« The Balfour Declaration: A Brief Reply - Richard Sale | Main | Fund Raising »

04 November 2010


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.



Congress McKeon has NO military experience according to his bio. According to his bio, the nearest thing he has been to 'organized' quasi-lifestyle was the 'Boy Scouts'. I wonder if he would be willing to sacrifice one of his '30' grandchildren or maybe even one of his 6 children in the grand-Afghan-I-Land-Peteraeus-Insubordinate_Boyz-Club's-COINesta endeavors. Do you think Congress McKeon would look better in a Burka or not? I think a Burka would do Congressman McKeon's apparently vacant cranium, justice.



One thing I forgot to mention was listed in his bio -- Ranking Minority Member of the House Armed Services Committee. In other words it's a good bet that the good Congressman's face will be attached to Petraeus's insubordinate backsides frame. With the GOP taking over the House, doesn't Congressman McKeon assume the reins of the House Armed Services Committee from Congressman Skelton, which makes Petraeus's insubordination to the C-N-C even more dangerous for the republic.


Personally, I'd go down swinging. If they are going outside the chain of command, and I have no doubts they are, he should sit down first and watch 7 Days in May. And then fire them all. Come what may...he may find he is respect (or feared) more.


They should be relieved of command. If Congressman McKeon wants to stay, Obama should propose an "Afghan Victory" tax and let the Congressman vote for the funding.


It is in vain, sir, to extenuate the matter. Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace– but there is no peace. There is just too much profit in war, and besides, wouldn't everyone want a completely COIN-transformed Afghanistan?

With profound apologies to that great Virginian, Patrick Henry.

William R. Cumming

The domestic politics of the Afghan war are complicated by the lobbyists of the military/industrial/acacademic complex. yet IMO Afghan history is about to be reshaped regardless of the US presence or absence. By 2012 just as in this past Tuesday's election no one will be campaigning on a "for" or "against" presence of the US in that country with its tribes masquerading as a nation-state. Today the leading beneificary of the US presence in-country is not Pakistand, India, the other STANS, or the Afghan peoples themselves. Instead the principal beneficiary is CHINA. It skillful diplomacy and stragegy in this arena is a wonder. To look at the real Afghan policy of various nation-states just look at their views on opium/poppy growing in country. The leading protector of that base of international drug supply is the US.


Particularly, Colonel, since they keep repeating the line that Afghanistan has $1 trillion in untapped minerals.



The Afghanistan Surge is built upon the quicksand of expensive and unreliable logistics and inadequate manpower; paid for with borrowed monies. Back channel manipulation is the only way to keep the wars going.

The power of corporate marketing is illuminated by the fact that there is no serious questioning of the goals or the length of the Middle East occupations in America. Even worse, is the drum beat for war with Iran which will blowback on America.

Clearly siphoning off of looted money is a reason for the never ending wars, but a more basic reason is faith; the thousand year Christian War with Islam and Jewish Settlement of the West Bank.

The longer the wars last the more likely that a catastrophic event will happen that will spin the wars and the American economy out of control.

Norbert M. Salamon

Viatnam Vet:
your last observation /prognostication is unfortunately far more valid then any pronouncement of Congressman McKeon.
It will be intersting to watch the battle [and votes] when the great REDUCTION OF GOVERNMENT [aka balanced budget] inititative of the GOP meets the war funding behemot.
As C. Freedman noted the interst on debt, medicare and social security exceeds the tax take of the Feds.
Now if the misbegotten QE II reaches the ideal of Mr. Bernanke, and inflation rises from the ashes as Phoenix, see the cost of debt service going to the roof!

The realist prognosis for the USA economy is most dire if DOD [and related] funding is not substantially cut!


Norbert M. Salamon--

The interest paid by the government on its bonds issued to social security is 5% of the total trust fund income. Social security is not kept afloat via that government obligation. Social security is kept afloat due to its dedicated Fica income stream--a stream which continues to be in surplus measured against ss payouts.

To the point, though, it will be interesting to see how Gop insistence on continuing/expanding our various wars plays out against its insistence on cutting the "wicked" deficit.



Now that the NEOCONS have regained their control of the Congress, will they now feel free to ramp up their 'let's thump Iran' war cries? Obama's screw ups are giving the NEOCONS a free hand to wreak their havoc once more.

Farmer Don

Do the Republicans really want to take back possession of this war? Obama made it his own in the public's mind with the troop increase. With people tired of 10 years of war, do the Republicans want to remind voters that they started the whole mess?

Norbert M. Salamon


Thank you for clarifying the income stream of SS.

i am aware that some of the interst also accrues to US citizens and Corporations. The problem arises with respect to the external debt, China, Opec, Russia, Japan, EU et al - the nations whose economies are directly attacked by QEI and QEII which in the words of the German Minister of Finance are examples of USA currency manipulation.

One can not presume that countries which suffer due to USA currency manipulation are going to go out of their way to please Uncle Sam were inflation overtakes the USA - as admitted by the Government and Bernanake. It is notable that inflation as per living cost [housing, food transport and medical insurance] is already over 7% as in shadowstat.com .

Adam L Silverman

J: unless they shuffle committee assignments, which does sometimes happen, or one of his Republican colleagues calls in a chit and the leadership makes a swap against rank/seniority, which also sometimes happens, then yes he will take over as committee chairman. The bigger question will be if the Republicans run the committees and the House like they did the last time they held the majority, which was just shockingly politicized. The best run down I've ever seen is by Matt Taibbi at Rolling Stone, both for the information he puts into the article and the way he writes. Just go to rolling stone's website, click on the politics link, and you should be able to find it pretty easily. If you have trouble, I'll try to pull the link when on the real computer later tonight and put it in a comment for you. For a more scholarly take read Ornstein and Mann's The Broken Branch.

Retired (once-Serving)Patriot

As I have been advocating since before the past inauguration, Obama needs to fire pretty much the entire top echelon of military leadership (3 stars and above). Don't cry for these officers as they will live on in exceptional largess courtesy of Cheney-Rumsfeld era changes to the military retainer/pension system (ie, up to 100%pensions). For the most part, these officers are tainted by their very selection (under Cheney-Rumsfeld and then Gates). These fellows have failed to win at either war (Iraq or Afghanistan) and this failure, as well as their insistence on occupying restive lands, continues to endanger our long term security.

It goes without saying that if military leaders have independent, unsanctioned lines of communication to the new majority, then Gates' head should be the first on the platter. Perhaps the forcibly retired Ike Skelton would make a fine new SecDef?

There are many, many superb officers further down the chain of command who are less politicized, more motivated to win and eager to extricate the US from these costly adventures. they understand the looming fiscal realities and are ready to execute. But, so long as these failed generals and admirals continue to serve (and as in this case, serve dishonorably), we're going to continue to rob the Citizen and give his money to the profiteers, criminals and foreign agents.



The question for me is will Americans sit still while the very rich steal what's left of their nation from them? My guess is probably yes. Taibbis Rolling Stone article on the kleptocracy explains the process rather well. Similar machinations in Russia happened as the Soviet Union collapsed.

To get back to the topic, the second question is on a theme I guess I can raise, since Col. Lang raised it in relation to Gen. Petreaus: "What role does the American military industrial complex see for itself in these difficult times?"

Have we reached the point where the military decide that they have a valid reason to attempt to influence American policy directly and therefore comes to regard itself as a domestic political constituency that politicians must attempt to satisfy....or else? McKeons comments and Col. Langs response suggests we are there now.

That was one (perhaps unkind) interpretation of Adm. Mullens comments regarding the potential impact of the recession on the military - that the American economy was having difficulty in keeping the military in the state to which it is accustomed.

When does the military announce that the sale of ports, airports, highways, communications and power generation infrastructure to foreigners is a threat to national security and must be stopped by legislators forthwith?

When do they announce that the rising price of oil is a threat to operations and that demand must be curbed for military reasons?

Can the suppression of such an unwelcome and dangerous trend be addressed by firing a few generals?

By the way, the next stage of Kleptocracy after those described by Taibbi is that the grifters start looking to acquire companies that have significant foreign exchange earnings, preferably in Euros or Yuan, since the dollar will be worthless. One Russian company I know of refused to export to Europe for the reason that its dollar earnings would make it a target of the Russian Mafia. I suggest that the Wall Street mafia are just as lethal.

William R. Cumming

PL could you expand on your Miller Center speech remarks on India's connection to Karzai?

John Waring

Thus begins the the lunacy.

Let's all keep in mind FB Ali's great post on the matter: "The US AfPak war is over. Everyone knows that ‒ the Afghans, the regional powers, the Europeans, and now even the Americans (though some Permanent Warriors still have difficulty admitting it."

These remarkable words of clarity will be my lodestar during the next several years. They will be my shield of defense against the hogwash of permanent warriors like McKeon.

Mark Logan

Just in case anybody else wants to send "Buck" a message, here is his contact page.


The guys over at FFT called this big swing for repubs. I am one of their newsletter subscribers http://www.forecastfortomorrow.com they are very good and well worth a look.



I'm not sure that I see much difference between this intervention and the "good old days" when members of congress have colluded with staff officers and their subordinates in opposition to the President and the Executive Branch:

1) those relationships within the "Iron Triangle" were more about procurement than actual strategy...

2) the military interests in these discussions were typically entire components in the order of battle defending their 'turf' and were not tied to individual officers...

3) the political participants came from both parties...

I care to note that these situations have existed with both Democrats and Republicans in the White House and with both parties in control of Congress... and independently of whether all branches of government were held by a single party...

So my question is whether the current situation is qualitatively different on all three levels... and, as such, is more foreboding?

Clifford Kiracofe

Back in 1957, Prof. Samuel Huntington of Harvard wrote "The Soldier and the State. The Theory and Politics of Civil Military Relations." While Huntington is dead, his ilk of pro-Garrison State/ Permanent War ("Long War") types continues.

Today's Republicans are Neoconized and dumbed down. In all the budget cut talk nothing about the unnecessary trillion dollar wars and bloated Pentagon budget...and the Republicans go on to cut infrastructure spending like high speed rail in Florida and Wisconsin.

Today's Republicans are far indeed from their party's 19th century Whig Party roots as to the issue of "Internal Improvements" asssited by government.

When it dawns on the mass public that their vote "for change" first in 2008 with a Dem President and then in 2010 with a Repub House, governorships and state legislatures is getting nowhere, a deeper fear and desperation will set in more than is evident today.

The Alcibiades cult of "professional" military and the incompetent politicians are corrupt morally and financially.

As Walrus correctly suggests, the foreign (and "cosmopolitan") sharks will move in further on the US economy. One comparison would be Germany in the 1920s and the domestic and foreign interests which took advantage of the German hyperinflation to purchase industrial assets for chump change. The financial-industrial group led by Hugo Stinnes would be an example of what I am pointing to.

Currency warfare and manipulation for strategic purposes? We saw that in the 1920s and later with respect to the Franco-German competition over East Europe. Moves were made to bring East European currencies within a mark or a franc zone...etc.

Patrick Lang


Each of the armed services and the JCS have "legislative liaison offices" on the Hill. These are legal lobbies that court congressional support for budget and other support matters for each service. This is a very different thing from having a group of generals and their staffs plus the academic quacks at AEI make unauthorized contact with members of the opposition for the purpose of combining against the president. pl



Excellent distinction. I guess my question is whether the past ten years have seen a fundamental and growing disregard for those official liaison mechanisms in favor of subaltern collusion among ideologically-similar cohorts... and whether the President could tell the difference or do anything about it as it occurs (short of waiting for circumstantial "McCrystalized" incidents...).


Russ Baker has written:

Since 1961, LBJ had aligned himself with the JCS on a policy JFK was resisting ... to send U.S. combat troops to Asia. As a result, VP Johnson and his military aide Howard Burris were provided a steady stream of Vietnam intelligence reports that were denied to the president."

Is this reliable?

If so, is it an irregularity of a type that had precedents? Or that has become a precedent?

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad