Have we learned nothing?

We pause this morning, while the rest of the world contemplates Mr. Madoff’s Ponzi scheme and this week’s pending machinations of the Fed and OPEC, to ponder matters geopolitical.

There’s something extremely telling about the reaction to the reporter who flung his shoes at That Lame Duck in the White House. And it doesn’t bode well for the next four years under the new president.

Something significant was missing from the main account of the incident, be it from the Associated Press or Reuters.

But McClatchy Newspapers (its pitiful financial state notwithstanding) got the real story. “Friends said Zaidi covered the U.S. bombing of Baghdad’s Sadr City area earlier this year and had been ’emotionally influenced’ by the destruction he’d seen,” says its reporter in Baghdad.

This salient fact was otherwise missing from establishment media coverage.

If after nearly six years of war in Iraq, two of which were marked by public disillusionment, and three more by public disgust, most establishment media still can’t see how ordinary folk in distant lands are transformed by U.S. foreign policy into opponents of the U.S. government, what does that bode for the coming “surge” in Afghanistan?

Or, stated more simply, have we learned nothing?

As Steve Clemons noted over the weekend, there’s a growing bipartisan consensus that Afghanistan is “the good war” in contrast to Iraq. Certainly that’s the impression the new president conveyed throughout the campaign.

From bipartisan consensus usually springs horrible policy, devised hastily — e.g., the bailout of the money-shuffling class. Has anyone who supports this coming “surge” articulated who exactly the enemy is? Didn’t think so. How this enemy will be pursued and defeated? Didn’t think so. What resources should be devoted to achieving this objective to avoid Iraq- and Vietnam-style escalation? Didn’t think so.

The bombing of a supply convoy a week ago is truly an ill omen. There’s just one slender supply line for U.S. and NATO forces stretching from Karachi up through Pakistan and through the Khyber Pass into Afghanistan.

No wonder Clemons worries, as a friend wrote him, that Afghanistan might turn out to be “the place where the dreams and hopes of the Obama Presidency are buried.” An Empire of Debt, crashing and burning on the rocks of insolvency and the Hindu Kush.

Just like the Russians in the 1980s.

The Daily Reckoning