From Russia with Schadenfreude

I’m old enough to remember the ghastly Ronald Reagan presidency, though I was too young to give a shit about politics in those days. One thing I do remember was how Reagan praised the heroic “freedom fighters” of Afghanistan with gooey lumps of quavering jingoism and piety that were likely fresh from the pen of a then-youthful Peggy Noonan.

This was when the US helped bleed out the USSR by supplying arms and support to religious fanatics in Afghanistan, including Osama bin Laden, who eventually drove the Soviets out after massive casualties. Then came the blow-back.

And now, as the US marks more than a decade and a half of post-9/11 futility in Afghanistan, it appears the boot is on the other foot. From The Post:

A senior U.S. military official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence on the issue, said the Russians have increased their supply of equipment and small arms to the Taliban over the past 18 months. The official said the Russians have been sending weapons, including medium and heavy machine guns, to the Taliban under the guise that the materiel would be used to fight the Islamic State in eastern Afghanistan. Instead, the official said, the weapons were showing up in some of Afghanistan’s southern provinces, including Helmand and Kandahar — both areas with little Islamic State presence.

Interesting that the Russians felt emboldened to increase their support to the Taliban over the past 18 months.

The US currently maintains nothing like the force the Soviets once had in Afghanistan; there are fewer than 10K troops there now. The Post article notes that US officials describe the current situation as a “stalemate,” but it’s mostly Afghans in the meat grinder instead of Americans.

If we’re a hollowed out, debt-ridden, exhausted empire, that’s mostly thanks to George W. Bush’s dumbfuckery, not Putin or Trump’s. But the article also notes DefSec Mattis is still deciding whether to ask Trump for more troops.

Maybe the Russian arms are a not-so-subtle signal to Trump to get the US out of Afghanistan so Russia can bring that country more fully under its influence, not as a communist state this time but as a territory to be exploited by the transglobal gangster state Putin rules.

Such a move would have to be a personal triumph for Putin in his revanche project, and he can make his wishes known to his lackey Trump in person next month when they meet, possibly in Vienna.

Personally, I wish the US had declared victory and left Afghanistan the day after the SEALs offed bin Laden, if not sooner. I’d rather they reallocated military spending to resettle refugees and provide assistance to Afghanistan as part of a global economic development effort instead of pouring it down the warlord rat hole. But no one asked me.

Anyhoo, it’ll be interesting to see which strings Putin pulls in Central Asia. He must be the most self-satisfied autocrat on earth right about now.

183 replies
  1. 1
    cain says:

    I was reading on twitter that a number of Republican senators are going to Russia at the end of the month. Nothing like spending the 4th in Russia, right?

  2. 2
    Oklahomo says:

    Noonan was never youthful; she was a homunculus decanted from a Victory Gin bottle.

  3. 3
    efgoldman says:

    For the last sixty or so years, the US (under various presidents) has shown an unfortunate talent for getting our kids killed in unnecessary, unwinnable wars of choice. We’re still at it. What’s our interest? [spoiler: none]

  4. 4
    OzarkHillbilly says:

    They never asked me either Betty, but I told them anyway.

  5. 5
    Dave says:

    There is nothing to win in Afghanistan. It would require a massive mobilization of resources that and a victory would essentially end up being default ethnic cleansing. We should have as you said declared victory and done home long ago maintaining a Special Operations presence. OTOH I would never have had the opportunity to develop serious PTSD, heat injuries, see the Milky Way at 8,000ft above sea level with no light pollution (which was beautiful), and see such a cluster fuck of an operation that it made the occupation of Iraq look like a well oiled machine. So there is that. We aren’t helping I wish we were, I like the Afghans, and even if I didn’t they deserve better.

  6. 6
    Yarrow says:

    We apparently do not read or understand history. Afghanistan is the graveyard of empires. We were not special.

  7. 7
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    this, also, too, was as unpredictable as the sun rising in the east

    Julia Davis @ JuliaDavisNews
    Russia will take China’s side against U.S. in world trade war

  8. 8

    @efgoldman: Mummy and France disentangled from their respective empires and left junior in charge to play world police.

  9. 9
    efgoldman says:

    @Yarrow:

    We apparently do not read or understand history.

    History, like math and science, are liberal constructs

  10. 10
    oatler. says:

    @Oklahomo: thank you for that!

  11. 11
    efgoldman says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Mummy and France disentangled from the respective empires

    After lots of bloodshed. France was particularly stubborn in South Asia and North Africa

  12. 12
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Oklahomo: beat me to it, except you said it better. I was going to say that she was born 42 years old

  13. 13
    Betty Cracker says:

    @Dave: You both deserved better.

  14. 14
    patroclus says:

    Nancy Pelosi is quoting Reagan’s final speech as President on the House Floor right now – praising immigrants and making the case that immigration is what makes America great.

  15. 15

    @Dave: Have you read Kabuliwala? Its Tagore’s short story about an Afghan immigrant to Calcutta who makes his living selling fruits. The poor Afghans have been suffering for a 150 years if not more. The fucking Brits were there in the nineteenth century.

  16. 16
    Roger Moore says:

    @Dave:

    There is nothing to win in Afghanistan.

    The biggest problem with Afghanistan is that the prize for winning is Afghanistan. This is the real reason great powers have always wound up retreating after getting their noses bloodied. It’s not that Afghanistan is far worse to conquer than any other place on earth, it’s that there’s nothing there valuable enough to justify the cost.

  17. 17
    efgoldman says:

    @patroclus:

    Nancy Pelosi is quoting Reagan’s final speech as President on the House Floor right now

    He was right, so is she. RWNJs don’t do irony – requires some imagination.

  18. 18
    Dave says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I haven’t I’ll look it up.

  19. 19

    @efgoldman: You mean south east Asia, right. South Asia usually refers to the Indian subcontinent.

  20. 20

    @Yarrow:

    We were not special.

    We will never know if Afghanistan or Iraq were possible, because Bush the Dumbass made no attempt whatsoever to reconstruct after the military victory. Those wars were a ‘how not to’ demonstration. We had no business ever being in Iraq anyway, and Afghanistan was debatable.

  21. 21
    LAO says:

    @patroclus: I know that there are a fair number of democrats that aren’t Pelosi fans, but her twitter feed has been pure win today:

    House Republicans are intent on labeling their anti-family immigration legislation as a “compromise.” It must be a compromise with the Devil, because it is *not* a compromise with Democrats.— Nancy Pelosi (@NancyPelosi) June 21, 2018

  22. 22
    efgoldman says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    You mean south east Asia, right. South Asia usually refers to the Indian subcontinent

    Whatever. Not important, the point stands

  23. 23
    MobileForkbeard says:

    @patroclus: I’m not sure why she’s bothering. It won’t affect Republicans- they refuse acknowledge their OWN past words from a year or two ago, and they’ve shown already they don’t care what Reagan was actually like.

    It also won’t affect media coverage, who will continue to insist that Republicans are acting in the legacy of Reagan. And who won’t mention their hypocrisy.

    Not that Republican voters would care if they did

  24. 24

    Now I have Morning Joe on. They’re talking about how terrible it is that babies and toddlers and young girls are being separated from their parents. That is terrible. But as the mother of a son, I know a small boy is vulnerable too. Separating them is also terrible. Dismissing their suffering because they’re male is a sign of what bad job we do on conceptualizing masculinity.

