Wednesday, February 04, 2009

The Obama Saga: It’s Magic!

Our new Pope Hope, Barack Obama, hasn’t wasted any time spreading the magic and in fact he has given us quite a good example of how things work. Our new treasury secretary, Timothy Geithner, just paid 34,000 bucks in back taxes along with 8,000 bucks interest, a prerequisite for becoming treasury secretary I’m told. It’s always good to begin a new job with a clean slate they say. Then there is Nancy Killefer who has left the fray after it turns out she has a lien against her house for not paying unemployment compensation taxes for her “domestic help.” Killefer was nominated for a top budget position. One wonders just how much anyone who can afford servants knows about budgeting anywho. And to top it off there is Tom “Only Little People Pay Taxes” Daschle who just paid 140,000 smackaroos in back taxes who also let us know he earned five million in just two years time. Tom’s a healthy guy.

During Obama’s presto change-o campaign he swore he wouldn’t take money from lobbyists except that he did through the magic of terminology and word redefinition. Wow, that’s new. Turns out Daschle worked as a lobbyist but because he didn’t register as lobbyist he wasn’t really a lobbyist so he was Obama’s choice for secretary of health and human services (mostly his own). Other lobbyists who climbed the barrier of Obama’s ban on lobbyists were William Lynn who was a lobbyist for Ratheon, and William Corr an anti-tobacco lobbyist. And these people all have one thing else in common. They have more money than most people would ever dream of having but that’s what being a member of the ruling class is all about. They write the laws but the laws are only for the teeming masses not the ruling class themselves. I mean hey, like wow, what do you expect? Something for nothing?

Obama is magically transforming the Global War on Terror. Now our intrepid troops are involved in a Global War on Car Thieves. The ruling class may not pay any taxes but you do so you might ask if you really think fighting car thieves in Afghanistan is really the kind of change you asked for.


DELARAM, Afghanistan — On a sunset patrol here in late December, U.S. Marines spotted a Taliban unit trying to steal Afghan police vehicles at a checkpoint. In a flash, the Marines turned to pursue, driving off the main road and toward the gunfire coming from the mountain a half mile away.

But their six-ton vehicles were no match for the Taliban pickups. The mine-resistant vehicles and heavily armored Humvees bucked and swerved as drivers tried to maneuver them across fields that the Taliban vehicles raced across. The Afghan police trailed behind in unarmored pick-up trucks, impatient about their allies' weighty pace.

The Marines, weighted down with 60 pounds of body armor each, struggled to climb up Saradaka Mountain. Once at the top, it was clear to everyone that the Taliban would get away. Second Lt. Phil Gilreath, 23, of Kingwood, La., called off the mission.

"It would be a ghost chase, and we would run the risk of the vehicles breaking down again," Gilreath said. The Marines spent the next hour trying to find their way back to the paved road.

The men of the 3rd Batallion, 8th Marine Regiment, based at Camp Lejeune, are discovering in their first two months in Afghanistan that the tactics they learned in nearly six years of combat in Iraq are of little value here — and may even inhibit their ability to fight their Taliban foes.

Their MRAP mine-resistant vehicles, which cost $1 million each, were specially developed to combat the terrible effects of roadside bombs, the single biggest killer of Americans in Iraq. But Iraq is a country of highways and paved roads, and the heavily armored vehicles are cumbersome on Afghanistan's unpaved roads and rough terrain where roadside bombs are much less of a threat.

Body armor is critical to warding off snipers in Iraq, where Sunni Muslim insurgents once made video of American soldiers falling to well-placed sniper shots a staple of recruiting efforts. But the added weight makes Marines awkward and slow when they have to dismount to chase after Taliban gunmen in Afghanistan's rough terrain.

Even the Humvees, finally carrying heavy armor after years of complaints that they did little to mitigate the impact of roadside explosives in Iraq, are proving a liability. Marines say the heavy armor added for protection in Iraq is too rough on the vehicles' transmissions in Afghanistan's much hillier terrain, and the vehicles frequently break down — so often in fact that before every patrol Marine units here designate one Humvee as the tow vehicle.

The Marines have found other differences:

In Iraq, American forces could win over remote farmlands by swaying urban centers. In Afghanistan, there's little connection between the farmlands and the mudhut villages that pass for towns.

In Iraq, armored vehicles could travel on both the roads and the desert. Here, the paved roads are mostly for outsiders - travelers, truckers and foreign troops; to reach the populace, American forces must find unmapped caravan routes that run through treacherous terrain, routes not designed for their modern military vehicles.

In Iraq, a half-hour firefight was considered a long engagement; here, Marines have fought battles that have lasted as long as eight hours against an enemy whose attacking forces have grown from platoon-size to company-size.

Afghanistan is not Iraq. Indeed, it’s a whole new ballgame and one where there is no real goal. We have heard of long term goals, short term goals, winning the hearts and minds goals, the stability (whatever that means) goals, realistic goals, unrealistic goals, in fact there have been shoals of goals and all of them have one thing in common. None of them explain just what the fuck we are doing in Afghanistan.

By all accounts al Qaieda has been dismantled and scattered. The Taliban are not al Qaieda but an entirely separate entity. And is shifting the Terror Wars from Iraq (who our leaders seem to forget had nothing to do with al Qaieda) to Afghanistan really the change people hoped for when they voted for Obama? I think not. Shifting the war is a change of sorts – a change for the worse and for what? So Obama’s backers in the war industry can make more moolah even as our economy disintegrates? That’s not change, that’s business as usual.

But its’ magic.


At February 05, 2009 11:42 AM, Anonymous Larry said...

Well said rob! The Obama lovefest seems to be waning.

It would all be comical if it wasn't so scary what damage these knuckhead elite could do (are doing) to the country.


At February 05, 2009 5:24 PM, Blogger rob payne said...

Thanks Larry, yeah, who knows how long the lovefest shall continue. It's certainly been waning in some circles but hey, we have at least another four years to find out.


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