Tuesday :: Sep 5, 2006

Bu$hCo Inter-National Construction Inc.(ompetence)

by pessimist

All George wants to do with the election coming up is tout his successes. The only problem he faces with this task is: he has no successes.

We've spent the last few days offering examples of why his domestic projects demonstrate his misfeasance. Now it's time to look at his 'strong' (-smelling?) points concerning some of his international initiatives:

Bush fearmongering on Iraq loses its punch
By PHILIP GAILEY, St. Petersburg Times Editor of Editorials
September 3, 2006

The war is going miserably in Iraq. And it's not going that well on the home front, either. Public support for the war is collapsing, and even some Republican hawks are beginning to distance themselves from the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld quagmire in Iraq. But it turns out that critics of the war are just confused. They still think it's about weapons of mass destruction, regime change and democracy. They don't understand that the administration's disastrous enterprise in Iraq is a continuation of the last century's battles against Nazism, fascism and communism.

If Bush really believes the stakes in Iraq are as high as they were in World War II, he should mobilize the nation and call for sacrifice. He should institute a military draft and repeal tax cuts to pay for the long and costly struggle against Islamic terrorists. And he should replace Rumsfeld with a defense secretary who is competent in the business of waging war.

Bush has more than two years left in office. Can we be sure the worst is behind us? The world is a more dangerous place because of the arrogance, ignorance and tragic incompetence of these men.

The worst behind us? Not if they are mouthing fallacious Happy Talk like this...

Bush defends war strategy
By NEDRA PICKLER, Associated Press Writer

Bush said a democratic Iraq is a threat to bin Laden's aspirations.

"That is why we must not, and we will not,
give the enemy victory in Iraq by deserting the Iraqi people,"
Bush said.

...while Reality forces the puppet to move the hand, instead of the other way around:

Iraq to extend state of emergency
Sep 5, 2006

Iraqi parliament voted on Tuesday to extend the country's state of emergency for 30 more days. The measure has been in place for almost two years and grants security forces greater powers. It affects the entire country apart from the autonomous Kurdish region in the north.

The example of Bu$hCo is evident:

But as soon as the parliament speaker announced the result, several lawmakers questioned the validity of the vote, referring to parliamentary procedures.

Those Bu$hCo guys just can't allow anyone to have their own say, can they?

Such questions over apparent voting irregularities are widely seen as being expected in the American election this fall. Cynthia Tucker, editorial page editor for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, is only one of many who see this dilemma coming - and who are already coming to the right conclusions:

Bush Team Still in Deep Denial
by Cynthia Tucker
September 4, 2006

Suffice it to say that this administration has no intention of owning up to the awful realities of its misguided invasion of Iraq. Indeed, it's now clear that Karl Rove intends to duplicate for the current campaign season the fear-mongering, name-calling tactics he used successfully in earlier campaigns.

Those tactics might not work so well this time around. Recent polls show that a majority of voters no longer believe in Mr. Bush's favorite fallacy - linking the so-called war on terror with the invasion of Iraq.

As bad as the situation in Iraq is, the problems in the region are deteriorating rapidly. No, I'm not talking about Iran, although that quagmire would qualify. I'm talking about George's regional ally in the 'First Moron's 'Woron Terrah' - Pakistani President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

Despite Bush expressing support for Musharraf last March (are they not twin sons of different mothers?), Musharraf wanted a 'civilian' nuclear capability similar to the one George promised India in a deal which gives India access to U.S. nuclear technology and conventional weapons systems:

Administration officials have sought to publicly play down how the arrangement fits into a broad White House strategy to help position India -- a democracy that has the capacity to expand its nuclear arsenal -- as a regional counterweight to China.

Yet, Pervez was slapped in the face when Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the time was not right for such a deal with Pakistan.

Musharraf wasn't going to wait for George to see the light! Instead of looking West into the setting Bu$hCo sun, he turned East to greet the dawn - and the Chinese:

Snubbed by US, Pakistan Doing Nuclear Deal With China
by Antoaneta Bezlova, Inter Press Service
September 4, 2006

During meetings with a delegation of the Chinese Communist Party in Islamabad late August, Pakistan President Gen. Pervez Musharraf sought more Chinese input in the sector, reportedly requesting a series of new plants to help his country boost its nuclear power capacity.

