil, there.

    I knew the fundamentalist Baptists supported Israel (it had something to do with the "Rapture," and the "End Times," or something.)

    And, the Republicans, in general, went out of their way to support Israel in the futile hopes of peeling some of that money, and votes away from the Democrats.

    I never paid'em much attention. They'd been through a lot in Europe, and I figured, what the hell, they're not costing "too" much, and they might come in useful some day.

    But, WIO, and Allen. You have soured me on the deal. Now, I just want it to go away. And, this is the Important thing, I don't care, "How."

    I, seriously, mean it. "I Don't care How."

  18. So I've been thinking hard on the matter over two cups of coffee this not-yet-dreary day: Which do I prefer, bagels or baguettes?

    I adore a good bagel (a bad bagel - and there are plenty out there - is, like a bad baguette, actionable in my book) whether for breakfast with cream cheese and chives, or for lunch with a freshly made tuna salad, leaf of Boston lettuce, and slice of Swiss.

    A baguette, on the other hand, is unbeatable for any number of purposes, not least roughly torn and spread with sweet butter as an accompaniment to olives, cornichons, tiny brined onions, slices of dry-cured sausage, cubes of Emmenthal speared on toothpicks and dipped lightly in celery salt - with plenty of Trappist ale. At two in the afternoon on a sunny sidewalk anywhere in that country I finally couldn't wait to haul my ass out of.

    Well as fortune would have it, one need no more cast a vote on the matter than decide between the mountains and the shore. Pleasant time-waster, though.

  19. And what do I get for all my firm discouragement of the engagement of assholes? More engagement of assholes. Natch.

    Would it help if I dispensed my daughter's (borrowed) wisdom? "Arguing on the internet is like participating in the Special Olympics: You may win, but you're still retarded.")

  20. My concern is not with a specific incident but the Afghan mission itself. It makes no sense to me on a simple basis of the risk reward cost ratio.

    The NATO mission is another matter. Clearly the burden is not equal on the various countries. The Germans have resisted using their troops for combat.

    The Germans called in the mission, mainly because they did not want to use ground troops.

    Two fuel tanker trucks stuck in a river in a poor country with dozens of people on them, would not strike me as an obvious military target, especially with the American commander having announced the changes required to reduce civilian casualties for strategic political reasons.

    It was and should have been recognized for what it was, opportunistic looting. If a US commanding general states a policy, that was either ignored or misinterpreted, that is a command problem.

    Someone else should have recognized that a military outfit, bent on avoiding direct contact with an enemy will by design be a little loose with the use of air power.

    General Stan McChrystal has some tidying up to do.

  21. Er, developmentally disabled. I believe that's the term in use now.

  22. The latest telephone poll taken by the California Governor's office asked whether people who live in California think illegal immigration is a serious problem:

    19% responded, "Yes, it is a serious problem."

    81% responded, "No es una problema seriosa."

    H/T: Patriot Humor

  23. The best "tidying up" McChrystal can do is take a little white-out to that resume. Try to get the word, "Afghanistan" off of it.

    There's nothing "there." Nothing to be "Won."

    A rockfarm with a never-ending supply of crazy people that, as an added bonus, will hate our asses till the day they die.

    There's no "Country," there. You can't make it into a "Country." A Country (Nation) requires certain things. Chief among them is an ability to collect Taxes. Taxes are what allows a country to provide "Law and Order," and Infrastructure. One depends on the other.

    The ability to "Tax" is dependent upon the ability of the population to "Pay" taxes. Afghanis have no money. They're not going to Get any money. They are Not "Ever" going to be "Tax-paying" citizens.

    Ergo: No Country. Nothing to Defend.

  24. Frankie says:

  25. WiO writes, over, and over, and over, and if it made a difference:

    "and the current problem is that israel sits on 1/650th of the middle east and the arabs squat on the other 649/650th."

    I sit on approximately 1/6.7 billionth of the planet. Do I get even more special consideration?

  26. And here's for all you SBS guys:

    Well, maybe not ALL of you. But certainly some of you.

  27. What do Jews have to do with the defamation of the USA by your pal? What? If I bring it up, it is somehow less an insult to your country and its military? You are that small?

  28. If we are serious at being at war...

    and a target rich opportunity present's itsself

    52 taliban (48 civilians) sounds like pretty good shooting to me...

    We really dont KNOW how many civilians were there, nor do we know if the civilians (who have no problem HANGING out with the taliban were in fact, a PART of the taliban)

    It's called conditioned response...

    America/NATO should blow up every hijacked truck, tent, donkey or jeep the moment it goes errant. thus training the so-called "civilians" to stay away from looted American/NATO property (as it is hazardous to your health)

    I will not condemn the USA or NATO for their actions as the only thing I wish for is the loosening of ROE (rules of engagement) for our troops..

  29. Ash said...
    WiO writes, over, and over, and over, and if it made a difference:

    "and the current problem is that israel sits on 1/650th of the middle east and the arabs squat on the other 649/650th."

    Ash, the "middle east" is commonly divided into 2 sections "arab" and Israeli...

