“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, October 06, 2010


We beat the Taliban by supporting the Northern Alliance back in 2001. We should have stopped then. We didn't and persisted to a draw in 2010, soon to be 2011. Too bad for us.

Too bad for the Afghans who supported the US in Afghanistan. Their lot will be dire, but there is no possible practical win for the US in Afghanistan. Karzai will have squirreled away enough money to escape and will probably save his life, many won't.

It is an ugly and predictable outcome, and anyone with any sense of the culture and history of Afghanistan has known this was coming.

Here is an interesting clip of French troops in Afghansitan.

NOTE: To the right are four additional videos related to the post. Check out the second video about the Taliban.
I will adjust the videos for all future posts


Taliban in high-level talks with Karzai government, sources say

By Karen DeYoung, Peter Finn and Craig Whitlock
Wednesday, October 6, 2010; 2:43 AM
Washington Post

Taliban representatives and the government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai have begun secret, high-level talks over a negotiated end to the war, according to Afghan and Arab sources.

The talks follow inconclusive meetings, hosted by Saudi Arabia, that ended more than a year ago. While emphasizing the preliminary nature of the current discussions, the sources said that for the first time they believe that Taliban representatives are fully authorized to speak for the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban organization based in Pakistan, and its leader, Mohammad Omar.

"They are very, very serious about finding a way out," one source close to the talks said of the Taliban.

Although Omar's representatives have long publicly insisted that negotiations were impossible until all foreign troops withdraw, a position seemingly buoyed by the Taliban's resilience on the battlefield, sources said the Quetta Shura has begun to talk about a comprehensive agreement that would include participation of some Taliban figures in the government and the withdrawal of U.S. and NATO troops on an agreed timeline.

The leadership knows "that they are going to be sidelined," the source said. "They know that more radical elements are being promoted within their rank and file outside their control. . . . All these things are making them absolutely sure that, regardless of [their success in] the war, they are not in a winning position."

A half-dozen sources directly involved in or on the margins of the talks agreed to discuss them on the condition of anonymity. All emphasized the preliminary nature of the talks, even as they differed on how specific they have been. All expressed concern that any public description of the meetings would undercut them.

"If you talk about it while you're doing it, it's not going to work," said one European official whose country has troops in Afghanistan.

Several sources said the discussions with the Quetta Shura do not include representatives of the Haqqani group, a separately led faction that U.S. intelligence considers particularly brutal and that has been the target of recently escalated U.S. drone attacks in northwestern Pakistan.

The Haqqani group is seen as more closely tied to the Pakistani intelligence service than the Quetta Shura, based in the southwestern Pakistani province of Baluchistan. But one Afghan source, reflecting tension between the two governments, said Pakistan's insistence on a central role in any negotiations has made talks difficult even with the Quetta group. "They try to keep very tight control," this source said of the Pakistanis.

Reports of the talks come amid what Afghan, Arab and European sources said they see as a distinct change of heart by the Obama administration toward full backing of negotiations. Although President Obama and his national security team have long said the war would not be won by military means alone, sources said the administration only recently appeared open to talks rather than resisting them.

"We did not have consensus, and there were some who thought they could do it militarily," said a second European official. The Europeans said the American shift began in the summer, as combat intensified with smaller-than-expected NATO gains despite the arrival of the full complement of new U.S. troops, amid rising U.S. public opposition to the war.

The United States' European partners in Afghanistan, with different histories and under far stronger domestic pressure to withdraw their troops, have always been more amenable to a negotiated settlement. "What it really boils down to is the Americans both supporting and in some cases maybe even participating in talking with the enemy," the first European official said. "If you strip everything away, that's the deal here. For so long, politically, it's been a deal breaker in the United States, and with some people it still is."

Whatever domestic political difficulties the administration may fear would result from a negotiated deal with the Taliban, this official said, would be resolved by ending the war earlier rather than later. "A successful policy solves the political problem," he said.

U.S. officials depicted a somewhat different progression leading to the same conclusion, insisting that the time for real negotiations has only now arrived. Although last fall's strategy review concluded that defeat of the Taliban was an unrealistic goal, it was followed this year by "a period of time where we've been focused on getting our inputs in place, moving resources into Afghanistan," a senior administration official said. The Afghan government has also been positioning itself for serious talks, he said, through international conferences in January and July, the convening of a "peace jirga," or council, in Kabul and last week's naming of the members of an official government reconciliation team.

"Now, yeah, there's a sense that we mean what we say" when voicing support for a political process, the official said. "The president's view is that we have to do these things at the same time. We can't take the approach that we're just going to be putting our foot on the gas on the military side of things and will get around to the political," he said.

Last month, Obama pressed his national security team to be more specific about what it meant by a political solution, and "reinforced" the need to be working simultaneously on the military and political sides of the equation, the official said.

Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. and NATO commander in Afghanistan, told reporters last week that high-level Taliban leaders had "sought to reach out" to the top level of the Karzai government. "This is how you end these kinds of insurgencies," he said.

The administration is under pressure to show progress in resolving the war before the deadline Obama has set of beginning a troop withdrawal next summer. "We all concur that this is a critical year in Afghanistan," Staffan de Mistura, the top U.N. representative in Afghanistan, said in remarks last week at the International Peace Institute in New York.

If the hypothetical endpoint is "that by July next year something will have to be clear," he said, the various players had to start thinking about how they were going to get there. "There is no military solution," he said. "We all know it. And by the way, the Taliban knows it too. . . . And there is only one format for the next months. . . . It is political dialogue, reconciliation, deal."

He predicted "very rough months" ahead, "when the maximum pressure is being exercised . . . by both sides at the same time in order to have a better position in terms of the so-called dialogue." Among the potential roadblocks, he cited opposition from a resurgent Northern Alliance, the non-Pashtuns who overthrew the Taliban with U.S. assistance in 2001, and division of the Taliban into "several groups."

De Mistura and the United States' European partners have urged the administration to reach out more forcefully to other countries in the region - including Russia, India and Iran - to become part of a negotiated solution in Afghanistan.

"In Iran, publicly they say the [foreign] troops have to go," said one European official who met recently with officials in Tehran. "But they know that if we leave without an arrangement, there will be trouble for them."

Sources differed on the location, content and number of the renewed discussions, with one saying a recent session had been held in Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates. This source said the Taliban representatives had floated some peace terms, including exile for Omar in Saudi Arabia with protection and treatment as a former head of state. Others close to the talks, however, said that while the discussions appeared genuine, they were nowhere near that level of specificity.

A senior Saudi official said there had been no meetings his government was aware of in his country since last year's talks ended.

The Saudis have the potential to play a key role in the talks, for political and religious reasons. Saudi Arabia was one of only three countries, along with the UAE and Pakistan, to give diplomatic recognition to the Taliban government in Afghanistan before 2001. As custodians of the two holiest sites in Islam, and with their Wahhabi tradition, the Saudis may have more religious credibility to shepherd negotiations with the Taliban than other Muslim countries.

In the fall of 2008, the Saudis agreed to host a secret dialogue between Taliban and Karzai government representatives while saying they would not formally bless them unless the Taliban agreed to three conditions - a public rejection of al-Qaeda, recognition of the Afghan government and relinquishment of Taliban arms. Those remain Saudi conditions, shared by the Karzai government and the Obama administration. The Saudis sat in on the meetings and briefed interested parties, including the United States, on what was said.


  1. Vasquez: [after barely surviving the Alien surprise attack] Okay. We have several canisters of CM-20. I say we go back in there and nerve gas the whole fuckin' nest.

    Hicks: It's worth the try, but we don't know if that's gonna effect them.

    Hudson: Let's just bug out and call it even, why are we talking about this for?

    Ripley: I say we take off, and nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.

    Hudson: Fuckin' a.

    Burke: Whoa, whoa wait a a minute. This place has a substantial dollar value attached to it.

    Ripley: They can bill me.

  2. .
    And now pertinant background videos too.

    This is getting to be too good.

    NCIS level good.


  3. This is all political/diplomatic mumbo-jumbo. Bottom line for All scenarios: We leave, they win.

  4. In Africa it's another story. China's quest to control resources is often followed up with military ties. This poses a challenge to the US, which has responded by stepping up its own military presence. Africom (the US African Command) was established in 2007, and though its head does not say so, people in Washington say it is a response to China.

    China's Expansion has not gone unnoticed.

  5. Pelosi Calls For Freezing All Foreclosures!

    What Constitution? What Rule of Law? What "Free Market?"

    We don't need no "Free Market," Rule of Law, or stinking Constitution!

  6. We are in Afpak for one reason, to get humiliated.

    That is Pharoah Obama's Plan.

    Cuckholding America....

    Change the ROE so that we can't fight back...

    Make America learn that it cannot impose it's opinions on Moslem Nations...

    Today the Taliban, Tomorrow Hamas and Hezbollah will be embraced by the world as just a bunch of regular guys...

    What a clusterfuck...

    What a piece of shit world...

    All brought to you by Obama, our Nation's 1st Moslem President

    And our 1st President that seeks to destroy us from the inside out...

  7. Just living out the Dreams of his father, WIO.

    Paying for our sins as Colonialists.

    BHO and Dad never figured out that WE were the ones that were colonized!

    No problemo for neocolonialists like BHO who view profit making enterprises as colonizers of the downtroden.

  8. Moe Tucker, tea party fan.

    Democrats seem to be the natural magnets for celebrity endorsements, but a former member of the Velvet Underground has joined the Tea Party ranks.

    According to a Guardian article titled "All Tomorrow's Tea Parties," Maureen 'Moe' Tucker, who played drums for the legendary sixties band fronted by Lou Reed, spoke to a local TV station at a Tea Party rally in Tiftin, Ga. last April.

    Twitter users were abuzz with doubts as to whether the Maureen Tucker at the rally was indeed The Velvet Underground musician, who moved to Georgia in 1984.

    However, the Huffington Post reported on Tuesday that they had reached Tucker at her home. In the call, she confirmed her identity as the woman in the video, but declined to further discuss her political alliances.

    In the short video clip at the Georgia rally, Tucker expressed views that will no doubt leave left-leaning Velvet Underground fans feeling cold: "I'm furious about the way we're being led towards socialism. I'm furious about the incredible waste of money when things that we really need and are important get dropped because there's no money left," the rock icon said.

  9. Cameron: No More ‘Heavy-Handed State’

    BIRMINGHAM, England — Prime Minister David Cameron of Britain said he wanted to reduce the government’s size and urge local control.

  10. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals Allows 11 Nations Join US Suit Against AZ...

    “What’s even more offensive is that this effort has been supported by the U.S. Department of Justice. American sovereignty begins in the U.S. Constitution and at the border,” she added.

    “I am confident the 9th Circuit will do the right thing and recognize foreign interference in U.S. legal proceedings and allow the State of Arizona to respond to their brief.”

    Read more:

    Seems like article says they have yet to decide.

    Best damn AG Ever, WIO!

  11. Dubai Property Deals Are Hard to Cancel

    DUBAI — Scores of buildings around Dubai are well past their delivery date, or have yet to be started. For investors, there is little hope of getting their money back...

  12. Here it comes. The most hated technology on earth.

    Bluefire has jumped through all the hoops the Obama'ites have managed to throw up, and are ready to start construction on their Waste to Ethnol AND Electricity Plant in Fulton, Ms.

    Replaces Petroleum, Nat Gas, AND Coal with Local Waste. How many Big Money, Special Interest Groups does THAT piss off?

  13. Here is a really Interesting Thread on some of the Specifics of the Bluefire plant.

    note: this blog has a sort of peculiar lay-out. The subject post is at the top, and the comments are presented from the "bottom-up." No biggie, just read the top post, and then scroll down to the bottom.

  14. Fulton MS, huh?

    No doubt the name was inspired by our very own gasbag:

    Rufus Bluefire

  15. Best wishes to Bluefire.

    I hope they succeed, and pay off their government guaranteed loans without default.

    Let us know when that happens, eh Rufus?

    At least what I've seen is better than a damned government subsidy, but I betcha that's in there somewhere, too.

  16. At least we won't have to spend $200 Billion/Yr "Protecting" them.

    And, the money will stay in the U.S.; it won't go to the Saudi Royal Family, and get passed on to Al Queda, and the Taliban.

  17. rufus said...
    At least we won't have to spend $200 Billion/Yr "Protecting" them.

    And, the money will stay in the U.S.; it won't go to the Saudi Royal Family, and get passed on to Al Queda, and the Taliban.

    Spending money on bullshit engagements is painful.

    Funny, we spend 200 Billion a year on afpak, not counting aid to Pakistan and some people here get their panties in a KNOT over 3 billion a year of military aid (of which 75% is SPENT in the USA)...

    Now how much do we spend on Iraq?

    Protecting the OIL lanes?

    In South Korea?

    How about this...

    If a nation or people declares war on America, bomb the crap out of it and leave...

    No rebuilding at all..

  18. rufus rufus said...
    At least we won't have to spend $200 Billion/Yr "Protecting" them.

    And, the money will stay in the U.S.; it won't go to the Saudi Royal Family, and get passed on to Al Queda, and the Taliban.

    Now let's repeat that with domestic energy....

