Life Is So Strange Destination Unknown

Andy Card is wrong yet again. The best time to roll out a new product is not the Fall. It’s Black Friday when Americans on the home front surge to battle for the latest in meaningless Chinese electronic trinkets and other ephemera. No wonder Card ran an automobile trade association.

Days after President Obama outlines his new war strategy in a speech Tuesday, as many as 9,000 Marines will begin final preparations to deploy to southern Afghanistan and renew an assault on a Taliban stronghold that slowed this year amid a troop shortage and political pressure from the Afghan government, senior U.S. officials said.

Sadly, our worst fears about this Administration and its national security team are true. The initial deployment has one small silver lining. The Marines are going in first. It may not matter but one can never truly abandon hope.

(BOOMER):  'Walleye, Walleye, this is Boomer in the Zee!  I need fast movers on my Yankee Smoke . . .uh. . .  SPLAT !  (SARGE to NEW KID):  Hey you! Listen you limp cherry neocon,  you pick up his link and you call in that snake'n nape and get us some boom boom now!'

Long before McChrystal and the dangerously incestuous, in-bred theater chain of command glommed their report together, the Marines learned a core component of the celebrated strategy was worthless. Lessons from Iraq do *not* carry over to Afghanistan. Marines as usual are quick to adapt to new truths.

Contra President General Petreus et al. one can’t cut and paste a counter-insurgency strategy. In Iraq, one controls an urban center and thereby influences the surrounding farm land. The Marines in 2009 learned what we’ve all discussed together here at length — in Afghanistan, the two are unrelated. Control of a city has no impact at all on the surrounding countryside. Something the Soviets’ fiasco makes blatantly clear. We’re not surprised the Marines again are faster on the uptake than the Army for a number of reasons. Although even the Army in its slow way is finding reality far different from CENTCOM PowerPoint slides.

What the Marines learned already likely will be for naught. The ‘strategy’ is set. Perhaps that’s why it all now feels like a car accident – time slows down and then one stops fighting and just waits out the agonizingly slow nano seconds until impact.


  1. Comment says

    We’re Tiger fans and we are sort of puzzled why his transgressions became a media event – Yes, he is the ultimate sportsman, but many in sports lead problematic lives. We regret addressing the issue – but Tiger probably turned down 99.999 of opportunities on tour where groupies followed him etc. Anyway = best luck to Tiger. We like him only for his athletic virtuosity.

  2. Comment says

    McCain is still erratic and still rapidly aging – creating a volatle combination of aggresive ignorance when question witnesses at committee. McCain kept insisting today – all evidence to contrary – that Iraq withdrawls were only decided after the “surge” “succeeded” – Quiot the opposite is true , we recall Maliki insisting on a date certain shortly after the Iraq study group and he got that — Then he noted that what was holding Bush up was time to save face.

  3. Comment says

    Btw – wasn’t Charles Johnson part of the set up (it seems) against Dan Rather? Johnson may or may not have been correct about once bit of evidence – That one bit may or may not have been doctored – It may even have been fed to Rather. But obverall – few people who looked into the matter think Bush actually fulfilled his service duties properly. In fact, Johnson and many others probably suspect Bush was awol or a deserter, but hate for Democrats force him to play a cynical game. Maybe he is stupid – maybe he believed Bush was this amazing fighter pilot set upon of pinko Rather. But maybe he is just an asshole.

  4. Dr Leo Strauss says

    We made the Johnson observation with some deliberateness. It’s more intentional than a glib dinner theater over broad gesture. We don’t forget how LGF (and their Pajamas Media vandals) played a significant role in destroying any kind of dissent within American conservatism and then the Nation. Johnson and his merry band recklessly commingled Neocon AgitProp with Nativist and other anti-liberal democratic memes and lit the fires propelling us into Christian Socialist Authoritarianism.

    Some Americans forget the visceral fear the Bush Administration imposed on government and citizens. Those years are now a dim memory, like a bad weekend at a beach house. But we remember. People stopped trusting their friends. How quiet dinners would be arranged. After the second bottle of wine, someone might make a tentative gesture signaling that perhaps they didn’t agree with the Administration 100%. We remember their real fear that they just made a mistake reaching out. That they would be betrayed.

