Archive for the ‘Karzai’ Category

Cheney Tells Karzai U.S. Urges More NATO Soldiers

March 20, 2008
Holly Rosenkrantz 1 hour, 22 minutes ago

March 20 (Bloomberg) — Vice President Dick Cheney, assessing the security situation during an unannounced visit to Afghanistan, said the U.S. will press NATO allies to step up their military engagement in the country.

U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, left, speaks as Afghan President ...
U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney, left, speaks as Afghan President Hamid Karzai looks on during a joint press conference at the presidential palace in Kabul, Afghanistan, Thursday, March 20, 2008. Cheney said Thursday the United States will ask NATO countries to step up their commitment to help Afghanistan recover from years of tyranny and war.(AP Photo/Rafiq Maqbool)

“America will ask our NATO allies for an even stronger commitment in the future,” Cheney said following a meeting with President Hamid Karzai about the battle against the Taliban.

President George W. Bush wants a report from Cheney on progress in the country in advance of the NATO summit next month in Romania, Lea Anne McBride, the vice-president’s spokeswoman, said.

The U.S. and NATO are struggling against a resurgence by the Taliban, which was toppled by the U.S. in 2001 following the Sept. 11 attacks. U.S. intelligence chief Michael McConnell concluded last month that the militant Islamic group controls 10 percent of the country.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/bloomberg/20080320/pl_bloom
berg/a8ostllqrmd8;_ylt=ApZThtt
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NATO’s Superbowl Loss?

March 5, 2008

by James Zumwalt
Human Events
March 5, 2008

The 2007-2008 NFL season witnessed the march of one of the greatest teams in professional football history fall 35 seconds short of perfection. Despite its loss in Superbowl XLII, the New England Patriots demonstrated tremendous success in fielding a team each week with single unity of purpose — to win.

Each team member had equal responsibility to achieve this goal, knowing the rest of the team relied upon him to execute his assignment with maximum intensity and effort.

Imagine, however, if some team members, at the outset of the season, placed limitations on what they were willing to do on the field? What, for example, would have been the result had a defender informed the coach he would only defend against the pass for 20 yards out but not beyond that? Or, worse, if a fully capable player, fearing injury, opted to sit on the bench the entire season, unwilling to share the risks, leaving his fellow teammates to take hits for him.

No coach would ever field such a team, knowing that doing so would spell disaster.

Ironically, on a much more important field — a battlefield in the war on terror — this is exactly what is happening.

In 2003, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai asked NATO to help stabilize his country and provide security against the threat of the Taliban insurgency. Under a UN mandate, NATO took action, becoming the first ground mission in the six decade history of the alliance. French and German forces were sent to the north of Afghanistan; Italian and Spanish forces west; and US, British, Dutch and Canadian troops south — where most of the fighting takes place.

NATO’s mission in Afghanistan was an enormous evolution for the alliance. It represented the first time the Alliance was taking action against a threat outside the European theater.

This was an important step because the member nations, recognizing that the threats to their mutual security posed by terrorism and proliferation of weapons of mass destruction were global, necessitating more than purely local action.

The future of NATO as a credible force, with single-minded unity of purpose, turned on its performance in Afghanistan.

And it has failed.

Despite the strategic importance of NATO’s success in Afghanistan, it quickly became apparent not all team members came to win. Promised manpower levels were not provided. Some team members placed operational restrictions on their forces. They were not allowed to operate at night.

Others were barred from operating in those areas where the threat was greatest and, thus, help needed the most. Some even put limitations on the distance forces could patrol outside their bases. It was clear not all team members had the same unity of purpose in mind, content to leave other team members to take the hits for them.

Instead of fielding the 18-1 Patriots, NATO fielded the 1-15 Miami Dolphins. President Bush and Secretary of Defense Robert Gates have been pressing our NATO allies to do more in this very important fight.

Trying to at least get those nations imposing limitations on the use of their forces, Gates has pointed out, “Brothers in arms achieve victory only when all march in step toward the sound of the guns.” He repeatedly encouraged NATO team members to make their restrictions as benign as possible.

But their continued failure to do so is making the military commander’s mission in Afghanistan a nightmare as leaders need constantly consider what assets can be used at what times and in what locations. Missions are impeded as commanders fail to have unlimited access to all resources in-country. This is no way to fight a war you intend to win.

