Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

So how has marijuana legalization worked out?

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Now that we have some actual experience with marijuana legalization, it is interesting to see how what actually has transpired with the fears and expectations that people had. (As I often point out, experience frequently contradicts expectations.) Philip Smith reports in Alternet and Salon:

Colorado and Washington legalized marijuana in 2012, and Alaska, Oregon and Washington, D.C., came on board in 2014. Voters in a half-dozen states are likely to vote on legalization this year, and they will be wanting to know what kind of impact it has had so far, both in the legal states and nationwide.

In an update in the January/February edition of the Journal of Addiction Medicine, researchers Jane C. Maxwell of the University of Texas at Austin and Bruce Mendelson of the Denver Office of Drug Strategy review the data and provide some insights into the initial impact of marijuana law reforms.

“Data are needed to understand the relationship between the patterns and amounts of use in terms of consequences as well as data on the health conditions of those receiving medical marijuana and the impact of higher potency,” they explain.

Based on the data so far, here are four things we now know about the impact of marijuana legalization that the fearmongers and prohibitionists frequently promised the opposite.

1. Adult pot smoking is up, but not much and it started before legalization. The review’s press release, citing data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), says that “over the past decade, marijuana use has increased significantly among adults aged 18 to 25 and those aged 26 years and older.” Actual data from the survey paints a slightly less dramatic picture: Among 18- to 25-year-olds, last month use grew from 20.2% to 22.0%; among those over 25, past month use grew from 5.8% to 8.3%. While adult use has increased modestly, “these trends appear to have begun before 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first states to legalize marijuana,” the reviewers noted.

2. Pot arrests and marijuana treatment admissions are both down in major legal cities.The reviewers report that in Denver, “arrests for marijuana use/possession and admissions to substance use disorder treatment programs have decreased,” and that “data from the Seattle area also show reduced rates of treatment admissions and police involvement, along with an increased prevalence of frequent marijuana use.” This suggests that marijuana treatment admissions are to some degree driven by criminal justice system referrals

3. Kids aren’t smoking more pot. Those NSDUH surveys show that “marijuana use by youth age 12 to 17 has not increased significantly,” the review found. In fact, it’s been stable for more than a decade, as NSDUH’s authors note in its most recent edition:  “The percentage of adolescents in 2014 who were current marijuana users was similar to the percentages in most years between 2003 and 2013.”

4. Some people are having bad experiences. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 8:16 pm

Posted in Daily life, Drug laws

Eleven Signs a City Will Succeed

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James Fallows offers a companion story to the story blogged in the previous post:

By the time we had been to half a dozen cities, we had developed an informal checklist of the traits that distinguished a place where things seemed to work. These items are obviously different in nature, most of them are subjective, and some of them overlap. But if you tell us how a town measures up based on these standards, we can guess a lot of other things about it. In our experiences, these things were true of the cities, large or small, that were working best:

1. Divisive national politics seem a distant concern. We first traveled during the run-up to the bitter midterm elections of 2014, then while the Supreme Court was ruling on same-sex marriage and Obamacare, and then as the 2016 presidential campaign was gathering steam. Given the places we were visiting, I imagine that many of the people we interviewed were Donald Trump supporters.

But the presidential race just didn’t come up. Cable TV was often playing in the background, most frequently Fox News; if people had stopped to talk about what was on, they might have disagreed with one another and with us. But overwhelmingly the focus in successful towns was not on national divisions but on practical problems that a community could address. The more often national politics came into local discussions, the worse shape the town was in.

2. You can pick out the local patriots. A standard question we’d ask soon after arrival was “Who makes this town go?” The answers varied widely. Sometimes it was a mayor or a city-council member. Sometimes it was a local business titan or real-estate developer. Sometimes a university president or professor, a civic activist, an artist, a saloon-keeper, a historian, or a radio personality. In one city in West Virginia, we asked a newspaper editor this question, and the answer turned out to be a folk musician who was also a civic organizer. What mattered was that the question had an answer. And the more quickly it was provided, the better shape the town was in.

3. “Public-private partnerships” are real. Through the years I had assumed this term was just another slogan, or a euphemism for sweetheart deals between Big Government and Big Business.

