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Last Saturday I knew something strange was going on in Pakistan's NWFP, specifically the South and North Waziristan areas.

Yesterday I noted this:

Eight people including four women and children were killed when the residential compound of a Muslim cleric was attacked by US helicopters in Saidgi, North Waziristan near the Afghan border.

Now today I see this:

Pakistan has protested to the U.S. military in Afghanistan over firing at a Pakistani village near the Afghan border that killed eight people, the Foreign Ministry said Monday.

Ministry spokeswoman Tasnim Aslam said cross-border firing from Afghanistan killed the people in Saidgi village in the tribal region of North Waziristan early Saturday, but added that Pakistan was still trying to determine whether U.S. helicopters landed there as claimed by local elders.

"We have protested to the coalition forces because they are responsible for security on the other side," Aslam told a news conference in the capital, Islamabad.

"The Americans did not enter our territory. We did receive fire from across the border," said Aslam, without elaborating. "The Americans have denied their troops were involved in this attack, but we have initiated an inquiry into what exactly happened."

So now the Pakistani government's story is that Americans (or their Afghan allies) fired shells OVER the border and into the tiny village of Saidgi, and just so happened to flatten the house of a specific cleric, killing four men and four women and children.

Firing "over the border" might be likely if this was Iraq or Saudi Arabia, but the border in this case is one of the most mountainous in the world.  This would have to mean that the artillery piece was set way up high in the mountains, allegedly just inside the magical line that separates Pakistan and Afghanistan.

I say "magical line" because the border between Afghanistan and Pakistan is the Durand Line, drawn on a map by Sir Mortimer Durand, the British Foreign Secretary to the Indian government in 1893.  It is 2,640 kilometers or 1,610 miles long, it runs right between a mountain range and is essentially unguarded and unguardable.

Waziristan is part of what's known as the "Federally Administered Tribal Areas" of Pakistan and detailed maps are difficult to find.  The best I could do is here, which doesn't show the village of Saidgi but does show the hamlet of Miran Shah, where "tribal forces" killed 8 Pakistani soldiers last Friday.  But according to this article, the village is called Dandi Sadghy and is just 8km north of Miran Shah.

According to the BBC, the FATA region is home to at least 5.7 million people, nearly all of them ethnic Pashtuns - the same peoples that live on the other side of the border in Afghanistan and were (and are) the core constituent of the Taliban.  The Durand Line in fact was drawn specifically to weaken the Pashtun, who proved to be a real thorn in the side of the colonizing British.

As I reported on Saturday, there are definitely Taliban elements not only moving in and out of the FATA but are also attacking government troop positions.  And then the Pakistani government has just "protested" that the Americans fired over the border into the FATA.  But the local villagers say something else:

Momin Khan, a tribal elder, said he and other tribal elders complained to the area's top commander, Maj. Gen. Akram Sahi, that U.S. helicopters launched the attack, landed and took away five tribesmen, then flew toward Afghanistan.

He said Sahi had assured the elders that Pakistan's military was investigating.

What makes this even more ominous is that Lt. Mike Cody, the American military spokesperson in Kabul, denied both the helicopter "snatch and grab" as well as the "firing over the border" incident.

More information on the snatch and grab:

As many as 22 persons, including nine personnel of the law-enforcement agencies, were killed and 20 others injured in air and ground attacks in North Waziristan Agency and Tank in the Frontier region early Saturday.

However, officials of the political administration and armed forces in the areas neither confirmed nor denied the reports.

Besides eight paramilitary personnel, the dead included an officer of the Khasadar Force and eight family members of a local religious leader, Maulana Noor Muhammad, in Miranshah and the Mir Ali subdivision of North Waziristan Agency. The Maulana was among the injured.

Local tribesmen and injured members of the Maulana's family, who have been admitted to the agency headquarters hospital, informed journalists that the cleric's house was attacked from the air at about 00.30am on Saturday, resulting in the killings of eight persons - four men, two women and two children. Nine members of the family have been admitted to the hospital. The injured were four men, four women and a three years old girl.

The injured claimed that four members of the family were taken away by the raiding US soldiers.

A couple of days back the houses of Maulana Noor Muhammad and three other tribesmen were searched by personnel of the Pakistani security forces, but they made no arrests or recovery from the houses. A US drone had been seen hovering over the region for the last three days and nights, locals claimed.

The incident took place in the Dandi Saidgai village, some 13km north of Miranshah and about three kilometres from the Pak-Afghan border.

The injured persons claimed that all those killed, injured and missing were locals, while some reports claimed that the raid and the attack on the houses were the result of the alleged presence of suspected militants, including some foreigners, in the premises.

The Maulana is believed to be close to former Taliban minister for frontier and tribal affairs Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqani, who is wanted by the US on charges of terrorism.

Those killed in the Saidgai attack were identified as Bal Khan, his brother, two sons and mother, Salam Khan, his mother and a brother, while Maulana Noor Muhammad, Ali Jan, Muhammad Shafi, Shah Mehmud, Asadullah, Hazratullah and two women were among the injured. Two of the missing tribesmen have been identified as Gulabat Shah and Rehmat Khan, while the names of the two others could not be ascertained.

So Maulana Noor Mohammed, the target of the attack, was only wounded and got away while 8 other people were killed and at least 4 abducted.  Plus now we've got reports about a drone aircraft.  Here's more:

The tribal Jirga headed by two notables, Malik Momin Khan and Malik Mahshar, complained that US forces have violated the Pakistani airspace and territory by attacking four houses in Saidgai, adding that American soldiers came about six kilometres inside the Pakistani territory, which the GOC promised to probe.

The US has been blamed for targeting the house of a local tribesman in Miranshah some time back, in which the authorities claimed the killing of suspected Al-Qaeda leader Hamza Rubia along with two other Arab nationals from a drone.

Indeed they have been.  From December 4, 2005:

Pakistani tribesmen on Sunday displayed parts of a U.S.-marked missile they said hit a house and killed two boys, evidence at odds with the government which says an explosion there killed a top al Qaeda commander.

Whatever the cause of the blast, the death of Abu Hamza Rabia would be a coup for Pakistan and the United States which describe him as al Qaeda's chief of international operations.

But his body has not been found.

