– Tiger Woods. To quote Craig Ferguson, "Isn't he a man who hits a little ball with a stick?" That's it.
- 103 (at least) killed in coordinated attacks across Baghdad today. This is the revival in AQ related operations that I wrote of before. The SoA are signalling their displeasure with their "abandonment" by the US by allowing this. Measure for measure is the way they see it. The Middle East is a tough place. Turn the money back on and this will end. It doesn't have to be our money.
– According to Walter Pincus in the WP today, Hillary Clinton spoke up at the Congress to say that the administration of American government money in Afghanistan is so loose and so much contractor run that the situation is unhealthy. The level of corruption must be high, very high. At the same time she mentioned that the length of our overland supply lines from Karachi to delivery points in Afghanistan is such that inevitable some of this runs through terrirtory subject to interdiction by the "Taliban." To overcome this the Afghan transportation contractors are paying off hostiles to get their convoys through. This is just stupid. It is one thing to use various kinds of suasion (including, but not exclusively, money) to split off neutrals or wavering enemies from the mass, but to allow the Afghans to pay off active enemies in this way is just self destructive.
– Finally, CJCS Admiral Mullen was on the Newshour last night. Jim Lehrer served him up a lot of soft balls. It is interesting to contrast this with the grilling that Mullen got on al-Jazeera a few days ago. pl
Anent Afghanistan, per McCaffrey in a new report:
“We are unlikely to achieve our political and military goals in 18 months. This will inevitably become a three to ten year strategy to build a viable Afghan state with their own security force that can allow us to withdraw. It may well cost us an additional $300 billion and we are likely to suffer thousands more US casualties.”
Colone et al:
Off topic, but pertinent to USA interest pl peruse:
suumerizes the USA’s problen with the Lebanese Cabibet, the problem being AIPAC pressure.
Interesting report of USA and Blakwater operations in Pakistan from the Nation:
My state’s governor can’t get funding for schools in this state while her political opponent just had a company he owns spend $100K to defeat a local school board bond initiative to fund some of those schools. While relevant locally I think it also highlights the dysfunction inside the beltway and within the media of all stripes.
Nice to know that our elected officials think that American kids in Michigan aren’t worth raising $200 worth of taxes but Karzai’s kickbacks will keep rolling on in. God help us.
Back in the days of the ‘greatest generation’ the Red Ball Express moved fuel, food and ammo to the front, if someone took a shot at them they shot back. Now we are still saddled with Cheney and Rumsfeld’s contractor first reforms that hamstring our military capabilities and are apparently paying our direct enemies. Any chance we can stop talking about ‘Cheetah’ Woods and get the media to do some real reporting? Maybe we can cancel those reforms, increase the organizational size of the armed
It looks like we are serving as an example of the negative aspects of prolonged warfare described in Sunzi’s Art of War , “contributing to maintain an army at a distance causes the people to be impoverished.” (Chapter II, Waging War). And, in the long run, what about all the unhappy Muslims living in Europe and other places, including Iraq, not to mention the Hasans in the US. Is a half-baked “pacification” of Afghanistan going to improve the overall situation?
When you are handing an active enemy cash for passage, at that moment, he’s not a hostile – he’s the occupier’s facilitator. Its only after he’s spent the money on arms and shoots at you that he’s an active enemy again. Of course he’s grateful for being paid to assist a convoy of infidels to transit his territory.
Don’t ever leave. . . but if you do, Karzai just needs to borrow your credit card until 2024.
For heaven’s sake, just buy the damn opium crop every year, and issue paychecks to the AA from Washington, let them pay off and shoot at whoever they like.
In Iraq, its turn the money on, this will end. In Afghanistan, its turn the money off, and all hell will break loose. We are being played by all sides, while China just buys resources and such.
More than a few people are disgusted at the tabloid nature of the ‘news’. Sensationalism has long been used to sell papers. But in a newspaper, there is room for the serious articles (that get by the editor) and even the occasional investigation piece. American television appears to be a wasteland where journalism has been devastated, a totally useless source of real news.
In other words, I don’t trust the presentation, analysis, or conclusions of TV mouthpieces. It’s all about the money – they will never challenge the status quo. The bosses won’t let them.
Yesterday, Dec. 7, 2009, at http://www.defense.gov/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=56976, in an article titled “Officials Announce First Afghanistan Surge Units,” Jim Garamone reported: “6,200 Marines of Regimental Combat Team 2 at Camp Lejeune were alerted for deployment early in the spring, [Pentagon spokesman Bryan] Whitman said.” Are there that many Marines in RCT2?
