Pakistan, intelligence mediocrity, Stratfor on Sadr
After the Read More! Pakistan's separate peace? The next wave of attackers from al-Qaeda, STRATFOR on Sadr and schools are required not to discriminate against military recruiters.
The Strategy Page reports that the incoming Pakistani government is virtually granting independence to it's tribal areas in exchange for an agreement to leave the rest of the country alone. The US, meanwhile, is rumored to have established operating bases inside the Pakistani tribal areas. These developments effectively imply that Afghanistan got bigger -- and that the Pakistani tribal areas are no part of the theater.
But the Pakistani tribal areas are not part of the NATO mission. Any mission inside what is still officially Pakistan will create political issues within the alliance and strain the already stretched resources of CENTCOM. And if US forces once again regain contact with al-Qaeda, what is to prevent them from moving deeper into Pakistan to regain sanctuary?
In the end Pakistan is wrapped up in this problem and they can't deal themselves out of it.
The Wall Street Journal Online describes how al-Qaeda has reconfigured the face of its attackers. And how inadequate US intelligence is to predict their next attack.
On Sunday, CIA director Michael Hayden warned on "Meet the Press" that a reconstituting al Qaeda was preparing operatives in Afghanistan who would draw no attention while passing through U.S. airport checkpoints.
Exactly how vulnerable are we right now to a significant terrorist attack? No one can answer that question with any certainty. What we can say with assurance is that even as George W. Bush has overseen the single most far-reaching reorganization of the U.S. intelligence community (IC) since the CIA was created in 1947, his single greatest failure as a president might well be that American intelligence remains mired in bureaucratic mediocrity. ...
Should U.S. intelligence have a workforce that "looks like America," or would we be better off with one that looked like those of our adversaries whom we have been unable to understand, let alone to penetrate? That question is one of many that go unanswered in the 500-day plan, which focuses almost entirely on tertiary internal matters rather than on accomplishing the two most critical missions facing U.S. intelligence -- stopping terrorism and nuclear proliferation.
Maybe mediocrity within intelligence agencies is a feature, an actual goal towards which the bureacracy in Washington works, despite its public aspirations to excellence. The intelligence bureaucry is probably far more responsive to political currents in Washington than it is to operational necessity. A workforce that "looks like America"; an analytic shop that says nothing that is politically incorrect or unacceptable; an operational side that must on no account be seen to conduct wiretapping, abduction, assassination, thievery or deception. These are the requirements of a bureaucratically perfect intelligence apparatus. One that can be viewed with approval by lawyers; proof against Senate committee investigations; unstained by any suggestion of cutting procedural corners. And probably also useless at detecting al-Qaeda.
Not that there's anything wrong with having a mediocre, but politically correct intellgence apparatus. Many countries in the world, and even some in Europe, create militaries whose sole purpose is to parade, play in bands and attend ceremonial occasions. They make a conscious choice to create an instrument for a certain purpose. And they are under no illusion this instrument can be meaningfully used at anything else. So for as long as the political system puts a premium on bureaucratic seemingness it will get an intelligence agency which provides just that.
And the newspapers will be happy with their leakers, the inspectors general happy with their reports and the Congressional Committees happy with their oversight. Up until the day that Washington DC is wiped out by a 20 kiloton terrorist bomb.
And then they can create a committee to prepare a bureaucratic report on why the catastrophe happened.
Here's Stratfor's take of the fight against Sadr. (I've taken a few snippets from their report which available to subscribers only)
A massive battle broke out between two Shiite factions in Iraq. One, led by Abdel Aziz al-Hakim — who effectively controls Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki due to the small size and fractured nature of al-Maliki’s party — confronted the faction led by Muqtada al-Sadr. Clearly, this was an attempt by the dominant Shiite faction to finally deal with the wild card of Iraqi Shiite politics. By the weekend, al-Sadr had capitulated. Backed into a corner by overwhelming forces, apparently backed by U.S. military force, al-Sadr effectively sued for peace.
The Army Times reports:
The Defense Department has announced a new get-tough policy with colleges and universities that interfere with the work of military recruiters and Reserve Officer Training Corps programs. Under rules that will take effect April 28, defense officials said they want the exact same access to student directories that is provided to all other prospective employers.
A reader writes: "If this article is accurate the new rules will bring howls of protest."
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