Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

October 16, 2009

This is the face of US national interest

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on October 16, 2009

balloon-boy1

A Thursday column by Simon Tisdale in The Guardian headlines, With friends like the US, Pakistan doesn’t need enemies.  

As the Obama administration dithers over what to do for the best in Afghanistan, neighbouring Pakistan is paying an increasingly heavy price. Like a spate of previous Taliban attacks in recent days, today’s mayhem in Lahore underscored fears that the principal consequence of Washington’s Afghan paralysis, albeit unintended, is the further destabilisation of the Pakistani state.

Over the last eleven days the Taliban-in-Pakistan and their allies have  launched a series of attacks across the country.  There was a 22 hour siege of the military headquarters in Rawalpindi, civilian targets were hit in Peshawar and police targets in Lahore, there was a grenade attack in Quetta, bombings in Kohat and elsewhere

In an interview with the UK’s Sky News, Hakimullah Mehsud, leader of the Taliban-in-Pakistan (outside Waziristan), has warned the attacks will continue as long as the Pakistani security services, “follow American orders.”  He also tosses off  a promise to attack India.  Hakimullah has previously promised direct attacks on the US.

This most recent offensive spike is seen as related to pending Pakistani ground operations against the Taliban-in-Pakistan’s operational core, al-Qaeda hideout, and Mehsud tribal home in South Waziristan. 

On October 14 the Washington Post editorialized, “For years the United States has been trying to persuade Pakistan to fully confront the threat of the Taliban, even as its government and army dithered and wavered. Now that the army at last appears prepared to strike at the heart of the movement in Waziristan, the Obama administration is wavering — and considering a strategy that would give up the U.S. attempt to defeat the Taliban in Afghanistan.”

The evidence of wavering is speculative.  Those inside the administration argue the President is attempting to — among other goals — set the political preconditions for success, whatever strategy is applied in AfPak.  Crucial to this is broad recognition of how the US has a keen stake in the outcome of struggles all along the Hindu Kush. 

Neither the Taliban nor al-Qaeda present the most dangerous threats to a successful AfPak strategy. The biggest threat is the disinterest of the American people.

Thursday night, just before going to bed, I checked the headlines in London and Islamabad.   I then turned to CNN. 

It was as if entering a different dimension.  Falcoln Heene, seen above, and his Mylar balloon dominated the headlines.  I scanned the “Latest News,” here’s what was listed:

This was not Entertainment Tonight.  This was the homepage of “America’s most trusted news source.” Instead of “latest news”,  how about “Most Viewed”?

  1. Boy, 6, thought adrift in balloon found alive
  2. World captivated by ‘Balloon Boy’
  3. Original KISS drummer beats breast cancer
  4. Sweat lodge deaths investigated as homicides
  5. Balloon family was featured on ‘Wife Swap’
  6. Tom Joyner gets justice 94 years later 
  7. Many hospitals are banning VBACs
  8. Obama visits New Orleans, blasts critics 
  9. A Dem backlash against GOP Sen. Snowe?
  10. Scientists hope poison gas can be a lifesaver

The early Friday morning CNN headlines are not much different. 

We are at war. Those who attacked us on 9/11 are in the cross-hairs.  Yet they are showing fierce resistance.  South Asia hangs in the balance.  We are barely emerging from the worst economic recession in a generation, the dollar is under sustained pressure as the principal reserve currency, a major policy debate on health care is at a crucial inflection point…

What the President may see as our national interest is not interesting to most Americans.  In a democracy, how are you supposed to square that difference?

