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26 February 2008


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They're probably making a comparison to Rambo - after all, you were SF in Vietnam, and Rambo was SF in Vietnam which must be an ominous connection. Plus you were in "intelligence" and we all know what that means.... :)


While the title of this particular section covers the last sections comments to a T, especially with the Harpie picture, if you move your browser and insert the title versus turcopoplier and the rest you will note my concern that you may have met the edge...Which I doubt.

Now, please step out of line when the Green Wafer is passed.


CMOH recipient and military analyst, Col. Jack Jacobs was unsparing in his criticism of Sen. Obama's ignorance of the military instrument and ponders why he has not attracted any military advisors who know what of they speak. He also states that acoording to what he knows, Sen. Obama was not speaking the truth regarding Afghanistan in a recent debate.

But last week, during his debate with Clinton, Obama tried speaking about substance when he mentioned the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and he displayed an astounding ignorance of the military instrument. He said that an anonymous U.S. Army captain told him that his infantry platoon was split and sent to different areas of operations; that they were lacking vehicles; and that they had insufficient ammunition to fight.

Although problems do occur in combat situations to be sure, none of what Obama related makes any sense and is, according to people with whom I spoke, untrue. Units the size of platoons are not sent to separate theaters, ammunition has been plentiful, and an investigation indicates that the unit in question was missing only one of its Humvees, all to no peril of the unit.

No better than Bush?
Obama used the anecdote to demonstrate that the current president was not supporting the troops and to suggest that he would if elected. Given Obama’s ignorance of how ground combat operations are actually conducted, one expects that he’ll be no better at it than President Bush. Indeed, as bad as Bush’s Iraq strategy was for its first four years, Obama’s plan for rapid withdrawal is equally flawed and perhaps impossible to execute.

Politicians rely heavily, on almost every subject, on advisors to get them educated and keep them current. And nobody really expects Obama or Clinton or even McCain, who was a Navy aviator, to know anything about ground combat. But one does expect the candidate to employ advisors who know what they are talking about and to prevent their candidate from embarrassment.

While Obama has attracted money, notoriety and delegates, he has yet to attract military advisers who know what they are doing. If he doesn’t, and he becomes president, the United States won’t fare any better than it has for the past eight years.



You're OK - for a fossil.


At the caucuses in Washington State, they sent a woman home in tears because she supported Senator Clinton. This lady has been a teacher and a Democrat for thirty years. They rubbed her nose in Watergate and Vince Foster. This from people who called themselves Democrats. And yes, I understand there may have been Republican crossovers there who were repeating Rove talking points and dumping on Clinton. But if that is so, why did not even one of the Obama supporters jump in and call them out on the slander?

Another point - Here in Washington, we had both a primary and a caucus, but the primary did not count. Obama won the caucuses 67% to 34%, yet only won the primary by 50% to 47%. He would have done a lot worse but tens of thousands of primary ballots were disqualified because many voters wrote on their ballots to protest the primary not counting.

Yet they complain and scream about one-man-one-vote. They need to get a clue. Caucuses are the only reason Obama is where he is. He would only have half of his delegates if all states had primaries. We do not need a nominee based on the preference of a few elite.

The Harpies are splitting the party.


"Civility rules."


I did not think I had broken that rule. Nor come even close to doing so.

Perhaps I was mistaken.

S. Wilber

There's blood on the walls all over the blogosphere; the flying monkeys of the extremes are certainly getting out of hand. I've heard if you ignore them they soon lose interest and stop nibbling your ears. This silly season must past. ("Paleoconservative libertarian" Ah, the good old days...)



It should be comforting to be attacked by both sides - probably confirms you're far from fossilized yet.

I sort of agree with jonst in that the main goal is to get these fools (and the agents who they've inserted throughout the federal bureaucracy) out of power. If Obama's the one who can do that, I'm for it. Same with Clinton, although I'm less sure she can win.

son of liberty

As a consistent reader of your blog, the whole Obama episode has been very revealing to me. I always thought the quality of your writings and ideas surpassed those of most of your commenters. I assumed you were a center-left blogger, but now you have stated yourself a paleoconservative libertarian things have become clear.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of your readers have lost respect simply because of your political stance. They are unable to separate information from the writer and are sorely disappointed that you are not a knee-jerk cheerleader of the unchecked popular democracy they love so much. Lucky for us there still is a constitution between them and our freedoms, although politicians of the right have proven themselves an enemy of that document as well.

