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05 October 2009

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John Howley

Rory Stewart on Bill Moyers said that the Pentagon projects 600,000 are needed for McCh plan: 400k Afghan forces and 200k US/NATO. This math implies the 40k requested is only a down payment and more will be requested next year. Stewart thinks Obama has no choice (politically speaking) but to accede to the 40k now however Obama should say: No More!

My sense of the politics is different. If Obama says yes to escalation, then he could face a challenge within his own party, especially if he falls short on economy, healthcare and climate change.

Gen. Jones said Sunday that the "political base" is not a consideration in the Afghanistan decision.

rick

I think Tom Waits put it quite eloquently in his very fine song,God's Away on Business :
"Who are the ones who we kept in charge? Killers, thieves and lawyers!"

robt willmann

FB Ali has presented a clear-eyed assessment of the situation.

Too bad he will never be asked to appear on U.S. television to say this, even on C-Span.

I am afraid Obama is going to try to ease things politically by adding some troops, although it would be surprising and gratifying if he holds the line with the current number.

Leanderthal

This is the most important message for Americans to hear and heed. There are no exit strategies because the crooks, the Neocons, don't want them. War somewhere all the time is their agenda.

I'm no fool.

Cloned Poster

With all the "reality" TV, and political pundits fronting news channels, it's just pass the popcorn, and switch the remote to NASCAR.

JohnH

And what of all those little Al Qaedas around the world? Are they a cohesive force threatening America?

Not according to Nabil Touati, a former leader of an Al Qaeda group in Algeria. Local grievances, it appears, were the main factors motivating people to join there.

Touati, long considered one of the most dangerous members of al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, told the daily newspaper Ennahar that "the Salafist Group for Preaching and Combat (GSPC)'s membership in the al-Qaeda network was the main reason for the bloodshed seen by the group, both at leadership level and among the simple foot soldiers."

He said that the membership "was not seriously thought through, especially as most of the group's armed members had joined the underground because of local issues, which is far removed from the al-Qaeda network's international thinking".

But the Crooks that FB Ali cites will be sure to ignore any local motivations and trumpet any internationally oriented rhetoric it can find or manufacture, all in the perpetual campaign for more military spending.

Interesting to note that Algeria managed to defeat Al Qaeda all by itself without US military intervention.
http://www.magharebia.com/cocoon/awi/xhtml1/en_GB/features/awi/features/2009/10/01/feature-01

Clifford Kiracofe

So after the coming US escalation, AQ and Taliban will explain to the Afghan people and the Muslim world generally that US counterinsurgency policy in today's Muslim world is the intellectual product of a Moroccan Jew, Lt. Col. David Galula, by way of Harvard University's Center for International Studies?

And that Petreaus has apparently written a forward to a new edition of one of his books?

"David Galula (1919-1967) was a French military officer and scholar. He was influential in developing theories of counterinsurgency.

Gallula obtained his baccalauréat in Casablanca,[2] and graduated from the École spéciale militaire de Saint-Cyr in promotion no 126 of 1939-1940.

In 1941, he was expelled from the corps of the officers, in accordance to the Statute on Jews of the Vichy State. After living in North Africa, he joined the I Corps of the Army of the Liberation, and served during the Liberation of France, receiving a wound during the battle for Elba in June 1944.

In 1945, Galula departed for China, where he became assistant military attaché in the French embassy in Beijing, and witnessed the rise to power of the Chinese Communist Party. In 1948, he took part in the United Nations Special Commission on the Balkans during the Greek Civil War. From 1952 to February 1956, he served as military attaché in the French embassy of Hong Kong. He visited the Philippines, and studied the Indochina War without taking part in it.

From August 1956 to April 1958, Galula, then a captain, lead the 3rd Company of the 45th Bataillon d'Infanterie Coloniale during the Algerian War. He distinguished himself by applying personal tactics in counterinsurgency to his sector of Kabylie, at Djebel Mimoun,[3] near Tigzirt, effectively pacifying his sector and earning accelerated promotion from this point.

