Thursday, September 27, 2007

The stupidity of American Politics / Media

Apparently, there was another Democratic debate last night involving all the candidates. Who knew.

Nothing really surprising to report about that. The media fell all over themselves declaring winners and losers. No one said anything really noteworthy or controversial. Pretty much the same stuff as the previous debates (although now everyone is asking if they would pullout of Iraq by 2013.)

There was one question, however, that makes me want to punch someone (notably the moderator) square in the jaw:

"What is your favorite bible passage?"

My response had I been a participant:


I'm really starting to wonder what hell is going on with America. They don't even think about fielding questions like that down here in Colombia - a 90% Catholic country. That's the type of thing they usually reserve for Iran.

So congratulations to Tim Russert and MSNBC for once again demonstrating that in addition to illegal rendition, torture, and denial of basic human rights, the US also shares with Iran an overzealous religious culture that is corrupting our politics.

...And I'm proud to be an 'Merican....


Tuesday, September 25, 2007


There is a lot of talk around the web, among Colombian people, and within the expat community that Colombia is a lot safer today than it was 5 years ago. I have no doubt that that is true (although, I did hear someone once say that Colombians say that every 5 years, even if it’s not true). What is not true, however, is the claim that Colombia is “safe”.

I live a fairly privileged life here in Bogota. We live in the north, strata 5. We have more than enough to enjoy our lives, eat out on the weekends, go to parties, travel, and save money for our future. We are very fortunate in that regard. When I encounter people (rare occurrences) who look down their nose at me because of that, I dismiss them as immature and foolish ex-pats who actually think it’s “cool” to live in dangerous crapholes. They say it is more “authentic” or the “real” Colombia.

Real or not, the truth of the matter is that any and all foreigners down here are immediate targets. For the most part that means targets of petty crime although it could have worse implications. Either way, putting oneself at risk to have a more “authentic” experience (whatever that is), while certainly an option, strikes me as unnecessarily foolhardy. Let’s just remember that this is a country in which it is not safe to take a taxi on the street due to the risk of a “paseo millonario” in which the cab driver’s gun or knife toting buddies will take you for a ride around the city’s finest ATM’s while you withdraw all of your money and then leave you standing in your underwear in Parque Bolivar at 2 in the morning as a laugh.

And that’s considered a good turn of events.

This is not to say that Colombia is one giant jungle of danger as so many foreigners with zero knowledge of Colombia seem to think. But the reality of risk does have a very real impact on every day activities. For example, in the US or UK, there is never a second thought about going to happy hour after work. But here in Colombia, one has to arrange transportation in advance because walking out of a bar at night a little bit tipsy is like painting a bull’s-eye on your back and walking onto a firing range.

So, for all those self-righteous gringos living in estrato 2 (all 2 of you), forgive me if I don’t subject myself to your level of risk. Not only do I prefer to not live in a total craphole, I also prefer my body un-stabbed as well as my bank account un-drained.

At any rate, the above deals with some of the personal safety issues for foreigners here in Colombia. But I actually wanted to talk a bit about safety issues for Colombians. I watched the news last night and it was little more than a string of homicide reports. That’s nothing special for Bogotá or for any big city, but what was exception was the number of politically motivated assassinations. For some reason, it is considered “normal” to assassinate political candidates that you disagree with.

This is not a new phenomenon. I am reading a book of Colombian history and as early as 1826 politically motivated assassinations were the norm. It really causes one to wonder. Is it cultural? Why is it that political development in the US developed in a fairly peaceful manner? At what point does a culture just say enough and do away with violence as a means to settle internal dispute? And how can a violent, internal conflict ever be resolved if the “norm” is to assassinate political rivals?

All of these questions have been circulating my brain for the last week. It seems to me that these are the big questions – questions which are not being addressed by those in power or by the development programs under implementation. Instead, it’s economic growth and disaster assistance with a smidgeon of democracy promotion, education assistance, and other similar programs.

Last week I sat in on a very long and detailed presentation of the drug and paramilitary/guerrilla problem here in Colombia. The presenter was a Spanish gentleman who works for a very conservative think tank here in Bogotá. It was a very interesting presentation but it ultimately left me with more questions than answers. It also left me extremely pessimistic about the possibility of: a) ending the drug problem and b) peacefully ending the internal conflict.

