“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."

Monday, October 30, 2006

Surprise Pakistani Assaults on al-Qaeda and Taliban Camp.

UPDATE: Last Updated: Monday, 30 October 2006, 17:39 GMT

'Shock and awe' on Afghan border

By M Ilyas Khan
BBC News
Locals say civilians were killed in the attack. The missile strike that has killed close to 80 alleged militants in Pakistan's Bajaur area appears to have targeted well-known supporters of the Taleban and al-Qaeda. But exactly who was killed at Chinagai remains unclear as paramilitary troops prevented reporters from travelling to the area.A number of locals and a senior minister in North-West Frontier Province, Siraj-ul-Haq, who led funeral prayers for those killed, said that there were several children among the dead. Surprisingly, the attack came on a day when the government and local militants were scheduled to sign a peace deal mediated by tribal elders.

80 suspected militants killed in Pakistan
RTE- News
30 October 2006 08:27

It is understood 80 suspected militants have been killed in an attack by Pakistani forces on a building close to its border with Afghanistan.

Pakistani army helicopters struck a madrassa near Khar, the main town in the Bajaur area, in a region where many al-Qaeda and Taliban insurgents are thought to have sought sanctuary. The attack came two days after thousands of pro-militant tribesmen gathered in Bajaur in show of support for al-Qaeda and Taliban leader Mullah Omar. Pakistan's lawless northwestern tribal areas became a sanctuary for militants who fled Afghanistan after US-led forces ousted the Taliban regime five years ago.

Pakistani forces have since launched a series of military operations throughout region in which more than 1,000 militants and 600 soldiers are reported to have died. Forbes is reporting additional details:
Pakistan air strike destroys militant training camp - army
10.30.2006, 01:52 AM

KHAR, Pakistan (XFN-ASIA) - Pakistani helicopter gunships have destroyed an Islamic school in a tribal area bordering Afghanistan where up to 80 militants were training, the chief military spokesman said.

Witnesses said funeral prayers were said for some 20 people and dozens more may have been killed in the air strike on a madrassa near Khar, the main town in the restive Bajaur tribal agency. The army would not confirm the death toll.

'We had information about the presence of 70 to 80 miscreants who were engaging in militant training in this madrassa,' chief military spokesman Major General Shaukat Sultan told Agence France-Presse.

The madrassa was run by a local Taliban commander known as Maulvi Liaqat who was wanted by the authorities for sheltering insurgents, he said.

Some of the militants were foreigners, he added.


  1. AFX disclaimer...just put me in the skeptical catatgory.

    The content on this site, including news, quotes, data and other information, is provided by AFX News and its third party content providers for your personal information only, and neither AFX News nor its third party content providers shall be liable for any errors, inaccuracies or delays in content, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon.

  2. I should have added that I hope it's true but in that part of the world ... hmmm....hell what am I saying, in any part of the world, except of course the New York Times and Washington Post which only print triple verified stories.

    Actually what happened is Mushariff invited some of his top people on a "retreat" outing to "unwind" from the rigors of walking on a tightrope for the past six years. Once gathered together his "dearest" friends we're suddenly fingered by Guido" The Finger" Mohammad. Mushariff taking no chances that the potato salad might be tainted had the traitors dispatched to paradise.

  3. Habu, based on your initial scepticism, I ordered an immediate yellow alert for the Elephant Foreign Desk. They responded with the following. Should you require further confirmation, please advise:

    Times Online October 30, 2006

    "Madrassa air strike reported to kill up to 80 militants"

    By Devika Bhat and agencies

    Pakistani forces have killed up to 80 alleged militants near the Afghan border after launching an air strike on a religious school that officials said was being used as an al-Qaeda training camp.

    The religious facility - known as a madrassa – was destroyed by helicopter fire in a pre-dawn raid this morning in the village of Chingai near Khar, the main town in the Bajaur tribal region, according to a spokesman for the army.

    The raid sparked angry protests in the area as local tribesmen and political leaders denounced the military, insisting that those killed were innocent civilians and not terrorists.

    The attack came on the first full day of a five-day visit to Pakistan by the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, which will include a visit to a madrassa, and will increase security fears for their trip.

  4. Habu, based on your additional scepticism I put the Elephant Foreign Desk at the highest state of alert and readiness. All available staff have been scrambled. Initial reports tell us the London Telegraph is reporting the following:

    80 suspected al-Qa'eda fighters killed in Pakistan

    By Anil Dawar
    Last Updated: 10:17am GMT 30/10/2006

    More than 80 suspected al-Qa'eda fighters were killed when helicopter gunships attacked a Pakistani religious school near the Afghan border early this morning.

    Troops carried out the dawn raid on a madrassa run by a pro-Taliban commander wanted by Pakistani authorities for harbouring militants.

    Miltary sources said the school in the north west Bajur region was being used as a training camp for al-Qa'eda forces.

    Please be advised.

