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Why did we have an election?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 1:37 pm - August 22, 2017.
Filed under: Afghanistan,Donald Trump,National Security

For background, here are U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan the last 10 years. Note that the war started in 2001, so the first several years are not shown.

It’s easier to read if you click on it. In brief: for the last 2-3 years, we’ve had about 10,000 troops and 25,000 civilian contractors in Afghanistan, which is down from much higher levels through the greater part of the Obama administration.

It’s been a 16-year war, and I have to ask: Why? And Donald Trump used to ask that same question. But yesterday, Trump sided with the Deep State in further extending the Afghanistan war. He justified it with the usual platitudes, basically, This Time We Mean It And Have A Plan To End It – the same things Presidents Bush and Obama said.

Of course I don’t want to let Afghanistan be a haven for Muslim terrorists; but do we have a credible plan to win, all the sudden? What is it? I listened to Trump’s entire speech, and did not hear specifics.

We know that Trump is willing to loosen the rules of engagement, that is, let the military fight more effectively. And he spoke of dealing with terrorist sanctuaries or supporters in Pakistan. Both reasonable.

But suppose we kill all the terrorists. What then? We leave, and things go back to what they were. I don’t have any great ideas here; just a nagging sense that this war cannot be won by conventional means. And, once again, I have to ask if it is really about opium cultivation?

Opioid epidemic

Ever notice how phrases “pop” at you in public discourse? It can be hard to tell if it’s just you, or if the phrase came into fashion recently.

In 2017 (about since President Trump was sworn in), I’ve been seeing more about human trafficking, and more about opioid epidemic. Both are horrible things. Were we collectively talking about them before? I don’t think so. Why weren’t we? Was there some sort of political-media embargo? Or did we just not want to? Were we being distracted?

Trump has been making more of a fight against human trafficking than President Obama did. Which is good. I may post on that soon. This post will be on the opioid epidemic.

In 2014, I noted how U.S. involvement in Afghanistan strangely coincided with a 30-fold increase in opium cultivation in that nation. (Also in 2009, Bruce (the GayPatriot) acknowledged it indirectly.) Afghan heroin could certainly be contributing to the U.S. opioid epidemic.

Today I want to show you this chart seen on Zero Hedge.

The U.S. has the highest rate of drug deaths in the world. 4x of Asia; 6x of the world average; 9x of Western Europe; 16x of Africa.

I’m not sure what it means. Perhaps several things.

  • Does Africa not have a drug problem? (Looks that way.)
  • Is the U.S. weak on drug rehabilitation? (Probably.)
  • Are drugs in the U.S. a big business? (all that Afghanistan heroin comes here? plus Latin American cocaine, etc.?)
  • If yes, then surely certain U.S. political-financial forces would be out to protect the U.S. drug business? Surely those forces would hide in plain sight, as respectable authorities, or politicians of the 2 major parties?
  • Are we suddenly talking about the opioid epidemic in 2017 because, say, some of those forces lost some power in a recent election – making it OK to notice? Or just because the term hit a critical mass?

One thing is for sure: the “War on Drugs” of the last 3+ decades has been a miserable failure. A city council member in Ohio proposes to handle it Darwin’s way: Deny 911 assistance to repeat drug overdosers.

His reasons have to do with saving his city’s finances. But one side effect would be to have drug overdosers face an increased (that is, a natural) death rate. That’s an unusual idea.

UPDATE: Commenters are noting the role of Medicaid and Obamacare in giving people more access to prescription opioids. Also here is a chart from the CDC (via Wiki):

It looks like a trend since 2000 in deaths from all opioids (heroin, synthetic and prescribed) that has accelerated in the last 5 – 7 years. Wiki says:

Fentanyl, a newer synthetic opioid painkiller, is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine and 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin…strong enough that police and first responders helping overdose victims have themselves overdosed by simply touching or inhaling a small amount…Fentanyl has surpassed heroin as a killer in several locales.


What to make of these items?