    All courtesy of the Johnsons of the world.

  5. Hunter says

    re: the Dowd piece:
    Oh, God, the last sentence! “Perhaps the Holy Spirit will intercede.” Priceless! And perhaps power politics will stop being a central determining factor in the Catholic Church, after only 1600 years. Oh, I needed a good laugh (eight years in a Catholic school can make one something of a cynic in these matters).

  6. Comment says

    Yes – we think LGF just got pissed when he diverged on a few issues and he was met with heavy levels of hate on his blog. The birthers were a jump the shark thing.

    Ah yes, the old Fegelein – Johnson comparison. Love it – Johnson would freak at that and in days gone by he would have launched a blog war against you for it.

    Liberal bloggers should ignore him – he’s a tool and he thinks it’s important for a civilian to call the President Commander in Chief. Loser. He is just a not smart Frum.

  7. Dr Leo Strauss says

    @inquire Johnson’s Koestler moment seems comparatively uninteresting. Why? Everything he says now was rampant when LGF was an obscure, undiscovered petri dish — and he reveled in it. His problem? He backed losers and losing is no fun. So now he’s just gonna walk away, washing his hands and refusing to accept culpability for unleashing the very hell he complains about. He may not have Brock’s inner monologue, but Johnson can at least commit to repairing damage he so energetically enabled. Had he made this ‘discovery’ during the 2004, 2006 or 2008 cycles – when outcomes were in doubt – his decision would have carried more weight for us.

    To us, Johnson is not much more than a minor league version of Hermann Fegelein, Himmler’s adjutant to the Corporal’s court. Fegelein enjoyed all the privileges (including dalliances) and stayed until April 1945 when he suddenly had a light bulb go off that he backed a loser. His survival meant more than loyalty. And voila. The Corporal suddenly was a criminal lunatic. Whether Johnson suffers the meme-equivalent of execution for treason depends on his tenacity and how stupid liberal bloggers may be in giving him even another 10 seconds of fame.

  8. inquire says

    Some (i.e. boingboing et al.) are all aflutter about a recent conversion that may interest this forum:

    LGF: Why I Parted Ways With The Right

    1. Support for fascists, both in America (see: Pat Buchanan, Robert Stacy McCain, etc.) and in Europe (see: Vlaams Belang, BNP, SIOE, Pat Buchanan, etc.)…

    Likely less significant than they probably think it is, but some of the reasoning is not alien to the discussion here. A small victory for rationalism?

  9. Comment says

    Colbert has a hilarious interview with Joe Cerincioni (sp?) – He imitates a nuclear explosion in a pretty funny way.

  10. Comment says

    Tweety actually earned his pay here – No doubt Bill Donahue (an egregious hothead) is pissed over the mere impertinence of Tweety treating His Excellency like a slippery politician. But in reality – Tweety is hep to the fact that much of pro life position is fatuous and many pro life Republicans just pretend because they know the law will never really change anyway. Also – some are like Nixon, and only dislike abortion because they think it makes women less chaste. Notice how Tobin really does not wanna elaborate what he wants the law to do – He wants that to be all vague behind the language and rhetoric of life.

    Tweety is like Dowd in many ways – He knows what this Bishop is all about because he knows people just like him. Tweety will have start some spat over bowling or something to get conservatives to forgive him for this.

  11. Comment says

    ” … we’d say the energy lies with the insurgent, non-tolerant vector.”

    There are a number of really bright right wingers and they have the energy — no doubt. They also know that since the evangelicals will never be taken seriously intellectually, they have an opportunity to be sort of a home base for ideologically committed conservatives that can be on equal terms with serious intellectuals on the left.

    Btw – did you notice how conservativs just forgot how much they loved urban parochial schools giving minorities a chance when our wise latina woman got appointed to SCOTUS? Gobineau indeed.

