Addicted to War

Yet another compelling reason why U.S., NATO, and Canadian forces need to get out of Afghanistan.

Does anyone seriously think that some kind of “victory” is possible in this lawless, utterly corrupt, narco-terrorist hellhole?

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65 Comments

Filed under Afghanistan War

65 responses to “Addicted to War

  1. austin

    Is victory possible? Absolutely, just Canadians and Americans are not willing to do what it takes.

  2. Really? Do you honestly think it’s that simple?

    Pray tell, explain “what it takes” to achieve so-called victory in Afghanistan…

  3. austin

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_James_Napier

    There is a story that went around about General Napier I do not know if it is true, but confronted by a muslim uprising he tried many things and concluded that they had determenation that he had never met before so he did a little reaserch into thier culture and found out that they were religious fanatics so he caught 7 of them and dipped six bullets in pigs blood shot six of them burried them with the pig and sent the other one back to tell his buddies. The uprising was over instantly.

    Not saying that we should do that but that is the kind of thing it will take.

    “The best way to quiet a country is a good thrashing, followed by great kindness afterwards. Even the wildest chaps are thus tamed” Charles James Napier.

  4. I’m not sure that sinking into such barbarity is where we want to go…

    But perhaps you’re correct — that is the kind of tactical horror it takes to “win” this war.

    I would however refer you back to an earlier post regarding and exchange between Fareed Zakaria and war correspondent Tom Ricks where it was noted by Ricks that many Afghan fighters consider this a sporting event as much as anything else. I’m not sure exactly how one can “win” in such a circumstance where the people opposing you actually enjoy fighting and making war…

    Which is all quite logical of course, but at the same time is in direct opposition to the “peaceful” aims of the U.S. and coalition forces (many of whom may also enjoy the conflict for their own reasons…)

  5. austin

    You say that it is your custom to burn widows. Very well. We also have a custom: when men burn a woman alive, we tie a rope around their necks and we hang them. Build your funeral pyre; beside it, my carpenters will build a gallows. You may follow your custom. And then we will follow ours.

    Another great quote by Sir Charles James Napier

  6. Ti-Guy

    Oh, he’s done.

    Time to enlist, l’il feller.

  7. btw — Napier was a monster who inflicted terror on subjugated people as a means of dominance. “The human mind is never better disposed to gratitude and attachment than when softened by fear,” he said. If this is the model you want to emulate to win “victory” well, good luck with that.

  8. austin

    There is no way to win any war when we have rules we must follow and the other side does not.

  9. austin

    I am not saying we should or that I would support those kinds of tactics but you asked and I answered.

  10. You say that it is your custom to burn widows.

    Not quite sure what your point is here… Tit for tat, two wrongs make a right?

    Sorry, but Napier was a blithering idiot. Moreover, his greatest claim to fame was being part of a British force routed by the French at Corunna. Woo-hoo!

  11. austin

    Us in North America do have way to much compassion for the people shooting at us though. It is our weakness and they are using it against us.

  12. There is no way to win any war when we have rules we must follow and the other side does not.

    That is certainly one factor in the equation and I won’t disagree with you in terms of the asymmetrical nature of combat ethics and morality on the battlefield and beyond… but it’s rather telling that you feel free to admit that this war cannot be “won” without getting down and dirty to a similar degree as the enemy.

    Is that really a place we want to go?

  13. austin

    ” Tit for tat, two wrongs make a right?”

    Yes two negatives make a positive. I do not know how you believe hanging someone for burning a women alive just because she is a widow is a wrong though.

  14. austin

    No it is not a place we want to go especially because even if we beat the Taliban, what have we won?

  15. Austin — Interesting logic… It’s our excessively dreadful and frustrating “compassion” that’s holding us back from victory. Because, of course, to right-wingnuts, any sign of “compassion” [shudder] or empathy with other human beings is nothing but a sign of “weakness” and moral feebleness.

    Yes, I suppose in your vicious, DOG-EAT-DOG world, that would indeed be considered a sign of weakness.

    Perhaps, in your imagined scheme of things, it would be better to simply bomb the living crap out of all those rag-heads and BEAT some “civilization” into them.

    Yeah… that’s the ticket.

    Well, as Ti-Guy said, time to sign up, Bucko! Join the Forces and get over there to ‘Stan to keep us safe from… stuff.

  16. austin

    And Napier was no idiot he was a military genius who was famous for a lot more then lossing to the french.

