Question Everything

Why so skeptical?

I hear that question way too often. The short answer is that after a few decades on Wall Street, you learn that when a lot of any money is at stake, people quite easily become completely and totally full of bullshit.

This is why I (to quote someone else) "consistently doubt everything, especially government and mainstream media, and asks questions that have readers asking their own questions."

The most egregious example in recent memory landed on the front page of the Sunday NYT:

Hidden behind that appearance of objectivity, though, is a Pentagon
information apparatus that has used those analysts in a campaign to
generate favorable news coverage of the administration’s wartime
performance, an examination by The New York Times has found.

The effort, which began with the buildup to the Iraq 
war and continues to this day, has sought to exploit ideological and
military allegiances, and also a powerful financial dynamic: Most of
the analysts have ties to military contractors vested in the very war
policies they are asked to assess on air.

Those business relationships are hardly ever disclosed to the
viewers, and sometimes not even to the networks themselves. But
collectively, the men on the plane and several dozen other military
analysts represent more than 150 military contractors either as
lobbyists, senior executives, board members or consultants. The
companies include defense heavyweights, but also scores of smaller
companies, all part of a vast assemblage of contractors scrambling for
hundreds of billions in military business generated by the
administration’s war on terror. It is a furious competition, one in
which inside information and easy access to senior officials are highly

Go read the full article — but not on a full stomach . . .


Behind Military Analysts, the Pentagon’s Hidden Hand   
NYT, April 20, 2008

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What's been said:

Discussions found on the web:
  1. Winston Munn commented on Apr 20

    Maybe I’m simply cyncical, but having lived with the Vietnam War daily “body counts”, (how could we kill off enough North Vietnamese to depopulate that entire country and still lose the war?) I haven’t believed anything that has come from the Pentagon since 1964.

  2. touche commented on Apr 20

    In the past, I would sometimes have wacky dreams and then be thankful when I woke up. Now it’s the other way around. Reality has turned wacky and the dreams are a peaceful oasis.

  3. pmorrisonfl commented on Apr 20

    In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    President Eisenhower, Farewell address, 1961

  4. John F. commented on Apr 20

    I’d say the Pentagon and the New York Times are about equally deserving of our skepticism.

  5. Francois commented on Apr 20

    Senator Kennedy was once asked by Terri Gross (Fresh Air on NPR:

    “What is the thing that has changed the most since you started in Congress 45 years ago?”

    Answer? “The influence of money.”

    Rep ipsa loquitur.

  6. David commented on Apr 20

    Barry, great blog,
    It is right to be skeptical about what you read in the, The New York Times or hear from our new young coming president candidates.

    “Thus has he—and many more of the same bevy that I know the drossy 180 age dotes on—only got the tune of the time and outward habit of encounter, a kind of yeasty collection, which carries them through and through the most fond and winnowed opinions; and do but blow them to their trial, the bubbles are out.” Hamlet- William Shakespeare

    Translation- They/He’s like so many successful people in these trashy times—he’s patched together enough fancy phrases and trendy opinions to carry him along. But blow a little on this bubbly talk, and it’ll burst. There’s no substance here.

  7. Billy Shears commented on Apr 20

    …and nothing will happen. Not with the network and cable news or with the Pentagon sunshine pumpers. No wonder 90% think we’re on the wrong track…after this story, the remaining 10% may change their minds.

    Is this any different than the snow job from the BLS when they report the CPI, employment, GDP, etc.? Perhaps they’ve also hired ‘analysts’ to flood the financial news channels to manipulate, distort, and shape the economic news.

  8. AGG commented on Apr 20

    Mother’s milk to the Cheneys of this world. Lyme tick disease for the rest of us.
    Unlike a regular business, these people are lethal. The military is a totalitarian society which cannot be reasoned with. It’s not just about profit; it’s about power. We are sheep to be sheared and sacrificed if need be. We pay for the wars and provide cannon fodder. Their part is to be trouble makers. They make trouble for anyone who gets in their way. In a Senate Hearing recently a fellow named Nuzzle from the adminstration was asking for a mere 108 billion for the war. One Senator wanted answers about waste and fraud. The Senator said that a week previous a person had sat in the same chair as Nuzzle telling the Senate about Halliberton funneling money through the Virgin Islands to avoid Government oversite. Since then that person had THREE attempts on their life. Nuzzle didn’t know anything about that.
    It’s going to be an interesting year.

  9. judyo commented on Apr 20

    Skepticism should be extended to all American media (4 corporations,each with their own agenda and it’s not in the interest of the American people).
    Go abroad.

