Meh Culpa

What should happen to McChrystal: In case anyone was wondering. Or not.

When  Congressional subcommittees or committee-committees chew you out, it doesn’t mean anything.  It’s only PR masquerading as a consequence when nothing bad is really going to happen to you. Bad things don’t happen to the Big People, they happen to the Little People.

For instance, the American auto execs were chewed out for flushing their businesses (and lots and lots of jobs) down the national toilet.  The chewing-out did not stop the same execs from taking private planes to their meetings (hadn’t they heard of carpooling?) or from standing up the President of the United States.  One executive head rolled, but only one.  Not that bad.

The heads of Banks Too Big To Fail might have squirmed a little when they were introduced to a new orifice courtesy of a committee hearing, but nothing happened to them either. They continued to collect vast bonuses and so did their underlings. We could probably balance the budgets of several states using the money they doled out to themselves. OK, so Ken Lewis might get a little hand slapping for not talking about the problems with Merill Lynch’s balance sheet, but then again maybe not.   Lewis has already portrayed himself as a patriot doing his civic duty, as not having a choice because Hank Paulson said so.

Fast-forward to Tony Hayward’s testimony before yet another freakin’ committee looking for air time so its members can emote righteously and pretend that it means something.  Because it doesn’t.  There isn’t going to be any meaningful regulation on the oil industry any more than there were regulations sicked like rabid dogs on the bankers, who were then free to do everything they did before the recession, which will bring our economy land in even more do-do.  Nope,  most if not all of our politicians are basking in the well-lined pocket of  industry, like tanning addicts bake in the sun, no matter what that industry’s name.  BP has been and/ or will be penalized, but the industry itself will keep on chuggin’ like the little engine that could.  I mean,  a Federal district judge just lifted the President’s moratorium on drilling because the administration hadn’t proven that all of the new offshore rigs in question were bound to fail as BP’s Deepwater Horizon did because of a faulty assumption.  The thing is, I’m not sure it can be proven that any or all of the rigs are not bound to fail.  The point is that it’s more important to secure the oceans and shores from spills extending for months, and perhaps years if the relief wells don’t work, than it is to generate oil.  The environment depends on it; our people’s livelihoods depend on it.   What we can’t depend on are the courts,  the oil companies, and the politicians to make sure it never happens again.

So, now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, what should happen to McChrystal after the disaster that is the snarktastic  Rolling Stone article?  The same thing that happens to everyone else–a little public humiliation, then back to work for the sucker.*


* I don’t really care about McChrystal.  He was ineffably stupid to be that free and easy around a journalist, but I don’t really care.  But as a rule I am against war.  I’m against the Afghan War on  that principle as well as on the grounds that we can’t win. Trying to win in Afghanistan bankrupted the Soviets.  Then their government crashed and burned. Who is to say we’ll be any different? (Hint: it takes a big helping of hubris to assume we won’t be.) So as far as I’m truly concerned, we can just end the war and bug out while out soldiers still have an intact country to go back to. No matter how many millions of dollars in minerals we succeed in letting corporations dig up, prolonging this war just isn’t worth the cost.

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June 23, 2010 Posted by | Afghan War, Afghanistan, automakers, bailout(s), banks, Congress, Economy, Foreign policy, House of Representatives, politics, Russia, Senate, Uncategorized | , | Leave a comment

Splish Splash: Skimming Wikileaks.com

I finally got around to reading ProPublica, well into the depths of an article about Wikileaks and the Congressional Research  Service, an org that  pumps information only for members of Congress.   I am so not interested in CRS reports, but Wikileaks.com, now that’s another bag of tomatoes.

Wikileaks.com is to spreading secrets as Madge was to dishwashing liquid.  Today I discovered a NATO report dated January 14, 2009, Metrics Brief 2007-2008 (.pdf file), that records a 45% increase in Afghan civilian deaths in the last year, while kidnappings are up 50%.   IED attacks, which have risen 27%,  are deemed the “single largest cause of casualties.”  Many of them would seem to be against the Afghan government, as attacks  against that entity have skyrocketed to almost 120%.  The document’s all graphs, slides, and stats,  so it’s a fairly easy read.

