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Stupid, Just Stupid

Dr. Cole notes there’s an article in the Times that says the US has 1200 targets that will take out the Iranian military in three days.

Lebanon. You remember the recent unpleasantness in Lebanon. The Israeli air force pounded things for 30 days and Hezollah was still dropping rockets into Israel. The Israelis thought they had great intelligence, air supremacy, and veteran fighters, but they couldn’t take out Hezbollah.

Hezbollah’s military leadership was trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. One would assume that the Iranians are using some or all of the same tactics used by Hezbollah in their own country.

A US attack on Iran will be viewed as an existential threat by Iran. They will react with everything they have, so you can forget oil production out of the Persian Gulf for months, if not years. The world economy will tank. The American economy will tank. The Shi’ia in Iraq will launch an all-out attack on US forces. It will be a disaster.

The response of these idiots to hurricane Katrina is a prime example of their competence. They lied us into an unnecessary and unwise war with Iraq. What is the point in starting more wars we can’t win?

Pull out of Iraq. Finish the job in Afghanistan. Catch Osama bin Laden. Rebuild the Gulf Coast. Those are doable, worthwhile objectives.

[edited for spelling errors – rants are like that.]


1 whig { 09.02.07 at 11:51 pm }

A US attack on Iran is an existential crisis for Iran.

2 whig { 09.02.07 at 11:52 pm }

Frankly, I don’t know what “finish the job in Afghanistan” means. We already let bin Laden go to Pakistan.

3 whig { 09.02.07 at 11:59 pm }

For that matter, the Taliban are far from gone.

4 hipparchia { 09.03.07 at 12:14 am }

there were spelling errors?
nobody remembers lebanon. or cares. [i do]
leave iraq. leave afghanistan. obl can go suck sheeps eyeballs. rebuild the gulf coast.

i’m still amazed that nobody has declared the u.s. military a terrorist organization. we’ve invaded how many countries? and provided advice and weaponry to how many others?

conspiracy theories r me: back when plamegate broke, i hypothesized that that whole kerfuffle was merely a distraction to keep everyone from noticing that bush had started the next world war [by invading iraq].

5 Bryan { 09.03.07 at 12:18 am }

One of the problems is that the US doesn’t recognize the effect the attacks would have on Iran, or how Iran will react. The assumption is that these raids will chastise Iran and Iran will play nice. They don’t know or understand the people they are attacking.

Afghanistan needs its infrastructure repaired and a stable, functioning government in place to prevent slipping back into a “failed state, base for terrorism” that it became after the US failed to live up to its commitments after the Soviets were forced out.

The Afghan Army and Police need at least the training and weaponry that have been supplied to the failing Iraqi units, and the government needs the ability to actually control their borders and provide security for their people.

If we had done it, as we said we would, after the Soviets pulled out, the Taliban wouldn’t have risen to power, and the country would have been spared years of warfare.

If you stabilize Afghanistan, you have the necessary base to capture bin Laden, because he can’t do anything trapped in the Northwest Territories, You can also cut down on the drug trade [you’ll never stop it] which is a major source of funding.

The Taliban are coming back, because the job wasn’t finished before troops were withdrawn to start the Iraq idiocy.

6 Bryan { 09.03.07 at 12:33 am }

Afghanistan would really like to be a country, and it really is an international effort fronted by NATO. It would be nice if we occasionally honored our obligations. A stable Afghanistan would calm down a lot of countries in the area, including Pakistan, Iran and the former Soviet central Asian republics.

ObL is another wealthy oil-backed playboy operating out of his league, and I like slapping the snot out of scum like that.

The Plame outing is one of the main reasons we don’t know jack about what’s going on in Iran. Her network was responsible for most of the intel out of Iran, and they cut off the flow when they outed her.

7 whig { 09.03.07 at 8:49 pm }

You cannot stabilize Afghanistan without dealing with opium production. That cannot be a program of eradication, but some system by which farmers are encouraged to sell into a regulated system. The Senlis Council seems to have a good proposal.

8 Bryan { 09.03.07 at 9:41 pm }

Buying the crop and converting it to medical morphine is a no brainer. Of course you can’t eliminate it. It’s the only thing that will grow in a lot of areas, and like marijuana on the Great Plains, it grows regardless. It is a native plant.

There is nothing dumber than the speech we got from the commander of Offutt AFB outside of Omaha, Nebraska about the dangers of marijuana when the stuff was growing wild all around the base, but was especially thick around the runway because aircraft operations reduce the amount of mowing.

