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TV SoundOff: Sunday Talking Heads

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Good morning and welcome to your liveblog of the Sunday Morning Mouth Excretions! My name is Jason, and I hope you all are enjoying this holiday season. I'll tell you, I am thankful for all of you who were happy to give me last Sunday off so that I could traverse in northeast in a car, for hours and hours. That was very nice of you! I understand I missed quasi-religious infomercialist Rick Warren on MEET THE PRESS. Well, I'm sure that was some courageous television, right there, that room full of titanically brave mofeaux -- Rick Warren and David Gregory. Bet most of you had a hard time deciding which one you wanted to be when you grew up. Or which one you wanted to be when you regressed to a quivering child state, to grow up from again at the urgings of loved ones who had staged an intervention.

Gay's gettin' indiscriminately killed in Uganda? Boy, I don' know! Seems to me that a moral man had better think awful long and hard about what's right, in that situation. I mean, if you too quickly commit yourself to the side that indiscriminately killing gay people is wrong, well, there's no coming back from that, is there? Tough and searing choices, right there. What if you say the wrong thing, and reveal yourself to be nothing more than a diseased sack of distended swine rectums, who should be shunned in polite society.

Well, sure that's not true. He was at the Inauguration and everything!

Anyway, gah. Let's start this puppy up. I seem to recall that you can send me an email, or leave a comment, and that it'd be cool if you would like to follow me on Twitter.

FOX NEWS SUNDAY

Oh boy! Afghanistan with General David Petraeus and a Durbin/Cornyn duet on the same dumb topics we've been hearing about for the past eleventy kabillion months.

First, live from CENTCOM, here's Davey P. How does he define success? Oh, easy: Afghanistan has its own security, revived governmental structures, general awesomeness. He says the president is resolved, and resolute, and steadfast, so why won't the terrorists just give up already?

There are differences between Afghanistan and Iraq, apparently? Like Afghanistan is the "longest campaign in what I call the long war," which sounds lickety-spit, to me, given the three decades of war and crushing poverty that folks live with there. So what about this withdrawal date then? Petraeus says it's a "beginning" and "conditions-based" and a "responsible draw down." Like Iraq! So, that a way in which they'll be similar -- the leaving.

Apparently, "logistics planners" in Qatar are speeding up the deployment. And there are no orders to withdraw any specific amount of troops in 2011. Wallace asks, but could we please maybe have troops there forever? Petraeus says "conditions-based, conditions-based." Wallace rejoinders by saying that the General's "former colleagues" in the Bush Administration hate the July 2011 timeline and so did he once, but Petraeus doesn't bite the hook: "read the President's speech...read Gates' testimony," and shut up.

Is it a "surge?" No, it's a "compressed bell curve." Did Obama ever confide in you and admit that the Iraq surge was awesomesauce? Petraeus says yes, but he doesn't want to re-litigate past conflicts. Petraeus says that their meetings were "good discussions" and involved "team buildings" and trust falls.

Chances are actually, that a bunch of military experts and government officials sat down to a series of planned meetings, worked very hard, treated the matter with seriousness, and the discussion, no, sadly, did not furnish gotcha material.

"YOU ARE UNDER LIGHTNING ROUND RULES," Wallace says, to which Petraeus says, "NO YOU ARE." And Wallace's sycophancy gland kicks in.

Hey. I think something just fell off the roof of my building!

Petraeus no longer votes (weird!) and isn't going to run for office. He invokes a country song called, "What About No Don't You Understand."

OK. What just fell off the roof of my building??

All right, guessing it was just a huge chunk of snow, dropping off the roof all at once, maybe? That was weird. Durbin is on, and he tosses something of a hard one at Wallace, saying the limits to the Afghanistan deployment are something he finds, "encouraging...probably you find it discouraging...And that is the fact that he has said to the leader of Afghanistan, Mr. Karzai; 'There is a limit beyond which we will not leave American troops. We are not going to make Afghanistan a protector of the United States. You have to change your government. You have to show that you are willing to stand up and fight for your own country.'"

Anyway, Durbin is spinning July 2011 as a moment that limits our involvement. "But I would like to believe that by July of 2011 that we will be in a position where we are going to see our troops really coming home," he says. Wallace thinks July 2011 doesn't mean very much. Cornyn says he likes the change in strategy, but obviously, we should stay there forever, until the troops find the Lost Temple Of All The Money, or something.

"Thanks to Harry Reid's leadership..." -- I'm going to let that sink in -- "We are down to two issues with health care, abortion and the public option." And Judd Gregg's Amazing Technical List of Daffy Amendments. Cornyn hates health care reform, beyond obvious.