In 1958, Galula was transferred to the Headquarters of National Defence in Paris. He gave a series of conferences abroad and attended the Armed Forces Staff College.

In 1962, Galula resigned his commission to study in the United States, where he obtained a position of research associate at the Centre for International Affairs of Harvard University....Galula has been considered to be an important military expert by contemporary defence experts.[7][8] Notably, the US Military give his experiences as examples in the context of the Iraq War[9][10][11][12] and he is often quoted in the US Army's Counterinsurgency Manual (FM 3-24). Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice is highly suggested reading for students of the Command and General Staff College.[13]"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Galula


Clifford Kiracofe

Correction: Galula was born in Sfax in French Colonial Tunisia.

frogspawn

A masterful summation of the Great Fustercluck.

Never in the field of human conflict has so much been taken from so many by so few.

WILL

while we as a nation consume our energy on the Iran Nukes, Irak, & Afghanistan, the Gulf Arabs and BRIC plan to dump the dollar for oil trade.

When Saddam H announced he planned to use the Euro for petro trades, he promptly got invaded and eventually hanged. No such fate awaits the Chinese who are our bankers.

ISL

To SST readers, the link for WILL's comment re: Chinese Bankers and petro-euros is:

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/news/the-demise-of-the-dollar-1798175.html

If true, this would be shattering. Particularly as it would involve re-writing a vast number of contracts.

On the other hand, holding US dollars as required when trading commodities, while the Fed is printing (oops, I mean monetarizing) madly - at least $700 billion in 2009 to date, plus ~ a trillion dollars of worthless (underwater) real estate securities, and who knows what else, although bloomberg puts total acquired Fed liabilities and outlays at more than $12 trillion - the crooks WIN big). Well holding dollars certainly appears unattractive.

markfromireland
"while we as a nation consume our energy on the Iran Nukes, Irak, & Afghanistan, the Gulf Arabs and BRIC plan to dump the dollar for oil trade."

And they will be aided and abetted in this by your banking and financial services class, where "service" is used in its agricultural meaning and signifies what parasites such as these have always done to their host society.

Clifford Kiracofe

rick,

yes, indeed. I suppose Country Joe and the Fish could re-release an old song of theirs by replacing Vietnam with "Afghanistannnn"....and it's one, two three..." and it seems the the public opinion data, despite the assorted crooks and fools, so far indicates our fellow citizens in the majority "don't give a damn....about Afghanistannn..."

ah, the days of the Fillmore east and west, the Avalon and all that...

JohnH,
yes. local grievances...poverty and other root causes.

I note, however, that it was King Hassan who actually introduced on a systematic basis no less the Wahhabi fanatic preachers into Morocco who later formed the basis of some of the AQ activity there, and in Europe, and in North Africa.

Seems the King got nervous about his throne and went to the Saudis for help. They dispatched some of their hardline Wahhabi types who the King then entrenched in various places. The King thought these "conservative" preachers would strengthen his authority and thus his rule. But what happened in the end was they prepared the intellectual-theological basis for AQ recruitment and activity not only in Morocoo but elsewhere via the Moroccan emigre community in Europe (Spain etc) and so on....and on.

A student of mine, who speaks French and Arabic and has studied in Morocco, wrote an very fine paper as his Senior Thesis for me on this topic a couple years ago. Great job he did. I assess that the paper, however, would be beyond the imperial pimps like Stanley and his bosses ...

Clifford Kiracofe

"National Security Strategy
National security strategies are issued by the President and pertain to the U.S.
government as a whole. The current mandate for the President to deliver to Congress
a comprehensive, annual “national security strategy report” derives from the National
Security Act of 1947, as amended by the Goldwater-Nichols Department of Defense
Reorganization Act of 1986.6
The legislation requires that a strategy report be submitted to Congress annually,
on the date the President submits the budget for the following fiscal year. In addition
to the regular report for that year, a newly elected President is required to submit a
strategy report not less than 150 days after taking office. Each report is to be
submitted in both classified and unclassified format.
According to the legislation, each report must address five points:
! “The worldwide interests, goals, and objectives of the United States
that are vital to the national security of the United States.
! “The foreign policy, worldwide commitments, and national defense
capabilities of the United States necessary to deter aggression and to
implement the national security strategy of the United States.
! “The proposed short-term and long-term uses of the political,
economic, military, and other elements of the national power of the
CRS-4
7 National Security Act of 1947, P.L. 80-235, §108, and Goldwater-Nichols Department of
Defense Reorganization Act of 1986, P.L. 99-433, §603.
8 To illustrate the Strategy’s broad level of discourse, one area of effort, “work with others
to defuse regional conflicts,” included as a subset the statement, “Coordination with
European allies and international institutions is essential for constructive conflict mediation
and successful peace operations.” The document did not note which U.S. government
agencies should lead or participate in the coordination; on what matters they ought to
coordinate; or how important coordination with partners is, compared with unilateral
initiatives to “defuse regional conflicts.” See President George W. Bush, The National
Security Strategy of the United States, September 2002.
9 President George W. Bush, The National Security Strategy of the United States, March
2006.
United States to protect or promote the interests and achieve the
goals and objectives referred to in paragraph.
! “The adequacy of the capabilities of the United States to carry out
the national security strategy of the United States, including an
evaluation of the balance among the capabilities of all elements of
the national power of the United States to support the
implementation of the national security strategy.
! “Such other information as may be necessary to help inform
Congress on matters relating to the national security strategy of the
United States.”7
http://fpc.state.gov/documents/
organization/106170.pdf


And just where is the Obama Administrtion "National Security Strategy" report to Congress as required by law?

Supposedly, adults are minding the shop these days as opposed to the last Administration. So why have the adults not provided Congress and thus the American people with their "National Security Strategy"?

Easier for the Crooks to escalate the war with Afghanistan this way???

And just how does whatever Afghanistan policy the President chooses fit into our overall National Security Strategy?

Are we going to get the Afghan decision PRIOR to the Administration stating its overall National Security Strategy?

The Obama Administration, unfortunately, appears to be operating more and more at a level of incoherence as its Israel policy, its Olympics policy, its economic policy indicate.

Given the dangerous world in which we live and the emerging multipolar constellation of forces the Administration had best produce a serious national strategy. Not some fairy tale inspired by neo-Mackinder nonsense and 19th century British Victorian imperialism in the Hindu Kush and elsewhere.


curious

The justification given for fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan is that, if they are allowed to conquer the country, they will allow al-Qaeda to establish bases in it. What is the basis for this argument? That they did it in the past? On the contrary, what happened to them as a consequence of that should be a powerful reason for them not to do it again.
05 October 2009 in FB Ali | Permalink


I think that's definitely underestimating the combination of religious drive and repressed political motivation. There are things that can't be dismissed by simple general logic. It is important to look more carefully (hey, it's cheaper than picking up arms needlessly.)

eg. One can't explain away why white supremacist group still exist and do their weekend military training as if the end of the world will happen in very near future. Regardless how illogical it may seem. One cannot explain away Israel military aggression that anybody with slightly functioning brain can see it will lead to their destruction. Some people will fight to death for odd reasons.

The reasoning of these social system is self justifying. One has to look in the ideology (eg. how line of thought evolve and self sustaining from within the communal conversation.)

if one wants to break talibanism and Al Qaeda drive at religious drive one has to do Textual Criticism. (frankly it's pretty damned boring and old conversation. At the purest form the basic lick has been used for centuries. This is what Benedictine and Jesuit are for.) All those early guerilla writing or CIA social engineering are basically a derivation of those basic tricks, that's why they kinda sounds the same. (live among the people, be exemplary, start small aiming for key group in the society, adapt and coop local tradition before introducing key ideas ... blaa blaa laa laa)

The bright side. Talibans in north east Pakistan are fairly recent convert to Islam (go ask them what their fathers father are. You can tell a lot about somebody's world view in oral society.). Their religious understanding has no depth. (look at local architecture, local agriculture arbitration system, how they trade goods, compare it with western afghanistan) Imo, this is why the wacky form resulting from Soviet, CIA and ISI hackeries. In pure relgious term, things like talibanism isn't hard to deal with. Observe the almost no old theological establishment in af-pak area. But the combination with hardnose guerilla and modern international networking that makes it complicated.


