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Total number of comments: 256 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:42)

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  • With Trump, has the Israeli Right Wing caught the Car?
    • The most hopeful change on the horizon in the Palestinian struggle is the BDS movement. Israelis have long demanded that the Palestinians give up any violence in their resistence to oppression. BDS is the answer to that demand. It is in fact exactly what Israelis have long wanted even though they are complaining about it now.

  • Is Israel's Netanyahu running Rings around the inexperienced Trump?
    • To see that coat of cheap paint that was the "two state solution" stripped off the reality of Israel is breathtaking. But it is also refreshing and necessary. You will notice that Israel no longer even tries to argue for it's legitimacy, that argument is lost. They no longer assert that they are "the good guys" that no longer flies. In the arena of public discussion they can only attempt to silence any dissenting voices. We see this is playing out on campuses across the country.

      At the same time Israel has become more arrogant and demanding; more arms, more money, and more devotion. This is a trend that will end as they always do in divorce, we are just going to get sick of them. You can see this already among younger people and even younger Jews.

      Support remains rock solid in Washington, but even within that bubble, reality will eventually leak in.

  • Screwed?: 4 Top International Crises we have to depend on Trump to Resolve
    • China, North Korea, and Russia represent very different challenges compared to the Middle East. With the first three there is a government in control that we can talk to. Any solution that may be developed is likely to be honored.

      In much of the Middle East there is no one to talk to. Any deal made is unlikely to persist. It is a situation of revolution, liberation, and throwing off foreign domination. It is the emerging of the post colonial period in full flower. We are no more likely to achieve "victory" than Russia or any other foreign player. Indeed, we cannot even define what we mean by “victory”.

      The first three challenges can be managed through diplomacy. The last can only be resolved by leaving.

  • Syria: Now that the US has Failed, what does 2017 Hold?
    • "unknown combatants on the ground before properly vetting them"??? This was a continuation of a long standing US policy. Creating an insurgency using bags of money and truckloads of weapons has been US policy for a long time. It has been successful (in the short term) across the world from Iran '53, many places in South America, etc.

      Now it has failed! Will we stop doing it? I hope so but I am doubtful.

      If Russia has very modest goals such as the maintenance of their naval base on the Mediterranean then they may succeed. As such, they would be happy with any victor, Assad or ISIS, so long as the base was guaranteed. If they seek wider control then they will be in the same quagmire as the US.

  • Now is the time for Obama to Recognize Palestine
    • Juan, please lets stop this talk of two states. Ponder for a moment the meaning of the word "viable" when describing the Palestinian state. Would such a Palestinian state have secure borders? Would it have a military that could stand up to Israel? Would Palestinian Israelis have equal rights?

      The two states talk was just a method of getting rid of the "wrong" type of people. That is the "liberal" solution? A disgrace! That is just as morally bankrupt as the rightist position.

      By going along with the two state ploy we have allowed an actual solution to be pushed off by how many years: 10, 20, 70? The solution is an Israel of equal rights, nothing else. Lets stop being useful idiots.

  • Israel's Netanyahu et al. Throw Trump-like Tantrums after UNSC Slam
    • The world is sick of the moralizing by this thug. The US will come around to this conclusion too. We were late in condemning apartheid but we eventually did the right thing. We (eventually) will do the right thing here too. The facts are just too obvious, the crime is just too big.

  • Stifling the debate on Israel
    • Israel, in the public eye, has moved from "respected member of the community of nations (with a few problems)" to "a country that oppresses it's minorities" to "a grim joke". This parallels a quote sometimes attributed to Gandhi: "First they ignore you; then they abuse you; then they crack down on you and then you win."

      The attempt to defend Israel reaches new absurd levels with: “condemning the use of the word ‘Zionist’ as pejorative, and claiming that such a use “has no place in civil society.” “

      Here is a ridiculous application of this idea. If I say "you are a Zionist" with a look of admiration on my face then I am good. If I say the same thing with a sneer then off to jail.

  • Jewish Students and Scholars Object to US Bill Banning Criticism of Israel
    • Is this not Israel throwing in the towel? They have given up on the propaganda war. They have lost control of the narrative. They have lost the "Israel is a legitimate nation" argument and are now seeking to squelch any discussion at all. When was the last time you heard "Israel is a light unto the nations" or "the IDF is the world's most moral army". Now such statements only garner a grim snicker.

