Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Al-Qaeda & The Taliban's New Objective: Pakistan

The Collapse of Pakistan’s Northwest Region to the Taliban and Al-Qaeda
It has been going on for years now since 2003 or so, the slowly eroding grip of Pakistan’s Frontier Forces on this key province that is adjacent to Afghanistan. Like the domino effect of the cold war, here, one province has been infiltrated and slowly converted the extreme Islam that the Taliban and Al-Qaeda believe in. Pakistan’s military forces are similar to those of South Vietnam so many years ago: corrupt, weak, lack fighting spirit. When the Pakistani army launches an offensive, it is a success only where little resistance is present. When there is presence of significant terrorists, the battle ends in a defeat or draw. In every case so far, after several attempts to regain control of a region, the Pakistani settles for a negotiated peace hoping it will stop the devouring by the terrorists. Sadly, nobody outside of Pakistan can do much about it. In another time, the terrorist would be Hitler, the appeasers, France and Britain, they talked and looked the other way in 1938 as Czechslovakia and Austria were swallowed up by another ideology.
Northwest Pakistan
In Swat, during Operation Rah-e-haq (the Right Path) I and II, the Pakistani military was defeated twice by forces under Fazlullah in 2007 and 2008. Earlier this year, the military launched its third attempt to secure Swat, which has been totally under the control of the Taliban. The military managed to regained control of a small region of Swat but with fighting heavy.
Swat, spread out over 1,100 sq. miles with a population of 1.5 million, is just 100 miles from Islamabad. Controlled by Fazlullah and his 4500-man militia seized one town after another, looting armory and controlling police stations. This Mullah and his men controlled five of the seven sub-districts, then imposed the Taliban rule and regulations in the captured areas, collected taxes and ran kangaroo courts, forced Islamic dress, closed girl’s schools, destroyed music shops, barber shops. He was able to seize and then operated an FM radio station spouting Islamic ideology. The Mullah even dared the Pakistani regime by announcing he was the governor of Swat.
The Pakistani Military in the Northwest
The military has four brigades (15,000) in Swat, yet has been unable to defeat a Taliban force estimated between 2,000 to 5,000 strong. The Pakistani police there remains useless after the Taliban targeted its officers, killing many. Of its 1600 man police force, 800 police have deserted. This prompted military action starting with Rah-e-haq I, which failed. The second phase started on November 13, 2007 and was jointly executed by the 23rd Division of 10 Corps’ and 17th Division of 11th Corps’. The army cleared the valley by December 24th at a cost 36 KIA and 72 WIA, while nine civilians had died and another 45 injured. The Pakistanis killed 10 senior Taliban and almost arrested the militant leader, Fazlullah, he narrowly escaped. Thus, the army had achieved its primary objective in Swat Province by clearing the valley of terrorists and establishing government control there, at least for awhile. The operation had pushed the enemy to the remote Peochar area and to the mountains. Some 700 terrorists had been killed (out of an estimated 4500). It was a temporary victory. In Rah-e-haq III, which began late January, 2009, was the largest involving 17-20,000 soldiers, many from the same divisions before with additional brigades from other divisions, including the 14th Division. The general plan remained the same in occupying the highest terrain as the army sweeps along the main roads to secure the main city and clear the enemy. After a true combined arms attack, Minapura, was retaken and secured. The average death rate among the terrorists in Swat has been around 25-30 daily. It was estimated that 1700 terrorists were killed in this most recent offensive, however, tragically, the Pakistanis signed a truce with Fazlullah weeks later and have since pulled out of Swat! This allowed the Taliban to dictate the terms of the truce!
In the Bajaur district, Operation Sher-dil, started in August, 2008. Pitched battles were fought in a radius no greater than 7-8 miles. What began as a well coordinated siege of a small village on August 6 turned into a protracted battle. The Pakistanis armed with 9000 soldiers, tanks, up to 20 Cobra gunships and jets ended in a draw due to a potpourri of Islamist fighters, including al-Qaeda. Even after eliminating more than 1000 terrorists, Pakistani forces had only managed to retake only a 6-10 mile stretch of land. Bajaur had an estimated population of around 900,000. Since the beginning of hostilities, more than half of the population left for safer places. While the government figures put the number of displaced People at 250,000, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan believes that 700,000 have migrated. Still, Bajaur remains a command and control hub for al Qaeda and the Taliban entering to and from Afghanistan in the Northeast into Kunar province. It was located in the town of Shin Kot, south of Damadola, and had been the target of U.S.predator strikes. Terrorist leaders like Abdullah Meshud, command up to 30,000 Taliban and tribal levies, while others may command groups of not more than 5,000 fighters. The Taliban in this district number between 2000-3000 and organized under four commanders. The largest group comprising 1200 militants is led by Faqir Mohammad, the deputy of Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan. His headquarters is located in Sewai.
American intelligence estimates the number of fighters under the Taliban at around 200,000. However, large numbers are not hard-core Taliban. Regardless, the shear number of fighters under the Taliban is why al-Qaeda leaders are quite comfortable with the overall security situation in Northwest Pakistan. They are protected and insulated and can act with near immunity. Both terrorist groups use the standard guerrilla practices that have been around for centuries: night letters, threats, intimidation, executions, and shows of force, tight control.
Like the US Army in the Vietnam War, the Pakistani Army has no training in fighting a counterinsurgency and relies on airstrikes and artillery to destroy the Taliban. This was a typical method used by the US and French in Vietnam. Not effective. This causes “collateral damage” or civilian casualties. This turns the public against the army, which is trying to liberate them from the terrorists. The real battle is winning the hearts and minds of the locals with a combination of indoctrination and public education and building projects that held them. This, the terrorists know well.
Worse, the Pakistani Army, despite its fairly modern weapons, demonstrates to the public how corrupt and weak they are when confronting resistance. Time after time, the military is slow and even if they win the battle they seek a truce with the enemy. To the average Pakistani, they cannot be trusted. Sadly, only this army can ultimately keep Pakistan together as a country. This is not a reassuring thought for the region or the world.
Why Should the West Be Concerned: Ineffectiveness and Corruption
The Taliban and al-Qaeda from a command and control perspective are almost one now. While both maintain their own independent organizations, they have clearly created an alliance. Intelligence and informants indicate the Taliban have started an ideological conversion to Wahhabism, the radical form of Sunni Islam practiced by al Qaeda. Worse, there are joint Taliban and al Qaeda military formations under the command of the Shadow Army in the Northwest Frontier Province. This area has
more than 150 camps and more than 400 support locations. Most are "mobile" in nature. It is estimated that 25 to 40 of these camps are permanent training facilities.
Since August 2007, there have been suicide attacks at or near the Sargodha Air Force Base, a nuclear weapons and missile storage facility in central Punjab province. The base is home to Pakistan's short range tactical nuclear missiles that number between 34-80. In the Northwest sector, the Taliban and al-Qaeda have hit several military and police bases near Pakistani nuclear facilities. This Province not only serves as a base for the Taliban and al Qaeda Central Command, the territory is adjacent to nuclear sites in the province of Punjab. It will be only a matter of time until there are soldiers who will switch sides for a variety of reasons and allow the unthinkable to occur: nuclear weapons in terrorist hands. They are already knocking on the door.
Recently, newly declassified documents released by the US State Department dealing with Pakistan’s relations with the Taliban were made public on August 14, 2007. The release came within days of President Pervez Musharraf admitting that the Taliban were getting support from Pakistan soil. The documents prove that the Taliban was directly funded, armed and advised by Pakistan government agencies in the Islamabad area. Probably with some US dollars!
Records show that Pakistan paid the salaries of the Taliban administration - a sum of $300 million was paid in June 1996. Pakistan also gave direct military support to the Taliban through the middle-level officers of the Pakistan Army. These officers were deployed to train the Taliban and paid handsomely. Pakistani Army officials were involved in planning Taliban military operations. These officers also helped the Taliban capture large arms dumps in Spin Boldak, which contained some 18,000 Kalashnikovs, dozens of artillery pieces, large quantities of ammunition and vehicles. To be fair, like all armies, there are those who can be bought for a price. It just happens more frequently in Third World poorer nations. To wit, the average Pakistani foot soldier makes only $20.00 a month! When viewed from this perspective, it is not all surprising that part of the Pakistani Army is corrupt. Also, perhaps some of their soldiers secretly side with their Islam beliefs and feel that winning this fight is futile.
The Pakistani Army continues to make a deal with the Taliban one day (appeasement) and then joins with US and NATO forces to attack them the next (to continue receiving US support and money). Terrorists are using weapons of Iranian, Indian and Russian origin. Afghan war lords trafficking in drugs continue provide them with funds and drugs to destabilize Afghanistan and Pakistan.
They are all issues the US has known about for some time and have chosen, maybe by default, to ignore, as Pakistan must be included in the battle even if corrupt. The US really has little choice unless Pakistan requests a US military presence on their soil.
The Shadow Army
Formerly known as Brigade 055, Al Qaeda has now enlarged the predominantly Arab and Asian formation into a larger, more effective fighting unit known as the Lashkar al Zil (Shadow Army). It is this army that is in Pakistan's tribal areas: the Northwest Frontier Province and in eastern and southern Afghanistan. The force is well trained and equipped and has defeated the Pakistani Army in multiple engagements. Its morale is high. The Army has been active in successful Taliban campaigns in North and South Waziristan, Bajaur, Peshawar, Khyber, and Swat. Taliban forces have integrated into the al-Qaeda organization, specifically, the Tehrik-e-Taliban and Haqqani network.
in conventional battles. While the Shadow Army has been active, until now, there has been little visual evidence of its existence until a photograph of a unit operating in Pakistan's Swat district was snapped. The clothing of the fighters is revealing. According to experts, the length of the pants are at "al-Qaeda height" -- meaning only al-Qaeda and allied "Wahhabi/Salafi-jihadis" wear their pant legs this high. The type of masks worn and the tennis shoes indicate that these fighters are non-Afghan fighters, and probably Pakistanis or Arab/Central Asian fighters. Ironic, how street gangs and terrorists can be identified by how they look.
The military organization has a command structure with established ranks. A senior al-Qaeda military leader commands of the Shadow Army, while experienced officers command of the brigades and battalions or companies. The re-formed Brigade 055 is but one of an estimated three to four brigades in the Shadow Army. The unit served as al-Qaeda’s shock troops for the Taliban and probably has 2,000 soldiers and officers in the ranks. Several other Arab brigades have been formed, some were former members of Saddam Hussein’s Republican Guards as well as Iraqis, Saudis, Yemenis, Egyptians, North Africans, and others. Some of the camps are used to indoctrinate and train suicide bombers for attacks in Pakistan, Afghanistan, India, and the West.
The Shadow Army has distinguished itself and clearly superior in some ways to the Pakistanis. Taliban forces under the command of Baitullah Mehsud defeated the Pakistani Army in South Waziristan during fighting in 2005-2006, and again repulsed the Pakistani Army in 2008 after fighting and overrunning a series of forts. In Bajaur, Taliban forces dug a series of sophisticated trench and tunnel networks as well as bunkers and pillboxes. It took the Pakistani military more than a month to clear a six-mile stretch of road in the Loisam region. Even Pakistani military officers acknowledge the Taliban have better weaponry and communications system than their own, and their tactics are very sophisticated and create defenses that hard to defeat.
The Taliban forces have also conducted battalion-sized operations in July 2008, where a Taliban unit laid siege to a police station and a fort in Hangu. The fort was abandoned by the Frontier Corps and the Taliban destroyed it. Then in July 2008, the unit made up of al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and Hizb-e-Islami joined forces and conducted a complex assault on a US outpost in Wanat in Nuristan province. The attack was repelled after the force nearly overran the base.
Still worse, the Taliban forces repulsed a battalion-sized assault from the 63rd Battalion of regular Pakistani Army troops supported by at least a platoon of tanks. Reports indicate the Pakistani tanks fled from the fighting, followed the Pakistani infantry after coming under fire! Luckily, some tank commander calls in for airstrikes to take out the Taliban positions, which halt the terrorist counterattack. However, Pakistani infantry and tanks continue their full retreat and return to their base.

