Tuesday, January 24, 2006

The cart without the horse

FOX News is reporting that up to a third of the UN peacekeeping budget is tainted by corruption, according to an internal UN report which they obtained. 

The focus of the current scandal is U.N. peacekeeping, a function that consumes 85 percent of the U.N.'s procurement budget — a cost that could reach $2 billion in 2005. Like many of the U.N.'s financial dealings, it is shrouded in secrecy. And like the multi-billion-dollar Oil-for-Food scandal, it is wrapped in what the U.N.'s own investigators now call "systematic abuse," "a pattern of corrupt practices," and "a culture of impunity."

In all, U.N. investigators have charged that nearly one-third of the $1 billion in major U.N. procurement contracts that they examined involved waste, corruption or other irregularities — $298 million in all. And that total covered slightly less than one-third of the $3.2 billion in major supply contracts that the U.N. has signed in the past five years.

You'd think there was peacekeeping money to burn and then some. But there isn't. The Demagogue, quoting a UN Press Release, notes that the African Union peacekeeping mission is Darfur is running out of money. Kofi Annan is asking them to hold on until the UN can find the authority and means to take over.

As I mentioned last week, the AU says it will run out of fund for its mission in Darfur in March. Given the Security Council's reluctance to deal with Darfur, any eventual hand-over to UN troops probably wouldn't even happen this year. So Annan is basically asking member nations to start fully-funding the AU mission so that they can hang on long enough to transfer the mission over to the UN.

The only silver lining to this apparently bad news is that Sudan is slated to take over the African Union. Transferring authority to the UN would avoid putting the fox in charge of the henhouse. But if absurdities have long been the stock in trade of international diplomacy the world is no longer being allowed to forget the joke. Interested readers can visit the Rwandan Survivor blog, a site dedicated to perpetuating the memory of those who died during an earlier UN Peacekeeping attempt. Here's one sample story.

We were a happy family ... On 6 April, we made our way to the Ecole Technique Officielle (ETO), where some people had already sought refuge with the UN. We had protection and felt safe, but on 11 April, the UN troops drove away. As they left, the Interahamwe and government soldiers came. ... They made us run. Some people were praying, others singing. As we ran, some people were hacked with machetes ... I remember my oldest sister asking Mum if we would see each other when we got to Heaven. Mum didn't say anything; she was overwhelmed. Father kept on giving us hope that nothing would happen. ... They kept on going, hacking people. People were crying, calling for their mothers, shouting out, close to death. Eventually they realized it was too dark and left.

In a way the Rwandan Survivor stories should be admitted as evidence exonerating anyone accused of stealing from the UN Peacekeeping budget. There can be no harm in stealing from an already useless enterprise. Which is not to say that one should be callous to the human tragedies which overtake well-meaning individuals trying to make a difference in the Third World -- Eight UN Troops Died in Democratic Republic of the Congo Ambush and Amnesty International Workers were detained while operating in the Sudan; but it's necessary to realize that the international institutions for dealing with collapsing societies don't work. The problem is structural and finding a few hundred million dollars more won't help.

One would hope that the US could do better. And while it can, it too is groping for an effective means of stopping disasters that are fermenting in dysfunctional societies. Marc Ruel Gerecht has a long piece in the Weekly Standard half-filled with optimism and half-sunken with foreboding ("as in badness is happening right now") about Iran. He begins by saying that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is God's curse upon appeasers.

Let us state the obvious: The new president of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is a godsend. ... The unexpected election this past June of President Ahmadinejad, whom the Europeans didn't see coming (neither did the State Department or the Central Intelligence Agency), annihilated the essential cosmetics of the EU-3 dialogue with Iran. ... For the Europeans, Ahmadinejad has made it difficult--certainly unseemly--to offer Tehran more carrots to halt its fuel-cycle research. That had been the European approach ... Trade deals, World Bank loans, membership in the World Trade Organization, a bit of sympathetic anti-American rhetoric from the French and Germans, and other incentives were meant to stimulate in Tehran rational self-interest. ... the Europeans certainly wanted to try to bribe the clerical regime, and they wanted the Americans to be prepared to offer some lucrative and strategically appealing "grand bargain."

Except Ahmadinejad was not interested in bribery; he wasn't interested in anything but playing out his own apocalyptic script. And despite the demonstrated futility of bribery, diplomats in the absence of an alternative will continue to recycle the contents of their paltry bag of tricks simply because they have no other cards to play. Gerecht continues:

It's a very good bet that the U.S. officials now running America's Iran policy would rather see the clerics go nuclear than deal with the world the day after Washington begins bombing Iran's atomic-weapons and ballistic-missile facilities. ... And is there any reason American covert action against clerical Iran essentially doesn't exist? According to intelligence officials, Langley has a little under 200 officers on its operational Iran desk and around 40 analysts working full-time on the Islamic Republic. What in the world are they doing? According to CIA officers in the Near East Division, the agency had more Iranian assets 20 years ago than it does today, and it used far fewer officers. (And I can say from firsthand experience, the Iran operational units then were bloated.) The CIA is, without a doubt, the most overstuffed national-security bureaucracy in Washington. Somebody in the White House and Congress really ought to take CIA director Porter Goss aside and do a bang-for-the-buck audit of what Langley is doing against Iran. According to one CIA case officer in the Near East Division, there's not even a presidential covert-action finding "that would allow us to sh--in the country." The agency will never again become okay at covert action unless it tries. CA work is like a muscle. With exercise, it gains definition, endurance, and strength.


Perhaps one of the reasons the US adopted the military approach against terrorism and struck at targets amenable to the application of force was that it was obliged to use the only instruments of national power which reliably worked. They had a bureaucratic repertoire which in any case was all they could play. All the talk about "nuanced" or "sophisticated" approaches evaded the fact that there were no effective policy instruments between a diplomatic note and sending in the Marines. After you composed a nuanced and literary diplomatic demarche there was nothing left but to order in the Third Infantry Division. If American society really wanted the capability to covertly upend mentally disturbed dictators it would take the trouble to build up the mechanism to do it. Instead, General Michael Hayden, former director of the National Security Agency recently had to explain before a hostile audience at the National Press Club why it was necessary to wiretap Al Qaeda. Nobody in that audience really cares that there are only 40 analysts and 200 operational officers deployed against Iran. Nobody is going to "take CIA director Porter Goss aside and do a bang-for-the-buck audit of what Langley is doing against Iran" because there are politicians and journalists in abundance who would rather investigate him if he tried. The UN, the Europeans and the US each have a paradigm problem in attempting to confront the dysfunction in the Third World. The structures don't exist to provide the necessary solution, though in the end men like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad may compel a belated and painful evolution.


Blogger Mətušélaḥ said...

Better to send the military to do the job. The rest are just a sad joke.

1/24/2006 03:51:00 AM  
Blogger Meme chose said...

The long term threat posed by Iran is that we may have to get directly involved in the Third World, instead of sending them checks, UN peacekeepers and other surrogates for hands on involvement.

The plain and basically unsurprising fact is that we really, really do not want to have to do this. Having had some exposure I elected not to spend my career there, and I don't expect my kids will look on the opportunity differently.

