We all have our own memories of that fateful day, immortalized simply as '9/11'. Memories differ, but we all remember the dominating sentiment, the ambiguous chorus at the iron gates of the White House, chanting blankly to our oracle George Bush, "something must be done, something must be done to avenge this travesty!" Yes, Bush as the oracle, talking to God:

"One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did."
(George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq')

We, as a nation, believe this, believe it or not. I remember reciting the pledge of allegiance in third grade, all thirty of us snot-nosed kids staring at the U.S. flag with glazed eyes and our hands placed firmly on our hearts, telling ourselves that we lived in "one nation under God, indivisible...", and we said it with all of the conviction our little selves could muster. It was my first taste of insanity on a massive scale, besides church.

How many bombs have exploded and how many gunshots have been fired to 'fight' terrorism? Is that not a form or terrorism in and of itself? I know the counterarguments, like 'but, Saddam Hussein was evil!'. Sure, but living in a nation where we buy sweatshop goods with unrestrained glee, profiting from the toils and hardships of those we deem unfortunate, I find morals to be amorphous beasts. It's easy to see how less privileged nations could view us as just as evil. We think, us haughty Americans, that we live in the land of the free, yet we have the highest prison population, by percentage of the total population, in the world (Incarceration in the United States). We are as hypocritical, as riddled with flaws, as the terrorists we hate.

One question lost in all the anti-terrorism rhetoric polluting our nation is, why did terrorists target the Twin Towers? The answer is, to hurt the U.S. economically, to loosen the grip the U.S. had on the world economy, our source of power. Our counter-terrorism efforts have helped to create a suffocating debt that threatens to choke the U.S. economy. This is what the terrorists hoped for. The collapse of the Twin Towers cost New York roughly $100 billion (Sept. 11 Cost NYC Up To $95 Billion). As of late 2006, the U.S. government had then spent roughly $1 trillion fighting terrorism, the bulk of those funds going to war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq (Bad Guys). By now, that number has probably swelled to $1.5-$2 trillion.

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq has only strengthened the ranks of the Taleban, motivating new recruits to join in droves to die as martyrs. As the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, it seems an inevitability that an extremist regime will take control of the fractured nation. As Barack Obama commits more troops to Afghanistan to fight in a guerrilla war, parallels to the Vietnam War arise. How is victory sustainable in Afghanistan? It seems obvious, to me, that we are doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do. When the war efforts stop, what will the U.S. have accomplished besides accumulate a massive amount of debt and to have unnecessarily lost American lives? Our nation is already falling apart economically, if the headlines are to be believed. Yes, the terrorists are winning the war. The Taleban will exist long after the last U.S. soldier has left the soil of Afghanistan.

I remember, in church, as I squirmed in the pews to my parent's constant annoyance, being read this gem by our Priest from the Gospel of Matthew:

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." - Matthew 5:38-42, NIV

By retaliating, I was taught in catechism, you validate your attackers. Yet, as a teenager, I watched as supposed Christians like Bush justified invading Afghanistan and Iraq to rounds of applause. I think during one of those very speeches, the world permanently stopped making sense to me. It wasn't a grand revelation, there was no conscious recognition of the moment, just a mild but pervasive sense of despair. 'Fuck,' I thought, 'the inmates are running the asylum.' I think that was around the same time Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide.

Edit, 12/12/2009: Seeing as how Yurei's writeup is being C!ed to hell, I thought that I'd say this for the record: I feel like my writeup had two main points. One, that the War on Terror has cost the U.S. trillions of dollars, making up a significant portion of the nation's now crippling debt. The terrorists, meanwhile, having only spent an amount in the billions of dollars range. I'd call that a good return on their investment. My other main point was that the War on Terror has created a lot of ill will for the U.S. throughout the international community. Hell, they gave Barack Obama a Nobel Prize in Peace for not being George Bush. If that isn't what the terrorists wanted, from a realistic perspective, then what did they want? Yurei's response to the first point was: "Jesus Balls That's A LOT OF FUCKING MONEY, MAN. As a matter of fact, I could BUY A WHOLE FUCKTON OF CATFOOD WITH THAT AND CONSTRUCT A PLANETOID-SIZED HOMAGE TO AYN GODDAMNED RAND WITH THAT SHIT." Very informative. His response to my second point was to point out that I was confusing Al Qaeda with the Taleban and other terrorist groups. While that was true, it doesn't negate my overall point, that the War on Terror as it was conducted has made more enemies for the U.S. than anything else. Yurei is a good ranter, but what is he really saying? It's just an emotional tirade. It might be a rousing writeup, but is it a logical rebuttal of what I said? I'd say no, for the most part. Just keep that in the mind.

