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McChrystal Doesn’t Get It—Does Obama?

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Posted on Oct 29, 2009
AP / David Guttenfelder

U.S. Marines walk through the sand inside Camp Leatherneck in Afghanistan’s Helmand province.

By Scott Ritter

(Page 3)

Of course, the future is not yet set in stone. The decision to dispatch more troops, although the subject of much rumor and speculation, has been delayed pending the final dispensation of Afghanistan’s controversial presidential election. One can only hope that President Obama will take advantage of this timely “pause” to reconsider his options regarding Afghanistan beyond the single-minded rush to reinforce a current policy the U.S. military has acknowledged as having gone nowhere in the eight years of American military engagement.

Vice President Joe Biden had earlier proposed a policy course that would have de-emphasized military engagement with the Taliban, focusing instead on rooting out the forces of al-Qaida still operating in Afghanistan and Pakistan. President Obama was reportedly not sold on Biden’s thinking when it was first presented last March. Perhaps now, upon reflection, the president will do the right thing and reduce America’s military involvement in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, either along the lines proposed by Vice President Biden, or through some other mechanism. There is no military solution to the problems facing the United States today in Afghanistan, and thus the correct course of action is to de-militarize the situation by reducing, not expanding, America’s military presence.

Clearly Gen. Stanley McChrystal is not the man for this task. He should be replaced by someone within the ranks of the U.S. military who shares Obama’s vision of peace, and with it the need to redefine the mission in South Asia. The legitimate requirements of American national security will not be satisfied by any massive military commitment to the region. Hopefully, President Obama will recognize this fact and get out. That would be a sign of greatness, and present to the American people and the rest of the world a leader worthy of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Scott Ritter is a former Marine intelligence officer, chief U.N. weapons inspector and the author of numerous books on foreign policy.

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By ardee, December 4, 2009 at 4:04 am Link to this comment

Mozzer75,—“Regardless of the “surge” of 2008 in Iraq, such a strategy will have no essential long-term effect, and close followers of US policies agree that Iraq will inevitably collapse back into sectarian conflict.”

I think it’s important to note, and to solidly know and understand, that millions of close followers of the Iraq and Afghanistan battles will not agree with your sentiment. I believe it’s a mistake not to acknowledge it.

I think it important to note that this response to Mozzer says nothing at all. These “millions” of which ‘far right’ pegs his affirmation for war and slaughter are given as “expert testimony?”

The fact that polls show that many, many millions are calling for an end to this conflict, including an increasing number of Afghanis and Iraqis themselves. The fact that history and common sense show plainly that such insurgencies are almost impossible to defeat through military might might be seen to trump these “millions” of supporters of slaughter.

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By Trailing Begonia, December 3, 2009 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

The Military Industrial Complex is doing a good job of packaging and marketing their top salesman.

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By Blackspeare, December 2, 2009 at 3:00 pm Link to this comment

Scott Ritter is writing a scathing bit of prose from his heart rather his mind.  The Soviets were driven out of Afghanistan by hi-tech weaponry, namely Stinger missiles supplied by the US, financed by the US and the Saudis, and delivered via Pakistan.  Land forces cannot defeat the Afghans for long because of the rugged terrain, but they are very susceptible to helicopter attack.  The US Stinger missiles took away that Soviet advantage and the rest is history.  Today, the Afghans opposing US intervention do not have sufficient financial backing to defeat the US and no access to advanced weaponry.  Obama should be able to make his time table plus or minus a few months.  Training Afghans regulars to protect the population centers from the Taliban/al Qaeda and paying off the warlords in the villages should do the trick.  The Taliban/al Qaeda may have no choice but to lay low for the next few years and hope there is enough dissent to foment another rebellion.  Also, of interest, is that the surge appears to have worked in Iraq at least in the near term and the “punch” should have a similar impact in Afghanistan at least long enough to get Obama re-elected!

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By #1Robeyfan, December 1, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Outstanding article by Mr. Ritter. The generals are giving Obama a lot of bad advice. Obama needs to listen to the voters who put him in office, not the generals or the neo-cons who want perpetual war.

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By Sepharad, November 12, 2009 at 2:01 am Link to this comment

Sodium, though I’ve been very worried about Obama’s performance, I do realize these are not problems he created (though his economics appointments may have increased the original problem) and concerning Afghanistan, perhaps you are right about withholding comment till he’s had two years.

Afghanistan is a country whose people I admire for their courage. I know they are described as a country of warlords and opium growers, but that is a broad brush and misses what I believe to be the essence of the individuals: brave, independent, and—except for the Talban period—not overly religious. The women, pre-Taliban, were not as cloistered as many in the Moslem world, and sometimes worked with their husbands. Many of the girls—again, pre-Taliban—went to school. At least that is how some of the Afghanistan natives living in our area describe the pre-Taliban society. Mostly what I’d read about Afghanistan before we met these people was what a large part horses played in the culture. When our friends discovered we were interested in their horse history, they brought us some beautiful old saddle bags and saddle blankets. They might be exaggerating the not-so-bad life of the women in pre-Taliban Afghanistan—one woman said she actually dressed like a man to fight next to her husband against the Soviets but they seem to be pretty honest in other regards. My husband was initially impressed by Mullah Omar because, he said, he was so pure and uncompromising. (The wife began but out of politeness stopped herself from laughing at the description of Mullah Omar as “pure”.) It seems so strange to me that we are at war with Afghanistan. Last time I talked with my son-in-law, he said it seemed strange to him too. He said that the Afghan men he’s met in the U.S. remind him very much of the Kurds he knew and trusted in Iraq—smart, reasonable, trustworthy and not usually interested in extremist interpretations of their religion. They just don’t like outsiders clomping about their country. Perhaps he won’t be among those outsiders clomping around, if Obama does his job right. Afghanistan is also a country I’d like to see, though the people here say that neither they nor I should make any attempt to visit until the Taliban are quieted and Americans aren’t fighting there. These people here in Northern California are very sensitive to any potential danger, which may be one way of knowing what it’s like in Afghanistan. (Shortly after 9/11, the woman came to stay with us while her husband tried to go back for her sister in Kandahar, though he was unable to make it there. They also closed up their business in SF’s North Beach area because they assumed that Americans would blame them for 9/11 and vandalize their store. I don’t think that would have happened, but the fact that they did is interesting.)

I wish we could just travel to Afghanistan and absorb the culture, learn something ... anything but go to war there. I don’t know if you enjoy movies, but there is a good one availablle on DVD that came out some years ago, called “The Beast”—about a Russian soldier and a tank crew in Afghanistan.

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By Sodium, November 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Sepharad,November 8 at 4:27 am.

Sepharad,

Please consider this post as a continuation of my eariel post concerning President Obama and Afghanistsn.

In order to provide with more profound comprehension as how I exactly feel and think about President Obama,please make sure you read the following post of mine,which comprise two parts:

PART 1 of 2
============
By Sodium,October 19 at 10:22 pm.

And,

PART 2 of 2
=============
By Sodium,October 19 at 10:27 pm

Both parts are posted on the the thread that embodies the column/article entitled ” A Noble for Defeating Cheneyism ” by Joe Conason,published under the heading labelled “Report” of Truthdig’s website.

By reading those two parts,I believe that you will get a more profound understanding of why I insist on giving Obama more time to see what he can or cannot accomlish. He has alrady changed America’s standing in the worid,especially in the Arab and Muslim world. And that is,by itself,no small achievement,considering the resentment that prevailed in the last eight years of Bush/Cheney’s hawkishness,bellicosity and belligerence to dictate terms that defies international norms and the spirit upon which the United Nations was founded and international law was established,keeping in mind that the United State took the lead in creating the United Nations and in the establishment of the International law,supposedly respected and adhered to by all sovereign countries of the international community.

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By Sodium, November 11, 2009 at 3:10 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

R: Sepharad,November 8 at 4:27 am.

Sepharad,

Because President Obama has already changed the tone of U.S.policy from Bush/Cheney confrontational policy to dialogue and accommodational one,even before he won the presidential election,through his various speeches and comments during two years of campaigning against all odds,I have made a promise to myself that I will refrain from making a single negative comment about his actions or inactions for the first two years in office to see for certain that he could stop the bleeding of America in blood and treasures that seemed leading slowly but surely to total collapse,precisely as it had happened to the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.
Many Arabs/Muslims believe there is no way to achieve peace except by confronting the invaders head-on. Here comes President Obama who has already changed the attitude of millions of Arabs and Muslims because of his enlightened speeches in Turkey first and more importantly at Cairo University,Egypt. Since then,I have been following some of what has been published in the Arab press. The vast majority of what I read were positive and encouraging,
indeed. The only question that was repeatedly raised was:“CAN PRESIDENT OBAMA DELIVER?”.

Because of my belief of what I summarised above and because of my promise to myself not to criticize President Obama until he completes two years in office as President,I wish to refrain from making any negative statement about his policy whether it is internal or foreign.  However,in order to provide you with some answers to the question you raised I would suggest the following steps to President Obama to take:

(1) Explain to the American people the fact on the ground in Afghanistan and Iraq,including the fact that there are reliable reports that insist that Osama bin Laden and his brain,Ayman Al-Zwahiri,are no longer in Afghanistan. In fact there are reports that say bin Laden has died sometimes ago from kidney disease. Use the SOFT POWER with the Talibans. Therefore,there is no need to deploy addional troops to Afghanistan,but rather the U.S. and its allies should rebuild Afghanistan after more than 30 years of disasterous wars. That will win the hearts and minds and certainly will serve the best interest of the U.S.in that part of the world. How to do that? read(2) below.

(2) Adhere firmly to the United Nations Charter and the well established International Law while adhering firmly also to the U.S. Constitution at the same time. That what President Dwight Eisenhower had done and succeeded in keeping America in peace with itself and with the rest of the world for 8 years. During his two terms in office,America was the most admired country in the planet,including among the people who lived within the political boundaries of the Soviet Empire. Yes,the political circumstances are different now,but the concept Eisenhower had adhered to remained unchained: Rules of Law,(NOT survival of the fittest,and NOT might makes right),should be America’s guide. Nothing else. I must mention in this cotext that I am NO Republican by any stretch of imagination. Admirer of Eisenhower? Yes,yes indeed,in a big and firm way….

(3) I do share your high regards for Helen Thomas and perhaps more.  A half a century as a notable reporter at the White House is no small achievement,by any standard of measurement. No wonder her colleagues have fondly dubbed her as the “DEAN” of the press reporters at the White House. However,my understanding of the meaning of the word “courage” may differ from hers. And I leave it at that. Obama’s courage is so profound in his ability to navigate through a sea infested by all kinds of terpedoes,ranging from hatred to collossal inheritances.In addition,uncooperative opposition that wants him so badly to fail. The Left is making a big big mistake in attacking him so severly.

I am running out of space. I stop here.

Sepharad: it is good to hear from you. Take care.

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By Leefeller, November 10, 2009 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

After the last eight years, calling Obama a Liar seems trite!

Obama seemed hawkish to me, when he was running. Obama from what I could tell, was easily staying in front of Mc Cain, it was clearly proclaimed during the campagin repeatedly,  we must go into Pakistan during the campaign?  Where is the lie?  It was most disappointing to me, Obama had to show himself as a hawk to run and win for office, otherwise he may not have had a chance. 