  10. Ken M. commented on Apr 20

    If you were discussing something with an associate over lunch, drinks, etc. — wouldn’t you mention your affiliation with some org if it was within the context of the talk?

    OTOH, if you’re trying to close some business deal, you play ‘close to the vest’, and you don’t say anything more than you need to; being careful to not reveal anything that isn’t directly related … nor anything that ~IS~ directly related, if it may jeopardize the deal.

    How true, about when any money is involved — think about selling a car; or worse, a used car salesman(!)

    These guys are pretty much in the tank for the Administration — not to be trusted.

    A corollary to the title of the post, “question everything” … “Trust No One”.
    (can’t take credit for that …)

  11. DownSouth commented on Apr 20

    “Since many people believe that some princes are reputed wise, thanks rather to their wise counselors than to their own natural gifts, they ought to be told that they deceive themselves. For this is a general rule that never fails: a prince who is not wise himself cannot be wisely counseled… An unsise prince, having to consider the advice of several counselors, would never receive concordant opinions, and he would not be able to reconcile them on his own. His counselors would pursue thier own interests and he would know neither how to rule them nor how to understand them. They could not do otherwise, for men will always prove bad unless necessity compels them to be good. Therefore I conclude that good advice, no matter where it comes from, ultimately derives from the prudence of the pricnce, and the prudence of the prince does not derive from good advice.”

    Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince”

  12. DownSouth commented on Apr 20

    ☺☺☺”The military is a totalitarian society which cannot be reasoned with. It’s not just about profit; it’s about power. We are sheep to be sheared and sacrificed if need be. We pay for the wars and provide cannon fodder. Their part is to be trouble makers. They make trouble for anyone who gets in their way.”–Posted by: AGG | Apr 20, 2008 9:07:43 PM

    “The people loved peace peace and therefore loved moderate rulers: the soldiers loved rulers endowed with military spirit–insolent, cruel, and rapacious–who would employ these quantities against the people to gain them double wages and otherwise give vent to their own avarice and ferocity.”–Niccolo Machiavelli, “The Prince”

    “Five great enemies to peace inhabit with us–avarice, ambition, envy, anger and pride. If those enemies were to be banished, we should infallibly enjoy perpetual peace.”–Petrarch

    “It is very easy to fool the people at the start of a war and run it on a confidential basis. But later the wounded start coming back and the actual news spreads. Then, finally, when we have won, the men who fought the war come home. A government which wants to keep the confidence of its people after the war, or during the last stages of it, should take the people into its confidence and tell them everything that they can know, bad as well as good, so long as their knowing of it does not help the enemy. Covering up the errors to save the men who make them can only lead to a lack of confidence which can be one of the greatest dangers a nation can face.”–Ernest Hemingway

    “There is no instance of a country having benefitted from prolonged warfare.”–Sun Tzu

  13. bluestatedon commented on Apr 20

    It’s a funny country we live in. Each July 4th we celebrate men who put their lives on the line to establish a republic based in large measure on the philosophy that an unchecked government is a despotic government; implicit in this was a healthy skepticism towards those in power gained through the real experience of dealing with the British monarchy.

    Ever since then, the national self-image that most Americans have is that we’re a country of individuals deeply skeptical of authority, charmingly rebellious by nature, and quick to pick a fight with anyone seeking to impose their will on us.

    The reality today is that a large percentage of Americans have attitudes toward government and authority that King George III would have found congenial. We have a President who has in his “signing statements” repeatedly stated his intention to disregard laws duly passed by Congress because he himself says he doesn’t agree with them, and by and large Americans who have trouble with this are dismissed by the current administration, private citizens, and major media commentators as unpatriotic freaks, troublemakers, and criminals, if not outright supporters of terrorism.

    Just a couple of days ago that famous patriot and military hero Newt Gingrich said “If there’s a threat, you have a right to defend society,” … people will give up all their liberties to avoid that level of threat.“

    I don’t think you need any more evidence of how extensively the dry rot of authoritarianism has permeated the Republican Party in particular, and our culture in general.

  14. marcello commented on Apr 20

    Really, is anyone _at all_ surprised by this ?
    Even the teensiest tiniest bit ? Guys like Chomsky, Herman, and others have been meticulously documenting this for DECADES.

