38
   

People are saying some really ugly things here in Texas....

 
 
revel
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 08:28 am
@Asherman,
Asherman, for a couple of post now you have made assertions without any kind of back up except some kind of supposed inside knowledge and insist that those on the left get their information from sources of left wing propaganda so to speak. (in my own words) I think you should offer some kind of tangible proof to your assertions other than your own words.

For the last couple of years generals and other military officers have been saying they urgently need more troops in Afghanistan but they can't because unless some are deployed from Iraq.

The following is from Gates as recently as October 1, 2008.

Quote:
The U.S. and its allies should rush more troops "as quickly as possible" to Afghanistan, the top American commander in that country said Wednesday, warning that the fighting could worsen before it get better.

Trying to meet Gen. David McKiernan's urgent need for weapons and equipment, Defense Secretary Robert Gates has asked the military for additional surveillance drones and armored vehicles right now for Afghanistan, The Associated Press has learned. It is a short-term solution to a persistent shortfall of military assets in a seven-year war often overshadowed by the larger U.S.-led conflict in Iraq.

After an Oval Office briefing from McKiernan, President Bush said Afghanistan is "a situation where there's been progress and there are difficulties."

The U.S. is in a tough fight against determined killers, Bush said. He cited progress in health care, education and transportation, and said McKiernan relayed "what he's going to need to make sure that we continue helping this young democracy succeed."

McKiernan is in Washington this week meeting with top leaders and laying out his military requirements for a war that is just beginning to take on new prominence in the waning months of the Bush administration. U.S. troops are being killed there in increasing numbers.

A senior defense official said Gates asked aides to find both unmanned surveillance drones and mine-resistent vehicles to divert to Afghanistan in the coming months until a more coordinated effort early next year. One focus is protecting the strategic main highway.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the effort has not yet been made public, said the military is looking to nearly double the 24-hour aerial surveillance patrols, from 27 now to about 55.

A new Pentagon task force is supposed to speed weapons and equipment to Afghanistan beginning early next year.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced orders to deploy about 26,000 troops to Iraq beginning next summer, evidence of the struggle to shift troops and weapons. The deployments would allow the U.S. to keep troop levels largely steady in Iraq through much of next year. Military leaders have made it clear they cannot shift more troops to Afghanistan until they can further cut force levels in Iraq.

Bush announced this month that the U.S. will pull about 8,000 U.S. troops from Iraq by February, with about half leaving before the end of 2008. Pentagon officials say more reductions could be made by summer, possibly freeing up units to go to Afghanistan.

"The additional military capabilities that have been asked for are needed as quickly as possible," McKiernan said. He said he is hoping to get units that will be able to both fight the insurgents and serve as trainers for the Afghan Army and police.

About 33,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan " 20,000 fighting insurgents and training the Afghan security forces, and 13,000 with the NATO-led coalition.

McKiernan's immediate challenge is to coordinate a winter offensive by coalition forces. Commanders do not want to sit idle and give Taliban and al-Qaida insurgents that time to rebuild their forces.

Military leaders insist the retooled strategy is critical because they made the mistake of giving the enemy that break last winter and do not want to repeat it.

At the same time, defense officials are reviewing the U.S. strategy in Afghanistan, working to draw a clearer picture for the next commander in chief of what needs to be done to stabilize the country, bolster international support and make the most of U.S. and allied military forces.

Violence in Afghanistan is up about 30 percent this year compared with 2007. The Taliban and associated militant groups such as al-Qaida have stepped up attacks. More U.S. soldiers have died in Afghanistan this year than in any year since the 2001 U.S.-led invasion.

"We're in a very tough fight," McKiernan said. "The idea that it might get worse before it gets better is certainly a possibility."

Gates said last week he may be able to send thousands more combat troops to Afghanistan starting next spring. McKiernan said he expects some of his more urgent needs for additional helicopters and surveillance capabilities will be met in the next few months.

The general pointed to a significant increase in foreign fighters coming from neighboring Pakistan this year " Chechens, Uzbeks, Saudis and Europeans. He said he needs the 10,000-plus additional forces he has requested to help increase campaigns in the south and east where violence has escalated.

McKiernan told reporters he is encouraged by recent Pakistani military operations against insurgents waging cross-border attacks into Afghanistan, but said it is too soon to tell how effective they have been.

He also endorsed the recent suggestion by Afghan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak to try to create a joint force of Afghan, Pakistani and U.S. forces to secure what is a porous, mountainous, ungoverned border region.

"I think in the future I would certainly support the idea of combined patrolling along that border," said McKiernan. If it's handled the right way, he said he believes the Pakistanis would go along with the plan.

