Steven L. Taylor
Tuesday, August 31, 2021
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is a Professor of Political Science and a College of Arts and Sciences Dean. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective.
He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog).
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Still haven’t been able to talk to my NOLA son but via a friend of a friend of his MiL’s on facebook my eldest son has received word that they are OK. They lost some of their roofing which let water in, causing their bedroom ceiling to collapse but AFAIK no other damage to their home.
Safe to assume they have no power and I wonder about water and sewer. Hopefully we will be able to talk in the next day or 2 and I can assess what help they might need.
Judge orders Cinci hospital to treat COVID-19 patient with Ivermectin, despite CDC warnings
I think I’ll tell this “judge” how to run his courtroom, interpret laws, and what his judgements should be. If this asshat is capable of practicing medicine, I am especially capable of practicing law.
We get the children we deserve.
The hysterics over the Afghanistan withdrawal are really over the top. Won’t link them but here are a few:
Opinion: Greenlighting the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul is a national disgrace. Marc Thiessen – WP
Opinion: America is leaving thousands of people behind in Afghanistan. This is a moral disaster. Editorial Board – WP
In Afghanistan, we’ve opened the gates of hell. The Hill
The same far right folks who say we just have to stop being afraid of COVID and live our lives are out there screaming The Terrorists are Coming! The Terrorists are Coming!
What we need to do is pull out of Syria next.
@Scott: I’m going to have to stay off of Facebook for a few days, because the proliferation of these sorts of hot takes–even among friends who should know better–has passed annoying and is verging into OMFG STOP territory.
I’ve really, really had it with the garment rending at this point. This was always going to be hard and messy.
@Scott: Nation Stunned That 20-Year Catastrophe Could End So Catastrophically
The Onion of course.
Even Douthat has gone all Rothkopf.
And across wide swaths of America, most are simply glad that it is over.
Glad they’re okay. I know it was a big worry for you.
Agreed. It’s like wading through a vast vat of stupidity and negativity that I suspect has been genuinely damaging to my mental health. I initially started snoozing people, but finally just said “I don’t need this”. Much better off without it for the immediate future.
While the realists begin pointing out the hard truths.
Afghanistan Was Lost Long Ago
Defeat Wasn’t Inevitable, but Early Mistakes Made Success Unlikely
I was struck by something JB32 wrote in a different context, that without a war to fight, that many military officers would leave the service. I’ve heard similar comments in the past and understanding this leads to a partial explanation as to why we keep getting bogged down in these unwinnable contests.
@OzarkHillbilly: I believe that the judge ruled the hospital may not refuse to administer a licensed drug ordered up by the patient’s regular doctor. I think that’s pretty standard.
I’m still making my way through Anthony McGann’s The Logic Of Democracy: Reconciling Equality, Deliberation, And Minority Protection. The chapter on minority rights and protection is especially fascinating as his argument runs completely counter to everything I’ve heard on the topic as a casual student of the Constitution:
Majority rule offers most protection to minorities because it makes it easiest for a
minority to form a coalition that can overturn an unacceptable outcome. Super-majority rules can certainly protect (or rather privilege) some minorities, but only at the expense of others. It is not logically possible for every minority to be privileged over every other minority.
Super-majority rules make the status quo hard to overturn and thus privilege minorities who
favor the status quo over those who favor changing it. Arguments in favor of supermajoritarian institutions have tended to be built on the assumption that the threat to rights
from government action or a change in the law is greater than the threat from government
inaction or the maintenance of current laws. Given the history of the United States this assumption is problematic, especially given the use of super-majoritarian institutions to
impede the extension of civil rights. Furthermore, given uncertainty about legal
interpretation, technology, social mores and preferences over the timescale involved in
constitutional choice, any assumptions about where the threat to rights are likely to lie are
While super-majoritarian rules are only able to protect some minorities at the expense
of others, the instability resulting from global cycling under majority rule offers an
alternative approach to the problem of the tyranny of the majority. The costs of instability
resulting from cycling have been overstated–theoretically we no longer expect unrestricted or
“chaotic” outcomes, and the countries that practice relatively unchecked majority rule are
quite stable. Nevertheless, the possibility of cycling seems to lead to inclusive politics, in
that it is always necessary to assemble a broad coalition, and any coalition can be split.
There is no “tyranny of the majority” because there is no single, cohesive majority ready to
dominate everyone else. This, of course, is essentially the “extended republic” argument
made by James Madison at the Constitutional Convention of 1787 and in Federalist 10.
The entire chapter can be found here. Good stuff.
@Michael Cain: It is not licensed for use against Covid.
Headline from Texas Tribune
666 new Texas laws go into effect Sept. 1. Here are some that might affect you.
Has Satan been working at the Texas Legislature?
It’s more complicated than that. This is an off-label use of the drug, so the hospital is pretty much within its rights to refuse based on either ethical objections or liability concerns. At a minimum, it can demand that the husband waive their responsibility for negative outcomes stemming from the drug if they do administer it. Marriage does not on its own create agency; i.e. she does not automatically have the right to consent to medical procedures on her husband’s behalf.
Truthfully, in this instance if I were the hospital I’d run out the clock by bogging her down in court while simultaneously going after the quack’s license to practice. They have a very defensible position here, especially if she’s trying to force this instead of her husband.
Jill Russel, a Military Historian, had a take on the logistical aspect of the withdrawal from Afghanistan that I think is worth considering:
You want criticism?
Jonny Mercer, Conservative MP, Privy Councillor, former Captain Royal Artillery, special forces detatchment, three tours in Afghanistan:
You might think this is just the opinion of a Conservative politician.
Dan Jarvis, Labour MP, former Major Parachute Regiment, two tours Afghanistan:
Ed Davey, MP, Liberal Democrat:
These opinions seem to be almost universal among the forces, past and present, and the majority of the general public.
I up-voted Michael Cain because I disagreed with OzarkHillbilly that the judge was making some medical decision. It’s a little more complicated than that. In addition, however, to the points you raise about off label uses and the quack’s license, I doubt the prescribing “doctor” had admitting privileges to the hospital and I suspect the hospital has some right not to have any doctor anywhere prescribing treatments for admitted patients and requiring the hospital to carry them out.
That would depend on the relationship; i.e. is this doctor the patient’s physician by agreement of the patient? That does not seem to be the case here, since the wife sought out this doctor on her own. This seems to me to very much be a panicked spouse grasping for any straw she can find who is being taken advantage of by quacks pushing their own agenda, and I sympathize with her plight to a degree, but she’s way beyond the limits of her legal authority barring some executed power of attorney that the piece doesn’t make any mention of.
@OzarkHillbilly: If the case were about a cancer patient asking for an experimental treatment, would you feel differently?
The patient isn’t asking for the experimental treatment. His wife is. That might seem a thin distinction, but in a court of law it’s a concrete one.
@Scott: When has Satan not been at work in the Texas lege?
@JohnSF: More criticism:
@OzarkHillbilly: Off-label uses are generally legal for any drug fully approved by the FDA, regardless of the particular use for which the drug was approved. Off-label use is notorious in ICUs; at least one study found that more than a third of medications ordered for ICU patients are off-label.
It depends. An experimental treatment designed by a reputable pharmaceutical company after proper research, say one undergoing clinical trials but approved for compassionate use, is one thing. Injections of colloidal silver, or some homeopathic “treatment,” or acupuncture, are quite another.
The sham treatments may seem harmless, in that they don’t cause direct damage to the patient. But they are very harmful if the patient doesn’t pursue what treatments are known to work, to varying degrees of efficacy.
So if this patient gets treated with remedesvir, dexamethasone, and whatever else is known to increase the odds of COVID patients recovering, as well as ivermectin, then maybe that’s ok. If the horse dewormer does not interfere with the rest of the treatments, if it doesn’t make things worse, etc. If they want to be treated only with ivermectin, then give their bed to someone who has a chance at survival.
@HarvardLaw92: @HarvardLaw92: I stand corrected. Yes, it’s a different scenario.
My point was, many Americans believe that people with life-threatening diseases or conditions have the right to access treatments that are currently not mainstream. I’m not talking about healing crystals; instead, there are scientifically-developed treatments that have not gone through the full gamut of however many thousands of applications it takes for it to become mainstream.
Mind you, I’m not agreeing with the judge’s decision. (Not that it matters, really, not being a lawyer.) I’m just speculating that a judge might base a decision on some principle of patient rights. We shouldn’t assume that decision is based ipso facto on a pseudo-science.
Yes, I saw that debate; posted a comment referring to it here on 19 August IIRC.
Tugendhat was seething.
Mercer’s comments came this Sunday.
