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« End of an era | Main | Workable solutions »

Mar 27, 2009

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Spag

You forgot to add "and then I am going to do a 'find and replace' swapping 'Obama' for 'Bush' and repost all of my criticisms of the war in Iraq."

Alan Bulluck

Didn't Obama promise to "bring the troops home?"

Spag

Doesn't matter. They won the election, so none of that matters now. Obama escalating a war is different than Bush because he isn't Bush. That's all that matters. Don't expect much beyond token, mild criticism just to save face.

Roch101

It is just silly when people try to make something sinister out of Obama keeping a campaign promise. Really, you guys sound like dolts -- maybe Hannity and Rush weren't really the best sources of candidate coverage.

cheripickr

Ed, Spag, you're both wrong in the same way for a change. Not to worry. This is no deja vu. This has nothing to do with the old war on turr. This is just a little old Overseas Contingency Operation. I know they haven't attacked us lately but we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud, do we?

You guys must decide: you're either with us or with the turrists (or is it insurgents...or freedom fighters?). One thing's for sure; We need a strict timetable for bringing our boys home irrespective of having fulfilled our clearly defined mission on the ground. Falling short on either count will represent a de facto grotesque failure.

There can be no no Iraq or Vietnam quagmire, agreed? That "fog of war " thing has always just been an excuse for incompetence.

Alan Bulluck

Strong response, "Roch."

RBM

@ CP

or is it insurgents...or freedom fighters?

... try the term takfiri jahidi.

then try COIN and CT ;compare and contrast ...

that is if you wanted something more than PR releases from the War Department.

Cheers

Beelzebubba

iraq is arabic for vietnam

afghanistan is farsi for cambodia

obama is erdu for rumsfeld dark

OverseasContingencyOperations is Pentagon triple speak for "we need a bigger meatgrinder"

Ishmael

Afghanistan is where the troops should have been deployed in the first place, but Rumsfeld said "there are no good targets" there.
Hard to inspire shock and awe when you are aiming at small bands of soldiers disappearing into the mountains.
This is going to be a long, tough slog, no doubt about it. Obama may have bitten off more than he can chew this time, but what alternative does he have? Sure, he can bring the troops home from Iraq, make sure that the stop-loss program is done away with, but he still has to be petrified of the very real threat that we will once again become a target of terrorism if he does not deal with Al-queda in both Afghanistan and also Pakistan.

Beelzebubba

heyheyhey: wait a goshdarn minute there podner while I ponder. Is war used as a noun(as a fresh, newfangled, never been tried, novel, original, first time ever) or as an adjective to describe "strategy"? A lot depends on this. I'm just got my Obama Pentagonian triple speak decoder ring. The old Rumsfeldian was a plain dialect of double speak. I'm as confused as CP(welcome back) used to be.

Kim

Maybe in exchange for a reset button, Hillary can ask the Russian's for advice.

cheripickr

Well said, Ish. Remember though, Afghanistan WAS where the troops were deployed in the first place. And except for the limitations of our bunker-busters against the caves of Bora-Bora, etc, we did a pretty good job at the time. We removed all the cancer we could see. However, as you rightfully point out, if you fail to eradicate the last cancer cell, you haven't accomplished much in the long run. I suspect this operation will make Iraq II look like Iraq I.

Beelzebubba

Ish: when your opponent announces a surge 30 days before he surges, you call a cab and move where they're not gonna be surging. When they're through surging, you simply say, "hey surgerburgers. We're over here, come and get us." Then the surgeburgers put the wheels back on the meatgrinder, with more plastic bags and get-well cards. Then the surgeburgers do it some more until the wheels come off, again. The alphabestish protocol in Chaostan is GSAH (Great Satan Amateur Hour).

Chaostan has 1/10,000th of the troops and resources of the Axis powers, but it's taking the YONO/OCOs twice as long to make them stop bringing it on. It's just like they're the same guys who manage the economy, but that could never happen. Allowing the same mortals to play E Pluribus Yahweh Unum, the god of money, and Shiva, the god of death, would have disasterous consequences. Perish that thought.

