The View From My Window

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amelia island steve clemons.jpg
I took this pic on my increasingly useful iPhone on Amelia Island, outside of Jacksonville, Florida.
I’m here with a very interesting bunch of folks discussing a framework for policy alternatives and different narratives that could be useful in changing the course of America’s Afghanistan policy.
More later.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

63 comments on “The View From My Window

  1. nadine says:

    The fierce moral urgency of Same! Obama will try KSM in a military tribunal after all…doesn’t say where it will be, but Gitmo is by far the cheapest and most convenient location.
    Obama advisers set to recommend military tribunals for alleged 9/11 plotters
    By Anne E. Kornblut and Peter Finn
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Friday, March 5, 2010
    President Obama’s advisers are nearing a recommendation that Khalid Sheik Mohammed, the self-proclaimed mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, be prosecuted in a military tribunal, administration officials said, a step that would reverse Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr.’s plan to try him in civilian court in New York City.
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/04/AR2010030405209.html?hpid=topnews

    Reply

  2. questions says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/04/opinion/04kristof.html
    Nicholas Kristof making similar demographic bulge points but w/o suggesting that we limit payments to stop the births.
    This time, in Yemen.
    There’s a lot to work through in this murky mess of policy, other cultures, the effects on actual people’s lives, the right to criticize or interfere, the responsibility to criticize or interfere.
    There is work to be done.

    Reply

  3. questions says:

    Econ metaphor
    Search physics chemistry too
    Meanings in corners
    Look for sense in non-
    Sensical science stretches
    Find amazing things
    Chaotic markets
    Hubris of Chicago thought
    Can’t predict bubbles

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    Kramer immoral
    Context specific reasons
    Condemn look within
    (Of course, I left out the seasonal reference and the other conventions of haiku, but I got the 5-7-5 English adaptation of the form!)
    And seriously, is Rahm paying Bunning?

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  5. Paul Norheim says:

    Sorry Questions, but your comments can’t be translated into
    haikus. Too talkative. But you may fit into a certain New York
    style of poetry.
    ——————-
    Kramer, Questions insisted, is
    in a wide and deep con
    text, chaos
    the relationship between
    temperature and pressure, fluid
    dynamics, catalysts, Questions
    continued, social systems,
    all of these might be worth
    exploring, so many
    many metaphors to be
    drawn, so many
    many papers to write
    that’s what Questions said
    about the outer
    Kramer, but what about
    the inner Kramer, Questions
    asked, immensely more important
    than the metaphor
    of the outer Kramer
    the relationship between
    temperature and pressure, fluid
    dynamics, catalysts

    Reply

  6. questions says:

    Is Bunning a secret Democrat?

    Reply

  7. questions says:

    Write it up as a series of haiku and publish it! Gimme a percentage!

    Reply

  8. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions said:
    “…Kramer is in a wide and deep context…chaos, the relationship
    between temperature and pressure, fluid dynamics, catalysts,
    social systems… all of these might be worth exploring…there are
    many many metaphors to be drawn…many interesting papers to
    write…”
    Sorry for the cut-up technique, Questions, but I couldn’t resist it!

    Reply

  9. questions says:

    Except Paul, I already said similar things in previous posts, including my first one on the topic.
    Below are my first comments on the Kramer issue. Note the words “lose sight of the humanitarian and rhetorical wickedness” “disgusting” “to take the extra step…” “unhelpful” “ugh” “rhetoric matters”….. Note also that I argue that Kramer’s “argument” is as flawed as his moral sensibility. Bad arguments in the service of bad morals are, well, bad. I think I made this clear, but maybe not.
    ********
    “Paul, I think that these guys are kind of like the Freakonomics authors, Leavitt and whoever. They lose sight of the humanitarian and rhetorical wickedness while diving in to a demographic outlook. The humanitarian loss is disgusting. Absolutely.
    There is, however, a long tradition in looking at European history, say, of seeing what happens to “excess” males. That is, the oldest gets the property under primogeniture and the property cannot be divided. The “surplus” sons go to the priesthood or the military. There have to be places for all the kids who are born. But to take the extra step and argue that we need to cut the birth rate by stopping aid — wow.
    What this piece you site above does, aside from demonstrating disgusting inhumanity, is to confuse a great deal of causation and correlation issues, much as Leavitt does. There may be correlations between “excess” males and war fighting, but that doesn’t mean it’s causal. There are so many other issues that go into whether or not there’s crime, or war or whatever, that this kind of foolish bad science is really unhelpful.
    Even the concept of “excess” has numerous problems with it. Ugh.
    Posted by questions, Feb 23 2010, 7:46AM – Link
    And by the way, we get a fair amount of this kind of thinking in the US when it comes to crime, African Americans, and demographics. Raw numbers and percentages, social opportunity, major structures within the society all get misread and we get anxiety-laden rhetoric of “they are breeding.” Ugh.
    Rhetoric matters. All over the place. It matters.

    *********
    So it’s not like I didn’t make it clear that Kramer et al. are pretty awful. I went further to tie the awfulness to a historical and contemporary context, but then also suggested that Kramer was a little extra nasty, and that he offered poor arguments in defense of an unacceptable position. I think the Freako guys fall into the same basic trap, and given that they tie abortion rates and crime rates together in very suggestive and nasty ways, I think the moral equivalence is significant. Calling someone “like the Freako guys” is, in my view, pretty potent.
    Maybe you didn’t catch my phrasing. But it was there from the beginning at any rate.
    The ironic tone above is motivated not by some desire not to condemn, but by my sense that I had already done so. Again, though, the issue of what it means to “condemn” looms large for me. And “condemning” is insufficient especially in a country that turned The Bell Curve into a bestseller, that seems enamored of the Freako guys, that ends welfare as we know it and distributes health care in profoundly inequitable ways. We pretty much already do for some what Kramer is calling for. The context, therefore, matters deeply and the self-reflection matters deeply.
    I might liken it to what is happening with Jim Bunning (who I really hope is actually trying to screw over the Republicans with his ridiculous intransigence!) Bunning’s hold on extension of unemployment benefits shows the extremity of basic Senate procedure. Singling out Bunning and condemning him alone is not enough. We need to see how the general stoppage of work in the Senate is cruel in the extreme. Bunning is part of a system, not a singularity.
    In the same way, Kramer is in a wide and deep context and so our gaze towards him needs to turn towards that context as well.
    *********
    Book Note: John Cassidy’s How Markets Fail is a wonderful book if you have as little an econ background as I do. He runs through the major moves in econ from Adam Smith and Hayak to Lucas (1995 Nobel/U of C) and into much of the mathematical modeling and the problems with it. He is fair to the additions each of these thinkers has made, he shows the criticisms that have arisen over time, and he will eventually show how the various mistakes in econ thinking have helped the crisis along. Markets do fail, and econ thinking needs to shift to take into account the obvious. Nadine, this book is a must-read for you!
    And if, in my own modest way, I have anything to say about econ (which I really really don’t “do”) I would say that it might be fruitful for economists to borrow more from physics, chemistry, and marital counseling psychology to develop theories about how markets work. There are many many metaphors to be drawn on in these fields and many interesting papers to write.
    Chaos, the relationship between temperature and pressure, fluid dynamics, catalysts, social systems… all of these might be worth exploring, and they might help move thinkers away from a range of idealized systems thinking where there’s perfect information and people are rational and don’t affect one another. But, again, I’m not an economist, so this is all very preliminary and quite possibly wrong-headed!