  17. Yes two negatives make a positive. I do not know how you believe hanging someone for burning a women alive just because she is a widow is a wrong though.

    Mathematically speaking, no they don’t. Adding negatives together doesn’t automatically make a positive, unless one numerically outweighs the other towards the positive But then, I’m innumerate, so who am I to say?

    I don’t know how you could extrapolate from my comment the conclusion that you arrived at.

  18. Ti-Guy

    Well, as Ti-Guy said, time to sign up, Bucko! Join the Forces and get over there to ‘Stan to keep us safe from… stuff.

    I think there’s a basic literacy requirement though, isn’t there?

  19. Austin — My bad. He was an inspecting field officer in the Ionian Islands.

  20. Ti-Guy

    Anyway, Austin’s argument is one that is tired by now. What he believes it will take to win is increased barbarity. That’s not only impossible, but it’s wrong as well. You can win a battle or two by being barbarous, but you’ll never win the war that way. Look at how collateral damage enrages the Afghans now.

    No, this war is doomed. Time to hand it over to the regional powers (Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan) and let them sort it out.

  21. austin

    “No, this war is doomed. Time to hand it over to the regional powers (Russia, China, India, Iran and Pakistan) and let them sort it out.”

    If NATO can not not do it what makes you think the regional powers can?

  22. The solution? It isn’t behaving like the same freedoms that exist in downtown Toronto can be afforded in downtown Kabul.

    Issues like due process and free association are, sadly, luxuries that allow for nothing but a continued lack of security in a country with a population crying out for safety.

    There is this stunning ego-centrism from the west, particularly the U.S., who assumes that a free election will make everything better.

    I had the opportunity to sit and have dinner with a lawyer from Uganda last year, and I asked him about the problems on the African continent. His response was very suprising. He said, “Too much freedom at once is a bad thing. The people do not know how to deal with it.”

    His point was when you have a country in anarchy to some degree, such as Somalia for example, trying to instill freedom on an anarchy is a pointless endeavour. His suggestion is you FIRST need security above all else. And that means removing freedoms to provide that security. Going through a farce of an election where most citizens will not vote out of fear, and where the election itself cannot be guaranteed to be fair is worse than no election at all.

    There are worse things than having no democracy. That is having anarchy.

    Imagine, when police are being openly attacked and murdered, trying to create a democratic system that relies upon due process to resolve a problem.

    So – while I think the barbaric suggestions of Austin are misplaced, the only way IMHO to succeed is to create expanding pockets of absolute security. And then combine with that security substantial improvements in lifestyle – food, power, etc., etc..

    Try to do that now. Just as we’re trying to “save” the election, now go to the people and say, “No more elections until we clean up Dodge. And we reserve the right to competely arbitrary detention, search and seizure. And the innocent will be detained and imprisoned, but, damn it, security will be established.

    Think about it for a moment. Do we really believe the citizenry of Cuba or North Korea are really content with their government? Hardly. But they have order. And once order is established, you can then begin to create meaningful freedom.

    So the answer? Complete and utter totalitarian control. And, along the lines of Austin’s suggestion, there will be times where the exercise of that control will have to be brutal and without compassion. Where people from Amnesty International and the U.N. will be told, “You have no place here, for now.”

    Followed by a gradual influx of freedom, until proper elections can truly be held.

    Every modern democracy has its roots in totalitarian rule. From Great Britain, to France, to Germany, back to Ancient Rome and the Egyptians. And, upon order being established, safety allowed for prosperity, and prosperity allowed for the luxury of philosophy, which, in turn, created democracy.

    But for Greek and Roman tyrants there would be no democracy.

    IMHO.

  23. austin

    ” Whatever the reason for his views on fighting insurgencies, the fact remains that he was one of Great Britain’s most effective generals at doing this in India, often facing well-armed fighters.”

  24. Ti-Guy

    what makes you think the regional powers can?

    They have the ground forces, the military expertise, increasingly the wealth, familiarity with the cultures and most importantly, populations who have real stake in seeing this resolved properly.

    For people like you, this war is just a past-time. A diversion.

  25. austin

    Well put Rob H.

  26. austin

    For people like me? What about you? Ideally though we agree, we are not willing to do what needs to be done so lets bring our soldiers home.

  27. Austin — I wouldn’t disagree with Rob’s Ugandan friend, but what disturbs me on a visceral level is the patronizing nature of presuming to instruct others in the ways of “freedom” and “democracy” and so on… Especially, at the point of a gun barrel.

    Surely, a more truly “conservative” POV would be to simply allow these people to arrive at their own societal conclusions in their own good time without our bothersome (and frequently hostile) interference, no?

  28. counter-coulter

    Really good point there Rob. Just look at how well coming in, throwing around your military might and trying to take over the place worked out for the Russians.

  29. Rob H. has made a better argument than austin.

    However, I have a little problem picking out a totalitarian regime I’m comfortable with. NDP or Greens, anyone? Maybe the Conservatives?

    For a more practical example, consider the democratic elections in Palestine that formed a Hamas government (was that to replace corrupt Fatah? My memory fails and I’m too lazy for Google tonight ;-).

    IMHO, the similarity with Rob’s argument that I agree with, is that Afghanistan regime change is on the 50-year time line, not the 5-year time line. While maybe not completely selfless, the purpose should be to help the Afghani people.

    But if you hate big government, you have to wonder how much less government you could get than Afghanistan and still be recognized as a country… a Conservative promised land, perhaps?

  30. Grammin

    The inevitable Balkanization of Pakistan will make carpet-bombing those who require it a lot less complicated. Once the West has secured control of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal and established some control of Islamabad through some proxy ruler such as Karzai rules Afghanistan, Pakistani forces can do the dirty work that needs to be done while we provide the technology and air and special forces support. This is a long-term plan which will likely only happen in part, but only a radical plan will dispel this shit-storm.
    Oh and I agree that regional forces may be necessary as well…….close in on them, give them no place to retreat, ruthlessly kill them and all who support them. Of course we will use the forces of others to do the filthy acts required.

  31. austin

    “Surely, a more truly “conservative” POV would be to simply allow these people to arrive at their own societal conclusions in their own good time without our bothersome (and frequently hostile) interference, no?”

    Absolutely. Nothing pisses me of more then the UN or Nato or anyone else for that matter suggesting we should go in and stop a countries civil war. Those things need to run thier course, there has to be a winner for the country to move on. But lets not forget that we are in afghanistan, not because of a civil war, but because they attacked us.

  32. Ti-Guy

    but because they attacked us.

    You mean the Americans. Try to remember that you don’t live in the US.

  33. austin

    Try to remember Ti-Guy that if someone attacks Americas way of life they are attacking ours as well and lots of Canadians died on 911.

  34. counter-coulter

    Blood-n-Guts austin said: Try to remember Ti-Guy that if someone attacks Americas way of life they are attacking ours as well and lots of Canadians died on 911.

    Apparently it was 24 Canadians that died.

  35. austin

    “Apparently it was 24 Canadians that died.”

    Are you insinuating that the senseless murder of 24 Canadians was not a lot?

  36. While the 9/11 attacks didn’t try to avoid Canadians (or any nationality other than US), those plans didn’t target any other countries.

    I’m genuinely sorry that terrorists have attacked the US, UK, Spain, Singapore (Australia?) and others. Any such attacks are despicable and absolutely unwarranted. But why is our worst story the Tamils that blocked traffic in Downtown Toronto? Is it that we’re not begging to become a target, or that we caught the ‘Toronto 18’? Either way, its not such as bad story.

    Attacking the US way of life is not attacking the Canadian way of life. I pine for the days when Canada made its own decisions, rather than align with American policy de jour (du administration). I’m not a big Chretien fan, but I’m glad we didn’t participate in the Iraq invasion.

    We should be in Afghanistan because helping them is the right thing to do, not as retribution.

  37. Tomm

    I think that everybody is arguing a slightly different point here.

    I would agree with the video that there are some serious risks for western soldiers. Opium/heroin is as slippery a slope as we find. And damned expensive to pull someone off the bottom. Further, Half a billion $$$ each year in drug money to fund a war where $5 has real meaning is not trump change.

    I suggest we consider that we need not be the police for the entire planet. In 2011 we pull out. Afghanistan, as you must all be aware, is pretty much at the edge of human civilization. The ignorance of feudal extreme Islam is unsustainable. Allow the people to select their course.

    Strengthen the capacity of Pakistan to grow as a first world nation and allow Afghanistan to fight within itself as it wishes. We have 2 years to set the scene.

  38. austin

    “I pine for the days when Canada made its own decisions, rather than align with American policy de jour (du administration).”

    Are you kidding me? Canada does not just align with America blindly but 9 times out of 10 what is good for America is also good for Canada, it is called working together. Under Harper Canada has even lead the way, whether it was walking out on the Iranian joke for a human or the first country not to recognize Hamas.