Edit #2, 12/13/2009: Yes, estimates on the cost of the War on Terror vary. We know for a fact that the U.S. Congress has authorized $804 billion in direct war funding. There is no 25% margin of error for that figure. One U.S. congressional committee estimated that true cost of the war on terror, as of 2009, has been $1.6 trillion. And then there is the book The Three Trillion Dollar War, which estimates the costs as being much higher. Of course, you can find ways to criticize those findings. However, it's numbers greater than the $804 billion requested by the White House to fund the War on Terror that have a margin of error, not the ridiculously low numbers Yurei claims.

Additionally, how can you honestly say that the U.S. War on Terror has not had a negative effect on the world's perception of the U.S. worldwide? Ask the South American, European, Asian, and African E2 users (well, I know E2 least has some European users) if this is true or not. It's obvious that it is. Perhaps I'm wrong to believe that this will help anti-Western terrorist groups recruit new members, but I wouldn't think so. I'll need better evidence than terrorists telling us that membership numbers are flat. I wouldn't call that a reliable source. Now, I'll admit that I was wrong to single out individual terrorist groups. There are thousands of terrorists groups, and it's difficult to predict their individual levels of future influence. I do believe we will feel their presence and that it will become more noticeable if the U.S. continues conducting the War on Terror as it is today.

Also, as far as Yurei's strange distinctions between guerrilla warfare and insurgency go, I see his obscure books and raise him Wikipeda:

"Guerrilla warfare is the irregular warfare and combat in which a small group of combatants use mobile military tactics in the form of ambushes and raids to combat a larger and less mobile formal army.

The term means 'little war' in Spanish and was created during the Peninsular War. The concept acknowledges a conflict between armed civilians against a powerful nation state army, either foreign or domestic and uses tactics such as ambush, sabotage and mobility in attacking vulnerable targets in enemy territory. The tactics of guerrilla warfare were used successfully in the recent 20th century by among others the People's Liberation Army in the Chinese Civil War, Fidel Castro's rebel army in the Cuban Revolution, and by the Viet Cong, and the North Vietnam Army in the Vietnam War. Most factions of the Iraqi Insurgency and groups such as FARC are said to be engaged in some form of guerrilla warfare."

Anyone reading the above paragraph can plainly see parallels between the War on Terror and the Vietnam War.

Direct via ROFLCOPTER: An EDIT of EPIC PROPORTIONALITIES.

 

WHAM BAM THANK YOU MA'AM FROM AFGHANISTAN!

 

I know writeup doesn't mean reply, but I do so love this great game we play here at E2 sometimes.  Also, don't get all butt-hurt like last time, people.

For starters, I wish we could attach pictures to writeups because I'd include one of where I am at the current moment.  I'd also like to have you come on out here for about a month or so to see what it is that things are like.  But, travel being what it is around here, that plan probably isn't particularly feasible.

We all have our own memories of that fateful day, immortalized simply as '9/11'. Memories differ, but we all remember the dominating the sentiment, the ambiguous chorus at the iron gates of the White House, chanting blankly to our oracle George Bush, "something must be done, something must be done to avenge this travesty!" Yes, Bush as the oracle, talking to God:

I don't think that you were much different.  People, as I recall, were genuinely shocked, afraid, and angry that this had happened.  There are a number of theories concerning why, and I for one held for a long time that you people had it coming for failing to close escrow (so to speak) on your responsibilities to the country after the end of the Soviet occupation.  Furthermore, not doing enough to address transnational terrorism during the mid to late 1990's was also a significant contributing factor.  Now, I've mellowed a little and come to the realization that some people are just really big assholes and like flying planes into buildings because they get their rocks off on such things.  But I digress.

