Saturday, July 31, 2010
It's not enough for Obama's strategy in Afghanistan to work; it has to be worth it.
A U.S. Army soldier patrols with Afghan soldiers in Wardak province, Afghanistan. (U.S. Army Photo/Sgt. Russell Gilchrest)
(This is a cross post)
Gen. David Petraeus took command in Afghanistan last week with President Barack Obama promising the nation that the change in leadership would not entail a change in strategy. In his remarks upon assuming command, Petraeus stated that "we are in this to win." This is about what one would expect of a commanding general, but just as Obama found it necessary to fire Petraeus' predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the national interest requires some deeper thinking about how many resources it makes sense to dedicate to Afghanistan.
Afghanistan is, at the end of the day, an extremely poor and remote country. The U.S. military, seemingly sensitive to this point, recently launched a substantial information operation designed to convince people that the country is full of valuable natural resources like lithium. This, however, was largely old news and ignored the remote prospects for actually exploiting these resources.
Of course the United States didn't invade Afghanistan in order to control precious metals. We did it for the pretty good reason that Osama bin Laden was operating openly there with the support of the country's de facto government. And had we succeeded in killing or capturing bin Laden back in the winter of 2001-2002, it strikes me as exceedingly unlikely that eight years later we'd have tens of thousands of American soldiers attempting to improve governance and resolve political instability in Afghanistan. That we failed back then, and that the distraction of Iraq prevented us from stabilizing the country when it might have been easier, doesn't change the fact that it's currently a strange mission we're undertaking.
The main national-security rationale for our involvement in Afghanistan is the notion that Taliban-held territory could be a safe haven for terrorists. This is true but incomplete. Plenty of other places from Somalia to Yemen to Pakistan and beyond could play that role. Unfortunately, the world does not suffer from a shortage of malgoverned locations. Nor, for that matter, is it strictly necessary to find a piece of chaotic hinterland in order to commit acts of terrorism. The main plotting for September 11 was undertaken in Hamburg, Germany, where the level of governance and political stability outpaces anything we'll see from Afghanistan in several lifetimes.
That's not to say we should be blithely unconcerned about the potential al-Qaeda threat from Afghanistan, but given that we're talking about a few hundred fighters, a massive counterinsurgency campaign waged by tens of thousands of American soldiers seems excessive.
We should, though, take a hard look at what our decisions in Afghanistan truly cost. But the way we're currently funding the war hides trade-offs. A cryptic process masks what we're spending. Congress votes on war appropriations separately from the rest of the budget, and centrist senators don't demand offsets as the price of avoiding a filibuster. Consequently, expenditures escape political scrutiny and even rudimentary efforts at cost-benefit analysis.
The problems with this are not merely budgetary. They actually cut to the core of national strategy. The process allows Congress and the administration to ignore a key question: How important is Afghanistan relative to other national priorities? Rather than quibbling over a precise time line for withdrawing American troops from Afghanistan, it would be better to debate the trajectory of overall spending. Then instead of mouthing platitudes about winning, the role of Petraeus and his staff would be making the best possible use of the resources they have. And the best way to open such a conversation, in specific terms, would be to force the Department of Defense to balance its overall budget and not treat war supplementals as monopoly money conjured up by Congress.
Back in December 2009 my colleague at the Center for American Progress Larry Korb outlined a strategy to offset the cost of a troop surge in Afghanistan by cutting the baseline military budget. It was a useful exercise, and one through which the administration would do well to actually put the Joint Chiefs. Not merely because of the budgetary savings it would involve but because it would force the military leadership to consider more seriously what they really think matters. How much is Afghanistan worth and for how long? It's easy to talk about "interests" and "threats" in general terms but much harder to look at real trade-offs in specific terms.
To get policy right in Afghanistan, we need more than a strategy that "works" or lets us "win"; we need one that's worth it.
(Matthew Yglesias is a senior editor at the Center for American Progress Action Fund, a former Prospect staff writer, and the author of Heads in the Sand: How the Republicans Screw Up Foreign Policy and Foreign Policy Screws Up the Democrats).
