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06 May 2011


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The Twisted Genius

Colonel Lang,

In reference to your postscript, that was also my first thought. It would be in the best tradition of Dick Meadows and the men who accompanied him to Tehran to prepare the ground for the ill fated Operation Eagle Claw.

The Twisted Genius

I think the Kabul-based CT effort should be an interim step to a full withdrawal from the region. Our future military presence should consist of a robust, but discreet, intelligence/special operations effort to continue for only as long as needed. Eventually we can have whatever level of mobile training team and military exchange visits that the DATTs and DOD can arrange. We shouldn't abandon the region altogether.


unlikely sir.

At this stage, if the USA doesn't engage in sunk cost fallacy, it's time to up sticks and move out. In my view, it will be Teharan redux, if there is a small contingent to 'support' the wholly inadequate Karzai. The Taliban will overrun Kabul in no time. What are you, a roman garrison fighting the gauls, if I may mix history badly?

OTOH, if you keep punching Pakistan and upping the ante by being pally with India, you may see some behaviour change with respect to A'stan from Pakistan. But I don't know what's the objective in A'stan. Democracy? no niqab/hijab? al qaeda vanquished? Test new weapons? Spend the military budget?

It is a given that USA will have to up sticks and leave; the only question remains is that how easier are you going to make it for chinese firms to mine the minerals out and set the Ghadar port working to be useful to them.

Patrick Lang


My feelings exactly. pl


Redemption can't be imposed. Pakistan has been a whore to the West since day one, when the Pak military realized their oversized pretensions would not be funded by a feudal elite loath to pay taxes. Of course, they took other johns on the side (Saudis, PRC) and tried to increase their appeal by learning new tricks (nukes, anyone?).
It's time we understood that Paks can't be trusted or even managed; even the Indians don't want to have to deal with the shards of a shattered "nation" should there be another subcontinental dustup.
Their natural ally is the PRC -- I say leave 'em to each other.


As the US pulls back in Afghanistan, Russian and Indian agents will be arming the non-Pashtun northerners. It'll be back to Northern League v. Taliban/ISI. A shame, but probably inevitable.

Intense Arab racism towards Pakistanis probably puts a cap on how much of a factor to consider Pak's nukes in terms of the Arab/Israel conflict. Although I suppose with enough Saudi $$ the Paks may swallow their pride. . . .

William R. Cumming

What should we make of the arrest of over 30 UBL supporters by the Pakistani government? Is this to protect them, keep them quiet, interrogate or what?



I'm all for letting China spend billions of their money on infrastructure development in a foreign land to make an efficient road, rail, shipping network. They can build and mine to their hearts content; when they've finished they will have spent THEIR money and those commodities will still be just that, commodities - with a global price. America should fix her own infrastructure first, not build someone else's to enable whatever mining conglomerate to extract a profit selling to China/India/Pakistan or elsewhere. The Afghani's are unlikely to want to have the strings that will be attached to the development, nor will they want a huge Chineese expatriate community doing the work.


pakistan had been demanding we hand them over our drone technology. we did. i thought that's pretty lethal technology to just give away. who will they use this on? india? kashmir? what if it falls into the wrong hands and there are unintended consequences? wonder what we traded it for.


Could we keep a skeleton surveillance force in a heavily fortified outpost in Afghanistan and supply it EXCLUSIVELY thru Uzbekistan?
Or how about carrier-launched drones, combined with satellite coverage, to keep an eye on the place?
9/11 didn't happen because we didn't have 150,000 troops in Afghanistan.
It happened because we just totally ignored the whole area


I wonder what the inside story is on General Kayani and the bums rush he got on his recent visit to Washington. Especially after his being seen at Paks West Point a few weeks prior.

Richard K. Armstrong

Graywolf, I thoroughly disagree with your assertion that 9/11 "happened because we just totally ignored" Afghanistan.

It's as ridiculous as saying that the Oklahoma City bombing happened because we just totally ignored the state of Kansas (where the attack was planned and launched from).

Most of the planning that went into 9/11 happened in Germany.

Most of the training that went into 9/11 happened in the United States.

9/11 happened because a guy with a big idea (KSM) approached a guy with big pockets (UBL) and sold him on his big idea.

