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Total number of comments: 38 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:24)

R in NY

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  • How Trump could avoid another $7 trillion bill in Mideast: Back off war with Iran
    • There can be many reasons for pursuing war. One that may apply here is the need to distract the American public from how badly their birthright is being looted by the Oligarch class. Stage a riot in the street outside, and no one will notice the thieves in the back of the store, taking everything that has not been nailed down....

    • Moi, the use of any weapon is defined by the political circumstances of that potential use. In the case of Russia in Syria, they brought in their S-400 systems to protect their own planes against attack, period. They did not want a direct confrontation with the U.S. or Israel if they could help it, and they were able to achieve their goal (helping the Syrian government win the war) without shooting down any planes in the U.S.-Israel coalition. Syria is not a test of the S-400 weapon system's functionality, as it proved unnecessary to use it.

  • "Fire & Fury" or "Shock and Awe": it is always the start of a Quagmire
    • "The only solution that benefits everyone (except the North Korean people) is the status quo, which with Kim’s ambition is becoming (or indeed has become) untenable."

      There is another solution which is readily available but has not been tried because the U.S. does not want to try it: negotiating a diplomatic peace. The parameters of such a peace are well understood.
      1. Direct negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea.
      2. Stopping the joint military exercises held by the U.S. and South Korea, which North Korea rightly regards as threatening.
      3. Negotiation of a treaty formally ending the Korean War and recognizing the state of North Korea. The U.S. never did this--only a cease-fire was signed at the end of the Korean War.
      4. In return for official recognition as a legitimate state and pledges that they will not be invaded, North Korea would give up their nuclear arsenal.

      It would be possible to negotiate this and much more. The North Koreans are legitimately afraid of invasion and destruction at the hands of the U.S. After all, during the Korean war we did destroy virtually all of the infrastructure of their country--all buildings, bridges, factories, etc.--something they have not forgotten.

  • Trump hands Putin gift, cancels Support for Syrian Rebels
    • The headline of this article is silly, as if the important thing were a pissing contest between Putin and Trump. Far more important is the interests of the people of Syria, and the interests of the people of Russia and of the U.S. Further war in Syria does not benefit any of us. It is time to stop distracting ourselves with "palace intrigue" and start paying attention to issues that really matter, which includes stopping these endless wars.

    • To quote from the article:
      "The only reason given for continued US backing of a lost cause was to maintain some leverage to force Bashar al-Assad from office. But al-Assad won’t be forced out as long as he has Iranian and Russian support, so that wasn’t going to happen. The US program was just prolonging the violence in some northern provinces."

      The main victims of the Syrian war were the Syrian people, who saw much of their country destroyed, with millions made refugees. What they needed most was an end to the war. Now, that may be possible. Trump has actually done a good thing here, whether he intended to or not.

  • Uber Can be Fixed; and Mideast Women Need It
    • The author does not address the primary problem with Uber. Traditional taxi and car services hire drivers, who operate the cars that the taxi and car services own. The drivers are not responsible for the capital costs of the taxi and car services--buying the cars, maintaining them, fuel, etc. The fares--usually set by local legislation--are split between the drivers and the owners. The industry as a whole is subject to government regulation, adopted over time to prevent abuses such as fare gouging, incompetent drivers, badly maintained vehicles, etc.

      In the case of Uber, the drivers must supply their own cars and are responsible for maintenance and fuel. Uber claims that the drivers are independent contractors, using Uber's app to assist their own business. But Uber controls the fare structure and can dismiss drivers from the system. By this method, Uber has transferred responsibility for the capital costs of a car service to the drivers, but without giving up the control over driver employment conditions typical of an owner. Further, Uber drives traditional taxi and car service companies out of the market by ignoring local regulations for the industry and engaging in predatory fare pricing strategies, at the expense of their drivers.

