Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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April 4, 2007
By: Kevin Drum

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS....In the years since 9/11, al-Qaeda as a centrally controlled organization has been largely crushed. Its core leadership has been reduced from several thousand to several hundred, its ability to mount large-scale attacks has been seriously degraded, and it has evolved into something closer to a franchise operation than a single coherent group.

According to a number of reports, one of its franchises is a group called Jundullah, an affiliate that emerged around 2004 in the Baluchistan region that straddles the border between Pakistan and Iran. Jundullah carries out terrorist attacks on the leadership of both countries, and ABC News reports today that for the past couple of years the United States has been advising and funding its Iranian branch:

U.S. officials say the U.S. relationship with Jundullah is arranged so that the U.S. provides no funding to the group, which would require an official presidential order or "finding" as well as congressional oversight.

Tribal sources tell ABC News that money for Jundullah is funneled to its youthful leader, Abd el Malik Regi, through Iranian exiles who have connections with European and Gulf states.

....Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s.

So in order to destabilize Iran we're funneling money to a Sunni extremist terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda? I'm sure that will work out well. But perhaps we shouldn't be too surprised: after all, this is pretty much what Seymour Hersh reported a few weeks ago, with the further comforting news that the covert side of this plan to buddy up with Sunni extremists is being run out of the vice president's office. Shocking, I know.

Needless to say, take this story with whatever size grain of salt you prefer, depending on how reliable you think ABC's anonymous sources are. But it's worth keeping in the back of your mind.

Kevin Drum 9:01 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (84)

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Comments

Of the big network TV outlets, ABC has consistently been the most pro-Bush. If they're saying this is true, there's not much point of worrying about their sources. They wouldn't just go cherry-picking, looking for stuff to make Bush look bad.

Posted by: dj moonbat on April 4, 2007 at 10:35 PM | PERMALINK

So it's official now? The U.S. is a state sponsor of terrorism? Lovely. Just lovely.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 10:39 PM | PERMALINK

Awww, fuck.

At a very minimum this reinforces the oft-repeated observation that the administration isn't capable of thinking about threats to national security outside the context of nations, often to an absurd degree. I *loathe* the Iranian government; they're a group of murderous psychopaths whose only purpose in life is to brutalize their compatriots into mental slavery. The brand of religious fundamentalism they practice makes our own Christian Right look like hippies in comparison. They didn't fly airplanes into the WTC, though. That the administration continues to misplace its priorities so severely is grounds for impeachment for gross incompetence as far as I'm concerned. We should be going after Jundullah with daisy cutters, not funneling money to them.

A more cynical view, which I'm increasingly coming to share, is that the administration never gave a shit about the War on Terror in the first place, and is using our (justified) fear of Islamic extremism to pursue long-desired policies that are completely divorced from that threat. This was obviously the case with Iraq, and was widely recognized as such at the time, but I didn't realize how broadly this characterized the administration's actions until recently. I don't think the WTC attacks changed their thinking in the slightest; it merely opened up new opportunities.

Posted by: Nat on April 4, 2007 at 10:40 PM | PERMALINK

Its core leadership has been reduced from several thousand to several hundred, its ability to mount large-scale attacks has been seriously degraded
So in order to destabilize Iran we're funneling money to a Sunni extremist terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda? I'm sure that will work out well.

What's your problem with it? By your own admission, Al-Qaeda's ability to launch large-scale attacks against America and her allies is severely degraded. So why should we worry about it? On the contrary Iran has significant abilities to launch large-scale attacks against America. Just look at Hezbollah's War against Israel.
As a great military strategist once said, the enemy of your enemy is your friend. Faced between a weak Al-Qaeda and a strong Iran, it's much more important to defeat Iran than Al-Qaeda. And if we can use Al-Qaeda for that purpose, all the better because Al-Qaeda is too weak to significantly harm America.

Posted by: Al on April 4, 2007 at 10:42 PM | PERMALINK

A more cynical view, which I'm increasingly coming to share, is that the administration never gave a shit about the War on Terror in the first place, and is using our (justified) fear of Islamic extremism to pursue long-desired policies that are completely divorced from that threat.

Bingo!

Posted by: Stefan on April 4, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Hey wingnuts:

What would you say if President Gore or President Kerry or Nancy Pelosi did something like this?

I can't even imagine what paroxysms of frenetic you'd be in right now

Posted by: sam zens on April 4, 2007 at 10:45 PM | PERMALINK

Al, your last comment didn't sound fake.

You just blew my mind.

That is all.

Posted by: sam zens on April 4, 2007 at 10:48 PM | PERMALINK

....Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Shouldn't that be:

"....Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government supported terrorist groups, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s."

