Thursday, August 19, 2021


First up, Jimmy Dore.

Yep, Ron Paul called it years ago.  So did C.I., by the way.  She repeatedly said that you can't impose a government.  She repeatedly said that if there was no buy-in for the people, the government would fall.  The same thing will happen in Iraq.  All those lives lost, all that money wasted.  

Okay, TV.  Last time I wrote about "SUPERMAN & LOIS " and there were some e-mails.  Joe asked who my favorite character was?

Good question.  Obviously, Clark (Superman).  After him?  It would probably be Kyle.  For me, Kyle's a very important part of the series.  He struggles as a father.  He struggles a lot.  He makes mistakes.  He tries to make things right.  I really like that character.  Then it's probably Lois and this is a strong and incredible Lois.  I also like John and Jon (Jon being Jonathan).  I'm really not all that fond of JOrdan.  There's a pity-me quality to his storylines that has been used too many times for me.  Sorry.  :(

I really do love the show.

Another show I love?  TITANS.  This is THE TEEN TITANS.  I never watched it until HBO MAX.  I started watching seasons one and two.  That was all they had at the time.  I didn't realize until today that season three was going up.

So TITANS are led by Dick Grayson (now Night Wing, not Robin).  Robin died in the first episode of season three which led to both Barbra Gordon and Dick calling out Bruce Wayne.  


By the way, Barbara is not Oracle yet.  She's no longer Batgirl but she hasn't become Oracle yet.


Starfire and Beast Boy are part of the team.  Beast Boy provides laughs and humanity.  Starfire has come into her own and really has a grasp on her powers in season three.  She's also most comfortable addressing the media.  

We've also got Connor as Superboy -- Connor is a clone of Clark.  We've also got Hawk and Dove.  I haven't seen Donna Troy (Wonder Girl) so far this season but she's supposed to be part of it.  I know she's supposedly gone but I don't believe it. 

Season three is also airing on TNT, I don't know what night but check your listings.  And, of course, you can stream it on HBO MAX.  

 My favorite characters?  Hank, Starfire and Beast Boy.  After that, I also like Dove and Conner. 

I would say TITANS is the best superhero show of 2021 after -- yes, after -- SUPERMAN AND LOIS and then FALCON AND THE WINTER SOLDIER.  I love both of those two shows.  I really like FLASH but TITANS is better (especially after FLASH got rid of Cisco).  WANDAVISION was pure garbage (and sexist garbage at that).  LOKI was dull and boring.  I can't get ino the new bATWOMAN, it was a big mistake to think the show could go on without Ruby Rose.  


If you haven't seen TITANS and you have HBO MAX, you can stream the first two seasons and the third seasons episodes that have aired so far.


Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


 Thursday, August 19, 2021.  The financial costs (burden) continue to increase for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Turkish government slaughters again . . . 

The great and mighty and pure and innocent Turkish government has killed more deadly, evil people.  Oh wait, they killed civilians.  Again.  Like they do over and over.  


An airstrike staged by #Turkey’s military hits a clinic in northern #Iraq, resulting in fatalities and injuries, local officials and an Iraqi military officer say.

Amberin Zaman (AL-MONITOR) reports:

At least five people were killed and numerous others wounded in Turkish airstrikes on a makeshift hospital in the predominantly Yazidi Sinjar region of Iraq on Tuesday, according to local and diplomatic sources on the ground. The attacks are part of Ankara’s broader military campaign against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) across Iraqi Kurdistan that has displaced thousands of villagers and claimed dozens of civilian lives.

The clinic in the village of Skiniya at the southwestern foot of Sinjar Mountain was totally destroyed in the airstrikes, according to medical workers cited by Agence France-Presse. They initially placed the death toll at three. Several of the victims were reportedly civilians and the rest members of a Yazidi militia known as the Sinjar Resistance Units (YBS), which received training from the PKK and is on the Iraqi government’s payroll.

MEE notes, "Images shared online by purported residents showed a basement and clinic reduced to rubble and black smoke rising into the air."  As usual, the government of Turkey is claiming (lying) that they "neutralized" "terrorists.AFP notes the death toll has risen to at least eight.  XINHUA reports:

Iraq on Wednesday condemned the airstrikes by Turkish aircraft in Sinjar area in the northern province of Nineveh, stressing its rejection to the violation of sovereignty.

