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Some Perspective



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Here’s how Nicholas Von Hoffman summarized the war in Afghanistan literally moments before we won. Because the New York Observer is a weekly, Von Hoffman’s diagnosis appeared days after the Taliban was in full retreat. From the November 14, 2001 New York Observer:

“The war in Afghanistan, the one (Bush) should never have declared, has run into trouble. Just a few weeks into it and it’s obvious that the United States is fighting blind. The enemy is unknown, and the enemy’s country is terra incognita. We have virtually no one we can trust who can speak the languages of the people involved. With all our firepower and our technical assets and our spy satellites, it looks like we don’t know if we’re coming or going. …

“We are mapless, we are lost, and we are distracted by gusts of wishful thinking. That our high command could believe the Afghani peasantry or even the Taliban would change sides after a few weeks of bombing! This is fantasizing in high places. …

“Moreover, as hellish as the Taliban are, it appears that the ordinary people of Afghanistan prefer them to the brigands and bandits with whom we’ve been trying to make common cause … .”

How Do You Say “Too Good to Be True” in Arabic?



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Here’s the story that Dick Cheney’s daughter is a human shield. And its debunking

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Classic Anglo-American Chicanery



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Web Briefing: September 18, 2014

Our Animal Partners



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John – Not only are the dolphins on our side, but we’ve got bomb-sniffing dogs and chemical weapon detecting birds working with us too. Though I confess, only the mammals are volunteers. The birds are draftees.

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Bbc On Basra



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Uk Helping



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The first versions of the Basra story, and the one up on the wires now, says the Brit troops are helping the Basra residents. FOX strayed from that for a little (perhaps based on this), then seemed to return to the first version of the report. A CENTCOM said he was essentially relying on the media for his news of it. The sunlight might come at daybreak…

Link



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Dolphins At War



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Now that dolphins are helping us wage war on Iraq, will the pro-Saddam types finally admit that this is a multilateral effort? Now we even have representatives of the animal kingdom on our side.

Long Night



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So Sky/FNC is reporting that the Baath party is shooting on residents and the British are reluctant to go in because it is the dead of night, fearing civilian casualties. This sounds ugly, however, it pans out. May it not wind up a bloody disaster.

Has Peta Checked in Yet?



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Who’s On First?



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Both FNC and MSNBC are both claiming they were first to report the Basra story, with the aid of British reporters.

Anti-Hegemony Money?



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One of the underlying problems with the Euro is that the impetus behind the establishment of the single currency was political not economic. Procrustean rather than pragmatic, its ‘one size fits all’ approach has proved problematic when applied to wildly divergent economies and has, for example, played no small part in Germany’s current difficulties. Goran Persson, Sweden’s prime minister, seems to have learned nothing from this experience. His latest argument (quoted by Reuters today) as to why Sweden should sign up for the Euro seems to be based more on politics than the prosperity of the people he is supposed to represent. “I see a more influential European Union, ” he says “as an ever more important actor on the international scene. For everyone who is scared of living in a world where there is only one big actor, there is every reason to attach more weight and effort to strengthening the European Union…We in Sweden can contribute actively by stepping forth to work constructively for the common currency.” Now that’s what I call scary.

Madness?



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Like it or not (and he probably doesn’t) Tony Blair appears to be under no illusions as to the difficulties resulting from the current divisions between the US and some EU countries. At a press conference today he referred to the need for a “reckoning” about relations between America and Europe (by ‘Europe’, he clearly meant the Franco-German entente) once the war was over. He also noted that “when people really sit down and reflect upon the interest of Europe they would regard the idea of sacrificing the transatlantic alliance as madness, as it would be – absolute madness.” Blair is right, of course. The problem, however, is that Chirac and Schroeder are not interested in ‘Europe’ as such. They are interested in securing Franco-German control over Europe – and that is not the same thing at all.

Why



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Is Condi Rice meeting with Kofi Annan? Unless it is to sign the U.N.’s death certificate…

Shia Uprising in Basra



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Against Saddam. According to Sky News. Brits are reportedly helping. Baath party officials have been firing into the residents.

On The Brink of The “Center of Gravity”



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Rick Levanthal on FNC with frontline Marines just got off the line reporting serious resistance. He wasn’t able to say if they were irregulars or Republican Guard. But, either way, it seems they are right there or right about there, in what everyone is calling the “red zone” outside Baghdad.

McCaffrey



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From a reader:

Jonah,

McCaffrey is a serious, thoughtful guy, but I’ve noticed over the last 18 months, both thru the Afghan campaign and during the lead-in to the Iraq conflict, he has a tendency to downplay/nitpick any military success that makes Gulf War I (and Schwartzkopf’s (sp?) and his own “heroic success” in how it was carried out) look less than the total success that it was protrayed as at the time by comparison to current operations.

Yeah, he’s got legit concerns (lots of “traditional” military types – especially Army/Marine types – have been saying similar or more critical things about the plan for months and months now), but he’s also in the business of McCaffrey Reputation Protection [tm] so I always take anything he or Stormin’ Norman say about the job that the current military leadership is doing with a grain of salt or four.

Fox: Too True



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Fox cut away from their agenda again for a Tariq Aziz press conference. He was speaking in English, but their feed had voiceover translating in Arabic. So Fox cut the feed and David Asman said, “we all know what Tariq Aziz is going to say anyway.”

Akbar



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So Asn Akbar is referred to as Sgt Akbar, even though his uniform says he is Sgt. (middle name FIDEL) Kools. MSNBC reports it is the military respecting religious names. If he legally changed his name that is one thing, then he should be Akbar, all around. But two names? By the way, Daniel Pipes has a good piece on this case and the problems it raises.

And Yet...



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…it is “an unjust and evil war.”

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