“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."

Friday, October 31, 2008

David Petraeus May Be the Most Important Man in America

The Iraq 'surge' general will have to deal with the growing Islamic militant threat in a poorer and nuclear Pakistan. Yet that is only a part of his responsibility for Middle East and central Asia. The political situation in Pakistan worsens daily.

Pakistan is also stone cold broke. Pakistan needs about $15-billion to stay afloat.

Petraeus is uniquely qualified to fulfill his new role, but he will need a lot of help.

Petraeus takes charge of US Central Command

Mark Tran and agencies, Friday October 31 2008 11.13 GMT

David Petraeus, the general who directed the Iraq "surge", today takes charge of US Central Command, where he will head American military operations in the Middle East and central Asia.

Petraeus has signalled his priority will be Pakistan, the first country he will visit after today's swearing-in ceremony in Tampa Bay, Florida.

Nuclear-armed Pakistan faces a growing Islamist threat, has had to ask for financial help from the International Monetary Fund, and faces impatient calls from the US to crack down on Taliban and al-Qaida militants operating from Pakistan into Afghanistan.

Petraeus, an expert on counter-insurgency, comes into his new job credited with pulling Iraq back from the brink of disintegration. During the surge, sectarian violence fell off dramatically and the US military speaks glowingly of a newly confident Iraqi army.

The general has been cautious about Iraq's prospects, insisting that the job is far from finished. He has said the war in Afghanistan is likely to prove even longer and harder.

Pakistan is shaping up to be just as difficult. Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, has warned that any future terror attack on the US would come from Pakistan's western tribal regions, where the central government has little or no control. For US strategists, Pakistan may be considered a bigger immediate threat than either Iraq or Afghanistan.

"Dealing with Pakistan, where America's mortal foe al-Qaida is nestled alongside the Taliban, is clearly the most pressing problem we face," Bing West, a retired marine and former assistant secretary of defence, wrote in National Interest, the journal of international affairs and diplomacy.

Petraeus has acknowledged Pakistan will probably be altogether different from Iraq, where his counter-insurgency tactics succeeded. "Pakistan is going to do this on their own," he told rightwing thinktank the Heritage Foundation this month. "They have a very keen sense of sovereignty."

In an interview in Washington this week, a senior Pakistani official said his government was drawing up a more comprehensive strategy for fighting the insurgency, now regarded as the gravest threat to the government.

It would be carried out in cooperation with the US, but not on a US timetable, the official said. "We are going to run this."

There is tension between the US and Pakistan over the insurgency in tribal areas. The Bush administration has stepped up sending drone aircraft to attack targets in remote border areas inside Pakistan. Resulting civilian casualties have caused uproar among Pakistanis.

Petraeus's arrival at Central Command was not the original plan. The US secretary of defence, Robert Gates, wanted to move Petraeus from Iraq to the less demanding job of commanding US and Nato forces in Europe.

But Admiral William Fallon unexpectedly announced his retirement in February after a year at Central Command and Petraeus was named as his replacement.


  1. The entire premise of US policy, if this is accurate, is built on a false foundation

    ... Nuclear-armed Pakistan faces a growing Islamist threat ...

    Pakistan has, is and will be the main non-financial supporter of the "Islamist threat". It's jihadi central, as its' government has sponsored the Islamist extremists for years and years.

    It continues to, today.

    Much like the United States, Pakistan is not a uni-polar government or society. There are factions and rouges within the halls of power, there.

    The Pakistani Army, it is itself a force for Jihad.

    Iman, Taqwa, Jihad fi Sabilillah.
    Translated into English, it means "Faith, Piety and Fight in the path of God".

    No secularists need apply.

  2. Yon on New Media - Afghanistan

    This is a challenging period: The Afghanistan-Pakistan situation is deteriorating rapidly. Panglossian op-eds, such as [3] this 2006 piece in the Wall Street Journal, would have encouraged investors to toss money into Afghanistan with hopes of high return.
    For a bit of time travel into coverage from Afghanistan, please read “[4] A Virgin Market.” Afghanistan is neither virgin nor innocent.