Another  link that caught my eye has to do with a white supremacist shot to death by his wife two months ago in a domestic violence homicide.   I suppose we should be a grateful public.  By gunning down her husband, the independently wealthy James G. Cummings, Amber Cummings of Belfast, Maine has potentially saved us from a “dirty bomb,” the makings of which were in her home.   No one,  from the coppers to Senator Collins, has any comment.  Natch.

In other news,  there’s the article “McCain Solicits Russian U.N. Ambassador” originally published at the conservative  WaPo last year.  At first I thought it was a sex story because that’s what sells,  but it’s about campaign donations.  Still, very droll.  The Russians despised McCain’s positions–and might wish they had a few missiles aimed at Sarah’s house–so they  wouldn’t have given his campaign any money even if they were allowed.   The article does show how far wrong McCain’s campaign could go, which makes it amusing and a tad pitiful.

A 2007 document alleges that the United States has violated chemical weapons conventions in Iraq.  I thought that was common knowledge.  I guess I was wrong.

There’s about 237 pages worth of SOP for Camp Delta (.pdf file) in Guantanamo signed by the nefarious Maj. Gen. Geoffrey D. Miller,  who was later sent to Abu Ghraib to make that facility more  Gitmo-esque.  The article preceding the .pdf file claims evidence of psychological torture, which I assume is about cavity searches and intimidation by military dogs.  There could be more evidence I’m not getting because it’s written in dull militarese and I’m short on time.

When I do get some time–after my next two exams and the paper about ovarian cancer–I’m going to look into the Counterinsurgency link, which boasts military doctrine for unconventional warfare used by US  Special Forces;  UK insurgency doctrine from 2007, or doing-to-the-Taliban-and-Al-Qaeda-what-they’ve-done-to-us;  there’s ” McCain’s real Petraeus doctrine,” about US trained death squads and a number of other slimy details the Pentagon doesn’t want you to know.  We’ve got all sorts of goodies here at Wikileaks, boys and girls.   I counted forty-three links, although some,  such as those under “Catalyzed analysis and reportage,”  may redirect and talk about related doctrine, reports, and projections.

Be good and learn a lot.  😉

February 19, 2009 Posted by | Afghan War, Afghanistan, Defense, Foreign policy, Guantanamo, Pentagon, Russia, torture, UK | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

I’d like to say it’s prescient

but still,  the essay is well worth reading: “How Bin Laden Bankrupted America: The Five Ways” by Jon Basil Utley

I can remember writing something to the effect back in 2002-ish after Bin Laden’s “Letter to America” was published– on an old e-list that no longer exists–that Bin Laden was brilliant.*  That he hated Saddam and would never work with him, but would allow us to think so if it would both ruin Saddam and us.

The text of Bin Laden’s letter provides a map of his brain, to some extent.  He lists our shortcomings–our sins and venality and meddling–and advises us that we have compromised our values–although in 2002 most Americans didn’t yet know the half of torture, extraordinary rendition,  and least of all the lies about WMDs in Iraq.  At the very end,  he says what wants to happen (or believes will happen):

If the Americans do not respond, then their fate will be that of the Soviets who fled from Afghanistan to deal with their military defeat, political breakup, ideological downfall, and economic bankruptcy.

In this respect, he’s looking back at history.  The Soviets were defeated.  The British were defeated at Herat in 1880, although it was India that did in the empire.  The Center for Strategic and International Studies has published a plan for winning the Afghan War, but given our current economic circumstances, I don’t think we can afford that war.  We might be able to afford to chase Bin Laden down via covert ops,  but we can’t deal with war on the scale it would take to remedy the connected situations in Pakistan and Afghanistan–unless you treat war as an extended employment opportunity, which I hope you do not.

Just my nickel.

* I think it might be a good idea to fact-check Bin Laden’s claims. You know, see how much is real and how much isn’t. There is truth to some of what he writes, but he does have a warped POV so you have to take that into consideration. Maybe some day if I have time.  (Off to study more medical terminology now…)

January 19, 2009 Posted by | Bush administration, Economy, Foreign policy, India, Iraq, Iraq War, Russia, torture, WMD | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment