Open Thread for Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Gowdy report

Some possible topics:

  1. Did you go vote? — I ask because I actually forgot this morning, and had to run back out to my part of town after lunch. Got ‘er done, though. How did it go? I think I was No. 134 to vote at about 1:30 p.m.
  2. Benghazi report finds no new evidence of wrongdoing by Clinton — This morning, I was stupid enough to click on an “EXCLUSIVE” from Fox News that said “Clinton’s admin pushed video explanation for Benghazi despite eyewitness accounts, House GOP report says.” Not noticing the “admin,” I thought it was saying they caught her doing something misleading. But it was the same old stuff — Susan Rice made a fool of herself on the Sunday shows. If you’d like to know where Gowdy’s report did fault Clinton, read this.
  3. NASA Awaits a 3-Second Beep From Jupiter — A cool space story… I like space stuff. But I miss the manned missions. Remember, we were supposed to have sent men to Jupiter 15 years ago
  4. Attack On Istanbul’s International Airport Kills At Least 10 People — Oh, wait: We don’t care in the West since it happened in a Muslim country, right?
  5. Labour MPs prepare for leadership contest after Corbyn loses confidence vote — After a huge loss in the confidence vote, he said he won’t quit. I guess this is his Bernie Sanders impersonation. But I expect they’ll sort him out soon enough.
  6. Brexit vote: Bitter exchanges in EU parliament debate — There were good bits, though, as when “A central figure in the Leave campaign, UK Independence Party (UKIP) leader Nigel Farage, was booed, called a liar and accused of using ‘Nazi propaganda’.”

That’s it for now. I have to run go give platelets. Y’all should be going with me…

41 thoughts on “Open Thread for Tuesday, June 28, 2016

  1. Tex

    Don’t forget that if you want a degree from Benedict College you better be willing to fork over about $115,000.

  2. bud

    2. Lots of losers: Trey Gowdy, Fox News, the GOP in general and the tax payers. Apparently the ninth time was not the charm for the Benghazi crusaders.

    1. Bryan Caskey

      I feel like Chief Brody explaining to the Mayor that we need to kill the shark that’s eating all the swimmers, but the Mayor just wants to keep talking in circles.

      You have to kill the shark.

        1. Brad Warthen Post author

          Ummm… terrorist incidents in other countries are, by definition, not the fault of the NRA.

          Yes, I know you’re being facetious, but your point seems to be that it is absurd for people to blame mass shootings in the U.S. — which tend to share characteristics because of the extremely easy availability of guns in this country — on the NRA.

          But it isn’t. The problem here is that we have more guns than people. And we have a lot of guns, as the Raizuli said, “that fire many times promiscuously…”

          1. Bryan Caskey

            Yes, I’m being facetious. So what is Turkey to do? Those people used bombs to achieve their goal of killing just as many (likely more) innocents than they did in Orlando.

            We can’t reason with ISIS. We can’t persuade them to stop. They’re going to the mattresses, and they’re going to keep killing people in lots of different ways.

            But I don’t blame our President and all the millions of Democrats who support him. They’ve been unable to face the reality that we have to use force to stop evil ever since Vietnam, and nothing that happens will ever bring them out of this zombie-like trance. It’s baked into their DNA.

            I can’t even imagine that another 9/11 size attack would snap the Democrats out of it. They’re just not war-time Consigliaris. They’ll have a drone strike here and there, just large enough “not to be mocked“, but that’s about it. Can any one of the Democrats here tell me what it would take (if anything) for you to say “Enough is enough. We need to take massive action against ISIS.

            I wouldn’t expect anything would make y’all say that.

            1. John

              So we’ve hit them with about 10,000 bombing runs, have spent a little over 7 billion on another undeclared war, the Defense department has asked for more than that in the upcoming year…what do you call “massive action?” How many asymmetric wars have we actually won militarily since WWII?

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  Speaking of which…

                  I get the impression that Hillary would not be an “ignore them until they go away” POTUS — although, of course, she’ll have to deal with her do-nothing base. From what I can tell, she’s more hawkish than anyone the Republicans could have put up short of Lindsey Graham or Ted “Carpet Bomb-’em” Cruz.

                  And then we have Donald Trump, who brings to mind with his statements about the Iraq invasion….

                2. John

                  No, I’m just one of those people wondering what “massive action” means. It’s kind of exciting, because it sounds like when it’s over we’ll be able to say “we won!” Right? I’m looking forward to that.

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    It doesn’t seem all that mysterious to me. I would think anyone’s definition would entail more than air strikes.

