Psychic Jack - Macleans.ca
 

Psychic Jack


 

First the Prime Minister says the insurgency can’t be defeated, now the President says he might be open to negotiating with the Taliban.

Does this mean we have to do away with the basic assumption that everything Jack Layton says is ridiculous?


 

Psychic Jack

  1. The reality is that if you want to end a war, at some point you HAVE to negotiate. The Taliban and the rest of the insurgents are NOT going to be defeated; they’re on their home turf and very hard to identify. In many respects the situation is similar to Northern Ireland; that conflict could have gone on forever if people hadn’t, eventually, come to the table, a.k.a. negotiated.

    • “The reality is that if you want to end a war, at some point you HAVE to negotiate”

      Most wars are not ended this way.

      In most wars one side surrenders or is completely defeated (WW1, WW2, Iraq, Kosovo, Gulf War).

      In some wars you have a situation like the one Harper described as the reality in Afghanistan, in which the peace is managed (Korea).

      Here we have the Taliban Jack proposal in which you negotiate a withdrawal and you leave the local population to experience total defeat (Vietnam).

      • I don’t know if you trying to be deliberately ironic, but that isn’t the most encouraging batch of examples:

        WW1: Political fallout from Versailles treaties, plus the economic consequences are largely conisdered responsible for the political situation leading up to WW2

        WW2: Germany and Austria were under allied control for a number of years, most of eastern europe was run from Moscow for decades, economic consequences were devastating

        Iraq: First of the Anbar awakening was arguably a negotiation with the insurgency, and any sort of victory that comes will be a result of political building not devastation of the insurgency, plus it is likely that there will be long-term international presence

        Gulf War: left Sadaam in power and the political situation that ultimately left us with the Iraq war

        Kosovo: is still under UN control and negotations for an autonomous state have been largely futile to this point…

        It doesn’t seem to make a strong case for the same course of action in Afghanistan…

        • Your counter-examples are preposterous.

          Your WW1 counter-point is ridiculous.

          So what if the ending wasn’t pretty in some of these wars? It was better that they end than continuing indefintely. So you would have preferred that there was no break between WW1 and WW2?

          In WW1, “four major imperial powers—Germany, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire, and Russia—had been militarily and politically defeated, with two ceasing to exist as autonomous countries”.

          And here have people who claim that we must negotiate with the Taliban for the Afghanistan war to end.

          Your WW2 counter-point is pathetic. The economic consequences of Eastern Europe had nothing to do with Nazi aggression and WW2. It was Soviet aggression, and the following years showed that it would have happened anyway. So once again, you are trying to make the point that instead of ending WW2 with the defeat of the Nazis and Japanese, we should have turned against the Soviets and just kept on fighting? Are you insane?

          Gulf War: Once again you are arguing that total defeat is not enough, that wars should never end, we should have invaded Iraq and kept on killing people forever, following Saddam where-ever he went, into Iraw or Syria or elsewhere.

          Kosovo? Need I repeat myself? You would prefer that we still be bombing? What the heck is your point? There was no political stability before, and there has been none since, but at least there is no genocide going on!

          All of these wars ended with total defeat of one side. Clearly there will be politicial upheaval following such an event.

          • The only major total defeats were Germany WW2, when Berlin was occupied and similarly Japan.What’s more you seem to feel cwe is arguing for total war – i highly doubt it ; logical rebuttal isn’t really yr strong pt, is it?

          • When one side stops fighting because it is no longer capable, that I consider to be a total defeat. All of those wars ended with one side completely defeated.

          • Given that the alternative to talking is endless war, I vote that we talk and try to find a way out of this conflict. Arging for any other approach is simply wrong-headed and shows a shallow understanding of how conflict ends. Even during wars there are are diplomatic exchanges and communication. Let’s communicate and see if the killing can end. To achieve ‘total victory’ in Afghanistan will require genocide. Hopefully you aren’t advocating that.

  2. If anyone negotiates with the Taliban it will have to be the Afghan government. It is their country. Canada is not in Afghanistan to impose a government or be an occuping power. We and our allies are there to help provide security so the Afghans can get this once failed state operating again and provide their own security. If the Afghanis feel negotiations with the Taliban are part of that process, then it should be done. It is their call.

    This is a much different scenario than Taliban Jack advocated a couple of years ago. He proposed negotiations as way to cut and run.

