The RAND study of counter-terrorism.

Htcac4wo4hca1ta4pkca7ftms1catq2u1gc "Since 2001, al Qaeda has conducted a greater number of attacks across a larger geographic area than at any time in its history. "We find it hard to agree that al Qaeda has been significantly weakened since Sept. 11, 2001," says Seth Jones, coauthor with Martin Libicki of the report titled "How Terrorist Groups End: Lessons for Countering al Qaeda."

The authors evaluate al Qaeda since 2001 as being both "strong" and "competent."

What’s needed, the report suggests, is a "fundamental rethinking of U.S. strategy" to focus on minimizing overt military action and increasing intelligence collection and partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world."  Rand Corporation


RAND is a "federally funded research and development corporation."  In other words it is essentially a research arm of the government.

The Republicans and the McBush crowd love to talk about the poor, deluded souls who think that the takfiri jihadi enemy is not the equivalent of the Nazi or Soviet enemies.  The McBushies insist that the activists and their passive supporters are apt to find a nuclear weapon somewhere, or build one in someone’s garage and therewith destroy America.  Someone I went to college with insisted to me that there might be a just handful (thousands) of active takfiri jihadis now but "Hitler started with just a handful of followers."   Today, the northwest frontier of Pakistan, tomorrow the world!!.  (irony alert).  This all sounds a bit "yellow peril-ish" or maybe like the crazed devotee of Kali in the ’30s movie, "Gunga Din."

In fact, although there are counter-terrorist situations that call for a lot of military force, it has always been true that covert organizations like Al-Qa’ida are better attacked using the somewhat symmetrical methods of our side’s intelligence and covert action arms.  It should not be hard to make this case.  Look at the mess in Iraq.  Think of the costs in money, blood and political damage.  In the end the Iraq War has been won, not by the sheer muscle of of our force but by the indirect methods used in helping the awakening among the Sunni Arabs

Now, we have this RAND study which says that quite clearly.  This is worth discussing.  pl

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49 Responses to The RAND study of counter-terrorism.

  1. JerseyJeffersonian says:

    Colonel and All,
    Oh, I’m sure that Dana Perino will try and spin her way out of this one, thank you very much. Talk about your dead-enders…

  2. Jose says:

    But when we invade Iran and make its economy open-up to American oil companies, things will be better.
    The AQI land-bridge from Afghanistan will be closed by our occupation.

  3. Jose says:

    These gentlemen were educated at Georgetown and Berkeley, not to be trusted as true Americans.

  4. mo says:

    “increasing intelligence collection and partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world”
    It would I think really help if the next administration did not make enemies of those agencies and organisations that are both threatened by and REALLY able to help in countering the Al Qaedas of this world.
    The Iranians, the Syrians, Hizballah, these groups all have both the capabilities, the regional street smarts, the contacts and most importantly the low likelyhood of collusion with the Wahabis that the likes of the US’s current allies such as Saudi Arabia, Pakistan (esp. the security forces), the Afghan govt. and even Jordan have.
    But of course since the first group are those that most threaten Israeli hegemony and since so many of Amerca’s politicians put Israel before the United States…..

  5. Cold War Zoomie says:

    The report observes that “groups whose attacks on civilian targets outnumber attacks on military targets systematically fail to achieve their policy objectives, in part because they fail to communicate their policy objectives well.”
    Isn’t this how AQ in Iraq blundered, and turned the local Sunnis against them?
    While this type of thinking exists in America, what hope is there?…
    What Bush & Batman Have in Common

  6. TomB says:

    The only caveat that I’d say exists with this is that I think we were perfectly right to demand that the Taliban/gov’t of Afghanistan hand over bin Laden and then take it down when they didn’t. And I think it’s in our good interests too to be seen—in the arab world esp.—doing what we can to help Afghanistan further. We had no duty to do so whatsoever I think, and we’ve mucked it up a good deal both in a moral as well as in an operational sense by going into Iraq. But, still, us being seen as giving it a good try to help that country out instead of just bombing the hell out of it and walking away was and is a good thing I think. Not that there aren’t limits to the degree that we try, big ones, but on the whole I think it’s been a noble effort and in our interest.

  7. Pvt. Keepout says:

    Thanks for noting this RAND report. It would be surprising if it didn’t confirm the beliefs, intuition or suspicions of most SST readers & commenters. However, the following element of your post was striking:
    In the end the Iraq War has been won, not by the sheer muscle of of our force but by the indirect methods used in helping the awakening among the Sunni Arabs
    This merits a dedicated, stand alone post. What’s winning? Who won? Did returns exceed costs? Was all the carnage and wreckage necessary? Productive? Destructive? Are future wars seeded? Any blowback? Were alternative methods superior or inferior to invasion, occupation and repression?
    Were deceit, corruption, predation and barbarity essential, superfluous, counterproductive or trivial to nonexistent?
    Are our adversaries more fit, cohesive and politically served than we by the enterprise?
    To paraphrase Douglas Lovelace (Dir.SSI/USAWC) will the success of military operations be ephemeral, and the problems they were designed to eliminate return or be replaced by new and more virulent difficulties?
    A post expanding on the referenced assertion would be greatly appreciated. Thank you.

  8. Mike Martin, Yorktown, VA says:

    Anyone know if Jones and Libicki still have their jobs after this heresy?

  9. lina says:

    “. . .focus on minimizing overt military action and increasing intelligence collection and partnerships with law enforcement agencies around the world.”
    I believe John Kerry was saying exactly these words four years ago. But he was liberal, effete, spoke French, and liked to wind-surf in his spare time.
    To Mo: At least Obama has figured out how to talk the jingoistic talk (“take the fight to Afghanistan”) just enough to (maybe) get elected.
    But of course, a la Kerry, he is a liberal, presumptuous, arrogant, Britney Spears-like celebrity who is too inexperienced to be POTUS. Plus he’s a black Muslim with a militant Christian pastor and an uppity wife who is probably the love child of Bobby Seal. Did I mention the Obama family hates America?
    I hope RAND didn’t spend too much money on this study. A whole bunch of people have been saying these things since 9/11/01 (and before).

