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.


Thursday, February 2, 2012

Hasten the Day

By Steve Hynd

Romney charges that the Obama administration's announcement of a 2013 end to combat missions in Afghanistan and 2014 pull-out date "makes absolutely no sense."

One of the few moderate, sane Republicans left, James Joyner, responds:

Critics who worry that this announcement of a withdrawal severely undercuts our negotiating position with the Taliban are surely correct. They can easily bide their time now that they have a date certain.

So how can a decision that undermines our allies and our own negotiating power nonetheless be the right one? Because the alternative is to continue getting people killed -- not to mention inadvertently killing innocents -- in a fight we can't win.

...As with many other Obama foreign policy decisions, one might have wished for a better rollout. Consultation with our NATO allies and partners on the matter would have been good form. And, after a more than a decade of fighting, a presidential speech rather than a casual announcement by the defense secretary would have been more fitting.

Ultimately, though, hastening the day Americans stop dying for a lost cause is the right call.

The Taliban always could "bide their time" in Afghanistan. They live there. Announce the timetable or not, it's meaningless.

I'm highly skeptical that this announced transition will actually mean the end to Americans fighting and dying in Afghanistan, and even more so that 2014 will see the end to a US military presence there, but I cannot help but concur with James' sentiments about "dying for a lost cause".

Alas, I'm fairly sure that Simon Jenkins is right when he writes that nothing has been learned from Afghanistan.

More alarming about the Afghan war has been its psychology. It has generated some two dozen books on my shelf, and every one of them warns, cautions, criticises, condemns. The Pashtun Taliban should not be underestimated. Defeating them by main force flew in the face of all experience. Pakistani intelligence would offer them sanctuary and support. Nato should not drive al-Qaida, a tiny Arabist cell in 2001, into alliance with the Taliban. The idea that force of western arms could turn a corrupt Muslim statelet into a sanitised, pro-western democracy was arrogant and unreal.

Every warning was disregarded in a classic of "cognitive dissonance".

...Unlike most European countries, sucked into the Afghan vortex by Nato blackmail, Britain and the US were willing warriors, with belligerence in their cultural genes. Discussing "what must be done" to order the rest of the world is second nature to their political class...Which is why this is not the endgame. Britain is even now rattling sabres and dicing with disaster alongside the US against Iran. Such a war would be as catastrophic as could be imagined, and against a country that poses no conceivable threat to western security. The sole reason for going to war against Iran is to go to war against Iran. That is how we went to war against Afghanistan and Iraq. Clearly, nothing has been learned.

If not Iran, then Syria. If not Syria, then somewhere else. It certainly seems correct to say that the US and Britain share some subtextual notion of "manifest destiny" that means they can keep on blithely assuming they have the right and wherewithall to "order the rest of the world" at gunpoint. To truly "hasten the day Americans stop dying for a lost cause" we're going to have to deal with that notion. I confess, I've no blessed clue how.

1 comment:

  1. Alas, I'm fairly sure that Simon Jenkins is right when he writes that nothing has been learned from Afghanistan.Why should we learn from Afghanistan when we learned nothing from Vietnam. The US learning curve nears infinity.