Wednesday, July 12, 2017

What's Pashto for "conditto"?

Here's a great fucking idea; since there are no real American "interests" left in Afghanistan, let's not send American forces there.

Let's send mercenaries!
"Erik D. Prince, a founder of the private security firm Blackwater Worldwide, and Stephen A. Feinberg, a billionaire financier who owns the giant military contractor DynCorp International, have developed proposals to rely on contractors instead of American troops in Afghanistan at the behest of Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump's chief strategist, and Jared Kushner, his senior adviser and son-in-law, according to people briefed on the conversations."
Gee, I can't see how that could possibly go wrong...

What is truly sad is that this suggestion comes from a guy who you would think would be all in favor of the fictitious-Trump "who kept us out of war" that seemed to dominate the "Trump-is-better-than-Killary-Klintoon" cartoons that kept appearing before the election:
"Mr. Bannon has told colleagues that sending more troops to Afghanistan is a slippery slope to the nation building that Mr. Trump ran against during the campaign. Mr. Bannon has also questioned what the United States has gotten for the $850 billion in nonmilitary spending it has poured into the country, noting that Afghanistan confounded the neoconservatives in the George W. Bush administration and the progressives in the Obama administration."
No shit, Sherlock; that's why the sucker is called the "grave of empires". NObody can figure out how to hustle this particular part of the East; not the Brits, who tried for over a century, not the Soviets, not us. The only way to win this particular Game of Thrones is not to play.

But in the sort of "logic" that has already made the Fraudulency Administration a standing joke this gomer is thinking that the "best" way to skin this cat is to import the kind of guys whose signature move is to panic and have a fucking mad minute in the middle of a busy public street in a country that their employer is trying to keep friendly and pacified.

Jesus wept. Does anybody here know how to play this game..?


  1. FDChief -

    Both Prince and Bannon are batsh!t crazy. But Bannon is also certainly precocious in the political arena. So he may have struck a cord with his liege lord on this one.

    Don't know much about Feinberg. Although I understand he already has his DynCorp boys deeply embedded in Afghanistan. His management team in Kunduz reprtedly pimped out Bachi-Bazi dancing boys to Afghan cops.

    This con seems tailor made for the current whitehouse. Our only hope is that congress refuses to fund it.

    1. Oh, I have no doubt that the Tangerine Toddler will be on this like a four-year-old on a Frosted Cheerio. It works perfectly for his mindset:

      1. It gets him out of having to think about hard stuff like southwest Asian politcs, and
      2. It profits one of his relatives.

      And I wouldn't bet on Congressional spine. They still want Orange Foolius to sign off on their "Make America Sleep On A Grate Again" return to 1929.

  2. This is just one of the many many important (or even vital) policy issues that require immediate and broad scrutiny. And all people can focus on is collusion with the evil Rooskies.

    1. This is actually part and parcel OF that possible collusion.

      IMO this administration is a disaster because it's Republican. The GOP has become - as meanspirited and unconvincing as this may sound - a Skinnerbox for white nationalist Gilded Age plutocratic and Christian dominionist loonyism. That in itself would be bad enough. But the Trumpkins are on the hook to the Russian mob and right now we have only a dim notion of how deep that hook goes.

      So, at this point, how the well do we know what is genuinely Bannon's loathsome idiot notion as opposed to some kind of ploy cooked up in Moscow? Simple; we don't.

      Bad enough being screwed by OUR fuckheads. But by some Russian gangster..?

    2. Sorry, arguing about which particular gangster is screwing you is a rat hole distraction. It is much more important to focus on particular issues *and the positive steps* that can be taken to address them.

      You need to have people to get off their asses and vote for a coherent alternative and *that* means people need to have at least some tiny expectation that their vote could make a difference in their lives.

      Hooting about New York billionaires, Russian gangsters and "omg emailz" makes for great soap operas but does nothing to get people registered and out to the polls.

    3. And WTF does that have to do with "news"?

      First, it's not CBS' job to GOTV. Second, if discovering that one of our two parties is likely in thrall not just to domestic plutocrats but probably foreign kleptocrats doesn't make you want to register and vote AGAINST them, WTF will?

      Third, why is it so important to you that nobody mention this? It's not like this is pushing the other horrific GOP stuff out of the news. The mess that is the AHCA, the Muslim ban, the idiot Wall, the mass deportations...they're all out there. This is just one more brick in the wall. Why NOT throw it? The Trumpeters LIKE all the other horrible shit. Maybe finding out that their Orange Fuhrer is a Russian stooge will help get them "off their asses"...

    4. Basically, I've reached saturation about the whole "Trump and the GOP are evil incarnate" thing. I honestly don't think that pointing out the pathology of various Trump/GOP antics will change any votes. At best, it will suppress some GOP supporters from going to the polls, but vote suppression is a game that the GOP does better than the dems.

