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Monday, June 02, 2014

OTP - June 2014: Iraq war costs U.S. more than $2 trillion: study

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. war in Iraq has cost $1.7 trillion with an additional $490 billion in benefits owed to war veterans, expenses that could grow to more than $6 trillion over the next four decades counting interest, a study released on Thursday said.

The war has killed at least 134,000 Iraqi civilians and may have contributed to the deaths of as many as four times that number, according to the Costs of War Project by the Watson Institute for International Studies at Brown University.

When security forces, insurgents, journalists and humanitarian workers were included, the war’s death toll rose to an estimated 176,000 to 189,000, the study said.

Bitter Mouse Posted: June 02, 2014 at 07:48 AM | 4613 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: otp, politics, stupid ideas

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   201. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:36 PM (#4718195)
Goddamit, I'm agreeing with Sam a second time in as many days.


Sounds to me like you're due for a vacation.

Or maybe a vaccination.
   202. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:40 PM (#4718200)
Then why would you have a Rose Garden ceremony with the parents?

That would be a truly awful bait-and-switch. "Great news! We got you son back! Only downside is he's going to Leavenworth for 10-20."


Obviously. No one holds big ceremonies for people they're going to throw in the stocks. Jesus.
   203. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:43 PM (#4718206)
Just a guess, but I expect we'll learn his side at this thing they call a "trial". Technical stuff for lawyers.

Citizens are under no obligation to await a trial to become educated on the circumstances of the matter, and to have and act on their opinions of it. Nor is a trial the only forum by which such education can be obtained.

The purpose of a formal trial has nothing to do with politics, but instead with the just imposition by the state of punishment/sanctions on people.
   204. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:44 PM (#4718210)
The notion that due process is somehow a "left" concept is comical. The greatest concern for a conservative thinker is tyranny of the majority and the unchecked power of government. Due process is an essential - perhaps THE essential - tool to force a government to be accountable and protect rights of the unpopular. Conservatives should be the ones lining up to demand his return to a (military) court.

I don't think anyone on the right here is interested in denying Bergdahl any due process rights, and it is possible additional information may emerge to put his case in a different light. But it also true that what has emerged thus far gives a strong suggestion of desertion (a note that appears to be a confession even). And it's not like this is a new issue, the Rolling Stone article came out in 2012, and the Pentagon doubts about his motivation appear to be confirmed by the Army never listing Bergdahl as a POW. By all means have a fair & impartial investigation, but that also means one that is free of command influence from the political side.
   205. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:47 PM (#4718214)
I don't think anyone on the right here is interested in denying Bergdahl any due process rights, and it is possible additional information may emerge to put his case in a different light.

Of course, and no one has made any such suggestion. The modern left -- again -- has rallied around a (apparent) loser and when people have said the guy's a loser, the modern left deflects from that with complete non sequitors like "Oh, you're denying him his due process."
   206. zenbitz Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4718215)
Number of people on this thread calling Bergdahl a hero: 0.
   207. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:49 PM (#4718216)

I don't think anyone on the right here is interested in denying Bergdahl any due process rights, and it is possible additional information may emerge to put his case in a different light.



If Bergdahl is left to rot in Afghanistan, how is that not, effectively, a summary imprisonment (or execution, potentially)? Who is making that call and how are they accountable? What opportunity does Bergdahl have to present his side of the story before they leave him for the dogs?
   208. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:51 PM (#4718218)
The modern left -- again -- has rallied around a (apparent) loser and when people have said the guy's a loser, the modern left deflects from that with complete non sequitors like "Oh, you're denying him his due process."


As has been pointed out, if one substitutes "right" for "left" & changes the loser's name to George Zimmerman, this statement still works perfectly. Not, of course, that any Guantanamo captives were exchanged for Zimmerman, though I'm pretty sure any number of people, even including some of his former rightist idolaters, wouldn't mind seeing him plopped across -- or maybe in the middle of -- the ocean somewhere.
   209. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 02:54 PM (#4718221)
As has been pointed out, if one substitutes "right" for "left" & changes the loser's name to George Zimmerman, this statement still works perfectly.

George Zimmerman was tried and was thus owed due process.

Nor did America trade five senior Taliban for George Zimmermann.

Nor did I "rally around" that loser. I (*) said the evidence didn't show his guilt, which it didn't. I did point out how the case showed the race-obsession and general patheticness of the modern left --- see, e.g., the NYT and "White Hispanic" -- which it did.

(*) Not I alone, of course.
   210. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:01 PM (#4718227)
I haven't seen the comments from last night or this morning -- and probably won't get to review them until tomorrow -- but here's some additional info re: #2447 of May's thread:

ICYMI, Yeeaarrgghhhh quoted "Balloon-Juice":
We’re getting out of Afghanistan, and the treaties to which this nation has repeatedly pledged itself require that we release Prisoners of War and repatriate them home. Taliban are distinct from Al Qaeda in this respect because Taliban could be considered the government forces of Afghanistan (whether legitimate, loved, respected, or not) while AQ isn’t anything but a bunch of thugs under international law. So this idea that we gave up valuable prisoners for one guy and that makes it a bad deal is ######## on its face. We were going to release them. We were REQUIRED to release them under international law that we largely wrote. Whatever intelligence value they had was long since wrung out of them, in some cases literally. One of them had laid down his arms and pledged to work with the new government of Afghanistan prior to the Pakistani government taking him prisoner more as a propaganda tool and removing a potential political problem than anything else, I am given to understand. So we got something we wanted for doing something now that we would have done in a few months for nothing anyway. That’s not exactly brilliant poker, but it was pretty well played.


