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The battle cry in Afghanistan is “blame the troops!”

by Speranza ( 86 Comments › )
Filed under Afghanistan, Taliban at March 22nd, 2012 - 8:00 am

Lt. Colonel Ralph Peters gives some much needed perspective on the recent shooting incident in Afghanistan and the restraints that our commanders put on our troops.

by Ralph Peters

Two Sundays ago, just before dawn, an American staff sergeant walked away from his post in the badlands of Kandahar Province, Afghanistan, went into a nearby village, and methodically murdered sixteen civilians, including women and children. This didn’t happen in the confusion of a firefight amidst the “fog of war.” It was the brutal act of a veteran who cracked. The deed cannot be excused. But I believe it can be explained.

[.......]

 That staff sergeant—who turned himself in after the killings—is guilty of murder in a degree yet to be determined, but the amazing thing is how disciplined, patient and tenacious our troops have been. Given the outrageous stresses of serving repeated tours in an environment a brand-new private could recognize as hopeless (while his generals fly back and forth congratulating themselves), it’s remarkable that we have not seen more and even uglier incidents. The problem in Afghanistan isn’t our troops—although craven generals routinely insist that everything is the fault of “disrespectful” soldiers—it’s a leadership in and out of uniform that is bankrupt of ideas, bankrupt of ethics, bankrupt of moral courage—and rich only in self-interest and ambition.

If there’s a “battle cry” in Afghanistan, it’s “Blame the troops!” Generals out of touch with the ugly, brute reality on the ground down in the Taliban-sympathizing villages respond to every seeming crisis in Afghan-American relations by telling our troops to “respect Afghan culture.”

But generals don’t have a clue about Afghan “culture.” They interact with well-educated, privileged, English-speaking Afghans who know exactly which American buttons to press to keep the tens of billions of dollars in annual aid flowing. The troops, on the other hand, daily encounter villagers who will not warn them about Taliban-planted booby traps or roadside bombs, who obviously want them to leave, who relish the abject squalor in which they live and who appear to value the lives of their animals above those of their women. When our Soldiers and Marines hear, yet again, that they need to “respect Afghan culture,” they must want to puke up their rations.

When I was a young officer in training, we mocked the European “chateaux generals” of the First World War who gave their orders from elegant headquarters without ever experiencing the reality faced by the troops in the trenches. We never thought that we’d have chateaux generals of our own, but now we do. Flying down to visit an outpost and staying just long enough to pin on a medal or two, get a dog-and-pony-show briefing and have a well-scripted tea session with a carefully selected “good” tribal elder, then winging straight back to a well-protected headquarters where the electronics are more real than the troops is not the way to develop a “fingertips feel” for on-the-ground reality.

[......]

Right now, our troops are being used as props in a campaign year, as pawns by dull-witted generals who just don’t know what else to do, and as cash cows by corrupt Afghan politicians, generals and warlords (all of whom agree that it’s virtuous to rob the Americans blind).

What are our goals? What is our strategy? We’re told, endlessly, that things are improving in Afghanistan, yet, ten years ago, a U.S. Army general, unarmed, could walk the streets of Kabul without risk. Today, there is no city in Afghanistan where a U.S. general could stroll the streets. We may not have a genius for war, but we sure do have a genius for kidding ourselves.

Now we’re told that we have to stay to build the Afghan military and police. Jesus, Mary and Joseph! And Allah’s knickers, too! We’ve been training and equipping the Afghan army and the Afghan cops (and robbers) for ten years. In World War II, we turned out a mass military of our own in a year or so. The problem in Afghanistan isn’t that we haven’t tried, but that the Afghans are not interested in fighting for the exuberantly corrupt Karzai regime. Right now, our troops are dying to preserve a filthy Kabul government whose president blatantly stole the last election and which has no hope of gaining the support of its own people. Meanwhile, despite repeated claims that the Taliban is on its last legs, the religious fanatics remain the home team backed by Afghanistan’s Pashtun majority. (If the people didn’t back them, the Taliban would, indeed, have been long gone—we need to face reality.)

