Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Obama's AfPak Vagina Monologues

(Scene: The Bizarro Universe, January 1942. Bizarro Adm. William Leahy, chief of staff to Bizarro President Franklin Roosevelt and de facto first chairman of the Bizarro Joint Chiefs of Staff, enters the oval office of the Bizarro White House.)

Bizarro Leahy: Mr. President, your national security team has just adjourned after agreeing on what we think is the perfect Pacific strategy.

Bizarro FDR: That’s excellent, William. Let’s hear your plan.

Bizarro Leahy: The entire strategy rests on the vital geostrategic importance of Alaska, sir.

Bizarro FDR: (Pauses.) But, uh, William, what about the Philippines and New Zealand and Singapore and Midway and the Solomon Island chain and so forth?

Bizarro Leahy: Sir, Alaska is definitely the center of gravity of the war in the Pacific.

Bizarro FDR: But it’s not exactly in the center, is it? It’s more toward the top, wouldn’t you agree?

Bizarro Leahy: Yes, Mr. President, but it’s like they say, a fish rots from the head down.

Bizarro FDR: (Stroking his chin.) They do say that, don’t they?

Bizarro Leahy: You see, Mr. President, Midway and the Solomons and Singapore and so forth are important strategic targets, but the Japanese can’t capture them unless they have a sanctuary in Alaska from which to plan their operations.

Bizarro FDR: By George, William, you’ve explained it all perfectly. Thank goodness I have the expertise and experience of you and your Bizarro Chiefs of Staff to explain things to me. Order another 30,000 of our troops to Alaska then, and I’ll speak with Bizarro Winston Churchill about sending an additional 10,000 Australians and New Zealanders and Canadians to help out.

Barack Obama’s Af-Pak strategy must have the real FDR clawing at his coffin lid. The new strategy was cooked up by the same group of stooges Robert Dreyfuss laughably described as "Obama’s Chess Masters" in the April 2009 edition of Rolling Stone, one of the country’s most authoritative voices on military and foreign policy matters.

In March, the pawn pushers announced a strategy that promised to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda, give Afghanistan a real government and security force, establish civilian control of Pakistan, and involve the "international community" in achieving all of these "realistic and achievable" objectives.

Within months of assuming command of Af-Pak, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, whose previous combat job had been to command the Joint Special Operations Command, then-vice president Dick Cheney’s personal assassination team, decided he needed a new strategy.

So Obama sent his chess masters back to work on the project and they met and met for weeks and weeks in a "deliberative process," and here’s what they came up with.

The main objective, as before, was to disrupt, dismantle, and defeat al-Qaeda’s ability to plan and execute terror operations. This part of the deliberative process largely resembled the deliberative process from March, which included a debate on what the center of gravity might be.

Many of the brainiacs in and around the five-sided puzzle palace considered the Taliban to be the center of gravity. Stan McChrystal and Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen considered the Afghan people to be the center of gravity, but that’s largely because they buy the balderdash Gen. David Petraeus’ underlings wrote in the new plagiarized Counterinsurgency (COIN) Field Manual. Sen. John Kerry, not exactly known for his ability to devise and execute winning strategies, thinks the center of gravity in Afghanistan is Pakistan. Now the top dogs with the brass plates in their skulls are saying the center of gravity is southern Afghanistan.

Poppycock. None of these guys would recognize a center of gravity if it pitched a tent in their heinies.

Carl von Clausewitz described the center of gravity as "the point against which all our energies should be directed.” That point must of necessity be the thing most closely associated with our objective. So if our objective is to end al-Qaeda’s ability to plan and execute terror operations, a slow child could correctly conclude with little deliberation at all that the center of gravity is al-Qaeda. Funny how Obama’s chess champs couldn’t reach such an obvious conclusion through their advanced decision-making processes. Maybe the problem was too simple for them. Or maybe it was too hard. Maybe they should take up checkers, or better yet that childen’s card game where you play one card at a time. What’s it called again? Oh yeah – War!

War is, in fact, exactly what Obama’s security team is playing. Long War, to be specific, the Pentagon’s grand strategy to keep low-level conflicts active for another half-century or longer to justify the military budget. That’s why they don’t want to come out and call al-Qaeda the center of gravity. National Security Adviser James Jones admits there are at a maximum 100 al-Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan, and probably fewer than 400 in Pakistan. Other studies estimate that there may be fewer than 10 core al-Qaeda members left. It’s pretty hard to justify a 50-year war for the sake of taking out fewer than 500 Islamo-hooligans (at most) who are on the run. The other problem with that approach is that with modern mobile communications technology, al-Qaeda needs a safe haven in Af-Pak to plan terror attacks on America even less than the Japanese needed a sanctuary in Alaska to plan Pearl Harbor.

So we’re sticking with the same game plan as before, even though it’s even more farcical now than it was then. The Afghan president, who is as crooked as the Snake River, stole two elections, his hand-picked election inspectors declared him "reelected," and the Obama administration tripped all over its collective sex organ declaring Karzai the "legitimate" leader of Afghanistan so we can say we have a reliable partner for our counterinsurgency effort that now includes timelines that mean absolutely nothing. ("Depending on conditions on the ground." Where have we heard that load of snot rag before?)

Pakistan’s military and intelligence service have made President Asif Ali Zardari as much of an empty hat as George W. Bush was, and Pakistan is becoming as corrupt as Afghanistan is.

