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Sunday, January 15. 2012
Captain Pete Hegseth, US Army, has served at Guantanamo, Iraq and Afghanistan, and was Executive Director of Vets For Freedom to support our troops and missions. No weak sister.
During his current deployment in Afghanistan, Hegseth has sent email letters home to those on his mailing list. His most recent arrived today, "Endgame in Afghanistan." It is near 4-thousand words long, so I have put it below the fold. Hegseth is not optimistic, stripping away what he refers to as "wishful thinking."
He believes this battleground is "central to defending the United States."
According to defense analyst Anthony Cordesman the US will need to spend about $10-billion a year for the next 14-years to stand a chance of stabilizing Afghanistan.
There's so much detail and stark facts in Hegseth's email that you would be remiss to not read on.
The Endgame in Afghanistan
My first email from Kabul was entitled “First Impressions” and the caveats I used in that email remain unchanged. Afghanistan is such a dynamic place—layered with umpteen complexities, contradictions, mysteries, and unknowns—that a holistic understanding of the country, let alone the conflict (overt and covert), is nearly impossible. That said, over the past eight months I’ve had the opportunity to challenge my first impressions, test hypotheses, and attempt to understand the true nature of the conflict. This section represents my modest—if declarative—initial attempt at distilling what I’ve learned and making some observation about America’s eventual endgame in Afghanistan.
Rather than break down my assessment categorically as I did in previous emails, I will instead look at the war through a lens provided by an insurgency expert who visited us this past summer. His name is Gérard Chaliand and the day we spent with him was fascinating. In addition to authoring over 40 books on guerilla warfare, he has also been a participant/observer of over a dozen insurgencies around the world—including Afghanistan in the 1980s, and again during the current conflict. Listening to him was like sitting in a semi-circle around Yoda himself, absorbing the insight and knowledge of a rare specimen.
Mr. Chaliand visits Afghanistan yearly, but said his 2011 trip was his last. When asked why, he said, “Because I know how it will end. The Taliban control the countryside and are growing in support throughout the country by providing an effective underground government structure. The seeds of their return were planted long ago—much before Gen. McChrystal’s 2009 counterinsurgency strategy—and their ascension is now inevitable. International forces started doing the right things at ‘half past eleven’ and now it’s too late.”
While I certainly didn’t share his pessimism then, I’ve come to begrudgingly agree with his assessment today. The Taliban—by mitigating their negatives (brutality, ethnic exclusion, and overt association with Al Qaeda) and accentuating their perceived positives (swift justice, longevity, and ideological cohesion)—have gained, and maintained, a psychological grip on the Afghan population. While most Afghans, especially non-Pashtuns, do not want the Taliban to return (“hearts”) they are grappling with—and calculating accordingly—the looming reality that the Taliban will outlast U.S. forces (“minds”) and eventually challenge a weak, corrupt, and fractured Afghan Government for control of the country.
This isn’t to say that we couldn’t affect a more advantageous outcome for the United States; of course if we got rid of the 2014 withdrawal deadline completely, were willing to truly remove Taliban and Haqqani safe-havens in Pakistan (we know where they are!), and purged the Afghan government of its most corrupt nodes we could “change the game” of this conflict. But for various reasons—be they domestic politics, a nuclear-armed Pakistan (a lesson for Iran, I would suggest), and a trepidation with undermining corrosive “Afghan sovereignty”—it is highly unlikely we will make the hard choices necessary to level the playing field. A bad outcome in Afghanistan isn’t inevitable, but in light of current realities, it is likely.
However, the policies we pursue in the coming years will impact the degree to which the outcome here is bad, or less-bad. Our commitment to training and mentoring Afghan security forces will be central to determining the future of this country. If we do it right—truly creating a multi-ethnic force that will defend the interests of most Afghans—it could be a vanguard against total Taliban control and a buffer against outright civil war. If we do it wrong or hurriedly, we’re merely indiscriminately (and heavily!) arming different elements of an Afghan army that will eventually turn its guns on each other. In my opinion the later outcome is most likely, but not inevitable.
If you know me, I’m not one for pessimism, and certainly not interested in undermining the efforts of our troops in harm’s way. Afghanistan is nowhere near a John Kerry-esque “who will be the last American to die for a mistake?” situation. Our effort is noble, our cause just, and our military sharp. But at the same time, my sentiments are in keeping with most Coalition members over here—even if they’re unwilling to say it. We soldier on. We will fight until the end. But with our ear to the ground and our boots in the snow, we can feel the undercurrent in Afghanistan. As the clock ticks to 2014, we become more irrelevant as Afghans make decisions (hoarding, segregating, and hedging) regarding a post-American future in their country.
