“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, December 02, 2009

Obama's Afghanistan Mission Impossible

Obama says 30,000 troops are vital to our national interest. That national interest has an announced shelf life. It expires in 18 months.

The plan calls for a rapid building of an Afghanistan army and police force. This stated goal has not happened over the last 8 years, but we are asked to believe it will happen over the next 18 months.

Assume you are a new recruit, prepared to grab a paycheck as a future Afghan soldier. Your local Taliban representative shows up and reminds you that in 18 months the Americans are leaving and that the Taliban is not.

I don't care if they get 250,000 in uniforms, the week the Americans pull out, that army will evaporate.

Obama also says that he can reduce corruption which is in the Afghani DNA. That is absurd. Anyone on the take today, will grab as much as he can as fast as he can and do so before the money train leaves town. Corruption will go up not down.

Obama knows he has painted himself into a corner. This is not about winning. It is all about leaving. It is the political cover for a politician that has been trying to be all things to all people.

The future of Afghanistan will not be much different from its past. The best we can hope for is that will be the distant past not the recent past.

Is there a sensible alternative? Probably not. Obama didn't create this mess. George Bush tested the limits of US military power and Obama is charged with facing the consequences of the overreach.


  1. Obama says 30,000 troops are vital to our national interest. That national interest has an announced shelf life. It expires in 18 months.

    Well, that's just about exactly when Obama wants the Nation to get interested in his 2012 re-election campaign.

  2. If they can bring US the head of Osama or Doc Z, all will be forgiven.

    Then Stan the Man would have proven his mettle, and trish's judgment of his abilities would be vindicated.

    Obama would be seen as the winner.

    No head, then it is just another waste of blood, sweat, tears and treasure.

  3. Villa had a nine days headstart before Pershing’s Expedition crossed into Mexico (Map 1) at noon on March 15, 1916. By that time, Villa and his men were well hidden in the mountains. To cover the uncharted terrain, Pershing divided his force into East and West columns and proceeded methodically into the unfamiliar Mexican interior.

    Basically, the two American columns of the expedition got nowhere in their pursuit of Villa. Northern Mexico was a vast wasteland with few towns and dominated by the barren and rugged Sierra Madre Mountains with peaks averaging ten to twelve thousand feet and honeycombed with deep canyons providing excellent hiding places for Villa and his men. The few roads were little more than dirt trails, dusty in dry weather and muddy quagmires in the rain. Villa’s men were on their home ground while Pershing was moving into unfamiliar and largely unmapped territory depending on Mexican guides whose loyalty was always questionable.

    Pershing’s soldiers, mostly raw recruits, encountered every imaginable mishap during their eleven months in Mexico. President Carranza had promised assistance, but when, for example, Pershing’s men were on the verge of capturing Villa, the “Carranzistas” attacked them. Another time, Pershing’s Indian scouts misinformed him about the location of Villa’s lair. On other occasions, the scouts brought in blood-filled boots and bullet-riddled shirts as “proof” that he had been killed.

  4. The talking heads employed by all the "News" networks and the idea that they are unbiased is just comical.

    From Matthews, a former Thomas Phillip "Tip" O'Neill, Jr. aide working for General Electric, to George Stephanopoulos, Mr Clinton's Press Secretary now working for Mickey Mouse, to Glenn Beck, "Fearmonger in Chief", speaking on Mr Murdock's platform which is owed, in part, by the Saudi King.

    The same Saudi King that financed, in part, Mr Obama's Harvard education.

  5. Beck being the singular exception that does not claim to be an unbiased reporter.

  6. 17 months from now, that vast majority of afghans will be more eager than ever to provide intel and assistance to our troops.

    Secure in the knowledge that they will have the full faith and protection of the well traioned Afghan Troops we leave behind.

  7. I get so sad when I think about all that situation, I turn to some better news--

    (necessary reading for Ash)

    Lord Moncktons Summary of Climategate and Its Issues

  8. Do George and Chris profess to do "straight news", doug?

    I thought that George was an opinion man, as for Matthews, I really do not know if he reports the Government handouts, or just comments upon them.

    This is a "fun" article

    By Jared Allen - 12/01/09 06:00 AM ET

    The war in Afghanistan has turned the politics of deficit spending upside down within the House Democratic Caucus.

  9. Sumner Redstone Dumps Viacom And CBS Stock (CBS, VIA)

    Jay Yarow|Oct. 14, 2009, 7:55 AM

    Sumner Redstone's National Amusements is selling CBS (CBS) and Viacom
    (VIA) shares to pay off its creditors.

    The CBS sale will bring in $345 million and the Viacom sale will bring in $600 million.

    During the great bull run of the last seven months, Viacom's stock doubled while CBS's has tripled, saving Redstone from having to sell National Amusements' theatre chain to pay down his debt.

    With this stock sale, he'll be able to pay of his creditors in full and still maintain a controlling interest in CBS and Viacom.

