What Is the Problem Here? Correct Version
One of the Chim Chims’ has asked to put up a guest post on a topic near and dear to both our hearts for different reasons: the continuing efforts of the New York Times to kill a program I doubt was that big of a deal to begin with. Chim Chim is a member of our intelligence services who has, after 20 years of work inside the bubble concluded that our intelligence services cannot provide good human intelligence. My concern remains that stories like this place the outside the wire contracting community in danger least people get confused about what were doing out here. Yesterday the New York Times ran another story about contractors being spies alerting the world that a retired CIA agent, Duane R. Clarridge, has a secure website and apparently continues to pester top intelligence officers with emails. The story was a pathetic hatchet job – you could have taken the same set of facts and spun a positive story from it. There were nothing new in the report but this time the product of the alleged spy ring was said to be “…an amalgam of fact, rumor, analysis and uncorroborated reports…” which is a significant downgrading from previous NYT reporting. There is nothing new in the story just a rehashing of last years pieces; what’s the point? I don’t know but I’m guessing there are agendas in play at the New York Times to which we are clearly not privy. If Mr. Clarridge is really running another CIA from his retirement home in southern California I say sign him up and save us a few billion a year. But he isn’t (there is only so much you can do from a house) and there is nothing in the story supporting that claim by the New York Times. Typical. But I tire of the whole affair and will let Chim Chim have his say.
As I settle into a little holiday routine I opened my browser to read the morning news. The first story that jumped out at me was from the Associated Press by Ben Feller on the Obama review of Afghanistan. Now I realize this is the holiday season and all. I mean congress and the Senate are having a grand ole time giving each other gifts and sending the bill to the American taxpayers but at least they are doing it with gusto. You can read the legislative message to the American people, suck on this and Merry Christmas. Guess they missed the Nov. 2nd memo from the American people but we patriots have long memories. The review of Afghanistan war has no such hubris as it misses the mark so wildly it looks more like Ray Charles throwing out the first pitch at the world series (metaphor value only, not intended to offend the visually challenged). At least Ray’s pitch would be in the ballpark which this report is not.
Now I work in Afghanistan and Pakistan and I know all the players. I know our military is there but it is difficult to collect ground truth from inside the big box FOB’s (see Baba T’s previous posts on subject). Now it might surprise you to find out that I don’t blame Obama directly for this report (Ok I lied he is the president and responsibility starts at top but for arguments sake…) I blame the official government intelligence community. The systemic failure of collection, analysis, and appropriate action is deplorable. Boys and girls of the GS whatever world you have FAILED. Now I am sure you don’t see your abysmal work as failure but I know what you define success as. See my previous post. Now enough of the rhetoric now I will show you what you don’t know or don’t have the ability to find out.
Here are some excerpts from the news report with commentary or as I like to call it ground truth. I would like to provide the following disclaimer. I know about what I write, I did not read it, but live it on a daily basis. If you are employed by the CIA, DIA, or any other intel alphabets in the soup this will make you feel like a shumuck and your testicles or ovaries (gender neutral) will shrink. Whether you grow them back is up to you.
The most promising conclusions are that the senior leadership of al-Qaida in Pakistan is at it weakest since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks – and that the Taliban, a constant source of violence and instability in Afghanistan, has seen much of its power halted and reversed over the last 12 months.
Really, what brain trusts came up with this? Memo to morons, al-Qaida in Pakistan and the Taliban in Pakistan are controlled by the ISI. We are killing a record number of Taliban but the problem will always persist. When the Paks and the ISI get serious and stop double-dealing. We won’t or can’t do this because the CIA has a cozy relationship with the ISI. See boys and girls the agency has decided that only liaison relationships work and that the host country Intel services will feed them the information that can be turned into intelligence. This coupled with our signals capability should serve us well. This results in information spam or misdirection. We kill what the ISI and their agents give us.
One small example: Why can’t we kill Siraj Haqanni? I know, because the ISI is protecting him. How do I know this? Because DOD has had eyes on reports of him and his location and he still enjoys long walks in the Miram Sha bazaar talking of Jihad and small boys. Truth hurts I know.
Obama, inheriting a war he considered adrift but vital to American security, ordered a heightened U.S. presence and a renewed commitment to supporting Afghanistan’s development. There are now roughly 100,000 troops in Afghanistan.
The boys and girls fly into the fob, play Nintendo, workout, eat at the DFAC and fly home from the fob. Not all but the majority. You FOBits know who you are.
