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Haftar-led Libyan Army claims new advance near Tripoli
Today's Headlines
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Page 6: Politix
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6 13:03 Abu Uluque [6463]
Turning Feudal Afghanistan Into Switzerland Was Always A Fool's Errand
[The Federalist] The most striking couple of sentences in the breathtaking report from the Washington Post about the West’s failed nation-building in Afghanistan were right in the middle. The report stated, in no uncertain terms, "Some U.S. officials wanted to use the war to turn Afghanistan into a democracy. Others wanted to transform Afghan culture and elevate women’s rights."

Think about that for a moment. More than $1 trillion spent, more than 2,000 lives lost, more than 20,000 men and women maimed and scarred physically and psychologically for life, all to shape the semi-feudal Afghanistan into modern Switzerland. To do what the British Empire and the Soviet Empire failed before: to impose a Western idea ‐ developed and practiced in the West, with all the cultural forces that shaped it ‐ in a land which has historically never had a Magna Carta, a James Madison, or an October Revolution. It doesn’t even have a normative society such as erstwhile pre-colonial India, Egypt, or China, or pre-1945 Germany or Japan.

The jaw-dropping hubris behind this idealistic endeavor was staggering, incapable of being explained in words. Forget about President George W. Bush or President Barack Obama, forget about the impeachment nonsense or the inspector general report ‐ this story of how administration after administration repeated half-truths while paying lip-service to norms is the most important revelation in recent years. But even then, it is not unexpected, nor will it go away unless the root causes are discussed.
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 01:44 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6484 views] Top|| File under:

#1  elevate women’s rights

Yeah, the systerhood has been all in on that every step of the way

Posted by: M. Murcek || 12/14/2019 4:20 Comments || Top||

#2  Changing Afghanistan would have been a fool's errand had it been tried.

Appeasement by paying danegeld and importing an alien tyrannical culture's norms into Western nations was the actual political consensus strategy after 9/11.

Also a failure.
Posted by: Elmerert Hupens2660 || 12/14/2019 4:26 Comments || Top||

#3  But you don't understand! It was all carefully planned. There were goals and objectives, missions and schedules, org charts and timetables. Never mind that the desired end state was unreachable. We had to do something, right?
Posted by: SteveS || 12/14/2019 4:45 Comments || Top||

#4  Actually, turning a feudal country into industrialized should be possible cf. Japan.
The problem with Afghanistan, and the rest of Dar, is that they're tribal cultures under a thin veneer of whatever is currently popular.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 5:16 Comments || Top||

#5  Interesting in that the Japanese solution was to divide up the western model into the pre-Meiji clan lines. The most powerful got the army, second got the navy (not applicable to Afghanistan, but maybe the air force), others got certain industries, institutions, etc.
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/14/2019 6:23 Comments || Top||

#6  My point is what feudal culture built on the premise of loyalty/obligation extending to non relatives and depending on their actions NOT their degree of relatedness.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 6:33 Comments || Top||

#7  Here, the left wanted "integration" to break up tribes. Then they changed their mind and want extreme identitarianism (for everyone except whites) In the rest of the world, the more barbarous the quaint local customs are, the more on board the lefties are.
Posted by: M. Murcek || 12/14/2019 8:01 Comments || Top||

#8  Japan uplifted themselves. Chile pulled themselves up as well.

Is there an example of another country lifting a third world nation out of the third world?
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/14/2019 8:33 Comments || Top||

#9  Afghanistan has a long way to go before it reaches feudal.
Posted by: Rob Crawford || 12/14/2019 8:40 Comments || Top||

#10  But you don't understand! It was all carefully planned. There were goals and objectives, missions and schedules, org charts and timetables. Never mind that the desired end state was unreachable. We had to do something, right?

You forgot the PowerPoint Presentations! SOY!
Posted by: Angereth Panda1824 || 12/14/2019 9:51 Comments || Top||

#11  Afghanistan has been said to be the ‘Graveyard of Empires'.

Trump said [and it was reported in the NYTs, July 23, 2019] that "he could have had the country wiped off the face of the earth but did not want to kill 10 million people.” What he said is most likely true but it set on fire the hair of many people here and in Afghanistan. IMO, what he said represented a truism but also a sane judgement about the realities and dangers of nuclear war.

IMHO, Dangers for the U.S. today are largely internal and coming from a Deepstate and rogue and out-of- control radicalized left-wing element of government. Perhaps one should hope for America becoming the “graveyard of left-wing radical socialism [hopefully figuratively speaking].