Wallace asks, "Is there a compromise out there to bridge the gap between Joe Lieberman and Blanche Lincoln?" That sounds like the set up to Washington, DC's saddest key party.

Durbin says that the "public option" is not a government run plan but a non-profit company. Cornyn blames Durbin for "demonizing the private sector." And even Wallace is bored with the constant repetition of talking points, so it's on to Copenhagen. Cornyn hates cap and trade, and he hopes that it doesn't get passed. He'd rather have natural gas (probably from his home state) and nuclear power (probably in everyone else's state).

Durbin says China and India present an opportunity to work together, create economic opportunities, and achieve energy independence and efficiency. Durbin doesn't let Wallace "pre-suppose" what a climate change legislation would do. Cornyn says BLAH LET THE PRIVATE SECTOR SOLVE EVERYTHING NOW THAT THEY TOO ARE UNDERPINNED BY BILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS YET WON'T HIRE ANYONE.

PANEL TIME. With Kristol and Liasson and Juan Williams and Dana Perino. First, Copenhagen. Kristol says that the summit won't amount to much and no treaty will be signed, and it will be pointless talk, like Kristol's op-eds. Liasson says the President will go to the summit at the end instead of the beginning, which is apparently a move from making a symbolic appearance to "throwing his lot in." I sort of see it as a choice between two symbolic appearances, bounded by logistical needs. But who knows. Maybe Obama will Always Be Closing.

Dana Perino is not a scientist, and hedges on blowing hot gas all over the ClimateGate scandal, calling it a "communications problem," and asserting that maybe the Bush administration wasn't manipulating facts and data and science all the times they were accused of doing so. Williams says that the emails sort of revealed a pissiness, but now actual evidence of a massive conspiracy to commit scientfic fraud. Kristol takes the "nature trick" argument to the full Three-Card Monte extreme, and Wallace cuts him off to say, well, there's no evidence that it was a thing that brings down the entirety of climate change. Williams agrees, and Kristol pissily yammers at Williams for interrupting. POOPING ON JUAN WILLIAMS is always Kristol's main goal, in these segments.

And Mara Liasson basically says, "Whatever," and Perino says, "Well, President Bush once said that man was causing global warming, so it must be true, la la."

OK. Afghanistan. "I tend to support presidents when they send troops to fight and win a war that is a just cause," Kristol says. Williams praises Kristol for being intellectually honest and, of course, given their relationship, I'm surprised that Kristol doesn't snap back and say, "SCREW YOU JUAN, I AM NOT INTELLECTUALLY HONEST. GAH, WHAT A JERK."

Wallace says, OH NOES THE BAD DOODZ COULD BE IN SOMALIA, OR SUDAN! Perino says, General Petraeus said that the bad doodz are up in Afghanistan so why are we not believing him, SHUT UP SHUT UP SHUT UP! Liasson points out that Obama has bought himself eighteen months, and if he shows progress, there won't be a "domestic political program." Plus he's said all along that he'd do this, so why is anyone surprised.

Wallace asks if Kristol is worried whether terrorist doodz will just lay low until the deadlines comes and the troops withdraw and then they can emerge and make a billion more 9/11's happen by magic? Kristol says, "Well, it would be great" if the terrorist doodz lay low for eighteen months, because it would give the U.S. a chance to revitalize local communities and rebuild Afghanistan's institutions so that they are insurgent resistant.

Okay, moving on.

THIS WEEK

Oh, hai! Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, and Russ Feingold! Plus paneling with George Will, Peggy Noonan, Richard HAAAAAAASZSZ, and Katrina V-H.

Well, Clinton and Gates, rocking the mic jointly. Earlier this week, Interdimensional President John McCain War Hero yelled about timetables. What's the dilly? Gates says we'll know if our strategy is working in two years, then gradual, conditions-based shifts will BEGIN, I SAID BEGIN, in July.

Gates says the decision that determines whether or not an area will be turned over to the Afghans will be made by Generals On The Ground and when the GOTG make their say-so known, it's on to Tactical Overwatch and Strategic Overwatch. Clinton says that "we have a good integrated approach...between civilian and military" and it's time to get on with it. She's not happy-happy-joy-joy about Karzai, but she thinks we can strengthen the Afghan government and anyway, what's important is that this "is good for the United States."