Your service record and the fact that you are a paleoconservative libertarian make you a true American in the original sense. Unfortunately, I think people like yourself are disappearing, and people like myself who have moved here precisely because America's foundation of individual liberty and limited government are dismayed to see this process happening. I don't think these people have any idea of how bad it is out there. Europe and its mindset are a lot more oppressive and statist than her American fans seem to think, and those that think that America can somehow have big government and still be the dynamic force it has been in the past will be sorely disappointed.

If the theory that American government remained relatively small because of racial and cultural differences is correct, the current pattern of 1) large-scale immigration without assimilation and 2)an ever increasing welfare state will create some type of counter-reaction, although I don't think this is the "change" voters have in mind.

The idea that somehow America can "change" and be "united" (who wants to be united? We are individuals pursuing our own goals. That's the philosophy that made this country great! Live and let live), that politics is the solution, that one man is the solution, shows the level of deterioration that has taken place. America the illiterate, perhaps, but its young seem to be literate enough in the democratic utopianism spread by the generation of hippies populating our universities.

The stark contrast between a military sent overseas, still aware of the concept of citizenship and the constitution, and the democrat mindless hordes at home who think voting will lead them to riches, grant them the security of childhood and provide moral rapture is telling, and a sign of a deeper split within society that can never be resolved by politics alone. Only a unified cultural attitude towards politics and society, what it means to be a citizen, can keep America whole, and a mere politician can never change this.


Back to substance...

Guy Saperstein dissects Hillary and her foreign policy team. http://www.alternet.org/election08/77691/

1) "It is not clear where Hillary derives the foreign policy "experience" advantage she claims."
2) "Since entering the U.S. Senate, Clinton has been one of the most hawkish of Democrats."
3) The problem of Clinton's poor instincts on foreign policy is compounded by the hawkish foreign policy advisors she has surrounded herself with, the most important of which are Madeleine Albright, Richard Holbrooke, Lee Feinstein and Sandy Berger. Former Secretary of State Albright is the person of whom Colin Powell's chief of staff, Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, once said, "She never met a military option she didn't like. When I worked at Defense, she used to scare us." Holbrooke has been described by pundits as, "The raging bull of U.S. diplomacy." Apparently John Bolton types are far from unique to Republicans.

Saperstein concludes, "For those voters who want American foreign policy to continue to trend in the direction of muscularity and intervention, they have their candidate -- Hillary Clinton. For those who want change in American foreign policy, who think American militarism and interventionism need to be scaled back, Obama, and his foreign policy advisors, appear ready to begin those changes."

Yes, "the argument will be made that Obama is a threat to traditional American political life." And the foreign policy/national security mafia will do their best to keep their good thing going. To do otherwise--to reduce militarism and interventionsim--how could that possibly be American?


I believe 'background' refers to.. er.. to your interest in the Civil War. Or something.

Me, I don't complain about your skepticism (I'm pretty skeptical myself, though from the loony leftist's posture rather than the classical conservative's), but about the names you bring to bear. I mean, c'mon, Bill Kristol? Sheesh. The last word I needed to read about Bill Kristol's ability to judge talent is at http://rodrik.typepad.com/dani_rodriks_weblog/2008/02/mr-kristol-you.html

It's precisely comments by folks like him, whom I consider so addlepated as to be useful contrarian indicators, that make me wonder whether I'm not too negative and skeptical about Obama's essential and unambitious moderation.


Alas, you will probably be spending more time in this duty as the election cycle evolves into a debate between unelucidated anti-disentablishmentchangerism and insurgent undada dead-enderism.

Anyone want to wander outside those lines is just asking for it.

Nancy K

I have difficulty believing that Clinton and Obama supporters would become so hostile towards each other. I support Obama but many of my friends and my mother and daughter support Clinton. We are not bothered at all about the choices others make.
I'm from California and I'm probably considered left wing my anyone's standards. I quess it is the desperation of the time that is causing people to become so hostile. Perhaps not all hostility is from a Democrat though, the right has been known to play a few games also.


"Were he wearing a uniform, you might even praise his ability to persuade." This is indeed what I wrote.

How that translates to a "cheap shot" on Colonel Lang is difficult for me to fathom.

