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01 July 2010


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Clifford: The follow up question is "How many billions of the narco-money circulates in the Western and International banking systems?" Then one can ask, "Without these many billions what would happen to the Western and International banking systems? I would saythe money would get spent on something else. You might as easily ask about the Billions moving around in hedge funds and how that is a benefit to society as a whole, not just the recipients of commissions and profits.

"There is nothing wrong with voting for a Ralph Nader or a Ron Paul or a Cynthia McKinney…" yes, this is how a few hundred people in Florida gave us George W. Bush, voting for a candidate with zero chance of winning. Now actually running for office or being directly involved in politics, that might have an effect but it comes at a significant cost of time and usually money.

Graywolf, "but the Democrats damned sure aren't interested in a strong national defense." That's a tired old slander used by chickenhawks (google the database) and right wing campaign mangers. Perhaps it would be better to define 'a strong national defense' rather than to slander a political party. Certainly allowing an 'ally' to steal significant portions of SDI and doing nothing when they sell it off to a nation that was once in the Soviet sphere of influence is not 'strong on defense'.

clifford kiracofe


to which "tribe" do you refer?

Am am not referencing some hypothetical concept of an "American" tribe.

My reference is to the race question: white, black, asian, hispanic, and assorted.

I am not referring to geographical distictions such as North and South. Or to everyone as a "nation" living within our geographical space.

Maybe something more like the old multi-ethinic Austrian empire before it fell apart? And so on, other historical situations which may give some context.


Col. Lang,

Petreaus is playing a double or triple game WRT Israel and Afghanistan.

Story broken by Phil Weiss who thinks Petreaus leaked emails regarding his Congressional testimony about Israel make him a Presidential Candidate for sure.

He is hand and glove with the pro Israeli Neocons.

Extract to Max Boot - Jewish Neocon hawk writer:


Thx, Max. (Does it help if folks know that I hosted Elie Wiesel and his
wife at our quarters last Sun night?! And that I will be the speaker at
the 65th anniversary of the liberation of the concentration camps in
mid-Apr at the Capitol Dome...)

2:45, Boot:

No don't think that's relevant because you're not being accused of being

2:57, Petraeus:

Roger! :-)

That's military talk. The emoticon means, I'm running for President."


Patrick Lang


His problem is that he cannot get out of Afghanistan without the president's permission. Neither can he retire to run for president without the same. Republican pressure? Why would Obama care? pl


Don't confuse my contempt for the Democrats with support for the bottomless pit of Afghanistan.
We should pull ground forces out and maintain UAV surveillance - for possible Al Qaeda resurgence.
As for the Afghans, if they want to live in the 9th century, let them.


clifford: A report from Bloomberg indicated that the Wachovia bank laundered $378.4 billion for Mexican-currency-exchange houses from 2004 to 2007. Which tracks with claims made by the head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime that banks turned to drug money during the financial crisis as a source of liquid capital.

So the question is was Wachovia uniquely corrupt in handling drug money, especially corrupt or the same as the other major banks, to get a rough estimate of how much drug money is being laundered a year.

Patrick Lang


My Special Forces brothers would like to have Afghanistan for their "hood." Why would you deny them? I only regret that i am too old. Of course, if they invited me... pl

Charlie Wilson

Frere Karzai are idiots for only taking 66%. There is 34% room for more

clifford kiracofe

" was Wachovia uniquely corrupt in handling drug money"


Short answer I think is no, not unique. Rather, in line with identified activities of other "money center" banks US and foreign.

When I served on the professional staff of the US Senate back in the 1980s and early 90s, one of my areas of responsibility was counternarcotics. I was deeply involved in the issue and in liaison with various Federal departments, agencies, and bureaus concerned with the issue.

The Senate of the United States has held extensive hearings on narcotics issues for decades. The money laundering dimension is included in the mix. The public records of the hearings are available. I am not permitted to discuss the closed hearings but there is plenty in the public domain and open source.

When the US Senate conducted narcotics investigations pertaining to Mexico in the 1980s, the Washington Post accused concerned Senators of "Mexico Bashing."