Al Qaeda’s most elite unit, sworn to defend Osama Bin Laden till death are his Black Guard, a 200-500 well trained unit. Probably similar to special forces.
The Taliban forces use an impressive array of weapons which includes machine guns, sniper rifles, anti-aircraft guns, and also IED’s. They employ suicide bombers against security forces and pro-government tribals. Their communication systems are superior to that used by the Pakistani Army. Key Taliban
Key Terrorist Groups and Leaders
The LeT or the” Army of Pure”, and Jaish-e-Muhammad (JeM) or the” Army of Muhammad”, are two of the largest Jihadi organizations in Pakistan. The LeT (name changed to Jamat-ud-Dawa (JuD) in 2005) began as an armed wing of Markaz Dawat-ul Irshad (MDI), a group which received $200,000 from Osama bin Laden’s Afghan Service Bureau to set up its sprawling headquarters at Muridke. While Muridke remains the nerve centre of the organization, it has offices all over Pakistan. This Markaz runs 200 secondary schools, 11 madrasas, two science colleges, an ambulance service, mobile clinics and blood banks, and a charity organization called Idara Khidmat-e-Khalq. The educational curriculum of these schools and colleges are guided by the JuD leader Hafiz Saeed’s philosophy to achieve jihad, which translates into indoctrination through all means and at all levels. All anti-West.
Fazlullah in Swat, was a local student who once earned a living ferrying passengers and goods across the Swat river. He studied under Maulana Sufi Muhammad, a religious teacher who founded the Tehrik Nifaz Shariat-e-Muhammaidi (Movement for the Enforcement of Islamic Law) in the 1990s. In 2002, TNSM was banned, and Muhammad thrown in jail for mobilizing thousands to fight American forces in Afghanistan. Fazlullah, continued the campaign for Sharia using the platform of his popular FM radio show. He remains the leader of the Taliban forces in Swat district and grows stronger after the recent truce with the Pakistani army. He commands up to 4500 fighters.
The Tehrik-e-Taliban is the Pakistani Taliban movement led by Baitullah Mehsud, a South Waziristan leader who has defeated Pakistani Army forces multiple times.
The American Intervention
On September 3, 2004 at 0300, two US CH-47 Chinook transport helicopters landed in the village of Zawlolai, South Waziristan, Pakistan with ground troops from the US Special Operation Forces. The troops fired at three houses and killed over 17, including five women and four sleeping children.
In 2006, US troops had landed in the border village of Saidgi in North Waziristan. This time, it was a bigger and more intense attack using two jet fighters and two gunship helicopters to provide air cover for the 30 min operation, more than a mile inside the Pakistan border
Currently, the CIA is operating several attack Predator drones from a secret unused Pakistani airfield in South Pakistan for their attacks. President Obama has promised more serious intrusions will occur in the future depending on events. The airbase is the Shamsi airbase in Pakistan's southwestern province of Baluchistan. It was used by the US as early as 2006, and also known as Bandari, which is about 200 miles southwest of Quetta, also a known Taliban staging post. The Predator carries two laser-guided Hellfire missiles, and can fly for up to 454 miles, at speed of up to 135mph, and at altitudes of up to 25,000ft. It is probable that several dozen US personnel are also present with the Pakistani blessing. It is thought that 3-4 drones are present.
Most recently, after successfully ambushing the US and NATO convoys along the Khyber Pass Highway that transits through the Khyber Pass, over 300 NATO supply trucks were torched on December 7-8, 2008, at their depots. Whether the US can continue to move supplies over the Khyber Pass Highway remains to be seen.

