BBC BLOGS - Mark Mardell's America
IN ASSOCIATION WITH
« Previous | Main | Next »

Cameron raises awkward questions for Obama

Mark Mardell | 19:51 UK time, Friday, 25 June 2010

Toronto

President Barack Obama hasn't sat down to talk to David Cameron in Canada yet, but the UK prime minister may have turned it into a rather awkward affair. The prime minister's comments about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan are bound to alarm the White House.

Mr Cameron has said that British troops should be out of Afghanistan before the next election in five years' time. "We can't be there for another five years, having been there for nine years already."

Some reckon this question will define the Obama administration. At any rate, it is going to be the big question on Capitol Hill next week, when Gen David Petraeus will face senators in a hearing to confirm his new role in Afghanistan. They will want to know how strongly he backs the president to start bringing some troops home by July next year.

But the president has never talked about a date to withdraw all American troops. The unspoken assumption is that's because that would be in a distant future. I seem to remember Hillary Clinton once remarking that there are still American troops in Germany, although World War II has been over for more than half a century.

It does more, though, than raise awkward questions. Britain is the United States's biggest partner in Afghanistan, by far. If all UK troops withdraw, the Americans could be left just about alone.

No doubt contributions from others will provide some fig leaf but the feeling that the US is on its own could cause resentment among the American public. We haven't yet had any White House reaction, but my guess is that this is a very unwelcome intervention ahead of the first official meeting between prime minister and president.

Comments

or register to comment.

  • 1. At 8:39pm on 25 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "No doubt contributions from others will provide some fig leaf but the feeling that the US is on its own could cause resentment among the American public."

    Actually, the American public appears to agree with Mr. Cameron:

    ABC News/Washington Post Poll. June 3-6, 2010. N=1,004 adults nationwide:

    All in all, considering the costs to the United States versus the benefits to the United States, do you think the war in Afghanistan has been worth fighting, or not?

    Worth fighting 44%
    Not worth fighting 53%
    Unsure 3%


    Complain about this comment

  • 2. At 8:43pm on 25 Jun 2010, Andy Post wrote:

    Mark:

    "But the president has never talked about a date to withdraw all American troops. The unspoken assumption is that's because that would be in a distant future."

    Many commentators contrasted the general's [Petaeus'] caution with statements that Vice President Biden made to author Jonathan Alter in his book The Promise: President Obama, Year One.

    "In July of 2011 you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out." Biden told Alter. "Bet on it." -- USA Today

    Complain about this comment

  • 3. At 8:51pm on 25 Jun 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    Hasn't Obama already talked about July 2011 as a date for the US to end offensive combat operations in Afghanistan? If so, then surely the British PM saying he doesnt want British troops being in Afghistan longer than 5 years is a perfectly reasonable position to hold. Nothing is set in stone.

    Complain about this comment

  • 4. At 8:57pm on 25 Jun 2010, Bill Baur wrote:

    Mr. Cameron is too generous in his timetable. ALL troops, US/British/German, should be out of there in a couple years maximum.

    Complain about this comment

  • 5. At 8:57pm on 25 Jun 2010, mike craig wrote:

    I'm 57 and I have always been a supporter of the US/British alliance, its something I was brought up on. But I must admit, on Afghanistan and deficit spending (Obama wants us to continue spending instead of cutting spending!) I am very grateful that in Cameron we have a Prime Minister who will not go against what he believes to be best policy for the UK. just because of the "special relationship".
    The latter has often been declared dead but I think, at least under this adminstration, it really is.

    Complain about this comment

  • 6. At 9:43pm on 25 Jun 2010, Scott0962 wrote:

    Oh please please please please pull your troops out Mr. Cameron. The rest of NATO will follow and we will finally have an excuse to withdraw from NATO.

    It's high time Europe looked after it's own defence and took a more independent stand on security problems instead of asking "What are the Americans going to do about it?"

    Complain about this comment

  • 7. At 9:51pm on 25 Jun 2010, cicileem4 wrote:

    I'm with Andy on this one. I'm an American, married to a Welshman. I think, because of my family situation I can see both sides of the coin in a different way. And as an American who is sympathetic to the needs and wants of the British people, I completely agree that withdrawing British troops is the best thing for Britain. I would also go one step further and say that this war has had detrimental consequences for both of our societies, both enconmically and cultrally. This isn't to say that we should be giving violent jihadist want they want, but rather, that we should be seeing to the needs of our own people, and began healing the domestic wounds that exist in ALL OUR WESTERN NATIONS. The role of any state is to look after it's own first of foremost, not to be policing other nations, and certainly not if this means risking social cohesion at home.

    Complain about this comment

  • 8. At 9:54pm on 25 Jun 2010, diverticulosis wrote:

    6. At 9:43pm on 25 Jun 2010, Scott0962 wrote:
    "It's high time Europe looked after it's own defence and took a more independent stand on security problems instead of asking "What are the Americans going to do about it?""

    CHEER.

    Nothing would please the American's more than Europe (and Canada for that matter) start paying for their own defense.


    Complain about this comment

  • 9. At 10:31pm on 25 Jun 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    I remember a sharp exchange between my self & colonelartist some time back,re you can not leave Afghanistan as a failed state for alqaeda to set up training camps.His logic was sound,what about other failed states Somalia ect could not alqaeda get away from the heat & set up there.When is NATO going to invade all the others?.We British thought that insurgency technique was our forte & we could teach the Americans a thing or two.Our confidence was misplaced,we received criticism about the way things were done in Basra Araq by some in the US.In the end we were hunkered down keeping alive.But the British officers on the ground could see that the only thing that united apposing factions was British patrols,& were fair game for any Ali,Rashiedd & Asiff,(Tom,Dick&Harry).
    Far better to let those guys slugg it out amongst them selves.
    I some times feel that the only reason there is such opposition in Afghanistan is because of the simple fact that we are there...

    Complain about this comment

  • 10. At 10:43pm on 25 Jun 2010, Tinkersdamn wrote:

    I suspect Cameron's assertion was more understandable than alarming to our administration. I have no question it represents the wishes of the vast majority of US citizens for our own engagement. If there's a valid regional need for a lengthier occupation, I think our own electorate may demand it be spelled out and justified in plain English.

    Complain about this comment

  • 11. At 11:16pm on 25 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    Well this could give Obama anothr reason to leave.

    As this the 60 year anniversary of the Korean war, it would be good to remember that Obama would have left the South Korea to the autocratic dictatorship of the North.

    Complain about this comment

  • 12. At 11:36pm on 25 Jun 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    Cameron owes the British people a much shorter fuse than five years, and President Obama owes the American people the same thing. I would hope they would stick to their 2008 commitments and begin to withdraw next year. Nothing is being accomplished, and whatever "national interests" may have been at stake at one time have long since been lost track of.
    Cameron and Obama must have the political courage to call a halt to this charade and let the Afghan people solve their own problems -- if they can. Pay attention to Andrew Bacevich: there is no future for either of our countries in the Afghan/Pakistan war.

    Complain about this comment

  • 13. At 00:19am on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    there is no future for either of our countries in the Afghan/Pakistan war.

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Yes. your past was enough, to start the war in afghanistan and spilling it into pakistan...Now, go and find new damsels to rescue or fighting the windmills, thinking them to be the evil enemies..Sancho panza and don quixto.

    Complain about this comment

  • 14. At 00:48am on 26 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    When the wars first began, many Americans thought that it would only last four or five years. Or at least, that was my impression.
    But then it dragged on...and on...and on...

    Our brave and couragerous soldiers have done everything we have asked them to. It is time to bring our troops home.

    Even if we did withdraw, the Taliban wouldn't "win", because we have wiped out a lot of terrorists. However, no matter how many we wipe out, there will always be more terrorists, because there are always going to be crazy people and bad people no matter what.

    The Islam culture with how they treat their women and everything else is beyond me. Just not interested in that. That is the way they are. It is not up to us to try to change their countries. In return, they should not try to change us, either. We should just leave each other alone and ignore each other. Well, except for the ones who might attack our allies. Like Iran. It sticks out like a sore thumb.

    So if the British troops do leave in the next five years, I think a lot of us could understand cause' many of us want our troops out, too.

    But I do love the soldiers and our military. I will continue to support our troops, even if I do not necessarily agree with our govt.

    Complain about this comment

  • 15. At 00:51am on 26 Jun 2010, Apolloin wrote:

    Cameron raising awkward questions for Obama? Dave better watch out that Obama doesn't become 'furious' and 'kick his ass' before getting him to resign. ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 16. At 00:56am on 26 Jun 2010, ann arbor wrote:

    It is good Cameron is looking at his own country's interests. I wish we had a leader like that.

    Complain about this comment

  • 17. At 01:04am on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Even if we did withdraw, the Taliban wouldn't "win", because we have wiped out a lot of terrorists. However, no matter how many we wipe out, there will always be more terrorists, because there are always going to be crazy people and bad people no matter what.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Let me make it very clear to you, when your leaders decided to attack afghanistan on your behalf, they knew that the chaos would not end, what they had planned was to raise locals to fight and then pull out. Now, the only problem is that they completely forgot that not everything would go as they plan, as the other side is not made of robots or some objects, they are humans, and whatever you and your leaders collectively think or say about them, they have a mind, which actually stays two feet ahead of your leaders plan, so, they for 9 nine not only fought back with their old weapons but havent allowed usa to succeed with its plans...the intention was , is and will be to create chaos, break down the infrastructure and then leave...Thats your forgein policy...Get yourself aquainted with it..

    Complain about this comment

  • 18. At 01:06am on 26 Jun 2010, John_From_Dublin wrote:

    # 11 MagicKirin

    "As this (sic) the 60 year anniversary of the Korean war, it would be good to remember that Obama would have left the South Korea (sic) to the autocratic dictatorship of the North."

    Indeed - it's good to "remember" what Obama "would" have done about a war that started a decade or so before he was born...

    Complain about this comment

  • 19. At 01:15am on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    It is good Cameron is looking at his own country's interests. I wish we had a leader like that.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------
    And when tony blair touted for the war in afghanistan, he used the reason of protecting his country's interest. Did anyone objected? I dont think so...Evey few years your leaders change the interests of your country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 20. At 01:25am on 26 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    No one can expect things to ever always go as planned. We have to hope for the best, prepare for the worst. We have succeeded in many of our missions, as we have wiped out many terrorists.

    We can continue to wipe out terrorists for as long as we want to, but it seems like our missions are pretty much done. We want to stabilize Afghanistan, but it is difficult to do so when they are always having suicide bombing, acid attacks on school girls, dancing boys, so on. Most places in the world USA could stabilize, but it is just a very unstable place. Not everything can be blamed on us. Some things there are just the Islamic culture.

    Complain about this comment

  • 21. At 01:32am on 26 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Our intention was to wipe out as many terrorists as we could. Then to stabilize as much as we could. That is our foreign policy.

    What we should have improved on was looking more into the culture, as to understand why and how things worked there.

    Complain about this comment

  • 22. At 01:36am on 26 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "President Barack Obama hasn't sat down to talk to David Cameron in Canada yet, but the UK prime minister may have turned it into a rather awkward affair. The prime minister's comments about withdrawing troops from Afghanistan are bound to alarm the White House."

    President Obama has a lot more to be alarmed at than whether David Macaroon takes five years or five days to pull out of Afghanistan. While it would have been nice had the British government sent equipment along with men so that they wouldn't have been so easy for the enemy to kill, the major burden of the fighting is being borne by the Americans and always was. All Britain provides is political cover and even that isn't necessary. America was attacked by an enemy based in Afghanistan that is still not defeated. So much for the NATO mutual defense treaty. Why do we bother to stay in it since it is of no benefit to America.

    What the Obama administration has to be alarmed at is that the American people are losing patience with the war and with President Obama. This is turning into another Vietnam because President Obama does not have the political will to win it. He has far far more than sufficient means at his disposal. Perhaps McChrystal's reason for getting himself fired was that he didn't want to be the losing commander in this war of vital national interest that the civilian administration does not want to sufficiently commit to to win. Obama wanted to get out of Iraq so that he could fight harder in Afghanistan. That is what he campaigned on. Now he is not getting the job done and it is no one's fault but his own. Macaroon is a momentary side show, a trivial inconsequence. November looms larger and larger for the Democrats with each passing day and the war along with the economy may be the sword of Damacles which hangs over them all if both continue to go badly because as Secretary Clinton said during the campaign, Barack Obama is not qualified to be Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States. She was right. Whatever possessed her to be part of what was inevitably a failed administration?

