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Intelligence… Sort Of…

The world of intelligence is usually depicted as a dark, sometimes flashy, dangerous world filled with the likes of James Bond and Jack Ryan.  The U.S. Intel community is divided into three major categories.  The first is the civilian government’s agencies such as CIA and NSA.  These are the ones most often thought of when the term spy is encountered though the vast number of employees are not spies in the normal sense of the word.  In any case, CIA mostly handles “humint,” or human intelligence, i.e. information gathered or provided by human action.  NSA deals with “sigint” or signal intelligence gathered from electronic signal sources.

The second category is the military branch’s internal versions of the same two types.  For example in the army, the whole is under AIS or “Army Intelligence and Security.”  MI, or Military Intelligence, is a rough equivalent to CIA and ASA, or Army Security Agency, is a rough equivalent to NSA.  The navy has one of the best intel groups around.  These are supposed to constrain their activities to intelligence related activities and materials directly impacting their primary military roles but since much military data crosses services they are pretty good at working together.

But government intelligence agencies, both civilian and military suffer the same limitations: their data and often their conclusions are too often filtered through political agendas and action taken on them is too often based on political expediency or other political perspectives and not the real issues.

A third category exists however that is not affiliated with the government or military.  By law they are relegated to gathering what is called “open source” intelligence, meaning from public sources.  But what do you think is the source for most of the other intel if not from observations, contacts, and data that is actually public but often not understood for the value it may have?  These non-governmental intelligence sources usually provide their information for a fee to business and industry.  Because of that, because to make good business decisions you must know the truth of situations, not the political spin, in order to successfully do business and make money.  They do not have political filters attached to them.

Most of them are manned not just by former operatives from the government or military sectors, but also special area experts who can take the raw data and see in it the threads of domestic and geopolitical activities vis-à-vis what is likely to happen and upon which their business clients can rely to inform their decisions.  Frequently therefore, in terms of scoring accuracy, the open source agencies draw unbiased conclusions not only better but which are not subsequently filtered by political desires.

One of the best is a company called STRATFOR.  Its analysis and newsletters are often far better predictors of future events at home and around the world than what you here from the political hacks on the various TV shows.  It’s not that government agencies do not obtain the facts too, it is that those facts are too often spun based on a political decision not a proper strategic or tactical one.

Newer in the field is LIGNET, composed of former intel operatives and area experts like STRATFOR.  Both of these companies have a world wide network of informants and contacts and local area experts and insiders.  Taken together their reviews and conclusions, most especially when they coincide, can generally be taken to the bank.  And they generally directly contradict the baloney coming out of the administration and the congress which is rarely honest or factual.

I’m mentioning these groups because they both published reviews of actiovities and sentiments that would have let anyone foresee the likelihood of the events in the middle east revolving around the 9-11 anniversary.  While our government was asleep at the switch, insisting nothing was afoot (I would guess in defiance of intel reports they were receiving in their briefings) bad folks were watching and plotting.

Both warned of impending attacks; both were seemingly ignored by our leaders.  When I read the first reports of the attacks of our embassies in Libya and Egypt, despite the forewarning from STRATFOR and LIGNET both, I assumed the official story of it being a result of the stupid movie was probably true.  After all, those savage mental midgets over there have gone on killing rampages before for what they perceive as insults to their beliefs.  But now we are beginning to see that things were different; that the private intel groups were far closer to the truth than we were ever told by the government.

We are being told now that this was a coordinated attack by either Al Qaeda groups or other radical jihadists groups as their way of commemorating the 9-11 attacks here at home.  And we are being further told that this was a failure of intelligence.   Although I have no doubt that some operative or director will be told by the administration to fall on their sword over it, I’ll bet the truth is they had told them all along and it did not fit the political agenda. it was not a failure of intelligence gathering but a failure to accept that reality the data indicated.

Today LIGNET had this to say:

“It was reported at first that these attacks were a response to a YouTube video mocking the prophet Mohammed, but it is now becoming clear that the attacks, in which U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens was killed, were planned and perpetrated by al-Qaeda. They are a clear sign that the governments that have come to power since the Arab Spring are weak, and unable to control their radicalized Muslim populations that are determined to wage war on the United States.”

That last sentence repeats and reinforces the conclusions both STRATFOR and LIGNET have had for some time about the weaknesses of those new governments and their inability to reign in radical elements… even if they might want to.