  10. Can you fight suicide bombers? My guess is the RAND underneath its analytic framework for this report realizes that conventional millitary approaches just don’t cut it given a world where technology has empowered individuals who wish to be a destructive force. We know that law enforcement as represented by the failed FBI reorganization to switch from investigation to intelligence has miserably failed and little in the way of guidance and sharing has occurred domestically on terrorism issues, despite the high-praise (Spin?) given on the Terrorism Fusion Centers, and the same given the National Counterterrorism Center with multiple federal agencies in attendance. So given those failures the RAND report could be viewed as essentially condemning the major approaches taken domestically (which I have a better feel for as an individual) as opposed to internationally. But I think it also condemns the international approach taken by the US since 9/11. So how do we calibrate if we believe this report is sound? An always remember RAND was originally funded by the brand new USAF to justify creation and maintenance of a large bomber force. Guess why, pilots long ruled the USAF since the split off from the US Army under the National Security Act of 1947. I mention this because the pilots are still looking for a part in the GWOT. Also a new history of RAND has just been published. Not sure if authorized history or not.

  11. b says:

    The Iraq war has been won? Well, maybe.
    But who has won what in Iraq?

    Otherwise the Rand study is correct and many international governments have pointed out the issue before. Bush/Cheney also knew that it is true.
    But the Bush/Cheney gang needed some pretext to attack Iraq and the War of Terror construct was a perfect propaganda theme for that.

  12. Mike says:

    “In the end the Iraq War has been won…..” – PL
    Do you not mean “the war against Al Qaeda in Iraq has been won”? Certainly, the awakening among the Sunni Arabs has seen the AQ terrorists suppressed and an uneasy alliance established between the Sunni and the Americans. But the Iraq war was surely fought as more than just an effort to defeat a few thousand – or perhaps merely a few hundred – non Iraqis who themselves had infiltrated the central provinces of Mesopotamia. The war was fought to overthrow the Baathist regime as well. Victory there, indisputably. But in the South and in Baghdad, the Sadrists are undefeated; the Iraqi government put in place by the Coalition seems still to have little power to actually govern the country. In Northern Ireland, after a couple of years of intense and murderous violence in which the British military were unable to control the province, there was a long period of low level violence during which effectively the province was under the control of the British government. The IRA was never defeated, merely controlled. A situation in which a sullen population is held unwillingly under control by an occupying force subject to the annoyance of seemingly endless sporadic violence would surely be called a stalemate. And nobody could claim that the final peace settlement was in any way a victory for the UK or the IRA. Stalemate only. Likewise, in Iraq, the US military have won many battles, but they arguably have not won the war, which perhaps is unwinnable for either side, a true stalemate.

  13. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    Of course it’s not hard to make the case but who’s going to listen?
    My sense is that this country is disaster not common sense driven.
    9/11 clearly didn’t do it as we didn’t have leaders who had been raised in a common-sense problem solving tradition.
    I had hoped that the economic crisis might be different but the Financial Accounting Standards Board (FASB) just postponed at the request of the effected financial institutions a regulation forcing banks to bring off-balance-sheet assets such as mortgages and credit-card receivables back onto their books until after November of 2009. Wow, we’ve got to wait another year to get transparency.
    We just don’t want to deal. And we’ll be reminded of that again when the half trillion dollar fiscal ’09 DOD budget comes up for review.
    I first learned of the problem when I consulted to a NASA vendor at the Cape back in the early 70’s. They drove us to the adminstration building via the local roads which were much in need of repair. I asked about that and was told that the repair budget was not spent on repairs but was used to augment R&D.
    I wish I could be more positive for the sake of my seven grandchildren but I can’t.

  14. Duncan Kinder says:

    This all sounds a bit “yellow peril-ish” or maybe like the crazed devotee of Kali in the ’30s movie, “Gunga Din.”

    I, for one, am a bit puzzled that Sax Rohmer’s Fu Manchu series has not received more attention.

    This book introduces the characters and begins the course of events that sustain the first three novels of the series. Nayland Smith, Special Commisioner, having detected signs of organized insurgency in the Far East, surprises his good friend Dr. Petrie one quiet evening in London. He astounds the good doctor with tales of Eastern terrors and intrigue revolving around the figure of a mysterious Chinese doctor named Fu-Manchu, the evil genius at the center of a plot to subjugate the white races to oriental domination. As the plot unfolds, we, along with these two stout-hearted Englishmen, encounter many of Dr. Fu-Manchu’s terrifying agents, including numerous representatives of mysterious Asiatic strangler cults, and frequent evidence of the Doctor’s evil genius in the shape of the deadly drugs he has produced and the lethal bugs, apes and fungi he has bred. We also move in and out of opium dens, subterranean passageways, and loathsome dungeons in the very heart of the modern metropolis and in the peaceful bosom of the English countryside. The irresitibly seductive Egyptian slave girl Karamaneh, Fu-Manchu’s most dangerous creature, completes the cast of characters. To reveal more, at this point, would be to spoil the pleasure and the surprise of the reader’s first encounter with the thrilling and enchanting world of Dr. Fu-Manchu.

  15. anonymous (economist) says:

    If Col. Lang will indulge me, I am mentioning the link I gave to Barnett Rubin’s in the previous post:
    “Points on an Integrated Strategy for Afghanistan”
    Rubin asks whether police/covert and military operations should be the focus in themselves, or should be integrated with other measures to persuade the population to move from the bad guys’ sphere of influence over to the good guys’ sphere of influence.
    To paraphrase Rubin -In the west everyone talks about militant Islam in Afghanistan the ordinary people talk about getting enough money to live on. And, according to Rubin, there is an important intersection between the opium industry and the terrorism industry.
    Farmers grow poppies and that puts bread on the table and that leads to allegiances and alliances and obligations with those who finance and support their farming operations.
    The poppy trade is a highly developed, even though illegal, industry; the bigshots provide sophisticated and extensive financing, marketing, distribution and processing services to farmers.
    The help and support offered by the “good guys” simply do not compare in any way, says Rubin. So in many areas the mass of people are simply lost to the other side in some very immportant spheres of life, even if they make the necessary temporary displays to us, when forced to, in order to avoid our sanctions.
    So, as Machiavelli said, repeatedly, The Prince must have the people on his side, or he will fail.
    Shouldn’t police, covert operations, and military action be coordinated with, and in support other measures. If force is the primary focus, we may be asking it to do more than it can do. But force, whether police, or covert operations, or military, is all I hear in the media. It is as if they were talking about how to play a shoot ’em up computer game.
    I am just talking about Afghanistan, and what needs to be done to win over the people where terrorists hide will differ in other places, of course.

