Friday – ROTD 2

The second Friday “Revolution Of The Day” posting.

First one is here:

http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2011/02/19/friday-rotd/

No News is Good News?:

Saudi Arabia – Announced a $37 Billion Dollar bribe economic program to buy off help its citizens find jobs and buy houses.

Turkey - complaining about protests in Bahrain, but not much else. Kurds may be wondering what to do next. See “Iraq” below…

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/n.php?n=turkey-uneasy-over-incidents-in-bahrain-2011-02-18

Syria - The innocent will be beaten…

http://m.neontommy.com/news/2011/02/current-state-syria

In an effort to squash nationwide protests in their infancy, Syrian President Bashar al-Asad clamped down hard on peaceful protests earlier this week, enlisting street-clothed police to beat and arrest demonstrators.

Fourteen people were arrested and several beaten by street-clothed Syrian officers on Tuesday, following a sit-in of roughly 200 people outside the Libyan embassy in Damascus
[...]
On Feb 28, however, 1,500 angry Syrians spontaneously took to the streets of Damascus for three hours after witnessing a police beating. The video can be viewed below.

Lebanon - They have been protesting various things for a few months now Mostly a Hezbollah candidate for PM. Lately some Syrian actions have been protested.

Kuwait - They had 30 folks injured in a 19 Jan 2011 protest

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41676934/ns/world_news-mideast/n_africa/

KUWAIT — Thirty people were wounded in Friday’s clashes in Kuwait between security forces and stateless Arabs demanding citizenship, security sources said on Saturday.
[...]
The stateless Arabs, long-time residents of Kuwait known as bedoun from the Arabic “bedoun jinsiyya” (without nationality), were demanding citizenship, free education, free healthcare and jobs, benefits available to Kuwaiti nationals.

Ah the joys of those “Free” “Social Benefits”… isn’t it nice how they bring peace to the world?…

United Arab Emirates - Up to their eyeballs in money and a collection of independent kings, the only thing happening is a protest by Libyans there about what is happening at home.

Qatar - A WikiLeaks page says a Facebook page is up calling for a protest against corruption. Most folks seem too busy enjoying the money to protest it…

Oman – Per UPI protests are peaceful and asking for more money.

Morocco – CNN says they had a mostly peaceful protest by 37,000 people, but a few dead bodies were found laying around afterwards…

Eritria - BBC says they are protesting the UN sanctions placed on it for backing Somalian pirates…

Failed States Floundering

Somalia - Which see… Some pirates killed 4 folks on a Yacht 200 miles off the coast, so the US killed some pirates and captured another batch (15 or so) and are now shopping for where to have a trial… I’d suggest ‘trial by ordeal’. Tie a rock on them and toss them overboard. The ones that float are guilty. Hey, if it was good enough for the Pilgrims…

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/02/22/501364/main20034691.shtml

Voted for Partition – A problem?

Sudan - OK, the Christians are tired of Muslims beating them up but will it go well as the partition happens?

Oh, violent protests put down by government force…

According to numerous news reports, Sudanese security forces responded to the largely peaceful protests with tear gas and beatings with water pipes and sticks, reportedly causing one student’s death. A handful of human rights groups have also reported on a large number of arrests – 113 at one point, according to the Africa Center for Justice and Peace Studies. More alarming are the many individuals that remain in detention, with no communication to the outside and no rights guaranteed under Sudanese law.

Supressed Problems:

Indonesia - Where Papuans continue to want independence

Pakistan - Where our CIA Spy / Diplomat killed a couple of muggers so now the Pakistanis are cranky. Hey, everyone knows that all the diplomats are just a pack of spies anyway, so what’s the problem? They always get diplomatic immunity… but now the Pakistan Government has a problem. If they had just handed him over immediately, they could have played dumb after the fact. Now they get to piss off most of their citizens OR act in accordance with international law…

War In Progress – Foreign Powers Involved.

Iraq - Protests about Kurds not being allowed to have Kurdistan while only 23 killed in protests where others just want the water and lights to work, and maybe get a job

My, but I’m so happy we are involved in keeping the peace there… /sarcoff>

Afghanistan - While we continue “keeping the peace” in Afghanistan too in our own “special” way:

(Reuters) – Violence in Afghanistan will rise this year from the record levels seen in 2010, the top U.S. military officer said on Wednesday.

The prediction by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, signals an escalation in the nearly decade-old conflict even as the United States prepares to start withdrawing troops in July.

July looks so far away from the middle of a long cold winter…

Civil War in Progress

Libya - Anderson Cooper continues to have good coverage with the present focus being on Libya. Like this bit about how the USA is seen from an inside Libya point of view.

George in this comment found some interesting suggestions (still not confirmed) that the USA, Britain, and France have joined the party on the side of the Revolutionaries (who just happen to be occupying the oil fields..)

http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=78009

Islamabad—The United States, Britain and France have sent several hundred “defence advisors” to train and support the anti-Gadhafi forces in oil-rich Eastern Libya where “rebels armed groups” have apparently taken over.

According to an exclusive report confirmed by a Libyan diplomat in the region “the three Western states have landed their “special forces troops in Cyrinacia and are now setting up their bases and training centres” to reinforce the rebel forces who are resisting pro-Qaddafi forces in several adjoining areas.

While the Army Times only says that the USA and EU are thinking of sanctions… Why actually do anything that would depose / kill a dictator when you can punish all the oppressed people instead?

U.S., EU threaten Libya with sanctions
By Angela Doland – The Associated Press
Posted : Wednesday Feb 23, 2011 15:07:44 EST

PARIS — The United States and the European Union vowed Wednesday to consider sanctions against Libya for Moammar Gadhafi’s fierce crackdown on protesters, with the EU calling the attacks possible “crimes against humanity.”

“The continuing brutal and bloody repression against the Libyan civilian population is revolting,” French President Nicolas Sarkozy said in a statement Wednesday, raising the possibility of cutting off all economic and business ties between the EU and Libya. “The international community cannot remain a spectator to these massive violations of human rights.”

Though the folks in Malta are ‘aware’ of British Special Forces who are just there to help with the evacuations… you know, it’s very important to have folks trained in covert insurgency warfare to run an evacuation boat…

http://www.maltatoday.com.mt/news/libya/uk-special-forces-in-malta-for-libya-evacuations

NATIONAL Friday, February 25, 2011
UK special forces in Malta for Libya evacuations

The Maltese government “is aware” of British special forces in Malta on stand-by for more Libya evacuations, reliable sources have told MaltaToday.

Earlier press reports of the SAS (Special Air Service) troops holed up in a hotel in Malta generated a flurry of concern from government officials, who are conscious of appearing to be hosting foreign forces for military intervention.

While Malta is constitutionally a neutral country, Libya happens to be the guarantor of this neutrality along with Italy.

Sources said that a previous decision announced in the British press to have the SAS poised for action in the Libya evacuations, had been met with concern by high government officials.

Two Royal Airforce Chinook helicopters landed this afternoon at Malta International Airport, and are noted as being ideal for rescuing oil workers in deserted oil fields and the “insertion of special forces.”

The Daily Telegraph also reported Thursday that special forces “were on the ground in Tripoli to ensure the evacuation of all British nationals went smoothly. SAS officers offered support and advice to private security firms drafted in to rescue more than 170 oil workers stranded in remote desert compounds.”

While the USA says we are “over the horizon” ….. ‘Somewhere, over the rainbow…’

http://m.state.gov/md157173.htm

MR. CROWLEY: Without getting – without stepping on the Pentagon’s toes, we also had some military assets over the horizon that, if the situation was concerning in any way, we had options available. But as Pat said, we did get cooperation from every element of this operation except for the weather. And we did not feel at any time that the people on the ferry were in any other danger than anyone who was currently in Tripoli at the moment.

Given that the folks in Tripoli were being gunned down in the streets by the hundreds or thousands, I’m sure that was a great comfort to know…

Revolution – Interim Government:

Tunisia - Tunisians are protesting their brand new interim government. Since the old one left, I guess this is the only one left to protest…

Thousands of demonstrators gathered in downtown Tunis to call for the replacement of the interim government, marking the second day of protests in the North African country despite a ban on rallies.

Tunisia has been under a state of emergency since a popular uprising last month forced President Zine al-Abedine Ben Ali to flee.

Marchers shouted slogans such as ‘Leave!’ and ‘We don’t want the friends of Ben Ali!’ as security forces carrying automatic rifles watched, but did not intervene.

Egypt - Egyptians, too, want their new government to leave like the old government…

Egypt

Tens of thousands of Egyptian protesters gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square on Friday, calling for the removal of their interim government and an end to the country’s notorious 30-year-old emergency law.

GlobalPost’s Jon Jensen reports from Cairo that the peaceful demonstration in Tahrir came just one day after violent protests in Maadi, an upscale suburb just south of Egypt’s capital. Hundreds of protesters occupied a square in Maadi on Thursday, torching two security vehicles following a police shooting of a microbus driver there, Jensen wrote.

The new wave of demonstrations comes just two weeks after the ouster of Egypt’s former president, Hosni Mubarak, placing new pressure on the country’s new military leadership to enact greater political reforms.

Egypt’s military — which took power following Mubarak’s resignation on Feb. 11 — has been struggling to restore calm and order following weeks of protests and strikes in the Arab world’s largest nation.

Much of the anger on Friday was directed squarely at Mubarak holdovers in Egypt’s new cabinet, specifically Prime Minister Ahmed Shafik, a top ally of the former president.

“We will stay here until Shafik leaves,” said Hatem Amin, 34, an activist protester. “He is a part of the old regime, and just as corrupt as Mubarak.”

Tune in next week for the protests of the interim replacement interim substitute temporary government committee…

On Deck:

Bahrain - Gee, the Voice Of America has a web page…

Anti-government protests in Bahrain have reached the one-week mark, and despite a lull in violence, there seems to be no end in sight to the country’s political unrest
[...]
Whether to engage in dialogue with the government is not the only issue dividing demonstrators. There also doesn’t seem to be consensus on what they want from the government.

At the start of the week, protesters were calling for more rights and equalities and for the prime minister to resign. But since the deadly crackdown, many people, such as Salman Ali, have also started chanting for the ouster of the royal family.

Yemen - A nice ABC summary of Iraq and Yemen activity, with the usual protests and riots and a few killed:

Meanwhile, vast crowds took to the streets across Yemen after weekly Muslim prayers to demand veteran president Ali Abdullah Saleh step down in mass protests that left one killed and 22 injured in clashes with police.

In the capital, tens of thousands of protesters poured into a main square near Sanaa University chanting “Out, out!” and “God bears witness to your acts, Abdullah,” a correspondent reported.

Anyone I forgot?

Conclusions?

You must be kidding? Conclusions to violence in the area? It’s only been 1400 years or so… Oh, you meant conclusions about the violence…

Well, this week we’ve not had a country completely fall, though Libya has only Tripoli left under government control. So there’s still time to place your bets…. Libya / Yemen or ???

Oil has spiked up (and is unlikely to drop any time soon). Gold has a new run underway (and will likely continue… say you are a nice Arab Dictator… you’ve seen Swiss Banks rapidly freeze assets. Time to put some tons of gold on ships at sea under Panamanian Flags with your own special guards… ) and since revolts mean questionable national currencies, some goods will be transacted in gold too.

OK, so maybe it’s a silly thing, but this just looks like a wall to wall mess to me. We have a load of folks who all want to fight with each other and kill each other. Standing in between them is not a very smart place to be. I could see a “no fly” zone over Libya, but frankly, I’m tired of paying for cleaning up other folks messes. How about we let the EU handle this one. It’s all in their back yard anyway.

Frankly, I’d even be happy if the Chinese went in and fixed it. They would buy all the oil, ship it to China, refine it, and we could just buy the gasoline from them (bypassing the US EPA / Interior stupidity). Sure, it would ping a little (being sub spec on “octane”) and would likely cause early engine failure, but at least we would have gasoline and it would likely be cheaper…

If we can’t run the world right, maybe it’s time to let someone with more “attitude” take a crack at it.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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89 Responses to Friday – ROTD 2

  1. R. de Haan says:

    “Frankly, I’d even be happy if the Chinese went in and fixed it. They would buy all the oil, ship it to China, refine it, and we could just buy the gasoline from them (bypassing the US EPA / Interior stupidity). Sure, it would ping a little (being sub spec on “octane”) and would likely cause early engine failure, but at least we would have gasoline and it would likely be cheaper…”

    You’re a dangerous man E.M. Smith, the entire proposal is not only dangerous but unrealistic.
    Here’s why:

    1. It would take the Chinese years to create the refinery capacity to serve the entire Western markets.

    2. Markets that already have become a liability for China since imports of Chinese products both in Europe and the USA are in decline. Expanding the imports petrol chemical end products would increase the liability for the Chinese and boost the US/EU Trade deficits. There are also a few practical aspects to the outsourcing of petrol chemical industry to China.

    3. It’s not only gasoline and diesel we need from oil. There is also the petrol chemical industry responsible for products from paint to resins, from medicine to textiles, from plastics to pesticides to aircraft deicing gel. Besides that, logistic costs transporting the refinery end products and half fabricats take place at ever increasing costs.

    4. Oil transport with tankers is relative safe.
    But the transport risks go up the moment we start transporting the end products.

    5. Besides that, if we bypass EPA (and the crazy lot that runs the EU) we lose a big motivation to fight the Climate doctrine and the current political establshment. They only have to announce an import ban to down our economies. We don’t want to surrender without a fight won’t we?

    6. If China is stepping into the role policing the world
    it won’t take long before we all speak chinese.
    And that won’t happen on a voluntary basis.

    In the mean time the high oil prices will accelerate the ever expanding crises of the West. (we probably would take China with us if we fail)
    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-2011-tipping-points

    The way out of a crises always has been war on a big scale and it won’t be any different this time.
    (Unless Americans and Europeans have become suicidal)

    Besides that, it’s not only Libya with 2% of the worlds oil output that has scared the markets.
    - Biggest refinery Iraq attacked
    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/27/world/middleeast/27iraq.html
    - Tensions between Saudi Arabia and Iran on the rise
    http://www.cnbc.com/id/41618981
    - Israel vigilant when Syria and Iran announce joint
    Naval Exercise exchanging staff.
    Why should they do that, I wondered?
    Maybe it has something to do with the Russians delivering cruise missiles to Syria?
    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/russia-to-sell-anti-ship-rockets-to-syria-1.345838
    Iran has promised to wipe Israel of the map and I think they will keep their word.
    The sum of all the recent events point to acceleration of conflict with EU and USA leaders unable to meet the growing challenges.
    But what’s new here?