Friday, July 30, 2010
By: Naveed Tajammal
(This is an exclusive article for pakpotpourri2)
(This is an exclusive article for pakpotpourri2)
Eric Arthur Blair, better known in literature as ,George Orwell had done some predictions when he drafted his book,’’1984’’ in 1947-48.It was published in 1949,George saw after the 2nd world war a world divided in three major super-states, Oceania (Britain, South Africa, America & Polynesia(Pacific Ocean Islands),Eurasia (Continental Europe, and North Asia) . Lastly, East Asia (China, Japan, Korea &North India). Continuous wars, between these super states over a disputed area, which formed a ‘parrellogram’ from Tangier ( Morocco) to Brazzaville (Congo), in a straight line to tip of northern Australia ‘’Darwin’ and then to Hong Kong.
Eurasia did rise as did the Warsaw pact countries of Europe but they all took a nose dive after 1989.The fall of the Soviet Empire, East Asia, has yet to rise, only Oceania is in the world Arena. The Union Jack has collapsed its strategic sites as well of other empires since 1898 ( Treaty of Paris) have been annexed by the sole super state The USA( The stars and stripes ) or Oceania of George Orwell, South Africa to collapsed with rise of Nelson Mandela.
What George Orwell had feared most was the creation of Totalitarian states, which keeps its people under constant mass surveillance, each transaction, communication, compiled, stored away, ready to be re- examined and used by the authority, whenever they wanted. And as go the figures and reports, only in the USA, an average citizen is caught on film nearly 200 times daily, in the Britain the mother of Democracy ,each citizen is filmed 300 times daily. The American National Data Base agency has the world’s largest data base.So, the Big brother is there, as envisaged by Orwell.
But here we have to pause and see the rise of ‘Oceania’ as the sole power, at the moment in time. And what somebody, who was instrumental in making it in the start has to say on this. The man, Major General Smedley.D.Butler,(1881-1940). Until 1898 the USA did not have any territory outside the mainland of North America, and her national debt stood at one billion dollars, and by the end of the First World War in which USA jumped in for no rhyme or reason, it was 25 billion dollars. So the desire to acquire outside territory or ‘’Fiddling in International Affairs”, was the cause in the rise of the debt, as for very few this ‘’RACKET’ OF waging wars is profitable business venture. It brings fancy profits, but the cost of war operations is always transferred to the people-who do not share the profits.
With these words General Butler, quotes from Senate Document # 259 of the 65th Congress Report, on the Corporate Earnings, analysing the profits of 122 meat packers,153 cotton manufactures,299 garment makers,49 steel plants & 340 coal producers during the years of the first world war. Which are mind boggling but the space does not permit the details.
This is piece was written way back in 1933, but is still just as relevant. It is an excerpt from a speech by Major General Smedley Butler. Smedley Butler is one of only 19 people in the entire history of the US military to have been awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor twice.
“A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of people. Only a small inside group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few at the expense of the masses.
I believe in adequate defense at the coastline and nothing else. If a nation comes over here to fight, then we’ll fight. The trouble with America is that when the dollar only earns 6 percent over here, then it gets restless and goes overseas to get 100 percent. Then the flag follows the dollar and the soldiers follow the flag.
I wouldn’t go to war again as I have done to protect some lousy investment of the bankers. There are only two things we should fight for. One is the defense of our homes and the other is the Bill of Rights. War for any other reason is simply a racket.
There isn’t a trick in the racketeering bag that the military gang is blind to. It has its “finger men” to point out enemies, its “muscle men” to destroy enemies, its “brain men” to plan war preparations, and a “Big Boss” Super-Nationalistic-Capitalism.
It may seem odd for me, a military man to adopt such a comparison. Truthfulness compels me to. I spent thirty-three years and four months in active military service as a member of this country’s most agile military force, the Marine Corps. I served in all commissioned ranks from Second Lieutenant to Major-General. And during that period, I spent most of my time being a high class muscle-man for Big Business, for Wall Street and for the Bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism.
I suspected I was just part of a racket at the time. Now I am sure of it. Like all the members of the military profession, I never had a thought of my own until I left the service. My mental faculties remained in suspended animation while I obeyed the orders of higher-ups. This is typical with everyone in the military service.
I helped make Mexico, especially Tampico, safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefits of Wall Street. The record of racketeering is long. I helped purify Nicaragua for the international banking house of Brown Brothers in 1909—1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for American sugar interests in 1916. In China I helped to see to it that Standard Oil went its way unmolested.
