Today McCaffery turned away from endorsement of COIN without end. He said that it was time to consider a cost/benefit analysis of what we are doing. That means that his pals in the generals' club are making a similar assessmen. They don't get to determine national policy but at least they will probably stop urging a continuation.
Colonel Jack Jacobs expresses similar but more sensible things on MSNBC.
The command in Afghanistan tried today to make up for murder of children and women by a US infantry staff sergeant (probably a rifle squad leader?) by sending Green Berets (US Army Special Forces) into the violated villages to try to make peace with the people. TTG and my other SF brothers here will see the awfulness of that. The GBs are the culturally sensitve linguist commandos who have been making progress in eastern Afghanistan in building village defense forces from the villagers as well as village police. The big army dislikes these men, but they always are called when somethig really hard has to be done. Major Gant was the prophet of that kind of thing in Afghanistan and many here mocked the idea, Why does the big army dislike the GBs? Why does the salami fear the slicer?
In Washington and Kabul the staff boot-lickers and spokesmen all rushed to explain that this wuld have no long-term effect. Good luck on that. The asses at the WH said the same thing. McCain implied that this "incident" will have no lasting effect. This is more stupidity.
Several years ago, I said in a debate (IQ2) that COIN would not work in Afghanistan because the human, time and financial resources would not be available to do the job. To do COIN like the GBs can do it you mist become a part time member of that community and culture. The infantry can't do that. Their function is to kill and destroy enemy forces. They don't even like the idea. Combatting enemy forces is a valuable function in the right circumstances but not in COIN except to engage enemy guerrillas. Larry Derita (one of Rumsfeld's pretty boys) told me once that they wanted to make the whole Army like the GBs. I laughed and explained that these men really are SPECIAL and that not many are like them or can be made to be like them. It went right past him.
Steve Clemons and I were right in that debate in NY City. Do we get a bonus?
The media srill does not grasp the difference betwee post,camp, station and unit. "This sergeant is from Joint Base" blah! blah!. LISTEN!! The post you are at is your address. It is not your identity. Your unit is your identity. Don't ask where the unit is based in the States, Germany, Korea, etc. These troops are not the NG. They are not home town folks in the local community. Ask what unit they belong to. Ask who is in the chain of command. A unit has a soul. It has a culture. Some are good. Some are terrible. This unit is not Tacoma. pl
Yesterday's Farid Zakariya show was enlightening. It had several interesting segments on the Iran/Israel situation. In addition to the circus among the Israelis, there was a neat "coming out' by Kissinger. The four "Israelis included a Palestinian woman reporter for Haaretz somebody named Levy and two more Zionists who did not admit to dual nationality. Does anyone believe that? The question that was not asked in the whole show was whether or not Israel has the military capability to do more than annoy the Iranians if they do not use nuclear weapons. That's why they want us to do the deed for them. All this talk of Israel "going it alone" is wonderflly nonsensical. Good! Let them do it, but without us. pl
Last night Ray Suarez exhorted a former NSC staffer to offer "comfort" to a partisan Syrian rebel of whom we know nothing except that he is deeply engaged in a revolt abroad. This man made unsupported statements with regard to the situation in Syria and Suarez clearly was committed to supporting that side of the Syrian struggle.
As I have said, the Newshour is now very like 24/7 "news" entertainment. pl
The Newshour can no longer be trusted. If you watched the program, Ifill said in her prologue to the words here recorded something to the effect that US officials have long believed that Iran is lying when it says that it does not have a nuclear weapons program.
It has been the official position of the US Government since 2007 that the US does not believe that the Iranians have made a decision to build nuclear weapons. That remains the US Government's position. Which officials was she reerring to? Members of Congress?
At the end of the set-up to the piece Clapper, the DNI, gets about 30 seconds to re-state the government position. That is not included in the transcript either.
This is not journalism. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
COL Lang asked me to take a look at The Israel Project's (TIP) 2009 Global Language Manual that came up in the comments to his recent News of the Day post. I think there are two different issues with TIP's manual. The first is that we really do not know everyone they distributed this to. The Bio page for TIPs president indicates that she meets regularly with Israeli leaders and works regularly with other pro-Israeli organizations. As the Jerusalem Post seems to confirm and indicate that the TIPs manual was presented to Israeli leadership by its author, we can reasonably conclude that it has been accounted for in Israel's diplomatic and information operations.
The bigger question, which is harder to answer, is who exactly this strategic communication initiative is aimed at. It does not seem as if it will change many minds in Europe, the Middle East, or the non-Arab Muslim world. Rather it really seems aimed at American audiences, specifically politicians, the think tank crowd, and both Jewish and Christian Americans who view Israel positively, but might need to have their positions butressed and reinforced. Overall I really think it is intended for elected officials, their staffers, the think tankers, and the professional Jews and Christians we see on TV, hear on talk radio, and read in print - individuals who may not, and in the case of the professional Jewish and Christian Americans, clearly do not really represent the much more diverse views of these issues than we are repeatedly led to believe.
The second issue is one I have made here before: the professional political and campaign operatives that have achieved a high profile here in the US working for either Democrats or Republicans do NOT just work here. They also work on campaigns in Canada, Britain, Israel, and other countries. That's why, if you follow news from these places, we are seeing more and more that the rhetoric, strategies, and tactics uses, as well as the policies proposed, are all beginning to look more and more similar. Just this AM I read a piece that I found over at Ballon Juice (SST is on their blogs that they read, so I return the favor) that indicated that Canadian election officials are looking into a dirty tricks robo-calling initiative that benefited Canada's Conservative Party. This is something that is widely done here in the US and in almost every case that is an attempt to disrupt an election it winds up tied back to consultants to Republican candidates or to conservative causes (these types of calls, as part of a whispering campaign that also included flyers, killed Senator McCain's chances in SC in 2000 by insinuating that the daughter he had adopted from Bangladesh was really an out of wedlock daughter that was the result of an adulterous affair he had with an African-American woman.
In the case of this report, TIP has employed Frank Luntz, DPhil (his doctorate is from Oxford, I think in government, which is what they call political science). Dr. Luntz has been the go to messaging specialist for the Republican Party and a number of conservative causes and institutions for about 20 years now. One of his earliest pieces of work, related to the Contract with America, was developing the language that Republicans should and should not use, specifically the language that was to be employed to market it (and beat Democrats and Democratic initiatives and allied organizations up with). The problem is that Dr. Luntz's methods and results have come into question. He has been censured by both the American Association for Public Opinion Research and the National Council on Public Polls. Given the concerns raised over his methods, it is hard to know whether his messaging advice will work, because there is no way to know if the data it is based on is, if I may use the term, kosher.**
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.