    The prelude of WWII was shaped by the likes of peace loving nuts like Chamberlain and American Isolationism.
    Chamberlain left office the day Hitler invaded the Netherlands May 10th 1940 and the USA entered the second WW after the Japanese Navy attacked Pearl Harbor December 7th 1941.
    Britain was ruled by a war cabinet and the American public became entirely focused on killing Japs and Nazi’s.

    As the first calls for impeachment of Nobama can be heard within the political arena,
    http://www.newsmax.com/Headline/Gingrich-Obama-Constitutional-Crisis/2011/02/25/id/387455 I think the current events will rapidly change our political landscape and we will soon turn our economies into the war industry mode, an impossible step without our refineries.

    This decade won’t be the decade for Nobel Peace Prize laureates to lead the World.

  2. bruce says:

    If we can’t run the world right, maybe it’s time to let someone with more “attitude” take a crack at it.
    I like that thought.

    We are not the only country in history to have a dearth of excellent leaders. Not that I am saying anything about current conditions. Specifically, I was thinking early England, but any country will do.

    There wouldn’t be a majority of Americans who would agree with any action. Other than keep gas prices down/ blame the oil companies. In other words America is not, really never has, been willing to impose its will meaningfully, unless our back is against the wall. The current condition with all its harm that could arise from it doesn’t equate with that level of fail.

    So, I suggest this is an evolutionary point, we scramble to a new state or subsist. Windmills and solar, neat as they be, are not ground moving and we need mountain moving power (and leaders) at the moment.

    Maybe this position will put America into Nuclear power once and for all. I know, oil is not power but power makes oil less important.

  3. pyromancer76 says:

    Ron, I know you have many reasonable arguments, many that I have agreed with for many years. But now I am thinking: enough already. Britain and Europe have been able to develop “socialistic democracies” because they have been protected by our tax dollars paying a huge military. Now I don’t want our military reduced; I want it strengthened with real defensive, and if necessary, offensive weaponry. Then they turned to AGW in a big way to keep the gravy train — our tax dollars — running.

    What we need is all-out development of our own natural energy resources and all the affluence that comes from this. Let us be an example to the world and stay out of messes where there is only the proverbial snowball’s chance of our doing anything. How much democracy did we really encourage as we paid off dictator after dictator and refused to take any stands to make governments workable for their people — with OUR money?

    I think we need to stand back, develop, develop at home, use that affluence, not debt, to support those goverments that have or are moving toward representative democracy. After this is accomplished, then we can play “real policitic” (sp).

    I like EM’s mentioning 1400 years — that’s an ominous number. One that should tell us to get our own house in order.

  4. mitchel44 says:

    For what it’s worth here in Canada, I keep my Member of Parliament apprised of my thoughts, many of which mirror some of the ideas expressed here.

    A recent e-mail.

    “from
    to Greg Kerr MP
    cc harpes@parl.gc.ca
    date Tue, Feb 22, 2011 at 5:57 PM
    subject Confrontations and Uprisings Across the Arab World
    mailed-by gmail.com

    hide details Feb 22 (3 days ago)

    Mr Kerr,

    I don’t expect that Canadian opinion matters all that much to the majority of Muslim dominated nations currently dealing with various levels of violent change, so my expectations are that any statements made by Mr Harper will be for national level consumption only.

    I do wonder though why the United Nations has taken no action, or issued any statements, or called any of those nations to task for the violence taking place daily on the news? Where is the leadership from that organization? Is the Security Council not in emergency session regarding this obvious threat to worldwide peace and security? What about the obvious human rights violations taking place, where are the statements from Human Rights Council?

    Suffice to say, if it was Israel acting in such a fashion towards protesters inside their own borders, the UN’s condemnation would be on the front page of every newspaper in the western world.

    It is time to commence a draw-down of our commitment to the United Nations, much like the League of Nations before it, it has failed in it’s purpose.

    The concept of international cooperation will not work when there are obviously differing levels of oversight by those charged as the “International Watchdog”, including an enforcement of standards across nations that is guided by ethnic and religious ideals, rather than the belief that the citizens of all nations, regardless of location, deserve the same level of treatment and respect.

    Be a leader on the international stage, initiate a movement away from the UN.

    The democratic world requires a new direction, where the only voices heard reflect the will of the citizens of the country, not the whim of a hereditary despot, or tyrant, or failed communist dictatorship.”

  5. R. de Haan says:

    pyromancer76

    I don’t agree with your views.

    The USA had a primary interest supporting Europe’s development during the Cold War. Although the US support of Europe was more based on military interests
    (to build a second front against the USSR it payed off on an economical basis big time as Europe has been the biggest US export market for decades.
    Without the European market the success of the US economy would have been much smaller.

    Both EU and US today have been infected with the AGW scam introduced by the Globalist and we bothe have to shake off their political doctrine.
    We are in the same boat.

    How much the American people long for a period without military interventions, this is not the right time to retreat.

    There is no alternative to maintain our Western Civilization which i.m.o includes Israel.

    The events currently underway will provide us with the opportunity to kick out the Globalists and their failed policies. That will allow us to develop our own energy resources. But we can’t leave the outcome of the current conflicts to China, Russia, Iran, Turkey or the Islamic World.

    We have to stay in the game and on the ball.

    If not we will be forced to play their game.

    From a military point of view that’s an extremely bad proposition because any military knows it’s a sin to loose the initiative because losing the initiative is one step to defeat.

    No, we haven’t won WWII and the Cold War for nothing and it would be totally irresponsible not to address the upcoming challenges. I.M.O it is our duty.

    During WWII and the Cold War we outnumbered our enemies, be it NAZI Germany, be it the USSR.

    This time we are outnumbered on all fronts.

    There is one other big difference.
    During WWII only the Japanese forces undertook suicide missions and during the Cold War the MAD doctrine of Mutual Assured Destruction only worked because the Russians, Americans and Europeans were not suicidal.

    The Iranian fanatics however who have sworn to destroy us, they believe it is an honor to become a Martyr, dying in a mushroom cloud because that’s the only way to receive the 12th Imam. That leaves us with one single alternative. We have to prevent them to access nuclear capability at any price and if they do, we have to destroy destroy them, if we like it or not.
    If we don’t, I guarantee you, they will destroy us.

    It’s as simple as that.

    We can rest and continue to develop our Western civilization if we have finished the job now in front of us.

    If you think about our options for three minutes, you will know that I’m right.

  6. R. de Haan says:

    “I like EM’s mentioning 1400 years — that’s an ominous number. One that should tell us to get our own house in order”.

    Me too. It tells us we have to get our house in order and to stop them as they too have this ultimate dream of going global.
    For all this time they haven’t changed their objectives.
    That makes them one of the most persevering people in the world. Together with the Jews who have not only resisted them all these years but who also resisted the onsets of NAZI ideologies which was not rooted in the Islamic Religion and centuries of progroms in Russia and Europe.

    We don’t want to go back to those times do we?

    I’m just asking because both the Global Environmentalists as the Islamists have planned to role back our civilization to Medieval times.

    Or do you think it’s just coincidence that the current US and EU establishment seems to be married to the Radical Mosque builders?

  7. E.M.Smith says:

    @R de Haan:

    I know it’s unrealistic and dangerous. So is letting the Chinese make all our appliances, clothing, and buy all the mineral rights around the world….

    But, again quite frankly, I think it is LESS dangerous than STILL not doing anything to make our own gasoline and Diesel while shutting down our oil fields and indulging in fantasies about wind driven cars; WHILE spending all our lives and treasure to defend foreign oil: That in the end is going to be sold to China and the EU anyway.

    Look at the Middle East and North Africa oil flows. GIANT arrows run to the EU and ever larger ones toward China.

    Let those at the end of the arrows defend.

    It will take China about 5 years to build whatever it can make a boat load of money from building. It will take 10 to 15 years for the USA to get anything done. The reality, though, is that the refining is being built in the producer countries. (Think of all those “young Arabs without jobs in revolt” and ask “what would employ them?”…)

    BTW, the trend to overseas refining is already underway. More products are being shipped in place of crude. Oh, and there are huge flows of Diesel from the USA to EU and Gasoline from the EU to the USA as our mix of vehicles is of opposite Diesel bias. No Problem.

    Oh, and since the “plastic crap” is now largely of Chinese origin, having them make the plastic is the next step in the vertical integration. That’s going to happen in any case.

    In the USA we use natural gas for plastics, so the impact on oil or the impact of oil is minimal.

    Oh, and clearly Trade Deficits are of no interest to anyone in Washington DC… why should they care about a little more. Just put it on the Chinese Credit Card with everything else… It’s not like we’d last long if they shut off our supply of clothes, and just about every other manufactured item…

    Yes, this is somewhat “tongue in cheek” but only a little. It’s the path we ARE taking anyway, at least we can avoid paying for the defense of it in blood and treasure. Besides, maybe THEN someone would notice how ideotic we are on the rest of the China policies…

    @Bruce:

    Oil and electricity are increasingly fungible. Coal and oil are entirely fungible with CTL… We have lots of coal…

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    Per the Pyromancer76 / R de Haan exchange:

    When Europe was a bunch of tiny little war torn impoverished countries at the end of W.W.II with a giant (US Supplied during W.W.II btw) USSR predator on it’s doorstep it was important for the USA to “take the lead” in it’s defense.

    Now, not so much.

    I’m absolutely fed up with playing the old EU game of “Here, we’ve got a major military problem… Oh Yoo Hoo, USA!!! We’ll hold your coat while you go fight this guy we don’t like.”

    If the French and Germans want Lybian oil so badly, let THEIR kids go die for it and let THEIR economies pay the 12% or so Military Tax.

    Not interested? NOT MY PROBLEM

    Now, I’d not mind at all sending a token 1% or so force as a show of “support” for our NATO allies… kind of like they do now for us…

    And frankly, if the world goes to hell in a handbasket, I think simply having two very nice large oceans and a decent control of our borders would be better for us than playing global cop. At least then we’d survive as a place from which freedom could return. As it is now, we’re just making ourselves a prime target and joining the destruction.

    Not that anyone would ever change toward that policy. Not a chance in hell. But I can dream, can’t I …

  9. George says:

    The Chinese are reaching a point where they have an interest in the stability of the region. It will be interesting to see how they react.

    Sanctions are a passive-aggressive act taken by politicians to appear to be doing something without actually doing anything. 50 years of sanctions on Cuba and North Korea have only impoverished the people and have resulted in no change in government. Sanctions do not ever work. Their only hope is that the sanctions can cause the people to overturn the government, but that process is already underway in Libya so what would be the point?

    This is exactly the sort of mission that Special Forces was designed for and by Special Forces I mean the Green Berets. They are designed to train indigenous forces to fight for themselves though they haven’t been used in that role much over the past few decades.

    We need to act and we need to get on the right side of this. Sitting around doing nothing and posturing for the cameras will ensure that both sides hate us. Sometimes I believe that is the long term goal of this administration. They are following the Carter doctrine of “run away fast”. That didn’t gain us any friends in Iran or in Nicaragua.

    If we are going to act, though, it probably needs to be covert. If we are overt in our actions, what happens when the people of Saudi Arabia rise up? Will they expect us to go in there, too? As much as Obama wants to keep us out of it, he comes off acting like a Ferengi. The message being telegraphed is that we can’t help Gaddafi without looking like we are propping up a dictator and we can’t help the people without making the other dictators we are propping up nervous. So Obama looks paralyzed and limited to rhetorical responses only.

    Has anyone seen any ads lately with a good price on “backbone”? I think I should like to send some to Washington, DC.

  10. R. de Haan says:

    “I’m absolutely fed up with playing the old EU game of “Here, we’ve got a major military problem… Oh Yoo Hoo, USA!!! We’ll hold your coat while you go fight this guy we don’t like.””

    Come on E. M. Smith.
    Get from your high horse and don’t act as if we haven’t paid a price for US control of our military.

    Our entire defense industry has been transformed in goose step with the US Military Industrial Complex.

    All the technology that was developed here (and I am not talking about the German technology) was transferred to to US.
    Entire defense projects have been halted on US order and finished oversees, all patents were immediately transferred into US patents under US control.
    By the way, he same goes for the Canadians, the Aussi’s and the Japanese.

    Almost 80% of our military equipment in use is from USA and we didn’t get it for free, we paid the full price. Hell, Lockheed even paid bribes to our corrupt Prince Bernard to get the F-104 Starfighter sold to the Dutch Air Force.
    And as we did, we also paid our share for the French adventures in Indo China before the US stepped in.

    Just looking at the contributions of the Netherlands, they have been engaged in almost every military operation from the US and the UN after the second World War and we did more than our fair share calculated by our population, from the Korean War to Iraq. We have been in Cambodia, Lebanon, Kosovo, Srebenica and Afghanistan, always together with the US. Vietnam, Grenada and Panama were not on our list but that’s only because we haven’t been invited, but had you asked, I am sure we would have been there too.
    I too served with our Air Force on the border with Eastern Germany during the Cold War together with the US Air Force (US controlled the nukes on the missiles we were playing with) but you never heard us complaining.

    I haven’t asked for the low life and the traitors we have in our Government today but we better get rid of them ASAP to get our hands free to clean up the mess they have left us (and going to leave us with).

    As for policing the world E. M. Smith, there is no other World Powers available to take on that job except for the crooks we should be policing in the first place. So unless you want Obama and the UN solve future conflicts by sending out an army of lawyers you better get used to it. It’s called destiny.
    You know it and I know it.

    So for the time being don’t blame us for having this useless bunch called the EU Commission and I won’t blame you for having a heck like Nobama for President.

  11. George says:

    And Europe leans a little more to the right after elections in Ireland. Next up, Estonia in March, Finland and Iceland in April.

  12. George says:

    Looks like Gaddafi might have found his mercenary pilots:

    http://globalvoicesonline.org/2011/02/24/serbia-reactions-to-the-story-of-serbian-mercenaries-in-libya/

    According to a Maltese blog Malta CC, Serbian military pilots reportedly took part in the bombing of protesters in the Libyan cities of Tripoli and Benghazi. This claim was made public after two Libyan pilots fled to Malta, refusing to bomb their fellow citizens participating in the Libya uprising.

  13. Tim Clark says:

    Has anyone but me noticed that most of these newscasts, regardless of the country, usually start with something similar to:
    [.....] meanwhile, vast crowds took to the streets across Yemen after weekly Muslim prayers.

    The mess in Egypt erupted after friday night prayers.

    Nothing like an ignorant, fire breathing mullah to raise the uneducated masses to fever pitch.