Politics and the emotional baggage which is dragged with it, always seems so important, manipulations in the eyes of the public utilized by the opportunists and manipulators with the skill of a surgeon welding a chain saw, seems most disgusting to me.

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By Go Right Young Man, November 10, 2009 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Mozzer75,—“Regardless of the “surge” of 2008 in Iraq, such a strategy will have no essential long-term effect, and close followers of US policies agree that Iraq will inevitably collapse back into sectarian conflict.”

I think it’s important to note, and to solidly know and understand, that millions of close followers of the Iraq and Afghanistan battles will not agree with your sentiment. I believe it’s a mistake not to acknowledge it.

I’m curious. What exactly did President Obama lie about?

During his two year campaign candidate Obama spoke almost daily on Afghanistan being the “Good” and “Just” war as opposed to the bad and unnecessary war in Iraq. He spoke almost daily on how more resources, troops, and attention was needed in the Afghan/Pakistan region. He campaigned on the idea that more was needed. Not less.

I did not vote for Obama and know him to be the least vetted and least known candidate in American political history. I will passionately and actively work against his re-election. I will, however, defend him when necessary.

I can point to many lies he’s told. But I fail to see this one. Explain?

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By Mozzer75, November 10, 2009 at 1:05 am Link to this comment

Regardless of the “surge” of 2008 in Iraq, such a strategy will have no essential long-term effect, and close followers of US policies agree that Iraq will inevitably collapse back into sectarian conflict.  In Afghanistan, we are now dealing with a similar situation: “Let’s have a surge! Take back the country!” I thought this country had come a long way since Fool’s Gold. What General has EVER said, Sorry, this is a bad place, let’s leave? No, a soldier’s place is to say how he might win a war, that is all. We elect Presidents to decide whether a war’s worth fighting or not.
I voted for this President. If he does not bring our troops out of the way of significant conflict by the time of his re-election, I will not only not vote for him, I will campaign for an alternative, because, in my eyes, when it comes down to the loss of lives, he will have been just another LIAR!

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By ThomasG, November 8, 2009 at 1:57 pm Link to this comment

The People Elected Him, Now President Obama Has to Make A Choice of Who He Will Represent.

President Barack Obama has the forum to use the “Bully Pulpit” of the Presidency to represent and advocate for the best interest of the masses of the population of America that are not being represented in both Houses of the Congress and the Government of the United States.

If President Barack Obama will make a stand in support of the masses of the American population, the masses of the American population will stand in support of President Barack Obama, and the opposing interests of Wall Street financialization together with business and industry interests that have received and continue to look for Corporate Welfare as their entitlement that is a “moral hazard” in support of their “greed is good” economic cycle, will have to give way to being responsible for the cause and effect of their own cyclical ways, rather than standing in line for TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of Socialist/Communist Welfare and then decrying and condemning Socialist/Communist benefit for the masses of the American population.

It is ludicrous to give the interests of Private Capital on Wall Street TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of Socialist/Communist money and then make the claim to the people of the masses of the American population that provided the money that generations of their progeny will be saddled with the obligation of paying the money back, that their needs for their own benefit and best interest must be an “unmet need”, because all of their money was paid by their elected representatives to uphold the value of Private Capital, so that the masses of the American population would have to continue to make payments on Toxic Capital from which the masses of the American population will NOT receive benefit.

The claims of Capitalists from the time of Goldwater through Reagan, Bush I and Bush II is that welfare for the needy is a “moral hazard” and now the claims of Capitalists is that welfare for the greedy
is NOT a “moral hazard”?

If welfare for the needy is a “moral hazard”, then welfare for the greedy Wall Street Capitalists is a “moral hazard”, and if there is money available to pay welfare for the greedy Wall Street Capitalists in obscene amounts of TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS, there must be money that is made available to take care of the needs of the masses of the American population.

The TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS of welfare for the greedy Wall Street Capitalists, bankers and Captains of business and industry can be CLAWED BACK by taxes to reclaim both the principal and interest due for the TENS of TRILLIONS of DOLLARS paid to uphold the value of private Toxic Capital, and that money can be used to meet the “unmet needs” of the American people, so that the masses of the American population made poor and having NOTHING left but their dreams, can receive a revenue stream through taxes from those who took everything from them in support of their Toxic Capital, and left the masses of the American population with NOTHING but their dreams and “unmet needs”.

President Barack Obama has the “Bully Pulpit” of the United States Presidency and it is up to President Barack Obama to make a choice as to who he is going to represent and support with the “Bully Pulpit” of the Presidency, the masses of the American population and their “unmet needs” or the “moral hazard” of Corporate Welfare that maintains the value of private Toxic Capital and leaves the masses of the American population poor and in debt with NOTHING but their dreams.

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By Sepharad, November 8, 2009 at 12:27 am Link to this comment

Sodium, Afghanistan has indeed been a graveyard. Thanks for all the history.

Listened to Helen Thomas being interviewed by Phil Bronstein of the SF Chronicle at a Commonwealth Club gathering. At one point, she said that in her opinion President Obama lacks the courage to push harder for peace. She didn’t say he lacked judgment, lacked information, or was not well-meaning. Just that he lacked the courage to be confrontational rather than futilely attempting to reach bipartisan coalition. I think this is true re the health reform bills fight. I’m wondering whether you think that Obama could somehow reverse course in the Afghanistan war by simply insisting on such a reversal? I’m convinced he can do more re health reform if he only would. I’m not sure he has the power to single-handedly stop the war in its tracks, and also wonder if you see any doable clear option he could take as commander-in-chief, overriding his military advisers. Am not sure that would be the right thing to do, because I’m not sure he knows as much as the McCrystals etc. But I would like you opinion. I hold Helen Thomas in very high regard and if she suggests something I take it very seriously.

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By Leefeller, November 5, 2009 at 7:13 am Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man,

Being more ignorant of history than I like to admit, I appreciate comments which invoke reason and promote questions, plus posted with a degree of respect, thank you.

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By Go Right Young Man, November 5, 2009 at 4:53 am Link to this comment

Mr Ritter,

While the mantra that the region is the “graveyard of empires,” where Alexander the Great, the British in the 19th century, and the Soviets only three decades ago inevitably met their doom is a common one, it’s not entirely correct.

In fact, Alexander conquered most of Bactria and its environs (which included present-day Afghanistan). After his death, the area that is now Afghanistan became part of the Seleucid Empire.

Centuries later, outnumbered British-led troops and civilians were initially ambushed, and suffered many casualties, in the first Afghan war. But the British were not defeated in their subsequent two Afghan wars between 1878 and 1919.

The Soviets did give up in 1989 their nine-year effort to create out of Afghanistan a communist buffer state - but only because the Arab world, the United States, Pakistan and China combined to provide the Afghan mujahideen resistance with billions of dollars in aid, not to mention state-of-the-art anti-aircraft and anti-tank weapons.

While Afghans have been traditionally fierce resistance fighters and made occupations difficult, they have rarely for long defeated invaders—and never without outside assistance.

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By ardee, November 5, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

LemuelG, November 5 at 12:58 am

If you have anything of relevance to add to to your egregiously in error “facts” I stand ready to address them. This last says nothing worth commenting upon.

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By Sodium, November 5, 2009 at 12:39 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject: Some Specific Historical Facts From Afghanistan History.

The central point concerning Afghanistan as the grave yard of empires as Mr. Scott Ritter has written in his outstanding article is expressed in the following 21 words:

“Afghanistan has,over the centuries,earned its reputation as the graveyard of empires. Just ask the Greeks,Mongols,British and Russians.”

Because of the fuss someone sounded like having a typical mindset of the neoconservatives of the already discredited authors of the “Project For A New American Century”,I have found myself compelled to test Mr Scott Ritter’s comments quoted above to satisfy my own curiosity first and see how far the fussy neocon’s contention might be close to the “truth”:

The Greeks in Afghanistan:
===========================
Alexander the Great conquered and occupied Afghanistan in 350BC-323BC. He tried bringing the Helenic thought and civilation to Afghanistan as he had successfully done in every empire he conquered before conquering Afghanistan but failed miserably according to:

Afghanistan’s Web Site-@Afghanistan History

Instead,he ended up facing,and I quote,“unrest and bloody revolts become the regime hallmarks”. He withdrew to Babylon,(present day Iraq),where he became very ill and died,either in Iraq or while his military generals were carrying him to get his body back home to Mecadonia,Greec. Till present time,no one knows where Alexander the Great was burried. That is the ultimate fate of the greatness. Tell that to the bravado of the warmongering mindsets. They may learn from the failure and fate of Alexander the Great in that part of the world.

The Mongols in Afghanistan:
============================
I could not find specific information about the Mongols in their conquest of Afghanistan in the 12TH century AD,except that the Mongolian warrior,Genghis Khan used it as a pathway to conquer Persia,(present day Iran),and conquer the residue of the already decaying Abbasid Caliphate in Baghdad. Therefore,I leave the details of what happened to Genghis Khan’s conquest of Afghanistan to the professional historians to tell us. There are historical reports which says that Genghis Khan returned to mongolia and died there.His brother Helugo,tookover after Genghis Khan’s death and continued the conquest of the Middle East,including Egypt. At the end he too was forced to abandon the region for the rising new powers: the Fatimide Dynasty and ultimately to the Ottoman Empire until the Empire of Great Britain took over from the decaying Ottoman Empire. Yeah, collapsing empire after collapsing empire has been such the dictate of the sweep of human history. Nothing,nothing remains permanent.

The British in Afghanistan:
============================
In 1839-1842,Great Britain conquered and occupied Afghanistan and established a puppet goverment to serve its commercial interest as connected to the Indian subcontinent. In 1842,an Afghani hero by the name of Akbar Khan and his followers defeated the British,and I quote,“The ferocity was such that 16,500 B-British garrisons with 12,000 support staff and dependents were wiped out. Only one survived,of mixed British-Indian garrison,reaches the fort of Jalalabad on a stumbling pony”. Great Britain was Great Britain and yet was defeated by a rag-tag group of determined Afghani fighters.

The Russians in Afghanistan:
=============================
The Marxist Afghani goverment lead by Najibullah was about to collapse because of internal discontent which forced Najibullah to officially request,his patron,the Soviet Union to intervene and help him out. In December of 1979,the Soviet Union responded by invading Afghanistan with about 110,000 Russian troops. Najibullah was assassinated and the Russians tried to rule the rebellious population with no success whatsoever. At the end,the Russians were forced to withdraw in 1989,after losing 28,000 soldiers in 10 years of waste of blood and treasure.

Graveyard? Yes,yes,indeed.

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By Sepharad, November 5, 2009 at 12:30 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, If you take anything I said about you as a compliment, I take it back.

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By LemuelG, November 4, 2009 at 8:58 pm Link to this comment

Oh Ardee, I have read Mr. Ritter’s reply, and those of yourself and others (ooh, I’m scared!!); a truly incoherent and contradictory collection to be sure…

Firstly, SR rebuts me by admitting that imperial forces have been able to compromise with local tribes (why dispute a writer’s conclusions when he seems happy to do it himself?); supposedly, it is the intention of the US to ‘subjugate’ these people… did I miss the announcement of that particular war-aim? So he fails, embarrassingly - his writing would not even make it to grading in a first-year history course, sorry if I’m not as impressed as the rest of the sycophantic lemmings here.

The rest are not even worth addressing - except for you, Ardee… because it really takes a racist to see racism where none exists.