  3. Does this mean we have to do away with the basic assumption that everything Jack Layton says is ridiculous?

    Don’t be ridiculous. That would put half the pundits in this country out of work and the media business is in bad enough shape.

  4. It strikes me that one of the big differences between being a commentator and a politician is that politicians have to say the right thing at the right time. Layton’s comments were certainly true in any absolute sense (to the point of being obvious) but were clearly wrong in a political sense because they went further than the public was willing to go. This is not to say that politicians cannot lead but they must stay in contact with the public as they do so. (Dion was right about the carbon tax, Harper was right (kinda) about buying opportunities, Stanfield was right about wage and price controls)

    On the other hand bloggers can spew massive amounts of speculative material out into the ether and then like a cheap psychic pull back nuggets that prove to be true. Kinda makes you wonder why anyone goes into politics. (maybe the pensions?)

    btw I predict a fall election, minority Liberal win, and that the weight of Iggy’s eyebrows will eventually render him blind.

    • Add to that: Jack Layton’s mustache will lower his upper lip to his chin, erasing his winning smile.

    • What ‘public’ is this? A great many people have been counselling diplomacy from day one.

    • It strikes me that one of the big differences between being a commentator and a politician is that politicians have to say the right thing at the right time. Layton’s comments were certainly true in any absolute sense (to the point of being obvious) but were clearly wrong in a political sense because they went further than the public was willing to go.

      Only on a thoroughly warped definition of “the public”. Actual public opinion has been skeptical about the combat mission for years – but thanks to the fact that the Cons, Libs and mainstream media have generally teamed up on the opposite side, the NDP has been one of the few voices actually in line with Canadians at large.

      • The public may have been largely skeptical – i was/am one of them – that doesn’t mean there was no case to be made for staying there. What i object to more than anything else is the overselling of the mission, simply because the PM, and maybe the libs, knew that stating clear and reasonable goals may not have convinced the public to come on side at all. Their duty was to convince the public to see things differently.

  5. Short answer? No.

  6. No. Now we can conclude that Obama’s foreign policy is equally mad. You cannot negotiate with people who maim, torture and kill as a part of their normal, daily business.

    • Yup. Conflict always end in victory and defeat. And , like Carthage , sowing the fields with salt.

      • “Conflict always end in victory and defeat”

        Most do.

        See my post above. Negotiating with the Taliban is defeat. Something that Layton knows all too well.

    • “You cannot negotiate with people who maim, torture and kill as a part of their normal, daily business”

      Yes you can, it’s done all the time. – that’s not to argue its moral, clearly it’s not!
      In N. Ireland there are murders sitting across from one another in parliament, not pretty, but neither is 800yrs of Irish/English hatred. Sometimes you gotta hold yr nose and pray. So far it’s working.

      • It’s probably fairer to say you should try to marginalise the loonys as far as possible and help the moderates – i hope there’re moderates still there!

        • Last sentence was meant to be:

          English people feel welcome in Dublin and Irish people feel welcome in London.

      • This analogy is weak. There are murders going on today, but they are targeted, and nothing like the past, the worst incident being Ulster. Innocent civilians are no longer being targeted. The normal, daily, business of the IRA and the loyalists is not to maim and kill civilians.

        Not only that, for the most part, the English and Irish today get along just fine. English people feel welcome in Dublin and Irish people feel welcome in Dublin.

        • The analogy is not weak! Try asking anyone who lived through the worst of the terror in Ireland or England [ i grew up there but i can’t really judge the difference now, since obviouslly i’m not there now and at the time i was only a teenager ] My pt , which you missed was that an imperfect peace – which may involve murderers sitting down together, is to be preferred to chaos or never-ending war, a la Afganistan today.

        • My point is that the Taliban is far worse than any provisional government in Northern Ireland has ever been. Did the loyalists have public stadiums where limbs were chopped off? Were girls allowed to show their faces and go to school? Was torture of innocent civilians a tactic of the government in power?

          • Hmmm, let me see. How does drilling into yr knee with the drill set on slow grab you? This was a favoured ira punishment. The other para-militaries and indeed the British army were no angels either. This is, of course no defense of those monsters in the taliban – murder and torture are all the same to me, i don’t care to split hairs over degree or intent.

  7. Does this mean we have to do away with the basic assumption that everything Jack Layton says is ridiculous?

    First, we have to work on the assumption that right wingers actually care whether anything asserted is credible or rational. And the answer is: no, they don’t.