Recently, another friend, who clings to (now-retired) General Petraeus’s counterinsurgency notion that, if we just hang on and give the Afghans enough free stuff, they’ll come around to the American way of life, told me, yet again, “You should hear the intercepts we get from the low-level Taliban fighters…they’re in a panic…”

That’s the old Vietnam line: “We win every firefight!” Sure, we whip the Taliban every time we catch them with their weapons (if they’re not holding weapons, we can’t engage, even if they just killed Americans). But we dare not attack the Taliban leadership in Pakistan, where it’s protected by our “allies.” And no matter how many Taliban we kill, they still attract volunteers willing to die for their cause. The Afghans we train turn their guns on us.

It appears that the staff sergeant who murdered those Afghan villagers had cracked under the stresses of a war we won’t allow our troops to fight. But the real madness is at the top, in the White House, where President Obama can’t see past the November election; in Congress, where Republicans cling to whatever war they’ve got; and in uniform, where our generals have run out of ideas and moral courage.

That staff sergeant murdered sixteen Afghans. Our own leaders have murdered thousands and maimed tens of thousands of our own troops out of vanity, ambition and inertia. Who deserves our sympathy?

In war, soldiers die. But they shouldn’t die for bullshit.

Read the rest -  Soldiers murder Afghans, generals murder soldiers

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86 Responses to “The battle cry in Afghanistan is “blame the troops!””
( jump to bottom )

  1. Bumr50
    1 | March 22, 2012 8:06 am

    Bring the boys back home.


  2. Bumr50
    2 | March 22, 2012 8:06 am

    @ Bumr50:

    And girls.


  3. Bumr50
    3 | March 22, 2012 8:11 am

    Many believe the rules of engagement are the primary reason the war against the Taliban is ongoing as well as a contributing factor to feelings of anger, helplessness, frustration, failure and rage many deployed soldier’s experience.

    An active-duty Army aviator preparing for his third deployment elaborated on this example, “War is an absolute. An armed combatant equals shooting. The soldier’s job is to break the enemy, to kill or to capture or be killed and captured. You don’t ask a man to go to war part-time, and that’s what we’re doing,” he says. “When you prohibit a soldier from acting in accordance with training, common sense and the goal of defeating his enemy, this breeds unfathomable stress. Couple that with asking these men to die for this war, but then feeding, clothing and releasing their enemy because irrational rules demand it; that’s the height of insult.”

    Link.


  4. 4 | March 22, 2012 8:14 am

    The troops, on the other hand, daily encounter villagers who will not warn them about Taliban-planted booby traps or roadside bombs, who obviously want them to leave, who relish the abject squalor in which they live and who appear to value the lives of their animals above those of their women. When our Soldiers and Marines hear, yet again, that they need to “respect Afghan culture,” they must want to puke up their rations.

    You can’t civilize these barbarians. There is no point in even trying. We should have destroyed Afghanistan for their role in 9-11, and fuck the “Nation Building” excercises. There is no nation there to build.


  5. 5 | March 22, 2012 8:15 am

    And when the last American has left that frakking piece of shit country Afghanistan, we should light the place up!
    As in White Light Therapy™….


  6. 6 | March 22, 2012 8:22 am

    @ Macker:

    That is what we should have done to begin with. Every major city, every town and villiage, every place two goat-herds get together to swap hummas (or whatever goat-herds swap…). Destroy them all, in detail. A 21st Century Carthage to make our enemies tremble. Instead, we went in almost gently. Spent billions of dollars building them up so that they could become the heroin exporting machine that they are today… :roll:


  7. mawskrat
    7 | March 22, 2012 8:23 am

    for our young men and women
    it has been a set up for failure
    from the get go


  8. MikeA
    8 | March 22, 2012 8:26 am

    While I feel sorry for teh children born there since they had no chance, its not our place to fix it all. The only way to fix it is to wipe out every last Taliban (including Pakistan) and forcebly remove islam from the country. Then send in Christian missionaires. islam is incompatiable with respect for individual rights. Its all about subservience to the state.


  9. mawskrat
    9 | March 22, 2012 8:26 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    well they have some infrastructure for
    the transportation of raw opium now


  10. Lost
    10 | March 22, 2012 8:30 am

    Well Merah is dead.

    There is much to regret in the way this all played out.