As for international involvement, Obama has managed to bully NATO countries into sending more troops to Afghanistan, but the second our bureaucratic twit Secretary of Defense Bob Gates complains for the umpteenth time that NATO doesn’t know how to fight guerrillas, NATO’s going to tell Gates where he can stick his guerrillas and go home.

Those weeks of "deliberative process" were little more than cover for the fact that Obama was once again going to put on his kneepads and give his generals everything they wanted. I shriek every time Obama gives a speech in which he talks about how brilliant Petraeus is when the facts are that all Petraeus knows how to do is hand out guns to bad guys, bribe the bad guys not to use the guns he just gave them, and then act surprised when they use the guns anyway.

Here’s what Obama needs to change right now. He needs to drop the vagina monologues, get his generals under control or fire them, start acting like the commander in chief, and quit acting like Bizarro FDR.


  1. FDR despaired of the military's influence in foreign affairs. The following excerpt from a March 15, 1945 Memorandum of Conversation is cited in America in Vietnam - A Documentary History (pg 40):

    "The President then asked me, 'What is the Navy's attitude in regard to territories? Are they trying to grab everything?' I replied that they did not seem to have much confidence in civilian controls. The President then asked me how I accounted for their attitudes.

    "I said that I thought that the military had no confidence in the proposed United Nations Organization. The President replied that he thought that was so. I told the President of the letter that Admiral Willson showed me addressed to the Secretary of the Navy, referring to the need of sending representatives to San Francisco in order to protect themselves against 'the international welfare boys.' The President then said that neither the Army nor the Navy had any business administering the civilian government of territories; that they had no competence to do this..."

    Obama's endorsement of the current military strategy (sic) and administration of the civilian governments of Afghanistan/Pakistan represent a seismic shift from FDR's concerns, Harry Truman's willingness to fire the extremely popular Douglas MacArthur, and Dwight Eisenhower's warning to beware the military-industrial complex.

    Perhaps this is what was meant by the campaign slogan "Change we can believe in."

    Mark Ganzer

  2. Anonymous1:46 PM

    The center of gravity is not Al Q. because the US Military Industrial Complex is not waging war against Al Q. It is waging war against Arabs, against Iranians, against Muslims, against Asians, against Europeans, against Latin Americans, and even against the American people.
    The US Generals are not stupid. They only appear stupid when viewed from a conventional view point. Those at the lower levels of the military have been educated to be useful idiots, or programed to be useful killers. I really do not know if the generals can be defeated.
    Who will try to defeat them? If anyone, will they have the tools and the intelligence to have any effect on their operations at all?
    Things look really grim.
    Would the world economy really collapse without the US. I do not agree with that at all. I do not see how anyone who claims the free market economies are efficient producers and distributors of goods and services could say that. But I guess that this debate belongs on the other thread that was continued at the American Conservative.

  3. Anonymous8:14 PM

    It is not the generals alone.

    The useful military is the tool to keep the benefits of technology and resources from distribution.

    Fear, perpetual war and the plea to security are tools to draw the people from seeking what they deserve.

    The military industrial complex is a profitable tool for a fascist form of government control of the production for the benefit of the few. Like modern Kruppes.

  4. Anonymous5:05 PM

    No of course it is not the Generals alone. But they are the lynch pins. They should not by lynched however.
    That would be a bit too ironic. They should be tossed over the I95 bridge northwest of Washington DC. in to the Potomac River with out a life vest. No apology should be given if they land on the shore instead. In fact their estates should be charged for the toxic waste clean up costs.

  5. Anonymous8:20 AM

    Yes, the first step is to laugh out loud. The second step is to realize that it is not a joke. The third step is to tell someone that you are prepared to do it if you have a reasonable chance to get away with it. The fourth step is to realize that you will have a reasonable chance if you can find enough people who would be willing to help you do it. The fifth step is to realize that if events happen quickly it will not take an enormous number of people. What happens after that I do not wish to spell out.
    Let me spell this out instead.
    Pacifism might be a good idea if everyone else was a pacifist too.
    It is an idea that can only be achieved collectively. Agreements can be made between people that are valid if certain conditions are meet. For example I promise to contribute 100 dollars to build a bridge if 10,000 other people also promise to contribute 100 dollars so that there will be enough money raised for the bridge to be built. If you wonder what this has to do with the first part of the post you are absolutely right it has nothing to do with it.
    I just wanted to change the subject.
    Now I want to change the subject again. Portugal 1974. Romania 1989. Spain 1930s. A bloodless coup. An uprising that leads to a few days of heavy fighting and then the collapse of an unjust government. An attempted coup that leads to a civil war that lasts for years.
    Why is it that I oppose it unjust wars? Because they lead to needless suffering and death.
    A civil war in America could lead to a huge amount of death and suffering. Not attempting a bloodless coup could also lead to a huge amount of needless death and suffering. Who deserves to die and suffer more Iranians or Americans? Who deserves to die and suffer more, Afghans, Iraqis, or Americans? Who deserves to die and suffer more Venezuelans, Hondurans, Cubans, or Americans?
    Am I making up an either or situation that does really not exist? I think that most Americans would answer obviously yes. People in other parts of the world would answer definitely not.
    Thank you,

  6. Remarkable, JP. Thanks.


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