Hi there, !
Today Sat 03/07/2009 Fri 03/06/2009 Thu 03/05/2009 Wed 03/04/2009 Tue 03/03/2009 Mon 03/02/2009 Sun 03/01/2009 Archives
463556 articles and 1636878 comments are archived on Rantburg.

Today: 98 articles and 377 comments as of 18:22.
Post a news link    Post your own article   
Area: WoT Operations    WoT Background    Non-WoT        Politix    Posting Order
Lanka troops in last Tamil Tiger Towne
Today's Headlines
Headline Comments [Views]
Page 4: Opinion
2 00:00 Besoeker [6467] 
2 00:00 JosephMendiola [6459] 
4 00:00 rabid whitetail [6462] 
6 00:00 trailing wife [6472] 
0 [6458] 
2 00:00 Anguper Hupomosing9418 [6460] 
2 00:00 Sissy Willis [6458] 
1 00:00 Anguper Hupomosing9418 [6457] 
0 [6458] 
9 00:00 whitecollar redneck [6459] 
10 00:00 DMFD [6457] 
4 00:00 Procopius2k [6460] 
0 [6458] 
2 00:00 sludge [6458] 
Page 1: WoT Operations
11 00:00 Frank G [6461]
0 [6459]
11 00:00 john frum [6465]
2 00:00 OId Patriot [6461]
12 00:00 Deacon Blues [6458]
1 00:00 mojo [6460]
1 00:00 mhw [6460]
0 [6457]
0 [6459]
4 00:00 Mitch H. [6460]
9 00:00 JosephMendiola [6460]
0 [6458]
1 00:00 JosephMendiola [6472]
0 [6461]
0 [6459]
0 [6458]
0 [6459]
3 00:00 Redneck Jim (WMOF) [6461]
0 [6459]
1 00:00 trailing wife [6461]
Page 2: WoT Background
0 [6464]
10 00:00 Mizzou Mafia [6464]
1 00:00 tu3031 [6460]
2 00:00 JosephMendiola [6460]
5 00:00 rabid whitetail [6461]
8 00:00 Galactic Coordinator Spuger5075 [6460]
2 00:00 Barbara Skolaut [6461]
0 [6458]
9 00:00 rabid whitetail [6462]
3 00:00 Shipman [6464]
1 00:00 tu3031 [6461]
1 00:00 Seafarious [6460]
1 00:00 JosephMendiola [6460]
0 [6458]
1 00:00 mojo [6458]
1 00:00 William Marcy Tweed [6460]
5 00:00 tu3031 [6460]
2 00:00 mojo [6459]
1 00:00 g(r)omgoru [6460]
0 [6459]
7 00:00 trailing wife [6466]
1 00:00 Albert Snesh5991 Really Redneck Jimmy nym refuses to stay put [6463]
0 [6458]
0 [6458]
6 00:00 JosephMendiola [6462]
5 00:00 Frank G [6460]
0 [6460]
1 00:00 Galactic Coordinator Spuger5075 [6461]
3 00:00 Trader_DFW [6464]
1 00:00 JFM [6461]
4 00:00 rabid whitetail [6458]
0 [6457]
Page 3: Non-WoT
5 00:00 Richard of Oregon [6459]
1 00:00 rabid whitetail [6458]
15 00:00 mhw [6466]
20 00:00 Barbara Skolaut [6458]
6 00:00 Shipman [6458]
10 00:00 Frank G [6458]
3 00:00 Cynicism Inc [6458]
21 00:00 rammer [6471]
0 [6458]
0 [6459]
6 00:00 JosephMendiola [6460]
16 00:00 Albert Snesh5991 Really Redneck Jim my nym refuses to stay put [6462]
0 [6457]
1 00:00 OId Patriot [6459]
7 00:00 Zhang Fei [6461]
0 [6457]
0 [6460]
0 [6460]
2 00:00 JosephMendiola [6459]
0 [6460]
0 [6461]
0 [6461]
0 [6458]
10 00:00 Shipman [6460]
8 00:00 Frank G [6464]
0 [6457]
Page 6: Politix
4 00:00 Whineper Prince aka Broadhead6 [6459]
6 00:00 eltoroverde [6461]
21 00:00 DMFD [6460]
5 00:00 Besoeker [6461]
18 00:00 Barbara Skolaut [6458]
11 00:00 rabid whitetail [6461]
Lost in holy translation
An Afghan's 20-year sentence for an 'offensive' translation of the Qur'an highlights the country's descent into theological chaos
Posted by: tipper || 03/04/2009 10:19 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  descent into theological chaos ??? Afghanistan has been in chaos for centuries!
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/04/2009 18:52 Comments || Top||

U.S. Strategy in Afghan War Hinges on Far-Flung Outposts
Posted by: tipper || 03/04/2009 08:35 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Name the first one, Dien ben phu.
Posted by: Galactic Coordinator Spuger5075 || 03/04/2009 16:50 Comments || Top||

#2  My thought exactly, GCS.