    It is only when things start to hit the mainstream fan do people finally wake up and realize that there is loads of BS flying at them. Well here’s a news flash – when things were supposedly “good”, the BS was flying at even harder, but nobody seemed to care …

  15. Marcus Aurelius commented on Apr 20

    I was going to post this earlier, but it made my head hurt, so I stopped. I have to now.

    Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard at least 5 people (men and women), in normal social conversation, question why people haven’t taken to the streets against our government.

    Generally speaking, I believe that the middle class is well aware of its current precarious economic situation. They are also acutely aware of the breakdown of of our political system (for lack of a better generalization regarding the governing abuses of the current administration), and of the capitulation of the media to their corporate/governmental masters. In spite of this knowledge, they steadfastly refuse to confront their government on behalf of their own interests and/or the interests of those similarly situated. Civil demonstration – not to mention civil disobedience – has become declasse for the middle and lower classes. It’s beneath them. (maybe they’ll hire illegal immigrants as stand-ins).

    I think the logic goes like this: “If I go and protest, my neighbors and coworkers will think I’m a liberal kook.” Or, “maybe the government is watching the demonstrators – wouldn’t want any trouble.” Or, “Ooh! There’s a Three Stooges marathon on Comedy Central!” (there’s your free circus for you fans of Roman history). Then there are those who, like me, spend their time responding to blogs instead of confronting misplaced and misused power (in my own defense, I did go to an anti-war march in DC about a year ago).

    The “me” generation is fixin’ to learn the hard way why collective action is preferable to being a pretender to wealth, status, and neo-gentrification.

    That’ll pretension will disappear as soon as the Beemers start gettin’ towed away (dead soldiers and civilians in Iraq don’t rate).

  16. 12th Percentile commented on Apr 20

    Is this the X-Files or Big Picture?

    And we wonder why Meredith Whitney got death threats?

  17. DownSouth commented on Apr 20

    If you haven’t seen them, these are two PBS specials along the same vein as the NYT’s story:

    Needless to say, neither one is very kind to the New York Times, which played a key role in selling the war to the American people.

    One thing stands out in my mind. It wasn’t the Fox Newses of the world that sold out the American people. They lack credibility with a large swath of the American public and therefore have limited influence. It was New York Times, withits moderate and liberal audience and tremendous prestige, that was able to turn the tide in favor of the administration.

    In this NY Times story the author speaks of Trojan Horses. But the real Trojan Horse was the New York Times.

  18. Rich_Lather commented on Apr 20

    This is a little disingenuous, and quite a bit late. Aren’t these the same folks who sold copy from the weekly fearmongering of Judith Miller between 9/11 and the start of the Iraq war?

    In retrospect, no, even at the time, Judy’s stories were a bit too fantastic…it hearkens back to babies being thrown out of their incubators and onto the floor. Same country, same motive, same family, different time.

  19. stuart commented on Apr 20

    CNBC derives a significant portion of its revenues from advertising, those very same advertisers that prosper during bullish markets and positive market psychology, hence all the spin. Awful is just bad, bad is neutral, neutral is good, good is stellar. CNBC is a podium for money with an agenda, lure the sheep to the sheers… and make sure they don’t leave. Hammer and Sickle, absolutely.

  20. sixthskinjob commented on Apr 20

    One must chum the water in order to lure the fish. Don’t fret, I’m afraid that there is an ample supply of rotten fish heads yet to be tossed….and it isn’t going to smell any better come summer.

  21. Rock commented on Apr 20

    Even Obama was pro war when it comes to the Civil War and WWII. So it is safe to say that there are good wars. And actually, any war you win is a good war and any war you lose is a bad war :)

    America stopped North Korea from taking over the South. Anybody want to live in a Korea under Kim’s rule?

    Iraq and Vietnam are the wars that didn’t go as expected. America has troops in South Korea, Germany, and Japan. And there is peace and we don’t tell the countries what to do as if we were conquerors. And interestingly enough, those three countries mentioned are economic powerhouses for their people.

    I agree 100% you have to question everything. Whether it be Left or Right bias.

  22. Andy Tabbo commented on Apr 21

    That’s really bad….The NYT is certainly a left wing type media outlet…but you cannot deny that article. For conservative media….that was a kidney punch.

    For the record, I don’t believe anything I read or hear, even the Big Picture Blog.


  23. Greg0658 commented on Apr 21

    Vietnam didn’t go well?

    It took a few decades but China and Southeast Asia are big trading partners.

    Seems the war worked.

  24. Space Cowboy commented on Apr 21

    “That’ll pretension will disappear as soon as the Beemers start gettin’ towed away (dead soldiers and civilians in Iraq don’t rate).”