1/24/2006 05:17:00 AM  
Blogger enscout said...

The dysfunction you speak of in the third world also metastacizes within the bureaucracies of the first world.

Truman wanted to abolish the CIA after the war. Lucky for us then that he didn't given the need during the cold war. What it needs now is a good house-cleaning. Dubya should designate an appointee to do just that.

Absent any empowered oversight the bureaucracies become bloated and lethargic. The analogy of exercized muscle is apt but any agency still needs courageous leaders to maintain discipline and accountability. Be they the UN, CIA, DoD, etc.

An effective covert force inside Iran could do more to topple the unpopular regime there than a military incursion.

Will probably see a NATO blockade as a first action there unless Russia and China agree to UNSC sanctions. (I don't know how much I believe that but I thought I would throw it out there).

1/24/2006 05:21:00 AM  
Blogger Brendan said...

Leadership sometimes requires the leader to stand alone. Who is willing to stand alone against a rogue state with near WMD capability? The europeans cannot even stand - they have no power to project the necessary force. The Chinese make deals from the other side of the world. The Russians watch and wait. The Israeli's game words vs. deeds and find themselves with no quarter or moral ground after a preemptive strike. Iran will acquire nuclear capabilities. The Western calculus of war is post-mortem.

1/24/2006 06:02:00 AM  
Blogger Papa Bear said...

We currently do have covert-action capability. It just happens to all seem to be within DoD's Special Operations Command. The military's intelligence people also seem to have been taking over a lot of what the CIA would have been expected to do in Iraq.

The Soviets had competition between the KGB and the GRU (military intellegence), with each trying to out-do the other. For a communist country, they did have an appreciation of the value of competition.

Conversely, the US govt seems to love central planning in whatever it does. The response to any fiasco is to appoint a Czar over it all.

Perhaps what we need is a bit of decentralization. When the CIA gives the President its analysis, he should be able to get a second opinion from military intelligence. And if the CIA doesn't shape up, then he has the option of mass layoffs in the departments involved, and shifting over personnel from units that DO have a track record of giving good predictions.

1/24/2006 06:05:00 AM  
Blogger CatoRenasci said...

We are certainly paying for the Democrats' dismantling of our covert capabilities in the aftermath of Vietnam, and for the fecklessness of Jimmy Carter's foreign policy in every respect.

Perhaps the Democratic party needs to be engaged directly and the choices they have left the US with made very clear to the American people: either acquiesence in Iranian acquiring (and probably using) nuclear weapons or war to prevent them from so doing.

Having done everything to use diplomacy that the Democrats would recommend, they need to be asked the hard question. If diplomacy fails - either because of open defiance or an Iranian test or even an announcement they have the bomb - how do the Democrats propose we respond?

If they're not willing to go to war then, they're simply not serious about national security. (Which I believe is and has been the case since 1968)

If they are willing to go to war then, when Iran has the ability to retailate and/or cause mass casualties in Israel or the West, why are they not willing to go to war now, before the Iranians have the capacity for such mischief? Again, they are simply not serious.

Unfortunately, the world is a serious place, and we must take serious decisions. If there is no referral to the UN in February, we should be prepared to act unilaterally.

1/24/2006 06:31:00 AM  
Blogger Karridine said...

"Referral to the UN in February"?

For the record, perhaps, and to show later that "we really tried, honest we did..."

But Wretchard just began his essay with a recounting of the systemic decay, corruption and endemic disease riddling the UN, not to mention the UN's obvious incompetence!

"We are not killing you to GET something from you. You have nothing we want. Everything of yours is dirty and bad in the eyes of Allah. We are killing you to eliminate you!" al-Qaeda spokesman

Iran will suffer mightily, near future.

1/24/2006 07:02:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Dysfunction does not reside in just the Third World. It lives in Washington ans NYC, as well. In Foggy Bottom, within the Pentagon and on the shores of Turtle Bay.

No matter the Agency or Department the bureaucratic infighting render their performance less than optimal.

Read trish's link a few thread back of Soldier as Historian, the incompetence of Amry Commanders is amazing. Delta Force operator's on site intel was dismissed, as it did not fit the "Plan", for Opertion Anaconda.

Those pesky enemy were not where they were suppossed to be or in the numbers projected. Well did the Army adapt, oh no, they followed the original plan, it had taken so long to develop, had involved so many meetings, it would have been unbureaucratic for a Commander to change it.
Lives lost and the Objectives unmet.

There is no support for Overt action in Iran amongst the Public that I know, none at all.
Iraq has been so mismanaged, drawn out for so long, that there is no taste for another course of that meal.

We have had three years to prep for this Iranian Challenge, three years to build an Insurgent Force, three years to run cross border Ops. Hope we have, doubt it though.

Past performance is a future indicator, regardless of hopes for improvement.

Osama will, in the end, come back to bite US on the ass. Then no one will care how many years of 'safety' there were between strikes.

The War should be in Warizistan, where there Enemy resides and is but a coup away from 48 nuclear warheads.
The Mohammedan centrifuges have already spun. It just that, as in Anaconda, reality does not fit the plan, so we continue, as planned.

1/24/2006 07:10:00 AM  
Blogger Bigger Diggler said...

"Peacekeeping" is a philosophy that is highly dubious in concept, and cannot withstand even cursory examination and analysis.

War has winners and losers, unfortunately. Just like the legal situation. You start an unjust war and the severe consequence should be the utter and total ruin of your society. Japan and Germany each lost an unjust war that they initiated.

Peacekeeping is the aborted stepchild of the Israeli-Arab conflicts, starting with the Suez crisis. It was a way to make the Arabs feel okay about their overwhelming, crushing defeats when they unwisely attacked Israel over and over again. There is no way to make them feel better about their losses, and their stupidity, both militarily and philosphically. Pan Arabism is an utterly useless, untenable solution to the drastic crisis of Islam. The UN has tried, but has caused the Arab hatred and dysfunction to only fester and metastasize.

The moral solution to this "crisis" is simply to allow the Arabs to experience overwhelming, utter, catastrophic defeat with no safety net and a worldwide repudiation of their pathological bankruptcy theories.

Thus Peacekeeping prevents a moral outcome to any conflict.

1/24/2006 07:12:00 AM  
Blogger NN said...

Wonder how many disasters and corruption scandals Kofi "the voice" Annan's name will be attached to before people see him for what he is. His is as near a real halo any man can get. Ahmadinejad has something to learn from St. Annan, Grandmaster of Hypocrisy.

It is said that the world (the Bush administration) suffers from cognitive Alzheimer's. Diplomatic rounds must be joined, the UN is the absolute manifestation of morality on earth, and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process must be allowed to succeed. There is no yesterday and no future. Watching this is like going to a concert of classical music. Certain points in the program must be heeded. The soloist must be called in and the audience has to give a standing ovation. Only this show has none of the pleasures of Beethoven or Chopin. And remember that classical music is a dead art form.

1/24/2006 07:14:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

big dig,

I am not sure of the morality of that solution, but the practicality of it gets my vote.

Samck 'em pretty hard, take their best stuff, break the rest and start anew.

It'd keep 'em in line for a hundred years or so.

