abba's way

Charity and Capitalism

The two posts below get to a favorite topic. The link between charity and capitalism. Thought starters mainly.

Naked Charity

Naked Charity. Charity (Philanthropy) and Capitalism Are A Lethal Brew Creating Global Triage, Pity-Based Values and Hypocrisy-Based Morality. The Greg Mortenson story is just the same old-same old that persists till eyes are opened


After Green – Moribund Capitalists

An After Green thought-starter. United States capitalism is largely unresponsive to the imperative to move to a post-oil, post-automobile economy.

Related articles


Focus on Pakistan

A series of windows on the US and Pakistan.

Pakistan Taliban Support was No Secret

Double Tweet. The archives provide documentation, so it’s harder to deny.
So: Rebuke Pakistan, Spare Civilians, Keep the Taliban from Power

Oh: This is the sanest statement of what we need to do in Afghanistan that I have yet read. Maybe the President will pay attention. If enough folk see and understand.
Pakistan and Arizona Set Evil Examples

The blasphemy law in Pakistan and the immigration law and stance on medical care in Arizona are both evil because they are leading to the conscious inflicting of death for that matter the snow performance in NYC was evil also
Evil Pakistan

Evil Permeates Pakistan A Harsh and Sad Judgment. Such a judgment can only be made if you embrace universal values which are four in number tolerance, helpfulness, democracy and non-idolatry.

COMMENT ON: Obama’s Afghanistan Plan: 30,000 Troops, No Endless Committment

Read the Article I’m commenting on at HuffingtonPost

Full Text of The President’s Speech on Afghanistan

This and his remarks about Pakistan remain the most salient reasons for the President’s action.

“Unlike Vietnam, we are joined by a broad coalition of 43 nations that recognizes the legitimacy of our action. Unlike Vietnam, we are not facing a broad-based popular insurgency. And most importantly, unlike Vietnam, the American people were viciously attacked from Afghanistan, and remain a target for those same extremists who are plotting along its border. To abandon this area now – and to rely only on efforts against al Qaeda from a distance – would significantly hamper our ability to keep the pressure on al Qaeda, and create an unacceptable risk of additional attacks on our homeland and our allies.”

It can be assumed that the full force of right wing will be focused on trashing him while a comparable group from the left will do the same. Both will forget that the President has said the same thing from the start.

What the President did not say as strongly as he might have, is that this is a battle comparable to WWII. We are fighting the same irrational and lethal force. The impunity of both Taliban and Al Qaeda stops at no boundary. If this is the case, it is naive to assume that we can walk away. It is a matter of trusting the President’s judgment.

Pacifists were ultimately willing to take up arms in WWII. Because they came to understand the stakes. The stakes are as high now.


Using Money To Make Peace — Toward A New Kind of Warfare

OK, laugh.

But we are pouring lives and billions down the drain all over the world and money could accomplish a whole lot more with less expense and fewer (or even no) lost lives.

I’m serious. Dig this.

In Pakistan they figure if they more than double certain sorts of aid (the kind that educates people not to be terrorists) it becomes economically viable for corrupt officials to gravitate to our side. Yes, I am talking bribery. Carrots. The point is, it is cheaper than making weapons and training soldiers to become targets. And I bet it accomplishes more.

I propose a contest.

Try using money for a month to do what you want to get done militarily. Compare the costs. I will bet you that a million spread here and there, say to build a needed bridge or purchase 100 donkeys or buy some seeds, will outperform a bunch of soldiers with guns every time. You get what you want on the cheap.

I am not saying disband the service. I am saying have a fair contest. If money (aka smart bribery, aka targeted help) works better than ammo and soldiers, then turn the soldiers into smart bribers. It’s that simple.

Money has worked forever to buy peace, i just has not penetrated the military mind or, for that matter, the political mind. If we can bail out a bunch of Wall Street good for nothings with billions, we can surely risk this experiment.

Face it, you will do the same thing I am proposing anyway. The only problem is you will combine it with military stuff and that will more than cancel out the positive effects. You will say you are doing the money thing, but you will be cutting off your nose to spite your face.

Get the hell out of AfPak militarily. Stop playing that this is a war. It is a slow suicide mission. Every military thing you do strengthens the will of a proud and stubborn people. How smart do you need to be to figure that out?


Go the cash route. Cash with strings. Cash with observers — soldiers who are learning to function in some other way than as killers and targets. I am not saying do not defend against the Taliban. Sure, set up a perimeter that is clearly not part of an offensive maneuver. Or begin to withdraw to the point that it will be obvious that you do not intend to fight.

