Doubling Down

I have nothing but bad feelings about the addition of 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan. Watching Michael O’Hanlon on the evening news was like a punch to the gut- we’ve been down this road before.

At what point are O’Hanlon and Pollack every going to be discredited enough that their expert advice is no longer solicited? Why are they even on tv anymore? How long before they have an op-ed in the NY Times pushing for more troops, more money, more of their favorite wars?






298 replies
  1. 1
    mellowjohn says:

    bring back the draft and we’ll be out by new years.
    totally OT, but i ducked into a chicago chain grocery store this a.m. on the way to work and my ears were assaulted by a truly awful cover of “the christmas song” (it’s not christmas we need to declare war on; it’s christmas music!), followed immediately by the ramones “i wanna be sedated.” my sentiments exactly, and kudos to the musak programmer.

  2. 2
    TaosJohn says:

    I’m with you. Another meatgrinder for political cover, the very notion of which is misguided, fear-ridden, and stupid in the extreme. Total evil is in store, and we will reap the fucking whirlwind.

    Meanwhile, God bless the Ramones. I once saw ’em play 31 songs in 28 minutes, and that was the whole show.

  3. 3
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Vietnam will seem like a comparative win when we’re done with Afpak. Maybe that’s the point..

  4. 4
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Tweety is about to discuss Afghanistan now that he’s gotten to the bottom of the much more important Tiger Woods story.

  5. 5
    khead says:

    At what point are O’Hanlon and Pollack every going to be discredited enough that their expert advice is no longer solicited? Why are they even on tv anymore? How long before they have an op-ed in the NY Times pushing for more troops, more money, more of their favorite wars?

    Never. There are gambling touts with worse records in Vegas. Those touts chose the wrong career – when you gamble on sports, you have to be right at least 53% of the time.

  6. 6
    Demo Woman says:

    @mellowjohn: When I worked retail, I wanted to melt the fucking snowman.
    As per the post, I’m willing to listen to Obama’s speech before jumping over board. If the President wants to help patrol the cities and support Pakistan, then it’s worth a listen. If he wants to solve every tribal issue, not so much.

  7. 7
    Linkmeister says:

    Apparently there is no mistake so great that one can be shunned by the cable or network booking people. Bill Kristol still shows up, as does Tom Friedman. Hell, if Alan Greenspan wanted to be on TV I’ll bet there’d be slavering hordes of shows offering him Andrea Mitchell’s hand in marriage if that’s what it took to get him on. And GWB? My goodness, “the sun, the stars and the moon!”

  8. 8
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    If Russia had any sense of irony at all, they’d be selling SAMs to the Pashtuns now.

  9. 9
    Jim says:

    I’m not jumping overboard, and am more than a little annoyed with the usual blogo-sphere suspects keening about Obama’s betrayal when this is pretty much what he said he was going to do, but…

    I don’t think this be can be un-shit.

  10. 10
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    Obama is doing exactly what he said he was going to do during the campaign. Unfortunately, the best outcome he can hope for at this point is to take back a few havens from the Taliban commanders in southern and western Afghanistan. How long the Afghan government is able to retain those territories after we leave is another story.

  11. 11
    donovong says:

    I am with Demowoman. I am making no judgements about the AfPak situation until I hear from Barack’s mouth what it is we are going to do.

    Unlike some folks, I don’t consider this to be another Vietnam. While there may be some potential comparisons, there are far too many differences to make that leap for me. And, yes, I was there (Nam), so I have a perspective many don’t. While AfPak may have all the potential in the world of beng a huge clusterfuck, I’ll be damned if I will turn my back on Obama for making what is a damnable choice.

    I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to make this decision.

  12. 12
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    I hope our President makes sure to be at Dover every time the bodies of the soldiers he’s going to kill come home.

  13. 13
    Deschanel says:

    I feel comforted that throwing another 30,000 young lives into the Graveyard of Empires for ..some reason- democracy?- will absolutely protect us against say, 19 determined fanatics with box-cutters.

    Box-cutters. That’s the weaponry that changed America that horrible day, that’s what the enemy was armed with. Our escalating in Afghanistan must be Bin laden’s fondest wish. We can’t seem to stop granting that dirty evil wizard all his wishes, if in fact he is still alive.

    O’Hanlon is a disengenuous rotter, but sadly it surprises me not at all that he’s invited on our idiotbox chat-fests. The only ‘serious’ people are those who advocate war and the escalation of war, of course.

  14. 14

    Just out of curiosity, who the hell is O’Hanlon or Pollack, for that matter, that I should care?

  15. 15
    MikeJ says:

    I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to make this decision.

    Amen. And I’m also glad that McCain isn’t the one to do it either.

  16. 16
    Lowkey says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead: Right? We’re doomed to repeat history, apparently… could we do so with a little dark humor, at least? I feel like we should be committing more Apache attack helicopters to the effort…

  17. 17
    dr. bloor says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Charlie Wilsonovich’s war.

    Seriously, I want to round up all these assclowns, and lock them in a room with the audiobook version of “A Bright Shining Lie” until they shrivel up like salted slugs.

  18. 18

    @donovong:

    I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to make this decision.

    This.

    Obama is really in a no-win situation here. Whatever we do, there’s no easy solution. I don’t know if his choice is the best one. Hell, I don’t know if there is a “best” choice here.

    I do have the sense that he’s being deliberate, which is more than I can say for the fuckers who occupied the White House until Jan. 20 of this year.

  19. 19
    Jim says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Just out of curiosity, who the hell is O’Hanlon or Pollack, for that matter, that I should care?

    Ken Pollack and Michael O’Hanlon, “Liberal Hawks” and mainstays of Reasonable Commentary on your TeeVee.

  20. 20
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    So I’m wondering how Obama took so long to copy the Surge Strategy Republicans thought up in like eleven minutes.

  21. 21
    Linkmeister says:

    @Jim: I would add, and advocates of perpetual war. With somebody else’s kids, brothers, sisters, husbands, wives, fathers and mothers, uncles and aunts, and possibly even a grandparent or two.

  22. 22
    Dreggas says:

    I’m with the others who have said that Obama said he would do this. We knew it, he campaigned on it. I will also wait and see what he has to say before getting the vapors. Afghanistan is just one more mess we need to clean up that was left by the last administration (though there is an argument to be made that it goes back even further in time).

  23. 23
    Lowkey says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Agreed. I am personally pessimistic about the whole thing; but finally, if only temporarily, being divorced of the whole “you can’t have failed if you haven’t stopped trying harder!” mentality is a huge relief.

  24. 24
    Jim says:

    @Linkmeister:

    When I googled Pollack to make sure I had his first name right, I noticed that he was just 36 when we invaded Iraq, as he advocated in “The Threatening Storm”. I’m sure they would have been happy to give him a uniform and a commission.

  25. 25
    lamh31 says:

    here is my prolem with the blogosphere as a whole, and the MSM in general. Obama’s upcoming speech really crystalizes this for me. I am truly one of those people who is generally torn about what is the best course for Afghanistan, but it just seems as if there is no where for someone like me to turn to to get (to quote “just the facts”, no spin, no for or against absolutes, just the facts reported responsilbly. I know, I know, maybe I shouldn’t just frequent all the “opinion” blogs, I need to also frequent more responsible sites, and newscast, but it’s hard to find. I find the newshour on PBS really good, but I can’t stand listening to the callers on C-SPAN.

    I mean is there REALISTICALLY a “right or wrong” answer in Afghanistan. I think it’s great if you live life in absolutes. Some might wanna call me wishy-washy but I just hate “absolutes”. There are no absolutes. Nothing is ever just black or white, I think life is more gray than black or white.

    I’m gonna listen to the speech and go from there. I truly believe Obama is not entering into this decision lightly. Hell it’s not like the guy made the decision in days, at the least he seemed to have took his time and thought about this. Tomorrow night, we’ll hear it from the horses mouth.

  26. 26
    freelancer says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Obama is really in a no-win situation here. Whatever we do, there’s no easy solution. I don’t know if his choice is the best one. Hell, I don’t know if there is a “best” choice here.

    Who in the MSM is going to call this moment Obama’s Kobiyashi Maru?

  27. 27

    I was under the mistaken impression that the Brookings Institute was reasonably middle-of-the-road to liberal. O’Hanlon and Pollack disabuse me of that notion.

  28. 28
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Dreggas:

    I’ll dare you interject some common sense and restraint into this conversation. Not to mention what Obama campaigned on. That’s so 08.

  29. 29
    Linkmeister says:

    @Jim: Shudder. If they’d put that clown in charge of a platoon. . .

  30. 30

    @lamh31:

    I mean is there REALISTICALLY a “right or wrong” answer in Afghanistan.

    No.

    SATSQ

  31. 31
    Linkmeister says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Brookings does have that reputation, and perhaps it once was. No more. It’s now a “Preserve the status quo” institution.

  32. 32
    SpotWeld says:

    Remember when we invaded Iraq. There was a Information Minister (I think) nicknamed “Baghdad Bob”. He was shouting outrageous stories of American troops dying by the thousands at the airport, the boarders, that Saddam would never fall (etc. etc. etc.)

    Despite the insanity of what he was saying, did the media ever look away?

  33. 33
    jl says:

    Pat Lang’s Sic Semper Tyrannis blog has some good commentary on Afghanistan

    http://turcopolier.typepad.com....._tyrannis/

    It is interesting to compare and contrast the links to, and commentary on, these two recent posts:

    1) The Kagan/McChrystal Strategy

    2) Iraq, Afghanistan and the decisions facing Barack Obama

    Item 1) seems to describe a mass occupation strategy aimed at traditional nation building, backing a nation-state central government, trying to get the tribes to ‘like’ the bigshots running the national government or we shoot them, getting up a lot of demoralized Afghan troops in fancy uniforms (on the nobal patriotic goal of getting a minimum wage so their families don’t starve). I think that strategy will bankrupt us, further stretch the military (and callously and very unfairly ruin the lives of many more who volunteered in good faith), and probably not work.

    Item 2) seems more promising: forget the corrupt central government, bypass the warlords, and aim directly at grassroots operations strengthening the traditional tribal organizations -basically it amounts to giving lots of guns and money and local development projects directly to tribal organizations with whom we can get a somewhat trustful relationship and who seem most likely to stay on our side.