  25. 25
    Mike in DC says:

    I’ve said before, taking down Putin is a multinational project that will take 20-30 years…and we need to start as soon as 45 leaves office.

  26. 26

    @efgoldman: South Asia never had an appreciable French presence. They were defeated by the British during the Napoleonic wars.

    That said, You are right that the French were even more horrible than the British as a colonial power.

  27. 27
    laura says:

    Won’t someone think of the Contractors? Isn’t that who gins up these self-licking ice cream cones of death and destruction?

  28. 28
    patroclus says:

    Now it’s Steny Hoyer, who’s letting the Republicans have it on the proposed rules for Goodlatte-McCaul big-time. The Rules vote will be held shortly – will the 40+ Republicans who supposedly want to help the Dreamers cave and support the rule? We’ll know soon.

  29. 29
    MobileForkbeard says:

    @LAO: Okay, that’s pretty decent. Might be nice if the media said the same thing (minus the Satan reference).

  30. 30
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    We had no business ever being in Iraq anyway, and Afghanistan was debatable.

    No it isn’t. What was the objective? Our own fucking commanders don’t know.

  31. 31
    trollhattan says:

    When Putin and Trump meet there’s only one billionaire in the room. Just sayin’.

  32. 32
    The Dangerman says:

    …the Russians have increased their supply of equipment and small arms to the Taliban over the past 18 months

    Comrade Wilsonovich’s War?

    Also, Trump’s “zero tolerance” policy ends the second a Cuban Family comes over on a boat and asks for Asylum. Unless he wants to lose Florida for sure next time.

  33. 33
    Spanky says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    The fucking Brits were there in the nineteenth century.

    Twenty two centuries after Alexander. There’s nothing new under the Afghan sun.

  34. 34
    efgoldman says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Unless he wants to lose Florida for sure next time

    If he “thinks”, it’s not politically.
    Little boy narcissist brain doesn’t work that way

  35. 35
    trollhattan says:

    John Oliver went after China last episode. China took note.

    Pooh was not available for comment.

  36. 36
    Dave says:

    @efgoldman: If I’m being very kind it was practically unavoidable after 9/11 but it should have been laser focused smash Al-Queda kill Bin Laden and GTFO. That would have been the least stupid and least destructive reasonable possibility. Of course in addition to all the other bullshit the Bushies did I will never forgive them for throwing away an opportunity to really usher in a better world. Someone with vision and decency could have taken the opportunity of that tragedy and really moved the world into a better more peaceful more just 21st century. Instead we had small scared men who couldn’t see beyond their own demons.

  37. 37
    catclub says:

    OT The Friedman taxi driver returns as a Democrat!

    And my Uber driver, a former Missouri Republican legislative assistant.

    He told me, as he dropped me off on a ride in from Long Island (where he is represented by this appalling guy) that he couldn’t help overhearing my phone conversation (wherein I extracted big bucks from a San Diego couple) and asked, with some urgency, that I have someone contact him about volunteering.

    I read Andrew Tobias – the eternal optimist.

  38. 38
    Mnemosyne says:

    There’s a reason the British called Afghanistan “the grave of empires.” And I’ve heard it called “Russia’s Vietnam” — one of the factors that brought down the Soviet Union was anger over the never-ending war in Afghanistan.

    So if Putin actually thinks he can succeed where every other empire has failed, well, have at it, Vladi.

  39. 39
    Fleeting Expletive says:

    Now, chicken pox and scabies at the camps, per NBC. I hope S. Miller’s feet are getting warm as the kindling catches the spark.

  40. 40

    @efgoldman:

    What was the objective?

    Removing a government that was waging covert war on the United States by harboring a major anti-US terrorist organization, and replacing it with one that wouldn’t. Bush didn’t bother with the second part, and when you leave that undone for seven years, you have such a clusterfuck there’s no way of knowing if it was possible.

  41. 41
    efgoldman says:

    @Dave:

    Someone with vision and decency could have taken the opportunity of that tragedy and really moved the world into a better more peaceful more just 21st century.

    In other words, no RWNJ that actually exists

  42. 42
    zhena gogolia says:

    @cain:

    I did it in 1975. Wild party at the U.S. Embassy in Moscow. Pretty cool.

  43. 43
    catclub says:

    @The Dangerman:

    Comrade Wilsonovich’s War?

    small arms

    I think it was getting tow missiles ( or shoulder fired anti-aircraft) to the mujahideen that made a difference in the 80’s. are they considered small arms?

  44. 44

    @Spanky: It wasn’t Afghanistan then. Alexander returned to Macedonia after his adventure.

  45. 45
    trollhattan says:

    @Fleeting Expletive:
    Wouldn’t learning of those conditions tend to give Miller a stiffie?

  46. 46
    Wapiti says:

    @efgoldman:

    We’re still at it. What’s our interest? [spoiler: none]

    I’m not sure it is the case now, but the major oil producers/reserves used to be: Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and Iran. Supporting Saddam against Iran and implementing various sanctions against Iran limited oil exports from Iran. Then we fought Saddam over Kuwait, and implemented sanctions, then had a second war which devastated Iraq’s oil exports.

    I expect that these conflicts have kept the price of oil higher than it might be if the region were at peace. The benefits flow to Saudi Arabia and their oil business partners. Benefits flow to secondary oil producers as well, like Russia, the Emirates, and maybe Texas.

    But yeah, if your “our” refers to the common American citizen, we just get higher prices at the pump.

  47. 47
    efgoldman says:

    @Frankensteinbeck:

    replacing it with one that wouldn’t

    OK, since we failed at that (and Obama got Bin Laden). Now what’s our objective? Why are 10k troops over there now?

  48. 48
    Kay says:

    @Dorothy Winsor:

    That is terrible. But as the mother of a son, I know a small boy is vulnerable too. Separating them is also terrible. Dismissing their suffering because they’re male is a sign of what bad job we do on conceptualizing masculinity.

    True. I bring it up constantly with juveniles because it bothers me. Boy children are just as vulnerable as girl children. In some ways they’re more vulnerable because there’s more boy v boy violence in institutional settings, which is why we should all bend over backwards to keep them all out of giant holding pens.

  49. 49
    Doug R says:

    @efgoldman: You do remember Al Quaeda freely operated training camps there, don’t you? Or are camps just fine?

  50. 50
    efgoldman says:

    @Wapiti:

    The benefits flow to Saudi Arabia and their oil business partners.

    Worth ~4400 American lives, and all the injuries and PTSD, and the effect on our military?
    Opinions differ

  51. 51

    @Mnemosyne: The British Empire was a graveyard for its subjects. They are still taking celebratory laps about their great Empire and patting themselves on the back for it and its lapped up by American audiences. Thankfully these days that hagiography is only on TV and in the movies.

    ETA: One third of the population of British India died
    since the crown took over in 1857. If the Nazis had stuck to killing only non-Europeans we would be watching many soft-focus docu dramas about them too and hailing them as saviors of western civilization.

  52. 52
    Wapiti says:

    @catclub: Stinger anti-aircraft missiles, iirc. TOW antitank missiles are actually pretty big; we used to have a more portable one (the Dragon), but it wasn’t a great success.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    rikyrah says:

    @LAO:
    Thank you, Nancy Smash

  55. 55
    Wapiti says:

    @efgoldman: I’m certainly not a major oil producer, so I don’t disagree with you. But there are (evil) people who are fine with 4000 eggs being broken if it means their donors are making money.

