1469 Comments

Mr. Taibbi is incorrect -- the politicians learned their lessons well. They made a fortune on the Afghani occupation, a war otherwise of so little importance to Congress that they never bothered, as the Constitution requires, to declare war, but allowed president after president to use the military like a play toy. And nobody cared.

Even after they were all caught out for lying to the public for YEARS about the war (https://www.washingtonpost.com/graphics/2019/investigations/afghanistan-papers/afghanistan-war-confidential-documents/) nobody at all, no politician, no general, no lobbyist, lost any of their money, reputation or power but continued on all the same. The voting mob couldn't have cared less.

So will it happen again. You bet ya!

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If 16 of the 19 hijackers were from Saudi Arabia, why did the US invade Afghanistan? There were signatures by Saudi Royals on checks given to some of the terrorists cells (see Prince Bandar and his wife Haifa).

On the other hand, Afghanistan was a drug colony. Afghanistan is the world’s leading opium producer. The poppy fields were guarded by US and NATO soldiers. In the Helmand province alone, under British troop control, opium production rose 400%.

International finance and terrorism are addicted to drug money and rely on it for their operations.

That’s the hard truth, but no one is supposed to say it.

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Afghanistan sits on $1 trillion worth of rare earth minerals, far more valuable to US—and to China, which has offered to help Afghanistan in our absence, a bid to corner the market on these essential minerals. If China succeeds, we're screwed. At least until Elon can set up a mining colony on a nearby asteroid.

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If you have been paying ANY attention to reality AT ALL you’d know that whether China succeeds or not we are screwed. It strikes me that most folks are in hard-core denial of the fact that the “American Empire” is circling the drain and picking up speed as we spin. It is also remarkable how very few of us actually recognize how utterly unsympathetic and indifferent most in the USA seem to be to the attitude of inhumanity which permeates every nook and cranny of our system of our national governance. It seems to me that the good old USA is about as fucked up as can be and that most folks are like the proverbial frog in the pot of water as we all pick and quibble at small and ridiculously insignificant details of what is happening while totally missing the big picture.

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If they want it so badly, let China invade and occupy Afghanistan. We can buy their production on a free market.

The cost of the Afghan war has far exceeded the trillion in rare earths you mention. To profit from them the US would have to run the mines and kill most of the civilians. It's an absurd economic position.

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"We're" screwed?? Who are you referring to? Are you one of the elites that will rake in cash from the mines?? I'm okay with buying shit from China if that's who's got it. Pick your poison!

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@bobD111

All of which minerals will become even *more important the more humankind goes with electric cars running on lithium batteries, which also require some rare earth minerals.

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The US has a fair supply of rare earths. We choose not to exploit them because of cost.

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HBI

REALLY ? I knew they were "spendy" to mine, but I had no idea the U.S. had any of them. The way the U.S. "whines" for rare earths, I, apparently inadvertently *assumed we didn't have any,

Now the whining makes a LOT more sense ! TKY ! If we can get them from somebody *else's country, why wouldn't we ? ;-D ;-D

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https://www.statista.com/statistics/277268/rare-earth-reserves-by-country/

That said, those statistics depend on proven reserves by some means. If some geologist hasn't found evidence of the ore, it's not proven. It's like oil. If you asked people 40 years ago about oil in North Dakota, they'd have laughed. Nowadays...

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Yep. Rare earths aren't even all that rare, it's more the trouble you have to go to separate them from ground they're in.

Per usual, the US took the short term view on not developing them here, preferring to have the processing done elsewhere, the PRC being the big winner as usual.

Really, given the immaturity of our elite( ahem), especially contrasted with the maturity and vision of those leading the PRC, the reality that the Chinese will dwarf us economically before this century is done, is as safe a bet as can be made, especially given the utter wastefulness of placing so much of our technology and finance on the military.

We would do well to copy the Chinese approach, which seeks to be a regional military power and a global economic one. Training for the 100 meter dash when the real event is the Marathon is a poor plan, but one we are following.

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HUDRF in Greenland is working on RE mining

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Good point about Afghanistan's cash crop.

But anyone can find YouTube videos showing the opium shipments out of Afghanistan - in convoys protected by the military. Nobody has to say anything about something that obvious.

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The CIA (and their contractors) are the world's preeminent drug production and smuggling cartel. Nobody else is even close.

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While I agree that the CIA and other agencies use these operations to generate their own covert funds, on a macro level, flooding the population with drugs is one of the most effective means of getting the population to destroy itself, destroy minds (often promising ones who become demoralized and turn to drugs), and just an altogether brave new world system where as Huxley put it in his infamous speech "The Final Revolution": people will learn to love their servitude.

https://youtu.be/2WaUkZXKA30?t=0

If one has the choice between running a totalitarian state with boots on the ground enforcement, or a Brave New World-type scenario where people have all the tools and instruments to create their own alternative realities, the latter is much more subtle and effective. And it works in such that way that often times, even though people are aware that they are not free, they are just a little too comfortable to actually fight back, and they have just the right dosage and choice entertainment to not want to risk losing it all.

If people can become disgusted enough with that kind of system, then the oligarchs are in big trouble.

Here's a fun quote from Dr. Timothy Leary's biographical work "Flashback", where he recounts the kind of rich correspondence he was engaged in with Aldous Huxley:

Huxley:

``These brain drugs, mass produced in the laboratories, will bring about vast changes in society. This will happen with or without you or me. All we can do is spread the word. The obstacle to this evolution, Timothy, is the Bible.''

Leary reflection's on Huxley's thoughts:

``We had run up against the Judeo-Christian commitment to one God, one religion, one reality, that has cursed Europe for centuries and America since our founding days. Drugs that open the mind to multiple realities inevitably lead to a polytheistic view of the universe. We sensed that the time for a new humanist religion based on intelligence, good-natured pluralism and scientific paganism had arrived.''

More on that here:

https://youtu.be/smVvJzijAek?t=0

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I'd argue that it's more than just a revenue generation activity, but sure I'd like to see more from the investigative journalism community about how the Sackler family (and other Rx companies) were able to flood the U.S. with opioids just as the first waves of returning combat veterans were being diagnosed with PTSD and, more relevantly, painful injuries. Don't get me wrong; there's been a lot of work done to expose these companies and individuals but it's almost like the business model evolved. After Vietnam there was a heroin epidemic. After the Iraq/Afghanistan veterans came home we got a prescription opioid epidemic. Is there a coincidence or have those at the very top who profited from the original heroin boom merely figured out how to cloak the flooding of America with dangerous drugs under a veil of legitimacy (while our gaze was distracted, I might add)?

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"After Vietnam there was a heroin epidemic."

Robert Stone's DOG SOLDIERS (1974), albeit fictional, is a key work on this topic. Won the National Book Award.

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You're walking, talking evidence many American's have learned absolutely nothing fromm the failed "war on drugs". Nothing.

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"[F]looding the population with drugs is one of the most effective means of getting the population to destroy itself, destroy minds ..."

Thanks. Agreed.

I was viciously ridiculed by a couple of people in the commentary of Matt's recent Obama article for hypothesizing that the *root*, not the ostensible or plausible cover, reason for the ruthless implementation of 100% COVID vaccine compliance, along with ruthless indefensible suppression of even research on preventatives and cures, is to normalize bodily-invasive access, at the individual level, for any reason it might be needed in the future. The seasonal flu vaccine campaign just didn't cut it to establish this compliance...and here we are. I'm not completely wedded to this idea, but it is certainly plausible given the past horrors we have learned.

The sociopaths who claw their way up the political chain are not experts, they are unbound killers who Will. Do. ANYTHING. ... for example - Tuskegee. Northwoods. Rome. ... just off the top of my head ... But the list is really very long...