1/24/2006 07:21:00 AM  
Blogger summignumi said...

Three points here;
1. Let’s face it, UN membership is majority “non-freedom” lov’n, the west bankrolls the corruption and the UN gives tyrants voice they would not normally have, I think the US should walk away from the UN, kick’n them out of our land, tell’n next time they see the USA will be from the wrong end of a rifle! I don’t think that would be the smartest thing to do. That would be to start an institution of nations with the similar governments and goals that would compete directly with the UN, in fact its first primary mission would to put the UN out of business, promote democracy and international trade.
2. USA really needs to kick the sh!t out of IRAN, not because we hate’m not because every body there is bad, because a lesson needs to be taught to the class, the class is all those that want to do bad things, like China, Russia, NK, Syria, and others, the US needs to show that it ain’t afraid of who’s doing what with who behind closed doors and if you think they can protect you they better think harder about it. It is really our only choice because we certainly can’t get it done thru the CIA or State Dept. there both useless, at least right now and for the next several years.
3. since the 80s I’ve wonder why anybody would want to really be a Director of CIA, I mean, its like ya said “because there are politicians and journalists in abundance who would rather investigate” you if you tried to be a real spy agency, So I always figured the people that wanted to be Director of the CIA were just there to collect the paycheck and make sure nobody really did any spying because it would make your boss unhappy (i.e. president) and I was right!

1/24/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Westhawk said...

Wretchard is correct when he laments that U.S. policy makers have no options between a diplomatic demarche and the U.S. Third Infantry Division (Mechanized).

However, a small, discrete covert action is also not a realistic solution for the Iranian problem. Iran's theocratic government does not enjoy majority popular support, but its support in the country is widespread and well-established; a palace coup won't remove the problem.

The West does require a regime change in Iran as a permanent solution to the Iranian threat, but regime change will require a sustained rebellion inside Iran, something that will more closely resemble a civil war. The U.S. and the West could support a "covert action" like this, but it would look more like the multi-year, multi-billion dollar support for the Afghan resistance in the 1980s, only larger.

We discussed some issues to consider along these line in our post,

Waiting for the revolution.


1/24/2006 08:00:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The God’s Must Be Crazy
It is absurd that Sudan might take over the chairmanship of the AU, next month. But no more so than being a member in good standing on the UN Commission on Human Rights. Also in the club:

Sierra Leone
Saudi Arabia

According to Joanna Weschler, UN Representative of Human Rights Watch;
“This is a rogues' gallery of human rights abusers. A country's human rights record should be the single most important factor in whether or not it joins the commission. An abusive country cannot honestly pass judgment on other abusive countries.”

HWR also criticizes the selection of Sudanese president Omar al-Bashir for the leadership of the AU. This is significant criticism from an organization that is an open critic of the Bush administration. At least they seem to be able to keep their charter in sight.

If the monies that the American tax payer contributes to a culture of corruption and abuse, let’s do it right and pay off people directly to do our bidding. And forget about secrecy, we can demand with the openness and transparency, that is expected of all democratic societies, that when we say that the Secretary General has bought off, he will be expected to stay bought off.

1/24/2006 08:03:00 AM  
Blogger Kelly said...

Somewhat OT, but the opening of the post makes me wonder: is the culture of corruption of the UN, unacceptable by Western standards, more of a lowest common denominator, a bad-practices-drives-out-good thing, or an average of the various member states? Is the UN basically as corrupt as, or less than, say, Nigeria or Indonesia? That is, are there places where UN officials might be the responsible actors? And if so, what replacement mechanisms might be used to help/force the world's worst states to gradually clean up their act?

1/24/2006 08:22:00 AM  
Blogger Doug Santo said...

After reading Reuel Marc Gerecht’s piece in The Weekly Standard the appropriateness of the term “Foggy Bottom” is sharply focused. It also puts to rest any notion that career bureaucratic “experts” should direct American foreign policy. Important events in the world often turn on the actions of one or two people. The hinge-of-fate in this instance is President Bush.

The President has already demonstrated his ability to act decisively and often in defiance of the generally accepted opinion of the Foggy Bottom experts. I believe the President will do likewise in this instance. The current policy of multilateral diplomacy with the EU3 and hopefully the UN seems just right. But, any failure of nerve now by the EU or UN should be quickly rebuked by the US (at least in private) and America should assume the overt lead in direction of the crisis. If our current partners are capable of holding the line, economic sanctions backed by US/coalition blockade of Iranian trade stands a good chance of success.

Contrary to Reuel Marc Gerecht’s notion that Iran controls the time frame of the crisis, I believe America does. Contrary to the canard advanced by skeptics that Iran controls the Straights of Hormuz and therefore the safe passage of 40% of the Worlds’ oil reserves, I believe that America does, or maybe it is more correct to say that America can control the Straights within weeks of a decision to do so.

We hold the cards. We can quickly take control of the direction and pace of events when to do so is beneficial to our cause. Every effort must be made to solve this crisis without employing force. At the same time, American power is our strongest hand. The clearly implied threat of American military intervention should be on the table at all discussions. If it becomes necessary to use force, we must not shy away from this decision. This is a critical point in world affairs. How we act now will direct the course of Middle East history for years to come and later generations will judge our actions without the Democratic political nonsense currently in Washington and the national press.

I have confidence the President will act accordingly.

Doug Santo
Pasadena, CA

1/24/2006 08:24:00 AM  
Blogger Citizen Duck said...

Reality is the story you tell yourself.

And that's true, to a certain extent. There can be some degree of incongruence between your internal belief system and reality that still allows you to function successfully. In fact, it is probable that no one's apprehension of reality is a direct one-to-one correspondence between their mental map of it and its objective existence.

This makes sense to some degree. I recently have been experiencing this myself after the death of two family members in quick succession. The ability of the mind to adapt to such stressful and sorrowful circumstances is truly amazing, and the probable primordial impulse that leads to religion as a pillar of human existence.

However, this tendency can be foolhardy, destructive, and even downright suicidal if taken to an extreme, especially if it is by those who wield political power and influence.

Western Europe's imposition of a mental map in which all heads of states are essentially rational, geostrategic-driven beings who can be dealt with in a rational and geostrategic manner seems to be to be nothing short of just such a foolhardy and destructive strategy.

For all their blather about being a more nuanced, sophisticated set of cultures with a long and rich set of histories, they seem to have forgotten the futility of appeasing tyrants of a genocidal bent, preferring instead to cling to their 'America is a terrorist nation' fetish.

The following of that particular mental map, in conjunction with the 'rational actor' map, is going to lead to a great deal of pain and suffering in the long run.

1/24/2006 08:27:00 AM  
Blogger RWE said...

The D.C. establishment simply is bureaucratically terrified of anything to do with Iran.
Jimmy Carter tried appeasement and it resulted in the taking of the hostages. He then tried a military operation that was a disaster.
The Reagan Admin tried the Iran-Contra deal - which was a success with U.S. hostages freed, Iran better able to resist Saddam, and the Communists in Central America undermined as well - and today that success is still regarded as a horrible scandal. Preventing Iranian interferrence with Persian Gulf oil commerce was a success, too - but resulted in the shootdown of an Iranian airliner due entirely to the Iran's own flaming total incompetance - and another black eye for the U.S.
The first Bush Admin tried sidling up to Iranian "moderates" - and was "outed" and ridiculed for it by those same people.
The Clinton Admin tried looking the other way when the Iranians sent military aid (i.e., terrorists) to the Muslims in Yugoslavia - and was crticized for that, too.
So, everyone has gotten whacked for everything they have tried relative to Iran - and so they have decided to do nothing.