  10. WSJ - OCTOBER 15, 2009

    Mr. Redstone's family holding company, National Amusements Inc., said Wednesday that it plans to sell stock in CBS and Viacom valued at as much as $947 million, or more than a third of the value of its combined stake in the two big media companies. The sale is part of a plan that, along with other asset sales, would pay off existing creditors, National Amusements said.

    The move will slightly reduce Mr. Redstone's voting power in both media companies by selling voting shares along with all of the family's nonvoting stock.

    National Amusements owns about 82% of the voting shares in Viacom and 81% in CBS, according to securities filings. After the stock sale, National Amusements said, it would retain more than 75% of the voting control in both companies.

    When Dan Rather was misreporting on GW Bush's National Guard status, Sumner Redstone was the man that let it stand. Then had CBS defend the "reporting", until the truth became to much a burden to bear.

    Unlike both GE and Mickey Mouse, CBS had a single "owner operator", back in the day.

    But some friends of Obama have had their bacon saved, by the "... the great bull run of the last seven months ..."

    To include Mr Redstone, who helps create the news, as well as report upon it.

  11. I have a question and I don't need a smart ass answer like, you should know the answer to that.

    The President talks about ending the war in Iraq and bringing home troops, blah, blah, blah, so then why is my cousin going there in January.

    I guess, I could wait until Sunday to ask, him. His mom is having a small get together to wish him farewell and a safe trip home.

    But, I'm interested in what you have to say.

  12. Because some are rotating in, as a a few more rotate out, and the drawdown is slow, I think MLD. But I'm not the one to really answer as I've never been in the military. Anyway Godspeed to your cousin.

  13. bob is correct, there are Units rotating in and out, while the overall number of troops deployed are decreasing.

    Those troops that are in Iraq now, they are not there for the "duration".
    That has never been the case.

  14. While the troops that remain, from now until their departure, are presenting a much lower profile to the Iraqi cityscape.

    Thus reducing the risk of their taking casualties from mechanical ambushes.
    The hand over of policing Iraq to Iraqis continues apace, I do believe.

  15. That when presented with a "Date Certain" US withdrawal, the Iraqi society stepped up and found tat some internal accommodation was possible.

    Or so it could be argued from a short term perspective.
    That to duplicate the "success" garnered in Iraq, we can quickly replicate that process in Afghanistan.
    As we are now experienced in the techniques of flipping the less radically religious of the tribal and/or regional warlords to supporting the permanent transitional government.

  16. Published: December 2, 2009

    WASHINGTON — President Obama’s top cabinet officers went before skeptical members of Congress on Wednesday to argue his case for a rapid build-up of troops in Afghanistan, followed by withdrawals beginning in 2011.

    In a somber opening statement before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said the plan was for “an extended surge of 18 to 24 months.”

    “This approach is not open-ended ‘nation building,’ ” he said. “It is neither necessary nor feasible to create a modern, centralized, Western-style Afghan nation-state — the likes of which has never been seen in that country. Nor does it entail pacifying every village and conducting textbook counterinsurgency from one end of Afghanistan to the other.

    “It is, instead, a narrower focus tied more tightly to our core goal of disrupting, dismantling and eventually defeating Al Qaeda by building the capacity of the Afghans — capacity that will be measured by observable progress on clear objectives, and not simply by the passage of time.”

    Mr. Gates was joined by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The trio will repeat their presentations on Thursday before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee as the administration continues its defense of a risky, high-cost expansion of the Afghanistan war that Congress will have to find ways to pay for.

    Senator Carl Levin, a Democrat of Michigan who is chairman of the committee, has long urged a more determined effort to rapidly train and expand the Afghan army and security forces; on Wednesday he raised serious doubts that Mr. Obama’s approach would be sufficiently able do so.

  17. This opinion is brilliantly cutting and dead-on target.

    Searching in Vain for the Obama Magic

    Elsewhere, Ralph Peters asks, "If you're going to tell the Taliban to be patient because we're leaving, what's the point in upping the blood ante?"

  18. Although, we're all worried he says, he's not.

  19. I was just going to post that, allen. And everyone knows how much I despise Ralph.

    That speech last night was so STUNNINGLY awful I was waiting to see a Gong Show panel somewhere off to the side.

    Any speech that leaves *me* longing for an alternate speech promptly delivered by the man significantly responsible for the whole ordeal, is ipso facto a speech that very, very few could have warmed to.

    It didn't even rise to the level of a golf clap.

    Excellent oratory cannot poor policy redeem, but why-bother oratory matched to poor policy? Just keep the 10th Mtn and 101st home, dude.

  20. I wish your cousin an ultimately safe and satisfyingly productive deployment, MLD.


  21. “It is neither necessary nor feasible to create a modern, centralized, Western-style Afghan nation-state — the likes of which has never been seen in that country. Nor does it entail pacifying every village and conducting textbook counterinsurgency from one end of Afghanistan to the other.