    Reply

  10. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions said:
    “Kramer sucks. Kramer is an idiot. Kramer is operating at the
    level of bad faith.
    I CONDEMN KRAMER and his idiocy, bias, eugenic bad thinking,
    stupidity, nastiness, wickedness, desire to unbirth and
    genetically cleanse the planet of those who would challenge his
    preferred projects.”
    ————————————–
    Music to my ears, Questions, despite the highly questionable
    (condemnable?) ironic tone of your condemnation.
    Danke schön!
    Or, as the pink colored Ethiopians say:
    Betam ammeseggenalluh!
    Or why not in Norwegian: Tusen takk!
    Yes, you guessed it. That’s a “thousand thanks” in our language
    I have to translate it as a special favor to Outraged, who doesn’t
    know a word of the Jiddish language, because she’s spent most
    of her life in Hollywood, where there are zero Jews, only
    thousands of Swedish-looking Indians and French-looking
    Aborigines with a perfect American accent.
    Now the question of the usefulness and effect of condemnation
    and protest is an interesting topic too, and deserves a separate
    debate. But in some circumstances, calling a spade a spade is a
    good thing, me thinks. Merci.
    Or, to Nadine:
    Sokran laky!
    She may not be aware of it, but that’s actually what the pre-
    natal Arab babies say (before shouting “Jihad!!!) when they hear
    from their mothers’ womb that they are pro-natally subsidized
    by the UN.
    It’s the first unmistakable sign that the fetuses belong to the
    Arab culture.

    Reply

  11. samuelburke says:

    yeah steve pease do not loose your focus…expand the israel
    palestine issue for the sake of both of those nations, and keep up
    with that cuba issue.
    “An online documentary follows the lives of 12 Cubans on both
    sides of the Florida Straits pursuing similar dreams under radically
    different circumstances.
    Havana/Miami: An interactive online documentary
    http://www.miamiherald.com/havana-miami/
    and by golly please keep up with everything else too across the
    planet and even the eco-sysmes, scandals all.
    whats in the best interests of the united states?

    Reply

  12. diana witt says:

    Steve: This is what you need to be doing. Please focus on your areas of expertise: hot spots of instability around the world. I’m thrilled you are talking about Turkey, which I have a little bit of knowledge about, but most of this country does not understand. Please expand your expertise and include comments from you expert colleagues from the rest of the world (e.g., South Asia, Africa, Latin America). Please refrain from further comment about the political ins and outs in the Obama inner circle. Even if you are right (and you most likely are), they are a huge distraction from your most important work. Please stay focus on the work of NAF and EXPAND it!
    Best,
    Diana Witt

    Reply

  13. questions says:

    Nadine, I do not love Walt, but I do think there’s a difference between not subsidizing in the first place and removing subsidies once they are part of the grand scheme of things. People set up their lives based on the lay of the land. When the land changes, people suffer tremendously.
    So the removal of subsidies, with the express intent of cutting the number of boys in the teen/young man demographic bulge in order to cut down on radicalism — the original issue here — really is both cruel in its cut of existing subsidies, and misguided and nasty in its assumption that a reasonable way to cut down on radicalism is to cut down on the number of people….
    There are other ways to cut down on radicalism — ending immiseration and the state of war, providing opportunities such that these same radical guys have something to do besides blowing things up, encouraging the development of ways for very different cultural mores regarding sex and bodies to cope better with one another. Maybe even doing something about the very nasty border guards on the West Bank side of things and the very nasty blockades on the Gaza side.
    Maybe instead of birth control there should be hope for life?
    It’s a thought at any rate.

    Reply

  14. Outraged American says:

    I covered Palestine, Iraq and Lebanon from Nov. 2004 on. I have
    every right to decry my tax $ being used to fund Israel’s jihad, one
    that is destroying my country and the world.

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    “First, although a good case can be made that Kramer’s remarks
    were tantamount to advocating genocide, I would not use that
    word to characterize them. The 1948 U.N. definition of genocide
    does include “imposing measures intended to prevent births
    within the group,” and Kramer’s call for an end to ‘pro-natal
    subsidies” is very close to that part of the definition.” (Walt)
    According to this ludicrous reasoning, it “is very close to to that part of the definition [of genocide]” if you don’t give every working man a “pro-natal subsidy”, i.e. a raise, every time he has another child. The 1948 UN definition of genocide referred to measures to PREVENT births such as forced abortions. They weren’t talking about the mere absence of pro-natal subsidies. They weren’t calling it “genocide” if the new parents had to feed the baby themselves.
    This is of a piece with Walt’s omnipotent “Israel lobby” reasoning: he starts with a reasonable point, takes it far beyond the limits that can be supported by reason or evidence. He began by noticing that AIPAC was a powerful lobby, and finished by concluding that the widespread existence of DC politicians holding views he characterized as “pro Israel” was de facto proof for the omnipotence of “the Israel lobby,” which to hear him was not only omnipotent but without competitors among the foreign interest lobbies in Washington. Which would certainly be news to the Saudis!
    I suppose we should be grateful that Walt didn’t actively endorse the idea that absence of pro-natal subsidies is genocidal.

    Reply

  16. nadine says:

    As I remember the 9/11 fatwa, Bart, grievance #1 was American troops on the sacred soil of Saudi Arabia. IOW, the Saudis had very sensibly preferred to be protected from Saddam by the American Army instead of by Osama bin Laden and al Qaeda. Then it ran down the usual list of Arab grievances. This was before OBL began channeling the Left and going on about global warming.
    At any rate, it does not support the argument that we should just get out of Afghanistan and that will mend matters.

