Tuesday, March 16, 2010

COIN of the realm

No Kilcullen metrics for this?: McCrystal tries to change ethos of Special Forces in Afghanistan.

One wonders if the COIN theorists are prepared for the tension on the force, because of rules that increase risk.

Face it, that bargain is a very tough one to maintain even under a robust code-of-arms, witness Israeli soldiers charged with war crimes.

36,000 Taliban Fighters = ? months of engagement

Assessing the militants’ numbers, General Barrons said: “There are probably 900 in the leadership, counting very junior to very senior, and there are between 25,000 and 36,000 people who would call themselves fighters.”

-London Times

So, at a breakneck pace of 1,000 a month (a figure I doubt we've ever achieved to date), it would be three years or thirty-six months to kill, capture, or convert (neutralize) all Taliban fighters.

Another American War, Off the Books

Please, someone, let me know that this may have been another Elliot Abrams brainchild...it would only be fitting punishment to the Republic.

The Classified War Will Not Be Televised

Wheels within wheels.

Now, it looks like Pakistan may have been a prime mover in the arrest of Baradar, Taliban honcho in the Queta Shura. (What I find amusing is that Karzai is not suspected as a spoiler of talks).

Whether ISI were witting or unwitting partners in derailing top-secret talks with Afghanistani leadership, it's not clear, yet.

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Kashmir's terrorists bite Pakistan in the ass

Biting the hand today that fed you yesterday?

Subsequent investigations had shown the attackers were the Punjabi Taliban belonging to at least three sectarian-cum-Jihadi groups, which are working in tandem with the Pushtun-dominated South Waziristan-based Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan to carry out joint terrorist attacks. The investigators had reported that some banned militant-cum-sectarian groups in the Punjab are gaining strength after having joined hands with the TTP.

-The News

Note the extensive use of suicide bombers against Pak targets that have nothing to do with "occupation".


No Kilcullen metrics for this? (A tale of two convoys)

Monday, March 08, 2010

The State of the State

The cycle of violence has short-circuited, exhausted itself, but the aftermath has its own cruelties:

The lives of Iraq’s millions of internal refugees remain bleak and the country’s humanitarian crisis is a grave one.

Cadillac of Cave Structures

For the record, the Pakistani army has shined the light underground, rolling up an 'undisclosed location' for Taliban (and possibly, at one time, a bunker for Zawahiri) in Damadola in Bajur.

Separately, the recent arrests of the Quetta Shura are being seen, now, not as pure scores for intelligence, but as one faction throwing another to the dogs for even thinking about normalization talks with the Afghan government.

The weekly drop of extremists in Pakistan seems to be continuing apace, by whatever means. But it is not one-way, a 1,300 pd car bomb exploded outside a police facility in Lahore ...

Saturday, March 06, 2010

India-Pak talks on Kashmir

As violence surges and ebbs (recently surging) in Kashmir, the hopes for a true diplomatic track spring eternal.

With Pakistan now sporting 'smart bombs' from the USA, one can only hope that India gets to the table, quickly...

Otherwise, the USA will have jumped from the frying pan into the fire, no?

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Everyone is part of some minority

....and, sooner or later, the religious-political extremists come, in one way or another, for everyone.

Today is Gaza:

GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) -- Gaza's Islamic Hamas government on Thursday banned men from working in women's hair salons, the latest step in its campaign to impose strict Islamic customs on Gaza's 1.5 million people.

More of Bush-Cheney's Faith-based Blunders

This time, affecting the military, directly:


In my last position in the Air Force, I led those 200 men and women in a deployment to Iraq, where my team came under daily mortar attacks as they were controlling the air space over Iraq. During this deployment I was named one of the top officers in my career field for the entire air force.

"Shortly after I left Iraq, someone in the unit that had replaced mine found my private e-mails that I had written to family and friends in the stress of a combat zone. In Iraq during the height of the insurgency, the Air Force conducted a search of my private e-mails solely to determine if I had violated Don't Ask Don't Tell, and to gather whatever evidence they could use against me. ...

"I was relieved of my duties leading nearly 200 airmen, my security clearance was suspended, part of my pay was terminated, and I was forced to endure a grueling 16-month legal ordeal before I was ultimately discharged from the Air Force. On my final day of active duty I was given a police escort from the base as if I were a common criminal or a threat to national security.

Major Mike Almy, UAF