Open Thread for Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Don’t want to talk reparations? OK, here are some other topics for talking amongst yourselves:

  1. U.S. to leave 9,800 troops in Afghanistan, official says — This one’s hot off the press, or will be, in 12 hours or so. Apparently, though, this is only four a year, which make me wonder about the value of it. The longer-term forces left in place will be half that.
  2. Nigerian Officials Say They’ve Located Missing Girls — Which raises the really hard question, Now what?
  3. Weekend of violence in Myrtle Beach — Three were killed and seven wounded in five confirmed shooting incidents. A police spokesman said  there were several more reports of shootings or sounds of gunshots that were unconfirmed. The head of the local Chamber says “none of us are surprised,” and blames it on the hordes of bikers who descended on the Strand in the long weekend. Since his first name is “Brad,” how can we doubt him?
  4. Pope: zero tolerance for paedophiles — As with previous utterances of Pope Francis, I once again the impulse to say, But I thought that was the policy already. However, this pope has a way of saying such things that have been said before so that people believe him this time…


10 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, May 27, 2014

  1. Bryan Caskey

    So, less than 10,000 troops in Afghanistan, huh? Sounds odd. My guess is that means less than 1,000 troops on the pointy end of the spear.

    I’m in the camp of either being there in force, or not being there at all. Having said that, I think that it’s probably time to completely leave. We’ve been there for what…about 15 years right? Now that its 2014, here are my questions for anyone who wants to advocate for staying in Afghanistan:

    1. What evidence is there that the al-Qaeda still has Afghanistan as a strategic goal? al-Qaeda has certainly changed since 9/11, and it has spread to other failed states. There’s nothing inherently strategic about Afghanistan, is there? Basically, if we left tomorrow, would al-Qaeda come back tomorrow and re-open the training camps? I don’t think so.

    2. How much of our presence there is simply managing the ongoing civil war? Yeah, foreign fighters go to Afghanistan, but I think that’s because it’s a place where you can go and get in on killing some Americans. If the Americans were gone, I don’t think it would be a draw to the foreign fighters.

    3. If “victory” is having an Afghanistan that can manage their own security, and we haven’t done that in 15 years, how much more of a difference will another 5 or 10 years make?

    I’m not saying there are no good reasons to stay there, but “just because we need to” isn’t really good enough. Anyone in favor of staying there have a logical argument for why we should?

    1. Silence

      I’ll bite:
      1) What evidence is there that Al Qaeda does NOT have ambitions in Afghanistan? It seems to me that it’s still a major hub for jihad training and finance.
      2) With regard to managing a civil war, I think you have Afghanistan confused with Iraq.
      3) Building up the institutions of statehood takes time. This isn’t Germany in 1945. There’s still people living in stone-age conditions. It’s not just about the Afghanis having a viable security apparatus to protect them from enemies foreign and domestic, but it’s about having the institutions and traditions to make a secular democracy function. Perhaps that’s a bridge too far, but having a small quantity of troops there to assist and advise seems to make sense, rather than dropping them cold turkey.
      We broke it, we bought it.

      1. Bryan Caskey

        1. Ok, fair enough. It may be a hub, but my guess is that it’s less important than it used to be. Seems like al-Qaeda has spread elsewhere.

        2. I’m calling the Taliban vs. the non-Taliban the Civil War. (This) I think there are lots of Afghans fighting against the government. I think that this is still going on to a certain extent, but I could be wrong.

        3. Traditions take a long time to develop when you’re not living in the South. I think it IS a bridge too far. Also, you acknowledge that the status was essentially “stone age” from the beginning. How long will it take to get them to the modern era? Some people in Afghanistan don’t want that.

  2. Kathryn Fenner

    How about all the shootings in the Garners Ferry area. I go to the Lowes near there…or at least I did….I wonder what USC might say about the proximity to its medical school? Close Garners Ferry on weekend nights?

  3. bud

    Let’s not overthink the Afghan issue. Just pull all the troops out now. There are plenty of bases for Al-Qaeda to use so that’s a complete non-issue. It costs a ton of money to keep troops there. And besides the VA is already over-extended thanks to Bush’s wars and a lack of funding thanks to Republican fecklessness. They’re all for the troops until it comes time to meet their essential needs after they come home. If the Dems can’t make that very obvious point then they deserve to lose.

  4. bud

    The weekend violence at Myrtle Beach could be largely eradicated with one very simple law – require everyone who rides a motorcycle to wear a damn helmet. They’d go somewhere else for their rallies and keep from spattering their brains all over our roads.

    1. Silence

      As long as innocent people aren’t caught in the crossfire, the problem is self correcting.

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