The French tried this in 'Nam, and got handed their asses.
Posted by: mojo || 03/04/2009 17:43 Comments || Top||

#3  These outposts are not R&R centers, they are combat engagement networks. Build them, man them, let the INDIG know you're not leaving anytime soon and the little phuechs will come. Employ persistent surveillance, ground sensors, OP's, search & destroy, sniper teams, pre-planned mortar and arty fires, attack helos. Pull the bastards out! Only then can you KILL them properly! Stay behind the Hesco barriers and lose. General Petreaus is all about the offense and sucking the bastards into the kill zone.
Posted by: Besoeker || 03/04/2009 18:32 Comments || Top||

#4  I think I've seen this outpost strategy before. The string of outposts from Fort Yuma to Fort Clark weren't there
for economic stimulus.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 03/04/2009 19:07 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Politix
I'm Tired - Robert A. Hall, Viet Vet and 5 term Massachusetts State Senator.
Ill be 63 soon. Except for one semester in college when jobs were scarce, and a six-month period when I was between jobs, but job-hunting every day, Ive worked, hard, since I was 18. Despite some health challenges, I still put in 50-hour weeks, and havent called in sick in seven or eight years. I make a good salary, but I didnt inherit my job or my income, and I worked to get where I am. Given the economy, theres no retirement in sight, and Im tired. Very tired.

Im tired of being told that I have to "spread the wealth around" to people who dont have my work ethic. Im tired of being told the government will take the money I earned, by force if necessary, and give it to people too lazy or stupid to earn it.

Im tired of being told that I have to pay more taxes to "keep people in their homes." Sure, if they lost their jobs or got sick, Im willing to help. But if they bought McMansions at three times the price of our paid-off, $250,000 condo, on one-third of my salary, then let the leftwing Congresscritters who passed Fannie and Freddie and the Community Reinvestment Act that created the bubble help them--with their own money.

Im tired of being told how bad America is by leftwing millionaires like Michael Moore, George Soros and Hollywood entertainers who live in luxury because of the opportunities America offers. In thirty years, if they get their way, the United States will have the religious freedom and womens rights of Saudi Arabia, the economy of Zimbabwe, the freedom of the press of China, the crime and violence of Mexico, the tolerance for Gay people of Iran, and the freedom of speech of Venezuela. Wont multiculturalism be beautiful?

Im tired of being told that Islam is a "Religion of Peace," when every day I can read dozens of stories of Muslim men killing their sisters, wives and daughters for their family "honor;" of Muslims rioting over some slight offense; of Muslims murdering Christian and Jews because they arent "believers;" of Muslims burning schools for girls; of Muslims stoning teenage rape victims to death for "adultery;" of Muslims mutilating the genitals of little girls; all in the name of Allah, because the Quran and Sharia law tells them to.

I believe "a man should be judged by the content of his character, not by the color of his skin." Im tired of being told that "race doesnt matter" in the post-racial world of President Obama, when its all that matters in affirmative action jobs, lower college admission and graduation standards for minorities (harming them the most), government contract set-asides, tolerance for the ghetto culture of violence and fatherless children that hurts minorities more than anyone, and in the appointment of US Senators from Illinois. I think its very cool that we have a black president and that a black child is doing her homework at the desk where Lincoln wrote the emancipation proclamation. I just wish the black president was Condi Rice, or someone who believes more in freedom and the individual and less in an all-knowing government.

Im tired of a news media that thinks Bushs fundraising and inaugural expenses were obscene, but that think Obamas, at triple the cost, were wonderful. That thinks Bush exercising daily was a waste of presidential time, but Obama exercising is a great example for the public to control weight and stress, that picked over every line of Bushs military records, but never demanded that Kerry release his, that slammed Palin with two years as governor for being too inexperienced for VP, but touted Obama with three years as senator as potentially the best president ever.

Wonder why people are dropping their subscriptions or switching to Fox News? Get a clue. I didnt vote for Bush in 2000, but the media and Kerry drove me to his camp in 2004.

Im tired of being told that out of "tolerance for other cultures" we must let Saudi Arabia use our oil money to fund mosques and madrassa Islamic schools to preach hate in America, while no American group is allowed to fund a church, synagogue or religious school in Saudi Arabia to teach love and tolerance.

Im tired of being told I must lower my living standard to fight global warming, which no one is allowed to debate. My wife and I live in a two-bedroom apartment and carpool together five miles to our jobs. We also own a three-bedroom condo where our daughter and granddaughter live. Our carbon footprint is about 5% of Al Gores, and if youre greener than Gore, youre green enough.

Im tired of being told that drug addicts have a disease, and I must help support and treat them, and pay for the damage they do. Did a giant germ rush out of a dark alley, grab them, and stuff white powder up their noses while they tried to fight it off? I dont think Gay people choose to be Gay, but I damn sure think druggies chose to take drugs. And Im tired of harassment from cool people treating me like a freak when I tell them I never tried marijuana.