  39. Tomm

    Austin,

    I agree with you that the previous Liberal government’s policy to thumb its nose at the US as standard political procedure was horribly destructive, cowardly, and not worthy of our nation.

    It has been a long climb for me to say this and it actually took many years of living with and around American’s and their reality to appreciate the myopia and arrogance most Canadian’s bring to this debate. But I have done those things and it has changed my views.

    There has been tremendous pressure on the US over the last 60 years. That kind of pressure/power invariably leaves scars.

  40. austin

    “I think that everybody is arguing a slightly different point here.”

    Not really Tomm, we all actually agree on the bottom line, I think we are just arguing little details for the hell of it.

  41. Tomm

    The fun of disagreement.

    I don’t like the color of your tie.

  42. Navvy

    Whole lot of bullshit in this here thread.

    I wish I was surprised at how fast freedom loving “conservatives” are willing to send in the tanks. Ah, but remember, fascism is a “liberal” thing!

    By the way, Rob, your suggestion that occupying a foreign nation with minimal support from the native population is in any way similar to a situation like Cuba, where a homegrown political force is in power is an especially malodorous pile of bs.

  43. Ti-Guy

    Are you insinuating that the senseless murder of 24 Canadians was not a lot?

    99.9% of Canadians can’t name a single one of them.

    And no, it isn’t a lot. Hundreds of Canadians are murdered every year. Hundreds of thousands of people have been murdered in the events that 9/11 precipitated.

  44. Tomm — We should all just get the hell out of that god-forsaken country and simply buy off whatever faction is least hostile to us. And, as George Will has suggested, park some military forces off shore to go in from time to time and kick some ass if necessary…

    That, I believe, is a more truly “conservative” position — and one I happen to concur with. The harebrained neo-conservative notion of “nation-building” and all that ridiculous tommyrot (especially in the midst of what’s quite clearly a vicious civil war) is nothing but unadulterated bullshit.

  45. Tomm

    RT,

    The longer we stay in Afghanistan the more disillusioned I’ve become.

    I think we have to live up to our commitments (2011), but given the animosity the people of the region have with the West and the US in particular, there really appears to be little we can do except create danger for those Afghans foolish enough to befriend us.

    We threw out the Taliban (which was good), but are now stuck in the middle of a civil war. And in a country at the end of the world. Afghani’s have no pretense for anything other than their villages, and their families.

    If we know that we leave in 2011, we have two years to give them a base of strength to battle the Taliban and time to weaken the Taliban supply lines.

    Democracy? Women’s Rights? We are fooling ourselves if we think any of that has made permanent change. We will be lucky if women are allowed education and legal rights to fight off a rapist.

  46. Are you insinuating that the senseless murder of 24 Canadians was not a lot?

    And now, an update from the exterior of your ass: more than ten times that number of Canadians were slaughtered aboard Air India Flight 182.

    So, Captain Canuck–how often have you commemorated that tragic event, and how many signatures did you get on the petition you circulated to request that Parliament order the invasion of the Punjab? Be specific, please.

    …but 9 times out of 10 what is good for America is also good for Canada…

    Oh indeed. Canada almost ruined itself by failing to appreciate the nobility of punitive anti-Cuba and anti-China embargoes, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the quasi-genocide of Vietnam, and the financial, diplomatic and logistical support of homicidal Latin American tyrants, kleptocratic Caribbean thugs, maniacal Middle Eastern puppet satraps and feudal anti-Soviet Islamist mujahideen.

    But, what else can you expect from parochial, left-lib mediocrities like us? For some odd reason, we just chronically fail to be impressed by swaggering, triumphalist moral midgets with nukes. Shame.

  47. Tomm — I’m not really in favour of backing out of commitments already made (quite stupidly, I’d argue), but there should be no illusions (or delusions) about being a transformative force in that country.

    IMHO, the rest of our term spent in that country should be about working on the logistics of withdrawal and perhaps partnering closely with some local elements that share our vision and can carry on the work of building a decent society after we’ve left the place. I might even go so far as to suggest that we engage in a program of recruiting Afghans to come to Canada to be educated/trained and then (if they choose to) return to their home country. That would be a much better investment of dollars, in my opinion, and quite likely more effective.