Absolutely. If the husband were demanding this, in and of itself, if I were the hospital I would probably comply, mainly because the viable treatments aren’t excluded (I believe anyway. I am by no means a physician and the potential interactions / contraindications are well beyond my competency). There are some unknowns here (POA, etc.) that would change the calculus somewhat, but mostly it just burns me up to see these quacks taking advantage of a desperate woman. Someone has to be the grownup in this scenario, and I think it’s entirely possible that this woman (assuming she has been legally empowered) is not competent to be making this decision due to being emotionally compromised.
If the UK finds the situation on Afghanistan intolerable, they’re free to commit their own forces to fixing it. In the mean time, I don’t really care what countries that withdrew from Afghanistan years ago think of our withdrawal now.
The judge is ordering these hospital doctors to use a specific medication. THAT is a medical decision the judge is not qualified to make.
@Kingdaddy: It’s not cancer and the patient isn’t asking for anything. And even if he was, what makes the Judge capable of deciding anything about it?
Then let her take her husband to the Quack telling her that *worms and covid are the same thing*. The doctors now treating him think it will not help and for all we know might even be detrimental to the patient. The judge, you, me, and everybody else have no business telling them what to do.
I’m a carpenter. If somebody wanted me to use a 2×6 header over 12′ opening in a load bearing wall because they once saw one over a 2′ window in a rake wall and they were just too cheap to spring for the Paralam beam that I, a structural engineer, and the permit office all told him he needed, I’d refuse to do it and if a judge ordered me to do it anyway I’d tell him to go F himself.
I think this bears repeating:
Viral diseases cannot be treated by killing the virus, but by targeting molecules, enzymes, or cellular processes that prevent its reproduction or at least slow it down. This give the immune system time to clear out the pathogen, and that means recovery.
There are diseases where the antiviral drugs can keep the virus in check, making it incapable of causing disease, even when the immune system can’t clear it out. This is the case with HIV. We have nothing anywhere near this good for SARS-CoV-2. We may get such a thing someday, but not yet.
Sot here’s no “cure” for COVID. None.
We need to be careful about descriptions. Ivermectin is FDA-approved for parasite control in humans and is on the WHO’s official list of essential medicines. According to Wikipedia, it is the 420th most-often prescribed medicine in the US. Hospital pharmacies will have ready access to it in the approved human dosages. According to clinicaltrials.gov there are at least 30 clinical trials in various stages in the US of ivermectin (alone and in combination with other drugs) as a treatment for Covid-19.
It’s like calling hydroxychloroquine an arthritis treatment, since it’s sold under the brand name Plaquenil for such a purpose.
This. My wife is prescribed Cellcept for it’s off-label use in treating Lupus. So this is definitely the case.
Where I net out on this is if they could get in enrolled in one of those trials, I would feel much better about the use of Ivermectin for treatment in this and other cases. I’m personally a little suspicious of it’s use in one-off and potentially not well monitored treatment.
@HarvardLaw92: IANAL, but I think the real legal principle at stake here is the hospital has a choice: give him the ivermectin, which while useless is probably not terribly harmful, unless you count the trots OR spend tens of thousands of dollars fighting a law suit that does nothing for the hospital. After all, they’re under a court order, which should protect them from liability, which is likely all they wanted one way or another.
A more nuanced view of COVID vaccine immunity from NPR.
There is too much focus on antibody levels in the media, to the point it seems the entirety of the immune response is reduced to antibody levels.
However, there’s a difference between regular endemic diseases, like measles, and pandemic diseases like COVID. It may be that higher levels of initial antibodies do better at preventing infection, and thus a third dose of mRNA vaccine is in order to stop the spread or slow it down.
@JohnSF: “These opinions seem to be almost universal among the forces, past and present, and the majority of the general public.”
It’s easy to whip up sentimentality about the horrors of war and about the magnificence of the fight. You should look at the pro-war propaganda leading up to WW1 if you really want to rhapsodize about how wonderful it is to go to foreign countries and kill people.
Afterwards, you might want to read a little Wilfred Owen, just to get a less sentimental point of view.
@gVOR08: Interestingly, the hospital did not present any defense in the case. I suspect that, as you suggest, once Legal got involved they decided that this was not a case where they wanted to challenge a doctor’s orders.
I’d argue its more the precedent it sets. Once this happens, the door is open for this quack to potentially harm a lot more patients.
I wouldn’t worry about the hospital. It’s part of the University of Cincinnati health system, which means that 1) she’s essentially suing the State of Ohio, and 2) they have attorneys on staff who are there & paid their salaries precisely to deal with this sort of problem. Bogging her down in court and going after the quack’s license better serves society I think.