Pakistan: they don't believe OBL is in Pakistan. Gates says he may not be, that it's been "years" since we've had any decent intelligence on bin Laden. He doesn't hold Pakistan responsible, saying that if OBL is in North Waziristan, that's a hard place for the Pakistani government to monitor. "We have had a steadily developing, better relationship," with the Pakistan military.

Clinton highlights two approaches to the Taliban. The first is "reintegration" -- peel off persuadables from the battlefield who are in the Taliban out of self-preservation, and keep them safe once they're out. Then there's the "upper levels" of the Taliban, who have a whole slew of things they need to renounce if they want to reintegrate. Are "high-level negotiations impossible?" Clinton says, "We don't know, yet." Gates says that the likelihood of getting Taliban leaders to accept Clinton's terms depends on "reversing the momentum" militarily. In Southern Helmand (not sure I've spelled that right, please forgive) Gates insists we are making progress, even now.

How about paying for this thing? Clinton says that Obama promised it would be paid for, but she says only that there will be cost projections and generic budget hawkery. Money seems to come from ending the Iraq War, but that is basically an excuse to spend money, not to save it.

Happily, I've gotten to the point where I hear the word "Taliban" and think, "I hate those guys and that's a really dumb name." Sadly, when I hear "Janjaweed," I do think, "Ugh, I hate those guys," but I begrudgingly admit that "Janjaweed" would be an awesome band name.

Gates says that we won't get bogged down in the graveyard of empires like the Soviet Union because we didn't "invade" Afghanistan, we just sent thousands and thousands of troops there, like you'd go to a timeshare or something. Also, people don't hate us as much as they hate the Soviet Union.

Hillary Clinton hasn't been paying much attention to Italian sexy knife crimes, so, sorry Foxy Knoxy!

Meanwhile, here's Senator Russ Feingold, who has called this move to re-up in Afghanistan an "expensive gamble."

"Well, Pakistan, in the border region near Afghanistan, is perhaps the epicenter, although Al Qaida is operating all over the world, in Yemen, in Somalia, in northern Africa, affiliates in Southeast Asia. Why would we build up 100,000 or more troops in parts of Afghanistan included that are not even near the border? You know, this buildup is in Helmand Province. That's not next door to Waziristan. So I'm wondering, what exactly is this strategy, given the fact that we have seen that there is a minimal presence of Al Qaida in Afghanistan, but a significant presence in Pakistan?"

"It just defies common sense," Feingold says. And his central concern is that the build-up will "alienate" Afghanis and drive extremists into Pakistan. "It doesn't make sense to put all of our resources into an area" where terrorists are not.

Feingold doesn't understand why anyone would fight in Afghanistan today. GS says, OH NOES THE TERROR DOODZ who hit the World Trade Center were from there. Feingold says, basically, that those same doodz are in Pakistan.

Segue to public optioning! Feingold says that there are "great ideas on the table," but that there "must be a public program." The "talks are exciting" and he's "cautiously optimistic" that the Senate will come to an agreement. I challenge the Senate to decorate a single Christmas tree!

GS starts off by saying that the polls of Presidents at war times are "basically ski slopes," which I think is secret code that everyone on the panel will be enjoying some cocaine after the show. LUCKY.

Will says that the "surge" in Afghanistan will be harder than it was in Iraq because the Iraq population was literate and there were native counter-insurgent groups. HAAAAAAZSZ says "odds are to me that the United States will be in Afghanistan for some time to come." K V-H says that this decision to re-up in Afghanistan will fracture Obama's base and that "wars suck the oxygen out of reform presidencies." "We could have done a very smart counter-terrorism" operation for less money.

Peggy Noonan says, "THE NUMBER NINE. NINE. IT'S GERMAN FOR NO. BUT IT'S AMERICAN FOR NINE. THINK ABOUT THAT. THAT'S MAYBE WHY GERMANY HAS SENT ZERO TROOPS FOR EVERY NINE WE SEND? WHAT A WORLD. THIS IS A NUMBER. A QUANTITY. AN AMOUNT. NINE."

HAAAAAZSZ says that "this is not 1991!" Also, it's not "2001, right after 9/11." It's not May 12, 1847. It's not the year 3000. "Will the Pakistani government show the mettle to crack down" on their own security problems? Not today. Maybe not tomorrow. We need time machines.

K V-H: "You cannot wage conventional war on an odious, horrifying set of ideas or tactics...until we end that, America will have" basically a footing of permanent war.

GSteph says that isolationism is on the rise. Noonan says, "WITHDRAWAL IS A VACUUM. A VACUUM OF SUCKING. THE SUCKING OF INSTABILITY. SUUUUUUUCK."