Im tired of illegal aliens being called "undocumented workers," especially the ones who arent working, but are living on welfare or crime. Whats next? Calling drug dealers, "Undocumented Pharmacists"? And, no, Im not against Hispanics. Most of them are Catholic and its been a few hundred years since Catholics wanted to kill me for my religion. Im willing to fast track for citizenship any Hispanic person who can speak English, doesnt have a criminal record and who is self-supporting without family on welfare, or who serves honorably for three years in our military. Those are the citizens we need.

Im tired of latte liberals and journalists, who would never wear the uniform of the Republic themselves, or let their entitlement-handicapped kids near a recruiting station, trashing our military. They and their kids can sit at home, never having to make split-second decisions under life and death circumstances, and bad mouth better people then themselves. Do bad things happen in war? You bet. Do our troops sometimes misbehave? Sure. Does this compare with the atrocities that were the policy of our enemies for the last fifty years--and still are? Not even close. So heres the deal. Ill let myself be subjected to all the humiliation and abuse that was heaped on terrorists at Abu Ghraib or Gitmo, and the critics can let themselves be subject to captivity by the Muslims who tortured and beheaded Daniel Pearl in Pakistan, or the Muslims who tortured and murdered Marine Lt. Col. William Higgins in Lebanon, or the Muslims who ran the blood-spattered Al Qaeda torture rooms our troops found in Iraq, or the Muslims who cut off the heads of schoolgirls in Indonesia, because the girls were Christian. Then well compare notes. British and American soldiers are the only troops in history that civilians came to for help and handouts, instead of hiding from in fear.

Im tired of people telling me that their party has a corner on virtue and the other party has a corner on corruption. Read the papers--bums are bi-partisan. And Im tired of people telling me we need bi-partisanship. I live in Illinois, where the "Illinois Combine" of Democrats and Republicans has worked together harmoniously to loot the public for years. And I notice that the tax cheats in Obamas cabinet are bi-partisan as well.

Im tired of hearing wealthy athletes, entertainers and politicians of both parties talking about innocent mistakes, stupid mistakes or youthful mistakes, when we all know they think their only mistake was getting caught. Im tired of people with a sense of entitlement, rich or poor.

Speaking of poor, Im tired of hearing people with air-conditioned homes, color TVs and two cars called poor. The majority of Americans didnt have that in 1970, but we didnt know we were "poor." The poverty pimps have to keep changing the definition of poor to keep the dollars flowing.

Im real tired of people who dont take responsibility for their lives and actions. Im tired of hearing them blame the government, or discrimination, or big-whatever for their problems.

Yes, Im damn tired. But Im also glad to be 63. Because, mostly, Im not going to get to see the world these people are making. Im just sorry for my granddaughter.

Robert A. Hall is a Marine Vietnam veteran who served five terms in the Massachusetts state senate. He blogs.
Posted by: Besoeker || 03/04/2009 13:16 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6472 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Wow. Just wow... This is simply beautiful. The only regret I have after reading this is that we live in times that warrant such a piece.
Posted by: Dar || 03/04/2009 14:46 Comments || Top||

#2  Similar such has been written throughout history. By stand up guys from now defunct nations...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 03/04/2009 17:20 Comments || Top||

#3  Well done, Mr. Hall

I just had to copy that and send it off to my contact list.
Posted by: Classer || 03/04/2009 18:31 Comments || Top||

#4  No kidding - I'm going to bookmark and link like crazy. Believe me, around here in San Antonio, he wouldn't be alone in feeling like this. He'd have a lot of people agreeing with him, down to the last sentence.
Posted by: Sgt. Mom || 03/04/2009 18:55 Comments || Top||

#5  Well now, I'm tired too. Think I'll go get a drink and then take a nap.
Posted by: Glenmore || 03/04/2009 19:45 Comments || Top||

#6  That's my gig, Glenmore dear. You go do something useful to balance me out, 'k?
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/04/2009 21:57 Comments || Top||

'Ambushed' Caterpillar's CEO
Congressman Aaron Schock, at the ripe old age of 27, visited the Conservative Bloggers' Briefing at Heritage today and spoke on a range of issues, but told a particularly interesting story regarding a visit with President Obama to the Caterpillar plant in Peoria, Illinois last month.

The giant plant on the east bank of the Illinois River is home to the world's largest maker of construction and mining equipment, diesel and natural gas engines, and industrial gas turbines. As reported previously, CEO Jim Owens said, in response to Obama's claims of the stimulus bill's elixir-like power to create jobs: "I think realistically no. The truth is we're going to have more layoffs before we start hiring again."

The February 12th speech in Schock's home district merited a ride on Air Force One during which Schock said the President "Didn't lobby me heavily. It was really when we got in front of everone." Believing he was on friendly turf, Obama called out the young Congressman at the beginning of his speech:

PRESIDENT OBAMA: ...Congressman Schock -- where is he? He's back here. He's right here. Stand up, Aaron. This is -- (applause). Aaron's still trying to make up his mind about our recovery package.



PRESIDENT OBAMA: So, you know, he has a chance to be in the mold of Bob Michel and Ray LaHood. And so we're -- we know that all of you are going to talk to him --


PRESIDENT OBAMA: -- after our event, because he's a very talented young man. I've got great confidence in him to do the right thing for the people of Peoria.