    Fuck OPEC

  19. 8. Victor
    Framing the problem correctly is a key issue and it is worth examining a few frames to get the right one– after that it is all about strategy and execution.
    An alternate frame.

    China has developed increasingly deep economic and military links with Pakistan.
    China just wants to do business and strengthen its own strategic position against India.
    China does not care if Pakistan is a democracy or not and it does not care about human rights–it is simply interested in business and power.
    Imagine what the reaction would be if those supply convoys attacked at the blocked Khyber Pass had been Chinese— of course the Chinese would never have permitted the Pass to be blocked in the first place.

    Within Pakistan there is increasing support within the government, military and economic sectors for closer relations with China.
    China is the largest investor in the Gwadar Deep Sea Port, which is strategically located at the mouth of the Strait of Hormuz.
    China plans to build a railway and pipeline linking Gwadar to the Chinese rail and oil/gas pipeline system.

    China wants the oil/gas from the Mid East and it wants to contain India— Pakistan is a pawn in that Great Game.

    A few weeks ago in Geneva Kissinger announced a potential US exit strategy for Afghanistan.
    He said– Russia, Pakistan, Iran, China and India all have an interest in preventing a Taliban victory and al-Qaeda from establishing itself in Afghanistan—as a narco-terrorist state.
    Kissinger concluded “an essentially unilateral American role cannot be the long-term solution.”

    I think this is a useful way to frame the problem and it positions the US to take the initiative in brokering a deal among all actors to our advantage.

    If the chaos continues and we do not take such an initiative then China will step in and broker a deal with Iran, Russia and Pakistan to its own advantage and to US and Indias great disadvantage.

  20. 20. Victor
    ISI supports the Taliban in its cold war with India,
    the Taliban allowed AQ to set up their goat locker in Afghanistan, which was crazy,
    AQ attacked us.
    The enemy is AQ, not the Taliban.

    Russia wants to stop the flow of heroin which is killing up to 50-100 thousand of its young people each year, through overdose, AIDS and TB etc.

    Iran has a similar growing heroin problem and does not want AQ and other Sunni terrorists groups infiltrating its borders.

    China has its own Islamic extremists and does not want them infected by AQ. It also wants to do more business in Pakistan and does not want its investments blown up.

    Pakistan does not want to become the next Balkans–which is where it is headed.

    India wants stability to grown its service and high tech economy, attract foreign investment and keep the peace between its Muslim and Hindu populations.

    What is the US fundamental interest in the region? apart from killing AQ I am not sure.

    The Kissinger approach makes most sense IMO.

    We need to get crystal clear upon our fundamental foreign policy interests and connect more deeply with the rest of the Anglosphere– we are already linked through ECHELON.

    The Anglosphere conference in Winchester UK last month proposed that the Anglosphere be expanded to include India— interesting idea.

  21. The music or the girl?

    You always did compliment my music even though I get the impression that it wouldn't be something you would listen to on a daily basis.

  22. The song was inspired by a comment someone said to me today about stars.

  23. I'm loving this.

    Do Banks Have Standing to Foreclose?

    ...At the core of the fights over the legal standing of banks in foreclosure cases is Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems, based in Reston.

    Known as MERS, the company was created more than a decade ago by the mortgage industry, including mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, GMAC and the Mortgage Bankers Association.

    MERS allowed big financial firms to trade mortgages at lightning speed while largely bypassing local property laws throughout the country that required new forms and filing fees each time a loan changed hands, attorneys say.
    The idea behind it was to build a centralized registry to track loans electronically as they were traded by big financial firms. Without this system, the business of creating massive securities made of thousands of mortgages would likely have never taken off. The company's role caused few objections until millions of homes began to fall into foreclosure.

    In recent years, the company has faced numerous court challenges, including separate class-action lawsuits in California and Nevada - the epicenter of the foreclosure crisis. Attorneys in other states have also challenged the company's legal standing in court...

    Court Rules Bank's Lack Proper Documentation To Foreclose

    The banks jumped on derivatives based on lumped mortgage packages and milked them for every dime they could get. There is a certain poetic justice in the prospect that the same derivatives may result in banks taking it in the ass.


  24. You always did compliment my music even though I get the impression that it wouldn't be something you would listen to on a daily basis.

    I do not watch any of the 3 major networks, nor do I listen to pop music, but when exposed to it, I get it. I really do not care for oldies from the sixties.

    I prefer some of the things from the eighties but do not play it. I usually listen to jazz, some blue grass, mostly classical and some obscure ethnic music.

    Sometimes I like staring at the world through my rearview, which in all is an amazing piece of music.