Beelzebubba

guys: using the same cackalacker I used to arrive at 3072 years for the pacification of Afghanistan, based on it taking 5.5 years to pacify a 44.33 square mile mile fraction of Kabul, I used a coefficient of +.0055 for the added troops and came up with 16.89 years dropped off the occupation timetable. I guess that's why they call themselves progressives.

RecycleBill

Allan: "Didn't Obama promise to "bring the troops home?"

Yes he did-- from Iraq. Had Bush concentrated on the real terrorists in Afghanistan and not the pretend terrorists he lured to Iraq all this would be over by now.

James

Obama, to his continuing discredit, has had a blind spot on Afghanistan all along. Those of us who supported him knew he was committed to increasing force levels in Afghanistan ... and many of us have and continue to be harsh critics of his strategy. Even worse, Obama is still relying on A href="http://www.statesman.com/news/content/news/stories/world/03/23/0323contractors.html">mercenaries to do the US's dirty work.

Having read the thread above, it appears the reliable right can't understand that it's possible for people to criticize someone they voted for. I often see commenters here claiming they didn't approve of Bush's actions as they look in their rear view mirrors. But over the past many years, I've seen precious little evidence of that disapproval in real time. Conservative reaction around here appeared to be more like blind obeisance to the Decider.

So here's my request to the reactionaries among us: When your Republican leaders are behaving like dumb shits, call them out on it. You can count on me to do the same when Democrats veer off track.

James

Sorry about that link messiness. Preview is our friend.

Try this.

Spag

Roch wrote "It is just silly when people try to make something sinister out of Obama keeping a campaign promise".

Of course that isn't what I was doing at all, Roch. It was about the most common sin on this blog- hypocrisy. I remember all the denials that anyone here had BDS, yet now Obama wants to expand a war against a country that didn't attack us either in order to get at terrorists (a "war on terror", remember how the Left laughed at that label?) who may be harbored there (kind of like WMD in a way), and the rationalizations to save face are already starting.

And that is before we start to question why Obama is so gung ho on killing terrorists in Afghanistan (and now----Pakistan! A new frontier!) while he complains about terrorists at Gitmo. I suppose it is better to simply kill them than cause them to get a rash on their ass by forcing them to sit for too many hours a day. That would be like really bad torture and I'm sure the terrorist would prefer death to that.

Bush war= bad, ruining Americas image, worst president ever. Obama war= justified, necessary, all Bush's fault.

I see the pattern on nearly everything Obama does on anything. If it is a success, he is God. If it is a failure, it will be blamed on Bush.

cheripickr

"When your Republican leaders are behaving like dumb shits, call them out on it. You can count on me to do the same when Democrats veer off track."

You've got a firm handshake and petition signature from this particular reactionary. Can I add a wrinkle that we also play this game going FORWARD, with references to the past only to call out and expose violators who continue to endlessly recycle double-standard criticisms from said past ad nauseum??

I realize the odds will be stacked against the dems for a while since there are currently few, if any, republican leaders to behave like dumb shits.

Game on!

Roch101

Sam, you make some good points... for a four year old.

Ed Cone

Obama was clear on his views about Afghanistan during the campaign: "I think one of the biggest mistakes we've made strategically after 9/11 was to fail to finish the job here, focus our attention here. We got distracted by Iraq." Also: "Presidential hopeful Barack Obama called the situation in Afghanistan 'precarious and urgent' on Sunday and said Washington should start planning to transfer more troops there from Iraq."

AB is simply wrong on the facts.

Afghanistan was the safe-harbor for the people who attacked us. The Taliban and al Qaeda were and are appropriate targets.

I supported our initial response there, and was disappointed by the diversion of resources to the war of choice in Iraq that followed our early success.

I'd like to see us out of Afghanistan as soon as possible, and I realize we may not attain all of our goals there.

Roch101

Ed, puhleeeese. You tax us with your insistence that facts can be comprehended and context understood in a way that exceeds the confines of the Hannitush dogma. It is so much cozier in the cocoon of ignorance where Allan Bull"uck"s can believe they bear no responsibility for their nescience and this passes as thinking:

"Bush war= bad, ruining Americas image, worst president ever. Obama war= justified, necessary, all Bush's fault."

Spag

Roch, that's not too bad of a response when you are unable to refute someone else's comments.

