slingthought is a blog site dedicated to political articles and general current affairs. Here, we encourage reader participation in the magazine’s group discussion and debate.
August 17, 2021
August 17, 2021
After an investment of 20 years, 2.2 trillion USD, and the loss of 2,400+ American lives (with thousands more injured) President Biden announced the U.S. is finally getting shed of Afghanistan. At slingthought here, we award the President high marks for his knowledge of foreign affairs and courageous leadership (characteristics missing from the Office of the President for years now); however, like most, we were appalled to watch both the Afghan government and the army disintegrate inside of week, causing an uncoordinated mad scramble for the exits by Westerners and Afghanis alike (in just days we went from recalling some 3,000 troops home to sending 5,000 more back in). The scenes from Kabul and its airport are appalling, causing an inevitable comparison from some of us old-timers to the fall of Saigon in 1975 (the optics, as they say, were not good either time).
The similarities do not end there— the Vietnam War and the Afghan war have in common that both were recognized to be stupid and wasteful even while they were going on— in each, the cost of blood and treasure was immense (we lost 50,000+ troops in Vietnam). And in both wars the case to be made for them was based on lies. In Vietnam, it was a snowballing litany of military and political lies; but in the case of Afghanistan, it has not been so much a lie of commission as a lie of omission. There is a truth about Afghanistan that has gone unmentioned to Americans for 20 years, and it is this: no one gives a damn about Afghanistan and no one ever has.
In kindest possible terms, Afghanistan is a god-forsaken piece of dirt populated by tribal peoples who stopped evolving around the 7th century. We’re told it contains a wealth of minerals and natural resources but the country is landlocked and the minerals are buried under some of the harshest terrain in the world. After 20 years of American occupation (well, sort of) it was demonstrated to us that it has no functioning government or army. The country is now (again) ruled by religious extremists called Taliban. The Taliban impose extreme Islamic law on the populace (who apparently don’t seem to mind) and despise culture, art, and learning— in fact, all modernity (not too dissimilar to the Republican Party here in the U.S.). They beat and rape their girls and women. And for all the money and lives wasted in Afghanistan we have nothing to show for it.
That’s because our government (including now Mr. Biden) has never told us the truth about our mission there and its extreme importance. And when the truth becomes alternative thinking, slingthought owes its readers both.
Afghanistan (alas) has only one thing going for it (to put it into those kinds of terms): it shares a 1,600 mile border with Pakistan. And while Afghanistan and Pakistan share other similarities, Pakistan has something Afghanistan does not: about 160 nuclear weapons. Pakistan also has an extremely fragile and corrupt national government and a national intelligence service which are both highly infiltrated with religious extremists. The idea that Pakistan could lose control over a nuclear weapon (or a few) is not too trying on the imagination. And an unsecured nuclear weapon up for grabs in that part of the world would be… worrisome.
Which is why the U.S. invaded Afghanistan after the 9/11 attack— it was never about finding and fighting terrorists there (a couple satellite fly overs can identify any possible terrorist training camps and they can be destroyed by missile) (and even more importantly: six Saudis sitting in an apartment in Berlin plotting an attack on our country presents more threat to us than all of Afghanistan). We’re neck deep in terrorists all over the world— what makes Afghanistan special is its geographical location. We went to Afghanistan to install a rapid reaction force of highly trained Special Operations troops and contractors able to deploy into Pakistan on a moment’s notice (we can have Special Ops forces on the ground in Pakistan within two hours) with the mission to lead the recovery of any… misplaced… nuclear weapons.
We must tell our readers here that slingthought has received no confirmation that this U.S. (and allies’) force exists but we can say: 1) we do calculate the rapid response force in Afghanistan to be between 3,000 and 5,000 Special Ops troops and 2) if the U.S. hasn’t maintained the force described here in Afghanistan for substantially most of the last 20 years, it would have been one of the greatest instances of military malpractice ever. Upon reflection, however, perhaps this shouldn’t be unconsidered, either.
Again, we’re highly optimistic regarding the Presidency of Joe Biden— but let’s all start out on the right foot. There’s no truth the American people can’t face— we just want to know where we’re at, what we’re doing, and why.