While I don’t like acquiescing to a “non-victory” in Afghanistan, we will have nonetheless achieved an outcome in Afghanistan that is an exception to the rule in the so-called “graveyard of empires." From a historical perspective, whenever we “leave” we will be the first “invader” that left on our own terms—a not insignificant accomplishment. Thankfully, and necessarily, I’m fairly certain our commitment to Afghanistan will continue on a smaller and enduring scale—and in doing so we will have done everything we can to create the conditions for a friendly and capable (at least on paper) Afghanistan government to determine their own future. It may not end well, but it won’t be for a lack of U.S. effort, courage, and ingenuity.
As supporting evidence for these heavy-hearted assertions, I would first submit my previous two emails (here and here). My feelings on the fundamentally corrupt Afghan government, Pakistan safe-haven, the 2014 deadline, Taliban capabilities and more are clearly stated in those emails—along with facts and financial figures. However, I’d like to take one more broad look at our mission in Afghanistan, as it currently stands in January of 2012. In doing so, I’ll use Mr. Chaliand’s closing statement to us as a framework for examination. He said, when looking at a counterinsurgency conflict, we must: “Never believe your propaganda, always re-asses the facts, challenge assumptions, and don’t rely on wishful thinking.” Wise words, and a useful filter for analyzing our mission in Afghanistan.
“Never believe your propaganda…”
The Coalition narrative (I don’t consider it “propaganda”, because we’re beholden to the truth—unlike our enemies) in Afghanistan is as follows: the “surge” summer of 2011 has inflicted serious damage on the Taliban, especially in the south; and at the same time, we are aggressively pushing Taliban re-integration programs, training increasingly capable Afghan security forces, and working to improve local governance. But, as I’ve said before, only half of this is grounded in reality. Yes the “surge” has allowed U.S. troops to push the Taliban out of traditional strongholds in the south, significantly disrupting their operations. However, there is also evidence that, despite heavy casualties, the Taliban have been able to regenerate themselves quickly, maintain their military and shadow-governance networks, and are waiting us out.
More troubling is the fact that we have not seen the ripple affects we needed the surge to induce (as it did in Iraq). While re-integration numbers (fighters giving up the fight) are increasing, they still include very few Pashtuns, especially Pashtuns from the south. Most of the re-integrated fighters are from the north and west, places not known for Taliban support. Second—and more importantly—Afghan governance at the local and national level has not decisively taken advantage of the surge environment to improve capability and legitimacy. While there are great programs (like Village Stability Operations and the Afghan Local Police) working to create the conditions for local governance, there hasn’t been—nor will there be—an Anbar-style tribal awakening like we saw in Iraq, largely because of the segmented and fractured nature of Pashtun society in modern Afghanistan. And without a legitimate government in Kabul and in the provinces, the chances for a stable outcome are minimal.
Another aspect of our narrative is that the 2012 “fighting season” (April to October) will be a decisive moment for our forces. We will increase our gains in the south, and degrade the Taliban enough to create the space for increasingly capable Afghan forces and a burgeoning government. There are three big problems with this. First, the idea of a “fighting season” is misleading. While violence is higher in the summer months, the non-violent aspect of this conflict doesn’t stop. When we’re not fighting (and sitting snug on our FOBs for the holidays), the Taliban continues to spread their influence through local dispute resolution, mobile Sharia courts (seen as increasingly legitimate by the people), and propaganda. Second, while we have achieved a critical mass of soldiers in the Afghan National Army, their ability and motivation to continue the fight when we’re not in the lead is still suspect (more on this below). Finally, it’s hard to overstate how damaging the 2014 deadline is in creating these outcomes. As the perception of 2014 gets closer, our influence—by point of fact—will diminish. The Taliban can stand back and wait us out because we told them how long to wait.
“Always re-asses the facts…”
The fact is: facts are sticky in Afghanistan. And, depending on whom you’re talking to—especially amongst Afghans—they are always different, and oftentimes contradictory. So, rather than only talk “facts” now, I’d like to do a quick comparison between old facts and new realities.
Fact: In 2004, President Hamid Karzai was elected the President of Afghanistan, and seen as legitimate by wide swaths of Afghans as well as around the world. Reality today: Not only is the Karzai government corrupt and dysfunctional, it is already seen as illegitimate by most groups inside Afghanistan and as a complete money-pit to international donors. In fact, by any fair assessment, it can barely be called a “government” by traditional standards; it’s more like a ruling mafia. Bribery, nepotism, and blatant disregard for the rule of law and their own constitution are off the charts. The ruling elite are getting rich off international aid while regular Afghans scarcely see their lives improve. All-the-while, the Taliban exploit this fact through piercing propaganda. The end result is that we continue to prop up an Afghan government that is seen as increasingly illegitimate by the people, all the while hoping “peace talks” with the Taliban will provide an exit ramp for the war. The Taliban doesn’t want to work with the Afghan government, they want to replace it.
