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Too much Afghanistan?

Mark Mardell | 17:28 UK time, Tuesday, 20 October 2009

So, much applause, back slapping, and general relief in Washington to the announcement out of Kabul. The president (the one in the White House) says:

"While this election could have remained unresolved to the detriment of the country, President Karzai's constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan's new democracy."

Hillary Clinton weighs in with: "The leadership shown by the president, Dr Abdullah and all of the other candidates has strengthened Afghanistan and kept faith with the best interests of the Afghan people."

Senator John Kerry, who is in Kabul, had his say, too: "Today, President Karzai showed statesmanship by deciding to move forward, and to strengthen the country by embracing the Constitution and the rule of law."

The announcement of a run-off on 7 November must complicate the decision about when the president should make a statement on future strategy.

The White House sticks to "in the coming weeks", which some report will mean a delay, but the defence secretary suggests that there is little point in waiting for a result .

But I am still not convinced that the election will happen. The British and Americans still want a broadly based unity government.

So why am I writing again about Afghanistan? Has it featured too much and is it too "inside the beltway"?

Some of the criticism below yesterday's piece does sting a little.

After all, I have made it a priority to get out of DC and report the rest of America, and I always knew striking the right balance would be very difficult.

I am a great believer in explaining editorial dilemmas openly, so here's the "but". You knew there would be a "but".

The president's decision on Afghanistan and Pakistan is of critical importance for the UK and the rest of the world.

It's not just that British troops are fighting there, it is that both the president and the British prime minister, along with hosts of advisers and commentators, make it clear that they believe what happens there has an impact on the security and safety of the US and Europe.

For a really interesting take, arguing there is no middle way, check this article in the New Republic.

It is also critically important for Obama's presidency: many Democrats are strongly opposed to sending more troops, and believe it will force him to abandon domestic reforms they are very keen on.

Then there are the nuts and bolts of how we take such decisions, and they are nearly always more important than outsiders' esoteric theories about editorial priorities.

I travelled very widely across the EU and beyond when I was based in Europe but there would always be someone asking why such and such a story hadn't been covered.

It's the old problem of not being able to be in two places at once. This blog is very important to me, but the bread and butter of the job is TV and radio reporting.

At the end of last week, we knew that the news of the Afghan vote would break within a few days. But not when or how.

So it makes it very difficult to leave town. The same is true when we know Obama will announce his decision in "the coming weeks". Do I dare make a foray outside the beltway at this critical time? Yes, absolutely, but it has to be done judiciously.

In the short time I have been here, I have reported on healthcare policy from West Virginia, public opinion on Afghanistan from New York and Jimmy Carter's comments on race from South Carolina. I am not going to stop getting out and about, and need to get a better feel for what the US thinks and feels about a whole range of issues, but sometimes what happens within the beltway will dominate..

Comments

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  • 1. At 6:17pm on 20 Oct 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    Afghanistan is the issue of the moment so no apology needed.

    This is a good article but it makes several errors.

    The major one assuming that Iraq is like Afghanistan. It is not.

    Once Iran secured its influence, courtesy of the US, the insurgency (not defeated) died down. But Iraq is still unstable and the country is still a basket case meaning violence will almost certainly break out again.

    And the so called surge was a PR stunt. Paying off gang leaders was more effective, but again the problem is only postponed.

    More US troops will mean more dead civilians and more violence.

    Afghanistan is essentially a non-problem. Terrorists need no camps in the hills, no hospital facilities, not tool workshops. All they need are mobile phones and the internet. Oh and a gullible attitude to airline training also helps.

    We need to stop thinking its 1949 and realise its 2009. Greater communication has brought great benefits, it also presents great threats. Terrorism, like crime, has been around for over four thousand years, it will be here for many more.


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  • 2. At 6:24pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    The president's decision on Afghanistan and Pakistan is of critical importance for the UK and the rest of the world.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    First of all, the president should tell the NATO commanders to atleast seal the borders between south and north waziristan,Its funny that he has been talking about safe haven in south waziristan, and all of a sudden, when its time for his forces to seal the border, the leave the check posts...And after this operation is over and his troops increase doesnt find ben laden or mullah omar in afghanistan, and end up blaming pakistan, he should be held accountable for what telling NATO forces to vacate those important check posts..

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  • 3. At 6:36pm on 20 Oct 2009, MattofNJ wrote:

    I am intrigued by your comment about TV and radio reporting as your "bread and butter." There are very few TV or radio programs that I would trust as being honest, let alone objective. At least on the internet "no one knows your a dog."

    Afghanistan is a loss--time to cut bait and send in the drones.

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  • 4. At 6:43pm on 20 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "At the end of last week, we knew that the news of the Afghan vote would break within a few days. But not when or how."

    Does it matter? The press has always been focused on getting the scoop, but with CNN, Fox, and MSNBC doing little more than watching the TV monitors 24/7 and commentating on what they see (with often little to add, if you ask me), I can't help but wonder if getting the story first makes any difference any more. Modern technology makes it so that I know the who, what, where, how, and when about a story as soon as most in the media do. What I'm not getting is the 'why' of the story. That takes more journalistic skill. That's where you come in.

    Resist the urge to play commentator. Go get the story behind the video. Get out of Washington. What happens inside the beltway is a reaction to what happens outside of it. The People call the tune in the U.S. Go talk to them.

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  • 5. At 6:46pm on 20 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    No it's not too much reporting on Afghanistan, and it is not "inside the beltway." There are 28 NATO countries with forces in Afghanistan. Today, this is the most important topic in American politics. Keep up the good work, and take a break with a lighter subject when you feel like it, not when some contributor demands it.

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  • 6. At 6:54pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Afghanistan is a loss--time to cut bait and send in the drones.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Just in case you failed to notice, afghanistan is not occupied palestine..and usa is not israel which can send its drones any time of the day. It is one thing to support occupation of israel, but to act like israel is quite a different thing..You should be very careful before you talk about sending drones...You are going out of your way to support ben laden, and his statement of 8 yrs ago, that, he would make america behave in exactly the same way israel does to palestinians so that the hidden agenda of america could become more obvious..

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  • 7. At 6:55pm on 20 Oct 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    I would like to point out (with some self-righteous pacifist amusement) that the 'next move' in this overly drawn out war might not be to overwhelm the opponent by force -- but to empower the opponent's general population and by enforcing fair rules of play.

    whadda concept.


    I'm happy you're traveling around, but don't work so hard that you miss out on the deep sociopolitical ramifications of the culture and economy of Baseball in the United States. Find a good sports bar, eat some wings and kick back some Yeungling. Go Phillies.

    Oh - and for the record: Not only is Yeungling our oldest brewery, but it was founded in our lovely State of Pennsylvania. Go Phillies.

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  • 8. At 7:11pm on 20 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Two suggestions:

    Get some views from the middle and western parts of the country.

    Ignore Jimmy Carter, I assume you are not going to spend time on Dan Quale; Jimmy Carter is as relevent in his knowledge.

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  • 9. At 7:21pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    More US troops will mean more dead civilians and more violence.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    just before they landed in afghanistan, the nato led by americans, employed northeren alliance army to kill as many taliban and pathans as they could, and only after that Nato landed on afghanistan..Just before the so called sucessfull surge of Bush in iraq, they empolyed ex saddam's hussain soldiers to take on all those thugs and robbers who had benefited from the lawlessness situation created by the occupation..and just before the 20,000 soldiers from usa landed in afghanistan a few months ago, they employed pakistani army to kill as much taliban, And now, before obama sends more troops, again the pakistani army has been employed to kill taliban...Ofcourse,situation will be different once some few thousand hard core taliban are killed by pakistani army, and the credit for that, will be given to obama's surge..This is how america has being doing its war for the past 8 yrs..Short term solutions, just to safe their own soldiers..Because everyone knows that if americans soldiers start to die lets say two per week, by the end of third month, americans would be as against this war as they became against iraq..and before that vietnam..

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  • 10. At 7:26pm on 20 Oct 2009, Simon21 wrote:

    7:11pm on 20 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    Two suggestions:

    Get some views from the middle and western parts of the country.

    Ignore Jimmy Carter, I assume you are not going to spend time on Dan Quale; Jimmy Carter is as relevent in his knowledge.

    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------


    Better ignore people like Magic. Very people anywhere have his views.

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  • 11. At 7:32pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Senator John Kerry, who is in Kabul, had his say, too: "Today, President Karzai showed statesmanship by deciding to move forward, and to strengthen the country by embracing the Constitution and the rule of law."
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------ the people praising karzai for admitting that he cheated in election and for allowing a cheat to continue with the next phase, do a U-turn when it comes to iranian election...Making mockery of their own system so openly..they dont even give their opponents a chance to make fun of their system..

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  • 12. At 7:48pm on 20 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Mark,

    Afghanistan is, of course, very important. It's just that it's always on the news here in the UK too. However, your posts (and links) have increased my understanding of the issues Obama's administration is facing - especially the history lesson of how LBJ's troop surge in Vietnam bogged down his administration and how Obama would want to avoid such a thing.

    Being a Brit I can't say that I'm that too interested what happens 'outside the beltway' (whatever that means), or whether the "Phillies come back to beat Dodgers in the 9th, 5-4" (whatever that means). If I want to see what's in the Los Angeles Times I could quite easily go to their website. And another thing Mark, don't shorten your posts for the benefit of the vocal few.

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  • 13. At 8:12pm on 20 Oct 2009, U13817236 wrote:

    Whether you are or are "not going to stop getting out and about"..."what the US thinks and feels about a whole range of issues" scarcely matters..."what happens within the beltway will dominate"- and not just sometimes. The big decisions are made beyond the influence of the little people. In the bubble...whether it's in Washington or when the bubble takes a road trip to some out-of-the-way place like Pittsburgh for a G20 economic powwow. It's not where someone is located geographically, it's where they're located in their relation to power. Amerika is no more democratic than Afghanistan - the elections in both places are always rigged to favor the interests of elites - and the corporate press's coverage simply reflect those interests.

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  • 14. At 8:46pm on 20 Oct 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    Do not stay in the Beltway too long or you will achieve the mental conditions that befall those residents..blurred vision, inability to speak the truth and lobbyist paying you for a good turn or two. Some recover when removed from the environment, but many do not. We live in a world of tehnology and you may stay in contact from other places. It sounds as if they have grabbed you by the ankles and are pulling you into that hole. Escape...before it is too late or you will acquire the self-importance that stupifies the rest of us. Afganistan will still be there tomorrow. We have the corrupt American government joining with the corrupt British government, complaining about the corrupt Afgan government....everything seems normal to me. Why are you so excited?

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  • 15. At 8:50pm on 20 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    At the end of last week, we knew that the news of the Afghan vote would break within a few days. But not when or how. So it makes it very difficult to leave town.

    Surely the BBC can afford to provide you with a cell phone?

    Some of the criticism below yesterday's piece does sting a little.

    Hopefully enough to prod you into going far further afield. Even the most remote hamlet has communication to the outside world.

    #12. dceilar: "Being a Brit I can't say that I'm that too interested what happens 'outside the beltway'"

    Well you should be if you have any interest in America; every Senator and Representative is sent to DC because of local voters and local issues play an important part in American political life. And why not Google "Beltway" to understand its meaning?

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  • 16. At 8:55pm on 20 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #13 DouglasFeith wrote:
    Whether you are or are "not going to stop getting out and about"..."what the US thinks and feels about a whole range of issues" scarcely matters..."what happens within the beltway will dominate"- and not just sometimes. The big decisions are made beyond the influence of the little people. In the bubble...whether it's in Washington or when the bubble takes a road trip to some out-of-the-way place like Pittsburgh for a G20 economic powwow. It's not where someone is located geographically, it's where they're located in their relation to power. Amerika is no more democratic than Afghanistan - the elections in both places are always rigged to favor the interests of elites - and the corporate press's coverage simply reflect those interests.

    ___________________________________________

    The fact that Obama is President defeats your argument. Do you know there were books written on what Hillary Clinton's first 100 days were going to be like. 3 years before the election.

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  • 17. At 9:03pm on 20 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 1, Simon

    "Afghanistan is essentially a non-problem. Terrorists need no camps in the hills, no hospital facilities, not tool workshops. All they need are mobile phones and the internet. Oh and a gullible attitude to airline training also helps."

    I share your opinion. Using the need to prevent Al Qaeda from regrouping and re-establishing training camps as justification to remain in Afghanistan ignores the fact that we are not fighting a formal army and that terrorists can not only be found anywhere at any time, but can train anywhere in the world. As you pointed out, one of the 9/11 "pilots" trained at Embry Riddle University at Daytona Beach, Florida!

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  • 18. At 9:15pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Well you should be if you have any interest in America; every Senator and Representative is sent to DC because of local voters and local issues play an important part in American political life. And why not Google "Beltway" to understand its meaning?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    why?

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  • 19. At 9:20pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    I share your opinion. Using the need to prevent Al Qaeda from regrouping and re-establishing training camps as justification to remain in Afghanistan ignores the fact that we are not fighting a formal army
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    You are not fighting any enemy. Those who are doing it for you, had to declare state of war and close their schools, colleges and universities. All you have done and are doing is, to open more battlefields in the countries. one by one.

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  • 20. At 9:28pm on 20 Oct 2009, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    Mark,

    You've been doing this job for years and I'm sure by now you know best what ought to be the lead story of the day. Naturally, broadcast news, given the many millions who both watch and listen to the BBC around the world, takes precedence over a blog post. Please don't start second guessing yourself based on the opinions of others - not even mine. ;)

    Personally, I view this blog not so much as a source of news, but as a way for you to touch base with "the man in the street". And for me, and everyone else, to offer a variety of opinions and viewpoints on the issues of the day so as to better inform you of the impact that news is having on the world at large.

    Also, on any given day America generates as much news as all the nations of Europe combined. Everyone needs to bear in mind that you haven't been in the US all that long and you will, I'm sure, explore more of the country and tell some of its stories as time and circumstance allows.

    Thanks for all your hard work,

    Gavrielle

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  • 21. At 9:28pm on 20 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    MagicKirin (#16) "The fact that Obama is President defeats your argument."

    That's true. This is what former Speaker of the California Assembly, and Mayor of San Francisco, Willie Brown, an experienced Democratic politician, wrote recently about his expectations for Obama (in 2004):

    "Being from the age when Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali and lots of other blacks took on Muslim or Africanized names, my first question when he called to ask for my help was, "What's your real name?"

    "It IS my real name," he replied.

    "Nobody named Barack Obama is going to get elected to anything," I said.

    Fast forward to November '08. The telephone rings day after the election and I hear this voice:

    "Hello, Willie Brown. This is President-elect Barack Obama." "


    from: San Francisco Chronicle

    It was not the "interest of elites" that put Obama in the White House, it was due to his own talent and hard work, and the votes of the American electorate.

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  • 22. At 9:29pm on 20 Oct 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    17. StDom:

    "one of the 9/11 "pilots" trained at Embry Riddle University at Daytona Beach, Florida!"

    Well, gosh... everyone knows that ERU's Daytona Campus is for all the party going fly-boys. The hardcore Aero-Space students all go to ERU's Arizona Campus. Duuuhhhh...


    Actually - are you agreeing that facilitating the improvement of Afghanistan's socio-political infrastructure and public services might deter the militant factions who expedite terrorist activity?
    -- Gosh... what an interesting idea.

    It's just such a shame that it wouldn't spin well to the American People who are steadfastly loyal to our troops and all the sacrifices they have made for our national safety.

    So -- how does one obtain both Peace AND Justice?
    Hmmm.... I'm stumped. Any suggestions? Anyone?