Here's the response of a defense expert friend:
Interesting point…but, since we haven’t signed a peace treaty with the Taliban, I don’t think this international norm applies and, indeed, the AUMF is still in play as a result.
   211. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:03 PM (#4718230)
If Bergdahl is left to rot in Afghanistan, how is that not, effectively, a summary imprisonment (or execution, potentially)? Who is making that call and how are they accountable? What opportunity does Bergdahl have to present his side of the story before they leave him for the dogs?


Yeah, you have to get him home, then you can determine what to do with him. and no matter what he was a soldier and is a US citizen, to me those things matter.

I guess my question for those criticizing, what should the Obama administration done exactly?
   212. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:06 PM (#4718232)
Interesting point…but, since we haven’t signed a peace treaty with the Taliban, I don’t think this international norm applies and, indeed, the AUMF is still in play as a result


I suspect the odds of a signed peace treaty with the Taliban to be roughly equal with Ted Cruz* winning a Nobel Peace Prize.

* If this is too partisan feel free to substitute Joe Biden, Harry Reid, or Nancy Pelosi here. Same odds.
   213. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4718233)
what should the Obama administration done exactly?


Not gotten elected
   214. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:07 PM (#4718234)
Yeah, you have to get him home, then you can determine what to do with him. and no matter what he was a soldier and is a US citizen, to me those things matter.

Unless Barack Obama decides on his own to kill the US citizen with a drone, even if he's 16, then it really doesn't matter because, hey, Barack Obama!!
   215. Publius Publicola Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:09 PM (#4718235)
All but one man stayed
There at Yahya Kheyl
and they say he ran awayyyy.

Bergdahl! Marked with a coward's shame.
What do you do when you're Bergdahl?
Will you fight for your name?

He was innocent
Not a charge was true
But the world would never knowwww.

Bergdahl! Scorned as the one who ran.
What do you do when you're Bergdahl,
and you know you're a man?

Wherever you go for the rest of your life you must prove ... you're a man."
   216. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:10 PM (#4718236)
Yeah, you have to get him home, then you can determine what to do with him. and no matter what he was a soldier and is a US citizen, to me those things matter.

I guess my question for those criticizing, what should the Obama administration done exactly?


Consult with the House and Senate Intelligence committees per usual practice?

Trade lesser prisoners that are more equivalent to a Staff Sgt., rather than high Taliban officials?
   217. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:11 PM (#4718237)
Interesting point…but, since we haven’t signed a peace treaty with the Taliban, I don’t think this international norm applies and, indeed, the AUMF is still in play as a result.


If we weren't going to have to release the 5 Taliban leaders soon, it makes the deal much worse.
   218. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:14 PM (#4718241)
So much for Jews being good negotiators, amirite?

Hell even the Israeli government realizes they've been terrible at it- one proposed solution is passing a law banning the swapping of prisoners convicted of certain types of crimes- because no Israeli government has been able to withstand lobbying when geared to securing the release of specific individuals...

They traded terrorists to get a drug dealing colonel back (to be fair it's quite possible they traded to get that loser back because he actually knew things about the IDF's planned strategies and Hezbollah actually had no idea how important he was from that POV).

in 2008 Israeli freed 5 murderers, including Samir Kuntar (who stands out for sheer scumminess even when compared to other terrorists) to get two dead bodies back.
   219. just plain joe Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:15 PM (#4718242)
what should the Obama administration done exactly?



Not gotten elected


And we have a winner.
   220. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:17 PM (#4718243)
Unless Barack Obama decides on his own to kill the US citizen with a drone, even if he's 16, then it really doesn't matter because, hey, Barack Obama!!


You realize I have repeatedly criticized Obama for this practice and think it is a terrible idea that should be illegal, right?

Consult with the House and Senate Intelligence committees per usual practice?

Trade lesser prisoners that are more equivalent to a Staff Sgt., rather than high Taliban officials?


I don't know the degree to which Congress was consulted or the time pressure the administration thought they were under (regarding his health). And by consult do you mean tell them what they are going to do, or ask them? because it seems like something that really should be under Presidential authority as Commander in Chief.

As for the lesser trade, you don't always get the trade you want. I am not sure how much haggling it is worth, but YMMV.
   221. The Good Face Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:18 PM (#4718245)
I guess my question for those criticizing, what should the Obama administration done exactly?


I'm not particularly fussed about the whole thing, but there are a lot of "it depends" in there.

If USG had overwhelming evidence that he was, in fact, a deserter, I'm fine with trading prisoners to get him back contingent on a court martial ASAP. No triumphant Rose Garden receptions. I'd be OK letting him rot in that situation; can always take cover behind the "we don't negotiate with terrorists" shield, although I'd prefer we brought him back and brought him to justice.

If USG had no or inconclusive evidence he was a deserter, I'm fine with trading prisoners to bring him back.

Any trade scenario is contingent upon USG not giving up any especially dangerous or valuable prisoners; that test seems to be met here. The Taliban are no friends of USG, but there's not much evidence they're a threat to Americans outside of the greater Afghanistan region.