During those years, I had, as the boys in the back room would say, a swell racket. Looking back on it, I feel that I could have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. “
Now kindly analyse the aftermath of 2nd world war and the American ventures to date.
(The writer has over 26 years of experience of research in historical investigation)
Thursday, July 29, 2010
(This is a cross post).
IN 2001 ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE OF UPI INTERVIEWED HAMID GUL ON 9/11:
By Arnaud de Borchgrave for UPI
De Borchgrave: So who did Black Sept. 11?
Gul: Mossad and its accomplices. The U.S. spends $40 billion a year on its 11 intelligence agencies. That’s $400 billion in 10 years. Yet the Bush Administration says it was taken by surprise. I don’t believe it. Within 10 minutes of the second twin tower being hit in the World Trade Center CNN said Osama bin Laden had done it. That was a planned piece of disinformation by the real perpetrators. It created an instant mindset and put public opinion into a trance, which prevented even intelligent people from thinking for themselves.
Q: So you’re already convinced bin Laden didn’t do it?
A: I know bin Laden and his associates. I’ve been with them here, in Europe and the Middle East. They are graduates of the best universities and are highly intelligent with impressive degrees and speak impeccable English. These are people who have rediscovered fundamental Islamic values. Many come from the Gulf countries where ruling royal families have generated hatred by the way they flout divine law, wasting billions on gratifying their whims, jetting around in large private jets by themselves, and sailing the Mediterranean in big private boats for weeks on end. Osama’s best recruits come from feudal areas that are U.S. protectorates and where millions of poor people are seeking human dignity. I have even visited a Christian convent school in Murree, 60 miles from here, where my 13-year-old daughter is studying. The young girls there have told me Osama is their hero. Osama’s followers identify with Mujahideen freedom fighters wherever they are defending Islam and its values.
Q: So what makes you think Osama wasn’t behind Sept. 11?
A: From a cave inside a mountain or a peasant’s hovel? Let’s be serious. Osama inspires countless millions by standing up for Islam against American and Israeli imperialism. He doesn’t have the means for such a sophisticated operation.
Q: Why Mossad?
A: Mossad and its American associates are the obvious culprits. Who benefits from the crime? The attacks against the twin towers started at 8:45 a.m. and four flights are diverted from their assigned air space and no air traffic controller sounds the alarm. And no Air Force jets scramble until 10 a.m. That also smacks of a small scale Air Force rebellion, a coup against the Pentagon perhaps? Radars are jammed, transponders fail. No IFF — friend or foe identification — challenge. In Pakistan, if there is no response to IFF, jets are instantly scrambled and the aircraft is shot down with no further questions asked. This was clearly an inside job. Bush was afraid and rushed to the shelter of a nuclear bunker. He clearly feared a nuclear situation. Who could that have been? Will that also be hushed up in the investigation, like the Warren report after the Kennedy assassination?
Q: At this point, someone might be asking what you’ve been smoking. What is Israel’s interest in such a monstrous plot, which, of course, no one believes except Islamist extremists who concocted this piece of disinformation in the first place, presumably to detract from the real culprits?
A: Jews never agreed to Bush 41 (George H.W. Bush, the 41st president) or 43 (his son George W. Bush, the 43rd president). They made sure Bush senior didn’t get a second term. His land-for-peace pressure in Palestine didn’t suit Israel. They were also against the young Bush because he was considered too close to oil interests and the Gulf countries. Bush senior and Jim Baker had raised $150 million for Bush junior, much of it from Mideast sources or their American go-betweens. Bush 41 and Baker, as private citizens, had also facilitated the new strategic relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran. I have this from sources in both countries. So clearly the prospect of a Bush 43 was a potential danger to Israel.
Jews were stunned by the way Bush stole the election in Florida. They had put big money on Al Gore. Israel has given its imperialist guardian parent opportunities to turn disaster into a pretext for imposing an all-encompassing military, political and economic agenda to further the cause of global capitalism. While Colin Powell is cautious and others are reckless and want to make up for their failure to defeat Saddam Hussein in the Gulf War 10 years ago, the global agenda is the same.
Israel knows it has a short shelf-life before it is overwhelmed by demographics. It is a state that was born in terrorism that terrorized Palestinians into the exile of refugee camps, where they have now subsisted in squalid refugee camps, and is now very much afraid of Pakistan’s nuclear capability.