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  • 23. At 9:43pm on 20 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #15 David

    Well you should be if you have any interest in America; every Senator and Representative is sent to DC because of local voters and local issues play an important part in American political life. And why not Google "Beltway" to understand its meaning?

    I more or less addressed your point in Mark's previous post. But to surmise:

    I take your point David. But aren't UK Members of Parliament also supposed to represent and reflect the interests of those who voted for them? MPs from all round the UK have to live in London to be in proximity of Westminster; isn't it the same for members of Congress? Also, we keep reading about the influence of lobbyists in Washington on members of Congress (and the same can be said of Westminster) so what happens in the capitals is of more importance.

    So yes David your argument re: local issues is important, but I don't think I should over burden myself with American local politics - I have my own local politics to deal with. It may not be as exciting as Alaska's local news but that's my problem!

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  • 24. At 9:47pm on 20 Oct 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Mr. Mardell,

    Try not to be too discouraged by the criticisms you receive on here. Obviously, you just arrived here a few months ago and you can't go everywhere and see every place in such a short time.

    I must warn you that not only is David Cunard's post (#15) unnecessarily harsh, but also he is mistaken when he says that "Even the most remote hamlet has communication to the outside world."

    If you go hiking in the Appalachians, climb the Rockies, camp in the Adirondacks, or ski in the Green Mountains you easily could find that your cellphone (mobile) doesn't work. Actually, even in more suburbanized areas there are areas where you can't get a connection with most networks. As to other types of communication with the outside world, I know some people in Maine who live several miles off the power grid. They have to use generators.

    Did anyone warn you about this job? It might seem like it should be easier than covering Europe (after all, you're just covering one or two countries with one common language) but in fact you may find that this job is no easier than your previous one. For one thing, most of us on here are native English speakers. Some will seek to correct any typos you make. Another reason is the vast number of topics that could be covered. There will almost always be disagreement among people on here about whether you chose the right topic. And, of course, there is the constant bickering anti-Brit and anti-Yank comments. I don't think most Yanks hate Brits despite some of the people on here, but I'm not sure that the converse is true.

    Oh, BTW, thanks for not talking about marijuana or the balloon boy. Those topics have been talked to death. (And for the latter, that would just be rewarding those parents for their hideous actions. Their actions are outrageous, but there is no point giving them a whole blog thread.)

    Since few others will likely do so, let me say many thanks for your reporting.

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  • 25. At 9:50pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    It's just such a shame that it wouldn't spin well to the American People who are steadfastly loyal to our troops and all the sacrifices they have made for our national safety.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Which sacrifice have your troops made for your national safety? After 8 yrs , you are as scared as you were. You can make that sacrifice yourself..its sacrifice-diet, sacrifice light. or McSacrifice.

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  • 26. At 9:58pm on 20 Oct 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:

    #8 MagicK

    Jimmy Carter is only irrelevant in the public eye of Americans because he has done more international peace work since he retired than when he was in office... and because Americans since the 70's have been pretty clueless about the rest of the world.

    As for the political opinion of the mid-west -- I'd love to hear about that as well. I've lived in the SE, the SW, the NE and have close friends in the NW and in certain central cities, but much of 'the Great American Heartland' (aka the Mid-West) is unknown to me. And, frankly, confusing for me.

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  • 27. At 10:09pm on 20 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Just because five out of the last six threads have been about Afghanistan why would anyone think it's too much? It could have been six out of six. How'd that other one sneak in there anyway Mr. Mardell. I told you Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan...Afghanistan yesterday, Afghanistan today, Afghanistan tomorrow, and Afghanistan forever.

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  • 28. At 10:27pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    they believe what happens there has an impact on the security and safety of the US and Europe.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    They should change their beliefs.Convert to some other belief system. To hold pakistan and afghanistan responsible for the security and safety of usa and europe is nonsense. Every country is responsible for its own security and safety...

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  • 29. At 10:41pm on 20 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #26

    Philly-Mom wrote:
    #8 MagicK

    Jimmy Carter is only irrelevant in the public eye of Americans because he has done more international peace work since he retired than when he was in office... and because Americans since the 70's have been pretty clueless about the rest of the world.

    ________________________-

    Oh yes for being a stooge for hugo bogus election, ignoring human rights in Cuba and equating Islamic terrorism with Israeli and U.S self defense.

    Carter has done more to aid international terrorism than anything else.

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  • 30. At 10:57pm on 20 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 22, Philly-Mom


    "So -- how does one obtain both Peace AND Justice?
    Hmmm.... I'm stumped. Any suggestions? Anyone?"

    1. Respect the right of other people to voice their opinions and live as they wish.
    2. Respect the right of other countries to maintain their sovereignty and preserve their culture and traditions, regardless of how offensive they may be to us.
    3. When attacked, focus strictly on those who attacked us rather than retaliating against an entire culture.
    4. We must support our troops, but we don't have to support the politicians that put them in harms way and decided to destroy Third World countries for political gain and to achieve their narrow geo-political and economic goals.
    5. Last, but not least, we must make an attempt to understand how other people live, what their hopes and aspirations are and, whenever possible, help them overcome problems they can not solve because of lack of resources or knowhow...when our presence is sought out and welcome.

    Otherwise, we should bring the troops home, close most of our military bases overseas, invest the money we are wasting in crusades at home, focus our anti-terrorist policy strictly on Al Qaeda, and mind our own business. We have enough problems at home to engage in adventures where we are not wanted.


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  • 31. At 10:58pm on 20 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    ref 23, dceilar:

    "...local issues is important, but I don't think I should over burden myself with American local politics..."

    Well, no, I wouldn't think you would. They're of only passing interest to me most of the time.

    We're not talking about local politics, though. We're talking about national politics at the local level. It's difficult for me to put my finger on it, but there seems to be a fundamental difference between the way Americans relate to their central government and the way the British do.

    Americans don't believe we are ruled from Washington, D.C. There's no one in Washington that has the power to grant us anything. They can't grant us something that's already ours. We hold all the cards. If we want something changed, we instruct our representatives locally to work to affect that change nationally. We don't always get what we want, but when we don't, it's because other Americans in other localities aren't willing to give it to us, not because some one person in power wants to thwart our goals. We give people power and _then_ send them to Washington. They don't go to Washington to become powerful. Indeed, most of our representatives spend as little time in D.C. as they can, so they can get back and suck up to their constituents, the source of their power. Some of them shuttle back and forth as often as once a week.

    But, of course, all that could be true in Great Britain, too. Yet, the British people seem to wait for things to issue forth from London as if that's where the power resides. It's a subtle difference, but I'm beginning to think it's a very real one. Maybe it's a holdover from the days of the monarchy?

    For instance, I can't understand why if the Brits disliked Blair so much (and the ones I know personally can barely speak the guy's name without using the words "lap dog" in the same sentence), they not only kept him in power but allowed him an orderly transfer of power to another member of his own party! It was a foregone conclusion that Americans would boot the GOP from power this last election because we were so unhappy with the results of its leadership. The British were just as unhappy, but they sat on their hands. Why?

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  • 32. At 10:59pm on 20 Oct 2009, Simon21 wrote:

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

  • 33. At 11:16pm on 20 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    AndyPost (#31) " ... they not only kept him in power but allowed him an orderly transfer of power to another member of his own party!"

    Your characterization of the dynamics of American politics is basically correct, but you seem to be a bit uninformed on British politics. The transition from Blair to Brown was "orderly" because it happened within the majority party in the House of Commons. There has not yet been a general election of MPs since the transition.

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  • 34. At 11:20pm on 20 Oct 2009, SheffTim wrote:

    In reporting the USA to the outside world it is inevitable that the affairs of Washington, it's foreign policy in particular, will take precedence. After all it is American and British troops that make up the bulk of coalition forces in Afghanistan and Iraq.

    The link you provide to the case made by Stephen Biddle that there is no viable middle way available and that a troop surge is required is cogently argued, and one I hope Obama comes to agree with.
    http://www.tnr.com/article/world/there-middle-way

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  • 35. At 11:36pm on 20 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    The link you provide to the case made by Stephen Biddle that there is no viable middle way available and that a troop surge is required is cogently argued, and one I hope Obama comes to agree with.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    how many times do I have to say that Obama will surge the troops, He will, he is just waiting for the 8 week operation against taliban by pakistani army. After that, all he needs is a few thousand troops in afghanistan. He is probably also waiting for some sort of ben laden movement information..The nato has conviently unsealed the pak-afghan border, which has two benefits one for your troops, that most taliban will go over to pakistan to fight,and your troops in afghanistan will have less taliban to fight..and second, maybe they really believe ben laden is in south waziristan and war over there, will once again force him to move into afghanistan,thats why they vacated those important border posts..And they can kill or capture him..Because, the only way they can show victory and their troops sacrifice is getting ben laden dead or alive by the americans..

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  • 36. At 11:59pm on 20 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Kerry wants to be president and Hillary wanted to also.
    So why don't they stay there until all is in order. Kind of reminds me of so called trouble shooters here in the US. they are there long enough to weed out the so called riff raff and then they go somewhere else and enjoy their bonus money. Afghanistan does not want our belief system and will never embrace it. If you really want to win their support convert to Islam. Otherwise beware infidels! Just when things were having a chance to work out a little, we get into the Pakistan dilemma. Half a million there are probably going to swith sides and join the 10 talibans that are causing all the trouble in Afghanistan. 500 thousand more, hiding between the rocks and crevices shooting back. Not cowering in the trenches, not hole up in the depth of the earth and praying to Allah for the Americans to go home. Not a chance. They will be defending their country and resisting the invaders, who are illegal immigrants on their land. Someone here said bring in the drones, Why the drones, when there are so many Automatons. For every ones sake, that new election better be right and work. Because now Iran is pretty teed off and wants to hold someone accountable for those attacks within their land.
    Maybe fox news can do a better job of explaining things. Send your tax dollars to war of terror
    USA.com, all proceeds will probably go toward deficit reduction for 1998, and some to the golf association for underprivileged politicians. Just make it out to 'cash'. Anyone keeping track of which pillar this one is.

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  • 37. At 00:13am on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    Simon21 wrote:
    29. At 10:41pm on 20 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:
    ref #26

    "Oh yes for being a stooge for hugo bogus election, ignoring human rights in Cuba and equating Islamic terrorism with Israeli and U.S self defense.

    Carter has done more to aid international terrorism than anything else."
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Can you explain why you approve of death squads - psychopathic terrorists who only exist to kill - like the SS.

    You talk about others supporting terrorism.

    __ ___ ___

    Please show where I have ever approved death squads, that is a lie you have stated for 6 months. Because I support Uribe against the terrorist supporter Chavez and Corea.

    Nor have Isaid that Mandela and Tutu are terrorist, I said they side with terrorists and they do.

    You have lied about my posts for the last 6 months and almost everyone on this blog knows it.

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  • 38. At 00:59am on 21 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    The news is that Karzai will face a run off election in November. Case closed, back to the war. Mr. President, you are Commander-in-Chief. Soooo......Command! NOW! Stop delaying.

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  • 39. At 02:00am on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 37, Magic

    "Please show where I have ever approved death squads, that is a lie you have stated for 6 months. Because I support Uribe against the terrorist supporter Chavez and Corea."

    Would you mind explaining the reason for your fixation with Native South American leaders? It seems your arguments, regardless of what the topic may be, eventually end up with unsubstantiated claims against Chavez, Correa and Morales.

    I spent 12 years in Venezuela, where I have close relatives and very good friends. Some oppose Chavez, others don't, but they all agree that the election and re-election of Chavez was legitimte and that he enjoys overwhelming popular support.

    No evidence of terrorism has ever been presented to the international community against Chavez, just the typical claims used by neocons, neo-Nazis and racists to demonize their targets to justify unprovoked attacks and invasions of countries unable to defend themselves against the most powerful nation in the world.

    As I have told you on numerous occasions, I do not support some of Chavez' policies, particularly his largesse in paying the national debts of countries like Argentina and Nicaragua while so much still needs to be done for the lower middle class and the poor in Venezuela, but that doesn't mean the legitimacy of his presidency is in question or that he supports terrorism. He is simply a megalomaniac immature leader prone to make outlandish claims similar to those made by W.

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  • 40. At 02:06am on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #24. trueconservative: "Try not to be too discouraged by the criticisms you receive on here. Obviously, you just arrived here a few months ago and you can't go everywhere and see every place in such a short time."

    He doesn't have to travel but only read what is happening elsewhere. I haven't travelled to New York in some years, but I do know what goes on there, and that's about the same distance as Washington is to London. Today, proximity is not necessary to form an opinion.

    "I must warn you that . . . David Cunard's post (#15) [is] unnecessarily harsh"

    Harsh? You're kidding of course. If I were to be harsh it might not pass the moderation test.

    "thanks for not talking about marijuana or the balloon boy. Those topics have been talked to death."

    Marijuana talked to death? Where would that be in the United States? The legalisation of any drug has always been a taboo in the USA and only in the last few years has it gained some aura of respectability. If California should legalise, regulate and tax cannabis, don't you think that other States would follow? What California does today, the rest do tomorrow!

    #31. AndyPost: "there seems to be a fundamental difference between the way Americans relate to their central government and the way the British do."

    Hole in one! Except for local council (unitary authority &c.) bye-laws (ordinances), all British law is controlled from Whitehall where civil servants give effect to legislation passed in Parliament. However petty, it originates from the capital; for example, take smoking restrictions and speed limits. In the UK those are determined by the central government, in the US they are set by the States. Not every State has capital punishment and those which do may use differing methods. When Britain did have it, in recent memory and for some time before, judicial hanging was used. There was no electric chair, gas chamber or firing squad: the method was decided by the government. States' rights form an important of American political life, something which has hardly existed in British law. The Scots do have some slightly different legislation and had an additional judicial verdict: not proven, rather than simply guilty and not guilty. For the longest time, the only place one could marry was in a church or a registry office, again, mandated by central government. In America this would be a State function, not Federal. That has changed - but because of Westminster, not local authorities.

    "Yet, the British people seem to wait for things to issue forth from London as if that's where the power resides."

    Because it is where the power resides, in Parliament.

    "I can't understand why if the Brits disliked Blair so much . . . they not only kept him in power but allowed him an orderly transfer of power to another member of his own party!"

    Because it was the choice of the governing party not to call an election, something which need only be done at any time in five years, not regularly every four as in the USA. Blair, Brown and nearly all the rest were Leaders of the Party and contemporary convention has it that the monarch asks that Leader to form a Government in her name. If in the next UK General Election there were to be a hung Parliament, no party having a working majority, it would then fall to The Queen to select someone who could command overall support. The present front runner, David Cameron, could very well have his wings clipped if his party were to gain insufficient Members of Parliament in the election. The two nations have quite different governmental models and British readers would gain much insight from understanding how the American system works. Washington is not the ne plus ultra of American life and politics.

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  • 41. At 02:40am on 21 Oct 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:


    * 26. At 9:58pm on 20 Oct 2009, Philly-Mom wrote:
    As for the political opinion of the mid-west -- I'd love to hear about that as well. I've lived in the SE, the SW, the NE and have close friends in the NW and in certain central cities, but much of 'the Great American Heartland' (aka the Mid-West) is unknown to me. And, frankly, confusing for me.

    -----------------------------

    Mark, yes please, come visit in the mid-west, often and long if you can justify it.
    After all, by various interpretations it stretches from the Appalachians to the Rockies, and from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico, so it really is the greater part of this place.

    Philly-Mom - thanks for the mention. I try to speak up for my neighborhood, but am often ignored because I happen to live in 'fly-over country' and express things foreign to to the ears of the neo-orthodoxy. I'll be happy to speak out more about he issue of the day, knowing someone is curious. My own positions have been so diverse that you can be certain that when I speak for my neighbors, I am probably not speaking for myself.