** Dr. Luntz's work for Republicans and conservatives has, as the reporting at the links note, been contested, as utilizing flawed methodology, data, or both. That said his recommendations have been repeatedly and consistently followed and applied by Republicans for over twenty years very successfully. Some of this is the ability of Republicans and conservatives to select a message or messages and then do a tremendous job staying on them over and over again (abetted by a news media that seems less and less interested in news and more and more in access and perqs). Even if the theme or meme does not seem to be going anywhere, like Solyndra, they still hammer it over and over, and as a result have so moved the social, political, economic, and religious framing of ideas in the US (the so called Overton Window), that the center is now so far to the right in the US that Republican stalwarts of the 1970s and 1980s would be considered, at best, Republicans in Name Only (RINOs).
First thing I saw on the box today on my way out the door with the dogs was Richard Haas on "Brewed by Starbucks" attacking Dempsey's judgment. This was on the issue of whether or not the Iranian government is a "rational actor." His main argument was that Iran is assisting the Syrian government and that this shows that they/it are not rational actors. Well, if the Syrian "resistance" is mainly Sunni jihadis, how is it irrational for Iran to help the government against them? BTW, he also bitched about Dempsey's lack of deference to the Israeli government. We can expect pressure by the zombie media and the part of the Israeli parliament that sits in Washington for Dempsey's removal. Let's see if Obama is so gutless as to do that. He sent Depsey to tell the Israelis what he did. Let us say for a moment that the AIPAC/Likud crowd succeed in getting rid of CJCS, do they think he would be quiet thereafter? Oh, yes, Barnicle, the ancient plagiarist is clearly, in the words of one here, a "shill." He had his talking points this AM and he stuck to them. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
In light of Harper's recent post about the death of truth in media, as well as the SST's community ongoing interest in Iran and the politics and policy pertaining to it, it is always good to see what members of the news media have to say about what is actually going on in terms of the reporting. There was precious little of this in 2002 and 2003 as US policy towards Iraq was being set, and what little there was got those who voiced it fired. Rolling Stone's Matt Taibbi has done everyone a huge service by providing an insider's view of what is going on with the reporting regarding Iran:
"As a journalist, there’s a buzz you can detect once the normal restraints in your business have been loosened, a smell of fresh chum in the waters, urging us down the road to war. Many years removed from the Iraq disaster, that smell is back, this time with Iran.
You can just feel it: many of the same newspapers and TV stations we saw leading the charge in the Bush years have gone back to the attic and are dusting off their war pom-poms. CNN’s house blockhead, the Goldman-trained ex-finance professional Erin Burnett, came out with a doozie of a broadcast yesterday, a Rumsfeldian jeremiad against the Iranian threat would have fit beautifully in the Saddam’s-sending-drones-at-New-York halcyon days of late 2002."
Click on through and read the whole thing. Its worth the time. For a real treat google "matt taibbi tom friedman book review" - you will laugh till it hurts!
*Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.
I arrived in the Old Dominion in 1958 as an 18 year old college freshman. I knew little about the state except whatever might be implied in Bruce Catton's works or gleaned from the lives of the saints (Washington, Jefferson, etc.)
I quickly came to underdstand that The Washington Post desperately hated Virginia. That has never changed. Perhaps the hatred could be overcome if only they (we) were not so damned nearby.
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
A couple of the commenters in the Superbowl open thread have remarked on the Chrysler ad featuring Clint Eastwood yesterday. I watched it, as well as most of the other ads and the occasional bits of football that they broadcast in between them, with an Information Operations (IO) bubba. Always interesting to see what the messaging professionals think of the professional messaging. Anyhow it was pretty clear that this was one of the two or three best ads of the night (and I do agree that the Fiat ad was great too). What immediately struck me was just 1) powerfully done ad, 2) is that Clint Eastwood? Really? Given the subject matter of the ad and what I think I know of his politics?, 3) I bet a whole lot of people are going to look at this as a political ad and specifically for President Obama's reelection.
What struck me the most was the politics behind the ad and what it would mean that Clint Eastwood, who is often identified as a Republican, but describes himself as a libertarian had agreed to do it. As one can imagine, depending on one's political views, not to mention how one feels about the Obama Administration stepping in and helping to manage Chrysler (and GM's) restructuring, seems to determine one's response to the ad. Apparently Chrysler and the ad's makers actually tried to play down the politics by using footage of union supporters (with permission), but carefully avoiding footage of signs that would show it was explicitly union. Karl Rove has weighed in against Mr. Eastwood's participation, so he may be voted off of the Republican Island or made an unperson or something....
So what say you all? Good, bad, or otherwise on this ad?
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army
As an indication of how pervasive Israeli agitprop and perception management has become, I offer the following:
On the Newshour tonight there was a talking heads discussion between David Ignatius and David Makovsky the AIPAC/WiINEP person. The moderator was Ray Suarez.
Throughout this "contest" the assumption underlying the discussion was that Iran has a nuclear weapons program. This was clear in what both Makovsky and Ignatius said.
To make the matter worse, Suarez said at one point:
"RAY SUAREZ: Before we close, I would like to hear from both of you about the cost-benefit analysis being made on both sides.
If you only slow down and don't stop the Iranian program, but unleash military strikes, could the possibilities for Iranian retaliation, for destabilization in the region be so severe, that the blowback is worse than what you accomplish with the attack?"
Ray, it is the position of the US governemnt that Iran DOES NOT have a nuclear weapons program and has not had one since 2003 That is our offical position, expressed in numerous documents of the IC as late as this week in Clapper's statement to the senate.
The administration has not repudiated any of these Intelligence Community joint opinions. The acceptance of those judgement is why we are not presently bombing Iran.
James Clapper, the DNI, pirouetted across the hearing room this week to tell the senate that Iran might, possibly, could be, thinking of doiing something hostile on US soil. This was based on the supposed Iranian plot against the Saudi ambassador. In this plot an Iranian is suposed to have suggested to an Iranian-American used car dealer from Texas that something noisy should be done in the US. The used car dealer contacted a Mexican druggy he knew who happened to be a US government informant. The informant suggested to the used car dealer that maybe the Saudi ambassador could be "offed." Nothing was done to operationalize this fable but the tale has now become the basis for a propaganda theme that holds that Iran is a terrorism threat in the US. Brilliant!
Clapper served this up as a CYA ploy to the senate and Feinstein could be heard in the background jumping up and down chanting Yup! Yup! Yup! Knew it! Knew it! Knew it!
Why did Clapper do this? Well, he needed this to "Balance" the unpleasant necessity of once again telling the senate that the US Intelligence Community collectively still do not have any evidence of a continuing Iranian nuclear weapons program. Nor do they have any evidence that Iran has made a decision to have nuclear weapons. This is not surprising since the Supreme Leader issued a fatwa some years back banning such weapons.
Nevertheless, Israel (Likud) wants to attack Iran. IMO the principal reason they want to do this is to prevent the acquisition by Iran of sufficient military power, possibly nuclear, to challenge Israeli hegemony in the region. IMO. the possibility of actual use is much less of an actual concern among Israelis. After all, Iran would be destroyed, utterly, in the aftermath of such an attack. Anyone who doubts that is not paying attention.
