Book Recommendation

“Arroyo left fucking today, man,” he said. “He had to escort another soldier back to Germany. That fucking guy had been going around saying he was going to kill an Afghan or kill a fucking interpreter. He was acting fucking nuts, so they let him go home. Arroyo went with him to make sure he didn’t do anything fucking stupid.”

-Michael Hastings, The Operators, page 252

The Operators

I pulled open the MRAP door. Pronounced em-rap, the Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle entered the war to replace the High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, or Humvee. The bombs got bigger, and the three thousand pounds of armor on the Humvee was too easily shredded. The MRAP, though, was about the worst kind of vehicle one could have imagined for the terrain in Afghanistan: mountainous, wadi-filled, and roadless. It was slow, easily got stuck in the mud, and required paved roads to be most effective. The entire country had only one major highway. It also fell far short as the primary ride in a military campaign dedicated to swaying a local population. The twenty-two-ton vehicles were intimidating and loud and frightening and difficult to drive without regularly causing severe property damage. The MRAP underscored the alien nature of our presence. Add a life support system pumping oxygen into the metallic caverns and you might as well be cruising around in a tank on occupied Mars. Rather than project strength, the MRAP perversely sent another message: the complete fear and hatred the Americans had for the people they were supposedly there to protect. The MRAP was there to save us, not them. (It did so: There was an 80 percent better chance of surviving an attack in an MRAP compared to a Humvee.) The network of roads we were building in the country – the humanitarian projects of approximately 720 miles of asphalt over 10 years, at the staggering cost of about $600,000 per mile – had a dual purpose in making it easier for us to drive around the country to kill the disgruntled peasants.

-Hastings, page 252/3

193 Replies to “Book Recommendation”

  1. why is it that evil military empires go to afghanistan to die? why not uraguay or nepal? is it the longing to be as good as or better than alexander (NOT) or it is the only place left in the MENA that is disorganized enough for the us military to occupy it relatively unchallenged?

    maybe it’s a perverse allowance by russia, china, iran and others because they know a quagmire when they see one?

    pakistan would have been a moron logical and cheaper choice and leave the poppy seeds to the mullas.

  2. And the fact most the money funding the Afgan mullas is funneled through Pakistan and Pakistan is an ustable government with nuke weaponds makes Afganistan the logical choice to wage war on and waste a lot of money in and fuel the self destruction of a slowly dieing superpower. Russia did it and we can do it a lot better than any commie right?

  3. I have not been to JHKs in quite some time. So I stopped by to catch up, and came away with one question? Is his world a world made by hand or a world made by a front end loader? WTF does he need one of those for to make a garden?

  4. Looks like JHK used the front end loader to remove the stumps after clearing some trees out of the garden area and then to haul away logs, stumps, brush and debris. Should have saved the logs at least to grow mushrooms. Energy slaves too tempting not to make use of, I guess.

  5. doubtful. mine is decorating the side of an old building in Gosslar, Germany. the English translation is roughly “only if you can shit money, you will get out of work and taxes”.

  6. Breakfast today: huevos rancheros w/hot sauce, muskmelon from the garden, toast, columbian coffee…after an invigorating morning workout.

  7. Breakfast today: four Medjoul dates,a pot of Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (bulk from Sam’s Club in the freezer) with half-n-half and local honey, protein shake made with 8 oz. of 2% milk to swill down a handful of nutritional supplements and a couple of scripts after an invigorating morning answering emails and verifying AT&T hasn’t screwed the pooch again with a backbone router failure or that some peckerwood decided to DDoS a clients software-as-service host because they also host a bank. At least the power stayed on this morning.

    Note to self: top of the generator fuel tank and note the run-time in the log.

  8. Coffee, hardbolied egg, toast, check e-mail, phone call/delegate, peel and eat oranges, DD coffee, practice chip shots, 18 holes of golf, shower, lunch, read WSJ, call travel agent and cancel trip to Libya.