    Posted by: Marcus Aurelius | Apr 20, 2008 10:00:38 PM

    Change occurs from the bottom up (and not top down as per B-school/Gov/Military folklore) and until the folks in the heartland take up a torch, as they ALWAYS pay the highest price(s), ….

    …the frog (ie Sheeple) will continue to sit in the pot and be willingly boiled according to powers that be desires and administered via Right wingnuts and Repub Lite representation. Of course with backing via the MSM.

    “The government consists of a gang of men exactly like you and me. They have, taking one with another, no special talent for the business of government; they have only a talent for getting and holding office.”
    -H L Mencken

    Please no references to Liberal media, that joke expired long ago. Want objective news?
    Read Asian newspapers to see what’s coming down the pike for the US, they know exactly what is occuring and how to benefit off our chaos.

    Hint: It will be very painful …..and definetly not pretty!

  25. engineer al commented on Apr 21

    I heard on the radio over this weekend the Pentagon office that oversees their contractors is 1/2 staffed by … contractors.

  26. engineer al commented on Apr 21

    “… China and Southeast Asia are big trading partners. Seems the war worked.”

    I also heard this weekend, the Nepal government has cleared the use of deadly force to protect the Olympic flame from protesters on its run through their nation toward Beijing.

    It’s beginning to seem a lot like 1936 all over again.

  27. Paul commented on Apr 21

    Contrary opinion here:

    Sample: “So he did what is called a “notebook dump,” with the approval and even encouragement of his editors, revealing every single bit of information he uncovered. What began as a possible major scoop ended up as a “thumbsucker,” one of those “this is a cautionary tale about the way the Bush administration tried to spin the public.” Barstow’s endless tale reveals nothing more than that the Pentagon treated former military personnel like VIPs, courted them and served them extremely well, in hopes of getting the kind of coverage that would counteract the nastier stuff written about the Defense Department in the media.”

  28. wunsacon commented on Apr 21

    Some great quotes here…

    Thanks, all.

  29. Rock commented on Apr 21

    Anyone here old enough to remember Cambodia from 1975 to 1979? An estimated 1-2 million people were killed through execution, starvation, and forced labor.

    US Congress stopped giving military aid to Cambodia the same year we stopped the war with North Vietnam, 1973.

    Cambodia’s government was overthrown by Pol Pot’s Khmer Rogue in 1975, the same year North Vietnam broke the peace accord and completed the invasion of the South.

    There were consequences for not getting Vietnam right in the 60’s and 70’s. However, As Omar Khayyam said, “The moving finger writes, and having writ, moves on.”

  30. ac commented on Apr 21

    So they were executed. I could care less. If you are stupid enough to be ruled by idiots you get what you don’t fight for.

    If the money had been cutoff earlier, the fools would have been outed even quicker and the same results would have happened.

    Yes, America did pay the price for his decadence and that was murder, mayhem, cultural debauchery at home and a degeneration of the soul.

  31. lurker commented on Apr 21

    “People say believe half of what you see,
    Son, and none of what you hear.
    I can’t help bein’ confused
    If it’s true please tell me dear?”

    Marvin Gaye

  32. alexd commented on Apr 21


    I do not think well of you.

    Simplistic thinking.

    My mother had an Uncle who was awarded an iron star in Germany for his efforts in ww1.

    He and his family and most of his relatives were murdered by the govornment (Germany) in the ww2 era.

    Once power has been consolidated it takes a great amount of force and time for it be overcome. Either through force against it or internal rot. For a great amount of that time the people have limited powers and are subject to the physical and media whims of the govornment.

    I am sure that the people of Poland in WW2 or the Iraquis today let the conquers in due to the fact that they were stupid, not the overwhelming and treacherous force that was put against them.

    If you want to refute that argument, please sit in the road and type it while an 18 wheeler is bearing down upon you. I am sure all your inteligence and protest will stop it before it turns you into another piece of unidentifiable road kill.

    The worm can protest the robin all the way from beak to excrement. Ther robin will wake ealy again to consume more worms and as far as yesterdays meal….it is on the windshield of the 18 wheeler that just came on through….

  33. Karl K commented on Apr 21

    Omigod…the Pentagon has… PUBLIC RELATIONS PEOPLE!!

    They try to, oh my, INFLUENCE OPINION!!

    I am horrified, I tell you, just horrified.

    That’s it. I am done.

    I am sure Alec Baldwin will finance our move to France now. Anyone have Alec’s number?

