NEW YORK—The war on terror, as the most inarticulate man ever to inhabit the White House calls it, has now lasted longer than World War II. And take it from Taki, it’s not going away, not in my lifetime, that’s for sure. Insurgencies have a tendency to wear out their enemy and eventually prevail. Malaya (1948-1960) is the only exception. (Thank you Col. Thompson.) In 1946 the French fought an insurgency in Indochina, and after eight years they collapsed in Dienbienphu. Algeria ditto. Ten years in Vietnam saw mighty Uncle Sam defeated, while in the Philippines the Marxist Huks are yet to be beaten. In Afghanistan, the powerful Soviet Union ate humble pie after nine years, and at present NATO is also tasting the same kind of pie, despite reports to the contrary.
Let’s face it. Victory in Afghanistan is an ephemeral mirage, to be enjoyed only under the influence of that miserable country’s most popular export. The Taliban has the same advantage over U.S. and European forces under NATO that once upon a time the North Vietnamese and FLN had in North Vietnam and in Tunisia. Safe havens in Pakistan’s Tribal Areas, where the Pashtun population loves him, makes Johnny Taliban a very hard chappie to pin down. In fact, the only ones pinned down seem to be those friends of ours getting very rich indeed selling drugs back in Kabul. People such as Ahmed Wali Karzai, whose brother is the president of Afghanistan, and, most important, his brother’s protector. We need 400,000 troops to tie the Taliban, and perhaps double that to win.
Instead we have sixty thousand whose operations are known in advance to the enemy through local employees that work in U.S. and NATO bases. It is a joke except for those who have lost their lives over there in order to satisfy the Blair and Bush megalomania. And don’t dismiss a Vietnam-style Tet offencive, this time in Kabul.
Here in New York most people think Afghanistan is somewhere north of Paris, but without the pissoirs and the Crazy Horse Saloon. They also think that if the Afghani government is corrupt and has lost the trust of the people, Wall Street titans were those who showed them how to deal from the bottom of the deck. “Hang them high,” is the cry, except there is no moolah left to pay for the hangman. These so called titans are mostly very short and seem to have stepped out of an Ayn Rand novel. They used to be called Boesky and Milken, now they’re called … oh well, no using kicking people who are down, no matter how much they deserve it. That tired old bag, the New York Times, seems to be enjoying it, however. Not a day goes by without her circulation dropping and a long boring piece about saying goodbye to the Wall Street lifestyle appearing.
The old hag quotes people like one John Beckett from Monte Carlo saying things such as “The yacht is probably the first thing to go.” That’s a very original thing to say, and the Times were right there to catch it before anyone else.
I say the private jet is the first to go because it costs just as much and the fuel is more expensive, but then I own a sailboat and the wind has been until now tax exempt.
Showy homes are also on the block, according to the old bag. Well, yes, but they were showy houses built on spec hoping for a quick flip. The houses I know of old friends in the Hamptons have not been put up for sale, at least not yet. What I was surprised to read is that a $150 million yacht is for sale in Monte Carlo. The owner must either be a terrific crook who has been cought, or a terrific fool to order such an expensive boat on credit of, say, Lehman Brothers stock holdings. Or perhaps both. Anyway, it has to be extremely ugly and my only hope is it doesn’t sell at all but is sold for scrap one day soon. Or for crap, for that matter.
And if you think things are bad in Kabul and the Big Bagel, they’re looking worse for poor old John McCain, a good and heroic man who deserves better. The election is over, Obama has won bigtime, and although I think he will be a disaster as president, he is a good man who will be overwhelmed by race hustlers and special interests, just as that fool of Bush was conned by the neocons to go overseas and play Alexander the Great. Poor McCain. The voltures of the media went after him when it counted most, just as Wall Street collapsed. No wonder only spivs go into politics nowadays. Who needs to daily read and hear truly lowlifes put him through the ringer, people who suggest his years in a prison camp make him unfit for office. Low blows are what the press and media are all about, and I sympathise with the war hero whose cancer one Frank Rich of the Times keeps making fun of. I have my own spiv going after me in the person of a short, fat, ugly Scot writing as Ephraim Hardcastle. Peter McKay is envious, gets my name wrong, my age wrong, and everything I write wrong, yet calls himself a jounalist. The Daily Mail can do better, says poor little me.
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