  9. up at 4:30 AM, shower, drink last of OJ, read email while preparing mom’s organic colombian dark roast (grind beans, use DD well water for coffee maker). cook last of stater bros. applewood smoked bacon, call family for breakfast at 6 AM. prepare scrambled eggs with fresh green onions, top with last of aged (in reefer by accident) medium chedder cheese. sister gets to toast bagels. eat with family. out the door at 7 AM for moron 80 mph fun with socal freeway system (when prudent). blow job request deemed not prudent for mom and older sister. must settle for hugs & kisses.

  10. as i’ve said here before, paul craig roberts really has the usa’s number. but we should all cheer up, as i’m sure rome was equally hated by all those they chose to suppress and exploit with their mighty military.

  11. Its interesting to note. The Joma have the longest writen family history. The Emp can trace his family back 14000 years.

    The Japanies also have preserved thier trees better than anyone else. As for the way they treated other people trees is not as good.

  12. bottom line for japan: they came very close to losing their capital and largest city of 26 million. the only thing that saved them was the pure luck that the winds were blowing favorably out to sea and to the north. oftentimes, they blow to the south-southwest, which would have crippled the country for a very long time. japan has no emergency plans for evacuation of tokyo and does not have the capability to absorb 26 million elsewhere in their crowded country.

    even the most ignorant country bumpkin can do the logic on nuclear. this is a true democratic decision for their own common good. the pro nuke crowd there will need to retool their careers. perhaps try farming rice or something. being poor and alive is far better than rich and dead.

  13. Today, on my early morning run, at a certain spot on a village street, in the rain, I pass as usual this attractive woman. She is walking towards me… I can see her face. Her raincoat does not hide her long and lean shape. We both make eye contact. I wave and she smiles. Tomorrow we will do this again. I know the moment I say something, the spell will be broken. She will say that she is married and has nine kids, or that she is a nun or that she smiles at everyone.. So I say nothing.

  14. GB, it’s good that you’ve said nothing, so far. this gives us an opportunity to provide you with some spell-breaking words, words that she cannot possibly refuse. you must be brave and show her that you mean business. yes, they all have boyfriends and/or husbands, the really attractive ones always do. maybe you’ll get especially lucky and she’ll be between boyfriends or husbands, or perhaps just thinking about dropping the dude and then along comes your offer. (joggers are thinkers, i’m sure.)

    even though you’ve not yet exchanged words, you have been making plenty of body talk with her, and by now you two are old friends. So, there is some trust, and you can exploit it, so why not do so? quickly ask her if she is available for a date (or to meet up) tonight or tomorrow (could be drinks at your favorite local pub). give her an option of two times, close together–days, not weeks.

    say something like: “Say, we keep passing each other all the time, and i find you especially attractive (you do, so no lies there). “would you care to meet me for some (organic, refreshing) drinks at [insert favorite local bar/diner here] tonight? or, if your busy tonight, how about tomorrow evening?” unless she (a) recoils or (b) quickly says “no thanks”, then you should be ready to give her your phone number(s), already written on a piece of paper or a business card tucked away somewhere on your body.

    good luck, and let us know how it works out.

  15. I’ll consider your advice. Right now, its still the magic part. I don’t know her shortcomings and faults and she doesn’t know mine. Maybe in an alternat universe, I sweep her off her feet, but probably not this one.

  16. Bif is wise. The thing you will regret most is not trying.

    Remind me to tell you my Mellisa Mullens story sometime, a tale of opportunity lost with the most beautiful, sexy blond in all of our ca. 2000 population high school. yes, she was smart, popular, white, with long blond hair and beautiful blue eyes, and huge pointy tits and a nice ass, but i did not hold this against her at the time, nor do i now.

  17. This morning I overslept a bit. I bicycled instead of running to make up for lost time. The air felt damp and the road was slick from last night’s rain. It felt good to work different muscles with the cycling. I nearly passed through the village and finally found her walking along, eyes downcast. As I approached, she looked up. Her face brightened up. We exchanged good morningis. It sounds like she has an English accent. I think to myself…what would dave do?