  12. Comment says

    Though we are in the tank for Barack, we are not so pathetic to not realize Obama is making a mistake in Afganistan. We see no upside.

  13. Comment says

    When the peevish Bishop of Rhode Island said Pat Kennedy “attacked” the church, he was a bit like some two bit war pundit who looks up from his laptop to call Jimmy Carter an anti-semite. In both cases you have defensive people with lots of bitterness aboout the ground shifting under their feet.
    We know some people who are beside themselves over Obama being honored by Notre Dame. Like their whole world just sort of caved in on them. You can bet the Pope’s slippers Obama will win the Catholic vote 2012 and that will further the anger among the rightists.

  14. Comment says

    re Deal Hudson – One of his former colleagues writes at True/slant and after Teddy Kennedy died wrote a very weird essay where he seemed obsessed with Teddy’s sex life and various unconfirmed gossip. Very unseemly stuff for a grown man to be writting about such stuff and expect to be taken seriously. Teddy was actually wholesome compared to some of the cretins who were fixated on his personal life. We don’t begrudge republicans trying to benefit from those Teddy stories – That’s politics. But when a writer claimin to be religiously concerned to be gossiping like that on a website is very grim. There is a strain of paleocon writers that have their own issues and they like to blame liberalism rather than themselves for whatever happend to be of concern.
    A failure to accept responsibility – Sort of the like these Republicans who seem to forget they had total power for 6 years and they f—ed up.

  15. Comment says

    That C st. group are all a bunch of hypocrites – It’s too comical. The blastmenst of scandal is what is causing the conservative churchman to huury the link up with the right wing politicos – Using ecumenism as partial cover – Immigration is gonna make the whole affair untenable long term though. The top heavy conservatism is not unlike the top heavy conservatism of the Israel advocacy community – Indeed, both deny they are conservative. It’s sort of ironic. It’s very defensive and reactionary. Lots of bitterness.
    The Bishop who threw a recent fit at Pat Kennedy is kidding no body when he pretends to be a sincere pastor concerned with Kennedy’s soul. His moody outburst – complete with a Jovian used of Cannon Law as thunderbolts to throw at Patrick. Obviously selective.

    Ofcourse, these phonies are shown up when they cannot seem to muster sincere objections to Pataki or Rudy re abortion.

  16. Dr Leo Strauss says

    He gets it. Most of us dealing with the Warlord’s regime learned that lesson no later than mid 2002 either directly or by watching the destruction of some clueless ‘rational’ self-styled conservative haplessly wondering why they were wearing a burning tire around their neck.

    Changing gears, as we’ve written before, the Movement is making a determined effort to infiltrate the Catholic Church and has been for some time. Using the same techniques and strategies that led to them supplanting the GOP from within. It’s a smart play. The Catholic Church is the Western World’s most successful meme propagator and has centuries of experience in detecting and rebuffing subversive memes. It’s wealthy, it’s international, it’s hierarchical and it has a big national footprint re schools and dioceses.

    Moreover, for the internally secular but externally devout cynics, the Catholic Church’s stance on abortion and no birth control is essential from their actual nationalist volkish concerns about the white race becoming a minority. They take all of Gobineau’s Continental racist gibberish about white supremacy and festoon it with pseudo-scientific genetic gibberish as ‘scientific proof’, etc.

    That’s not speculation. That’s actual conversation. And the Stiftung was gently probed as to whether we would ‘join the club.’ And this btw is only an offshoot of more bat shit lunacy that passes for some of the religious secret societies (C Street is but one) that sprung up in D.C. like kudzu under the Warlord’s tenure. This is where the Church and the insurgent parasites are struggling right now – immigration. A major strand of the non-Evangelical Movement seeking infiltration is 100% racist and white racial supremacist in goal – people we all see on TV. That’s not an accusation. It’s what they’ve said to our face and we’ve argued about – some ‘Washington friendships’ ended because of it.