The Iraqi Ministerial Council for National Security, headed by Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, held a meeting to discuss situation in the Sinjar area and the measures taken to maintain security there, according to a statement by al-Kadhimi's office.

"The council condemned the unilateral military actions that offend the principles of good neighborliness, and rejected the use of Iraqi territory to settle scores from any party," the statement said, referring to the recent airstrikes by Turkish aircraft on positions believed to be used by the outlawed Turkish Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) members in Sinjar.

Condemned did they?  Dilan Sirwan (RUDAW) reports:

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has received an official invitation to visit Baghdad later this month to attend the Baghdad summit, Iraq’s foreign ministry said on Sunday.

Iraq’s Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein on Saturday met with Erdogan in Istanbul.

“The minister delivered an invitation letter from Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi to the Turkish President to attend the summit meeting scheduled at the end of this month in Baghdad at the level of leaders of Iraq’s neighboring countries,” reads a statement from the Iraqi foreign ministry. 

Well what a rebuke to Recep! (That was sarcasm.)  The inept Mustafa al-Kadhimi is a joke and this is how he looks with elections supposedly mere weeks away.  What an embarrassment.  

He's the Marilyn Monroe of prime ministers -- Marilyn trained her dog -- or tried to -- by 'striking' him with a Kleenex when he pooped on the carpet.  That's Mustafa for you.

ARAB WEEKLY explains:

Iraq regularly decries violations of its sovereignty and has repeatedly summoned the Turkish ambassador over Ankara’s cross-border military campaign.

But Iraq, which counts on Turkey as an important commercial partner, has refrained from taking punitive measures.

Aliya Tweets:

Cry of a #Yazidi woman aftermath of Turkish air strikes targeting a hospital in Sinjar today #TurkeyAttacksYazidis #YazidiGenocide
Bahtiyar Umut

In response to the latest murder of Iraqi civilians carried out by the Turkish government, the US State Dept Tweeted yesterday:

We are aware of the press reports concerning the Turkish operations in northern Iraq. We reaffirm our view that military action in Iraq should respect Iraqi sovereignty.

No surprise, the Tweet led to many responses.  We'll note two.  First, this is from Tim Hogan:

You are aware the al-Qaeda affiliated Turks bombed a hospital serving a population that has suffered a genocide. That's not just an issue of Iraqi sovereignty. It's an issue of US weapons being used to commit what is clearly a war crime. It's better to say nothing.

Second, journalist Seth Frantzman Tweets:

How about respecting human rights. Aren’t people more than “sovereignty”.


U.S. embassy in Turkey showed support for Turkish operations in Iraq a few days ago.. & now it says “military action ( by Turkey, a foreign power) should respect Iraqi sovereignty. Like what?

In other reported violence, MEHR NEWS AGENCY notes:

Iraqi sources reported Thursday morning that a US military logistics convoy was targeted in Iraq's Saladin province.

According to the Saberin News, the convoy was targeted in the city of Siniya , north of the Iraqi capital.

So far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Staying with the topic of the US military, Leo Shane III (MILITARY TIMES) reports:

The cost of caring for veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan could top $2.5 trillion by 2050, creating tough financial decisions for both the veterans community and the entire country, according to a new analysis by the Costs of War Project released Wednesday.

And that's just the veterans' care aspect.  Rachel Layne (CBS NEWS) reports:

Although the U.S. is trying to turn the page on two decades of war in the Middle East, American taxpayers can expect to pay for those conflicts for decades to come.  

The ultimate cost of the nation's engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq, on top of the incalculable personal toll on combatants and civilians, reflects a shift in how war has typically been financed. From the American Civil War through the Korean War, the U.S. government has mostly paid for its conflicts through taxes and war bonds. But in the post-September 11 era, U.S. military spending has been financed almost entirely through debt.

Since the September 11 attacks, the U.S. government has spent $2.2 trillion to finance the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, according to figures from Brown University's Costs of War Project. Yet that sum — which amounts to roughly 10% of the the country's total gross domestic product — only reflects upfront costs. 

 “The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have created a veterans care crisis, with disability rates soaring past those seen in previous wars,” said Harvard University professor Linda Bilmes, lead author of the new estimates.

“This will take a long-term toll not only on veterans, but the U.S. taxpayers that will bear these costs for decades to come.”