Posted by Jeff (ILoveCapitalism) at 11:54 am - October 10, 2014.
Filed under: Afghanistan,Debt Crisis,Media Bias,National Security

I come across items from time to time, of which I don’t know what to make. Conspiracy theorists make something of them. Not tending to be one, I file them in the back of my mind and await more information.

The latest is, a prominent German journalist discussing how intelligence agencies manage the media, whether by perks, bribes, help in writing stories (which are thus ‘planted’ stories), or harassment and retaliation on journalists who don’t co-operate. The implication is that our biased media is managed, not only by the political Left, but by the U.S. and other governments.

Another is this year’s spate of deaths among mid-level bankers (previously mentioned here). Most of them are officially suicides, but it’s an odd cluster; the more so as the last few years have been great for the financial sector. Whether these deaths are murders (to cover up something) or genuine suicides by the despondent, either way they would suggest a banking system much worse off than is generally believed.

Finally, there’s this chart:

The first implication is that, while the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan in 2001 was repressive, at least they shut down heroin production. The darker-minded might also suggest that wealthy narcotics interests (and by extension, banking interests?) were particularly offended by the Taliban and eager to see them go. Which, if true, could make Afghanistan at least partly (apart from the al Qaeda/9-11 aspect) a modern-day Opium War.

P.S. If you want to help make sense of any of these in the comments, be my guest!

Things That Are Only Scandals When Republicans Are President

Posted by V the K at 1:11 pm - June 9, 2014.
Filed under: Afghanistan,Democratic Scandals

President Obama and Hillary Clinton’s State Department provided the Qataris with a shipment of highly advanced Stinger Ground-to-Air Missiles. The Qataris were supposed to pass them to anti-Khadafy rebels in Libya. Instead, they ended up with the Taliban, where one was used to shoot down an American helicopter.

But, considering no one got upset over the hundreds of dead Mexicans and one dead American from arms supplied to Mexican Drug cartels by Obama’s Justice Department, this would be obviously just another phony scandal from people who hate the president because he’s a black man.

President Obama probably had no idea those missiles ended up with the Taliban until he saw it in “media reports.”

But George W. Bush was personally responsible for every bad thing that happened in the world from 2001 – on.

Obama Bypasses Congress; Releases Terrorists from GITMO

Posted by V the K at 6:28 pm - May 31, 2014.
Filed under: Afghanistan,Military

The good news is that Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is being released by the Taliban after almost five years in captivity. That is good news.

However, in order to secure his release, Obama released five terrorists from GITMO described as “the worst of the worst.”  According to the Pentagon, there is an extremely high likelihood that the release terrorists will unleash new attacks.

Also, Obama violated US Law that requires Congress to be notified before terrorists are released from the prison complex at Guantanamo Bay. But then, Obama has firmly established that laws do not apply to him, and it is very, very racist to point out his lawlessness.

Obama needed the PR boost; the VA scandal has been kicking him in the pants for the past week.

And there is considerable debate in military circles whether Bergdahl was a prisoner or a deserter.

People are going to die because of this trade.

There’s an American Marine being held in a Mexican prison in Tijuana after accidentally crossing the border with legally owned guns. Obama isn’t lifting a finger to help Sergeant Tahmooressi.

I can’t help but think if a Russian Marine were being held in a prison in just over the border, Putin would send in Spetznatz and get that situation straightened out in a hurry.

What ARE the aims of Obama’s foreign policy?

Victor Davis Hanson published a memorable piece in the National Review last week entitled “America as Pill Bug.”  The pill bug or the roly-poly bug is one that turns itself into a ball when it feels threatened.  Hanson writes:

That roly-poly bug can serve as a fair symbol of present-day U.S. foreign policy, especially in our understandable weariness over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the scandals that are overwhelming the Obama administration.

On August 4, U.S. embassies across the Middle East simply closed on the basis of intelligence reports of planned al-Qaeda violence. The shutdown of 21 diplomatic facilities was the most extensive in recent American history.

Yet we still have over a month to go before the twelfth anniversary of the attacks on September 11, 2001, an iconic date for radical Islamists.

Such preemptive measures are no doubt sober and judicious. Yet if we shut down our entire public profile in the Middle East on the threat of terrorism, what will we do when more anti-American violence arises? Should we close more embassies for more days, or return home altogether?

