“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."

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

US Missile Assault on Waziristan

Missile Barrage Kills 14 in Pakistan
Published: May 11, 2010
NY Times
Filed at 4:48 a.m. ET

PARACHINAR, Pakistan (AP) -- Up to 18 American missiles slammed into a Taliban sanctuary in Pakistan close to the Afghan border Tuesday, killing 14 alleged insurgents in the third such strike since a failed car bombing in New York drew fresh attention to the region, officials said.

Meanwhile, Pakistan's foreign minister said the nation's ties with the U.S. have not suffered as a result of the bombing plot, which Washington has linked to militants with bases in the lawless border regions.

The number of missiles fired into North Waziristan was unusually high, reflecting multiple targets.

They struck cars, homes and tents across a wide area in the Doga area, where insurgents have hideouts and training facilities, two intelligence officials said on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media. The identities of the people killed in the attack were not immediately known.

North Waziristan has been the target of nearly all of about 30 other American attacks this year. In recent months, it has become a new haven for militants who fled a Pakistani army offensive in their previous stronghold, neighboring South Waziristan.

The strike Tuesday was the third since Pakistani-American Faisal Shahzad was arrested after allegedly abandoning a bomb-laden SUV in Times Square. He has reportedly told investigators that he received training in Waziristan and U.S. officials have said evidence showed the Pakistani Taliban played a role in the plot.

Pakistan officially protests the missile strikes on its territory as violations of its sovereignty, but it is believed to aid them. The U.S. rarely discusses the unmanned-drone-fired strikes, which are part of a covert CIA program.

U.S. claims that the Pakistani Taliban were behind the May 1 failed car bombing in Times Square add pressure on Pakistan's government to launch an army attack on the militant sanctuaries of North Waziristan, but few expect its stretched army to rush into any operation there.

New calls from Washington could backfire because they would create the impression the force was acting on the orders of America -- a perception that would undercut the public support needed for such an operation to be successful.

Aside from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's warning over the weekend of ''severe consequences'' if an attack on U.S. soil is traced back to Pakistan, most U.S. officials have been careful not to criticize Pakistan in their public comments since Pakistan-American Faisal Shahzad was arrested soon after the terror attempt in New York.

Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi said relations between the two countries remained sound.

''There's nothing to worry (about), our relationship is smooth and it is moving toward a partnership,'' he said.

America is limited in what it can do to tackle the threat coming from Pakistan's tribal regions.

It is seen as highly unlikely that nuclear-armed Pakistan would ever allow American troops to operate there, meaning Washington must try to work through the Pakistani army, which has received billions of dollars in U.S. aid since 2001.

The Pakistani Taliban, which have previously not conducted attacks on U.S. soil, have been the target of several Pakistani army offensives over the last two years in addition to being battered by scores of American missile strikes. They are allied to al-Qaida, which has also found sanctuary in the northwest, and the Afghan Taliban just across the border.

The army has not moved into North Waziristan in part because powerful insurgent commanders there have generally not attacked targets in Pakistan. In recent months, however, fleeing fighters and commanders from the Pakistani Taliban -- which have launched scores of bloody suicide attacks around the country since 2007 -- have moved there.


  1. Aside from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton's warning over the weekend of ''severe consequences'' if an attack on U.S. soil is traced back to Pakistan...

    Yes, severe consequences. Obama might cut the billions of dollars in payoffs to Pakistan by 2 percent.

  2. Yep, the tempo in the "War on Terror" has certainly picked up, since the Democrats have taken over management of the combat.

    Yep, we're finally done with pussyfooted five time deferred draft dodgers being in charge.

    Hope the US military can git 'er done, in the next few months, bringing Doc Z's head to NYCity, to be put on a pike.

  3. Even the Isreali, with their new US managers, have gone from killing women and children in Gaza, to talking about fighting the Syrians.

    Big improvement, that.

  4. Karzai is in DC today and tomorrow. It should be a good show.

  5. From Global Post:

    Cashing In On The Colombian Accent

    BOGOTA, Colombia — At a sprawling office in Bogota, operators equipped with headsets and computer monitors speak in crystal clear Spanish to customers in Mexico, Chile and Spain.