    It’s also like pedophilia. Something in the room no one talks about. Believe me, if we know it, then this whole town knows it. The non-captured elements of the Church have selfish institutional interests in mind – re-populating empty dioceses with the devout immigrants. And there are those who are motivated by genuine moral and spiritual imperatives in the face of human need and tragedy. But right now, as the Stiftung sees it, and we are by no means hooked into Deal Hudson (pre scandal) and Crisis, we’d say the energy lies with the insurgent, non-tolerant vector.

    There used to be a couple of ways to get something into the Warlord’s WH when we dealt with them. One was to go through Cheney’s office apparat. To even get started you had to be ‘on the team.’ Then the issue had to be something they gave a shit about and the request had to have some radical solution that would also screw the Democrats. If you made it that far, they still would do the very Mandarin calculation of status as to what level your initial meetings would be, etc. etc. If you passed all the tests and they believed you were full on board, no holds barred kool aid drunk and kamikaze crazed, well you had the run of government. That’s where we were on more than one occasion with an AIG General Council and President, for example.

    Another route was the traditional way of simply asking the WH for a meeting. For rubes, tourists and Democrats. If you knew Grover or sat in on the Wednesday Meetings then the WH mechanism could be worked. But even then still last resort.

    Some of the fastest ways to get things done, especially kill things? Find out who was in what bible study group/prayer group overlapping Hill and WH staff. Diagramming that out and one could short circuit stuff that would leave all the jaw jaw pundits stunned. Lightning. People writing for The Hill would be left bewildered. But it came at a price. Like enduring those endless Pat Boone prayer breakfasts we joke about, etc. If they caught even the slightest hint of secular ‘Left Behindism’? A no go.

    Those latter networks are not what they were with 2006 and 2008. But what remains is febrile as the C Street stories show. The campaign underway to define the political destiny of American Catholicism is a far bigger story than American media is comfortable covering.

  17. Comment says

    We had to laugh reading the comment thread on Dowd’s column and people are attacking her for being anti catholic yada yada yada , and repeatedly people refer to the disgusting Cardinal Bernard Law (still not in jail)as a “liiberal” – Ha, how the mind works. Law was a conservatve and a favorite of conservatives.

  18. Comment says

    As an aside. we think Dowd is still haunted by Sister Hiltruda. And the patriarchy of Muslims is a bit more strict than Dowd’s pre V2 schooldays.

  19. Comment says

    re Bennett = Dowd employed bennett in a manner akin to the way Colin Powell’s name is invoked against gitmoe. The presumption of moral authority is nauseating.

  20. Comment says

    Btw – isn’t it odd that Huckabeee did not pardon any of thousands rotting in Ak jails over petty crimes and non violent offenses, but instead gave pardons and commutations to murderers? odd

  21. Comment says

    IMO the churchman who danced a jig over the Stupak amendment are actually mistaken. That amedment really wouldn’t do anything down the road even if it survived court challanges. Simply put – insurance companies care only about money and so they will always prefer to pay for something less expensive the pre natal care and birth.

    The churchman and the feminists are co-dendent – They are addicted to the phony culture war and neither group lives in real world America. Many in the chuch also just pretend to want to extend healt care, but they really dread the expansion of the safety net because they think that was undermined their position in Europe. Also, too many professional feminists are just unaware of ordinary people.
    They just do not know them, so they inevitably elavate symbolic cultural politics over prosaic day to day needs of the proles.

  22. Comment says

    Yeah we did think the Bennett citation was odd, but it may have been a clever way for Dowd to imply Bennett was on her side in the dispute and so put him in a position where he has to makes some uncomfortable clarifications.

    re Newt = we try not to take any politicians religion too seriously because no one really knows when it is sincere or tactical or a bit of both – It’s just guesswork.

    The RC bishops are now mostly all right wingers or reactionaries of a sort – Francoists, if you will. Perhaps that is a stretch. But there is a lot of anger that emminates.
    Many of them openly wish for a small angry orthodox churched, purged of Dowds and Kennedys. Teddy drove them nuts. His funeral mass was the most unkind cut – It drove the wingers batshit.