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  17. Bart says:

    “That’s what we did in the 90s. We left. We got 9/11 for our pains. You want a repeat, or was once enough?” (Nadine)
    Read the fatwa; it’s all in there why we got 9/11.

    Reply

  18. John Waring says:

    I encourage everyone to read Steve Coll’s brilliant book “Ghost Wars”.
    We funded the crazies in Afghanistan during the anti-Soviet struggle. We subordinated American intests to those of Pakistani and Saudi intelligence. Instead of funding traditional tribal forces and royalist elements, we sent the bulk of our aid to groups favored by the Pakistanis and the Saudis, namely, the most radical of the Islamists.
    Pakistan funded the Taliban while lying about their activities to the USA. Pakistan will continue to pursue its own interests and wait for the Americans to leave. See the Gareth Porter article referenced by Carroll above.
    I think the stark fact is that Pakistan wants Afghanistan in its own back pocket, providing strategic depth in its face off with India.
    I see little in our current Afghanistan policy that addresses this fact head on.

    Reply

  19. erichwwk says:

    On the lighter side, but also expressed the truth of America’s economic system:
    http://www.doonesbury.com/strip/dailydose/index.html?uc_full_date=20100228

    Reply

  20. Philip Viola says:

    Very nice picture. If you crop it in on both sides so the shaded
    trunks form a partial dark frame, the highlighted palm off center
    will become much stronger, increasing its interest and the overall
    composition.

    Reply

  21. questions says:

    And Paul, once again and again and again and again, Kramer is an epic fail. Kramer sucks. Kramer is an idiot. Kramer is operating at the level of bad faith.
    I CONDEMN KRAMER and his idiocy, bias, eugenic bad thinking, stupidity, nastiness, wickedness, desire to unbirth and genetically cleanse the planet of those who would challenge his preferred projects.
    Can I get any more unambiguous????????
    I don’t like Kramer! Ha, I did it!
    But this means nothing if I don’t also see what Kramer represents, what his thinking is part of, what is larger than Kramer who is a small part of what we do.

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  22. questions says:

    MarkL,
    The Armenian Genocide resolution is one interesting can of worms.
    I honestly don’t know what a congressional resolution is other than condemning the condemnation-worthy in order to be done with it.
    I certainly wish that Turkey were more self-transparent than it is. Kinda like I wish people around here would see a lot less daylight between themselves and Kramer…. Self-transparency is painful but important.
    I think that because Turkey plays a pretty important part in our ME game for now, probably it’s not the best time to be showering our souls, but I’m not really up on the games we’re playing as regards Turkey, so I’m going to qualify this with a strong warning about my limitations.
    To the best of my knowledge, “genocide” is the word to use and Turkey should own up. But the US Congress may not be the best vehicle for pushing this one. And this may not be the best time for pushing, either. But genocide, indeed.
    And note, MarkL, that Congress isn’t looking into this because of deep concerns about truth and justice. Add a dollop of cynicism to your question to me. Congress is a political body playing political games. There’s not a whit of real ethical concern here.

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  23. Paul Norheim says:

    “And then tell me that Kramer is the only eugenicist currently
    alive and that Israel is the only entity concerned with eugenics
    and demographics.” (Questions)
    Again, the typical defense maneuver… Person A condemns
    Burmese violation of human rights, and burmese General Y and
    his young granddaughter say: “Are we the only one abusing the
    population? Why don’t you criticize the Chinese, the Iranians,
    the North Koreans, you hypocrites!
    —————
    Tell me, why do we always have to address ALL abuses while we
    address one of them?
    The most likely explanation here, Questions, is simply that
    critique of israel and it’s American friends isn’t pleasant, and
    less so when it’s delivered by Carroll, Outraged or POA.
    Regardless of the truth, you just had to kick back, because
    you’re annoyed at these people. Nasty libertarians who always
    criticize Israel…
    Frankly, I’ve often found it difficult to discuss Israel-related
    issues with you, since you too often seem to argue against
    Outraged or Carroll or POA (the way you imagine them) instead
    of having a discussion with the one you’re actually talking to.
    ——————
    Questions said: It’s just not a lot of fun to admit that our
    preference for us is, well, eugenic.”
    Yeah, sure. Nationalism is nasty. I’ve always said so myself. But
    the issue here is more specific than that.
    “It’s tiresome to read through the lack of argument when I know
    you’re quite capable of structuring arguments and mustering
    support.”
    It’s just that I’m not interested in participating in a broad, very
    general, principal discussion about nationalism and foreign
    policy at the moment, while we were raising a more specific
    concern. If you want my views on nationalism, let me refer you
    to the discussion I had with WigWag on this interesting topic –
    around the time when Sweetness did his comeback to TWN.
    Perhaps tomorrow. Not now. (Besides, I have work to do, and
    don’t have time to reflect on nationalism or my “inner Kramer”
    anymore until tonight.)
    “This is THE question of the day. Do we always have to prefer?”
    Regardless of Kant, we often have to make choices. You may
    call that eugenic choices if you want the topic to disappear into
    the eternal questions related to what we call “human
    conditions”.
    I prefer to stick to the issue at hand. Martin Kramer.

    Reply

  24. questions says:

    From Crooks and Liars this a.m. just because it’s interesting and worth noting:
    “What he’s describing, of course, is the very subject of my last book, The Eliminationists: How Hate Talk Radicalized the American Right:
    What motivates this kind of talk and behavior is called eliminationism: a politics and a culture that shuns dialogue and the democratic exchange of ideas in favor of the pursuit of outright elimination of the opposing side, either through suppression, exile, and ejection, or extermination.
    Rhetorically, eliminationism takes on certain distinctive shapes. It always depicts its opposition as beyond the pale, the embodiment of evil itself, unfit for participation in their vision of society, and thus worthy of elimination. It often further depicts its designated Enemy as vermin (especially rats and cockroaches) or diseases, and disease-like cancers on the body politic. A close corollary—but not as nakedly eliminationist—are claims that opponents are traitors or criminals and that they pose a threat to our national security.
    Eliminationism is often voiced as crude “jokes,” a sense of humor inevitably predicated on venomous hatred. And such rhetoric—we know as surely as we know that night follows day—eventually begets action, with inevitably tragic results.”
    AND this one too, also from C and L:
    ” Limbaugh: “What’s wrong with using a dead person’s teeth? Aren’t the Democrats big into recycling?” Responding to Slaughter’s account, which he called the “sob story of the day, Limbaugh stated:
    LIMBAUGH: You know I’m getting so many people — this Louise Slaughter comment on the dentures? I’m getting so many people — this is big. I mean, that gets a one-time mention for a laugh, but there are people out there that think this is huge because it’s so stupid. I mean, for example, well, what’s wrong with using a dead person’s teeth? Aren’t the Democrats big into recycling? Save the planet? And so what? So if you don’t have any teeth, so what? What’s applesauce for? Isn’t that why they make applesauce?
    Limbaugh previously told a caller who could not afford the $6,000 it would cost to treat a broken wrist that he “shouldn’t have broken [his] wrist.” ”

