Reason Roundup

Bringing Troops Home From Syria and Afghanistan Also Brings Fits of Bipartisan Rage: Reason Roundup

Plus: United Nations goes to bat for Julian Assange and Slack censors chat with Iranians.

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Roman Vondrous/ZUMA Press/Newscom

Chaos. That's the word that elected officials and Very Serious thinkers keep throwing around this week—a week in which President Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and from Afghanistan and Congress OK'd a (minor, but positive) bit of criminal justice reform. From a libertarian standpoint, it's hard to see where all consternation is coming from. But coming it is, from all sides of the political establishment.

"Morale has never been lower at the Pentagon," says Fox News.

Bill Kristol tweeted that he has "never been more alarmed for the nation since coming to D.C. over three decades ago."

"Today is the day that Never Trumpers warned was coming," crowed Tom Nichols.

Former outspoken Iraq War critic Howard Dean suggested we should keep our troops in Afghanistan to exert social control there:

Sen. Chris Murphy (D–Conn.) said we're in a "national security crisis," while Rachel Maddow and others in liberal TV news land insinuated in no uncertain terms that Trump's decisions were guided by Russia.

It's all been a bit beautiful and a bit disheartening to watch.

Beautiful, because sheesh—you would think Trump just launched new wars in Syria and Afghanistan, or perhaps everywhere, from the reactions on right and left. That so much scorn, rage, and paranoid conspiracy-mongering can be spawned by removing some U.S. troops from harm's way is really a marvel to behold.

Establishment media, pundits, and politicos have been trotting out every trick to make it seem like curtailing endless and unapproved American intervention in the Middle East is some sort of fringe lunacy. They say it's something only Trump would do because he's epically insecure and unserious. (He cares more about what Ann Coulter thinks than General Mattis!) Or it's because he's beholden to foreign interests. And so on…

It's been a nice reminder that—aside from schmaltzy civility cooing whenever an ex-president dies—one of the few things that can really bring Republicans and Democrats together is a commitment to imposing America's version of good globally and by force.

That's a vision that Defense Department chief Jim Mattis was staunchly committed to, and the discrepancy between this and the president's recent actions led the general to announce his resignation yesterday, effective at the end of February.

Good riddance. And while we're on good riddance…today is the last day Congress is in session before the new year. And thankfully, some of the worst members—like "sex trafficking"–obsessed Sen. Claire McCaskill (D–Missouri)—will be leaving.

Granted, we've got more than a few certain duds replacing them. The FIRST STEP Act has quite the small footprint. Congress has been busy with other nonsense (like passing a "massive, wasteful spending bill," as Michigan Rep. Justin Amash put it, and authorizing a national plan to "end demand" for prostitution). And Trump could change his mind tomorrow on bringing troops home. But it's so rare to find any anti-war, anti-carceral, limited-government bright spots these days that we shouldn't downplay them when they do occur.

Between troop withdrawal, watching warmongers on the left and right cry, momentum around sentencing reform, and the still-looming possibility of a partial government shutdown, it's beginning to look a lot like libertarian Christmas!

Happy holidays.

FREE MINDS

The United Nations is calling on the U.K. to let WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange go free.

QUICK HITS

• Bless the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):

• Slack is apparently shutting down the accounts of people who talk with too many people in Iran:

• Good rule of thumb—always pay attention to the immigration stories that Dara Lind writes and recommends:

Reason Roundup will be on a holiday hiatus next week. See you again on December 31.

NEXT: Congress Ramps Up War on Sex Workers and Their Customers With Secret Votes on Four New 'Protection' Laws

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  1. …President Donald Trump has announced the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria and from Afghanistan…

    America’s Hitler is on the march!

    1. You laugh, but I learned in history class about when Hitler withdrew his troops from Germany and sent them to the Sudatenland and Poland and France and the low countries. Then he loaned them to Stalin. Can concentration camps in America be far behind?

    2. Hello.

      This is fucken NUTS.

      It’s a GOOD THING America is pulling out of Syria.

      I expected conservatives to be upset but the progressive left going full neocon only adds to the suspicion they’re nothing but unprincipled psychos.

      The former is being consistent, the latter just going where their TDS takes them.

      1. Next, we need Trump to promote Medicare For All and AOC’s Green New Deal.

        1. The spin will then be: Trump wants universal public health because he wants to control people’s lives via health so he can build an army for his dictatorship and that he can pick which women to molest and to make sure he hoards all the medicine for himself so he can sell it at a profit and that…./takes deep breath/spins propeller on beanie…..and that the green energy deal is to give contracts to his friends so that they can turn blacks green and that he’s only going to give battery technology to Putin and that he really wants to make a green deal so that he can harvest all the fish in the ocean like Mr. Burns so that he can block the sun so that we all become Vitamin R deficient and that he hates Maddow because she tells the troot…..and…..

          /tires out. NPC battery needs recharging.

          1. You forgot about his blowing up Mt. Rushmore so his head could replace those presidents already there.

            1. I heard he wants to rename all highways and high schools in his name.

              It’s true.

          2. Rufus may be joking but in reality its funny because its exactly what they have been saying and will say

        2. Trump “we need a single payer health system like Sweden”.

          Liberals start burning Swedish flags and start harassing/beating up Swedish Americans.

  2. By withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan you are condemning millions of women to the Stone Age. No education, no choice about who they marry. They will become property when the Taliban takes over. Is that what you really want Ro? https://t.co/7VR9ZJUz8W
    ? Howard Dean (@GovHowardDean) December 21, 2018

    So a President Dean would have us invading all kinds of backwards regions.