    Complain about this comment

  • 23. At 01:59am on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    We can continue to wipe out terrorists for as long as we want to, but it seems like our missions are pretty much done. We want to stabilize Afghanistan, but it is difficult to do so when they are always having suicide bombing, acid attacks on school girls, dancing boys, so on. Most places in the world USA could stabilize, but it is just a very unstable place. Not everything can be blamed on us. Some things there are just the Islamic culture.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The difference between you and your leaders is that they knew everything which you didnt know before the war...they gave you some anti islam, anti muslim propoganda to chant to keep you busy.There were plenty of people with whom your leaders had contatct who told and warned them how the war would turn into...and yet your leaders chose to go ahead....And its not 50s or 40s, this is 21st century, all the information is just a click away, pick up newspapers from nine years ago and you will find lots of people warning your leaders how this war would be like...You chose to listen to what you liked to hear and your leaders didnt fail you either...the scenerios which they presented were exactly what you wanted to listen, and too good to be true..and when something is too good to be true, its a lie...You chose to listen to lies..

    Complain about this comment

  • 24. At 02:20am on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Our intention was to wipe out as many terrorists as we could. Then to stabilize as much as we could. That is our foreign policy.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Your intention was to get ben ladden, and liberate the afghanistani, who didnt ask for this liberation, from taliban...So far, Failed...Killing as much terrorists as possible is not you goal, with them gone, how will you invade and oppress the countries whose resources you have yet to exploit...the war was never and will never be about ending terrorism, the war is about destroying the civilizations....the psychological war against islam in the west started the day soviet union withdrew from afghanistan, thats about 15 yrs before sept 2001..for 15 yrs they had been drilling you slowly but systematically with anti islamic propoganda, it wasnt for nothing that within hours after the planes crashed in newyork and pentagon, that the west went all made against islam...forgotten was the pentagon crash, and like some obbessed people you all clung to the twin towers, and how it targeted the civlians and all the rest...not once thinking that if they wanted to kill civilians they would have crashed into some big hotel...they attacked the symbol of capitalism, they attacked the symbol of your military...and the plane which went down, was heading for some other symbol...Your leaders fooled you, and quite frankly if i was your leader, i would have fooled you too, as some people just want to be fooled as if its their proffession.Or born to be fooled..

    Complain about this comment

  • 25. At 02:42am on 26 Jun 2010, arclightt wrote:

    All: I hate to bust everyone's bubble, but the US is going to be in Afghanistan for a long, long time. Why? We'll pursue the Taliban, to be sure, but we'll also have a large eye on the reputed $1T in mineral assets in those hills.

    Since China has sewn up long-term contracts in South America and Africa for these kinds of items, places like Afghanistan are the places where we are going to have to go to secure a claim. That's going to mean doing business with the Taliban, most likely, rather than killing them off.

    This is, of course, unless the Chinese pull our choke chains, remind us of our indebtedness, and tell us that THEY, and not WE, will sign long-term contracts with the Afghans.

    Side note 1: See what long-term (at least 45 years by now, if not 60) inattention to the national debt buys you? For that, you can thank the Congress, since they, not the President, ultimately control the budget, the tax code, and the law.

    Side note 2: We now have the spectacle of the House literally taking a complete pass on passing the FY10 budget. In all the years I have worked around the Feds, I have witnessed the Congress failing to pass a budget during the first quarter, and even the second quarter, but I absolutely CANNOT recall a year when the Congress declared that they would operate under continuing resolution for an ENTIRE YEAR! It's an absolute outrage, and it indicates how terribly out of touch the Congress really, really is.

    Returning to the main theme: Before anyone hollers how awful it is to shape national policy around such "mundane" considerations, consider:

    a. Do you want electric cars? Well, the magnets in the motors will require an enormous supply of rare earths...which China currently controls most of. If those rare earths are present in Afghanistan in abundance, you can bet your left eyeball that we'll want to secure them.

    b. Do you want solar power, and electric cars, and all other kinds of computerized thingies? Well, the semiconductors require dopants which are, again, rare earths. See (a) for the supply details.

    c. I can't even talk about minerals used in other manufacturing processes, or in medicine, but is there anyone who thinks that they will be much different?

    Regards,
    Arclight

    Complain about this comment

  • 26. At 02:58am on 26 Jun 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @22 (MAII): RE: repeated references to "Macaroon": How is this useful? Certainly you are free to call him whatever you wish (within the boundaries set by the mods) but how does this advance the arguments you want to make?

    @6 (s#) / 8 (d): "It's high time Europe looked after it's own defence and took a more independent stand on security problems instead of asking "What are the Americans going to do about it?"

    Be careful what you wish for. One thing our leadership role in mil affairs buys us is the ability to not worry too much about our allies becoming adversaries. The Europeans and Asians are plenty smart and plenty able to build good weapons, and I write that as an engineer who works with technology from all three areas.

    I for one don't want to have to face in a war the best technology that Europe and Asia can develop, particularly since our own developers are so hamstrung by, among other things:

    a. Management that is more interested in lining their own pockets than in delivering systems that work. Heard in the hallway once, attributed to a DoD contractor: "We know that DoD procurement is totally messed up, and we are taking full advantage."

    b. A Congress that is more interested in dollars in their district than in whether or not DoD has the right mix of forces, weapons, policies, and training to do what it is required to do.

    c. An education system that has not for many years produced engineers and technicians who can really, really THINK and CREATE.

    d. A population that is more ignorant than it ever has been of what it really means to serve in the military, and more isolated from such service than it ever has been.

    e. An entirely-too-large part of the population that absolutely does not understand and accept that we have a Department of Defense because, after you strip away all the stupidity listed above, there will continue to be circumstances where the only solution is to put troops in the field and fight adversaries.

    Thanks,
    Arclight

    Complain about this comment

  • 27. At 03:40am on 26 Jun 2010, arclightt wrote:

    @colonelartist: I saw your remark about forgetting our coalition partners' efforts in this and other wars. No, I didn't forget, but how our partners choose to do war is their business.

    What I wrote is strictly for us here; if it's useful to other folks in other places, that's fine with me.

    @all: I don't want us to even contemplate military efforts unless we are really serious about counting and accepting the real costs. If we kill or injure our soldiers, or those of the adversary, or in particular the innocents, we had better make sure that the reasons really pass the 500-year smell test. Not many of the world's conflicts really measure up.

    For me at least, war is a dirty, nasty business in which large numbers of human beings wind up dead, and even more wind up wounded, and even more wind up impoverished wanderers. It's supposed to be like that, and not clean, or antiseptic, or convenient, or happy. The dirtiness and nastiness of it, and the huge butcher's bill, are the things that make war a thing to be avoided if possible.

    Lest anyone think, though, that war can always be avoided, we have the butchers of the 20th century, the institutionalized horrors that they set in motion, and the gulags, concentration camps, and mass graves they created. These stand as eternal mute reminders to us and our descendents that regardless of what we prefer to believe, periodically it will become both necessary and right for godly men and women to draw the sword, swing it, and hurt or kill another human being.

    Complain about this comment

  • 28. At 03:44am on 26 Jun 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    If it isn't bad enough having Hamid Karzai as an ally, at least ostensibly we also have Pakistan as an ally:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10418643.stm

    Some ally. Torquemada lives.

    Complain about this comment

  • 29. At 05:19am on 26 Jun 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    23. At 01:59am on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:
    "There were plenty of people with whom your leaders had contatct who told and warned them how the war would turn into...and yet your leaders chose to go ahead....And its not 50s or 40s, this is 21st century, all the information is just a click away, pick up newspapers from nine years ago and you will find lots of people warning your leaders how this war would be like...You chose to listen to what you liked to hear and your leaders didnt fail you either...the scenerios which they presented were exactly what you wanted to listen, and too good to be true..and when something is too good to be true, its a lie...You chose to listen to lies.."

    I couldn't have said it better. Bush and Cheney after 9/11. B Obama was, maybe, a state Senator in Illinois.

    Based on the timetables, Obama may be more the ender of wars than Cameron; He is not a beginner of them, just as he has described himself from the beginning.

    The house will now divide themselves on the question "It is good that the President is an ender of wars: Yea, or Nay."

    KScurmudgeon

    Complain about this comment

  • 30. At 05:46am on 26 Jun 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    In the end -- as with the reform packages, including the financial one addressed in your previous dispatch -- all the completed agenda items are very much a muddle: watered-down, partial, ambiguous & sorely in need of fine-tuning.

    Without a doubt, the same will apply to Afghanistan.

    The principal reason it is so difficult to get something elegant, consistent, memorable & transformative accomplished in the USA today, from the point of view of the Oval Office, is that the American people calling the shots today are themselves so profoundly conflicted about what they want.

    They want a better health care deal, but no tax increase. They want a pristine Gulf of Mexico, but also no moratorium on oil drilling. They want to be welcoming to immigrants, but they also want to shut the floodgates that have been admitting them; they want their cheap labour because it keeps prices down, but they don't want them to be dependent on so many services that strain the public coffers & cause taxes to go up. They want victory in Afghanistan -- but they don't want to kill anyone to win the war. They want a credible functional government in Kabul, but they don't want to offend Karzai, or replace him, or to tell him point-blank he needs to do as he is told or he becomes the toast on tomorrow's breakfast plate.

    The mutually exclusive contradictions are a thicket of thorns blanketing the landscape from sea to shining sea. They would drive any rational person completely batty. Fortunately enough, the Obamas (surely she must be helping him keep an even keel at the end of every day) are made of pretty stern stuff, and that impresses me -- and perhaps some others as well.

    Under the circumstances, it is extraordinary & an accomplishment I could not myself have foreseen even a year ago that the Obama Administration has been able to get as far as it has, in fact, with the reform agenda. And I would caution the G8 leaders (if I had the capacity to do so) that pushing President Obama too hard on this "deficit reduction" doctrine could backfire -- because in the few short months that remain before the November vote, if the US economy sours any further (as spending dries to a trickle), the result may indeed be huge GOP gains which would, indeed, signal great risk of a return to Bush-Cheneyism or Newtism or even Palinism in 2012. And that would not be good for Europe's agenda, China's agenda or any rational human being's agenda... All of Obama's reforms would get repealed and the people who gave us the global financial meltdown could be in charge of Wall Street and the money supply, yet again.

    As for the future of Afghanistan: Prime Minister Cameron is right, and President Obama knows this. No one can afford five more years or dancing the minuet with the Taliban while Karzais set the tempo.

    There is a future for Afghanistan, and it does involve Nato/Isaf leaving. It includes considerable decentralization, since clearly the Karzais of Kabul don't have much credibility 100 miles down the road.

    My thinking inclines to giving a greater custodial role over the future of Afghanistan (the next 25 years or so) to the three local great sovereign powers, which are, of course: China, India and Pakistan (in alphabetical order), with the UN and its bodies in supervisory roles.

    The Nato powers are tired of this and have bigger fish to fry, namely rescuing their economies & addressing the Gordian knot of Iran, not to mention finding a lever to tip North Korea into a semblance of sustainable decency & decorum.

    Pakistan should be involved for all the obvious reasons.

    India & China need to be involved as counterweights to the destructive forces of decay which unfortunately abound after the decades of drama in the region. For one thing, both China and India are very modern, up-to-date societies that have demonstrated a capacity to take large numbers of impoverished, under-supplied people and thrust them straight into the middle of everything that is cutting-edge about today's world, and at a remarkable speed.

    While the Western powers hem-and-haw and agonise over "how it looks" or "how it sounds" to have people from affluent Western societies suggest to people living in desperate & backward villages that they need to dress differently, study differently, live differently and choose new life paths for their offspring, the people of China & India are not burdened with such silly compunctions. They just get on with the obvious: a more modern, more prosperous, more hygienic, more connected & more technologically advanced life is absolutely an improvement over living the way your grandparents' grandparents' grandparents did.

    And so they are in a far better position to model successful transformation to the shell-shocked villagers of Afghanistan. And we should let them do it, too: because they have the money, and because they have considerable & proven organisational & administrative skills, and also because they have the surplus manpower to spare -- something we do not.

    Keep in mind that if the burden of helping get Afghanistan through the next quarter-century falls on the shoulders of Pakistan alone, all that happens is that the dangerous elements will take deeper root wherever they can throughout Pakistan, further destabilising the region. But if we add China & India into the mix -- countries where Muslims are a minority, where the majority populations & leadership are utterly immune to the seductions & corruption of jihadism -- then we get much more balance and a better grip on a volatile, wounded zone that will require decades to heal: and that only after there is an outright victory over the Jihadists, which is the pre-requisite here.

