Your nonsense has affected my view of your country. You should stay out of the US. No more winters in Florida. No more attendance of American universities. no more training of your Olympic athletes in the US. Take your battalion of infantry and go home.
My ancestors arrived in New France in 1642 from Champagne. When did yours arrive? pl
SeaWorld, which opened as usual Thursday, did not specify how it would change its killer whale performances and did not return calls for comment. It suspended Dine with Shamuand other killer whale shows at its three parks — in San Antonio, Orlando and San Diego — indefinitely." USATODAY
A 12,000 pound Orca kept in a fishpond. He has been kept there and used in an artificial insemination program in which someone has gotten into the fishpond and masturbated him to produce Orca love juice.for the corporate program.
This lady was petting him and kissing him before he turned back, grabbed her by the hair and dragged her under water. How was he supposed to know how long she could hold her breath?
Put this guy back in the ocean where he belongs. plhttp://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2010-02-25-killer-whale-seaworld_N.htm
"These are the known facts: The Dubai police claim that 26 visitors entered and exited the emirate over the past year on false British, Irish, Australian, German and French passports. Some or all were involved in the assassination of senior Hamas operative Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, who also entered Dubai under a false identity. The Dubai police chief has accused the Mossad of the January 19 hit. He has presented no proof, but more than half of the fake passports in Dubai bore the names of Israelis.
The European Union and the countries whose passports were counterfeited have criticized the misuse of their identity documents without mentioning the names of those responsible. French President Nicolas Sarkozy termed the assassination utterly unjustified - "nothing more than a murder." Israel has neither confirmed nor denied involvement in Mabhouh's killing or in falsifying the documents, but former Israel Defense Forces chief of staff Dan Halutz said that such actions attributed to Israel "deter terror organizations." "
Several networks here and abroad have called for my opinion on this matter. I have declined to be interviewed, saving this for you. The best was a foreign network in which the "booker" wanted to know if I would subscribe to the rumor being bruted about (or aboot for South Parkers) that the Israelis wanted to be caught so that they could seem more "bad-assed" (my vernacular). I laughed and told her that this rumor was clever on the part of the Mossad. In fact, they and the Israeli general staff intelligence are just not very good services. AIPAC does its best to disguise that but in truth most of what the Israelis have, their friends gave them.
Dubai? They screwed up. Too many people, too clumsy, too arrogant in their assumption that the "ragheads" would never catch them. The truth is that the Israelis think of all gentiles that way. plhttp://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1152509.html
Indirect fire has
I am impressed by the total cluelessness displayed by civilian readers on these subjects. I appeal to the soldiers here to write something that I can post as an article on the subject of fire support, the accuracy of weapons systems today, etc. pl
As a former goalkeeper at the high school level (pickup team on the pond stuff) I would like to congratulate the men's Canadian Olympic hockey team for the brave struggle that they put up in Vancouver last night. I was inspired by the sight of this fight against long odds. I guess the young guys were just too much for them. I wish them better luck against Jamaica or whomever they will play next. pl
PS Was it really necessary to close all the bars in downtown Vancouver after the match?
"Operation New Dawn! How disarming it would be were this a sign that a bit of dry wit had penetrated the mental fastness that is the American defense establishment. Alas, the truth is that the Pentagon's public relations machine is still grinding away. This administration's dedication to continuing the tradition of dishonest public communication bequeathed it by the Bush bunch is of cardinal importance. For its implications for how we conduct the nation's affairs are deeper and more enduring than this ridiculous try at casting the mantle of success over our gory, corrupt and inept escapade in Iraq. First a few thoughts on the dimensions of our failure there."
Professor Michael Brenner
McChrystal or whomever made this decision should be relieved and prosecuted for betrayal of our troops. pl
"On the satellite photographs of Marja that Marines scrutinized before launching a massive assault against the Taliban a week ago, what they assumed was the municipal government center appeared to be a large, rectangular building, cater-cornered from the main police station.
Seizing that intersection became a key objective, one deemed essential to imposing authority and beginning reconstruction in this part of Helmand province once U.S. and Afghan troops have flushed out the insurgents.
But when Marine officers reached the area, they discovered that two-dimensional images can be deceiving. What they had thought was the flat roof of the municipal building turned out to be a concrete foundation, and the police station was a bombed-out schoolhouse." Rajiv Chandrasekaran
I criticized the US Army for failures in competence in an earlier post today. Now it the turn of the US Marine Corps.
Long ago, before I drifted off into the world of strategic intelligence, I was a combat intelligence officer. In that long ago and far away time there was such a thing as "oblique photography." (seen above) Satellites generally, but not always, deliver images taken from a point of view directly above. Aircraft, manned and not, can be flown off to one side to deliver images (radar or optical) from a slanted point of view. This process of "oblique" imaging started in WW1. And then, there are always human eyeballs peering out of the aircraft. That is also a possibility. That was not done? The 6th Marine Regiment arrived in Marja' believing that a foundation was actually a roof? I will not dwell on the obvious fact that a scout or two (spy) was not sent into the town to report on the layout of the place and these "buildings." After all, the brigade commander planned to make these structures the center for the renewed Afghan government in the area, the one that is to be presided over by a district head that Karzai does not want.
