Sunday, February 25, 2007

Do the Hustle....

Well, folks, it's Six Months Now, and like clockwork, Seymour Hersh is back with another "Bombshell Article Detailing a Series of Allegations about U.S. Plans for ________ ."

Sey writes:

After the revolution of 1979 brought a religious government to power, the United States broke with Iran and cultivated closer relations with the leaders of Sunni Arab states such as Jordan, Egypt, and Saudi Arabia.

What a bland statement. No mention of the Hostage Crisis, or any such nonsense. Nothing about the Great Satan, no foreshadowing the events in Lebanon, simply "the United States broke with Iran.." Must stay focused.

Look, I'm not here to fisk this article, and I agree with some of Sey's conclusions: namely, the U.S. government is preparing to urinate in the Persian Mullah's cheerio's sometime in the 07-08 Timeframe. Only one getting a Pass from the Axis of Evil is the NOKO.

Sey sees this as a bad thing. Me, not so much.

I found the article interesting because, like the Libby Trial and like American Idol, it provides a window into the mindset of our dear leaders, the movers, the shakers, the candlestick makers. You know, much like Bob Woodward's sources are pretty apparent ("he bestrode the earth like a demigod, a halo of goodness surrounding his graying head, a sense of pureness permeating his very being, and he agreed to speak with me on the condition of anonymity. This is his story."), you can kind of tease out who Sey talks to, when sourcing his semi-annual shtick.

The Diplomats.

Look at his cast of characters:

current and former officials close to the Administration

A senior member of the House Appropriations Committee

a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel

To be fair, not everyone mentioned by Sey is an adjective, some have proper names. But it's always the Adjective Frat that leavens the bread.

'Course, reading further, I get this gem:

Current and former American officials told me that the intelligence, which came from Israeli agents operating in Iran, includes a claim that Iran has developed a three-stage solid-fuelled intercontinental missile capable of delivering several small warheads—each with limited accuracy—inside Europe. The validity of this human intelligence is still being debated.

So Today:

Iranian State TV are reporting that Iran has successfully launched a satellite into space on an Iranian built vehicle, as the opening salvo in their homemade space flight ambitions, as they aim to "join the space club."

Ooops. But it's not Sey's fault the Persians went off script. They have had an annoying habit of doing that, these past few years. Just ask the EU3Squared Plus One Minus Six negotiators. It's hard keeping Crazy Eddie on the reservation.

But again, this is not about Semi-annual Sey.

I've had the distinct pleasure of having my picture taken with both the (then) Secretary of War and the Secretary of State, each time in my capacity as an International Man of Mystery.

The arrow and the olive branches of the great seal of the Republic.

Both had some similarity.

Both, for instance, are actually very short.

Both represented the meat and potatoes of the American government. I mean, sure, there are other departments: Department of Loot, Department of Agricultural Subsidies, Department of Commerce (Hey! We're in the Constitution!!), Department of Teachers Union and the Department of Tax. But to describe them as lesser includeds would be to overstate their importance.

So War and State are co-equals. And should, ideally, parallel, and not oppose each other in efforts. Representing the interest of the United States to the world.

This morning, Henry Albright and Madeleine Kissinger were on the Wolf Blitzer Snow Show. They're from different political traditions, right? Served different presidents, yup? Wear the same undergarments? No idea.

But no matter how Wolf spun the questions, they spoke with one voice.

Need to talk. Check. Find moderates who...Got it. Diplomacy must be given...All over that.

Only place they divided was when the Madeleine Hybrid said the because the U.S. is a nation of laws, it must obey international laws. No thanks.

If the application of military power can be described as (especially with the U.S. current overmatch towards the ROTW) using an elephant to swat a fly, then our diplomatic approach is best described as giving back rubs to whatever "moderate" decides to show up.

In an ideal world, our diplomats should should to be able to take whatever Dear Leader they're negotiating with, walk him to the window, point to the horizon and say, "hate to bother you with this, but see that battle group nuking there. 'Fraid that's our boys, and they're right testy. Something about wanting to blow you to hell and back. Lets you and I sit down and see if we can find some way, in which you agree with everything I say, that we can avoid that spot of mess."

Or, as The Diplomat would say, the two track approach.

Instead, we have a class that seems better in representing the interest of the World to the U.S. than the other way around. Not for nothing the Department of War is moving into areas traditionally reserved for State and Intelligence. Nature abhors a vacuum.

Like the Madeleine Hybrid's comment, above.