To the extent I have a criticism, it's that things are looking increasingly like the first scenario, but minus the court martial. I suppose it's possible the Obama administration will surprise me.
   222. Publius Publicola Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:19 PM (#4718247)
I suspect the odds of a signed peace treaty with the Taliban to be roughly equal with Ted Cruz* winning a Nobel Peace Prize.


Oh, I think it much better than that. The Taliban would like nothing better than to have the US not droning their asses. I think they would readily agree to a " Since we're leaving in 2016, in the interim, we won't shoot at you if you don't shoot at us." kind of treaty.
   223. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:23 PM (#4718250)
Interesting point…but, since we haven’t signed a peace treaty with the Taliban, I don’t think this international norm applies and, indeed, the AUMF is still in play as a result.


Alternative opinion:

I do not agree, as some Republicans are already arguing, that these individuals should not have been released. In my view, the U.S. would not be able to hold them forever. Indeed, it is likely that the U.S. would be required, as a matter of international law, to release them shortly after the end of 2014, when U.S. combat operations cease in Afghanistan. The Administration appears to have reached a defensible, hold-your-nose compromise by arranging, in exchange for the release of Sergeant Bergdahl, for the individuals to be held in Qatar for a year before they return to Afghanistan.


John B. Bellinger III is a partner in the international and national security law practices at Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, DC. He is also Adjunct Senior Fellow in International and National Security Law at the Council on Foreign Relations. He served as The Legal Adviser for the Department of State from 2005–2009, as Senior Associate Counsel to the President and Legal Adviser to the National Security Council at the White House from 2001–2005, and as Counsel for National Security Matters in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice from 1997–2001.
   224. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4718252)
I think they would readily agree to a " Since we're leaving in 2016, in the interim, we won't shoot at you if you don't shoot at us." kind of treaty.


There may well be an agreement, but an official signed peace treaty? No chance.

On second thought, checking Wikipedia it appears that an executive agreement is a treaty under international law (INternational law has a much looser definition of treaty than the US has), so I could be totally wrong, but I am still a skeptic.

EDIT: Read YR instead of me on this issue. He knows more. Despite being a yankee fan and redneck. Woe is me.
   225. Misirlou's been working for the drug squad Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:24 PM (#4718253)
You realize I have repeatedly criticized Obama for this practice and think it is a terrible idea that should be illegal, right?


No, he doesn't. Unless you spend every waking hour lobbying for Obama's impeachment and eventual imprisonment, you are perfectly happy with everything he does.

the same standard doesn't apply to the right of course.

The same applies to Sgt Bowe. Unless you are 100% on board with the "let him rot" crowd, you are calling him a hero.
   226. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:25 PM (#4718255)
If USG had overwhelming evidence that he was, in fact, a deserter, I'm fine with trading prisoners to get him back contingent on a court martial ASAP. No triumphant Rose Garden receptions. I'd be OK letting him rot in that situation; can always take cover behind the "we don't negotiate with terrorists" shield, although I'd prefer we brought him back and brought him to justice.

A Rose Garden celebration for a (likely) deserter, who cost six soldiers their lives trying to find him, and wherein the father, who had previously tweeted "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners ... God will repay for the death of every Afghan child ameen" (*), and who breaks into Arabic at the ceremony, is simply a pathetic scene in virtually every particular.

(*) Washington Post, today.
   227. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:35 PM (#4718264)
Why is something the father said or did at all relevant to what happens regarding rescuing the son? Also why are the deaths of soldiers trying to find him years ago relevant?

Do we examine and weigh their relatives (especially their language choice and grooming habits), reading habits, pets, what happened to the girl whose heart was broken when he joined the military and so on before we decide what to do?
   228. Lassus Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:36 PM (#4718265)
Whom exactly are we indicting at the moment for the lives lost in the attempts to find him? Whomever (colonels, generals) ordered him to be looked for, Bergdhal, Obama, liberals, who? I assume there's an indictment meant, as it's been brought up over and over, so whom should the blame be falling on?
   229. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:38 PM (#4718266)
A treaty with the Taliban isn't really relevant. As noted in 223, there's no question that the war is ending, and we're not going to keep those guys forever.
   230. Lassus Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:46 PM (#4718272)
Here's something I'm happy to lay on the back of idiot liberals:

Anti-Vaccination: an outbreak of liberal idiocy.
   231. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:50 PM (#4718273)
Number of people on this thread calling Bergdahl a hero: 0.

Susan Rice: "Bergdahl served the United States with honor and distinction."
   232. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:52 PM (#4718276)
Here's something I'm happy to lay on the back of idiot liberals:

Anti-Vaccination: an outbreak of liberal idiocy.


Uhhhhhhh
   233. Eddo Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:55 PM (#4718279)
Number of people on this thread calling Bergdahl a hero: 0.
Susan Rice: "Bergdahl served the United States with honor and distinction."

What's Susan Rice's handle here, again?
   234. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:56 PM (#4718282)
Word on the street is that she's Joey B.

Seems odd to me, too, but hey ...
   235. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:57 PM (#4718283)
Also why are the deaths of soldiers trying to find him years ago relevant?

Really? Actions have consequences. It was certainly foreseeable that the U.S. Military would search for Bergdahl. If he deserted, Bergdahl is also responsible for placing the units searching for him at heightened risk.
   236. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 03:58 PM (#4718286)
Why is something the father said or did at all relevant to what happens regarding rescuing the son? Also why are the deaths of soldiers trying to find him years ago relevant?