    I think both of the posts are worth reading before Obama gives his speech.

  34. 34
    Max says:

    I’m just glad I’m not the one who has to make this decision.

    Bullshine. We have been down this road before. We know how it turns out.

    The whole notion of counter-insurgency depends on the assumption that there is a legitimate and competent government to defend. There is no such thing in Afghanistan. You can stop your analysis of the prospects for “winning the war” right there.

    Our problem is that apparently no-one at the political level has the courage to lead the country in the only sane direction – get the hell out of Afghanistan* – for fear that some wingnut might call them a coward, or question their manhood, or question their heterosexuality.

    The horror. The horror.

    Even though they’re going to do that anyway.

    (*leaving behind just enough covert resources to bring Osama bin Laden to justice.)

  35. 35
    Lowkey says:

    @freelancer: Oh, win, sir or madam.

  36. 36
    dr. bloor says:

    @Dreggas:

    I’m not surprised that Obama is planning to ship more of our kids over there, and voted for him knowing that would happen. However, I’m far more pessimistic about the prospects for any real success given that Karzai is looking more like Ngo Dinh Diem’s historical heir.

  37. 37
    John PM says:

    If Obama says that the additional troops are to hunt down Bin Laden, then I will be all for this. If they are to be used for any other reason, then we need to get out.

  38. 38
    Dreggas says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    No kidding. The poor guy can’t win. I mean he has a sword of damocles hanging over his head on Afghanistan. He vowed he would increase troops in Afghanistan during the campaign and I am one of the ones who actually does support that decision. Hell I think we should have had more there in the first place. Now he’s left to make the decision. Hopefully the troops he sends will be put to good use and we won’t have several more years of “muddling through” like we did for the past 7.

  39. 39
    mistersnrub says:

    The Oracle O’Hanlon has spoken, and he has expounded on the fierce urgency of this undertaking and the glories that shall be secured upon the Empire’s triumph.

  40. 40

    OT, but this commenter could use some positive words. In a previous thread that’s going down the memory hole soon.

    A little too close to home for my comfort level.

  41. 41
    Shawn in ShowMe says:

    @jl

    Item 2) seems more promising: forget the corrupt central government, bypass the warlords, and aim directly at grassroots operations strengthening the traditional tribal organizations -basically it amounts to giving lots of guns and money and local development projects directly to tribal organizations with whom we can get a somewhat trustful relationship and who seem most likely to stay on our side.

    Well, if any President were to make community organizing part of his military strategy, this is the guy.

  42. 42
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @dr. bloor:

    So am I. But I am hardly an expert. Obama got himself elected saying he would do certain things. One of the big ones was to at least make an effort to fix the Bush errors and undersourcing in Afghan. I am not hopeful it can be done, but no one voted for me, so I am not going to jump on the liberal bandwagon that Obama is fucking up. Long as he does what he said he’d do, I may not like it, but sure as hell ain’t going to get the vapors over it. Up to a point, and we ain’t there yet, imo.

  43. 43
    David says:

    Michael O’Hanlon is every bit as creepy and repugnant as Bill Kristol.

  44. 44
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    And once again, we don’t know what else will come with the troops, not until tomorrow night. Hopefully a thoughtful change in mission.

  45. 45
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    Jumping Jeebus on a pogo stick! Can people please stop focusing solely and exclusively on how many troops are going as the only measure of what Obama is going to announce, and pay more attention to what their mission is going to be, and how it connects with our strategy for the region (including the exit strategy). There is a lot a room between various possibilities (COIN, counter-terrorism, nation building, peace keeping) and the political and military factors in just Afghanistan alone are staggering. How about something non-numeric, like what is our negotiating strategy going to be vs. the Taliban? Do we try to split it into friendly (i.e. bought off) and unfriendly factions, and if so then what determines who gets sorted into friendlies and unfriendlies? Do we try to push the Afghan govt into a structure which is a looser federation of organized local interests, or continue to try to build a Western style central govt. How do we deal with the local warlords? Do we try to disarm them, co-opt them into the central govt, or annoint them as the legitimate power center in a federated structure? Etc, etc.

  46. 46
    maye says:

    I don’t think this is about Al Qaeda or Bin Laden anymore. I think it’s about the nukes in Pakistan and keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban. We overthrew the government, installed Karzai, and then left him high and dry for 8 years. Now the whole place is FUBAR. I don’t know why we can’t keep an eye on Pakistan without conventional U.S. forces meddling in Afghanistan’s internal affairs. If we had decent intelligence services, we wouldn’t need to send all these soldiers. Fixing the intel community should have been the focus after 9/11, not conventional warfare. I thought Obama understood this. I guess he probably does.

  47. 47
    Max says:

    Here is how it turns out.

    1. The Afghanistan government is remains powerless outside Kabul city limits, and continues to lose legitimacy.

    2. No sane Afghan will put his life on the line for it.

    3. US soldiers will put their lives on the line for it, and lose them.

    4. 2011 – the double down comes up snakes eyes because there is no legitimate government.

    5. Obama either does then what he should have done now – gets out – or doubles down again. Either way his presidency is finished. He loses 2012.

  48. 48
    Kiril says:

    WHODAT?

  49. 49
    gwangung says:

    @maye: Some of this is how-do-you-get-there-from-here. Given that any option is a shit sandwich, what’s the best? (And you’re dreaming that a total withdrawal doesn’t have its downsides).

  50. 50
    jl says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe: I hadn’t thought of that angle. Chicago has some very tough neighborhoods. If Obama takes item 2), I guess he feels confident enough to step it up to the next level.

    There will a lot of pressure to go with item 1). Lieberman and McCain are already very worried that we will ‘abandon’ that ‘our man’ in Afghanistan (namely Karzai and a bunch of erstwhile warlords and drug dealers and Tajik religious extremists). The two distinguished Senators will be naive infantile suckers for a flying squad of lobbyists dressed up in fancy western suits and ties hired by the corrupt central government bigshots wanting the US to dump an endless stream of money and people to prop them up.

    But the media will treat the pathetic marks, McCain and Lieberman, like wise tough realists, and parade them on their Sunday shows for months at a time.

  51. 51
    chrome agnomen says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    dude needs to be reminded he’s never alone on this blog.

    express yourself, brother.

    nobody wins this thing by himself.

  52. 52
    John O says:

    John, we may have been separated at birth, and you got the writing gene.

    It’s just…sad and weird. Kristol and G. Will and and any other hundreds of others, Shrum and other liberals included, don’t still have jobs if there was any accountability in their profession.

    In the TV age, perhaps the coolest gig there is.

  53. 53
    Violet says:

    @Shawn in ShowMe:

    Well, if any President were to make community organizing part of his military strategy, this is the guy.

    Truly. I hope he can pull this off.

    Has anyone heard that as part of the figuring out what to do in Afghanistan process they brought in Afghanis and had them walk them through how it is to negotiate with tribal leaders in Afghanistan – the endless cups of tea, what people mean vs what people say, etc.? Someone told me they read something about that happening as part of the decision-making process but I hadn’t heard it anywhere. It sounds like a good idea to me. Might as well try to figure out how to communicate within the local culture, rather than just imposing your own culture and expecting the locals to figure you out.

  54. 54
    wvng says:

    I’m sure you all will be thrilled to know I was provided with a good 5 minutes of Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson’s wisdom this evening on NPR. He was telling me all about what Obama should/must say about the war, how he has to have end points, but can’t set timelines and all. I sooooo need to hear that from the man who put all of those prophetic word in W’s mouth.

  55. 55
    Kiril says:

    Whoever is tending the site right now: Saints game open thread pl0x.

  56. 56
    John O says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    That’s a nice description of where I am. Thank you.

    I still maintain that one of the primary civics stinks left over by Bush The Lesser is that he gave us the impression that the POTUS is King.

    Obama (rightly) doesn’t see it that way, but that slows things down.

  57. 57
    Jim says:

    I don’t think this is about Al Qaeda or Bin Laden anymore. I think it’s about the nukes in Pakistan and keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban.

    I think the Taliban is more concerned with local affairs than international terrorism, but those nits picked, yeah, I think you’re right– this is about Pakistan and nukes and just getting to stability in Afghanistan. Bin Laden is a symbol, al Qaeda (according to my imperfect understanding) is more a movement than an organization, but that movement is real, whatever it calls itself, and has a lot of friends in Pakistani military and intelligence.

  58. 58
    maye says:

    @gwangung: the Russians eventually had to a total withdrawl. We will too at some point. I just don’t understand the strategy, but maybe I will after tomorrow night.

  59. 59
    gnomedad says:

    OT – I’m surprised it took the Onion so long to come up with this:
    Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

  60. 60
    Max says:

    @Max: Seems there are two Max’s around these parts.

    I wouldn’t want anyone confusing your views with mine. I don’t share your perspective.

  61. 61
    John O says:

    Deep thought: Obama splits the baby, as it were, publicly, announcing both a troop increase and “end game,” and in the meantime knows that if he gets Bin Laden and Mullah Omar, he can call it a won war, so therefore has issued orders to get the big guys as a #1 priority.

    Nobody knows.

  62. 62

    @chrome agnomen:

    already put in my two cents. I hope he/she is still around. Just think the community can do better than just me. :)

  63. 63
    Sly says:

    @lamh31:

    If you’re expecting a “right or wrong” answer on any question of foreign policy that is actually genuine, you won’t get one. Anywhere. The problem is the newsmedia demands that there be one, because you can’t give a multi-sided, nuanced answer in rapid fire format. The problem is that the format reinforces the regurgitation conventional tropes.

    We’re at war with the Taliban.

    Which one? And are you including into the designation various nationalist movements of Tajiks and Pashtuns? They’re all fighting the central government, after all. Do we fight them? Bribe them? Are we willing to concede questions of human rights if we do? Do we side with one and not the other? Are there contingencies in place when more ethnic Tajiks or Pashtuns flood into Pakistan as a result?

    We need to shore up the legitimate political authority in Afghanistan.