    1. When did Howard Dean become such an Islamophobe?

      1. That’s what I thought. Dean criticized an Islamic theocracy’s treatment of women, which is considering heresy in the Dem party. Dems want to bring Islamic theocracy to America.

        I expect him to apologize in the next few days for his “insensitive, intolerant” remarks.

    2. Wait we did it for the women? Bush II was a #metoo guy? Ol’ dopey me – I thought we did it because they stole our airplanes and flew them into buildings and shit like that.

    3. I wonder if Dean realizes he made the opposite points when Conservatives used the same talking points about the Iraq withdrawal.

      1. Consistency is for little minds, of course.

        1. Then what is Dean’s excuse?

  3. Bringing Troops Home From Syria and Afghanistan Also Brings Fits of Bipartisan Rage

    Happy New Year rageaholics!

    1. Every little thing is going to be alright

  4. Here is what happened when Trump announced US troops would leave Syria: Putin applauded and the secretary of defense resigned.
    ? Dafna Linzer (@DafnaLinzer) December 21, 2018

    We should base all our actions solely on how top level bureaucrats and foreign actors would respond.

    1. Hey! Don’t forget the responses of entertainment celebrities!

    2. What about the feelings of Bhutan PM Lotay Tshering? I heard he took this news very well.

      The PM of Luxembourg, Xavier Bettel, is livid.

      So hard to keep up with what foreign leaders think of our moves.

      1. Hold out for the opinion of the MP for Berwick-upon-Tweed.

  5. Bill Kristol tweeted that he has “never been more alarmed for the nation since coming to D.C. over three decades ago.”

    Kristol war boner now flacid.

    1. Broke: Trump is a lunatic who will start wars
      Woke: Trump is a lunatic who will end wars

      1. Bespoke: War is peace and peace is literally war

      2. You’re mistaken if you think a war is ending. The Turks are going to war against the Kurds and we’ve abandoned them.

        1. OH NOOOOOOoooooooo……

          1. Fuck you too. Some allies we are. We spend more money on the military then anybody but we don’t even use it for anything. We good allies in Afghanistan and in the Kurds and we abandon them all while still spending record amounts on the military. This from a guy who wanted to invade Venezuela. Invade Venezuela but you can’t keep a small force to help tbe secular Kurds. Go fuck yourself.

            1. This from a guy who wanted to invade Venezuela

              You clearly have me mistaken for an insane person.

              1. Trump is the guy who suggested invading Venezuela.

            2. “We spend more money on the military then anybody but we don’t even use it for anything.”

              This is peak retarded. I think the complaint is that we use it constantly and it’s always counter-productive and almost never in service of “national defense”.

            3. Bots no speak good English

            4. You still livid about us abandoning the S Vietnamese?

            5. Let’s be perfectly clear here the US never had any intention of creating a some kind of homeland for the Kurds. They had that chance in Iraq.

              We were using them. End of story. Now they know it.

            6. “The secular Kurds.”. Son, you have no clue what you’re talking about.

        2. True. I forgot about all the good we were doing in Syria, like arming ISIS.

          1. Aleppo kid be damned.

            1. We’ve probably killed Aleppo kid’s parents or at least his neighbors either through a bombing campaign or inadvertently through the weapons we were supplying to ISIS and other “moderate rebels”.

              1. Russia killed those people. Russia was bombing Allepo. Do you get your news from RT. You’re an echo of the lies the Russians spin.

                1. Get fucked warmonger

                2. People die because of war. Does it really matter which team killed them? More war means more civilian death.

        3. “”You’re mistaken if you think a war is ending.”

          It’s not about ending the war in whole. It’s about ending our part of the war.

          Are part wasn’t sustainable. Our objective isn’t ISIS. It’s regime change. We were helping those trying to route Assad, which included ISIS. How much longer do you suggest we operate in Syria knowing we can’t achieve the main goal?

          1. England and France had the hundred year’s war. We can beat that record.

          2. We stay to help the Kurds.

            1. So, spend billions and sacrifice soldiers’ lives for this?

              Really?

            2. For how long?

              What is the end game?

        4. Iraqi Kurds or Turkish Kurds? Because I don’t remember our country ever really engaging with Turkish Kurds or making any kind of declaration of support for them. Northern Iraqi Kurds we have made overtures of protection but I don’t remember any treaty being signed either. If I have missed some agreement that is in place can you fill me in on the details? How long are we responsible for their protection and for that protection what have they offered us in return?

          1. Ask yourself why Russia doesn’t abandon Assad. Explain why it’s good for Russia to help it’s friends enlarge their power but it’s some terrible weakness for us to do the same. The Kurds were our friends. Every other fraction there would like to see America destroyed. Assad hates us. Russia hates us. Iran hates us. Turkey hates us. Iraq hates us. Saudis hate us. The Kurds and the Israelis are the only friends we have there. We should empower them at tbe expense of those other enemies. Instead it seems we’re giving Russia and Turkey a free hand to enlarge their power.

            1. Ask yourself why Russia doesn’t abandon Assad.

              I don’t care. I wanted Trump to hand Syria off to Russia the moment he entered office.

              Explain why it’s good for Russia to help it’s friends enlarge their power but it’s some terrible weakness for us to do the same.

              Doing something stupid to look tough is a poor idea.