More incompetence. pl
""It's lunacy to deploy forces to a location simply because the unseasoned, politically driven host government so requests," said a U.S. diplomat who spoke only on the condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to speak publicly. "Bear in mind that this operation in what is undoubtedly one of the most remote and difficult locations in all of Afghanistan occurred at the time of discussion about revising our strategy to concentrate our forces in areas of dense population and strategic importance."
Barg-e Matal is deep in rugged mountains where insurgent snipers were so well dug in that American troops resorted to calling in jet fighters and attack helicopters to silence them, U.S. soldiers based there told a McClatchy reporter in September after he was denied permission to visit Barg-e Matal.
The troops, who originally were told that they'd be in Barg-e Matal for four days, said they were under constant attack.
The outpost of sandbags and concertina wire consisted of a girl's school and wooden homes on one side of a river that bisects the village, and the local administration compound where Afghan troops and Latvian trainers were based on the other.
It could be supplied only by dangerous nighttime helicopter missions, and the nearly constant fire made the reconstruction projects on which American counterinsurgency strategy hinges all but impossible. Local officials distributed some U.S. aid to the few locals who remained there, but they hoarded most of it, the American troops said." Mcclatchey
There is a depressing sameness about the series of bad incidents involving American outposts in Nuristan. This article speaks of investigation and punishment for "failure." I won't try to say what the truth is of the performance of the officers involved in the field. I was not there.
On the other hand there is a disturbing pattern of simple incompetence in planning and execution in these incidents. I don't see competence in basic combat operations in defense of position in these small disasters.
At the same time it seems to me that General McChrystal's role in insisting that outposts be maintained under conditions in which they could not be adequately defended is not good. He likes to say that a professional force must accept a disproportionate share of the risk in order to accomplish the mission. To illustrate his commitment to that idea he travels about without body armor, a weapon or a helmet. This is grandstanding. pl
PS I note that Petraeus is now making the rounds giving what are essentially political speeches. I presume that he is looking for a political opening for himself post-retirement. Biden's job might be what he tries for. Today, on MTP he condemned the use of torture in the Bush Administration. That will not endear him to the Republicans, so...http://www.mcclatchydc.com/100/story/86824.html?storylink=omni_popular
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/world/asia/21afghan.html The Afghan National Army, or A.N.A., has participated. At the squad level it has been a source of effective, if modestly skilled, manpower. Its soldiers have shown courage and a willingness to fight. Afghan soldiers have also proved, as they have for years, to be more proficient than Americans at searching Afghan homes and identifying potential Taliban members — two tasks difficult for outsiders to perform. By all other important measures, though — from transporting troops, directing them in battle and coordinating fire support to arranging modern communications, logistics, aviation and medical support — the mission in Marja has been a Marine operation conducted in the presence of fledgling Afghan Army units, whose officers and soldiers follow behind the Americans and do what they are told." ------------------------------------------------------------------------- The little story at the end of this article about a US Marine giving an Afghan soldier a can of Red Bull is illustrative of what the present state of the Afghan National Army really is. Armies conform to certain basic human principles involving leadership. All armies. One of the most important is that the troops must believe that the officers are not exploiting them for their own benefit. Any force in which the troops feel exploited will not be effective. The Afghan army has a long way to go. It takes a long time to make soldiers out of people for whom the cultural model is alien. it would have been better to make use of them as tribal militias. pl
"In every engagement between the Taliban and one front-line American Marine unit, the operation has been led in almost every significant sense by American officers and troops. They organized the forces for battle, transported them in American vehicles and helicopters from Western-run bases into Taliban-held ground, and have been the primary fighting force each day.
The Afghan National Army, or A.N.A., has participated. At the squad level it has been a source of effective, if modestly skilled, manpower. Its soldiers have shown courage and a willingness to fight.
Afghan soldiers have also proved, as they have for years, to be more proficient than Americans at searching Afghan homes and identifying potential Taliban members — two tasks difficult for outsiders to perform.
By all other important measures, though — from transporting troops, directing them in battle and coordinating fire support to arranging modern communications, logistics, aviation and medical support — the mission in Marja has been a Marine operation conducted in the presence of fledgling Afghan Army units, whose officers and soldiers follow behind the Americans and do what they are told."
The little story at the end of this article about a US Marine giving an Afghan soldier a can of Red Bull is illustrative of what the present state of the Afghan National Army really is.
Armies conform to certain basic human principles involving leadership. All armies. One of the most important is that the troops must believe that the officers are not exploiting them for their own benefit. Any force in which the troops feel exploited will not be effective.
The Afghan army has a long way to go. It takes a long time to make soldiers out of people for whom the cultural model is alien.
it would have been better to make use of them as tribal militias. pl
""The Iraqi Front for National Dialogue cannot continue in a political process run by a foreign agenda," party spokesman Haidar al-Mullah said in a statement, referring to Iran's alleged interference.
He said the party decided to pull out of the vote after U.S. Ambassador Christopher Hill and Army Gen. Ray Odierno, the top American military commander in Iraq, each described the Shiite leaders of a candidate-vetting panel as having ties to Iran.
The vetting panel is led by Shiite politicians Ali al-Lami and Ahmed Chalabi. It banned more than 440 candidates whom it described as loyalists to Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath party.
