Best Grumpy Old Man Post of the Day

Quite a bit surprised by this one. It’s tough to find the right line in a rant like this, but GOM does a very good job.

I can’t vouch for his other work, but this one is very well done.   Personally I think Obama is being practical in how to draw down U.S. forces in Iraq.  I’m fairly certain he understands that the “surge stragety” for Iraq won’t pay dividends in Afghanistan, and will be settling on another strategy to try and turn the tide in that country.

Oh, and here’s the shoe incident he mentioned…

I wonder if we could all head to the White House and throw our shoes at it. I wonder if Bush would get it then.

That’s probably the first thing I’m going to do once they dedicate his library in my home town (he just bought a house down the street from me).

For some reason that might do the trick, and I think he would finally get it….so….who’s up for a quick trip to D.C.?

I’m fairly certain Cheney wouldn’t get it.  He would either ignore it or order everyone shot…in the face.

A bit of cultural explanation, via the BBC.

Around the Arab world, if you want to escalate a situation, by saying for example “I’m going to thump you”, add the words “with a shoe” and you’re adding serious insult to the threat of possible injury.

It’s that cultural significance that has added real sting to the assault by an Iraqi journalist against US President George W Bush at a Baghdad news conference.

In Arab culture it’s considered rude even to display the sole of one’s shoe to a fellow human being.

Certainly, crossing one’s legs ankle-on-knee style should never be done in a public place for fear of offending the person next to you.

The sensitivity is related to the fact shoes are considered ritually unclean in the Muslim faith.

In addition to ritual ablutions before prayer, Muslims must take off their shoes to pray, and wearing shoes inside a mosque is forbidden.

There’s a lot of dust in the Middle East, you see, and it gets everywhere…and a lot of camels and other livestock…it’s a cultural tradition with a good bit of common sense behind it, when you think about it.

Wondering About Waziristan

A US strike on a Pakistani village near the Afghan border has killed at least nine people including suspected foreign militants, Pakistani sources say.

Initial reports said at least 20 people had died when an unmanned aircraft (drone) fired on the village in North Waziristan region.

But officials later talked of between nine and 12 deaths.

The US military has not confirmed any drone attacks and a Pakistani spokesman said there had been no intrusion.

North Waziristan is a stronghold of Islamic militants, including the Taleban and al-Qaeda, which US and other international troops are fighting in Afghanistan.

via BBC NEWS | World | South Asia | ‘US strike’ hits Pakistan village.

Many people, one of whom isn’t John Mcain, don’t know where Waziristan is. As you can see from the map under the above link, it’s a part of the Pakistan/Afghanistan border “tribal areas”.

Also interesting about it is, well, that’s where the GWoT is currently happening.

This came up in the second Presidential debate last night, with McCain making a point about strikes in Waziristan (and other pseudo-anonymous regions). His point wasn’t that such strikes shouldn’t happen (he’s all for them), his point was that Obama was naive for saying that such strikes might happen if Pakistan doesn’t do them for us.

I.e. it was a tactical communication point, not a strategy point.

The facts on the ground reveal that this particular Rubicon has already been crossed. Arguing about whether or not we are going to have had talked about doing it is silly (yes, I think I conjugated that correctly).

While the big stick is swinging, no one can hear the soft voice.