Failure of Tragic Imagination, Continued

Gabriel Schoenfeld in the WSJ:

The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way. That is today an iron rule in Afghanistan, and one for which our soldiers are themselves paying a price in increased casualties. Yet even with the greatest care, armed conflict cannot be sanitized. In almost every war America has ever fought, things on occasion go badly awry. In World War II, instances in which Allied forces massacred captured enemy soldiers were not unheard of. While such cases were a blemish on our military honor, broadcasting the facts to the world and thereby stiffening enemy morale would have been unthinkable in the midst of the great global conflagration.

Although our current struggle does not compare to World War II, there can be no doubt that the dissemination of military videos—far more potent in their impact than written dispatches—can have a profound affect upon our soldiers, inflaming opinion against them in the battlefield and placing their lives at risk. Such videos also undermine the larger counterinsurgency mission of winning hearts and minds. That is why the military keeps them classified. […]

Schoenfeld is a think-tanker neocon who’s an expert on the media, so it’s interesting to see what’s implicit in his argument. First, the “hearts and minds” he’s concerned about aren’t actually experiencing what’s going on in those videos. Hell, most of them don’t Afghanis Afghans don’t even have an Internet connection. As for “stiffening” the morale of the “enemy” — if their morale isn’t stiffened by an almost-decade of occupation, will one or two videos more make much difference?

The real risk of Wikileaks is that the videos posted there will convince Americans that our endless entanglement there is both brutal and useless. That’s why they’re so essential, and why they’re a target: Nobody else is doing it.






59 replies
  1. 1
    c u n d gulag says:

    And we can’t have Americans seeing families being indiscriminately being blown to pieces celebrating a wedding, now can we?

    You know how to stop the Wiki-Leaks? Stop the fucking Wiki-War!

  2. 2

    Has anyone ever won in Afghanistan?

    Have the Afghanis every won in Afghanistan?

    Three cheers for Wiki-Leaks. All truths should come out. From everywhere.

    The WSJ is adding credence to the leftish theory that wars are basically at the behest of and benefit to the upper crust. I wonder if know how it looks? Or maybe they just don’t care?

  3. 3
    Xenos says:

    As for “stiffening” the morale of the “enemy”—if their morale isn’t stiffened by an almost-decade of occupation, will one or two videos more make much difference?

    The “enemy” in this context is the domestic political opposition. You know, the ‘objectively pro-terrorist’ people who question authority inappropriately.

  4. 4
    c u n d gulag says:

    Actually, I broke my own rule, and called it a war. It’s an OCCUPATION!!!
    I guess it’s just that “Stop the Wiki-Occupation,” just doesn’t have the same ring…

  5. 5
    Viva Brisvegas says:

    OT, but for the politics tragics out there, we are having a leadership spill for the PM’s job right now. It seems quite likely we’ll be seeing a new (and female) Prime Minister of Australia later today.

  6. 6
    Zifnab says:

    The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way.

    I work 40 hours a week lifting bales of hay and I don’t get called a hay lifter. I spend 8 hours on the weekends tuning my car and they don’t call me a car fixer. But I fuck one pig…

  7. 7
    Bill H says:

    First, the “hearts and minds” he’s concerned about aren’t actually experiencing what’s going on in those videos.

    I think you have it exactly backwards. They are in the fucking video, getting shot up and dying. Perhaps “most of them don’t have an Internet connection,” although I’ll bet a lot more do than you suggest, but they aren’t fucking aborigines; they have cell phones and word of mouth.

    The ones that the military don’t wnat to see these film clips are the people here at home. Perhaps you are too young to recall the war in Vietnam when dead and dying were on the television every night and the death and destruction turned popular opinion against the war. The military vowed never to let that happen again, and no cameras have ever been allowed within a mile of a battlefield since.

    Everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan knows this kind of thing is happening, it’s the people here in America who don’t.

  8. 8
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    Wikileaks makes me uncomfortable as a purveyor of truth after the New Yorker article on Julian Assante describing how his team first thought there was a RPG and the amount of editing his team did on the footage. They are an important addition to the dialogue, but they have an agenda just like everyone else.

  9. 9
    David Hunt says:

    The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way.