Most of the blacklisted candidates are Sunni, although some are Shiite. Among those barred from running is Sunni lawmaker Saleh al-Mutlaq, the head of the National Dialogue party. Al-Mutlaq has said he quit the Baath party in the 1970s.
In a speech last week to the Institute for the Study of War in Washington, Odierno said the U.S. has direct intelligence that al-Lami and Chalabi "are clearly influenced by Iran." Odierno also accused al-Lami of having been "involved in various nefarious activities in Iraq for some time."" AP
Ahmad Chalabi was always Teheran's man. He was Teheran's man when the neocons thought he was their man. He is Teheran's man now.
This party that has decided not to contest the election next month is the meeting place of the more or less secular elements that were the backbone of the insurgent forces that fought us until a couple of years ago.
In addition to this party the Iraqi union of tribals (both Shia and Sunni) will also not participate. Iraqi tribes often have both Shia and Sunni sections. This is the result of migratory settlement of parts of tribes in the territory dominated by the different sects.
Ambassador Hill and General Odierno are understandably disappointed in this development.
What we are seeing is the inevitable reversion to type of Iraqi society. As has been said here many times, the creation of "Iraqi Man" was an eighty year long project that we interrupted in 2003. The "pressure cooker" of Iraqi state institutions; education, civil service, law, the military, etc. was slowly having its way in creating a "national" type.
We tilted the scales of history against that process and enabled a reversion to sectarian politics. So be it.
Will this stop the withdrawal of American forces? No. It will not. p
Here is the entry on the docket sheet for the status conference that was held in court on
17 February 2010. The trial is rescheduled and there will be another status conference.
"Minute Entry for proceedings held before Judge James Robertson: status conference as to STEWART DAVID NOZETTE held on 2/17/2010.
Speedy trial time is excluded between 2/17/10 and 3/24/10 in the interest of justice; (X-T).
USA is given four weeks to serve and file
404(b) motion. Defendant's motion 30 to suppress is heard and denied; memorandum and opinion to follow. Defendant's motion 29 for discovery is held in abeyance. Status Conference set for 3/24/2010 10:00 AM in Courtroom 23A before Judge James Robertson. Bond Status of Defendant:
defendant committed/commitment issued;
Court Reporter: Rebecca Stonestreet;
Defense Attorney: John C. Kiyonaga;
US Attorneys: Anthony Asuncion,
Heather M. Schmidt and Deborah A. Curtis.
(mlp) (Entered: 02/19/2010)"
Robert Willmann, Jr.
I was on "Outside the Beltway" radio last night with James Joyner and Dave Schuler. This three sided conversation lasted an hour and covered a lot of ground. If you want to hear this podcast, the link is below.
Adam L. Silverman PhD
Recent remarks by John Brennan, the Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter-terrorism have further enflamed the IO fratricide as a reaction to terrorism that I wrote about recently. On the recent Sunday news shows their were even calls for Mr. Brenna’s ouster. While COL (ret) Lang has expressed his concerns with Mr. Brennan in the past, I think that this case is a perfect example of the over reactions that lead to the counter-terrorism IO fratricide that I detailed on February 4th. As such a detailed look at what Mr. Brennan said is in order.
If "enemy combatant" is a term that denotes a captured person as someone to be held indefinitely pending the end of hostilities does that not make this person subject to the international law of war, the law covering prisoners of war?
Prisoners of war are not criminals. Acts of war do not make them criminals Prisoners of war are not tried for anything unless they have violated the law of war or have broken a law after capture, for example, murder of a guard in an attempt to escape. If they are tried for something like that then they have to be tried under the military law of the detaining power and if convicted punished as a member of that country's armed forces would be punished. Such persons could not be tried before anything other than a court-martial.
I hear the mob crying out for the trial of captured terrorists before military commissions. Why not courts-martial or civilian courts? Is it because the mob imagines that military commissions will function as "kangaroo courts" ignoring due process and the rules of evidence? Is that why?
Is it because the mob thinks that the officers who would serve on military commissions would ignore the evidence of coercion of confessions and torture? If the mob thinks that, then they are fools who hope for national disgrace.
Better to treat our enemies as "common criminals" and try them in Article Three courts or to hold them indefinitely without trial as detainees under the law of war. pl
Someone wrote to lecture me about Iranian universities and cleverness. I think it was "curious." Well, lovely. What will that matter when the Revolutionary Guard and their Howza enablers draw the enmity of the whole world onto the Iranian people, Persians, etc.?
The United States is a remarkably primitive state in terms of its understanding of the outer world. As an elitist, I attribute that to the leveling process so favored by the modern world. Jefferson did not intend this.
In any event, one must face the issue of what US policy should be towards Iran in the context of the Iranian state's manifest intention to "trick f---k" the world into inaction while it achieves the status of a nuclear capable state.
After some thought it is my opinion that we should do everything we can to impede Iran's progress towards nuclear power status while preparing ourselves for the day when the Iranian government explodes a device in the "Dasht-e-Kevir" (more Arabic loan words, did these people not have a language of their own?)
When that happens, (in spite of our sabotage), we must serve notice on Iran that a combat use of nuclear weapons will immediately lead to a total destruction of Iran by the United States.