    You move in those tony Hampton circles, Barry, don’t you? Maybe you have it.

  34. Marcus Aurelius commented on Apr 21

    You move in those tony Hampton circles, Barry, don’t you? Maybe you have it.

    Posted by: Karl K | Apr 21, 2008 9:06:05 AM


    What about you? A healthy, non-french, butch fellow like you ought to be listenin’ to the Pentagon and signin’ up! Today!

    Don’t delay! Do. It. Now.

    Or, are you a coward and a blow-hard?

    Probably a blow-hard coward.

  35. cat commented on Apr 21

    winston: Ya from the domino theory to trying to combine dick cheney and democracy in a sentence its a tough go. NYT is about as good as it gets but they havent opposed a war in the last century until it was o so safe if at all.

  36. Karl K commented on Apr 21

    Marcus Aurelius wrote:

    What about you? A healthy, non-french, butch fellow like you ought to be listenin’ to the Pentagon and signin’ up! Today!

    Don’t delay! Do. It. Now.

    Or, are you a coward and a blow-hard?

    Probably a blow-hard coward.

    See? This is why the leftist political viewpoint — I am assuming you are a left leaning Democrat here at least when it comes to foreign policy — has absolutely zero resonance.

    The first counterargument is “Well, if you REALLY believed in the war you’d sign up, but since you didn’t, you’re really not a supporter.”

    Nevermind the astonishing fallacy that support for an idea HAS to mean direct contributions to that idea.

    Of course, when folks like you sense the fallaciousness of this position — as, deep down, you inevitably have to — what’s left?

    Why the screeching nails-on-chalkboard ad hominem attack. In the end, that’s what you descend to, and why, in the long run, the body politic find such views repellent.

    By the way, chew on this. A good idea poorly executed does not automatically degenerate to a bad idea. That’s why we have historians. So, stay tuned.

  37. DonKei commented on Apr 21

    The older I get, the more I realize that you just can’t be cynical enough. Everytime I think I’ve got so cynical that nothing could surprize me, something happens that does.

    “Believe none of what you hear, and only half of what you see…you can’t even trust your mother.”

    Lou Reed, from his New York album, circa 1988

  38. Karl K commented on Apr 21

    You want cynicism? How about cynicism about The New York Times…

    The eminent military historian Max Boot — no fan of the way the Iraq war has been prosecuted I might add — sums it all up quite nicely.

    “As I read and read and read this seemingly endless report, I kept trying to figure out what the news was here. Why did the Times decide this story is so important? After all, it’s no secret that the Pentagon–and every other branch of government–routinely provides background briefings to journalists (including columnists and other purveyors of opinion), and tries to influence their coverage by carefully doling out access.. . .

    . . .I think I got to the nub of the problem when I read, buried deep in this article, Barstow’s complaint that the Pentagon’s campaign to brief military analysts “recalled other administration tactics that subverted traditional journalism.” But the Times would laugh at anyone who claimed that activities “subversive” of America’s national interest are at all problematic. After all, aren’t we constantly told that criticism–even “subversive” criticism–is the highest form of patriotism? Apparently it’s one thing to subvert one’s country and another thing to subvert the MSM. We can’t have that!

    How dare the Pentagon try to break the media monopoly traditionally held by full-time journalists of reliably “progressive” views! The gall of those guys to try to shape public opinion through the words of retired officers who might have a different perspective! Who might even be, as the article darkly warns, “in sync with the administration’s neo-conservative brain trust.”

    The implicit purpose of the Times’s article is obvious: to elevate this perfectly normal practice into a scandal in the hopes of quashing it. Thus leaving the Times and its fellow MSM organs–conveniently enough–as the dominant shapers of public opinion.”

  39. David Davenport commented on Apr 21

    All you Limo Lefties can stop wetting your pants.

    The NYT doesn’t actually seem to have come up with much:

    What The Times Was Up To

    John Podhoretz – 04.20.2008 – 9:56 PM

    Max Boot’s post earlier today about the preposterous New York Times story on the relationship between the Pentagon and former-military men-turned-war-pundits was spot on. I think, based on many years of experience working at various newspapers, that there is an explanation for the extreme length — 7800 words — of the story and the fact that it manages to find nothing more than an effort by the Pentagon to get good coverage. The Times thought it was on to something very big, ended up with something very small, and then took what little they had and tried to make a silk purse from the sow’s ear that was reporter David Barstow’s investigation. …

  40. David Davenport commented on Apr 21

    Instapundit’s take on the NYT piece:

    ROGER SIMON: The Washington Post in Desperation Mode.

