Drones, Petraeus and my neighbors

Drones are a new tool of war. While they keep Americans safe in the shelter of headquarters somewhere, you have to admit, they seem a little unfair(?), distasteful(?), uncomfortable(?)…something.

If terrorists refuse to abide by the rules of war, I am ok with using drones, but not without a little sickness in my stomach.

David Petraeus is now the head of the CIA and will be going up to testify before congress on some of their complaints. Here are some quotes from the story which is worth a read.

Some also complain that Petraeus has failed to adequately explain why the pace of CIA drone missile attacks in Pakistan has dropped since he took over the spy service in September.


Some officials close to the agency praise major espionage operations he has approved but say he has clashed with senior officers at the counter-terrorism center, a powerful fiefdom inside the agency that helps run the covert drone war.

Those officers are frustrated by the drop-off in drone strikes in Pakistan, including an undeclared two-month moratorium that ended Jan. 11, according to several current and former U.S. officials. In interviews, one member of Congress and four senior aides from the House and Senate committees said they were upset as well.


The CIA has launched 17 drone strikes in Pakistan since Petraeus took over last September, including three this month, according to the New America Foundation, a think tank that tracks reported attacks. That was down from an average of two a week under Panetta, who authorized 215 drone attacks in just over two years.

But critics in the CIA’s counter-terrorism center have told allies on Capitol Hill that the fall-off has reduced pressure on Al Qaeda.

1) Shouldn’t drones be used to kill actual targets and not just to “pressure” Al Qaeda?
2) How can Congresspeople complain about the number of drone strikes without knowing the number of enemy sitings by drones?
3) While understanding that I don’t much care about Pakistani feelings, I would be curious if fewer drone strikes equated to more help on the ground, but actual Pakistan experience is not part of the story at all.

My neighbors deal drugs. I know it, the police know it, the rest of the neighborhood knows it. Let’s say that we decided to get serious with the war on drugs and the police started sweeping up all who were involved with these people in mass arrests. No trials, just imprisonment. (no not drone death) I would be a sweepee as I interact with these folks just like with my other neighbors. (ok – in all honesty I’m a hermit, but while taking out the trash or weeding the garden we share pleasantries)

That’s what I feel about drones. The fewer that are needed, the better off we are. They have a place, but just because they have been reduced does not make me question the leadership of someone like David Petraeus.

September 11, 2009

On this 8th anniversary of 911 we remember again that God awful morning. (this particular video, I’ve never seen before. )

That day people like me realized that those without any power, but with an agenda can do harm here. And they want to. Just because of who we are.

That day I started to involve myself in what other people are doing for me. All those people who serve – in the military, in the government, in specific areas like the CIA and the FBI – they don’t have to, yet they do. And they’ve kept this country safe from further harm from Islamic terrorism.

The NYTimes has an article today about how people thought the future was going to look after 911 around that time. More attacks, more danger, more death. In the entire article, about the people who have returned to normalcy, not one mention is made of those who worked tirelessly to make that normalcy happen.

I apologize for the language, but that pisses me off. Every day. (No, I don’t live bitterly, but I obviously have made my agenda against those who refuse to appreciate what has gone on, for them.)

This dumb ass [ht Hot Air] blames George Bush for everything, including the fact that we have not been attacked and hence have forgotten that we can be. He goes on about the length of the war without noting that this war has not been fought like other wars. We’ve made it a point to protect civilians vs just wiping the enemy and all around them off the face of the earth. War is longer this way. And he would not have accepted the other way. I won’t quote him on this day, just saying – people like him are out there pissing me off.

So take care this day. Kiss those you love. Kiss those who continue to keep us safe. Kiss the ground we live on and be grateful. Remember those lost, whether friends or strangers, and appreciate what they’re families have to live with daily.

Read Scott
Read the Anchoress
Read Lileks
for their takes on this day.

Posted in War


First: make peace with your enemy and release some of their people who you’ve captured.
(kissing their butt is not required, but a nice touch on the way out the door)

Pakistani authorities have released 12 Taliban militants as part of a peace agreement with Islamist in the northwestern Swat Valley.

