"Twelve Republican Senators demanded hearings on the administration’s ending of negotiations with the Iraqis — for now at least — on the continuation of American training and on counterterrorism efforts in Iraq.
“As you know, the complete withdrawal of our forces from Iraq is likely to be viewed as a strategic victory by our enemies in the Middle East, especially the Iranian regime,” the senators wrote Wednesday in a letter to the chairman of the Senate’s Armed Services Committee" NY Times
Surely these senators know better than this. The Bush Administration negotiated the agreement under which the Maliki government has effectively demanded complete American withdrawal. Obama did not end negotiations for modification of that agreement. The Iraqis did that because Maliki's coalition includes several groups that want us out. That being the case, the fact that the non-Kurdish population wants an end to occupation was decisive. What was Obama to do in that context? Should he have staged another "surge" to satisfy those who never understood that we had not conquered Iraq and could not keep it?
Social Security is 46 bilion dollars in the red this year in the US. That is a small amount of money in the context of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. The US needs to re-structure its forces to deal with real threats rather than the shiboleths which many generals and admirals are fond of because they maintain traditional types of forces within which generations of people like me have prospered. In my view, we need airforces, but maybe a lot less in the way of manned aircraft. We need naval forces to hold the seas open for us and keep trade moving. We need SOF forces to pursue irregular enemies on the direct action side and on the SF side to work with the locals in ways that worked well in Libya.
What we do not need are ground forces as big as the ones we have now. Both the Army and Marine Corps should be restructured and made smaller in their armor, infantry and artillery forces. These should not be done away with but they should be smaller, less expensive and tailored to a a foreign policy that is less clearly imperial with all this talk of "exceptionalism," etc.
A tripwire in Kuwait? I have argued for that since the First Gulf War. IMO something like a composite division of ground troops and an air wing would probably be appropriate. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
"Phares obtained a fellowship at the conservative Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a teaching position at National Defense University. He became a trainer at the Center for Counterintelligence and Security Studies, a nongovernmental organization that claims to have "trained over 75,000 Intelligence Community, Military, Law Enforcement, Homeland Security, Government and Corporate employees over the past 14 years." Phares has testified before Congress and advised the Department of Homeland Security." and ""[Phares] is telling people to suspect all Muslims Americans as something other than how they portray to themselves," says Thomas Cincotta, one of the authors of a report titled "Manufacturing the Muslim Menace," published by the liberal group Political Research Associates. But it's not just anyone Phares is preaching his ideas to. "He's addressing the intelligence community, he's addressing policymakers, military personnel," Cincotta notes." (hat tip to a commenter named Alex at Stiftung Leo Strauss: The Bunker)
Click on over and read the whole thing. I first met Dr. Phares in person in 2004 at a Florida Political Science Association conference. I was coordinating the panels on terrorism and political violence (and was one of the presenters). Every so often we'd cross paths. While I was a post-doc at UF we did some Florida Public Radio segments together by three way telecon on events related to 9-11, the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. I knew he was a Lebanese Christian, somewhat conservative, and had been involved with the Maronite militias. What I did not know was just how involved. From listening to his conference papers, reading his articles on conflict resolution, and doing one or two radio segments together you would have thought he was a center-right, pretty main stream, professor at a tier 2 university. Apparently when you make the jump to a neo-Con funded outfit originally backed by Frank Gaffney and run by one of his proteges, you can really let your freak flag fly! The frightening thing with this is not just that he provides expert testimony for the prosecution in counter-terrorism prosecutions (as we've detailed here before), while admitting he doesn't know a whole lot about Islam or that he's training law enforcement and intelligence personnel (as the Mother Jones' reporting indicates), but that he is now advising the GOP candidate that is considered to be the most likely to gain the nomination at this time. Have to give the neo-Cons credit, they do know how to play the long game.
*Adam L. Silverman
If Mitt Romney becomes president, there are a lot of important foreign policy decisions that he’d leave up to others. Most notably, Romney often says that whatever the generals decide, that’s the course he’ll take in Afghanistan (although he backtracked on that stance when pressed recently). Think Progress
Romney appears to be yet another person who wants to be something rather that to do something. In this case he wants to be president and to that end is kissing up to anyone and everything who will have some effect on the outcome next November.