    “It is, instead, a narrower focus tied more tightly to our core goal of disrupting, dismantling and eventually defeating Al Qaeda by building the capacity of the Afghans — capacity that will be measured by observable progress on clear objectives, and not simply by the passage of time.”

    Sounds like the prezBO is setting up for a "controlled-chaos" unassing of the AO.

    Stratfor has an interesting analysis.

    Obama's stated center of gravity being the Afghan army. The true center of gravity being the ISI, since they possess the capability to penetrate the Taliban...or double cross the shit out of US.

  22. He's actually fortunate: The crew running the show there now is good.

  23. trish,

    What intrigued most about the Der Spiegel link was the attitude, generally, of our friends the Germans.

    If we have not been able to stand-up a competent Afghan military after eight years, it's not going to happen. There is a time to every purpose under heaven; the expiration date of this one passed long ago.

  24. trish,

    G-d love'em, the long gray line did not warm to the speech as ordered.

  25. If we have faith that Stan the Man's abilities are on par with trish's, well then Bro D-Day, I think you are spot on the money.

    Since Obama is a delegate and forget kind of an Administrator, the Six Stars over Afpakistan may just be able to "git er done".

    I would not short sell Stan, yet.

  26. That's exactly what he said, Trish.

    And he's police, I don't know if that means anything.

  27. We'll soon see if he really is Ranger qualified.

  28. "Then Stan the Man would have proven his mettle, and trish's judgment of his abilities would be vindicated."

    Trish's husband didn't find OBL on the second go-round. And Zawahiri made a narrow escape.

    Needle in a haystack and the haystack's bigger than it used to be.

  29. The trainers and advisers are going to be there after everyone else is gone, allen. They just won't be "troops." People are amazed at what comes under the category of "not troops."

    Without knowing where he's going to be exactly, MLD, I couldn't tell you any more. Just that it's an impressive gang in Baghdad at this time and that if you're going to deploy to Iraq, it's a pretty sweet time to do it.

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. One of Stan's gifts (and Gates' for that matter) is close partnering with the Ministry of Darkness.

    Too bad the admin shit-canned the best DCI ever.

  32. I'll "short-sell" him. Anyone who tells his troops to take their armor, and helmts off in a War Zone is a Moron. A Dangerous Moron.

    He's a clusterfuck. His men are dying without air, or artillery, support.

    The whole damned bunch ought to face Courts Martial.

  33. They're putting our men in the field with a plastic rifle with a 98% success rate. Translated, that means you can get about 3 Magazines through it before it Jams.

    They're telling them to take off their protective gear (it used to be a non-judicial punishment for not having them on.)

    They're putting our troops out into remote valleys, where they can't get timely reinforcement, and denying them "Support."

    They're putting a hundred thousand of our Soldiers, and Marines, in a situation that they know can't be successful. All in the name of "Politics, and Promotions."

    Bob McNamara didn't have a thing on this bunch of assholes.

    Glen Beck is right. I'd tell any relatives of mine to get the hell out of that mess as quickly as possible.

  34. I'll "short-sell" him. Anyone who tells his troops to take their armor, and helmts off in a War Zone is a Moron.

    - rufus

    He didn't tell anyone to take off anything. The guy - and his other guys - was running around hairy asscrack in his fabulous manjammas or whatever-the-hell from Gander Mtn, depending on the day.

    The response time of those not so outfitted was simply slowed down. Like driving a heavily armored vehicle, there are trade-offs.

  35. But that was also back when the operating environment was more...permissive. That was back in the Good Old Days, before everything REALLY went to hell.

  36. Bullshit, Trish. I read his statement. He wanted the troops to present a more "friendly" appearance.

    The "response time" he needs to be concerned with is the response time to reinforce, or support those caught in the shit.

    Oh, Wait. There is NO "response time," because we Don't Respond.

    This is horseshit, Trish. You know it, I know it, the "Cocktail Waitress" knows it. We're going to get a lot of men killed for nothing.

    Except, Pure Fucking Politics.

    You can pretend that it's "alright" if you want to; but I'll be Goddamned if I will.

  37. Bullshit, Trish. I read his statement. He wanted the troops to present a more "friendly" appearance.

    - rufus

    I don't know where you read that. Certainly wasn't trish's husband. That was the "guy" I was referring to. Sorry, we're mixing up "guys."

    Although I do think a part of it is the SF/Operator mentality. Different mindset.

    In any event, I guarantee you Stan's not going to relieve anyone of their battle rattle. Not now.

  38. Oh, Wait. There is NO "response time," because we Don't Respond.

    - rufus

    That's pure horseshit, rufus. And YOU know it.

    Enjoy your vent.

  39. I have a dark view of what's going to transpire. And maybe, as was the case in Iraq, I will be proven happily wrong. The most significant difference, of course, is that it's not Iraq. Boy, is it not Iraq.

    Should this go poorly it will be one of US history's painful ironies.

  40. Those dead Marines up in that valley were refused air, and artillery support, Trish. And, it took 6 hrs, or more, for reinforcements to reach them.