To support Israeli's strategic aims, their propaganda machine is in full operation with continued shading of print media and broadcast "news" to reflect Clapper's CYA rather than the IC's opinion about the non-existence of Iranian nuclear threats.
Today, "Chuck Todd," the hyper ambitious and election besotted commentator had Richard Engel, MSNBC's "Chief Foreign Correspondent" on the air.
TODD: (paraphrasing) Richard, what's this about the threat of Iranian attacks in the US?
ENGEL: Hmm, (mumble, mumble)
TODD: All right, Richard, what are you hearing abut the Iranian threat with nuclear weapons?
ENGEL: (broadcasting from Israel) Well I have heard the following four options that the Iranians have. (He then listed them. They were all posited on the absolutely crazed hostility of the Iranians and none included the US IC's opinion that the Iranians do not have a program. Whose options were these. Engel did not say other anything about that other than that they were the opinions of "experts.")
I SAY THIS IS PROPAAGANDA FOR WAR ON THE PART OF MSNBC< pl
"Among the points of contention are Twitter posts by one CAP writer on his personal account referring to “Israel-firsters.” Some experts say the phrase has roots in the anti-Semitic charge that American Jews are more loyal to a foreign country, Israel, than to the United States. In another case, a staffer described a U.S. senator as showing more fealty to the prime U.S. pro-Israel lobby, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, than to his own constituents. The first writer has since left the staff.
But the critics also point to writings on the CAP Web site, where staffers have suggested that AIPAC was pushing the United States toward war with Iran and likened Israel’s treatment of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip to the policies of the segregated American South." Washpost
",,,the policies of the segregated American South?" Really? I am pretty old and lived in the South in the bad old days. I don't remember white phosphorus, mortar fire, air strikes, selective assasination, etc. What I remember are stupid private people who decided to bomb Black churches, county sheriffs and local police who used firehoses, dogs, etc. Maybe there is an equivalence between "Cast Lead" and the Selma Bridge incident but I don't see it. Thank God that we have been saved from all that.
Never mind, the interesting thing here is a demonstration of the determination of SOME Jewish organizations to suppress free speech and drive people from the "public square." Why do they do that? That's easy to answer. The Shoah and a wealth of previous historical experience hangs over them. Sad. We Gentiles are obviously unworthy of trust. pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
BillH, in the comments to the Secretary Panetta's Comments thread indicated that Scott Pelley reported that the SecDef indicated a time frame for Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon. The transcript of his Face the Nation interview can be found here. I don't see any reference like that, but click over and see for yourselves.
* Adam L. Silverman is the Culture and Foreign Language Advisor at the US Army War College (USAWC). The views expressed here are his own and do not necessarily reflect those of USAWC and/or the US Army.
I watched the debate last night from St. Anselm's College, the debate among the Iowa survivors. A few notes:
Romney - His utterances appear to be a mish-mash of well rehearsed and vetted responses that political consultants (the best that money can buy) have provided him. It doesn't really seem that Romney believes a lot of his own "pablum." His bleating about "America the Beautiful" rings hollow in the face of the bald fact that neither he nor any of his richboy sons ever chose to spend some of their oh so valuable time in the US military. Better things to do? The military is something for the lower classes to do? His responses to questions over his leadership of a largely destructive Wall Street M&A company that specialized in wrecking distressed companies to profit from sale of pieces of the wrecks are always to claim that he knows how to "run" the US because he was so good at the wrecking. Among other things this ignores the very different nature of business and government. At the most elemental level business exists to make money by selling things and minimizing costs while government exists to spend money it collects in taxes or creates and provide services otherwise unavailable. Perhaps the nost enjoyable of his bleatings was the moment in which he referred Diane Sawyer to Ron Paul on a point of information concerning the US Constitution.
Gingrich - Ron Paul has called him a "chickenhawk." In other words, that would be someone who thinks other people should fight. The basis for this is Gingrich's failure to serve during the draft and the VN War. He appears to love wars in which he, personally, will not fight. When confronted by this "awkwardness" he goes on about his father's 26 years of service in the US Army as though it were his own. He also goes on to cite his "experience" as a child in seeing his father go to war as though that is somehow ennobling. This is rubbish and someone should "call" him on it. Been there, done that, and it is not an informative experience.
Perry - Sad. The fool actually said that he would send US forces back into Iraq by force so that the Iranians would "stop taking over the country." Even Sawyer managed to stop contemplating her own beauty long enough to express surprise. "Well, these Iraqi individuals" as he referrred to the government that we "mid-wifed" into being "should be talked to..." Perhaps a constitutional amendment barring presidents from Texas might be contemplated. Paul could be excepted by name.
Santorum. Last night's SNL sketch on him should be savored. Santorum, aside from the Google joke, still seems to justify my earlier comment that he must have been some Sister Mary Margaret's favorite little boy student. So far as I know he is not an Opus Dei type but he surely looks like one, sounds like one, and walks like one. He really seems to be running for Holy Roman Emporer. His world view seems medieval. His obsession with what he calls "radical Islam" is transparently a call to arms against the Islamic World. He clearly believes that "radical Islam" is a threat to.... What? The USA? Or is it really Israel? His attitude ignores the simple truth that Islam is not one thing. It is many, many things as is Christianity. As I recall, there are a lot of widely differing Jewish sects as well. The number of Muslims who are real threats to the USA is minuscule. Those people are being well "dealt with" by SOF, clandestine intelligence and alliances with foreign police. The COIN wars have been nothing but welfare for generals and self-serving theorists. If Santorum is president look for an official renewal of the crusades.
Paul- He is running to change peoples' minds about the role of government. He knows very well that he is unelectable. The "we are all 'Austrians'" outburst is indicative of that intent.
Huntsman- Out after NH.
Except for Paul, a sorry lot.
On the other hand we have the incumbent, a disguised Rockefeller Republican who opted for black identity because he didn't think he could be "white." Colin Powell made the same decision years ago under the influence of his wife. Obama is a man who wrings his hands and then signs laws like the Defense Authorization bill that authorizes the armed forces to arrest and hold American citizens on American soil and to hold them indefinitely without benefit of habeas corpus. In apology for this outrage he says that he will not arrest Americans in his time in power. Apres lui, quoi, le deluge? Did he put a "frowny face" after his signature? pl
Back from her spiritual home in Israel, AM today verbally assaulted Valerie Jarrett, a counselor to the president, in an attempt to force her into statements of unlimited and unconditioned support for Israel. In order to do that she used the words of the egregious Bachmann, an ardent Christian Zionist. For Bachmann, no sacrifice is too great, no burden too heavy for Americans to bear on behalf of Israel. Jarrett wisely declined to be bullied. pl
Today we had the spectacle of this famed doyenne of print and 24/7 journalism broadcasting from Tel Aviv where she made every effort to force Israelis to agree that Iran is an immediate and existential threat to Israel and that Obama is a gutless p---y who doesn't really love Israel. (another movie reference - "You never really loved the emperor" No?)