  56. 56
    Spanky says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    So if Putin actually thinks he can succeed where every other empire has failed, well, have at it, Vladi.

    Vlad has no intention of reliving that mistake. His goal is the same as the US’s back in the 70s – supply Afghans with the tools for resistance. Low cost and little chance for (Russian) casualties.

  57. 57
    Yarrow says:

    @Spanky: Graveyard of empires, like I said. I remember before W. went into Afghanistan but was talking about it, the Wall St. Journal published an amazing article on the history of empire states going into Afghanistan and how it did not go well for them. This was before the WSJ sold out to Murdoch and they still did some excellent journalism, despite their terrible opinion pages. I wish I had that article now because it was lengthy and in-depth and left the reader with little doubt that things would be different for us.

  58. 58
    Kay says:

    @Fleeting Expletive:

    Stephen actually enjoys seeing those pictures at the border. He’s a twisted guy, the way he was raised and picked on. There’s always been a way he’s gone about this. He’s Waffen-SS.

    Extra points for the “picked on”. See? It’s your fault. He got rewarded yesterday with a ride on the big United States airplane because they’re taking away the photos of brown kids in cages he enjoys.

  59. 59
    catclub says:

    @Wapiti: stingers! thanks.

  60. 60
    Gravenstone says:

    @efgoldman: Sunk Cost Fallacy. Plus the realization that the Taliban would be back in charge within at most a handful of years, thus resetting the cycle. No winners in this game.

  61. 61
    Wapiti says:

    @Spanky: Sounds like Putin learned more about Afghanistan than our leaders did. And if some of those weapons flow to the -Stans on Russian borders, he has an external enemy to distract Russians from his corruption.

  62. 62
    Haroldo says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Unfortunately, we still have fops such as Niall Ferguson pushing for that wretched empire to burst forth anew (tho’ this time wearing US colo(u)rs).

  63. 63
    Mai naem mobile says:

    I think George Soros should buy some island somewhere and call it AhbawdongOdongo and proclaim it full of oil and sandy beaches and bait Trumpov into war with it. Keep Trumpov and xo. occupied till 2020.

  64. 64
    Chris says:

    @Dave:

    My amateur and uninformed take on Afghanistan a decade ago was that we should either go all-in on Marshall Plan/post-1945-denazification level reconstruction/nation-building, if that were possible, or just get the fuck out.

  65. 65
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    When you’re lying in your blood on the Afghan plains
    And the women come out to cut up what remains,
    Then crawl to your rifle & blow out your brains
    And go to your God as a soldier.

    Bloodyard Crippling, or some similarly named versifier. Quoted from memory – any puissant, um, pedant who cares to redact is free to do so … & will then be cordially invited to go fuck themselves.

  66. 66
    D58826 says:

    sort of ot but with regard to these kids along the border. I had eye surgery when I was 2, 7 and 9 at a time when pediatrics was run like Paris Island. They didn’t mean to be cruel it was just ‘good medicine’ in the late 40’s and early 50’s. According to my Mom when I came home at 2 years old I was stiff as a board from the trauma of separation. I can remember crying my eyes out when I was 7 or maybe 9 as my Mom waved good by from the sidewalk as I was in the hospital room crib. I can remember look thru the curtains from the hospital ward waiting for my Dad to come for a visit. I can’t even begin to imagine what these kids are going thru.

  67. 67

    @Uncle Cosmo: I used to enjoy his turn of phrase till I realized he was a great sympathizer and raised money for the butcher of Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919, who opened fire against peaceful demonstrators killing a few thousand people. The British government has never officially apologized for it, or any other atrocities they committed nor have they returned the stolen goods like Nazis did after WWII.

  68. 68
    Kay says:

    Saint Basil the Great clearly earned his nickname. The Turkish holy man was a scholar who aided victims of drought and who fought prostitution. Sadly, Basil’s views on gun ownership are unknown—he died in 379. Yet a charity named after the saint may turn out to be one key connection between the National Rifle Association and Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election.
    The F.B.I. and special counsel Robert Mueller are investigating meetings between N.R.A. officials and powerful Russian operatives, trying to determine if those contacts had anything to do with the gun group spending $30 million to help elect Donald Trump—triple what it invested on behalf of Mitt Romney in 2012. The use of foreign money in American political campaigns is illegal. One encounter of particular interest to investigators is between Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian banker at an N.R.A. dinner.

    I think some of the resistance of US political media and US political institutions to grapple with the fact that US conservatives are allied with Putin ON POLICY is because we have such a US-centric view. It’s all about us and Ronald Reagan fought the commies! Republicans would never join with Putin! It’s like nothing at all happened in Russia since the last time we checked in there, so the assumption is they remained frozen, stayed exactly the same.

    US conservatives back Putin because they share POLICY goals. They have formed an alliance. It doesn’t matter if TRUMP gets it- Trump is just the instrument. They share beliefs. Not communism, because that’s not Putin’s belief system.

    It’s like we;re stuck in the 1980’s and struggling to see what has already happened.

  69. 69
    rikyrah says:

    This story about how Southwest Key, which runs the converted Walmart facility in Brownsville, hired a case manager *who had previously been fired by Border Patrol following an arrest for possession of child pornography* to work with children https://t.co/c49BWRq3ha

    — dan solomon (@dansolomon) June 20, 2018

  70. 70

    @Haroldo: Also, Andrew Sullivan and other fops who write for NRO and other assorted conservative “intellectual” magazines. Fuck them.

  71. 71
    Amir Khalid says:

    In case this hasn’t been mentioned here, Koko the gorilla has passed away. May she rest in peace.

  72. 72
    patroclus says:

    Zero Republican votes on rejecting the previous question, which means that the Republicans who signed the discharge petition really didn’t mean it and only wanted to pretend that they cared about the Dreamers. Now, the Rules vote will occur – the same outcome is expected. Both awful bills are expected to fail though later today.

  73. 73
    MomSense says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    One of the clever aspects of the BBC reboot of Sherlock Holmes was that it made sense again for Watson to be a veteran of the war in Afghanistan. Then there’s Sherlock’s opium trouble which is again aided by this war in Afghanistan. When this blasted war happened I told my Bush loving neighbors that the best we can expect out of the war is cheap heroin.

    They were puzzled. They’re not my neighbors anymore so I have no idea if they’ve had an Aha moment since then. Probably not.

  74. 74
    Chris says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    Indeed. As I recall, one of Hannah Arendt’s themes when writing about totalitarianism was that the Germans and Russians were basically doing in Europe what most of the other Europeans had spent the nineteenth century doing overseas.

  75. 75
    Platonailedit says:

    @patroclus: Yet another rethug clusterfuck. Good.

  76. 76
    Peale says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I believe he kind of “went native” and took up with some Bactriani Princess. Started eating kabuli pulao. He never really left the place.

  77. 77
    Timurid says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    He died in Babylon on his way home.

  78. 78
    Uncle Cosmo says:

    @efgoldman: In fact if you toodle over to the You-Kay you will discover that eating establishments identified as “Asian” serve, not sushi or pad thai, but curry. Standard usage even before the Brits adopted chicken tikka masala as their favorite dish…

  79. 79
    Haroldo says:

    @schrodingers_cat: With an ebola slathered rake.

  80. 80
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Kay: The primary policy they share with Putin is racism.

  81. 81
    Betty Cracker says:

    @schrodingers_cat: I’m trying to think of a country that grapples honestly with its history and coming up mostly blank, except perhaps Germany. And that might be attributable to the relative recency of its atrocities and the annihilation it received in return. As that memory fades, nationalism is already creeping back.

