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December 18, 2007

Turkey Bombs Charlie Brownistan

Turkey just bombed northern Iraq, apparently with the approval of the US. Ken Silverstein of Harper's has posted email from a former American official working in Kurdistan, who says the Kurds are understandably angry:

The blowback here in Kurdistan is building against the U.S. government because of its help with the Turkish air strikes. The theme is shock and betrayal. The Kurds see themselves as the only true friend of the Americans in the region, and the only part of Iraq that is working, and are especially hurt by the attack...

The key factor in the air strike is what they hit–it wasn’t a collection of PKK fighters, it was a series of small mountain villages, widely disbursed, some as far as 70 kilometers inside of Kurdistan. The people killed and wounded were villagers, not PKK fighters or support people.

The initial explanation from Washington that the United States did not authorize the Turkish strike is bullshit, and every Kurd here knows it.

I hesitate to make jokes about this, because Kurds have been horribly treated by history. On the other hand, this is, by my count, the sixth time we've betrayed the Kurds since World War I. You'd think they'd anticipate our pulling away the football by now.

(Post regurgitated from here.)

—Jonathan Schwarz

Posted at December 18, 2007 09:43 AM

Yeah, the whole Kurd thing is tragic, but they don't have many options besides relying on the US (again). Hopefully the Kurds have learned from history and don't trust the US completly this time around.

Posted by: Non Nato at December 18, 2007 10:38 AM

I'm sure the Turkish military was, like, "hey, all this great bombing going on--where's our piece?"

(Well, I'm sure it sounds more elegant in Turkish.)


Posted by: Stinky Flamingo at December 18, 2007 10:46 AM

SHADES OF HENRY KISSINGER, but, as SITTINGBULL said "All men from Washington are liars."

Posted by: Mike Meyer at December 18, 2007 11:07 AM

Genaral Patraeus or General Betray us?--where have we heard that before.

Posted by: Don Bacon at December 18, 2007 11:27 AM

"Fuck the Kurds, they can't vote for us anyway."

Posted by: donescobar at December 18, 2007 12:19 PM

The post actually looks better without the speech bubble, just as a tip.

Posted by: En Ming Hee at December 18, 2007 05:29 PM

What about "We are the Hmong"? That's a pretty ugly story.

Posted by: StO at December 18, 2007 08:02 PM

"I am the Kurds"
And you can too?

The congressional Dems will pull the football, for now. But the alternatives are no football (the waste-a-vote parties or no vote), or someone who runs home with it and claims to never have seen it (the current mob).

However, these are all institutions. Unlike people, they do not have a central unalterable motivation. Plenty of ego, but little id. They are subject to behaviorist strategies. That is, they can be changed by pressure applied to the appropriate points at the appropriate times.

Perhaps more fundamentally, their component parts are replaced by ones that differ from what they replace. The selection processes are not well engaged with at present.

In a phrase, we need more and better Democrats.

What comes after that is a more open question. To my mind a non-first-past-the-post electoral system is a vital step in the reform of American politics.

Posted by: me at December 19, 2007 05:27 AM
They are subject to behaviorist strategies. That is, they can be changed by pressure applied to the appropriate points at the appropriate times.

Skinner Boxes? Well, okay. That would be a bit harsh, but it couldn't possibly create more and worse Democrats.

Posted by: Scruggs at December 20, 2007 06:21 AM

"Behaviorist strategies" -

A classic exposition of these for the general reader is Karen Pryor's book Don't Shoot the Dog. Maybe there's a better one published more recently, but I'm not aware of it, and Pryor's book is still in print.

In general, though, I would like to make all who read these presents (Holiday Greetings!) aware of the apocryphal motto, allegedly posted on the wall at Skinner's laboratory:

"Under carefully controlled experimental conditions, the subject animal does what it damn well pleases."

This is true, and in fact that is what experiments are for - to see what conditions are connected with what operant behavior.

The MICFiC*, with their domestic experience of telling people what to do, and having it done, with the carefully controlled conditions including smaller bonuses, disemployment, and in the extreme case unfortunate accidents, find that the behavior of foreigners is inexplicable - those ragheads, like the gooks before them, would rather keep resisting than submit to the invaders. But maybe a few more bribes for the local elites, and mass murders for the freedom fighters, will do it...

*MilitaryIndustrialCongressionalFInancialCorporatemediacomplex, a conspiracy...except the "slaughter" is literal.

Posted by: mistah charley, ph.d. at December 20, 2007 02:19 PM