Joe Biden Chooses His Cheney Words With Care

For once, someone has pointed out that the President has prosecuted the war on terror with a high level of commitment and a high level of success. And that Dick Cheney is simply wrong on all points when he takes on Mr. Obama.

No one can accuse Joe Biden of flying off the handle. On this video he is being a stellar veep. He earned his salary in just a half a minute.



Morning News & Comment — Taliban Claims Responsibility for Blast

AFGHANISTAN:  Taliban Claims Responsibility for Blast


Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said in a statement that an Afghan National Army officer wearing a suicide vest entered the base and blew himself up inside the gym. A U.S. official who was briefed on Wednesday’s blast also said it took place in the gym.


I am coming to feel that we need to revise our understanding and suspend a military approach to the “war on terror”. What makes it a war is precisely that we are employing military means. The alternative is to reform our intelligence operations so they work. And to engage in joint missions with a clear invitation from the involved country.

Our stance needs to be that we do not seek military victories, we seek only to act with others to oppose specific hostile efforts.  And reserve the right to attack preemptively when we are attacked and can pinpoint the launch sites.

The sad truth is that Sherlock Holmes-level intelligence, aka  acumen, rather than overlapping bureaucracies,  is the only thing that will prevent things like the latest near miss over Detroit. And the sadder truth is that if such an attack succeeds, we will face a crisis similar to that which followed 9/11.

Had Bush adopted the policy I advocate then, we might we through the worst of it by now.  I think President Obama still has time to take this approach.

If the residual argument is that we need to aid the people and so forth, this should be done via the UN in cooperation with others.


COMMENT ON: Lieberman: The United States Must Pre-Emptively Act In Yemen

Two points:

1. The hand-wringing over the President’s vacation and his need to cut it short cannot be rising from anything but yet another desire to paint him in a bad light. Give it a rest. He deserves one.

2. The model for future intervention should be to assist existing domestic forces in a country that needs help in rooting out terrorist training operations and centers. This has already been the case in Yemen. Lieberman seems to like the limelight.

Read the Article I’m Commenting on at HuffingtonPost


COMMENT ON: New Restrictions For Air Travelers After Christmas Day Bombing Attempt

Read the Article I’m Commenting on at HuffingtonPost

New in-flight security measures betray excessive stupidity.

Most cases of terrorism lead to the conclusion that there was ample advance information to narrow and intensify security operations around actual suspects. But rather than serious follow up of some 500,000 where warning signs existed, we engage in what is designed to embolden anyone with ill intent, anger tens of thousands who are 100 percent NOT a danger and create an atmosphere of gratuitous repression.

This is a distraction of the first order.

We need to nip such knee-jerk idiocy in the bud. My wife will be unable to fly under present conditions. She has a hip condition that makes extended sitting down excruciating.

It may be time for a passenger boycott on a single day or for longer. It is definitely time for a loud and clear message to Janet Napolitano and all others in authority that we have gotten the message.

Look to your lists. Listen to whistle blowers. Get smart. Investigate logical suspects when they are on the move. And rescind these impossible regulations ASAP.


The Christmas Bombing That Wasn’t

This is a day for reflection on terrorism. Yes, for the birth of Jesus is said to have ben visited by a terrorist attack, if you count Herod’s slaughter of the innocents. Or if you simply consider that the terrorist du jour intended to blow himself up along with some 300 others. On Christmas Day.

1. The bombing failed.

Yes, we have learned to keep our eyes open and it is a no-brainer with “Let’s roll” branded on our brains. Alertness won the day. This is the time of citizen alertness.

2.  The potentiality remains.

Though there will be efforts at new security precautions, it must be clear by now that there is no sure security in the sort of vulnerability-structure we live in. Planes are vulnerable to everything from birds to disaffected Nigerians and we are gearing up to fly more than 300 at a time.

3. YouTube quicker than MSM. VIDEO

So the world will know things almost instantly. Attracting, one might surmise, the likely suspects while alienating more and more globally from the mentality that is open to terror as a weapon.

4. Twitter remains the quickest way to find keyword references. As to “terror

Or “terror suspect“.  Or “security“.   When news is breaking salient references will be found in real time.


War As Ridicule — The Futility of Military Means

War was always ridiculous. And naturally ridicule has always been a part of war. To ridicule is to make fun of, to taunt or deride — to make look foolish.

Ultimately one could argue that at least some wars are won or lost according to the relative ridiculousness of the opponents.

For example, the Romans are said to have made quick work of the Druids in the dawn of the present era. The Romans were somewhat less ridiculous than their enemy. The Druids had a penchant for human sacrifice and some even say cannibalism.

Hitler was inherently ridiculous as Walt Disney, among others, understood.

I suppose our own Revolution was close to even. It may not be possible to conduct a civil war with ridicule alone.

But there is a reasonable argument today that the war on terror — so called — is better be conducted by ridicule than by throwing young men and women into harms way.

In the war on terror, the very worst features of religion, tribalism and ethnic prejudice are at work. There is no compunction about killing someone merely because he or she may be Jewish. On the streets of New York I defy anyone to pick a Jew out of a crowd. Save for those in orthodox garb, there is no way of knowing.

But say someone is a Jew and terror will have no conscience at all about killing that someone as a heretic and an infidel, regardless whether that person is a dove or a hawk, a humanitarian or a disciple of Ayn Rand. Substitute Arab for Jew and the same logic holds.

In a situation where the very basis of war is a hatred of infidels and and heretics, the most salient weapon is ridicule.

At bottom one needs to say that the system of values that sees the world in terms of true believers and infidels is flat out ridiculous. Unworthy or respect. Laughable. Idiotic. Diss-able.

I believe the war on teror is unwinnable by military means. There is too much baggage around assault and presence and occupation, not to mention the logic of infidel-skewering, to make a military presence palatable to a local population. Every military “success” is a slap in the face. Every failure a disaster for someone. Military efforts to defeat terrorism are ultimately counter-productive.

Better President Obama lecture the world — as he has done — on the ridiculousness of the hate that gives rise to suicide bombing, roadside bombing, ambushing and all other appurtenances of terrorist effort.

We have the capacity to respond to the physical reality of a terror attack. Bush could have done so after 9/11 by simply blanketing the area that held Al Qaeda with tear gas and waiting at the mouths of the caves. Instead the scion of a wealthy Saudi family was left to thumb his nose year after year. It cannot be said that Osama does not know the virtues of ridicule. He has used it to win the sympathies of millions.

We are entering a very tough situation now because all of the wingnut enemies of Obama will seize on difficult economic news to hurt his domestic agenda and encourage his misguided military ventures abroad. At some time, the bank may break for real and all those who have been aching for a showdown will force the nation to act in ways that will not be pretty.

The choice for the President lies in gently folding up our military tent and seeing that Fortress America does not mean isolationism, but cogent engagement with the world as it is.

Our enemies are the proponents of a ridiculous idea which needs to be demolished to the point that it becomes difficult for any child to sit in a fundamentalist school imbibing the logic of terror. Whether across the world or right here in the good old US of A.

We need to get out own house in order. We have ridiculous ideas all around us. Many of them are based on superstition, hatred, rumor and innuendo.

I see the President as a stalwart defender of law and reason and enlightened religion, if it is possible to speak of any religion as enlightened. I see him using his bully pulpit to talk us down from a war we do not want (and he does not need) and talk us up to an effort to put silly ideas to bed with the simple and devastating weapon of ridicule.


How Permanent Will Doing Good in Afghanistan Be?

How Permanent Will Doing Good in Afghanistan Be?

A Hunter Thompson-like Riff on Afghanistan from A Bar in The Mustafa Hotel http://bit.ly/139QBk

I enjoyed the acerbic critique referenced at the link above. A Google war, Doing as little harm as possible.

In Afghanistan, we do not  know the ends. Win a “war on terror”?  Win over the Islamic world? Make Afghanistan safe? Make US more secure?

The last question — national security — can only be answered yes if we assume the ceding of Afghanistan to its own people will result in the fall of Pakistan to the Taliban and the creation of a stage for nuclear blackmail. This is a stretch to say the least.

I think we have assumed that we will achieve something by winning over the Afghans. Fine, if you want to assume it makes a difference to Afghans who is protecting them. I this is a stretch too.

Mostly what ingratiates us with the Islamic world is vacating the premises.

We have a nebulous plan . My Hunter Thompson-like friend in the Afghan bar is salient. If the Taliban emigrate to Palau, we might win. But they ain’t going nowhere. Time and ridicule and Afghan distaste for them might work better than trying to kill them off one by one by one forever.