Wednesday, July 23, 2014
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Missed this little gem of last May about Gen. Stanley McChrystal's evening with the International Relations Society at Oxford.

From a write-up in The Express Tribune by Mohammed Ali Rai, a Rhodes Scholar and one of the hosts of the event:



Soon after this the topic changed to what everyone had come to hear about — the general’s perspective on the Bin Laden episode. Instead of bashing Pakistan, McChrystal showed his mettle and worth — he argued that the US has made a lot of mistakes with Pakistan, and Pakistan has also made an equal number of mistakes, and there is no point in sticking to these mistakes. He continued that Bin Laden is dead and that should be the end of the story. He rationally argued that the only way out is to look forward to the future, and build up on a solid and trustworthy partnership that is beneficial for both states.

...

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This (past) week's syndicated column:

The last hot meal to be served at Camp Victory, the largest of 505 military bases once operated by the United States in Iraq, was a Thanksgiving dinner on Nov. 20. Cooks served more than 2,000 pounds of turkey and more than 3,000 pounds of mashed potatoes to 6,000-plus military personnel.

Doing the dishes this time also meant shutting down the kitchen. That's because Camp Victory, one of only 10 U.S. bases still in operation, will be closed soon. According to the agreement signed in 2008 by President George W. Bush and implemented by President Barack Obama, the U.S. military in Iraq is coming home.

Praises be. So what if the U.S. withdrawal comes only after Obama was unable to convince Iraq to extend its welcome under tenable conditions? I'll take it, and give thanks. I am very sorry Camp Victory troops are on cold rations until they finally return stateside next month, but I am thankful to be able to see the day when they will have left Iraq...

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What's worse in the eyes of Western elites? Gang rapes of female journalists covering Tahrir Square, or female journalists not covering Tahrir Square so as not to be gang-raped?

After another brutal sexual assault this week in Tahrir Square, this time of French journalist Caroline Sinz, and after Egyptian-American journallist Mona At-Tahtawy was repeatedly sexually assaulted by Egyptian police after being detained (her arm was broken in two places), Reporters Sans Frontieres came to a logical conclusion: Editors should not be assigning women journalists to Cairo: They might be gang-raped, either by mobs or mobs of police.

Makes sense to me.

This -- "discrimination" against women (not the gang rapes) --...

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"The Che Guevara Store" is having its 50-percent-off Black Friday sale, unironically.

 

A timeless image, seemingly from British history. It was taken this week in Yorkshire at the funeral of British Army Private Matthew Haseldin, 21, who was shot and killed in Helmand province on November 3 while "part of an operation to maintain freedom of movement for the local population."

No doubt the Afghan "local population" was won over, COIN heart and COIN mind, by Haseldin's sacrifice.

It happened again.  There we were, going from one happy-dappy government account of COIN success in Sangin District at DVIDS  --

With the use of counter insurgency operations, or COIN, the Marines are finding new ways to remove the insurgent networks from areas and assisting local villages in creating the peace the people of this area desire. “We’re going to go out there and get with the people…the population is the objective,” said 3rd Recon Bn. Commanding Officer Lt. Col. Travis Homiak ....

-- to a second DVIDS report on COIN success in Garmsir, when the dark side of reality intruded for a brief moment, like a rain cloud passing the sun.

Even as Marines go above and beyond even the call of COIN  -- helicoptering local elders to the Marine base to hold shuras for them??? ("There is only so much we can do for the people," said an Afghan partner-commander, a little incredulousness perhaps showing through) -- even as Recon Marines go Oprah for the cause (Afghans “just...

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After 12 visits to Afghanistan in five years, Telegraph defense correspondent Thomas Harding is trying really, really hard to be positive about NATO, and, particularly, British gains. Now,  Harding writes, after decade of Western blood and treausre, Afghan farmers know how to trellis their grape vines so the fruit doesn't moulder on the ground -- bringing the state of Afghan agriculture up to 5th-century-BC Minoan standards! The Afghan local police is taking shape, he writes. "Young, jobless men are given a little training and ordered to guard their area against the Taliban." Ah, sweet security.

Nice try. Now for the nitty gritty:

So, what will be Nato’s legacy? The police, on whom security will largely depend, are...

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As Americans move on out of Iraq, they are figuring out what to take, what to leave behind.

From the New York Times (via Business Standard)

One item staying is General David H Petraeus's bed. For nearly a decade he and all other commanding generals in Iraq slept, strangely, in a bed with a pastel-hued, lacquered headboard depicting in frieze two doves clasping ribbons in their beaks, against a field of pink and blue poppies.

When American troops commandeered the palace complex that included this room for barracks and headquarters early in the war they retained the original French Provincial-style furnishings, including the bed.

Aha. It was all those "hearts and flowers," night after cloying night, that led to the "hearts and minds" fiasco.

Gen. Petraeus ordered up the renovation of a water park in Bagdhad in 2008. It opened to much fanfare in 2009, and was nearly waterless and in ruins by 2011. The loss of $1 million in costs (not including military resources), is just a drop in the bucket.

---

This week's syndicated column:

When the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan closed shop on Sept. 30, it reported its "sobering but conservative" estimate that U.S. taxpayers had lost between $31 billion and $60 billion in waste and fraud of the $206 billion Uncle Sam has spent on contracts and grants in Iraq and Afghanistan. Of course, that's not all. According to the commission's final report, "a similar amount could be lost due to unsustainable projects and programs."

These staggering, if "conservative," figures are the result of three years of the commission's work, including 25 hearings and eight reports to Congress. What the commission neglected to mention in its final press release, however,...

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From DutchNews.nl:

Three Dutch Moroccans have made a complaint against the Netherlands to the UN court of human rights, claiming the Dutch state has not protected them from incitement to hatred instigated by Geert Wilders, Nos television reports.

The three, who are not named in the court filing, say the ‘systematic incitement to hatred and discrimination against Muslims and other migrants’ committed by Wilders has left them feeling ‘discriminated against, humiliated and threatened’.

‘They are of the opinion that Wilders by his continued hate speech has poisoned the social climate in the Netherlands that has become more and more anti-migrant and anti-Muslim,’ the statement says.

Wilders was taken to court for discrimination and inciting hatred last year but found not guilty this spring after the public prosecution department called for all charges to be dropped.

One-sided

...

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The Marines respond to the North County Times story I cited in a recent column, as reported in the Greeley (CO) Gazette:

The [North County Times] report mentioned that one of the trainers, Shafiq Mubarak, from the Marine Corps Center for Advanced Operational Culture Learning (COACL), told the Marines that in order to avoid offending Muslims in Afghanistan; they should not urinate towards Mecca.

“Mubarak also said the Marines should never spit or urinate to the west, the direction of Mecca that Muslims in Afghanistan face when they...

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Saudi Arabia -- sorry, "The Kingdom" -- is going ballistic over a 30-second commercial currently airing on Fox Business Network. Does Prince Talal know?

With thanks to Kathy Shaidle:





NEW YORK, Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ -- EthicalOil.org fights Saudi "lawfare" by expanding campaign's reach

EthicalOil.org, a grassroots advocacy organization that educates consumers about the choice between ethical oil from Canada's oil sands and conflict oil from some of the world's most repressive regimes, is now airing a television ad in the United States that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is actively trying to block in Canada.

The 30 second television...

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This week's syndicated column:

We haven't had a good, old-fashioned "feeding frenzy," a la Herman Cain, for a long time – maybe not since the days of Dan Quayle. I'm talking about the kind of media wilding where someone is a whole person one day, and then, whoosh, the piranhas swim in and a gnawed carcass is all that remains. It's especially hard to look at when the victim joins in to shoot himself in the foot, but that's another story.

What interests me more is whether we can draw from the Cain case the conclusion that "women," as a group defined exclusively by sex, are exhibiting a new or finally realized power in society. Judging by the attention and gravity with which the sexual harassment charges are being treated, and judging by the perils these charges pose to the presidential run of this newly popular figure on the political Right, a Martian might be forgiven for concluding that the role and stature of women in society is supreme.

But a Martian would be wrong. The political...

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I don't get this. Two US Senators, Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb, co-sponsor legislation in 2008 to create a commission to investigate wartime contracting. Commission investigates -- finding between $31 and $60 billion in fraud and waste in contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan -- and shuts down in September 2011. (Isn't there still wartime contracting in progress in A-stan? Oh well.) Also in September, the commission transfers its no doubt voluminous records to the National Archive and suggests? asks? stipulates? that the records be under seal for twenty years. 

Does a Senate-created, taxpayer-funded "commission" have the legal authority to do that?

Well, it did.

Sens. McCaskill and Webb had no idea the wartime contracting commission they helped create had taken steps to deep-six the evidence for almost a generation. In a letter of November...

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So glad the media are dwelling endlessly on the  Herman Cain sexual harassment accusations, leaving much less important stories such as this one off the front page:

Wartime Contracting Commission Seals Records for Next Twenty Years

Not so fast?

AP reports:

U.S. Sens. Claire McCaskill and Jim Webb want the federal government to allow public access to records from a commission that investigated wartime contracts.

The two Democratic senators say the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan has decided to seal its records from public review for 20 years. But McCaskill, of Missouri, and Webb, of Virginia, want the U.S. archivist to disclose the records "as quickly as possible."

Webb and McCaskill...

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Two breaking stories out of Afghanistan:

1) Big firefight in Paktika Province at COP Margah, which this blog has been keeping an eye on for a while. Sixty jihadis killed, all Americans okay.

BBC reports:

Two senior Afghan intelligence officials told the BBC the attack was "very close to Pakistan", adding: "Sixty insurgents carrying so many weapons could have not crossed from Pakistan without the help of Pakistani security forces - it is either that or they turned a blind eye."

Pakistan says it does all it can to halt insurgent activity.

Karzai's big pal Pakistan.

2) At Patrol Base Basir in Uruzgan province, where most of our Australian allies are stationed, a "rogue" ANA soldier is on the run after opening fire from a tower with an automatic weapon and a grenade launcher and seriously wounding three Australian soldiers. How he got down from the tower and away we don't know.

From...

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As the USA feeds on a sexual-harassment frenzy involving Herman Cain, women and the men who love them should pay special attention to the invaluable blog Vlad Tepes where a couple of vital instructional videos are posted today.

One is a harrowing half-hour report on "gang grooming" in Britain (I'm still shaking). This apparently decade-old, predominantly Pakistani practice of "grooming" very young, predominantly native British girls as sexual props for personal and business (prostitutional) use has now reached epidemic proportions. (The narrative attempts to portray the EDL and the BNP as villains for speaking out about the predominantly Pakistani identity of the rapists and criminals involved, but knots itself up in its own frustration with governmental silence on the perps' ethnicity.) 

The second is a brief report about a Serbian spa town of...

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Dementia advances in Afghanistan, courtesy the US taxpayer, who spent about $12 billion on training Afghans between October 2010 and September 2011. Not that it stopped there: $11 billion is pledged for the year ahead through September 2012.

Just think how many perfectly gorgeous Standard Poodles you could train for $23 billion dollars. And the world would be a better place....

On a recent graduation day for over 1,000 Afghan army soldiers, Reuters reports the alarming thoughts of Amlaqullah Patyani,  the Afghan general in charge of all Afghan training.

Surveying his new soldiers, Patyani said:

"We have no clue how to operate the weapons that NATO gives us. And even if we did, will the weapons keep coming after 2014?" ...

This is not a joke, not a satire. It's the gigantic Afghani$tan $candal, but it's dying alone, deprived of  media oxygen in the tabloid atmosphere dominated by Herman Cain accusers and moral turpitude in the Penn State Football office.

One...

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Equally as shocking as the malevolent but somehow also banal comments of Sarkozy and Obama regarding Netanyahu is the protection accorded them by the ladies and gennemen of the Fourth Estate who were listening in on the old, inavertently open mike. If it weren't for a French website called "Arret sur Images," we wouldn't have the story.

From Ynet (via Drudge):



The surprising lack of coverage may be explained by a report alleging that journalists present at the event were requested to sign an agreement to keep mum on the embarrassing comments. A Reuters reporter was among the journalists present and can confirm the veracity of the comments.

A member of the media confirmed Monday that "there were discussions between journalists and they agreed not to publish the comments due to the sensitivity of the issue."

He added that while it was annoying to have to refrain from publishing the information, the journalists are subject to precise rules of conduct.

Yes, master.

...

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This week's syndicated column:

Uncle Sam is getting a little weird. Make that a lot weird. Having dumped hundreds of billions of dollars into a sinkhole called Afghanistan – populated by misogynistic, pederastic, tribalistic and religiously supremacist primitives – to no avail, he has hit on a new plan for winning those ever-elusive Afghan "hearts and minds."

Uncle Sam has decided that the answer lies in the latrine with the U.S. Marine Corps. No kidding. When nature calls, Uncle Sam has decided he wants every U.S. Marine equipped with a map and compass, or some other way of knowing direction. This is to ensure that no U.S. Marine in Afghanistan urinates in the direction of Mecca ever again.

Now, there's a winning strategy.

It's still OK, of course, to spread baksheesh (payola) indiscriminately, chase jihadis into twisting mountain gorges, clear any road laced with improvised explosives – blow up, even, and bleed all over the place. Just make sure your sense of direction is sharp when it really counts.

...

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From NeighborNewspapers.com

Scott “Boots” Harper of Douglasville is remembered by friends and family for his smile, his warmth and his love for his friends.

The U.S. Marine was 21 when he was killed in Afghanistan on Oct. 13. His father, Brian Harper of Carrollton, heard from a fellow soldier’s father the story of how he died.

An Afghani translator or guide led a squad of 13 Marines into a village.

“He led them right into an ambush,” Harper said.

One Marine was shot in the chest and arm and fell to the ground.

“Scott ran into the gunfire to try to get this guy out...

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What journalist wouldn't want to be Paris Bureau Chief for Time magazine, or anything else? Sounds so glamorous. But look closer and the job qualifications -- sharia-compliance -- are more than a little off-putting, certainly as exemplified by the man with the job, Bruce Crumley, on weighing in on the bombing of Charlie Hebdo. Poor man. Full-blown, late-stage and terminal Dhimmitude.

Excerpts from his Time piece:

1) "Not only are such Islamophobic antics futile and childish, but they also openly beg for the very violent responses from extremists their authors claim to proudly defy ..."

2) It's "hard to have much synpathy for [Charlie Hebdo] after it published another stupid and totally unnecessary...

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Germany and Turkey are marking the 50th anniversary of the arrival of the first Turkish "guest workers" as Recep "Islam Is Islam and That's it" Erdogan visits Angela Merkel in Berlin.

Is this a happy occasion? 

Before answering that question, bone up on the history of Ottoman-era "satellite" colonies via Andrew Bostom, as well as the history-repeating pattern visible 20 years ago, as Bostom found, to the late German scholar of dhimmi history Karl Binswanger. Suddenly, you will know the reason that Erdogan's latest demand of Merkel -- that Turks in Germany be allowed to hold dual citizenship -- is so sinister. Will Merkel know it, too?

Almost worse is Erdogan's jarring recourse to romance to camouflage his aggression.

From Spiegel Online:

...

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The gutted offices of Charlie Hebdo, Paris. Under Islamic law -- not Islamist law -- Molotov Cocktails replace letters to the editor

Update: The "offending" cover via Vlad Tepes:



"100 lashes if you don't die of laughter"

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The Daily Mail reports:

"Offices of French magazine torched after latest edition mocked Prophet [sic] Mohammed"

First, notice the religiously correct references to Mohammed. My old AP Stylebook recommends "Mohammed," plain and simple, to denote "the founder of the of Islamic religion" -- not "the Prophet Mohammed," as the Daily Mail story calls him. This title is inflected with the obeisance of acceptance.  (I note also that my old AP Stylebook recommends "Jesus," not "the Son of God Jesus.") The magazine, by the way, was commenting on the rising power and fortunes of sharia and its...

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