Friday, February 20, 2009

Afghanistan, and The Crown of Thorns

I don't know exactly why I feel compelled to blog about this again, maybe because of Obama's visit and the message on Afghan I took from his words, or whether it's recent statements that not only display that it is far from decided what role Canada will play after 2011, but also that there is no clear obtainable objective at this time.

Few would put much stock in Harper's claims that the combat mission ends in 2011, Iggnatieff is all over the board with his statements, (big surprise) and Obama has indicated that date is not carved in stone as far as his admin is concerned. Further to that, both Iggster and Obama have made statements in recent weeks, seemingly confirming that there is no discernable mission parameters or objectives that can be clearly explained. I'm trying not to button hole these statements but will leave it to you to interpret what is in the links below. An excerpt;

"How would you like to be sent to a war, the point of which no one knows, including the commander-in-chief who sent you to kill or be killed?"

The first link is one of Charles' from another post, and starts off with economic issues then turns to discuss Afghan about half way through. Among other things, it discusses the US Military estimates of troops requirements to be in the vicinity of 650,000 in order to be effective. A far cry from the 60,000 Obama plans to employ, plus the Nato contingent.

Then there's the Igg. First the flip;

Then the flop;

I had a brief exchange recently with an Iggnatieff supporter and prominent blogger, who wrote about Igg's recent statement on Afghan saying "we are lost right now". The blogger was trying to put this forward as a positive questioning of the situation. I thought it an odd perspective given Igg's supposed level of knowledge in the areas of history and world affairs, so I engaged the blogger briefly. Once I had put forward an overview, some past, some present said blogger exiting stage left with due haste.

All of the news and opining out there right now is making me very uncomfortable. It's as if the entire scenario is being handled by people who don't understand it. People who can't correlate things like the Cambodia factor, the size and diversification of population from which the militants can draw. Their traditions, ignorance and the essence of their culture if that's what one wishes to call it. It's no less a culture than our version I suppose. Then there is the Religion, the Pakistani factor and a not so pleased Bear sitting above all this, watching and meddling whenever opportunities arise. Some payback and some tree scratching as well. For those who don't know, that's one of the things Bears do to mark there territory.

The reality is really quite simple. There will be no victory this way. Overcoming centuries of shifting loyalties, lawlessness by our standards, and Tribal mentality is not going to be accomplished by sitting in the Fort, and sometimes conducting forays into the wilds. They did that in Vietnam during the quiet times, and the North just used these periods to rearm, re-supply, rebuild and recruit.

There are 3 options, in reality. One, maintain the status quo (and that includes Obama's extra 30,000 troops) Two, fold your tents and get out. Three, give the military what they want and go to War.

With the first option, there will be no end in sight. The second is unnaceptable to the U.S. at this time. The third, in my opinion, would have fairly quick results. What those would be exactly, is difficult to assess given the possible variables, and perhaps even more difficult to contemplate.

For sure, everytime some crazy eyed whack job cuts the head off of a foreigner and posts it on youtube, they strengthen the resolve of the foreign occupiers. Besides that, they provide even more fodder for the proponents of the military solution. These are cowardly acts committed in the name of righteousness, and no thinking person is fooled by their rhetoric. Merciless gangsters commit acts like these. As they cry for Holy War, I would suggest they be careful what they wish for, given the state of the world at the moment.

They should also remember how fast their loyal allies can betray them. The Great Warriors so called, of that region fully understand the CYA principle, and their homegrown version of Capitalism too.


  1. I concur. There are so many tribes there. Pakistan? Deal with the devil that will one day come back to haunt them, you just watch.

    Recruitment is easier when you see or hear of civilians targeted and killed.

    There are some who are stirring the pot there but I don't think it's a bear. There are people who have a financial interest in maintaining conflict.

  2. Dee,

    I had to read your post about three times to get the gist of it, but we are on writing in the same book.

    It's easy to hire a thug. Anyone can do it, and that possibility didn't escape me.

    The Bear isn't the initiator in my view, they have enough to deal with. But politics, sphere of influence and human nature being what it is, they are not innocent bystanders either.

    No shortage of innocents, or those who are ignorant though.

  3. Further teachings on Human-omics. These people make Canadian politicians look smart, so we're really on the road to oblivion!
    A DC airport ticket agent offers some examples:

    1. I had a New Hampshire Congresswoman ask for an aisle seat so that her hair wouldn't get messed up by being near the window. (On an airplane!)

    2. I got a call from a candidate's staffer, who wanted to go to Capetown. While I started to explain the length of the flight and the passport information, she interrupted me with, "I'm not trying to make you look stupid, but Capetown is in Massachusetts."

    Without trying to make her look stupid, I calmly explained, "Cape Cod is in Massachusetts, Capetown is in Africa." Her response -- click.

    3. A senior Vermont Congressman called, furious about a Florida package we did. I asked what was wrong with the vacation in Orlando.

    He said he was expecting an ocean-view room. I tried to explain that is not possible, since Orlando is in the middle of the state. He replied, "Don't lie to me, I looked on the map and Florida is a very thin state!" (OMG)

    4. I got a call from a lawmaker's wife who asked, "Is it possible to see England from Canada?"

    I said, "No." She said, "But they look so close on the map." (OMG, again!)

