Phi Beta Iota: Zbigniew Brzezinski is doing an enormous amount of damage in his hidden counsel to the White House; if John Hamre replaces Bob Gates in January as has been discussed, this will get worse, not better. Below are a few odds and ends from various contributing editors, consolidated here to avoid beating a dead horse with too many postings. We have not sought to reconcile contradictory points of view, only to honor the importance of listening to diverse points of view. The London Telegraph piece is reproduced in full as it has disappeared from online view.
Obama’s West Point speech of December 1 represents far more than the obvious brutal escalation in Afghanistan — it is nothing less than a declaration of all-out war by the United States against Pakistan.
A new billboard off of Interstate 70 in Missouri provides a short “citizens guide to REVOLUTION of a corrupt government” and issues a call to “PREPARE FOR WAR.”
This billboard replaces one that warned that the socialist “Obama-Nation” is “coming for you.” It’s unclear who the owner of the billboard is, but the first one was the work of a “Missouri businessman.”
While it’s unclear who owns it, the Lafayette County Republican Central Committee seems to endorse it.
“There is an event coming in the very near-term future that is going to effect the USA to its very soul,” former Kansas State Trooper Greg Everson of The Heartland USA and former host of Republic Broadcasting “Voices from the Heartland” told host Steve Quayle in a special two hour “Survive 2 Thrive” broadcast Thursday.
Here are two opposing views on how to win in Afghanistan:
1. An Air Force general’s view from the Top Down
2. Army Special Forces major’s view from the bottom up
My comment: While I think the major is far closer to reality than the general, I would argue that the Pentagon, which is run by generals, does not have a clue how to go about executing the major’s strategy, if they chose to do so — and they won’t. But that might not matter, because, paradoxically, I think the major’s excellent appreciation of the Afghan conundrum illustrates indirectly why we need to get out of Afghanistan asap.
There are at least two reasons why this is so:
First, the military has no clue how to execute the kind of strategy advocated by the major. That is why General McChrystal asked for a large increase in conventional troops. The surge just approved by the President shows (a) that the military is completely wedded to an approach that uses a large US footprint, centralized command and control, and a reliance on heavy firepower, like the AF general’s predilection for bombing; and (b) the politicians are wedded to the concept that strengthening an already corrupt centralized Afghan gov’t and Afghan national army and national police forces will “win the hearts and minds” of the rural population.
Note that the weakest parts of the major’s excellent analysis occur when he tries to reconcile support of the Afghan central government and Afghan national army with his decentralized tribal strategy — they can not be reconciled except through tribal mediation processes that start a village level jirgas and slowly work upwards to “national” level loya jirga. But that traditional approach would result in a repudiation of the central gov’t as it is now constituted.
Second. I am not sure there will ever be enough time to make his strategy work on a war-winning scale. As the major makes clear, we are struggling to deal with a culture that is based on profoundly important concepts of honor and revenge. Planners in Washington and Kabul are trying to shape the cultural DNA of a rural tribal society that is the product of a 3000 years of cultural evolution. This culture may seem primitive to strategists in Washington trying to export the our way of life (not the major, who clearly understands that strategy must be shaped by the mores of the Afghan culture), but this tribal culture is in fact a highly evolved in a complex relationship to its environment. The problem as I see it is that too much water has gone over the dam since we foolishly began trying to cynically manipulate the value systems of this tribal culture by inflating the Islamic crazies in late 1970s (with goal of making it more likely that Sov’s would invade and enmesh the Sovs in their Vietnam-like quagmire).
There’s nothing inherently wrong with the analysis of Al Qaeda (I just glanced at it, if you wish I can read in detail today). The PROBLEM lies not so much in how we analyze support to terrorism (state, crime, other) but rather in the way we analyze (or rather do NOT analyze) EVERYTHING.
Here’s what I have thrown together for you, in six pages with links.