    Iceland, maybe? I don’t know much about what they tell themselves about their history, but it is pretty remarkable that a country founded by a feral band of Vikings is among the most socially enlightened, equality-loving places on the planet!

  82. 82

    @Timurid: That’s what I remember too. His troops were homesick and he died on the return journey home.

  83. 83
    D58826 says:

    ot – FLOTUS has traveled to Texas

  84. 84

    GQ online: “Don has had his hands in just about every Trump project over the years.”

    Quote-unquote from Donnie J’s friend and longtime business associate, Mr. Felix Sater.

    That’s how it’s done in the world the Trumps and “associates” like Sater inhabit. A world wherein the deer and the antelope get shot for kicks, and backs are knifed with precision by experts of the double-cross.

    The same article boldly claims that Donnie J. is widely considered “the dumb one” among Trump’s children. Hard to believe. I mean, didn’t Eric blurt to a deep state golf writer that Russian financing gave his family business a completive edge? And yet, Donnie is the dumb one?

    Here’s a fun game to play around the kitchen table: when the kid on the lion decides to legally change his last name, what name will he choose? I think ‘Don T. Blamey’ has a nice ring to it, for example.

  85. 85
    Kay says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    I think they also share plutocratic looting goals, and all the authoritarian actions necessary to achieve those goals. Voting. They have to restrict voting.

    I read a piece on a Russian conservative law gutting criminal sanctions for domestic violence the other day. The justification for the law was a “return to traditional family values”. The ladies were getting uppity without regular beatings.

  86. 86

    @Betty Cracker: After their defeat in the Great War the Germans restarted the hostilities again in about twenty years. So they learned the lesson because they had no choice. But still as you said what Germany did is rare.

  87. 87
    Yarrow says:

    You have GOT to be kidding me. These people are insane.

    Ross on Mnuchin: “I think that when the history of the Trump administration is finally written, the world will recognize that Steven Mnuchin ranks up there with Alexander Hamilton, with Mellon and with the other icons of American Treasury historically." h/t @tradereporter— Zachary Warmbrodt (@Zachary) June 21, 2018

  88. 88
    Platonailedit says:

    They sent Melania to southern borders as a PR move. While the elected senators and congressmen are barred. Ugh.

  89. 89

    @Chris: Also the notions of racial purity was the bedrock on which the colonial project rested.

  90. 90
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Dorothy Winsor:

    But as the mother of a son, I know a small boy is vulnerable too.

    Three of my four now grown kiddos are boys. They were every bit as sweet, vulnerable, loving and precious as my daughter–took after their Dad.

    When I worked in domestic violence 27 years ago, my shelter sent us to a national conference that addressed all kinds of interpersonal violence from rape to child abuse to LGBTQ abuse. Some were very helpful, straight forward clinical skill building, practical approaches and interventions. Others were run by issue advocates to raise awareness about marginalized populations or situations. I wandered into one of those with my 20lb 8 month old son in my backpack carrier to hear about ways I could be more aware when I worked with gay and lesbian couples, and was whammmed in the face with an “exercise” in which we all had to come up with as many adjectives for “male/man” as we could and all people were saying was “rapists!” “killers!” “control freaks!” “bullies!” thieves!” “war mongers!” and on and on.

    I looked down at the angel face I was breast feeding and was instantly incensed that they would dare call my baby and his brother and his father these things. I stood up, gathered my things, started walking out and was asked where I was going.

    “Someplace where I’m not hearing people call my beautiful child a rapist simply because he has a penis”.

  91. 91
    Kay says:

    White House adviser Stephen Miller was accosted at a Mexican restaurant by a patron calling him a “fascist” — two nights before Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was hounded out of another south-of-the-border eatery, sources told The Post.
    Miller chose to dine at Espita Mezcaleria in the DC neighborhood of Shaw on Sunday, amid growing anger over the Trump administration separating migrant kids from their parents — a policy the aide had described as a “simple decision.”

    A “trendy eatery”. I bet this is effective. It is really, really important to these people that they be “respected”. They pretend to be outsider mavericks but what they really want is to be the establishment- to get what they feel they were unfairly denied.

    It’s a politics composed wholly of resentment and individual ego. It’s all biography. We get so much palace intriuge and half-ass psychology as “coverage” of them because that’s all there is.

  92. 92
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @No Drought No More: I won’t be satisfied until I hear that Daddy Donald cried when interviewed by the FBI to keep his son out of prison, just like Mike Flynn did.

    Means I’ll never be satisfied, I’m assuming.

  93. 93
    Peale says:

    @Kay: And very deep seeded homophobia. I mean its not like the Soviets were in charge of some kind of lesbian and gay paradise, given the belief that gay men represented bourgeois cultural decadence, but if we think our right wing and their right wing don’t share a contempt for rights. This isn’t some kind of issue where they are “using” issues to divide people so they maintain control. They rather seriously don’t want us around.

  94. 94
    Stan says:

    @schrodingers_cat: the French were even more horrible than the British as a colonial power.

    We could debate that all day. Britain is responsible for some horrible genocides and the whole partition-of-India-and-invention-of-pakistan thing that cost a million or so lives.

    Not that we in the USA have any right to point the finger.

  95. 95
    Kay says:

    @Platonailedit:

    I’m glad Melania has finally found her voice. Pretending to oppose the problems her husband’s administration deliberately created.

    We’ll have to thank her if she fixes the problem she created. That’s how this works. They break it and then we have to be grateful to them for pretending to fix it. Last week were ordered to be grateful that Trump didn’t start a war with North Korea.

  96. 96
    Ella in New Mexico says:

    @Kay: Why are they all openly going to fucking MEXICAN restaurants right now with the commotion that’s going down? It wouldn’t be to set up a “fascist liberal intolerance” situation they could use to gain sympathy from the Trumpies, now, could it?

  97. 97
    Yarrow says:

    Glad this is happening. These fascists should not be welcome anywhere. Link.

    White House adviser Stephen Miller was accosted at a Mexican restaurant by a patron calling him a “fascist” — two nights before Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen was hounded out of another south-of-the-border eatery, sources told The Post.

    Miller chose to dine at Espita Mezcaleria in the DC neighborhood of Shaw on Sunday, amid growing anger over the Trump administration separating migrant kids from their parents — a policy the aide had described as a “simple decision.”

    “Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?” another customer at the Mezcal joint snarled at Miller, according to a source who saw the encounter.

    Miller didn’t respond and scurried away, the witness said.

    But he didn’t leave the restaurant — unlike Nielsen, who abandoned DXDC Cocina Mexicana on Tuesday when protesters marched in chanting “shame!”

    Edit: I see Kay got there first.

  98. 98
    PJ says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Alexander did pretty well at pacifying Bactria and Sogdiana, but there wasn’t really any wealth there, so it was a lot of fighting for nothing, and he left token garrisons behind as he proceeded to India. He never returned to Macedonia, and never seems to have any intention to do that, but, after defeating Porus in India (what is now Pakistan), his troops mutinied about going any further, and he returned to Persia before dying in Babylon.

  99. 99
    D58826 says:

    @Stan: let’s not forget those ‘nice’ Belgians

  100. 100
    Stan says:

    @Dave: Of course in addition to all the other bullshit the Bushies did I will never forgive them for throwing away an opportunity to really usher in a better world.

    YES.

