July 31, 2009

DYING IN THE STREET

A great post: Dying in the Street?

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July 28, 2009

SHOOTING THE GUINEA PIGS

This made me LOL, srsly.


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July 26, 2009

ROSES ARE RED

I adore Mark Steyn.

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DEFINITE MUST-READ

5 freedoms you'd lose in health care reform

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July 24, 2009

STUPIDLY INDEED

Good VDH commentary on Gates: What Was That 'Stupidly' All About?

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July 21, 2009

THE BEAR ON THE SNACK TABLE

More thoughts on Afghanistan from Grim:

Afghanistan's sheer distances are the chief problem.  It is not just that there is no factory.  It is not just that the factory has no electricity.  It is not just that the worker has no education that would make him able to take a job in the factory if you built one and provided it with energy.  What could rural Afghanistan produce that is worth enough to make it worthwhile to export -- by donkey, over mountains, in many cases?

Comments and links are worth reading too.

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July 17, 2009

IRRESISTIBLE ILLUSION

Rory Stewart has a long article that relates to my unease with Afghanistan strategy.  In his article, The Irresistible Illusion, he actually promotes a solution:

After seven years of refinement, the policy seems so buoyed by illusions, caulked in ambiguous language and encrusted with moral claims, analogies and political theories that it can seem futile to present an alternative. It is particularly difficult to argue not for a total withdrawal but for a more cautious approach. The best Afghan policy would be to reduce the number of foreign troops from the current level of 90,000 to far fewer – perhaps 20,000. In that case, two distinct objectives would remain for the international community: development and counter-terrorism. Neither would amount to the building of an Afghan state. If the West believed it essential to exclude al-Qaida from Afghanistan, then they could do it with special forces. (They have done it successfully since 2001 and could continue indefinitely, though the result has only been to move bin Laden across the border.) At the same time the West should provide generous development assistance – not only to keep consent for the counter-terrorism operations, but as an end in itself.

A reduction in troop numbers and a turn away from state-building should not mean total withdrawal: good projects could continue to be undertaken in electricity, water, irrigation, health, education, agriculture, rural development and in other areas favoured by development agencies. We should not control and cannot predict the future of Afghanistan. It may in the future become more violent, or find a decentralised equilibrium or a new national unity, but if its communities continue to want to work with us, we can, over 30 years, encourage the more positive trends in Afghan society and help to contain the more negative.

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July 16, 2009

I DON'T SMOKE BUT...

R1 wrote about the Army smoking ban idea much more coherently and with less gut rage than I did.  Check it out.

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July 15, 2009

GOLDMAN SACHS IN BED WITH GOVT

Remember how much squawking there was about Dick Cheney's ties to Halliburton? Why is there no squawking about any of this?

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July 14, 2009

A PROPHECY

Nearly all my professors are Democrats. Isn't that a problem?

"You understand that my column was basically a prophesy," I shot back. I had suggested right-leaning ideas weren't welcome on campus and in response the faculty had tied my viewpoints to racism and addressed me with profanity-laced insults.

What's so remarkable is that I hadn't actually advocated Republican ideas or conservative ideas. In fact, I'm not a conservative, nor a Republican. I simply believe in the concept of diversity – a primarily liberal idea – and think that we suffer when we don't include ideas we find unappealing.


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July 13, 2009

MENTAL EXERCISE

A thought-provoking post via Greyhawk: The Mysterious Words of Power
I have no answers for him, but I join him in his mental exercise.

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DOWN WITH FLUSH TOILETS!

Mark Steyn:

Capitalism is liberating: You’re born a peasant but you don’t have to die one. You can work hard and get a nice place in the suburbs. If you were a 19th century Russian peasant and you got to Ellis Island, you’d be living in a tenement on the Lower East Side, but your kids would get an education and move uptown, and your grandkids would be doctors and accountants in Westchester County.

And your great-grandchild would be a Harvard-educated environmental activist demanding an end to all this electricity and indoor toilets.

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July 02, 2009

RECONSTRUCT

More on Afghanistan from Michael Yon. Note:

And the term PRT, though accurate in Iraq, should be changed to “PCT” (Provincial COnstruction Team) in Afghanistan. The Provincial REconstruction Teams in Iraq are far different. The term “reconstruction” in Iraq is generally correct, but it’s usually a misnomer in Afghanistan and confuses people at home by implying there was something here to reconstruct.

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