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Total number of comments: 5 (since 2013-11-28 16:38:22)

JTMcPhee

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  • Meh story about $1 Trillion in Minerals in Afghanistan
    • "Whatever you think you know, it's worse than you can imagine."

      Here's what the stuff that makes up the human limbic system, and all the more apparent "systems" of "economics" and "politics" and "The Art of War" and "progress" and "growth" and "comparative religions" and "family, tribe, sept, clan, nation and all that." Which both breed, and crush, those worthy manifestations (we all agree) of altruism, kindness, loyalty, love and faith. And the best we can do, from our fixed and firmly held positions, here in the back of the Cave, is let ourselves be led by the nose or ear or eyelash or dick into little backwaters where the shadows are even deeper and more misleading and more perverted from the Ideals that we are too afraid, and stupid, intentionally stupid and ignorant, clutching our ignorance like a shield and a club, to see in all their shining parts.

      Seven billion humans, almost all trying to be the Ubermensch, the Top Gun, the Top Dog, the Big Cheese, without a prayer of figuring out how to come together, and with uncanny genius at breaking things and tearing them apart. Weapons. It's what we know, what we do.

      Good luck, folks.

  • Insurgents Kill 10 NATO Troops;
    Afghanistan Condemns Israel
    • "'Insurgents' kill 10..."?

      Well, I guess you have to call them SOMEthing. The official Department of War lexicon defined "insurgent" until recently as people who use violence to try to displace a bona fide, legitimate central government. All that remains in the DoW lexicon now is that part about using violence, since it's so obvious that what our Force Managers want to, in the current "serious" word, "conflate" from so many disparate parts and label as The Unitary Monadic Enemy, has no "legitimate central government" to oppose and/or try to destroy.

      Part of the reason this stuff goes on and on is our tribal urges, that make us disconnect the reality from the myth. "We" are paying warlords/"Taliban" strongmen bribes not to attack "our" convoys, and paying other warlords' lackeys to drive the trucks and Mount Guard over them. The CIA guys bribe warlords and mullahs with Viagra to "buy their loyalty," I guess making stand-up guys out of them maybe? Most of the Indigenous Force Structure that was to be the skeleton of the new democratic flesh of our new fellow democracy is stoned most of the time, deserts more readily than farmers in the Continental Army, moonlights by setting up IEDs and ambushes that kill GIs some few of whom are actually trying to win hearts and minds and others of whom are just about doing what stupid armies always do, try to take territory, terrify the wogs, and kill a bunch of frikkin' towelheads, ANY convenient towelheads, because some of them might have been the ones that planted and triggered the last IED (made with stupidly abandoned or even given-to-warlords-as-bribes US munitions) or killed or mained one of their Band of Brothers, the only entity to whom GIs actually feel any connection or loyalty, with an RPG or small-arms fire. In the meantime, billions (the new Chump Change)in US cash go missing-in-action, poppy production is at an all-time high, "we" are back to doing body counts and setting up "strategic hamlets" and propping up sneering and charmingly corrupt and pliable-to-our-Sneaky-Petes faux-democratically-elected dictators, and "our" generals are singing the "I just need a little more time and resources, remember my late, great essays on asymmetric-warfare strategies for Victory! and Success! and How I Surged My Way to Victory! and Success! in The Big Win! in Iraq, and the light at the end of the tunnel is just around the corner," whistle-past-the-graveyard tune. And our brave Patriots sit at home and gobble the bullshit pumped out by the Media Narrative, primed by the Powers-That-Be who profit and advance from all this at the mortal expense of the rest of us. And derivatives on the table now amount to well over $40 TRILLION in book value, and Goldman and all the others play market-leading games on their supercomputer xylophones.