In open testimony, various high level Mexican officials were exposed as mixed in with the narcomafias: governors of states, federal officials, and the like. As I recall, not that long ago one of the senior Mexican officials in charge of counternarcotics was exposed as being in the narcomafia's pay.

That was the 1980s, its two decades later now...

Adam L Silverman


I recommend this excellent piece by Professor Dalrymple, a British historian, on what is happening in Afghanistan (hat tip to Professor Horton at Harpers: No Comment):


graywolf: "...but the Democrats damned sure aren't interested in a strong national defense."

Between 1959 and 2007, defense spending under Democratic presidents averaged 5.83% of GDP; defense spending under Republican presidents averaged 5.71% of GDP.

(See http://www.gpoaccess.gov/eop/)

It might make for an interesting debate if you defined precisely what you mean by "strength in national defense," and then offered some concrete evidence of how Democrats do not adhere to your definition.



My Special Forces brothers would like to have Afghanistan for their "hood." Why would you deny them?

Could you link us back to some of your prior posts where you state what we should be doing there, please. IIRR, it's a combination of drone/satellite surveillance and a significant but small SF footprint at select locations to win the trust of locals and disrupt terrorist groups, without trying to "nation-build" or come up with a national solution.

different clue


I was a kid all during the Vietnam War, but as I look back on my kidhood; I remember remembering that the President who really ramped that war up fast and hard was President Johnson who was a Democrat. And the
Democratic Party leaders and followers were divided between "Cold War Liberals" for winning the Vietnam War and a collection of Stop The War activists and supporters with various motivations. What aspect of National Defense were the Democrats of that day weak on? And which ones?

I join Mr. Silverman in wondering what you consider to be socialism? And I separately wonder why you think socialism would always be more expensive than its privatised equivalent? If we had Canadian-style socialized health expenses coverage rather than the private profitized insurance companies we have now; the cost of coverage would be less expensive than it is now, for example.

I still think a McCain/Palin combination would have extended the war to Iran by now. I am grateful we did not run the experiment.

The only way we will disengage from Afghanistan is if a commanding majority of the American voters were to overtly vote to do just that. And the only way we even have a chance to do that is if we have a candidate who is running on just that concept. It can either be a primary challenger to Obama who is running on Cut And Run...Get Used To It; or it could be Obama himself who declares that it did not work despite our best effort
and that a vote for him in 2012 is a vote for Cut And Run with whatever dignity we can muster in defeat. Then the American people can either vote for leaving Afghanistan or for staying in Afghanistan. If the people themselves were to vote for leaving by electing a "just give up and leave" President; then that President couldn't be harrassed with the Who Lost Afghanistan question because
it would be an American majority who voted to Lose Afghanistan. Without such a clear mandate to leave, no
President would dare be the one to leave on his watch. We could give Karzai fair warning of our total departure and give him and all the neighbors a 6 month grace period to work out a totally neutralized Afghanistan in a state of cold civil peace.

The heroin question appears to be one of these feasts of bad choices which Colonel Lang has sometimes told us about. In fact, it looks like Hobson's Pastry Tray. If we commit to violently suppressing opium growing, we commit to war into the infinite future. If we commit to buying up all the opium the Afghans can grow; we can either buy up all the opium in the whole world or let the illegal trade find other suppliers. If we go back to the legal order before any drug laws were invented, we would simply re-legalize opium and all its derivatives. The high-profit crime would drown in a wave of cheap legal opiates but huge numbers of people would die off until we were only left with people who could handle their hard drugs. Hobson's Pastry Tray indeed.

About America's social future...if economic decay can be stopped before it leads to a Yugoslavian style
regional breakup; then our cultural semi-unity seems more likely than the Austro-Hungarian situation. Most of the A.H. subjects were conquered in place. Most of us are descended from immigrants. And most of the immigrants' descendants interact through the cultural and linguistic medium of the Anglophone-Saxonized OverCulture. If American Arabs and American Cambodians and American Mexicans want to talk to eachother, will they all learn Arabic or Spanish or Cambodian? No. They will learn and are learning American English. (Which we might eventually call Amerenglish as against the Englandish spoken in England).

different clue

I hope another comment so soon is forgiveable...I suddenly remembered a hard little high-bran oatmeal cookie among all the sweet poison drug choices. It won't help Afghanistan unless everyone does it, but it could help us right now if we decide not to wait on others. And that is
Great British-style medical management of heroin addiction. Every heroin addict in Great Britain is registered as such with the authorities and is thereby permitted to visit a designated pharmacy just as often as he/she needs a no-fun mere-maintainance dose of heroin. The addicts are non-violent non-criminals and I have read that some even have part time jobs. Heroin use in Britain has been thereby robbed of its air of stylish rebellion and has become so doubleplus
uncool, doubleplus unhip, etc.; that lack of new recruits to heroin has reduced the number of heroin addicts in Great Britain to maybe a thousand or so. If that is really true there, then why wouldn't the same approach here have the same result here? The only people who would lose out are the people who deserve to lose out; the members of the narcofinancial-industrial complex and the members of the warondrugs-industrial complex.

(If I am wrong about heroin containment in Britain, then I need and deserve to be disabused of that belief of course).


Different Clue,

I worry about anything coming out of Britain, considering all the thought crimes that seem to be making the rounds and getting people arrested for not respecting someone's Muslim heritage.

Re: Burger Kings

I was there in Bagram when the Burger King trailer showed up at the BX, in addition to the coffee shop, sub sandwich restaurant, and chinese restaurant. The Burger King was staffed by Filipinos and managed by Serbians. This was about 04 or so, and there was a buck sergeant who lost his shit and had a mini meltdown when his whopper wasn't done his way.

Better story about that little Bagram pogue assembly area:

Once upon a time, the French Foreign Legion was stationed there. Sitting outside the coffee shop was a small, compact white Legionnaire and a tall, black Legionnaire. Mind you, this was during the entire "Freedom Fries" and "boycott France" thing, so the next part will make more sense.

These two national guardsmen see the French flag, and instantly walk over and start talking loud obnoxious shit about France (in English), while the two Legionnaires look puzzled, but continued talking.

Turns out the white one was a British national.

Next thing I know the cast iron table they were sitting at has knocked one over and the Brit expat is on top of him, beating the shit out of the guardsman. His buddy goes to point his M16 at him, and gets lifted into the air by his sling by the black guy, before he's buttstroked by his own weapon and knocked out. While the black Legionnaire goes to disassemble the M16 and starts chucking parts every which way, the white one is still kicking some ass, putting the boots to the other soldier.

Meanwhile, US soldiers are running around with their heads cut off, screaming about the French going crazy with the exception of myself, my sergeant, and some SF looking types who were pretty amused I guessed. It wasn't until a Brit colonel showed up with two huge Germans and broke things up a minute later that things got settled.

I think things worked better in Afghanistan when it was the "forgotten war".

Patrick Lang


That is one of the best stories I have heard in a while. I got very sick of all that anti-French crap.

Odd things happen in those concession restaurants in war zones. I was leaving VN in Spring of '69 and was in the Chinese restaurant on the big army base at Long Binh. The 101st Div had its rear echelon at Long Binh. The unpleasantness on "Hamburger Hill" (I forget the elevation) had ended a few days before. At a nearby table were some junior officers from the 101st. They were talking about the "Hamburger Hill fight. Among them was a captain who looked (as the French would say) like Christ come down from the cross. His uniform was faded to a gray-green, his face was tanned to that mahogany color that we know well. His hands were cracked and weathered. It was evident from what his friends were saying that some really terrible thing had happened to him in the HH battle. During the meal the door opened and in walked the 101st CG and his aide. They sat and ordered. The captain put down his sticks and sat immobile staring across the room at Zais (the CG) After a bit he started to stand up His companions grabbed him and tried to restrain him, but he struggled to his feet. "Blackjack!" he roared across the room "Blackjack, you killed my company, damn you, you killed my company... are you pleased with how we fought? God damn you, God damn you..." As I recall "Blackjack" was the general's call sign. Zais left, a wise decision. pl


We may have a moral duty to save the Afghans from the Chinese.


filed under "MOT [Ministry of Truth] Preparing the Public???".

different clue

Tyler, after a story like that, I can see why you would be suspicious of anything coming out of Britain. Still and all, one of the better features of American culture/society is that we are supposed to be "not too proud to learn".
So if Great Britain really has discovered a way to contain, domesticate, and marginalize heroin's presence in Great British society; I hope we are not too proud to learn about it and apply it here.

When I was a schoolboy, we wer taught a little bit about the anti-German hysteria which swept this country during WWI. "Liberty cabbage" for sauerkraut and similar such nonsense. German language newspapers being shut down here and there. The use of conversational German being savagely suppressed. So "liberty cabbage fries" isn't the first time such a politically useful mass mobilization campaign has been incited and exploited in this country.

rjj, my first instinct is to say...if China is so very interested, let China stabilize Afghanistan. Perhaps a million PLA soldiers with Tien An Men rules of engagement can do what we can't. I actually begin to wonder whether the Chinese government is very quietly blackmailing our government with threats of a massive dollar dump if we don't stay, fight, and die to Keep Afghanistan Chinese.



That story of yours really struck a chord with me. I am trying to imagine being there for that and words fail me. I imagine your war was peppered with many incidents like that. At least Zais had the grace to leave, but I would be surprised if anyone spoke truth to power like that nowadays.

Bagram was a weird little land. To the people who lived there the "security drills" with MPs IMTing up and down the main drag for a mile were proof that the war was real, while they ate knockoff Subway on their way back from the PX because there was nothing to do.

You had Marines sleeping in the big MWR room because either A) they weren't allowed to use their air conditioning in the 110 heat so they would "climatize" or B) they weren't allowed to sleep during the day, no ifs ands or buts.

Wanted posters at the chow halls: "Missing: 1 SAW with 400 rds 5.56 & NVGs(monocular), taken from Humvee. Please return to 39th Inf HQ".

"Czech" troops who spoke only in Russian and I am sure were not some sort of Spetznatz brought on. (I am not sure of this.)

And so on.

RE: Different Clue

Britain's current nanny society/political correctness run amok/don't question why that Somali just amputated his daughter's sex organs that is RACIST and you hate immigrants!! fervor just leaves me a little wary of anything coming off the island. If it works, it works, but then again, its America, which seems to have proven time and time again that what works for Europe doesn't seem to take hold here in the Republic.

different clue


Your caution about trying British ways and means here seems reasonable and well placed in general. And yet...IF Britain really has contained and marginalized heroin use the way I remember reading it has; then that WOULD be worth study to see if we could re-engineer specific methods to achieve the same domestication, containment, and marginalization of heroin use here.

I can think of some strictly material methods used in Europe which do work or have worked here. For example, towns and cities all over America had the same sort of train, trolley, and streetcar travel that Europe still has. It worked quite well; so well in fact that a 3 member cabal of huge companies (Standard Oil of Ohio, Firestone Tire and Rubber, General Motors) formed a set of front companies to buy and destroy
trolley and streetcar lines all over America to force-clear a market for cars and buses, tires, and gas. That's not my personal tinfoil, that's a matter of historical record.



I remember reading in Merchants of Grain by Dan Morgan about how the steel roller milling technology we use for flour making was invented in Hungary.

Those examples are strictly material culture to be sure, though the life and forced death of our transit system had big social impacts. People gonna miss them trolleys when gas reaches $10.00 a gallon.
So perhaps the British approach to heroin containment can be studied and re-engineered for spot-focus application here. I feel confident that developing our own addict registry-dose maintainance system here would not tempt us to accept ritual torture and female genital mutilation by immigrants here. Nowadays I don't think we can afford to be too proud to learn or too afraid to learn.

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