“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."

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The problems faced by Soviet forces in Afghanistan carry echoes for Nato

Not that you need it, but here is some bad news and then some even worse news.

First the bad.

The Senate will soon increase the national debt limit to above $13 trillion. That is paltry compared to what follows. The next ten years show a hyperbolic curve to financial ruin, brought to you by politicians that can't help themselves.

Democrats are nervous, twitchy, and are considering attaching a debt increase provision to the Defense Department spending bill. They will claim they are doing that for patriotic reasons. They are spending us into the abyss for God and country.

Meanwhile the twin sources of economic calamity and declining American security, Iraq and Afghanistan, grind on and on. Democracy is expensive you know, especially for the tribes of Islam, tribes who hate each other intensely and trust each other even less.

Now the worse news.

How do we get out of Iraq and Afghanistan, when we decide it is time to get out? Forget the reasons that will be fabricated for leaving, how do we do it?

The BBC examines how the Soviets did it. First let's examine the Soviet time-line in Afghanistan which spanned ten years. (We are in our eighth year.)

  • 1979 - Brezhnev sends in troops
  • 1988 - USSR pledges to withdraw
  • 1989 - final Soviet withdrawal
  • Soviet deaths - estimated at 15,000
  • Afghan deaths - estimated at one million
  • The Soviets spent a paltry $12 billion. (To date the US has spent $1,300 billion in Iraq and Afghanistan.)

Soviet lessons from Afghanistan

Andrew North
BBC News

All the most senior ministers were at the Afghan strategy meeting.

They knew things were not going well, but from their leader there was a whiff of panic.

"We just need to be sure that the final result does not look like a humiliating defeat: to have lost so many men and now abandoned it all... in short, we have to get out of there."

Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev - the speaker of those words - was understandably alarmed.
It was June 1986, almost a year since he had taken the decision to start withdrawing Soviet troops from Afghanistan and hand over more responsibility to the government there.

But Soviet losses, already above 10,000, kept mounting.

With conflicting signals this week about the direction of Western policy in Afghanistan, there is a hint of the same kind of panic and indecision.

Soviet exit strategy

US President Barack Obama is still deciding whether to send in thousands of US reinforcements.

Yet the British Prime Minister Gordon Brown - facing ever-greater opposition to the Afghan war - has been highlighting possibilities for UK troops to pull back in some areas next year.

It is less than two weeks since he was saying: "We cannot, must not and will not walk away."

But as Mr Gorbachev found, getting out is at least as difficult as staying in.

It took almost four years to pull out entirely - because of a combination of dithering over strategy and last-ditch efforts by Moscow to prop up its client government in Kabul in the hope of maintaining some pride and influence.

The former Soviet leader's difficulties are detailed in previously secret transcripts of Politburo meetings and diary entries recently released by the Washington-based National Security Archive.

They make sobering reading for British and American leaders, as they decide whether to double-up or cut their losses in Afghanistan.

There are certainly differences - not least America's determination to make the Soviet withdrawal as costly as possible in blood and treasure.

Lost battle

But there are echoes too of the difficulties the US and its allies face now.

By the late 1980s, Moscow's exit strategy was basically the same as Nato's today - to build up an allied government in Kabul with sufficient trained army and police forces to defend itself, thereby allowing foreign troops to leave.

But even with the backing of a 100,000-strong Soviet army and billions of rubles in aid, the Afghan government struggled to establish its legitimacy and authority much beyond the capital - much like President Hamid Karzai's Western-backed administration today.

This bleak assessment of the situation in late 1986 by the Soviet armed forces commander, Marshal Sergei Akhromeev, sounds eerily familiar.

"Military actions in Afghanistan will soon be seven years old," Mr Akhromeev told Mr Gorbachev at a November 1986 Politburo session.

"There is no single piece of land in this country which has not been occupied by a Soviet soldier. Nonetheless, the majority of the territory remains in the hands of rebels.

"The whole problem is that military results are not followed up by political actions. At the centre there is authority; in the provinces there is not.

"We control Kabul and the provincial centres, but on occupied territory we cannot establish authority. We have lost the battle for the Afghan people".