      And actually getting larger numbers of people voting is the key to changing politics as usual. It isn't an accident that turnouts have been, on average, declining over the past few decades.

      Hence. the appeal to change the sales pitch. Jeremy Corbyn and Bernie Sanders type messaging is the way to go.

    5. Whatever the answer and whatever the appeal should be, it does not include mercs. This idea pitched by Bannon needs to end up in the shitcan along with the rest of his brinfarts.

    6. I'm not sure where you get your news, Ael, but what I hear and see when i try and stomach the network and cable news can be fairly characterized along the lines of "Debate goes on over Chancellor Hitler's controversial "Final Solution" plan".

      Evil? Sweet Christ, CNN can't be arsed to call the GOP legislation the ginormous giveaway to plutocracy it is! To hell with "evil", the MSM can't bring themselves to accurately characterize Republicans as the radical reactionaries they are.

      The Sanders wing...hell, the mainstream Dems, even...have been putting that out there since Dubya. And it took a flaming trainwreck LIKE Dubya to get the newsies to stop trying to make the Both Sides equivalency and admit the the U.S. right was just plain nuts.

      So, no. Until that story gets hammered into the public brain to the point that electoral disaster forces the GOP back towards sanity the "GOP is insane and evil" trope hasn't been hit hard enough.

    7. Well all I was trying to say was:
      1) I am sick of hearing about Donny Tinyhands and his minions.
      2) I think a lot of others are similarly fully saturated.
      3) I don't think any votes are being changed by the perpetual media firestorm.
      4) Other issues which might change voters minds are not getting sunlight and attention. Much of this is the media's fault, but the democrats are cheerfully feeding the fire.
      5) The election clock is ticking and the Dems should already be shaping their messaging, but they are not.

      I cheerfully admit I don't understand American politics. If voters are actually being turned off the GOP and are being converted to democrats by the non-stop Russian collusion controversy then carry on. However, if it isn't, then I see wasted energy and Four Bravo (TTBR) gets closer all the time.

      To try and drag this discussion a little back on topic, does hiring mercs allow for a face saving way to get America out of Afghanistan? I mean, replace all the troops with mercs (thus getting out of the quagmire) and and then every year, cut the budget for the mercenaries in half. Pretty soon, since there isn't any money to be made, they up stakes and leave as well.

    8. Nope, nope, nope, nope, and nope.

      Here's a perfect example; less than half of all "Republican" voters believe that Donny the Kid even MET with the Russians. That's not "fully saturated" unless it means "fully saturated with bullshit alternative reality".

      Trump and his minions are an "unpresidented" (as Orange Foolius would say) trainwreck in U.S. politics, unless you go back to the appallingly open graft and corruption of the original Gilded Age. But the stupidity, cynicism, venality, and cruelty in trying to resurrect that Age has NEVER truly been widely exposed. The "truth is out there", as they say, but you have to hack through a thicket of lies and obstructions that the GOP was cultivated around it. The notion that somehow "votes aren't being changed" only works if you don't care that these bastards are doing this stuff - which the GOP 45% doesn't - or aren't aware of that stuff.

      If you don't believe that something that's physically, unalterably proven as having happened how is anyone going to convince you that, say, the GOP really IS determined to ensure that the U.S. economy returns to 1899 and that you the regular joe worker is going to be put back in the sort of position that drove guys to be shot down by troops at Homestead? Or that the GOP really DOES believe that the Rich are better than you and I and deserve more of our money? Or that they are as stupid and cruel as...well, as they really ARE?

      So, no; the Left has been shouting this from the rooftops since the days of Dubya and the bulk of the popular press - the 24-hour news channels, the nets, the big dead tree periodicals - report it as "disagree on the shape of the earth".

      So the merc thing is just like I characterized it; war on the downlow that cuts the irking outrage when some GI gets waxed AND profits some Trump chump. And I guarantee that if it gets any traction that the talking heads will report whatever idiot explanation that comes out of Sean Spicer's piehole verbatim, instead of, as they should, simply noting that "When questioned White House spokesman Sean Spicer lied that the proposal would..."

    9. And it's not just low-information and complete MSM dereliction of duty. The Right has been busily beavering away to ensure that there really IS a lot of "fake news" for people who believe that there is fake news. Only the fakery isn't what they think it is:

  3. AEL -

    Your 'evil Rooskies' comment brings to mind Ronnie Raygun's hooting 30+ years ago about the Soviet Union being the 'evil empire'. At that time in my life the evil empire I knew was the New York Yankees, so could not figure out what he was talking about. His meaning finally dawned on me. But I did not believe it then and do not believe it now.

    Wish to God Ronnie and Zia al-Haq had left the Soviets alone in Afghanistan. The Rooskies might have done some good there. So now we have been dorking around in that country for over three decades. With more to come it seems.

