Frank Bruni today in the New York Times writes of the vast distance between those in uniform and the celebrity pundits busily passing judgement on a soldier. Pundits, most of whom have never even tried on a uniform. Good column. He also says this:
This has been an emotional, messy and confusing week, which ends with as many questions as answers. One of mine concerns the Obama administration: Is there anyone there doing serious messaging strategy? Anyone stepping back to consider how a story like this one is likely to unfold and how the administration may get tripped up in it?
When Susan Rice (rightly or wrongly) carries around that Benghazi baggage, how do you send her of all emissaries onto TV to talk up the “honor and distinction” of Bergdahl’s military service? This characterization was sure to be disputed; there was countervailing evidence in circulation even as she spoke. How do you fail to realize that this is going to come back to bite you? Incredible.
So today everyone – me too – is all agog about Stanley MacArthur. And Obama. And will he? Or won’t he? Should he? Would he? And, omg, what if he doesn’t?? And what if he does?? Rock and hard place, but I stay with my previous post – Stanley must go, or more to the point, Obama must step up to the plate, defend civilian control and fire the general’s ass.
But even as we enjoy ‘the fret’, we’ve once again missed the point.
Why the hell are we still in Afghanistan? We hit the ground there in October of 2001. It is now June of 2010 and exactly what have we accomplished? I cannot name anything.
So on this 237th day of the ninth year of the war, I’d like my president to fire the general and then get the hell out of Afghanistan.
The weather here has finally begun to stabilize and has almost reached normal temperatures for this time of year. As cold and hard as this winter has been all over the Eastern US and Western Europe, it’s interesting to note that Canada is just coming out of its warmest winter since they began keeping records. Suggests migrating climate. Or it could just be a freak year. The few climate sites I try to follow all are looking at ocean temperatures – at least the Atlantic. That seems to be where the action is right now. Changes in ocean temperatures especially in the fresh water ‘rivers’ that run underwater and convert cold water to warm water and warm water to cold water. Wonky stuff.
Read an interesting article a few days ago by a NY Times reporter who spent years in Afghanistan. He was talking about The Hurt Locker, about its accuracy. He liked the movie and agreed is probably the best so far about the war. Wish I’d made a note so I could link to it. Of course, it reminded me that I was a few days behind in my count. So let me catch up right here. Today is the 157th day of the War in Afganistan.
Again with the listening to Limbaugh. I can offer no good or rational reason why I do this to myself. It isn’t to gather blog fuel, because it’s a behavior of mine that goes back much further than the birth of this thingee here.
Today, in his opening rant (others have opening monologues – Mr. Bouncy Bouncy opens with a rant about whatever has outraged him since 3pm yesterday), he was most distressed about jobless figures. Not about the jobless mind you. About the numbers.
He said: “Massive layoffs are edging up”. Now that was a stand alone item, not a modifier or conditinal phrase or anything like that. Wow. Is there a mathematician or grammarian out there who can help me parse this one? It’s a construct that escapes me utterly.(Pino?)
But perhaps this unemployment numbers thing reveals that there is an upside to our fighting two wars (or is it three now) in Asia. Because if all those troops came home and mustered out, they’d need jobs. At least, as long as they’re carrying weapons, they’ve got a paycheck.
Something to think about I guess on the 137th day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.
By the way, remember when he got out of the hospital in Hawaii, Limbaugh said that because he got great health care there, that meant there was no health care problem in this country? I guess by that reasoning, since he has a job, there is no unemployment in this country. What the hell is he ranting about?
I’ve been fretting about our involvement in Yemen (home of the Christmas bomber) since hearing Michael Isikoff of Newsweek on C-SPAN yesterday. He said that we have drones in the air there. I’m not knowledgeable enough to know if this is the right thing or the wrong thing to be doing. But I do know that our history tells us these things can escalate into much more than the American people are willing to support. And these things end up being counter productive – making our own position in that country far worse than if we’d kept our distance.
Whadda ya say pal? Shall we get us another war?
Today, Marc Lynch, on the Middle East Blog in Foreign Affairs, says Don’t Lose Perspective on Yemen.
“I’ve always thought that the global Counterinsurgency strategy [COIN] conception is a recipe for overstretch and exhaustion, as the frontier endlessly recedes and American resources are squandered in a futile attempt to bring order to the un-orderly parts of the world.”
“ . . . the administration shouldn’t fall into the trap of thinking it must “do something” to fend off political harping from the right and end up over-committing… or taking steps which ultimately make the situation worse.”
He gives kudos to the Obama administration for their current position and their quiet work in Yemen for the past year. But the usual voices are beginning to howl for ‘action’ (Joe Lieberman anyone?). They must not be a podium at this debate. Not again.
Especially not when today is the 132nd day of the ninth year of the War in Afghanistan.