Face it, you along with others will give Obama a pass for broadening the war in Afghanistan and possibly going into Pakistan to search for Al Qaeda on the premise that they might be in a position to cause us harm. Sounds kind of like the Bush Doctrine on preemptive war to me.

I take it from Ed's remarks that we should go to war with Pakistan now because Al Qaeda may be harboring there too.

What is the strategy, to kill ALL members of Al Qaeda based on what they MIGHT do? If Al Qaeda is Iran, will we go to war with Iran too? What about Saudi Arabia?

The Taliban was defeated in Afghanistan. They were removed from power. Now they are making a comeback. Is it the position of Ed Cone, Roch and Obama that the United States should dictate whether the Taliban has the right to exist in another country?

We were right to go to war in Afghanistan in the first place for the reasons that Ed stated, but does this mean that we have to stay there forever and escalate the war to prevent them from ever coming back? Again, sounds like preemptive war to me- something that all of you railed against under George W. Bush. Throw in Pakistan (because you know they have WMD that could get into the wrong hands- sound familiar?), and there you go, it is 2001 all over again except this time you take a different position for purely partisan reasons as usual.

Look, I know you want to turn the United States into a Social Democracy and none of this stuff is really about the war at all, but instead is about domestic politics. The complaints about Iraq and Bush were simply a means to an end. It would be nice if you would just come out and admit it. Otherwise, you look silly and foolish trying to reconcile your present position on the use of military force and Obama's proposed policies with your past positions on the use of force and the Bush policies.

Steve Harrison

Sam, I've been harping about needing to refocus on Afghanistan since shortly after we invaded Iraq. Here's me elsewhere two years ago complaining about the closing of girls' schools:

You may be asking yourself, "Why in the hell would the Afghan people allow the Taliban to reinfiltrate their society again, knowing what this will mean as far as repressed freedoms and the like?"

While the Taliban did profit from poppy production during their rule, they also severely limited the cultivation of such, eventually bringing it down to less than 10,000 hectares by year 2000. Since their overthrow, cultivation has increased annually, now spreading to around 165,000 hectares. While there have been some efforts by the Coalition to eradicate growth, only a fraction of the annual crop has been destroyed, and the profits from the balance are finding their way into the pockets of the Karzai government, making future eradication efforts even more difficult.

Due to these factors, the Taliban saw an opportunity and made their move. They have been providing security to the farmers and facilitating the smuggling of product for a few years now, and have established huge zones where they can operate freely. Now that their power base is entrenched, they are not only facilitating poppy production, they are controlling it, and have circulated leaflets proclaiming, "Grow poppies or die." Thanks to the growing impact drug dollars are having in the government, the Taliban is now able to weild influence there, as well.

The school closings represent more than just random acts of terrorism, they are red flags that herald the rise to power of dedicated and focused entity. The fact that the current government and its supporters are unable or unwilling to arrest these developments is an unfortunate signal to the populace of where their allegiance should be directed, if they and their families are to survive the coming years.

It will be much more costly now to allocate resources to counter this threat than it would have been a few years ago, but without a renewed and concerted effort to stop this phenomena all of our sacrifices will have been in vain, and re-invading a narco-state will be considerably more difficult and deadly than our previous rout.

Ed Cone

...none of this stuff is really about the war at all, but instead is about domestic politics. The complaints about Iraq and Bush were simply a means to an end. It would be nice if you would just come out and admit it.

And there you have it, years of comments and tens of thousands of words, in a nutshell: There's no point in discussing the issues because they aren't really the issues, everyone's a lying hypocrite except for Sam, who alone can perceive the truth.

And if you say otherwise, well, you're just lying hypocrites.

And if you suggest that Sam unwittingly describes his own worldview, which he cannot believe is not secretly shared by everyone else, well, see above.

We got it already, Sam. You can stop now.

cheripickr

I think Sam's questions are excellent ones that reflect the very real and agonizing decisions any president must make regarding war. Anyone care to try and answer them? Or is it just pile-on and marginalize time again?

"What is the strategy, to kill ALL members of Al Qaeda based on what they MIGHT do?"

"If Al Qaeda is Iran, will we go to war with Iran too?"

"What about Saudi Arabia?"

