Thursday, May 05, 2011

Who Really Won This Round?

The question that troubles me is who is going to have the last laugh?

In his first taped statement following the 9/11 attack, bed Linen outlined his strategy. His objective, he said, was to bankrupt America. His plan was to do something very dramatic (9/11) to which we'd have to react. He succeeded. He anticipated that we would over react. We did. We put an army in the field at great cost. Bed Linen must have been rolling with laughter when we invaded Iraq and opened a second war in a place that would be significantly more expensive to field an army that Afghanistan. That it had nothing to do with him and his 9/11 attack on us was frosting on the cake. A standing army in somebody else's country generally pi$$es of the people of that country (not to mention all of their friends). The invasion of Iraq a.) divided all those who supported us in our actions in Afghanistan to that point; b.) united our enemies in the Arab world and c.) provided an unimaginably fantastic recruiting tool for al Qaeda and their franchises throughout the world.

Now, with a war cost estimated by some to be on the order of $3T (economist Joseph Stiglitz [1],) including external war fighting, internal security and off budget, "emergency" funding .. we are finding that we are close to bankruptcy. Mission accomplished?

Bed Linen had a template and a proof of concept already in hand. The Soviet Union was tied up in Afghanistan for a decade and, as much as some of us like to think that Reagan telling Gorby to "tear down that wall" did the trick - it was Afghanistan that was the straw on the camels back that broke the Soviet Union. Their economy simply couldn't sustain an arms race with us and a never ending war in Afghanistan. One or the other, maybe ... but not both.

While we played checkers for the better part of a decade, bed Linen was playing chess. He's dead ... but we're close to bankrupt and running around like chickens with our heads cut off, trying to figure a way out of a dilemma we've created for ourselves by sending armies to do what a team of SEALS supported by good "police work" could have accomplished in the first place.

We got him! Yes!

But I don't think there's much to celebrate if, in the end, he accomplishes his mission anyway.

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Random thoughts on bin Laden

"I've never wished a man dead, but I have read some obituaries with great pleasure."
— Mark Twain

OBAMA: "I made killing or capturing Bin Laden our top priority"
GOP: "NO Gay Marriage" (because their so tough on terrorism)

Some are suggesting that Bush get substantial credit for tracking down bin Laden. Perhaps they have a point. After all, Bush made thorough search of all the places that Osama bin Laden probably wouldn't be... like Iraq, for example. Then, Bush having ruled out all the places bin Laden wasn't, Barack Obama only had to focus on the places in which bin Laden probably was. The process of elimination is a well regarded forensic tool and, seeing that there were more places in which bin Laden wasn't, the argument could be made that Bush did the lion's share of the work.