Archive for July, 2009

Col. Reese: It’s Time for the US to Declare Victory and Go Home

July 31, 2009

Col. Timothy R. Reese, Chief, Baghdad Operations Command Advisory Team
“Out of Iraq Now”.

Here’s a NO SPIN ZONE memo that spells out exactly what is happening on the ground in Iraq now, and Col. Reese tells us “Claim Victory and leave now”.  Please read the full MEMO under ABOUT on the far right.  The first paragraphs from the memo are here:

It’s Time for the US to Declare Victory and Go Home

As the old saying goes, “guests, like fish, begin to smell after three days.” Since the signing of the 2009 Security Agreement, we are guests in Iraq, and after six years in Iraq, we now smell bad to the Iraqi nose. Today the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are good enough to keep the Government of Iraq (GOI) from being overthrown by the actions of Al Qaeda in Iraq (AQI), the Baathists, and the Shia violent extremists that might have toppled it a year or two ago. Iraq may well collapse into chaos of other causes, but we have made the ISF strong enough for the internal security mission. Perhaps it is one of those infamous paradoxes of counterinsurgency that while the ISF is not good in any objective sense, it is good enough for Iraq in 2009. Despite this foreboding disclaimer about an unstable future for Iraq, the United States has achieved our objectives in Iraq. Prime Minister (PM) Maliki hailed June 30th as a “great victory,” implying the victory was over the US. Leaving aside his childish chest pounding, he was more right than he knew. We too ought to declare victory and bring our combat forces home. Due to our tendency to look after the tactical details and miss the proverbial forest for the trees, this critically important strategic realization is in danger of being missed.

Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan vow to fight against terrorism; cooperate in trade, energy

July 30, 2009

There’s evidence of the spread of fighters from Afghanistan and Pakistan to border countries.  Here’s an example of what is to come.  This regional battlefield is spreading right before our eyes.  Next will be India taking advantage of the Pakistan forces being deployed to parts of Pakistan that has been left alone by the Pak government.  And by Pak going after the “Taliban”, they are playing into the hands of India with regard to Kashmir.  Read the full three-way agreement statement under PAGES to the right, entitled: “Pakistan, Afghanistan, Tajikistan vow to fight against terrorism; cooperate in trade, energy”, written by Shahid Saleem Khan for Associated Press of Pakistan: http://www.app.com.pk/en_/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=82645&Itemid=1

Many Returning Soldiers Filled with Violence

July 28, 2009

Recently, Pfc. Roy Brooks Mason Jr., 28 of Fairfield, who was assigned to the Warrior Transition Unit at Fort Carson – where soldiers who are maladapted to civilian life are sent for treatment came to Santa Cruz and shot himself in the head after calling police to come and clean it up before children saw the mess.  He died in his car. 

Santa Cruz Sentinel staff writer Cathy Kelly and correspondent Libor Jany wrote about others of his Colorado Guard company that have had severe trouble upon returning home.  These are further tragedies of war and our misplaced strategy of doing what, Ending Terrorism? Read the whole story under ABOUT on the right, “Many Returning Soldiers Filled with Violence”.   A MUST READ.

Taliban part of Pakistan Military; Predator Attacks Unite Fighting Factions

July 27, 2009

 

Pakistani Pledge to Rout Taliban In Tribal Region Is Put on Hold: Story by Joshua Partlow of the Washington Post

Pakistan Military has shot itself in the foot.  Now they have 2 Million displaced people from Swat to take care of, and they have destroyed their buildings and infrastructure, now want them to return home. This is the excuse for not going into South Wazirstan now.  But the answer is not that simple.  Read these two parts to the full story here: http://tinyurl.com/nunj9t

Fighting in South Waziristan also poses a much greater challenge than in Swat. More than 400,000 people live in the tribal district, which is a bit larger than Delaware. Baitullah Mehsud commands about 10,000 to 12,000 fighters, including 4,000 foreign fighters, according to Pakistani intelligence officials. He pays his foot soldiers $60 to $80 a month, higher than the average local policeman’s salary. Al-Qaeda, meanwhile, has increased its focus on uniting the Taliban and other radical Islamist groups in the fight against Pakistan, betting its success on the survival of the Taliban, according to intelligence officials.

“It will be longer and bloodier,” another intelligence official said of the fight against Baitullah Mehsud. “He’s been made into someone 10 feet tall.”

Mehsud’s stature has grown in part because of recent decisions by other Taliban commanders, such as Maulvi Nasir and Hafiz Gul Bahadur, who once cooperated with Pakistan but have announced their intention to fight security forces. Their representatives said they have been outraged by missile strikes from unmanned American aircraft. Instead of being able to rely on rival Taliban commanders to assist the army, the drone attacks have unified them against the state, intelligence officials said.