Beijing aims to sign a deal in November that will see China helping Pakistan build six nuclear power plants with an installed capacity of 300 Mw each. The agreement will be inked during a visit by top Chinese leaders to Pakistan, bringing the South Asian country a step closer to meeting its target of having 8,000 Mw of nuclear power capacity by 2025.

China is now eagerly stepping in, hoping to create markets for its own budding nuclear power industry. China has already completed a 300 Mw nuclear power plant in Chashma in Pakistan and is constructing another of the same size there.

Regular reader VictorS sent me worse news via email: Musharraf is making deals with the Taliban. What ever happened to 'With us or against us', George?

[NBC Network News opines that Musharraf is buying peace with the local tribes of Waziristan, as this is the base for those who oppose him. The tribes there have been launching assassination attacks against him for a while now. He might as well look out for himself since he now knows that he can't count on George!]

Pakistan signs pact with pro-Taliban militants
September 05, 2006

Pro-Taliban militants and the Pakistani government reached a peace deal on Tuesday under which the militants agreed to stop attacks in both Pakistan and across the border in Afghanistan, negotiators said. "The agreement will pave the way for permanent peace in the region," said Malik Shahzada, a member of a tribal council that has been overseeing the negotiations with the rebels.

Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who is due to visit Afghanistan on Wednesday for security talks with President Hamid Karzai, has said no group could use Pakistan as a springboard for attacks on other countries. But Afghanistan and its allies have long complained the Taliban are able to benefit from havens on the Pakistani side of the long, rugged border.

Musharraf has also vowed to clear foreign militants from the Pakistani side of the border but Tuesday's agreement said foreigners could stay in Waziristan, as long as they kept the peace. According to a copy of the agreement obtained by Reuters, the militants agreed that all foreigners would have to leave but those unable to do so would have to respect the peace deal.

Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding out somewhere along the Afghan-Pakistani border but security analysts doubt he is in Waziristan, given the security forces' focus on the area.

Osama has been hiding in plain sight in Riyadh ever since Musharraf's troops were bribed with more loot than they were being paid by Halliburton and Blackwater to 'overlook' bin Laden's departure from Tora Bora.

One has to wonder why Mussharaf - whose own land isn't safe enough for him to openly travel about his own nation - is going to Afghanistan at all. It's becoming just as shattered as Iraq is:

An Afghan Symbol for Change, Then Failure
September 5, 2006

Mr. Bush said the history of military conflict in Afghanistan had been marked by “initial success, followed by long years of floundering and ultimate failure.” He vowed: “We’re not going to repeat that mistake.”
“Our government is weak,” said Fowzea Olomi, a local women’s rights advocate whose driver was shot dead in May and who fears she is next. “Anarchy has come.”

A local farmer was more blunt. “We don’t have law. This is a warlord kingdom.”

The leader of the newly elected provincial assembly said that “in a country where there is no security, there is nothing.”

A teacher who had received death threats from the Taliban warned that Mr. Karzai’s government could collapse.

An enraged tribal leader in a white turban said the police released the murderers of his sons and brothers after receiving bribes. “Is this a government?” he thundered. “Anyone other than me would join the Taliban.”

In impoverished southern rural areas, small numbers of Afghans are openly collaborating with the Taliban. Other Afghans, who say they are unsure of the American commitment and disillusioned with Mr. Karzai, sit by and dare not resist them.

The government of President Hamid Karzai, hailed as Afghanistan’s eloquent new leader in 2001, has increasingly been criticized for indecisiveness, corruption and inaction. Today, [Helmand Province]’s educated elite accuses local officials of engaging in drug trafficking, and impoverished farmers say they grow poppy to survive.

Haji Ahmad Shah, a wealthy local farmer, said he has given up on Mr. Karzai’s government. After growing little opium since 2001, he grew large amounts this spring after his workers demanded higher pay. He and other farmers simply pooled their money and bribed a local official so that eradication teams drove past their village.

