A Strange Weekend

Paris-eiffel-liberty – The ongoing hagiology developing around the death of Michael Jackson threatens to engulf the earth.  What's next, a national holiday, a state funeral with Jackson's flag draped casket carried up the stairs into the capitol rotunda by soldiers just back from the wars?  The 24/7 news are whirling like dervishes in their role as national mourners.  Is NAMBLA going to have a memorial "float" in the Los Angeles spectacular for Jackson?

– Then there is Sarah Palin… William Kristol can spin as hard as he will but she just plain quit.  The whole thing was too tough an experience for her.  On "Fox News sunday" (FNS) today, Kristol's "familiar"  Stephen Hayes, parted company with Kristol over Palin.  Hayes pronounced her dead meat (paraphrasing) on the political stage.  The Country Wing of the Republican Party respects strength.   Contrary to much opinion on the Left and Right coasts of the United States, the people in "flyover" America (Palin country) are quite willing to vote for a woman.  They are as willing to do that as many of them were to vote for Barack Obama.  This does not mean that they are prepared to vote for for a weakling. 

– Just beneath the surface there is a turf fire smouldering in Washington over strategy in the two wars.  On the one hand the neoconistas in exile are log rolling for acceptance by Obama of their continuing vision of onrushing (their view) social revolution in the Islamic World brought on by the use of massive American military force, first in Iraq and now in the war yet to be in Afghanistan.  They clearly think, or wish to think, that they were right all the time and that the "Surge" in numbers of American troops in Iraq and the resurrection of the old, old doctrine of counterinsurgency re-established their "timeline" for triumphal change.  Ah CHANGE!  Oh blessed word!  In truth, the main factor in bringing about a reduction in Sunni zealot violence in Iraq was American success in splitting off most of the Sunni Arab insurgents from support of Al-Qa'ida in Iraq.  Money, money and more money as well as a sympathetic attitude resulted in a successful rental of many of these groups.  THEY shut down al-Qa'ida in Iraq.  Now, our rentals know that we are leaving.  They know that their paychecks are increasingly going to be in the hands of the Shia dominated government that the US is leaving behind.  That government is sending the Sunni Arabs mixed signals as to what its attitudes and policies will be.  So, the Sunni Arabs are sending the Shia government signals as well.  That is how things are done in the Middle East.  Are our rentals participating in the recent attacks?  Probably not, not yet.  What they are doing, thus far, is looking the other way.  In Afghanistan, the neocon types want a war that reproduces what they imagine happend in Iraq.  They want a lot more US troops.  They want a combined military/civilian presence that reaches all significant population centers in the country.  They want an open ended commitment to nation building in a country that possesses very little human or physical infrastructure.  They want to create an Afghanistan so prosperous, unified and "progressive" that it will automatically reject violent Islamic zealotry.  Could such a thing be done?  Maybe, but the bill both at the butcher shop and at the treasury would be stunning, perhaps lethal for the United States.  On the other hand, Obama's actual policy in Afghanistan seems to be true to his public statements.  According to those statements there will not be many more troops for Afghanistan than the 70,000.  Our focus will be on disruption of our real enemies and the goal will be to withdraw from Afghanistan by the end of Obama's term leaving behind USAID and a military training group.  No nation building will occur except as part of an international consortium.  Will there be more "rentals," this time in Afghniatan?  I cetainly hope there will be more rentals.  This strategy is not welcome to the more agressive generals and is anathema to the neocons.  In response the neocons are seeking to establish their version of "what Obama said" as reality.  They are doing it in all the media.  The man in the middle in all this is General Jones, the national security adviser.  It has been decided by the neocons that Jones is a problem and that he must go.  To that end he is being portrayed by them in the media as a loser who should be removed.  I doubt if Obama is dumb enough to accept that judgment.