The latest analysis of the costs of veteran care in coming decades is roughly $1 trillion over previous estimates by the group. Researchers cited “more frequent and longer deployments, higher levels of exposure to combat, higher rates of survival from injuries, higher incidence of serious disability, and more complex medical treatments” as the reasons for the higher price tag.

As we were noting yesterday:

This discussion/debate should not be dominated by the military -- current or ex.

'I have skin in the game.'

Sorry, have you seen the bill that future generations will be paying down?  Everyone has skin in the game -- whether they realize it or not.  We also have another debt -- call it karmic.

Moving to the topic of events in Afghanistan, Gary Leupp (COUNTERPUNCH) notes::

All the cable anchors join in depicting the U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan (which is to say, the defeat of the U.S. in the war) as a tragedy. Is it not heartbreaking that the U.S. spent $800 billion in military expenditures in Afghanistan during the war, and another $200,000 billion in Pakistan? And that it spent $ 5 billion a year on economic aid? And that it created a force (on paper) of 300,000 troops, and provided them with the most up-to-date weapons and training for 20 years, only to see them buckle under the advance of a rag-tap bunch of militants with Kalashinovs? And that it built schools for girls (like the Soviets did) only to see them burned down?

And that in achieving all this it lost 2372 soldiers, and its allies lost 1147 soldiers? Is it not a waste?

Experts like former DHS secretary Juliette Kayyem appear on CNN and try to explain. Asked why the Afghan “national” forces have performed so poorly, she asks whether “corruption” was responsible, or “lack of pay.” Secretary of State Tony Blinken keeps reiterating that the Afghans have been well trained for 20 years and they have to want their freedom enough to fight for it. One feels that in the end Afghans will be blamed for their inability to take directions, unwillingness to accept U.S. tutelage, intrinsic religious conservatism and xenophobia. Blinken’s spin is: we won the war when we achieved “our one overriding purpose” in crushing al-Qaeda in Afghanistan. That was always the motive—not the remaking of Afghanistan. But the war continued long after this goal was obtained in mid-December 2001; the U.N. estimates over 5000 civilian casualties in that war just in the first five months of this year. But according to Blinken, these last two decades of war have been mere spin-offs of that purpose realized early on.

That surge to 100,000 troops under Obama? Absolutely nothing to do with al-Qaeda. The point was to prevent the Taliban from regaining power. The Afghan forces after a decade of training weren’t up to the task to fighting their ill-armed countrymen. If Blinken insists that transforming Afghanistan was not the “overriding purpose” of the imperialist invasion of 2001, why did the U.S. stay so long?

The news anchors cry crocodile tears about the possible fate of translators left behind. They don’t ask why anyone would want to punish them. All they did, after all, was facilitate the U.S. occupation of their country. But no Afghans had invited the U.S. to invade their country and teach them about democracy, women’s rights or anything else. The interpreters were working with people that a substantial portion of the population viewed with hostility and fear. They made a wager about the future and lost, although I suspect most will wind up abroad living in relative comfort.

And the talking heads grieve for the women and girls. Women’s education was a priority of the Soviet-backed government of the 1980s, and a key target of the Mujahadeen whose Afghan component fragmented into warlords’ private armies and the Taliban, and whose foreign component spawned al-Qaeda and ISIL. The U.S. willingly encouraged a jihad by such people against the modern, secular regime. It was part of its amoral Cold War strategy to combat “communism” everywhere. The communists’ education of girls was seen not as a good thing but as a tool of the enemy to control girls’ minds. In other words, the U.S. has a mixed record on promoting women’s rights and education in Afghanistan.

And Caitlin Johnstone shares her thoughts at INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE:

I love how everyone’s just pretending the Afghanistan Papers never happened and the Taliban takeover is some kind of shocking tragedy instead of the thing everyone knew would happen because they’ve been knowingly lying about working to create a stable government this entire time.

If the US had a free press and was anything like a democracy, the government wouldn’t be getting away with squandering thousands of lives and trillions of dollars on a twenty-year war which accomplished literally nothing besides making assholes obscenely wealthy.

Thousands of human lives. Trillions of dollars. If western mass media were anything remotely resembling what they purport to be, they would be making sure the public understands how badly their government just fucked them. Instead it’s just “Oh no, those poor Afghan women.”

