Brutal: NY Daily News on #Bergdahl deal — “Surrender without honor”

June 4, 2014

NYDN cover

Mind you, this is from one of the liberal newspapers in New York City:

President Obama betrayed the highest obligation of his office — safeguarding national security — in trading five hard-core Taliban for the American serviceman who appears to have deserted in Afghanistan.

The five sworn enemies of the United States are now in the Gulf state of Qatar, where they are free to come and go as they like, beyond the watch of American agents. In just one year, they will be free to return to Afghanistan to fight there and stage terror attacks far beyond that country’s borders.

These facts were known to Obama when he made the deal, and yet he went ahead in irresponsible disregard for lives he has endangered. As the facts have emerged — and more surely will — it has become ever clearer that he lost his presidential compass in the Taliban swap.

In retrospect, his Rose Garden announcement that he was bringing home an American POW appears to have been a cynical act of theater.

In other words, a dog and pony show to distract from the VA fiasco. I can believe that.

Then, after dismissing Obama’s assurances about “keeping on eye” on these barbarians while they’re in Qatar, the NYDN delivers the killing blow:

Finally, Obama provided insight into the actual reason for the deal by placing it in the context of his drive to pull out of Afghanistan.

“This is what happens at the end of wars,” Obama said. “That was true for George Washington; that was true for Abraham Lincoln; that was true for FDR; that’s been true of every combat situation — that at some point, you make sure that you try to get your folks back.”

In other words, he wants out so badly that he accepted the Taliban’s terms, regardless of the threat to American security.

He is surrendering without honor.

Remember, this is from a major regional paper that’s generally on The One’s side. Can’t dismiss this one as “Faux News.”

What’s going on here, I think, is that even center-left outlets (1) are having trouble coloring this as anything other than a major “dereliction of duty” on the part of the president. They find themselves nodding in agreement with former federal prosecutor Andrew McCarthy at center-right PJM:

Is that the end of the matter? Not by a long shot. As I’ve also contended, the president’s failure to comply with a dubious statute is a mere footnote to his truly egregious offense: replenishing enemy forces at a time when the enemy is still conducting offensive terrorist operations against our armed forces. It would be difficult to fathom a more outrageous dereliction of duty by the commander-in-chief.

Moreover, if you want to fret over statutory violations, I would spend less time on the 30-day notice law and more on the federal criminal law that makes material support to terrorists a serious felony. The president has knowingly provided personnel—key, experienced, highly effective jihadists—to terrorist organizations that are still very much at war with the United States. That is material support to terrorism.

What Obama did was the equivalent of Eisenhower capturing senior North Korean and Chinese generals and then returning them while the fighting in Korea was still going on. If Ike were an idiot, that is, which he wasn’t.

In New York City, a metropolis that’s been the victim of catastrophic terrorism, even a paper as reliably liberal as the Daily News can’t help but scream “What in God’s name do you think you’re doing??”

If Team Unicorn expected any kudos for this “deal,” they must be gravely disappointed.

via Bryan Preston

PS: Jim Geraghty, from whom I took the graphic, has an interesting article on impressions confirmed and disproved by the Bergdahl deal. Also via Jim, is Obama so sick of being president that he’s dropping hints he may resign if the Republicans win the Senate in November? Check this out:

Obama tells anxious Democrats that there is only so much he can do beyond fundraising and better implementing the health-care law. But he also has told allies that losing the Senate to Republicans would make his last two years in office unbearable . . .

“I don’t really care to be president without the Senate,” Obama said, according to attendees, signaling that he knew the health care debacle created resentment among Democrats and that he wanted to make amends.

As Allahpundit likes to say, “Hmmm….”

Footnote:
(1) Other than MSNBC, which will be the network of Obama lickspittles until the End of Days.

UPDATE: At The Federalist, Robert Tracinski asks a darned fine question — “Why Are We Releasing Terrorists Who Kill Girls Because They Go To School?”

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


Brave Knights of Allah hide behind women

December 31, 2010

But then, women are little better than chattel in Islam, so why not use them as living bombs?

The Taliban and al Qaeda have established female suicide bombing cells in remote areas of northwestern Pakistan and northeastern Afghanistan. The female suicide bombers have struck in both Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The existence of the cells, which appeared evident after female suicide bombers attacked twice over the past five months in Afghanistan and Pakistan, was confirmed by a 12-year-old Pakistani girl named Meena Gul.

Gul, who said she was trained to be a “human bomb,” was detained by Pakistani police in the Munda area in Pakistan’s northwestern district of Dir, according to the Times of India.

“Gul said that women suicide bombers were trained for their deadly task in small cells on both sides of the porous border and were dispatched to their missions with a sermon, ‘God will reward you with a place in heaven.'”

Oh, and did I mention some of the women are just girls? Yes, for the valiant jihadi, it’s women and children first. Preferably in the same person.

A long time ago, someone explained to me the First Rule of Texas Common Law: “He needed killing.”

Well, these barbarians need killing.

RELATED: These “holy warriors” also exploit emotionally abused women, the elderly, and the developmentally disabled. Such wonderful people.