    You can damned well bet I'll "Vent." And, don't be an asshole, and pretend you think I "enjoy" it.

  41. No, Trish; it Won't be a "Painful Irony."

    It will me a "Monumental Fuck-up."

  42. Those dead Marines up in that valley were refused air, and artillery support, Trish. And, it took 6 hrs, or more, for reinforcements to reach them.

    - rufus

    I know.

    We never heard anything more about that. Whose decision was it and why? It would be a first for us, violating our own air support doctrine. We're usually more than eager to send it out.

  43. Painful irony in that the "optional war" actually went quite well. The other one...not so much.

  44. sorry, trish,

    We can have as many non-troops as you please, following withdrawal; but the Afghan military is a dog that is never going to hunt. Tribal/clan loyalties are too ingrained to permit the homogenization required of a viable national army.

    Moreover, the Afghanis cannot be trusted. That is why our people surround themselves defensively rather than living among their Afghan hosts, ala Germany or the UK. After eight years, an American (or Westerner for that matter) cannot safely walk alone anywhere in Afhganistan.

    At the start, there may have been a moment when revolutionary change was possible. That moment is forever gone.

  45. "We can have as many non-troops as you please, following withdrawal; but the Afghan military is a dog that is never going to hunt."

    Oh, they hunt. Some of them are quite good, fourth-world-army-wise.

    Professionalizing them to the extent that they meet third-world-army standards is a tall order - and someone else's paycheck.

    My only point was that the trainers and advisers will be there after the troops are gone.

    They'll be running everything out of the embassy and its far-flung appendages - which, come to think of it, isn't such a bad idea.

  46. It is always a good idea to get your ducks lined-up prior to a major policy statement. Mr. Obama appears to have missed that lesson during his transition classes. Long story short, NUTO is unlikely to be of further assistance in Afghanistan; they do send best wishes, though.

    Because the French have not won a war in more than a century, that government has the cart before the horse, focusing on the training of teachers and medical personnel. Without security, educated Afghanis will be sitting ducks and are going to get out of the country as fast as possible.

    Europe welcomes Obama speech but few pledge troops

  47. Corruption...Institutional corruption's a given in Afghanistan.

    Took me thirty-odd years to realize that's it's a given over most of the rest of the planet.

    We are absolute saints comparatively.

    There's corruption, and then there's Corruption: From this point of view, I actually am quite sympathetic to the timeline put on this bag of operations. We were so badly dicked over by Kabul, and have precious little means to prevent further.

  48. America has been training palestinians for decades to take over and a self ruling people, we have provided everything from schools, jobs, training, housing, food, & trained government, police and security forces...

    even as we speak literally BILLIONs are being given to create HOPE and JOBS for palestinians...

    to what avail?

    they name buildings, sports teams and summer camps after suicide bombers...

    good luck in pakistan and afghanistan training them to embrace Jeffersonian democracy...

  49. Trusted to do what, by whom, is the real question.

    Then there'b be follow on questions, as well.

    Regardless, the US was not going to "Cut and Run" from Afpakistan. Not under Bush 43 nor under Obama el Uno.

    Our professional military will soldier on, with the numbers and dollars provided by Congress, towards the goal of disrupting aQ operations.

    If we can do it with civilian operators, air support and Northern Alliance type scouts and troops, within 18 to 24 months. Well, amigos, that would certainly be a success, of sorts. At least as much, if not more so than arming up the Sons of Anbar.

  50. Should this go poorly it will be one of US history's painful ironies.

    Obama wants a "teachable moment"

    he wants America to not be so arrogant to think that we can actually WIN in battle....

    he is ensuring we will have a new vietnam loss of self esteem

  51. Obama wants a "teachable moment"

    - What Is

    I've had so many teachable moments in the past nine years, I've lost count.

    There was something about that speech...

  52. And the idea that the US would establish a democratic Islamic Republic was a Bush/Republican strategy.
    It has been disowned by Team Obamamerica, exemplified by Mr Gates's testimony.

    As reported.

    Do not be fooled by misdirections.

  53. Two good Friedman's in a row:
    I can’t agree with President Obama’s decision to escalate in Afghanistan.

    Iraq was about “the war on terrorism.” The Afghanistan invasion, for me, was about the “war on terrorists.” To me, it was about getting bin Laden and depriving Al Qaeda of a sanctuary — period. I never thought we could make Afghanistan into Norway — and even if we did, it would not resonate beyond its borders the way Iraq might.

    To now make Afghanistan part of the “war on terrorism” — i.e., another nation-building project — is not crazy. It is just too expensive, when balanced against our needs for nation-building in America, so that we will have the strength to play our broader global role. Hence, my desire to keep our presence in Afghanistan limited.

  54. This was the kind of article Rufi's writtin about:
    General McChrystal's Wrong-Headed Rules Of Engagement (ROE ...

    The Rules of Engagement now in effect in that war zone are designed to appease the faint hearted rather than win a war…According to military spokesmen, the ROE has been tailored to soften the possibility of civilian casualties. General Stanley McChrystal issued the new ROE restrictions on the use of military force to reduce the risk of further alienating the population… “Tying our Warfighter’s hands behind their backs is past unsatisfactory…it’s criminal! [Colonel Wayne Morris, USMC (Ret)]

    The New Media Journal: Rules of Engagement & Other Stupid Decisions

    A word of advice to the elite “Conservative” Blog Sites:
    If you have not worn the uniform or fought for your county, I would suggest you blog on another subject matter.
    As I was about to publish this post, I received the below comment from an “old gramma” on another website:

    I am too familiar with what goes on with our troops in Afghanistan. My grandson, who grew up in my home, spent 15 months in the Korengal Valley = aka The Valley of Death. They went through over 1,000 firefights, undermanned, all but abandoned on rocky shelves they pickaxed out of the mountainsides – no running water, housing only what they could cobble together – no hot meals, no heat in the brutal Hindu Kush winters, etc etc – they lost many.

    They are going back – and all they accomplished has been lost with the NRE’s…it’s worse now than any time from the first year! How are they supposed to feel? The new ROE says THEY must, when it comes to it, sacrifice their very safety/lives to ensure no civilians get hurt!
    This is Gen. McCrystals New Rules of Engagement…we need to hold his feet to the fire.
    This is what we need to get out to the people

  55. This one is the one I was looking for:
    In Afghanistan, let U.S. troops be warriors

    There was an international uproar when, on Sept. 4, in Afghanistan's Kunduz province, an American fighter jet under NATO command bombed a group of Taliban fighters who had hijacked two fuel tanker trucks. The trucks exploded, the fighters were killed, and so were a still-undetermined number of Afghan civilians.

    The civilian deaths sent shudders through the American military command, already fearful that civilian casualties would further alienate the Afghan public. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top American commander in Afghanistan, was said to be angry and determined to tighten the U.S. force's already-strict rules of engagement even more to avoid future civilian deaths.

    Then something odd happened. When McChrystal met with local leaders in Kunduz, a few days after the bombing, he got an earful -- but not what he expected.

    According to a detailed account in The Washington Post -- a story that has received too little attention in the ongoing debate over U.S. policy in Afghanistan -- the local Afghan leaders told McChrystal to stop being so fussy and to go ahead and kill the enemy, which they said would help bring stability to the region.

    Post reporter Rajiv Chandrasekaran was given extraordinary access to the bombing investigation. According to his account, McChrystal began the meeting with a show of sympathy for those who had been killed or wounded. The general didn't get very far before he was interrupted by the provincial council chairman, Ahmadullah Wardak.

    The security situation has been getting worse in Kunduz, Wardak told McChrystal. American and NATO troops haven't been aggressive enough in pursuing and killing the Taliban. In Wardak's view, the bombing of the fuel tankers, rather than a mistake, was the right thing to do.

    "If we do three more operations like was done the other night, stability will come to Kunduz," Wardak said, according to the Post account. "If people do not want to live in peace and harmony, that's not our fault."
    Chandrasekaran reported that McChrystal "seemed caught off guard." Wardak clarified a bit more: "We've been too nice to the thugs," he said.

    So instead of receiving an angry lecture on America's disregard for Afghan life, the general received an angry lecture on America's hesitance to go after the enemy.
    Now cut again, this time to Sept. 8, when four U.S. Marines were killed when the Taliban ambushed their patrol in Kunar province. The Marines were taken completely by surprise and pinned down under heavy Taliban fire. McClatchy reporter Jonathan Landay was with them and wrote a harrowing account of their desperate battle to survive.

    The rules of engagement again played a role. "U.S. commanders, citing new rules to avoid civilian casualties, rejected repeated calls to unleash artillery rounds at attackers dug into the slopes and treelines," Landay wrote, "despite being told repeatedly that they weren't near the village."

  56. Allen,
    Somehow this guy walked around Afghanistan with his son.
    ...what are the secrets of his success, other than that he was armed?
    (a question for the assembled wise guys and gal)

    There are no easy answers for Afghanistan.

    Unless the present FOB bound kinetic ops orientation is completely eliminated we will leave here in worse shape than we are now and right now my friends we are getting our collective asses kicked and kicked good. We are spending blood and gaining not one damn thing to show for it. We are spending billions of dollars we do not have and gaining not one damn thing for that either. These are facts and for a guy like me who spent the happiest years of his life as an officer in the United States Marine Corps it is most upsetting to face up to these facts. When we started this fight President Bush said “we will not falter, we will not tire, we will not fail.” In Afghanistan the military is tired; worn out by back to back to back deployments. We are clearly failing by any unit of measurement and it now appears we are faltering too as the National Command Authority waffles about why we are here and what we are supposed to do.

  57. desert rat said...
    And the idea that the US would establish a democratic Islamic Republic was a Bush/Republican strategy.

    actually America started in the 1800's to try to help the arab and moslem world become countries.

    You missed the start of the American engagement for nation building in the islamic world by only 210 years...

    not bad...

  58. Chapter and verse, "misdirection". You are so often wrong that without a reference, you're just not a reliable source.

    Get arrested for man slaughter, following your advice of post for trespassing and shoot.

  59. This comment has been removed by the author.

  60. desert rat said...
    Chapter and verse, "misdirection". You are so often wrong that without a reference, you're just not a reliable source.

    Cast not pearls before swine...

    You're so often full of shit we typically ignore your ignorance of history, faith, politics and religion

    It's not our fault that you know nothing of America's engagement in arab national identity building...

    It's not our fault you know nothing of the American Universities set up in ex-ottoman's zones to teach ideals of democracy et al...

    Might i suggest try looking at the middle east and America through wider lens...

  61. Don't get me wrong. They're ALL assholes, and idiots. Give me 100 V22's, and I could put a Company-sized Fast Reaction Force, ANYWHERE, in Afghanistan in 30 minutes. A Battalian in an hour.

    A "Fast-Mover" should NEVER be more than 5 minutes from Anywhere in Afghanistan.

    This fucking place is the size of Texas. It's made to order for helicopters. They should be "Everywhere." Humvees are, basically, worthless there. If you have to go by Ground, it should be an MWRAP.

    It's enough to make you want to cry. Assholes playing "Soldier."

  62. Humvees are good for the IED industry.
    Encouraging Capitalism in the Muslim World!

  63. Stanley McChrystal’s Long War

    DURING HIS TRIP to Garmsir, Stanley McChrystal took a moment to meet with Abdullah Jan, the governor. The two sat down in the same council chambers where Jan had met with Captain Caskey.

    “Tell me how we can do better,” McChrystal said.

    Jan thought for a second, then offered an unusual answer.

    “You need to live in a building, not a bunch of tents,” he said.

    McChrystal gave him a quizzical look.

    “Everyone in Garmsir sees that you are living in tents, and they know that you are going to be leaving soon,” Jan told McChrystal. “You need to build something permanent — a building. Because your job here is going to take years. Only then will people be persuaded that you are going to stay.”

    McChrystal nodded.

    “We’ll stay as long as we have to until our Afghan partners are completely secure,” he said. “Even if that means years.”

    McChrystal started to get up, but Jan wasn’t finished yet.

    “The Afghan people are impatient,” he said. “We’ve been waiting for 30 years! We don’t want to wait any longer. We’re impatient!”

    McChrystal held back a smile.

    “Believe me,” he told Jan. “I work for a lot of impatient people, too.”

  64. The Cost of Risk Aversion

    Not all politicians are power hungry petty tyrants who believe their constituents too stupid to understand what they are up to. Michael Yon posted a white paper
    Not all politicians are power hungry petty tyrants who believe their constituents too stupid to understand what they are up to.
    Michael Yon posted a white paper from one who has consistently demonstrated sound judgment, professional leadership, integrity and an inordinate amount of common sense.
    He is Adam Holloway;
    a British MP who has made several trips to Afghanistan traveling both inside the official security bubble and outside the wire. Take the time to download and read the paper – it lays out exactly what we need to be doing and I suspect is just shy of 180 degrees out from the pablum we will be fed Tuesday night by our current President. Here are some of the key points;

    ---Afghanistan is just one area of confrontation in our wider struggle against political Islam, a struggle which we must win.

    ---Afghanistan is no more important to Al Qaeda than a half dozen other countries. But it is strategically useful for AQ in generating propaganda footage of “infidels” fighting Muslims and Muslims fighting back.

    ---NATO’s ill-conceived operation in Afghanistan is on the brink of failure. Support for UK and NATO forces is falling: only 45% of polled Afghans support a NATO presence in the south, down from 83% in the previous year.

    ---Much of what NATO is doing is aggravating the problem and is making attacks in the UK and other NATO countries more likely, not less.

    ---It is vital that Afghan territory is not used as a launch pad for future attacks; and that the Islamist minority cannot claim victory.

    ---This can be achieved with a much smaller allied force. There is always going to be some level of insurgency in Afghanistan.

    One can only wish that somewhere in America there is a political leader with this much common sense. If there is an American politician who has even half the knowledge on the current situation in Afghanistan I have not heard about him. I suspect the current masters of Capitol Hill will be articulating some sort of weak ass cut and run strategy which will be folly.

    In fact here is another Brit – this one a legacy press guy who wrote and article today saying “Afghanistan withdrawl would be a folly.”
    He too seems to know a thing or two about what he is talking about and is worth reading.

    Is it me or do any of you find it weird that we are now forced to get so much of our news about America from the British press?

  65. For Trish:

    Yesterday, the day after Thanksgiving, was little Eid and my Palestinian neighbors came over to help me cull the goat and sheep heard on my modest little farm allowing me to sharpen up my throat slitting skills. I have learned the fine art of butchering halal meat and always enjoy chatting with my PLO neighbors (just kidding two of the three brothers served honorably in the American military) who normally drink all my beer as we trade stories. Being little Eid they spared my beer stocks and the youngest brother – a former Navy diver – just walked into the kitchen and started making pot after pot of coffee. The two older brothers and one of their sons and I set about to our task with quiet efficiency and in just over an hour had butchered 3 sheep and 2 goats. Normally we argue about Beirut circa 1982 -83 – all of us were there although the brothers were children at the time. They asked how we are doing in Afghanistan and I was forced to admit that we have learned nothing since our unfortunate intervention in Lebanon some 30 years ago. Back then the Marines sat on the Beirut International Airport with no real clear idea of what exactly we were supposed to do other than sit there with our weapons unloaded. Now there are thousdands of Americans who go to Afghanistan and most just sit on a FOB with their weapons unloaded and no clear idea what exactly they are supposed to be doing either.

    Instead of arguing politics I told them of Zarang and what could have been were it not for risk aversion, micro managment, and a clearly disfunctional Department of State.

  66. We have rented a house and will be starting up multiple cash for work projects soon. It is going to cost a ton to get internet set up down there but everything else we need will come from the local economy and will be dirt cheap. The Mayor appreciates all the help he can get and there is little doubt that our projects in this area are going to be wildly successful.

    One international, a half dozen of our talented Afghan managers and we will be able to run multiple projects for less than one cent on the dollar currently spent by USAID implementers on the projects they run in the rest of the country.
    That is no exaggeration we have no armored trucks, no expat security detail, no need for the lavish compounds or food flown in from Dubai.

    We may not produce fancy PowerPoint’s and professional presentations on our genius plans to get a project going nor do we have a large inside the beltway corporate HQ full of retired USAID and military officers. We have a dozen or so expats who know just one thing -how to get projects going at warp speed and for dirt cheap.
    We do not talk reconstruction we do reconstruction.

  67. There was never a need for the elaborate security which was foisted upon the reconstruction efforts by our Department of State when we started the reconstruction programs years ago.

    There is now as we have fed the insurgency by failing to deliver meaningful aid while supporting GIRoA officials who prey upon the people they are supposed to serve.

    The Afghans see us riding around in armored vehicles with truck loads of gunmen fore and aft and wonder what the hell it is we think we are accomplishing. I can’t blame them as I wonder the same thing myself.

    The key to getting things done in a post conflict environment is to get things done. Using expensive large corporations who specialize on doing USAID reconstruction projects while relying on State Department Regional Security Officers who know nothing about the region and little about security to set the minimum operational security standards has proven to be a waste of time, money and lives.

  68. Adam Holloway is right on target with his assessment of the correct way forward. Smaller, agile military formations complemented by small agile teams of reconstruction experts are not only cost effective – they are the only way to go.

    And now dear reader we (us Americans) have been placed on the proverbial “horns of a dilemma” by the “public servants” who spend their adult lives enriching themselves and their families by feeding at the public trough.

    You can follow the advice of MP Holloway, myself, and countless others who have said for years we need to be smaller and more agile or you can pay a 1% surtax which will grow and grow as taxes always do.

    My advice? If you have a job, assets and saving which are worth more than a warm cup of spit it is time to hire a good accountant.

  69. For Trish:

    I don't even know what that would entail. I really don't.

    For Steve:


  70. If you guys are going to get all hot and bothered you might as well take a break and make it worth your while with The Victoria's Secret 2009 fashion show

  71. I'm kinda digging the first photo the best.

  72. Have you noticed all of their models are ugly? I wonder why..

  73. Harper's Wall Street Index

    Wall Street bonus pool estimate for 2009: $140 billion

    Combined budget deficit estimate for 50 states in 2010: $142

    Total bailout funds committed by the U.S. government and Federal Reserve to Wall Street and auto industry: $1.1 trillion

    Ratio of bailout dollars for Wall Street and auto industry to loans provided small businesses through the stimulus package: 2,933:1

    Percentage of new jobs in the economy created by small businesses during the last 15 years: 64

    Ratio of patents created at small businesses compared to corporations 13:1"


  74. Copenhagen has its own Climategate

    "2. Danes caught fiddling their carbon credits. (Hat tip: Philip Stott) Carbon trading is the Emperor’s New Clothes of international finance. It was invented by none other than Ken Lay, whose Enron would currently be one of the prime beneficiaries in the global alternative energy market, if it hadn’t been shown to be (nearly) as fraudulent as the current AGW scam. It is a licence to fleece, cheat and rob. Still, jolly embarrassing for the Danes to get caught red handed, what with their hosting a conference shortly in which the world’s leaders will try, straight-faced, to persuade us that carbon emissions trading is the only viable way of defeating ManBearPig."


  75. "Have you noticed all of their models are ugly?"



  76. More like ruff ruff. There's a few hotties, but you would think being Victoria's secret they would be stunning.

    I guess the catalogue makes a world of difference.

  77. MLD: More like ruff ruff. There's a few hotties, but you would think being Victoria's secret they would be stunning.

    I gotta go with my blogger wish list. But the thing is, my wish list has less to do with lingerie than what's in it for me.

  78. T, you always come through when it comes to tits and ass.

  79. As per his norm, man of "misdirection" makes a claim, and then fails the "trust but verify" standard.

    He can not verify his claim that the US has been "democratizing" Islam for 210 years, so attacks me with more baseless claims.

    Of course he reads and responds to my queries, while he denies the importance of his doing so, or that he even does.

    But he deals in lies and deceptions, thus confirming the claim that he is a man of "misdirection".

    As you may all can recall his lies about US immigration restrictions base upon the applicants Jewishness, restrictions that do not exist.

    Trying to create an aura of victimhood, when and where there is no cause for it.

  80. Transparency Marches On

    White House Blocks Testimony on Party Crashers

    The White House on Wednesday invoked the separation of powers to keep Desiree Rogers, the social secretary, from testifying about security breaches at a state dinner.

  81. “After reviewing our actions, it is clear that the White House did not do everything we could have done to assist the United States Secret Service in ensuring that only invited guests enter the complex,’’ Mr. Messina wrote in the memo, posted on the White House web site late Wednesday afternoon. “White House staff were walking back and forth outside between the check points helping guests and were available to the Secret Service throughout the evening, but clearly we can do more, and we will do more.’’


  82. I know you are #10 MLD, I know you are.

    Savage is comparing an old LBJ speech to O's. They sure do sound just the same. Some phrases almost identical.

    Our ultimate strength isn't in our guns, etc etc etc


  83. Obama cast in the role of LBJ, you read it here first, a while ago.

    If you took the time to read.

  84. Ouch: If Elin Bolts, Tiger Parts With $300 Mil
    Prominent Celebrity Divorce Attorney Says Don't Count On Couple Staying Together Because Of Woods' Temptations
    Report: If They Split, Prenuptial Agreement Is Largest In Celeb History

    That woman possesses a real golf club.

  85. Move to Repay Aid Helps Bank of America Shed a Stigma

    Less than a year after grasping two multibillion-dollar bailouts from Washington, a resurgent Bank of America announced on Wednesday that it would repay all of its federal aid, underscoring the banking industry’s swift recovery from the gravest financial crisis since the Depression.

    Despite continuing problems with its loans to struggling homeowners and consumers, Bank of America plans to return the $45 billion in aid that it received at the height of the financial panic — a step that, only months ago, would have been almost unimaginable.

    But like many other big banks, Bank of America is once again making money, in large part through Wall Street businesses like trading stocks and bonds, rather than by making loans. Its recovery, while many ordinary Americans are still struggling, is an important milestone in the government’s yearlong effort to stabilize the nation’s financial industry.

  86. Yeah, you're right. I remember Doug saying that very thing, right here.

  87. Actually, my lawyer and I spoke of it, a couple days after 9/11.

    Afghanistan :(

  88. Yep, doug takes the time to read, digest and regurgitate.

  89. Not of course in reference to Obama, just the toughness of it.

    But, we both agreed, we have to do something.

    There isn't any good solution to this. It's legit though to compare zero's campaign rhetoric to today.

    Like they say, being Prez can be hard.

  90. desert rat said...
    As per his norm, man of "misdirection" makes a claim, and then fails the "trust but verify" standard.

    He can not verify his claim that the US has been "democratizing" Islam for 210 years, so attacks me with more baseless claims.

    Stated by a so called man that cannot type Israel...

  91. Q, you might have put up the "Comment of the Year."

    Admittedly, the "year" is only two days old.

  92. I think I'm renting an apartment tomorrow to an assistant ethics professor who needs a place for a year. She sounds nice, has two bloodhounds.

    I'll ask her what to do.

    She will know.

    Wife and I were at the local library today. Happened to take a look in a locked book case, by the restroom

    "War Of The Rebellion--Official Records Of The Union And Confederate Armies" in about thirty volumes.

    Old books. Next time I'm there I'll ask for the key, and get the particulars about when published, by whom, probably by what act of Congress or whatever.

  93. I'll state the problem clearly to my ethics professor lady, and ask her if perhaps the solution might not be to just bomb the entire southern part of the country to absolute rubble and she what she says, and report back to you.

  94. It is not that I cannot, it is that I will not.

    There is a difference, Mr "america", and you know it.

  95. But, why not?

    Everyone thinks it quite juvenile to not properly spell the name of a nation.

    I do think I'll ask my ethics professor if she's ever heard of Wretchard's Three Conjectures.

    Big day tomorrow, gnite.

  96. Youth is a state of mind, so it is good way to stay young, bob.

    And besides, what "everyone" thinks, that is of little to no concern to me.

  97. It is part of the shtick.


    Delivers a deliberate message of equivalency.

  98. But first For Rufus

    Jon Stewart mocks Al Gore.