There is a tremendous controversy in Israel over these points The IDF general staff is dragging its feet over the wisdom of such an attack without America in the lead and former Mossad chiefs like Dagan and Halevy are doing everything they can to stop Bibi and Barak in their rush toward war. Are the naysayers doing this because they have warm feelings for Iran? Hell no! They can see that Israel lacks the capability to cripple Iran (unless they use nuclear weapons).
The CJCS and Secdef have made their positions clear. No new war on behalf of Israel unkess they are attacked first.
I could not agree more. pl
This morning "the gang;" Mika, Barnicle, Meacham and Haas had a great time reviling a fuzzy faced Iranian who was dumb enough to walk into the ambush. This fellow sounded off with the predictable anti-American, anti-Israeli "party line." At the same time he managed to say that although Iran thinks Israel is a bad idea (like Belgium?) Iran would accept any deal that the Palestinians made. "Ah! You see! He does not accept Israel's right to exist! You see!" It did not matter at all that the the man had just said that Iran would like to see Jews, Christians and Muslims live in peace together.
Perception management is so successful that we Americans just don't listen anymore. pl
PS Does anyone remember that the US refused to recognize various countries, i.e.; China, or Vietnam for decades at a time.
"I can’t say for certain when Albright became “Doctor” Albright. A self-described “physicist,” he allows the term to linger, as he does the title “former U.N. inspector,” in order to create the impression that he possesses a certain gravitas. David Albright holds a master of science degree in physics from Indiana University and a master of science in mathematics from Wright State University. I imagine that this résumé permits him to assign himself the title physicist, but not in the Robert Oppenheimer/Edward Teller sense of the word. Whatever physics work Albright may or may not have done in his life, one thing is certain: He has never worked as a nuclear physicist on any program dedicated to the design and/or manufacture of nuclear weapons. He has never designed nuclear weapons and never conducted mathematical calculations in support of testing nuclear weapons, nor has he ever worked in a facility or with an organization dedicated to either.
At best, Albright is an observer of things nuclear. But to associate his sub-par physics pedigree with genuine nuclear weapons-related work is, like his self-promotion as a “former U.N. weapons inspector,” disingenuous in the extreme. His lack of any advanced educational training as a nuclear physicist, combined with his dearth of practical experience with things nuclear, is further exacerbated by his astounding assumption of the title Doctor. In 2007 Albright received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Wright State University. This honorary award is a recognition that should never be belittled, but it in no way elevates Albright to the status of one who has undergone the formal educational training and has actually earned a doctorate, especially in the demanding field of nuclear physics. While I cannot find any evidence of Albright promoting his honorary title in a manner that indicates direct fraud on his part (i.e., falsely claiming to be a Ph.D. in physics), there are far too many instances where he is referred to by those who interview him as being both “Dr. Albright” and a “physicist” that the uninformed reader might be misled into believing that the two were somehow connected." truthdig
I first met Albright when the supposed but non-existant Iraqi nuclear weapons program was under discussion. His credentials were unchallenged. Perhaps they should have been. Where does ISIS get its money? pl
The hysterics who pass for "experts' on shows like "Morning joe" should be ignored. Their performance over the last day or so with regard to Libya is pathetic. They know nothing of military affairs of any kind, and even less of a sophisticated business like the support of an indigenous revolt by guerrilla forces. They bleat continuously of one "terrible" event or another. Most of their "correspondents" are hiding in a Tripoli hotel where their largest concern appears to be the availability of air conditioning and the possibility that the hotel might "catch" a stray bomb. Richard Engel is a notable exception to this criticism as well as at least one woman reporter who moved into the capital with the French advised guerilla forces coming from the west.
I have "news." Wars are messy, uncertain things. They "move" in fits and starts.
Qathafy's government is finished. This has been a very successful effort. What sort of government will the Libyans make? It is not our business. The only demand we should have on the new Libyan government is that they do not harbor enemies of the NATO alliance. That includes us.
Do not give the Libyans money. We do not have it to give. Our instinct is to want to "control," "reform," and fund. No. Give them back their own money, the money that is now impounded all over the world and then get out of their way so that the petroleum industry can make the oil and gas flow for export again. pl
Imagine the reaction if a major-party presidential candidate — one who, like Cain, shows actual support in the polls — said he “wouldn’t be comfortable” appointing a Jew to a Cabinet position. Imagine the outrage if this same candidate loudly supported a community’s efforts to block Mormons from building a house of worship." Robinson
There is an ongoing political and propaganda campaign in the United States with regard to Muslim Americans. Cain's "bigotry" is probably a result of the natural prejudice of the ignorant against "the other." He does not appear to be intelligent enough or well informed enough to have formed such opinions without "help."
A group of think tanks aligned with the overseas adversaries of various groups of Muslims is leading the effort to spread distrust and fear of American Muslims. Unfortunately, there are former and retired US government officials who have joined this effort. Their motivations appear to be variously ethnic or financial in that these think tanks have succeeded in obtaining government contracts for the training of local police for the purpose of safeguarding the populace against the American Muslim "menace."
This "menace" is usually described as either being directly involved in the enabling of terrorist attacks or more insidiously of seeking to infiltrate American government at all levels for the purpose of substituting Islamic Shariah law for US federal and local statutes.
With regard to the charge of support of terrorism, it is striking that the highly successful efforts of the FBI and the intelligence community are dismissed as unimportant. After all, it is argued, what about the ones who have not been caught plotting - yet. It should be said of this charge that there is no doubt that there are extremists within the Muslim communities in the US, extremists who are actually and potentially dangerous, but this is true of a wide variety of "communities." The Right to Life people, anti-government militias, white supremacy groups, these are all examples of such potentially dangerous groups. All of these groups are lawfully subject to surveillance by law enforcement engaged in protecting the American People. Such surveillance is not intended, nor does it reveal, information that would justify believing that all those opposed to abortion or who dislike the federal government should be condemned as "the other."
The argument with regard to the subversion of US secular society and law is even more defective. 1- The US Constitution is quite clear that there will be no "establishment of religion." Any law which sought to give the regulatory or punitive power of the civil law to Shariah would be struck down by the courts. 2- Islam is not one thing. It is a religion of laymen. Since Islam is a religion of laymen and scholars of the religious law there is no central authority in Islam however much some Muslims and anti-Muslims would like to think there is. The belief of individual Muslims or groups of Muslims that their particular consensus (ijma') with regard to the law is the sole and actual will of God is not supportable from the point of view of all those outside that particualr group consensus. In other words, there are an infinite number of versions of just what Shariah and therefore Islam really is. Are there groups of Muslims who think that man's destiny includes a world-wide caliphate living under their particular version of Shariah? Certainly there are such, but there are also groups of fanatic Christians living in the hope of the end of the world and the fulfilment of ther own eschatological beliefs. Does that make them a threat to the Republic? No, it is more likely to make them right wing candidates for office.