    And at his trial, the prosecution never mentioned the hundreds of people that Jeffrey Dahmer did not murder and eat…

  10. 10
    mistermix says:

    @Bill H: Yeah, that’s not clear in the post, I updated it.

    My point is, as you point out, that he doesn’t give a shit about Afghani hearts and minds, it’s all proxy war for neocons.

  11. 11
    chopper says:

    lolz.

    The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way.

    “your honor, while this video does clearly show my client having sex with an underage girl, what it *doesn’t* show are all the times my client *didn’t* have sex with underage girls.”

  12. 12

    @Zifnab:

    I work 40 hours a week lifting bales of hay and I don’t get called a hay lifter. I spend 8 hours on the weekends tuning my car and they don’t call me a car fixer. But I fuck one pig…

    I laughed out loud. Disturbed everyone. Scared the horses. This is great!

    Thank you.

  13. 13
    chopper says:

    @David Hunt:

    that’s the defense he needed. well, what about the 360 days in the last year where he didn’t eat a person? did the prosecutor think of that?

  14. 14
    KCinDC says:

    Schoenfeld says that by not killing lots more civilians, “our soldiers are themselves paying a price in increased casualties.” Somehow the idea that more soldiers may be killed and injured by people who’ve been turned against them because Americans have killed their family and friends never enters his head, nor does the idea that American casualties will be greater if fewer of the enemy are willing to surrender rather than fight to the death because US troops are no longer viewed as the (relatively) good guys because of their actions and the US embrace of torture.

  15. 15
    mistermix says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland: I’d like them to stay out of the editing biz, but as long as they continue to post the raw clips along with their edits, they’re a valuable and unique resource.

  16. 16
    Zifnab says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland: They have an anti-war agenda. I’ll let you guess what agenda a periodical out of New York might have.

    And you can take wiki-leaks to task over this edit or that dub or their own damn mission statement. But when your information sources are so choked off, you can’t go crying to the one viable feed of news because – zomg, bias!

    The argument we keep hearing out of the US Military has been “Sit down, shut up, don’t worry about it. We’re in control.” And yet we’ve got a video detailing exactly how not-in-control the military behaves. If the military wants to provide more footage, more evidence, and more details of the war, perhaps they might forward a more convincing argument.

    But the fact that they continue to clam up suggests that they don’t have a lot of material to refute the Wiki-leaks claim.

  17. 17
    lawguy says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland:

    There are serious problems with the New Yorker thing, but the most telling is that it was not hard to see the entire video, so you can avoid the so called editing for content.

    You know I do remember during Vietnam how angry the war supporters were that the media reveiled the “secret” bombings in Cambodia. I remember thinking at the time that they certainly weren’t secret from the people who were being bombed. Same thing here. Second verse, same as the first.

  18. 18
    cervantes says:

    It is true — horrific events occur in all wars. Mass killings of civilians are a normal part of war, soldiers are most concerned about saving their own asses and they are perfectly willing to slaughter on suspicion in order to do so.

    People who assert these facts as a justification not to reveal them to the public are missing the point. War is evil. We should not have wars. It’s not that this particular war or the specific people who fight it are particularly and specifically evil. It is that war is evil.

    So show it.

  19. 19
    Uloborus says:

    Sigh. I’m not against the war, but I couldn’t disagree with this guy more. I never thought a war of any kind, anywhere, could be prosecuted without this kind of thing happening. I guess a lot of people did.

    People need to see things like this, and they need to hear stories like this. I believe war is sometimes necessary, but nobody should step into it without knowing that this is an ugly and horrible choice. If really knowing about how horrible war is makes people refuse to support one – that’s fine by me. Let them make their decision with their eyes open.

    The lesson of WWI to the Western world was that war is not glorious, and it doesn’t make you rich and powerful. It’s bloody and tragic, and anyone can lose. The neocons are trying to roll back our civilization by a hundred years. I’m not sure I can describe how much I detest that attitude.

  20. 20
    Jude says:

    This is so stupid. The video in question was from Iraq. Your average person in Afghanistan (like your average person everywhere that’s not Iraq) doesn’t give two bits or a bucket of warm piss about what happens to people in Iraq. They care about what happens to people that they know.