  48. jkg

    The question that I have is the extent at which the rest of the NATO allies are helping to resolve these volatile developments. Maybe it is because I do not read the international media outlets enough (though I do remember seeing the repatriation of Italian soldiers), yet throughout this entire campaign, I have always wondered if there is a reticence of some of NATO allies. Harper I recall tried to lobby Jaap de Hoop Scheffer before, and as far as I know, de Hoop Scheffer couldn’t really deliver. I believe the Germans are still avoiding or at least minimizing, dangerous combat missions.

    When NATO can’t even muster a united and galvanized front, it translates into fractured military strategies in which the burden is asymmetrically shared. That dynamic is just simply unsustainable even if we decide to meet tactically the enemy eye for an eye (read: Use similar tactics against them). To compensate for restrained military tactics, there needs to be a more coordinated strategy involving troops with enough depth and breadth to be surgical and meticulous in order to sustain the guerilla like methods of the insurgents/Taliban.

    Finally, I am surprised that the regionalism in Afghanistan hasn’t been brought up enough. I remember reading excerpts from a report in which an aid worker was stationed in a small rural village. What he said was to me, not terribly surprising but very sobering as to the challenges the democracy spreaders have: The majority of villagers in their entire lifetime have travelled no more than an average 5 kilometers outside of their village with a very small minority visiting a neighbouring village. When you have that kind of dynamic, how on earth can one expect that abstractions such as democracy, freedom, and human rights to resonate with backbreaking profundity in such a short period of time? Given the fact that these concepts have been studied, examined, and tested through much of the history of Western civilization, it seems rather to naive to expect they will be easily and quickly embraced by a population who has not participated in such a history.

  49. benalbanach

    Well said Sir Francis.

  50. SF — Stop reading my mind!!! 🙂

    We have such a conflicting divergence in the whole “love-hate” relationship with America and its problematic exercise of power abroad.

  51. benalbanach

    Does anyone seriously think that some kind of “victory” is possible in this lawless, utterly corrupt, narco-terrorist hellhole?
    For a minute I thought you meant Detroit.
    Doesn’t it rather signify that the US military has lost sight of its goal (?) if so many of them are taking the heroin route ?…And will they still be regarded as heroes ?

  52. Tomm

    jkg,

    I read the same thing from a Rory Stewart book. It left the impression with me of a feudal, agrarian society with almost no education, little vision, and almost no common ground with the West. The different tribes seem to tolerate each other, but not without bloodshed. Power flows through chieftains. The relationships of family, place, aggressiveness and control that becomes leadership, are foreign to our more rational view of such things.

    It also makes their involvement in the bigger world almost laughable. As they seem to have no interest or skills that make them adventurers outside their borders.

  53. Jesus wept, Tomm. Were you bullshitting when you said you’ve had foreign-service experience?

    I fail to see how any such person–who has presumably had intimate encounters with the Machiavellian cynicism endemic to Western geo-politics–could assume that we invaded Afghanistan in order to establish “democracy” and “women’s rights”. Do you possess a shred of evidence that such was the case, and can you point to a recently-invaded nation where liberty has actually flourished?

    Puerto Rico and Haiti have been de facto colonial U.S. dependencies for generations. After roughly a century of American “nation building”, both societies are still wretched, crime-ridden, despair-sodden cess-pits, and people have had to resort to eating dirt (literally) in the latter. Those on-going tragedies should be more than enough to teach us that Americans couldn’t nation-build themselves out of a champagne bath.

    Romans and Britons were builders. Americans are consumers. The act of consumption does not create; it destroys. All it leaves behind is waste. Tout court, that’s the story of Afghanistan (and Iraq).

  54. Tomm — It also makes their involvement in the bigger world almost laughable. As they seem to have no interest or skills that make them adventurers outside their borders.

    Precisely. Which pretty much destroys the whole “fighting them over there to keep us safe here” meme propagated by Bush/Harper.

    Maybe we should all stick to our knitting and work on improving our commercial relationships… This war stuff is ridiculous.

  55. Stop reading my mind!!!

    Hey–whenever I see an open book, I can’t help but take a peek. 😉

  56. Tomm

    RT,

    Your pathway makes some sense. I am sure that CIDA and others are trying to find those threads and carry them forward.

    It also looks like we need to do something about the opium crop. Perhaps we buy the crop up directly from the farmer’s; starving the Taliban for money. We can use what we can use for morphine and other opiates, and burn the rest. Maybe Joe Volpe’s pharma friends can be given some sort of contract. We could corner the (non-recreational) world market for opium based drugs.

