Archive for the 'Pakistan' Category



U.S. Deploys Hideous Weapon of Mass Destruction in War Against Islamists

BY Glen Tschirgi
1 year, 11 months ago

TCJ readers, listen up.   We have had a major, strategic breakthrough in the War against Islamofascism.

It is so unexpected and so unconventional, so inadvertent that it can only be considered something of a Divine intervention.

America has stumbled upon the Ultimate Weapon of Mass Destruction against the Islamist foe:  cheezy, low-budget films with horrible production and grade-school dialogue launched via that irresistible weapons delivery system known as “YouTube.”

Yes, I am referring to that military masterpiece unleashed upon the unsuspecting Islamists called, The Innocence of Muslims.

Consider just this one example in al Jazeera of its destructive power:

At least one person has died as demonstrations against an anti-Islam video erupt across Pakistan, a day after protesters tried to storm the US embassy in the capital, Islamabad.

Angry demonstrators set fire to two cinemas in the northwestern city of Peshawar, police and witnesses said on Friday, as the country began a day of protests.

One protester was wounded when a cinema guard opened fire as crowds armed with clubs and bamboo poles converged on the Firdaus picture house, “smashing it up and setting furniture ablaze”, according to Gohar Ali, a police officer.

Witnesses said a separate rampaging crowd stormed the Shama cinema, notorious locally for showing films considered to be pornographic.

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis were expected to take to the streets across the country after the government called an impromptu public holiday to let people protest.

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Friday was designated a “day of expression of love for the prophet” by the government, which called for peaceful protests against the Innocence of Muslims video produced in the US.

All the major political parties and religious groups announced protests, as did many trade and transport organisations.

Large crowds were expected to turn out after Friday prayers.

The previous day, the US embassy became the latest target of protesters angry at the YouTube video. The total number of protesters touched 5,000 with the arrival of protesters carrying the flags of anti-American Islamist groups.

At least 50 people were injured as police fired tear gas and live rounds towards the crowds.

This New Secret Weapon, according to the article, has the mysterious ability to induce widespread madness in the Islamist population, compelling them to irrational behaviors like attacking porno theaters and embassies that are merely obscene for their obsequious behavior.

What’s more, the U.S. government is augmenting the frightful power of this new weapon with a psychological campaign of such cruel calculation that it is almost a crime against humanity.   It’s true.  The Islamist will soon be begging for the merciful Drone Strikes before too long.  Consider this diabolical game of deception and denial waged by the Administration as quoted in the al Jazeera article:

Against this tense backdrop, the US has bought time on Pakistani television stations to run a series of ads in an effort to assuage Muslim feelings of hurt.

The US hopes the ad would show that the country had no involvement with the controversial internet video.

The US embassy in Islamabad spent about $70,000 to run the announcement, which features clips of Barack Obama, the US president, and Hillary Clinton, secretary of state, underscoring US respect for religion and declaring the US government had nothing to do with the video.

Obama is shown saying: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.”

Clinton then says: “Let me state very clearly, the United States has absolutely nothing to do with this video. We absolutely reject its contents. America’s commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation.”

“In order to ensure we reached the largest number of Pakistanis, some 90 million as I understand it in this case with
these spots, it was the judgment that this was the best way to do it.”

Addressing a media briefing on the ad campaign, Victoria Nuland, state department spokeswoman, said the aim was “to make sure that the Pakistani people hear the president’s messages and the secretary’s messages”.

The announcement aired as the US asked its citizens to avoid non-essential travel to Pakistan.

Oh the savagery!  Oh the mental ruin this will visit upon the poor, helpless Islamists!

Imagine the Islamists, weary from the YouTube Bomb-induced fury against porn theaters and embassies, seeking some solace in their television re-runs of “Little Mosque on the Prairie,” only to be bombarded– yes! bombarded!– with relentless messages from Barack Hussein Obama that the U.S. loves and respects all faiths, especially ones that do not have a crucifix that can be plunged into urine or a virgin mother that can be smeared with elephant feces.

This, my friends, is the ultimate in psychological whiplash!  A veritable jiu-jitsu of mental pain!  Surely, the Islamists will think, the President of the United States has the power to stop this horrible YouTube Bomb if he chooses.  But he does not!  Instead he claims respect for Islam while insulting its Prophet!  And, to add injury to insult, he allows the horrible Clinton woman– a woman of all things– to deliver the one-two punch:  the U.S. had nothing to do with the video (when it clearly did) and America believes in “religious tolerance” (when those very words are a red-hot poker in the Islamist soul).

But you may well be asking, How can we be sure that the normally spineless suck-ups in the Obama Administration and the Pentagon will find the courage to continue using a weapon of such fearsome, destructive power?  There is evidence of more bombs in the making.

The U.S. government cleverly brought in the filmmaker for “questioning” based upon “parole violations.” Uh huh.   Wink, wink.  Nudge, nudge.   That ought to throw the Islamists off the scent, eh?  No one suspects (but we know better) that this was a clever ruse for the government to plan and coordinate the next series of YouTube Bombs that will continue to drive the Islamists over the cliff.

Victory is at hand, friends!  All the U.S. need do now is just let the YouTube Bombs wreak their radioactive havoc upon the Islamists until their societies are so riven with mad self-destruction that they collapse in upon themselves like a laptop computer placed upon a wet, cardboard box.  Yes, we here in the U.S. may be called upon to make sacrifices: exposure to these YouTube Bombs has been known to cause fits of derisive laughter and mild nausea in infidels, but we must not shrink back from even these sufferings.

Instead, let us console ourselves with the magnificence of this new Wonder Weapon.   This is the evil genius of the United States of America at its finest.  Stand in awe and fearful amaze.