Familiar problems

By that point, Soviet trainers had created an Afghan army 160,000-strong - double the size of the force Nato has trained so far - together with thousands of much-feared secret policemen.

Yet once Soviet forces had left, they could do little more than defend Kabul and a few other cities.
Only massive military aid, coupled with incompetence and in-fighting among the US-backed mujahideen opposition, allowed the Afghan government Moscow left behind to cling on in Kabul for a few more years before finally collapsing.

There were familiar problems too with the financial assistance Moscow gave.

It hoped the funds would bolster the capacity of the Afghan government and pay for projects that would benefit people, winning hearts and minds.

However corruption rendered much of its useless.

As the Politburo discussed a new aid request from Kabul in January 1987, Marshal Sergei Sokolov said: "In 1981, we gave them 100m roubles of free assistance. And all of that went to the elite. And there was nothing in the hamlets - no kerosene, no matches."


  1. In Romania. I think it is, there is a national poem/song called the matsarusa, or something like that--don't try to google it, I just did--you'll get nothing--which is about a shepard that willingly gives his life away. The point seems to be, about their national experience of being at the crossroads of so many invasions, and having been clobbered so many times.

    Here we haven't had any such experiences, O Blessed America!, we must keep our weapons sharp enough that we don't.

  2. It's not a Christian poem, but rather one of bitter national experience.

    Let's avoid that.

  3. That American eagle over there has the arrows in one talon, the olive branch, in the other. She has her face turned to the olive branch.

    A national symbol.

    But, like Joseph Campbell said, we best keep the arrows sharp, until such time as mutual benefit is the order of the day between these monster nations.

    Joe was always talking bout symbols.

    He's dead now, died in Hawaii I think.

  4. will lord krishna get the US out of afghanistan? Is that what you're saying bobalsan?

  5. I think Lord Krishna is on another level than that of the passing scene, he and his ladies.

  6. Bob: we must keep our weapons sharp enough that we don't.

    One shot one kill, we say in the Torpedo Depot.

  7. The Soviet could exit through friendly bordering territory. What will happen if we have to fight our way where?

  8. Allen, Can you imagine the propaganda benefit of the Red Army at the border to escort the Americans to safety?

  9. Just to be clear, allen:

    That 98% is 98% ACROSS THE BOARD, not just the medical FA's. Their promotion rate to O4 may be *even* higher due to both exceedingly steep demand and yet lengthier service obligation (8-12 yrs).

    The Army has been bleeding CPTs - perhaps most significantly the command qualified - for about five years now. It's the deployments and the (still) halved turnaround between each one.

    And in order to be promoted to CPT you have to have...a pulse.

  10. Somewhat humorous: The Canadians are looking at their eventual redeployment from Afghanistan and asking, "Okay, we're gonna pull 'em out...What in the hell do we do with them?" Usually, they're brought home and the majority is just rolled back into the civilian workforce. But they want to hang on to them this time. So they have to find, somewhere, a new purpose for them to serve.

    We could undoubtedly come up with any number of helpful suggestions on that front.

  11. I perceive some humor in my pic of the women, if you go one two three over to the right, you will see there are the gals talking between themslelves.

    heh, damnable women!

  12. Doug J at Balloon Juice, asking, "Is Sarah Palin REALLY good news for conservatives?" dug up one possible answer from the inestimable NR editor:

    I have to admit, Rich Lowry has come up with the most convincing argument I’ve heard yet that Republicans can use her to keep the teabaggers from forming a third party. It’s still not that convincing because I don’t believe the teabaggers will form a real third party (though they may run challenges in states with third-party infrastructure).

    "Her supporters identify with her populist, unaffected vibe and tend to be disaffected with politics as usual — they’re Palin Perotistas. A drastic image makeover would only drive them away.

    "Republicans need these voters more than ever given the roiling grassroots revolt against Obama’s governance. Without them, they can’t get a majority; they’d be doomed if they were ever to slide into a splinter party. If Palin is their voice and channels their energy productively, she’s part of the Republican answer to Obama, no matter what presidential politics ultimately holds for her. There’s an upside to rogue."