Palestinians and BLM
Palestinians and BLM
August 12, 2021
August 12, 2021
The latest violence between Israel and the Palestinians May 10-18 of this year prompted the BLM movement to proclaim its solidarity with the Palestinians. Why this movement would choose to involve itself in affairs in the Middle East is almost beyond us. One would think that BLM’s work to achieve racial justice and social equality would keep it busy enough. At slingthought we have agreed with BLM efforts and generally supported the organization— until now. Simply: we can’t support an organization that supports Hamas and Palestinians. This magazine believes BLM has shown poor judgement in this particular matter and might continue to do so in others. It’s easy to understand an ill-treated people projecting solidarity with another people perceived to be oppressed. But at this magazine, we’re convinced BLM did not do proper due diligence before throwing its lot in with the Palestinians. Consider: Palestinians have a history of strapping explosives onto their own children and putting them on Israeli buses to kill as many civilians as possible. In the eight-day crisis this year between Palestinians and Israelis, there were over 3,000 missiles fired indiscriminately from Gaza into Israel for the purpose of killing as many civilians as possible (Israel retaliated by striking missile launch sites, military targets, and tunnels). Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005, leaving the Palestinians to govern themselves— and they voted in Hamas, a terrorist organization, to lead them. Palestinians have refused the two-state solution (wherein they would have their own nation next to Israel) for almost 30 years. Do these sound like the kind of people you want living next door?
And yet many around the world (including BLM here at home) consider them an oppressed people. Over the decades the global community has donated enough money to Palestinians in Gaza that they should all be millionaires twice over—yet we’re told a family in Gaza can’t afford a crust of bread. Where did all the money go? Well, we know missiles aren’t cheap and you have to build tunnels to move them around (with many of those tunnels located under schools and hospitals; Hamas has no problem using children and civilians as shields against Israeli retaliations).
It’s hard to negotiate with a party that won’t join you in reality And the reality is, the chances of Palestinians returning to property they abandoned in Israel in 1948 are nil. Every inch of land everywhere on the planet has belonged to someone else at some point in history— it’s just a fact (no one owns land… at best you’re just the current occupant). Would BLM have us return the entire continental United States back to Native Americans (who rightfully owned occupancy status before they suffered genocide and were moved into little “Gazas” all over America)? No, of course not. Why? Because the idea of Native Americans demanding their land back and shooting rockets willy-nilly into America is so preposterous to be beyond contemplation, let alone serious discussion. Still, this scenario sounds downright likely compared to the odds Palestinians will ever attain the right of return to Israel.
Here at slingthought we also despise the oppression of peoples and the plight of desperate children and the loss of generation after generation of people (50% of Palestinians in Gaza are aged 15 years and under). But the fact of the matter is, Palestinians will not have better lives until they have a better government and no one can do that for them— they must do it themselves. Meanwhile, we’ll be looking for the opportunity to again support BLM as it focuses on furthering racial equality and justice here in the U.S.
…and now yet more on Covid
August 10, 2021
“We have done an incredible job. We’re going to continue. It’s going to disappear. One day-- it’s like a miracle—it will disappear”.
-Donald J Trump, February 27, 2020
“This (corona virus) is their (Democrats’) new hoax”.
Donald J Trump, February 28, 2020
“No, I don’t take responsibility at all”.
Donald J Trump, March 13, 2020
After 18 months of pandemic and more than 600,000 American deaths, here at slingthought we’re beginning to speculate that former President Donald Trump might not have been the best guy to have in charge during the Covid 19 outbreak. The above quotes once again show that it’s nearly impossible to figure out when Trump is being criminal, incompetent, or suffering from a mental disorder (we’ll forego here reviewing all of the psychiatric pathologies usually attributed to Trump) (Trump has turned unfathomable into an art form). Regardless, we know some things for certain: 1) at last tally (August 10) 51% of all American adults are fully vaccinated and appx. 65% have had at least one shot 2) the five states with substantially the lowest vaccination rates also have the highest new cases (the usual suspects: LA, AR, MS, AL, FL) 3) at the time this is written new covid cases (mostly of the Delta variant) have risen to 100,000 per day (a doubling of new cases over two weeks) and 4) meanwhile, vaccinations administered per day have fallen from 3.5 million in April to appx. one million daily currently.
The most concerning of the above data points is the fact that new cases of covid are increasing rapidly while the rate of new vaccinations administered has fallen by appx. two thirds. The predominant thinking on this offers a simple explanation: all of the adult Americans who intend to get vaccinated have already done so while the roughly 40% of Americans who haven’t been vaccinated yet don’t intend to. This schism creates heightened political polarization between normal citizens and Trump supporters. It is also creating anger in the vaccinated segment toward the anti-vaxers— the former are exasperated and can’t understand the why the latter have politicized a public health crisis. And more confusing: the pandemic is now raging mostly among the un-vaccinated. Why would anyone put politics ahead of their own personal health and the health of their families?
This question is similar to the one we ask when we wonder how 74 million Americans can vote for Donald Trump. Obviously, this is some sort of mass hysteria induced by a new cultism phenomena. Cults are difficult to understand and explain. We have Donald Trump in 2015 telling us he could shoot someone in the middle of Fifth Ave. and the Jonestown Massacre of 900+ suicides in one event in 1978. Most sane people can’t grasp either reality… but there it is.
Is there some correlation between 918 mass suicides, 600,000 dead Americans, and Trump’s handling of the Covid crisis? Stay tuned.