"I was very surprised to be called out the way I was," said Schock at today's Briefing.

His next line drew hearty laughter from the surrounding bloggers. "The funny part was, I stuck around for 45 minutes while he was in there taking pictures...and [the Caterpillar employees] came up to me and said 'Hey Aaron, stick to your guns. This is a bad bill'. The irony was..the local...UAW did not endorse the stimulus bill."

Later, through calls and emails, Caterpillar employees continued to urge Schock not to vote for the stimulus bill. "I had fourteen hundred Caterpillar employees alone urging me to vote against it," he said.

After the rally, Schock, the President and CEO Jim Owens boarded Air Force One. Schock said he sat nervously next to Owens, having believed Obama when he said Owens supported the stimulus. "I know Jim Owens, guy's a Phd, graduate of Wharton...this guy's smarter than this. I don't think this is something he'd say. So I got on the plane and leaned over to him and said: Jim, are you really promoting this bill?"

Schock paraphrased Owen's response: "Aaron, I got ambushed. The President called me up and said, 'Jim what would it take for you to re-hire people at Caterpillar?'" Owens responded by saying if a "responsible stimulus bill" was passed, he would be able to re-hire workers.

"And so the President left that phone call and went out and said "The CEO of Caterpillar said if my bill passes--well, he made a couple of assumptions: first, that his stimulus bill was responsible--which it wasnt. And number two, that it was going to get the economy going again-which it didn't," concluded Schock.

Despite clever marketing and direct pressure from a popular President, the ugly head of economic reality refuses to hide. This Caterpillar anectdote is a perfect example of why mere spending does not equal economic growth. If government spending truly created growth, we should be borrowing and spending trillions of dollars every minute of every day, till the end of time.

But it doesn't. Incentivizing businesses and individuals by allowing them to keep their money through tax cuts does, however, create net growth and attract investment.
Posted by: Beavis || 03/04/2009 13:07 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

So long White House gig! My taxes are in order
Howie Carr, Boston Herald

It’s official - I will not be getting a high-level appointment in the Barack Obama administration.

OK, so it was always a longshot, but now it’s a certainty. I just got the news in a letter from the federal government - not from the White House, but from the Internal Revenue Service.

“I have completed the examination of your tax return for the year(s) shown above (2007),” it began. “I am pleased to inform you I’m proposing no change to your tax return.”

In other words, I am not a tax cheat, and I’ve got it in writing.

I wasn’t going to mention this until Tim Geithner, the tax-evading Treasury Secretary, came out yesterday for “tax fairness” - that is, higher taxes. The fact that he said it in front of Rep. Charlie Rangel, another confessed tax cheat, made his breath-taking hypocrisy even more aggravating.

Geithner, you may recall, didn’t pay withholding taxes for years and years, even though he signed affidavits saying he had. Even worse, he illegally took a tax write-off for his kid’s overnight-summer camp. The Geithner doctrine: tax “fairness” for you and me, tax cheating for the Beautiful People....
Posted by: Mike || 03/04/2009 11:25 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6460 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Howie's been getting audited since the Dukakis days. He makes enemies.
And I still say Geithner looks like one of those guys that Chris Hansen nails on Dateline...
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/04/2009 11:48 Comments || Top||

#2  Geithner looks like an unsmiling Dr. Strangelove, both make my skin crawl.
Posted by: Anguper Hupomosing9418 || 03/04/2009 18:51 Comments || Top||

Obama's sledging strategy of intimidation
Posted by: tipper || 03/04/2009 10:26 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Tell a lie enough times and it becomes the truth...Joseph Goebbels

The brown shirts have arrived.

Is a "Krystal Nacht" for Republicans next?

All hail big brother?

A cult of personality, demonization of the opposition, discrediting religion and attacking the nuclear family....Lenin couldn't have done it better himself.
Posted by: James Carville || 03/04/2009 10:44 Comments || Top||

#2  Thanks for the link. I LOVE your graphic!
Posted by: Sissy Willis || 03/04/2009 12:31 Comments || Top||

MoDo: change we can't believe in
In one of his disturbing spells of passivity, President Obama decided not to fight Congress and live up to his own no-earmark pledge from the campaign.

He's been lecturing us on the need to prune away frills while the economy fizzles. He was slated to make a speech on "wasteful spending" on Wednesday.

"You know, there are times where you can afford to redecorate your house and there are times where you need to focus on rebuilding its foundation," he said recently about the "hard choices" we must make. Yet he did not ask Congress to sacrifice and make hard choices; he let it do a lot of frivolous redecorating in its budget.

He reckons he'll need Congress for more ambitious projects, like health care, and when he goes back to wheedle more bailout billions, given that A.I.G. and G.M. and our other corporate protectorates are burning through our money faster than we can print it and borrow it from the ever-more-alarmed Chinese.

Team Obama sounds hollow, chanting that "the status quo is not acceptable," even while conceding that the president is accepting the status quo by signing a budget festooned with pork.
I never thought I'd live to type these words without a gun to my head, but: Maureen Dowd is right.