    Reply

  25. questions says:

    Yeah, Kramer was probably wrong, but isn’t everything
    eugenics?
    ***I did not say “everything” is eugenics — BUT eugenics concerns are certainly part of the fabric of the social and political lives we build. It’s just not a lot of fun to admit that our preference for us is, well, eugenic.
    Aren’t all foreign policy priorities a matter of
    eugenics?
    ********* Tell me one foreign policy priority that isn’t about keeping one group of genetically-based people alive and well at the expense of another group of genetically-based people? Isn’t realism all about this? Isn’t every action about keeping some alive? And isn’t the choice based on genetic boundaries? Please disprove if I’m wrong. Don’t just do the rhetorical turn of calling it bullshit and never actually arguing the point. It’s tiresome to read through the lack of argument when I know you’re quite capable of structuring arguments and mustering support.
    Aren’t all priorities in health care eugenics, one way
    or another?
    ***** Not all priorities — only those that keep some people alive at the expense of others, that set up distribution schemes that help and hurt friends and enemies (to borrow from the Republic.)
    And how do we escape eugenics?
    ****So answer the question. How do we escape from our tendency to prefer one set of genetically-related people over another set?
    We have to make
    priorities in any case, and so we are guilty and this is terrible
    one way or another etc. etc.
    ****This is THE question of the day. Do we always have to prefer? Kant’s hope is that we don’t beyond preferring rational creatures over others. The goal of ethical thinking is to get beyond USAFORUSAMERICANS, beyond I and mine for me and mine.
    Kramer is an ethical epic fail. But so are a lot of other views and those who hold them.
    I think it’s a bad faith argument to pull out the easy bad bad bad Kramer w/o also holding up the ending of welfare as we know it and Reagan and the solid south and much of our foreign policy and all sorts of unattractive features of US history.
    All of this shit is embedded in Kramer’s outlook, and all of this shit is the shit that seemingly benefits the middle class in the US. So, once again, condemn away, and then look at US history, how you benefit from it and then think again. (“You” here doesn’t refer to Paul and his relationship to US history. I know nothing of Norway’s issues in this regard.)

    Reply

  26. questions says:

    “into your black hole of
    ambivalence – hm… what can we do, isn’t everything and
    nothing eugenics, and aren’t we guilty whether we act or don’t
    act and blah blah blah blah.”
    What action are you even talking about? Are we supposed to deny academic freedom? Are we supposed to double up on postings about how wicked Kramer is? Are we supposed to double the size of our breakfasts so that we have company while we type our condemnations? Just what is this action you are hyping/typing?

    Reply

  27. questions says:

    I did not say “Don’t condemn.” So this part of your point is, well, pointless.
    I did say, what does it even mean to condemn? Is it a soul-cleansing activity akin to a shower for the body? Is it a way of avoiding seeing the other in yourself?
    I am not ambivalent about the bombardment of Gaza. I am not ambivalent about being disgusted by Kramer. I am not ambivalent about being disgusted by USAMERICAFORUSAMERICANS either. When one condemns the first and not the second, I have some issues.
    At the same time, I wonder why there’s such emphasis on the language of condemnation. One must condemn the condemnation-worthy. And then be done with it. Trash for the bin. And then one goes on with one’s day.
    So, once again, I condemn the condemnation-worthy, but I’m not going to stop with the easy ones like Kramer. I’m going to see the same damned patterns all the way through US policy and the nation state. For they are of a piece.
    So, Paul, call it bullshit if you need to. But then spend a minute thinking about what a nation state is. Spend a minute thinking about Reagan’s catcalls about welfare queens’ breeding to get that extra bit o’bucks for each additional child. Look at what Clinton’s ending welfare as we know it did. Look at the billboard campaign to get African-Americans to side with the right on abortion. (I do wonder if Walt was being ironic/knowing as he tossed in the TANF note. I certainly hope so.)
    And then tell me that Kramer is the only eugenicist currently alive and that Israel is the only entity concerned with eugenics and demographics. Oh, and make sure not to google up articles on the US’s becoming “majority minority” at some date in the near future. Clearly no one in the US is that focused on our own demographic time bomb!!
    So go ahead and condemn the condemnation-worthy and don’t bother looking for patterns. They are all sui generis and unrelated. No patterns to look for. Patterns are all so much b.s.

    Reply

  28. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions said:
    “Look at how the bias for any one nation over another, any
    choice we make about whom to support and whom to ignore is
    equally a eugenics-based choice. There are those we help
    flourish and those we don’t. We always make choices.
    “…)
    In this context, the US is “for” some people and not “for” other
    people.
    Every choice has a eugenics-based outcome of one sort or
    another.”
    —————————-
    Norheim’s reply: This is obfuscation.
    Person A condemns Hiroshima or Holocaust, and B responds:
    “Hey! Look at yourself! And remember that human beings have
    killed each other since Kain and Abel!”
    Obfuscation.
    Sure, there were specific eugenic programs in Norway too,
    especially in the 1930’s and 40’s. Part of my inner Kramer,
    right?
    But why on earth should I bother you with this, and the obvious
    fact that I condemn it?
    Why can’t I just say that Kramer made some horrible statements
    in a specific contemporary context?
    Worse than that, Questions. Your obfuscation sounds more or
    less like this:
    Yeah, Kramer was probably wrong, but isn’t everything
    eugenics? Aren’t all foreign policy priorities a matter of
    eugenics? Aren’t all priorities in health care eugenics, one way
    or another? And how do we escape eugenics? We have to make
    priorities in any case, and so we are guilty and this is terrible
    one way or another etc. etc.
    And by applying this all too familiar method of yours,
    Questions, you direct the whole specific issue – bombardment
    of Gaza, continuation of a blockade, and then Kramer’s eugenic
    suggestion IN THAT SPECIFIC CONTEXT- into your black hole of
    ambivalence – hm… what can we do, isn’t everything and
    nothing eugenics, and aren’t we guilty whether we act or don’t
    act and blah blah blah blah.
    Sorry Questions, but this is B.S.