Let me explain; in the eyes of those who called the shots in the BEIC, those troops were utterly expendable; if you care to argue that point I am eager to take that challenge. The value I would place upon those lives is irrelevant in the context we are discussing - it is the value that was placed upon them by their imperial masters that is.

So, if you would like to carry on with this witch-hunt, I suppose you will have to argue that the BEIC was actually not racist at all, and that it is my own prejudices being projected onto the otherwise totally innocent and benign BEIC that is to blame… good luck, you will need it to win this one - I suspect you simply can’t wake-up early enough.

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By ardee, November 4, 2009 at 4:05 am Link to this comment

Lemuel seeks to further distort

(@Ardee - it seems you have read that how you wanted, I have made no slur on Indians; the important word, ignored by you, is ‘auxiliary’ - this is indeed important, as company men shed no tears about sending off a few thousand native auxiliaries on a suicide mission, it happened incessently.)

Oh no , of course no ‘slur” was intended, just like the above comment re: no one cares if native troops suicide is a “slur ” either!.... Though what you did was infer that “inferior troops were used and defeated” when this is simply untrue.

And who here has the right to judge McChrystal? Do you know him? Are you really that hostile toward a whistle-blower..? Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s awesome when someone is ‘naughty’ and releases privileged information (who lives up to the principles behind participatory democracy) - I thought only fascists felt otherwise - sorry jerks.

McChrystal blew no whistles, what he did was challenge and try to alter the leanings of his CinC by going public with his own , biased and unproven opinions. If he were in private industry this would be absolutely his right, but he is a member of the military where codes of conduct differ. As you well know.

I suggest you read Mr. Ritter’s reply to you and others below, if you can take it. I think you intentionally alter fact in order to wedge your round peg of ideology into the square peg of truth.

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By Rontruth, November 4, 2009 at 12:57 am Link to this comment

I came back after a day or so’s vacation. But this time I came back as a sort of pope. I couldn’t help noticing that ITW is still pontificating about the Kennedy assassination.

I noticed that Seph is not sure, but doens’t think the Warren Commission was right. Couldn’t help noticing that Folktruther agrees with me, even thought the matter would be a distraction if I carry it further. The rest of those who post here do not seem to care, which is fine.

But, I noticed that there sure is a lot of pontificating going one in this little tribe of minor popes, so I’ll have to ask ITW if his CIA compadres have any new disguises for me. Ha Ha, check ya’all later. Deleting is fun. ITW, you should try it sometime.

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By Ouroborus, November 4, 2009 at 12:34 am Link to this comment

Scott Ritter, November 3 at 1:21 pm #

It’s nice to know you read comments to your articles.
Feed back is always welcome by me.
The history issue is…history; today, presently, the
U.S. has a moral obligation to stop fighting the war in
Afghanistan because it is most assuredly
counterproductive to our own interests and it’s not
being fought because of necessity. Speaking of history;
surely historians will not look kindly at our behavior
in Afghanistan.

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By truedigger3, November 3, 2009 at 10:06 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad wrote about me:
“Am responding to you rather than TD3 because I’m tired of addressing irrational fools.”
___________________________________________________

It is a compliment when Sepharad, a phony “loving mother hen” who is in reality a neo-zionist hateful war-monger, calls me names.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 3, 2009 at 9:33 pm Link to this comment

No LemuelG coming there and staying there uninvited is the problem. Leaving would be better, an improvement if we can actually fix some of what we broke, before going. But the pejorative term “cut-and-run” is used by the imperialist warmongers to stay for their own reasons sans any thing else that will actually help the Afghanis. Whether it is Russia or USA or the UK or India or anyone else they will feel the same way about armed, illegal immigrants. We need to leave will help them more than hurt them, staying is the mistake. Rather like the rapist who hangs around to “help” and can’t leave because things “could get worse” if they do. If you want enemies galore then stay. I do not for I have no interest in the “New American Century” of domination. PNAC be damned and to all who support it knowing or unknowing.

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By LemuelG, November 3, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

Mr. Ritter - it is wonderful that you are reading, it is not my obligation to guess at your sources. It might be appropriate when relying so heavily upon the theories and conclusions of another to reference the information; then, a student of history ought to know that…

Indeed, I am no expert of Afghani history - but I am no fool, and am well aware that comparing the Afghan experiences of other imperial entities to that of the US is anachronistic (Alexander never had B-52s or sattelite communications… just to make an obvious point). So, until your contextual issues are ironed-out, this article will always suck.

(@Ardee - it seems you have read that how you wanted, I have made no slur on Indians; the important word, ignored by you, is ‘auxiliary’ - this is indeed important, as company men shed no tears about sending off a few thousand native auxiliaries on a suicide mission, it happened incessently.)

And who here has the right to judge McChrystal? Do you know him? Are you really that hostile toward a whistle-blower..? Maybe it’s just me, but I think it’s awesome when someone is ‘naughty’ and releases privileged information (who lives up to the principles behind participatory democracy) - I thought only fascists felt otherwise - sorry jerks.

Don’t forget, the dude is an infantry general, not the second-fucken-coming of Christ. He is there to do a job (in case you’d forgotten,this war wasn’t his idea…), and if he feels that the biggest impedement to fighting an effective insurgency is flaccid political leadership, then it is his duty to let his feelings be known, liberals ought to cheer his behaviour - would you rather Ollie North? (he kept his mouth shut and did his duty, right?).

The troop increase is nothing major from a military standpoint, in fact it is necessary to provide basic security for supply-lines and civilian infrastructure… what’s the fuss about? The soldiers that are there are dying unnecessarily because they cannot occupy ground or provide sufficient logistical support (also curtailing reconstruction efforts); the lack of infantry also means that airpower is more often relied upon to engage the enemy - the consequences of this are well known.

It is too late to lose heart now, yankees - ‘the Pottery Barn rule applies here’. Your allies have been busting their balls there for years, barely managing while American resources were used-up in Iraq; many thousands of Afghans have invested heavily in their new nation (and I don’t mean financially) and it will be their doom if we cut and run - whether you like it or not, don’t forget it.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2009 at 6:34 pm Link to this comment

Seph:

Thanks.  Even TD3 is sick of Rontruth’s nonsense and diversions.  Hell, even FT, who actually BELIEVES Rontruth’s crap has enough on the ball to recognize that it is still NOT RELEVANT to this thread.

But Rontruth, with the persistence and determination of a Don Quixote, soldiers on, jousting at windmills and skeptics alike!  Rontruth, it must be fun being you, living in this fantastical world of paranoia!

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By Sepharad, November 3, 2009 at 5:06 pm Link to this comment

Martha, Leefeller was speaking about his patience, not his patients, though he’s probably too polite to say so.

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By Sepharad, November 3, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, rontruther is probably wrong about the Kennedy assassination conspiracy, though I don’t think the Warren Commission really explained it.

Based on what I think we know about Afghanistan,  Scott Ritter is probably right, at least as far as he himself knows, but I don’t see how anyone can fault Obama for trying to get it right, and for listening to what people have to say if they know more about it than he does. It HAS been a graveyard for empires, but until someone walked on the moon, no one had ever walked on the moon. For once we have a President who, despite his shortcomings, is trying very hard to avoid doing the wrong thing. Admit that I have lost much confidence in him because his performance and choice of actors in the economic area have been startlingly awful. But he needs to get Afghanistan right, and if it takes him more time to gather information and weigh his choices, then fine. (Personally, I hope Obama decides against continuing with that war before my son-in-law is sent there in ‘10.)

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By Sepharad, November 3, 2009 at 4:26 pm Link to this comment

Inherit, have been thinking about TD3’s “ardent zionist” description. Everything you said to him about what you and I are for and against is true. Yet I’m also “ardent” about each of those issues, and a zionist because I believe it’s important that Israel continue to exist. I’m no less a zionist because I believe that Israel’s existence is as endangered by the Netanyahu/Likud/Ultra-Orthodox as it is from fundamentalist Moslems, anti-Semites wherever they are and whoever they worship or don’t worship. The words “peace” and “justice” go together so often because each requires the other. But neither is achievable without flexible, reasonable, well-informed people on all sides.

On a brighter note: glad to see the Israeli press uniformly describing the murderous American fundamentalist settler as a “terrorist”.

(Am responding to you rather than TD3 because I’m tired of addressing irrational fools.)

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By Dave Lefcourt, November 3, 2009 at 1:34 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As usual, Scott Ritter is right on the money. Just as he knew Iraq had no WMD before Bush invaded the country, his analysis of the war in Afghanistan and the destabilizing of Pakistan is also right on.
Unfortunately, I don’t think anyone in the Obama administration is listening to Ritter or others who see the quagmire and failure of this mission. Our presence as an invader and occupier, along with our killing of innocents has fueled the insurgency and the Taliban resurgence. Adding more troops will only broaden that insurgency against us and any Afghan regime we support. Karsai is seen as corrupt by the overwhelming majority of Afghan people and a pawn of the Americans. Al Qaeda has less then 100 jihadists left in the country, this according to intelligence and Obama’s chief military advisor ex General Jim Jones. If the original reason for invading the country in 2001 was to go after the perpetrators of the 9/11 attacks(even though Osama bin Laden hasn’t been caught)then that mission has been accomplished). Declare victory and get out of there!

As to Pakistan, our prodding the Pakistanis to pursue the Taliban, now into Waziristan Province, may bring short term success, but hardly lasting stability and victory. Besides creating the massive dislocation of thousands of refugees, (local residents in the path of the Pakistani army’s pursuit of the Taliban), our(CIA) drone attacks and the subsequent killing of innocents has alienated the entire Pakistani population against our presence in the entire Af/Pak region. They see us as the main destabilizing factor that is the catalyst for inciting the stepped terrorism in Pakistan’s cities. Pakistan needs our support, but at arms length and certainly not with our presence, in neighboring Afghanistan and clandestinely by the CIA and its drones.

It is American hubris and exceptionalism that has driven American foreign policy. We are not indispensable to maintaining stability in the world. But we are the most capable of creating more destabilization and instability than any other country in the world. Iraq, now Afghanistan and probably Pakistan are our latest misadventures. Viet Nam stabilized only after we left. We seem determined to replay that unfortunate scenario in Afghanistan with Pakistan the new “Cambodian” sanctuary. A fractured Pakistan is a catastrophe we may well bring about if we continue our present course. A nightmare too horrible to contemplate.

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By Folktruther, November 3, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

rontruth is quite right aboaut the kennedy assasination.  However it IS a distraction here.

Lemuel’s adoration of the psychopathic McCrystal is part of his identification of Bush’s loony imperialism by cornering the world’s oil deposits.  McCrysteal headed the White House-Pentagon terror squad which killed and tortured all over the world. Obama placed him in a power position for the same reason he kept Gates, to continue Bush’s imperialist policy.

Guerillas win if they don’t lose.  The guerillas of Afghanistan are defeating the most militarily powerful country on earth by doing so politically, the way guerillas always win.  Lemeul identifies with military tactics, like the military, and so is blind to modern war reality, dispite the numerous historical instances of it.

Truthdigger is quite right about the political theater of Obamas decision to escalate the Afpak war, but there was also increased military pressure as well.  This might be motivated by Petrarus, who wants to be president and thus wants to make Obamam look bad.  Something Obama can accomplish quite well on his own.