It may just be this once, but still ...

This sin't one of those "signs of the apocalypse" they keep talking about, is it?
Posted by: Mike || 03/04/2009 09:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I am having hallucinations or does it look like MoDo is sliding towards hostility to Obama?
Posted by: JFM || 03/04/2009 10:14 Comments || Top||

#2  Please I need a drink

I agree with MoDo???

There was a time I would rather rip out my tongue with a pair of pliers than say those words.

Hallucinations? No, even a blind journalist can find the truth once in a while...she must be off her meds.
Posted by: James Carville || 03/04/2009 10:47 Comments || Top||

#3  Looks like it's time for Pinchy to have the hallucinogens replenished in the Times water coolers...
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/04/2009 10:51 Comments || Top||

#4  Buyer's Remorse.

I love it (and I told ya so, MoDo)!
Posted by: Parabellum || 03/04/2009 10:59 Comments || Top||

#5  MoDo is a writer and columnist. She's the best high school newspaper columnist ever to appear in the Times.

That said, she needs to write, and she can't forever write her usual gushy, slurpy, syncophantic, hormonal praise of The One. It all sounds the same after a while, and when you're a writer that's no good. Pinchy might decide to recycle her columns and eliminate her position.

So she has to do something. Writing some mild criticism -- and urging Bambi to the left -- is at least new copy.
Posted by: Steve White || 03/04/2009 11:47 Comments || Top||

#6  She's the best high school newspaper columnist ever to appear in the Times.
Ooooh! That's gotta hurt. Steve takes no prisoners!
Posted by: Darrell || 03/04/2009 14:22 Comments || Top||

#7  the blog posts in response to Modo were pretty amusing.
Posted by: Andy Ulusoque aka Broadhead6 || 03/04/2009 15:52 Comments || Top||

#8  She's getting too old to be one of the cool kids. Blame Bushy for a little bit more, examine the 401K, pray for some sort of life after who cares about Moo.

buh bye!
Posted by: Shipman || 03/04/2009 20:22 Comments || Top||

#9  No, even a blind journalist can find the truth once in a while...she must be off her meds.

I believe the correct analogy is "Even a blind sow finds an acorn now and then."
Posted by: whitecollar redneck || 03/04/2009 21:41 Comments || Top||

Pakistan's militants ready for more
Posted by: tipper || 03/04/2009 17:32 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6459 views] Top|| File under:

#1  they must be into bondage where you get your ass kicked alot
Posted by: rabid whitetail || 03/04/2009 19:31 Comments || Top||

#2  PAKISTANI DEFENCE FORUM > A NEW PROBLEM FOR PAKISTAN: THE TEHRIK-E-ISLAM TALIBAN BALOCHISTAN [New Paki Taliban Militant Group - call-in proclaims no linkage wid TTP Group]!?

Posted by: JosephMendiola || 03/04/2009 20:35 Comments || Top||

Opinion: Taliban poised to "take" Pakistan
A deep fissure in the world’s security shield runs through a bucolic valley in central Pakistan, an area about as big as the state of Delaware. There, in a region known as Swat, Taliban extremists have fought the Pakistani army to a draw. They won agreement to establish a safe-haven in Swat, just 100 miles from Islamabad, the capital. And don’t expect them to stop there.

“We are aware of the fact that the Taliban are trying to take over the state of Pakistan,” President Asif Ali Zardari declared last month. “We are fighting for our survival.” Fighting and losing.

I.E. Rehman, head of Pakistan’s Human Right Commission, says the Taliban are now poised to take over the Punjab province, home to 60 percent of the population. Already, anti-government riots are consuming Punjab over the court decision last week to disqualify opposition-party leader Nawaz Sharif from elective office. The court also sanctioned his brother, Shahbaz, the province’s chief minister. If Punjab falls to the Taliban, Pakistan is lost, and that possibility should frighten everyone in the world. What would prevent the Taliban, and their Al Qaeda allies, from taking possession of Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons arsenal?

“Already religious extremists have strong bases across" Punjab “and sympathizers in all arenas: political parties, services, the judiciary, the middle class — even the media,” Rehman wrote in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper a few days ago. “For its part, the government is handicapped because of its failure to offer good governance” and “restore faith in the frayed judicial system.”

In other words, Pakistanis know full well that their leaders are thoroughly corrupt and self-interested. To them, the court ruling on the Sharifs, Zardari’s arch-rivals, is only the latest evidence. Transparency International’s worldwide corruption index ranks Pakistan in the bottom third, in the company of Mozambique and Paraguay. When Zadari last served in government more than a decade ago, he was widely known as “Mr. Ten Percent,” for the bribes he extracted from most everyone.

One reason some residents of the Swat valley accepted the Taliban, they have been telling reporters, is that their courts are thoroughly corrupt. They have no justice. The Taliban, at least, mete out justice untainted by money. They order floggings and beheadings as they see fit, then describe the punishments on their illegal FM radio stations.

