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Hamid Karzai had heard enough
December 13, 2010 1:27 PM   Subscribe


 
This guy has heard of Ngo Dinh Diem, right?
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:31 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


I guess him not siding with AQ is a minor victory? Anyways, I thought the CIA Funding Drug Lord article from this weekends Times was more newsworthy.

Failed nation building in a wasteland loosely held together is no longer news.
posted by lslelel at 1:33 PM on December 13, 2010


'As he spoke, he grew agitated, then enraged. He told them that he now has three "main enemies" - the Taliban, the United States and the international community.

"If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban," he (Karzai) fumed'

"How does it appear that no favourable Answer is likely to be given to our Petitions? Every Account of foreign Aid, is accompanied with an Account of Commissioners."

-John Adams
posted by clavdivs at 1:38 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


If I don't hear it on KarzaiTalk, I don't believe it. (warning: link plays audio)
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:39 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Come mistah taliban tally me banana....republic.
posted by spicynuts at 1:44 PM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


Karzai stole the election and has allowed corrupt family members to do whatever they want. But on the topic of allowing mercenaries to operate in his country, he is probably correct. He will have to deal with the consequences, but who WOULD want a huge group of guns for hire, accountable to no one and with itchy trigger fingers, to rampage through their country if they could stop it?
posted by 1adam12 at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


Frontline's Obama's War touches on the US relationship with Pakistan; worth a look.
posted by phaedon at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2010


Six American soldiers were killed and more than a dozen American and Afghan troops were wounded on Sunday morning when a van packed with explosives was detonated at a new jointly operated outpost in southern Afghanistan. ...

American fatalities in Afghanistan have risen steadily for five years, with 479 American soldiers killed so far in 2010, according to icasualties.org, an independent Web site that compiles battlefield data. That is more than three times the 155 American casualties in 2008. ...

The attack occurred in an area where the Americans and Afghans have maintained a heavy military presence this fall, when NATO and Afghan forces flowed into Taliban-controlled territory of Kandahar Province in an effort to clear it of insurgents and bring the area under the control of the government in Kabul.
(emphasis added)
posted by Joe Beese at 1:46 PM on December 13, 2010


The ghost of Milton Friedman is not pleased. How dare this leader choose the welfare of his own people over corporate interests?
posted by Legomancer at 1:47 PM on December 13, 2010


"The attack occurred in an area where the Americans and Afghans have maintained a heavy military presence this fall ... (emphasis added)"
 --Joe Beese

Well, you need peaches, you go to the market, y'know?
posted by not_on_display at 1:53 PM on December 13, 2010


"If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban," [Hamid Karzai] fumed.

Yeah. You don't want to choose an ally who's looking for the exits.
posted by delmoi at 1:59 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


"If I had to choose sides today, I'd choose the Taliban," [Hamid Karzai] fumed.

Well, sure hindsight is 20/20, but at the time Las Vegas was giving waaaay too many points. Hopefully he WAS smart enough to take "overs" in the under/over on the duration of the U.S. occupation.
posted by spock at 2:03 PM on December 13, 2010


Hah! I'm sure he'll change his tune once we hang around and bomb wedding parties for another three years. (New and improved: now with tanks!)
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 2:12 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


No worries. Karzai just forgot to take his meds this morning.
posted by crunchland at 2:21 PM on December 13, 2010


I'm sure he'll change his tune once we hang around and bomb wedding parties for another three years.

---

... the Obama Administration is said to be further escalating its air war in Afghanistan, and officials are confirming a “loosening of the reins” of the restrictions on air strikes. Officials warned that the McChrystal rules, aimed at reducing civilian deaths, meant “some officers were exerting excessive caution, fearing career damage if civilians were mistakenly killed.” With Petraeus now in charge, concerns about killing civilians have faded.
posted by Joe Beese at 2:43 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


The most important bit in that article is the first paragraph:

For more than an hour, Gen. David H. Petraeus, U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry and other top Western officials in Kabul urged Karzai to delay implementing a ban on private security firms. Reconstruction projects worth billions of dollars would have to be shuttered, they maintained, if foreign guards were evicted.