    This video doesn’t do shit to the morale of the US soldiers or of the Taliban/al Qaeda/clan warriors/mixture of any or all of those that are opposing the US/ISAF forces. I’d go so far as to say 100% of all of the aforementioned people don’t give a fuck about the video. They care about what’s going on around them–their homes being invaded, people they know being shot and bombed, and the more mundane tasks of daily life.

    That video has absolutely nothing to do with the reason people in Afghanistan are fighting US troops.

  21. 21
    slag says:

    @Jude:

    their homes being invaded, people they know being shot and bombed, and the more mundane tasks of daily life.

    What we have here is a classic philosophical conundrum. If a bomb falls in Afghanistan and no one is around to video record it, does it win hearts and minds?

  22. 22
    Thunderlizard says:

    Afghans, not Afghanis. Pet peeve.

  23. 23
    Robert Sneddon says:

    Basically Afghanistan feeds off invaders. It’s a bit like Ankh-Morpork in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books —

    “No enemies had ever taken Ankh-Morpork. Well technically they had, quite often; the city welcomed free-spending barbarian invaders, but somehow the puzzled raiders found, after a few days, that they didn’t own their horses any more, and within a couple of months they were just another minority group with its own graffiti and food shops. ”

    Every invader from time immemorial has come to Afghanistan with lots of cash and valuable items in their pockets and they’ve mostly left it there. The local population takes a break from killing each other and stealing their goats to start killing the invaders and taking their stuff or accepting bribes not to. Some groups supplement their incomes by allying themselves with the invaders while keeping their links to their cousins and family members on the “other side”. Occasionally they switch sides to break the monotony. When things are quiet they warlord over small famers growing cash crops such as heroin and cannabis. Same old same old.

  24. 24
    El Cid says:

    @David Hunt:

    The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way.

    You see all these videos of narco-traffickers in Mexico shooting police and military officers and cutting off heads and dropping dead bodies down old mine shafts, but where are all the videos of them not doing that?

  25. 25
    El Cid says:

    @Robert Sneddon: You seem to not understand that we have a NEW COUNTER-INSURGENCY STRATEGY and if we can just hang on for another few months or year with maybe another SUUUUUURGE of troops, we’ll get this Afghanistan thing sewn up.

  26. 26
    Cassidy says:

    In World War II, instances in which Allied forces massacred captured enemy soldiers were not unheard of.

    I loved Band of Brothers too. I don’t use it as a citation to support my position.

  27. 27
    Sly says:

    In World War II, instances in which Allied forces massacred captured enemy soldiers were not unheard of. While such cases were a blemish on our military honor, broadcasting the facts to the world and thereby stiffening enemy morale would have been unthinkable in the midst of the great global conflagration.

    Omar Bradley and George Patton disagreed in the context of the Biscari massacre, though Patton did intervene in the case of the Dachau massacre to prevent the courts-martial of both the Commanding Officer of the liberating force and the men who segregated the SS guards, lined them up against a wall, and shot them.

    This was not about bolstering enemy morale, as Germany and Italy were either defeated or well on their way to defeat when the massacres at Dachau and Biscari (and Canicatti, which was swept under the rug completely) occurred. It had more to do with the Army Brass covering its own backside, as most of the punitive measures were levied against non-commissioned officers.

    A better analogy might be Dresden, but very few war historians outside a small cadre of British Imperial hagiographers, like Andrew Roberts, still defend it. And I don’t imagine Scheonfeld is commenting on Soviet war crimes.

  28. 28
    Greg Worley says:

    “profound Effect”, NOT “Affect.” His vocabulary is equal to his thinking.

  29. 29
    NotMax says:

    Afghani refers to the the currency of Afghanistan.

    Afghan refers to the people of Afghanistan.

    After nearly a decade of this military conflict, the least that could be expected is to be able to properly label the populace of the country.

  30. 30
    joe from Lowell says:

    Exactly, Mr. Mix.

    The Iraqis already knew about the torture at Abu Ghraib. The whole Arab world knew. It was just we Americans who had our eyes open.

    It’s Iraqis and Afghans who are buying the bodies from these encounters. They’re not learning about atrocities from Wikileaks. Sheesh.

  31. 31
    oliver's Neck says:

    Again, a point that may seem pedantic but is important to those you reference:

    “afghani” names the currency of afghanistan.

    If you wish to refer to the people, you should say “Afghan(s)”.

