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October 10, 2009

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hit and run

It was quite an embarassing scene when Obama showed up in San Francisco thinking he was the recipient of this year's President's Cup.

Sara (Pal2Pal)

Why didn't Obama get the Nobel Prize for Literature?

It helps if you actually wrote a book.

hit and run

Johnny Miller got another Fey/Palin comment in on NBC..."I hear Tina Fey is unretiring her Sarah Palin..."

Janet

O/T For the JOMers that are on Facebook (I joined for the JOM 9 12 Tea Party). I posted a "Join the Math Team" video that features my son. It's short and clever.

actually, my daughter helped me post it...I'm still a little fuzzy on how Facebook works.

Bamiyan, oh Bamiyan.

JMH @ 3:04 PM. That is monster. We need to find a strategy that leaves the warlords, AKA, chiefs, in charge of their safe, local, populations. That has always been the way of governance there, even when there was a central, or imperial authority. The north and the south are very different people and it is really only the accident of remoteness and mountainous terrain that has made it a single nation. If we don't stay and be the Macedonians or the Indians of old, then Persia or China and Pakistan will divide it up. It's a border between Shia and Sunni and we are already astride the other major one. Why should we give up our border patrol?
===================================

PeterUK

Clarice,
"In time they'll be historic objects, Frau.
Maybe PUK and I will add them to our collection of O-Reliquaries."

As soon as the Stimulus money comes in to finance production.We have an NEA grant for design.
This socialism is great.

Soylent Red

We need to find a strategy that leaves the warlords, AKA, chiefs, in charge of their safe, local, populations. That has always been the way of governance there, even when there was a central, or imperial authority.

That's the essence of GEN McChrystal's strategery, if I understand it correctly. Sort of a Vietnam-era MACV concept updated and adapted for Afghanistan (which was an adaptation of what we did in the Phillipines.)

The Afghan application of the idea has to be based on a realistic look at how AFG operates as a social and political system. When you consider that "Afghanistan" and the Durand Line exist only in the minds of Westerners it makes sense that building the common conception of a nation-state is the wrong approach. We're trying to install too many foreign concepts at one time.

What we can shoot for is a democratized, small-L liberalized set of tribal authorities that convene in jirgas from time to time for the purposes of regional decision making.

Truth be told, it is probably closer to the original conception of the United States than many would like to admit. But that's the terrorist teabagger in me talking.

Anyway, you can only establish these kinds of local tribal authorities by being in, with and among the many areas, and by carefully picking your winners and losers.

For instance, installing a Barack Obama up-to-Western-standards-type of warlord requires a great deal more effort than installing an Afghan hardass. This is going to be counter-intuitive to the current crew in Washington, but where you install the most hopey-changey, there will be the most shootey-bangy. That's the missing link in Obama's deliberations that he will never be able to wrap his head around: You will not achieve anything that we recognize as democratic or liberal without increasing the violence first.

That violence will need to be done by our troops working in conjunction with ethnically and geographical isolated local leadership and manpower to keep the a-holes out and increase the level of security in the particular area of operations. That's going to require a lot of troops, and, with all due respect to Joe Biden, those troops are all going to be conducting missions that were formerly the realm of Special Forces.

GEN McChrystal, in asking for 60K and 40K recognizes that we will need to put enough people in these geographically and ethnically isolated areas to safely do the job, or in the case of 40K, do it with an acceptable level of risk. The 10K option is "how many troops do you need to prevent outright defeat while we decide how to give up and go home.

I'm sorry to rant on like this. It drives me nuts that I, who knows relatively little about COIN, have orders of magnitude more knowledge about it than the President and Vice-President. It's their job to get smart on this stuff in order to make good decisions. And yet we get, "Uh well, uh, it's going to be, uh, harder than we, uh, thought" and "No, General. I've got a better idea..."

What drives me into a flying rage is that the fuckers just can't be bothered to care about what they do and don't know, because you see, they're by God large and in charge.

Soylent Red

And while I'm ranting, here is as good an analysis of why fighting AQ rather than the Taliban is only a good idea if you're dumber than a bag of hammers.

Soylent Red

**as good an analysis as I've seen**

Assholes get me so made I forget how to write English.

narciso

No, that's a rather compact butcomprehensive
post, Soylent, I've posted a similar formulation from Bearden's memoir, Lamb's experiences inAfghanistan, and sites like Roggio and that other fellow who used to worked for the Manhattan institute, Dan Darling's. Yet this narrative of the Taliban
as the natural infrastructure for
Afghanistan, still persists. You're also right that too much reform, that arose and then got away from the likes of Zahir Shah,
led to Taraki and Amin, and ultimately the
Soviet invasion

Janet

Meanwhile the President shoots hoops. LUN

2 hours shooting hoops, and he met with Gen. McChrystal for how long?

PD

OT- while driving through northern CA, OR and WA, it was all I could do to refrain from throwing a shoe at the shiny signs from the Zero administration boasting the stimulus funds used for any and all minor repairs. Is it too soon to use them for *real* target practice?

I see I'm not the only one to harbor secret desires to vandalize these things when I see them.

JM Hanes

Soylent:

"It drives me nuts that I, who knows relatively little about COIN, have orders of magnitude more knowledge about it than the President and Vice-President."

Yes! And I know even less than you do by orders of magnitude. It's like none of them have even looked at a friggin' map. The Biden plan sounds like everything that failed in Iraq, ready to morph into a Mini-Murtha Redux. Everything this Administration does is driven by domestic politics, period. Aside from the self-aggrandizement factor, I don't think Obama gives a flip about our international "partnerships." He's interested in templates for his reshaping of America, but otherwise, he's just looking for a status quo that doesn't require much attention, and won't interfere with his agenda at home. Any day you think about it is rant day, which pretty much means 24/7.

I have no doubt that our guys can do COIN in Afghanistan, assuming the necessary level of support. They've got skilz, they're adaptable, and it's my impression they can operate without needing constant bed checks. From what we've seen in Iraq, a lot of officers were pretty good at local governance issues too, if they're given some flexibility. I wonder if working with locals/tribes is something which actually might be considerably easier in Afghanistan than Iraq, because people haven't ever been dependent on Kabul. And if you if you do make progress in one area, the web of connections you make may extend across substantial swathes of territories. As always, the blessings are also the curse. The Kabul government will never be as useful as its Iraqi counterpart -- which, in turn, would seem to make COIN ops even more essential.

The Obama team is so profoundly parochial that I have the dreadful feeling that they just can't get their heads wrapped around the complexities of operating in an entirely different cultures. Where on earth do they think they are going to get their targeting info from? C.I.A. spooks?

I also think al Qaeda is a total red herring. Bin Laden has been a virtual figurehead for years. Terrorists don't organize themselves into discrete entities. The rest of them are linked up with so many other terrorist "groups," the idea that you can just wipe them out in Pakistan and go home is sheer stupidity. "Al Qaeda in Bactria," to use a NY Times formulation, spread to winds when we took the Taliban down the first time around. And even the Taliban will tell you there's no such thing as a "moderate" Taliban, and if we leave a void in Afghanistan, I think they may be the least of our worries.


PD

What we can shoot for is a democratized, small-L liberalized set of tribal authorities that convene in jirgas from time to time for the purposes of regional decision making.

SR, what is small-l versus capital-L in your thinking? (Just curious.)

clarice

Maybe we should try to sell the troops as "community organizers".

Soylent Red

Small-L is common classical liberalism: democratically elected representation, universal sufferage, rule of law, etc.

Big-L is American Liberalism: universal healthcare, cap and trade, identity politics, etc.

Obviously we don't want to install the latter. It would be nice if we hadn't installed it here.

Elliott

Maybe we should try to sell the troops as "community organizers".

ACOIN.

Soylent Red

there's no such thing as a "moderate" Taliban,

There's really no such thing as indigenous Afghan Talibanism either. Prior to the post-Soviet civil war, no one had heard of a Taliban (much less an Obamic Tollybahn)

Yes, some Taliban are Afghan Pashtuns. But some are Paki Pashtuns. SOme aren't even Pashtuns. But they were all byproducts of Saudi Wahabbi ideology, installed in the refugee camps of Pakistan during the 1980s by Saudi imams. And they are currently all supported by AfPak terror/crime cartels (cf. the Haqqani Network) and funded from international Muslim zakat collected and channeled through KSA, Iran and the Gulf banking networks.

To try to separate the various groups is akin to wanting to reach in to a nest of rattlesnakes and snatch out the one with the spot above his left eye.

PD

The Obama team is so profoundly parochial that I have the dreadful feeling that they just can't get their heads wrapped around the complexities of operating in an entirely different cultures. Where on earth do they think they are going to get their targeting info from? C.I.A. spooks?

They can go to all the CIA people that they throw into jail and tell them that might get out if they instruct people how to use the methods that got them tossed into jail in the first place.

PD

SR: Got it, thanks for clarifying.

Janet

((Everything this Administration does is driven by domestic politics, period.))
yeah JMH - I don't think the Dems. even really care about Afghanistan, Iraq, anywhere. They just pontificate about international issues. They rarely DO anything. I'm not convinced they even intend to do much of anything other than let things coast. Remember they are the "Save Tibet" party.

I can remember when I admired him.  It was only about five years ago.

Donald, in May of '07 I asked the precious pet parrokeets in their gilded Belgravia Square Cage if they'd waterboard someone to find Danny Beard alive. JMH was in there hammering at their little prison, too, and Tom got in a tickle or two. I told them the Anbar Awakening was for real, too, much to their flockin' surprise.
============================

Pagar

"sounds like everything that failed"
I wouldn't be surprised if that was not intentional with all military plans that originate with the leftists.