              Every other fraction there would like to see America destroyed. Assad hates us. Russia hates us. Iran hates us. Turkey hates us. Iraq hates us. Saudis hate us. The Kurds and the Israelis are the only friends we have there.

              The Kurds ain’t fond of us, either. And I like that the complaint is that we are too involved in stuff that is none of our concern and the only fix for it is to be more involved in stuff that is none of our concern.

              Instead it seems we’re giving Russia and Turkey a free hand to enlarge their power.

              …because Russia is often so friendly and close with its neighbors…

            2. “We should empower them at tbe expense of those other enemies”

              Oh so NOW you want government picking winners and losers.

              Fuck off slaver.

            3. “”Ask yourself why Russia doesn’t abandon Assad.”‘

              At this point, what difference does it make. That fact that Russia is working with Assad means regime change is off the table, unless you want to start a war with Russia.

              Obama could have moved troops into Syria when he inherited the Iraq war and Russia would have had to react, oppose to Russian stepping in and us reacting.

  6. By withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan you are condemning millions of women to the Stone Age.

    “And by not voting for me, you condemned millions of women to the Trump Age. YEEAAAHHHHH!!”

    1. I still have that picture in my head with stupid ass Tom Harkin smiling and clapping behind him as Dean goes full lunatic after losing the Iowa Caucus.

  7. Establishment media, pundits, and politicos have been trotting out every trick to make it seem like curtailing endless and unapproved American intervention in the Middle East is some sort of fringe lunacy.

    He doesn’t have that Nobel cred.

    1. Isn’t it odd that Trump has ended more wars than a shockingly large number of pols who won the Nobel Peace Prize?

      1. The war isn’t ending you stupid fucking retards.

        1. Awww, Chandler is no longer happy.

        2. He’s ending our part in it you stupid fucking retard.

        3. “Could I BE anymore of a statist ass?”

        4. We arent the global cops, friend.

  8. House approves spending bill with $5.7B for border wall

    Reason Roundup will be on a holiday hiatus next week. See you again on December 31.

    Enough outrage to bring someone out of holiday hiatus?

    1. So suddenly New Year’s Eve isn’t a holy day?

    2. likely that parts of the federal government, including nine of 15 Cabinet-level departments and dozens of agencies, will cease operations at midnight Friday.

      But not the NORAD Santa Tracker, right? RIGHT?!

  9. Wow. @maassive and @eff sued the DEA to get AT&T’s Hemisphere records ? and won. It’s a good job they did, because the newly unredacted documents reveal rampant parallel construction by law enforcement to keep the program secret. https://t.co/Ap001EW5TD
    ? Zack Whittaker (@zackwhittaker) December 20, 2018

    This one I can only judge once the results are in. I’m not expecting as much to come of it as should.

    1. Since we’ve known about this parallel construction for quite some time and virtually nothing has come of it, I wager you’re right.

      1. they’ve seen the glory

  10. But its a private company…..

    Google’s Earth: how the tech giant is helping the state spy on us
    In 2010, as a sign of just how deeply Google had integrated with US intelligence agencies, it won an exclusive, no-bid $27m contract to provide the NGA with “geospatial visualisation services”, effectively making the company the “eyes” of America’s defence and intelligence apparatus. Competitors criticised the NGA for not opening the contract to the customary bidding process, but the agency defended its decision, saying it had no choice: it had spent years working with Google on secret and top-secret programmes to build Google Earth technology according to its needs, and could not go with any other company.

    …This made perfect sense. Google servers supplied critical services to the Pentagon, the CIA and the state department, just to name a few. It was part of the military family and essential to American society. It needed to be protected, too.

    1. Clearly the government needs greater oversight of this great evil megacorp monopoly.

      1. Or just break the damn thing up.

        1. The government should definitely be in charge of deciding when companies are too big.

          1. Well, I guess if various governments want to subcontract out spying on us and controlling us to an organization with a listing on a stock exchange somewhere, principled libertarians just have to accept it and bend over. Never knew it was so easy to get around restrictions on government power.

            1. Apparently principled libertarians are insane enough to think the government can fix a problem the government created.

              1. So just let the current situation continue? Stopping any abuse of government power can be described as “government fixing a problem the government created”, so they are off the hook?

                1. It is so funny that you believe that Google is the problem. Did the government contract with Google to provide a service? It appears that is the case. And somehow this shows that Google is too big a needs to be broken up? Apparently principled libertarians think so.

                  1. This is entire exchange is why Sporky gets laughed at and ignored.

                  2. You are correct that the problem is the government can pick winners and losers, but since the only group that could apparently stop that is the government…well the issue will never be fixed is the short story.

                    it does sort of make one wonder if it’s totally legal for the government to use 3rd parties to get around constitutional limitations, though. Currently it would seem the answer is yes.

                    1. We’ve seen a more grassroots version of that for decades, with “private” residential neighborhoods and shopping centers using HOAs and security guards to get around constitutional protections that local governments and police would have to observe.

  11. India To Intercept, Monitor, and Decrypt Citizens’ Computers
    Explaining the rationale behind the order, India’s IT minister, Ravi Shankar Prasad, said that the measure was undertaken in the interests of national security. He added that some form of “tapping” has already been going on in the country for a number of years and that the new order would help bring structure to that process. “Always remember one thing,” he said in a televised interview. “Even in the case of a particular individual, the interception order shall not be effective unless affirmed by the Home Secretary.”