      Of course we should fight this bill as an affront to free speech but we should also recognize it as significant step on the path toward success.

  • Russian Pundit: Fall of East Aleppo a Geopolitical Turning Point toward Multi-polar World
    • I wonder if this might be the end of the "military can solve all problems" foreign policy. In the future we may face third world countries that cannot be intimidated with threats of force since they may have Russian (or Chinese) backing. We will have to use diplomacy again. This may not be a bad thing; it will restrain the warheads in Washington.

  • Why Internment of Japanese Americans is an outrageous Model for registering Muslim-Americans
    • Unfortunately, your arguments would be parried using various legal maneuvers. The problem is that this is an unpopular minority and demagogues can use that fact to do what they want. Laws will be written to justify the crime.

      The origin of the problem lies elsewhere. It is the wars! Many horrible things; torture, assassination, spying on citizens, and internment, are all justified with the statement "but we are at war."

      War is corrosive to society. Strong societies can withstand a period of war for a limited time but the damage becomes cumulative. Even the 4 years of WWII (a real war) resulted in the internment of the Japanese and spying on innocent Americans. Look at the damage that 15 years of war (an adventure really) has done to the US.

      Until we end these wars we will be continually discussing which vital liberty we must give up because of "The War".

  • America through the Hell-Gate of Horn
    • The middle east was a powder keg ready to explode and has been for 50+ years.

      Did 1979 contribute to 9/11? Probably. But if 1979 had not happened, 9/11 or something like it would have happened anyway. Something would have triggered the explosion. That is the nature of the end of empire.

      This is no different than the British, French, Russian, Roman experience at the end of their empires. We complain only because it is happening to us.

      My hope is that we survive this as a liberal democratic society. I will grant you that things look dark now but I am hopeful. My, perhaps forlorn, hope is that Trump will look at these wars, Israel, empire, GWOT and see that they are losers and move to cut our losses.

  • ISIL Boasts: America will go down to defeat in the Streets of Mosul
    • Daesh can win this by denying our side victory. We have been here before; that is what happened last time.

      What happens when the Iraqi army refuses to do the door to door fighting as required to take a city (like last time)? What happens if the militias enter the city and engage in atrocities (like last time)? Will we say "not our fault" (like last time)?

      Even if we do get something called "victory" by killing everyone associated with Daesh it will only be temporary. Until the underlying dispute between Suni and Shia is resolved this battle will be fought again. And we. as westerners. can play only a minimal role in that.

      These are not out battles, we contribute nothing except for guns. It is time for us to get out.

  • If Spec Ops are the future of the US Military, it isn't Winning many Wars
    • Have we become like the old USSR: armed with a hammer everything seems to be a nail?

  • Is Turkey's Pivot to Russia about Erdogan's Survival?
    • Something not discussed: is the Turkish military no longer the bastion of secularity that it once was? Could the military step in and restore (secular) order (in their opinion) as it has in the past? Or has it be emasculated by Erdogan? Is the idea of Gulen (a religious movement) sleeper cells in the Army plausible?

  • Reinventing Saudi Arabia after Oil: The Prince's $2 Trillion Gamble
    • The problem seems more basic: will the average Saudi do the type of work now done by foreign guest workers? Will they get dirty working in a factory? Will they sweep the streets?

      Life has been grand for the average Saudi, how will they deal with the change?

  • US finally acknowledging al-Qaeda factor in breakdown of Ceasefire
    • The Russians have clear, MODEST, and attainable goals for their adventures in the Syria. They want to retain their military bases on the Mediterranean. If Assad is part of that, great, if not then that is OK too. The US has none of their advantages. Our goals are vague by comparison.

      Clear? Who are our friends, who are our enemies? What is the difference between them today? What will be the difference tomorrow?

      Modest? We want to call the shots everywhere in the Middle East. Not just prop up Israel; we also want to maintain the world's last monarchies.

      Attainable? The era of American domination over there is coming to a close. We exert ever more effort for ever fewer results.

  • Unconstitutional: How the Imperial Presidents went to War all by themselves
    • There is a major difference in the wars mentioned. The Civil War, WWI, and WWII were major wars that if lost would have had serious consequences for the US and the world. We had to win!