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By MarthaA, November 3, 2009 at 10:13 am Link to this comment

Leefeller, November 3 at 11:18am,

Leefeller said: “My patience’s support and sympathy for Obama seems to have waned further.”

MarthaA’s answer:  Are you claiming to be a doctor?  Can’t your sympathetic patients speak for themselves?  I have found others who are NOT PAID to disparage support for President Obama are less likely to find fault sympathetically. 

I suspect your patient’s aren’t being paid like you and will be more meek and forbearing of President Obama’s situation regarding the dilemma the Bush administration’s occupation of Afghanistan left him with, so that the United States can come out of the situation without having to drag their tail between their legs because of the past administration.

Bush and the neo-cons drug the United States into numerous hornet’s nests and President Obama’s diplomats definitely have to have protection, so the President can’t just cut and run out on the situations that Bush created without it being diplomatically appropriate.

Why would anyone believe YOU, who showing possession on subjective patience, thinks in his own mind that he is intelligent enough to criticize the President of the United States?  YOU MUST STOP following that Right-Wing Conservative Hitleresque Republican subjective nonsense like a lemming and learn the difference between SUBJECTIVE nonsense and OBJECTIVE fact.

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By Scott Ritter, November 3, 2009 at 9:21 am Link to this comment

With all due respect to certain respondents to this article, I am not the one to invent the phrase “Graveyard of Empires” when it comes to Afghanistan.  Historians and regional specialists more capable than me have been using this term for years.  I would invite the gentleman so seemingly disturbed by its usage in my article to read Milton Beardon’s excellent article, “Afghanistan, Graveyard of Empires”, published in the November/December 2001 issue of Foreign Affairs.  Mr. Beardon was the CIA’s Pakistan Station Chief in the 1980’s, and later ran the CIA’s covert operations against the Soviets in Afghanistan.  I yield to his experience and judgment, and as such continue to be comfortable with my usage of “graveyard of empires” when speaking of Afghanistan.  There is a difference between occupying territory and subjugating a people.  The Greeks, Mongols, British and even Russians proved adept at controlling urban areas populated by sedentary people.  None were able to defeat the nomadic mountain tribes, however.  The Greeks reached an accommodation through marriage and power sharing.  The Mongols were never able to subdue these people.  Neither were the British nor the Russians.  So I am comfortable in noting that the lessons of history do not bode well for the United States if it embarks on a military mission designed to just that.  Unless General McChrystal is planning on issuing marriage certificates to all of the tens of thousands of new troops he says he needs, and thus integrates America into the very fabric of Afghan society (ala the Greeks), his plan seems to have no chance of success.  Such absurdities aside, as a student of history I am comfortable with this conclusion.  If others choose to either interpret history differently, or devise their own revisionist theories, that is their business.  I stand by the content and conclusions of the article as written, especially its reference to Afghanistan being the “graveyard of empires.”

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By Leefeller, November 3, 2009 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

Side note: The Afghanistan Veterans against war are trying to lobby congress not to send more troops into Afghanistan.
It may be worthy for TD to show the veterans plight. It seems a first hand on the ground opinion, from people who seem to see the fallacy of the war. This also dovetails with the corrupt Afghanistan TD article.

Excerpt:

“The Taliban isn’t their enemy,” says Rick Reyes, who served with the Marine Infantry in Afghanistan. “The greatest enemy of the Afghan people is the Afghan government and the occupation forces.”

Worthy link:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/11/02/afghan-war-vets-patrol-ha_n_342576.html

One of the casualties last week in Afghanistan, was known to me and my family, Afghanistan has now directly impacted my family as it has many others. Mindless Rhetoric from government and MSM, this mindless propaganda blather of a blind noble cause has little meaning to the dead and their families. My patience’s support and sympathy for Obama seems to have waned further.

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By Leefeller, November 3, 2009 at 6:20 am Link to this comment

LemuelG,

Now that we know Krystal is the man for the job and that the Afghanistan are beatable, we should be able to win this thing like a cake walk, just like McCain’s opinion the USA could have won in Vietnam.

Your accounts of history may be accurate, your post seems to be suggesting staying in Afghanistan but no reason given why we should stay in Afghanistan, except an apparent appreciation of empire building as seemingly a good thing?

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By jimch, November 3, 2009 at 6:07 am Link to this comment

LemuelG
Just to let you and others know, I rebuked our leadership for even thinking about putting boots on the ground in Afghanistan in the first place. It would be an exercise in futility. There were (are) other methods more effective to retaliate for the 9/11 root causes.

Similarly, I maintained that we should not go to Iraq either prior to invading it, but for different reasons than the Afghanistan incursion.

Now, 8 years later I think I have been proven to be correct. If there hasn’t been any effort by the Afghans to build a protective force in all these years, what makes anyone think it will efectively do so as long as we provide our military? And with the various warlords prowling the countryside, there is no chance of their unifying them to cobble together an effective military.

Do not try to occupy or pacify a nation whose men are not ready and willing to fight and die to protect their wives and families.  Too many Afghan men are willing to let U.S. troops try to provide their security and, if we don’t achieve it quickly and permanently, strike their bargains with Taliban thugs.  To create the Afghan army and police force of 400-425,000 that experts believe necessary to achieve internal security is the work of another decade or two and, even then, not financially sustainable by the Afghan. And we surely won’t continue to tap our treasury to maintain it. So ultimately it’s almost certain that country will revert to its old, “normal” way of life.

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By truedigger3, November 3, 2009 at 5:47 am Link to this comment

LemuelG wrote about McChrystal and his mission in Afghanistan:
“The American ‘project’ needs men with this type of insolence and clearness of perception if it is to succeed”
_____________________________________________________

In my humble opinion, I think the tiff between Obama and McChrystal is theatrical and fabricated for public consumption to give the appearance of deep thinking, pondering and due deliberation to the decision to send more troops to Afghanistan.
I think the decision has already been made and more troops will be sent to Afghanistan.
Obama stressed his commitment to the war in Aghanistan since early on during the election campaign.
The deeper and bigger issue should be to what LemuelG called the “American project” and whether the United States should devote its immense wealth and power to lead the world out of the common pressing problems from global warming, overpopulation, environmental degradation and depletion of natural resources etc ..or spend that immense wealth and power in an endless wars of conquest that exacerbate many of these problems and degrade the quality of life for every inhabitant of planet earth.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 3, 2009 at 4:49 am Link to this comment

truedigger3, November 3 at 1:26 am #

Rontruth,

Take your conspiracy theory and take hike. I have had it with you. Whether what you are saying is true or false is irrelevant to the current issue at hand and you are wasting a lot of time and energy for everyone and yourself.

EVERONE,

PLEASE IGNORE RONTRUTH AND HIS ILK.
**********************************************

WHOA!  I gotta put on my brakes here!  TD3 and I finally find common ground!  I’m with you 100% on this!

Hey guy, maybe I’ve been a little too rough on you.

(But you’re still totally wrong in your assessment of my views and positions, as well as Seph’s.—your contentions are absurd there.)

Rontruth has engaged in reductionism on the NOVA report, selectively extracting certain pieces and ignoring others that don’t fit his pre-conceptions.

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By ardee, November 3, 2009 at 3:58 am Link to this comment

Does LemuelG, November 3 at 4:05 am get it?

While one may quibble with Ritter’s opinion of history I doubt he meant that Afghanistan caused the decline of the British or Soviet empires, only that they were ultimately defeated there. By the by, the British 44th Regiment was slaughtered as well as the “Indian troops” this poster notes as if that inferred some inferiority on the military capabilities present.

General McChrystal, in taking his case public rather than using chain of command, violated his duty in fact and should have been summarily dismissed, in my own opinion. He is a military man and not a politician. At least not until he retires.

The real issue here , however, is not McChrystal, nor is it quibbles about history. We are discussing a military occupation, an installation of a puppet government increasingly corrupt and certainly losing what little support it once had among its own citizens. We are also speaking to the slaughters that will certainly continue unless we understand that a military solution to our perceived problems in that region are hopeless.

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By Ouroborus, November 3, 2009 at 3:48 am Link to this comment

LemuelG, November 3 at 4:05 am #

History would of course back you up. Regarding the
Soviets; Gorbachev, Stinger missiles, heroine
addiction, bad moral, desertion, and some of the
toughest humans on the planet (Afghani tribesmen) are
some of the reasons for the Soviet “defeat”.
I don’t really care about any of that. I don’t really
care about the Afghanis or their history; my concern
is with us, the North Americans fighting a senseless
and immoral war that lacks necessity. This is where
you and I would likely part company philosophically
speaking.

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By LemuelG, November 3, 2009 at 12:05 am Link to this comment

Does Scott Ritter get it?

This writer never tires of humiliating himself by trotting-out his hopelessly revisionistic ‘lessons from history’. He might like us to believe that Afghans are capable of defeating the mightiest empires of all history by merely disliking and oppposing them… it’s that easy! Apparently…

incompetence aside, let’s review the historical entities which, according to Mr. Ritter, now reside in the ‘graveyard of empires’ (I’d like to know who coined that phrase).

The Greeks - I presume by this he means Alexander? Well, Alexander easily conquered ‘Afghanistan’, and founded a number of cities in the area (including modern Kandahar) before moving on to India. Of course it didn’t last (for a number of reasons which had next to nothing to do with local tribesmen) - but if you have any ideas as to why this might be relevant to our current context I’ll give you a hearing…

The Mongols - you’re taking the piss with this, right? The medieval ‘Mongols’ were one of the most successful empires of all time, ruling massive territories from China and Russia through the middle east and Europe… internal disputes over succession were responsible for it’s ultimate dissolution - WTF has Afghanistan got to do with anything?

The Brits - The British, or more correctly - The British East Indian company - lost (literally, only one man returned with any news of their fate) an army of twenty thousand Indian auxiliaries on an expedition into Afghanistan. Despite this, the British empire survived for well over another hundred years, conquered the rest of India, half of Africa, and took part in two world wars - all after their supposed internment in ther ‘graveyard of empires’... in fact, their Afghan experience is little more than a footnote in English imperial history (at most). Look to the Boer war for their nemesis.

The Soviets - Hmm, if there is any trend in liberal writing that deserves to be castigated, it is the belief that a handful of Jihadis with yankee guns are responsible for toppling the Soviet Union - ha! Scott, are you sixteen? Google Gorbachev… kid.

Anyway, it’s not really his fault - though he doesn’t know shit, the editor should review this nonsence… research isn’t hard with the proper training and resources, just do it.

I’ll say one more thing - McChrystal is the right man for the job - Mr. Ritter thinks his disobedience is bad, I beg to differ. To start with, McChrystal is the only mainstream political figure (he is now, whether he likes it or not) to openly, and specifically criticize the Afghan government for it’s corruption and criminality - and correctly point out that it is main obstacle to order in the country.

The American ‘project’ needs men with this type of insolence and clearness of perception if it is to succeed - it is Yes-men and sycophantic fantasists who created this mess (they had a dream, were too incompetent to carry it out, then just told everyone what they wanted to hear - regardless of the truth on the ground), ball-breakers and hustlers like McChrystal may have the nous to make a genuine difference… but Mr. Ritter would prefer someone “who shares the Presidents vision of peace”... what a pile of horse-shit, I can’t express just how much contempt I hold his conclusions in.

A year ago none of you ever mentioned Afghanistan - now everyone’s a fucking expert; here’s some advice - give up your day-job.