The Taliban Goal Of Global Islamic Domination

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 5 months ago

From Pakistan Today:

One of the top leaders of the movement of the Taliban in Pakistan said the terror group sought to overthrow the Pakistani government, impose sharia, seize the country’s nuclear weapons, and wage jihad until “the Caliphate is established across the world”.

The statements were made by Omar Khalid al Khurasani, the al Qaeda-linked leader of the Taliban in Pakistan’s branch in the Mohmand Agency, in a video that was released on jihadist web forums.

The video, which also discussed the history and evolution of the Taliban Movement in Pakistan, was released by Umar Studios and has been translated by the SITE Intelligence Group.

As we have previously observed, a decade or more of exposure to the transnational religious insurgency has inculcated globalist ideologies and intentions within a group that, whether these intentions existed before, certainly owns them now.  The Afghanistan Taliban isn’t far behind, and they swim in the same waters as the Pakistan Taliban.

Mohamed Merah, the French citizen of Algerian origin, perpetrator of the Toulouse shootings, had trained with the Taliban despite French denials of connection.  There may be some question whether he was incarcerated in Kandahar, and it appears that it may have been an indigenous Afghan by that same name that escaped in 2008.  But his radicalization, or at least part of it, occurred during two trips to Pakistan and Afghanistan.  He was also on the U.S. no-fly list because he had been in custody in Afghanistan.

As for other potential shooters?

More than 80 French nationals are training with the Pakistan Taliban in the law-less northwest of the country, according to an insurgent commander, raising fears of a renewed campaign against Western targets. A senior commander with the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan, an al-Qaida-affiliated group that has its stronghold in North Waziristan, said 80 French citizens were training “mostly in North Waziristan but some in South Waziristan.

Perhaps this is just bluster to hide the fact that their reach doesn’t yet match their ambitions.  But perhaps not.  “French intelligence sources said about 30 French fighters trained by the Taliban were believed to have taken part in attacks on Western forces in Afghanistan.”

At a time when most of America has tired of the global Islamic insurgency, it would appear that “the long war” is just beginning.

Moving On From Our Dependence On Pakistan

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 9 months ago

Our dependence on the lines of logistics through Chaman and the Khyber Pass, as well as Pakistan’s duplicity towards the U.S., are well-worn issues with regular readers.  The Northern logistics routes are in increased and expanding usage due to the troubles in Pakistan.

Image courtesy of EagleSpeak.  The magnitude of the challenge is well described for us by Vice Adm. Mark Harnitchek, deputy commander of the U.S. military’s Transportation Command.

“This is the logistics challenge of our generation” … “The challenge of my father’s generation was escorting convoys across the north Atlantic when we didn’t know how to do that very well. Convoys in 1943 would lose 16 of their 32 ships. The Army had their challenge supplying Patton in his race across France, keeping him resupplied. Supporting operations in Afghanistan is our generational challenge.”

For the first seven years of the war in Afghanistan, almost all supplies and equipment were shipped by sea to the Pakistani port of Karachi. From there, they were trucked overland to Afghanistan, through parts of Pakistan effectively controlled by the Taliban.

In 2008, according to Harnitchek, the U.S. military lost as much as 15 percent of its supplies in those areas due to ambushes and theft. Establishing another supply route became a top priority.

Near the beginning of 2009 I explained the necessity for the Northern logistics route, and described it in detail.  The routes shown above come close, but still rely on Russia and fail to engage Turkmenistan.  I recommended that we develop a route “through the Caucasus region, specifically, from the Mediterranean Sea through the Bosporus Strait in Turkey, and from there into the Black Sea.  From the Black Sea the supplies would go through Georgia to neighboring Azerbaijan.  From here the supplies would transit across the Caspian Sea to Turkmenistan, and from there South to Afghanistan.”

I explained the urgency of the situation, and also described in subsequent posts on logistics how reliance on lines of logistics through Russia could affect the outcome of New START as well as endanger Georgia and cause another Russian incursion into the Caucasus (Ossetia and beyond).  Yet we are still lethargic concerning full development of the Northern logistics routes.

The urgency is still present, and we continue to see further examples of Pakistani duplicity.

As targeted killings have risen sharply across Afghanistan, American and Afghan officials believe that many are the work of counterintelligence units of the Haqqani  militant network and Al Qaeda, charged with killing suspected informants and terrorizing the populace on both sides of the Afghanistan-Pakistan border.

Military intelligence officials say that the units essentially act as death squads and that one of them, a large group known as the Khurasan that operates primarily in Pakistan’s tribal areas, has been responsible for at least 250 assassinations and public executions.

The Haqqani network is, of course, coddled and enabled by the Pakistani ISI.  For some inexplicable reason the otherwise clear thinking Bing West comments concerning this report that:

The administration has to adopt a tough, transactional negotiating posture with Pakistan.

What is this song of enchantment that Pakistan continues to sing to its disappointed suitors?  Is it nuclear weapons?  There is the need for robust Pentagon war gaming concerning the securing of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, as I have described.  Is it the belief that more negotiations will convince Pakistan not to support the Afghan Taliban?  Is it the belief that Pakistan isn’t really controlled by Islamic fundamentalism, or that the Army isn’t preoccupied with fabricated and delusional notions of danger from India?

Whatever it is, we are years behind schedule in divorcing ourselves from Pakistan, whether concerning logistics or reliance on their internal security over their nuclear arsenal.  The Obama administration is “scrambling to repair” relations with Pakistan, as I would have expected.  But leaving the juvenile and moving to the adult, when even most knowledgeable analysts are suggesting that we need to take a tough negotiating stance and repair relations with Pakistan, we have a problem.