"One of the delegates, Nabil Shaath, who was Palestinian foreign minister at the time, said: "President Bush said to all of us: 'I am driven with a mission from God'. God would tell me, 'George go and fight these terrorists in Afghanistan'. And I did. And then God would tell me 'George, go and end the tyranny in Iraq'. And I did." (George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq')

Thanks for the link to the Guardian here.  If you read the entire article it says that the Palestinian authority was unwilling to vouch for the authenticity of the statement.  Furthermore, Mahmoud Abbas (the Palestinian Prime Minister also at the same meeting) says he heard something different.  Maybe Mr. Shaath had the B-team translator on that day.  Who knows?  Look, no one is going to argue the fact that the former President had a certain propensity for chatting up a certain cosmic zombie Jew or his invisible father who sends his minions to have it large with virgins.

We, as a nation, believe this, believe it or not. I remember reciting the pledge of allegiance in third grade, all thirty of us snot-nosed kids staring at the U.S. flag with glazed eyes and our hands placed firmly on our hearts, telling ourselves that we lived in "one nation under God, indivisible...", and we said it with all of the conviction our little selves could muster. It was my first taste of insanity on a massive scale, besides church.

No, we didn't.  I believe there was a significant amount of dissent already forming about the second Bush.  Also, I fail to see how saying the Pledge of Allegiance is "insanity on a massive scale" as you put it, but then again it has been proven time and time again that I am a giant fucking retard.

How many bombs have exploded and how many gunshots have been fired to 'fight' terrorism?

Ask OMB.  They'll tell you right down to the number of bootlaces we've sent over there.

Is that not a form or terrorism in and of itself?

No.  Terrorism and war had different definitions the last time I checked.  We could be confused with a counterinsurgency but that part is coming later.

I know the counterarguments, like 'but, Saddam Hussein was evil!'. Sure, but living in a nation where we buy sweatshop goods with unrestrained glee, profiting from the toils and hardships of those we deem unfortunate, I find morals to be amorphous beasts. It's easy to see how less privileged nations could view us as just as evil.

I just went from zero to what in about two seconds.  I don't follow here.  Morality is an amorphous beast.  It's why some wee bit ago we had a problem setting dogs on fire and dunking women in the river because we thought they were in league with The Devil.  Morality changes.  Look here, fella: There are six or so billion over-evolved monkeys on this ball of mud and you're not going to save them all.  Some are going to die.  The rich will exploit the poor.  Globalization will continue to rape the rain forests, warm the planet, force the third world to make Nikes, rig Mexican elections, or whatever it is that is fashionable to bitch about in the 18-25 demographic of hideously neckbearded Marxists attending a community college near you.  My question is simple: what the fuck do you plan to do about it?  Do you volunteer?  Are you in the Peace Corps, military, Greenpeace, or ANYTHING RESEMBLING SOME SORT OF ORGANIZATION THAT IS DOING SOMETHING OTHER THAN GENERATING PROFIT?  Don't give me this "I'm an anarchist" shit either, those people just make me wish the carrying and use of a 9-iron was legal for things other than golf.  Also, if you've not travelled outside of the United States for anything more than a three week vacation, you need to.  It'll fuck your world right over.

We think, us haughty Americans, that we live in the land of the free, yet we have the highest prison population, by percentage of the total population, in the world (Incarceration in the United States). We are as hypocritical, as riddled with flaws, as the terrorists we hate.

Yep, I was waiting for the American justice system to come into this.  Yawn.

One question lost in all the anti-terrorism rhetoric polluting our nation is, why did terrorists target the Twin Towers?

I'll play your silly game, why did they?

The answer is, to hurt the U.S. economically, to loosen the grip the U.S. had on the world economy, our source of power.

ORLY.

Our counter-terrorism efforts have helped to create a suffocating debt that threatens to choke the U.S. economy. This is what the terrorists hoped for. The collapse of the Twin Towers cost New York roughly $100 billion (Sept. 11 Cost NYC Up To $95 Billion). As of late 2006, the U.S. government had then spent roughly $1 trillion fighting terrorism, the bulk of those funds going to war efforts in Afghanistan and Iraq (Bad Guys). By now, that number has probably swelled to $1.5-$2 trillion.