    Recently there has been a re-ventilation of the prognosis for developing Afghanistan's natural mineral advantages. Certainly, that is an area where multinational efforts will undoubtedly unfold once the dust settles and a Reliable Government (one that is not corrupt & does not export heroin) is installed in Kabul, and in all the regional centres. But for the public sector, for the administrative & governance elements -- for training & keeping an eye on maturing Afghan law enforcement -- I believe it is clear that fresh reinforcements are needed (China + India), since the goal must be to free up Western resources & assets after nine years of costly service, for which everyone should say Thanks.

    India & China have long been suspicious of each other; giving them each a stake in a shared project of importance to everyone on earth might actually be a hugely beneficial exercise in upgrading global harmony.

    Again, the importance of ending the Nato/Isaf (USA) mission swiftly cannot be overstated, because of the urgency of refocusing Western governments' resources on Item One: the Global Economy.

    In case anyone thinks former Soviet states should be involved: NO, because of the history, and because they have no money to spare & not enough people. Look at what is happening in Kyrgyzstan alone, just down the road. If you don't want that kind of thing to spread, you must allow them to put their houses in order the best way they know how (with some rigidity + a crackdown on the drugs smuggling + Western encouragement & approbation -- after all, a few words of encouragement cost a lot less than a few billion in aid or special programmes).

    As for No. 28, Interestedforeigner, I recognise the validity of your objections -- but what choice do we really have? All six-point-eight billion do not live in enlightened NYC or Paris or London. Lots of people have to live where they live: in difficult places with not-very-nice people who carry big sticks. Afghanistan is one such place; by comparison, Pakistan is practically Paris. Seriously. We are stuck with what we have to work with even as we try to push for something better down the road. And so we deal with it as best we can -- because not dealing with it, i.e., allowing a bunch of bearded goons who rape & poison little girls to run vast tracts of land, cultivate opium, amass huge fortunes & threaten the rest of the world -- is not an option.

    Complain about this comment

  • 31. At 06:26am on 26 Jun 2010, canhlinh wrote:

    Five years can be a long time in military terms. With the surge situation on the ground could change within a couple of years. Politically the change will be even greater. I do not think Obama has the political will to take the war in Afghanistan into the next presidential election. Hence the timetable for July 2011 in preparation for the election campaign starting early 2012. So Cameron's five year deadline should not alarm the White House and therefore is not significant.

    Complain about this comment

  • 32. At 07:50am on 26 Jun 2010, Eyegore wrote:

    David Cameron asking awkward questions? Isn't he that Rolling Stone reporter or something?

    Complain about this comment

  • 33. At 07:53am on 26 Jun 2010, phil wrote:

    I hope Obama sticks to the draw down in 2011. We must get out of this mess. These two great leaders (Barry and Cam) must put their nation's interests first. The notion that our safety relies on the the safety of Afghans just seems untrue.

    Billions spent on Afghan while America is beginning to look like Afghan- bad roads, terrible housing, etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 34. At 07:58am on 26 Jun 2010, budgood wrote:

    Cameron is just setting out his stall and establishing a negotiating position for leverage on other issues. Its a shame that in this so called partnership that he feels that will be the best way to make things happen. is it shared values that connects us or shared plunder? I wonder.

    Complain about this comment

  • 35. At 09:15am on 26 Jun 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #22

    While it would have been nice had the British government sent equipment along with men so that they wouldn't have been so easy for the enemy to kill, the major burden of the fighting is being borne by the Americans and always was. All Britain provides is political cover and even that isn't necessary.

    Utterly disgusting paragraph, an absolute insult to the fantastic fighting men of the British Army. 300 dead and you make comments about them being "easy to kill" when most are killed by roadside bombs or in firefights whilst taking the battle to the Taliban??? American equipment doesnt stop THEM getting killed does it, whats the tally now? 1000 US dead? The UK has disproportionately large casualties due to the fact that we have been in Helmand since 2001, yet you seem to think that is STILL a cause to insult the UK?? You really dont know when to stop do you, you make me sick. With allies like you, it should be the UK pulling out of alliances with the US not the other way round.

    Complain about this comment

  • 36. At 09:39am on 26 Jun 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #6

    "It's high time Europe looked after it's own defence"

    The US has only 26,000 combat personnel and 34,000 military support and administration personnel in Europe. Europe is just part of a lilypad strategy so that the US has large bases in safe areas closer to the "hotspots". That strategy will become even more marked as time advances. The US wont leave Europe entirely, its the best lilypad they have.

    The EU combined provides and pays for 1.5 million regulars,7000 tanks and 3500 planes. The defence budget of the combined EU dwarfs that of Russia and China combined. The US provides the "glue" that binds 27 countries together. Only American ego stops you from accepting that the US is no longer defending Europe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 37. At 10:42am on 26 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Perhaps BHO will rename Mr. Cameron 'gen. Betray-US'?


    Just like American liberal Leftists renamed Petraeus, when he was nominatated by GWB.

    Complain about this comment

  • 38. At 10:44am on 26 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "In July of 2011 you're going to see a whole lot of people moving out." Biden told Alter. "Bet on it." -- USA Today




    Which seems to justify what gen. McChrystal reportedly said about Biden.

    Complain about this comment

  • 39. At 10:54am on 26 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #4 and #8.

    I know I am not the only American who thinks that U.S. should have withdrawn from NATO in 1990. And definitely by 2000.

    And that U.S. would be better of with ad hoc bilateral militry agreements (e.g. with Australia, Japan, S. Korea, etc.), if a situation warranted it.

    Let mighty EUSSR finally create its own unified military force capable of actual combat.

    And have its citizens pay for it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 40. At 11:07am on 26 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #32
    Eyegore wrote:
    David Cameron asking awkward questions? Isn't he that Rolling Stone reporter or something?
    _______________

    Everyone concerned about the threat of internationalism should boycott Rolling stone. Google or youtube Gerlado Riveria's points on how Rolling Stone political agenda has hurt the war effort.

    McCristal who is a liberal by the way should have known better than to trust a propoganda rag.

    Complain about this comment

  • 41. At 11:25am on 26 Jun 2010, lancelot83 wrote:

    I am a veteran. It's important to step back a moment and simply consider objectives. Terrain has everything to do with a successful strategy as we learned in Viet Nam. The Russians would agree, we could fight in the hills of Afghanistan for decades and lose if we don't listen to our generals instead of Washington.

    Because non-military types wrapped up in the self absorbed banner of political correctness have dictated military action in the field, (soldiers have to 'ask' if they can fire back...), I will discourage my kids from joining the military under this administration and a liberal democratic congess' policies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 42. At 12:36pm on 26 Jun 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    With all due respect to the the brave soldiers of all the nations that have served in Afghanistan. I believe this was, is, and continues to be a nightmare at best. Fix the infrastructure, increase heroin production. Give Pakistan billions of $$$$, funnel it to the Taliban (Good Taliban?). So do these funds help arm the Taliban, or just give them aid and comfort to kill our own forces? This administration in Washington is so out of touch with its own people, they no longer represent the will or wishes of those that elected them. I wish the UK would pull out, protect your soldiers, your country, and respect your peoples wishes. I truely respect the British people, they are stalwart allies. I could never find it in myself to blame the UK for doing what it feels appropriate when it comes to its nations choices. I would only say thank you for your help. Afghanistan is basically lost, it would take a commitment of over 50 years to maybe make a difference, if at all. History paints a grim picture of this place. How can the US secure a border between Pakistan and Afghanistan? Been 9 years.
    The Obama administration fails to secure the border between Mexico and the US. How long before a dire circumstance occurs because this border isn't secure? Most likely in some major population center within the US? Or maybe this is Obama's plan to rally people behind him to attack the common enemy. While pushing his Obamanist agenda. To use this cover for failed policies, corrupt and inept appointees, maybe another Czar position. While wrapping himself in the American flag and bamboozling the people for the crisis he allows to continue. A true dictator, rather than a representative of the US people.

    Complain about this comment

  • 43. At 12:39pm on 26 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

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

  • 44. At 1:16pm on 26 Jun 2010, wonderinoutloud wrote:

    RE:diverticulosis
    Nothing would please the American's more than Europe (and Canada for that matter) start paying for their own defense

    Yes, we Canadians found you very helpful the last time we were invaded.

    Get a grip.
    And do a bit of research on how "Helpful" the Americans have been when their own interests have not been threatened.

    Nothing is black and white, pal.

    And no politician now, in the past or the future, doesn't have a little piece of toilet paper on their shoe.

    Complain about this comment

  • 45. At 1:24pm on 26 Jun 2010, BluesBerry wrote:

    Good for Mr. Cameron!
    I don't reckon that this question will define the Obama administration. In case you haven't noticed, once an American presence is established, the United States NEVER lets go: Witness Japan and Iraq. In fact there are something like 730 bases in 50 different countries. In Europe, there are 116,000 US military personnel including 7,600 stationed (as Hilary Clinton said) in Germany.
    In the Western Hemisphere, excluding the US and US territories, there are 700 military personnel in Guantanamo, 420 in Honduras and 150 right here in my own country, Canada.
    The cost, THE COST! The cost of the great military machine - while too many Americans live on foodstamps in the United States.
    When Gen David Petraeus faces the confirmation hearing, do you think he will tell the Senators that once the United States gets a foothold, it never leaves - especially not when the target country (Afghanistan) is laden with copper, lithium and oil? At best the combat troops will change to "military traners". Hired guns (contractors) will do blood & guts everyday work...and the United States will never let go.
    The president has never talked about a date to withdraw all American troops from Afghanistan because the date is so far in the future that we are likely talking about the "end days".
    All in all, I believe the American people take this endless militarization because it's the main industry of the United States. Take away the manufacture and sales of military equipment and there's not much productivity left.
    And one last interesting question, what in the world would the United States do if it were to bring the American forces home; where would all these military personnel find work?

    Complain about this comment

  • 46. At 2:36pm on 26 Jun 2010, Arthur Brede wrote:

    Great victory for the Afghans, that - "We threw out the Brits twice (not to mention oath-breaking and murdering their diplomatic mission). That'll larn 'em!"

    Seriously, though - Whatever Cameron's motives (if he has any beyond the "Mirror, Mirror [or do I mean Sun?] on the wall") pulling out now could have all sorts of good spinoff, not to mention saving lives, material and treasure we can ill afford.
    1. Obama gets his first lesson in realpolitik - turn your back on us, we'll turn ours on you. It may not matter too much in military terms, but if we go, so do all the minnows except France, who will stay to curry (or at least stew lovingly) favour and profiteering, as it has done everywhere in the wake of 11/9, with its traditional marinade of cowardice and opportunism. Remember Obama's references to 'America's first friend'. With mates like Sarkozy......good luck with the new special relationship, Barry!
    2. Lots of battle-hardened troops come home and spread real knowledge of life with the realities of Islam, a counterweight to the skewed "it's all the fault of empire and our ignorance" trash promulgated by the Beeb, among others.
    3. Someone, somewhere, realizes that our participation in European defence has never extended beyond utterly free runway/missile space for the US and makes the decision that either the UK goes it alone (can we afford it?) or that we take definite steps towards a European defence force based on co-operation with Europeans. Yep, I do mean the old Soviet bloc, including Russia, if someone can stop Putin popping the monkey-organ pills. At least they've got something to offer Europe that it actually needs - gas rather than hot air, literally, in the correct meaning of the word.

    America has paid for our lives, creativity, support and goodwill with sweet nothing, bar avarice, ripoff and contempt. And don't you seppo's start warbling on about the wars you fought for money and spite - Europe would have muddled through without you and probably be a better place for your absence. And haven't you noticed that without us, you've lost every war you've tried - including independence that you won with - wait for it - the French?

    Enough - Cameron and Obama in the same room: critical slime mass for a cosmic plume of you-know-what in the megaton range?

    Like the cat nibbling old cheddar, I wait with bated breath.

    Complain about this comment

  • 47. At 3:24pm on 26 Jun 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    Kudos to Maria Ashot (@30 above) for a thoughtful and provocative presentation. Much to think about there. Well done!

    Complain about this comment

  • 48. At 3:47pm on 26 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    North Korea 'to pick new leaders' [BBC]


    U.S. will have to wait almost two and a half years to do the same.

    Complain about this comment

  • 49. At 3:55pm on 26 Jun 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    Thank you, Curt Carpenter (for No. 47).

    Complain about this comment

  • 50. At 4:40pm on 26 Jun 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #30

    Agree with Curt Carpenter, a well argued post.

    I dont agree though that China and India have a role to play here. Sadly, despite being rising powers with enormous populations and vast militaries, both seem satisfied to sit on the sidelines whilst others deal with militant Islam their own way. India has vested interest in keeping the peace with the Muslim world, China I believe just couldn't care less. It should be a salutory lesson for isolationist Americans that, if they want to vacate their role as superpower then they will have to live with whoever fills the power vacuum that is left behind. At the moment, that can only fall to the EU or China, neither of whom is ready or desirable.

