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Obama's dilemma over carts and horses

Mark Mardell | 14:41 UK time, Monday, 21 September 2009

If the president is turning his mind with relief from the torrid debate about healthcare to loftier discussions of foreign policy, he may not stay relieved for long.

He has to look a horse in the mouth, and one thing is for certain: this beast is not a gift.

In a deliberately stark contrast to his predecessor's disdain, he is taking a full part, a leading part, in the United Nations deliberations in New York this week.

Iran, climate change, the Middle East peace process, none of these are easy, and all present Mr Obama with domestic problems as well as international opportunities.

But Afghanistan is the most immediate and perhaps the trickiest. The BBC broke the story of the McChrystal report a few weeks ago, but now the Washington Post has apparently seen the full document.

It presents the president with a difficult choice. On yesterday's round of TV interviews, Mr Obama made it clear that the reason for being in Afghanistan was to deny potential terrorists a base to carry out another terrible attack like that on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

It was about protecting America, and - by implication - not about building a democratic, functioning nation, and even less about managing an open-ended occupation.

But here is the president's dilemma. The McChrystal report, boiled down, says that the US can only achieve its aims by building up the Afghan people's trust in a functioning government, with a police and military that can do the job.

Until that is done, there have to be more allied forces in more areas of the country visibly protecting the people from a Taliban that is growing in authority, and runs a shadow administration. It is not simply about killing the enemy.

Now that sounds a lot like nation-building. The president has talked about not putting the cart before the horse, by which he means not talking about more troops or other resources before the strategy is in place.

He may have decided he admires Gen McChrystal's thoroughbred and that it is worth hitching a buggy on the back.

If so, he will find it tough to sell the general's policy to a party and public reluctant to see more men and women sent to bolster an Afghan government accused of election fraud.

It is my hunch that he has strategically adopted his current cautious, sceptical tone in order to better sell the policy further down the road.

But it is only a hunch and it could be wrong.

The president could decide that Gen McChrystal's nag does not deserve a cart and put it out to pasture.

But then he would be faced with accusations of cutting and running and undermining the very man he appointed to come up with a fresh perspective.

Perhaps presidents should be extra cautious about generals with a Mc in their name, and a public spat with such a respected figure would be immensely harmful.

Maybe healthcare is easier after all.

Comments

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  • 1. At 5:18pm on 21 Sep 2009, duhbuh wrote:

    "He has to look a horse in the mouth, and one thing is for certain: this beast is not a gift... The president has talked about not putting the cart before the horse... He may have decided he admires Gen McChrystal's thoroughbred and that it is worth hitching a buggy on the back... The president could decide that Gen McChrystal's nag does not deserve a cart and put it out to pasture."

    They say you can't flog a dead horse, but Mark sure can hammer a metaphor to within an inch of its life.

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  • 2. At 5:30pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    The whole issue is cod. There was no training in Afghanistan, the 9/11 hijackers trained in the US at US flying schools.

    They flew their aircraft into buildings - it required no brilliance or particular cunning.

    People like this can get "trained" or "supported" anywhere from their backyard to the local gym.

    It was this tendency to elevate the 9/11 attackers to some vast coordinated conspiracy a massive secret army waiting to take over the world whihc has led to the chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Sooner or later some nutter will try something else, shooting up a school, blowing up government offices, driving a bus into a crowd.

    Unfortunately that is the world we live in

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  • 3. At 5:35pm on 21 Sep 2009, Ridge57 wrote:

    Why hasn't the question of from where will the gas pipeline supporting Europe's energy needs be controlled by Russia or through Afghanistan via American energy interests?

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  • 4. At 5:47pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Here's a recent article from Andrew J. Bacevich on the subject of US policy in Afghanistan:

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/article.php3?id_article=2609

    Bacevich is the author of The Limits of Power.

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  • 5. At 5:49pm on 21 Sep 2009, Nasuti wrote:

    Please goto www.kabulpress.org and click on English for several articles of mine. I wrote a piece on staying in Afghanistan but tactically doing the opposite of everything General McChrystal proposes:
    - deploying troops to populations centers instead of southern deserts and border interdiction.
    - rotating individuals instead of units (i.e. the Vietnam deployment scheme)
    - unsurging to get to a force level that we could sustain for 20 years (as the Taliban know we cannot sustain the current levels and we will eventually go)
    - screening out some military troops who do not have the temperment for COIN
    - beginning a major program to train troops in Dari and Pashto
    - surging Dollars to hire/buy off the pool of Pashtoons in the south so they do not join the Taliban
    Doing the opposite of General McChrystal actually makes more sense than following his plan.
    Matthew J. Nasuti
    former USAF Captain
    former U.S. State Dept. official
    Deerfield, Massachusetts, USA

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  • 6. At 5:50pm on 21 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    interesting the health care debate is putting the cart first never deciding which horse they have.
    but here he's got to juggle the cart and the horse,to make it three you could add the problems with another thorny nationhood issue.that refuses to settle down.

    I suspect you are right.
    I think he understands the "you broke it rule". Though admittedly many have handled it before it was just the americans that happen to be holding it this time.


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  • 7. At 6:01pm on 21 Sep 2009, ironfranco wrote:

    144 @ Powermeerkat
    *Now that sounds a lot like nation-building. The president has talked about not putting the cart before the horse, by which he means not talking about more troops or other resources before the strategy is in place.*
    Mark, do you really believe that the Taliban who met very warmly Lady Thatcher in the early 80s in their refugee camps in Pakistan /for the needs of the anti Russian alliance/ will be willing to-day to accept and apply, within some five-six years, our elaborate and complex political system? It took to us European folks half a century to come to a relatively acceptable arrangement of our collective and peaceful coexistence and we still suffer the consequences of the communist rule and those of the last war.

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  • 8. At 6:09pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    Previous Next 1. At 5:18pm on 21 Sep 2009, duhbuh wrote:
    "He has to look a horse in the mouth, and one thing is for certain: this beast is not a gift... The president has talked about not putting the cart before the horse... He may have decided he admires Gen McChrystal's thoroughbred and that it is worth hitching a buggy on the back... The president could decide that Gen McChrystal's nag does not deserve a cart and put it out to pasture."

    They say you can't flog a dead horse, but Mark sure can hammer a metaphor to within an inch of its life."


    Yes this is stretching it to say the least.


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  • 9. At 6:14pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    4. At 5:47pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:
    Here's a recent article from Andrew J. Bacevich on the subject of US policy in Afghanistan:

    http://www.commonwealmagazine.org/article.php3?id_article=2609

    Bacevich is the author of The Limits of Power."


    This is an excellent article. Many of us knew the US is on the road to nowhere in Iraq or Afghanistan.

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  • 10. At 6:33pm on 21 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Part of former President's Bush disdain was a realistic apprasial of the U,.N effectivness and honesty.

    As John Bolton rightly said(I am paraphrasing) you could take 9 floors off the U.N and they would not be missed.

    If Obama want to represent us:

    1. He would ask for a reasonable dues structure

    2. He would urge an immediate end to the hate filled, dictator protecting Human Rights council


    But he won't

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  • 11. At 6:52pm on 21 Sep 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    I got the sense from Obama's interviews that he isn't real keen on sending another large contngent of troops to Afghanistan. There was speculation that the General wanted 20,000? When questioned, Obama would not be drawn and stated he had not yet been given a proposal. Fair enough. It'll be interesting to see what the general requests and what he gets.

    To be honest I really don't think often about Afghanistan. This was an altogether different scenario from Iraq and which generally had good support from our allies. Hell, even the French are involved in Afghanistan. I've got to admit ignorance: what is anybody still doing there? Only God knows where Bin Laden is and I agree with another poster who stated that terrorists can be trained anywhere.

    I will say that to a large extent the invaders who toppled a gov't (legitimate or not) and cause disruption in the daily lives of many innocent Afghanis we (the invaders) have a moral obligation to restore order. Maybe we've done our best but maybe there is more work to do.

    With all the talk of carts and horses let us be careful not to step in the ****.

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  • 12. At 7:25pm on 21 Sep 2009, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    No, the UN is not perfect. Conservatives in the US love the UN only in terms of their disdain for it.

    The Human rights council is problematic butI thought there was an attempt to overhaul it? Maybe the 3rd time is the charm?

    The security council is another problem. I think it needs serious membership reform. I opined in another thread that maybe UK, France and Russia get chucked off but perhaps it would be equally good to do away with all permanent veto-wielding seats. WWII ended, what, 65 years ago? The current structure is surely an anachronism. Is it even still relevant? As we saw with GWB, he flipped the UN the bird while sending american bombers and troops to Iraq.

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  • 13. At 7:32pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 2, Simon

    "The whole issue is cod. There was no training in Afghanistan, the 9/11 hijackers trained in the US at US flying schools."

    The Saudi Wahhabist terrorists that flew the planes into the World Trade Center were, indeed, trained at Embry Riddle University in Florida. The leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is from Saudi Arabia and so were the financiers that paid the expenses associated with carrying out that horrible atrocity.

    With that in mind, the question is why did we invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and declared Saudi Arabia a Most Favored Nation for trade purposes? The answer, in my opinion, includes the need to preserve the profitable business deals we have in Saudi Arabia, ensure the House of Saud continues its large purchases of U. S. Treasury bonds, the need to find easy scapegoats to satisfy our desire for revenge after 9/11, and pave the way for the re-election of George W. Bush.

    Al Qaeda did have low level training camps in Afghanistan, there was a distinct possibility that OBL was hiding near the Pakistan border, and the Taleban was either incapable to remove Al Qaeda from its territory or were complicit in their nefarious activities.

    Destroying the Al Qaeda training camps was justified, but there is simply no justification for the indefinite occupation of that Third World country, regardless of how offensive their traditions, laws, values and way of life are to us.




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  • 14. At 7:42pm on 21 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Mark, you've missed a significant part of McChrystall's report.

    He is for arming Afghan tribal militias to fight Talibs.

    And thy're already doing it. Just like tribal militias and vigilantes in Pakistan's Swat Valley.