Posted by: JohnQC || 12/14/2019 10:32 Comments || Top||

#12  Let's face facts. Afghans are not Japanese. Never have been. Never will be.

However, the do have opium.
Posted by: Abu Uluque || 12/14/2019 13:06 Comments || Top||

#13  What people don't understand is, the Ho Chi Minh's of this snafu are sitting in Pakistain, just fifty klicks southeast of the durand line. Right now they are mentally divvying up the moolah to come in through the IMF loan this year.

People in Quetta and even larger pakistain laugh at the Americans and lampoon the ease of bilking the west to feed jihad. One encounters it daily in their media, their conversations. But the urdu speakers in the US, intelligence workers appointed by 'O' and that idiot 'W' will not point that out for you. It's a convenient joke for them that Americans supply their own killers and sit with them at the table for 'talks'. While the Afghan bureaucracy and taliban collectively explain through 'Zalmay the divine' to Washington just how much more elbow grease is still needed in this fucking hellhole.
Posted by: Dron66046 || 12/14/2019 14:26 Comments || Top||

#14  the Ho Chi Minh's of this snafu are sitting in Pakistain, just fifty klicks southeast of the durand line.

A regular topic of complaint here at Rantburg, where some of us remember Ho Chi Minh’s antics from personal experience. Not me, of course, but others do.
Posted by: trailing wife || 12/14/2019 19:41 Comments || Top||

#15  Fire in the Lake
An excellent book about the Charlie Foxtrot FUBAR that was Vietnam and how the know it all Ivy League elitists got us into that mess
Some interesting parallels in the logic that got us into both fiascos
Posted by: Sock Puppet of Doom || 12/14/2019 20:10 Comments || Top||

#16  What's so funny 'bout Pessimistic Realism and Offshore Balancing?

Apologies to Elvis Costello
Posted by: Lex || 12/14/2019 21:58 Comments || Top||

Science & Technology
Pairing Laphroaig 16 With Cuban Cigars
[CA] I walked out of the humidor with a Hoyo de Monterrey Epicure No. 2 Tubo and put it down on the table in the Cigar Aficionado lounge next to a bottle of Laphroaig 16. Managing editor Greg Mottola looked up from his laptop.

"You’re going to smoke that cigar with that Scotch?" he said.

Debate ensued. (This happens a lot in our smoking room.) Laphroaig is among the most smoky and heavily peated Scotches around, and Greg felt the Hoyo that I had chosen was not enough cigar to stand up to the malt.

"Do you have something else in mind?" I asked. He reached for a Cohiba Siglo V (also packed in a tube) that he had found when he was in Italy.

"OK," I said. "We’ll both drink the Scotch. You smoke the Cohiba, I’ll smoke the Hoyo. Let’s see how they work."

Peaty Scotch is remarkably pleasant at 16 years old, as anyone who has sipped Lagavulin 16 (another Islay whisky) can happily attest. The Laphroaig is new, a recent addition to the Islay malt portfolio. The 96-proof spirit (48 percent ABV) spent its 16 years before bottling in first-fill, ex-Bourbon barrels. It retails for $90 for a 750 ml bottle.

I enjoy Laphroaig, but I usually drink the 10 year old, which is extremely peaty and smoky. How would an extra six years of age change the flavor?
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 05:44 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6478 views] Top|| File under:

#1  I can drink scotch, but to a scotch lover that's the same as saying I'm just wasting it.
Posted by: M. Murcek || 12/14/2019 7:35 Comments || Top||

#2  I once used to drank Laphroaig in the Southern Cone where it was brought in by trasitistas (smugglers) and sold for six bucks or a little more. It was cheap because it was not to the taste of Latinos who wanted scotch gasoline like Ye Monks that would rot your teeth.
Posted by: b || 12/14/2019 8:03 Comments || Top||

#3  Where can I order a case from those trasitistas?
Posted by: Lex || 12/14/2019 10:04 Comments || Top||

#4  Take a vacation in Paraguay.
Posted by: b || 12/14/2019 10:32 Comments || Top||

#5  Prefer the Lagavulin.
Posted by: Iblis || 12/14/2019 10:52 Comments || Top||

#6  I prefer Oban, it's my favorite.
Posted by: Silentbrick || 12/14/2019 14:26 Comments || Top||

Home Front: Culture Wars
Ann Coulter - 'Are Facts White Nationalist?
[Coulter] I gather it would be proof positive of "white nationalism" to point out that the only group discriminated against in college admissions is white people.

We’ve heard a lot about discrimination against Asians lately, which reminds me: Asians are SO lucky they’re not white! Otherwise, America’s leading hate group, the Southern Poverty Law Center, would be churning out reports on the worrying rise in Asian Supremacy.

In fact, however, a recent study by Georgetown University (probably White Nationalist), funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (presumed hate group), found that if colleges admitted students based solely on SAT scores, every single ethnic group would decline, except one: whites.

Yes, even fewer Asian students would be admitted on an SAT-only admission standard. (I presume this is because Asians have better GPAs than white students.)

Obviously, this was NOT the purpose of the study. I’m pretty sure it was supposed to ferret out some small pocket of racism that had somehow passed undenounced. But when the only race being discriminated against turned out to be whites, the study was locked in a lead casket and dropped to the bottom of the sea.

This isn’t a new phenomenon: The New York Times was writing about it 30 years ago. In the late 1980s, whites were about 62 percent of California’s high school graduates, but constituted only 45 percent of those admitted to its universities. As a university official told the Times, "Whites are the only group underrepresented."

Today, the Times would be tracking down that official to make sure he was fired.

The lie of "white privilege" is treated as an implacable fact throughout our cultural institutions, no matter how manifestly absurd it is. Thus, in the discredited book "The Education of Brett Kavanaugh," authors Robin Pogrebin and Kate Kelly act as if a half-Puerto Rican girl entering Yale in the 1980s deserves a place in the civil rights pantheon along with the Little Rock Nine.
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 05:18 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6503 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Some FACTS About Higher Education & Race

Courtesy of Ann Coulter:

* “…if colleges admitted students based solely on SAT scores, every single ethnic group would decline, except one: whites.”

* “… the only race being discriminated against turned out to be whites…”

* “With the same grades and scores, Puerto Ricans were 5.3 times more likely to be admitted to a top-tier law school like Yale than a white applicant.”

Click on Barely-A-Blog’s “Education” search category for more.

Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 5:27 Comments || Top||

#2  the only race being discriminated against turned out to be whites

Ah, Asians?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 5:39 Comments || Top||

#3  ...the Left has already 'classified' Asians as white.

Given the Japanese, South Koreans, Taiwanese, and Singaporeans who've appropriated adopted successful Western (Civilization) economic models to raise their citizens to first world status, you can see the connection. (do I need to put a /sarc on that?)
Posted by: Procopius2k || 12/14/2019 6:16 Comments || Top||

#4  p.s. The very idea of "facts" is Eurocentric = white nationalist.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 6:19 Comments || Top||

#5  /\ Furthermore, these "facts" are derived from the use of mathematics, which has already been proven to be racist.
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 6:25 Comments || Top||

#6  ^Despite being invented by dark skinned Hindoos?
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 6:35 Comments || Top||

#7  Reality is that which does not go away just because you stop believing in it...
Posted by: M. Murcek || 12/14/2019 7:48 Comments || Top||

#8  Shitshow, "Diversity"& Supreme Court Edition
Posted by: Lex || 12/14/2019 9:11 Comments || Top||

#9  Heather MacDonald traces The Strange Origins & Career of the Bullshit Concept Enabling Affirmative Action to Avoid a Natural Death for 40+ Years: "Diversity."


Justice Lewis Powell, writing the controlling opinion in an otherwise divided court, introduced the concepts that would tarnish all subsequent legal analysis in the area. UC Davis’s explicit set-asides violated Bakke’s right to be free from racial discrimination, Powell held. If a school left its desired level of minority enrollment officially unquantified, however, the Court would accept a series of cascading fictions on the way to upholding that school’s racial preferences.

Those fictions clustered under the umbrella of “holistic review.” An admissions office that practices holistic review allegedly evaluates each applicant as a unique individual and not simply as the representative of a race; it treats an applicant’s race as just one smallish “plus” factor among many helping him get admitted; racial preferences are a plus for the preferred group but not a negative for the unpreferred group; even if a school has “minimum goals” for minority enrollment, those minimum goals are different from numerical quotas.

Powell never explained why an individual who is penalized because he is of the wrong race suffers a constitutional harm if that discrimination occurs in the name of an explicit quota, but not if the discrimination is in the service of a putatively less numerical racial “goal.”

The other fictions were equally strained. A preference-practicing school is always going to have a target of minority enrollment, regardless of whether it states that target publicly; otherwise it would not need preferences in the first place. Preferences are by definition zero-sum; they catapult members of favored groups into finite college seats at the expense of disfavored groups.

Powell’s legacy did not end there. He also introduced the concept that would define the academic mission for the next four decades: diversity.

The Davis medical school had defended its quota system on three grounds: as compensation for past discrimination; as a means of providing more doctors to underserved neighborhoods; and as a tool for creating “diversity” in its student population.

Powell rejected the first two grounds. Universities were unqualified to make the policy judgments supporting a compensatory mission, he wrote. There was no guarantee that minority medical school graduates would practice in minority neighborhoods.

But educational “diversity”—that was a goal Powell could get behind! As long as a university justified its preferences in the name of the supposed educational benefits of racial diversity, it will have stated a constitutionally legitimate purpose that withstands judicial scrutiny. Diversity benefits accrue above all to non-preferred white students who would learn from the different worldview of preferred minority students. Powell thus institutionalized the core premise of today’s identity politics: that a person’s race is reliably linked to his outlook and life experience.
Posted by: Lex || 12/14/2019 9:18 Comments || Top||

#10  "White nationalism?" Another tar-baby [one of many] of the left.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/14/2019 10:36 Comments || Top||

#11  Blame Lewis Powell for this particular Shitshow.
"Diversity" = Perversity.
Posted by: Lex || 12/14/2019 11:34 Comments || Top||

#12  A little diversity on the kitchen menu is a good thing. I suspect the American Kennel Club would agree, that old Boerboel is never going to make a very good lap dog. Something in the breeding possibly.
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 11:41 Comments || Top||

#13  I don't call it affirmative apartheid for nothing.
Posted by: Bright Pebbles || 12/14/2019 15:14 Comments || Top||

#14  All colleges are liberal cesspools, Caucasians don't need them.
Posted by: Goober Tingle7365 || 12/14/2019 17:22 Comments || Top||

#15  If we really must categorize people we should have more divisions. East Asians are not culturally the same as Indians or Southeast Asians in any meaningful way. Blacks that can trace their ancestry back to the Civil war are culturally not the same as those that immigrated from Africa or the Caribbean more recently. Cuban emigrants are not the same as Mexicans. Heck you could divide the whites into a dozen different groups, we are not all elitist Ivy League scum.
Posted by: ruprecht || 12/14/2019 17:59 Comments || Top||

Imagine There's No Nations
Sarah Hoyt favors the long-term view
[AccordingToHoyt] ...Part of my reason to think the concept is insane is precisely the pickle we’re in. This is not how we were designed to be. Our civil war, like the Punic wars to Rome, sent us down a side-spur, in our case into a strong central government.

But there are two or perhaps three things that happen when a strong government rules over too large and diverse an area:

1- They will lose accountability to the people, and actively do things to stop alarms going off that tell them they’re going SERIOUSLY wrong. I don’t think I need to explain that to anyone here, right? Including the fact that our government is now MOSTLY run by a vast and unaccountable army of bureaucrats? ...

2- They will become mostly interested in impressing/responding to those people they see every day, from colleagues to neighbors. What this means is it ends up being "dictatorship by whatever region the government is located in." Humans are humans, rule comes with an assumption of superiority. "We are much better than them," type of thing. And if it becomes obvious that other people in other regions don’t agree with you, you think of them as rubes, ignorant, deplorable.

3- They will fall prey to absolutely insane theories and fads, because they live in a bubble who all approve of it.

...But mostly, mostly, the biggest problem is that the first and foremost human tendency when acquiring enough power ‐ and any government over a very large area has enough power ‐ is to disable the alarm system and make sure there’s no negative report on whatever we choose to do, ever. Everything else comes from that.

...(One of the reasons to vote Republican, even in a situation where Republicans and Democrats field equally awful candidates is that our press being mostly corrupt, convinced leftists, they will report every time a Republican looks at someone funny, but they will not, under any circumstances, report even major fraud and corruption from Democrats. All else being equal, the Republicans are less able to disable THAT alarm system.

...As is, we have it relatively easy. If you start with a government over that large an area, but created on very different principles and with no checks or balances the result is the USSR... or China. We have so far ‐ knocks on head ‐ and barring a president Sanders avoided the millions of mass graves.

Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 04:49 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6471 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Sarah is spot on about big centralized government, the NWO, open borders and the dangers therein. Good find Grom.
Posted by: JohnQC || 12/14/2019 9:40 Comments || Top||

#2  Hers SF/Fantasy/Detectives are very good too.
Posted by: g(r)omgoru || 12/14/2019 9:45 Comments || Top||

#3  ....the fact that our government is now MOSTLY run by a vast and unaccountable army of bureaucrats?