    They punch the clock for Unisono, one of more than a dozen international call centers located in Bogota, where a key attraction is the way people talk. By many accounts, the Spanish spoken in the Colombian capital is the most easily understood.

    “When you’re selling something you need to be understood and to form friendships over the telephone,” said Ana Isabel Iglesias, an Unisono development consultant. “So you want a neutral accent.”

    Bogota’s highly academic form of Spanish — which eschews sing-song intonations and the swallowing of letters common in other countries — is allowing the Colombian capital to cash in at a time of expanding international trade and globalization.

    Colombia’s call centers, most of which are located in Bogota, employ more than 70,000 people, a number that is expected to double by 2012, according to Proexport Colombia, which promotes exports and foreign investment.


    Interesting to see this, because it's oh so true, perhaps most especially for gringos used to the Mexican and Central American accents. To our ears, it's not just more readily understandable, it's very pleasing to the ear.

    How do you flatter a Colombian after complaining to him that all of his countrymen drive like paid assassins? Tell him his Spanish is gorgeous. He knows this already, of course, but it's still nice to hear.

    On the other hand, my mother recently remarked that she has new difficulty always understanding my son, who no longer remembers to clearly and completely anglicize for dopey relatives in phone conversations.

  6. Rather more on topic: Payback's a bitch.

  7. At Balloon Juice:

    Open Thread: Desperation

    by Mistermix

    The efforts to stop the Gulf spill are sounding more than vaguely pornographic: BP’s next plan for oil spill includes ‘top hat’ and ‘junk shot’. What’s next? A ‘rusty trombone’ followed by a ‘blumpkin’?

    It's the fun thread of the morning and you have to scroll through for the full complement of inventive idioms.

    Mexican cartwheel?


  8. And on THAT topic, David Letterman once had a Top Ten List of things that sound dirty but aren't. For whatever reason we always remembered this one: Shaking hands with Abraham Lincoln.

    A few years ago my husband was being interviewed and was asked, "What do you like to do to relax?"

    On his list: Walk the dog.

    Without skipping a beat and with perfect earnestness came the follow-up, "Is that a euphemism?"

  9. desert rat said...
    Even the Isreali, with their new US managers, have gone from killing women and children in Gaza, to talking about fighting the Syrians.

    Big improvement, that.

    Spoken like the jew hating jackass you are..

    It's Israel you nazi...

    and Israel did not go from killing women and children in gaza to talking about fighting syria..

    In Gaza, the vast majority of those killed were in fact Hamas MEN, and the % of those killed that were civilians were vastly LOWER that Obama's killing of civilians by predator attacks...

    Rat you still are a jew/israel hating piece of shit...

  10. WIO

    he is also a baiter. Why let him bother you?

  11. DR,

    The IDF has fought and won any number of engagements with Syria. It has routinely fought the Syrian armed forces, which I believe means mostly adult males.

    Israel hasn’t the manpower or financial base to piddle around in foreign wars for years on end. Moreover, the Israeli public has little patience with a military whose most salient feature is excuse making for failure. You see, Israel lives in the neighborhood; Israel cannot afford to lose.

    In war there is always, always friendly fire and collateral damage, which you would know, of course, had you ever served in the military and had ever engaged in more than tavern, verbal brawling.

    I see you as another of the approximately 50,000,000 guys who claim to have been Navy Seals or Rangers. You can add another 75,000,000 who claim to have been Marines.

    As to Israel's recent trouncing of the human shield bearing Arab warriors of Gaza, I hope none of your friends and/or family were collateral damage.

    For the record, you began this exchange by disparaging the prowess of the IDF, making of that fine organization baby killers.

  12. Gag Reflex said...

    he is also a baiter. Why let him bother you?

    He doesnt BOTHER me, I just like to point out to any visitors what a piece of garbage he is..

    I fully accept the power of Jews/Israel over Rat's entire mindset, I understand his humiliation and utter despair that Israel IS....

    I fully understand the morality of the IDF and it's fight against the arabs, and how it conducts those wars and how no nation, INCLUDE our GREAT one, does it anywhere as as moral as Israel does...