All of this sounds distressingly familiar. Haven’t we seen this play before — in Cuba, Cambodia, Iran, Nicaragua? In all four states, richly corrupt governments that were ill-serving the people still received unqualified and unquestioning support from Washington. American patronage of corrupt leaders fed enthusiasm for Fidel Castro’s guerrilla army in Cuba, the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, the Islamic revolution in Iran and the Sandinista rebels in Nicaragua. Certainly each of these previous revolutions had its own unique dynamics, and one big difference in Pakistan is that Zardari won an election. The previous four were unelected dictators.

Still, the pattern is clear. Each nation faced a popular insurgency it was unable to defeat. At this point in the uprising, no one in Washington predicted that the government was in danger. But in each case, the government’s response was ineffectual while government leaders insisted they had everything under control. Meantime, the protesters or insurgents grew ever-more confident as they sensed the government’s weakness.

And so it was in the Swat Valley last month, when a Pakistani military offensive failed, and the army was left to fire artillery shells ineffectually from a safe distance. They had no choice but to accept the Taliban’s terms for a truce — or surrender. The region’s new rulers can impose strict Islamic law, and the military has agreed to leave them alone unless attacked.

Then came the next scripted moment in this play: In Islamabad government officials are insisting there is nothing to worry about. “This is in no way a sign of weakness,” Sherry Rahman, the information minister, averred. Other officials contend that the agreement is consistent with the nation’s constitution. Still, on Monday Pakistan vowed to appoint Islamic judges immediately, to placate Swat’s new rulers.

In Washington, not surprisingly, no one seems alarmed. Asked about the Swat surrender a few days ago, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said only that “our Special Representative, Richard Holbrooke, and others are working with the government in Pakistan to understand exactly what they intend with their recent announcement and how we're supposed to interpret it.”

Meantime, the Taliban are growing cocky, and hundreds of Taliban fighters from neighboring areas are flooding into Swat, their new home base. Last week, some Taliban leaders announced an indefinite ceasefire in the Swat Valley. But the most powerful of them, Maulana Fazullah, sniffed at that and proclaimed over his FM station that he would observe a cease-fire for only 10 days.

We all know the next act in this drama. Somebody needs to close the curtain before it begins.
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/04/2009 14:42 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Iran is run by preachers and is as corrupt as any other country. There is no promise of a reduction of corruption just because you put a preacher in charge of things.
Posted by: crosspatch || 03/04/2009 16:56 Comments || Top||

#2  If it weren't for the nukes, I'd say let the talibs have that shithole. In the end, we'll have to man up and finish 'em off, wherever, however, or learn to be just like them. What fun...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 03/04/2009 17:18 Comments || Top||

#3  i doubt the talibunnies would have enough since too know how too set the nuke off and if they figured it out then i'm pretty sure India would nuke them into a mirror in the moutains
Posted by: rabid whitetail || 03/04/2009 19:34 Comments || Top||

#4  i thought they signed a peace plan with the pakisaini gov anyway
Posted by: rabid whitetail || 03/04/2009 19:35 Comments || Top||

Cricket – the requiem
One thing of which we may be certain is that whoever attacked the convoy of the Sri Lankan cricket team yesterday in Lahore – they did not arrive by boat. As this editorial is written we know very little else with certainty. We know for certain that there are eight dead, none of them Sri Lankan. But how many attackers? Ten? Twelve? Fourteen? And how do we 'know' these numbers anyway…did the gunmen form an orderly line and number-off military-style from left to right? Were any of them killed or wounded in the firefight which lasted thirty minutes according to one source and twenty minutes according to another? The unknowns multiply like rabbits.

We can, however, make some informed assumptions. This was a carefully planned and executed attack carried out by people who knew what they were doing, and who appear to have been well armed if the five bags of weapons now found did actually belong to them. They were able to effect an escape. Some of them wore what appeared to be track suits and trainers, and at least one of them wore a shalwar-kameez. Some of them wore backpacks. At least one had a full beard. They attacked the police protecting the convoy from both sides. The police did what they could to protect the convoy and quite possibly saved lives while giving their own. The driver of the Sri Lanka team bus drove straight to the stadium as fast as he could. The director of outside-broadcasting for Channel Ten Sports stated categorically within an hour of the attack that he did not regard it as a lapse of security – which in his opinion was "very tight" on this tour, with the Pakistanis taking every reasonable care. The hunt for the attackers goes on.

At which point we enter the realms of fantasy. Within minutes a PPP politician was being interviewed on a private TV channel and saying that …"this is clearly the work of a foreign hand" (a verbatim quote). The internet was quickly alight with allegations that this was an Indian operation, or a Tamil Tiger operation and whatever it was it could not possibly have been carried out by Pakistanis or Muslims because Muslims are peace-loving people. The culture of instinctive denial clicked into gear immediately, fingers were as quickly pointed and assumptions, none of them backed by a shred of empirical evidence, were made.

