Having been up to my eyeballs in work I’ve had less time than usual and have yet to finish reading the entirety of General Petraeus’ statement before the Senate Armed Forces Committee which he made on 16th March. Subtitled, The Posture of U.S. Central Command, I was principally reading it for insight on current strategy in Afghanistan and the “War on Terror” as I work on another look at the country and the nature of the conflict in the wider region.
A couple of things struck me at first, and I’ll leave the rest of the report until I have time to address it much more fully, but in his introduction Petraeus makes this observation on U.S. interests and “the Most Significant Threats to Them”
Because of the CENTCOM AOR’s (Area of Responsibility) geography, control of much of the world’s energy reserves, and propensity for instability, the United States has substantial strategic interests in, and related to, the region. Chief among these are:
1. The security of U.S. citizens and the U.S. homeland.
2. Regional stability.
3. International access to strategic resources, critical infrastructure, and markets.
4. The promotion of human rights, the rule of law, responsible and effective governance, and broad-based economic growth and opportunity.
Strategic resources, of course, means oil but it’s rather refreshing to hear someone in charge openly talk about its strategic importance instead of mumbling about “freedom”. That’s not to say there aren’t things of concern for me in his statement. Merely as a start you could highlight at the first three of his points above and observe how those interests can negatively impact the fourth and have done for some time.
As an example, Petraeus observes in the section dealing with Afghanistan that…
The Taliban have been resilient, with their activities fueled by revenues from outside the region as well as from narcotics-trafficking… This drug money has been the “oxygen” in the air that allows these groups to operate. With the extension of authority granted to U.S. forces to conduct counter-narcotics operations, we are able to more closely work with the Afghan government to disrupt the illicit narcotics industry though interdiction of the narco-trafficking network.
Presumably the “authority” granted to the U.S. forces has been given by President Karzai’s administration with, perhaps, the expert advice of Karzai’s half-brother Ahmed Wali Karzai who is rumoured to have accumulated his fortune and power through that self same “oxygen”. It is a complex and convoluted world.
And one which the average American citizen, informed by a media who serve news as fast food rather than nourishment, could hardly be expected to follow with any accuracy. And perhaps this is why, when given the opportunity to contribute to fighting the “War on Terror”, they have a slightly skewed expectation of what can be achieved.
The U.S. Defense Department, in their wisdom, became aware they have a vast resource unavailable to the “Enemy”. The collective power of the American People™. The Pentagon, therefore, has allowed visitors at their website to provide feedback and give suggestions. Here are my favourites…
Would there be time to construct a Noah’s Ark Biosphere in North America if there is an emerging Global War starting in the Middle East? I don’t know … I only know that I have worked on such a project for many years now… The problem is it takes a lot of resources to build a modern day Noah’s Ark … and lots of planning and development.
Who better to suggest it to, than the U.S. Defense Department? They’ve spent far more money on far sillier things before now. The Men Who Stare at Goats, anyone?
Other contributors are keener on bravely revealing the darker work going on behind the scenes…
Has anyone at the Department of Defense noticed that the Twin Towers were destroyed on 9/11, and that when you dial emergency services in the USA you dial 911? If so, is this merely a coincidence?
An interesting point, well made.
Others are less suspicious of their country’s military, however, and rather keen to find out more…
So do you have any top scret information you would to like to tell me? i am doing a project for my senior economics class, and was just wondering…email me back.
I wonder what he found out. More importantly, I wonder what happens to the world when he, and the rest of his “senior economics class”, ends up working in the world’s banks. More of the same, perhaps…
But I will leave you with my hands down favourite. A fresh approach to the “War on Terror” that could change everything. And what I particularly admire, is this keen amateur military genius does not presume success is easy.
No. He anticipates the possibility there may be some snag in his plan. He identifies that one potential flaw and suggests not one, but two, excellent solutions…
Bears have scent detection that is far superior to bloodhounds! Trained bears with GPS and day/night cameras around their necks might be able to hunt down the scent of Usama Bin Laden, even in and through any caves and tunnels!!! Overnight, Parachute some bears into areas UBL might be.
Attempt to train bears to take off parachutes after landing, or use parachutes that self-destruct.
America, Fuck yeah!
Filed under: Culture, Heroes, War and Conflict | Tagged: Afghanistan, Bears, Bin Laden, Central Command, General Petraeus, Pentagon, War on Terror | 1 Comment »