      Our wars in the Middle East by contrast are adventures. Further, losing these wars would have better consequence for the US then winning them. With a loss we get to go home and bind our wounded ego. Winning them means eternal occupation and bloodshed.

      Wars are damaging to democracy and civil society. Let us recognize these wars as the last gasps of our domination of the Middle East and get out. The era of colonialism is long gone!

  • Panama Papers Expose Massive Global Corruption Scandal (TYT)
    • Mossack Fonseca is the 4th largest law firm handling such accounts. I wonder who are 1, 2, and 3? Also, who are 5, 6, 7, 8, etc?

  • 3 Surprising reasons Saudi Arabia may be getting out of the Oil Business
    • Good but! Saudi Arabia giving up the oil business is like a drug dealer deciding to take his money and go legit.

      Both excellent decisions.

      However the business knowledge that they both had developed does not apply well to any new endeavor. A mountain of money does not guarantee success. Most likely they will return to their old business in spite of their admirable desire to get out.

  • Americans Must Challenge Congress on its Knee-Jerk Support for Israeli Expansionism
    • The strongest argument against the two state solution is to imagine that it exists. In such a scenario, would Palestine be allowed a military strong enough to resist Israel? Of course not, everyone says.

      The resulting situation is that any provocation, real or imagined, would result in an Israeli incursion. In essence, the current situation.

      Would Palestine have free and open borders with it's neighbors? No, Israel would insist on inspection rights to prevent unapproved (by Israel) imports. The same situation that exists today.

      The two state solution would be nothing different than what exists now. It would be a new label slapped on what we have now.

      This problem will not be fixed by changing the Palestinians but in reforming Israel. The Palestinians are demanding nothing more than what any human wants.

  • Saudi Arabia 'Ready' to send Thousands of Ground Troops to Syria
    • This sounds like the start of a shooting war between Iran and Saudi Arabia. Might is also be the start of a shooting war between Russia and Saudi Arabia? And ultimately, a shooting war between Russia and the US. Not worth it!

      It is time to recognize that there are too many sides, each side shifting on a regular basis. We were clueless in the "simple" cases of Afghanistan and Iraq. Now that it is complicated our only sensible strategy is to get out.

  • Tahrir 5 Years Later: The Hurdles to Democratization & Arab Youth Revolts
    • "the failure of most Arab states to transition to democracy"? You are showing another Western failing: impatience. It has been 5 years since this revolutionary period has started. It takes much longer than that.

      Plot out a timeline for the transition to democracy in France. List all the "empires", "monarchies", and "republics. Don't forget the almost military coup of 1963.

      How about Germany, a lot of "interesting" events on their path to democracy.

      England? Lots of interesting history there, mostly blood drenched.

      How about the US? Don't forget to add the Civil War and the Civil rights movement on our path to democracy for everyone.

      The Arab world is just starting. They will have sort out their religious issued, doing it the way Europe did. They have to throw off foreign domination and colonialism the way Africa did. They have taken the first step on a long road. We should recognize that, it is the same long road that we have traveled.

  • A radical solution to Daesh/ ISIL: Stop Intervening in the Middle East
    • Miss the mark? How so? After 14 years of fruitless war, what other strategy is possible other than to get out? Please give us your strategy to "win".

  • Palestinian population to exceed that of Jews by 2020 in Israel/Palestine
    • I expect Israel's PR machinery to be fired up over this. Look at this quote from Mr. Ettinger on December 11, 2015 on the same site in his article: "The demographic scaremongering fraternity".

      Quote:
      Historically, policy makers and public opinion molders have issued and employed (and sometime managed) official statistics, in order to advance their agenda, influence public opinion and intensify pressure on their rivals.
      Unquote.

      I think that the "sometimes managed" reference is operative here.

    • It is already minority rule, unless you accept the results of almost 70 years of ethnic cleansing.

  • Top 7 Middle East Foreign Policy Challenges in 2016
    • For 14 years America has been undergoing a full, frothing at the mouth, case of war fever. Listening to most of the Republican candidates and Hillary it seems that the fever continues. I hope that the election will show that it is subsiding.