But they essentially *are*. We cannot set the precedent of the law forcing a doctor to proscribe against their will any old thing the patient wants as treatment solely based on the patient’s belief in its efficacy. What if the patient wants the doctor to inject bleach into them as Trump once recommended? People actually did that and I wouldn’t be surprised if they asked a medical professional to do so as well – it counts as “alternative treatment” for many. Can you legally demand a doctor or nurse to inject a fatal substance into someone who’s not asking for euthanasia but instead is under the misapprehension it will cure them?
This isn’t a clinical trial and this isn’t off-label proscribing. This isn’t a mercy exemption or last ditch shot at something data says might work. This is the family member of a patient demanding something the CDC, FDA and the makers of the drug themselves have stated should not happen because she heard something on the internet. Everything about this is counter-proscribed and might even kill the patient given their condition.
West Chester Hospital needs to pull a Jackson here: “Gregory Howard has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” What are they gonna do – transfer somewhere that will do it? No space. Send armed guard to force the drug to be delivered? Sure buddy, that’s gonna happen. Shut down the hospital in a crisis? Hahahaha no. This order is toothless and frankly should be set on fire in the parking lot in front of the cameras. “We will not kill our patients with internet lies even if the court mandates it. If the family member wishes to find someone that will, she’s free to go down the street rather than violate our sincerely held and religious belief this is bullshit”
For Prof J and Dr T, it seems an Alabama boy has made it good in the big city
@JohnSF: why? I don’t get the British response at all. As I understand it, your troops left Afghanistan in 2014. Are Americans supposed to stay there indefinitely to make British sacrifices worth it?
Giving someone who’s intubated “the trots” can easily kill them. It causes dehydration and its resulting cardiac issues as well as rapidly increases the chance of infection taking hold since you’re immobile and can be laying in your own shit for hours before someone notices. Given how busy the ICU must be, that’s a huge danger to the patient and will exponentially increase their chance of death. “30mg of Ivermectin daily for three weeks” will DEFINITELY cause him to destabilize and cause the man to shit himself to death.
They are asking to kill this man; he’d need to be eyes on to prevent constant coding and there’s not enough staff for that. If this happens and he dies, you damn well better believe they’re gonna sue the hospital and blame them for “substandard care”.
Returning a bit to the topic of Clarke’s 2001, I was reminded of my short-short movie review of Close Encounters of the Third Kind: MASSIVE build-up, itty-bitty payoff*.
This seems a pattern in many SF first contact stories, including Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama.
SPOILERS FOR RAMA FOLLOW.
Part of the point of the first Rama novel is that aliens can, and do, act without regard for Earth or humanity. Ignoring the sequels, which contradict this, it’s easy to imagine the “Ramans” launched their ship from somewhere to somewhere else, using our Sun only for a gravitational assist (and resupply? it’s been a while), and they might not even be aware of our existence, even after Norton and his crew entered Rama.
That’s not bad, as it leaves the reader to imagine what the hell Rama was, and what it was for. In the meantime, we see plenty of the inside of the gargantuan ship and some of its quasi-living systems.
Still, it’s unsatisfying not knowing for sure.
But then, I admit to some disappointment when the sequels, written with Gentry Lee, showed just what Rama was and what it was for. Part of this may be colored by the rather unpleasant nature of many of the sequels’ characters, but that is a separate matter.
IMO, many writers, including Clarke and Sagan, prefer to leave the aliens’ nature and purpose to the readers’ imaginations, because the common stated purpose tends to be 1) conquest, 2) extermination, 3) study, 4) trade, 5) alliance, 6) food source. None of these are awe-inspiring or, after repeated iterations, that interesting. Eventually, the interactions between human characters dominates the story to varying extent, sometimes with secondary interactions with alien characters.
I said once before we’ll find real aliens disappointing, because they’ll be much like us in that they work for their sustenance, raise young to maturity, treat diseases, take vaccines (the smart ones at least), have politics, etc. They’ll just look different.
*Yes, that’s taken from a line by the Genie in Aladdin.
@JohnSF: Understanding the sincerity of these worthy fellows, it might be worthwhile to note that the British Army ended it’s combat role in Afghanistan in 2014. May I ask what this corps of heroes has been doing with themselves this last 7 or 8 years?
@Kathy: I fear my reaction to First Encounters throughout was, “Give me a break.” Once the Francois Truffaut character found the Flight 19 TB-M Avengers in the desert I figured it was gonna be pure cliche from there on. (We know what happened to Flight 19 and that ain’t it.)