    But just as my 2006 pieces on Afghanistan explicitly warned that chaos was descending upon the land, I write it here clearly again: during 2009, we likely will see more fighting in Afghanistan than we have experienced to date.

    Come spring and summer, friendly casualties from all sides will likely be at an all-time high. There is no end in sight. I would not doubt that, given time and barring some extreme unforeseen changes in the situation, the Afghanistan-Pakistan war might well devolve into something far worse than we ever saw in Iraq.

    If America elects a president who does not understand the situations in Iraq and Afghanistan, we could fumble the hard-won progress in Iraq and lose the war in Afghanistan. In fact, many Americans think that we could lose America as we know it.

  3. It is a "Long War", doug.
    As such, there is no expectation of victory.

    Failures can be explained away, as they are to be expected, in a "Long War". One where victory is a goal with an event horizon that is not even there, to be seen.

    Where there is not even a viable definition of "victory".

  4. Pakistan is also stone cold broke. Pakistan needs about $15-billion to stay afloat.

    Maybe the people can eat nuclear weapons. I'm sure their entire inventory should be worth about $15 billion.

  5. They have been selling their nuclear expertise, Ms T, perhaps they'll sell their inventory.

    Wonder who the likely buyers would be?

    Most likely those pesky Sauds, that is if we don't borrow the money, from the Princes, and buy those Paki nukes, ourselves.

    But that would require a "change" in course, wouldn't it?

  6. Obama outstrips McCain in defense-industry donations

    By Kathy Adams
    The Virginian-Pilot
    © November 1, 2008

    For more than 10 years, Republicans have been able to count on the defense industry to have their backs each election cycle.

    But this year, the industry is favoring Democrat Barack Obama.

    According to Federal Election Commission data collected this week by the Center for Responsive Politics, the defense sector has donated 34 percent more to the Illinois senator than to his Republican opponent for president, Arizona Sen. John McCain. Obama has received $870,165 to McCain's $647,313, according to the center's Web site,

    "There's been a pretty significant shift toward Democrats in the defense sectors," said Massie Ritsch, a spokesman for the center, which tracks election contributions and their impact on public policy.

    But on defense spending and procurement issues, little differentiates Obama and McCain, said Loren Thompson, a defense analyst with the Lexington Institute, a public policy think tank based in Arlington.

    "When you get beyond the issue of Iraq, Sen. McCain and Sen. Obama are almost like mirror images on most military issues," Thompson said. "Obama and McCain both want to crack down on contractors, they both want to scrub the list of major weapons systems for unneeded programs, and they both are skeptical about outsourcing."

  7. Let's look and see what
    news has been generated by the expenditure of $666 million USD in the last two days, in Iraq.

    Seems that 23 criminals were detained, that's just 29 million a piece, A real deal for the US taxpayer.

    IA Soldiers get receive new counter IED vehicles

    NPs, MND-B Soldiers seize weapons in Baghdad

    Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Bureau leading the way in development of counter-terrorism strategy

    291 complete Central Bank of Iraq FPS training course

    Anbar Justice Center - the province model for justice

    Coalition forces capture four wanted men, detain four more suspects

    Amarah SWAT detains criminal leader in Maysan

    ISF captures 2 suspected terrorists in northern Iraq

    ISF pursues criminals, militants in separate Iraq operations

    ISF, CF continue to improve security in Mosul

    ISF capture 15 suspected terrorists in separate operations

    Citizen’s tip leads NP to weapons cache (Baghdad)

    Blast injures 7 Iraqis in Adhamiyah

    U.S. Soldier dies in non-combat related incident (Mosul)

    Local renovations to benefit village residents (Mosul)