    Ms. Palin as a kind of gingham window dressing for the Republican establishment.

    Well, hell, someone's gotta do it.

    And this IS, I believe, her most likely role from here on out. Beats both running for and holding office, no contest.

  13. The UN continues its push for population control. In the 1970's they pushed the ban on DDT in part to assure that the millions who die each year in poor countries continued to do so. In 1987, the U.N. Population Fund warned that once the global population hit 5 billion, the world "could degenerate into disaster."

    Now, they say

    ”"As the growth of population, economies and consumption outpaces the Earth's capacity to adjust, climate change could become much more extreme and conceivably catastrophic," the report said.


    ” The U.N. Population Fund acknowledged it had no proof of the effect that population control would have on climate change. "The linkages between population and climate change are in most cases complex and indirect," the report said.”

    The UN Says Trust Us On This One

  14. Drive to the sea, deuce, through Pakistan, to disembark the region, if it came to that.

    Chosin redux.

    That would be a humbling experience, for US. May be what it takes to end our foreign adventurism, for a while.

    Again, kinda like the 'Nam, in that regard.

  15. Well, sure, Quirk.

    Look to those that founded the UN. Who sold them the land for their building.
    Mr Rockefeller, he was no libertarian, no lover of human rights. Not a believer in the "greater good".
    Just what was good for he and his. A whirled government that would standardized the relationship 'tween big business and governance, everywhere.

    The powers that are would tell you that a rising tide lifts all the boats, and that economic progress towards sustainability is being made, across the third whirled.

    Their team is making great strides, the opposition to centralized control is fragmented and at war, with itself.

    Great entertainment if you can detach yourself from the effects of it.

  16. Such art is why I have a good opinion of the Hindus.

  17. How do we get them out?

    Unless I'm mistaken, by pulling them into population centers (the effective, cover-our-own-ass end of the campaign) and then focusing them at the points of departure piecemeal.

    God knows we're not driving out.

  18. That scenario, really is 'Nam redux, trish.

    A disaster in the making.

    Prior planning prevents piss poor performance.

    A lesson forgotten, if ever learned, by General Stan "the man" McCrystal.

    350,000 Afghan troops, to be depended upon, for success.
    That is just piss poor thinking.

    The Goal of killing aQ has been lost, the war effort given over to providing a mission for the next generation of nation builders.

    Fuckin' shame, really.

  19. General Stan looking more like Charles Piroth, the French commander of artillery, at Dien Bien Phu, than a US Army Ranger.

  20. Well, when we call it quits, that's how we do it. Whatever the circumstances we do it in.

    Doesn't look to me like we're coming out, but using an injection of however many tens of thousands to concentrate on a handful of areas. Whatever the political will can allow for, whatever the risk.

    So the decision to call "time" on Afghanistan is a couple of years down the road yet.

    Stan knows all about targeting AQ. Stan was in charge of the hunter-killers and, with Hayden, helped hatch the Pakistan strategy - which was actually just conveniently moved across the border from where it started out. The problem is vastly larger than AQ, however. And vastly larger again than it was just two years ago.

    We MAY lose. Absolutely. It is THAT late in the game.

  21. That situation developing just, dear den mother, as doug and I have said repeatedly it would and was, for the past five years.

    The lack of success while, as you tell us, Stan the Man was in command stands in testimony to the prospective success of his current plan.

  22. Where were the Ranger raids?

    A Company or Battalion size movement and take down of a training center or compound in Pakistan?

    Or in Afghanistan?

    Instead we had piecemeal occupations of small indefensible outposts, scattered throughout Injun country, without adequate and/or timely air support on station.

  23. And that, was not the Ranger way.

  24. As the Tillman incident exemplifies, when the US Army did leave their outposts, they went "road hunting".

    Like the city slickers they are.

  25. We baited numerous traps, but then would not engage the enemy with our superior death from above capabilities.

    Leaving the bait staked out to die.

  26. McChrystal, Obumfuck, and I have one thing in common. We know about as much about Afghanistan as a Pig knows about Opera.

    This ain't gonna be pretty.