      It is clear that this a situation ripe for abuse, and anyone following the industry closely soon becomes aware that Uber drivers have trouble making a living in the long term--the costs of buying and maintaining their vehicles eats up their income, especially when Uber cuts fares to drive out competition. The idea of using phone apps for car hailing is a good one, but as implemented by Uber it results in chronic social injustice as the company exploits the drivers.

  • Washington's Supreme Hypocrisy on Chemical Weapons and Civilian Deaths
    • Here are the relevant paragraphs from the report Juan Cole links to:
      "At least 58 people, including 11 children, died in a suspected gas attack in Syria’s northwestern Idlib province, local sources reported on Tuesday.

      According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), people choked or fainted after the attack, while some were seen foaming at the mouth.

      The SOHR said it had received the reports from medics on the ground in the town of Khan Sheikhoun.

      Hours later, a small field hospital in the region was struck and destroyed, according to a civil defence worker in the area.

      The Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group, said planes from President Bashar al Assad’s military carried out the airstrikes."

      First, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is known to be one man who operates out of the U.K. He does not reveal his sources of information, so his reports are impossible to verify. Why anyone continues to cite the SOHR as a reliable source for anything is a mystery.

      The other source cited, "The Syrian National Coalition (SNC), the main opposition group", is obviously an interested party. Again, how is it possible to verify that they are telling the truth? Western reporters cannot report in rebel held areas without risking capture and death.

      The Syrian regime has not been proven to have conducted any chemical attacks in the past. Further, they turned over their remaining chemical weapon stockpiles to Russia for disposal long ago. And to use chemical weapons now against the rebels would be so stupid and counterproductive--and Assad certainly knows that. You can believe that Assad is brutal and evil if you wish, but he has not survived the past few years by being stupid. It is not in the Syrian regime's interest to commit such an attack, and they should not even have the means to do so.

      It is, however, in the interest of Al Qaeda to have it appear that the regime carried out a chemical attack, (and we do know that the rebels do have the ability to manufacture Sarin gas). Notice how quickly the usual suspects--the UK, the U.S., etc. all snap into line, accusing Syria of an atrocity, even before any sort of reliable investigation can get underway. I think we have seen this movie before.

  • Preparing for the Normalization of a Neofascist White House
    • Del Berton wrote: "The challenge, obviously, is going to be the search to find new leaders with bold, smarter ideas that resonate."

      Bernie Sanders already demonstrated much of what is needed. And, he was absolutely repudiated by the Democratic Party--recall the DNC e-mail in which they wrote about how the Sanders campaign had to be "crushed".

      The public's response to Sanders' campaign certainly demonstrated that there is lots of support for an alternative to Trump and what he represents. However, the Democratic Party did their best to show us that they are uninterested in leading that alternative. At this point, the leadership of the Democrats would have to be swept clean and a totally new group put in, dedicated to taking up the fight that Sanders started. That is not happening. It may be more practical to organize a third party.

  • How We Can fight back against Trump's Anti-EPA
    • Asking people to purchase electric cars, get solar panels, etc. is all well and good. But, much more needs to be done, and the government is by far the best way to organize doing it--things like installing more mass transit, high speed rail, more electrical charging stations, phasing out coal plants, and so on, need government leadership to be implemented on the scale needed, or in case of large projects like high speed rail, at all.

      Well, as Joe Hill said, don't mourn, organize. If we are to overcome Trump and the climate denialists we need a social movement of citizens who will DEMAND that the necessary changes be made, for the sake of us, and our children and grandchildren. The water protectors at Standing Rock have shown us how to start--we need a broad coalition of people willing to do what is necessary, including put their bodies on the line.

      We cannot depend on the electoral system to get the job done--that system is very broken indeed and needs major repairs, including abolishing the electoral college, ending gerrymandering and instituting transparent vote counting. (That last means paper ballots, hand counted in public.) These repairs to the electoral system will be the result of a real social movement, not the cause--just look at how difficult it is right now just to get a simple recount of a presidential election in one state. We do not currently have a functioning democracy.