Nothing to do with anything, except that I mentioned TB-Ms. H. W. Bush always said his two man crew were dead when he bailed out of his Avenger. It was apparently quite difficult for the gunner and radio operator to bail out of an Avenger and common for pilot to be the only one surviving a shoot down. Ian Toll in his Pacific War Trilogymentions in passing that Bush’s crew were picked up by the Japanese, tortured, and killed.
@KM: Doctors are bound by the Hippocratic Oath to do no harm, and some of them actually feel that way. Legal departments not so much.
@Monala: Maddow had some fun last night with the history of British occupations of Afghanistan. This is apparently their fourth effort, following 1839, 1878, and 1919, and fourth failure. You’d think they’d be used to it by now. But they can blame this one on us if they try, so of course they are.
If you look, you’ll notice that Asimov’s stories don’t have aliens. It’s because the editors and publishers in the 50’s and 60’s insisted that aliens be monsters. Asimov thought that was cliche, so they don’t exist in his universes.
I was a child when I saw it in a theater. I vaguely recall wondering when something interesting would happen.
BTW, speaking of Rama and its sequels, there’s a PC game based on them, which is not bad at all (made in 1996). It has some very interesting visuals of the inside of Rama, as well as the biots and aliens within it. It’s an adventure game where you solve puzzles to make progress. Your character can die, and even get fired from the mission. There’s video cut scenes of actors playing characters from Rama II as well.
When you die off, you get video of Clarke himself explaining what you did wrong.
My parents were from Coventry, experienced the bombings of 1940 and 1941.
Both lost friends in the bombings.
In 1941 the age of 17 my father was a air raid rescue volunteer.
“I remember one family we found. All dead. It struck me at the time, when the mortar dust came off, they all had red hair.”
He only spoke of that night the once.
He had enlisted in the RAF by the time of the third blitz in 1942 but mother was still there.
In 1944 he was badly injured in a aircraft crash, losing his lower left leg.
I remember my mother (when my father was working night shift in the late 70’s) waking up crying out from a nightmare about the bombing.
Neither grandfather ever spoke openly of their experiences in the Great War, at all.
One grandfather to his dying day slept with the bed-covers over his head.
Because in the trenches, it kept the rats off, and gave some protection against the poison gas.
I once looked up his regiments record: the King’ Shropshire Light Infantry, on the Somme
KSLI alone lost 4,663 dead on the Western Front.
I have also seen people I knew (no close friends, acquaintances) who were badly injured in Afghanistan; my workplace is the main non-military training institution for army nursing staff and some specialist field medics.
I think it safe to say I don’t have a sentimental view of war.
I’ve read just about all his fiction, plus his autobiography. He had more aliens in his earlier short fiction, but drew criticism for how he wrote them. So he dropped them from most of his works. Then a buzz developed that Asimov can’t handle aliens. So he wrote The Gods Themselves, in which we see only aliens in part two of the three part novel.
Most of his latter fiction was in the Foundation and Robot Novels setting, where there are no aliens. He still managed to write Nemesis, an unrelated novel where an alien is crucial.
I’ve also read a fair amount of fiction from the pulp magazine era. Aliens are of all sorts, though most commonly hostile.
Approximately the same as the US armed forces, as they also ended their direct combat role at the same time.
Why do you ask?
There was nothing sentimental in what JohnSF was saying. People who have served in a war zone such as Afghanistan often feel, at the end of their tour of duty, that they have left an important job undone. It’s why some of them re-enlist, even when they know they are facing horrific situations.
It’s one of the highly unsentimental reasons why it’s very, very wrong to enter these conflicts without a clear objective and a strong public commitment to them. We are asking young men and women to put themselves at risk — physically, psychologically, morally — telling them that their service is necessary to achieve some important collective goal. Many of them dedicate themselves to that mission, and hate to leave it unfinished. It’s all very real to them, even if it’s less real, and in the case of Afghanistan, largely invisible to the people back home. They have committed themselves to finishing the job, even if we can’t decide what that job is, or whether it’s really important, or when it’s done.
There’s no rhapsodizing about the glories of war in what JohnSF said. Nor is there a need to lecture about the horrors of war, which both high and popular culture have demystified long ago. Quite the opposite. We knowingly put these men and women in harms way (a euphemism for fear and horror and guilt and a host of other bad things), in the name of something important. At least speaking for myself, I think it’s important to recognize the seriousness of their commitment.
@Kingdaddy: “There was nothing sentimental in what JohnSF was saying. People who have served in a war zone such as Afghanistan often feel, at the end of their tour of duty, that they have left an important job undone.”
