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On the crazy side of sane vs. crazy

By Michael J. Smith on Monday November 30, 2009 07:46 PM

A few days ago I observed -- rather optimistically as it turns out -- that Obie had set things up for himself so that he could split the difference between sane and crazy on Afghanistan.

Never have I been more pleased to be mistaken. In fact, as we all now know, Obie has come roundly down on the side of crazy. General McChraqhpot asked for 40,000 new troops, and Obie is going to send 35,000 -- which will increase by 50% the count of hapless American soldier-boy and soldier-girl boots on the ground in that unfortunate land.

Apparently he's going to announce this bit of Kennedyesque "vigah" in a speech at West Point. Icing on the cake.

I happened to be talking, the other day, with an old friend of mine who, though normally a highly intelligent and worldly-wise person, somehow got utterly bowled over by Obamania -- wept on election night, went to the inauguration and befriended strangers, the whole gamut. She still won't admit to any faintest shred of disillusionment.

Unkindly enough, I couldn't resist razzing her about the upcoming surge in Afghanistan. Her response was that McCain and Palin "would have killed a lot more people."

In fact, it's hard to see how. We only have so many soldier boys and girls, after all, and they're pretty much stretched to the limit -- though the New Depression has apparently been a shot in the arm for the recruiting officers.

I guess McCain/Palin could have actually nuked the place -- it's theoretically possible -- though if bedbug-crazies like Dick Nixon and George W Bush never got quite that crazy, there seems to be little basis for believing that Jowl-Man or Moose-Girl would or could have broken their records. But of course anything is possible.

Believing that the possible is certain might be taken as a working definition for one kind, at least, of religious faith. (Some possibilities, naturally, are more certain than others.)

Everybody's religion, of course, always looks weird to everybody else, as a rather wise rabbi of my acquaintance once observed: "We've got the dead chicken and the penis-trimming, you've got the Trinity and the ritual cannibalism."

Still, it has to be said that venerating Moses or Jesus or Muhammad or Buddha is by any rational standard a lot less crazy than reposing any hope in... a Chicago Democrat.

Comments (16)


I don't see anyone nuking $500 billion a year worth of heroin anytime soon. That would rather defeat our purpose in being there.


Aren't we already nuking a lot of places with depleted uranium?


we're in area afpak for the dope ???

good show


on second thought

500 billion street value

why hell sean
we could buy that at econd hand
not even off the area afpak
direct culitvators
for 750 million


Is it really so hard to believe we're in it for the dope? We wouldn't be the first empire within the last 200 years to fight a war over control of the narcotics trade.

The Taliban largely eliminated opium production in Afghanistan, and within a year, we had largely eliminated Taliban control of the country. Coincidence? Perhaps. But opium production has since soared in areas controlled by the US and its druglord allies, despite the endless rhetoric about the need for drug eradication. After the Taliban program there was a worldwide and severe shortage of heroin, so I doubt there are really viable alternatives to Af-Pak smack, or at least, none that could speedily be employed to fill the gap.

It goes without saying that if the Taliban could eradicate opium production, we surely could if we had the will, which is tantamount to saying we don't. Why we don't have the will is open to debate, but $500 billion a year is a fact that speaks pretty loudly to me.


Why should we eradicate opium poppies? Rx mfrs aren't being eradicated. Booze distilleries aren't being eradicated.

I have no problem with a black market heroin trade. People should be allowed to use heroin if they want to do so.


hey have a heart sean
you elitest red ball of fire

smack is the ..opiate of the masses


I'm not suggesting we should eradicate the poppy fields. I am only offering my opinion that one of the primary reasons we are in Af-Pak is to protect the drug trade, and to point out the hypocrisy of all this talk of eradication which never comes to anything, and the unavoidable implications of that fact.

I am firmly in favor of legalizing all drugs, and removing most drugs from requiring a doctor's prescription to obtain. I have a chronic pain condition and am a chronic pain advocate, so I am very familiar with the reality of millions of Americans whose lives have been destroyed by their inability to obtain pain treatment from the medical industrial complex.

There is little difference between the services rendered by Dr Feelgood and Dr Escobar other than the fact Dr Escobar charges less, gives you what you pay for, doesn't judge your character, and kills a few hundred thousand less people a year than Dr Feelgood. I see no reason why people should be forced to deal with Dr Feelgood.


For what it's worth, I personally think the drug war is over, and drugs won.

It would be a great thing if we recognized that, let people buy dope if they want to, and put all these enforcement types on the dole.

That said, I'm not quite satisfied that dope is at the root of the Af-Pak folly. It's possible, and it's an interesting idea. But this region was a cockpit of great-power rivalry long before it was a dope-mine.

Save the Oocytes:

MJS, it's not over for the unwilling guests of the prison complex. As long as people are still being victimized, it's not over. Your sentiment reminds me of Frank Rich declaring Iraq II over in 2006. "Yeah, buddy, it may be over for you, with your... latte(!), but our heroic troops didn't rape and kill your entire family, now did they?"

Dr. Escobar still kills a shitload of people. Being the lesser evil as compared to the US government is a pretty weak recommendation.

The Taliban could significantly impact poppy production because they actually controlled Afghanistan. The US duly-elected democratic representatives of the Afghan people's will control... Kabul. Though I suppose they could do it from the air. With six thousand aircraft, how long does it take to turn 650,000 square kilometers of land to moonscape?



"MJS, it's not over for the unwilling guests of the prison complex"

blowing gotcha indignant around here seems comical to me

social morality
is for
church ladies and pecksniffs

just as ethics
is for
suckers and parlor maids

if this is all about value " feelings"
as guide to righteous living

i say
with my dear Joy


"so what ....who cares ..."

Save the Oocytes:

"Down with ethics"?
I've never quite got behind that one.

I feel (all apologies...) that what continues to go on is wrong. We've established that the US gov can't win, but that doesn't mean they'll stop anytime soon. It's not over until it stops accumulating casualties. Do you win some sort of anti-social morality points by forgetting about them?

I don't understand what you're trying to say.


If ethics and morality have no value, then why bother with this site? Surely supporting the Democrats is not in any way better or worse than any other option. Bombing Afghanistan is as worthy, or not, as giving free shoes to orphans. A kick to the shins is surely as positive an encouragement as a pat on the back. If all actions are morally neutral, than one action is in no way preferable to another.

Without some sort of standard, I don't know how you can go about determining the value of anything.


Dr. Escobar still kills a shitload of people. Being the lesser evil as compared to the US government is a pretty weak recommendation.

I wasn't comparing Dr Escobar to the US government, but the medical industrial complex which currently controls legal opiates. The MIC kills 250,000 Americans a year; illicit drugs kill 20,000 a year of which some 1,500 to 5,000 are due to illegal narcotics, can't remember which. That's a lot of deaths but those numbers could be reduced with legalization which would make drugs cheaper and better quality as well as allow addicts to use them without forgoing food, shelter and medical care to pay for their habits.


"smack is the ..opiate of the masses "

I thought Obama was the opiate of the people? Once you mainline that Obama brown sugar, there ain't no going back.

Save the Oocytes:

Sorry, I conflate the various industrial complexes and the government at times. There's collusion and crossover, but you're right that they're not the same thing.

I'm completely behind legalization. As for Dr. Escobar killing people, I was thinking of shootings, etc.; legalization would of course take a huge bite out of the cartels, too.

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