Sat amid the ruins of his mud and concrete-walled home in the restive North Waziristan tribal agency, Haji Mohammad Siddiq told Reuters his 17-year old son and an eight-year-old nephew were killed in a missile attack, but denied there were any militants present.

"I don't know anything about them -- there were no foreigners in my house," Siddiq said. "I have nothing to do with foreigners or al Qaeda.

"We were sleeping when I heard two explosions in my guest room. When I went there I saw my son, Abdul Wasit, and my eight-year-old nephew, Noor Aziz, were dead," said the tall, moustachioed tribesman as he received condolences from a stream of relatives and neighbours.

Pakistan, sensitive to domestic public opinion, has denied U.S. drone aircraft have carried out missile strikes on its soil in the past and Washington has declined to comment.

But tribesmen in Haisori showed U.S.-marked fragments of missiles they said hit the village early on Thursday. One piece of casing clearly bore the words US and MISSILE.

"I heard more explosions and went out to the courtyard, and when I looked up at the sky, I saw a white drone," said Siddiq. "I saw a flash of light come from the drone followed by explosions."

So that's two reports of drone activity and two reports of missiles or artillery fire being used to smash up some houses where Al-Qaeda or other terrorist leaders live.  And in both cases, innocent people died while the target survived.

But wait, that's not the only incident of drones/missiles.  Back on September 14, 2005, the Pakistani military found a drone somewhere in FATA but this time they said that Al-Qaeda was the one who had been using it.

And on May 13, 2005:

A senior al Qaeda operative was killed by a missile fired from a CIA Predator aircraft on the Pakistani side of the remote area near the Afghan border earlier this week, U.S. intelligence officials told ABC News.

Haitham al-Yemeni, a native of Yemen known for his bomb-making skills, had been tracked for some time in the hope that he would help lead the United States to al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, intelligence officials said. But with the recent capture in northwest Pakistan of Abu Faraj al-Libbi, thought to be al Qaeda's No. 3 man, officials worried al-Yemeni would soon go into hiding, and decided to take action.

Al-Yemeni was in line to replace al-Libbi, intelligence analysts said.

"It's an important step that has been taken in that it has eliminated another level of experienced leadership from the directorate of al Qaeda itself," said Vince Cannistraro, former head of counterterrorism for the CIA and now an ABC News consultant. "It will help weaken the organization and make it much less effective."

The CIA has the authority to fire at will against senior al Qaeda figures anywhere in the world, though it is unclear whether the Pakistanis approved of the action in advance. A spokesman for the Pakistani Embassy in Washington, D.C., said he was unaware of any such actions this week.

Hmmm... fire anywhere in the world?  And the Pakistani Embassy knew nothing about it?  Weirder and weirder...

Here's what the WaPo had to say when the drone killed al-Yemeni:

The CIA and U.S. military Special Operations forces have been operating inside Pakistan for more than two years with the knowledge of Pakistani authorities. But the U.S. presence is highly controversial with the largely Muslim Pakistani public, which is generally sympathetic to bin Laden and al Qaeda. For that reason, Pakistani officials routinely play down U.S.-Pakistani cooperation.

So it seems like the villagers were right when they said they saw American helicopters over the weekend in Saidgi.

But what about the target of the attack and snatch-and-grab?  Well the word Maulana is a title, something akin to "Reverend".  So in English he would be the Reverend Noor Mohammed.

It's unknown whether it's the same guy or not, but there is a politician Maulana Noor Mohammed, and he's openly pro-Taliban:

Sitting at his office in downtown Quetta, Maulana Noor Mohammad is hardly invisible. He's a member of Pakistan's National Assembly and part of the ruling coalition of religious parties that controls Baluchistan.

"The Taliban [retreated] because they wanted to avoid the bloodshed, and we decided to fight by guerrilla war," says the Maulana Mohammad. A visitor asks the maulana whether he meant to say "we" or "they" when describing the Taliban. He says "we."

"Now in the whole of Afghanistan, there is not a single place where there is peace," the Islamist lawmaker says proudly. "It took some years to defeat the Russians, but it won't take much time to defeat America."

A few moments later, a local reporter's mobile phone rings. The caller is a commander in the Taliban, and he asks the reporter to hand the phone to Maulana Noor Mohammad for a quick chat.

That article is from December 2003, so it's not referring to the times of pre-9/11 when Pakistan openly supported and financed the Taliban.

But Noor Mohammed isn't just a politician, he also teaches at madrassas (religious schools) run by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami:

Quetta remains a centre of fundamentalist learning. Madrasas run by Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami, a radical Islamist party, helped incubate a generation of Talib fighters in the 1990s. Today the schools are still open and their leaders are unapologetic.

"Yes we support the Taliban morally ... The holy Qur'an teaches that jihad is the responsibility of every Muslim," says Maulana Noor Muhammad, the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami leader in Quetta, as he fingers his wooden prayer beads.

Whether the MNA Noor Mohammed and the Jamiat Ulema-e-Islami Noor Mohammed are the same guy, I cannot say.  But the latter is also connected to Nek Mohammed, a very active pro-Taliban militant/terrorist, who was killed in 2004.  Inside that article is this interesting snippet:

The US has exclusive facilities across the world to interrogate militants, many of them captured in Pakistan. They are believed to number about 3,000, and they are spread over different areas. The biggest interrogation center for al-Qaeda detainees is Bagram Air Base north of the Afghan capital Kabul. Al-Tamara detention center, eight kilometers out of Rabat in Morocco, houses dozens of people arrested in Pakistan, while others are kept in Egypt, Thailand, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.

Thanks to the CIA secret prisons scandal, we already know that the detention facilities in Afghanistan, Egypt and Thailand have been confirmed.  That's the first I heard of Saudi Arabia and Qatar though.

In Part 2 of the above article, we get further confirmation about U.S. activity inside Pakistan's borders:

Ten days later, on April 28, Barno in an interview to The New York Times stated further: "The Americans have been training Pakistanis in night flying and airborne assault tactics to combat foreign and local fighters in the tribal areas of Pakistan near the Afghan border." Significantly, this was the first time the American military acknowledged the training. [Then U.S. commander in Afghanistan Lt. General David] Barno further admitted that the presence of American troops in Pakistan was regarded as extremely delicate, adding that he had visited the Special Services Group headquarters of the Pakistan army at Cherat, near Peshawar, recently, where he watched a display by the units trained by the US in their new Bell 4 helicopters.