    Your servant,
    KScurmudgeon

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  • 42. At 02:59am on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    TC I'm with DC on the pot . If it is legalised the people in Afghanistan could grow it and sell it legally. Like they did in the past.
    Through trade you build partners right.

    DC has said it. it has been a taboo subject. BBC blogs have been erased of any suggestion that someone may have benefited from it.
    Oregon has Medical cards like other states.
    It would also reduce the resentment felt to the states by a lot of youth in other countries as they see the harsh treatment meted out to people around the world in order for their governments to get some aid money from the states.

    There are people in jail because you don't think it worth discussing. and some in some countries are facing the death penalty.

    It is still an issue until it has been addressed .
    And like I say it might also reduce the opium production if there was legal export available for the farmers in the Himalayas. Many of whom did and still do, smoke up.
    Alcohol is the taboo. But we promote it and take a different stance on the cultural impact of destroying that part of others cultures that includes a good smoke.
    Prohibition feeds gangs and criminals.
    Legalisation feeds villages.

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  • 43. At 03:06am on 21 Oct 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    Mr. Mardell,

    Please do not take the criticisms too harshly. Yes, I remarked about the repetitive postings- but I do understand. GhostofSichuan, David Cunard and others have most adequately warned of the dangers of keeping your point of view inside the DC bubble, which is my wish as well. Even if travel is not an option, there are still many broad scale social, cultural, and economic trends and issues that reach to the root of 21st Century "Americanness," and which can provide insight to the readers back home.

    As an example, your predecessor did what I thought was his most thought-provoking series of posts on Darwin and his legacy; they (and the flood of responses) delved into America's peculiar, love-hate response, the role of religion in this country, and the vast variety of religious and non-religious opinions. I find your writing far superior and your insights much deeper than even the best of Mr. Webb's, so I hope that you get the opportunity to go deeper, beyond the bubble, and even beyond the biases of "urbanism" to explore.

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  • 44. At 03:10am on 21 Oct 2009, Via-Media wrote:

    7 Philly-Mom,
    I agree that Mr. Mardell should get out to the ballpark. But he might want til he can travel for that, because we wouldn't want his view of the game to be formed by watching the Nationals...

    Oh, and I'll root for the Phillies for you, if you cheer on the Pens. OK, I'll root for them if they face the Yankees, but not unless...

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  • 45. At 03:35am on 21 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    BE NICE TO MR. MARDELL, YOU ...BAD MANNERED AMERICAN COMMENTERS. *AND IM SERIOUS. (NOT KISSING HIS..."BEHIND") (moderators must be considered)

    WHEN HE WAS THE EUROPEAN BLOGGER, HE HAD ...NICE....PEOPLE TO DEAL WITH...AND THEY HAD...MANNERS.

    You guys are short, to the point, and VERY GOOD writers. But, that does not excuse BAD MANNERS.

    (telling him "to get out more"...how embarrassing (for me as an American) to see this ...display -- blushing)

    No offense :)

    P.S. I'm an American (and not Beloved)

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  • 46. At 03:57am on 21 Oct 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    The Afghanistan debate clearly means a lot to Mr. Mardell. I think it is good for him to report on it, there is nothing wrong with that.

    But Mr. Mardell is missing the biggest issue out there right now, one that is more dangerous than the terrorists: swine flu or H1N1.
    Everyone is really freaked out by it. People keep getting sick, people of all ages. Some get better and some get worse. Some have not made it.
    They say the vaccine is working its way down, but there are not enough doses for everyone. Some that are offered the vaccine turn it down, because there is mistrust that it could cause neurological problems.

    On a lighter note, I do have to say President Obama did something I majorly approve of and then some: changing the federal laws so that medical marijuana users/suppliers are not prosecuted. The marijuana laws have needed to be changed for some time. People ask why there are so many criminals in the USA, well, all they have to do is look at the mj arrests, which are at least half of all drug arrests. These people do not deserve to be sent to jail with hardened criminals. The most violent and dangerous drugs in the USA are meth, cocaine, heroin and alcohol. Mj does nothing wrong. Marijuana needs to be decriminalized and I support that 100 %. I am glad that I voted for Obama, for that one reason alone! :)

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  • 47. At 04:57am on 21 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"The president's decision on Afghanistan and Pakistan is of critical importance for the UK and the rest of the world."

    Everyone knows that. I don't think people are frustrated that you report too much on it, but rather that (they fear, whether justly or unjustly,) that you don't get out enough and report on the impacts that Washington's decisions (be they on Afghanistan or anything else) have on the rest of the country. I personally think that many of their criticisms were too harsh, however please don't write them off as irational and unfounded either.

    "It's not just that British troops are fighting there, it is that both the president and the British prime minister, along with hosts of advisers and commentators, make it clear that they believe what happens there has an impact on the security and safety of the US and Europe."

    Indeed. And on behalf of my fellow citizens, might I just take this opportunity to offer my sincerest and most heartfelt thanks for the valiant service and sacrifice of the British military working along side ours in Afghanistan. But just one miner question. If what happens in Afghanistan "has an impact on the security and safety of the US and Europe," and not just the US and UK, then why aren't our NATO allies contributing more to the effort? As post #5 has pointed out, there are currently 28 countries with troops in Afghanistan, and yet 4 (The US, UK, Canada and Australia) seem to be the ones doing the majority of the heavy lifting. That's not very fair, and it seems like it happens a lot. Leaders promis help, and then don't deliver. Why? Afghanistan was not illegally invaded based on lies about non-existent weapons of mass distruction with no UN mandate. A nation was attacked and sought justice. Now how exactly to go about securing that justice is one thing, but for a member of NATO, who's very motto is "an attack on one is an attack on all," to have little, if any, contribution toward that effort? Why? Please enlighten me.

    "But I am still not convinced that the election will happen. The British and Americans still want a broadly based unity government."

    Is that so? Well what are we going to do if we don't get one? Declare it to possess massive amounts of weapons of mass distruction and that it therefore is in dire need of "regime change," so that its people might be able to at long last taste the sweetness of freedom? Well that worked so well for both our international reputations and the country which we screwed over the last time we tryed that, why not do it again!!

    In all sincerity though, election or no election, sooner or later, we'll have to accept the facts and deal with them accordingly. We have no other choice. Any attempts to change them will merely be seen as meddling in another country's internal affairs by the Great Saitain and Little Saitain...again. Is that what we want?

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  • 48. At 05:00am on 21 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 33, GH:

    'Your characterization of the dynamics of American politics is basically correct, but you seem to be a bit uninformed on British politics. The transition from Blair to Brown was "orderly" because it happened within the majority party in the House of Commons. There has not yet been a general election of MPs since the transition.'

    Uninformed? The Parliamentary system allows for the changing of the government at any time. The fact that there wasn't a scheduled election is not an excuse.

    So, again I ask, why didn't they have a motion of no confidence (or defeat a supply bill)? Can you imagine a President staying in power when the People believe he has subjugated the country to a foreign power? They believed that was the case, and yet the Brits did nothing, nothing at all. They just took it.

    Please someone explain.

    It's something about America that I've never understood. Why when the ideas for the American revolution sprouted from the Great Britain (via Locke et. al.) did those ideas have to go abroad to find a home? Why isn't Britain a republic? It's the logical end point of British political philosophy (Great Britain's gift to the world), but for some reason in the place of its birth, it stopped before it got there. The British are in complete control of their government but in some ways still behave as subjects. Isn't British sovereignty worth protecting? Or is that not the British people's job? Baffling.

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  • 49. At 05:01am on 21 Oct 2009, gigacheetah wrote:

    20. At 9:28pm on 20 Oct 2009, Gavrielle_LaPoste wrote:

    "Also, on any given day America generates as much news as all the nations of Europe combined."

    And on what precisely do you base this assertion?

    Recall that "all the nations of Europe combined" means around 750 million (2.5 times the US population) in 50 countries.

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  • 50. At 06:25am on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #48. AndyPost: "Uninformed? The Parliamentary system allows for the changing of the government at any time. The fact that there wasn't a scheduled election is not an excuse."

    Indeed, the system does allow for an election at any time, but only if the Prime Minister advises The Queen to dissolve Parliament in order to call an election. Mr Blair was hardly likely to ask Her Majesty to cut off his head.

    "So, again I ask, why didn't they have a motion of no confidence?"

    Such a motion would have to be introduced in the Commons: since the Labour Party (of which Mr Blair was Leader) had then, as it does now, an unassailable majority, it would be inconceivable that it might pass. If Labour's majority was very narrow, it is possible that the votes might have been found from disaffected backbenchers - but it wasn't and isn't. Mr Brown will remain as Prime Minister until such time as either his party decides to replace him or he calls an election. It is possible that both could happen more-or-less simultaneously since many Labour supporters consider him a liability, rather in the same way that George W Bush did not actively support John McCain by appearing at rallies. The rise of UKIP and the BNP could make a serious difference to voting patterns, Nick Griffin is already acknowledged as "legitimate" despite protests from those who might be electorally challenged by his party. Labour is likely to reap what it sowed in its pursuit of multiculturalism. The saying is "even a worm turns" and I foresee that the British public is just as likely as not to vote for a radical change. Immigration, immigration, immigration, those are the three flash points that could well decide who becomes the next Prime Minister.

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  • 51. At 06:50am on 21 Oct 2009, gigacheetah wrote:

    "[...] President Karzai's constructive actions established an important precedent for Afghanistan's new democracy."

    I think the White House sets the bar pretty low when it comes to Karzai... someone who engages in massive electoral fraud should be forced to resign and disqualified from running for office again rather than patted on the back for "allowing" his fraudulent victory to be contested in a run-off.

    I'm afraid the deplorable conduct of the election - rather than Karzai's "magnanimous gesture" - is the more important precedent for the country's "new democracy." A sign, perhaps, of the contradictions inherent in trying to export electoral democracy to societies with no traditions of democratic politics as understood in the West.

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  • 52. At 07:48am on 21 Oct 2009, rodidog wrote:

    Mark,

    Ignore the ankle biters, some folks on here just need something to nibble at.

    On Afghanistan:

    IMO, the logistical problems concerning Afghanistan is the "Achilles heel" of any surge in troop levels, if not the current mission itself. Right now 75% of the supplies arrive via Pakistan. Alternate routes would include dealing with Iran and/or Russia. I believe this has always been the problem with large troop levels in Afghanistan and is what concerns President Obama today. Difficult decisions for President Obama ahead and considerations never appreciated by Bush critics in the past.



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  • 53. At 08:09am on 21 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #48 Andy

    As you may know, the legitimacy of the British Government comes from it having the majority of the seats in the House of Commons. I can only think of once in living memory when a Government lost a vote of no confidence in the Commons and that was when the Government didn't have a majority - the Govt formed an unholy coalition with one of the smaller parties. MPs do not have the freedom, like their American counterparts, to vote with their conscience, they vote on party lines. A Labour MP would never vote against a Labour Govt in a vote of no confidence. So if a Govt has a majority it'll never lose a vote of no confidence. A Govt is only accountable when there is a General Election - which a Govt calls for when it is most likely to win!!

    To confuse you even more, I believe that there is nothing written in our Constitution that defines what the Prime Minister actually is and what their powers actually are. By convention the PM has the power of the Monarch (effectively Head of State), the Head of the Executive, and control of the legislature (through his Party's majority in the Commons). This is because Parliament replaced the monarch as the Sovereign. Aren't you glad now you asked?

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  • 54. At 09:35am on 21 Oct 2009, arclightt wrote:

    Mark: You've hit a button.

    It's not "too much about Afghanistan". We are asking young men and women to surrender their lives and go out into eternity from there.

    It's not too much to ask for those of us who aren't being shot at to put down our beer and turn off the TV and do some real serious thinking rather than emotional reaction. It's not too much to ask us to realize that in this area, like in a lot of others, there are not going to be any good solutions, even though a lot of folks are trying as hard as they can to deliver one. It's not too much to ask us to try to figure out what we personally believe, and why we believe it, and whether or not we believe it enough to sacrifice for it.

    Or maybe we are so spoiled now that it IS too much to ask.

    We should be very, very thankful that we still have young men and women who believe enough in this country, and in the countries of our allies, to actually go and try and die on our behalf, even though we really aren't committed to them or to our respective countries, or to each other.

    If we really were so committed, we'd grab our leadership by the hair and explain to them in unmistakable terms that (a) as long as our sons and daughters are there, our nations are going to support them fully, (b) we'll sacrifice what is required to make sure they are as well-supported as they can possibly be including before they arrive, while they are there, and after they return, (c) we expect our governments to provide to them both the material and the freedom of decision to WIN, and (d) we will deal swiftly and sternly, as in the olden times, with any legislator, regulator, or other government functionary who decides either to impede our support and sacrifice or to rechannel it into any area not directly connected with supporting our youngsters.

    War is not a game. It's an ugly business in which large numbers of innocent people are killed. It's to be avoided if at all possible.

    There ARE things worse than war, however. Oppression of a people is one of those, simply because it can be continued forever, while war is not sustainable without limit.

    If war cannot be avoided (e.g. if a people is being oppressed), it MUST be done well--with the single purpose of decisively winning so that a return to real peace can be done as quickly as possible. Half-measures and one-lunged "support" that wastes lives without purpose is corrupt beyond measure.

    My own opinions, of course, and all replies are welcome.

    Regards,
    Arclight

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  • 55. At 10:01am on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #39
    saintDominick wrote:
    Ref 37, Magic

    "Please show where I have ever approved death squads, that is a lie you have stated for 6 months. Because I support Uribe against the terrorist supporter Chavez and Corea."

    Would you mind explaining the reason for your fixation with Native South American leaders? It seems your arguments, regardless of what the topic may be, eventually end up with unsubstantiated claims against Chavez, Correa and Morales.

    ______________________________________

    It's not my fixation it's Simons, he brings up the support of U.S friends like Israel and Columbia on these blogs.

    But in the case of Chavez and Corea, Columbia troops found proof on Reyes laptop on their financial support of FARC and Corea has allowed them sactuary in his country.

    Morales is engaged in class warfare and land theft.

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  • 56. At 10:39am on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #39

    Dominick:

    Here is something you might want to read about Hugo the Dictator''s support of terrorism
    http://www.bostonherald.com/news/opinion/op_ed/view/20091021venezuela-iran_nuke_link_us_world_must_reckon_with_rogues/

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  • 57. At 11:03am on 21 Oct 2009, AussieInParis wrote:

    Mark,
    Please don't feel the need to justify the editorial decisions you make. You are a professional journalist. You have been doing this all your life. While it is important in this age of blogging for you to consider the views/opinions of those who respond to your blog entries, you should also know that for every one person that writes a response, there are 100 of us out here who simply don't have the time or inclination.
    You are a professional news gatherer. You and the BBC have built an enviable reputation on being a (largely) impartial, objective news medium. Don't doubt your instincts just because some amateur who thinks he or she knows better has an agenda to push - and certainly do not fall into the trap of feeling the need to apologise for them. That would be a very English thing to do...
    Let the naysayers and nitpickers continue to shout into the vaccum - and meanwhile rest assured that the silent majority out here appreciate and rely upon the many years of news gathering expertise and acumulated years of news judgment you bring to bear on every issue.
    If your doubters think they can do a better job (which I seriously doubt) tell them to get up and away from their computer, to grab a pencil and notebook, a tape recorder or a TV crew and get out there and report themselves.