    Many believe the issue is about LAND...

    The arabs occupy 33 million square miles and have ethnically cleansed it of all of the Jews, whereas Israel is 10,000 square miles at present..

    Israel has 20% of it's population that is arab, in fact more arabs live today INSIDE of israel than the total population of west bank, gaza & israel had in arabs in 1948....

    thus is the reason for you to LOOK at a map, you might learn something

  30. Would it help if I dispensed my daughter's (borrowed) wisdom? "Arguing on the internet is like participating in the Special Olympics: You may win, but you're still retarded.")


  31. What does land mass have to do with the ethical issues? Answer, nothing.

  32. Your argument appears to be simply that because the jews have less land then others therefor they deserve more.

  33. Just trying to be helpful, What Is.

  34. Come to think of it, it's rather a mystery that the Israelis can't simply argue their enemies to death. (It wasn't the cellphone that made what's-his-face's head explode; it was the start of an argument upon answering it.)

    Kind of like that old joke about the American, the Brit, and the German in front of a firing squad, being asked their last requests. The Brit asks for a Guinness and a smoke, the German asks to say a few words, and the American asks to please be shot before the German gets started.

    (How an American, a Brit, and a German ended up in front of a firing squad together is something Trish can't quite remember.)

  35. This comment has been removed by the author.

  36. Ash said...
    What does land mass have to do with the ethical issues? Answer, nothing.

    Tue Sep 08, 12:31:00 PM EDT

    Ash said...
    Your argument appears to be simply that because the jews have less land then others therefor they deserve more.

    No the Jews sit on a tiny speck and do not wish to commit suicide giving up anymore of that tiny speck to greedy camel fucking death maniacs

    the issue is simple.. there are 2 peoples in the land called the middle east...

    one sits on top of 649/650th

    one sits on top of 1/650th

    the one that has 649/650th wants 50% (or more) of the 1/650th

    what part of that do you not understand??

    at one time, before the arabs INVADED and stole where they sit today, the 1/650th actually had quite a bit more....

    but as a consequence of the greed of the 649/650th, they drove the 1/650th into a tiny land mass, now they wish to slice up the 1/650th for more greed...

  37. I think what did it for me was being informed by WIO that, if it weren't for the Splendiforous, All-beneficial Jews I would, Today, be "squatting in a mud hut."

    If the citizens of Israel are anything like you two (and, I have to assume they are,) I am, Really, ready to "pull the plug."

    I can't take any more.

  38. Then of course there's Toqueville's humorous remark on American pride and enthusiasm: Americans shortly after the turn of eighteenth century were extremely fond of accosting visitors from abroad wherever, whenever they found them and eagerly ask them what they love about the young country. If the visitor couldn't think of anything, at least right away, the American would happily supply the answer for him.

    Not like we don't know a few things about passionate prejudices, rufus.

  39. Passionate prejudice that we could and do maintain without being surrounded by those who regret our very existence.

  40. This comment has been removed by the author.

  41. You've got a pretty distorted view of the issues WiO and it doesn't appear to accord with any semblance of reality.

    for example you wrote:

    "the one that has 649/650th wants 50% (or more) of the 1/650th"

    A more accurate description of the issue is that the Zionists desire to increase the size of Israel to what they think God promised them.

  42. Still working for that free ham sandwich and cup of coffee from the cafeteria, I am.

    Don't fuck it up for me, rufus.

  43. Ash: A more accurate description of the issue is that the Zionists desire to increase the size of Israel to what they think God promised them.

    really ash?

    from the river to the sea?

    please explain why Israel gave up gaza, sinai, southern lebanon and 92% of the west bank...

    go ahead ash...

    we're listening...

  44. hey ash...

    if your correct why does the temple mount still hold the Dome of the Rock?

    hey ash...

    if your correct, why are there citizens of israel who are islamic?

    hey ash if your correct why did israel offer up 1/2 of jerusalem at taba as part of a peace plan?

    hey ash, why did israel ACCEPT partition in 1948? (rejected by the arab world of course)

    hey ash, why did israel give up the sinai 2 times for peace?

    hey ash please show me the ACCEPTANCE by the arab world of the jewish state of israel on any borders (without calling for a flooding of israel with arabs)

  45. rufus...

    thanks for advocating the genocide of my people because you find us tiring and painful to listen to...

    yep rufus, we KNOW your type...

    just get that final solution going, then we will have peace (and quiet)

    yep, those pesky pain in the ass jews...

    dont KNOW their place...

  46. Notice I have also deftly managed to steer conversation away from my poor, unloved, red-headed stepchild of a war.

    Gimme a call, Richard. I am willing to work for a supply of plonk.

  47. trish wanted a supply of plonk

    Ronnie "Plonk" Lane, a British musician and one of the original members of Small Faces?


    Cheap wine?

  48. Um, that would be the cheap wine, what is. (Nothing against Ronnie and his Small Faces, who I'm sure are just grand.)

  49. rufus said...
    I think what did it for me was being informed by WIO that, if it weren't for the Splendiforous, All-beneficial Jews I would, Today, be "squatting in a mud hut."