War apologists talk about “doing nothing” like that’s somehow worse than creating mountains of human corpses for power and profit. “We’ve got to DO SOMETHING about the Taliban! We can’t just do NOTHING!”

Uhh, yes you can. Please for the love of God do nothing. Doing nothing would be infinitely better than more military interventionism in a nation you’ve already tortured for twenty years for no valid reason.

People who think US interventionism solves problems just haven’t gone through the mountains upon mountains of evidence that it definitely definitely does not at all. Nobody honestly believes the US needs to invade every nation in the world with illiberal cultural values; they only think that way with Afghanistan due to war propaganda. And women’s lives in Afghanistan have still been shit under the occupation.

They had twenty years to build a stable nation in Afghanistan. Twenty years. If you believe that’s what they were really trying to do there, or that results would be any different if you gave them twenty more, you’re a f**king moron.

If you think the US needs to be in Afghanistan so the Taliban doesn’t take over then have some integrity and intellectual honesty and admit you want perpetual occupation. In which case you should be arguing for Afghan annexation so they get votes and congressional representation.

The following sites updated:


First up, Jimmy Dore.

Now SUPERMAN & LOIS.  It airs on Tuesday nights on THE CW.  

So Clark has to defeat Morgan Edge (who is also his half-brother) and also save his son Jordan.  But that's too much for even Superman.  Lois tells him he has to go over Morgan (with John's help) and let her and their son Jonathan try to save Jordan.  

So everything cuts back and forth but John and Clark/Superman defeat Morgan Edge (who tells Clark he just wanted a family and Clark tells him had a brother from the start) and Lois manages to get into Jordan's head and free him from the control of Morgan's late father just before Jordan strangles Jonathan.

Meanwhile, Kyle and Lana have aided the town against destruction and people are forced to realize that they are not bad people but were tricked and harmed by Morgan like everyone else.

So everything ended fine and the community had a BBQ which is when we found out that Lois' dad was retiring from the military.  John also told Lois that he was leaving town.  It was hard to look at her.  Remember, she looks like his dead wife -- on another earth.  But then as he was about to leave, a spaceship emerged from space and landed on the Kent family farm.  In it?

John's daughter that he thought was dead.  She gets out and they're happy to see each other but, as they're hugging, she sees Lois and asks, "Mom?"

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

 Wednesday, August 18, 2021.  Glenn Greenwald walks you through the realities of Afghanistan, Sarah Lazare calls out the lying and much more -- including the reason Barbra Streisand struggles for recognition from her peers.

From time to time, we include something not war related.  Sometimes, it's because a friend asked for it.  Sometimes, it's for another reason.  Before we talk war, we're going to talk Barbra Streisand because we have a teachable moment.  Barbra did a great job directing YENTL.  No Academy Award nomination.  She did a strong job directing THE PRINCE OF TIDES -- which is a glamorous but hollow film.  (YENTL is an amazing film.)  She didn't get nominated for an Academy Award.  

Oh, she was robbed!  Oh, it's so unfair!

Oh, it's . . .

You're seeing why she didn't get nominated play out before your eyes.  Right now, you're seeing the Barbra that we in the industry cannot stand.  It's not that she's attacking Bradley Cooper's A STAR IS BORN.  She can look as petty as she wants.  Brad's film made more money (see Stan's "The awful Streisand attacks Bradley's more successful A STAR IS BORN") and it also was a huge critical hit.  Barbra's film is a piece of garbage and we all knew that in real time.  Critics did not rave over that piece of garbage, that clunky film making.  That film was an embarrassment and in the pre-internet days you can be sure some bought tickets just because of the nude album cover thinking Kris and Barbra might be naked in the film together.

But she can be petty and suck on all the sour grapes she wants to -- in public, no less.  

What she can't do and be forgiven for is what she's also doing.

As she tells the story, Brad has no vision.  She had vision.  She made her character a singer-songwriter.  How could she, she rhetorically asks, measure up to Judy Garland's character?  Oh! Instead of being an actress who sings, her character will be a singer-songwriter!!!

That's why so many dislike Barbra, that's why she has a reputation for being a bitch.

And you're seeing it play out yet again.

To hear her tell it, she came up with the above.

