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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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   2801. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:18 PM (#4727697)
Do you have any idea the kind of people the US has worked with in the past?


We've worked with some very scummy people, and many times it turns out to have been a mistake to do so, and sometimes there are in fact people you cannot work with period/full stop.

Hitler/Nazi Germany: could not be worked with period full stop.
Stalin USSR: supremely scummy (As scummy as Nazi Germany more or less) but it was possible to briefly hold one's nose and work with them- but on;y when facing someone as scummy who couldn't be worked with)

Taliban: scummy as all hell, but fall into the realm of possible to work with in limited areas provided you hold your nose and guard your back

Al Qaeda: cannot be worked with, period full stop.
North Korea: cannot be worked with, basically it seems all you can do is play their games and just try to keep them contained...

ISIS/ISIL: there is zero evidence to even hope that they fall into the "scummy but you can do business with" category, I mean they are so far gone from the pale they may actually be a vehicle for a [limited] US-Iran rapprochement. These are dudes who broke from Al Qaeda because the pussies from Al Qaeda thought that things like publicizing mass murders of prisoners was abd idea from the tactical POV...

   2802. The Good Face Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:22 PM (#4727699)
So outside of the rank partisans (JoeK, YC) we can conclude that the current political state for BTF'ers is arguing over which of the major parties is most likely to execute a pivot to economic populism first?


My guess is it will be the party that has something to gain by changing their business model, and that would be the GOP. Of course, they don't call them the stupid party for nothing.

With the Good Face caveat over in the corner dreaming of the monarchy resurgent, I suppose.


As a good and proper reactionary, I recognize the importance of hierarchy and elitism; populism concerns me. That said, our current status quo is not sustainable; a populism that focuses on the middle class and unabashedly promotes middle class values would probably do more good than harm.
   2803. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:25 PM (#4727701)
Kissinger (who's hero is Blood and Iron Bismarck, BTW) used to say this a lot, that Iran's antipathy towards the US was geopolitically unnatural and eventually realpolitik would force a rapproachment. Maybe he was right about that and this is the turning point.

As is the case with his thoughts on the Kremlin, Kevin, you may want to check how much Kissinger Associates stands to profit from such a "rapprochement."
   2804. Greg K Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:26 PM (#4727702)
With the Good Face caveat over in the corner dreaming of the monarchy resurgent, I suppose.

Hey, what's a monarchist got to do to get some recognition here!

Though I suppose I'm not so much for the monarchy resurgent so much as I am opposed to the abolition of the monarchy in my nation.
   2805. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:37 PM (#4727712)
As is the case with his thoughts on the Kremlin, Kevin, you may want to check how much Kissinger Associates stands to profit from such a "rapprochement."


More or less than Cheney's buds did in Iraq?
   2806. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:38 PM (#4727713)
The troops that abandoned their posts when ISIS/L rolled in were predominantly Sunnis who were being stepped on by Maliki's Shia alliance anyway. The Shite fighters in Baghdad, and the batallions of Iranian Revolutionary Guard in Iraq, won't roll over so easily, and the Kurds already have the east-west lines defended.


Latest town lost by al-Maliki was a Shiite one, it doesn't appear that the Shiite Army units are capable of effectively fighting either- that's why Maliki has all but begged the Kurds to bail him out and is hurriedly trying to "reactivate" the Shiite militias that were active 2003-2007.

The official "army" although frequently referred to as a US trained one is no such thing- they have US equipment, and many soldiers were trained to use them by us, but the officer and NCO corps we set up basically no longer exist as Maliki has spent 3 years replacing every single soul with any position of command/authority in the army with "loyalists." The command and control system is an absolute mess, troops are lead by officers and NCOs who:
A: Were chosen solely due to loyalty to al Maliki and in many instances have NO military training let alone experience;
B: Were unknown to the troops being lead until very recently, they literally do not know each other, all the common soldiers know is that their officers are incompetent- and will themselves run at the drop of the hat- there have been literally no efforts by the army "leadership" to rally the troops- a report comes in that "ISIS is approaching and the unit commander is the first guy in a Humvee trying to get out of dodge.

The Iraqi Army today is in as bad a shape as it was the day we ordered it disbanded, its; functionally leaderless, the troops, even the trained ones who actually know how to take orders and use their weapons are essentially an unguided rabble.

THIS is the greatest opportunity the Kurds have had since the days of Saladin, forget an independent Kurdistan- they could easily establish themselves as the top dog in a Federated State- if the Peshmerga's commanders tried to they could probably assert control over every Iraqi Army division whose leaders have fled or are preparing to. Shiite and Sunni civilians alike are already fleeing to Kurdish controlled areas by the 100s of thousands.

al-Maliki is a dead man walking, he's rear view mirror history already, even if Iran asserts itsel;f and props up a Shiite Government it won't be him.
   2807. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:46 PM (#4727719)
More or less than Cheney's buds did in Iraq?

When HK pens an op-ed advocating restraint vis-a-vis the Kremlin but doesn't offer a disclaimer that his firm, which he co-runs with Brent Scowcroft, does lots of business in Russia, that's a problem.

There's no equivalent re: Cheney.
   2808. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 05:53 PM (#4727723)
As is the case with his thoughts on the Kremlin, Kevin, you may want to check how much Kissinger Associates stands to profit from such a "rapprochement."


Well, he used to say this in the 1980's, Jason, before KA existed, IIRC. So I think the philosophy preceded the investment. Investment, or potential investment, was the offspring, not the sire, of the viewpoint.

Nevertheless, point taken.
   2809. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:10 PM (#4727738)
which of the major parties is most likely to execute a pivot to economic populism first?

My guess is it will be the party that has something to gain by changing their business model, and that would be the GOP. Of course, they don't call them the stupid party for nothing.



This column from a couple of days ago touches upon that question and the current problems with developing an answer:

AEI resident scholar Norm Ornstein on the GOP's "New Nihilism"

Narratives are nice, clean, and easy, but the world is far messier. Cantor's defeat is huge, but it does not reflect a universal trend... And yet, there are serious and real reverberations here. For one thing, politicians are more moved by vivid example than overall statistics. All it took was one Bob Bennett in Utah to move Senate Republicans significantly to the right in attitude, agenda, and rhetoric. The assault on Cantor as a supporter of amnesty may not have been the main reason for his defeat, but we can be sure that the word "legalization" will not cross the lips of Republicans of many stripes in the months to come, except as an epithet.

...The tea-party movement is not a Republican movement, or a conservative movement. It is radical, anti-institutional, anti-leadership, antigovernment. It is driven by suspicion of the motives and actions of all leaders, including those in the Republican Party. Cantor's glaringly obvious personal ambition fed those suspicions, but his defeat was a defeat for the broader establishment, which compromises too readily and feeds its own interests first.

...This was the case with the Democratic Leadership Council and the related Progressive Policy Institute in the 1980s; ideas that flowed from DCL and PPI, and the alliances they built with receptive governors, mayors, and lawmakers, helped provide a mainstream and centrist base for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.

