Wednesday, October 04, 2006

U.S. Foreign Policy: Standing Up, Breaking Down, Coming Apart at the Seams

Remember the big "crackdown" that Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki ordered in Baghdad back in June?

It's cracking up.

From the San Francisco Chronicle:
In the second month of a security crackdown in the capital, U.S. military casualties appear to be rising, even as deaths among Iraqi security forces have fallen, according to U.S. military sources and analysts.

Military "experts" suspect the disparity between U.S. and Iraqi casualty trends may be partly because Iraqi police forces have grown in strength.

If the Iraqi police forces have "grown in strength," it sure isn't because the Iraqi Army is helping them out. 4,000 Iraqi Army troops refused to participate in the Baghdad operation.

And if Iraqi police are gaining strength, it isn't the kind of strength we want them to have. The Associated Press reports that Iraqi authorities have taken a police brigade out of service because of its complicity with death squads. Random members of the brigade (roughly 700 strong) are being investigated for ties to militias. U.S. military spokesman Major General William B. Caldwell said that the brigade will undergo "re-training."

The kind of "re-training" it will take to fix that brigade's problems involves a long wall and lots of blindfolds and cigarettes.

Lessons Unlearned

Meanwhile, back in the other quagmire, Jane's reports that NATO members of the International Security Assistance Force will attempt to quell the rising militancy in Afghanistan in part by "supplying the fledgling Afghan army with substantial amounts of surplus equipment and arms."

Land o' Goshen. Talk about inefficiency. Why doesn't NATO cut out the middleman and give the weapons and equipment directly to the Taliban?

Over in the Lebanon goat rope, two days after Israeli Defense Forces withdrew from south Lebanon, Hezbollah leaders announced that their weapons threatening Israel will remain along the border between the two countries. Muhammad Fanish, a Hezbollah minister in the Lebanese government, says that his organization "will never give up its arms."
The new United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) has authority, according to UNIFIL spokesman Alexander Ivanko, "to act forcefully when confronted with hostile activity of any kind."

However, the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF) will take the first actions in any cases of hostile activity. Now, the LAF operates under control of the Lebanese government, which in part consists of elected Hezbollah ministers. Any hostile activity it responds to will have been committed by Hezbollah. How many senior LAF officers do you reckon are part of Hezbollah? I'll bet a mortgage payment that the number is greater than one. Any takers?

And is anyone surprised that the European Union is considering an aid program aimed at "upgrading" the LAF?


U.S. forces gather to strike a country that doesn't have nuclear weapons and says it doesn't want any (Iran) while the U.S. all but ignores a country that admits it has nuclear weapons and says it wants to test them (Korea).

Fallow the Leader

Under the misrule of the neoconservative cabal, America's global leadership has never been so inept or impotent. Our ship of state is bow down in a sand dune, and even our cabin boy Britain is about to jump over the side. It's easy to take heart that American diplomacy may improve given the reports that John Bolton's bid for confirmation as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations is dead, but I'm not counting my chickens yet. Remember when Karl Rove was about to be indicted over the Traitor-gate affair?

The Bush administration resembles nothing so much as a cheesy summer horror flick. Just when you think the monster has been rubbed out of the picture, it comes back to life again. And again. And again…

And unfortunately, even after (if ever) we manage to rub out the neoconservative monsters, we'll still have to cope with the horrible situation they've created.


Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) writes from Virginia Beach, Virginia. Read his commentaries at ePluribus Media and Pen and Sword.

Related articles:

The Next World Order Series

Wars and Empires


  1. It is hard to wrap your mind around the whole of this mess, and you didn't mention Pakistan.
    I'm glad I'm safer.

    I think the firing squad is the answer to that issue and maybe some other traitors.

  2. Don't get me going on Pakistan. We can't go in there to look for bin Laden because it's a "sovereign nation?"

    What the hell was Afghanistan? What the hell was Iraq?

  3. Nice essay. I read this over at dkos but I'm glad I followed the link to your blog.

    What do you think of William Pflaff's recent editorial on Afghanistan, which says we should be negociating with the Taliban?

  4. Hi, Karl

    Thanks for dropping by.

    I have mixed thoughts on the Taliban issue, but suspect that at the end of the day, we'll have to accept that they'll have to have a voice in Afghan government affairs.


  5. Anonymous11:17 AM

    This blog should win the Most Underrated/Viewed Blog of 2006. The quality and style of your posts is amazing Jeff, I think you're a kind of military Glenn Greenwald. :)

    Back to topic though...

    I read somewhere that a Navy group is chugging along towards Iran as we speak and is supposed to get there on/near Oct 21. Any more details on that Jeff?

    If we're to have a non-pedophile October surprise, then logic dictates it has to happen between mid-October and Nov 7. Will we see the Persian Gulf of Tonkin, or will it be just "ah fuck it, let's attack them"? This is what happens when a sociopath leads your/our nation.

  6. Thanks for the nice words, Anonymous.

    I'll be posting sometime tomorrow with answers to some of the questions you pose.

  7. "Don't get me going on Pakistan."

    Amen and amen again.

    If ever there were a legitimate target after 9/11 for intense American action, it was Pakistan in general and the ISI in particular.

    Not necessarily invasion, but we should have put 130,000 troops in Afghanistan instead of Iraq, with a goodly percentage of them along the Paki-Afghan border. At that point we could have gone over the rules that Pakistan would be expected to follow re: Al Queda, stewardship of the Islamic Bomb, AQ Khan, etc.

    In 2002 we were the Biggest Kid On The Block, and we could have used that to our advantage in Pakistan instead of squandering it in Iraq.

  8. Oh, yeah. Amazing how all that works, huh Nunya?

  9. um...sir?

    War eeez beeg beezness heeeeer een deeeez parts.

  10. No keeeeeeeding! ;-)

  11. Jeff:

    I am with you on the difficulty of cleaning up the mess. I have been on Washington staffs now for nearly six years. It is a rare day when I do not have the opportunity to tell people that the first thing we need to do is to "put down the shovel" when they ask - how are we ever going to get out of this hole?

    Keep up the good work. It is entertaining and valuable. Pen and Sword just became the first link in a new section of my link list.

    Rod Adams
    Atomic Insights Blog

  12. Rod,

    Thanks for stopping by and posting. One of my biggest fears is that we'll wind up so far down the neocon slope there won't be any turning back.