    The Internet Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization that protects the online rights of citizens in India, cautioned that the order goes beyond telephone tapping. It includes looking at content streams and might even involve breaking encryption in some cases. “Imagine your search queries on Google over [a number of] years being demanded — mixed with your WhatsApp metadata, who you talk to, when, and how much [and add] layers of data streams from emails + Facebook,” it said. “To us this order is unconstitutional and in breach of the telephone tapping guidelines, the Privacy Judgement and the Aadhaar Judgement,” it asserted.

  12. I NEED EVERYONE TO STOP TALKING ABOUT THE #$#$ WALL FOR THIRTY SECONDS
    THE WALL DOES NOT MATTER
    PPL COMING TO US ARE INCREASINGLY SEEKING ASYLUM, WHICH IS LEGAL & CAN BE DONE AT PORTS (official crossings)
    AND THOSE PPL NOW HAVE TO GO BACK TO MEXICO ANYWAYhttps://t.co/1vPecwE1Ii
    ? Dara Lind (@DLind) December 20, 2018

    Shouting on Twitter should get you deported.

    1. Grounded: Gatwick airport remains shut down as Army brought in to deal with drone crisis

      Paul Revere: THE REDCOATS ARE COMING! THE REDCOATS ARE COMING!

      1. A representative for Sussex Police said there was no indication of the threat being terror-related.

        “Probably just a fun-loving, but confused, bloke.”

    2. How many drones were there and their scared of shooting one down because the pieces may land on something what BS

  13. Jason Chaffetz: Trump’s border wall may get funding after all (thanks to this dirty little Washington secret)
    Washington’s dirty little secret is that unauthorized spending is not even uncommon anymore. As a freshman member of Congress, this truth stunned me ? and I was not alone. By my estimation, there were many in the body who disapproved of the practice. But to our disappointment, the body as a whole was not inclined to address the issue.

    The Democrats may feign exasperation with the president potentially spending “unauthorized” money on the wall, but they have enthusiastically participated in the budgetary games that will make it possible. During the Obama administration, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated $310 billion was spent on unauthorized appropriations in FY 2016 ? the last fiscal year of his presidency.

  14. BREAKING: UN issues statement demanding UK immediately cease trying to arrest Julian Assange pic.twitter.com/MUxWufcOZg
    ? WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) December 21, 2018

    The sun never sets on the United Nations empire.

  15. “Morale has never been lower at the Pentagon,” says Fox News.

    Bureaucrats are sad.

    1. On the flip side our Troops are happy they don’t have to referee a sectarian war in a shit hole no one but Bill Kristol and the generals care about.

      1. The people inside the Beltway don’t give a flying fuck about the troops. Most of the troops are “deplorables” from “flyover country” anyway, not sensitive urban liberals with Menstrual Studies degrees.

        1. No they don’t. But even if they did and the opinion in the Pentegon reflected the military as a whole, so what? I have always been told that allowing the military’s desire to go to war force you into doing so was a bad thing. The media is seriously arguing that the military has a right to overrule the civilian authority and continue a war. That is pretty disturbing when you think about it.

          1. Considering that some in the media have broached the subject of a military coup against Trump, it isn’t surprising. But disturbing, as you say.

            1. I did two tours overseas; basically the first and the last tours in Iraq. I helped open the place up and then turn off the lights when we left under Obama. The second tour really changed my views on some things. I was appalled at the amount of fraud and waste going on. All wars have that and are wasteful. But what I saw in 2011 was ridiculous even by the standards of warfare. There were so many contractors doing virtually nothing making so much money. We really didn’t seem to have much of a mission anymore and the whole place seemed to be set up for high ranking officers and contractors to get rich. The amount of money made from our being in the Middle East is just enormous. And there is no way in hell that money isn’t lining the pockets of all of these pundits and “experts” who are forever arguing for intervention.

              1. I’ve been told that if a person wants to become a general they have to have combat experience. Do you know if this is true John. I could understand the requirement but its also why the military is governed by a citizen government, for now anyway.

                1. For the most part yes Ron. That is not true in the specialty branches like doctors and lawyers. But it is absolutely true in the Army for combat arms and combat support branches.

          2. The TDS of those afflicted has actually made this country more dangerous by thinking teh military and pundits should opinions should be default action.
            The claim that Trump is causing CHAOS is laughable since he has so far only done what he said he wanted to do and was voted in office to do.

    2. Lower than this? Pfft! We’ve only got a few years of freedom projection invested in Syria. Fucking snowflakes.

    3. I would like my employees to be happy but it isn’t a requirement.

  16. U.S. GDP grew 3.4% in third quarter instead of 3.5%

    Lefties still probably consider this “Obama’s economy”.

    1. What’s .1% among friends and countrymen?

      1. Exactly. Just tack that on to the interest-rate hike.

        1. See that shit? Obviously interest rates were kept artificially low by the federal reserve for too long and they need to go up, but raising it too quickly has clear negative impacts on loans and business.

          The fucking federal reserve drops the interest rate to .25% in Dec 2008 and kept it there until Dec 2015, but yeah Obama brought us out of the Great Recession…. My ass.

    2. Now that Mr. Buttplug has been banned, I’m glad other people are taking up the slack in posting links to all the terrible news about this #DrumpfRecession. That figure is appalling. We’d be doing much better under President Clinton.