    If Prince and Feinberg get their wish, let's hope they are not paid on the public tit. But where else could they send the bill?

  4. FDChief -

    I agree that Trump's should be shamed publicly for his Russian buddies that helped to swing election his way. I also believe that Congress critters of both parties should be publicly shamed for their allowing Israeli hasbara propagandists to meddle in Congressional elections. As well as accepting donations and bribes and free trips to Jerusalem while in office. If the Russians were smarter they would get on that gravy train instead of farking around with trying to own the white house.

    One good thing I will say about the Trumpster is his bailing out on the CIA covert (supposedly covert) arming of anti-Assad rebels in Syria. Good on him for that. Although I believe that effort was already given up for dead by the CIA a while ago. Back when most of the moderates were co-opted and forced into (or charmed into) the more effective jihadi rebels. No sense beating a dead horse. So The Donald jumps on that situation and takes the credit for it. Ever the Con Man.


  5. @AEL on 17 July - "...does hiring mercs allow for a face saving way to get America out of Afghanistan? I mean, replace all the troops with mercs (thus getting out of the quagmire) and and then every year, cut the budget for the mercenaries in half. Pretty soon, since there isn't any money to be made, they up stakes and leave as well."

    I'm not a fan of that proposal:
    1] Mercs have a way of finding the money and continuing their trade.
    2] Article 47 of the Geneva Convention states mercenaries shall not have the right to be combatants or POWs. Which implies that Trump or some future Trumpster may send in US troops to rescue those goobers if they get trounced or captured.
    3] The United Nations stated that hiring mercenaries against national liberation movements is a criminal act and the mercs themselves are criminals. Some future UN Security Council may well define the Talibs as a legit liberation movement.
    4] Although US law has been loosened dramatically since the Pinkerton Act of 1893, it still only allows mercs for "Guard and Protective Services". Therefore, no raids, no assaults, no attacks of any kind, no ambushes - just static defense.
    5] The ICC in the Hague also criminalizes the use of Mercs.
    6] But the best argument goes to Niccolò Machiavelli. He "argued against the use of mercenary armies in his book of political advice The Prince. His rationale was that since the sole motivation of mercenaries is their pay, they will not be inclined to take the kind of risks that can turn the tide of a battle, but may cost them their lives. He also noted that a mercenary who failed was obviously no good, but one who succeeded may be even more dangerous. He astutely pointed out that a successful mercenary army no longer needs its employer if it is more militarily powerful than its supposed superior. This explained the frequent, violent betrayals that characterized mercenary/client relations in Italy, because neither side trusted the other. He believed that citizens with a real attachment to their home country will be more motivated to defend it and thus make much better soldiers." I agree with old Nick.

    1. Ya ya, I know all that stuff. And yes, you are correct.

      However, I do note that distinguishing Afghan warlords from mercenaries may not be all that easy, and warlords have been a fixture of the conflict since the very beginning. So nobody really takes all that legal mumbo jumbo seriously.

      The time to throw the Afghan problem at the warlords and running would have been December 2001.

      Far too late now. Sigh.

    2. Macchiavelli is great for quoting because there's a quote of him for both sides of many topics. Essentially he did whatever he wanted to do.

  6. Ael -

    Why too late? Declare the Afghanistization of the conflict and walk away! Nixon bought into the concept 48 years ago and completed implementation three or four years later. We will still be blamed if the Talibs retake Kabul, but will have a fig leaf.

    In my mind the Pakistanis are the root problem. You cannot put the puzzle together when your so-called Allie is throwing the puzzle pieces out the window.

  7. Too late because the USA put itself in a box. America will wage war against Muslim terrorists until they are all dead. Since the Taliban are Muslim terrorists (sic) they must be fought forever.

  8. So, speaking of Orange Foolius, I see he has hired a new CommO - Scaramouche, the scheming rogue and buffoon. Although Rafael Sabatini wrote the original character up as a hero in the French Revolution. As did Hollywood later, Stewart Granger must be spinning in his grave.

    Sabatini's second novel on the subject was titled: Scaramouche the Kingmaker. WASF if Scaramucci turns out to be the kingmaker.

    1. An unbelievable week. The democrats should be thumpin the tub about they are the party of sanity and how they have an alternative strategy. Instead, they are glued to the Internet/TV utterly mesmerised along with everyone else.

      A huge opportunity cost.

    2. AEL -

      They have been doing exactly what you recommend. Unfortunately, the MSM is ignoring them while focused on the circus.

    3. Cool. Last I heard the Dems were about to unveil their slogan for 2018 as "Better skills, better jobs, better wages". Needless to say, the progressives were pissing all over that one. Last I heard they were going to change it to "Better jobs, better wages, better future" or some such thing.

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