Evangelicals, Zionists, hard hearted Republicans who boo gay soldiers deployed in the theater of war, other (or the same) hard hearted Republicans who yell, "Let him die!" when asked if treatment should be given to someone with no health insurance, all these are in Romney's constituency. Ah, I forgot the Mormons.
It is implicit in Romney's position that the COCOMS and JCS will run foreign policy, or, at least any part of it that the Israelis don't want to run. I can't vote for this man. The president of the US is supposed to run foreign and defense policy within boundaries of funding and structure allowed by Congress. Romney either does not "buy" that or is playing a completely cynical geme. Take your pick among those two undesirable possibilities.
Who are the other possibilities?
- The president. I am unimpressed by his foreign policy "triumphs," and his domestic actions seem to be those of a servant of the moneyed class who wishes to disguise that identity.
- Cain? I like the smile but IMO this whole effort on his part is a joke that has gotten out of control. The "smoking" commercial seems to have been an appeal for an escape route.
- Perry? No.
- Gingrich? Hell no!
- Father Santorum? No.
- Ron Paul? Evidently not.
- All others now running? No.
So, what's left? A hung Republican convention and a "dark horse?" Maybe. pl
I strongly recommend that you all watch the six parts of this that are Available on U-Tube. This is not being broadcast outside the UK. That makes it appear that some governments do not want us to see it. There will be a second segment next week. If someone finds better links please give them to me.
The American officers and numerous former CIA men who had their say in this deserve our respect. The Obama Administration is relentless in its pursuit of "leakers" and that is how they will see this. pl
According to this article Pakistan is pressing China to construct a naval port at Gwadar in SW Pakistan on the Arabian Sea. China has already taken over (at Pakistan's request) the little used commercial port at Gwadar. Karachi is Pakistan's major port.
The Chinese are apparently reluctant to make an overseas naval commitment of this scope. Such a naval base would be Pakistani but dual use by the two countries seems likely. The same article mentions a separate possible Chinese naval base in Sri Lanka.
Uighur Muslim guerrillas are active in Chinese teritory in Sinkiang. These are reported in this piece to be trained in camps in Pakistani Waziristan. The Chinese are interested in establishing a ground military presence in the north of Pakistan to put an end to that training and support.
IMO all of this is related to the rapidly disintegrating relations between Pakistan and Saudi Arabia on the one hand and the United States on the other. pl
Wed Oct 26, 2011 11:00am EDT
"LONDON (Reuters) - Pakistan's security service provides weapons and training to Taliban insurgents fighting U.S. and British troops in Afghanistan, despite official denials, Taliban commanders say, in allegations that could worsen tensions between Pakistan and the United States.
A number of middle-ranking Taliban commanders revealed the extent of Pakistani support in interviews for a BBC Two documentary series, "Secret Pakistan," the first part of which was being broadcast on Wednesday.
A former head of Afghan intelligence also told the program that Afghanistan gave Pakistan's former president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, information in 2006 that Osama bin Laden was hiding in northern Pakistan close to where the former al Qaeda leader was eventually killed by U.S. special forces in May.
Admiral Mike Mullen, then the top U.S. military officer, accused Pakistani intelligence last month of backing violence against U.S. targets including the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.
He said the Haqqani network, an Afghan militant group blamed for the September 13 embassy attack, was a "veritable arm" of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI). Pakistan denies the U.S. allegations.
One Taliban commander, Mullah Qaseem, told the BBC the important things for a fighter were supplies and a hiding place.
"Pakistan plays a significant role. First they support us by providing a place to hide which is really important. Secondly they provide us with weapons," he said, according to excerpts provided by the BBC.
Other Taliban commanders described how they and their fighters were, and are, trained in a network of camps on Pakistani soil.
According to a commander using the name Mullah Azizullah, the experts running the training are either members of the ISI or have close links to it.
"They are all the ISI's men. They are the ones who run the training. First they train us about bombs; then they give us practical guidance," he said."
It appears that Pakistan has played us like a violin. pl
Israel’s coyness about its nuclear weapons is a bit nauseating. I have been amazed fo years about media that keep referring to Israel’s “presumed” nuclear weapons. It prompts you to ask, what century are they living in?
After the fiasco of 1956 when the British, French and Israelis invaded Egypt, Guy Mollet, who headed a new French socialist government, told Golda Meir among others, regarding Israel’s nuclear plans, “I owe the bomb to them. I owe the bomb to them.”
