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01 June 2011


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Re NATO Out-of-Area missions, I'm having an "I told you so" moment. You must be too.


I think the delivery of Blazing Saddles is more apt. In Treasure of the Sierra Madre, there claerly is some thought about the badges concept; in Blazing Saddles it is instinctive (known and dismissed), which seems more apt.

Michael Brenner

I vaguely recall that 18 months ago, when President Obama announced the conclusion of his grand Afghan policy review, he made a big deal of the 50 metrics that would be applied systemtically every quarter to monitor and measure progress, Those metrics seem to have disappeared into the ether.

If anyone has a clue as to their fate, it would be interesting to learn their whereabouts. I suspect that if and when their current residence is located, they'll be found in the company of the public option, televised cabinet meetings, the rollback of 'outrageous' Wall Street bonuses, the 'out of business sign' for the gates of Guantanamo, and Richard Nixon's secret 1968 plan to end the Vietnam War with honor.

Patrick Lang

Michael B.

"Richard Nixon's secret 1968 plan to end the Vietnam War with honor."

Well, based on his concept we withdrew in about twenty trenches, turning over all responsibility to the RVN government and forces asd well as vast amounts of materiel as well. By the time that the last elements of US forces left, there was an armistice in place and the GVN controlled all the populated parts of the country. I was in the last planr of the scheduled evacuation in 1973. At that time there was zero fighting in the country. the NVA had waithdrawn to areas near the land borders. Two years of quiet ensued until Congress passed a measure forbidding any further assistance to the RVN under any conditions. The North Vietnamese rightly took that as invitation. They then attacked and overran the country. The South Vietnames state collapsed in the cotext of American abandonment. Why would this be humorous? Nixon did what he set out to do. Nixon DID end the US participation in the VN War with honor. It is Congress that dishonored us by abandoning our allies. pl


Interesting that India has offered to strengthen its alliance with Afghanistan today http://www.tolonews.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2885%3Aindia-to-strenthen-afghan-security-forces&catid=1%3Aafghanistan-cat&Itemid=95&lang=en

William R. Cumming


Yes, Yes, yes! Viewing of Treasure of Sierra Madre and
Blazing Saddles by all policy making elites in USA as current American version of Sun Tzu!


From the WaPo:

"Both the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David H. Petraeus, and his predecessor, Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, have referred at times to Karzai as their commander in chief — a bow to the authority of an elected Afghan government. But in reality, that chain of command is not binding. The U.S. military operates in Afghanistan under a NATO mandate and does not have a bilateral “status of forces” agreement with Afghanistan that would legally restrict operations. Karzai’s demands to stop night raids and coalition airstrikes struck one U.S. military official as “mind-boggling.”"

Apparently they do think we are that "grand."

FB Ali

Basilisk and bth,

I've been rather busy and haven't been able to spend much time at SST; missed your comments.

I think Najam Sethi's views on unhappiness within the army are accurate. Kayani calls the shots, but he has to keep looking over his shoulder.

Afghanistan is naturally divided between the Pashtun south and the north with its various (largely Central Asian) ethnicities. The US attempt to solidify it into a centralized state is another folly in its Afghan misadventure. Afghanistan has always been a largely autonomous tribal society with loose allegiance to a central 'authority'.

Pakistan's bottom line is an Afghanistan not dominated by an unfriendly power (indigenous or external).

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