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Archive for February, 2010

The Quality of Mercy Is Not Strnen

Okay, here it is: I’m officially out of things to say. I have absolutely nothing to contribute to the discussion on Afghanistan or Iraq, or any other conflict for that matter. Also, I don’t want to be part of a punditocracy that mostly reminds me of the old Mekons album cover: if enough chimpanzees bang on keyboards long enough, they’re bound to come up with a sentence that almost makes sense.

Rest assured, though — I’ll be back.

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One of the reasons I’m so tired of debating Afghanistan — and, frankly, of blogging about it — is that bad ideas just don’t seem to go away. It’s like talking to a wall: “Let’s destroy the poppy fields.” “But it’s a bad idea.” “Yeah. Umm, let’s destroy the poppy fields.”  Or how about the continuing obsession over tribal militias? Alex Strick van Linschoten calls it — quite generously, I think — “hope tactics”. What it actually reminds me of is this:

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