Leaving a disproportionate share of the risk and responsibility for fighting the Taliban and stabilizing Afghanistan to only a few members of the NATO team is a recipe for disaster. It undermines the team concept of all for one and one for all. It undermines support for the mission by a public who senses less than a full commitment to maximizing the application of military force. Why show up for the game if you’re not going to give your all towards achieving victory? Such a lack of risk balance has prompted Canada, which has suffered the
highest casualty rate of any country, to threaten a withdrawal of its forces next year if other member states fail to contribute more to combat operations.

President Bush has made clear, “Afghanistan is NATO’s most important military operation. By standing together…we will protect our people, defend our freedom and send a clear message to the extremists — the forces of freedom and decency will prevail.”

Afghanistan is NATO’s Superbowl. But while NATO leaders pledge to stay the course there, they are doing little to demonstrate a winning commitment. It was recently revealed that Prince Henry — third in line to the British throne — secretly spent more than two months as a combat soldier in Afghanistan before his presence was revealed by the media.

The bad news is the media placed greater value on reporting this story than on limiting risk to human life; the good news is Henry’s front line deployment demonstrated the Brits’ unity of purpose and commitment to the principle all team members are equal and should share equal risks. If only we could get all our NATO team members to accept this standard.

Short of that, NATO’s quest to win its Superbowl may well go the way of that of the New England Patriots.

James Zumwalt is a retired Marine who served in the Vietnam and Gulf wars. He has written opinion pieces on foreign policy, defense and security issues for dozens of newspapers. He is president of his own security consulting company.

Britain Accused of Undermining Afghanistan

February 6, 2008

By David Blair
London Telegraph
February 6, 2008

Britain’s troubled relations with Afghanistan’s government have worsened with the disclosure that London had secretly planned to build training camps for former Taliban fighters.

Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, pictured on January 21, ...
Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, pictured on January 21, said his country along with Pakistan faces “gloom and doom” from Taliban insurgents, and called for the world to “join hands” to defeat the Islamist rebels.
(AFP/File/Shah Marai)


The Afghan authorities denied any knowledge of the scheme to rehabilitate gunmen who have defected from the Taliban in Helmand province, a key opium-growing region. .
.
Officials said this was another example of Britain undermining President Hamid Karzai’s authority.
.
Two Western diplomats, one working for the United Nations and the other serving the European Union, were asked to leave Afghanistan in December after they reportedly held direct talks with Taliban commanders without Mr. Karzai’s official permission.

Read the  rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080206/FOREIGN/926270025/1003

A Pair of Allies, Self-Destructing

February 3, 2008

By Jim Hoagland
The Washington Post
February 3, 2008
.
The presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan fiddle furiously as the fires of terrorist violence burn across their nations.Hamid Karzai and Pervez Musharraf suddenly seem more concerned with protecting their positions and perks than with keeping their countries out of the grasp of extremist Islamic forces.

Rule One of counterinsurgency campaigns is that you can’t help foreign leaders who won’t help themselves. It is time to apply that rule to the recent quixotic and self-defeating actions of both….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/01/AR2008020102665.html
President Pervez Musharraf accused Pakistan's enemies of ... 
Pervez Musharraf

Either Way, Pakistan’s Musharraf Is In Trouble

December 28, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
& News Service Reports
Friday, December 28, 2007
0010 GMT

The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto exasperated tragedy on many levels. First, we see the tragic loss of a freedom fighter and dedicated advocate of democracy. The lady that aides and confidants called “B.B.” inspired confidence and delighted those seeking a better, more democratic Pakistan.

Photo

Then we have President Pervez Musharraf, who just a few weeks ago was still stubbornly holding on to the title “General” as well as “President.” He was General President Musharraf: a strange mixture for a man who said he was committed to a more democratic Pakistan.

Mr. Musharraf either failed to provide adequate security for rival Mrs. Bhutto or he helped engineer her assassination. Either prospect is chilling for an ally of the United States that has accepted billions in U.S. aid to fund his version of the war against terror — and has its own nuclear weapons.

Mrs. Bhutto had recently complained that President Musharraf blocked her request for additional radio frequency channels: channels that would have allowed a much better security cordon around her motorcades. And after a previous assassination attempt against Mrs. Bhutto, she complained that Pakistan’s ruler had appointed as an investigator a man complicit in the death of her husband.