 


Could we look dumber? Mmm… No.

November 24, 2010

This has to be a leading candidate for the Intelligence Screw-Up Hall of Fame: NATO, US, and Afghan officials thought they were negotiating with one of the Taliban’s top leaders and were making progress toward a settlement… Until it turned how he was a fake:

Coalition and Afghan officials have believed for months that they have been in direct talks with Mullah Akhtar Mohammed Mansour, one of Mullah Omar’s top two deputies, but have discovered that the person they have been in talks with faked his identity, The New York Times reported.

Mansour and Mullah Abdul Qayum Zakir, a former detainee who became the Taliban’s top military commander in the south after his release in December 2007, were appointed by Mullah Omar to lead the Quetta Shura, the Taliban’s executive council, in March of this year. Mansour took over the administrative role, and Zakir became the Taliban’s top military leader.

Zakir and Mansour replaced Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, who was taken into custody by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate earlier this year after he supposedly tried to conduct negotiations with the Afghan government. The terms of Baradar’s detention are unclear; some officials say he was not arrested but merely placed into protective custody.

Mansour was the Minister of Civil Aviation and Transportation during the Taliban’s rule of Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001. He also served as the shadow governor of Kandahar province after the Taliban were ejected from power during the US invasion in 2001.

The fake Mansour approached NATO and Afghan officials months ago, and “was initially given a sizable sum of money to take part in the talks — and to help persuade him to return,” The New York Times reported. Officials became suspicious about the identity of the man only after the third meeting. The man’s identity could not be confirmed; he was unable to return to the meeting with other Taliban leaders, and his demands were radically different from the Taliban’s stated negotiating position.

No one seems to know who this faker was, but, man, get him a spot on cable selling blenders! He could be the new Billy Mays! “But wait! For only $19.95 million, not only will you get peace in Afghanistan, but we’ll all become Mennonites, too! Call now!”

Face, meet egg. In fact, meet a full dozen of them.

My friend Jimmy Bise has a great rant on this, but I have to quibble with his blanket assertion that this shows our intelligence in Afghanistan is lousy overall. We do have excellent “human intelligence” penetration of the Taliban and the Waziristan region of Pakistan; that’s how we’ve been able to get information on the movement of Taliban leaders for our increased campaign of Predator strikes – it’s not all coming from communications intercepts.

But, clearly, we didn’t know enough about Mullah Mansour to even know what he looked like before the meeting, indicating a serious gap in our knowledge of the Taliban leadership. Worse, in my opinion, this incident smells like something that happened because of pressure from political leaders back home (including our own) to pursue “all avenues for peace” and an exit from Afghanistan. By leaning on the generals and intelligence officers in the region, pressure was created to find someone to negotiate with, so, when this con artist waltzed in, he was accepted by someone who said his bona fides were “good enough” and decided to take a risk.

And thus was a humiliating fiasco born.

This is just a guess on my part, of course, but it seems a reasonable one.

There’s no doubt this hurts our reputation, especially in the Af-Pak region, where the regional culture is based strongly on concepts of shame and honor. We just shamed ourselves with this act of buffoonery, and thus fewer legitimate sources will be willing to work with us, because we look incompetent.

And, in this case, we were.

ADDENDUM: this isn’t the only time we’ve been played for suckers in an intelligence operation, of course. One incident I recall reading about years ago involved sending a lot of gold to what we thought were anti-Communist subversives in Poland right after World War II… Only it turned out the whole thing was con by Polish intelligence and we’d been giving gold to the Polish government. In other words, we’ve been fooled before and will be again, someday; the job now is to find out why in this case and make sure it never happens again.

UPDATE: Luckily, Iowahawk has found another mullah for us to negotiate with.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


If a beating is an honor, what is a stoning?

September 26, 2010

Yesterday I wrote about an Egyptian Muslim cleric who told us that the beating of women was instituted by Allah to honor women.

If that’s “honoring,” then stoning must be the equivalent of a gold medal:

Rare Video Shows Taliban Allegedly Stoning Woman to Death in Pakistan

A rare video reportedly smuggled out of northwest Pakistan allegedly shows a woman being stoned to death by Taliban militants in the upper region of Orakzai.

Al Aan, a Dubai-based pan-Arab television channel that focuses on women’s issues, said it had obtained cellphone footage that it says shows a woman being executed because she was seen out with a man. The killing reportedly took place two months ago and was smuggled out by a Taliban member who attended the stoning, according to Al Aan. ABC News could not independently confirm the cellphone video’s authenticity.

The video, which seems to show a woman tethered to the ground as a group of men throw stones at her, is so graphic that ABC News cannot show it in its entirety. Parts of it air today on the 25th episode of “Brian Ross Investigates.”

“It’s difficult to know where and when it was shot,” says Gayle Lemmon, deputy director of the Women and Foreign Policy Program at the Council of Foreign Relations, in an interview with Ross, “It is consistent with videos that have been coming from Taliban-controlled areas since the ’90s.”