Israel has now handed the Bush family the opportunity it has been waiting for to consolidate America’s imperial grip on the Gulf and acquire control of the Caspian basin by extending its military presence in Central Asia. Bush conveniently overlooks — or is not told — the fact that Islamic fundamentalists got their big boost in the modern age as CIA assets in the covert campaign I was also involved with to force the Soviets out of Afghanistan. Bush senior was vice president during that entire campaign. And no sooner did he become president on Jan. 20, 1989, than he summoned an inter-agency intelligence meeting and issued an order, among several others, to clip the wings of ISI (Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence) that had been coordinating the entire operation in Afghanistan. I know this firsthand as I was DGISI at the time (director general, ISI).
Q: So how do you read U.S. strategy in Pakistan?
A: The destabilization of Pakistan is part of the U.S. plan because it is a Muslim nuclear state. The U.S. wants to isolate Pakistan from China as part of its containment policy. President Nixon’s book “The Real War” said China would be the superpower of the 21st Century. The U.S. is also creating hostility between Pakistan and Afghanistan, two Muslim states to reverse the perception that the Islamic world now has its own nuclear weapons. Bush 43 doesn’t realize he is being manipulated by people who understand geopolitics. He is not leading but being led. All he can do is think in terms of the wanted-dead-or-alive culture, which is how Hollywood conditions the masses to think and act.
All summer long we heard about America’s shrinking surplus and that the Pentagon would not have sufficient funds to modernize for the 21st century. And now, all of a sudden, the Pentagon can get what it wants without any Democratic Party opposition. How very convenient! Even your cherished civil liberties can now be abridged with impunity to protect the expansion of the hegemony of transnational capitalism. There is now a new excuse to crush anti-globalization protests.
Bush 43 follows Bush 41. Iraq was baited into the Kuwaiti trap when the U.S. told Saddam it was not interested in his inter-Arab squabbles. Two days later, he moved into Kuwait, which was an Iraqi province anyway before the British Empire decreed otherwise. Roosevelt baited the Pearl Harbor trap for the Japanese empire, which provided the pretext for entering World War II.
And now the Israelis have given the U.S. the pretext for further expansion into an area that will be critical in the next 25 years – the Caspian basin.
Q: Were you a fundamentalist in the days of the war against the Soviets in Afghanistan when you worked closely with the CIA?
A: Not as much as I am today.
Q: What turned you against America?
A: Betrayals and broken promises and what was done to my army career.
Q: And what was that?
A: President Ishaq Khan, who succeeded Zia ul-Haq after his plane was blown out of the sky, wanted to appoint me chief of staff, the highest position in the Pakistani army. The U.S., which by then had clipped ISI’s wings, also blocked my promotion by informing the president I was unacceptable. So I was moved to a corps commander position. As ISI director, I held the whole Mujahideen movement in the palm of my hands. We were all pro-American. But then America left us in the lurch and everything went to pieces, including Afghanistan.
The U.S. pushed for a broad-based Afghan government of seven factions and then waved goodbye. Even in the best of democracies, a broad-based coalition does not work. So we quickly had seven jokers in Kabul interested in only one thing – jockeying for power. The gunplay quickly followed, which led to the creation of Taliban, the students of the original Mujahideen, who decided to put an end to it.
Q: What happened to the 1,000 shoulder-fired Stinger anti-aircraft missiles that were supplied by president Reagan in 1986 and 87 to the Mujahideen, and that literally grounded the Soviet air force?
A: After the Soviets pulled out, the CIA allocated $60 million to try to buy them back. This just drove the black market price up for one Stinger from $100,000 to $300,000. The Taliban still have about 250 of them for the kind of situation they face today against U.S. aircraft.
Q: Is the U.S. now your enemy?
A: Is the U.S. national interest in contradiction with the Muslim world? The U.S. needs oil, as do its European allies. You have between 6 and 8 million American Muslims and their ranks are growing. About the same number in Europe. Israel aside, we are America’s natural allies. Prof. Sam Huntington in his “Clash of Civilizations” puts Confucius and Judeo-Christians in one corner, and us in the other. His prescription is wrong but is being adopted by Bush 43 who has now put 60 countries on his hit list. This is the diabolical school that wants to launch an anti-Muslim “crusade.” Muslims understood what Bush meant when he used that word.