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  • 58. At 11:13am on 21 Oct 2009, cping500 wrote:

    for Andy Post.... It's rather the opposite.... The USA has effectively an Eighteenth Century 'elective' monarchy but with the strict separation of powers which latter was much debated in the 1760's in Great Britain, tried for a bit but then given up. The USA is of course also a federal state which Great Britain was not until recently, and powers in the USA are ceded by the States to the Federal Government whereas Scotland has devolved powers from the UK Goverment

    In the 1830's 'Great Britain and Ireland' now reformed its 'unwritten' constitution to effectively remove many of the monarchs powers and transfer them to the the Government headed by the Prime Minster, who must have the confidence of the House of Commons and 'by development' the Monarch must normally follow the Prime Minister' 'advice'.

    So Britain has a presidential prime minister while the US has an elective monarch.

    How this works is best seen in Canada where the Governor General (who is effectively Head of State) and is a black Canadian of Haitian descent.

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  • 59. At 11:39am on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 56, Magic

    "Here is something you might want to read about Hugo the Dictator''s support of terrorism"

    Please explain how a business deal constitute terrorism. Venezuela is a country rich in natural resources, one of its many exports is uranium, which they sell to the highest bidder. What the buyer does with it is a different matter.

    Considering the fact that the only evidence of wrongdoing against Iran is our hatred of that country, accusing those that do business with them of being terrorists by association is absurd. Don't forget that Venezuela has been one of our main suppliers of oil and iron ore for many decades, does that mean we are sponsors of terrorism by affinity?

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  • 60. At 11:45am on 21 Oct 2009, Mark M Newdick wrote:

    I've lived over here for 26 years now ... a little longer than my life in the UK, where I was born and grew up. You have to leave the coasts to understand and appreciate this country; spend a week in the small farming communities of "Middle America" and understand what makes those people tick. The small towns and villages of Iowa, Wisconsin, Nebraska, the Dakotas, Minnesota (and others), many economically challenged, represent the backbone of the country. The people there are deeply patriotic, quietly religious, diligently hardworking and somehow more real than your average east/ west coast commuter.

    Stop by a local restaurant, a diner or cafe probably, for breakfast - be early, though, for these people are up at the crack of dawn. Notice the little memorial on the wall to the young men of their community who lost their lives serving their country. The customers are not there for a bagel with flavored cream cheese - they eat bacon and eggs and buckets of "normal" coffee. And they're not there to waste time: just eat, catch up on the county news, chit-chat with old timers, say "Hi" to the stranger in the corner, and get on with their day - "See ya tomorrow, Gladys".

    Don't be fooled, though, for these people are very much aware of what's going on in the world. They pretend not to understand it all, but push a little deeper and they'll have an opinion - like their lives, though, it's a refreshingly black and white thought process; no room for gray, for that leads to indecisive, city-slicker obfuscation (and they see right through that). They're not necessarily "Republican" or "Democrat", per se, but they are conservative (with a small "c"). They vote based on their values, not the latest headline fad.

    You will find them so VERY polite, genuinely interested in you, and (without being in the least patronizing), just charming folk. So go talk to these people and understand them, but be warned - be sure to be at least at "conversational strength" on American Football.

    Then tell me about what you think of what is going on "Inside the Beltway".

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  • 61. At 11:52am on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

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

  • 62. At 12:14pm on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 56, Magic


    "Here is something you might want to read about Hugo the Dictator''s support of terrorism"

    If doing business with Iran constitute support of terrorism, where does that leave us? Read up on the Iran-Contra affair...

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  • 63. At 12:42pm on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #62

    Did yu read the whole article?

    It also talks about Hugo's support of FARC.

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  • 64. At 12:50pm on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 55, Magic

    "Morales is engaged in class warfare and land theft."

    Would you care to elaborate a bit more on how policies designed to return land stolen from the indigenous population of countries like Bolivia and Ecuador over five centuries ago constitute class warfare and land theft?

    While you are at it, please explain why were the conquistadores and early European colonists were entitled to take the land away from the indigenous population, and why their descendents must be allowed to keep it while millions of native Americans are starving because they don't have a small plot to plant potatos or have a few domestic animals to subsist. Could it be self-preservation? I sure would not want to transfer ownership of my little house to the Seminoles or Timuacan tribes!

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  • 65. At 1:08pm on 21 Oct 2009, arclightt wrote:

    @22 (PM): We could write books on your question, but nobody would read them. For me it boils down this way:

    a. If you want peace, pursue personal responsibility. Hold yourself squarely accountable for your choices, particularly the ones you know were not just result-wise wrong but were morally wrong to start with. Hold others responsible for their choices in the same way. Don't make or accept excuses, but offer real forgiveness, and expect real change.

    b. If you want peace, pursue justice. That means not only for the lovable, but for the ugly and unlovable as well.

    c. If you want peace, pursue freedom. That means not only for yourselves, but for those you know, and those you don't. That means even for those who you disagree with, to the extent you can without compromising someone ELSE's freedom.

    Patrick Henry's words apply here: "Is life so dear, and peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" If I attempt to purchase peace by leaving you enslaved, what does that make me?

    d. If you want peace, be prepared for conflict. There will always be those on this planet who seek to oppress others, or to injure them, or to unjustly persecute them. Usually these folks have the best of reasons in their own minds for doing so; sometimes they sound good to other folks for a time as well. It doesn't matter...if they are not pursuing justice and freedom for all those around them, they are in the wrong, and THEY MUST BE OPPOSED. It is neither responsible, nor pursuant to justice or freedom, nor pursuant to peace, to allow folks in the business of oppression to continue to follow their course unopposed.

    Opposition can take a lot of forms. Sometimes we can do this with words. Sometimes we can do this with simple deeds. Unfortunately, though, sometimes we are left with physical conflict (unarmed first, and finally armed) as the only choice. To me, physical conflict is a particularly dark and lonely corner of the Valley of the Shadow of Death, but the psalmist knew that even there God, as his Shepherd, was with him.

    I think the biggest mistake we made during the 1930s was in trying to pursue peace without pursuing the other things first. By valuing peace above justice and freedom, we wound up getting about 60 million folks killed. Was that a good trade? Not hardly.

    @30 (StD): I like a lot of what you wrote here. It must be pointed out, however, that Congress uses DoD as a vehicle to fund "jobs back home" and payoffs to political contributors; that system will have to be corrected before we can see much of a change in DoD. Lots of folks refer to Eisenhower's speech on the "military-industrial complex"; they should be aware that his original text said "military-industrial-Congressional complex". That's an aspect of this that doesn't get enough attention.

    My own opinions, and all replies are welcome.

    Arclight

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  • 66. At 1:35pm on 21 Oct 2009, parityisbetterthancharity wrote:

    Fluffytale

    You misunderstand what I was saying. I actually do favor the legalization of marijuana and the return of hemp as a valuable cash crop for farmers. The way it is currently grown (i.e. with intense lights in basements) is quite dangerous and has led to many fatal fires. A few years ago, five people died in a house fire in my area which started from just that. The fellow who had been running the operation committed suicide a few days later.

    That said, the subject has been talked about a lot, but nothing is ever done about it. I have voted for representatives who would have tried to legalize it, but the district I'm in is backwards so of course they did not win the election.

    What more can be said about the subject?

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  • 67. At 1:59pm on 21 Oct 2009, arclightt wrote:

    @60(R#): You reminded me of something that happened to me a number of years ago. I worked for one of the large telecom providers whose HQ was close to Washy DC. I had occasion to travel to Middle America. I stopped at a toll booth between the airport and my destination. The toll-taker asked me where I was from. I said, "Reston, Virginia, just outside of Washington, DC."

    He replied, "Welcome to the United States of America!" We both laughed...

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  • 68. At 3:12pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    IMO, the logistical problems concerning Afghanistan is the "Achilles heel" of any surge in troop levels, if not the current mission itself. Right now 75% of the supplies arrive via Pakistan. Alternate routes would include dealing with Iran and/or Russia.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    i dont know what people are told in america or west, and it really irritates me that people who wage wars against other countries do not have the basic courtesy to atleast keep themselves informed...Do you really believe that obama's back track on that missile defence project which was just in papers, was based on on his intention for peace..Allow me to enlighten you and take you back in march of this year when russia and america agreed on an alternative route the same route which once soviet troops took to occupy afghanistan.. And dont for a second think that this increase in war in pakistan, just happened. Obama first made sure that his troops get an alternative route and only then he increased in sending drones to pakistan and made more pressure on pakistani army to fight against its own people...
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2009/mar/30/afghanistan-tajikistan-obama-pakistan. Read this.

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  • 69. At 3:17pm on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    46 illinoian.

    Swine flu is an issue and those that are most likely to get it are also the group that are most likely to have no health insurance.

    National health systems let a country respond.
    If I get the flu I will not be visiting a Doctor and others may get sick .
    Now If there was a doc I could visit that wouldn't take my first child maybe the flu wouldn't spread so.


    But the american people can't get it together to agree that the public health is helped if there is a genuine public health system. One which every one has access to.

    But your comment I quote here I have no argument with.
    High time something was done to reverse the "war " on drugs that has perpetuated a culture of chemical addiction to all sorts straight from the prescription shelf.

    "On a lighter note, I do have to say President Obama did something I majorly approve of and then some: changing the federal laws so that medical marijuana users/suppliers are not prosecuted. The marijuana laws have needed to be changed for some time. People ask why there are so many criminals in the USA, well, all they have to do is look at the mj arrests, which are at least half of all drug arrests. These people do not deserve to be sent to jail with hardened criminals. The most violent and dangerous drugs in the USA are meth, cocaine, heroin and alcohol. Mj does nothing wrong. Marijuana needs to be decriminalized and I support that 100 %. I am glad that I voted for Obama, for that one reason alone! :)"
    Here here Illionoisan.


    Afghanistan is an important topic though but I would agree that there are other issues.that are more stimulating considering the president seems to be doing not such a bad job. Karzie is going at it again.
    Good on him. will there be enough peace to hold another election.
    who knows.

    so why debate it again and allow the rabids out.

    Gherkin did you read about the explosion that killed 4 or 5 Iranian ministry officials on the border with afganistan?
    Now get this the Sunnis were blamed.(probably because they did do it)
    Would that be the same sunnies that they told us about after the 9/11 attacks.
    or a different Saudi sponsored group that we helped.

    So al Q were Sunni and Saudi funded(Sunni)
    Both Iran and Iraq are Shia.(spell check recognises Sunni but not shia. (interestingish))


    So we attacked Iraq and now Iran if some have their way.
    And you can't figure out that there is something fishy with the story you are fed.

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  • 70. At 3:28pm on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    66 TC I had a feeling that you were for it being legalised.
    but debated to death it has not been.
    The energy use so pot can be grown indoors is environmentally criminal.
    but local laws and prohibition encourage it.
    A ridiculous situation.
    The house fires are because people are working in isolation and ignorance, but the cost to the planet is too high for me to smoke.
    No politician can run on that platform. it is used to vilify politicians. look at Bill look at Obama, Palin, any.
    But people are getting over the issue. slowly.
    But why cannot the debate actually be discussed in the senate in congress.
    I would like to see a bunch of( I got censored once for suggesting certain well known avid drinking politicians that ran for president last year as the established old guard on both sides were alcoholics )
    alcohol excusing politicians try to argue the stats in open about Pot.
    They have no case and the policing of America has suffered.
    I want to see them try to compare and contrast the two drugs.
    Alcohol and Pot.
    Those other drugs you mention. They are on the whole with the exception of Meth available in some way from a Doctor on prescription.
    Criminalising those that cannot afford to visit the Doctor to get their buzz, or their pain relief, or mental relief.
    I'm not condoning putting some man made chemical in ones veins or up ones nose, but the hypocrisy of the most medicated nation talking "drug abuse"
    is really unfortunately sad and sick.

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  • 71. At 3:38pm on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Here's what can be said TC.

    "How can I can be legally sacked for having a puff on the weekend EVEN with a medical prescription."

    "Why you old arts can't see that the generational angst created by criminalising a large section of the population."

    "No we refuse to pay anymore to the police in taxes until they stop wasting money worrying about pot."
    Eugene Oregon has voted down police budget increases for years.
    That being one of the issue behind it.
    (that and the 30 rapes committed by an officer who was intimidating people he had pulled over)(some for...POT)

    You can say"stop sidelining this debate as unworthy of attention just because it may make you face your own addiction to alcohol"

    " what You worry because is it were legal many would see that the effects are way less problematic than those caused by alcohol"
    " It is nothing like alcohol in it's effects.
    It is not a chemical that puts one to sleep(though might make one realise they were tired
    it has NO toxic levels.and certainly can't KILL you"

    "Legalise it NOW"

    Or should we all sit back and wait another 20 years until the Nancy war generation is no longer voting, to do the blatantly obvious thing and legalise it.

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  • 72. At 3:43pm on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    majic
    "land theft"
    from an american.


    Them Tribes are still waiting for theirs.
    In america.

    Andy 48

    confusing bit there.
    "protect their sovereignty "
    ?

    they did. America got the rebels.
    ( :) ) and no health care and no holidays.

    maybe some saw that revolutions. always..........

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  • 73. At 3:59pm on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 63, Magic

    "Did yu read the whole article?

    It also talks about Hugo's support of FARC."

    I did, but I rather draw conclusions based on personal experience and feedback from people I trust. that live in Venezuela, than articles written by journalists to satisfy the demands of their sponsors. Demonization campaigns have been a mainstay of American policy for decades, and it is often a precursor to unprovoked attacks, invasions, and regime change.

    Hugo Chavez is not an angel, and some of his policies and megalomaniac tendencies are not in the best interest of his fellow citizens, but he was elected and re-elected in free and democratic elections, enjoys the support of more than 2/3 of the population, and does not need drug money to engage in the very ambitious programs he is pursuing. Venezuela is one of the richest countries in the hemisphere, with enough natural resources to support every conceivable project they may decide to undertake.

    The reason we hate him is because he humiliated us when he paid off the national debts of Argentina and Nicaragua when our bankers were negotiating extensions and higher interest rates, because of his decision to give free oil to Cuba, because of his decision to donate heating oil to poor Americans, and because as the President of a sovereign nation he has established strong diplomatic and economic links with Iran and China.

    In essence, our hatred is part of the realization that our hegemony over the Western world is rapidly dissipating, and that those we long considered our puppets are now negotiating deals with our competitors that we simply can not match. Obviously, Mr. Chavez is walking on thin ice, I doubt we will let go without a fight...

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  • 74. At 4:16pm on 21 Oct 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    65. At 1:08pm on 21 Oct 2009, arclightt wrote:

    a. If you want peace, pursue personal responsibility. Hold yourself squarely accountable for your choices, particularly the ones you know were not just result-wise wrong but were morally wrong to start with. Hold others responsible for their choices in the same way. Don't make or accept excuses, but offer real forgiveness, and expect real change.

    b. If you want peace, pursue justice. That means not only for the lovable, but for the ugly and unlovable as well.

    c. If you want peace, pursue freedom. That means not only for yourselves, but for those you know, and those you don't. That means even for those who you disagree with, to the extent you can without compromising someone ELSE's freedom.

    Patrick Henry's words apply here: "Is life so dear, and peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" If I attempt to purchase peace by leaving you enslaved, what does that make me?

    d. If you want peace, be prepared for conflict. There will always be those on this planet who seek to oppress others, or to injure them, or to unjustly persecute them. ....
    ... It is neither responsible, nor pursuant to justice or freedom, nor pursuant to peace, to allow folks in the business of oppression to continue to follow their course unopposed."

    ________


    That was a really good post.

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  • 75. At 4:23pm on 21 Oct 2009, earthsalmoy wrote:

    Mark - I've come into this not having read the previous posts. Will do so but just to say that as far as this (spasmodic) reader is concenred, you did a fantastic job in the EU and you are doing a fantastic job in the US. Don't let the carpers and cringers and nosepickers get to you.