"Is it the position of Ed Cone, Roch and Obama that the United States should dictate whether the Taliban has the right to exist in another country?"

After three months of observation I've concluded that you guys are all pretty good at making Sam sound paranoid, obsessed, whiny, radical, pathetic, etc. Not so good at refuting the substance of his points, especially the ones that apply to yourselves as well as to the usual suspect.

I don't think Sam is seeking unanimity on his worldview, just the rationale for opposing ones, and at the risk of getting laughed out of this blog, is more willing than most of you to apply the same standards to his as to others'.

What Sam is most guilty of is having an extroardinarily sensitive bullshitometer yet he lacks the ability to turn it off or hold his nose.

What some of you find threatening is that he is daring to ask you to define your standards of success or failure of this mission BEFORE it begins so you can't so easily morph it into anything that suits your purposes later. I guess he wasn't smart enough to do that before the last war and it's sad that he should feel the need to now.

RecycleBill

Cheri,
I'm not afraid of defining a standard of success in Afghanistan: The capture of Osama bin Laden, the death of the masterminds of 911, the cutting off of the heads of Al quada and the Talaban and the elimination of the terrorist threats they collectivly present to America and the world.

In other words: the same damn things Bush promised us in 2001 but forgot before he invaded Iraq and wrecked every chance we had to win the "War on Terrorism."

As for Sam, he spent the last 7 years supporting the war in Iraq and echoing all the BS from the Bush Administration who, by the way, never accomplished a single objective in Iraq, Afghanistan or in America's domestic policy including Bush's "ownership society."

Sam continues to support what has long been know as the most corrupt and failed administration since Hoover. Bush reigned over the largest nightmares this nation has faced in our lifetimes and never saw any of them coming how can we take anything Sam says as serious or of sound political judgement?

Sometimes, no matter how much you believe in something that something turns out to be just plain wrong. Wise men figure it out, hopefully Sam will wisen in time.

cheripickr

I forgot to add one of the most key questions:

"but does this mean that we have to stay there forever and escalate the war to prevent them from ever coming back? "

Recycle:Thanks for the response.

I agree with your first paragraph, though the significance of Bin Laden and the 911 masterminds may or may not be as crucial to the current mission as it once was.

By “invaded Iraq and wrecked every chance we had to win the "War on Terrorism."” I am assuming you would have advocated instead staying in Afghanistan for some undetermined period and until by some estimation we had determined there were no more terrorists left or until they popped up somewhere else at which point we would move operations there. I doubt they would've made it that easy for us in that by most assessments they were already a multiheaded Medusa with tentacles all over the world. We did not cease multinational intelligence and covert operations when we invaded Iraq and I believe thwarted or broke up some terrorist cells and plots in various places as Iraq operations were going on.

As for “the Bush Administration who, by the way, never accomplished a single objective in Iraq, Afghanistan”, we removed the Taliban from power in three weeks, removed Saddam Hussein from power in about the same time (the quagmire that ensued not withstanding) and established democratic governments, however difficult or tenuous, in each. Whether you want to scoff at these “successes” relates to Sam’s question above. Achieving and sustaining successes are quite different propositions. It seems contradictory to me that many of the people that feel that we should have stayed more involved in Afghanistan after the immediate objectives were met were the same people who advocated leaving Iraq before those same objectives had been met there, and where the largest concentrations of visible Al-qaeda and like-minded groups were directly in front of us, expending their resources against our military rather than slaughtering civilians on our own soil. In the meantime while other terrorist attacks against us were planned and some were thwarted, not a single one occurred again on our soil. That part of the Bush legacy gradually diminished that paramount fear which we all shared and which temporarily bonded us together as a nation. The luxury afforded by the return to a feeling of safety and resultant complacency allowed rededication our energies back to the previous internal political warfare which subsequently assumed unprecedentedly hateful proportions. I for one appreciate not going to bed scared like that anymore. I don’t chalk it up to random luck and I don’t take it for granted.

