• I was gonna write about the above, which I just caught over the weekend, when the search for a vidclip informed me that it's over a year old. I really need to watch more teevee.
Anyway, I'm not sure why anyone would concern themselves with teenage argot from a previous century, or teenagers, period, for that matter, but it's their money. Still, if that's your target group, I think it's safe to say that Gentle Admonition is a poor choice of format. I'd'a gone with the "What if Zinc suddenly disappeared?" classroom films approach, and made all the hot teenage couture ensembles not produced by The Gays vanish, and show the two twenty-something teens leaving the shop in identical muumuus, or something.
Also, one of those people is reportedly Hilary Duff. Have eliminated the brunette.
• Bestest thing on the internets, ever, in case you haven't seen it:
1) Wonkette uncovers Soviet-Realist rendition of Jesus H. Moses hand-delivering the US Constitution direct from Mt. Sinai, except that his copy seems to include only Article I, meaning either that our crappy Legislature is what's Divinely inspired, or the thing comes in installments, like the Time-Life Greatest Hits of the 70s collection. 2) Artist's website includes handy mouse-over explanation of all the Symbolism involved, an even greater treat than the aesthetic one. 3) Internet denizen "Shortpacked!" "corrects" mouse-over information, as the kids say. 4) Everyone's happy, including guy with horrible undiagnosed respiratory thing.
• Which forms a more perfect segue than I could manage to the military/historical Thought of Lt. Col. (Hon.) David Brooks, who yesterday engaged in a "Conversation" with Gail Collins, notable for being the only time they seem to have actually conversed during one. The give-and-take amounted to a mutual tongue-bathing of each other's book deals, of course. Like you expected any different.
Anyway, we get this from our Honorary Looey Bird:
When we first invaded [Afghanistan], it seemed like this gigantic victory for high-tech warfare. We had a few special forces types sneaking around the country pointing lasers at targets and then F-18s would blow them up. That seemed to vindicate the Donald Rumsfeld high-tech war doctrine, which in turn shaped the way we fought in Afghanistan and Iraq for years to come.
I don’t recall anybody, Democrat or Republican, questioning that strategy five years ago. I don’t recall anybody saying we needed a classic COIN strategy of lots of boots on the ground.
Which just might be because you were so busy crowing about our Amazing Technological Victory, pseudo-pondering how much gloating you could do without being unseemly, and rubbing the noses of imaginary hippies in the dirt. The Army spent twenty years absorbing the counterinsurgency lessons of Vietnam, but they're extremely unattractive to politicians in general and your party in particular, and they went out the window the instant you figured you had Righteousness on your side. Just bomb the shit out of people: it kills all our enemies and leaves us unscathed. Just like in did in Nam. Everyone in uniform knows this is the absolute key to guaranteed success, all right.
What You Heard At The Time, David Brooks, was identical to What You Were Shouting: partisan politics and myopic triumphalism, 100 tons of hubris in a 10 ton shell, which permitted no difference of opinion, let alone heard any. In 2001, just as in 2009, Afghanistan was a god-forsaken collection of badlands. It bordered Pakistan back then too, which bordered India, just like now, two swell members of the Nuclear Club which don't seem to care much for each other. And there was precisely Zero chance that The Grand Coalition was going to bag bin-Laden, get back in time for the start of the Parade season, and all's well that ends well. We undertook a generation-long occupation of one of the poorest countries on earth, half a world away, with no plan to increase troop levels, no public accounting, and for godssakes No New Taxes. Quick technological victory, everybody keeps cheering for two years, reelection, no questions asked. To say that what the Bush administration was up to in Afghanistan--while you shook your pom-poms, Brooks--revolved around the rosiest of rosy scenarios falls short only in that you can actually see through rose tints.