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Victory through avoiding battle

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Robert D. Kaplan has an interesting article in the Atlantic:

The Scythians were nomadic horsemen who dominated a vast realm of the Pontic steppe north of the Black Sea, in present-day Ukraine and southern Russia, from the seventh century to the third century BC. Unlike other ancient peoples who left not a trace, the Scythians continued to haunt and terrify long after they were gone. Herodotus recorded that they “ravaged the whole of Asia. They not only took tribute from each people, but also made raids and pillaged everything these peoples had.” Napoleon, on witnessing the Russians’ willingness to burn down their own capital rather than hand it over to his army, reputedly said: “They are Scythians!”

The more chilling moral for modern audiences involves not the Scythians’ cruelty, but rather their tactics against the invading Persian army of Darius, early in the sixth century BC. As Darius’s infantry marched east near the Sea of Azov, hoping to meet the Scythian war bands in a decisive battle, the Scythians kept withdrawing into the immense reaches of their territory. Darius was perplexed, and sent the Scythian king, Idanthyrsus, a challenge: If you think yourself stronger, stand and fight; if not, submit.

Idanthyrsus replied that since his people had neither cities nor cultivated land for an enemy to destroy, they had nothing to defend, and thus no reason to give battle. Instead, his men harassed and skirmished with Persian foraging parties, then quickly withdrew, over and over again. Each time, small groups of Persian cavalry fled in disorder, while the main body of Darius’s army weakened as it marched farther and farther away from its base and supply lines. Darius ultimately retreated from Scythia, essentially defeated, without ever having had the chance to fight.

Killing the enemy is easy, in other words; it is finding him that is difficult. This is as true today as ever; the landscape of war is now vaster and emptier of combatants than it was during the set-piece battles of the Industrial Age. Related lessons: don’t go hunting ghosts, and don’t get too deep into a situation where your civilizational advantage is of little help. Or, as the Chinese sage of early antiquity Sun Tzu famously said, “The side that knows when to fight and when not will take the victory. There are roadways not to be traveled, armies not to be attacked, walled cities not to be assaulted.” A case in point comes from the ill-fated Sicilian Expedition of the late fifth century b.c., chronicled by Thucydides, in which Athens sent a small force to far-off Sicily in support of allies there, only to be drawn deeper and deeper into the conflict, until the prestige of its whole maritime empire became dependent upon victory. Thucydides’s story is especially poignant in the wake of Vietnam and Iraq. With the Athenians, as with Darius, one is astonished by how the obsession with honor and reputation can lead a great power toward a bad fate. The image of Darius’s army marching into nowhere on an inhospitable steppe, in search of an enemy that never quite appears, is so powerful that it goes beyond mere symbolism.

Your enemy will not meet you on your own terms, only on his. That is why asymmetric warfare is as old as history. When fleeting insurgents planted car bombs and harassed marines and soldiers in the warrens of Iraqi towns, they were Scythians. When the Chinese harass the Filipino navy and make territorial claims with fishing boats, coast-guard vessels, and oil rigs, all while avoiding any confrontation with U.S. warships, they are Scythians. And when the warriors of the Islamic State arm themselves with knives and video cameras, they, too, are Scythians. Largely because of these Scythians, the United States has only limited ability to determine the outcome of many conflicts, despite being a superpower. America is learning an ironic truth of empire: you endure by not fighting every battle. In the first century A.D., Tiberius preserved Rome by not interfering in bloody internecine conflicts beyond its northern frontier. Instead, he practiced strategic patience as he watched the carnage. He understood the limits of Roman power.

The United States does not chase after war bands in Yemen as Darius did in Scythia, but occasionally it kills individuals from the air. The fact that it uses drones is proof not of American strength, but of American limitations. The Obama administration must recognize these limitations, and not allow, for example, the country to be drawn deeper into the conflict in Syria. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

24 May 2015 at 11:58 am

Posted in Military

Urgent recall notices

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Written by LeisureGuy

24 May 2015 at 10:08 am

Armaments manufacturers push for more wars

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After the Great War (aka WW I), there was much talk and writing of how manufacturers of armaments and ammo had profited from the war, and strong suspicion that they had pushed for the war in order to increase their profits.

Nowadays, the push from armaments manufacturers—the military-industrial complex—is much more overt and brazen: they want war because that will make money for them. Lee Fang reports in The Intercept:

Americans for Peace, Prosperity and Security — a new group led by former government officials with ties to the military contractors — is expandinginto South Carolina as the organization seeks to press presidential candidates to adopt more hawkish positions.

As we reported earlier this month, APPS was launched this year to encourage candidates to embrace “American engagement” abroad on a range of issues the group presents as dangerous threats to national security. The group is led by former Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., who served as chair of the House Intelligence Committee. Many of the people on its board work for major military and homeland security corporations.

On Wednesday, APPS announced a new chapter in South Carolina and its intent to sponsor a candidate forum next month.

Jonathan Hoffman, a former border security official in the George W. Bush administration, will serve as the executive director of the South Carolina chapter. Hoffman previously ran for Congress and worked as a consultant to the Chertoff Group, the homeland security-focused consulting firm founded by former Secretary of Homeland Security Michael Chertoff.

The South Carolina chapter will be advised by a local board that includes former Rep. Sue Myrick, R-N.C., now an adviser to a lobbying group representing the shoe industry and Van D. Hipp Jr., the chair of a lobbying firm that represents drone-maker General Atomics as well as General Dynamics, L-3 Communications, Northrop Grumman, Leidos and Raytheon.

The group continues to expand. . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 May 2015 at 8:28 am

Our mutant military

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Very interesting post by William Astore at

It’s 1990. I’m a young captain in the U.S. Air Force.  I’ve just witnessed the fall of the Berlin Wall, something I never thought I’d see, short of a third world war.  Right now I’m witnessing the slow death of the Soviet Union, without the accompanying nuclear Armageddon so many feared.  Still, I’m slightly nervous as my military gears up for an unexpected new campaign, Operation Desert Shield/Storm, to expel Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein’s military from Kuwait.  It’s a confusing moment.  After all, the Soviet Union was forever (until it wasn’t) and Saddam had been a stalwart U.S. friend, his country a bulwark against the Iran of the Ayatollahs.  (For anyone who doubts that history, just check out the now-infamous 1983 photo of Donald Rumsfeld, then special envoy for President Reagan, all smiles and shaking hands with Saddam in Baghdad.)  Still, whatever my anxieties, the Soviet Union collapsed without a whimper and the campaign against Saddam’s battle-tested forces proved to be a “cakewalk,” with ground combat over in a mere 100 hours.

Think of it as the trifecta moment: Vietnam syndrome vanquished forever, Saddam’s army destroyed, and the U.S. left standing as the planet’s “sole superpower.”

Post-Desert Storm, the military of which I was a part stood triumphant on a planet that was visibly ours and ours alone.  Washington had won the Cold War.  It had won everything, in fact.  End of story.  Saddam admittedly was still in power in Baghdad, but he had been soundly spanked.  Not a single peer enemy loomed on the horizon.  It seemed as if, in the words of former U.N. ambassador and uber-conservative Jeane Kirkpatrick, the U.S. could return to being a normal country in normal times.

What Kirkpatrick meant was that, with the triumph of freedom movements in Central and Eastern Europe and the rollback of communism, the U.S. military could return to its historical roots, demobilizing after its victory in the Cold War even as a “new world order” was emerging.  But it didn’t happen.  Not by a long shot.  Despite all the happy talk back then about a “new world order,” the U.S. military never gave a serious thought to becoming a “normal” military for normal times.  Instead, for our leaders, both military and civilian, the thought process took quite a different turn.  You might sum up their thinking this way, retrospectively: Why should we demobilize or even downsize significantly or rein in our global ambitions at a moment when we can finally give them full expression?  Why would we want a “peace dividend” when we could leverage our military assets and become a global power the likes of which the world has never seen, one that would put the Romans and the British in the historical shade?  Conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer caught the spirit of the moment in February 2001 when he wrote, “America is no mere international citizen. It is the dominant power in the world, more dominant than any since Rome. Accordingly, America is in a position to reshape norms, alter expectations, and create new realities. How? By unapologetic and implacable demonstrations of will.”