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By Sepharad, November 2, 2009 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller, I know what you mean. Distractions are addicting, taking attention away from both trees and forests, but most distractions (for me anyway) are too much fun and too necessary. Anyway, who’s to say what is a “distraction” and what’s the “main event” we’re not supposed to be distracted from?

E.g., riding a horse into unknown terrain pretty much drives everything but that experience out of my mind. Once, my husband, out riding, got freaked out because he said he couldn’t stop thinking about a difficult, no-good-option problem at work. Reason he was so upset is that the horse and the place was more important to his sanity than the problem, also that he needs that kind of downtime to let the brain work it out at some deeper level—but mostly that he just really, really enjoys riding in strange places. We occasionally get lost, but he even enjoys that. (So do I, except when the sun is setting and we have no idea how to get back to the horse trailer, or wherever we planned to spend the night. I’m afraid to sleep on the ground because of snakes; he’s a Califonia native and doesn’t know from bad snakes. All they have out here are rattlers and they let you know they are there. Having been bitten by sneakier copperheads and moccasins in snakier climes, I’m not so relaxed.)

I think a lot about all the bad news in the morning NYTimes, about Israel, about loved ones having bad times. Sometimes when I’m trying to work, find my mind is straying somewhere off-topic-at-hand, and it’s usually because I’m not getting enough distractions. More productive to take frequent breaks, to start preparing something for dinner, or play the piano, or visit horses, or wander around looking at wildlife, pond, woods, apple trees, letting mind free up a bit. Husband takes walking around breaks or noodles on his guitar. Sometimes I read a short story. Anything to stop the squirrels chasing themselves around in my head re something I’ve been thinking about so intently that it becomes counter-productive. For me, distractions can be anything that breaks a mental pattern.

Had to laugh at truthdigger 3’s describing me as self-styled “wise mother hen”.  Pretty far off the mark. Seem to have many more questions than answers.
Politically, I lean heavily on Br’er Rabbit and friends, Machiavelli, and observing how a given country treats the weakest, least numerous of its
citizens.

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 10:07 pm Link to this comment

Hey guys omygodnotagain seems to have a homework assignment due, since he or she seems cranky, it may be getting close to deadline, maybe some of us could help him or her?

I would be happy to try question number 2?

Don’t you have the text book? 

omygodnotagain, November 1 at 1:59 pm #

Scott is a good writer and his thesis makes sense, some questions

1) If War is diplomacy undertaken by other means, what are the other means?

2) Why do we continue to believe that Nations want to adopt the Western political and social mores.

“First of all we meaning the USA government, does not believe Nations want to adopt Western ideals, this may be rhetorical and seems political conjuncture possibly economically promoted and pressured by special interests.  Globalization may have much to do with it”.

“Political, meaning spreading democracy, seems also to be a misnomer, in the simple fact we are a democratic Republic. It may be the continued belief is obsolete now that the Republicans are no longer in majority”?

“Social mores: Not sure what the intent of the question is, but maybe suggesting the spreading of Christianity?
Maybe woman’s rights in effect the western way of life”.

“Why does the collective “we” want to spread western ideals? One can argue it is a decadent and pompous attitude to believe the people of this region want to embrace our western mores.  It seems the opposite may be true, this same attitude may have been used on the American Indians”.

3) Do any of our leader read about Alexander The Great and how he managed to Hellenize (intoduce Greek thought) into the regions he conquered? Clue he did not do it with large scale troop increases.

4) will someone please start discussing the following
A) The large deposits of Natural gas/oil in the region that Unocal made a deal with Taliban to exploit prior to 2001 and are those resources already being scouted out

B) The importance to Russia and countries in the region of connecting to warm water ports in Pakistan
What does Russia feel about the US in Afghanistan

C) Who stands to benefit most if by some miracle Afghanistan could be pacified and agreed to our unwritten about unspoken goals

Please write about this

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By truedigger3, November 2, 2009 at 9:26 pm Link to this comment

Rontruth,

Take your conspiracy theory and take hike. I have had it with you. Whether what you are saying is true or false is irrelevant to the current issue at hand and you are wasting a lot of time and energy for everyone and yourself.

EVERONE,

PLEASE IGNORE RONTRUTH AND HIS ILK.

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 9:24 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3,

Appreciate your comment, as I have in the past. It is obvious I disagree with your assessments of the posters Sephard and ITW which seems most inaccurate and unfair to me.  Having been here for some time I have seen many of their posts discounting your portrayal of them. Obviously, my respect for them is much more than yours.

Disagreement can be cordial without animosity or antagonism, through sometimes takes much harder work to maintain.  Other than that they should speak for themselves as ITW has already done.

Hopfully objectively will make a presence, if it can.

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By truedigger3, November 2, 2009 at 9:16 pm Link to this comment

ITW wrote:
“TD3, you prove my hypothesis: Anyone who doesn’t agree with you that Israel MUST BE DESTROYED is an “ardent zionist”.
____________________________________________________

ITW,
Again you put words in my mouth that I didn’t say. Where did I call for the destruction of Israel?? All I am calling for is peace and justice and humanity.
Your bullshitting is obvious, and your ploy to divert attention from the issue at hand is trite.

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By Rontruth, November 2, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

ITW. You are truly loony. A true scientific loony tunes. The Abraham Zapruder film shows no such thing as a shot from the rear alone. In fact, the shot that came from the second floor broom clauset of the Daltex Building, fired by Charles Nicoletti, hit the top part of Kennedy’s head right at the crown, and went through and hit the chrome around the front windshield. Photos of it were taken at Parkland Hospital. There was a bullet hole in the chrome around the front window.

Of the shots fired from the knoll, onely two of those three shots hit: Kennedy in the throat fired by the man seen in the little Orville Nix film you refuse to watch, and from where Charles Nicoletti’s underling and driver, James E. Files fired his shot from 15 feet from the corner of the fence where it abruptly turns, running parallel along Elm Street toward the bridge over the triple underpass.

Walter Cronkite’s presentation of NOVA showed the Dallas doctors all showing with their own hands on the backs of their own heads, where the back of Kennedy’s head was blown out toward the back.
Cronkite says of Doctor McClellan’s drawing of where the open wound was on the back of Kennedy’s head, that the doctor’s drawing “showed the open wound at the back of the president’s head about this size (samll grapefruit) and location.” I have the videotraped statements by Kronkite.

Cronkite interviewed David Lifton about the removal of the bronze casket from AF#1 during the trip to Bethesda Naval Medical Center. The missing brain,morgue technician, Paul O’Connor, indicating that the brain had been removed before the autopsy. Etc.

See the YouTube Rare Version of Nix Film, and the enhanced Mary Ann Moorman polaroid photo taken one-sixth of one second after the shot from behind the picket fence, and tell me you don’t believe what you saw, I will cease speaking of the JFK killing over his tough public stands for peace and justice in this forum. Tell us all what you saw in the film

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 8:59 pm Link to this comment

Well I tried to get the post back on track, trying to get ones posted homework assignment done before due date must be making one testy?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 2, 2009 at 8:38 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3, November 3 at 12:02 am #

Inherit The Wind wrote about me:
“I’ve said it before. TD3 lacks the intellectual capacity for reasoning or even for illogic argument that his fellow “Contingent” members possess. He’s an idiot.”
____________________________________________________

ITW,
You revert to name calling which means that I have hit close to home.  Good for me. I am glad.
The list you mentioned about you and Israel is “nice”, however it only beats around the bushes and doesn’t not confront the main issue which is how to correct the trajedy, suffering and injustices that happened and is still happening to the Palestinian people at the hand of your beloved Israel.
Daily, more Palestinian lands are being confiscated, more houses are being demolished, more olive and fruit orchards are being plowed under, more water sources are being denied etc.. and the Palestinina people is being pushed gradually and methodically to a life in scattered isolated reservations and ghettos living in misery and want deprived of any dignity and hope in the future for themselves and their children.
No any amount of sophistry, bullshitting and/or self delusion will cover or justify these painful facts that you have to live with it, ITW.

***********************************************

TD3, you prove my hypothesis: Anyone who doesn’t agree with you that Israel MUST BE DESTROYED is an “ardent zionist”.

You refute NONE of my points. You simply dismiss them as irrelevant.  Why? Because you’ve made up your feeble excuse for a mind—why clutter it up with facts?

Yup.  You are incapable of rational thought.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 2, 2009 at 8:35 pm Link to this comment

Rontruth,
You are a fool.  I believe NOVA and their evidence, I don’t believe you and your crappy conspiracy theories.  Who is NOVA? One of the most respected forums for introducing science to the public since TV began.  Who are you? Nothing but a fanatical conspiracy theorist.

I’ve seen the Zapruder film and I’ve seen NO evidence of frontal shots.  However, I DID see clear evidence of rear shots. Your lack of knowledge of fundamental physics has come through again and again and again.

THAT is why I don’t waste time refuting your “evidence”—it’s all been refuted 100x before.

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By truedigger3, November 2, 2009 at 8:27 pm Link to this comment

Re:By Leefeller, November 2 at 9:10 pm #


Leefeller,

Yes, “depend” was a bad choice of word, but it is obvious I didn’t mean that you depend on other people for your opinions. Any way I am sorry.
Although I try to respect and appreciate all posters, I cann’t help it if some of them cause irritation, disbelief and sometimes indignation.
One of these posters that get into my nerves is Sepharad with her monotone feigned loving and compassionate and wise “mother hen” attitude while dismissing and ignoring the suffering and injustices that happened and is still happening to the Palestinian people at the hands of her beloved Israel.

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By omygodnotagain, November 2, 2009 at 8:24 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller If u have nothing to say log off and collect your pay.And take ITW with you.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 2, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

The self mass delusion is to think that the USA can do any good where it is killing and oppressing people in their own lands. Their endotruth will differ from the exotruth they tell us as to reasons for being in the Af/Pak/Iraq region. When will they go into Pakistan to “save” the nukes? Or will they simply bomb them into radioactive dust using fuel-air bombs which will instantly become radiological weapons upon detonation?

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 8:05 pm Link to this comment

omygodnotagain,

Help me I am running out of material, I got duped again into the conspiracy thingy! Rontrutt and his gassy knoll, dang him, he has been posted so many times the same old crap, it must have cobwebs on it. Almost up there, with pretended profoundness quotes from the bible!

I have said all I can say about McCrystial, except he jogs 3 miles a day, may not have eaten Norwegian fish balls and possibly thinks boccie ball is for sissies!

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By truedigger3, November 2, 2009 at 8:02 pm Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind wrote about me:
“I’ve said it before. TD3 lacks the intellectual capacity for reasoning or even for illogic argument that his fellow “Contingent” members possess. He’s an idiot.”
____________________________________________________

ITW,
You revert to name calling which means that I have hit close to home.  Good for me. I am glad.
The list you mentioned about you and Israel is “nice”, however it only beats around the bushes and doesn’t not confront the main issue which is how to correct the trajedy, suffering and injustices that happened and is still happening to the Palestinian people at the hand of your beloved Israel.
Daily, more Palestinian lands are being confiscated, more houses are being demolished, more olive and fruit orchards are being plowed under, more water sources are being denied etc.. and the Palestinina people is being pushed gradually and methodically to a life in scattered isolated reservations and ghettos living in misery and want deprived of any dignity and hope in the future for themselves and their children.
No any amount of sophistry, bullshitting and/or self delusion will cover or justify these painful facts that you have to live with it, ITW.