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I would hypothesize that TPTB do not want a control group of substantial size to remain. This could be from one of two reasons, both nefarious, but one downright wicked in its nature. Firstly, they know that they don't know the long-term effects of this gene therapy, which is what it is, and the poor suckers that mindlessly take the clot-shot will be fuming murderously angry if they finally figure out that they were human lab rats for an experiment that over time had shown to have gone awry. The other, more diabolical hypothesis is that the long-term effects of The King's Serum are intentional, particularly given the already known and documented evidence that it has on reproductive systems (far beyond statistical chance) and that the long-term effects are intentional and nefarious in nature.

That said, it won't be long before we - those that refuse to be pricked under orders of The Prick in Chief (party be damned) - are given the equivalent of yellow stars to wear on our sleeves. I see THAT unfolding as I type.

Notice that I make no claims of truth. It's because I just don't know the damn truth. But when the government, media, and every NGO from East to West lies to you on a drum-beat basis, you can make a decent estimate that the next "claim" too will be a bald-faced lie. That, coupled with this frantic push to take the spike protein toxin in a syringe has my BS meter so far into the red that it's broken.

My body, my choice. Anyone that disagrees with me can F off as it is THEY that are self-centered and cowardly to the core, not to mention credulously naive to the point of being useless to society.

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Yes. Absolutely.

That’s actually why I started the “Escaping the Brave New World” podcast, to explore the very nuanced and subtle nature of our current brave new world, which includes the insane drug culture and entertainment world. I thin it can be defeated though because it’s based on a fundamentally flawed and perverted idea of human nature and the mind.

Beyond just pointing out all the perversions of truth and subversive ideologies, I think it’s important to emphasize what a healthy mind and creativity looks and sounds like.

The fact that the system has worked for so long isn’t really proof that it’s correct. In a sudden moment or crisis and realization, all of a sudden decades of work and conditioning can quickly erode. The whole thing is like a great game of Jenga, it all depends on a scientific-like precision of the narrative, but as soon as we start to reach a point of discontinuity, extreme turbulence, we start to see a bunch of new singularities pop up. In these moments, the whole narrative matrix can come down in one great crash, just like a game of Jenga.

As someone said earlier, there really is this Orwellian culture today where the only acceptable narratives are the state-sanctioned narratives, and everything else is considered weird conspiracy theory. However I don’t think that kind of thing can be defeated with just cold hard facts and logic, there needs to be a sense of creative insight whereby we don’t just try to defeat ugly ideas by exposing their insanity, we defeat ugly ideas with beautiful and good ideas. This is admittedly more difficult, but it’s necessary. Dante’s Commedia comes to mind. He takes you through Hell, but he does so in order to show the reader the way Paradise. They need to first have a real sense of Hell if they’re to actually make the longer journey.

That being said, for those not too far gone cases, the work of Whitney Webb on the defense and BigTech 360 degree bio-medical surveillance is very good.

https://unlimitedhangout.com/2021/06/investigative-reports/a-leap-toward-humanitys-destruction/

Whitney Webb is a force of nature and she deserves all the help she can get to get out this important story.

Her work is for anyone who might be asking questions like “is the third dose also mandatory? What about the fourth?”

Otherwise, the recent three part series published on Off-Guardian on the new eugenics and Transhumanism should be read the world over.

“How the Unthinkable Became Thinkable

Eric Lander, Julian Huxley and the Awakening of Sleeping Monsters”:

https://off-guardian.org/2021/06/12/how-the-unthinkable-became-thinkable/

To quote Julian Huxley:

The moral for UNESCO is clear. The task laid upon it of promoting peace and security can never be wholly realised through the means assigned to it- education, science and culture. It must envisage some form of world political unity, whether through a single world government or otherwise, as the only certain means of avoiding war… in its educational programme it can stress the ultimate need for a world political unity and familiarize all peoples with the implications of the transfer of full sovereignty from separate nations to a world organization.”

To what end would this “world political unity” be aimed? Several pages later, Huxley’s vision is laid out in all of its twisted detail:

At the moment, it is probable that the indirect effect of civilization is dysgenic instead of eugenic, and in any case it seems likely that the dead weight of genetic stupidity, physical weakness, mental instability and disease proneness, which already exist in the human species will prove too great a burden for real progress to be achieved. Thus even though it is quite true that any radical eugenic policy will be for many years politically and psychologically impossible, it will be important for UNESCO to see that the eugenic problem is examined with the greatest care and that the public mind is informed of the issues at stake so that much that is now unthinkable may at least become thinkable.”

This is it. If people get that, they have the master key to understanding the current situation.

I recently saw the movie “Gattaca.” That gives a pretty good idea. Elysium and Utopia (on Amazon Prime) are two other interesting examples of what the eugenicist wet dreams look like.

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I like Tim Leary; he had some important insights. But he's waay out of his depth on that one, in misidentifying monotheism as the great adversary of mind expansion. I think Tim's extrapolating mostly from his own conflicted upbringing, about which he was always quite candid; I recommend that the curious read his autobiographies, which, while lucidly written and entertaining (and action-packed!), also indicate the limitations of his own conditioning and the narrative frame imposed by it.

Anyway, the psychedelic revolution in consciousness was always bigger than Leary, and contained many currents running contrary to Leary-thought. (I can practically hear Tim saying "Leary-thought! good one!")

It was none other than his fellow psychonaut Al Hubbard who obtained some sort of dispensation from the Vatican endorsing the potential of mind-opening substances in leading people toward piety and holiness. Hubbard was, like Leary, Roman Catholic; unlike Leary, he wasn't "lapsed." LSD explorer Clare Boothe Luce was also Catholic; her husband Henry, another voyager, retained his Protestant affiliation. As did Ken Kesey. To say nothing of what happened with Alan Watts, Richard Alpert, and Art Kleps. And so it goes...a much more colorful and variegated set of perspectives than the dreariness of the colorless allcolor of techno-atheism of the New Jacks of Silicon Valley.

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Damn good post. Kudos my friend. Well thought out.

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David. Thank you for sharing this!

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"they have just the right dosage and choice entertainment to not want to risk losing it all."

The question is, "lose it for what?" What's the alternative to a life of enjoyable leisure? Who stops anyone from pursuing a life of productivity, inovation and personal growth? Creativity and "self-actualization"? No one I know of in the US? At least nothing organized?

Sure, the IRS has been engineered to enforce the economic class structure, no doubt of that. Becoming a billionaire is hard these days, becoming a millionaire 30 years ago was just as difficult. That's what the progressive tax structure is designed to do?

Other than that, anyone willing to put in the work and time can have a nice life on their country estate with a big TV, horses, fast cars, etc. It's hardly impossible? So what is it you suggest America is missing, other than legal access to heroin?

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Sorry, are you saying you're not aware that most schools are simply brainwashing kids and young people? How exactly are we living in a free world if most of the education people are getting is garbage, if not outright brainwashing?

What about the media? Do you think an MSM churning out constant fabricated lies 24/7 is really the sign of a "free society?"

You haven't heard about Critical Theory and all the other insane ideologies taking over the education system, and especially targeting children?

If all this is news to you, congrats, you're a happy denizen of the brave new world!

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While correlation does not equate to causality it can be at times be considered prima facie evidence for investigation into why the opium epidemic in the US exploded just after we invaded Viet Ghanistan. Inquiring minds want to know if a linkage exists, would you not agree?

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The crack epidemic correlated with the support of right wing dictatorships in Latin America in the eighties.. but who can say?

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It isn't difficult and doesn't require great leaps of insight? The so called "opium epidemic" exists in the US due to an aging segment of the population that happens to be in the majority at present? Nothing mystical about it, just millions of old people who've, over the course of their lives, messed themselves up? That's about it?