...The prime salvo here is the recently released Room to Grow, not a full-fledged book with detailed policies but a set of essays by smart analysts that lay out proposals and ideas across a range of policy areas... A troubling feature of the volume, underscoring the turbulent waters reflecting in Virginia's 7th Congressional District, is in the almost-obligatory way the various authors have to draw sharp, and strained, contrasts with "the Left." In virtually every essay, instead of pointing out how the ideas could form the basis of a new center, there is a caricatured portrait of the Left that suggests that the conservative ideas are a 180-degree contrast with the opposition, and not approaches along a continuum that can find that common ground somewhere in or near the middle. In fact, as Jonathan Chait and E.J. Dionne have pointed out, several of the ideas championed in Room to Grow, such as an expanded Earned Income Tax Credit, have been embraced or supported by Barack Obama, who has operated far more as a pragmatic progressive than a radical leftist. That is a reality ignored, and certainly not championed, in the monograph. Drawing the contrast is a useful rhetorical tool, but also suggests that it is a price the authors decided to pay to gain the attention of partisans and ideologues who have no desire to embrace ideas that might possibly be supported by Obama.

The deeper problem here is that the zeitgeist of the Republican Party has moved so sharply not just to the right, but to a radical stance, with two components. The first is baked into the broader commentary, from cable news to talk radio to blogs—if Obama is for it, we have to be against it. Room to Grow has nothing positive to say about any element of Obamacare, criticizes the Common Core (even as it approves the idea of serious standards), and ignores key policy areas like infrastructure, energy conservation, climate change, even immigration. But that is reflective of a deeper reaction.

Most Republicans running in 2014 carefully avoid saying that there are parts of the Affordable Care Act we ought to keep, or that we should mend it. And we now see governors like Bobby Jindal who once enthusiastically supported Common Core denouncing it to curry favor with "the base." That Cantor voted to reopen the government led by Obama, and voted to raise the debt ceiling during Obama's term, was Exhibit A for radicals.

The second and more-significant component, seen most vividly recently not in Virginia but at the Republican Convention in Texas, is the almost nihilistic attitude that all government is bad—that any attempt to find "solutions" to problems that in any way involve government is wrong and almost evil, unless it focuses monomaniacally on cutting spending and cutting government... even a decentralized government is too much government for many of those who dominate caucuses, conventions, primaries, funding, and discourse on the right.

...Cantor and his leadership colleagues have loved the optics of a new agenda far more than actually promoting it in concrete terms—because doing so in a serious way divides the party, inflames the base and undermines the leadership for its apostasy in embracing solutions that mean more of the same—more government, even if it is less than we have now. If anything, Cantor's defeat will make leaders even more gun-shy about moving to real solutions or new approaches.

The fact is that, even before Cantor's defeat, Republican House and Senate leaders had shown no interest in operationalizing a bold or innovative policy agenda. Maybe that is a short-term strategy, based on the belief that success in the midterms ahead will be driven far more by a reaction against the Obama status quo than on a contrast with an alternative agenda.
   2810. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:29 PM (#4727777)
There's not a single sentence of that Ornstein essay that doesn't coincide with the underlying facts. You can see the same dynamic here on many of these threads: If Obama's for it, it's either hapless or evil or both. IMO it's a fool's gold way of thinking that will go over like a lead balloon in 2016 once the Republicans are actually forced to nominate an actual candidate and come up with real alternative solutions to all that alleged haplessness and evil, but then the short run is about the only run that ever seems to be the focus with that news cycle driven party.

The one hopeful note is that Ornstein still has his job at the AEI. Since he's been writing along these lines for the past few years, I'll have to assume that there's at least one conservative think tank that isn't trying to pander to the Tea Party and the Koch Brothers.
   2811. zenbitz Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:35 PM (#4727786)
Interesting about the CIAs less-than-total-involvement in Iran in 1953. Of course, I got this info from my commie parents not from Ben Affleck. I suppose next you'll tell me that the United Fruit Company was on the up-and-up!!!

But as to 2014 Iran it hardly matters now at all. I assume you are married or have a steady and would know that -- sometimes -- you have to apologize for stuff you didn't do. Clearly no amount of evidence is going to arise that's going to convince Generations of Iranians that the US didn't topple their government in '53 - so just own up for it. Sure the Mullahs don't like us - but exactly what reason have we GIVEN them to like us.

Is China our enemy now? Back in '53 we just finished a shooting war with them in Korea. The way to show people the superiority of "Western Civilization" is to just expose the youth to it and let the old people die. OF OLD AGE. Take the long view.

   2812. zenbitz Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:38 PM (#4727792)
It is radical, anti-institutional, anti-leadership, antigovernment. It is driven by suspicion of the motives and actions of all leaders, including those in the Republican Party.


Oh now you're just teasing me.
   2813. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 16, 2014 at 06:42 PM (#4727801)
Sure the Mullahs don't like us - but exactly what reason have we GIVEN them to like us.


What reasons have they given us to like THEM?
   2814. tshipman Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:07 PM (#4727825)
THIS is the greatest opportunity the Kurds have had since the days of Saladin, forget an independent Kurdistan- they could easily establish themselves as the top dog in a Federated State- if the Peshmerga's commanders tried to they could probably assert control over every Iraqi Army division whose leaders have fled or are preparing to. Shiite and Sunni civilians alike are already fleeing to Kurdish controlled areas by the 100s of thousands.


There is no end game for a Kurdish control of all of Iraq. You enjoy zero legitimacy from 2/3 to 3/4 of the population, who want to replace you with a leader of their religion.
   2815. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:23 PM (#4727854)
There is no end game for a Kurdish control of all of Iraq.


That's why I said "top dog in a Federated State"
   2816. DJS and the Infinite Sadness Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:47 PM (#4727909)
Norm Ornstein's analysis is interesting. That is, if you're someone who thinks Todd Akin's analysis of consensual sex and conception is both broad and deep. And probably more dangerous, given that he regularly tricks people with IQs above room temperature into thinking he has any kind of insight, rather than simply being a centrist by way of combining the worst of the left and the worst of the right. He's terrible even for someone affiliated with the AEI and their gaggle of neoconservative half-a-tards, and that's saying something.
   2817. BDC Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:52 PM (#4727931)
I am opposed to the abolition of the monarchy in my nation

It may or may not be a coincidence that all my favorite European countries, with their distinctive blends of welfare state and managed capitalism, with superb educational systems and cultural infrastructures, are monarchies (Scandinavia, Benelux). They're all democracies too, of course, and I don't really know if it matters a dang anymore how one chooses the head of state in a democracy.
   2818. Los Angeles El Hombre of Anaheim Posted: June 16, 2014 at 07:57 PM (#4727946)
Wrong Thread.
   2819. A big pile of nonsense (gef the talking mongoose) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4727963)
Hey, what's a monarchist got to do to get some recognition here!


Espouse fascism.

I don't believe you make the cut.
   2820. zenbitz Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:11 PM (#4727982)
Sure the Mullahs don't like us - but exactly what reason have we GIVEN them to like us.