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By Rontruth, November 2, 2009 at 7:58 pm Link to this comment

Leef…
From the hedge, did you like what you saw? Goodness, gracious, what sickness aboutnds with you. Go see the local shrink, quick. There are ways of treating the disease.

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 7:49 pm Link to this comment

It has been reported from the grassy knoll, some say they have seen Uranus!

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By Rontruth, November 2, 2009 at 7:38 pm Link to this comment

ITW. Your problem is that I was correct a long time ago, in this particular forum, you are a bloated-brained ignoramus who is so utterly stuck up as to say something has been disproven when you have not bothered to offer one stinking little piece of evidence to show what has been disproven.

Now, come one and call me names like you did the other day. It will give me even more to laugh at.
You will not answer one simple question: Did you watch the YouTube presentation or did you not? If so, what did you see? Otherwise, I think you can turn a verbal attack made earlier about me having some connection to the CIA, against yourself.

Frankly, I could not care less whether you believe in God or not. But, you were the first to attack what i tried to say, and so I feel not one shred remorse for this reply.

Folktruther understood the message I was trying to communicate. You are to haughty to stoop to the level of ordinary, reasonably well educated folks who aren’t afraid to mix a commitment to morality in with documented history taht does relate to the subject if you would bother long enough to look

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

I was trying to be polite!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 2, 2009 at 6:38 pm Link to this comment

This is fun!

All I have to do is say Rontruth is full of cr@p and he posts a dissertation, full of the same nonsense he posted 100x before.

I then say he lives in fantasy-land and he posts ANOTHER dissertation full of the same nonsense he posted 100x before, this time in two parts.

Then I just say all of his contentions have been disproven and he’ll post a THREE part dissertation full of the same nonsense he posted 100x before.

But if I were to say “you are right” and point him at some TOTALLY and deliberately false information, Rontruth would take the bait (like Rush Limbaugh did a week or so ago) and post a FOUR part dissertation full of the same nonsense he posted 100x before.

I could keep this up for weeks!

ROFLMAO!!!!

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By Inherit The Wind, November 2, 2009 at 6:30 pm Link to this comment

TD3
If you depend on Sehparad or ITW for opinions about Isreal or the Middle East, you will neither see the forest nor the trees, as a matter of fact, you will see nothing.
Both Sepharad and ITW are ardent zionists and are masters of sophistry for the uninitiated, however their sophistry, bullshittng and circling round and round are very obvious to me.

*********************************************

The dumbest of The Contingent shows yet again why he is incapable of rational thought.

If Sepharad and I are “ardent zionists” despite both hating Netanyahu and the Likud bloc of Ultra-Orthodox, what are they? What is past “ardent”?

They advocate the conquering of all of biblical “Israel”. 
Seph and I oppose it. 

They are against a TRUE two-state solution. 
Both Seph and I are in favor of it. 

They are against ANY criminal investigation into war crimes by the IDF and other military government orgs of Israel. 
Both Seph and I are for openness, review and punishing ANY Israeli engaging in war crimes, no matter how high it reaches.

They see Arabs as either non-human or sub-human.
Both Seph and I see them as fellow humans.

They oppose ANY change in US policy toward Israel.
Both Seph and I want Obama to use an escalating policy of cutting off aid as long as the Netanyahu regime continues to do EVERYTHING it can to sabotage the two-state solution.

They would like the see the USA bomb Iran. 
Both Seph and are ARDENTLY opposed to it.

So…just what makes either of us “ardent”?  Or is it the Truthdigger3 contention that ANYONE who doesn’t advocate the complete destruction of Israel MUST be an “ardent zionist” as the only alternative?

I’ve said it before. TD3 lacks the intellectual capacity for reasoning or even for illogic argument that his fellow “Contingent” members possess. He’s an idiot.

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 5:10 pm Link to this comment

truedigger3

Depending on something and listening to it, are very different things. Truthdigger3, why would you make such a comment? This includes everything, not just the middle east. If I find comments enlightening or worthy of positive comment, this does not necessitate depending on those comments, it sounds almost like a personal problem as stated. Maybe I am missing the understanding of your premise or it seems a very poor choice of words? 

One could find the comment demeaning, negative digs seem normal sop on TD, appreciating other posters comments does not mean depending on them, it may be safe to say I doubt half of what I read and expect the half not to be the truth. As far as posters go my feelings of respect for the two posters you mentioned is made by me, not another!

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By drbhelthi, November 2, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

Forest and trees or trees and forest, or how does one “perceive” it all, or parts of it all?  Did an event occur approx two thousand years ago that was so magnanimous that mankind began to recount the years from that date? Or was it all the imagination of several israeli prophets? And what did the major figure of the event have to say about a certain group of mankind? Jiving about what might possibly be if this or if that, or if another occurred - - - . But, it has not and it will not occur. WWII, Korea, Viet Nam and the various “in-between” skirmishes, and Gulf War I and Gulf War II and planned, limited genocide with an alleged vaccine that was brewed by a US Army bioweapons lab for a non-existent flu epidemic, for which the imposter “Commander in Chief” has declared an emergency? Some of us need to wake up. Or is it too late ?

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By Alex Chaihorsky, November 2, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I hope one day in not so distant future someone in the White House will recognise the incredible value of the Scott Ritter’s thinking, his courage to say things without putting a coat of sugar on them, his diligence in historical study and his true patriotism, the loyalty to the Country and Constitution, not schoolmates, 5th column lobbyists and chronies.
Untill and unless the likes of Scott Ritter and Karen Kwiatkowski would become our President’s national Security Advisors, expect humiliations disguised as victories, diminishing of America’s influence in the world, war crimes, cover-ups, corruption and all that on the backgrund of falling dollar and rising inflation.

Obama, like Michael Jackson before him is trying hard to enter the club of white establushmnt and in the end he will be dealt with as Michael was - sqweesed dry, covered with dirt and mud, accused of all sins and made scapegoat for all that was brought upon us by the previouws clowns. His problem is too much “I” in his ego. Too much thinking of his legacy and too little - about his country.

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By truedigger3, November 2, 2009 at 1:13 pm Link to this comment

Leefeller wrote:
“Sephard,

Thanks for the insight and reserved attention to reality with calm measure.  Stepping back and seeing our surroundings as they really are (sort of seeing the forest for the trees or is it visa versa). Most refreshing. “
_________________________________________________

Leefeller,

If you depend on Sehparad or ITW for opinions about Isreal or the Middle East, you will neither see the forest nor the trees, as a matter of fact, you will see nothing.
Both Sepharad and ITW are ardent zionists and are masters of sophistry for the uninitiated, however their sophistry, bullshittng and circling round and round are very obvious to me.
But you can consult their opinions about other topics, but be careful, they are ardent Democrats too,  and they still have faith in Obama!!.  Good luck.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 2, 2009 at 12:16 pm Link to this comment

You will know when the USA becomes an empire because they will openly break all the international laws and use poison gas, chemical warfare, DU and anything else they choose with impunity and kill anything that moves. When the occupied country becomes a “free fire” zone no one will be safe. What is going on in Afghanistan now is something many would be up in arms if it was done here. And it still may if the economy craters.

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

McCain, felt we could have won in Vietnam if we stayed the course. What seems to be completely missing from the equation is the dead and injured from both sides, for some reason I find the high numbers extremely uncomfortable, even is they were many times lower they would be still be unacceptable to me, so maybe it is just me.

Afghanistan seems very similar in quagmire mentally maybe different in logistics, winning for the hawks is simple it has evasive definitions, we have heard them all as they keep changing with the wind. My view is not the same as the hawks, for winning would have been getting in and pulling out. (could have a sexual confutation)

If one looks at Lieberman with his recent grand standing and many other politicians, and their aversion to spending money on infrastructure or especially now health care, but their loving support of war, my point seems to be on less then quick sand.

McCrystal is in charge of operations, should be nothing more, he does not have to see what what the politician sees, (which would be hard to do)  his job is to follow directions, maybe he can make suggestions,  though he may have personal views on the subject.

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By Rontruth, November 2, 2009 at 11:05 am Link to this comment

Hulk2008. My hat is off to you. You explained it the way it needed to be explained. Your statements are well founded in military history. What you said is what Americans need to learn. There was a reason why the founding fathers of our nation said that “of all things most to be avoided, war is the most important. Not only because of lives lost, but because war creates misery and taxes and DEBT.”

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By Horatio Green, November 2, 2009 at 10:49 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Although at first thought I thought the change in command in Afghanistan as positive, I have since had some reservations. I have a level of mistrust in Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal. I have a concern that he is not being honest in his COMISAF Initial Assessment when he has seemingly emphasized a New Strategy: Focus on the Population, which, if President Obama decides to stay in Afghanistan must be our focus as opposed to a military objective. McChrystal is at heart a warrior. His basic instinct is to kill. That was his mission as Commander, Joint Special Operations Command. His involvement in the Pat Tillman friendly fire incident investigation and cover-up was not honorable. 
Could Afghanistan Become Obama’s Vietnam?

I believe it certainly will if we continue with our current military mindset in Afghanistan. As Dennis Kucinich has said:

”It is not simply combat troops that present a problem, but our entire military presence is counterproductive to our security. Sending additional military personnel indicates that we are deepening our military involvement in Afghanistan. “

“Afghanistan is a nation of independent tribes that is rife with corruption. Nation building cannot come from the barrel of a gun. Instead the United States should work with Afghanistan’s neighbors to help provide regional security to allow the Afghan people to rebuild their nation. It is time that Congress takes control of this war by eliminating its funding and bringing our troops home.”

“If the Obama administration is determined to ‘win the war’ in Afghanistan, then we should be prepared for another Vietnam. An unending military commitment is unacceptable to the American people and it should be unacceptable to Congress. If the Obama administration refuses to bring this war to an end, then Congress should use the power of the purse, granted by the Constitution, to end the war and bring our troops home. Many objective analyses indicate that the U.S. should withdraw from Afghanistan. If the Obama administration can’t do it, then Congress must.”

Read more comment: http://horatio1937.blogspot.com/

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By Hulk2008, November 2, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment

The only way to “win” is to never play the game - ala Tic-Tac-Toe.

The US should have closed the books on Afghanistan right after the Northern Alliance defeated the Taliban. Of course, the US should have finished off Bin Laden in Tora Bora instead of doing the Iraq Perversion .... er, Diversion. 

Yes, it’s okay to cry over spilled milk.  But it’s more important to avoid spilling milk from that point on.  (.... not to mention spilling human blood)

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 10:00 am Link to this comment

omygodnotagain,

Sorry, for some strange reason I thought we were talking about conspiracy theories? Must say I do not reread the article every time I get a email posting, by the way why do you not post something on the article to get it back on track? Now here I am explicating and excusing when we should be talking about the article, outa here!

Maybe I will do it, McCrystal does not have to get it, he is military, they just follow orders and try and keep casualties down and get the job done, whatever that may be?  Politicians are the experts on war and know little about it, but seem to use war as a diversion from governing.

Again, sorry about that!

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By omygodnotagain, November 2, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Will those who want to talk about Lou Dobbs, conspiracy theories and everything other than the subject at hand… please go somewhere else. i want to hear opinions of other people related to Afghanistan..