When the average American begins to care more about what is happening in Afganistan, Pakistan,and our economy than they do about American Idol, the private life of Tiger Woods and face book and twittering, than maybe we will start getting real news and a real debate regarding where we are as a nation.
Unless something amazing happens to the American psyche, I cannot imagine this happening anytime soon.
We hit the big one folks. It’s good ol’ religious war soon. I guess the 50 years big war cycle will continue.
Israel’s justice minister has caused a stir by saying Jewish religious law must become binding in Israel.
The minister, Yaakov Neeman, said the bible contains “a complete solution to all the things we are dealing with.”
Neeman, an observant Jew, spoke at a rabbinical conference on Monday. He urged that biblical law be restored to its former glory.
You should look at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.
Organized by China, it’s a who’s-who of targeted US enemies (most of whom possess lots of oil or natural gas) mixed up with Central Asia, Mongolia, and a few other surprises.
It’s stated goal is to create an independent, non-aligned world reserve currency.
The organization’s about 6 years old. I think this was the first year Iran was in attendance.
I’m aware of the SCO. China recently announced that 10% of its energy trading would henceforth be conducted in Euros.
Canada is China’s # 2 target for economic espionage. Our PM just came back from being publicly rebuked for skipping the Olympics by the Chinese, part of his rebuke to China for the completely out of hand spying and active anti-Falun Gong measures in Canada. Only thing the little creep has done worthy of any respect, but I digress.
Former Canadian Security and Intelligence Service(CSIS) Asia- Pacific bureau cheif Michel Juneau-Katsuya and Montreal reporter Fabrice De Pierrebourg have recently written on the subjects in “Nest Of Spies The Startling Truth About Foreign Agents At Work Within Canada’s Borders, Harper Collins 2009. See chapter 004, Chinese Espionage: The Greatest Threat.
China has made some major energy investments in Nigeria, Iran, Venuzuela and Canada’s own oilsands in the last 18 months. Clients to arm. And who knows where the PLA ends and the State begins, the former are tied up in everything, old Deng did his work well when they brought him back.
All the more reason to fight forever to a flathead I guess, and thus all the sadder. We pay and die, China buys, and still the poppies grow, row on row, in Flanders Fields. . .
curious is right we are in for some fin de siecle whackiness from all comers.
i found some analysis by Vijay Prashad from Counterpunch last weekend of the SCO’s past and potential role in securing Afghanistan, including a current Taliban reach out to it to end the Occupation, er, operation. He puts China squarely in the eventual driver’s seat, and notes their development style as displayed in Africa, in contrast to the US, er, process.
December 4-6, 2009
The Regional Alternative to Escalation in Afghanistan
Children Afraid of the Night
“When the Taliban was in power (1996-2001), the regional states formed the Shanghai Cooperation Alliance (it was the Shanghai Five in 1996, and by 2001, the SCO). The members included the various Central Asian states that border Afghanistan, Russia, and China with observer status for India, Iran, Pakistan and Mongolia. The SCO was formed to create trust on the borders of the new Republics, which were once part of the USSR, and China. In July 2001, the SCO acknowledged that the “cradle of terrorism, separatism and extremisms is the instability in Afghanistan.” They pledged to work together to undermine the Taliban, and the various political Islamists in the region. It was to be a long process, but not one without possibility. None of the neighbors wanted to see the Taliban emirate exported; they had national interests at stake. And they had influence over a landlocked country whose only ally was Pakistan, itself beholden to China for diplomatic cover and much else. Pressure could have come, but time did not permit.
A few days after 9/11, elements in the Taliban reached out to the US. They wanted political cover to turn over Osama Bin Laden, and to save their own emirate. This was an important opening, but the Bush administration decided to snub them. In mid-October, the Taliban’s no. 3, Haji Abdul Kabir told reporters. “We would be ready to hand [Bin Laden] over to a third country” if the bombing ended. Once more, Bush demurred. It was not his style to negotiate. This is when the Afghan war was lost: not at Tora Bora but at a press conference at Jalalabad. If the US had taken the Taliban up on this offer, Bin Laden would have been in custody in a third country and tried in an international court. Instead, the US backed one group of nasty warlords (the Northern Alliance) against the Taliban, throwing to the wind the progressive forces within Afghan society. The SCO was also disregarded. This was a costly mistake.