Thomas Jefferson said that he feared that God was just. Those who defame their neighbors should also fear God's wrath. pl
In the West, where modern journalism developed, we used to have writers like Saleem Shahzad . . .didn't we? Writers completely committed to doing their job, which was foremost the exposure of the shenanigans and goings-on in and between government, the financial cabals embezzling our countries, and their military/police mafias. Of course, we also used to have publishers who were committed to being that press explicitly identified in the First Amendment, correct? Or, maybe we never had them at all, only a mythology. Today we surely have neither, only talking heads, embedded flacks, and publishers wholly owned or cowed by the globalist financial interests.
It's no accident Shahzad had to be found on the internet - see above - and let us see how long that openness continues to last. The qualities that confined him thereto, like stones, for example, are what makes writers like him so important as points of illumination and inspiration. To my knowledge he never made it full-time into any of the so-called major media outlets. Until today, that is, where his murder is just another bat to beat on Pakistan.
Farewell, Saleem, God give you peace. I can't comment on you as a man, because I only knew you through your writing, but I will miss it, your irony, your wit, but most of all, your insights. Speaking only to your career, you set the bar high, and your biggest irony, your final irony, was it was set in the most dangerous place on earth for your profession. Who will step up to take your place? And where?
James ben Goy
Given our gracious host's literary endeavors, as well as the often expressed interests of many of the contributors and readers here at SST, I thought I'd mention a new three part documentary to air tomorrow night. Its on the National Geographic Channel and the link to the show's website is:
Full disclosure: I have nothing to do with National Geographic or their cable station and my last contribution to their fiduciary well being was purchasing their issue with Ankgor Wat on the cover while on TDY in JUL 2009.
*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, the US Army, and/or the US Government.
The groups we supported were defeated by the Taliban in the civil war that followed Soviet withdrawal. The Taliban and Usama bin Laden were supported by the separate "Sayyaf" group of Mujahideen supported by Saudi Arabia and Deobandi fanatics in Pakistan.
But, what the hell, why bother with facts? pl
On "Morning Joe" today the Washington Post columnist Eugene Robinson said some remarkable things. His Pulitzer has gone to his head. Complete with self-satisfied smirk, he held forth on the motivations of American foreign policy in the MENA region. "Its all about OIL" he said, "Iraq, Libya, Bahrain, Saudi Arabi." Its all about OIL.
Its a pity that this does not make sense. Qathafi always sold oil into the world market at market prices. He did not threaten to cut off the flow of oil. Bahrain has litttle oil. Saudi Arabia has mega oil and we are doing everything that we can to iritate them about the wave of unrest. We never benefited at all from Iraqi oil. Look at our national debt!
Work on this conundrum. Are their motivations in foreign policy other than economic ones? pl
Adam L. Silverman, PhD*
Came across this youtube video of news coverage of a California Muslim groups fundraiser to assist those who are experiencing food distress in the US. That it drew protestors is remarkable enough, the behavior of many of them is just shocking:
Hat tip to Digby
* 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, the US Army, or the US government.
Freedom of Speech is dying in the United States. It is being strangled one speaker at a time, strangled by those who have no respect or affection for traditional American values and who serve the idea that Brave New Worlds should be constructed on the basis of the superiority of their ideas or minority allegiances.
There are a growing number of people in the country who are willing to express disdain, scorn and dismissiveness toward the views of others solely because they do not agree with them.
Political Correctness rules. The kind of "Mommyism" that is typified by Mika Brzezinski on MSNBC is now running rampant across the land. Foreign interests dominate large parts of the political process and the violations of law that accompany that phenomenon are simply ignored by law enforcement because the political masters of the cops have been bought, rented or intimidated. The media are servants of all of this. You don't think so? Look at the people who are "talking heads" now on television. They are all in one way or another servants of this system. The army of highly qualified retired ambassadors who spent their lives in the service of the United States in the Middle East are ignored because they cannot be trusted to be altogether pro-Israel in what they say.
The United States is in decline. Someone mentioned 378 AD as a destination for which we are bound. I would add 1071 AD to that prophecy.
NPR fired Juan Williams. Vivian Schiller (CEO of NPR) said about this later that he had been fired because he had stated an opinion about something and that such an action was incompatible with his job description as a "news analyst."
Well, pilgrims, I used to be the boss of a whole lot of analysts so I thought a lot about the nature of analytic work. In the end my opinion was that analysis is opinion with regard to the meaning of facts rather than "analysis of facts" whatever that means. This latter version is NPR's definition as stated by Schiller. Her definition implies a mathematically logical application of rules to arrive at an "objective" understanding of truth.
"News" people" now routinely express opinions with regard to the material that comes in over the internet or that flows across the teleprompter. News analysts are commentators, all of them. Their process of formulating an opinion (analysis) is no different than the process used by reporters in the field to choose the material they report and what sort of "write up" or spin to put on it.
In my opinion with regard to these facts, Williams was fired for associating with Fox News, the ideological enemy of NPR. All else in nonsense. pl
I once allowed myself to be persuaded to appear on this man's afternoon show. Unresolved ego must have been the reason. The experience was so bad that I told his producer not to bother me again. Sanchez appeared to me to be just plain stupid. We don't need stupid people pandering to other stupids on CNN. There are already too many on all networks.
Jon Stewart (noble scion of the house of Scottish kings) on the other hand is anything but stupid. He is witty, humane, short, and very able to laugh at things like Jewish presence in the media, etc. His program is one of the bright spots of my night (or day).
Is Rick Sanchez a minority? What kind of minority would that be? He is whiter than I am. (I sunburn easily)
Is Jon Stewart a bigot? Yes, he is bigoted against stupidity. pl
Today we have had the spectacle on MTP of David Gregory's "exclusive" interview with David Petraeus. Petraeus' charm, and Gregory's puppy-like eagerness to please and be seen as being "on the team" produced a testimonial on the part of NBC "news" to the sacred COIN strategy and the irrelevance of the supposed July 2011 date for the beginning of withdrawal. Gregory repeatedly sought to elicit from Petraeus his willingness to tell Obama that there should be no withdrawal. Petraeus resisted that to some extent, carefully saying that he would give the president his best professional military advice, without taking into account the American political scene." I would think that Obama wold not find that very comforting. In effect what is implied is that Petraeus can impose his views on the president. That may be true. We will see. pl
MSNBC needs to get rid of Mika Brezsinski. She is a bullying, self righteous scold who reminds of the stereotypical "soccer mom." Her nasty sniping at guests on the show is usually petty and reminiscent of the way your dear old mom would talk to you at the dining room table.
