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Tilting at Windmills

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January 16, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

AFGHANISTAN....Relations between U.S. and European forces in Afghanistan have been tense for a while (see the Washington Post story I flagged yesterday for a rundown). The nickel version is that things aren't going well in the European-run south and American commanders blame it on poor performance from the EU folks. For their part, the Europeans say that Americans screwed things up in the south and then turned it over to them so they could concentrate on the less violent eastern part of the country. A year later, the Europeans are still trying to pick up the pieces there, are dying in higher numbers than Americans, and basically think the U.S. should put a sock in it.

At least, that's what everybody says is going on, but so far the squabbling has always been anonymous and behind the scenes. But not anymore:

In an unusual public criticism, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he believes NATO forces currently deployed in southern Afghanistan do not know how to combat a guerrilla insurgency, a deficiency that could be contributing to the rising violence in the fight against the Taliban.

....Gates has publicly criticized European allies in the past for failing to send adequate numbers of troops and helicopters to the Afghan mission. But concerns about strategy and tactics are usually contained within military and diplomatic channels.

In the interview, Gates compared the troubled experience of the NATO forces in the south — primarily troops from the closest U.S. allies, Britain and Canada, as well as the Netherlands — with progress made by American troops in the eastern part of Afghanistan.

...."Our guys in the east, under Gen. Rodriguez, are doing a terrific job. They've got the [counterinsurgency] thing down pat," Gates said. "But I think our allies over there, this is not something they have any experience with."

Not sure who's really in the right here, but I thought it was interesting that the spat has now become public. I wonder if any Europeans will respond in public?

Kevin Drum 12:13 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (150)

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For their part, the Europeans say that Americans screwed things up in the south and then turned it over to them so they could concentrate on the less violent eastern part of the country. A year later...

A year later they should have figured things out. NATO thought they would be doing peacekeeping, not counterinsurgency. There lies the core of the problem.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 12:16 PM | PERMALINK

"Tensions between U.S. and European forces in Afghanistan have been tense for a while"

tensions have been tense?

Posted by: matt on January 16, 2008 at 12:24 PM | PERMALINK

Wow. Gates's comments are REALLY going to solidify EU support for the Afghanistan campaign. I'm over in Europe a lot, and many folks there are dubious about fighting what they see as another US boondoggle to begin with. Whatever does Gates see as the payoff to these remarks?

Posted by: jim on January 16, 2008 at 12:28 PM | PERMALINK

Perpetuawar continues.

I feel sorry for the NATO troops who have to figure out how to fight
the guys that the US trained to fight the Ruskies.

How many years must a.....

... the answer my friend, is blow(back)ing in the wind.

Posted by: Tom Nicholson on January 16, 2008 at 12:31 PM | PERMALINK

The battle for control of the poppy crop is escalating, which is why 3,200 Marines are being sent to Afghanistan.

Posted by: Brojo on January 16, 2008 at 12:33 PM | PERMALINK

A year later they should have figured things out. NATO thought they would be doing peacekeeping, not counterinsurgency.

God, yes. Doncha just hate it when people moronically fail to predict counterinsurgencies and take years to figure things out?

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 12:37 PM | PERMALINK

The Dutch Minister of Defense (for once brave enough to stand up to his ally) has called in the American ambassador today to explain the remarks delivered by Gates.

Posted by: Kees on January 16, 2008 at 12:41 PM | PERMALINK
...."Our guys in the east, under Gen. Rodriguez, are doing a terrific job. They've got the [counterinsurgency] thing down pat," Gates said. "But I think our allies over there, this is not something they have any experience with."

This quote is fascinating, given that - in the post-Vietnam era, the military adopted a "We don't do guerrilla wars" mentality, focusing instead upon smart bombs, shock and awe, and similar high tech.

Now, despite setbacks in both Afghanistan and Iraq, the military vaunts its counterinsurgency expertise. This expertise, if any, is of quite recent vintage - post-2002 at the earliest. The nature of this expertise is also obscure. There is no obvious value that F-22's or missile shields in Poland, for example, could contribute to it. Nor is there any obvious advantage that the United States military has in counterinsurgency experience over the various other Western militaries in question.

The only conclusion I can draw from this dispute is that things are going poorly in Afghanistan and that the various parties involved are attempting to shift blame.


Posted by: Duncan Kinder on January 16, 2008 at 12:43 PM | PERMALINK

Make war on poppies and we make war on Afgan farmers. They fight back to defend their economic survival; not unlike going into Iowa and declaring war on corn. Maybe our allies don't want to get caught up in our idiotic war on drugs. Long term, Afganistan will become more of a bottomless pit than Iraq--those holy warriors think getting shot is a one way ticket to Paradise--we should learn from the Russians.

Posted by: sparky on January 16, 2008 at 12:50 PM | PERMALINK

This quote is fascinating, given that - in the post-Vietnam era, the military adopted a "We don't do guerrilla wars" mentality, focusing instead upon smart bombs, shock and awe, and similar high tech...military vaunts its counterinsurgency expertise...quite recent vintage.

Our Special Ops Forces, Green Berets in particular, have maintained that core competency over the years. Plus, we're fast learners.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

It's foolish to talk - as Gates and some American reporters talk- of 'the Europeans' as fighting the Taliban in the South. The Taliban are being fought in the South by the British, the Canadians (presumably 'European' for purposes of disparagement by Republicans) and the Dutch. Small, platoon-strength units of Latvians have served alongside British units. Small units of Danes also did so, until they were withdrawn by their Government. The other European nations are simply not fighting in Afghanistan: they have troops there, but they are deployed well away from the fighting, and in many cases have rules of engagement which forbid them from risking combat. The first time I read that the German troops in Afghanistan aren't allowed to fly or patrol by night, I thought it was an invention of the xenophobic British press. It's not. Merkel has told the Americans that the German coalition will probably fall if she commits German troops to actually fight, so they are explicitly in Afghanistan to not take part in combat.

As to the British committment, this disparagement by the Americans is pretty offensive, but we were always going to get it when we failed to properly fund a reconstruction effort in Basra (or withdraw in good time) whilst disparaging American efforts in Iraq.

The British soldiers I know who have served in Afghanistan tend to be strongly critical of the amount of artillery and airpower, and resultant civilian casualties, used by the Americans.

But many admit that the same overuse of firepower characterised some British operations, particularly in 2006, and they are equally angry about aspects of the British operation: the failure to mount a proper reconstruction effort among civilians (largely blamed by soldiers on the ineptitude of civil servants from the UK's Department for International Development); the lack of helicopters (and I have heard a lot of praise for American casevac helicopter crews, particularly in contrast with their British counterparts); the lack of soldiers and the current massive use of firepower to deter Taliban attacks.

The deployment in the summer and autumn of '06 seems to have been the most badly planned- a tiny number of Paratroopers were dispatched with incoherent plans and command arrangements, and would have been wiped out in some places but for a pretty ferocious use of firepower.

There's no doubt that the British (and Dutch and Canadians) are doing a great many things wrong in the South, with the Pakistani border and its Taliban training camps nearby. The Americans are likely to be doing many things wrong in the East, and if there is less violence it's because there is less proximity to Taliban base areas. The other NATO allies are doing very little but insisting on the maintenance of the aid bonanza for Karzai. We do need to debate what kind of policy there should be in Afghanistan, whether we should go much lighter or pull out altogether, and things will not be improved by people like Gates sneering 'British pussies', or whatever.

Readings: check out Rory Stewart's debate with Sherard Cowper Coles in January's edition of Prospect. Crazy names, I know. Almost the only account of the recent fighting is Patrick Bishop's '3 Para', good when you get past the gung-ho rubbish at the start and very disheartening.

Posted by: Dan Hardie on January 16, 2008 at 1:05 PM | PERMALINK

(1) Iraq is unwinnable.

(2) Afghanistan is winnable.

(3) Whenever some EU-country sends troops to Afghanistan (because Afghanistan is a mission they do support), the US will ship troops from Afghanistan to Iraq.

That, and what SJRSM said. The Dutch mission was set up for peacekeeping, complete with engineers to build (and probably paint) schools.

Within weeks they had to send additional troops to protect the peacekeepers. Then they had to abandon all the fancy peacekeeping projects. And now you have engineers who can't engineer anything but who are in danger of being shot by taliban.

The Dutch politicians knew this risk (as one party explicitly opposed the mission because they deemed the situation not safe enough for peacekeeping) but politicians always like to be brave risking other people's lives.

Posted by: jasper emmering on January 16, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said he believes NATO forces currently deployed in southern Afghanistan do not know how to combat a guerrilla insurgency

Because, you know, the American "fast learners" have such a good track record over the last few years!

ISTM that if our forces were so shit-hot at fighting an insurgency, the NATO forces should have thought they would be doing peacekeeping, not counterinsurgency.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 1:11 PM | PERMALINK

if our forces were so shit-hot at fighting an insurgency, the NATO forces should have thought they would be doing peacekeeping, not counterinsurgency.
Posted by: Gregory

Turns out the Taliban get a vote in that too.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 1:22 PM | PERMALINK

....Gates has publicly criticized European allies in the past for failing to send adequate numbers of troops and helicopters to the Afghan mission.