“Bush reigned over the largest nightmares this nation has faced in our lifetimes and never saw any of them coming” The largest nightmare in my lifetime was 9-11 and yes, Bush was president and along with his predecessor and everyone else, didn’t see it coming so you are correct there. I was alive for JFK’s assassination, the disco era and the Vietnam war, which was not thrust upon us by an attack on our soil but by the unprovoked choice of our own government, lasted 10 years, cost 10 times more US lives than lost under Bush, and which we were clearly defeated in front of the entire world, so I can not agree that Bush has a monopoly on national nightmares.

Spag

"As for Sam, he spent the last 7 years supporting the war in Iraq and echoing all the BS from the Bush Administration who, by the way, never accomplished a single objective in Iraq, Afghanistan or in America's domestic policy including Bush's "ownership society."

Sam continues to support what has long been know as the most corrupt and failed administration since Hoover. Bush reigned over the largest nightmares this nation has faced in our lifetimes and never saw any of them coming how can we take anything Sam says as serious or of sound political judgement?"

Billy, with all due respect, that is simply not true. I have expressed my disappointment with Bush on numerous occasions. My position on the war has been that we needed to win it once we got in it, and my criticisms of others (that you interpret as defending Bush) were largely based on what I believed to be irrational arguments and expectations driven by politics not the reality of war. You cannot reason with people who scream "change the course" and then when the course is changed, they bitch about that too. When that happens, it is clear that the war isn't their real issue. That wasn't me defending Bush, that was me calling them hypocritical, bitterly partisan assholes.

CP, they won't answer my questions. Ed might cut and paste something he wrote before and claim that it is a response to those questions, but probably what will happen is what already happened, and that is to attack me. That is what always happens when a substantive response eludes them.

Spag

P.S. I agree with everything CP just wrote, especially that the disco era was very costly, lasted too long, and was probably a government plot to prop up Big Polyester.

RecycleBill

CP,
I missed the draft for Vietnam by only a few months. I watched the live TV coverage in the hours after Kennedy's assination while attending Bessemer Elementary School. I hated disco. I think Guilford Mills invented Disco as they were big into double knits back then.

American involvement in Vietnam began in 1958 under a Republican Administration. That said, I joined the Republican Party on my 18th birthday because Nixon ended that war. (At the time I didn't understand that Eisenhouer had put us there.)

I voted for Ross Perot and hated Bill Clinton. I went so far as to make up funny stories about Clinton in part of my first book, Carrot On A Stick published in 2000. My second book, Cold Dry Biscuits (2003) takes a few shots at Bush and Clinton.

I voted for Bush in 2000 before I realized that the party that freed the slaves and started the first social welfare program (1865) in the history of the world was no longer the party I'd joined so many years before. In 2004 I became a Democrat. I promise that if I don't see what I believe is progress and a returning of government to the people before the end of Obama's first term I will end all party affiliations.

Al Queda has turned-up in huge numbers in Somolia and yet Bush never sent troops there-- I can only assume Bush had no interest in Somolia. The US invasion of Iraq wasn't about terrorism and I have been against it since day 1.

Sam,
Sometimes I'm a little too hard on you-- you have my apology. You have expressed disappointment with Bush on numerous occasions.

cheripickr

Apologies are rare around here RB. I may not always agree with you on everything, but you've got my undying respect. A lot of things went wrong under Bush for sure. I'll never hate him for it though. I wish Obama better luck against our nation's enemies. We need it.

cheripickr

"And if you say otherwise, well, you're just lying hypocrites.We got it already, Sam. You can stop now."

Posted by: Ed Cone | Mar 28, 2009 at 05:41 PM

Yeah Sam, it's not cool to repeatedly call someone a liar.

RecycleBill

CP,
I don't find it so hard to apoligise for my shortcomings, tyraids and other stupidity.

But what is hard is realizing when I'm wrong and an apology is due. Sadly, it often takes me too long to realize I've screwed-up. Sadly, too often people are hurt.

I have a lot of respect for Sam even though I'm not good at showing it. While Sam and I often agree on local politics we rarely agree on the national level.

I also sometimes forget that life in the Blogosphere is not life on my side of town. 'Round these parts you attack first and apoligise later or you end up hurt badly. Just Friday I had to have the local police remove 2 stoned troublemakers from company property. They and I are lucky the cops got there before I was forced to do it myself. Lessons learned on rough streets don't translate well in the Blogosphere and I often have trouble turning off my "street smarts."

