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  • Reading lots of books. Ignoring televised GOP debates. (Looking over the transcripts hurts enough.)

    Posted by onparkstreet on December 14th, 2011 (All posts by )

    Strobe Talbott, Engaging India: Diplomacy, Democracy, And the Bomb (2004):

    Joe Ralston had the awkward assignment of making sure that he was with General Karamat during the launch of the Tomahawks. That way, if the low-flying missiles showed up on Pakistani radar screens, Joe would be able to assure Karamat that they were not the first wave of an Indian sneak attack. Toward the end of a dinner at the VIP lounge at Islamabad airport, Ralston checked his watch and told Karamat that about sixty Tomahawks had just passed through Pakistani airspace en route to their targets in Afghanistan. Shortly after, he thanked his host for dinner, shook hands, and departed.
     
    Karamat felt humiliated and betrayed. The next day his anger grew more intense when it was learned that one of the cruise missiles had gone astray and come down in Pakistan. Those that found their mark killed a number of Pakistani intelligence officers and trainees at the Afghan camps. These casualties were further cause for outrage in Pakistan, but they also confirmed Indian charges that Pakistan was officially supporting terrorism and the U.S. administration’s need to keep the operation secret.
     
    The attack missed bin Laden by hours. Suspicions lingered for years afterward that even though the Pakistanis did not know exactly when the attack was coming, they may have known enough to tip off bin Laden.

    (Emphasis mine).

    General (Ret.) Hugh Shelton, Without Hesitation: The Odyssey of an American Warrior (2010):

    One might think that the obvious solution would have been to inform or coordinate with Pakistan up front and let them know the missiles would be ours. Under normal circumstances, that might have worked. In this case, Pakistan’s national intelligence agency, the ISI (Inter-Services Intelligence), was so connected with al-Qaeda, there was no doubt that such a forewarning would go right back to UBL and his minions, and in ten minutes those camps would be more deserted than an old Western ghost town, leaving our missiles to pound sand on empty tents and vacant training facilities.

    At this point, what is there to say?

    PS: I deleted a bunch of stuff I wrote after “what is there to say,” because it was silly. I meant to save it and post it in the comments instead so as not to be accused of “scrubbing” this post but I didn’t. I’m sure it’s cached somewhere. It’s not really anything terrible, anyway. Here is what I wish I had posted instead:

    Lasch described the emergence of elites who “…control the international flow of money and information, preside over philanthropic foundations and institutions of higher learning, manage the instruments of cultural production and thus set the terms of public debate.” These elites would undermine American democracy in order to fulfill their insatiable desire for wealth and power and to perpetuate their social and political advantages. Middle-class values, Lasch warned, would be hollowed out by a value-neutral educational system preaching multiculturalism. Their replacement would be narcissistic values based on self-gratification and worshipful of fame and celebrity as the ultimate values in a world devoid of deeper meaning.

     

    9 Responses to “Reading lots of books. Ignoring televised GOP debates. (Looking over the transcripts hurts enough.)”

    1. Michael Kennedy Says:

      I think we need to get out of Afghanistan and cut off all aid to Pakistan. This is far too much like Vietnam with enemy refuges and questionable allies.

    2. Bill Brandt Says:

      In Pakistan’s defense they will say that the only time we are interested in them is when something in the region “needs our attention” and suddenly they are our “best friends”.

      We then go and forget about them.

      Still one can’t deny their “bipolar” nature.

      Anyone doubt that bin Laden wasn’t protected by elements of the military – or ISI – in his compound?

    3. Michael Kennedy Says:

      “Forgetting” about Pakistan is another way of saying that they should be treated as another country with which we have diplomatic relations and commercial activity. There is no obligation for us to be writing them checks. We have a history of buying friends but they often don’t stay bought, as Lyndon Johnson said wasn’t true of Texas politicians, and don’t seem very grateful. The Marshall Plan was in our own interest and the assistance went to countries with a history of modern economies that had been damaged by war. I can’t think of an example, with the possible exception of South Korea, of a primitive economy that was significantly improved by our assistance. Usually, the money ends up in Swiss bank accounts or palaces.

    4. Bill Brandt Says:

      Post WW2 what has bothered me about our foreign policy is how we have allowed other countries to essentially dictate how we run wars. In WW2 it seemed we went in – took care of business – and left.

      Now we go in, establish govts in the countries – then listen to the governments.

      or have sometimes “allies” as Pakistan playing both sides of the fence.

      I always remember what Goldwater said about Vietnam – ‘Go in to win – or don’t go in”.

      of course he was attacked as a “warmonger” and “dangerous” but history proved him right.

      Korea – Vietnam – Iraq – Afghanistan have all been wars with no specific goal other than “fighting the enemy” .

    5. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Korea – Vietnam – Iraq – Afghanistan have all been wars with no specific goal other than “fighting the enemy” .

      I kind of disagree about Iraq and Korea. Korea was the first example of Russian aggression after WWII. Truman had to make a quick decision and McA had dropped the ball. The big mistake was McA’s again when he ignored evidence of Chinese intervention. He should have stopped at PyongYang where the peninsula is narrowest. Going to the Yalu was dumb.

      In Iraq, Bush had the dilemma of a ten year low intensity conflict as a result of the truce that ended Gulf War I. With 9/11, he had to do something about Saddam. My personal preference would have been to go in and flatten the place and leave.

    6. Bill Brandt Says:

      Michael – I think this concept of “nation building” when we go in will bankrupt us – but OTOH if we just went into Iraq – flattened it – and left – it would have become like Afghanistan post Soviet era.

      It is a dilemma.

    7. onparkstreet Says:

      I posted something about Christopher Lasch as a reply to this entire conversation. It may seem like a tangent but this creation of false narratives for the public resonates with me and our “afpak” policy, from Bush to Obama.

      - Madhu

    8. Westie Says:

      My thought is what did the CIA relay to their great, good friends in the ISI about the Bush Admin’s initial attack on Afg/Tallybonn/Bin Laden? Anyone know?

    9. Michael Kennedy Says:

      Bill, I think Rumsfeld and Tommy Franks had the concept of handing the place to the exiles when we left. The State Department and the CIA hated those exiles and Bremer took over instead. That was a fatal mistake. We will end up with an Iraq little different from what their policies would have produced. We were awfully lucky with Konrad Adenauer in Germany. He was almost unique.