Beaufort (variously pronounced). 2007. Directed by (also written by): Joseph Cedar (set in Lebanon, too… get it? cedars? Lebanon? Lebanon? Cedar? Sorry to do that, but you had that look again, dummy). Starring: Alon Abutbul (who played the bandito in the Magnificent Seven); Daniel Brook (the evil Chinese guy in Year of the Dragon); Oshri Cohen (Red Will Danaher in the Quiet Man); Nevo Kimchi (Saito in Bridge On the River Kwai); Ohad Knoller (voice of Oscar the Grouch); Arthur… wait a minute! What the silly hell have those guys got on their heads? What is that thing? Look like the bag the U.N. building came in. Some kinda voluminous, flaccid, sacklike, elasticized something-or-other, I’d say a helmet cover if it weren’t the size of Dee-troit and what they need cover for in urban enviro, anyhow? Whaaa…? Most of us have come to respect the equipment Israel has forged out of necessity and whole-cloth for her soldiers (Uzi, Galil, Desert Eagle, Merkava…), but Jeeeeezus, what is that thing? A bridge too far. Sheeesh! Make the guys look like they’ve got head stuck in a condor’s nest (or kite, or whatever flockin’ bird they got in Middle East…).
"Future analysts and operators will open their computers to a common browser that will take them to sites where they can gather data across the community, assuming they have the authority and clearances." Pincus
I have no quarrel with the DNI's desire to have the national agencies work together better, but his "thinking" about the relationship between collection and analysis is disturbing. If I understand this correctly and Pincus has reported it correctly, this is a terrible concept.
For the uninitiated, "collectors" find and bring in data in various ways. Analysts are tradtionally engaged in scholarship that produces opinions as to what that data means. The present DNI does not seem to have ever accepted that division of labor.
" Frankly, if anyone lost Iraq to Iran, it was the neocons. It was they who pressed to crush Saddam Hussein’s Iraq, and when they did, they destroyed the only regional counterweight to Iran. Take a bow, neocons." Gelb
Well, no s--t, Les.
Someone will refresh my memory as to what exactly was his position on the 2003 war. Memory fails. Whatever his position on the war may have been, Gelb was a highly effective president of the CFR. i remember sitting in his little office and wondering what sort of man places a large print of "The Return of the Hunters" ten feet from his face where he has no choice but to look at it constantly. He has a bizarre sense of humor, or something. On one occesion he sat down next to me and explained in his best avuncular style that if only I lived somewhere other than the Virginia suburbs of Washington I would have been elected to membership in the CFR. 'We just have too many people from Washington," he said. I thanked him for his concern.
In any event, he is dead right on this. pl
"Afghanistan would support Pakistan in case of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview to a private Pakistani TV channel broadcast on Saturday." MSNBC
Yet another triumph for the neocons. Bush, Obama, the COINistas, (especially you, (Nagl), Petraeus, etc. Laughable in a horrid way. I suppose I will be forced to resurrect my decade long critique of all this. pl
Today's Washington Post's lead editorial mourns the passing of the US/Iraqi "Strategic Alliance." What rot! There is no such alliance. There never was such an alliance. All else is neocon delusion. The elected Iraqi gocvernment asked us to leave. We are leaving. The war was a stupid mistake, stupidly fought until internal Iraqi forces were harnessed to bring the present Shia dominated Iranian inclined government to power. Brave men and women fought, died and some will live with their mutilations forever. The Washington Post is a miserable rag that serves egregious and foreign interests.
Ironically, the Post did a poll on this today. At 1000 90% of the respondents were in favor of total withdrawal by 1 January, 2012. pl
How did he die? Who cares? IMO the "Gs" killed him after they got through kicking him around. They are not soldiers. They are undisciplined civilian enthusiasts with a smidgin of training. If MQ had died in an ambush or as the "Gs" shot their way into his hideout a lot of you would think nothing of it.
The Washington/New York foreign policy clique is now wringing its hands over the fate of Libya. "They might not be ready fpr DEMOCRACY. Oh my! The US should establish a another Coalition Provisional Administration." Yes, sure, the last one (Iraq) was such a success that the Iraqi government that we fostered has now thrown us out.
Americans can't seem to get it into our thick skulls that other people do not necessarily want to be like us and that this does not mean that they are retarded (oops - mentally special).
