Friday, September 11, 2009

ATM Thieves strike at my Heart of Darkness - Afghan Monopoly anyone?

It seems thieves stole an ATM from my local hospital simply by disguising themselves as repairmen from the bank and hauling the thing away.

Pretty ballsy!

As someone who was subjected to the "care" provided by that institution for the better part of a week a few years ago, I can't say part of me isn't at least a little pleased by this turn of events. Hopefully the hospital is liable for this and the bank can put the screws to them much like they did to me.

Their caper nabbed them 96 grand, eh? Oddly, that was roughly my bill for sadism ... er, services rendered at that medieval butchery barn.

Not that I'm bitter.

On to the world stage, this week feels a bit like the 60s: the Beatles are the hottest thing in music and we've got an escalating war in Asia that once had a very narrow, very specific purpose but whose goals now seem anything but clear. The question on my mind? Is Obama LBJ or is he RFK minus the tragic demise? The entrenched president bird dogged by a meandering, unwinnable war without purpose or the guy who would liberate us from such entanglements?

I thought Bush was playing the role of LBJ in this bit of revisionism, with Iraq filling in as his Vietnam understudy. (The analogy is not fair to Johnson: LBJ didn't get us into Vietnam, certainly he didn't invade the country on a foundation of lies and God-bestowed self-righteousness. But you get my point.)

Obama certainly seemed every bit the early 21st century Robert Kennedy on the campaign trail, but things are looking a bit less clear nine months into his administration. However, it is only nine months and he was given a heaping helping of domestic shit to work through as well, so he deserves another year before I start pinning the Johnson badge on his chest. Bobby had the 'advantage' of never having to fulfill those lofty expectations. And to be sure, dying prior to taking office is the ultimate advantage in this narrow context.

Obama really isn't superman, though, despite some media attempts to color him with that brush. He can't simply make Iraq and Afghanistan go away in a blink of an eye without suffering the consequences (real and political). I just hope he realizes that it's not 'anything goes' now in Afghanistan simply because we had some justification going into there eight years ago. Define the mission - do it fucking fast and make it really clear.

In the end, historical comparisons are easy but they're also cheap and false. It's 2009 not 1969. I know, the clock on my desktop tells me (and I'm not at a desk). Also, the music on the celestial radio sucks.

We went into Afghanistan for one reason and one reason only: to hunt down and kill/capture bin Laden and other Al Qaeda operatives. The Taliban were secondary, a means to an end. Can we ever eradicate them from a leadership position in that neck of the woods? Not through military means. We should just head into the mountains of Tora Bora from both sides (hello, Pakistan) and be done with it (likely that's what we've been doing on the QT in piecemeal fashion, but it hasn't gotten us anywhere).

Or better still: just forget bin Laden and his ilk. He's not worth it and this whole eye-for-an-eye thing smacks of fifth grade, in my book. He's much more influential among radicals as a martyr, killed by the great Satan. Leave him to die quietly of old age or, more likely, the various maladies he reportedly suffers from. If we do kill him, I hope to hell we don't reveal it. Maybe we already have. No, we don't know how to keep a fucking secret to save our lives (in this case, literally). We gotta be the braggarts, showing off our spoils of war. I hope I'm wrong.

So, nothing particularly funny here today. I'm in a funk to the point where even California Republican Assemblyman Mike Duvall's pornographic chatter about his trysts with female lobbyists, actually uttered during a legislative hearing, couldn't lift my spirits.

One thing that just might stamp out the blues is the launch of Monopoly City Streets. Finally an online game I want to play! And I will. At least once they iron out their scalability opening day jitters.

Let's tie this all together and play Afghan Monopoly. How many hotels can you buy on the road to Kandahar? Careful not to land on the - well, land mines as you negotiate your way around the "board". Draw a "card" now. Oh, too bad! The Americans have napalmed your poppy crops - you lose a turn. Sounds like a 'blast'. I'm in as long as I can be the armored Bradley fighting shoe.