Second: await attack

The brazen occupation of a Pakistani police academy Monday by heavily armed gunmen near the eastern mega-city of Lahore was the latest indication that Islamist terrorism, once confined to Pakistan’s northwest tribal belt, now threatens political stability nationwide.

Third: Feel free to expect that the attack came from your peace pact brothers.

The top Taliban commander in Pakistan is claiming responsibility for the deadly attack on a police academy in the country’s east.

Got back to step one and repeat the process.

The Washington Post hasn’t gotten the update about the Taliban claim yet.

No group has asserted responsibility for the attack, but Pakistani experts said the most likely source was Lashkar-i-Taiba, or Army of the Pious, a militant Punjabi group.

Obama’s Editorial

Given to the NYTimes, and copied in full below.

CHICAGO — The call by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki for a timetable for the removal of American troops from Iraq presents an enormous opportunity. We should seize this moment to begin the phased redeployment of combat troops that I have long advocated, and that is needed for long-term success in Iraq and the security interests of the United States.

Um – two things. 1 – it was not al-Maliki, but instead al-Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security adviser who had the remarks and 2 – Seizing this moment to withdraw and following al-Rubaie’s requests are two different things.

Al-Rubaie is trying to negotiate the UN agreement needed by December of this year from a position of power. He also realizes that it is possible that Obama may win. How should the troops leave? On Obama’s insistence or on Iraq’s declaration of independence?
The other bit from al-Rubaie notes that, “The Iraqi proposal stipulates that, once Iraqi forces have resumed security responsibility in all 18 of Iraq’s provinces, U.S.-led forces would then withdraw from all cities in the country.
After that, the country’s security situation would be reviewed every six months, for three to five years, to decide when U.S.-led troops would pull out entirely, al-Adeeb said.”
Sounds like President Bush’s proposal eh?

Moving on.

The differences on Iraq in this campaign are deep. Unlike Senator John McCain, I opposed the war in Iraq before it began, and would end it as president. I believed it was a grave mistake to allow ourselves to be distracted from the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban by invading a country that posed no imminent threat and had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. Since then, more than 4,000 Americans have died and we have spent nearly $1 trillion. Our military is overstretched. Nearly every threat we face — from Afghanistan to Al Qaeda to Iran — has grown.

Iraq had shot at our planes, threatened our presidents, theoretically had wmd and supported terrorists. Maybe Sadaam wasn’t an “imminent threat”, but he was certainly working on it. In the meantime, Afghanistan is less of a threat. Al Qaeda is less of a threat. And Iran – was trouble beforehand.

In the 18 months since President Bush announced the surge, our troops have performed heroically in bringing down the level of violence. New tactics have protected the Iraqi population, and the Sunni tribes have rejected Al Qaeda — greatly weakening its effectiveness.

How were our troops “performing” before the surge eh? Sunni tribes had the freedom to reject al Qaeda because of the surge.

But the same factors that led me to oppose the surge still hold true. The strain on our military has grown, the situation in Afghanistan has deteriorated and we’ve spent nearly $200 billion more in Iraq than we had budgeted. Iraq’s leaders have failed to invest tens of billions of dollars in oil revenues in rebuilding their own country, and they have not reached the political accommodation that was the stated purpose of the surge.

They have reached political accommodation on 15 of the 18 points Bush made.

The good news is that Iraq’s leaders want to take responsibility for their country by negotiating a timetable for the removal of American troops. Meanwhile, Lt. Gen. James Dubik, the American officer in charge of training Iraq’s security forces, estimates that the Iraqi Army and police will be ready to assume responsibility for security in 2009.

Only by redeploying our troops can we press the Iraqis to reach comprehensive political accommodation and achieve a successful transition to Iraqis’ taking responsibility for the security and stability of their country. Instead of seizing the moment and encouraging Iraqis to step up, the Bush administration and Senator McCain are refusing to embrace this transition — despite their previous commitments to respect the will of Iraq’s sovereign government. They call any timetable for the removal of American troops “surrender,” even though we would be turning Iraq over to a sovereign Iraqi government.

