Foreign Responses to the United States’ Withdrawal from Afghanistan

It is interesting to see what our allies across the Atlantic think of the United States' recent handling of the withdrawal from Afghanistan. The following quotes are from the article British Parliament Unloads On Biden: Biden May Have Condemned The World To Chinese Domination In Future; although, to be clear, these quotes are from the British House of Lords, so one should take the source of these quotes into account when considering their worth.

Lord Dannatt: "First, notwithstanding his attempted explanation on Monday, the manner and timing of the Afghan collapse is the direct result of President Biden's decision to withdraw all US forces from Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of 9/11. At a stroke, he has undermined the patient and painstaking work of the last five, 10, 15 years to build up governance in Afghanistan, develop its economy, transform its civil society and build up its security forces. The people had a glimpse of a better life, but that has been torn away. With US forces withdrawing, other NATO allies, including ourselves, had no option but to leave too, denying the Afghan national army the technical and training support that it needed and the moral support of friends who encouraged them to take the fight to the Taliban. Until a few weeks ago, the Taliban was being contained and may even have been persuaded over time that a military victory was impossible and a negotiated settlement was the better course. Those possibilities are now a closed chapter of history, an opportunity lost, and the world's western superpower is looking enfeebled. The only glimmer of hope today is that the Taliban of 2021 is not the Taliban of 2001."

Lord Howard of Lympne: "The responsibility for the decision to withdraw rests with President Biden. Up to now, many of us have been rather impressed with the president's performance in his first few months in office, although that may in large part be due to the relief at the absence of his unlamented predecessor. But I am afraid that President Biden's decision to withdraw from Afghanistan is, and will be seen by history as, a catastrophic mistake which may well prove to be the defining legacy of his presidency."

Lord Robathan: "...we should not underestimate the disaster and humiliation that this has been. It is on a par with the first Afghan campaign, which humiliated the East India Company and then the British Empire when Dr Brydon returned alone from Elphinstone's army. This is a humiliation of the West, of NATO, of us, of course, but especially of the US - which, apparently, leads the free world, or so we are told. President Biden said that 'America is back'. Robert Gates, Defense Secretary to the Administrations of both George W Bush and Barack Obama, said in his memoirs that Biden had been on the wrong side of every national security issue of the past 20 years. I agree very much with what my noble friend Lord Hammond - who I worked under as Minister for the Armed Forces - said on this point. The humiliation and disaster of the West is appalling. The West is seen as an unreliable ally."

Lord Ricketts: Confidence in NATO has been damaged. China is the main beneficiary of President Biden's decision. 'America is back' now sounds rather hollow - 'America is backing down' fits the case better. The British priority must be to address the damage done to NATO, to rebuild effective political consultations within NATO, and to focus on European security and the risk of Islamic terrorism in Europe. Rather than tilting to the Indo-Pacific, that is where the UK needs to put its national security energies."

Lord Stirrup: " President Biden has suggested that the Afghans are not prepared to fight for their own country. But this ignores two facts. The first is the very large number of Afghan security forces personnel who have been killed on operations over the past two decades, and the second is that Afghan society has always placed much greater importance on loyalty to family, village and clan than to a central Government. In such a society, a military force modelled on the US army could never, in the short term, endure without the logistical, technical and moral support of the US armed forces. ... President Biden purportedly wishes to withdraw from Afghanistan in order to concentrate on China. Yet his actions have immediately benefited China on several fronts. China is increasingly engaged commercially in Afghanistan and has been negotiating with the Taliban. Taken together with Pakistan's increasing reliance on China, this creates a disturbing nexus of power in the region. Even more important is the perception of other countries. If the western powers are to resist China's assault on the current rules - based international order, they will require strong political, economic and technological allies in the Indo-Pacific region. Who now, though, will be prepared to throw in their lot with a US-led effort, when that country's leadership has proved such a fickle friend to Afghanistan? Perhaps the Minister can say what the implications are for the UK's own tilt to the Indo-Pacific, which was such a prominent feature of the recent integrated review."