Sorry, Israel. plhttp://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE61D1EH20100214
In the midst of this discussion it occurred to me that the one thing that never is expressed in such discussions about the prisoners at Guantanamo is that they are not all the same. The implication in all the discussion of these men is that they are all like Khalid Sheikh Muhammad, in other words, a committed Al-Qa'ida Islamic terrorist and/or leader of terrorists.
This is not the case. There are perhaps fifty people at Gitmo who fit the KSM model, but there are other categories. There are some few additional KSM types who early on "threw in the towel" and who have been extremely cooperative with US intelligence. There are some who are mentally ill by anyone's standards.
In addition, there are many among the prisoners who are really just poor "schmucks" who were "vacuumed up" in the first years after 9/11 and sent to Guantanamo by administrative fiat of relatively junior officers in the field. Many of these prisoners were handed over by foreign governments eager to demonstrate helpfulness. Usually these prisoners were foreigners in the countries that "shopped them." The "evidence" against this category usually consists of the uncorroborated statement of the individual concerned recounting his wanderings in such places as Afghanistan and Pakistan. Such statements can be endlessly interpreted in favor of detention by successive "waves" of interviewers and boards of review unwilling to take responsibility for release.
These prisoners are caught in a Limbo that might have been designed by Kafka. Not surprisingly, many of these people feel like the Chihuahua. pl
He said that yesterday would be remembered as the start of “a new phase of the campaign to win the support of the people of Afghanistan”.
Afghan troops and police have been ordered to hold the ground taken during the offensive.
Most Taliban appeared to have scattered before the onslaught, which was strongly signalled in advance.
However, military commanders expect them to regroup and attack in the weeks ahead to prevent the alliance from stabilising the area and expanding the control of the Afghan government under President Hamid Karzai."
Times on Line
It's all a matter of whether or not Karzai's government can build a civil society as good as that of the last Afghan king.
Coalition forces are doing all that can be asked of them. God be with you. pl
"As Marines and soldiers marched into the area, several hundred more swooped out of the sky in helicopters into Marja itself. There did not appear to be any resistance, although a ground assault with more soldiers concentrated within the city was expected to begin within hours.
“The message for the Taliban is: It will be easy, or it will be hard, but we are coming,” Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, the commander of the United States Marines in Helmand Province, told the men of Company K, Third Battalion, Sixth Marines before the operation began. “At the end of the day, the Afghan flag will be over Marja.”
The operation, dubbed Moshtrarak , which means “together” in Dari, is the largest offensive military operation since the American-led coalition invaded the country in 2001. Its aim to flush the Taliban out of a huge area — about 75 square miles — where insurgents have been staging attacks, building bombs and processing the opium that pays for their war." NY Times
The marine commander at the 2nd Battle of Fallujah in Iraq made the argument that the outcome had settled the war and that the insurgency was over. His men had carried the day. The insurgents no longer had a sanctuary. The war would soon be over as the insurgents came to recognize their defeat. In fact, none of that was true. The marine general was simply "mirror imaging" what his own feelings would have been in a similar situation. In fact, the corner was turned in Iraq when a handful of Army and marine officers and sergeants took matters into their own hands and responded to "feelers" from insurgent leaders who wanted to change sides. They wanted to do that not because they had been defeated at Fallujah, but rather because the Al-Qa'ida in Iraq sought to impose so extreme a version of Islam that the Sunni and secular Shia insurgents found it preferable to align themselves with the coalition rather than submit to the fanatics. The troop surge in the Baghdad area? Helpful in sorting out neighborhoods, helpful in backing up the efforts of the "Sons of Iraq," but definitely a sideshow.
Now the marines are once again following their instinct to seek a decisive battle. The Taliban in Helmand, whoever they are, have provided the marines with a satisfactory objective that can be expressed in terrain to be seized and held. The US Marine Corps is an amphibious assault force at its core. It wants to fight a decisive battle. The marine commander in Helmand is saying things that are eerily familiar from the time of Fallujah. He is saying that victory at Marja ill be decisive in that the insurgents will have no base, no redoubt area, in Iraq. We will see if that is true.
If it is not true, then it seems unlikely that the American electorate will allow the time that would be required to apply the kind of methods that did work in Iraq.
Fallujah would have been decisive if the Anbar Awakening had not occurred.
The outcome at Marja will be decisive. pl
Last night we watched the HBO film "Battle for Marjah." It is well done. The story of the marine assault into this agricultural region is well told. Nevertheless, the overall impression is one of futility. pl
Anyone see this tonight? CM's personal fear at the thought of the mortality of the great (such as he) was palpable. He couldn't stop talking about it. Eventually he greeted some encouragement of his own type A pathology by a "guest" with a visible sigh of relief.
Why doesn't MSNBC get rid of this contemptible clown? Are his ratings in the toilet like Olberman's? pl
Yes. We lost. The ground war went very badly from the US point of view. The Canadian militia were pretty tough and their Indian allies were a real problem since they thought that prisoners were there for their entertainment. Hey! Some of our Indian ancestors were probably in the British force, but the real story were the British Army Regulars. They dominated every battlefield except New Orleans and maybe Lundy's Lane. These stunted little men from the slums of the English industrial towns and the blighted lands of the Scottish enclosures and crofts were much better soldiers than anything the US had at that time.