  18. Greeting from Taos, NM. Crisp clear dry morning from a little guesthouse in old Taos. Arrived yesterday afternoon after two days at the “Disneyland for gun nuts” in Raton, NM – NRA Whittington Center. A fantastic facility by the way. There is a Long Range (1000 yds.) High Power competition being held this week and we ran into some Aussies and possibly Russians and the sighting-in range. Some beautiful and expensive long guns being tweaked.

    After taking the northern route of the Enchanted Circle around the tallest peak in NM and lunch in Red River we arrived in Taos and a culture very much different from our normal stomping grounds in Redstateistan.

    Taking the day for the sights and some photography, jewelery shopping for our respective wives, some superb Mexican food and the memories of a four decade friendship.

  19. remus, i too love Taos and vicinity. except for the eastern part bordering Texas near Roswell, which looks like the bottom of the ocean to me, the entire state of New Mexico is indeed the land of enchantment. enjoy your stay.

  20. Too late, BIf. She’s gone. We’re too late. She’s holed up in a warm spot somewhere like the woodchuck under my shed…not to be seen again out on her morning walk until spring. Just my gut feeling…

  21. alas, charlie brown’s little red headed girl, my Mellisa, and now GB’s morning walks girl. opportunities lost. if i could get a dollar for each one, i’d be a multi-millionaire.

  22. Have to look into that next year Bif. We were on a mission when we went to Santa Fe and I don’t even remember crossing it. We dropped out of Taos into Las Vegas and probably crossed over it going that way as well.

  23. yeah, i tried to read it. maybe i’m wrong, but from what i read, it’s a tired old trope. the fact is, no matter how much one may want to, you cannot replace thermodynamics with ideaology. when, not if, but when, industrialism, or capitalism, if you prefer, runs it’s course, something else will take it’s place. hopefully, we’ll wipe all life of of this planet, and this solar system, and be done with it. i’d say.

  24. yes, i thought of you, Bif, when i read that line about the temporarily embarrassed millionaires.

    someone (Nudge?) should make up some Diet Cheesecake bumper stickers and go out and have some fun with the hybrid crowd. i love to stick it to my fellow deniers.

    thought his take on al gore et al. was on target, as well.

    my love and admiration for naomi klein continues to build.

  25. the family dog would like to type something with her big paws on this laptop.

    let’s see…………….ARF, ARF!

    always so enthusiastic and happy to see the humans return home from school and the workplace. dog power.

  26. in other news, the japanese tsunami junk has begun to float into Hawaiian waters, just as the physical ocean models predicted. a floating dock like the one that beached in the Pacific NW has been spotted and a 4 cubic foot blue plastic container, con barnicles und clams, dead seabirds, has been recovered. all items clearly marked “made in japan”.

  27. i love a cat’s style and independence, a low maintenance pet. a dog is a lot like a needy, ignorant (or just plain stupid) kid. this new cattle dog acts like it’s part goat. it likes to play with and eat plants and paper, cardboard. it will lick practically anything, especially if it’s salty. our cat despises the dog, nothing but contempt and a lot of hissing.

  28. I like woodchucks best of all. You don’t have to feed them pet food or take care of them. When you are tired of playing gaimes with them you can eat them…but you have to be really hungry.

  29. potus is like a stewardess. heshe looks pretty and servers cocktails, but the plane is on autopilot. so he might as well get in the cockpit and pretend like he’s flying. makes the passengers feel better. i guess.

  30. here’s something i wrote over on jay’s america2.0 list, with a grammatical correction inserted here:

    “Calling Peak Oil a Theory is code for those still in denial that [believe] Peak Oil does not exist. We are, after all, on a bumpy plateau of “all liquids”
    production, that the denialists hope and pray will last forever, or at least until their time on the planet is done. Of course, conventional oil and gas peaked years ago, and we are now keeping up appearances, as it were (don’t look at those poor people, they’ll depress you) with the non-conventional oil and gas, which has a lower ERoEI and is very expensive to produce.

