Thursday, December 16, 2010

Binocular Snapshot for 12/16/2010

LastDayWatchers view with your LOUPE an article called "Imperial by Design" written by John J. Mearsheimer who is the R. Wendell Harrison Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science at the University of Chicago. He is on the Advisory Council of The National Interest.

I make mention of this because it is some of the best reading you will be able to come across during this "review" season, it is short (by review standards), precise and accurate with regard to The United States problem and therefore has earned 5 stars ***** in the Recommended Reading

Imperial by Design

"The results, however, have been disastrous. The United States has been at war for a startling two out of every three years since 1989, and there is no end in sight. As anyone with a rudimentary knowledge of world events knows, countries that continuously fight wars invariably build powerful national-security bureaucracies that undermine civil liberties and make it difficult to hold leaders accountable for their behavior; and they invariably end up adopting ruthless policies normally associated with brutal dictators, the Founding Fathers understood this problem.


As is clear from James Madison’s observation that “no nation can preserve its freedom in the midst of continual warfare.” 


Washington’s pursuit of policies like assassination, rendition and torture over the past decade, not to mention the weakening of the rule of law at home, shows that their fears were justified.


To make matters worse, the United States is now engaged in protracted wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that have so far cost well over a trillion dollars and resulted in around forty-seven thousand American casualties. The pain and suffering inflicted on Iraq has been enormous. Since the war began in March 2003, more than one hundred thousand Iraqi civilians have been killed, roughly 2 million Iraqis have left the country and 1.7 million more have been internally displaced. Moreover, the American military is not going to win either one of these conflicts, despite all the phony talk about how the “surge” has worked in Iraq and how a similar strategy can produce another miracle in Afghanistan. We may well be stuck in both quagmires for years to come, in fruitless pursuit of victory."

                    ***

Alternatively, one might argue that the main problem in Afghanistan and Iraq was that the U.S. military had a flawed counterinsurgency doctrine during the early stages of those conflicts. According to this story, the United States eventually found the right formula with the December 2006 edition of the U.S. Army and Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual 3-24 (FM 3-24). Indeed, the purported success of the Iraq surge is often ascribed to the implementation of the new rules of engagement. Some even claim that it has helped us achieve victory in Iraq


The problem with this argument is that President Bush made clear when the surge was launched in January 2007 that tamping down the violence was a necessary but not sufficient condition for success. He wisely emphasized that it was also essential that rival Iraqi groups ameliorate their differences and find a workable system for sharing political power. 


But to this day there has been little progress in fixing Iraq’s fractured society and building an effective political system, as evidenced by the difficulty Iraqi politicians have had forming a government in the wake of the March 7, 2010, parliamentary elections. Hence, the surge has not been a success


This failure is not for lack of trying; nation building is a daunting task. The scope of the challenge is still greater in Afghanistan. So even if one believes that the American military now has a smart counterinsurgency doctrine, the fact is that it has yet to succeed."

Also view the Chatham House Report

No Shortcut to Stability: Justice, Politics and Insurgency in Afghanistan

"The Afghan government and its international partners have generally treated justice as a secondary concern, marginal to ‘real’ politics. Yet it is fundamental to stability in Afghanistan.


Indeed, lack of justice (broadly defined) is the key common element which underlies much of the weakness of the Afghan state, as well as the most important political drivers of the conflict – bad and weak governance, political exclusion, abuses by the powerful, and corruption.


The sense of injustice has a visceral motivating power which easily takes on a political dimension – especially in Afghanistan, where justice historically has been tied to state legitimacy and where there is ample precedent for armed resistance in the face of perceived wrongs. Afghans commonly talk of people joining the Taliban because they are naraz (dissatisfied) or majbur (obliged or forced), which broadly relate to political marginalization and abuses by those in power."

                    ***

Transitional justice has been effectively neutralized. Civilians who welcomed deployments of the NATO-led International Stabilization and Assistance Force (ISAF) in the hope they would limit the power of the militias have watched as the foreigners have routinely allied themselves with strongmen at various levels, and consolidated their power through lucrative contracts for security and logistics: the foreigners are understandably seen as complicit in the crimes of their allies.


The short-term approach may have immediate attractions, but it has undermined any COIN (counter-
insurgency) strategy based on building up effective, legitimate and accountable government, and neutered international protest about corrupt or predatory actions.


Efforts directly aimed at reforming the justice institutions are telling. They have been more focused on fighting the insurgency than on justice as such: the judiciary has been neglected until recently and the police have been built up as a paramilitary force rather than a tool to support rule of law. After nine years, both sectors are weak and corrupt to the point of often being actual sources of crime. As in many other areas, the Afghan government and international donors have preferred technical support which side-steps the political aspects of the problem – those that concern accountability and the way power is distributed, used and abused.