    5. An aide for a cabinet member once called and asked if he could rent a car in Dallas. When I pulled up the reservation, I noticed he had only a 1-hour layover in Dallas.

    When I asked him why he wanted to rent a car, he said, "I heard Dallas was a big airport, and we will need a car to drive between gates to save time." (Aghhhh)

    6. An Illinois Congresswoman called last week. She needed to know how it was possible that her flight from Detroit left at 8:30 a.m., and got to Chicago at 8:33 a.m.

    I explained that Michigan was an hour ahead of Illinois , but she couldn't understand the concept of time zones. Finally, I told her the plane went fast, and she bought that.

    7. A New York lawmaker called and asked, "Do airlines put your physical description on your bag so they know whose luggage belongs to whom?"

    I said, 'No, why do you ask?' She replied, "Well, when I checked in with the airline, they put a tag on my luggage that said FAT, and I'm overweight. I think that's very rude."

    After putting her on hold for a minute, while I looked into it (I was dying laughing), I came back and explained the city code for Fresno, CA is (FAT -- Fresno Air Terminal), and the airline was just putting a destination tag on her luggage.

    8. A Senator's aide called to inquire about a trip package to Hawaii. After going over all the cost info, she asked, "Would it be cheaper to fly to California, and then take the train to Hawaii?"

    9. I just got off the phone with a freshman Congressman who asked, "How do I know which plane to get on?" I asked him what exactly he meant, to which he replied,

    "I was told my flight number is 823, but none of these planes have numbers on them."

    10. A lady Senator called and said, "I need to fly to Pepsi-Cola, Florida. Do I have to get on one of those little computer planes?"

    I asked if she meant fly to Pensacola, FL on a commuter plane. She said, "Yeah, whatever, smarty!"

    11. A senior Senator called and had a question about the documents he needed in order to fly to China. After a lengthy discussion about passports, I reminded him that he needed a visa.

    'Oh, no I don't. I've been to China many times and never had to have one of those."

    I double checked and sure enough, his stay required a visa. When I told him this he said, "Look, I've been to China four times and every time they have accepted my American Express!"

    12. A New Mexico Congresswoman called to make reservations. "I want to go from Chicago to Rhino, New York." I was at a loss for words.

    Finally I said, "Are you sure that's the name of the town?" "Yes, what flights do you have?" replied the lady.

    After some searching I came back with, "I'm sorry ma'am, I've looked up every airport code in the country and can't find a Rhino anywhere."

    The lady retorted, "Oh, don't be silly! Everyone knows where it is. Check your map!"

    So I scoured a map of the state of New York and finally offered, "You don't mean Buffalo, do you?" The reply?

    "Whatever! I knew it was a big animal."

    Now you know why the Government is in the shape that it's in! Could anyone be this DUMB?

    Update on the bout of flesh-eating disease I had a couple of weeks ago. Outside of right leg is healing quite quickly -- inside (bone) is very slow. No swimming or walking 'til the end of May. Life sucks, but at least we're retired.
    FWIW, George Soros' opinion. Kinda reads with Garth's latest post! --

  4. Soros has been yaking quite a bit lately.

    Free market is dead? You guys already know how I feel about free market.

    Didn't Thatcher start it all?

    Looks like Obama's Rama has lost a lot of energy. Not good to be compared to Bush.

    Good to hear things are on the mend Charles. Make sure you follow doctor's orders. Still can't believe that the bacteria was swilling around in all that chlorine.

    There was a rumour citibank may fold over the weekend. We shall see. Just wondering if they're going to let them fold.

  5. Hello Dee, the bacteria was on the walking part of the pool, not in the water and I did a fair amount of walking around between the hot tub and pool.

    I am curious as to what caused the original cracks in the skin between the toes, 'tho. If I had worn a pair of flip-flops, this wouldn't have happened.

    So it's my fault for not finding these things out. Who'd have thunk it?!

  6. Dee, I trudged through Mr. Soro's offerings, and to summarize my sentiments regarding his words, I would say, bullshit baffles brains. Or so they think.

    Given the overtones of Masters of Universe mentality, I am wondering about the question of sanity.

    He criticizes the bubble effect, lack of regulatory effectiveness and the unfairness inherent in world monetary organizations largely, but his solutions seem clearly directed toward maintenance of the status quo, albeit with some tinkering, without addressing the underlying issues of free trade vs. fair trade. What he seems to want is a tipping of the balance to further level the playing field for international investors such as himself, and to reduce the risks associated with their choices to invest in these low wage economies. In other words, to give them yet another leg up toward their dreams of Global puppet mastering according to how they view the way the World should work.

    Besides that, his engineering concept has a whole bunch of should be, could be, if only they did's then maybe it would work out.

    Bullshit baffles brains.

    You should post this link over at Garth's and get some of the quasi pundits to offer opinions.

  7. Be my guest about posting links Comrade.

    Oh I agree about his underlying goals about writing the pieces, no question about them being self serving.

    Free market works as long as both sides play by the rules but that hasn't been happening has it? Poppavox touched on it briefly. If persons can't be trusted to follow the rules and governments can't apply them fairly what then?

    I've been reading a little more about Libertarian theology and Libertarian politics. I like the theology more than the politics. Funny how different the two can be eh?

    Charles you can those foot cracks anywhere even between the toes and if the skin is left damp it opens up easily. We always forget what a vital organ skin is. I take it for granted sometimes too.