    I'm starting to think more in terms of Custer at the Big Horn.

  27. Yon has only been screaming warnings of this for over 3 years.

    ...invisible to Civilian and Military "Leadership" alike, apparently.

  28. One thing the left was right about:

    Afghanistan was ignored while we conducted our Expensive PC excercises in Iraq.

  29. Instead we had piecemeal occupations of small indefensible outposts, scattered throughout Injun country, without adequate and/or timely air support on station.

    Wed Nov 18, 10:02:00 AM EST

    Actually, up until about 06, you had whatever you wanted at your finger tips. At your beck and call. Up north anyway.

    As I understand it, Rangers did their best work, as a take-down force par excellence, in Iraq. That was really their terrain. Afghanistan was more the SF/ SpecOps gig. Just as Yon noted: The big game preserve. In fact, it was until recently thought to be tailor-made for them. Whether because, in matter of truth, that's what we wanted to throw at it; that's what was available; or that's what worked for a time.

    In the end, it wasn't enough.

  30. Check this out, Whit!

    ...over 13% 60 days or more delinquent in Florida!

  31. "In the end, it wasn't enough."
    And death from above was beyond the pale.
    We remain pure.

  32. 3-4 Camps in Waziristan, when first reported by ABC News. too long ago to remember how long ago it was.

  33. trish wrote,

    "And in order to be promoted to CPT you have to have...a pulse."

    Sorry to say that is my observation as well. As written last evening, I am seeing far too many "elderly" officers coming into active duty. This requires qualification: These folk are NOT being placed in line units; rather, they are professionals, e.g. medical personnel.

    That said, officers are still being severed for bad conduct - especially DUI, for which the military has zero tolerance. If ever the conduct of an officer was detrimental to the mission, Major Hasan was that officer. If the reports coming out are to be believed, it is obvious that fear of appearing politically incorrect was the cause of the failure to relieve him. In fact, given the sensitive nature of his work with some of the Army's most fragile cases, his removal should have been summary.

    My greatest concern in all this is that physiologically and systemically we have not progressed through the internalization of the lessons of 9/11. Until jurisdictional bureaucracies are able to develop cooperative linkages and rational actionable parameters, we remain at grave risk, as evidenced by Fort Hood.

    Diversity has never been America's strength. The assimilation of positive immigrant attributes into a clearly Americanized model has. Theodore Roosevelt covered this ground more than a century ago, so I need not reiterate.

  34. too long ago to remember how long ago it was.

    Wed Nov 18, 10:24:00 AM EST

    Like I said, that B52 was all yours. But you were gonna watch it bank right on the border. Right on the dime.

  35. I know the terrain, it's just like what we have, here.
    Vast open areas ringed by mountains so severe that no wheeled or tracked mechanized operation is feasible.

    Geographic vehicle choke points along every route in or out of the inhabitable valleys.

    People living in homes constructed of mud or rock, with walls over a foot thick.
    No industry and negligible commerce.

    A religiously conservative culture that distrusts foreign infidels.

    A country tailor made for an Apache combatant.

  36. "Like I said, that B52 was all yours. But you were gonna watch it bank right on the border. Right on the dime."
    No Comprendo,
    Please explain.

  37. "My greatest concern in all this is that physiologically and systemically we have not progressed through the internalization of the lessons of 9/11."

    On the one hand, allen, it's a slow beast.

    On the other hand, every agency, every department I can think of has been in a state of more or less continual revision, continual remaking, since then.

    Not that that's anything new, however. That's been the case for ages.

    Always gotta reinvent the wheel.

  38. Takes demographics to win, in such a locale, not military might.

    We were not pushing the premier, nor even a popular product, in Afghanistan.

  39. trish means, doug, that early on they could order air strikes in Afghanistan, but were denied the capability to strike at targets in Pakistan.

  40. We were strictly forbidden from Pak airspace. And we observed that with elegant precision.

    So while the B1s, B52s, what have you, were ready at a moment's notice, and truly invaluable in their capacity, they were (and are) expressly limited to "our" side.