    UPDATE: A different kind of desperation at The New York Times? They’re related, though . . . .

    posted at 10:31 PM by Glenn Reynolds

  41. Ritchie commented on Apr 21

    KK: “The eminent military historian Max Boot — no fan of the way the Iraq war has been prosecuted I might add — sums it all up quite nicely.”

  42. ef commented on Apr 21

    Remember the “fake” news (government propaganda) from the Secretary of Health and Human Services offices, when the administration was snowballing the Medicare Drug program at us. Ay Crumba!

    It’s this administrations way of doing things. If you can’t get them through propaganda, gets your cronies to buy the networks, the distribution channels, and so on.

  43. engineer al commented on Apr 21

    “Nobody came here. Those America losers, I think their repeated frequent lies are bringing them down very rapidly. Baghdad is secure.”

    Baghdad Bob – 05Apr03

    “There is no presence of American infidels in the city of Baghdad.”

    Baghdad Bob – 07Apr03

  44. DoctorOfLove commented on Apr 21

    This is the part I don’t get. We are bombarded every day with the corruption that power and size brings (particularly size), the gov tries to do x, and inevitably, x is hijacked by folks with enough private money and enough interest in x to pave the road to hell with gov subsidies for these folks. So we end up with an over large, inefficient and misdirected gov, whether its the DoD, the FDA, the Dept of Ag (how’s that whole biofuel thing working out – ask the starving Haitians) etc. And yet, many of the people on this board, making the above comments, are undoubtedly in favor of the nationalization of health care. Because, no, really, health care will be different, it won’t be like the defense department, the FDA, the DofAg, etc etc, no no no, it won’t get hijacked, the gov really is here to help this time. For sure, really.

    When will they ever realize that all large organizations tend towards rot as the agency costs grow overwhelming, but at least private organizations do have the non-zero risk of going bankrupt, whereas your friends from the gov have guns to make that a last resort. When?

    I am so looking forward to Hildebeast / Obamassiah screwing with my health care, just quivering with anticipation. Because trust me, no matter how bad blue cross blue shield is, you ain’t seen nothin yet. But no, they will be totally different than 2,500 hundred years of government history teaches, really, Obama said so, he’s going to make inevitable organizational dynamics and fixed human nature change completely on 1/09.

    Not only does history repeat itself, but it does so so often and quickly and with such unmistakable directness (100 year events happening every 5) that you think this endless stupid repetition would be more widely noticed.

    So here we have a thread pooping on the DoD for trying to manage their pr, with absolutely no ability to connect dots, even when they are the size of manhole covers. A blog devoted to the agency cost consequences of wall street (securitization, a few managers gambling with opm, etc etc) and a remarkable ability to dance around those open manholes when it comes to any other topic.

    By the way, how’s the VA healthcare system doing these days (originally brought to you by the good folks at the DoD, but split off into its own nightmarish bureaucracy). You should get real familiar with it now, because you’re going to be real familiar with it soon.

  45. Brett commented on Apr 21

    “Mission Accomplished”

    –Our Fearless Leader on top of that Aircraft carrier.

  46. Roger Bigod commented on Apr 21

    >> US Congress stopped giving military aid to Cambodia the same year we stopped the war with North Vietnam, 1973. << Huh? IIRC, we were never supposed to be giving military aid to Cambodia. They tried to stay neutral, but out activities in Nam destabilized the place. Nixon conducted a secret "incursion" contrary to the ROE. There were rumors that we conducted many operations in Cambodia, but the "incursion" was too big to hide. Our activities arguably contributed to what happened in Cambodia, but in a way inconsistent with the Dolchstoss theory.

  47. Rock commented on Apr 21

    Nixon invaded Cambodia in 1970. Congress passed the law in December 1973 cutting off military funding for Indochina, forcing the withdrawl of troops in Indochina. US involvement prior to 1970 might appear illegal to some, and necessary to others for winning a war. The Ho Chi Minh trail(s) delivered logistics for the invasion from the North.
    There was a similar called Sihanouk Trail that delivered logistics through Cambodia. If you hope to win a war, interdict the enemy’s supply chain.

    Congress could cut off funding for Iraq and perhaps Afghanistan if it had the political will.

    Just a little sidenote of history, The Vietnam War was pretty much started under Kennedy and escalated by Johnson. Both Democrats. But, I won’t speak ill of them, they probably had their reasons.

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