Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Send in the Strategy Clowns

by Jeff Huber

Perhaps nothing signals how bogus the Obama administration’s latest review of its own strategy in the Bananastans more than the Dec. 14 announcement by White House spokesmodel Robert Gibbs that there will be no change to the strategy. 

The administration bull feather merchants said the same thing when Obama transferred “Bananas” Stan McChrystal to Civilian Command for shooting off his mouth (and other body parts) in front of journalist Michael Hastings of the Rolling Stone about what colossal buffoons National Security Adviser James Jones and special Bananastans envoy Richard Holbrooke and the rest of Obama’s security team were (and, with the exception of the recently deceased Holbrooke, still are).  McChrystal’s insubordination was unacceptable, we were told, but the strategy he was using was perfectly sound.  

As wrong as McChrystal was about everything else, he was dead on about Jones and the rest of Obama’s strategy clowns.  They are colossal buffoons, and the strategy they keep telling us doesn’t need fixing is the biggest butt-trumpet of a war plan since the Maginot Line, the massive border defense system that took the French two decades to build and Hitler’s army two days to defeat.

The Bananastan strategy became official when it hit the war-cozy New York Times in March 2009.   The psychedelic “White Paper of the Interagency Policy Group’s Report on U.S. Policy toward Afghanistan and Pakistan” was a five-star hallucination from beginning to end.  “The United States has a vital national security interest” in the Bananastans, it told us.  Why?  Because, “In Pakistan, al Qaeda and other groups of jihadist terrorists are planning new terror attacks” against the U.S. homeland as well as the homelands of some of our allies who we still pretend to care about.

There’s nothing like basing strategy and policy on a delusional premise.  Just look at how well that worked for us in Iraq.  We have no idea if al Qaeda or any other terrorists are planning new terror attacks on anybody, much less whether they’re doing so in Pakistan.  Our intelligence in that part of the world, by which I mean all of Asia and Africa, is like a chain letter racket: its inherent design dictates that whoever is at the far end of the chain gets crushed against a cliff and flung down a bottomless chasm. 

Throughout our misanthropic misadventures in the War on Ism, we’ve stepped from one Pungi trap to the next to the next because our intelligence is based on bribing or beating whatever locals we can get our hooks on into telling us what we want to hear.  Want to get rid of your worst enemies?  Tell the Americans they’re al Qaeda number two men.   But don't tell them right away, I mean, don’t take the first wad of bills they flash at you.  Hold out for at least twice the original offer. 

This business of King David Petraeus negotiating with a “high-ranking Taliban leader” who turned out to be an imposter was the stuff of a Doonesbury episode (I’m pretty insured it inspired the story line where The Red Rascal aka Jeff Redfern gives a $5 million bribe to someone who claims to be Karzai but isn’t).  That our intelligence is bad enough to let a four-star theater commander get suckered into dropping his pants in front of a glory hole like that shocks even me, who’s never been remotely impressed by the caliber of U.S. intelligence, military or otherwise.  I’m convinced at this point that our intelligence agencies are training their operatives with the same two-step method the Navy used in my day to produce qualified hospital corpsmen: watch a qualified instructor perform a procedure once and you’re qualified to perform it unsupervised.  Then you perform the procedure unsupervised once and you’re a qualified instructor. 

Our best intelligence estimates guess there are maybe a few hundred al Qaeda in the Bananastans, and that they’re probably hiding in some cave town in the Pakistan’s SWAT valley.  They’ve apparently been hiding out there for close to a decade.  Pentarchy stenographers Mark Mazetti and Dexter Filkins of the Times report that unnamed “senior military commanders” are “pushing for an expanded campaign of Special Operations ground raids across the border into Pakistan’s tribal areas.”  Oh, boy.  How many new evildoers will they create when they slaughter everybody except the bad guys they’re supposed to be going after?

Gen. David Petraeus
The “progress” that Obama’s Bozos boast of in the latest strategy review refers to the scorched earth operation Petraeus is running in Kandahar, where he and his troops are laying villages to waste like James Earl Jones and his hooligans did in the original Conan the Barbarian.  Remember the look on little Conan’s face when Jones lopped off his mommy’s head with his daddy’s sword?  I’ll be back!  The beauty part is that Petraeus can’t justify reenacting Sherman’s March to the Sea in Kandahar as being necessary to defeat al Qaeda because what little there is of al Qaeda isn’t in bloody Kandahar.  But Petraeus quit having to justify anything he does a long time ago. 

Given how successful Obama’s national security Kadiddlehoppers think Petraeus’s grand mal massacre in Kandahar is going, the next thing we should try is carpet-bombing every square inch of Afghanistan and Pakistan for a solid month or two.  We might accidentally kill all the bad guys along with the entire civilian population, and then we’d have a tough time cooking up an excuse for occupying that part of the world for a generation or two.  But, that’s how wars go; once in a while you have to take risks.

One of several problems in our present national security environment is that the people who draw up strategies are professional war wonks.  War wonks typically have no military experience or any other background that makes them any more qualified to run a war than a Navy hospital corpsman is.  And war wonks come in two flavors: they’re either the neocon schlemiels who led us into our national pratfall or they’re Democrats who are so afraid of losing their jobs to the neocons that they do whatever they think the neocons would do if the neocons already had their jobs.   Whatever lesser evil we stick in the Oval Office will always be surrounded by advisers for whom inextricable wars equal job security.

So stick that in your peace pipe and blow bubbles with it. 

Commander Jeff Huber, U.S. Navy (Retired) is the author of the critically applauded novel Bathtub Admirals, a satire on America’s rise to global dominance.       


  1. Our HUMINT on the AF-PAK theatre ought to improve dramatically now that our gay and lesbian soldiers, air force, and navy, can come back and do their translating thing. So, perhaps there is a fleck of white sand trying to penetrate the dark dark mountain which is the clusterf#ck which is our foreign policy which is our military strategy in Af-Pak, Iraq, and, Insha' Allah, Iran (while Putin methodically invites the EU to form a new bushel basked of currency based on some combination of the Euro and the Ruble - and, with a lick of common sense, the Remimbi too)

  2. Nice sentiment, Mark, but I'm afraid not even gays and lesbians can save the war effort now. Maybe if they'd been kept on board from the beginning... ;-)