Lemmon says that when women “stray outside the line” in Taliban-controlled areas, they may “face severe punishment.”

“Women are respected as carriers of the family honor,” says Lemmon, “but they also pay the price.”

If that’s respect…

Lemmon’s last statement is nonsense, of course, as I pointed out yesterday. They aren’t respected, except perhaps in the perverse sense of “if you dress a certain way and accept a man as your keeper, you won’t get raped.” Otherwise, according to Sheikh al-Hilali, she can expect to be treated like meat left out for the cat. Some respect.

Rather, what happens to the woman in the video is a consequence of women being made to bear the burden of the man’s sexual behavior. The victim in the video was seen walking with a man, presumably not of her family. Doesn’t she know what might have happened, since a man cannot control himself? That made her a whore and dishonored her family, and so she had to die by being pelted with rocks.

Respect. Honor.

Like Hell.

LINKS: Jihad Watch has the full video (Fair warning, it’s very graphic) and also provides links that debunk apologists who claim stoning is not a canonical part of Islam.

(Crossposted at Sister Toldjah)


I’d call this an act of war

September 5, 2010

Call me a frothing right-wing neocon zealot, but I’d say Iran paying a bounty to the Taliban for each American soldier killed constitutes an act of war:

Iran is paying Taliban fighters $1,000 for each U.S. soldier they kill in Afghanistan, according to a report in a British newspaper.

The Sunday Times described how a man it said was a “Taliban treasurer” had gone to collect $18,000 from an Iranian firm in Kabul, a reward it said was for an attack in July which killed several Afghan government troops and destroyed an American armored vehicle.

The treasurer left with the cash hidden in a sack of flour, the newspaper said, and then gave it to Taliban fighters in the province of Wardak. In the past six months, the treasurer claimed to have collected more than $77,000 from the company.

The Sunday Times said its investigation had found that at least five Kabul-based Iranian companies were secretly passing funds to the Taliban.

The newspaper’s correspondent, Miles Amoore, said he met and interviewed the treasurer, who he said had been an illiterate farmer who was taught to read and write, plus basic accountancy, by the Taliban last winter.

“We don’t care who we get money from,” the treasurer was quoted as saying. He described the relationship with Iran as a “marriage of convenience.” Iran is a predominantly Shiite country, while the Taliban is dominated by Sunni Muslims.

“Iran will never stop funding us because Americans are dangerous for them as well. I think the hatred is the same from both us and Iran. The money we get is not dirty. It is for jihad,” the treasurer told Amoore.

Emphasis added.

We shouldn’t be surprised, though. Iran funds, arms, and directs militias in Iraq that attack American and Iraqi forces, and they’ve been arming the Taliban for years. In truth, Iran has been at war with the US since the 1979 revolution that brought Khomeini and his religious fascists to power.

Some day we’ll wake up to that and deal with the problem.

(via Hot Air)


Meanwhile, in Afghanistan

August 3, 2010

From The Long War Journal:

Taliban suicide assault team repelled at Kandahar Airfield

A Taliban suicide assault team was repelled while trying to breach the perimeter at Kandahar Airfield, one of NATO’s largest bases in Afghanistan.

A team of six heavily armed Taliban fighters, two of whom were wearing suicide vested, were stopped by Coalition troops outside the main gate at Kandahar Airfield, the largest logistics NATO hub in the Afghan south. More than 10,000 Coalition soldiers and contractors are based at the airfield.

“Six suicide bombers penetrated into the Kandahar airport,” a statement released by the provincial administration read, according to Xinhua. “Two of them blew themselves up and the four others were killed by security forces.

Other than that, the operation was another glorious victory for the mujaheddin and Islam. Their 72 white raisins await them.

More ominously, Afghans who helped the Coalition against the medieval psychotics and barbarians Taliban are already starting to pay the price for Julian Assange’s narcissism:

Late last week, just four days after the documents were published [by WikiLeaks], death threats began arriving at the homes of key tribal elders in southern Afghanistan. And over the weekend one tribal elder, Khalifa Abdullah, who the Taliban believed had been in close contact with the Americans, was taken from his home in Monar village, in Kandahar province’s embattled Arghandab district, and executed by insurgent gunmen … The frightening combination of the Taliban spokesman’s threat, Abdullah’s death, and the spate of letters has sparked a panic among many Afghans who have worked closely with coalition forces in the past, according to a senior Taliban intelligence officer who declined to be named for security reasons … The Taliban officer claimed that the group’s English-language media department continues to actively examine the WikiLeaks material and intends to draw up lists of collaborators in each province, to add to the hit lists of local insurgent commanders.

If there is a Hell, Assange belongs in it*. And I wouldn’t mind too much if a Predator drone opened the door there for him.

*(As does the traitor who fed him the documents.)