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Lou Dobbs recently announced someone took a shot at him, his maid, his house, his dog and his wife, possibly not necessarily in Lou Dobbs’s prioritized order.  It may have been a conspiracy of many shooters or one?  It seems the police discounted Lou Dobbs story as of course they would, for that is what they do especially during conspiracies.

It has since been discovered, Lou Dobbs actualy may have heard some acorns falling on his roof and being the reporter he thinks he is,  decided to run with it. Now it seems clear that Lou Dobbs has many people who do not seem to like him starting with his wife, his maid, his dog and I am not sure about his house.

Now as conspiracies go we can safely say in Lou Dobbs case, it was done by Corncobb Mustard with an acorn?

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By Rontruth, November 2, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

ITW. Just as I fully expected, you didn’t bother to view the latest release of evidence in that which you decry: that there is any evidence suggesting other than what you have been told to believe. You say I believe in bleeding statues. I do not. I don’t bow down to them, either. You say I believe in the Resurrection (I presume you mean that of Yeshua (Jesus). I do. It happened on the third day of our Passover, as was predicted by the prophets of the Scriptures.

You say man things, but obviously you do not trust yourself enough to look at a home movie made by s man who saw and heard, and recorded with his home movie camera, the event that completely changed US foreign policy, from peaceful intentions to wars of aggression.

Instead, you merely call people like me names, say all manner of nasty things. This is just an example of what I believe, and apparebtly what Folktruther may believe; that it is people like you who have been so easily duped into an ironclad system of denial such that government could tell you to do almost anything, and you would do it.

The CIA needs people like you. I have Saint John Hunt’s new book manuscript, and have read it. Bond of Secrecy is a well written, detailed account of the top secret actions of the most famous American spy in our history. I got it for my birthday. It tells of Saint John’s father’s many years’ trek through covert, violent operations in Central and South America, most of it in violation of the US Constitution, killing hundreds of thousands of people who were on different sides in local civil wars, some of them started by our CIA.

The book tells of Saint John Hunt’s faithfulness to his father, his inner pain at what his father was doing for the US Government, including his father, E. Howard Hunt’s involvement in the covert operation you say you don’t believe was carried out by a conspiracy. I think what you can’t accept is that your government, and mine, murdered it’s own Commander-in-Chief.

It tells of drugs, and the family split up by it’s breadwinner’s having been caught as one of Pres. Nixon’s White House “Plumbers” unit’s covert operation’s “jobs.” The breakin at DNC headquarters at the Watergate Hotel Complex in 1972. The reason: fear that the Dems had the photographs of Hunt, Frank Sturgis, Charles V. Harrelson, actor, Woody Harrelson’s father, and another man, all CIA in Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas, Nov. 22, 1963.

When their mother was killed in a plane crash in Chicago late in 1972, and Howard Hunt was in prison, it tells of their struggle to survive as a family, even though it’s oldest member was only 17.

In the end, a bitter Howard Hunt lamented what he had done for a government taht did to him what it always does when caught with it’s proverbial pants are down: it turns on and hangs out to dry it’s own.
That is why Howard Hunt wrote his memoires book, and his son told the family’s human story, both of which tell the “Rest of the Story” (a Paul Harvey saying) about the events of Nov. 22, 1963.

If film and inside witnesses won’t do it for you, then nothing of truthful essense will.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 2, 2009 at 4:37 am Link to this comment

“And he’s off!”  Rontruth is now spewing his same tired litany of conspiracy paranoia, and “evidence” as he always does.  I can’t tell if FT TRULY believes it or backs RT just to try to drive me crazy.

He believes his fantastic fantasies just like the religious believe in bleeding statues and resurrection and the Invisible Man.

Why argue with that?

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By Leefeller, November 2, 2009 at 4:15 am Link to this comment

Sephard,

Thanks for the insight and reserved attention to reality
with calm measure.  Stepping back and seeing our
surroundings as they really are (sort of seeing the forest
for the trees or is it visa versa). Most refreshing.

Your post has helped me look away from distractions, now
one must ask for how long, for it seems addicting?

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By drbhelthi, November 2, 2009 at 1:16 am Link to this comment

Personalized vendettas serve as distractions from the subject. I wonder how many of such are intentional distractions by persons paid for their “services” ? And from a cubicle in a basement on Langley or Ft. Meade ?

Speaking of CIA suitcases filled with US dollars, I wonder how Abdullah Abdullah was convinced to withdraw from the race for leadership of Afghanistan - .  Or, did a CIA pimp show him how easily a man´s head could be opened by a certain round from a certain “rifle” ?

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By JAMES RAIDER, November 1, 2009 at 11:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

QUIT AFGHANISTAN – But not easily

The beautiful and delicate poppy that now paints the
landscapes of Afghanistan with vibrant colors, has long been
the symbol for sacrifice. The aesthetic is as soothing to the
sense of sight, as it is exasperating to the conscience.
     
http://pacificgatepost.com/2008/04/poppy-fields-of-mass-
destruction.html
     
Drastic action is required, … on the way out.

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By Sepharad, November 1, 2009 at 10:37 pm Link to this comment

johannes, the Indo-Europeans and their history are endlessly interesting to my husband (and, as we talk a lot together about whatever each of us is reading or thinking about, they’ve also become interesting to me). It’s partly because America itself is so young and such a patchwork of different people from different places, tribes, religions, that a lot of us are interested in those other pasts, whether its the Sythians or Parthians or Sumerians, as well as the myths and sagas of different cultures. As a Jew, I also understand that when we joke about this tribe or that, the Levis or the Cohens or the Benjamins, we are really only half-joking and there is some sense of identity there. My husband, like many Americans, is many things—English, Dutch, French and Cherokee—and those are just the ones we know about. Our children and grandchildren are exponentially expanding the number of ethnicities, including Chinese, more French, Haitian, Portuguese, Algerian and of course Israeli. In our families, history has always been a topic of great interest. How could it not be? Thus I also assume that other people from other cultures are also conscious of their origins, and that if we are to understand the world enough to interact intelligently and happily with it, we need to understand who they are and what is meaningful to them.

Sometimes Europeans underestimate Americans’ interest in European, Asian, African, Scandinavian and other histories—but Americans are probably more alive to other people’s history and origins than the average person from a more homogenuous society. Many countries, not just America, can be rather chauvinistic regarding their worth and position in the world. And all countries are quite capable of idiotic and/or immoral behavior. We can only hope that all of us do not choose to be idiotic or morally and scientifically obtuse at the same time.

Though I seem to end up worrying the political sphere too much of the time, the most pleasurable and profitable part of my time is spent reading other people’s history and also their literature. Any society’s literature, whether poetry or saga or fiction or exposition and literary criticism, says much more about the values and intersts of a society than any amount of national pr and posing.

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By Sepharad, November 1, 2009 at 10:03 pm Link to this comment

trudigger3: I probably should have put it this way: “For one minute, oil should NOT be the topic” because as long as it is we will be unable to focus on the political realities, possibilities and impossibilities. Until we are focused on what is real, we’re going too flail around killing people on all sides—theirs, innocent bystanders, ours—not to mention bleeding away any economic hope for Americans without healh care, without homes, without jobs. You do realize, don’t you, that many people do not understand that the Pashtu are on both sides of the Afghanistan/Pakistan border, and that their interests are not identical with those of the Urdu? Our President and the rhetoric flowing here as well as in other media seems to overlook that little detail.

Re the other part of your query, I can’t speak for Inherit or Shenon, but like most sentient people yes, I am sometimes temporarily blinded by emotional attachments and, regarding zionism since you mention it, by pure fear and purer anger—based on history and based on the present’s rampant bigotry only surpassed by rampant ignorance regarding Israel, its history, complexity, and its peoples—all of them. BTW, that’s another topic in which the subtext of decision-making is, irritatingly, almost always about oil.

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By Rontruth, November 1, 2009 at 8:29 pm Link to this comment

ITW. You compare an act of the sheep who carried weapons that day in late November, 1963, which was carried out by the orders of their mob (CIA and/or mafia; little difference between them in real point of fact), but nonetheless an act of human choice, with a massive, deadly, not-caused-by-human-hands storm? Now, that is truly strange, indeed.

There is a short, digitally enhanced film from JFK eyewitness, Orville Nix that might allay your doubts about who and what was on the grassy knoll as the JFK limousine passed by. It is YouTube Rare Version Of Nix Film. You should really see it.

You might not still say you believe what you saw, but at least you will, if you choose to view it, be able to say to yourself that you did see it.

Nothing wrong with ongoing, documented (thereby “healthy” lack of trust in government. I still would not choose to live anywhere else on earth than right here in America. I served in the Air Force for 4 years active duty and 2 additional in inactive reserves and proud of it.

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By Rontruth, November 1, 2009 at 8:06 pm Link to this comment

ITW. Folktruther has said it better than I can. You ask the question: what are we doing in the Afpak war, or is it still, as was the strangely politically salvable (at the time) “police action” in Vietnam that killed, from Robert MacNamara’s own calculations when he thought the figures would never see the light of day, “some 2,000,000 Vietnamese over a few years’ time?”

You ask, “What should we be doing now?” The apparent answer, though politically difficult for Obama, would be as it was for President John F. Kennedy: “say you won (something) and get the hell out.” The documents, National Security Action Memorandum 263, signed by Kennedy only one and a half months before his assassination at the hands of those shooters on the grassy knoll, and two from behind, but with trajectories not allowing a shot from the sixth floor SE corner window of the TSBD.

Bravery is demanded of all (most all, the possible exception being those who know about wars they intend to fight, before they have even devolved upon a “reason,”) presidents. The idea that Bush was going to attack Iraq was an idea he had before the 2000 election, according to the slain president’s brother, the late Senator Ted Kennedy. Ted helped get Obama elected. Without Ted Kennedy, Obama wouldn’t have stood a chance. The Clintons also helped Obama.

When Obama was a primary candidate against Hillary Clinton, he took Senator Kennedy on a motorcade ride through Dealey Plaza past the School Book Depository and in front of the grassy knoll. This was done to show that Obama would follow in President Kennedy’s footsteps. Obama has a long way to go before he even approaches that pinnacle of bravery.

President Kennedy was an American hero, both in WW11, and in standing for peace, against wars of choice, and against the hidden misuse of taxpayers’ money, and the rip-off of US curtency by international bankers, and the forced expansion of US corporate interests into foreign countries.

Those are the main reasons he died. What should we be doing? Just as he did.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 1, 2009 at 7:54 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, and 350,000 people saw Moses part the Red Sea and come down from the mountain with God’s Law.

I like that story too, but I don’t believe it, despite all the eyewitnesses.

FT will believe ANY conspiracy that has the CIA, corporations, and political big-wigs in the recipe, but none that include ordinary people using McGyver-like cleverness to use the unseen, but obvious to create terror.

It’s a bias, a fundamental bias that AUTOMATICALLY assumes that anything in the news or that the Press Secretary says, must be false.

I’m actually surprised that FT and Rontruth don’t think Hurricane Katrina was a government plot!  I mean the hurricane itself, not the aftermath and response!

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By bEHOLD_tHE_mATRIX, November 1, 2009 at 7:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Russia, China, India etc. are happily standing by and
letting the US bleed itself to death with this inane
“war on terror” and we become a dime store democracy
with a beleaguered, impoverished labor force struggling with rampart inflation. 

We stupidly pay protection money to thugs post
invading their lands after our strong arm military
tactics fail when we should not be there in the first
place.