The network should replace her with an intelligent woman who can hold her own in the kind of circles that "Morning Joe" attracts. I suggest Savannah Guthrie.
BTW, the program is far too "New York." pl
CNN fired the inoffensive Nasr because she foolishly sent out one of the idiotically simplistic messages that "Twitter" was designed to propagate. Anyone who uses that platform is asking for some incident like this. She is a Lebanese Christian. In Lebanon Hizbullah is a major player in politics as well as a terrorist organization. In that context it is not so surprising that she would describe Fadlallah as a "giant." In the very small milieu of Lebanese politics he was a giant. The hasbara got her. Several of them pointed out her tweet. The lobby bitched to CNN and they fired her as part of the general decline and inevitable eventual death of the network. This dismissal is just another symptom of disintegration and evolution into a wholly "owned" subsidiary of AIPAC/Israel, but then, why should CNN be different from the rest of the MSM.
We should note that Nasr did not say anything negative about Israel. We are way past the issue of "defamation" now. What we see in this incident is the ambition to control the content of people's minds. plhttp://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2010/07/the-policing-of-the-discourse.html
"Thomas caused an uproar with her recent remarks that Jews should "get the hell out of Palestine" and "go home" to Poland, Germany, America and "everywhere else."
"I think she should and has apologized," White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said at the daily briefing today. "Obviously those remarks do not reflect, certainly, the opinion of, I assume, most of the people in here, and certainly not of the administration."
Since Thomas made the comment in a May 27 interview with RabbiLive.com, former U.S. officials and fellow columnists had called for her suspension from the White House press briefings, where she has her own front-row, center seat. Thomas, 89, is given special privileges due to her long-standing service as a journalist. She has covered every president since John F. Kennedy."
It was a stupid thing to say. It was also a bad thing to say. i have had Arabs say that to me of the Israeli Jews. I have tried various responses. One is to point out that most Israeli Jews of today's population were born in the land. What makes them less Palestinian than the Arabs, the handful of Armenians, Druze, Chechens, etc.? I have tried pointing out the similarity of situation of the Jewish settler population of Palestine and the European descended populations of North America, Australia, etc. Should we all go "home" as well? Incomprehension always seems to be result of this discussion. I suppose that the question of whose ox is being gored has a lot to do with this incomprehension. BTW, I am equally unimpressed by the "God gave us the land" argument. I don't think that God is in the real estate field.
It was time for Thomas to retire. Her foolish remark shows that, but what should concern us all is that her words resulted in a wave of hostility that ended with a denunciation from the White House itself.
Speech is no longer free in the United States. This is a "muffled zone." plhttp://abcnews.go.com/Politics/Media/helen-thomas-resigns-telling-israeli-jews-home/story?id=10847378
"Ware discussed his PTSD in a disturbing December 2008 Men's Journal piece. “I am not the same f**king person," reads the lead.
It's unclear exactly how long he's been on leave, but the last update on his personal website was on Dec. 18, 2009.
Ware is a successful and well-loved correspondent, and fans have been getting curious about his absence.
Indeed, All Things CNN writes:
His work for CNN over the past four years has been an astonishing and brutally honest look at the causes and results of war. Not easy subject matter to watch… but he made us care. His urgency and passion burst through our television sets and made us pay attention, made us want to understand.
You'd think that given CNN's ratings troubles it would be doing anything it can to give the viewers what they want." Business Insider
Ware is "not the same f**king person." Of course not; how could he be? Some memories are burned on the soul, forever. His reporting was always the best rivaled only by that of Richard Engel. CNN seems to have lost its way, converted into a vehicle for propaganda. I guess Mike's unblinking, profane and fearless reporting was just too much for them. plhttp://www.businessinsider.com/cnns-guy-in-iraq-michael-ware-has-left-the-network-2010-4#ixzz0mTuDA1Q6
""If these reports turn out to be true, we are going to have to review the full range of tools that are available to us in order to make Syria reverse what would be an incendiary, provocative action," Assistant Secretary of State Jeffrey Feltman told the House Foreign Affairs Committee last week, moments after making a strong pitch for the first U.S. ambassador in Damascus since 2005. Administration officials have suggested that the Scuds may not have reached Hezbollah in Lebanon; in that case the strong statements may be preventative. What is known for sure is that Syria has facilitated the transfer of thousands of rockets and missiles to Hezbollah since 2006 in blatant violation of the U.N. resolution that ended that summer's war in Lebanon. So why persist with the "engagement" policy? "President Assad is . . . making decisions that could send the region into war," was Mr. Feltman's answer. "He's listening to Ahmadinejad. He's listening to Hassan Nasrallah. He needs to listen to us, too.""
"If these reports turn out to be true..."
Well, are they or aren't they? Israel asserts that Syria has transferred some of these old, liquid fueled ballistic missiles to Hizbullah to drag around in the hills, fiddling with the dangerous fuel and oxidizers. What would be the point? Hizbullah is already in possession of a large and effective collection of short and long range rocketry.
Israel is an interested party in this matter. Are we to take their word for it? What does US intelligence say of this?
This Hiatt editorial quoted Jeffrey Feltman a lot. Feltman's bias is clear. Why is he still at the State Department as Assistant Secretary for the Near East? Don't we need a new ambassador in Iceland? plhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/04/25/AR2010042503106.html
"On April 14 Comedy Central broadcast the 200th episode of “South Park,” a cartoon that Trey Parker and Matt Stonehave produced for that channel since 1997. In honor of the occasion, Mr. Parker and Mr. Stone populated the episode with nearly all the famous people their show has lampooned in its history, including celebrities like Tom Cruise and Barbra Streisand, as well as major religious figures, like Moses, Jesus and Buddha.
Cognizant that Islam forbids the depiction of its holiest prophet, Mr. Stone and Mr. Parker showed their “South Park” characters agonizing over how to bring Muhammad to their fictional Colorado town. At first the character said to be Muhammad is confined to a U-Haul trailer, and is heard speaking but is not shown. Later in the episode the character is let out of the trailer, dressed in a bear costume.
The next day the “South Park” episode was criticized by the group Revolution Muslim in a post at its Web site,revolutionmuslim.com. The post, written by a member named Abu Talhah Al-Amrikee, said the episode “outright insulted” the prophet, adding: “We have to warn Matt and Trey that what they are doing is stupid, and they will probably wind up like Theo van Gogh for airing this show. This is not a threat, but a warning of the reality of what will likely happen to them.”
Mr. van Gogh, a Dutch filmmaker and a critic of religions including Islam, was killed by an Islamic militant in Amsterdam in 2004 after he made a film that discussed the abuse of Muslim women in some Islamic societies." NY Times
I am not a Muslim, but I have been a student of the religion and the civilization influenced by it for many years. I often lecture on these subjects. I lecture from the point of view of a respectful but skeptical outsider. I would expect a Muslim lecturer to take the same approach to speaking of Christianity or any other religion. Prince Hassan of Jordan's excellent book, "Christianity in the Arab World" would be a good example.
