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March 06, 2006

Now The Complicated Shoe Is On The Other Complicated Foot

As nobody remembers, Gorbachev made noises about withdrawing Soviet troops from Afghanistan for some time before it actually happened in 1988-9. Part II of the BBC documentary The Power of Nightmares includes a later interview with him, in which he sounds very much like a U.S. politician circa 2006:

GORBACHEV: We had to finish this war. But in a way so the Russian people would understand why tens of thousands had died. We couldn't just run away from there in shame. No. We needed to find a process.

What's hilarious—to the degree things involving massive bloodshed can be hilarious—is the subsequent footage from 1987 of Richard Perle dismissing all this "process" nonsense:

RICHARD PERLE: It's not very complicated. They arrived in a matter of days on Christmas Eve in 1979. They could be home by Christmas Eve if they decided to leave Afghanistan and let the Afghans decide their own future.

You might ask: why isn't the same thing true for the U.S. in Iraq? The answer is simple: the ground in Iraq is very, very sticky. We'd need massive amounts of acetone even to CONSIDER a withdrawal.

Posted at March 6, 2006 12:33 PM | TrackBack

For that matter, why isn't the same thing true for the U.S. in Afghanistan?

Posted by: Bob at March 6, 2006 03:03 PM

Because we are the GE of nations--"We bring good things to life." Democracy, choice of brand products, fast food obesity etc etc.
The Soviets brought bad, bad Commie things.
Maybe that myth is ripe for retirement.
But then, what are we about? Where's the American exclusivity?
The corporations will come up with something.

Posted by: donescobar at March 6, 2006 03:46 PM

Jonathan et al., spare us the moral relativism. Indeed, Perle was talking about the Commies. We are fighting for freedom and the American way.

Posted by: mk at March 6, 2006 10:46 PM

How does one become so incompetent and yet remain so rich? So much money and time wasted on stupid and yet the lights never seem to fo out on these guys? Doesn't the law of gravity apply here? Somehow?

Posted by: patience at March 6, 2006 11:02 PM

Can I get the no-bid contract for that acetone?

Posted by: Kawika at March 7, 2006 08:10 PM