Do we examine and weigh their relatives (especially their language choice and grooming habits), reading habits, pets, what happened to the girl whose heart was broken when he joined the military and so on before we decide what to do?


Because there's nothing about his story or release worth celebrating. Now that we know what we know, it's clear that the scene in the Rose Garden was basically pathetic. A white guy invoking the God and language of the nation's enemies, the tweets, the desertion, the high price of trade -- pathetic.

Notwithstanding the relentless and silly efforts to paint me as a "partisan" of the "right," that's cultural commentary more than political. George W. Bush's "Mission Accomplished" celebration was also buffoonish and ridiculous.
   237. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:00 PM (#4718287)
Interesting article on the prisoner swap. Plenty of ammunition for both sides of the debate I suspect.

But officials in the Pentagon and intelligence communities had successfully fought off release of the five men in the past, officials tell Time. “This was out of the norm,” says one official familiar with the debate over the dangers of releasing the five Taliban officials. “There was never the conversation.” Obama’s move was an ultimate victory for those at the White House and the State Department who had previously argued the military should “suck it up and salute,” says the official familiar with the debate.
   238. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:01 PM (#4718288)
It was certainly foreseeable that the U.S. Military would search for Bergdahl. If he deserted, Bergdahl is also responsible for placing the units searching for him at heightened risk.


If it was so obvious at the time that he was a deserter, it's surprising that the commanders would have bothered to look for him.
   239. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4718289)
Really? Actions have consequences. It was certainly foreseeable that the U.S. Military would search for Bergdahl. If he deserted, Bergdahl is also responsible for placing the units searching for him at heightened risk.


None of which means we should not try to get the US POW returned home IMO. I assume you also lay all those deaths on the doorstep of Bush, because his actions also had consequences. Or do "actions have consequences" only cut one way?

Because there's nothing about his story or release worth celebrating.


There was one POW in the hands of the Taliban, and now there is not. That is worth celebrating, unless you think US POWs in enemy hands is somehow a good thing?
   240. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:04 PM (#4718290)
A Rose Garden celebration for a (likely) deserter, who cost six soldiers their lives trying to find him, and wherein the father, who had previously tweeted "I am still working to free all Guantanamo prisoners ... God will repay for the death of every Afghan child ameen" (*), and who breaks into Arabic at the ceremony, is simply a pathetic scene in virtually every particular.

(*) Washington Post, today.

No kidding. No matter how objectionable we may find the terms of the exchange, it's the White House's decision to trumpet the deal over the weekend -- Obama on Saturday, Rice and Hagel on Sunday -- that's far and away killing them today.
   241. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:07 PM (#4718291)
If it was so obvious at the time that he was a deserter, it's surprising that the commanders would have bothered to look for him.

Not at all. For all they knew, he'd flipped to the enemy.
   242. bunyon Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4718294)
If Biden has watched Homeland, he'll know not to hold any big meeting with Bergdahl.

But, yeah, I think you have to make this deal, given the circumstances. But I think, were I CinC, I'd have made it quietly and tried to bury the news under something else. Trumpeting it like a triumph seems odd. It seems like a part of the game but not a very pleasant part.
   243. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4718295)

Not at all. For all they knew, he'd flipped to the enemy.


Then going and looking for him was even stupider.
   244. Morty Causa Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:15 PM (#4718296)
And he'd get to present his case at his Court Martial. His "case" has no bearing on whether he should be Court Martialed.

I'm arguing against the claim that it's open and shut and no case can be made for him (in a court martial or otherwise). If that's not what your about, you need to be more careful with your words.
   245. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:18 PM (#4718298)
Then going and looking for him was even stupider.

And how ... I mean why try to capture someone who'd committed treason? Ridiculous.
   246. Morty Causa Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4718301)
Best I can tell the argument is that a flat out deserter forfeits any claims on the US to get him back.

Sure. Unless it suits our purposes. And it could. His comrades, too, would get their day in court, just as in a civilian criminal court the loved ones of the victim, as well as the state (representing us all) get theirs. It's usually seen as a necessity.
   247. Morty Causa Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:20 PM (#4718302)
166:

Very good. Glad to hear that we're really getting into it.
   248. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4718303)
But I think, were I CinC, I'd have made it quietly and tried to bury the news under something else. Trumpeting it like a triumph seems odd. It seems like a part of the game but not a very pleasant part.

How in the world did Hagel not know about the Pentagon's report from 2010 Pentagon that made pretty clear Bergdahl didn't serve with "honor and distinction?"
   249. The Chronicles of Reddick Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:21 PM (#4718304)
   250. The Good Face Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:23 PM (#4718305)
If it was so obvious at the time that he was a deserter, it's surprising that the commanders would have bothered to look for him.


Is this a serious comment? You go looking for him for the same reason you go looking for any other person who committed a crime. A military that just shrugs when soldiers desert won't last long. Aside from incentivizing soldiers who are unhappy to leave, it crushes morale among the soldiers who are trying to do their duty, which in turn leads to more desertions.
   251. Morty Causa Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:25 PM (#4718306)
But it also true that what has emerged thus far gives a strong suggestion of desertion

No one should be convicted of anything, on the grounds there's a suggestion.
   252. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:27 PM (#4718309)
RE: The link in #249.
10) Negotiations to bring Bergdahl home have been in the works for years — with Obama originally imagining the prisoner swap as an election-year overture toward a durable peace with the Taliban.