    This was one of the great lost opportunities in history. Imagine if Barack Obama had been president in 1991.

  101. 101
    Platonailedit says:

    This is Curtis Millsap. He's a farmer just outside of Springfield, MO, a bright red pro-Trump region. His thoughts on Trump stealing kids from their parents are all of us.

    https://t.co/qshlj1Z4VJ— Charles Jaco (@charlesjaco1) June 21, 2018

    It’s a 5 minute video worth watching from a red stater.

  102. 102

    @Stan: I have no love lost for the Brits. This is just my opinion based on how the Brits and French behaved post WW2. The French had to be kicked out, Brits knew when to leave even if their exits were bloody and horrible (India)

  103. 103
    PJ says:

    @Doug R: The Taliban offered to turn over Bin Laden and Al Qaeda to the US (they still had their contacts with the CIA from the ’80s), but Bush was determined to invade.

  104. 104
    Enhanced Voting Techniques says:

    Off topic, but damn, I’ve never heard of one of these Pig F***ers been called on their douchbaggery to their face like this.

    https://talkingpointsmemo.com/livewire/stephen-miller-fascist-protested-mexican-restaurant

    Patrons at a Mexican restaurant in D.C. recognized Trump aide Stephen Miller and took him to task on Sunday for his hand in the administration’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, according to a Wednesday New York Post report.

    One kept his message simple, yelling “fascist!”

    Another invoked sarcasm: “Hey look guys, whoever thought we’d be in a restaurant with a real-life fascist begging [for] money for new cages?

    EDIT, damn I am third.

  105. 105
    Platonailedit says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: To stir up more racist shit. The arrogance is in their blood.

  106. 106
    Chris says:

    @Gin & Tonic:

    It’s more than that. It’s a particular blend of racism, other “traditional values,” xenophobia/nationalism/militarism, one-man (as opposed to collective/oligarchical) authoritarianism, potemkin democracy, and internationalized gangster-capitalism. There’s no exact name for that model that I’m aware of, but it’s become the dominant form of government in Russia, America, Hungary, Turkey, and the Philippines, at the very least.

  107. 107
    D58826 says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Not to defend the Brits but given the religious and cultural realities in India/Pakistan in 1947 there may have been no way to avoid the bloodshed that followed

  108. 108
    Amir Khalid says:

    @Kay:

    Miller chose to dine at Espita Mezcaleria

    Hmm. The suspicion has been raised in these threads that these Trumpistas are choosing to go to Mexican restaurants precisely to provoke this reaction. I’m starting to think the conjecture is right, although I don’t quite see the intended payoff.

  109. 109
    Yarrow says:

    @Kay:

    A “trendy eatery”. I bet this is effective. It is really, really important to these people that they be “respected”. They pretend to be outsider mavericks but what they really want is to be the establishment- to get what they feel they were unfairly denied.

    It’s a politics composed wholly of resentment and individual ego.

    Yes. Exactly. And it’s why his supporters continue to support him so strongly. They feel they’re being treated unfairly. He speaks for their resentments.

  110. 110
    efgoldman says:

    @danielx:

    Your lack of faith is….disturbing.

    One accretes a lot of cynicism in 73 years

  111. 111
    D58826 says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    see the intended payoff.

    to show the faithful the the ‘OTHER’ aren’t really worthy of respect

  112. 112
    PJ says:

    @Frankensteinbeck: The Republicans never had any interest or concern whatsoever in turning Afghanistan or Iraq into functioning states. As soon as the Taliban were pushed back in Afghanistan, Bush was content to install what he thought was a puppet regime (which wasn’t the puppet he thought, but was still corrupt) and pivot to Iraq. The Bush Administration dismissed Shinseki’s concerns about the small number of troops being sent to stabilize Iraq (based on hard experience in Bosnia and Kosovo) and completely ignored the State Department’s massive set of recommendations on what it would take to reconstruct Iraq. And if the Iraqi’s didn’t know before, they sure knew the US didn’t give a shit when the looting started and US troops did nothing to stop it, with Rumsfeld saying that “Free people are free to do bad things.”

    Still, I wonder if someone competent had been in charge, rather than clowns like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bremer, et al., and they had sent in sufficient numbers of troops with appropriate advisors who actually cared about what happened to the people in these countries, whether their Project for a New American Century might have been more successful, and whether we might be more embroiled in their Pax Americana endless war.

  113. 113
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    The intended payoff is to make them look like martyrs to their followers: see how mean liberals are to us when we just try to go out to dinner?

    It feeds the base’s sense of resentment and entitlement.

  114. 114
    efgoldman says:

    @Yarrow:

    Graveyard of empires, like I said.

    Wait. Didn’t Michael Caine win that war at least twice?

  115. 115
    rp says:

    @Amir Khalid: Ugh. The capper to a horrible week. Interesting to read that Noam Chomsky doesn’t believe that primates can learn language. I use to really like his stuff, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve found him to be a bit of a clown. (Although of course I can’t comment on the linguistics issues.)

  116. 116
    PJ says:

    @Timurid: @schrodingers_cat: He was King of the Persian Empire, and that was his “home”. He was planning an invasion of Arabia when he died. But like Bush, et al., he had no real interest in ruling, just in conquering.

    ETA: What does it mean when I get a message that “I am posting comments too quickly”?

  117. 117
    Yarrow says:

    @Amir Khalid: They need to be refused service from every restaurant, no matter what kind. They should not be allowed in polite company.

  118. 118
    Kay says:

    @Ella in New Mexico:

    I don’t know but I do think saying “they don’t care what people think” is wrong. They absolutely care what people think about them personally. It’s all they care about.

    It’s a vulnerability. Instead of denying it we should exploit it. It is absolutely central to conservatism for them to believe they are morally superior to liberals. Trump said it himself- he said his policy was “too mean”. They know “mean” is a vulnerability. That’s not about Democrats- it’s about Republicans- their base.

  119. 119
    efgoldman says:

    @Gravenstone:

    No winners in this game.

    Certainly not us

  120. 120
    Chris says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    France clung onto the remnants of empire so tightly that the struggle destroyed one republic and came within a hair’s breadth of installing a fascist government. So there’s that.

  121. 121
    Stan says:

    @schrodingers_cat: the butcher of Jallianwalla Bagh in 1919, who opened fire against peaceful demonstrators killing a few thousand people.

    In one of the great sick jokes of history, his name was General Dyer; 379 dead and maybe 1200 wounded according to the British. Maybe more had a neutral count
    been possible.

  122. 122
    Chris says:

    @Kay:

    I feel like they don’t want to be establishment, but they want the establishment to fawn over them and come crawling to them and just generally be impressed with them. Think of the scene in The Social Network where Zuckerberg has a meeting with some corporate big shots or other, just so that he can have the pleasure of flipping them the bird and turning them down. That’s Trump, and the teabaggers, and most Republicans at this point.

  123. 123
    PJ says:

    @Chris: I think it was Vladislav Surkov, Putin’s idea man, who coined the term “managed democracy”, where there is the appearance of democracy, with elections etc., but where rights are suppressed, as is actual opposition, and the oligarchs control everything and rake in all of the profits.

  124. 124
    Teddys Person says:

    @Amir Khalid: More fodder for the rightwing persecution industrial complex. See, liberals are the intolerant ones.

    ETA: Mnemosyne got there first.

  125. 125
    jonas says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Actually from there he tried to conquer India (more like Pakistan around the Indus Valley) and then faced a mutiny, so he marched back to Persia and died in Babylon, possibly by poisoning.