No Unicorns. No mystical or nefarious causes, just a bunch of old folks who fell off ladders?

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Oops? Starting over here...

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Yes this comment software sucks. I hope they fix it one day soon.

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Staring over here Huff. Wider Stance? Best of Times to you?

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That "cash crop" never belonged to us and any American who thinks it does is a royal POS in my book and should be lined up against a wall for being a walking, breathing POS excuse for humanity.

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OK, then.

And what group do you mean by "us"?

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It's a crazy idea, suggesting the US spent all that money for the opium production. If we wanted, we could easily match that by sultivating opium in Arizona. It's not hard to grow and it isn't expensive.

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Maybe your response was intended for someone else? (Horatio Flemm's comment has generated a lengthy subthread.)

I wasn't suggesting the U.S. had anything to do opium production. When I mentioned drug convoys protected by the military, I meant the Afghan army not the U.S. army.

There are apparently many who think that the U.S. had an interest in seeing opium produced but that's not my view.

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In the dystopia we’re now all prisoners of, no one is supposed, or allowed to, say anything that’s true. Only official narratives are permitted. Just ask Julian Assange and Edward Snowden.

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If the all-powerful dystopia of which you speak were an actual reality, no one would have access to the sagas and disclosures of either Julian Assange or Edward Snowden, and you'd be identified, hunted down, and disappeared simply for mentioning their names.

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I'm just tired of hype, that's all. Hype is ubiquitous on Internet comment pages, on practically any topic of controversy.

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Read Bevins' book and then come back and tell me it's all hype.

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Commenting online is no real threat to any part of the ruling class, if this is all we do, and so far it is. They'll hunt us down and disappear any of us when we are perceived as a threat to their tyranny. Read Vincent Bevins' "The Jakarta Method" for a full description of how the US has done this systematically for decades, and continues the pattern. It might just help redefine "reality" for you.

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OBL was known to be resident in Afghanistan. The govt of Afghanistan was advised to surrender him and the Taliban laughed at that. OBL was trapped in Tora Bora and was there for the killing but the US Army insisted on getting him (and the credit); which allowed him to escape to Pakistan. That's where the real justification ends and the BS begins.

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The Taliban offered to hand over OBL on at least one occasion. The Bush Regime laughed at that. But don't take my word for it, here's the tinfoil hat wearing conspiracy site The Guardian reporting on it.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2001/oct/14/afghanistan.terrorism5

The Taliban *reasonably* asked the Bush Regime for some sort of proof and they couldn't bother to provide any (just as they still cannot be bothered to provide it to the American people), probably for "nashunul suckurity" reasons.

Related: https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2011/9/11/taliban-offered-bin-laden-trial-before-9

You see, the US Government is the world's mafia enforcer and Muricah isn't bound by any of the rules or laws that it holds other countries to.

The Obama operation to "capture" OBL was a kill mission from the get-go. There was no way that OBL would have been "allowed" to face even a military tribunal because his testimony would likely have blown some pretty serious holes in the official narrative. Besides, at that point in time we were "looking forward, not backward."

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It is true the Taliban offered to hand him over. The offer probably should have been made on September 12th, not that it would have made much difference. No one was in the mood for negotiation at the time.

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The privilege of being the leader of the rules-based order - we get to break pretty much any rule we want because no one can hold us accountable. Another reason that other countries don't see the system as having quite the same benefits we see in it.

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True. In fact the leadership in China and Russia frequently call out the hypocrisy and meaninglessness of the "rules based order" (vague and non-concrete) which the US leadership often trots out instead of calling it "international law", which is sufficiently concrete to justify prosecuting many US actions in international and national courts.

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The whole edifice of 'international law' is contingent on the US being a hegemon. It makes sense that a hegemon would carve exceptions out for itself.

Without a hegemonic US, international law won't survive long anyway.

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Google "The USA is not agreement capable" for another facet of our lopsided foreign (and moral) policy.

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Afghanistan was AQ’s crash pad, there’s no doubt about that. Did we let the biggest scumbag regime on the planet off the hook b/c of Bush family cronyism-of course.

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Oh the ties between American and Saudi wealth vastly outstrip the ability of the Bushes to benefit.

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Irrelevant. It's not just the Bush (crime) Family that benefitted. It was their vast network of cronies, former "business partners", ex spooks, think tanks, NGOs, hedge funds, sovereign wealth fund managers and so many others. That the Bushes could only benefit to a certain financial degree does not negate that it was Bush who let the Saudis (the real perpetrators of 9/11) off the hook (not to mention failed to investigate or prosecute Israeli ties) so that he could pave the way for the war on Iraq, which was already planned and the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan when all we really wanted was a small group of alleged terrorists.

So in some way it's not irrelevant, just misses the real point that Stxbuck was making. Bush and Cheney let Saudi Arabia get away with the biggest terror attack in history (unless you count US military actions abroad - the people there do) because of family and business ties when he was the one person in the world with the power and justification to take them down, despite the Saudi-American wealth ties and alleged mutual strategic interests.

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My mind is drawn to that massacre in Vegas in 2017. I remember seeing a video of one of the Saudi royals escaping from a hotel with bodyguards around him while it was going on. Never found out the real story on that one, they just blamed a single nutjob for it, however implausible that seemed.

I mean, I know the geopolitical reasons why the Saudis get so much slack, but within the borders of the US? Anyway, break the oil addiction and you break Saudi power.

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How did I leave out western energy companies and MIC contractors?

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Let's not forget that Carter funded, armed, and gave intelligence to mujahideen 6 months before the USSR invaded. He did it for the purpose of baiting the USSR into invading to protect themselves from a dangerous nation on their southern border. Carter did this out of the kindness of his Christian heart because he hated godless communism.

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I would sooner blame Brzezinski for that, though Carter was the dummy for listening.

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@HBI,

Well, Carter or his "hirelings" as it were ! ;-D ;-D

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Brzezinski probably didn't think of himself that way, same as Kissinger didn't think of himself as Nixon's boy. And in retrospect, Reagan even asked Brzezinski to stay on. He refused.

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I just read a good comment on FB about that. "The world has been moved by opium for millenia. It just moved."

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https://apxhard.com/2021/08/17/america-failed-in-afghanistan-because-of-the-war-on-drugs/

we failed here because of our war on drugs.

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You mean The War on The Bill of Rights. Corrected that for you.

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You hear a LOT about the 2nd Amendment, but so far it's holding up MUCH better than the 4th and now the 1st.

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" We can choose whether drug money goes to the Taliban, or Purdue Pharmaceuticals. We can choose whether we support the Sackler family or the Sina Loa Cartel. That’s it, those are the options. I don’t like the Sackler family, but at least they aren’t beheading anyone."

That the Sacklers, Purdue Pharma and many other opioid producers aren't beheading anyone is meaningless for two reasons: 1) The Taliban in their present configuration aren't known for beheading people and 2) The damage that those companies have done in the United States is far worse than a few beheadings. Just because for so long it was cloaked by fake legitimacy and legality doesn't make the millions of deaths, ruined families, ruined local economies and tremendous burden on the American taxpayer are "better" than some (US realpolitik created, funded, trained, abetted) terror group far away. If we hadn't invaded Iraq, there never would have been an ISIS. If we hadn't initially funded, trained and armed the mujahideen it's highly likely the Taliban would never have risen to power. If we hadn't tried to destroy Syria it's likely Al Nusra and other regional terror groups would never have come into being.

The War on (some) Drugs is a fiasco and assault on civil liberties, but ending it wouldn't have done one thing toward curbing the military adventurism that the USA has been engaging in since more than a hundred years before the Cold War and which has only picked up steam after.