      #StillWithHer

  17. Swamp’s gold: 6 of 10 richest counties in America are DC suburbs, 10 of the top 20
    Federal workers in the Washington area earn an average of about $110,000 a year, about $25,000 more than the average federal salary. And that is before benefits like 40 days off, 18 percent retirement matching, and ample health care insurance choices are added in.

    Many households have two federal workers, and many more have former federal workers receiving a pension now working for federal contractors, “double-dipping,” so to speak.

    1. “The bureaucracy is expanding to meet the needs of the expanding bureaucracy.”

    1. priestly sex abusers

      Nice band name.

  18. Yesterday, I texted a friend “MAGA”, unironically.

    Orange man done good.

    1. Hey. It’s you. Glad to see you back.

      1. I came back with a LC1789 comment. What a world

        1. Just dont become a Belieber now.

          1. I’ll try, but his songs are real catchy

    1. Greenwald: In general, I think journalists ought to be aware that when you’re using intelligence agencies of governments, there’s always a high risk that you’re being deceived, lied to, propagandized or manipulated, since that is what those agencies are designed to do. That’s their function.

      This.

      1. “I’m a snake bitch what did you expect?”

  19. Howard Dean is a rat.

  20. “Today is the day that Never Trumpers warned was coming,” crowed Tom Nicho

    Never Trumpers are really fond of sending troops out to die for no meaningful reason.

  21. By withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan you are condemning millions of women to the Stone Age. No education, no choice about who they marry. They will become property when the Taliban takes over. Is that what you really want Ro?

    Democrats are really fond of nation building.

    I notice that no anti-war groups are praising these moves. Odd.

    1. I’m waiting for the DNC to bust Dean’s chops for being Islamophobic.

  22. The reaction to Trump’s decision to pull out of Syria has surprised even me. If you want to stay in Syria, you ought to be able to articulate what want to accomplish by staying there and how staying there will accomplish it. And the people losing their shit over this are unable to do that. At best they give short term answers like “keep Russia from dominating Syria” or something but they can never give a long term explanation of what that will accomplish. Worse, it never occurs to them that doing so is necessary. Some of them, particularly people on the right like Max Boot and David French for example, seem to embrace war as an end in itself. They just think we should be at war and don’t think being so requires any justification or articulated goal. People throw the term “war monger” around way too much. But this is the first time I can remember that the term is justified. These people want the US to stay in Syria because being at war is an end in itself.

    1. If you want to stay in Syria, you ought to be able to articulate what want to accomplish by staying there and how staying there will accomplish it.

      Yep. “If you want to do X, you ought to be able to articulate what want to accomplish by doing X and how doing X will accomplish it.”

    2. But Obama’s mishandling of the region already gave the upper-hand to Russia.

      1. Russia will always have the upper hand there to some degree because it means more to them than it does to us. This is especially true with Syria, a country that has no oil and controls no strategic sea lanes. Whatever you think of invading Iraq, it at least has oil and a port on the Persian Gulf and is of real strategic value to the US. Syria is nothing like that.

        It never seems to occur to these people that having the upper hand in these places might not be a good thing. If Putin wants to spend his blood and money trying to prop up Assad and control the mess that is Syria, I wish him good luck with that. What the hell is that going to get him?

        1. Russia wants a warm water port that is unblockable during war.

          Kaliningrad and the Baltic is blockable at Denmark.

          Any port in Syria is blockable at Gibraltar and the Suez and is subject to Syrian whims about Russia. Its a stupid strategy but it was stupid for Russia to push Ukraine instead of being friendly. Putin is not known for being a super smart strategist.

          1. Plus he may ruffle Turkey that way.

            1. Turkey and Russia are not friends. They share a common border. Plus, Turkey has always been able to easily cut Black Sea access.

              Russia is also not super friendly with China and they have had border issues too.

              Russia has a history of being extremely aggressive with neighboring nations. It sets a tone for relations.

          2. And let them have it. How do they plan to defend and support a base that far removed from Russia? Moreover, what are they going to do? At some point, maybe other great powers have the right to have some influence in the world too? The whole thing is just crazy.

            1. Totally agree John.

              If Russia wants a port in Syria that is a horrible strategic location, why should we care?

        2. I thought Russian strategy was about blocking a pipeline through Syria to Europe. So as to keep Europe dependant on Russian oil. Did I dream that?

          1. Europe isn’t dependent on Russian oil. It is dependent on Russian gas. But even that is changing as the US exports more and more compressed natural gas to Europe.

            1. Imagine how much worse it would be if somebody who didn’t love Putin was President. I bet the last President was all about expanding gas exploration and exporting it heavily.

    3. If the goal is to keep Russia out of Syria then we would have to be there forever just like we are in Europe and we don’t need that. Let teh Russians spend their blood and money in those waste lands, its someone elses turn.

    4. I don’t get why they don’t get that we TRIED their ideas.

      Non-stop.

      Since 2001.

      IT IS SEVENTEEN YEARS LATER. Why not try a different strategy? Why not, say, a “We will deal with shit that impacts US” strategy?

      It’s not like our foreign policy establishment has had a strong track record for the last nearly 2 decades.

    5. keep Russia from dominating Syria
      Syria was a Soviet ally during the Cold War. Russia has a naval base at Tartus. If the US wanted to keep Russia out of Syria it is decades late.

  23. By withdrawing our troops from Afghanistan you are condemning millions of women to the Stone Age.

    As anyone who has ever read the comments on Hit & Run knows, you can’t civilize people who have no desire to be civilized.