We need a meeting, not a clash, of civilizations. We are on the brink of disaster. It is time to pull back from the brink and reassess before we blow ourselves up. The purpose of Islam is service to humanity. The time for like-minded people to have a meeting of the minds is now.
Q: But you are against democracy, so how can there be a meeting of the minds?
A: Democracy does not work. Politicians are constantly thinking of their next election, not the public good, which means, at best, constantly shading the truth to hide it from their constituents. Their pronouncements are laced with lies and the voters are lulled or gulled into believing utter nonsense. The Koran says call a spade a spade. It is the supreme law and tells right from wrong. There is no notion of “my country right or wrong” under divine law. The creator’s will predominates. All if subservient to Allah’s will and adherence to a set of basic, fundamental values.
Q: So what kind of a system are you advocating?
A: The world needs a post-modern state system. Right now, the nation-state and round the clock satellite TV lead people to imitate America’s way of life. Which is mathematically impossible. You have 4 percent of the world’s population consuming 32 percent of the world’s resources. The creator through Prophet Mohammed said equal distribution. Capitalism is the negation of the creator’s will. It leads to imperialism and unilateralism.
Q: So what does this post-modern state system look like?
A: A global village under divine order, or we will have global bloodshed until good triumphs over evil. Islam encapsulates all the principal religions and what was handed down 1,400 years ago was the normal evolutionary sequel to Judaism and Christianity. The prophet’s last sermon was a universal document of human rights for everyone that surpasses everything that came since, including America’s declaration of independence and the U.N. Charter of universal rights. If you superimpose true secular values on true Islamic values, there is no difference. So surely divine law should supersede man-made law. Islam is egalitarian, tolerant and progressive. It is the wave of the future.
Q: Marxism also believed that the nation-state would eventually wither away.
A: Socialism jumped the rails when it was co-opted by the imperialist Soviet state. Islam believes in dynamism, Christianity stands for static statism. The pope in all his pronouncements has expressed a dogmatic attachment to the status quo. Why are so many black Americans converting to Islam? Because they are looking for true equality which they cannot find under capitalism. Allah has no gender, neither male nor female. Islam has no indirect taxation in an interest-free economy. Usury was a Jewish concept.
Q: Is Iran your model?
A: There isn’t a single true Islamic state in the world today. Iran has moved forward from its 1979 revolution, but I am not sure whether it’s the right direction.
Q: And Taliban?
A: They represent Islam in its purest form so far. It’s a clean sheet. And they were also moving in the right direction when this crisis was cooked up by the U.S. Until Sept. 11, they had perfect law and order with no formal police force, only traffic cops without sidearms. Now, in less than two weeks, they have mobilized some 300,000 volunteers to fight American and British invaders if they come.
Q: And your reaction to U.S. demands on Pakistan?
A: If Pakistan gives the U.S. base rights we will have a national upheaval. And if the U.S. attacks Afghanistan, there will be a call — a fatwa — for a general jihad. All borders will then disappear and it will be a no-holds-barred Islamic uprising against Israel and American imperialism. Pakistan will be engulfed in the firestorm. So I can only hope that cooler heads will prevail in Washington.
Q: What about the other U.S. demands?
A: Overflight rights are meaningless since the U.S. violates air space daily all over the world. As for intelligence sharing with ISI, you can’t even catch your own terrorists. And what ISI gives you will be of marginal value anyway.
Q: President (Pervez) Musharraf has made strong statements supporting the U.S.
A: He was my student in the army. He is a good man, but he doesn’t understand Islam. The army will never fight the masses. If push comes to shove, Musharraf will say no to the Americans rather than turn against the people. He is not just facing a handful of angry people. By his own admission, it’s 10 percent to 15 percent of the population, or at least 10 million people willing to fight. For openers, they would close the port of Karachi. A country cannot breathe without lungs.
Q: Back to Osama’s terrorist network. Who was behind the bombing of the U.S. Embassies in Tanzania and Kenya?