Wow. The Obama administration should thank their lucky stars this "election-year overture" didn't come to fruition.
   253. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:28 PM (#4718310)

And how ... I mean why try to capture someone who'd committed treason?


How are you going to do that? At least if he's walking to India you can expect him to take a relatively easy road and try to avoid the Taliban (assuming his is compos mentis in the first place).

If he went over to the enemy, you have no way of finding him as the Taliban would be sheltering him. And you're more likely to wander into a trap.

A military that just shrugs when soldiers desert won't last long. Aside from incentivizing soldiers who are unhappy to leave, it crushes morale among the soldiers who are trying to do their duty, which in turn leads to more desertions.


Not sure how letting him be killed by the Taliban or freeze to death in the Hindu Kush would incentivize anyone.

No, the obvious reason they went after him is because his life was important to his comrades, as opposed to those here who want him strung up.
   254. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:29 PM (#4718311)
I'm arguing against the claim that it's open and shut and no case can be made for him (in a court martial or otherwise). If that's not what your about, you need to be more careful with your words.

That's my reading of the facts, but he should certainly be allowed to present a defense at his court martial.

I'm just saying 99%, he doesn't have a defense. Unless he tries insanity.
   255. The Good Face Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:36 PM (#4718314)
Not sure how letting him be killed by the Taliban or freeze to death in the Hindu Kush would incentivize anyone.

No, the obvious reason they went after him is because his life was important to his comrades, as opposed to those here who want him strung up.


We don't know what his unit believed, but even if they believed he deserted, they'd still go after him because deserting is a crime and any military that wants to maintain any level of discipline and effectiveness must prosecute and punish crimes.
   256. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:38 PM (#4718315)
NYT, Fox: Bergdahl Left a Desertion Note Suggesting Desire to Renounce US Citizenship

EDIT: Let's be clear, Andy and those to his left: No one is blasting this ####-up as a way to sabotage Hillary's run for POTUS, ok???
   257. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:47 PM (#4718318)
Who was it here (Misirlou? Shredder? Sam?) that described the terrorists in Qatar as being "imprisoned?"

Will that individual please explain this?
DOHA (Reuters) - Qatar has moved five Afghan Taliban prisoners freed in exchange for a U.S. soldier to a residential compound and will let them move freely in the country, a senior Gulf official said on Tuesday, a step likely to be scrutinized by Washington. ...

The Gulf official said the Taliban men, who have been granted Qatari residency permits, will not be treated like prisoners while in Doha and no U.S. officials will be involved in monitoring their movement while in the country.

"Under the deal they have to stay in Qatar for a year and then they will be allowed to travel outside the country... They can go back to Afghanistan if they want to," the official said.
   258. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:53 PM (#4718320)
nteresting point…but, since we haven’t signed a peace treaty with the Taliban, I don’t think this international norm applies and, indeed, the AUMF is still in play as a result.


The AUMF leaves the question almost entirely to the discretion of the POTUS.
   259. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4718321)
Not sure how letting him be killed by the Taliban or freeze to death in the Hindu Kush would incentivize anyone.

It would show that deserting was a really, really bad idea. That's a plus for the Army.
   260. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:00 PM (#4718326)

We don't know what his unit believed, but even if they believed he deserted, they'd still go after him because deserting is a crime and any military that wants to maintain any level of discipline and effectiveness must prosecute and punish crimes.


Here is the quote from his fellow soldier:

At every juncture I remember the soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place. The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.


It seems his squadmates disagree with you.
   261. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:01 PM (#4718327)
Why is something the father said or did at all relevant to what happens regarding rescuing the son?


Because it proves that Obama is really a secret Muslim sympathizing terrorist. Duh.
   262. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4718329)
The AUMF leaves the question almost entirely to the discretion of the POTUS.

That wasn't the point. Balloon-Juice said that we had to do the deal.
   263. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:04 PM (#4718330)
A white guy invoking the God and language of the nation's enemies


See, boys. You can't be American and worship the wrong god. SugarBear will not allow that. Only good white Christian gods allowed in America, boys.
   264. Publius Publicola Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:09 PM (#4718332)
Here's something I'm happy to lay on the back of idiot liberals:

Anti-Vaccination: an outbreak of liberal idiocy.


Double UHHHGH
   265. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:10 PM (#4718333)
Senate Democrats Go AWOL:
On Sunday, Senator Claire McCaskill gave a full-throated defense of the president's decision to release five Taliban commanders from the Guantanamo prison in exchange for Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl. "We saved this man's life. The commander-in-chief acted within his constitutional authority, which he should have done," McCaskill, a Democrat from Missouri, told Fox News host Chris Wallace. "I'm very proud that we have no POWs left in Afghanistan and the president should be proud of it also."

But following multiple reports that Bergdahl deserted his post and soldiers died searching for him, McCaskill will no longer say she still supports the deal she was "very proud" of just 48 hours ago. "I'm not going to comment until I look at the brief," an annoyed McCaskill told THE WEEKLY STANDARD. "I'm not going to comment until I look at the brief," she repeated, referring to a classified briefing senators will receive tomorrow.

McCaskill was not alone in her reluctance to support the deal. More than a dozen Democratic senators questioned by TWS Tuesday afternoon declined to defend it. "I just don't know enough about it. I really don't," said Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democrat in the Senate.

"It's very disturbing," said Joe Manchin of West Virginia. "Everything you hear. I'm going to reserve judgment until after we have a secured briefing tomorrow."