  16. rj says:

    As it happens, I’ve been reading “Rise of the Vulcans,” a fairly decent history of how Bush foreign policy came about. No real suprises in it, but it does re-inforce the fact that the foreign policy mindset of the Bushies focused entirely on the utility military power — experience in the Pentagon being the common factor for almost all of them. The bigger the military the better. Their view was very state-centric too. So smashing states to get at terrorism followed logically from that. When you’re a hammer, all solutions look like nails, as the saying goes. Shifting to terrorism as primarily a law enforcement matter will come about as soon as they leave office.
    We’ve won in Iraq as much we’re going to, as much winning there actually means anything.

  17. VietnamVet says:

    Even before Pearl Harbor started WWII, the US agreed that the Philippines would have its independence in 1946. Even after a successful colonial war, the costs and corruption of running a Colony were too great for America.
    Focus group neo-leaders never grasped the lessons of the 20th Century. Victory is not women blowing themselves periodically up in the market place.
    Advertisements imposing a black candidate over images white blond females, win elections in Tennessee and America. Fear wins elections. But, the never ending wars fought on the cheap only kill, maim and bankrupt us all.
    Existential wars will be fought over resources. But, for now for far less blood and treasure, extremists of all religions can be contained by the rule of law, secure borders and energy independence. Just maybe, science and education will avoid the Endtime when air and water are privatized.

  18. Farmer Don says:

    “In the end the Iraq War has been won, not by the sheer muscle of of our force but by the indirect methods used in helping the awakening among the Sunni Arabs”
    Won?,I think a little premature. The US may have more “control” of the country at this point. But how long will the control last? The US will have to leave in a couple years to repair the damage to it’s economy and armed forces.
    When you are investing money in some project, you have to look at “oportunity costs”.
    On the news is an article that Texas is going to make a super electric transmission grid needed for wind power. The Cost 4.9 billion $. The cost of the Iraq is about 10 billion/month! You can see what might have been accomplished if not for the war.
    This war has no winner.

  19. alnval says:

    Col. Lang:
    It might fun or, at least a change of pace to remind folks of Pohl and Kornbluth’s Gladiator at Law (Ballentine 1955). Still available for under a dollar (used) at booksellers everywhere.
    The more things change they more they stay the same.

  20. fnord says:

    mo: I have agreed with you for a long time on at least Hezb, and the need to engage Syria/Iran in a counter-intel op (miss you over at Abu M, btw) but dont you think that its come a bit to far right now? With all this rhetoric of the great Satan, a 180 degree turnabout seems a bit dreamy to me. As far as i can see, what is possible for Obama is to start a 1-2 year detente among all actors while A) Winding down the Iraq engagement and B) Concentrating on crushing the engine of the terror-networks, the opium/smuggling machine that is Afghanistan.
    The only tribes I can see possible to actually hire are the Chechens and the various smaller tribes of Afghanistan itself, like the nomads (Kusch?) and the Nuristanis. Now a chechen legion, approved by Russia and fighting in exchange for a new homeland a la Israel, that would be something, mr. bin Ladens head would propably appear within 60 days. but its dreamtime-thinking, unfortunately, possible 5-6 years ago but not now I think.

  21. fnord says:

    Oh, and Tom B: The moral failure when seen in Afghanistan context only doesnt rest solely on Iraq. Bangram prison and Dostum and the blatant doubledealing of Karzai with regards to the opium/smuggling/ business is a stab in the back for any sensible COIN tactic. Becoming the Vaering-guard of the new regimeof murdering warlords while building schools and nice things is a schizophrenic approach to nationbuilding. “yes, you got to hold out being tortured and raped for just 20 more years, then it will all get better.” For every man that looses bloodkin in Afghan 10 rises from the south, people who never been *that* religious but are dutybound. I think a lot of us can empathise, if someone bombed my sisters wedding while I was off doing bad things in Tajikistan I would indeed go home and head for the hills. And think.

  22. alex says:

    The whole point of the Rand commentary is false. Al-Qa’ida as an organisation no longer exists – perhaps one or two, or maybe 10 or 20 individuals hiding in caves in Pushtunistan, or living comfortably on the Pakistan side of the border. Al-Qa’ida in Iraq never had more than a spiritual relationship with the original.
    What survives is the spirit, the inspiration, and that is very widespread in the Islamic world.
    Putting up that as a major world danger, which has to be tackled militarily, is absurd. It’s a political problem, not a military one. You should say so, PL.

  23. Farmer Don says:

    Col. Lang,
    Sorry for two posts in one day, but the ‘Win” in Iraq was on my mind all afternoon.
    First I know this war affects you more then me. It’s your Country, your institution, your friends and peers that are directly involved. I’m just sitting in the peanut gallery.
    Now, have you ever seen a bunch of poor working bums locked out of their jobs? There they are on the street with their pathetic signs “Locked out”, “Management Unfair!”.
    You know they don’t have a snowballs chance in Hell of ever winning, why even fight? Why don’t they just give up and try to find some new, probably lower paying work. But no, they show up every day walking the line with their poor haircuts and cheap clothes. And a year goes by, Winter shows up, and some are still walking the line keeping the business closed. At this point, the business has lost a pile, but it’s not going to give up now. And if you can believe it, some “dead enders” keep marching up and down the street for Five years! There’s some vandalism. Then the last finally quit. They’re broke, and bitter, and probably going home to live on welfare. Now Management says “We Won!, We Won!”.
    But hey, fighting the lockout took way more money than expected, and management now has a lot of debt and a factory that’s falling apart.
    And the three other businesses that management ran aren’t doing so well either. They have a bank, a construction company, and a chain of espresso outlets. While the top brass was trying to break the lockout, the Bank manager started giving cheap loans to any one who could fog a mirror, then the people building houses and selling espresso bought more houses and coffee with the cheap money. (we all know how this will end).
    This is the kind of “Win” there is in Iraq.

  24. walrus56 says:

    The underlying purpose of this war was not to solve the problem of terrorism, it was to demonise America in the minds of every muslim, with a view to ensuring that America had only one friend it could count on in the Middle East – Israel.
    Ever since 911, the tactics and strategy employed has been spectacularly wrong, and that has been obvious even to a simple idiot like me.
    I refuse to believe Americans can have been so willfully and obviously stupid as to:
    1. Invade Iraq.
    2. Destroy America’s leading position as a beacon of human rights.
    But I guess doing #2 means that America can now never pull up Israel in it’s treatment of the Palestinians.
    The only thing left to work out is if Bush will attack Iran and complete Israel’s final mission.