The reality is that this is just as likely to be an attack made by our own home-grown terrorist organizations as it is to have been made or facilitated by 'foreign hands'. There is no shortage of highly-competent well-armed and trained groups within our own borders capable of such an operation. They have no need of foreign assistance or foreign money – there are plenty of people here happy to finance them and offer logistical support. No shortage either of groups wishing to undermine the government and capable of exploiting a perceived weakness caused by the confusion rife in the Punjab police force; a product of the political movement of senior officers in the wake of the imposition of governor rule. Another reality is that the attack was carried out close to a police station and that the attackers must have conducted a reconnaissance for them to set up a kill-zone – and nobody noticed? Nobody noticed that up to fourteen heavily armed men using at least three cars, as well as rickshaws and bicycles, were securing a road junction in the centre of Lahore? A reasonable person may infer from this that there was a failure of intelligence, both electronic and human.

The dead will be buried and mourned, there will be an official enquiry of which we will see little or nothing, there may or may not be arrests and the blame-game will go on until the next incident when the whole process begins all over again. Meanwhile, the prospect of us hosting international sporting events in future vanishes. Those who carped at the Australian refusal to tour here because of security concerns now have their comeuppance. Nobody is going to tour here for a very long time, be they cricketers, hockey players or players of tiddlywinks. Who will make inwards foreign investment into our businesses? Or run the relief agencies that support the refugees from our own internal warfare? Or provide training and support to our educationalists? The world has once again seen that Pakistan is an unsafe place, no matter where you are or who you are. That terrorism has both home and succour here. That the writ of our state is threadbare. On Tuesday March 3, 2009 we heard the requiem for international cricket in Pakistan, but we also heard the steady footfall of extremist forces as they march ever-nearer to power.
Posted by: john frum || 03/04/2009 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under: al-Qaeda in Pakistan

#1  So there was a thirty minutes long firefight in the centre of Lahore and no reinforcements reached the scene? Complicity or cowardice?
Posted by: JFM || 03/04/2009 4:26 Comments || Top||

#2  wow, this from a Pakistani newspaper? I'm impressed! I wonder how long the author has before he gets accosted by "non-state actors"
Posted by: sludge || 03/04/2009 14:58 Comments || Top||

Taking exception to making exceptions
When the media report a 'fascist' party in Israel, yet call Hamas 'pragmatic', we must ask what double standards are in operation
Posted by: tipper || 03/04/2009 10:10 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

Home Front Economy
As corruption scandals mount, US trade union leaders meet in Miami Beach
Even the WSWS is reporting on this one.
Posted by: Besoeker || 03/04/2009 19:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6467 views] Top|| File under:

#1  "Even the WSWS is reporting on this one."

In 1999....
Posted by: Barbara Skolaut || 03/04/2009 21:11 Comments || Top||

#2  Wrong link (#%r&#(#! My bad. Thanks Barb, please delete.
Posted by: Besoeker || 03/04/2009 21:24 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
Jonah Goldberg: the left's Rush mush
Liberal bloggers and media chin-strokers are aghast at Limbaugh’s statement that he hopes Barack Obama fails.

Well, given what Obama wants to do, I hope he fails too. Of course I want the financial crisis to end — who doesn’t? But Obama’s agenda is much more audacious. Pretty much every major news outlet in the country has said as a matter of objective analysis that Obama wants to repeal the legacy of Ronald Reagan and remake the country as a European welfare state. And yet people are shocked that conservatives, Limbaugh included, want Obama to fail in this effort?

What movie have they been watching? Because I could swear that conservatives opposing the expansion of big government is what conservatives do. It’s Aesopian. The scorpion must sting the frog. The conservative must object to socialized medicine.

Besides, since when did hoping for the failure of ideological agendas you disagree with become unpatriotic? Liberals were hardly treasonous when they hoped for the failure of George W. Bush's Social Security privatization scheme.

Regardless, the war on Limbaugh from the left is a tired rehash. In 1995, Bill Clinton tried to blame the Oklahoma City bombing on Rush. In 2002, then-senator Tom Daschle, the leader of the Democratic opposition, claimed that Limbaugh’s listeners weren’t “satisfied just to listen.” They were a violent threat to decent public servants like him.

In just the last month, Obama suggested that Republicans were in thrall to Rush. White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel has anointed him the GOP’s leader. Rep. Barney Frank complained that Republicans didn’t give Obama enough standing ovations during his address to Congress because they are afraid of Limbaugh and Sean Hannity.

Does anyone think that Republicans, absent fear of Limbaugh’s lash, would be throwing flower petals at Obama’s feet as he sells the Great Society II? If that’s true, I say thank goodness for Limbaugh’s lash....
Posted by: Mike || 03/04/2009 09:31 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6457 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Though I like my local public servents, its because of their policy and voting record not which party they are in.

If this spat between Rush and Steele is a way to begin dialogue and make a united front for 10 and 12, great..if its a BMOC thing than the GOP needs to get its act together. I would register R in a heartbeat if they just get back to their party platform and actually follow through.