Hmmm, failing to send adequate numbers of men and materiel to complete the mission....I cannot think what this reminds me of.....

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 1:24 PM | PERMALINK

Plus, we're fast learners.

Uh,no, we're quite plainly not. We used to be, back in WWII days, but fast learners we most definitely are not anymore.

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 1:27 PM | PERMALINK

Shorter Gates: Allies don't know how to fight an insurgency in Afghanistan.
Shorter Weenie: After 5 years US just beginning to learn how to fight insurgency in Iraq?

Shorter Gates: NATO not send enough troops to do the fight proper.
Shorter Weenie: And we sure overloaded the number of troups when we went into Iraq?

What did W. write his talking points? I don't doubt that there will be a public backlash - if not from the allied military at the very least from European and Canadian public.

Posted by: optical weenie on January 16, 2008 at 1:29 PM | PERMALINK

It surprises me that the "we're losing Afghanistan" critique hasn't been more of a staple of the Democratic presidential candidates. I think the case for getting out of Iraq is only made stronger when juxtaposed against the fact that we clearly don't have sufficient free assets to get the job done further east.

Posted by: Jasper on January 16, 2008 at 1:34 PM | PERMALINK

Gregory: if our forces were so shit-hot at fighting an insurgency, the NATO forces should have thought they would be doing peacekeeping, not counterinsurgency.

SJRM: Turns out the Taliban get a vote in that too.

But they shouldn't have, if the American forces had done a proper job in defeating them. The Taliban only get a vote if they aren't beat, and if they aren't beat then it means, ipso facto, that the Americans didn't beat them. So for the Americans to then criticize the Europeans (and Canadians) for failing to do properly what the Americans didn't do properly themselves in the first place is some gall (and astonishingly stupid, because what does Gates expect them to do now?).

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 1:36 PM | PERMALINK

Actual question: What do "South" and "East" mean? Which part of the Pakistan border is the critical part? The whole Pakistan border is South and East of Afghanistan. The tribal areas of Pakistan which are supposedly most critical are south and halfway east. Did the U.S. really give the most difficult areas to the Europeans.

Posted by: John Emerson on January 16, 2008 at 1:43 PM | PERMALINK

Jasper Emmering: why do you think Afghanistan is winnable? In Canada, a lot of voters are coming to the view that the West could pour money and resources into that country and keep troops there for fifty years, after which conditions would be much as they are now.

It's not just some roaming Taliban fighters in the south who are resisting. The bulk of the population there seems to regard all NATO forces as foreign occupiers who must be resisted.

Posted by: otherpaul on January 16, 2008 at 1:44 PM | PERMALINK
….we're fast learners. SJRSM at 12:52 PM
Lessons learned from 'Nam? None. Lessons learned from Iraq? None. Lessons learned about launching imperialist wars in the Middle East? None. Care to try again, chum? Posted by: Mike on January 16, 2008 at 1:47 PM | PERMALINK

There are some deep moral lessons that the United States should have learned from it's involvement inside Afghanistan over the past 30 years:

1) The enemy of your enemy is not necessarily your friend.
2) When you sell or give sophisticated weapons to uneducated and unsophisticated people, bad things usually result.
3) You reap what you sow.

Ya think George W. Bush gets these very simple lessons???

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on January 16, 2008 at 1:53 PM | PERMALINK

Turns out the Taliban get a vote in that too.

You don't say.

Which means that, if our forces were so shit-hot at fighting an insurgency, the NATO forces should have thought they would be doing peacekeeping, not counterinsurgency. The fact that the Taliban got a vote in that at all means that our forces evidently didn't successfully exercise the "core competency" you touted. QED.

Of course, there's another way of looking at it. It's possible that our forces failed to do the job. And it's also possible that the Bush Administration fucked up again and -- just as it did when it withdrew forces from Afghanistan for Iraq the first time -- gave short shrift to the real fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Or both.

It'll be interesting to see which of Mike's knee-jerk reflexes -- defending the military, or carrying water for the Bush Administration -- will take precedence.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 1:55 PM | PERMALINK

The forces of America and Europe will not be able to achieve their stated goals in Afghanistan of creating a pluralistic democratic nation, which is a prevarication for our consumption, not the Afghanis. Eventually the Taliban will regain control of the country because that is the only way the people of Afghanistan can create domestic stability. It is incomprehensible to Westerners that Afghanis prefer indigenous fundamentalist religious authoritarians to the authority of foreign invaders, but most peoples do.

What the US and its allies should be doing is trying to create an alliance with the Taliban and return them to power with some limits on their traditional iron fisted rule. The most important thing this would do is reduce the number of Afghanis killed in combat, but it would also begin the rebuilding of an Afghanistan destroyed by the US and Soviet war of the 1980's, which is probably what the poor Afghanis desire most. Whatever strategic interest the US and Europe have for being in Afghanistan cannot be justified to the Afghanis. They do not want us there and they resent the imposition of having a ruler chosen for them. Until we embrace Afghanis desires for self-rule, they will continue to resist. It is the Europeans reluctance to confront that resistance with the kind of force the US uses that is probably the source of Sec. Gates criticism.

Posted by: Brojo on January 16, 2008 at 2:02 PM | PERMALINK

Canada is the best!!!!

Posted by: wsam on January 16, 2008 at 2:12 PM | PERMALINK

Canadian troops are in Afghanistan as a result of a decision by the former government to do something, anything, to deflect the US pressure to commit to the Iraq aggression. Small units of special forces (JTF-2) and regular army sniper teams were attached to the initial effort to overthrow the Taliban. They are probably still there, attached to US forces, but the major commitment now is in the south with about 2500 light infantry with some associated armour and artillery. Their vehicles get blown up with regularity and the steady low volume stream of dead and injured is having a decided effect on domestic politics. I believe some 77 Canadian infantry have been killed so far. That's comparable to about 800 US combat deaths on a per population basis, a very significant number in other words.

The level of public support for this enterprise of imperial occupation was never great and declines day by day. The present conservative government has indicated it wishes to extend the present mission past 2009 but this is probably a losing position with an election looming perhaps as early as this spring. Thus it seems likely that Canadian combat troops will be removed from Afghanistan within a year or two, having accomplished little or nothing except to hold some territory around Khandahar. While the mission could therefore be construed as a failure, it has succeeded in its primary goal of keeping Canadian troops out of Iraq. If the United States wishes to maintain Afghanistan as a puppet dependency into the future it will have to commit major resources to the effort and expect little or no support from the NATO countries. I don't know much about domestic Dutch opinion on the mission but its fair to say that many Canadians feel duped by the whole bungled enterprise. But its not like that hasn't happened before, Korea being one obvious example.

Killing Osama and his merry band is still a commendable objective but the chance was only there in 2002 and it was lost through timidity. Engaging in set piece assaults on Pashtun nationalists now is something else entirely. Feckless in a word. There will be either a political settlement with the Pashtuns or a wholesale withdrawal. Either way, its in the loss column.

Posted by: anon on January 16, 2008 at 2:16 PM | PERMALINK

But they shouldn't have, if the American forces had done a proper job in defeating them. The Taliban only get a vote if they aren't beat, and if they aren't beat then it means, ipso facto, that the Americans didn't beat them.
Posted by: Stefan

The Taliban have Pakistan as a sanctuary. If the neighboring country didn't harbor them, it'd be a completely different story. But they have a place to reconstitute. That's why "beating" means driving them out, not that they're gone, and that's why as soon as they see peacekeepers show up, they roll back in. That's where their vote comes in. And then the fight resumes. Sorry that Gregory is such a moron he can't understand this simple concept.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 2:36 PM | PERMALINK

but the major commitment now is in the south with about 2500 light infantry with some associated armour and artillery.

If they are only going to commit enough troops to not win but ensure a steady stream of losses, they ought not to be there. I find it hard to believe that NATO, this force that stood down the USSR, can't put enough assets into the theatre of Afghanistan to provide stability.

Brojo, I am sure the women of Afghanistan look forward to ending their education and resuming their status as chattel.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 2:40 PM | PERMALINK

If the neighboring country didn't harbor them, it'd be a completely different story.

And if our core-competency military had done some fast learning and won the hearts of minds of the people in the area from which Mike alleges they drove the Taliban -- you know, conducted a counterinsurgency, as opposed to conventional, campaign -- then the Taliban would have little support when it did try to return.

That's why "beating" means driving them out, not that they're gone, and that's why as soon as they see peacekeepers show up, they roll back in.

No, Mike, "beating" means they're gone and don't have the opportunity to roll back in. One can "beat" the Taliban either by a conventional campaign that destroys them militarily or a counterinsurgency campaign that destroys their indigenous support (and on both sides of the border, at least covertly).