    Reply

  29. MarkL says:

    Questions,
    should we have second thoughts about the vote on the Armenian genocide resolution?
    Time for some self reflection there too?

    Reply

  30. Paul Norheim says:

    Questions,
    between two captcha efforts, I noticed that you’ve written two
    comments. I’ll read them later. The following comment was
    written and edited before reading your posts:
    Perhaps a bigger tatical question here – related not only to
    Kramer/Heinsohn and their cynical, and paranoid bigotry, but
    also to other issues frequently raised at The Washington Note, is
    this one:
    How do you respond to bigotry and bigots?
    How do you respond to people who frequently deliver general,
    derogatory, cynical, or plain racist statements about Palestinians
    or Arabs? Or who demonize them, as if they were on the same
    level as the most extreme people within their “group” or “tribe”
    or “culture”?
    How do you respond to anti-Semites who quote anti-Semitic
    statements with obvious glee, or who blame Jews for almost
    everything that goes wrong on this planet?
    Should we simply condemn the bigots and their opinions all the
    time? Or should we ignore them – hoping that other people
    ignore them as well? And what if they don’t?
    Does the mere condemnation of bigots most of the time just
    give them some extra attention? Are there other approaches
    that would address the issue but not simultaneously provide
    free PR to their cause?

    Reply

  31. questions says:

    And while I’m at it, just what does it mean to “condemn” something? OOOHhhhh, I condemn that nasty bad man. And then I go back to eating my scrambled egg breakfast having done my good deed for the day. Gee. That’s really something, that condemnation shit! I have DONE something. Woohoo! Feel my power! I will not bend, I will not break. But I will eat breakfast.
    Think? about what it means to condemn. Then think about why there’s such a freak out here about the absolute need to condemn. Then look at the structures in which we in the US live.
    Look at how USA for USAMERICANS is precisely a eugenics program. Look at how the bias for any one nation over another, any choice we make about whom to support and whom to ignore is equally a eugenics-based choice. There are those we help flourish and those we don’t. We always make choices.
    Now, in this context, WigWag makes one set of choices and others make other sets of choices.
    In this context, the US is “for” some people and not “for” other people.
    Every choice has a eugenics-based outcome of one sort or another.
    And that is what I mean by “inner Kramers.”
    He had the nerve to say explicitly what we do implicitly. And he pissed off a lot of Americans and a Norwegian. And he threatened to make it clear that policy makes eugenics-based choices all the time. One of those dirty secrets we hate to admit is real is that we do indeed prefer some people over others. And those whom we prefer have a better time of things.
    The ritual denunciation of this or that policy without the reflective side’s being equally shown is, well, not really thoughtful.

    Reply

  32. questions says:

    “The Kramer debate on the Walt thread at TWN was unfortunately
    sidetracked by Questions, who argued that everybody should
    think twice before condemning Kramer’s statements as long as
    there may (or may not) be one, two, or perhaps even three …”
    No, Paul. This is a misreading of my view. I did not say “don’t condemn,” and I did not say “think twice before condemning” — what I said, to the best understanding of my view, is that one should not let condemnation of some other wicked thing out there substitute for self-reflection. The emphasis here is on “substitute.”
    Screaming out that ooooh, those wicked Israelis with their wicked eugenics programs are just so wicked — the kind of thing that passes for debate around here — is insufficient.
    Eugenics-style thinking is not limited to a crackpot Israeli or a few pro-Israel academics. Eugenics is built in to the nation/state system, to housing and schooling and marriage systems, to settlement patterns. It is what we do. If you’re going to scream about eugenics-minded Israelis ans supporters of Israel, please also note that this kind of thinking is standard in some historical analysis, much state planning, and in individual thinking. The notion of “excess sons” goes way back in European history to help explain the clergy and military as partial responses to primogeniture. It’s also used to explain part of crime rates in the US.
    Walt’s response above is more nuanced than what I recall of what went on around here. Of course Kramer is on the nastier side of things. Of course academic freedom is crucial. And it’s not genocide. (Did that one even come up around here? I don’t remember.) But, lord, it might be nice if he’d look for, ummm, his own inner Kramer.
    Currently, there’s an anti-abortion program in the US that is using the reverse of eugenics thinking to get African-Americans to oppose abortion. It’s having some effects at this point, it seems. Eugenics thinking is everywhere, and it is so omni-present that even its reverse is effective.
    “Or what if a prominent academic at Harvard declared
    that the United States had to make food scarcer for Hispanics so
    that they would have fewer children? Or what if someone at a
    prominent think tank noted that black Americans have higher
    crime rates than some other groups, and therefore it made
    good sense to put an end to Temporary Assistance for Needy
    Families (TANF) and other welfare programs, because that would
    discourage African-Americans from reproducing and thus
    constitute an effective anti-crime program? Americans of all ”
    I think at some level you only need to look at the thinking underlying Freakonomics and welfare reform to find precisely the “imagine if” thoughts Walt puts to electrons here. And in fact, we have policies in place that do make resources far scarcer for these people.
    Again, eugenics thinking is built in to the US system. It’s a fairly unattractive part of the system, but it’s there. Kramer is giving voice to what we do and pushing it a few notches. It doesn’t come from out of the blue.