    • First, we have to work on the assumption that right wingers actually care whether anything asserted is credible or rational. And the answer is: no, they don’t.

      My God you’re tedious. Wherry could have published a post about the mating rituals of lemurs or this seasons hottest flower pot designs and you would have responded with the exact same comment. And then you strut around all appalled and indignant when someone bans you from sharing, 50 times a day, the sum of your amassed wisdom, which appears to consist of a single maxim: “conservatives: I hate’emihatemihatem!”

      • My God you’re tedious. Wherry could have published a post about the mating rituals of lemurs or this seasons hottest flower pot designs and you would have responded with the exact same comment.

        No I wouldn’t have, simply because what right wingers believe and assert with regard to the mating rituals of lemurs or the esthetics of flower pot design safely fall outside the realm of issues one normally considers substantive or of pressing public interest, such as foreign policy and geopolitical conflict.

        It’s not so much that right wingers are always wrong; it’s more the scope of the things they’re wrong about.

    • If there are two things that are most annoying about lefties, they are

      -their complete ignoreance and obliviousness to the real-life consequences of their ideology

      -the double-standard: people at home must be converted to their ideology, but people in the rest of the world can rot for all they care. For example, they will go to the ends of the earth for Omar Khadr, a young terrorist killer, simple because he holds a Canadian passport. But when it comes to people like Rahmat Ali, who had the skin ripped off his back during five days of torture because he backed the Pakistani government, lefties simply do not care. They do not care about the treatment of women and children in Taliban society, and they do not care about people having their limbs chopped off in stadiums with the general public looking on.

      • Here’s something to dig into, Olaf. I think your rhetorical claws could get a good sharpening by dissecting this nonsense than rolling your eyes at me all the time does, non?

        • Maybe he doesn’t think it’s nonsense? One thing is for sure, his mind is not closed like yours. You don’t even bother to debate, you just write nonsensical things without even trying to back them up.

          • Maybe he doesn’t think it’s nonsense?

            I would never say something that mean about Olaf. I like him.

          • You like him despite his claim that the sum of your amassed wisdom, appears to consist of a single maxim: “conservatives: I hate’emihatemihatem!””

            Well, that’s very big of you.

          • despite his claim that the sum of your amassed wisdom, appears to consist of a single maxim: “conservatives: I hate’emihatemihatem!””

            I don’t think that’s what Olaf asserted exactly, although knowing him, he’ll gladly let that prevail. I don’t hate conservatives, not profoundly, anyway. I just find them hard to love.

      • Hilarious! Since you love to generalize, i will. If it weren’t for all the leftie media types covering such stories we wouldn’t hear a peep out of RW nutbars because they just don’t care! I’m making rdiculous over-generalized assertions? Yes! Now take another look at yr post again, try not to trip over the irony!

        • For sf of course.

        • I fail to see your point.

          • sf
            Try harder!

    • Juding by the quality of the Harpies rebuttal to Layton’s position at the time, i would say yr correct about these Rw’s in this Consevative govt.

  8. Sure Layton was right … because he wants the billions of dollars being slipped to the Cons’ and Libs’ friends in the arms industry to instead be given to his friends in the poverty industry.

    All of these politicians are right some of the time. But it is a mistake to think that any of them are speaking the truth out of sheer honesty and with good intentions for the greater good of the taxpaying public. What they want is to wind down the other gang’s ripoffs and boondoggles so they can ramp up their own.

    As an aside, and as an antidote to the vapid partisan bickering which passes for policy debate in this country, I invite you to try and absorb some of the laws of economics from Jim Rogers on Channel 4 (http link.brightcove.com/services/link/bcpid1184614595/bctid14510970001) as he shreds the bailout and stimulus (read: tax, borrow and inflate) lunacies of Gordon Brown, Obama and anyone else who claims that socialist dirigisme benefits anyone but the dirigeurs (*cough* Harper, Layton, Ignatieff). It’s a bit lengthy by youtube standards, but easy to watch.

    Then apply the lessons of Jim Rogers to your own situation. Following the trend that was set down at Port Royal in 1605 in which Canada was established as a banana republic colony of France, then Britain, then the USA … one sees that you will next be hewing wood and drawing tar for the Chinese. It doesn’t have to be that way – but it happens to be the best and safest strategy for the local bigwigs if you are kept ignorant, weak, and utterly dependent on them for jobs.