  25. Patrick Lang says:

    In re “winning the war.” I am not interested in settling Iraq’s internal or even external problems. They must do that if they have any hope of being an independent state.
    The US declared war aim in invading was to remove SH’s government and the threat to the US of his supposed WMD. We did that.
    When the Sunni insurgency developed the US(Bush) declared that defeating the insurgency and leaving behind a sovereign government was the goal. The insurgencies have been defeated by the means I described. Iraqi political problems are their problems, not US problems.
    Al-Qa’ida still exists, and can mount suicide attacks. Unfortunate but not our problem. IQ has no chance whatever of taking over the Iraqi government.
    Analogously, Hamas exists and could conduct suicide attacks in Israel if they wanted to. That is not a US problem either. It is an Israeli and Palestinian problem.
    Did the US really invade Iraq to make the world safer for Israel? Of course we did, but I am not in favor of staying in Iraq until the world is safe for Israel. pl

  26. Patrick Lang says:

    This study was about counter-terrorism not counter-insurgency. In the former the only viable course of action lies in wiping out the terrorists. In the latter, the whole spectrum of COIN techniques; military, police, intelligence and nation building are needed.
    Bernard Fall:
    COIN = “political action+civic action+counter-guerrilla operations”

  27. arthurdecco says:

    Col. Lang,
    With so many others already eloquently disputing your contention that the Iraq war has been won, I’d like to deal with a side issue brought up by one of my favorite posters on your site. But first I’d like to address a small piece of your additional commentary contained within the comments section:
    Col. Lang said: “The US declared war aim in invading was to remove SH’s government and the threat to the US of his supposed WMD. We did that.”
    You did whaaaaaat?
    …Remove the threat of non-existent, knowingly-lied-about weapons? You could have done that for a lot less than 10 billion dollars a month and the futile and immoral deaths of over 1,000,000 (one million!) Iraqis and the dislocation of perhaps another 5,000,000 (five million!) more. You could have done it for free without any of the consequent human tragedy in Iraq or the deliberate destruction of both yours and their state institutions.
    After all, it was all made up BS anyway, wasn’t it?
    My goodness – talk about a straw man argument, Col Lang!
    And as far as the removal of SH as a raison d’etre for the illegal invasion of Iraq, you know as well as anyone that that was only the next convenient, but untruthful, excuse after their first rationale bombed even amongst their ever-widening cheerleading section, due to the overwhelming evidence that their screeching tirades and accusations were all fabrications – (NO! They weren’t fabrications – they were pathetic lies that even I saw through at the time!)
    You can do better.
    Continuing in the same intemperate vein, but switching targets:
    TomB said: “The only caveat that I’d say exists with this is that I think we were perfectly right to demand that the Taliban/gov’t of Afghanistan hand over bin Laden and then take it down when they didn’t.”
    The Taliban DID offer to turn Osama Bin Laden over to the USA if George Bush and his minions could provide them with PROOF of his crimes, TomB. The Bush administration ignored their request presumably because they had no evidence and instead bullied the United Nations into supporting their previously arrived-at decision to invade Afghanistan. The UN’s public-face support was largely enabled by the world-wide residual sympathy generated for the United States and its citizens by the Twin Towers’ destruction, (itself a troubling issue, with an “official story” that is as filled with holes as a block of Swiss cheese), combined with the back-room brutal arm twisting that led to a sulking bunch of whiners joining in the invasion under the rabid exhortations of our complicit western MSM. (But with caveats up their wing-wangs about how their troops could be used in Afghanistan, of course.)
    Tom, you, (as in the good ol’ USA, “you”), had absolutely no right whatsoever to take the Taliban down without offering any proof of Bin Laden’s complicity in the attacks on 911.
    Surely, you have to be familiar with the concepts “rule of law” and “chains of evidence”.?.
    As for the rest of your post – I’m open-mouthed and wide-eyed – sucking air in like a fish already flopping in the bottom of the boat!
    Could you be any more of a caricaturized Pollyanna-style American?
    Who, but someone either sweetly naïve or ignorant of the facts, could state with a straight face: “but on the whole I think it’s been a noble effort and in our interest.” while describing the escalating destruction of Afghanistan by Amerika, (no, NOT America – the destruction is all courtesy of Ameri(K)a.), in cahoots with their bullied, cowed and threatened henchmen.

  28. Cold War Zoomie says:

    A few years back my hunch was that Bush would declare victory and then skedaddle before the 2006 elections. It seemed like the rational thing to do once it was obvious that invading Iraq was a big mistake.
    So I went back to the basics and reviewed HJR 114 for the umpteenth time. After the “Whereas” litany here’s the authorization:
    (a) AUTHORIZATION- The President is authorized to use the Armed Forces of the United States as he determines to be necessary and appropriate in order to–
    (1) defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq; and
    (2) enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq.

    My cynical side thought for sure Bush would point out that we have accomplished our goals. And I read the tea leaves month after month looking for the “pivot.” But I was wrong. He dug in his heels.
    It’s always good to read this again and see how our Congress rolled over:
    HJR 114

  29. Patrick Lang says:

    You are yet another obvious, boring doctrinaire leftist without an ounce of irony in your soul.
    Any fool should know that we haven’t accomplished a damned thing in Iraq that could not have been done better and cheaper some other way, and that the claims made by the US government before and in the early phases of the occupation were nonsense, but you fell into “ma petite piege” like the oaf that you are.
    That was French. You are Canadian and should know that. pl

  30. Mad Dogs says:

    Tangetial, but related to the RAND study of counter-terrorism, I thought that I’d throw this from the NYT into the mix:

    Pakistanis Aided Attack in Kabul, U.S. Officials Say
    American intelligence agencies have concluded that members of Pakistan’s powerful spy service helped plan the deadly July 7 bombing of India’s embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, according to United States government officials.
    The conclusion was based on intercepted communications between Pakistani intelligence officers and militants who carried out the attack, the officials said, providing the clearest evidence to date that Pakistani intelligence officers are actively undermining American efforts to combat militants in the region.
    The American officials also said there was new information showing that members of the Pakistani intelligence service were increasingly providing militants with details about the American campaign against them, in some cases allowing militants to avoid American missile strikes in Pakistan’s tribal areas…
    The government officials were guarded in describing the new evidence and would not say specifically what kind of assistance the ISI officers provided to the militants. They said that the ISI officers had not been renegades, indicating that their actions might have been authorized by superiors.
    “It confirmed some suspicions that I think were widely held,” one State Department official with knowledge of Afghanistan issues said of the intercepted communications. “It was sort of this ‘aha’ moment. There was a sense that there was finally direct proof.”