  126. 126

    @D58826: You are wrong about that. They left over a year ahead of schedule without any transition plan in place for the two newly independent countries.

  127. 127
    Mike in DC says:

    @PJ:
    This is fundamentally wrong. The Taliban, who already knew OBL/AQ were behind 9/11, demanded “convincing” evidence of guilt. The Bush administration correctly recognized that as a delaying tactic, and shortly thereafter negotiations broke off and the invasion commenced. Bush did a lot of things wrong, but refusing a good faith offer to surrender OBL was not among them. Also, the Taliban pointedly refused to dismantle AQ training camps.

  128. 128
    Repatriated says:

    @PJ:

    Still, I wonder if someone competent had been in charge, rather than clowns like Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Bremer, et al., and they had sent in sufficient numbers of troops with appropriate advisors who actually cared about what happened to the people in these countries, whether their Project for a New American Century might have been more successful, and whether we might be more embroiled in their Pax Americana endless war.

    We simply did not have sufficient numbers of troops. Even “pulling the goalie” by redeploying forces from South Korea and Europe wouldn’t have provided enough. It would have required reinstating the draft, and a military of a size last seen in the Vietnamese era.

  129. 129
    Stan says:

    @D58826: Not to defend the Brits but given the religious and cultural realities in India/Pakistan in 1947 there may have been no way to avoid the bloodshed that followed

    I would urge you to read more deeply on this. It’s not like the British inherited this longstanding conflict and simply walked away from it (as they’ve presented their version).

    I have many, many Pakistani friends and wish them nothing but long, happy lives. But the nation of Pakistan has pretty much zero historical basis and culturally, to a great extent its foundation was simply an anti-India project launched by a tiny group of British people with a few willing, ambitious Pakistani stooges such as Jinnah. Britain knew it needed to leave India (which at the time meant what is now India, Burma and Pakistan) but also wanted to keep a British, or at least western, military presence in the area. Thus pakistan was invented. Had the Indian independence movement been a bit less religious, it’s possible no future Pakistani stooges would have been available.

  130. 130
    efgoldman says:

    @Yarrow:

    These people are insane.

    So he’s predicting Mnuchin dies in a duel?

  131. 131
    D58826 says:

    stop the presses!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! According to POTUS the Treasury is taking in billions of dollars. WHO knew!!!!!! According to Der Fuhrer the border problem is all Hillary’s fault. Standard line – worst deal ever because of the democrats. The D’s won’t fund his plans, never mind the R’s control both houses of Congress.

  132. 132
    ruemara says:

    @Oklahomo: I can’t believe you slandered the world’s foremost Alco-American.

    @Betty Cracker: I hate to tell you this, but I have a friend who emigrated there. She could pass quite well as Icelandic and has experienced a number of anti-immigrant incidents including job discrimination. I mean, overall, she loves it there and has been telling me to come live there, but the lack of language skills that open you up to discrimination is pretty huge for me. She’s fluent in French, English & some of her native Indigenous Canadian Native Tribe tongue so her Icelandic is near fluent now.

  133. 133
    PPCLI says:

    @Kay: It isn’t a coincidence that two high Trumpist officials were dining in Mexican restaurants in the last few days. The Trumpists love nothing more than to change the subject by claiming that they are so oppressed by evil liberals. I’m sure they were hoping against hope that someone would threaten physical violence, so that Fox could howl about it 24/7 for the next week.

  134. 134

    @jonas: This is pre-Islam so culturally that part of the world was culturally closer to what is now India.

  135. 135
    D58826 says:

    @Stan: I will but there are more complex historical situations than time to study. Probably can’t swing a dead cat and not encounter some kind of India/Pakistan type cultural/geographical history on just about any spot on the globe.

  136. 136
    rikyrah says:

    @Platonailedit:

    They sent Melania to southern borders as a PR move. While the elected senators and congressmen are barred. Ugh.

    Don’t nobody believe this bullshyt, while Congressmen and Senators can’t get in?

    Phuck.outta.here.

    with this bullshyt.

  137. 137
    raven says:

    @schrodingers_cat: He got his with My Boy Jack

  138. 138

    @Stan:

    Had the Indian independence movement been a bit less religious, it’s possible no future Pakistani stooges would have been available.

    How did you come to the conclusion that the Indian independence movement religious?

  139. 139
    Stan says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Well, the French exit from Vietnam, Cambodia and even Algeria was a lot less bloody than the British exit from India and Pakistan. And make no mistake, the British created that whole partition disaster; its a myth that there was some longstanding ‘disease’ that prevented different religious groups from living together there. They’d been doing it for centuries without massacring each other like that. Religion was never the reason for Pakistan.

  140. 140
    Leto says:

    @Ella in New Mexico: “Donald junior? Never heard of him. Wouldn’t even recognize him if he were standing next to me.” – Trumpov during Mueller questioning

  141. 141
    rikyrah says:

    @Kay:

    A “trendy eatery”. I bet this is effective. It is really, really important to these people that they be “respected”. They pretend to be outsider mavericks but what they really want is to be the establishment- to get what they feel they were unfairly denied.

    Ain’t nobody gonna give them any respect. And, that is what bothers them.

    We were supposed to fall in line and respect Dolt45.
    When we not only said PHUCK YOU to Dolt45
    And now, have told his voters that, yes, we JUDGE YOU because of your vote…

  142. 142
    Kay says:

    @Chris:

    Agree. It’s been going on forever. I took my oldest son to the University of Cincinnati for a visit years ago. They were offering a full ride for smart Ohio students and I wanted him to take it because I am cheap so I said “let’s go see!”

    It was just crazy. They are the “scholars” so that means they’re in a special program, so the frame was the university is lucky to get your kid. This kind of phalanx of Right wing parents started this whole thing about how their kids would be discriminated against if they went to church. It’s this big public university. They could give a shit if they go to church. The university officials were just speaking a different language- they were like “well, there are shuttles and the city bus system and we’re confident many students attend services…” They walked in there with this big fucking grievance to air and it was in Right wing code so the poor man in the front of the room didn’t get it. My son got it though- he was like “you go there if you like it so much- I’m not going- it’s the same people I went to high school with”.

  143. 143
    Chris says:

    @Mike in DC:

    Ideology and hospitality aside, al-Qaeda was responsible for offing Ahmed Shah Massoud, the leader of the Northern Alliance and worst enemy of the Taliban, literally the day before 9/11. Most observers believe, IIRC, that this was not a coincidence and that it was timed so that the Taliban would be so overwhelmingly in al-Qaeda’s debt that they couldn’t possibly turn them over to the Americans.

  144. 144

    @Stan: That’s an underestimate.

  145. 145
    D58826 says:

    No wonder Der Fuhrer is impressed with Kim. Kim doesn’t have howitzers they have much bigger CANNONs.

  146. 146
    Mike in NC says:

    Read “Anatomy of Failure: Why America Loses Every War It Starts” by Harlan Ullman.

  147. 147
    Betty Cracker says:

    @ruemara: Well, that is disappointing. I’ve never been there, but my sister has a couple of times and speaks highly of it, and as far as progressive values go, I think it’s the most advanced country on earth, at least according to the data. Still, it’s a small and homogeneous society, and I can see how that would lend itself to anti-immigrant sentiments.