LEAVE THE LIBYANS ALONE!. Let them work out their problems. They are not children. If they want one country or three that is THEIR BUSINESS, not ours. The think tank crowd can't leave people alone. What would they do for a living if they did? What would their next book or TV appearance be about? pl
As anyone with access to a radio or television now knows, Sirte has fallen and Qathafi is dead. Al Jazeera is showing the film of the cheering rebel forces around his lifeless body. Saif is likely still out there, but his father's death should take the wind out of the sails of any continued serious resistance by Qathafi holdouts. The many rebel groups that paid dearly for this victory will rightly want a say in forming the new Libya. This will be difficult work.
"and their offspring" Rachel Decter Abrams
Remarkable. This cri de coeur is so base, so vile, so grounded in racist hatred that I am at a loss to say anyhting about it.
This woman is of a prominent intellectual family. How can this be? pl
"If Israel can reduce its defense spending because of its domestic economic problems, shouldn’t the United States — which must cut military costs because of its major budget deficit — consider reducing its aid to Israel?" Walter Pincus
Amen. Walter is not a man to mince words. He is right, of course. Israel is a prosperous country that is experiencing internal class struggle on the basis of the 1%-99% thing. They are now receiving 3 billion US dollars a year in grant military aid from the United States. They invest the money and use the interest to make payments to the US on old un-guaranteed loans from us. I suppose that if they were guarateed they could just default on them. No? They also are allowed by their "friends" in Congress to use 25% of the borrowed money that we give them to buy their own military products.
So, basically, we are a piggy-bank for srael. pl
"Officials of the Barack Obama administration have aggressively leaked information supposedly based on classified intelligence in recent days to bolster its allegation that two higher- ranking officials from Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were involved in a plot to assassinate Saudi Ambassador Adel al-Jubeir in Washington, D.C.
The media stories generated by the leaks helped divert press attention from the fact that there is no verifiable evidence of any official Iranian involvement in the alleged assassination plan, contrary to the broad claim being made by the administration.
But the information about the two Iranian officials leaked to NBC News, the Washington Post and Reuters was unambiguously false and misleading, as confirmed by official documents in one case and a former senior intelligence and counterterrorism official in the other." Porter
I confess to having been a secret admirer of Diane Feinstein's person for many years. In the early '70s I was studying Arabic in California and watched the local San Franciso news. She was a supervisor or mayor or some such thing. My! My! I thought. Look at that...
It is therefore with sorrow and regret that I say that her performance on Fox News Sunday this week was shamefull. She is the chairman of the SSCI (look it up). Her demeanor was that of a drunk who has liquored herself up enough to say stupid things and is beginning to feel bad about it now that a hangover has commenced. She said there was "just no doubt" about Iranian guilt in trying to get the Iranian-Texian used car salesman to hire Zetas (or similar hijos de puta) to whack poor Adil Jubeir (the Chihuahua).
Rising to a high point of excitement, (frissons d'enthusiasme?) she said that the SIGINT is conclusive. Well, for starters, the chairman of the SSCI should not be talking about SIGINT on TV. Nevertheless, since she has done it, the SIGINT product must be unencrypted voice telephone, LET'S SEE IT! pl
Well, that's it. When they close the main PX , the war is over. The State Department will have to demand higher isolation allowances so that they can fly in Swiss watches and deck shoes as diplomatic freight.
This post is written in what used to be called "an ironic style" or perhaps even "a sarcastic manner." In this debased age I have heard that this is called "snark." This seems to be viewed in a negative way. I suppose that is a reflection of the "mommyism" that afflicts the people.
This post is dedicated to all those who have insisted here over the years that the US effort in Iraq was a neo-colonial enterprise motivated by a crude desire to seize or control Iraq's f-----g oil. You were wrong. You were wrong. The US motivation was the neocon absurdity about the perfectability of human societies. In the neocon view such perfection would include transformation of the Iraqis into Western Man and an eternal friendliness towards the Zionist Project. They were wrong.
Once the thing was well and truly started the inertia involved was enough to keep it rolling along. Echo of a song?
The fact is that the Iraqi resistance and politicians won. The various insurgents and terrorist groups fought us to a standstill. The "Surge?" What crap! The Sons of Iraq ended the insurgency. They will be back in opposition to the Shia run government of Iraq. The Iraqis won politically as well. Proof? They have now shown us the door.