No – they are instead, letting negotiations work through their negotiating. They are not threatening a new ally by saying “you better behave or we’re going to take our guns and go home”. Bush and McCain do respect Iraq’s sovereign government far more than Obama does. Clearly.

But this is not a strategy for success — it is a strategy for staying that runs contrary to the will of the Iraqi people, the American people and the security interests of the United States. That is why, on my first day in office, I would give the military a new mission: ending this war.

Um – isn’t the war over? And now we’re “nation building”? Or as Obama likes to say, “babysitting” a civil war?

As I’ve said many times, we must be as careful getting out of Iraq as we were careless getting in. We can safely redeploy our combat brigades at a pace that would remove them in 16 months. That would be the summer of 2010 — two years from now, and more than seven years after the war began. After this redeployment, a residual force in Iraq would perform limited missions: going after any remnants of Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia, protecting American service members and, so long as the Iraqis make political progress, training Iraqi security forces. That would not be a precipitous withdrawal.

Isn’t this what we’re doing now? Oh – wait, we’re also helping with a bit of rebuilding of infrastructure. I guess Obama doesn’t want us to do that part.

In carrying out this strategy, we would inevitably need to make tactical adjustments. As I have often said, I would consult with commanders on the ground and the Iraqi government to ensure that our troops were redeployed safely, and our interests protected. We would move them from secure areas first and volatile areas later. We would pursue a diplomatic offensive with every nation in the region on behalf of Iraq’s stability, and commit $2 billion to a new international effort to support Iraq’s refugees.

What are our interests that Obama want protected? Perhaps a stable Iraq?

Ending the war is essential to meeting our broader strategic goals, starting in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the Taliban is resurgent and Al Qaeda has a safe haven. Iraq is not the central front in the war on terrorism, and it never has been. As Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently pointed out, we won’t have sufficient resources to finish the job in Afghanistan until we reduce our commitment to Iraq.

Looks like Obama still wants to invade Pakistan.

As president, I would pursue a new strategy, and begin by providing at least two additional combat brigades to support our effort in Afghanistan. We need more troops, more helicopters, better intelligence-gathering and more nonmilitary assistance to accomplish the mission there. I would not hold our military, our resources and our foreign policy hostage to a misguided desire to maintain permanent bases in Iraq.

What does Karzai? Looks to me like he wouldn’t mind a bit of a war with….Pakistan.

In this campaign, there are honest differences over Iraq, and we should discuss them with the thoroughness they deserve. Unlike Senator McCain, I would make it absolutely clear that we seek no presence in Iraq similar to our permanent bases in South Korea, and would redeploy our troops out of Iraq and focus on the broader security challenges that we face. But for far too long, those responsible for the greatest strategic blunder in the recent history of American foreign policy have ignored useful debate in favor of making false charges about flip-flops and surrender.

Why? Why wouldn’t we want a presence in the Middle East other than in Israel?

It’s not going to work this time. It’s time to end this war.

Note to Obama, the Iraq war is over. The war on terrorism is ongoing.

ps This made me spit up orange juice this morning. It’s an article on the turn around of jihadists. They are seeing the evil that they’ve been doing and are deeming it evil. One of the experts noted this piece of made up history based on his super 20/20 hindsite and imaginary interviews.

Cruickshank believes that, ironically enough, it was the Iraq war that delayed latent criticism of bin Laden and his concept of jihad. “What’s emerging now has been simmering for a long time.” The fact that American soldiers were occupying holy ground provided every major terrorist leader with a convenient justification for jihad in Iraq.

Yeah, that’s it. Those Taliban were already starting to get the sh** kicked out of them and then we went and invaded Iraq.

Ah, those 16 reasons

Apparently this news came out during the last week when my news came in snippets at breaks in the activities.

The news being that there always has been evidence of Sadaam’s connections to terrorists. Including some directly connected to al-Qaeda. As I told many in CA (because everyone wants to talk politics these days) wmd was not the only reason for the war.

