December 16, 2009

So Nice And Quiet

Filed under: — Chap @ 2:19 pm

You don’t want to hear such stuff?


December 6, 2009

We Still Don’t Get It

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:06 pm

Afghan Quest proves Twain’s aphorism that a lie gets halfway around the world while the truth is still getting its boots on.

The French had found rocket fragments from two rockets. One was Chinese and the other of Russian manufacture. They did not get the word out immediately. In fact, the reaction of the French leadership was to cancel a mission that they had planned and “wait it out.” They did not hit the streets immediately, telling the story and showing the rocket fragments to everyone they could find. This gave the Taliban time to concoct a ludicrous lie that, in the absence of any information to the contrary, some people were believing.

How many years in and we still haven’t figured out that the first lie wins the mindshare? That if you don’t push truth out there quickly, you’ll get your hat handed to you by people who are building a win out of any BS excuse story that sticks?

Why have so few people in DoD seen things like Pallywood? The bad guys know this; it’s their biggest force multiplier and they protect this capability.

This Certainly Gives Me Confidence

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:00 pm

Months after telling a guy to do a job, everyone gets in a room to discuss how he’s going to do it…and immediately begin disagreeing as to what the job is.

…a mission statement on a PowerPoint slide: “Defeat the Taliban. Secure the Population.”

“Is that really what you think your mission is?” one of the participants asked.

In the first place, it was impossible — the Taliban were part of the fabric of the Pashtun belt of southern Afghanistan, culturally if not ideologically supported by a major part of the population. “We don’t need to do that,” Gates said, according to one participant. “That’s an open-ended, forever commitment.”

But that was precisely his mission, McChrystal responded, enshrined in the Strategic Implementation Plan — the execution orders for the March strategy, written by the NSC staff.

“I wouldn’t say there was quite a ‘whoa’ moment,” a senior defense official said of the reaction around the table. “It was just sort of a recognition that, ‘Duh, that’s what in effect the commander understands he’s been told to do.’ Everybody said, ‘He’s right.’”

You’d think someone between the staffs would have figured this out in the half a year interval between assignment and briefing. And “impossible”? Come on. That may be hard, it may be not what we want to do, but impossible?

Update: Weekly Standard blames the NSC.

December 4, 2009

Aid And Comfort Achieved

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:18 am

…by forcing useful assets out of position, and hounding people out of the job they needed to do.

Great work. I see why the New York Times won’t report on the Climategate emails, now; revealing confidential information is reserved for destroying Americans acting in the national interest.

December 2, 2009

It’s Spelled “hangAr”, People

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:39 pm

“Y’all make a great photo op.” Or not. Sometimes stage management has unintended consequences, I suppose.

Who’s An Abolitionist Today?

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:36 pm

Update: Phyllis Chesler doesn’t like some comparisons used in the piece. Good point.

The correctness of the statement is damning.

It is 150 years to the day since John Brown was hanged, and more Africans are being enslaved today than at the height of the infamous Atlantic slave trade.

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:01 pm

I like Iowahawk’s explanation of the global warming fraud–it’s succinct and useful, and a rare non-funny outing from him.

November 29, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:57 pm

Bit of a rogue’s gallery, eh?

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:56 pm

We’ve never been that good at information warfare, I suppose.

But it was the Soviet Union, in its day, that was the master of this game. They made dezinformatsiya (disinformation) a central weapon of their war against “the main adversary”, the U.S. They conducted memetic subversion against the U.S. on many levels at a scale that is only now becoming clear as historians burrow through their archives and ex-KGB officers sell their memoirs.

The Soviets had an entire “active measures” department devoted to churning out anti-American dezinformatsiya.

Filed under: — Chap @ 12:10 pm

This Mark Steyn indictment of our enablers to MAJ Hasan’s act of war reminds me that we used to have a reasonable concern for actors who wanted to overthrown our government by force.

November 23, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:57 am

This “not publishing” does not mean what I think it means, I suppose: NYT writer says they’re not going to publish emails not meant for publication.

And relationship between the preferred narrative and perceived inconsistency in approach is I’m sure completely coincidental.

November 22, 2009


Filed under: — Chap @ 4:57 pm

Update: Embassy denies secret talks.

If true, this is bad.

An Afghan source in Kabul reports that U.S. Ambassador in Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry is holding secret talks with Taliban elements headed by the movement’s foreign minister, Ahmad Mutawakil, at a secret location in Kabul. According to the source, the U.S. has offered the Taliban control of the Kandahar, Helmand, Oruzgan, Kunar and Nuristan provinces in return for a halt to the Taliban missile attacks on U.S. bases.

Source: Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), November 22, 2009

Hat tip: Steve Schippert, who is seething.

My translation of the article, fast pass, I’m out of practice, no computer translation:

Picture caption: Afghan children look at American patrols in Paktika region yesterday

Kabul, Islamabad: (agency name)

A well-informed Afghani source confirmed details of secret discussions happening between (name?) of the Taliban movement, among them the designated minister of war, and the American ambassador to Afghanistan Karl Eikenberry. (and there was agreement). The same source [said there was] complete agreement before the American ambassador party request and it resulted in US conditions for proceeding.