Oh, yes! The Iranians won as well. pl
"In 2009, Shamai Leibowitz was working secretly for the FBI, translating wiretapped conversations among Israeli diplomats in this country. He passed some transcripts of these conversations to me, which described an Israeli diplomatic campaign in this country to create a hostile environment for relations with Iran. I published excerpts from them in my blog, Tikun Olam." Richard Silverstein
Now, this is interesting... It remains true that if it were not for patriotic Jewish Americans we would all be in deep trouble, or at least deeper trouble. pl
Iran has an embassy in Mexico City.
We are asked to believe that Iran and its skilled covert action force chose to set up an operation in which they ("they" being members of the "Quds Force" with approvals reaching up to Ayatollah Khamenei) relied on a used car salesman from Texas to recruit Mexican drug thugs to kill Adil al-Jubeir. This is a problem involving the suspension of belief. Why on earth would they create a situation in which they had to rely on this untested, untrained, unguided, and uncontrolled asset rather than their own people?
If I had been running this thing, (we're talking fantasy football here) I would have put a non-official cover operative or two (NOCs) into Mexico with difficult to trace communicatons to the embassy. A senior official of the Quds force could be put on temporary cover in the embassy to control them. You could cover the NOCs as tourists or business people probably with non-Iranian passports and legends. You could have them keep their distance from your diplomatic mission while still meeting them clandestinely to vet progress and give instructions. You could plausibly deny the NOCs if they were exposed in their covert activities.
None of this is "rocket science." If as FBI Mueller said, this "plot" is like a Hollywood screenplay, then it is a screenplay written by a couple of kids high as a kite on a weekend and pitched in a producer's cottage on a film company's "campus." It is trash.
The overwhelming likelihood is that this is someone's "information operation" intended to condition public attitudes for some purpose. The over riding question is that of where the ovens are located in which this confection was baked and who the bakers might be.
Was it the Iranians as a subtle threat of serious action?
Was it the Israelis?
Was it some combination of "rogue" American entities?
This question deserves serious discussion. I invite it. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Yesterday COL Lang put up a brief post pertaining to the announcement that the FBI and DOJ had broken up an Iranian Quds Force backed plot to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador, as well as conduct embassy bombings in DC. While the comments have been very interesting, I tripped across a few other blogs that had some interesting thoughts and analysis on the matter.
The first is from Emptywheel. She's the blogger that actually broke the news story on how many times KSM had been waterboarded and she did extensive coverage of the Scooter Libby trial and the FBI's investigations into the anthrax case. Basically, she spends a lot of time poring over and through material and comparing the sources looking for overlooked material, gaps, etc. This makes sense as she's a non-practicing PhD in Comparative Literature. In this case she went through the criminal complaint and compared the material that the DOJ has released and what has been said in the media availabilities. While she's not making any definite conclusions, she seems to be arguing that this is more of the same from the FBI - find someone that can be manipulated by a confidential informant and then run with it.
Emptywheel drew my attention to a piece by Max Fisher at the Atlantic that I hadn't yet seen that makes the case that doing something like this actually runs counter to what Iran is trying to strategically do in the region and vis a vis the US.
Finally, I went and looked at Professor Juan Cole's take on the whole thing and he seems to thing the golden nuggets of wisdom are to be found within the claim that Arbabsiar could get a lot of Iranian opium to the cartles. Simply, this might have had much more to do with drugs than terrorism.
At this point anyone's guess is as good as mine; none of this makes much sense.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College. The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of the US Army War College and/or the US Army.
"We have agreed to retain more than 5,000 American trainers, without giving them "immunity," Talabani said. "We have sent them our agreement to retain this number and are awaiting their response: yes or no."
Last week, Iraqi officials, including Talabani and Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki, released a statement that said they'd agreed to ask for U.S. trainers but wouldn't submit the deal to the Iraqi parliament for approval and wouldn't request immunity. The statement was without details, and U.S. officials, expressing uncertainty about its meaning, said that negotiations were continuing.
Talabani's more specific statement seemed intended to clarify that, at least from an Iraqi perspective, negotiations were over, and the U.S. was expected merely either to agree to stay on or decline to do so." Miami Herald
I would expect that this will settle the issue of whether or not there will be American soldiers in Iraq after 1 January, 2012. The American people will never accept the idea that their soldiers would be exposed to Iraqi "justuce."