That was certainly what John Kerry and his friends wanted us to do in Vietnam. It was certainly what most of the Democrats were wanting in Iraq. I can't imagine it has changed, just because Obama said we should be in Afghanistan instead of Iraq.

PD

Remember they are the "Save Tibet" party.

Well, unless it involves actual, you know, effort, such as meeting with the Dalai Lama.

Soylent Red

Let me just add one more thing and then I'll crawl down off my soapbox and listen...

Afghans as a whole, and Pashtuns in particular, operate on a very serious and rigid honor code. Everything is personal relationships, trust and doing what you way you will do.

So when they let you in to their club because you told them you would do something for them, it's not something to take lightly. If you bust a deal with them, they don't forgive and they don't forget.

The biggest hurdle that the CIA's Northern Alliance Liaison Team had when we first went in to Afghanistan, prior to the invasion, was convincing the Afghans that we weren't going to fold and go home when the going got tough. They were still harboring mistrust from 20 years earlier. This is all in Ghost Wars.

So if we even give the appearance of getting ready to screw them this time around, they'll start looking for who they can make a deal with. Might be the Chinese. Might be the Taliban. Whatever the case, once they decide we're unreliable, conducting COIN will no longer be an option.

Again, this information is not esoteric good idea fairy stuff. It's all out there for anyone to look at, cogitate, and use as they see fit. But, as with all things in this Admin, I refer back to the book of Mark: "Having eyes, see ye not? And having ears, hear ye not? And do ye not remember?"

PD

and then I'll crawl down off my soapbox

Please don't. Keep going.

narciso

Right,the TRODPINT and JAWBREAKER teams, working with the Northern Alliance and other assorted groups. ISI and the Lashkar
e Pakistani (the Pakistani Army) after the late 80s decided it was better to cater to someone that paid them attention. Hence the Kashmiri militants, the various Harakats, Lashkar et als, who lo in behold became anti American jihadist. AQ draws on the mosque-madrassa university network seeded by the Muslim Bros. which becomes the GIA in Algeria, the Gamaa & Gemaa Islamiya in the Egypt and Indonesia, Hamas in the West bank and Gaza,and what in Arabia wouldlikely
metasticize into something likethe Army of the Wahhabi Republic.

Like I say he can't possiblyhave read Ghost Wars, or more likely understand it, I think
Steve Coll often forgets what he writes, from the pieces I've followed in the New Yorker

SilverFox

There is no doubt that the Nobel Peace Prize has been corrupted & politicized for years with it's liberal lean.

What I am sad about is that there were so many others that deserved the prized (removal of landmines). All of the more qualified have been pushed to the bottom of the list for someone who has already taken 12 vacations this year & done absolutely nothing, but divide American citizens.

It's all in the underground book just out. See what's coming next to America & prepare.
http://booksbyoliver.com

JM Hanes

Soylent:

But you look so Absolutely Fabulous on your soap box! In fact, I could have sworn it was a pedestal.

clarice

So that's why you threw in the towel so quickly on Feynman..I mean besides the fact that he's dead, of course,jmh.

Ann

Soylent:

I love reading your rants. Even when you portray a dismal situation, you come up with lol lines like:
This is going to be counter-intuitive to the current crew in Washington, but where you install the most hopey-changey, there will be the most shootey-bangy.

Honestly, you are a wealth of information, thank you.

Thought you would appreciate the only picture of the brain trust surrounding Obama in the Afghan briefing:

Photobucket
President Barack Obama attends a briefing on Afghanistan in the Situation Room of the White House, Oct. 9, 2009. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)

PD

So even in a closed meeting he sticks his nose in the air?

Soylent Red

Two things about that picture:

1. Look at the face on Rahm. Is that the face of a guy who is totally into what his boss is saying? He looks like he's about to pitch a this-is-the-tenth-time-we've-gone-over-this sigh.

2. Is ADM Mullen (I presume that is who is seated next to Plugs) flipping Zero a subrosa Obamic Bird?

Ann

Can someone help me with names of some of the "folks" at the table?

Starting on the left and going around the table.

1. ?
2. Hillarity
3. Clueless Susan Rice looking at clueless Biden
4. ?
5. Potesta
6. State guy forget his name
7. Is that General Petraeus AT THE END OF THE TABLE???
8. & 9. can't see face
10. Ballerina Rahm making a face
11. General who looks like he is giving the finger to someone. :)
12. Biden taking important notes

Ann

LOL, Soylent

I think Rahm is either telling Obama to STFU or signaling that he has to pee!