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  • 76. At 4:32pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Patrick Henry's words apply here: "Is life so dear, and peace so sweet, as to be purchased at the price of chains and slavery?" If I attempt to purchase peace by leaving you enslaved, what does that make me?
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    An american.

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  • 77. At 4:34pm on 21 Oct 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Further to 65.

    That is the big conundrum in Afghanistan, too.

    Karzai is being praised for "allowing" or "accepting" that there should be a run-off.

    What?

    Let's not kid ourselves: This is a guy who was dragged kicking and screaming to do something that is absolutely necessary, entirely against his will. It was not arm twisting, but squeezing with a vise, and of a rather different appendage, that seems to have been required.

    A guy doesn't suddenly become honest because under intense international pressure he finally does what should have been automatic. As soon as the chance presents itself, as soon as anyone's back is turned, he's going to be the same guy he was before.

    Why is a guy who is up to his neck in vote-rigging even able to run in the second round?

    And now we read this morning that he is still trying to avoid a run-off by making a pre-arranged deal with the second place finisher.

    How does that work? You arrange by private agreement to deprive the voters of a chance to have their say? What nonsense.

    Why would public opinion in Afghanistan support his continued tenure in office? Why would western voters stand for the further commitment of troops to a place that has this guy in office in any capacity, or, indeed, that permits him to continue to campaign for office in light of the vote-rigging in the first round?

    Notwithstanding what secretary Gates may have to say, President Obama would be a fool to commit any more troops to this struggle until the final outcome of this election is known, and Karzai is gone for certain.

    Run-off or no run-off, this guy has got to go.

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  • 78. At 4:50pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Your president's troop commitment has nothing to do with karzai, karzai was going to stay.He is being used just to stall the time, untill the pakistani army finishes the real battle for the american troops..Imagine if obama had his troops in afghanistan and they were to fight the battle against those taliban who are giving more than just a tough time to pakistani army..Sometimes the reasons are not there, where they take your attention..When you wish to win war and your soldiers dont want to die, then your leaders have make other people, in this case pakistani army, to do the job..Its just like good old soviet union occupation days, where americans defeated soviet union by using the afghan civilians called mujahedeen.they got peace with russia former ussr after enslaving the afghans, before that, they got peace with germany after enslaving eastern europe to communism and soviet union, and palestinians were enslaved by the jews..

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  • 79. At 4:54pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    And if the fraud karzai does a re-run on 7 novemember, what guarantee do the invaders have that he wont cheat again? Will the UN, on whose money afghan's elections are held will within three weeks be able to have some fraud proof election system..

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  • 80. At 5:07pm on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #58. cping500: "Britain has a presidential prime minister while the US has an elective monarch."

    Both of which have been severely criticised in their respective countries; Blair in particular came under fire for his "presidential" ways, while Gordon Brown has reverted to more Cabinet involvement. In the US, "dynasty" politics does not always find favour!

    "How this works is best seen in Canada where the Governor General (who is effectively Head of State) and is a black Canadian of Haitian descent."

    When Australia was considering whether to retain the Monarchy or to become a Republic, the phrase "crowned republic" was frequently used. The Governor-General has in the past used Monarchial powers but much to the irritation of the government concerned. Only at the beginning of her reign did The Queen use her authority in the selection of a British (Conservative) prime minister, and which was prior to that party selecting a formal leader.

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  • 81. At 5:30pm on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #45. stellarBeloved: "telling (Mark) "to get out more"...how embarrassing (for me as an American) to see this ...display -- blushing"

    What's embarrassing about it? You're subscribed to British blog which purports to report on American politics, by which I take it to mean nation-wide, and "thoughts on being a Brit living in the USA". When the latter occurs, perhaps there will be some breadth, if not depth, to the blog.

    "P.S. I'm an American (and not Beloved)"

    I'm a Briton and definitely beloved!

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  • 82. At 5:56pm on 21 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    "So Britain has a presidential prime minister while the US has an elective monarch." (from cping500 at #58)

    This is a glib characterization of no utility whatsoever. Clever (but empty) statements like this are no substitute for actually learning how American (or British) government works.

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  • 83. At 6:02pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    This is a glib characterization of no utility whatsoever. Clever (but empty) statements like this are no substitute for actually learning how American (or British) government works.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Read my words. We dont want to learn. We have no need to learn how american and british government works.

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  • 84. At 6:21pm on 21 Oct 2009, princessdevongirl wrote:

    Mark, just look at your job title - are you the BBC's North America Correspondent or its POLITICAL correspondent??? Please, outside of the beltway - there is a whole lot of the wonderful United States your are missing out on if you stay on the inside!!!

    Leave the political issues to others and report on what real middle America is thinking and doing - currently living in Colorado and believe me its got a whole different focus to the eastern shore!

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  • 85. At 6:35pm on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #69

    I read that 5 Iranian thugs were killed by terrorists.

    but as Iran is the leading nation sponsering terrorism it is no suprise it finally happened to them.

    To bad it wasn't the Grand Ayatollah and President

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  • 86. At 6:42pm on 21 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    Great. Another post (#84) telling Mr. Mardell how to do his job. Hasn't this been hashed over enough? Is his explanation above not sufficient?

    He can write about whatever he pleases, as far as I am concerned. If I am interested in a subject which he does not cover, I can find it elsewhere.

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  • 87. At 7:02pm on 21 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    Mark, how about you staying in the beltway and let our American based posters give us some views outside the beltway - thus saving the environment. You can do the occasional jolly outside DC of course and tell us your observations.

    I wonder if the posters asking you to travel round the States have any shares in airlines.

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  • 88. At 7:11pm on 21 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    When President Karzai condemned the killing of hundreds of Afghan civilians by US and NATO forces he, in effect, bit the hands that feed him. This run off is not the result of a sudden infusion of high moral standards on Mr. Karzai's part, it is a reminder from those that pull the strings behind the scenes of who is truly in charge in occupied Afghanistan and how tenuous Mr. Karzai's position is.

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  • 89. At 7:32pm on 21 Oct 2009, WCoastConservative wrote:

    Mark, thank you for the article: it provides us a glance at your perspective we rarely see from media types.

    Don't mind dceiler: Your single carbon footprint is less important than receiving, processing and distributing good information. If news on the US is important at all, it is important to break through the fog of localism and report the whole story.

    As for Afghanistan vs. reporting everything else, I'd drop the "balance" language you're employing. Better to say "tension" and get used to it, as there never is total equilibrium in any decent line of work.

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  • 90. At 7:37pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Mark, just look at your job title - are you the BBC's North America Correspondent or its POLITICAL correspondent??? Please, outside of the beltway - there is a whole lot of the wonderful United States your are missing out on if you stay on the inside!!!

    Leave the political issues to others and report on what real middle America is thinking and doing - currently living in Colorado and believe me its got a whole different focus to the eastern shore!
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Excuse me for my rip van vinkle sleep, but when I went to sleep, usa was part of North America and not North America..Or has usa wiped out rest of the countries from North America.

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  • 91. At 7:47pm on 21 Oct 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    I am interested to hear what the British and other allies think of the war in Afghanistan, through their ideas, thoughts and strategies. The more people that participate, the better. It is good to hear other allies' thoughts. I almost rather like reading better than watching tv, as it seems like people are more willing to be truthful in writing, as their facial image is not shown or known. The USA is joined by her allies in defending against the terrorists, but do our allies think it is a war we should continue to commit to, do they want to stay until Afghan is more secure, or do they just want to leave it in disarray and terrorists' clutches? What do our allies want?
    As it is such a serious issue with so many involved, I hope and pray that President Obama will think long and hard about what is the best thing to do for Afghanistan. The USA and our allies have put so much time, dedication, resources, lives at risk, soldiers, effort and symbolism in Afghanistan, I hope that we can find the right thing to do for this country, who has the potential to be a good ally, as well. The USA and our allies do not want to own Afghanistan nor do we want any resources or elsewise, we simply want to stabilize the country, get rid of the terrorists and move on. That is it. The USA is as tired of war, as our allies are, we want our troops home. But we cannot just give up, when Afghanistan needs us the most.

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  • 92. At 8:36pm on 21 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 50 & 53, David and dceilar:

    Thank you for your responses. I think my error was in thinking that the Parliamentary governments that Great Britain (and the U.S.) set up around the world reflect the government of the nation that created it. Those governments are truly multi-party in nature, governments in which no party has a clear majority, which allows smaller, less popular parties to take on the role not only of king maker but king deposer (to coin a term) as well. I'm thinking now that the U.S. two party system that pits liberals against conservatives is a knock-off of the original British system. I can see that a general election is required for a change of government in the U.K. even under the Parliamentary system.

    So, David, am I to understand that the British public feels that the Iraq fiasco is water under the bridge, and that the Labour Party will not be punished by the electorate?

    What about the detention of British citizens at Guantanamo? Certainly the government shouldn't be allowed to do that, no? I can't help but think that if London had complained in any way, Washington would have handed them over posthaste.

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  • 93. At 8:55pm on 21 Oct 2009, ghostofsichuan wrote:

    We also watched the replacement of different governments in Viet Nam as the US became disenchanted with the corrupt culture of Asian politics. Again, no attempts to engage the people and provide them with alternative governmental structures. The Taliban are dangerous zealots who will shoot those who disagree under the pretense that this is God's will. They will also blow up Western cities if given the opportunity. Withdrawal makes sense if one is willing to deal with the "what if's." The Bush/Cheney neo-con cabal has left the world in a sorry state and their defenders wish to blame others. Sorry syncophants of ideological simplicities promoted by radio talk shows based on making the host rich by causing hate and discontent. Just like the Taliban.

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  • 94. At 9:14pm on 21 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Oh good Lord! It seems we've fallen back into the quick sand, dead-end road debate over who's system of democratic governance is better...again!!

    Well as a firm believer in the phrase '"if you can't beat them, join them," here's my two cents.

    They both have benefits and drawbacks. Our separation of the branches of government serves very well in the way of keeping the president in check. However don't be fooled, just because the possibility of a president being impeached or a vote of no confidence being brought against them exists, it doesn't mean in any way that achieveing it is easy, much less done even rarely. Out of 44 presidents, only one (Nixon) has been forced from office, and not through impeachment, but through being forced to resign. Clinton wasn't impeached for lieing under oath. Hell! Bush wasn't impeached, and instead rewarded with a second term in office, for lieing to the nation about his reasons for wanting to go to war with Iraq and send our brave, innocent soldiers to their needless deaths!!! However the separation of powers does do our system overall good.

    However on the other hand, as I've said previously several times on here, the parlamentary system of democracy's quick and inexpensive election campaigns, and especially the atmosphere in parlament of MPs being allowed and encouraged to speak their minds and be themselves when debating issues, particularly in national richuals such as Prime Minister's Questions, are I believe incredibly beneficial to those citizens, as it frees up otherwise campaign funds for more worthwhile causes such as health care, and lets them know what their elected officials really think about a controversial issue. Congress rather insists that its members be more respectful and polite when debating issues (except when addressing their colleagues in a speech.)

    So in my opinion, the way they are now, neither one is better than the other. However my version of a perfect democracy would be one in which the people elect the person who lead the party (as is done in the US system,) but who then goes on to fight their opponent(s) in the general election campaign structured after the ones in the UK. Add Question Time to that and voi la! You've got the world's perfect democracy!! Of course this doesn't look set to happen anywhere in the world any time soon, so in the mean time we're stuck with what we've got.



    AndyPost #48: '"When the ideas for the American revolution sprouted from the Great Britain (via Locke et. al.) did those ideas have to go abroad to find a home? Why isn't Britain a republic? It's the logical end point of British political philosophy (Great Britain's gift to the world), but for some reason in the place of its birth, it stopped before it got there. The British are in complete control of their government but in some ways still behave as subjects. Isn't British sovereignty worth protecting? Or is that not the British people's job? Baffling."

    Allow me to help unbaffle you. As has been explained very cojantly by 'David_Cunard (Post #40) on here already, the reason Britain isn't a republic is due to the classic difference in governing style in that country. Great Britain is governed primarily from the center (I.E. London,) where as the constitution and foreign policy aside, the US is governed primarily on a state by state basis. Its not that the British don't believe in the same values that formed our country, or that they died out in that country before they got the chance to take hold. They just merely helped form their democracy in a different way from ours that's all. I personally wish more of our decisions were made in Washington. Perhaps then we would be able to finally join our allies in eradicating capital punishment (something which still exists in 36 states in our union,) adopt the Metric system of measurement (we're the only nation not to do so,) drasticly reduce our number of inmates (we have the largest prison population in the world,) and perhaps lower our drinking age (we have the highest legal drinking age of 21, whereas every other western country's is 18.)



    And as regards your inquiring as to why the British people, who believe that their country's power has been seded to us haven't thrown their prime minister out of office, come on!! You honestly think we're better? We knew our president lied to us so that he could play 'Cow Boys and Indians with the Iraqi people and we returned him to office!! Remove the plank from your eye before removing the speck from your neighbor's. And if it makes you feel any better, the British people have felt that their country is essentially the 51st state of our union ever since Labour got into power in 1997. What did you expect them, the same people that voted Labour in because of a disappointment with the Tories, to do? Insist upon an election a mere year or two after Labour had taken over from 18 years of Tory rule because they don't like how their new prime minister is allowing himself to be treated by our president? Get real.

    Don't worry though. Soon the Tories will be back in, a backbone will grow, and all will be right with the special relationship...I hope.

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  • 95. At 9:15pm on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    Andy post. just to point out that the Americans have never been that good at handing anyone over to the UK .
    What precedent do you think would show them handing over terror suspects?

    Didn't work for those suspected of being bombers in the troubles.They didn't get returned.

    Most probably realise that there were elements in the labour party that were against the war. No matter Tony the poodle was too busy getting his religious jollies with his evangelical buddy George.

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  • 96. At 9:15pm on 21 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    93 ghost Thats about right.

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  • 97. At 9:21pm on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #92. AndyPost: "David, am I to understand that the British public feels that the Iraq fiasco is water under the bridge, and that the Labour Party will not be punished by the electorate?"

    Punished? Just as likely to be killed off!

    There is a litany of dissatisfaction with "New Labour", Iraq (which was not supported by the British people), immigration, petty officialdom, "quangos", the cash for honours scandal, the MPs' expenses revelations, twenty-four-hour drinking, the employment of illegal workers and of course Tony Blair himself. That he is now poised to become "President of Europe" raises a further issue which is anathema to many because of his past behaviour, even for Cameron's doubters. The prospect of Cherie becoming "First Lady of Europe" does not sit well either! Unless something radical occurs in the next six months, the Labour triumphs of 1945 and 1997 will be totally erased and the party thrown into the wilderness for the best part of another generation. In both cases the party started with fine intentions but lost its way. The "natural" party of British government is the Conservative Party which at long last has dragged itself into the twenty-first century. Blair, Brown and Harriman, architects of "New Labour", will be vilified just as Margaret Thatcher has been of late. Eventually, the same will happen to whoever secures the prize.

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  • 98. At 9:26pm on 21 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    AndyPost

    Call me cynical but the whole of idea of Parliamentary Government is to stop the public having a Government that reflects their wishes while at the same time giving the illusion that it does!!

    You know the old saying: if democracy changed anything they'll abolish it
    ;-)

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  • 99. At 9:26pm on 21 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:

    AndyPost (#92) "I'm thinking now that the U.S. two party system that pits liberals against conservatives is a knock-off of the original British system."

    No, it's not a knock-off. On the contrary, the US political system was deliberately designed along different lines than the British system, for rather obvious reasons.