  14. R. de Haan says:

    George
    And Europe leans a little more to the right after elections in Ireland. Next up, Estonia in March, Finland and Iceland in April.

    Yes George, the Socialists are loosing their base but the right that won the elections in the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark isn’t really the right. It’s a bunch of cloaked Eurofiles completely focussed on their future careers with the EU and the UN.
    People know what to expect when they elect Socialists into office or a President who promises ‘Change” But politicians from the right who offer an anti EU agenda but make pro EU decisions when elected into office are the real traitors. I don’t know too much about Estonia, Finland and Iceland.

    All I know is that Iceland is not an EU member but have the intention to become one.
    The Icelanders don’t know what they are buying into

    Voting cheats into office is the biggest risk we have to avoid in the next US Presidential elections.

    And it’s the biggest risk we have to avoid during the elections in Spain, France, Germany and Italy which currently is ruled by the Mafia.

    Unfortunately France and Germany have signed a coalition agreement and joined ranks to produce more EU, more debt and eventually a guaranteed big fail.

    To be honest I can’t wait for the day the EU collapses.
    And I can’t wait for the day we stop our cooperation with the UN and their army of Non Profits.

    There is no organization that is more corrupt than the UN.

  15. kuhnkat says:

    Just wondered if anyone else noticed the phrase …took to the streets after prayer… or similar, popping up a lot.

  16. Sera says:

    “The connection between this latest round of uprisings and the prior protests throughout Europe is one the mainstream media is not making. We are witnessing a decentralized global rebellion against Neo-Liberal economic imperialism. While each national uprising has its own internal characteristics, each one, at its core, is about the rising costs of living and lack of financial opportunity and security. ”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-analysis-global-insurrection-against-neo-liberal-economic-domination-and-coming-a

  17. George says:

    “There is no organization that is more corrupt than the UN.”

    One of the problems is that people seem to have been indoctrinated with the notion that the UN is some sort of government. It isn’t. Nobody votes for delegates to the UN, they are appointed and most are appointed by despots of various sorts.

    The UN is not a legislative body, they are a diplomatic body. They are a cherry assignment that leaders give to political cronies to employ their friends and family.

  18. Malaga View says:

    @ R. de Haan
    … the right that won the elections in the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark isn’t really the right. It’s a bunch of cloaked Eurofiles completely focussed on their future careers with the EU and the UN.

    Thats about it… I can’t tell the difference between Left and Right… the government always wins… taxes go up… freedoms go down… basically a two ring circus… i think it is called the death of politics… where individuals are accidented and nations are terrorised into acceptance…

  19. Sera says:

    “There is no organization that is more corrupt than the UN.”

    What about the Federal Reserve and its Satanchairperson?

  20. You are an economist, so you can tell us what could it be the goal of this global revolution, with global markets,etc.: Is it the “optimization of markets “, where a big global buying middle class is the final state to achieve, or is it just anything else, because in the meantime many assets have changed its owners, which, by the same token, are becoming less in number.

  21. R. de Haan says:

    Sera
    “The connection between this latest round of uprisings and the prior protests throughout Europe is one the mainstream media is not making. We are witnessing a decentralized global rebellion against Neo-Liberal economic imperialism. While each national uprising has its own internal characteristics, each one, at its core, is about the rising costs of living and lack of financial opportunity and security. ”

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-analysis-global-insurrection-against-neo-liberal-economic-domination-and-coming-a

    Sera, with all due respect but I am not buying that explanation.

    From the first day Obama arrived in Office the Movements.org organization has been involved with organizing the riots that currently engulf NA, the Middle East an Asia.
    http://www.movements.org/

    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/protests-spread-vietnam

    They started with a budget of 20 million US dollar and last month received another 25 million.

    That’s a lot of money to teach opposition leaders to organize protests making use of Social Media like Face Book.

    The downfall of the US dollar, thanks to Obama policies and the bio fuel scam that send food prices sky high are jeopardizing the survival of 1.5 billion of the poorest people on the planet.

    This is not a Neo Liberal Agenda which is executed, it is the Green Agenda.

    http://green-agenda.com

    In short, destruction of the West, establishment of a Global Government, reduction of World population.

    Read the chapter of the First World Revolution.

    It’s as simple as that.

    It takes a march of 2 million people to the White House, US Congress, Senate and the EPA armed with Tar and Feathers to kick out the Obama and his Czars.

    If the Egyptians can deal with Mubarak in 10 day’s the American public can deal with the Obama Administration in three days.

    We should do the same with the EU Commissars and
    and the Pro Eu Governments who dissolve our military but continue to spend trillions on useless climate change measures

    The clock is ticking because the mess they are creating is getting so big that it will take three generations to clean it up.
    http://www.zerohedge.com/article/guest-post-2011-tipping-points

    As for the Middle East policies, I am extremely worried about the faith of Israel now our new found Russian ‘partners in peace and nuclear arms reduction’ have closed a contract with Syria, read Iran, Hamas, Hezbollah, to deliver their latest cruise missiles.

    They already delivered the fuel stacks for the Iran Nuclear program so a dirty war head to be delivered in the city centers of Israel quickly become the reality Israeli’s have to live with. Especially now Iranian war ships are aloud to use the Suez Canal, something that was unthinkable when Mubarak was in power.
    These cruise missiles with a range of 300 km, launched from Syria or Lebanon can’t be stopped with the current missile defense systems.

    When the Russians were irritated about the time it took for the US Senate to ratify the new nuclear arms reduction treaty they moved their short range nuclear missiles close to the European borders and closed an economic and military deal with China which included the abolishment of the dollar currency for mutual trade. Hardly a threat for the short term but a serious threat for the medium term.

    There is also Turkey that joined a ‘security treaty’ with Iran, Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and probably Egypt and Jordan if the ‘revolution’ allows them to sign this treaty.
    At the end of last year the Turks invited the Chinese Air Force to join a military exercise and Chinese war planes flew in via Iran landing on a Turkish NATO base.
    These are all indicators that point to a joint cooperation between non democratic powers against the West and Israel.

    We can no longer afford to have a radical hack like Obama in Office who is screwing up the US economy,
    and foreign politics that will turn Israel into a shovel ready mass grave and triggers the biggest famine
    in the history of human kind.

    Neo Liberal Imperialism? I don’t think so.

    @ George
    George
    “There is no organization that is more corrupt than the UN.”

    One of the problems is that people seem to have been indoctrinated with the notion that the UN is some sort of government. It isn’t. Nobody votes for delegates to the UN, they are appointed and most are appointed by despots of various sorts.

    The UN is not a legislative body, they are a diplomatic body. They are a cherry assignment that leaders give to political cronies to employ their friends and family.

    Please read Chapter 21 of the UN, now signed by almost every country on the planet.
    Look at the power transfer from Europe and the US
    to the UN, look at the IPCC and the IMF.

    These activities go far beyond a cherry assignments to political cronies.

    As for the democratic aspects of the UN, the word voting, representation and democracy can’t be found in their vocabulary. Think totalitarian and please read the http://green-agenda.com website for the details.

  22. R. de Haan says:

    CIVIL WAR WEEKEND…
    Anti-Gaddafi forces widen control…
    Take town 30 miles from Tripoli…
    Armed pro-gangs roll in capital…
    …shooting from ambulances
    Senators: Recognize provisional gov’t…
    Police station, state office burning in Oman town…
    Tunisia prime minister resigns…

    The most troubling headline from Drudge is the news from Oman where protesters have set fire to government buildings and a police office.

    The troubling aspect of course is the fact that Oman is an oil producing state and the fact that our economies can’t cope with a further rise of the oil prices which are now in the books for the upcoming day’s.

    High oil prices will only accelerate the crash of our economies.

    We now have a front row seat watch the remaining part of our house crash.

  23. R. de Haan says:

    Malaga View
    @ R. de Haan
    … the right that won the elections in the UK, the Netherlands and Denmark isn’t really the right. It’s a bunch of cloaked Eurofiles completely focussed on their future careers with the EU and the UN.

    Thats about it… I can’t tell the difference between Left and Right… the government always wins… taxes go up… freedoms go down… basically a two ring circus… i think it is called the death of politics… where individuals are accidented and nations are terrorised into acceptance…”

    Right, the process of eroding politics is ongoing for a long time now. Just watch Belgium that is without a government two years now, beating Iraq.

    With elected Governments in office to execute EU directives the voters are no longer represented.

    In the Netherlands the new Prime Minister was elected because he was against the Green Hobbies like wind power.
    The first step his Government made when he was elected into office was to approve a 1 billion Euro land based wind power park that absolutely nobody wants.

    Politicians can’t serve two masters and the current electorate has taken notice.

    A similar process takes place in the USA between the Federal Government and the individual States.

    In the US the States will win.

    In Europe a much harder struggle will be needed to shake off the EU bureaucratic lunacy and regain the lost freedoms.

  24. kuhnkat says:

    An excellent article on what is NOW happening in Eqypt.

    http://www.israeltoday.co.il/tabid/178/nid/22677/Default.aspx

  25. E.M.Smith says:

    Ill get back to the details of this discussion a bit later. (Right now I’m playing host to an “every Sunday” dinner party and I need to get dinner made prior to folks arriving…)

    Just two quick notes:

    The Friday Effect is simply due to the Friday “Prayers” being when marching orders are given and the folks are whipped up to a frenzy. That’s WHY I put this posting on Fridays, so we’d have a baseline for what happens from that point forward… (Saturday, Sunday “BBQ The Dictator”, Monday…)

    @Adolfo:

    IMHO, it’s nothing more than Adam Smith Wealth of Nations… paraphrase from memory: Rarely so men of means gather, even for meriment and drink, but that the talk turns to ways to reduce competition and increase profits.

    It’s simply a “cartel of the powerful” finding ways to increase their share and reduce ‘competition’ while raising their ‘profits’.

    Competition is a very messy thing. Cartels and Central Planning and Socialism are very much more “managed” and profitable… for the few in charge of the social planning…

  26. R. de Haan says:

    Without comment

  27. David says:

    British and US Special Forces are already there most likely:

    http://www.debka.com/article/20708/

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8349896/Special-forces-swoop-on-Libya-to-pull-Britons-to-safety.html

    I’m guessing they are doing more than just “rescuing” people. Also find it interesting that it is being reported (not the best source) that IRGC has bases in Libya:

    http://pajamasmedia.com/blog/breaking-iran-has-several-military-bases-in-libya/

    Iran has more involvement in the unrest than many people realize IMO. But I think they have unleashed a genie that they cannot contain. For our sake, let’s hope it takes them down with it.

    One thing I hear none of the usual pontificators commenting on is the people protesting have no “plan”. They are fed up, but they don’t necessarily want freedom, not in the liberal democracy sense at least. I think in many cases because they don’t actually know what it is. They are used to being taken care of and looked after; or told what to do, and they just want a new caretaker. Similar to what has happened in Russia.

    Most of the follow on protests have been about “give me this…” or “give me that…”. It is sad because I have heard eloquent Arabs interviewed who do understand the powers of freewill and liberty, but they appear to be in the minority. The spirit that built America was “leave me alone to succeed” and that is what helped make this country what it is, but even here that is beginning to lax.

    It was interesting to watch Frontline last week regarding Egypt.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/revolution-in-cairo/

    The young are enthusiastic and quite organized from a resistance standpoint but they have no plan for leadership. The Muslim Brotherhood does have a plan and has since 1928. It involves patience and it may have paid off. The show demonstrated there are factions in the MB but a hatred of Israel is a common bond. It also showed how “aware” they are of western media and the effort that is made not to display what I feel are their true intentions.

    I would be very nervous if I lived in Israel right now.

    I agree with most of the statements in the above posts.

    We have got to discard the AGW chain that is around our economy’s neck (not to mention neo-socialism) and devote as many resources as possible to energy production and expansion which includes coal, natural gas, and above all nuclear.

    I have a great deal of respect for EMs insight and level of intelligence but isolationism has rarely benefited the US. That being said I agree that we should not have to shoulder this mess alone and it might make sense to keep our distance until things settle down. We should engage and offer assistance when and where it makes sense but not enforce our will. Attempting to bend others to our ideals and ways always gets us in trouble. It is better to lead by example.

  28. George says:

    Please don’t quote DEBKA articles unless they are repeating someone else’s content. If it carries the words “Exclusive Report” in the dateline, it is 100% false. I have never, in all my life, ever known a *single* DEBKA exclusive report to be true. Not once. You would think they if they made stuff up they would get it right once in a while.

  29. Sera says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Glad to see another ZH reader. I don’t believe half the stuff I read there, but I do think about the other half. A lot of conspiracy theorists (there is this one commenter named Michael who blames everything on Israel and the Joos…).

    Rich people don’t riot. Poor people have nothing to lose. Poverty rates have shot up 50% globally, so there are more hungry rioters in the pool. I find this to be the most plausible explanation for the intial unrest, and the others are just copycat. As far as the neolib/neocon- they are both the same animal.

  30. In the meantime the real conspirer, Gaia, keeps on the move, to fix things her way:
    M 5.8, Bio-Bio, Chile

    Date: Monday, February 28, 2011 01:29:25 UTC
    Sunday, February 27, 2011 10:29:25 PM at epicenter
    Depth: 20.00 km (12.43 mi)

    M 4.7, offshore Bio-Bio, Chile

    Date: Monday, February 28, 2011 10:27:16 UTC
    Monday, February 28, 2011 07:27:16 AM at epicenter
    Depth: 29.40 km (18.27 mi)

  31. R. de Haan says:

    That’s Gaia producing fresh oil and natural gas Adolfo.

  32. Why not diamonds too?

  33. R. de Haan says:

    Yes Adolfo, diamonds too.

    The origin of oil:

    Also read this series of articles about the abiotic origin of oil from Jennifer Marohasy’s blog:
    http://jennifermarohasy.com/blog/index.php?s=abiotic+oil

  34. P.G. Sharrow says:

    Oil and gas is a lot more important then diamonds, unless of course, you are looking to attract one of those beach distractions. Bling Bling. ;-) pg

  35. kuhnkat says:

    Here is an interesting idea to think about. Carbon 14 has a half life of about 6,000 years. Within 1 million years there basically should be no Carbon 14 in anything that didn’t somehow penetrate from outside.

    http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/aid/v2/n1/radiocarbon-in-diamonds

    Diamonds were picked as they are extremely hard and resistant to outside intrusions so should be less likely to have been contaminated. Diamonds are found to have Carbon 14 residue giving them an average age of about 65,000 years.