Jesus Balls That's A LOT OF FUCKING MONEY, MAN.  As a matter of fact, I could BUY A WHOLE FUCKTON OF CATFOOD WITH THAT AND CONSTRUCT A PLANETOID-SIZED HOMAGE TO AYN GODDAMNED RAND WITH THAT SHIT.

Invading Afghanistan and Iraq has only strengthened the ranks of Al Qaeda, motivating new recruits to join in droves to die as martyrs. As the U.S. withdraws from Iraq, it seems an inevitability that an extremist regime will take control of the fractured nation.

Okay slick.  Go read this.  Here's the part where I stop being such a dick.  For starters, which "fractured nation" are you talking about?  Afghanistan?  If you're talking about Iraq, this is the country where things are actually starting to improve.  (Notice that I said starting to, as in present tense.)  The government is beginning to assume control over policing functions, most U.S. units rarely leave their compounds outside major urban centers unless specifically requested.  Also, Al Qaeda isn't quite what you think it is.  There are four major insurgent groups operating in Afghanistan at the moment, Hezb-i-Islami, Haqqani Network, Quetta Shura Pakistan, and Jamiat-i-Islami.  This doesn't account for the dozen or so minor players like Islamic Union and Lakshaar-i-Tayyiba.  Stick with me, because this may become confusing.

Al Qaeda isn't doing so hot.  The Taliban on the other hand, them fuckers are doing booming business.  Trust me.  The issue most people have is understanding that Al Qaeda and the Taliban aren't exactly the same thing.  When Mullah Omar (this was and is the head of the Taliban) declared himself 'Commander of the Faithful' Al Qaeda sort of became subordinate to them.  As a matter of fact, the Taliban don't particularly care for Al Qaeda because most of their membership isn't Afghani and kinda-sorta got them punted out of Afghanistan after that whole September the 11th Thing.  Al Qaeda and the Taliban got along because they were both of somewhat compatible ideologies and were working to restore their radicalized version of Sharia to the larger Islamic world.  Starting with Afghanistan.

The reason you might think that Al Qaeda is up and doing great is the same reason you'd think Dale Earnhardt was still alive if you were to drive through a South Carolina Wal-Mart parking lot.  What I am trying to say here is that in terrorism, much like NASCAR, brand recognition and corporate sponsorship is a fucking badass thing.  There are probably over 9,000 small groups of idiots running around claiming to be affilitated with Al Qaeda.  This is good, but AQ (if I might be so bold as to shorten their name,) is suffering from brand dilution.  Too many people are trying to pull too much shit, and it isn't going nearly as well as everyone thought.

As Barack Obama commits more troops to Afghanistan to fight in a guerrilla war, parallels to the Vietnam War arise.

Guerilla and insurgent: You do realize they're different?  Guerillas carry on irregular warfare because they feel that they cannot participate in a declared war according to the ideology on which the group was founded.  They (guerillas) also tend to wear uniforms and have a codified rank structure that marks them as a subset of a particular organization.    You could classify Luke Skywalker as a guerilla, as a matter of fact.  Alternately, insurgents don't give a fuck about defining themselves as shit and are rising up against an established government.  (Edit: There is a big giant clusterfuck that I wouldn't go near with your dick about what is and is not and insurgent versus a guerilla.  I don't give a fuck, I read an Army Field Manual and some shit on the Internet and it's my rant so now I'm a damned expert on this and you're not.)  I'm not going to bother to get into that dichotomy between good and evil and definining people in the media one way or another depending on how we like them bullshit.  Afghanistan has an insurgency problem.  The U.S. government was, for a very long time (thank you Douglas Fucking Feith) unwilling to admit that this was a substantial problem.  This policy, thankfully, has been altered by regime change a little closer to home.