    1. Perhaps if the people of Afghanistan do not want to live in the stone age it is up to them to ensure they don’t? Just a crazy thought.

      1. That’s what I said and I’m not entirely comfortable with you agreeing with me.

        1. Sparky and Johnny sitting in a tree, k-i-s-s-i-n-g…

          1. Adversary love is always the best love

  24. Bill Kristol tweeted that he has “never been more alarmed for the nation since coming to D.C. over three decades ago.”

    Exactly. This is much worse than the Iraq War Kristol and the neoconservatives pushed for. That war was probably a mistake, but at least their intentions were noble. Drumpf’s disastrous actions are always motivated by racism (he wants to undo Obama’s legacy simply because Obama is a POC) and his relationship with Putin.

    #TrumpRussia
    #LibertariansForABetterGOP
    #NeoconsAreBetterThanTheAltRight

  25. The other thing about the Syria affair is how all of the supposed “adults” in the room are actually children who refuse to understand the nature of war. They are forever wanting the US to go to war but then unwilling to take the actions necessary to win the war. If you want to stabilize Syria, then you need to remove Assad and likely go to war and defeat Iran and possibly Russia. If you want to win in Afghanistan and defeat the Taliban, then you need to go to war with Pakistan and deprive them of safe haven there. If you are not willing to do those things, then you need to leave those places. There are clearly good reasons not to go to war with Iran and especially Pakistan and Russia. So, the price of winning in Syria and Afghanistan isn’t worth whatever reward that would attain. So, you don’t do it. But, the smart set in Washington is forever pretending that we can magically attain results without doing the dirty work necessary. For them there is always an easy choice.

    1. These are the people for turning Libya into a literal African slave auction and Libya/Syria into an unlimited source of ‘refugees’. These are the people who were willing to keep Saddam in power “because Shrub” (I opposed invading Iraq, but at least support withdrawing from Syria) but now pretend to care how local governments in the region treat their people.

      1. It goes all the way back to the first Gulf War. There was no way to kick Saddam out of Kuwait and finish the conflict without also invading Iraq and removing Saddam. Kicking him out of Kuwait and not removing him from power just created a festering conflict as he plotted for revenge. Our kicking Saddam out of Kuwait resulted in a 12 year low intensity war in Iraq that eventually left us no choice but to invade and remove him from power. If George HW Bush did not want to remove Saddam from power, he should have never agreed to kick him out of Kuwait. Doing so just put off the inevitable and made things worse. We would have been better off letting him have Kuwait than doing what we did. But like we always seem to do, we launch wars without the will to do what is necessary to win them.

        1. Additionally, we dont think about the reasonable consequences of our military adventures.

        2. Keeping Saddam out of Kuwait would have been as easy as not telling him we didn’t care if he invaded in the first place.

          And once we told him we didn’t care, we should have continued not caring. Why is it our problem if Kuwait is ruled by a different asshole?

          1. That is a good question. Yeah, it would have given Saddam control of a lot of oil. But, so what? What is he going to do with it besides sell it to us? He can’t drink it. That oil is only valuable because he can sell it to us. And as long as he is selling it, what do we care if it is him or the Kuwaitis selling it to us?

            These are the sorts of questions no one in the military or foreign policy establishment ever ask. And when you ask them these questions they don’t give you an answer beyond “that is crazy”.

            1. its discussions like these by commenters that keep me coming back to Reason, not the articles but the often intelligent discourse by people who have a lot more knowledge on these subjects than I. lots to agree with here today

      2. Hell, our government championed the removal of Mubarak and Khaddafy and neither country had better options in the wings to rule. Maybe we should stop doing that kind of thing.

    2. I learned my lesson with people like Kristol. I also learned they’re gutless cowards posing as war hawks using other people’s children.

      If you want war then you’d better damn well be Rome to Carthage and Corinth.

      If not, sit down and shut the fuck up.

      1. America was never like Rome except for Dresden.

        The ruthlessness of the Romans was so ruthless even ruthless Romans wondered if they were being too ruthless.

        It was reported Scipio cried as they razed Carthage.

        Kristol is Cato when he dropped the fig in the Senate.

        1. We created far worse infernos in Japan. Those papers houses.

          I am against America starting wars but even our misadventures were caused by hostile action to our interests.

          Central Powers continued sinking of American shipping, including the Americas lost on S.S. Lusitania.
          Pearl Harbor.
          NK Communist’s invasion over the 38th Parallel.
          North Vietnamese Communist’s invasion over the 17th Parallel.
          Cuban Communist’s kidnapping of Americans on Grenada.
          Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.
          Al-Qaeda’s attack on the American interests multiple times, including Sept. 11, 2001.

          The real lesson is: Don’t fuck with America.

          1. I don’t disagree.

            Japan. Yes. Atomic bomb. Duh.

  26. Dean is getting pummelled in the comments.

    As proper.

    He and his ilk deserve it.

    Fricken lousy ?ber-hypcorites.

    1. Some of those criticizing him are his former supporters. There still exists an anti-war Left, they’re just not in power.

      1. Glenn Greenwald, Aaron Mate, Michael Tracey, Noam Chomsky, Tulsi Gabbard, Ro Khanna, Code Pink etc…

        These are principled people who don’t generally change their position on overseas conflicts depending on which party is in power. The same can be said for the anti-war Right

        1. I disagree with them often but if they keep to their principles, I respect them.

          1. Well, yeah, they’re pretty garbage on economics and just about everything else. But, I deeply respect their principled anti-war positions

        2. I thought Iraq wasn’t a horrible idea initially. The proposal, to bring them democracy and lead to a cascade through the region, sounded great.