Poor Ziocons, they will have to really scratch their heads and hold a few conferences at WINEP and AEI to explain this. I can hear the plaintive cries from here. "How can this be? Didn't 'they 'like the freedom?' Don't "they" realize what a debt of gratitude 'they' owe us for their freedom from Saddam? How could this be?"
Actually, this response from Talabani and Maliki (our "friends") is an example of the truth of my comment this week in the National Security Blog of the National Journal.
COIN is a diseased doctrinal shrub that bears bitter fruit. pl
Read more: http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/10/11/2449098/iraq-says-its-asked-for-5000-us.html#ixzz1aa6Kg3mN
Over two weeks ago a key logging virus was discovered in the Creech Air Force Base control stations for Predator and Reaper drones. The drones kept flying, but the techo-geeks at Creech apparently have not been able to permanently remove the virus. This is all bad enough but the worse part of this story is that the much vaunted Air Force cyber warriors of the 24th Air Force didn't find out about this until they read about it in Wired magazine on 7 October.
I've read government and DoD plans on how we will defend our networks for over a decade. I've survived death by PowerPoint on this subject. DoD established Cyber Command as well as scores of other units and offices dedicated to protecting our networks. It's been all for naught… except for the money made by the beltway bandits. Does this bother anybody else?
"Egyptian Christians mourned their dead and berated the army on Monday after at least 25 people were killed when troops crushed a protest about an attack on a church in the worst violence since the uprising that toppled Hosni Mubarak.
Armored personnel carriers sped into the crowd late on Sunday to break up the demonstrators near the state television building. Videos posted on the Internet showed mangled bodies. Activists said corpses had been crushed by the vehicles.
Tension between Muslims and minority Coptic Christians has simmered for years but has worsened since the anti-Mubarak revolt, which has allowed the emergence of Salafist and other strict Islamist groups that the former president had repressed." Reuters
"Has simmered for years?" What kind of a stupid joke is that? How about this? "Has simmered for a thousand years..."
This started as a Christian protest against a church burning. Police troops attacked the demonstrators. You can watch the videos of police armored vehicles delibereately running over demonstrators. Muslim Egyptians joined the fray and soon this was a three sided fight, with all against all.
Eternal Egypt! Eternal Egypt! Well, at least they don't have to put up with the Mubaraks any longer.
Everything will be better now. Pharaoh is gone. pl
God bless you, Rebeccah. God bless...
The essential folly of these wars was and continues to be the notion that all humans yearn to live like Europeans and Americans and that they are eager to shake off their own ways to adopt our cultural anf political views. That was never true and it is not true now. A corollary of this foolishness was the idea that "allies," in other words, willing subordinates, could be fashioned from these countries if political majorities were empowered in elections held under occupation. In Iraq, such a process has brought to power a majority Shia government that does not wish to share power with the Sunni Arabs and is moving steadily poward its natural ally, Iran. So far, the Maliki government has not lived up to the power sharing agreement that ended the parliamentary crisis last year.
The Obama Administration's NSC is run by political hacks from capitol hill. They don't have a clue as to what I am talking about. Romney has filled his team with the Ziocons who did such a good job for Bush in his first term.
I am going to the gun show today.... Bye... pl
On the recent thread about Anwar al-Awlaki’s killing, the question came up as to whether the US really is at war or not. This is an important issue, and its answer carries much wider significance beyond just the legality of killing Awlaki.
The short answer to the question, of course, is: it is war, because the US chooses to treat it as such. But it’s the dawn of a very different kind of war.
When George Bush declared his Great War on a nebulous noun (which most people understood to mean Islamists, though some construed it as Islam), he still waged it in the conventional manner. Pinning the blame for 9/11 on Afghanistan and Iraq, he invaded both countries. This was not much different from Austria-Hungary declaring war on and invading Serbia in 1914 because of the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand by a Serb nationalist.
"...the Mormon conception of God has evolved since the faith's founding in the late 1820s. Originally, the faith had an essentially trinitarian conception of God, which evolved by the death of founder Joseph Smith, Jr. into a henotheism implying a vast hierarchy of gods into which humans have a place if they progress to achieve a high state of perfection and glory.