These soldiers had been fighting in Europe for a generation. As Clausewitz wrote, there is nothing that so perfects an army as actual war.
At sea, the situation was quite different as I suppose we all know. The American heavy frigates did well against the Royal Navy.
The fictional Napoleonic era British soldier "Richard Sharpe" said of himself that he "was born in a whorehouse and hoped to die in the Army." His character is an accurate depiction of the kind of men who beat the United States in that war. plhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_War_of_1812
I don't know about him, but I always have. A wonderful actress. "Indochine," a great film. I know, Sidney, there is no bikini, but... I don't remember the CS bikini, but I do remember the Canadian lady.
On to Rothko. I never thought of him as any sort of Zionist or Zionist prophet. I think of him as a mystic, a man trying to see beyond "the veil." There is a wonderful Rothko hanging in the big art museum in Kansas City. When I was spending a lot of time at the Army schools at Ft. Leavenworth I would go and stand a yard from the painting for rather long periods of time. That is how he wanted people to look at his work. His search for the perfect killed him, killed him by his own hand.
There must be quite a few of his things in the Guggenheim. Next time I am up there... pl
My sister, Maureen has put up a lovely post on "The Athenaeum." pl
Silver Screen Craftsmen, Pt. 2- Lessley/Arbuckle/Normand/Keaton Collaborationshttp://turcopolier.typepad.com/the_athenaeum/2010/02/silver-screen-craftsmen-pt-2-lessleyarbucklenormandkeaton-collaborations.html
The level of comment lately has been declining. Some of you are obvious propagandists. Some people write childish nonsense that sounds like a college seminar. "Are nuclear weapon not useless?, etc." "Saudi Arabia feels secure from an iranian nuclear capability behind American guarantees." Does anyone really think such guarantees are worth much in the actual event? Then, there are the merely argumentative with nothing better to do than sound off from "the home." And, then of course there are the left and right ideologues. I must say that the right wing ideologues are more scatologically offensive up front. The lefties write off line to to discuss my advanced age and senility after their rejection. This is an interesting contrast.
Then, there are the the merely anti-American.
Further nonsense will not be posted as comment. pl
Some of you continue to argue for the "right" of Iran to possess nuclear weapons. Justice and legalisms have nothing to do with strategic calculation. What is at issue here is whether or not the countries that now poasses the strategic advantage are willing to accept a different balance of power, first in the Middle East and then in the world. It is now possible for all to see (including those of you who foolishly argue for Iran's nuclear rights) that Iran is prevaricating in its statements as to the "peaceful" nature of its program. I won't bother to review the details. You would not accept the implications of the indicators so why should I bother? So far, the Iranians have played their little game of deception well, impressed as usual with their own cleverness. What the indicators point to is an Iranian program that is intended to produce a ballistic missile based nuclear capability capable of holding first Middle Eastern cities at risk and later cities farther away, perhaps even cities in Alberta eventually. Whether or not such a capability would ever be used, its mere posession will radically alter the balance of power. Some of you clearly relish the thought.
The statements that Iran could destroy Kuwait and Saudi Arabia's oil ports is fantasy resembling the schoolyard outbursts of children that "my daddy is bigger than your daddy." American forces held at risk in Iraq? There you have a better case, but now there is a viable line of communications through western Iraq.
Hormuz? I participated in previous Hormuz crises. It is true that the Iranians could temporarily obstruct passage through the stait but they could not hold it closed long. Tthe oil price "spike" would not last long either.
The real question in the Iran nuclear dilemma is whether or not the present powers will accept a re-alignment of forces as serious as that which woiuld be caused by a nuclear Iran.
Incidentally, if you want to be posted here do not quote the opinions of other bloggers to me.
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that its inspectors had been called to the Natanz plant to witness the beginning of work to upgrade Iran’s 3.5 per cent enriched uranium to 20 per cent. “Despite the posturing that the nuclear power is only for civilian use ... they in fact continue to pursue a course that would lead to weaponisation, and that is not acceptable to the international community,” Mr Obama declared. He threatened to hit Tehran with fresh UN-backed sanctions, possibly within weeks. Russia joined Western powers in denouncing Iran’s move, which it said raised “well-grounded” doubts about the country’s peaceful intentions." Times on line --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- This is ridiculous. Perhaps the US is a declining power, perhaps. Nevertheless we can destroy Iran in a night''s work. Are you mad? Persist in this and you will learn whether your stupidity in thinking that the US is "paper tiger" works for you. pl
The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed that its inspectors had been called to the Natanz plant to witness the beginning of work to upgrade Iran’s 3.5 per cent enriched uranium to 20 per cent.
“Despite the posturing that the nuclear power is only for civilian use ... they in fact continue to pursue a course that would lead to weaponisation, and that is not acceptable to the international community,” Mr Obama declared. He threatened to hit Tehran with fresh UN-backed sanctions, possibly within weeks.