I know that most people, and unfortunately most voters, are far too interested in the next American Idol and far too little interested in the truth of what is happening in the world.  I know that most of them are willing to take the pronouncements of their own party flacks as gospel.  But, if you are one of the true 1%, meaning those that really are what is happening and want to know the truth without spin or political bias, then I would encourage you to look into subscribing to those services.  Though both have free trial periods, for the full subscriptions they are not cheap… but neither is the price of freedom.  Freedom can only be based on the truth and that critical commodity is too often withheld from us by our own leaders.

Now, relative to the last post when I too fell for the initial official line that it was the stupid movie trailers on YouTube that was the catalyst for the violence instead of it simply being the cover and excuse for thugs and violent idiots to do their thing,  It looks now like it really was a coordinated attack by radical groups, so I need to amend my comments to include this newer information.  But the conclusions about our leader’s reactions and the message they send to this intractable enemy remain intact and I stand behind them.

Mohammed was a warrior from a warrior society.  His religion now is controlled by people who wish the followers to remain in his original 700s mindset and outlook.  They are told that the only thing that can hold back the Islamic world order is the devil or his minions who are to be killed at every opportunity. THat is why the iranian Ayatollah called us the “Great Satan;” to make us a legitimate target for them.  Specifically mentioned in the Koran are Jews and Christians as those to be converted or killed. Warriors are not impressed with ANY signs of weakness or deference.

It amazes me that when an enemy army, whether a uniformed state army or an ad hoc collection of radical theological mutants, has a published set of guidelines and rules that the other side, their avowed enemies… you … would not be willing to take the time to read it.  But then you probably bought for your bookshelf but did not read Obama’s books which also laid out his dreams and desires for the country flowing from the mentioned mentors of his. You may have fallen for the fearless leader’s ploy of making sure we do not see anything as a “war on terror.”  But if you cannot see that the terrorists have declared war on you and your country and are perfectly willing and able to do something about it, then you deserve, frankly to, as they are directed to do, have your neck smitten and your head separated from your body.  Have you already forgotten Daniel Pearl?

Those books are the ultimate in easy intelligence gathering.  They are akin to finding a normal enemy’s strategic planning papers.  To not take advantage of them, something everyone of you can do, is not a sign of intelligence.  In fact that lack of initiative is a case of intelligence failure of galactic importance.  If you do not avail yourselves of it but still insist on voting and trying to influence the direction of this country, no matter your party partisanship, then you are a fool.  And a country with fools for an electorate is lost.

 
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Posted by on September 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Where the HELL is the President???

After that last multi-part post I thought i could relax a little and not worry about any subsequent postings for at least a week.  But reality has a way of influencing our most ardent desires.  And as stupid as the postings on Facebook have been relative to the presidential race, the silence on recent events is far more stunning and far more indicative of a population totally self absorbed and out of touch with things in the broader world that can turn round and bite them.

Are you all paying attention or does Prince Harry’s latest streak or Bradjalina’s latest spat demand your full attention?  Do you have even the remotest clue that possibly, just possibly, very recent events concerning the middle east, while they may not have actually lit the fuse, certainly opened the box of matches?

In two countries in the middle east, Egypt and Libya, Islamists principally following the Muslim Brotherhood, yes, that same group our administration declared were good guys, stormed and took over the American Embassies. These were factions that we had recently helped to overthrow the former governments and from whom, in any intelligent part of the world, we might have expected some loyalty.  But none was evident as the walls were scaled, fires were set, flags were torn down, and violence and murder were perpetrated on our representatives to those countries.

This is not like having some tourists attacked, heinous as that would be.  Are you aware that an embassy is considered by all governments to be the sovereign soil of its country?  The other countries with embassies here demand that status of us and in past administrations we have demanded it of them.  Two of our embassies were just attacked and overrun.  By the language of international law, when any, much less two areas of American territory were attacked an overrun, that is an overt act of war.  Once inside the compounds they tore down the American flag, burned it, and replaced it with their own.  That is an act of war.

But it gets worse.  In one of the attacks, an American ambassador was killed – no. let’s call it what it was, he was murdered.  THAT is an act of war if one ever existed.  In scale only does this depart from the precedent of Pearl Harbor.