What I didn’t realize back then was: America’s famed “containment policy” vis-à-vis the Soviet Union didn’t just contain that superpower — it contained us, too.  With the Soviet Union gone, the U.S. military was freed from containment.  There was nowhere it couldn’t go and nothing it couldn’t do — or so the top officials of the Bush administration came into power thinking, even before 9/11.  Consider our legacy military bases from the Cold War era that already spanned the globe in an historically unprecedented way.  Built largely to contain the Soviets, they could be repurposed as launching pads for interventions of every sort.  Consider all those weapon systems meant to deter Soviet aggression.  They could be used to project power on a planet seemingly without rivals.

Now was the time to go for broke.  Now was the time to go “all in,” to borrow the title of Paula Broadwell’s fawning biography of her mentor and lover, General David Petraeus.  Under the circumstances, peace dividends were for wimps.  In 1993, Madeleine Albright, secretary of state under Bill Clinton, caught the coming post-Cold War mood of twenty-first-century America perfectly when she challenged Joint Chiefs Chairman Colin Powell angrily over what she considered a too-cautious U.S. approach to the former Yugoslavia. “What’s the point of having this superb military that you’re always talking about,” she asked, “if we can’t use it?”

Yet even as civilian leaders hankered to flex America’s military muscle in unpromising places like Bosnia and Somalia in the 1990s, and Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Pakistan, and Yemen in this century, the military itself has remained remarkably mired in Cold War thinking.  If I could transport the 1990 version of me to 2015, here’s one thing that would stun him a quarter-century after the collapse of the Soviet Union: the force structure of the U.S. military has changed remarkably little.  Its nuclear triad of land-based ICBMs, submarine-launched SLBMs, and nuclear-capable bombers remains thoroughly intact.  Indeed, it’s being updated and enhanced at mind-boggling expense (perhaps as high as a trillion dollars over the next three decades).  The U.S. Navy?  Still built around large, super-expensive, and vulnerable aircraft carrier task forces.  The U.S. Air Force?  Still pursuing new, ultra-high-tech strategic bombers and new, wildly expensive fighters and attack aircraft — first the F-22, now the F-35, both supremely disappointing.  The U.S. Army?  Still configured to fight large-scale, conventional battles, a surplus of M-1 Abrams tanks sitting in mothballs just in case they’re needed to plug the Fulda Gap in Germany against a raging Red Army.  Except it’s 2015, not 1990, and no mass of Soviet T-72 tanks remains poised to surge through that gap.

Much of our military today remains structured to meet and defeat a Soviet threat that long ago ceased to exist.  . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 May 2015 at 5:46 pm

Posted in Military

How the Army took 12 years to solve a puzzle that readers solved in minutes

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Perhaps the US military’s lack of interest in the welfare of its troops is part of our overall national decline. C.J. Chivers, the journalist who wrote the story I just now blogged, points out how military intelligence took 12 years to solve the mystery of what was in the barrels, a mystery solved in minutes by readers.

He blogs:

One old saw among combat-seasoned troops and other students of language is the joke that goes “Military intelligence is not.” I remember sitting in English classes, even in conservative upstate New York, and teachers offering that phrase – “military intelligence” – as an example of an oxymoron. (Another dead-ringer: “friendly fire.”) Veterans of war will nod with understanding.

But whatever you feel about all that, the photo and the document above point to an error by the U.S. Army’s 205th Military Intelligence Brigade that will help keep the one-liner alive.