Meanwhile, an Iranian woman quoted in the LA Times said in the run-up to OIF: "I wish they would get that business in Iraq finished so they could get on with invading us."
Sorry, lady, we might eventually blow y'all up, but there is no way we are going to give you the Iraqi treatment.

1/24/2006 09:19:00 AM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...


Do you mean send the military for covert ops? If so, I believe you are correct.

Who but the military has the training for possibly "hot" ops inside an aggressor country? The CIA? I think not, but am reasonably ignorant of CIA Ops training. I assume their focus is on asset development rather than situational reconnoiter. To prepare for the war that no one wants, military data is needed first, not asset development. Asset development is required to pave the way for the inevitable military strike.

A mistake by military intelligence would be assumed to be a mistake of strength, not so with a CIA asset development mistake. An asset development mistake would be only seen as "business as usual" - not the message we want/need to send the mullahs.

Mistakes will be made. The American press can be counted on.

1/24/2006 09:44:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

As you so well note, the natives have been indoctrinated by the Powell Doctrine.
We break it, we pay.

Amzing attitude from a historical perspective.

Aside from the post modern idea that perpetual conflict on a "managable" level is prefered to a desisive victory.

Vidtory in the Mohammedan Wars, it is claimed by our Leaders, is a nearly impossible feat, one that will, according to their Plan, take decades to obtain.

No wonder our Opponents are not worried, while our Public dispairs.

Well past time for a better plan.

1/24/2006 09:48:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

The CIA has a long history of deploying ‘paramilitary’ operators into conflicts. To witness, they were the first to engage the enemy in Afghanistan through their extensive contacts in Afghanistan. Notably, they were already in Afghanistan on 9-11. Although they are known to develop assets for the collection of information, espionage, they recruit retired special forces types frequently for covert operations. Non-uniformed combatants, sometimes from the United States, sometimes not, but always professional soldiers who go into harms way, and in a pinch, often, have no one to help them.

1/24/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

I see the US diplomatic efforts concerning the very worrying Iranian nuclear activity as mainly a canard. The Iranians have sleepers cells staged in Iraq ready to go at some ayatolla's orders. That's their real secret weapon (not half developed unweaponized nuclear explosives).

The Iraqis need at least a year to get their new government in order, fully suppress the current Sunni / al Qaeda terrorist activity and build up their military to deal with Iranian sleepers. Only after Iraq is ready do we have the option of going after the Iranians (which we should definitely do).

The diplomatic nonsense is simply eye candy for the Europeans, the MSM and our own liberals.

1/24/2006 10:08:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

But, eggplant, just shy of half the Iraqi Government is an Iranian Sleeper Cell, to hear some tell the tale.

I know "for sure" about Imam Sadr and his group's 40 some seats in the Parliment. Well, maybe not, are his guys asleep, or do they just have theri eyes closed?

1/24/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The UN was supposed to be a place where great powers discussed and debated context. It was designed to create stalemate; its hope was inertia. It was meant as a rebuke to entropy, for it flowed from the minds of men who had so recently been abused by the features of this chaotic world.

The idea was this: agreement on context and its characterization would only manifest if the system itself was threatened. Otherwise, conflicting interests would guarantee conflicting perceptions; the world would turn, but we, by the grace of God, would stand still.

They worried about the sky falling, so they created an Atlas. But they forgot about the seasons, and they neglected their gardens. And the world moved on.

Tony Judt's "Postwar" speaks of the forces behind the EU, how the institutions of the social security state came not from young utopians staring boldly into the future, but from aged men of resignation and melancholy, whose minds remembered an earlier era and a recent rape, whose hearts sought a return to Eden. They wanted to restore everything that had been taken away by this cruel world--by its cruel God. They wanted their innocence back, and if they couldn't have it for themselves, they would impose it on their children.

They sought a world without evil, and ended with a world without God. They sought to eliminate Pride and War, and in the bargain lost Shame and Strength. They built their ceiling strong, to weather any storm, but the floor began rotting beneath them.

Europe is dying from a crisis of faith. The body is strong, but the soul has withered.

From Francis Bacon:

They that deny a God destroy man's nobility, for certainly man is of kin to the beasts by his body, and if he be not of kin to God by his spirit, he is a base and ignoble creature. And soon that is all he is.

It destroys likewise magnanimity, and the raising of human nature. Only then does aid become burden, charity become graft, and peacekeeping become slaughter.

Therefore, as atheism is in all respects hateful, so in this, that it depriveth human nature of the means to exalt itself above human frailty. Soon it is human frailty itself that is exalted; victims become celebrated, and vices become virtues. Baseness becomes the new nobility...

Well, these men of resignation got what they wanted in Europe. They choked up the apple, alright, but knowledge of evil was not all they lost.

If you want to know sadness, it is this: if (if!) we keep the faith, we will keep it alone.

1/24/2006 10:15:00 AM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Great post, Aristides. Loss of faith in a higher power is an understandable casualty of the 20th century hundred year war.

Restoration may be impossible, until that lost faith becomes intolerable, until something comes that is worse than anything seen yet.

Of course, whatever causes loss of faith, could not do so if the faith was true in the beginning. What is lost has to be something less profound--the meaning of the word itself, perhaps..

maybe the first thought of 'intitlement' is the apple--as if, we can't give ourselves title, or a title, because there's none in Nature to take it from. We have to create it, and if we do, then it better be in order to offer everyman that of which Francis Bacon speaks.

No, not saying that a B-52 is the voice of God. Or, maybe I am saying that. Dunno, don't want to sound crazy here, but....

1/24/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger david bennett said...

The Reagan Admin tried the Iran-Contra deal - which was a success with U.S. hostages freed, Iran better able to resist Saddam, and the Communists in Central America undermined as well - and today that success is still regarded as a horrible scandal.

The terrorists in Lebanon quickly took the exact same number of US hostages they'd held.

Breaking it's vow not to deal with terrorists was not a success here.

Note this were the people responsible for blowing up an embassy and a Marine barracks.

And after the story came to light Saddam's air force "accidently" struck a US destroyer.

Certainly many of the terrorists consider the entire episode an example of weakness.

Though I think this is hopeless I would like to remind people that this is a serious issue in which members of both parties do both stupid and good things. To blame the intelligence problem on Carter is to say that despite 8 years of Reagon and 9 years of various Bush's along with congressional control in the last 3 years that the Republicans remain essentially incompetent to make the reforms so obvious and simple to many here.

I find this helplessness and "victomology" to be as prevalent in much of the right as in some of the more irritating cliques of the left.

In the late thirties and early forties a Democratic president rapidly reconfigured the system to respond to a threat. Another Democratic president reversed the demobilization in the late forties and early fifties to respond to another threat.