"There are mutual border security concerns that both the Afghans and the Pakistanis have," he said. "So the more we can work together to approach those concerns, the better off we all are."


http://abcnews.go.com/print?id=5926893

Note that the article says violence in Afghanistan has increased 30% since 2007 and the Taliban has increased activity since the war started. So they are not expelled except in your own self grandiose mind.

Asherman
 
  -2  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 09:55 am
@revel,
1. My opinions are formed from a wide variety of sources, none classified though a number of my informants are privy to that sort of material. I seek out reports from military personnel either currently serving in the field, or who have recently returned. I put more stock in the opinions of field grade officers and senior NCOs means more to me than the feelings of junior officers and enlisted personnel. I will not reveal any names of individuals who talk with me about this sort of material, nor will I reveal any classified material that I may have become aware of over the years. I trust these sources, and know them to to be informed. If you don't want to believe, there is nothing I can do about that.

I read a number of professional military journals, and find the articles in Parabola to be of particular insight and value. These are the products of skilled professionals, most of whom are rising stars in a profession that already has some of the best motivated and educated individuals in our society. Generally they are writing for other professional military thinkers and officers, not the news media or the public at large. If you aren't familiar with that group, you may be surprised at how candid and wide these folks opinions range.

I view most media reports with suspicion because in my experience they seldom get a story right, and often their reports have almost nothing to do with a reality that I know from direct experience. Journalists aren't in business to inform, but to deliver an audience for advertisers. They will play as fast and loose with "facts" as they believe they can get away with, and don't even suggest that they report the "truth". "Truth" is an illusive idea and exists more as a subjective opinion than as an eternal verity. Each witness interprets their data within their cultural framework, and their own prejudices (and we all have them, even though that's not PC) color their understanding. Writing for popular consumption is always loaded down with spin in word choices, structure, and tone. Hence, everything published during a political campaign, by any of the participants should be initially regarded as unreliable and suspect. Once we strip away all the adjectives, adverbs and modifiers most news stories boil down to at most a few sentences inadequate to deal with complex situations and events.

Even more suspect are those "news stories" published by people and organizations who are enemies of the United States and the Enlightenment values of Western Civilization. If a dictator of any sort, Marxist or religious zealot tells you that its raining, and you can see falling water from your window, you should still be suspicious. People who have an ax to grind, or who are convinced that they serve a "Higher Purpose" and Idealists find it so easy to lie that nothing they say should ever be given much weight. Why would anyone believe a report from media outlet serving those who clearly hate the free enterprise system, over a conflicting report from our national leadership? People choose and sometimes they choose to align themselves with the enemies of their country. Not so long ago the quotation, "My Country right or wrong, my Country still" was regarded as deeply patriotic. These days it is asserted that a true patriot would say, "My Country, only so long as it conforms to my personal belief that it is in the right."

I've never said anything to imply that our military isn't stretched to its limits, because it clearly is and has been since the deep cuts into our force structure after the fall of the Soviet Union. We used the appropriate number of troops and force to defeat Saddam, but needed more troops for the occupation while trying to rebuild the country while terrorists worked hard to destabilize and prolong the violence in hopes of "wearing down American patience". There aren't enough of our troops in Afghanistan, but the difficulties of logistically supporting very large numbers there is a serious constraint. The number and seriousness of Taliban and Al Queda attacks are increasing from across the Pakistani border, because they've had time in their sanctuary to rebuild, and recruit new fighters. The Taliban was expelled, and now they intend to return and re-establish their repressive rule over Afghanistan. Premature removal of US forces from Iraq would be touted as a victory by the Radical Islamic Movement, and Iran's prestige would climb another notch making them even more dangerous.

Cycloptichorn
 
  3  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 10:47 am
@Asherman,
So, just to be clear, you won't reveal your sources. This is difficult for an online conversation, for you can link to no supporting evidence for what you say, and it is difficult to know whether or not you are simply making things up.

It is quite funny, that for someone who worries so much about enemy propaganda, you seem willing to swallow the propaganda which is forwarded and put out by our armed forces with no problem whatsoever. Come to think of it, your postings do sound like those of someone who totally swallows the bullshit our army pumps out on a regular basis.

I have a clue for you, old man - those who write for your 'military journals' and those who are telling you stories personally, are there to deliver to an audience as well; and you hardly sound like a critical one. And what fact-checking is there? Who authenticates what they tell you, or do you not need authentication when it comes from the mouths of US armed forces members? It sounds as if you are as blind as those you criticize, to the errors inherent in your information stream.

Cycloptichorn
rabel22
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 01:05 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
Asherman is a patriot. Kind of like the citizens of 1935 Germany and Russia. He believes in his government and knows that they would never lie to him. Perhaps he will live long enough to see the U.S. shoot those who disagree with it.
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 01:24 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Again, nothing but an attack on me, with no substance, thought, or rebuttal.

