Even if it bankrupts us

Think we need to eliminate that pesky $455 billion deficit? It’s not as important as invading third world nations, liberating oppressed foreigners and ridding the world of evil-doers, says the administration:

    “Restoring a balanced budget is an important priority for this administration,” White House budget director Joshua Bolten told reporters. “But a balanced budget is not a higher priority than winning the global war on terror, protecting the American homeland, or restoring economic growth and job creation.”

I don’t know how the gov’t expects to achieve the latter two by running record deficits, while giving more money to failing intelligence bureaucracies may exacerbate their inefficiencies. Someone once said: War is the health of the….

Resurgent Taliban

A recent Time: Asia article details the “undefeated” Taliban:

    Coalition spokesman Colonel Rodney Davis agrees: “The coalition has degraded what was a formidable force.” True enough. But the Taliban have taken what was left of their own army and morphed it into a guerrilla-and-terror outfit. Their goal, says Afghanistan expert Professor Barnett Rubin of New York University’s (NYU) Center on International Cooperation, is to “cause enough terror that the foreigners will leave Afghanistan and Afghans will be afraid to collaborate with the government in Kabul, causing it to crumble.” That’s likely beyond their reach, but in a country as unstable as Afghanistan, even degraded Taliban fighters are a lethal threat.

The article describes the freedom the Taliban have in Pakistan – an American ally:

    Essentially, the Taliban have returned to the cradle in which they were nurtured a decade ago with funding and training by Pakistan’s powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). (Accusations persist that rogue ISI agents or ex-agents still back the Taliban.) The border provinces are controlled by Jamiat Ulema Islam, an extremist party that openly harbors the Taliban. In Quetta, 110 kilometers southeast of Chaman, men roam the streets wearing the distinctive black or white robes and black or white turbans characteristic of the Taliban. “We feel relaxed and safe here,” says a young Talib. A local cleric says Taliban commanders meet regularly in the town to plan raids into their former domain. Foot soldiers “operate in twos and threes,” says a trader who works on both sides of the border. “They sneak across, carry out attacks and come back.”

Antiwar.com’s “Eye on Afghanistan” keeps track of this volitale country — America’s last attempt at nation-building.

Tony Blair Polling Well in Hell’s Eighth Circle: Matthew Barganier

From Matt’s newest column:

    As British opinions on the late war turn frosty, warmer environs must seem appealing to the prime minister. Leaking his resignation to the tabloids at midnight, shafting the BBC, firing a terse last shot from Downing St. (“You won’t have Tony Blair to kick around anymore”), and departing Heathrow for Dulles – who can blame him for dreaming? He’s obviously wasting his talents in a geopolitical backwater.

Read more!

“Bogus From the Beginning: Justin Raimondo”

From Justin’s newest column:

    It wasn’t just the possession of WMD that would single Iraq out as the target of our post-9/11 rage: it was the possibility – indeed, given the tone of the administration’s rhetoric, the inevitability – that Osama bin Laden would get his hands on them that impelled us to act. Or so the White House led us to believe.

Read more!

…like Kosovo?

The ”Baghdad Blogger” is a window into the occupation of Iraq. His 7-12 entry discusses a new feature of his Baghdad camp:

    brown and root is on the ground…this always boost soldiers spirits…when those guys show up things start getting nice quick…they start putting up buildings and chow halls so quickly…they hire out local nationals to cook and serve food…the chow is already a step up from A-rats…but that really isn’t that hard to do…

The presence of “brown and root” – a military organization that feeds and houses stationed troops – is an indication that the stay will be long:

    brown and root can be a double edged sword…the quality of life does improve but they usually don’t come in unless an american presence is going to last for years…like kosovo…