That's news to most of us.  John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion were on the way to the airport to fly out of Hawaii when Joan turned to John and said, "A STAR IS BORN! Starring Carly Simon and James Taylor!"  

That's how the version came about.  Barbra was not anywhere near them.  They made the pitch.  The project was moving.  They even sought Carly and James but it was too close to home -- James' career was sinking and Carly's was on the rise.  

Barbra didn't have a damn thing to do with it.  She's taking credit -- as she always does -- for the work of others.  And no one's calling her on it in the press.  She's a bitch and a glory hog and that's why so many of us feel that the last thing she needs or deserves is another award.    

She had nothing to do with the concept of the characters being 'rock and rollers.'  And her character is not rock and roll.  Or even rock.  It might have been if Cher had played the role.

Which is what was supposed to happen.  Cher had agreed to do the part and was ready to and excited -- and would have been wonderful in it.  But then Sue and Barbra swept in.  They're making a film about Sue, by the way.  I'd love it if all the easy applause for Sue could please die off.  Sue was a racist in person.  Worse, she was a racist in her career.  She was forever asking that this or that African-American actor be dropped by the agency.  She also saw to it that Diana Ross lost one film opportunity after another -- most infamously with THE MAIN EVENT which Sue swooped in and stole for Barbra.  I have no idea why a racist is going to be glorified on film to begin with but hopefully the accompanying press when the film is released will address the reality that Sue was no friend to people of color.

The genesis for the remake came from Joan and John.  It had nothing to do with Barbra.  But there she is slamming Bradley Cooper (with some rather racist talk, by the way) and pretending she came up with the concept for the version she starred in and produced.  She didn't.

And if she's not being racist with her comments regarding Will Smith and Beyonce possibly starring, then she's being stupid.  If she thinks their music genres (rap and pop) would have made a remake different, she might want to grasp that Brad's not playing a rock artist, he's playing a country singer.

She's a bitch and her glory hog ways are why so many just can't take her.  She always claims credit for everything -- if she thinks it worked.  It's cute how she's erasing Jon Peters from her life, by the way, first stripping him of album producer credit (RELEASE ME 2) and now in her tales of A STAR IS BORN.  But that's a story for another time.  If you can't understand why her peers regularly and repeatedly overlook Barbra, pay attention as she steals credit for things other did on the 1976 version of A STAR IS BORN and how she thinks -- expects -- that she can get away with it.

No one wants credit for the Afghanistan War, apparently.  It's all Joe Biden's fault or Donald Trump's fault.  That's the way the chattering class shrieks right now.

Afghanistan is a disaster.  Joe Biden's presidency didn't make it that.  Donald Trump's presidency didn't make it that.  It's a sad state, some insist.  Yes, it is and it was never going to wind down any other way.  These people -- Seth Moulton -- who think there was a better way to do it, no, there wasn't.  The same thing would happen -- maybe faster, maybe slower.  

If you're surprised, I'm surprised you're willing to admit just how stupid and out of touch you actually were.

That's Glenn Greenwald's report on how we were lied to over and over about how well things were going in Afghanistan.  You shouldn't need the report to grasp that.  But there it is if you need it.  (That's not a slam at his report.  He did a very good job.)

But if you can't grasp that year after year nothing improved, I don't know if you should be allowed at the grown up table.  We're told that we are in Iraq currently -- our US troops -- to 'train.'  Again.  And again.  And again.  Over and over and over.   Do you need someone to do a report there as well?  Are you too stupid to grasp that there's no success in Iraq and that this endless train-re-train cycle goes to failure?

I guess 'training' is a little kinder than the wording that they used to use?  Remember 'we'll stand down when they stand up'?

There is no success.  You've fooled yourself -- and let them fool you -- if you've believed otherwise.

You should have paid attention.  I noted Katie Halper yesterday and thought she and Mike did a great discussion on the issues.  I also noted that we needed more voices and some didn't grasp what I was saying.  Mike is a voice of peace.  I'm glad he's part of the discussion -- Mike Prysner.

My problem is the scaredy cat games that result in only veterans being a part of the discussion.  Let's hide behind the vet!!!!  The right-wing does it -- some on the right -- and some on the left.  That's not what Katie was doing, to be clear.  She's spoken to Mike many times before.  But we don't have a lot of peace voices.  

Once we thought we did but they were whores who dropped the wars as soon as Democrats had the power to end them.