    Complain about this comment

  • 51. At 5:05pm on 26 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

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

  • 52. At 5:39pm on 26 Jun 2010, sean56z wrote:

    If Sarah Palin wins the 2012 presidential election, will she keep troops in Afghanistan? This venture cost a great amount of money and lives. Obama must withstand a challenge when considering a national debt on that November election for an estimated $16.5 trillion in red ink.

    Complain about this comment

  • 53. At 6:01pm on 26 Jun 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    Scott0962, if you knew what you were talking about, you'd know that the US is NOT defending Europe, hard as that is for these myths laced with self pity seem to make some think.

    The remaining US forces in Europe are largely staging posts and facilities like military hospitals, I also know that basic geography is not a strong point with certain strands of US opinion either, so you'll maybe just have to take my word for it that the large medical facility in Germany, is closer to both the Mid East and Afghanistan than the American continent, often important for a badly injured medical case being airlifted out of the war zone.

    No other western nations is as bellicose, keen to have wars, than large parts of the American public.
    As long it seems, if it is nice and quick, preferably mainly consigned to bombing from 30,000 feet.
    But the main problem in Afghanistan is that though it was quite right in 2001 that the Taliban and their Al Queda guests were attacked after the sept 11th attacks, the US response was mainly that bombing and paying another bunch of thugs who happened to have a beef with the Taliban to do much of the ground fighting.
    Problem is, these guys had a history of changing sides if someone paid more, or just look the other way - as likely happened when Bin Laden and his cohorts managed to slip away when holed up.
    (British and Australian SAS troopers fighting their way up Tora Bora were also told to withdraw by the US command).

    Then the Bush Administration, with it's petrochemical obsession with Iraq withdrew many of the US SF guys who had been doing some fighting too, for Iraq.
    Result, slowly, steadily, the Taliban crept back in, when finally the NATO offer to provide forces was taken up - most had been rejected in 2001 - they entered a hailstorm of combat.
    For the British, the hardest fight since Korea, the often patronised and insulted Canadians were having,proportionate to the forces out there, the highest casualties, that unhappy title now true of the UK forces.

    Now some NATO nations have been reluctant to increase their commitments, though for some that changed when the Texan idiot left the White House, I have to say though, what do you expect, all the jibes about 'Old Europe' and suggestions about a lack of masculinity poring from the US, the casual contempt.
    The reality is that these states, within living memory, know what war really is, up close and personal, not from across an ocean.

    The hard fact is that this kind of counter insurgency warfare is long, difficult, when the enemy lack big conventional forces than a big conventional victory cannot happen, much less within the US 2-4 year US political timelines.
    Once Rumsfeld was out of the Pentagon from 2006, the smarter US military officers when it comes to this kind of warfare - of which there are plenty, could start to gain influence.
    But - be aware that the limited but real success of the 'surge' in Iraq was as much about paying former insurgents to change sides, as much as better US tactics.
    Can this be repeated in Afghanistan? That is the question.
    Another factor was that the imported Islamic insurgents were so indiscriminate and savage many ordinary Iraqi's including those very opposed to the US/Allied presence, turned against them too.

    The reason why these sorts of opponents do not fear the US is that they are well aware of how fickle US public opinion is, not just insurgents either, Bush once pledged that North Korea would never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons, well they did and on his watch.
    Since they knew that the only real option would be war, a war that would destroy South Korea, that though - outside of that regimes delusions - the US would prevail.
    But only after a lot of body bags came home.
    Another factor was that tied down in Afghanistan and Iraq, as well as emerging threats in places like Islamists around the Horn Of Africa, it would be very difficult for the US to fully prosecute a conflict with N.Korea, unless of course the Draft was brought back.
    Something that NO US President can really contemplate, guess who else knows all this too?
    Iran.




    Complain about this comment

  • 54. At 6:06pm on 26 Jun 2010, SONICBOOMER wrote:

    35, I do agree with what you say about the disgusting and ignorant comments of MA11, but best ignored, if his age/nationality is as he says, likely he was a draft dodger, a lot of US right wingers are, like Cheney.
    Otherwise, just one of life's failures who must spend hours per day on a site from a nation he affects to despise, being as stupid and provocative as he can, probably better that than reflect upon himself?

    Complain about this comment

  • 55. At 7:08pm on 26 Jun 2010, Brian Woods wrote:

    @MercThrasher

    Certainly if Roosevelt had minded his own business, Europe would be greatly better off today.

    That isn't to say the Bushies were right. The politics here are pretty thoroughly messed up. Afghanistan has been bungled for nearly a decade. I think it was always just a bait and switch for Iraq, anyway.

    To suggest Europe would be better off if the States minded their own business is the same as admitting Europe would have been better off Nazi.

    As far as someone else mentioned about us being primed for wars against Muslim nations, let's not forget how well indoctrinated Europe is on that front, too, as proven by the EUs willingness to consider perhaps the most moderate and secular Muslim nation's desire to be admitted.

    Basically things are messed up all over. We do a much better job of putting our stuff in the front window because of that whole freedom of speech (just ask Bruce Everiss how well British law served him in that regard).

    Complain about this comment

  • 56. At 7:14pm on 26 Jun 2010, HabitualHero wrote:

    #21 "Our intention was to wipe out as many terrorists as we could. Then to stabilize as much as we could. That is our foreign policy."

    No dear, it isn't. American foreign policy is to invade other people's countries and to steal whatever it is that they have, that you want.

    Complain about this comment

  • 57. At 7:22pm on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    @colonelartist: I saw your remark about forgetting our coalition partners' efforts in this and other wars. No, I didn't forget, but how our partners choose to do war is their business.

    What I wrote is strictly for us here; if it's useful to other folks in other places, that's fine with me.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    You cannot be you and the rest of allies, as they....Its NATO in afghanistan...And NATO went to afghanistan with certain objects, get ben ladden and get rid of taliban....Winning the war was not even an objective...Now, listen carefully because I am being generous here, you are in a state of mess with regard to this war which has now officially become longer than your favourite war, the vietnam...from which you learnt just one lesson, keep the casuality low so that you folks wouldnt force your government to end it...If you or some of you had bothered to ask the most important question you all wouldnt be getting all crazy...If you had only asked your leaders to give you an exist startegy when they presented you with the war idea...YOu acted like a young pathan whose entire family wanted him not to resist occupation by giving him all sorts of reasons and one of them was that the NATO have more sophisticated weapons and they will win this war, to which he replied, "what if they dont"...You behave exactly the opposite, that is , "what if we do". And in the end, you went to war, not only because of your own interest, but because of the interest of afghanistan...You took the responsiblity without being asked...and now you cannot suddenly talk about your own interest, because in doing so, you are giving your enemy a brilliant chance to prove their only point, that americans came just because of their own interests, just like when they did against soviet war...

    Complain about this comment

  • 58. At 7:25pm on 26 Jun 2010, cynic555 wrote:

    I don't think the American public support the Afghanistan war anymore than the British public. This war has turned into a classic example of "mission creep" and now is outright Nation Building which we can't afford and they don't need/deserve.

    As far as the Brits or other allies withdrawing from Afghanistan -- that's mostly a public relations issue --- no malice intended but as a general rule our NATO allies don't carry their weight on the battlefield.

    Complain about this comment

  • 59. At 7:40pm on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    If it isn't bad enough having Hamid Karzai as an ally, at least ostensibly we also have Pakistan as an ally:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/south_asia/10418643.stm
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And what do you want to government of pakistan to do, start moniteering the drones sent by obama? If they stop moniterring these sites, they will have to stop moniterring the the pathans, and that would mean that your brave soldiers would have to be real brave and engage in some real battles...Ask your leader to stop pakistani government to stop moniterring these sites in the name of your favourite freedom of speech and he will wriggle out of this question, ask your leader to tell pakistani military to stop killing pathans, and he will tell you, he wont...because its an ally.....You dont understand and you wont, because of your perfect brain washing, but your leaders know that in order for pakistan to fight this war for them, they have to let pakistani government to do such things...they cater to the harmless demands to the religious people while ignoring the demands of the whole country, which is, not to fight the war for the americans and the west...Which of the two demands you would have accepted???

    Complain about this comment

  • 60. At 7:54pm on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    How can the US secure a border between Pakistan and Afghanistan? Been 9 years.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The border was secure before usa entered the scene....the tribesmen of both sides were the security of both borders, especially for pakistan...For 50 years,these tribesmen worked as the guards of pakistani northern and western border...And then entered the usa, which turned the army, which secured the eastern border with india, against the people which had guarded its northern border...The treaty with pakistan government to never send the army to their areas was uncercomseiusly broken by your pet dictator musharaff...who now blames the americans for making him doing that...

    Complain about this comment

  • 61. At 7:58pm on 26 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Based on the timetables, Obama may be more the ender of wars than Cameron; He is not a beginner of them, just as he has described himself from the beginning.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    He is a leaser of the war, he doesnt end it...A person who spoke about sending drones to pakistan before even he was elected, as opposed to Mccain who said he wouldnt, and a person who advocate war while receiving nobel prize can never be an ender of the war...He has not take the option of going to war against iran, off the table...

    Complain about this comment

  • 62. At 8:55pm on 26 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    42. At 12:36pm on 26 Jun 2010, AmericanGrizzly wrote:"

    While pushing his [*] agenda. To use this cover for failed policies, corrupt and inept appointees, maybe another Czar position. While wrapping himself in the American flag and bamboozling the people for the crisis he allows to continue. A true dictator, rather than a representative of the US people.

    * It would be equally or even more correct to substitute the names GW Bush, Dick Cheney, Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton and groups like the Neocons, The Tea Party, Move On.Org, etc.


    Let's face it the politicians running the show in the US and many other countries are corrupt. Preferring one's own set of corrupt ne'er do wells is not only pointless, and delusional, it gets in the way of solving the problem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 63. At 9:25pm on 26 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    46. At 2:36pm on 26 Jun 2010, MercThrasher wrote:

    "And haven't you noticed that without us, you've lost every war you've tried - including independence that you won with - wait for it - the French?"

    While you make some very good points. This last is a bit simplistic. The French did not keep the "Red Coats" bottled up in Boston, it was the locals [including at least one of my ancestors] with some help from the citizens of neighboring states.

    The War for Independence was a Vietnam scenario, and the UK would have suffered seriously had it not gotten out [would that our current US leaders were so logical]. The shame is that we have not learned the lesson [we wrote the book, with notable contributions by the original inhabitants, after all].

    The UK seems to have learned some lessons [victory in Malasia] but not the French [Vietnam]. As to completely trusting ones "friends and allies," that is usually not a good idea [we trusted the French and got involved in, wait for it, Vietnam]. Much as I dislike Ronald Reagan, he said one thing I agree with, "Trust but verify."

    As to inviting the Russians into the European defense establishment, isn't that rather like hiring a fox to guard one's chickens? Another old quote comes to mind, "If you would sup with the devil you need a long spoon." [For devil substitute Russian, Soviet, Communist, or generic totalitarian leader.]

    Complain about this comment

  • 64. At 9:40pm on 26 Jun 2010, JMM_for_now wrote:

    56. At 7:14pm on 26 Jun 2010, HabitualHero wrote:
    RE #21 "’Our intention was to wipe out as many terrorists as we could. Then to stabilize as much as we could. That is our foreign policy.’

    No dear, it isn't. American foreign policy is to invade other people's countries and to steal whatever it is that they have, that you want.”

    How terribly simplistic, not to mention propagandistic! Name a country that has ever participated in a war of which this is not true to some extent. The Russians looted Eastern Europe wholesale while the US [apart from some larcenous soldiers] did no looting.

    The Italians and French preferred to steal land. The Germans took land, art, goods and even gold teeth and glasses, and the list goes on.
    I won’t even say that the US is somewhat better than average in this respect because I could prove that bit of counter propaganda no better than you can prove your assertions.

    Complain about this comment

  • 65. At 10:14pm on 26 Jun 2010, Interestedforeigner wrote:

    Well, that was interesting.


    I was just over at my neighbour's house. He's been having a problem with squirrels, and was trying to decide whether it would be more effective to use rocket propelled grenades or stinger anti-aircraft missiles to get rid of them.

    He had these alternate vermin removal devices in his garage, and was explaining their various features. I was a bit surprised, really, because I didn't think you could buy stuff like that at Sheridan Nurseries, Home Depot, or Canadian Tire.