    Jews didnt invent concrete floors and housing, but if it werent for us you would be working without a weekend and still praying to the gods of thunder and goats...

  50. some Jewish inventions

    Levi Strauss, Jeans, 1873
    Maurice Levy (1), Lipstick, 1915
    Lazlo Biro (1), Ballpoint Pen, 1938
    J. Robert Oppenheimer, et al (1), Atomic Bomb, 1945
    Edwin Herbert Land (1), Instant Photography, 1947
    Denis Gabor (1), Holography, 1948
    Peter Carl Goldmark (1), Long Playing Record, 1948
    Robert Adler (1), Television Remote Control, 1950
    Edward Teller, et al (1), Thermonuclear Bomb, 1952
    Paul M. Zoll (2), Defibrillator, 1952 and Cardiac Pacemaker, 1952
    Gregory Pincus (1/3), Contraceptives, early 1950s
    Charles Ginsburg (1), Videotape, 1950s
    Gordon Gould (1/3), Laser, 1958
    Stanley N. Cohen (1/2), Genetic Engineering, 1973
    Jason Lanier (1), Virtual Reality, 1989

    some really good non-jewish inventions

    makers mark
    mercedes benz
    jennifer aniston's nipples

  51. And I'll have you know that the exploding cellphone was not yours either.

    So take that.

  52. Though we probably have you to thank, indirectly, for the Godsend of grading on the curve.

  53. ...some really good non-jewish inventions...


    Right. The toothbrush was invented in Arkansas. Had it been invented anywhere else, we'd call it the "teethbrush".


    ...And I'll have you know that the exploding cellphone was not yours either.

    The guy's head exploded only after he realized he'd gotten in an argument with a Jew, something he could never win.

  54. Where's murray, now that it's all Zionism, all the time.

    Wonder if he thinks it's an improvement?

  55. I hope he doesn't terrorize like the rest of them...I’m not surprised this fraud took place, I mean, hello, look what country this is taking place…

  56. The guy's head exploded only after he realized he'd gotten in an argument with a Jew, something he could never win.

    Tue Sep 08, 03:12:00 PM EDT


  57. oh, you can win, they just don't know it.

  58. Allen, WIO

    Don't wrestle with a pig. Even when you win you end up covered with mud.

  59. I'm still waiting for a hockey game to break out.

  60. " Anonymous said...
    Allen, WIO

    Don't wrestle with a pig. Even when you win you end up covered with mud."

    Dear Anon,

    Pigs are endlessly interesting. Every year, my son and I take in the pig pens at the Georgia State Fair in Perry. After carefully studying the ribbon winners, we thoroughly examine the remaining 997 also-rans.

    Now, here's why it is so interesting: We cannot figure out what criteria are used to determine the winners. To us (the untrained) they all look the same, sound the same, and smell the same (Thank you, Gregor Mendel).

    Hmm...Anon, this has been a revelation! Pigs are a lot like some people, aren't they?

  61. Dear WiO,

    My friend, I do hate to burst your bubble, but Jennifer's nipples are Jewish. Moreover, their enhancement is also the work of a fine Jewish plastics guy.

    I know; I know; you are now tempted to say, "OK, Mr. Big Al, here's Scarlett Johansson in your "big nose" face...AHH!!"

    Nope, she's a also a member.

    Sure, as some would say, "Wow, Dude, she doesn't look Jewish! Like, where's the big nose"? Doesn't matter.

    schnozzle or not

  62. They have cute little upturned snouts, too, Allen.
    Like all good Gentiles do.

  63. Hewitt had a 1 hour interview with John Burns today.
    Not to be missed.
    ...should be on his website sometime.

  64. Too bad Arnold was not as clever as The One wrt to Terminology concerning "paying" people with funny money.
    Arnold calls them IOU's which comes off pretty funky, and I imagine are not too long termed.

    BHO, otoh, suggests helping all of us without any discipline, impulse control, or responsibility, to save by having part of our paychecks going directly into US Govt Bonds.

    What a magnanimous gesture, don't you think?
    None would dare call them 20 year IOU's would they?

    Obama unveils new retirement-savings tools

    "We have to revive this economy and rebuild it stronger than before. And making sure that folks have the opportunity and incentive to save -- for a home or college, for retirement or a rainy day -- is essential to that effort," Obama said.

    "If you work hard and meet your responsibilities, this country is going to honor our collective responsibility to you: to ensure that you can save and secure your retirement. That is why we are announcing several common-sense changes that will help families put away money for the future," he said.

    For example, by the upcoming 2010 tax season, taxpayers will be able to choose to buy savings bonds with their tax refund simply by checking a box on their tax return, the administration said. Taxpayers wouldn't have to open a Treasury account or even have a bank account -- the bonds will be mailed to those who check the box. The move is aimed at encouraging people who don't have retirement plans to start saving.

    "Today, if you have a retirement account, you can have your refund deposited directly into your account. With this change, we'll make it easier for those without retirement plans to save their refunds as well. You'll be able to check a box on your tax return to receive your refund as a savings bond,
    Obama said.