Having said that, I, nevertheless, think that "Revolution Muslim's" posting of Talhah al-Amrikee's statement is a thinly disguised death threat intended to intimidate free speech. The sub-text here is that some speech should be freer than other speech and that speech with regard to Islam should not be free at all, but, rather, should be limited by the opinion of Muslims as to what Islam really is and its applicability to all people.
I think "South Park" is sophomoric and vulgar. John Stewart and Colbrt are true political satirists. Stewart's show is gradually divesting itself of some of the gross thematic material and language of the past. I have not heard him cry out "NAMBLA" for a while. Colbert is a formidable adversary for anyone who wants to debate. The only time I have seen him flustered was the occasion when Jane Fonda sashayed to his side of the table, sat in his lap and nibbled on his ear.
In short, "South Park" is a "dog's breakfast," but in a secular, religion neutral society that believes that speech must be free if people are to be free, threats like this should be taken seriously by prosecutors and police. If this kind of thing is tolerated, how long will it be before some zealot stands up in an audience to threaten me for describing Islam as I understand it?
"Crying fire in a crowded theater" is outside the limits of free speech but this is not that. plhttp://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/23/arts/television/23park.html
The rest of the editorial is marginally interesting. At this point the incompetence of the intelligence effort in Afghanistan no longer surprises.
You may remember that the Rumsfeld Pentagon had a highly developed PR and IO program that cultivated a number of groups of "opinion makers" so as to manage the "information battle" as they think of it. Journalists, retired military people, etc. Many millions of dollars were spent in contracts for "Information Operations" both external and implicitly internal. Eventually, the retired military briefings, meetings and distribution of talking points routine surfaced and a number of retired military people lost consultant contracts to the media. I was invited to one meeting in Rumsfeld's conference room. I asked questions and was not invited back. This was about a year after the invasion of Iraq. I had always wondered how some of the ex military I was on television with were so precisely informed. I found out at the meeting. They were briefed in detail regularly by the responsible senior officials including Rumsfeld himself. Interestingly, motives for the retired officers participating were not altogether mercenary. A lot of them believed it was their duty to fill the media with the unattributed assertions of the Defense Department and thus to participate in the war effort. A frightening thing. The armed forces are the most trusted institutions in the United States. To risk that for a momentary advantage and in service to the politics of the civilian side of the Pentagon was folly.
Now, we have Mullen, a political officer if there ever was one, carrying Ignatius around so as to "inform him." How many others are so "informed?."
Ignatius is usually the property of the CIA's information program. He carries their water.
I guess he is "branching out." plhttp://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/03/31/AR2010033102991.html
"...it is becoming evident that Mr. Erdogan's commitment to democratic principles and Western values is far from complete. As Turkey's prospects of joining the European Union have dimmed, the government's foreign policy has taken a nasty turn: Shrill denunciations of Israel have been accompanied by increasing coziness with the criminal rulers of Iran, Syria and Sudan." Washpost editorial
It should be well established here now that I do not favor any US alliances with political Islamists. They always seek to disguise their ultimate goals which are:
1- Establish a sharia law state.
2- Retain power at all costs
For Islamists all else is mere tactical maneuver.
Having said that, it is nevertheless clear that today's lead Washington Post editorial is a clumsy expression of neocon and Likudnik displeasure with Turkey's rather minimal show of independence of Israeli influence.
"Shrill denunciations of Israel have been accompanied by increasing coziness with the criminal rulers of Iran, Syria and Sudan"
The first underlined phrase reveals the true nature of the Post editorial page's displeasure.
The inclusion of the present Syrian government in this list of "bad boys" is particularly revealing. Bashar Assad may be a lot of things, but "criminal" is a charge unproven. In fact, he has consistently tried to follow a course leading to peace with Israel. That attempt has been obstructed by both the US and Israeli governments. A description of Bashar Assad as a "criminal" is an unproven act of libel by what has become an editorial page devoted to foreign interests. pl
That is nonsensical. The signed agreement with the Iraqi government specifies the terms of coalition withdrawal. It contains a firm time line. The US is a party to that agreement. It is an obligation binding under international law.
President Obama stated publicly and for the record that by the end of 2011 he intends to have all US troops out of Iraq. There was very little "flex" in the way he stated this matter. The word "intend" had to be in his declaration because he was not, in fact, born in a stable and laid to rest in a manger. He does not know the future. I presume that if the overly large embassy in Baghdad were besieged by mobs, there might be some sympathy for keeping enough troops in the country to secure it until the crisis passes?
On "Meet the Press" the week after Obama's declaration, Secretary Gates was asked if the agreement with Iraq could be modified before the end of 2011. His reply was clear. The agreement can only be modified by joint agreement of the parties. In other words, the agreement is unlikely to be modified unless the Iraqi government wants some specific change in it. What might that be? They may want us to keep enough logistical soldiers in the country to keep their forces supplied, maintained, etc. Similar requests are possible. Incidentally, there are no non-combat troops except chaplains, their assistants, non-SF medics and the like. What the media people mean by "combat troops" are soldiers who are serving in units that have no function other than fighting, infantry, armor, etc.
Some people want to think that we may not withdraw fully because the generals might not like it. People who think that do not understand the political system in America. Bush and Co. were foolish enough to hide behind rhetoric that said that the generals were in charge of policy about Iraq. That was nonsense then and it would be nonsense now if the Obama Administration were foolish enough to say something that implied a concession of policy decision making to the "generals." Every flag officer in the armed forces knows that the first time he/she resists a fully formed presidential decision will be the last.
No. We are out in 2012. pl
"Conventional wisdom says that when Israel went into Lebanon in 2006, it lost that war. Hezbollah stood up to the mighty Israeli army; Israel could not muzzle Hezbollah's rockets. That may not be the way Hezbollah sees things, however. After the war, its leader, Hassan Nasrallah, said he had miscalculated. He was not prepared for the fury of the Israeli attack. He apologized. Now, Hezbollah takes no role in the current war. It will be back, but it still has wounds to lick. " Richard Cohen
What a crock! Revionist history of the worst kind!
Nasrallah apologized to the LEBANESE people for having given Israel the excuse to unleash a country wide stategic bombing campaign. That campaign attempted to destroy the national will of the Lebanese to resist the intimidation that is the continuing policy of the Israelis. That policy was the keynote of the Bush Administration's effort to advance the interests of factions in Lebanon and Syria that would meekly bow to Jerusalem and Washington and accept a peace, not of equals and potential friends, but rather a peace imposed upon an "inferior race."
Cohen thinks that the IDF was not defeated in Lebanon? No?
- They caused the complete integration of Hizbullah into the Lebanese govenment as the dominant factor.
- They were unable to "move" the Hizbullah village defense battalions on the battlefield. (They never met the main forces of Hizbullah) The IDF's soldiers fought poorly against Hizbulah.
- The psychological effect of strategic failure and tactical stalemate on Israel's ability to maintain itself amongst a sea of enemies was devastating. The Israelis know that the logic of ths development weighs heavily on their future as a state. This operation in Gaza is as much about instilling fear of israel among the Muslims as anything else.
As I have written before, the main issue in the Middle East hangs in the balance in Gaza. Israel and its propagandists like Cohen know that. If Israel can not restore its image and self-image by dominating the outcome, then Israel's future will be permanently affected for good or ill.
Perhaps that would lead to a new beginning. pl
After travel, I am catching up on my NY Times reading and discovered that someone left the editorial keyboard unguarded at the NY Times and a miscreant wrote a budget cutting list for the U.S. military. (Editorial, December 20).
I find myself irritated when pseudo knowledge is mixed with decent thinking. The vision in this editorial is to bolster our land forces by shifting funds out of sexy and/or unneeded Air Force and Navy programs. There is a kernel of good in this tome, as it points out the serious imbalance in our land forces investment. Alas, much of the list of cuts (and why these cuts) comes from some ideological cloud formation that isn’t in the METARS training I received in private pilot school. The correct information is available with a little journalistic work and subscriptions to Aviation Week and Jane’s. To have the Times slip to this level of sloppiness is simply disgusting.
For the sake of brevity, one tawdry example, on the production of the F-22 Raptor.
The Times writes:
End production of the Air Force’s F-22. The F-22 was designed to ensure victory in air-to-air dogfights with the kind of futuristic fighters that the Soviet Union did not last long enough to build. The Air Force should instead rely on its version of the new high-performance F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, which comes into production in 2012 and like the F-22 uses stealth technology to elude enemy radar.
Until then, it can use upgraded versions of the F-16, which can outperform anything now flown by any potential foe. The F-35 will provide a still larger margin of superiority. The net annual savings: about $3 billion.
I am heartily tired of said unwashed repeating that a system was designed for the Cold War and that this simple mantra is proof that a system is gold plated, overly complicated and complete overkill for our needs. Let’s deal with some ugly facts.
The F-22 is expensive but has superior stealth to the F-35. Its major flaw is that it took a decade of development to get it into the war fighter’s hands. What was a leap forward avionics package is now only a middling improvement, compared to the F-35. The processor speeds on the F-35 are miles ahead, and its AESA radar performance will be as well. The F-22 already verges on obsolescence in that phase. And I shudder to think of the cost of updating the avionics in the Raptor and how long that might take. The fact is, ultimately, it just doesn’t carry enough ordnance. It will have to be mixed into packages of other missile carrying aircraft, stealthy or not, who can rely on it to front the strike package and use linkage to identify and target. But it has range, more than planned for the F-35. It is a force multiplier. The continuing production decision is complicated but sure as hell not worthy of being decided by the vapidness fronted by this editorial.
Our intrepid editors also confidently inform us that the early 70’s, non-stealthy F-16 is superior to any other airplane flown by our enemies and should be continued to be acquired. I suspect the miscreant/editors haven’t thought about the AESA radars being used by Russian or Chinese aircraft with very effective long range air to air missiles or the threat of double digit Russian SAMs that have 150 mile plus ranges. Or that said planes and missiles are cheerfully and assiduously exported. The list of friendly folks who have acquired advanced Sukhoi aircraft and SAMs include Venezuela and Indonesia. And, India's SU's, participating in Red Flag training, show some superior abilities to our F-15Cs.
The ultimate intellectual bankruptcy of the editor shows up in this final fact. The F-16 is used almost exclusively in air to ground roles and the F-22 is a pure air superiority fighter. Its fourth generation counterpart is the F-15. They couldn’t even get that right.
I want to believe that the amount of fact checking I have to do when reading the Times is somewhat nominal, so I can deal with the ideological differences when reading. I have been abused of that notion. Fool me once….
On Fox News Sunday (FNS) today, Bill Kristol, the Jacobin publisher of the "Weekly Standard" said "I was invited to Fort Hood with a small group to talk to General Odierno who is taking over in Iraq..."
Several months ago it became a matter of passing media attention that Rumsfeld's Defense Department had for years been briefing a hand picked group of retired officers on a regular basis to prepare them for their roles as on and off screen commentators on the military aspects of Bush Administration foreign policy. At these briefing meetings(often held in the Secretary of Defense's own conference room) talking points on issues of the day were discussed and talking points were distributed or faxed and e-mailed to participants.
I was invited to one of these meetings in the time frame of the Abu Ghraib crisis and sat in on a couple of conference calls. I was disinvited after that. Why? I really don't know. Maybe someone did not like my questions? I wrote about this phenomenon several years ago on this blog and that was repeated at "No Quarter."
In my opinion, Kristol is not shy in pushing for an attack on Iran. He thinks that diplomacy is another word for weakness and merely a preparation of public opinion for military action to come. This was much the same view that he expressed before the Iraq War.
Why was Kristol invited by the Defense department to Ft. Hood, Texas to talk to Odierno? Who were the other member of the "small group" who were invited? Why does Odierno want to talk to such a group privately? Is Odierno involved in information operations in the United States?
I am surprised that Secretary Gates would countenance such shenanigans. pl
"Three years into the Iraq war, Richard Engel was holding down the fort as NBC's Baghdad bureau chief when a top producer in New York, M.L. Flynn, told him there was "tremendous pressure" in the newsroom to lighten up his coverage."
"It was all about getting good-news stories out there," Engel says. "There was a collective impression that all the journalists were getting it wrong. It quickly spread to the blogosphere and the world of punditry. It seemed orchestrated."
Despite the feedback, Engel says NBC executives never directly pressed him to change his approach to the violence in Iraq. But in recent weeks he has found himself under assault by the White House over the editing of an interview with President Bush-- the same president who had once invited him to the Oval Office to seek his advice about the interminable conflict."
"Beyond the physical risks, he also had to defend himself in the media echo chamber. Engel says he and other correspondents once again came under attack in 2006 and 2007 from bloggers and radio hosts who wanted a more positive portrait of the war." Howard Kurtz
I think Engel's experience was rather widespread. "Concerted?" I can't prove it yet but I would venture to say that the same kind of apparatus that sought to bend the media in many other ways also sought to intimidate journalists often through corporate media headquarters.
How? A threat of denial of access to government officials, an implied or direct indication of regulatory favor or disfavor, the threat or actuality of granted or denied advertising dollars by sympathetic clients. Fill in your own list.
Yes. We have freedom of the news media in the United States. Unfortunately, this freedom is tempered by the ability of the powerful and wealthy to bend the free media to their will.
This not something new. Take a look at the way John Adams and the Federalists dealt with media they did not like, the way Wilson dealt with dissenters in wartime and how newspapers hostile to the Union cause were treated by the Lincoln Administrations. pl