    It will be interesting to see what the denailists come up with when society can no longer afford those niffty non-conventional oil and gas plays. At some point, the Red Queen will become exhausted and fall off her treadmill.”

  31. it appears as though amy was a fun girl to party with, err, before she went and offed herself. is that iced tea and lemonade she was drinking onstage? maybe long island iced tea.

  32. yeah, using the word “theory” in many cases just serves to emphasise a particular conceceptual framework. as in saying something like: “the germ theory of disease would have us believe that shaking hands can spread disease.” the germ theory, in and of itself, is so well accepted that most people would just leave out any refereence to it while making such a statement.

    it can also be used in a perjorative sense. as in: evolutionary theory would have us believe that humans are decended from monkeys.” the user wants to sound smart, while being stupid.

    sometimes it, or similar words, may just help the grammatical construction of a sentence: “peak oil theory is (may be) usefull in predicting some future events.” it’s less clear, more cumbersome, to say something like: ” peak oil is usefull…”

    i guess.

  33. peak oil, as a theory, a conceptual framework, will become undeniable to most people over the course of the next 10 years or so. i think. i think that the aggragate reaction to a large scale acceptance of this theory is predictable. i think.

  34. Soooo, backing my big ol’ V-8 pickem’-up out of my 30′ driveway and parallel to my mailbox which is on the other side of the road to grab the mail is likely to become cost prohibitive and, more importantly, be seen by a Wal-Mart denizen and therefore have something said to Big Sis.

  35. yeah, i think that the primary driver in centralised authority of the us government is the fiction of the dollar as having some sort of “value”. when a majority, or even a large minority, become disabused of that notion, the idea of a big brother, or big sister, as the case may be, falls away. i think.

  36. so my two sons learned last night that old mic jagger, who is now 69 years young, is worth something like 160 million euros. so i took the opportunity to drive home the fact that old mic is smart, and he may be worth 160 million euros, but very little of that wealth is likely to be in euros.

    john lennon was also a smart, creative and successful guy. years ago, before he ran into mark david chapman, he and yoko bought an upstate NY dairy farm. i recall being impressed with that then, and am only more so now. too bad he thought he could use the streets of NYC undisturbed. fatal mistake.

  37. The waterworld Dennis hopper was a much more stable charachter then the Dennis Hopper in Blue Velvet, so at least remus is not that crazy yet.

  38. The present I bought my wife just left Peru. It’s not coffee though. Breakfast – protein shake, handful of supplements, Sam’s Club bulk coffee with hand-n-half and honey. Quick change in today’s schedule and truck load-out, in for some serious windshield time. Rain in the forecast for tomorrow. Highs in the 50’s. Hallelujah.

  39. loks and bagels with cream cheese, plus i had some capers on mine with maui onion slice and tomato slices. just finished the other half with organic peanut butter on top from costco. coffee is ka’u district from the big island, smooth and strong, like me…with some 2% milk to change color.

  40. In other news, the 50th official anniversary of ‘Dr No’ falls on Friday: the film premiered in London on October 5, 1962

  41. gary e and i saw it at the granada theater in ontario shortly afterward. dr. no reminded me of an evil charlie chan. i guess real asians were too proud to play themselves in those days.

  42. Place your bets. Despite the current post-debate euphoria and prayers to baby Jesus I say its going to be Obama by 3% in the popular vote, and 68 pts in electoral college.

  43. the poor chap was probably behind on his rent and had not made any cash “contributions” to the local mayorial campaign. hence being made a public example.

  44. Wow what a pic.

    In just about anything… pitching, hitting a baseball, golf, judo, sales, chopping off heads,.. good form with follow through is key. Keep your eye on the target, achieve full extension, take the energy all the way through, and finish clean.

