Tuesday, August 25, 2009

#148 Back to the Middle East and "Mystery"

What's not to like about a good mystery? Will Sherlock Holmes decipher "The Sign of 4," or Hercule Poirot solve the "Murder on the Orient Express"? Will the CERN particle-accelerator uncover the Higgs boson and the secret of what banged the Big Bang? Great fun. How about a mystery NOT to like:

In the intelligence [?] business, we always used to categorize information in two ways, secrets and MYSTERIES ... mysteries were those where there were too many variables to predict. And I think that how long U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan is in that area. [AP 8/14]

That was Robert Gates, our Secretary of War. Sorry, "Defense"--but we might as well use the older title. Correct me, but does he not say that the war in which we're involved is--by way of an old conundrum--intelligence wrapped in a secret wrapped in a great big mystery? Res ipsa loquitor. Or as an old saying goes: No Shit, Sherlock.

The statement is not only self-contradictory: the secrets must have already been uncovered and the mysteries already been solved, or we wouldn't have troops there. Moreover, it also clearly contradicts a statement earlier in the press conference where there seemed to be no mystery at all. Any uncertainty expressed in the following?--

Defeating the Taliban and al-Quida will take a few years ... with success on a larger scale in the desperately poor country a much longer proposition.

I love it. What about OUR poor country. The Middle-East Wars have cost about a TRILLION dollars now, and, according to a recent WashPost article, the cost of our prolonged presence in Afghan/Pakistan will ultimately exceed what we've spent in Iraq. And here we are in the Great Recession, ready to bankrupt half the Middle East along with us. "Desperately poor" indeed. And who's responsible for that?

In an earlier post, I quoted a poor deluded woman protesting health-care reform at a Town Hall meeting: "This is like RUSSIA!" Of course it was more about anti-Obama and the Democrats than health care, and of course she's a raving lunatic who's got everything wrong. Except for one thing, unwittingly. We ARE Russia in Afghanistan.

At the expense of untold billions of dollars and millions of lives, THEY couldn't achieve "larger success"--as Sec. Gates put it-- and neither can we. No mystery.

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