Endangered species: the progressive Muslim

July 6, 2010

This guy had better be careful; suggesting reform or changes to Islam, or that any portion of the Qur’an is not applicable for all time, can earn one a death fatwa. At Technorati, A. Mohit muses on Islam in the wake of a school teacher’s beheading:

Proponents of Islam maintain that most of these practices are attributed to sharia laws, and many progressive Muslims claim that sharia laws are not always derived from the principles laid down in the Muslim holy book Quran; rather in many instances these laws are contrary to Quranic instructions. The problem is that there is no universal acceptance of these opinions among the Islamic scholars.

Many non-Muslims allege that Islam is a dangerous religion, and I admit that at the core of my heart, I feel I do not have ammunitions to refute this allegation about my faith. I have been taught that Quran is a divine book that God has preserved in the way it came to mankind. Nevertheless, I find many statements in Quran are not defensible in the justice system of the civilized world, just as Muslims find such statements in other holy books, which to them are not holy, since they consider those books to be adulterated.

The divinity of Quran has failed to save my people. I pray that they learn to respect other religions, realize how people of other faiths have reexamined the core concepts of their denominations, and reformed their practices to accommodate the latest discoveries of science to make them suitable for society with its ever expanding knowledge base.

Good luck with that. As I wrote elsewhere, the task of reform seems impossible without tearing out the foundations of Islam, itself. I hope Mr. Mohit and other reformers prove me wrong.

(via Jihad Watch)


I will be shocked if this is true

May 10, 2010

And I emphasize the “if” while chewing on a large grain of salt, but it would be almost the sweetest thing in the world if we have captured Mullah Omar.

Can I volunteer for the waterboarding detail if this is true? Huh? Pretty please?  Praying


They’re still trying to kill us, a continuing series

May 4, 2010

I haven’t commented yet on the attempted car-bombing of Times Square over the weekend, partly because plenty of people already were, and I didn’t have much to add, but also because I wanted to wait and see what developed over the investigation. My first suspicion was that this was a terrorist operation by jihadists bent on sacrificing innocent people for the glory of Allah, but there was no firm evidence before the public, yet.  It could, after all, have been a lone, home-grown psycho acting out for reasons that had nothing to do with Islam. The bomber might have been one of those crazed, hate-filled Tea-Partiers, or maybe someone upset over health-care reform. So, I waited.

Turns out my suspicions were correct.

The FBI has detained a Pakistani-American suspect who was wanted for his involvement in the failed May 2 car bomb attack at Times Square in New York City.

Authorities arrested Shahzad Faisal on Long Island on Monday night after discovering he was behind the purchase of the SUV used in the Times Square attack. Shahzad and two other men, who have not been identified, were detained at JFK Airport while attempting to leave the US, the Associated Press reported. The men were on board a flight bound for Dubai that had just left the gate. The two othe rmen questioned by the FBI were released from custody, The New York Times reported.

Faisal has since claimed he acted alone, but Pakistani intelligence sources told Fox News that a suspect who was involved with the failed bombing was detained in Karachi.

Faisal is a naturalized American citizen who is originally from Pakistan. He recently returned from Pakistan after spending five months there. While the exact movements of Faisal are not yet known, US intelligence officials contacted by The Long War Journal believe he spent time in al Qaeda or Taliban training camps in North Waziristan.

Waziristan is the heart of Taliban-controlled territory in Pakistan, and the Taliban and al Qaeda maintain numerous training camps there and elsewhere in the region. And now the would-be mujaheddin has admitted he trained at a camp in Waziristan. And, contra Senator Schumer, it turns out the brave, brave jihadi who was trying to blow up children had accomplices: up to eight were arrested within the last day in Pakistan.

This wasn’t a lone psycho. It wasn’t someone upset over domestic policy or the color of our President’s skin. This was an act of war by people who have declared war on us and who have a far different concept of innocent bystanders than we.

It’s been nearly nine years since 9/11, and they’re still trying to kill us. We’d do well to remember that.

RELATED: Sadly, some in the mainstream media were disappointed that the real enemy wasn’t behind this plot. Idiot.


Just call him “Dead-eye”

May 3, 2010

A British sniper in Afghanistan set a world record by taking out two Taliban at a distance of 8,120 feet:

A British sniper set a world sharpshooting record by taking out two Taliban soldiers in Afghanistan from more than a mile and a half away — a distance so great, experts say the terrorists wouldn’t have even heard the shots.

Craig Harrison killed the two insurgents from an astounding distance of 8,120 feet — or 1.54 miles — in Helmand Province last November firing an Accuracy International L11583 long-range rifle.

“The first round hit a machine-gunner in the stomach and killed him outright,” said Harrison, a corporal of horse in the British Army’s Household Cavalry, the equivalent of a sergeant in the American military.

“The second insurgent grabbed the weapon and turned as my second shot hit him in the side. He went down, too,” Harrison told the Sunday Times of London.

The shots — measured via GPS — surpassed the previous record held by Canadian Army Cpl. Rob Furlong, who killed an al Qaeda gunman from 7,972 feet in 2002.