What reasons have they given us to like THEM?


Not being Iraq is an OK start.
   2821. GregD Posted: June 16, 2014 at 08:14 PM (#4727990)
Fallows column

If you're anything like me, when you hear the words "wise insights about the Iraq war," two names that immediately come to mind are Paul Wolfowitz and Scooter Libby.

Fortunately the Hertog Institute has engaged them both to teach a course, "The War in Iraq: A Study in Decision-Making."

I will confess that when someone told me about this today, I assumed it was an Onion-style joke. As in, "The Work-Family Balance: Getting It Right," co-taught by John Edwards and Eliot Spitzer. But it turns out to be real. Or "real."



Am I sounding a little testy here? You bet. We all make mistakes. But we are talking about people in public life—writers, politicians, academics—who got the biggest strategic call in many decades completely wrong. Wrong as a matter of analysis, wrong as a matter of planning, wrong as a matter of execution, wrong in conceiving American interests in the broadest sense. None of these people did that intentionally, and many of them have honestly reflected and learned. But we now live (and many, many people have died) as consequences of their gross misjudgments a dozen years ago. In the circumstances, they might have the decency to shut the hell up on this particular topic for a while. They helped create the disaster Iraqis and others are now dealing with. They have earned the right not to be listened to.

   2822. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 16, 2014 at 09:05 PM (#4728038)
There's no equivalent re: Cheney.


Because he didn't sit the Board of the private defense contractor that raked in million after million from his Iraqi adventure, right?
   2823. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:11 PM (#4728083)
Fortunately the Hertog Institute has engaged them both to teach a course, "The War in Iraq: A Study in Decision-Making."


It's in Washington. I'm tempted to take it. Since I wouldn't care if they flunked me, I'd raise my hand in class and ask questions like:

"Scooter, when you first noticed that the yellow cake deception wasn't working out, why did you decide to screw Joe Wilson by ratting out his wife instead of arranging for a "accident" on a private jet he was flying in? Too messy?"

"Paul, when you said the war in Iraq would pay for itself, what did you mean by that? Did you mean it would pay for itself by post bellum teaching opportunities for its authors? Because you couldn't have meant it would pay for itself by the economic windfall of more oil. Every oil expert told you it would years, perhaps decades, to get the Iraqi oil production up and running, and only then if everything went right, which was, as events later proved, impossible. So what were you thinking there when you said a trillion dollar war would pay for itself?"
   2824. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:14 PM (#4728086)
Although Fallows isn't really one who should be crowing too much. He was the one beating the biggest drum back in the eighties about Japan Inc taking over the world.

That one didn't work out too well either.
   2825. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:21 PM (#4728091)
Although Fallows isn't really one who should be crowing too much. He was the one beating the biggest drum back in the eighties about Japan Inc taking over the world.


I remember when the Japanese economy of the late 80s started to fizzle and millions of people died in bloody war because of it...
   2826. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:24 PM (#4728093)
And when I say Cheney and his cronies made million after million, I mean to say they made some 39 BILLION dollars off of the Iraq war. So we should totally discount what Henry Kissinger has to say about things, because he's got a monetary interest in matters, but we shouldn't point out that the people who led us into the stupidest foreign policy debacle of the last 100 years and raked in BILLIONS off of the top while doing so are compromised actors who shouldn't be listened too now that the #### they threw at the fan is spinning back out in a generally predictable arc.
   2827. Publius Publicola Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:32 PM (#4728097)
Here's the link to apply for the course:

How to Begin: Applying to Hertog Institutes

We should have a BTF Washington-based contingent attend the class: myself, Joey B, Andy, Esoteric, McCoy, JC and Jason. It would be the greatest class ever.
   2828. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:34 PM (#4728099)
Because he didn't sit the Board of the private defense contractor that raked in million after million from his Iraqi adventure, right?

He was CEO of Halliburton during the Clinton administration. He was VPOTUS during the Bush administration. What's your point?
   2829. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:42 PM (#4728105)
He was CEO of Halliburton during the Clinton administration. He was VPOTUS during the Bush administration. What's your point?


My point is that your "but oh, follow the money before you listen to him" advice ends exactly where your preference to go back to war in Iraq begins. If Kissinger is compromised because of his business interests in Russia and Iran, then the Cheney was equally compromised while still drawing a paycheck from Haliburton while they profited obscenely from dead Americans and dead Iraqi civilians. If I thought you were going to apply the "follow the money" argument as a principle, I'd let it slide, but we both know you won't do that if it leads back to any of the war cheerleading crowd.
   2830. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 10:53 PM (#4728112)
Cheney was equally compromised while still drawing a paycheck from Haliburton while they profited obscenely from dead Americans and dead Iraqi civilians.

LOL, Sam. Cheney received deferred compensation from Halliburton. Of course, he didn't receive a dime for any of Halliburton's contracts that were awarded after he left the company.
   2831. The Yankee Clapper Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:00 PM (#4728119)
Will Obama Drag Down The Democratic Ticket In 2016?
First, the popularity of an incumbent president does influence his aspiring successor’s chances of winning. To be sure, the incumbent’s popularity is a more important factor if the incumbent is actually running for reelection, but it still matters if he is stepping down too. . . . The effect of presidential approval is about twice as large when the incumbent is actually running, compared to when the incumbent isn’t running, as will be the case in 2016. With Obama’s approval at about 45 percent, this simple model suggests that Democrats would have about a 41 percent chance of winning in 2016.

Second, the political scientist Alan Abramowitz has identified a factor he calls “time for a change.” He finds that in post-WWII presidential elections, the incumbent party tends to do worse after it’s been in office for two terms. In other words, after eight years with one party in the White House, some voters seem to think that it’s “time for a change.” . . .But if the tendency is real — and I tend to give it some credence (see also Brendan Nyhan) — then this is one legacy that Obama is passing down to a successor.

Third, political science research also shows that public opinion tends to turn against the president’s party in terms of ideology, especially feelings about the size of government. So the public tends to become more liberal under Republican presidents and more conservative under Democratic presidents. The research further shows that public opinion on this dimension is related to presidential election outcomes — the more liberal is public opinion, the better Democratic presidential candidates do. . . Under Obama, opinion on this dimension appears to have taken a decisive conservative turn. This could translate into additional difficulties for Democrats in 2016.

Read the whole thing. Lots of links to the research that's mentioned. Of course, 2016 is a long way off, and one should be cautious this far out.
   2832. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:29 PM (#4728139)
Q: Will Obama Drag Down The Democratic Ticket In 2016?

A: Nope.
   2833. Jolly Old St. Nick Is A Jolly Old St. Crip Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:40 PM (#4728143)
Norm Ornstein's analysis is interesting. That is, if you're someone who thinks Todd Akin's analysis of consensual sex and conception is both broad and deep. And probably more dangerous, given that he regularly tricks people with IQs above room temperature into thinking he has any kind of insight, rather than simply being a centrist by way of combining the worst of the left and the worst of the right. He's terrible even for someone affiliated with the AEI and their gaggle of neoconservative half-a-tards, and that's saying something.