    I learned this when an Afghan acquaintance started calling me “dollar” in response to my own misuse of the proper terms.

    EDIT: Ah, I see others have just made the same point.

  32. 32
    soonergrunt says:

    Don’t have a lot of time, so doing a drive-by:
    Thanks to all who point out the blindingly obvious, that the video in question has fuck-all to do with Afghanistan.
    Also, and maybe I’m old-fashioned, but since when did americans condone members of the military breaking the fucking law? I suppose when one gets too big for one’s britches and violates the law like GEN McChrystal that’s one thing, but when some dumbass PFC does it for what some here would consider the greater good, it’s different?
    Fuck that.
    And if this guy was so concerned about this shit, could he not have gone to his congressman, or to even cnn or msnbc instead of going to a site run by a guy who has a hardon for fucking the US and the US military in particular? Turns out the UN-edited version (that didn’t show on wikileaks) ads something called context. Color me totally fucking shocked.

  33. 33

    The comparison to WWII is a crock. Atrocities committed against civilian populations are wrong regardless of which war it is. But in Afghanistan as opposed to WWII, such atrocities undermine our mission as well. In an old-style war such as WWII, the objective was simply to destroy the Axis powers’ ability to wage war, and no Allied atrocity, no matter how great, was going to undermine that.

    We’re not doing anything remotely analogous in Afghanistan. Fuck-all if I can remember what the point of our continued involvement is anymore, but…

  34. 34
    Daddy-O says:

    Democratic Underground or Buzzflash (can’t remember which, or if it’s either, but I’m trying to give credit with an old memory here) said it best:

    It’s not a war. It’s a con job.

    A three trillion dollar con job, at last report.

  35. 35
    Daddy-O says:

    @low-tech cyclist: “Fuck-all if I can remember what the point of our continued involvement is anymore, but…”

    The point is this: Freedom isn’t free!

    And: Support the troops!

    Those are the only two points these ‘wars’ have, or ever had.

  36. 36
    Boots Day says:

    Garry Wills’ new book, “Bomb Power,” which I highly recommend, makes this point over and over again: When the government claims the need to keep secrets for national security purposes, it is almost always to hide the truth not from the enemy but from U.S. citizens. The so-called secret bombing of Cambodia, for example, wasn’t any secret to the people of Cambodia.

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    @joe from Lowell: In the 1980s Reagn wars, “secret” weapons shipments by the U.S. in Central America or Southern Africa were only “secret” in the sense of not formally revealed to American citizens or our media.

    The locals could tell any international reporter — who more frequently than ours acted like real journalists, rather than foreign policy establishment propaganda whores — where the Americans’ CIA weapons shipment base was, and tell you when they landed, what bars they hung out at, and whose local drugs were shipped back on those planes.

  38. 38
    Don says:

    The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way.

    As many others have indicated, this is a massively stupid statement. What about all the times I made that sale without pocketing some cash from the register? What about all the times I didn’t punch the bitch in the face (even though she deserved it)?

    What about the idea that integrity and character require you to act a certain way all the time, not just most of the time?

  39. 39
    Corner Stone says:

    @Uloborus:

    I’m not against the war

    I’m sorry. What?

  40. 40
    Corner Stone says:

    Personally, I don’t believe a damned thing posted by Wikileaks until I see the Lego reenactment of the same incident. Like the USA v England WC match.
    Only then does it become real.

  41. 41
    mistermix says:

    I corrected the Afghani/Afghans atrocity committed in the post.

    Also, yes, this does have something to do with Afghanistan –that’s the only place where we’re actively trying to win hearts and minds, isn’t it?

  42. 42
    El Cid says:

    @Boots Day:

    The so-called secret bombing of Cambodia, for example, wasn’t any secret to the people of Cambodia.

    If the librul media hadn’t told them that their entire rural village and agriculture infrastructure was being carpet bombed into a moonscape, they might have just thought it was thunder.

  43. 43
    someguy says:

    @Cheryl from Maryland:

    Wikileaks makes me uncomfortable [. . . ]They are an important addition to the dialogue, but they have an agenda just like everyone else.

    As long as the agenda is kicking American efforts to achieve hegemony over everybody else right in the ass, then I’m not nervous about them at all. Editing schmediting.