  11. Bumr50
    11 | March 22, 2012 8:30 am

    @ mawskrat:

    Yes.

    Jets flying out are a slight improvement from pack animals or, at best, a 12 year old Toyota pickup.

    The counterargument to leaving, that it would allow the Taliban and al-Qaeda to re-establish bases of operations there and therefore is an unacceptable risk to US national security, cannot be facilitated without a complete and total occupation and takeover. If we’re not willing to do that we need to get out and, yes, if terrorists based there strike Americans, they should be bombed into oblivion.


  12. Bumr50
    12 | March 22, 2012 8:31 am

    @ MikeA:

    Left a shout-out for you backthread.


  13. Bumr50
    13 | March 22, 2012 8:32 am

    @ Lost:

    They’re saying he jumped and was firing until he hit the ground.

    Hard to believe they couldn’t take him alive via non-lethal means.


  14. MikeA
    14 | March 22, 2012 8:35 am

    @ Bumr50:

    Saw that. I work in Delaware so can’t run up to Philly for a fix right now. Got some local places to go to here. Just got to figure where… Just after 8:30 am here and I am already thinking of lunch…


  15. 15 | March 22, 2012 8:36 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    Hard to believe they couldn’t take him alive via non-lethal means.

    Why even try? Chuck a grenade in the room with him, then go clean up the mess. As it is they got a couple of cops hurt.


  16. Lost
    16 | March 22, 2012 8:39 am

    @ Bumr50:
    Yeah, it was a ground floor window. Where were the snipers?
    Also, they only went in after not having signs of life for over 10 hours. What’s up with that?


  17. Bumr50
    17 | March 22, 2012 8:41 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    Intelligence gathering.

    I would think they’d want to know if he was involved in a network.

    Then again, who am I kidding? It’s France.


  18. mawskrat
    18 | March 22, 2012 8:43 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    yeh take a few Muslims from jail to clean
    the frakkin side walk off


  19. Speranza
    19 | March 22, 2012 8:48 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    You can’t civilize these barbarians. There is no point in even trying. We should have destroyed Afghanistan for their role in 9-11, and fuck the “Nation Building” excercizes. There is no nation there to build.

    They live and act lower then animals. I’ve zero use for them and their brutal “culture” (more like an “anti-culture”).


  20. Speranza
    20 | March 22, 2012 8:50 am

    Iron Fist wrote:

    @ Macker:
    That is what we should have done to begin with. Every major city, every town and villiage, every place two goat-herds get together to swap hummas (or whatever goat-herds swap…). Destroy them all, in detail. A 21st Century Carthage to make our enemies tremble. Instead, we went in almost gently. Spent billions of dollars building them up so that they could become the heroin exporting machine that they are today…

    We should have turned it into a glass parking lot on September 12, 2001.


  21. Speranza
    21 | March 22, 2012 8:51 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    They’re saying he jumped and was firing until he hit the ground.

    Hard to believe they couldn’t take him alive via non-lethal means.

    There is a philosophy I always believed in, which is “a dead killer guarantees he will never commit a murder again”.


  22. Speranza
    22 | March 22, 2012 8:53 am

    As long as the Taliban had sanctuaries in Pakistan, we never could really win the war.


  23. Tanker
    23 | March 22, 2012 8:57 am

    LTC Peters gets it, there aren’t many LTC Peters left in the military.
    Actually he was a little too kind in his assessment of the Generals.

    And before anyone starts with we need more Gen Schwarzkopf or Powell Generals, just remember, they started the whole fly in -- fly out way of leading.

    Way too important to be bullet catchers!


  24. Bumr50
    24 | March 22, 2012 8:59 am

    @ Speranza:

    In a perfect world, IMHO, he would’ve been “interrogated” until he either gave something up or couldn’t talk anymore.

    He was ready to die a martyr, and got what he wanted in style.

    I say deny him his virgins, and allow him to shriek bloody murder for five or six years before executing him as an example of just how “moderate” the ROP is.


  25. waldensianspirit
    25 | March 22, 2012 9:00 am

    @ Speranza:
    Early on at 0.0001 I’d refer to Pakistan as Cambodia and take a lot of crap for it


  26. 27 | March 22, 2012 9:07 am

    @ Speranza:

    Iblis Akbaaaaarrrrr!


