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  • irishtimes.com - Posted: December 23, 2008 @ 10:51 am

    Sock and Awe

    Deaglán de Bréadún

    It’s difficult not to see the funny side of the incident where the “journalist” threw a shoe at President Bush in Baghdad ( see also previous blog on the subject) and I have to share this piece of badinage with you. It was sent to me unofficially by an apparatchik in our own current regime who was taking a break from, er, saving the country.

    While I’m at it, there is an interesting piece by Tom Clonan in today’s Irish Times about the gloomy prospects for the US and other forces in their fight against the Taliban. Clonan’s article is based on comments made by US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte during a recent visit to Dublin.

    History has shown that Afghanistan is a quagmire for invading forces. President-elect Obama is heavily committed to beating the Taliban but the chances are not at all bright. The Obama victory was a great day for the US but if he gets it wrong in Afghanistan those commentators who are currently drooling and gushing over his presidency will turn against him.

    Obama is so reminiscent of JFK: the same adulation for a handsome young prince who overcame the race barrier, in one case, and prejudice against Catholics in the other. But it was JFK who committed the US in a serious way to Vietnam, just as Obama is expected to up the ante in Afghanistan. Had JFK lived, the public might well have turned against him as they did against his hapless successor, Lyndon B. Johnson.

    As with the Viet Cong, the great thing the Taliban have going for them is that they are prepared to sustain virtually any amount of casualties. There’s also the pertinent fact that they live there and the West has no appetite for long-drawn-out conflicts with body-bags coming home week after week.  I hope I’m wrong, as the Taliban regime sounded pretty awful, as regards women in particular, not to mention the fact that the terrorists of 9/11 were able to use the country as a training-ground.

    • David says:

      You’d wonder why Tom didn’t let Mr. Negroponte just write the piece himself.

      Few piercing questions to the man who oversaw the Contra war in Nicaragua, where he “enthusiastically carried out President Ronald Reagan’s strategy”, “authorizing support for the Nicaraguan rebels”, who “attacked purely civilian targets”, with tactics including “murder, rape, beatings, kidnapping and disruption of harvests.”

    • Deaglán says:

      You’re obviously quoting from some other article, can you give the source please?

    • David says:

      The excellent Wikipedia is the source for those quotes [1]. Wiki in turn uses the New York Times and ‘Contra Terror in Nicaragua’ (Brody, 1985) [2] [3].

      It didn’t surprise many commentators that his appointment was coincident with the rise of the death squad in Iraq (Executions of Sunnis are alleged, Dexter Filkins, 29 NOVEMBER 2005) [4].

      1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Contras
      2. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9E01E7DF133EF930A25757C0A9639C8B63
      3. http://books.google.ie/books?id=EjgG12L3uAEC&dq=Contra+Terror+in+Nicaragua&printsec=frontcover&source=bl&ots=V-_ocbTwJN&sig=7leCIV4Oxyn6W_IKfqNCpBGNvKk&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result#PPA4,M1
      4. http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/11/29/news/sunnis.php

    • Pablo says:

      There’s quite a bit on the internet about Negroponte’s devious and murderous role in Central Ameica. See one typical story:

      “New ripples in an evil story”
      By Sister Laetitia Bordes, s.h., [14 May 2001].

      See: http://www.hartford-hwp.com/archives/47/385.html

      Do a search for Negroponte and nuns.

    • Des Johnson says:

      Afghanistan is indeed a quagmire. So too is the Republican party in America. John D. Negroponte is a devoted member of that party, and typically does not wish Obama any success. Obama’s prime mission will be to arrest the spread of terrorism and keep loose nukes out of the wrong hands, a tough job given the condition of Pakistan.

      Further to N: he was US ambassador to Honduras during the Contra “struggle.” Reagan called them patriots, others call them usurpers, murderers and rapists, with good cause. During Negroponte’s spell in Honduras, the Contras trained there, with US funding and assistance. During Negroponte’s time in Honduras, there were serious human rights abuses in that country, but Negroponte submitted reports to the contrary to the US Congress. (US financial assistance was contingent on a clean human rights record.). Negroponte has been well paid for his connivance at trashing the US constitution in the Contra affair.

      During his confirmation hearings at the US senate, 2005, The Baltimore Sun ran a detailed exposé of JDN’s role.

      Here is an excerpt from another source:

      http://www.democracynow.org/2005/4/13/new_docs_shed_light_on_negropontes

      “But it is his time as ambassador to Honduras from 1981 to 1985 that earned him a reputation for supporting widespread human rights abuses and campaigns of terror.

      During his tenure, Honduras was the staging ground for the contra war in Nicaragua and the home of the brutal, CIA-backed Battalion 316, which is responsible for the deaths and disappearances of many Hondurans.”

    • DHF5811 says:

      Afghanistan will be lost, just as you mention above. America, like those few “allies who support us in this mission are quickly growing tired after seven years of war. The Taliban will slowly re-take control of the country as US Forces depart in the coming years under Obama. I served there early on and can tell you, just like Vietnam, we win the battles, but the people go with whoever pays them the highest price. No amount of humantarian aid will solve this issue. It’s a clash of cultures. Having served throughout the Middle East beginning in 1982, and ending in late 2003. I quickly began to appreciate that Muslims are much more committed to their religious beliefs than Christians. Like the Taliban, they incorprate it into every aspect of their culture. We on the other hand do just the opposite. We cannot defeat an ideology by gunships. Yes, we can kill thousands of them, but they breed to destroy our way of life. I’ve seen this first-hand and know they are more committed to their cause than we will ever be. Obama will likely experience yet another 9/11 style attack, or much more devastating I’m afraid.

    • jack micheal says:

      send a farewell shoe to bush hilarious game http://www.farewellshoe.com

    • Deaglán says:

      Can’t get it to work on this machine. Is it something like
      http://play.sockandawe.com/


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