    Doesn’t help my 6,000 year young earth belief, but, should make real scientists think about some of their assumptions.

  36. kuhnkat says:

    Sera,

    “Rich people don’t riot. Poor people have nothing to lose.”

    Actually one of Google’s executives was arrested and turned out to be an organizer for the demonstrations in Egypt. The initial demonstrations were students looking at little future, but, not exactly starving. The real meat in Egypt didn’t show up until the Muslim Brotherhood got involved. The gubmint was bad, but, not nearly as bad to the regular citizen as made out. The Muslim Brotherhood and other radicals bore the brunt of extreme gubmint activities.

    Actually most poor people have so little to lose they are desperate to NOT lose it!!! Revolts are typically made up of a small percentage of the population as is the gubmint and military. You can say there are lots of sympathizers, but, they don’t get on the street or take action other than assisting behind the scenes.

  37. R. de Haan says:

    You’re right Kuhnkat.
    The nuts who flew the airplanes into the World Trade Center and the Pentagon without exception came from middle class families. They had a good education and good jobs.

    The liberals want us to believe they have acted from desperation.

    The truth is that they acted to enforce a very sick and dangerous doctrine which goes beyond any civilized, say human understanding.

    The only way to deal with this is to remove it from the face of the earth.

    Unfortunately our left friends, including the Google guy lack this basic understanding.

    All the members of the new formed pact with Iran
    and all nations supporting them with arms, technology or any kind of other support should have our warm attention.

    Organizing the riots has been a huge gamble and the gamble went wrong.
    Iran already is the big winner of the riots and we are now seriously jeopardizing the continuity of our own economies.

  38. R. de Haan says:

    Carterism

  39. R. de Haan says:

    Interesting story here about Korea’s involvement in NA an ME construction.
    http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Korea/MC01Dg01.html

  40. George says:

    Carbon 14 is constantly being created due to cosmic ray bombardment.

    Cosmic rays, which contain even higher levels of energy than ultraviolet light, cause some of the atoms in the upper atmosphere to fly apart into pieces. Neutrons that come from these fragmented molecules run into other molecules. When a neutron collides into a Nitrogen 14 atom, the Nitrogen 14 turns into Carbon 14 (A proton is also produced in the reaction as can be seen in the graphic to the left.). So in this reaction, a neutron is captured by the Nitrogen Atom and a proton is released. Thus in the Nitrogen Atom, a proton is effectively converted into a neutron, which allows a Carbon to be produced.

    The “thing” is that cosmic ray bombardment is not a constant and varies with solar wind speed. It is possible, for example, that during the Maunder Minimum, carbon 14 was created at a greater rate than before or after that event. But in any case, living organisms take up the C14 in the form of CO2 and other carbon intake (grass, meat from things that eat grass, etc).

    While C14 decays at a known rate, it is produced at a variable rate.

  41. E.M.Smith says:

    OK, I’ve got a double boiler bought, and planted kale, spinach, cabbages, beets and some other stuff. We’ll see if I’m past “last frost” or if I get to run around covering everything up at the next cold spike…. “Warm is good” especially in springtime…

    Now I find I’m 41 comments behind… Well, I’ll play some ‘catch up’ and try not to do into too much depth on any one…

    @R de Haan & David:

    I’m not so much advocating “isolationist” as I’m stating “Tired of being First and Last in each event and picking up most of the tab.

    I’d be quite happy with a “last in first out, we’ll clean it up after you’ve got stuck” policy. I’m also rather fond of the notion of Fortress USA. Why send people over when we can dominate the skys and send over auto-pilot bombs? Let someone else be the “ground pounders” for a while.

    And no, it’s not the duty of our Empire. The EU has more people, more money, stonger money, more language skills, is based closer, and has every bit as diverse an economy. Your Turn. I’ll gladly hold YOUR coat and even step in to help when you get tired or start losing…

    To R. de Haan’s points in numerical order:

    1) They only need to make the ‘slack’ or ‘retirement’ amounts. We do not overnight go to zero oil pumped nor zero native capacity to refine. They are consuming about 1 Million Bbl/day more every year anyway, let them add that, and a smidge more for export. Actually not hard at all. Especially given their low hurdle of safety and environmental laws.

    Having China be “swing refiner” makes a lot of sense. To the extent we DO convert to nat gas or CTL, it is that much less “investment” for us to “write off” later.

    2 &3) As noted above, the USA uses Nat Gas for chemicals. Orthogonal issue. But, in any case, be it nat gas, coal (via the aptly named ‘synthesis gas’ or ‘producer gas’) or even trash and trees (NOT a hypothetical, in production in the USA right now) the fact is that the STUFF made with plastics and chemicals are increasingly made in China, so they will end up dominating the virtical integration space anyway. Anyone who wants to use oil for “petro” chemicals is being a bit daft anyway. It’s going to be $300 / bbl inside a decade and coal is about $20 / ton…

    Your transport argument argues for China making the chemicals, as that is where the production of stuff using those chemicals will be done…

    4) As already noted, there is a huge swap of Diesel from the USA for gasoline from the EU already. Cheaper to refine it somewhere else (Saudi is getting in on this business too) and ship Gasoline to the USA, Diesel to the EU, and avoid the double shipping. It is already safe and being done.

    5) Bypassing EPA is, IMHO, one of the best things we could do. But since it’s not up to me, it doesn’t matter. The EPA will do what it does, and industry will run away taking their money with them and not look back. That’s just the way it is. Anyone who thinks otherwise believes that Central Planning is good and works…

    6) At Barnes and Noble today I asked for “The language section”. The nice clerk asked “What Language?”. As I just wanted to look for ‘something novel’ and contemplate it, I didn’t have a language in mind, so paused looking a bit confused as the brain thought “MU!” … the clerk IMMEDIATELY said: “Chinese?”.

    People ARE learning it voluntarily.

    When I got to the section, it had the usual Spanish and French giant sections (due to our neighbors each border and our population ancestry) and… a MUCH improved Chinese section. Folks have decided they need to learn Chinese for the future.

    But in any case, China won’t “police the world” only the supply routes for commodities it wants and delivery routes for it’s products. If that just happens to BE the world, well, you could always find a way to economically compete with them….

    (In other words, the action will come as a necessary consequence of our stupid economic polices of today and if you don’t change the polices, there is not a hope in hell of changing the outcome. “War Toys” come from economic strength… )

    Iran and Syria will posture just as the USA and Taiwan posture. Besides, Syria does not want to be next on the Iranian / Hezbola / Hamas / Brotherhood shopping list…

    BTW, there have been calls for the impeachment of Obama since before he was sworn in…

    Further, per the notion of a global war needing refineries for all that OPEC crude:

    In an actual world war, there will be few supertankers left afloat after the first months. Big, slow, flamable…. perfect targets for everything from nuclear subs to rubber dingies with an RPG. If you really DO care about that scenario, then you very much want Coal To Liquids facilies built on US and EU soil and using US and EU coal.

    Frankly, anyone with a modest speed boat, about $4000, and a death wish can take out the tankers that deliver crude to Standard Oil, Shell Oil, and related in the San Pablo bay and Delta. You can’t avoid being inside a mile of them even if you try. “The Loop” off Lousianna is even easier, but I won’t talk about how, here. “That would be a bad idea”. But lets just say I could cripple imported oil with a modest sized well trained force.

    The LAST thing you want in a major global war is dependency on goods and fuel shipped in by sea. Vis England at the start of W.W.II.

    @Bruce:

    The problem with windmills, solar, nuclear, you name it for replacing oil is very simple, and always ignored:

    Fleet Change.

    We have $trillions of dollars invested in a fleet that burns oil. Transportation is something like 96% oil based, and oil is used almost 100% for transportation in the USA.

    THE OIL PROBLEM IS A TRANSPORTATION FLEET PROBLEM

    Period. Full stop. Ponder.

    Now there are only 2 decent paths out of that problem:

    1) Change the fuel SOURCE but not the form. (i.e. continue to make Diesel, Gasoline, Kerosene but from something else). This is the Gas to Liquids (GTL), Coal to Liquids (CTL), and, if I may, Trash to Liquids that I would call TTL. There are also more expensive and political dominated efforts like “ethanol” and “biodiesel” that are collectivly froms of “Food To Liquids” or, to coin again, FTL.

    This has the advantage that you need not replace or reengine all the fleet. Replacements takes about 20 to 30 years and $Trillions AND you get to avoid replacing the fuel delivery infrastruture too…. IMHO, a non-starter on both costs and lead time. Yet that is where the politicans flock…

    2) Fleet Change. Change the fleet to use “something else”. This is where folks bicker endlessly and spend untold decades screwing around and making no net progress… From Alcohol Cars ( Flex Fuel started as any of Methanol / Ethanol / Gasoline at 100% or any other mix; in the USA it died, to be replaced with “E85″ with at most 85% of Ethanol. The truely Flex Fuel cars with MeOH, EtOH, Gas cost $400 more and needed some stainless steel fuel system parts along with special motor oil. Worth it, IMHO, but not to the market).

    Hydrogen Cars fall in this bucket too. Since there are no hydrogen mines, it is more of a battery than a power souce, so does not solve the “energy problem”, just moves it to the hydrogen factory.

    E-cars move the problem to the electricity generators.

    Etc.

    In All Cases to change the fleet takes at a minum 15 to 20 years IFF we were started now and we are not started now. So if you envision an “issue” sooner than that, this is not your solution.

    Look up the service life of things like train engines, jet planes, private planes (where 1970 aircraft are still thought of as ‘young’) trains and ships at sea… then realize that the average fleet lifetime of private cars in America is now about 12 years…

    For extra credit, calculate the cost to replace. For Honors, calculate the max capacity of factories to make train engines, Giant Earth Movers, skip loaders, ships… and all the tires and propellers and even the giant Ball Bearings for them…

    It’s just not going to happen.

    So, IMHO, if anyone REALLY wanted to solve the problem, they would proceed directly to CTL / TTL / GTL. It does not matter if you want the Fleet Change solution, or not. You need this for the 20 to 30 years it will take to change the fleet over in any case…

    That we are NOT doing this speaks volumes about control and motivation…. IMHO.

    OK, I’m going to take a brief pause and be back with the next block…

  42. kuhnkat says:

    Cosmic rays do not create a lot of C14 underground.

  43. E.M.Smith says:

    @pyromancer76:

    Yup, that pretty much sums it up… If “nothing succeeds like success” we need to do more succeeding and less dumping buckets of money into the craw of crooked politicans and stagnated “social democracies”.

    Luckily, it’s no longer just us that can do this. As China is rapidly coming to dominate the world economically, they can serve as an alternative example… or employer… ;-)

    @Mitchell44:

    Well said!

    @R. de Haan:

    “We can rest and continue to develop our Western civilization if we have finished the job now in front of us.”

    We had to destroy our civilization in order to save it…

    The iPOD will do more to change the future of the Arab / Muslim worlds than any number of $Billions moved to Swiss Bank Accounts via dictators.

    Really want to win the future? Send $10 Billion worth of PDAs to the Islamic world with free service for 2 years… and distribute them to the “under 30 and unemployed” folks. Provide the service via satelite…

    BTW, just for grins, look up to whom Iraq sells it’s oil… So the USA defended the Chinese oil supply? Yeah, that was bright…

    @John F. Hultquist:

    While Wisconsin is very interesting, it’s not part of the Arab / Muslim / Middle East revolutions of the day…

    Or are you suggeting that the ROTD needs a broader scope than that?

    @George:

    Exactly right.

    BTW, the news has reports of UK and some other special forces on the ground in Libya… “rescuing people stranded on oil platforms in the desert”…. in entirely unrelated news oil is expected to continue to flow from those platforms, per the ‘resistance’ spokesman …. 8-)

    You just can’t make that kind of stuff up…

    @R. de Haan:

    Any time you’d like to have the right to tell me to get off my “high horse” you can also accept that I’ve paid for it, and it’s my right to take it home before I get off… Which is kind of the point I was making…

    And per your rant about the US buying your politicians on military gear:

    So, I take that as an endorsement of my position that the USA ought to stop spreading bribe money around the world and pull our crappy policies and influence pedaling back home. We thank you for your support…

    @George:

    What is the deal with Libya and Serbia? Same brand of what? I’m missing something…. or is it just that Serbia needs the money?

    Per the UN: Yup. I’d only add that it is dominated by corrupt scum bag governments as there are more of them in the world than anything else…

    BTW, did you see where Korea is dropping import tarifs on grains?… Need to do some ‘look see’ on productivity at that latitude and what the cold is doing… that would also imply N. Korea is in a bad way…

    @Melaga View:

    In one of the threads on how Socialism and Fascism are connected I had a rant on how “left” and “right” are broken terms. Perhaps I ought to flesh it out into a stand alone posting for reference.

    At any rate, the terms are useless. The “right” can include the likes of Kings and folks wanting to depose kings for democracies while the “left” can include Fascists like Musolini (who WAS a hard core socialist and advocated for central planning and socialism his entire life) along with communists and ‘liberal democrats’.

    Just broken terms. You are better served to use a clear axis like “advocates central planning vs markets” or “advocates for state control vs individual freedoms”.

    @Sera:

    BINGO! And that brings it back full circle to the “cold downturn after a warm run up” lead in to a social collapse. We get a very large cohort of folks who feel “entitled” having lived in good times and been lead to expect it, right as things go bad, and the politicians who were SO happy to claim “control” when things were going good are not so fond of being BBQ On A Stick for having botched their “control”… as the people see it.

    @Adofo:

    It’s pretty clear what’s up just as soon as you realize that Capitalists do not want market competition they want maximal return on capital and that happens with cartels, or with Fascist style central planning in the socialst mold. (NOT the communist one, however, where the state TAKES the capital…). If they must, they will settle for a “social democracy” where they can buy off the politicans and slime their way to control of the regulatory bodies and use them to keep the competition down.

    At that point it’s pretty clear that the “powers that be” do NOT want “individual liberty and competition” nor do they want “communism”; however “central control and ‘disciplined’ workforce” is just dandy…

    Everything else then is just elaboration…

    @Kuhnkat:

    Thanks! That’s exactly the kind of thing I was hoping to see folks do with these postings. Use them as a jumping off point to find all the interesting bits and post links to them… There is so much going on there is no way one of us can keep up on it. Were it not for that article I’d have not known that Brotherhood slime ball was being rehabbed…

  44. George says:

    “oil is expected to continue to flow from those platforms,”

    Word is China is loading a tanker in Tobruk today. China is the largest customer there. They had 30,000 workers in country and last I heard, they had 20,000 out and the balance on their way out. Libya is 3% of China’s oil imports, that is not an insignificant portion.