  27. 28 | March 22, 2012 9:07 am

    @ Bumr50:

    These are the guys that McCain wants to send in our air power to help. How fucked up is that?


  28. 29 | March 22, 2012 9:07 am

    @ Bumr50:

    Didja hear it! It’s the Muslim National Anthem™ in Syria!


  29. waldensianspirit
    30 | March 22, 2012 9:07 am

    @ Bumr50:
    Obama, McCain and Ms Lindsay couldn’t be happier


  30. 31 | March 22, 2012 9:08 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    السناتور ماكين is smoking that Aghani shit….


  31. Bumr50
    32 | March 22, 2012 9:08 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    He’s pretty much the “face of the GOP” in the MSM, too.


  32. Bumr50
    33 | March 22, 2012 9:13 am

    @ waldensianspirit:

    Coming to a city near you, if we continue along the European path:

    A MOSQUE that could cater for 600 people, with a minaret towering 21 metres into the sky, will be built in Derby.

    Derby City Council’s planning committee last night ignored advice from planning officers that they should refuse the application.

    How do we fight an enemy that we force ourselves to tolerate?


  33. waldensianspirit
    34 | March 22, 2012 9:18 am

    @ Bumr50:
    I never thought an actualized world system would ever be based on such barbarism


  34. 35 | March 22, 2012 9:22 am

    @ Tanker:

    Peters and Col. Hunt get it.


  35. 36 | March 22, 2012 9:23 am

    @ Tanker:
    There are actually SOME higher field grade officers that I would believe really know the situation.
    One is Colonel James Coffman. Here’s a Distinguished Service Cross recipient who should be a General by now. Wonder why he isn’t? I know, he actually fought as a colonel and isn’t one of the hallway officers.


  36. Bumr50
    37 | March 22, 2012 9:24 am

    The State Department has said the U.S. and other countries are consulting with Iraq about Iranian flights of weapons to Syria after Iraq’s prime minister denied a report in The Washington Times saying Baghdad is allowing such flights.
    —————————————
    A U.S. official told The Times that Iraq’s government has ignored credible intelligence that the planes are transporting up to 30 tons of weapons and has said the Iranian cargo flights were transporting only humanitarian aid.

    What’s more, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff told Congress last week that the Iraqi government has asked Iran to stop flying cargo planes through its airspace.

    The War on Christianity has an epicenter, with a small moustachioed guy in the middle of it.

    We’re fighting in the wrong country.


  37. Bumr50
    38 | March 22, 2012 9:26 am

    Peter wrote:

    Wonder why he isn’t?

    The “wrong” politics?


  38. 39 | March 22, 2012 9:27 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    McCain has been an Islamist supporter since the 90s. I think he’s a paid agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.


  39. 40 | March 22, 2012 9:31 am

    @ Bumr50:

    To answer your question from the last thread, I live in the lower Shenandoah valley. I was only working in TX for 46 months -- I live here.


  40. Speranza
    41 | March 22, 2012 9:31 am

    Rodan wrote:

    @ Iron Fist:
    McCain has been an Islamist supporter since the 90s. I think he’s a paid agent of the Muslim Brotherhood.

    He is a senile old man.


  41. Tanker
    42 | March 22, 2012 9:32 am

    @ Peter:

    I think you answered your own question. He isn’t a general probably because he is willing to put himself in harms way. Leading from the front isn’t vogue any longer! How many Majors and above have you seen on the casualty lists from the front line fighting lately?

    There aren’t many field grade officers willing to do that. And if they are, they tend to be pasted over when promotion time comes.

    There are some good ones out there, just really hard to spot or find!


  42. 43 | March 22, 2012 9:32 am

    @ Rodan:

    I despise McCain. Yeah, he served honorably, but what he has done since then has been questionable at best. It is way past time fo r him to retire.


  43. Bumr50
    44 | March 22, 2012 9:35 am

    @ Mike C.:

    Beautiful country!

    I took a trip through there with friends of my wife’s that live in Lynchburg and work at Liberty U.