Hanson makes an excellent point about the way the Obama administration’s closure of embassies is likely to be viewed in the Arab world and around the globe.  Although, as Jeff pointed out in a post last week, the administration may have ulterior motives–by trying to create a distraction–by closing the embassies in this manner, the reality is that the interpretation of the administration’s actions by our international foes is likely to proceed in a manner similar to that Hanson envisions in his article.

Hanson looks at the example of Libya and Syria to illustrate that the administration’s “lead from behind” strategy is not working, and that it appears to be counterproductive:

Instead, the terrorists are getting their second wind, as they interpret our loud magnanimity as weakness — or, more likely, simple confusion. They increasingly do not seem to fear U.S. retaliation for any planned assaults. Instead, al-Qaeda franchises expect Americans to adopt their new pill-bug mode of curling up until danger passes.

Our enemies have grounds for such cockiness. President Obama promised swift punishment for those who attacked U.S. installations in Benghazi and killed four Americans. So far the killers roam free. Rumors abound that they have been seen publicly in Libya.

Instead of blaming radical Islamist killers for that attack, the Obama reelection campaign team fobbed the assault off as the reaction to a supposedly right-wing, Islamophobic videomaker. That yarn was untrue and was greeted as politically correct appeasement in the Middle East.

All these Libyan developments took place against a backdrop of “lead from behind.” Was it wise for American officials to brag that the world’s largest military had taken a subordinate role in removing Moammar Qaddafi — in a military operation contingent on approval from the United Nations and the Arab League but not the U.S. Congress?

No one knows what to do about the mess in Syria. But when you do not know what to do, it is imprudent to periodically lay down “red lines.” Yet the administration has done just that to the Bashar al-Assad regime over the last two years.

Hanson sees the Obama administration’s foreign policy as a disastrous replay of the Carter doctrine, once again illustrating Glenn Reynolds’ frequent observation that a replay of Jimmy Carter is simply the “best-case scenario” for Obama.

While I believe Hanson is right in his characterization of the big picture and the likely consequences of Obama foreign policy, I’d differ from him in seeing Obama as being as feckless and weak as Carter.  I’d maintain that Carter’s foreign policy was guided by a number of naive precepts about the nature of the world.  At least during the years of his presidency, I’d contend that Carter “meant well” in the way the phrase is commonly used to describe a hopelessly incompetent bumbler who seems incapable of recognizing his own shortcomings.  Likewise, early in the Obama administration, Tammy Bruce started referring to Obama as Urkel, the nerdy, awkward, inept kid from the TV show “Family Matters” who had an uncanny ability to mess up almost everything he touched.  That certainly is one narrative for what Obama is doing in the world of foreign policy, but I’m not sure it is the right one.

As I contemplate Obama foreign policy, though, particularly in the Middle East, I find myself thinking more and more that although incompetence might be the simplest explanation, it might not be the best or the right one.  I see no good intentions in the administration’s domestic policy, so why should its foreign policy be exempt from charges that it is motivated more by malevolence to the United States and its role in history than by a supposed set of “liberal” ideals?

This is an administration that seems bent on alienating all of our historical allies as quickly as possible, while taking it easy on our geopolitical foes.  Obama seems to want our allies to view us as unreliable and untrustworthy while making sure our enemies view us as weak, indecisive, and either unable or unwilling to use force to protect our interests or to enforce our stated policy goals.  If there is a better explanation of the administration’s ultimate foreign policy goals, I’d sure like to know what it might be.



I’m on the west coast on business and last night at about 8pm Pacific time, I was getting frantic texts from home: “Obama will be giving a major national security speech from the solemnness of The White House at 10:30pm. Very weird, especially for this President who prefers cheering audiences as much as his TelePrompTer.

And then came the words I had longed to hear for nearly 10 years: Osama bin Laden is dead.

I began to cry as I thought of the thousands incinerated, slaughtered, and fell to their deaths on Sept. 11, 2001.

My heart goes to the family of our close friend — Joe Ferguson — who died when Flight 77 slammed into the side of the Pentagon that bright blue September morning. I hope they will have some sense of closure. The War isn’t over, but the AQ Commander In Chief has been defeated in battle.

My hearty thanks goes to our intelligence and defense communities. A big thanks to President Obama, CIA Director Panetta and SecDef Robert Gates for what appears to be a rare coordinated intel/military ops that worked flawlessly.

Finally, nothing can express my grief and sadness toward the families of 9/11 victims and to those families who gave our nation their sons and daughters in the first round of the Global War on Islamic Terror.


Obama Honors the Fallen as a President Should

I’m not sure how I feel about President Obama’s reversal of George W. Bush’s policy of disallowing media coverage of the return of fallen military members to Dover AFB. Perhaps I’ll never really settle in on how I feel about such an emotional subject. I give myself that latitude.

But I definitely want to take the opportunity today to give the president credit for the classy way in which he welcomed my falled brethren early this morning.

Jake Tapper has the details.

Commander In Chief Ignores Troops on Eve of 9/11 Anniversary

Unlike Dan (below), I did watch the president’s speech to Congress tonight and couldn’t have been more disappointed in his choices.

While there is a lot to say that I’ll address when I get a chance to reflect a bit more on the text of the speech, I didn’t want to go to bed tonight before making the following observation and getting something off my chest:

The last time a Joint Session of Congress was addressed by a president for other than the State of the Union (and a SotU-lite after being Innaugurated) was September 20, 2001 when President George W. Bush addressed the Nation as being “a country awakened to danger and called to defend freedom.” We were about to enter a war that persists to this day.

Nearly eight years to the day after terrorists attacked defenseless civilians in the most dispicable act of destruction on the United States by a foreign entity in history, following the deadliest month so far in the war that ensued, and as a weary Nation begins anew to waver on the necessity of the battle, our current president decided that matters were so dire that another Joint Session needed to be called for an address by him. Things indeed are so grave, that, in his own words, if we do not act, “more will die”.

Only problem is that what was so dire to him is not the very existence of our Nation at the hands of these terrorists, nor the desperately needed pep-talk to reinvigorate the spirit that led us once to nearly unanimously support the need for action in this battle.

No, it was the need he feels to Stalinize the most productive and effective health care industry in the world.

In fact, so unimportant are our troops’ current efforts to defeat the terrorist threat to their Commander in Chief that the words “Afganistan” and “Iraq” passed his lips exactly one time each, and in the same breath, and only to dismiss them as having cost more (in dollars, mind you, not lives) than his (erroneous) projection for this government take-over. What’s more, his use of the present perfect sense (to nit-pick) makes it seem as though he’s speaking of a war already over, not currently being waged.

I have given this man incredible credit over the past 8 months for correct positions he has taken on (some) national defense issues and military concerns. His timing and explicit avoidance of those of us who are fighting and dying daily in the war he did support on the eve of this solemn anniversary and on the heels of such a devastating month of losses is completely inexcusable.

-Nick (ColoradoPatriot, from HQ)

Michael Jackson Memorial Circus & Real Heroes

This is a “repost” from my Twitter account:

$50 says Jacko is still alive and will burst out of his casket with Bubbles and Macaulay Culkin and burst into song while fireworks explode.

I half-expect it to happen.  Only MJ could get away with it too.  Mostly.

In the meantime, real heroes are dying in ever increasing numbers in Afghanistan — Obama’s War.

“Mr. Jackson received days of wall-to-wall coverage in the media,” Martha Gillis wrote to the Washington Post. “Where was the coverage of my nephew or the other soldiers who died that week?”

Gillis’ nephew, Lt. Brian Bradshaw, 24, died in Kheyl, Afganistan, of wounds suffered when an improvised explosive device detonated near his vehicle. Bradshaw, of Steilacoom, Wash., was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment, 4th Airborne Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division in Fort Richardson, Alaska. He was one of at least 13 U.S. soldiers to die in Afghanistan since Jackson’s death on June 25.

Since January 20, 2009, over 70 American servicemen have died in Afghanistan.

-Bruce (GayPatriot)