Hi! Contrary to what many of you might have expected, tonight you get me on one of my more serious moods. For tonight I have a serious topic:
For a government that is overtly concerned about the declining security situation in Iraq, the Bush Administration sure hasn't been doing much about it in terms of the one thing that the administration could do -- sell (or give) arms to the Iraqi central goverment such that it could take care of itself.
Now, one might say that at this point, it would be funding the insurgency, given how compromised, check that, how utterly compromised the Iraq ministries and various security branches appear to be. Hold that thought for a moment.
What catches my attention is that the American government has poured weapons systems into the Middle East, sometimes for some serious coin, othe times free of charge. What is for certain is that since the 1990s, the US has been selling whatever a dangerous range of countries has asked to buy, rather than have its manufacturers shut out of the bazaar by Russian produce of war, and with it American influence.
In my opinion, the practice of sell first, regret later is dangerous to US interests and deadly to US soldiers on the ground.
But maybe it's just me.
What Got Me Going
Late Friday, it occurred to me that if we were so concerned about getting that sovereign and free Iraqi central government up on its own feet, in charge of its own security situation, standing up so we can stand down, then a person ought to expect abundant evidence of serious assistance being lent to the Iraqi central government.
I mean, I figure it should cost pennies on the going on $900 billion dollars to have the Iraqis self-secure themselves. Not like they can't pay for it, what with it being their oil. Set up long terms, say, 10-20 years, give 'em within reason whatever they ask for.
This might not be every gun sale in the world but in my opinion it's got the pulse of arms transfers in the world for the past twelve years.
First, Let's Take a Trip to Riyadh....
And consider what we sold just last year to Saudi Arabia -
- 724 Light Armored Vehicles. Value: $5.8 billion.
- Upgrade of 58 M1A1 Abrams Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to the M1A2 configuration, and upgrade another 315 tanks to Saudi custom specs (I suspect to better handle desert conditions). That's another $2.9 billion.
- 12 Apache Longbow attack helicopters. Value: $400 million.
- 24 Black Hawk (I love this term) utility helicopters. Value: $350 million.
- Spare parts deal for tanks, Bradley AFVs. Value: $276 million.
- Inclusion in ongoing F-16 Fighting Falcon combat database. Value: $100 million.
- 552 Secure vehicle communications links. Value: $84 million.
Maybe it's just me, but that's a lot of regime support that the Iraqis could have used some time ago.
Now, hold on. THere are other deals in the region. Let's see more as to how America treats supports its friends in the Middle East.
Meanwhile, in Ankara....
Turkey's relationship with the United States has been a bit strained, so perhaps the Ankara regime isn't getting everything it wanted for Eids this year. After all, those threats about going in and taking care of business vis a vis the Kurds if the Americans didn't put bridle and bit to the independence movement were taken seriously.
In fact, they were taken so seriously, that in 2006, the Bush administration sold the Turkish government:
- 30 F-16 Fighting Falcon aircfraft, 42 GE turbofan engines for same, 60 LAU-29A missile launchers, and assorted high-end electronics. Value: $2.9 billion
- 50 AGM-84K Stand-off Land Attack Missiles (extended range), and a host of training gear including reusable dummy missiles and combat coordination data systems to optimize airstrikes against hardened ground targets. Value: $162 million. I'm sure the Kurds need not worry a bit.
- Upgrade of S-70 helicopters. Value: $100 million.
- Inclusion in F-16 combat database. For Turkey, the value is $200 million.
That's how we treat countries that aren't quite our closest friends anymore.
...and who could possibly forget our friends in Islamabad?
Now, let's go down the road a bit to Pakistan. Some argue this is a key ally in the War on Terror. Others argue (hand raised) that we are subsidizing the deaths of our own people by abetting this regime in any way, shape or form. So, what did we do for Pakistan, a country which is barely worth our trust?
- 36 F-16 fighters, with all the bells and whistles. Value: $3 billion. That's $83 million per plane. Block 50's and 52's, the last production runs.
- 60 Mid-life upgrades for F-16s already in the Pakistan Air Force. Value: $1.3 billion, almost $22 million per plane.
- 500 AMRAAM air-to-air missiles, 12 recoverable training AMRAAMs, 240 LAU-29 missile launchers, 200 AIM-9 Sidewinders, 500 JDAM munitions, 1600 Guided Bomb kits (the ones used to convert iron bombs into smart bombs). Value: $650 million.
