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JHB's Journal
JHB's Journal
October 31, 2013

What he describes is at best "salvaged", not "won"

Here's the money quote:

At the highest level, President Bush's decision to conduct the surge was exceedingly courageous. His advisers were split on the decision, with many favoring other approaches that in my view would have failed. And as the going did get tougher over the early months of the surge, President Bush's steadfast leadership and his personal commitment to seeing the war through to a successful conclusion (albeit one that might take many years to unfold) took on enormous significance.

President Bush's commitment had an enormous psychological effect on our men and women in Iraq, as well as on the Iraqi people. Our troopers recognized that we had a chance to do what was needed to reverse the terrible cycle of violence that had gripped Iraq in the throes of civil war. And the citizens of the Land of the Two Rivers realized that there was still hope that the new Iraq could realize the potential that so many had hoped for in the wake of the ousting of Saddam Hussein and the collapse of the Ba'athist regime in 2003.

Nowhere does he mention that everything he writes about was due to the complete, double-barreled failures of Bush: first and foremost for launching the war under false pretenses, and second -- having launched the war -- the absolute and complete failure to maintain order and provide the public with basic security and other needs. Everything in Petraeus's article is about cleaning up the mess that took root because Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and the rest of the neocon PNAC gallery bet the lives of soldiers and civilians that their pet power play could be done on the cheap. And what would they care if it didn't? They got rid of Saddam like they wanted to, and the rest didn't cost them anything, did it? What price did they pay?

Iraq is not a "win", certainly not on the alleged (and now obviously false to anyone not infoxicated) reasons for launching the invasion, nor even on "oust Saddam and let Iraqis move on" grounds. Accepted counterinsurgency doctrine would have required at least twice the number of troops Rumsfeld sent in, with three- or four-times the number more likely to be effective. Of course, troop levels that high would have made it impossible to keep claiming that the war could be done quickly and cheaply, which would have changed the political calculations of those who voted for the AUMF. So the Bushies said whatever would get their foot in the door, and to hell with whoever paid the actual price for it.

That observation is glaringly absent from Petraeus' talk about his "win".

October 10, 2013

If Boehner needs to save face, here's a compromise we can make...

If he passes a clean continuing resolution and a clean bill to raise the debt ceiling, we agree to restore the income tax rates in effect when Ronald Reagan was overwhelmingly re-elected in 1984. And we'll throw in adjusting for inflation.

October 6, 2013

Don't Be a Sucker - 1947 anti-facist film...

...produced by the US military after WW2 when a lot of demilitarized soldiers could have been ripe prey for demagogues (and some were).

Something that needs to be reposted periodically, especially these days.

October 6, 2013

Over 100 long-lost Doctor Who episodes found by dedicated fans - in Ethiopia


A group of dedicated Doctor Who fans tracked down at least 100 long-lost episodes of the show gathering dust more than 3,000 miles away in Ethiopia.

It was feared the BBC ­programmes from the 1960s – featuring the first two doctors William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton – had vanished for all time after the Beeb flogged off a load of old footage.

But after months of ­detective work the tapes have been unearthed at the Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency.

A television insider said: “It is a triumph and fans ­everywhere will be thrilled.

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