Thanks for reminding us why it's a good thing that you're no longer the hall monitor around here.
   2834. JE (Jason) Posted: June 16, 2014 at 11:54 PM (#4728150)
Another GoT question (Screw you, Mouse!):

Here's an excerpt of EW's interview with GRRM:

Q: I remember one of the feelings I had reading what happens next is that we’re so upset that Tyrion has been falsely accused, and then he goes ahead and commits these murders. There’s a certain regret because we want everyone to know him and like him the way we do, but that’s doomed to never happen after his actions that night.

A:
I think sometimes people just get pushed too far, sometimes people break. And I think Tyrion has reached his point. He’s been through hell, he’s faced death over and over again, and he’s been betrayed, as he sees it, by all the people that he’s tried to take care of, that he’s tried to win the approval of. He’s been trying to win his father’s approval all his life. And despite his misgivings, he fell in love with Shae, he let himself give his heart to her. It just reaches a point where he can’t do it anymore. I think the two actions are quite different, although they occur within moments of each other. He’s furious at Lord Tywin because he found out the truth about his first wife and what happened to her, and Tywin keeps calling her a whore — which she is by Lord Tywin’s logic. Lord Tywin is convinced that since he doesn’t love Tyrion, then no one can possibly love Tyrion. So it’s obviously some lower-class girl who’s just trying to get the dwarf into bed because he was a Lannister, so she could become a lady and have money and live in a castle and all that. So basically the equivalent of being a whore — she’s just f–king him for possession of status and he’s trying to teach Tyrion a lesson in that regard. And so he keeps using the word “whore” which is like pouring salt into his wound, and Tyrion tells him not to do that, don’t say that word again. And he says that word again and at that moment, Tyrion’s finger just pushes on the trigger.

An important thing that has been drilled in with him since his youth — because it’s very much Lord Tywin’s philosophy — is that you don’t make threats and then fail to carry them out. You threaten someone and then they defy you, and you don’t carry it out, then who’s gonna believe your threats? Your threats have to carry weight. And that’s drilled into Tyrion all his life. So his father says that word, his finger pushes on the crossbow, the decision of a split second, and then it’s done. And it will haunt him. Tywin was his father and that will continue to haunt him, probably for the rest of his life.

With Shae, it’s a much more deliberate and in some ways a crueler thing. It’s not the action of a second, because he’s strangling her slowly and she’s fighting, trying to get free. He could let go at any time. But his anger and his sense of betrayal is so strong that he doesn’t stop until it’s done and that’s probably the blackest deed that he’s ever done. It’s the great crime of his soul along with what he did with his first wife by abandoning her after the little demonstration Lord Tywin put on. Now by the standards of Westeros, that’s hardly a crime at all — “So a lord killed a whore, big deal.” He’s not likely to be punished for that any more than any other lords and knights who treat lowborn women and prostitutes and tavern wenches with contempt and use them and discard them. It’s nothing to the world, but it’s again something that’s going to haunt him, while the act of killing his father is something of enormous consequence that would be forever beyond the pale, for no man is as cursed as a kinslayer.
Emphasis mine.

Wait a sec: I thought that in last night's finale Tyrion didn't find out the whole truth?!?
   2835. The John Wetland Memorial Death (CoB) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:04 AM (#4728153)
Wait a sec: I thought that in last night's finale Tyrion didn't find out the whole truth?!?


I'm often somewhat confused with these interviews with Martin at this point, because many times it's not quite clear if he's speaking to the events of the books, or the series. In this case, I think he's speaking to the books ...
   2836. Mefisto Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:10 AM (#4728154)
I thought that in last night's finale Tyrion didn't find out the whole truth?!?


He didn't. I have to assume Martin was talking about the books. Tyrion's motivation on the show depends on (a) Shae's betrayal at the trial (which is ambiguous in my view); and (b) finding her where he did.
   2837. Ron J Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:42 AM (#4728162)
#2793 Is that intended as humor. Because the notion that the CIA was behind the 1953 coup is not what you'd call new and long predates anything that Affleck has said on the subject.

And as noted, it's actually documented.
   2838. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:46 AM (#4728163)
Column quoted in #2831:
Second, the political scientist Alan Abramowitz has identified a factor he calls “time for a change.” He finds that in post-WWII presidential elections, the incumbent party tends to do worse after it’s been in office for two terms. In other words, after eight years with one party in the White House, some voters seem to think that it’s “time for a change.” . . .But if the tendency is real — and I tend to give it some credence (see also Brendan Nyhan) — then this is one legacy that Obama is passing down to a successor.

Ominous stuff. Obama 2012 doomed the Democrats' hopes of winning the White House, by winning the White House.


The effect of presidential approval is about twice as large when the incumbent is actually running, compared to when the incumbent isn’t running.

Actually, it's much higher than that. Because two times zero is zero.

That was slight comedic exaggeration, but very slight. Presidential approval is frequently an important coattails-or-anchor factor in presidential years. That's it. Midterms, no. National elections, yes. It's an easy formula to chart, though perhaps not so easy to accept.

Imagine a simple model in which 1948-2012 presidential elections depend only on presidential approval, and then let the impact of approval depend on whether an incumbent president is running... With Obama’s approval at about 45 percent, this simple model suggests that Democrats would have about a 41 percent chance of winning in 2016.

The "simple model" proposed by the WaPo author isn't just simple, it's addled. Worse, his 45%=41% math doesn't match up with most past elections. Many post-WW2 candidates have "overperformed" or "underperformed" their or their sitting presidents' approval ratings by 10% to 15%, from Truman to Stevenson to Eisenhower to Nixon to Carter to Bush to Bush again to Clinton to Gore to McCain. The writer concedes at the end that "many caveats apply." The biggest caveat being that the hypothetical premise is dumb.

The Democrats will be a bit better off if Obama's approval rating is higher than 45% on Halloween 2016. They will be a bit worse off if the rating is lower than 45% by that date. The problem for political columnists is that information only fills 1/15th of their columns.
   2839. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 12:56 AM (#4728165)
#2793 Is that intended as humor. Because the notion that the CIA was behind the 1953 coup is not what you'd call new and long predates anything that Affleck has said on the subject.

I also said that blaming the CIA is also a familiar mullah refrain, Ron. Meanwhile, did you read the Ray Takeyh piece that I subsequently posted or at least the excerpt?
   2840. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 07:56 AM (#4728189)
I am shocked! Who could have imagined the Democrats would favor a dream world in which it's the thought, not the results, that counts?

What results do you mean?

That tax policy has no consequences.


Tax policy of course has consequences. Like the consequences of lowering tax rates has had dire consequences. making the tax code less progressive (in a whole variety of ways) has had consequences. So yeah there will be consequences.
   2841. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:02 AM (#4728191)
I also said that blaming the CIA is also a familiar mullah refrain


So this is what always fascinates me, we spend a fair amount of time speculating about why we are hated, and we all agree that meddling and the appearance/rumors of meddling, have won us few friends in the Middle East. And yet the obvious next thought often fails to appear.