At top is a photograph of barrels removed from an Iraqi Republican Guard warehouse in May 2003 by soldiers from the 811th Ordnance Company,an Army Reserve unit that subsequently would be neglected by senior officers and Army leadership for more than a decade. Some of these barrels leaked as the soldiers handled them, causing the soldiers to fall ill with several symptoms that partly mirrored those of nerve-agent exposure.

After the afflicted soldiers had been evacuated and admitted to a military hospital, the Army set out to find out what the barrels contained. (Why it did not do this before having the soldiers handle the barrels is another question.) Field-detection tests had indicated that the barrels may have held chemical-warfare agents. But such tests are often unreliable.  Once the troops fell ill, a more thorough check was in order.

This included making photographs of the Arabic and Cyrillic stenciling on the barrels, as seen in the pic.  The photographs were then shared with the 205th Military Intelligence Brigade, which offered a translation to English, memorialized in a memo written by a chemical defense non-commissioned officer, who had been assigned to the case.

Look closely at the photo, then at the document beneath it, focusing on the translation in Block 1.

The first line of the translation, from the Arabic, is accurate. The barrels bore the stenciling of the al Karama Company, an Iraqi firm closely associated with Baathist weapons programs, including rockets and missiles.  Then comes the mistake. The second line, which lists the intelligence brigade’s simple transliteration of an acronym in Cyrillic, reads PR-02.  That is not how the stenciling actually reads. It reads TG-02.  Interestingly, the Arabic on that line, “Fuel,” is rendered accurately.

Put those two items (TG-02 & fuel) into a Google search and see what you get.  In an instant you’ll be referred to links explaining that TG-02 is a toxic binary rocket and missile propellant associated with several Eastern bloc weapons systems, including systems possessed by Saddam Hussein’s military before it was routed in 2003. As you dig you’ll learn about xylidines, and find material safety data sheets that show acute exposure symptoms matching those suffered by members of the 811th.

For 12 years the veterans who were exposed to the contents of these barrels had wondered what it really was that had made them sick, and what long-term health consequences it might carry.  The Army, which at first suffered from some confusion about the incident but eventually figured it out, would not tell them. The records that ultimately described the contents accurately were classified, leaving the victims in the dark. FOIA requests were stalled. Queries to doctors and officers went nowhere. One important document, a site survey report by the Iraq Survey Group, was declassified only last week, after repeating prodding by The New York Times; it listed a chemical from a family of organic compounds used in TG-02 – essentially confirming what was visible on the barrel stenciling all along.

In other words, throughout all of these intervening years the answer had been right there on the photographs – TG-02.  And yet no one in the Army, as near as we can tell, spotted the intelligence unit’s mistake, which misdirected the inquiry into the incident while it was still in the open source, and served to keep the victims misinformed.

Last night, ahead of the publication of the story, we decided to run a quick and informal test about how hard this is to solve.  So we tweeted the photograph, posted it on Facebook and put it here.  And we asked readers what the barrels contained. How long, we wondered, would it take before someone solved it?  Readers’ answers quickly recalled that old joke about military intelligence.  The first correct reply arrived within 15 minutes. More thorough and accurate replies rolled in throughout the night.

PR-02 vs. TG-02.  Had the intelligence unit not bungled its two-character transliteration, . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 May 2015 at 10:39 am

Posted in Health, Medical, Military

The military idea of “honor” does not cover the treatment of its own troops: An Iraq story

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The military apparently simply does not care about enlisted personnel: they are cannon fodder, to be sacrificed and ignored. C.J. Chivers reports for the NY Times:

The toxic vapors acted quickly against the Second Platoon of the 811th Ordnance Company, whose soldiers were moving abandoned barrels out of an Iraqi Republican Guard warehouse in 2003. The building, one soldier said, was littered with dead birds.

As the soldiers pushed the barrels over and began rolling them, some of the contents leaked, they said, filling the air with a bitter, penetrating smell. Soon, many were dizzy and suffering from running noses and eyes. A few were vomiting, disoriented, tingling or numb.

