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zonemaster

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Member since: Mon Sep 28, 2015, 12:41 PM
Number of posts: 187

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The patient was terminal... an Afghanistan analogy

When I first heard that we'd be pulling out of Afghanistan, I thought - Oh, no - here we go again. Just like Syria for Obama: as much as it often sucks to stay engaged on the world stage, the second Daddy's not in the room, there's a power vacuum, all kinds of unhygienic riff-raff gets sucked into the void, then the place descends into septic chaos. Chaos when it comes to societal upheaval is never going to be easy on the mind nor the soul, especially when the attendant heart-rending scenes are the MSM's oxygen - that which gives them the next news-cycle's worth of life, during which they monitor their ratings, and adjust and collect their advertising fees.

Time's passed since Obama's Syria decision - an eternity in US politics and literal eternity for many Syrians, sadly - but for the vast majority of the US populace, Obama's disengagement and all of its tragic consequences were just a blip - another not-especially-resonant moment on the decades-long US intervention timeline. Eternal fodder for partisan jackasses, but not much else. Sad commentary.

Afghanistan was different, obviously. It took shape as a direct part of the "Yer either withus 'r againus" response to the terrorist attacks of 9/11/2001. The shocked and seething U.S. cowboyed-up and descended into Afghanistan to snuff out Bin Laden and Al Qaeda (rightly), and put the hurt on their enablers, the Taliban. G.W. Bush was the first to get a taste of how risky it was to rely on the loyalty of the locals when the we tried to farm-out the last measure of Bin Laden's pursuit and apprehension to some Afghani warlords, who promptly took the money and ran in Tora Bora, so to speak, allowing Bin Laden to escape to Pakistan after an earth-shattering bombing campaign and an ever-tightening noose conducted by U.S. Special Forces. Well - with the mighty U.S. military machine all warmed up, deployed, and no quarry in sight, G.W. the marionette was posed to look like he thought it was a good idea to take a crack at nation-building, being manipulated as he was by the deft hands of the Threevil Puppeteers Cheney, Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz.

Trying to get a completely fractured nation that had been fighting among itself for centuries to suddenly 'come to its Western senses', uniformly grab its bootstraps, pull its million pieces into a suitably functional whole - to the point of democratic self-governance - in the time span of less than many decades (and that, even if everything went right) - was a exercise in naked, megalomanic hubris. Though there were brief and encouraging moments of hope along the way, the reality - noted periodically and inconveniently by various parties within the military and intelligence communities - was that building this particular nation would always be a Sisyphean task - even when supervised, assisted and bankrolled by the most powerful nation on earth and its health-careless taxpayers.

So, with the above as background, I present my insignificant analogy on the momentous Afghanistan pull-out. In times like these, with complex events taking place, I often try to conjure a model to help me put things in perspective - to render and superimpose them - in order to make them more understandable, despite all of the visceral baggage obscuring the fundamental realities. That said, I believe Afghanistan, with respect to the nation-building goal, was always a terminal patient. The U.S. went to Afghanistan to remove a cancer from the pancreas. Obama eventually found it and removed it from the brain, over in Pakistan. Like the hopeful people that we are, we tried to 'save' the disease-riddled patient - get it to the point of democratic health that it could stand on its own, ambulate, and take its place as a respected, contributing member to the world society. During that time we attempted a brain transplant, a heart and lung transplant, a kidney transplant. Soldiers and civilians died doing it. Still, the moment the oxygen flow was reduced, or even just threatened to be reduced, the patient faded - it was never going to be able to come off of life support.

Death is death. When you're the one keeping the patient alive, it's always uglier to have their final journey start because that moment, that decision - you own. You could keep the patient alive indefinitely if you would just stay the course, keeping the blood and treasure flowing until time's end. As has been made abundantly clear by the Taliban's stunning rate of territorial re-capture, the nation-building patient is gravely ill, and has always been too sick to survive - from Day 1, twenty years ago. Many of those who believed the dream, those who sweat, toiled and risked their lives to achieve it, are going to lash out at whomever pulls the plug - that's understandable. The Republican opportunists and Monday-Morning Policy Quarterbacks - of course. But the plug was always going to have to be pulled by someone with fortitude, eventually. That wasn't going to be Trump. By telling the Taliban that our military would certainly be leaving by X date, and allowing several thousand of their fanatical members to be released from detention (including the new national leader, BTW), the deal was 1000% sealed. Death it would be. In effect, Trump gave the cancer patient a few packs of smokes and some BBQ, then giggled at the happy, tinkling sound of the can he kicked down the road. What he did, likely without realizing it - certainly not the importance of it - was to help make sure that the coup de gras would have to be painfully executed on the next President's watch.

Watching the death of an animal is bad enough. Of a loved one, substantially worse. Knowing that the US leaving Afghanistan is going to cause immeasurable amounts of anxiety, despair, torture and death as the result of its pull-out? It sears the very soul - and the shocking videos of the chaos only burn it in more deeply. Though the exact circumstances and specific events of the final chapter could never have been predicted, it is a fact that the story's outcome had been unalterably defined as soon as we signed up for nation building in a region which was so completely unsuited for such an endeavor in this epoch. The only variable was when the reality could no longer be ignored.





BTW - there's been a lot of good writing on DU about this topic, and lots of useful links to other able writers who help put things in perspective. Some of these sources have helped bring into focus various bits of my perceptions of the Afghanistan situation. Thanks to all.