(I also found his version of the drug problem to be little more than the government line. I.e. “we’re making progress,” “we can bring it under control,” ect. I found that part to not only be a bit dishonest, but also total horse poo poo. He rushed through it and didn’t take more than 1 or 2 questions as clearly he didn’t have answers. No one does.)

At any rate, what seems eminently clear is that only long-term cultural change is going to create the conditions for peace here in Colombia. The people and government have to collectively decide that it is not ok to kill off controversial political candidates. The attention to the drug problem should be de-emphasized with greater focus on political reconciliation between warring factions. And, the Holy Grail of economic development must be recognized as only a part of the solution – not the solution itself.

(Aside: The drug problem in Colombia is only important because it has become a source of financing for paramilitary and guerrilla forces. The coca question in relation to the US is largely irrelevant to Colombia except in terms of relations with the US. In other words, if coca wasn’t funding the insurgency and creating more conditions for violence, then the drug problem would truly be problem for the developed world. It should be noted that the US government has been selling this point and, given the difficulty with data collection, the level of FARC involvement in the coca trade is highly questionable. By “buying into” the claim that coca finances the FARC, the Colombian government has committed itself to the North American agenda when that may not be in its best interests. What I mean is, given the vast resources spent on combating a North American and European addiction here in Colombia, one has to ask, couldn’t those funds be used to further develop the country instead of pulling up or fumigating coca plants?

Of course, if one wants to start questioning Reagan’s War on Drugs, there are many other questions to ask. But from Colombia’s perspective, the more I learn and read and see, the more clear it becomes that they should just legalize coca production, tax it, and tell the US to deal with their own problems at home.)


Friday, September 21, 2007

Sometimes my country shames me.

KKK, alive and kicking.

I'll resist the urge to curse and shout...this time.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Remembering Robert Jordan

I wanted to take a moment to express my thoughts about Robert Jordan’s death yesterday. In many ways, I feel like I’m losing a friend I’ve never known. As absurd as that sounds. But I guess that I understand why so many people were distraught over the death of Pavarotti. It’s the sadness that comes with seeing a great artist who touched so many lives leave this world.

The irony is I doubt that he and I would have gotten along. I mean, he was a gun-toting, South Carolina Republican. While I have counted one such chap as a good friend in the past, I imagine that my political views would have created friction. Then again, I could be wrong.

I think that while on the one hand, I’m saddened for selfish reasons (his incomplete epic), I’m also sad that he won’t infect new, young minds with his style of artistry. There’s a whole generation of future readers that will never get a chance to discover his work, passionately devour it, and then spend months or years waiting for his next great piece of writing.

But more than that, Robert Jordan is more or less my literary inspiration (with J.R.R. Tolkien, John Steinbeck, and Philip Dick being the other three). The reason I have found his story so inspiring is because it’s not the legacy of an F. Scott Fitzgerald – i.e. a naturally talented, but crazy fool who didn’t have to struggle terribly to produce fine works of fiction (biographers will differ with me on this point, but there’s no denying that his talent, like other great writers, spewed forth from him in limitless quantities).

Instead, Jordan had a normal life. He worked a normal job until he wrote his first book. It was never published (he had a contract dispute), but the fact that someone was willing to publish it gave him the confidence he needed to quit his day job and become a fulltime author. Over the years he honed his craft, developed his skills, and through hard work, became one of the greatest fantasy writers of all time (I rank him directly behind Tolkien).

That is my inspiration. As an aspiring author, I have not had an “easy” time of developing my voice, finding my muse. I’ve written and re-written and discarded and started over dozens of times. And I fear that my great work, the epic that I hope to make real, is something that will take many more years (in addition to the 5 I’ve already spent on it) to become a work of art. In the meantime, I have other works that are nearing completion. And with each step that I make, I find inspiration and context and meaning that I try to express in literary form.

I would have loved to spend 30 minutes with Jordan just quizzing him about his development process. In some ways, I believe it must be the most exciting time of an author’s life. In other ways, it can be the most challenging and frustrating. I still wonder how much he had to struggle – not just in the beginning, but with each book, each story that he told.

Ultimately, Jordan was a huge success and inspiration to thousands if not millions. Each of us have our own dreams, our inspiration and only very few aspiring authors will ever reach commercial success, not to mention the heights of success that Jordan achieved (11 NYT bestsellers). But I have hope and confidence and perseverance. And in some small measure, I attribute that to Jordan who showed all of us that little by little, step by step, literary aspirations can become reality.