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That's a silly and awful take on the situation regarding Afghanistan. The war was NOT winnable despite the delusions of this author. Just as the War on (some) Drugs is also NOT winnable.

https://www.mintpressnews.com/cia-afghanistan-drug-trade-opium/277780/

While I disagree on the scope and scale of CIA involvement in the trade of illicit drugs (I do think they're the enablers and protectors of some of the biggest cartels and producers), the article makes a sound point:

Millions of losers

The story is much more nuanced than some “CIA controls the world’s drugs” conspiracy theories make out. There are no U.S. soldiers loading up Afghan carts with opium. However, many commanders are knowingly enabling warlords who do. “The U.S. military and CIA bear a large responsibility for the opium production boom in Afghanistan,” Professor Mercille said, explaining:

Post-9/11, they basically allied themselves with a lot of Afghan strongmen and warlords who happened to be involved in some way in drug production and trafficking. Those individuals were acting as local allies for the U.S. and NATO, and therefore were largely protected from retribution or arrest for drug trafficking because they were U.S. allies.”

From the ground, the war in Afghanistan has looked a lot like the war on drugs in Latin America and previous colonial campaigns in Asia, with a rapid militarization of the area and the empowerment of pliant local elites, which immediately begin to embezzle the massive profits that quietly disappear into black holes. All the while, millions of people pay the price, suffering inside a militarized death zone and turning to drugs as a coping mechanism. In the story of the opium boom, there are few winners, but there are millions of losers.

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But...you said it.

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Your understanding of the Taliban and our war aims there are as incorrect as your spell spelling "imminent", using the word "immanent", which has a totally different meaning.

Our foray into Afghanistan was doomed from the beginning because it had as its target not getting bin Laden and then leaving( we had a total of 37 US troops on the ground at Tora Bora, where he was holed up), and instead paid Afghan mercenaries to go get him as we bombed from the air, the Afghans then going in and being paid more by bin Laden to look the other way, as is their culture, but to be the appetizer to whet our appetite for the real wars to come in Iraq, Syria and the big prize, Iran, all of which were either outright disasters, or would have been, (Iran) if attempted.

The Taliban, unlike AQ, has no interest in any country outside their own, and can we please remember these people are the end winners in our policy back in the 80's to give the USSR its own Vietnam an irony in that it has come back to give us our second one? It hurts, I know, but once again, the belief by our politicians, most of whom either were or would have been draft dodgers, or are combat virgins, that our military is the answer to any and all problems has been a resounding failure, not that either they or our media will admit it

Being a Vietnam vet, I knew this would happen 19 1/2 years ago, and that when it did, all the advocates of war would go around pointing fingers, playing political games of blaming someone else, and would find willing accomplices with our worthless media, being unable to accept the fact that their lies led to needless deaths and dismemberment and cost trillions of dollars, no one truly being held accountable.

Empires always fall, and for the same reasons.

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"The Taliban, unlike AQ, has no interest in any country outside their own..."

I wonder if they will come to believe your opinion of their opinion?

https://twitter.com/Ayei_Eloheichem/status/1426713093099249669

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If you can show me any concrete examples of their trying to spread their beliefs around the world, I will change my mind.

The planning for 9-11 was done in San Diego, Miami and Germany; Hamburg, if I remember correctly, and not a single Afghan or Taliban was involved, though a shit load of Saudis were, not that seems to matter to our political elites. If AQ does reassemble in Afghanistan, I cannot think or a safer place for us to have them; a landlocked country with few outlets to the world.

If Islamic terrorism is so great a threat, then why have so few here been killed by it? Are you telling me a Muslim couldn't just buy a gun here and blast away, like we do to each other on the regular?

Take a look at the number of Americans killed by drunk drivers, plain old murders, work place accidents, or even our horrible junk food diet and then try telling me our reaction to 9-11, one where we didn't even try to get bin Laden, the supposed mastermind, wasn't a complete bait and switch, the ultimate winners being the MIC and their political pimps.

If you feel so strongly, take your second amendment implements over there and go at it, but give me a heads up, and I'll give you some of the tips I learned in Vietnam decades ago. And while you're over there, just think back to how this all started with our aiding these people, who eventually morphed into the Taliban, in our desire to play The Great Game, all to give the USSR its own Vietnam. There was a movie about it, Charlie Wilson's War, starring Tom Hanks, if I remember correctly, so it must have been the right thing to do, consequences be damned.

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I'm no expert on Afghanistan, but isn't that because the international jihadist activities of the Taliban are ostensibly managed by the Haqqani Network, which raises funds from the same Arabic groups that Al Qaeda does, has large numbers of Chechen, Arabic, Uzbeki and other foreign fighters, offers refuge and support to Pakistani terrorists targeting India and which bombed India's embassy in Kabul? There doesn't seem to be any real difference between the Haqqani Network and the Taliban. But perhaps most importantly, if neither one have broken ranks with Al Qaeda in the last 19 years, you really have to question your belief that the Taliban is solely interested in ruining their own countrymens' lives.

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Fear mongering. I wonder if that guy lives in one of those super bat cave fortresses like Osama did, lol.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgWrnahej2c

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okay, the Taliban have a rhetorical interest in countries outside their own.

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RE (michael t. nola)

“Your understanding of the Taliban and our war aims there are as incorrect as your spelling "imminent", using the word "immanent", which has a totally different meaning.”

Yes, I know it does. I spotted and corrected the mistaken spelling of that term almost immediately after posting the comment, suspecting I'd used the wrong term—but, in the process of doing that, I neglected to copy-and-paste the corrected copy, replacing, instead, the original mistake once more. Unlike you, my efforts to correct my misspellings and other copy-editing errors are not flawlessly executed; the challenge is compounded by the truly shitty software on which this site "runs" and the hardly-less-shitty state of layman-technology in the rest of computer-linked communications..

Given that you submitted or willingly “served” in the U.S. war in Vietnam, your own life-mistakes dwarf my own faulty copy-editing, “genius.” My greatest respect is reserved for those not already in the U.S. military who, facing the call to join up, _ refused _ it, or those, if already in uniform, the order to muster for deployment, in either case by conscientious objection to fighting in that war. (re-edited and re-corrected--again).

Apparently, _ anyone _ can make a mistake. What really counts is how stupendous and life-ruining the mistakes are and whether, once made, one can learn something valuable from them.S

"Empires always fall, and for the same reasons."

No, they don't. Empires can fall for many and varied reasons. Incompetence and bad-luck, even when compounded, are not necessarily the same things.

Go polish your combat-awards, tough guy. You've now had all the time and attention you'll get from me in this forum.

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Mr. Nola, thank you for your service.

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Here's the revised/corrected copy to which the "reply" just above refers:

Readersaurus

16 hr ago

I believe the reasoning went something like this (a paraphrase) :

We blundered in not recognizing a manifest threat bred and promulgated from a foreign source--and we allowed it to fester as it made meticulous plans to strike us at home and abroad. Saudi Arabia, the putative native territory of the recent assailants (11 Sept. 2001) is but one such breeding ground --and not that (perhaps) most likely to breed the next imminent danger. Where else could that come from? The Taliban. And what is their home-ground? Afghanistan.

The initial reasoning was neither stupid nor irrational. There was a certain sense to it from both a political (policy) and military point of view. Moreover, (in the wake of such popular "Remember Pearl Harbor"-like phrases, i.e. "Whatever it takes!") with Bush essentially telling his general command that they'd have what was one of the most unrestrained of remits, their hands "untied", in the prosecution of the war, the response in Afghanistan began as early as October of 2001--as opposed to the Iraq war, which began in March of 2003. At the inception of the Iraq combat, such was the spectacle of was referred to in the press as "Shock and awe" and looked like it, that some people still confuse the Iraq hostilities as having begun prior to those, much less mediatized, in Afghanistan.

