Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

May 6, 2015

Garland or Gorkha?

Filed under: General Homeland Security — by Philip J. Palin on May 6, 2015

Early this morning I received the following note from a friend and colleague.  He has made a couple of edits since I asked his permission to post, but nothing substantive has been changed.


The situation in Nepal deserves sustained attention.  It has already disappeared from most broadcast media.  I also know that supply chains are “your thing.”  Still, given the key place of terrorism in homeland security, it’s a problem that HLSWatch has not even made mention of the Sunday shooting in Garland, Texas.  Not even links?

Garland also strikes me as a story especially well-suited to your point-of-view.  Two equally dark and angry forces encounter each other outside Dallas. There’s got to be a quote from Niebuhr or Eliot or Aristotle that would appropriately frame this collision of self-righteous hubris?  How about some meditation on the deadly violence visited on the self-conceived Salafist  heroes?  Does one pistol against two automatic rifles a hero make, or is something else going on?

If you are known for anything, it is for flushing out the idiocy that travels with self-certainty.  Two tribes of idiots met in Garland.  Where does that leave the rest of us?

The writer has asked I protect his anonymity.

Mostly I agree with the critique.  I especially like his questions. I wish I had the perfect quote on the tip of my tongue.  In addition to the situation in Garland, there have been important issues related to the Tsarnaev sentencing process, French counter-terrorism policy, Syrian military operations, the civil war in Yemen.. and lots more.  I apologize.  Mostly it is a matter of time.  But it is also a matter of what is getting attention elsewhere.  My basic approach at HLSWatch is to amplify, aggregate, analyze, and sometimes advocate. At the very least I want to amplify important issues that are not getting much attention elsewhere.  Weirdly, that has very quickly included the situation in Nepal.  And my friend is right, I have a particular interest in how networks behave under duress.

I will make this offer:  When HLSWatch seems to be absent on an issue, I would welcome receiving a missive in the comments that might be escalated to the front page (as here).  Not promising anything.  Some days I don’t even look in after 6AM.  But a diversity of topics is absolutely welcome.

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Comment by William R. Cumming

May 7, 2015 @ 7:02 am

Thanks Phil! Yes even undamaged nation-states can dissapear from the MSM and blogs. Haiti is only 900 miles from US shores yet apparently sunk beneath the sea. Nepal without Trekkers will recede into remote mountain fastness. The Indian and Chinese governments should seek UN sanction of the partition of Nepal in return for a program of decades long reconstruction and assisance IMO.

Comment by Vicki Campbell

May 7, 2015 @ 8:58 pm

Bill, in an effort to bring the conversation forward, I’m posting this from the previous forum where I just posted it, with some amendments:

I actually doubt Nepal will just effectively disappear, or that it has “failed forever,” as you put it in the last forum. Nepal has much of the tallest, most breathtaking landscape on the planet, as well as some of the most interesting culture(s), and I don’t think people will ultimately be deterred that easily – but whaddo I know. Either way though, I really do think we need to leave Nepal’s future up to the Nepalese (to use the term loosely), who as I understand it, are pretty fed up with their government (to use the term even more loosely) – especially apparently the youth.

Nepal, as well as many, many other places (such as Haiti certainly) have been made much more vulnerable to natural disasters by decades and decades of western neoliberal intervention, that put western security and economic interests well before anything that made the slightest “sense” for the citizens of almost any country I can think of – and we’ve done a great deal of damage as a result, certainly including in Nepal, where we certainly bare at least partial responsibility for the extent of the damage and subsequent desperation currently unfolding.

With the help of the World Bank (which you seem to think much more of than I do), and its imposition of structural adjustment loan requirements that force deep reductions in what were already the barest of public service, welfare and development programs which in turn made it considerably more dependent on foreign aid, the west has performed it’s neoliberal economic coup in Nepal already, leaving them certainly more vulnerable overall than before – and now we don’t really seem very interested in offering them much meaningful help, based on the embarrassing amount of money and assistance we’ve offered thus far. Unfortunately, this is par for the course, as the U.S. has a fairly infamous record of donating far less of a percentage of its GDP in foreign aid (which is how aid is typically measured), than any other western country. When we do seem to supposedly be offering more, its generally a sham. Example, again, Haiti – where at last half of our professed full financial donation as a nation to Haiti’s recovery was turned around and given to the Pentagon as payment for supposed services rendered in Haiti. Talk about a slap in the face (and to add insult to injury, it isn’t like the U.S. military’s performance in Haiti wasn’t completely panned by everyone except the U.S. military).

IMO, we don’t really actually offer much humanitarian aid per se; we offer strategic aid under the guise of relief the overwhelming majority of the time. And when we feel we our strategic interests might be threatened, we respond rapidly and robustly (at least comparatively). But when we don’t feel our interests are threatened, our response as a nation can be quite shameful, as it currently is in Nepal. 10 million dollars (or 11, depending on who you believe), and 4 osprey (or 6 helicopters, again depending on the source)? Seriously????

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