  • H. Clinton and Ed Snowden: Some Animals are more Equal than others
    • "Snowden was not merely ‘careless’; he intentionally defected to Russia with vast amounts of classsified information, of which the Russians themselves have boasted, and which according to the UK have compromised their agents."

      You should cite some sources if you are going to make statements like that. Snowden himself stated that he left all the digital files he took from the NSA with Greenwald and the Guardian. He took nothing with him when he left Hong Kong because he knew that it would open him to the sort of accusations you are making.

    • ", he brought a lot more to where the Russians can try to break encryption at their leisure."

      Snowden stated that he gave all the information he had to Greenwald and The Guardian, and that he took nothing with him when he left Hong Kong. He is not dumb--he knew that keeping any files with him would open him to exactly the accusation you are making.

  • Putin's Winning Hand in Syria, as Turkey Apologizes and Obama Deals
    • Juan Cole writes: "The Saudis haven't killed a fraction of the number of people al-Assad's regime has." Now I would like to see some sourcing for this statement. Not because I don't trust Juan Cole, but because a major problem with the Syrian war has been a lack of accurate, on the ground journalistic coverage of both sides.

      We get told by the opposition, or the "Syrian Observatory" (some guy in London) that Assad is using barrel bombs against civlians. We get told by others that ISIS is attempting to kill entire ethnic groups and beheading people left and right. I have seen very little in the way of attempts to actually sort out what the actual casualty figures are on both sides, what is actually happening on the ground. Most of the stuff we see in major media repeats what the U.S. government is saying or what the British government is saying. As I.F. Stone used to say, governments lie. All governments lie. We really do not have the whole story here.

  • Omar Mateen and Rightwing Homophobia: Hate Crime or Domestic Terrorism?
    • Excellent article. I like your precise definition of domestic terrorism, using a federal statute, very much. This kind of sane analysis has been missing in the general discussion of "terrorism" in the media.

  • Syria Rebels face Collapse as Thousands flee North Aleppo
    • I am not sure that what we have seen in Syria meets the definition of a civil war. It is a fact that a great many of the fighters in the opposition to the regime were brought in from abroad and supported by outside countries including Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey. And Turkey was essential in supporting the rebels by allowing aid to them to flow over its border while providing a way for oil exports from ISIL and others to flow the other way. This amounts to a foreign invasion of Syria with the intention of overthrowing the Assad government. We should also note the role of the U.S. in this. Does anyone think that our NATO ally Turkey could have played the role they have in this conflict if the U.S. had opposed them?

  • The Final Collapse of Bush's Nation-Building: Kunduz falls to Taliban
  • Bernie Sanders On How We Should Pay For War
    • If we actually had to pay for war---or if the rich had to pay for it, you can bet that war would be pursued less often. Diplomacy, anyone?

  • Did the US DIA see ISIL as a strategic Ally against al-Assad in 2012?
    • Please note the following from the DIA document:


      To repeat:

      "...and this is exactly what the supporting powers to the opposition want, in order to isolate the Syrian regime..."

      This is pretty clear. The supporting powers (I presume Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Turkey--all U.S. allies) want a "....salafist principality in Eastern Syria".

      Did the U.S. do anything to try and stop this from happening? So far as I can tell, no. Instead, the U.S. funneled a great deal of arms and money into the region, with the collaboration of the Gulf states, who did most of the logistical work. We know perfectly well that "ISIS" (or whatever you want to call it) has been well supplied with U.S. made heavy weapons. We know that they have resources far beyond what a local guerilla group could scrounge on their own. We know that "ISIS" has been brilliantly effective in using the Western media for propaganda purposes. As they say, when it looks like a duck, waddles like a duck and quacks like a duck, then it most likely is a duck--or in this case, a very useful strategic asset for the West.