It is almost like people don't approve of nations blundering around bombing people and invading countries in their backyard.

Which is why (one reason anyway, there are plenty of other reasons) we need to stop doing that.
   2842. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:20 AM (#4728197)
So this is what always fascinates me, we spend a fair amount of time speculating about why we are hated, and we all agree that meddling and the appearance/rumors of meddling, have won us few friends in the Middle East. And yet the obvious next thought often fails to appear.

What should similarly fascinate you, Mouse, is that throughout the Middle East we are just as hated as much today as in 2008, despite Obama's resets and retreats. So if the murderous mullahs in Teheran hate me, great, but they'd better fear me too.

In any event, my comment was in reference to the Iranian regime blaming the CIA for the 1953 "coup," never mind the evidence that it was almost exclusively an internal affair. (Of course, blaming outsiders for internal challenges is quite commonplace in that part of the world.)
   2843. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:25 AM (#4728199)
What should fascinate you today, Mouse, is that throughout the Middle East we are just as hated as much today as we were in 2008, despite Obama's resets and retreats. So if the mullahs in Teheran hate me, they'd better fear me too.


You realize we are still in the region, right? Are you expecting overnight change before we stop killing people in the region? That seems ... optomistic.

The basic deal is us killing people in the ME is not helping anything. People are getting dead, but there is no end of people angry, because as we kill them we make more. If there were an actual achievable goal then maybe that would be something, but there isn't. And if 10+ years, hundreds of thousands of deaths, and trillions of dollars have not taught you that, then what would?

Is there any way you would ever concede we have wasted our "blood and treasure" to no end? Any outcome at all? Or does success mean you won, and failure mean we didn't spend enough and need to keep fighting? Because that is what it sounds like.
   2844. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:26 AM (#4728200)
Something to keep an eye on:
The Mosul Dam looms: In the 1980s, Saudis and other Arabs funded a poorly constructed, quickie dam on the Tigris River about 35 miles northwest of Mosul. Substandard construction means it leaks and needs constant grouting and other expensive measures to avoid cataclysmic collapse. Will ISIS hotheads continue these repair works? Or might they skimp on them, thereby threatening not just Mosul but much of inhabited Iraq with catastrophic flooding?

Military blogger Mchael Yon responds: "Little is said about Mosul dam. I first learned about it while in Mosul. That dam is fantastically dangerous. Controlling Mosul dam is like controlling nuclear weapons. A catastrophic break could end the present Iraqi government and kill hundreds of thousands. (Our embassy people better have rubber boats. Rubber boots might not be enough.)"
   2845. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:36 AM (#4728205)
#2844. Interesting. I doubt that the group will sweep through and rewrite the borders in the ME, but I admit I did like the last paragraph.

Western policy: This is basically a Middle Eastern problem and outside powers should aim to protect their own interests, not solve the Middle East’s crises. Tehran, not we, should fight ISIS.
   2846. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:37 AM (#4728206)
You realize we are still in the region, right?

Our troops quit Iraq after 2011, thanks to the White House not renewing the SOFA. So ... we are not killing people.

Is there any way you would ever concede we have wasted our "blood and treasure" to no end? Any outcome at all? Or does success mean you won, and failure mean we didn't spend enough and need to keep fighting? Because that is what it sounds like.

I concede that it's easy pickings to poo-poo the threat Saddam posed a decade-plus after we invaded Iraq. As for the "no end," it's partly a consequence of the occupation, partly a result of Obama's strategic "red line" blunder, and partly fallout for Obama wanting to fulfill a campaign promise in time for his re-elect.

Speaking of "no end," I will add too that 75 percent of US service member fatalities in Afghanistan happened on Obama's watch, not Bush's. (Remember: candidate Obama never said that success in Afghanistan would be the death of OBL.)
   2847. Lassus Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:39 AM (#4728207)
Tyrion's motivation on the show depends on (a) Shae's betrayal at the trial (which is ambiguous in my view); and (b) finding her where he did.

Also, and I may need to re-watch this episode, there seems a clear moment when Tyrion is doing nothing but staring in disbelief when Shae goes for a knife to go after him, and this to me seemed yet another motivation.
   2848. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:40 AM (#4728208)
I admit I did like the last paragraph.

Careful, Mouse: That's Daniel Pipes you're pimping. :)
   2849. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:43 AM (#4728209)
Wait a sec: I thought that in last night's finale Tyrion didn't find out the whole truth?!?


Martin is clearly talking about the books there, not the series. The series combines everything into Shae and ignore Tysha more or less completely. They do the 'say that word again' bit, but it's about Shae, not Tysha.
   2850. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:47 AM (#4728210)
Tax policy of course has consequences. Like the consequences of lowering tax rates has had dire consequences. making the tax code less progressive (in a whole variety of ways) has had consequences. So yeah there will be consequences.

You realize the top-1%, 5%, 10%, etc., pay a higher proportion of income taxes than they have in decades and decades. Rates were higher BITD, but deductions were far more generous.

The rising inequality in this country has very, very little to do with income tax policy. It has a lot to do with trade policy, corporate governance, and family structure.
   2851. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:47 AM (#4728211)
What should similarly fascinate you, Mouse, is that throughout the Middle East we are just as hated as much today as in 2008, despite Obama's resets and retreats. So if the murderous mullahs in Teheran hate me, great, but they'd better fear me too.


And what you and the neocons you pimp for don't understand is that we are less feared today than at any time since 1935 because of their failures in Iraq, not because of Barack Obama. If you're going to walk into the dive bar and announce to the world that you're taking over and running the show from now on, you damned well better not have your ass handed to you by the bikers there already. The biggest reduction in American 'fear power' is due to the fact that George W. Bush showed the world exactly where the limits of our power projection are.

You want to project a power that we don't have, in order to kowtow a region we don't need. Because, reasons and stuff.
   2852. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:48 AM (#4728212)
Was it here that someone posted the link to the French guy showing how much wealth is being hidden in tax shelters? Billions of dollars of tax revenue.
   2853. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:55 AM (#4728216)
Our troops quit Iraq after 2011, thanks to the White House not renewing the SOFA. So ... we are not killing people.


We I said region and not Iraq. In any event we have been essentially invading/a presence in Iraq and nearby areas since what the 1990? In Afghanistan and Iraq for over a decade. You are eager to claim we have not given war enough of a chance after all this time, but a couple years and "peace had a couple years and FAILED!". How about we give not being involved as much time as we were involved?

Speaking of "no end," I will add too that 75 percent of US service member fatalities in Afghanistan happened on Obama's watch, not Bush's. (Remember: candidate Obama never said that success in Afghanistan would be the death of OBL.)


