Dean Clough

August 27, 2021

Portico Darwin: Afghanistan Ills

I had a typically pithy post all written and ready, but that seems stupid and disrespectful now, in light of yesterday's terrorist attack in Kabul.  At this point, how or why we're surprised at the barbarism of these zealots escapes me.  We're leaving with our empire's tail between our legs and that still warrants suicide bombers attacking those fleeing? 

I understand the attack was perpetrated by ISIS-K, a group that feels the Taliban is not pious or insane enough.  That only underscores the folly of the entire endeavor and others like them, and of imagining we can impose our values via bombs, drone strikes, and the greasing of palms.   

I found this essay, published Thursday (but prior to the attack) by Ezra Klein in The New York Times, to be spot-on, across the board, on the whole matter.  He provides a perfectly cogent summary of why our nation-building escapades are doomed from the start, while also describing why isolationism can't work, either.

This short excerpt encapsulates the problem:

"We do not understand other countries well enough to remake them according to our ideals. We don’t even understand our own country well enough to achieve our ideals."
He in no way glosses over President Biden's culpability for the very rough evacuation that is still ongoing.  I don't either, and we have no idea how this will once and truly end.  It could (somehow) get worse.  But again, to lay it all at Biden's feet is not reasonable. 

Rather, the chronic problem lies in America's permanent overconfidence and baseless innocence:  we are the good guys, yes, but wow, have we made mistakes.  We do not always set the example we think we do.

Here's a PDF if you run into firewall issues.  I hope you'll take the time to read the brilliant Mr. Klein's thoughtful essay.

A shout-out to our great and longtime friends, Foster Shula and his Irish bride, Aine Cork Shula.  We had a thoroughly Killer lunch at La Mar, here in SF, on Wednesday.  No smoke in the skies!  Thanks, guys.

There was a limited amount of angst expressed at the passing of Charlie Watts, perhaps because The Stones' relevancy has waned over the years, and/or the kids out there have not heard of The Rolling Stones.

(Sound crazy?  Fun fact, that Kevin Monza can confirm:  some Gen Z punks that were in my organization at TEECOM had heard neither of The Grateful Dead nor The Police.  Sure, I can understand that.)

But Hunter Deuce did send along some fantastic links on and about Charlie Watts.  Thanks, buddy!

Great Obit from The New York Times
Amazing Audio of Charlie's Best Drumming

And I must share a joke from this budding Dom DeLuise:

"You're a cross-dressing anti-vaxxer.  You're Mrs. Doubt Pfizer."

On behalf of the artist, I want to sincerely thank Dr. Downs for her very kind words regarding my cousin's artwork.  I agree, Doreen:  his work is 5 Star, like you.  But will your keen eye for fine art Thursday translate into equestrian skill tomorrow? 

Thank you to any one that is reading this blog.

I suggest this not because I bear an uncanny resemblance to him, nor because he and wife Trudy have a respected winery in Tuscany, a dream of mine.  (In fact, maybe I'll move there and confuse people in his village?)  Rather, it's the lyrics of a particular song.

On a superior debut album few saw coming, here is Sting and "Dream of The Blue Turtles", via Spotify.  I find the moving "Children's Crusade" very relevant right now:

"Corpulent generals, safe behind lines
History's lessons, drowned in red wine."

So true and so sad.

About Dean Clough

Plans To Enjoy Life.