And if President Musharraf did provide adequate protection for Mrs. Bhutto and if he did not plan her execution disguised as a terror attack, perhaps his loyalists in Pakistan’s Army, who are many, planned the attack.

Either way, President Musharraf, despite his nuclear weapons, is in a morass of difficulties with his own people, his number one ally the United States, and Russia, France, Great Britain, and about every other democratically-ruled law-abiding nation.

A Pakistani cameraman take images of burning vehicles on a street ...
At least 10 were killed overnight in rioting in Pakistan.
Here a Pakistani cameraman take images of burning vehicles
on a street in Karachi. Former Pakistan premier Benazir
Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber Thursday,
plunging the nation into one of the worst crisis in its history
and raising alarm around the world.(AFP/Asif Hassan)

And what was the depth of U.S. commitment to Mr. Musharraf? $130 million (USD) every month. And a deal that kept U.S. troops out of Pakistan – even out of the tenuously “controlled” tribal areas where Osama bin Laden and the Taliban are the rumored “guests.”

And Mr. Musharraf has been the beneficiary of some of the strongest verbal support the United States has ever doled out to an ally. On NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney expressed such strong U.S. Government support for President General Musharraf of Pakistan – that I thought at the time the words were clearly over the top.

Mr. Cheney expressed U.S. support for Musharraf as follows:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan.”

“There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

Have you ever heard any President or Vice President of the United States express such unbridled support for anyone at any time?

I think not.

Pakistan’s President Musharraf

The Associated Press made this assessment:

“The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has dealt a severe blow to U.S. efforts to restore stability and democracy in a turbulent, nuclear-armed Islamic nation that has been a critical ally in the war on terror.

While not entirely dependent on Bhutto, recent Bush administration policy on Pakistan had focused heavily on promoting reconciliation between the secular opposition leader who has been dogged by corruption allegations and Pakistan’s increasingly unpopular president, Pervez Musharraf, ahead of parliamentary elections set for January.

In Washington and Islamabad, U.S. diplomats urged that Jan. 8 elections should not be postponed and strongly advised against a re-imposition of emergency rule that Musharraf had lifted just weeks ago.

The United States has poured billions of dollars in financial assistance into Pakistan since Sept. 11, 2001, when Musharraf made a calculated decision to align his government with Washington in going after al-Qaida and the Taliban in neighboring Afghanistan. That move is blamed for several unsuccessful assassination attempts on him.

But it was not immediately clear, however, what if any influence Washington might have or whether Bhutto’s death would drive the United States into a deeper embrace of Musharraf, whom some believe offers the best chance for Pakistani stability despite his democratic shortcomings.”

“This latest tragedy is likely to reinforce beliefs that Pakistan is a dangerous, messy place and potentially very unstable and fragile and that they need to cling to Musharraf even more than they did in the past,” said Daniel Markey, who left the State Department this year and is now a senior fellow at the private Council on Foreign Relations.

“The weight of the administration is still convinced that Musharraf is a helpful rather than a harmful figure,” he said.

Amid the political chaos and uncertainty roiling the country in the wake of Bhutto’s slaying, U.S. officials scrambled Thursday to understand the implications for the massive aid and counter-terrorism programs that have been criticized by lawmakers, especially as al-Qaida and Taliban extremists appear resurgent along the Pakistan-Afghan border.

Underscoring the concerns, a grim President Bush interrupted his vacation to personally condemn Bhutto’s murder, demanding that those responsible be brought to justice and calling on Pakistanis to continue to press for democracy.

“We urge them to honor Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life,” Bush told reporters at his Texas ranch, before speaking briefly to Musharraf by phone.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Bhutto’s assassination would “no doubt test the will and patience of the people of Pakistan” but called on the Pakistani people in a statement “to work together to build a more moderate, peaceful, and democratic future.”

Yet such calls could fall on deaf ears, experts said.

“The United States does not have a great deal of leverage where Pakistan is concerned,” said Wendy Sherman, who served as counselor to former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

“And at the end of the day, the decisions are going to be made by the Pakistani people and by the leadership of Pakistan and not by the United States.”

Other analysts warned that Bhutto’s assassination might further damage Musharraf, whose democratic credentials have been seriously tarnished by growing authoritarianism, and have lead to widespread unrest.

“Legitimacy for Musharraf will be deferred if not impossible,” said Christine Fair, a South Asia expert at the RAND Corporation. “The U.S. likely does not have a plan for this contingency as Musharraf remains a critical ally and because Bhutto’s participation was hoped to confer legitimacy to the upcoming January elections.”

She also warned that the murder could embolden militants in Pakistan to seek out other high-profile targets.

Bhutto, who served twice as Pakistan’s prime minister between 1988 and 1996, was mortally wounded Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18 when her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker.

The attempt on her life added to U.S. concerns about the country that had already been heightened by the situation in Pakistan, largely ungoverned frontier provinces where a truce between Musharraf’s government and tribal leaders is credited with helping extremists regroup and reorganize.

In addition, Musharraf’s declaration of emergency this fall, along with a clampdown on opposition figures and judges, irritated the administration, which was criticized in Congress for lax oversight of the nearly $10 billion in U.S. that poured into the country since he became an indispensable counterterrorism ally after 9/11/.

Under heavy U.S. pressure, Musharraf resigned as army chief and earlier this month lifted emergency rule to prepare for the elections. Bhutto’s return and ability to run for parliament had been a cornerstone of Bush’s policy in Pakistan.

Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making “concerted efforts” to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Under the law, which provides a total of $300 million in aid to Pakistan and was signed by Bush on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also must guarantee that Pakistan is implementing democratic reforms, including releasing political prisoners and restoring an independent judiciary. The law also prevents any of the funds from being used for cash transfer assistance to Pakistan, but that stipulation had already been adopted by the administration.

At Peace and Freedom we share the concerns expressed by many. But our support for our brother Muhammad and the tribesmen over-rides many other thoughts. We shall continue to support, foster and plead for democracy and law and order in Pakistan.

If that means than Mr. Musharraf has to depart his beloved Rawalpindi, so be it.

Related:
Pakistan’s Bhutto: Investigator Replaced Amid Death Threat

Musharraf: He’s The Best Hope That Was Available At the Moment

Musharraf: He’s The Best Hope That Was Available At the Moment

November 6, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
November 6, 2007

Let’s face it: if anyone in the government of the United States of America ever though President General Pervez Musharraf was dedicated to a future democratic Pakistan, he was naïve, stupid or smoking some illegal substance.

Just try to name one other U.S. ally ever who wanted to be called “President General.”
Photo

Musharraf is and always has been a military man.  He came to power in a coup. And he is a strong man holding together a rats nest of Islamic extremists, militants and terrorists. In Pakistan, the question isn’t “Are these guys bad guys?” The more appropriate question almost always is, “Who’s side are these bad guys on?”

I have been into and out of Pakistan a few times assisting people battling the Taliban and other terrorists. It is not a pretty place to “vacation,” as my friend Mike dubbed my sojourns today.

And I have always questioned the full-throttled support for Musharraf that the U.S. has proclaimed.  And the support is not just words: it amounts to about $130 million (USD) every month.

On NBC’s “Meet the Press” with Tim Russert on Sunday, September 10, 2006, Vice President Dick Cheney expressed such strong U.S. Government support for President general Musharraf of Pakistan – that I thought at the time the words were clearly over the top. Mr. Cheney expressed U.S. support for Musharraf as follows:

“President Musharraf has been a great ally. There was, prior to 9/11, a close relationship between the Pakistan intelligence services and the Taliban. Pakistan was one of only three nations that recognized, diplomatically recognized the government of Afghanistan at that particular time. But the fact is Musharraf has put his neck on the line in order to be effective in going after the extremist elements including al-Qaeda and including the Taliban in Pakistan. There have been three attempts on his life, two of those by al-Qaeda over the course of the last three years. This is a man who has demonstrated great courage under very difficult political circumstances and has been a great ally for the United States”.

“So there’s no question in that area along the Afghan/Pakistan border is something of a no man’s land, it has been for centuries. It’s extraordinarily rough territory. People there who move back and forth across the border, they were smuggling goods before there was concern about, about terrorism. But we need to continue to work the problem. Musharraf just visited Karzai in, in Kabul this past week, they’re both going to be here during the course of the U.N. General Assembly meetings over the course of the next few weeks. We worked that area very hard, and the Paks have been great allies in that effort.”

“Pakistan, we’ve gone in and worked closely with Musharraf to take down al-Qaeda. Saudi Arabia, same thing. In all of those cases, it’s been a matter of getting the locals into the fight to prevail over al-Qaeda and al-Qaeda-related tyrants.”

