I was browsing through my news feed yesterday morning when I ran across a story about the US bombing a wedding in Afghanistan. I thought something like “Jeez, again?”* and didn’t click through for the full story because it was so familiar. Now I can’t find it, but I think it said 30 dead. . . . → Read More: Routine carnage in Boston
Army Sgt. 1st Class Tyrone C. Marshall Jr. doesn’t say what sounds “close-air support overhead” resembles, probably on the assumption that his audience, readers of the American Forces Press Service, do not need a description. He does say that the sounds “are often referred to as “the sounds of freedom,”” although he doesn’t say . . . → Read More: From Newtown to Kabul, the sounds of freedom
The invasion of Afghanistan and the overthrow of Libya’s Qaddafi are supposed by liberal interventionists to have been good wars. Most of them have by now had their fill of Afghanistan and want out, but getting out is likely to be a nightmare. The Libyan adventure is still quite popular, when it is remembered, but is well on the way to becoming a classic case study in blowback. A recent story in Foreign Affairs magazine, the house organ of the Council on Foreign Relations, named some of the harsh consequences of the war for nearby countries and Libya herself.
First, there are the weapons: The neighborhood, especially Algeria, Mauritania, and Niger, was always uneasy about Libya’s civil war. Many feared that it would pry the lid off Tripoli’s sizeable weapons cache and lead to the dispersal of arms across the region. It turns out that they were right to be worried. Then, there is the money: Locating Libya’s financial assets after the war has been another complicated matter. Members of Qaddafi’s inner circle who know where the money is stashed are missing or unidentifiable. Basically, billions of dollars might wind up in the hands of individuals who could use the cash to sponsor terrorism or otherwise destabilize Libya. And finally, there are the refugees: Tens of thousands of Africans, no longer welcome in Libya, returned home this year. Besides the fact that many of them are ripe for jihadi infiltration, they will further strain the region’s weak economies. Already, food security is becoming a major issue and famine looms.
Continue reading The good wars: Libya metastasizes and Afghanistan has a cobra snake for a necktie
The law is a ass, and it wants to see yours. Watch what you think; don’t think it out loud; don’t think it in the vicinity of a marijuana dispensary. Good news: the one candidate who can truly unite Americans of all political stripes has jumped into the race.
In a decision supported by the Obama administration, the Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that security services can strip search anyone they arrest even when they have no reason to think the search is necessary. Given the latitude police have to determine probable cause for arrests, the ruling licenses police to arrest and subject anyone to a strip search for no particular reason.
In his dissent to the ruling, Justice Stephen Bryer paraphrased the language of the Geneva Conventions, which prohibit “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment.” Breyer described unwarranted strip searches as an “affront to human diginity.”
Continue reading Bad things your mad dog government has got up to lately; the Unity Candidate arrives
Like as not we’re now fighting three generations of Taliban in Afghanistan. Can we hold on long enough to make it four? Yes We Can!
The Department of Homeland Security just extended an ammunition contract for up to 450 million .40 caliber hollow-point rounds. That works out to something like 150 15-round clips for every DHS employee, including the IT guys. So don’t ask them to reboot the internet when your browser locks up.
Other countries actually attempt to hold people accountable for torture and stuff, even when it was on our dime. Novel!
Continue reading Ain’t gonna study war … oh, never mind. Plus: torture inquiries! (Not here, of course.)
I haven’t seen any right-wing conspiracy theories yet about how George Zimmerman was set up by ___________ to kill Trayvon Martin so that ____________, and I’m somewhat surprised by that. My bet with myself was that somebody would blame the anti-gun crowd, as in, “They knew he was a loose cannon and they set him up to kill the gangster so they could attack our right to bear arms.”
I would like to note that so far this century, US government employees salaried by you and me, dear reader—well, not me, exactly but all for one and so on—have violently destroyed, degraded, uprooted or otherwise disrupted the lives of millions and millions of people who live (or lived, as may be) in other countries and never did you or me or those government employees a lick of harm. And the spasm has nowhere near run its course. No need to internalize that, of course, as what would that accomplish?
Somebody somewhere remarked on some right-wing person’s assignment of blame for widespread drug use to hippies and liberals of the 1960s, which reminded me that a while back I found this trove of 1950s New York Times stories on drug use.
Continue reading Drugs, guns and money, plus: was Zimmerman set up? Plus: Blogs on Parade
The latest scam spam in my inbox is a letter from a high-ranking official of the International Monetary Fund telling me to deal only with him in recovering my money from Nigeria. What is it with Nigeria?
Okay, so the war in Iraq is over, according to Obama. This is because the Iraqis rejected his energetic pleas to let him keep some troops in the country—”Okay, not 30,000. How about 10,000? 5? 3500? Okay, fine, we’re leaving, but don’t blame me if we have to come back in with guns a-blazing …”—rather than observing the exit plan humorously agreed upon by the Bush administration.
But even with that we’re not leaving, not if you count the 16,000-strong crowd manning the murder holes in the State Department’s gigantic downtown Baghdad bunker. By way of comparison, that’s almost as many people as staff every other US embassy in the world combined, minus Afghanistan.
Continue reading The IMF wants me, plus, Iraq Who?
This country is in trouble. Our economy is on life support; our foreign policy is on autopilot and there are mountains dead ahead. What the country needs now is a proven winner, an economic innovator, a foreign policy genius, a man who knows how to more or less end pointless and interminable wars.
Now more than ever, that man is Richard Milhous Nixon.
Continue reading Tanned, resurrected and ready: Nixon’s the One in 2012
All of your woes can be traced to that one moment of missed opportunity.
President Obama said the day of the 9/11 anniversary that in the decade following the 9/11 attacks, Americans have preserved our values and our character. He’s right. America’s history is of a whiny, over-privileged, self-aggrandizing and self-victimizing bully, and the decade since 9/11 has been clarifying.
Continue reading If you really loved America, you would have died on 9/11
The New York Times editorial board chooses the not-quite-successful-yet six-month effort to kill Muammar Gaddafi or chase him out of Libya as an occasion to scold our NATO friends; Barack Obama runs recent history in Iraq and Afghanistan through the scrubber; David Ignatius gives Tom Friedman a run for the money.
In an editorial entitled “NATO’s Teachable Moment“, the Times editors decry the degree to which the UK and France had to rely on the US to fill gaps in the NATO supply of munitions and accessories such as AWACs (Airborne Warning And Control System) aircraft during the six-month campaign against Libya. It is evidence, they say, that those countries are overly and unfairly reliant on the US war machine.
They also resurrect former US secretary of war Bob Gates’s hilarious warning that NATO countries “risked becoming militarily irrelevant unless they stepped up investment in their forces and equipment.”
To Gates and the editorial board, that’s a shameful future. But I ask you: could there possibly be any more cheerful fate in this day and age than to become militarily irrelevant?
Continue reading Today, we are all cheese-eating surrender monkeys