Event Report: 20 Nov 09 NYC Counterinsurgency–America’s Strategic Burden Featuring Nagl, Kilcullen, Sheehan, Bergen, Coll Among Others


COIN20 Trip Report
COIN20 Trip Report

21 November 2009

Memorandum of Transmittal by Robert David STEELE Vivas

Subject:  Counterinsurgency Conference Overview

Mr. Jason Liszkiewicz, Executive Director of the Earth Intelligence Network (EIN) and resident in NYC, attended the 20 November 2009 conference on counterinsurgency (speakers identified on page two), and provided me with the notes on pages 3-9.  Below is my own exploitation of these notes.

IGNORANT US POLICYMAKERS.  We have policymakers with crippling illusions about how the world is—worst ever—people in policy positions do not understand the problems they are making policy on—Congress is unsophisticated about Afghanistan; Washington-area decision-makers vastly misunderstand the enemy—Taliban is a super-bug  adapting super-fast.  This is NOT about Al Qaeda having a home base.  Congress lacks next of kin engaged.

CORRUPT AFGHAN OFFICIALS. Afghan government officials own 32% of the Palm Islands in Dubai—election was “industrial-strength fraud”—tsunami of cash (US, Saudi, others) drives corruption.  NOTE:  No Afghans on any of the panels.

US LACKS AREA KNOWLEDGE & STRATEGY. We really do not “get” the Afghanistan-Pakistan-India  context, detail, etcetera.  US “strategy” of “ten cities” is a mirror of the Soviet strategy before defeat.  Doctrine is not a substitute for Strategy.  Water (Indus River) is central to Pakistan-India relationship (Kashmir is about water).  Question NOT being asked: how do we do this without a US ground presence?  “Cheap coat of paint” approach to challenges.  “Tactics without strategy is noise before defeat.”  Saudi money, Pakistan-Taliban axis will outlast US money and US ground presence.

COUNTERINSURGENCY MANUAL LACKING. Counterinsurgency manual is not realistic and warps policy debate—the reality of poppy crops is not in the manual, not in the “strategy/doctrine”

UN, AID, NGO OOB NOT WORKNG. UN not working, its role not thought out, shortfalls in specialized everything.  Local corruption and family-political angling for contracts lead to some IED’s intended to block or redirect contract funds.  AID  giving contracts to Americans, not Afghans.  US has no ability to create ministries from scratch.  Civilian capabilities non-existent or not understood by military when they do show up.  No inter-agency planning in part because the civilians have no idea why they are there or what they should do.

LOST IN TRANSLATION. Continue to lack Pashto translators.   More Pashto speakers within NYPD than in all US forces across Afghanistan

EXIT OPPORTUNITIES. Afghan Army most respected institution in country, best fighters but worst policemen.  US ground presence makes things worse.  Solutions have to be Afghan.  Afghan population wants sovereignty and independence.  US troops simply surviving, not campaigning.

On page 10 I provide the “Lessons Learned” from my 1992 study of USMC operations.

Review: 101 Myths of the Bible–How Ancient Scribes Invented Biblical History

5 Star, Misinformation & Propaganda, Religion & Politics of Religion

101 MythsDestroys the Bible as Immutable–Totally Engrossing, January 27, 2008

Gary Greenberg

I've read close to 20 books on religion in relation to politics in the past several years, and two books have consistently fallen behind in my stack: this one, and Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (Plus). Of the two, this one, published in 2000, five years earlier than Misquoting Jesus (but not mentioned at all in the latter) is vastly better organized, more interesting, and more pointed.

I note that the publisher and Amazon do provide the entire table of contents above (101 myths, each listed in the table of contents) and I recommend that the table of contents be considered as helpful to my recommendation that anyone interested in religion and/or virtue buy and read this book.

The author himself captures the highlights in his own preface:

+ Africa and Egypt provided most of the raw material for the Biblical stories, i.e. neighboring cultures, not “God” or even the disciples, provided the original information
+ The stories were part of a long0running propagandaa war between the kingdoms of Judah and Israel
+ The author focuses on contradictions, clear and compelling evidence of Bible myths originating in earthly cultures, and stories that simply cannot be true (e.g. cities claimed destroyed that did not exist)
+ Although explained more ably by “Misquoting Jesus,” the book clearly shows how the Bible is NOT original, nor is it even accurate. It consists of stories whose origins are earthly, rewritten over and over again, and imbued with false authority.

For me, the greatest humor and wisdom came from Israel being firmly rooted in Arab (Egyptian) myths, yet being unable to be it's brother's keeper, instead genociding the Palestinians and stealing Arab water thorugh long underground pipes.

Below are other books I recommend, and two DVDs, one on Gandhi and one on Tibet. I have come to the conclusion that organized religion is inherently a sham, illegitimate and corrupt, but that the values that religion seeks to impact are good in so far as they can be adopted by communities. This is not rocket science–the Golden Rule and the Great Law of Peace actually create prosperity and well-being.

The Complete Conversations with God (Boxed Set)
Gandhi (Widescreen Two-Disc Special Edition)
Tibet – Cry of the Snow Lion
The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right
God's Politics LP
American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America
Dogs of God: Columbus, the Inquisition, and the Defeat of the Moors