    And I would like to link this to my comment in Pat’s immediate preceding post about The US Government and “Afghan Man”:

    The fact that both Senators Obama and McSame, as do their respective party officials in The Village (Washingon DC for us rubes in flyover land), tout the “unquestionable” knee-jerk foreign policy conventional wisdom to send 2-3 more US Brigades to Afghanistan causes me to ask this question:
    Just who are we fighting, and why?

    Talking about sending more US and NATO Combat Brigades to Afghanistan is part and parcel of “simple solution to complex problems” mindset that political candidates invariably adopt to burnish their manhood/toughness cred with the voting public.
    I can understand that. “Soundbite Strategy” is often the lowest common denominator method of getting across one’s point in the MSM universe enthralled with the likes of Britney Spears and Paris Hilton.
    That said, I sure hope (though I don’t expect) that there are some realistic adult supervision types involved in the candidates’ foreign policy teams who can read (they might even try this RAND study for instance), and more importantly, can strategically think!
    As one commenter put it earlier, if you are a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
    Pouring more troops into Afganistan ain’t necessarily gonna fix what ails us.
    With friends like the Pakistani ISI, I’d suggest we take a long look at supplementing that hammer in our toolbox with things like screwdrivers, wrenches, maybe even a tape measure.
    Of course, the simple minds who appear to dominate our foreign policy probably never heard of the axiom that one should measure things twice and cut once.

  31. TomB says:

    Well I hoped my defense of trying to help Afghanistan might provoke some comment….
    Good, valid points all, but all admittedly askew from my point, no? I.e., you’re criticizing our COIN approach and blunders there and obviously know what you’re talking about in spades. But my point was the virtue of our more humanitarian efforts there to just simply help build the country up, build hospitals and schools and etc. So I don’t think you and I are askew at all. Indeed, as I have said in the past I wonder if we should even be doing much COIN work there at all if we can help it. To the extent it would be a base for future attacks against us, I think we could just stand off and go in again as needed. So it may well be that the COIN aspect of what we are doing is misguided, badly executed, and etc., etc. I’d trust you on that for sure. But otherwise, just like with Germany and Japan after WWII, it reflects well on us I think to do more than just bomb and leave.
    arthurdecco, you wrote:
    Tom, you, (as in the good ol’ USA, “you”), had absolutely no right whatsoever to take the Taliban down without offering any proof of Bin Laden’s complicity in the attacks on 911.
    Surely, you have to be familiar with the concepts “rule of law” and “chains of evidence”.?.
    As to the latter and as a matter of fact yeah, a little. And as to the former … what “law”? What court? What judge?
    bin Laden had already been shown to have bombed our embassy(s?) in Africa, and whacked the Cole, and whacked our barracks in Saudi Arabia, and even bragged about some if not all of same. And then he didn’t deny and indeed finally even bragged about 9/11.
    Given that you don’t seem to be able to cite a court decision saying otherwise, good enough for me.
    “Could you be any more of a caricaturized Pollyanna-style American?”
    Ah arthur, your admirable reach still exceeds your grasp I’m afraid. Before you insult someone you simply must make sure you understand your allusions. The term “pollyanna” simply means someone with infectious or excessive optimism, whereas I’m sure you meant “caricaturized *ugly* American,” or maybe “blowhard” American, no?
    Nevertheless, and while I’m not all that optimistic a guy as my fellow Americans are in general, I’m still proud as hell of them and that historic optimism of theirs and so can only say thanks, eh?

  32. R.W. Bloomer says:

    Is not the release of such a study, by this particular source, an announcement that the national security policy of the United States of America has changed?

  33. Patrick Lang says:

    arthur dummy
    “Who, but someone either sweetly naïve or ignorant of the facts, could state with a straight face: “but on the whole I think it’s been a noble effort and in our interest.” while describing the escalating destruction of Afghanistan by Amerika, (no, NOT America – the destruction is all courtesy of Ameri(K)a.), in cahoots with their bullied, cowed and threatened henchmen.”
    I never said any of that you self satisfied little twerp.
    You are banned. pl

  34. mo says:

    As obnoxiously as adecco puts it he has in some respescts a point.
    The US had every right to demand that the Taliban hand over bin Laden but the the Taliban also had every right to demand proof of his guilt before “extraditing” him. This is after all the norm between any nations. No nation will extradite a suspect without some cursary evidence. And the famous Bin Laden video where he admits to 9/11, irrespective of its authenticity, did not appear until after the invasion.
    You say you had no duty to help Afghanistan further? I beg to differ. The Taliban were not an elected govt. If you happen to “have to” kill many thousands of civilians in your efforts to “take them down” then you absolutely have a moral and legal obligation to at least fix what you broke.
    As an effort, has it been in the US interest? Perhaps, although I don’t know by how much and if the gain is worth the losses endured. Has it been noble? I am tempted to knee jerk and say no. But, I would put it to you like this; The US effort in Afghanistan is seen as noble if you have the post 9/11 tinted glasses on much as Hizballahs actions are noble if you have the post 1948/1982 tinted glasses on.
    To those not wearing those respectively tinted glasses, the effort may not seem so noble.
    Obama has made the same noises about Iran/Syria/Hizballah as every other candidate. Is this an election ploy? Will he revert to the Obama that told Aipac that “no one has suffered as much as the Palestinians” once in power? We shall see.
    No, I dont think things have gone too far. These actors may be portrayed as irrational but as you know better than most, they are very rational and very smart. The Great Satan rhetoric has been going on for a long time. It did not stop the Iranians taking part in the Iran-contra, it didn’t stop them helping the US in the initial stages of the Afghan invasion; It hasn’t stopped the Syrians engaging where they can with the US and it hasn’t stopped Hizballah agreeing to and meeting every delegation of visiting US dignitaries and ex-congressmen that ask for a meeting.
    These groups are smart enough to deal with each administration as a seperate entity.
    I can’t say my knowledge of the Chechens is as deep as I would like, but a/I don’t think the Russains will ever accept such a deal and b/I do not believe they can deliver the way the others could.