Connecting the dots, there seems to be a major clandestine American operation in the FATA (Pakistan) against Al-Qaeda elements.  This includes drones, drones firing missiles as well as the use of helicopters.

If you remember my story, the Ballad of Abdullah Mahsud from March 2005, the Americans let a Taliban fighter go free from Guantanamo Bay.  He then returned to the FATA and began leading an active insurgency.  I wonder whether he was "turned" or released in exchange for gathering intelligence on Al-Qaeda in the area.

Remember that report that Noor Mohammed was a close friend and colleague of Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqani?  Well Haqani is a very active fellow on the Afghan side of the border:

Meanwhile, in a relevant development, fighters loyal to Afghan leader and former `Mujahideen' commander, Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqani attacked the district headquarters of Aryub in Paktia province on the night between Sunday and Monday and took control of the headquarters building for more than an hour. A spokesman of Haqani, who identified himself as Muhammad told The News on telephone from an undisclosed location that the fighters loyal to Haqani's group captured all the check posts around the building, as the Afghan security forces had fled the area before the attack, but the `Mujahideen', a reference to the Taliban and their supporters, withdrew from the area soon after the US gunship helicopters and jets rushed to the spot intending to bomb the area. "We withdrew because the bombing is so heavy and ruthless, that it kills civilians than the attackers. We did not want the US forces to kill or hurt non-combatants," Sharif said.

The U.S. has been after Haqani for a long time.  Back on November 2001, U.S. warplanes dropped bombs on Kunduz during the Taliban's "last stand" and killed a number of Haqani's men.  And more bombs in December 2001:

The bombing on Paktia and Khost was believed connected to the pursuit of bin Laden and some local Taliban leaders -- including a Taliban leader, Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqani, who escaped an earlier assassination attempt when U.S. planes bombed his home and the adjacent madrassa (religious school), killing 16 people and injuring dozens of others last month.

And more evidence of U.S. military operations inside Pakistan, from May 2002:

Under intense pressure from Washington, Pakistan's military strongman General Pervez Musharraf has given the green light for US troops to operate inside the country alongside local army forces in pursuing so-called Al Qaeda and Taliban suspects.

The first operation on April 26 was a joint raid on a religious school in Darpa Khel village in northwestern Pakistan near the Afghan border. According to Pakistani officials, 24 US Special Forces soldiers, backed by Apache attack helicopters, joined some 200 paramilitary troops in storming a seminary founded by the Taliban's former Tribal Affairs Minister, Maulavi Jalaluddin Haqqani. Five people were detained for "suspected links" to the Taliban or Al Qaeda.

But wait! There's some conflicting information about Haqani.  From an old webpage about the Taliban leadership:

Moulavi Jalaluddin Haqani, belongs to the Pashtoon tribe of Jadran. He is resident of Paktia province and was previously affiliated with Maulavi Khalis party and was then a prominent commander in Paktia province. In 1996 due to pressure from Inter Services Intelligence (ISI) and the government of Pakistan he was forced to back Taliban Movement. Currently his followers are fighting against Massod and Rabbani forces in Bagram and Shakardara districts. He is currently working as minister of boundaries. Reports (rumours) saying that Haqani is not willing to continue his cooperation with Taliban Movement and that he might quit the Taliban and pull his followers back to Paktia.

Pressured by the Pakistani secret service eh?  Perhaps that's because the ISI was being funded and remote-controlled by the CIA:

"Two former CIA allies in Afghanistan are now fearsome warlords responsible for killing scores of American troops in the escalating border war," the New York Daily News reported in a December 2 article. The article, entitled "Ex-CIA allies leading Afghan fight vs. G.I.s," focuses on Afghan warlords Jalaluddin Haqqani and Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, the principal jihadist leaders carrying out attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Both are reportedly receiving generous financial support from al-Qaeda-linked Arabs, as well as steady infusions of Arab recruits and advisers.

The CIA has extensive files on Hekmatyar and Haqqani, which is not surprising since both were favored clients of the agency during the 1980s and 90s. Hekmatyar, especially, was a major recipient of CIA cash, weapons, and supplies. However, this historical relationship between U.S. intelligence and the terrorists is news to many of the young U.S. Special Forces soldiers who are tasked with hunting terrorists in Afghanistan?s forbidding mountain terrain. Understandably, some of them are upset to learn that the CIA has withheld this information from them. The Daily News quotes one unidentified U.S. soldier in Afghanistan as being "shocked" that our government has denied this intelligence to our men on the ground. "The information would have been extremely useful", he said.

Indeed it would.  So it now seems quite evident that the U.S. is undertaking a major anti-terrorism campaign inside of Pakistan's FATA.  This weekend's helicopter gunfire and snatch operation seems to have been targeting Haqani.

Frankly it reminds me of the secret bombing and infiltration campaign that the U.S. undertook in Cambodia during the Viet Nam war, only on a much smaller scale.

It does make sense, in a geopolitical way.  The FATA is home to 5 million Pashtuns, who are either sympathetic to the Taliban or outright supporters.  The Pakistani Army has been conducting military operations since 2003 but has regularly sustained heavy losses.  Even today there are only 70,000 troops in the region and unlike a Baghdad or Basra, most of the FATA is extremely mountainous terrain with tiny villages pocketed here and there.

The Taliban regularly continues to attack American and Afghan forces in Afghanistan and can easily cross the border into FATA to be with their kinsmen.  The secret CIA and Special Forces operations have to be secret because the vast majority of Pakistanis are against U.S. operations inside Pakistani soil and the confirmation of such would seriously weaken dictator Pervez Musharraf's grip on power.  And the U.S. seems to be involved in the "dirty work" because frankly the Pak government doesn't have the stomach to lead a full assault on the region.

And mixed in with all this pro-Taliban and pro-independence fighting are elements of Al-Qaeda, potentially including the elusive leadership of Osama bin Laden, Mullah Omar and Ayman Al-Zawahiri, amongst others.

This definitely bears further monitoring...

Cross-posted from Flogging the Simian

Peace

Originally posted to Soj on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 02:37 AM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  i've been saying for a long time (none)
    that Pakistan is going to be our next Afghanistan/Iraq: the country we're arming the blows up in our face next.

    Yet another example of blowback--but this time it'll be nuclear.  Fun.

    Thanks Georgie!