What an odd non sequitur. Where have I been pimping Obama's foreign policy? I am much more dovish than Obama. Occasionally he does the right thing, but I am not a fan of his Afghanistan policy nor his drone policy. I bash Obama plenty for someone who some people are convinced is a stone cold partisan.
   2854. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:58 AM (#4728217)
And what you and the neocons you pimp for don't understand is that we are less feared today than at any time since 1935 because of their failures in Iraq,

Is this true? I suspect the US is feared now more than ever given the existence of drones, our willingness to use them, and the international community's unwillingness or inability to make the US pay any diplomatic price for doing so.
   2855. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 08:59 AM (#4728218)
You realize the top-1%, 5%, 10%, etc., pay a higher proportion of income taxes than they have in decades and decades. Rates were higher BITD, but deductions were far more generous.

The rising inequality in this country has very, very little to do with income tax policy. It has a lot to do with trade policy, corporate governance, and family structure.


What an interesting sleight of hand (assuming your figures are true. Because you shifted to "income" taxes and I am talking about overall tax policy). Even if the wealthy are paying more in income taxes than than in decades and decades (and I really doubt this, btw), overall tax policy has been very generous to them. Estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and so on. There are many more taxes that the rich have eviscerated than just income taxes.

The concentration of wealth has a great deal to do with tax policy. There are other factors, certainly, but tax policy matters about 1000x more for wealth concentration in the top 1% than does "family structure".
   2856. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:02 AM (#4728221)
Is this true?


I want to know what exactly that fear has bought us? I know what it cost us, trillions of dollars, etc ... What has it bought?

Because fear makes people dangerous. If people are desperate and afraid they do stupid things, like suicide bombings and side with nutjobs who make promises of safety and prosperity, in this world or the next.
   2857. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:06 AM (#4728223)
Is this true? I suspect the US is feared now more than ever given the existence of drones, our willingness to use them, and the international community's unwillingness or inability to make the US pay any diplomatic price for doing so.


This was true of air strikes long before drones became the delivery method of choice. Everyone knows, and has known for a long time, that if the US wants to turn your assets into rubble, we can do that without losing a man. But prior to Iraq, there was a needling concern among the world's bad actors that after the rubble, we could come in and redraw maps at will. Bush's debacle in Iraq put paid that notion.
   2858. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4728230)
What an interesting sleight of hand (assuming your figures are true. Because you shifted to "income" taxes and I am talking about overall tax policy). Even if the wealthy are paying more in income taxes than than in decades and decades (and I really doubt this, btw), overall tax policy has been very generous to them. Estate taxes, capital gains taxes, and so on. There are many more taxes that the rich have eviscerated than just income taxes.

The concentration of wealth has a great deal to do with tax policy. There are other factors, certainly, but tax policy matters about 1000x more for wealth concentration in the top 1% than does "family structure".


The maximum capital gains rate in the high tax 1950's was 25%. The very rich never pay (and have never paid) the estate tax. They use corporate structure, and "charitable" trusts to get around it.

You don't think the fact that a professional class household now includes 2 adult workers each earning high 5 to six figure incomes, while the typical poor household has only one adult, drives inequality?

Take a look at the chart in this article:

http://www.aei-ideas.org/2011/10/income-inequality-can-be-explained-by-household-demographics/

The top income quintile has 1.97 workers per hh. The bottom quintile has 0.42. The top quintile is 78.4% married couples, the bottom quintile, 17% married couples.
   2859. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:12 AM (#4728231)
And what you and the neocons you pimp for don't understand is that we are less feared today than at any time since 1935 because of their failures in Iraq,


Otter: Germans?

Boon: Forget it.
   2860. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:15 AM (#4728236)
I don't doubt that Western/Central European anger at the United States appeared to peak during Bush's second term but lo and behold, anti-American sentiment in Germany, after taking a pronounced dip during Obama's first term, is back to 2008 levels.
   2861. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4728238)
What an odd non sequitur.

Hardly. It's an ancillary point to your comment about "blood and treasure." Obama ramped up the war in Afghanistan, which at least would have been defensible had there been a strategic purpose.
   2862. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:18 AM (#4728239)
#2839 I read it and I'm extremely underwhelmed.

Have you looked at the CIA's own documentation of their role in the coup (released just last year)? Including Kermit Roosevelt's working files. There's also Donald Wilber's report. Not hard to find the whole shooting match, but here's a link to the summary (pdf) written in 1954.

They're quite clear that it was driven by the CIA.

   2863. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4728244)
Hardly. It's an ancillary point to your comment about "blood and treasure." Obama ramped up the war in Afghanistan, which at least would have been defensible had there been a strategic purpose.


When did he ramp up that effort, exactly?
   2864. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:21 AM (#4728246)
This was true of air strikes long before drones became the delivery method of choice.

When drones get shot down, there's no story in the paper the next day about dead Americans. Drones don't require the amount of support personnel overseas required by fighters/bombers. They can more precisely target with smaller yield weapons. They can also gather intelligence and make decisions in real time about whether to use force.

They put enemy command and control at risk in ways that air strikes don't.
   2865. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4728248)
Our "failures in Iraq" only weakened the GOP's standing in the United States, Sam. Until Bush left office, there remained a fear that we would strike against our enemies. Interestingly, the Obama administration has to some extent been feared in places where we have used drones to kill terrorists (e.g., Pakistan, Yemen).
   2866. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:23 AM (#4728249)
When drones get shot down, there's no story in the paper the next day about dead Americans. Drones don't require the amount of support personnel over seas required by fighters/bombers. They can more precisely target with smaller yield weapons. They can also gather intelligence and make decisions in real time about whether to use force.

They put enemy command and control at risk in ways that air strikes don't.


You can achieve basically the same thing with B-52's flying at 75,000 feet using cruise missiles.
   2867. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:27 AM (#4728252)
The maximum capital gains rate in the high tax 1950's was 25%. The very rich never pay (and have never paid) the estate tax. They use corporate structure, and "charitable" trusts to get around it.

You don't think the fact that a professional class household now includes 2 adult workers each earning high 5 to six figure incomes, while the typical poor household has only one adult, drives inequality?


I love arguments that the "rich never pay", when they fight like crazed weasels to lower those taxes they "never" pay. And you are still using sleight of hand. I am talking explicitly about the top 1%, so no family structure is meaningless. Really really meaningless.

Capital gains should be treated like income. Estate money should be treated like income. All income should be treated like income. And the tax code should be more progressive. And the cap should be lifted on Social Security, all income should be subject to it. That will do more to change the 1% vs. 99% income inequality than any amount of family structure social engineering you care to name.

So do you have specific proposals that address 1% vs 99%? What changes to family structure or corporate governance will do anything? Neither of those two things matter at all regarding the huge level of income inequality between the two groups I am talking about.

EDIT: Also change the corporate tax laws, so that pay/compensation over certain amounts have negative corporate tax consequences. Much more meaningful to change pay than changing corporate governance.
   2868. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4728255)
You can achieve basically the same thing with B-52's flying at 75,000 feet using cruise missiles.

You can't target as precisely with lower yield weapons, and you cannot gain intelligence in real time. Further, there's a diplomatic element involved as well. While a country might publicly cry about drone attacks, privately they are more inclined to allow for them than they might be to allow for B-52 bombing runs.
   2869. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:29 AM (#4728256)
You can achieve basically the same thing with B-52's flying at 75,000 feet using cruise missiles.