    What constitutes legitimate? How is political corruption accounted for? How is diminishing authority outside of major population centers accounted for? How does opium production, as the major industry in the region, fit into the equation? Is it folded into a program for legitimate medical usage? Will Turkey, the number one supplier of medical-grade opium, be happy with that? How do more combat troops alone help this?

    No one who wants to be on TV more than once will even bring the above questions up, let alone try to answer them. And those are just the ones off the top of my head.

  64. 64
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Max:

    Are you the O-bot one? if so the fake max had me thinking you had defected. We need all our troops to keep this boat afloated.:0)

  65. 65
    Max says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Yes, I am the O-bot. I was surprised to read this thread and see that I had completely changed my views. I’m sick with a cold, so for a moment I thought I wrote a drug-induced posting.

    I declare imposter! Show thyself.

  66. 66
    MikeJ says:

    @John O: Very good point. If Obama produces a body that is plausibly bin Laden he can pull out the troops the next day and try to figure out how to run against the Whig party in 2012 because the GOP will cease to exist.

  67. 67

    Did I miss the MNF open thread? Who’s asleep at the wheel here?

  68. 68
    Steerpike says:

    Last time I posted here, I was consigned to mod purgatory for like2 hours, and the threaders had long moved on, but here goes: The easiest way for Obama to cut this Gordian knot is to say tomorrow: “Fine, we’ll escalate (and yes, he should use that word) the occupation (and yes, use that word too) of Afghanistan, but we’ve got to pay for it. There will be a surtax imposed to cover the cost of both military engagements, which will continue until demobilization has been accomplished in both theaters. Furthermore, we can no longer allow the burden for these deployments to be shouldered by the all-volunteer armed services and over-priced no-bid ‘contractors’. Effective immediately, there will be a lottery-based draft to provide the manpower for this undertaking, and there will be no exemption for wealth, privilege, college education or those with ‘other priorities’ (and absolutely use that phrase)” I guarantee you, the exit strategy will materialize overnight.

  69. 69
    robertdsc says:

    Afghanistan is just one more mess we need to clean up that was left by the last administration (though there is an argument to be made that it goes back even further in time).

    Like using Republican strategies to clean up Republican messes has worked out SO WELL so far. Geithner, Bernanke, the department of “Justice”, civil liberties, torture, soon-to-be-chopped entitlements, and now war. Truly, this is “change” we can believe in.

  70. 70
    lamh31 says:

    @ Sly
    You’re right about there being no nuance in today’s reporting, which being the “gray” person. I consider myself a “lefty” but even I cringe at the absolute certainty of Keith Olbermann’s and his “special comments”, and I don’t even try to listen to FoxNews, and there “America…good…everyone else…bad” caveman mentality, and CNN’s “middle of the road” approach is more of a grab bag. They cut up pieces of paper with pros and cons of any issue written on it, and then just throws it in the air, and “let you decide”. I’m sorry, but I kinda would like a more indepth, informed, and yes, more nuanced reporting of the news.

    But I guess I expect too much huh….

  71. 71
    Lowkey says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Seriously. I need Brady to stink tonight, and I need moral support to make it happen.

  72. 72

    Haven’t read all the comments, but simply reinstate the draft, this entire debacle would be over in a month. Period.

  73. 73

    @Lowkey:

    And I need the NE defense to suck too. Go Saints!

    We’re in this boat together.

  74. 74
    J.D. Rhoades says:

    @Dreggas:

    He vowed he would increase troops in Afghanistan during the campaign and I am one of the ones who actually does support that decision. Hell I think we should have had more there in the first place.

    Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. We can’t afford to walk away and let Afghanistan fall apart the way we did after the Russians left.

  75. 75
    Svensker says:

    OT, but I hate the Pats. Go, Saints! (please!)

  76. 76
    robertdsc says:

    Glad I’m not the only one who feels this way. We can’t afford to walk away and let Afghanistan fall apart the way we did after the Russians left.

    It can’t get any worse. More bombs and more guns won’t make it better. The “central” government is illegitimate and has no power. We’re backing a corrupt regime that can’t do a thing outside their tiny sphere of influence. It’s time to leave.

  77. 77
    Kiril says:

    Saints get that running game going, and it won’t matter if NE sucks or not. Third quarter is roll time! You watch my Saints.

  78. 78

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    We can’t afford to walk away and let Afghanistan fall apart the way we did after the Russians left.

    Woulda, coulda, shoulda. I’d be more inclined to support this if our Iraq excursion was winding down quicker, and we weren’t throwing good money after bad.

    Hell, I think we should have had more there in the first place too, and never should have invaded Iraq. But that genie’s out of the bottle.

    There are no easy answers here. I suppose I’ll support Obama’s plan (depending on what he says tomorrow), but I’m under no illusions that there won’t be way too many more American (and Afghani) lives lost and way too much more treasure spent on this war.

    {sigh}

  79. 79
    MikeJ says:

    Haven’t read all the comments, but simply reinstate the draft, this entire debacle would be over in a month.

    Because we never had any wars back in the good old days when we did have a draft.

  80. 80
    maye says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: The problem is Afghanistan will not “fall apart” because it has always been “apart.” It’s tribal, not national. The Brits couldn’t change that; the Soviets couldn’t change that, and the Americans won’t change it.

  81. 81
    Montysano says:

    @maye:

    I don’t think this is about Al Qaeda or Bin Laden anymore. I think it’s about the nukes in Pakistan and keeping them out of the hands of the Taliban.

    Seymour Hersh is all over this: read about it here, or listen to his recent segment on Fresh Air.

  82. 82
    John O says:

    I’m in the enviable position of wanting the Saints to kick ass, emotionally, but need the Pats to win financially. +12 (out of 16) confidence points on the Pats.

    IOW, I win.

  83. 83
    Debbie(aussie) says:

    @Steerpike: Sounds great. But it would take loads of political courage. Can’t see very much (if any) in Obama, sadly.

  84. 84
    ellaesther says:

    As I have before, I’d like to recommend Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould’s book Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story for some good insight on why the troubles exist there, and why simply pulling up stakes would be a pretty bad idea at this point (with the understanding that there are no truly “good” ideas, either).

    (Full disclosure: The link is to a review in the Dallas Morning News. Fuller disclosure: I’m the reviewer).

  85. 85
    Max says:

    @John O: I’m in the same boat. I need the Pats to win financially, but emotionally, it will break my heart.

  86. 86
    John O says:

    @maye:

    Right! The idea of imposing a “central” governing authority in Afghanistan is flat-out fucking retarded. It would be a lot cheaper just to intensify the spying on them, in case something big is up.

    Glad I’m not an “intellectual.”

  87. 87

    Interception! Yes! FYTB!

  88. 88
    Lowkey says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: And I’ve got Meachem, too.

    WOO! Brady intercepted! Score, us!

  89. 89
    Kiril says:

    Mike MacKenzie, baby! Goood to seeya back in action.

  90. 90
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @ellaesther:

    I have it book marked, no time to read right now. but will.

  91. 91
    Svensker says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Interception! Yes! FYTB!

    Heh. And yay!

  92. 92

    This AfPak thread is about to quickly devolve into MNF smack talk, I have a feeling.

  93. 93
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    I agree with all who say Obama inherited a no-win deal.

    I find myself mentally rewinding the past 9 years and imagining all the chads falling instead of hanging, a thousand people figuring out the butterfly ballot, and Gore actually winning.

    No matter if he’d had to deal with September 11 or Bin Ladin anyway, I can’t imagine this thing turning out the way it has.

  94. 94
    Steerpike says:

    @Debbie(aussie): Political courage, yes, but a perfect political solution. The Repubs have been howling about “runaway spending” and “budget busting” domestic reforms, so demand that they put up or shut up on the biggest drain on our dwindling national treasury: WAR. Make every Republican justify going deeper into debt for a “nation-building” debacle.

  95. 95
    Kiril says:

    NOOOOOOOO!

  96. 96
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @Zuzu’s Petals:

    I find myself mentally rewinding the past 9 years and imagining all the chads falling instead of hanging, a thousand people figuring out the butterfly ballot, and Gore actually winning.

    I always lose my erection on the President Lieberman part.

  97. 97
    Kiril says:

    Go for it!!!! Saints!

  98. 98

    Yes. First down saints!

  99. 99
  100. 100
    Kiril says:

    TOUCHDOWN!!!!!!! HOODAT!

  101. 101

    BTW, does ESPN not know that New Orleans has more types of music than dixieland jazz? C’mon folks, play some Wynton Marsalis or something!

  102. 102
    lamh31 says:

    Katrina refugee now living in Dallas here, I’m sick of hearing ’bout the Cowboys all day….GO SAINTS!!!!!

    Go Saints!!! Bless You Boys (A little new Orleans tradition for ya’ll)

  103. 103
    Lowkey says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Or some delta blues, fer chrissakes.

  104. 104
    Kiril says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Last night 93.3 was basically playing Saints songs all night.

  105. 105

    Is it wrong for me to wish for a sack of Brady on every play?

  106. 106
    South of I-10 says:

    Since y’all are talking some football, I will throw in a “Who dat?”

  107. 107

    Damn, that superdome is loud!

  108. 108
  109. 109
    Lowkey says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: WOOOOO! How ’bout them Saints!

  110. 110
    Kiril says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: We gotta lotta practice raising a ruckus.

  111. 111
    Kiril says:

    TOUCHDOOOOOOOOOOWN!!!!!!!

  112. 112
    ellaesther says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Excellent! (The theme of the thread appears to have shifted somewhat anyway…!)

  113. 113
    South of I-10 says:

    That was so cool. Go Saints!

  114. 114
    Sly says:

    @lamh31

    I’m not a Chomskyite by any stretch, but the man had them pegged decades ago.

  115. 115
  116. 116
    Lowkey says:

    @ellaesther: LOL, sorry to jack the thread, but John must be so disgusted with his Stillers performance that he’s not thinking about football right now. We’ll move it to a MNF thread as soon as one opens.

  117. 117
    lamh31 says:

    @Kiril

    Damnit, I hate to thread jack, but man do I miss Q93.3 and the CJ in the morning crew (I know they are no longer on, just another thing to hate Katrina for!!!)