After the soldiers staggered outside for air, multiple detection tests indicated the presence of nerve agent. Others suggested blister agent, too. The results seemed to confirm the victims’ fear that they had stumbled upon unused stocks of Iraq’s chemical weapons.

From Camp Taji, where the barrels had been found, more than 20 exposed troops were evacuated in helicopters to a military hospital in Balad, where they were met by soldiers wearing gas masks and ordered to undress before being allowed inside for medical care.

“They drew a box in the sand and had armed guards and were like: ‘Do not get out of that box. Do not get out of that box,’  ” said Nathan Willie, a private first class at the time. “I was kind of freaked out.”

Since last fall, the United States military has acknowledged that American soldiers found thousands of abandoned chemical weapons in Iraq, and that hundreds of troops notified the military medical system that they believed they had been exposed to them. The military acknowledged the exposures after years of secrecy — and of denying medical tracking and official recognition to victims — only after an investigation by The New York Times.

Even then, the affliction of the 811th Ordnance Company had quietly remained one of the unsolved mysteries of the Iraq war, and a parable of what several of the victims describe as the corrosive effects of the government’s secrecy on troop welfare and public trust.

Since the incident, several of the sickened soldiers have complained of health effects that they say may be linked to handling leaking barrels. But instead of finding the Army concerned or committed to their well-being, they faced years of shifting stories about what exactly had made them ill.

The Army, they said, at first suggested that they might have been exposed to the nerve agent sarin. Then it said that chemical warfare field detection tests were unreliable and that the liquid was most likely a pesticide or something else. Then it dropped the subject entirely.

Still, several of the victims suffered. But because the military’s records relating to the incident were classified, the victims said, they lacked the information to settle their gnawing worries or to give them the standing necessary to pursue medical care or disability claims.

Thomas S. Blanton, director of the National Security Archive, which advocates open government, said the government’s refusal to share its information was a case of the habits of secrecy trumping common sense.

“Soldiers exposed to something really dangerous cannot find out what it was because ‘Sorry it’s classified’?” he said. “It’s creepy and it’s crazy.”

“The outrage here,” he added, “is extraordinary.”

Nonetheless, the efforts to ferret out the truth, the victims said, repeatedly met with official indifference, stalled public-records requests and medical care providers who turned them away — belying the Army’s slogan that its soldiers come first.

“We were expendable at all costs,” said Kareem Sinclair, who was a specialist in 2003 but is now out of the Army. “It was just fallen by the wayside, kind of like the Vietnam vets with Agent Orange.” . . .

Continue reading. There’s much more at the link, including links to related articles and declassified documents.

The military claims to value “honor,” but what they mean by honor seems to have little overlap with conventional meaning. Mostly, it seems to me “protect the officers, screw the troops.”

I’m sure no officer will be held accountable for what was done to prevent the afflicted soldiers from knowing what happened. Nor will any being held accountable for denying appropriate medical attention. The military doesn’t punish officers, by and large; it protects them.

Written by LeisureGuy

14 May 2015 at 10:29 am

Posted in Health, Military

Seymour Hersh interviewed on Democracy Now!

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Democracy Now! has a video interview with transcript, talking to Seymour Hersh about the bin Laden story. Their blurb:

Four years after U.S. forces assassinated Osama bin Laden, Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative reporter Seymour Hersh has published an explosive piece claiming much of what the Obama administration said about the attack was wrong. Hersh claims at the time of the U.S. raid, bin Laden had been held as a prisoner by Pakistani intelligence since 2006. Top Pakistani military leaders knew about the operation and provided key assistance. Contrary to U.S. claims that it located bin Laden by tracking his courier, a former Pakistani intelligence officer identified bin Laden’s whereabouts in return for the bulk of a $25 million U.S. bounty. Questions are also raised about whether bin Laden was actually buried at sea, as the U.S. claimed. Hersh says instead the Navy SEALs threw parts of bin Laden’s body into the Hindu Kush mountains from their helicopter. The White House claims the piece is “riddled with inaccuracies.” Hersh joins us to lay out his findings and respond to criticism from government officials and media colleagues.

Read the whole interview. Early on, Hersh says:

AARON MATÉ: Can we talk about what seems to be the most shocking claim. Pakistan finding in 2006 and the U.S. not finding out until 2010 when you allege a Pakistani officer told the U.S., and meanwhile, Saudi Arabia backing and paying for bin Laden’s imprisonment. This seems very improbable, involving hundreds, thousands of officials in Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and then the U.S.

SEYMOUR HERSH: Where do you get the notion of hundred or thousand officials? It’s, it’s — we’re talking about a closed society. The White House has a lot of control over the information. The senior Pakistani officials have control over the information. We are talking about a country that went, a dozen, ten years ago through a WMD sort of cover up. The notion that there is some major conspiracy I’m alleging is just sort of — that’s over the top. There’s no major conspiracy here. It’s very easy to control news. We all saw that when the whole thing about the Saddam Hussein and the alleged nuclear weapons. I should think that would be a model for why you might just not be so skeptical of the possibility of holding things. And let me also say, in the piece, it’s not so much that I’m saying what happened. I’m quoting sources and of course they’re unnamed. You just announced what happened to Jeffrey Sterling today. I mean, what reporter would want to name a source in this administration. You know, bam! He’d be gone. So there you are.

What simply happened is at a certain critical point we had to walk in, we were very angry about it, the United States, Pakistan is our ally. And underneath all of this you have to understand something, which I’m sure you do; just to tell the audience, Pakistan has, what, one, two hundred, maybe more, they’re still making — producing enriched uranium, etc., etc. And they have a great deal of nuclear weapons. I would guess they’re up to 200 now. It was 100 half a decade ago. And so we have to have comity between the ranking American generals and the ranking Pakistani generals. This is something very important to us. The Pakistani intelligence service, the ISI helps train the people who guard the weapons. We work with Pakistan, and very closely to watch out — literally with them — to monitor the people who are in control of the weapons that make sure nobody is a secret nationalist or a secret Jihadist who might grab weapon and do something crazy with it. That’s a serious — big issue that’s sort of an under — that’s behind the whole relationship. We give Pakistan a lot of money through Congress over the table and we give a lot of money to the leadership under the table. So we have a great deal of — and we also understand Pakistan has it’s own agenda.

And so, ’06, they did grab bin Laden. 2010 we learn about it. We’re angry. We don’t tell the Paks we know right away. We begin looking at Abbottabad where he’s located. We start observing him. This has been reported. We set up a team in a nearby house; mostly foreign nationals and Pakistanis who work with us to monitor the house. We go to the President — the community — intelligence community goes to the President with the information about the walk in. Any guy that wants to sell information for money is automatically suspect, so you have to be careful. The President is appropriately very cautious, very cautious. He’s not going to make a move. He doesn’t want to end up like Jimmy Carter in a desert, you know, in 1980, you know, that failed attempt to rescue the American hostages which hurt him politically, terribly. It’s a year before an election. He’s not very popular in America. Not much is going right. He’s in a constant fight with Congress, etc., etc., etc.

So we determine the only way we can be sure that we’ve got the right guy, and this will work, is we have to go to the Pakistanis. So we go to the leadership; General Kayani, who’s the head of the army, and General Pasha who’s the head of the internal — what they call the ISI, Interservices Intelligence Unit; their counterpart to the CIA. We go to those people. We lay out our case. We make it clear that a lot of goodies are going to be cut off. There’s F-16s that are in the pipeline. We’re going to slow it down. We’re going to slow down congressional money, etc., etc. They have very little option. OK, they start working with us. We set up a four man team in a place called Tarbela Ghazi. These are all details — this is a 10,000 word article. I mean this is a lot of information in this article. We set up a team — none of which the White House is responding to and senators say — they keep on saying, it’s so many falsehoods we can’t correct it. And by the way, the last time I — quoting Peter Bergen — I don’t know the guy, I’m sure he believes what he believes, but the last time the White House actually quoted a reporter in the way they did would have been Dick Cheney quoting a story by Judy Miller and Mike Gordon in The New York Times at the height of the WMD crisis about the tubes that allegedly could be used for making — delivering nuclear weapons. A story that they had planted in the New York Times and then Cheney and 60 Minutes goes and uses that story as a — to buttress the argument. We know that. That seems to me to really — just get on with it White House. Just start denying specifics.