      After the fever as subsided, the like outcome will be apathy to the Middle East. We may take on an attitude of: those ungrateful Arabs! after all that we have done for them! we are leaving! Given the current war fever, this will be a good thing. Our current foreign policy in the Middle East is little more than deciding who to bomb.

      You say that it is common for many Arabs to believe in conspiracy theories about the US? Why not, they just have to listen to our neocons talk. While they may sound like crazies baying at the moon, they are in fact representative of a major faction of the US foreign policy establishment.

  • Clinton: Trump chief recruiter for ISIL; Sanders: Take out Daesh First, Assad Later
    • The west has been using and abusing the Middle East for a century now and before that it was the Ottomans: that era is coming to an end. Any armed action that we take, direct or indirect, will have a backlash. We can offer a platform to resolve these disputes but we cannot make anyone do anything. Those days are over.

      We never ask "what comes next?" Defeat IS, overthrow Assad? What comes next? Just like we never asked the same question about Iraq or Libya. The Middle East is becoming independent, they no longer want our "guidance".

      It was good to hear the blowback from our activity in Iran 60 years ago mentioned. Perhaps the idea that blowback often results from actions taken years earlier will be publicly discussed. Hopefully we can stop yelling "terrorism" in a panic and start understanding the reality of the Middle East and the reality of out foreign policy over there.

  • Should an al-Qaeda Ally have a seat at the Syrian Table? Al-Assad rejects talks w/ any armed Group
    • This is how wars that you lose end. We signed a "peace with honor" deal with Hanoi to end the Vietnam war after they killed 58,000 Americans.

      If this deal or any other serves to get the US out of the Middle East then it is a good thing.

  • ISIL/ Daesh can be Starved of Oil Revenue: Here's How
    • Oh dear, another one of those "money is the lifeblood of the insurgency" type arguments. It is not: the lifeblood of an insurgency is a cause! It is the cause that draws thousands of fighters from around the world. These fighters know the odds of being killed in this battle but they keep coming. These fighters don't come because the cause is well funded.

      Many seem to think that bombing some poor working guy driving a truck is going to hurt the cause, no it strengthens it.

      You want too kill the cause? Listen the why they are fighting, they are happy to tell you.

  • What's behind Russia's military build-up in Syria?
    • If Da'esh is defeated in Syria where will the fighters go? Perhaps to Saudi Arabia, the country that gave birth to Islamic fundamentalism? Overthrowing that corrupt monarchy would give them near unlimited resources. Would the US want that?

      Might some of them return to their old Soviet republics? The Russians surely don't want that, as mentioned in the article.

      Perhaps both sides want the Syrian war to continue to bubble but not boil over. That likely serves Israel’s interests as well.

  • Top 5 Reasons Obama defeated GOP, AIPAC effort to vote Down Iran Deal
    • This is a good thing in another way. Now that there is a divide between the Democrats and Republicans over Israel we, the American people, will finally have a choice. Previously there was no way to vote on the issue of the US blindly supporting Israel. I hope that in the future voting Democrat will mean a vote for a more balanced approach with our policies in the Middle East.

  • Israel and the BDS debate: two scholars respectfully agree to differ
    • I am a firm supporter of BDS. I understand the argument around DBS when applied in some areas such as the academic BDS. There is a distinction to be made.

      I attended a talk given by an Israeli professor at a local college here in the US. His talk was essentially the genteel racism that you often get from defenders of Israel. I confronted him on that issue in front of the audience. This upset some in the audience and some agreed with me. This was an excellent outcome; it is a discussion that we need to have.

      It would have been very bad if the academic DBS had prevented this guy from speaking. I am for freedom of speech, even odious speech. David Duke of the KKK should be able to speak on campus. Students also have the right to demonstrate in opposition.

      However, there should be an academic DBS against any joint projects with Israeli colleges. This is no different than the economic BDS against Israel which we all should support.

  • Obama: No more US troops to fight Daesh/ ISIL, but more Training
    • This seems to be the end of the "Do Something" strategy that the US has persued in the Middle East. We have done just about everything to make things go our way but they all have failed. Of course "doing something" has an effect, just not the effect that we want. After a decade and a half this strategy has been exhausted.

      When we do something we are taking sides and the other side naturally considers us the enemy. They then "take the war to the enemy" as any good military commander would do. Hence we have the terrorism in America and Europe.