"You know, I think, um, let me hold off on that," said Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

"All I've heard is what I've read in the press," said Vermont's senior senator Pat Leahy.

"I don't have enough information at this point in time," said Jon Tester of Montana. "I do think getting our boys back home, that's a good quality. I do have some issues about whether [Bergdahl] deserted or not."
   266. The Good Face Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:13 PM (#4718334)
At every juncture I remember the soldiers involved asking why we were burning so much gasoline trying to find a guy who had abandoned his unit in the first place. The war was already absurd and quixotic, but the hunt for Bergdahl was even more infuriating because it was all the result of some kid doing something unnecessary by his own volition.

It seems his squadmates disagree with you.


This may be news to you, but soldiers grumble and complain. It's kind of what they do. Doesn't change the fact that militaries must (and do) hunt down and punish criminals and deserters. Even if the guys tasked with doing it complain about having to do it.
   267. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:15 PM (#4718336)
Clearly, Obama should've just declared him an enemy combatant & droned him.

Or something.
   268. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:16 PM (#4718337)
I'm just saying 99%, he doesn't have a defense. Unless he tries insanity.


From the Rolling Stone piece, it doesn't look that way. But we get our POW's home and then let the process work. We don't leave them to rot. (And can we all acknowledge that SBB's stretch goal of tarring the boy a traitor who was working with the enemy is ####### ludicrous based on what we know so far? That's just Bear being a blindly partisan idiot.)

No one is blasting this ####-up as a way to sabotage Hillary's run for POTUS, ok???


I don't recall anyone arguing that to be the case.

Will that individual please explain this?


Meh. Obviously the Qataris aren't going to put them in prison. They do seem to be intent on keeping them in Qatar, and thus off of the battlefield, for a year. Considering that we are in fact leaving that battlefield (far too late, but nonetheless leaving) soon, that's fine. These guys aren't al-Q terrorists. They're Taliban soldiers and commanders. They were the national army of Afghanistan until we invaded and overthrew that government.

That wasn't the point. Balloon-Juice said that we had to do the deal.


And? Balloon-Juice has been known to be a bit shrill on these topics in the past.
   269. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:17 PM (#4718338)
This may be news to you, but soldiers grumble and complain.


It's like there's a command structure in place to overcome this sort of thing for a reason.
   270. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:19 PM (#4718342)
I don't recall anyone arguing that to be the case.

Preemptive strike.
   271. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:23 PM (#4718344)
Preemptive strike.


I'm aware that you favor this sort of strategy, but it's still bollocks.
   272. Rickey! trades in sheep and threats Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:24 PM (#4718346)
Clearly, Obama should've just declared him an enemy combatant & droned him.


Bear and the boys wouldn't be satisfied unless Obama declared HIMSELF an enemy combatant and droned himself.
   273. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4718347)
I'm aware that you favor this sort of strategy, but it's still bollocks.

I hope you track down your sense of humor by the 20th/21st.
   274. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 03, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4718354)
EDIT: Let's be clear, Andy and those to his left: No one is blasting this ####-up as a way to sabotage Hillary's run for POTUS, ok???


Yet. :)
   275. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 03, 2014 at 06:27 PM (#4718376)
There is some polling news today - Obama Approval On Foreign Policy Hits Record Low:
A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds President Obama's approval rating on international affairs has fallen to 41 percent, five points below his overall job rating and down six points since September to the lowest point in his administration.

I will leave it to the usual suspects to explain why "no one cares" and "it doesn't matter".
   276. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 03, 2014 at 06:36 PM (#4718385)
Yep. Andy does this all the time as well, and his forced jokes fall just as flat. Stick to baseball. Nobody gives a two shits about your ####### politics.


What is great about this is that the problem, such as it is, is that tfbg9, Joey B, Esoteric, and YC--the guys who complain the most about this sort of thing with Joey doing it by far the most-- make it a big deal because they DO "give two shits about people's ####### politics."


Exactly. What's also not exactly coincidental is that these are four of the most conservative Primates on BTF. And what's somewhat funny is that I can't recall Esoteric ever addressing any complaint to me about my political comments, since when we disagree it's always quite respectfully. He and Jason somehow manage to be able to get their points across without resorting to anything worse than eyerolling and occasional mild sarcasm. Some of the other conservatives around here might want to learn something from their examples.

   277. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 03, 2014 at 06:48 PM (#4718391)
I will leave it to the usual suspects to explain why "no one cares" and "it doesn't matter".


No, I will point out that you missed that Obama's aggregate job approval per RCP is -9.1 the worst (for him) in 2 months
and that RCP's Senate Map is now GOP 51, Dems 49

I mean YC how can you fall down on the job like this, slacker....
   278. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 03, 2014 at 07:01 PM (#4718395)
. . . and that RCP's Senate Map is now GOP 51, Dems 49. I mean YC how can you fall down on the job like this, slacker....

I did note that the RCP had swung back to the GOP in the prior OTP thread. Folks must be skipping over the good stuff.

EDIT: Since it appears there is demand for more polling news, let me report that ObamaCare Isn't Motivating Democrats. Like at all:
Obamacare is a boon to Republicans in the 2014 election; this much is clear. The issue is galvanizing conservative voters like none other right now, and that's important. But the real reason it's benefiting Republicans? Because there is basically no equal-but-opposite force -- i.e. it's motivating almost nobody on the Democratic side.
. . .
In other words, opponents of the law are more numerous, more passionate and more dreadful of things to come. Supporters are fewer, less passionate and not terribly convinced that the program they support will even bear fruit.

