E J Dionne
"It's a new generation of terrorists – better equipped with better planning and better coordination," - Pakistani Security Expert
“This is the reason no one accepts the rule of law, because the government is not going by the rule of law.” - Afghani Police Chief
"I give Republicans credit for this: They vote the way they believe. . . . I think that they vote with more integrity than they get credit for." - Nancy Pelosi
The Obama plans for Afghanistan and Pakistan should have been implemented years ago; now it could be too little, too late. Approval from the European Union and NATO countries is nice, but they've been twiddling their thumbs while the right wing Islamists have been slowly exerting their influence. Click on the picture above and take a good look at it. It shows the provinces in Pakistan and what kind of influence is predominant. If this is a true indication, then the government of Pakistan will fail soon, within the next few years, and all of our paranoid fantasies of a country with nuclear weapons under extreme Islamist control will come true. There may be nothing that the US or Western Europe can do, except figure out a way to negotiate with these folks, or arrange for another military coup, or, ha ha ha, convince India to invade...
The Christian Science Monitor reports that: "The Pakistani Taliban is moving closer to Islamabad, the capital, according to news reports. This week the militants advanced to within 60 miles of the capital, sparking concerns that their reach is growing.
A Pakistani Taliban-aligned group came to power in the Swat district of the North West Frontier Province in February, striking a controversial peace deal with Pakistani authorities. The deal allows, among other things, rule by a conservative interpretation of sharia law.
The terms of the sharia deal encompass Swat's neighboring districts, including Buner, which borders Punjab Province. However, the militants' power is more firmly established in Swat than in Buner. In a development that will deepen the West's concerns, scores of Taliban have moved into Buner district, 100 km (60 miles) northwest of Islamabad, from the Swat valley...." Look again at the map of Pakistan and see how close Buner province is, and how small the government influence is. These Taliban have learned from fighting against the US, to be better organized and have learned how to plan their raids and infiltration.
The NY Times reports on the biggest problem we face in Afghanistan: "A shortage of American trainers is only one factor hampering the Afghan police. If the experience of the American troops already training police officers in Ghazni Province is any indication, better policing may be impossible for Afghanistan unless government officials at all levels stop cannibalizing their civil administration and police force for a quick profit.
In two weeks of interviews in this mountainous region of poor farmers and shepherds, exasperated American soldiers said it was hard to determine which was their more daunting opponent — the few thousand Taliban who ruled villages through a shadow government of mullahs, or corruption so rife that it had deeply undercut efforts to improve the police and had destroyed many Afghans’ faith in government.
That lack of trust, coupled with the absence of security forces in almost all villages, further strengthens the hand of the Taliban as the only real power here. Ghazni’s experience shows the challenge that corruption presents to efforts to establish better policing throughout the country.
The list of schemes that undermine law enforcement is long and bewildering, according to American and Afghan officers who cite some examples: police officials who steal truckloads of gasoline; judges and prosecutors who make decisions based on bribes; high-ranking government officials who reap payoffs from hashish and chromite smuggling; and midlevel security and political jobs that are sold, sometimes for more than $50,000, money the buyers then recoup through still more bribes and theft."
Steve Benen at the Political Animal reports on the dissension among the American Taliban: "While the organizers of the Washington, D.C. anti-spending “Tea Party” have given a speaking slot to Alan Keyes, that other failed African-American Republican Senate candidate from Maryland, Michael Steele, has been dissed by the crew behind the Chicago Tea Party. Eric Odom, the event’s organizer, has posted the email he wrote to the Republican National Chairman’s staff after Steele asked to be a speaker:
- I very much appreciate the fact that Chairman Steele is now finally starting to reach out to the true grassroots side of the free-market movement in America. Unfortunately, it appears that he has only just decided to reach out after realizing how big the movement has gotten and how much media is now involved.
That said, we’re still excited to know that Chairman Steele will be in Chicago and we hope, after knowing that he’ll be in the city, that he’ll stop by and mingle with the Americans who will be rallying on April 15th. This will also present a fantastic time for Chairman Steele to LISTEN to what we have to say and perhaps gather some thoughts on what the RNC needs to be doing moving forward.
With regards to stage time, we respectfully must inform Chairman Steele that RNC officials are welcome to participate in the rally itself, but we prefer to limit stage time to those who are not elected officials, both in Government as well as political parties. This is an opportunity for Americans to speak, and elected officials to listen, not the other way around." - I certainly hope we can get someone cool enough like Alan Keyes or some other washed up political figure to join with Nazi sympathizer Michelle Malkin for the one planned here in Colorado Springs. Truly a fun-for-the-whole-family event... don't forget to bring your teabags and your handguns...
"Hey, before we get started tonight, I want to remind any potential cabinet members you have until April 15th to not pay your taxes, okay?" --Jay Leno
"President Obama took on the teachers union by saying he wants merit pay for teachers and to fire the ones who do not perform well. That is pretty bold. A Democrat taking on the unions is like Rush Limbaugh going after the doughnut manufacturers." --Jay Leno
"Here's some good news. Bernard Madoff, the sleaze-ball guy in that $50 billion Ponzi scheme thing, is going to plead guilty. But Madoff's lawyer is trying to get all the charges dropped by arguing that Madoff is no longer a threat to society because there aren’t any rich people anymore." --Jay Leno
"And there was a big rally on Wall Street yesterday after Citigroup reported a profit for the first two months of the year. That just goes to show you what determination, hard work, and 45 billion of our bailout dollars can do." --Jay Leno
"Here's a sign of the times are a-changin. The governor of Virginia has signed a new law banning smoking in bars and restaurants. In Virginia. See, that’s significant because Virginia is, like, the tobacco state. That would be like the governor of California banning breast implants." --Jay Leno
"Three different customers at a grocery store in Queens, New York, all bought peppers that turned out to have bags of cocaine stuffed inside them. Well, you thought spicy food kept you up all night." --Jay Leno