          But fuck did that ever not work. At all. A fucking debacle.

          What I don’t get is why somebody dumb as me can learn lessons but Kristol cannot?

          1. It never works. Nations must become democratic organically or it simply doesn’t work. In fact, it’s almost worse than the alternative because often times the first democratic vote they have is to install a theocratic dictator.

            1. Sad but true. You cannot force anybody to be free. They have to want it and, in large parts of the world, it’s not a pressing desire of theirs.

              1. Yep. Many of them have no problem living in the stone age. If they want to stay in the stone age, that’s their choice.

    2. hypcorites

      I like it!

      1. /narrows gaze.

      2. I think the Hypcorites were one of the biblical tribes in New Zealand.

  27. Reason Roundup will be on a holiday hiatus next week. See you again on December 31.

    WHAT THE FUCK AM I SUPPOSED TO DO IN THE MEANTIME? AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH

    1. Write Gary Johnson fan-fic?

    2. Hookers and blow?

    3. Hookers and blow?

    4. Maybe attend to Mrs… nevermind.

      1. Oh god, please don’t make me have to interact with Valerie.

        1. You call your mom be her name? Very modern family.

          1. Perhaps it’s too obscure, but look up the wife of the handsome head of the Libertarian party.

            1. I forgot who you were in real life.

              She certainly seems homely enough for you. It would explain the porn addiction.

    5. Getting blown by hookers?

    6. Ass sex with Mexican hookers?

    7. STEVE SMITH READY FOR ANYTHING! DANCING! DRINKING! DRAMA! RAPE! WHATEVER!

  28. Police officer allegedly filmed himself having sex with an animal

    38-year-old Terry Yetman was arrested on December 19th and charged with 20 counts of sexual abuse of animals by performing sexual acts with an animal, and 20 counts of filming sexual acts with an animal, according to the Louisiana State Police.

    1. WHAT ANIMAL? Yes, it matters.

        1. They’re always asking for it.

        2. He was trying to reenact Red Dawn.

          1. Or OSU-Michigan game.

      1. Hillary.

    2. The doubling up with the filming charges was because he was might have posted it on a revenge porn website if he got dumped. His partner has a right to privacy.

    3. Dude’s bail was set at $350,000!

      I would say that is excessive bail in violation of the Constitution.

    4. It’s bad enough fucking an animal.

      But taping it?

      Was he going to re-watch him nailing the shit out of a donkey?

      I’ve seen “Mr. Hands”. It’s not pretty.

  29. Healthcare, education, etc. Anything the Administrative Class says is a fundamental human right is really a jobs program for them:

    Diversity Administrators ? Higher Education’s Lucrative New Scam
    Big money is involved, even for small schools. Tacoma Community College in Washington State is currently seeking a Vice President for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion with a potential offer of $120,000 to $130,000 dollars.

    During a recent appearance on FOX News, Manhattan Institute scholar, Heather Mac Donald, noted that the Vice Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion at the University of California, Los Angeles makes over $400,000 dollars a year.

    1. I’d love to get a job like that, but at the same time I couldn’t keep a straight face during the interview.

  30. Eliot Spitzer snuck me into his apartment in a suitcase: ex-mistress

    Zakharova said the hot-to-trot ex-gov loved sex toys, “but he wouldn’t go to the store because he was afraid of being recognized.

    “He used to make me buy sex toys, dildos . . . and long-term [erection] gel . . . a leash with a choker . . . I would throw them out after we used them and then buy new ones the next time we were together,” she said.

    “We were seeing each other four times a week” for sex, said Zakharova, who has previously described leading Spitzer around on a black leash during their bedroom games.

    “He would tie me up and call me names ? ‘a b?h.’ He would say, ‘I’m going to kill you.’

    “He said, ‘Whatever happens in bed stays in bed.’ “

  31. The Chron has a Toles cartoon of Putin riding Trump away from the battlefield. The left’s been making so many 180* turns, their dizzy.

  32. The Cult of ‘Semen Retention’

    These guys believe you shouldn’t cum because your seed contains holistic, metaphysical powers

    1. It deprives you of your purity of essence. Do these guys know you should only drink pure grain alcohol and never water?

    2. Crusty never had a seamen retention problem.

      1. Amazon would be jealous of his reliable delivery system, if you know what I mean.

    3. A bunch of frustrated men with self-imposed blue balls. I bet their parties suck.

      1. I feel bad for whomever has to change their bed sheets…

    4. his sermons run the gambit

      It’s sad when the writer is as dumb as the subject.

      1. But enough about your autobiography.

  33. Hillary Clinton

    @HillaryClinton

    Actions have consequences, and whether we’re in Syria or not, the people who want to harm us are there & at war. Isolationism is weakness. Empowering ISIS is dangerous. Playing into Russia & Iran’s hands is foolish. This President is putting our national security at grave risk.

    1. Thank God Trump kicked her ass in election 2016.

      I’m not even religious.

      1. LOL ? Drumpf lost by 3 million votes.

      2. Yeah, it’s hard to disagree on this point in light of this past week’s events

      3. Trump won 306 to 232 electoral votes.

    2. I’m so proud I cast my first ever Presidential vote for her.

      #LibertariansForFinishingTheJob

    3. Didn’t this crazy psyhco bitch want to enforce a no-fly scheme against Russia?

      This coming from the mouth of a cunt who destroyed Libya with major consequences for Europe.