I'll chalk it off to the Colonel just having a bad day. I will continue to read your exceptional site. A kick in the groin would not keep me away.


Are you hinting there is a "reptilian agenda"?

Jim Schmidt

"Although problems do occur in combat situations to be sure, none of what Obama related makes any sense and is, according to people with whom I spoke, untrue." Taters

"Army chief of staff Gen. George Casey, testifying on troop strain before the Senate Armed Forces Committee Tuesday, said there is "no reason to doubt" Sen. Barack Obama's military shortage story during CNN's debate in Austin, Texas, last week."


W. Patrick Lang

You mean the Harpy picture? No. I would have used one of the sexy Harpy images available on the net but the flak I have taken over images of women influenced me. Thanks for reminding me. pl


I'm the daughter of a retired army intelligence officer, and you so often remind me of him. Being a fossil is a compliment.
Regarding Obama - he is extremely skeptical of him, but quite bemused my the mania of it.
Regarding "sketchy" sources, he says truth is so rare that he'll take it whenever/from whomever it presents itself (sometimes quite "accidentally")

Incidentally, aren't intelligence types a bit like divorce attorneys and IRS auditors in that they never believe what is presented to them?

Abu Sinan

You are in good company Colonel. When the extremists on the right and the left dislike you, you must be doing something right!


Frankly, I'm satisfied with the current crop of candidates. Even though I'm leaning Obama at the moment, I could live with any one of them. I think we should all be thankful that certain other candidates did not make the cut and were eliminated.

Increasingly I'm less interested in the largely content-free silly season sniping going on in this current stage of the Presidential election. As a result, I'm becoming more interested in how the Senate and Congressional races may turn out. ISTM the office of the Presidency will continue to be overly-powerful as long as Congress remains weak. Expecting the executive - no matter who has the office - to act as a sort of enlightened despot and limit their own power is wishful thinking.

If one really wants "change" then ISTM it must really come from Congress. The Presidential candidate's plans for health care, immigration, the future of Iraq, etc. don't mean squat unless they can get those plans through Congress. I'm hoping that the American peoples' desire for "change" this season will extend to Congress and get rid of some dead wood there. At some point along the way, Congress has changed from an institution dedicated to dealing with federal-level problems to one fixated on getting federal tax dollars back to their districts and states. It often appears as though all other issues are secondary to this core goal. Congress has become a giant income redistribution scheme and shirking its other duties to include even authorizations for war.

So, want change? Want an end to an executive running amok? Then get ye a better Congress.


"I would have used one of the sexy Harpy images available on the net but the flak I have taken over images of women influenced me."

But, but, but, this way you deprive two constituencies of their gratifications: (1) those who are amused by such images (2) those who take umbrage.

Please reconsider.

[disclaimer] I am indifferent. Am thinking only in terms of greatest good for the greatest number and all that.

Dana Jones

Say Pat, you have stated your opinion that McCain is too old, and that Obama is for children, but what is your opinion on Hillary? I don't recall reading that here, unless I missed it. So why don't you lay it out on the line what you think of her?
Thanks for your great site by the way, I recommend it to everyone I can.

W. Patrick Lang


The good ones never accept anything without proof. My wife says that I am more interested in the epistemology than anything else.


I said sometime ago that I favor HC in the current field. pl

jeff roby


I love your blog, but when you wrote, "Right now he is running as a demagogue appealing to the childishness that lurks just below the surface in American popular "culture."

He could no more run the executinve branch successfully and enact a legislative program than an other slick talking novice politician.

"The Sitting Shiva Campaign." Very good, David. I would prefer "The Drunken Irish Wake Campaign" but I share your sentiment. I surely do. pl

I fear you lapsed into incivility yourself. I have come to support Obama, and at age 59 with many years of political practice under my rather too large belt, I do not consider such support "childish." I think we have a disagreement over foreign/military affairs, that's all.

You should not be surprised that many might take your post as uncivil and ad hominen, whatever your intentions. It is not appropriate to respond to you in an uncivil manner, but it is understandable.

"I am firm, you are obstinate, he is a pig-headed fool!" as the saying goes.

frank durkee

The Col. is dead on. Epistemology is the critical lynch pin of all learning, exploring and analysis in the area of knowledge. The contentof an intellectual or operational area can be learned, it is the "how do I know what I know and when do i know it that separates the wise from the rest.

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