President Obama is very wrong on one single point. (I never say such things. You read this and forget it.) He is wrong in saying that the only way we can stop Al Qaeda is by doing what we are doing, wasting millions of dollars and daily lives on a pipe dream. The way to stop Osama and Company is with a combination or ridicule and proportional retaliation for any actual attacks.

For example, if Osama, or whoever is in charge, launches a killing attack somewhere, do something bad enough in the area where the planning is going on so that they will think twice about their strategy. No one is going to fault a proportional response. A teargas in the caves sort of thing.

What we have now is not proportional. It is silly.

We need to unite geeks and soldiers and play this like a non-lethal war game. Money has a value. It can be used to achieve lots of things. We are pouring it down a bottomless drain if we think we can win AfPak without going through a major attitude adjustment.


COMMENT ON: What Would Be the Result of Quitting AfPak?

I am sorry this post got buried as we should have had a discussion of this. I wish HP had a better way of dealing with new posts — like posting their presence for a full 20 hours and at the top rather than at the bottom where they fall off the page.

Read the Article at HuffingtonPost


What Would Be The Result of Quitting AfPak?

I do not really agree with my question — assuming it is meant seriously. I think most of us feel we need to be operating in AfPak.

But something is telling me to ask it. Here are my answers:

1. We would take a potential 50,000 US troops and others out of harm’s way. If we use 9/11 as a measure (moral calculus), we would be saving the lives of perhaps as many (or more) as were killed back then.

2. We could say we are not in the business of extending democracy to nations that prove incapable of maintaining it. We might be aware that, even in the US, it is not an easy thing to maintain a democracy.

3. We could say that our intention is to protect our own citizens at home and abroad and that our response to any terrorist acts will be swift and proportional. In other words if someone pulled something off in the US or killed Americans abroad, we would be prepared to make an immediate response, limited by moral calculus.

4. We could argue that it simply has not worked — even with the best will in the world — to try to change a country that has not been able to change itself. And that henceforth we would contribute heavily to create a greater UN capability to assist any country that wishes to grow democratic institutions, have elections, etc.

5. We could argue that the present course in AfPak is so reminiscent of other military failures in the past, that even though we mean well, we have no confidence that this helps.

6. We could suspend drone attacks and use them for proportional responses in the event of further acts of international terrorism. We could internationalize this process to share both costs and responsibility.

In essence we would be doing what I believe we should have done after 9/11. We didn’t and look what happened. Nothing says that eight years from now we might not be saying the same thing about a costly and failed AfPak strategy.


A Year To Do What We Failed To Do In 8

I do not know who bothers me more, Republicans who are being consciously or unconsciously hypocritical or Democrats who adapt the stratagem I now associate with Arianna Huffington and the New York Times — the frequent substitution of nit-picking for serious consideration.


Serious consideration might take into one’s purview the following points:

1. It took Bush II eight years to ruin the notion of a rational opposition to terror. Should it take less than two or three years to actually arrive at a true evolution of the globe beyond the woes of fundamentalism cum opportunism run rampant?

2. The change in generals in Afpak signals a willingness to engage only in physical strategies that have a high probability of dealing firmly with the most determined and dangerous elements of the terror apparatus ranged not only against us, but against the whole world. This should spare us more sights of the ambush of NATO troops along treacherous stretches of Afghan roads, not to mention aborted efforts to “get” Al Qaeda of the very few attempted before Bush 11 obeyed his trainers and walked into the maelstrom of Iraq.

3. When will we understand that Obama is all process and unfolding, not single-bandaid solutions? This myopia on the part of allegedly intelligent observers is creating a brake on things and making the parlous state of journalism more and more a fate devoutly to be welcomed. A new journalism of process will emerge.

4. Other elements of the strategy that is unfolding will likely be a radical internationalization of the conflict accompanied by massive education regarding its nature and importance and the mobilization of a much more competent international apparatus for dealing with it than we presently have.

Terror, genocide and the deleterious effects of inhumane migration and refugee survival efforts are all linked, are all issues on the table, are all likely targets of a concerted Obama effort. For anyone in Congress to be nit-picking about time lines is a predictable but sad indication of the narrowness of vision that penetrates even the precincts of the marginally better party.

The fact is that Obama might well be out of Afpak in a year or at least on a time line that is acceptable to the American people. But this post is not about that. It is about biindness in the deepest prophetic sense.