Life is so funny and hilarious, the bowels scream with laughter.
(Illustration found here).
Yesterday, the famous last words of Richard Holbrooke, the long-time US diplomat and President Obama’s point man for the Af-Pak theater who died on Monday, were thumped across the Internets: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.”
Now, however, quick and handy, the official line was that Holbrooke was joking: The aide said he could not be sure of Holbrooke’s exact words. He emphasized Tuesday that the comment was made in painful banter, rather than as a serious exhortation about policy. Holbrooke also spoke extensively about his family and friends as he awaited surgery by Farzad Najam, a thoracic surgeon of Pakistani descent.
The whole affair has been swept real fast under history’s rug in a smiling joke on how concentrated Holbrooke was on the horrible mess of Afghanistan.
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley told reporters on Tuesday that the remarks were part of a lengthy back-and-forth between Holbrooke and his doctors, who were trying to calm him down before the surgery.
“At one point the medical team said: You’ve got to relax. And Richard said: I can’t relax; I’ve got — I’m worried about Afghanistan and Pakistan,” Crowley relayed, according to ABC News.
“And then after some additional exchanges, you know, the medical team finally — finally said: Tell you what; we’ll try to fix this challenge while you’re undergoing surgery. And he said: Yeah, see if you can take care of that, including ending the war.”
“Number one, he always wanted to make sure he got the last word,” Crowley said, of Holbrooke. “And secondly, [the exchange] just showed how he was singularly focused on pursuing an advancing the — you know, the process and the policies in Afghanistan and Pakistan to bring them to a successful conclusion,” he said.
All just ‘painful banter.’
And White House front-man Bob Gibbs kept the spin going, relaying that Obama was “pleased” with the progress of the going-from-bad-to-worse conflict entering a decade and according to antiwar.com, there will be “no surprises” in Obama’s special report coming on Thursday on the conduct of the Afghan mess: Gibbs was quite short of evidence of the â€œprogressâ€ in the Afghan War, insisting only that it was â€œobvious.â€ He did reference improved cooperation with Pakistan, however, which is probably poorly timed as Admiral Mullen is in Pakistan today berating the government for not having invaded North Waziristan yet.
Even more(from The Hill): When asked if the war is going better than it was a year ago, Gibbs said: â€œI don’t think there’s any doubt.â€
Pretty much just pure-as-driven-snow bullshit — ‘obvious‘ and no ‘doubt‘ to whom?
Meanwhile back at the killing ranch, Gen. David Petraeus’ ultra-violent air war in Afghanistan copped up again, “accidentally” destroying a school while taking-out some reported 30 insurgents — there’s more there then meets the eyeball.
Of course, none of this ‘official‘ outlook on the Afghan war takes notice of the open letter to Obama released this week from Afghanistan/South Asia experts that the war cannot be won — 23 professionals on the region wrote the conflict is “not going well,” the war is financially unsustainable, security is worsening and Islamabad’s support for the Taliban means “it is not realistic to bet on a military solution.”
And apparently the White House head-in-the-sand view also ignores two terrible-sounding reports made public this week on just how horrible the Afghan war is ‘not progressing’ very well at all — the NIEs painted a really, really ‘bleak‘ picture.
And talk about a joke — a supposed Taliban leader sitting down for peace talks was an impostor and the whole scheme was a hoax.
The incident indicative of how bad it’s going: “And we wonder why we haven’t found Osama bin Laden. …” writes Maureen Dowd in The New York Times. “Those familiar with the greatest Afghan con yet say that the British had spent a year developing the fake Taliban leader as a source and, despite a heated debate and C.I.A. skepticism, General Petraeus was buying into it. The West was putting planes and assets at the poseur’s disposal, and paying him a sum in the low six figures. ‘It’s funny but not funny because the consequences are so staggering,’ said a Western diplomat. ‘Put it this way: It was not well handled.'”
I’m thinking of retreating to the toilet and attempt to shit out a giggle.