    If we wished to plunge into this a little more deeply, we could also set up opium dens for the less fortunate Canadian’s so they could spend their winter’s in relative (drug induced) comfort. (It can’t be any morally stranger than safe crack smoking houses and crack kits they are talking about in Vancouver)

  57. Tomm

    RT,

    I sure stepped into that one.

    Let me try to recall. We are in Afghanistan to kick out Al Qaeda, give the Taliban the heave ho, and help the poor Afghani’s get back on their feet.

    We’re not doing very well here. The Afghani’s remain desperately poor and ignorant, the Taliban appear to be the night time turban worn by many of the farmer’s, and Al Qaeda is as much vapour today as they were in 2001.

    “stick to our knitting” …perhaps that’s phase 2.

  58. SF — Hey–whenever I see an open book…

    Fair enough.

    You just express my feelings so much better than I’m capable of doing.

  59. Tomm — If we wished to plunge into this a little more deeply, we could also set up opium dens for the less fortunate Canadian’s so they could spend their winter’s in relative (drug induced) comfort.

    I believe this is what they’re doing at the moment in Britain. Treating the addiction to heroin as a medical problem… With some degree of success, apparently.

    But perhaps it would be better to simply throw them in jail because it’s “evil” and morally wrong… and it would, what… make you feel better? Teach them a lesson of some sort? Ridiculous.

  60. You just express my feelings so much better than I’m capable of doing.

    That’s a talent God (or Thor, or Baal, or Amun-Ra) gave me to make up for his perverse decision to endow me with the graphic and illustrative skills of a three-year-old. At my best, I can manage primitive two-dimensional scrawls that make the Lascaux paintings look like Vermeers.

    I’m still grateful to you for the banner you supplied for my blog. I’ve not gotten over being astounded by how good it is…

  61. jkg

    The opium issue does present a moral and logistical difficulty of sorts. It would serve the West to become the a major buyer of opium as a way of making the farmers amenable to cooperation. You would need a heck of a lot of money to do so given the size of the industry in Afghanistan. To simply burn the crops would be the most ethical thing to do from a virtue standpoint.

    However, in terms of sustainability, if you are going to sink that amount of money, you would at least want to recoup some costs, which means governments would have to find a large, legitimate market or application for opium. Having a gvt become an opium dealer of sorts would not go over well.

    Moreover, simply buying the opium from the farmers would not address what exactly they do with the money after the transaction. It would almost have to be an entire appropriation of the opium production by the Afghan gvt and the West to prevent the indirect funding of the Taliban.

  62. Tomm

    jkg,

    I don’t think we need worry about the farmer’s being shaken down by the Taliban for their opium money. At that point the famer’s have the leverage and unless it was their village headman shaking them down, they would tell the Taliban to hit the road. My understanding would see the Taliban’s power is an an overlord and controller, not as a Sicilian style bagman.

    But your point about the government being the opium warlords is well taken. The Canadian government can’t even put together contracts for medical marijuana in Canada, any attempt at pimping opium in Asia would not end well. We could ask the Afghani police to be our middleman. The problem of course is that they could just pocket the money and be an unreliable partner. Not a good situation.

    If we just walk away in 2011 and let things find their level, we may very well see the war continue but not over hearts and minds but the Kabul government fighting the Taliban over control of the opium crops.

    What a mess.

  63. At that point the famer’s have the leverage and unless it was their village headman shaking them down, they would tell the Taliban to hit the road. My understanding would see the Taliban’s power is an an overlord and controller, not as a Sicilian style bagman.

    Egad. Was that just the post-prandial Crème de Menthe kicking in hard, or do you really think a subsistence farmer could ever be in a position to tell hardened RPG-toting Taliban militiamen to “hit the road”? Afghanistan’s a lawless, Stygian nightmare, not a zany M*A*S*H episode.

  64. SF — That’s a talent God (or Thor, or Baal, or Amun-Ra) gave me to make up for his perverse decision to endow me with the graphic and illustrative skills of a three-year-old.

    I’d gladly trade your Thor-given writing talents for whatever graphic capabilities I may have inadvertently stumbled across over the years…

  65. Tomm

    Afghanistan:

    ” a lawless, Stygian nightmare” … or
    “zany M*A*S*H episode” ?????

    You decide!

    Sir Francis,

    All the Afghan farmers are armed to the teeth and fiercely independent. If a group of Taliban come wandering through to shake down a village for their pin money, I vote farmers.

    Mash Episode!!!!

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