    And hoocoodanode that ANSWER and Code Pink were right in 2001… Stupid, prescient hippies…

  44. 44
    dj spellchecka says:

    this IS from the wsj op-ed page, after all….where the stupidity, hackery and dishonesty are features, not bugs…

    if schoenfeld actually cared about afghan hearts and minds, he’d be much more concerned about the us consistantly blowing up civilians rather than the fact that our blowing up civilians occasionally gets caught on camera

  45. 45
    El Cid says:

    @dj spellchecka: What we learned from Abu Ghraib is that pictures of ass pyramids are a lot bigger crime than ass pyramids, which are merely a frat house joke.

  46. 46
    Anonymous At Work says:

    Not to be unduly kind, but his point was also that isolated incidents may just be that and there needs to be an overall context. Start with that overall context and the rest follows.

  47. 47
    Brachiator says:

    @cervantes:

    We should not have wars. It’s not that this particular war or the specific people who fight it are particularly and specifically evil. It is that war is evil.

    The alternative might be evil as well.

    @Robert Sneddon:

    Occasionally they switch sides to break the monotony. When things are quiet they warlord over small famers growing cash crops such as heroin and cannabis. Same old same old.

    It is not necessarily the case that the Afghans will revert to being an assemblage of mostly harmless pastoralists if the US withdraws.

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    It is not necessarily the case that the Afghans will revert to being an assemblage of mostly harmless pastoralists if the US withdraws.

    They gonna invade Poland?

  49. 49
    Monty says:

    The Wikileaks videos also do not reveal the hundreds upon hundreds of cases in which American forces refrain from attacking targets precisely because civilians are in harm’s way.

    Either you understand why that is a detestable observation or you don’t.

  50. 50
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:
    RE: It is not necessarily the case that the Afghans will revert to being an assemblage of mostly harmless pastoralists if the US withdraws.

    They gonna invade Poland?

    So, let’s see, Robert Sneddon claimed “When things are quiet they warlord over small famers growing cash crops such as heroin and cannabis. Same old same old.” But what was the situation like in the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan before we got involved in this crap?

    During the Taliban’s seven-year rule, much of the population experienced restrictions on their freedom and violations of their human rights. Women were banned from jobs, girls forbidden to attend schools or universities. Communists were systematically eradicated and thieves were punished by amputating one of their hands or feet. Opium production was nearly wiped out by the Taliban by 2001 .

    Not exactly a loosey goosey confederation of pastoralists growing poppies. This Islamic version of the Khmer Rouge were happily returning Afghanistan to their version of Year Zero, and providing operating areas for bin Laden and Al Qaeda.

    The foreign policy dilemma remains even if we withdraw all troops. What, if anything, do we do to prevent or discourage Afghanistan from reverting to its worst case scenario?

  51. 51
    soonergrunt says:

    @Brachiator:

    Opium production was nearly wiped out by the Taliban by 2001

    The only reason the Talibs blocked opium production when they were in charge was because it did what it always does there–fund enemies of the government. The Talibs have no problem with opium production now.

  52. 52
    Corner Stone says:

    The foreign policy dilemma remains even if we withdraw all troops. What, if anything, do we do to prevent or discourage Afghanistan from reverting to its worst case scenario?

    Let’s suppose for a second that I agree with your premise.
    What remedy could possibly exist, that is both feasible and within our capabilities, that we could implement?

  53. 53
    Brachiator says:

    @soonergrunt:

    The only reason the Talibs blocked opium production when they were in charge was because it did what it always does there—fund enemies of the government. The Talibs have no problem with opium production now.

    The Talibs are not in power. The opium trade, which is a big deal to some Westerners, is a trivial issue compared to the possible problems if the Talib regain control of the country.

  54. 54

    @Brachiator: Karzai’s not much more than the mayor of Kabul, which is why he’s been cutting deals with the Taliban in advance of the planned US pullout.

  55. 55
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Let’s suppose for a second that I agree with your premise.

    Why wouldn’t you? Seriously.

    One of the things I find amazing (and note that I am not accusing you of this) are those who ignore recent Afghan history and the rise of the Taliban, or who falsely insist that Afghanistan has been the site of almost continuous conflict since the time of Alexander the Great. Along with this are the condescending liberal racists who see the Afghan people as little more than hapless chumps who will fall back into their wacky warlord ways as soon as the US leaves.