And what set off this attack?  A cheap, independent, stupid movie was what.   A F*****G MOVIE was all it took to rouse adherents to the “religion of peace” to attack U.S. territory and murder its Ambassador.  In my opinion the moment word was received of the actions, the congress should have been convened, the acts of war recognized for what they were, the governments of the countries put on notice that we would be considering responses but that in the meantime not another dime of foreign aid would flow into their corrupt coffers… and they could stand by for the REAL response…

But what did we actually do?  The following day – not that very evening – the following day our fearsome guardian of the American way essentially apologized for the affront of the movie.  He did mention the attacks and murder really shouldn’t have happened and were perhaps a bit over the top, but the major thrust was that we were sorry and that our values did not include insulting someone else’s religion.  Apparently however, they do condone murder of our own people based on the provocation of an insult to someone else’s beliefs.  THat is news to me and not news i find positive since it tosses out the 1st amendment.  Remember this murder did not happen on foreign streets, it happened on U.S. territory.

And wait a minute, was the government the one who created the film?  Were its comments about violent Muslims coming from any official voice of the country?  Did embassy personnel or the ambassador himself offer free screenings of the film on the embassy lawns and speak on its behalf?  Did the movie even act as if it were speaking for the country as a whole?  No, they did not.

But both attacks took place after some time passed as the crazed, ignorant savages worked themselves into a frenzied froth before launching the actual assaults.  There was enough time for message to be sent here asking for guidance. The governments of those countries then had more than enough time to become aware of the growing mob, assemble their troops to, as all countries agree to do, defend the embassies of countries they host, but they did not. We apparently didn’t even ask them to.  That overt, purposeful lack of action on their part is tantamount to a tacit official OK of the actions and, it turns out, neither has offered any sort of apology or offer of restitution for the actions of their countrymen.

Do you truly believe we are respected in those areas more so for being patently weak-kneed in a response to attack?  Do you truly imagine a warrior culture such as theirs would look up to such cringing cowardice and seemingly paralyzed leadership?

But it gets still worse.  A flashpoint that nearly everyone agrees has the potential for escalating into a conflict that will inure to the benefit of NO ONE is the issue of Iran and its nuclear ambitions.  So far, the rhetoric has served both sides if, and only if, the leadership of Iran truly are completely rational persons fully in command of the realities of the world and history despite idiotic assertions and saber rattling rhetoric.

If that rationality it true then we (the U.S., Iran, and Israel) are playing a dangerous but understandable game where the rhetoric serves to keep the people stirred up but the reality is far less inflammable.    If that is true, Iran may indeed NOT have any nuclear weapons ambitions but is using the possibility for international credibility, Israel may actually not feel threatened with their very existence but wishes to test its so-called “friends” relative to their actual support, and we can cleverly, if cruelly, play them off against each other by holding to the public rhetoric that we want to give Iran more time to ‘come clean’ and stop their weapons plans but in the meantime we will hold Israel back from precipitous action.

It is a potential win-win-win in a macabre and ugly game of international politics.  But it will work only if Iran and its leaders are (a) rational and actually do not really have the desire to build a nuclear arsenal and (b) there is not a hidden agenda that would make the Iranian government have fish other than Israel to fry, oh, such as re-establishing the Persian empire and Hegemony of old and, at the same time, settling once and for all the under the table war between Sunni and Shiite sects of Islam.

If either (a) is not true or (b) IS true then we, the U.S. have been suckered (or strode knowingly) into a huge problem likely to spill over into regional and then possibly global war.

And then… into that uncertain environment steps Iran’s leader who, purposefully as an insult, comes to speak to the U.N. Security Council on Yom Kippur, one of the holiest of Jewish Holidays.  The next day, Israel’s leader then comes to New York to speak.  Israel is internally seriously divided in purpose between those that want to do a pre-emptive strike before Iran can develop a weapon and those who believe that since they have not even tested a device yet, there is no hard evidence they are developing one and a strike is a very bad idea.  The U.S. certainly acts as if it is in the second camp while, officially, being a firm back-up to Israel if that is wrong, something the Iranians cannot ignore.  We back worthless sanctions for the PR value but do virtually nothing else even though the sanctions have only the effect of irritating the Iranian public who attempt to clean up their government went unsupported while we whole-heartedly backed the Muslim Brotherhood’s take over of an Egyptian leader who was at least sometimes an American ally.

And what happens?  The Israeli leader asks to meet with the American leader.  Of all the people in the world you would think we would want to chat with and both press our point while getting a feel for his real intentions it would be him, especially since he is given to rhetoric as volatile as that of the Iranians.  But the response from us is that our leader is too busy.  His schedule is full.  He cannot meet.  And what IS on his schedule that day?  Appearing on the Letterman show.