      I am against unfounded conspiracy theories, but in this case, the stated U.S. policy regarding "ISIS", etc., in Syria and Iraq has been so bizarre and contradictory that what we see in this DIA document, by contrast, looks like sanity--finally the pieces fall into place. Yes, it is very Machievellian, but it is not as if the U.S. policy elite has not lied to the public about the real reasons for their actions before. We are being played, big time, by the policy elite. We cannot believe anything that the government tells us about "ISIS".

  • Spain at 70% non-Carbon Electricity: Will it be 1st Net Carbon Zero G-20 State?
    • Just a note:
      I'm not sure I would call an economy with a substantial nuclear power sector "entirely green". Unlike wind and solar, nuclear has a fuel cycle that has bad environmental consequences (mining uranium pollutes the envrionment, the issue of how to safely dispose of used nuclear fuel has yet to be solved). Further, nuclear is a technology that has large, unacknowledged subsidies, such as the Price-Anderson act in the U.S. that makes insurance affordable for nuclear plants by limiting accident liability (the taxpayers get to pick up the tab...).

  • Amazing Green Cars at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show
    • Yes, "the bad guys have laid out their thoughts..." Does that mean we should do nothing? If we do nothing, it will guarantee that undesirable policies will be implemented. Unfortunately, sometimes it is necessary to fight back, if you want to have a world worth living in.

  • The Bureaucracy of Terror in Mosul: Todenhöfer's Unprecedented Footage from Within
    • "Our debts to Saudi Arabia grow ever deeper..." What debts? Please explain. Last I checked, we import oil from Saudi Arabia (which is paid for at the pump) and we sell them a lot of weapons (which they pay us for). We are not financially in debt to them.

      "...or admit we're no longer a superpower..." What? We have by far the largest military of any country, deployed all over the world, and the size of our economy is rivaled only by China. Yes, we let Wall Street do reckless things with investments, and that is a problem. And we would likely be better off not trying to dominate the world as we now do. But the U.S. is still a superpower and is not facing collapse just yet...IF we keep our own house in order. (We will see what the Republican congress does regarding that.)

    • When I watch these videos telling us how strong and terrible ISIS is, one thing strikes me: where are they getting their funds and weapons from? Who is supporting them?

      Any group that wants to be more than just a small, local power must have funding and access to military supplies. So far, the evidence seems to be that ISIS is getting support, mainly through Turkey, from countries like Saudi Arabia and Qatar--countries that are our allies. Further, it appears that much of the use of the U.S. military, the air strikes and so on, is directed against the Assad regime in Syria. Apparently, the U.S. is perfectly happy to use ISIS for its own purposes, regardless of what happens to the people in the region.

      In short, all is not as it seems here. We have been buffaloed by our leaders before in supporting war in Iraq when that was not warranted, and we have no guarantee that something similar is not going on now. Again: where is ISIS getting the funds and supplies from to be such a "threat"? This bears investigating.

  • NYC Climate Demo: Top 5 Massive Rallies that had no Effect
    • As I said, "If our democratic system had not been bought by monied interests..." But it has been. It takes enormouns amounts of money to run for federal office these days--quite beyond the resources of average citizens. And meeting with congress people is generally a waste of time unless you can pay the piper. Do you really think environmental activists have not lobbied congress before? Of course they have, but they are being grossly outspent by corporate oligarchs. This is why making PACs and meeting with reps is not enough.

    • If our democratic system had not been bought by monied interests, if we had a genuine participatory democracy, then I suppose there would be no need for demonstrations in the streets. But as recent polling has shown, congress and the powers that be are completely unresponsive to the will of the majority of the people. If you want access in Washington, you have to have money--lots of it.

      Faced with this situation, what are we to do? Sit home and be ignored? Further, as Mr. Proyect pointed out, large demonstrations can help local organizing, can bring together a broad range of activists who would not otherwise have contact and, with appropriate media coverage, can show like minded people that they are not alone, that there are large numbers who share their views. These things are all valuable to any movement for social justice.