    Parties were not a part of the "system" but parties are inherent in politics and arise naturally. The similarity of the US and UK electoral systems in electing members of Congress (Parliament) from single-member districts tends to result in two parties becoming dominant, because that facilitates election. Parliaments can contain several significant parties when the system assigns seats to parties proportionally, or as a result of significant political differences between regions of the county (both the UK and Canada, which have single-member districts, show this effect). The "system" is the set of electoral rules for filling offices, not the number of parties.

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  • 100. At 9:30pm on 21 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David_Cunard #80: "Blair in particular came under fire for his "presidential" ways, while Gordon Brown has reverted to more Cabinet involvement."

    If these styles of governing are so despised, then how do the British people prefer their prime ministers govern?

    "In the US, "dynasty" politics does not always find favour!"

    No, but it is certainly welcome (ask the Bushes and Kennedies,) and it is certainly greatly helpful, if you are an unknown person with asparations of being elected to office, to be related to a famous politician.

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  • 101. At 9:42pm on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #93

    As usual the left refuses to acknowledge reality. the Bus cabal as you call it confronted the threat of islamic terrorism.

    There is no common ground with rouge states like Iran. Instead of blaming the U.S why not blame the Arab countries who refuse: to abolish Sharia law, madrasas and intolerance of non moslem countries in the middle east?

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  • 102. At 9:45pm on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    "87. dceilar: "I wonder if the posters asking you to travel round the States have any shares in airlines."

    Let's hope not since they could well become worthless! Do not forget that there actually is a rail connection across all of America, a frequent bus service from ocean-to-ocean in addition to private vehicles on transcontinental highways. There are many ways to see the majesty of North America, not simply by air.

    #90. colonelartist: "Excuse me for my rip van vinkle sleep, but when I went to sleep, usa was part of North America and not North America."

    The phrase "middle America" refers to average United States' residents. Presumably the Canadians use "middle Canada" to describe their own equivalent. And it is customary to use upper case letters (capitals) when referring to the abbreviation for the United States of America. It takes very little effort to depress the 'shift' key.

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  • 103. At 10:02pm on 21 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    As usual the left refuses to acknowledge reality. the Bus cabal as you call it confronted the threat of islamic terrorism.

    There is no common ground with rouge states like Iran. Instead of blaming the U.S why not blame the Arab countries who refuse: to abolish Sharia law, madrasas and intolerance of non moslem countries in the middle east?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Crows swoop on hawks,
    Sparrows do eagles stalk,
    Strange are the times!

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  • 104. At 10:03pm on 21 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #100. PursuitOfLove: If these styles of governing are so despised, then how do the British people prefer their prime ministers govern?"

    By Cabinet consensus and decisions. Blair employed a number of non-elected officials in the same way that the President of the United States may and more recently Gordon Brown has seen fit to elevate Peter Mandelson to the peerage so that he could use him in a governmental position. The method is not popular.

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  • 105. At 10:07pm on 21 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David_Cunard #97. . .

    I read a BBC news article a couple of years back that stated that at the beginning of the Iraq war, 6 in 10 Britains supported it. Is that incorrect? Did the majority of the people apose it from the start?

    I find this interesting, since around (I believe) 70% or so of Americans initially supported the war. Why was there such a drastic discrepancy between the amount of American and British supporters? Is it because of the false connection made by Bush between Iraq and the then recent 9/11 attacks? Or is it something else? Do you know?

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  • 106. At 10:28pm on 21 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #94 Love

    Don't worry though. Soon the Tories will be back in, a backbone will grow, and all will be right with the special relationship...I hope.

    I'm sceptical myself. If the Tories were in power during the Shrub years they would have done exactly the same as what Blair did. I don't remember hearing the Tories complaining at the time of the Iraqi invasion.

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  • 107. At 10:29pm on 21 Oct 2009, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #102
    Let's hope not since they could well become worthless! Do not forget that there actually is a rail connection across all of America, a frequent bus service from ocean-to-ocean in addition to private vehicles on transcontinental highways. There are many ways to see the majesty of North America, not simply by air.
    __________________________________________-

    The railroad infastructure certanatly needs to be improved. The Acela train which is much slower than Europe or Japan's can't ever reach top speed through several areas because of the tracks.

    The airline industry will have to evolve just like everything else, but it will not disapare. we lost Peoples, Pan Am and Branif once major players. They are not missed.

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  • 108. At 10:37pm on 21 Oct 2009, dceilar wrote:

    #102 David

    The phrase "middle America" refers to average United States' residents. Presumably the Canadians use "middle Canada" to describe their own equivalent.

    Unfortunately the phrase 'middle England' refers to people I generally despise. If I had my way they would be the first up against the wall when the revolution comes! Or beaten to death with rolled up copies of the Daily Mail!

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  • 109. At 11:13pm on 21 Oct 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    102. At 9:45pm on 21 Oct 2009, David_Cunard wrote:

    "The phrase "middle America" refers to average United States' residents. Presumably the Canadians use "middle Canada" to describe their own equivalent. And it is customary to use upper case letters (capitals) when referring to the abbreviation for the United States of America. It takes very little effort to depress the 'shift' key."

    ______

    Well, interestingly, there really is no such thing as "middle Canada", unless it is Dog River, Mariposa, or possibly Winnipeg.

    Ironically, perhaps, sometimes you might say that darn near all of Canada is "middle America", except for Toronto which so despearately badly wants to be New York, but is more like Chicago.

    Oddly, too, although Quebec is not "middle America" culturally, nonetheless in much of Quebec the American dream lives on in a strange sort of way that would take Americans aback if they really understood what was being said.

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  • 110. At 11:35pm on 21 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 95, fluffyTale:

    I don't know that the British government even asked (nor for that matter the Australian or Canadian governments).

    The Bush administration didn't suspend the writ of habeas corpus. If London ever demanded they be charged with a crime, it's news to me.

    I'll give you dollars to peanuts that the British government didn't want the people we picked up in our sweeps to be released back into the U.K. Indeed, I think they were very interested in seeing the results of our interrogations since they couldn't do it themselves. Like the U.S., the U.K. can't hold its citizens without a charge, but conveniently the U.S. can. We can detain and interrogate British citizens without charge if the British allow it.

    If anybody in the British government had even threatened to raise a stink over the issue, Washington would have folded like a wet cardboard box. Don't make the mistake of thinking that British anti-Americanism is requited in the U.S. The Brits wear the white hats over here.

    I have no evidence for any of this, but how is it that the MI5 can be trusted to know the exact location our nuclear attack subs (the most top-secret of top-secret information) but not have the influence to get custody of their own citizens? MI5 knew what the CIA was doing, no question. They could have stopped it all by simply leaking the story to the press. Washington knew that. They must have had a deal.

    The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that the British government was complicit in whole affair. The detainees are going to press their case in the British courts. They have legal standing, don't they?

    I'm not trying to bash the British government. That would be the pot calling the kettle black. What I want is for the people in the CIA who believed they knew better than the People to be prosecuted for breaking the law. AG Holder refuses to do it. We've had our noses rubbed in it pretty good already, so it can't be a fear of political damage (and besides the administration could always just use it to stick it to the GOP before the mid-terms). I suspect he's afraid that open testimony would point to our allies' complicity (which would be a diplomatic catastrophe) in which case I'd agree with him. If we promised not to take the fall, we need to live up to that promise. So, my only hope is that British courts will decide to blow open the case. Then the evidence will be out there. Holder won't be able to ignore it any more.

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  • 111. At 11:43pm on 21 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 94, PursuitOfLove:

    "It seems we've fallen back into the quick sand, dead-end road debate over who's system of democratic governance is better...again!!It seems we've fallen back into the quick sand, dead-end road debate over who's system of democratic governance is better...again!!"

    No, I don't care about any of that. It's irrelevant. All I want to know is what to expect from the British government and whether appealing to the British public has any hope of bearing fruit. The Bush administration didn't make the mistake of detaining and interrogating American citizens, so we don't have any standing to take our government to court. The British detainees do, though, if not with our government then with their own. Right?

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  • 112. At 11:46pm on 21 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    David_Cunard #104: '"Blair employed a number of non-elected officials in the same way that the President of the United States may."

    The president of the United States, while they can employ unelected, educated in their adopted trade people for permanant cabenit positions (as is permited by our constitution,) they also employ at least a quarter of their cabenit positions from Congress and/or state legislaters and governers...who are, of course, elected officials. Keep in mind, too, that a president's cabenit is much larger than a prime minister's, as there are many more positions that need be filled, and in addition to that, for each position, there needs to be a back-up in case the person occupying the role can't for whatever reason fulfill their duties (E. Secritary of State and Under Secritary of State.) However I take it from your post that the UK's unwritten constitution forbids prime ministers from bringing unelected officials into their cabenits then?

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  • 113. At 11:55pm on 21 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 99, GH

    'The "system" is the set of electoral rules for filling offices, not the number of parties.'

    By that definition, you're correct, of course. However, the number of parties has a distinct influence on how the government operates. The American two-party approach has always been criticized as inherently exclusionary (and I think rightfully so). I thought the British setup was superior because it had multiple parties. I just didn't know the reality of the situation, that's all.

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  • 114. At 00:07am on 22 Oct 2009, David Cunard wrote:

    #108. dceilar: "Unfortunately the phrase 'middle England' refers to people I generally despise."

    Do I detect a whiff of snobbery?

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  • 115. At 00:56am on 22 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    "...blame the Arab countries who refuse: to abolish Sharia law, madrasas and intolerance of non moslem countries in the middle east?"

    Religiouis fundamentalism is, indeed, perverse and the root cause of many of the problems afflicting humanity, but it is not limited to Islam.

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  • 116. At 01:02am on 22 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    Ref 112, POL

    "The president of the United States, while they can employ unelected, educated in their adopted trade people for permanant cabenit positions (as is permited by our constitution,) they also employ at least a quarter of their cabenit positions from Congress and/or state legislaters and governers"

    Don't forget the political appointees that fill positions in almost every federal government department and agency and ambassadorships. Hundreds of campaign contributors and big donors are rewarded for their loyalty and contributions with nice jobs after Inauguration. Obviously, their jobs come to a quick end when the opposition wins the next election.

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  • 117. At 01:40am on 22 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    David_Cunard,

    I meant my name...stellarBeloved--I didn't pick it (I AM beloved, true)...also, I was just concerned that Mark be treated well here on our blog...not kissing up.

    I was just ...um ...thinking. And this is a good place to read comments :)

    Thanks,

    David

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  • 118. At 01:46am on 22 Oct 2009, Andy Post wrote:

    Ref. 110, my own post:

    "If we promised not to take the fall, we need to live up to that promise."

    That's the exact opposite of what I meant to say.

    Remove the 'not'.

    * sigh *

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  • 119. At 01:53am on 22 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    If Fidel Castro wanted to create problems, He would have made a big deal out of the way the American government was using the base in Cuba. Torturing people and illegally using Cuba(Guantanamo Bay) as a form of unconstitutional Sovereign holding jail. The willing detention or prevention of anyone anyplace(or holding by force) while denying a form of convention is clearly beyond. dictatorship powers. Illegal kidnapping and holding hostage of people is breaking all Geneva convention agreements. Castro could have declared criminal use of the base and that would have been grounds to end his agreement to lease the land to the US. Just goes to show that Castro is playing ball with the US. He had been staying out of most affairs. Now he is out of the way. A good example of law with regard to policy between the Us and him was the little boy in Florida and his return back to Cuba. I am not 100% sure of this, but there probably aren't any Cuban forces in Afghanistan helping the Taliban. Maybe things will still have to get a little worse yet worldwide. Most people already believe that, world leaders will unite into a one world organization, one universal health care and one currency. Jacob was a Jew, God called Jacob, 'Israel'. All Israelite are descendants and all Jews. Jews (Some call Jesus the greatest Jew that ever lived) yet not all honor Jesus as the son of God. Therefore Israel is a Jewish state. Many in Israel think no different than anyone else anywhere in the world, when it comes to faith. There are many who are secular. There are some who have compromised their origins. So who knows what is left to happen. It could happen that along with their war and the constant conflict with so many other countries, not to exclude Afghanistan, that they may very well be the cause for nations to begin war. Maybe the last war and perhaps it could be then, that many who had previously strayed from their paths, make the faith leap and embrace their true God. Such a move would guarantee Israel total salvation and maybe even survival among the almost total destruction that may ensue.
    Afghanistan may cause some destruction, but it will be the more nuclear capable nations who would decimate the earth.

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  • 120. At 02:37am on 22 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    dceilar #106: '"I'm sceptical myself. If the Tories were in power during the Shrub years they would have done exactly the same as what Blair did. I don't remember hearing the Tories complaining at the time of the Iraqi invasion."

    No, unfortunately in both countries, the left leaning political parties took a massive leave of their senses, when in the UK half the Labour party (in this case the party in power) and the entire Tory party (the one in opposition) supported the invation, whereas in the US, the Democrats in opposition half supported our little jaunt, and all the Republicans, the party obviously in power, enthusiasticly supported it. However I have no doubt that had the Tories been in power at the time of the Iraq war, that though they would have gone along with it, they certainly wouldn't have gone along with every half hearted, half baked, hastily imposed idea drempt up by the Bush administration, and that instead they would have make their feelings known, and force us to compromise on everything from troop levels to military strategy to exit strategy. And it wouldn't just stop there. They would have insisted upon being treated as equals in all the areas of colaboration that Bush tryed and succeeded in having his way on, whether it be with the extridition treaty or intelligence sharing agreements. They would have drawn a line in the sand, demonstrating to the world that while we're the best of friends, they most definitly won't allow us to push them around.


    This is not to say, however, that because of the last unfortunate 8 years, that I view the relationship between the US and UK in even a fraction of the same way as seemingly at least half, if not more, of the British contributers to the BBC's blogs and web forems do!! The political relationship between our leaders is only part of it. But every nation has a friendly political relationship with every other friendly nation. What makes the relationship between the US and UK different and...well...special, are the commonalities of law, government, culture, history, and as is repeated so much as to the point of nausia, all built upon the foundation of common values, which are in my opinion most eloquently and succinctly expressed, all be it plagiarized from the great English philosophers Thomas Hobbs and John Locke, in our declaration of independence and preamble to our constitution. I think my views are much better expressed by 'Researcher 238576 in Mark's '"Not So Special?" entry, when he said that "The UK's international position in banking and insurance, as well as its continuing relationships with Commonwealth and (especially) Middle Eastern countries, its military and intelligence cooperation, and the massive inward investment the UK has in the US, stand it out amongst US allies. It does not need to be constantly reaffirmed by summits and high profile bilateral talks ... it just "is" in so many ways, quietly and efficiently, that talking about it is just idle chatter.

    The citizens of the Anglosphere talk the same language; they have the same definitions of what freedom really means; they fervently believe in democracy and a liberal tolerant society; and when the chips are down, they look after each other. We don't need formal political or economic pacts or a "Constitution" secretly imposed upon us to bind us ... it's just naturally there.

    The UK does not have the same relationship with continental Europeans - they are our friends and neighbours, NOT family."


    So in summation, I believe that the best policy regarding this relationship is one of separate and equal, but friendly.

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  • 121. At 03:08am on 22 Oct 2009, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    colonoscopy #83

    "Read my words. We dont want to learn. We have no need to learn..."

    You know I've suspected as much for the longest time. Thanks for clearing that up without me having to say it first. Sometimes those of your mindset are not quite so frank and resent others characterizing them that way. But when it's one of their own who says it what can they say?

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  • 122. At 03:08am on 22 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    No. 119,

    Did you know that "to decimate" means to kill one out of every 10? I did not know that until,

    I read it in "World War Z" (me so smart)

    No offense, truly.