More from the story:

Pakistan’s military has blockaded the tribal district and bombed it from the air, and it insists that the ground assault will proceed. But as the clock ticks, military analysts worry that fighting in the mountains will be more difficult as the weather turns cold in the fall. The delay has raised questions about Pakistan’s commitment to waging war against Taliban fighters the state has nurtured in the past.

“It’s an insane dream to expect anything different from the Pakistani government,” said Ali Wazir, a South Waziristan native and a politician with the secular Awami National Party. “The Taliban are the brainchildren of the Pakistan army for the last 30 years. They are their own people. Could you kill your own brother?”

 

Afghan strategy won’t work, get out now

July 24, 2009

Will COIN Work in Afghanistan?  By Donald Snow: 

Read here:http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/will-coin-work-afghanistan

From the article:  (COIN means Counterinsurgency)

With these limitations in mind, is Afghanistan ripe for COIN success? I think the manual argues implicitly that it is not, for three reasons. First, Afghanistan is too big for this kind of operation. The manual clearly states thateffective COIN requires one counterinsurgent for every 1,000 members of the population being protected. In Afghanistan, that means a COIN force of 660,000, a number so wildly in excess to what will ever be available to be disqualifying in and of itself. Second, the doctrine argues the heart of success is the political conversion of the population, but it fails to discuss who is going to do the converting. If it leaves this to U.S. counterinsurgents, the battle is lost. As the manual itself argues, an additional criterion for success is a good government the population can be loyal to. It is not at all clear Afghanistan has or is in any danger of acquiring such a government. Finally, the doctrine entreats that COIN is slow work and that its success will require considerable perseverance. A decade’s commitment or more is often suggested for Afghanistan: is there any danger the American public will support an Afghanistan war still going on in 2018 or 2019? I doubt it.

READ THE REST:http://www.acus.org/new_atlanticist/will-coin-work-afghanistan

Thanks to Joshua Faust at www.registan.net for posting a piece on this article.

Unfit Interpreters

July 23, 2009

From Joshua Faust at Registan.com  Go Read the full article here: http://www.registan.net/

You must view the Video by John McHugh.  It shows an IMPOSSIBLE situation, with absolutely no hope of “Victory”, however you could define that.

Last year, John McHugh, one of the absolute best reporters in Afghanistan, produced this video about the issues stemming from improperly-screened interpreters. I lucked out by working with “terps,” as they’re somewhat derisively called, who were honest about their language limitations. If one could only speak Pashto, or only knew Persian, he or she was honest. Some, unfortunately, are not, and that dishonesty—but just as importantly, Mission Essential Personnel, the company with a monopoly on interpreters in Afghanistan, was unable to screen them properly—can be dangerous. (As a side note, I met some guys who had found a Pashai-fluent interpreter, but he was assigned hundreds of miles away from any Pashai area because MEP didn’t screen for it.) VIEWVIDEO HERE: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/video/2008/jun/11/afghanistan.johndmchugh

Iraq, Afganistan, Pakistan all in top 10 Failed States

July 22, 2009

From Foreign Policy  foreignpolicy.com, their 2008 Failed States report rank Iraq number 5, Afghanistan number 7, and Pakistan number 8.   Visit their site for more information

http://www.foreignpolicy.com/story/cms.php?story_id=4350&page=1

US Predator strikes in Pakistan: Observations

July 21, 2009

From The Long War website.   These two writers tell the story of our Predator (unpersoned flying aircraft with missiles and bombs, flying at 50,000 feet, pin-pointing a target on the ground and wiping out the target and whomever else is around the target, and maybe the target was not there in the first place) attacks this year compared to last year.   Since 2004 the US has killed a High Value Target in only 17 out of 76 airstrikes (22%).  Some say the Predator is against the Geneva Convention due to its indiscriminate killing of unknown people on the ground.  That’s my personal viewpoint.  Under PAGES on the left, read the full story.

Blood and Oil in Central Asia-Pipelineistan

July 21, 2009

Voters for Peace post this article by Conn Hallinan from Foreign Policy in Focus.
Spells out the Oil interests of the major powers, the U.S., China, and Russia.
This is a game no one can win, it should be played on a joint three way policy
agreement for the sake of humankind.  Go to PAGES on the left to see the story.

Pakistan Swat Themselves

July 20, 2009

Please go to PAGES on the right and hit “Pakistan Swat Themselves”. William Wheeler, writing for the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting tells a great overview of the Swat Dilemma. ..The Pulitzer Center promotes in-depth engagement with global affairs through its sponsorship of quality international journalism across all media platforms and an aggressive program of outreach and education.


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