    Rat hates Jews, Zionists and Israel...

    Yep it doesnt bother me, it empowers me...

  13. Senate Backs One-Time Audit of Fed’s Bailout Role

  14. War in the ME just took one step forward:

    Israel says N.Korea shipping WMDs to Syria

    Is it possible that the North is helping a beleaguered Syria protect itself from further baby killing by the IDF?

    Says the article incorrectly: "Israel has accused North Korea in the past of transferring nuclear technology to Syria, which is technically in a state of war with the neighboring Jewish state, although the two last fought openly in 1973."


    Presumably, all the Syrian pilots were women and children.

  15. Does Kagan Believe in Limited Government?

    "We get a glimpse of that in this morning’s New York Times. Drowning her sorrow in vodka and tonic after Ronald Reagan took the White House in 1980 – during that summer she’d worked on the losing Senate campaign of liberal Democrat Liz Holtzman – the young Ms. Kagan would write in the Princetonian, “Where I grew up – on Manhattan’s Upper West Side – nobody ever admitted to voting for Republicans.” She described “the Manhattan of her childhood,” the Times adds, as a place “where those who won office were ‘real Democrats – not the closet Republicans that one sees so often these days but men and women committed to liberal principles and motivated by the ideal of an affirmative and compassionate government...”

    Kagan and Limited Government

    The above quote doesn't really bother me. Obama won. He gets to pick his nominee. If she's liberal, it’s merely a one for one switch with Stevens. What does bother me is the initial question, does she believe in limited government. That question, along with what appears to her tendency to give deference to the concept of a more expanded and expansive presidency give me pause.


  16. misdirection is spreading lies, again.

    I do not anyone, there is no history of it.

    I detest the policies that Israel pursues, under our security blanket.

    It dishonors the United States to support such an authoritative and sectarian State.

  17. Israel, North Korea and Libya, all have attacked the US Navy, on the high seas.

    Those three are in a class of their own.

    All pursuing nuclear capacity outside the auspices of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

    Rogue States, operating outside the civilized norm.

  18. desert rat said...
    misdirection is spreading lies, again.

    I do not anyone, there is no history of it.

    I detest the policies that Israel pursues, under our security blanket.


    Rat, you're so full of shit you stink thru the computer screen

  19. desert rat said...
    Israel, North Korea and Libya, all have attacked the US Navy, on the high seas.

    Those three are in a class of their own.

    SO have the Brits, Germans, Japanese, Italians, Arabs, Turks, French, Spanish and many others...

    Once again Rat, you're full of shit..

  20. Breath deep, misdirection

    Breath deep!

  21. You talk, again, about me

    To evade the truth of your reality, the real rouge status of that Eurotrash colony on the Med.

  22. Bogota’s highly academic form of Spanish — which eschews sing-song intonations and the swallowing of letters common in other countries

    Yeah, like the way they choke down Nicarawa.

  23. WiO,
    Understandably, some folk who have not served in the armed forces or bothered to do some simple googling do not grasp the concept of “friendly fire”. While percentage of loss attributable to friendly fire varies, it is the undisputed opinion of respected authorities that it occurs often.

    It should come as no surprise to you that friendly fire tragedies have been the cause of much slander. As I recall it, one of our regulars here was certain that Pat Tillman had been murdered by other, envious Rangers.

    1) 1461 – At the Battle of Towton, wind conditions resulted in arrows falling amongst friendly troops as well as the enemy.

    2) Earlier, in July 1943, nervous American naval and ground troops Gela, Sicily, fired on aircraft carrying paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne Division and caused 319 casualties (88 dead, 162 wounded, and 69 missing) plus 80 aircraft destroyed or badly damaged

    3) Near damage of the battleship USS Iowa (with President Franklin D. Roosevelt aboard) by the destroyer USS William D. Porter.

    4) 8,000 such incidents have been estimated for the Vietnam War;[27][28][29] one was the inspiration for the book and film Friendly Fire.