This discussion/debate should not be cominated by the military -- current or ex.

'I have skin in the game.'

Sorry, have you seen the bill that future generations will be paying down?  Everyone has skin in the game -- whether they realize it or not.  We also have another debt -- call it karmic.

Jeffrey Sachs notes:

The magnitude of the United States’ failure in Afghanistan is breathtaking. It is not a failure of Democrats or Republicans, but an abiding failure of American political culture, reflected in U.S. policy makers’ lack of interest in understanding different societies. And it is all too typical.

Almost every modern U.S. military intervention in the developing world has come to rot. It’s hard to think of an exception since the Korean War. In the 1960s and first half of the 1970s, the U.S. fought in Indochina — Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia—eventually withdrawing in defeat after a decade of grotesque carnage. President Lyndon B. Johnson, a Democrat, and his successor, the Republican Richard Nixon, share the blame.

Dictators and proxy wars

In roughly the same years, the U.S. installed dictators throughout Latin America and parts of Africa, with disastrous consequences that lasted decades. Think of the Mobutu dictatorship in the Democratic Republic of Congo after the Central Intelligence Agency-backed assassination of Patrice Lumumba in early 1961, or of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s murderous military junta in Chile after the U.S.-backed overthrow of Salvador Allende in 1973.

In the 1980s, the U.S. under Ronald Reagan ravaged Central America in proxy wars to forestall or topple leftist governments. The region still has not healed.

Since 1979, the Middle East and Western Asia have felt the brunt of U.S. foreign policy’s foolishness and cruelty. The Afghanistan war started 42 years ago, in 1979, when President Jimmy Carter’s administration covertly supported Islamic jihadists to fight a Soviet-backed regime. Soon, the CIA-backed mujahedeen helped to provoke a Soviet invasion, trapping the Soviet Union in a debilitating conflict, while pushing Afghanistan into what became a 40-year-long downward spiral of violence and bloodshed.

Across the region, U.S. foreign policy produced growing mayhem. In response to the 1979 toppling of the shah of Iran (another U.S.-installed dictator), the Reagan administration armed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein in his war on Iran’s fledgling Islamic Republic. Mass bloodshed and U.S.-backed chemical warfare ensued. This bloody episode was followed by Saddam’s invasion of Kuwait, and then two U.S.-led Gulf Wars, in 1990 and 2003.

This is not a discussion that needs to exclude.  It needs to be opened up and it needs to be widely debated.  

Sarah Lazare (IN THESE TIMES) notes:

he horrific culmination of the 20-year U.S. occupation of Afghanistan should be cause for sober reflection on the imperial hubris and bipartisan pro-war consensus that enabled such a ruinous military intervention to grind on for so long. But instead of a reckoning, the very architects of the war are getting the final word on its legacy — a kafkaesque conclusion to a remarkably cruel chapter. This dynamic adds fresh insult to the disastrous conditions Afghans now face, as the Taliban seizes control of Afghanistan, and the United States implements callous closed-door policies toward people attempting to flee the country, leading to ghastly scenes at Kabul’s airport.

Chief among these figures is General David Petraeus, who is notable for the skill with which he has charmed and worked the media throughout his long career. He is putting that skill to use now, garnering headline after headline after headline braying for a continued U.S. military presence in Afghanistan. This is an enormous national security setback and it is on the verge of getting much worse unless we decide to take really significant action,” he told the Rita Cosby Show on WABC Radio on August 13. That same day, in an interview with NPR, he advocated for the United States to reverse its withdrawal. I certainly would do that in the short term, and I would certainly consider it for the mid and long term,” he said.

In that NPR interview, Petraeus cited his own role as commander of U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan from 2010 to 2011 to illustrate his expertise. Well, we weren’t contemplating a withdrawal when I was doing this,” he proclaimed. We had 150,000 coalition forces when I was privileged to command, U.S. and all other forces in Afghanistan.”

The declaration is notable because Petraeus oversaw a particularly bloody chapter of the Afghanistan War. After replacing General Stanley McChrystal, Petraeus implemented an aggressive counterinsurgency strategy, and loosened the rules of engagement, giving U.S. troops a wider berth to fire artillery, and to destroy houses and buildings. He also significantly increased the notorious practice of conducting night raids on Afghan homes. As Michael Hastings noted of Petraeus in 2011 for Rolling Stone, He drastically upped the number of airstrikes, launching more than 3,450 between July and November, the most since the invasion in 2001.” 