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5 Comments »

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 16, 2009 @ 8:34 am

The interesting thing to me is that most people through MSM never get the full story but seem content unless their own lives immediately impacted by some threat or event. If only NYC had been struck on 9/11 would Washington Politicos been so interested in followup? The reason I ask of course is that in 1993 the WTC was first attacked but almost seemed no one noticed. The destruction of a sense of community and the failure to ask “for whom the bell tolls” is absolutely amazing. Our politics and culture appear headed for self-destruction if not by outsiders. While the US struggles for the very first time to figure out what its role should be in S. Asia after almost a decade of indecision it does appear that the Taliban and AQ have their policy and strategy in place.
First, destabilize Pakistan and allow radical fundamentalist Jihadis access to the Islamic Bomb. Then given India’s large Muslim population destabilize and perhaps again partition India. Hey it looks like the rest of the century that will be the principal effort but perhaps could add the overthrow of secular dictatorships in the Arab world, now that the US has shown the way in Iraq. Again it does seem to me that the US better come up with a strategy to deal with Islam in general, its radical elements, and learning its language and cultures seems to be a good start. What is interesting and perhaps an asset is that the diaspora of Chinese throughout the world seem to have some immunity to Islam for a variety of reasons. But Russian and China do have significant Muslim minorities and treatment of those minorities will always be a sensitive subject for the US and those running its foreign policy and foreign affairs. I guess my question is simple? Are we (the US) up to the challenge of learning about other cultures, religions, and their languages? And will be be able to do all that in time to then formulate a policy that works and helps protect us and promote democracy?

Comment by William R. Cumming

October 16, 2009 @ 3:27 pm

My best guesstimate is that a full scale military coup in Pakistan may be around the corner. Other opinions?

Comment by Philip J. Palin

October 17, 2009 @ 7:31 am

Well, given the history of Pakistan, it is a pretty reasonable bet, depending on what size corner you have in mind. But I would be surprised at a coup emerging in the next six months, unless the Taliban would succeed in a mass assasination of civilian leadership. For the time being, it is in the military’s self-interest to allow civilian politicians to buffer public criticisms and expectations.

Comment by christopher tingus

October 17, 2009 @ 8:53 am

“A full scale military coup in Pakistan may be around the corner” is a reality which insightful and well versed men like William Cumming and others of the utmost in regional AfPak expertise are justified in concern.

To distrack from the general populace surprise in hearing such a news event, I am sincerely hopeful that those respected such as Wolfe Blitzer, John King and Chritiane Amanpour and other media reporting will continue to direct attention to the topic and talk about this possibility in “coup” and seek educated and respected opinion as to the regiional remifications though I do have my own opinion.

I concur that the Taliban has clarity in its narrow minded regional objectives and a coup initiated by the same Army and security/police forces we have financially supported and trained is inevitable and from my read, expected to take place very soon before the year’s end.

For this reason, it is imperative that we continue presence on the ground in Afghanistan to convey our strength in stance against radical factions.

You Mr. President should order 40,000 or whatever number the Joint Chiefs of staff with their invaluable input. We rely on their judgement, not the void in leadership and beltway partisanship which has led this beloved nation into bankruptcy.

While it is inevitably that this Army coup will destabilize the region further and will subject the Middle East to much strife (see: Egypt), Taliban must come to grips with the fact that the government of India and the good people of India are well aware of your culture.

In an interview from a Beijing reporter this past week asking whether the WMD sites in Pakistan are under safe control, it is obvious that China is very much concerned with the issue.

Thank God India is your neighbor for it is the global community which must support and rely on India, well aware of the internal instability you present which the Indian government and its people will address appropriately with stern hand and conviction when neecssary. No one should underestimate the government of India as it will address your objectives when neceessary in an appropriate response.

It is the global community which must clasp each other’s hand now and be proactive.

We have spent millions and millions to support the Pakistani government and trained its Army and security/police forces. Millions and millions of “fiat” dollars in support of a government which supports the Taliban and its Army at top tier expressing much dislike towards the American government.

For those in the know, the corruption has been so obvious from the top down through the ranks and cheeks have been turned believing that “change” would take place as time would go on with so many dollars flowing from here to there….

To the Taliban and to those of you with such aspirations from within the ranks, yes you may soon succeed in tipping the scale, however between the EU and the government of India, your hopes will be dashed. Yes we understand that instability in Egypt exists as well and in so many other places and your short term strategy will help bring further disharmony to the region, however your objectives will be thwarted by other. It is so written.