Again, Mike, the fact that they "roll back in" means that the Taliban weren't beaten, your claims to the contrary. QED.

Sorry that Mike is such a moron he can't understand this simple concept, but it is interesting to see his knee-jerk defense of the failure of his beloved military.

If they are only going to commit enough troops to not win but ensure a steady stream of losses, they ought not to be there.

So now you agree we should withdraw from Iraq?

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 2:47 PM | PERMALINK

I find it hard to believe that NATO, this force that stood down the USSR

NATO stood down the USSR? What, did I sleep through WWIII?

can't put enough assets into the theatre of Afghanistan to provide stability.

Given that the United States, NATO's most powerful member, also can't put enough assets into the theatre of Afghanistan or Iraq to provide stability, your incredulous is not rational.

Oh, wait, it's Mike we're talking about. Never mind.

It is interesting how steadfastly Mike avoids recognizing the Bush Administration's incompetence in managing the military component of the so-called "war on terror" even as he tries to defend the failures of his beloved military. The last time I saw him twist himself into knots like this was in the discussion of terror and "shock and awe."

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

The Taliban have Pakistan as a sanctuary. If the neighboring country didn't harbor them, it'd be a completely different story.

You mean the neighboring country led by a military dictator which the Bush regime arms and supports? Our supposed ally which is actually sheltering our mortal enemy?

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 2:53 PM | PERMALINK

So sad too bad that "SJRSM" has no "clue" when it comes to actual military operations.

Is you mom`s basement warm enough these days ?

"War is the easy part" - Anthony Zinni - General U.S.M.C. (retired)

Posted by: daCascadian on January 16, 2008 at 2:57 PM | PERMALINK

If they are only going to commit enough troops to not win but ensure a steady stream of losses, they ought not to be there.

Can't...*cough* ...breathe....choking...on...the irony....*cough*...Iraq....*cough cough*

I find it hard to believe that NATO, this force that stood down the USSR, can't put enough assets into the theatre of Afghanistan to provide stability.

Hey, I find it hard to believe that the United States, which fought a two-front war against Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany, can't put enough assets into Afghanistan and Iraq to ensure stability. Put then again there's a lot about the last seven years I find hard to believe.

Brojo, I am sure the women of Afghanistan look forward to ending their education and resuming their status as chattel.

I'm sure they will like it as little as the women of Iraq who, thanks to our attack on their country, have had to end their education and be treated as chattel. But then I'm sure a burning desire for women's equality shines brightly in all areas of Mike's life....

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

You mean the neighboring country led by a military dictator which the Bush regime arms and supports? Our supposed ally which is actually sheltering our mortal enemy?
Posted by: Stefan

You think Musharraf controls Waziristan? That he sees the Taliban as his friends? Unaware that maybe he is working a delicate balancing act?

Stop with the naivety and oversimplification. It makes liberals look naive and simple, and certainly suggests they aren't suitable to govern in any situation beyond the most plainest of black and white. That's Gregory job.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 3:01 PM | PERMALINK

Stop with the naivety [sic] and oversimplification...certainly suggests they aren't suitable to govern in any situation beyond the most plainest [sic] of black and white.

choke * choke * splutter. Stefan and Gregory, please pass me that water pitcher...ah...thanks.

Mr. "Criticizing Any Aspect of Our Foreign Policy or Military Actions Means You Hate America, You Terrorist-Loving Libs, and By the Way, What Makes America Good is Not What We Do but What We Say About Ourselves" Jingo, you are so naughty I want to wrap you up in a coat with shiny buttons and send you home without dinner. Oh, wait, didn't the military already do that?

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Wow,

There is so much bad information and just plain wrong information it is like looking in a fun house mirror. If Kevin Drum is looking to understand what is happening then he shouldn't look at the comment thread. It is just bogus.

1) The Taliban will never "come back". They were never really in charge of the country in the first place. At the time of the invasion, there was a raging civil war with the northern Tajik and Uzbek tribes. The Taliban have never been popular and now that the people have seen what Taliban rule looks like they are not going back to it. If NATO and the US left tomorrow the Taliban may control about 3 or 4 provinces in the south and east up to and including Kabul (which would be a ghost town) but beyond that the rest of the country would descend into Somali warlord land. With the vast majority of people becoming refugees out of the Taliban controlled areas into the northern sections of Afghanistan or the neighboring countries.

2) the notion that the Afghans are viewing NATO as an "occupying force" is complete bullshit that some in North America use as a reason to get the hell out. Most of the people who say this kind of stuff get their history from Flashman and couldn't tell you what the Durant line is or more than 3 different tribes that inhabit Afghanistan. There is about 10% of Afghans who view this. The majority figure that we should be there for about another 1-2 years and Then get out.

As for Gates cowardly attack on his only allies. I suggest that he shut the hell up.

He is of course trying to do 2 things. Shift blame and shame people into "doing more".

Having dealt with Americans at the sharp end, I would say that his statments are complete bullshit. The first thing most american commanders do is reach for the radio and call in an airstrike. I can't tell the number of times that I've hear the phrase "Overwhelming firepower" come out of the mouths of Lt. to Mj.Gen. So unless we should check eastern Afghanistan for pods I think that it is a pretty safe bet that statistically eastern afghanistan probably has the same number of airstrikes as southern afghanistan.

It always strikes me as the Canadians, Brits and Americans act like cousins who bitchily look down on each other.

If they "lose" afghanistan, they have only themselves to blame and I wish that they would realize that it isn't always about them.

Posted by: qing on January 16, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal will govern through snark.
Posted by: shortstop

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 3:21 PM | PERMALINK

Irony alert: Red State Mike accuses others on this thread of looking "naive and simple"...

I just love how Mike fumes at being unable to refute the criticism of his betters.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:23 PM | PERMALINK

anon: "The level of [Canadian] public support for this enterprise of imperial occupation was never great and declines day by day.

Uh, no.

Kind of biased, anon: Canadians support freeing Afghans from Taliban thuggery. But I agree that they do feel "duped" by the US, which never put Afghanistan on the front burner after suckering allies to go in there and support the great cause, etc.

Any criticism by the US Admin is ridiculous under those circumstances.

Posted by: Bob M on January 16, 2008 at 3:24 PM | PERMALINK

Liberal will govern through snark

Beats the hell out of the mendacity, incompetence, corruption, and failure of the Republicans you carry water for, Mike. They've shown they can't govern at all. Come on -- you can't even defend the failure of the United States in Afghanistan, except to blame the Dutch and then whine that dealing with Pakistan is haaaaaard.

And if snark was the worst sins of the poisonous rhetoric they and their tools in the media have used to cling to power and bamboozle fools like you, it'd be quite an improvement, I might add.

Jackass.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:27 PM | PERMALINK

But I agree that they do feel "duped" by the US, which never put Afghanistan on the front burner after suckering allies to go in there and support the great cause, etc.
Posted by: Bob M

Why does the rest of NATO and/or Europe need the US to be the lead in Afghanistan? Are their armed forces that small?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

Most of the people who say this kind of stuff get their history from Flashman and couldn't tell you what the Durant line is or more than 3 different tribes that inhabit Afghanistan.

Actually, if people got their history from Flashman (as I did when I was a wee lad) they could tell you exactly what the Durant Line was and three different tribes that inhabit Afghanistan. George Macdonald Fraser was a prodigious researcher and larded the Flashman books with tons of useful historical information about the Victorian-era world.

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 3:30 PM | PERMALINK

If Kevin Drum is looking to understand what is happening then he shouldn't look at the comment thread. It is just bogus.

Actually, he could just skip your comment and do just as well. The Taliban were never in charge of the country in the first place? (Then why were we negotiating with them for bin Laden's extradition?) A raging civil war with the Northern Alliance, so known because of the miniscule corner of the country they controlled? Wha...?

I really love it that Mike has his panties in a bunch over having his idiocy pwnzed.

Little hint, Mike -- if you don't like having your stupidity (let's go to the videotape: If they are only going to commit enough troops to not win but ensure a steady stream of losses, they ought not to be there.) ridiculed, then you could, you know, stop saying stupid things.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:34 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM: Why does the rest of NATO and/or Europe need the US to be the lead in Afghanistan?

Hmmm, which country was attacked on 9/11/01?

Are their armed forces that small?

Hmmm, which NATO country has the largest population and the largest military?

Oh, and which NATO country got much of their military mired in another war that they started, based on lies and deceptions, and which had nothing to do with defending their country? And so left other NATO countries to pick up the slack in a war that actually has something to do with defending their country?

Posted by: alex on January 16, 2008 at 3:35 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, good Ford:

Why does the rest of NATO and/or Europe need the US to be the lead in Afghanistan? Are their armed forces that small?

Compared to the US, whose military budget exceeds the rest of the world put together? Yes!

Granted, there's the inconvenient little matter of Bush's incompetence squandering much of our military strength, but that's another story.

And again, Mike, bitching about NATO hardly excuses the US failure in the first place.