Monday, September 17, 2007


It is with great sadness that I pass on the news that Robert Jordan, the best Sci-Fi/Fantasy writer of a generation has passed away from a rare blood disease. You can read about it here.

He was like J.R.R. Tolkien. Just as talented. He created just as rich of a world. And I am stunned to think that someone else is going to finish the greatest Fantasy epic of all time.

Quick Hits

Watched most of the Patriots-Chargers game last night. What an ass-whipping. As currently configured, the Patriots are clearly the best team in the NFL. They could be the best team in a decade or more. It’s not inconceivable that they could go 16-0. They’ll definitely be 5-0 when they play Dallas and assuming they win that game, will be 8-0 when they play Indy. If they win both of those, I think 16-0 is guaranteed.

The best team in the NFC might just be the Cowboys, as much as it pains me to say that. They are scoring points in bunches and while the defense is giving up points, they’re getting turnovers as well. Here’s a troubling thought: the team that my Redskins struggled to beat and score on (Miami) was housed by the Cowboys to the tune of 37-20. Not good.

Tonight the Skins are in Philly in a key division matchup. I have a feeling we’re going to surprise the League. A lot of people are discounting the Skins but I like our D. It looks like it’s back to ’05 form. Plus, McNabb didn’t look like himself last week. We have a real chance to go 3-0 if we win this one (with a weakening Giants team the following week). As currently composed, there is nothing about this Philly team that is particularly scary. One dynamite player (Westbrook), average receivers, a QB at 60%, and a defense that looks about average. I think we got a shot if we run the football on the edges.

Still, it’s the Patriots world and we’re all just playing in it.


We went to two barbeques over the weekend. Two different celebrations (both graduations). Lots of family type events down here.

At any rate, on Saturday night, we were going to a Home Goods fair (discounts on all the good stuff) because we needed to buy a washing machine (which we did). On the way, I saw, once again, a recently deceased motorcyclist sprawled out on the freeway.

This is not an uncommon event here in Colombia. I have seen a number of dead people, although they are normally covered with a sheet or tarp or something. This time, we drove by shortly after the accident so the cops had seemingly just arrived and the body was uncovered. It was a sad sight to see.

My wife and I had a discussion about it afterwards. I just can’t seem to comprehend why people risk their lives so flagrantly to save 5 minutes of time. The way people drive down here is generally terrible but the motorcylers are the worst. They zip in and around cars with a total disregard for personal safety that is stunning. I personally have almost had accidents with these guys many times. The classic is when you’re taking a right turn, with your signal on, and it’s clear to go, except the motorcycle behind you decides they can scoot past you on your right before you make the turn. Sheer stupidity.

My wife suggests that it’s a lack of education. I’m sure she’s right. After all, Bogotá is a city in which just recently (in the last 5 years) there was a public service campaign to get people to use cross-walks. Too many people were getting killed jaywalking it seemed. I’ve seen this happen as well (reckless jaywalking, that is) and it boggles the mind. Life comes cheap in Colombia.


It’s looking increasingly like Hillary Clinton is going to be the next president. Can’t say I’m too happy about that. She’s more prone to following polling advice than stand on principle. Looks like a career pol. We’ve got 4 months to go before the primary season begins, but it’s obviously her race to lose. Unfortunately, Obama hasn’t made enough inroads. For all Hillary’s vaunted experience, she voted for the Iraq war, hasn’t taken a stand to end the war, and is probably most noted for the colossal failure of health care reform. I just can’t seem to get too motivated by the idea of a Hillary presidency. Wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Looks like I won't be visiting...

...Bolivia anytime soon. Check out these new requirements for US citizens to enter the country.

True stupidity if there ever was any.


Bush's Speech

Sometimes I prefer the sports world for its simplicity and, ironically, honesty. Last night the Prez gave a speech that was chock full of lies, half-truths, and outright deceptions. But I can’t score it like this Monday’s upset when Washington runs the ball all over the Eagles defense. There aren’t touchdowns, field goals, passing yards, or turnovers. Instead, there’s just one jackass with the attention of the nation.


Sometimes I just want to forget politics altogether.

I was thinking of doing a paragraph by paragraph rebuttal to the speech, but then institutional laziness and depression took over. It’s hard enough just to read the speech, not to mention analyze it. I seriously wonder if we have a talking monkey in the White House. De-volution indeed.