  •  and Recommended, btw (4.00)
    people need to see this.
  •  Taliban (none)
    Soj,

    I'm curious. Do you have any ideas why the Taliban haven't actively brought the fighting into Pakistan to try to widen the playing field?

    Also, I don't recall seeing anywhere in your diary anything about US casualties in Pakistan. Is there any information on this?

    •  That's a good question... (none)
      Reading through all of the above, it's almost as if there are TWO Pakistan operations. One overt. One covert.  Like there is a military inside the military.  And I can't really determine where Musharaff (sp?) sits...

      But what seems possible is that the Taleban and Al Queda is being supported by the covert military in Pakistan.

      I wonder if we will EVER know!

      LetsFight. re handle: Fight the radical right is the sentiment!

      by letsfight on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 09:17:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great job Soj! (none)
    I also advise anyone reading this to get Soj's email updates from her weblog Flogging the Simian .
  •  asdf (none)
    Excellent diary. Thanks for the research.

    Just a small point: that 70,000 troops are currently deployed in the FATA region is unprecedented in Pakistani history. Prior to 2002 there was virtually no military presence in the tribal regions whatsoever.

  •  Dubyah must be thinking he needs to get bin Laden (none)
    before Nov elections.
  •  Pakistan's military is also up to funny business (4.00)
    This is of course a direct equivalent to the bombing of Cambodia during the Vietnam war, as the (increasingly successful) Taliban resistance in Afghanistan uses Pakistan's tribal areas as its rear base.

    But there is another factor here, which was brought home to me by a personal communication from a son's friend who is involved in the post-earthquake relief effort in the Pakistan mountains.

    This is that the Pakistan military (drawn from the Sindi, Punjabi south) is using the devastation caused by the earthquake to attempt to break down the tribal system in the frontier provinces.  They are breaking up families, denying relief to the non-compliant, destroying crops to force people down from the mountains. There is according to that witness something that amounts to an attempt to destroy a culture by taking advantage of a natural disaster to remove its economic and social foundation.  I would call it low intensity ethnic cleansing.

  •  The NWT and Waziristan and Balouchistan (none)
    Pakistan actually has little effectual control in any of these areas.  What control there may be is largely perfunctory.  The peoples of that area never recognized any Durand Line, or any other political border.  

    The people move freely between eastern Afghanistan and western Pakistan.  And why should they not?  Their traditional grazing areas, traditional trade, traditional tribal areas span both nations.  And these were established long before even the British arrived.

    It is difficult to get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions!

    by wgard on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 04:46:13 AM PST

    •  The Khyber Pass (none)
      Few passes have had such continuing strategic importance or so many historic associations as the Khyber Pass. Through it have passed Persians, Greeks, Mughals, Afghans, and the British, for whom it was the key point in control of the Afghan border.

      http://www.sabawoon.com/...

      The US will make one more Empire that didn't quite get it.

  •  Yay! A secret war! (none)
    All we need is some river patrol boats, the Doors on cassette and maybe Bush will go AWOL again.
  •  Nuclear? Or nucoloor? (none)
    •  Tough choice there (none)
      How about 'new color', which will likely describe many people if our esteemed 'Head of the God State' looses his cool and decides to go 'nu clear', or however the hell Texans from Crawford (or is that Connecticut?) pronounce it.

      Guess you got to be a cow or something and chewing cud to really understand this idiot!

      It is difficult to get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions!

      by wgard on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 05:42:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Giggle. Repugs -- the party of the rightward cow! (none)
        •  Rightward Cow ... Yes (none)
          But, the can only be 'rightward' if they donate to the 'right' dairies ... i.e., be 'sucked dry' by DeLay and ... who is that 'Abe...' guy?

          If they fail in that, then they are defacto leftward cows.  And we all know that defacto relationships are not allowed!

          Guess that means we will have to declare them something like 'non grata' ... i.e., no cows at all ... and deport them immediately to a big Mac's abbatoir????

          Or then again, in a fit of humanity, we could elect them to the House or Senate?

          As for me, well ... I like my chargrilled burgers!:)

          It is difficult to get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions!

          by wgard on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 05:54:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  This is GOOD news in case you were unaware. (4.00)
    Good Lord, I cannot believe the mindset here.  Our military is actually targeting KNOWN Al Qaeda havens, as opposed to creating new ones, (Iraq) and most on this thread seem to view it as scandalous, bordering on criminal.

    Obviously the Pakistani government is loathe to give  approval of such activity given it's precarious relationship with domestic fundamentalist parties sympathetic to Al Qaeda. It is for just this reason that these havens persist. And it is why covert actions are necessary and useful.

    Get a grip people.

    •  Did you read the article (none)
      4 women and children......

      Pakistan is a country which we are not at war with.....personally if a Bomb landed in Ottawa and killed 4 women and children I don't care if Osama Bin Laden was also a target, they should not invade a soveign nation to conduct there work....the world isn't the US militaries playground.

      •  Yes.... (none)
        ..and I read the REST of the authors post, including additional reports of cross-border action, AND the comments of posters preceeding me.  The authors point is not centered on the very sad news of 4 women and children apparetnly killed in one action, but on the policy of covert, (illegal) warfare conducted in Pakistan. That was the point on which I was commenting.

        Collateral casualty, especially involving children is a henious consequence of war, and is another subject entirely.

        •  I Agree (3.00)
          with "Tater" completely.  This is exactly the war we should be fighting.

          I agree with what Bush says about fighting terrorists, that we should fight them over there not over here.  The problem is that he rarely does what he says.

          And as for the casualties, this is bad, but there is no such thing as a "clean" war.  There will rarely if ever be the perfect way, the perfect opportunity to fight terrorists.  There will be alot of "mess."  But we have to kill people we can identify as terrorists.

    •  Ummmh (none)
      If they weren't sympathetic to ol' Osamma before, the sure will be now!

      It is difficult to get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions!

      by wgard on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 05:57:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  BTW (none)
      When you advise, "Get a grip". do you have anything specific in mind as to the object of one's grip. or how such 'grip' is to be effected?  Can you offer any advice about 'gripping'?  My golf pro has been saying the same thing for years, and I still don't get it!