    MND-B Soldiers help turn abandoned private carnival into public park

    MND-B Soldiers detain 2 suspected criminals in Rashid

    MND-B Soldiers detain suspected criminals, confiscate weapons cache

    IA soldiers seize 2nd large weapons cache in Sadr City in week

    Women working to expand Iraq’s water treatment capacity

    Coalition forces strike al-Qaeda in Iraq senior networks, detain two (Tikrit)

    Tips lead INP, MND-B Soldiers to seize weapons throughout Baghdad

    Ministry of Women’s Affairs hosts its 4th Women’s Conference

    Coalition forces detain key Katai’b Hezbollah facilitator

  8. US National Security is further enhanced, our worries are for naught.


    RELEASE No. 20081029-08

    Oct. 29, 2008

    MND-B Soldiers help turn abandoned private carnival into public park

    Multi-National Division – Baghdad PAO

    BAGHDAD – Dover Park, as it is known by Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldiers, sat abandoned for years; located in the Qahira neighborhood of the Adhamiyah District of Baghdad, its carnival rides were unusable and the land was overgrown with weeds.

    “It was your typical abandoned park here in Iraq,” said 1st Lt. Rosita Rodriguez, a civil affairs team chief with Company C, 404th Civil Affairs Battalion, attached to 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, MND-B.

    Two months later, the refurbished park was completed and handed over to the local neighborhood council Oct. 28.

    “This is our first park in Qahira. We never had one before,” said Mohamed Madaloom, the Qahira Neighborhood Assistance Council chairman.

    The park has a small pond with a generator-run fountain with a flock of geese as well as benches, solar lights, several swings, slides and seesaws. There is also a tiled path lined with flowers and new grass has been planted. A gardener and a security guard, he added, will be hired.

    The park is intended to be self-sufficient, and seven small kiosks will be rented to vendors. The rent will provide an income stream to buy fuel for the generator, pay the salaries of the staff and any other expenses.

    “Everybody admires the park. I know the families are so excited to get here,” said Madaloom, who, along with fellow local officials and Coalition forces leaders, gathered for the official hand over. Iraqi officials and Col. John Hort, commander of the 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, raised the Iraqi flag to symbolize the opening of the park as doves were released. Some families and their children couldn’t wait – they were already on the rides.

    “I’m so pleased; our kids aren’t able to go many places because of the security situation. I am so pleased that we have such a park in our neighborhood,” said Aum Achmed, who was there with her daughter and a niece. “It’s important for every kid to have a place to go to.”

  9. The storyabout the 291 Iraqi policemen of the Facilities Protection Service tells an interesting tale.

    There are 120,000 of these policemen, in Iraq and they are responsible for:

    ... about 95% of the infrastructure is owned by the government. The Iraqi government is responsible for keeping the oil fields producing, electrical power plants running, water flowing, keeping dams secure and making sure all ministries are safe for the citizens of Iraq.

    So the US invaded and conquered Iraq and imposed or maintained the Socialist system within the country.

    Wonder where the "market capitialists" amongst the Federal Socialists of the US government were, when that was decided?

    A tasty pudding brought to US, by the Republican Administration of GW Bush.

  10. This comment has been removed by the author.

  11. Let's look and see what
    news has been generated by the expenditure of $666 million USD in the last two days, in Iraq.

    This is not news. This is propaganda and disinformation. We all know that's not where that money is spent.

  12. They provide the public rationale for a continued US presence, mat.

    Those stories provide the fodder for further expeditures.
    They are the "Good News" stories that "are not being told".

    If these stories were given wider exposure, General P's stock would be in free fall, too, along with Congress and Mr Bush.

    The cost benefit ratios are enough to make one puke.

  13. Big Media
    Big Auto
    Big Oil
    Big Government
    Big Defense Contractors
    Big Right Wing Commie Welfare State

    A grand conspiracy of parasites feeding on the American taxpayers.

  14. Even within the thread's story, there are major contradictions:

    The general has been cautious about Iraq's prospects, insisting that the job is far from finished.

    Which seems reasonable, taken on face value, but then it says

    Petraeus has acknowledged Pakistan will probably be altogether different from Iraq, where his counter-insurgency tactics succeeded.

    "Succeeded" flatly refutes the idea that the "job is far from finished".

    Which is it, have the counter insurgency tactics succeeded or is the war far from finished?

    If both are true, then who is the current war in Iraq against?

    Where are the enemy casualties, from that war?

    Seven bad guys KIA in Syria?

    If we are down to a onesy-twosy battle, why maintain 150,000 troops in Iraq?

  15. And let's not forget Big Banks.

  16. why maintain 150,000 troops in Iraq?

    Practice for the new national soccer team?

  17. What's the big deal about Pakistan being $15 Billion in Debt?
    Isn't that like the size of a bailout of a minor league player in the Wall Street Meltdown?
    Hell, just pay the Paki Pols big retirement bonuses, and let Paulson and Bernake install their replacements!

  18. The Fable of Little Johnny

    Contrairimairi has forwarded this fable of Little Johnny. I have not confirmed the facts with the Elmira school district.


    A teacher in Elmira, New York asked her 6th grade class how many of them were Obama fans. Not really knowing what an Obama fan is, but wanting to be liked by the teacher, all the kids raised their hands except for Little Johnny.

    The teacher asked Little Johnny why he has decided to be different again.

    Little Johnny said, "Because I'm not an Obama fan."

    The teacher asked, "Why aren't you an Obama fan?"

    Johnny said, "Because I'm a Republican."

    The teacher asked him why he's a Republican.

    Little Johnny answered, "Well, my Mom's a Republican and my Dad's a Republican, so I'm a Republican."

    Annoyed by this answer, the teacher asked, "If your mom was a moron and your dad was an idiot, what would that make you?"

    With a big smile, Little Johnny replied, "That would make me an Obama fan."

    : ) Little Johnny - wise beyond his years.

  19. Big Media, Big Defense Contractors, Big Banks

    All personified in Lester Crown,
    Big Obama supporter.

  20. All personified in Lester Crown

    Not at all.

    Personified by a cast of millions. Big and small playas who go deliberately unpublicized.

  21. Mətušélaḥ: A grand conspiracy of parasites feeding on the American taxpayers.

    You forgot that socialist little country on the eastern shores of the Med. Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of U.S.
    Aid to Israel:

    Grand Total: $84,854,827,200

    Interest Costs Borne by U.S.: $49,936,680,000

    Total Cost to U.S. Taxpayers: $134,791,507,200

  22. Nonsense.

    What the U.S. taxpayer is paying for is military Keynesianism. Whether that crap ends up in American or Israeli or Jihadi warehouses or elsewhere is of little consequence to those on the dole. Keeping the military Keynesian welfare scheme going is all that counts.

  23. It has been some time since Erica has seen any blood flowing anywhere but...


    Liberal author and self-confessed feminist Erica Jong has told Italian daily Corriere della Sera that “blood will flow in the streets” if Barack Obama somehow loses the US presidential election next week.

    “If Obama loses it will spark the second American Civil War. Blood will run in the streets, believe me. And it’s not a coincidence that President Bush recalled soldiers from Iraq for Dick Cheney to lead against American citizens in the streets,” Jong said in the interview.

    Jong, who stays in constant contact with fellow Leftist losers Naomi Wolf, Jane Fonda, Ken Follett and Susan Cheever, continues to ramble worn-out and cliched Democrat Party talking points, such as “”Bush has transformed America into a police state” and “the Republican Mafia” has “stolen” the last two US presidential elections. Neurotic-to-the-core Jong whines about election-season stress giving her back spasms that, naturally, cause her to see her chiropractic every day for acupuncture lessons.

  24. Lester personifies those three elements of the "Big", mat.

    There are many others, as you say, but Lester Crown both exemplifies and personifies your point.

    Like it or not.

  25. Similar to the warnings that habu made, right here at the Bar.

    Revolution, that implies blood in the streets, if Obamasan were to gain the White House.

    Just sayin' ...

    Love it or leave it, Erica left it.
    Good riddence.

  26. Meanwhile up here in Washington State, Governor Christine Gregoire is painting her opponent as an out of touch elitist for making an appearance at the Port Angeles Yacht Club. HA. It always gets dirty in the last week.

  27. It's all in the name, Ms T.

    That is the secret to making a point.
    Call nationalizing the nation financial services industry a "Rescue" and it's all good.

    Call it a socialist nationalization, and you're to the left of Obama and to the right of McCain.

  28. There are many others, as you say, but Lester Crown both exemplifies and personifies your point.

    Lester Crown is just another convenient Joo scapegoat. For every Lester Crown there are millions and tens of millions that are deliberately not mentioned.

    Btw, was that $10 billion in hard cash that went missing in Iraq ever tracked down and returned?

  29. Cost to U.S. Taxpayers of U.S.
    Aid to Israel:

    Grand Total: $84,854,827,200

    interesting but stupid...

    how much of this "aid" was directly SPENT on USA made goods and services?


    Most all of aid to israel is used to BUY USA goods...

    Now, do you call NATO aid to Europe?


    then your full of crap of course....

    Do you count up the costs of keeping the shipping lanes open for safe passage of arab oil AID?


    Israel today receives MOSTLY MILITARY AID, not ECONOMIC aid...

    and when she GOT economic aid it was BECAUSE the 21 arab nations, with the HELP of China and the USSR attempted to exterminate her...

    If Israel was not UNDER genocidal threat there would have been no need for ANY AID...

    SO in the end...

    ARAB OIL is the party killer here...


    Peace within a minute in the middle east...

  30. This comment has been removed by the author.

  31. Not a scapegoat, mat, not Lester.
    He paid the $1.9 million USD advance to Obamasan. Not millions and millions of other folk.
    He was the Chairman of the Board of General Dynamics, he is a major stoockholder of JPMorgan Chase, he does own the Tribune Newspapers, to include the LA Times.

    That he is, as you say, a Joo, incidental to the political actions he has taken. He personifies the big business collective, not Jooishness, from my perspective.

    That religion is your primary concern, shades your perception, not mine. If Lester had done all that he's done, and was a Rockefeller WASP, I'd still say he exemplified and personified "Big".

    And is Obamasan primary sponsor

    Which he does and is.

  32. That religion is your primary concern, shades your perception, not mine.

    Really. Well, maybe you can name me all the other non-Jewish board of directors that you've mentioned on this here blog who served over the years in all the companies involved in this welfare scam.

  33. mətušélaḥ said...
    That religion is your primary concern, shades your perception, not mine.

    Really. Well, maybe you can name me all the other non-Jewish board of directors that you've mentioned on this here blog who served over the years in all the companies involved in this welfare scam.

    Dr seems to hold any aid or action to or from the jews to a different standard than that of others...

    that's why he needs to either hold all to an equal standard or drop the singling out of the jews or israel

  34. The gut of Rush Limbaugh began speaking to Rush last night, around two in the morning. His gut was telling him McCain may pull this off.

    I heard those Yacht Club ads Miss T. Poor old Casino Dino, been slimed.

    Succeeded in finding my mom's old house where she grew up in Bellingham, before moving to Seattle. Was taking a picture when this good looking red headed young lady drove up. Could have been mom, back from the dead. Bellingham is nice, must have been beautiful back in the day. Lake Whatcom.

    Bumper stickers seem to be a thing of the past.

    Vote against Prop 1000 in Oregon!

    Go John McCain and Sarah Palin!

  35. Obama's Aunt Zeituni Found Living In A Slum in Boston

    Rush commiserated with poor Aunt Zeituni all day today, "without a cane to hobble around the hovel"--and this is the type of Obama compassion you want in your life?

  36. Snoqualmie Pass Now Has An Eight Lane Up The West Side

    but the

    North Cascades Scenic Highway Is The Same As Always

    Even the tiny single person prayer chapel is the same down at the bottom on the west side, still there.