Russia joined Western powers in denouncing Iran’s move, which it said raised “well-grounded” doubts about the country’s peaceful intentions." Times on line
This is ridiculous. Perhaps the US is a declining power, perhaps. Nevertheless we can destroy Iran in a night''s work. Are you mad? Persist in this and you will learn whether your stupidity in thinking that the US is "paper tiger" works for you. pl
"Dr. Lee Sanders, an American pediatrician at the airport field hospital, took the point a step further. “For these kids the kidnapping case isn’t just a distraction,” he said, as he changed a dressing on a girl’s infected leg. “It has become the difference between life and death.”
Previously, doctors, pilots and aid workers air-lifted children with life-threatening conditions out of the country immediately after triage, and then completed the paperwork after the children were stabilized.
“Everything has slowed down, and most pilots are backing out of these medical missions with kids,” said Scott Dorfman, a pilot from Atlanta who has flown 50 flights since the earthquake, moving supplies, doctors and patients." NY Times
This article is something special for all of you who are in love with the cult of self determination and nationalism in the third world.
Let's see. what is more important - -
Children with festering wounds or -- the preservation of the "authority" of government ministers and bureaucrats with a hope of regaining the kind of income that bribery has always provided them?
I leave it to you. plhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/09/world/americas/09airlift.html?pagewanted=1&emc=eta1
"The Taliban have said they will not enter into any "deal" with the Afghan government or the West to bring peace to Afghanistan, and their fighters will continue to die to achieve a victory they say is around the corner." Reuters
Stanley! Stanley! Hamid! Hamid! You have to win over the ones who don't like the Taliban, not the Taliban themselves, and no more paying off Taliban leaders to let our logistics work! pl
I saw John Brennan on MTP today. I misjudged the man. There is nothing trivial about him. He is too solemn for his own good, but, that is a minor failing. The intensity and obvious hostility towards many members of Congress and the media were palpable. He resents the media's constant whoring after sensation. Fair enough. i would resent it as well. I do think he is a little gullible. Yemen, a trustworthy partner? Count your fingers, John. Count your fingers.
And then there was Sarah Palin being interviewed by Chris Wallace on FNS. Frightening. Can this woman really be as empty headed as she sounds? At one point she said that she "would never make people feel that she knows better then they..." What are we to make of that? Do we really want the chief executive of the United States to be no more intelligent nor better informed that the average citizen? At another point she said that Obama offends her because behind a podium he looks like a law professor and not a "commander in chief." Well, what I understand from that is that she does not know that the office of president and the function of commander in chief are different. The president is commander in chief of the armed forces of the United States, not commander in chief of the United States. The president has to "earn his way." It sounds as though she would prefer a dictator (roughly "commander in chief" in Latin). She also is offended by what she and others call "giving American constitutional protections to terrorists." Does she and the others who say this not know that it is a long settled principle of American law that the Bill of Rights applies to all those in US custody except enemy soldiers. The "undie bomber" is not an enemy soldier. John Yoo was wrong about this. Finally, she implies that "the generals" should be allowed to do what ever they think best and given whatever resources they think best.
I am coming to the conclusion that this woman is an emerging mindless tool of people like Bill Kristol and a danger to republican government pl
The Haitian government, the US Government and the world "sappocracy" is indulging itself in fostering the fantasy of Haitian national sovereignty and dignity at the expense of the idiot Baptist missionaries from the mountain states. Do people really think that these do-gooder fools were engaged in kidnapping children to"traffick" them? What a joke!
What is going to follow? Trial? Imprisonment in that hell hole?
National sovereignty? We stopped respecting that some time ago.
To hell with that! We are pouring vast sums of money into that failed country.
No more money for Haiti until these naive clowns are handed for over to US disposition.
No more private money. No more US taxpayer money.
No more! pl
"The 600 delegates at the National Tea Party Convention feel taxed to death, ignored by their elected representatives and the media, and appalled at the federal government's spending -- and there are millions of Americans just like them. Their anger has helped claim some political scalps, and they vow to "take back America." What is unclear to them, and to the political establishment watching warily, is how they might do this." Washpost
As an originalist libertarian constitutionalist I can only applaud this, but as an elitist Virginian of the old school I can only dread what might emerge. Will there be room in this for all or only for the anointed? plhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/05/AR2010020501694.html?hpid=moreheadlines
Last year I wrote a couple of posts concerning the disastrous engagements that had occurred in Nuristan at Wanat and a few other places. The picture above is the Special Forces camp at Plei Djereng on the border with Laos. a lot bigger thanWanat but you get the idea.. This patrol base camp would have had double apron barbed wire around it, many .30 caliber and .50 caliber M-2 machine guns, 81mm and 4.2 inch mortars, fougasse, mines. Bu Dop Camp had a 105mm howitzer that they had traded for or stolen. Ah, the good old days.
At the risk of further endangering the Green Berets from the jealousy of line officers, I would say that any good SF sergeant could have done a much better job of planning this than all these captains, majors and colonels.
After looking at the available evidence I reached the conclusion that the planning for the creation and support of these platoon sized outposts had been incompetent. The posts were poorly situated for defense. Fire support for defense was inadequate and the positions themselves were not well built, not enough barbed wire, inadequate shelters and fighting positions.
Ridiculous. At the risk of succumbing to a fit of nostalgia, I will say that we used to do this a lot better.
After a long set of investigations, the military evidently agrees and officers at company, battalion and brigade levels of command face punishment in the form of letters of reprimand, etc. In the military such letters are normally career enders.
