- Joseph Heller
When the going gets weird, the weird go pro.
- Hunter Thompson
The Pentagon has its hands full in Afghanistan trying to make the debacle there look like a success for the December assessment it must provide President Obama.
The brilliant counterinsurgency theorist General David Petraeus is "pulling out all the stops," according to The New York Times. He has expanded hunter/killer special-ops raids to a dozen a night, and he has pressured the CIA to ramp up its already heavy rate of drone attacks.
We no longer have body counts as in Vietnam, but the killing pace is on the rise to clear out insurgent leadership or anyone, in COIN parlance, who is "irreconcilable" to US interests.
At the same time, a contrite Petraeus is apologizing profusely to the leaders of Pakistan for a cross-border helicopter raid that chopped up several Pakistani soldiers. This is in addition to the usual denial-then-apology cycle for the almost-weekly civilian deaths from the special-ops raids and drone attacks.
The Pakistanis are so furious over the cross-border helicopter raid they stopped US convoys delivering vital fuel into Afghanistan at the Khyber Pass, leading to at least 35 fuel trucks being torched and destroyed by either organized insurgents or members of the large and growing population of Pakistanis who hate our guts.
Then, there's the case of outright psychopathic murderers in US uniform, such as Staff Sergeant Calvin Gibbs who stands accused of killing Afghan civilians for sport and collecting souvenir fingers.
Petraeus has pressured the reluctant Pakistani military to attack insurgent elements in the Pashtun border areas, and now Pakistani soldiers have been caught on video lining up six young, blindfolded civilian males and gunning them down. We find this offensive, since we do our killing discriminately or by killing people who get in the way of our super lethal weapons, then apologizing.
"I am appalled," says Rep. Howard Berman, chairman of the House Foreign Relations Committee. He has threatened this "could have implications for future security assistance to Pakistan."
A 20-ton MRAP begins long jeoriuney to Afghanistan on the I-95 corridor by Lou Ann Merkle
Meanwhile, back in Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai's large extended family has become a vast and corrupt network of powerful blood-cronies. Like the Taliban, Karzai is a Pashtun; he is from Kandahar, the Pashtun heartland. He is reportedly convinced the US is going to abandon him, which has motivated him to secure his power base one deal at a time, since that's the way it has been done for thousands of years. The Washington Post reports that he and the Taliban are in secret talks with terms for US withdrawal on the table.
The army goes green
Despite the July 2011 withdrawal date, the US shows no signs of leaving any time soon. The military has even decided to go green. No kidding. The Pentagon is launching a major, multi-decade R&D effort to run its war machine on alternative energy.
That's right, the institution that has expended trillions of US tax dollars securing US access to fossil fuel is now throwing itself into research and development of solar and other alternative energy sources.