But I do take my perscribed meds religiously and at the exact time as perscribed.

Roch101

"Roch, that's not too bad of a response when you are unable to refute someone else's comments." -- Spag

Sam, a quick response just because you are a friend, but more than your comments would otherwise deserve. There is nothing of substance to refute. You reduce everything to such a superficially thin view that everything is on the same plane, blind to any context that might (in a big, real way) explain the differences between Obama's policies and Bush's policies. You make hypocrites of us only by finding similarities in syntax and ignoring meaning: "You said you do not like people throwing apples at your house, but you do not object to apple pie! Hypocrite!"

Making an Obama policy equivalent to Bush's policy by erasing the details that define their important differences simply makes your comments ignorable. One cannot engage on the specifics precisely because you premise your remarks on an erasure of the specifics. The only response left is this kind of rather boring observation of the fallacies of your debate tactics.

Like I said, dismiss context and details and you have what you actually, laughably came up with: "Bush war, bad. Obama, war good" -- worthy arguments for a four year old.

cheripickr

RB
"But I do take my perscribed meds religiously and at the exact time as perscribed."

I can relate. Prozac is my prozac.

Your last post is refreshing as hell and shows there's hope for all of us.

Changing the subject, from gleaning bits and pieces of some of your previous posts, does your business have anything of interest for an avid gardner/do-it-yourself landscaper, i.e. lawn rental equipment, rocks, flagstone, biological and chemical weapons for varmints, etc? The outdoors is callin me.

Roch101

""Is it the position of Ed Cone, Roch and Obama that the United States should dictate whether the Taliban has the right to exist in another country?" -- CP channeling Sam

Like a big boy not prone to reducing everything to the dictates of dogma, I'd say it depends. In a country where the Taliban was responsible for a failed state that gave rise to the enemies that attacked us on 9/11, I'd say no, they must go or be marginalized to the point of insignificance. In a country where the Taliban's existence is not giving rise to attacks on us, I'd say that is up to the country in which they reside although, because the Taliban are antithetical to the kinds of human rights the US (mostly) stands for, we should find ways to try to help diminish their influence that are commensurate with our national interests.

RBM

Sic Semper Tyrannis paraphrase of Gates on Fox:

Al-Qa'ida is the objective, not a renaissance for Afghanistan.

Of note: nowhere is the Taliban mentioned in this post. I would suggest it follows that is the case with the actual policy.

Beelzebubba

Is it the Taliban or AlKaaaader which hates for our freedom to do anything to anyone at anytime we damned well please?

RBM

@ Beezle

errr, which minute of which day ?

My understanding generally speaking is it's Al-Qa'ida.

I suggest Global Guerrillas:

Networked tribes, systems disruption, and the emerging bazaar of violence. Resilient Communities, decentralized platforms, and self-organizing futures.

or maybe

Abu Muqawama:

issues related to contemporary insurgencies as well as counterinsurgency tactics and strategy. Abu Muqawama aims to be a resource for students, counterinsurgents, academics, and the general public.

for a definitive answer.

Beelzebubba

RBM: thanks for that perspective. It appears to me that the rest of the world has totally misunderstood the burden that white men have put upon themselves.

RBM

@ Beezle

ROTF !!

Burden ? There ain't no burden, we've got the rest of eternity to write checks on !! No price is too high for US hegemony !

Besides the US knows everyone else in the world wants to be like US.

Spag

Roch, nobody has addressed my points at this late hour. Your response begs the question, do you think we killed ALL of the Nazi's after World War II? Are you ready to occupy Afghanistan like Iraq? What about Pakistan- a new fold into the mix?

Until someone can substantively answer those questions and the previous ones, I am left with the four year old equation that the only difference must be Bush=bad Obama=good. I have little choice given the philosophical objections that were raised over and over by many on this blog when it came to Iraq, but are now being conveniently discarded under the new Administration.

I haven't ignored the differences at all, rather I have pointed out that there isn't much difference philosophically. Feel free to explain how the same philosophy adhered to during the Bush years by yourself or any number of commenters here can still be applied to Afghanistan and now the new wrinkle of Pakistan. Go back and read my questions carefully before you answer so we don't have to cover old terrain (for example, the fact that Pakistan has WMD that could get into the wrong hands...)