Bring on your coup and relish in your intitial delight with advancement of objective, yet it will be
short lived for the global community of the 21st century is becoming weary of big government, partisan politics, self-agenda, corruption and narrow perspective at a time when technology and science promise much hope to mankind.

Contrary to the beliefs of numerous folks, the United States of America is a great nation. It is a country comprised of a melting pot of well intentioned people from all over the world who abhor oppression from within and far yonder willing to send its youth to make a better world in offering hope to so many who do not even have clean water or electricity while the marble cities in Dubai stand tall.

As a proud natural born American of this beloved nation, I have no interest in learning anything more about those who claim such dastardly deeds in the name of Islam for I am of Hellenic descent and have the advantage of knowing many individuals of differing ethnic and religious preferance.

You the terrorist type fundamentalist is far different than those I call nationalistic fighters having compassion for their fellow people and nation. Willing to make your voices heard. Willing to stand proud of your flag.

If one picked up the regional newspapers this past week which is often in my daily reading, one reads of sdo much outright killing of innocent people, even school children blown to bit, little kids whose sounds of laughter and even hope in the midst of your narrow-minding perspective and your localized mentality seek not death, but to live and to aspire, not be placed under thumb from your dwqarfed mentality.

As a citizen of the United States I am able to write and say whatever it is that I feel compelled to share with fellow citizens, criticize government policies and while I do not necessarily expect anyone to agree with my viewpoints, I am willing to stand and be counted.

You stand behind your cold blooded murders, killing innocents while unwilling to sit down with neighbor and try to understand another’s reasoning. Much too entrenched in dysfunctional mannerisms. You need not embrace the other. Each of us has dignity, all created by God. Your coup and short term objectives met, do not underestimate the other for your values are not shared.

God Bless us all!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA USA 02645

Comment by christopher tingus

October 17, 2009 @ 11:25 pm

The British historian Paul Johnson wrote of America, “Both in Virginia and in New England to the north, the colonists were determined, God-fearing men, often in search of a religious toleration denied them at home, who brought their families and were anxious to farm and establish permanent settlements. They put political and religious freedom before riches….Thus took the shape the economic dynamo that eventually became the United States – an experiment designed to establish the rule of God on Earth….”

Imagine that our forefathers reached for the goal to establish a nation of each person keeping the Ten Commandments of God – the basis of righteous law!

As we continue to reach out to people far yonder even as a financially and morally bankrupt nation, bankrupted because our government was supposed to be a government of the people, not of the royalty (Congress) and those “entrusted” to stand tall for the principles of this nation founded on Judeao-Christian values who lost sight and failed to repent and chose self-agenda. What a pity! For all of us, God is witness to all! We are not very different from one another. Genetics proves this premise for we are all individuals, yet similar in many ways and mannerisms as well!

Yes, many are concerned, even fearful not of Iran, but of Pakistan and a coup which would affect whatever stability we have in the Middle East and elsewhere.

Can we rely on this partisan Congressional membership to sponsor a healthcare bill in our interests, a healthcare policy that each member of Congress and you Mr. President would partake in and give up your golden parachute. I doubt it!

Can we rely on this partisan Congressional membership to make decisions that affect so many globally when you Mr. President talk of the “Constitution as a charter of negative liberties.

“When asked about the Constitution, Mr. President, you stated, “It says what the states can’t do to you, says what the federal government can’t do to you, but it doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf.”

In essence this is why and how this nation was created so to create the Constitution to limit government. We here on Main Street USA love America and have never lost sight of those who have compromised so much to enable us to be creative and to strive to help others despite being a young nation under God!