  45. i remember both the 45 rpm record and ol’ Boz. i went to a concert he performed at back in the day. it was at the andrews amphitheater on the uh campus, so outdoors. even before he came out, there were already multiple joints being passed around, and there was a smoke cloud hanging over the audience. during the concert, some of his fans were passing them up to Boz, who was toking up and passing them back, while playing.

    at one point, a police officer came out on stage to stop the “reefer madness” in progress. he was literally booed off the stage. since they couldn’t arrest everybody there, probably a couple of thousand angry students and some faculty, the cops gave up and went back to perimeter control.

  46. that’s interesting. what caused the load to come off? a dip in the road at that white patch?

    musta been a lucrative settlement for the victim or victim’s next of kin. negligence all over the place.

  47. posted at ClubOrlov tonight but maybe won’t make it past moderation there:

    “Perhaps a bit off topic, but in Hawaii we do not celebrate the federal holiday of Discoverer’s Day, formerly called Columbus Day, and choose instead to celebrate Martin Luther King Day in January.

    One was a greedy exploiter and enslaver of his discoveries who was ruthless in his tactics and led the way for others of his ilk like Cortez and Pizarro. The other chose to realize the dream that all men (and women) are created as equals, which of course, they are, and died a martyr for his efforts.

    It seems like such an obvious choice of which day is worthy of a holiday in celebration. So I’m proud that Hawaii chose the way it did and have nothing but shame and disgust for those that continue to choose to celebrate Discoverer’s Day in the old, ignorant and unthinking way.”

  48. mlk? he sucked more white dick than bho could even dream of. he set the entire human race, not just the niggers, back 500 years, or something like that. he had a dream of sucking white dick.

    fucking truckfighters rule.

  49. where is that asshole JR? does he even read his own blog anymoron? did he finally bite the bullet and elope with nudge? the banner photo really has to stay up until the war with Iran starts?

    enquiring minds want to know.

  50. dmitry tells it like it is:

    “What I tried to say in that interview is that people who spend their time studying collapse without actually changing who they are don’t stand a chance. On the other hand, those who are already living a downscaled, self-reliant, down-to-earth life may or may not be aware of collapse, but it doesn’t matter.”

  51. none of us stand a chance. none of us are self-reliant. doing somethings make us feel better than doing other things. so, if we’re able, those are the things we do, no matter the spin we may put on it, for both ourselves and others.

    i’ve always said that the biggest mistake anyone can make is to believe the stories that they tell themselves. of course, that’s exactly what most people do. i think.


    what orlov, and many others fail to realize, it seems, is that cultures are, by definition, never an individual effort. cultures and thier associated technologies are fine tuned to thier specific locals, and develope over generations, not just years.

    this is not to say that there will be no human survivors from the collapse of industrialism. there will be. i think. but, to somehow say that, for example, someone, or even a small group, growing vegetables in upstate ny, is somehow better adapted, or even better geographically positioned, to survive collapse then someone in say, manhattan, is wrong headed. i’d say.

  53. like the truckfighters, i’m into helium, but helium 3/4, not 28.

    i’m wondering how much 3H i’ll need to get a personal, cheap supply of 3He to calibrate my detector.

  54. Speaking of upstate NY, I think I read somewhere that JHK is playing around with the idea of someday opening a cafe or something in his town of Greenwich. Maybe we will have a meeting place for those of us in the congregation who wish to meet up. Hallelujah, brethren and cistern! One more reason to want to hang around.

  55. yeah, i’ll bring along some of my southern relatives and we can discuss the finer points of 911 conspiracy theories in light of zionism and the isreali lobby’s activities in what was formerly the nation’s capital. should be fun.

  56. I agree, Cultures take many generations. Accumulated knowledge. Reference points. Deep connections. Meaning.

    Local or personal measures at this point are tenuous at best. Though there could be satisfaction, While they last, regardless. Salute.

  57. A meeting place. All get my solar power car ready.

    Romney does thinks the pipeline from Canada is all about domestic energy independance. (smacks forehead with shoe)

    Niether canidate will say it but both know there is not enouph oil to ever reduce prices on oil. They both jumped around the subject other then drill drill and import from US State of Canada.