      The solution should be obvious; get out! Want to stop terrorism? Get out! How much terrorism does Brazil suffer? Are they involved militarily in the Middle East? There should be a lesson there.

  • Kaplan: An Impish Desire for Imperial Déjà Vu
    • I always wonder what it would have been like to construct an empire if nuclear weapons had been available. How would London have faired while adding jewels to their crown if one of the unwilling jewels acquired such a weapon?

      We seem to think that we are operating in the 19th century!

  • The Middle East Policy of President Bernie Sanders
  • Top 7 Ways Assassination Fails USA as Policy
    • Another point: eliminating someone that we may be able to talk to. After an assassination attempt, successful or not, the opposing leadership would likely view any such talks as a ploy to try again.

      We did need Ho Chi Minh’s cooperation to get us out of Vietnam.

  • The momentum to recognize a Palestinian State is unstoppable
    • One way to help the Palestinians rebuild and to constrain Israel would be to place import duties on Israeli goods. Each country that imports Israeli goods would impose a tariff on those goods to be used for the benefit of the Palestinians. The money would be used to rebuild Gaza and compensate the Palestinians for stolen land.

      The beauty of this is that there need be no international agreement for this to work. Each country could act independently. They would collect the tariff and turn it over to the appropriate Palestinian organizations.

  • Terrorism craves an audience and we are playing into Islamic State's hands by watching
    • It is not terrorism that causes “NSA mass surveillance” and “draconian legislation”; it is war that is the cause. War is the universal excuse, it is the universal rationale. Anything can be justified because of “the war”. We had that during Vietnam, WWII, WWI, and our Civil War. End the wars and we can get back to normal (I hope).

      The warmongers in Washington would love to stop all un-massaged reporting from the wars. They would want the Pentagon to be the only news source. I give an emphatic NO! We must have all the worst of it in our face. Not only ISIS atrocities but also when we wipe out whole families in a “surgical” strike. If we see the horror we may begin to understand and then stop.

  • A Way out of the Gaza Trap
    • Some still seem to grasping at the “two state solution” straw. It does not exist and never did. This problem needs to be solved, not shoved under that particular rug.

      We seem constrained by the categorical statement “The Israelis will never agree” every time someone suggests that Israel become a country with equal rights for everyone. While history does not repeat itself it certainly does rhyme.

      We heard the same declaration in the old days of segregation. “White people will never accept African Americans as equals.” We have been there, we should recognize script. Had we dug in out heals and insisted “segregation now, segregation forever” what would America look like now?

      Same story in South Africa, this has been a reoccurring theme, why don’t we recognize it? We keep hearing “two state solution” as if the answer is to get rid of the people we don’t like (wrong color, wrong religion). Those on the left supporting this don’t sound much different than the “mow the lawn” crowd.

  • ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony "Caliphate"
    • We need to stop saying “If we had only done this” then things would have worked out to our liking. We need to recognize that events in the Middle East are out of our control. If we wanted a better outcome today we would have had to stop supporting despots, monarchs and the racist state decades ago. We missed our chance when it would have made a difference; it is way too late now.

      We can certainly change things, stir the pot, by supplying arms and money. But we can only sit back and hope for our desired results. Of course such stirring of the pot makes enemies. Not stirring the pot may cause contempt, “why aren’t you helping us”, but it does not make decade’s long enemies.

      Of course this is the way it had to be. Powerful countries always play the game for their own gain. Short term gains show up on this quarter’s balance sheet, long term? Who knows! Long term is where we find ourselves now.

      Ps: Let’s stop quoting “Islamic Law” to condemn what people we don’t like until we are ready to conform to “Christian Law”. The hypocrisy gets a little too thick. They see it, we should too.

  • Weapons paid for by US are Missing in Afghanistan: Did they go to the Taliban?
    • “Weapons paid for by the US have gone missing.”
      US money in Afghanistan has “gone missing.”
      US allies in Afghanistan have “gone missing.”
      Afghan support for the US mission has also “gone missing.”
      There seems to be a trend here!