                    The thing is, the administration is escalating our on-the-ground presence. Just very gradually…

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                Pretty much all of them, really — if we made the effort. But since we’ve been up against non-Clausewitzian enemies who don’t adhere to the Western precept that you quit when you’re beaten (they don’t hand you their swords and give their parole the way adversaries used to), winning militarily hasn’t been enough.

                1. bud

                  This is sort of a Rhorsach test. Brad and Bryan see nothing but passivism, a total lack of any military action at all. I see the same blot and interpret it as an extremely aggressive, beligerant, imperialistic sequence of events that serve only to bring about more animosity aimed at the US and it allies. What’s more we’ve employed this same failed strategy for 100 years. I say zero US military involvement. Ultimately that is the only approach that can work. The Brad/Bryan way has been tried long enough.

                2. Brad Warthen Post author

                  I don’t know where bud saw me indicate that I “see nothing but passivism, a total lack of any military action at all.”

                  All I said was that I see nothing I would describe as “massive action.” I also indicated that the administration is gradually escalating.

                  But bud’s right that he and I don’t see the same thing. In which universe is there an “extremely aggressive, beligerant, imperialistic sequence of events”?

                  What sort of language would Bud use to describe something that actually WAS “extremely aggressive, belligerent and imperialistic?” Something like, say, Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, which involved 4 million troops and about 600,000 vehicles? Where would the words come from? He’s already exceeded the hyperbolic limit…

            2. Bryan Caskey

              And right on cue, here’s John Kerry proving my point:

              In response to the Istanbul airport attack, John Kerry said that ISIS is “desperate” and “losing”.

              “Now, yes, you can bomb an airport, you can blow yourself up. That’s the tragedy. Daesh and others like it know that we have to get it right 24/7/365. They have to get it right for ten minutes or one hour. So it’s a very different scale,” Kerry said. “And if you’re desperate and if you know you’re losing, and you know you want to give up your life, then obviously you can do some harm.”

              Riiiiight. I guess according to Kerry, the more people that ISIS slaughters, the more we’re winning…or something.

              1. Brad Warthen Post author

                The thing about Daesh is that if they were winning, if everything were going their way, they’d still carry out or inspire attacks killing as many innocents as possible.

                You know why? Because they’re just like that…

                  1. Brad Warthen Post author

                    I usually call them “ISIL,” since I get the impression that’s what they’re called in places like Langley. And being a fan of spy fiction, I like to sound like the espiocrats.

                    But I was listening to someone calling them “the so-called Islamic State” on the radio this morning, which reminded me of why I don’t call them that — calling them that accepts their view of what they are — and then I got to thinking that the IS in both ISIS and ISIL does the same thing.

                    Hence Daesh.

          2. Claus

            A war on guns in this country will make the war on drugs look like a success. Attempting either has or will be a complete waste of time, effort, and money.

            1. Mark Stewart

              There is no war on guns.

              What there is is the national will to rationalize the regulations regarding the sale and transfer of firearms. No one needs to bleet the tired old refrain “keep your government hands off my social security” oxymoron. Not even in SC.

              1. Barry

                If one looks at Twitter, there is a surprsing number of self proclaimed “elites” that are fully on board with outlawing all guns.

                Not sure of their position on knives and bombs though.

                1. Brad Warthen Post author

                  If you look on Twitter, you’ll find a surprising number of people who would go for pretty much any policy position you could name.

                  I don’t know if I’d call them “elites,” though…

                2. Barry

                  I don’t call them elites. I have many other words for them.

                  I call them ” Self proclaimed elites.”

              2. Bryan Caskey

                Yeah. I mean, you can’t have a war on guns and gun-owners, unless you had…..more guns. Otherwise, you’d lose.

                I can’t remember who said it, but it was something along the lines of: “There are millions law-abiding of gun owners who own untold millions of guns in America. If they were the problem, you would know about it.

  3. bud

    What sort of language would Bud use to describe something that actually WAS “extremely aggressive, belligerent and imperialistic?” Something like, say, Hitler’s Operation Barbarossa, which involved 4 million troops and about 600,000 vehicles? Where would the words come from? He’s already exceeded the hyperbolic limit…

    AhhHHHHHHhhhhhHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Seriously, is a WW 2 analogy ALL you can EVER think of.

