Farewell. The Flying Pig Has Left The Building.

Steve Hynd, August 16, 2012

After four years on the Typepad site, eight years total blogging, Newshoggers is closing it's doors today. We've been coasting the last year or so, with many of us moving on to bigger projects (Hey, Eric!) or simply running out of blogging enthusiasm, and it's time to give the old flying pig a rest.

We've done okay over those eight years, although never being quite PC enough to gain wider acceptance from the partisan "party right or wrong" crowds. We like to think we moved political conversations a little, on the ever-present wish to rush to war with Iran, on the need for a real Left that isn't licking corporatist Dem boots every cycle, on America's foreign misadventures in Afghanistan and Iraq. We like to think we made a small difference while writing under that flying pig banner. We did pretty good for a bunch with no ties to big-party apparatuses or think tanks.

Those eight years of blogging will still exist. Because we're ending this typepad account, we've been archiving the typepad blog here. And the original blogger archive is still here. There will still be new content from the old 'hoggers crew too. Ron writes for The Moderate Voice, I post at The Agonist and Eric Martin's lucid foreign policy thoughts can be read at Democracy Arsenal.

I'd like to thank all our regular commenters, readers and the other bloggers who regularly linked to our posts over the years to agree or disagree. You all made writing for 'hoggers an amazingly fun and stimulating experience.

Thank you very much.

Note: This is an archive copy of Newshoggers. Most of the pictures are gone but the words are all here. There may be some occasional new content, John may do some posts and Ron will cross post some of his contributions to The Moderate Voice so check back.


Saturday, November 5, 2011

Your "Oh Shit" Moment for a Saturday Morning

By BJ Bjornson

There�s just so much to love about this story:

Pakistan is taking nuclear paranoia to a horrifying new low. And it�s making the world a vastly more dangerous place in the process.

Freaked out about the insecurity of its nuclear arsenal, the Pakistani military�s Strategic Plans Division has begun carting the nukes around in clandestine ways. That might make some sense on the surface: no military wants to let others know exactly where its most powerful weapons are at any given moment. But Pakistan is going to an extreme.

The nukes travel �in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic,� according to a blockbuster story on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship in The Atlantic. Marc Ambinder and Jeffrey Goldberg write that tactical nuclear weapons travel down the streets in �vans with a modest security profile.� Somewhere on a highway around, say, Karachi, is the world�s most dangerous 1-800-FLOWERS truck

According to the report, the Pakistani military is looking to safeguard the nukes from possible special forces raids by the U.S., which admittedly does apparently have plans to seize the weapons in the case of a coup or other disturbance they feel might jeopardize the security of Pakistan�s arsenal. You have to wonder if this counts.

Two caveats to the fear-mongering: One, shipping these weapons in such a unobtrusive way is certainly part of the plan to keep anyone, including Islamists, from being able to track them. When the shipment could be in any of the thousands of trucks trundling along the roadway, picking the right one to hit becomes much harder than if they advertise its special cargo with all sorts of special vehicles and security measures.

Two, no noticeable defenses does not equal no actual defenses. Being unobtrusive is not the same as being unprepared for trouble. Still, it is hard not to be a little concerned by this report, or disagree with Wired�s concluding paragraph.

Which sinks the U.S. into the nadir of absurdity. It funds a terrorist-sponsoring state while conducting a massive undeclared war on part of that state�s territory. It wants that state�s assistance to end the Afghanistan war while that state�s soldiers help insurgents wage it. And seeking a world without nuclear weapons while its �Major Non-NATO Ally� drastically increases the probability that terrorists will acquire a the most dangerous weapon of all.

I will note my disagreement with part of that last point. The U.S. has no issue with its other "Major Non-NATO Ally" Israel having nuclear weapons, or with the U.S. having them, or even apparently with Pakistan's neighbour India having them, to go by the selling of civilian nuclear technology to said nation without much guarantee that said technology won't end up in its weapons program as well. As with many other things, the U.S.'s commitment to a nuclear-free world looks entirely different depending on who they are talking about.


  1. Couple of caveats:
    1. Jeffrey Goldberg published a very influential article in the New Yorker in 2003 detailing a lot of "evidence" for the connection between Saddam Hussain and Al Qaeda. It was all wrong but good storytelling nonetheless.
    2. For Ackerman the subject of Pakistan seems to be one on which he has a hard time being rational.
    Caveat lector.

  2. No argument empty, and they do tend to lay the fear-ratcheting factor on a little thick, which was part of the reason I added my own caveats to question whether or not this method of transportation is really as bad as they make it sound.