Looks like I was a little late with my advice.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:37 PM | PERMALINK

I'm sure the Danish Sec Def is absolutely thrilled by this.

We've got a battalion (armored/mechanized infantry + 1 squad Leopard 2A5 MBTs) fighting in Helmand Province, and supposedly Danish and British troops are actually pushing back the Taleban and winning hearts and minds via extensive CIMIC operations.

But ... some one up there mentioned the poppies; that probably hits it close to home. A Danish battalion commander in Helmand drew some heavy flak from a US commander in Afghanistan because the Danish LTC flatly refused to let the Danish soldiers participate in "hunting down" and destroying the poppies: Do that and you destroy the livelihood of the farmers. Where do they go to ask for money to avoid starvation? The Taleban.

And ... fighting a smart COIN campaign relying extensively on 500 pound (or more) bombs dropped from high altitude? That's a contradiction in terms no matter how smart those bombs are - any hit is going to "flatten Berlin" and cause massive collateral damage.

Now please go Cheney yourself, mr. Gates.

Posted by: Ole on January 16, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Janice Stein's “The Unexpected War” is the essential work on the decisions, or non-decisions, as the case may be, which led Canada into Kandahar.

I disagree with anon. Success in Afghanistan would advance Canadian self-interest. Middle powers such as Canada generally understand themselves to have a strong interest, for obvious reasons, in the success of international institutions like Nato and the UN. For example, during the nineties Canada signed up for every international treaty going.

Creating a robust and fair set of international institutions is a classic Liberal foreign policy goal – one which many understand as corresponding closely to Canadian self-interest. Right now Afghanistan is where the international community is most active.

Failure in Afghanistan would be, for example, traumatic for NATO. Needless to say, actively supporting NATO has long been a pillar of Canadian foreign policy. Canadian diplomats have been foremost among those arguing for the treaty organization to have a larger, expanded role. And Afghanistan is where NATO is being tested. Unfortunately, it is failing. This is as much the fault of the Spaniards and the Germans, for example, as the Americans.

Of course, the present Canadian Conservative government appears unable to articulate this. Multilateralism smacks too much of the hated Liberals for them. As a consequence they appear unable to understand the world in terms of national interest like the flinty-eyed realists they claim to be and prefer to make emotional appeals to patriotism and how we have to maintain solidarity with our allies no matter what. This has given Canada a situation where, instead of debating what does and doesn’t constitute Canadian national interest, we have lefties arguing Canada shouldn’t be involved with US imperialism, or having anything to do with George Bush, matched against red-faced shouting that Canada isn't a country who cuts and runs.

One other thing: Basically if Gates doesn’t watch what he says he’s going to find himself attacked by a squad of rabid Snow Huskies all hopped up on fermented maple syrup.


SJRSM wears woman's underwear.

Posted by: wsam on January 16, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Why does the rest of NATO and/or Europe need the US to be the lead in Afghanistan? Are their armed forces that small?

Up yours, chum. We were supporting the US in their action. Remember: Bush? Appeals for support? You must have still been hiding under your bed at that time to have missed it.

Better vote for Obama and leave it at that.

Posted by: Bob M on January 16, 2008 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Why does the rest of NATO and/or Europe need the US to be the lead in Afghanistan? Are their armed forces that small?

From the WaPo article under discussion:

The United States supplies about half of the 54,000 foreign troops in Afghanistan, they say, but the British, Canadians and Dutch are engaged in regular combat in the volatile south.

"We have one-tenth of the troops and we do more fighting than you do," a Canadian official said of his country's 2,500 troops in Kandahar province. "So do the Dutch." The Canadian death rate, proportional to the overall size of its force, is higher than that of U.S. troops in Afghanistan or Iraq, a Canadian government analysis concluded last year.

So Canada, with a population of 30 million supports 2500 troops while the US with a population of 300 million supports 25,000. Does that seem like the Canadians aren't doing their share?

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, which NATO country has the largest population and the largest military?
Posted by: alex

That would be us.

But again, did the European countries dissolve their militaries right after the USSR dissolved, did they never have them in the first place and they were depending on the US to protect them from the commie horde, or are they just not bringing them to bear in Afghanistan?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 3:45 PM | PERMALINK

The women of Afghanistan are tired of being raped by American backed war lords and tired of having their children kidnapped by American backed war lords and tired of being bombed by Americans.

As soon as the Americans and NATO leave, Afghanistan will have another civil war and the Taliban will probably win it again. The Taliban, as in the Nineties, are the only Afghan faction able to utilize moral authority to bring stability to the nation. I detest the Taliban, but recognize, like many Afghanis do, that they not only have the military capability to end the multiple conflicts between the many different ethnic groups of Afghanistan, but the moral authority as well. Westerners like myself do not think the moral authority of the Taliban is legitimate, but we do not live in Afghanistan or participate in their cultrure.

Posted by: Brojo on January 16, 2008 at 3:46 PM | PERMALINK

sjrsm: Stop with the naivety and oversimplification.

you are either with us..

or against us..

Posted by: mr. irony on January 16, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

So Canada, with a population of 30 million supports 2500 troops while the US with a population of 300 million supports 25,000. Does that seem like the Canadians aren't doing their share?
Posted by: Stefan

I'm a big fan of the Canadians and Brits, and they're doing some hard fighting. Many of the other countries have crazy rules of engagement (Germans won't operate at night) or just aren't showing up. Why are the Brits and Canucks the majority in the south?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 3:48 PM | PERMALINK

you are either with us..

or against us..
Posted by: mr. irony

So you were for it before you were against it?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

And ... fighting a smart COIN campaign relying extensively on 500 pound (or more) bombs dropped from high altitude? That's a contradiction in terms no matter how smart those bombs are

Don't be too hard on Mike...if memory serves me right, he used to drop the bombs. As you can see from his postings in this thread, they're smarter than he is.

(I would like to take this opportunity to distance myself from some of the abuse heaped on Mike by another regular commentor. Mike disgraces and dishonors himself plenty in his postings here, but I have no opinion on his military career.)

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:50 PM | PERMALINK

SJRSM: The European militaries where first and foremost designed for slugging it out on home turf against the WAPA. Built heavily on drafted reserve components if the shit actually did hit the fan.

We never really have had a lot of capacity for deploying lot's and lot's of troops far and away for extended periods of time, except for France and to some degree the Brits.

The Danish Army can sustain a maximum of 2000 troops for a not too extended period - and even that number is stretching it thin. But of course - there's only 5,5 million Danes in this world. No chance we can deploy a division half way across the world.

Posted by: Ole on January 16, 2008 at 3:52 PM | PERMALINK

I'm not sure who you people are but I doubt that you have every met an Afghani or spent time there.

Everyone seems to have pre-conceived ideas about the place. I feel that I'm living in a Borges novel where we are discussing a country that doesn't exist.

I feel sorry for the people of afghanistan. I kept on telling people that "this time it would be different" when they said that they would be abandoned like every other time.

Oh well, I guess they were right.

Out.

Posted by: qing on January 16, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

did the European countries dissolve their militaries right after the USSR dissolved

Downsize the military after the Cold War? You're right -- the US would never have done that! Oh, wait...

are they just not bringing them to bear in Afghanistan

They are bringing them to bear in Afghanistan, jackass, but your precious military and political leaders fucked up and handed them what was supposed to be a pacified area and was instead a hotbed of insurgency. (Do I need to mention that you haven't refuted this basic point?)

Christ on a pony, Mike, just stop it. Even I'm embarrassed for you now. Swaggering and jingoistic, indeed.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

I feel that I'm living in a Borges novel where we are discussing a country that doesn't exist.

Well, you are claiming the Taliban never controlled the country and was hotly vying for power with the isolated Northern Alliance, so I'd have to agree with you there.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

Many of the other countries have crazy rules of engagement

Riiiiight, Mike -- after all, rules of engagement are of no value to a counterinsurgency campaign!

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

Mike,

Our Special Ops Forces, Green Berets in particular, have maintained that core competency over the years. Plus, we're fast learners.

Oh my, we are going to win Afghanistan with the Green Beret?! We should send in the Navy Seals, too!

Oh, wait a minute . . .

In case you haven't noticed, the "fast learners" are leaving the Army faster than ever. We now accept criminals into the Army. I sure would like a little of what you are smoking.

Posted by: Tripp on January 16, 2008 at 4:11 PM | PERMALINK

In case you haven't noticed, the "fast learners" are leaving the Army faster than ever.

In the business world it's called "brightsizing" -- the bright people see disaster coming and leave fist, while they still have options.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

Greg, there's some truth to the ROE-thing, though it isn't actually a ROE-thing I'd say - more a solidarity versus "we don't do real fighting-thing". Some of the ISAF countries have a load of restrictions as to what and where their troops are allowed to do and to go.

ex German soldiers aren't allowed to go down south to Helmand where combat soldiers are in short supply, thus limiting the regional commanders "freedom of maneuver" so to speak: The commander can't redeploy any and all troops as they would like to and as necessity dictates.