But rule of law and justice are fundamentally political issues, and it is questionable how
much progress can be made without addressing this.

                    ***


The history of the last nine years is a powerful argument that justice is critical to the basic political stability and government control over Afghan territory that are often presented as key to the security concerns of the international community and Afghans themselves.


Given the role of injustice in fueling the conflict, a lack of a clear strategy to deal with the issue is almost equivalent to a lack of strategy for the domestic political aspects of the insurgency – a disturbing prospect given the first principle of counter-insurgency is supposedly a stress on politics rather than military operations.


Justice, and human rights, which can provide a framework for justice, are as a result not just a matter of idealism: they are a matter of entirely self-interested realism and strategic calculation, of importance even if one disregards any moral considerations. Ironically, it is supposed realpolitik that has in the end proved to be an unaffordable indulgence.


The prioritization of the short-term imperatives of the ‘Global War on Terror’ over justice and long-term state-building is often presented as the hard-headed pursuit of international security interests, but it has in fact been a major contributor to the rise of the insurgency – at the expense of ordinary Afghans who have suffered the consequences of both injustice and insecurity.


According to its Rule of Law strategy, Washington now recognizes that ‘justice and security are
inseparable’.219 The same conclusion is also voiced by the most senior international military officers in the armed forces.


Afghans who have struggled to clean up the system with little international support have
not failed to notice that the change in tone has followed Taliban successes. As one former deputy minister said.


"The West cries about corruption now, but they didn’t care before. They’re ready to fight the Taliban,but they’ve been indifferent to the snakes and scorpions which bite Afghans. Only when the corruption started to affect the international community did they became ready to act."

Giving you better understanding of the Failures as they continue to mount up

Israel can't defeat Hezbollah - Israeli expert

"Israel cannot defeat Hezbollah in a direct engagement and the Lebanese guerrilla group would inflict heavy damage on the Israeli home front if war broke out, a former Israeli national security adviser said Thursday.


Though outnumbered and outgunned, Hezbollah held off Israel's advanced armed forces in a 2006 war and fired more than 4,000 rockets into Israeli territory. The group has a domestic political base and has since bolstered an arsenal that Israel describes as a strategic threat.


Tensions between Israel and Hezbollah's Iranian and Syrian backers have stoked expectations of renewed violence in Lebanon.


"Israel does not know how to beat Hezbollah," said Giora Eiland, an army ex-general who served as national security adviser to former prime ministers Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert.


"Therefore a war waged only as Israel-versus-Hezbollah might yield better damage on Hezbollah, but Hezbollah would inflict far worse damage on the Israeli homefront than it did 4-1/2 years ago," he told Israel Radio.


"Our only way of preventing the next war, and of winning if it happens anyway, is for it to be clear to everyone ... that another war between us and Hezbollah will be a war between Israel and the state of Lebanon and will wreak destruction on the state of Lebanon.


"And as no one -- including Hezbollah, the Syrians or the Iranians -- is interested in this, this is the best way of creating effective deterrence."

"Eiland said such a scenario would have "the entire world crying out for a cease-fire within two days", which would be more in the Israeli interest "than having to deal directly with every one of [Hezbollah's estimated] 40,000 rockets".

Defense Minister Ehud Barak has argued that Hezbollah's role in governing Lebanon would make the country fair game in any future war involving the Shiite militia."

"Nasrallah accused Israel of spying on Lebanon with radars hidden underground that send pictures day and night."

Nasrallah's speech came after an announcement earlier in the day by the Lebanese army that military experts had discovered and dismantled two Israeli spy cameras planted in the country's mountains.


"The resistance is working day and night and training day and night," Nasrallah said


The military was tipped off about the systems by Hezbollah, the army statement said.


Hezbollah, which is backed by Iran and Syria, holds veto power in the Lebanese government."

Long-range missile defense test fails

"A test of the United States' only long-range missile defense system failed Wednesday -- the second failure this year in two tries.


The Pentagon's Missile Defense Agency said both the intermediate-range ballistic missile target and the long-range interceptor missile launched successfully, radar and sensors worked properly and the "kill vehicle" deployed. But the "kill vehicle" didn't hit the target.


The $100 billion missile shield program has had numerous problems. In December 2008, an interceptor launched from Vandenburg "killed" a target launched from Kodiak, Alaska. But the test wasn't able to determine a key aspect -- whether the interceptor could tell the difference between a decoy and a real missile -- because the decoy failed to launch.