Put anti-COVID-vaxxers into their own risk pool

Insurance companies can give 3 more months for those remaining hold-outs who are able to get the vaccine. After that, crank their rates up by 30% to cover not only these members' increased risk, but to cover the risk that they'll help breed an even more potent variant that will bring down other policy holders and significantly impact the insurance companies' bottom lines.

Maybe Trump told McQarthy the mob was Antifa because that was part of the Qoup script...

... and with Kevin "I-think-there-are-2-people-Putin-pays" McQarthy's response, that it was "your [Trump's] people", he was now most-certainly off-script.

Congress might want to subpoena talking heads from a few propagandist news orgs, like Fox, Newsmax and OANN, to find out how and when they got the word to start blaming Antifa. Those roles and instructions may have been handed out before January 6th. I wouldn't put it past them, and it sure would be nice to roll up those 3 POS networks more directly in this seditious clusterf*ck.

Outing the Proud Boys leader as a snitch could be a very useful tool...

whether he is a snitch, or not. I'm not saying he isn't, but it'd be a helluva weapon to be wielded by the Feds - kind of like tossing a psychological grenade into their ultra-paranoid and conspiracy-loving group. Just hold a press conference and say the head MAGAt instigator of any of these groups has been a long-time informant, or something akin to that. Lord knows it doesn't take these followers much to blow even the slightest potential threat all out of proportion. Won't be many of them that'll give the leader the benefit of the doubt, and that weapon could probably be effectively used again and again, without much dilution of effectiveness; too risky to assume the Feds are just playing a game.

A couple of other interesting effects:

1) If you're lucky enough to be the sacrificial lamb, you instantly become a target of your own crazy compatriots and may beg to be held in custody for your own safety.

2) Everybody else in the group freaks at the possibility of there being even more informants, and of being given up by literally everyone else.

Attendance at club meet-ups is likely to fall precipitously, and you make the already-spooked members even more wary about joining a new one. Pretty effective way to decapitate the group by leveraging its members own psychological weaknesses. Sounds like a fun experiment.


Hey Chuck Schumer: 'Bout time to haul in Paul Ryan and Kevin McCarthy to get to the bottom of this:

“There’s two people I think Putin pays: Rohrabacher and Trump,” [Kevin] McCarthy (R-Calif.) said, according to a recording of the June 15, 2016, exchange, which was listened to and verified by The Washington Post. Rep. Dana Rohrabacher is a Californian Republican known in Congress as a fervent defender of Putin and Russia.

House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) immediately interjected, stopping the conversation from further exploring McCarthy’s assertion, and swore the Republicans present to secrecy.

.........

Some of the lawmakers laughed at McCarthy’s comment. Then McCarthy quickly added: “Swear to God.”

Ryan instructed his Republican lieutenants to keep the conversation private, saying: “No leaks. . . . This is how we know we’re a real family here.”



Might just be they key to a whole Pandora's Box of reasons explaining the logic-defying, anti-American fealty to Putin's agenda by the Republicans over the last 4+ years.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/house-majority-leader-to-colleagues-in-2016-i-think-putin-pays-trump/2017/05/17/515f6f8a-3aff-11e7-8854-21f359183e8c_story.html

WTTW - You don't bring flex-cuffs (zip ties) to a 1st Amendment Protest

You don't bring them to a riot.
You don't bring them to a simple tour of the Capitol Building.

They have no purpose cached in a backpack as you get-off at an aggrieved and inciting Trump speech beforehand.

They're for detaining people. I'm sure that those who had them weren't planning on detaining any misbehaving Hate-triots, because the whole premise was misbehavior and mischief. And for some, it was confrontation, detention, violence - against people who were a) working in the Capitol, b) not sufficiently Trump-aligned. No guess who belongs in the intersection of that Venn diagram.

Some of these folks also brought weapons, wore body armor, knew unpublished locations of offices of specific Congressional members. None of that stuff is necessary for attending a 1st Amendment protest, as the DoD is calling it. They were there to either overpower and do harm to members of our country's Congressional representation, impede and influence the result of the Electoral process, or both. These are felonies.

All of these people were not simple trespassers, but direct participants, or accessories to, a destructive, armed, violent and murderous insurrection against the Government of the United States, as dis-organized as it may have been, and should be treated as such. Don't charge them with something light and release them on their own recognizance; over-charge them and let some judge or prosecutor winnow down the charges later. Lock them up, or they'll be back sooner than you think. Maybe in another 10 days, or so. If they were deranged enough to attempt this, the true-believers among them are probably not especially discouraged.

Hey, Susan Collins! What exactly was that "big lesson" that Trump learned...

when you voted to acquit Trump and not remove him from office? Just wondering.

Got yourself a pretty big ball of twine to untangle, now. Oh - and then there's this whole pandemic thing you might want to look into. Tremendous number of citizens dying - bigly!

Thy basket runneth over...

.

"Yeah, democracy ain't so fun when it f*cks you, huh?"

"Fine, let’s take a vote. Who wants fish for dinner?...Yeah, democracy ain’t so fun when it fucks you, huh?”

- Sam Halpern, the revered and immortal comic / dad of "Sh*t My Dad Says" fame.

How's the Milli-Mega MAGAt March Goin'?

Has it grown past the deci-milli-mega stage yet? Read that King MAGAt did a drive-by on the way to cheating himself at golf, and the roadside cultists swooned.

These people always talk like their adherents are so fired-up and numbers so colossal, that their various assemblies will be able to be seen from outer space. Never seems to happen, though, once most of them figure out they'd actually have get off their asses and travel somewhere that keeps themselves away from Fox News and their keyboards for more than an hour.
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