Having begun to pay some attention to such matters in about 1967, I've seen scant evidence to the contrary. Over 50 years of anecdotal evidence should amount to something.
Posted by: Besoeker || 12/14/2019 9:53 Comments || Top||

#4  (One of the reasons to vote Republican, even in a situation where Republicans and Democrats field equally awful candidates is that our press being mostly corrupt, convinced leftists, they will report every time a Republican looks at someone funny, but they will not, under any circumstances, report even major fraud and corruption from Democrats. All else being equal, the Republicans are less able to disable THAT alarm system.

The flaw with this piece of her argument is that the "alarm" will only go off if the GOP does something the left doesn't like.

If they get all "bipartisan" and do what the left wants, then the alarm won't go off on the GOPe's actions, either.

So it's the worst of all worlds.

The whornolists will only be a watchdog when they disapprove of particular actions that don't align with their preferences.

They will never be honest watchmen even we make the "pragmatic" choice of putting a Republican in office.
Posted by: charger || 12/14/2019 14:04 Comments || Top||

Superman Criticized As Unrealistic For Portraying A Journalist As Heroic
[BabylonBee] U.S.—Comic book character Superman has increasingly come under fire lately, many seeing the character as extremely outdated -- especially the bizarre depiction of his being a journalist who is heroic.

“He just makes very little sense,” explained reporter Phillip Byers. “For instance, Superman has super speed. Now I know what I’d use that for -- to quickly search through people’s old tweets for material to use to destroy them. But Superman uses it to rescue people from burning buildings. It’s crazy.”

People have also criticized how Superman flies around listening with his super-hearing -- not to find people criticizing journalism so he can dox them as one would expect, but instead to find people in trouble and save them. “Truth. Justice. The American way. That’s against everything journalism stands for,” said writer Debbie Ventura. “The character is pure libel or slander -- I forget which.”

Superman writers have vowed to do a more realistic portrayal of Superman as a journalist in future issues of the comic book, such as a storyline where he strikes out against his arch-nemesis, businessman Lex Luthor, with a hit piece all based on anonymous sources, and then Superman will join the Legion of Doom, a climate change-focused organization headed by Greta Thunberg.
Posted by: 3dc || 12/14/2019 00:00 || Comments || Link || E-Mail|| [6462 views] Top|| File under:

#1  Bee in top form. A classic. Wicked.
Posted by: Lex || 12/14/2019 0:56 Comments || Top||

#2  Daaaaang.
Posted by: swksvolFF || 12/14/2019 10:18 Comments || Top||

#3  Snicker! Guffaw! Snort!
Posted by: AlmostAnonymous5839 || 12/14/2019 17:26 Comments || Top||

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Two weeks of WOT
Sat 2019-12-14
  Haftar-led Libyan Army claims new advance near Tripoli
Fri 2019-12-13
  Triumphant Boris hails landslide win gives him ‘power to get Brexit done’
Thu 2019-12-12
  AMAL, Hizbullah Supporters Try to Storm Riad al-Solh, Repelled by Tear Gas
Wed 2019-12-11
  Iraqi protesters defiantly turn out in the capital Baghdad
Tue 2019-12-10
  Jersey City shooting - possibly 6 dead at JC Kosher grocery
Mon 2019-12-09
  Al-Shabaab Militants Kill 8 On Bus In Northern Kenya
Sun 2019-12-08
  At least 10 killed in Kenya bus attack claimed by al-Shabab
Sat 2019-12-07
  Baghdad operations commander orders the Iraqi army to move in Sinak and Khilani to protect the protesters
Fri 2019-12-06
  Naval Air Station Pensacola shooter who killed 3 was Saudi aviation student
Thu 2019-12-05
  Pelosi Asks House Judiciary Committee to Proceed with Articles of Impeachment
Wed 2019-12-04
  Anti-government protesters have set fire to the Iranian consulate in Najaf for the third time in a week
Tue 2019-12-03
  Burkina Faso: 14 people killed in gun attack at church during Sunday mass
Mon 2019-12-02
  40 to 100 Iranian protesters executed in a marsh.
Sun 2019-12-01
  At least 14 killed in bloody gunfight in northern Mexico
Sat 2019-11-30
  Thousands of Iraqi protesters are celebrating in Baghdad after Prime Minister Adil Abdel Mahdi pledges to resign

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