  5. While about four hours behind the EB, Wretchard has jumped on the story of the late Captain Secher, USMC.

    “Captain Secher's emails home. MSNBC prints a deceased Marine Captain's emails to his family. The article honestly finds that the emails can't be spun. There are some journeys whose ends we don't know. Captain Secher lets us know what he was thinking up to the time when a sniper killed him. Here's an excerpt:”

    Just as here, the makings of a valient effort to marginalize Captain Secher is in the offing. It won’t work.

    Letters home

  6. sharp,

    re: Cal Thomas, Pamela, Dr. Rice

    While I’m sure Cal Thomas and Pamela were grossly unfair to Dr. Rice, she did say,

    “SECRETARY RICE: Well, you can look at any opinion poll in the Palestinian territories and 70 percent of the people will say they're perfectly ready to live side by side with Israel because they just want to live in peace.”

    Dr. Rice provided no citation of the poll(s) she relied upon for her claim. I am not surprised. No such poll(s) exist. Therefore, Madame Rice was being disingenuous, duplicitous, and/or delusional.

    If anyone can cite a poll corroborating Madame Rice, please do.

    I will now add Pamela and Cal Thomas to the fast growing list of former Republican icons. At the present rate of burn, soon only the President and his inner circle will be left.

  7. 2164..Given our Foreign Desk has Intelligence Officer Y as Chief of Station I am completely at ease with intel. Congrats on getting that station involved with the confirm.
    Semper Proboscidea

    (Always Elephant)

  8. Deuce,

    I see that you and C4 are hard at it at the BC.

    You have noticed: C4 rants at length, while rarely, if ever, providing a link? The reason; C4 picks up his material from, let us say, unsavory internet sites.

    C4 must have been into his cups, proving there is truth in wine.

  9. War is hell. Here is a Civil War letter renouned for it's pathos.
    It fits with Capt Secher's.
    (prepared to have a tear at minimum)

    July 14,1861
    Camp Clark, Washington DC

    Dear Sarah:

    The indications are very strong that we shall move in a few days - perhaps tomorrow. And lest I should not be able to write you again I feel impelled to write a few lines that may fall under your eye when I am no more.

    I have no misgivings about, or lack of confidence in the cause in which I am engaged, and my courage does not halt or falter. I know how American Civilization now leans upon the triumph of the government and how great a debt we owe to those who went before us through the blood and suffering of the Revolution. And I am willing - perfectly willing - to lay down all my joys in this life, to help maintain this government, and to pay that debt.

    Sarah, my love for you is deathless, it seems to bind me with mighty cables that nothing but omnipotence can break; and yet my love of Country comes over me like a strong wind and bears me irresistibly with all those chains to the battlefield. The memory of all the blissful moments I have enjoyed with you come crowding over me, and I feel most deeply grateful to God and you, that I have enjoyed them for so long. And how hard it is for me to give them up and burn to ashes the hopes and future years, when, God willing, we might still have lived and loved together, and see our boys grown up to honorable manhood around us.

    If I do not return, my dear Sarah, never forget how much I loved you, nor that when my last breath escapes me on the battle field, it will whisper your name...

    Forgive my many faults, and the many pains I have caused you. How thoughtless, how foolish I have sometimes been!...

    But, 0 Sarah, if the dead can come back to this earth and flit unseen around those they love, I shall always be with you, in the brightest day and in the darkest night... always, always. And when the soft breeze fans your cheek, it shall be my breath, or the cool air your throbbing temple, it shall be my spirit passing by.

    Sarah do not mourn me dead; think I am gone and wait for me, for we shall meet again...


    Sullivan Ballou was killed a week later at the 1st Battle of Bull Run.

  10. I always like to take my time, listen, and pay attention. C-4 has been off his game. He is losing my interest.

  11. For those who would like further reference to the letter

    Sullivan Ballou Letter

    It made me cry the first time I heard it read on the Ken Burns seriers on the Civil War. I have never forgotten it.

  12. Now the Repubs have lost me for this cycle and most likely the next few. The Cause, beyond the Iraqi debacle. Giving Nicaragua back to Mr Ortega, by being totally incompetent. Losing what was gained by Mr Bush's and Ms Rice's betters.

    I am brought to this conclusion by the writing of that flaming liberal columnist, Bob Novak.

    While Mr Rumsfeld says, according to that other anti Republican columnist Cal Thomas, that Victory in War, in the 21st Century is not possible, while we discard our hard won Allies in Central America

    Makes me sick to my stomach, but read of the ineptitude of the Bush Team for yourselves.
    @ RCP Nicaraguan Tragedy

  13. Rat, as you know, the lack of US interest in Latin America is hard to fathom. The Americas as an entirety is overwhelmingly Christian, has every natural resource conceivable, a huge market and a superb labor pool. It is defensible and by relative world standards as peaceful as a walk in the park on Sunday, and those shit heads in Washington do not care. Unbelieveable.

  14. Apropos absolutely nothing:

    Two most dangerous cities in USA

    #1) St. Louis
    #2) Detroit

    Ranking of Most, Least Dangerous Cities

  15. DR & 2164

    It is unimaginable how far in the tank out foreign policy over the last four or five years has gone.
    I know the Democrats won't do any better, in fact in the long run more harm, but it makes ya wanna jus as, and get a straight answer WTF?
    The sad part is are there any candidates out there on the horizon save Newt who have any balls?
    I've been a Republican all my life but I'm not a permanent member of the idiot class. I may turn rogue and register Libertarian or Independent or whatever. I leaves me pissed and speechless.
    I'm beginning to wonder how much W's religion plays in the guidance of his concept of realpolitik.

    If he sends Carter and Clinton on a "Peace Mission" I'm moving to Montana, New Zealand....and if there ain't one I'll just call it that.


    Islams warn Brits

    Smells like blackmail,looks like blackmail,walks like blackmail...

  17. O/T but vital,this day in history

    1864 : The city of Helena, Montana, is founded after miners discover gold

    On this day in 1864, the town of Helena, Montana, is founded by four gold miners who struck it rich at the appropriately named "Last Chance Gulch."

    The first major Anglo settlement of Montana had begun just two years before in the summer of 1862, when prospectors found a sizeable deposit of placer gold at Grasshopper Creek to the west. When other even richer deposits were soon discovered nearby, a major rush began as tens of thousands of miners scoured the territory in search of gold. In 1864, four prospectors spotted signs of gold in the Helena area while on their way to the Kootenai country, but they were eager to reach the reportedly rich gold regions farther to the north and did not to stop. But after striking out on the Kootenai, they decided to take "one last chance" on finding gold and returned. When the signs turned out to mark a rich deposit of placer gold, they staked their claims and named the new mining district Last Chance Gulch.

    Eventually, Last Chance Gulch would prove to be the second biggest placer gold deposit in Montana, producing some $19 million worth of gold in just four years. Overnight, thousands of miners began to flood into the region, and the four original discoverers added to their fortunes by establishing the town of Helena to provide them with food, lodging, and supplies. But unlike many of the early Montana mining towns, Helena did not disappear once the gold gave out, which it inevitably did. Located on several major transportation routes, well supplied with agricultural products from an adjacent valley, and near to several other important mining towns, Helena was able to survive and grow by serving the wider Montana mining industry. In 1875, the city became the capital of Montana Territory, and in 1894, the capital of the new state of Montana

  18. To a growing list of former Republican or conservative stalwarts can now be added the names of Robert Spencer, Hugh Fitzgerald, and Joel Mowbray.

    Rice's dangerous delusions

    “What someone of Rice's incapacity, aiding and abetting someone of Bush's incapacity, and whisperingly advised by those of similar incapacity, demonstrates in delivering this hideously ill-advised speech, dripping with misconceptions, a farrago of premeditated nonsense, is cause for the greatest alarm. And those who continue to prate, as loyalists to Bush, that "he knows what he is doing" should, at long last, shut up or, still better, distance themselves completely from him and his crew of incapables, beginning but not ending with Rice and her vaporings.”
    ___Hugh Fitzgerald

    “…Palestinians could achieve their dream of statehood. She based this belief on ‘the commitment of the Palestinian people to a better future.’"

    “Where does Mr. Bush's most loyal and trusted aide find evidence of this "commitment?" She offered none in her speech. Even if she had wanted to, though, such proof is in short supply. Poll after poll has indicated majority Palestinian support for suicide bombings.”

    “Miss Rice was right on at least one count: Palestinians "have suffered too long." It is sadly simplistic, however, to lay blame squarely on Israel, as she implicitly did.”
    ___Joel Mowbray

    Palestinian 'humiliation'?

  19. Vote Foley Values
    Vote Republican '06

    oh oh, that's backwards

    Vote Republican Values
    Vote Foley '06

  20. trish,

    re: Captain Secher, USMC

    You may be right. I hope not and think not. Captain Secher is no Lindy England. He is the all American boy. Everyone's son, brother, or neighbor. He is a hero, in the public mind. Therefore, the usual stooges will take care, I think, and hope the story blows over. Personally, I wish any bashing of Captain Secher to start prior to the election; the public could use the education.

  21. trish,

    re: Captain Secher


    This picture shows what Captain Secher's detractors will face. This young man was the American dream.

  22. trish,

    It has been written here that Captain Secher may have experienced emotional fluctuations, depending on what he experienced on any given day. That is fair. However, the rules of engagement described by Captain Secher have nothing to do with his personality. These rules of engagement have been made known to me from others other than Captain Secher.

    Apparently, I was not clear. To remedy that shortcoming I would say, "Yes, people do die in war, but insane rules of engagement instrumental to causing death are not merely ill conceived; no, they are murderous.

    The death of Captain Secher, occurring while operating under criminally negligent rules of engagement may find resonance among veterans who have found themselves so constrained. Moreover, placing our troops at unnecessary risk because of these rules of engagement would make the President's bravado an empty pledge. As Teresita pointed out, Mr. Bush may be a very little man, wearing an oversized hat. If this impression is conveyed to the public through the diary of Captain Secher, more may be demanded of this administration. If that is the case, and TWAT can be fought along the lines favored by Captain Secher, then, his death will not have been in vain and he will truly be a hero.