But in successful towns, people can point to something specific and say, This is what a partnership means. In Greenville, South Carolina, the public-school system includes an elementary school for engineering in a poor neighborhood. The city runs the school; local companies like GE send in engineers to teach and supervise science fairs, at their own expense. In Holland, Michigan, the family-owned Padnos scrap-recycling company works with a local ministry called 70×7 Life Recovery to hire ex-prisoners who would otherwise have trouble reentering the workforce. In Fresno, California, a collaboration among the city, county, and state governments; local universities; and several tech start-ups trains high-school dropouts and other unemployed people in computer skills. The more specifically a community can explain what their public-private partnerships mean, the better off the city is.

4. People know the civic story. . .

Continue reading

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 4:12 pm

James Fallows has a long and interesting article on heartening developments in small cities

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Definitely worth reading, and in fact fascinating. The article is in the Atlantic and begins:

When news broke late last year of a mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, most people in the rest of the country, and even the state, probably had to search a map to figure out where the city was. I knew exactly, having grown up in the next-door town of Redlands (where the two killers lived) and having, by chance, spent a long period earlier in the year meeting and interviewing people in the unglamorous “Inland Empire” of Southern California as part of an ongoing project of reporting across America.

Some of what my wife, Deb, and I heard in San Bernardino before the shootings closely matched the picture that the nonstop news coverage presented afterward: San Bernardino as a poor, troubled town that sadly managed to combine nearly every destructive economic, political, and social trend of the country as a whole. San Bernardino went into bankruptcy in 2012 and was only beginning to emerge at the time of the shootings. Crime is high, household income is low, the downtown is nearly abandoned in the daytime and dangerous at night, and unemployment and welfare rates are persistently the worst in the state.

So if you wanted a symbol of what conservative politicians like Donald Trump or Ted Cruz mean when they talk about American decay, what liberal writers like George Packer or Robert Putnam mean when describing America’s unraveling, San Bernardino would serve—and it did, in most of the reports after the shooting.

But that was not the only thing, or even the most interesting thing, that we saw during our time there. If “news” is what you didn’t know before you went to look, the news of San Bernardino, from our perspective, was not the unraveling but the reverse. The familiar background was the long decline. The surprise was how wide a range of people, of different generations and races and political outlooks, believed that the city was on the upswing, and that their own efforts could help speed that trend.

For instance: Last spring we met a group of San Bernardinians in their 20s and early 30s who called themselves Generation Now—San Bernardino. They were white, black, and Latino. (The city is about 60 percent Latino, 20 percent white, the rest black or Asian.) Some had finished college, some were still studying, some had not gone to college. They worked as artists or accountants or in part-time jobs. But all were involved in what you could call a raveling-up of the town’s tattered social fabric.

“I was just pissed off,” an artist in his 20s named Michael Segura told us. “By the time I was old enough to vote, everything was in such terrible shape in San Bernardino. We just heard all the time that it’s a city of losers. We’d had enough.” In early 2013, just after the city declared bankruptcy and appeared to be at the depth of its hopelessness, he and a handful of friends began efforts to engage the city’s generally disaffected residents in improving their collective future.

Voter-turnout rates were among the lowest in the state, especially in poor and heavily Latino precincts; Generation Now members encouraged their neighbors to show up for civic sessions and register to vote. The numerous foreclosed homes and shuttered storefronts gave great stretches of San Bernardino a war-zone look; artists in the group covered some of the buildings with murals. Other members organized park-cleanup days, removing needles and trash, and replanting bushes and grass. Soon, neighborhood kids were following them around, cleaning up alongside them.

From a distance, the San Bernardino story is of wall-to-wall failure. From the inside, the story includes rapidly progressing civic and individual reinvention. One illustration is a prosperous Air Force veteran turned aerospace engineer named Mike Gallo. Five years ago, he decided to run for the board in charge of the city’s chronically troubled, low-scoring schools. Why? “These kids deserve a better chance, and we can help them get it,” he told me. It sounds formulaic, but teachers, students, and politicians said that Gallo’s hard-charging, Teddy Roosevelt–style energy and effort had helped the schools begin a turnaround. He is now the board’s president.

Another illustration is his colleague Bill Clarke, who worked as a trainer and manager for General Dynamics and then had a career teaching manufacturing skills in local public schools. Five years ago, when he retired, he and Gallo set up a nonprofit technical school for unskilled locals, and intensified training programs in the public schools, whose students are mainly from poor households. In these programs, the students learn to use and repair the machinery that defines the advanced-manufacturing age: 3-D printers, robots, and enormous CNC (computer numerically controlled) machine-tool systems. “We’re training them on real machines, with real national-level certification, for good real-world jobs that really exist,” Clarke told me in the machine shop at his nonprofit school, beneath a banner saying we are making america great in manufacturing again. Since 2010, he said, more than 400 students had passed through the school “right into the high-tech manufacturing world.” This was going on in the same city that was blanketed by reporters from around the world for several weeks. They did a thorough job on one particular story in San Bernardino, but more was happening.