Which means the US military cannot function without the participation of private mercenary groups. Let's just hope they aren't purchased by any foreign multinationals, I guess. It would be a real bummer if China waved more money at them to point the guns the other way.
posted by notion at 2:45 PM on December 13, 2010 [9 favorites]


Time to knock karzai off!
posted by ReWayne at 2:49 PM on December 13, 2010


Which means the US military cannot function without the participation of private mercenary groups.

Rather, that American-backed reconstruction projects require security that is too expensive, logistically difficult and/or politically unfeasible for the military to perform. We'd rather buy a bulletstopper than assign a soldier who could be doing soldier-ly things.

The military functions very well, thank you, if the job is "break stuff and kill people."

For other jobs, like "stand here and make sure this bundle of copper electrical wire doesn't get stolen," we'd rather hire someone.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 2:55 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


CRS, which provides background information to members of Congress on a bipartisan basis, said it expects an additional 26,000 to 56,000 contractors to be sent to Afghanistan. That would bring the number of contractors in the country to anywhere from 130,000 to 160,000.

The tally "could increase further if the new [administration] strategy includes a more robust construction and nation building effort," according to the report, which was released Monday and first disclosed on the Web site Talking Points Memo.

The CRS study says contractors made up 69 percent of the Pentagon's personnel in Afghanistan last December, a proportion that "apparently represented the highest recorded percentage of contractors used by the Defense Department in any conflict in the history of the United States." As of September, contractor representation had dropped to 62 percent, as U.S. troop strength increased modestly.

As the Pentagon contracts out activities that previously were carried out by troops in wartime, it has been forced to struggle with new management challenges. "Prior to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, contracting was done on an ad-hoc basis and was not adequately incorporated into the doctrine -- or culture -- of the military," according to the CRS report. Today, according to Defense Department officials, "doctrine and strategy are being updated to incorporate the role of contractors in contingency operations."
( source )

Cool Papa, you should probably call the CRS and tell them the truth about what's going on. It looks like they have it backwards.
posted by notion at 3:44 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


They just don't make puppets like they used to.
posted by pompomtom at 4:00 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


Two upcoming National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan will say that the fight is not winnable without Pakistani engagement against Taliban militants on its side of the border. Incredibly, military commanders challenged the conclusions, saying that they don’t take into account alleged progress made this fall. ...

Of course, the claims of “progress” are vague, while the NIE, according to this report, is very specific. It says that progress can only be seen in “inkspots” with enough US presence to maintain it, like in Kabul, or parts of Helmand and Kandahar. In the rest of the country, the Taliban either have control, or the probablility of Taliban attack exists. ...

So there it is – no real partner in the corrupt central government, lagging development and security training, no buy-in from Pakistan to root out safe havens, fading support from the public, and a country still under Taliban control, for the most part.

Other than that, great war we’re running.

posted by Joe Beese at 4:04 PM on December 13, 2010


So this is what losing a war is like. Huh.
posted by ChrisHartley at 4:04 PM on December 13, 2010


Karzai wouldn't have changed a thing. If it weren't for the U.S., he'd never be in the profitable position he has.

Considering that the incredible corruption of the Afghanistan gov't is obvious to anyone who takes even a casual look, it seems to me that he's in exactly the position he wants. Too bad for him if corruption is a harder life than he hoped. "I thought I'd be even richer, plus respected by world leaders!"

I've got no patience at all for the inane utterings of a completely corrupt U.S.-installed "leader". Come to think of it, this statement makes his corruption and motives even more obvious, and could be restated "I could have gotten more from the Taliban." Ha.

---

Silliness aside, the U.S. needs to get out of the trap of Afghanistan ASAP. All morality aside, it is a simple money hole where "winning" isn't even in the picture of the most optimistic people.
posted by Invoke at 4:05 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't see how anyone has anything backward. Are there contractors? Yes. What's your point? That you don't understand what contractors do, how much they cost vs. how much it costs to train and deploy a civilian volunteer soldier and why would you ever want a volunteer soldier to do things better left to a contractor?

MetaFilter makes it seem like every contractor is an ex-Navy Seal pulling down millions for kicking old women in the face when he's not otherwise busy attending a Klan rally.