How did such a display of incompetence come to pass?
Too much grad school, not enough emphasis from the high command of the armed forces on basic skills as a determinant of career progress for officers. plhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/04/AR2010020404752.html?hpid=topnews
Adam L. Silverman PhD
Now that the actual account of what Federal investigators are learning from Umar Farouk Abdulmuttalab has come out it makes sense to step back a little bit and take a good hard look at how America’s current and former elected and appointed officials, as well as pundits and media respond to the issue of terrorism. I want to emphasize issue rather than threat because how to conduct an investigation of a failed terrorist, as well as whether terrorist should be handled in regular courts, trials or tribunals should be held in the places that the acts of terrorism took place, or all terrorist are automatically enemy combatants are all a series of issues, some related some not, not actual threats. The common thread that runs through all of these responses is that a large portion of our politicians, our pundits, our media all seem to have been thoroughly terrorized. Even though Abdulmuttalab failed to do anything other than injure himself, anyone watching American tv news, listening to American radio, or reading American newspapers would reasonably conclude that he succeeded in his mission.
"Before the war, the equilibrium between Iraq and Iran was a principal geopolitical reality within the region. At that time, the government in Baghdad was a Sunni-run dictatorship. The Shiite-dominated, partly democratic structure that has emerged from the war has not yet found the appropriate balance among its Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish components. Nor is its long-term relationship to Iran settled. If radicals prevail in the Shiite part, and the Shiite part comes to dominate the Sunni and Kurdish regions, and if it then lines up with Tehran, we will witness -- and will have partially contributed to -- a fundamental shift in the balance of the region." Kissinger
Well, Henry.... You and your pals in the Bush/Cheney/neocon menagerie broke Iraq. You destroyed the "equilibrium between Iraq and Iran." You all conspired to deceive the American people and convince them that Iraq was an imminent nuclear threat to the United States. What you really wanted was to trigger a social revolution in the Islamic world that would make safe your "friends." You succeeded in that misinformation propaganda campaign. The US invaded Iraq and then searched the country for years looking for the non-existent nuclear weapons that your lies had made people expect to find.
The revolution against religion never happened. Instead your war enabled the forces of Islamism. There are Sunni Islamists and there are Shia Islamists. You enabled the Shia Islamists. Now you, and yours, are unhappy that your tinkering with history has produced unplanned results.
Well, Henry. We are done In Iraq. Your adventure is the disaster that I have often called it. plhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/02/02/AR2010020202682.html
A few observations:
- I suppose most people know by now that the present policy is not merely a DoD policy. It is written into federal law. This means that Congress must repeal the law. The Democrats now hold a majority in both houses. That does not mean that repeal will be easy. Many Democrats are from parts of the country in which this issue will cut deeply in the mid-term election along with all the other grudges that the electorate seems to be harboring against the Democrats. If this were not so, medical reform would have passed months ago.
- Gates and his sidekick Mullen announced today before the senate that they will collect data over the next year to inform them of the impact that the legalization of homosexual behavior will have on the armed forces. At the same time they announced as had the president their unequivocal support for the legalization. Senators asked how they thought that they would collect valid data after they and Obama have announced their own decisions to achieve this change. Clearly the data should be collected and analysed by Congress on an anonymous basis.
- A senator asked what kinds of relationships and behavior would be accepted by DoD under this new policy. For example, if a group of homosexual service members want a set of military married quarters in which to live as a "community" (perhaps with civilians), would that be acceptable? Would the former lovers of service members be entitled to permanent family member benefits paid for by the services as are heterosexual married survivors today? How about participation in uniform or some costume in Gay Pride Day parades?
- Present American military law (UCMJ) establishes restrictions on sexual behavior for service members. Adultery, for example, is illegal. So is polygamy or polyandry. If legal restrictions on unmarried (or married) homosexual behaviors and relationships are removed, will it not be necessary in fairness to remove all such restrictions. Will "anything go?"
Many will say that is all to the good. Perhaps it is. Perhaps it is not. I am representative of my generation. There were then, as there are now, many homosexuals in the military. It was expected that they would keep their sex lives a private matter. I have no idea what the actual attitudes are now towards homosexuals in the population from which our soldiers are actually recruited as opposed to Obama's "supporter world." Will this change lead to a falling off of recruiting among those actually willing to serve? Will the armed forces become heavily homosexual as a result of the creation of a "protected minority" status for them. Those who have served know that in the past homosexuals have tended to "colonize" units and ships that they favored.
It is a mistake to think of armies as analogs of communities like college campuses. Obama will learn that.
I suppose that some will raise the issue of racial integration as an example of how well such a change will go... pl
This is the PPT briefing that Andy mentioned. It was given by McChrystal's C-2 in December, 2009. pl
Hitting the brick wall in Afghanistan
The United States and its allies appear to be preparing for a significant U-turn in their Afghan policy. When President Obama enunciated his new policy in his West Point speech in November 2009, he announced a big increase in US and ISAF troops there. Their mission would be to turn the war around and hand it over to an Afghan government and army able to continue it in order to achieve full control of their country.
Within a couple of months this policy has hit the ‘brick wall’ of harsh reality, and all the rosy assumptions upon which it was based (many of them deliberately manufactured by the war party) lie in tatters.
The first reality-check was provided by the Afghan elections and their aftermath. They proved that there was no chance of a legitimate, reasonably effective Afghan government emerging to which a handover could take place in two years, as the policy envisaged. This realisation probably led to another, and harder, look at the wildly unrealistic assumptions relating to the setting up of a strong Afghan military able to take over security in the country from foreign troops at the same time. The election left the political strategy of the new policy in tatters.
The success of the new military strategy depended on Pakistan clearing out Taliban insurgents in its tribal areas and establishing control over them (the ‘anvil’ to McChrystal’s ‘hammer’). The Pakistanis have now made it clear (embarrassingly, quite publicly) that they are not prepared to extend their operations to the areas the US wanted them to occupy. (This was predicted in a pieceon this website, which went on to warn that, if the US sought to strong-arm Pakistan into taking such action, it would greatly increase the risk of the country being taken over by Islamic nationalists. The US has wisely decided not to try this hazardous tactic). With the Pakistan ‘anvil’ gone, and no viable Afghan army in sight, the rest of the military strategy is now seriously compromised.
Meanwhile, the governments of countries whose soldiers were doing some real fighting (Britain, Canada, and more recently, France) made it clear to Obama that it was not going to be politically feasible for their troops to stay on beyond 2011. All these developments opened up the likely prospect of another Vietnam quagmire, with the generals endlessly pursuing the chimera of victory in an unwinnable war, continuously asking for more time and resources (and threatening to blame him for the defeat if they didn’t get what they wanted).
Other reality checks came closer at home. Obama’s economic advisers probably told him that the war was not economically sustainable beyond next year. His political advisers must have told him that he didn’t have enough political capital left to support the continuation of an unpopular war. The Pentagon probably indicated that keeping up this level of operations in Afghanistan after 2011 would bust the US army. The State Department would have made clear that it wasn’t getting the volunteers it needed to staff the civilian ‘surge’.
Faced with all this harsh reality, it looks as though Obama asked Petraeus and McChrystal whether they could deliver what they’d promised in the next two years with the resources that they had asked for, which he had provided. Realising that there was no prospect of a blank cheque upon which they could draw in the future, and that the inevitable failure would result in their heads being handed to them on a platter, they appear to have backed off. The best available option then remaining was an indigenous political settlement including the Taliban and other insurgents (this course was advocatedas the only realistic solution possible on this website over an year ago, and several times since). This course has now apparently been accepted behind the scenes at the recent London conference, and has in turn led to this sudden change of tune by various generals (wily politicians have either kept their mouths shut, or created verbal smokescreens).
As reported in the New York Times recently, here is some of what they are saying:
Petraeus: "The concept of reconciliation, of talks between senior Afghan officials and senior Taliban or other insurgent leaders, perhaps involving some Pakistani officials as well, is another possibility."
McChrystal: " As a soldier, my personal feeling is that there’s been enough fighting......... I think any Afghans can play a role if they focus on the future, and not the past," (when asked whether he would be content to see Taliban leaders in a future Afghan government).
To these blunt admissions they add various caveats regarding weakening the Taliban, and negotiating from a position of strength. These may be just about saving face, or they may be lingering remnants of past illusions. They do not change the basic reality, namely, that a decision has been made to negotiate the best possible deal with the Taliban and other insurgents, thereby allowing for a pullout of US and INSAF troops some time next year. The Pakistan military appears to have been asked to bring the insurgents to the negotiating table, and to lean on them to come to a settlement.
There is, of course, no guarantee that a deal will be struck. The primary condition of the insurgents for entering into negotiations is that foreign troops depart, though they will likely accept a firm (and limited) timetable for this to happen. If the US hedges on the issue, or seeks an extended draw down period, this could scuttle the talks before they even begin. Karzai’s allies from the former Northern Alliance would be opposed to a Taliban return to the corridors of power and they will attempt to abort the exercise (their realization that the US is pulling out will considerably limit the latter’s ability to influence them). Pakistan will influence the insurgents in the direction of its own security interests, and these may not conform to those of the US (or Hamid Karzai’s); they could conceivably even act as a spoiler. Above all, Karzai knows that, for the insurgents, a deal with him would be a temporary arrangement till they could get rid of him. If he thinks he’s not getting sufficient safeguards, he could sabotage the peace process.
But the greatest threat to the prospects of a negotiated settlement could come from ambitious generals with too many troops and no war to win. McChrystal seems to realise this (“You just really don’t make progress, politically, during fighting”) yet he talks about “shaping conditions”. Trying to do this through offensive operations (which other generals are already talking about) would be like sending in a bull to ‘shape’ your china shop before putting it on the market. The US cannot come anywhere near the ‘shaping’ the Russians attempted, but that didn’t save them from having to leave with their tail between their legs.
However events actually play out, it seems fairly certain that the United States will be out of Afghanistan in a couple of years. Sadly, even if a deal is finally struck, the war will still go on for many more months in blighted Afghanistan, and many more men, women and children will needlessly die. On the other hand, if no agreement is reached, the civil war there will go on and on, with neighbouring powers aiding their own proxies. And so even more people will die, or be maimed, or become wandering, hopeless refugees.
And the Great Game will go on.
© FB Ali (January 2010)