These relations with Pakistan never really existed.  Pakistan’s ultimate aim has never changed, even though the campaign has evolved.  Pakistan wants its high-powered insurgents (e.g., the Haqqani network) in order to effect change in Afghanistan (on its whim) and convince India that it is a force to be reckoned with, Kashmir or elsewhere.  Pakistan isn’t an ally of the U.S., and never was.  It’s time to stop pretending that they are.  It is always difficult to face the truth, but time is short and the situation is dire.

All monies should cease, lines of logistics should shift completely to the North, and in the future if Pakistan wants to engage the U.S. as an ally, it must start over and prove itself.  We must always negotiate from a position of strength, as we learned from Sun Tzu.

Unsecured Pakistani Nuclear Weapons

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 9 months ago

Settling a debate that has been waged for years, it is being reported that Pakistani nuclear weapons are vulnerable.

There is evidence to suggest that neither the Pakistani army, nor the SPD itself, considers jihadism the most immediate threat to the security of its nuclear weapons; indeed, General Kayani’s worry, as expressed to General Kidwai after Abbottabad, was focused on the United States. According to sources in Pakistan, General Kayani believes that the U.S. has designs on the Pakistani nuclear program, and that the Abbottabad raid suggested that the U.S. has developed the technical means to stage simultaneous raids on Pakistan’s nuclear facilities.

In their conversations, General Kidwai assured General Kayani that the counterintelligence branch of the SPD remained focused on rooting out American and Indian spies from the Pakistani nuclear-weapons complex, and on foiling other American espionage methods. The Pakistani air force drills its pilots in ways of intercepting American spy planes; the Pakistani military assumes (correctly) that the U.S. devotes many resources to aerial and satellite surveillance of its nuclear sites.

In their post-Abbottabad discussion, General Kayani wanted to know what additional steps General Kidwai was taking to protect his nation’s nuclear weapons from the threat of an American raid. General Kidwai made the same assurances he has made many times to Pakistan’s leaders: Pakistan’s program was sufficiently hardened, and dispersed, so that the U.S. would have to mount a sizable invasion of the country in order to neutralize its weapons; a raid on the scale of the Abbottabad incursion would simply not suffice.

Still, General Kidwai promised that he would redouble the SPD’s efforts to keep his country’s weapons far from the prying eyes, and long arms, of the Americans, and so he did: according to multiple sources in Pakistan, he ordered an increase in the tempo of the dispersal of nuclear-weapons components and other sensitive materials. One method the SPD uses to ensure the safety of its nuclear weapons is to move them among the 15 or more facilities that handle them. Nuclear weapons must go to the shop for occasional maintenance, and so they must be moved to suitably equipped facilities, but Pakistan is also said to move them about the country in an attempt to keep American and Indian intelligence agencies guessing about their locations.

Nuclear-weapons components are sometimes moved by helicopter and sometimes moved over roads. And instead of moving nuclear material in armored, well-defended convoys, the SPD prefers to move material by subterfuge, in civilian-style vehicles without noticeable defenses, in the regular flow of traffic. According to both Pakistani and American sources, vans with a modest security profile are sometimes the preferred conveyance. And according to a senior U.S. intelligence official, the Pakistanis have begun using this low-security method to transfer not merely the “de-mated” component nuclear parts but “mated” nuclear weapons. Western nuclear experts have feared that Pakistan is building small, “tactical” nuclear weapons for quick deployment on the battlefield. In fact, not only is Pakistan building these devices, it is also now moving them over roads.

What this means, in essence, is this: In a country that is home to the harshest variants of Muslim fundamentalism, and to the headquarters of the organizations that espouse these extremist ideologies, including al-Qaeda, the Haqqani network, and Lashkar-e-Taiba (which conducted the devastating terror attacks on Mumbai three years ago that killed nearly 200 civilians), nuclear bombs capable of destroying entire cities are transported in delivery vans on congested and dangerous roads. And Pakistani and American sources say that since the raid on Abbottabad, the Pakistanis have provoked anxiety inside the Pentagon by increasing the pace of these movements. In other words, the Pakistani government is willing to make its nuclear weapons more vulnerable to theft by jihadists simply to hide them from the United States, the country that funds much of its military budget.

Jeffrey Goldberg and Marc Ambinder, writing for The Atlantic, continue with a discussion of the always bad but increasingly tense and distrusting relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan.  Eventually they get to possible broad stroke scenarios for well-rehearsed or even exigent military operations to secure Pakistani nuclear weapons in the case of a jihadist coup that leaves Pakistan without central authority (presumably, this could only happen in the case of collusion between jihadist elements and Pakistani ISI and elements of its military).

Much more challenging than capturing and disabling a loose nuke or two, however, would be seizing control of—or at least disabling—the entire Pakistani nuclear arsenal in the event of a jihadist coup, civil war, or other catastrophic event. This “disablement campaign,” as one former senior Special Operations planner calls it, would be the most taxing, most dangerous of any special mission that JSOC could find itself tasked with—orders of magnitude more difficult and expansive than Abbottabad. The scale of such an operation would be too large for U.S. Special Operations components alone, so an across-the-board disablement campaign would be led by U.S. Central Command—the area command that is responsible for the Middle East and Central Asia, and runs operations in Afghanistan and Iraq—and U.S. Pacific Command.

JSOC would take the lead, however, accompanied by civilian experts, and has been training for such an operation for years. JSOC forces are trained to breach the inner perimeters of nuclear installations, and then to find, secure, evacuate—or, if that’s not possible, to “render safe”—any live weapons. At the Nevada National Security Site, northwest of Las Vegas, Delta Force and SEAL Team Six squadrons practice “Deep Underground Shelter” penetrations, using extremely sensitive radiological detection devices that can pick up trace amounts of nuclear material and help Special Operations locate the precise spot where the fissile material is stored. JSOC has also built mock Pashtun villages, complete with hidden mock nuclear-storage depots, at a training facility on the East Coast, so SEALs and Delta Force operatives can practice there.