Lord Forsyth of Drumlean: "It is very hard to overestimate the scale of the catastrophe following the Biden Administration's disastrous implementation of the decision to withdraw from Afghanistan. ... It was utterly disingenuous for President Biden to present the Afghans as unwilling to fight for their country, after having withdrawn vital US support services without an agreed ceasefire, precipitating the collapse of the Afghan state."

Lord Blencathra: "My Lords, all my life I have been pro-American and favourably disposed to the United States, but not any more at this moment. What Biden has done in Afghanistan will go down in ignominy as one of the most shameful and despicable acts of betrayal by any American President. Tens of thousands of men will be slaughtered, thousands of young girls forced to marry these Taliban brutes and 14 million women driven back into slavery. Afghanistan was emerging into the light with freedoms for women and children, who will now be ruled with 500 year-old barbaric religious laws. That is Biden's legacy. He cannot blame it on Trump; Biden boasted that in his first 100 days he issued a record 24 executive orders, all of which were direct reversals of Trump policies. He should have listened to his generals and changed this policy also. This is not like Saigon; it is far worse. First, the retaliation against the population by Islamist fanatics is likely to be far greater than what the North Vietnamese did to the beaten south. Secondly, the appalling humanitarian crisis described in this House today will centre on Afghanistan but the terrorist consequences of this US sell-out will affect us all. The Viet Cong had no agenda outside Vietnam but Afghanistan is now under the control of Islamist fanatics who want to wage war on every western democracy. ... Biden has put America back, all right - back into the bunker. The lesson for China is this: play a long game and America will not have the stomach to stick it out. China is a threat to world peace, but how can we now trust the US to lead the long battle against it? Biden may have condemned the world to Chinese domination in future and the end of western liberal democracy."

Lord Anderson of Swansea: "What is the Government's best analysis of the reasons for the rapid defeat? What are the geopolitical consequences of that defeat? President Biden, alas, will be diminished, certainly abroad. Do the Government see any danger of the US retreating into a new isolationism, abandoning the aspirations of nation building, spreading democracy and human rights, and a corresponding loss of trust in the US?"

Lord Dodds of Duncairn: "President Biden's speech the other day, blaming everyone and everything except his Administration's precipitative pull-out, was truly awful. ... I fear that the US decision to pull out in the way that it has will have dire consequences. It sends a message to the terrorists and rogue states that the West can be defeated. It sends a message to our friends that, at the end of the day, they can be abandoned. It sends a message to those who want to live in freedom and with human rights guaranteed, especially the women and girls of Afghanistan, that we cannot be relied upon."

Lord Touhig: "By withdrawing US troops, not only has President Biden destroyed the hopes of people in a fledgling democracy but he has made the world less safe. If ever there was a country that knows how dangerous a less safe world can be, it is the United States. That is even more so now, as we approach the 20th anniversary of 9/11. Here in Britain, we too know how a less safe world takes the lives of men and women on our streets, of children and young people at a Manchester concert and of a brave police officer guarding this Parliament. Britain fell into line behind President Biden. In doing so, our Government have increased the risk of terrorism globally."

Lord McColl of Dulwich: "Although President Biden has tried to shift the blame on to President Trump, that simply does not work. President Biden had the power to stop the withdrawal of the troops but failed to do so. To be fair, this situation may not be easy for President Biden to deal with because he does not seem to me to be in good health. There are many examples of the disease of a national leader having a disastrous effect on a country, a continent or even the world."

Lord Bruce of Bennachie: "For President Biden to say that the collapse of the Government and the defence capability was the Afghans' fault is truly sickening. With limited allied troops and strategic air cover, the country was functioning, if imperfectly. The rapid withdrawal demoralised the domestic forces, who were often deployed far from home with no protection or support for their families against the Taliban, so it is hardly surprising that they chose not to fight. Now the cost of failure could outweigh by many times the cost of maintaining a minimal presence."