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Well, that's a Narrative. Requires an impressively aggressive amount of editing to come up with one that inaccurate. But if you want to believe it, who cares about scholarly discipline?

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Yes, I know. In the 2020s, a book of more than fifty pages constitutes a "big, thick, book" and, in this rather unfriendly comment-writing-&-editing software, 2 "deletes" and re-posts constitute for some what's called an "impressively aggressive amount of editing."

Wait, in a post of some 215 words, treating summarily a theatre of war which spanned twenty years (and much more), did I omit to mention some important details?

Your copy is pithier, of course--it being far easier to allege "inaccuracy" without even bothering to specify any of it.

LOL!

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Noting the inaccuracy of your potted history is preferable to allowing it to stand unchallenged, as if it were authoritative.

I've spent too many hours of research and link offerings in detailing specific objections in disputes like this one to do it any longer, when the topic is as general as this one. Most of what I'd have to say would merely be a re-phrasing of the work of others. I can direct readers to a rich archive that authoritatively refutes the insinuations and unstated premises of your cheesy partisan framing, though https://news.antiwar.com/tag/afghanistan/page/404/

Antiwar.com has another seven years of articles preceding that 404 page (thus far) archive, which only goes back to 2008. I presume that those articles are also archived somewhere. There are also plenty of other sources, of course. But the 13 years of tagged dispatches and opinion columns found in that Antiwar.com archive make for a good antidote to your facile summary.

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What you fail to address is the complete lack of any coherent plan AFTER the occupation. Why is that? Why is it that for over half a century, we've been engaging in these "conflicts" over and over without any plan for what comes after? There's a reason for it, and that reason could be why we engage in them in the first place.

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It's not that complicated. The "plan" was that the semi-moderate, semi-democratic government we helped stand up would prove marginally capable of holding power and governing an Afghanistan that, we believed, was never entirely enthralled with Taliban rule in the first place. You can criticize that assessment for being wrong, but you can't say there was no plan just because it didn't play out that way. I mean, that exact same plan has sort of played out that way in Iraq.

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founding

See Ike's "Military Industrial Complex."

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Mascot is a paid hack “influencer” but sucks at it because he is a pompous asshole

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I actually enjoy his posts. He's one of the few people here I make a point of reading on a regular basis despite disagreeing with him on some issues. Always cogent and to the point.

In fact, I noticed he hasn't been posting recently. Good to see him back.

Making friends and taking names.

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oh man, not the "paid hack" thing...that's so trite.

Not that I'd even know where to apply for a Paid Hack position, but anyone who reads enough of my posts ought to realize that there isn't a single Special Interest that would consider hiring me. I'm too Politically Unreliable.

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maybe I should re-name myself Big Mascot.

You know, to get in better touch with a sense of humility.

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I've never met or even seen online anyone who doesn't know that the US war in Afghanistan began before the one in Iraq.

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"a war otherwise of so little importance to Congress that they never bothered, as the Constitution requires, to declare war"

I believe that the last time war was legally declared by Congress was WWII, 70-ish years ago. Korea was a "police action."

So much for the Constitution. Who gives a shit?

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Some of the time you get conservatives that mouth the proper platitudes, but progressives always view the Constitution as an impediment to what they believe will be better governance.

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Please don't fool yourselves into thinking this "war" was about consevative, liberal, progressive, communist, anarchist, racist or any other idealogy. It always was and ever will be about funnelling money into the hands of the ruling capitalist elite, who are the ones who always benefit from war; any war, anywhere. Looking at our neighbors instead of at the ruling elite is why they get to continue doing this over and over and over again. As long as we keep seeing each other as "the problem", the problem will continue.

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And there's the rub. If it wasn't for this endless insanity, Lockheed Martin, General Dynamics, Raytheon, Northrup, etc, could not exist.

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Exactly. The MIC didn’t start the war, but they damn sure kept it going for 20 years.

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Oh, they started it alright. It was just via another arm of the larger beast/octopus that determines such actions---always for the benefit for the select few, the Owners. As long as their financial portfolios expand, then they've won. And that's generally after the CIA has fertilized the fields of foment.

In other words, 'They' always win, for the Fix is in, the vertical integration of U.S. systematized warfare as capitalism remains permanently manifested (never ending as policy,) in spite of a given conflict quasi-concluding, as depicted on TV or NPR, etc.

The show must go, and will go, on.

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Shit yeah

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"It always was and ever will be about funneling money into the hands of the ruling capitalist elite"

Forgive the tongue and cheek, but capitalism by most accounts began in the 16th/17th centuries through the Dutch and English trading companies. Was humanity without war prior to these evil capitalists? If not, then who were the ones "who always benefit from war; and war, anywhere" at that point in time?

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Hi JT! It was about money/resources then, too - feudal, imperial, whatever system. Each system brings its own values, priorities, and acceptable losses to warfare. In this case, it is capitalist values, priorities, and acceptable losses, so that's the flavor in discussion.

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founding

At least now that progressives have political power — back in the ‘60s when it was their speech being suppressed progressive were all about free speech (albeit not so much other aspects of the constitution like the 2nd amendment)

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I WISH the progressives had political power. Those with the power are neo-liberals posing as progressives.

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True progressive are NOT in power. Liberals aka moderate Republicans (Obama, Clintons, Biden, etc. ) are still fighting the Cold War. Please tell them it ended when the Berlin Wall came down.

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Actually in the 1960s it was the progressives who were pro-2nd Amendment and the Republicans (Reagan, as governor of California) who were against it. Remember the Mulford Act?

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The Republicans weren't against guns so much as black people owning guns.

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Progressives have no power. Neoliberals are in charge.

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For better or worse, the 2020 occupation of the Michigan State Capitol building by armed citizens has a close antecedent in the actions of the Black Panther Party at the State Capitol in May 2, 1967 in Sacramento, CA. https://capitolweekly.net/black-panthers-armed-capitol/

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When I saw pictures of the Michigan guys, I thought: Government agents.

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"progressive" vs. "conservative" is such a false opposition. Terms that vague have to be defined in the mind of each separate reader, as each of us tries to guess the intent of the writer.

That insurmountable semantic problem alone indicates that it makes more sense to just stamp the entire post as Incoherent.

The 14th Amendment: "progressive" or "conservative"?

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The 14th Amdt predates the Progressive movement in this country, which originated in the late 19th century. True, the modern progressive wing of the Democratic party only partially resembles the original movement. And no one is as 'conservative' about say Social Security as a 'progressive' - who will oppose actually making the program more progressive by adding means testing. So yes, the labels are problematic for many specific things if still somewhat useful for some broad strokes.

All of Wilson's heirs, and most particularly in foreign policy, are progressives (even if they are in neo-con drag).

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Well, that's a pretty good clarification of the thrust of my earlier comment- which is that the definitions of "progressive" and "conservative" used in this country have a way of morphing into meaninglessness- defined in different eras according to criteria that vary to the point of being arbitrary and whimsical.

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It's three days later but i'm kind of surprised no one pointed out that Congress eventually gave the fig leaf for every one of these interventions except Korea. They don't call it a declaration of war, just an "Authorization for the use of military force" or a "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution". Korea was the only real anomaly, where Congress didn't pass a specific authorization but immediately went to work restoring the draft and funding the war. Some kind of 'implicit' authorization was at work there.

Even Taft said he would have voted for it, so I have no clue why Truman didn't seek it. Maybe he was trying to make a point. If so, bad point, and one that hasn't carried over through the years.

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My guess is that if you looked deep into what happened in Korea, you would see the same pattern Matt describes: we're not welcome, we lie about why we're there, we partner with a corrupt entity, and then continue to believe our own bullshit that we're making a difference. So, we're now pushing 70 years of this same crap over and over. My guess is there's a deeper reason for it, and some of the comments here may be revealing that reason.