And not, say, electricians, plumbers and truck drivers.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 4:10 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter makes it seem like every contractor is an ex-Navy Seal pulling down millions for kicking old women in the face when he's not otherwise busy attending a Klan rally.

Of course not. They're focusing on what's important: profiteering on the Afghan people's misery.

Massive open-ended contracts have been granted without competitive bidding or with limited competition to many of the same politically connected corporations which are doing similar work in Iraq: Kellogg, Brown & Root (a subsidiary of Halliburton), DynCorp, Blackwater, The Louis Berger Group, The Rendon Group and many more. Engineers, consultants, and mercenaries make as much as $1,000 a day, while the Afghans they employ make $5 per day.
posted by Joe Beese at 4:43 PM on December 13, 2010 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter makes it seem like every contractor is an ex-Navy Seal pulling down millions for kicking old women in the face when he's not otherwise busy attending a Klan rally.

Actually, many of them are ex-military from around the world who do shoot people in the face, who aren't subject to any system of law, and who kill people for money instead of as a duty to their country and the values their flag is supposed to represent.

The Blackwater troops who murdered 17 Iraqi civilians were a small number of the over forty thousand armed mercenaries we are employing in Iraq and Afghanistan. I would love to know how many people they have killed, but since they don't report to anyone with a shred of moral decency or even a military code of justice, it's something we will probably never know.

(I don't know where you got the reference to your Klan rally. However, unlike the Klan, the mercenaries don't care who they shoot, as long as they are getting paid. I'm not sure that's the argument you wanted to present, though.)
posted by notion at 4:53 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


If I don't hear it on KarzaiTalk, I don't believe it. (warning: link plays audio)

Holy crap I had no idea Kent Brockman was a genius. Thank you!

Need to fix the link though.
posted by clarknova at 5:18 PM on December 13, 2010


It's hard to choose a side when you're two-faced.
posted by benzenedream at 5:19 PM on December 13, 2010


Richard Holbrooke, dead at 69.
posted by phaedon at 5:19 PM on December 13, 2010


fuck
posted by clavdivs at 5:23 PM on December 13, 2010


So, Karzai had a good working relationship with McChrystal, Obama fired McChrystal and replaced him with Petraeus, who has had a terrible relationship with Karzai.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 5:31 PM on December 13, 2010


Officials warned that the McChrystal rules, aimed at reducing civilian deaths, meant "some officers were exerting excessive caution, fearing career damage if civilians were mistakenly killed."

Plus, y'know, that whole not-wanting-to-burn-in-hell thing...
posted by steambadger at 5:32 PM on December 13, 2010


I came here to say FUCK. It is cold as shit in DC right now, a nasty wind is blowing and Holbrooke is dead. Goddamnit, fuck fuck fuck. (serious drinking)..... FUCK!!! Karzai who cares what he has to say today of all days, he'll say something else tomorrow. Holbrooke though, shit that's bad. We've lost another year in Afghanistan. Of course maybe Afghanistan is like a torn aorta, fucking hole in the middle of your chest, no fucking way to stop the bleeding, and you just have to try, but fuck it your dead. Anyway I raise my glass to the peace maker of Dayton who ended the Bosnian civil war, and stared down Milosovich, Karavich and the rest of the ugly genocidal manaics. May you rest in peace Ambassador. The rest of us will be seeing you all too soon.
posted by humanfont at 6:17 PM on December 13, 2010 [2 favorites]


... Richard Holbrooke is simply lying through his teeth. The policy of the Carter administration was to accept Indonesia’s occupation of East Timor and in fact to characterize the resistance of the Timorese as an assault on Indonesian sovereignty. And it was Holbrooke and Zbigniew Brzezinski, both now leading lights in the Democratic Party, who played point in trying to frustrate the efforts of congressional human rights activists to try and condition or stop US military assistance to Indonesia and in fact accelerated the flow of weapons to Indonesia at the height of the genocide.
posted by Joe Beese at 7:01 PM on December 13, 2010 [1 favorite]


'is simply lying through his teeth.'

googled what fit my agenda.
posted by clavdivs at 7:29 PM on December 13, 2010 [3 favorites]




Of course Holbrooke also normalized relations with China, stabilized our south east Asian alliances following the collapse of south Vietnam, ensured that thousands of refugees fro the indochinese conflicts could resettle in the US and later worked as UN ambassador to helped secure the independence of East Timor. So in the end he got older and wiser, while Joe Beese keeps on hating. Go on raging like this and you'll be headed for an aortic dissection or myocardial infarction at 69 too, but there won't be quite the public display of mourning for your passage.
posted by humanfont at 7:47 PM on December 13, 2010


googled what fit my agenda

ha ha...