Posted by: Stefan on April 4, 2007 at 10:50 PM | PERMALINK

The US secretly funding an al Qaeda affiliated terrorist organization to destabilize Iran? Outrageous! Can't be. No one is that stupid . . . err

. . . just remembered, we're talking about the neocon G. W. Bush administration which seems to be intent on cornering the market on stupidity.

Question: Why do we need foreign terrorists when we have the Bush administration.

Answer: Maybe we don't. Al Qaeda might just as well set back and enjoy the show as we gradually self destruct as a free, democratic society. Come to think of it, maybe that's just what they're doing.

aa

Posted by: aaron aardvark on April 4, 2007 at 10:52 PM | PERMALINK

How about we ask all the presidental candidates if they intend to give their vice-presidents and real powers on the order Bush has given to Cheney. Any of them who says 'yes' we shun.

Posted by: beb on April 4, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Except, Al, and I'm not trying to be overly contentious here, I think the idea of the enemy of my enemy has grown to be an increasingly flawed strategem.

Remember, we had a hand in supporting and funding Osama bin Laden once upon a time. We used to be friendly with a wide array of those nations and global actors with whom we are now antagonistic against.

If one were to employ the gambit of the enemy of my enemy, than one should probably make sure that the tentative ally doesn't end up being just another enemy.

Mr. M

Comments From Left Field

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 10:53 PM | PERMALINK

Posted an interview with Seymour Hersh about this very topic on the Factional Politics in Iran thread. He discusses how Bush-Cheney have been funding three Sunni jihadist groups via an Iran-Contra like operation run out of the Pentagon... Why Negroponte resigned as Director of Natl. Intel.

As Hersh said, "...my sources believe much of the money obviously came from Iraq where there is all kinds of piles of loose money, pools of cash that could be used for covert operations....this is very serious stuff."

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

The enemy of our enemy is our friend. The friend of our enemy is our friend. Makes perfect sense.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on April 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

*any* real powers, not "and"

Posted by: beb on April 4, 2007 at 10:54 PM | PERMALINK

Besides, I think the enemy-enemy-friend thing is something meant more along the lines in conventional warfare wherein the relationship between the two allying states is transparent. It is almost as though it is kept in check by the world stage.

Since at least Reagan's administration, we've employed enemy-enemy-friend (from here on out called eef) in the context of terrorism which has been horrible. The reasoning behind this, just off the top of my head, can be boiled down to two simple things.

Firstly there is the distillation of the ideology. In terrorist organization, it is the ideology that is supreme over all, the only honor that exists is the honor garnered from taking any steps necessary to achieve the goal of the ideology. What this means is that it results in very untrustworthy alliances because the needs of the ally have a lower priority than the needs of the ideology.

Secondly, there is the fact that terrorist organizations do not represent nations. In the case of independant states, there are other factors which can influence the behavior of the commandors and political leaders, namely the people. Governments have mouths to feed and a citizenry to keep safe, therefore, are more apt to honor the agreements and alliances under the eef umbrella. Terrorists do not.

Mr. M

Comments From Left Field

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

"Anonymous sources" are a lot like religious texts. Both offer nothing in the way of independent confirmation, and how much you believe in them often has a lot to do with how much they're telling you what you want to hear.

Posted by: barsoom on April 4, 2007 at 11:10 PM | PERMALINK

Not funded by us? Certainly false. We should audit Halliburton to see where those missing billions of dollars went. My guess is they went into a slush fund for Cheney's private projects like Jundallah. Halliburton's move to Dubai soon after Dems get subpoena power is no coincidence.

Posted by: PaulW on April 4, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

Grain of salt? At this point we can believe the very worst and sordid tales attached to Cheney, can't we? You could tell me he had Gitmo prisoners shipped in to his basement and he personally lashed them with live electrical cord and I wouldn't blink. Satan incarnate.

Posted by: steve duncan on April 4, 2007 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

[Patently false, and deleted]

Posted by: egbert (means business) on April 4, 2007 at 11:17 PM | PERMALINK

Okay - we seem to have a handle on deleting idiocy - now for the idiots...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Wow, that was awesome, how the hell did that happen?

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Ever hear of spell-check?

Posted by: shnooky on April 4, 2007 at 11:24 PM | PERMALINK

Never mind.

Posted by: shnooky on April 4, 2007 at 11:25 PM | PERMALINK

Egbert pontificates:
"Violence in Badgad down 80%..."
"How nieve."
"Ever hear of Real-Politique?"

--> Can't say I have. Where the hell is BADGAD, anyway? Can't seem to find it. How NIEVE of me.

Posted by: Aminiature Cawk on April 4, 2007 at 11:26 PM | PERMALINK

Al-Queda ...
Jundullah ...
Blackwater ...

Nothing like having your own religious nut-job armies to play with. Cheney's Neo Con wet dreams abound. Ain't privatization grand?!

Posted by: D'uh on April 4, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

Wheels within wheels within wheels withi.......

Posted by: R.L. on April 4, 2007 at 11:27 PM | PERMALINK

You know, violence in Bagdad may just be down. Baghdad, on the other hand... eh... different story.

Oh, by the way, thanks BGRS... I think you were the one that was helping me through my pitiful html skillz.

Comments From Left Field

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 11:28 PM | PERMALINK

I was about to say something about realpolitik myself. And by the way - when did realpolitik stop being a perjorative?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 11:29 PM | PERMALINK

Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.): So it's official now? The U.S. is a state sponsor of terrorism?

Even if their is only a 1% chance of this, we can borrow an idea from Milo Minderbinder and bomb ourselves.

Posted by: alex on April 4, 2007 at 11:30 PM | PERMALINK

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA....

there's a political cartoon there somewhere, Alex...

Mr. M

Comments From Left Field

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 11:31 PM | PERMALINK

From Kevin's link to Seymour Hersh, Feb. 25 post, The New Yorker:

The key players behind the redirection are Vice-President Dick Cheney, the deputy national-security adviser Elliott Abrams, the departing Ambassador to Iraq (and nominee for United Nations Ambassador), Zalmay Khalilzad, and Prince Bandar bin Sultan, the Saudi national-security adviser. While Rice has been deeply involved in shaping the public policy, former and current officials said that the clandestine side has been guided by Cheney. (Cheney’s office and the White House declined to comment for this story; the Pentagon did not respond to specific queries but said, “The United States is not planning to go to war with Iran.”)
The policy shift has brought Saudi Arabia and Israel into a new strategic embrace, largely because both countries see Iran as an existential threat. They have been involved in direct talks, and the Saudis, who believe that greater stability in Israel and Palestine will give Iran less leverage in the region, have become more involved in Arab-Israeli negotiations.
The new strategy “is a major shift in American policy—it’s a sea change,” a U.S. government consultant with close ties to Israel said. The Sunni states “were petrified of a Shiite resurgence, and there was growing resentment with our gambling on the moderate Shiites in Iraq,” he said. “We cannot reverse the Shiite gain in Iraq, but we can contain it.”
Cheney with the crooked smile, the mastermind behind using jee-hod as a tool to contain the Shiites. Yeah, that strategy worked out so well in the past... training OBL and the mujhahdeen to fight the Soviets back in the 1980s.

I doubt most Americans will understand this new and improved version of "stay the course" with the added component of outsourcing covert ops to Sunni terrorist groups.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 4, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

You're welcome, Mr. M. Always glad to help. I have a whole HTML cheatsheet that I happily email to anyone who emails me and asks.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 11:32 PM | PERMALINK

Not surprising at all. We funded the mujaheddeen in Afghanistan in the 1980s, against the Soviets. Throwing in our lot with the likes of Usama bin Laden was a briliiant move then and this move in Baluchistan is even dumber now.

Until we stop getting snookered by the oldest false syllogism in the world - namely, "the enemy of my enemy is my friend", this sort of shit is gonna happen...

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on April 4, 2007 at 11:33 PM | PERMALINK

We better make sure...Nuke Cheney from orbit!

Posted by: R.L. on April 4, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Okay alex - I'll be at the Liberty Memorial tomorrow to take one for the team...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

I'll have to remember to do that GC.

As for this whole mess... I got some advice I think Bush might understand... Don't hop into bed with someone you ain't willin' to go to the rodeo with.

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 11:34 PM | PERMALINK

Well, George Bush can finally says he's Reaganesque. Reagan traded arms to terrorists (Iran) so he could get peasants killed in a country that didn't threaten us (Nicaragua). Now Bush finds himself forced to fund the terrorists who killed 3000 Americans on 9-11 (al-Qaeda's franchise) so he can continue letting blood in a country that was no threat to us (Iraq).

Fucking brilliant.

Not only is it morally wrong to support the Republican party, its fucking stupid.

What a surprise: the immoral and incompetent, know-nothing, serial failure, George Bush, has completely fucked everything up again. Unfortunately, Poppy can't bail him out this time.

Nor the 3000 dead American soldiers. Nor the 20000 wounded and maimed.

Oh yeah and -- not that it matters I guess -- the 600,000 dead Iraqis.

Posted by: The Fool on April 4, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Well kids, time for me to get on home. Bless all, and I'll catch ya probably tomorrow...

Mr. M

Comments From Left Field

Posted by: Mr. M on April 4, 2007 at 11:46 PM | PERMALINK

Okay - we seem to have a handle on deleting idiocy - now for the idiots...
Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Just remember, even Ali needed sparring partners, even at his greatest. I, for one, would hate to have to peruse right-wing blogs to get a taste of the current spin. A certain amount of filtration will suffice.