“Think of Musharraf who puts his neck on the line every day he goes to work, when there’ve been attempts on his life because of his support for our position. And they look over here and they see the United States that’s made a commitment to the Iraqis, that’s gone in and taken down the old regime, worked to set up a democracy, worked to set up security forces, and all of a sudden we say it’s too tough, we’re going home. What’s Karzai going to think up in Kabul? Is he going to have any confidence at all that he can trust the United States, that in fact we’re there to get the job done? What about Musharraf? Or is Musharraf and those people you’re talking about who are on the fence in Afghanistan and elsewhere going to say, ‘My gosh, the United States hasn’t got the stomach for the fight. Bin Laden’s right, al-Qaeda’s right, the United States has lost its will and will not complete the mission,’ and it will damage our capabilities and all of those other war fronts, if you will, in the global war on terror.”

Have you ever heard any President or Vice President of the United States express such unbridled support for anyone at any time?

I think not.

So why did Musharraf get the full trust and confidence of the United States – and billions of dollars? Because he was in power on 9-11 and we were in no position to invade Iraq, Afghanistan AND Pakistan. Pakistan at least had a ruler that didn’t drop gas on his own people, the way Saddam used gas on the Kurds.

So, Musharraf was a guy we were stuck with: not the guy we chose to take to the dance.

It rankles me some that Mr. Cheney felt he had to so obviously oversell this lemon. I wish he had just said: “Musharraf will never give us democracy in Pakistan. But he might keep the various factions from creating total chaos.”

Today Musharraf said he would still hold democratic elections in January. That, my friends, is happy talk nobody in Pakistan believes. Musharraf is holding on for dear life. And it is uncertain if he’ll still be above ground in January. If he is it will be because many of his enemies disappear without a trace.

Now we may be on the brink of total chaos in Pakistan and the U.S. can do little but stand on the sidelines like a deer in the headlights.

But it looks like we already decided to stay with the gal we’re dancing with. As long as she can do it.

President Bush Lost Credibility, Confidence

September 6, 2007

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
September 6, 2007

It seems obvious to just about all American voters: Bush lost all credibility somewhere after the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. He couldn’t or didn’t regain it thus becoming one of the presidents’ with the lowest public support polling numbers in history.

I like President Bush. But when the American people believe you have lost just about all credibility their confidence goes down the drain quickly.

Just yesterday, when a reporter asked Senate Majority Whip Richard J. Durbin about the impending report from General David H. Petraeus on the “surge” in Iraq, he answered, “The Bush report?”

“We know what is going to be in it. It’s clear. I think the president’s trip over to Iraq makes it very obvious,” the Illinois Democrat said. “I expect the Bush report to say, ‘The surge is working. Let’s have more of the same.'”

For right or wrong, President Bush has become the “more of the same” president. As a result, Hillary Clinton and others are running for the White House under a one word banner: “CHANGE.”

I asked a friend who is a registered Republican what he thought about Vice President Cheney and he said (I am paraphrasing a little here) “Cheney represents the worst aspect of American politics. Cronyism. Special interests influencing the White House. Halliburton. Waste fraud and abuse. Lying to the American public. You cannot trust this guy and he has tremendous influence over President Bush.”

Cheney, to many, is the Emperor of the Evil Empire. Karl Rove was just the executioner.

Vice President Cheny was my “boss” in a way at one time while he served as Secretary of Defense (during the first war in Iraq) and I served as a Naval Officer. But Mr. Cheney lost me when he made a long-winded “over the top” defense of President general Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan on “Meet the Press” on Sunday, September 10, 2006. You have to read for yourself the transcripts (see references at the end).

Mr. Cheney is also close to President Karzai of Afghanistan. Mr. Karzai has made no secret of the fact that he believes the Taliban, al-Qaeda and perhaps Osama Bin Laden himself are hiding out in the tribal areas of Pakistan: the land governed by President General Pervez Musharraf. The tribal areas are along Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan. They form, as the name implies, a semi-autonomous region. Pakistan’s Army does not venture into the tribal areas without severe trepidation.

For more than a year, we at Peace and Freedom have had an almost daily dialogue with journalist Muhammad Khurshid from Khar, Bajaur Agency, Tribal Areas Pakistan. Muhammad has given us at Peace and Freedom, and we hope, many readers, an appreciation for Pakistan, President General Musharraf and especially the tribal areas.