I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.
   2870. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:30 AM (#4728257)
When did he ramp up that effort, exactly?

You do know there was a military "surge" in Afghanistan starting in mid-2009, right?
   2871. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4728262)
You do know there was a military "surge" in Afghanistan starting in mid-2009, right?


And you were in favor of it, right? All the warhawks were. More weapons will solve it this time. Or next time. Maybe the time after that. We'll never be sure until we just keep trying.
   2872. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:36 AM (#4728263)
And as noted, it's actually documented.


Well yes, but it's also documented that Iranians took part, and since some Iranians took part by definition the CIA couldn't have been behind it also, because...reasons.

Seriously, there's long been arguments made that because there were Iranians (all on their own) who wanted to get rid of Mossedgeh, or that there were Chileans who all on their own wanted to get rid Allende, and that such Iranians and Chileans were actually physically involved in such coups* that the CIA wasn't "behind" such coups and that transmogrifies into claims that the CIA/US role was irrelevant which transmogrifies into claims that we didn't do ANYTHING.


*By way of contrast, in 1979 the "coup" which took down Afghan president Hafizullah Amin consisted of 700 Soviet Troops wearing Afghan uniforms- obviously we didn't do THAT in Iran or Chile
   2873. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:39 AM (#4728265)
#2839 I read it and I'm extremely underwhelmed.

Have you looked at the CIA's own documentation of their role in the coup (released just last year)? Including Kermit Roosevelt's working files. There's also Donald Wilber's report. Not hard to find the whole shooting match, but here's a link to the summary (pdf) written in 1954.

They're quite clear that it was driven by the CIA.

Thanks for sharing, Ron. I'll give it a look. Meanwhile, keep in mind that the CIA enjoys taking "open secret' credit for successes, real and imagined alike.
   2874. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:40 AM (#4728266)
You do know there was a military "surge" in Afghanistan starting in mid-2009, right?


And what was the strategic aim of that 'surge?'
   2875. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:42 AM (#4728267)
I want to know what exactly that fear has bought us? I know what it cost us, trillions of dollars, etc ... What has it bought?


hatred

JE: You know one thing I almost kind of admire about neocons is the utter lack of shame (or self awareness, I guess the two traits go hand in hand)
   2876. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:45 AM (#4728269)
I am talking explicitly about the top 1%, so no family structure is meaningless. Really really meaningless.

The top-1% starts at $368K. The top-0.5% starts at $559K, the top 0.1% starts at $1.7M, the top-0.01% starts at $9.1M

source: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/income-inequality-1-percent-still-going-strong/

That's going to be basically professional couples, up until at least the top 0.1%. So, having two high earners (instead of one back in the 50's and 60's) definitely makes a huge difference.
   2877. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:48 AM (#4728273)
That's going to be basically professional couples, up until at least the top 0.1%. So, have two high earners definitely makes a huge difference.


And what social engineering are you planning? I have laid out some simple steps which will impact income inequality. You have suggested that the answer is ...?

   2878. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4728274)
*By way of contrast, in 1979 the "coup" which took down Afghan president Hafizullah Amin consisted of 700 Soviet Troops wearing Afghan uniforms- obviously we didn't do THAT in Iran or Chile


"Sneakier than the Soviets" isn't exactly the highest of praise.
   2879. Johnny Sycophant-Laden Fora Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:49 AM (#4728275)
I say we take off and nuke the entire site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure.


I'm never quite sure if the people who quote that line are aware or not that in the context of that Movie- that line was a sane and rational suggestion made by a sane and rational character...
whereas, "Mr. President, I'm not saying we wouldn't get our hair mussed, but I do say no more than 10 to 20 million killed, tops! Uh, depending on the breaks." was spoken by a charactr who was both irrational and sociopathic
   2880. Publius Publicola Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:50 AM (#4728277)
Re: Mossadeq

Regardless of the role of the CIA played in Mossadeq's removal, the Iranians held our embassy people hostage for over a year, without really having much of a provocation. So that evens things in my book.

Also, the US, as a Western, secular and non-muslim country, is immediately suspect in the eyes of a fundamentalist theocracy, even if we had no prior relations there at all. There's not much we can do about that.

And there's also cultural bias on their part. They conflate the US with the colonial powers, in much the same way westerners lump together Sunni and Shia as all muslims, without historical nuance.
   2881. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:53 AM (#4728278)
Meanwhile in Israel...
The Israeli daily Haaretz is reporting on a new poll showing a decline in support among the Israeli public for West Bank settlers and the settlements themselves. Haaretz says the pollsters who conducted this survey and six identical ones going back to six years show "a drastic decline in public support for settlers since 2009."


And of course ...
A couple of weeks ago Jerusalem-based think-tank, the Jewish People Policy Institute, released the findings from its study “Jewish & Democratic: Perspectives from World Jewry”. The key findings demonstrate a growing trend towards a concern for the current Zionist policies of the Jewish state from the core of its international supporters—Jews themselves. This reveals a more critical portrayal of Israel’s “implementation of Jewishness” than ever before, including a growing tension associated with the idea of a state that is both a “Jewish” and “democratic”.


Since we are talking the Mideast.
   2882. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4728280)
And you were in favor of it, right? All the warhawks were. More weapons will solve it this time. Or next time. Maybe the time after that. We'll never be sure until we just keep trying.

Warhawks favor war? Who knew?

If you had meant to say "neo-Cons," then yes, most were in favor of the concept but demanded to know why on Earth Obama was sending in far fewer troops than his commanders had called for while giving a date-certain withdrawal time, thereby signaling to the Taliban and any remaining AQ forces that they could outlast us.
   2883. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:54 AM (#4728282)
I'm never quite sure if the people who quote that line are aware or not that in the context of that Movie- that line was a sane and rational suggestion made by a sane and rational character...


It is one of my favorite movies of all time, so yes I am. It is such a lovely line, and so all purpose.
   2884. Ron J2 Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:55 AM (#4728283)
#2873 I'm aware of it, but the documents that have come to light over the years were for internal purposes. Their own historian wrote (in the mid-70s in "Battle for Iran") "[T]he military coup that overthrew Mossadegh and his National Front cabinet was carried out under CIA direction as an act of U.S. foreign policy."

There's documentation of things like cash payment to spontaneous demonstrators and to conspirators.
   2885. SteveF Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4728284)
including a growing tension associated with the idea of a state that is both a “Jewish” and “democratic”

This is a fundamental long term problem for Israel. One of the core precepts for its existence is out of step with the values of the half of the world that doesn't want it destroyed.
   2886. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:56 AM (#4728285)
If you had meant to say "neo-Cons," then yes, most were in favor of the concept but demanded to know why on Earth Obama was sending in far fewer troops than his commanders had called for while giving a date-certain withdrawal time, thereby signaling to the Taliban and any remaining AQ forces that they could outlast us.


The problem is always that we don't have enough heart to fight wars forever.
   2887. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 09:57 AM (#4728286)
And what was the strategic aim of that 'surge?'

Apparently, it was to cover the President's backside, since as a candidate he couldn't stop talking about Afghanistan being the right war to fight.
   2888. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:02 AM (#4728290)
JE: You know one thing I almost kind of admire about neocons is the utter lack of shame (or self awareness, I guess the two traits go hand in hand)

And I almost admire your side's blazé assumption that Saddam's regime was withering on the vine in 2002. At least I have repeatedly bemoaned the Bush administration's decision to commit to a Germany/Japan-style occupation.

And I'll repeat: Hatred of the United States, after dipping in 2009-10, is back and better than ever, even after the resets and retreats.
   2889. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:04 AM (#4728294)
thereby signaling to the Taliban and any remaining AQ forces that they could outlast us.


Unless they are idiots this is totally irrelevant. Of course they can outlast us. It is their country. They have nowhere else to go, while for us we have this really nice country on another continent to go to. Honestly the last 100+ years of warfare has shown that foreign powers who invade can ALWAYS be outlasted by determined locals. Always. The key is to not have determined locals.

Do you think if Obama had not set a deadline the locals would not have remembered Vietnam or the Soviet invasion of their country of one of any number of other instances? Really?

I get that you think we should be involved forever. Perpetual war, because war is great and everything, but much of the US (and pretty much every country for the last 100+ years) gets tired of endless war to no gain and insists its troops come home.

Like I have said multiple times before, military invasions are a lose-lose proposition. You lose if you lose, you lose if it stalemates, and it turns out you lose when you win. Sometimes you have to fight, but you don't do it because you think you are going to win, because you won't, you do it because you absolutely have to.

An argument could be made that we had to invade Afghanistan to punish those who attacked us. If so, you do that, and then you leave. Setting a clear example, attack us and you get whomped and there is no occupation or reconstruction. There is no argument for staying in Afghanistan or Iraq.
   2890. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:06 AM (#4728296)
And I almost admire your side's blazé assumption that Saddam's regime was withering on the vine in 2002. At least I have repeatedly bemoaned the Bush administration's decision to commit to a Germany/Japan-style occupation.


Who cares if it was withering or not? Not our problem. We should not have kept forces in Saudi Arabia either. Iraq pretty much got the point that invading Kuwait was not a good idea, we didn't need troops in place to reinforce that.
   2891. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:07 AM (#4728297)
The problem is always that we don't have enough heart to fight wars forever.

Well, if World War II had been fought in today's media age, I'm not sure FDR would have survived either the fall of the Bataan Peninsula or ambush at Kasserine Pass.
   2892. Rickey! On a blog from 1998. With the candlestick. Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:10 AM (#4728303)
That's another topic. If World War II had been fought in today's media age, I'm not sure FDR would have survived either the fall of the Bataan Peninsula or ambush at Kasserine Pass.


Because a organized continental push by a nominal Great Power, allied with multiple other state actors, led by a man intent on taking over all of Europe if not the rest of the world, is totally like fighting a few barbarian nutters in the desert.
   2893. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:11 AM (#4728306)
is totally like fighting a few barbarian nutters in the desert


You forgot actually being attacked by a nation (who then formally declared war on us), allied with the others.
   2894. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:12 AM (#4728307)
Who cares if it was withering or not? Not our problem. We should not have kept forces in Saudi Arabia either. Iraq pretty much got the point that invading Kuwait was not a good idea, we didn't need troops in place to reinforce that.

Saddam most definitely didn't get the message, Mouse, which is why Clinton felt the need to repeatedly bomb Iraq and promote regime change.
   2895. GregD Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:16 AM (#4728311)
That's another topic. If World War II had been fought in today's media age, I'm not sure FDR would have survived either the fall of the Bataan Peninsula or ambush at Kasserine Pass.


Excellent analogy! Bataan Peninsula defeat came 4 months after the start of the US's involvement in World War 2. Kasserine Pass 14 months after.

We are now 135 months since the start of the Iraq war.

Leaving aside 2892's point about the absurdity of the analogy on substantive grounds.

I am open to arguments about the necessity to use force in this case, but an argument that relies upon "we're cowards so must prove we're actually macho men" disqualifies both the argument and the speaker from being taking seriously on the topic.
   2896. JE (Jason) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:17 AM (#4728313)
Because a organized continental push by a nominal Great Power, allied with multiple other state actors, led by a man intent on taking over all of Europe if not the rest of the world, is totally like fighting a few barbarian nutters in the desert.

The "few barbarian nutters" were working alongside those who brought us 9/11 and were hoping to hit us with WMD next. News flash: You no longer need to command five million uniformed goose-steppers in order to wreak havoc on the world.
   2897. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:21 AM (#4728315)
Saddam most definitely didn't get the message, Mouse, which is why Clinton felt the need to repeatedly bomb Iraq and promote regime change.


This is totally incorrect. What evidence do you have regarding Saddam not "getting the message"? Iraq invaded Iran, and it was a disaster. Iraq then picked an easy target (Kuwait) and, hey look, that turned into a disaster as well. Guess what, even if Iraq did not clue in, guess what Iraq invading another country in the region would have turned into? Yup, a disaster.

The reason the US (not just Clinton) felt the need to meddle had little to do with whether or not Saddam was planning yet another disastrous invasion of a neighbor. It had to do with a variety of factors, many of which are the same you have been trotting out. The warhawks (of which neocons are a subset) always see war as the answer. They have a hammer after all.

So no, I am not going to defend Clinton's actions in Iraq. What do you think would have happened if we did not stay in the region? Iraq goes on a rampage? Not likely. Iraq persecutes its populace? That happened anyway. People would be angry at having left? Like our "good ally" Saudi Arabia? On no, not that! They have been so very valuable keeping the region safe and secure, and such a good democratic example for the region they are.
   2898. Bitter Mouse Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:25 AM (#4728317)
The "few barbarian nutters" were working alongside those who brought us 9/11 and were hoping to hit us with WMD next. News flash: You no longer need to command five million uniformed goose-steppers in order to wreak havoc on the world.


And our continuous presence in their region of the world, our bombing, droning, and such makes sure they stay good and angry at us forever. And if we keep troops there, well excellent we are supplying them targets they don't have to halfway around the world to get at.

Being so terrified of another 9/11 that you pee yourself is not a good reason to make war on a region, with no real goal, while doing yourself more damage (more casualties, more money wasted) than they could ever accomplish without our help.

You realize OBL wanted the US to do what we did, right? Wanted our presence to unify the radical Muslims and give them easy targets to attack, right?
   2899. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:26 AM (#4728318)
So do you have specific proposals that address 1% vs 99%?


Physical capitalism. The reign of the fancy lad must be curtailed.
   2900. The Id of SugarBear Blanks Posted: June 17, 2014 at 10:27 AM (#4728320)
The descent from a Bob McNamara, a soul tortured by his role in the Vietnam disaster, to a Wolfowitz/Libby, pathologically carrying on unfazed, is yet another marker of decline.



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