  9. The funny thing is, it was not only easy to predict that Layton was right at the time, it was easy to predict someday Harper would have to say the same thing.

    • It wasn’t even that Layton was wrong or right…it was the reaction; “Taliban Jack” being photoshopped into a turban. I mean, really…

      More importantly, it was that reaction (along with various other childish accusations about not supporting the troops or of being unpatriotic) that shut down any argument from anyone skeptical that this conflict could have a military solution as opposed to a political one or whether there was really anything Canada could do about it, particularly in light of the Iraq invasion and that distraction.

      • This would assume farcial dimensions if taliban Jack were now to turn around and accuse Harpy of cutting and running. What would they call him now, apart from insane of course – an out of touch do-gooder or ma

        • Nuts!

  10. Mr. Wherry, I think you have it backwards. The initial reaction to Taliban Jack’s statement that we should negotiate with a group as craven as the Taliban, the reaction from Canadians that we saw, that is the honest reaction.

    Most people that know anything about the Taliban think the idea is crazy.

    Now that Obama has said it… you can be sure the media is vacillating, hesitating, brainstorming, inventing… they are trying to think of ways in which this can be twisted so as to be reported in a positive light.

    Because, after all, it’s the hopenchange saviour Obama!

    • Funny, i thought heard old we’ll never cut n run Steve say the same thing first!

      • I cannot understand that sentence.

        • Well, Harper hasn’t actually said “negotiate” yet, but now that Obama has, just wait 5 minutes. Still, the inference is there – the insurgency can’t be deafed an all.

      • If you are talking about Harper’s claim that the Taliban cannot be defeated, he is referring to the fact that the Afghan army needs to be trained so that the insurgency can be managed. Perhaps an equivalent situation would be the FARC insurgency in Colombia, where they have long had a terrorist insurgency (their tactics include kidnappings of innocent civilians as hostages, and random violent attacks on passing vehicles). The terrorists are marginalized and restricted to the rural areas, but have never been completely defeated.

        Harper has never even remotely suggested negotiating with the Taliban in any way, shape, or form. This is not the same as surrender, a la Taliban Jack.

  11. The Harper attack dogs were out in force against Dion when he brought up the importance of Pakistan in getting any settlement, then Obama, somewhat later, said exactly the the same thing and then started sending sorties into that country. The Harper boys just never quite seem to get anything quite right.

  12. Don’t be ridiculous. That would put half the pundits in this country out of work and the media business is in bad enough shape.

    Haha, funny and true. If the NDP wasn’t right so often, the media could give them a free ride like their Liberal and Conservative allies.

  13. Funny……but no. Everyone gets lucky once in a while- even Jack.

  14. Its been a lot more than once. Unlike Harper and Iggy, Jack called Iraq right away before it became the only political consensus, he is right on senate abolishment, electoral reform, marijuana legalization, cap and trade ect. The problem isn’t the NDP, its the gatekeepers in the media who tell us what is right until its simply undeniable or becomes adopted in the country south of us that they all worship.

    • Remind me, on what grounds did Jack call Afganistan right, other than he doesn’t like war as a solution?

      • Well kc, that’s a pretty big other than. If we don’t know what to do, or why we’re doing it, then war probably isn’t a good policy choice.

        If the proponents had a clear idea why we should spend soldiers’ lives and billions of dollars on the mission,. why couldn’t they share that with the rest of us? Instead people who wanted to know the costs, or even how to measure the success of the mission (what were the goals again?) including Layton, were called traitors.

        Now we see all of these supposedly sophitisticated opinions about the history of the region (that Harper just got around to reading last week) and which “military historians” are plunking into op-ed newspaper templates across the country to defend Harper’s backtracking were raised by Layton years ago.

        • Toby..
          Since i’m pretty much a skeptic about anything these days, i agree with yr pts almost without qualifier. Except…
          I can’t support the view of many in the ndp that brutal men with guns who terrorize others do have to be stood up to now and then, and good intentions don’t cut it. However jack is vindicated to some extent. Harper is further underscored as a clown with a degree in economics!

    • Does this mean we have to change the basic assumption to ‘everything the media says about Jack Layton is ridiculous’ ?

  15. Out of curiosity, when was the last time the NDP was right about anything? Please be specific.

    • He just was specific, though not exhaustive.