Being nontrinitarian, the orthodoxy of modern and fundamentalist Mormonism is a departure from traditional Christian theology as established, for example, in the First Council of Constantinople. Mormon theology is part of a broader cosmology that teaches the existence of other gods, such as the resurrected and exalted Abraham; these entities are not, however, the object of adoration." Wiki on "God in Mormonism"
The great majority of Mormons whom I have known are decent, moral people. The military used to be full of them, especially in the air force.
Are they Christians? Well, the modern LDS church is not trinitarian, nor is it monotheistic. The three persons of what they call "the Godhead" are three different persons not three "aspects" of one God. (my description) The father god and the son god (Jesus) have real bodies, have sex, (yum), presumably would enjoy French cuisine (maybe not) and live on a planet named Kolob. Humans who live according to the way prescribed in the Mormon teachings will become saviors and gods on other planets. One of the purposes of "plural marriage" was to build "teams" of people to inhabit these new worlds. Hey, that would work for me.
Should it matter if someone believes all this? No. Will it matter? Yes, it will. Only those who do not believe in the truth of Christianity can fail to take note of the simple truth that Mormons are Chrisitan by their own definition of what that means It is troubling tht they seem to seek to deny that.
Will this make a difference in the primaries or in a close race against Obama. I think it will. pl
"House GOP Leader Eric Cantor decried the protests that started several weeks ago in New York, and have spread to major cities across the country. Cantor said in a speech at the Values Voters Summit in Washington that he is "increasingly concerned" about the "growing mobs" represented at the protests." MSNBC
Eric Cantor (R) Member for central Virginia (District 7) has proudly displayed his fawning allegiance to Bibi and the Likud many times. Now he has taken the plunge and decided to demonstrate his commitment to the protection of wealth, however acquired.
His overseas friends have the techniques for dealing with "mobs." First there is a warning, preferably delivered by bullhorn. Then, CS gas is employed. Then, the infantry opens fire with rubber covered steel spheres or cylinders fired from super-caliber devices atached to rifles. Then, when "all else fails, the troops switch to ball ammunition while marksmen watch the "mob" for leaders, medical people etc.
They don't do that in Israel? An IDF lieutenent told me in 1999 in Bethlehem that only his "prudence" had saved me from a sniper when I unexpectedly found myself in a street scene like this in front of Rachel's tomb. I had made the mistake of trying to help a wounded teenager.
Hey! They're just rabble! We'll show them who is boss. If it comes to this, let the National Guard handle it. pl
I was out on a range yesterday with Basilisk. This was the first chance I have had to shoot my new Kel-tec SU-22, .22 LR carbine. The weapon came well bore sighted and zeroed from the factory. With iron sights (peep sight and post) I had a tight group at 100 yards.
The action functions beautifully, smoothly and without misfires.
Taking down the gun is simple. there is one assembly pin to be drifted out and then the whole bolt, and operating spring assembly comes out in one piece.
This gun weighs 4 pounds empty.
My only complaint about it is that in re-assembly, the front end of the tube holding the operating spring gets hung up on the fitting at the end of the spring itself. You have to fiddle with it a bit.
All in all, a great little rifle, and completely US made. pl
Lebanon. Directed by: Maoz Schmulik (or Schmulik Maoz, he signs it both ways) and Samuel Maoz (see?). Written by: Maoz Schmulik. Starring: Oh, yeah… right. Name two Israeli actors. Barbra Streisand in a cameo as the Merkava Mark II tank.
Bittersweet it is, I suspect, when any number of us think back to when Esther Schlumberger turned us down for a date, she of the eyes like the fishpools in Heshbon, of the hair like the goats on Mount Horeb, of the breasts (only guessing on this one in view of above) like twin roes (whatever a roe is, but better be round and hard and the moonlight glint off of)… annnnnnd these days forty-some years later the hips like the broad, flat veranda of the First Temple (and probably just as chalky white). That said and notwithstanding whatever animus may persist from that primal denial, most of us admire the feisty, desperate, professional combat waged by the Jews of Israel against any number of intruders, antagonists, adversaries. A “Defence Force” (I think they spell it with a –c, perhaps in memory of the sainted Orde Wingate, Lawrence of Palestine, early Brit advisor), they nonetheless seem to have ample capability of reaching out beyond purely defen(c)ive posture to beard wannabe foes in their sancta and little enough compunction against doing just that.
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Earlier in the week COL Lang wrote about a proposal to get the voluminous amounts of money out of US politics and political campaigns through the creation of a constitutional amendment that would reverse not only the recent Citizens United ruling, but the far older Buckley Vs. Valeo decsion that gave us that in regards to politics money is equal to protected speech under the First Amendment.
