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September 30, 2008

Comments

Eric, I love your posts. They're great. Informative. Sometimes funny. Insightful. Etc.

But what the hell is up with all the lyrical titles?! You should put a PS-"Band Name/Song" at the end. I'm lucky (well, maybe not) that I dated a girl who loved Modest Mouse, so you get a pass on this one.

PS-Isaac Brock says "Life is too f*****g short to play or hear Free Bird." Ergo Modest Mouse sucks. No offense. ^.^

You should put a PS-"Band Name/Song" at the end

Perhaps.

Ergo Modest Mouse sucks. No offense

Perhaps, though less likely.

"You should put a PS-'Band Name/Song' at the end."

No, he shouldn't.

It would be wrong.

"Perhaps."

No perhaps about it.

I would prefer a post title that gives me an idea what the post is about so I can get a quick read on whether to, well, read the post or not. I find it impossible to read Spencer Ackerman's blog because of this.

I notice Gary didn't refute the suckage of Modest Mouse, so I declare myself the winner! Muahahah!

I do have to admit, though, the titles often give me good Google-fu practice. It isn't like I'm always a complainer.

"I would prefer a post title that gives me an idea what the post is about so I can get a quick read on whether to, well, read the post or not."

That's what first sentences are for.

Ugh, duly noted but I claim poetic license. Or rather, the license to cite someone else's poetry. Or something.

To make up for giving Eric a hard time, here's my substantive comment. I kinda want to skip over the political ramifications of bombing targets in Pakistan. More interesting is:
1.) The liklihood of the US staging major runs on targets in Pakistan
2.) The liklihood of physical conflict with the Pakistani military

My mostly uninformed view is that, while there is AQ stuff in Pakistan, there isn't enough to justify turning the tribal region to rubble. As to conflict with Pakistan, as much as the citizens dislike US military actions in their territory, the aid we give to the government really limits their response. They'll get pissed and complain and we may scale back a bit, but if there are targets there, we'll still act.

Is this too terribly wrong?

If I think Modest Mouse sucks and so does "Freebird," am I still allowed to post here?

"Is this too terribly wrong?"

First of all, I'm unaware of anyone advocating "turning the tribal region to rubble," or any kind of large-scale war, at this time.

The question is the advisability of pinprick "surgical" raids/air strikes on "high value" targets. (Make fun of the euphemistic phrases as you like.)

A key part of that question is, of course, whether such will inevitably pull us into further and larger war.

But there is a real problem with this: "As to conflict with Pakistan, as much as the citizens dislike US military actions in their territory, the aid we give to the government really limits their response."

That problem is that the people who live in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) don't regard themselves as "citizens" of an entity known as Pakistan. They regard themselves as members of their tribes and villages and ethnic groups.

And since they have almost no contact with the government of Pakistan, save for some sporadic military attacks, and an occasional bit of random aid (of late, and very rarely, if at all), the idea that they'd regard themselves as in any way benefited by aid to that government is, well, just wrong.

By analogy, imagine that it's 1830, and a futuristic power was sporadically bombing Apache tribes; would they feel connected to or bound by aid from the power to the American states on the East Coast?

Or would they take it amiss?

Isaac Brock says "Life is too f*****g short to play or hear Free Bird."

Quite right. "They Call Me The Breeze" is a much better song. And "Simple Kind of Man" is my favorite.

With the last open thread having scrolled off the sidebar, please forgive me for going off-topic for a moment to anounce that it's snowing on Mars!

!!!

Gary- Thanks, I didn't realize how separate the tribes were from the government. And the snow on Mars? That is the coolest thing I've read in a while.

Jeff- Those songs are great, but we're talking about "Free Bird" here. Until I hear someone yell out, "BREEEEEEZZZZZZEEEEEE" at a random concert, it just isn't the same.

If I think Modest Mouse sucks and so does "Freebird," am I still allowed to post here?

No. Lifetime ban forthwith.

I agree with Gary that aid to the Pakistani government doesn't carry much weight in the tribal areas. But even outside of those areas, aid to a military that has a habit of subverting democracy via serial coups isn't the best selling point with the average citizen either.

The liklihood of physical conflict with the Pakistani military

Reports in recent days have indicated that Pakistan has already fired on at least two our helicopters, and downed one of our unmanned drones. Further, our ground forces have exchanged fire with theirs.

These are still limited exchanges, and only on the scale of minor skirmishes, but they aren't nothing either.

Those songs are great, but we're talking about "Free Bird" here. Until I hear someone yell out, "BREEEEEEZZZZZZEEEEEE" at a random concert, it just isn't the same.

One band I worked with for a while used to punish hecklers who called out "Free Bird" by actually playing it.

That would usually be the end of requests from the audience.

Thanks -

Even at the debate, it made no sense:

1) Of course we'll bomb Pakistan if we want to.
2) But we don't say that out loud.

Spot the subtle, hidden flaw?

Those songs are great, but we're talking about "Free Bird" here. Until I hear someone yell out, "BREEEEEEZZZZZZEEEEEE" at a random concert, it just isn't the same.

It's too bad I don't go to concerts any more -- I would totally do that (and try to dragoon others into hollering "BREEEEEEZZZZZZEEEEEE", as well).

YouDrew: a recent good piece by Dexter Filkins on the FATA.

It may also be helpful to understand the constructed nature of Pakistan. Its very name:

[...] In 1947 the United Kingdom granted independence to the region under a new name, Pakistan. The name had been developed by a group of students at Cambridge University who issued a pamphlet in 1933 called Now or Never. They came up with the term "Pakistan" as "composed of letters taken from the names of our homelands: that is, Punjab, Afghania [North-West Frontier Province], Kashmir, Iran, Sindh, Tukharistan, Afghanistan, and Balochistan. It means the land of the Paks, the spiritually pure and clean."

Although the suffix "stan" means country in Hindi and Persian, the students were able to fit the names of homelands to create an appropriate country name.

Theoretically, Pakistan could encompass most or all of those lands, if the meaning inherent in the name were given full reign.

But meanwhile, the writ of the government runs to more or less nothing in the FATA; the Pakistani Taliban rules there now, and most of the old tribal leaders and structures have been wiped out by them. Read Filkins' piece.

Thus: problem.

That's what first sentences are for.

Well sure, but first sentences don't appear on the sidebar, and are not in the nice, large post title font.

OT - anyone know how to short U.S. treasury securities?

Eric's comment that secrecy is now moot reminds me of a Doonsbury strip many years ago where a Cambiodian remarked, "What secret bombing? I saw it and said, 'Here come the bombs!'"

(This is my recollection, I forgot how to punctuate it without appearing to be making a verified, exact quote. Sorry Gary.)

Gary- Thanks, I'll look that piece over tonight. And the story behind the name would be funny if, you know, there were unicorns and ponies for all.

My recollection is that it went like this: "They weren't secret. 'Look, Martha, here come the bombs,' I said."

"That's right. He did."

"And the story behind the name would be funny if, you know, there were unicorns and ponies for all."

I was hoping someone would notice that the name should be "Pakistab."

No song/band identification. Yes Modest Mouse. No Freebird. Yes crossborder skirmishes.

garth is right.

How would citzens in the US have felt if the UK ran covert operations to kill IRA terrorists and funders in the US during the 70's, 80's and 90's? Or had 'rendered' those terrorists who the US courts refused to extradite?

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