      And we are down to chewing over the barren reporting of how Our Troops, the ones we care so much about and support so vigorously, are being killed, retail, by what kinds of weapons or misfortunes, the same Troops a large fraction of whom are having a hard time concentrating on ANYTHING, let alone the latest orders on the shape and structure and doctrine of the New Mission, since so many of them have low-intensity traumatic brain injuries that our wonderful military command has ordained, despite Band-Aid-and-pasties legislation by our pusillanimous Congress, shall be pretty much swept under the rug, pushed into the background, ignored, removed from after-action and casualty and medical-record reports, and so the eager young warriors can get back to the Battlespace and kill some more Wogs. Easier to obscure, in our High-Tech, Maintained-By-Contractors-Getting-Paid-$800-A-Day, Networked Battlespace. McNamara in USB-space, same shit all over again, no end in sight, no possible reason that's reasonable, let alone rational, let alone honestly fostering of any National Interests that are in any way National in scope as opposed to propping up the share prices of outfits like Lockheed-Grumman "We never forget who we are working for" (parse that for ambiguity if you dare).

      But as an author reported not long ago, we are little more than tribes with flags, led by grandiose, grandiloquent, rank-and-rent-seeking poseurs to turn over our bled-out real national wealth to the War Machine for the simulacrum of security.

      Does no good to even call "bullshit" on this. We are a stupid species, collectively; we are wired for failure in the Game of Survival; and our best move is to stand up, collectively bend over on the count of three, place our heads between our legs, and kiss our stupid asses goodbye.

      You got a prescription for a cure for THAT, Professor? Or is it all just interstitial waffling and dandy prose?

  • Historic UNSC Condemnation of Israel, and of Gaza Blockade;
    World Body Demands release of Aid Activists, Ships
    • Prof. Cole – Why is it that a few, well, it's hard to put a name to them: Fascists? Reactionaries? Elite thugs? Commandos taking commands from the Bibis and bin Ladins and Arafats and Cheneys of the world? can shake and potentially shatter the rest of the human planet? What is it in our broke-down brains that first sets the conditions for something like this, and then causes millions to react along tribal lines, as if these "commandos" were either Our Heroes or Demons from Hell, with the risk that any possible sanity left in the combined human intellect gets rolled off the cliff?

      You spend a lot of time thinking about this kind of stuff, watching and commenting on the lunacy, and of course you have a viewpoint and a "side," after a fashion. But you also seem to make the effort to see the realities behind the ploys and plays, and call them out. I just wonder if there is any pathway, through the thickets of millions of interest groups and literal tribes both large and small, to reach a level of conflict and violence that is at least maybe "sustainable." The undeclared wars in Iraq and Afghanistan/Pakistan/Everywheristan show how violence sustains itself up to the point that exhaustion finally sets in (see, e.g., Beirut), where the "mission" becomes nothing but, once again, what armies have always done, the usually futile effort to take and control territory and gain dominance over a population and install Vichy governments and most important to get "vengeance" for Our Troops, the members of the Bands of Brothers whose real motivations and loyalties are not to some excuse of patriotic smarmy sentiment but just to one another – whether Janja or GI or IDF, anywhere on the planet. A plurality heading to a majority of the planet's wealth gets wasted on militarization every year, but I don't need to tell you that.

      Seriously now. Do you sense any likelihood that some spiritual awakening or maybe just exhaustion will drain the reservoirs of those ugly pockets in all our limbic systems before we come finally to that point so beautifully limned in a cartoon by Gahan Wilson, first published in Playboy while I was in Vietnam, which unfortunately he has cleared from the Internet as far as I can tell: View of a landscape blasted and burned, dead humans scattered about, buildings all skeletonized, and in the foreground a heavily muscled, heavily armed, dirty soldier with his helmet pushed down around his ears, gripping his rifle, looking around out of mad reddened eyes, with surprise and wonder shading to exultation, saying "I think I won!"

      Why is it that the "scenario plotters" in the "security services" (so fraudulently named) can so easily keep the pot stirred up and create one casus belli after another that really is no significant matter in the greater scheme, but which the rest of us seize on as an excuse for another spasm of violence?