    Reply

  33. Paul Norheim says:

    Remember Martin Kramer?
    Carroll provided the story on the thread following Stephen
    Walt’s guest post recently. For those who don’t remember, here
    are some of his statements:
    “Aging populations reject radical agenda and the Middle East is
    no different. Now eventually, this will happen among the
    Palestinians, too. But it will happen faster if the West stops
    providing pro-natal subsidies for Palestinians with refugee
    status. Those subsidies are one reason why in the ten years,
    from 1997 to 2007, Gaza’s population grew by an astonishing
    40%. At that rate, Gaza’s population will double by 2030 to
    three million.
    Israel’s present sanctions on Gaza have a political aim,
    undermine the Hamas regime, but they also break Gaza’s
    runaway population growth and there is some evidence that
    they have. That may begin to crack the culture of martyrdom,
    which demands a constant supply of superfluous young men.”
    ——————
    The Kramer debate on the Walt thread at TWN was unfortunately
    sidetracked by Questions, who argued that everybody should
    think twice before condemning Kramer’s statements as long as
    there may (or may not) be one, two, or perhaps even three
    commenters at TWN who sympathize with libertarianism. I think
    OutragedAmerican admitted that he sympathized with Ron Paul,
    and that was it…
    Anyway, Stephen Walt picked up the story yesterday at his own
    blog. Here is his take:
    “I have three points to make about this matter.
    First, although a good case can be made that Kramer’s remarks
    were tantamount to advocating genocide, I would not use that
    word to characterize them. The 1948 U.N. definition of genocide
    does include “imposing measures intended to prevent births
    within the group,” and Kramer’s call for an end to ‘pro-natal
    subsidies” is very close to that part of the definition. But despite
    my respect for Abunimah and Rosenberg, I think the word
    “genocide” has become a loaded term that gets tossed around
    too loosely, which makes it easy for Kramer and his defenders
    to portray legitimate criticism of his extreme views as over the
    top.
    What word you use to describe his comments is actually not that
    important, because their substance is so offensive to any decent
    person that you don’t need to worry much about getting the
    right label for them. To illustrate this point, just imagine how
    Kramer would react if the Iranian government announced that it
    was worried its Jewish population (some 40,000 or so) was a
    potential “fifth column,” and that it was therefore imposing
    measures intended to discourage Iranian Jews from having more
    children? Or what if a prominent academic at Harvard declared
    that the United States had to make food scarcer for Hispanics so
    that they would have fewer children? Or what if someone at a
    prominent think tank noted that black Americans have higher
    crime rates than some other groups, and therefore it made
    good sense to put an end to Temporary Assistance for Needy
    Families (TANF) and other welfare programs, because that would
    discourage African-Americans from reproducing and thus
    constitute an effective anti-crime program? Americans of all
    persuasions would appropriately denounce such views as
    barbaric and racist, and that’s precisely how Kramer’s chilling
    remarks should be viewed.
    Second, I take the issue of academic freedom very seriously and
    believe that the principle applies to Kramer, even though I
    found his remarks appalling. Thus, I believe that the
    Weatherhead administrators were correct in deflecting calls to
    dismiss him. (Some of you may recall that I thought that the
    head of Ben Gurion University of the Negev was wrong when she
    tried to censure Professor Neve Gordon, who is on her faculty
    and who called for a boycott of Israel. By the same logic, it
    would be wrong for Harvard officials to cut off Kramer because
    they disagreed with what he said or even found it offensive.)”
    Continues here:
    http://walt.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/02/27/kramer_versu
    s_kramer#commentspace
    ——————————-
    BTW, Questions also felt that we should search for our own
    “inner Kramer” before condemning the real Kramer’ s nasty
    statements.
    WigWag seems to have picked up that one in her comment on
    Walt’s blog. In one comment, addressed to Stephen Walt, she
    says:
    “Do you really believe that you’re in a position to criticizie
    Kramer? Have you looked at yourself in the mirror?”
    The title of Walt’s post is of course: “Kramer versus Kramer””
    Of course this is this essentially not a Kramer versus Kramer
    story – whether inner or outer. Sorry to say, but that’s bullshit.
    And WigWag, who blames Israel for not having the guts to treat
    the Palestinians the same way the allies treated the population
    of Dresden in WW2, is of course in no position to criticize
    Stephen Walt on this issue.
    It’s about someone at Harvard (and one of his allies, Gunnar
    Heinsohn, writing in the Wall Street Journal) saying things about
    the Palestinian population as such, that would have got him
    sacked if he’d said that about any other group of people on this
    planet – with the possible exception of pedophiles and.

    Reply

  34. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “If Obama is not playing the same ‘national security’ fake card as boy Bush, what are you saying?”
    Comical, ain’t it? On another thread, she insults Hillary too, despite the fact that Hillary is obviously playing by Israel’s rules, and doing exactly as Israel would have her do. Partisan, bigoted, and ridiculous to the extreme, Nadine never dissappoints if one is partial to watching someone make an ass of themself.

    Reply

  35. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “OT- Strange the GOP is fraught over funding for a trillion dollar health care item, when Dubya refused to account for a missing trillion in the Pentagon before 9-11 and a missing trillion at NASA”
    That was a missing TWO trillion at DOD. Dov Zakhiem might just know where it is. Should we ask him in yiddish, or do you think he would rather lie to us in english?

    Reply

  36. Mr.Murder says:

    OT- Strange the GOP is fraught over funding for a trillion dollar health care item, when Dubya refused to account for a missing trillion in the Pentagon before 9-11 and a missing trillion at NASA.
    Maybe the Cuba policy could re-formulate, were there some consessions made regarding that item, in the Sunshine state.
    In the meanwhile, a segment of both could fund the initial health care plan at zero net cost. Especially when you consider the amount of bailout funds tied up between those ventures….

    Reply

  37. JohnH says:

    I agree. When America achieved its continental Manifest Destiny, it just assumed that control of the whole world had become its manifest destiny. And that gives the king enormous perks and little accountability. It also gives American forces operating outside the US enormous latitude and virtual impunity, even from Presidential directives.
    I would encourage everyone to remember the revolts of French forces in Algeria in defiance of the President of the Republic.
    “The first revolt brought down the Fourth Republic and boosted Charles de Gaulle to power. The second, when barricades went up in the streets of Algiers 15 months ago, was designed to stop De Gaulle from negotiating for an independent Algeria. But last week’s was no civilian uprising aided and abetted by soldiers. It was a mutiny in the army itself.
    Sold Out. What triggered the mutiny was the realization that De Gaulle was about to sit down to talk with the very rebels that the French army had fought for more than six years, and now seemed ready to hand over to them an independent and prosperous Algeria.”
    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,897733,00.html#ixzz0gspkITqj
    The withdrawal from Iraq is not a done deal, and Odierno is starting to squawk. McChrystal told Obama what he needed in Afghanistan and dared him to refuse him. The emperor may be secure only as long as he follows the directives of his generals…

    Reply

  38. nadine says:

    Don, we were deeply involved in supporting the Afghan fighters against the Soviets. After the Soviets withdrew in 1989, we lost interest in Afpak and left them to their own devices, which turned out to be an Afghan civil war, followed by the Taliban, followed by an alliance with Al Qaeda.
    The idea that anti-Americanism is wholly caused by American meddling so everything will be fine if we leave just isn’t supported by evidence.
    There is nothing remotely crazy about the Syrian article either. Do you have any idea how many Lebanese politicians have been assassinated in the last five years? Almost all anti-Syrian?