      It is difficult to get the right answers if you don't ask the right questions!

      by wgard on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 06:04:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I am glad for the info... (none)
      ...in this diary, and I recommended it because of that, but I agree that it's not really "ominous" that the US is doing this.  I've always been in favor of putting a stop specifically to Al Qaeda.  They don't recognize borders, except when convenient to their plans (just make it across the border and they can't come after us), so we can't act like the Afghanistan-Pakistan border is some magical line we can't cross, especially when the Pakistani government gives us permission.  

      The Iraq war is crap, but not these kinds of operations.  If we could have 20,000 guys from Iraq help out with this and start sending the rest home, I bet we'd be in much better shape.

      •  Oh please ... (none)
        Look don't fall for the slimy thought of the 'cons: while the Taliban gave shelter to some radical Islamic foreigners (call them Al Qaeda if you believe in that label) it had quite a distinct and autonomous local Pashtun (Afghan and Pak) basis.  So these are just local Muslim nationalists not 'Al Qaeda', they are no threat to the US.  And you don't even know that the people being killed and kidnapped even have anything to do with the local muslim insurgency.  This kind of stupid cowbow violence -- branded with the stars and stripes -- is wholly counterproductive.  Far better for US interests if those those helicopters had been used in evacuating the wounded and delivering supplied during the earthquake's immediate aftermath.
        •  Whether any of these guys... (none)
          ...have real ties to Al Qaeda isn't for me to decide, so I can't really comment on that part of it.  It is unfortunate that the administration has undermined its own credibility, however, to the point where suspicions like yours are well-founded.
    •  KNOWN Al Qaeda havens (none)
      Langley VA.

      Al Qaeda-the Database

  •  This is GOOD news in case you were unaware. (4.00)
    Good Lord, I cannot believe the mindset here.  Our military is actually targeting KNOWN Al Qaeda havens, as opposed to creating new ones, (Iraq) and most on this thread seem to view it as scandalous, bordering on criminal.

    Obviously the Pakistani government is loathe to give  approval of such activity given it's precarious relationship with domestic fundamentalist parties sympathetic to Al Qaeda. It is for just this reason that these havens persist. And it is why covert actions are necessary and useful.

    Get a grip people.

    •  If it's such good news, (none)
      Why is Bush keeping it secret?

      He ought to be proud of all those successful US Mil 'go it alone' high-tech death-from-the-sky   killings in Pakistani villages with suspected Al Qaeda related program activities, as gleaned from  our highly effective intel efforts.

      And to do so while ignoring the advice and protestations of Bush's often stated Pakistani govmt allies, whose villages we are now "precision" bombing, is a really nice touch that our Dear Leader would enjoy sharing.

      •  Operational secrecy? Helllloo?? (none)

        Isn't that the most commonsense reason as to why the military and government might not want to publicize this action? Does Al-Qaeda come and start a new diary every time on Dkos to conform to your standards of transparency?

        Get a grip.

        Pakistan has been a viper's nest of terrorism for a long time. Training and arming Kashmiri Islamists. Aiding the Taliban.

        While Saudis financed the global jihadi movement, the Pakistanis trained and armed them.

        Pakistan should have been the focus after Afghanistan, not Iraq.

        •  That's just Preposterous (none)
          Everyone in those Pakistani towns and regions being secretly bombed by US forces knows very well what we are doing there. Do you think they are deaf, dumb, blind and stupid?

          The only ones being kept in the dark about these  cross-border military attacks by US forces are the American public.

          •  Of course they know...they have to know.. (none)
            That the price of hiding Taliban and Al-Q memebers is facing US military action.

            Now, that's not something has to be on the front page of the NYT day in day out because there might be covert SF personnel in those areas, operating deep in Pakistani territory.

            Plus, why make things harder by inflaming worldwide muslim opinion, which while it won't shun these Al-Q types will rail against our taking military action against them.

            •  Are US leaders are that stupid to really believe (none)
              that:
              • the Muslim world will not/does not already know about the occurance of these US cross-border attacks on Pakistani villages, as long as it is kept out of the western corporate press?
              • Keeping this news out of western press will reduce  inflamation of worldwide Muslim opinion against US?

              I doubt it very much.

              US leaders are afraid of further inflaming worldwide Muslim western opinion by allowing news about their potentially criminally culpable military actions to reach western audiences.

              •  "criminally culpable military actions"? (none)
                WTH is wrong with you? Al-Qaeda needs to be destroyed, why are we even debating this point?

                Do some research, look up Pakistan's historic terrorist involvement in the region. Those NWFP tribes were/are some of the staunchest Taliban allies and a natural shelter place for Al-Qaeda types.

                •  yup, those "al qaeda" are everywhere ... (none)
                  as old uncle Lakoff said, 'don't think of an elephant'

                  yup I bet those 'al qaeda' are all over the Pashtun areas of Afghanistan and Pak ...

                  c'mon these are just some (strange to us) mountain peasants who happen to have a very redneck idea of religion (swap Christ for Mohammed) and who don't like outsiders messing with them.

                  They are certainly resisting the US military and assisting the Taliban but they have every right to do that, its their country.  Butthey pose absolutely no threat to the US.  

                  stop buying the 'con talking points

                  •  Oh man... (none)
                    Do yourself a big favor and go to www.google.com and take the most liberal source you trust on the topic and see if they see Pakistan and the NWFP as a region inhabited by "mountain peasants" who happen to find themselves on the wrong side of American religious right wing!
                •  Please see (none)
                  below.

                  You can think what you wish, and choose to believe the totally strange Bush story-line on Al Qaeda.

                  As far as I have been able to research, there is nothing so far to rule out the much more plausible alternate scenario that Al Qaeda:

                  1.  were private contractors doing a job for hire on 9-11.
                  2. were completely fingered already by 9-12(!) as the evil "culprits" behind the massive attack, and designated as targets to be wiped out/silenced/disappeared by any and all means (to prevent them from squealing who hired them?).
                  3. are now conveniently serving as the Bush-Neocon GWOT war-machine's general purpose Excuse to Abuse justification for any past and future outrageous action, torture, murder, civilian bombing, violation of international laws, conventions, and trampling of the US Constitution.    
        •  Good news, Araina (none)
          Pakistan is one bullet/car bomb/plane crash( see Zia ul Haq for details) away from having nookyouler weaponry in the hands of anti US Pakistani Forces.

          And then the US will wish that Tribesmen were all we had to deal with.