In Helmand, the absence of security and government control enabled the province to become the largest heroin-producing area in Afghanistan. Led by a 160 percent increase in Helmand’s opium crop this year, Afghanistan’s overall production grew by 50 percent to a record 6,100 metric tons, United Nations officials said Saturday. Afghanistan now produces 92 percent of the world’s supply of opium poppy, the basis for heroin.
Taliban propaganda claims that Americans were enriching themselves and bringing only corruption to Afghanistan. In the end, the United States pledged $297 million in reconstruction money to Afghanistan in 2002. The European Union pledged $495 million. Japan gave $200 million and Saudi Arabia $73 million, but both were slow to deliver.

When aid officials arrived in Kabul in late 2001, they were shocked by the country’s decrepit state. They had to build headquarters from scratch, they said, and contend with the lack of skilled Afghan workers. Instead of directing projects, the United States aid agency hired companies like Chemonics, which farmed out work to subcontractors. Aid agency officials defended their spending in Helmand, saying that foreign workers were needed to properly carry out the projects, train Afghans and prevent corruption.

In addition, a popular perception took hold that after foreign contractors and subcontractors took their cut of aid money, little cash was left for average Afghans. And local residents grew suspicious of the foreigners who lived in heavily guarded compounds with electric generators and satellite televisions while they lacked regular running water and electricity.

The police were even more challenging. Seventy percent of the existing 80,000 officers were illiterate. Eighty percent lacked proper equipment and corruption was endemic. Afghan police did not patrol; they set up checkpoints and waited for residents to report crimes, with bribes often needed to do so.

The State Department hired DynCorp International, an Irving, Tex., firm, to recruit, train and deploy dozens of American police advisers in Afghanistan and build seven regional training centers. By mid-2004, the centers were operating two- to four-week training classes across Afghanistan. European officials said the training should be at least three months long, and one derided the classes as 'conveyor-belt courses'.

“I had 15 days’ training in Kandahar,”
said Abdul Shakoor, a veteran police lieutenant.
“The things that they were teaching me I already knew.”
Veteran policemen and judges who returned from living in exile during the reign of the Taliban were aghast at what they found. Only one-third of the province’s 3,000 policemen were, in fact, trained. The rest, including the provincial police chief, were former guerrilla fighters who punished members of other tribes and turned a blind eye toward rogues from their own.
“They did not know about the law,”
said Mr. Shakoor, the police lieutenant.
“They had their tribal ideas.”
The United States, meanwhile, expanded DynCorp’s police training contract, increasing basic courses from two to eight weeks, and sent two DynCorp contractors to important provinces to serve as advisers. Two retired American sheriff’s deputies were sent to Lashkar Gah, to cover all of Helmand.

In March, two more DynCorp advisers joined them in Lashkar Gah.

In June, American officials dispatched an eight-man DynCorp “saturation” training team to Lashkar Gah. Half of the saturation team’s two-week training course is devoted to teaching Afghan police military skills, like how to launch or survive an ambush.

As of early July, the training segment that involved police firing their rifles was on hold. During the training, Afghan officers pull the triggers on their rifles and pretend to fire. Security problems had delayed the delivery of ammunition to Lashkar Gah, according to Brent Thompson, a 33-year-old former police officer from Dallas who heads the team.

Mr. Thompson, who trained the police in Iraq for DynCorp, said the Afghan police were more poorly equipped than their Iraqi counterparts.

In one recent Afghan class, he said, 40 police officers shared 15 rifles.

From news of what is going on, those 'training' rifles might have been put to better use:

American officials calculated that six Afghan policemen were dying for every soldier in the National Army who was killed.

As long as the Afghan Army has come up in this discussion, ...

When Robert Finn, the first American ambassador to post-Taliban Afghanistan, reviewed the first Afghan National Army troops trained by the Americans in the summer of 2002, he was dismayed. American military officials told him that local Afghan commanders sent them their worst conscripts.
“They were illiterate,” he said.
“They didn’t know how to keep themselves clean.
They were at a much lower level than people expected.”

Another former Bu$hCo representative was more circumspect:

James Dobbins, the former special envoy to Afghanistan, said Defense Department hopes that Afghans could quickly take responsibility for their own security proved unrealistic.

Pentagon officials hoped to minimize the number of American troops in the country to avoid stoking Afghans’ historic resistance to foreign occupation, said Douglas J. Feith, the former under secretary for policy.

The current reality?

Statistically it is now nearly as dangerous
to serve as an American soldier in Afghanistan
as it is in Iraq.


Statistically it is now nearly as dangerous
for ANY soldier to serve in American Afghanistan
as it is in American Iraq:

"Friendly fire" kills Canadian soldier in Afghanistan
Sep 4, 2006

One Canadian soldier was killed by friendly fire and several were wounded on Monday during a major offensive to crush a resurgent Taliban in southern Afghanistan. The fatality in Kandahar was Canada's fifth combat death in this operation. The troops were strafed by two NATO warplanes after calling in air support during a battle with Taliban fighters in Kandahar province, the alliance said in a statement.

David Wilkins, the U.S. ambassador to Ottawa, expressed "deep regret" over the incident.

A British soldier died in a suicide bombing in Kabul (the third suicide attack against NATO forces in Kabul this year), along with at least four civilians, including an Afghan working for foreign troops. The bomber rammed his car into a NATO convoy on the highway between Kabul and the eastern city of Jalalabad, Interior Ministry spokesman Yousuf Stanizai said.

Another 14 British troops died on Saturday when their plane crashed in the early stages of the operation. NATO says the crash was due to technical problems, not enemy fire.

More than 115 foreign troops have died.
NATO chief in Afghanistan Lieutenant-General David Richards said Operation Medusa was a "pivotal" campaign. "The Taliban position ... is threatening geographically and psychologically the people in that area," he told reporters in Kabul.
In recent months, Taliban forces have virtually retaken Kandahar, bordering Pakistan, leaving NATO barely in control of the provincial capital, Kandahar city.
NATO says it has killed more than 200 guerillas in Operation Medusa.
Afghan officials put the rebel toll in the dozens.

That is a piss-poor record if one is really counting.

John Kerry, showing more spine than he exhibited during his 2004 presidential campaign, had this to say:

"If President Bush had unleashed the American military to do the job at Tora Bora four years ago and killed Osama bin Laden, he wouldn't have to quote this barbarian's words today. Because President Bush lost focus on the killers who attacked us and instead launched a disastrous war in Iraq, today Osama bin Laden and his henchmen still find sanctuary in the no man's land between Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they still plot attacks against America."

Cynthia Tucker returns to wrap up this post, reporting on the views of a veteran soldier assigned to King George's Oil War On Terra Inc., Iraq Department:

Apparently, the state of denial at the White House is worse than I thought. Writing in on "The Blotter," an ABC News blog, a current soldier supported that view.
"I think it is only a matter of time before there is a draft,"wrote Tony.

"I am currently deployed to Iraq and have been in the military for 13 years. All of us who have been in for more than 10 years have seen such a gradual decline in the quality of [the] soldier.

"Each division in the military is deploying to either Iraq or Afghanistan every other year, mine included. No one wants to be in anymore, so the older guys looking to retire are saying forget this.

"Instead of looking squarely at that, some neoconservatives are advocating a new war - an attack on Iran. I'd like to think they're just saber-rattling, but I remember thinking the same thing around Labor Day four years ago.

"Perhaps that rattling noise isn't their sabers but their brains."
How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?
How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?
- John Kerry, 1971

How do you ask an Afghan woman to die for an American president's mistakes?

On a recent afternoon, Ms. Olomi gave a reporter a tour of her women’s center, which was closed for security reasons after the killing of her driver in May. False rumors had been spread that the center’s female students were being taken to the local American military base and forced to have sex with soldiers.

After the tour of the center, which had the feel of a museum, Ms. Olomi announced she was heading home and pulled out a burqa, the head-to-toe veil that became a symbol of Taliban oppression. Ms. Olomi shed her burqa after the group’s fall in 2001, but began wearing it again after her driver’s death to hide her identity from potential assassins. As her car rolled out the center’s front gate, Ms. Olomi pulled the burqa over her head and her face disappeared.

In Lashkar Gah, the former instrument of her oppression was her means of survival.

How can this - any of these results - be called successful?

All the world is watching - and wonders.

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pessimist :: 6:32 PM :: Comments (3) :: Digg It!