I have all of the tools that the garden industry can supply and in 12 years I have been unable to stop the lantana from springing up, so I’m convinced you can’t win the war of poppies any more than you can win the war on dandelions. If they want to contribute, let them attack kudzu.

As much morphine as the military goes through, you’d think someone would have made the obvious connection before now.

9 whig { 09.03.07 at 11:37 pm }

Isn’t kudzu edible?

Problem solved.

10 Bryan { 09.04.07 at 12:09 am }

Not unless you’re a goat, and a pretty hungry one at that.

11 hipparchia { 09.04.07 at 12:12 am }

nobody can eat that much kudzu.

12 whig { 09.04.07 at 2:12 am }
13 Bryan { 09.04.07 at 10:50 am }

Saying that kudzu is invasive doesn’t begin to describe what it does to Southern forests and farmland.

14 whig { 09.04.07 at 9:26 pm }

So what would you propose, Bryan?

15 whig { 09.04.07 at 9:41 pm }

It doesn’t spread widely, it doesn’t set seed easily, it’s hard to establish. It was established by deliberate intent.

16 whig { 09.04.07 at 9:42 pm }

It just outcompetes the crops they later decided they preferred to plant.

17 Bryan { 09.04.07 at 10:12 pm }

It was planted for erosion control, and once it gets a foothold it takes off. It is a major problem because in the conditions in the South there are no native controls on its growth, and it quickly covers and strangles everything else by stealing all of the sun,

You have to locate the taproot for each vine cluster and cut it of below the surface, because mowing doesn’t last more than a few months. It spreads rapidly over farm fields belonging to people who neither wanted, nor needed erosion control but are now faced with the cost of eradication.

We have a lot of ornamentals in the South that were imported and now we can’t get rid of them. They don’t belong in this environment and by the time people figure that out, it is too late.

18 whig { 09.04.07 at 11:08 pm }

Instead of treating it as erosion control or ornamental, use it as a crop. That’s all I’m saying. It was planted, and then the people who planted it decided to kill what they put there. I’d say we should learn to live in harmony with it. Stop trying to kill it and maybe it won’t want to strangle you.

19 whig { 09.04.07 at 11:10 pm }

Here’s my point. If it were a poisonous plant, I’d have a different opinion no doubt, but it’s literally a food crop.

20 whig { 09.04.07 at 11:19 pm }

Might even be a medicine.

You’re looking at something really that can be taken as a blessing in disguise. Don’t eradicate, harvest.

21 whig { 09.04.07 at 11:20 pm }

And hipparchia, last I looked there are people hungry.

22 hipparchia { 09.04.07 at 11:25 pm }

if cellulosic ethanol ethanol ever takes off, the deamnd would probably eradicate both lantana and kudzu inside of a decade. either that, or the entire south would be covered in the damned weeds. not that dethroning king cotton would be entirely bad….

at least kudzu is kind of fairy-tale-other-world-ish looking. lantana is just plain ugly.

23 hipparchia { 09.04.07 at 11:43 pm }

it doesn’t harvest easily. it tends to gum up and tear up any mechanical equipment used to harvest it. the underground tubers are huge, weighing up to a few hundred pounds each, and grow very deep. it’s not like digging potatoes.

it kills other, more useful, more easily grown, and more easily harvested crops.

it kills the local native species. all of them.

it’s nutritious as cattle feed, but cows would really rather not eat it. they’d rather have grass or hay or grain.

there’s a thriving cottage industry all over the southeast, making baskets and furniture and sculptures from the vines. really cool looking, but you have to have odd taste in furniture [and a fair amount of money] to buy it. i’ve got the odd taste, but not the $$$.

it really is like being in a fantasyland, driving down miles and miles of backwoods road, everything, and i do mean everything, around you draped in a single shade of almost-velvety green. i quite enjoy the experience.

herbicides have been used so heavily, and for so very many years, in efforts to eradicate it that it would probably be unsafe to try to use any of it as human food or medicine. the soils around here must be absolutely soaked in herbicides in a lot of places.

i would love to see more of this, but honestly, i’ve tried making baskets out of the vines. they’re a bear to cut down and haul off to your workshop.

24 whig { 09.04.07 at 11:59 pm }

So the poisoned soil you want to grow other crops in?

25 whig { 09.05.07 at 12:07 am }

Maybe industrial hemp would drive out kudzu.