A: Mossad is strong in both countries. Remember the Israeli operation to free hostages in Entebbe (Uganda)? Both Kenya and Tanzania were part of the logistical tail. A so-called associate of Osama was framed at Karachi airport. The incidents took place on Aug. 8, 1999, and on the 10th a short, clean-shaven man disembarks at Karachi airport and presents the passport of a bearded man. Not your passport, he was told. He then tries to bribe the clerk with 200 rupees. A ludicrously small sum given the circumstances. The clerk says no and turns him in and he starts singing right away. Not plausible. Osama has sworn to me on the Koran it was not him and he is truthful to a fault. Pious Muslims do not kill innocent civilians who included many Muslim victims. The passport must have been switched while the man was asleep on the plane in what has all the earmarks of a Mossad operation. For 10 years, the Mujahideen fought the Soviets in Afghanistan and not a single Soviet embassy was touched anywhere in the world. So this could not have been Osama’s followers.
Q: What if bin Laden has been lying to you and is guilty. Is that inconceivable?
A: If Taliban are given irrefutable evidence of his guilt, I am in favor of a fair trial. In America, one is entitled to a jury of peers. But he has no American peers. The Taliban would not object, in the event of a prima face case, to an international Islamic court meeting in The Hague. They would turn extradite Osama to the Netherlands.
(The Interviewer is Editor at Large for UPI)
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
(This is an Exclusive Pakpotpourri Article).
· There is general consensus that these “tens of thousands of classified documents”
procured by the Wikileaks are mostly raw battlefield reports from Afghanistan,
and reveal little that was not already known. All the same, it has created an
impact and confirmed many fears: that the war in Afghanistan was not going
too well for the US led forces; that it was largely because of Pakistan’s interservices
intelligence (the ISI) playing a “double game”; also that the Karzai led
dispensation in Kabul did little to help; and that the indiscriminate use of force by the
American military, a euphemism for war crimes, too has contributed to this failure.
· If that was the intended message, the leak was obviously deliberate. The number
and the nature of reports reinforce this inference. The following developments lead
me to believe that it was done to win more support for the course correction that
Obama’s administration has undertaken.
o During the last two years, it has often been claimed, and may even be partly
true, that under the new counterinsurgency strategy, “collateral damage” was
o Again, during the same period, since Pakistan has been successfully
persuaded/ coerced to undertake military operations against some of the
groups allied with the Afghan resistance, its support to the latter (must have)
o Most importantly, as the project Afghanistan has gone so hopelessly awry,
Obama’s decision to start withdrawing the military next year was, at the very
least, the least bad option.
· Pakistan and its sympathisers will indeed now find their own arguments to control the
o The official spokespersons cannot do much better than reiterating that
the “situation on ground” was different, that Pakistan has taken effective
measures against the militants operating on its side of the AfPak borders, and
that its policies have now won applause all around.
o A number of regional experts have rationalised Pakistan’s (alleged) support
to the Afghan Taliban because it needs a countervailing force against the
growing Indian influence (some of them even believe that in due course
Pakistan would employ them in the Indian held Kashmir). Since this
perception also exists in Pakistan and provides us with a reasonable excuse
to keep the Afghan Taliban in good shape, I have no intentions to contest it in
the present scenario.
o Not many would pick up the courage to suggest that some other countries in
the Region- Iran, Russia and China for example- too are genuinely concerned
about the presence of the US-led alliance in Afghanistan. All of them would
therefore take their own respective course to subvert the NATO’s “out of area”
missions. While Pakistan and Iran would be the obvious suspects interested
in a potent Afghan resistance, there are other players as well in this new
o An unintended consequence of these “leaks” may well be the ISI’s enhanced
stature in the eyes of the ordinary Pakistanis. With the all pervasive “anti-
Americanism” in the country, if the agency has had the gumption of
supporting the Afghan resistance against the US occupation, it would be
credited with “yet another” coup. Hameed Gul may also reap similar benefits
thought at a much reduced scale. People here have a fairly good idea that
his overt support to the Taliban notwithstanding, he has no wherewithal to
(The writer is the former Head of ISI).
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Why are the Americans so flabbergasted by the botch up of the Allied Forces performance in Afghanistan? Are they shocked because civilians, children, women were being killed? Or that CIA had expanded paramilitary operations inside Afghanistan?. Or that these units launch ambushes, order airstrikes and conduct night raids?. Or that from 2001 to 2008, the C.I.A. paid the budget of Afghanistan’s spy agency and ran it as a virtual subsidiary? I mean, excuse me. The botch up and misrepresentation was generally known, though of course not the specific incidents.