Might be a problem.
   279. Mefisto Posted: June 03, 2014 at 07:18 PM (#4718402)
More profiles in Senatorial courage:

John McCain in February: "Sen. John McCain says he now would be inclined to support trading a Taliban prisoner held at Guantanamo Bay for a U.S. soldier held captive in Afghanistan. In 2012, McCain called the idea of negotiating with the Taliban “bizarre” and “highly questionable,” but on Tuesday he said on CNN’s ”Anderson Cooper 360? that he would be open to a swap now being discussed."

Kelly Ayotte press release, May 22: "As part of ongoing efforts to urge the Department of Defense to do all it can to find Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl and bring him home safely, Senator Ayotte worked successfully to include a provision in the bill that presses Pakistan to fully cooperate in the search for SGT Bergdahl."
   280. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:07 PM (#4718418)
See, boys. You can't be American and worship the wrong god. SugarBear will not allow that. Only good white Christian gods allowed in America, boys.

He doesn't worship him, he invoked him. Which added an extra level of pathos to an already pathetic scene.

More generally, yeah -- some white dork who worships Allah when his kid is in the military in Afghanistan is pretty much a per se loser. If you want to celebrate loserhood, fine. It's a free country -- celebrate loserhood. Knock yourself out.
   281. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4718419)
   282. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4718420)
"You know, I think, um, let me hold off on that," said Bernie Sanders of Vermont.


There's ol' Bernie again, just "rooting for the laundry."
   283. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:15 PM (#4718422)
Perhaps the least surprising thing I've ever read, from an interview with Anne Groell, GRRM's "editor":

Do you think it will take GRRM more then 7 books to finish ASOIAF? - See more at: http://universe.suvudu.com/q-and-a/anne-groell#.U45do7BOWUm

I begin to wonder — though 7 is what we currently have under contract. I remember when he called me, years and years back, to confess that his little trilogy was...well...no longer a trilogy. He predicted four books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he said five books. I said Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Then he went to six. I said...Well, you get it. Finally, we were on the same page. Seven Books for Seven Kingdoms. Good. Only, as I recently learned while editing THE WORLD OF ICE AND FIRE (another awesome thing you must buy when it comes out!), there are really technically eight kingdoms, all having to do with who has annexed what when Aegon the Conqueror landed in Westeros. So, maybe eight books for Seven Kingdoms would be okay. Also, he has promised me that, when he finally wraps this great beast us, I can publish the five page letter outlining the bare bones of the “trilogy.”
   284. steagles Posted: June 03, 2014 at 08:55 PM (#4718438)
More generally, yeah -- some white dork who worships Allah when his kid is in the military in Afghanistan is pretty much a per se loser. If you want to celebrate loserhood, fine. It's a free country -- celebrate loserhood. Knock yourself out.
internet tough guy over here.
Might be a problem.
nope. we're just waiting until the lame duck session when we can finally open up those obamacare reeducation camps for NRA members.
   285. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:46 PM (#4718509)
Does anyone honestly believe the Administration had any intent to Court Martial him before this controversy broke?

They may do it now, because of all the flak from his fellow soldiers, but there's no way that was the plan. This was supposed to be a feel-good story.


I for one can't remember the last time a US president held a hero's press conference with a soldier's parents and such, when the soldier was going to be court martialed.
   286. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4718510)
OK, fine. So YC points to random guy throwing stones at Andy, why?


Because it was an example of a person who - prior to it coming up in this thread - pointed out that Andy frequently pollutes baseball threads with politics.

I mean if Andy brings up politics all the time, then find instances of it.


Ah, yes, the silly tactic of demanding that people go through thousands of pages to collect evidence to prove that water is wet.

Be honest: if someone showed you that this was true by pointing out instance after instance you'd simply claim that Andy does it no more than anyone else, and prove it prove it prove it by comparing Andy's frequency with the frequency of every other poster on this site.
   287. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:52 PM (#4718512)
Why wouldn't we? It's not like the conditions of his capture weren't open for debate prior to the exchange. Rolling Stone ran an expose on this guy a year ago. There is no reason to suspect that the admin was going to let him walk without accounting for his disappearance. That's just you letting your bias get in the way and write narrative that isn't there.


Then why would you have a Rose Garden ceremony with the parents?


Bingo.
   288. JE (Jason) Posted: June 03, 2014 at 11:55 PM (#4718515)
I for one can't remember the last time a US president held a hero's press conference with a soldier's parents and such, when the soldier was going to be court martialed.

At this point, Ray, even Jimmy Carter is ROFL.
   289. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 12:00 AM (#4718516)
I'm certainly happy to hear his side. What is it? Has he, or anyone else, presented it? Has anything been presented to refute the evidence on record? Does he dispute the assertions being made against him?

Just a guess, but I expect we'll learn his side at this thing they call a "trial". Technical stuff for lawyers.


Does Obama know his side? I understand that there are emails from him to his father and such. So Obama should have a picture of it.

But "we have to wait for the trial!" is a dishonest argument. The issue was whether Obama should have traded 5 detainees for him, with all the repercussions that has, knowing that the available evidence pointed towards him being at least a deserter. You can't put him on trial until you collect him, and you shouldn't collect him in this way without doing an analysis of whether he is someone worthy of being collected in this way. And making such a deal to collect someone who you are going to court martial -- not that I really believe he was going to be court martialed before this blew up in Obama's face -- is incongruous, similar to honoring Pete Rose for the HOF but banning him from the sport.