  35. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    RAND study at:
    But I do not see what is NEW here, what many US specialists did not already understand.
    Just HOW did US doctrine change and why? Who pushed the BS anent Iraq etc. and it was not just the Neocons…lot of uniformed folks it seems went along with it. Still are. Why? Careerism? Cowardice? Corrupted souls?

  36. Patrick Lang says:

    I don’t care what Boucher’s personal history may be. What I said about the destructive influence of PS education for government officials stands.
    Durkheim and Weber were sociologists by training. So what. You don’t think they were major fugures in the developement of what became the PS discipline?
    “Increasingly, students of political behaviour have used the scientific method to create an intellectual discipline based on the postulating of hypotheses followed by empirical verification and the inference of political trends, and of generalizations that explain individual and group political actions.”
    My point exactly. The application of the scientific method to analyses of human societies will remain a badly flawed process until humans develop means of collecting and analysing data that can competently deal with the nearly infinite variations and variables in actual human experience.
    The analysis of politics is a valid and worthwhile endeavor. PS is not.
    Hari Seldon isn’t here yet. pl

  37. TomB says:

    mo wrote:
    “The US had every right to demand that the Taliban hand over bin Laden but the the Taliban also had every right to demand proof of his guilt before “extraditing” him.”
    Well I could quibble by noting that later in your post you admit that the Taliban wasn’t an elected gov’t so I dunno where they got those “rights.” Plus as I noted in my immediate response to arthur there was the previous Cole incident, the embassies and etc., etc., and I believe the U.S. had already made it clear to the Taliban that we wanted them to turn him over to us. And they hardly said in the immediate aftermath that they were gonna make him available for questioning, did they?
    On the other hand I’ll grant you and arthur that maybe we did proceed a little high-handedly, but it did indeed in the end turn out we were right, and just how long were we supposed to diddle around gathering evidence to satisfy Mullah Omar while Osama maybe was effectuating more attacks?
    You then wrote further:
    “You say you had no duty to help Afghanistan further? I beg to differ….”
    I take that point. To the extent that we did kill and maim and destroy things in the effort to go after bin Laden and etc. we did have some duty. I think though going beyond that and trying to help a new gov’t, build those schools and hospitals and roads and etc. is indeed going beyond that.
    “As an effort, has it been in the US interest?”
    Well I hope so though it also seems to me it’s getting blurred by what I see as getting overly involved in this COIN stuff there and, and wasting dough in Iraq that I’d spend in Afghanistan. As I said in another post, I’d much prefer we concentrate as much as we can by merely doing by example there building those things. And if it doesn’t work and gets to the point that we’re more of a problem than a help, get out and funnel that dough to the country via NGO’s or etc., absolutely.
    “As obnoxiously as adecco puts it….”
    Oh, I didn’t see it as obnoxious so much as just colorful, and indeed wish Colonel Lang would unban him. (Not least because I think he apparently sees arthur as insulting him which I didn’t get.) As someone in this blog keenly noted some time ago this medium isn’t exactly conducive to conveying subtleties and nuance I can readily see how arthur read my post as being in the spirit of an American Colonel Blimp. Hell I can’t stand to even re-read my own because arthur’s right that they *do* come off as caricatures. I have no doubt if we were all sitting down over a beer and I said the same thing arthur and I could go at it with no animus at all, and indeed I now regret my snarky first response to him. arthur is an animated guy who’s provided a good deal of spirit and perspective here before.
    I think we just gotta remember that the medium doesn’t allow us to see the other person’s face, get the full sense of what and how they mean things and why and etc., etc. Plus, remember too that the damn thing is that even though we might be talking about profound things like war and death and etc., we’re still stuck with only our same frail and vulnerable reasoning abilities that we have to apply to the most mundane of things, which can seem to make mistakes or mis-statements or etc. so shocking or insulting or insensitive, no matter how inevitable or unavoidable they may be.
    Cheers, and again, apologies for the snark arthur.

  38. mo says:

    They get those rights by being the people in charge. Thats the way the world works. They were dealt with as the “government” of Afghanistan so they were the de-facto govt.
    And it really doesn’t matter how many cases you present against a suspect or how guilty you believe he is. The US would not demand the UK or France hand over a suspect without presenting evidence of a persons guilt in a court of law. The US at them time did not even attempt to show evidence in the media let alone in court.
    Whether or not they would have acquiesced after being shown evidence is irrelevant.
    but it did indeed in the end turn out we were right? How so?
    The building and construction is not really trying to help the new govt. Its an attempt to win hearts and minds. If you did not, the moment you leave the Taliban will fill the vacuum you leave behind . The schools and hospitals are an attempt to suck away at the support for the Taliban.
    And I’m afraid I regard patronising language such as “you can do better”, “sweetly naive” as obnoxious. We are all grown up here and can make our points without put downs. Although the line the Colonel took offence at was yours, and arthur does make valid points, the style he does it in ruffles feathers (hell Im on his side of the argument and he ruffles mine).

  39. dilbert dogbert says:

    Sorry to do this but someone did it first. I can’t vote for Obama after I learned he fathered a white child out of wedlock.
    Back on topic: Some history I lived thru had things falling apart after the lynch pin, aka the big kahoona died. I remember Stalin, Mao, Tito, Franco, Strossner and maybe even Uncle Ho and Castro so maybe the best defence is to just wait for time and the river flowing to change the state of the world.
    As co-workers used to say don’t do something just stand there.