The SCO continues to have influence in the region. This summer, the Taliban leadership sent a letter to the SCO, asking it to intervene against the Occupation. These are the leaders of the insurgency on the ground, not the “moderates” who decamped to Saudi Arabia for a Mecca meeting with their funders and the Karzai government (as reported in Asharq al-Awsat in October 2008). Those who went to Mecca, such as Mullah Mohammed Tayeb Agha and Wakil Ahmad Mutawakkil, are not linked to the Taliban resurgence (indeed, its spokesperson, Zabihullah Mujahid, denied that they spoke for the Taliban). On the other hand, the letter to the SCO came from the Quetta Shura Taliban, the inner sanctum controlled by Mullah Omar. Since September 2009, the Quetta Shura has been trying to play up its “nationalist” credentials, including distancing itself from al-Qaeda, whose own regional leaders have continued their tirade against nationalism of all kinds. Mullah Omar’s Eid message on September 19 called the Taliban “a robust Islamic and nationalist movement,” a statement that earned a rebuke from the leading Salafi cleric, Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi. The Salafis worry that the Taliban will go the way of Khalid Meshal’s Hamas. No division of the umma, the Muslim nation, for the hard-core jihadis. There is daylight between the Taliban and al-Qaeda.
Which is why it reached out to the SCO. Of course the SCO is sitting on its hands, but it is able. The regional solution will be difficult, given that it would have to scrub off the effects of thirty years of warfare. The SCO is not going to welcome the Taliban with open arms and hand over Kabul to Mullah Omar. After 2001, the US welcomed the warlords into Kabul, handed them the keys to the kingdom and gave them a tacit amnesty for their grievous crimes (even making Ahmed Shah Masood, a ghastly warlord, the nation’s icon). Such a positive fate does not seem to be on the horizon for the Taliban. It will come above ground with much less fanfare. The Taliban and the warlords obviously command a following in Afghanistan (something that was not true in the 1970s). Thanks to US, Saudi and Pakistani funding and assistance, the warlords and the Taliban have become a social force and have to be combated politically. The US and the Saudis cannot broker their entry into the political process. But the SCO has a better chance.
Right after the Taliban fled in 2001, the US convened a “donor’s conference” in Bonn, where Europe, Japan and the US gathered to promise money for the reconstruction of the country. No one invited the SCO players. This has not changed. Europe, Japan and the US, the countries with the least legitimacy in Afghanistan are the ones calling the shots. Rather than conference calls with Brussels (the NATO headquarters), and Paris and London, and Kabul (with the shaky government of Karzai), the Obama administration should have called a political conference of the SCO, to see what it would have taken to hand over the Afghan imbroglio to them. The SCO met in Bishkek (capital of Kyrgyzstan) on November 24 to discuss the problem of the region, and made all kinds of suggestions. None of these are operational till the US-NATO withdraws from Kabul. China is the only power in the region with the wealth and expertise to genuinely rebuild Afghanistan (people might criticize its development policy in Africa, but mark this: Chinese investment enters countries in Africa without IMF-type conditionalities and Chinese engineers and managers live in modest conditions, not creating the kind of high-overhead NGO lifestyles of the European and US humanitarian workers).”
A newly roused player has joined The Great Game at the time of the Main enemy’s greatest stress.
Some nice reporting on the General McChrystal/military vs Ambassador Karl/State Eikenberry dialectic and the machinations preceding The Decision in general is over at the Aisa Times:
Dec 10, 2009
The day the general made a misstep
By Mark Perry
“Chinese investment enters countries in Africa without IMF-type conditionalities and Chinese engineers and managers live in modest conditions, not creating the kind of high-overhead NGO lifestyles of the European and US humanitarian workers.”
Any wonder why they’ve got that much influence o’er yonder continent at present?
Tax payer for better ghetto cage!! Yay freedom loving people.
No doubt at the instigation of the Israeli government, the Obama administration has authorized the United States Army Corps of Engineers to design a vertical underground wall under the border between Egypt and Gaza.
In March, 2009 the United States provided the government of Egypt with $32 million in March, 2009 for electronic surveillance and other security devices to prevent the movement of food, merchandise and weapons into Gaza. Now details are emerging about an underground steel wall that wil be 6-7 miles long and extend 55 feet straight down into the desert sand.
The steel wall will be made of super-strength steel put together in a jigsaw puzzle fashion. It will be bomb proof and can not be cut or melted. It will be “impenetrable,” and reportedly will take 18 months to construct.