Anyway, for those interested, here’s a copy of the transcript. Read at your own peril.

I, however, do want to comment on several points.

First, Al-Anbar. The Monkey Prez is making a big deal out of this. In the few moments I actually watched last night (the sound of his voice is grating and the wife hates him), he mentioned that, “Anbar citizens who once feared beheading for talking to an American or Iraqi soldier now come forward to tell us where the terrorists are hiding,” and then, “During my visit to Anbar on Labor Day, local Sunni leaders thanked me for America’s support.” And finally, “Earlier today, one of the brave tribal sheikhs who helped lead the revolt against al Qaeda was murdered.”

Now this is a pleasant fiction. Never mind that what’s happening in al-Anbar is just a replay of Afghanistan 2001 (local tribal leaders taking advantage of US funds and guns for their own ends), the story that the Monkey Prez told is flatly deceptive. Sheikh Abu Reesha was murdered by car bomb, but that was almost certainly retaliation for meeting with the Monkey Prez a week and a half ago. So much for “coming forward to tell us where the terrorists are hiding.”

Second, the “success” in Al-Anbar certainly can’t be attributed to the surge. As I mentioned previously, the province received only a very small percentage of “surge” troops (Bush mentioned 4,000 last night) and the Asian Times article I linked above clearly explains that the US piggy-backed on preexisting paramilitary organizations that were fighting Al-Queda for their own motives.

Not only that, it belies credibility to call something a “success” when the reduction in violence is extremely minimal. This is an area where we could especially use some touchdowns. There’s a lot of press on this, but essentially, General Petraeus massaged those figures like a well oiled Ross Perot.

I liken the strategy to the OJ Simpson defense team. The general public is going to be easily confused by the laundry list of statistics, statistics which they have no control over, no ability to independently verify, and no opportunity to question.

Last, it’s not a drawdown. The US never had any intention of keeping 160,000 troops in Iraq indefinitely. It’s called a “surge” because it is a temporary increase aimed at heading off obscene violence levels. Think about it like this. If you were on a diet and you decided to go off the diet temporarily for 1 year, it would be news when you went back on, but it wouldn’t be an indication that you had gained more weight over that year. It would just mean you are following your prearranged plan. (Sorry, best analogy I could come up with.)

My point is that drawing down troops to pre-surge levels (130,000) doesn’t mean that the surge is working anymore than it means Bush has committed to “bringing some troops home”. It just means that realistically, we can’t maintain those troops levels, something we’ve known for a long ass time.

Not only that, the White House is already backtracking on the whole 30,000 number. They pretty much pulled that number out of a hat to placate the public, nothing more, nothing less.

Ultimately, if you cut through all the bullshit, the President basically said, we’re staying in Iraq with a large number of troops at least until I leave office.

At the end of the day, even with the most wildly optimistic estimates, we’ll have 130,000 troops in Iraq in January 2009. This is the Democrats problem.

I’ll end this post by linking to a speech by Dick Lugar (R-Ind) that he made on September 11th of this year. The money quote:

One can debate, as many will do this week, whether progress in Iraq has been sufficient to justify continuing American sacrifices. But the greatest risk for U.S. policy is not that we are incapable of making progress, but that this progress may be largely beside the point given the divisions that now afflict Iraqi society. The risk is that our efforts are comparable to a farmer expending his resources and efforts to plant a crop on a flood plain without factoring in the probability that the waters may rise. In my judgment, some type of success in Iraq is possible, but as policy makers, we should acknowledge that we are facing extraordinarily narrow margins for achieving our goals.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007

My Ted Olson Story

I really don’t have much to tell about Ted Olson. I’ve never met the man and I’m unlikely to ever meet him. What I do know is that his wife was killed on 9/11. She was in the plane that crashed into the Pentagon. But, since his name has come up as the next Attorney General, I thought I’d tell my one quasi-interaction with Mr. Ted Olson.

Prior to moving to England, I worked as a paralegal for just over a year. During that time, I worked at a firm called Gibson, Dunn, and Crutcher. (I started at another firm which I’m fairly sure was the devil incarnate. Needless to say, I didn’t last long.) GDC is the sort of typical DC law firm in that it is highly successful, politically connected, and hires people like me (at the time) to fill specific needs on a “temp” basis (although I was offered a very nice permanent position which I rejected). In general, I enjoyed working there because, all things being even, we had a pretty good crew and that made for a nice work environment (even if the majority of the work could be conducted by a well trained chimpanzee).