– Admiral Mullen the Chairman of the JCS was on the Sunday Newsies today.  He has problems.  He does not seem to accept the fact that he is not in the chain of command.  Under the Goldwater-Nichols Law the chain of command runs from the President of the United States to the Secretary of Defense to the combatant commanders and other unified or specified comanders.  The Chairman of the JCS is an adviser and staff offcer.  The troops are not "his troops" as he often says.  They are the president's troops.  HE is commander in chief.  Nevertheless, Admiral Mullen holds a grand office and is the most senior officer of the armed forces.  On both FNS and on CNN today he was badgerd with questions that were altogether policy questions involving national strategy nd policy.  Deciding such matters is not his job.  It is the president's job.  The president should be battered in the search for answers, not Admiral Mullen.  On CNN, John King stood Admiral Mullen in front of an electronic map like a second lieutenant giving a briefing while King grilled him from some distant place.  Is this not disrespect to the armed forces?  Is there no one left in this country who has any sense of what "appropriate" means?

– The head of the Statue of Liberty re-opened yesterday for visitors.  Good.  pl

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20 Responses to A Strange Weekend

  1. J says:

    A strange weekend indeed. We have our illustrious Vice President ‘Self-Avowed Zionist’ Joseph Biden acting as an Israel Governmental stick-figure spouting Likud talking points regarding Iran. Biden’s actions are one of an ‘agent for a foreign government’ not a U.S Vice President. Biden’s actions before the cameras warrants his being registered under FARA as an ‘agent for the foreign government of Israel’. Also, Biden by things he has said, is also opening himself up personally at some future point in time to War Crimes and Crimes Against Humanity criminal charges if Israel does go and get stupid and attack Iran. Biden’s actions now permanently recorded for the whole world to see, mirror Nazi Germany individuals who were charged under the Nuremberg War Crimes Tribunal.
    [ Biden: Israel has ‘sovereign right’ to attack Iran – Israel News, Ynetnews
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3741697,00.html ]
    Second, all the presses and in particular all the Israeli presses are blathering about how Israel Mossad Chief Meir Dagan has been given assurances by the Saudis that the IAF has permission to ‘overfly Saudi airspace to attack Iran’. The 64 dollar question, more Israeli agitprop or is it really Memorex?
    [ Saudis give nod to Israeli raid on Iran – Times Online
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article6638568.ece ]

  2. McGee says:

    Amen, Colonel Lang.

  3. oofda says:

    Actually, this is the SECOND state position that Sarah Palin has quit. Previously, she was the Chairman of the State Oil and Gas Commission in 2004, and resigned early, in part due to a flap over another commissioner. Prematurely resigning from two prominent state positions certainly puts her in the “quitter” category. Can she finish anything.

  4. J says:

    Well the Second Part above seems to have been a black propaganda attempt on the part of either the U.K.’s foreign office or Mossad’s Dagan that fell into the toilet.
    [ Israel denies Saudis gave IDF airspace clearance for Iran strike – Haaretz – Israel News
    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1097882.html ]
    I’d bet money this whole black propaganda attempt lays at the footsteps of the Mossad Chief liar Mr. Dagan.

  5. Allen Thomson says:

    > Is there no one left in this country who has any sense of what “appropriate” means?
    Not many, I’m sure. Note that in the Palin affair an FBI spokesman and Special Agent just said that the Bureau isn’t “getting ready to indict her.” Clue for the SA: the FBI has no power to indict anybody. It can investigate and provide the results to a federal district attorney who can, should he/she think it advisable, decide to get a grand jury convened and use the information to persuade them to hand down an indictment. And, of course, the FBI isn’t the only source of information for a DA.