    BUT, you make an excellent point about Fidel Castro and Cuba. Why did they not say much of anything about the Guantanamo Bay situation? That IS curious.

    Also, you make a good point about "rendition" of "prisoners of war." I'm kind of scared (presently) about the Republicans regaining power...I sure hope the economy picks up.

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  • 123. At 03:24am on 22 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    andy maybe you are right but the UK May not have known until it was too late. they were in US custody. America rarely if ever gave up prisoners from the Irish conflict, they were in those days considered freedom fighters.
    so maybe it is possible that they wouldn't give back people who they thought the brits might get all human rights over (I doubt) and they would miss the opportunity to make another enemy .
    just possible
    maybe only just ,I don't know

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  • 124. At 05:01am on 22 Oct 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    122. At 03:08am on 22 Oct 2009, stellarBeloved wrote:
    No. 119,Did you know that "to decimate" means to kill one out of every 10? I did not know that until,
    I read it in "World War Z" (me so smart)

    _____________________________

    Decimation was the Roman penalty for cowardice in battle. The men who turned away from the enemy were lined up, and every tenth was cut down. Ancient discipline

    KScurmudgeon
    anachronism

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  • 125. At 05:06am on 22 Oct 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    120. At 02:37am on 22 Oct 2009, PursuitOfLove wrote:
    dceilar #106: '"I'm sceptical myself. If the Tories were in power during the Shrub years they would have done exactly the same as what Blair did. I don't remember hearing the Tories complaining at the time of the Iraqi invasion."
    No, unfortunately in both countries, the left leaning political parties took a massive leave of their senses, ..."

    -----------------

    It was as you say - in the absence of the Soviet competitor, the west, particularly the USA, simply fell forward over its feet for lack of balance.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 126. At 05:11am on 22 Oct 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    115. At 00:56am on 22 Oct 2009, saintDominick wrote:

    "...blame the Arab countries who refuse: to abolish Sharia law, madrasas and intolerance of non moslem countries in the middle east?"

    Religiouis fundamentalism is, indeed, perverse and the root cause of many of the problems afflicting humanity, but it is not limited to Islam.

    _________________________

    Care to start a war?

    KScurmudgeon - and just when I was beginning to really like you.....

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  • 127. At 06:16am on 22 Oct 2009, rodidog wrote:

    #68 colonelartist,
    IMO, the logistical problems concerning Afghanistan is the "Achilles heel" of any surge in troop levels, if not the current mission itself. Right now 75% of the supplies arrive via Pakistan. Alternate routes would include dealing with Iran and/or Russia.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    i dont know what people are told in america or west, and it really irritates me that people who wage wars against other countries do not have the basic courtesy to atleast keep themselves informed...Do you really believe that obama's back track on that missile defence project which was just in papers, was based on on his intention for peace..Allow me to enlighten you and take you back in march of this year when russia and america agreed on an alternative route the same route which once soviet troops took to occupy afghanistan.. And dont for a second think that this increase in war in pakistan, just happened. Obama first made sure that his troops get an alternative route and only then he increased in sending drones to pakistan and made more pressure on pakistani army to fight against its own people...
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator] Read this.




    You're saying Obama gave up the missile defense system in order to ensure a supply route via Russia....all this time I thought it was for their support on sanctions against Iran. Anyway, this is precisely the type of scenario that is troubling. In order to keep those routes open we will have to bow down to whatever is dictated to us from Moscow. The alternative is no effective supply route for our troops, not good.

    The real question is: what are the consequences, political or otherwise, in accepting the help from Russia in supplying our troops in Afghanistan? The delay in deciding on additional troop levels could be because Obama has already seen his deal on missile defense backfire and is rightly concerned. If Pakistan can achieve more effective control along the supply route, this would remove any dependence on Russian good will. Watching American troops leave Afghanistan because of logistical problems will be more than embarrassing for this administration.

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  • 128. At 2:40pm on 22 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    "Religious fundamentalism is, indeed, perverse and the root cause of many of the problems afflicting humanity, but it is not limited to Islam."

    St Dom. well said.
    I can't see how admitting that it is true will start a war.
    Seems like KS is a little ify on his equal mindedness today.

    Glad to see you haven't
    ;)

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  • 129. At 3:56pm on 22 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    The real question is: what are the consequences, political or otherwise, in accepting the help from Russia in supplying our troops in Afghanistan? The delay in deciding on additional troop levels could be because Obama has already seen his deal on missile defense backfire and is rightly concerned. If Pakistan can achieve more effective control along the supply route, this would remove any dependence on Russian good will. Watching American troops leave Afghanistan because of logistical problems will be more than embarrassing for this administration.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    I am sorry to say, but pakistanis werent born to serve american interests, and neither was pakistan created to serve usa..I am telling you, the delay in troops has nothing to do with anything except the pakistani army's fighting the taliban in south wazirstand. And the army is facing the toughest resistance..Obama first wants pakistani army to make afghanistan safe enough for his troops to come and then he will give such an order..If you had paid any attention to his afghan policy during elections, you would have noticed that he was already talking about bringing war to pakistan..and after he became president, the term "pakAfghan" policy has become the new hype...By the time your leaders and experts and media (a few weeks from now) stop talking about afghanistan which seems to be the only topic in usa) Mr Obama would have destablized pakistan so much, that you would talk about when to attack pakistani nuclear facilites,so that they dont get in the hands of "taliban"...

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  • 130. At 5:23pm on 22 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    If Pakistan can achieve more effective control along the supply route, this would remove any dependence on Russian good will.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Any thing beyond 100 yards on either side of the main road is off limit to the Agency's administeration. (south waziristan Agency). That was the agreement between the people of agency and the administration. Anything on the main had the right of passage through the agency. That agreement was first broken by the pakistani army..And when the agreement is broken by any party, the other party has the right to retaliate..thats how the attacks on convoy's started..Another reason although not a major one..was that some transporters were chosen to transport american goods, lots of money involved..The dead guy baithullah meshud, was a truck driver, turned transporter..before he turned or was made to turn or labelled as the terrorist..

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  • 131. At 6:59pm on 22 Oct 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    128. At 2:40pm on 22 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:
    "Religious fundamentalism is, indeed, perverse and the root cause of many of the problems afflicting humanity, but it is not limited to Islam."
    St Dom. well said.
    I can't see how admitting that it is true will start a war.
    Seems like KS is a little ify on his equal mindedness today.
    Glad to see you haven't
    ;)
    _______________________

    I am concerned about what may be included under the term 'religious fundmentalism', that is so generally considered blameworty. Out of respect, I am not eager to get into defining our potential differences - so war can be avoided at this point.

    However, I am not happy by the inference that my defense of religion and fundamentalism, whatever is meant by these terms, brings my 'equal mindedness' into question. That comment, although it may be well meant, would seem to bring Fluffy's equal mindedness into question.

    Are there some things people do not discuss?

    KScurmudgeon
    checking the borders of civil discourse

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  • 132. At 8:05pm on 22 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    KScurmudgeon,

    Thanks for the info on the Romans decimating their troops. I felt that I was a little rude to mention it (the meaning of decimation), so now I don't feel so ...rude.

    I'm doubting that "a war will start" (we have so many going on already) but...

    Colonialartist is to the left of people, but he does have interesting views as do you. I'm center/left, but

    I did read that Russia is agreeing to help us with our supply lines to Afghanistan (maybe because we removed the anti-missile shield)

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  • 133. At 9:53pm on 22 Oct 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    Any religion can be extreme, but the truth is, if you look at the people arrested for terrorism in the last month or two in the USA, they were all Islamic extremists. So why is it that there are more Islamic extremists than other religions have had in the last few months?

    Just a day or two ago, there was that Boston guy, Mehenna, who was an Arab and wanted to murder people, even though he was educated in the USA and lived here many years. Even with that, Mehenna was ungrateful and psychotic. Guess his occupation? Muslim teacher at school- teaching religion! Why am I not surprised?

    So although any religion can be extreme, the most dangerous and cruel one in modern times is Islamic extremism. Islamic extremists have attacked or attempted to attack people on every continent. They don't think anyone has the right to live but themselves- they are extremely egotistical and ungrateful to others. There have been just too many cases of Islamic terrorists from the Middle East lately, although, there was one European Islamic terrorist. I know there is some kind of African Islamic terrorist organization now, too. Evil Islamic terrorists come in all forms of all races, whether they are white, black or tan. The ones in the last few months have all been from the Middle East, although there was one that was of European descent.

    Are the majority of the Afghan people religious extremists or just religious people? I can't tell the normal people apart from the terrorists.

    In the USA, we are made up of people from all around the world, a melting pot of multiculture and a smorgasbord of variety, if you will, but the last several months, the people who have tried to attack us have been Islamic extremists. That says something. I know not all Muslims are terrorists, but I can't tell the terrorists apart, so I just don't trust them and probably never will.

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  • 134. At 10:33pm on 22 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    In the USA, we are made up of people from all around the world, a melting pot of multiculture and a smorgasbord of variety, if you will, but the last several months, the people who have tried to attack us have been Islamic extremists. That says something. I know not all Muslims are terrorists, but I can't tell the terrorists apart, so I just don't trust them and probably never will.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    In the usa, you are made up of people who are extremists.while you have difficulty in tellling the terrorists apart, the people outside usa have difficulties in finding moderate americans, and probably they will never find them. In the last 8 yrs americans under the leadership of their extremist leader bush, have been attacking the muslim countries..Now do the logical mathematics, and perhaps you will find out why in the last several months, people or the islamic extremeists have tried to attack you..Anyway does it ever occur to you that a muslim could try to attack usa because of your country's invasion or attack on his country? Or do you think its only americans who attack other countries because of this?

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  • 135. At 11:51pm on 22 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    There may be many different definitions on the word decimate, however to be inclusive of just one of its definition is not being so smart.(no offense truly)
    Because it also means to kill in large numbers, and I read it on my desktop web dictionary, which I have handy. The last time Castro made a point, it almost cost world war 3. He is a man of great substance and conscience.
    A prisoner of war has the Geneva convention as agreed by the US. Anyone who is in the hands of an Authorized and recognized government has that assurance. It is an illegal situation which takes place in Guantanamo Bay. The possession and detention of anyone (regardless of who) by a country that has the convention is in flagrant Violation of the same. Then again, the US has a record of doing such things, and viciously abhors anyone else that does the same. I am an American Citizen and V.N. Veteran, but what I am not, Is blind or deaf.
    Well strike that, maybe a little of both, thanks. I would not trade my Stars and Stripes(not to be confused for zebras) for any thing else. We just have to re-examine our tunnel vision. Our way of life is predicated upon many wrongful actions. To live in a mistake is to perpetuate it. Maybe I can't love everyone, but I don't have to continue to hate them either, and I choose to do my best, to be fair. I don't mind a little controversy here and there, or there.

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  • 136. At 00:42am on 23 Oct 2009, David wrote:

    Thank you, ranter22,

    I read my definition in a "zombie book" ... "World War Z," so I'm not so smart.

    And I DO enjoy all opinions here--left, not so left, center, not so right, and right.

    But, I tend to the center/left or left of center (I've been reading the Guardian site, lately, and its really quite good)

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  • 137. At 03:01am on 23 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Stellar, p.a.m.a. It wasn't my best. You are Right. Gnite sport.

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  • 138. At 05:58am on 23 Oct 2009, BienvenueEnLouisiana wrote:

    129:

    You may not be far from the truth. However, there is another angle here that I think you are missing. It may also be that the adm. is agonizing over this decision because Obama knows that it might anger the far left and jeopardize his chances of getting healthcare to his desk for signing. The left is already making it clear that they are unhappy with the current bill and they could very well be so infuriated by any reasonable decision on troop levels in Afghanistan that they could break with the moderate Dems in Congress or hijack the bill entirely. This would end any real chance at meaningful reform because the bill would never pass both chambers.

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  • 139. At 06:51am on 23 Oct 2009, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    129. At 3:56pm on 22 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:
    I am sorry to say, but pakistanis werent born to serve american interests, and neither was pakistan created to serve usa..I am telling you, the delay in troops has nothing to do with anything except the pakistani army's fighting the taliban in south wazirstand. And the army is facing the toughest resistance..Obama first wants pakistani army to make afghanistan safe enough for his troops to come and then he will give such an order..If you had paid any attention to his afghan policy during elections, you would have noticed that he was already talking about bringing war to pakistan..and after he became president, the term "pakAfghan" policy has become the new hype...By the time your leaders and experts and media (a few weeks from now) stop talking about afghanistan which seems to be the only topic in usa) Mr Obama would have destablized pakistan so much, that you would talk about when to attack pakistani nuclear facilites,so that they dont get in the hands of "taliban"...
    ______________________________________

    This is the first of your posts I have read that wasn't thoroughly perceptive and instructive. It seems to smack of heedless paranoia. Attacking Pakistan is unthinkable - Obama would loose everything he has or hopes to achieve here in his own country, and much of what he has achieved in the rest of the world. We have no stomach for more wars in that part of the world. Why would this president want to wear the old discredited garb of Messers Bush and Cheney?

    I anticipate you writing that America has attacked Pakistans people already, through the use of drones and other initiatives to suppress al Quaida and militant Taliban activities across the border in and out of Afghanistan. But you must see that none of our interests can be served by reducing Pakistan to a failed state dependent on or as a result of, our occupation. Whoever may govern there must be in support of our interests in that region, or all our blood and treasure is wasted, and it may well be wasted.

    You have very properly described the right of middle eastern states to be free of meddling, interference, and attack from the West and America, and the responsibility of every nation to protect itself and its own borders. Does this also involve a responsibility to protect the community of nations from criminal attacks from within its borders? Some of what you write makes me think of bands of bandits and warlords who are a law only to themselves.

    I hope you will answer in the spirit of honesty you have used to this point.

    KScurmudgeon

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  • 140. At 2:48pm on 23 Oct 2009, comsense09 wrote:

    Until we get really serious and fight this thing like we mean it, there will be no resolve. You cannot have rules of engagement that empower your enemy. I'm sorry to hear about collateral damage and "innocents" getting killed, but that's the result of war. The enemy will use our own rules against us and this thing will last indefinitely.

    Until the local populace decides to eradicate themselves of the Taliban, we will never dig them out and "innocents" will continue to die.

    Besides, we (Americans) seem to be the only people really upset about the innocent deaths. The Taliban sure has no qualms about killing women and children, especially when in THEIR culture, women have no value anyway! They don't hesitate a minute to hide behind women and children instead fighting like real men!

    Time to ramp things up and go after every last one of them. Until then, nothing is going to change.

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  • 141. At 7:10pm on 23 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Attacking Pakistan is unthinkable - Obama would loose everything he has or hopes to achieve here in his own country, and much of what he has achieved in the rest of the world. We have no stomach for more wars in that part of the world. Why would this president want to wear the old discredited garb of Messers Bush and Cheney?