At any rate, if that is General Petraeus seated next to the kitchen, that is all we really need to know. @#$%^&*@#$%^&*%$#

Soylent Red

1. SECDEF Robert Gates
2. RW
3. Susan Rice
4. National Security Advisor Jim Jones (I think)
5. Podesta
6. Can make him out
7. CENTCOM CDR GEN Petraeus (I think; and looking like he's about to fall asleep)
8&9 Can't tell. Probably Medea Benjamin and Barbara Streisand.
10. Rahm
11. CJCS ADM Mike Mullen
12. Field Marshal Plugs Munchausen

narciso

The scary thing is they really think this picture inspires confidence, or else they wouldn't release it.Where is Dennis Blair, maybe one of them is Eikenberry, the general
turned ambassador to Afghanistan. Prtraeus they put in the nosebleed seat. BECE

Soylent Red

The scary thing is they really think this picture inspires confidence, or else they wouldn't release it.

Another case of "They don't even know what they don't know."

BTW, the Sam Damon reference earlier earned you Soylent miles. I wonder why they've never made a movie out of that book...

JM Hanes

On Left:

Jim Jones
Hillary Clinton
Susan Rice
Dennis Blair
Leon Panetta
Richard Holbrooke?
General ?

On Right:

Joe Biden
Bob Gates (saw him in another pix next to Biden)
Admiral Mullen
Rahm Emanuel
Unk
Unk

Facing the Prez:

Mini-Me

Photobucket


JM Hanes

Ann:

In case you didn't see it, a couple people left a few ideas for your daughter's T-Shirt thingie over on the "Obama's Nobel - I don't want to be watching" thread, and I expanded on Rick's suggestion with an image (of course!) and a quote. Took me awhile to find the thread again myself.

narciso

This is Dennis Blair,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dennis_C._Blair,doesn't look like him at all. Holbrooke is the Afghan czar and he's too far away, who would you think would be in a room like this. State (except they keep her in the dark)DNI, see above, Defense,??? CIA, maybe AID considering all the development work,
and Rahm is there for his IDF record

Ann

Thanks, Soylent

I don't think that is Robert Gates. But it really doesn't matter because he looks like he might be asleep.

There are only two people at that meeting worthy of giving any advice so I think we can pretty much figure out the game plan.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Honduras, Israel, Eastern Europe all under the bus!

First class seats on the bus are all dictators, thugs, commies and anti-American.

JM Hanes

narciso:

Dennis Blair at Wikipedia

WikiBlair

White House Situation Room

WHBlair

Ann

OOPs, Should of refreshed!

JMH, Thank you! I knew all of you would come up with excellent ideas and you did! Hard to pick and yet much harder to convince a fifteen year old.

However, it gives me an excellent opportunity to sit down and talk about it with her.

Her school colors are royal blue and YELLOW, so the Gadsen flag is an excellent idea. Saved your Benjamin Franklin rattlesnake quote to help persuade. The funny thing is she wanted to come with me to the 9/12 Tea Party until we found out she made the golf league.

I will say one thing...she loves her country! But she still wants to be cool at school. So this will be very interesting.

Thanks to everyone that gave me ideas! It is just to hard keeping up with the prolific Maguire threads and the excellent thoughts of JOMers.

JM Hanes

Ann:

Bob Gates is blocked by Joe Biden. It's funny, but Biden and Gates both have just a little too much cuff showing, a typical mistake I associate with vanity, and paying a little too much attention to appearances. Oddly enough, Holbrooke stands out in that regard, too.

JM Hanes

Know what you mean about keeping up, refreshing, etc., especially when TM gets cranking,

Ann

How the heck did you do that JMH? I would of never guessed that was Holbrooke, whose head always seems to be bigger than the room he is in. What a bunch of gas bags.

sorry I am so slow tonight.

narciso

All right, a little better, not terribly reassuring. I mean what does Hillary have to contribute except how totally out of the loop she is. Petraeus seems to be the only
one actually focusing on his work, there should be a map somewhere on the wall of the NorthWest Frontier, you would think.

Ann

It's funny, but Biden and Gates both have just a little too much cuff showing, a typical mistake I associate with vanity, and paying a little too much attention to appearances. Oddly enough, Holbrooke stands out in that regard, too.

ROFLMAO! It is like the brooches on Madame Half Bright or a friend that wears every good piece of jewelry regardless how it looks just to show off. Totally AGREE! It is even worse when they monogram their initials on their cuffs.

You crack me up! :) Good Gawd, I have five threads to read to catch up.

JM Hanes

narciso:

Susan Rice is the one I wish were sitting in the observer row. She should be a White House intern.

narciso

Yes, this is a sign of how bizarro world, it is, Biden's just as likely to be mumbling about Afghan sweaters as anything
on point. It's good DNI is in the room, Panetta there, Petraeus who wrote the book on the subject, gets the outermost point, and Emmanuel, well this isn't a crisis he can't really take advantage of.

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