      Finally, it is clear that in addressing climate change, we address multiple ills in our society, including the tremendous waste of resources caused by the pursuit of war. We have long needed a political movement that ties together the various threads of what is wrong with our society and shows how they are interelated. Climate change has the potential to do that.

  • Can you Pass the Hamas Quiz?
    • I find it interesting that some of the commenters above appear not to have read the Hamas Quiz but just repeat Israeli talking points, such as "Why exactly did Hamas start shooting rockets into Israel? Apparently because they themselves were being excluded from power, being denied pay." This comment completely ignores the many Israeli provocations, including the arrest of hundreds of Hamas followers in the West Bank, that preceded the rocket fire.

  • Scotland is going 100% Green by 2020; shame on Dirty America
    • Julian wrote: "...there is still the question of what happens when the wind isn’t blowing." What happens is that other sources of renewable energy are used, including hydro, solar, etc. This is simply an engineering problem. Any rationally planned power network will have multiple sources at its disposal to deal with changing conditions.

  • I lived to See the Day when the Pope and the President of Iran are more doctrinally Flexible than the GOP
    • John McLaren asked, "Is the GOP just a blatant political arm of right wing capital?"

      The answer is: Yes. That is what the GOP has become.

  • A New Red-Green Alliance: Why Workers should Join the Climate Fight (Klein)
    • In reply to JTMcPhee: have a little patience. I just found this article now. And it is certainly very interesting. We have needed this kind of union activism for a long time now. That Canadian workers are banding together and inviting the likes of Naomi Klein to speak to them is good news.

  • Indian Investigators do not Suspect Iran in Israel Embassy Blast
    • We do not know at this time who committed the bombings of Israeli vehicles in India and elsewhere. However, the time honored query "who benefits?" points to a few conclusions:

      1. A false flag operation on the part of the Israelis cannot be excluded. Their eagerness for war with Iran is no secret. They can count on a compliant western media to spin the bombings as possibly the work of Iran, which said media has already done.

      2. The Israelis have many other enemies in the region, and they cannot be excluded from participation either.

      3. Iran is unlikely to be behind the bombings. They know very well that Israel and the U.S. could use such an act to justify an attack on Iran. Further, as Juan Cole and others have pointed out, India has gone to great lengths to import Iranian oil. Iran is not likely to want to endanger that relationship with bombing adventures.

      We will need further reports to figure out what actually happened--if we ever find out. What stands out for me is that Iranian involvement in the bombings appears less likely than other scenarios.

  • Ret'd. CIA Official Alleges Bush White House Used Agency to "Get" Cole
    • This should be investigated. And it is apparent that you were indeed speaking uncomfortable truths, as far as the Bush administration was concerned.

  • Hundreds of Thousands of Arabs Protest their Governments
    • "The middle class, successfully distracted by racial and religious hatreds and by attempts to impose patriarchal fundamentalism, was wreathed in vapid smiles as the billionaires sent movers to their homes to pick up the belongings they had just fleeced from them via their enforcers, the tea baggers.

      As Americans rushed to surrender their constitutional rights..."

      Most people I know have been disgusted by the charade going on in Washington. And those I know seem to be representative of the general population--there have been a number of polls showing that Americans want more spending on essential government services, not less, that a solid majority oppose the cuts being pushed by the Republicans.

      While the political establishment is certainly worthy of our scorn at this juncture, the really striking thing is how the feel they can get away with ignoring the opinions of the majority of their constituents. It speaks volumes about how corrupted by money and other factors our electoral system has become.

  • Looking for PETN, Scanning Grandma at the Airport, and the Future of Air Travel
    • Paul Craig Roberts wrote the following on Op Ed News:

      If Americans were more thoughtful and less gullible, they might wonder why all the emphasis on transportation when there are so many soft targets. Shopping centers, for example. If there were enough terrorists in America to justify the existence of Homeland Security, bombs would be going off round the clock in shopping malls in every state. The effect would be far more terrifying than blowing up an airliner.

      Indeed, if terrorists want to attack air travelers, they never need to board an airplane. All they need to do is to join the throngs of passengers waiting to go through the TSA scanners and set off their bombs. The TSA has conveniently assembled the targets.

      If Al Qaeda was really the type of organization that our government claims it is, it would not be fooling around with these unsuccessful attempts at trying to blow up airplanes. Roberts makes this point in his article, very eloquently:

      Think about it. Would a terror organization capable of outwitting all 16 US intelligence agencies, all intelligence agencies of US allies including Israel's Mossad, the National Security Council, NORAD, air traffic control, the Pentagon, and airport security four times in one hour put its unrivaled prestige at risk with improbable shoe bombs, shampoo bombs, and underwear bombs?

      After success in destroying the World Trade Center and blowing up part of the Pentagon, it is an extraordinary comedown to go after a mere airliner. Would a person who gains fame by knocking out the world heavyweight boxing champion make himself a laughing stock by taking lunch money from school boys?

      I encourage everyone to read all of Robert's article--it really nails how improbable the "Great War On Terror" has become.

  • Update on German Terrorist Plot
    • "Not everyone is as gullible as George W. Bush and fringe terrorist groups should be dealt with quietly and effectively, not with big multi-trillion dollar wars."

      I agree with the second part of your statement--that fringe terrorist groups are indeed more on the scale of a law enforcement problem and should be dealt with accordingly. However, I disagree with the first part of your statement that Bush was gullible and fooled by Al Qaeda. On the contrary, the September 11th attacks allowed him to do exactly what he wanted to do. We know that Bush was seeking a reason to invade Iraq from the first days of his administration. This information has been in the public domain for some time, as in the testimony of Bush Treasury Secretary Paul O'Neil, as reported by Ron Suskind:

      "Suskind says O'Neill and other White House insiders he interviewed gave him documents that show that in the first three months of 2001, the administration was looking at military options for removing Saddam Hussein from power and planning for the aftermath of Saddam's downfall -- including post-war contingencies like peacekeeping troops, war crimes tribunals and the future of Iraq's oil.

      "There are memos," Suskind tells Stahl, "One of them marked 'secret' says 'Plan for Post-Saddam Iraq.'"

      As for attacking Afghanistan, there is also plenty of evidence that the U.S. government had plans for doing that well before the 9/11 attacks. Again, I don't see anything gullible about Bush's reaction. It was all about great power politics, oil, etc. The 9/11 attacks enabled a host of policies that were already in the pipeline, only awaiting the proper conditions for implementation.

  • Toll in Quetta Bombing Rises to 65
    • In reply to Warren Metzler:

      I do not know the specifics of the Quetta bombing situation, so I cannot comment in detail on it. However, I will address your comment, "I fail to grasp where a foreign intelligence service is going to get someone to carry out a suicide bombing for what is just a “mess up the enemy’s social structure” objective."

      When viewing events that could be "false flag" attacks, it always helps to ask, "who benefits?" From the viewpoint of a major power, having a weak, chaotic social structure in a particular country may be beneficial, as it may prevent an organized opposition to the major power from forming in that country, or may in other ways be seen as beneficial to the instigator. For example, it is well known that the U.S. has supported militant groups who have committed violent acts in Iran, with the objective of destabilizing that regime. This is a direct example of a foreign intelligence service (the CIA) supporting violence so as to “mess up the enemy’s social structure”.

      U.S. policy in Iraq could be cited as an overt example of following a policy of instigating chaos--by dismantling Saddam's army shortly after our invasion, we practically guaranteed that Iraq would become chaotic. From the point of view of the welfare of the Iraqi people, this did not make sense. However, it did result in a long period of dependence on the U.S. presence, guaranteeing that we would control those things that were important to us, such as Iraq's oil resources.

  • Walthen: I saw 100 Dolphins in the Oil, some Dying
    • This video is horrifying. It should be shown on national news programs every night, so that we Americans will understand the price we pay for oil.