Ambassador Eikenberry proposed that the movement be granted sovereign
power / authority in Kandahar state and Helmand and Orzkan and Kanr and Nuristan, in exchange for the ending of attacks on American bases in Afghanistan.

November 13, 2009

New Book: Militant Islamist Ideology

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:12 am

CDR Aboul-Enein’s finally done it. I’m going to rave about it sight unseen, based solely on his reputation.

Back in the mid-nineties, the Navy tried to build a Foreign Area Officer program. It didn’t work due to structural problems, but I was selected for the subspecialty along with a few other officers. I built a professional relationship with a few, including one guy with an unusual name who seemed to know a lot about the Middle East. As soon as I got back into port after 9/11, he was the first guy I emailed; I was worried about the potential for him to get caught up in harassment or trouble.

Turns out the opposite happened. He wound up being the guy who in the E-ring. He taught his fellow Americans about the insidious nature of islamist ideology and how normal folks in the Middle East think about warfare, a quiet, professional voice between the appeasers and the overly Jacksonian militants. This is very hard to do when so many people who oppose American values speak different things to different audiences, and lie to calm rational concerns about threat to people very willing to accept a reasonable-sounding voice. (Other officers I know have failed at this. Perhaps you remember a particularly ugly catfight between two in ’07 in the Pentagon from people who may resemble this.)

You know CDR Aboul-Enein if you took JPME II and studied the region, or were in the E-ring after 9/11, or in a variety of jobs we shall not mention here. He has written regularly in a number of publications, and has a particular skill in reviewing a book and giving you the essence of what’s going on–and he does that with books in Arabic that normally we would have no idea about. I’ve learned a lot about the region from his scholarship–and this has served me well when I got yanked from my previous warfare community into FAO work in the Middle East, where I’m deployed.

So he’s a friend of mine. I trust his instincts and read what he has to write.

And the guy snuck up on me and finally wrote a book. This is actually a book that could put him and his family at risk: not only the overheated response from the “kill ’em all” crowd, but also the risk from the irhabi types who will see the book pop up on their radar. It’s a summary of years of work he’s done, looking at who these people we’re fighting are. How do these people think? What’s the pump that draws from the pool of normal people and spits out these jerks? What’s the scholarship trail?

Here’s the book, published by USNI.
Admiral Stavridis has written the foreword. Can’t get much higher recommendation than that.

Book cover

November 10, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:18 am


November 8, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:21 pm

Oh now this is heartening: check out the new man for Iran.


Filed under: — Chap @ 8:06 am

So, I’ve been looking into the ops going on at the Yemeni border. Something reminded me of the losing side of the Hama massacre, and I mentioned that to a counterpart. Counterpart tells me he visited Hama, and claims it took at least six days of continuously shooting people in order for Hafiz Assad’s army to kill every man, woman and child in the town.

Here’s my 2006 analysis of Al-Qaeda’s lessons learned for the failed ops that culminated in the massacre. The reason Hama came up in my mind is because three unrelated organizations, covertly sponsored by Iraq, came together despite strong differences to try and take over the country. A lot of innocents died because of their combined effort and the reaction of the Assad regime. Yemen has unrelated organizations, and I assert they are working together and there’s trouble brewing beyond this week’s combat operations.

The northern Yemeni border is a mountainous and hard-to-navigate territory with a mix of tribal people who live on both sides of the border. The region also holds gun runners, drug smugglers, human traffickers, desperate refugees, hardened fighters, ultraviolent religious extremists, Houthieen, Al-Qaeda, and even (it is rumored) insurance salesmen.

Okay, maybe not the insurance salesmen. But I wouldn’t be surprised.

A ‘humanitarian crisis worse than Darfur‘? In Yemen. That US Army major that shot fifty people and killed over a dozen in Fort Hood? His imam’s in Yemen. The AQ leaders we released from Guantanamo? They’re in Yemen. More than one official says the Iranian Republican Guard is supporting ops in Yemen, and I don’t think it’s merely a Sunni vs. Shi’a acrimony driving that analysis. The hirabi escaping from Pakistan are moving into Yemen.

Even if the current ops calm down soon, this ain’t going to go away soon. Time to start looking close at this region, folks.

November 3, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 6:01 pm

Michael Yon has been stirring up trouble over at the New York Times. Someone has to…

November 2, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:04 am

Oh, dear. I had a lot of respect for Alex Haley, but this sounds damning.

October 29, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:51 am

I’m too close to the information to tell, but is this a good explanation of why E=MC^2 is so interesting in terms of public energy generation? Sounds good to me. A lot of folks really don’t get the magnitudes of what they’re talking about when they talk power plants and energy sources.

October 28, 2009

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:50 am

There’s risk and there’s risk.

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