As a whole, the country may seem to be going to hell. That jeremiad view is a great constant through American history. The sentiment is predictably and particularly strong in a presidential-election year like this one, when the “out” party always has a reason to argue that things are bad and getting worse. And plenty of objective indicators of trouble, from stagnant median wages to drug epidemics in rural America to gun deaths inflicted by law-enforcement officers and civilians, support the dystopian case.

But here is what I now know about America that I didn’t know when we started these travels, and that I think almost no one would infer from the normal diet of news coverage and political discourse. The discouraging parts of the San Bernardino story are exceptional—only five other U.S. cities are officially bankrupt—but the encouraging parts have resonance almost anywhere else you look. Mike Gallo and Bill Clarke are politically conservative and, as I heard from Clarke in particular, they share the current GOP pessimism about trends for the country as a whole. But they both feel encouraged about the collaborative efforts on education reform under way right now in their own town. What is true for this very hard-luck city prevails more generally: Many people are discouraged by what they hear and read about America, but the closer they are to the action at home, the better they like what they see.

What Americans have heard and read about the country since Deb and I started our travels is the familiar chronicle of stagnation and strain. The kinds of things we have seen make us believe that the real news includes a process of revival and reinvention that has largely if understandably been overlooked in the political and media concentration on the strains of this Second Gilded Age.

“In scores of ways, Americans are figuring out how to take advantage of the opportunities of this era, often through bypassing or ignoring the dismal national conversation,” Phillip Zelikow, a professor at the University of Virginia and a director of a recent Markle Foundation initiative called “Rework America,” told me. “There are a lot of more positive narratives out there—but they’re lonely, and disconnected. It would make a difference to join them together, as a chorus that has a melody.”This is the alternative melody we would like to introduce. . .

Continue reading.

It’s a long article and includes much good news.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 3:55 pm

US police seem quick to shoot

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Radley Balko’s links today:

Police shootings have been all over the news over the past few weeks — both new incidents and new developments in the litigation of old ones. Here’s a quick roundup:

  • In a puzzling and incredibly sad incident last month, Mesa, Ariz., police shot and killed 26-year-old Daniel Shaver in the hallway of a La Quinta Inn hotel. The police claim a guest saw someone in Shaver’s room point a gun out the window. According to posts Shaver’s partner Laney Sweet put up at Facebook, those guns were likely pellet guns Shaver used for his job. There are conflicting reports about what happened when police arrived at the hotel room, but in most accounts, the police claim Shaver refused to comply with orders, so officers felt threatened, and opened fire. He was unarmed. Sweet says she wasn’t contacted by Mesa police until four days after Shaver’s death. He leaves behind two young daughters. Sweet is trying to get a copy of the body cam footage from the incident.
  • That isn’t even the only sad police shooting incident in Mesa so far this year. Last Thursday, Mesa police shot and killed Kayden Clarke, an autistic, transgendered man who had become something of a viral phenomenon last year after uploading a video showing how a service dog prevented him from hurting himself during a meltdown.
  • In San Antonio, police are bunkering down in the face of criticism overthe shooting death of Antronie Scott. SAPD officers said they feared for their lives when Scott turned quickly toward them and ignored commands to show his hands. He was unarmed, and appears to have been holding a cellphone.
  • In Palm Beach, Fla. — a hotbed of police shootingsallegations ofexcessive force, and other misconduct — a federal jury recently awarded $23 million to Dontrell Stephens, who was left paralyzed after a deputy shot him four times in 2013. The deputy had stopped Stephens for riding his bike the wrong way, then claimed to fear for his life when Stephens walked toward him. Stephens was armed with only a cellphone. The final check to Stephens is likely to be considerably smaller, however. Under Florida law, the state legislature must approve any award over $200,000.
  • In other lawsuit news, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuitrecently upheld a federal district court judge’s denial of qualified immunity to the police officer who shot and killed 68-year-old Eurie Stamps during a botched drug raid on Stamps’s home. I wrote about the Stamps case here at The Watch about a year ago.
  • After yesterday’s Super Bowl halftime show, Beyoncé called attention to Mario Woods, a 26-year-old man shot to death by five San Francisco police officers late last year. Woods was holding a knife, but video of the incident appears to contradict statements and reports from the officers involved.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 3:44 pm