  44. mawskrat
    45 | March 22, 2012 9:38 am

    a WTF……

    Woman, 39, accused of breaking into house and raping manAustralian Rebecca Elder ‘performed oral sex’ on alleged victim

    Finally, prosecutors will accuse Elder of raping the man by performing an act of oral sex without his consent


  45. 46 | March 22, 2012 9:40 am

    Peter wrote:

    @ Tanker:
    There are actually SOME higher field grade officers that I would believe really know the situation.
    One is Colonel James Coffman. Here’s a Distinguished Service Cross recipient who should be a General by now. Wonder why he isn’t? I know, he actually fought as a colonel and isn’t one of the hallway officers.

    Apparently, he may not have lost either his mouth or his brain!


  46. Bumr50
    47 | March 22, 2012 9:40 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    Worse, he’s EVERYWHERE. Blathering on about spreading democracy and the magic of “compromise.”


  47. Bumr50
    48 | March 22, 2012 9:41 am

    @ mawskrat:

    I’m assuming the man pressing charges is married…


  48. 49 | March 22, 2012 9:42 am

    @ mawskrat:

    Good Lord….


  49. 50 | March 22, 2012 9:44 am

    @ Bumr50:

    If that’s the case, was his wife next to him while this…”woman”…did what she did?


  50. 51 | March 22, 2012 9:47 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    McCain is a stooge for Islamists.


  51. 52 | March 22, 2012 9:47 am

    @ Rodan:

    You offend The Three Stooges! 8)


  52. 53 | March 22, 2012 9:49 am

    @ Bumr50:

    There are times when it is OK to hit a woman. I’d say this would qualify as one. I’d have drilled her. What the hell was she thinking?


  53. Bumr50
    54 | March 22, 2012 9:49 am

    @ Macker:

    “Ah, a whysheguy eh!?”


  54. 55 | March 22, 2012 9:50 am

    @ Iron Fist:

    Drilled? Interesting choice of words there IF…. 8)


  55. 56 | March 22, 2012 9:50 am

    @ Bumr50:

    Woowoowoowoowoowoowoo!


  56. 57 | March 22, 2012 9:52 am

    @ Macker:

    I figured you’d like it :cool:


  57. 58 | March 22, 2012 9:52 am

    As General Heinz Guderian once said ….

    Nicht Kleckern sondern Klotzen!

    Which literally means don’t do anything half-assed.
    But this is what is happening in Afghanistan.

    We’re “Kleckern”, messing things up when we should have been “Klotzen”, slamming them hard.

    So, if we’re not up to Klotzen, we should get the troops out.


  58. Bumr50
    59 | March 22, 2012 9:56 am

    @ Peter:

    The larger problem is that it’s becoming standard operating procedure for our military.


  59. 60 | March 22, 2012 10:05 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    @ Peter:
    The larger problem is that it’s becoming standard operating procedure for our military.

    No it’s not, it is standard operating procedure for our politicians to tie our military’s hand behind their backs and make them fight on one foot. It’s not our military’s fault, intention or desire to operate that way.


  60. Bumr50
    61 | March 22, 2012 10:06 am

    @ doriangrey:

    I wasn’t blaming the military, only the policy of the leaders shaping the missions (or lack thereof.)


  61. Bumr50
    62 | March 22, 2012 10:08 am

    @ doriangrey:

    BTW, how’s Moms?


  62. Tanker
    63 | March 22, 2012 10:10 am

    @ doriangrey:

    Politicians set SOP, it’s the way our system is designed!

    So in a sense, you and Peter are both correct.

    The Military may not desire to operate in this way. The SOP is still the SOP, with little to no input from the military!


  63. Bumr50
    64 | March 22, 2012 10:12 am

    @ Tanker:

    Hey, what am I, chopped liver??

    //8)

    OT- Great piece, maybe threadworthy.

    Why Iran Thinks America Won’t Attack


  64. Tanker
    65 | March 22, 2012 10:17 am

    @ Bumr50:

    Sorry, I know you are correct sometimes also!

    ducking


  65. Bumr50
    66 | March 22, 2012 10:19 am

    @ Tanker:

    Only occasionally, depending on who you ask!!

    8)


  66. 67 | March 22, 2012 10:24 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    BTW, how’s Moms?

    Doing good. We are now doing radiation therapy every day, for the next 6 weeks. On the positive side, I get to drive this road back and forth to the hospital ever day… :grin:

    View Larger Map


  67. 68 | March 22, 2012 10:26 am

    @ doriangrey:

    Must be one heck of a scenery!


  68. Bumr50
    69 | March 22, 2012 10:30 am

    @ doriangrey:

    That’s awesome!

    (The scenic road, not the radiation!)

    That’s also cool she’s doing OK in the car afterwards.

    Prayers for you and yours.

    Tell me you drive a standard!


  69. 70 | March 22, 2012 10:33 am

    Macker wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    Must be one heck of a scenery!

    Not really, mostly desert canyon with steep cliff-sides. But it is nice and twisty and turny… :grin:


  70. 71 | March 22, 2012 10:33 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    That’s awesome!
    (The scenic road, not the radiation!)
    That’s also cool she’s doing OK in the car afterwards.
    Prayers for you and yours.
    Tell me you drive a standard!

    Nope, sadly my little BMW is an automatic. :oops:


  71. Bumr50
    72 | March 22, 2012 10:35 am

    @ doriangrey:

    Rats!

    SoCal traffic with a depressed clutch is probably a pain, though…


  72. 73 | March 22, 2012 10:36 am

    @ doriangrey:

    Glad everything is going well.


  73. 74 | March 22, 2012 10:40 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    Rats!
    SoCal traffic with a depressed clutch is probably a pain, though…

    Traffic usually isn’t bad where I live, since I am out in the boonies. Plus an automatic transmission in a BMW is really much closer to a assisted manual transmission than it is to a automatic transmission. (ok, technically it actually is a assisted manual transmission) :razz:


  74. 75 | March 22, 2012 10:43 am

    @ doriangrey:

    You should come ride this if you like curves. It is quite the trail…


  75. Bumr50
    76 | March 22, 2012 10:44 am

    @ doriangrey:

    Huh. I’ve never driven an “automatic” BMer.

    Is it like other makes, where you kind of slam the selector to the left?


  76. 77 | March 22, 2012 10:50 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    Huh. I’ve never driven an “automatic” BMer.
    Is it like other makes, where you kind of slam the selector to the left?

    Nope, there’s a little button right next to the shift that switches the transmission from automatic to manual. Once switched it operates just like a in-line manual transmission minus the clutch.


  77. 78 | March 22, 2012 10:52 am

    @ doriangrey:

    It’s not a true manual transmission, but it’s not a automatic either, kind of a hybrid of the two. Plus it has electronic traction control, which is pretty cool.


  78. Bumr50
    79 | March 22, 2012 10:56 am

    @ doriangrey:

    Sounds fun enough, but would take some getting used to.


  79. Bumr50
    80 | March 22, 2012 10:57 am

    Hahahahahaha!!!

    Biden Quietly Assembling Advisers For Potential 2016 Presidential Campaign…

    h/t ZIP


  80. 81 | March 22, 2012 11:01 am

    Bumr50 wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    Sounds fun enough, but would take some getting used to.

    Actually no, it drives in manual almost exactly the same as an automatic except that you have the option of changing gears without having to worry about damaging the transmission. It also does it at about 1500 RPMs higher. Which means a pretty nice little kick in the pants when you mash the accelerator. :grin:


  81. 82 | March 22, 2012 11:07 am

    New Thread.


  82. 83 | March 22, 2012 11:08 am

    COIN dictates restricted ROE. The problem with COIN in Afghanistan is that the premise that Afghans want Democracy and freedom is flawed. Time to get out, Afghanistan is a hopeless shithole.


  83. The Osprey
    84 | March 22, 2012 11:08 am

    @ doriangrey:

    So it’s a semi-automatic transmission :twisted:


  84. 85 | March 22, 2012 11:11 am

    The Osprey wrote:

    @ doriangrey:
    So it’s a semi-automatic transmission

    :razz: BMW calls it an assisted manual transmission… :razz:


  85. Buffalobob
    86 | March 22, 2012 12:25 pm

    Karzai wants us out. Apparently he has stashed away enough US money for the next ten lifetimes.


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