- Brace yourself for this one. 50 UGM-84L (submarine launched), 50 RGM-84L (surface-launched), and 30 AGM-84L (air-launched) HARPOON MISSILES. With redundant command center kits and upgrades. Value: $370 million.
- Maintenance/overhaul of 14 F-16 engines, 14 F-16 airframes, and 26 upgrade packages for software and control systems. Value: $151 million.
Maybe it's just me, but exactly who is Pakistan gearing up to fight? I could see selling the Musharraf regime helicopters, night visions goggles, some bunker-busters, maybe even some of those creepy Spectre gunships, but the above weapons kit is the sort of thing one buys ahead of a full-scale war, which for Pakistan means India.
Last I checked, we were supposed to be trying to be friends with India, so they wouldn't become closer pals with China.
And, now at least, how do we do by Baghdad?
- 24 Beechcraft King Air 350ER nine-seater turboprop planes..."for surveillance". Value: $900 million. I tell you, you corporate prop planes aren't quite what Iraq's needing right now.
- 10,126 M17 9mm Glock Pistols; 50,750 M16A2 Rifles; 50,750 M4A1 Rifles; 3,442 M24 Sniper Rifles; 8,105 M249 Machine Guns; 3,037 M240B Machine Guns; 1,268 Generation (Gen) II Single Tube Night Vision Goggles; 15 AN/PVS-17 Gen III Assault Weapon Sights; 40 AN/PVS-10 Gen II Sniper Weapon Sights; 20 Mi-17 Troop Transport Helicopters; 600 Infantry Light Armored Vehicles Armored Personnel Carriers; 2,126,250 9mm Pistol Ammunition; 35,437,500 5.56mm Rifle Ammunition; 633,328 7.62mm Sniper Rifle Ammunition; 1,621,000 5.56mm Machine Gun Ammunition; 1,214,800 M240 7.62mm Crew Served Machine Gun Ammunition; 9,562 Hand Held Pyrotechnics and 8,670 Hand Held Smoke Munitions, support services. Value: $500 million.
Okay, that's prudent, if you are looking to create a light infantry, no armor support, and no heavy infantry gear other than a jeep or APC-mounted machine gun. No LAW rockets, no RPGs, no artillery, no mortars, and most definitely no anti-tank or aircraft rounds. THis was a package assembled with an explicit message: We need you to keep needing us around. That and: We. Don't. Trust. You. Either.
- One (1) air traffic control radar, plus support. Value: $142 million. For all those Iraqis that use the Baghdad International Airport.
- Payment and supplies for trainers and counterrorism specialists (read: contractors) at the Ministry of Interior. Value: $50 million.
Well, maybe things are better in Kabul...
We could always take a look over in Afghanistan. Why not?
Because nothing's been sent Afghanistan's way in the form of military aid or arms transfers since 2004.
And what did Afghanistan get then? Bear with me, this one's wordy...
- Technical assistance to ensure provision of adequate facilities and infrastructure in support of the recruitment, garrison, training, and operational facilities and infrastructure for the Afghan National Army (ANA). The United States Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) will provide engineering, planning, design, acquisition, contract administration, construction management and other technical services for construction of facilities and infrastructure (repair, rehabilitation, and new construction) in support of the training, bed-down, and operational requirements of the ANA. The scope of the program includes facilities and infrastructure in support of the ANA Central Corps in Kabul as well as simultaneously building four regional commands currently planned in Gardez, Kandahar, Herat, and Mazar-e Sharif. The facilities and infrastructure planned for Central Corps include new temporary vehicle storage facilities, medical clinics, hospital steam plant, security walls, training barracks/facilities, dining facilities, recruit training facilities, training, maintenance, and supply buildings, and utilities systems (including heating, water, sewer and electricity). The facilities to be provided at each of the four regional brigade locations include barracks, training, maintenance, and storage facilities, medical clinic, communications center, and required utilities (electricity including generation, heat, water, sewer, sewage treatment). Services include supply support, personnel training and training equipment, acquisition of engineer construction equipment, technical assistance to Afghan military engineers, and other technical assistance contractor engineering services and other related elements of logistics support
List value: $1 billion.
In other words, the construction of four permanent US bases in Afghanistan. Sorry, that's my read on it. In Afghanistan, they didn't even bother to pretend.
There are, of course, many -- and many more peaceful -- ways to support a friendly government than handing it advanced weapons.
None of them are being used by the Bush Administration to support the Iraqis, either.
So, what's a TC diarist to do?
Hello Major Tom, I suppose.