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founding

Iran and Korea in the ‘50s, Vietnam in the ‘60s and Afghanistan now. Eisenhower warned us.

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I've said it before and will say it again to the point of tedium. but I think Ike was a decent guy and his great mistake was letting the Super Dulles Bros. run wild. He just didn't want to see open conflict again.

Everybody's living with the consequences now, of course.

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Ouch. Just hearing their last name makes me want to punch myself in the face many times.

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Try sitting in IAD waiting on the little train to take you to your terminal, reflecting on who the airport's named after and what it means.

I greatly appreciated your memoir as dictated to Charles Portis.

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Yup. Eisenhower was very clear and straightforward.

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Eisenhower had it both ways. From Guatemala to Korea. Thanks for the warning re: the MIC, Ike. Only after you sicced the CIA and State Department under the Dulles brothers on the world. And then professed shock at JFK's assassination by certain "associated" elements.

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Well, him and Truman.

Harry's "I'm shocked! SHOCKED!!!" op-ed about the "dirty tricks department" is only exceeded in the realm of comedy by Allen Dulles's frantic efforts to suppress it.

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Ahh, the good old days! lol!!

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Nah you can't conflate all of these things. Motives of the 1940s to early 1960s were not the same motives as today. Vietnam, like Algeria, was part of the French Empire that was pulling away as part of the decolonization period following WWII. Each one is different. For the origins of the Vietnam War, see "Embers of War, The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America's Vietnam."

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Yes and no. The 38th Parallel was established after WW2 by the US. But the US put the Japanese, and Korean collaborators, back in charge of the govt and that pissed off the Koreans. Hostilities ensued and the US declared martial law. Then a general election was held for S Korea that is widely considered to have been a sham perpetrated by the US. Also, the 38th Parallel may have divided the country, but it's people were still mixed and there were lots of socialists in S Korea. Finally, N Korea was far from a pawn in the Chinese Civil War. It's thought by many that their actions in that war may have been the key to the communist victory in China.

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Roger Degueldre’s ghost is laughing his ass. Go big or go home-that’s the new choice in modern police actions”.

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Degueldre? Try Skorzeny. "Je ne regrette rien"

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Didn’t the NDAA cover them?

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It's easy for forget the perspective of the psychopaths who run our government. Thanks for the reminder.

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It all went to hell when it was discovered that a “real” war would require financing by selling war bonds. Now an “undeclared” war is financed by simply stealing money from tax payers without their permission. War is easy to launch without the fuss of selling war bonds.

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Or some indication of popular support, which a vote by Congress would at least nominally supply. The Imperial President does what he wants.

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One must draw a binary conclusion. The people who started the war, and those who have continued it, are either stupid or evil. Maybe both; evil for doing it, and stupid if they thought it would end well. Psychopaths don’t think things through. This applies to all the flag waivers who have continued to support sending troops to Afghanistan (and elsewhere) saying they were defending our freedom. Bullshit!

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Right on brother. It is unadulterated BS.

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It is as much an indictment of our complacent media as it is the crooks in industry and government. Without a functioning press there is no counter weight to the corruption.

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They aren't complacent. They are usually cheerleaders for whatever saber-rattling the U.S. is doing. People still read the New York Times even after it was Dick Cheney's sock puppet on Iraq. Cheney's Halliburton made so much money they are probably still counting it. Remember the air drops of plats of U.S. currency? "The US flew nearly $12bn in shrink-wrapped $100 bills into Iraq, then distributed the cash with no proper control over who was receiving it and how it was being spent." https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/feb/08/usa.iraq1

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"nobody cared"

I recognize that you are employing hyperbole here, but I can assure you that military members and their at-CONUS spouses did care.

This war fucked up a lot of lives. Primarily Afghan lives; secondarily American lives. Ultimately I feel less sorry for the Americans than the Afghans; there wasn't a draft, after all, and I don't recall the Afghans getting to vote on their choice in the matter.

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Perhaps not. This sort of adventurism can only really ever be financed by currency hegemony and ours is at an end.

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"[T]he politicians learned their lessons well. ... So will it happen again. You bet ya!*"

Not to worry, folks -- we don't even need to wait for 'again'!

The MSM is now painting one hum-dinger of a picture out there. "Left" and "Right" are uniting together in universal outrage: "Something MUST Be Done!"

The Squad will lead a chant at an outdoor camera-masked gathering of their protest start-up, Democracy in Action(R):

"What do we want?"

"Instant gratification!"

"When do we want it?"

"NOW!"

The principals are now gaining the invigorated public support they seek ... and will soon see the launch of a new Coalition-of-the-Willing(R), complete with full new branding (TBD). Coming to a puppetized President near you!

-------------

*Kudos for quoting broken-clock Palin

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In this short clip from Groundhog Day Bill Murray represents the military-industrial-complex that produces the infinitely repeating insanely macabre war loop:

https://www.bitchute.com/video/KnoeQOzo6o9Q/

Millions die but it is immortal.

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The Best way for a Quick end to that Point is....Lies in front of Congrss, on matters of Conflicts or WARS....Trial for Treason....With the Firing Squad.....Starting at the TOP.....

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I support the withdrawal. But it's hard not to see the way it was done as a foreign policy disaster.

Isn't the basic rule to pull out the soft targets first and the troops last?

Liberal or conservative, Democrat or Republican, I think we can all agree that the U.S. has created a humanitarian shitstorm in Afghanistan.

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I am not surprised that the Taliban won, but I am surprised at the apparent ineptitude of the withdrawal.

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Really? surprised-- do you remember Saigon?

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Few Americans are old enough to remember Saigon, and it's certainly not being taught in history class.

Biden is old enough to remember, but not lucid enough to remember.

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I doubt that he gives a damn. He's just doing and saying whatever his handlers are telling him to do and say.

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I don't think on this one. This was ALL Biden he finally gets to be the decider. I would call Biden's leadership style Obtuse Empathy. He desperately wants to been seen as a smart ,sensitive, caring figure who is on the right side of history (as if history can been seen in such a lens) He jumps in front of what ever empathy parade is in the gestalt at the time no matter the secondary effects or if its even true. Its as though he has been waiting his whole life to drop the line, "whose child should he send to die for someone else's civil war?" That line, perhaps gives him a false sense of immunity from what ever consequences arrive from his decision because his heart is in the right place there fore any negative consequence is in service to the greater noble, poetic position. Its like rescuing a seagull from a fishing net and ripping its wings off to free it. That being said , I'm glad we getting out it was not an easy decision but the gracelessness and utter cluster fuck is all on Biden and his generals.

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Biden is old enough to remember the American Civil War, but not lucid enough to remember the day the Taliban took Kabul.

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And he's dumb enough to bring it up.

America: Huh, Afghanistan.

Biden: IT'S NOT GOING TO BE LIKE VIETNAM!

America: It looks sort of like Vietnam.

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I remember Saigon. It took two years for it to fall after the deal was signed.

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Also note that we ended up pulling our military support of South Vietnam because Congress refused to continue to fund it. Strange to think that Biden was in the Senate at the time.

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I keep making the same point. Biden fucked up far worse than people are recognizing. You're right: the difference with the Republic of Vietnam is that congress pulled the rug out from under their government. In Afghanistan, Biden had bipartisan support for maintaining the security situation, and apparently, he let the policy naifs in his administration decide that the government in Kabul didn't need our intelligence and air support. Who in congress advocated ending all non-combat support? As far as I know, the idea wasn't really mainstream.

I'm sure that there are people who will say that Afghanistan is different from Vietnam and that the Taliban was always destined to topple the government quickly. To such people, I offer one additional observation: the Soviet-backed government of Afghanistan survived for over three years after the end of Soviet combat operations. The communist government only collapsed after the financial and other non-combat support ended with the collapse of the USSR.

Let me repeat. By moving to the center, an unpopular communist Afghan government survived three years while our liberal government, a government at least nominally respecting their religious traditions and deferring to custom on thorny issues of universal human rights where custom and universal human rights conflicted, survived just three days.

There's precedent to believe that the American-backed government could have continued indefinitely with modest amounts of non-combat support. Biden's advisers and handlers just threw in the towel.

The news isn't all bad, though. I have to remind people that when we invaded Afghanistan, the Taliban only controlled ninety percent of the country. The other ten percent was in the hands of Dostum and other rebels, and they had only assassinated Massoud a day before the attack on the United States. Afghanistan is a tribal, stone-age sewer, and in time, Afghanistan will revert to type: I think that the descent into civil war will happen in two to three years. The Taliban is a loose confederation of people with a lot of different and conflicting interests, and they'll enjoy nominal control today but a problem if they try to exert actual control outside of their bases of power.

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Well said. ... But the two were very different. Our original military mission in Vietnam was to guard air bases there. Fine. Then that genius Gen. Westmoreland thought we needed troops to take part in combat. Every time he screwed up, he asked for more troops. The body counts were fiction. No progress was being made. The light at the end of the tunnel was a mortar round during the Tet Offensive, which put the whole thing to bed for the American homefront.

We couldn't keep pouring billions into Vietnam. We had started with paying for the French in the early 1950s, bombed the North until it was practically flat, and attacked with units meant for World War II, not jungle guerrilla warfare. It was a mess from beginning to end. And the North was hell-bent on taking the South and uniting the country. It was not going to give up, ever, and there was nothing the U.S. could do about it.

Meanwhile the people of the South had grown soft, like all puppet populations do. They still spoke French like their previous colonial masters and were good Catholics, while the Buddhists burned. On the streets, weapons, goods like liquor and cigarettes, and even heavy machinery were stolen practically right off the trucks, and often taken by the North. The booze and cigarettes were sold in the street, along with super-cheap and potent opiates (which the local population had always enjoyed). Close to the end, we had more soldiers in the hospital for VD and drug addiction than for battle wounds. Ringing in the GIs' ears was the North's propaganda: "Don't be the last to die in Vietnam."

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2 years vs Taliban took barely a few days. Looks like Biden is very progressive!

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Once they got started, the North only took 6 weeks to enter Saigon and end the war. That's how bad the South's military preparedness was. Most officers threw off their uniforms and ran.

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I do Carol. it was horrible. I live in San Diego county, which was then even more of a navy town than it is now, and my family lived in a neighborhood adjoining Miramar NAS (then the home of the Top Gun school). Lots of military families on my block. It was not a good time.

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So sorry for you and your neighbours💗

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@Carol Jones

Bit of a difference there. We were pushing people off the roof of the Embassy in Saigon two years *after the troops had been withdrawn ! So, similarities, but no

direct equivalent.

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@Carol Jones

This was kind of a bone-chilling reminder of *exactly that, wasn't it ?

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Yeah. Didn't seem to need a rerun.

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"I am surprised at the apparent ineptitude of the withdrawal"

I do not intend this as a criticism of you or your comment, but I do surmise that you may not have had many dealings with the US military in the recent past.

"Ineptitude" doesn't begin to cover it.

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No question the US military has it's challenges in the competence department, but where did America get this idea about losing with dignity?

I mean, we lost. If you want dignity when you leave you win, or in this case don't pick wars you can't win.

The French in Vietnam and Algiers. The Italians in Ethiopia and Libya. The Spanish in Morocco. The Japanese in Manchuria, the Israelis in Lebanon, America in Beirut and Vietnam.

Where is this proud tradition of being defeated and leaving with honor I'm having such a hard time finding in history?

I think I just figured it out. Americans did not realize they had lost in Afghanistan so were surprised by the exit. Wow, and they say the generals were disillusion.

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"don't pick wars you can't win"

The US policymaking community seems to be perpetually struggling with this concept, like kindergartners struggling with Play-Doh.

Military people are becoming sick of dying for... no clearly articulated reason?

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Well you don't always know if the war you pick is winnable. At the beginning of the US version of the Vietnam War, the only acceptable opinion in the US was "of course it's winnable." It's a raggedy-ass little 10th-rate country, according to LBJ. All those brilliant men said it was winnable. They had facts and charts and a guy from Ford Motor Company to run it all in a very rational manner.

Hindsight is 20-20, and LBJ didn't know what we know today. And there are also different kinds of losing. If the winner demands unconditional surrender, that's going to be a different end than one that is negotiated by two parties sick of going at it. ... But I'm afraid I'm talking into a historical black hole here, because you don't know these obvious points.

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I disagree (that you don't always know if a war in winnable) and Sun Tzu does as well.

Knowing if a war in winnable is in part about setting achievable goals (the first gulf war) sometimes it's about not inserting yourself into a civil war (Vietnam Afghanistan) where an enemy can win simply by outlasting you.

"It's a raggedy-ass little 10th-rate country, according to LBJ."

That doesn't refute the need for achievable goals, it confirms it. If your argument is that some men substitute personal ego for achievable goals well yes, but that only confirms the need to set achievable goals.

"Hindsight is 20-20, and LBJ didn't know what we know today"

Despite popular American folklore, Vietnam was not the first insurgency in world history where a ragtag group beat a greater power that had all the best generals and smartest people in the room. LBJs failure to know history, know himself, or know his enemy is not confirmation that we just can't know if wars are winnable. It's a history lesson in arrogance leading to an escalation in an unwinnable war. There were plenty of people from those in the ground to his own defense secretary that acknowledged that the war was unwinnable. I'm not even sure how the LBJ analogy factors into this since it seem to hurt your main point and bolster mine.

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@Thomas Hancock

I see the point more as "don't go to war for commercial reasons."

In Vietnam, the French wanted help regaining their former colonies in what had previously been French Indochina . (Remember how the "Peace Talks" during the Vietnam war were always held in Paris, and people wondered, if this is really a war between the U.S. and SE Asia, how the futz does Paris feature into this picture at all ?) That turns out to be why.

The only "metric" the U.S. dared turn out on our "progress" in Vietnam was "body count", men women & children. You know you are in a war with a *secret goal, when the only measure you can come up with for progress is not "territory gained" or true changes in "hearts and minds", but body count. Even the troops on the ground quickly saw thru that gossamer goal.

The Americans, nicely fixed for oil at the time, needed rubber. Personnel Carriers run on rubber. Back then, we had no such thing synthetic rubber, and Brazil had the world rubber market by the throat as the "only girl in town", with her monopoly of the time. Vietnam had then, and continues to produce today, some of the world's premium rubber trees.

If a war starts over a full-out lie, (more of an excuse), like that risible "Gulf of Tonkin Resolution", you can bet your bippy this is a war for commercial gain, more than a war that MUST be fought. The last war that HAD to be fought by the U.S., was WWII, following the attack on Pearl Harbor.

The Vietnamese fought and ousted their "Colonial Masters" the French, from Vietnam following the Battle of Bien Dien Phu in 1954. The Vietnamese fought under the command of the militarily estimable General Giap.

General Giap, in sort of an "old home week" heartbreaker, also commanded the Vietnam Peoples Army (NVA) when the Americans arrived. In the cities of Vietnam, (not as much the Villages out in the Boonies), the Vietnamese, including the children, spoke flawless French when the American troops arrived.

Ironically, the U.S. which started out in *Revolution against being a colony of England, was also assisting the French in re-establishing their colonies in SE Asia.