Nine years is a long time for a war . Any war. Spending $300 billion of US taxpayer’s money and having nothing to show for it must have gone off like a bomb for the unsuspecting Americans.
Much has been written and shall continue to be written on the WIKI LEAK. WikiLeaks, an online whistle-blower, has released the ‘Afghan War Diary’, a set of over 91,000 leaked US military reports from 2004-2009. Some 75,000 reports have been released online. There has not been any ‘surprise’ in the official US circles. US National Security Advisor General James Jones said that the US “strongly condemns the disclosure of classified information...which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk” but the leaks “will not impact our ongoing commitment to deepen our partnerships with Afghanistan and Pakistan”. Meanwhile, Pakistan’s Foreign Office said the leaked reports were not based on facts and “do not reflect the current on-ground realities”.But I will turn to three basic questions here. One, the fact, that the US and NATO forces floundering in USA was well known. It was no secret. Killings of civilians in Afghanistan was pretty much known. Papers are full of stories of how . Just to quote a few examples here; NYT 12th April 2010 ,” American troops raked a large passenger bus with gunfire near Kandahar on Monday morning, killing and wounding civilians, and igniting angry anti-American demonstrations in a city where winning over Afghan support is pivotal to the war effort.” Derrick Crowe, on April 4th 2010, posted on his site: FDL: The Seminal : “A thorough joint investigation into the events that occurred in the Gardez district of Paktiya Province Feb. 12, has determined that international forces were responsible for the deaths of three women who were in the same compound where two men were killed by the joint Afghan-international patrol searching for a Taliban insurgent.
The two men, who were later determined not to be insurgents, were shot and killed by the joint patrol after they showed what appeared to be hostile intent by being armed. While investigators could not conclusively determine how or when the women died, due to lack of forensic evidence, they concluded that the women were accidentally killed as a result of the joint force firing at the men”.
I share the link of the video given by The Seminal: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3RhkBMCiU7M&feature=player_embedded
The list is long & it can go on. The point, I hope, established is that news of continuing ongoing criminal incidents was repeatedly reported. Why was it not heeded by those who should have heeded it?
Two, Obama did not start this war. But someone, along the line has to be made responsible, in all honesty, and not as a scapegoat , for the official misrepresentation of the war.
Three, Pakistan has been an ally to USA in this war and has suffered greatly .It has everything to lose by continued instability in Afghanistan and everything to gain by stability in Afghanistan. Pakistan gains nothing by prolonging the war or running a counter policy of her own. Saeed Quraishi, a political commentator, states,” As matter of fact, ISI had deep and close connections with Taliban and others since the time when both were waging a war against the Soviet Union army in Afghanistan .That connection was blessed, approved, and utilized by the American spy agencies then.
However, the connections if these still exist should be a blessing in disguise for NATO and America because this might give them a way-out to bring about some understanding with the Taliban. That is the only hope for the occupation forces to exit honorably.”
It is also intriguing that for six years the information was sitting there and after six years, it was released now.
Afghan war was a failure from the start. Historically speaking, no invader has won against Afghanistan on her home ground.
Let us acknowledge a failed war. That’s what Afghanistan has been. Always.
(The writer is a lawyer based in Lahore).
NOTE: This article was also carried by Opinion Maker. It has been also published in Pakistan Observer Newspaper. Link:http://pakobserver.net/detailnews.asp?id=44100
Leaked Reports Make Afghan War Policy More Vulnerable
Analysis by Gareth Porter*
WASHINGTON, Jul 26, 2010 (IPS) - The 92,000 reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks, and reported Monday by the Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel, offer no major revelations that are entirely new, as did the Pentagon Papers to which they are inevitably being compared.
But they increase the political pressure on a war policy that has already suffered a precipitous loss of credibility this year by highlighting contradictions between the official assumptions of the strategy and the realities shown in the documents - especially in regard to Pakistan's role in the war.
Unlike the Pentagon Papers, which chronicle the policymaking process leading up to and during the Vietnam War, the WikiLeaks documents chronicle thousands of local incidents and situations encountered by U.S. and other NATO troops that illustrate chronic problems for the U.S.-NATO effort.
Among the themes that are documented, sometimes dramatically but often through bland military reports, are the seemingly casual killing of civilians away from combat situations, night raids by special forces that are often based on bad intelligence, the absence of legal constraints on the abuses of Afghan police, and the deeply rooted character of corruption among Afghan officials.