Earth below us
Calling, calling home....
From Trapper John (credit for the assist goes to MissLaura)
How can you make the trains run on time . . .
. . . when you HATE trains.
Why in a million years would you expend the energy to make them run on time when your entire political philosophy is predicated on the belief that trains can't work.
That's pretty much Republicans and government in a nutshell.
You can't buy diamonds with that many carats. They belong in museums.
In the same diary, dov12348 makes a fantastic comment about reading "unknown" diaries, which starts a great thread with helpful advice from tyryptamine, begone, and Urizen.
And just in case you didn't think it was possible for this administration to sink any lower its treatment of veterans, homogenius gives the details of amputee Robert Loria, who stars in the VoteVets ad profiled by Kdoug in VoteVets Ad to Run During Superbowl.
Sigh. I want my flying car, too. And quite right. And I loved dov12348's comments on the unknown diaries. I mean, who wants to read CSK diaries every day? That guy won't ever shut up!
From DSPS Owl
All I have to say:
this is the weirdest BattleStar Galactica fan site I've ever come across.
What the shy and demure Gloriana is not revealing is that she is a BG fan. :)
Not that I blame her. Watch this clip. If you're not a fan in fifty seconds, you're never going to be. :)
Compliments of Emeraldmaiden
kamarvt has a great rant in <Cenk Uygur's</strong> diary, A Pre-War
Poll Shows The American People Never Signed Up For This. This diary
is a great read, and a real eye-opener for those who have been snowed by
the Bush-led media.
In the same diary, Mad Kossack (love that name!) makes a great
point about the number of "insurgents".
What. Kamarvt. Said. The Constitution was compromised under Republican kleptocracy. Eff that noise. No compromises. Never again.
As for Mad Kossacks point on the number of insurgents. Don't even get me started on that; if we're having so much trouble with Rummy's 20,000 insurgents, how do they expect to make war with a country that actually can and will defend itself that's any more powerful than, say, Nauru or maybe Pitcairn Island, if we get the drop on them?
God help us if we ever have to go up against somebody well-armed, like Bhutan. And forget about taking over the rich oilfields of Trinidad and Tobago. Totally out of our league.
Yep. It was 20,000 insurgents, and that's it. That's official. Moribund dead-enders, all. And that's too much fo the Bush-league leadership to handle.
Perhaps there's a message, there.
Diary: What makes a Good Diary
By: Big Tent Democrat
Time for some Refreshing LithiumCola
SensibleShoes has advice for the screenwriters of Waterworld.
Well, I can't help it. I liked the Waterworld story. It's a nice fairy tale, warts and all. :)
Can you tell I liked this diary?
This submission had me thinking immediately of Peter Gabriel's Games Without Frontiers, what will all the names.
Musing's got a good point, Jess has got some, too.
Laura's got her perspective, Righteous her point of view
Pontificator's thinking, lightiris now does see
Oh, wait we've got three more comments!
Oh, my! What can they be?
Hee hee. That was fun!
The Word from Madgranny
Is it me?
or are we trapped in some endless loop, where the rhetoric of 2003 and 2004 and 2005 and 2006 and now 2007 become indistinguishable[?]
This was from the McCain's Flip Flop On Iraq, which had a serious zeitgeistthing going on.
Yep. When you are delivering freedom to a mass insurgent population of Iraqi people and protecting them at great cost from being free to affiliate and trade in peace with neighbors that they greatly prefer the company of to yourself, but you'd rather kill them all than suffer the snub?
Yeah, the rhetoric gets all sorts of mixed up. :)
And Sardonyx Gets In Under the Wire With...
MontanaMaven says that John Edwards is too smart not to be a good poker player in this comment from Drew's diary [Edwards on Iran, Again, a comment that received encomiums from both TomP and dadanation.
Buckeye Terry reminds us that [Eugene McCarthy and George McGovern voted for the Gulf of Tonkin Resolution in an interesting comparison of pre-Vietnam and pre-Iraq authorizing resolutions and who voted for them from citizen53's diary [Edwards on MTP re Iraq. If you keep reading the thread you'll see the post invoking Abraham Lincoln... :)
Oh Yeah. I'm Supposed to Pick A Few, Too :)
The premise is that
- as a country, we suck at geography,
- we should have a war on geography poverty, or something. :)
That's my paraphrasing of it, but that's the gist of it.