  • Israel's Gaza Campaign Endangers US Security: Why Obama & Kerry are Furious
    • This is a cycle: we have been here before, we should recognize the pattern. This is the “shoot” phase of the “shoot and cry” policy that Israel has been following for years. Cast lead, the Intifadas, are previous iterations of this cycle. When the shoot phase is over they will crank up the hasbra machine and begin the “cry” phase. Then all will be well in their world and they will prepare for the next cycle.

      Will we fall for it this time? Almost certainly, it has worked every other time. The hasbra is not working so well in the rest of the world but the Israelis don’t care. Perhaps one of these times it will stop working in the US but I am not hopeful.

  • Where is Palestine?
    • The League did indeed hand Palestine to the British as you say. That was the mechanism where the war booty of the collapsed Ottoman Empire was divvied up. The European victors got their pieces. Colonialism without the name.

      You are quite correct to bring the UN into this. The UN, an instrument of the western powers, gave Palestine to a bunch of Europeans and Americans. Does that make Europe and America any less guilty?

      Curious that you say that the British did not own Palestine, then did the UN “own” Palestine? If they did not own Palestine then by what right did they give it to anyone other than the indigenous people, the Palestinians?

      Is the UN in the business of handing out homelands to random people, however deserving? Clearly handing Palestine to a bunch of invaders did not work out very well. Perhaps the UN should undo their mistake and give Palestine back to the Palestinians. Reasonable solution?

    • One point that I rarely hear is that Brittan did not "own" Palestine. They held it by force of arms just as with India, Egypt, China, and much of Africa. When the British Empire collapsed, the indigenous peoples got their countries back. The Indians got India. The Chinese got China. This was true around the world except for Palestine. The British gave Palestine to a bunch of Europeans and Americans. Quite bizarre really!

      Israel has no more “right” to exist than the British Empire. They are a remnant of that Empire as were Rhodesia and Apartheid South Africa. Those other remnants of empire are good examples of the choice that Israel has: accept your minorities or be destroyed.

  • What the West means by "stability" in the Middle East
    • Empires always want stability especially during their waning days. The British Empire wanted stability during the twentieth century. The USSR wanted stability in the 1980’s. Today Washington wants stability. That is the reoccurring pattern.

      Curiously, empires do not want “stability” during their expansion phase. When victories are guaranteed who would want stability? Victory is much sweeter! It is depressing to sit here and watch these “interesting times”. What a waste!

  • Quashing Jewish Dissent on Israel
    • The Israeli/Palestinian is always labeled "complex". This is, of course, a way of saying that it is unsolvable. Unsolvable suits Israel very well, it excuses them from any attempt to solve it and the status quo will live on. It may be difficult but it is not complex.

      Segregation and Apartheid were difficult but not complex. Oppression is actually quite simple and the solution is obvious. The solution to Israeli oppression is to end it. The solution is for Israel to become a civil society, to become a country of equal rights.

      Let us not be confused with this carefully crafted language that justifies doing nothing. When we start using clear language to describe what we all see then what was impossible (complex) will become simple (and doable).

  • Stop Saying 'If X fired Rockets at U.S.': It's Racist, & assumes we're Colonial
    • I think that these rationalizations can be compared to a piece of actual American history; we need not construct unlikely scenarios. Some of us are old enough to have heard the language of oppression: “If we don’t keep them down they will rape our white women.” “They don’t mind riding at the back of the bus.” “Separate but equal.” “They are not smart enough to vote.”

      During the era of segregation whites would hear of an actual (or imagined) crime where a black person had attacked a white person and then use that as a justification for an orgy of lynchings. What we are seeing in Palestine is a lynching. The Israelis know American history well; they are feeding it back to us!

  • In the Deaths of 3 Israeli Teens, Likud Policies are also Implicated
    • Why is there no discussion of one of the worst criminal elements here; the Israeli parents?

      What other criminals bring their children along as they commit their crimes. Do bank robbers bring their children as they ply their trade? Do organized crime hitmen have a “bring your children to work day”? Why do settlers get a pass on that aspect of their crimes?

  • Is Iraq Actually Falling Apart? What Social Science Surveys Show
    • There is clearly a mistranslation of the word "neighbor". What was the original word in the survey in Arabic and what were its implications? We know that surveys, with careful wording, can me made to show most anything.