      Guess this piece of shit didn’t care then, eh?

      Evil nut case.

      And same to her supporters who still stick by this mentally ill individual drunk on power.

      1. She also talked of a pre-emptive strike against North Korea, But Trump was going to burn the world down in nuclear flames

      2. “”Didn’t this crazy psyhco bitch want to enforce a no-fly scheme against Russia?””

        Yes. And thought Trump didn’t go far enough when he attacked the airbase.

    4. I miss the old game of “Spot the Not”.

      These quotes and tweets from both sides are a gold mine.

  34. Is it possible that we don’t know the full picture. Matis’ resignation letter acknowledges that he doesn’t believe in using U.S. troops as policemen of the world, but he also alludes to a responsibility to our allies. I’m guessing that we have made numerous security guarantees to our allies (such as the Kurds) in the region and that Trump’s abrupt withdrawal is going to cost them dearly.

    That said I’m still on the side of cheering this move. There is likely never going to be a good time to withdraw from either area.

    1. As with the Hmong who helped the USA during the Vietnam War, I would not be against offering Kurds political asylum in the USA.

      Otherwise, the Kurds need to get Syria, Turkey, Iran, and Iraq to give up land to form a Kurd nation.

      Yeah, good luck with that.

      1. Why won’t the UN just create a nation for the Kurds? They’ve done that kind of thing before. That worked out…okay?

      2. Right. Even if we/they somehow carved out a new Kurdistan, we’d be creating a client state completely dependent upon us for survival. One that would draw us into war after war for generations to come.

    2. Exactly. Unless you are willing to go balls to the wall and take on Iran and Pakastan, these situations are never going to be to our liking. So staying there just sends good money after bad.

  35. So… orange man not bad?

  36. Let’s withdraw our military around the world, except for the seas and special occasions, and reduce–but focus–our efforts on Fortress America. Not about walls but about using our wealth and power to make us closer to invulnerable. A whackjob could cause serious harm with EMP, for instance. Rather spend money on that than on fighting pointless wars. I’d also get us out of the business of selling arms.

    1. Let go of the idea that the US must at all times be a hegimonic power ensureing the peace in all parts of the globe. Maybe let China and Russia and India shoulder some of that burden. Maybe let some other countries get into the business of ensuring the peace and power projection. It is an idea just so crazy that it might work.

    2. That’s been Russia’s strategic plan for the past 30ish years. It’s been successful enough to check our power with a fraction of the military budget. It will represent an end to Pax Americana, and we’ll lose quite a few economic benefits (Dollar supremecy & Saudi OPEC concessions, to name two huge ones), but we are breaking ourselves trying to maintain hegemony.

      The question is: Which President is willing to risk his (her?) reputation and legacy to pull the plug? The last emperor in declining empires is usually the one to get the most noteriety

      1. Well, we’ll still have our economic supremacy, I suppose.

      2. The thing is that the US has an empire. It is called the continental US. We are still a great power with the largest economy on earth without any empire. Why do we need all of this nonesne?

        1. Not to say that the U.S. withdrawal wouldn’t have unexpected consequences–it would–but I’m not sure Pax Americana is stable much longer. We could still maintain a considerable military presence for much less money. And there’s also space.

          1. The Pax Americana was an artifical state created by the Cold War. It was never going to last once the threat of the Eastern Block ended. What we are seeing now is a return to the old great power system of competing powers with different spheres of influence. Our foreign policy establishment refuses to accept that fact. They think if we just keep acting like it is still true, it will be. All they are doing is causing us to fight half ass wars in the name of stability that we have no intention of winning because winning means confronting other great powers who don’t recognize the Pax Americana.

            1. The loss of American empire, prestige, power, etc is mostly irrelevant to the average American. It’s just a matter of national pride, which along with $3 will get you a coffee at Starbucks.

              The real trick will be to see if we can beat our swords back into plowshares without inciting an economic collapse. The MIC is real, and it drives a large portion of our economy.

              1. It drives less than you think. We spend a smaller portion of GNP on defense than we did for pretty much all of the cold war. Our budget is still so big because the economy is just that enormous and productive.

              2. The US managed to come out of WWII and go from spending like 40% of its GNP on defense and having 12 million men in the military to a fraction of that and still have a post war boom. I don’t see why we can’t walk away from a few piss ant conflicts and have a somewhat smaller volunteer military and be just fine.

  37. I wonder how the withdrawal of US troops from Syria and Afghanistan will affect the sex trade in those places. Aleppo (whatever that is) will suffer a sharp downturn in it’s economy as the sex workers are denied access to a lucrative market that is US troops overseas? Thoughts, ENB?

    1. I would hazard a guess that the raping of little boys by tribal warlords will probably continue unabated as it has since we started occupying them 17 years ago.

      1. “Turn a blind eye” and moral relativism pretty much being official policy out there.

        1. thanks for sharing this information.

  38. Ok, I gotta admit I’m pretty fucking shocked that Trump is taking us out of Afghanistan. I honest to god did not believe he would do it.

    Kudos to him, I guess. I had too many friends die in those shit holes.

  39. It’s strange how someone can relate the withdrawal of the US troops from Afghanistan and Syria to the sex trade of those countries. Being a student, I’ve always been struggling hard to come up with the perfect writing. But after reading this post, I think people don’t really need brains to take any decision these days

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