  • Public Souring on the Afghanistan War
    • Mr. Moore, you wrote:

      " 9/11 showed that a poor, failed state could provide a safe haven for a dedicated terrorist organization to plan, finance, recruit, train, and manage a large scale attack on the US mainland."

      If that were actually the case, I would have to respect your argument. However, according to official sources, the 9/11 attacks were largely planned and organized in Germany and Florida. Some financial support may have come from Pakistan. Of course, the alleged perpetrators were largely Saudi Arabian, with an Egyptian (Mohammed Atta) leading...or so goes the official story.

      It should be clear that, in today's international world, terrorist attacks can be planned and implemented from almost anywhere. If looking for a country with the support and resources for implementing such attacks, it would be hard to do worse than Afghanistan, a country with large areas devoid of modern communication and transportation infrastructure. Sure, it's a good place to hide, but in order to DO anything in the rest of the world, you have to get out of there, travel, communicate, etc.

      Meanwhile, we are pursuing our war there, and a good deal of the resources that we pour into this war actually end up in the hands of locals who are fighting against us---weapons, money, etc. According to recent news reports, we are essentially helping to fund the insurgency. Doing this, while simultaneously propping up the Karzai government--rightly viewed as weak and corrupt by a large portion of Afghans--is just about the most counterproductive thing we could do, if greater security and an end to the war are objectives. It is past time that we admit that this "problem" is not susceptible to military solution, and get our troops out of there.

    • Billy Glad wants to know: "...what you think will happen if we come home". Of course no one can predict exactly, but a few things seem obvious:

      - Hamid Karzai's government will either come to an accommodation with the Taliban, or it will fall--possibly very quickly.

      - As there is not a strong central government in Afghanistan, there will probably continue to be conflict between various factions of Afghan society. If the current version of the Taliban can keep its act together, many people will turn to them for the stability they could provide to at least part of the country.

      - In the short term, we will benefit from not having our troops killed, and from not throwing money into a bottomless pit. Long term, we will see if our elites can avoid ginning up another war to waste our blood and treasure on.

      As our immediate security does not (and probably never did) depend on what goes on in Afghanistan, I do not see any dire consequences in that sphere if we pull out our troops and bring them home.

    • Juan, you wrote:
      "Nearly half in the Rasmussen poll also say that they think Afghanistan is very important to US security and over 80% think it is at least somewhat important. It is hard to understand how the fifth poorest country in the world, a virtual failed state, can pose a security threat to the United States. I presume this sentiment is the long arm of the September 11 attacks, though that operation was carried out by a small transnational terrorist group consisting of non-Afghans, not by the country of Afghanistan."

      You are on to something here that is very important. The "long arm" of the September 11 attacks has been distorting our politics constantly, since those attacks occurred. Indeed, it is possible to argue that we would not be in Afghanistan at all, if not for the 9/11 attacks. I refer you to this article on that subject by David Ray Griffin. A short quote from the article:

      "There are many other questions that have been, and should be, asked about this war, but in this essay, I focus on only one: Did the 9/11 attacks justify the war in Afghanistan?

      This question has thus far been considered off-limits, not to be raised in polite company, and certainly not in the mainstream media. It has been permissible, to be sure, to ask whether the war during the past several years has been justified by those attacks so many years ago. But one has not been allowed to ask whether the original invasion was justified by the 9/11 attacks."

      Griffin goes on to consider the question in an article that is very well researched (dozens of footnotes). I strongly recommend that you read it.

  • Police: Shahzad has no Links to Taliban; Clinton Remarks Produce Firestorm in Pakistan
    • I think Secretary Clinton's remarks are largely for domestic consumption. For the U.S. to publicly threaten Pakistan over this inept "car bombing" makes no sense at all. At the very least, we would want their cooperation in investigating any possible links, which we are not likely to obtain with threats. Hence, Clinton's threat only makes sense as political theater, aimed at the U.S. public.

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