Posted in Law Enforcement

Adding insult to injury: Chicago Police Officer Sues Estate of Teenager He Fatally Shot

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He shot the kid to death, and for good measure killed a bystander as well, and now he sues the kid’s family for $10 million, which of course they do not have. It more police harassment for a highly dysfunctional police department. Mitch Smith has the story in the NY Times:

The Chicago police officer who fatally shot a black 19-year-old and an unarmed bystander in December has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $10 million in damages from the teenager’s estate, an unusual legal approach based on a claim that the young man’s actions leading up to the gunfire were “atrocious” and have caused the officer “extreme emotional trauma.”

The lawsuit provides the first public explanation by the officer, Robert Rialmo, of what happened on Dec. 26 when he confronted Quintonio LeGrier, a college student who Officer Rialmo said was wielding a baseball bat. Mr. LeGrier and his neighbor Bettie Jones, 55, who the police said was an innocent bystander, both died after Officer Rialmo fired several shots.

Continue reading.

I am sure there will be those who applaud the police officer’s action. I’m not one. The police officer claims the boy swung the bat at him, but then of course he killed all witnesses so we have only his word. And the officer suffered no injuries at all. You may recall that the police story for the young man that Chicago officer Jason Van Dyke shot and killed was that the man lunged at Van Dyke with the knife—but when we saw the video, the young man was in fact moving away from Van Dyke and the other officers when Van Dyke opened fire (16 shots). Note that it was not just Van Dyke who lied about what happened: it was all the police officers at the scene. Chicago cops lie to justify their killings. I think this officer is probably lying as well. I think this case stinks.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 2:00 pm

Red Cross CEO Dodges Congressional Questions About Cuts Around the Country

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The CEO of the American Red Cross is a walking disaster. I’ve blogged before about what she’s done to the organization and on why no one should ever contribute any money at all to the American Red Cross, who wastes the money on her salary and on PR done to raise more money. Here’s today’s story by Justin Elliott in ProPublica:

The American Red Cross has failed to answer a congressman’s questions about deep cuts the charity has made to staff and local offices.

Rep. Bennie Thompson, the ranking member of the House homeland security committee, sent the charity a long list of questions after ProPublica recently revealed the cuts and detailed how they have eroded the Red Cross’ ability to respond to even modest disasters.

Red Cross CEO Gail McGovern responded in a letter late last month that she has tried to lower “the costs of delivering our services to the public — without diminishing the services themselves — and we believe we have achieved that goal.”

But McGovern did not answer basic questions about the cuts, including how many actual chapter offices she has closed.

Today there are around 250 Red Cross chapters compared to 700 when McGovern was hired in 2008. But the charity has never said which chapter offices were closed and which were merely folded into a larger regional chapter.

McGovern also ignored Thompson’s question about how many emergency planners have told the Red Cross they are no longer incorporating the charity in their response plans.

As we reported, some local officials as well as former Red Cross staffers say the charity can no longer be relied on to respond to disasters.

Thompson, who has been pushing for more oversight of the Red Cross, told ProPublica that he is “troubled” by the lack of answers.

“While I appreciate the Red Cross’ submission of a response to my December letter, I am troubled that questions were ignored and some of the responses provided were inconsistent with information from numerous media reports,” Thompson said in a statement. “I will continue my oversight of the Red Cross and will not stop until all questions are answered, and I am assured that the Red Cross is in the position to effectively carry out its mission in all communities across the United States.”

Asked about the charity’s failure to answer the congressman’s questions, a Red Cross spokesperson declined to comment.