Pakistan's Army Order of Battle 2009

I Corps at Mangla – This is a "strike" corps, it commands 6th Armored Division, 8th Independent Armored Brigade and 37th Mechanized Infantry Division. Some elements of 17th Division have been deployed to North West Frontier Province (NWFP) to assist in countering terrorists and securing the border with Afghanistan. The Home base for the 6th and 17th is Kharian. The 37th is at Gujranwala.

II Corps at Multan - Another "strike" corps with the 40th Mechanized Infantry Division, the 14th Infantry Division, which was deployed to South Waziristan in 2007, 1st Armored Division and an Independent Armored Brigade at Multam. The others at Okara.

IV Corps at Lahore – This unit is to defend the area of Punjab province opposite Amritsar in India. It has two Infantry Divisions, the 10th and 11th, two Independent Infantry Brigade Groups (partly mechanized), and one Independent Armored Brigade Group.

V Corps, Karachi
16th and 18th Infantry Division, Hyderabad (partly mechanized)

Three Independent Armoured Brigades, Malir (?), Pano Aqil (?), Hyderabad (?)

X Corps, Rawalpindi
Northern Area, Gilget (equivalent of a division, possibly five infantry divisions)
12th Infantry Division at Murree
19th Infantry Division at Jhelum
23rd Infantry Division at Gujrat
111 Independent Infantry Brigade at Rawalpindi

Most infantry units are Northern Light Infantry Battalions (13th), the three Infantry Divisions (12th, 19th, 23rd) have a total of 12 Brigades along the Line of Control (LOC).

HQ XI Corps at Peshawar, currently contains the 7th, 9th, 14th, 17th (less 1 brigade), and 23rd Divisions. The 14th, 17th, 23rd recently reinforced the Corps’ from other units probably temporarily. It is unclear if the 16th Division is assigned or not. The Corps has two independent infantry brigades. The 14th Division is in the Dir-Bajaur area. The 7th at Marden, 9th at Kohat.

XII Corps at Quetta - Two Infantry Divisions (33rd and 41st) responsible for western Sindh, the Afghan border, and for reinforcement of eastern formations.

XXX Corps at Gujranwala – 8th, 15th Infantry Divisions (at Sailkot), two Independent Armored Brigade Groups. Responsible for the defense of the Eastern front, south of IV Corps boundaries.

XXXI Corps at Bahawalpur - Provides depth defense and available for exploitation and counter attack. Commands the 26th Mechanized Division and two Infantry Divisions (35th and 40th), of which elements have been redeployed to the west to fight the Taliban. The 35th Infantry Division is at Bahawalpur, the 34th Infantry Division at Pano Aqil, 105 Independent Brigade Group, Bahawalpur(?).
Special Forces
The Special Services Group (SSG) is headquartered at Cherat and has a base at Attack. it is also responsible for the Airborne School at Peshawar. It consists of three battalions each of four companies.

Other SSG elements include: Akbar Company (Combat Diver Unit), Zarrar Company (Counter-terrorism), Iqbal Company (Communications Unit)

Army Aviation Corps

VIP Flight Squadron At Rawalpindi - SA-330, KING-AIR 200, CITATION V, CESSNA 421, COMMANDER 690, COMMANDER 840, H-500 (special duties)

Aviation School and Centre, Rawalpindi (Qasim) - MUSHSHAK, ALOUETTE III, SCHWEIZER 300, BELL 206B, other on attachment.