Roch101

"Your response begs the question, do you think we killed ALL of the Nazi's after World War II?"

Misusing "begging the question" aside, to what comment are you referring that you think prompts that question?

Asking about WMD in Pakistan is just another example that you've sucked all reality out of your perception in order to make a Bush/Obama comparissons because, well, you know, Pakistan actually HAS WMD. Nonetheless, you seem to be calling us hypocrites for not objecting to Obama's concern over WMD in Pakistan falling into the wrong hands while objecting to Bush's war against a country that had none -- do I have that right?

Spag

Roch, the question about the Nazi's is highly relevant. We didn't clear Germany of all of the Nazi's, so why must we clear Afghanistan of all of the Taliban after we defeated them once? The point being that there will always be some bad guys left even after the war ends.

What about preemptive war- that the Taliban MIGHT do something?

Your response on Iraq assumes that we knew all along there were no WMD there, and that is the fatal flaw in your attempt to differentiate the two. Nevertheless, I assume you are okay with a preemptive war in Pakistan to prevent terrorists from possibly getting their hands on WMD, is that about right?

Steve Harrison

"What about preemptive war- that the Taliban MIGHT do something?"

The Taliban has been doing something, Sam. A lot of somethings, actually. They're exerting some sort of influence over about 1/3 of the country, and downright own some areas like Helmund Province, which is (by far) the biggest poppy-producing area in the world.

They were able to re-infiltrate for several reasons, and some of them have to do with us not dedicating enough resources. In fact, we didn't even use all of the (insufficient) resources we'd allotted. And worst of all, the (our) military decided that drug interdiction was not their mission, so they turned their eyes away as the poppy fields flourished. That drug money buys a whole lot of beans & bullets, and now we've got a monster on our hands.

You might argue that waging war there is a bad idea, but don't try to take the position that the Taliban there are only remnants that were left after we kicked their ass the first time. They're possibly even more powerful now than they were in early 2001. If the Nazis had made a comeback like that, we'd have sent a couple of million troops there to deal with it.

Beelzebubba

I just recognized it...

the bacteria on this thread.

It's 'bius cognitus'. It produces a condition known as cognitive bias. It evokes beliefs and emotions that alter memory and perception. It causes the overconfidence effect which leads to a bandwagon effect. You find yourself following choices that others make, and before you know it, you're spewing the party line, affirming some faith or pledging an oath to a cloth.

This can lead to hindsight bias, which causes you to judge an event inside the boundaries of your cognitive bias.

The horrible thing about this infection is that it causes the host to overlook the biggest risk to himself, which is himself.

The only known cure is found in a highly reflective device, such as a mirror. This requires one to recognize oneself and separate the self from the other self which has attached his ego to a barrier or boundary outside of himself. The parasitoid lives in mortal fear of the host being in proximity of anything reflective, exposing the choices he made as not only his own, but benefitting only the parasitoid.

Spag

Steve, we haven't been attacked since 9/11/2001. Do we have actionable intelligence that the Taliban are about to attack us? No, the Taliban never attacked us in the first place. Do we have actionable intelligence that Al Qaeda intend to take over Pakistan's nuclear arsenal and attack us in the immediate future? I don't think so.

Keep in mind that I haven't even discussed what my position is on any of these issues yet in this thread, but I really am curious how most of you will be able to rally behind Obama in light of your criticisms of Bush. The justifications for war are not really that different.

cheripickr

Beelze-- I don't know which is more remarkable, the stuff you come up with or that you can come up with it at 8 AM on a Monday!

Roch101

"Roch, the question about the Nazi's is highly relevant. We didn't clear Germany of all of the Nazi's, so why must we clear Afghanistan of all of the Taliban after we defeated them once?" -- Spag

Sam, I know you pay attention to detail, so I am beginning to think you are being intentionally obtuse (probably in order to keep me from contributing to the economic recovery). When I offered a comment on the Taliban in Afghanistan, it was this, not the straw man you fabricated:

"In a country where the Taliban was responsible for a failed state that gave rise to the enemies that attacked us on 9/11, I'd say no, they must go or be marginalized to the point of insignificance."

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