But some Republicans here say that we are helpless because of Jimmy Carter. Especially when the Church committee held it's hearings before Carter was elected. Like wage and price controls or even/odd gas rationing it occured during a Republican watch.

1/24/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Concur with your analysis, ‘cept that most Republicans hold Carter in deep contempt for the weakness that he showed the world during his presidency, and again in the skybox with Michael Moore. Carter could not hold a candle to the likes of FDR, JFK, or for that matter LBJ. Most the American people supported them too.

1/24/2006 11:45:00 AM  
Blogger Eggplant said...

Desert Rat said:

"But, eggplant, just shy of half the Iraqi Government is an Iranian Sleeper Cell, to hear some tell the tale. I know "for sure" about Imam Sadr and his group's 40 some seats in the Parliment. Well, maybe not, are his guys asleep, or do they just have theri eyes closed?"

I agree with Desert Rat that Muqtada al-Sadr and his crew are Iranian agents. However IMHO al-Sadr is not very intelligent and can be removed when the time is ripe.

As we at Belmont Club know, Iraqi politics can be very complex. In Iraq, the tribe can trump national affiliation. Ethnicity can trump religious affiliation. Religion trumps almost everything else.

The strongest power in the Shiite religion is NOT the Iranian mullahs but actually Ali al-Sistani. Ali al-Sistani is of Arab descent, born in Iran but lives in Iraq. The US was able to stop Muqtada al-Sadr's little power ploy in Najaf because al-Sistani gave us the go ahead. The Iranian mullahs would probably like to assassinate al-Sistani but wouldn't dare. Obviously we would like Muqtada al-Sadr to have a fatal accident but haven't arranged it yet because someone brighter might take his place.

This stuff is very subtle. The Iraqis will take care of it themselves once they get their act together. However the greatest fear of the mullahs in Iran is the Iraqis will get their act together. Our challenge is to grant the Iraqis time to get their act together. Balancing this need for delay against the very real threat of a nuclear Iran is the fundamental question concerning our Iranian policy.

1/24/2006 11:52:00 AM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...


Absolutely. The idea that "root-cause analysis" is anything but political fodder for the chattering class is our bitter pill that must be swallowed and put behind us.

Actual planners and executors of those plans are rare -and rarely trained. It seems to be a gift indeed to find anyone that doesn't stop at the "not-so-perfect" plans first error and point fingers at the planners. As if starting over is the new best plan. Perpetual churn is all that is derived. Then again, it does serve a purpose, doesn't it?

1/24/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

Points worth thinking about.
I would only add that there WAS still the Soviet Union to put in the equation, no trivial matter.
...and as RWE pointed out in the last thread, the fall of the Soviets was squandered by the election of Clinton/Albright, et al.
Mouse comments on Carter are spot on, certainly hope you would not try to defend Carter and Clinton as worthy of being in the same league as almost any Presidents in living memory.
Big Dig, 'Rat, and RWE point to a truth that has been and will always be with us:
Peace, temporary though it might be, comes from victory.
All the rest is some version or other of
"The End of History," & etc.

1/24/2006 11:58:00 AM  
Blogger Doug said...

An accurate read of history is always a worthwhile pursuit, however, and does not have to descend into whining and fingerpointing.
That said, Clinton and Carter were losers of the first order.
(Are they even really on "our" side???)
Depends on the meaning of "our," I suppose.

1/24/2006 12:03:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Mike Ledeen, Trish's favorite analyst, has a very upbeat take.
Read the whole thing.
A Weakening GripAmmar Abdulhamid, a Syrian blogger presently in the United States, summed up the intent of the two leaders as follows:

And so it happened just like we knew it would.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad has just announced the formation of new alliance including Syria, Iran, rejectionist Palestinian groups, and Shia factions in Lebanon (in other words: Hezbollah).
The die seems to have finally been cast.
The Shia Crescent has just been formalized and reconfigured into a living and breathing entity, with its own network of supports from among the secular nationalist movements and extremist Sunni groups, which simply have no other means of support at this stage.
The Iranians are concerned at signs of cracks in the edifice of the Assad regime, and are at pains to remind the Syrians that the destinies of the two tyrannical regimes are closely linked, and they must continue to make a common front against the destabilizing revolutionary forces unleashed on the region by the United States. Assad is now famously under pressure from unexpectedly honest U.N. investigations into the assassination of Rafik Hariri in Lebanon, and that pressure has intensified after the defection of former Vice President Abdel-Halim Khaddam, now openly calling for regime change in Damascus. Things are also a bit dicey for Assad in Lebanon, where there have been many calls for disarming Hezbollah.
Assad had been hinting that he would be willing to cooperate with investigators, provided he and his family were given immunity, but the Bush administration has rejected any such deals, as Vice President Dick Cheney emphasized on his recent sortie to Saudi Arabia and Egypt, both of whom had given signs of willingness to compromise.

1/24/2006 12:18:00 PM  
Blogger Aristides said...

The lashings of the old ultraviolence:

Philadelphia --Four teens were arrested on attempted murder charges after they beat up a man who was chosen at random, videotaping the planning and the attack "almost like a documentary," police said.

FL--Two South Florida teens were involved in the beatings of three homeless men, police said, and family attorneys were negotiating their surrender.

UK--A girl who was 14 when she took part in a "happy slapping" attack in which a man was beaten to death was jailed for eight years yesterday.

Chelsea O'Mahoney filmed her friends on her mobile phone as they battered David Morley. She then ran at the bar manager and "kicked his head like a football".

Mr Morley, 37, was one of eight victims assaulted as the hooded gang prowled the streets looking for targets in what a judge at the Old Bailey called an hour-long "orgy of attacks".

The virtue of freedom is temperance; the virtue of power, restraint.

We must return to morality. The alternative is Alex of "A Clockwork Orange":

"My mind is a blank... uhh... and I'll smash your face!"

1/24/2006 12:19:00 PM  
Blogger Buddy Larsen said...

Carter and Clinton come up so often less as a whine or an excuse, and more as a reminder to try very, very hard not to elect any more of the sort.

re ledeen, he's talking about a political "K Factor", which Wretchard has often mentioned, too ("ship looming suddenly in the fog"), where an apparent offensive by an enemy is an attempt to avoid the last gasp. Wrt Assad/Ahmanidoodad, one hopes.

1/24/2006 12:54:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

Too bad we couldn't yank these lads out of the milkbar put on a bit of good ol' Beethoven and send these bastards to fight for their country and not against the innocents.

1/24/2006 12:56:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

...will continue to recycle the contents of their paltry bag of tricks simply because they have no other cards to play.

If you have something to say about my posts, tell me directly...:)

1/24/2006 01:20:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

We read the news of worldwide madness and dysfunction and we say "Oh that's horrible," but in this country, (US) there is no support for foreign entanglements in Darfur, Haiti, Iran, Timbuktu or Turtle Bay. Contrary to what the world thinks, we have no desire for hegemony or empire. The greater danger to the world is that the American public gets fed-up with the anti-Americanism and decides that a little pull-back may be in order. Maybe our "allies" need some time to reflect on the true nature of our relationships.