    •  asdf (4.00)
      I don't think that posters here have a problem with "intelligent" covert action to remove international terrorists from the scene; unfortunately, blowing up the home of an influential local cleric in a rather bizarre cross-border operation, killing women and children in the process, probably doesn't fall under that rubric. It's also possible, if you read the diary, that the man they were targetting was, er, once again, the wrong man.

      The interesting thing to note is that the bulk of actual international terrorists that have been arrested thus far, have mostly been located in Metropolitan Pakistan, not the tribal areas. The kinds of operations that are being detailed here are elements in the war against the Taleban, which is a slightly different kettle of fish, and needs a great deal more delicacy and forethought.

      I don't think it helps to indiscriminately conflate Al Qaeda and local tribespeople who are, after all, interested in very different things; obviously, driving the local Pashtun population into the arms of the Jihadi vanguardists is a counter-productive strategy - and this is precisely the kind of episode that facilitates this.

      •  Good point (none)
        The crossing of the border is one thing, but of course the tactics used are quite another.  You don't want to start a crazy game of whack-a-mole that can never be won by indiscriminately bombing questionable targets.
        •  Whack a mole..lol (none)
          You just havta love that "Kill 'em all and let God sort them out" attitude....

          murderers...
          I hope the God they believe in is true, for the hell that awaits them is well deserved.

          im one of them "left wing, bleeding heart, terrorist loving liberals" that is ruining our country, and I approve this message.

          by BrimStone on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:11:08 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  Your post suggests.... (none)
        ...some clear distinctions that I don't believe are quite as apparent as you suggest:

        1. Al Qaeda is not a single group or movement, it is an affiliation of many Islamist radical groups whose intersecting beliefs and aims give them common cause. Among these Islamist radicals are the Taliban. To suggest fighting the Taliban in Pakistan is wholly different, requiring vastly different tactics than fighting other elements of Al Qaeda in the same area, is to make a distinction without a difference.

        These are enemy upon the doorstep of Afghanistan, conducting their own cross-border war of violent destabilization, from relative safe haven. To deny the enemy safe haven, especially on your doorstep, is a pretty basic tenet of warfare.

        1. Yes, Pashtun caught in the middle of this conflict, suffering death and injury because of it, may be driven to sympathetic support of the jihadis. They may be equally driven to expel the jihadis who have brought the war with them. We can debate tactics, but in the end violence will remain in the equation.

        2. That the tribal area of Pakistan in question, has become a haven for Al Qaeda affiliated groups, is  suggested and pretty much accepted by everyone from Dick Cheney to Sy Hersh.  That Al Qaeda operatives have been captured elsewhere, likely has more to do with our ability to operate effectively in those areas, and be better positioned to seize opportunities that arise in such areas - as opposed to the vast and inhospitable terrain of the SW North-West Frontier Province of Pakistan.
        •  Al Qaeda was a database of Muslim CIA assets (none)
          organized under US auspices to fight against the Soviets during the 1980's, and who later also fought as American assets/private contractors in Bosnia in the  mid-1990's.

          Al Qaeda -- the Database

          For all we really know, this network of CIA organized assets, popularly called Al Qaeda, could have still been acting as private contractors for hire, right up through 911.

  •  It's in the handbook.. (none)
    "fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars"
    It's a PNAC core principal.
    As long as these murdering assholes are in power, we will be at war...
    Multiple wars.
    Multiple fronts.

    No wonder these guys are pro-life.
    Abortions can't wear combat boots...

    im one of them "left wing, bleeding heart, terrorist loving liberals" that is ruining our country, and I approve this message.

    by BrimStone on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 06:07:21 AM PST

  •  'cept they haven't won any yet... (none)
    they can blow up buildings, but neither Afghanistan nor Iraq has been 'won' yet, and the sands are in fact shiftin in the other direction...
  •  Totally Misleading Title (3.00)
    In writing this diary, Soj has chosen a title that implies much more than the content of the newspaper articles that he quotes.

    It is well accepted and known that the US and Pakistan intelligence services are co-operating in tracking down members of al-Qa'ida. There is nothing new in this information. In addition he, Soj, rightly points out the porous nature of the Afghan border and its use by those opposed to the US forces in Afghanistan for incursions into that country and to replenish those who are seeking to kill your countrymen on active duty there.

    This does not make cross border incursion by US military acceptable, although there is probably some leniency shown in this regard by the higher levels of Pakistan's government.

    This site is strongly opposed to the military activities of the United States in certain countries. It is not opposed to our military nor would it seek exaggerate aspects of their work in difficult territories where they have a hard task to undertake.

    In making it his main task in life to scour the foreign newspapers for daily reports of United States transgressions, a number of our left-wing colleagues feel that Soj is providing a valuable service, just as some feel his Love in Romania site and its attitude to the benefits of poverty in producing thin, grateful Romanian women was also a service to American men. Others may feel that without any other qualifying perspective, these reports go beyond the type of criticism that serves the interest of those like Barbara Boxer, John Conyers and all the others who are taking a principled, patriotic stand on our behalf and are prepared to be associated with Daily Kos.

    The evidence is not provided in this diary that the US is conducting a "secret war" in Pakistan. To suggest so diminishes the other diaries alongside it which criticise the US government on much firmer grounds. We may not agree with it, but some here believe that we must respect the difficulties faced by our young men and women engaged in tracking down terrorists along a border which in this instance they may have transgressed.

     

    New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

    by Welshman on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:15:25 AM PST

    •  hmm (none)
      Welshman you become more and more puzzling.  A very odd game is going on here.  What an interesting thread.
      •  My comment is very clear (none)
        As you appear new here, however, please go to my profile and email me your questions if you remain "puzzled".

        New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

        by Welshman on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 09:18:12 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Welshman our userids are both in the 20k range.... (none)
          no, I'm not new at all, we both came on Kos in the 2004 election season

          I gave you a 2 because I was a bit disturbed by your attack on Soj, which I imagine has to do with your anger at the success of Soj + jerome's European Tribune (which killed your Eurokos board ).  Am I right or wrong?

          I thought that your mention of 'love in romania' (which is just a dating website and not a pornographic etc. site) was a smear of Soj. I didn't like it at all

          •  Quite wrong (none)
            Your comments are more appropriate for email exchange but I will answer them here as the main diary has now moved off the main page.

            1- I am delighted that European Tribune is successful. You will find a number of references in my diaries and posts commending it to people. You will find similar posts commending the writing of Jerome.

            2- I am not sure what you mean by "killed your Eurokos". I have never had a competitive board to Eurotrib - my decision not to proceed with Eurotrib was also a decision not to proceed with any personal blog. (I started New European Times (now New International Times) to get a feel of what content on Eurotrib might be like as Martin, jerome and I were setting it up. As intended, its ownership was passed to its members as a small forum. It is owned by one of its members on behalf of the others)

            3- I understand where you have picked up your views. I have read this rather odd suggestion that I am angered by the success of Eurotrib, from which I happily removed myself and have not taken up the fairly recent suggestions from Jerome that I become re-involved.  Please understand that I am much older than any of the people of whom you write. As a retired person after a very successful and high profile career, I have none of the ambitions or needs in regard to blogging that are implied in your comments.

            4- Soj's Love in Romania site, nor his nude site, were never termed pornographic. My objection, mirrored by many who reviewed it, was that it was demeaning to women and displayed worrying values about the role of women and the effects on them of poverty. It is not a "smear". It is a strong opinion held by many and firmly based and evidenced by what Soj has written. You are entitled to your own but I will criticise it as you will criticise mine.  That is the freedom that we have to hold different views.

            5- If you read every thread on the matter of Soj, you will find no defence of the substance of our objections but simply emotional reactions. I have never read a defence of what Soj wrote on his site about Romanian and American woman. I have read a deal of extraordinary emotional and very innaccurate reaction which I find a little sad from people whose work I otherwise like.

            6- You have not chosen to deal with the specifics of my post, which expresses a very clear view about the misleading title of the diary. You have chosen to respond to what you feel about my comment and what you have ascribed to it. Nothing is more indicative than this reply, which deals not with the central argument of my post but with your attitude towards it.

            I apologise if, by looking at your short list of diaries and comments on DKos I was given the impression that you were a relatively new member. As you have been here as long as I, you will know that integrity is an important element of furthering the liberal agenda to which we both subscribe. I seek this in the work of others, just as I will respond to any questions about it in my own posts.

            Thank you for explaining your position.

             

            New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

            by Welshman on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 10:49:01 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Welshman... (none)
              As I am not retired, I don't have much time to waste on blogs.  But my point still holds-- your post was an attack on Soj, whatever your reasoned disagreements with his article.  It was unfortunate that someone of your age did not have the self-restraint not to make an ad hominem attack (which is what your reference to Soj's 'love in romania' site amounted to).  It did make one ask 'tantne irae?', why such venom?
              •  Aruac (none)
                I am a liberal activist. I oppose those aspects of Soj's work that do not represent the liberal values that I understand. I'm afraid that I always shall. I have no personal interest in or issue with this man as a person other than what he has written and continues to write on the internet - in certain regards only. Sorry. That is just the way that it is.

                Similarly, I have no argument with you other than your objection to my specific concerns and your view that I have no right to voice these.

                In this particular diary, Soj has taken his work of combing all the overseas papers and without qualification, used them to denigrate the military operating in exceptionally difficult circumstances and made accusation which not even the anti-USA sources substantiate.

                I am strongly opposed to our current military action. My view is political and humanitarian. If it is to have any meaning then it requires a high standard of critical analysis of the data and information used.

                I explain not to persuade you but to simply show that you will find that my view remains constant. I have never had a response from Soj, therefore there is no reason to change my view.

                Are you sure you mean you wish me to exercise "self-restraint" or merely that you do not like criticism of someone whom you personally admire and would prefer that nothing is said and that the person voicing these doubts is silenced? If it is the latter, I fear that I will disappoint you.

                Please read all the responses on all the sites and you will find that criticism of my position is based not on the issues but on trying to find some ludicrous motivation for why I object to such issues as demeaning women in the way that it was done and, in this case, my refutation without better evidence of the claim that a secret war is being fought by the military in Pakistan. I have seen my words twisted to make them say things that were never said. I have seen extraordinary threads suggesting that I want to undermine a site in which I still take some pride in helping to initiate. I have even seen three posts on the subject of windpower - with which I am actively engaged - called harassment because I spend a considerable part of my time now concerned with their adverse  environmental aspects in certain areas.

                As I have said, Aruac. I will speak out if I think something is wrong. That is my way and it has served me well. No problem!  The internet would not be fun if there was no difference in views!

                Thanks for this exchange.

                New International Times, the place where Kossacks and the world meet.

                by Welshman on Wed Jan 11, 2006 at 10:25:22 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

  •  There is no outrage here. (none)
    This is where we should have been as a result of 911 in the first place. Yes, they are going to make mistakes, but all reports lead to Pakistan as OBL's new home. Had we poured the troops on in 01, this wouldn't be necessary, but I do believe ( as much as I think BushCo should be frog walked out of the WH directly to Jail) that we need to be in this area and putting massive political and military pressure to pop these people loose. They have New York and Washington DC to answer for..

    If Pakistan is upset by the loss of innocents, then they should use their own troops and go in and get him/them. If not, we should. I know there are shades of grey, but even if the D's take power away from the R's that problem is still going to be there and festering.

    If he should be successful in attacking again as a result of freedom of movement, then it ceases to become a political matter to me.  

    The mere fact the Bush was willing to sell 60 F-16s to this country is outright treason. Imagine Pakistan with OBL in charge and a trained military with our hardware.  As far as I'm concerned, if they are hiding OBL, then they are not  a friend in the WOT at the minimum and a huge threat to us at the maximum.

    Diebold, the hand of God
    Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
    The Image Factory

    by Dburn on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:20:24 AM PST

      •  911 is a solved crime (none)
        We just haven't caught the perps. If the perps have a small army than we need to at least have 3x that to catch them. Take the tinfoil off.

        Diebold, the hand of God
        Oversize Rants Available Overnight at
        The Image Factory

        by Dburn on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:52:25 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  How so? (none)
          How is 911 a solved crime?

          Do we know why the towers fell when the heat generated from the airplane fuel isn't hot enough to melt a steel exoskeleton into implosion?

          Why did we find Atta's passport in the wreckage, but not the black boxes?

          Those are a few simple questions grounded in reality & science. If this is a solved crime, what answers have you to these inaccuracies?