26 whig { 09.05.07 at 12:15 am }

From your link:

What to do about kudzu

Two schools of thought have developed in response to the ubiquitous presence of kudzu in the south. One school of thought chooses to eradicate the plant at any cost or opportunity, applying an abundance of herbicides along highways, railways, and in fields, or mowing intensively to be rid of the kudzu in arable farmland (or at least keep it in check). Another school of thought has evolved in the south which strives to learn how to use the prolific plant to an economic and environmentally sound advantage. The kudzu vine has been economically and medicinally important in China for over 2000 years, and the latter school of thought chooses to benefit from the voice of experience.

27 Bryan { 09.05.07 at 12:22 am }

Most of the herbicides are drawn into the plants, which is why you don’t want to try to use them for food for humans or animals. The tubers store it, which is why they have to be pulled. Farmers don’t use the herbicides on their fields because they need to use the fields to grow what they can.

We have small farms, generally, in the South, not the huge expanses you see out West. There aren’t that many cash crops or food crops that will grow down here, and that is a secondary problem, the lack of diversity. They are facing that problem in central Florida with citrus canker, there are no natural breaks to stop diseases.

There is no market for kudzu, and the small farmers can’t wait for one to develop. They are already at the mercy of processors for the crops they can grow. Tyson has destroyed the Panhandle poultry business by convincing farmers to expand to provide them with chickens, and then deciding that the corporation would rather buy chickens in Alabama. Farmers went into debt thinking they had a deal, and Tyson screwed them.

The hurricanes in 2004 and 2005 did a lot of damage to agriculture, and no one can afford any chancy experiments, as farming is risky enough.

28 hipparchia { 09.05.07 at 12:44 am }

industrial hemp would be terrific. i’d love to see it grown here [especially in place of cotton] but i don’t think it can out-compete established kudzu.

harvesting kudzu as a cash crop is a bit like using oil from the alberta tar sands. we’ve had the technology to extract shale oil for decades, but it’s costly. now that crude oil has become so expensive, the extreme labor and energy costs of getting tar out of the ground and into your tank is finally [almost] economically feasible. it’s roughly the same with kudzu, the amount of work it takes to harvest the stuff makes the products from it too pricey, not to mention the fact that nobody actually wants anything made from kudzu. at least people want oil.

if, however, there’s some way to power automobiles with it, then we’re in clover.

29 whig { 09.05.07 at 11:36 am }

Don’t the Tysons have a special relationship with the Clintons, btw?

30 whig { 09.05.07 at 11:42 am }

Hipparchia: #1. Stop using those pesticides on the kudzu or we won’t get to a point where we can harvest it for food.

31 whig { 09.05.07 at 11:48 am }

Obviously that is a losing game anyhow. If you can’t exterminate it, and you should not want to exterminate non-poisonous plants, making it poisonous is not the solution. If harvest is not economical with current conditions, how much public money is being spent now on eradication that could better be spent to support this activity?

32 whig { 09.05.07 at 11:58 am }

Industrial ethanol production is one possibility, for sure. How much are we spending on price supports for petroleum? You’d have to include Iraq.

33 Bryan { 09.05.07 at 3:30 pm }

The Tyson Corporation have a “special relationship” with anyone who has any political power, it’s called money. Bill was the governor of Arkansas and Tyson is in Arkansas. WalMart and Tyson own Arkansas in too many ways.

Whig, we need traditional native crops, not imported crops. The kudzu might be developed into something but it is really destroying the environment down here, including the habitat for many native species.

Hemp is a much better fit, if people would get over the “reefer madness” and is/was a native plant. Native grasses and wildflowers could provide just as much erosion control, as could better plowing and timber harvesting techniques.

34 whig { 09.06.07 at 1:19 am }

Hey, you know what will leech pesticides and contaminants right out of the soil?


35 whig { 09.06.07 at 1:27 am }

It makes excellent paper, and even plastic.

36 whig { 09.06.07 at 1:29 am }

Not to mention potentially enough oil to replace our dependence on foreign petroleum.

37 whig { 09.06.07 at 1:31 am }

Oh, I mentioned.

38 hipparchia { 09.06.07 at 2:08 am }

most crops will leach stuff out of the soil — pesticides, minerals, nitrogen, etc.

you just have to be prudent in your use of those crops. pesticides in hemp used for paper wouldn’t be as bad as pesticides in hemp used for food or clothing. after several years of pesticide- and chemical- free farming on formerly-abused land, you do get to officially label your crops “organic.” not that that means much these days, with all the exceptions being granted in labelling.