Either way I oppose socialism - its the Paris Hilton of government. Not gonna get started on communism.
Posted by: swksvolFF || 03/04/2009 12:05 Comments || Top||

#2  Sorry, he's right, Superzero MUST fail, or the United States ceases to exist, I personally am hoping for a recall election long before he "Succeeds" and we disappear from history.
Posted by: Redneck Jim (WMOF) || 03/04/2009 12:57 Comments || Top||

#3  Everytime another famous liberal whines, Limbaugh makes another million dollars.
Posted by: tu3031 || 03/04/2009 13:05 Comments || Top||

#4  ...I personally am hoping for a recall election...

And just how would that be accomplished? There is no Constitutional basis for the recall of a President, only impeachment. Personally I'm praying for the Military to go and reread their Oath to defend the Constitution from all enemies, domestic and foreign. Then, act accordingly.
Posted by: Trader_DFW || 03/04/2009 13:15 Comments || Top||

#5  BMOC? WMOF? Translations, please.
Posted by: trailing wife || 03/04/2009 13:30 Comments || Top||

#6  White Man of France ???
Posted by: Besoeker || 03/04/2009 13:31 Comments || Top||

#7  BMOC = Big Man On Campus
Posted by: Dar || 03/04/2009 14:39 Comments || Top||

#8  In 2002, then-senator Tom Daschle, the leader of the Democratic opposition, claimed that Limbaugh's listeners weren't "satisfied just to listen." They were a violent threat to decent public servants like him.

That's exactly right, Tom. They used ballots as weapons and they blew your ass right outta the Senate.
Posted by: Ebbang Uluque6305 || 03/04/2009 15:05 Comments || Top||

#9  since when did hoping for the failure of ideological agendas you disagree with become unpatriotic?

At approximately noon on January 18, 2009.
Posted by: Cornsilk Blondie || 03/04/2009 18:23 Comments || Top||

#10  But the left kept telling us that dissent was the highest form of patriotism.
Posted by: DMFD || 03/04/2009 19:49 Comments || Top||

Lileks: the Guilted Age
... And then of course there’s the news. I think we enjoy the weekends so much these days because it’s a respite from the grand parade of craptacular stories that run M-F. Really: on Sunday night I get that sinking feeling when I realize that Monday will bring more horror stories. It’s our leading export!

I’m content for the moment to let other bloggers be furious on my general behalf, but I am damned tired of losing money, knowing I will have less money in the future, and what I do have will be worth less because of inflation. All of which means I save less, invest less, spend less, and give less. But that’s fine, since we all went mad Mad MAD in the last ten years, and now we have to atone. It’s the Guilted Age.
Posted by: Mike || 03/04/2009 06:29 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6458 views] Top|| File under:

Who's in the News
12Govt of Pakistan
4Govt of Iran
3Iraqi Insurgency
2al-Qaeda in North Africa
1Govt of Sudan
1al-Qaeda in Pakistan
1Palestinian Authority

E-Mail Me

The Classics
The O Club
Rantburg Store
The Bloids
The Never-ending Story
Gulf War I
The Way We Were


On Sale now!

A multi-volume chronology and reference guide set detailing three years of the Mexican Drug War between 2010 and 2012.

Rantburg.com and borderlandbeat.com correspondent and author Chris Covert presents his first non-fiction work detailing the drug and gang related violence in Mexico.

Chris gives us Mexican press dispatches of drug and gang war violence over three years, presented in a multi volume set intended to chronicle the death, violence and mayhem which has dominated Mexico for six years.
Click here for more information

Meet the Mods
In no particular order...
Steve White
Scooter McGruder
john frum
Bright Pebbles
trailing wife
Frank G
Alaska Paul

Two weeks of WOT
Wed 2009-03-04
  Lanka troops in last Tamil Tiger Towne
Tue 2009-03-03
  Lanka cricketers shot up in Lahore
Mon 2009-03-02
  Hariri tribunal gets underway in The Hague
Sun 2009-03-01
  Mighty Pak Army claims famous victory in Bajaur
Sat 2009-02-28
  Bangla sepoy mutiny: Mass grave horror stuns nation
Fri 2009-02-27
  Paleofactions agree to form unity govt
Thu 2009-02-26
  Bangla: At least 50 feared dead in sepoy mutiny
Wed 2009-02-25
  Lanka: Troops enter last Tamil Tiger-controlled town
Tue 2009-02-24
  Mulla Omar orders halt to attacks on Pak troops
Mon 2009-02-23
  100 rounded up in Nineveh
Sun 2009-02-22
  1 European killed, 9 others wounded in Egypt blast
Sat 2009-02-21
  Handcuffed JMB man pops grenade at press meet
Fri 2009-02-20
  Tamil Tiger planes raid Colombo
Thu 2009-02-19
  MPs visit Swat to pay obeisance to Sufi Mohammad
Wed 2009-02-18
  Four killed, 18 injured in Peshawar car bombing

Better than the average link...

Rantburg was assembled from recycled algorithms in the United States of America. No trees were destroyed in the production of this weblog. We did hurt some, though. Sorry.
Help keep the Burg running! Paypal:
WoT Operations (20)    WoT Background (32)    Non-WoT (26)    (0)    Politix (6)