To support Afghanistan’s development you need to first deal with the problem on a State Department level. That would begin with bringing the current Afghan president into reality and out of his drug induced, euphoric, Soprano like state where he is supported with large sums of cash by the Iranians. Hey why change when you run a mafia type government, get paid by US to do it and then get paid by Iran to help them spy on the US. Barry we have a problem eh I mean Houston.
The report suggests that the gains against the Taliban “remain fragile and reversible.”
I tell you what. The Marines down south are making nice gains against the Taliban. They find them and kill them. These types of gains are not reversible. Might I suggest something crazy? Let’s emulate the marines on all levels of the playing field metaphorically of course. If someone shoots at us lets hunt them down and deal with them. Here is some more valuable ground truth, Afghans respect strength. We might have to wait two more years to implement this one.
Yet more emphasis is given to descriptions of progress.
“The surge in coalition military and civilian resources, along with an expanded special operations forces targeting campaign and expanded local security measures at the village level, has reduced Taliban influence,” the summary says.
I bet that it is in brilliant power point form. Let me translate. Our additional forces that have been sent to the FOB’s have increased the amount of pecan pie (deference to Babba T) needed to keep the FOBits sated. And oh yes our special operations forces are still working hard and expanding local security.
Guess what, if the special forces were allowed to actually live in the villages, induce pashtunwali and train the locals we could really reduce Taliban influence. It worked in Vietnam but now it is too risky.
Afghan army and police are scheduled to grow to more than 300,000 troops over the next two years. They face an estimated 25,000-30,000 Taliban guerrillas and other rebels.
Sounds like a fair fight.
There were no direct references to the corruption that plagues Afghanistan’s government or the fractured relationship that Obama’s administration shares with Afghan President Hamid Karzai.
Really I mean why really talk about the actual cause of the problem.
On al-Qaida, the review speaks of major progress in dismantling the Pakistan-based leadership of the terror network.
“Most important, al-Qaida’s senior leadership in Pakistan is weaker and under more sustained pressure than at any other point since it fled Afghanistan in 2001,” the report finds. It warns that the U.S. is still the principal target for al-Qaida, and that “Pakistan and Afghanistan continue to be the operational base for the group that attacked us on 9/11.”
The United States has lasting trouble in ridding Pakistan of its havens for terrorists.
The report raises that sore point by saying Pakistan must provide more help in solving the problem, particularly in the dangerous border zone with Afghanistan.
Yes the ISI must stop helping the fundamentalist terrorist. And Bill Clinton must become celibate. It sounds great but dang then reality sets in. We give Pakistan billions of dollars, maybe we could play the tough guy card at state (Pakis respect strength too).
The U.S. relationship with Pakistan has improved substantially in the last year – but the progress has been uneven, the report finds. The U.S. government is pledging improvements in 2011.
Uneven, what do you mean? Oh yeah, we give them money and we get Chapman. (How about that whole liaison thing and I didn’t even bake them a cake). Are they really renaming Chapman to Chap stick, because the latter is a better cover-up.
As plotting of terrorism continues against the United States, the defeat of al-Qaida will be best achieved by forcefully destroying the group’s sanctuaries and killings its leaders, the report says. Throughout, however, the report calls for sustained U.S. help in developing Afghanistan and Pakistan for its people, not just waging a military campaign.
Kill the bad guys and give money to the good guys. What brilliance.
Obama’s comments from the White House briefing room will not take on the tone of a major presidential address. Good thing since he is not a major president. He is expected to cede the spotlight quickly to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Marine Gen. James Cartwright, vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, who will field questions from reporters.
Bill Clinton wasn’t available.
This year has been the deadliest in the war for U.S. forces. At least 480 American troops have been killed in 2010, and more than 2,100 have died since the conflict began in the weeks after the Sept. 11 attacks in 2001.
The review took place over the last two months, led by Obama’s national security staff, with input from across government agencies and from commanders in the war zones.
Separately, new U.S. national intelligence estimates of Afghanistan and Pakistan paint bleak pictures of security conditions inside Afghanistan and of Pakistan’s willingness to rout militants on its side of the border, according to several U.S. officials briefed on both reports. U.S. military commanders have challenged the conclusions, saying they are based on outdated information that does not take into account progress made over this past fall.
Associated Press Writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report.
I’m glad writer Kimberly Dozier contributed to this report now if only the Official US intelligence community will contribute to the war.