K V-H says that diplomatic work is needed in the region, and Gorbachev agrees.

Meanwhile, Will says the day that Obama picks up his Nobel Peace Prize will be "surreal." Maybe more like a Bunuel movie, less like a session of automatic writing.

Job creation, will thay tap the TARP? Pelosi says maybe? Boehner says no. Obama may tap the TARP. Will says Thune will try to keep the TARP untapped. Just keep Max Baucus from tapping the TARP, because then the TARP will become a U.S. Attorney.

Why aren't we talking about Max Baucus' cocksmanship this morning? Is that more of a "This Week: After Hours" story?

Noonan says: "OH, THE GUYS WITH THE WIRES ARE GETTING THE MONEY. WE ARE JUST BIRDS ON THAT WIRE, OCCASIONALLY POOPING ON THE PUBLIC IMAGINATION."

K V-H points out that deficits are just not on the minds of people outside the Washington, DC pundit class. Will snarks, "Says she from Manhattan," but she's right. One in six people are out of work -- the deficits they worry about are HOUSEHOLD DEFICITS.

Then they start talking about those partycrasher people, who should be thrown in a pit of mud. After years of wondering about whether there should be limits to executive privilege, THIS IS WHERE WE START TALKING ABOUT IT. Makes me wish that these Salahi people had come to the party and immediately started waterboarding detainees. K V-H says that if you check, she'd bet there's as many mentions of Crashergate as there are Afghanistan. GSteph says not likely, and shuts down the panel. But I bet K V-H is right and Steph is wrong.

On Doctor Nancy Snyderman's show, the host added a complaint about the partycrashing couple, saying: THESE TWO HAVE ALSO MADE IT SO THE NEWS HAS TO SPEND TIME COVERING THIS. No, Dr. Nancy: THAT IS A CHOICE YOU MADE. You can stop anytime you want to!

MEET THE PRESS

So, via TVNewser, look at what happened this past weekend!

For the first time since August, ABC's "This Week," the Sunday public affairs program he hosts, topped the Sunday show ratings in Total Viewers.

Boosted by a strong lead-in from "Sunday Morning," CBS' "Face the Nation" was first in the 25-54 demographic followed by ABC, leaving NBC's "Meet the Press" third in the demo.

See what happens when I don't liveblog MEET THE PRESS? Dave Gregory gets his lunch eaten. I MADE YOU, DAVID GREGORY. And I can take away your cookies whenever I want!

Ha. Burn. Today: Afghanistan! All day. The whole hour. SUPER SERIOUS. So, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gates are here. Plus Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain. And GREAT: Tom Friedman and Bob Woodward.

HOARY NEWSMEN! A GUY WHO'S VIEWPOINT ON THE MATTER WAS ROUNDLY REJECTED IN AN ELECTION! TWO PEOPLE WHO'VE ALREADY BEEN ON TEEVEE TODAY! Get ready to slice open your throat on the cutting edge of all this journalism!

Gates and Clinton have switched sides, I think! I mean, IN CHAIRS, relative to THIS WEEK.

Gates says: No deadline, it's a process, generals assess, power transferred to Afghanistan, Overwatch, "cavalry over the hill," conditions-based withdrawal, Generals On The Ground. It "will begin in 7/2011."

Gregory pulls his GOTCHA! What about Iraq and timelines, yo! Gates, you told Jowly Dave Foley: "I think a specific timetable would...tell [terrorists] how long they have to wait." Clinton said it's a "green light to bide their time." What's changed? Clinton says, this is a transition point, not a deadline. In Iraq, there is a firm deadline, now, that Iraqis instituted. She wants the Afghans to feel just as confident, yet just as urgently pressured.

David Gregory, realizing he's losing his "date certain" gotcha, attempts to close this gap by inventing a new term called "a time certain" which I guess means a specific period of time, vaguely bounded by July 2011, after which the 'date certain" could happen at anytime.

By the way, the whole "terrorists will chill out if we suggest that there will ever be a time we'd decide to leave a foreign country and instead save blood and treasure and so we must fight them, hard, forever" position is a huge error in logic.

Gates: "I was opposed to a deadline, in Iraq. If you'd listened to what I said..." OH, SNAP IT OFF BOB GATES.

Gates says, "There will be an increase in casualties at the front end of this process, but fewer over time." Counterinsurgency requires soldiers to embrace additional risks in the hope that it will yield greater rewards.

Gates says there was an "outstanding resource request" on his "watch" from General McKiernan, which could not be resourced because of the Iraq War.