    "No," he says, "I got them at a flea market in Buffalo. Right to bear arms and all that, you know. Bought them from an Iranian guy. Cheap, too. He was in a real hurry to sell."

    "But hold on, weren't you stopped by Canada Customs?" I said.

    "Oh, yeah, but he figured the first box was camping equipment, and I told them the box of RPG's were Olympic Torch Relay souvenirs. He asked how much I spent on them, and I showed him the receipt. Since it was under $200, I didn't even have to pay duty."


    Just as my neighbour is telling me this we start to hear the "whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp, whomp" of really big helicopter blades. Well, sure enough, here come two great big double-rotor US-made helicopters coming down the street.

    It's drizzling rain out, and the cloud ceiling is about 300 ft, so these guys are flying at roof-top level. (My wife was taking a nap, and was not pleased to be awakened in this manner). They're so low you can pretty much count the rivets in the belly, and tell which rivets haven't been bucked properly.


    Well the neighbour isn't very fond of Stephen Harper, and he's more than a bit annoyed about all this G20 inconvenience - they scare everybody half to death about all these hundreds of thousands of protesters who are going to show up; everybody closes their businesses downtown on Thursday and Friday to avoid the riots; and instead nothing happens; it's all a damp squib and on Thursday and Friday downtown it's like a ghost-town. So we all lost two days of revenue for nothing, but still had to pay our staff.

    Well, the neighbour is a bit cross about this. He looks at the Stinger and then at the lead helicopter. The thought of sending the Prime Minister a rocket-propelled enema - giving a whole new meaning to "unsolicited direct mailings" - clearly crosses his mind.

    I said "Hold on a minute. Don't do that. We don't do violent protest in this country. And, in any case, he might be in the second one, or it might not be him at all. These ones might belong to President Obama."

    No sooner spoken, and there's President Obama waving at us out the window. Imagine that.

    "Oops," he says, "Almost made a bad mistake there."

    "I'll say. You oughta be ashamed of yourself. That's what comes of jumping to hasty conclusions instead of considering things thoughtfully. That's why it's a bad idea to have lethal weapons around hot-headed people. You need to put those things away.

    "Aside from which, you aren't supposed to protest here, and you aren't supposed to protest by shooting down low flying aircraft. People might get hurt.

    "If you want to protest against the meetings, you're supposed to protest downtown where thousands and thousands of Police are waiting for you. The Police have set aside some place five or ten km from the conference site for you to protest where no politician can possibly see or hear you, and you won't be in anybody's way. That's where you're supposed to protest. So why don't you go there to protest instead? I'm fairly sure that there are squirrels and pigeons who'd hear you, and they might stay and listen if you took some peanuts and bread crumbs with you."

    "What's the point of that?" he says. "Doesn't that defeat the whole point of protesting as an exercise in core political free speech under the Charter?"

    "Well, yeah, I guess it does, but the government doesn't seem to think there's anything wrong with that. Look, if you're determined to protest, why don't you go downtown? There isn't anybody there except thousands of Police standing around with nothing to do. Yesterday was so dull for them that ten of them stood around as they intimidated some poor schmuck and then made a warrantless arbitrary search of the poor guy's knapsack. If you head down there, at least they'll have something to do. There's no traffic, and it'll be easy to find parking."

    "That's a better idea. I tell you what, I'm going to the Andre Rieu concert at the Air Canada Center tonight. It's just one block down Bay from the Royal York, so why don't I just lob some rotten tomatoes into the dining room at the Royal York on the way down to the concert?"

    "Whatever you do, make sure when you are walking down Bay Street you stay at least five metres from the fence."

    "Why?"

    "Well if you go within five metres of the fence the Police can stop you and demand identification, and if you don't give it to them they can arrest you. The potential penalty is a fine of up to $500 or 2 months in jail, or both."

    "Stop jerking my chain. That's a crock. That would never happen in Canada. The Police can't stop you if you aren't doing anything, and they can't demand ID from you. We learned in school that only happens in communist countries, and police states like Nazi Germany."

    "Well, you'd think so, but not with Stephen Harper in charge. No, they they just changed the law for the G8 and G20 meetings."

    "You're kidding. When did that happen?"

    "They announced it on Friday. It wasn't done by statute. It was done by subordinate regulation. There was no debate in the Legislature.

    And that's not all, if you are arrested and charged, the law says that the evidence of the Police constitutes conclusive proof of the guilt of the accused."

    "But hold on, what if the Police testify the same way as they did in that inquiry where they killed the Polish guy at Vancouver airport, and then told stories that the judge in charge of the Royal Commission - and everybody who ever saw the video tape - didn't believe."

    "Doesn't matter."

    "And even if they have tunnel vision, and hide or destroy evidence that tended to show the innocence of the accused, like in the Guy Paul Morin case?"

    "Doesn't matter."

    "Even if they lie, their evidence is conclusive, and you're convicted?"

    "Yep."

    "But hold on, aren't people supposed to be innocent until proven guilty?"

    "Yeah, but the government says it doesn't matter here. It's only for the weekend, and it's only in the vicinity of the fence."

    "Aren't people angry about it?"

    "Yep. But only the civil libertarians who haven't left town for the weekend to get away from the G20."

    "Hasn't anybody launched a Charter Challenge against this?"

    "No, nobody had a chance. They only announced it on Friday, and the law expires on Monday after the meetings are over."

    "Yeah, but hold on. If they can suspend our basic civil liberties - the right to protection against arbitrary arrest, the right to a free and fair trial, the presumption of innocence - for three days for the G20, what would have stopped them from making it five days? Or ten? Or a year? And what if they decided that it would apply more than five metres from the fence - why not the whole street, or the whole of downtown. Turn it into a no-go zone where the Charter of Rights doesn't apply.

    What stops them from suspending core civil liberties anytime they feel like it, just because Stephen Harper says so?"

    "Nothing. And this time they got the Provincial government to go along with it. It is the Province that has actually made this change. It was done under the "Protection of Public Monuments"."

    "What? What public Monument?"

    "The security fence."

    "But that's ridiculous."

    "Yep."

    "But aren't these the same people who run around screaming about how they all need to own guns so that the government can't take their rights away? Isn't this totally hypocritical?"

    "Yep."

    "Well, let me ask then, at the previous G8 and G20 meetings:
    did any other country spend anything like a billion dollars on security ?"

    "Nope, not even close. Next most expensive was about $230m"

    "Did the protesters ever succeed in causing enough mayhem to shut down the financial center of any G8 country for four days?"

    "Nope. No previous G8 or G20 meeting has seen anything like the civil disruption that has been caused by the security precautions of the current G8 and G20 meetings."

    "So we've had more disruption because of security than any host city has ever had because of protesters?

    "Yep."

    "And did any other country pass special legislation (or subordinate regulations) suspending its Constitution and several hundred years of the development of civil liberties - the rights of Freedom of Speech, Freedom of Assembly, Freedom for Arbitrary Arrest, Freedom from Arbitrary Search and Seizure, the right to a fair trial on the basis of evidence, and the presumption of innocence - simply for the purpose of holding a glorified political photo-op?"

    "Nope."

    "Isn't that the kind of nonsense you expect from, say, the government of Iran, or Cuba, or Upper Hellholeistan?"

    "Yep."

    "Are these people insane?"

    "Well, you can decide for yourself."

    Complain about this comment

  • 66. At 10:33pm on 26 Jun 2010, Alex Worrall wrote:

    I'm glad Cameron isn't letting down us Britons and is not being pushed into doing whatever the US President tells him to.

    Complain about this comment

  • 67. At 10:54pm on 26 Jun 2010, Ruminant wrote:

    22. At 01:36am on 26 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    "America was attacked by an enemy based in Afghanistan that is still not defeated."

    America was attacked by a group of Saudi Arabian Islamist fanatics who were incensed at the USA's military and financial support for the state of Israel ($3 billion per year). These people characterise the USA as a godless nation intent on spreading what they call 'Satan's will' amongst moslem lands (principally through the creation of its client state of Israel in 1948). So a few of them hijacked some aircraft and crashed them into some soft American targets.
    Saudi fanatics are still with us. They have recently attempted to spead their hatred of America to Yemen and Somalia, with varying degrees of success. American politicians have decided not to highlight this, since Saudi Arabia is their big oil friend in the middle east. They dare not destabilize the country by criticising the (utterly corrupt) ruling Royal dynasty or taking any kind of military action against the land which contains the city of Mecca. So the next best thing was to attack, not the home of the terrorists themselves, but instead 'the bases where they trained'. That is why Bush sent troops to Afghanistan - it started off as a face saving gesture, but has now grown into what is potentially the biggest national humiliation since Vietnam. Hence all the agonizing about withdrawals. Is it better to cut and run now, or wait until later? Or perhaps you'd prefer the gambler's alternative, throwing good money after bad? Go for a troop surge (just like Vietnam) in the hope that victory may yet be forthcoming. We all know that's what Obama has done, which is why we all feel queasy. In fact, Afghanistan is a total irrelevance in the fight against Saudi extremism, which can organise and train anywhere it chooses. Saudi attempts at suppressing its indigenous extremists have proven quite successful, though for how much longer is anyone's guess.

    It has become clear that a lot of the Taleban are in fact Pakistani volunteers, bred in the madrassers. There is a virtually inexhaustible supply of them and they pass freely across the porous border into Afghanistan. The population of Pakistan is currently around 170,000,000. How many of these people are the Americans going to kill? They get their explosives and bullets from Iran and China, via Pakistan. These countries are just about immune to US influence. So there will never be a shortage of men and bullets to oppose the Americans.

    A shrewd gambler (politician) would realise that this is a losing position and that he should leave the table before his losses become unsustainable. He who fights and runs away lives to fight another day - hopefully, next time, on his own terms. I hope David Cameron turns out to be a shrewd politician.

    Complain about this comment

  • 68. At 10:54pm on 26 Jun 2010, crash wrote:

    Hopefully Obama will get the memo flushing money down the loo will not create jobs.The European powers have started tightening their belts and that is what the US government needs to do,slash spending and stop wasting,but i doubt that is part of Obamas plan.

    Complain about this comment

  • 69. At 11:15pm on 26 Jun 2010, Maria Ashot wrote:

    For the record, I do not believe in psychic mollusks, and will be watching for another beautiful performance from England.

    Glad to see Fifa owning up to problems with the ball. They also need to do something to improve the referees performance. The BBC ran an interesting clip on the high-tech devices already developed in Japan that would make football a purer sport. Most impressive, and I hope someone pushes Fifa to adopt them.

    Football or soccer, the Beautiful Game is something that brings us all closer & reminds us of what matters most: our shared humanity, practice, effort, teamwork, performance, children, family, fair play -- and conviviality, preferably accompanied by gastronomical amusements.

    It makes it so much easier to address the other issues.

    Complain about this comment

  • 70. At 00:32am on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Football or soccer, the Beautiful Game is something that brings us all closer & reminds us of what matters most: our shared humanity, practice, effort, teamwork, performance, children, family, fair play -- and conviviality, preferably accompanied by gastronomical amusements.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    And yet, its a game which is supervised by three refrees...What matters the most is victory, whether it is scored by hand if the refree is not watching...Football is not curling.

    Complain about this comment

  • 71. At 00:53am on 27 Jun 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Commonsense_Expressway #36: '"The US has only 26,000 combat personnel and 34,000 military support and administration personnel in Europe. Europe is just part of a lillypad strategy so that the US has large bases in safe areas closer to the "hotspots". That strategy will become even more marked as time advances. The US wont leave Europe entirely, its the best lillypad they have."

    True. But for what its worth, I don't agree with this so-called "lillypad" strategy. We have systems and weapons advanced and strong enough to get from the US to where ever they need to go without mooching off the Europeans. And besides, if we don't have reserved spaces on friendly (or tollerant) soil on which to house our troops, perhaps we won't be tempted to get militarily involved in so many countries in the future.


    "The defence budget of the combined EU dwarfs that of Russia and China combined."

    Just another reason why we should withdraw all our troops from both Europe and Japan and let them get on with what they have been asking us to let them do for 20 years now. Protect themselves. Seriously, what are we afraid of?

    Complain about this comment

  • 72. At 01:15am on 27 Jun 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    Mr. Cameron's statement is not surprising considering the fact that there is no clear sense of what our mission is or what constitutes victory. The initial goal of destroying the Al Qaeda training camps in Afghanistan was accomplished shortly after the invasion, but our goals after that have been nebulous. Our decision to topple the Taliban and install a puppet government appears to have more to do with geopolitical posturing than with 9/11, and President Bush's ambivalence after the initial goal was achieved suggests we didn't really know what to do in Afghanistan and, much less, how to get out gracefully.