Riki Ellison, chairman and founder of the Missile Defense Advocacy Alliance, a nonpartisan organization that advocates for the deployment of missile defense systems, said the failure "is a tremendous setback," noting three major test failures in the past two years."

Ellison said many of the country's interceptors are nearly identical to the one that failed Wednesday, and he questioned the military's confidence in the ground-based system deployed in Alaska and California."

Blast off Lebanon coast was IDF destroying espionage device

"The explosion heard in Lebanon late Wednesday was an Israel Air Force operation aimed at destroying an espionage device it had installed off the coast of the city of Sidon, the Voice of Lebanon radio station reported on Thursday.


The report comes a day after the Lebanese Army said it had uncovered two Israeli spy installations in mountainous areas near Beirut and the Bekaa Valley, The installations included photographic equipment as well as laser and broadcast equipment.


This is the third time within a year that Israeli intelligence gathering installations have reportedly been discovered on Lebanese territory. On the two other occasions, the Lebanese found equipment designed to tap into Hezbollah's independent communications network.


In each case, the Lebanese Army acted on intelligence information provided by Hezbollah itself. If the latest reports from Lebanon are accurate, the discovery would constitute a severe blow to Israel's intelligence-gathering technology in Lebanon. The reported loss to Israel of these intelligence sources follows a wave of arrests more than a year and a half ago of individuals who Lebanon has claimed were agents working on behalf of Israel. In the course of those arrests, nearly 100 Lebanese and Palestinians were detained, including senior Lebanese Army officers."

Therefore view the truth in your LOUPE that you may act faithfully, in spite of the lying propaganda you are being inundated; with lies like these

Winning in Afghanistan

"As we went north into the Arghandab River Valley — a Taliban stronghold until a few months ago — we found numerous American and Afghan outposts and soldiers patrolling on foot between them.


We spoke with one company commander who had just returned from a nighttime air assault to secure a village. But Arghandab is growing more secure, and officers are spending more time on governance. Everywhere we went, the message was the same: The Taliban was surprised by the capabilities and ferocity of U.S. forces, and it has largely retreated to regroup.


To be sure, fighting normally slackens in the winter; the extent of recent gains won't be clear until the spring. But when the Taliban returns, it will find many of its old stomping grounds fortified to resist incursions."

Coalition operations have cleared most insurgents not only from Arghandab but also from the nearby districts of Panjwai and Zheray. Similar progress is evident in the central Helmand River Valley in districts such as Nawa, Garmsir and Marja"

NATO Push Deals Taliban a Setback in Kandahar

"The Taliban leadership was so concerned that it held a meeting recently to discuss how to counter the American-led offensive and regain key districts around the city of Kandahar, the Taliban member said. They appointed a new commander, Maulavi Sattar, to oversee the winter campaign in Kandahar and are pressing fighters to stall expansion of coalition and government forces in the province, and prevent recruitment of local police officers in the districts.


Nevertheless the Taliban fighters were losing heart and showing signs of division, said the Taliban commander, who has been sheltering in Kandahar city since the insurgents were routed from his district in October."

" General Petraeus, drawing on images of U.S. forces turning the tide by landing on the coast of Normandy during World War II, "victory" or at least "light at the end of the tunnel" does not seem too far off"

This is encouraging. Senior American generals seem to agree with the blueprint and its promise of success and eventual drawdown in Afghanistan. General David Petraeus, commander of International Security Forces in Afghanistan, noted that his troops over the last few months had "arrested the momentum of the Taliban" (Bloomberg) and had "reversed the tide" of the war in certain critical areas."

Obama touts Afghan war progress

"Obama, under pressure to show results after criticizing his predecessor George W. Bush for neglecting the war, insisted that U.S.-led forces were scoring gains against the Taliban and al Qaeda"

"It's always better to call it success as opposed to failure"

whether Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top coalition commander in Afghanistan, has been too vocal in his claims of progress this fall. "Kabul has been focused on December when the real battle in Washington will be later on," a senior military official said."

Therefor know the truth which the May 15th Prophecy have given you with 100% accuracy

Taliban Extend Reach to North, Where Armed Groups Reign

"Although the numbers of American and German troops in the north have more than doubled since last year, insecurity has spread, the Taliban are expanding their reach, and armed groups that purportedly support the government are terrorizing local people and hampering aid organizations, according to international aid workers, Afghan government officials, local residents and diplomats."


The government claims they established arbekais to protect the villages, but if you go to the villagers and ask the villagers some will even say they prefer the Taliban, because the arbekais are harassing them, taxing them,” he said.


Meanwhile, the Taliban have begun to spread throughout the north to areas that were previously untroubled, like the provincial capital of Sar-i-Pul and the neighboring province of Faryab. More than 50 Taliban fighters — some officials put the number at 150 — staged a complex attack in Sar-i-Pul on Oct. 24 to try to win the release of Taliban prisoners.


The proliferation of armed groups has left organizations, including the Red Cross, struggling to keep projects afloat. Since they work without armed security, they have to persuade local strongmen to allow their staffs to operate unimpeded. Doctors Without Borders is weighing whether to open a clinic, but found the number of armed groups there daunting, said Michiel Hofman, the country representative.


"Every five kilometers there’s a different commander with no central command structure,"


“After 6 p.m. the road is absolutely dangerous,” said Ismatullah, 35, a taxi driver from Imam Sahib District. “Many times my car has been looted by unknown armed people. Who knows — are they arbekais, Taliban or are they our own police?”

There are already signs that NATO gains may not hold into next spring

"During the military offensive into Kandahar this past fall, Arghandab district proved one of the most deadly for NATO and Afghan forces. Some NATO units here saw half of their soldiers killed or injured by mines, roadside bombs, and firefights. The district governor, Haji Abdul Jabbar, was assassinated in June. Just days after The New York Times reported that coalition forces were “routing” the Taliban in Arghandab this October, the photographer for the story lost both his legs when he stepped on a land mine.


The increased pressure in the south has pushed the insurgency into the north and the Taliban appear to be growing from a largely local movement into an organization with national appeal

Progress in strengthening the Afghan government, seen as a vital component of maintaining any security improvements, has been anything but steady, which is perhaps most troublesome to war planners


“If the government doesn’t ... expand the rule of law through all the districts, I think that when spring returns, the Taliban will sneak inside the districts again and their presence will increase day by day," says Hazratmir Totakhil, director of Kandahar University."

Because God curse on the Bush/Obama Administrations will continue unabated

"Bombs hidden in trash cans exploded near a group of pilgrims in a town north of Baghdad"

killing two people Thursday as millions of Shiites headed to ceremonies to mark a day of mourning, police said four blasts struck the procession in the town of Dujail, located some 50 (80 kilometers) miles north of Baghdad. Six people were also wounded in the attack"

Bleak outlook for plans to help Sons of Iraq

"Iraqi military officials put together a 17-point draft plan, obtained by The Associated Press, that is by far the broadest proposal yet to help the estimated 51,900 Sunni fighters who sided with U.S. forces at the height of Iraq's insurgency. Their support created a crucial turning point in the war.


"al-Maliki's advisers say local officials and the Shiite-dominated Interior Ministry are pushing back, claiming they don't have the budgets to hire the thousands of new personnel. As a result, the advisers say, the plan won't work.


"This plan was written by someone who is dreaming, and doesn't know the real situation on the ground," said Zuhair al-Chalabi, the head of a federal committee that al-Maliki formed to integrate the militiamen. "We have met with governors, and some of them don't even want to hear the name Sons of Iraq."


The slowness in dealing with the militias has been a sore spot for Sunnis.


Nothing has been done to advance the militiamen's integration since the vote, and Sons of Iraq militiamen continue to be targeted almost daily by Sunni insurgents who call them traitors


Iraqi intelligence officials believe a small number of militiamen — about a half of 1 percent — have rejoined al-Qaida or other extremist groups that pay them more reliably than the government.


More importantly, the fighters say, they still are viewed with suspicion by Shiite-dominated security forces who accuse them of being insurgents"

Roadside bomb kills 14 Afghan civilians

"A roadside bomb probably set by Taliban insurgents killed at least 14 Afghan civilians aboard a minibus Thursday in the country's northwest, normally a relatively safe area."

4 members of Afghan army mistakenly killed

"A mistaken airstrike in Afghanistan by NATO-led coalition forces killed four members of the Afghan National Army, a local official said Thursday.
The airstrike was in the Musa Qala district in Helmand province Wednesday, said Daud Ahmadi, a spokesman for the provincial governor.


A spokesman of NATO's International Security Assistance Forces confirmed that there was an airstrike in the area and that they received reports that four Afghan soldier were mistakenly killed."

Texas braces for yet another drought

"There's no green in any of Central Texas rancher Gerry Shudde's pastures, again dry conditions are expected to worsen in the next six weeks and persist through at least February, weather officials said. The culprit is La Nina, a weather pattern that typically means less than normal rainfall and above normal temperatures.

"The screaming message will be the drier part, more so than the warmer," said Victor Murphy, a National Weather Service meteorologist. "Things are pretty much bad and going to get worse."

See what happen next according to God's Word with 100% accuracy at the May 15th Prophecy written at LastDayWatchers

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