Lord Godson: "The role of the United States has been central to this and the Biden Administration have been rightly criticised, I think unanimously - as least, I have not heard any speaker defend their decision here today. It is a uniquely personal decision of this President ... However, the Biden Administration are not the totality of America. Through much of my political life, having been born an American citizen, I have noted many pessimistic predictions for the US after previous debacles, although perhaps none quite as serious as this, which rolls in many of the features of past debacles into one fell swoop. ... But because the Biden Administration are not the totality of the United States and its polity, America has an enormous resilience and ability to bounce back, to reappraise, regather and regroup."

Memories of Better Days Gone By

Facebook just reminded me that two years ago - before the pandemic wreaked havoc across the globe and killed 4.5 million people, before the domestic rioting and burning of our cities, before the collective meltdown of all mainstream news outlets into the primary sources of worthless and biased drivel, before the woke apologists began their Orwellian campaign of rewriting history and manipulating the English language in order to foster division between the classes, and before the second humiliating defeat of our armed forces at the hands of career politicians who have no idea how to fight/win a war - I was standing on a mountain in the Alps, looking across the glaciers and valleys at the Matterhorn. There are some days when I need to be reminded that there is beauty in this world that is worth seeing, and activities that bring you joy that are worth doing.

matterhorn-memory

Those Who Do Not Study History

In the 1980s, the Mujahedeen forces in Afghanistan beat the USSR by simply outlasting them. The USSR withdrew its forces in embarrassment after failing to achieve its military objectives despite a decade of fighting, and the USSR imploded a few years later.

32 years after the USSR’s humiliating defeat in Afghanistan, the Taliban forces have beaten the USA by simply outlasting them. The USA is withdrawing its forces in embarrassment after failing to achieve its military objectives despite two decades of fighting, while the USA is slowly imploding for its own reasons…

Memorial Day and the Pledge of Allegiance

One of my cousins shared the following video, https://youtu.be/2HGHdFmu5GU, which I have seen before, but it seems apropos to reshare it for Memorial Day weekend. In four short minutes, the late Red Skelton describes the meaning behind the Pledge of Allegiance, which was a voluntary oath that was taught to students when I was younger. The pledge helped put the history of the United States in perspective; while our country is far from perfect, there is much to be thankful for.

Sadly, however, a reverence for the blessings that we have and the country that has provided them is no longer taught in schools. The youth of today are fed a never-ending stream of self-loathing propaganda, wherein our ancestors are depicted as nothing more than thieves, enslavers, and murderers, and our country should be condemned for sins in which no one living today participated.

Contrary to what our children are force-fed in public education, our country has learned from its myriad mistakes, and created one of the most-prosperous, equitable, and free societies that the world has ever known. Yes, there is still room for us to grow as a nation and important lessons that need to be learned, and our people should strive for those ideals. But today's youth should be taught that our civilization has succeeded where so many past civilizations have failed because our nation has spent centuries growing and learning together, instead of tearing ourselves apart, driving divisions between each other, and cursing the forefathers who made our abundance of blessings and freedoms possible.

With that in mind, I would ask that everyone take a moment out of their busy schedules of BBQs and three-day sales this weekend to consider those whose sacrifices made today possible, and consider how you can personally contribute to the ideals that are expressed in the words: "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America, and to the republic for which it stands; one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all."

Guns Don't Kill People, Hollywood Kills People

In the wake of yet another tragic and senseless mass shooting, it is not surprising to see that - once again - the anti-gun crowds are up in arms. (Pun intended.) However, I would like to point out that the problem within our society is not guns, but the glorification of their misuse in popular media (e.g. Hollywood movies, video games, and music videos).

no-guns-allowed

The youth of today are constantly bombarded with the premise that guns are cool or a fast means to an end. Consider movie franchises like The Fast and the Furious, The Matrix, John Wick, Jason Bourne, and Die Hard, or video game franchises like Grand Theft Auto, Call of Duty, and Counter-Strike. All of these franchises have depicted graphic violence throughout each series; and more often than not, violent crimes are portrayed favorably.

The ultimate irony is that this same entertainment industry that consistently portrays guns in the worst possible way is populated by people who are the quickest to proclaim that every legal gun owner must give up their guns whenever something bad happens. But it is not the legal gun owners who have caused these societal problems; it is the entertainment industry.

