Friday, October 9, 2009



(October 9, New York, NY) Oslo Norway is a world away from Dallas Texas, the home of former President George W. Bush. Despite the geographic distance, the two locations are sites in the nexus allowing the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize to be bestowed on our current President Barak Obama.

There are not many real surprises in Washington DC politics aside from scandals however, the news from Norway in the predawn hours this morning that Obama had won the Nobel was a major, stunning and, in some quarters, outrageous news surprise. Obama is the first sitting United States President since Woodrow Wilson to win the international honor. To some, the award is a true testament that the world views our President as a transformative figure. To many others, particularly those on the conservative Right wing of American politics, Obama as a Nobel Laureate is something more akin to being name Homecoming King. The truth of the matter lies between these disparate perspectives.

Whether conservatives and Obama’s opponents like it or not, we are part of the world community. Yes, we are the lone Super Power and need not ask permission from the United Nations, NATO or any other nation when it comes to making decisions about our own national security, defense and economy. But, we are the strong giant on a crowded planet and, without international cooperation, some vital initiatives that do in fact impact us directly, including in some components of our national security, we can not accomplish that which we need to. We need only look back in our most recent past, the eight years of the George W. Bush Administration to see where “going it alone” has gotten us.

As loudly as many here on the political Right will protest, it does matter what the world thinks of us. For example, we have a long and proud history of being generous and magnanimous in victory. Not seeking an empire, we helped rebuild the world economy after World War II and, by being temperate in our relations with other nations we were able to forge strong, reliable alliances and to further cement our bond with our historical European Allies. This matters.

George W. Bush’s disdain for the rest of the world and his basically unilateral war of choice in Iraq, alienated America from many of our long time Allies and created generations of new haters particularly in the huge, global Muslim population. We cannot afford to create enemies and to ignore our Allies. The world does indeed watch America and, for better or worse, we set the tone for how much of the rest of the world behaves. Globalization has made it increasingly vital that we act in concert with other nations, that we seek compromise and agreements to avoid tension and conflict.

Naturally we should always act from our strength and in our best interest. There are times when our best interest is just that, ours and ours alone. So be it. However, the majority of the time, our interests coincide with the interests of other nations; coalitions and alliances are more apt to succeed than isolationist unilateralism.

Barak Obama’s Presidency and now, his Nobel Peace Prize, were made possible by George W. Bush and the policies, attitudes and practices of the Dick Cheney Administration. Together, Cheney and Bush did more to destroy the relationships with our Allies and reverse the foreign policy philosophy America had espoused since our birth as a nation. There can be no doubt that Obama’s Nobel is a high profile rebuke to Cheney / Bush and that , in and of itself, is meaningful. World opinion does matter; how we are perceived globally directly impacts our national security.

In some ways the world has become virtually borderless. War and famine cross national borders and disease knows no boundaries or borders. A global pandemic would quickly illustrate the necessity for us to work with other nations for our own good. We have recently witnessed just how interdependent the global economy is; each nation is just a link in a tightly coiled chain of commerce, finance, and trade. We alone can exert little pressure against nation states we view as “bad actors.” If we wish to exist in a perpetual state of war and conflict, than we can go it alone. No one would deny that we as a people would rather live securely among our global neighbors. A huge contributor to our current deep recession has been the cost of fighting a war in Iraq for six years virtually unassisted by our Allies. Our on going mess in Afghanistan is another example of what we can get mired in without strong international, sustained support. The NATO presence in Afghanistan is diminishing as our leaders are debating our future mission in that troubled land.

By his own admission early here today in his brief acceptance speech, President Obama said he did not feel “deserving” of the award but would travel to Oslo in December to accept it. According to CNN, the President , “said he viewed the decision less as a recognition of his own accomplishments and more as "a call to action." The Nobel committee recognized Obama's efforts at dialogue to solve complex global problems, including working toward a world free of nuclear weapons.”

The Nobel Peace Prize Committee sited President Obama’s "extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples." Thorbjorn Jagland, chairman of the Nobel committee, said the decision was "unanimous" and came with ease.

International reactions have largely been congratulatory towards Obama with many world leaders praising his efforts to “change the dialog” and improve the perception of America around the globe. It is a sad testament to the state of domestic politics that the Republican Party is using Obama’s award in a fund raising campaign. The derision and insults from the GOP seem not only unpatriotic and ignorant but also embarrassing. They challenge the Nobel Committee for awarding Obama on the grounds that he has “not accomplished” anything. The retort from the Committee has been that Obama’s presence alone in the White House and his embracing of a more open and thoughtful foreign policy as sufficient justification for their surprising action.

One senior White House official speaking not for attribution commented, “Every American can be and should be proud that our President has been recognized by the Nobel Committee for his efforts in forging a new foreign policy. The fact that so many here on the right are engaging in insulting, negative commentary show just how far out of touch with reality they have become.”


Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved

Thursday, October 8, 2009



Change in US strategy a must.
Time to break out the hi tech and crush the low tech

(October 8, Reston, VA) In an amazing exercise of power and might comprised initially of small CIA paramilitary and Special Forces units covertly inserted, the United States began the campaign to rid Afghanistan of the Taliban who had served as protective hosts of the terrorist group,Al Qaeda., who had orchestrated the massive terror attacks of September 11, 2001. After the initial insertions of men and money who joined forces with the Northern Alliance, the remnants of ragtag militias still resisting the dominant Taliban, the United States brought out the heavy bombers and put troops on the ground. The fight was on and the Taliban was crushed within three weeks while their leaders and Al Qaeda fled into the rugged, mountainous, tribal, area near Tora Bora which borders Pakistan. Rather than finish the job then and there, decisively and definitively, the imbecilic, messianic President George W. Bush decided to start his personal grudge match against Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The rest, of course, is well known history.

The fact that we remain in Afghanistan after eight years is as troubling as it is costly and, at times, seemingly futile. The Obama Administration who inherited this military morass is now struggling to redefine our mission, strategy and goals there. What was originally a righteous cause where the United States had support of virtually every other nation on the planet has devolved into a complex, confusing, pseudo-quagmire where our efforts appear to be disjointed, scatter shot and inadequate. Our NATA allies are dwindling by the day so the military presence in that vast, perpetually ungovernable country are solely American faces. Even the “democratic” government literally installed by the Bush crowd is rife with corruption of every sort and has virtually no governmental authority beyond the small seat of “power” in Kabul. The recent presidential “election” there has been roundly criticized and effectively neutered by rampant charges of electoral irregularities.

Afghanistan for centuries has been an impenetrable conglomeration of tribes of varying ethnic and religious composition. It is a “country” in name only; forever resistant to a central government of any kind. The history of outside forces in Afghanistan is the very definition of failure – stunning, demoralizing, grinding failure. Just ask the Russians (then, the USSR) about there bruising 10 year war and their ultimate humiliating, empire destroying defeat. Of course during that time period the United States was supplying the mujaheddin with money and arms so they could fight our proxy war with the Soviet Union. Now it is our turn.

There is no way for us to “win” in Afghanistan because there is no way presently agreed upon to define victory. Our righteous battle against those who attacked us here at home in 2001 and their extreme Islamic fundamentalist hosts has devolved into an ill defined brawl with various factions, militias and determined tribal warlords. The billions in aid we have given to the Karzai government has vanished in the vast, deep sinkholes of corruption and narco-trafficking, and fleeting alliances. Who are we “fighting” there today? Who is the “enemy”? Who, in that country aside from the self important, criminally corrupt Hamid Karzai, even wants us there? What are our abilities to conduct military operations on the Pakistani border region? Speaking of Pakistan, what exactly is their relationship with the Taliban and other like minded groups? These are not merely rhetorical questions; these are the core issues at the heart of the serious debate being engaged in today in the White House, State Department, Pentagon and the Intelligence community.

At the center of the debate now is the number of troops that should be kept in and additionally deployed to Afghanistan. This seems to be a question that needs to be asked after several other, far more important questions are asked and answered satisfactorily. We need a true answers of the questions asked above as ell as a complete redefinition of the mission, goal and end game. What will constitute “victory” and how can we accomplish that? What we are involved in right now in Afghanistan is the penultimate example of asymmetrical warfare and counter insurgency. In some ways, despite military successes since Viet Nam, our military appears to have learned little abut the most effective tactics for challenging, fighting and outthinking a hard core insurgency amid a hostile local population.


Air Force pilots operate Predator drones, unmanned aircraft
from an air base far from the battlefields.

To continue our current strategy in Afghanistan essentially dooms our military to a protracted, nasty, bloody conflict. The non combatant citizens of Afghanistan are already beginning to become increasingly hostile to our troops; our continued presence will only breed a stronger, more determined insurgency, gain support for Al Qaeda and, perhaps, create conditions conducive for a resurgent Taliban to exert control over more and more territory. The past eight years have clearly illustrated just how foolish and costly the continuance of the status quo or a mere tweaking of it would be.

The time has come for us to begin to reduce the troop numbers in Afghanistan and refocus on our true enemies - the people who are responsible for 9 11 01 and their hosts. We have the technology that will allow us to continue, if not escalate the fight while reducing the number of troops on the ground. The United States has spent untold trillions of dollars over the years developing new age methods and machinery for modern warfare. Now is the time to use every hi tech tool in our military arsenal to hunt and kill Al Qaeda. Our fight with the Taliban is more nuanced and we need to consider diplomatic efforts with factions of the Taliban who have no use for Al Qaeda and the destruction and devastation they have invited to Afghanistan. The much praised “surge” in Iraq was successful because our military was able to negotiate and ultimately partner with various warlords and tribal leaders to rid specific towns and villages of insurgents and “foreign fighters” - Islamic extremists attracted to Iraq simply to fight “the Americans.” We need a similar approach in Afghanistan.