  118. 118
    Lowkey says:

    WOOOO! FYTB! You may get those sacks after all, Arguing!

  119. 119
    Lowkey says:

    GAAHHHH, too soon. Barf.

  120. 120
    Kiril says:

    @lamh31: Lawl, I bet you do. I’ve been to Dallas.

  121. 121
    Mike in NC says:

    I’m surprised it took the Onion so long to come up with this: Zombie Reagan Raised From Grave To Lead GOP

    Lewis Black did a similar bit in one of his shows a few years back, about how nobody would screw around with the batshit crazy USofA if we re-elected that dead guy as president.

  122. 122
    Ruckus says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:
    We need to keep a look out for him in all the posts. Gex, if you’re reading, there’s lots of us here to help in anyway we can.

  123. 123
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    Since this has gone to open thread.

    Ever wonder what Malkin does in her spare time. On the Seattle cop killings.

    I’ve been monitoring the SPD police scanner throughout the day. There have been many dead ends. Chatter and action is picking up after a call this afternoon from a citizen who reportedly discovered bloody gauze and an abandoned vehicle.

    Crime sleuthing of course. Monitoring police scanners from the her wingnut central bunker. It is weird, but I am not surprised. Why don’t you have one Cole?

    Wonder if it has a countertop frequency/

    Someday our national nightmare will end.

  124. 124
    ellaesther says:

    @Lowkey: That’s all right! The internet heart wants what it wants….

  125. 125

    @Ruckus:

    agreed. I’m juggling MNF and worrying about Gex at the same time.

  126. 126
  127. 127
    Lowkey says:

    @ellaesther: That’s incredibly gracious of you.

    WOOO SAINTS!!1

  128. 128
    Sly says:

    Lewis Black did a similar bit in one of his shows a few years back, about how nobody would screw around with the batshit crazy USofA if we re-elected that dead guy as president.

    North Korea has a dead guy serving as President, and our entire national security discourse is based around the assumption that they’re batshit crazy.

    So it might work.

  129. 129
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @freelancer (itouch):

    Figures. Think I will pass though.

  130. 130

    That would be another TOUCHDOWN! SAINTS!

    This is so great for my fantasy team!

  131. 131
    Kiril says:

    TOUCHDOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWNNNN!!!!!!!!

  132. 132
    srv says:

    I think Instapundit put it best last week about America’s support for war:

    THEY’VE BEEN SERVING WITH DISTINCTION SINCE RIGHT AFTER SEPTEMBER 11, but can we count on the Retail Support Brigade to save America one more time? I’m not sure. With doubts about where the national leadership is taking them and whether it values their sacrifice, and whether it will support them in the crunch, it’s hard for me to recommend re-enlistment at this point. On the other hand, I’ll be spending about the same as last year, but, as usual, mostly online.

    I, for one, will go shopping right after the protest tomorrow.

  133. 133
    Lowkey says:

    @General Winfield Stuck: Good Lord, General… I, er… wait one, please…

    WOOOOO! MEACHEM TD!

    Ahem.

    Good Lord, General, if I lay around nights wondering what was crashing its way in a Pinot frenzy around Tiny Fury’s brain, I’d lose what’s left of what can only be charitably described as my sanity.

  134. 134

    @srv:

    Fuck instapundit. what a douche.

    He can’t recommend re-enlistment. Like he ever enlisted the first time.

  135. 135
    donovong says:

    Completely OT (if, in fact, there is a T right now), Little Green Footballs has now come completely over to our dark side.

    Why I Parted Ways With The Right
    Opinion | Mon, Nov 30, 2009 at 6:49:45 pm PST

    1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)

    2. Support for bigotry, hatred, and white supremacism (see: Pat Buchanan, Ann Coulter, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.)

    3. Support for throwing women back into the Dark Ages (see: Operation Rescue, anti-abortion groups, Dobson, Robertson, the entire religious right, etc.)

    4. Support for anti-science bad craziness (see: creationism, climate change denialism, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, James Inhofe, etc.)

    5. Support for homophobic bigotry (see: Sarah Palin, Dobson, the entire religious right, etc.)

    6. Support for anti-government lunacy (see: tea parties, militias, Fox News, Glenn Beck, etc.)

    7. Support for conspiracy theories and hate speech (see: Alex Jones, Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Birthers, creationists, climate deniers, etc.)

    8. A right-wing blogosphere that is almost universally dominated by raging hate speech (see: Hot Air, Free Republic, Ace of Spades, etc.)

    9. Anti-Islamic bigotry that goes far beyond simply criticizing radical Islam into support for violence and genocide (see: Pamela Geller, Robert Spencer, etc.)

    10. Hatred for President Obama that goes far beyond simply criticizing his policies, into racism, hate speech, and bizarre conspiracy theories (see: witch doctor pictures, tea parties, Birthers, Michelle Malkin, Fox News, World Net Daily, Newsmax, and every other right wing source)

    And much, much more. The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff.

    I won’t be going over the cliff with them.

  136. 136

    Love that Tom Brady almost-sack.

  137. 137
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Lowkey:

    Sooner or later, the internets will find you. There is no place to hide when the computer is on.

  138. 138
    donovong says:

    Well, that went awfully well. Not.

  139. 139

    @donovong:

    Wow, that’s some JC-style turnaround. Welcome to the dark side, CJ.

  140. 140
    Svensker says:

    I LOVE me some glum Patsies.

    Does Drew Brees have an arm or a rocket?

    Go, Saints!

    Oh, and seeing Tom Brady lying on the ground is sweet. More please.

  141. 141
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    This will mark the true beginning of our decline as a superpower. We’ve somehow held it together this decade, but this is it. Please, let it be quick and as painless as possible.

    The death throes of an empire are almost never pretty. Maybe, like Britain, we can maintain a bit of dignity throughout the process.

  142. 142

    Oh, yeah, and Randy Moss can suck it too.

  143. 143
    MattR says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    He can’t recommend re-enlistment. Like he ever enlisted the first time.

    No, but he was quite happy to recommend that others enlist.

  144. 144
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @donovong:

    Yup, that pretty much seals the deal. Charles had a hell of a long walk from where he was though.

  145. 145
    donovong says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: No shit. It’s been a steady process over the last several months, but he has finally been absorbed by The Borg. I will wait before declaring Total Liberal Victory, tho.

  146. 146
    Xenos says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    I mean is there REALISTICALLY a “right or wrong” answer in Afghanistan.

    No.
    SATSQ

    Or as the computer put it at the end of ‘War Games’:

    A strange game. The only winning move is not to play. How about a nice game of chess?

  147. 147
    Kiril says:

    @McGeorge Bundy: So you’re a Patriots fan then? We’ll try to make it quick, but it might hurt a little.

  148. 148
    bago says:

    I wonder exactly how much of the DC press scene’s interest is driven by jealousy. I mean they had to go through all of that paperwork to get White House access. Then along come these interlopers…

    It’s not their town.

  149. 149

    @donovong:

    Wow, I’m just drinking in the schadenfreude on this one. CJ has a conscience! I can’t wait to see the freakout in his comments. Where’s my popcorn.

    Between this and the asskicking that the Patriots are getting so far, this is a pretty decent Monday evening.

  150. 150
    Kiril says:

    Saints +14 at the half. Just wait for that 3rd quarter.

  151. 151
    bago says:

    @mellowjohn: I’m telling you, an exponential war tax would pretty much kill any optional wars. You can sell it with WW2 imagery and everything.

  152. 152
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @General Winfield Stuck:

    Yup, that pretty much seals the deal. Charles had a hell of a long walk from where he was though.

    Presumably he’s an independent now who only votes Republican every two years.

  153. 153

    @Xenos:

    excellent movie ref. Exactly as I feel. Why didn’t GWB watch that film?

  154. 154
    jwb says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Enjoy it tonight. Tomorrow is going to suck the big time, with a day full of concern trolling capped with a giant chorus of “oh noes” from left, right and center after Obama’s speech.

  155. 155
    General Winfield Stuck says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Have no idea. He could turn wingnut again in a flash. Time will tell if it’s real, or memorex.

  156. 156
    tavella says:

    @donovong:

    Boggles. Wow. It’s bizarre to think of LGF as the *sane* face of the right wing. It used to be right up there with Newsmax and Free Republic in terms of nuttiness.

  157. 157
    donovong says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I can live with Mr. Johnson on this side of the fence, but FSM forbid that the flood gates open. I can’t think of any others who I would like to see defect.

  158. 158
    Fern says:

    I take it that the football season goes on forever.

  159. 159
    McGeorge Bundy says:

    @Kiril: I am actually, but I’m talking about Afghanistan. Nice one.

  160. 160
    lamh31 says:

    I don’t watch much football, but is Brady the one who left his pregnant girlfriend for Giselle Buchen?

  161. 161
  162. 162

    @Kiril:

    We’ll try to make it quick, but it might hurt a little.

    who said anything about quick or hurting “a little”?

  163. 163
    Kiril says:

    @donovong: Just for fun, maybe you should check out the Balloon Juice archives from say, ’03-’04…

  164. 164
    Sly says:

    Re: LFG, have all ex-wingers had love affairs with the Senior Senator from Aetna?

    Maybe that’s the trojan horse. Get enough people to believe in a self-absorbed crook like Lieberman because he shares in their basic wingnut assumptions, but get them convinced that they love him because he’s “sensible” and then, when the veil drops, sensibleness will be exposed as the fraud it is and Obi-Wan’s failure will be complete.

  165. 165
    RedKitten says:

    Wow, that’s some JC-style turnaround. Welcome to the dark side, CJ.

    I don’t think Charles will go as DFH as John did, though. He still strikes me as being pretty hard-core conservative. Still, it’s nice to know that there are still people out there who can take a step back from ideology every so often and say “Is this still a good fit for me?”

    Good luck, Charles — I hope your former brethren don’t inspect your countertops too closely.

  166. 166
    donovong says:

    @Kiril: Been there, done that. Forgive and forget, or something like that.

    I just can’t wait for Charles Johnson to get a big fat cat, rescue a puppy and get all wistful and stuff.