Representative Jane Harman, Intelligence Babe, was also on the Wolf Show. She said something to the effect that while yes, the Persians were moving explosively formed projectiles into Mesopotamia, there was no evidence linking it to the "highest level" of the Persian government. Old news, fresh dead. Whatevs. Or, in other words, unless and until Amadenijad (sic? yup) is caught driving a jingle-lorry across the border, there will be no causi belli? Did I interpret that correctly.

I'm going to charitable here. The Diplomat sees war, all war covered on the news, as an absolute failure in his craft. The Diplomat should, in his view, be part of the world, but not of the world. Able to suspend two hostile nations (even the one paying his salary) in a perfect dance of endless negotiations, treaties, obligations, agreed frameworks and processes. The perfect Diplomat should be, in a name, French; able to say nothing, and say it well. The perfect Diplomat is at once Metternich and Bismarck, with the wit of Disreali and the dash of De Villepin. The perfect Diplomat is known for his wit, his ability to get along, his ability to get you to agree with everything he says, and further, take those as his own arguments. And when that house of cards come crashing down, the perfect Diplomat is nowhere to be found.

It's like losing weight. The longer you put off running and hitting the gym, the harder it's going to be to lose weight. The longer the diplomat dances around resolving central questions, the harder war will be, if it comes to that.

Remember about a month ago, when the Sons of Sheba chased out those crazy eddies, then going by the name du jour of the Islamic Courts Union, from Mogadishu? Well, in swung the Perfect Diplomat, by the name of Jendayi Frazer, in search of "moderate islamists" with whom to negotiate with. Unfortunately, several AC-130 gunships from the CJOA-Horn of Africa found them and "negotiated" them into a long, well deserved rest. Ms. Frazer departed without a Signed Agreement.

(Ed note: any mention of "moderate islamists" and Ms. Jendayi Frazer seems to have gone the way of the memory hole. I have only this fragment of Google News rescued from Winston Smith's hot little hands).

Last week, because I was bad, I found myself in a room, while some giant brain spoke in tongues to the audience. He said things like "Nodes", "Effects Based Approach", "System of Sytems Approach", and attacking the enemies "PMESII (Political, Military, Economic, Social, Information and Infrastructure)." Then he said he was the God of War and He Spoke Truth and Knew All.


He said this was emerging (read, we are making this up, right now) doctrine and had it's limitations. Taken to far, and you're back to some CIA Analyst and State Department Drone conducting a bizarre, ritualistic mating dance around some cocktail table in Delta Charlie. Beware the dangers of Overthink. It's not the same thing as Smart.

In attacking the enemies PMESII, we're supposed to use our DIME (diplomatic, informational, military and economic) power to effect change on the enemies nodes. Less politely, were supposed to do everything to mindf----- them. At least, that was my check on learning.

Problem I have is not the SoS Approach. I like systems. I geek out on systems, and nodes and effects. I also have a near Hayekian aversion to trying to control complex systems. But a little nudge here and there certainly never hurt anyone (you don't intend it to hut). So, I'm good with systems.

The problem is in the DIME.

Diplomatically: we seem, in the words of Four Banger Honore, "stuck on stupid." When you find yourself in a hole, stop negotiating.

Informationally: here, we seem caught in a form of self loathing that gives the enemy "other" all the breaks.

Militarily: still taking names, beyootch.

Economically: GWOT 1.0 is a headcold for a ten trillion dollar economy. Don't let Dr. Evil do your economics ("the enormous sum of ONE MILLION DOLLARS. Bwah ha ha ha!!).

So what if you gave a Long War, and only one element of national power showed up?

We're seeing that effect now.

We've been fighting with both hands and our brains tied behind our backs. Only thing we've been using have been our legs, to kick with, and that's not very stable.

The Now Enemy has adopted the two track approach. One the one hand, he's cheerfully sending bombers into markets to immolate shoppers, beheading the brains of societies, detonating transportation modalities, introducing uncertainty into the sinews of our societies. He's been doing this in Australia, Europe, South East Asia, South America and beyond. On the other hand, the enemies been using the slow approach of assimilation and conversion. Adopting "multiculturalism", "hate speech" codes and the trappings of religion to disguise a political agenda.

The enemy has been smart, not because he is, but because he has too. No carriers, strategic objectives and ten trillion dollars to clutter his view.

Enemy's on a budget, and so adapts accordingly.

So when a look at the Sey Hersh's that dot the current memescape, I can't help but sigh. Wheel's with in wheel's, it's more complex than the Trufers have ever dreamt within their philosophies.

Then there's GlobalWarmingChange. But don't even get me started on that.

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