I know Letterman is a huge fan and supporter, but what private citizen, even George Soros or Michael Moore, could be more important than meeting with a person who may hold the key to war in the region?  For that matter what government official would not happily re-schedule a meeting if in doing so they could help promote the agenda of at least delaying such a war?  Well, now we know the answer to that question and it is not some lower level functionary, it is our dear leader himself.

There is a complex geopolitical high wire act going on with global stakes and our President does not seem to get it.  If our stance and rebuff make the Israelis feel they truly are on their own and all decisions have to be based solely on their own beliefs about a potentially existential threat, and the Iranians are made to think that despite blanket and outdated comments of support, we will not get involved in their squabble, just how much more secure do you think we have made the situation?

The only thing that even remotely makes sense, other than potted plant levels of stupidity, is that the Administration wants Israel to either act first or so frighten the Iranians that they perform a pre-emptive strike to forestall the feared Israeli pre-emptive strike and hopes that this time, finally, Israel looses.

No?  Give me another logically sound way to look at it?  You cannot separate these two actions happening so close together.  You cannot think that the rebuff to Israel which happened first fell on deaf Islamic ears and did not play some part in the thinking that led to the belief in an assault on American soil that could be done without consequences.

And regardless of your conclusions about the Israeli leader’s rebuff, do you think it is good for us to have the Muslim militants assume, based on experience, they can mess with us and get no more than a few words about how we wish they had not done it but we understand why they might be mad at us?   Is that a position for the U.S. to occupy in the world that you honestly think will lead to others respecting us and to a greater likelihood of world peace?

If you do, then I think that while the jury is still out about the administration being rock stupid, there is no longer any question about you.

(ADDENDUM… to be fair…)
Finally, today, our President, after a round of criticisms from a number of fronts, went BACK before the cameras and actually condemned the actions and said we would punish the people responsible.  i applaud that position but it should have been the FIRST reaction, not one as part of damage control.  We shall see if something actually happens…  However AFTER that the countries involved now are apologizing and offering to help.  Perhaps they think that now Obama is forced into real action so they had better shape up.  That would indicate they do not know the lengths he will go to to avoid that but it is informative to indicate that when we DO at least act or talk like we are still America and mean business it gets a response.

If only it were true…

 
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Posted by on September 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

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Isolationism vis-a-vis Afghanistan and Pakistan

San Diego – There is a huge difference between being an “Isolationist” and someone who believes that it is not in our best or lasting interests to keep poking around in business or affairs of other countries.  In this one thing, at least, i tend to agree with the words in King Barrack’s speech yesterday.  That distinction appears to be lost on the media and also on the public for whom labels, especially simplistic ones, are needed to define their views of the world in the face of an utter lack of knowledge sufficient to make an informed and meaningful analysis.

The true isolationist wants to essentially build a wall around the country and become utterly self sufficient and apart from the rest of the world.  Perhaps there was a time when that was possible, whether or not it was wise.  Not even Switzerland, famed for its neutrality and avoidance of foreign entanglements, attempts that sort of isolation.  But to be a good neighbor often means staying out of others’ business even when that business is confusing or abhorrent to you.  Somewhere between true isolationism and wanting to be the policeman of the world is a wiser more sustainable approach.

Whether we like it or not, we are part of a larger world in which global economies and State politics have an impact on our lives and fortunes for good or for ill.  So, inconvenient as it may be for us, we simply cannot pull out of the world as if we all lived on another planet and could simply watch and snicker at the interplay of ego and idiocy happening before us.  Treading that extremely fine line between protecting true national interests and trying to impose our will on others, tracking wisely between an understanding of the needs and sensitivities of other states not as lucky as ours in terms of defense capabilities, and a complete dismissal of those other views seeing them as enemies or potential enemies when they do something we think is counter to our own interests, requires serious leadership and wisdom… neither of which seems to be available to us at the moment.

A major case in point is Pakistan and Afghanistan. One-dimensional pundits on both left and right want us to just get the heck out if we are not willing to fight to win.  Well, to be fair, those in the left want us out period.  And i have argued that we should never engage militarily ANYwhere unless we are willing to go all out to win.  But the bottom line is the same.  And further, many on the right want to somehow punish Pakistan for seeming to work against us in the war against the islamists and the Taliban.  Once again, small minds see only the small picture and can get their minds around only the simplistic answers.  If only the world were that simple and straight forward.

Below are several paragraphs excerpted from an Intel Report from Stratfor on the situation that explains the bind we and the Pakistanis have created for ourselves. (This was presented before the President’s speech on the drawdown.)