Now that’s good shooting!  Cowboy


Inhuman

March 19, 2010

Brave mujaheddin? Gallant knights of Allah? Lions of Islam? No, the jihadis we’re at war with are nothing but damnable barbarians:

Taliban chops off nose, ears of 19-year-old girl for “shaming” her in-laws

“When they cut off my nose and ears, I passed out.” Bibi Aisha, 19, of Afghanistan, who was punished by the Taliban for “shaming” her in-laws when she ran away to escape torturous domestic abuse. Her father sold her to her abusive husband when she was 10.

Don’t worry, there are no graphic pictures behind that link. No guarantees if you follow theirs, however.

And no, I’m not buying that this is “just the Taliban.” Look at atrocities committed by “holy warriors” answering the call of jihad from America to London to Madrid to Iraq to Indonesia and you’ll examples of the same sociopathic, misogynistic, and sick minds, all following the same aggressive, supremacist, and totalitarian creed.

You get three guesses as to which one.

(via Vermontaigne)


All the secrets that are fit to print

March 15, 2010

Sometimes, one has to wonder just whose side the New York Times is on:

Contractors Tied to Effort to Track and Kill Militants

Under the cover of a benign government information-gathering program, a Defense Department official set up a network of private contractors in Afghanistan and Pakistan to help track and kill suspected militants, according to military officials and businessmen in Afghanistan and the United States.

The official, Michael D. Furlong, hired contractors from private security companies that employed former C.I.A. and Special Forces operatives. The contractors, in turn, gathered intelligence on the whereabouts of suspected militants and the location of insurgent camps, and the information was then sent to military units and intelligence officials for possible lethal action in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the officials said.

Why don’t you send the Taliban photos of the field operatives and their travel schedules, too?

For the record, if someone* is using off-the-record funding to ID and then kill Taliban and al Qaeda targets … good!

*(Like, oh, the US Government because certain big-mouthed newspapers that richly deserve to go out of business blew the cover of earlier covert ops?)

Nitwits.

(via The Jawa Report)


Jihadis are cowards and fascists

February 17, 2010

What else can you say about escapees from a 7th-century lunatic asylum who use women and children as human shields?

Taliban insurgents are increasingly using civilians as human shields as they fight allied troops trying to take the militants’ southern stronghold of Marjah, an Afghan official said Wednesday as military squads resumed painstaking house-to-house searches.

About 15,000 NATO and Afghan troops are taking part in the offensive around Marjah, which has an estimated 80,000 inhabitants and was the largest town in southern Helmand province under Taliban control. NATO hopes to rush in aid and public services as soon as the town is secured to try to win the loyalty of the population.

With the assault in its fifth day, insurgents are firing at Afghan troops from inside or next to compounds where women and children appear to have been ordered to stand on a roof or in a window, said Gen. Mohiudin Ghori, the brigade commander for Afghan troops in Marjah.

“Especially in the south of Marjah, the enemy is fighting from compounds where soldiers can very clearly see women or children on the roof or in a second-floor or third-floor window,” Ghori said. “They are trying to get us to fire on them and kill the civilians.”

We’ve seen garbage like this in Iraq and Gaza, too, where the brave, brave Knights of Allah exploit the emotionally disturbed, people with Down’s syndrome, victims of rape, and children for suicide attacks. These are the “holy warriors” who flock to bin Laden’s banner of jihad. They are religious fascists in service to a fascist cause that sees the individual as nothing more than a pawn to sacrifice to that cause.

I’d call them pigs, but a a pig has more value. I’d call them dogs, but a dog has more honor.

Let’s just call them what they are: mujahideen.

(via The Jawa Report)


The Taliban must be sweating bullets, now

February 16, 2010

I’d waited to write on this until it was confirmed, and now it is: In a joint operation, the Pakistan Interservices Intelligence agency and the CIA captured the Taliban’s top military commander, a man second only to Mullah Omar himself:

Secret Joint Raid Captures Taliban’s Top Commander

By MARK MAZZETTI and DEXTER FILKINS

The Taliban’s top military commander was captured several days ago in Karachi, Pakistan, in a secret joint operation by Pakistani and American intelligence forces, according to American government officials.

The commander, Mullah Abdul Ghani Baradar, is an Afghan described by American officials as the most significant Taliban figure to be detained since the American-led war in Afghanistan started more than eight years ago. He ranks second in influence only to Mullah Muhammad Omar, the Taliban’s founder and a close associate of Osama bin Laden before the Sept. 11 attacks.

Mullah Baradar has been in Pakistani custody for several days, with American and Pakistani intelligence officials both taking part in interrogations, according to the officials.

It was unclear whether he was talking, but the officials said his capture had provided a window into the Taliban and could lead to other senior officials. Most immediately, they hope he will provide the whereabouts of Mullah Omar, the one-eyed cleric who is the group’s spiritual leader.

Disclosure of Mullah Baradar’s capture came as American and Afghan forces were in the midst of a major offensive in southern Afghanistan.

His capture could cripple the Taliban’s military operations, at least in the short term, said Bruce O. Riedel, a former C.I.A. officer who last spring led the Obama administration’s Afghanistan and Pakistan policy review.

Details of the raid remain murky, but officials said that it had been carried out by Pakistan’s military spy agency, the Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, and that C.I.A. operatives had accompanied the Pakistanis.