  58. From TOD:

    graywulffe on October 17, 2012 – 10:24am

    Even if the United States managed to become completely free of fossil fuel imports from other nations, while still relying on fossil fuel production from within its own borders, this still would not be true energy independence. As William Catton pointed out in his book “Overshoot” (p. 45-47):

    As late as the end of 1973, both the president of the United States and the chairman of the Senate Interior Committee proclaimed as a goal of American policy the attainment of “energy self-sufficiency” by 1980. If the expression meant anything at all, it had to mean (in Borgstrom’s terms) a goal of deriving all energy used by Americans from visible acreage, none from trade acreage. But the living generation could not become really self-sufficient just by ending its dependence on trade acreage; this would only accelerate the drawdown of energy deposits hidden beneath the domestic (visible) acreage. To achieve independence from OPEC opportunists by this method meant inflicting upon American posterity a legacy of aggravated resource depletion. In short, energy independence was illusory so long as massive quantities of energy were still to be obtained from fossil resources.

    As a drawdown-dependent nation, the United States was thus already relying upon fossil acreage four times as extensive as its total visible farm acreage. Our concern for the incidental fact that an appreciable and growing fraction of that fossil acreage was overseas and under the control of potentially hostile peoples was permitted to overshadow the more permanently significant fact that fossil acreage anywhere, and under anyone’s control, was non-renewable. We were living on four parts of phantom carrying capacity for every one part of permanent (real) carrying capacity.

    To achieve genuine self-sufficiency in energy by 1980, assuming a 1970 way of life but depending on visible acreage only, the population of this nation would have had to level off no later than 1880.

    Catton’s analysis in that particular chapter focused on growing food and fuel and did not include things like photovoltaic and wind power, and a different type of analysis may yield some different numbers. However, the general principle is sound. To be truly energy independent is to have figured out how to continue the business of civilization via the use of renewable energy sources. I suspect this will require a huge shift in the way life is conducted in the United States (and elsewhere). It would be nice if politicians would stop using the same old “energy independence” diversion that has been trotted out for decades and begin having a much more realistic discussion about what energy independence actually means. (Okay, so I am dreaming.)


    D3PO on October 17, 2012 – 6:51pm

    Even with photovoltaic and wind power added in, the specter of a truly energy independent way of life in the United States and elsewhere is too horrific to describe or consider. It means a severe population adjustment that might not go as smoothly as it did in the book and movie “Soylent Green” (1973). So, realistic discussions about what energy independence might actually mean are certainly not brought up by politicians campaigning for elected office, and are not even considered polite conversation in most places. One aspect I really respect about Catton’s writings on this matter is how he paints a big picture without actually showing you the canvas. Just leave it to your imagination, or not.

  59. A venison burger or souvlaki and grappa would be real nice …I will gladly repay you Tuesday for a venison burger today…or swap you some kale soup? Local and personal measures being all we’ve got.

  60. Attention WWIII fans:

    Oct 19, 2012 4:7 AM
    “the reality of this matter and Russia’s stance in general is due mainly to the fact that the worlds western powers will ultimately target Russia and try to make them another puppet of the west while they exploit all their resources. Russia has no interest in the middle east other than it being their last stronghold before the war hits russia. china and russia must act in unison and the SCO must allow iran to join their defense pact. the west is vulnerable at the moment and will do whatever it takes to get back on their feet and continue there agenda of world domination. the WAR is soon to begin and they know this. the question is what stance will they take when the its time to crunch!”

    (edited to replace “there” with the proper form “their”.)

    comment to:

    Russia installing S-400 anti-aircraft missiles to target Turkey

  61. 180 F sounds about right to me. it’s definately time for this planet to start over with a clean slate. thermophilic bateria will be making monuments to humans someday. i guess.

  62. god, well over a year since i looked at kunstler’s blog, fucking retard central.
    it makes jhk sick to look at american politics. yet, he spends the whole post talking about nothing but american politics. what a retard. i guess.

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