      On a wide range of military- and defence-related issues over the last number of years (from ‘missile defence,’ to Iraq to Afghanistan), the NDP has been right and, as the Jurist mentions above, in line with public opinion as well.

      Conservatives and Liberals–often in cooperation not only with each other but also with certain media ‘gatekeepers’–have been wrong.

      When New Democrats formally called for a dramatic change of course in Afghanistan at their 2006 convention in Quebec City–after hearing from Malalai Joya, former Afghan parliamentarian–Canadian fatalities were about 1/4 of what they are today. But Jack Layton didn’t have to be “psychic” to see where things were going: he only had to have the courage to face the facts on the ground.

      When he said, after the convention that “”There is no sign that it [the war] is making the Taliban weaker or the world safer,” he was right, and the numbers have borne him out: 75 or more Canadian soldiers killed since then, thousands more Afghans killed, tens of thousands displaced from their homes. Next to such human misery, I hesitate even to mention the financial cost.

      And now, today, the insurgency is stronger than ever, and some politicians are beginning to admit the obvious–the war cannot be won and some form of negotiated settlement will be necessary.

      “Cowardly,” “White Flags,” “Bad for morale,” “Comforting the enemy”–these were the kinds of criticisms of Layton and the NDP that showed up in the Canadian press after the convention, as a quick search of the Canadian Newsstand database reveals.

      Meanwhile in Parliament, Liberals and Conservatives in 2006 and 2007, criticized the NDP for its position against the war: Keith Martin said the BQ and NDP were wrongly encouraging doubts among the population; Peter MacKay openly mocked Dawn Black; and Michael Ignatieff implied the NDP didn’t take human rights seriously enough (ignoring the obvious ironies, of course).

      The truth is that the NDP and Layton weren’t psychic in their criticisms of the Afghanistan War: they just applied to the question the faculty Liberals, Conservatives and other war-supporters have refused to apply for years now: informed rational thought, applied with principle.

      • While you argue yr case well, i don’t think it’s that convincing. The ndp poll 20% or less for a reason. Their views of security issues aren’t generally the views of Canadians. I would say this is reflected in the media coverage of those views. That is, unless yr making the same kind of case that disaffected righties do, namely the media has a liberal bias – which wouldn’t exactly bolster yr case. In a nutshell the ndp views aren’t taken that seriously by the media because they aren’t mainstream views. The taliban Jack crap was way offside, and i remember media commentry to that effect.

        • At the risk of turning this into a chicken-and-egg debate, I will respectfully disagree with you. A Maclean’s article published back in August of 2006 noted that a majority of Canadians no longer supported the war-fighting mission in Kandahar–very much in line with the NDP. I don’t think he numbers have changed much since.

          Similar figures could be produced on so-called “missile defence” and the illegal invasion of Iraq–supported by both Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff (the latter having once described Canadians who were publicly opposed to the illegal invasion as supporters of Saddam Hussein). Again, on these questions, the NDP was much more in step with Canadian public opinion than were the Liberals or the Conservatives.

          Your reference to the NDP’s level of support at election time, while factually correct, is irrelevant because to assume that fewer than 20% of people support the NDP’s views on military/defence matters because fewer than 20% vote for them at election time is to commit the classic logical fallacy of oversimplification.

          Finally, the implication that the media simply respond to–rather than shape–what gets called “mainstream views” will simply not bear scrutiny. (The idea of a “liberal” bias in the media–if by that is meant “moderately social democratic”–is simply risible.) Take one the of the gentlemen I mention above, Michael Ignatieff–one of the principal goals of his public writing, including in supposedly “liberal” organs like the NYT, has been to sideline or marginalize actual left (let alone radical) opinion.

          Sorry, kc, but I don’t agree with your analysis of media commentary, nor with your argument about the NDP’s being in or out of step with the general public on matters of military/defence matters.