  23. Comment says

    The new Bishop of NY ranted that this Dowd being anti Catholic and imbibing nativist anti-papist clap trap.
    This off the mark response shows that Dowd really got under his skin and he was not able to think more properly and cleverly in response.
    Dowd does make some weak points that would not stand deep scrutiney, but that’s what she always does. The ungracious pastors who are so offended by Dowds column never seemed to be truly offended by the repulsve criminals in their midst. Indeed they regarded themselves as victims of the secular media and people now pretend they did not hear what Ratzinger said about that whole mess when it unfolded.

    The right wingers who now run the show are just going crazy about Dowd or Patrick Kennedy et al. The Bishop of Rhose Island is attacking Kennedy in public while being transparently insincere when he claims to praying for Kennedy and wanting to help him when he so obviously hates his guts.

    It has nothing to do with religion – Indeed we see the same thing with other religions and ethni

  24. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Ah yes, if only the nuns were empowered by Vivienne Westwood fashion sense, centuries of pedophilia might not have been covered up by criminal conspiracy. MoDo never disappoints. This piffle, however, will deeply unnerve Tweety. One can see him searching at home for a suitable weapon. In the end, all he can come up with is one of his wooden shoe stays he got when he bought shoes hoping to impress to get Russert’s job. He draws comfort placing the contraption under his bed in case the sans-culottes gather when he sleeps.

    Quoting Bennett like that is appalling — he was a mercenary sanitizer retained to bury the truth. He and his ilk helped millions of Catholics to pretend pedophilia and other crimes were all some vague, far away problem to be dismissed in their more important mission of imposing judgment on others. And the Anglican thing? MoDo might as well ask why the Church is so actively pro immigrant (illegal) and embracing Newt et al. It has nothing to do with the human crisis of illegal immigration or Newt’s reading lists.

    MoDo may have been raised a Catholic. But she shows she never got it. The official AgitProp or grim truth.

  25. Comment says

    We think MoDo is way overrated and mostly her pop culture mind traffics in ephemera – and just seems too often trying to compensate for her mixed feelings about the RC church. But occassionally we tip our hat like when she unloaded on Judy Miller and now this column has got all the right wing ungracious pastors pissed off:

  26. Comment says

    Sad day for Pat Buchanan – His own hero, Ivan Demanjuk, goes on trial. Poor Pat has to see this man approach his very own Calvary.

  27. Comment says

    yes – the Salahis smell of mcmansion – You can almost see the cheesy entrance hall of their house just by looking at them. We’d love to see them get really drunk and show up at Sally Quinn’s one night and cause a scene.

  28. Comment says

    The media is far more obsessed with Tiger Woods mini accident than they were about Dick Cheney (probably drunk) shooting Hank Whittington in the head and then not reporting it until (his hangover cleared?) late the next day.

    re Salahi – we used to crash embassy parties when we were just out of college. Lots of fun.

  29. Comment says

    Comment has mixed feelings about Salahi = the party crashers – We think they are hilarious vulgarians. Generally we favor party crashing and we think DC establishment chatter is disingenuous – They pretend to worried about security, but they really resent the usurpatioh of the social order implicit in the crash. Yes, we worry about Obama et al, but overall we think the Secret Service is excellent – They make mistakes, they are only human. Call this a “teachable moment”

    • Dr Leo Strauss says

      Agreed, L’Affaire Salahi has its amusing aspects. D.C. is so awash with them and the credulous. Remember when Secord would interrupt his own parties and announce he had to take a call from President Reagan (it was his landscaper, etc.)?

      Our worry is that given the eliminationist extremism out there fomented by Fox et al. the Secret Service has to be on triple attentiveness. It’s not bringing its A game. Granted these McMansion poseurs don’t fit the tea bag nutcase profile nor did they try and fly a plane into the WH. But the Service can not let the Nation down again and leave us with the ultimate tragedy, in addition to the Obama family itself. If the Service were to fail *us* – the American people – again it is simply unimaginable.

  30. Comment says

    We have been reading some stuff on “First Things” and we notice a lot of Barone-ism – ie not so tough guys pretending to be tough and military oriented. Lots of chickenhawk bluster.

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