It's an issue that's been brought forth by among others the Danish Sec Def for some time to no avail.

Posted by: Ole on January 16, 2008 at 4:19 PM | PERMALINK

Reading back over this thread, I'm struck by by something interesting in Mike's mindset (other than his delusional support of the Republican Party, that is).

Mike's irritated because the militarily superior US forces should have and would have defeated the Taliban in a conventional conflict. Fuck rules of engagement -- drop a 500 pound iron bomb on every Taliban you see and it's over for good.

The problem is, the Taliban regrouped and launched a counterinsurgency campaign, which despite Mike's claims -- and quite possibly because of his particular military mindset; I don't know how prevalent it is in the military -- is not succeeding from the US perspective.

But it can't be due to a failure in leadership and tactics by the US military -- how could such a conventionally superior force fail? -- so it must be the fault of the ___________. (NATO allies, liberals, etc. -- incidentally, you can see how ripe Mike is for the Dolchstosslegende regarding Iraq, can't you?)

Good Ford, did the military learn nothing from Vietnam?

Greg, there's some truth to the ROE-thing, though it isn't actually a ROE-thing I'd say

I know different forces operate under different ROE (and so does the US, for example, when providing logistic support to humanitarian missions); I was just mocking Mike's ignorant statement regarding ROE in the context of an insurgency. When it comes to mocking Mike, this thread -- which is about the military, which he'd like to think is a strong topic for him -- is a target-rich environment.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 4:32 PM | PERMALINK

Oh I hate personalizing this and I have lots to do but this has got to be my last post.

Gregory, you don't know what the hell you are talking about. Yours is the arrogance of ignorance.

If you don't believe me, email Juan Cole and ask him about how popular the Taliban are/were. Why a lot of people in the south were angry at them for taking their sons to fight in the north.

He is very good about answering emails even though he is very busy.

You better wear a helmet, it will blow your mind.

Warmest Regards
(this time for sure) Out.

Posted by: qing on January 16, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ole: Greg, there's some truth to the ROE-thing, though it isn't actually a ROE-thing I'd say

I know different forces operate under different ROE, but I just like talking about Mike. It's Mike this and Mike that and I just can't wait for Mike's next post so I can talk even more about Mike. When I mike sleep at night mike I dream about posting mike about mike. And again. And again. All work and no play makes Gregory a dull boy...
Posted by: Gregory

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 4:37 PM | PERMALINK

Good Ford, did the military learn nothing from Vietnam?

Well, yeah. The top Brass now came of age when the Army was gutted and demoralized after VietNam and before Reagan. They learned to avoid counterinsurgency.

Some of the youngest and brightest Army officers today actually have learned about counterinsurgency, but they are the ones leaving in part out of frustration with the top Brass who refuse to implement their ideas.

I'll tell you, the deja vu for me, who was actually around during Viet Nam, is very frustrating.

Very. Frustrating.

Posted by: Tripp on January 16, 2008 at 4:40 PM | PERMALINK

If you don't believe me, email Juan Cole and ask him about how popular the Taliban are/were.

Um, qing, "popular" != "being in control of the country."

If you'd have merely said the Taliban were unpopular, I'd have agreed with you. You said -- and I quote -- "They were never really in charge of the country in the first place." I call bullshit on that.

And again, Mike, if you're going to get your panties in a bunch of having your idiocy mocked, you could not say stupid things. I know carrying water for the Bush Administration doesn't leave you many options, but no one forced you to put your foot in it the way you have.

Nice to see you tacitly admit you don't have any substantive rejoinder to being called on your bullshit, though. I'm vastly amused at your being exposed as such a fool on a thread about the military!

Speaking of which, I was looking over the thread -- thanks again for the laughs -- and I noticed you never responded to this. You said:

If they are only going to commit enough troops to not win but ensure a steady stream of losses, they ought not to be there.

Then do you now agree that the US should withdraw from Iraq?

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 4:46 PM | PERMALINK

I might also add, qing, that if the Taliban were so all-fired unpopular -- and again, I agree that in many ways they were -- it's a further indictment of the incompetence of the US counterinsurgency campaign, in that it couldn't gain the populace's support against the unpopular Taleban.

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

*

Posted by: mhr on January 16, 2008 at 4:59 PM | PERMALINK

Oh please, please, please, PUH-LEEEZE post again Mike! I shan't hold my breath much longer!

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 5:12 PM | PERMALINK

mhr: Democratic Western Europe whether as the EU or when it was still comprised of independent countries lost the instinct for victory a century ago.

Yeah, I hate defeatists who say things like this:

"We shall go on to the end, we shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our Island, whatever the cost may be, we shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender"

-- Winston Churchill, 4 June 1940

Posted by: alex on January 16, 2008 at 5:13 PM | PERMALINK


sjrsm: So you were for it before you were against it?

you mean...naivety with a side of oversimplification?

Posted by: mr. irony on January 16, 2008 at 5:14 PM | PERMALINK


nope.

Posted by: mr. irony on January 16, 2008 at 5:17 PM | PERMALINK

I seem to recall from history class that the weak French government surrendered. But the people absolutely did not. The French Resistance was true patriotism in action.

I know where I would find my roll models if such a thing happened at home.

By the way - if the French are such god-awful wimps, why the hell are the titles of military ranks derived from the French?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 5:21 PM | PERMALINK

Something about the French...
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.)

You're not really responding to mhr, are you?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 5:24 PM | PERMALINK

(blushing) Yeah, I guess I was...damnit.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 5:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hey Mike - you'll like this one...Hubby came up with it today about Bush's ineptitude...A Connecticut Yankee in Sam Houston's Fort.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State: My roll model is a chocolate croissant. Just kidding! This thread is getting a little heavy on the insults.


Posted by: optical weenie on January 16, 2008 at 5:41 PM | PERMALINK

Why should our allies contribute anything more when we have all the troops we need pointlessly engaged down south in Iraq?

Posted by: bob h on January 16, 2008 at 5:42 PM | PERMALINK

optical, you need to contact thersites to arrange the debate schedule between Inkblot and Impeachment. (I have a cat that simply won't stay off the table. He was thus renamed.)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 5:48 PM | PERMALINK

You gotta admit, thersites has a great campaign slogan: Impeachment for President

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 5:52 PM | PERMALINK

By the way - if the French are such god-awful wimps, why the hell are the titles of military ranks derived from the French?

Because we couldn't pronounce Hauptfeldwebel, Geschwaderkommodore, Stabshauptmann or Oberschuetze.

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 5:55 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl: While I like the idea of a debate between Inkblot and Impeachment it might be a bit too early in the primary season for this. What I might suggest is a throw-down contest of who can catch the most birdies! Just so that no animal rights groups and vegans get upset, we can use those fake birdies that come on the bungee strings in the contest. And of course both cats will have dedicated trainers and vets available on site in case they pull a muscle or so (probably Inkblot given the situation with his avoirdupois that everyone ragged on him last Friday about).

Course I need to get Kevin and Marion's permission first - I am just the National Campaign Manager, not the owner.

Posted by: optical weenie on January 16, 2008 at 6:07 PM | PERMALINK

My roll models are homemade brioche. I just love those things.

Posted by: shortstop, halfway through a 20-hour workday and looking around for something to nosh on on January 16, 2008 at 6:11 PM | PERMALINK

optical weenie beat me to it in a cat-free post!

Stefan: Speak for yourself. What kind of an SS officer did you play in those movies, anyway?

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 6:13 PM | PERMALINK

On Canadian soldiery in Afghanistan:

"A poll released last night suggests strong public unease with the current combat mission.

Forty-seven per cent of Canadians want our troops brought back from Afghanistan as soon as possible, according to a Strategic Counsel poll done for CTV News and The Globe and Mail. In Quebec, 57 per cent want the mission to end right away.

The poll showed that only 17 per cent of Canadians want troops to continue in their combat role and 31 per cent said Canadians should remain in Kandahar but turn over the combat role to another NATO country."

Canadian public support for a continued shooting role in Afghanistan continues to erode. Unlike in some other countries, this does matter. The pro-militarist rump in Canadian society is tiny and relatively impotent though it does have the ear of the current government.

So, stick a fork in Kandahar in 18 months or so. If the United States wants to continue to contest southern Afghanistan, let it now so do on its own dime and its own blood.


Posted by: anon on January 16, 2008 at 6:14 PM | PERMALINK

A Connecticut Yankee in Sam Houston's Fort.

Particularly apt since, like the avian denizens of Fort Sam Houston (at least when I was there), Bush is a brainless strutting peacock. His feathers aren't all that attractive, though.

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 6:16 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of an SS officer did you play in those movies, anyway?

Not the Ilse movies, I hope!

Posted by: Gregory on January 16, 2008 at 6:17 PM | PERMALINK

Bob M But I agree that they do feel "duped" by the US, which never put Afghanistan on the front burner after suckering allies to go in there and support the great cause, etc.