Now for what I think is the crux of your post: your notion that there are parallels to Vietnam.  What might these be?  Seriously.  Other than troop increases, and honestly I'm getting tired of hearing this from people, what is the same?  Vietnam and Afghanistan are two completely different conflicts, dealing with two societies that are for all intents and purposes polar opposites of one another.  Furthermore, the mechanics of our involvement in Vietnam and those of Afghanistan are also different.  Tonkin Gulf was no 9/11 and you ought to know that.  Furthermore, there is no Arc Light, Igloo White, or Agent Orange sort of shit going on here.  Frankly, you're shooting yourself in the foot.  If you're regurgitating crap that came out of HuffPo, I'd encourage you to stop and do some reading about the difference between the two conflicts and what it really means to call something "a parallel to the Vietnam War."

How is victory sustainable in Afghanistan? It seems obvious, to me, that we are doing exactly what the terrorists want us to do. When the war efforts stop, what will the U.S. have accomplished besides accumulate a massive amount of debt and to have unnecessarily lost American lives?

What would you have us do instead?  There was a Senior Chief I worked for some time ago, smart guy.  Told me once, "if you're going to fucking bitch at me you'd better at least have a fucking suggestion to fucking fix the fucking goddamned problem."  I don't know.  Something tells me that if we can remove enough unexploded ordnance and train enough teachers, maybe raise the literacy rates one to two percent, maybe things won't be so shitty.  Furthermore, if the folks I work with dig out an IED that was planted next to a major road and the locals don't have to worry about those things so much I figure that might be worth being here.

Additionally, I'd like to point something out.  First you go on this long tangent presumably about the ills of globalization and about how Nike is raping the third world.  (Okay, well, you didn't say the words "rape" and "Nike" but close enough for me, champ.)  Now you're on like American lives are more precious than anything else under God's creation.  Which one is it?  Are we going to recede within our own borders and wall out all the bad people, make everything at home and do no more trade?  You vote, right?  I hope so, because if you're old enough and you aren't then you need to sit the fuck down and shut the fuck up.

Our nation is already falling apart economically, if the headlines are to be believed. Yes, the terrorists are winning the war. Al Qaeda will exist long after the last U.S. soldier has left the soil of Afghanistan.

And Adolf Hitler is still venerated by some Germans.   

I remember, in church, as I squirmed in the pews to my parent's constant annoyance, being read this gem by our Priest from the Gospel of Matthew:

"You have heard that it was said, 'An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth.' But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if someone wants to sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. If someone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you." - Matthew 5:38-42, NIV

By retaliating, I was taught in catechism, you validate your attackers. Yet, as a teenager, I watched as supposed Christians like Bush justified invading Afghanistan and Iraq to rounds of applause. I think during one of those very speeches, the world permanently stopped making sense to me. It wasn't a grand revelation, there was no conscious recognition of the moment, just a mild but pervasive sense of despair. 'Fuck,' I thought, 'the inmates are running the asylum.'

Again, what would you have happen here?  Al Qaeda flies planes into buildings and we're going to sit on our thumbs or throw copies of The Teachings of Buddha at them?  Are you kidding?  Motherfuckers, WE INVENTED BAD-ASS DAYLIGHT CARPET BOMBING UP IN THIS BITCH!THE UNITED STATES AIR FORCE HAS LASERS THAT WILL FUCK YOU UP SIDEWAYS, AND YOU WANT TO TURN THE OTHER CHEEK?  WE HAVE PSYCHOLOGICAL WARFARE OPERATIONS THAT CONVINCE THE ENEMY WE'RE SO CORE WITH A CAPITAL HARD WE MASTURBATE WITH CHEESE GRATERS WHILST LOOKING AT PICTURES OF THEIR MOTHER AND YOU ACTUALLY WANT THE MILITARY TO SIT AROUND DOING NOTHING?  HAVE YOU FLIPPED YOUR SHIT COMPLETELY?

Again, let me pose the question to you: What did you expect or are you simply writing this as a way of dealing with the fact that the end of Neon Genesis Evangelion failed at everything?  (Speaking of which, that whole nine minute scene where Shinji and Rei are in the elevator.  Saying nothing.  What.  The.  Fuck.  No really, nine minutes?  Actually, I think it was like nine minutes thirty-eight or some shit.  Jesus I was pissed there was only four episodes on that DVD and I had to wait a month for the next one.)

I think that was around the same time Hunter S. Thompson committed suicide.

No, that was about the time that Jack Webb walked in.