RE: CIA: It was known in the mid 90's that this was a bloated, middle-aged bureaucracy which had all but forgotten how to "spy". It is hard to know what Porter Goss is affecting but the recent leaks and resignations indicate that he may be having some effect. Sadly, it's probably a good bet that our special forces scattered around the world pick up more intelligence.

1/24/2006 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger ed said...


We need a return of the old OSS.

1/24/2006 01:51:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

There are fundamentally two sides of the CIA house. While both sides have roots in the Ivory Towers of academia, the foundation of the OSS, the ‘analysis’ side has been more erudite than the ‘operations’ side. Traditionally the ‘operations’ side got it’s hands into things… things that the more liberal amongst us have been incredibly embarrassed to admit could even happen. Congress sought to reduce the power of the CIA, especially operations and turn it into classified information clearing house so the politicos could play gotcha with intelligence information. But 9-11 changed that and it became obvious if we were to have an adversary who was out in the trenches around the world, working against us, that we needed to deploy a force capable of meeting them there. Porter Goss is from the old ‘operations’ side of the house and has been cleaning the dead wood from the forest so to say. Not without a great deal of agony on the part of career bureaucrats. If he does his job right the whining and leaks to the press will stop and we will hear nothing more of it.

1/24/2006 02:02:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

OT Nice, Short Excerpts of Judiciary panel vote on Alito
10-8, and the "reasons" given by the losers.

1/24/2006 02:04:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Annoy Mouse,

One way to think about the Al Qaeda and the Hezbollah as well as certain sections of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard is as a kind of SOE or OSS. They will fight as individuals, but their metier is subversion, sabotage and training. They form resistance groups. They are functionally a Special Forces type of operation.

It's interesting to consider how US capabilities compare, in flexibility, reach and impact, with these organs of enemy power.

1/24/2006 02:05:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Anybody here read Kagan's book yet?

1/24/2006 02:06:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Well put, the Opponents have established across the US, Europe, Austrailia, Africa and now, according to yesterdays report, China, bases of operations.

Months ago Lady D described one such. Nothing out of the ordinaary, for a B Team Base Camp.

If aQ's next US adventure has as a baseline of 4,000 deaths, many targets are cleared. But if a duplication of the Russian School Attack is acceptable, to them...

They could be training on their private indoor ranges, today. Breaking no laws, making no calls.

Not even a platoon sized element would be required.

I assume their guys are here, hope we are recripricating, now.

1/24/2006 02:29:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

We can speculate about our counter terrorist capabilities based on news reports, people like Kagan, and the experiences of some of the old pros posting here but we may have to wait a long time for the success stories to be de-classified. We continue to read the success stories of terrorists being rounded up in France, Germany, Australia, Belgium, the Phillipines and elsewhere around the globe. We can hope to see more and more stories of plane crashes, automobile wrecks, heart attacks and other sudden demises.

1/24/2006 02:32:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


I would seem to me that the key element would not be tactical or technological but organizational. Can we devolve authority to our own covert units? That's the critical issue, maybe the only issue. One of the reasons our information fight against the enemy has been somewhat effective is the existence of all these private efforts against them. Without MEMRI, the blogosphere, Soldier's Angels, Michael Yon, Bill Roggio and countless others we wouldn't have had a snowball's chance in Hades against Al Jazeera. We have decentralization in the political fight against the enemy.

But in armed conflict the government can't afford to have us all go out and act like private vigilantes; the danger of loose cannons is too great. Plus it would create a kind of intelligence fratricide. Who's a terrorist in that kind of context? Yet I can't conceive of effective covert ops against the enemy if everything has to be preapproved by a lawyer in Washington. So some compromise must be found between command and control and allowing initiative.

1/24/2006 02:41:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Michael Young, opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Lebanon writing at TCS Daily observes:
Assad has miscalculated in siding so "openly siding with Iran, it is unlikely that the Arab states could successfully mediate on its behalf, whether with the UN or Lebanon, since this would only provoke greater American ire. Simply put, Assad has made it more costly for his regional friends to rescue him...Finally, Assad may have miscalculated in Lebanon, by undermining the credibility of his most powerful ally there: Hizbullah. The party has spent 15 postwar years moving into mainstream of Lebanese politics, and its resistance against Israel bolstered its nationalistic bona fides. However, there is currently a divisive debate taking place over Hizbullah’s true loyalties, with many political groups accusing it of being more committed to Iran and Syria than to Lebanon. Indeed, the party’s refusal to disarm is widely viewed as an effort to keep alive a deterrence capability against Israel in the event it bombs Iran’s nuclear facilities. In this context, the Syrian-Iranian partnership and Hizbullah’s allegiance to it have damaged the party’s domestic standing, even if it does retain much Shiite support."
Syria is the next domino that needs to fall.

1/24/2006 02:49:00 PM  
Blogger Annoy Mouse said...

In Bruce Berkowitz’s book, “The New Face of War”, he says that Osama bin Laden was the first military commander to utilize modern technology to level the playing field with U.S. forces. Afghanistan was nearly the first ‘navy’ to sink a U.S. warship since WWII. To paraphrase Berkowitz, the following are parallels between Al Qaeda and Special Forces in Afghanistan;

1) Both use encrypted communications.
2) Both use small covert teams.
3) Both are controlled by a central command hundreds or thousands of miles away.
4) Both use ‘fuel air’ explosives. (Daisy cutters vs. fuel laden airliners)
5) Both leaders took refuge underground when under attack.
6) Both are foreigners relying on locals for information and support.

Berkowitz goes on to say that the technological genie is out of the bottle, so to say, and that “Lethal networks are here to stay”.

1/24/2006 02:52:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

So some compromise must be found between command and control and allowing initiative.

That's the conundrum. Hopefully we have been training surrogates to do much of the heavy lifting. But it would only take another 9/11 event to bring a working majority on board with serious covert actions.

1/24/2006 02:54:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...


"training surrogates" This is the reasoning behind my oft-repeated claim that the strategic goal of OIF was the Iraqi people, not some patch of territory, though that will come in handy. It access to the Kurds and Shi'ites in particular (and Sunnis too) that is the killer. I think I said some posts back we went into Iraq looking for the key to Iran.

If you look at the problem for the IRG point of view, things aren't so rosy. They have multiple threats ranged against them, none of which they are sure will eventuate. Threat one: conventional invasion from a standing start; threat two, infiltration from US surrogates supported by airdrops from Iraq; threat three, airstrikes from an out-of-control Israel; threat four, sanctions from Europe.

It's an interesting matchup.

1/24/2006 02:58:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I said that it "would only take another 9/11" but I think a majority of people are already on board for aggressive actions. The Hemlock Society may be big in parts of Europe and some of our Blue States but Red State, fly-over America wants no part of assisted suicide. America has been patient with the war in Iraq and think nothing of a hellfire missile in Gaza, Yemen or Pakistan. As long as Congress and the President remain steadfast, the public will support a serious effort.

1/24/2006 03:06:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

I should have said that as long as the public supports the President, Congress will remain steadfast.