2nd Squadron, Lahore - MUSHSHAK, UH-1H.

3rd Squadron, Multan - MUSHSHAK.

4th Squadron, HQ at Qasim (formerly known as Dhamial), - south of Rawalpindi. detachments at Rahwali, Gilget, Samugli (Quetta) - Mi-17.

5th Squadron, Qasim - ALOUETTE III.

6th Squadron, Qasim - UH-1H, Mi-17.

7th Squadron, Shahrae-Faisal - CESSNA O-1, MUSHSHAK.

8th Squadron, Qasim - SA 315/316 LAMA.

9th Squadron, Peshawar - CESSNA O-1(?), MUSHSHAK, ALOUETTE III

13th Squadron, Qasim - CESSNA O-1(?), MUSHSHAK, Y-12.

21st Squadron, Multan - PUMA, UH-IH.

24st Squadron, Multan - PUMA

25st Squadron, Dhamial (detachment at Gilget) - PUMA

31st Squadron, Multan - AH-1F COBRA ANTI-TANK. Sent to XI Corps area.

32nd Squadron, Multan - AH-1F COBRA ANTI-TANK. Sent to XI Corps area.

Army Key Weapons

Type: Al-Khalid
Manufacturer: HIT
Role: MBT
Original Total:220

Type: Type 59/59M (including Zarrar)
Manufacturer: HIT
Original Total:600

Type: Type 69 (PRC improved version of Type 59. 100mm gun. Not battle survivable)
Manufacturer: Chinese State Factories
Original Total:350

Type: Type 85 IIAP
Manufacturer: Chinese State Factories
Original Total:300 (local assembly of kits and manufacture of some components. 125mm gun but fire-control system basic in early versions (upgrade in progress)) total planned production unknown.

Type: T 80UD
Manufacturer: Malayshev Plant, Ukraine.
Original Total:320

Type: AH 1F/S Huey Cobra
Manufacturer: Bell
Role: Attack
Original Total: 28

Type: AH 1S Huey Cobra
Manufacturer: Bell
Role: Attack
Original Total: 6

Other Air Assets:
Type: Y 12 (II)
Manufacturer: HAI
Role: Transport
Original Total: 4

Type: Y 12 (II)
Manufacturer: HAI
Role: Transport
Original Total: 4

Type: 206B Jetranger III
Manufacturer: Bell
Role: Observation
Original Total: 12

Type: O 1 Bird Dog
Manufacturer: Dhamial (Cessna)
Role: Utility
Original Total: n/a (10 surviving)

Type: Mushshak
Manufacturer: PAC
Role: Utility
Original Total: n/a (120 surviving)

Type: Super Mushshak
Manufacturer: PAC
Role: Utility
Original Total: 42 (stated requirement - none delivered so far)

Type: Mi 17 Hip H
Manufacturer: Mil
Role: Utility
Original Total: 37

Type: SA 330J Puma
Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
Role: Utility
Original Total: 32

Type: SA 315B Lama
Manufacturer: Aerospatiale
Role: Utility
Original Total: 24

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Terrorists and Their Legal Rights

La La Land
This topic is a mess. It's like an attorney defending a guy he knows probably did the crime yet because of the dollar\pound\lira or whatever, he takes the case and tries to get the suspect off on some technicality. Pathetic!

The left wing, with regards to terrorists, feel as if they are the same as your average criminal and should be accorded due process and other rights your typical criminal receives. Excuse me, but a terrorist is WAY bad and has no morals whatsoever. They are driven by some devout, sick belief that really few Westerners can begin to understand, and to many of us, they are akin to what Satan might be like.

Yes, we are talking of women and men, boys and girls, who strap on those plastic explosives and pretend they are sweet and nice while they mix and get into position. The remote signal goes off and sudden mayhem and body parts go flying, families are destroyed, headlines flash across the world. Then some terrorist group claims this act in the name of alah! I see, alah, god wanted this to happen in order for somene to have 99 virgins for themselves. If the terrorist is a woman, what do they do with 99 virgins? do they have to be gay? Or does the award only apply to men? Hmm, what a strange God alah is. You mean, he is prejudice against women? Seems so.

Demi Lovato has a new song called, La La Land. Need I say more?

Of course, the right thinks they should only be given the most basic rights and conditions that even these despictable humans should have. That was the point to a prison on the fringe of Cuba, that will close soon.

All the nations who demanded it closed, none are willing to accept any of the 200 terrorists. Even within the US, no State wants them. Now what? Well, in the case of one, which happened to be UK citizen, a terrorist who killed freely, he is being shipped home. How nice. When he gets home, the UK authorities will not imprision him, only watch him. This is incredible! A known terrorist will be free to plan etc., another attack on UK citizens. How reassuring. Is anyone really thinking???

Terrorists do not, I repeat, do not , should not, get the same rights afforded to your typical criminal. Do I need to repeat why? Terrorists have multiple connections, cells, they continue planning and killing for sake of Alah. I do not think all terrorists are so devout in their beliefs. They use it to justify whatever real reasons they have. Typical criminals are usually in it for themselves or acted out of carelessness. Evidence usually will work against them, especially DNA.

Affording Terrorists the same laws is really quite stupid. They are not even from our culture, yet we reward them after killing us, our rights? La La Land. Why should they even be given a trial if they were caught and the evidence is solid. Why spend our money for the trial in attorney fees? What attorney in their right conscience would even take a case of a known terrorist who killed many? Where are the legal ethics for this? Is it still, every one has a right to counsel and their day in court?

Terrorists are the exception to this rule. Yet, the West, has this overly concern about giving them their rights. Hey, what about the rights of the slaughtered? The loved ones that need to pick up the pieces? Guess they do not count as much as the killer. Perverse sense of justice. La La Land.

Terrorists only deserve the most basic of anything. Food, water, a place to sleep. Depending on whether the evidence is either direct or circumstantial, the strength of the evidence, should they have a right to present their case through a pro bono attorney. No attorney fees should ever be awarded for defending a terrorists, if it must occur, a mininum rate. These are not glory cases.

Now we come to torture. In this society, where everyone is so sensitive about how they look, what they say, what they do, how it looks to another and on and on ad nauseum, we say we will not torture. The word alone conjures up all sorts of weird concepts in anyone's mind. It has been part of war since BC. It is not a crime. Just because a nation does not "declare" war, does not mean that a war does not exist. Semantics. The leftists think if you treat the terrorists with compassion and justice, they will respect you. La La Land. They will carry on what they think is for Alah, which is blowing infidels apart. Water boarding is a mild torture, if you must use the word. The bottom line is that they behead their captives and other horrendous things once they get the info they want. What do we do in the West? Give them their rights and basics in hopes they will provide data. Now we can only do what the Geneva Convention has instructed.

This convention remains for civilized, western type countries. The terrorists or no Islam nation I know of, is part of this accord passed after WW2. Hmm, funny, I thought the West is fighting a terrorist insurgency. So, logically, the Geneva Conventions does not apply as it is for a conventional style war. The West is really making it tougher on themselves by tieing their hands and expecting the terrorists will freely provide the info requested. La La Land.

Terrorists deserve no better than what happened to thier innocent victims: women, children, babies, men, students. I say, the West should shed their correctness and play as dirty as the terrorists. An eye for an eye.

Pakistan is allowing the US to base their remote attacking Drones at an airbase. The Drones fly to their targets and fire their missiles. Pakistani government remains silent because of the 20 million in US dollars. However, oddly enough, Pakistan forbids the drones to attack the top leader targets of the Taliband and Al-Qaeda! And.........for the money spent by the US to get Pakistan's support, it is ironic that the population now hates the US even more! What a quagmire. They hate us because of the drone missiles killing terrorists and innocents. In any war, throughout history, there is collateral damage not meant to happen. Nothing is perfect and fighting a counterinsurgency war is far from perfect. It is far more difficult than the days of Vietnam War, when the same kinds of attacks would happen in Saigon.

The whole effort is in la la land. Dealing with terrorists is in la la land. Dealing with Pakistan is in la la land.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Pakistan, the Taliban & Al Qaeda: A Dangerous Mix

Pakistan in Peril
Most Americans probably have not paid much attention to recent news from the Middle East area. Most could probably care less, but should. The two worst terrorist groups are the Taliban (some consider them even more extreme in their Islam beliefs) and Al-Qaeda. It seems only America and Barack Obama is fighting the war. Our European "friends" are only providing verbal support instead of military support, yet, already, the Germans and French are sending their ministers to Iraq to secure lucrative contracts since the US has now "secured" the country, without any help from either!

Not mentioned is that while both terrorist groups are on different strategies and goals, they are "tolerating" one another in the secure areas of remote Pakistan, where they thrive and the Pakistani Army has been unable to stand up to them. Why is this a problem to a nation thousands of miles away such as us?

Pakistan has over 100 nuclear weapons and rockets that can deliever them.

After one year of fighting and 12,000 Pakistani troops with tanks etc., the Pakistani army managed to only clear a small part of the Swat Valley and was unable to break the Taliban's hold on it. This is not a good omen for the Pakistani Army that has modern weapons. The Swat Valley, in northwest Pakistan's province Malakand, prior to the Taliban was a honeymoon mecca 100 miles from Islamabad, a renowned local resort area. The idyllic valley has gone really bad, its image distorted beyond recognition. Pakistan’s most popular tourist destination is now haunted by death and fear; few officials now dare to go and serve there. Up to a third of the valley's 1.5 million people have fled and the scenic area is now believed to be mostly under militant control. Some 2,000 militants are believed to operate in the valley, and yet, the Pakistani army and airforce refuse to wield their power to save their country! Amazing!