    Why in the world this continues to be an issue is really hard to understand. Starting in 1920 with the Brits and as a result of the absurd Treaty of Versailles there has been nearly continues and extensive meddling by western powers in the ME. Go read your history (and please skip the part about WW2). We’ve bombed, overthrown democratically elected rulers. We’ve invaded, bombed some more. Re-invaded. Re-bombed. Many of our allies end up using poison gas against their own people (Hussein), who then turn into enemies. Our own strongmen get overthrown and we end up with an enemy (Shah of Iran). Many of our own weapons get used against our propped up regimes (Daesh) . This endless cycle of meddling emboldens the people of the region and we end up with Al Qaeda, The Taliban and now Daesh. And somehow Brad and Bryan are so naive as to believe if we actually destroy Daesh that solves the problem. It is so completely ridiculous. But hey, Mr. Rorschach demonstrated how people view the world very differently. We all can’t be right.

    Let’s just do a little math problem. We were in Iraq in a big way during the W and early Obama administration for about 8 years. Nearly 5 thousand American soldiers died. According to the theories pushed by the Neocons if we were to have stayed just a bit longer the problem would have been solved. We could add at least another 1000 soldiers killed to that carnage in order to secure the region for the long term. On the other side of the ledger if you include every American killed by some type of terrorist with even a superficial tie to Daesh then you might get to around 200 over the last 10 years. Seems to me that even if successful we’d have to get 30 soldiers killed for every American saved by the effort. And that doesn’t mention the financial costs. Clearly this is a terrible trade-off, even assuming the best case scenario.

    1. Brad Warthen Post author

      “AhhHHHHHHhhhhhHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Seriously, is a WW 2 analogy ALL you can EVER think of….”

      Chill, Bud. You, not I, are the person who spoke of “extreme” military operations.

      So I went immediately to the largest land invasion in human history (Barbarossa) to ask how you would characterize THAT if you call this tentative, half-hearted operation we currently have going against ISIL “an extremely aggressive, beligerant, imperialistic sequence of events.”

      I’m so, so sorry that that operation occurred within the context of the Second World War. I know that that freaks you, and my other friends on the antiwar left, out.

      I try to keep up with the rules y’all lay down for me. And my understanding of the “no WWII” rule goes like this: You hate it if I even hint indirectly that Saddam Hussein or Daesh are in any conceivable way comparable to Hitler, Tojo or even a total joke dictator like Mussolini. This is DEEPLY offensive to y’all, and it stimulates a lot of huffing and puffing about “existential threats” and the like, and the whole conversation goes off the rails.

      So I try to obey the rules y’all set, and avoid WWII, even though it makes for convenient analogies because most of us know the overall stories and the major battles.

      Well, in this case I was in no sense violating the rule. I wasn’t comparing Daesh to Hitler or doing anything unforgivable like that. I was simply trying to think of an “extreme” military action so that I could wonder what you would call THAT, since you call something as insignificant as our current commitment against ISIL extreme.

      In other words, I was making the same point that y’all like to make to ME — I was saying that nothing going on today compares to the kinds of stakes, and the levels of commitment, that we experienced between 1939 and 1945.

      Y’all should have APPLAUDED me for making that point, since it’s YOUR point.

      But all I get is grief…

  4. bud

    Friday marks the 100th anniversary of the battle of th Somme. 19000 British soldiers died in 1 day. Pretty much a huge calamity by any reasonable way of thinking. But somehow a British cluster f*** just doesn’t have the same impact as the Nazis.

    1. Claus

      19000, but back then soldiers fought like idiots. Let’s march up in tightly formed rows and face off with each other at 20 feet. The smooth bore rifles aren’t very accurate, but the guy aiming at me will successfully kill the guy three feet from me. When a man falls the man behind him steps forward to take the next volley of lead. At least collecting bodies wasn’t too difficult because they were laying there stacked like cord wood. It makes you wonder what was going through a soldiers head when he faced certain death. How many thought if I hid behind this tree or rock I might be able to get of several rounds before dozens will have to turn their attention onto me if they want to stop me from picking them off one by one?

      1. Bryan Caskey

        I think you’re confusing Napoleonic era tactics and weapons with WWI tactics and weapons.

        Also, to say “smooth bore rifle” is an oxymoron. A rifle, by definition isn’t a smoothbore weapon because it has “rifling”, which forces the projectile to spin (think of a football when it’s in the air with a tight spiral).

        Here’s that the inside a rifle:

        The inside of a smoothbore barrel, like a shotgun for instance, looks like this:

        See the difference?

    2. Brad Warthen Post author

      No, it doesn’t. As I said, I chose Barbarossa because it was the biggest land attack in history. And again, my point was that if you think these reluctant, restricted actions we’re taking against ISIL “extreme,” what would you call that

      From Wikipedia:

      The actual invasion began on 22 June 1941. Over the course of the operation, about four million soldiers of the Axis powers invaded the Soviet Union along a 2,900-kilometer (1,800 mi) front, the largest invasion force in the history of warfare….

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