  6. My guess is by Labor Day VP Biden will have ensured not on any ticket in 2012. Same goes for Palin and M.Jackson (R.I.P.)! The days when a governor can be expected to jump to a national ticket without the requisite international experience seems ended with Palin. Because from now on US does NOT control its own fate. What other nations think and do about US policies and their return serves will dominant Presidential elections until the end of time or the US. The oceans no longer can protect US from the ignorance of the much of the governing class in US and federalism based on STATE and LOCAL financial arrangements looking like a very sick puppy perhaps terminal except for Consitutional stamp of approval. I know see where the lack of Presidential candidate foreign policy experience may be the EXPLANATION for why the last 4 decades has caused the US to cast away its moral, economic, scientific, engineering, and governing advantage. Oh that is correct! The lobbyists got the best government money can buy. And SCOTUS analogizing the corporate format to the rights of the individual has made the ultimate farce of campaign donations (bribes) the real system of governance. Happy Independence Day! The US was once will it be ever again.

  7. Steve says:

    Just wondering if it could be that many of our active flag officers are not quite garnering much respect from the media ring masters. Many of them come across as part box store CEO, celebrity and cheer leader.
    Once upon a time we had people like Fleet Admiral William “Bill” Leahy. Can you imagine John King pushing around a guy like Admiral Leahy? Today’s flags just don’t seem to have the kind of presence they need. The uniform decorations don’t help much either.

  8. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    To add a couple more “things are no longer as they seem” to the list:
    AFP reported today that the Assembly of Qom Seminary Scholars and Researchers “blasted” Iran’s electoral watchdog the Guardians Council, which earlier had given its stamp of approval to the election of Ahmadinejad, as no longer having the “right to judge in this case as some of its members have lost their impartial image in the eyes of the public.”
    And, the Atlanta Constitution reported that former Texas congresswoman, Cynthia McKinney and 20 others were detained in international waters and later jailed by Israelis for attempting to deliver relief supplies to the Palestinians.
    And, the publisher of the Washington Post issued an apology today to her readers for having planned to invite important people to her house for dinner (for a very large fee) where they could mingle with WaPo reporters who would then take their concerns and put them in print.
    Did these kinds of things not happen BB (before Bush) or did we just not hear about them? Curiouser and Curiouser

  9. John Howley says:

    According to DOD reports, here are the total numbers of U.S. active-duty military personnel in Iraq, Afghanistan and total on March 31 of each year:
    2008: 195,000; 31,100; 226,100
    2009: 174,200; 41,300; 215,500
    These totals do not include other U.S. personnel or armed contractors.

  10. charlottemom says:

    Strange days indeed. Col., your thoughts on Honduran President airlanding crisis playing out on CNN right know?

  11. bstr says:

    Dear Sir, just a word on Gov. Palin. I suspect her husband is a key player in her political decisions. Recall his adventurism with the Alaskan separatist. To his eyes her popularity in a weakened GOP offers two possibilities: A. the nomination and failing that B formation of a third party. Not likely, either one, but politics always holds out an improbable golden apple to the fringe.

  12. Farmer Don says:

    “- The head of the Statue of Liberty re-opened yesterday for visitors. Good. pl”
    Very Good, and about time.
    Next can go the ridiculus color terrorist alert levels.
    Americans have much more important things to worry about.

  13. Farmer Don says:

    “- The head of the Statue of Liberty re-opened yesterday for visitors. Good. pl”
    Does this new activity in the head of America’s symbol symbolize the start of increased mental activity in America’s leaders?

  14. curious says:

    guys, forgetting the biggest obscure story of them all. Something happens to Goldman Sachs trading computer. Everybody knows they have the edge that makes them the biggest trader in the world. (what sort of edge?)
    and it’s probably broken now.
    I put this right on top of Dutch pirates stole portuguese map to the far east (hence the start of colonial era/spice trade). Launching the biggest/most profitable trading companies the world ever known. (EIC 1600, VOC 1602)
    Or the last dutch-anglo war (1780), when the trading giant goes to war against each other and leave the world financial market in ruin. (and gave america independence)
    Remember how I could say oil and gold, and if you follow the price gyration afterward it was as if there is a tug of war in pricing? (the bell ringing curve) yeah well, obviously, the entire planet knows the market is really rigged, not just me. the entire thing is controlled by very few hands.
    The price of dollar is next.
    …This week’s NYSE Program Trading report was very odd: not only because program trading hit 48.6% of all NYSE trading, a record high at least since the NYSE keep tabs of this data, and a data point which in itself was startling enough to cause some serious red flags as I jaunt from village to village in what little is left of Europe’s bison country, but what was shocking was the disappearance of the #1 mainstay of complete trading domination (i.e., Goldman Sachs) from not just the aforementioned #1 spot, but the entire complete list. In other words: Goldman went from 1st to N/A in one week.
    second. Anybody found the answer to that $134B bond bearer being transfer from Italy to Japan yet? It’s unresolved. (They say it’s fake. but I don’t believe it. something weird is up)
    and I think this is all connected. (global financial instability.)