The most politically salient issue highlighted by the new documents, however, is Pakistan's political and material support for the Taliban insurgency, despite its ostensible support for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.
The documents include many intelligence reports about Lt. Gen. Hamid Gul, the director of the ISI, Pakistan's military intelligence agency, in the late 1980s, continuing to work with the Taliban commanders loyal to Mullah Omar as well as the Jalaluddin Haaqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar insurgent networks.
Some of the reports obviously reflect the anti-Pakistan bias of the Afghan intelligence service when it was under former Northern Alliance intelligence chief Amrullah Saleh. Nevertheless, the overall impression they convey of Pakistani support for the Taliban is credible to the news media, because they confirm numerous press reports over the past few years.
The New York Times led its coverage of the documents with its report on the Pakistani-Taliban issue. The story said the documents reflect "deep suspicions among American officials that Pakistan's military spy service has for years guided the Afghan insurgency with a hidden hand, even as Pakistan receives more than 1 billion dollars a year from Washington for its help combating the militants."
The issue of Pakistani "double-dealing" on Afghanistan is one of the Barack Obama administration's greatest political vulnerabilities, because it is bears on a point of particular political sensitivity among the political and national security elite who are worried about whether there is any hope for success for the war strategy, even with Gen. David Petraeus in command.
One Democratic opponent of the war policy was quick to take advantage of the leaked documents' focus on Pakistan's support for the Taliban. In a statement issued Monday, Sen. Russ Feingold, Democratic member of the Foreign Relations Committee, said the documents "highlight a fundamental strategic problem, which is that elements of the Pakistani security services have been complicit in the insurgency".
In combination with "competing agendas within the Afghan security forces", Feingold argued, that problem precludes any "military solution in Afghanistan".
Afghan President Hamid Karzai took advantage of the new story generated by the documents to release a statement pointing to Pakistani sanctuaries across the border as the primary problem faced by his government. "Our efforts against terrorism will have no effect as long as these sanctuaries and sources remain intact," said Karzai.
Last February, then Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said what administration officials had privately conceded. Disrupting the "safe havens" enjoyed by the Taliban on the Pakistani side of the border, he said, "won't be sufficient by itself to defeat the insurgency in Afghanistan", but it is a "necessary condition" for making "progress" in Afghanistan.
Implicitly admitting its political vulnerability on the issue, on Sunday, the White House issued a compilation of statements by senior administration officials over the last 18 months aimed at showing that they have been tough with Pakistan on Afghanistan.
But none of the statements quoted in the compilation admitted the reality that Pakistan's policy of supporting the Taliban insurgency has long been firmly fixed and is not going to change.
Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agreed in April 2009 that "elements" of the ISI were "connected to those militant organisations". But he suggested that Pakistani chief of staff Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, with whom Mullen had developed a close personal relationship, was in the process of changing the intelligence agency.
Mullen essentially pleaded for time, saying that change "isn't going to happen overnight" and that "it takes a fairly significant time to change an organisation."
Admitting that Pakistan's fundamental interests in Afghanistan conflict with U.S. war strategy would be a serious – and possibly, fatal – blow to the credibility of the Obama administration's strategy of using force to "reverse the momentum" of the Taliban.
To the extent that this contradiction and others are highlighted in the coming weeks as the news media comb through the mountains of new documents, it could accelerate the process by which political support for the Afghanistan War among the foreign policy and political elite continues to diminish.
The loss of political support for the war among the political and national security elite has accelerated in recent months and is already far advanced. More prominent figures in the national security elite, both Republican and Democratic, have signaled a developing consensus in those circles that the war strategy cannot succeed, paralleling the process that occurred in Washington in 2006 in regard to the Iraq War.
Just this past week, Robert Blackwill, former deputy national security adviser for George W. Bush, and Richard Haass, former Bill Clinton administration official and president of the Council on Foreign Relations, joined the chorus of doubters and called for ceding southern Afghanistan to the Taliban and withdrawing to the north.
Haas penned an article in Newsweek under the title, "We're Not Winning. It's Not Worth It."
*Gareth Porter is an investigative historian and journalist specialising in U.S. national security policy. The paperback edition of his latest book, "Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam", was published in 2006.
NOTE:Plz also visit link to the NYT report on the same: