Friday, July 22, 2011

The Pentagon: Paranoid or Insane?

Mind you, when it comes to the Pentagon, the two aren't necessarily mutually exclusive.

I don't know how best to describe these goings on, bizarre or surreal?

How Not to Make Friends in the Greater Middle East
by Tom Engelhardt, TomDispatch
21 July 2011
In the method, there is madness; in the comedy, nightmare; in the tragedy, farce.

And despite everything, there’s still good news when it comes to what Americans can accomplish in the face of the impossible! No, not a debt-ceiling deal in Washington. So much better than that.

According to Thom Shanker of the New York Times, the U.S. military has gathered biometric data -- “digital scans of eyes, photographs of the face, and fingerprints” -- on 2.2 million Iraqis and 1.5 million Afghans, with an emphasis on men of an age to become insurgents, and has saved all of it in the Automated Biometric Information System, a vast computerized database. Imagine: we’re talking about one of every 14 Iraqis and one of every 20 Afghans. Who says America’s a can’t-do nation?

The Pentagon is pouring an estimated $3.5 billion into its biometric programs (2007 through 2015). And though it’s been a couple of rough weeks when it comes to money in Washington, at least no one can claim that taxpayer dollars have been ill-spent on this project. Give the Pentagon just another five to 10 years in Iraq and Afghanistan and the biometric endeavor of a lifetime should be complete. Then Washington will be able to identify any Iraqi or Afghan on the planet by eye-scan alone.

Be proud, America!

And consider that feat a bright spot of American accomplishment (and not the only one either) in a couple of weeks of can’t-do news from the Greater Middle East. After all, despite those biometric scans, an assassin managed to gun down Our Man in Kandahar (OMK), Ahmed Wali Karzai, the Afghan president’s half-brother, in his own residence. He was the warlord the U.S. military buddied up with as U.S. troops were surging south in 2009 and who helped bring American-style “progress” to the Taliban heartland.

Of course, before he was OMK and our great ally in southern Afghanistan, he was OEK (Our Enemy in Kandahar), the down-and-dirty, election-fixing, drug-running evil dude whom one American military official more or less threatened to take out. (“The only way to clean up Chicago is to get rid of Capone” was the way that Major General Michael Flynn, the top U.S. military intelligence officer in the country, put it at the time.) And before he was OEK, he was CMK (the CIA’s Man in Kandahar), right up there on the Agency’s payroll; and even before that, speaking of Chicago, he was a restaurateur in that city who... but I’m losing track of my point, as Americans have a knack for doing in Afghanistan.

Anyway, as I think I was saying, OMK-OEK-CMK was assassinated by Sardar Mohammad, a man he trusted and saw six days a week, a local “police commander” who, according to the Washington Post’s Joshua Partlow, “spent years as an ally of the United States in the war against the Taliban.” He was also reputedly a “trusted CIA contact” who had worked closely with U.S. Special Forces. He had, so associates believe, either been turned by the Taliban in the last few months or was a long-time sleeper agent.

And then when security couldn’t have been tighter, at a service in a Kandahar mosque where hundreds (including top government officials from the region) had gathered to pay their respects to the dead capo, a suicide bomber wearing a turban-bomb somehow slipped inside and blew himself up, killing among others the chief of the Kandahar Province religious council.

In other words, even though the U.S. military tried to flood the zone in southern Afghanistan, its claims of progress and improved security are already giving way to a nowhere-to-hide Taliban world. These events could certainly be considered the insurgency's symbolic goodbye to General David Petraeus, the U.S. surge commander there, who was just handing over command and readying himself to return to Washington to become CIA director. In a further sign of deteriorating security, an advisor to Afghan President Hamid Karzai was assassinated (along with a member of parliament) in heavily guarded Kabul when a squad of Taliban gunmen stormed his walled compound. more


Anonymous said...


@MMFlint @SamSeder A man responsible for the murder of at least 250000 Iraqi civilians has to resign the CIA over sex. What a country.

Anonymous said...

Himself said...

Follow ze orders at all costs.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

Из России с любовью

Himself said...

Morning Chuck.

Why was I surprised but not surprised to see Turd Blossom (Rove) somewhere in the equation?

Dis you watch this from RT?

Was Broadwell just being indiscreet or was it part of a game plan?

The Greek stuff? Too little info not to dismiss it as heresay or a guess.

And Ardin? Well we won't talk about Ardin.

General #Petraeus leaked secret info on #Benghazi attack to his mistress? [VIDEO]

Listening to this fellow, Patreas was a bit of a fuck up all round.

Juan Cole: Real Petraeus Failure Was Counterinsurgency in Iraq, Afghanistan

Himself said...

Who's who.

Anonymous said...

Meanwhile in Turkey

Himself said...

Mornin' Chuck,

Scroll down for the black fellow.

Anonymous said...

Who did what to whom.

Anonymous said...

Tampa, Fla., socialite and military hostess Jill Kelley, one of the women at the center of the ever-expanding scandal that brought down former CIA Director David Petraeus, founded a questionable charity for cancer patients with her surgeon husband, Scott Kelley.

Himself said...

Good morning Maren,

I read about those two last week sometime, but the article didn't link them to the Patreas thing.

Which goes to endorse my lifelong, self imposed ban, on giving to organised charities.

Parcels arrived, Enid for the chop this weekend.

Anonymous said...

Which goes to endorse my lifelong, self imposed ban, on giving to organised charities.


Anonymous said...

Jill Kelley's financial troubles

Himself said...

My nephew.

Self-build awards shortlist: Remodelling a 1970s home
Shaun Beverley's remodelled 1970s detached home in Lancashire.

The Telegraph Homebuilding and Renovating Awards: past winners

Gatecrashers attack architect at daughter’s Facebook party
An award-winning architect was badly beaten by a gang of teenagers who gatecrashed his daughter’s 13th birthday party after hearing about it on Facebook.

The girl wasn’t in fact his daughter, she was the daughter of a friend of Shaun’s wife.

It was only through talking to Shaun last night that I heard the circumstances as to why the friend had been living at the house.

She had been taking refuge after being raped at gunpoint in Liverpool. Tragically the attackers were HIV positive and consequently infected the woman, who by accounts is heading for full-blown AIDS. One attacker hung himself in prison, the other I believe is awaiting trial.

Horrible story, poor woman.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the links, a horrible story indeed.

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