"The first systematic employment of Islam as an instrument for state-building was introduced by Amir Abdur Rahman (1880-1901) during his drive toward centralization. He decreed that all laws must comply with Islamic law and thus elevated the Shariah over customary laws embodied in the Pashtunwali. The ulama were enlisted to legitimize and sanction his state efforts as well as his central authority. This enhanced the religious community on the one hand, but as they were increasingly inducted into the bureaucracy as servants of the state, the religious leadership was ultimately weakened. Many economic privileges enjoyed by religious personalities and institutions were restructured within the framework of the state, the propagation of learning, once the sole prerogative of the ulama, was closely supervised, and the Amir became the supreme arbiter of justice.

His successors continued and expanded Amir Abdur Rahman's policies as they increased the momentum of secularization. Islam continued central to interactions, but the religious establishment remained essentially non-political, functioning as a moral rather than a political influence. Nevertheless, Islam asserted itself in times of national crisis. And, when the religious leadership considered themselves severely threatened, charismatic religious personalities periodically employed Islam to rally disparate groups in opposition to the state. They rose up on several occasions against Amanullah Shah (1919-1929), for example, in protest against reforms they believed to be western intrusions inimical to Islam."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islam_in_Afghanistan

Bottom line, one has to look at the north eastern mountain of afghanistan in larger historical context of emerging afganistan as a nation, an attempt to establish centralized system.

It makes a HUGE difference whether a batallion of troops is trying to finish incomplete integration project from 2 centuries ago, or just fighting bunch of armed gangs. So somebody has to figure outwhat battle of wanat is about. It's the difference between in waaaaaaay over ones head if not looking ad the whole historical structure, or simply minor tactical glitched against heavily armed thugs.

I personally think Pentagon is in way over its head. It wants big bangs, one method fits all of afghanistan, there is no coherent policy in mix of politics, general cultural capability, social programs and military application. There is no local adaptation for policies. (Heck, I doubt there is Afghansitan government policy. Can't blame 'em. It's all rotten crooks.) Adding more men without better understanding these problems in afghanistan is just going nowhere faster. Everything is going to turn unstable and crashing in a few years.

Double the size of military presence in places like watan without first understanding what's going on will only create fireworks double the size. Nothing gets done.

N. M. Salamon

Interesting:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703298004574454782341597654.html

Perhaps Mr. Obama was serious abut change!

Enjoy

Masood Anwar

THERE WILL BE A NEW WORLD COMING
As future unwinds
Humans will become more eager to control events that are yet to happen
They will become more restless and confused
Their impulse for power and influence
Will become more vicious and sadistic
They will make brutal wars and bring gloom to humanity
But nature takes its course and determines the limits
Of human interaction
Nature determines the rationale of existence
And through the law of eternal time
Establishes the criteria of logic and reason
There will be a new world coming, so I believe
As it appears human beings have overstepped the limits
Of interaction
Masood

Mike

Succinct and clear. Somehow the clarity of this vision persuades me in a way that Eric Martin at Obsidian Wings just repels me with his unlikely sureties. Not that I necessarily buy it completely, but the picture is striking.

Can you summarize the Russian fools proverb? Summer and Winter Fools -- how do they compare.

F B Ali

Mike,

The way I remember the proverb, it goes something like this:

You spot the Summer Fool from a hundred yards away. He is wearing multi-coloured clothes, waving his arms, talking and laughing loudly to himself, turning somersaults and cartwheels. You know at once he is a fool.