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My dealings with the US military are very infrequent. I'd say it happened once only. But after that one I thought if the experience was representative then all hope was lost.

The event in question was visiting one of the aircraft carriers anchored by the shore on the West coast. There were many people wanting a tour. I had to get up at 4:30 am to secure a spot on a trip later that day. People got on and off the boat via a number of ferries. Long story short, we spent what seems like close to 10 hours waiting to get on and a couple more to get off, significant part while on a ferry. It was a complete and utter disaster. Complete chaos. Pretty much like in the Kabul airport. I thought if that's the way the US military conducts such simple things, what chance is there it will do anything right?

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@sasha

au contraire, sasha ! You experienced the very *essence of military life !

It is called "Hurry up and *WAIT ! " ;-D

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hahaha! :)

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founding

There is a reason the term snafu (situation normal, all fucked up) originated in the military

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@Coco McShevitz

Likewise, FUBAR (fucked up beyond all repair [or beyond all recognition])

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Agree on that one. Could relate stories but...nah.

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@HBI

Couldn't many of us, yes ..........

But civilians often have a devil of a time believing the

old standards on *bone-crushing ineptitude ! Of the

right hand *never knowing what the left hand is doing....

Of the ...... You're right, "but ...nah."

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Marines had to be sent back into Saigon too when the airlift out of there went sideways. North Vietnam was supposed to take 2 years to take over the South. It took them 6 weeks. If we had engaged with South Vietnam military as an equal partnership, the outcome might have been over a table rather than at the end of a tank barrel. ... Funny tho how Biden invoked the very things he should have kept quiet about: comparisons to Vietnam.

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"Biden invoked the very things he should have kept quiet about: comparisons to Vietnam."

I have never been more impressed with Biden's demented candor than in the past couple of days; he has risen in my esteem. Your mileage, of course, may vary.

Can American adults not admit that invading and occupying Vietnam was a disastrous mistake and that invading and occupying Afghanistan was a disastrous mistake? What are the other things politicians "should keep quiet" about?

It is funny to me that Biden got a free pass from the media during the '20 primaries and the general but now they're after him with knives out for demonstrating some decisive leadership. Don't go off script.

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There are no more filters left in Biden's brain. He's going to start actually saying the quiet parts out loud now. hahaha About 56% of Americans in a June 28, 1970 poll thought the US Vietnam War was a mistake. So some already had come to that conclusion.

Imagine still being in uniform over there in the jungle, risking your life in a war people stopped supporting. Soldiers quickly found out which of their buddies knew the shit about staying alive, and followed him, whether he was in charge officially or not. I don't have anything against the people who served there, as long as they did so in good conscience. They did their duty even though the political and military leadership failed them.

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@Thomas Hancock

Even MORE Americans back home thought the US Vietnam War was a mistake after the Tet Offensive in January of 1968. The NVA and the Cong thought they had *lost that engagement, but the Americans back home saw it as THE last straw. Wish you had been there, but somehow reading about it in a book long *after the fact seems to make you even "better" informed. ;-D Lock 'n' LOAD , Thomas !

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I find sci-fi writer David Drake's essay on his experience in Vietnam incredibly moving: https://david-drake.com/2009/vietnam/

Key lines: "I’m accused of writing militaris[m] by those who either don’t know the difference between description and advocacy or who deny there is a difference."

"I’m still proud of my unit and the men I served with. They weren’t exactly my brothers, but they were the folks who were alone with me."

He wrote the LACEY series of stories about a future in which ubiquitous government/corporate surveillance has rendered personal privacy an obsolete concept, but those are tales for another time. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/1861071.Lacey_and_His_Friends

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I have to agree. I despise everything about the man, but that speech he gave yesterday was absolutely brilliant. At least on this point, I have to admit I was absolutely wrong about him.

I knew he would be in political trouble for this. It was the good idea and what the majority of people wanted, not to mention it will save the lives of the unwashed masses.

That's always a sure loser inside the beltway.

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The only ineptitude was the failure to realize that no one was going to save the intervention this time. I believe there was hope in some quarters that Biden would decide he didn't want this to happen on his watch and send a couple brigades there to fight it out until he was out of office.

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What I was talking about was not the loss of the war, which seems pretty inevitable given the donnée, the characters, and the original script, but the disorganization at the end.

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There is some meat to that. Not the way she said it, but the US is not sitting on its ass right about now. The Afghan government is dead, however. They're not striking anyone, mostly removing uniforms and making their peace with their new overlords.

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We will wear them out by making them climb over our corpses! Huzzah!

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Afghan Barb

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You are assuming that it would have been possible to avoid this outcome through “planning”. I’m not convinced that it would have been. Once we decided to leave, the Afghan “forces” knew they would lose, so they took the payoff and abandoned the fight. That would have required even more US forces to take over the holding action.

There really was no better plan than to just rip off the band-aid. They should negotiate with the Taliban to get their allies out. They could threaten to drone the hell out of them if they don’t cooperate.

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Maybe instead of "threatening to drone the hell out of them", we should apologize for the devastation and let them know their help means everyone will be of their way faster.

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The "nuke 'em, drone 'em" guys upthread and downthread here are a complete trip. It's self-centered autists enthralled by the power fantasies technology gives them, utterly out of touch with actual human life and the possibility of empathy and compassion for someone who is... not them.

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One might say it shows a right wing authoritarian streak. :)

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Sieg heil!

..and, ouch. You got me.

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We droned them constantly over the past 20 years.

Gee, I wonder why the Taliban was so popular and unified?

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Maybe they should apologize for sheltering Bin Laden after 9/11. Just saying that, if they'd like to move on, they could cooperate with the ending of this mess. If not, we can continue the "devastation" from the air.

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No point. It's like intervening in a chapter of the Arabian Nights.

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China's ICBMs can reach your city.

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@Thomas Hancock

So can the ancient MRVs on any nuclear submarine.

An ICBM is almost all "transport mechanism" and easy to

see coming. The MRVs, shot completely up out of the

atmosphere, and then, pre-adressed, "reenter" (thus, Multiple

Re-Entry Vehicles) as nothing but the warhead, almost too tiny to see. ICBMs are now incredibly archaic "City Busses" in terms of modern warfare, and have been for some time. Our own ICBM silos are being rented out to "Doomsday Preppers" up in Wyoming.

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Inevitable pilot captures and hostage taking.

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Drones! Use your technological advantage. Hope it can be avoided, but if not we should be forceful and brutal. They need to see a clear choice in their behavior.

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The old "why they hate us" nonsense. I suppose as always "we meant well too." This is the old manufacturing of consent, military division. They know very well why they hate us: We make their lives hell, day after day.

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The war was good for profits for awhile, but I guess Boeing and Raytheon wanted a new challenge.

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I'm confused by this comment. I thought Al Qaida was the 'enemy'? Were we fighting the Taliban? Anyway, I thought we weren't fighting at all anymore there, just helping prepare their own military...?

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The U.S. military employs terrorists all the time, so it's hard to keep score. There is no good guy and bad guy like in World War II. It's called "the management of savagery" and is why we get into bed with criminals like the House of Saud and Zionists.

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Insert hilarious laughter here!

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note: this is out of context. I was replying to Politically homeless.

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@Patricia Kane

Yes. This substack software is SO maddening with "message creep" down the queue until your comment is so far from its *intended target that things can get *highly confusing. The best I can do, and it is not much, is to purposely include the name of person to whom I am responding, (see above) so that, at least, I might avoid insulting someone to whom my message was *not intended ! ;-D

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@Atma: Thanks for pointing this out, along with a way to handle it.

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We actually fought alongside the Al Qaida in Syria against Assad, so "Al Qaida is the enemy" might be a little more confusing than people realize.

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Some say it was done that way to punish Biden...

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