    China is the largest trading party in the Middle East now having surpassed the US in 2009. We aren’t going to do a think there without the OK from China.

    As for North Korea … record cold:

    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2011/02/21/dprk-experiencing-record-low-temperatures/

    Foot and Mouth:

    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2011/02/25/dprk-bans-rok-meat-again/

    Tuberculosis:

    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2011/02/21/eugene-bell-foundation-fighting-tuberculosis-in-dprk/

    General food shortages:

    http://www.nkeconwatch.com/2011/02/24/dprk-embassies-given-food-acquisition-quotas/

    Things are looking pretty grim from North Korea. They might figure they would be better off starting a war and losing. That way, if the South wins, the North wins, and the North saves “face” if they go down fighting rather than simply allowing their economy to completely collapse.

  45. George says:

    Carbon 14 can be created underground from products of radioactive decay though it would be rare.

    What I find interesting is that you can find when a deposit of uranium was formed by looking at the ratios of U238, U235, Pb 206 and Pb 207. In fact, by looking at the various isotopes of lead in a lead deposit, you can determine if it is “primordial” lead or formed from radioactive decay. Pb 208 being the product of thorium decay and Pb 204 being “primordial” stable lead you can deduce the age of rocks if they have any lead in them using the ratios of the various isotopes.

    204Pb is entirely primordial, and is thus useful for estimating the fraction of the other lead isotopes in a given sample that are also primordial (since the relative fractions of the various primordial lead isotopes is constant everywhere). Any excess lead 206, 207, and 208 is thus assumed to be radiogenic in origin, allowing various uranium and thorium dating schemes to be used to estimate the age of rocks (time since their formation).

  46. R. de Haan says:

    @ E. M. Smith
    @R. de Haan:

    “Any time you’d like to have the right to tell me to get off my “high horse” you can also accept that I’ve paid for it, and it’s my right to take it home before I get off… Which is kind of the point I was making…

    And per your rant about the US buying your politicians on military gear:

    So, I take that as an endorsement of my position that the USA ought to stop spreading bribe money around the world and pull our crappy policies and influence pedaling back home. We thank you for your support…”

    Without the objective to be offensive in anyway E. M. Smith, my intention of the “high horse” remark was only made to point out that every medal has two sides. When you persist on your claim that the USA pay’s all the bills and the USA makes all the sacrifices this is simply not true from my point of view and I think I have presented real and verifiable arguments for that.

    To wipe the arguments aside makes me think of the 2000 Hollywood movie ‘U-571′ where the US NAVY after a heroic struggle acquired the ENIGMA coding and decoding machine which changed the war in favor of the Allied Forces. This too was an incorrect representation of the facts because it was the British Navy that took hold of the ENIGMA machine and it happened even before the USA entered the war.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/U-571_(film)

    We are discussing history here and history I.M.O should be based on facts, even if it means to have your own dirty laundry hanging out to dry like our Prince Bernard (not a politician by the way) getting caught taking bribes.
    Or a US company handing out bribes.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_bribery_scandals

    The Dutch and the USA have a too long relationship, read partnership to let minor mishaps get in the way.
    We should be able to exchange opinions without being served off.

    As you speak from the view from an US citizen, I can only speak from the view of a Dutch citizen, one of the smallest countries in the world but one of the biggest USA investors.
    I can’t speak for the other countries that make up the EU despite the fact that I left the Netherlands 15 years ago.

    As a Dutch National with reasonably deep insight in our mutual history I think I am in a position to present you with the arguments why I think your view that the USA pay’s the bills and the USA makes all the sacrifices is too one sided and up to a certain level even biased. Your remark ‘We thank you for your support…..’ is pretty cynical in that perspective for the reasons I explained earlier. That’s all.

    For a fresh up the USA/Dutch relationship which goes back to the American Civil War:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Netherlands_–_United_States_relations

    As for your other remark:
    “The iPOD will do more to change the future of the Arab / Muslim worlds than any number of $Billions moved to Swiss Bank Accounts via dictators.

    Really want to win the future? Send $10 Billion worth of PDAs to the Islamic world with free service for 2 years… and distribute them to the “under 30 and unemployed” folks. Provide the service via satellite…”

    That’s exactly what “Movement.org”, ‘We Build’ http://werebuild.eu/wiki/Main_Page, The TOR Network and Google have been doing for the past years and their activities have not only been limited to the Arab World.

    Although this move to mobilize the Arab youth has been extremely effective I think it will backfire on us big time.

    “BTW, just for grins, look up to whom Iraq sells it’s oil… So the USA defended the Chinese oil supply? Yeah, that was bright…”

    With all the criticism coming from the Left inside the USA and Europe blaming Bush for the war in Iraq, the USA Government refrained from
    any oil deliveries from Iraq.
    But the deliveries to China have been and still are exploited on a financial economic level.
    Besides that the USA has maintained it’s position as NO1. Arms exporter which should be regarded as a plus point in economic terms.

    Unfortunately the Turks who can’t stand the Kurds to have control over the oil reserves in the North of Iraq, the Iranians, the Chinese and the Russians are not at all satisfied with the current situation.

    They will create a huge pile of trouble for us short term. With the Iranians being the really dangerous wild card, the Turks the biggest hypocrites on the block and the Russians, as usual, the most unreliable partners in the world with their aspiration to become the world’s biggest energy provider, I really think the current retreat of the US from the world theatre under Obama with his devastating foreign policies agenda (if you can call it an agenda), is absolutely the wrong way to go and it will accelerate conflict.

    The biggest risk we face now I.M.O is that the Americans are in the field with five minutes to go to win the match and the Championship and refuse to play ball, only because they are caving in on pressures from the freaking left.

    As I said before, these are dangerous times and the separation of the USA by the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean won’t be of any help to keep us safe.
    On the contrary.

    Not so long ago we had this ‘launch’ of an intercontinental missile of the coast of Florida which was presented as the contrail of an airliner.

    I am one of the few who still thinks it was an intercontinental ballistic missile launch.
    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/11/09/mystery-missle-launch-off-california/

    For the same money the Islamic Fascists send a ship with a nuclear device into a USA port.

    I still am convinced Bush made the right decision to invade Iraq although the execution of the operation was done by too small a number of troops and principal mistakes were made.

    The job however is only finished when we take out the crazy Mullah Regime in Iran and it’s new alliance that includes Turkey.

    If we don’t do it, they will force us anyway but at a much higher price.

    We can’t afford to create a power vacuum to be filled by countries that openly stated they will destroy Israel and the West.

  47. kuhnkat says:

    R. de Haan,

    just wanted to point out that the planning for invading Iraq took too long to get everyone’s OK. In 2002 they ended up with a new regime in Turkey that was Islamic based that would not allow the invasion across their territory leaving us with air dropping a small number of troops into the north instead of a full ground assault.

    Plans never survive contact with your allies, er, I mean the enemy!! 8>)

    http://www.theturkishtimes.com/archive/02/12_01/op_inbar.html

  48. George says:

    This one is a pretty good read:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/03/28/books/28nayl.html

    I am still reading Rumsfeld’s version of events and haven’t got to that part yet. Bush’s version is sitting on the dresser and will be next.

    From reading Cobra II what becomes clear is that Rumsfeld was not going to allow the quantity of men and material called for in the basic computerized formula developed at DoD. This forced the commanders to think outside the box and they kept paring down and paring down forces. What really screwed things up, in my opinion. was Turkey not allowing the 4th ID in from Turkey into Northern Iraq. It is my opinion that this decision by the Turks cost many Iraqi (and American, but mostly Iraqi) lives. Rumsfeld was also too quick to “offramp” men and material headed for the fight once Baghdad fell. The result was that the place was severely understaffed. Good book, I recommend it.

    Rumsfeld, according to that version, apparently thought that the Iraqis would rejoice at being liberated and their civil servants would pick right up where they left off and things would continue running with little American input. In short, the Iraqis would manage their own affairs with some reconstruction assistance from us. We didn’t anticipate the problems with the police or the army that we discovered after Saddam fell.

    We were babes in the woods when it came to tribal and religious rivalries and didn’t fully appreciate the role that Iran may want to play in all of this. That is particularly important since Najaf is the historical center of Shiite theological study and power. Since Saddam had suppressed the Shiites, this center of gravity had moved to Qom, in Iran. The Ayatollah of Najaf, Sistani, is more of a secular thinker when it comes to government than the boys of Qom are. With Najaf free from Saddam, it could be a real threat to Qom’s dominance and authority on Shiite thought globally. Sistani poses a real threat to the Ayatollahs in Iran. Should Najaf re-emerge as the center of gravity of Shiite theology, it has ramifications outside of Iran and Iraq in places like Lebanon.

    It is in Iran’s interest to see that Iraq does not stabilize or to take control of any stabilization and subordinate Najaf to Qom. That is one reason “Mookie” Sadr was put on the fast track to Ayatollahhood while he was in Iran. The boys of Qom want one of their guys in a position of power in Iraq and would like to see Sadr succeed Sistani. That would basically subordinate Najaf to Qom. Mookie’s Daddy, Grand Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadeq al-Sadr was more along the lines of the Iranian Ayatollahs and was more radical and split with Sistani.

    Anyway, I am getting away from the subject. The point is, we are probably light years more savvy about the ways of the Arab culture now than we were in 2003 and things don’t always appear to be what they are on the surface.

    That said, there is Arab culture and there is Arab culture. Each region has its own history, its own rivalries and alliances, heck, they practically have their own language.

    We probably won’t even begin to see an inkling of the impact of the Iraq liberation for another 10 years when it comes to cultural change in the region but already Iranians are starting to send their money to Najaf instead of Qom and religion is a big business in those parts and influence is measured by the money the faithful provide. Iranians are starting to vote with their wallets.

  49. E.M.Smith says:

    @R. de Haan:

    Very strange video… someone has a bizzare sense of art…

    @David:

    The one thing most on the side of liberty is that tyrants and tyrant wanna-bees so regularly underestimate the power of ‘just folks’ to screw things up for them…

    Oh, and heard on the news tonight that China had oil workers in Libya too…

    Oh, and as I’ve noted before, I’m not so much inclined to “isolationism” as I am to “you first” and recognize that the $Trillions our (USA) politicians have used to grease bastards the world over has
    a) Not got us much to show for the money.
    b) Typically been exquisitly wrong in what it did do.
    c) Is used entirely counter to our popular ethos.

    Basically, I thought they could do anything other than screw up badly with it, I might be more inclined to encourage action… but as it stands “Sit you your hands” is the best strategy I can see for now…

    A story on Freedom:

    I had a bunny who was kept in a cage. A nice cage, with food bin and fresh water. But he pined to be free, to have ‘run’ of the yard.

    So one day I let him have his freedom. I put a ramp in his doorway, tied the door open, and he could then run around 1/4 of the yard that was fenced as “his”. He enjoyed this mightly…

    Then returned up the ramp to his cage to snack and sit, nose out the door, but most of him inside where it was familiar…

    This he did to his dying day. Never to become a truely free and feral bunny. Only to become a self tending bunny with a nice cage / home where he controlled the entering and leaving. He would return to it for sleeping on the wooden platform too.

    Only with a new generation of bunnies that were raised in an underground nest did the bunnies stop returning to the cages…

    @R. de Haan:

    Oil is actually from BOTH, IMHO. Some IS made from algae in shallow anaerobic seas (such as North Sea Oil). A lot of it comes form subduction of carbonate rocks. Endless bickering comes from trying to make it one or the other; yet it’s both…

    The reason there is so much oil found in California, Saudi, and North Africa (and Indonesia) is they are all subduction zones…

    Oh God, not that exponential fantasy again… Real growth curves of living systems are S shaped, not exponentials.

    Some bug will evolve to kill us all off long before resources are an issue. (Right now there are several active in the world today…)

    My favorite example of how silly the exponential argument is comes from reality. Take the world population of about 10,000 a few hundred thousand years ago and apply your exponential to it…. the necessary conclusion is that the world is 100% made of human bodies and we’re all dead…

    Similarly, consumption of resources “doubles” only until price signals show it is becoming more scarce, then we use something else that’s more plentiful.

  50. E.M.Smith says:

    @R de Haan:

    I’ve never said the USA pays ALL and does ALL. I’ve only said I’m tired of “first in last out” and lions share of the bills.

    If you doubt that, look at total military expenditures and the USA fraction…

    Further, you will note that the only countries I’ve tossed rocks at by name are France and Germany (not Holland). So chill a bit.

    France likes to sell all the toys and make bucks off it. Germany … well… for a long time nobody really wanted Germany acting militaristic again, so I’d give ‘em a pass until about 1990… but now? Sorry, Germany want’s oil they can go defend it.

    I’ve also been careful not to finger the UK or Australia (even if the UK has the nasty habit of sending Celts in first and having them come out last… see the Highlands Regiments history…) as they have generally been proportional or more involved.

    So you are creating arguements I’ve never made (that the Dutch were slackers) then saying they are wrong. Not MY Problem.

    Again, what I’ve said: The EU is bigger than the USA now in money and population. They can do their own defending. We (the USA) ought to be available to back them up, but the “take the lead first in last out” stuff (that you clearly advocated above with your statements about us being the only ones who can do it) ought to end.

    Arguements based on what happened in W.W. II are just irrelevant. Almost as irrelevant as using Hollywood Fiction as an argument… (No, I don’t believe in “Contact” or “Aliens” nor even that John Wayne personally won W.W.II in both the European and Pacific theatres…)

    BTW, the USA / Dutch relationship goes back longer than the Civil War:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_Amsterdam

    Oh, and if you don’t like a “power vacuum” in Iraq, just join up with the German and French armies there…

    FWIW there is a Military Launch Facility on the California coast at Vandenberg AFB:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vandenberg_Air_Force_Base

    complete with facilities to launch a Space Shuttle if desired (though they have moved on to a smaller unmanned version for their uses).

    They are always launching something or other and getting “newbies” panties in a bunch over it. MANY launches are secret payloads, so good luck expecting any advance notice and / or accurate information. They also periodicaly launch various ICBMs (both existing models and new proposals) to test various things.

    Anyone who gets excited about any launch and / or contrail off the California coast just doesn’t know about the facilities here…

    @George:

    As much as I like “Rummy”, and as well as Iraq went, it’s that constant political pot stirring that makes me lean away from “adventurism”…

    Were I president and we were going into some country such as Iraq, I’d put ONE very good General in charge, and tell him I expected a weekly briefing that was not to exceed 1 hour and a weekly report not to exceed 5 pages; and would he be so kind as to tell me when I can cancel them as he’s won the war. I’d then issue a “commander in chief” order that he was given authority to disposition any force other than nuclear weapons without any further Okey-dokey from me or anyone else.