    5) In 1992 USS Saratoga participated in a no-notice exercise that included a simulated RIM-7 launch. Incorrect terminology was used in orders and a live missile was launched into the bridge of the Turkish destroyer Muavenet killing 5.

    6) [Gaza War] An Israeli tank fires on a building occupied by Israeli troops after mistaking them for enemy fighters. Three soldiers are killed and another twenty wounded.

    friendly fire

  24. WiO,

    Hold this thought for a better day: When the laying out of the boundaries of the PA is nearly complete, I predict that entire Muslim villages will demand a redrawing and inclusion within Israel.

  25. The attack on the U.S.S. Liberty was hardly a friendly fire incident. It was an intentional attack on a pretty much defenseless NSA spy ship in international waters.

    However, I hold my biggest contempt for those who indulged in the cover-up of this incident for political expediency. And there is no circle in hell deep enough for LBJ and McNamara, the scum who ordered the Sixth Fleet to back off rather than take out those attacking the ship.


  26. Quirk quotes Kagan: " and women committed to liberal principles and motivated by the ideal of an affirmative and compassionate government..."

    I think she was sucking up to get in the kinder gentler Bush 41 Administration back then. Certainly Bush 43 gave us compassionate conservatism to the tune of $4.33 trillion in new spending.

  27. Quirk,

    ever wonder why Israel didnt SINK the LIBERTY?

    If it was intentional as some say..

    I wonder, WHY was America spying on Israel and sending electronic war map of Israel and sending it via the english to nasser?

  28. Michael Waldman, executive director of the Brennan Center for Justice, who worked with Kagan in the Clinton White House, said he saw her as bringing a different kind of “real world” experience to the bench: a role as a senior policymaker from her days as deputy director of Clinton’s Domestic Policy Council.


    Princeton historian Sean Wilentz, who was Kagan’s thesis adviser, described her as having studied the “futility of dogma” in her senior thesis on New York socialists.

    “He’s not looking for liberal legal bomb-throwers — either within the academy or on the fringes of the academy or in the judiciary,” he said. “He’s looking for people who have not only extraordinary legal minds but who have shown a capacity to look at problems from many different angles.”

    From the 'Real World'?

  29. Quirk,

    Re: USS Liberty

    In the past, I have dealt twice with this question at length. People will believe what they choose.

    Officially, there have been 13 full blown investigations, 10 by the US (lastest 2004) and 3 by the Israelis. In every case, it was determined that 1) there was an attack and 2) it was not malicious.

    For whatever it is worth, Israeli jets attacked two Israeli armored/infrantry columns the day before in the Sinai.

    There are excellent internet sources.

    As to vast conspiracies, I rely upon Franklin:

    "Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead."

  30. In 1969, Dr. Richard Day, an admitted "insider" delivered an invitation-only lecture about the "new world system" in which he defined the changes, according to an actual timetable, that would be accomplished by the year 2000 which included the following:

    Travel restrictions will occur. It will be considered a privilege!


    More airplane and auto accidents will occur contributing to a general feeling of insecurity. This will also initiate more government regulations.

    Manufacturing will be curtailed in order to give other countries a chance to build their industries in order to compete against the United States. Our heavy industries will be deliberately cut back while the same industries are developed in other countries, notably Japan.

    New World Order

  31. Good God, Sam; That shit could give you brain cancer. Holy Moly.

  32. That the vaunted Isreali Air Force attacked their own troops, no excuse for them killing Americans.

    When the Enterprise launched F4s, to defend the USS Liberty, as monitored by radio communications, the Isreali broke off the attack on the USS Liberty.

    They knew exactly who and what their target was, in the Med.

    Of that there is no doubt.
    That the US acted, then, as the South Koreans do now, just more of the same.

    The Isreali attacked a US ship at sea, of that there is no doubt.

    As to their motive, who gives a shit, it does not change the fact that Isreali scum attacked a US ship.

    It should never have been excused.
    That it was, a political white wash.

    Brought to US by the same folk that bought President Obama.

  33. "Quirk,

    ever wonder why Israel didnt SINK the LIBERTY?

    If it was intentional as some say.."