Perhaps the greatest fallacy in this GWOT is the idea that areas like Afghanistan are somehow necessary to people who want to commit acts of terrorism.



The answer to your second question is yes.


RKA is right about the venues involved in the run up to 9/11, but it is perilous to ignore UBL's frequently expressed justifications for taking on the US.
It comes down to US troops being in the "land of the holy places" and the West's (AKA, the USG's) mindless support for the Zionist state. We moved into Iraq, in part, to eliminate the first issue; still nothing done (nothing positive, that is) to address our role as hewers of wood & carriers of water for the Israelis.

William R. Cumming

Thanks Jane! So Pakistan remains an unguided missile!


Incredibly informative post and comments.

The nation has 44 million people on food stamps. COIN in Afghanistan that ignores their opium production and has no useful results that I can detect does not rise to the same level as that problem.

Useful results? Taking bin Laden's heart rate to zero was a useful result.


In the NYT:

"Pakistan says the U.S. has demanded the identities of operatives amid suspicion that Pakistan’s intelligence agency knew of Osama Bin Laden’s location, and helped shield him."

Did we really 'demand' such a thing? Curiouser and curiouser.

Also this:

"State Department cables revealed by Wikileaks confirm that there were 100 US military trainers at the Pakistan Military Academy in Abbotabad sometime in or after 2008. This large US presence just around the corner from “Waziristan House” where Bin Laden was staying, raises questions about whether the Pakistani military necessarily could have known about Bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad. The US trainers did not."

One thing does not necessarily follow the other, of course, but a valid point nonetheless. At a gathering here some friends pointed out the well-known phenomenon of how local people know exactly who foreigners are and where they live. In places wtihout street names or house numbers it's often enough to ask.

People don't miss anything.


Juan Cole writes:

"The strategic and anti-logistics character of the Taliban campaign in Qunduz raises questions about whether Bin Laden and some lieutenants were not actively directing a war against the US, NATO and Karzai."

--Taliban, al-Qaeda Flee N. Afghanistan as Morale Collapses with al-Qaeda admission of Bin Laden’s Death


Were that to be true, one could imagine our "winning" the war in Afghanistan. Obama would go down in history for that one. That would put him in the same history-changing class as bin Laden himself.

But, given the amount of collateral killing and damaging we do in Afghanistan, is it even remotely within the realm of reason?


Guess they're not giving up.


John Adamson

Question: RE Logistics Vulnerability

Your comment about the "major vulnerability" of our Afghanistan supply lines is scary. I've read the same thing elsewhere with analogies to Stalingrad or Dien Bien Phu.

Are those analogies a real possibility or just a lurid fantasy?

Patrick Lang


I don't engage in "lurid fantasy" and don't allow such to be posted here. The two examples you cite are not the same. These both involved isolation by hostile forces in the midst of major engagements. The Pakistanis don't have to fight us to shut off or slow down our throughput rate. The soldiers here will comment. pl


OT. Anderson Cooper interiewing Condalisa Rice the other day asked if she ever lost hope we would someday find OBL?
"No, she said, "it took us 20 years to get Abu Nidal..."
What is astonishing is Cooper never blinked an eye and let Rice's fabrication, or honest mistake, go unchallenged. Either he didn't remember Nidal was killed by Saddam Hussein's people in August 2002, before the invasion, or he didn't think it was important to correct her.

If I misheard someone correct me.

Patrick Lang


A piano playing idiote. pl


JR786: "local people know exactly who foreigners are and where they live. In places wtihout street names or house numbers it's often enough to ask.

People don't miss anything."

My thoughts exactly. They may not have exactly known it was Bin Laden, but they would have known it was "Someone", and it was wise not to share that information widely.

If this was not the case, we would have been treated to publication of Bin Ladens "cover story" by now.

William R. Cumming

Okay finally thinking through the choices faced by BHO and the US post death of UBL. US law requires that the US prosecute those who support or assist terrorism so that as far as I am concerned the US now should find an appropriate highranking Pakistani official with current appointed or elected power or otherwise past or present and rendition him/her to the US for trial under the laws stated above. Personally I would choose Perez M. as a candidate.

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