Finn dAbuzz wrote:
drivel remains drivel

Yup.
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 05:31 pm
@Cycloptichorn,
What you get is my analysis and opinion, and you can choose to believe they are sincerely arrived at, or are cynical fabrications. Could I be "making things up"? Certainly, just as my sources could conceivably be "making things up".

Nothing is certain, especially when it comes to information about the world we live in. The amount of data collected can be overwhelming, and for every nugget of value there are "tons" of data that is irrelevant, incorrect, or tainted so badly it has little value. The question might better be, how does one choose what to believe. This is especially true when we as individuals do not have full access to the total data collected on anything. Let me reiterate, nothing is certain and everything we know, or think we know may be wrong.

Ultimately what most people believe is just a matter of trust. What you get in the media is an analysis of scanty data spun to appeal to the largest audience possible. Medial commentators are even less concerned with communicating unbiased stories. Hard to believe, but there are people whose world view has been gleaned from sensational tabloids. Elvis lives, and is the father of a seventeen year old's love child conceived after the teenager was abducted by a UFO. Politicians are fully and directly quoted without editorial spin ... sure they are. Publishers, editors, and reporters each contribute a bit of spin, and in the end the story probably has almost nothing to do with what actually happened, or was said. So how should a citizen form their own ideas and opinions if all those quotable citations are so much noise?

First, you might want to take out of any story all of the adjectives, adverbs and other modifiers. Then reduce the rhetorical spin by substituting less provocative terms for all those words with emotional weight. Try to answer these questions from the story: Who, What, Where, and When. Set the "hows" and the "whys" aside because those are elements most often twisted by the informant. What you should be looking for are the simple, unvarnished facts as your source believes them to be.

Take your source into consideration. Why is the source providing you with this "information"? What are the source's limitations and prejudices that will distort the data? Beware of single source data, and the more "finished" or "polished" the data is into a "final product" the more suspicious you might want to be. Multiple sources providing data/factoids, and the least personal profit is often the most reliable. Relevant data can be found almost anywhere, but it is virtually worthless until assembled by a trained and skillful professional. Most people neither have the benefit of a good data collection stream, nor the skills to analyze and evaluate the data into more or less reliable information.

What we choose to believe isn't very likely to be from our own collection, analysis and evaluation of raw data, but rather the product of someone else who we choose to trust. Trust is one of the most essential ingredients in determining what we believe, who we believe, and ultimately how confident we might be in making decisions.

It is quite true that much of what I believe is gleaned from government, military and intelligence sources serving the United States, the People of the United States. I have found them as individuals to be honorable, dedicated to duty and the nation's interests. When I'm told in confidence an officer's views, opinions and observations, I value those more than what is reported in a few pithy sound-bytes on television. I trust my doctor to know the causes of my symptoms, and the best treatments more than an advertisement by a drug company.

Analytical articles in professional journals by career military officers aren't designed to deliver an audience. Quite the opposite, the authors are putting their career reputations on the line before a very critical, if informal, peer review by others often just as skilled and knowledgeable as themselves. A Colonel writing for the War College is motivated to "get it right". Almost every article will be followed by letters of criticism and questioning by other officers. Do they know more than I do? You bet'cha Red Rider. Do they know more than ANY reporter you might care to name? Absolutely.

When a Lt. Col, or Major who has experienced first hand combat operations overseas and confides his opinions privately, why shouldn't I believe him? Why would he lie, or misrepresent things? BTW, that's a major reason I won't reveal the names or any details from what I'm told. If I were to name names, etc., then my little trickle of sources would dry up. They trust me to keep their confidences, and I do to the best of my ability.

Any errors that I've made, are mine alone. I have my senior moments. I forget and sometimes confuse a name, or a date. I choose the wrong word, or write a sentence that is ambiguous. My views and opinions are tainted by my own experience and prejudices, especially when it comes to loyalty to the Constitution, the Enlightenment values and free enterprise system that are fundamental to our government and laws. All things being equal, I will always support our government over the rest of the world. Why? Because I TRUST our system and values of our People.

I do not trust religious zealots, Marxists, or those who have openly declared their hatred of the United States and its form of government.
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 05:43 pm
@rabel22,
In our system, we don't shoot those who disagree with us. Those who would like to change our system of individual liberty, justice, and free enterprise have, however been known to carry out programs of extinction against "Class Enemies", in other words, those they disagree with. In some the Islamic Republics, I understand a person can be stoned to death for merely holding a different opinion as to what the Koran means.