   290. Ray (RDP) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 12:02 AM (#4718517)
Perhaps Andy just isn't aware of how often he does it, or maybe he thinks his political "humor" is really funny,


He is aware that he does it. He does it to troll people who disagree with him politically.

(Smile)
   291. JE (Jason) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 12:29 AM (#4718522)
   292. Lassus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 06:43 AM (#4718538)
#WarOnRelevance
   293. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 04, 2014 at 06:56 AM (#4718539)
Centrist if not liberal NY Daily News editorial, headline "Surrender Without Honor":

President Obama betrayed the highest obligation of his office — safeguarding national security — in trading five hard-core Taliban for the American serviceman who appears to have deserted in Afghanistan ...

These facts were known to Obama when he made the deal, and yet he went ahead in irresponsible disregard for lives he has endangered. As the facts have emerged — and more surely will — it has become ever clearer that he lost his presidential compass in the Taliban swap.

In retrospect, his Rose Garden announcement that he was bringing home an American POW appears to have been a cynical act of theater.


As noted herein, the Rose Garden ceremony was a embarrassment -- emblematic of a culture that has lost its way.





   294. JE (Jason) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 06:58 AM (#4718540)
#WarOnRelevance

I'm happy to retire the hashtag once Fluke goes away for good.
   295. JE (Jason) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 07:12 AM (#4718541)
Never mind.
   296. JE (Jason) Posted: June 04, 2014 at 07:20 AM (#4718542)
LOL, maybe it's time to praise Hillary?
Despite that the White House’s claim this week that the United States did not negotiate “directly” with the Taliban to secure the Bergdahl swap, the State Department, Defense Department, and White House officials did meet several times with Taliban leaders in 2011 and 2012 to discuss the deal. The negotiations, held in in Munich and Doha, fell apart in early 2012. But before they did, Clinton had a framework deal drawn up that was much tougher on the Taliban than what ultimately got done two years later.

Three former administration officials who were involved in the process told The Daily Beast that Clinton was worried about the ability to enforce the deal and disinclined to trust the Taliban or the Haqqani network in Pakistan, which held Bergdahl until this weekend. Clinton was so concerned, the former officials added, that she may not have even signed off if the negotiations had succeeded.

“She was heavily involved from the beginning, she was very skeptical of the arrangement, she was very wary of it,” one former administration official said. “If we had come to some agreement she perhaps would have backed it, but we never got to that point.”

Clinton was not the only top member of the Obama administration skeptical of the deal. Three U.S. intelligence officials told The Daily Beast on Monday that James Clapper, the director of National Intelligence, flat out rejected the release of the five detainees, saying there was too high a risk these Taliban commanders would return to the battlefield and orchestrate attacks against Americans. Then-Defense Secretary Leon Panetta declined to certify that the United States could mitigate the risk of releasing the Taliban commanders.

Other officials weren’t so sure and said the American negotiators knew the deal had to be iron clad because convincing Clinton to support it would be a challenge.


Even if HRC's peeps are laying it on a little thick, it's not all that difficult to imagine that her views would have been closer to the views of Panetta and Clapper. In any event, this is further evidence that Obama has (yet again) screwed the pooch.

EDIT: Ian Bremmer: "Hillary: I'd be tougher than Obama on Iran, Russia, China...and now Bergdahl. Will be interesting to see how they campaign together."
   297. Lassus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 07:29 AM (#4718543)
I'm happy to retire the hashtag once Fluke goes away for good.

If your brethren had had the good sense to put a woman or two on the panel regarding birth control for women you - nor anyone else - would probably ever had heard of her. So good work. Of course, Rush helped you out there, too.


#WarOnWomen

Democrats Ben Allen, Sandra Fluke headed for runoff in 26th Senate District

Also, if you hadn't mentioned her, I'd have no idea that she was running for anything, or now actually in a runoff, much to yours and HOTLINEJOSH's chagrin. Again, good work.
   298. Lassus Posted: June 04, 2014 at 07:38 AM (#4718544)
...it's not all that difficult to imagine that her views would have been closer to the views of Panetta and Clapper.

Yes, shocking, some people leave their comfort zones and uniform talking points. Well, some people.


Will be interesting to see how they campaign together."

Like adults?
   299. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 04, 2014 at 07:59 AM (#4718545)
Will be interesting to see how they campaign together.

Like adults?


Don't you remember in 2008, when it was super bitter and there was a war in that Split Team Blue in two? Me either.

I think it amusing that we are being treated to breathless accounts of how there was disagreement in the administration. I bet every decision any administration has ever made had disagreement around it. It is like the least shocking thing ever that not everyone with the Obama administration was on the same page.

And you know Obama is doing a reasonable job, the argument against him continues to be scandals that are not, things like the talking points used on Sunday Morning talk shows and Rose Garden ceremonies. Next up, Obama's color choice, why so much blue?
   300. Greg K Posted: June 04, 2014 at 08:01 AM (#4718546)
As noted herein, the Rose Garden ceremony was a embarrassment -- emblematic of a culture that has lost its way.

It was cynical political theatre. If cynical political theatre is a sign of a lost culture, then what culture was ever un-lost?

EDIT: Bad political theatre at that, since it rated pretty poorly on the plausibility scale of it not being cynical.
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