All we need to do to keep ourselves safe from
terrorists is protect our borders, install strong
inlet shipping inspections and continue with our
robust public transportation security programs while
heeding our real intelligence information.

OH but wouldn’t the fat cat military contractors’ puppet congressmen squeal like so many prodded pigs?

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By Folktruther, November 1, 2009 at 5:35 pm Link to this comment

Jackpine, you’re NOT pissing into the wind,any more than Ritter is.  Ideology is not impervious to evidence.  It is quite true that power needs to lie to the peoplr to rule, and people are trained from childhood ideologically to want to believe what authority says.  Even so, even in the US, people’s view of reality deepens as their distrust of power delusions fade.

Inherit is a good example of the obstacles.  He knows their were no gunmen on the grassy knoll because the mass media has told him so over and over.  That perhaps 40 witnesses heard shots from it, saw gunsmoke, that an assasination investigating committee in the 1970’s concluded that in fact there proboably were shots from there, is of no interest to Inherit.  This is merely empirical evidence and conflicts with the media truth he identifies with.

As Patriotic people do a hundred times more with wars.  The first casualty of war is truth, but people’s views do change over historical time.  Most Americans now oppose the Afpak war, which complicates Obama’s attempt to escalate it.  Over historical time most people will respond to evidence, and the multitude of truth sayers that provide it.  Some, like Inherit, will die believing the emotional truth they identify with, but most people will eventually respond.  Slowly, unfortunately.

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By Inherit The Wind, November 1, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

Rontruth, November 1 at 4:01 pm #

ITW. Well, let’s see, Doctor Frankenstein, you call me a conspiracy “theorist.” Yet, as with many other more recent tragic political (and unfortunately, HUMAN events, with real human lives lost), people just like you, choose not to look at any real evidence of anything other than what you are told to believe. That is sad, because that is exactly why the same kinds of violent tragedies just “keep on keepin’ on” (happening, that is).

It appears to me that people who accept, word verbatim, what they are told (usually be a right-wing, complicit media), went to schools where they didn’t really teach-ya how to think. They merely told you what to know. Thus, the stupid, bend-over backward for those in power, attitude continues unabated. You, Sir, are a prime example!

Keep it up. I’m getting quite a laugh out of it.

*************************************************

And your pals from outer space are laughing right along with you!  You know, the “alien abductors” from Roswell.

Your “facts” are the laugh.  And your one track mind has pulled you away AGAIN from the issue at hand:

What are we doing in Afghanistan NOW and what should we do?  Somehow, fantasies about the shooters on the “grassy knoll” don’t seem too relevant to that question….except to you.

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By Night-Gaunt, November 1, 2009 at 1:54 pm Link to this comment

By MarthaA, November 1 at 3:09 am #

Night-Gaunt, October 31 at 9:11pm,

So, do you hate judges, like Ardee?

Need I say that that is a stupid and leading statement and at odds with what I said about judges and hate? No and neither does Ardee only you it seems MarthaA in your myopic way generically hate judges and I would as why? It is off topic too.

As for Afghanistan, staying is a bad idea, worse than going in in the first place. It should have been a police matter and it would have had a higher degree of success and with less innocent people dead. But that wasn’t the real purpose of going there now was it?

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By jackpine savage, November 1, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Let’s get something straight:

“We” did not oust the Taliban, defeat them or any such thing. We bombed them, but most of the reports say that Northern Alliance commanders spent a lot of time asking for air support in battle and weren’t getting it because we were bombing “infrastructure”.

What we did was fly CIA agents with suitcases full of money into Northern Afghanistan and pay the Taliban’s long-time enemies to oust them. We were quite unfriendly to those same Norther Alliance commanders right up until we needed them to do our dirty work. Before 9/11 they got their funding to oppose the Taliban (mostly confined to the Panjshir Valley) from Russia and India.

In discussing the relevant history that bares upon the present circumstances, we’d be well served to start with accurate history rather than pleasant propaganda.

That is, we—the United States—have never had any success of its own making in Afghanistan.

I know, i’m shouting into the wind. We like to believe that the victory of others belongs to us, and that our failures belong to them.

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By jackpine savage, November 1, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

Let’s get something straight:

“We” did not oust the Taliban, defeat them or any such thing. We bombed them, but most of the reports say that Northern Alliance commanders spent a lot of time asking for air support in battle and weren’t getting it because we were bombing “infrastructure”.

What we did was fly CIA agents with suitcases full of money into Northern Afghanistan and pay the Taliban’s long-time enemies to oust them. We were quite unfriendly to those same Norther Alliance commanders right up until we needed them to do our dirty work. Before 9/11 they got their funding to oppose the Taliban (mostly confined to the Panjshir Valley) from Russia and India.

In discussing the relevant history that bares upon the present circumstances, we’d be well served to start with accurate history rather than pleasant propaganda.

That is, we—the United States—have never had any success of its own making in Afghanistan.

I know, i’m shouting into the wind. We like to believe that the victory of others belongs to us, and that our failures belong to them too.

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By Rontruth, November 1, 2009 at 12:01 pm Link to this comment

ITW. Well, let’s see, Doctor Frankenstein, you call me a conspiracy “theorist.” Yet, as with many other more recent tragic political (and unfortunately, HUMAN events, with real human lives lost), people just like you, choose not to look at any real evidence of anything other than what you are told to believe. That is sad, because that is exactly why the same kinds of violent tragedies just “keep on keepin’ on” (happening, that is).

It appears to me that people who accept, word verbatim, what they are told (usually be a right-wing, complicit media), went to schools where they didn’t really teach-ya how to think. They merely told you what to know. Thus, the stupid, bend-over backward for those in power, attitude continues unabated. You, Sir, are a prime example!

Keep it up. I’m getting quite a laugh out of it.

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By ChaoticGood, November 1, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

The Afgans are largely a pre-tribal society with pockets of urbanization.  Thousands of little villages with 100-500 people who live in little valleys in between towering mountain ranges.  Most of them never travel out of their villages in their entire lives.  This is a primitive system that we are trying to bring into 21st century.  Good luck to us.  In 100 years and 10 trillion dollars later lets check in and see how we did.

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By Rontruth, November 1, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

ITW. Well, let’s see, Doctor Frankenstein, you call me a conspiracy “theorist.” Yet, as with many other more recent tragic political (and unfortunately, HUMAN, with real lives lost), people just like you, choose not to look at any real evidence of anything other than what you are told to believe. That is sad, because that is exactly why the same kinds of violent tragedies just “keep on keepin’ on” (happening, that is).

It appears to me that people who accept, word verbatim, what they are told (usually be a right-wing, complicit media), went to schools where they didn’t really teach-ya how to think. They merely told you what to know. Thus, the stupid, bend-over backward for those in power, attitude continues unabated. You, Sir, are a prime example!

Keep it up. I’m getting quite a laugh out of it.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, November 1, 2009 at 11:06 am Link to this comment

My problem with the neo-liberal mindset:

“In the case of Afghanistan, our consumption will be measured in the lives of American servicemen and women, national treasure, national honor, and, of course the lives of countless Afghan dead and wounded.

Of course the victims of imperial aggression get mentioned—last.  One gets the feeling that if they more prominently listed factors weren’t so problematic (“lives of American servicemen and women, national treasure, national honor”), and the push-button death from above tactics actually worked, that the “Afghan dead and wounded” could be ignored.

The war is never argued against on MORAL GROUNDS.  It is plain wrong, evil, vile, a series of war crimes, completely illegal under the Nuremberg standard and the UN Charter for America to send its stormtroopers to Afghanistan or anywhere else to slaughter the people there.

That’s the first place to start.  Warmongers are war criminals.  They should be opposed on moral grounds, arrested, tried, and held to the same standards as the long series of dictators and depots who came before them.

The world is not actually fooled by claims of “US exceptionalism” and disdain for international law and accountability.  The American “brand” doesn’t impress the people who identify with America’s numerous victims on most continents.  The double standard is obvious and its effects horrific.  In places where the “news” of American atrocities isn’t censored, like here, they see the real effects of American “supremacy” and are familiar with the imperial ambitions of the monsters in Washington DC.

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By omygodnotagain, November 1, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

Scott is a good writer and his thesis makes sense, some questions

1) If War is diplomacy undertaken by other means, what are the other means?

2) Why do we continue to believe that Nations want to adopt the Western political and social mores.

3) Do any of our leader read about Alexander The Great and how he managed to Hellenize (intoduce Greek thought) into the regions he conquered? Clue he did not do it with large scale troop increases.

4) will someone please start discussing the following
A) The large deposits of Natural gas/oil in the region that Unocal made a deal with Taliban to exploit prior to 2001 and are those resources already being scouted out

B) The importance to Russia and countries in the region of connecting to warm water ports in Pakistan
What does Russia feel about the US in Afghanistan

C) Who stands to benefit most if by some miracle Afghanistan could be pacified and agreed to our unwritten about unspoken goals

Please write about this

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By Inherit The Wind, November 1, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

Dr. Quack (aka, Rontruth),
I really appreciate you psychological assessment of me, over the internet, and having never met me. 

Combine this with your loopy crackpot conspiracy theories and your need to turn EVERY discussion into an argument over the JFK assassination (now 46 years past) I consider your assessment to be indicative of your inability to deal with real facts and reality.

But…maybe I’m just part of another conspiracy to convince the world one Rontruth is mad….Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean the Illuminati and the Freemasons and the CIA aren’t out to getcha!

After all, we’re still in the Halloween spirit…
“I am afraid of spooks, I am, I am!” The Cowardly Lion.

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By Virginia777, November 1, 2009 at 8:19 am Link to this comment

When does conspiracy become a crowd? instantly, if there is no resistance

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By Leefeller, November 1, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

When does a conspiracy become a crowd? What of the man with the glass eye? Seems aliens must love practicing anal probes, yeah that’s it, aliens are the conspiracy or is it the anal probes?

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By Virginia777, November 1, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Its ludicrous to say Obama is “equal” to Bush

(and impossible for the illogical to stop doing so)

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By Rontruth, November 1, 2009 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

ITW. Thanks for the compliment. I consider it such because, speaking from a social scientific viewpoint,  no one is, as you said of another person whose post you disagreed with, “almost always wrong.” You seem truly stuck on yourself, almost to the point of pontification. Is it the part about something as simple as contacting one’s elected representatives in Congress that gave you a nearly fatal migraine headache? If so, and you consider that insane, then I must say that it is people just like you whose feelings of helplessness you try to jusify by saying that even the notion of average people doing something in their own self-interest is insane, that are largely to blame for the current learned helplessness that has gripped this nation for far too long.

All I am saying is that I feel it is time for average Americans to not listen to hopeless people who sound like you ITW, and do some things that all people have the Constitutional right to do. What is insane about that?

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By Inherit The Wind, November 1, 2009 at 5:45 am Link to this comment

TD3:

You continue to assume that anyone who disagrees with you must be either brain-damaged or corrupt.

How about this as another thought? You are, like FT, pretty much ALWAYS wrong and that is WHY I almost always disagree with you.

But don’t worry—I think Rontruth makes you look sane and rational.  And Drb…<whatever> makes you look unbiased and open-minded.

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By johannes, November 1, 2009 at 3:44 am Link to this comment

To Drbhelthi

        It makes me shudder to think I live in the same world as men like Donald Rumpsveld.

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