Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Stanley Got Steamered, Smokey The BP Spokesperson Says...

Maureen Dowd
Kathleen Parker
Peter Beinart
"So this general with the background in intelligence who is supposed to conquer Afghanistan can’t even figure out what Rolling Stone is? We’re not talking Guns & Ammo here; we’re talking the antiwar hippie magazine." - Maureen Dowd
"But by focusing on McChrystal’s supposed challenge to Obama’s manhood—is the president afraid of his generals? Will Obama show that he can’t be pushed around?—the press is turning a story about policy into a story about penises. What matters isn’t what McChrystal said about Obama; it’s what he believes about Afghanistan. That’s why he should lose his job." - Peter Beinart
"This all would be tedious if it weren't so entertaining." - Kathleen Parker

An editorial in the NY times notes that: "900,000 jobless workers have already lost their benefits, a number that will swell to an estimated 1.6 million people if an extension is not passed by the July Fourth holiday." Add one more for General Stanley McChrystal, who was relieved from duty by President Obama. I guess it's nice that we've come from invading Afghanistan looking for Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda minions to rebuilding the country and bringing it out of the stone age while paying off millions to its warlords for the privilege. Counterinsurgency reads like a good theory, it's a more humanitarian way to run a war, and look how well it worked out in Iraq!

The problem we face in Afghanistan is the problem with modern warfare: once you overwhelm a country with your vast, superior military, what are you going to do with the place? See how reluctant we are in leaving Iraq to the Iraqis, letting them sort out their problems on their own. It could be guilt from killing off so many innocent civilians, it could be guilt from the deaths of our own soldiers in a foreign land. Unless we are prepared to annex the country as part of the US, we should get out and stop spending so much goddamned money, disband the CIA, either consolidate the rest of the intelligence services or cut them too, and start concentrating on solving the domestic job situation. Just by doing this alone, we could balance our budget and get out of debt in a few, short years. So, let the hawks rant and fume for awhile, it's good to refocus our priorities on Afghanistan and keep the deadline for getting out... What's more ironic, is the author of the Rolling Stone article is still in Kandahar. I wonder if he'll get recalled, too...

Since General McChrystal was replaced by the General who started this whole mess in the first place, think of it as just cutting out the middle man. Now General Petraeus is responsible for his own policy and how effective it can be implemented, while, hopefully, de-emphasizing the mercenary and covert operations that McChrystal and his team had wet dreams over...
"Due to an explosive interview in Rolling Stone magazine, our top commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, has been ordered home to explain why he criticized the president, made fun of Joe Biden, and called the White House staff a bunch of clowns. He should be called home. That's not the general's job. That is my job." –Jay Leno
"I do wonder if this mess is the result of leaving McChrystal out there too long. He has been going non-stop for several years, first in Iraq and then in Afghanistan." - Tom Ricks
"As one civilian advisor to the McChrystal team told Danger Room yesterday: “There are very few things we control in Afghanistan. In every review of COIN [counterinsurgency] best practices, ‘unity of effort’ tops the list. Every. Single, Review. And we’re totally fucking it up; fucking up the one thing that should be in our control,” the advisor says. “We can’t control Karzai, or the ANP [Afghan National Police], or the Pakistani tribes, but we should be able to get our shit in one sock, and we’re not.” - Wired's Danger Room

We know that you can be on the no-fly list and still be allowed to buy a gun, we have seen how slowly the no-fly list gets updated and the consequences of poor communications. Now, it seems that it takes the urging of a bunch of Senators to get a group put on the terrorist watch list: "Now that Faisal Shahzad has pleaded guilty to ten weapons and terrorism charges in connection with his attempted Times Square bombing, a group of US senators has begun pressuring the State Department to add his bankrollers to the list of foreign terrorist organizations. A place on the list would hit the Pakistani Taliban with a range of financial and logistical sanctions.

Known more specifically as Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan (literally: Pakistani Taliban movement), the TTP is a loose-knit umbrella organization whose current de jure head is Hakimullah Mehsud of South Waziristan. The group encompasses various factions from Pakistan's Swat Valley and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA). The TTP is basically against the Pakistani government but it has recently allied itself with Punjabi groups (Lashkar-e-Jhangvi and Jaish-e-Mohammad) who were created by Pakistan's inteligence agencies."

The State Department says that it doesn't need legislation to add groups to the list, containing 45 organizations, and that they will eventually get around to it...

Obama also asked for funding for another 1000 border control agents. Maybe he wants to offer the troops he previously sent there more permanent jobs, or these people will be needed to replace the ones getting fired after the Homeland Security report on the amount of criminal acts and criminal behavior by its employees gets noticed. Its a much worse scandal than a few arrogant officers blowing off steam. If Ronald Reagan could mass fire the striking air traffic controllers, why not a few thousand crooked Homeland Security personnel... I have been noticing that there have been a lot of government reports critical of the behavior of the governmental departments.  I don't think there were any of this nature when Bush was politically alive. It should be a call to reorganize and make the bureaucracy more streamlined and more responsive and transparent, and I hope it doesn't take more public embarrassment to make it happen. Ken Salazar can't do it all by himself... especially since we've seen how he tends to procrastinate...



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