Fact: Since 2001 the United States has spent $456,000 an hour, every hour, on non-military developmental aid alone, and has spent even more on the military. Reality today: Afghanistan is an international donor state, almost completely reliant on international aid money to function. They have almost no tax base (save import taxation and...untaxed opium) and 97% of Afghanistan’s Gross Domestic Product is linked to foreign aid. We pay for their government and military, and have created financial realities that are completely unsustainable. Take, for example, the Afghan Army. This year we will spend $13 billion on training and equipping the Afghan Army, while the Afghan government will take in less than $2 billion in revenue. Some tough financial realities loom: either we cut spending and reduce the size of their Army or we continue to pay for it. The former would mean—for certain—the Afghan Army would eventually capitulate to the Taliban; the later that we continue to pump billions into Afghanistan’s Army while we downsize our own (a bad idea, by the way). Not not only is Afghanistan’s current situation unsustainable, but spending in the country for the past decade has distorted their economy and government more negatively than positively.
Final fact: In 2001, the U.S. was attacked by Al Qaeda from Afghanistan, where the Taliban granted them safe-haven. Reality today: Bin Laden is dead, Al Qaeda is on the ropes, and the Taliban are wary of their association with Al Qaeda. Yes the groups still coordinate, but it’s not the rock solid alliance it was ten years ago. Vice President Biden recently said that “the Taliban is not our enemy.” I respectfully and adamantly disagree (as would, I suspect, the families of those U.S. troops killed by the Taliban). Any group openly fighting and killing our soldiers is our enemy. But the more important question is—does the Taliban pose an existential threat to America and our interests? They might tell us during negotiations that they will swear off association with Al Qaeda, but just like the Iranian denial of nuclear weapons—we should not believe them. There isn’t a scenario where a radical and violent Islamic group taking control of Afghanistan is a good outcome; however, we can still salvage conditions where the Taliban are not able to utilize, or provide, substantial haven for radical Islamists with global ambitions.
The largest and most dangerous assumption we make is that there is a nation called “Afghanistan” and a collection of people called “Afghans.” Neither is correct, but that assumption continues to fuel our push for a multi-ethnic military and government that holds sway inside the arbitrary boundaries of Afghanistan. Having spent time with Afghans from multiple backgrounds—Pashtuns, Tajiks, Uzbeks, and Hazaras—it’s painfully clear that beneath the surface of the “we are Afghans” talk are true feelings of ethnic and tribal affiliations that supersede an “Afghan” identity. History, language, violence, custom, mistrust, and animosity separate these groups—and a flag, a national anthem (only in Pashto, which angers Dari speakers) a “government” and a western-style Army are not enough to create a nation where none exists. I could tell story after story about this, but suffice it to say—this country is fragmented, and won’t unite in time to fight an ideologically cohesive, Pashtun-based Taliban movement.
In regards to the western-style Army I mentioned above, the assumptions we make with this force will have lasting, and potentially positive or negative impacts. Not only have we attempted to create a multi-ethnic institution that will represent all Afghans, but we’ve also built an Army in our image—with strong conventional capabilities and a Non-Commissioned Officer Corps, where none has existed before. We are producing new units at a rapid rate, recruiting from all backgrounds and then sending them to the Consolidated Fielding Center (CFC) in Kabul where multi-ethnic units are established and trained, before being sent to the field. There’s nothing wrong with that; but the problem is what happens after that, on three fronts:
First, each new unit is given millions of dollars of brand new weaponry and equipment, with minimal actual accountability. The kandak (battalion) commander is responsible for the equipment, some/much of which eventually ends up missing (and sometimes on sale in Pakistan). For example, a heavy weapons kandak leaves the CFC with approximately eighteen brand-new 50-caliber machine guns, and dozens of smaller-caliber heavy weapons and RPGs. I challenge you to walk into any National Guard armory in the States and ask how many functioning 50-caliber machine guns they have. They’ll probably pull out four beat-up 50-cals with rusting barrels, likely dated back to Vietnam. If things don’t end well, someone will use these weapons—and it might not be our friends.