In October 2001, had we dedicated the vast military resources to Afghanistan that we foolishly squandered going into Iraq in 2003, we would not be in the position we are in today. 160,000 troops, artillery and our stunning airpower, conventional methods, would have yielded quick results. The Taliban fell and fled within weeks of our first air strikes and Special forces skirmishes. That would have been the time to secure as much of the country as possible and allow for some stability which would have bread even greater stability. This would have at least created the basic conditions for the Afghans to decide how they wanted t be governed; no force on earth has ever or will ever be able to govern Afghanistan unless it is homegrown. History is replete with examples of those who tried and failed.

We should stop funding Hamid Karzai and his opium king brother. We are not there to “nation build”. How can you build a nation where one has never existed before? All the schools, bridges, irrigation and electricity projects in the world will not, cn not succeed in Afghanistan unless the Afghans, all the multitude of tribes and clans, want them to. We’ve got to stop wasting our troops lives, national treasure and time. Let all the drones, cruise and hellfire missiles t our disposal dispose of Al Qaeda where ever they may rear their heads. Let’s exert some of the authority at our command as a Super Power and tell tumultuous, nuclear weapon armed Pakistan to clean up their act or there will be no more US dollars flooding in. We could bomb the rugged area of the Afghan - Pakistan border where Al Qaeda is suspected to be until it is nothing but a glass plain. We don’t need top shed another drop of American blood in that god forsaken hellhole. We can fight them with our technology from the comfort of military bases and Naval vessels hundreds if not thousands of miles away. No more “whack-a-mole” tactics. Let’s hit them hard and relentlessly and send the unequivocable message that we’re tired of this shit and we’re not going to take it anymore.


Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved

Monday, October 5, 2009



We Just Couldn't Take It Anymore

(October 5, An Undisclosed Location, USA) It all got to be just a little too much, a bit too crazy. We had to step back, take a break and let a little water run under the bridge, for time and tide to do their deals. We were tired: tired, angry, frustrated, disgusted and somewhat amazed. Nothing seemed real; there was such a profound disconnect between the discourse and reality, the debate and the facts, the real and imagined, the left and the right, the right and the wrong, that madness was looming. So, we shut down, tuned out, chilled, and otherwise didn’t give a fuck. Uncharacteristically we had reached a point where we just couldn’t care less.

But, now, we’re back.

Are we any better than we were when we went on our sabbatical? In some ways yes, in other ways, no. We have suffered some crisis amongst us Cynyx in addition to all the other crapola mentioned above.

We had gone away, away from the "birthers" and death panels, the town hall meetings and idiocy, the name calling, the race baiting, the talk of Socialism, Fascism, government take overs, special interest groups millions, The Gang of Six, the gangbang by six, John Ensign, Sarah Palin, Mark Sanford, and all the major league assholes on cable newsertainment.

The 8th year anniversary of September 11, 2001 came and went and there’s still a 16 acre hole in lower Manhattan.

We’re still in Iraq and Afghanistan, both fronts continue to stress our military and resolve.

Swine flu, bird flu, pulling the plug on granny and the public option. We couldn’t bear another bailout, handout, cash for clunkers story. It had come to the point where preexisting politics was creating unprecedented governmental maladies. We just didn’t want to be part of it, we did not want to use all the countless medical analogies and metaphors to describe the non stop lunacy that had become overwhelmingly pervasive.

Now that we are back, we see that not much has changed. Autumn is upon us, Congress is back, the Supreme Court is in session and it’s already week four in the NFL. 39 year old NFL legend, Brett Favre is kicking ass as a Minnesota Viking, the Yankees and Red Sox are in the MLB playoffs. We’ve come back to find South Asian earthquakes, tsunamis and mass casualty seismic events. A little different perspective; something else to think about. We’ve come back to say farewell to Lucy and hello to Ardi, our oldest fossilized relative.

Initially there was a period of withdrawal, we were unaccustomed to being unconnected and silent. After few days, though, it got easier and more palatable. Not knowing got easier until it morphed into not even wanting to know. That was a real twist.

Coming back now after a month comes with a distinct sense of deja vu’. Nothing has changed, the same blather, bullshit and bullshitters dominate the domestic news. It is not as if we expected any real perceptible changes but may have latently harbored the thought that perhaps, there had been some progress in at least one or two domestic issues and that the rancor, anger and animus would have cooled some.

Obviously, we were wrong. But we’re back.

Copyright TBC 2009 © All Rights Reserved