Muhammad I trust. Mr. Cheney: no.

Mr. Cheney was also involved in “the great research project” which prompted the administration to practically guarantee that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and intended to use them. CIA Director Tenet told a room full of Oval Office luminaries this fact was a “slam dunk.” Mr. Tenet lost his job, not too long after that, and was smeared, some say, by the White House as a man without credibility or merit.

Cheney also engineered Secretary of State Colin Powell’s dissertation before the United Nations on Iraq, Saddam Hussein, weapons of mass destruction and the CIA’s “proof.”

Mr. Powell also lost his job and may have been the victim of a smear campaign engineered by the White House. Powell was “thrown under the bus.”

But it is President Bush himself who has disappointed most. Remember, “Brownie, you are doing a heck of a job” after Hurricane Katrina? He lost his job soon thereafter also.

Remember, “I looked into Putin’s soul and saw a man I could do business with”?

Just yesterday, President Bush said of China’s Hu Jintao, the architect or banker, perhaps, of the genocide in Darfur, “He’s an easy man to talk to. I’m very comfortable in my discussions with President Hu.”

President Hu regularly stabs America in the back at the United Nations and elsewhere. The fact that he smiles and is an affable lad is not relevant.

Mr. Putin and President Hu Jintao just cooperated in the largest combined Chinese-Russian military maneuvers ever. They also hosted an international conference that gave the podium to the likes of President Ahmadinejad of Iran. He naturally attacked the U.S. in his speech.

But President Hu is really best known as the villain in the worst Human Rights abuses and the worst violations of ecology on today’s planet earth. Never mind what President Bush sees in his soul. Ask Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, the United Nations, Greenpeace and other international human rights or ecology groups. God will mediate this one.

On China, President Bush has enemies on the left and the right.  The right wing of the Republican Party says Bush is soft on China.  The Democrat left says he does too little for Human Rights.

Remember Don Rumsfeld and Paul Wolfowitz, the architects of the war against terror in the Pentagon? Mr. Wolfowitz, the deputy defense secretary, opened a two-front war of words on Capitol Hill, calling the estimate by Gen. Eric K. Shinseki of the Army that several hundred thousand troops would be needed in postwar Iraq, “wildly off the mark.” Pentagon officials put the figure closer to 100,000 troops.

Neither Rumsfeld nor Wolfie attended General Shinseki’s retirement. But the General, in hindsight, appears to have been right. Rumsfeld retired and Wolfie went to the World Bank where he crashed and burned.

But generally, commentators say, President Bush stands by his people.

President Bush stood by his pal from Texas Alberto Gonzales long past the time most president’s would have summoned, even driven the bus. The president will maybe go down for his loyalty to his guys: but not for his acute judgment.

And who in the United States is responsible for out “Hearts and Minds” effort in the war against terror?

To remind those that don’t even recall: Karen Hughes, another President Bush buddy from Texas.

In 2005 CBS News reported on Hughes’ role this way: “President Bush’s adviser Karen Hughes was named to a State Department post designed to change Islamic perceptions about America.”

And how are we doing on the “Hearts and Minds effort”? Miserable. A total failure (see references at the end about “misunderspinning”).  Ms. Hughes still works at the U.S. Department of State.

President Bush and his vice president are serving out their terms. The next presidential election is a huge one.

But you knew all this. I was the one that only caught on slowly.

Related:
Cheney’s Stand on Musharraf May Yet Be Reversed

Pakistan: Bush Team Ignored Experts

China: ‘Trust but verify’ needed

Cold War Redux?

Permanent President Putin?

Misunderspinning: Hezbollah Honored For Sharp Media Acuity; Where’s Ours?

Where is America’s War of Hearts and Minds?

Bush Again Proves Soft on China

Bush, South Korean President Roh Run Amok

Afg-Pak “Grand Jirga” Politics from Muhammad

August 11, 2007

Dear John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom

Dear Sir, Sometime my heart wants just to solute you as your kindness and correct approach have been bringing some positive change on the tribal areas.

It is only after interest now the United States administration has changed its attitude and so the Pakistani government.

I think now Musharraf has been showing some seriousness, but some the officials within his team have still been providing support to Taliban and terrorists.