RS Mike Why does the rest of NATO and/or Europe need the US to be the lead in Afghanistan? Are their armed forces that small?

We went in in support of you on what we felt was a justified mission and (stupidly) thought you'd be there with us. Instead you used our involvement in Afghanistan to move men and resources and go off galivanting on your Grand Imperial Adventue in Iraq. Yes, we feel duped... I am torn back and forth about this mission. I'm part of the minority and still support it (just) but hate how it freed/frees your forces for use in Iraq. I feel you should be facing the full cost of your foolhardiness (personal responsibility and all that - though I realize this is just a mantra Republicans pull out of other people it has meaning to me). Mr. Gates comments do not help. He can kindly go fuck himself with whatever blunt object is closest to hand.

Gregory, I'd reread qing.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 16, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

Oh, right...the Yanks as "experts" on COIN warfare in Afghanistan!!! Har, har....how many times have we read of the hapless Karzai begging US commanders to stop bombing the fuck out of civilians in the US operating theatres? And what about that US Marine detachment that actually got booted out of Afghanistan because of their violent and murderous tactics, resulting in dozens of civilian deaths? And we read now of the Pentagon shipping another 3200 Marines from Anbar province in Iraq, where - to paraphrase a lance-corporal- "we ran out of people to kill"...swell, just the sort of highly-trained killers to do "hearts-and-minds" in a highly volatile war zone. Bloody hell, how insular and ignorant can Gates be, for God's sake!

Posted by: barrisj on January 16, 2008 at 6:48 PM | PERMALINK

What kind of an SS officer did you play in those movies, anyway?

I was an Obersturmbannfuehrer, later promoted to Standartenfuehrer.

You know, Frau shortstop -- vat absurd names these American sports haff! -- if it vas not for zis var, in anozzer time, anozzer place, you and I, vee could haff been friends, ja?

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

You know, Frau shortstop -- vat absurd names these American sports haff! -- if it vas not for zis var, in anozzer time, anozzer place, you and I, vee could haff been friends, ja?

Sure we could've. But as it is, it's all "May vee see your papuhrs, pleeze?" this, "May vee see your papuhrs, pleeze?" that.

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 7:08 PM | PERMALINK

Ach, but vat luffly papers! No vonder effry man vants to zee zem.....

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 7:10 PM | PERMALINK

Ha! Coffee all over my worktable.

Plus, I'd been sitting here with my head cocked, gravely considering whether "pleece" and "paypuhs" wouldn't be more accurate pronunciations, like I don't have 50 things to get done in the next hour.

Posted by: shortstop thanks you for the gelachter on January 16, 2008 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

Back when I was in the military it was common knowledge that European forces were a joke - the Belgian and Dutch Armies were unionized, for example, and would go on strike if ordered to charge a machine gun emplacement. Just a year or so ago the Wall Street Journal did a multi-part expose on the Belgian Army, all hairdresser's units and six marching bands, but no equipment for icky fighting. Even the Canadian Armed Forces have no dedicated transport units and have to hope they can charter airplanes when they want to deploy to Afghanistan. For all their contempt for American fighting units, they sure are comfortable about allowing us to police the world for them.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 16, 2008 at 7:23 PM | PERMALINK

Back when I was in the military it was common knowledge that European forces were a joke blah blah blah For all their contempt for American fighting units, they sure are comfortable about allowing us to police the world for them.

Yeah -- why, I bet if we'd let them invade Iraq instead of us they'd have completely fucked the job up, gone in without enough men and equipment, and five years later would still be bogged down in a miserable unwinnable quagmi....oh, um. Ahem. Never mind.

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 7:38 PM | PERMALINK

Dear minion,

When you no longer decide where 'policing' needs to be done, then you can act all put on upon about all the 'policing' you are doing. Until then STFU, you ignorant little snot.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 16, 2008 at 7:41 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who sees the delicious irony of an American commander complaining because other countries are not sending enough troops to a war zone? Maybe he should have a nice long talk with General Eric Shinseki about American troop strength in the invasion of Iraq.

Posted by: Helena Montana on January 16, 2008 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

BTW... "Flashman" is actually a pretty damn good source to learn some history. Certainly many of the posters here would learn some hard facts from the novels.

Posted by: billy on January 16, 2008 at 8:27 PM | PERMALINK

Am I the only one who sees the delicious irony of an American commander complaining because other countries are not sending enough troops to a war zone? Maybe he should have a nice long talk with General Eric Shinseki about American troop strength in the invasion of Iraq.
Posted by: Helena Montana

That delicious irony goes both ways. Here was a "just war" that even a bunch of liberal Europeans could get behind, and instead of jumping in with both feet to do the right thing they dip one toe in while holding the railing with a death grip.

Maybe the liberal Europeans should have a nice long talk with General Eric Shinseki about troop strength.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 8:47 PM | PERMALINK

By the way...

Shortstop, while I goofed on plainly, naivety is an approved alternate spelling.

BGRS, your husband is eeevilll.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 16, 2008 at 8:54 PM | PERMALINK

Here was a "just war" that even a bunch of liberal Europeans could get behind, and instead of jumping in with both feet to do the right thing they dip one toe in while holding the railing with a death grip.

Again, seems to me they're in it exactly the same as us. We have 25,00 troops there, as do they (and the US and Europe have about the same population, so the ratios hold up). If they're dipping in one toe while holding the railing with a death grip, then so are we, all our terrified talk of the importance of the War on Terror (TM) aside -- and, let's not forget, they're only there as a favor to us, so we should at least have the decency to show some fucking gratitude.

Posted by: Stefan on January 16, 2008 at 9:00 PM | PERMALINK

He can be, Mike. We're well matched. :)

Minion - I'm curious - were you ever actually stationed overseas? Did you ever participate in any training exercises with foreign troops on foreign soil, or are you just repeating the bullshit stories that get told around the titty-bar off the back gate at some stateside billet? (It doesn't always work out that you "Join the Air Force! See the world!" Sometimes, you see...Lovely! Minot! North Dakota!)

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

So now BlueGirl is giving me a quasi-chickenhawk ad hominum...I wasn't a bedpan jockey like some who post on this blog, I signed up and carried an M-16 and did what my country asked, where they asked me to do it. "Swiftboating" doesn't become you. Why don't you address my arguments, the reason our military is going public with these complaints is that the asinine rules of engagement put on our "allies" are making their troops more trouble than they're worth; even the European troops, primarily the Germans, are ashamed of these rules.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 16, 2008 at 9:37 PM | PERMALINK

Shortstop, while I goofed on plainly, naivety is an approved alternate spelling.

Good to know; I stand corrected. Your alternative reality remains unapproved by everyone who can claim marginal sanity.

Posted by: shortstop on January 16, 2008 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

minion, I am fully cognizant of the duties of the SP and LE squadrons. I let my children run free because they were on the job, so don't give me that puffed up shit.

I also know that your exposure to M-16's was not that damned frequent unless you were walking a flight line or performing limited other security details.

And I notice that you still inartfully dodged the question. Are you repeating slanders and war stories; or have you actually performed with foreign troops on their soil? If that answer is no, you should STFU.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Maybe the liberal Europeans should have a nice long talk with General Eric Shinseki about troop strength.

You know, quite a few of those "liberal" Europeans have actually, um, died in Afghanistan.

Which is a lot more than can be said for a lot of pink, fat, smart-mouthed little cocksucker young Republicans who, in the face of a dire need for brave men to go fight for this country, merely got pissed-pants drunk in their frat house and hollered shit out the windows at chicks rather than step up. How's that going to play ten and twenty years from now when these bullet-headed little shits decide to go into politics with their thin little resumes and their pro-war little talking points, I don't know.

You can shut the fuck up now, or shut the fuck up later. Your choice, train wreck.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 16, 2008 at 10:36 PM | PERMALINK

sigh

BlueGirl, I'm disappointed but not surprised that a lib would continue with this line of argument. For the record, I'm pretty sure you remember that I've told you my military resume before, and yes I served two years in Merced, California, keeping the commies and yippies from the nukes stored there; I then served two years with the NY National Guard to complete my commitment, where I enjoyed patrolling the corridors of Ossining prison during the prison guard's strike - so, while I did not valiantly kibbitz with the Hogan's Heroes crew you or your family, I did probably do more grunt work than the average peacetime soldier. Now let's dial back these nasty personal attacks - I'll be Obama and you can be Hillary and we'll pretend it never happened.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 16, 2008 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK

For the record, I'm pretty sure you remember that I've told you my military resume before, and yes I served two years in Merced, California, keeping the commies and yippies from the nukes stored there; I then served two years with the NY National Guard to complete my commitment, where I enjoyed patrolling the corridors of Ossining prison during the prison guard's strike - so, while I did not valiantly kibbitz with the Hogan's Heroes crew you or your family, I did probably do more grunt work than the average peacetime soldier. Now let's dial back these nasty personal attacks - I'll be Obama and you can be Hillary and we'll pretend it never happened.

So why not just admit you stuck your thumb up your ass and collected free money?