What you describe is the definition of sentiment. And JohnSF is using this personal feeling of a job undone to justify why we the US should not — maybe should never — pull out of Afghanistan.
The war isn’t about how the soldiers feel about it. That’s not to say that the emotions of the people who do the fighting aren’t important — but they’re not a reason to keep a war going.
@Kingdaddy: “At least speaking for myself, I think it’s important to recognize the seriousness of their commitment.”
Sure. But not by continuing the war forever because otherwise we’ll have betrayed that commitment.
So I checked Dr. Google for dosage for this stuff. The dude is likely to die anyway, but the dosage Judge Dr. ordered is pretty sure to finish him off.
The badly-written aliens at the start were because his editors made him. That’s why he dropped them.
This isn’t speculation on my part. This is directly from SF Editor Martin H Greenberg–Asimov’s best friend. 🙂
You are mistaken.
You might at least make an effort to get the basics correct.
ISAF i.e. the US and other NATO forces ended major combat operation 28 December 2014.
Deployment since that date in what the army refer to as Operation Toral have varied; usually around 1000 troops in support/training roles, and force security.
@wr: I’m glad that we’re in agreement that the sentiments of veterans are not the basis for continuing an unsustainable war. I don’t think I ever said that it is, but let me make it clear, I don’t think that. One of my favorite little books on military affairs, Every War Must End, makes exactly that point. Waving the bloody shirt, the sunk costs fallacy — whatever simile you want to use, bleeding in a war is not justification for continuing that war.
I think there is a very large but quiet majority of folks in the U.S. who are beyond relieved that our adventure in Afghanistan is finally over (beyond the occasional targeted drone strike which does not need a soldier on the ground in Afghanistan to accomplish).
This quiet majority, like the vocal minority, also votes so I think Biden and the Democratic Party may be in better shape come the mid-terms than one might believe over Biden’s decision to follow-through on Trump’s desire to end the war in Afghanistan.
Someone pointed out on this site the other day that there is an entire generation of kids who grew up with the war in Afghanistan always going in the background, and it will be a bit weird that folks that were born starting this week will be growing up without the conflict in Afghanistan being a constant background presence throughout their childhood.
Finally, I think when Thanksgiving and Christmas get here, we will see more evidence of how happy families are that the war has been formally ended. Biden is surrounded by smart people, and I think the time may come when he can look back on his decision to end the war in a very public way and it turns out to be a net positive for the Democratic party.
Maddow is mistaken on a few points
None of these opretations were aimed at conquering Afghanistan.
The first Anglo-Afghan War was a British failure; the second a success in its limited terms; the third a rather messy draw, started by an Afghan invasion of India.
Also, our involvement this time was not, I think, motivated by any great desire to rule Afghanistan.
It was, rather, in response to the US invoking Article 5 of the NATO Treaty
Which led to the deaths of 457 British soldiers, and considerably more badly injured.
I’m so glad this has, at least, provided Maddow and yourself with some amusement.
I thought you’d decided this was the fault of your Afghan allies, who were proved by their defeat to be unworthy of you.
But turns out it was the Brits!
Live and learn, eh?
I’ve said elsewhere hereabouts: The more I have looked closely recently at reports on the scale of dysfunction in the Afghan state, the more I’m inclined to think that withdrawal may have been becoming unavoidable. Maybe.
Certainly I would not say someone advocating withdrawal was automatically in error.
Though I have little patience for people who have cited incorrect or misleading claims to justify it (ie “the Afghans never fought”, which is damned lie).
And if a mission is justifiable, putting a time limit on it if your opponent simply refuses to give up and go away may not be wise.
My objection is that IF a judgement were to be made that withdrawal is unavoidable, it did not have to be done so badly, in parts.
Remedied in part by the airlift numbers, yes: but that still left a lot of people behind who we should have gotten out.
I don’t think President Biden was acting in bad faith in this, unlike Trump and Pompeo.
I just think he happened to make some mistakes.
The author is apparently unaware the Bush administration shorted any efforts beyond minimal garrisoning in Afghanistan because they were preparing to go whole-hog in Iraq, even before Tora Bora.
We won the war. We chased Bin Laden out, and same with the Taliban. The Taliban won the peace. The mistake the Bush administration made, now that all is said and done, has shaken out to be conflating the Taliban with AQ. Should have worked with them instead of against them.
They paid a terrible price for fooling around with a takfiri Arab, whom they hosted mainly because he had helped the Mujahedeen during the Soviet occupation. It might have been a pretty easy fix to convince them we had no beef with them beyond that issue.
Something else to mention to all these binary thinking pundits with their pass/fail grading: We don’t know yet how things will shake out in Afghanistan. Our goal was just to not have anybody attacking us from there. For all we know there won’t be.
I’ve been thinking along these lines.
Most wars end when one side decides to stop fighting, for whatever reason, and the other side agrees to it. Usually this means the weaker, defeated side has to stop fighting because they can’t carry on anymore, or because there is no way for them to win the war (this describes Germany in both World Wars).
This isn’t the only way. A war can end because one side conquers the other. In that case, though, some form of rebellion or insurgency tends to follow. In ancient times, this meant years or decades afterwards. In modern times, it means instant guerrilla warfare against who knows how many factions, even when the conqueror purports to be benevolent and sets up an autonomous local government, and promises to leave once the nation is rebuilt and stable.
The main lesson from Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya is that regime change is all but impossible. you can topple the existing regime, no question, and in some cases with relative or even absurd ease. Establishing a new, friendly, and stable regime has never been done as far as I know, not without the existing regime’s cooperation (see Japan and Germany after WWII).
So, yes, it might have been best to attack and maim and kill and weaken Al Qaida, then do a peace negotiation with the Taliban government.
The pundits are stuck in a football mentality. Win/lose. Some of the best scenes in Kubrick’s black comedy Dr. Strangelove are George C. Scott’s depictions of that mentality and the resultant total loss of perspective.
Had we played the game right we might’ve had the Taliban chasing down Bin Laden. We may yet see the Taliban and ISIL-K going at each other.
I think his predecessors (all three, not just Trump) left him with a set of shitty choices, and he did about as well as could reasonably be expected considering the totality of the circumstances. All the counterfactuals seem to assume if he’d done A or B or C differently, the outcome would definitely have improved, and that’s not a valid assumption.
I’ll repeat a point I’ve made previously. It’s still too soon to know whether what he did diverged significantly from what he should have done. We don’t have the full picture yet and probably won’t for some time.
As the saying goes: if you want to know about water, don’t ask a fish. We’re still too deep in the water to see the ocean.
As repugnant as the Taliban are, they’re less so than other governments and/or organizations the US has allied herself with, like Stalin’s Soviet Union.
Here’s an Illinois judge who seems to feel the opposite of the Ohio judge:
OH. MY. GOD.
B&M Baked Beans is leaving Portland, Maine for…the midwest.
This. The most fundamental divide between Left and Right that I can think of is whether your freedom and prosperity are threatened more by The Gummint or by Your Neighbors. Historically, in the US it has most often been those pesky neighbors.
Guess who’s coming to dinner.
I wonder if the GOP will still be beating on the Afghanistan withdrawal to make much of this. After all, it’s clear any aid to Ukraine is a quid pro quo for keeping Hunter Biden’s secrets, and something about his laptop, too.
@Kathy: I don’t know that the existing regimes were cooperative in Germany/Japan, rather they were dead and arrested. And the countries themselves (and the civilians) had been blown to bits and suffered in a way that left no doubt among the public in Germany and Japan that they had lost. We also had a very large occupation force in both cases making sure things were rebuilt as desired, with allied officers publically running and administering the countries for years.
In comparison our footprint in Afghanistan was relatively small for the population size and terrain (see the article Sleeping Dog posted earlier in this thread). The military victory was quick and stunning–and barely affected the lives of the average Afghan citizen in the slightest. Then we threw dollars instead of people into the rebuilding from the beginning, and propped up a corrupt Afghan government instead of running it ourselves.
Sometimes I wonder if, in a weird way, the US military is simply too strong for nation-building. We defeat opposing governments so quickly the population doesn’t suffer. But nation building requires years long occupations and cooperation. If the population is mostly untouched by the war, they seem to be less likely to cooperate with the occupier, more likely to engage in both passive and active resistance.
I’m not saying a traumatized population with half its young men dead and its cities in smoking ruins is a good thing, mind you. I’m just speculating it’s easier to rebuild if you’ve done a thorough job of destruction and tearing down first, instead of precision striking a leadership group away. And you have to OWN it for years, not turn things over to locals. It’s not that they are incapable of running or understanding a western-style society, it’s that they need training and experience. New norms have to be established, and those take a lot of time. And while we spent 20 years in Afghanistan (plenty of time), again it was with a small footprint and trying to let the Karzai and successor governments take the lead.
And if we aren’t willing to take that responsibility, we shouldn’t engage in nation building in the first place.
@Just Another Ex-Republican:
I’m less clear on how things went down on Germany. It was good that hitler was dead, as that simplified things. I do know the existing government surrendered unconditionally and laid down their arms. That also helps.
In Japan, the emperor, Hirohito, was left on the throne. He wasn’t the government, but he was a revered figure imbued with divine authority that the citizenry believed in. Things were certainly easier when he went along with the occupation.
Not to say you’re wrong. The devastation inflicted on the Axis countries was severe, and militarily they were done for.
From SB Nation (a “sports” news site):
So WWE RAW broadcast beats Tucker and Love and Hip-Hop? Talk about comparing apples and oranges! I’m not even sure this is bumper cars and elevator doors.
@JohnSF: I agree with you. We should never have gone in the first place and should never have stayed to build a “government” in a place where we have no idea of how to allow society to work. But I also agree that no timetable was going to get everybody who deserved to go out. We were destined to abandon allies. And it appears that we did better this time than last time, so that’s progress, too. Now if we can learn to stay out of the briar patch to begin with…
@Michael Cain: @HarvardLaw92:
Also, buried at the bottom of @OzarkHillbilly’s link is this…
@Kingdaddy: Can’t speak for Ozark, but this seems like an “experimental” treatment in much the same way as Laetrile is. Would you approve of calling Laetrile an “experimental” treatment?
In the future, remind me to get my medical advice from people educated in the medical fields. Oh, wait a minute, I don’t need reminding of that.
Meanwhile, this dumb ass carpenter is more than willing to prescribe leeches for whatever ails you. For a price.
@OzarkHillbilly: Shit, we buy Ivermectin by the gallon for our cattle as a pour-on, and my reservoir has leeches that I’ve seen get to a foot long, I really feel like I’m missing out on a money-making opportunity, here. “Come get yer weekly dipper cup of Ivermec and a leech to slap on fer the low, low price of $19.99!” 😛
@Kathy: Post WWII Germany was divided into 4 military occupation zones. The first actual West German government didn’t come into being until May 1949, after 4 years of total control by the occupiers. Parts of the French zone didn’t revert to West Germany until 1957. East Germany came into being in (checks Wikipedia…) October 1949, though it’s questionable how much it was German vs Soviet controlled for a long time after that.
Japan was occupied and controlled by Americans until 1952.
I still maintain part of the problem in Afghanistan is that they weren’t really a functioning country when we invaded. Both German and Japanese societies were familiar with and accepting of central governments, the rule of law, etc. The details were dramatically changed (especially in Japan) but the overall structure was similar. Afghanistan and its constellation of tribes and law by elders and negotiation…not so much. I’ve said it before, but I will repeat that our first mis-understanding was in thinking of Afghanistan as a country at all. Its borders are where other nations ended, not where “Afghanistan” began. We were within those borders for 20 years, but Karzai was in charge of the “country” by December 2001, 2-3 months after invasion. Which would have been fine (from a cold-hearted realpolitik American POV) if we completed the direct goals of disrupting Al Qaeda and left the tribes to go back to fighting each other, but was a recipe for an expensive disaster by half-assedly trying to turn those borders into a nation as we understand it. I’m honestly not even sure the commitment we showed to Germany and Europe (including the Marshall Plan) would have been sufficient to rebuild Afghanistan as a modern country. But the way we went about it? Stupid.
So Post has some details on the Ohio guy:
– On ivermectin for past 8 days, still alive.
– In ICU since July15
– On vent since about August 1
– In medically induced coma since August 20
Apparently a Representative from Oklahoma tried to sneak into Afghanistan from Tajikistan with a big pile of cash so he could play Rambo and may have gotten himself captured by the Taliban…
Oklahoma congressman threatened embassy staff as he tried to enter Afghanistan, U.S. officials say
Mounting a defense under that law generally requires the existence of a provider (i.e. doctor, nurse) who has refused. Aimed at protecting doctors who don’t want to dispense helpful things like birth control or Truvada, etc. This seems more a case of the hospital saying no.
@Jax: “Come get yer weekly dipper cup of Ivermec and a leech to slap on fer the low, low price of $19.99!”
Nobody would buy that. Now, $199.99, that they’d buy. Plus accomodations at your Genooo-ine Nahaho Smoke Tipi!
@Stormy Dragon: JFC. I cannot believe this is an actual thing.
This was the second time he tried to pull this nonsense. The guy’s a loon.