    President Obama's decision to escalate that conflict to, supposedly, capture or kill Osama bin Laden has not produced anything positive.

    I am surprised our allies are still there, and I really don't know why we don't call it quits.

    Complain about this comment

  • 73. At 01:27am on 27 Jun 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Mark: '"The president has never talked about a date to withdraw all American troops. The unspoken assumption is that's because that would be in a distant future."

    Not if the American people (and Congress) have anything to do with it. I refer you to Andy Post's comment at #1.

    In 2001, the "commanders on the ground" and other high-ranking knoledgable officials and think tank experts warned against getting into a Vietnam-style quagmire and were mocked, ridiculed, and even derided mursylessly by the Bush administration for doing so. And as a result, in going into Iraq, we missed our golden opportunity - with the American public's as well as the world's support at our back - to depose the Talliban, make the conditions for elections to be held, somewhat stabalize the country and get out. Now the Talliban and their terrorist affiliates have gained an unbeatable foothold in the country, not to mention seem to have succeeded in bringing the Afghani government on side. After all, didn't Carzi threaten to join the Talliban about a month ago? And then two weeks later appear in front of the cameras with Obama playing buddy buddy acting like everything was fine?

    Its too late now. We missed our chance. The best thing we can do now is begin immediately withdrawing and deal with whatever comes down the pike as a result later like adults. We can't possibly win.


    "I seem to remember Hillary Clinton once remarking that there are still American troops in Germany, although World War II has been over for more than half a century."

    That is true, and nor should there be. They can defend themselves. The American people don't want our troops there, Lord knows the German people don't want American troops there. So why are they still there? Why don't we trust the Germans (and Japanese, for that matter) to defend themselves? People say '"Oh well, their constitutions forbid them from having a significant military bla bla bla." Well you know what? They must change their constitutions so that they can allow for such developments. Its been 70 years!! Japan and Germany are now the second and third largest economies in the world!! They are thriving!! Its time to let them go. That is, unless our critics are right, and the United States of America is really imperialistic?


    "It does more, though, than raise awkward questions. Britain is the United States's biggest partner in Afghanistan, by far. If all UK troops withdraw, the Americans could be left just about alone."

    All the more reason to think about - and implement - a timeframe for all of our troops to be out, then. Noone wants to be the unpopular school geek. Perhaps this is a blessing in disguise.


    "No doubt contributions from others will provide some fig leaf but the feeling that the US is on its own could cause resentment among the American public."

    We (and the British people too, I suspect) already feel resentment toward the fact that we - along with the Canadians and Australians - always seem to be the only ones acting on article 5 in the NATO treaty; the one that says "an attack on one is seen as an attack on all." As others have said, most NATO countries don't pull their weight. Sure we can wine, complain and raise the issue, but aside from that there's nothing else anyone can really do. After all, their not legally or constitutionally bound to do anything.

    So if British troops are entirely withdrawn, the resentment that the American public feels will only grow.

    Complain about this comment

  • 74. At 02:28am on 27 Jun 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    "So if British troops are entirely withdrawn, the resentment that the American public feels will only grow." (#73)
    ---------------
    Probably true, since such a demonstration of sound judgement, common sense and willingness to act in the interests of the British people would set a dangerous precedent for governments everywhere. Where will we all be if our governments start saying things like "This has been a tragic, terrible mistake!" and actually begin doing something to take corrective action?
    ---------------
    Far better to "stay the course" until some pretext for a victory parade can be identified.

    Complain about this comment

  • 75. At 11:09am on 27 Jun 2010, commonsense_expressway wrote:

    #73

    We (and the British people too, I suspect) already feel resentment toward the fact that we - along with the Canadians and Australians - always seem to be the only ones acting on article 5 in the NATO treaty

    Yes, but Canada are pulling out and Australia has only committed a tiny force which isnt even in the most dangerous areas. The Dutch are pulling out and the French,Germans and Italians wont fight in aggressive operations.

    The US and Britain make up 75% of the force pool, 95% of the assault troops battling the Taliban, have suffered 75% of the deaths and (incredibly) a whopping 93% of the wounded. There are one or two Americans on here who like to include Britain in the list of countries who aren't pulling their weight - 10,000 combat troops in Helmand, 300 dead, 4000 wounded and billions spent says otherwise. British casualties are disproportionately high, even when compared to the US. Add that to the force contributions in the two Gulf Wars and it shows those people up for what they are, but also reminds decent Americans (hopefully) which side their bread is buttered.

    Instead of trying to sow seeds of dissention between the US and UK it might be nice if we remember that our alliance is probably the closest between two foreign nations in the world by any measure, and has been so for decades and for the foreseeable future. Britain punches above its weight in this alliance, although its clearly going to be a struggle to keep that up as the power differential widens.

    Complain about this comment

  • 76. At 12:06pm on 27 Jun 2010, SaintDominick wrote:

    20 NATO countries have personnel in Afghanistan. Some have a tiny presence, and some limit their involvement to providing medical personnel, participation in drug control operations, rebuilding and other "nation building" tasks, but they are there and it is wrong to insinuate that only a few English speaking countries are abiding by the NATO terms.

    Regarding what Hillary Clinton said about our presence in Germany so many years after the end of WWII, I think it is important to highlight the fact that several countries encourage our military presence, both because it deters aggression and because it allows them to divert expenditures to other projects more important to their well being.

    IMO, we should get out of Afghanistan, Irak, Germany, Japan and just about every other country where we have a military presence and focus our energies and dwindling resources in re-building our country and addressing issues of critical importance to our future. Technological advances make a robust military presence overseas unnecessary. A few bases in remote locations such as Diego Garcia would suffice.

    Complain about this comment

  • 77. At 2:16pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    If the NATO pulls out, it wouldnt be missed..The only one to miss it are the ones who will move to NATO countries, the karzais and those afghanistanis working with him who already have other passports, the war lords and their foot soldiers would fight for you as long as you pay them..YOu went to afghanistan with a big bang, and retreat from their with a mere thud..All these years of fighting and killing, and blaming the taliban, atleast you have managed to get one objective of this war, and which is retreat...So congratulations..All these years, you couldnt even decide on whether it was a NATO project or american project..If it was ever a NATO project, then its NATO that has to chalk out the retreat, not usa, not england and etc etc.

    Complain about this comment

  • 78. At 2:26pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    IMO, we should get out of Afghanistan, Irak, Germany, Japan and just about every other country where we have a military presence and focus our energies and dwindling resources in re-building our country and addressing issues of critical importance to our future. Technological advances make a robust military presence overseas unnecessary. A few bases in remote locations such as Diego Garcia would suffice.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Only if the government of usa had heard ben ladden about pulling its troops from saudi arabia after gulf war 1, you would not be pathetically supporting your presidents pathetic talk about retreat from afghanistan..

    Complain about this comment

  • 79. At 2:35pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I also want to say very directly to the British people why this matters so much to Britain.
    First, let us not forget that the attacks of 11 September represented the worst terrorist outrage against British citizens in our history. The murder of British citizens, whether it happened overseas or not, is an attack upon Britain. But even if no British citizen had died, we would be right to act. This atrocity was an attack on us all, on people of all faiths and people of none. We know the al-Qaeda network threatens Europe, including Britain, and indeed any nation throughout the world that does not share their fanatical views. So we have a direct interest in acting in our self-defence to protect British lives. It was an attack on lives and livelihoods...............The airlines, tourism and other industries have been affected, and economic confidence has suffered with all that means to British jobs and business. Our prosperity and standard of living require us to deal with the terrorist threat. tony blair....

    So much for securing british livelihood and economy, while he blamed the others for putting his country's economy in danger, his own bankers were doing that right under his nose...

    Complain about this comment

  • 80. At 2:56pm on 27 Jun 2010, american grizzly wrote:

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

  • 81. At 3:32pm on 27 Jun 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    So how many billions pumped into Afghanistan, Pakistan at present?

    "In 2008 in Afghanistan it peaked at over $60 billion (this is just for the United States). Estimated to be around $1 Trillion dollars by 2010." Source: Congressional Research Service

    Obama signs aid package behind closed doors, without fanfare to Pakistan for $7.5 billion. Source:: Reuters

    "US tax-payer paid $2,374,000,000 Pakistan to fight terror."
    That is what a research paper at Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs says.

    I don't know what the cost to other countries has been. This doesn't take into effect the loss of life, and the long term effect on those left behind. What a waste. To a country that undermines us all the way. I figure by the the time this mess is over it may well cost the US around $5 trillion dollars, I can't even fathom the human cost. Time to go. Obama can declare victory, pose for the picture, and put it in his next campaign.





    Source

    Complain about this comment

  • 82. At 3:46pm on 27 Jun 2010, american grizzly wrote:

    "And one last interesting question, what in the world would the United States do if it were to bring the American forces home; where would all these military personnel find work?" BluesBerry

    On our own borders and coastlines.

    Complain about this comment

  • 83. At 4:02pm on 27 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #68
    crash wrote:
    Hopefully Obama will get the memo flushing money down the loo will not create jobs.The European powers have started tightening their belts and that is what the US government needs to do,slash spending and stop wasting,but i doubt that is part of Obamas plan.

    _____________

    You have to remember Obama is never wrong, just ask him.

    This is the man who claims we don't listen enough.

    Considering Obamas lack of acomplishments prior to to being elected and the fact that he is considered a wimp around the world; he really should.

    Complain about this comment

  • 84. At 5:10pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    And now the English are complaining again, that we have left them alone to face "Germans" (Grochowski, Mirosław Klose and Łukasz Podolski) :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 85. At 5:12pm on 27 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    I agree with American Grizzly #82.
    We could use many of our soldiers to secure the borders and coastlines, which is sorely needed. Then the other soldiers could be used for reserve. These soldiers have been fighting for us for years. Isn't it about time for them to be able to go home to their loved ones? They have done everything we have asked them to.

    Eisenhower warned us about the military-industrial complex. He was a very smart military man himself. Maybe it is time to drawn down and focus on securing USA's borders and coastlines, as well as adding a new immigration policy to deport people in our country illegally. Since several of the 9/11 hijackers were in our country illegally, this shows how dangerous it is that it is not one of our top priorities. I still do not understand how the 9/11 hijackers boarded our airplanes while they should have been a watchlist for being in our country illegally?

    I noticed that the UK in the upcoming years is going to start putting a cap on the number of immigrants from outside the EU. Smart move. We could use a cap, too. We should have the right to know who is in our country.

    Complain about this comment

  • 86. At 5:13pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Americans should get out of Germany, Japan, Korea, etc."


    RIGHT.



    And in turn - Obama should get out of the White House. :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 87. At 5:19pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    BRREAKING NEWS:

    German Chancelor, Angela Merkel, has just announced at G-20 summit that English football should be boosted.

    [with Germany contributing 4:1]

    Complain about this comment

  • 88. At 5:21pm on 27 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The drug cartels in Mexico are getting more and more violent. There are reports that in Arizona some parts of our national land, including parks, are getting shut down due to dangerous drug cartels and human smuggling rings. There are also reports that the drug cartels and human smugglers are threatening Border Patrol and US Security Officers along the border, especially in Arizona and Texas. Even several of our USA consulates were murdered in their vehicles this year, although fortantely their kids survived. Mexico needs help. A LOT of help.

    We need more soldiers for the current conflict with the Mexico drug cartels, which pose a serious threat to USA, not only along our borders, but within USA, as well.

    Fighting the Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers should be our next target.

    Complain about this comment

  • 89. At 5:23pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re #78 [conartist]

    So how is your idol, Osama doing these days?


    How 'bout Zawahiri?

    Do they have electricity and running water in their caves?

    [it's hard to wait so long for Predators to come and save them from their misery]

    Complain about this comment

  • 90. At 5:26pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Lucy, Fighting Mexico should better be left to Argentina. :-)))

    Complain about this comment

  • 91. At 5:45pm on 27 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #88
    We need more soldiers for the current conflict with the Mexico drug cartels, which pose a serious threat to USA, not only along our borders, but within USA, as well.

    Fighting the Mexican drug cartels and human smugglers should be our next target.

    _________________

    But Obama does not see the need to protect the border. Look who he just put in charge of ICE someone who believes in sanctuary cities.

    Complain about this comment

  • 92. At 5:47pm on 27 Jun 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    post 87 powermeerkat,

    Groan,please,not another word its too painful :( .

    Complain about this comment

  • 93. At 5:52pm on 27 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Go Argentina!!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 94. At 6:07pm on 27 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Losing to Ghana was painful, too.

    Still proud of our soccer team, regardless.