  40. Charles I says:

    Here’s urgent reporting of a nerve-wracking AQ bombing campaign in Falluja from Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail, sure ain’t no 20 guys in caves those poor saps have to contend with.
    IRAQ: Police Bombings Raise New Fears
    By Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail*
    FALLUJAH, Jul 31 (IPS) – A tense security situation in this volatile city has worsened after some policemen found bombs planted on the roofs of their houses.
    Astonishing attacks have been launched against police leaders during the past weeks in Fallujah, 69 km west of Baghdad, after reports of the U.S. and Iraqi government’s plans to raid active and sleeping militant cells in the city.
    “There were attacks that targeted senior officers, and we thank god they failed and our colleagues are safe,” Major Abdul Aziz of the Fallujah Police told IPS. “Investigations are still ongoing to see who was behind the attacks, and it is too early to point out motives, although they appeared to be of al-Qaeda style.”
    “On Monday morning, Jul. 21, we were startled by an explosion in the house of Colonel Issa al-Issawi, who is known as the leader of the campaign against militants in Fallujah and surroundings house,” Mahmood Hakky, an English language teacher who lives near the colonel told IPS. “To our surprise, the explosion took place on the roof where at least four guards were posted.”
    Hakky said many Fallujah police force leaders arrived to check whether Col. Issawi was safe. In the ensuing chaos he saw two policemen grappling with one another.
    “One of them was warning his colleagues that the other was a suicide attacker, and asking them to take cover. Then another policeman fired towards both of them,” Hakky told IPS. “All of us ran away, and then the second bomb went off. Many policemen were killed and injured in the two blasts. These have again ended our dreams of security.”
    Fallujah residents say they are shocked that one of the bombs was planted on the rooftop of the best-guarded house in the city, and the other was on the body of a policeman who was supposed to guard against bombings.
    Many residents fear that Col. Issawi might now take revenge action carrying out widespread raids and detentions.
    Police officers are among those who suspect Col. Issawi’s credentials. “Col. Issawi has been a police officer for over 20 years, meaning he is one of Saddam Hussein’s officers who agreed to continue although the country was occupied by the Americans,” retired police captain Salim Aziz told IPS. “People of Fallujah know that he helped al-Qaeda, worked with the Islamic Party, and now is the right arm of the American occupation.”
    Col. Issawi works closely with the so-called Awakening Groups, a huge militia comprised largely of former resistance fighters, each paid approximately 300 dollars a month – primarily to not attack occupation forces.
    A U.S. soldier who served in al-Anbar province (where Fallujah is located) during the formation of the Awakening Groups in early 2007 spoke with IPS on condition of anonymity.
    “We knew that many of the members of the Awakening Forces were members of al-Qaeda,” he said. “So of course we didn’t trust them.”
    Some residents of Fallujah believe the bombing against Col. Issawi was a revenge attack by relatives of people executed by the Fallujah police force during early 2007.
    “It was said that about 100 young men were executed inside Fallujah police station by the Awakening militias in January and February 2007. It became clear later that the executioners were Fallujah police leaders following orders issued by the U.S. military from the headquarters next door,” a human rights activist in the city, speaking on terms of anonymity because of the prevailing atmosphere of fear told IPS. “It seems that we Iraqis will all kill each other as long as this U.S. occupation is paying our leaders to widen the gap between us.”
    The other bomb exploded at the gate of the home of Captain Assif Ghazi Youssif, a police intelligence officer, but the two bombs at Assawi’s house grabbed all the attention.
    The U.S.-backed Awakening groups have been accused of corruption and the use of brutal tactics since their inception early 2007. Many Iraqis say they are pleased with some improvements in security in some areas of Iraq, but most continue to fear and distrust these Awakening groups.
    (*Ali, our correspondent in Baghdad, works in close collaboration with Dahr Jamail, our U.S.-based specialist writer on Iraq who travels extensively in the region.) (END/2008)

  41. TomB says:

    mo wrote:
    “The US would not demand the UK or France….”
    But Afghanistan under the Taliban wasn’t the UK or France, and we didn’t have an extradition treaty with Afghanistan. And so I see not a speck of reason in either law (with nobody citing any), nor practice, nor indeed common-sense why we had to pretend there were no qualitative differences between Afghanistan and France or Great Britain. And neither, I think, did the world which is why about the only country I recall bitching about it big-time was that quasar of justice North Korea.
    So in terms of “rights,” yeah I think we did have the “right” to do what we did given the circumstances, just as I think the Taliban had the “right” to resist. And that, I think, is more accurately the way the world works. Certainly I don’t recall anyone moving to express even the mildest exception to what we did in Afghanistan in the U.N. (Which if they had and if it had passed I suspect you would be justifiably citing in support of your position.) But they didn’t.
    Obviously your admirable desire is to see international affairs and relations conducted along the lines of some more legalistic model, but however desirable that may be it simply isn’t the case now very broadly. And nor, in my opinion at least, should it be either given the utter abscence of all the background stuff that makes law valid and work, such as a general consent to same, or independent, reliable enforcement mechanisms. (With the remnants of Rwanda’s Tutsi’s for instance and U.N. General Romeo Dallaire even being willing to testify to just how the U.N. is still falling just a tad behind in that latter department.)
    So no, if say Japan had attacked the U.S. at Pearl Harbor except had done so with unmarked planes and had not owned up to it right away, I don’t think the U.S. was under any obligation to anyone to painstakingly gather evidence to “prove,” via some unidentified way, via some unidentified type of evidence, to some unidentified standard, to some unidentified someone, that Japan did it. Just like we didn’t need to prove to anyone that bin Laden was behind 9/11 before we started whacking him. And indeed even then we didn’t right away and we even gave the Taliban a chance to save themselves by turning him over, so as far as I’m concerned we already went an extra mile there.
    So could we have been a bit more polite with the Taliban? Yeah, sure. But things matter, like the lack of extradition treaties. And things like the fact that bin Laden *did* do it and given that even after he had admitted he did the Taliban *still* tried to protect him so showing what their colors were.
    I kinda see the need to draw a line somewhere, and while I think you can criticize the hell out of your government policies, when someone else starts murdering your civilian countrymen in sneak attacks, that’s mine. So when there is no law restraining your gov’t otherwise and that happens, I don’t see any reason for it to be inviting Mullah Omar over for tea to pretty please reconsider.
    Granted, we might have been proved wrong about bin Laden and 9/11, but granted also, I don’t think the other countries of the world would have had to prove anything to anyone before expressing their displeasure with us in any way they wanted. Just like I think they have done and will continue to do so due to our wrong blundering into Iraq on the basis of non-existent WMD’s. Fair’s fair.
    As to what we’ve done since in Afghanistan if I understand your point it’s to disagree with mine and to contend that no, what we’ve been doing isn’t humanitarian or “noble” at all. And I think we just simply disagree to some undefinable degree. I think our military is more than capable of just standing off and watching the place for signs of an organization big enough to try to strike us again. And I think our policy-makers know that we could have just walked away, let the place dissolve into whatever, and simply told everyone there that if we saw a quark of evidence that anyone there was harboring anyone we though was out to hurt us they’d be meeting us again. So while I have no doubt there is some U.S. self-interest involved, if it was total *all* we’d be doing was whacking at the Taliban and al Queda instead of building schools and hospitals and roads and etc. And so again I do think there is at least some genuine noble sentiment mixed in there, the same as with what we did for Japan and Germany after WWII. Not total, maybe even misguided, but some.

  42. Clifford Kiracofe says:

    PS in its American Behavioral Science mode is indeed destructive. I agree. So are some other “disciplines” whether Marxist-ized or not. Boucher’s “economic” training would have political implications IMO: economic man is political man. “Capitalism” means “freedom” means “paradise on earth” and a new “Middle East and North Africa” in some state of “birth pains.” Sort of gnostic.
    Political Scientist Condi Rice was the student of Madeleine Albright’s father, Joseph Korbel (Koerbel), an opportunist Czech diplomat. Albright was a protege of Zbig Brzezinski who advises Obama….so….???
    Unfortunately, the American Behavioral Science mode has infected the teaching of PS, and International Relations, around the world.
    I agree that Durkheim and Weber are problems and the quotes I used indicate how these foreign influences were assimilated into American PS. Neocons like Weber as well as Nietzsche etal.
    There are pockets of resistance. As the US declines, given the moral and intellectual degradation and delusional nature of the ruling policymaking elite, those in the foreign realm may accelerate their rejection of behavioral science based American PS and return to reality based education informed by their own cultures.
    For example, Chinese and Indian scholars may well look more toward their own history and culture for insight into the study of politics. More so now as they are emerging major powers. My contacts with Chinese and Indian military, diplomats, and scholars suggest this to me. Similarly, this appears to be the case in the Arab and Muslim worlds from contacts with whom I have spoken.
    One Chinese scholar, with the PLA for many decades, told me that in addition to Sun Tzu there are a number of most interesting Chinese military thinkers, particularly from the Tang period. But they have not been translated so Westerners are not familiar with them. A retired Indian general gave me a fascinating and eye-opening picture of Kautalya and his Arthashastra. They did not hold American PS, or foreign policy, in high regard from what I could tell.
    For my undergraduate students who are interested in government work and foreign areas, I recommend an area studies approach emphasizing history and languages-culture plus study abroad for a semester or more. They can then make decisions as to their future course of study and career. Behavioral based PS is corrosive, IMO, and a waste of the student’s time and some if not many students recognize this.

  43. Andy says:

    Mo & TomB,
    The US held dozens of secret meetings and talks with the Taliban about turning over UBL which began in 1996 after the fall of Kabul. Way back then the US believed the Taliban could be a force for positive change in Afghanistan and engaged the Taliban on a host of issues, including UBL and other terrorist groups residing in Afghanistan. The Taliban claimed then they didn’t know where UBL was.
    After the embassy bombings in 1998, there were a couple of years of negotiations with the Taliban to try to get them to give up UBL. Even Bill Richardson (New Mexico Governor and former Presidential candidate) traveled to Afghanistan and met with the Taliban about UBL. The Taliban at that time denied UBL was under their control or that he represented a threat to the US. At other times, the Taliban would deny they knew where UBL was.
    UBL was later indicted for the embassy bombings and the evidence was shown to the Taliban. After the embassy bombings, and the resultant cruise missile strikes, the Taliban was also told that the US would hold it responsible for any more terrorist attacks. But the US continued to try to negotiate with the Taliban to get UBL through diplomatic outreach. The implied promise throughout these talks was to trade US diplomatic recognition of the Taliban in exchanged for UBL.
    The Taliban did not turn UBL over, nor did it curtail his self-declared war against the US, nor did it curtail his political activities and media campaign, which the Taliban had promised way back in 1996. It appeared the Taliban had not only failed to place any sort of limitation on UBL’s activities, but also supported him personally and his activities throughout this time period.
    So 2001 rolls around and 9/11. At that point, after five years of attempted engagement with the Taliban on UBL, the US was, justifiably IMO, in no mood to diplomatically dance any longer with the Taliban on the issue of UBL. The Taliban had it’s chance. It was shown evidence of UBL involvement in the murder of Americans and it had been implicitly offered political legitimacy – all to no avail.
    And this was just the US effort, for the Saudi’s (one of the few countries that recognized the Taliban diplomatically) also tried to convince the Taliban to turn UBL over to the US.
    So I think it’s doubtful, at best, that any amount of evidence for UBL’s complicity in the 9/11 attacks would have been sufficient for the Taliban to relent after all the previous failed attempts.
    There remains some debate as to why the Taliban chose the course they did and some have speculated that the Taliban was more dependent on UBL than UBL was dependent on the Taliban, and to give him up and have the Taliban survive the repercussions was simply impossible. Others have suggested that the Taliban and UBL were more like brothers and had grown so close that to break with UBL would have been the equivalent of betraying a beloved brother. Either way, additional evidence of UBL involvement in 9/11 would not have changed either of these dynamics.

  44. mo says:

    I think the simple difference between us is that you believe the US has a right to do what it wants if other people don’t do what they are told and I do not; especially when so many countless innocents have to die so you can practice your “rights”.
    And I fear you don’t get the whole vicious circle of people like Bin Laden using US foreign policy to brainwash young men to commit desperate acts, and US reaction to such acts feeding his propaganda.
    You really believe that if you attacked and walked away (and walked away from what exactly, since the US has still to achieve anything like a win there) and threatened to come back that that would really scare people? It doesn’t. The stick of the US military has doesn’t have the fear factor to groups like this that it does to nation states. They just get smarter and better equipped.

  45. TomB says:

    mo wrote:
    “I think the simple difference between us is that you believe the US has a right to do what it wants if other people don’t do what they are told and ….”
    No I don’t mo, not even to a rough degree . Neither that nor the other opinions you’ve perceived me to hold either. I think you’re just over-extrapolating, understandably enough.

  46. The RAND Study is pure crap, worthless in every way:
    And without the U.S. Marines, Anbar wouldn’t have been won. Force projection is the key.

  47. Pvt. Keepout says:

    The US declared war aim in invading was to remove SH’s government and the threat to the US of his supposed WMD. We did that.
    The insurgencies have been defeated by the means I described.
    A few more wars won like this and we’re finished.

  48. Patrick Lang says:

    What’s your point? Think your wars through better in advance? I’d vote for that. pl

  49. Cold War Zoomie says:

    The RAND Study is pure crap, worthless in every way.
    Well, that’s cleared up.
    Next topic please.

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