Naturally the Pakistanis are denying the CIA was involved in the raid. I don’t blame them; not only is the issue of an American, especially CIA, presence sensitive in Pakistan, but the ISI has been playing a double game between the US and the jihadists, especially the Taliban, with whom they have a long and paternal relationship. Confirming that they had stabbed their clients in the back would only earn them more suicide bombs in the capital and the Urdu-speaking heartland than they’re already going to get.

And I have to give rare credit to the New York Times, which sat on the story at the administration’s request for several days, until rumors became rife in the region.  This preserved the value of the intelligence we were getting from this slime.  Good job, guys. Now, if only you’d see fit to be that concerned about national security during Republican administrations….

Regardless, this is a major coup for the US and its allies, and a body blow to the Taliban. This piece of walking garbage knows plans, names, locations… everything. It would be as if they had captured General McChrystal, our commander in the region. Baradar is close to Mullah Omar and Osama bin Laden – want to bet they moved faster than they have since October, 2001, when the word got around?

And the capture takes place just as we’re launching a major offensive against the Taliban. Kind of like taking out Rommel at the start of the North Africa campaign.

This is truly good news, and congratulations to the Obama administration.

But, I have to ask, is it wrong of me to want to waterboard this escapee from a 7th century lunatic asylum? I mean, think of all the evil these schmucks have done since taking over Afghanistan – a few pours is the least any of their leaders deserve.

Oh, okay. It’d be wrong, but it would still feel good.

LINKS: More at Hot Air, which links to a Newsweek profile of Baradar ; Legal Insurrection, which wonders about the interrogation; Power Line, which wonders why we didn’t get him a lawyer; The Jawa Report; Sister Toldjah; Threat Matrix, which wonders why Pakistan gave up Mullah Baradar; and Hot Air, again, asking how it was done.


Afghan offensive begins

February 12, 2010

Following up on the last post, the joint US-UK-Afghan Army offensive to clear the city of Marja and Helmand province of Taliban has begun:

Thousands of U.S., British and Afghan troops moved to seize the Taliban stronghold of Marja early Saturday in what the Marine general leading the assault called a “big, strong and fast” offensive aimed at challenging the insurgency’s grip on a key southern Afghan province.

Rounds of tracer fire lighted up a starry, predawn sky as waves of troops, ferried in by helicopters, descended on the farming districts that surround the town. Transport and Cobra attack helicopters also dropped rounds to illuminate the ground.

Troops initially met only modest return fire from inside of Marja.

Sporadic firefights had broken out throughout the day Friday on the periphery of Marja as Marine units probed Taliban defenses.

The commander, Marine Brig. Gen. Larry Nicholson, had for weeks telegraphed the military’s plans for the offensive, one of the largest since the war began in 2001.

The United States and its allies hope the assault, the biggest joint operation by Western and Afghan troops to date, will prove a turning point in the conflict with the Taliban and other militants that have carved out swaths of territory in Afghanistan.

Military leaders expected about 7,500 coalition troops to occupy Marja by nightfall, with 7,500 more supporting the mission from elsewhere in the Nad Ali district of Helmand province.

The allied command had been prepping the battlefield for months, clearing the Taliban from villages in Helmand and then staying behind to make sure they don’t come back, thus giving the local residents the security they need to start cooperating with our side. Previously, the brave, brave jihadis of the Taliban would come back after we left, and the punishment meted out to those who collaborated with us would be horrific. In this way, Operation Moshtarek (Operation “Together”) resembles the plan used at the outset of the “surge” offensive in Afghanistan in 2007, when US and Iraqi forces began clear-and-hold operations against al Qaeda. In this case, Marja substitutes for Iraq’s Baquba as a key target: a town that had become a central base and depot for the enemy and, our side hopes, a trap where they can be caught and brought to battle.

The Taliban may not be as stupid as al Qaeda in Iraq, however. The offensive had been announced weeks in advance and publicized widely to give civilians a chance to leave. With them, of course, may have gone the Taliban; it’s unclear how many have stayed behind in Marja. What is clear, however, is that they had plenty of time to prepare traps of their own: extensive IED-laden minefields and booby-trapped buildings. Hence the big debut of the Assault Breacher Vehicles.

But it may not necessary to kill thousands of Taliban, much as they need it. The purpose of this counterinsurgency strategy is to deny the enemy access to the population whom he can then hide among and dominate. It was very effective in Vietnam under General Abrams (History later showed that, when we walked away, we snatched defeat from the jaws of victory.), it worked better than expected in Iraq under General Petraeus, and now one hopes for similar success under General McChrystal. Less committed elements of the Taliban and their allies may be encouraged to quit, once they realize they’re cut off from the people they preyed on. As the article points out, it’s also a chance for the ill-regarded Afghan Army to show its people that it can protect them, even after we eventually leave.