  • Don't Trust the Bombers on Iraq: "Shock and Awe" Never Works
    • I remember those days of the Vietnam war. Every night they had the body count on the news. The thinking was that with the enormous bloodshed reported, we would win. Right?

      You might remember the early days of the Iraq war the pentagon would say “we don’t do body counts!” They don’t want any shades of Vietnam here. However over the years you would start to hear impressive body count reports from the Pentagon. At that rate would have to win. Right?

      It seems that in these wars we end up reporting body counts because that is the only statistic that makes it sound like we are winning. So now we hear noises that we can turn the tide of this war by what? Body counts again!

      Mark, we do have the power to create enormous bloodshed, I will grant you that. We do not have the power to win this war, whatever “winning” means.

  • US Military Fail: Long Asian Land Wars a Route to Disaster since 1963
    • This is the wrong way to slice the issue. I agree with everything said but it misses a major point. The US military is indeed "the finest fighting force the world has ever known” it is just not useful for the jobs it is asked to do. I have no doubt that it would handily defeat an adversary such as Russia or China. The world may be an uninhabitable ruin afterwards but we would “win”.

      It is these wars against national liberation movements that we lose. It is a curious turn that in the 50’s and 60’s we sided with such liberation movements as they brought down the old colonial order. That got us a lot of creds with the third world.

      Now we seem to have forgotten that the age of colonialism is over. We can’t make “them” do what we want. Our colonialism is no better than the colonialism of old. We try, we kill lots of people, but it just does not work.

      I suspect that we will continue to try for a while longer, but eventually we will throw up our hands and complain bitterly that we were only trying to help those miserable bastards and finally go home. That will be a great day!

  • Dear GOP: The US has negotiated with Terrorists and Amnestied Them all through History
    • The only bad thing about this trade is that we did not give them all prisoners in Guantanamo. Had the President done that he would have solved a second problem as well.

      To solve a third problem we should give Guantanamo back to Cuba and remove that temptation for future presidents. Guantanamo is a place for the US government where anything goes, our little gulag. We should have no such thing.

  • Is the US Mil. Training of African Special Ops a prelude to disaster?
    • Mr. Polk is an optimist! We may begin our meddling with an understanding that is "notoriously crude or totally lacking" but soon thereafter other interests come into play. Countries with natural resources attract American business interests and they want our government to protect their assets. We go in as bumbling rubes but we soon create what is in essence an armed wing of American corporations.

      As bad as that is we also have a darker purpose in some countries, that is: protecting Israel's interests. Israel does not want stable well run countries in it's neighborhood. Such countries threaten Israel, countries always on the verge of civil war do not.

  • Reconciliation between Judaism and Islam is Possible
    • I am troubled when people say that the key to this problem is "understanding". It sounds too professorial, too academic. Would one say that the solution to segregation was "understanding"? Would Apartheid have been ended with "understanding"? The solution comes through action and change.

      This seems to be an effort to divert attention from the real problem: the denial of peoples rights based on their ethnic origin and religion. Fix that and understanding will be had. Like with segregation and Apartheid the solution is to end Zionism.

  • Get ready for More Disappearing Airliners: Obama moots giving Syrian Rebels Anti-Aircraft Missiles
    • Of all the possible bad outcomes of supplying manpads to the rebels consider this: what if a US made manpad finds its way to Chechen rebels who use it to take down a Russian airliner. Given the current events; it could lead to another "assassination of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand” situation. That could truly be “the war to end all wars”.

      Another consideration: this is 30 year old technology. There is nothing unique or special about them. Aren’t Iran, Pakistan, Syria, etc. perfectly capable of making their own manpads? Isn’t proliferation something that we are going to have to deal with from now on?

  • Palestine's Abbas finally says will Go to UN over Israeli Squatters
    • The framing of the "peace talks" as a negotiation with “give and take” by each side is wrong. The Palestinians have little left to give and Israel will just take it when they are ready. The past 66 years have taught that hard lesson.

      Consider the similar negotiations to end Apartheid in South Africa or segregation in the US. There was no “give and take” the only thing to be negotiated was the process whereby those horrible systems were dismantled. Likewise there can be no such negotiation with Israel: there can only be a negotiation on how to transition Israel into becoming a civil society. They must give up their Apartheid and their segregation. We should not give cover for this charade.

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