 

 

EGADS!  NEW CONTENT!


 

 

THE NODE THAT THREW UP ON ITSELF - BACK FOR MORE!

A Continuation of the Earlier Inanity

 

- or -

 

YUREI PERPETUATES AN E2 POO FLINGING FIESTA!

 

-



A SECOND Definitive Point by Point Response NOT Involving the Word 'Fuck' More Than Seven Fucking Times (or references to cat food, for that matter.)

 

HI FOAX!  I'M BACK!  DID MISS ME?  Betcha didn't.  So, what is going to happen here is that I will attempt to be civil for approximately 3,000 words or so.  That means we're not having any of the following:

  • Expletives!  (No goddamn, shit, my dick, or Abe motherfucking Vigoda.)
  • Overt Sarcasm!  (Like, really.)
  • Ayn Rand references!  (Shrug all you want, shit ain't going down this time.)
  • Masturbation!  (Put it away.)
  • Ass Blasting Bestial Buttsex!  (Please note: There wasn't any of that in the original but I am fond of the phrase and considered using it here.   Be happy because in a very adulty-type way I showed some restraint and didn't.  Or that's what I'm going to let you think.)
  • Incoherent Self-Referential Caca or Obscure Inside Joke Horseshit!  (Maybe a little.)
  • References to Eat Hot Lead You Shitmonkey Completely Badass Weapons Systems Owned/Operated/Leased by the United States Department of Defense and Central Intelligence Agency!  (Maybe a pipelink or eleventy.  I can't help it, I'm addicted to pipelinks.)
  • A Closing Tagline in 72-Point Font That Says: "THAT'S RIGHT.  I JUST THOROUGHLY DOMINATED THE ASS OF YOUR ARGUMENT IN A MOST AGGRESSIVE ALPHA MALE WAY.  HARDY HAR HAR."

So why are we doing this?  Why the fuck not?  I'm a sucker for a good damned argument, and this is turning into one with a fucking quickness!  Just like The Highlander and shit!  There can be only one!  Unless it was mis-dubbed in Mexico, then it's "there can be only Juan!"  Which is why those movies SUCK in SPANISH!  But seriously, seeing as I'm being "C!'d to hell," I'm a giant egomaniac/troll/jackass, I haven't been banned yet, I've yet to pour hot grits down Natalie Portman's pants, and some other shit about actually engaging in debate after being called out, I just couldn't let it go.  That, it's December 13th, and I'm really, really, goddamn bored right now.

GO THUSLY!  WITHOUT ANY FURTHER ADO!  SUCK ON MY LOGdIC, FUCKERS!

HEY, YOU SAID YOU WEREN'T GOING TO BE AN ASS.

 

Oops.  My bad.

 

Point 1: Americans reacted negatively to September 11 and demanded retribution from then President George W. Bush.  This sentiment was "ambiguous."

Most of the world (with certain exceptions in Iran, Palestine, Iraq, and Al Qaeda) did react negatively to 9/11.  The reaction was one of abject horror, anger, and a sense that someone had done something quite evil.  True, except there is insufficient evidence as to where the perceived/contended ambiguity was originating.  Therefore, the point that retribution was demanded is ceded to you and I reject any notion that there was popular confusion about what people were feeling at the time.

Point 2: The American Pledge of Allegiance is a form of social indoctrination.

Author implies that social cohesiveness and conditioning as evidenced by mandatory recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance (hereafter 'the Pledge,') creates conditions where the majority of citizens are unable to question official statements.  This ties into the previous statement that Americans were demanding action post-9/11 and were willing to accept any excuse or reasoning provided to them for attacking any organization, country, or entity so long as it involved the War on Terror.  This is incorrect, as there were and are numerous protests concerning unilateral action in Iraq, which is now a disparate conflict from the one in Afghanistan.  There were also protests concerning U.S. actions in Afghanistan, although they were at the time on a much smaller scale.

Point 3: Americans are decadent, exploitive, and remorseless consumers.

We're Americans.  Deal.

Point 4: The War on Terror has cost (by author estimate) $1.5 - $2 trillion (USD.)