It seems that in 59 villages, the militants set up a "parallel government" with Islamic courts using sharia law. The region was largely under effective militant control as of January 2009 despite the presence of 20,000 Pakistani troops. Taliban enforcement of a complete ban on female education in the Swat district. Some 400 private schools enrolling 40,000 girls have been shut down.

The Taliban's strategy is to operate on whatever front is the most successful. Both the Afghanistan and Pakistan fronts are successful. It is far easier for them to operate on the fringe of Afghanistan and now that they have secured their onw province inside Pakistan because of this Accord, it is opening the door for much more infiltration of harsh islam law into Pakistan's secular government. Al-Qaeda's strategy seems to more more "gobal", Pakistan provides a free base to operate from, but their goals may not be the same as Taliban's. There is a chance that they have indeed joined forces, which remain separate, yet with the same goals. This too, is not a good mix for the West. Pakistan is not strong. It is Islam and Secular. It is not like Turkey, where the secular has a strong control over the system. Pakistan is corrupt and divided. It talk's the talk to fight terrorism, yet does not do the walk. This is to continue to receive the millions of aid from the US. And yet, US troops are forbidden to enter and take the terrorists out.

History shows that appeasing the enemy fails. France and Britain appeased Hitler by looking the other way as Hitler invaded and seized Poland, Austria, Czechslovakia. They tried other ways to appear Hitler, who was pleasant and smile and accepted, yet continued on with his ultimate plan. This is what is now happening in Pakistan.

Pakistan, realizing that they do not have the will to crush them have now signed an Accord allowing the Taliban to control a huge province and impose strict Islam practices not done anywhere else in the country. This is appeasement in hopes it "satisfies" the Taliban's and Al-Qaeda's hunger. There may be a pause, but it will not stop with this. It will continue until yet another and another province falls. Finally, the secular government will fail and is taken over by the extremists.

And what do you think will happen to the 100 nukes they have? Fire at India? Fire at Aghanistan? Fire at Iraq? Provide material to the Hamas in the Gaza? or Iran? and then Iran can fire at Israel?

This is the danger for everyone. It is not pie-in-the sky stuff. If a nuke goes off anywhere, the world will be changed forever again. It might start a regional nuclear exchange, yes, India has nukes also.

Even though Pakistan's President Zardari admits that the Taliban is trying to take over the country and secular Pakistan is in danger for its survival, he tries to appease! Many in Pakistan consider a "surrender" because the country is under two laws and this will eventually tear it apart. Disintegrate.

The handwriting is on the wall. The West should care and pay attention becasue our world will be impacted.

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Anyone who was between 8 and 20 yrs. in 1965 and was cognizant of the world around them knows instinctively 1965 was a turning point. It set the stage for how the world be in the USA. Trying to convey this to those who were not around is difficult. For 1965 was when the new replaced the old. Some of the items were simple every day things, others were style and culture.

Anyone who liked Elvis was old. Elvis by this time had become the "Frank Sinatra" of rock, meaning, he was old school (greasy hair slicked back, silly rock songs that appealed only to those 20 yr and older, he was a crooner).

Tweeners and Teenagers only rocked to these bands:
The Beatles (Help, I'm down, The Word, Rain, Paperback Writer)
The Rolling stones (Satisfaction)
The Kinks (You really got me, All the day, All the night)
The Dave Clark Five (Bits and Pieces, Glad All Over)
The Supremes (Stop, In the name of Love, Baby love)

TV and other Media
This medium was in a state of transition. Most homes only had black and white TV because most TV shows were in that mode. However, staring in this year, many more shows were in color and began the demand for color TV. This transition to color broadcasting was completed by 1967, when nearly all shows were now in color and many more homes now owned a color TV, which cost $500 or more (this was a substantial sum when you consider that a new Chevy rear engine Corvair cost $2200, as did the Ford Mustang). Going to a friend's house to watch Hullabaloo in color was an "event", especially when The Beatles were on it!

Most popular shows:

Mission Impossible (Spy, action)
I spy (Spy)
Wild, Wild West (Action)
Man from U.N.C.L.E (spy)
Bewitched (comedy)
I Dream of Jeanie (comedy)
Outer Limits (scary)
Twilight Zone (scary)
One Step Beyond (scary)
My Three sons (single dad with 3 sons comedy)
Secret Agent Man (spy)
Bonanza (western)
Gilligan's Island (comedy)
Gidget (teenage sitcom)
McHale's Navy (comedy)
Shindig (rock show of top bands)
Hullabaloo (rock show of top bands)
Where the Action is (rock show of top bands)

Many of the shows created the sitcom formula still used today and most still remain quite good.
In other media, from Japan, small transistor radios, small tape recorders, hand held hair dryers, clock radios (8 track tapes and Cassettes were still many years away).