    No. After spending two hours trying like hell, things started getting a little crowded in the area. Ships started showing up including American spy planes and a Soviet destroyer. It's a little hard to keep a battle secret when there are witnesses.

    "I wonder, WHY was America spying on Israel and sending electronic war map of Israel and sending it via the english to nasser?

    I don't. Why would the US do that when, in fact, LBJ and the Pentagon had been trying to get the ban lifted on arms sales to Isreal. Also, given the Suez crisis and Levon affair, I would say the US had every right to make sure they weren't dragged into a fight with Egypt by "accident".

    However, there were a lot of reasons Israel wouldn't want the ship there listening, El Arish and the planned attack on Syria being just two of them that come to mind.

    "There are excellent internet sources."

    True enough. One doesn't have to depend on Wikipedia.

    Some listing will support the Israeli version of what happened.
    Then there are plenty which call it a cover-up, with the US government trying to help an ally at a critical time.

    There are also books. William Bamford has been called an anti-semite by apologists for Israel. But the man knows more about the NSA than many in the NSA. The picture of the incident he paints in Body of Secrets is a compelling one. Likewise, there are books out there by the ship's crew and others that tell the same story. There are people in government. Dean Rusk, then Secretary of State, has indicated he thought it was a cover-up. Admirals in the Navy said the same. There are documentaries by news organization and the idividuals that were involved. Some of them are available on the internet. There's one I could post here if anyonwe was interest that runs about an hour and twenty minutes that was put together by the BBC.

    Believe what you want to believe, or need to believe. I stand by my opinion that it wasn't a friendly fire incident. My main condemnation is for pricks that had it in their power to save the crewmem that died and decided out of political expediency to recall the US planes.



  34. Part of that would be stopping abuses of MPs expenses and reforming the voting system “but I believe it is also something else, it is about being honest about what government can achieve”.

    “Above all it will be a government that is built on some clear values, values of freedom , values of fairness and values of responsibility,” Mr Cameron said.

    “A coalition will throw up all sorts of challenges but I believe together we can provide that strong and stable government that our country needs based on those values - rebuilding family, rebuilding community above all rebuilding responsibility in our country. Those are the things I care about, those are the things this government will now start work on doing.”

    Voting Reform

  35. It was like one of those old "spoof" spy movies. There was "observors," everywhere. All Nationalities, and Agencies.

    I have a friend that had to walk out of the Sinai. They woke up one morning, and they were behind Egyptian lines. I never talked to him much about it. It came up tangentially in another conversation.

    It seems he got into trouble in Huntsville, and the Judge turned out to be the guy that had to tell him that we couldn't get him out, and that he'd have to hoof it. Judge said, I couldn't help you then, but I can help you now - Case Dismissed.

    It's a strange world.

  36. Egyptian lawmakers extended emergency law for two years, accepting the government’s warning of “persistent” terrorist threats and drawing criticism from the Obama administration.


    The Muslim Brotherhood, the country’s biggest opposition group, was among groups that rejected the measure.


    On the street in front of parliament, about 100 demonstrators protested the law. About the same number of police surrounded them.

    US Calls for New Anti-Terror Law

  37. Who knows? Maybe tomorrow we'll have a new scab to pick.

  38. Either that, trish, or praise President Obama for picking up the tempo of combat operations in Afpakistan, against those sheltering the aQ elements, there.

    Can't be having that now, can we.

    So, there it is.

    Praise the Isreali, for talking about fightin' the Syrians, rather than killing women and children in Gaza, and the apologists for Israel take offense.

    The assault in Gaza, which the previous US Administration supported with munitions shipments, which the current US government suspended, in January of '03, stopping the slaughter of innocents.

    Now, it seems, the focus of Israeli aggression, used in a preemptive manner, of course, will be focused on Syria.
    Which is a true and deserving target in the "War on Terror".

    But, ameros to doughnuts, it's all just not much more than the annual spring time bluster.

  39. Suitably crusty and with just the right amount of unctuous tenderness beneath.


  41. Also, Heffalumps and Woozles:

  42. The more sand that has escaped from the hourglass of our duration, the clearer we should see from one end to the other it.