I was raised around guns, and I was taught to respect them and their proper use. I was a safe and skilled rifle shooter as a teenager, and when I joined the military I continued to fire a variety of weapons safely and securely. Throughout my life I have known hundreds of people who obtained and used their weapons lawfully and respectfully. These people should not be punished for legally owning their guns and committing no crimes.

On the contrary, it is Hollywood and the other glorifiers of brutality who are at fault, and not the millions of innocent, law-abiding citizens who own guns. It is the entertainment industry that has created a climate of senseless violence through its never-ending stream of homicidal and bloodthirsty drivel, and they should be held accountable.

Abuses and Autocrats, Dissenters and Dictators, Orwell and Oligarchs

The Editorial Board at the New York Times recently posted an article named Ease Up on the Executive Actions, Joe, which brings up an interesting subject that I'd like to discuss. As anyone who grew up in America is aware, our system of government was created with a distribution of power between three branches: Executive (President), Legislative (Congress), and Judicial (Supreme Court). The original intent of the Executive branch as detailed in the Constitution was to enforce the laws that were created by the Legislative branch, while the job of interpreting those laws was assigned to the Judicial branch. Over the years, each President has ramped up the use of Executive Orders, which have increasingly had the same affect as laws, without having to go through the long process of Congressional debate within the Legislative branch as originally designed by the framers of our Constitution. In other words, the use of Executive Orders has overextended the intended role and reach of the Presidency and bypassed Congress. To be clear, this behavior includes both Obama and Trump.

However, throughout the Trump presidency, the common response by mainstream news outlets was that each Executive Order issued by Trump during his four years in office was a "dictatorial" abuse of power. Many of these scathing condemnations of Trump's behavior led to the inevitable comparisons between Trump and Hitler, which were - of course - completely ludicrous to anyone with a basic study of European history. (In my opinion, Mussolini might have been a better comparison, but I digress.) That being said, Biden's unceasing willingness to issue Executive Orders since taking office last week has thus far exceeded every other presidents' abuse of that particular "Executive Privilege." And yet, with the notable exception of the Times editorial that I mentioned in my opening statement, the general response of mainstream media has been applause - or silence - despite being the closest manifestation of a true "dictatorial abuse of power."

As we have seen in the rise of dictators throughout history and around the globe, "abuse" is never labeled as such by those who support the dictator and/or stand to benefit from said dictator's consolidation of power. As I mentioned earlier, our forefathers specifically founded a republic with three branches of government as a system of checks and balances in order to prevent what Biden is doing; that is to say, a single branch calling all the shots. Biden is ignoring Congress in his systemic alterations of the American political landscape, and those who spent four years loathing Trump are plodding happily along in their antipathy for their common enemy (Trump), while ignoring the fact that they are tacitly approving and condoning the very behavior to which they had vehemently objected in the very recent past. Tragically, now that the Biden administration has begun its investigations into restructuring the Supreme Court (see Biden starts staffing a commission on Supreme Court reform), the Biden administration is literally trying to find a way to bypass the last remaining hurdle to consolidating the power to govern unchecked and with impunity from a single branch of government.

I am reminded of the Triumvirate in the Republic of Ancient Rome, in which three leaders were chosen to share power and prevent an individual leader from singularly holding the reins of government. And yet, during the Triumvirate of Pompey, Crassus, and Caesar, one of the three was unhappy with the concept of serving with a balance of power, so he did away with the other two. This person was - of course - Gaius Julius Caesar, who appointed himself "dictator for life," thereby ending the Republic of Rome, and instituting the Imperial Age of Rome, wherein the will of the people was supplanted by the dictatorial rule of emperors. In recent years we have seen how modern dictators have followed similar paths; they gain the support of the people, and once their power is secured, they do away with anyone who can challenge their authority. (Think of Lenin, Trotsky, and Stalin in the USSR/Russia for one such example from the 20th century.)

With that in mind, we now see ourselves tipping precipitously on the edge of our own decline into autocracy, and yet there are millions of people who approve of the person who is exhibiting behavior that would be viewed as totalitarian if it was occurring elsewhere around the planet (think of Putin and Navalny in modern Russia). Our populace has millions of willing and unwitting accomplices who are rejoicing in their ignorance as their own downfall looms quietly and ominously in the not-too-distant future. It is a truly frightening time when people's incessant loathing for anything to which they object has blinded them to the very real threats to their personal freedoms. At the risk of violating Godwin's Law, this lust for power is the reason why Communists and Nazis invented "enemies of the people" in order to rally the mob in support of their consolidation of authority. We now have people who are publicly proclaiming that non-Liberals need to be "deprogrammed." (See So Many Great, Educated, Functional People Were Brainwashed: Can Trump’s Cult of Followers Be Deprogrammed?) That idea should strike fear into every citizen of this country. A difference of opinion does NOT justify the tyrannical brainwashing of opposing viewpoints into blind obedience and acceptance.

There was a time in this country where George Orwell's vision in "1984" of bludgeoning freedom of thought into a love for "Big Brother" was political fantasy; however, it is readily apparent that compulsory obedience to Big Brother is no longer a fable. What's more, the current trends by the social justice warrior crowd to rewrite history combined with the cooperation between mainstream/social media and tech giants to actively censor contrarian perspectives sounds an awful lot like Orwell's concept of a "Ministry of Truth," wherein "truth" is what the Party says is true, and dissenting opinion is overtly suppressed. Now that Orwell's fiction is slowly becoming fact, it is disconcerting to see the number of accomplices who line up as willing participants. The Communists had a term for these people: "Useful Idiots." From my perspective, I think that is a perfectly appropriate term for any willing participant in the dismantling of a democratic republic in favor of authoritarianism and despotism.

1984-Big-Brother

Arnold's Opinions are Terminated

I have mentioned in multiple places that the people who physically attacked our nation's Capitol this week were traitors and they need to be prosecuted as such. However, I would like to say a few words with regard to Mr. Schwarzenegger's comments in the following video.

There is a modern concept called Godwin's Law, which is generally defined as: "the longer that an Internet discussion continues, the probability of a comparison to Hitler or the Nazis increases proportionately." As soon as this comparison happens in most discussions, the person who makes the comparison is usually regarded as having lost the debate. The primary reason why this is assumed by all participants in the discussion is: if you cannot defend your position without resorting to ridiculous and implausible comparisons, then you're a poor communicator, and everyone SHOULD consider you a loser.

With that in mind, I'd like to state that Mr. Schwarzenegger needs to restudy his history, because his comparison to Kristallnacht was grossly inaccurate and utterly preposterous. For those who are unaware, Kristallnacht was the far-reaching destruction of thousands of Jewish businesses across Germany, resulting in the kidnapping of tens of thousands of Jews who were deported to concentration camps. Whereas during this week's traitorous activities, no one was carted off to concentration camps. No one lost their families, their livelihoods, or their property.

Please don't misunderstand, the traitors who broke into our Capitol are the wicked scum of the earth, but the events of this week and the events of Kristallnacht are so far apart that their comparison is beyond ludicrous. The actions of this week's traitors were shameful, but so were Mr. Schwarzenegger's comparisons to the Nazis. Therefore, in keeping with Godwin's Law, Mr. Schwarzenegger loses this debate.

Mr. Schwarzenegger may be correct in his assessment of Trump as a "failed leader," but then again - I seem to recall that Schwarzenegger's tenure as governor ended with him as as a "failed leader." Perhaps it takes one to know one, but either way - I'll end with this: Go home, Arnold. Your relevance in public politics is over.

An Open Letter to President Trump

Starting from one month before the election, I had made a personal vow to abstain from weighing in on the election - regardless of the outcome. Oh sure, I took potshots and anti-maskers and COVID-deniers, but for the most part I tried to say nothing about the actual election. However, in light of the anarchy that took place today in Washington DC, I think it's time to break my silence. And with that in mind, here goes:

 

Dear President Trump,

It's time for you to go. There was an election - and you lost. You filed protests - and you lost. You were given your days in court - and you lost.

You were given every opportunity to present concrete evidence to back your claims that the election was a fraud - and you have failed to do so.

You have spent several weeks fanning the flames of conspiracy theories that have ALL been debunked by multiple sources from both sides of the aisle, and now your reckless hubris has embarrassed our nation and endangered the lives of thousands of its citizens.

And so, I say again - just go.

It's over. You lost.

Please pull your head out of wherever it's been buried these past few weeks and go. And go quickly, before anyone else gets hurt.

 

Sincerely,

An American Veteran who solemnly swore to support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, both foreign and domestic.

 

 


NOTE: This post is largely based off of a message that I had posted on social media, to which I had attached the following image, which seemed apropos at the time.

chance_card_go_to_jail

Refusing to Wear a Mask is not Fighting for Freedom

The following image has been making the rounds on social media…

Anti-Mask-Self-Deception

This image has prompted me to ask the anti-maskers who are still promoting this anti-scientific drivel the following series of questions:

First of all - are you for real? Refusing to wear a mask is somehow fighting for freedom? I'm pretty sure that our forefathers and ancestors had an entirely different opinion of what constitutes "fighting for freedom."

Next, just whom are you fighting against? There's no oppressive regime here; there are no dictators, no despots. The CDC - which is an organization that is ACTUALLY fighting for something tangible (your health) - has recommended that people wear masks; but it's largely your peers who would like you to wear a mask, and wash your hands often, and keep your distance as much as possible. All of these simple actions will reduce the spread of disease during this pandemic.

Let's reexamine the original proposition for a moment; this image claims that you're "fighting for freedom," but for which freedoms are you fighting? You still have freedom of speech. You're still free to travel. You're still free to buy the things you need, to pursue the career of your choosing, to marry whom you want, to live where you choose, to own your own home, to start your own business; you have a host of freedoms at your disposal that the downtrodden masses in other areas of the world can't even dream of having. In fact, as I look at the Bill of Rights in the Constitution, I can't seem to find any freedoms that you're actually in danger of losing.

Let's step back a bit further - just how are you "fighting" for the freedom of others? By choosing to not to wear a mask? I'll grant you that abdicating your moral responsibilities in society and endangering the health of others might be a cheap form of protest where there's little chance that any harm will come to you, but I'd hardly count that as "fighting for freedom."

On the contrary, I come from a family with five generations of military service, and I personally served 8 years in the Army. At the end of my tours, I was able to return home, but some of my friends weren't so lucky. I have stood on enemy soil and made hard choices and did things that meant some bad guys didn't go home to their families, but because I did my job some of my comrades were able to make it home, too. In other words, I know exactly what "fighting for freedom" really means, and the fact that someone would somehow equate the genuine sacrifices of others with their illogical and irrational fears through the measly act of refusing to wear a mask is disgusting and insulting.

So let me make this clear to all the anti-maskers out there: you are not fighting - because there is no enemy that you are up against. You are not preserving freedom - because no freedoms are being suppressed. You are simply being asked to adopt a few simple practices in order to safeguard the health of your community. If you cannot manage to set aside your unwarranted paranoia and step up to your responsibilities as a productive member of society, then yes - I kinda think you're acting like a disease spreading, defiant, imbecile.

That being said, stop claiming that you're fighting for freedom - because you're not.

Numbers Never Lie...

There is an old adage that says, "Numbers never lie, but liars always use numbers." Over the years I have seen this adage reinforced and demonstrated countless times, which brings me to the recently-released video titled Viral Issue Crucial Update Sept 8th: the Science, Logic and Data Explained. I've seen that video a few times (because people keep sharing it on social media), and there are several glaring issues with it. But before I continue, let me be very clear about something: I think the pandemic lockdown was unnecessary, at least as far as the United States is concerned. Please keep that in mind as you read everything else I say below.

The First Major Issue with that Video

First of all - and this is most important - the numbers of infections and deaths from the COVID-19 pandemic should be lower than for other viral outbreaks because we closed businesses and made everyone maintain social distancing and wear masks!!! It should be readily apparent to anyone who is capable of reasonable thought that the extreme measures we took to combat this pandemic were directly responsible for this pandemic not being nearly as catastrophic as it could have been. THAT. WAS. THE. WHOLE. POINT. I personally think we collectively overreacted, and the long-term damages to our economy will be felt for years to come. But that being said, our overreaction had the exact effect for which it was instituted: less people got sick and/or died. So the very same people who keep saying, "Well, the pandemic wasn't that bad after all..." are affirming that the drastic measures we took were extremely effective. For this single reason alone, the entire argument in that video evaporates. The lockdown did what it was designed to do. End of story. (As a reminder, I think the lockdown wasn't necessary; but that doesn't mean it wasn't effective - because it was.)

The Second Major Issue with that Video

The presenter in that video makes no secret about ignoring comorbidities, which is when someone has an existing condition and dies after contracting COVID-19. However, ignoring comorbidities is a cheap way to manipulate the data to skew the numbers and make them seem to indicate what you want them to say, rather than what they actually say. Let me give you a hypothetical example: if I'm living with cancer, but I get shot by a gun - it is the gunshot that killed me, not my cancer. That's blatantly obvious to everyone with a brain. It's the same thing if I'm living with heart disease or lung disease and I am shot - it's the bullet that killed me, etc. Now substitute the coronavirus for the gunshot. If I'm living with cancer, but I contract the coronavirus and die - it is the coronavirus that killed me, not my cancer. It's the same if I'm living with heart disease or lung disease and contract the coronavirus and die. In each of those scenarios, I was managing my illness until I contracted the coronavirus, which is what actually killed me. What the presenter in that video is attempting to do is to discount all of the deaths where something else was present in the pathology, which artificially (and dishonestly) deflates the numbers of actual deaths. That is wrong from a scientific perspective, and it's wrong from a data perspective, and ultimately it's wrong from an ethical perspective - because for all intents and purposes he is lying. Period.

The Third Major Issue with that Video

Because of the presenter's immoral manipulation of the data, you're not getting a full picture of what's going on. In several areas of the planet - like India for example - the numbers of infections and deaths are both continuing to rise. The 'bump' that the presenter keeps showing over and over is only true for a few regions of the planet, but it's grossly inaccurate for much of the rest of the planet. Also, the presenter made the claim several times that the pandemic was largely over by the beginning of Summer 2020, and that is patently false for many areas of the globe. Once again, if you look at India alone, their outbreak started at the beginning of Summer 2020. Brazil's struggle with this pandemic started about a month before India. New cases in the United States peaked around mid-July and have slowly been decreasing since then, but still - the United States is just one country. From a global perspective, we're still in the thick of it.

The Fourth Major Issue with that Video

It is absolutely hilarious that this presenter keeps reinforcing almost all of his talking points based on an analysis of... Sweden. That's right - this dweeb is basing the majority of his arguments on observations for a tiny slice of the world that few people visit unless absolutely necessary, which is a country that has less than one tenth of one percent of the global population. The coronavirus was largely managed in Sweden BECAUSE IT'S @#$% SWEDEN!!! You CANNOT compare the United States, or Russia, or India, or pretty much any large, industrialized nation in the world with Sweden. North Carolina may have the same population as Sweden, but it's surrounded by other states; interstate commerce is constantly bringing a fresh influx of people through its borders, and at the end of the day - PEOPLE ACTUALLY WANT TO VISIT NORTH CAROLINA. North Carolina has actual BEACHES that bring people from all over the country, not a bunch of unpronounceable fjords that are only popular with retirees on cruise ships.

Conclusion

Returning to my opening statement, there is an old adage that says, "Numbers never lie, but liars always use numbers," and that concept nicely summarizes the entire video.

In closing, let me reiterate - I think the lockdown was unnecessary. And if I felt so inclined, I could probably back that up with empirical evidence, and I'll bet that I could pull it off without having to manipulate the data and lying to the world about it, too.


POSTSCRIPT:

If you're interested in learning more about the subject of manipulating data dishonestly, there's a book called Proofiness: The Dark Arts of Mathematical Deception that I stumbled across recently. I have only read the synopsis, but after seeing so many people try to manipulate public opinion by manipulating the numbers that they use to reinforce their arguments, I've added it to my reading list.