    Why?

    Because he is a trained military man and at the top of his field. I’m an amature observer who at most can provide a check on unbridled ambition or cross check on gross blunder (in case of stroke, insanity, etc.) and otherwise would be best used to just sit back and watch it on CNN…

    “A man has got to know his limitations…”

    Far too many times our Presidents think they know something about running a war when they can’t even do a decent job of running the post office…

    Oh, and on the topic of “Arab Culture” remember that Persian is an Indo-European language, not a Semitic language, and there are many non-Arabs in Iraq. (In fact, one of the major schizms is that the Sadam was of the Arab ethnicity and dominating the Kurds and the non-Arab Shiia too… There is at least a 3 (major) ways schism of language, culture, religion, and history inside Iraq and several minor (including Christians). While Arabic is widely used in the Islamic world, it’s often NOT the native language of the country. (Iran, Indonesia, and Pakistan all come to mind as examples). And Koranic Arabic is not the same as day to day Arabic of places like Egypt or Saudi. The language mapping there is, er, complex.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Iraq

    Arabic is the majority language, Kurdish is spoken by approximately 20%, South Azeri (called “Turkmen” locally) is spoken by 5% – 10% of people, the Ethnic Turcomans, Assyrian Neo-Aramaic is spoken by 3% – 5% of people, mainly Ethnic Assyrian Christians. Mandaic (and other Neo-Aramaic varieties), Shabaki, Armenian, Roma and Persian are spoken by small numbers of between 25,000 and 100,000 each. There may be a few Chechen, Georgian and speakers of other Caucasian languages also.

    Arabic, Kurdish, Persian and South Azeri are written with versions of the Arabic script, the Neo-Aramaic languages in the Syriac script and Armenian is written in the Armenian script.

    Iran is worse:

    A nice map:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Moderniranianlanguagesmap.jpg

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_Iran

    Aimaq 170,030
    Gulf Arabic 200,000
    Mesopotamian Arabic 1,200,000
    Armenian 170,800
    Ashtiani 21,099
    Assyrian Neo-Aramaic 10,00 – 20,000
    Azerbaijani language 11,200,000
    Bakhtiari 1,000,000 (350,000 are monolingual)
    Balochi, southern 405,000
    Balochi, western 451,000
    Bashkardi 7,033
    Brahui 10,000
    Dari, Zoroastrian 8,000 to 15,000
    Domari 1,338,271
    Fars, northwestern 7,500
    Fars, southwestern 7,500
    Gazi 7,033
    Georgian 60,000
    Gilaki 1,265,000
    Harzani 28,132
    Hawrami 22,948
    Hazaragi 283,000
    Karingari 17,583
    Kazakh 3,000
    Khalaj 42,108
    Kho’ini (unknown)
    Khorosani Turkic 400,000
    Khunsari 21,099
    Koroshi 180
    Kurdish, central 3,250,000
    Kurdish, northern 350,000
    Kurdish, southern 3,000,000
    Laki 1,000,000
    Luri, northern 1,500,000
    Luri, southern 875,000
    Mandaic 500
    Mazanderani 3,265,000
    Natanzi 7,033
    Nayini 7,033
    Parsi-Dari 350,000
    Pashto, southern 113,000
    Persian, western 22,500,000
    Persian, eastern 1,000,000
    Qashqa’i 1,500,000
    Semnani 21,099
    Senaya 60
    Sivandi 7,033
    Soi 7,033
    Takestani 220,000
    Talysh 112,000
    Tat, Muslim 7,000
    Turkmen 2,000,000
    Vafsi 18,000

    And we expect to have a clue how to influence them…

  51. R. de Haan says:

    Who knows the Iranians can shake of the regime themselves. They went to the streets again after two opposition leaders disappeared.
    http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=210347

  52. George says:

    Well, Rummy appeared to fall into one of the traps he seems to so fastidiously guard against others falling into and that is making assumptions about the future.

    The “things you don’t know that you don’t know” and all that.

    He was brilliant in many ways, though, and one of them was adopting the notion of a more modular Army. Rather than having divisions of fairly static configuration, the notion was to change to a “Brigade Combat Team” approach. You could then mix and match BCT “modules” to configure a force for the needs at hand. It used to be that one had to deploy and entire division to get all the required support elements. With the BCT, each brigade operates as an autonomous entity with all the support requirements it needs. So you can pull three armored and two infantry brigades if you need them and configure them into a force that fits the requirement. Or maybe you want 6 mechanized infantry and 2 air assault modules. Whatever you need is possible in that configuration even of we don’t have a “division” that is specially configured for that specific mission. You can tailor the force to the requirement. Brilliant. I am sure he didn’t think of it, but that he got behind it and pushed it so hard was pretty smart. The notion of the monolithic division was fine in the cold war days where you might have one huge army facing another, but doesn’t fit with today’s requirements where you might need a smaller force or a configuration that nobody has thought of yet.

    He was also pretty good about encouraging unorthodox approaches to things and rewarded successful applications of new ideas. This, of course, created a lot of political turmoil as the older generals with their “canned” responses to anything were being passed over for promotion by whipper-snappers who were going completely off the playbook (and succeeding).

    The military is often populated with a certain number of people who tend to stay within the box, play by the rules, keep their shoes shined, do their time and then retire. It is my experience that often (but not always) the most competent in their specialty are the ones with the scuffed boots, greasy fatigues, and needing a haircut. When those types start getting promoted ahead of the “pretty boys”, it begins to create some political backstabbing because their response is often “if I can’t advance my career the old way, I will try to sabotage yours and your new way”. Rumsfeld suffered from a bit of that.

    There is a lot of institutional inertia in the military and someone who has spent 15+ years navigating the system and playing by one set of rules that they have become quite good at managing might not take kindly to rule changes “out of the blue”.

    When someone proposes something completely unorthodox and it is adopted over the objections of their peers who are proposing a “by the book” plan and it is successful and that person gets promoted ahead them, those peers often start sniping.

  53. George says:

    As for languages and cultures, no place is a textbook case as much as Afghanistan. Afghanistan was a completely made up country. It was purposely cut out of pieces of other ethnic groups to prevent any strong national identity. It was simply a buffer zone between Russia and India (now Pakistan). So you have Uzbeks and Tajiks and Pashtuns and Hazaris and Aimaks and Turkmen and Balochis … and all of them identifying as their ethic group first without any real strong identity as “Afghan”. To “fix” Afghanistan will take three generations and what is needed is this:

    1. Pick a language (probably Dari which is sort of “Eastern Persian”). All government business to be done in this language and it will be taught as the language in all the schools.

    2. Create a national broadcast infrastructure with news, culture, and entertainment for all ages but it is all in Dari. More than anything else, this provides Uzbek kids and Pashtun kids a common cultural foundation when they grow up. They can tell jokes that reference these things and they will know what each other is talking about. Sort of like a kid from California calling something a “Mickey Mouse operation” and a kid from Maine knowing what they are talking about. This is subtle but key. Without a common language and a common culture, you aren’t going to build a country.

    3. Strengthen the borders, particularly where traditional tribal lands span those borders. The idea is to begin to reinforce the notion that they are Afgan, not Pashtun or Uzbek and that there really is a national border. Sort of like the opposite of what we are doing in the Southwestern US.

    4. Strongly promote national sports teams and widely broadcast international competitions. Again the idea is to foster a sense of a national identity. You want the kids in Herat and in Kandahar rooting for the same team.

    5. Build fast and effective lines of communications between the districts. You want goods and people mingling between the provinces. You want Uzbek boys kissing Tajik girls and marrying them.

    6. Hire labor from other provinces for local projects. Have a mine to open in Northern Afghanistan? Fine, hire a bunch of Pashtun kids to work in it. Start moving people around the country. Get them in contact with each other.

    It will take three generations to develop a national identity and create a nation state as we know it. At first the “elders” and “warlords” will resist because it dilutes their local power and influence. The first generation will experience this as controlling and oppressive. They will be naturally curious and want to explore. Many will move away and not return home. The second generation will really be the ones who start to soak up this new culture and national identity. They will be the ones who actually help to forge it. The third generation will be the ones who are actually raised in it and accept it as normal as it is all they have known.

    But if there are not fast highways and easy communications between regions and no common language and other cultural commonality, it will never change.

  54. Jason Calley says:

    @ George You are probably right that it will take three generations to build an Afghani national identity. My question is, “Why should we want to?” Why don’t we let the various people who live there fight it out (either with words, arms or canned hams for all I care) among themselves? Yes, they have natural resources which we can use, but the decision to sell or not to sell is theirs. To the best of my knowledge there is nothing that Afghanistan has that no other nation cannot supply. Is the natural right to political self-determination something that only white males of British Colonies in the Eighteenth Century had, or is it more universal?

    You are absolutely correct: Afghanistan is a made up country. Maybe the people who made it up did not know what they were doing.

    Speaking of Afghanistan, I cannot find the link to a story that Ted Rall tells about his visit there during the 1990s (after the Soviet withdrawal and fall) but I will try to accurately paraphrase the spirit of it.

    He recounts: I was talking with my host about the Soviets and how oppressive they were and was surprised to have him respond, “The Soviets? We liked the Soviets! They built schools, they put in water systems and libraries! They did more good here than anyone else who ever came!”
    “But, but..that doesn’t make sense. You were trying to KILL them, to drive them out!”
    “Well, of course. They were foreigners in our land. We had to kill them…”

    I often wonder what the average American would do if we had another nation(s) occupying our cities and streets.

  55. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “Frankly, anyone with a modest speed boat, about $4000, and a death wish can take out the tankers that deliver crude to Standard Oil, Shell Oil, and related in the San Pablo bay and Delta. You can’t avoid being inside a mile of them even if you try. “The Loop” off Lousianna is even easier, but I won’t talk about how, here. “That would be a bad idea”. But lets just say I could cripple imported oil with a modest sized well trained force.”

    Anyone who has spent even cursory thought and time knows that one, two or three people can — with the minimal outlay of a few hundred dollars — shut down any major city in the US for days or weeks. Specific targets such as LNG tankers and storage facilities are vulnerable for just a few dollars more. And yet… I have not noticed such shut downs taking place. No shut downs and yet the US borders have been essentially open to anyone who wished to walk across for decades now.

    For just a moment, forget what your TV tells you, forget what the radio says. We have had open borders for decades. Our infrastructure is unguarded and easily attacked with inexpensive techniques. What is the logical conclusion we can draw about the numbers of terrorists wishing to do damage to us?

  56. E.M.Smith says:

    @Jason Calley:

    I think it says that they like being “under cover” more than they like “completion” ;-)

    I once worked with a Muslim guy that I’m pretty certain was “under cover” from an “agency” (not ours). He was pointed about sharing that he sometimes even drank wine and liked to go to strip clubs…. So lets see. You can “party with the devil” and it’s “kosher” as the mullah said so (in service to Allah… and all that) or you can blow yourself up?

    Decisions decisions….

    His ‘cover job’ was shut down later. You never heard anyone so despirately trying to get a new job in your life ;-)

    It’s really really hard to not like “3 squares, a house, car, and entertainment”…

    @George:

    If it were up to me, I’d just dump the existing Afghanistan / Iraq / whatever borders; align them on language and cultural affinaties and call them the new (old) countries.

    Why fight that battle? Just make “Kurdistan” and be done.

    But it’s not up to me….

  57. George says:

    “Why fight that battle? Just make “Kurdistan” and be done. ”

    I came to the same conclusion a while back. Was wondering why Syria and Iran don’t collude to do something like:

    Syria and Iran invade Iraq, Iran takes the Southern part, Syria takes the Western part. The Northern part becomes Kurdestan. Iran and Syria give up their Kurdish regions to Kurdistan in exchange for keeping the Kurds out of it. Maybe they talk Turkey into giving up some token piece in exchange for keeping the Kurds there pacified.

    But that was before the Ayatollah’s went all crazy and the people began to turn on them. Such a scenario probably isn’t all that likely at this point. I was certainly expecting something like that to happen, though, during the darkest days of the Iraq insurgency.

  58. kuhnkat says:

    George,

    additionally Rummy had to deal with the same forces that everyone else has run afoul when trying to clean up the military. Larg defense contracts. I was in the Army National Guard around the time they killed off the latest mega mobile cannon. Oh, did I mention I was assigned to an artillery unit? Even though the damned things could not be shipped effectively on any of our aircraft, were going to cost billions a piece, and would probably never have a war that they would be an effective addition to, everyone in the unit and many in the gubmint were outraged that it would be cancelled.

    A lot of money evaporates that was goes to politicians’ supporters and home states when these enormous projects are cancelled. People think their pocketbook and not the efficiency or usefulness of the project. The artillery guys had been looking forward to the new toy to train on for years!!

    Rumsfeld’s rearranging priorities gored lots of Oxes in contract land. The Crusader was just one of many!!

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/ac2/wp-dyn?pagename=article&node=&contentId=A53762-2002May8&notFound=true

  59. George says:

    “My question is, “Why should we want to?” Why don’t we let the various people who live there fight it out (either with words, arms or canned hams for all I care) among themselves? ”

    For the same reason you redevelop blighted neighborhoods. These are basically “blighted countries”.

    Things are different now than they were 30 years ago. Someone sitting in a jungle in the middle of nowhere can now instantly communication with anyone else, anywhere else, at any time. 30 years ago, how far might that person have had to walk to a phone?

    A few dozen people plotting around a dinner of goat and rice managed to kill more Americans on 9/11 than the entire Japanese fleet was able to kill at Perl Harbor and Midway combined.

    We can do as you suggest and leave them up to their own devices but the cost of that is constantly patting people down, having TSA and every other three-letter agency in the government increase surveillance to the point of the ridiculous, and imposing increasingly oppressive policies, or we can actually fix the problem. So imagine there is a city with a horribly bad neighborhood but the police simply ignore it. But in all the OTHER neighborhoods they constantly stop and search people looking for a bad guy from that bad neighborhood that might be looking to cause harm somewhere else. No. You have to fix the problem, not treat the symptom.

    We should, in my personal opinion, engage them. Educate them, integrate them into the world economy. Fix the problem. At some point they will fix it themselves but they don’t have the bootstraps they need to pull themselves up. This is basically about bootstrapping a nation state.

    Before you can create a state, you have to create a nation. Right now you have the Pashtun nation. We need to create an Afghan nation.

