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Archive for the ‘War on Terror’ Category

This is it for me, at least for this chapter.  I am off to join some people who don’t much appreciate voices singing out of key, and while they might be able to get over my public disdain for coaches who punt in opposing territory, it would be rather awkward to continue to point out the incompetence of the administration.  So for now, it’s probably best to hang it up.

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For the first seventeen years of the Peloponnesian War, Athens and Sparta fought to something of a draw.  Sparta dominated the land, but could not breach Athens’ walls.  Athens dominated the sea, but could not march inland with enough force to defeat Sparta.

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Still trying to process all of my objections to the current Afghan strategy into something moderately coherent, so I’ll start with a very different story: Fritz Henderson was rather suddenly and unceremoniously dismissed as CEO of GM.

General Motors Co. Chief Executive Officer Fritz Henderson resigned after eight months on the job as directors concluded he hadn’t done enough to fix GM’s finances and culture, people familiar with the matter said…Henderson’s exit caps a tenure that included aborted deals to sell the Saturn, Saab and Opel units, a struggle to replace top managers such as Chief Financial Officer Ray Young, and U.S. market-share losses. (more…)

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I am a huge fan of going for it on fourth down.  The odds are typically on your side, and the main reason coaches don’t do it is that failure is so much more evident than success.  Well, here goes the second-guessing:

All sorts of things went wrong to get the Pats to this position – the offensive and defensive lines had Super Bowl-level fatigue issues down the stretch – but they were still winning by six points.  They had the advantage, and they gave it away trying for the knockout. (more…)

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Even as we wobble towards a coherent Afghanistan policy, Iran continues to be a massive thorn in our side.  What do we do when all of our options are terrible?

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Undeterred by his own attorney general and common sense, Spanish judge Baltasar Garzon intends to prosecute Alberto Gonzales, John Yoo, Douglas Feith, William Haynes, Jay Bybee, and David Addington (collectively, the “Bush Six”) for their role in providing the legal framework for Guantanamo:

On Saturday, however, Público reported that Judge Garzón had accepted a lawsuit presented by a number of Spanish organizations … and three former Guantánamo prisoners (the British residents Jamil El-Banna and Omar Deghayes, and Sami El-Laithi, an Egyptian freed in 2005, who was paralyzed during an incident involving guards at Guantánamo).

Spain?  Welcome to Spain, Now Coup-Free for Twenty-Seven Years?  The nation that had a Fascist dictator until 1975?  Good work.

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Eight years.

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I hate Dick Cheney.  I cannot imagine a more disgusting combination of power and venality in American politics.  We have more than our share of scum over the years, but whether by luck or by horse sense we have managed to keep the worst of them out of high office.  Sarah Palin lost.  Ronald Reagan blew up the budget, but at least he had the basic sense not to let the Beiruts of the world distract him.  Nixon and Kissinger and Johnson had plenty of flaws, but amazingly managed rise above the shenenigans that got them to high office by doing some good when they got there.  And Dubya…well, seems hard to blame anyone who was this unable to comprehend his job:

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Two American journalists working for Current TV demonstrated a rather poor sense of geography and got themselves captured on the south side of the Yalu River.  For their trouble, they won a 140-day trip through the North Korean penal system, a journey that only ended when Bill Clinton went to Pyongyang and got them out.  Best of a bad situation, right?  Wrong, according to John Bolton and the FOX News team:

No finer example of the blinkered thinking that got us into so many problems.

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The conventional wisdom seems to be that Vietnam was a bad war because we lost.  Pity, because the tragedy is that there was nothing there to win.

It is a distinction that I fear has been lost among our political leadership on both sides of the aisle.  It’s easy to imagine war as capture the flag – two grand armies fighting to seize the other’s capital city.  Onwards for glory, to Mexico City or Richmond or Berlin.  But the world can be maddeningly more complicated.

During the campaign John McCain insisted on what I would call the Martingale strategy of combat: just keep throwing troops at the problem.  It reflects all the frustrations of Gulliver among the Lilliputians; how is it that this band of people who cannot block our advance in any cardinal direction can so stymie our will?  Why won’t they give in?  Surely you don’t expect us to give in to them?  They cannot make us yield.

But is it yielding to have the confidence in our strength to follow our interests?  The heavyweight champion does not need to fight every barroom goon.

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