    It was really cool to see Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger hanging out! ;)

    Complain about this comment

  • 95. At 6:10pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re # 92 ukwales


    Ukwales, I have been corrected some time ago, that it was not Britain which lost, but merely England [not Wales or Scotland]


    BTW. I should thank you, although belatedly, for your link to

    "Come Mr. Taliban, tally my banana" on YouTube. It made my day :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 96. At 6:13pm on 27 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Re "whom Obama should fire next", and re US immigration policy...



    Leon Panetta (D) - current CIA director?



    "Mr Panetta said that the al-Qaeda network was finding new ways to try to attack the United States. Of greatest concern, he said, was al-Qaida's reliance on operatives without previous records or those living in the US."

    Complain about this comment

  • 97. At 8:00pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    93. At 5:52pm on 27 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:
    Go Argentina!!!
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Why because you dont like the illegal mexicans? You just support argentina because you hate the illegal mexicans...Thats the american mentality in a nutshell.

    Complain about this comment

  • 98. At 9:01pm on 27 Jun 2010, Arthur Brede wrote:

    @ Brian Woods - Europe's not that simple, mate. It's not simplistic to speculate around the way dictators and foul regimes have come and gone during all the centuries that the US of A didn't even exist. Your own simple little take on history still smacks of the history rewrite that covered up the cynical US rape of the British Empire - and look what THAT left for you to tidy up today....!

    And if you need a long spoon to sup with Russia, you need a long, sharp vermin stick to deal with you seppo's. As above, we've managed with Russia for several more centuries than the US has even existed. We can do it again.

    And good on yer ancestors, JMM - always nice to have an enemy to shoot at, someone to blame, and a nice, downhome feeling of superiority. Like at the crucial battle of Yorktown, maybe, where 8,000 French troops helped 9,000 American troops to win a famous victory over 6,000 battle-weary, sick Brits, half of them wounded.... Or the silly diversionary effort where the French lined up 30,000 troops on the Channel coast to take the pressure off Washington (maybe even to invade). At the end of that one, there were so many dead Frenchmen cluttering up the sea that the Cornish stopped eating fish for a while.

    But it's all 'if' games.

    I've travelled, fought, traded, taught, whored, boozed and smoked my way through all points east, including doing time in Afghanistan and Pakistan many years ago, and have settled to raise my kid in Central Europe. So I've seen a thing or two - in fact a heckuva sight more than the ignorant bleeding hearts and egotists who report and comment for the Beeb. In sum I reckon we're better off with the ancient and powerful devil we know - Russia - than than the failed, pathetic, juvenile little experimental goblin that is the US. Just an opinion, straws in the wind...

    Complain about this comment

  • 99. At 9:22pm on 27 Jun 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    colonlartist ,I dare say,that the wonderful means of communication the
    English language is not your fist tongue,with its ancient words Like "pillock",and evocative meanings like,"If the cap fits wear it" not used
    often these days,which is a pity.But that has not stopped you waxing lyrical,nor should it...

    Complain about this comment

  • 100. At 9:32pm on 27 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #94
    LucyJ wrote:
    Losing to Ghana was painful, too.

    Still proud of our soccer team, regardless.

    It was really cool to see Bill Clinton and Mick Jagger hanging out! ;)

    ________________-

    Ghana deserved to win.

    Still think futbol is boring especially compared to the U.S sports of basketball, football and baseball.

    Plus we would never allow the Kazoos for more than 5 minutes. Talk about a justified homicde defense.

    Complain about this comment

  • 101. At 9:42pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    the
    English language is not your fist tongue,
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    My fist doesnt have any tongue, it needs no tongue..

    Complain about this comment

  • 102. At 9:45pm on 27 Jun 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    98. At 9:01pm on 27 Jun 2010, MercThrasher wrote:




    than than the failed, pathetic, juvenile little experimental goblin that is the US. Just an opinion, straws in the wind..


    Come back Mr Allen, all is forgiven, you had a point after all!!.

    Complain about this comment

  • 103. At 9:48pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    The drug cartels in Mexico are getting more and more violent. There are reports that in Arizona some parts of our national land, including parks, are getting shut down due to dangerous drug cartels and human smuggling rings. There are also reports that the drug cartels and human smugglers are threatening Border Patrol and US Security Officers along the border, especially in Arizona and Texas. Even several of our USA consulates were murdered in their vehicles this year, although fortantely their kids survived. Mexico needs help. A LOT of help.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    There is a demand for drugs in usa, and mexicans just supply that demand...Get rid of this demand and they will stop supplying the us market...

    Complain about this comment

  • 104. At 9:52pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Still think futbol is boring especially compared to the U.S sports of basketball, football and baseball.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Baseball is more boring than cricket five days matches, american football is just played in usa...and basketball is just another dull indoor game..

    Complain about this comment

  • 105. At 10:05pm on 27 Jun 2010, hms_shannon wrote:

    colonartist,you have over looked the vital issue,a pet is not just for
    Christmas,its for life! & not forgetting many a mickle makes a muckle.
    So put that in your pipe & drink it!!..

    Complain about this comment

  • 106. At 10:30pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    These americans are a fine specimen, while the people in africa supported Ghana because its an african team, this american wants some south american team to win over mexico, the only team from their area which could go to next round, they want to live there, but they dont want to even support their neighbour to move to next round..There is no difference between them and their cousins settled in middle east..

    Complain about this comment

  • 107. At 10:33pm on 27 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref #104
    colonelartist wrote:
    Still think futbol is boring especially compared to the U.S sports of basketball, football and baseball.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Baseball is more boring than cricket five days matches, american football is just played in usa...and basketball is just another dull indoor game..

    ______________

    The excitment of Celtics Lakers final far surpasses a floping contest.

    Complain about this comment

  • 108. At 11:11pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Nothing can match the exictment of cricket match between india and pakistan..and nothing can match the support of pakistani supporters, they would even support indian cricket team in pakistan against australia because the australians defeated the pakistani team...

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n9y2qtaopbE&feature=channel

    Complain about this comment

  • 109. At 11:35pm on 27 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Anyway what I dont understand and will never understand why the Gang of 8s and 20s dont use the video conferance, they could save millions use them in the packages to help the unemployed so that those people stop blaming the illegals for turning them into unemployers.

    Complain about this comment

  • 110. At 11:42pm on 27 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Here's an awkward question for the Macaroon, how can you run a government when everything you do has to be checked through your junior partner because if you do something that gets him angry enough, you won't have a Clegg to stand on?

    colonartist;

    "Nothing can match the exictment of cricket match between india and pakistan"

    Not even a nuclear war between India and Pakistan? It seems to me that would be pretty exciting.

    Complain about this comment

  • 111. At 00:51am on 28 Jun 2010, MagicKirin wrote:

    ref 106
    , colonelartist wrote:
    These americans are a fine specimen, while the people in africa supported Ghana because its an african team, this american wants some south american team to win over mexico, the only team from their area which could go to next round, they want to live there, but they dont want to even support their neighbour to move to next round..There is no difference between them and their cousins settled in middle east..

    _____________

    this third rate sport will be delegated to a middle page of the sports collection. the only thing most of us might root for is a final where the refs don't determine the outcome.

    Futbol is a joke!

    Complain about this comment

  • 112. At 01:21am on 28 Jun 2010, MarcusAureliusII wrote:

    Having a back bencher like Clegg with veto power isn't so bad...if in the larger scheme of things your entire country also happens to be a back bencher.

    Complain about this comment

  • 113. At 02:47am on 28 Jun 2010, junkmonkey wrote:

    While I can sympathize with those who believe we never should have gotten involved with Afganistan; I guess the real question is, can we live with what will occur when we leave?

    I'm not at all convinced that a pull out will result in a safer, more peaceful world.

    Seems to me, both options stink.

    Complain about this comment

  • 114. At 06:06am on 28 Jun 2010, Curt Carpenter wrote:

    #113: Let's be realistic: we WILL leave eventually, so isn't the issue whether we can live with the consequences of leaving sooner rather than later?

    Or do we imagine that there is Afghan epiphany of some sort just around the corner? Haven't we been waiting for that for these past nine years now?

    We can certainly calculate the cost of staying for another five or six years with a lot more accuracy than we can the cost of leaving in 2011
    can't we?

    And does anyone want to try to make the argument that an endless war in Afghanistan is productive of a "safer, more peaceful world"? Isn't that a bit of an oxymoron?




    Complain about this comment

  • 115. At 2:16pm on 28 Jun 2010, PickledPete wrote:

    SaintDominick @ 76 wrote:

    "A few bases in remote locations such as Diego Garcia would suffice".

    Something which MAII constantly forgets in his juvenile tirades against the UK is that many (most) of the US military bases outside the US which provide it with global reach: DG, Ascension Island etc are, in fact, British. If he had his way, and cut military ties with the UK, the US military and intelligence services would be looking for a lot of new homes.

    Complain about this comment

  • 116. At 3:21pm on 28 Jun 2010, redwards36 wrote:

    111 - MagicKirin - Yes of course football is a third rate sport... the fact that its probably the most played sport in the World, and the World Cup is the most watched sporting event in the world may escape your attention.

    You carry on watching sports that basically only your country plays, that way you can continue living in that bubble whereby you are champions of the world and everything you do you are the best !!!

    Complain about this comment

  • 117. At 3:28pm on 28 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Am already getting psyched for American football.

    Go Bears, Cowboys, Bengals!!!

    No matter which team you cheer for, you are cheering for USA.

    USA! USA! USA! :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 118. At 3:32pm on 28 Jun 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Commonsense_expressway #75: '"The US and Britain make up 75% of the force pool, 95% of the assault troops battling the Taliban, have suffered 75% of the deaths and (incredibly) a whopping 93% of the wounded."

    Hence my (somewhat brazon) assumption that the British people, too, feel resentment towards their prime minister and president Obama for committing the UK's finest to a conflict who's heavy lifting, the US aside, is shouldered by virtually noone else...again. This is not the first time promises have been made regarding military personele by other countries and then either not followed through on or blatantly ignored. The first gulf war in 93 was a lot like this as well.

    And I thought Canada was just going to massively draw down its forces next year; I didn't know they are planning on pulling out entirely. What are they going to do?


    "There are one or two Americans on here who like to include Britain in the list of countries who aren't pulling their weight - 10,000 combat troops in Helmand, 300 dead, 4000 wounded and billions spent says otherwise. British casualties are disproportionately high, even when compared to the US."

    Well obviously, as your population is one fifth the size of ours.

    "Add that to the force contributions in the two Gulf Wars and it shows those people up for what they are, but also reminds decent Americans (hopefully) which side their bread is buttered."

    Americans even in a close proximity to this knoledge (a catigory in which I am firmly planted) are already quite sympatheticly aware of this fact. And if one is aware of these facts and still believes the UK to not be carying their weight, well then chances are they're not "decent," and probably weren't for some time.


    "Instead of trying to sow seeds of dissention between the US and UK it might be nice if we remember that our alliance is probably the closest between two foreign nations in the world by any measure, and has been so for decades and for the foreseeable future."

    Nicely put. And just for the record, I apologise if in the past I had incinuated any kind of an inclination or desire to sow seeds of dissention between the US and UK or cause any kind of hard feelings toward anyone whatsoever. But I can think of a few hundred people (on the Have Your Say message boards especially) to whom I would enthusiasticly relay your sage advice.

    "Britain punches above its weight in this alliance, although its clearly going to be a struggle to keep that up as the power differential widens."



    But you see? That's just my point. Britain doesn't have to, and shouldn't punch above its weight. And it probably wouldn't (at least not as much) if the other NATO countries punched at their weight. I am so sorry for what you have to endure! But, if you don't mind, will you please explain why exactly you think that it will be a struggle to keep that up as the power differential widens? In the future do you see us (both countries) getting weeker? Or China, India, and Brazil's rise usurping our once-relatively unchallenged supremicy in this field? What do you mean by that?

    Complain about this comment

  • 119. At 3:40pm on 28 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Not even a nuclear war between India and Pakistan? It seems to me that would be pretty exciting.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The nuclear war scenerio between india and pakistan is just in your heads....They have already fought one war after the nuclear bomb technology and possiblity of even thinking about nuclear weapons was never and option....they solve their problems through cricket, its called cricket diplomacy, when india threatens, the head of state of pakistan goes to india to watch the cricket match...Can obama ever think of doing it? If you truely want to avoid war without comprising your side, you do everything, including watching a match in your enemy's country..and not by making suprise visits without meeting the locals...