  15. par4 says:

    In answer to your last question, not on television.

  16. Carl O. says:

    I caught part of the John King thing, yesterday, it found it quite disrespectful that the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was being forced to call up his own maps, and king was in some far away location to boot. So, why did Mullen allow himself to be pushed around this way by the media?

  17. Pat Lang,
    I’d like to address the matter of the command structure you raised in your comment on Admiral Mullen. It is my opinion that the 2nd Iraq War has revealed a serious problem (or, would that be a challenge?) in the political – military structure resulting from the Goldwater – Nichols act. The problem was masked in the 1st Iraq War because of the gravitas of the, then, Chairman of the JCS, General Powell, and the serious men on the political side under President Bush. The second time around, however,the chain of command going from the White House, through the Secretary of Defense to the operational(Central) commander was demonstrated, I think, to be inadequate in many respects. The decision making process has become a pipeline from Whitehouse staff with electoral or ideological axes to grind directly to the operational commanders, whose focus and emphasis is on how best to carry out the policies delivered to them. Hence, the decision to invade Iraq, made by a small group of insiders, without a serious evaluation of the prospects for success, let alone the desirability of the whole enterprise.
    Meanwhile, we have had the joint chiefs with their large staffs relegated to the status of paper pushers. My vivid impression of General Richard Myers, the Chairman of the JCS, in those horrible press conferences with Rumsfeld, is that of a quintessential “empty suit”, or, of Charlie McCarthy to Rumsfeld’s Edgar Bergen. My conclusion is that we need a better arrangement. Would you agree? I confess that I don’t know what would work, or work better, but we should have a screen between the civilian leadership and the operational commands. Such a screen, joint staff?, wouldn’t imperil civilian control, but would provide an objective component that seems to be lacking.

  18. The problem is not the “system” created by Goldwater-Nichols but the selection system for Flag Ranks in the US Armed Forces. First of all you have to look good (whatever the GQ look for a flag rank is gets you half way there)! Second you have to have deep and resonant political connections based on your service time. Congressional liaison role? Service on NSC staff or other White House postings? Escorts? Where do we get such men? And Women?

  19. Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA says:

    Two things, if I may:
    – Status of the CJCS was seriously diluted by the Cheney-Keane-Petraeus axis.
    – CNN just (Tues, 7 Jul, 1400) transmitted the Breaking News that “Michael Jackson’s golden coffin is placed in front of the stage…” which seems to me to have crossed the line into idolatry.
    Pray for our country.

  20. curious says:

    I told ya so. (well, wasn’t really me.)
    It’s giant fraud. The biggest one in world history. (If they shut down this story pronto and pretend like nothing happens, you know it’s for real. )
    Breaking NYT: Goldman/Wall St. Is Frontrunning Main St.
    I don’t want to reprint too much of this story, but in it former New York Stock Exchange CEO and Chair William Donaldson tells us that “…individual investors…are at a huge disadvantage.”
    High-frequency traders often confound other investors by issuing and then canceling orders almost simultaneously. Loopholes in market rules give high-speed investors an early glance at how others are trading. And their computers can essentially bully slower investors into giving up profits — and then disappear before anyone even knows they were there.

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