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Tuesday, 14 January 2014

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"In retrospect and for different reasons, the American intervention in both Iraq II and Afghanistan were unmitigated disasters": inbloodyretrospect? Iraq II was a disaster in prospect; Afghanistan was a disaster in prospect the moment anyone realised that they were not set on a punitive expedition but instead on a war of occupation.

And why do you think the reasons different? Aren't they essential twofold? (i) The American ignorance of history and geography afflicts the rulers as much as the ruled. (ii) American hubris about their military power survives every failure unscathed. Observe the loony notion that Syria should have been next.

In the case of Syria, cooler heads prevailed, the heads of the actual owners of the USA, not the head of that Commie the White House.

The reasons are the same in some respects but differ in details, DM, that's all I intended to say. And yes, the USA does blunder about but that is in the nature of great powers (see: Great Britain, passim, to say nothing of Germany, France, Austria, ancient Rome, and so on 'ad infinitum'.) I believe they call it 'the human condition'!

The Germans, British etc at least would have known where bloody Iraq and Afghanistan were. Anyway, remember your Kipling: "We have had no end of a lesson/It will do us no end of good."

The one war since 1945 that they refuse to learn from is the successful one, the First Gulf War. First Law: know what you intend to achieve and know how you will recognise it when it occurs. I say again; Bush the Elder was their last grown-up president.

Dear Mr. Duff, You speak to that long forgotten virtue - personal honor, which sadly seems to be reserved for screen adaptations of Jane Austen novels and military reenactment societies. So many times, I've thrown my hands into the air and lamented, "Why doesn't anyone resign in utter disgust?" The partisans will cheer this latest breech of integrity, failing to note that Secretary Gates never murmured a peep of dissent while in office and now he does so to make a pretty penny for himself.

You really must try not to go to bed in a grumpy mood, DM, it will ruin your night's sleep! I agree that Bush Snr. deserves some credit for the first Gulf war but history (and me!) will not forgive him for "Watch my lips, no more taxes!"

Dear Liberty, first of all please call me David. As it happens, 'over here' we are being reminded of one of the last truly honourable men in British politics because a new musical has opened based on the Jack Profumo affair - you can read the essence of it here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Profumo_Affair

Profumo, a minister at the time, was caught out telling a lie to parliament and instantly resigned, left politics and devoted the rest of his life to charitable works. Nowadays, the buggers need a stick of dynamite to shift them! I almost forgot another fine example, Lord Peter Carrington who was Foreign Secretary when the Falklands were invaded. He accepted responsibility for his department's failure to see it coming and resigned. Two rarities in a sea of second-raters.

I would encourage "all interested partisans" - of whatever stripe - to go to (mind I've never bothered to look for, and so don't know it guaranteed to be where I suggest) - anyway ...

Charlie Rose last night (Tuesday January 14) had Gates on for the entire hour - unlike the biggie media outlets FOX, CNN etc which airtimes only allow for "ten minutes slots" during which to pick from excerpted, as fits the preferred narrative of what the "respective" audiences likes to hear.

I'm of the opinion (after listening to Mr. Gates) everybody who has only to now had excerpts to judge - will have their eyes opened after reading the whole book. Anyway, look for a Charlie Rose website - perhaps I-Tunes.

Mr. Gates it would appear, reserves especial contempt for neither of the latest two incarnations of President rather, the Congress.

Both houses.

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