Choice nuggets from that conversation:
doodles like this (keirdubois)
geography and geopolitics run together (northsylvania)
It's been in our family's portfolio for centuries ( Asinus Asinum Fricat)
a National Geographic maps collector (rktect)
Noweasels lets it be known that She wants more hotness...and Al Gore is the man to deliver :)
Because I watched a little of The Princess Bride last night after putting my little boys to sleep (and waiting on MK to return home from her supper club), the headline of this post by Greyhawk caught by attention. Nice pics of doggies.
The finest comment of the entire day, bar none, is by Fatherflot, which invokes the Ursula K. LeGuin story, "Thos Who Walk Away from Omelas".
Read the linked story, if you read nothing else, ever again.
By the seventh page, the last page, everything will have changed.
Top Mojo - excluding search-identifiable tip jars, first diary comments and C&J comments:
1 I have had nothing but kindness from my fellow --- adigal - 239
2 My Mom and Dad both said they would vote --- adigal - 97
3 Calling a war criminal a war criminal would ... --- Yellow Canary - 93
4 Sen. Pat Roberts - guilty of criminal conspiracy --- deepsouthdoug - 80
5 An ethics complaint against Roberts? --- Dallasdoc - 74
6 you didn't mention me! --- Turkana - 65
7 Ok....... --- kestrel9000 - 64
8 I don't like the nastiness --- plf515 - 60
9 Future President. --- noweasels - 58
10 here i am! --- buhdydharma - 58
11 I never heard the whole story --- lizah - 57
12 Yes, a bit awkward. --- Unduna - 56
13 Is nothing sacred? --- Aeolus - 56
14 (Video) Seventh Heaven --- Al Rodgers - 56
15 I worked for him in '88 --- noweasels - 55
16 I like DKos... --- CanadianBill - 55
17 One thing's for sure --- GOTV - 54
18 Have we simply moved so far --- Granny Doc - 51
19 I too was a republican.... --- Rebelatheart - 50
20 another bravura performance, Al --- Trix - 50
21 Very nice, plf515 --- nyceve - 49
22 All I have to say: --- LithiumCola - 49
23 This site helped me to contribute --- begone - 48
24 (Slides) Rest in Peace, Barbaro --- Al Rodgers - 48
25 One of the Things You Look For is Judgment --- Gooserock - 48
26 OMG, I think about this all the time. --- dkmich - 48
27 A fat Al Gore --- electric meatball - 47
28 I like them all! Sometimes I'm in the mood --- feelingsickinMN - 47
29 more hotness . . . my fantasy . . . --- noweasels - 47
30 Larry, have you sent this to Olbermann? --- Dallasdoc - 47
Top Mojo - everything included:
1 Tip jar --- plf515 - 332
2 I have had nothing but kindness from my fellow --- adigal - 239
3 We are presided over and vice-presided over ... --- Yellow Canary - 128
4 Tips --- Cenk Uygur - 115
5 My Mom and Dad both said they would vote --- adigal - 97
6 Thank you --- LostInTexas - 96
7 Calling a war criminal a war criminal would ... --- Yellow Canary - 93
8 (Video) Future Nobel Recipient --- Al Rodgers - 93
9 Tips? --- TomP - 85
10 Tips, flames, karma? --- One Pissed Off Liberal - 85
11 Sen. Pat Roberts - guilty of criminal conspiracy --- deepsouthdoug - 80
12 An ethics complaint against Roberts? --- Dallasdoc - 74
13 The $20.08 campaign continues! --- plant - 70
14 you didn't mention me! --- Turkana - 65
15 Ok....... --- kestrel9000 - 64
16 I am happy to host this diary by Gordon --- Tom Rinaldo - 62
17 I don't like the nastiness --- plf515 - 60
18 Future President. --- noweasels - 58
19 here i am! --- buhdydharma - 58
20 I never heard the whole story --- lizah - 57
21 mojo mug --- teacherken - 57
22 (Video) Seventh Heaven --- Al Rodgers - 56
23 Yes, a bit awkward. --- Unduna - 56
24 Is nothing sacred? --- Aeolus - 56
25 I worked for him in '88 --- noweasels - 55
26 I like DKos... --- CanadianBill - 55
27 One thing's for sure --- GOTV - 54
28 Tip Jar --- BeninSC - 51
29 Have we simply moved so far --- Granny Doc - 51
30 it will be interesting to see what happens.... --- Hind2 - 50
Update - From McJoan!
Apparently, Big Tent Democrat's mom raised a gentleman.
Emeraldmaiden Asks how BTD's brother is doing. :)