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14 October 2009

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WILL

basically you can
1) stream it or
2) download it to you hard drive for convenient listening later

David J.

Here is a link to the Frontline documentary on Afghanistan.

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/obamaswar/

There is a scene where the US marine starts to lose his temper with the people he is trying to protect that makes you wince. Talking through a translator who spoke neither the local dialect nor English all that well -- "I'm asking you for the fifth time" -- the marine's posture is impatient throughout and increasingly exasperated. He eventually resorts to an outright threat. The villagers' not unreasonable response: What do want us to do? You have tanks and planes. If you can't beat the Taliban, how do you expect us to?

Richard Armstrong

For it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' "Chuck him out, the brute!"

But it's "Saviour of 'is country" when the guns begin to shoot;

An' it's Tommy this, an' Tommy that, an' anything you please;

An' Tommy ain't a bloomin' fool -- you bet that Tommy sees!

Bring the troops home from Vietnam, er rather Afghanistan.

WILL

in law school we had mock trials w/ lay juries. the jurors signed a consent form b/ really had no idea that it included that once they retreated to the jury room they had consented that we would be eaves-dropping on them via closed-circuit tv.

in their deliberations some of the things they look at: the defense attorney was better dressed, was cuter, spoke more forcefully, had better eye contact. Presentation is everything. you just can't be low volume. even if you are flat-xss wrong, you have to be totally convinced about it, & convincing. even if your logic is flat-xss backwards. It's all theater in oral presentation. It's all stage craft!

The Col. is devastating in print b/ he seems to be low key in person. Persuading by the force of ideas & intellect rather than razzle dazzle and bullcrap. Of course his aim was not to win b/ to inform. Maybe the other guys' aim was to win.

that's why nagl, coll, and that third guy won.

confusedponderer

I found the debate interesting. Sadly, the format didn't allow to delve into substance in a meaningful way.

I was surprised about Ralph Peters, who I so far have always considered egregious. I consider reconsidering the 'always'.

David J., thanks for the link to the NPR report.

Patrick Lang

will

"at the United States Military Academy, where he was twice selected as best classroom teacher of the year." Wiki on me.

I was not at all interested in "winning." I find this subject so serious that I just couldn't bring myself to "show off."

IMO the whole event was designed to be a PR event reinforcing support for the neocon venture in Afghanistan. Even the audience was stacked. The moderator introduced me in a very minimal way. No significant job that I had ever held was mentioned. You will notice that my military rank was never mentioned although that of Peters and Nagl was.

I was determinied to tell the larger audience of the American people that I do not trust them and have not done so for 40 years. The audience at least had the grace to resent that.

The participants:

Peters was a pleasant surprise. The moderator loves him and plugged his latest ridiculous book. He wouldn't mention for me that I was a Director of the HR Guggenheim Foundation or anything else.

Clemons is a creature of th Washington Foundation world. I thought for a while that he would individually thank everyone in the audience.

Coll is a diffident man of considerable intellect.

Nagl reminds me of John Paul Vann, but much better educated.

Shinn is an engineering professor who is also a Bush-side Republican pol.

There. I have decided not to do anything like this again and that should take care of it.

We were supposed to lose and we did. pl

confusedponderer

I found it remarkable when the matter came to the Afghans, the object of America's efforts.

The Afghans hope ... they want us to stay ... girls are allowed to study and go to school ... in criticising their performance you denigrate their sacrifice ... etc pp. That's not arguments, but emotional appeals.

PR? Clearly.

Bobo

Yes, a PR stunt to the fullest. I watched, read and listened but watching was the most interesting. The individuals body language came out fully revealing a lot. PL bested them all in this area. As to the moderator he did a poor job especially with the lack of equal time. The question to me determined the outcome not the excellent input by the group of esteemed individuals.

What I saw there and have seen in other areas raises a question in my mind that I would appreciate comment from others. "There seems a perception in the middle & upper ranks of the military that they want to put Vietnam behind them where Afghanistan & COIN is their opportunity and they want to do this while disregarding the many lessons of Vietnam." Any validity to this observation??

confusedponderer

The first thing I remembered of the debate this morning was that weird bit, iirc by Nagl, about increased Afghan Forces (after conceding that Afghanistan's GDP doesn't suffice to fund them) being a great thing - because the Afghans are great fighters and could make fantastic peacekeepers ... I guess it only does make sense if one thinks of the Long War and is looking for a source for American Ghurkas.

josephdietrich

Interesting debate.

  1. Was amused and somewhat bemused by Nagl brandishing the COIN manual as if he were the only one who brought the "Good Book" to a Bible study. Immediately brought to my mind the image of blind faith.
  2. Heard lots of anecdotes, which I suppose is typical for rhetorical purposes.
  3. Was impressed with Ralph Peters as a speaker/debater.
  4. The moderator could have been better.
  5. Overall, thought the motion was too broad. It allowed far too much open for re-interpretation.
  6. Overall, considering the loaded nature of the question ("will America succeed") and the middling margin of victory, I felt Col. Lang and et al did well.

Mike

You had ridiculous co-locutors. If they had meant this as a serious debate, you side would have ben you, Col., Bacevich, and perhaps Pape (devastating op-ed yesterday from him), or some other actual expert on the region or on insurgencies (as contra the CO-insurgency dreamers).

wally123

The debate was excerpted in Newsweek. The Col. was well represented.

"
Yes, COIN does work, but what is going to be different in Afghan than in Vietnam! "

After 50,000 dead and all that sunk cost in Vietnam, the American people thru their reps in Congress said SCREW it. Why would Afghan be different?

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