Inaccurate by $600 billion (USD).  Research completed for Congress and published by the Federation of American Scientists places the total cost of the War on Terror at $944 billion (USD) as of 24 June 2009.  Office of Management and Budget estimates delivered during Congressional testimony in 2006 also place the cost of funding through FY-06 at $430.1 billion (USD).  Author also injects a 25%, or $500 billion (USD), margin of error on the current amount.  This effectively renders the amount quoted as almost irrelevant as potential error rates of this magnitude relegate the validity of the quantity to nothing more than highly specious conjecture.

Point 5: The War on Terror has provided new impetus for new anti-American sentiment, world wide.

A November 2009 AAR concerning a visit to Afghanistan circulated at West Point by General B. R. McCaffrey places support for the Taliban in the Pashtun dominated southern border region of Afghanistan at approximately 6% (note, report is not accessible publicly at time of this writing.)  Consultations with persons familiar with terrorist organization membership levels indicate that worldwide numbers remain relatively flat.  With the exception of groups specifically spawned by U.S. involvement in Iraq and Afghanistan, the perception that membership in terrorist groups is increasing is likely due to heightened public awareness of terrorism in general.  The prime mover of anti-American sentiment was unilateral U.S. action in Iraq and the widely held perception of then President George W. Bush as being a poltroon.

Point 6: The U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan have increased Taliban membership.

Demonstrably false.  Recruiting for Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin, Quetta Shura Pakistan (Al Qaeda Pakistan), Haqqani Network, and Jamiat-i-Islami (all Al Qaeda affiliate groups) have all received increases in recruiting from foriegn fighters.  However, a significant portion of these individuals already held membership in other extremist/terrorist organizations and should not be regarded as new to conflict.  Taliban membership was always somewhat small.  Originally, the name 'Talib' was given to a group of Deobandi rebels that originated in the Pakistani FATA madrassas for war orphans displaced by the Soviet invasion starting in 1978.  Once the group crossed the border with the intent of deposing the Soviet puppet government in Afghanistan they assumed the name Taliban.  Membership in the Taliban was almost exclusively Pashtun and Afghan.  They continued to be selective about membership, and are now dwindling in number due to combat-related attrition and amnesty programs with the Afghan Government.  Although Al Qaeda and the Taliban had substantially similar attitudes in terms of their interpretation of Islam, there are significant differences in terms of overarching goals.  The presence of foriegn fighters on Afghan soil (Al Qaeda members) was a constant irritant to the Taliban, as were the attacks of September 11, 2001 given that these immediately led to the removal of the Taliban from power in Afghanistan.

Point 7: Troop increases in Afghanistan equate the beginning of a second Vietnam.

There is no evidence of this being the case beyond certain sensationalist editorials.  The mechanics of American involvement, regional/cultural history, ethnic composition, and geography of Vietnam and Afghanistan are divergent as to prevent adequate summation.

Point 8: The United States of America is involved in a guerilla war in Afghanistan.

False.  Although guerillas can be insurgents, this is not the case in Afghanistan.  Guerillas are uniformed, irregular forces (occasionally associated with other non-state actors) seeking to overthrow an established government.  They are typically politically motivated and tend to perceive themselves as liberators.  The current conflict in Afghanistan is an insurgency, in that it is defined by a complete lack of uniformed enemy combatants.  This fits the definition utilized most often in irregular warfare circles.

Point 9: Al Qaeda will likely outlast the U.S. commitment to Afghanistan.

True, there is a high order of probability that it will survive for some time.  The core leadership will die off (as was mentioned not too delicately above) but the overall ideology will persist much as was the case German National Socialism following the Second World War.  Usama bin Ladin will likely find a place significantly similar to that of Adolf Hitler, in that the latter is generally reviled outside yet is still regarded as a martyr and saint central to some beliefs.

Point 10: Christian dogma recommends a practice of non-violence when confronted by an attacker.  Author also implies that President Bush, as an avowed Christian, failed to act on this principle.

A failure to act following September 11, 2001 would have likely produced some manner of significant social disturbance.  An alternate course of action involving no military response was likely seen as unpalatable and indefensible.

Point 11: Hunter S. Thompson is dead.

So is motherfucking James Brown.  What's your point, son?

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