Second, while units are formed as multi-ethnic entities, once they get to the field a slow, but deliberate, self-segregation is starting to occur. Soldiers from the north try to get back to the north, and likewise for soldiers in the south. A Tajik ultimately wants to fight alongside Tajiks from his area, and likewise for Pashtuns and other groups. What you could end up having is a series of regional armies with more commitment to their area then to “Afghanistan.” If things don’t end well, they will end up fighting each other—with weapons we have supplied them. On the flip side, if things move forward as we plan, these units will be a bulwark for the state. There are certainly many multi-ethnic units in the field, fighting bravely together and doing great things. The question is—will this be the rule, or become the exception?
Third, even once the units are fielded—and assuming they are fighting for “Afghanistan”—we are currently making big assumptions about their capability to eventually independently operate and sustain their activities. With U.S. support—which includes things like logistical resupply, air support, and medical evacuation—many units currently do well in the fight. But if we take that away in 2013, 14, or 15—will they sustain the fight? And will they push into enemy territory? Many Afghan units have become accustomed to U.S. support, and may not be willing to fight an emboldened Taliban without the robust U.S. support they receive. They’re also accustomed to being paid well, while their Taliban counterparts fight for nothing. Our brave soldiers will mentor and train them to make them as capable as possible, but if they don’t develop their own systems soon, the Afghan Army house of cards could come falling down more quickly than anyone would like to admit.
Finally, I came to Afghanistan with the assumption that this battlefield is central to defending the United States. In the realm of perception and international opinion it is still very important; how we “finish” in Afghanistan will send strong signals to the rest of the world about whether we finish what we start. Recent events in Iraq make this plainly clear. However, the question is whether the cost in Afghanistan is worth the outcome? As my British colleague says, “is the juice worth the squeeze?” I think seeing this through, while gradually drawing down, is worth doing. That said, larger and more strategically significant issues staring us in the face need to take a higher priority. We need to muster our political courage and confront our crippling domestic debt. (Did you know that, by 2015, just the interest payments on our debt to China will pay for its entire military?). We need to ensure our force posture and military might is capable of deterring a rising China. And we need to do what is necessary—including military action—to prevent a nuclear Iran (the fact that we can’t do anything in a nuclear-armed Pakistan should demonstrate that). There are obviously plenty of other challenges as well (especially at home), and spending money the way we are today in Afghanistan prevents us from confronting these challenges.
“…and don’t rely on wishful thinking.”
If you’ve read the previous two sections (and my previous emails), then I hope most of your “wishful thinking” has been stripped. That’s the point—we can’t wish our way to victory (as we say, “hope is not a strategy”). But we can look at the world the way it is and craft strategies to effect a more-desirable outcome. From where I've been sitting in Afghanistan, thankfully it’s clear that General Allen understands this; and as a result we’ve already seen (and will continue to see) a shift in our strategy from counterinsurgency to security force assistance. It’s a subtle, but important change. Instead of U.S. units taking the military lead in the field and trying to “partner” with Afghan units in the process, the lead responsibility will now fall to Afghans. Our soldiers will serve as embedded advisors, with 12-16 man teams embedded inside every Afghan unit—pushing the Afghan Army (and Police) to the point where they can defeat the enemy on their own. U.S advisors will start with infantry units trained to clear and hold areas of insurgents and gradually shift toward support units, including helicopter units, logisticians and other support personnel. This change makes complete sense and is the best strategy to securing a less-bad outcome for us.
At the same time, General Allen continues to talk about a post-2014 presence for NATO and the United States. This is extremely important as well. The Afghan Army, and the Taliban, need to be convinced that we won’t just leave in 2014—but will instead maintain an enduring, and strategically significant, presence. The perception (as opposed to the reality) of 2014 is what is most damaging to our effort—and from General Allen and all elements of command, there is a clear effort to erode this perception. It won’t change overnight, but we must aggressively pursue a counter-narrative.
Finally, I would be remiss if I did not mention the ongoing “peace talks” with the Taliban (aptly placed in the “wishful thinking” section). It appears that both the U.S. and the Afghan government have approved a Taliban “office” in the country of Qatar, from which they can hold peace talks. Right now the Taliban is only talking to the U.S., which angers President Karzai. In fact, the Taliban’s most recent pronouncement on negotiations rejected Karzai, his government and the Afghan constitution—which is not a promising starting point. From our side, there are talks of a prisoner exchange from Guantanamo, as well as ceasefires, etc. The U.S. insists that the Taliban would have to forswear violence, stop harboring international jihadists, and recognize the Afghan government and constitution. It is highly unlikely they will agree to all three; therefore, which one would we be willing to cave on? If they keep their weapons, they’ll keep fighting; if they continue to harbor terrorists, then our entire effort is for naught; and if they won’t recognize the Afghan government, then they’re never join it.
I honestly don’t have the slightest idea how these talks will unfold, but we’re being shortsighted and “wishful” if we think they will provide a silver bullet for this conflict. I'm fearful the beltway intelligencia, out of options and desperate for a rapid solution, will seize on this idea—regardless of underlying realities. The Taliban will not be content to share power in good faith; and since they think they’re “winning,” they’re not likely to capitulate to our demands. Their negotiation strategy is based on (again) waiting until 2014 when the United States could be forced to compromise on the most important aspects of the post-2001 order in Afghanistan.
In the end, we clearly cannot abandon Afghanistan—pulling our troops out now would be a disaster. On the otherhand, maintaining our effort at the current scope and cost is not commensurate with the benefits. The surge, led by the finest generals the American military has to offer, was the right approach; however, it was undercut from the outset—when we told the enemy when we were going to leave. Having tried "more troops" (albeit, half-heartedly) and in light of political realities, the best course of action now is to continue drawing down our troops, bolster our advising mission, and emphasize our continued—if much scaled down—commitment to the outcome in Afghanistan. Despite our mistakes, we cannot abandon this mission—lest we invite larger problems in the future. Going forward, a robust advising mission, along with continued targeted special forces raids, could be sustained in perpetuity with minimal cost and most of the benefit of our current presence.
As I’ve said before, it remains the honor of my life to serve our great country—first in Guantanamo Bay, then Iraq, and finally in Afghanistan. I can think of no greater privilege than to wear our nation’s uniform, and to defend the ideals we all hold dear.
I'll close by reiterating something I wrote in July. I urge you to remember the guy—dirty, tired, sweaty, and hungry—on patrol somewhere in no-man’s-land Afghanistan. He is fighting as I type this, and as you read this. We must always remember that, and remember him in our prayers. He is the linchpin of this effort, and the one who bears the brunt of all the policies we execute.
I plan to continue writing about Afghanistan—as well as other pertinent topics—in the coming months. And I’ll probably send out another “cap-stone” email once I’m officially back home. I won’t bombard you with emails, but hope to continue bringing some first-hand insight to challenges facing our nation—abroad and at home.
Again, thank you for the love and support—and keep the prayers coming for the guys still in in the fight.
Godspeed my friends,
Display comments as (Linear | Threaded)
Wonder if so much wisdom would ever be put to good use?
He may run for Congress in, I forget which, Minnesota or Wisconsin. Deserves support if he does.
One goes to war for the safety of one's citizens, or prevent a larger war, not to save money or fix things for other people. The latter is sometimes a means of protecting one's own safety, however.
I think we have given the world a very clear picture of what we have the stomach for and what we don't. I wish it were more, but we at least did far better than Middle-Eastern rumor made it. They have returned to fighting each other, especially within nations, rather than fighting other nations and attacking our interests.
We can wail that it is defeatist elements within our own country that limit us, but we must face reality as it is. In looking at what non-conservatives will stomach, Obama has actually taught us something, which we only partially tested under Bush: nonpolitical, general Americans prefer short conflicts, even if ill-advised, and they don't much mind about Marquis of Queensbury rules, so long as it's quick. Liberals will wail, but won't really do much else and will forget about it and go on to other things. Americans will stomach a lot, but don't want protracted engagements in the news every night.
I think that's the future. Therefore, quick-strikes and low-intensity warfare, both of which require lots of technology and intelligence, are what we have to work with.
Captain Hegseth makes one point that seems to escape almost everyone. This is a tribal society - socially primitive, religiously stuck in the 5th century, non-secular with customs and morals completely at odds with modern society.
We're not going to solve this problem. Afghanistan is a true swamp which every Western country has tried to drain and has failed. It defies solution because of it's tribal nature.
While Captain Hegseth shows a way to solve the puzzle, the only true way to "solve" Afghanistan would be to nuke the entire country and turn it into a parking lot for the rest of the world. That is obviously impossible so the only other option is to isolate it completely from the rest of the world and let them fight each other until one clear winner emerges.
Stuck in the NEOLITHIC is much more apt.
We are 10,000 + years apart, culturally.
That even informed citizens think we're off by only 15 centuries is telling.
Many good points raised. I've served in the same places as the Captain, and agree with him on nearly everything.
I will also echo Tom above, the place is stuck in the 5th century, the 6th if you want to be charitable. . .
This is a tribal society - socially primitive, religiously stuck in the 5th century, non-secular with customs and morals completely at odds with modern society.
Absolutely correct. The 1st Anglo-Afghan War (1839-1842), the 2nd (1878-1880), The 3rd (May-Aug 1919), the Soviet Invasion (1978-88) et al have proved that. It's a quagmire and always has been. There is no solution.
The passes thru the mountains --the Hindu Kush --are certainly strategic in any 'great game' central-Asia case. The tribes in that case are almost irrelevant --like the weather.
Without the USA/NATO, the Chinese tongs will probably get more and the Sicilian and St. Petersburg mafias probably less of the opium --which production of BTW is up close to 150% since Richard Holbrook (now RIP) was Hillary-made Special Envoy to AFPAC.
Under Musharef, the Paki western-oriented middle class was taking control, as seen in the Paki bond market. But then the western left decided (or was told) that since he was a military dictator (since his status made him vulnerable to idiot politics from USA), he had to go (could be pushed out). That moment, along with the 2006 midterm elections in USA, dates the beginning of western defeat in central Asia. IMHO.
Don't forget the Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline. Google that one up. Most don't mention the role that has played in this "end-around" Afghan debacle. Quite interesting, actually. Everyone should make it a homework assignment.
Fracking is killing the Iranian methane-export market.
What do you make of Yanbu cloning their 400,000 bbl/dy refinery by 2014?
( Drudge )
Yanbu --Lawrence of Arabia rolled up the Ottomans from there, now looks like China is gonna roll up LoA's roll-up. Pretty deal, isn't it, that China will get USN's expensive protection right up to the moment it chooses to knock over the chess table. There's no other way to see it, than the free ride in the keeping open of the Persian Gulf will proceed apace while the Yanbu, Horn of Africa, Seychelles (new Chinese basing deal just signed)back door is growing the Chinese 'string of pearls' as fast as possible. Hard to blame the Saudis, either, what with the Democratic party/USA executing KGB/FSB foreign policy (see Keystone pipeline, and a thousand other coincidences).
We will rid ourselves of Obama sooner or later, but all those deals and all that semi-quasi hostile hardware will be in place 'for the duration'.
Silver lining: when the world begins to savvy that USN was the glue that formerly held the world together, your stockpile of canned goods will begin to leap in trade-value.
Garry --thanks --gonna read up on that issue --i know the two sides insults in regards to it --but not nearly enough of the data --yet.
...makes it seem the west and KSA are getting some Chinese consideration in return re reining-in the mullahs --but if you think about it, it just makes the China/Iran trade even more valuable to China.
PS2, Russia's plan to become the new mideast security guarantor (see latest play, side with NATO against Gadaffi, then count to ten and come out against 'NATO genocide of Libyan peoples'),
...pretty much has to peter out at Yanbu (not enough Russian navy), where China's plan to become the new mideast security guarantor pretty much begins.
So either these two powers are working together, north and south pincer as it were, to be there when
...the Democrats finish breaking the Dollar and Uncle Sam has to toss in our hand, or they have simply found the line between land and sea power, right there where the great David Lean film had Peter O'Toole as Lawrence of Arabia identifying the key to the southern Ottoman Empire: "It is ...Yanbu."
Start with this. I don't where the complete truth is but it's intermingled with this pipeline somewhere.
got it --will look at it ASAP i can concentrate --a couple hours --after mkts close --will get back with impressions --thanks -
Here's the competition I think.
Gets curiouser and curiouser. A lot of balls in play on the table.
Wiki has gone dark --the SOPA protest --but i did get to the Pilger segment on genesis of Taliban, AQ, and how the USA set up the structure that commited 9/11.
Garry, i do not anymore know what to think. Well, correction, i do know, but am afraid that i'm crazy.
Tho i can't read that wiki at the mo, here's another case for 'the other side' of the Pilger theory:
(note, i ran across this 2010 essay on the www.financialsense.com homepage, listed under 'most popular' in the right margin as having attracted nearly 93,000 readers)
It's pretty wild. buckle your seatbelt.
Interesting link. I'd never seen that one before. We're not supposed to know, though. I just keep reading what I find and look for a common thread. By following the money trail and connecting the threads I believe one can get closer to whatever truth is out there. I don't think we'll ever know.
--i hear ya. Tantalizing clues just float into one's face unrequested and unsummoned. Earplugs would probably help --but later, if and when one no longer cares to try to know.
Meanwhile, this will be something you'll probably want to save --the links, and the topics we the people never knew we didn't know.
The Yakuza (Mitsui Sumitomo) connection for one thing. As well as the other big investor, Bishop Estates (see Madalyn Dunham, Bank of Hawaii).
How both these items lead a fairly energetic searcher to the honorable mssrs Obama and Holder, and the NWO colony arising in Kazakhstan, is not a long story but a story too long for the comments thread. But i couldn't just go blank on ya, hence the catbird URL.
Interesting URL re catbird. Here's a couple of more interesting bits:
I 'see' numerous reasons why the "Western Allies" are in Afghanistan but bringing "peace and democracy" seem to be a secondary purpose.
Money and people in the right places seems to be a common thread to establish functional control. NWO peeks its head up in these links as well. Hmmm.
--glad i checked back in --yep, Chretien, Maurice Strong as UN Ambassador forcing creation of the IPCC panel, the impresario of the first Earth Day Conference, 1992, Brazil, on Hitler's birthday. Conference results, the 'sustainability' term --code for war on all fronts against modernity, PoMo Paganism legitimized and set to work undermining the west.
here's two bings you might want to save and peruse from time to time. The two search topics seem at far ends of the world from each other --but they have been meeting and advancing each other since that 1992 year --significant nodes are an inner leadership faction inside BP (and Occidental). BP made a big 'enslave thru cap & trade' move on the Hitler's birthday Gulf of Mexico Macondo blowout, Goldman Sachs (a faction inside deliberate criminals since late 90s IPO) supporting at all levels (search Peter Sutherland).
And oddly, until one realizes via the vigilant citizen sites that these people speak their power to one another via 'logos' in all cases, whether carved in stone or names of websites, the Pulitzer-winning 1967 'magic realism' (AKA Marxism sans boilerplate) novel
...that named Macondo, as well as Arcadia (as the pre-white-colonialism Eden-like third world, as the middle name of the antagonist executed in the end by a people's firing squad), the Yakuza startup bought by the Norwegian Frederiksen and put to orchestrating an unknown number of dark pools' capital into spiking the gasoline pump price going into the hoped-for amplification via Russian invasion of Georgia, summer 2008, pre-election, prelude to the September Bank Panic just before the election.
('dark pools' result of Clinton era 'Enron-to-Sarbox' legislation authored by Obama's current chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission --regulator-in-chief Gary Gensler --check his CV)
It was extremely important not only to get Obama elected, but that he enter office with a major system-breaking political/economic crisis that would have begun under the previous prez, AND would cover the massive government takeover of the American private sector --for the NWO, expressed as the UN and a new global single currency in place of the Dollar.
Anyhoo, here's those two libraries of hair-raising info clusters:
(the bare sketches of a few connections in this comment are just the scratch on the surface --extreme brevity and editing of what i actually have --yes, brevity -- tho not so's you'd know it! --LOL)
PS, just for fun,
...see the last paragraph of this Maass essay in the New York Review of Books.
Especially the reference to the intrigue possibly already seen in the blowout (which, via the well name of "Macondo", would be savvied by the world's watchers and paranoids to have been part of that shadowy plan for the world --that plan that would be, post-blowout, that much more worthy), or possibly yet to come, as these days unfold:
A text that had been impenetrable is finally deciphered at the end of the novel. Written one hundred years earlier, it foretold the events that destroyed Macondo.
I'll look into those links, tonight, as my time permits. Thanks. BTW, we had "Mao" Strong polluting our country's roots, for too many years, as the 'progressives' screwed around with us. Interesting that "Mao" Strong now resides in a gated, secure compound in Beijing. And don't forget Trudeau in that list. These types are ubiquitous and affect us all.
As I mentioned before, it's difficult to know where the answers lie and the truth resides. Follow the $'s and one can at least get close.
Thanks, Garry --enjoyed (if that's the word) the back n forth. Sorry for the typos ('Takuza for Yakuza the worst) just below --in a hurry, beautiful day outside and this topic is a horror. However, once begun, to leave out big chunks is to create the impression that the big chunks must not exist (else they'd have been mentioned). So, upshot, lots of rantish run-on logghoria! Anyhoo --there it is.
PS, Mitsui, Goldman partner and well-known as the Takuza's bank, is a ten percenter in Macondo --and, despite Russian contractors badly needing the work, was awarded the roads and tunnels BIG infrastructure project for Vlad Putin's special project, the upcomingf Sochi Olympics.
PPS, ignore the hippie aspects of the author, and see her data:
...add to that, the government investigation of Macondo, in an apparent move to avoid hint of politics in the report, brought in Norwegian engineering firm Det Norske Veritas to certify the final report.
A director of DNV is a guy named Rokke, associate of Frederiksen, and owner, like Frederiksen, of extensive seafood fisheries in competition with GoM's.
The baby boomers will be coming soon targeted for much new research on the efficacy of, and will make a huge coming market for, Omega 3 fish oil. Rokke's north sea, arctic, Barents sea krill fleet has moved in on the GoM's Omega supplier, Omega Protein, in the wake of the Menhaden kill-off described in the Rense/Sparrowdancer link. TV ads are already appearing -'Omega Red' --you've seen 'em perhaps. Rokke's Aker Biomarine has signed a distribution deal with giant Walgreens.
There's been trouble at the big GoM Omega 3 supplier, Houston's Omega Protein. Management turnover, and a very rare fatal ship-to-ship collision in the placid and safe Gulfport Mississippi ship channel:
The banana boat is registered in the Marshall Islands, where Nancy Pelosi's husband's fisdh canneries were the subject of a minor scandal due to their being exempted (unusual for this USA protectorate)from Pelosi's new minimum wage laws.
Chiquita Banana is in the news now as a boycotter of Canadian oil sands oil --the Keystone feedstock.
Chiquita Banana is also convicted of masterminding a weapons smuggling operation in late 90s Colombia wherein, to control the area abnd the competition, it armed BOTH sides of a small war in which 700-800 mostly innocent villagers were killed.
Arming both sides secretly is a hallmark of 'Fast and Furious' (brainchild of Eric Holder's DoJ), which likewise is about area control to the exclusion of competition.
Chiquita Banana has been a client of Eric Holder's and his law firm for years prior to the start up of the Banana Wars, and he was --as former consigliare/fixer now forced into the courtroom, defending Chiquita in court right up the moment he was appointed Attorney General of the United States.
to make the circle back to the oil-for-food baddies:
...and then to add a note almost too bizarre for an ordinary mind like mine to comprehend, the Chiquita facilities base of operations in the 90s banana wars is Aracataca, in the Medellin area of Colombia. Aracataca is the hometown of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, author (often described as 'communist author') of the book wherein the name 'Macondo' was invented as a fiction in order that he could write a fictional story of Aracataca, wherein capitalists come to town and build an evil banana plant that eventually with the help of mother nature's endless rainstorm ruins the town of Macondo and returns it to an arcadien state of nature. The book was published in 1967. The Chiquita wars began thirty years later.
Life is stranger than fiction, ain't it?
I, as well, enjoyed the 'to-and-fro'. There is so much information that one tends to tire and develop scroll-brain, thereby giving up. When I read this stuff, I follow what's happening in the future that intertwines with it, try to push it back into the past and look to see what pattern is forming. Interesting how the web forms and some of the same names appear along with a few new ones. We're all a bunch of pawns in this global, geopolitical chess game and we're paying for it. It's about money, power and oil (energy) and food.
yup --i think the chess game is a good way to picture it --we pawns get traded, ignored, sacrificed, but we radically alter the board whenever we make it or threaten to make it to P8 --and get some kick-ass power, hey!
..a last thought, re Pierre Trudeau, he had the best-looking, sweetest-aspected wife of the political 20th century. So, he wasn't ALL idiot --just mostly --
Canada is doing really well these days --and it ain't the natural resources doing it --it's the banking system --and behind that, there's the people who shaped it so --the Canadians.
Fracking has blown up the economics of ANY Iranian pipeline.
Recent comments in New Delhi indicate that India has ENTIRELY given up on and gas line transiting Pakistan -- due to the Israeli experience in the Sinai: such lines get blown up time and again.
So having spent a fortune the dependent customers can't take delivery.
The up shot is that Tehran is in a real pickle: her number one long term hope is imploding. Long distance gas pipelines are becoming passe.
Point taken. I looked at it more as a bargaining chip on the table, during the time the idea was floated.
Pipelines & rail lines are like long unmanned borders --they simply cannot be defended against sabotage. Yes, there can be reprisals against the saboteurs' base --their homes and families. But wait, that was WWII --before satellites & drones.
The Sinai natty gas pipeline Egypt to Israel has been blown up what, three times already, just since Obama freed the Egyptians from non-Muslim National Socialist Brotherhood rule?
--re fracking, i have a question. Let me set it up thus:
1) Since experts from the industry agree that fracking is a 65 year-old process that has been used over a million times (some wells are over time multiply fracked as production in 'tight' (low porosity/permeability) sands ebbs),
2) and since EPA is trying to stop or cripple the use of the technique on the grounds (!) of environmental damage in the form of groundwater contamination and earthquakes,
3) and since these charges are so clearly bogus and inflammatorily aimed at the excitably ignorant,
4) and since the powers that be in the agency and throughout the executive branch of this administration must, absolutely must, fully understand the false charges against fracking are indeed false charges intended to stop, retard, and/or add massive costs to the process,
5) and since the beneficiaries of this industrial sabotage-by-lawfare happen to be Russia, Iran, Venezuela, and OPEC in general,
6) and since the harmed (the victims of the crime) happen to include hydrocarbon importers such as (the citizens of) the United States,
7) and oh crap i forgot the question