At the same time American military and intelligence forces have been training in the U.S for such a disablement campaign, they have also been quietly pre-positioning the necessary equipment in the region. In the event of a coup, U.S. forces would rush into the country, crossing borders, rappelling down from helicopters, and parachuting out of airplanes, so they could begin securing known or suspected nuclear-storage sites. According to the former senior Special Operations planner, JSOC units’ first tasks might be to disable tactical nuclear weapons—because those are more easily mated, and easier to move around, than long-range missiles.

In a larger disablement campaign, the U.S. would likely mobilize the Army’s 20th Support Command, whose Nuclear Disablement Teams would accompany Special Operations detachments or Marine companies into the country. These teams are trained to engage in what the military delicately calls “sensitive site exploitation operations on nuclear sites”—meaning that they can destroy a nuclear weapon without setting it off. Generally, a mated nuclear warhead can be deactivated when its trigger mechanism is disabled—and so both the Army teams and JSOC units train extensively on the types of trigger mechanisms that Pakistani weapons are thought to use. According to some scenarios developed by American war planners, after as many weapons as possible were disabled and as much fissile material as possible was secured, U.S. troops would evacuate quickly—because the final stage of the plan involves precision missile strikes on nuclear bunkers, using special “hard and deeply buried target” munitions.

But nuclear experts issue a cautionary note: it is not clear that American intelligence can identify the locations of all of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, particularly after the Abbottabad raid.

This discussion is interesting, and provides perhaps the most comprehensive assessment to date (in the public domain) of what a military operation to secure Pakistani nuclear weapons might look like, and what are its chances of success.

I have briefly weighed in before on this, and to expand my thoughts, Goldberg and Ambinder’s description leaves a significant amount out of the equation (either because they didn’t report on it or because the Pentagon hasn’t considered it in war gaming scenarios).

First, while the Marines are mentioned in the planning, I believe that they would have to play a much larger role than described by the authors for the simple reason that long range planning is irrelevant.  There aren’t enough special operations troopers who can be permanently assigned the billet of waiting until Pakistan appears to be teetering on the brink of disaster to respond.

To be sure, while such an operation would rely heavily on SEALs, Delta Force and other elements of special operations, including Rangers, this would require force protection in the thousands while special operations breached the compounds and located the weapons.  No branch of the service has this kind of “force in readiness” but the Marines.  Rangers and other troops are needed in other parts of the world conducting critical missions.  They can’t sit and wait until Pakistan devolves into chaos.  They’re busy troops.

But this magnitude of operation would require even more than an infantry battalion in a MEU (Marine Expeditionary Unit).  It would require several infantry battalions, with both ingress and egress by helicopter.  The fleet of helicopters would number in the hundreds, including transport and attack assets.  The general air support would include overwatch, communications and surveillance, refueling aircraft, fighters, and UAVs.  Notwithstanding the surgical strike that the Pentagon war gamers would like to imagine, this would be a very large scale operation.

Before such an operation even began it would be necessary to know, at least to some extent, the make, composition and enrichment of the weapons.  Loading multiple nuclear weapons on board a single aircraft bringing them in proximity with each other might create an operating nuclear reactor (Keff = 1) on board the aircraft unless criticality safety calculations were performed by qualified nuclear engineers prior to the operation to prove otherwise.  This might mean that each weapon required its own, individual transport out of the country if it is not destroyed in place.

Next, Goldberg and Ambinder mention it, but it bears repeating and emphasizing.  We probably didn’t have the human intelligence before the Bin Laden raid to pull off an operation this intelligence-driven, much less do we now.  As if we need further proof of the HUMINT anemia at the CIA, this recent report brings disturbing news.

In an anonymous industrial park in Virginia, in an unassuming brick building, the CIA is following tweets — up to 5 million a day.

At the agency’s Open Source Center, a team known affectionately as the “vengeful librarians” also pores over Facebook, newspapers, TV news channels, local radio stations, Internet chat rooms — anything overseas that anyone can access and contribute to openly.

From Arabic to Mandarin Chinese, from an angry tweet to a thoughtful blog, the analysts gather the information, often in native tongue. They cross-reference it with the local newspaper or a clandestinely intercepted phone conversation. From there, they build a picture sought by the highest levels at the White House, giving a real-time peek, for example, at the mood of a region after the Navy SEAL raid that killed Osama bin Laden or perhaps a prediction of which Mideast nation seems ripe for revolt.

It’s doubtful that tweets or facebook will do anything for us concerning knowledge of the whereabouts of Pakistani nuclear assets.  Finally, the U.S. would have to have a President who had the stomach to pull all of this off.  The losses could be significant, and there is at least the possibility, perhaps even the probability, that some nuclear assets would be left behind or that the operation would be a colossal failure.  The President would have to explain to the American public why he undertook such an action regardless of the outcome.

But the importance of planning and war gaming cannot be underestimated.  Consider what a nuclear weapon in the hands of the jihadists would do in New York, Houston, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Saint Louis, Charlotte or Denver?  In light of this report, the war gaming needs to ingest serious dose of reality, start over, and then take a gigantic step forward.

Concerning Taliban Sanctuary in Pakistan

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

After have read Men, Not Machines, Win Wars, I find that my thoughts were not clearly presented, making it not just possible, but probable, that my prose would be misconstrued.  Any misconstrual is my fault.

Tim Lynch doesn’t misconstrue my points, but some of the commenters in his Sanctuary Denied? shows that I need both to clarify my views and address Tim’s (and his commenters).  Anytime Tim speaks it’s worthy of time and consideration, and we are all richer for having his work and thoughts on our campaign in Afghanistan (as well as on military matters generally).  I consider Tim’s friendship to be a blessing and honor.

First of all, to Tim’s response.

Herschel Smith is unimpressed with the reported build up in the east of Afghanistan and I can’t remember a time he’s been wrong about anything. His assessment could prove to be spot on but this is one time I hope it isn’t.

Afghanistan President Karzai has threatened to back Pakistan if the US conducts cross border operations.  Secretary of State Clinton stopped by for a few words with President Karzai who immediately gave a TV interview telling the world he would side with Pakistan.  I guess the SecState failed to get her message across. Big frigging surprise there.

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We have known since the very first days of this conflict that the Taliban use the border area for sanctuary after they try to attack our troops and start getting their asses kicked in response.  We have been good about not going across in “hot pursuit” having limited incursions into Pakistan to one that I know of.

We have alternate supply lines, we have stocks of stuff on hand, we still need to move supplies through Pakistan so what to do?  How about this famous quote “Never take counsel in your fears”.  The Pakistani’s have been playing us off since just after we started in October of 2001.  Back then they were all about cooperation, as was every other country in the world except the ones that don’t matter anyway.  The reason they were so cooperative was they knew we were in the blind rage stage of being pissed off.  That is several steps up the pissed off ladder and nobody at that time was sure what we were going to do.  All they knew was that we were capable of doing whatever the hell we wanted to do.  We still are.  In fact given the billions spent on hight tech platforms we could do destroy more, faster, and with greater efficiency than we could a decade ago.

From watching that 60 minutes segment with General Allen I am certain of one thing.  He’s pissed.  And he’s pissed about how Pakistan has been playing us and he is not the kind of man you want pissed at you.  Take it from me because I’ve been there with him and it is not pleasant.  Most of you do not know General Allen or anything about him.  What you need to know is he understands that unlimited sanctuary is no way to fight a war.  And even though he doesn’t have the political capitol of General Petraeus he has his confidence.  As he does with General Mattis – another fighting general who is not too keen on granting anyone sanctuary.  I know calls like going across the border in hot pursuit are the Presidents to make but we all now know (thanks to Ron Suskind) that the White House is dysfunctional and getting the President to make a firm decision about anything almost impossible.  National level leadership of that kind allows for subordinates to make “interpretations of intent”.  A fancy way of saying they can make their own decisions and take the actions they think fit Obama’s intent.

A few thoughts about Tim’s views here (beyond the fact that with Tim, I hope I am wrong about a great many of the things I have said).  America has always had a love affair with generals.  For me, General George S. Patton is my hero.  But let’s say that I knew at the time of the most intense fighting during World War II that Patton’s drive across Sicily cost the lives of American Soldiers because Patton wanted to best Montgomery.  If my son had perished in Sicily I would have burned with hated for the man.

On the other hand, the hardening of his Army created the ability to attack the Germans with two divisions within 48 hours across 100 miles of frozen tundra to relieve the Americans at Bastonge and end the German offensive.  It was the feat of supermen.  There are sterling successes and dark secrets about all generals, just as there are with each of us.

I don’t know general Allen, but I hold this against general Mattis.  The prosecution of the Haditha Marines occurred under his watch.  My own son went into the Marine Corps and by the time he hit boot camp and SOI, he was trained by Marine veterans of Al-Fajr. Veterans of Al-Fajr trained their Marines a certain way, to do certain things, and to see combat a certain way.  In 2005, room clearing operations meant that whomever was in the room died.  It’s just the way it was.  It was expectation.  It was training.  It was tribal knowledge, passed down from Marine to Marine.  It all occurred so rapidly that identification of the inhabitants of the room was irrelevant and impossible anyway.  Mattis knows this, and still he allowed good men to have their reputations tarnished.  I hold this against him, and I always will.

So the fact that the names of Allen and Mattis are mentioned is not determinative for me.  There must be more.  There must be commitment at the upper echelons of the administration.  Sometimes it’s best to let your readers speak for you, and concerning the notion that I simply didn’t know everything that Petraeus had up his sleeve when went to Pakistan to solicit their support (a sentiment on the comments to my first post), TSAlfabet had this to say.

… there is no such thing as secret anything when it comes to the U.S. government. As Wikileaks, the NYT, The WaPo and LA Times have all demonstrated, there is always an abundance of people with access to “top secrets” who are willing to blab to the media in exchange for anonymity and whatever smug feelings of superiority they get from betraying secrets.

So, for instance, when the U.S. needed to get tough with Pakistan in 2001 in the immediate aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, the U.S. knew exactly what to say to the Pakis in order to secure their, ahem, “cooperation.” Yes, there were goodies thrown in and charm pops blah blah, but the bottom line, “secret” message to Musharraf et al was, “You either work with us on rooting out Al Qaeda or we are going to turn your country into a parking lot. Your choice.” Not surprisingly, the Pakis chose to cooperate, albeit with as much fudging, double-crossing and reluctance as they thought they could get away with.

And how do we know that? Because these “secret” conversations were leaked to the press and, eventually I think, by Musharraf himself after he lost power and went on his rock-star media tour. It is a permanent feature of American power that there are no, real secrets. Only suppressed facts. I.e., if the secrets hurt conservatives or help liberals, you can be sure that the leaks will get front page news and be on every Left Wing media channel. If the secrets hurt liberals or embarrass a Democrat, you can be sure that the Leftist Media will ignore, suppress, excuse, counterattack in whatever way possible.

Now, ten years later, what is that Paki attitude? Do you think they are even a little bit scared of any threats coming from the U.S.? The Pakis are shelling U.S. troops according to the recent NYT article that is posted here at TCJ recently. The Pakis, according to our own CIA and Admiral Mullen are openly using the Haqqanis to attack the U.S. in A-stan.

No, the SCREW UPs don’t have anything up their sleeve. If they did, we would see real results. We would see a mysterious drop in cross-border attacks from Pakistan. We would see, with Iran, a decreasing belligerence.

No indeed. What you see is what you get. And we, the U.S. of A, are getting the finger from every tin pot dictator and 3d world thug out there. Obama and his circus show have made us a laughingstock the world over. Anyone who gets elected (short of Ron Paul) would be better than Obama.

As if on cue, the Taliban have gone on record with the BBC saying that Pakistan’s ISI assists them.

Pakistan has repeatedly denied the claims. But the BBC documentary series Secret Pakistan has spoken to a number of middle-ranking – and still active – Taliban commanders who provide detailed evidence of how the Pakistan ISI has rebuilt, trained and supported the Taliban throughout its war on the US in Afghanistan.

“For a fighter there are two important things – supplies and a place to hide,” said one Taliban commander, who fights under the name Mullah Qaseem. “Pakistan plays a significant role. First they support us by providing a place to hide which is really important. Secondly, they provide us with weapons.”

Another commander, Najib, says: “Because Obama put more troops into Afghanistan and increased operations here, so Pakistan’s support for us increased as well.”

He says his militia received a supply truck with “500 landmines with remote controls, 20 rocket-propelled grenade launchers with 2000 to 3000 grenades… AK-47s, machine-guns and rockets”.

See also the Reuters report.  Of course, Pakistan denied the BBC report, but the reader can make up his own mind.  But generals notwithstanding, a more aggressive stand towards Pakistan would require White House approval.

To clarify, my original post, which Tim didn’t misunderstand, did not advocate full scale engagement of Pakistani forces.  But this comment goes beyond what I advocate (although I didn’t make that clear).

The odds of General Allen launching a full-on sustained invasion of Pakistan on his own say-so, and being backed by his superiors, while the rest of the federal government stands by, are roughly equal to the probability that he’ll launch his own space program and start to terraform Venus, or send a MEF up the Potomac. I’ll put $100 down saying that no such thing happens, with a side bet of $200 saying that if it does, we’ll pull out in a week like in Lam Son.

Two quick observations on this.  First, I advocate that we conduct ourselves with the same respect for the Durand line that Pakistani forces show it, not that we launch a “full-on sustained invasion of Pakistan.”  I also advocate that we make larger use of or air assets in conjunction with land incursions.  If we find bases, use Arty or send the A-10s after them, no apologies, no regrets.  Kill them all, combatants and any other inhabitants.  Turn their terrain into a parking lot.

Second, the commenter is right anyway.  We wouldn’t even do this without White House approval.  That’s not a knock on the generals.  That’s reality.  And how many readers think that this White House would give approval for this approach?

Another Foreign Policy Triumph: Pakistan Gets Free Pass to Shell U.S. Troops

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 10 months ago

On October 16th, The New York Times reported an astonishing account of repeated shelling of U.S. and Afghan forces from across the Pakistani border that has been near-continuous since  May, 2011.

FORWARD OPERATING BASE SHARANA, Afghanistan — American and Afghan soldiers near the border with Pakistan have faced a sharply increased volume of rocket fire from Pakistani territory in the past six months, putting them at greater risk even as worries over the disintegrating relationship between the United States and Pakistan constrain how they can strike back.

Ground-to-ground rockets fired within Pakistan have landed on or near American military outposts in one Afghan border province at least 55 times since May, according to interviews with multiple American officers and data released in the past week. Last year, during the same period, there were two such attacks.

May is also when members of a Navy Seals team killed Osama bin Laden in the house where he lived near a Pakistani military academy, plunging American-Pakistani relations to a new low. Since then, the escalation in cross-border barrages has fueled frustration among officers and anger among soldiers at front-line positions who suspect, but cannot prove, a Pakistani government role.

The government’s relations with the United States frayed further after senior American officials publicly accused Pakistan of harboring and helping guerrillas and terrorists. Last month, Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at the time, called the insurgents who attacked the American Embassy in the Afghan capital “a veritable arm” of the ISI, Pakistan’s military intelligence service.

Pakistani officials have repeatedly denied aiding fighters for the Taliban and the Haqqani militant network, who operate on both sides of the border. They insist they try to prevent cross-border incursions or violence.

Funny coincidence.   U.S. bases get shelled from Pakistan beginning the same month that U.S. special forces entered Pakistan and killed Osama Bin Laden.   OK, well, I suppose that one could argue that this is a not-altogether-unexpected consequence of sticking a steel-toed boot right up the backside of Pakistan and laughing as we dump Bin Laden into the ocean for fish food.   (All properly according to Islamic hoyle, of course).  So we should not be surprised.

The truly troubling part about this is that there is no apparent Administration response or any, apparent guidance from the chain of command for these units who must sit there and take it.

When taking fire from Afghanistan, they said, they return fire with barrages of high-explosive and white phosphorus artillery rounds. (The burning effects of white phosphorus, they said, can detonate rockets waiting on launchers; for this reason, white phosphorus falls within rules guiding the soldiers’ use of force.)

When receiving fire from Pakistan, they said, they do not return fire with white phosphorus and fire far fewer high-explosive rounds. Attack helicopters and aircraft are also less likely to fire ordnance the closer the firing position is to the border, they said, even if it is on the Afghan side.

Several soldiers complained of what they called the “politics” limiting their choices. “We’re just sitting out here taking fire,” one soldier said. “If they want us to do our jobs, let us do our jobs.”

Senior officers described a tactical and strategic puzzle.

On one hand, soldiers said a principle of any modern military defense is that they patrol to and beyond the range of weapons systems that can menace them, and, in this case, at least to the border of the nation that the United States, in essence, has underwritten. On the other, heavy return fire against the firing positions inside Afghanistan has not prevented the attacks from continuing, so it is not clear that more fire into Pakistan would stop the cross-border firing, either.

And Colonel Bohnemann noted a complicated history. Afghan units have patrolled to the border, he said, and then been fired on by Pakistani military units who claimed they mistook the Afghans for insurgents. That fighting included Pakistani artillery fire.

The risk of having an American patrol face similar fire has been reasonable grounds for caution when planning sweeps near the border, and when returning fire over it, he said.

“Am I frustrated?” he asked. “Yes. Would I like to fire more? Yes. But do I want to be sure not to escalate out of frustration? Absolutely.”

(Emphasis added)

This is simply indefensible.  As I have said on many occasions, our Afghan strategy is really no strategy at all but a charade for political purposes:  the appearance of force and toughness but lacking in the kind of metrics necessary for victory (higher force levels, robust rules of engagement, proper focus on appropriate lines of effort, etc…).   This Administration has played politics with Afghanistan since Day One and one of the obvious results is that we have Americans sitting on the Pak border forced to absorb indirect fire from Pakistan without any, meaningful way of defending themselves.

Disgraceful.

Get tough strategy with Pakistan?

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 10 months ago

From the Los Angeles Times:

The U.S. needs Pakistan’s cooperation to succeed against an insurgent group that uses sanctuaries along the Afghan border from which to attack American and Afghan forces. But so far, Washington has failed to entice that cooperation — or coerce it through threats to pull billions of dollars in aid.

On Thursday, Washington embarked on a get-tough strategy — sending its top diplomat along with its top intelligence and military officers to Islamabad to deliver the blunt message: Whether or not Pakistan chooses to help, the U.S. will continue to fight the Haqqani network inside Afghanistan while seeking a negotiated end to the decade-old Afghan conflict that has taken the lives of more than 1,800 U.S. soldiers and thousands of Afghan civilians.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s arrival in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, on Thursday, accompanied by CIA Director David H. Petraeus and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, signaled the all-out nature of the bid to persuade Pakistan to cooperate.

To fight Haqqani in Afghanistan (note the absence of the threat to fight them in Pakistan), with or without Pakistan’s help, and a bid to persuade Pakistan to help?  That’s it?  That’s our strategy to get tough with Pakistan?  The same thing we’re doing now, i.e., fighting Haqqani in Afghanistan and attempting to persuade Pakistan to help?  So if the preceding strategy is failing, our forward going plan is to do more of the same?

Maybe that’s not the complete strategy.  We’re also going to seek a negotiated settlement.  Perhaps the threat of a negotiated settlement will persuade Pakistan to help.  I had recommended unilaterally fighting Haqqani in Pakistan too, and if the Pakistani army had in any way impeded our progress or caused harm to our troops, turning the ground they stood on into a sea of glass.  But what do I know?

Let’s all take a strategic pause and see how this plan works out, shall we?

Pakistan, And Why I Hate The Presidential Debates

BY Herschel Smith
2 years, 11 months ago

I hadn’t watched the previous GOP debates, and only watched about two minutes of this one.  I turned the channel after Santorum’s answer on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

It went something like this (I tuned in late the Bret Baier’s question).  Suppose that the insurgency within Pakistan combines with sympathetic elements of the Army and ISI to take over Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.  What would you do?

Rick Perry answered something like this.  Working with allies in the region is very important, and our recent refusal to sell more fighters to India is problematic.  Our allies need to know that we are there and will be there is a crisis – and also that we might need them in a crisis.

Okay, but incomplete and not quite adequate as I’ll discuss in a moment.  Then Santorum weighs in and issues a rebuke (of sorts) to Perry, saying something like:

“I’ll answer the question on Pakistan since (voice raised slightly and talking sternly at this point) I’m not sure that it was answered before.  Working with allies won’t do it.  We must work with elements within Pakistan and those who might be our friend, such as Pervez Mucharraf, to turn back the insurrection.”

If Perry’s answer is inadequate, Santorum’s answer was dense and doltish.  Note well.  Musharraf was sacked by the Pakistani people in August of 2008.  He left office with the Parliament hating him, and frankly with most of Pakistan hating him.  The Islamists had good reason, since he was seen by them as an apparatchik of the U.S. (he clearly was not, from our own perspective), and the balance of Pakistan hated him because the Pakistan economy had sunk to depths of despair.  It hasn’t really gotten any better since then, but that doesn’t matter for the attitude and atmosphere in 2008.  The Pakistani people wanted change, and they got it by sacking Musharraf.

In an event in which the Pakistani Army cannot turn back an insurrection, or is participating in it, Santorum wants to turn to … Musharraf … hated and sacked by his own people!  What’s Musharraf going to do?  Stand in the road to Islamabad with a gun and threaten the ISI and Haqqani’s fighters as they come to take over the center of power?

It is a salient question whether Pakistan is an ally or enemy in the regional war.  The uninterested public is just now hearing about Haqqani’s fighters and their help in the recent attack on the U.S. embassy.  I have been tracking the Tehrik-i-Taliban, the LeT, the various Kashmiri insurgent offshoot groups, Haqqani’s organization and so on for years now.

I have watched when, as I forecast, the Khyber and Chaman passes became almost too dangerous to transport fuel and materiel, leading me to beg and plead with the strategists and policy-makers to engage the Caucasus region for  alternate logistics routes.  The strategists listened, but not well enough.  Steve Schippert and I have held long conversations trying to ascertain ways to use India as a logistics route (as well as other ways to engage them in Afghanistan).  It has the ports, it has the rail and road system, and it is sympathetic to our cause.  The only problem is that we would have to traverse across parts of Pakistani controlled Kashmir to get to Kabul.

Do we overtly treat Pakistan as the enemy in the campaign that they are, duplicitous as they have been, or do we go on pretending that the Durand line actually means anything and that Pakistan is on our side?  We covertly treat them as the enemy, viz., the secrecy surrounding the UBL raid.  How overt do we go with this?

This I know.  Steve and I agree that India is a much more natural ally in the global war on terror than is Pakistan.  Michael Yon agrees:

After much travels through India, I believe we are natural allies. We have much to learn and gain from each other. India and the United States should do what is natural. We should deepen our ties. Our relationship must be sincere and bonded.

And maybe that’s what Rick Perry is saying.  If an insurrection happens in Pakistan and their nuclear assets are in jeopardy, it will take much more than Musharraf to secure them.  This exigency needs to be war-gamed well in advance, and if the Pentagon hasn’t already done this … oh well, be sure, they have already done this.

Securing the nuclear assets will take not only the combined forces of SEALs teams and Delta Force, but several companies of Marines and Rangers to provide force protection while the operation occurred.  It will require significant support from air assets, transport, and good intelligence.  Even then, it’s likely only to be partially to moderately successful and we will sustain high casualties.

But to believe that we could operate with the assistance or help of the Pakistanis themselves is to believe that we could have done the UBL raid by informing Pakistan first.  One would also have to believe that Pakistan didn’t really show the remains of our air assets to the Chinese.

This is why I hate the debates and don’t watch them.  They are like political versions of Jeopardy.  You have seconds to tell us the “right” answer to our question (what’s right will be up to a vote), when in reality, no President is going to issue orders for securing Pakistan’s nuclear assets without reference to the Pentagon’s war-gaming.  And no President is going to call Musharraf.

The debates are set up for sound bite, turn-the-channel, laugh-a-minute night time America.  For really understanding anything about a candidate, they are literally useless.

Prior: The Feeble Superhero: Pakistan Freely Tugs on Superman’s Cape

The Feeble Superhero: Pakistan Freely Tugs on Superman’s Cape

BY Glen Tschirgi
2 years, 11 months ago

The Captain’s Journal previously noted the likely Haqqani network connections to the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul.

Now we have Admiral Mullen and Defense Secretary Panetta confirming that a spate of recent, deadly attacks against Americans in Kabul were the work of the Haqqani network with direct, Pakistani support:

Pakistan-based insurgents planned and conducted some of the major attacks in Afghanistan recently, including the one on the U.S. Embassy in Kabul last week, with the support of Pakistan’s intelligence service, senior U.S. defense officials told Congress on Thursday.

“The Haqqani network … acts as a veritable arm of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency,” Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said. “With ISI support, Haqqani operatives plan and conducted” a truck bomb attack that wounded more than 70 U.S. and NATO troops on Sept. 11, “as well as the assault on our embassy” two days later.

“We also have credible intelligence that they were behind the June 28th attack on the Intercontinental Hotel in Kabul and a host of smaller but effective operations,” he added.

Mullen’s statement to the Senate Armed Services Committee, together with remarks by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to the panel, were the most specific in a week of strong administration criticism of Pakistan.

Lovely.  Can someone please explain how the definition of an act of war came to have this apparent asterisk attached to it?  If Pakistan had sent jets over the border to attack the U.S. Embassy in Kabul (which international law recognizes as a sovereign piece of U.S. territory), it would be war.   But if Pakistan merely assists unlawful combatants to bomb and shoot up our embassy, it is something else entirely.

No one seems to want to put a name to it or to even speculate generally what the U.S. response to this act of war might be:

Both Mullen and Panetta resisted lawmakers’ attempts to describe what Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the chairman of the committee, called “the kind of options available to us to stop” Pakistani support for the insurgents and the “actions the administration is prepared to take” to ensure it.

“We’ve made clear that we are going to do everything we have to do to defend our forces,” Panetta said. “I don’t think it would be helpful to describe what those options would look like and what operational steps we might or might not face.”

The administration has insisted that Pakistan sever its ties with the insurgents, in particular the Haqqani forces based in the tribal region of North Waziristan, and supply all available intelligence on the group. Although senior administration officials have said they would prefer to work together with Pakistan against the group, they have indicated they are prepared to consider an expansion of drone strikes in the region, as well as surgical ground strikes, according to senior administration officials.

“The first order now,” Panetta told lawmakers, “is to put as much pressure on Pakistan as we can to deal with this issue.”

Levin noted that similar public pressure has continued for several years, and asked whether “Pakistan’s leaders are aware of what options are open to us, so they’re not caught by any surprise.”

“I don’t think they would be surprised by the actions that we might or might not take,” Panetta said.

Well, Pakistan is quaking in their boots I am sure.   We are making it, “clear [to Pakistan] that we are going to do everything we have to do to defend our forces.”

Pakistan is not simply tugging on Superman’s cape.  They are grabbing it and throwing it over Superman’s head and laughing their collective arses off.   The lack of a firm and memorable response by the U.S. is going to invite even more brazen attacks, more dead Americans and the erosion of what little credibility the U.S. has left overseas.    We are becoming that rich, doddering Uncle Sam who lavishes gifts on his nephews and nieces even while they hide his glasses and set up obstacles for him to trip over.   Pathetic old man, but good for a few bucks and a laugh.

NATO Rushes To Seal Afghan Border

BY Herschel Smith
3 years ago

A U.S. Army soldier from Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (the Wolfhounds), Task Force NO FEAR watches out from OP Mace in eastern Afghanistan Naray district, Kunar province near the border of Pakistan early August 27, 2011.  From Reuters

U.S. soldier Staff Sergeant Frankie Berdecia of Alpha Company 2nd battalion 27th infantry (the Wolfhounds), Task Force NO FEAR from Puerto Rico, operates a TOW missile system at Observation Post Mace in eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar province near the border with Pakistan August 28, 2011.  From IHT.


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