... not a news report but a propaganda outfit working against the interests of the United States and capitalism in general.

Heavens to betsy! "Working against the interests of the United States"?

Would you like to execute them for treason immediately? Or should you subject them to some "enhanced interrogation" first?
posted by Joe Beese at 7:53 PM on December 13, 2010


Two upcoming National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan will say that the fight is not winnable without Pakistani engagement against Taliban militants on its side of the border .

FTFY. HTH. HAND.

posted by eriko at 8:41 PM on December 13, 2010


According to people like Nir Rosen (very interesting interview there), Karzai just isn't very important in the larger scheme of things. He's got tenuous control in the cities, but the rest of the country where most of the people live is in total revolt against our occupation. So let him rage and fume while his sand castle falls apart. We should just leave the country altogether, and let the Taliban take official control. They're pretty much in charge unofficially already.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:00 PM on December 13, 2010


Or should you subject them to some "enhanced interrogation" first?

Can you shut it with the whole 'accuse people who disagree with me about wanting to torturee people,' or is it more important for us to see your allusions to what a hero (in your own mind) you are?
posted by Snyder at 11:42 PM on December 13, 2010


As he was sedated for surgery, his final words were to his Pakistani surgeon, according to family members: "You've got to stop this war in Afghanistan." --- I hope the surgeon has quit his post, and will get right on that. A deathbed request is nothing to trifle with.
posted by crunchland at 3:54 AM on December 14, 2010


Of course the military can't do anything without private industry. That's the plan all along. Call publicly-funded work "inefficient" and public employees parasites (as though extracting a profit from an enterprise makes it take less money to perform). Then, when the government is in hands of private industry, the government is beholden to the captains of those industries.
posted by DU at 5:24 AM on December 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Was he talking about playing Medal of Honour?

I'll get me coat
posted by Sutekh at 5:27 AM on December 14, 2010


Holbrooke, a senior adviser to Al Gore, was acutely aware that either he or Wolfowitz would be playing important roles in the next administration. Looking perhaps to assure the world of the continuity of US foreign policy, he told his audience that Wolfowitz's "recent activities illustrate something that's very important about American foreign policy in an election year, and that is the degree to which there are still common themes between the parties." The example he chose to illustrate his point was East Timor, which was invaded and occupied in 1975 by Indonesia with US weapons – a security policy backed and partly shaped by Holbrooke and Wolfowitz. "Paul and I," he said, "have been in frequent touch to make sure that we keep [East Timor] out of the presidential campaign, where it would do no good to American or Indonesian interests."
In sum, Holbrooke has worked vigorously to keep his bloody campaign silent. The results of which appear to have paid off. In chilling words, Holbrooke describes the motivations behind support of Indonesia's genocidal actions:
The situation in East Timor is one of the number of very important concerns of the United States in Indonesia. Indonesia, with a population of 150 million people, is the fifth largest nation in the world, is a moderate member of the Non-Aligned Movement, is an important oil producer – which plays a moderate role within OPEC – and occupies a strategic position astride the sea lanes between the Pacific and Indian Oceans ... We highly value our cooperative relationship with Indonesia.


Just another company man trading other people's blood for oil.

Plenty more where he came from.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:44 AM on December 14, 2010


This will all be political good practice for when the US decides to go into the real quagmire. Detroit.
posted by srboisvert at 6:50 AM on December 14, 2010


his Pakistani surgeon --- I've been thinking about this all day. Why do you suppose they thought it was necessary to include the nationality of the surgeon in that statement? It seems like an unnecessary but telling detail, and makes me suspect that the sentiment about ending the war in Pakistan wasn't really Holbrooke's last words.
posted by crunchland at 1:10 PM on December 14, 2010


er... end the war in Afghanistan, I meant.
posted by crunchland at 1:10 PM on December 14, 2010


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