I mean, really. You think you "did more than your average peacetime soldier?"

Guarding a flight line and a prison?

Did they give you the Legion of Merit for that one? Did they give you the Order of the Golden Eagle? Did you get a ring that would let you into the O-club on Tuesdays after the lunch rush?

Not even the least bit shy about telling everyone how great you were, despite the evidence to the contrary, huh?

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 16, 2008 at 11:21 PM | PERMALINK

Gates: A Useful Idiot

You have no idea how useful Gates' comments have become. They will serve as an exit ticket for lots and lots of competent squadies back to the real world.

See for instance:

The Scotsman
By Jerome Starkey
in Kabul

FURIOUS British troops in southern Afghanistan hit back yesterday at American claims they don't know how to fight. Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, launched an amazing attack on UK, Canadian and Dutch troops, by suggesting they didn't know how to fight Taleban insurgents.

He told the Los Angeles Times: "I'm worried we have some military forces that don't know how to do counter-insurgency operations.

Most of the European forces, NATO forces, are not trained in counter-insurgency."

His astonishing comments caused widespread anger, and senior British officers warned him to "wind his neck in" while UK forces were giving their lives in lawless Helmand province."


Opinion is unanimous. The pot is calling the kettle black. What a twisted moron this man Gates is!

Remember Kapyong? Probably not.

The Battle of Kapyong (also called Kap'yong) was waged during the Korean War. The battle began on 22 April and lasted until 25 April 1951. The Chinese People's Liberation Army assaulted positions held by United Nations (UN) forces from Australia, Canada and Britain. Although they were outnumbered by a factor of at least five to one, the UN units prevailed.

2 PPCLI, was awarded both the United States Presidential Unit Citation and South Korean Presidential Unit Citation for their actions during the Battle of Kapyong.

Saved your goddam asses when your guys cut and ran is what they did and they are doing it again. Idiots!

Posted by: anon on January 16, 2008 at 11:35 PM | PERMALINK

FURIOUS British troops in southern Afghanistan hit back yesterday at American claims they don't know how to fight. Robert Gates, the US defence secretary, launched an amazing attack on UK, Canadian and Dutch troops, by suggesting they didn't know how to fight Taleban insurgents.

Anon, you have no idea how much people like me appreciate our allies.

I have served with Brits, Canadians, Aussies and Kiwis and they were all pros, all very much about the mission and doing things right. I've supported Canadians in Afghanistan from back here safe and sound in the States and I think what Gates has said is absolute, unequivocal bullshit.

No one does counterinsurgency better than the Brits and you do not fuck with the Australians, anywhere. Period. The Canadians are pros when it comes to getting shit down and are not as mild-mannered as you would think and God bless the Kiwis, but don't get into the nuclear issues with them.

We should learn from them; our way of doing things has left us with what, exactly? A war out of control in Afghanistan, bin Laden free to operate in Pakistan, and Iraq is the land where no one can do political reconciliation, no matter how hard we work to quiet things down for them.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 16, 2008 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

Well, you'll just have to be disappointed in me, minion. I'm sure I'll rally my spirits and go on. Sorry if I'm not impressed. I know the job, I know what it entailed, and I am god-damned proud of everyone in my family and the work they did. I also know more than a few morons who shared your AFSC who got sent to that tech school after washing out of highly technical training because they didn't have the intellectual capabilities to hack it in their preferred field. You were an SP, you know that's true. So no, I won't be backing down. Not one fucking inch.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 16, 2008 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

minion the SP solved the caper of the missing apple pie from the windowsill of Chief Master Sergeant McGee, you know.

I think ya'll need to cut him some slack. After all, he did his part for God and country and got the Silver Star for cutting flight line grass ten percent more effectively than the last swinging dick to hold the job.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 16, 2008 at 11:50 PM | PERMALINK

Just to put it back in perspective.

Going into Afghanistan didn't have the unalloyed enthusiasm of all of NATO. There were reservations. And for the amount of work the idiot son was willing to put in to plead his case, he was lucky to drag them along with him.

The operation into Afghanistan was mostly oiled with CIA money and bribing the warlords. When Obama was cornered the UK offered troops and the MC wanted to have a go too, but its still not been explained why neither got the go ahead. Obama got away.

There were never enough troops there, but the US pulled out most even before any stability had been achieved. There is still no unified command. Half the US troops fall under NATO, half do not, and the major complaint has been that local US policy changes with every change in local commander. Poppy policy is divergent. The US would like to spray everything and/or burn it without compensation or involving local leaders (there's well advised counter-insurgency for you), the Euros want to find a way of incentives to wean farmers off the crop and keep the Taliban out. The US continue to support, both politically and with money, Pakistan's military dictator who deals duplicitly with the Taliban.

The Canadians have shifted more than their share there and taken too many casualties. The UK has been overstretched all along and know more about counter-insurgency than Patreaus has yet learned.

It's only the goofballs in this administration and some here who think policing the world -- at least in the way practised so far -- makes any sense whatsoever.

When the US, willing to unilaterally break international laws and treaties, and spending more on military than the rest of the world put together, can show they can do this (or anything) right, maybe, maybe they can start criticizing others.

Posted by: notthere on January 17, 2008 at 12:14 AM | PERMALINK

anon: You have no idea how useful Gates' comments have become. They will serve as an exit ticket for lots and lots of competent squadies back to the real world.

Give Gates a break. His job is to implement Bush's policy, and he's done so quite faithfully. Alienating allies is a key part of that policy.

I suspect that had GWB held office in WWII, the British and Canadians would have chosen to attack the US. Bring 'em on!

Posted by: alex on January 17, 2008 at 12:55 AM | PERMALINK

I see it's unanimous. There are not sufficient troops deployed to do 'peacekeeping' by keeping down the inconvenient natives with bombing runs on the settlements. Does 'insurgent' translate as 'ungrateful target' ?

Posted by: opit on January 17, 2008 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect that had GWB held office in WWII, the British and Canadians would have chosen to attack the US. Bring 'em on!

Well, c'mon. You'd have been part of the Axis then now wouldn't you, so... yeah.

Then again, no oil embargo on Japan and without the Japanese to bring you into the war perhaps your role would have been more like Argentina's.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 17, 2008 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

I suspect that had GWB held office in WWII, the British and Canadians would have chosen to attack the US. Bring 'em on!

Likely that in that scenario, they would have had no choice. His grandfather, Prescott Bush was already financing Hitler and his arms buildup, remember that. It could have gone very differently back then.

Real history is so much more fascinating than that crap they teach in school.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 17, 2008 at 1:33 AM | PERMALINK

So you did finally make it into following the finagling power broker school of insane confrontation and conspicuous consumption - of lives. Better watch it : you'll become a radical yet.

Posted by: opit on January 17, 2008 at 1:44 AM | PERMALINK

Bit late for that caution, I'd say.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 17, 2008 at 1:58 AM | PERMALINK

This is a wild information source. I keep coming across stuff that makes me go back to square one when it comes to what do I think credible - or at least worthy of consideration. BTW Have you picked up on the new site since WordPress put the old one on lockup ?

Posted by: opit on January 17, 2008 at 2:32 AM | PERMALINK

I wonder if any Europeans will respond in public?

As an earlier poster already noted, the Dutch Defense minister already alled the US Ambassdor in on the matter. And many party defense spokesmen in parliament - including those from the parties reliably gung-ho in favor of the Afghanistan mission (which is very controversial and divisive in Holland) expressed outrage.

It certainly did not help that Gates' comments came right after a particularly nasty "friendly fire" incident in which two Dutch soldiers (and Afghan allies) were killed.

Posted by: TAQA Kanuni on January 17, 2008 at 4:37 AM | PERMALINK

BlueGirl

Well, it's a good thing I'm insensitive, or else your insults would really hit home. For the record, I think it hurts your credibility to revisit the washed-out-of-tech-school meme when regular readers of this section will recall I already told you my history, which did not include washing out. And maybe I'm pretty stupid, but I made enough money to live on at Lehman Brothers Kuhn Loeb while you were milkng the government teat, and I'm semi-retired now while you're still taking out student loans.
I tell you what, I'll give you ultimate power. If you think my comments do not provide any benefit or entertainment value on this site, you give me the word and I'll never post here again. Your call.

Posted by: mr insensitive on January 17, 2008 at 9:03 AM | PERMALINK

If you think my comments do not provide any benefit or entertainment value on this site

Entertainment value? What kind of asshole would find minion of rove's neocon bullshit entertaining?

(I know, I know -- "ex-liberal," probably.)

Posted by: Gregory on January 17, 2008 at 9:14 AM | PERMALINK

I tell you what, I'll give you ultimate power. If you think my comments do not provide any benefit or entertainment value on this site, you give me the word and I'll never post here again. Your call.

Your ignorance is never entertaining. If you never posted here again, it'd be like a kiss from an angel.