Clinton says that no, the war on terrorism is not getting "downsized." "Once our combat responsibilities end," a "civilian commitment" will endure. "We're not going to be walking away from Afghanistan."

Then Gregory maybe steps in it, and hopefully one of these two won't let him off the hook. He starts his question, "But if you have a situation where if you're gonna begin the withdrawal of troops regardless of conditions on the ground..." Sweet fancy Moses. The one thing you should have been able to learn this week is that everyone involved in the strategy has said, again and again, that any decision to remove troops will be conditions-based? OH, I SEE, HE READ THE INFOMERCIAL THAT DICK CHENEY RAN IN POLITICO. That explains it.

Gates seems like he's getting pissed off, and it's hilarious. "First of all, we're not talking about an abrupt withdrawal. We're talking about something that will take place over a period of time." Does Robert Gates know that he would become a beloved American folk hero if he just cracked David Gregory across the mouth with that coffee cup, right now?

Gregory does this vapid thing where he asks a question, then immediately flips the premise. It's really annoying to listen to, because it demonstrates that he has not thought through the topic or planned any sort of series of questions with a prosecutorial throughline, where he tugs at a thread in order to get an unraveling or uses misdirection. He's just out there shaking trees. It's empty headed concern trolling. One minute ago, he was asking about "withdrawals regardless of conditions" -- troops coming home willy nilly. Now he asks:

"Beyond July of 2011, there's gonna be a significant amount of-- of U.S. troops there. There's gonna be about 100,000 once this surge-- is finished. How many more years should Americans expect to have a significant force pre-- presence in Afghanistan?"

See, now he's concern-trolling on troops staying forever. There's no logical mooring to this line of questioning. No adherence to a higher form of interrogation. He just has a sack of wet turds and he wants to throw them all.

Naturally, this just allows Gates to offer a variation on the same answer, again. "But again, during that period, we will be, just as we did in Iraq, turning over provinces to-- Afghan security forces. And that will allow us to-- to bring the number of our forces down in a steady but conditions-based circumstance."

This show is so terrible! I'm sorry that I'm liveblogging it and making it's ratings so high! I'm even sorrier that I'm just 14 minutes into this.

Gregory asks, "Can the mission be accomplished without capturing Osama bin Laden?" Clinton says she thinks it's somewhat important, but "you can make enormous progress absent that."

Gates gets the "Aren't we going to die just like the Soviet Union died, in Afghanistan, graveyard of Empires?" Gates saved a better version of the answer for MEET THE PRESS: " It's pretty straightforward. First of all, the Soviets were trying to impose an alien culture and-- and political system on-- on Afghanistan. But more importantly, they were there terrorizing the Afghans. They killed a million Afghans. They made-- refugees out of five million-- Afghans. They were isolated internationally. All of those factors are different for-- for us. Completely different."

OH, DID YOU HEAR? IN WASHINGTON, THERE'S THIS WHOLE LEFT-AND-RIGHT BATTLE OVER POLITICS? David Gregory has!

If you want to get into a serious Afghanistan-related topic that nobody on Sunday morning is smart enough to even bring up, despite it's critical importance? Read up on "dwell time." Start here!

Gregory asks Gates is "failure is an option." This is a dumb rhetorical phrase, of course, but asking a rhetorical question could yield an interviewer something in terms of a follow-up question. Of course, if you are going to ask someone if "failure is not an option," then your followup should not be, BUT SRSLY, IS FAILURE AN OPTION OR NOT?

DAVID GREGORY: But you say failure's not an option. The President has said, "We will fight this fight and fight it hard only up to a certain point."


SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: And then we begin to transfer the responsibility to the Afghans.

DAVID GREGORY: Right.

SECRETARY ROBERT GATES: And a lot can happen in eighteen months.

This is not a fair fight.

And we're back, with Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain! Withdrawal: he's against it! Troops being jammed down into the gullet of war, he's for it! But seriously, Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain is going to pretend that everyone really means we beat an immediate retreat from Afghanistan in July 2011, even though we just had two people on the show saying otherwise.

Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain says that we need to have confidence we will not leave on a date certain, apparently because the first twenty minutes of MEET THE PRESS are not viewable in the MCCAIN PAN DIMENSION.

I bet earmarks are really a thing of the past in the MCCAIN PAN DIMENSION. Of course, there is word from the MCCAIN PAN DIMENSION that the economy of PAN DIMENSIONAL America has been destroyed after a massive earthquake on the New Madrid fault line, which no one was monitoring because funding for the monitoring dried up because some idiot made fun of it on his twitter account.

Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain has responded to the earthquake by ordering an immediate spending freeze and more tax cuts.

David Gregory is really mad at Hamid Karzai! He's just mad because his interview with Karzai is where this show hit the skids, ratings-wise. Don't worry, David! I'm liveblogging this again!

Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain says we're not making an open ended commitment to war. APPEASEMENT!

HEY NOW. I thought this show was a whole hour on Afghanistan! David Gregory lies! Now he's asking Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain about all sorts of other topics, like the stimulus and Ben Bernanke. Is stimulus working? Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain says, "Well I guess if you throw enough money at anything there's some result." Except in Afghanistan, I guess!

OH FOR FRACK'S SAKE. Now he's asking Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain about Going Rogue, and Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain has to lie and say he likes the book, even though the book is one long screed about how the McCain campaign was terrible and about jogging. Interdimensional War Hero President John McCain is "proud of her," but I guarantee that back in the MCCAIN PAN DIMENSION, he has dropped Interdimensional Miss Teen Wordpower Sarah Palin into the Pan Dimensional Hindu Kush from a very great height.

It's true. If you want me to immediately delete your email, make the subject of the email, "How Tiger Woods Marks An Ominous Future For America's Overclass."

Okay, homestretch time, with yammering from Friedman and Woodward. Stache wonders when we'll focus on the key issue, which is Hamid Karzai and his corruption leading to a resergence of the Taliban. If there isn't a "government that people want to fight for, nothing else works."

Woodward says the key issue is "whether or not Obama played his part, did his job." GOOD NEWS! Woodward says, "by all analysis, he did!" SO THE KEY ISSUE IS...RESOLVED? And yet, the word, "counterinsurgency" wasn't in the speech! So, did he not "play his part?" And some Afghans aren't "playing their part," but that's not the key issue? And will Richard Holbrooke be able to solve the problem of Hamid Karzai, which was Stache's key issue? Is that a key issue. MAKE THE WORD SOUP STOP.

David Gregory remembers that he cut a voiceover for the show where he promised to raise five big questions about Afghanistan, and he forgot to ask about them thus far, so now that there's fifteen minutes left...well, more like thirteen with commercials, and GOD THE SEGUE IS KILLING A WHOLE MINUTE, so twelve minutes. So, with about two minutes and change to address the five big questions, what do Mr. Hot, Flat, and Yammer-Stache and Mr. Scrabble Soup have to say about these things?

What defines success and how long? Stache says, DON'T ASK ME OKAY A MILLION STACHE UNITS I GUESS. "We could be there until Christmas 2050." Woodward says that the "X Factor" is "leadership in the military and the intelligence world and the State department." "Can they really do something...can the generals drive the ground?" CAN THEY? MAYBE. But don't confuse the "X Factor" with the "key issue" because the "key issue" is resolved so now we have got to get X Factory.

DUCK! THOMAS FRIEDMAN IS "WIDENING THE APERTURE!" This is how the New Madrid Earthhquake started in the McCain Pan Dimension!

Friedman says that it's a problem when Muslims don't protest when terrorists blow up mosques in the same way that they protest Danish cartoons. "Until that changes, there is nothing we can do to win this war." Ah, but: the reason thousands of people can protest said cartoons is because the terrorists who blow up mosques won't EFFING KILL YOU FOR PROTESTING THAT, whereas they will KILL YOU for taking to the streets against them. So, we could, through a long intervention, maybe make it safe for people to protest terrorism, or we could hope something akin to Iran takes hold and people decide enough is enough I will go and risk getting killed.

Now Woodward is talking about how the "lives of ordinary Afghans" comes into play, and Americans must apparently EAT GOAT, SMOKE BAD CIGARETTES WITH THEM, AND SHIT IN POTS. But that is neither the "key issue" or the "X Factor!"

I guess when CENTCOM launches OPERATION GOATSMOKE POOP-POT, you'll know where that came from!

Hey, kids! Do you live in the Washington, DC area, enjoy parodies of Sarah Palin books, and would like to see a bunch of actors mount a staged production of same? GOOD NEWS. You can join the DC Theatre Collective for The Palin Project. It goes down on December 12, 2009 at 10pm at Busboys and Poets, 2012 14th Street, NW, Washington, DC. For more information: hie thee here.

Obviously, if you don't like any of those things, go do something else!

All right people, I'm glad to be back, and I'm glad to be able to say, HAVE A GREAT WEEK!