The charity, which an official role in responding to disasters, has a history of avoiding outside scrutiny. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 1:54 pm

“The Finest Fighting Force in the History of the World”

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In the collapse of Detroit, the fault did not lie with the workers or the unions, but with management, who signed unsustainable contracts, designed and marketed automobiles that did not match those offered by foreign manufacturers in terms of quality, cost of ownership, and durability. Much the same is true of the American military: the fault is not in the enlisted personnel, but in the officer corps that plans and directs what the military does. Tom Englehardt takes a look at TomDispatch.com:

Here’s my twenty-first-century rule of thumb about this country: if you have to say it over and over, it probably ain’t so. Which is why I’d think twice every time we’re told how “exceptional” or “indispensable” the United States is. For someone like me who can still remember a moment when Americans assumed that was so, but no sitting president, presidential candidate, or politician felt you had to say the obvious, such lines reverberate with defensiveness. They seem to incorporate other voices you can almost hear whispering that we’re ever less exceptional, more dispensable, no longer (to quote the greatest of them all by his own estimate) “the greatest.” In this vein, consider a commonplace line running around Washington (as it has for years): the U.S. military is “the finest fighting force in the history of the world.” Uh, folks, if that’s so, then why the hell can’t it win a damn thing 14-plus years later?

If you don’t mind a little what-if history lesson, it’s just possible that events might have turned out differently and, instead of repeating that “finest fighting force” stuff endlessly, our leaders might actually believe it. After all, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, it took the Bush administration only a month to let the CIA, special forces advisers, and the U.S. Air Force loose against the Taliban and Osama bin Laden’s supporters in Afghanistan. The results were crushing. The first moments of what that administration would grandiloquently (and ominously) bill as a “global war on terror” were, destructively speaking, glorious.

If you want to get a sense of just how crushing those forces and their Afghan proxies were, read journalist Anand Gopal’s No Good Men Among the Living: America, the Taliban, and the War Through Afghan Eyes, the best book yet written on how (and how quickly) that war on terror went desperately, disastrously awry. One of the Afghans Gopal spent time with was a Taliban military commander nicknamed — for his whip of choice — Mullah Cable, who offered a riveting account of just how decisive the U.S. air assault on that movement was. In recalling his days on the front lines of what, until then, had been an Afghan civil war, he described his first look at what American bombs could do:

“He drove into the basin and turned the corner and then stepped out of the vehicle. Oh my God, he thought. There were headless torsos and torso-less arms, cooked slivers of scalp and flayed skin. The stones were crimson, the sand ocher from all the blood. Coal-black lumps of melted steel and plastic marked the remains of his friends’ vehicles.

“Closing his eyes, he steadied himself. In the five years of fighting he had seen his share of death, but never lives disposed of so easily, so completely, so mercilessly, in mere seconds.”

The next day, he addressed his men. “Go home,” he said. “Get yourselves away from here. Don’t contact each other.”

“Not a soul,” writes Gopal, “protested.”

Mullah Cable took his own advice and headed for Kabul, the Afghan capital. “If he somehow could make it out alive, he promised himself that he would abandon politics forever.” And he was typical. As Gopal reports, the Taliban quickly broke under the strain of war with the last superpower on the planet. Its foot soldiers put down their arms and, like Mullah Cable, fled for home. Its leaders began to try to surrender. In Afghan fashion, they were ready to go back to their native villages, make peace, shuffle their allegiances, and hope for better times. Within a couple of months, in other words, it was, or at least shoulda, woulda, coulda been all over, even the shouting.

The U.S. military and its Afghan proxies, if you remember, believed that they had trapped Osama bin Laden and his al-Qaeda fighters somewhere in the mountainous Tora Bora region. If the U.S. had concentrated all its resources on him at that moment, it’s hard to believe that he wouldn’t have been in American custody or dead sooner rather than later. And that would have been that. The U.S. military could have gone home victorious. The Taliban, along with bin Laden, would have been history. Stop the cameras there and what a tale of triumph would surely have been told.

Shoulda, woulda, coulda.

Keeping the Cameras Rolling

There was, of course, a catch.  Like their Bush administration mentors, the American military men who arrived in Afghanistan were determined to fight that global war on terror forever and a day.  So, as Gopal reports, they essentially refused to let the Taliban surrender.  They hounded that movement’s leaders and fighters until they had little choice but to pick up their guns again and, in the phrase of the moment, “go back to work.”

It was a time of triumph and of Guantánamo, and it went to everyone’s head.  Among those in power in Washington and those running the military, who didn’t believe that a set of genuine global triumphs lay in store?  With such a fighting force, such awesome destructive power, how could it not?  And so, in Afghanistan, the American counterterror types kept right on targeting the “terrorists” whenever their Afghan warlord allies pointed them out — and if many of them turned out to be local enemies of those same rising warlords, who cared?

It would be the first, but hardly the last time that, in killing significant numbers of people, the U.S. military had a hand in creating its own future enemies.  In the process, the Americans managed to revive the very movement they had crushed and which, so many years later, is at the edge of seizing a dominant military position in the country.