“Sept. 11, 2001, posed a profound threat to Pakistan. On one side, Pakistan faced a United States in a state of crisis, demanding Pakistani support against both al Qaeda and the Taliban. On the other side Pakistan had a massive Islamist movement hostile to the United States and intelligence services that had, for a generation, been intimately linked to Afghan Islamists, first with whole-hearted U.S. support, then with its benign indifference. The American demands involved shredding close relationships in Afghanistan, supporting an American occupation in Afghanistan and therefore facing internal resistance and threats in both Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“The Pakistani solution was the only one it could come up with to placate both the United States and the forces in Pakistan that did not want to cooperate with the United States. The Pakistanis lied. To be more precise and fair, they did as much as they could for the United States without completely destabilizing Pakistan while making it appear that they were being far more cooperative with the Americans and far less cooperative with their public. As in any such strategy, the ISI and Islamabad found themselves engaged in a massive balancing act.

“U.S. and Pakistani national interests widely diverged. The United States wanted to disrupt al Qaeda regardless of the cost. The Pakistanis wanted to avoid the collapse of their regime at any cost. These were not compatible goals. At the same time, the United States and Pakistan needed each other. The United States could not possibly operate in Afghanistan without some Pakistani support, ranging from the use of Karachi and the Karachi-Khyber and Karachi-Chaman lines of supply to at least some collaboration on intelligence sharing, at least on al Qaeda. The Pakistanis badly needed American support against India. If the United States simply became pro-Indian, the Pakistani position would be in severe jeopardy.

“The United States was always aware of the limits of Pakistani assistance. The United States accepted this publicly because it made Pakistan appear to be an ally at a time when the United States was under attack for unilateralism. It accepted it privately as well because it did not want to see Pakistan destabilize. The Pakistanis were aware of the limits of American tolerance, so a game was played out.

“That game is now breaking down, not because the United States raided Pakistan and killed bin Laden but because it is becoming apparent to Pakistan that the United States will, sooner or later, be dramatically drawing down its forces in Afghanistan. This drawdown creates three facts. First, Pakistan will be facing the future on its western border with Afghanistan without an American force to support it. Pakistan does not want to alienate the Taliban, and not just for ideological reasons. It also expects the Taliban to govern Afghanistan in due course. India aside, Pakistan needs to maintain its ties to the Taliban in order to maintain its influence in Afghanistan and guard its western flank. Being cooperative with the United States is less important. Second, Pakistan is aware that as the United States draws down, it will need Pakistan to cover its withdrawal strategically. Afghanistan is not Iraq, and as the U.S. force draws down, it will be in greater danger. The U.S. needs Pakistani influence. Finally, there will be a negotiation with the Taliban, and elements of Pakistan, particularly the ISI, will be the intermediary.

“The Pakistanis are preparing for the American drawdown. Publicly, it is important for them to appears independent and even hostile to the /united States in order to maintain their domestic credibility. Up to now, they have appeared to various factions in Pakistan as American lackeys. If the United States is leaving, the Pakistanis can’t afford to appear that way anymore. There are genuine issues separating the two countries, but in the end, the show is as important as the issues. U.S. accusations that the government has not cooperated with the United States in fighting Islamists are exactly what the Pakistani establishment needs in order to move to the next phase.”

Into this quagmire steps our benighted leader.  True, he did not creat it, the hated Bush Demon created it by allowing the mission to creep beyond simply stopping Afghanistan from allowing Al Qaida and other islamist/jihadists a training ground and base from which to attack us and into a full blown campaign to stabilize a nation ruled by systemic corruption that would make the Mexican Authorities look like choir boys. He leads from a position of experiential ignorance and in opposition to the military’s assessment of what is needed. (The military wanted to at least complete the 2012 fighting season before drawing down but that extends into September and did not give the political impact needed by the President for his campaign.)

The pull out period, due to both the timing and the advanced notice to the enemy will be an extremely dangerous period for our troops and very much unlike Iraq where an agreement was reached with the Sunni insurgents.  Unfortunately no such agreement currently exists with the Taliban.  And without it, Pakistan is an incredibly important piece in the puzzle as the quickest routes of retreat for all of the heavy metal that cannot easily be airlifted out is over the Khyber Pass region and into their country.

This administration has continued and expanded the Bush Demon’s initial goals into ones clearly impossible and now added to the military problems by announcing when we were leaving so the enemy can simply prepare for it and as our force dwindles to some critical mass, pounce and show the world clearly an important symbolic message that (a) the U.S. once again ran with its tail between its legs when the going got touch, (b) they could deliver major blows to this paper tiger, and (c) send a message that no one in history has STILL managed to defeat and control that region.