      Is that all there is?

  • Petraeus Memo Widens scope of US Military Covert Operations in ME
    • Always happy to oblige. Thanks for the kind words.

    • Mr. Rice, there's a part of every human brain that resonates more or less loudly to the "opinion" you hold, about "global warfare" against some implacable enemy. "The Enemy" is one of the strongest archetypes in our psyches, albeit one that gets puny attention and study because "everybody already knows what and who The Enemy is," and agrees that whatever is done to The Enemy is only what we are so morally sure The Enemy is planning to do to Us at the earliest sneaky opportunity, so we better do it worse and faster and bigger. Fundamentally because, as Pogo is repeatedly quoted as saying, "We has met the enemy, and he is Us." And we think we know who we are by supposed contrast to The Enemy, who is, we are morally sure, all the things we think we are not. Cognitive dissonance is a wonderful, comfortable thing, isn't it?

      My opinion is that it is the same part of the resonant brain that keeps forcing all the rest of us further and further into a corner from which there is no escape but a mass die-off of our species. Your kind of thinking produced the Cold War (on all sides) and WW I and its lead-off batting for WW II and now this Global War On Terror that has False Premise as its central core and military industrialism and political expediency as its muscles and nervous system. And your fast-disappearing Real Wealth and mine as its blood supply.

      You may FEEL that there is a Huge Dark Enemy out there that So Threatens Our Sacred Freedoms To Do What We Are Told By Our Sacred Leaders that we have to be willing to destroy our own village in order to save it from being "gotten" and "taken over" and turned by The Other, that Bogeyman who lives in the closet or under the bed, into exactly what we are making it into ourselves, and there are evil people in the world, for very sure -- but a whole lot of them are sort of nominally "on our side." And facts that make up history and current events show pretty clearly that what you have is a "feeling," an opinion formed by a lot of propaganda over a long time, that has dam-all to do with making a world that is even meta-stable with a world economy that is sustainable for the almost 7 billion of us.

      That you think our "combatants" currently submit to any kind of limitations on every sort of abuse and murder, and that they should be freed patently to do the Jack Bauer thing, 24/7, because you believe we need evil men able to do evil things that give other evil men on the "other" side the excuse to do what they so much enjoy doing, tells me you are either disingenuous or need to go clean your glasses.

      And you can sit on your desk chair and pontificate about how in a more perfect world, wouldn't it be lovely if such messy things did not happen. And carry in your heart the notion that a civil society that works on some basic notions of ethics and decency is weak and will succumb to those pesky Arab Communists, unless we kill or disorient them all first. Preferably kill, after torturing. "The purpose of torture is torture," remember.

      Got news for you, bunky -- this Vietnam vet is of the opinion that YOUR ideology is "alien," yet all too human. Having seen a bit of how that set of notions has worked since I first became a bit politically aware, starting with childhood recollections of black-and-white TV broadcasts of Bomber Joe McCarthy, aided by a closet mean-spirited truly evil guy named Roy Cohn and of course Dick Nixon, ripping a large rent in the social fabric for some pretty crass political and personal gain, I gotta say that the vision you so "reluctantly" would deem necessary is a bust.

      So talk pretty, and so deep-voiced seriously, about how the Real World supposedly works, and how "we" must turn the monsters loose to "protect" us against the monsters that MAY exist out in the dark and surely WILL exist in some numbers thanks to the war wimp and chicken hawk "policies" of generations of "conservatives" and "nominal hawkish liberals," and the Predatory Hellfire of our Bad Guys "lighting up" wedding parties and groups of reporters armed with heavy cameras, and do everything in your personal feeble power to create the elements of a self-fulfilling prophecy that is almost certainly inevitable anyway. And be glad that you likely will not live long enough to have to pay the consequences that eventually come due for the progeny of those Serious people and their acts.

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