    Ans as for pipelines somebody mentioned...


    The key pipelies from oil&gas rich Caspian basin run to NATO's staunch ally and member - Turkey.

    And through GEORGIA, not Afghanistan.

    [Turkemens and Kazakhs want to hook up to those pipes as well].

    And that's why Mr. Gazputin is so keen on subjugating Georgia.

    [to keep holding EUSSR by the short&curlies]

    But Russia will never succeed in subjugating any peoples of Caucasus (Balkars, Chechens, Dagestanis, Ingush, etc..)

    Moscow has been trying to do just that for 200 years.
    Without much success.

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  • 15. At 7:51pm on 21 Sep 2009, U13817236 wrote:

    "It is my hunch that he has strategically adopted his current cautious, sceptical tone in order to better sell the policy further down the road" - which would be par for the course. It's all too distressingly familiar, typical of the duplicitous character of Obama, the champion of imperial power and corporate rule masquerading as a man of the people. Corporate Uncle Tom Obama has no more interest in the welfare of ordinary Afghans than he does in the welfare of ordinary Americans, his whole 'hope & change' mantra was concocted to better sell corporate policies "down the road." Obama long ago "hitched his buggy" to corporate interests, which is what both the Demococratic and Republican Parties exist to serve. So he won't find it at all hard to "sell the general's policy to a party"; although the public is a different matter. It's about time credulous people started looking Obama in the mouth -"and one thing is for certain: this beast is not a gift."

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  • 16. At 8:07pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 12, Disco

    "The security council is another problem."

    The UN is, conceptually, a good idea and could be an instrument to solve conflicts worldwide. The problem is the way it was implemented and, particularly, the role and power of the Security Council which transformed that organization from what should have been an advisory role to one with veto-power over the General Assembly.

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  • 17. At 8:19pm on 21 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    Will we eventually learn the lesson that every foreign general going into Afghanistan since Alexander the Great has learnt? No one ever wins.

    Perhaps the US and her allies had not diverted so many resources to Iraq we'd have had more success in Afghan. Still can't expect the right-wing who now lambast Obama for his Afghan position to accept any ressponsibility in the name of their former Pres GWB.

    I'm interested by post 5 Nasuti's ideas of a radically different approach than that of McChrystal.

    Is it remotely possible that a General might want more troops to increase his own prestige and position? After all, which general wants to command an ignominious retreat from a failed campaign.

    It is time to ease back on the Afghan situation, while not abandonning our vigilance of Al-Qaeda in Pakistan. Way more diplomatic pressure should be put on pakistan to clean house.

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  • 18. At 8:35pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    saintDominick (#13) "Al Qaeda did have low level training camps in Afghanistan, there was a distinct possibility that OBL was hiding near the Pakistan border, and the Taleban was either incapable to remove Al Qaeda from its territory or were complicit in their nefarious activities."

    Remeber that the Teleban were taken down because they refused an ultimatum to deliver up Al Qaeda who were operating within Afghanistan. Thus they were complicit. In my view, we (the US, at least; preferably NATO) are justified in going anywhere in the world in order to keep pressure on Al Qaeda. The mission, which I support, is to deny Al Qaeda (and any similar groups) the ability to operate. The strategy for achieving that is what is under consideration.

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  • 19. At 8:38pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    SaindDominick (#13) " ... regardless of how offensive their traditions, laws, values and way of life are to us."

    I add that these considerations are no part of the justification for being in Afghanistan indefinitely. We are there to destroy the ability of Al Qaeda to operate against us.

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  • 20. At 8:51pm on 21 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #12

    I would like some examlples of the U.N doing anything right.

    The Human Rights Council in whatever form can't work when you have amjor violators protected and free speech rights stifled to protect the feelings of Islmaic countries.

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  • 21. At 8:59pm on 21 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Get ready Alpo, I have a plug for you.
    There is going to be a lot of canned talk about your favorite food. Sorry mister ED!
    Ed is not the only talking horse anymore.
    During the Bush Years, Mr. Bush was adamant about attacking certain parts in the middle east or Afghanistan. Mr. Bush said he was reluctant to order any guided missile for the purpose of killing just one stray mule. Fast forward and we now send in the cavalry. The equine element of human intelligence provides the mules a form of entertainment. Ultimately we are no longer wanting to punish perpetrators and terrorists. The Dastardly who have no rules or Geneva conventions, Being given 'citizens rights and legal counsel' continue to plot against us. We would extend health care to those thoroughbreds. Also to the ones seriously hurt or insulted by our dead, we would award a few billion dollars in compensation. Where, do we find the time between all the issues to come up with such diversity? I am sure Castro appreciates the continued commitment this administration has shown for Bush era policies. No wonder so many countries are embracing communist Russia. No, we don't need to be popular, of course not, we have the nuclear weapons! One unpopular comment among a few, The position of witch doctor among certain races is a very dignified one. Only a member with unquestionable status ever becomes a witch doctor. No matter how self described civilized societies portray less developed ones, they should not impose judgments.
    To distance oneself from such is a personal affair. To say it is ridiculous distances oneself from ones roots. The intended insult by some protesters, would if true add to an already prestigious list of accomplishments.

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  • 22. At 9:01pm on 21 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    15. DouglasFeith wrote:
    "It's all too distressingly familiar, typical of the duplicitous character of Obama, the champion of imperial power and corporate rule masquerading as a man of the people."

    Surely you mean Bush? You know there was an election last year and Bush lost!


    "Corporate Uncle Tom Obama has no more interest in the welfare of ordinary Afghans than he does in the welfare of ordinary Americans,"

    Hmmmm! "uncle Tom" .... no comment.
    Obama's policies seem yto be mainly aimed at helping ordinary Americans, if only they'd stop shouting and listen for once.


    "he won't find it at all hard to "sell the general's policy to a party"; although the public is a different matter."

    Perhaps he should put on a big Uncle Sam suit and tell the American People that the dirty Afghans hate apple pie and want to blow up Iowa (we have some intelligence that says so) and so we've got to teach them a lesson. It worked for Bush and Iraq.



    "It's about time credulous people started looking Obama in the mouth"

    We should always keep a good eye on our politicians, but remember that he inherited most of these problems from the previous administration.
    Were you a supporter of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan when Bush was pres?????

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  • 23. At 9:04pm on 21 Sep 2009, KeithFromUS wrote:

    # 11. DiscoStu_d

    "Hell, even the French are involved in Afghanistan."

    Yeah, but no one really likes the French ;) They are just there to spy on us and the Brits because they don't trust us to share!

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  • 24. At 9:06pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    saintDominick (#16) " ... The problem is the way it was implemented and, particularly, the role and power of the Security Council which transformed that organization from what should have been an advisory role to one with veto-power over the General Assembly."

    Perhaps, but the structure is a logical consequence of the fact that we are a world of many sovereign nations. The dominant nations at the time of the formation of the UN would never have agreed to it without the Security Council veto. Nations do not willingly cede sovereignty.

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  • 25. At 9:08pm on 21 Sep 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    The question is: are the civilians actually Taliban or do they want a government that is not run by the Sharia law? What do the actual people (besides the Taliban) want? Do they agree with the Taliban there or do they want to create their own laws? Or are many of the civilians Taliban themselves? It seems like we know what the Taliban want: their Sharia law, to have the "right" to own their women and children, for women and children not to go to school or be educated, for anyone who does not believe in Islam to be executed, for Islam to be the only religion. Pretty much, the Taliban rule is the opposite of freedom and human rights. But what do the people of Afghanistan want? It seems they are too scared or not brave enough to speak up. Perhaps that is the reality in Afghanistan, if you speak up, you likely might get killed. But the blurring between who is a civilian and who is a Taliban is the real problem. The USA wants to help the civilians, but not the Taliban, and it is hard to tell which is which, who is lying or not. The enemy hides behind women and children and detonates bombs, then justifies killing to themselves, much like a psychopath or serial killer. It is time for the Afghan people to stand up and say what they want. But will their religion prevent them from their own freedom?

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  • 26. At 9:12pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#17), "I'm interested by post 5 Nasuti's ideas of a radically different approach than that of McChrystal."

    Nasuti, by the way, seems to be an attorney who was assigned to the Adjutant General, not to a fighting unit.

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  • 27. At 9:17pm on 21 Sep 2009, threnodio wrote:

    #3 - Ridge57

    There are a number of alternatives which were discussed at some length on the Euroblog (when there was one:-) but, essentially, there are routes from Russia via a southern pipeline coming through the Balkans, the new North Sea Route currently under construction, the existing facility via Ukraine with a new storage facility in Hungary and - as a belt and braces exercise - a route through Turkey bringing gas from the Azerbaijan field and - potentially - Khazsakstan. This requires bringing Armenia on board and some kind of stability in Georgia but is practical. Google for details but the idea that Afghanistan is necessary for European energry security is nearly as absurd as the idea that anyone Stateside gives a damn our energy secrurity.

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  • 28. At 9:24pm on 21 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    18 GH
    "The mission, which I support, is to deny Al Qaeda (and any similar groups) the ability to operate. The strategy for achieving that is what is under consideration."

    Al-Qaeda is pretty much gone from Afghanistan, however our continued presence is serving as a great recruitment tool for the Taliban. Sadly the average Afghan peasant doesn't haveh te geopolitical outlook to understand why we are there, and just wants us to get out. This makes them very easy to radicalise.

    Al-Qaeda seem to haverelocated to Somalia or Sudan. Should we invade?
    Many of their operatives are in Pakistan? Invade?

    Unlike Iraq, I did agree with going into Afghanistan after 9/11, and for the reasons you gave. But that job is done and we are now fuelling the very fire we hoped to put out.

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  • 29. At 9:34pm on 21 Sep 2009, Reuben wrote:

    Too win in Iraq requires a level of brutality that policy makers cannot stomach.

    Our leaders want to play by outdated rules of war that none of our enemies have followed for decades, making our soldiers appear weak when our armies do not act as aggressively they should. We catch and hold their fighters at great expense and risk to coalition forces, when we should just kill them all; fly the black flag: No quarter will be offered, no surrender will be accepted, and every enemy fighter must die.