    A couple of books that I don’t happen to agree 100% with on all counts but are certainly worth reading and do present the problem in an interesting perspective are:

    The Pentagon’s New Map: War and Peace in the Twenty-First Century

    and

    Blueprint for Action: A Future Worth Creating

    Both are by Thomas P. M. Barnett.

    If we do nothing, we will doom ourselves to constantly being attacked forever.

  60. George says:

    “I was in the Army National Guard around the time they killed off the latest mega mobile cannon.”

    I was working for a defense contractor when Sea Wolf was canceled. You should have heard the howls! Literally! I heard shouting one day and went to see what it was about. There was this one old fella just LIVID that they were going to cancel “his” program.

    Oh, well.

  61. Jason Calley says:

    @ George

    Hey George, thanks for taking the time and thought to answer my question. I did take some time to watch some videos of Mr. Barnett. As you may guess, you and I disagree deeply and strongly. Perhaps the most clear point of disagreement is your last statement: “If we do nothing, we will doom ourselves to constantly being attacked forever.”

    That is really the main point where we differ. I cannot think of one single incident where either a nation or a subnational group attacked America because we left them alone.

    Anyway, thanks for your time, but I suspect we are intrinsically at opposite ends on this.

  62. George says:

    Well, when we had been attacked by Al Qaida we had not been meddling in Afghanistan.

    If you simply ignore things until they become a problem, they can become very large problems when it comes time to deal with them. Iran is a perfect example. They are meddling in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. There are reports that they are now expanding into Venezuela. We caught an Iranian national stashing .50 caliber sniper rifles in a storage facility in Washington state a year or so ago. Iran has been at war with us ever since Carter ran away.

    We had a situation in the 18th century with the Barbary Pirates much like we have today off the coast of Somalia. Somalia is a perfect example of “national blight”. We ignore them, they keep attacking us. And the more we leave them alone, the more they will attack us because there is profit in it.

    We were in Somalia once and the military decided we had to either “go big or go home” because sitting there with a few platoons wasn’t doing squat but being a target. Clinton ran away and here we are. Those people are now operating more than 1500 miles from their shore hijacking targets of opportunity.

    Doing nothing never improves the situation and often emboldens those who would do us harm.

    But as for “deeply held” positions, not really. I am pretty capable of adapting when the situation changes.

  63. George says:

    Danish children being held by Somali pirates:

    http://english.aljazeera.net/news/europe/2011/03/20113144952550279.html

    EU’s anti-piracy naval force have said pirates were holding a total of 31 vessels and 688 hostages

    When do we reach the threshold of “doing nothing isn’t working”?

  64. E.M.Smith says:

    @George & Jason:

    I have a POV that spans both of yours. Perhaps it is a useful middle ground.

    When there is “not much to gain and lots of enmity to be created” by meddling, I choose not to meddle. That is, “do nothing” as long as there is little reason to think that “doing something” is really going to work out well and where “doing something” is highly likely to cause the other side to hate you.

    So, for example, I don’t see a lot of reason for us to start shoving our nose into the Russia / Chechin dust up nor do I see any reason for us to have gone into that whole Yugoslavia break-up (where Clinton had to have a war to make it into the history books, I guess…) Just don’t see where we had anything to gain and we certainly managed to get lots of folks to hate us.

    Most of the time being “uninteresting” to the other guy works rather well. But, sometimes they don’t catch on and deside to see if they can shake you down for lunch money or just for the fun of it.

    Now, once someone has shown they are un-interested in “live and let live” and are very interested in giving me grief, a nice little switch is thrown. You can call it the “Mama Bear” switch or the “Don’t Tread On Me” switch or the “Bullies be damned” switch or whatever. I like to think of it as the Berzerker Switch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berserker

    But once someone tosses a “punch”, it’s “open season” and you don’t go for 1/2 measures. As rapidly and completely as possible, you “end the threat”. Completely and forever if possible.

    So, I’d have taken down Somalia 100% as soon as they shot down that first chopper. Full occupation and everything if that’s what it took. Right now, were I magically President overnight, you would have a Marine Squad on every US Flagged vessile in the area and ANY ship that could be identified as a pirate vessle would be immediately sunk period. I don’t care if it is sitting in port at the time. It goes to the bottom. Any place where they sleep, eat, or exchange ransom notes “glows in the dark” or “smokes in the daylight”.

    They would have immediate and complete cessation of all shipping to and from the country. (Any non-pirate ships would be embargoed). All assets frozen and all assets of anyone doing business with them (and that includes paying ransom) to be frozen.

    None of this “proportionality” BS. Flat out domination.

    You do that once or twice and pretty quick everyone understands that it is MUCH better to leave you alone in that corner and that when you are left alone you are an ok guy …

    So, you see, I’m absolutely of the opinion that as much as humanly possible we ought to do NOTHING proactive at all to “fix the world’s problems” or go around “making the world a better place”… but there also would not be any failed state left in Somalia ( I’d have given the parts back to Ethiopia…. if they wanted it) and there would not be a whole lot of Lebanon under Arab / Muslim control at the moment either… (that whole Marine Barricks thing… but then again, I’d have not had troops there in the first place…)

    But there is one tiny little problem…

    At present, we’ve already so pissed off so much of the world by being “interventionist” that a boat load of them want to kill us.

    At this point, you can go home and play nice all you want, there will still be a generation of folks raised in Madrasses who want to kill us. Kind of stuck with that.

    And as long as that exists, we’re committed to war with it.

    And that would be pushing my Berserker Button…

    So I’m not real sure how to work our way back to “Nice Big Guy, just leave him alone and don’t cross him” from this state; as I’m pretty sure I’d be knocking down 1/2 dozen countries in short order if they didn’t clean up their act…

    FWIW, this behaviour set has seen me through a lot of tight spots (once I adopted it). I can tell you absolutely that “turn the other cheek” just gets you two busted cheeks. BUT, be pleasant and keep your nose out of other folks stuff (or let them know you don’t judge them if your nose accidently is found where it doesn’t belong) works fairly well; but only when the truely Bad Guys understand there is a Berserker Moment on tap anytime you push that little Inner Berserker Button… I have a ‘well practiced’ look of “I’m trying to decide if I need to kill you now or later…” that such folks seem to understand perfectly…

    FWIW, I think I partly came to this through Martial Arts training. You never know who out ranks you and what black belt can clean your clock, so be pleasant to all and do not pick a fight. BUT when the fight is brought to you and you can not avoid it: Win, with all you know and can do, pull no punch and do not hesitate for a moment; since to hesitate may be to die. Be “of no mind” and simply let the moment flow to completion.

    (Being “of no mind” is that state where the brain stem is running the body and the basic nervous system is taking in visuals and sending commands to movement and it all just happens… and “you” are just an observer watching from the sidelines… It’s a wonderful state. I’ve found myself having caught a glass of ‘spilling’ soda before any managed to leave the glass… and only then realizing I had done it. And other times… Not often, but enough times to know the state exists and to have it available if needed. If attacked, I know I would just “zone out” and “what will be will be”. I’ve had folks see me ‘enter the zone’ and decide to leave me alone, so something about it is visible. That is what we need at the national level…)

    Sort of a ‘trust but verify’ of force. “Be peacefully private, but murderously reactive to attack”.

    At any rate, it seems to have worked for me…

  65. George says:

    I will give another example where the UN simply enables conflict without end and that is D.R. Congo.

    Exactly what service is the UN providing there for the people of that country? They simply enable the continuation of conflict forever. How many people have died over the years there and how many would have died had the UN simply pulled out and allowed someone to “win”?

    And one final example is how we (meaning the West) stand ready to ship food into these countries where some petty despot has allowed his farming region to be destroyed by political or some other form of strife. He doesn’t care if his farmers are killed and the farms lay fallow. The UN will feed his people for him. Maybe if we didn’t “help them to death”, they would realize that they had to have some stability in their own country so they can feed themselves.

    These programs simply enable despotic rulers to terrorize their people.

  66. Jason Calley says:

    @ George and E.M.
    Of the two of you, I think that (if I understand your respective positions correctly) I am very much closer to E.M.’s views.
    First though, let me clarify two points, if I may. I think that there is a danger of falling into a false dichotomy; our choices are not merely “do nothing” and “overwhelming military force.” There is a broad range of responses available to us, individually and then collectively by governmental action up to an including the creation of self-lighted, glass, parking lots.
    Secondly, I am not a pacifist; I strongly encourage violence as a response to violent aggression. And by “violence” I think we can reasonably include “coercion”, that is, “the threat of violence.” Speaking philosophically here for a moment, the main problem with violence is not that “violence never solves anything.” The main problem is that it works so astoundingly, extraordinarily well. It works so well, over so broad a range of conditions that we are in danger of applying it to all situations, reflexively, even when it is not the only or even the best solution. We find ourselves in the position of a man with a huge hammer, a man who suddenly sees the entire world and all in it as a collection of nails. Personally, I think that every human has the right to possess the means of violence for self defense. As I say to my friends, “I support the right of every man, woman, and responsible child to buy and possess any weapon up to and including shoulder launched anti-tank or anti- aircraft missiles. And yes, George, that includes the Iranian caught with a stockpile of .50 caliber rifles – and felons who have served their sentence, and people charged with domestic violence.
    So, if I am so gung-ho-woof-woof-bark-bark, why do I have trouble with nation building in US interest? Simple; there is a profound and fundamental difference between violence in self defense and violence in aggression (or simple carelessness) against the innocent. We might also want to keep in mind the difference between simple criminal acts, sub-national acts, and governmental acts. One reason why this becomes important is that we have distinct and separate modes of dealing with these three forms of aggression.
    Unfortunately, (in my opinion), most Americans find it simpler to jump straight to the call for military action no matter what act has happen or is threatened to happen.
    So, how should this work in practice? Let’s look at an example, 9/11, and let us assume that Bin Laden is 100% guilty. First of all, we have a crime, and we have reason to suppose that we know who is responsible. The US government offers evidence and requests that Afghanistan extradite Bin Laden for trial. Afghanistan looks at the evidence and says ok, Bin Laden is taken into custody and sent to the World Court for trial. End of Bin Laden, story closed. Of course, Afghanistan might have refused to extradite, so what step next? (In fact Afghanistan and the Taliban agreed http://www.fff.org/comment/com0905c.asp but the US refused to avert a war by offering any evidence of his guilt as is required for any normal extradition.) So, if the Taliban had refused to hand him over, the US has a method of prosecuting violence against individuals and sub national groups, though admittedly it has not been invoked in a long while: Congress can issue Letters of Marque and Reprisal aimed at specific individuals or groups. I would be amazed if a ten billion dollar bounty would not have finished Bin Laden. Instead we went to war, and did not even bother to follow the laws of the US and have Congress vote on and declare war.
    The end result has been ten years of war and an unknown number of innocent dead, many, if not most of whom would have lived if we had followed both ethics and the Constitution. And Bin Laden? We never got him.
    It is ethically wrong to attack nations that have not attacked us. It is ethically wrong to wage war except as a last resort and then in a way that minimizes civilian losses. It is ethically wrong (and sheer hubris) to think that we are smart enough, good enough or (especially these days) wealthy enough to engage in nation building and thereby take people’s political future out of their own hands, shaping them toward our interests instead of theirs.
    And secondly, it does not work. Ten years, maybe a trillion dollars, loss of freedoms here at home, no habias corpus, warrantless searches and wiretaps, torture…and still no Bin Laden. We are broke, we are less free, and we are still trying to find safety by blowing up strangers. It does not work.
    In my opinion, General Butler was right. http://www.lexrex.com/enlightened/articles/warisaracket.htm

  67. Jason Calley says:

    @ George “These programs simply enable despotic rulers to terrorize their people.”

    Well, we DO in fact agree on that! :)

    Given my choice we would withdraw from the UN. I know that it gives a forum for discussion between nations, but heck, a Motel Six can do the same if the leaders were actually willing to talk.

  68. George says:

    Ten years, maybe a trillion dollars, loss of freedoms here at home, no habias corpus, warrantless searches and wiretaps, torture…and still no Bin Laden. We are broke, we are less free, and we are still trying to find safety by blowing up strangers. It does not work.

    Well, it is probably going to take closer to 60 years to “fix” Afghanistan but people want things wrapped up in one election cycle. The other problem is that they have a base of operations in Pakistan that we apparently can’t touch. I thought we learned that lesson in Viet Nam. You can not allow an enemy to operate in a border area and have a safe haven by simply popping back and forth across the border. Sure, I realize we are getting some of them from drone strikes but at some point you need to go in there and “kick butt and take names”.

    AQI did the same thing operating in Syria and infiltrating across the border into Anbar. Things get too hot, hightail it to Syria again.

    The indicator to watch is Afghanistan cement production. Once that starts to make a sustained increase, then I will say that maybe things are turning around. Everything being built there is being made with imported cement yet Afghanistan has probably more raw material for making cement than practically any country of its size on the planet. So until they start making stuff with their own raw materials, they are still simply existing on “welfare” from other countries. Simply the making of cement requires mining, transportation and energy. The cement we are importing in there should be going toward building the infrastructure required to make their own. If they are still building highways and buildings with imported cement, then we are still peeing up a rope.

  69. H.R says:

    @George (on 2 March 2011 at 10:48 am )

    “[...]
    And one final example is how we (meaning the West) stand ready to ship food into these countries where some petty despot has allowed his farming region to be destroyed by political or some other form of strife. He doesn’t care if his farmers are killed and the farms lay fallow. The UN will feed his people for him. [...]“

    And make him richer and more powerful.

    The despots use the free food to reward loyalists and withhold the food from dissenters. The loyalst do the same, often selling the food and giving a (very, very) healthy rake back to the despot.

    That’s why direct charities in these countries often find themselves harrassed, kidnapped, beaten and/or shot. The despots just want the aid dumped on their doorstep and “we’ll take care of getting it to the people.” Su-u-u-re… uh-huh… right.

  70. E.M.Smith says:

    Jason Calley

    @ George “These programs simply enable despotic rulers to terrorize their people.”

    Well, we DO in fact agree on that! :)

    Given my choice we would withdraw from the UN. I know that it gives a forum for discussion between nations, but heck, a Motel Six can do the same if the leaders were actually willing to talk.

    Oh, Jason Jason Jason… You are just SO 1970′s…

    Let them be Facebook Friends instead ;-)

    IMHO, we can replace the entire UN with a “social networking” site…

  71. kuhnkat says:

    Jason Calley,

    While I can’t say I disagree with everything in your link supporting your contention that it was all the Bush Administration’s fault for not giving the Taliban the evidence they required tor extradite Bin laden I would direct you to this statement of alledged fact:

    ” I think everyone would agree that if bin Laden had been turned over to the CIA or the Pentagon, he would have been brutally tortured, perhaps even executed, without ever being brought to trial before a fair and independent judicial tribunal.”