One thing that these types of DC firms have in common, however, is a distinct lack of space. This is because major (multi-billion dollar) litigations come there way, there are extensive discovery processes. We’re talking hundreds of thousands of documents that have to be reviewed, classified, redacted, and released to the opposition. And then the opposition’s documents have to be reviewed and classified as well. This requires three things: time, bodies (attorneys and paralegals), and space.

During one particularly high stress moment, my direct supervisor collected several of us and took us to the top floor of the firm where there was a large, empty conference room. We needed the space because our work area was a space absolutely crammed with attorneys and paralegals – there were probably 15 people in a room that should have served no more than 5 or 6. This meant that there was literally no possibility of laying out documents on a table or engaging in any type of organized sorting process.

When we arrived to the conference room we were overjoyed as it has ample table space (and a hefty supply of cold soft drinks and hot coffee) and would clearly meet our needs. After spreading out our materials, we got to work.

Probably 5 minutes later a very self-important secretary bustled into the room, oversized business suit swishing back and forth and hurriedly asked in a whiney voice, “Oh my god, what are you doing here?”

My supervisor, who was particularly adept at dealing with the self-important, calmly explained that we were using this space for an hour to process some very important documents and that we had approval from the facility manager.

That was insufficient. “Oh no, that’s impossible,” she moaned. “This is Ted Olson’s room!”

We were taken aback. “What do you mean ‘Ted Olson’s room’” asked my supervisor.

He’s coming to the firm!” she practically shouted at us like we were illiterate chimpanzees incapable of understanding the significance of Mr. Olson’s arrival.

“When? Today?” asked my supervisor, looking at her watch. It was just after 2pm.

“No, next week,” whined the secretary. “But we were told that no one could use this space. It has to stay absolutely spotless so that he is comfortable when he arrives. I can’t believe you didn’t get the memo.”

My supervisor, along with the rest of us, thought this to be ridiculous. Assuming we made a mess and didn’t clean it up, the cleaning staff would have an additional 3 days to return the room to the spotlessness we had found it in.

Tiring of exchanging words with the self-important, my supervisor called the facilities manager to get to the bottom of this. She made her arguments, she exercised logic, she fought the good fight, but at the end, we went back downstairs to our rabbit hole.

Because Ted Olson is coming.

Next week.

And he gets an entire f*cking conference room as his office.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Liberal Media My Ass

More GOP mythology struck down by academic, non-partisan research.


Hump Day

I'm feeling a bit lazy today. No surprise. Wednesday at a relatively boring job with no real tasks to do. Go figure.

Anyway, I wanted to take this opportunity to state, for the record, my utter disatisfaction for my co-workers preferred lunch option. Look, I'm all for cheap lunches. And it doesn't get much cheaper than COP $4,800 (about $2.30 US) for a full plate of food, soup, and drink. But quality has to factor in somewhere and I just can't stomach the utter crap that is that corrientazo. I'll pay the extra $1,000 ($0.45) to step up in quality. I'll wait the extra 15 minutes.

Grumpily, I now return to my writing projects.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Surge Reporting

While the entire world appears totally preoccupied with the Petraeus testimony, I’m pretty bored with it. Several things are clear. First, he’s the water carrier for the “pro-surge” community. He has to be. He’s in charge. That means that he’ll defend the surge no matter what.

Two, minor gains or great ones, we’re still f*cked in the long run. Nothing he says has any real bearing on the outcome of the war because the surge is temporary. Not that making it permanent would make any difference either. Any amateur historian versed in the history of occupations knows two things: insurgents don’t go away because of a military presence and they can afford to wait. This means that just like in Algiers, the Occupied Territories, and other diverse experiences, a military solution has no hope of long-term success, even if there are (very minor) short term gains.

Three, none of his testimony is related to the political considerations or attitudinal issues. Politically, Iraq is frozen in time and there appears no breaking the deadlock on all pivotal legislation. But perhaps more troubling for US interests is that according to a BBC/ABN poll, 60% of Iraqis thinks it’s totally legit to attack US troops. Look – they hate us. They hate our presence. They want us out. It’s that simple. We have no hope of “winning the war” unless we change that and to date, we have had no success at “winning the hearts and minds” of the Iraqi people. Welcome us with open arms indeed.