It's BS to compare the United States to the despotic regimes of Saddam, Nazi Germany, the Soviet Union, the PRC, the DPRK, the Camir Rouge, and a very long list of others. Those who betray the United States by providing information, technology, or secret information to our enemies may be heroes by their actions to further some cause or other that they fervently believe in, but that does not make them any better than General Arnold.
Merry Andrew
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 05:57 pm
@Asherman,
Mr. Asherman, I've always respected your opinions, while disagreeing with perhaps 90 percent of them. You have earned even more respect from me due to your last two posts. Well said, indeed. (And this time I largely agree with you, while remaining a tax-and-spend liberal. Smile)
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:07 pm
@Rockhead,
Quote:

Kicky, my 89 year old mostly raised Kansas and Oklahoma racist
Gramma went and voted for a "black" man, and is proud of what it signifies...

Rocky, do u know by what process of reasoning your racist grandmother
chose to vote for Obama ?

How did that come to be ?





David
DrewDad
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:19 pm
@Asherman,
That's quite a long-winded way of saying "I know what I know and I ain't a-tellin' you where I learnt it."
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:20 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
One of my aunties, who I discovered to have been the village bike in her prime, became really rather puritanical in her early dotage. In fact, as she wasn't really my auntie but my mum's best friend, I came to entertaining some suspicions about her lectures and remonstrances as I grew older.

Something like that might be the explanation Dave.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:29 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
She is still very sharp, dave...

Much like many of her generation, she was raised in a time when thought processes toward people of color were different.

She still fights against her natural instincts on occasion as to blacks, as she still calls them. This said, she is most gracious to everyone, I am privy to her private thoughts. I have Never heard an unkind word uttered directly to anyone, even those sorely in need of it.

As to the election.

Her investments are eroding, she does not agree with the war in Iraq, and she thinks W is a twit (a quote)

Like the rest of America, she has no desire for 4 more years of Republican lies and looting of the economy.

(she also can do a half hour on Palin...)
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:35 pm
@Rockhead,
I'd be gone in 7 minutes Rockie. Maybe less.
0 Replies
 
Asherman
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:36 pm
@DrewDad,
I suppose so, but if you take just a tiny effort you can also develop confidential sources and have access to extremely reliable materials regarding our military and foreign policy efforts that aren't classified. There a many open sources where skillful and knowledgeable contributors discuss these sort of issues amongst themselves. Personally, I'm more interested in gaining insights in a military context than in diplomacy, just one of my many prejudices. It isn't enough to just read an article, but you have to follow these discussions over a period of time and carefully consider the responses and counter-responses to an author's article. Remember, multiple-sources are better than single sources. The opinions and views of experts may be wrong, wrong, wrong, but they are almost always superior to the opinions and views of the "ordinary citizen". I remember a tenured History Professor who had spent his long career studying Medival Theology and its impact on Feudalism who stood dumbfounded as a freshman lectured him on the subject. The fresh freshman was a carismatic speaker, and he spoke with confidence and force. The Professor tended to mumble a lot, and occasionally get off on a tangent that was enough to put the less scholarly to sleep.

Citation of news stories doesn't make them any more factual, or true, than the words whispered in your ear by a witness to the events themselves, or the person responsible for collecting all the data and putting it into a usable context for decision makers. Develop your own sources, but be more rigorous in your standards than "does this sound good", or "I agree with that, so it must be right".
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:37 pm
@spendius,
Quote:

One of my aunties, who I discovered to have been the village bike in her prime,
became really rather puritanical in her early dotage. In fact,
as she wasn't really my auntie but my mum's best friend,
I came to entertaining some suspicions about her lectures
and remonstrances as I grew older.

Something like that might be the explanation Dave.

Yes; I take your point.

I remember an attorney with whom I once worked
complaining indignantly of the puritanical expostulations printed
in Bar Association journals of a prominent attorney who had
unethically betrayed him several decades in the past.


0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:41 pm
@Rockhead,
I see; it was an expression of anti-Republican fervor.
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:55 pm
@OmSigDAVID,
It's deeper than that, but that's prolly as close as you and me can get to it.
spendius
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 06:59 pm
@Rockhead,
Proust is quite good on elderly female relatives.
DrewDad
 
  2  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 07:34 pm
@Asherman,
It all goes back to credibility. You, to me, are merely an anonymous commentator on a message board. You might be as well-connected as Colin Powell, but then you might just be Gungasnake's crazy uncle. I have no way to tell.

Others cite sources, which can be verified and compared to other world-views. Asherman cites only his spidery network of personal contacts, which really doesn't elicit much confidence.
0 Replies
 
Rockhead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 8 Nov, 2008 07:38 pm
@spendius,
indeed he is...
0 Replies
 
 

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