    Reply

  39. Warren Metzler says:

    Don Bacon suggests that “American Exceptionalism” is at the
    root of our various administration’s foreign policies. I suggest
    an alternative. It is that almost every person who behaves in a
    manner that he, or she, is selected for an administration policy
    making position is personally corrupt; has long ago abandoned
    all common sense, and has a strong orientation to being a king,
    or queen. So the US government is treated as a world dynasty,
    and everything that can move that person closer to having that
    dynasty exist, and he be ruler, is done. And all that interferes
    with that goal is actively opposed and denigrated.
    As tricky Dick told David Frost, “I can’t have been guilty of a
    crime, I was (king) president.”
    And meanwhile they constantly give lip service to being a
    democrat. Watch the feet, not the mouth!

    Reply

  40. DonS says:

    ” so it turns out there is no extension of government power that Obama is not in favor of, so long as Obama is Prez. His real objection to the Patriot Act turns out to be that Bush was Prez.” (nadine)
    So are you saying this because you object to the unconstitutional violations of privacy or because you just hate Obama? Do you disagree with the policy of boy Bush, or are you finding Obama stalwart because you agree with boy Bush’s policy and therefore support Obama’s/dems policy.
    Are you merely rubbing in some sort of gotcha at Obama, or are you indicating you are hypocritical when you call Obama a wimp? Same policy, different prez. If Obama is not playing the same ‘national security’ fake card as boy Bush, what are you saying?

    Reply

  41. Don Bacon says:

    nadine,
    What are you talking about regarding us leaving Afghanistan in the 90s? And that causing 9/11? Did you get that scenario from Barry Rubin too? Or just the crazy Syria one?
    This is the guy who writes: “[Iran is making] rapid strides toward nuclear weapons and long-range missiles” and then he gets melodic
    “These nukes are made for walking, and that’s just what they’ll do
    one of these days these nukes are gonna walk all over you.”
    Funny, that guy. But please spare us such drivel.

    Reply

  42. nadine says:

    Okay, so we send an ambassador to Syria (on the 5th anniversary of Rafik Hariri’s assassination, nice timing there guys). The Syrians “thank” us by holding a summit with Iran and Hezbullah in Damascus, ridiculing our efforts to wean Syria away from Iran. Then Hizbullah threatens to kidnap or kill our ambassador:
    “Only hours after Hizballah’s most powerful figure, Hasan Nasrallah, returned from Damascus, another Hizballah leader, Nawwaf Moussawi, has threatened the U.S. ambassador to Lebanon Michele Sison. This statement is in the context of a whole string of such hints that something bad will happen to her if American policy doesn’t change. “She does not [follow] diplomatic limits,” he said, adding “The US Embassy in Lebanon is a state within the state” which meddles in Lebanese politics and threatens the country’s security.”
    Moussawi continued: “Whatever the Americans know about Lebanon, they pass it on to the Zionist enemy.” That isn’t just a complaint about the U.S.-Israel relationship but an accusation that U.S. diplomats are all enemy spies, which means if one of them were to be killed or kidnapped that would be justifiable since they are, according to Hizballah leaders, trying to destroy and defeat Lebanon. And Lebanese listeners know precisely what he is threatening.
    By the way, Moussawi is a Hizballah member of parliament, a category which according to U.S. and British officials proves he’s a moderate since politicians can’t be terrorists they say.”
    http://rubinreports.blogspot.com/
    Hizbullah has killed many moderate Lebanese politicians, both for themselves and Syria. They have murdered their way into control of the Lebanese government. So the Lebanese know to take threats like this seriously. Does Obama?
    Like Steve’s guest poster said, we weren’t getting many benefits from not sending an ambassador to Damascus. So Obama decided on a new policy, where we get active harm from having a sitting duck, excuse me, an ambassador, in Damascus.
    Don’t think Syria would dare hold an ambassador hostage? Why not? it would be Hizbullah doing the deed, so Syria could deny responsibility. Did we ever punish Hizbullah for killing hundreds of our marines, or Syria for sending thousands of jihadis into Iraq to kill our soldiers? Did we even react to the many times and ways the Syrians have spat in our faces? Why would they think we would react now? Ahmedinejad can remind Boy Assad how great diplomatic hostage taking works when you’ve got a wimp in the White HOuse.

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    “The only sensible American policy in Afghanistan is to leave, and swear off meddling in far off Asian civil wars.” (Bart)
    That’s what we did in the 90s. We left. We got 9/11 for our pains. You want a repeat, or was once enough?

    Reply

  44. samuelburke says:

    steve, if what happened to national socialist germany were to
    happen to the united states which is that they lost the war, could
    the united states military leaders and or congressmen be tried for
    crimes against humanity?
    can war crimes tribunals be considered against the western military
    leaders who carried out the orders.

    Reply

  45. nadine says:

    DonS, so it turns out there is no extension of government power that Obama is not in favor of, so long as Obama is Prez. His real objection to the Patriot Act turns out to be that Bush was Prez.
    All of Obama’s statements come with an expiration date. All of them. Remember that.

    Reply

  46. Outraged American says:

    Pic of US kid whose head was half blown off in Afghanistan. Show
    it your friends Steve and tell them we want out.
    http://open.salon.com/blog/david_cox/2010/02/25/the_picture

    Reply

  47. DonS says:

    “Obama just signed the Patriot Act extension into law. What is it that they are not telling us? Why do they feel such a need to put in place legislation that makes it so easy to turn American citizens into “the enemy”? (POA)
    http://www.talkleft.com/story/2010/2/25/21533/4862
    At the very least one can surmise that for Obama and the dems curtailing Constitutional protections trumps the Constitution when it comes to doing anything that would leave them open to the charge of ‘soft on terror’. If there is a case to be made that justifies that tradeoff, it should be made publicly, and not buried under the ‘national security’ excuse. But apparently Obama and the dems are as convinced as the repubs that the ‘national security state’ is a political winner. Folks don’t realize just how important these erosions of privacy are; whole institutions for violating privacy rights must be created and enhanced to flesh out the mandate. Slippery slope doesn’t begin to describe the danger.
    Sorry to be OT — for as long as freedom of speech remains available.