Tight jeans or bell-bottoms
Beatle hair cuts (meaning, dry hair with bangs, shaggy but not long, no grease, no Elvis look)
New words in the vocabulary: bitchin, boss, far out = very cool
Stingray bikes butterfly handlebars and knobby tires
Surfer shirts (collarless shirts)
Wide 2-3" belts
Peace signs
Bright colors
Housing subdivisions with new homes for 20K on big lots.
Vietnam War (where every night one could watch combat footage on the news)
Marijuana and joints, lids
The slogan, "Don't trust anyone under 30" (meaning, anyone older will not be cool)
The phrase, "You really turn me on" "turn me on"
The start of the youth movement, where the world was defined by youthful things, the "now generation" (those 25 and under)
The start of instant communication with satellites across the globe

The hottest were:
Chevy Corvair, Stingray, Malibu
Ford Mustang
Ponitac GTO, Le Mans, Bonneville
Plymouth Barracuda
Dodge Charger
AMC Marlin

Friday, February 6, 2009

Do the Jonas Brothers = The Beatles?

For those who are in the dark about this rock group (if you have children between 8-16, you know about them)the Jonas Brothers are brothers, cute, ages from 16-19, play guitars and write songs. Their vocals are limited but girls love the angst their voices blast out. The music is pop with edge and fairly decent tunes. They are a indirect product of the Disney pop rock machine that also produced Hillary Duff, Miley Cyrus (Hanna Montana) Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, and more. All these performers are under 19. Their target audience is pre-teen and teen. They all make a lot of money for Disney (Miley alone makes up to 20 million a year).Unlike the others, the JB never had their own TV show that promoted the band.

There some similarities between JB and the Fab Four: All were good looking guys, both bands were popular in their originating country before being exported to other countries (The Beatles first attempt to conquer America was in 1963 on the Vee-Jay label, which totally failed as their LP sold only 5000 copies! Yet, in the UK and Europe, thousands of girls screamed at their concerts), and both had screaming girls.

JB seems to be a miniature version of Beatlemania 1964-66, on a much smaller scale. Girls scream at their concerts, seem to be mesmerized but it is tame, controlled. The Beatles caused chaos wherever they went and in concerts, girls went into a real frenzy, fainting, panic attacks and broke through police lines. The apex of this can be seen at the world's first rock concert at Shea Stadium in August 1965 and its 58,000 fans shrieked until the Beatles could not even hear themselves sing! Even today, it remains awesome to watch.

JB songs are about the same topics that The Beatles sang about, JB's best two songs remain SOS and Lovebug. Both have great riffs and melodies. Most of their other material is less original and more of "borrowing from other songs" and repackaged in their style and presented in the JB manner. As a band, well, only two of them really play guitars. They are backed up by professionals all playing bass, guitar and drums. So, it is difficult to see how talented they really are. Their backup band acts as "camouflage" for them.

It really is the screaming girls at their concerts that connects them to The Beatles. Other similarities include their hair, well, we all know where JB got the style- the Beatle cut, which permeates all men's haircuts ever since 1964. And movies. Disney is cashing in with a new release of the JB movie. Scenes from the film are directly taken out from TThe Beatles' Hard Day's Night, and updated--JB trying to escape from screaming fans and being chased down a street etc.

History does repeat. It may be happening again with JB. Fans of The Beatles will no doubt compare. But JB will never be a legend. They will be forgotten 20 yrs. from now. The Beatles will still be heard.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button Movie

The movie is a very insightful look about how love changes, evolves between a man and a woman over time. The twist here is that Benjamin is born as a old man and gets younger until he dies as an infant. The woman he loves starts as a 10 yr old girl, but it is not until each is in their 40s does this love fully bloom and is expressed, yet they loved one another from the moment they met. In their prime, yet going in opposite directions on the timeline of life, they love and create a baby. As time moves on, Benjamin gets younger into his 20s, his wife, in her 50s. He leaves knowing it is the best, as if he stayed, he could not be a father in the normal sense. Years fly, and she is 60 and he is 17, Brad Pitt looks just like he did when he first arrived. She feels too old and yet still loves him. They love one last time. It is at this time when he meets his 13 yr old daughter. Time continues and now he is an unruly, confused 6 yr old boy. She is 65. Now she takes him in as an orphaned boy until he finally dies as a baby.

The makeup is excellent.How they age the actors is very real. How they make Brad look younger is also. His acting is low key, tender. Overall, the movie is well worth the 2.5 hrs and never gets boring. The movie begins in 1918 and ends with his wife dieing of very old age in 2004. We see how things change over decades, styles, music. It is a movie about everyone's life in a way. The emotions of life are the same, always the same but cloaked in different times of the decade. Sooner or later, we all experience it. A moving film.