But Petraeus didn’t just implement these policies. He also launched a charm offensive, holding interviews with numerous major media outlets championing his actions, and even publicly challenging the Obama administration’s planned withdrawal timeline. His rosy remarks in a July 2011 address at the Forum for New Diplomacy in Paris are worth noting. Mr. Petraeus called the Afghan Army and police forces increasingly credible,’” the New York Times reported. He also described how they were steadily taking more responsibility from NATO allies as a gradual withdrawal of tens of thousands of U.S. troops looms.”

Such a statement gives pause, not only because it has been proven wrong, but also because it contrasts with reflections he has shared behind closed doors. In an August 16, 2017 government interview revealed in the Afghanistan Papers — a tranche of documents from the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction published by the Washington Post in 2019 — Petraeus sounded a note of pessimism about the U.S. strategy. I knew it was going to be a longer process,” he said. I had no expectation that we would be able to flip Afghanistan.” 

Once upon a time, when the Democratic Party pretended to care about wars, they insisted on benchmarks.  Remember those days?

"Give us one house of Congress," Nancy Pelosi insisted in the lead up to the 2006 mid-terms, "and we'll end the war."

We The People gave them both houses of Congress.  They saw what a huge voter turn out the war and decided to keep it going so they could grab the White House in 2008.

But the sop they offered us in exchange was that there would be benchmarks.  No more money thrown away.  If Congress was going to hand our tax dollars over to cover the Iraq War, then, by golly, there was going to be real and measurable success.  And we were going to measure it by a set of benchmarks.  Remember those?

These benchmarks would be met or funding would be cut off.

This is where you see The Whores Of McClatchy, by the way.  Remember the boys of MCCLATHCY NEWSPAPERS?  All over the media in 2006 and on forward, praising themselves, so brave, so fresh, so clean-clean.  Reality, MCCLATCHY never did a damn thing.  KNIGHT RIDDER published the stories everyone wrongly pretends were MCCLATCHY's reports.  MCCLATCHY was around at the time, they just chose to do what everyone else did.  Then they bought KNIGHT RIDDER and tried to grab credit for what they themselves didn't do.  So it's not surprise that The Whores Of McClatchy were so happy to pretend there was progress when they covered the benchmarks.  

Was the benchmark accomplished?

That's how you measure success.

Not, "It looks like maybe we moved a half-inch closer!"

There was no success and the press whored and pretended otherwise.

I always felt sorry for US House Rep Lloyd Doggett.  He didn't get the memo.  In April of 2008, he was still insisting that the benchmarks had to be met.  He was unaware that everyone else in Congress had already walked away from them.  He didn't realize it was never sincere. 

But it wasn't and that's how you ended up with benchmarks that were never met yet funding that was never cut off.  Nancy didn't follow through.   Shocker, right?

At REASON, Noor Green observes:

The U.S. says it's sticking around to support the Iraqi military and government, even though each has publicly stated that they want the Americans to leave. 

There's nothing stopping Bush's disastrous war from going on for another 18 years in an endless loop of military actions, followed by unintended consequences, followed by a military response to deal with those unintended consequences, followed by more unintended consequences. After 18 years, it's time to give up on the hope that U.S. troops can bring peace and stability to Iraq. It's time to bring them all home.

There are lessons to be learned right now -- and why Barbra doesn't get a lot of awards isn't the only one.  Here's a lesson: THE PROGRESSIVE isn't . . . progressive.  Despite a slogan that claims it is "A voice for peace and social justice since 1909," it isn't.  Scroll through the useless website looking in vain for anything about Afghanistan.  You won't find it.  They are still publishing -- their useless 'lifestyle' pieces.  They're just not even trying to pretend anymore that they are about peace or even peace adjacent.  

Other item, "TV? What if . . . the possibilities are . . . limited" is up.  I posted it this morning.  Didn't have time to see if anything else was ready.  Ava and I finished that early Sunday morning.  We're covering a show that has a new episode posting to DISNEY+ later today.  Meaning, it would have to be rewritten if we didn't get it up now.  We're not spending another minute on that piece. 

The following sites updated: