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  • “Men Who Stare at Goats”

  • eqbal00 commented on the diary post Veteran’s Day 2012 by dakine01.

    2012-11-11 19:59:07View | Delete

    I registered for the draft in 1974. Last draft class, and by that time, where I come from, Oakland, CA, we had other ideas. . . . BUT thanks, many thanks, Dakine and all, for sharing your stories and your points of view. (Among other things, it’s extremely valuable to be reminded of the normalcy [...]

  • I sometimes consult for UN organizations (Unicef, UNDP, FAO, UNESCO etc.). NOT at Ms LaGarde’s level. Basically, they pay (me) next to nothing, giving me the same rate as their full-time employees with a few years’ experience — even though I’m a contractor. I need to buy a laptop, pay for my health insurance ($8,000/year), pay for office space and so on, AND pay taxes to the US for everything that they pay me.

    It’s not worthwhile complaining about the money: I could work for someone else if I felt lousy enough. And I can deduct those expenses. It’s their uniformly unrealistic attitude, their lack of comprehension of the special treatment that they receive and the struggles that everyone who is NOT working for int’l agencies goes through.

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post Late Night FDL: Anthony Shadid, RIP

    2012-02-17 20:57:00View | Delete

    Really necessary, this post? (Post is of Marilyn Monroe singing Happy Birthday for JFK. Watch it if you want, but perhaps don’t connect it to Shadid’s life. Or death.)

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post Late Night FDL: Anthony Shadid, RIP

    2012-02-17 20:54:15View | Delete

    Super, super post. Thank you.

    Anthony Shadid has helped many of us become more understanding of the forces working in the Middle East. His reporting of Arab Spring from Egypt and Libya was empathetic, informed and incisive.

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post Late Night: Confederate Wankee

    2011-06-01 21:51:41View | Delete

    I so bummed. I can’t believe I never thot of “Connecticut Wankee.” Thx.

  • And FYI here’s a link to Krugman on K Arrow and why healthcare shouldn’t be addressed via markets:


    Really, figure out what you’re trying to accomplish, focus on accomplishing that, and support it. Anything else, frankly, undercuts your very-capable analysis.

  • Krugman also supported expanding Medicare to cover all Americans. Hard to sort out your critique, based on the information you provide: I don’t know what the “excise tax” is, nor do I get precisely why it’s of value to link Krugman to Obama when the former has been pretty consistently critical of the latter.

    You would do better to support your arguments more clearly.

    In general, altho I applaud your writing and your consideration of the issues, your work overall is too polemical, or too much lacking in supporting citations or evidence. If you’re going to engage in polemics, back ‘em up. Your approach leads me to discount the core of your message. I’m sure you can do better, I’m sure we would ALL benefit if you would take the time and make the effort to do so.

  • eqbal00 commented on the diary post Exposé: Gitmo Detainees Mass Recipients of Controversial Drug by Jeff Kaye.

    2010-12-01 23:27:27View | Delete

    Although malaria does appear to occur regularly in Cuba (Guantanamo?), the risk doesn’t appear to be high.


    A nice mosquito repellent would work just as well, wouldn’t cost taxpayers nearly as much, and would also protect prisoners against dengue–which IS prevalent in Cuba.


  • eqbal00 commented on the diary post Exposé: Gitmo Detainees Mass Recipients of Controversial Drug by Jeff Kaye.

    2010-12-01 23:22:34View | Delete

    Jeff, do you know if the US personnel are also taking mefloquine (or malarone or other antimalarials)?

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post Gates and Iran

    2010-11-29 21:41:25View | Delete

    Prof Cole’s point appears to be that Gates is two-faced.* Which he might be, but which doesn’t gainsay your point. He does deserve credit for not caving to the bomb-Iran cabal.

    *Gates probably IS two-faced, one public and one reserved for government-to-government tetes a tete (so to speak). It’s like saying that Lance or Alberto or Jan Ullrich probably uses EPO: Deplorable under most conditions but within the context of the Tour it’s nothing.

  • Among other things, this cock-up must be driving the price of cooperation by REAL Talibs higher. If we can find any. Real. Cooperating. Talibs.

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post Things You Apparently Can’t Tell Your Friends

    2010-11-11 22:15:22View | Delete

    Yep. If you watch Mr Obama (Barry?) on his return to Indonesia, you’ll note that even the Indonesians, a democracy for only about 10 years, are respectful but not specially cooperative. The US just doesn’t seem _that_ powerful when we’re neither making things that others want nor buying things that others make.

    But, Spencer, this – “The Obama team came in operating from a sensible-enough presumption: the U.S. has built up enough goodwill ” – flies in the face of facts. The Bush team eroded huge chunks of goodwill via their highhandedness, obviously the war thing, their willful ignoring of other people / cultures, and so on. Over the 8 years, I probably heard this from people in Rwanda, Uganda, India, Lao, and _certainly_ in Jordan, Syria, Indonesia, Turkey and Yemen. They felt that Bush was burning the “US brand” by acting like an arrogant outlier. (Abu Ghraib anyone?).

    When Obama was elected, the people I talk with were thrilled, thrilled to get rid of Bush, thrilled that the US had elected a black man, thrilled that he seemed smart and contemporary. Lots of disillusionment since then, especially related to Afghanistan and to Palestine, but also global warming, the shitty economy, the loss of the House, and so on.

    There were a lot of expectations for this administration, including those held outside the country. To some extent those expectations stemmed from the awareness that the US had suffered major hits to its prominence in int’l affairs, that it had behaved like a banana republic. What makes it sensible to assume that there was previously good will — or that current actions decreased it. Basically, we’ve acted like savages for 10 years.

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post CT/COIN Adjudicator: In Session!

    2010-11-07 22:54:29View | Delete

    Aw, X, you’ve got me beat all hollow. I sort of remember that there was some thwarting of terrorism recently that was accomplished by the police, perhaps in Illinois, but I’m not that clear about it. And I only know what I read about NYPD and Kelly, and that’s probably in the NY Times. So, OK. I’ll yield the point willingly that CT benefits from being effectively implemented by SF type operations. BUT if the trade-off is live with the level of security that we have but at least maintain the level of civil liberties that we have today (posse comitatus, anyone? MI5 and official secrets acts? No thanks), I would likely opt for the civil liberties. I just don’t get the idea of suspending legal protections in order to deal with the threat in question.

    I would be happy, however, if you could explain how US citizens operating as terrorists in the US pose a threat that is categorically military and not criminal.

    I would also appreciate any data that support the idea that terrorism from any single source (or maybe from all sources, but hmm) poses a threat so significant that military action is the only means of ensuring the survival of the republic. I mean, OK, I’ll admit readily that snuffing bad guys is a more effective way of ending the threat that they pose than is getting them to a Miranda-rights moment. But it’s hard to see that such a threat, or the total of all such threats, outweighs the need to defend the republic from internal forces that would destroy its _nature_ through perversion of the guarantees of liberty and individual independence that have distinguished it for centuries from, say, the UK with its snotty MI5.

  • eqbal00 commented on the blog post CT/COIN Adjudicator: In Session!

    2010-11-07 12:23:55View | Delete

    @agent x: We’re talking counterterrorism, right? Doesn’t this mean interfering with cells in Hamburg, Aden, Jakarta, and, I suppose, Chicago or Detroit or Fort Worth or wherever terrorist strikes are being planned and launched? Are you arguing that these operations should be handled by the military, AND that we need combatants on the ground in those places in order to have effective CT?

    And, of course, there’s NYPD, which has been mounting a world-class CT effort since about 9/12/01…

    @Spencer: I like the Kings of War site OK, but Prof Rid doesn’t even mention XYZ’s ridiculous proposal to re-draw the map of South and Central Asia. Ricks, OK, he perhaps got this message from someone inside the govt, but you would think that even he would understand the ham-fistedness of the idea. Shit (and can you even say “shit” on the KoW site?), the Gov of India would likely not go for the resulting bedlam, although if they could anticipate it and slough all blame for the massive population and political shifts that would ensue to the US they might find it semi-compelling.

    Finally, CT can only require concomitant COIN IF there is an insurgency that’s related to terror, right? Sri Lanka, OK. But London? Athens? Oakland?