  148. 148
    PJ says:

    @Mike in DC: You can argue about who was acting in “good faith” (a strange term to use with an Administration that falsified evidence for war in Iraq, and repeatedly conflated Al Qaeda with Saddam Hussein), but my assumption is that both parties were acting in what they considered to be their own interest. The Taliban wanted evidence of OBL’s guilt and offered to turn him over to a third country for trial. Bush repeatedly said that he would not negotiate over anything, because he was determined to invade.

  149. 149
    The Pale Scot says:

    @Roger Moore:

    it’s that there’s nothing there valuable enough to justify the cost.

    The estimate is the cost of securing Afghanistan just so people and goods can move freely is 5 or 6 times the likely GNP of the place if that were to happen.

  150. 150
    VeniceRiley says:

    @Amir Khalid:

    In case this hasn’t been mentioned here, Koko the gorilla has passed away. May she rest in peace.

    My first paying job was working with Koko and Michael – 6 months teaching them sign language. Sad to hear this news!
    She did live a normal life span for a gorilla, unlike Michael. Penny must be beside herself.
    If there is a heaven, she’s enjoying the flowers, candy, and all the cute mailmen.

    It’s been decades, but I will never forget my time with her.

  151. 151

    @Betty Cracker: Its easy to be kind to your kind. Scandinavian countries have far less immigrants than many anglophone countries do. The resentments against the latest influx of immigrants seems to be rising.

  152. 152

    @VeniceRiley: I loved Coco and her kittens. Thanks for sharing your story.

  153. 153
    Doug R says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    The intended payoff is to make them look like martyrs to their followers: see how mean liberals are to us when we just try to go out to dinner?

    It feeds the base’s sense of resentment and entitlement.

    So their base goes to sit down dinners at trendy Mexican restaurants? And the worst that happens to these douches is they get yelled at? Not seeing the upside, unless they’re trying to provoke a physical confrontation and these fascists are all chickensh*ts.

  154. 154
    Mike in DC says:

    @PJ: If they handed over OBL without caveats and stipulations and shut down the camps, there’s no invasion. Also, see Chris’ comment above for further evidence in support of the argument that the Taliban was never going to hand him over.

  155. 155
    PJ says:

    @VeniceRiley: Wow. How different was teaching them sign language from teaching a young child?

  156. 156
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Stan:

    Yep. Once we finish talking about the US’s genocidal war against our continental native populations, we can start talking about our genocidal wars in Haiti, the Philippines, Hawaii, Guam, Puerto Rico …

  157. 157
    Chris says:

    @Kay:

    I was involved in the religious scene on campus for most of my undergrad years, which meant I got to know a lot of religious right assholes. None of them were badly treated, but if you asked them, every one of them believed they were some kind of martyr being thrown to the lions.

    They come to college convinced that they’re going to be oppressed, and most of them are so certain of it that they never bother to notice that it’s not happening.

  158. 158
    eric says:

    @Platonailedit: he is going to break the internet

  159. 159
    VeniceRiley says:

    @PJ: Not too different, but they definitely are gorillas with gorilla priorities. But the “I didn’t do it” lies, the stupid jokes, all the fun of young kids? All there. So much easier to work with and so much smarter than chimps or orangs though!

  160. 160
    PJ says:

    @Mike in DC: We’re not going to agree on this, but my opinion is that Bush’s ultimatum to the Taliban was pretty much a declaration of war. Perhaps that was justified, but we know what the outcome was, and how much Bush was invested in actually capturing Bin Laden.

    This event features in:
    The war in Afghanistan
    Previous Event
    Smoke pours from the twin towers of the World Trade Center, 11 September 2001 (Robert Giroux/Getty Images)

    11 September 2001
    The 9/11 terrorist attacks
    Next Event
    Northern Alliance Troops entering Kandahar, Afghanistan – October 12th, 2001 (Patrick Aventurier/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

    7 October – 9 December 2001
    The Taliban are forced out of Afghanistan
    More information about: The US refuses to negotiate with the Taliban

    In the aftermath of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the US government swiftly identifiedOsama Bin Laden as their prime suspect. The leader of the Islamist terror group al-Qaeda initially denied involvement in 9/11, and did not claim responsibility until October 2004.

    Bin Laden was closely allied to the Taliban, the ruling power in Afghanistan. The Taliban publicly condemned the attacks, but admitted that the fugitive al-Qaeda leader was living in Afghanistan. They called for restraint, and demanded evidence from the US regarding Bin Laden’s alleged involvement.

    Addressing clerics in Kabul on 19 September 2001, the Taliban’s leader Mullah Mohammed Omar argued that the US was using Bin Laden’s involvement in 9/11 as a pretext for removing the Taliban from power, and signalled that the Taliban were ready for talks.

    The US government swiftly rejected Mullah Omar’s offer. “The president’s message to the Taliban is very simple,” said White House spokesman Ari Fleischer. “It’s time for action, not negotiations.”

    US president George W Bush was strongly supported by the British prime minister Tony Blair, who stated: “We …here in Britain stand shoulder to shoulder with our American friends in this hour of tragedy”.

    Five point ultimatum

    On 20 September 2001, President Bush spoke before a Joint Session of Congress declaring a “War on Terrorism” and asked “Who attacked our country? The evidence we have gathered all points to a collection of loosely affiliated terrorist organizations known as al-Qaeda… This group and its leader – a person named Osama Bin Laden – are linked to many other organizations in different countries”.

    The speech contained a five-point ultimatum for the Taliban:

    1. Deliver to the US all al-Qaeda leaders in Afghanistan

    2. Release all imprisoned foreign nationals

    3. Protect foreign journalists, diplomats and aid workers

    4. Close immediately every terrorist training camp, and hand over every terrorist and their supporters

    5. Give the United States full access to terrorist training camps for inspection

    “No timetable for the Taliban”

    On 2 October 2001, US President George W Bush again rejected a Taliban appeal for discussions. “There is no timetable for the Taliban, just like there are no negotiations,” he said. His position was confirmed by Fleischer: “There will be no discussions and no negotiations. So what they say is not as important as what they do. And it’s time for them to act.”

    On 7 October the first air strikes began. One week into the military campaign the Taliban made a further failed plea for negotiations. Afghanistan’s deputy prime minister Maulvi Abdul Kabir told reporters in Jalalabad that the Taliban would hand over Bin Laden if the US stopped bombing Afghanistan.

    Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/e.....he_taliban

  161. 161
    PJ says:

    @VeniceRiley: That’s amazing.

  162. 162
    VeniceRiley says:

    @schrodingers_cat: All Ball, the tailless cat! There used to be a rabbit on the property that hid in the underpinnings of the trailer when they made the move from Stanford to Woodside. When the rabbit died, Michael told me he was sad, because he liked the rabbit “Rabbit. cry me like.”. Ron (Penny’s boyfriend) carried it away on a shovel. I asked Michel what happened to the rabbit. He said “Ron eat.” Well, that’s some gorilla logic right there. Was all I could do not to crack up laughing.

  163. 163
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Wapiti: The top oil producer in the world as of the end of 2017 is Russia, narrowly edging out Saudi Arabia. America comes a close third at over 80% of the output of either of the top two.

    Some American elsewhere complained about the unstable oil producing countries sponsoring terrorism and causing all the trouble in the world today. I pointed the above facts out to them and mentioned North Korea is number 110 on the list of world oil producers.

  164. 164
    Platonailedit says:

    @Robert Sneddon:

    unstable oil producing countries sponsoring terrorism and causing all the trouble in the world today.