  41. Death from above or death from the ground will not work as long as we permit the enemy to dictate the ROE. And that is what has happened as proven by the exceedingly rigorous (impossible) qualifications for full tilt engagement.

    NOTHING about Afghanistan has altered the age old rules of war: 1) close with and destroy the enemy and/or 2) destroy his will to fight. Contrary to some opinions expressed here, Afghanistan has been pacified to some degree by others - just not during the age of the 24 hour news cycle.

    Trish is correct again. With the change in momentum, the enemy has been able to consolidate, recruit and expand his sphere of influence. Our hiding in urban areas will only delay the ultimate outcome.

    And no, DR, it is not as simple as just driving leisurely through Pakistan to a port. Trish is right on again: We are not going to be driving anywhere. Apparently, we will do as we did upon exiting SE Asia: we will leave vast stores behind.

  42. That it was not a military option, but policy from George and Dick.

  43. Betcha Dick woulda done it as POTUS!

  44. My reference to the Chosin, allen, does not and never did indicate that I believed it'd be a pleasant drive through the country.

    As any Marine or student of US military history would fully realize.

  45. ...remember, he even shoots hunting partners!

  46. trish,

    The one thing most (all) of these agencies have not changed is the culture of PC. Unless and until it is understood that Islam is the cause, no plan will have the desired effect.

  47. This comment has been removed by the author.

  48. An unknowable, doug.
    But what is known, is that Team Bush, of which Dick "5 Deferment" Cheney was an integral part performed poorly on every front of the war.

    In fact it was his team that was hired to run the show. He was in charge of putting the Team together, remember?

    His rhetoric has never matched his performance.

  49. "The one thing most (all) of these agencies have not changed is the culture of PC."

    Mmmmmmm. That's not gonna change. So might as well start constructing your doomsday scenarios now.

    I'm not that pessimistic. But that's just me.

    I do my level best to stay in Hello Kitty land.

  50. Dick was outvoted by Condi.
    In the "Deciders" mind.

  51. ...and Colin.
    While he was there.

  52. Powell,

    That great American that held his tongue while another man was unfairly prosecuted.

    That great "Republican"

    That endorsed, and voted for, BHO,

    over HIS ideal Republican:

    the "moderate" John McCain.

  53. This week, Two Hundred Million Americans will pull up to a Gas Pump and "fill'er up." A portion of that money will go to Saudi Arabia, and then the Taliban, and Al Queda. The most well-funded terror group in history.

    Sure some have "occupied" Afghanistan for varying lengths of time; but, in the end, it always came down to, "What are we doing in this godforsaken place? Adios."

  54. A Democracy just waiting to happen, Rufus.
    Trust us.

  55. The retrograde advance (General Chesty Puller - most decorated Marine in history) from Chosin Reservoir will be nothing compared to a fighting retreat from Afghanistan.

    General William Sherman advised the President that the defeat of the Confederacy would demand a brutal assault on the Condederate home base (eroding the will to fight) and the killing of 100,000 fanatics (close with and destroy the enemy). Sherman was right then and the Administrations of Bush and Obama are wrong now.

  56. Allen cannot imagine POTUS BHO
    giving the OK to Curtis to
    Firebomb Tokyo.

    ...a man of limited imagination.

  57. trish,

    You know I'm right about the PC crap :)

    Good grief, we have O6's running around telling all within earshot, "Don't call me Sir, I'm Randy."

    Trish, I too am confident and optimistic. I am confident that eventually we will be hit so hard that our tolerance of fools will evaporate. I am optimistic that the war will be seriously pursued then. America has been deeply wounded on every front during the past decade, but we still possess the finest fighting machine in the history of the world. All that is lacking is adult supervision.

  58. " I am confident that eventually we will be hit so hard that our tolerance of fools will evaporate.
    The KSM trial will probably take more than 3 years.
    Events related to that might well slay the
    "Was Hasan Just a Nut"

  59. Good grief, we have O6's running around telling all within earshot, "Don't call me Sir, I'm Randy."

    - allen

    Um. Yeah. That's the AIR FORCE.

    And I have a funny story about just that.

    But you pretty much already summed it for me.