    History is more complicated. And as an aside, no one can say how that country might have developed from the late 19th and early 20th century had it not been caught in the middle of British and Russian imperial aspirations as those two countries played at what bonehead historians almost fondly call “The Great Game?”

    But we do know that the Taliban are fighting for supremacy in the region. And we also know that in the past both the Saudis and the Pakistan government (even more directly than Iran, supposedly the Big Bad) have supported the Taliban to further their own national interests. And we also know that China, India, and Russia are dealing with resurgent Islamic groups within their own countries or at their borders, and that a renewed Taliban could add to the instability of the region without regard to US presence or operations.

    What remedy could possibly exist, that is both feasible and within our capabilities, that we could implement?

    Don’t know. Which is why, ultimately, I’m glad that Obama is in the White House.

    The thing is I don’t have any great sense of certainty about any particular course of action. I am certainly not a bonehead hawk who thinks that there is some easy military victory solution around the corner. On the other hand, I don’t see anything that suggests that some bland status quo would result from an American withdrawal from the region, especially when the top three demands of radical Islamic groups are complete American withdrawal from all Muslim lands, total withdrawal of support for Israel, and total withdrawal of support from any Muslim country which is not sufficiently pious as determined by Islamic fundamentalists.

    @Phoenix Woman:

    Karzai’s not much more than the mayor of Kabul, which is why he’s been cutting deals with the Taliban in advance of the planned US pullout.

    There are also American diplomats who think that the Taliban should be included in any negotiations, looking for a way to get them to be more moderate. I think that this is some simple-minded wishful thinking. At best.

  56. 56
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    Why wouldn’t you? Seriously.

    Because ISTM that it relies on a few things as prima:
    1. We have the power to effect an outcome that is sustainable
    2. That outcome should somehow benefit our interests supremo the interests of those in the country/region
    3. The lives of our soldiers and people in country are worth losing to achieve the outcome

    On the other hand, I don’t see anything that suggests that some bland status quo would result from an American withdrawal from the region

    And I haven’t seen anyone suggest that a bland status quo would be reached. And?
    ISTM there’s a bright line here. We simply do not have the capabilities to achieve any number of very modest goals in Afghanistan. We can either continue to try, and get lots of our people killed as well as plenty of theirs. Or we can try something different.

    That’s for short hand as I’m a little rushed.

  57. 57
    Brachiator says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Because ISTM that it relies on a few things as prima

    No, it doesn’t. And I think you may be conflating my premise with an expected outcome.

    And I haven’t seen anyone suggest that a bland status quo would be reached. And?

    Actually, worse than this, some pundits and even some commenters here and in other blogs don’t consider outcomes at all. Bob Herbert, writing in the NYT the other day, and Rachel Maddow, discussing the Runaway General with the Rolling Stone reporter who broke the story, all wished for nothing more than a US withdrawal from Afghanistan. Robert Sneddon, posting here, as far as I could tell, assumes that “wacky warlords” growing poppies and herding goats, but otherwise not doin’ nuthin’ to nobody, would be the same old same old that would follow soon after an American withdrawal.

    Or we can try something different.

    Such as?

  58. 58
    Robert Sneddon says:

    “Whacky warlords”? Where did you get that from? Deary deary me (as Terry would say…)

    The Afghanistan population has been welcoming free-spending invaders since the time of Alexander. They are very good at killing people and not at all whacky. They are repressive, corrupt, bloody-minded, vindictive, sexist assholes but it’s their ground and they will fight to the death any attempt by outsiders to rule them. The usual smart thing to do to Afghanistan is to invade, deliver a punishment beating and then get the hell out. Attempting to change their way of life at the point of a bayonet is not going to work unless you are willing to kill everyone over the age of 9 and foster out the orphans in other more civilised countries such as Somalia or North Korea.

    There are other things that could be done with Afghanistan but it means admitting that occupying the place isn’t the solution and at the moment the occupation is the only solution being tried.

  59. 59
    Corner Stone says:

    @Brachiator:

    No, it doesn’t. And I think you may be conflating my premise with an expected outcome.

    I think you’re trying something on here, and it’s not working.
    Since I am conflating your premise, why don’t you spell out what it actually is?

    Such as?

    Such as getting the fuck out. I thought that part was at least clear.

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