From Ed Morrissey:

Saddam Hussein provided funding for EIJ (Egyptian Islamic Jihad)for the same reasons. (we’re infidels) And when one starts to consider the differences between Afghanistan’s Taliban after 9/11 and Saddam, the gaps narrows considerably. The Taliban gave AQ shelter while probably not realizing the extent to which it made them a target; Saddam funded their main leadership source and at least one of their subsidiaries in order to help them succeed in their mission against the US. That’s at least arguably an act of war, attempting to use terrorists as a proxy to fight it — and it very clearly fell within the post-9/11 Bush doctrine.

Powerline has some key Steven Hayes quotes including:

Throughout the early and mid-1990s, Saddam Hussein actively supported an influential terrorist group headed by the man who is now al Qaeda’s second-in-command, according to an exhaustive study issued last week by the Pentagon.

As the Weekly Standard gets out do you suppose the Obama phenom “I was right in 2003” will take a dive?

The price of examples

In my previous post I noted that the examples used concerning the housing crisis by the MSM have been idiotic. Just like the examples used during the SCHIP debate were idiotic.

Yes, there is a mortgage situation. Yes there is an uninsured health situation. However, by writing stories using specific single examples you degrade the problems. And you miss the beautiful forest for the one dying tree, as it were.

On the 23rd Excalibur’s Otto Pernotto posted about a story in the NYTimes by Elizabeth Rubin. (disclaimer: I haven’t read the story yet) Otto notes that Ms Rubin writes about a situation in Afghanistan where civilians and Americans were killed. She uses that one unit’s actions as an example of total military incompetence.

Here’s Otto:

This is one small unit action witnessed by one reporter and yet, this will be extrapolated to the greater incompetence of our military, to our impending defeat, to our blood thirstiness, to every modern military stereotype imaginable. What would have happened had there been a reporter at Kasserine Pass, or covering the bomber war over Europe in WWII and allowed to report the full nature of our losses? What about the sinking of the USS Indianapolis and the loss of over 800 men or the Battle at the Chosin Reservoir, or as the Marines called it, the Bloody Chosin?

Great post Otto. (even worthy of a Blackfive link!)
(I’ll read the link later today and update if needed)

Links to read

Spiegel has an interview with a 16 year old terrorist in Iraq who got arrested. A couple of interesting things: 1 he thinks Americans are bad and “occupiers” and 2 he would move here in a minute and 3 Spiegel thinks we have puppet strings on Iraqi police and notes it’s lucky for the kid that Americans are sharing the building with the jail. (though they never come out and say why)

When the American friends make a request, it’s hard to turn them down.

As long as we’re on Iraq, Captain Ed notes the discovery of a torture chamber of al-Qaeda’s near Muqdadiyah.
Speaking of al-Qaeda, in Saudi Arabia the clergy have switched their support to the people of Iraq vs al-Qaeda of Iraq.
Speaking of al-Qaeda and Iraq, do you remember the “quagmire” that this war is supposed to be? Let’s go with a new prime example of quagmire: Kosovo

And just for fun, with no connection to anything, watch how Jonathan Weisman and Paul Kane try to “spin” a story of Democratic wins this year.

The Bush Doctrine

Is getting respect? From London??

The bungled road to a democratic Iraq has been far too bloody but it’s now perfectly sensible to believe that Bush’s pre-emptive war may have sown the seeds for what could be the least troubled nation of the region in a decade’s time. The multilateral approach to Iran may leave us with a nuclear-armed Tehran terrorising Israel and holding the world to ransom over oil supplies.

Perhaps this story in Spiegel is making the rounds too. In regards to Kosovo and the “multilateral” approach…

On the one hand, the international troika, made up of mediators from the United States, Russia and the European Union, remain outwardly committed to helping Kosovo and Serbia find a solution to their ongoing stalemate. On the other hand, with the talks set to end on December 10, nobody really believes that success is possible anymore.

Posted in War