I want to bring in your kind notice Pakistan has sent those people of the peace jirga being held in Kabul, who have been supporting Taliban and terrorists. Pakistan has created Taliban and has still been breeding them. In think if the government of Pakistan withdraw its support from Taliban and terrorists then they will have no place on this earth.

The United States should exert more pressure on Pakistan without caring for that someone will be annoyed. The elimination of terrorists and Taliban is a must for saving this world. The jirga preceeding in Kabul shows that it is a futile exercise.

According to reports from Kabul, A council of Pakistani and Afghan tribal leaders debating ways to end Al Qaeda-backed terrorism in the region heard calls on Friday for Western forces to be thrown out of Afghanistan in favour of Islamic troops.Pakistani tribal elder and former MP, Malik Fazel Manaan Mohmand, said the presence of NATO and US-led forces in Afghanistan was a major cause of insecurity.

“Pakistan had helped Afghanistan battle the invading Soviets in a jihad, but Kabul had now brought in a new foreign force,” he said. “How can I accept that yesterday jihad against the Russians was a must, and today this is not a jihad?” he asked.“There is no need for the NATO forces. Bring Islamic countries’ troops,” said Mohmand.

Pakistan’s State Minister for Education Anisa Zeb Tahirkheli lashed out at the Afghans by reminding them that Kabul had voted against Pakistan’s entry to the UN in 1947.

“But even then we helped Afghanistan,” a charged Anisa told the delegates in Urdu. She said that “invisible forces” did not want the relations between the two countries to normalise. She, however, did not identify the “invisible forces”. They said that the Afghan authorities tried on Thursday night to remove irritation among the Pakistani delegates and officials when the Afghan delegates indulged in blame-game.

Ms Barakzai said there was a need to “heal the wounds” and “open doors for dialogue” since women and children were the most affected in the conflict.

She urged the jirga delegates to demand for the release for Korean women taken hostage by the Taliban.

Anisa asked why the Hamid Karzai government was opposing Islamabad’s efforts to put a new border security management in place to stem illegal cross-border movement.

The delegates from the two countries divided into five committees to talk about investigating terrorist groups, intelligence sharing and drugs, said Alimi Balkhi, an Afghan lawmaker who headed one of the working groups.

Dear Sir, it is ironic to note most of the members of jirga have no connection with the tribal areas. Just take the example of Pakistani lady minister. She knows nothing about the tribal areas as she belongs to some other areas. How she can talk about the tribal areas?

I think these people have no justification to demand the withdrawal of NATO forces from Afghanistan. I think the NATO forces should enter the tribal areas for controlling terrorism.

Actually terrorists of international fame have been preparing plans for attacks in various parts of the country. These terrorists must be checked at this point.

Please Sir, continue your cooperation. The people of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas will never forget your kind contribution for the welfare of humanity.

Again thank you very much.

Yours sincerely,

Muhammad Khurshid
Khar, Bajaur Agency,Tribal Areas Pakistan

Related:
Musharraf May Attend ‘Grand Jirga’ After All

Musharraf May Attend ‘Grand Jirga’ After All

August 11, 2007

Aug. 11 (Bloomberg) — Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf agreed “in principle” to address the closing session of a tribal council meeting in Afghanistan’s capital Kabul.

Musharraf, who had earlier decided against attending the meeting because of engagements at home, changed his mind after Afghan President Hamid Karzai invited him during a telephone conversation late yesterday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement. His visit may help ease tensions between the two South Asian neighbors who have accused each other of failing to secure their 2,430-kilometer (1,510 mile) border.

The Grand Jirga meeting, which ends tomorrow, is aimed at agreeing on measures to prevent al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters from using bases and crossing the mountainous and porous frontier to carry out attacks in both countries.

Read the rest at:

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601080&sid=aEJQrlYyvCXM

Musharraf pulls out of anti-terror meeting; Blames U.S.?

August 8, 2007

by Lynne O’Donnell

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf cancelled a trip to Afghanistan to attend a key anti-terrorism meeting, citing a previous engagement amid heightened security concerns.

On the eve of a high-profile meeting of leaders from volatile regions bordering the two countries, Musharraf telephoned Afghan President Hamid Karzai to tell him that he would not attend, the foreign ministry said.

The Pakistani president would send Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in his place, it said in a statement.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20070808/wl_sthasia_afp/
pakistanafghanistanunrest_070808162621