  167. 167
    Lowkey says:

    @donovong: Honestly, I consider any engagement with reality on the part of the right an incredibly good thing. I remember, in my youth, disagreeing with Republicans, on a daily basis. Their arguments used to have some grounding in reality, and a belief in good, if limited, governance. The sooner we have more Johnsons and Larisons and fewer Becks and Hannitys is the day the nation will truly start to heal.

  168. 168

    @donovong:

    I can’t see too many others jumping the fence, as they don’t have enough intellectual consistency to do so. Could you imagine Instapuke or Michelle Malcontent or Megan McArgleBargle making that switch? Not me.

  169. 169
    Gwangung says:

    @Xenos: And there’s no way NOT to play.

  170. 170
    Annie says:

    Jerks like O’Hanlon and Pollack have no understanding of how complex Afghanistan is. They offer simplistic talking points to make themselves sound smart. Two people who were supposed to understand Iraq, clearly showed they understood shit. It depends on how well Obama understands both the realities and what he hopes to accomplish with an increased military role and also with development aid. In talking with Afghans lately, they see their only hope in a strong central government that actually assumes responsibility for the mess the country has become. But, they recognize that their vision is probably impossible given the corruption that exists. Think of two countries — those in Kabul who are educated and have a vision of a desire future and those in the rural areas who have a different vision. How does our military presence reconcile different visions within one country? It is hard to tell who is the enemy and who are our friends — which puts our military in a difficult position.

    Yes, tea, village by village, can work. But it is labor intense and extremely time consuming. After tea, there has to be a follow-up. I know because I was supposed to be the follow-up…

  171. 171
    khead says:

    Saints +14 at the half. Just wait for that 3rd quarter.

    +14 is quite enough.

    I’m only +4 right now and that’s probably too much.

  172. 172
    donovong says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: In a word? Fuckno.
    Some diseases are terminal and incurable, and they have one.

  173. 173

    Wow, an intentional grounding call. WTF?

  174. 174
    gizmo says:

    As long as we’re bombing some brown people somewhere on Earth, Americans are happy.

  175. 175
    Martin says:

    @donovong:

    Wait until he announces his naked mopping adventures. That was certainly a milestone…

  176. 176
    Corner Stone says:

    I’m making home made nachos.
    Who’s in?

  177. 177
    Lowkey says:

    @khead: Please, it’s New Orleans. Lowkey +5, and I have a hard time keeping up with those NO kids. +14 just takes the edge off of them.

  178. 178
  179. 179
    Lowkey says:

    @Lowkey: Argh, FYTB.

  180. 180
    Lowkey says:

    @Corner Stone: Tell me you live within ninety seconds of me. Pretty please.

  181. 181
    Kiril says:

    @Lowkey: Yeah, I figured out when I went to live elsewhere for a while that casual drinking in New Orleans is full-on alcoholism everywhere else.

  182. 182

    re: LGF, from the comments, it appears that the semi-literate libertarian commenters are carrying the day. Perhaps there is a chance for a serious debate over policy in some small corner of the blogosphere.

  183. 183
    Martin says:

    I hate indoor stadiums. The field looks half-size. NE looks like shit despite only being a TD behind. My mom must be apoplectic.

    (Maybe make that 2 TD after that play)

  184. 184

    That would be Marquis COLSTON, bitchez!

    God I’m loving this game!

  185. 185
    Kiril says:

    TOUCHDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWWNNNNNNNN!

  186. 186
    gizmo says:

    What’s to prevent the Taliban and Al Queda from just laying low for awhile? They could simply hang out in their caves, smoke some hash, and wait. Time is on their side. Sooner or later Obama will run out of political capital, and the American people will run out of patience.

  187. 187
  188. 188
    Lowkey says:

    @Kiril: Right? I… wait one, please…

    WOOOO! Nice pass!

    Ahem.

    Right? I swear to FSM, I have achieved levels of drunk in New Orleans that I’ve barely dreamed of other places. Energetic, fun drunkeness that is tough to reproduce.

    WOOOOOO! TD SAINTS!

  189. 189
    Sly says:

    The internets ate my comment. FUWP.

    Re: LFG, have all ex-wingers had love affairs with the Senior Senator from Aetna?

    Maybe that’s the trojan horse. Get enough people to believe in a self-absorbed crook like Lieberman because he shares in their basic wingnut assumptions, but get them convinced that they love him because he’s “sensible” and then, when the veil drops, sensibleness will be exposed as the fraud it is and Obi-Wan’s failure will be complete.

  190. 190

    BTW, I’m an admirer of Drew Brees. He got the shaft in SD prior to moving to NO. Glad he’s getting to showcase his skillz.

  191. 191

    @Lowkey:

    I have achieved levels of drunk in New Orleans that I’ve barely dreamed of other places. Energetic, fun drunkeness that is tough to reproduce.

    You might try Galveston during Mardi Gras as well. It’s another one of those places.

  192. 192
    Lowkey says:

    @Lowkey: BLAM!! Nice stick!

  193. 193

    Can I please stop hearing “When you give Tom Brady …”?

  194. 194
    Lowkey says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: While I have not yet graced Galveston, I have nursed many drunks in many of the world’s finer drinking locales, and I must say, The Big Easy is a giant. All New Orleans natives should stand proud (and they do, the tough bastards).

  195. 195
    Corner Stone says:

    @gizmo:

    They could simply hang out in their caves, smoke some hash, and wait.

    Mmmmm…haaasshhh naachoooose.

  196. 196

    @Lowkey:

    Also, NYC during the St. Patrick’s Day parade is teh drunken masterpiece. Just sayin. It is always better with a few drunken police officers playing bagpipes in their kilts.

  197. 197

    That grounding rule is bullshit. Brady should have got a flag for that one.

  198. 198
    Corner Stone says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    You might try Galveston during Mardi Gras as well. It’s another one of those places.

    With all consideration – there is zero comparison between MG in NO and MG in Galveston.
    And far be it from me to tell people they can’t compare the things they love, but being in NO for MG is straight balls.

  199. 199
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    @Just Some Fuckhead:

    Okay, I’ll fast forward to 2004 where Gore dumps him for another VP.

  200. 200

    @Corner Stone:

    with all consideration, I’ve been in both Galveston and New Orleans during MG, and Galveston is a decent pastime. Sure, it’s not NO, but then NO isn’t Rio at Carnival.

  201. 201

    Hey, Bill,

    that fourth-and- isn’t working too well for ya.

  202. 202
    Corner Stone says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: I’ve never been to Rio, either at MG or any other time. Is it better than straight balls?

  203. 203
    Elie says:

    Deschanel:

    “Box-cutters. That’s the weaponry that changed America that horrible day, that’s what the enemy was armed with. Our escalating in Afghanistan must be Bin laden’s fondest wish. We can’t seem to stop granting that dirty evil wizard all his wishes, if in fact he is still alive”

    I feel your pain. I don’t think that the serious risk in Pakistan relates to box cutters though, in all fairness.

    If you are in charge of the American people’s safety, would you just blow off the nuclear risk here? Yes, Pakistan probably has primitive delivery systems for long strikes, but do you feel comfortable completely dismissing more tactical uses for nuclear mayhem in the hands of the Taliban? Do you believe that their risk is just hysterical exageration — that they would never – never apply such horrors either in the field of battle to US troops or in a dirty bomb in some western city?

    Of course, that might happen without expanding the Afghan war. Nothing is certain. But if you were the leader charged with protecting us, would you just ignore the risk?

    That is what Obama is facing. Is he happy about it? No. Am I happy about it? Hell no.

    We are facing a very difficult situation and even if I am not an expert in this geopolitical issue, I know FUBAR when I see it and I know how the error term works: how are you going to assign the risk? I am going to pretend everything will be just fine and withdraw OR I had better hedge my bets a bit? Given the scale and magnitude of the uncertainty, my guess is that your error will go towards hedging.

    Obama has to be losing sleep about this. He has certainly lost weight. He is not stupid or unaware, despite some of the tripe being promulgated by some supposedly on the left. There is no crystal ball with the outcome clearly displayed. LBJ is talking to him every night. and JFK too..

    Lets be serious and not frivolously petulantly idealistic beyond all other considerations.

  204. 204

    @Corner Stone:

    I haven’t been to rio either, just heard and seen the reports. It’s fuckin’ rio, CS. what more do you need? Can it be more dialed down than a US baccanalia?

  205. 205
    Kiril says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: St. Patrick’s Day in New Orleans is time for what else? A parade! Big floats and people out on the streets of the Irish Channel and there’s beads, of course, but the main throw is cabbage. So the people catch the cabbages and spike them on the wrought iron fences along the street, that’s the game.
    So I’m at a friend’s place on the parade route on a second floor balcony and I’m doing the whole “Hey, up here! Throw me something!” But I’m having no luck. This older guy I knew, like 60 years old I guess, he looks at me and says, “Nah, brudda, dese guys are Irish. You gotta do dem different from a normal parade.”
    And he puts down his drinkand stands right at the edge of the balcony and scream, “Fuck you donkey whores! You fucking weak bastards! I dare ya! Right here!”
    Ten minutes later, we’re knee-deep in cabbage.

  206. 206
    Svensker says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Don’t you love it?

  207. 207

    @Kiril:

    Haven’t been in NO for a St. Pat’s, but just know from past experience that the NYC St. Pat’s party is teh awesome. Too many irish people. Too many bagpipes. Too much irish whiskey.

    NO is definitely the US party town. But I’m just sayin there’s some others out there.

  208. 208
    Corner Stone says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: Funny story – I work with a guy who’s a Turkish national, here on a visa. He was in Rio on business at the time his visa ran out. They wouldn’t let him board the plane back to the US due to his visa issue. So he was “stranded” in Rio for another 5 business days while the issue was resolved.
    I have given him no end of shit for that. “Stranded” in Rio, my balls.

  209. 209

    @Svensker:

    every minute. Suck it, Belicheck!

  210. 210
    Corner Stone says:

    I’ve got something in mod Q, no idea why.

  211. 211
    Corner Stone says:

    Ok, everything I’ve got is in moderation now. All things in moderation, including moderation.

  212. 212

    Elie, since you’re so concerned about Afghanistan and Pakistan you’re going to be enlisting soon. Right? C’mon, put your money where your mouth is and put your ass on the line.

