National Journal blog – 7 December 2009


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11 Responses to National Journal blog – 7 December 2009

  1. steve says:

    Colonel, interesting post of yours.
    I note the particularly wise advice that the US take a constructive role in the Kashmir dispute.
    That there need be a reassessment of our “drone policy” goes without saying in my opinion.
    Aside from that, you make the statement that, “The US has a restless desire to “better” the lot of the average man in far off lands like Pakistan, Egypt, etc”
    That puzzles me. While I have no doubt that the US would like to see the rest of the world have a civil society on the order of, say, Iowa, I fail to see how your statement is operative in fact.
    It appears to me that the US is perfectly willing to engage in policies that subvert the interests of the “average man” whenever those interests are in conflict with immediate US interests. And they often appear to be.
    Then again–in my opinion–the US govt. for quite awhile has chosen to subvert the interests of the average man domestically in favor of something else, so why would foreign policy be any different?

  2. The National Journal lead in has resulted in a splendid series of comments including PL. It also indicates the degree of difficulty of reaching the Obama “objectives” for the US/Pakistan relatioship as addressed in the West Point speech.
    My take is much more simplistic and perhaps far more in error: Specifically how does a largely Christian nation and its largely Christian military deploy and operate in or around the borders of a largely Islamic nation or on its borders even when agreed upon joint efforts without generating “blowback” completely unintended by either party to the agreement? Until a convincing analysis is prepared to answer this question IMO all efforts will fail. Perhaps I am wrong but after reading over 100 books on the Islamic world and the history of Islam since 9/11 it appears that failure to answer that question dooms the relationships between civilizations no matter how willing to reach accomodation. History does have answers and solutions but detecting which answers and which solutions is a difficult one. Perhaps the anthropologists also need consulting.

  3. Patrick Lang says:

    In re political goals for others in American foreign policy… I am unimpressed by your cynicism about the US. Are you an American or just another “kibitzer” at some foreign university? In fact, the US government has consistently sought to meddle in the internal politics of associated states. This is inherently destructive since although we want to tinker with other people’s forms and practise of government we lack either the skills or the degree of control in their affairs to “pull it off.” I have seen the United States decline offers of power in other countries affairs. In other cases, lunatics like the neocons, have sought to bring down governments like Mubarak’s in Egypt, while wishing to substitute Gucci clad Islamists with fancy degrees, pl

  4. steve says:

    Colonel, aside from your ad hominem, I agree with what you say, and what you say is not in disagreement with my initial post.

  5. N. M. Salamon says:

    Todyay’s editorial in the NYT seems to indicate a strong dersire by that warmonger paper to vietnamize the afgan conflict by getting the USA army to act more in Pakistan, a la Cambodia and Laos.
    This article completely contradicts the Colonel’s view as expressed in the National.
    IMO this proposed escalation will lead to far more radical routes by Pakistan to the utter regret of USA interest – an interest which grows and ebbs as the political tides within any administration: you are my dearest friend, you are an imbicile who does not understand the issues. I support you with borrowed funds, I might subject you to sanctions, which goes on even as the USA tries to influence the selection of the ruling entity, be they nationalistic or utterly corrupt as the present President of Pakistan.

  6. Fred says:

    In some respects the panel mebmers responses generate more questions than answers. The question states that the US is unpopular in Pakistan.
    The Taliban has 5-10% support in Afghanistan, how is that ‘popular’? Yet they pose a threat to the corrupt government of Helmed Karzai. The Taliban number less than 10,000. How does that require 20,000 plus troops deployed in early 2009 with another 30,000 slated for 2010?
    Much has been made of local governance and dispute resolution. The tribal regions (of Pakistan) have had both for over a 1,000 years, they just don’t look like ours. Why do they need ‘reform’ from the outside?
    What does Mr. Seipel mean by ‘expeditionary mindset’ in the Pakistani Army? Haven’t they been involved in multiple UN Peacekeeping missions? Certainly deploying to fight a rebellion within their own country is not ‘expeditionary’. The US, having invaded two predominately Muslim countries, one under false pretenses, is certainly bound to be viewed with suspicion by Muslims worldwide, especially when influential advisors on US policy (not the US military) are actively involved in proselytizing the Christian faith, and not a version native to either Afghanistan, Iraq or Pakistan. (See the IGEorganization’s website “IGE promotes sustainable environments for religious freedom worldwide.” yet at the end paragraph …. “make Christ visible and Christians relevant.” )
    Mr. Scheuer seems to become more distraught with each passing month.
    The Obama Administration’s stated goal given at West Point on December 1st: “Our overarching goal remains the same: to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al Qaeda in Afghanistan and Pakistan, and to prevent its capacity to threaten America and our allies in the future.” When do we wish to define the end of ‘threaten America and our allies’? When they (al Qaeda) can no longer buy box cutters at Wal Mart?

  7. Patrick Lang says:

    I see from your e-mail address that you probably are an american. Apologies to the non-US folks here. pl

  8. steve says:

    Correct, Colonel.
    Born in a small town in Arkansas and living in a small town in Iowa—far, far away from the Potomac.
    Not too many Gucci-clad Islamists at North Iowa Area Community College, either among the faculty or students.
    But there are many among those who feel as I do about US foreign policy.

  9. optimax says:

    On a tactical note, I read an article that said the U.S. military didn’t go on night patrols in Afghanistan, and predictably the Taliban owned the night. First, I wonder if this is true, and, if it is, why not go patrol at night? I’m sure SFs aren’t restricted to only daytime maneuvers but it still doesn’t make sense for the rest of the troops to be so predictable.

  10. Mark Logan says:

    And in the catagory of “news nobody wanted to hear”…
    Karzai announces that he expects the US to fund his troops through 2024.

  11. optimax says:

    To clarify my previous post, the article is from the Boston Review and linked to below, may have found in on SST. It is about Team Prowler of the Illinois National Guard.
    “The Taliban own the night, undoing whatever the Americans accomplish during the day. Neither the Americans nor the Afghan security forces conduct night patrols, and the insurgents have learned to avoid direct encounters. They could continue placing IEDs despite the increase in troops, which could make transportation close to impossible and easily neutralize police.”

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