We are worried. We are very concerned as the days pass by for it is not only our basic principles under attack, but we see a President and this new administration wet behind its ears surrender to the “Brutes of Tehran” by abandoning Poland and the Czech Republic in our pledge to protect them from Iranian missile attack. They do not deserve economic and trade benefits for they are simple deceitful in their empty words as work continued at the Isfahan site for example. This is the same regime which has taken a strong position of strategy in Iraq as Iranian-backed Shite groups announced a new coalition by influencing the formation of the (INA)Iraqi National Alliance in preparation for the January 16th parliamentary elections!

Mr. President, please recall your chants during your election belittling George Bush….”in 16 months we should be able to bolster our efforts in Afgahanistan so that we can capture and kill bin laden and crush al Qaeda.” the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS) points to the fact that the Taliban presence is found in at least 80% of the nation, sombering stats.

Obama and his anti-war rhetoric has changed his tune quickly since his campaign days.

We have even read Adm. dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence…the folks we here on Main Street have much respect and appreciate their efforts….He stated,”Iran is covertly supplying arms to Afghan insurgents while publicly posing as supportive of the Afghan government. Shipments typically include small arms, mines, rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), rockets, mortars, platic explosives and more and Taliban commanders have publicly credited Iranian support for their successful operations against coalition forces.”

Since this great nation which has been the beacon of hope to so, so many and has stood against evil before has been a nation which was cast from Judeao-Christian values and principles, I cite Leviticus 26:19 – “And I will break the pride of your power; and I will make your earth as brass.” God’s warning to us falling on our government today of royalty, not of the people.

The Washington Post recently reported that the politics on the streets of Afghanistan “has given the Taliban fresh ammunition in their propaganda campaign to portray President Hamid Jarzai’s administration as hopeless corrupt.” It is time for the US to strengthen itself at the borders, take a hard line against illegals and encourage funding of our intelligence community, our cybersecurity strategy and to understand that the strength of “ethnoregional warlordism” will never be replaced by a democracy or anything more….

After walking the streets of Hebron and Jericho many years ago, off to Cairo and the Valley of Kings and Queens to learn about the ancient kingdom of King Nebuchadnezzar which is similar to America today as “weighed in the balances and found wanting” as written in Daniel 5:27).

As the pages of history turn, we must repent. We must send clarity in conviction to any and all that anyone who attacks our interests, our few allies and takes claim for any attack will be dealt a swift and convincing blow. Those nations that sponsor these individuals will be accountable.

The H1N1 flu virus is a concern, however an even greater concern is nearly nine years in warfare tactics and we have failed to reach objective. Politicizing and corruption run rampant not only here but in Europe even more so as a result of Germany’s strategy and lust for power. the US is bankrupt, the EU will intentionally adopt oppressive regulation on the UK which will cause London to lose its influence as a leading financial center. In fact, some reports suggest that the UK tax revenues are to be some 15% less in the next year….Much greater influece will come from Germany and the Vatican and the Europeans will be the target of Iranians, however it will surely be the EU fast deployment Army which will deal a death blow to Iranian objectives, but much peril is in the offerings except if….

The United States must sharpen its “sword and rule with a rod of iron” as all the goodwill, negotiations, treaties, words of embrace, all words and even actions are disregarded for we as a nation of self-indulgent “elected and entrusted” indivdiuals and body of royalty depicts a government void in leadership.

We do not have the courage to recall history, its lessons and the government by the people who were willing to stand with courage and defeat those who like today, seek our demise.

I am afraid the time is late. Much later than you truly understand! Yes, it is frightening and such fears will become more anxious as the days pass by given our cheek turning to our own many sinful ways.

The world is pervaded with evil doers and without clarity in purpose and upholding laws and our pride as a nation allowing anyone to come across our border without proper process is another reflection of our lack of commitment to upholding our laws.

“Change” is what we vote for it seems in today’s campaign themes shouted by political candidates, a change which here on Main Street reflects further become impoverishment succumbing to the premise of taking from one and sharing with all others, a flawed strategy in a world offering more disharmony and anguish for so, so many good people….

God Bless America!

Christopher Tingus
Harwich, MA 02645 USA
chris.tingus@gmail.com

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