But there is something else that Americans need to keep their eyes on, which is the concerted efforts to disenfranchise voters, gerrymander the electoral college vote, as well as overall election system security. So lets take these one at a time. The disenfranchisement of voters has taken many forms over the years in the US, but over the past forty-six years since the passage of the Voting Rights Act it has tended to be a one sided affair: an attempt to keep minority, disabled, some elderly, and younger voters from being able to cast their ballots. While this has ranged from Operation Eagle Eye (presided over by William Rhenquist) to voter caging by sending mail to addresses on voter rolls and then challenging eligibility based on returned mail** (for which the Republican Party is under a court order to restrain from, but which they still engage in) efforts at voter disenfranchisement, which is itself a type of voter fraud, have been amped way up. The Bush (43) Administration's US Attorneys firing scandal revolved around the attempt to push the US Attorneys to bring partisan voter fraud investigations and indictments. The only problem was that there was, and still is, precious little voter registration and casting fraudulent ballots actually happening in the US. The most recent efforts are state level attempts to push through legislation regarding voter identification (this goes back to our discussion of ALEC here at SST as they are the ones pushing the model legislation out) to resolve the virtually non-existent fraudulent voting problem and to PA's interest in splitting its electoral college vote for the 2012 presidential election. NYU's Brennan Center's recent report on the effect of the new voting laws indicated that 5 million Americans eligible to vote will have significantly harder times doing so in the 2012 elections. This is the result of the need to get a state issued photo ID (and before anyone says "so what's the big deal?" the issue is that locales to issue them are being closed as cost cutting measures in areas with the highest concentrations of voters without them), as well as the reduction of early voting days and/or hours and the attempt to scare college students*** into not voting with threats of prosecution (college students, as well as deployed military and governmental personnel, are also two of the biggest targets for vote caging).
"The United States has delivered an unusually blunt critique of Israel's foreign policy by claiming that Benjamin Netanyahu's government was partly responsible for its growing isolation in the region.
The US Defence Secretary, Leon Panetta, suggested that Israel carried a portion of the blame for its deteriorating relationship with Turkey and Egypt.
''There's not much question in my mind that they maintain that [military] edge,'' he said. ''But the question you have to ask is: Is it enough to maintain a military edge if you're isolating yourself in the diplomatic arena?" Adrian Blomfield
What is Panetta REALLY doing on this trip? pl
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/world/israel-shares-blame-for-its-isolation-says-us-20111004-1l78m.html#ixzz1ZoukjgkF
by Robert Lifton
Now that Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas has applied to the UN for recognition of a Palestinian state and membership in the UN, putting great pressure on all the parties, the Quartet (the United States, the UN, the European Union and Russia has presented a plan to the UN General Assembly. The plan calls for Israeli and Palestinian negotiators to meet without preconditions within a month and to have security plans in place within three months. It calls for significant progress to be made within six months and a final peace agreement by the end of next year.
“What is all the negotiation about,” many people ask, “after all the years of negotiations, doesn’t everyone know the issues and the solutions that are required for an end of conflict deal between the parties?” I think it is true that everyone involved knows the issues and even the ultimate outline of the deal. What most people don’t realize is that two elements of the deal involve not only difficult but possibly life threatening decisions by the two leaders. Let me elaborate.
"No person, corporation or business entity of any type, domestic or foreign, shall be allowed to contribute money, directly or indirectly, to any candidate for Federal office or to contribute money on behalf of or opposed to any type of campaign for Federal office. Notwithstanding any other provision of law, campaign contributions to candidates for Federal office shall not constitute speech of any kind as guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution or any amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Congress shall set forth a federal holiday for the purposes of voting for candidates for Federal office."
This is a draft constitutional amendment. pl
"Have Americans read Dr. Ron Paul's written plan for the country? Are Americans ready to upset the apple cart in a controlled and methodical way for the betterment of the greater good? The main source I am referencing here is Dr. Ron Paul's website, so that we can debate his priorities and proposed approaches. I have paraphrased items from his site; however, I encourage the reader to thoroughly review all the links." Trice
I don't quite understand the dismissive way that Dr. Paul is treated by the MSM. His plan is deeply libertarian and worth discussing. pl