And keep in mind that, while producing a recipe for future disaster there, the Bush administration’s top officials had far bigger fish to fry.  For them and for the finest fighting force etc., etc., Afghanistan was a hopeless backwater — especially with Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein there in Baghdad at the crossroads of the oil heartlands of the planet with a target on his back.  As they saw it, control of much of the Greater Middle East was at stake.  To hell with Osama bin Laden.

And so, in March 2003, less than a year and a half later, they launched the invasion of Iraq, another glorious success for that triple-F force.  Saddam’s military was crushed in an instant and his capital, burning and looted, was occupied by American troops in next to no time at all.

Stop the cameras there and you’re still talking about the dominant military of this, if not any other century.  But of course the cameras didn’t stop.  The Bush administration had no intention of shutting them off, not when it saw a Middle Eastern (and possibly even a global)Pax Americana in its future and wanted to garrison Iraq until hell froze over.  It already assumed that the next stop after Baghdad on the Occident Express would be either Damascus or Tehran, that America’s enemies in the region would go down like ten pins, and that the oil heartlands of the planet would become an American dominion.  (As the neocon quip of that moment had it, “Everyone wants to go to Baghdad.  Real men want to go to Tehran.”)

It was a hell of a dream, with an emphasis on hell.  It would, in fact, prove a nightmare of the first order, and the cameras just kept rolling and rolling for nearly 13 years while (I think it’s time for an acronym here) the FFFIHW, also known as the Finest Fighting Force etc., etc., proved that it could not successfully:

  • Defeat determined, if lightly armed, minority insurgencies.
  • Fight a war based on sectarian versions of Islam or a war of ideas.
  • Bomb an insurgent movement into surrender.
  • Drone-kill terror leaders until their groups collapsed.
  • Intervene anywhere in the Greater Middle East in just about any fashion, by land or air, and end up with a world in any way to its liking.

Send in the…

It’s probably accurate to say that in the course of one disappointment or disaster after another from Afghanistan to Libya, Somalia to Iraq, Yemen to Pakistan, the U.S. military never actually lost an encounter on the battlefield.  But nowhere was it truly triumphant on the battlefield either, not in a way that turned out to mean anything.  Nowhere, in fact, did a military move of any sort truly pay off in the long run.  Whatever was done by the FFFIHW and the CIA (with its wildly counterproductive drone assassination campaigns across the region) only seemed to create more enemies and more problems.

To sum up, the finest you-know-what in the history of you-know-where has proven to be a clumsy, largely worthless weapon of choice in Washington’s terror wars — and increasingly its leadership seems to know it.  In private, its commanders are clearly growing anxious.  If you want a witness to that anxiety, go no further than Washington Post columnist and power pundit David Ignatius.  In mid-January, after a visit to U.S. Central Command, which oversees Washington’s military presence in the Greater Middle East, he wrote a column grimly headlined: “The ugly truth: Defeating the Islamic State will take decades.”  Its first paragraph went: “There’s a scary disconnect between the somber warnings you hear privately from military leaders about the war against the Islamic State and the glib debating points coming from Republican and Democratic politicians.”

For Ignatius, channeling his high-level sources in Central Command (whom he couldn’t identify), things could hardly have been gloomier.  And yet, bleak as his report was, it still qualified as an upbeat view.  His sources clearly believed that, if Washington was willing to commit to a long, hard military slog and the training of proxy forces in the region not over “a few months” but a “generation,” success would follow some distant, golden day.  The last 14-plus years suggest otherwise.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at what those worried CENTCOM commanders, the folks at the Pentagon, and the Obama administration are planning for the FFFIHW in the near future. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to learn that, with almost a decade and a half of grisly military lessons under their belts, they are evidently going to pursue exactly the kinds of actions that have, for some time, made the U.S. military look like neither the finest, nor the greatest anything.  Here’s a little been-there-done-that rundown of what might read like past history but is evidently still to come: . . .

Continue reading for a theater-by-theater summary.

One thing that worries me about Hillary Clinton is she likes to move the military into wars: she voted in favor of the Iraq War, a war that many saw as a terrible mistake even before we invaded (Bernie Sanders voted against it), and she also supported military action in Libya, which pretty much destroyed that country as a functioning nation. She has proved too quick to support military intervention, and I don’t think she’s learned that caution is advisable.

Written by LeisureGuy

8 February 2016 at 10:32 am

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