The Winter Fool arrives at your home in a troika drawn by splendid horses. He steps inside, stamps his feet, and takes off his gloves. He takes off his gorgeous fur hat, shakes the snow off it and lays it down. He sits down and takes off his shiny black boots, then he takes off his magnificent fur coat and hangs it up. Then he walks up to the fireplace and into the circle of light. That is when you realize that he is a fool.

ian

This may be the joke about fools that FB Ali is referring to. If so, it is pointed and painful.

I found it via the following website:
http://afronord.tripod.com/rus/0.html

"The Jewish joke tells of two kinds of fools, a summer fool and a winter fool. Whenever a summer fool comes in, you immediately recognize him for a fool. Whenever a winter fool comes in, it takes time until he removes his greatcoat, shakes snow off his fur hat, and only then you understand that he is a fool."

Jose

After eight years we still do not have an Afghan Army?

Our total investment in blood and debt only yields a corrupt dictatorship?

The ISI could not control the Afghan's, so what makes any think we can?

But now we have a strategy...just like the "stimulus", "health care", "outreach to Muslims", "new strategy with Iran", "improving America's image", "Arab-Israeli mess", etc.

The people FB Ali speaks of have literally taken a short position on America's future.

Somebody has to be making lots of money...

I was a supporter of Obama, but he is weak and has literally surrendered the sovereignty of the United States to the elements FB Ali warns about.

But at east Foolbama won't get a second term....

Mike

FB -- thanks.

Clifford Kiracofe

From the Times (London):

"American soldiers serving in Afghanistan are depressed and deeply disillusioned, according to the chaplains of two US battalions that have spent nine months on the front line in the war against the Taleban.

Many feel that they are risking their lives — and that colleagues have died — for a futile mission and an Afghan population that does nothing to help them, the chaplains told The Times in their makeshift chapel on this fortress-like base in a dusty, brown valley southwest of Kabul.

“The many soldiers who come to see us have a sense of futility and anger about being here. They are really in a state of depression and despair and just want to get back to their families,” said Captain Jeff Masengale, of the 10th Mountain Division’s 2-87 Infantry Battalion.

“They feel they are risking their lives for progress that’s hard to discern,” said Captain Sam Rico, of the Division’s 4-25 Field Artillery Battalion. “They are tired, strained, confused and just want to get through.” The chaplains said that they were speaking out because the men could not....."

"The only soldiers who thought it was going well “work in an office, not on the ground”. In his opinion “the whole country is going to s***”."...
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/
Afghanistan/article6865359.ece#atssh-facebook

Interesting to see this in a foreign newspaper as we don't get this type of reporting over here.

Perhaps the warmongers in Congress instead of demanding testimony from McCh. should hear from some troops for a reality check.

Clifford Kiracofe

FB Ali,

On the Crooks, you cited an interesting article by Ann Jones in an earlier posting.
http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175116/
ann_jones_us_or_them_in_afghanistan

In her article she says, "So who are these security forces? They include the Afghan National Army (ANA) and the Afghan National Police (ANP). International forces and private contractors have been training Afghan recruits for both of them since 2001. In fact, the determination of Western military planners to create a national army and police force has been so great that some seem to have suppressed for years the reports of Canadian soldiers who witnessed members of the Afghan security forces engaging in a fairly common pastime, sodomizing young boys.

"Current training and mentoring is provided by the U.S., Great Britain, France, Canada, Romania, Poland, Mongolia, New Zealand, and Australia, as well as by the private for-profit contractors MPRI, KBR (formerly a division of Halliburton), Pulau, Paravant, and RONCO."

Now as American reporters don't seem to want to "go there", perhaps some foreign journalists reading SST might do an analysis for their readers of the retired US military officers connected with the private companies Ms. Jones names. One could also look at the Wall Street financing of said companies and all that. The interested journalist could also take note of the Petraeus circle and then examine just who is pressing for escalation and thus fatter contracts for said private companies and others we have yet to hear about.

Given the wonders of Internet, US citizens could then read the foreign investigative pieces about their own crooks, contractors, and military.

Bill Wade, NH

Too many tours with not enough time home in-between tours and fighting an unwinnable war. It's too much to ask of them.

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