Just as with our economic problems, the polarized factions in our own government have so muddied the water as to make any clean end-game impossible.  Preferring going to the wall to maintain their own ideological views and seat at the table, no matter how shortsighted or counterproductive, they have been willing to sacrifice the well being of the country. There are no innocent parties here and no good sides to take anymore.  Our dear leaders have sidestepped plans that might, at one point, have solved things with some but minimal pain and reached a point where there are no good solutions left only extremely painful ones for us all, and even the tentative steps being suggested are too often proposed for all the wrong reasons and to make sure it is “them” who suffers and not “us.”  .

In a previous post asking whose side we were on, I provided the math to show what the real impact of this pull out will be on our economy if ALL military budgets now requested for the campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan were eliminated.  Bottom line; it will not make even a small dent in the deficit, much less the debt.

We are no longer a country of Chess Players.  indeed we are no longer a country of Checkers Players.  In fact it would seem as if our “brilliant” leaders could not predictably win a game of Old Maid against the nearest potted plant.  The only strategic game our dear leader seems competent at is national Russian Roulette.  Thus far, Stratfor’s assessments have been spot on.  in this instance if they are even close (I encourage you to read it all from the link below) then the speech our Dear Leader gave yesterday was simply delusional especially since his own intel people are telling pretty much the same story as Stratfor.

Here again, ideology trumps reality.  And once again it adds fuel to my ugly conclusions that we are being slowly brought to our knees from within so we can be rebuilt in the Dear One’s image.  He even said as much when he said we should not be Nation Building” elsewhere but needed to do “Nation Building” here.  But we have a nation… oh wait, this is not the worker’s paradise of a nation into which King Barrack openly wishes to transform us.  For that, we must build a NEW nation, right after we effectively destroy this one.  Meantime, does that not run counter to Libya?

John Quincy Adams wrote that,

“… our task is to be the advocate for liberty everywhere, but the defender of ours alone.

Jim Webb, Ronald Reagan’s Secretary of the Navy and now a Democrat Senator said, relative to the attack against Libya,

“Was our country under attack, or under the threat of imminent attack? Was a clearly vital national interest at stake? Were we invoking the inherent right of self-defense as outlined in the United Nations charter? Were we called upon by treaty commitments to come to the aid of an ally? Were we responding in kind to an attack on our forces elsewhere, as we did in the 1986 raids in Libya after American soldiers had been killed in a disco in Berlin? Were we rescuing Americans in distress, as we did in Grenada in 1983? No, we were not.”

i increasingly think we are under sttack.  But it is not from the middle east!

Here is the link to the complete Stratfor intel report i quoted from above.

U.S. and Pakistan: Afghan Strategies is republished with permission of STRATFOR

 
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Posted by on June 23, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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The Evolving Egyptian “Revolution:” Naivete Gone to Seed

San Diego – We were all told that the “revolution” in Egypt was what Democracy should look like and that it would lead to a proper democracy where the rights of the people, human rights, political rights, freedom, were in the forefront of this twitter and facebook led event.  And I was bashed and flamed a bit because I said that view was factually inaccurate, politically naive, historically ignorant, and an expression of terminal wishful thinking.  There is no point to rehashing my arguments, you can look at them in the older posts on Egypt and then Libya.  But let’s look at what this wonderful Facebook democracy is beginning to look like, shall we, and to make it more real to you we’ll use only information gathered from that bastion of accurate and fair reporting (if you never do your own fact checking, that is) the New York Times.

  • The now ruling army counsel is planning on how to prohibit and stop all future protests and sit-ins.
  • There is now evidence that the Muslim Brotherhood (who was claimed as small, secular, and completely national in outlook) has brokered a deal with the army to expedite elections.  Why?  Because the MB is the only group sufficiently organized to win an election and know how to run a state to their satisfaction.  And they are already helping the military to crack down on suspected anti-muslim behavior.  This from a group we were told hated the military and vice-versa.
  • Women who were protesting were arrested and the non-married women were stripped and checked to prove their virginity (and therefore given a ticket to live a bit longer) by the demoocratic and humane MB.
  • MB has renewed its calls for an Islamic State.
  • MB has openly stated the first order of business will be in canceling the peace treaty with Israel.

Wow, that is going pretty well, don’t you think?  Why was this not seen coming by all of you who said I was way off base?  There are very few alternative explanations.  (1) The NYT could be lying but since this contradicts their own earlier stance I doubt it.  (2) THe first analysis was based on virtually ZERO data since facts are not needed when ideology can supply an answer.  I vote for #2.

It seems that some on the deep left are desperate to finally see ONE social/governmental experiment following in the warm and fuzzy tradition of Godwin, Rousseau, Marx, that will actually lead to the utopia they claim will happen if only given a chance.  That it has not happened in the history of the world bothers them not a bit.  Unfortunately it forces them to embrace events based on seeing the world through ideological blinders rather than based on history, facts, and human nature.  That would simply be funny to watch were it not a time in the world when stability is fragile, and our own country is at a major low point economically and in terms of geopolitical respect.   And since it is a view shared by the administration, it leaves us open to pursuing courses of action based in virtually no part on the realities of the situation.

These are truly frightening times!  If we don’t start seeing the world as it is not as we want it to be, and getting ourselves a leader who is, well, a leader, then we are really in deep trouble.

 

 
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Posted by on March 25, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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Libya Revisted: The No fly Zone Concept

San Diego –  I keep hearing students and even some politicians who should know better advocating that we should sort of get involved in Libya by creating a no-fly zone over the country a la the  one we established over Iraq.  We can forget, for the moment that the Iraqi no fly zone made absolutely no difference to what was happening on the ground and did not move Saddam one step closer to relinquishing control or abandoning his visions of being the next Saladin or abusing his people as the megalomaniac he was.  The Iraqi air power was much more formidable than the Libyan one and it is clear that although it makes great TV to see a crowd of protestors bombed the truth is it has had virtually no effect other than harassment on the revolution.  That fight will be won or lost on the ground and at the moment the outcome is less than certain, an uncertainty that will not be much effected one way or the other by the Libyan air force.

I also do not believe, as i mentioned before, that we should consider any military action anywhere until we have a leader and an appointed set of advisors that are not openly anti-military and anti-strong intelligence gathering capability.  We are already now willing to leave the Persian gulf with a huge power vacuum into which Iran is set to pour because we do not seem to have even a minor clue as to the real geopolitical dynamics at play in the region.  I argued way back then that we should not go into Iraq, but having gone in we needed to go in to win, win fast, and get out, just as I did in an earlier post here on Libya.  We are not, by nature, an occupying force and do not know how to do it; we are not by nature empire builders and do not, obviously know how to create a strong, stable, central government from people steeped in tribal mentalities; we do not have the national will to do the dirty work necessary to successfully accomplish those longer missions so we should never undertake then even with strong military leadership.  To dip our toe in this conflict now, with our current leadership and with no really clear national interests involved, will, I believe, lead to very negative and mostly unforeseen consequences.

So, since no one cares what I think, we have chatted up the idea of orchestrating a no fly zone to help the rebels.  That simply shows an amazing lack of historical knowledge and even less military knowledge.   The real problem is involved in what is required to create a no fly zone.  We think it is an aseptic action we can undertake with no risk to our personnel or much cost in material.  First of all it is a clear act of war.   So soon we forget… Before we can truly establish such a zone that is safe for our own aircraft to monitor, we need to remove all anti-air defense systems.  We do that by essentially baiting them to lock onto a bait plane with their radar and then instantly launch missles at the source of the radar emission.  There is no time for verification since if they actually get a missile well launched at a plane it is by no means certain we can intercept it or outfly it.  That means we have to shoot fast.  We cannot afford to miss one, just one, because one American plane shot down and pilot lost will instantly see the american sheep rise in a collective “Baaaaaa” to get us out immediately.  and that would be the worst possible message we could send to the middle east populace.  So what is the problem?  We can shoot fast and aim well these days.  The problem is we are engaging a madman with no concern for his own people, only his own maintenance of power.

And just as Saddam before him, good ol’ Muammar has absolutely no problem putting his own people in danger to serve his ends.  Placing the radar units (the weapons do not have to be attached to them) in places like school roofs, or mosques or public buildings or even residential areas so that the counter fire will set off a firestorm of condemnation for killing innocent civilians will rapidly turn public opinion against us and leave him free to go on butchering his own people.  We must return fire before that signal locks on to its target and that means as soon as we have locked on to the point of radiation without regard to other locational information which will take time to sort out and verify.  By that time, if it is coming from a real SAM site,our targeted plane would be on the ground as smoking wreckage.

Remember the PR hit we took for hitting a milk factory?  Imagine us hitting a school full of kids.

The world is not the simple place many of us, including me, would love it to be.  As a nation we have done precisely what other great empires did when they reached a point of unchallenged supremacy in the geopolitical and/or military sense; we have grown soft, indolent, lazy, entitled, and intolerant of anything requiring effort or pain.  We forget that our freedom was purchased with blood, and not just American blood.  And when, in an attempt to ensure freedom elsewhere the result is, oh no, blood, our collective response is, “…BLOOD???!!!  Eeeeeeeww! Get us out of there!”

While that remains a national attitude then we have no business getting involved where loss of blood is even a remote possibility because we will run at the first lost drop.  Not the soldiers on the ground who will fight to the last drop of it if necessary, but our weak-willed leadership who wants to micro-manage actions for which they have no training, no expertise, no experience, and, most importantly, no will.

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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So What About Libya?

San Diego – Well some who remember my argument opposed to all of the normally given reasons for not going into Iraq but still, ultimately arguing against it for a completely different reason have asked what I think about going into Libya to help the “Revolution” there.  There are growing cries for us to “do domething” about Khaddafi or Ghadaffi or however he is spelling his name today.  Goodness knows few dictators on earth have more deserved to be taken out quickly with the possible exception of Idi Ammin and Adolph what’s-his-name.  But I am opposed to getting involved because I think we are being led by a group of abject amateurs who, if they get started, will either get us enmeshed in an unwinnable protracted occupation or end up, as did Clinton in Somalia, trying to do the right thing but so ineptly as to have us run with our tail between our legs and setting up the conviction with Bin Laden that we are simply a paper tiger and open to attack.  According to Al Arabiya, “Al-Qaeda (sic) has established an emirate in Derna led by Abdelkarim al-Hasadi, a former Guantanamo detainee… they have begun to impose the burqa and have executed people who refuse to cooperate with them.” Of course we have pronounced them beaten and of no more worry not to mention declaring those detainees innocents who should never have been detained in the first place.

We no longer are capable of following TR’s admonition to “Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick.”  Today we sneak around apologetically after throwing the stick away.  So I am opposed to any such adventure under the current leadership.    If it were, however, to be seriously contemplated then I think the strategy must clearly define (1) The mission/goal, (2) the rules of engagement, and (3) the exit strategy.  We should not simply try to arm the rebels so that later, as in Afghanistan, they can turn those weapons back on us if they decide we are now the bad guys.  If we are stupid enough to get involved then we need to do it right.

The Mission should be a simple easy to understand one:  Take out good ol’ Mummar and anyone who might seek to replace him along with his loyalists and then give the country, cleansed of him, back to the Libyans to do with as they think best.  We should make it clear to the world we are not there to take over the country or strong arm them in any way; we are there merely and solely to help them rid themselves of a monster.  We are not fighting for oil we are fighting for human rights and liberty.  If we fight for any other reason than supporting liberty then we ought not to do it.

The Rules of Engagement should be designed to allow the goal to be accomplished.  We should use all of the latest high tech awesome power in our arsenal but WE should be the ones using it.  We should allow the leaders of the opposition, those we are supposedly helping, to provide the intel (which could not be worse than our own these days) and the targeting.  That way we likely have better targeting and in any case, we cannot be held responsible for collateral damage since we only shot at targets they pointed out knowing the likely outcome.   When we see a bad guy, after proper warning to the area, then he is a fair target.  Throwing down your weapon and running for cover so you can escape to fight another day does not make of you a non-target just because your fingers are not now wrapped around a weapon.  We should be there to kill or capture bad guys as defined by the locals we are helping and deny their command and control function any operational integrity and fighting capability.  Period.

The Exit Strategy should be equally simple of definition. When the mission is accomplished and the opposition forces are, by their own determination, in control and satisfied, then we pack up starting that very day and leave.  And in leaving we will be taking with us ALL of our technology and advanced weaponry and leaving nothing, absolutely nothing, that could ever be turned against us.  Of course we make it clear that if some other force tries to take advantage of the situation, we can play this game again since it is a great live fire training exercise for us.

If we operated that way we would leave several clear messages.  The first is that we truly are a force to be reckoned with and one silly to bring down on yourself.  Second, that we fight for liberty and not to impose our own will on anyone.  And Third that we are as good as the values we espouse.  And finally we send the message that America, as a bastion of liberty ready to help the downtrodden but with no interest in empire… is finally back.

But under any other approach, I am adamantly opposed to our getting involved.

 
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Posted by on March 3, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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