Four man team in Ghazi, Ghazi Tarbela, a very important base in Pakistan. A lot of black operations are run with us and the Pakistanis out of it. It’s not that well known. There’s an airbase there, but there’s also a covert unit. The Pakistanis also train most of the guards who monitor and watch over the nuclear weapons there. So it’s a — we’re there. We’re getting — our team is collecting data on the place in Abbottabad where bin Laden — you can call him a prisoner under the supervision that there were steel doors leading to his apartment that were locked. He was on the third floor of this complex there. There were a number of buildings in the compound. And we have great detail. We’re learning how thick the steel is, how much dynamite you need to blow it, how many steps are going, who else is there. This is all being passed by the Pakistanis to us.

The whole game and the whole crux of the story I’m writing is that nothing was supposed to be made public after the raid. The SEALs were supposed to go in — and you have to understand we’re talking about two Black Hawks full of SEALs, packed to the brim. The SEALs are basically better off with 8-10 people and they had 12 in each of them. They were — the plane was stripped down. They were coming in heavy. And 24 SEALs going into a compound where, presumably, if it was the secret raid there would be somebody with arms. Certainly, if Pakistan itself wasn’t guarding it with armed people, bin Laden would have armed guards because a man that a lot of people would want to get to. They’re going in just repelling down was the plan. You know, a perfect target for anybody with a BB gun. And they’re going to go in like that without any air cover. It’s a story that it is — and bin Laden, the most hunted man in the world at that time since 2001. He was number one international terrorist. He’s going to hide out in a compound at Abbottabad, sort of a resort town, and a resort town 48 miles or so outside of Islamabad, the capital of Pakistan, within a mile or two of Pakistan’s West Point where they train young officers, the army does, and a couple of miles from a regimental headquarters full of army troops. He’s going to hide out there? I mean, As I wrote in the article, it’s a Lewis Carroll story. It just doesn’t sustain any credibility if you look at it objectively.

And so the deal was it was not to be announced. We were going to go kill the guy. That was, of course, the mission. That’s why the President had to talk about a firefight. There was not firefight. They’ve actually acknowledged that within a few days of the raid; the White House did. Bin Laden did not have an AK and wasn’t being — cowering behind some woman as was initially said. There was — the point being that, as I write very carefully in this article — seven to ten days after the body — the killing was done and the body was taken away, we were going to announce — the White House — the President, himself, was going to announce that a drone raid somewhere in the Hindu Kush mountain area, you know, the Waziristan — that’s not clear, it was going to be vague as to whether it — that’s the area that divides Pakistan and Afghanistan mountain area — it was going to be vague as to which country this took place in. Somewhere in that border area a drone raid hit a building. We sent in a team to look at it. There was a tall guy that looked like bin Laden. We took some pictures, some DNA — my god, we got him. That was the announcement. That protects everybody. Pasha and Kayani are working with us and nobody has to know it. Why are they worried about being told?

At one point in the last six or seven years, eight percent — that’s the popularity of America in Pakistan, was eight percent — bin Laden was hugely popular. If it was known to the public that Pasha and Kayani, the two leading generals that worked with us to kill the guy, they would be in real trouble. They’d have to move to Dubai or have armed guards.

So once the president did it — this is done without notice. And I’m — of course, as the — you quoted some officer saying it was unilateral. It was all American, yes, Pakistanis were not involved in a raid, our SEALs were. And so, I wish, as you said in the intro, Amy, the denials are all sort of non-denials.

Written by LeisureGuy

12 May 2015 at 3:47 pm


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