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27 January 2010

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From Canada

Col. Lang,

Whay do you make of Sec. Gates decision to forbid the wearing of BDU's at the pentagon?

From Canada

Hank Foresman

From Canada,

Not quite correct, he has asked the military staff in the Office of the Secretary of Defense not to wear Field Uniforms or Flight Suits. Thus far the services have not changed their policy.

Patrick Lang

Hank

IMO
It should be applied throughout the capital region. To wear field uniform there is a mere pretension. pl

JohnH

Does the colonel have any thoughts on McChrystal's interview in the Financial Times, the London conference, and the SOF?
http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/1036aae6-074a-11df-a9b7-00144feabdc0.html

Would you agree with Bhadrakumar that "just like in Bonn eight years ago, the London conference is an exclusive gathering of "victors", while the vanquished Taliban remain excluded. The only difference is that the victors who gather on Thursday have been badly mauled in the past eight years and are terribly fatigued and almost bled white. They are determined to search out the vanquished and to talk real peace."
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/LA28Df05.html

DE Teodoru

JohnH, did you ever compare our losses tolerance and the price we are willing to pay for that vs. the losses tolerance of the Taliban and how much they can afford to spend on war of resistance because of their losses tolerance? After all, it is their country and almost all Muslim nations view Americans as Crusaders and in some way contribute to killing our people. And of course, heroine is a bottomless honey-pot!

The point is that we can fake it any way we want but at some point we must ask ourselves: how big a bite will we let the Chinese take out of our apple before we realize that the Taliban is better left to the Shanghai Accord so we can try and rebuild our economy.

Our war on Islam is a war of profiteers and we may spend the next 20 yrs. slapping each other around over the "stab in the back" that was only deficiency in the generals' frontal lobe.

Andy

The new uniform guidance is simply a return to what was standard before 2001, which was Class A's or B's except on Fridays. I love wearing my digital pajamas as much as the next guy (they are far more comfortable), but this is a change that is long past due. It will also be a "stimulus" to local dry cleaners.

JohnH

Agreed that "at some point we must ask ourselves..." Is this the point? Or are the preponderance of forces in Washington still deluding themselves?

My guess is the forces of profiteering and delusion still prevail. But I thought that about Iraq, too. Turns out that there's a reasonable chance I was wrong about that. We'll only know if they're really pulling out if the stealth troop withdrawal doesn't encounter some unexpected "hitches."

Maybe they've been chastened enough to sidle to the same outcome in Afghanistan.

Patrick Lang

JohnH

"They?" So you are either not American or without any identification with the rest of us. pl

different clue

I have been thinking about past posts about Yemen. It was noted that somebody on the fringes of governing authority said the Yemeni government must "make its writ run throughout the country." Wiser people, including the Yemeni government hopefully, know that any such attempt will merely bring the tribes to town where they will make their writ run rampant through the halls of power.
So what might the Yemeni government do to make itself more relevant and liked in parts of Yemen? Something obviously helpful to some people without harming those same people at the same time?

Years ago I read a National Geographic article about Yemen. The article said something about the remains of a huge-for-its-time ancient seasonal floodwater storage dam. The dam could release stored
flash flood water in doses for agriculture right around the dam. The people living there now believe that the people of the dam were proud, haughty, and unmindful of God. So God destroyed the dam with a flood beyond its rated flood-storage capacity.

What if the Yemeni government were to offer to rebuild the dam to current standards of flood and earthquake resistance? If the people of the area objected based on the reason the dam was destroyed to begin with, the government emissaries could note how that happened
two thousand years ago, and the Yemenis have been faithful Muslims for 15 centuries and does God still
want His faithful believers to be deprived of food and water? If the people thought that was worth thinking about, the emissaries could further offer to make sure that any dam rebuilding effort would follow Muslim and Elder laws and customs and timetables. And it could be built in a spirit of humility, not daring God to destroy it but rather recognizing that God could destroy it if He wished; but could also decide to let it survive and hold water if He felt the people worthy. I'm sure the emissaries could find the right way to say all that.

If the communities around the old damsite decided on that basis to agree to the rebuilding of the dam, then it could be rebuilt. If it worked, and restored significant surrounding land
to irrigated productivity, other Yemeni communities might take note and might ask for the same kind of thing.

I raise the possibility because as Yemen runs out of oil to sell for money, its most reliable source of food and water will be the food and water it is able to grow and store its own self. It might be good to start increasing Yemen's food and water capacity before the oil and money are all gone and desperate crunch-time arrives.

(If the government has already rebuilt that ancient dam, then I am sorry for wasting everyone's time who read this comment).

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