  213. 213
    Corner Stone says:

    WTF is going on Doug?

  214. 214
    Kiril says:

    @arguingwithsignposts: For sure. That was really more a story about Irish soul than a claim to be the best St. Pats Day.

  215. 215
    Morbo says:

    @wvng:

    I’m sure you all will be thrilled to know I was provided with a good 5 minutes of Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson’s wisdom this evening on NPR. He was telling me all about what Obama should/must say about the war, how he has to have end points, but can’t set timelines and all. I sooooo need to hear that from the man who put all of those prophetic word in W’s mouth.

    I also treated myself to this. They need to warn people about that; I had an overwhelming urge to drive into oncoming traffic and end it all.

    And since this has become a football thread, holy shit, Brees and Colston have almost closed my 38 point deficit (1 pt/15yds receiving). One 28 yard pass to Colston will cement a huge Monday Night comeback.

  216. 216
    khead says:

    @ Lowkey:

    My boss is a Tulane grad and most of my friends went to WVU. From what they tell me I think the only major difference is the burning couches in Morgantown.

  217. 217
    Morbo says:

    @Morbo: FUCK YEAH!

  218. 218
    Nethead Jay says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Suck it, Belicheck!

    Indeed. I like the look on Belichick’s face. And the one on Sean Peyton’s :)

  219. 219
    Gus says:

    Seems to me that we didn’t learn a fucking thing from Vietnam. Oh well, what the fuck, not learning from history is what humans do.

  220. 220

    That would be ANOTHER TOUCHDOWN FO THE SAINTS! WHO DAT!?!?!?!?

  221. 221
    khead says:

    I am glad I passed on the Pats. Whew.

  222. 222
    Kiril says:

    TOOOOUUUCCCHHHDOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWNNNNNN!

  223. 223
    gwangung says:

    @Nethead Jay: Yah think the Saints are making a statement?

  224. 224

    Oh, and the reason I despise you Elie is that you’re stupid and cowardly. Everything that comes out of your mouth is reminiscent of the same fear-mongering bullshit that the Republicans have been putting us through for the last eight years. “OMFG. What if the Taliban gets nukes!” “OMFG. Everyone now has to take their shoes off because of Richard Reid’s unsuccessful shoe bombing attempt!” “OMFG. There are brown guys wearing turbans out there, let’s kick the shit out of them, they’re Muslims. Oh wait, they’re Sikhs, well fuck ’em, they’re still wearing towels.” “OMFG we need to surrender all liquids at the gates because of a mythical liquid explosive that terrorists might smuggle on to planes, you know, like the stuff they had in that Die Hard movie.

    I’d continue telling you how stupid, worthless, contemptible, fear-crazed and weak you are, and what an utter waste of perfectly good oxygen that cowards like you are, because you are a coward, I’ll put money down that you never wore a uniform and never intend to, but John Rogers over at Kung Fu Monkey dismantled bed-wetters like you three years ago..

  225. 225
    madmommy says:

    Saints score again!

    I am feeling generous enough to overlook the bad sporstmanship and nanosecond-long handshake that Sean Peyton will get at the end of this game. There’s going to be a lot of people hung over at work in NOLA tomorrow. But they’ll all be happy!

  226. 226

    On the football subject the HTC Droid phones from Sprint have this way cool NFL app on them. You tell the app what your favorite team is and it displays the score and game status on your phone. You can also follow players and do a bunch of other stuff. The app also allows you to listen to a broadcast of the game on your cell phone. Sure, you could use a radio to do that, but that’s so analog, and 2nd millennium.

  227. 227

    It is a tragedy that we didn’t get an MNF thread tonight, especially given the heavy nature of the original thread we’re hijacking.

    AWS +5

  228. 228
    khead says:

    LBJ is talking to him every night. and JFK too..

    Just which room in the White House IS the best for hosting a seance?

    Someone help me out here.

  229. 229
    charles johnson says:

    You guys’ jaws are gonna drop when President Obama goes on TV tomorrow and declares:

    “I have listened to the generals and the republicans, and decided they know the best way. Accordingly, I am approving Gen. McCrystal’s troop increase. Recognizing that the GOP hawks are clearly the bravest, least-dithering people we have, I have by executive order just drafted George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, Tom Friedman, Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, made them NCOs, and immediately flew them to their new posts at the tip of the spear at several Forward Operating Bases scattered throughout Taliban territory. Dick Cheney has been crying like a little girl nonstop, and it took four Marines to pry Bill Kristol from his mommy, but in the end, I’m sure they will distinguish themselves. We also rounded up everyone at Fox News and the WaPo editorial page and made them into three combat brigades. Steve Doocey’s already been fragged by some hysterical blonde bimbo. Operation Money Where Your Mouth Is begins now.”

  230. 230
  231. 231
    Svensker says:

    And Tom Brady is intercepted again. Oh oh oh oh oh oh gaaaaaaaaaaa. (looks around for cigarette)

  232. 232
    Kiril says:

    Watch my Saints roooooooooollllll.

    @khead: Lincoln bedroom, obvs.

  233. 233
    Nethead Jay says:

    @gwangung: Ooooooh yeah, I believe that’s the case. And I’m loving it :D

  234. 234
    Lowkey says:

    @Svensker: Tom Brady’s hot tears of impotent rage are the hottest aphrodisiac.

  235. 235

    38-17. man if that ain’t a blowout.

  236. 236
    madmommy says:

    Belichick yanked Brady and replaced him with…who?? Giving up with four minutes left to play??

  237. 237

    OMG, they’ve pulled Brady. pussies.

  238. 238
    Gus says:

    Oh, okay, it’s a football thread. As a former Vikings fan, I get a kick out of the fact that the best Vikings team since ’98 is the second best team in the conference. I’m all for the Saints going all the way. I love NOLA.

  239. 239
    lamh31 says:

    The Patriots along the sideline sure look like they are bout ready to kick a deer. Who they mad at?

  240. 240
    lamh31 says:

    Brady is pouting like a girl everytime the camera goes to him. He needs a better poker face.

  241. 241
    lamh31 says:

    So wait, the ESPN guy said that the guys playing for the Saints in tonight’s game aren’t even their usual “top tier” players, i.e. Reggie Bush, and they still are kicked the Patriots azz tonight

  242. 242
    Nethead Jay says:

    Oh man, look at Belichick and Brady’s faces on the line, as they wonder what happened. This is pure joy…

  243. 243
    Svensker says:

    @Lowkey:

    Hot tears are hot.

    The only thing better than Pats & Brady losing is having Pats and Brady rolling on the ground in pain. But I’ll settle for hot tears.

    Congrats, Saints. You guys is who, dats who.

  244. 244
    khead says:

    Belichick didn’t give up, he was just holding the UNDER @ 56.5.

  245. 245

    the patriots are pussies for keeping tom brady out of the sacks that he deserves. Just sayin.

  246. 246
    NobodySpecial says:

    Belicheck looks like a broken man.

  247. 247
    Kiril says:

    For real schadenfreude, try listening to @Gus: Trust me, we’re all looking real hard at the Vikings. In fact, we already know Payton’s instinct is to get a good enough record for the home field advantage and then use the second string to avoid injuries, even if it means losing games, because we saw him do a few years back. But the Vikes keep fucking winning, so we have to keep winning to keep home field advantage. If we really do go undefeated, it’s probably the Vikings that make us do it.

  248. 248
    Kiril says:

    @Kiril: Disregard the part of my comment before Gus. Doh!

  249. 249
    Svensker says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Belicheck looks like a broken man.

    Would you mind saying that again so I can hear it with both ears. Thanks. :)

    Night all. Sweet dreams.

  250. 250
    Morbo says:

    That was awesome; I needed 38 and they put up 51. 18/23 for 371 yards 5 TD and 0 INT is just amazing.

  251. 251
    madmommy says:

    @NobodySpecial:

    Waa, waa, waa. At least he actually came over and kinda, sorta, hugged/talked to Drew after the game.

    Now, if Farve will just do what he always does and start throwing passes to the other team everything will be just dandy!

  252. 252
    NobodySpecial says:

    @Svensker:

    Belicheck looks like a broken man. 8)

    And I have to say, I think my Lions did a better job of defense against Brees in Week 1.

  253. 253
    Corner Stone says:

    10:51

  254. 254
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    If you’re expecting a “right or wrong” answer on any question of foreign policy that is actually genuine, you won’t get one. Anywhere.

    It will cost a few hundred billion to escalate and prolong this war. Where is that going to come from? Don’t look at me; can’t squeeze blood from a stone. Don’t look at the record number of Americans receiving food stamps, either, or the ones undergoing medical bankruptcy. We could put off, for another generation, shoring up bridges and levees, and cut education even more. Because honestly, what other way is there to stop guys with box cutters from sneaking on board a plane and hijacking it?

  255. 255
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Re: ‘Expert Advice’ and TV

    In my current employment condition, I am a prole. But a prole in a bellwether industry for the national economic condition. Two-thirds of my fellow proles who showed up for the morning meeting were not on the clock for the lunch meeting.

    Thus, the national economic reality not what the smart people had projected.

    This is the shit you cannot get on Bloomberg, who relies on government reports. You can only get this stuff at Balloon Juice. Sell.

    They must like me though as I was offered more over-time.

    :)

    We should remove the troop footprint from Afghanistan and replace it with a remote air-base. The job of this air-base is to prevent the Islamists from becoming too organized, and a threat to the country.

  256. 256
    MikeJ says:

    Mmmm. Just finished dinner. Killed the turkey leftovers with crepes, or as I call them, Frenchaladas.

  257. 257
    Elie says:

    Wile E. Quixote

    Go take your meds. You really need help. PTSD?

    Whatever.

    Only a sad sick person spews the stuff you do.

  258. 258
  259. 259
    GregB says:

    My stand up comic friend used to refer to 9/11 as Bin Laden’s greatest stunt.

    It sure worked like a charm.

    8 years later and the most powerful nation in the world is still chasing ghosts and tearing itself apart from the inside, bit by bloody bit.

    -G

  260. 260
    Dream On says:

    “f Russia had any sense of irony at all, they’d be selling SAMs to the Pashtuns now.”
    —————

    They already are.

  261. 261
    Mayur says:

    @Elie: Really?

    Chapter and verse, baby. This sort of “Oh noes, (s)he’s hysterical!” nonsense is exactly what’s gotten us into our current predicament.

    AfPak is a bad, bad place for us to be. We’re doubling down on the mistakes made by Nixon, Reagan, and Bushes I and II (funny how every Dem Pres managed to court India better). This will not end well, and I for one would support either (i) enshrining a puppet dictator in Islamabad or (ii) pushing for real social reform in Pakistan and negotiating around the consequences. Instead we have neither.

  262. 262
    Mayur says:

    @Dream On: Nah, that’s China.

  263. 263
    MikeJ says:

    @Elie: The Droid phones are not that bad, Better than the big brotherish stuff that rolls out of Cupertino anyway.

  264. 264
    Dream On says:

    “Item 2) seems more promising: forget the corrupt central government, bypass the warlords, and aim directly at grassroots operations strengthening the traditional tribal organizations -basically it amounts to giving lots of guns and money and local development projects directly to tribal organizations with whom we can get a somewhat trustful relationship and who seem most likely to stay on our side.”

    ———————

    Tried it in Vietnam – didn’t work. The idea was the “Vietnamization” of the war – actually heard someone today say we needed to “Afghanistanize” the war, as if men in the region had anything other to do economically but fire and reload. Give guns and money to the tribes and they will use them against each other. “Hearts and Minds” won’t work.

    People seem to be mistaken – 80% Afghanistan of Afghanistan still lives in the Stone Age.

  265. 265
    Dream On says:

    sic.

  266. 266
    Mike in NC says:

    I have by executive order just drafted George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, Tom Friedman, Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, made them NCOs, and immediately flew them to their new posts at the tip of the spear at several Forward Operating Bases scattered throughout Taliban territory.

    That collection of chickenhawk morans would make the cast of “Stripes” look like the best team of SEALs, Rangers, and Special Forces ever assembled, and none of them would remotely qualify as an NCO…

  267. 267
    Suzan says:

    How many of the “experts” in the MSM are even decently educated let alone have any preparation whatsoever that would qualify them to offer opinions about important policy considerations?

    Gotcha!

    None since Henry Kissinger and David Rockefeller, and we remember how that worked out.

    One thing that doesn’t escape anyone’se notice about those non-conservatards (yes, that’s who those fucktards really are) is that they are all free-loaders on the hard-working “liberals” who think it’s good policy to provide for the welfare of the citizenry.

    S

    At what point are O’Hanlon and Pollack every going to be discredited enough that their expert advice is no longer solicited? Why are they even on tv anymore?
    ______________________

  268. 268
    Ash Can says:

    @Kiril: OK, this made me laugh out loud.

    @charles johnson: And so did this. Daaayum, I’d pony up some serious scratch to see that. Exactly the way you described it, please and thank you.

  269. 269
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ:

    I don’t even know what that means. Big Brotherish?

    And the Droid has some problems. The camera is unpredictable at best. The software is spotty, and an app market will never take off because every phone is running a different OS stack modified by the carrier, each with a different set of features. Too unpredictable for developers.

    But, to its credit, there’s real potential there – Google made a good platform. Too bad the carriers are going to fuck up a good thing.

  270. 270
    Elie says:

    Mayur:

    And your solutions are pretty easy to do.

    “(i) enshrining a puppet dictator in Islamabad or (ii) pushing for real social reform in Pakistan and negotiating around the consequences…”

    And of course we can “enshrine” that dictator without any other support. “Pushing” for social reform in Pakistan and “negotiating” around consequences”

    Now there is a real plan.

    Ah c’mon…you chide me for my “hysterical” Ohno’s so to speak and offer that as a solution? Why not wish for Tinkerbell to make the nuclear capability in Pakistan just go away? Oh thats right, that Isnt that what you want — there is nothing to be concerned about there…there is no threat except in my hysterical, OhNO mind, right? Perfect logic. Considering that as a risk requires you to change your solution, so your must discredit that as a risk of any kind.

    Okay. You are right. I am just a hysterical war monger with no interest except to escalate the US Empire mission on this earth and bring back baby Jesus. Right.

  271. 271
    srv says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: Elieway isway az’sppGAY umbday ondeblay ersonalitypay

  272. 272
    MikeJ says:

    @Martin: By big brotherish I mean I hate the fact that somebody other than I can turn off apps on my computer. You might make an argument for the carrier being able to do it, and since their network is involved, I might not agree, but it’s a solid argument. The manufacturer? Fuck ’em. Whatever I want to put on my computer/phone is none of their business.

    Apple is the Big Brother of the industry, and I won’t volunteer for room 101. Maybe Room 222 though. I only barely remember its existence, but nothing about the show itself.

  273. 273
    Mayur says:

    @Elie: Really? Okay, so now you want to talk some serious bullshit. Let’s play.

    In case it was not already clear: We HAVE enshrined a SERIES of dictators in Pakistan. I’ve been to see the Patton tank seized by the Indian Army in the Sialkot sector numerous times; it was a gift from the Nixon admin to Zia Al-Haq. If you bothered to READ THE FUCKING HISTORY, you’d have a clue.

    Yes, your scenario is a bunch of uninformed bullshit because you’re not actually acknowledging the following basic facts:

    1) Pakistan was, for decades, an artificially- (US-supported-client-) maintained state with an unstable top-level leadership.

    2) Pakistan’s main concerns have always been with India and not with its own incipient tribal/regional rivalries.

    3) Pakistan lacks the internal security apparatus to properly police the behavior of US-inimical factions within Pakistani borders, but as a cultural fact-of-life, doesn’t care to.

    4) Pakistan’s nuclear program is monitored and recognized by the central government, and pointed straight at India.

    5) Pakistan does not have, and will not in any scenario that does not meet the minimum requirements of Science Fiction have, any delivery system that allows detonation of a nuclear device inside US borders.

    6) Pakistan’s military forces, as well as its internal security agency (ISI), have an extreme antipathy for Islamist militants and a strong desire to forestall militant access to Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal.

    So no, you know nothing, and your putative “rebuttal” to my propositions is 100% FAIL. STFU.

  274. 274
    Mayur says:

    @Elie: BTW, what’s your plan, anyway? The odds on Zia or Musharraf’s or Benazir’s regime’s launching a nuke at us are comfortably near zero, so I don’t see how much proof of the pudding is necessary for my point; we’ve done the eating.

    It irritates the heck out of me when people like you who have no understanding of the region attempt to ignore the lessons of, say, actual history and personal experience in favor of your own nonsensical prejudices.

  275. 275
    jl says:

    @Dream On: I disagree that item 2) has a strong analogy to Vietnam. In S Vietnam there was an organized entity, N Vietnam, that really wanted to, and had the means to, take over S Vietnam. So, we had to try to prop up a national S Vietnamese government.

    We don’t need to do that in Afghanistan. There is no entity that wants to, or is able to, take over Afghanistan.

    The idea of item 2) is to stop worrying much about the central government and regional warlords. I think it recognizes that tribes are the basis of local and regional government in Afghanistan, and we will let the overall organization of Afghanistan sort itself out. As long as there are enough strong prosperous tribes who are friendly to us, that is what we need.

  276. 276
    Elie says:

    Mayur

    Okay.

    you win.

    I give up…

    sorry to have an “incorrect” opinion or point of view.

    You know, you could have said all that you did, without the hate, and I would have heard you and maybe learned a thing or two from your perspective…

    But that is exchange people have in a liberal democracy. We must have something else.

  277. 277
    Anne Laurie says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Could you imagine Instapuke or Michelle Malcontent or Megan McArgleBargle making that switch?

    Once the progressive/leftwing viewpoint becomes the “popular”, money-and-prestige-generating ideological bias, Reynolds and McArdle will be wearing Che t-shirts while singing Fidel Castro’s praises. They’ll look like the giant fvcking clueless tools they are, of course, but they’ll switch as quickly and as fervently as David Horowitz switched from Trotskyite to CREEPster, because for them (and most of their highly-paid comrades-in-armchairs) it’s not about the ideas, it’s about the payday. Malkin, on the other hand… I think she’s in it for the Hatin’. She’ll never make common cause with squishies like us, because if she doesn’t have a regular target for her venom she’d probably die of a bile overdose.

    @charles johnson:

    “I have by executive order just drafted George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Bill Kristol, Tom Friedman, Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh, made them NCOs, and immediately flew them to their new posts at the tip of the spear at several Forward Operating Bases scattered throughout Taliban territory… We also rounded up everyone at Fox News and the WaPo editorial page and made them into three combat brigades… Operation Money Where Your Mouth Is begins now.”

    From your keyboard to the FSM’s noodly appendages, dude!

  278. 278
    Martin says:

    @MikeJ:

    Fair enough, but it’s the *only* solution to spy/malware. The only one. Dream up a better solution, and I’m sure Apple would be happy to give up cert signing.

  279. 279
    Elie says:

    Mayur:

    since you asked, and I am assuming you care about my answer, I was not thinking that there would be nuclear missiles heading towards America. My thought was the tactical use of nuclear warheads on the either the battlefield or as part of a terrorist “dirty bomb”. I do know that they do not have the delivery systems to bomb us

    You are right, I am not an “expert” in the IndoPakistani region. Do I have to be to be a citizen with a point of view? I have done some reading and learned more than I knew. But when am I allowed to have an opinion, albeit without being an “expert”. What qualifies your “expertise”? Am I to take it at face value cause you say so? And why is your expertise the only thing that can inform opinion. Are we not allowed divergent opinions that we can just discuss and figure out differences and in my case, what more I need to learn?

    What on earth is with the hostility and attack? Its been all over BJ today and I am just not getting the source for it. I don’t know you and to my mind, have never addressed you till now. Yet I get the full unloaded hostile thing like I have been in your face insulting you for months. Sorry. Dont get it. Seems weird to me. Like I have justify myself to you for being and having an opinion that agrees with yours or I’m dead.

    Wile E Quixote had me running for the hills — like he thought I had to do some sort of military throw down for him to justify my point of view as a citizen that had the timerity to disagree with him.