I’m usually highly critical of President Obama, and I do wish he had made up his mind about an Afghan strategy earlier and sent more troops than he authorized, but I’m grateful he is at least taking the fight to the enemy. It’s been nearly a decade, but let’s not forget that these are the same salafis who abetted and protected al Qaeda before and after 9-11, and still do.

Good hunting, gentlemen.

LINKS: Max Boot. Ed Morrissey with a good observation about the departure of Canadian troops in a year or so and the closing window of opportunity.


We have all the best toys

February 12, 2010

Check out the Marines’ new Assault Breacher Vehicle:

Go ahead, Mr. Taliban: plant your IEDs, lay out your minefields, throw up your earthworks.

For all the good it will do.


Scratch one Taliban

January 2, 2010

Haji Omar Khan had a bang-up New Year’s Eve, thanks to the US military:

The US killed a senior Taliban leader in an airstrike in the Mir Ali region in North Waziristan, Pakistan, on New Year’s Eve, 2009.

Haji Omar Khan, a senior Taliban leader in South Waziristan who strong ties to Mullah Omar, was killed in the Dec. 31, 2009 airstrike on a safe house in the town of Machi Khel, according to his family. The body is being repatriated to his home town in South Waziristan.

Let’s hope plenty of Taliban and al Qaeda leaders show up for the funeral. Our gunners need the practice.

Hi! I'm a medieval lunatic! I'm also dead....


Brave Knights of Allah

October 26, 2009

…Using children as human shields:

“The Taliban are obviously manipulating children and using them as cannon fodder,” said Major Robert Dunn of Ottawa, who oversees operations in southern and western Kandahar.

“There is one place west of Kandahar City where they shoot at us every day through a shield of children. They actually stack them up, with

8-year-olds at the front and 15-year-olds at the back.”

O valiant mujahideen! O noble Companion!Your courage is renowned throughout the world! Surely you make the infidels quake in fear of your righteousness!

And you keep telling yourself that right up to the moment a Marine puts a bullet through your cowardly, craven, and barbaric head.

(via The Jawa Report)


Boot on boots on the ground

October 23, 2009

Afghanistan – what should we do? That’s the question that bedevils the Obama administration, even though the alleged Commander in Chief announced his decision for a counterinsurgency back in March to great fanfare, declaring the world’s safety was “at stake.” Then, having appointed a general to determine how that strategy would best be implemented, the President had a WTF moment when General McChrystal made it known he was going to ask for 40-50,000 more troops to implement that strategy. Now the White House has apparently decided to un-decide its March decision so it can again conduct a “top to bottom” review of Afghan policy in order to decide (again) on a strategy. (Much to the annoyance of Darth Vader Dick Cheney.)

Voices on the Right have supported an aggressive Afghan strategy to defeat al Qaeda and its Taliban allies (who are these days almost indistinguishable), but have differed sharply over how to do it. Some argue for a counterterrorism strategy, narrowly targeting al Qaeda with Special Forces and missile strikes and worrying far less about what they deride as “nation-building.” Others argue for a counterinsurgency (COIN) strategy that concentrates on protecting the Afghan population from the depredations of the Taliban, gaining their trust and cooperation, which would isolate the enemy and allow aggressive operations against them. Again, General McChrystal has recommended COIN.

Max Boot, a foreign policy and strategy analyst and former advisor to the McCain presidential campaign, argues for the COIN approach and believes in giving McChrystal all he wants and more. As part of his case, he cites the success already reached in small areas of Afghanistan with a limited COIN approach. There’s No Substitute for Troops on the Ground:

“I HOPE people who say this war is unwinnable see stories like this. This is what winning in a counterinsurgency looks like.”
Lt. Col. William F. McCollough, commander of the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, is walking me around the center of Nawa, a poor, rural district in southern Afghanistan’s strategically vital Helmand River Valley. His Marines, who now number more than 1,000, arrived in June to clear out the Taliban stronghold. Two weeks of hard fighting killed two Marines and wounded 70 more but drove out the insurgents. Since then the colonel’s men, working with 400 Afghan soldiers and 100 policemen, have established a “security bubble” around Nawa.
Colonel McCollough recalls that when they first arrived the bazaar was mostly shuttered and the streets empty. “This town was strangled by the Taliban,” he says. “Anyone who was still here was beaten, taxed or intimidated.”
Today, Nawa is flourishing. Seventy stores are open, according to the colonel, and the streets are full of trucks and pedestrians. Security is so good we were able to walk around without body armor — unthinkable in most of Helmand, the country’s most dangerous province. The Marines are spending much of their time not in firefights but in clearing canals and building bridges and schools. On those rare occasions when the Taliban try to sneak back in to plant roadside bombs, the locals notify the Marines.
The key to success in Nawa — and in other key districts from Garmsir in the south to Baraki Barak in the center — has been the infusion of additional United States troops. The overall American force in Afghanistan has grown to 68,000 from 32,000 in 2008. That has made it possible to garrison parts of the country where few if any soldiers had been stationed before. Before the Marines arrived in Nawa, for instance, there were just 40 embattled British soldiers there.

“I HOPE people who say this war is unwinnable see stories like this. This is what winning in a counterinsurgency looks like.”