          • Well, i do see yr side of the debate entirely. However i can’t agree with yr general thesis. I think the media [ i’m speaking of Canada here ] largely reflects who we are, despite the fact that ownership is unhealthily concentrated in too few hands. i must admit the treatment of the ndp is puzzling. My feeling is the media love winners and if they get a wiiff of weaknss or scandal they’ll do their best to pull you down. This attitude is pretty much a reflection of the public – hence my earlier pt about the media being a distorted mirror of society at large. Closer to yr pt may be another tendency of the media – myth making – witness Trudeau = good myth and Mulroney = bad myth. Of course you can find all kinds of legitimate reasons to support these myths. Perhaps one such myth is of ndp incompetence – but then again: Bob Rae – it’s kinda like the truth contained in generalisations which are often unfair.
            I really haven’t read much of Ignatieff so it’s hard for me to say yet! I certainly hope he’s not a con without a home. I’m pretty sure if the liberal party goes too far down that road or Harpy gets to destroy them, i’ll be coming over to the ndp. However i’m no Layton fan, as i believe his desire to bury the libs will only enable a tory dynasty. Which i’m sure you will agree would be a disaster for Canada!

          • I think the media [ i’m speaking of Canada here ] largely reflects who we are, despite the fact that ownership is unhealthily concentrated in too few hands. i must admit the treatment of the ndp is puzzling. My feeling is the media love winners and if they get a wiiff of weaknss or scandal they’ll do their best to pull you down. This attitude is pretty much a reflection of the public – hence my earlier pt about the media being a distorted mirror of society at large.

            You provide no serious evidence to support your thoughts.

            In fact, you beg the question.

            I hope you’ll forgive me for treating such question-begging and non-sequiturs accordingly.

          • KC, the ndp myth isn’t t that their incompetent, it’s that they’re socialists (some even use the terms marxist or communist without kidding). In fact, they’re closer to the centre than the reform party was.

          • Stephen
            Yes these are just a rambling collection of ideas or maybe just a “feel” for the country, and therefor hardly empirical. It’s is however difficult to prove a negative as you very well know.
            Mike T.
            yes, i see yr pt about the ndp and socialists. However i’m not sure if you concede mine re: the myth[ or not] of ndp incompetence. Here in BC many would support this view, but then again Manitoba seems to offer evidence to the contary. Seems to me the ndp is most successful when they steer a more pragmatic course – which might conceivably make then…liberal no…???

  16. CR, I get it, your handle is ironic.

    • It’s exquisitely ironic. Actually, I was trying to provoke an interesting discussion rather than dump on the NDP, a party that has many MPs I respect (Layton not included).

      • I have the feeling that CR [ if i may ] was pointing out that the ndp are often good at speaking from the heart, but not so good at offering practical solutions or seeing the bigger picture. They do represent their constituencies well, but again rather narrowly at times.

        • Thanks, kc – I think you make a good point about the lack of practical solutions within the NDP. Having never been in federal government, I think that party generally lacks a realistic understanding of the compromises required in generating policy as opposed to rhetoric.

          • So says Kermit the Frog.

          • And don’t you forget it!

  17. Canadians have supported negotiations with the Taliban for years. Here’s a poll from two years ago when Jack Layton was calling for negotiations with the various insurgent groups in Afghansitan.

    http://tinyurl.com/yt3rhl

    From same-sex marriage to pricing carbon, from the war in Afghanistan to the tar sands, from tightening banking regulations to the need for a massive fiscal package, Jack Layton and the NDP have been out in front on any number issues that they have been derided for at first only to have public opinion and the facts vindicate them in the end.

    So who is it exactly who has held the “basic assumption that everything Jack Layton says is ridiculous”? I suspect it’s only the Lib/Con centric media corps lost in their Ottawa bubble because it certainly hasn’t been Canadians.

    • Those are some good pts.However i’m sure that someone more familiar than me with ndp policy could put together a list of failed policy. Jacks threat to shut down the tar sands, considering our financial crisis being one. I also don’t like their position on Quebec, and i suspect many Canadians don’t either!

      • I think that, with a bit of digging, one could put together a list of failed policies for any political party.

        Also, I would argue that not liking a party’s position on a given issue does not necessarily make it a failed policy.

        • Fair nuff ! But yr first point was mine too!

  18. In connection with the Harper flip flop on the Taliban; (“We will never cut and run”, to, Well you know frankly I think maybe it might be better for everybody if we gave up on defeating the Taliban and frankly cut and ran) what happens to all those little girls who want to go to school?

  19. I don’t see how this makes Layton look good. I think Obama is as wrong-headed as Layton on most economic and social issues, and Obama’s first foray into foreign affairs has only managed to piss off the USA’s best ally – the UK. Not much of a track record.

    I have not seen anything yet that suggests the Taliban wants to negotiate anything except our withdrawal and their resumption of power. We have already seen how well it has worked out in Swat when the Pakistanis negotiated with them.