Four, Bush is clearly pushing Iraq off to the next president. The sum of Petraeus’s testimony was, we’re doing well, making improvements, might be able to bring 5,000 home in the near future, but the rest gotta stay. For how long? Forever or until the American public finally forces the Democrats to act.

Last, this is Vietnam all over again. Not only have we had shifting goalposts but we’ve also had the exact same type of threat construction. Back then, they said Red Spread. If we let them commie bastards win in Vietnam, they’ll infect all of Southeast Asia and then the US will be encircled by Commie Pinko Bastards®. Didn’t happen.

Now, in Iraq, they’ve shifted the message several times to land on the currently popular scribe of “Middle Eastern Conflagration” aka a region-wide war. Now, not only is there a clear lack of evidence to support such a claim, the action most likely to unite Iraq and unify the country is an Iranian invasion. It’s hard to imagine how a wider war would serve the Realist interests in Iran, especially when it would legitimize US presence and international condemnation. But then again, the whole Middle Eastern Conflagration is just as much bullshit as Red Spread was.

At any rate, these debates are little more than self-serving political theater and necessary ripely stupid, most notably, because they ignore the central concept of inevitability. As in, some day, hopefully sooner than later, we’re leaving Iraq and all the currently described “risks” of pullout will become real. The only question is how many dead American soldiers is Bush going to be personally responsible for.

3774 and counting.



So I was watching the Ravens-Bengals game last night and the thought occurred to me: I wonder what it is like to have your favorite football team be professional, run sharp plays, and execute when needed, and win tight football games against good teams.

It's a sad statement that my Redskins haven't resembled that type of team since the first Bush administration. I'm going to go repeatedly pound my head against the wall now.

(PS. San Fran-Arizona are clearly the minor leagues. What a horrid display of football that was. But I love the dress suit that the SF coach was wearing. We should make that a standard.)

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Sen. "Solicit gay sex acts with random men in random airport bathrooms" Craig

I must admit to chortling with delight at the prospect that Sen. Craig "undoes" his resignation. There´s nothing more likely to stimulate a Dem pickup in Idaho than a lingering Craig. Ain't nothing like a gay sex scandal to tarnish a "pro-family" Repub.

(I also want to state for the record that I totally predicted this at the time. The wording "my intent to resign" just didn't have the ring of "I've resigned" and that was the first thing that I thought of at the time. Too bad I didn't put that up on the blog...)

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

US Body Count

Here's a chart that shows the body count in Iraq from January to August of 05, 06, and 07. See anything in particular?

Perhaps it's that the body count is higher this year than the previous or that the curves are basically the same?


Iraq progress?

I'm linking an editorial from the WSJ about potential progress in Iraq because I do think it's important to read both sides of this issue. In the interest of full disclosure, the article was written by a close friend's sister (I have never met her) who happens to be the husband of the author of the "surge" strategy Fred Kagan (shame on the WSJ for not disclosing that).

While her article reads a bit like the last vestigages of someone trying to prolong US involvement in Vietnam, it is well written and fully immersed in vetted-Bush administration language. Potential problems with her work include:

- Pushing Al Queda out of one area doesn't mean they'll stay out, even if we try to hold it
- Local militias are having an effect, but only in homogenous areas, something she omits
- Military (security) improvements haven't been shown in the body count (civilian deaths still extremely high, military deaths higher than the same peroid last year and every previous year)
- A political solution is the only solution no matter how many military successes there are and there has been basically no progress on that front.

I don't wish to address those issues directly, however, as i have previously discussed them and others (like Juan Cole) are much more adept on the specifics.

What I do want to say is, be careful what you wish for. The administration (and Kagan) is making a strong case that "paramilitary" forces working with the Iraqi government and the US are making the difference. They refer to these "paramilitaries" as "concerned citizen groups".

This is essentially the real world application of "the enemy of your enemy is your friend". Any student of Colombia is aware just how that turns out.

Bottom line, a lack of a political solution makes any indications of "progress" worthless past the very short term.

(Also of note: Kagan mentions the role of Iran. This is important. There is a lot of talk about the US preparing to strike Iran. Constantly mentioning the role of Iran is one way to soften up the public to support further military action. This is Cambodia and Laos all over again.)

UPDATE: Counter article in the Washington Post that is not only actual reporting but answers some of Kagan's claims.


Saturday, September 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

As Josh put it, "If you're a Republican and you want to misbehave sexually, make sure it's with a chick."

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