Lt. Col. William F. McCollough, commander of the First Battalion, Fifth Marine Regiment, is walking me around the center of Nawa, a poor, rural district in southern Afghanistan’s strategically vital Helmand River Valley. His Marines, who now number more than 1,000, arrived in June to clear out the Taliban stronghold. Two weeks of hard fighting killed two Marines and wounded 70 more but drove out the insurgents. Since then the colonel’s men, working with 400 Afghan soldiers and 100 policemen, have established a “security bubble” around Nawa.

Colonel McCollough recalls that when they first arrived the bazaar was mostly shuttered and the streets empty. “This town was strangled by the Taliban,” he says. “Anyone who was still here was beaten, taxed or intimidated.”

Today, Nawa is flourishing. Seventy stores are open, according to the colonel, and the streets are full of trucks and pedestrians. Security is so good we were able to walk around without body armor — unthinkable in most of Helmand, the country’s most dangerous province. The Marines are spending much of their time not in firefights but in clearing canals and building bridges and schools. On those rare occasions when the Taliban try to sneak back in to plant roadside bombs, the locals notify the Marines.

The key to success in Nawa — and in other key districts from Garmsir in the south to Baraki Barak in the center — has been the infusion of additional United States troops. The overall American force in Afghanistan has grown to 68,000 from 32,000 in 2008. That has made it possible to garrison parts of the country where few if any soldiers had been stationed before. Before the Marines arrived in Nawa, for instance, there were just 40 embattled British soldiers there.

This mirrors the Coalition experience in Afghanistan, where small examples of counterinsurgency’s effectiveness foreshadowed the immense success of the “surge” strategy in 2007-08. And while it’s foolhardy to apply a program as a one-size-fits-all template without considering local conditions, the Marines’ experience at Nawa and elsewhere indicates that COIN could work in Afghanistan, too, if given enough time and resources.

But there are serious questions, largely revolving around the hold of Islam on the population: Can a COIN strategy genuinely separate the population from the Taliban and al Qaeda, who claim to be mujahideen, “holy warriors?” Or will they only claim to be on our side, but instead practice taqiyya (religiously sanctioned deception), taking the goodies we offer but helping their Muslim brethren, fellow members of the Ummah? (Which I suspect would be the argument of Robert Spencer, an expert on Islam who grants great weight to its hold on the believer.) If the latter, then COIN would be a waste. I suspect the answer lies somewhere in the middle and that it will come down to “how many are there of each.” How many will genuinely back us, as opposed to those playing us for infidel suckers?

Based on our experiences in Iraq and the success of small COIN projects in Afghanistan, such as at Nawa, and given the expertise of Generals McChrystal and Petraeus (Servator Respublicae Iraqi!), I’m inclined to support the COIN strategy as “not guaranteed, but well-worth trying.” Afghanistan is the land from which the attacks of September 11th, 2001, were launched, and we can ill-afford to let the Taliban and al Qaeda come to dominate it again.

You decided on counterinsurgency once already, Mr. President. Now, act like a commander-in-chief and stick to it.

Related Reading: As I said, there’s been an argument on the Right about counterinsurgency versus counterterrorism.  Following are links to five articles that I think capture this debate and are well-worth your time to read. All these authors are top-notch:

  • Andy McCarthy writes against COIN, arguing that it’s folly to attempt “…the unlikeliest of social-engineering experiments: bringing big, modern, collectivist, secular government to a segmented, corrupt, tribal Islamic society”
  • Ralph Peters contends angrily that COIN is crazy, and it’s getting our troops murdered.
  • Max Boot has his own angry answer to McCarthy, and says McChrystal’s COIN strategy is the only way to win in Afghanistan and that the last eight years prove it.
  • Frederick Kagan makes his own persuasive argument that counterinsurgency is the way to go and that counterterrorism’s kill-and-capture methods have been shown not to work in the long run.
  • Finally, McCarthy replies to his critics to say that, if you don’t understand Islamic ideology, you don’t understand the problem in Afghanistan.

The articles are best read in the order presented, I think.


Taliban near nuclear weapons

October 22, 2009

This should make us all feel real good:

A Taliban suicide bomber has killed seven people near a nuclear weapons complex in Pakistan’s Punjab province.

The suicide bomber detonated outside a security checkpoint near the Kamra Air Weapon Complex in the district of Attock, Geo News reported. Three security personnel and four civilians were killed in the blast, and 12 more were wounded.

(…)

The Kamra Air Weapon Complex is one of three military industrial production facilities in the Wah Cantt, according to Global Security. The Pakistani Ordnance Factories, a collection of 14 factories that produce arms and ammunition for the Pakistani armed forces, and Heavy Industries Taxila are also contained within the Wah Cantt. More than 40,000 Pakistanis are employed at the factories.

Kamra is believed to be connected with Pakistan’s nuclear weapons program. The Pakistani Ordnance Factories are believed to store nuclear weapons at a “screwdriver level” – meaning the components are stored disassembled and can be assembled within hours of needed use.