It’s a long way to the top

long way to the top
water tower
The view from almost everywhere in Madhattan

I’m trying out taking pairs (or more) of pictures with the camera in the same spot but a changed angle. The top one is all about the negative space.

Holy cow, it is so nice to be off of myspace. I can link to whatever the hell I want! I can put a few ads up! Yes, they’re probably coming as soon as I can figure it out. I need another column in the blog design… I don’t know if I like how links are capped. Hmm. Hmm. Anyway, if you’re a new reader, thanks for checking me out and you should be aware my topics can jump around sometimes in a serious way and sometimes in a half-assed way.

Very excited that some of the Bang on a Can Marathon program has been released. Now, I understand that this kind of music isn’t for everyone. But please don’t tell us you’d rather “chew on shit” than listen to it. I’ll bet you’d happily stew to Steve Reich’s “Daniel Variations” rather than masticate on shit. If I’m wrong, you’re probably not going to live very long.

So General Betray Us® is coming to testify again. What’s missing from this debate is the usual reality check. Via Digby and Spencer Ackerman, ajunior officer in Iraq puts it like this:

In my opinion, what everyone fails to realize is that this is not a counterinsurgency. If we wanted to stay in Iraq, then it would be a counterinsurgency. But it is clear that our goal is to turn over power and pull out. So, in building our strategic endstate, it’s pointless to set goals that relate to our presence in Iraq. If the “insurgency” is a function of our being there, then it is not an insurgency in terms of our endstate. For example, if one of our goals is to stop IED attacks on US forces, that is pointless. When we leave, there will be no more IED attacks on us forces. So our endstate needs to be different. We need to ask “if we left tomorrow, what would happen in Iraq?” and from there, we need to determine which of those anticipated results are unacceptable to us. Then we must aim our efforts on making sure those unacceptable results do not occur.

When I look at the problem that way, it becomes almost impossible to find a purpose in what we do. Regardless of what we do, the Shia are going to take control. They have completely infiltrated all the security forces. The only kind of leader who could keep them in check was a tyrant like Saddam. And when the Shia take control, as soon as we leave, they are going to be as brutal as they like against the Sunni and there will be little we can do about it. That is what will happen whether we leave tomorrow or in ten years. As far as the foreign fighters, they will leave Iraq when we do. So what are we trying to accomplish here? Train the Iraqi forces? History shows that training forces in the Middle East can backfire. Any training we offer these people will find its way to our terrorist enemies.

Does everyone forget Osama Bin Laden probably received training and guns from the U.S. in Afghanistan?

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