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  • 30. At 9:44pm on 21 Sep 2009, Reuben wrote:

    If and when tribal leaders actually choose to fight the taliban, they will take a tougher stance than any western government will.

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  • 31. At 9:49pm on 21 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    More Obama! Good grief.

    Meanwhile, California is breaking apart from legal norms and may well even cede from the union. Do we had an intrepid man on the ground, covering that crucial story. No. We don't.

    Maybe it is true, what they say. the blog may be the death of investigative journalism.

    Oh, for a better time, when BBC journalists brought in the hard news by tearing themselves away from the comforts of New York and the cheap glamour of the bright UN lights.

    I knew a journalist once who had some bottle. He traveled to all the worst places in Europe, from Latvia to Birmingham, bringing reasonably interesting stories to light.

    But he is gone now. It is all just a memory. There is no hope of getting the arnie interview during the California legal meltdown on this blog.

    There is not even any point bringing it up.

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  • 32. At 9:52pm on 21 Sep 2009, RomeStu wrote:

    26. GH1618 wrote:
    "Nasuti, by the way, seems to be an attorney who was assigned to the Adjutant General, not to a fighting unit."


    I don't get your point. Can only fighting units comment now? Which were you in?

    I believe it is important to hear many points of view before coming to a judgement. Much of the current situation leads me to believe that more troops will not solve anything inthe long term. Eventually we will pull them out, and the problems will start again.

    I would like to see more of the change that Obama promised.

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  • 33. At 9:55pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 25, Illinoisan

    The Taliban does not have a formal army, navy or air force. Consequently, the most logical term to describe the Afghan resistance to foreign invaders is "insurgents", which by definition is a civilian armed uprising.

    Their ability to remain a formidable force in a country without the resources necessary to resist the most powerful military forces in the world suggest that they must enjoy the support of a large segment of the population, pretty much the same way the Viet Cong did five decades ago.

    Intuitively, I would say that the country is divided on the issue of Sharia Law, and that a fairly significant segment of the population objects to the way women are treated; but that doesn't mean they are going to embrace Western values and our system of government any time soon. In fact, what seems to unite them is their antipathy to foreign influences which became patently clear when Russia tried to occupy that country and is equally evident now.

    Understandably, the Afghan people want to restore their sovereignty and reject foreign interferrence in their internal affairs as we would under similar circumstances.

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  • 34. At 9:58pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    25. At 9:08pm on 21 Sep 2009, Illinoisan wrote:
    The question is: are the civilians actually Taliban or do they want a government that is not run by the Sharia law? What do the actual people (besides the Taliban) want? Do they agree with the Taliban there or do they want to create their own laws? Or are many of the civilians Taliban themselves"


    Wel didn't you know the Taliban descended from the planet Zog? Where do you think they come from genius?


    "It seems we know what the Taliban want: their Sharia law, to have the "right" to own their women and children, for women and children not to go to school or be educated, for anyone who does not believe in Islam to be executed, for Islam to be the only religion. Pretty much, the Taliban rule is the opposite of freedom and human rights. But what do the people of Afghanistan want? It seems they are too scared or not brave enough to speak up. Perhaps that is the reality in Afghanistan, if you speak up, you likely might get killed. But the blurring between who is a civilian and who is a Taliban is the real problem. The USA wants to help the civilians, but not the Taliban, and it is hard to tell which is which, who is lying or not. The enemy hides behind women and children and detonates bombs, then justifies killing to themselves, much like a psychopath or serial killer. It is time for the Afghan people to stand up and say what they want. But will their religion prevent them from their own freedom? "

    Their religion has nothing to do with it. What the Afghans want is first and foremost peace and order. After years of murderous conflict with the Russians then the US backed warlords they would obey anyone who offers peace.

    They probably regard school as little value if there are no jobs and the rockets and fighting make going too and fro dangerous.

    They probably also do not beleive that making a little tick on a piece of paper means much either.

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  • 35. At 9:59pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 24, GH1618

    "Nations do not willingly cede sovereignty."

    True, that is the reason most Third World nations and the developing world object to the ability of a few superpowers to impose their will on the majority of the world population.

    Obviously, events have always been controlled by the most powerful and history is not written by the vanquished or the weak...

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  • 36. At 10:03pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    20. At 8:51pm on 21 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #12

    I would like some examlples of the U.N doing anything right."


    Setting up Israel, that earthly paradise.

    Don't you think that was a good idea.?

    Changed your tune.

    Prevented the US and Russia blowing up the world. - also a good idea.

    Managed to keep many Palestinians alive and got them medical care/food against the Israeli blockade.

    "The Human Rights Council in whatever form can't work when you have amjor violators protected and free speech rights stifled to protect the feelings of Islmaic countries."

    Does free speech apply to the Palestinians? Black people? Native Americans Or only to nice white people?

    The US backing of Israeli occupation has corrupted the UN. And encouraged other countries to oppress and conquer others.

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  • 37. At 10:13pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    14. At 7:42pm on 21 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:
    Mark, you've missed a significant part of McChrystall's report.

    He is for arming Afghan tribal militias to fight Talibs.

    And thy're already doing it. Just like tribal militias and vigilantes in Pakistan's Swat Valley."


    They have done this from time immemorial. That's how the drug lords got established.

    Still the US has always stood for free enterprise.

    Ans as for pipelines somebody mentioned...


    The key pipelies from oil&gas rich Caspian basin run to NATO's staunch ally and member - Turkey."


    Staunch ally? How many thousands of Turkish troops are there in Afghanistan?

    NATO included Greece and Turkey, thus making the alliance meaningless in that area.

    "And that's why Mr. Gazputin is so keen on subjugating Georgia.

    [to keep holding EUSSR by the short&curlies]"

    And the Ukraine etc, but apparently this genius is as talented with geography as with history.

    Mr Putin wanted to show how these countries cannot rely on outside help if they want to provoke the Soviet Union. And he showed it very clearly. George Bush did not even send a plumber.

    "But Russia will never succeed in subjugating any peoples of Caucasus (Balkars, Chechens, Dagestanis, Ingush, etc..)

    Moscow has been trying to do just that for 200 years.
    Without much success."


    Really. Well that is news. I and the rest of the world rather thought Uncle Joe and his mates had a reasonable amount of success. Beria specialised in subduing these areas. In fact Russia dominated these areas with relatively little trouble. And continues to do so.

    Clearly Russia is not your subject.

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  • 38. At 10:15pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#28) "Al-Qaeda seem to haverelocated to Somalia or Sudan. Should we invade?
    Many of their operatives are in Pakistan? Invade?"


    We have made attacks on Al Qaeda in Somalia, and continue to do so in Pakistan. Details of strategy and tactics vary with the situation. What does not vary is the mission to destroy those who would commit acts of terror against the US (or other NATO countries).

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  • 39. At 10:18pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#28) "But that job is done and we are now fuelling the very fire we hoped to put out."

    That may well be true; I'm not going to try to refute it.

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  • 40. At 10:19pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    19. At 8:38pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:
    SaindDominick (#13) " ... regardless of how offensive their traditions, laws, values and way of life are to us."

    I add that these considerations are no part of the justification for being in Afghanistan indefinitely. We are there to destroy the ability of Al Qaeda to operate against us."

    Meaningless. Al Qaeda is just a bogey man to frighten voters. The commies don't fill the bill so someone else needed to be found.

    It is practically impossible to destroy an idea by force and certainly such a nebulous organsation like Al Qaeda. It doesn't need Afghanistan and hasn't done since the internet was invented.

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  • 41. At 10:19pm on 21 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #16

    Considering the General Assembly is a 1 vote system and is dominated by authortorian dictators or islamic leaders who uses Sharia law; this body can not be trusted.

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  • 42. At 10:23pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    democracythreat (#31) "Meanwhile, California is breaking apart from legal norms and may well even cede from the union."

    You know nothing about California. It's about time the BBC got the EuroBlog going again, to provide topics within your experience.

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  • 43. At 10:25pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    13. At 7:32pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 2, Simon

    "The whole issue is cod. There was no training in Afghanistan, the 9/11 hijackers trained in the US at US flying schools."

    The Saudi Wahhabist terrorists that flew the planes into the World Trade Center were, indeed, trained at Embry Riddle University in Florida. The leader of Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden, is from Saudi Arabia and so were the financiers that paid the expenses associated with carrying out that horrible atrocity.

    With that in mind, the question is why did we invade Afghanistan and Iraq, and declared Saudi Arabia a Most Favored Nation for trade purposes? The answer, in my opinion, includes the need to preserve the profitable business deals we have in Saudi Arabia, ensure the House of Saud continues its large purchases of U. S. Treasury bonds, the need to find easy scapegoats to satisfy our desire for revenge after 9/11, and pave the way for the re-election of George W. Bush.

    Al Qaeda did have low level training camps in Afghanistan, there was a distinct possibility that OBL was hiding near the Pakistan border, and the Taleban was either incapable to remove Al Qaeda from its territory or were complicit in their nefarious activities.

    Destroying the Al Qaeda training camps was justified, but there is simply no justification for the indefinite occupation of that Third World country, regardless of how offensive their traditions, laws, values and way of life are to us."

    It is clear that Afghanistan has become a different issue to the US and UK - the fear of humiliation.

    This always spells disaster. When people start changing the story, inventing new justifications, claiming victories then trying to explain why they have had no effect, you know a campaign is in trouble.

    It sounds like McChrystal knows this is disastorous and is making demands he knows won't be met - that way he avoids failure being sheeted home to him.

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  • 44. At 10:30pm on 21 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    10. At 6:33pm on 21 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    Part of former President's Bush disdain was a realistic apprasial of the U,.N effectivness and honesty.

    As John Bolton rightly said(I am paraphrasing) you could take 9 floors off the U.N and they would not be missed."


    John Bolton was replaced quite swiftly and proved himself to be utterely incompetent. Rice got him sidelined quite effectively.

    It was widely known he had a chip on his shoulder which prevented him from being effective. Apparently something to do with his family embittered him.

    "If Obama want to represent us:

    1. He would ask for a reasonable dues structure

    2. He would urge an immediate end to the hate filled, dictator protecting Human Rights council"

    And no doubt appoint Ariel Sharon as permanent president.

    Your problem with the UN is the same as your problem with Mother Theresa et al. It starts with I and finishes with L

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  • 45. At 10:37pm on 21 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#32) "I don't get your point. Can only fighting units comment now?"

    Anyone may comment, of course. The point is that Nasuti cited his military rank as if that were a credential which should give greater weight to his opinions. It does not, in my opinion.

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  • 46. At 10:57pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 20, Magic

    I think it is important to point out that in spite of claims advanced by ultra right wing ideologues the UN is very popular and highly respected worldwide. Their ability to promote international economic and social cooperation, the ability of the International Court of Justice to deal with complex legal matters, the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in fighting disease in Third World countries, the role of the World Food Program (WFP) to fight poverty, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)and UNESCO are highly respected and efficient.

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  • 47. At 11:01pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 41, Magic

    "Considering the General Assembly is a 1 vote system and is dominated by authortorian dictators or islamic leaders who uses Sharia law; this body can not be trusted."

    Are you referring to Mubarak, the House of Saud, and all the other totalitarian leaders we love to hate? In any case, suggesting that Islamic countries control the UN General Assembly is unsubstantiated hyperbole that does not contribute to a civil discussion of the issue at hand and does not reflect reality. When it comes to dictatorial control of the UN you have to go no further than the permanent members of the Security Council.

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  • 48. At 11:29pm on 21 Sep 2009, froghawk wrote:

    Let's see, we armed the Afghans and possibly the "proto- Al Qaida" types in order to kill Russians as they were trying to secure their southern border (per Wilson's War). Then they turned on us after the fundamentalists ousted the socialists. Then we went in to get Osama, a Saudi prince, and failed. Now "they", the Taliban and an unidentifiable insurgency or Afghan Patriots, depending on your view, are using U.S. and Soviet weapons against NATO troops with a flourish of ambushes galore. I say it took us and the Soviets to make this mess and only a coalition of us ,the Russians, and the Chinese will fix it. The more the merrier in this quagmire. Yes, it will take more than a village to transcend the failed Narco state currently in power in Afghanistan.

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  • 49. At 11:38pm on 21 Sep 2009, oldhoodoo wrote:

    BO seems to be trying to go back to the first Bush strategy of catching OBL and destroying Al Queda before GBII blinked at Tora Bora when he had a chance for a decisive crushing victory and let OBL slip away (this was not GBII's fault, losing grasp of victory was something he genetically inherited from GBI). This ignores the fact that the mission has changed irrevocably and the Taliban are now the prime enemy as they are determined not to relinquish control of Afghanistan. The Taliban was and are the hosts from which Al Queda feeds. BO talks of killing OBL as if he were a mafia don putting out a contract. He also talks of nuke, bio, and chemical threats, none of which took down the towers. BO can't make himself do what needs to be done although he knows what needs to be done...like Bush, he needs needs courage, but it is lacking....BO will blink just like the GB's did...and it's going to get messy.

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  • 50. At 00:05am on 22 Sep 2009, Mitchell Ortiz wrote:

    They should install a strong leader with the support of the military.
    That's how all the successful countries start.

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  • 51. At 00:09am on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    46. At 10:57pm on 21 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 20, Magic

    I think it is important to point out that in spite of claims advanced by ultra right wing ideologues the UN is very popular and highly respected worldwide. Their ability to promote international economic and social cooperation, the ability of the International Court of Justice to deal with complex legal matters, the role of the World Health Organization (WHO) in fighting disease in Third World countries, the role of the World Food Program (WFP) to fight poverty, the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)and UNESCO are highly respected and efficient."


    This poster dislikes the UN because it does not endorse the Israeli occupation and insists on trying to feed the Palestinians.

    He has no more idea what the organisation is then of advanced nuclear physics.

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  • 52. At 00:12am on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    30. At 9:44pm on 21 Sep 2009, GreySquirrel1867 wrote:
    If and when tribal leaders actually choose to fight the taliban, they will take a tougher stance than any western government will."

    If by tough you mean a lot more women and children will be slaughtered then probably.

    Though why you shouold find this so wonderful is a mystery.

    If you think it will have any effect on terrorism, make the country more peaceful or inhibit the vast drug trade you are fooling yourself.

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  • 53. At 00:31am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #51

    I am sure the woman raped by U.N workers in Africa agree with you. The U.N allows real Human rights violators like Islamic facists, Robert Mugabe and Burma to go unpunished.

    Yet gets outraged when little Israel defends itself.

    Most of the world has nothing but contempt for the U.N and it's mandates.

    Sell the building, it could solve the homeless crisis in the grater NY area.

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  • 54. At 00:34am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref
    #44

    Aroiel Sharon has done more for peace and fighting terrorism than frauds and hypocrites like Annan and Desmond Tutu.

    If the U.N truly wishes to show they are interested in having a more useful role. an Israeli should be the next U.N secretary as a message to the Arab nations who have supported terrorism against Israel.

    Then maybe we can address minor issues like a Palestinian state (which they have done nothing to earn)

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  • 55. At 00:38am on 22 Sep 2009, qrichards wrote:

    ref #22
    ----
    ""15. DouglasFeith wrote:
    "It's all too distressingly familiar, typical of the duplicitous character of Obama, the champion of imperial power and corporate rule masquerading as a man of the people."
    Surely you mean Bush? You know there was an election last year and Bush lost!""
    ----
    Bush did not lose... He didn't even run...

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  • 56. At 00:54am on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Things that American/Islamic do not know;


    Why Americans are trying to help Afghans.!

    That They cannot practice Islamic doctrine in America!

    That Killing those who don't embrace the Islamic practice is not acceptable!

    That Hitting twin towers in America with passenger planes is wrong.

    That Blowing up US ships in Yemen is forbidden!

    That Hiding Bin Laden is a crime!

    That Blowing themselves up in public is not allowed!

    That Getting captured is bad for their health!

    That 'Resistance is futile'!

    That We will assimilate you!

    That xoF krowteN is a code word for Fox Network!

    That the CIA Is not the real enemy!

    That Obama did not know 'Acorn' had * billion$$$ in federal funding!

    That white/black American protesters are not all troublemakers!

    That a spud is spelled
    p o t a t o!

    http://www.potatoes.com/













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  • 57. At 00:59am on 22 Sep 2009, publiusdetroit wrote:

    Ref 54 MagicKirin

    "Aroiel Sharon has done more for peace and fighting terrorism than frauds and hypocrites like Annan and Desmond Tutu."

    We'll certainly put his name on the list. Where to we find this great humanitarian? Is he in the phone book?

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  • 58. At 01:16am on 22 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 54, Magic

    "...an Israeli should be the next U.N secretary as a message to the Arab nations who have supported terrorism against Israel."

    Not a bad idea provided his predecessor is a Muslim capable of sending an unambiguous message to Israel letting them know that expansionism and atrocities will no longer be tolerated.

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  • 59. At 01:58am on 22 Sep 2009, Dan wrote:

    Obama will be judged as a good president by how quickly he gets U.S. troops out of Iraq, and Afganistan. So far, I'd rate him a "C".

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  • 60. At 02:53am on 22 Sep 2009, David wrote:

    #5,

    Your comment is very interesting. It gives the armed forces good ideas on how to deal with Afghanistan and their war there.

    Hearts and Minds...what does that actually mean?

    This and other plans to deal with Afghanistan and its people could actually work ...unfortunately, long term plans (spending money wisely as well) may work better to achieve Obama's goals.

    People should not be killed willy nilly. Or any other way in a "war on terror."

    Good for you for your work on this.:)

    Sorry, if this was covered before this comment.

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  • 61. At 02:57am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    There is a rare phenomenon this week; there's a full moon all week.

    Only that could explain these examples of lunacy:

    15. DouglasFeith wrote: "Corporate Uncle Tom Obama"

    18. GH1618 wrote: "In my view, we (the US, at least; preferably NATO) are justified in going anywhere in the world in order to keep pressure on Al Qaeda."

    21. ranter22 wrote: "No wonder so many countries are embracing communist Russia."

    29, GreySquirrel1867 wrote: "We should just kill them all; fly the black flag: No quarter will be offered, no surrender will be accepted, and every enemy fighter must die."

    31. democracythreat wrote: "
Meanwhile, California is breaking apart from legal norms and may well even cede from the union."

    41. MagicKirin wrote: "the General Assembly is a 1 vote system and is dominated by authortorian dictators or islamic leaders who uses Sharia law"

    48. froghawk wrote: "I say it took us and the Soviets to make this mess and only a coalition of us, the Russians, and the Chinese will fix it."

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  • 62. At 03:06am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    31. At 9:49pm on 21 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    "I knew a journalist once who had some bottle. He traveled to all the worst places in Europe, from Latvia to Birmingham."

    That makes me really brave, then. I lived in Birmingham for a while. Can I have a medal? Why on earth Birmingham and Latvia should be among the 'worst places in Europe' I simply cannot imagine.

    (Unless the fact that Birmingham has a number of people of Indian, Pakistani and Caribbean origin living within the city boundaries has something to do with it?)

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  • 63. At 03:09am on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    "A nation which has forgotten the quality of courage which in the past has been brought to public life is not as likely to insist upon or regard that quality in its chosen leaders today - and in fact we have forgotten".
    John F. Kennedy

    one more


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  • 64. At 03:19am on 22 Sep 2009, HistoryJumper wrote:

    First, the American people have been dealt too much mushroom management, as in keep them in the dark and feed them a bunch of manure.” “Trust me” no longer convinces.

    General McKiernan, who oversaw the US-led ground attack that toppled Iraq’s Saddam Hussein in 2003, was sacked so he could be replaced by General McChrystal. Just before sacking, General McKiernan pushed for an additional 30,000 troops. General McChrystal is pushing for an additional 40,000 troops. Startling.

    Where is General Petraeus in all this? General McChrystal is the field general serving General Petraeus. Obviously General Petraeus has sent General McChrystal out as point man on patrol with this request. Of course there will be a Senate hearing and General Petraeus plans to ride to the rescue. If it played out that way, General Petraeus would leave the President holding the bag for the outcome.

    President Obama is not playing that political game and is not merely delaying for better political timing as you imply. By President Obama stating he wants to see a more convincing strategy, he is tossing the responsibility for the outcome back into the lap of the suddenly invisible General Petraeus.

    If General Petraeus can recommend a workable strategy with implementing tactics, fine. If not, then it will be up to him to explain to the President and the United States people why continuing with occupation forces in Afghanistan is not workable. At his side, President Obama has two able adults: Secretary of Defense Gates and National Security Advisor, former Marine four-star general, General David Jones.

    We Americans need facts. Why do we continue in Afghanistan? We originally entered the country to root out Al Qaeda and destroy Osama bin Laden both of which were hosted by the Taliban. Osama bin Laden was the driving force, using his 300 million dollar fortune to attack the U.S., apparently to try and rally Islamic dissidents around him so he could take down the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia that had kicked him out. His money is gone and apparently so is his controlling influence.

    Do the remaining Taliban plan on attacking us? Do the Taliban plan on destabilizing Pakistan? Are the Taliban malleable by the Iranians? What are the compelling, realistic strategic reasons we’re fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan?

    Look at a topographic map of Afghanistan. It’s a giant military-force trap complete with logistics nightmare.

    How does General MacChrystal define “failure?” Dunkirk at Kabul? Taliban take-over of the Afghanistan government and telling us to leave? Inability to keep troops in strategic villages in enough force they won’t be annihilated and can gather intelligence, per General Petraeus’ JSOC strategy?

    Jumper

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  • 65. At 03:35am on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Send in acorn, they got 8 billion and that is more than 300 million.

    Domestic policy can only defeat us; foreign policy can kill us.
    John F. Kennedy

    I suspect the only possible reasonable thing to do is try and ask 40,000 if they want to go. I will tell you something right now, those who signed up to get a college education are going to get one they may never have signed up for. Then again, they don't have the ability to say no.

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  • 66. At 03:45am on 22 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    You can't sanitize war. There is no winning a war if you are worried about such triflings as atrocities, war crimes, killing civilians. War ain't cricket. Never was, never will be. Since the US is not going to fight to win, it needs to get out. But before it leaves, it needs to put a strong man in place, preferably one friendly to us even if it appears to the public he's keeping us at arms length. The Shah of Iran was a good example. I think most Afghans would be perfectly happy with a strong man type like Musshariff was in Pakistan. You can't expect ten centuries of social development in ten years, nor can your build the infrastructure of an entire nation the size of Afghanistan overnight even if you didn't have the Taleban blowing it up as fast as you built it. So what we need to do is help them build an army, find a strong dictator who will become entrenched, have him appear to throw us out, send him money for sustaining his power and bribes we will call "war reparations" and he will keep the Taleban out for us. That's all he has to do. And we won't care how he does it even if he has to burn down half of Kandahar and kill half its inhabitants to do it.

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  • 67. At 03:47am on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Health care:

    Having
    Everyone
    Added
    Literally
    To
    Hospital
    Computers
    And
    Relegating
    Economy

    No kidding!

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  • 68. At 04:07am on 22 Sep 2009, David wrote:

    It's a full moon? Neat.

    But, I do think to win in Afghanistan its going to take 20 years and ...well, ...poor Obama.

    And I think (sorry for this) Obama is the Reagan of the Democrats (knock on wood).

    When the economy bounces back, they won't be saying... Jimmy Carter, they be saying ...Reagan..and I wasn't a big fan of Reagan

    ...needless to say.

    And IMO, Jimmy Carter was right. He was only saying the protests were tainted...he did not say that they ALL were racists. :)

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  • 69. At 04:23am on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Reads like evaluative descriptive jargon, although, not very well concealed.

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  • 70. At 04:30am on 22 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 71. At 05:21am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    68. At 04:07am on 22 Sep 2009, stellarBeloved wrote:

    It's a full moon? Neat

    I wrote that a week-long full moon is a rare phenomenon, but a recent study of the myth of climate change and global warming from the US showed it is becoming less so. Neither being man made, but due only to a cyclical minor alteration in the orbits of the earth and moon. One of the effects is to lengthen the phases of the moon for a period, so the full moon lasts longer. Variations in the earth's atmosphere and the effects of parallax mean the phenomenon is most clearly viewed from the US mid-West and south, New Jersey in the north east, Switzerland (rather oddly--could it be something to do with the mountains?) and parts of the eastern Mediterranean.

    Consequently, as happens during all full moons we can expect more lunatic outpourings lasting rather longer than usual.

    {Source: Studies in Creation and Darwinism"Global Warming: In the Orbit of God, Man or Nature?", Oct. 2009]

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  • 72. At 05:29am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    I have a feeling that over the next ten days or so, Obama (to continue Mark's horsey metaphor--I admire it greatly!) is going to suffer the media and blogging equivalent of the punishment meted out to Robert-Francois Damiens.

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  • 73. At 07:00am on 22 Sep 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    Let me posit three illuminating tales, that I believe can shed some light here.

    Sir Kay was as you all should know, Arthur's foster brother and seneschal of his palace. He was responsible for the practical management of all that went on at court, all the food, drink, housing and stabling, etiquette and ceremony, feasts and festivals, mud, water, and beer. In Steinbeck's posthumous 'Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights', modeled after Mallory, Lancelot asks Kay what had happened to his prowess in battle, for it was well known that Kay had been Arthur's champion in the early years of consolidating the kingdom. But now Kay rarely entered any tourneys, and always got a severe drubbing when he did.

    "It's these tiny xciii's and mmcccv's that have killed my courage", Kay replied, "They are like tiny biting ants running up and down the legders, eating away at my confidence, filling even my dreams with horrors and fear. A thousand details to attend to, the inexorable records that must be kept, the knowing of a certainty that there will not be enough casks of ale ready to display Arthur's largess. No warrior could go into battle if he actually knew what the odds were that he would not return alive, or the true likelihood that he would be horribly maimed and spend the rest of his days a pitiable cripple. Courage evaporates under their inexorable assault." Thus begins a tale that demonstrates Lancelot's true heart and friendship.


    My wife was discussing the level of expertise required of her preschool teachers, how they needed to know the appropriate levels of development of their three- and four-year old charges, how to see their successes, potentials, weaknesses, and developmental problems. She went on to discuss competing curricula, teaching strategies, medical conditions, diseases, federal and state and health department regulations, normal and abnormal psychological symptoms and appropriate responses, and a host of other issues so that they could help the kids become ready for education in the public schools. A four year college degree is not required for this position, let alone one in early childhood development, nor yet formal training to address the problems that so many of her children bring with them to her school. Compensation is minimal, commensurate with the training requirements.
    The cost of medical care in America reflects the comparable complexity of skills, knowledge, and compassion we expect from medical caregivers, but in an industry in which cost has been no object. As our society becomes ever more sophisticated and complex, as our understanding or at least the literature on a subject expands generation by generation, is it any wonder that more and more of us find ourselves unable to pay for the best, just as we are enabled to know that it is available?


    There appear to be several nations east of the West and west of the East, who are not prepared for Democracy. Whether it is temperament, tradition, or millenia of tragic experience, they trust a dictator, a 'strong man', more readily than they do themselves.
    I heard today on NPR that Grozny, the capital of Chechnya, has been completely rebuilt after Russian bombing had reduced it to rubble. There were hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings, markets, even a vast new Mosque, the largest in all Russia, which is surrounded by acres of manicured gardens. This week the war with Chechnya was officially declared over.
    This is the work of a man whom Putin had given a 'free hand' to resolve the Chechyn rebellion and set the nation on the road to its future. Terror runs in the streets, the police and other armed bands abduct anyone suspected of opposing the new man's rule - repression is designed to pursue even the families of resisters. Some Chechyns say they need such a strong man to end the violence of decades. Some say there is more fear now than ever before. It would appear Putin knows his business. Give them Islam, take away their choice, and take away their self government.
    Nation building in the middle east may not be what we think it should be. As seems to be true for the Russians themselves, maybe democracy itself is considered too dangerous, too complex a path to walk unafraid.

    The world is not yet homogeneous, as we would like it to be. We sometimes do not see ourselves looking out of the mirror.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 74. At 08:39am on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#53 MagicKirin wrote:


    Most of the world has nothing but contempt for the U.N and it's mandates.

    Sell the building [UN Hdqts], it could solve the homeless crisis in the greater NY area.





    When Ronald Reagan was a president, certain Security Council members threatened to move U.N. out of U.S.

    The then deputy chief of U.S. mission then offered to wave goodby when the proponents and the rest of the bunch "sail into sunset".

    And guess what. They didn't set sails for Ougaudougou, Moscow, Harare, Pyonyong or any other capital.

    As a matter of fact they're still here, lording it in New York streets, since they can't lord it anwhere else. "And the living is easy".


    P.S. As for Russians subjugating Caucasus...

    Everybody and their grandmother can see how effectively peoples of Caucasus have been subjugated by putinesque Russia. With not a single week pasing without Chechens, Dagestanis, Ingushes, etc., demonstrating their obedience to Moscow and expressig their brotherly love by assassinating its lackeys.

    Sure, Kremlin reigns supreme in the Cacasus. ;-)

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  • 75. At 08:59am on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    #31

    I agree, that California's (or more precisely Sacramento's) current predicament would be a fascinating story and quite instructive.

    Particularly regarding the role of a welfare state, and of a government's inabililty to balance its budget.{not only in CA]

    Is it underreported? Not in the U.S.

    Is it underreported by BBC? Well, you have answered that question.

    But then, this is a typical mistake of many foreign journalists.

    They seem to think that by watching White House and Congress, Wall Street and Hollywood and visiting Harvard and Berkeley they'll uderstand what makes America tick.

    And then they are usually mightily suprised, e.g. come election time, that Americans haven't behaved exactly as they thought Americans would.
    No surprise here.

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  • 76. At 09:22am on 22 Sep 2009, democracythreat wrote:

    You got me, GH1618. California is not about to cede from the union.

    I was wrong about that. I might even have kinda made it all up, just to be contrary.

    But there is no getting a gosh darn thing past the snapping whips on this forum.

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  • 77. At 09:24am on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re#73 "It would appear Putin knows his business"




    Certainly. And that's why he's put his strong man, Kadyrov in charge.

    [Kadyrov junior, that is; Kadyrov senior was assasinated not long after being 'elected']

    And that's why independent journalists (such as Anna Politkovskaya) and human rights activists (such as Estermirova and Sadulayeva) are being murdered on a regular basis. By "unknown assailants" whose organisational afiliation can somehow never be established.

    And that in the "new, improved" democratic country run effectively by intelligence and security services.

    Surprise, surprise.

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  • 78. At 09:58am on 22 Sep 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    Apologies if it's already been posted, but I think that there is possibly a misunderstanding of Gen. McChrystal's recommendations. According to an interview yesterday on NPR's Fresh Air, I believe it was Sen. Carl Levin who claimed that the whole focus of the report is a change of strategy- and that, if the strategy iss not quickly changed, then the General calls for immediate abandonment of the war in Afghanistan.

    I haven't had time to process the whole thing yet, but it's an interesting perspective- and if true then one the major media have gotten completely wrong by emphasizing a supposed call for more troops.

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  • 79. At 10:44am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 80. At 10:47am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #68

    What Cater the failure said (paraphrasing) was that the protesters were fueled by r their refusal to accept a black man as President.

    Even Obama hasa publicly disagreed.

    For a man who has been wrong for most of his adult life, Jimmy Carter should do the world a favor and shut up. Keep building houses for Habitat the only service you have done in the last 30 years.

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  • 81. At 11:17am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    79. At 10:44am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Well there have 2 of the last 3 Gen sec have been moslem: Bourtras Gahli(sp) and Annan

    Don't let the truth get in the way of your prejudices, will you? The Ghali family might be Egyptian and Arab, but they are actually Christian. As you'd know from his first name, in fact, if you knew anything. It is actually the Coptic 'Petros', or Peter.

    Khofi Annan's professed religion I don't know, but he was educated at a Methodist boarding school. So he could actually share the same faith as G. W. Bush.

    I don't suppose you'll apologise for misleading people, will you?

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  • 82. At 11:21am on 22 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 64, History

    "Obviously General Petraeus has sent General McChrystal out as point man on patrol with this request. Of course there will be a Senate hearing and General Petraeus plans to ride to the rescue."

    And within months he will announce his decision to retire, will immidiately become the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, and a formidable contender in 2012...

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  • 83. At 11:58am on 22 Sep 2009, Isenhorn wrote:

    75. At 08:59am on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:
    'And then they are usually mightily suprised, e.g. come election time, that Americans haven't behaved exactly as they thought Americans would.
    No surprise here.'

    Well, as a matter of fact the foreign journalists were quite correct in expecting that the larger proportion of Americans would have the common sence to elect the better man at the last election. What they were indeed surprised by, was the fact that a sizeable proportion of Americans actually thought that S. Palin could do the job of a Vice-President.
    *******************************************
    74. At 08:39am on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:
    Re#53 MagicKirin wrote:


    Everybody and their grandmother can see how effectively peoples of Caucasus have been subjugated by putinesque Russia. With not a single week pasing without Chechens, Dagestanis, Ingushes, etc., demonstrating their obedience to Moscow and expressig their brotherly love by assassinating its lackeys.

    Sure, Kremlin reigns supreme in the Cacasus. ;-)'

    As does Uncle Sam in Afghanistan and Iraq. With one difference- the US of A does not even have any lackeys in Afghnaistan, with Pres. Karzai 'daring' to lead his own policies, without the direct 'guidance of his 'masters'.

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  • 84. At 12:13pm on 22 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 85. At 12:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 79, Magic

    The strongest condemnation of Israel by the UN was probably Resolution 3379 when Mr. Waldheim, an Austrian, was Secretary General. It stated, among other things, that Zionism was influenced by racism.

    Insinuating that Kofi Annan and Boutros Ghali were Muslim activists is consistent with the terrifying statement made by a woman in the Carolinas during the last presidential campaign when she claimed that Barack Obama was...an Arab! Mixing religion, culture and ethnicity seems to be one of the most prevalent "attributes" for those determined to demonize the victims of one of the worst atrocities and travesties of justice in modern history.

    IMO, Dag Hammarskjöld was the best UN Secretary General.

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  • 86. At 12:49pm on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 87. At 1:17pm on 22 Sep 2009, squirrelist wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 88. At 1:18pm on 22 Sep 2009, PARRISIA_GREECE wrote:

    Afganistan is the definition of a quagmire. It has always been a failed state. There is not use losing lives and expending more resources on a hopeless case. The US et al ought to get out and fast

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  • 89. At 1:20pm on 22 Sep 2009, PARRISIA_GREECE wrote:

    btw, Mark, what do you think of the president's increasing reliance on humor and his frequent appearances on comedy shows?

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  • 90. At 1:34pm on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

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  • 91. At 1:44pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    The general said 60% of the problem would go away if people had Jobs.Every crap hole in the world and even our country comes down to jobs and education.China billion plus slaves are making jobs hard for any country to get.My cousin is serving in Afghanistan he said the poverty there makes Detroit look like a paradise,he like me is from the Detroit Metro.The people there are so poor they collect soldiers garbage(plastic containers,dirty clothing,many soldiers choose not to do laundry they just throw away anything but their uniforms and people clean and sometimes sell their used things.Whole parts of major cities don't have electricity or plumbing.People steal copper piping and wire.Destroy Roads.How do change Afghanistan without nation building?Democracy works best with a educated population even Teddy Roosevelt said as much when we had collected territories.The amount of people would can't read is disturbing.And the numbers of children who sit around with nothing to do is very sad.I think we should do what we have done for other Territories even though Afghan isn't a territory but build the country and let it go free or just leave because if you don't help with the social problems than there is nothing you can do but waste time,money, and our brave young who are willing to serve.I personally would rather leave and use resources for our own poverty ridden cities big and small,However if the whole world including Europe which is the richest place in the world would commit real assistance to the people it can be achieved however I don't think the US can afford it money wise alone.Or maybe the US could use money paid to Egypt and Israel and other leech countries and use it in Afghanistan instead.I don't know.

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  • 92. At 2:06pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    Of course the US should probably leave Afghanistan Europe won't commit anything to help any people outside of Europe,(the richest continent of the world )just wants the rest of us to argue with each other to get what they want.Following European advise From WW1,after WW2 during Cold war and now after has cause our country the US a lot of grief and problems that usually only benefits Europe why should I care about European safety.Let them solve their own problems using their own money and lives.Enjoy it while it last Europe because Gen X isn't going to put up with it anymore.That's the President real problem Cold war get it done Baby Boomers and Gen X who are a bunch of America first isolationists.There's plenty of examples like the unification of Germany,Shooting Iraq official and placing a Shaw,Letting terrorists go for oil contracts,Oil for Food scam,there is so much more can't list them all of Euro deceptions.By the way Britain started the Zionist movement to Israel when it was their territory.We get a lot of blame for things French and British started because we foolishly continue there policies of failure when they only benefit Europe.

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  • 93. At 2:23pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #64 HistoryJumper wrote:

    Do the remaining Taliban plan on attacking us? Do the Taliban plan on destabilizing Pakistan?





    Yes, and that Q. Khan's created nuclear Pakistan is at present more dangerous than Islamic Repubic of Uran[nium], since the latter has yet to aquire ( read: buy from "new improved" democratic Russia) weaponized warheads which Saijil missiles could carry all the way to ...Glasgow, let alone London.


    P.S. Please, remind me, who were those 'British subjects' who have just recently been sentenced to life (unless "compassioned grounds" are taken into consideration by a "premier from BP").

    Inquiring minds want to know.





    Are the Taliban malleable by the Iranians? What are the compelling, realistic strategic reasons we’re fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan?

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  • 94. At 2:35pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 95. At 2:58pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #$82 saintDominick wrote;

    And within months he [gen. Petreus] will announce his decision to retire, will immidiately become the frontrunner for the GOP nomination, and a formidable contender in 2012...





    Well, given a choice between Petreus and Osama in charge of U.S. national security....

    Let's hope that Mr. Osama is found by then;

    be it in Tora Bora, or Bora Bora.

    [Mr. Obama seems to be quite determined to find Mr. Osama]

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  • 96. At 3:36pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    THE EURO BLOG IS NOW UP AND RUNNING>
    THANKS FOR THE HOBNOBS> HOPE YOU ENJOYED YOUR STAY.

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  • 97. At 3:48pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    91 faeyth
    not to belittle your post but they steel copper here int he staes;)
    tweekers.

    "The general said 60% of the problem would go away if people had Jobs."

    That was the experience in Ireland.
    the huge investment in jobs there made it so the average joe was more for going to work and getting a wage than getting into the troubles with the hope of a bit of cash one day.

    The roadmap for peace is simple really.

    Help them.

    If after the attacks of 9/11 we had responded to the earthquake that devastated the region with compassion. water filters, yurts for stable earthquake proof housing and food supplies we would have generated so much good will compared to what we did.

    I couldn't even get that suggestion past the Mods on the BBC for some reason.
    I suppose linking the yurt production to current western economic goals was silly.
    (wool bags get thrown out every year . Burned shoved underground or left to rot--eventually .Wool farmers need some help . wool great insulation (better then fibreglass).
    So we could have helped the farmers at the same time as provide homes.
    But dropping Bombs is easier to get heads around.
    .
    This was always what should have been a police action.
    counterinsurgency squads.and police, and peace.
    War is not won by dropping bombs. it is won by getting both sides to STOP.

    Now as for today that advice goes to hell in a handbasket.
    Years of mismanagement of the wars has led to the situation we are in now.
    pull out and leave it to the tribes to duke it out.
    Led the winner take all.
    or stay and get more countries involved until the locals feel they are against the world.

    Or shower them with them jobs yurts and X boxes.

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  • 98. At 3:50pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    faeyth

    Sorry I looked like I was having a go because I wasn't I found your post to be full of that much missed empathy that the empty pathetics are lacking.

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  • 99. At 4:27pm on 22 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    democracythreat (#76) "You got me, GH1618. California is not about to cede from the union."

    Then you got me, DT, for failing to recognize your satire.

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  • 100. At 4:28pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:

    Boutros Boutros Ghali...




    Reminds me of "Good Fellas" movie.

    In it there's a Mafia character called 'TwoTimes Tony'.

    We realize where that nickname've come from when he gets up from a Italian restaurant table
    and heads outside saying: "I'm gonna get the papers, get the papers".


    Now 'bout that Coffee Onan guy, and his sonny, Banana...

    [cf. Food for Oil UN huge corruption scandal]

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  • 101. At 4:37pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    59

    "Obama will be judged as a good president by how quickly he gets U.S. troops out of Iraq, and Afganistan. So far, I'd rate him a "C"."

    well that and

    How well he manages to fix GW screwed economy

    How he deals with america's republican health care system or lack of

    how he deals with gays in the military or getting married

    How he deals with the attempt at a second civil war from the right.
    how he deals with international resentment of the USA
    how he deals with wingbats that think their issue is the only issue.



    The war is a big one.
    He pulls out and an attack happens.

    on US soil like the alleged one being picked apart at the moment by the FBI.

    Republicans win Immediately because the american people seem to have lost the spheres to deal with the right in amongst them.
    To say . Sure he pulled out Yes there was an attack. but do not try blaming the president today for the millions of Jihadists created under GW term.

    I would say that given the choice between handing it all back to the GOP and the dick they had running it(mods that's HIS name not mine) and keeping the President in I am for the pres. But that would only surprise the ranters and those without much comprehension.

    Protect the peopel .
    leave the AQ alone.
    Build the country.
    the general may have it right.
    but no one has tme for a solution now because so much was thrown out with the bath water.

    BY the last lot.
    So to solve the problem. HAnd GW and Dick cheney over for trial for the war crimes committed in their name and the war dead that they created by lying.

    There will be no lengthy prison bills and the Blood will be paid back in a way that is acceptable to many in the insurgency .

    There is the problem.

    Angry people sometimes confuse their targets.
    Give them a genuine one.
    not some poor sod who joined up because he was brain washed by the GW/dick wagon.

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  • 102. At 4:53pm on 22 Sep 2009, HabitualHero wrote:

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  • 103. At 4:56pm on 22 Sep 2009, HabitualHero wrote:

    66. At 03:45am on 22 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    "You can't sanitize war. There is no winning a war if you are worried about such triflings as atrocities, war crimes, killing civilians"



    I agree. I'm so tired of hearing americans going on about 9/11. These things happen in war. Get over it.

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  • 104. At 6:15pm on 22 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    92 fayth there you loose it.

    America's cold war stance has caused much suffering around the world and the euro's did a fair bit them selves.

    Typical american tourist. runs around breaking everything and then tries to blame the europeans.

    You guys broke the Planet.
    You took commerce to the stage where all you do is buy and throw stuff away. can't even be bothered to make it .

    (UK in on this as well as are all first world but credit where credits due.. America made the biggest mess)

    I hope you are planning to set up "free Tonga" on some american islands if there are any left. Somewhere in the tropics. because it is disproportionately americas fervour of activity that did so much of the damage to the global condition that they face such a great loss of their land.

    America has a lot of bills to pay.
    That was an aspect Obama seems to remember

    That willingness to try will be reciprocated. and it could go as far as kindness will allow.

    To fund the war for so long then say "OK euro's it's yours" is really pretty sick.

    sort of like europe galvanising more and more lefties in S America.
    MAybe they should do that huh?


    Oh wait gherkin thinks they already have.



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  • 105. At 6:17pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    98 Yurts trying to get money for your country by exploiting aid to get cash for your unemployed How European to be looking out for your own interests.Give them homes for a price and get compensated with aid funds which you'll charge probably more than what you would charge private companies.Socialism at work.And I am lacking empathy.Pot calling kettle Black.

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  • 106. At 6:25pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    Your right people in Detroit and other places do steal copper.From buildings that are rotten and falling apart.They are abandoned they are not water or electric wires they aren't important for the city to have plumbing or electricity.They are making a profit and are recycling abandoned property.Maybe because there government is more concerned with foreigners than them and their problems they try to get money.And I am glad someone is making use of the garbage areas of Detroit which should be torn down anyway.

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  • 107. At 7:53pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    93. At 2:23pm on 22 Sep 2009, powermeerkat wrote:
    Re #64 HistoryJumper wrote:

    Do the remaining Taliban plan on attacking us? Do the Taliban plan on destabilizing Pakistan?


    "Yes, and that Q. Khan's created nuclear Pakistan is at present more dangerous than Islamic Repubic of Uran[nium], since the latter has yet to aquire ( read: buy from "new improved" democratic Russia) weaponized warheads which Saijil missiles could carry all the way to ...Glasgow, let alone London."

    Oh and you know this from talking to the Taliban do you? WHen the Taliban were last in power Pakistan was more stable then ever before and so was Afghanistan.


    "P.S. Please, remind me, who were those 'British subjects' who have just recently been sentenced to life (unless "compassioned grounds" are taken into consideration by a "premier from BP")."

    They were British subjects, what are you asking - what colour were they? In the UK that is not considered vital to know before passing judgement.

    Most of Britian's terrorists have been very white and Christian.

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  • 108. At 7:58pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 109. At 8:03pm on 22 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    81. At 11:17am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrellist wrote:
    79. At 10:44am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Well there have 2 of the last 3 Gen sec have been moslem: Bourtras Gahli(sp) and Annan

    Don't let the truth get in the way of your prejudices, will you? The Ghali family might be Egyptian and Arab, but they are actually Christian. As you'd know from his first name, in fact, if you knew anything. It is actually the Coptic 'Petros', or Peter.

    Khofi Annan's professed religion I don't know, but he was educated at a Methodist boarding school. So he could actually share the same faith as G. W. Bush.

    I don't suppose you'll apologise for misleading people, will you?"

    Koffi Anan was black, Ghali was Arab etc. That is all that matters81. At 11:17am on 22 Sep 2009, squirrellist wrote:
    79. At 10:44am on 22 Sep 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Well there have 2 of the last 3 Gen sec have been moslem: Bourtras Gahli(sp) and Annan

    Don't let the truth get in the way of your prejudices, will you? The Ghali family might be Egyptian and Arab, but they are actually Christian. As you'd know from his first name, in fact, if you knew anything. It is actually the Coptic 'Petros', or Peter.

    Khofi Annan's professed religion I don't know, but he was educated at a Methodist boarding school. So he could actually share the same faith as G. W. Bush.

    I don't suppose you'll apologise for misleading people, will you?


    Annan was black, Ghali was Egyptian. That is all that matters to this poster.


    Interestingly Annan coped much of the same abuse as Obama is getting. SOme whites cannot stomach a black man in authority. It goes against what they see as the natural order.

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  • 110. At 9:58pm on 22 Sep 2009, faeyth wrote:

    104 Our Cold War Stance.Please more like European countries trying to throw there responsibility on someone else.WW2 cause Cold War.Weak Europeans don't have what it takes to take care of themselves or former colonies they drew the lines of countries purposely causing rifts so they could go back later ask Uighurs,Kurds,or the many people divided up by your former Empire.America has bills to pay for European defense And a lot of them I am glad Obama is stopping missile defense systems in eastern Europe.But it's still not enough because US is still giving money to NATO.I don't think Europe would ever give one penny to protect North America.Pay for yourselves.American taxes shouldn't go to European defense.By the way last I checked European countries were the most recent World Powers.US is just trying to fix the broken mess you left.Maybe we should ask former colonies who did the worst damage to them.And if European Empires were so benevolent why on earth did everyone of there colonies want them to leave.And why on earth did so many travel to North and South America.

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  • 111. At 10:32pm on 22 Sep 2009, Noliving wrote:

    #33: Yes the US military is the most powerful military in the entire world but that is the whole military, your talking about only around 60k american troops that are under resourced and spread thinly in an environment that makes it very difficult for armored vehicles to move and be effective. You are also talking about a group that knows the lay out of the land a lot better. I think you are severely over estimating what 60k troops can do. Remember to effectively fight a guerrilla war you need to have about at least a 1:10 ratio of either law enforcement or military to civilian population

    Also insurgent doesn't mean civilian, it just means someone in an armed uprising against a lawful authority, for example if the US navy were to go into armed rebellion against the USA government they would meet the definition of insurgent.

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  • 112. At 11:57pm on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Re# 73
    homogeneous:

    Does it look like someone Else's face in the mirror?

    There is a mystique surrounding essence quite non sequitur .
    Certainly a coalition of the willing by masses.
    Where most are at ease with Public Democracy, the article resonates of one Mythical Chalice...
    There are often times when It seems we live in one nation and two (2) Americas.
    The war of terror by The war on terror.(The purge)

    Are you also familiar with Asbos?(2003 England).


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  • 113. At 02:27am on 23 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain

  • 114. At 02:47am on 23 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 115. At 03:26am on 23 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    You may quote me on this"The day will come when Israel will tell the USA to mind their own business".
    Perhaps the US may send peace keepers over there with nothing more than bibles and preachers, It won't solve anything. We shall see. In another thought, What to do when the wrong country has been invaded, taken over and reformed. Might as well invade another one. Except this one is really fighting back. Angry and with Inalienable rights, defending, not just their home but their religious beliefs. Whether or not some have committed a crime, by the end of the day some will. Does the US want to kill them over there and accept them over here? The temptation we have so selectively resisted in many other cases, with regard to meddling in foreign affairs, may be at an end. The initial occupation forces destined to support the Iraq war invasion has found a home in Afghanistan. Not as a way into Iraq but as yet another war, a war with a more formidable opponent than the Viet Cong. I am grateful to be able to speak unobstructed (via my writing) and that counts for something. In the interim we deal with domestic political strife.

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  • 116. At 03:36am on 23 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Neighborhood and street carts:


    Neighborhood and (street wardens) operate in many areas of the country, providing a highly visible, uniformed, semi-official presence in residential and public areas and town centers.

    The schemes aim to promote community safety, improve the quality of life for local people and contribute to a reduction in crime (and the fear of crime). One of their key aims is deterring anti-social behaviour, -which (might involve:)

    (Providing a visiting service) for (particularly vulnerable groups) such as the elderly and victims of crime.
    ( Assisting with environmental) improvements such as litter, graffiti, dog fouling and (improvements to housing.)

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  • 117. At 04:49am on 23 Sep 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    112. At 11:57pm on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Re# 73
    homogeneous:

    Does it look like someone Else's face in the mirror?

    There is a mystique surrounding essence quite non sequitur .


    First the last - no, I do not know of Asbos.

    There are (at least) two faces to humanity. One of the ways we follow has two paths: peace and war. We really are able to live by either, but cannot live for long without either.

    One of our American myths is that blood makes room for freedom. Not exclusive to us, but that's how we see it.
    British monarchs seem to be rather pale if they avoided war altogether, whatever the effects of war on their people. Even Henry VIII is cast as a warrior, if only through the Field of the Cloth of Gold.
    Darkness must follow day, and renew it.
    Some say we must have a common enemy to define us as a community. I don't think that, but many in the world do.
    Must a ruler be feared? I have written as much about Obama on this blog.

    Is fear necessary for order? Putin believes so. Is fear a necessary element, for a knight to have worship, for a king to have majesty, for a people to have order, for a democratic society to have common cause, make capable decisions, and then respect them? We shall see.

    The contents of the chalice are almost always dark, even though they may be the source of life.

    I only write like this to my brother.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 118. At 05:03am on 23 Sep 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    112. At 11:57pm on 22 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    "Are you also familiar with Asbos?(2003 England)."

    Just looked it up - with your post #116 - you should know that I am in the midst of forming a 'Neighborhood Watch' for my block. We have had a number of minor burglaries and larcenies on my street, and security is becoming a problem all over town.
    This is a transitional neighborhood. Older houses - mine will be 100 next year - and the families that moved in after WWII are dying off, replaced in many cases by slum lords and rentals. There are however many Hispanic families who are buying them up - often as their first real property, the first homes they have owned. These are hard working people who mean to improve their own lives, and they work and help and share and care. They will inherit this neighborhood of once gracious homes, and rescue it once again. My neighbor two doors up is working with me - he with those who speak Spanish, me with the Anglos and the city government. Kids play in the street again, and they do not have Asbos.

    KScurmudgeon



    KScrmudgeon

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  • 119. At 08:41am on 23 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ranter;

    The United States was able to destroy the might industrial juggernaughts of Germany and Japan over 60 years ago. It has far more than the means necessary to destroy the Taleban and al Qaeda just as it had far more than the means necessary to destroy North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. What it lacks is the political will. As a result, we should expect al Qaeda to survive and to attack the United States again, probably with far more devastating consequences next time. 9-11 was a wake up call. The US has gone back to sleep. The rest of the world is comatose.

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  • 120. At 4:16pm on 23 Sep 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    RomeStu (#28) "Al-Qaeda is pretty much gone from Afghanistan, ... " (and my post at #39)

    I listened to the President's appearance on Letterman (available on the CBS website) and I now disagree with this statement. Obama was very clear about our mission in Afghanistan (and adjacent Pakistan). The organization which attacked the United States is still in the area, and we are there to destroy their ability to operate against us. He did not muddle the issue with statements about building democracy. This focus from a president is refreshing.

    I have confidence in the military judgment of Generals Petraeus and McChrystal, and in the political judgment of the President. I don't know how it will turn out in Afghanistan and Pakistan, because it is a difficult problem, but I am supporting the President's policies, so far.

    The Letterman interview went very well, in my opinion.

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  • 121. At 4:51pm on 23 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    105 feayth' you have no concept of making a plan work do you.
    Plastic sheets versus a wool lined home.
    well stick to the placci sheets.
    to help both the farmers at home and the people there is a problem for you then we could just enslave the farmers to rauise the sheep.
    Or we could got ot war for some oil to then create a fibre from plasitc that degrades real easy and provides minimal protection.

    Object it still more of an idea than you seem to have.



    " 98 Yurts trying to get money for your country by exploiting aid to get cash for your unemployed How European to be looking out for your own interests.Give them homes for a price and get compensated with aid funds which you'll charge probably more than what you would charge private companies.Socialism at work.And I am lacking empathy.Pot calling kettle Black."

    America doesn't give aid that doesn't make it money.
    or do you think (if you can) that america is a generous nation that actually gives aid out.
    that grain. subsidises farmers.

    But in your world a country that has been devastated can build their own housing.
    Go look at the reality. People are trying to get houses together.
    Still.
    war has hampered them. they could move away from a war in a yurt.
    they are remarkable engineered structures that provide a very nice comfortable living within.
    But how about asking someone there.
    No No just drop the bombs.




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  • 122. At 4:52pm on 23 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    next MA asking to nuke the middle east.


    NINNY here's you peace partner.

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  • 123. At 5:03pm on 23 Sep 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    119. At 08:41am on 23 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    ranter;

    The United States was able to destroy the might industrial juggernaughts of Germany and Japan over 60 years ago. It has far more than the means necessary to destroy the Taleban and al Qaeda just as it had far more than the means necessary to destroy North Vietnam and the Viet Cong. What it lacks is the political will."



    Oh and the 50 million Russian troops who actually defeated the Nazis.

    "As a result, we should expect al Qaeda to survive and to attack the United States again, probably with far more devastating consequences next time. 9-11 was a wake up call. The US has gone back to sleep. The rest of the world is comatose."

    The US army has not won a major conflict, or even a middling one since Korea.


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  • 124. At 5:05pm on 23 Sep 2009, fluffytale wrote:


    106 Here in america they were steeling from any where. not recycling at the deconstruction job.
    they stole from Food for lane county a non profit food for the poor. they stole their refrigerator pipes.

    there were plenty of businesses, the rail road and others that lost miles of line.or their piping.

    There were people pulling rail road spikes out to scrap.
    (really funny because they have to pull a hell of a lot to make any .

    stop pretending.

    theft of metals in use is not limited to afganistan. But I agree that they are forced to pick through trash to find anythign of value. and that recycling that filth is not a sign of a stable economic base from which to work and live it.

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  • 125. At 11:19pm on 23 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    KScurmudgeon wrote:
    For a king to have majesty:

    Knighted, your brother is very fortunate.
    A great Community is a united community.


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  • 126. At 11:47pm on 23 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Simon21 wrote:

    119. At 08:41am on 23 Sep 2009,
    119. At 08:41am on 23 Sep 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    ranter;
    ---------------------------

    MarcusAureliusII wrote:
    ranter;
    ---------------------------
    Almost always, it is easier to destroy than to restore.

    The adage about 'taking the horse to water but you can't make him drink' seem appropriate.

    The sudden declaration by the president about the nations of the world forming a coalition to share in the cost of Wars seems to reflect portions of what the health care plan also contains.
    Right about now I am thinking if maybe we should have elected Ross Perot.
    Here is why we are losing the war.
    Our economy is suffering tremendous setbacks.
    Many resources have to be earmarked for war and arms.
    Many federal,state,city and private budgets have to account for terrorism within their designations.
    Fear and mistrust of government leads to more laws which restrict citizens rights.
    Agitated citizens and fearful ones make for a confused state of being.
    Government quickly capitalizes on this confusion.
    Government propaganda convinces some to be patriotic, to the extent of giving up personal liberties,forfeit financial gains and younger folks to enlist in their coalitions.
    The result is the elusive perpetual mechanism.

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  • 127. At 03:17am on 26 Sep 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    * 29. At 00:12am on 25 Sep 2009, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    20. At 7:30pm on 23 Sep 2009, saintDominick wrote a whole lot of stuff.
    Because if id did care it would employ it at home.(moral)

    Tolerance actually pleases no one in particular. All it says is "I don't like you but I will tolerate you and your kind").
    Not too many politicians can afford to make lasting judgment calls. Not in the US.
    It is such a shame that we get real fired up about one candidate and then he is elected or she and then it all comes back to reality, they party with tax money earmarked for a worthy cause and what really burns a lot is that there are 535 Bullies of the most highest regard in Washington and not one of them calls it for the peoples sake. So when are we going to get out of all this debt, NEVER.
    It is actually good that way, it serves as a platform to ask for more money. And are we going to give it, YES.
    Not because we want to, or because need to, but because no matter what, WE WILL.
    Crime is not going anywhere else because they need it.
    Drug trafficking or traffickers will always find it home, because WE DEMAND IT.
    Do we need a bully in the white house? YES we do at least one. Against 534 bullies, their precious way of life, which sucks the American blood line even as we Breath. aaall in the name of democracy. WE are slaves to the masters of Congress,senate and the very presidents themselves. WE may get paid a little, we may get health care(even against our will)we may even get some tax money at the end of the year, any way you look at it we are being bullied. And if you disagree with this then go ask for a raise and a good one, and if you have left part of your existence with you boss, you may get 15 dollars more a week. But don't bet on it because the alternative is being fired. The reality is that we teach our children this stuff. We believe it too. The squeaky wheel gets the grease. Sometimes it gets changed. The least we ought to be able to get done should be to call the bullies out and ask the system to have mercy on the tax payer. To call a crook a crook to have common sense and say why don't I get to have the same privileges, after all I help to pay for it.
    Misuse of funds affect every tax payer and every citizen in the bully nation. If you took a couple thousand dollars that were a customers and went out partying with it, wouldn't you get arrested for a felony?
    Why allow these bullies to get over on us.


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