    I anticipate you writing that America has attacked Pakistans people already, through the use of drones and other initiatives to suppress al Quaida and militant Taliban activities across the border in and out of Afghanistan. But you must see that none of our interests can be served by reducing Pakistan to a failed state dependent on or as a result of, our occupation. Whoever may govern there must be in support of our interests in that region, or all our blood and treasure is wasted, and it may well be wasted.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You have no stomach for war, obama knows it, thats why he has decided to slaughter pakistan to acheive his victory in afghanistan. Your interests are served only when pakistan becomes a mixture between iraq and afghanistan..Destablized nations, living inside a limited area is what serves american interests and that of the west, no compitition.. your government forcing the heads of states of such destablizing countries to use their resources on the west and for the west. Anyone or any group resistiance against it, be called terrorism. its obama's drones that have increased extremism..Even the dead guy, baitullah Masood said that..Obama will continue to show his worries about the deterioating conditions in pakistan, but he will continue to weaken the country. Thats the american policy. If it had not been for the nuclear bombs, americans would have by now crushed the country the way it has crushed Iraq and afghanistan..Even now, if you listen carefully, your leaders and the media is not worried about pakistan, they are worried about nuclear weapons..Every statement of the western statesmen, and media, revolves around their concern of nuclear facilities getting in the hands of the taliban..While they kill the taliban leaders who have openedly said that they have no wish to get hold of nuclear weapons..And most often, they use heroshima and nagasaki to prove their points about not interested in nuclear weapons.And whether you like it or not, accept it or not, the truth is that no matter how bad bush was he would not have gone to war, had the democrats not pushed him by supporting him..Democratic party compared to the republicans are more prefered in both the arab world, and pakistan..Obama was more supportive of expanding war into pakistan by blaming pakistan for the mess americans have created in afghanistan, Mccain was not..

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  • 142. At 7:22pm on 23 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Besides, we (Americans) seem to be the only people really upset about the innocent deaths. The Taliban sure has no qualms about killing women and children, especially when in THEIR culture, women have no value anyway! They don't hesitate a minute to hide behind women and children instead fighting like real men!
    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    When you attack them in their backyard, where do you think they should fight you? In usa?

    The Pakistani Army

    It plays the different tribes and regions off of one another. In area X it is in peace talks or has a truce in place, and then in area Y it is in a state of war. Then the roles change, and it is in combat against area X and talking peace with area Y. He calls this a “policy of deception.”
    The Pakistani army’s war in the tribal areas is an American war.

    Nuclear Weapons

    Islam doesn’t permit the killing of women and children, which nukes would inevitably do. Don’t have thoughts about the use of nuclear weapons. America killed innocents in Japan–Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The fear right now is the use of American bombs against the Muslims as they used against the Japanese. Says, we fear the American bombs,

    Goals

    First priority is the conducting of a defensive jihad. He says the Pakistani army attacks their homes on the orders of George W. Bush. Would like Pakistani forces out b/c of their displayed ‘barbarism’.

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  • 143. At 7:34pm on 23 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    You may not be far from the truth. However, there is another angle here that I think you are missing. It may also be that the adm. is agonizing over this decision because Obama knows that it might anger the far left and jeopardize his chances of getting healthcare to his desk for signing.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Health policy is america's internal matter, what its doing in afghanistan is afghanistan's internal matter, to link the two toghether is what he is doing..to get his health bill passed, he will have to make sure that when he sends his soldiers to afghanistan, a very few of them come back dead..thats why he uses pakistan...Again, Its not responsiblity of pakistani people o or its military to provide you security in usa..Pakistanis are not palestinians and usa, is not israel, but thats what obama has made relationship between pakistan and america..A palestine like destablised area is what america wants from pakistan, and its getting a good help from India and Israel, both of them traditional enemies of pakistan, one who has not accepted an independent state of pakistan, the other who sent its planes to destroy pakistani nuclear facilities.

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  • 144. At 10:23pm on 23 Oct 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    Colonel artist, the only reason we are attacking them is because they attacked us first. The USA did not start the fight, the Islamic terrorists started the fight. It's one thing if it's a rogue group, but this was a serious attack from a terrorist organization. We had no choice, but to go after them. If you attack the world's biggest superpower, you better expect to get burned!!!

    The USA only attacks if we are provoked. If we had not been attacked by a terrorist organization, we would have never went after them. The Islamic terrorists want a war with us, more than we want with them.

    Americans may be wild and crazy, but we are good people, who merely want to protect our country, when we are attacked. We were attacked and the Islamic terrorists started the war. If you want someone to blame, it is the Islamic terrorists. If they had never attacked us, none of this mess would have ever happened.

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  • 145. At 11:07pm on 23 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    142. At 7:22pm on 23 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Besides, we (Americans) seem to be the only people really upset about the innocent deaths. The Taliban sure has no qualms about killing women and children, especially when in THEIR culture, women have no value anyway! They don't hesitate a minute to hide behind women and children instead fighting like real men!

    ==================================
    144. At 10:23pm on 23 Oct 2009, Illinoisan wrote:
    The USA only attacks if we are provoked. If we had not been attacked by a terrorist organization, we would have never went after them. The Islamic terrorists want a war with us, more than we want with them.

    Americans may be wild and crazy, but we are good people, who merely want to protect our country, when we are attacked. We were attacked and the Islamic terrorists started the war. If you want someone to blame, it is the Islamic terrorists. If they had never attacked us, none of this mess would have ever happened.


    I have many accounts and this is just one where, whar is said above is just not true:

    On May 6, 2001 Tim Russert interviewed Senator John Kerry on Meet the Press. In the course of the interview, Mr. Russert asked the senator about his views on Vietnam.
    MR. RUSSERT: You mentioned you're a military guy. There's been a lot of discussion about Bob Kerrey, your former Democratic colleague in the Senate, about his talking about his anguish about what happened in Vietnam . You were on this program 30 years ago as a leader of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. And we went back and have an audiotape of that and some still photos. And your comments are particularly timely in this overall discussion of Bob Kerrey. And I'd like for you to listen to those with our audience and then try to put that war into some context:

    (Audiotape, April 18, 1971):
    MR. CROSBY NOYES (Washington Evening Star): Mr. Kerry, you said at one time or another that you think our policies in Vietnam are tantamount to genocide and that the responsibility lies at all chains of command over there. Do you consider that you personally as a Naval officer committed atrocities in Vietnam or crimes punishable by law in this country?

    SEN. KERRY: There are all kinds of atrocities, and I would have to say that, yes, yes, I committed the same kind of atrocities as thousands of other soldiers have committed in that I took part in shootings in free fire zones. I conducted harassment and interdiction fire. I used 50 calibre machine guns, which we were granted and ordered to use, which were our only weapon against people. I took part in search and destroy missions, in the burning of villages. All of this is contrary to the laws of warfare, all of this is contrary to the Geneva Conventions and all of this is ordered as a matter of written established policy by the government of the United States from the top down. And I believe that the men who designed these, the men who designed the free fire zone, the men who ordered us, the men who signed off the air raid strike areas, I think these men, by the letter of the law, the same letter of the law that tried Lieutenant Calley, are war criminals.
    (End audiotape)

    MR. RUSSERT: Thirty years later, you stand by that?

    SEN. KERRY: I don't stand by the genocide. I think those were the words of an angry young man. We did not try to do that. But I do stand by the description--I don't even believe there is a purpose served in the word "war criminal." I really don't. But I stand by the rest of what happened over there, Tim.

    I mean, you know, we--it was--I mean, we've got to put this war in its right perspective and time helps us do that. I believe very deeply that it was a noble effort to begin with. I signed up. I volunteered. I wanted to go over there and I wanted to win. It was a noble effort to try to make a country democratic; to try to carry our principles and values to another part of the world. But we misjudged history. We misjudged our own country. We misjudged our strategy. And we fell into a dark place. All of us. And I think we learned that over time. And I hope the contribution that some of us made as veterans was to come back and help people understand that.

    I think our soldiers served as nobly, on the whole, as in any war, and people need to understand that. There were great sacrifices, great contributions. And they came back to a country that didn't thank the veteran, that didn't--I mean, everything that the veteran gained in the ensuing years, Agent Orange recognition, post-Vietnam stress syndrome recognition, the extension of the G.I. Bill, you know, improvement of the V.A. hospitals, all came from Vietnam veterans themselves fighting for it. Indeed, even the memorial in Washington came from that.

    MR. RUSSERT: By your own comments, Bob Kerrey was not alone in doing the things that he did.

    SEN. KERRY: Oh, of course, not. And not only that, we, the government of our country, ran an assassination program. I mean, Bill Colby has acknowledged it. We had the Phoenix Program, where they actually went into villages to eliminate the civilian infrastructure of the Vietcong. Now, you couldn't tell the difference in many cases who they were. And countless veterans testified 30 years ago to that reality. And I think--look, there's no excusing shooting children in cold blood, or women, and killing them in cold blood. There isn't, under any circumstances. But we're not asking, you know, nor is Bob Kerrey saying, "Excuse us for what we did." We're asking people to try to understand the context and forgiveness. And I think the nation needs to understand what the nation put its young in a position to do, and move on and take those lessons and apply them to the future.


    Actual Interview, and it does not mention the Korean mass murders in which more died than in the holocaust of Nazi Germany.

    Point your browser to 'Atrocities committed by the US', there are many, many, of them.
    My point is not to put down the US, but to acknowledge that The US has done lots of what it purports to condemn, and yes, even recently.

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  • 146. At 11:29pm on 23 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Colonel artist, the only reason we are attacking them is because they attacked us first. The USA did not start the fight, the Islamic terrorists started the fight. It's one thing if it's a rogue group, but this was a serious attack from a terrorist organization. We had no choice, but to go after them. If you attack the world's biggest superpower, you better expect to get burned!!!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You started the whole thing..All you had to do was to just move your troops from saudi arabia..but since americans know how to expand a conflict, so they did what they are best at..You were given plenty of choices, you rejected all of them..The biggest superpower cannot even win handful men with Ak47s..

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  • 147. At 11:46pm on 23 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Americans may be wild and crazy, but we are good people, who merely want to protect our country, when we are attacked.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    its only americans, who insist on calling themselves good people..

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  • 148. At 5:47pm on 24 Oct 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    So colonel artist, you think it's okay for Islamic terrorists to murder innocent civilians, of USA, Canada, GB, or other countries?


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  • 149. At 8:24pm on 24 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    how about sending me an email for post 45.

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  • 150. At 10:29pm on 24 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    So colonel artist, you think it's okay for Islamic terrorists to murder innocent civilians, of USA, Canada, GB, or other countries?
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Instead of asking me this question, you should be proud of making the islamic terrorists follow the examples of usa, canada and britian...Whats okay for these countries, is okay for everyone...

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  • 151. At 01:02am on 25 Oct 2009, ranter22 wrote:

    Besides Afghanistan, these are three interesting locations to find information on how the US has led their War efforts.
    My other post was canceled and lets see if this one makes it by.

    It isn't that I am unpatriotic, it is just that one has to have an open mind. Call a spade a spade.
    Afghanistan means nothing except that some there pose a threat to many. Also that some may be hiding there or nearby that the US wants to punish. I agree with coloneralist on this one issue.
    Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

    http://www.kcckp.net/en/event/2008-6-25/index.php?1
    ----------------------------------

    http://www.globalpolicy.org/iraq/humanitarian-issues-in-iraq/atrocities-and-criminal-homicides-.html

    -------------------------------------
    http://hnn.us/articles/3552.html [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 152. At 04:09am on 25 Oct 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    148 - Land of Lincoln

    You will note that in the reply there is no explanation of how Canada has fostered terrorist acts anywhere against anyone.

    Can you guess why not?

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  • 153. At 4:09pm on 25 Oct 2009, LucyJ wrote:

    Yes, I did notice that colonelartist could not answer the question. This says a lot about the person.

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  • 154. At 5:25pm on 25 Oct 2009, colonelartist wrote:

    Yes, I did notice that colonelartist could not answer the question. This says a lot about the person.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Canadian troops are killing civilians in afghanistan...its part of the allies invading afghanistan..

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  • 155. At 1:00pm on 26 Oct 2009, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Canadian Forces have not killed any civilians in overseas deployments since the murder of a Somali teenager more than 15 years ago. This led to a Royal Commission of Inquiry, and, if I am not mistaken, to criminal charges and convictions against the soldiers involved. It also led the Paratroop regiment based at Petawawa to be disbanded.

    Canada has participated in, and frequently led, every UN Peacekeeping mission since UN peace-keeping started. Virtually every country on earth knows this. Our diplomatic services have been requested in many, many conflicts, sometimes with more success than others. In this way, Canada and the Scandinavian countries often have similar approaches to conflict resolution.

    In Afghanistan there is a small (2500 man) force that is being killed and suffering wounds at roughly twice the rate of US forces. It has been in Afghanistan for eight years. It is there as part of a larger multi-national force in Kandahar in general, and in the Panjwai district in particular.

    Of all the overseas mission on which Canadian forces have been deployed, this has been a particularly frustrating one. The force is large enough to defeat attacks, and to take ground from the Taliban. However it is not large enough to take and hold territory, and to make the inhabitants safe.

    Canada has tried to build schools and irrigation systems, and to tried to establish something resembling the rule of law and civic normalcy. These programs have been less than fully successful. The Taliban threaten to kill (and do kill) school teachers. They threaten to kill anyone who sends their children to school. They bomb the schools. The irrigation and crop diversification programs are plagued not only by the Taliban, but also by the druglords. Attempts to institute reliable policing have been thwarted by corrupt local politicians.

    This is Canada's record in Afghanistan.
    Canadian Forces do not kill civilians.

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  • 156. At 2:19pm on 26 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    153 I asked you a few questions back you never got around to answering so don't throw that charge out at others.
    it could be said to show something about you.


    144
    The people of Afganistan were not talliban. The Talliban were pretty unpopular.

    the people that vote in a democracy were not allowed to there were no votes.
    but they did not attack the USA. that was Bin Laden.
    is america standing up and saying.

    "OK. IF you reckon your people were killed by our people we will let you take a free swipe,
    This includes all those that were killed by our puppets states.
    If your state was run by some pinheadshade dictator that killed thousands , We want to hear from you.
    Not only are we sorry but we will even admit to our guilt"

    No I missed that announcement.

    Even the holy Isle of Canada may have a few dodgy admissions to make there. (though I doubt it they are saints really)

    So bombing the people of Afghanistan in a war because they took in a bad house guest would be a tad , nasty.

    Now probably what we have to do is sit back and think of as many excuses for not doing anything to threatening nations.
    How could I get some practice in Ignoring a countries behaviour ?


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  • 157. At 2:23pm on 26 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    by rights the talliban could set up an army in the USA and start a fight here, (easy enough to get guns) that would be the same as our invading their country because Bin laden was mates with one of their guys.

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  • 158. At 2:32pm on 26 Oct 2009, fluffytale wrote:

    KS what I question is you questioning the comment that "islam is not the only religion to start wars"
    you they seem to say that st dom was doing well.
    No it was YOU that was doing well.
    get over islam .It's happened.

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  • 159. At 11:09pm on 28 Oct 2009, McJakome wrote:

    99. At 9:26pm on 21 Oct 2009, GH1618 wrote:
    AndyPost (#92) "’I'm thinking now that the U.S. two party system that pits liberals against conservatives is a knock-off of the original British system.’

    No, it's not a knock-off. On the contrary, the US political system was deliberately designed along different lines than the British system, for rather obvious reasons.

    Parties were not a part of the "system" but parties are inherent in politics and arise naturally.”

    GH1618 you must be a political science buff, if not a professional. Have you noticed that there is very little variation in the post revolutionary model? We have only one state out of 50 with a unicameral legislature and no state with a parliamentary system. Yet the only thing forbidden is monarchy and titles of nobility. Utah was a theocracy at one time but nowadays only some red states hanker for that. My guess is that sovereignty is the great unstated difference. The US federal government is not sovereign; it is a hired employee, given only certain powers with all others reserved “to the states and the people thereof.” The UN has a definition of sovereignty to determine which countries are sovereign states and which are not. The US qualifies but it’s a stretch.

    RE #100 taking a bet to find one good thing that history will remember about George W. Bush's presidency, I stated, "America should remember and be grateful for the reminder of why our founding fathers eschewed monarchy and dynasty."

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