    Reply

  48. Bart says:

    The only sensible American policy in Afghanistan is to leave, and swear off meddling in far off Asian civil wars.

    Reply

  49. Outraged American says:

    Steve, pls. ask your cronies why Israel’s FM Lieberman said that Af-
    Pak was Israel’s greatest threat?
    Maybe that answer will help us plebes understand why many
    nations’ blood and treasure are being spilt/ spent in that
    “Graveyard of Empires.”

    Reply

  50. Don Bacon says:

    At the heart of all America’s Afghanistan policy, and other imperialistic ventures, is American Exceptionalism, the theory that the United States occupies a special niche among the nations of the world. So long as AE is allowed to flourish, there will be the dependence on military means and the subordinate role for diplomacy that we currently have.
    President Obama told us on March 27. 2009, in announcing his new (at that time) Afghanistan strategy, that there would be diplomatic activity:
    Obama: “And finally, together with the United Nations, we will forge a new Contact Group for Afghanistan and Pakistan that brings together all who should have a stake in the security of the region — our NATO allies and other partners, but also the Central Asian states, the Gulf nations and Iran; Russia, India and China.”
    Action? None. There has been continued emphasis on a military solution with increased military activity.
    Military activity on the other side of the earth, with a disdain for diplomacy, even when promised, is a sure, unmistakable sign of continued American Exceptionalism.
    Oh, but we were supposed to see an end of American Exceptionalism. Michele Flournoy, the second most powerful person at the Pentagon, which seems now to have the lead on US foreign policy, last year:
    “The United States must exemplify respect for the rule of law. We have to stop invoking American exceptionalism and return to our historical role as champion of the rule of law both domestically and internationally.”
    http://ricks.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2009/05/05/flournoy_s_principles
    Steve, you might want to inquire into the status of Ms. Flournoy’s anti-AE effort.

    Reply

  51. PissedOffAmerican says:

    I see Israel has “requested” that we do not send an ambassador to Syria. It will be interesting to see what kind of excuse this warmongering asshole Clinton employs in order to do Israel’s bidding. Its interesting, noting Steve’s stated desire for a more constructive relationship with Syria, that he has not chosen to comment on Hillary’s damaging and purposefully counterproductive “diplomatic” rhetoric. His silence about Mitchell’s alleged ire at the State Department for the obvious pro-Israel bias is interesting too. As he is more than willing to go after Rahm Emanuel, it is inexplicable to me why he doesn’t go after Hillary, as her so called “diplomacy” has completely derailed any credibility Obama’s Cairo speech may have once enjoyed.
    Afghanistan. We see more and more world leaders, scientists, and even American congresspeople calling the 9/11 narrative into question. It follows that we must also begin to strongly question whether or not the Afghanistan rationale is as big a lie as the Iraq rationale was. It is becoming increasingly obvious that both sides of the aisle have a shared unspoken agenda. Obama just signed the Patriot Act extension into law. What is it that they are not telling us? Why do they feel such a need to put in place legislation that makes it so easy to turn American citizens into “the enemy”? What is it they fear we will do? And in response to what?

    Reply

  52. bert swanson says:

    steve,
    you seem well informed. two questions:
    1. has rumsfeld hinted that his book will be candid and state the major flaws with his conduct of the war, much like McNamra did in 1995?
    2. you seem in contact with the neo-cons. Have any of them indicated were their initial thinking may have been wrong?
    just bert

    Reply

  53. JohnH says:

    Yes, they must all know that out of control military spending is THE elephant in the middle of the room (or the massive budget deficit, if you will.) However, it would definitely not be good form for anyone employed in Washington to talk about it…

    Reply

  54. DonS says:

    It does seem quite fruitless to discuss Afghanistan policy without recognizing the larger cancer of militarism and defense spending juggernaut. Probably not part of the ‘bunch of folks’ agenda, but worthwhile acknowledging.

    Reply

  55. Don Bacon says:

    Changing the Afghanistan policy requires a total assault on the “safe havens” argument, the one where this backward, mostly illiterate people on the other side of the earth might give aid and comfort to the countless terrorists that are motivated by US military presence in Muslim countries and US Israel policy.
    Given that the US imperialist will continue to create and motivate terrorists, the anti-terrorism meme being profitable in many quarters, there is little chance of effectively countering the “safe haven” argument.
    The basic problem is there is much more profit in war than there is in peace, and how can war profiteers be convinced to give up profits? The US national “defense” budget is hardly even debated — two billion dollars per day, day in and day out, flowing out to greedy recipients including many Americans who are hooked on the military financial drug.
    That’s the narrative that has to be changed, and nobody that is currently involved in it seems willing to change it, understandably since they profit from it.
    So good luck in changing the course of America’s Afghanistan policy.

    Reply

  56. JohnH says:

    The rubber is about to hit the road. America has funded war by borrowing from Social Security, China, Japan and petro-states. This slush fund has hit its overdraft limits. There will be no more “free” military adventures such as we have witnessed for the past decade. If the militants want to fight wars, they will have to find a way to pay for them. This will generate resistance among those to be taxed. There will be no more blank checks issued to the military. Sadly, this seems to be the only practical course to a sane foreign policy. Nothing else is capable of reigning in the war machine.

    Reply

  57. Warren Metzler says:

    I suggest that until the American people give up wanting to be
    a powerful nation, we will have more and more wars, and more
    and more military forces in more and more countries. The
    change in policy that needs to occur is to have a fundamental
    change in our attitudes about the US’s role in the world, not a
    change in the “Afghanistan policy”. The latter approach is
    bound to be fruitless.
    Our Constitution should be amended to include the Declaration
    of Independence (that Declaration is currently not considered
    part of the Constitution by the Federal courts), so the alienable
    rights mentioned there be seen as present in every human, not
    just Americans, and the role of the Federal government is to
    take actions that provide all humans with those rights.
    If progressives believe in progressive taxation, they should
    believe in progressive responsibility: the more you have, the
    more you do for all.

    Reply

  58. Elizabeth Miller says:

    Steve,
    I trust that framework for a course change in US policy in Afghanistan won’t include a call for the removal of the SecDef.
    Sorry, I couldn’t resist – I’m not that strong.
    🙂

    Reply

  59. MarkL says:

    is it possible for the US to buy the heroin crop in a manner that doesn’t let the proceeds go to the Taliban?
    Mixing the war on terror with the war on drugs is a losing proposition, because you’ll never win the hearts and minds if you are taking away the best cash crop.

    Reply

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