    Complain about this comment

  • 120. At 3:43pm on 28 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    this third rate sport will be delegated to a middle page of the sports collection. the only thing most of us might root for is a final where the refs don't determine the outcome.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------
    This the real excitment of the match, a mistake of refree, a dangerous tackle, unoticed by the refree, the element of luck...

    Complain about this comment

  • 121. At 3:48pm on 28 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    can we live with what will occur when we leave?
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    Enlighten me, for I cannot predict into future, what will happen when you leave? That which happened, has happened...Move on...those people who crashed those planes didnt take their flying training in afghanistan, they did it in usa...Whether you leave or you stay, there is a 50-50 chance that what happened will happen again...YOu focus on the negative fifty percent chance....Your problem.

    Complain about this comment

  • 122. At 4:01pm on 28 Jun 2010, PursuitOfLove wrote:

    Regarding the first-ever meeting between President and Prime Minister, it appears as though every problem was worked out fine, for now at least.


    Although it struck me that in this pressor, president Obama seemed to be the (mild) opportunistic suck-up, while prime minister Cameron the business mannered, uncomfortable, streight-laced man of few words. Oh what a difference a year makes!


    And what was with Obama telling Cameron how to drink his bere? Was he serious? I couldn't tell. Not exactly the best way to show the world that we're not the controling bully boy of the school yard that they think we are, in my opinion.

    Complain about this comment

  • 123. At 4:17pm on 28 Jun 2010, Stuart wrote:

    I often wonder whether, if the US, the UK and all of the other "peace keepers" and whatever else they fashion themselves as, just went home, whether the world would not be so much more pleasant. Why on earth do the Western countries feel they need to spend their taxpayers money in pointless interventions. So what is the people in Afghanistan are ruled by madmen, let them sort it out. The truth is that a lot of the tension in the world is created by the west not letting issues resolve themselves; Afghanistan is not worth the effort and yes I do feel sorry for the innocent people there, but I also know that we cannot solve everyone's problems.

    Complain about this comment

  • 124. At 4:35pm on 28 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Soccer is a fun sport and the players are in excellent physical shape.

    USA is just the kind of place in which we like great variety. That is why for us, we enjoy soccer, but we enjoy multitudes of sports. Just about any sport you want you can enjoy.

    From American football, basketball, baseball, surfing, motocross (motorcycle riding), horseback riding, soccer, car racing, hockey, skiing, snowboarding, skateboarding, cycling, gymnastics, track and field, volleyball, cheerleading, dance, bullriding, the list goes and on.

    Sports in USA are endless.

    Complain about this comment

  • 125. At 4:56pm on 28 Jun 2010, faeyth wrote:

    We are in Afghanistan because Boomers are still in control of Congress,that's also why we have outrageous spending bills that are ineffective.Obama is going to win his next election just like Reagan did because Gen X is taking over it's their turn to lead,and he is their choice.Why do you think their are more Blue Dog Democrats because Gen X is more conservative and whether they are Dems or GOP or Independents they all have one similar complaint,Why is so much going to foreign interests and Nations and Corporations.Boomers don't want to cut anything from Military to Welfare even if they are wasted spending,they think they can bribe with cash and resources or use military to force change.Gen X mostly doesn't care about foreign interests,they have grown up with overwhelming Anti-American sentiment even with things like Foreign Aid,and even from so called Friendly Nations.They are filled with spite.Once Gen X controls Congress you will see a dramatic end to foreign spending with their isolationist views.I give it about 4-8 more years of Boomer Congress depending on whether anger will over come Gen X spite and lack of trust in Politics,which it appears they are getting out to vote.More people blame Congress than the President for bad policies because they are ones who write and pass them.You'll see more conservative elected officials whether they are Dems or GOP.Only Congress can declare War and only Congress can approve withdrawal,the President can choose how to use the military but Congress still has ultimate decision.Only Congress can ratify Peace treaties.

    Complain about this comment

  • 126. At 5:59pm on 28 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    I often wonder whether, if the US, the UK and all of the other "peace keepers" and whatever else they fashion themselves as, just went home, whether the world would not be so much more pleasant. Why on earth do the Western countries feel they need to spend their taxpayers money in pointless interventions. So what is the people in Afghanistan are ruled by madmen, let them sort it out. The truth is that a lot of the tension in the world is created by the west not letting issues resolve themselves; Afghanistan is not worth the effort and yes I do feel sorry for the innocent people there, but I also know that we cannot solve everyone's problems.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Can a leopard change its spots, or an ethiopean his skin or west its impulse to meddle in internal affairs of muslim countries? Never..Whem the intention was to create lackeys and croonies and quick fix, then the country stops being worth the effort...Which genius came up with the idea of using northern alliance to replace taliban? That genius or G-geniuses knew that by supporting northen alliance they were not looking after the interest of afghanistanis or wanted them to liberate, they just replaced the lesser of the two evils with the worse one...to you those northern alliance were better because you operate through mentality of "go-argentina against mexico because we hate illegal mexicans in usa",but to those whose country you occupied with the help of northen alliance foot soldiers, you replaced the bad with the worst..And whats more pathetic is that now you beg and buy those taliban back to your side so that you can leave with some sort of dignity...Do you think that northern alliance will just sit and let you do it? Pathans dont like being betrayed, but northern alliance are not all that keen on it as well...The catalyst, thats usa, has started this chemical reaction, whether you take it out or not, is meaningless.

    Complain about this comment

  • 127. At 9:33pm on 28 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    colonelartist, I have never said that I hated illegal Mexicans. You are trying to put words in my mouth. Easy for some to assume, rather than seek the truth. Of course, truth is stranger than fiction, as they say. People hear what they want to hear.

    Some have many assumptions about Westerners. This is because they don't understand us or want to understand. What they fail to realize is that the West is filled with love.

    Hate is such a strong word. Actually, I like Mexicans. I like their sombreros, tortilla chips and fiesta parties.

    Its just that I am against giving citizenship to illegal immigrants, regardless of their race. Illegal is not a race. Illegal is a crime.

    But there is good news. One of the unemployed has finally got a job. Yes, after waiting months, I finally have got a job. And a good one, at that. One for my profession. So exciting! :)

    Complain about this comment

  • 128. At 9:37pm on 28 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    USA's gonna come back with a vengeance.

    Don't count us out just yet.

    There is much life and love left.

    Its time for us all to push ourselves to the max.

    To bring it on.

    Let people say what they wanna say. Others don't speak for us.

    Only USA can speak for USA. Only USA can define who and what we are.

    We still have pride. We are gonna do this. We are gonna make it.

    Complain about this comment

  • 129. At 10:20pm on 28 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    But there is good news. One of the unemployed has finally got a job. Yes, after waiting months, I finally have got a job. And a good one, at that. One for my profession. So exciting! :)
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Good, now you will leave the mexicans alone..You say everything against mexicans, and people dont just say against someone or something unless they dislike or hate the person or that thing..to satisfy ones sense of taste is easy, to like or dislike fortunatly doesnt depend on such primitive sense...I dont like mexican food, cannot stand it, but I have never said no to it if presented by a mexican. Its a person behind the food that matters, not the food, every european tom dick and harry chefs can make mexican food.

    Complain about this comment

  • 130. At 10:28pm on 28 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Replace hate with love.
    Replace arrogance with humility.
    Replace destruction with creativity.
    Replace despair with hope.
    Replace war with peace.
    They say we can't do what's been done.
    That we can't "win" a war that's never been won.
    But they don't know what lies beneath.
    The unforetold truth we dare speak.
    Times are tough, so we have been told.
    Our days are numbered, we're growing old.
    They say we are falling apart.
    But within our broken heart,
    there lies a believer and a dreamer.
    We have been able to play.
    We have had our day.
    Now we must find our way.
    The West is here to stay.

    Complain about this comment

  • 131. At 10:53pm on 28 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    Maybe its time for us all just to chill out and eat a few brownies.

    Complain about this comment

  • 132. At 11:56pm on 28 Jun 2010, colonelartist wrote:

    Maybe its time for us all just to chill out and eat a few brownies.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Consuming coca beans in any way is against my principles...Besides, i dont like sugary things....

    Complain about this comment

  • 133. At 03:40am on 29 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    There is nothing wrong with chocolate or greens...

    Complain about this comment

  • 134. At 05:18am on 29 Jun 2010, KScurmudgeon wrote:

    MeerKat. MK, MAII to some extent, and Lucy when not ‘in caelo’



    You have the truth, the Left is on the run, and your star is in the ascendant. Why are you all acting so paranoid, using cheap shots, deprecations and ad hominems? Isn’t it time you took confidence in your positions and directly showed us the advantages to the general populace and the world at large of your forms of conservatism and Americanism?


    How will they put the currently unemployed to work? How will they give the disadvantaged solid hope that they can improve their lot? How will they restore Americans and the world to confidence in our capitalist system? How will they restore to us the losses we have sustained from the avaricious few and the rapacious government?



    You can do yourselves a great favor as well as provide a great benefit to us all if you will explain how it will work when you get power in 2010 and 2012.



    KScurmudgeon

    Hopeful conservative

    Complain about this comment

  • 135. At 10:15am on 29 Jun 2010, Artur Freitas wrote:

    No side can fight a war forever but Afghans have nowhere else to go and NATO troops do. Eventually there will be an acceptable comprimise.

    Complain about this comment

  • 136. At 10:56am on 29 Jun 2010, powermeerkat wrote:

    Hey, colonel!

    What games do your friends play in Waziristan?

    Complain about this comment

  • 137. At 2:27pm on 29 Jun 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:

    @127. LucyJ

    What have you been smoking... "the west is filled with love"... tell that to the non-whites harassed and attacked by racists and white extremist groups every day.Plenty of love there, eh.

    Complain about this comment

  • 138. At 02:16am on 30 Jun 2010, Emps wrote:

    22 MAII Wrote
    While it would have been nice had the British government sent equipment along with men so that they wouldn't have been so easy for the enemy to kill, the major burden of the fighting is being borne by the Americans and always was. All Britain provides is political cover and even that isn't necessary.

    I read this guys anti-British posts always with disdain,now he shows complete disrespect for UK military describing as political cover, which is tantamount to insulting the British army. To correct some of his stated views here,altho the US military is larger in numbers the superior fighting skills of the Brits is well known,consequently are at all times thrust into the most dangerous areas because of this.

    As far as not being supplied with equipment does he mean each soldier not having the required amount of fancy uniform adornment much favoured by the US military to tart up their jackets and sleeves.

    Complain about this comment

  • 139. At 04:19am on 30 Jun 2010, LucyJ wrote:

    The West is filled with love. I see it in the faces of the old grandparents who hang out on their front porches. I see it in the faces of the little children running around having fun. I see it in the beautiful nature- the blossoming flowers, the green forest, the echoing birds, the neverending sky.

    Many say we have changed. Some parts have. But some parts have remained the same. The country is still the country. We are still who we are. Simple, yes. Old-fashioned, yes. Silly, yes. Crazy, for sure! ;)

    The rose is bold and grandeur. I, myself, prefer the simple daisy.
    So light, so lithe, so elegant, yet so modest.

    If beauty is in the eye of the beholder, well, then there you go. Perhaps we all need to be more positive on all sides of the spectrum.

    We do not have all the answers for why things happen the way they do.
    But we do have the answer that the more complicated things get, the more the simple things matter.

    Complain about this comment

  • 140. At 8:42pm on 30 Jun 2010, RandomArbiter wrote:

    You seem to be sidestepping my question just a bit, Lucy.

    Complain about this comment

  • 141. At 00:26am on 03 Jul 2010, Candi28 wrote:

    America can not stand alone. U.S. paid for the bullets, that has killed our people. And, those that stood with us. Both administrations! 2.1 billion in Iraq and 10's of millions was all I seen for Afghanistan paid by contractors.
    We are broke. I hope your P.M. is stronger than the last! Nothing personal, I was proud he was on our side..until all heck broke loose!
    The damage is still being accessed and those that caused the problem are doing the accessing.
    It is extremely stressful to see the U.S. being described as terrorists.
    There is so much evidence against the U.S. that one does not have any other option but to believe.
    The people around the world have been duped by each of our governments. Fingers pointed at the POLITICIANS and their special interest groups have come to our current day law making sessions. Boy, howdy!! There are a LOT of new laws and taxes.
    Can some one tell me straight out, have we been overthrown?
    Why does EVERYONE give Obama his way?
    How the heck did this happen? Did we draw the short end of the stick on a draw? Is this population control? I remember what Hillary Clinton said, "China, we don't care about your human rights issues, We want to be your friends."
    Obamagetton, what a way to go! I did have other plans, like OLD AGE!

    Complain about this comment

View these comments in RSS

BBC iD

Sign in

BBC navigation

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.