    If you can’t find sources a little more believable than this you need to pack it in.

    I also question your suggestion of treating the Taliban, basically a violent GANG guilty of many atrocities, as if it were a normalized government. Bad policy at the least. You must realize few countries actually recognized the Taliban as the government of Afghanistan. Bush treating them as if they WERE the government would have been an even greater mistake.

    By the way, the only real offer was to turn Bin Laden over to be tried in a tribunal under Sharia. This would have found Bin Laden guiltless as he was performing Jihad which is not just permissible but encouraged under Sharia.

  72. Jason Calley says:

    @ E.M. “Let them be Facebook Friends instead ;-)

    IMHO, we can replace the entire UN with a “social networking” site…”

    Actually, you bring up a good point, and one that I have to continually monitor myself about. We citizens commonly use a sort of verbal shorthand which causes, I think, a real problem in how we think about various nations. We often say things like “China has decided to reduce their buying of bonds,” or “Israel is our only real friend in the Middle East,” or “Canada is planning on developing new oil sources.” All three of these things (and every other similarly structured statement) are just flat out false. “China” is an abstract legal concept with no sentience and hence no ability to decide, to plan or to be a friend. Same with Israel. Same with Canada. Same with every other abstract concept. The number “three” did not decide to represent the sides of a triangle. Only a few hundred years ago, back when Kings and Queens were the norm, common speech conflated the human individuals and their roles a rulers. The King of Norway WAS “Norway.” Unfortunately, we still do the same today, we think that “China” has decided this or that when what we actually mean is that some individual person or small group of people have decided (for whatever personal reasons people always have when they act purposively) to do this or that. Nations are never friends, nations are never enemies. Look at the musical chair games of alliances and betrayals that happened just before, during and after WWII. The USSR loves Germany. The USSR hates Germany and loves the US. The US loves the USSR. The US hates the USSR. The USSR hates the US. None of this makes sense as long as we think of monolithic nations which move with long term, large scale purpose and feelings. It makes perfect sense as long as we remember that by “USSR” we meant “Stalin,” and that Germany meant “Hitler.”

    Nations are never friends, no matter how long the UN exists and not even on Facebook. Our habit of speaking in terms of “nations” too often subtly pushes us to dilute the responsibility of those individual people in charge. We humans give our leaders (political and fiscal) too much of a free reign by forgetting that peace or war, prosperity or poverty, are not just things that accidently happen, but are the results of individual people making very personal decision.

  73. Jason Calley says:

    @ kuhnkat “While I can’t say I disagree with everything in your link supporting your contention that it was all the Bush Administration’s fault for not giving the Taliban the evidence they required tor extradite ”

    I would never blame Bush — no more than I would ever blame Kermit for things that Jim Henson did.

    :) Just kidding!

    Seriously, there is enough blame to go around. It is certainly possible that had the Bush Administration followed accepted international law, that the Taliban would have failed to follow through. Of course, we have no way to know now. What we do know is that a lot of good Americans, Afghanis and Pakistanis are dead, and that we missed at least one possibilty of averting those deaths. In that sense, then yes, I certainly do blame Bush and his Administration. Kuhnkat, I don’t mean this to sound confrontational or rude, but wasn’t the Bush Administration in charge? He took the job, he cashed the paycheck, it was his responsibilty to act, not based on testosterone, but on the US Constitution, on law and prudence. I note also that I received a large number of emails from friends who blamed Clinton for 911, since “he had the opportunity to take out Bin Laden but missed it!” I guess Clinton could have blamed Bush Sr., and so on back to Carter and Brezinski, the ones who set up what became Al Qaida way back when. Obviously, the blame game is pointless. Equally obvious is the fact that the present strategy did not work. Is that so hard to admit? There was an opportunity to capture Bin Laden which was ignored, and instead we went to war in Afghanistan. The result has been almost ten years of fighting, a huge butcher’s bill and no Bin Laden, and no end in sight. The war did not work.

    You say “I would direct you to this statement of alledged fact: “I think everyone would agree – etc.”

    That is an opinion commentary. I linked to that because it gave what I think is a good and quick summary of events surrounding the Taliban’s offer. If you are sayng that no, Bin Laden would not have been tortured, i would say that other people suspected of involvment have been. http://www.theatlanticright.com/2009/04/19/khalid-sheikh-mohammed-waterboarded-183-times-one-month/

    “I also question your suggestion of treating the Taliban, basically a violent GANG guilty of many atrocities, as if it were a normalized government. ”

    Many, perhaps even most, governments are violent gangs. As years go by, I lean more and more to Rothbard’s quote that all governments “are a gang of thieves writ large.” My hope is that we here in the US may escape that. I think that our founders understood the dangers. As George Washington is reported to have said “Government is not reason, it is not eloquence — it is force! Like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. Never for a moment should it be left to irresponsible action.”

    “This would have found Bin Laden guiltless as he was performing Jihad which is not just permissible but encouraged under Sharia.”

    Maybe. Maybe not. You may be right, we can only speculate. What we do know, with certainty, is that we missed the chance to find out, and that what we did has put too many new headstones in Arlington, and still did not catch him.

  74. Jason Calley says:

    Access to information alters perception. Bahrain unrest due to Google photos.
    http://www.businessinsider.com/bahrain-google-earth-2011-3

    Peons see how much wealth the ruling class has accumulated.

  75. George says:

    Jason, it is really unfair to place the blame on one single administration as the situation is the result of actions by several. The primary blame lies, in my opinion, with the Carter administration.

    Had Carter taken a different approach with Iran, there would have been no Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. There would have been no al Qaida, there would be no Hezbollah in Lebanon, there would have been no US/French barracks bombings in Beirut. There would have probably been no first or second Gulf wars and Saddam Hussein would probably still be in power with his sons raping the local chicks and torturing the soccer team just like old times.

    Clinton had opportunity to nab OBL but decided not to.

    GHWB had opportunity to bring down Saddam but decided not to.

    A fellow named Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Carter’s national security adviser would be the “father” of al Qaida. It was his idea to arm and train religious zealots to oust the Russians and it was a perfectly logical plan at the time as that was actually the entire strategy behind creating Afghanistan in the first place. The border was purposely selected to cross through Pushtan (and other) tribal areas so that the tribes inside Afghanistan could be manipulated from inside Pakistan (then India). That way, any Russian invasion of Afghanistan could be resisted with and managed by resources inside Pakistan. Zbigy was just using the old British playbook. As the areas inside Pakistan on the border are “autonomous tribal area” there was a degree of separation where the govt of Pakistan could say they didn’t have direct control over what those people did while actually having pretty direct control over what those people did.

    What didn’t happen was a proper winding down of that whole thing after the Russians left and any sort of engagement to see that whatever government was in Afghanistan was something the people actually wanted. The result was something just about as bad as what the Russians had installed and so the Taliban decided to take the entire country. And eventually … here we are.

    Basically the whole thing is Jimmy Carter’s fault and people are still dying to this day because of his decisions in that region.

  76. George says:

    “IMHO, we can replace the entire UN with a “social networking” site…”

    And replace the Nobel Prize with a little icon you can display on your website.

  77. Jason Calley says:

    @ George “Jason, it is really unfair to place the blame on one single administration as the situation is the result of actions by several. ”

    I think you make several very good points, most of which the average person has completely forgotten as each new bit of news drives out the previous older bit. Thank goodness at least some of us remember the odd reports and various decisions which have led us to our current state. If I have given the impression of blaming any single administration while giving others a pass, then it is entirely due to poor communication on my part.

    Having said that, I repeat what I said earlier: there is enough blame to go around. Each administration has made mistakes and each should be held responsible for the decisions made and the actions taken during their time in control. I include in this the various foreign governments as well, the Pakistanis, the Taliban, the Northern Alliance, etc. The big difference is that other non-US governments do not use my labor and money to enforce their will. Clearly, the Bush Adminstration is not by any stretch of the imagination the only ones who are blameworthy. They are only responsible for what they did, just as Clinton, Carter (and now Obama) are responsible for their decisions.

    For what it is worth, (and I say this because I do not want you to think that my opinions are based on party affiliation), my criticisms of Clinton during his terms was pretty much based on the same guidelines. I expect US Presidents to obey their oath of office and to obey the provisions and restrictions of the US Constitution. Ditto for Congress and the Judiciary. None of them are shy about extracting my taxes to pay for government; I am not shy about demanding that they deliver what they have sworn to do. Unfortunately, what I see in them, are decisions made for political expediency, pork for their friends, votes for their re-election, and glowing photo-ops on the nightly news. What I do NOT see is concern for our current national interest, our future offspring, our freedom, or even our national honor.

    Yeah, I know…this is a subject that still royaly pisses me off. Actually, even that is not quite correct. I have realized for some years — ten years? — that the US Constitution is, in reality, a dead letter. Pelosi actually laughed when asked what Constitutional authority they had to pass the Health Care legislation. Ron Paul got a similar response from the Republicans when he asked for a Constitutionaly compliant Congressional vote on declaring war on Iraq. Everyone still swears to uphold and defend the Constitution, but who does? I am not really POed so much as grieving, I guess. Well, time does heal wounds, and I am almost through with the grieving. Almost, but not quite yet.

  78. Jason Calley says:

    By the way — please don’t interpret that last post as whining or complaining. I do not mean it that way. I am enormously proud of the ideas that we here in America have championed, especially the concept of intrinsic, unalienable, individual rights. Also, long term and large scale, I am very optimistic for humans on this planet. I just do not like what I see happening here in my home country. It will pass, given time.

  79. E.M.Smith says:

    Didn’t look whiny to me. More like “spot on”…

  80. George says:

    Looks like our Justice Department has been playing a little game in Mexico:

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2011/03/03/eveningnews/main20039031.shtml

  81. E.M.Smith says:

    @George:

    Oh My God. What IDIOTS.

    It has all the fingerprints of “book smart and street dumb” people making decisions that will look good on a paper their boss sees and not thinking an inch beyond that. Like when we armed (created?) the Taliban against Russia in Afgan and when we sold toys to Sadam.

    IMHO, we need to simply disband the entire organization, when it can do something like that, and start over.

  82. George says:

    Well, I think there was an ulterior motive here. There has recently been a hue and cry about US guns turning up in Mexico and has been pointed to as justification for greater gun control in the US. I have a feeling the DoJ was intentionally turning a blind eye to the gun traffic in order to gain support for one of their key policy issues; gun control. The problem is the policy has been killing innocent Mexicans and Americans. I hope someone goes to jail over this one. In fact, Holder should resign right this second.

    Either that or they are on the payroll of the cartels and I don’t even want to think about the ramifications of that one.

  83. George says:

    Here is a recent (today!) story backing up the notion that the idea might be to create more gun violence in order to increase support for greater gun control.

    http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2011/03/03/20110303arizona-voters-approve-gun-control.html

    As the violence would happen outside the borders of the US but the guns could be traced to the US, it would provide them with the “ammunition” they need to argue for tougher gun control regulations.

    Trouble is, the violence leaked across the border, Americans are dying and now the word is out that the DoJ could have stopped thousands of these weapons crossing the border in the first place.

    Holder has blood on his hands and ought to resign. Immediately.

  84. E.M.Smith says:

    @George:

    NARCOS Y CIVILES ATRINCHERADOS CONTRA POLICÍAS
    Publicado el 03 Marzo 2011

    Sitian autoridades Villa Coronado luego de tiroteo en el pueblo para impedir captura de varios malandros

    VILLA CORONADO.-Esta mañana se reportó un enfrentamiento armado entre grupos delictivos apoyado por civiles armados de las regiones cercanas que siguen en enfrentamiento durante horas.

    Informes preliminares extraoficiales y testimonios de los habitantes señalaron que desde las 10:00 de la mañana inició el tiroteo entre ministeriales y sicarios, pero al avanzar las horas se han sumado como refuerzo elementos de la Policía Federal y del Ejército.

    El violento ataque comenzó cuando agentes ministeriales arribaron al poblado a cumplimentar una orden de aprehensión pero fueron recibidos a balazos.

    Por el momento se indica que son cientos los elementos que tienen sitiado el lugar, pues se dijo que inclusive civiles, de otras regiones como Parral y Jiménez, se trasladaron a la zona para apoyar a los sicarios.

    Mientras que los elementos de grupos especiales de la ciudad de Parral, salieron ya en apoyo de sus compañeros en aquella región.

    Este grupo delictivo es señalado como los responsables de haber realizado en el mes pasado el levantamiento del ex presidente municipal de Valle de Allende, así como un sinnúmero de extorsiones a empresarios, comerciantes, agricultores y ganaderos de la región.

    Hasta el momento no se ha dado a conocer por parte de ninguna autoridad algún dato oficial, empero se señala que puede haber más de un muerto y más de un lesionado tras el fuerte enfrentamiento.

    Which I make as:

    NARCOTICS Dealers and CIVILIANS entrenched against POLICE
    Published on March 3, 2011

    Villa Coronado besieged authorities after a shootout in the village (broke out) to prevent the arrests of thugs

    VILLA CORONADO. “This morning there was reported an armed clash between criminal groups (and police), backed by armed civilians from nearby regions, that are still fighting after many hours.

    Unofficial preliminary reports and testimony of people in the area said that the shootout, between ministerial forces and the gunmen, started at 10:00 am , but as the hours advanced,elements of the Federal Police and Army have been added as reinforcements.

    The onslaught began when officers arrived at the town ministry to complete an arrest warrant but were met with gunfire.

    At the moment, indications are that there are hundreds of people that have besieged the place, because it said that even civilians, from other regions such as Parral and Jimenez, have moved to the area to support the gunmen.

    While the “elements of special groups” (?) of the city of Parral, left, in support of their peers in the region.

    This criminal group is designated as responsible for having carried out the uprising (?) last month of former mayor of Valle de Allende, as well as a number of extortions of businessmen, traders, farmers and ranchers.

    So far there has not been a release, by any authority, of any official data, however indications are that there may be more than one dead and more than one injured after heavy fighting.

    Sounds kind of like a civil war to me. Drug lords (i.e. the local economy) vs remote “authority”…

    On the second point: Never has a flag looked so cute…

  85. George says:

    And now we have 10,000 Chinese troops in a province of Pakistan where the border with China is “contested” and the people are rebelling against Pakistani rule:

    http://www.hudson-ny.org/1918/china-pakistan-usa-war

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