          "I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."

          by zeitshabba on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:57:30 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Tin Foil indeed (none)
          The biggest CTers here believe that 19 Arabs (no proof)
          boarded (no proof), hijacked with boxcutters(no proof) flew planes for over 90 minutes (military precision-they knew NORAD would Stand Down?) and by line of sight exactly targeted WTC's and Pentagon.

          The Engine found at Murray and Church ST does not match any United/American 757.

          Again Passenger Manifests have never been released.
          No Arabs found on any hijacked jets.

          ...."Very strange", thinks the security officer. "That's the fourth Arabic man without an Arabic name who just got on board with a knife, gun or box cutter and gas mask. And why does that security camera keep flicking off every time one these characters shows up? Must be one of those days I guess..."

          Asking any of these basic questions to a conspiracy theorist is likely to cause a sudden leap to the claim that we know that they were on board because they left a credit card trail for the tickets they had purchased and cars they had rented. So if they used credit cards that identified them, how does that reconcile with the claim that they used false IDs to get on to the plane? But by this time ,the fruit loop is in full swing, as the conspiracy theorist tries to stay one jump ahead of this annoying and awkward rational analysis.

          911 is an unsolved crime.

  •  isn't this what you want? (none)
    Catch the "terrorist" and all that? Get that rascal bin Laden? Unfortunately, this is what that requires.

    But this is excellent info, Soj. Thanks. Minor nits: there's no evidence that artillery was used. I would imagine those attacks were airborne. Also, CIA was not funding ISI previous to the attacks in NY & DC. They were transferring a lot of cash & materiel to the mujahedin by way of ISI, though. But ISI was getting the lion's share from the Saudis. The US backed some of the wrong horses for a long time in that region for a variety of reasons, yielding to the Pakistanis (who know the region better than the yanks) primary among them.

    But ISI was never in the CIA's pocket.

    -7.00,-7.74 No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. -- Edward R Murrow

    by subtropolis on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:22:26 AM PST

    •  But ISI was never in the CIA's pocket. (4.00)
      The two Joint Inquiry chairmen Sen Bob Graham and Rep Porter Goss were fully cognizant of the "Pakistani ISI connection" and the role played by its former head, General Mahmoud Ahmad.

      Why then did they choose to exclude an examination of the role of the ISI from the Joint Inquiry's 858-page report?

      http://www.onlinejournal.org/...

      Abramoff drug money Congressional Leaders and 911-
      all of these are connected.

      •  Note the sequencing of these meetings (none)
         Bob Graham and Porter Goss (and Senator Jon Kyl) were in Islamabad in late August 2001. The meetings with President Musharraf and the Afghan Ambassador were on the 27th of August, the mission was still in Islamabad on the 30th of August, General Mahmoud Ahmad arrived in Washington on an official visit of consultations barely a few days later (September 4). During his visit to Washington, General Mahmoud met his counterpart, CIA director George Tenet, and high ranking officials of the Bush administration. [2]

        same source

        •  duly noted (none)
          the point you're trying to make is…?

          -7.00,-7.74 No one can terrorize a whole nation, unless we are all his accomplices. -- Edward R Murrow

          by subtropolis on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 08:20:47 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Point (none)
            We're at PeakOil and this has been an amateur effort to implement Mad Brzezinski's chessboard

            The trouble is, there are many Bozos more or less as nasty and loony as Zbiggy among Wall Street's hired "national security" roustabouts. If you had any doubt of that fact, read the current edition of Foreign Affairs. All of the leading items of that edition are, like The Grand Chessboard, devoted to veteran Harriman lackey Zbiggy's favorite lunacy, "geopolitics." The trouble is, that many of Wall Street's Democratic Party assets, like Brzezinski, Al Gore, Madeleine Albright, William Cohen, and other backers of "a nuclear globalizing of NATO," are, in practice, on the same "geopolitical" kick as the worst among the Bush league war-mongers on the Republican side.

            The kinds of wars Foreign Affairs geopoliticians would provoke, would be like the perpetual warfare of the time of the pre-nation-state Roman Empire, or, the Welf League wars which ended with the Fourteenth-Century New Dark Age, or, the 1618-1648 Thirty Years War organized by pro-globalist feudal imperial power against the institution of the modern sovereign nation-state. It would be the kind of war which brings a "new dark age" to whatever parts of the world it touches. That kind of World War III--the kind of warfare which has evolved out of the precedent of "Desert Storm," is what a considerable number among the world's most respected senior strategists, estimate, quite accurately, could become a "limited" nuclear war, killing perhaps "no more than" some tens of millions of people in the U.S.A., as in Russia and other places.

            This has not worked.  Therefore we will see
            The Intervention of America's Most Powerful People. Those that have the most to lose are those that hold the most money-in $'s.  If those $'s become worthless. these people are no better off than you or me.

            Hence Bush and his cohorts will be removed and replaced.

  •  Anything they can do. (none)
    To bring on the next big enemy, they will. No more communism? You cannot maintain an "us or them" mentality at home without a constantly looming threat like the Communist armies of Russia.

    Who's the next-largest group of idealogues worldwide? Muslims. Why not provoke them into creating a religious war against us so we can justify more resource wars?

    There are waaaaay too many facts against the standard 911 storyline before you throw Jack Abramoff into the 911 mix.

    I do not honestly believe that this President believes in the rapture, since he goes to church so sparingly (unlike Clinton). I don't think his ultimate goal is the rapture, but his desired results would look about the same.

    "I'm not an actor, but I play one on TV."

    by zeitshabba on Tue Jan 10, 2006 at 07:41:28 AM PST

  •  Probably not a secret in Pakistan (none)
    People tend to notice acts of war in their own area.

    No wonder Americans don't have a clue why people in other countries don't think the U.S. is as "wonderful" as they do.  Probably none of us knows all of what's done in our name, and paid for by our tax dollars.  Or rather, our grandchildren's tax dollars, given the gigantic federal deficits at present.

  •  My objection still holds (none)
    As I am not retired, I don't have much time to waste on blogs.  But my point still holds-- your post was an attack on Soj, whatever your reasoned disagreements with his article.  It was unfortunate that someone of your age did not have the self-restraint not to make an ad hominem attack (which is what your reference to Soj's 'love in romania' site amounted to).  It did make one ask 'tantne irae?', why such venom?

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