  60. OH, East is East, and West is West, and never the twain shall meet,
    Till Earth and Sky stand presently at God’s great Judgment Seat...

    Kipling - a man who knew a thing or two about Afghanistan

  61. trish,

    ...also known affectionately in these parts as the Air Farce...

    It is my hope that one day the USAF will be reincorporated into the USA...fat chance...

  62. NOBODY else does that, allen.

    Got a story, too, about an AF mess hall cook not being allowed to make a ham and cheese sandwich because, "I haven't been checked out on the ham and cheese."

    Oh, and calling in air strikes. Can't do that either because who the fuck are you to be doing that?

    Completely different culture.

  63. Can't live with 'em. Can't live without 'em.

  64. "Um. Yeah. That's the AIR FORCE."
    Kid works for a very Studly Fag.

  65. "Housing and Economy Headed for Sustainable Recovery; First-Time Homebuyers Lead the Way"
    Buyers buying at prices that make renting too expensive.
    ...with 3% down FHA Loans.

  66. trish,

    That's what happens when you make jockeys ranch superintendents.

    There are startling exceptions. Had John Jumper not pulled rank and played dirty pool in getting crude ordinance carriages cobbled to drones, we would still be 1) waiting for feasability studies as to whether drones effectively deliver ordinance and/or 2) the finding that drones would never be able to do the tasks of highly trained pilots.

  67. viktor,

    We should not be too hard on Mr. Gore. On the day that was being covered in astronomy class, Mr. Gore was out scoring some weed.

  68. Two Million Degrees at 2km down?

    Like the one guy said, "Those gold miners (that work down to 3.9 km) must Really hate getting up in the morning." :)

    Al Gore. Made Hundreds of Millions. What in the hell does That say about Us?

  69. I thot you gave Rummy Credit for Arming Predators, Trish?

    Who is "Jumper John?"

  70. That should have been "diamond miners." I don't think the "Gold" miners get quite that deep.

  71. Re: Frozen Chosin

    It must be remembered that eight (8) elite Chinese divisions were nearly destroyed by the "retreating" Americans. Both the 7th and 5th Marine regiments gained immortal glory in their roles as "stonewalls" against the Chinese tsunami.

  72. "I thot you gave Rummy Credit for Arming Predators, Trish?"

    I do. And the three of them can divvy up credit however they see fit. Because it was just the ticket. Just in the nick of time.

    The problem now is that they are having effects beyond what they did in the beginning - where it was good enough that we could impress upon the Pak government (especially the new one) that we are going to do this thing. And you cannot stop us, but hopefully will take a lesson from us.

    I'm waiting, a little ironically, for us to declare a go easy on the drones.

  73. I am sure, allen, that the US military could march through Pakistan, to the sea. There is ample air power available to rout any enemy from the choke points, prior to our arrival.

    So, while it would not be a walk in the sun, I doubt it would be as horrific, for US, as Chesty's advance to the rear.
    The weather not being nearly as extreme, in Pakistan as in NorK.
    As well as the fact that the Taliban and Pakistani Army being unable to field 250,000 combatants against US and win a conventional battle.

  74. No, Marching through Pakistan (Baluchistan) wouldn't be that big a deal. Setting up a "supply" line through there is a whole 'nother ball game.

    But, Trish is right; we won't "march through," anywhere. We'll slip out on airplanes in the middle of the night, leaving all of our equipment, and supplies. Ignominious to the end.

  75. "When Jumper returned to the United States to lead Air Combat Command, he inquired how things were progressing on the task of installing the laser designators on Predators. He was dismayed to discover that the lasers not only weren’t installed, but the existing installations were actually being removed from their host Predators.

    "Procedural bureaucracy had reared its ugly head, and the laser designators were being pulled from the airframes, Jumper said in an interview, because they were “not part of the program.”

    "...Predator to carry and fire Army Hellfire anti-tank missiles. Jumper’s goal was to give operators the ability to take immediate advantage when perishable, high-value targets were spotted.

    The first response to Jumper’s request was predictably routine—the project could be completed in five years, for about $15 million. Jumper responded, “I’ll give you $3 million and three months, and I’ll take responsibility for failures.”

    It was the kind of charter that Clark, Big Safari, and other special program developers relished. An unorthodox but realistic test program was set in motion..."

    How the Predator Grew Teeth

  76. the stroll through Pakistan...

    “The history of war proves that nine out of ten times an army has been destroyed because its supply lines have been cut off…”
    ___General of the Armies of the United States, Douglas MacArthur

    “Amateurs think about tactics, but professionals think about logistics.”
    ___General Robert Barrow, USMC (Commandant)

    “Gentlemen, the officer who doesn’t know his communications and supply as well as his tactics is totally useless.”
    ___General George Patton, USA

    “The line between disorder and order lies in logistics…”
    ___Sun Tzu

  77. Deuce,

    Re: Red Army escort

    The soul of Pootie Pooh ("that good man") would wax bright.

  78. Re: Major Hasan

    Did someone say, “POLITICAL CORRECTNESS”?

    “These students, speaking privately because they have been ordered not to speak publicly, say they're angry that what they view as political correctness led their superiors to ignore the warning signs witnessed by students and faculty at the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences…

    "I was astounded and went to multiple faculty and asked why he was even in the Army," the officer said. "Political correctness squelched any opportunity to confront him”…

    “Investigators have asked at least one classmate why he didn't file a formal complaint if he was upset by Hasan's comments. "I said, 'Sir, why should I have to when the faculty heard all of these things firsthand?' "…"We shouldn't have had to say anything because these were all classroom assignments." …

    And then there were concerns raised by the political beliefs that Hasan espoused. "He wore his rigid Islam ideology on his sleeve and weaved it throughout his coursework," says the third classmate. "He would be standing there in uniform pledging allegiance to the Koran."

    It appears that some Army officers aren’t going to let the Major Hasan debacle be swept under the rug, orders or not

  79. Helluva story on the Predator, Allen.

    That's what drives some of us Crazy. Our guys can accomplish "So Much, So Fast," sometimes; then some other assholes' actions just can't be explained.

    Thank God for that 5%.

  80. rufus,

    Re: Helluva story on the Predator, Allen.

    You willing to admit that Jumper might be a pretty good officer...maybe part of that 5% :)

    The problem is that getting a star is highly political; you really must have a patron. Sometimes, this works out just fine; but all too often we end up with sleazy and/or timid politicians under epaulets.

  81. The headline from Gateway, being false, but accurate?

    The story quoted says that at 04:55 there were 300 people in line and that at 7:00 that number had grown to 1,500.

    Not that there were 1,500 there at 0400 dark thirty hrs.

  82. Maersk Alabama Repels 2nd Pirate Attack With Guns

    "Vice Adm. Bill Gortney of the U.S. Naval Forces Central Command, said the Maersk Alabama had followed the maritime industry's "best practices" in having a security team on board.

    "This is a great example of how merchant mariners can take proactive action to prevent being attacked and why we recommend that ships follow industry best practices if they're in high-risk areas," Gortney said in a statement.

    "However, Roger Middleton, a piracy expert at the London-based think tank Chatham House, said the international maritime community was still "solidly against" armed guards aboard vessels at sea, but that American ships have taken a different line than the rest of the international community."

    Pirate Attack

    Sometimes you do what you gotta do. Good to see it when the US gets it right.


  83. According to the WaPo it is evidently Congress' fault for actually asking for an accounting of the jobs the administration said they created/saved with the stimulus program. If they didn't ask they wouldn't be disappointed with the answers.


    WaPo Says Don't Ask, Don't Tell

  84. I'm still pretty impressed, Rat. 4:00 - 7:00 - It was still pretty cold, I'll bet.

    I gotta admit, I'm looking forward to Hannity's interview, tonight. I saw a short excerpt a minute, ago, and I got intrigued. She is a "good-looker." And, she's gotta be smarter than the MSM has made her out to be. (in short, I can't help pulling for her.) :)

  85. Yeah, Allen; Jumper's one of the good'uns.

  86. No doubt that Mrs Palin has a following, my wife thinks she is the cat's meow.

    We've got more than a few cats.

    Whether that's enough for a run to the White House ...
    Only time will tell

  87. Your wife has her head on straight, Rat. My wife too thinks Sarah is the cat's meow.

  88. Well, we men, who love our wives, and perhaps some other ladies too, best get ourselves in gear, and work to elect this good woman to the White House.

  89. Out here, in addition to
    'the cat's meow', we often say, 'that's the cat's pajamas'.

    Just an old saying, out this way.

  90. Sarah's the cat's pajamas.

  91. For a long while, General Jumper's brother and sister also served, simultaneously with him, in the USAF.

  92. “Rest thee now upon thy back
    And I shall take a different tack”

    “It’s not a graceful way to lie
    But very good if one’s to sigh”

    “Ah thy sighing sighing sighing
    Makes me feel as if I’m dying”

    “Thou feelest not so dead to me
    I feel that thou hast come to be”

    “Doing and being here are one
    Until I’m spent and quite undone”

    Bless me, I need help. Transitioning from the sensual to the spiritual....I need a mirror, I think, I need that feeling when the car is no longing moving, but the countryside begins to drift by, and all flows, you know what I mean....

  93. when the car is no longer moving

    I get all excited thinking bout things, and listening to the divine upward thrusting music I'm alistening to

  94. Doug, In south florida, 20% of all mortgages are 60 days late.

  95. That's what I want to capture, in my moving motionless rapture, that feeling of the car no longer moving, as the countryside begins sliding by.

  96. bob said:

    "That's what I want to capture, in my moving motionless rapture, that feeling of the car no longer moving, as the countryside begins sliding by."

    pharmaceuticals, bob, pharmaceuticals...great sex can have the same effect (although, admittedly, I am no authority on sex – good, bad or indifferent – like the market, I dabble)...great sex - that's chemically induced also, now that I think about it...So, how do you get the glow without the blow (oops)...

  97. The thought of it, does put one in dizzy tizzy, Allen. I agree.

    I've had sex with five women. They were all, without exception, kindly.

    And, from thirty years ago, I have never strayed from my marital bed.

    But, an older man can dream. It's not a felony, o Melody.

  98. "A House committee voted Wednesday to give the government the right to dismantle financial firms that are so big, interconnected and leveraged that they could harm the economy, even if they are healthy."

    Now, if we could just get a recommendation to dismantle government when it's unhealthy.

    Panel: US can dismantle 'too big to fail' firms

  99. Pappy said, to me, one of the few times we really talked, my pappy said, "That girl has some real guts, coming out all this way, to be married"

    My mother, and my lady, soon to be my wife, and I, we cleaned up the old church, swept the old mouse turds out, decorated it, and, my wife and me 'got married'.

    My mom said "You will be happy"

    She knew.

  100. I hope this doesn't mean you're turning off our frequency? There's nothing wrong with dreaming.

    A Fantasy creates a picture in your mind that is impractical, an illusion so to speak. A mythical place of utopia, when you close your eyes anything can happen. Fantasies are what keep people alive. They give us romance, they give us peace, they give us hope.

    Don't stop dreaming it's not good for the soul.

  101. Home rescue plan delaying, not solving crisis

    To help pay his mortgage, Latta has slashed his bills by hunting for food in the wooded hills around his town of Albany in southern Ohio, and growing his own vegetables. He has resorted to selling pumpkins and firewood to make cash.

    In March, Latta heard about Obama's Home Affordable Modification Program, or HAMP, that allows mortgage payments to be reduced to 31 percent of a homeowner's income.

    The plan was launched as a central plank of Washington's efforts to stem foreclosures.

    Latta applied for a loan modification but was rejected. His bank said his income from selling pumpkins and firewood -- a net of $906 in 2008 -- was too high. (!)

  102. My Lady, though dost under estimate me.

    Thy qualms are quite unnecessary.

    My dreams are nothing but for thee.

    O Lady, I can see thee now...

  103. Dammit, my Lady,

    Thou dost under estimate me

    I wish thee, a faulty rhyme I have sent to thee

    Forgive me as my sword and I

    doth bow to thee