    The top three come immediately to mind.

  165. 165
    The Moar You Know says:

    Interesting to read that Noam Chomsky doesn’t believe that primates can learn language.

    @rp: As with most things, he’s dead wrong. And it’s not just primates that have language facility, at least to some extent.

  166. 166

    @VeniceRiley: You should write about this. I have enjoyed reading your anecdotes.

  167. 167
    Mike in DC says:

    @PJ:
    Those 5 demands are reasonable/understandable. Did the Taliban do anything between the ultimatum and the invasion to show any effort to comply?

  168. 168
    VeniceRiley says:

    @schrodingers_cat: Thanks and I just did. Once Michael used the sign for obnoxious to smash a bug and laughed at his own joke.

  169. 169
    Mnemosyne says:

    @VeniceRiley:

    I tell my husband that there’s always someone on Balloon-Juice who has personal knowledge of something that’s in the news, and I feel proved right once again. 🤗

    From what I understand, 46 is a ripe old age for a gorilla, but her keepers must be absolutely devastated right now. RIP Koko 🦍. May she be surrounded by playful kittens in her afterlife.

  170. 170
    VeniceRiley says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I tell my husband that there’s always someone on Balloon-Juice who has personal knowledge of something that’s in the news, and I feel proved right once again.

    That’s the gods honest truth! I’m newish, but I love it here for exactly this reason.

  171. 171
    NotMax says:

    Haven’t completely read through the thread, but feel this ought to be mentioned if it hasn’t been already.

    Dozens of peace protesters arrived in Kabul on Monday after walking hundreds of kilometres across war-battered Afghanistan, as the Taliban ended an unprecedented ceasefire and resumed attacks in parts of the country.

    Exhausted after their 700-kilometre (430-mile) trek, most of it during the Islamic fasting month of Ramadan, the marchers walked double file through the Afghan capital shouting “We want peace!” and “Stop fighting!”
    [snip]
    The peace march, believed to be the first of its kind in Afghanistan, emerged from a sit-in protest and hunger strike in Lashkar Gah, the capital of the southern province of Helmand which is a Taliban stronghold.

    That demonstration, which began spontaneously after a car bomb attack in the city on March 23, triggered similar movements by war-weary Afghans nationwide.

    But when the Taliban and security forces failed to heed their demands to stop fighting, some protesters decided to take their message directly to the country’s top leaders.

    Initially ridiculed for their plan to walk to Kabul, the marchers now enjoy strong public support. Source

  172. 172
    Doug R says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    Interesting to read that Noam Chomsky doesn’t believe that primates can learn language.

    @rp: As with most things, he’s dead wrong. And it’s not just primates that have language facility, at least to some extent.

    His argument that they’re just imitating their captors is wrong on a couple of levels. First, even monkeys can understand each other’s warning calls, they’re just using sign language that way. Second, why is grammar context so important? Syntax differs between languages, these apes haven’t formalized it yet.

  173. 173
    Yutsano says:

    There has only been one conquering emperor who has ever held Afghanistan. And even then it was only 100 years or so. Then again when you sweep in with ruthless brutality only to then rule your conquered lands with competence and tolerance it does tend to inspire loyalty. Genghis did a few things right.

  174. 174
    Chris says:

    @Mnemosyne:
    @VeniceRiley:

    One day, humanity will make first contact with an extraterrestrial species. And it’ll turn out that some character on Balloon Juice was actually abducted by aliens and that Supreme Potentate Zurg, the Scourge of Alpha Centauri, is on a first name basis with them.

  175. 175
    Mnemosyne says:

    @schrodingers_cat:

    The resentments against the latest influx of immigrants seems to be rising.

    I suspect that, like much of this stuff, that rising resentment is being pushed along and encouraged by Russian propaganda. The timing is just a little too convenient.

    I once saw a really good Danish short film called “This Charming Man” about an unemployed Danish man who pretends to be a Middle Eastern immigrant to get those sweet, sweet refugee benefits. Of course, he discovers that it’s a lot more complicated than he realized and encounters much more racism as “Hassan” than he ever knew was happening in “liberal” Denmark.

    It’s a comedy, so it ends up with a good ending for all (he gains new friends among the immigrant group, who eventually forgive him for his masquerade). It ended up winning 2003’s Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Subject.

  176. 176
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Doug R:

    And the worst that happens to these douches is they get yelled at?

    You have to remember, their audience is the people who are driven to fits of drooling rage over having to press 1 for English when they call a business. So, yeah, they’re going to think that Miller and Nielsen are beleaguered underdogs being tormented by the liberal hordes just for going to a restaurant.

  177. 177
    NotMax says:

    @Chris

    Which reminds me, I owe Zurg a belated Hatching Day card.

    :)

  178. 178
    lynn says:

    The Russians want to control the opium/heroin market.

  179. 179
    WhatsMyNym says:

    @lynn:

    The Russians want to control the opium/heroin market.

    Well they need to earn some foreign income from somewhere, their economy is still in the toilet; thanks to Putin.

  180. 180
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @WhatsMyNym: The Russian economy is doing quite well but its bedrock is extractive resource sales, oil and gas and minerals like coal — as I pointed out above it produces more oil than Saudi Arabia and even outproduces the US. It’s also a major supplier of natural gas to Western Europe, helping to keep the lights on in countries like solartopian Germany which takes a third of its gas exports to Europe. Whether those extraction levels are sustainable no-one knows since they are naturally very secretive about established reserves. It’s telling though that the Russians are making efforts to explore for and exploit oil and gas reserves in the Arctic region, boosted by sea-ice retreat and global warming.

  181. 181
    J R in WV says:

    @Fleeting Expletive:

    Now, chicken pox and scabies at the camps, per NBC. I hope S. Miller’s feet are getting warm as the kindling catches the spark.

    These callous bastards will surely need to stand trial for kidnapping, which they’re already guilty of. If kids start dying of preventable diseases, they will need to stand trial for murder!!

    Did anyone think to set up healthcare for the thousands of refugees being imprisoned? Hell no, they don’t do that for their own voters, let alone little brown kids in captivity!!!

    And I’m being inclusive, it should run from the hands on people in the concentration camps all the way up to DHS Reichsleiter Neilsen and her boss, Comrade Trump!!

  182. 182
    J R in WV says:

    @Doug R:

    @efgoldman: You do remember Al Quaeda freely operated training camps there, don’t you? Or are camps just fine?

    And you do remember that Bush deliberately allowed bin Laden to run for the Pakistani border? Right? Right? Nope, already forgotten.

    It took Obama’s election to nail the bastard, which lots of people have also forgotten already!!! Bush just forgot about him…

  183. 183
    J R in WV says:

    @Stan:

    I don’t have all night to look up data, but you are way wrong. In Algeria alone there were an estimated 300,000 deaths in the Algerian war for independence from 1954 til 1962, according to information at Tufts University. Many of these deaths were random killings and bombings of Algerian towns as punishment for FLN attacks on French military and civilian targets. Torture was common on both sides.

    The same was true in France’s colonies in then Indochina. That war lasted from 1947 until 1954, when the French were defeated at Dien Bien Phu. ““Exact numbers are not known, but it is reasonable to estimate 500,000 deaths” according to Tufts data. Again, torture and execution of prisoners was widespread on both sides. 10,000 French men were captive after the defeat at Dien Bien Phu, and only 3,900 were returned to the French authorities. Grim.

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