Posted by: Pale Rider on January 17, 2008 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Back when I was in the military it was common knowledge that European forces were a joke -...unionized!....would go on strike!....hairdresser's units!...six marching bands!....charter airplanes!....

Yeah, they're such pansies they even help train our Marines.

U.S. Marines, French Foreign Legion Join in Training
By Sgt. Bradly Shaver, USMC
Special to American Forces Press Service

ARTA PLAGE, Djibouti, Sept. 17, 2003 – Marines of Task Force Rawhide, 4th Marine Expeditionary Brigade (Antiterrorism), participated in training with the French Foreign Legion, 13th Half Brigade, at the French Commando Training Center here Sept. 7-12. The Maries were deployed to provide Marine Central Command at Camp Lemonier with antiterrorism security. The camp is the headquarters for Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa, whose mission is to detect, deter and defeat terrorists in the Horn of Africa region.

The task force trained with the French commandos to increase their skills in amphibious operations and physical fitness, a task force officer said...."We gained much needed knowledge from the French commandos and their capabilities," [1st Lt. James Moran, executive officer of Mike Company, Task Force Rawhide] said.

"The training mission was outstanding. Every time I've cross-trained with any other military it's always been a great experience. This surpassed anything I've ever done in my career," said Gunnery Sgt. Denis O'Sullivan, company gunnery sergeant of Mike Company, Task Force Rawhide. "Our Marines cannot say enough about the training they had, and we're looking forward to the next training exercise with them."

....According to Cpl. Miguel Hernandez, section leader with Mike Company, it was a burden to pick up the slack, but all the Task Force Rawhide Marines were happy to receive specialized training and did it without hesitation. "It was an experience I will not forget."

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=28456

Posted by: Stefan on January 17, 2008 at 10:37 AM | PERMALINK

I can't think how the British might have expertise in counter-insurgency that might give them a better idea of how to go about 'fixing' Afghanistan. Let's see : they lost 12,000 at the Khyber Pass - in 1935! - and finally cleared up open violence in Northern Ireland - after 400 years. How long does the U.S. propose to occupy the place - and Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Nigeria, Chad, Ethiopia,etc.....again ? I knew there was a reason for 700 plus U.S. military bases on foreign soil.

Posted by: opit on January 17, 2008 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Rory Stewart, who knows more about Afghanistan from years of first-hand experience than most people in or out of the diplomatic corps, was advising Canada to pack it in and concentrate on securing the cities of the north way back in last October. It's a losing proposition, and not just because the people in the south haven't had enough "shock and awe". His premise--that resources should be focussed on areas where they could be reasonably expected to do some good--is hard for the never-say-diers to swallow, but he makes excellent sense. But people like Gates are working hard to keep the lies afloat.

Posted by: Riggsveda on January 17, 2008 at 11:40 AM | PERMALINK

You know, we wouldn't have to rely on other NATO forces to keep control of Afghanistan if we hadn't tied down most of our land combat power in an unnecessary, unjustified war of aggression against (and subsequent interminable occupation of) Iraq.

So even granting, arguendo, that the Europeans are completely inept and that that is the whole immediate source of the problem, it is still a gross strategic blunder on the part of the US administration that is ultimately the source of the problem in Afghanistan.


Posted by: cmdicely on January 17, 2008 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan:
" By the way - if the French are such god-awful wimps, why the hell are the titles of military ranks derived from the French?

Because we couldn't pronounce Hauptfeldwebel, Geschwaderkommodore, Stabshauptmann or Oberschuetze. "

The German can everything better: in fact, they can pronounce "Leutnant", "Kapitän" and "General".
Or was it the French who have taken it from the German?
Stefan, this spat will be settled at the EU council, and it won't be pretty.

Posted by: VOus n'aurez pas l'alsace et la Lorraine on January 17, 2008 at 5:03 PM | PERMALINK

and I'm semi-retired now while you're still taking out student loans.


You missed the memo, dipshit. I'm retired too.

And your insults about sucking the government teat don't hurt me in the least. I'm quite comfortable, thanks. We made wise choices while serving.

And I do find you wholly irrelevant, boorishness is not entertaining, and if I thought you would leave and never come back on my say so, I would give that word in a heartbeat.

Sorry I missed this last night when I was giving you the wave-off-the-mosquito treatment.

If I have that power, please. Be gone minion, and molest these threads no more.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 17, 2008 at 6:24 PM | PERMALINK

By the way - I took my last student loan in 1989.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 17, 2008 at 6:26 PM | PERMALINK

And for the "washed out of tech school" meme - if it wasn't true, I would not have brought it up. You served in one of those units, you KNOW THIS. At that point in time the SP Squadrons got everyone who, for whatever reason, didn't get the job in their enlistment contract. That is a fact. If it insults you, well, I can live with that.

Mike, you out there lurking?

What do YOU think about this puke implying that my husband is a slacker and I'm a welfare queen because we raised three Brats instead of three brats? He's slurring you, too.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 17, 2008 at 6:31 PM | PERMALINK

minion, I do read your posts because occassionally (too occassionally) you do put some thought into what you say. What I can do without are demonstrably false prejudices thrown flippantly out as though they were indisputable mantra. It is the Canadians and the Brits who are doing most of the fighting and dying in the south. It is these forces you are characterizing as ineffectual panty-waists (okay, you tried to backpaddle here and say you were just talking about ROE when you got called on your slur). I got angry because these ineffectual panty-waists are dying at your behest... Has their strategy been exemplary? Hardly. And this is something that can be intelligently talked about. Do the Americans have a high ground born out of operational success to criticize here? Hardly. Did they leave their allies (maybe a better word is 'saps') holding the bag? Yup.

Your Mr. Insensitive monicker seems a presumption that you are telling insensitive truths. I wish that were the case rather than this blurting out of comic book characterizations. Particularly when people are dying.

I think it's time for us Canadians to go north or come home.

Posted by: snicker-snack on January 17, 2008 at 7:05 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, you out there lurking?

What do YOU think about this puke implying that my husband is a slacker and I'm a welfare queen because we raised three Brats instead of three brats? He's slurring you, too.
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.)

Hey, I'm just a reservist, not a full time welfare recipient. His is the least of all slurs I get here.

Pretty sure I posted here about 4 hours ago, while on travel. Post is gone. The Immoderator is in a particularly delicate mood. Must be that time...

Posted by: SJRSM on January 17, 2008 at 11:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mr. Insensitive, stop your mil-hate lest you be confused for a New York Times reporter.

BGRS, what'd you think of that crock o' shite?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 17, 2008 at 11:52 PM | PERMALINK

Well Mike, remember I was teaching Stats this time last year. I thought it was the lamest statistical analysis I've seen in - well - practically forever.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on January 18, 2008 at 12:35 AM | PERMALINK

Yea, I didn't know al-heavy worked for the NYTimes.

That article directly feeds the stereotype that the left believes "The only good soldier is a dead soldier who can be wielded as a statistic (out of context). Or a deserter who complains bitterly that he didn't join the Army to fight..."

Makes me want to puke.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 18, 2008 at 9:10 AM | PERMALINK

Pretty sure I posted here about 4 hours ago, while on travel. Post is gone. The Immoderator is in a particularly delicate mood. Must be that time...

what's hilarious is that you don't have the faintest idea who you think you're insulting and who you think you're complimenting. keep it up, clueless. popcorn's holding out fine.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 18, 2008 at 9:53 AM | PERMALINK

what's hilarious is that you don't have the faintest idea who you think you're insulting and who you think you're complimenting.
Posted by: as it unfolds

You're a moron. That's not an insult, it's stating a fact.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 18, 2008 at 10:24 AM | PERMALINK

(crunch, crunch, crunch)

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 18, 2008 at 10:29 AM | PERMALINK

(crunch, crunch, crunch)
Posted by: as it unfolds

And you eat with your mouth open.

Posted by: SJRSM on January 18, 2008 at 10:33 AM | PERMALINK

(crunch, crunch)

you didn't even get that one thing right. who among us could have predicted that?

hmmmm, where's that ice water I just had? this stuff is saltier than I like it. but worth it.

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 18, 2008 at 10:40 AM | PERMALINK

this stuff is saltier than I like it. but worth it.
Posted by: as it unfolds

Is your name Monica?

Posted by: SJRSM on January 18, 2008 at 10:48 AM | PERMALINK

bait selected based on mark's known limitations and inadequacies, bait extended, mark lunges straight for it, crowd laughs.

(crunch)

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 18, 2008 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

Does this blue dress make me look fat? Do you like me? Can I have a bite of your sandwich?

(crunch)
Posted by: as it unfolds

Posted by: SJRSM on January 18, 2008 at 10:59 AM | PERMALINK

keep talking. don't stop now. you're just getting warmed up to where we all like you to be.

(crunch)

Posted by: as it unfolds on January 18, 2008 at 11:09 AM | PERMALINK

Dan Hardie, you are wrong that the Danish Forces are withdrawn from Helmand.. We are still very much present there, Thank you very much.

Posted by: Kent on March 8, 2008 at 1:02 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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