In An End to Evil,David Frum and Richard Perle laid out the strategy for changing the Middle Eastern paradigm. I should reread it but it seems to me, that so far it's worked. It's been a hell of a roller coaster and will continue to be, but on balance, I think the President has played his cards about as well as could be hoped for. Better actually. Bush got into a street fight and took out the biggest, baddest gangsta (Saddam)first. Contrary to Hillary's criticism, he played it right by having the EU3 negotiate with Iran while he stood in the background. Now, Syria needs to go down.

So far, I'm pleased.

1/24/2006 03:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Doug, 2:06 PM
...seems his take is special forces are doing a great job around the world, (making up for lack of CIA to some degree) but as 'Rat notes, sometimes Big Army Intrudes and screws things up.

1/24/2006 03:57:00 PM  
Blogger whit said...

Thanks for the Kaplan correction. I made the same mistake three times on a recent blog post. I corrected those too.

If you have access to http://www.theatlantic.com/ I think you can find some very good Kaplan articles.

1/24/2006 04:08:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

" As long as Congress and the President remain steadfast, the public will support a serious effort. "
I like your first take better Whit, I think the American People are far ahead of Congress, when you consider who are the Democrats in the US Senate.
Not a pretty group.

1/24/2006 04:16:00 PM  
Blogger UnemployedCapitalist said...


re your response... :-)

Sorry, had to go lose some money.. Really should get a job....

1/24/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Thanks for that link, Mika.
Is that the same Moron that made the excreble comments about Condi Rice?

1/24/2006 04:32:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"Sorry, had to go lose some money.. Really should get a job...."
You're not spending all that free time at the Roulette Wheel, are you?

1/24/2006 04:39:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

I for one welcome the regional war; I'd be happy to sign up with my local Marine recruiter if need be. This is all very stupid and obvious: the Iranian Revolution must be snuffed out. Yes, yes - they will come for us baring their fierce Persian eyebrows and their Koranic verses white on a field of green above them. So what. This is idiocy. Enough. Let us break them.

1/24/2006 05:08:00 PM  
Blogger enscout said...

Seems that all this speculation about the best strategy employed to deal with the crazy mullahs is wasted effort. Its not like these people are experts - more like a two-year-old holding a loaded .357.

Fact is, we don't know what Amen a bad is thinking and dealing with someone as irrational as this guy is a dangerous proposition.

1/24/2006 05:23:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Just for Tony,
Google agrees to censor results in China Seattle Post Intelligencer - all 251 related »

1/24/2006 05:34:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

well dan, it is a four year stint with the Corps.
Junior went in right after finishing High School. Volenteered for every thing, averaged a PFT of 297, and was made a radio man for an Arty unit.
After Basic, off to Okinawa for 6 or 7 months, back to the US and then off to Iraq and the Battle of Fallugeh, where they shot a few rounds down range. Back to the States and off to Okinawa again. Out in September.

Be careful what you wish for.

1/24/2006 05:36:00 PM  
Blogger desert rat said...

Better those guys than the 4th ID, IMO

It is, IMO, not in Afghanistan that we cannot Patrol.

If we are running A teams in Warizistan, I'd be a happy old timer.

1/24/2006 05:40:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Meanwhile, an Iranian woman quoted in the LA Times said in the run-up to OIF: "I wish they would get that business in Iraq finished so they could get on with invading us."
Sorry, lady, we might eventually blow y'all up, but there is no way we are going to give you the Iraqi treatment.

- rwe

From the LA Times

Pentagon Planning Document Leaves Iraq Out of Equation
A four-year blueprint for the military reflects a view that the war is an anomaly. There's talk of robots and drones, but no force buildup.
By Mark Mazzetti
Times Staff Writer

January 24, 2006

WASHINGTON — The U.S. military has long been accused of always planning to fight its last war. But as the Pentagon assesses threats to national security over the next four years, a major blueprint being completed in the shadow of the Iraq war will do largely the opposite.

The military went into Iraq with a vision that a small, agile, and lightly armored force could win a quick preemptive war. Although the U.S. easily crushed Saddam Hussein's army, the subsequent occupation has proven far costlier in lives, money and international standing than most expected.

As a result, the U.S. military has no appetite for another lengthy war of "regime change."

And while some new lessons will be incorporated into the Pentagon review, the spending blueprint for the next four years will largely stick to the script Pentagon officials wrote before the Iraq war, according to those familiar with the nearly final document that will be presented to Congress in early February.

Iraq "is clearly a one-off," said a Pentagon official who is working on the top-to-bottom study, known as the Quadrennial Defense Review. "There is certainly no intention to do it again."

For more than two years, Army officials have been fending off questions about whether they have enough troops to complete their mission in Iraq and racing to get armor plates bolted onto Humvees and supply trucks to defend against homemade bombs.

But in the Pentagon blueprint, officials are once again talking about a futuristic force of robots, networked computers and drone aircraft. And they are planning no significant shift in resources to bulk up ground forces strained by the lengthy occupation of Iraq.

Regarding the Iraq war as an anomaly is in some ways convenient for Pentagon civilians and uniformed officers. An armored assault across miles of desert is hardly the vision that Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld's civilian team laid out when it took over the Pentagon five years ago. At the same time, the human and financial costs of the war have made many senior generals eager to turn the page on Iraq.

Yet some experts say that failure to draw broader lessons from Iraq is dangerous, especially if the U.S. military suddenly faces a new war in a hot spot such as North Korea or Iran that it has no choice but to fight.


But we're opening up the spigot for SF/SO.

No surprise there.

"I've seen the future..."

In Afghanistan.

(Warts and all, Rat.)

1/24/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

"There's also more than a little irony in Google announcing the move this week, after the company got headlines last week for defying U.S. government requests to hand over information about its users' online behavior. Such defiance wouldn't be tolerated for a minute in China; Google would get immediately booted out of the country.

Sergey Brin and Larry Page were idealistic young Stanford University graduate students when they started Google in 1998...
-sj mercury

1/24/2006 05:47:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Jan. 24, 2006 — Al Qaeda and its former protectors — the Taliban — are in the midst of a powerful resurgence, according to accounts by local officials and information contained in new al Qaeda videotapes obtained by ABC News.
U.S. troops are not permitted inside Pakistan, and the Pakistani army is barely seen in this part of Waziristan Province.

Al Qaeda Sees Resurgence in Pakistani Tribal Areas
The new videotapes show open recruitment for the jihad, or holy war, to kill Americans and their allies.

1/24/2006 05:56:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Think maybe some fuel-air action there might be preferable first, Dan?
Be sure to read that ABC News link.

1/24/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

Hm - fair enough. 4 years and I might as well stay in and go for General. Hey - that'd beat the crap out of law school for sure.

1/24/2006 05:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

I would personally be glad to take on the "Moral Burden" of collateral damage in areas supporting the Taliban.

1/24/2006 06:01:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

I heard on the radio this morning, Doug, that Bush will be visiting Pakistan in the first week of March.

There is the expectation that Z will be dead by then.

If this comes to fruition, will Bush say that Pakistan is a valuable ally in the WOT? Will he say it even if it doesn't happen before he goes to Islamabad?

I think he will.

1/24/2006 06:23:00 PM  
Blogger vogz said...

The "paradigm problem" reminds me of C.S. Lewis' comment in The Abolition of Man where "we remove the organ and demand the function". Of course, Lewis was talking about education and morality while the issue here is foreign policy. Not the same thing. Is it?

1/24/2006 07:13:00 PM  
Blogger NahnCee said...

U.S. troops are not permitted inside Pakistan, and the Pakistani army is barely seen in this part of Waziristan Province.

don't need no army when we gots air force missiles ... and there's not a damned thing they can do about it

1/24/2006 07:17:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...

UNLIKELY VICTORY - from AWST, 1/23/06, p. 19, "Washington Outlook" last item:

What's been the U.S. military's "biggest victory to date in the global War on Terrorism?" Not what you might think, says Ryan Henry, principal deputy undersecretary of Defense for policy. "Our response to the earthquake and tsunami in Indonesia [in 2004] and the [2005] earthquake in Pakistan did more to counter the ideological support for terrorism than probably any other events," Henry tells an American Enterprise Institute conference. Henry, who is shepherding the Quadrennial Defense Review through the Pentagon, cites the massive response of personnel, equipment, aircraft and naval vessels as an example of the uncertainty the Defense Dept. faces in future use of its resources. "There's no way we could've predicted that we'd have to do that," he says.

Unexpected consequences of doing the right thing?

1/24/2006 07:35:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...

Unexpected consequences of doing the right thing?

7:35 PM

Is fighting our enemies not doing the right thing?

You can't purchase coinciding interests with charity.

1/24/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


Thank you for the link, you beat me to it.

Just >>>Google it!<<< to see what Big Brother wants you to see.

So Google is admitting to smothering certain sources in China. They admitted over the past couple of years that they do that here and all over the world, but they probably get to charge EXTRA for this feature in the PRC.

1/24/2006 07:46:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


I don't make this stuff up.

Maybe the fact that America really does more Good than anyone else sinks in when we're the only ones sending in the C-130's full of relief.

You see a bunch of Tupolevs coming in over the horizon? Is the Chinese Navy showing up offshore sending in the medevac choppers?

How 'bout the Saudi floating hospitals? Anybody seeing them, anywhere in the world?

C'mon, don't be so cynical. I'm quoting Aviation Week for God's sake, not some flimsy flack joint.

1/24/2006 07:55:00 PM  
Blogger trish said...


The US does do a lot of good - and pays, besides, for a lot good it never sees.

The flip side of cynicism is naivete. They usually go hand-in-hand.

1/24/2006 08:11:00 PM  
Blogger Dan said...

i've got nothing against a little fuel-air, doug - i'll take a 6 pack if you got it.

israel should start bombing those HAMAS rallies too. c'mon, we've played his game long enough.

1/24/2006 08:22:00 PM  
Blogger Tony said...


So you think the military-industrial-complex-running hitlerbushmonkeys are naive?

I'm shocked - SHOCKED - our sacred defense dollars are doing anything non-destructive.

1/24/2006 08:27:00 PM  
Blogger Robert Schwartz said...

I really feel that wretchard and Tom Barnett are walking down parallel roads. We need to develop mechanisms for recycling failed states.

1/24/2006 08:57:00 PM  
Blogger NN said...

Bush will hold his State of the Union address January 31. I think it will be worth listening to.

1/24/2006 10:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

robert schwartz,
In Waziristan we could bring in some portable smelters to see if we could recover some minerals from the bare earth we should leave in those Taliban strongholds.

Better a few hundred or a thousand dead women and children there now than 10,000 maybe more of ours if we let those b...... regroup.

Save Nahncees missiles for when a predator has them in it's sights.
For now it should be big bladders full of fuel air for the Taliban and their neighbors in the mountains.

1/24/2006 10:59:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

From ABC News Link above:
"Jan. 24, 2006 — - Al Qaeda and its former protectors -- the Taliban -- are in the midst of a powerful resurgence, according to accounts by local officials and information contained in new al Qaeda videotapes obtained by ABC News.
U.S. troops are not permitted inside Pakistan, and the Pakistani army is barely seen in this part of Waziristan Province.

The new videotapes show open recruitment for the jihad, or holy war, to kill Americans and their allies.
The narrator says, "Come join the jihad caravan."
"The Taliban resurgence this year has been enormous and quite extraordinary," said Ahmed Rashid, author of the book "Taliban: Militant Islam, Oil, and the Fundamentalism in Central Asia."

The tape claims Taliban officials have taken over government functions. There is no date on the tape, but in the last month ABC News reporters have confirmed that Western aid organizations have been forced out, their headquarters burned, schools shut down, teachers and journalists killed, and music banned.

The tape shows men described as thieves being dragged through a village behind a truck, and later beheaded.
'Breakdown of Law and Order'
"We're seeing a complete breakdown of law and order," said Rashid. "The army is holed up in its barracks or in its bunkers."

A much rosier picture was described at the White House today as President Bush met with Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz, thanking him for all his government is doing.
"We're working closely to defeat the terrorists who would like to harm America and harm Pakistan," Bush said during a news conference.

But there's no sense of defeat seen in a second tape obtained by ABC News, this one produced by al Qaeda.
The tape shows the planning of an attack on a government building across the border in Afghanistan.

The commander is identified as one of the four men who last year escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan -- and are now back in action.
The commander is seen on tape, giving a Powerpoint presentation of how the attack was carried out.

It also shows scenes of fighters firing their automatic weapons and of buildings burning. The fighters seen on tape shout "bin Laden forever! Long live al Qaeda!"

"It has regrouped, reformed and re-emerged with new vigor," said Akbar Ahmed, professor of Islamic studies at American University, "and this is a very dangerous emergence.""

1/24/2006 11:12:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

Hope you're wrong, Trish, but I'm not betting on it, rosie picture by GWB notwithstanding.

1/24/2006 11:15:00 PM  
Blogger Doug said...

My organization, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, has just put up on its website, video tapes of torture and murder conducted under Saddam Hussein’s regime .

1/25/2006 04:34:00 AM  
Blogger desert rat said...

So tell be, doug, where is there support, open piblic support, for aQ?
Where does the Host Country's Army fear to tread, in uniform?
Which Country has a STOCKPILE of already built and Operational Nuclear Warheads and Missle Systems?

It sure is not Iran.

Where have there been at least 4 Coup or Assassination attempts in the past 4 years?

Who founded the Taliban?

Just who and where are the US Opponents in this suppossed WAR?

There is more than one State actor in the Mohammedan Wars, and the US is afraid to confront anymore of them.
Why has Mr Bush not kept his word? Why is the Enemy allowed Sanctuary?

After General Sherman "Marched to the Sea", burning the "Heartland" of the Enemy, Genral Grant "knew" that the CSA lived in the body of the Army of Virgina.

Where does the current enemy reside, and why are the inhabitents living in Peace, there?

1/25/2006 06:34:00 AM  
Blogger trish said...

Well, Doug, I certainly hope I'm right about Z. As far as what Bush will say when he's in Pakistan, I have no doubt.

Is Bush disappointed with the President-General of Pakistan and his early promises concerning the WoT? Only if he believed in the first place that Musharraf was good for his word and had the means and wherewithal to deliver. And that we can't know.

1/25/2006 06:49:00 AM  

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