    In response to your question: I think that we need to stay in Afghnistan/Pakistan until we (dont know) have some way to exit and not have the Taliban a strong enough faction when we leave to control the nuclear material. Beyond that, I say lets leave. I think that Pakistan is the issue — not Afghanistan except as a training ground for interests that would put some aspects of the west in danger.

    Can we try to be friends enough to discuss issues rather than fight about them?

  280. 280
    Mayur says:

    @Elie: And BTW (sorry, I can’t let this go), you’re just being unbelievably callous with human lives here How dare you subject the lives of our servicemen to a bunch of nonsensical and untested dreams (and no, they don’t even rise to the level of theories) and then attempt to claim equivalency with the formulations I advanced!

    The fact is, we’ve done exactly what I advocated: Support a dictator (Zia, Mushie) who can secure Pakistan, and GTFO otherwise… and it worked to the extent we needed it to. Now we’re fucked in that we are an active power in the region. We had two choices: Destroy Pakistan’s ability to be a nuclear power, EVER (not sure how we could have done this) or shut them down as a viable military threat, period. The methods I suggested are the tried-and-true ones. What you’re suggesting is exactly the same shit the Village pushed on the US populace: Advocate for a crazy extremist unworkable policy and then push the meme that your opponents are DFHs who are going to sell the US down the road, no matter how much more militarily sound their options are.

    FOAD.

  281. 281
    Andre says:

    Re LGF, I must admit I laughed at this!

    I personally hope that Charles Johnson stays “centre-right”. There’s plenty of liberals like myself out there to criticize the crazy, what’s needed is a sane alternative that doesn’t veer all the way to either conspiracy-land or to glibertarianism, but actually comes at the same problems we’re trying to negotiate with fresh eyes.

  282. 282
    gex says:

    @Elie: In fairness, wasn’t it someone else who was vitriolic towards you, not Mayur? Unless Mayur it was one person/two handles, that is.

  283. 283
    Mayur says:

    @Elie: I apologize whole-heartedly; our emails crossed paths, and your last comment really did clear up a number of misconceptions on my part. Were the edit function on BJ working properly, I’d try to change my post; sorry!

    Here’s my issue: Your stated positions smack far too strongly for my tastes of the tried-and-true conventional wisdom about Af/Pak: Namely, that leaving with the Taliban still “there” (and “there” becomes the impossible category of Pashtunistan/Pakistan/South Asia/anywhere) subjects the US to a nuclear or other massive terrorist threat. My point is that this makes no sense from a POV that assumes any historical input and/or objective scenario analysis and/or strategic analysis, BUT that more to the point, nothing that is on the table militarily is going to move the needle in the correct direction. To wit:

    1) There is no scenario in which the Taliban regaining power affects the United States except ONE: Namely, that the Taliban..

    a) Assumes significant political influence in Pakistan (unlikely)
    b) Mobilizes resistance on the part of the influenced Pakistani populace against leaders (more likely)
    c) As part of that process, gains control of Pakistani nukes (unlikely)
    d) Uses said nukes EITHER against India (inviting US/EU retaliation) or the US itself (VERY unlikely)

    2) Funds an organization like AQ with a mandate to strike the US…. the problem here is that AaZ or OBL could fund it himelf, Somalia, Sudan, or anywhere could provide safe harbor, and in general it gets stupid.

    Look, there is a reason for the hostility. It originates in something simple: Namely, that your position calls for people to get bullets put in their asses. As someone who has had a bullet put in me (not in the ass, mercifully), the resentment is understandable. We should NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER (I could keep going) have been in Afghanistan, and I can multiply that by 50 (if only for the Taliban’s unfortunates) for Iraq. We are at the end of the American Empire here, people; I’m lucky enough to be able to jet off while it lasts.

  284. 284
    Scott H says:

    cleet – after skimming a thread this long, I have to thank you for saving me from whatever BOBill said that didn’t really regard pies… his imposed comment was much better, i’m sure.

    S+3

  285. 285
    MBSS says:

    @Mayur:

    thanks for the pakistan breakdown.

    the bed-wetters can only do their myth making in the absence of any regional understanding of the corners of the earth we invade.

  286. 286
    MBSS says:

    elie.

    i would suggest you learn more before you articulate an opinion on a public forum which advocates war, death, and destruction. it is a serious subject, and uninformed opinions are as dangerous as deliberate misinformation, if not more so. bone up on the subject. your fellow americans’ lives depend on it.

  287. 287
    MBSS says:

    The Soviets, of course, did not see themselves as an occupying army any more than we do. They arrived in 1979 at the specific and repeated request of the Kabul government. They too had a policy, and based their exit strategy on it, as we have done. By 1986, under Soviet guidance, the local armed forces had been built up to an official strength of over 300,000. But there were serious doubts about the reliability of these allies, just as we have found (and as the recent murder of five British soldiers by an Afghan policeman under their charge amply illustrates). In the 1980s, new recruits deserted the Afghan Army almost as fast as the Russians could train them: 32,000 of them per year, at one stage.

    The difference between Nato and Soviet interventions is not always apparent to ordinary Afghans. For many years the shopkeepers along Chicken Street, the main tourist bazaar in Kabul, sold carpets patterned with Hind gunships and BTRs, the distinctive eight-wheeled armoured vehicles whose carcasses still litter the countryside, testimony to the mujahedin’s Pyrrhic victory. These days such souvenirs are decorated with Chinooks and armoured personnel carriers that look dispiritingly like British Vikings. Another decade, another invasion: it’s all the same to the carpet-sellers.

    http://www.truthdig.com/report.....evs_ghost/

  288. 288
    Church Lady says:

    Elie – Ignore Wile. He is a complete and utter asshole. Always.

    Wile has only one redeeming quality – his snark can be funny on occasion.

  289. 289
    bob h says:

    How long before they have an op-ed in the NY Times pushing for more troops, more money, more of their favorite wars?

    Not to mention more lucrative study contracts for Brookings.

  290. 290
    RememberNovember says:

    Turdblossom was on the Today show this am, ret-conning his lullabys to Matt Lauer. Had to turn it off, softball season is over.

  291. 291
  292. 292
    dirk squarejaw says:

    the solution is quite simple, actually…

    we’re not there for al-qaeda, the taliban, women’s rights or any of that other pre-fab PR bullshit. we’re there for the sweet, sweet pipeline action. let unocal or whatever other voracious bunch of resource coveting assholes – the ones our soldiers have been dying for – double up on their blackwater investment (oops…i mean “xe”; i forgot about their “rebranding”) and let the private profits have private risks and consequences.

    it pleases the “liberal” folks by getting the u.s. armed forces on the way home to enjoy their untreated p.t.s.d. in the comfort of their foreclosed homes while also pleasing the “conservatives” by “keeping the guvmint outta our military”.

    solved. you’re welcome.

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  294. 294
    John says:

    @Dreggas:

    Obama keeps a promise of sending more Americans to die and we should sit back and enjoy it?

    What about Obama’s lies where he promised transparency in Government, no renditions, more access to classified documents, no lobbyists in his Administration, repeal of much of the Spy on Americans (Patriot) Act? There are over 375 campaign promises that he has broken, but the puppet has to be sure to keep the one that insures more American soldiers, contractors and women and children will be killed.

    What a joke. Obama has shown he is nothing more than an extension of the previous administration and he lacks the courage to do what is right.

    I despise Bush and what he did to this country but at least he had the calones to do what he thought was right. I wish there was one Democrat in DC that could say the same.

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    Elie says:

    Mayur

    Thank you for your lengthy, detailed and civil reply.

    While I understand and am truly sympathetic to your point of view, if you read back your response to me, there are several important caveats that emerge that I would think that a sitting President would have to honestly weight seriously
    “There is no scenario in which the Taliban regaining power affects the United States except ONE: Namely, that the Taliban..

    a) Assumes significant political influence in Pakistan (unlikely)b) Mobilizes resistance on the part of the influenced Pakistani populace against leaders (more likely)
    c) As part of that process, gains control of Pakistani nukes (unlikely)
    d) Uses said nukes EITHER against India (inviting US/EU retaliation) or the US itself (VERY unlikely)

    Unlikely means still possible. If you are a sitting President, emotions aside, how do you handle that risk? Do you completely discredit it? Answer my question seriously please.

    I am not a warmonger. I am not recommending that we stay in that region — only that the decision to pull out has consequences as well that have to be taken seriously and planned for — not just blown off like many who oppose the extension of the war suggest. I havent heard your side do anything but completely dismiss those risks and scream invectives at anyone who even slightly hints that there may be some risk. That is as uninformed to my mind as your accusations to me that what I just want to consider is to butcher our soldiers and the people of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    MBSS

    I am a citizen who has done reading and research on this issue and feel comfortable discussing my point of view with self appointed experts like yourself. Do not lecture me on the “rightness” of my point of view using your point of view as the template. What is your expertise to lecture or admonish me to prep myself before discussing an issue with you? Who are you? If I said the same thing to you, you would be appropriately offended.

    If you do not like the questions that I ask — and that was what I was mostly doing way upstring, don’t answer them, ignore my comments. I am however free to have opinions in a liberal democracy that I thought we had. Remember what the term liberal democracy means? The attitude and approach to this important discussion from many here who argue from a supposed position of moral superiority and judgment has been both revealing and very disappointing to me.

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    Elie says:

    Thanks Church Lady @286

    Appreciate and will take your good counsel.

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    Original Lee says:

    @Wile E. Quixote: I had never seen that essay before. It is full of win. Thank you for posting the link.

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    Barry says:

    Linkmeister

    “Apparently there is no mistake so great that one can be shunned by the cable or network booking people. Bill Kristol still shows up, as does Tom Friedman. Hell, if Alan Greenspan wanted to be on TV I’ll bet there’d be slavering hordes of shows offering him Andrea Mitchell’s hand in marriage if that’s what it took to get him on. And GWB? My goodness, “the sun, the stars and the moon!” ”

    Oh, there are ‘mistakes’ so great that one could be exiled forever from TV and the MSM – just advocate peace and government money for the non-rich, and see how fast you disappear from public view.

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