Posted by: Michael7843853 G-O in 08! on April 4, 2007 at 11:53 PM | PERMALINK

G'night Mr. M. Send me an email and I'll send that Word document along.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 4, 2007 at 11:54 PM | PERMALINK

the administration never gave a shit about the War on Terror

Of course they don't. Its all just a means to their ends. Money, power, control. Its all they know. The rest is jsut rhetoric, a facade and window dressing to make their actions look plausible.

It is they who hate our beloved constitution.

Posted by: Simp on April 4, 2007 at 11:58 PM | PERMALINK
In the years since 9/11, al-Qaeda as a centrally controlled organization has been largely crushed. Its core leadership has been reduced from several thousand to several hundred, its ability to mount large-scale attacks has been seriously degraded, and it has evolved into something closer to a franchise operation than a single coherent group.

Everything I've ever seen, heard, or read about al-Qaeda has indicated that it was always a loose federation of ideologically-aligned groups rather than a "centrally controlled organization" to start with. Al-Qaeda has always been a franchise operation. So, this seems to be somewhat like saying "Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, Saddam Hussein's reconstituted nuclear weapons have been largely destroyed."

Plus, WTF kind of organization has a "core leadership" consisting of several thousand people to start with by any but the most ridiculously expansive definition of "core leadership".

Is that, perhaps, supposed to refer to the entire core direct membership of al-Qaeda itself, as opposed to all the various affiliated groups?

According to a number of reports, one of its franchises is a group called Jundullah, an affiliate that emerged around 2004 in the Baluchistan region that straddles the border between Pakistan and Iran. Jundullah carries out terrorist attacks on the leadership of both countries, and ABC News reports today that for the past couple of years the United States has been advising and funding its Iranian branch

Then, from the Administration's stated policy that the America will not differentiate between the terrorists and the regimes that sponsor them and that we are involved in a global war on terrorism, it is clear that the leaders of the Bush Administration, as a the leaders of a regime that sponsors terrorism, are enemies of the United States and that it is the duty of every loyal citizen to work to bring them to justice.

So in order to destabilize Iran we're funneling money to a Sunni extremist terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda?

And, of course, a group that is also working, through its branch in Pakistan, to destabilize the regime in that nuclear armed country, and thus guarantee that actual, presently existing WMD (unlike the fictitious ones in Iraq and, and the speculative future ones in Iran that the Administration has made so much noise about) get into the hands of Islamic terrorists.


Posted by: America on April 5, 2007 at 12:02 AM | PERMALINK

So the USA under Bush has gone from trying to capture and/or kill those responsible for 9/11/01, terrorists, specifically Al Qaeda (indeed, launching a new war of the generations in the process, the "war on terror") to actively supporting them with material resources to fight while in a "war on terror" with troops dying in the field supposedly in the service/name of that "war on terror". Therefore, does that not show that Bushco is aiding and abetting enemies the USA is fighting in time of war? I thought that was called treason, but then we all know when treason prospers, right? The last 6+ years until extremely recently (it took a while even after Nov 06 election results showed a drastic change coming) certainly will go down in history as one example of that IMHO.

So all the waving of the 9/11/01 bloody shirt of those murdered by Al Qaeda by Bushco and the GOP comes down to not merely nothing but actively being used to end up helping to strengthen the very foe that murdered them by strengthening the party in government that so relied on that bloody shirt for that power while they are aiding an Al Qaeda cell group. For all the pummeling of anyone that dared question them that they were selling out those that died on 9/11/01 and those that will die if those that murdered on 9/11/01 are not stopped the reality appears to be Bushco's America is supporting Al Qaeda even after it massacred nearly 3000 Americans on American soil five years later. If that is not a nasty example of twisted thinking and acting it is hard to think of what is. This, along with torture, secret prisons, and the suspension of Habeas Corpus all brought to you by the same folks that claimed these atrocities were all needed to fight the Al Qaeda and similar terrorists, because they want to kill Americans and their threat capabilty for doing so supposedly was simply too high not to take such drastic measures. So lets go out and provide support for some of them to do exactly that why don't we, now there's a national security plan that will work! (If anyone needs to have explained the last sentence was heavily sarcastic...*shakes head*)

I wish I could say I am surprised by this news, and if it holds up (which given everything else that has come out about Bushco that has as of late is my bet) I still will not be surprised. Disgusted, angered, contemptuous, now those things I will be but surprised or even shocked? No, not after the last six years of what I have seen happen in America, including much I suspected like tampering/abuse with the judicial system including prosecutors for solely partisan purposes/gains which only came out recently. America has fallen very far indeed, farther than I fear even most that are already aware of that things are very bad already. Indeed, I fear it will prove out even worse than I dared let myself believe possible, and my fears were very deep and serious indeed, which is why I rarely mentioned them much because I knew at the time with little evidence but my reading of patterns changing to go on I would sound like a conspiracy theorist which is something I am not. Indeed, I prefer thinking in terms of converging mutual interests, both independently and interactively far more than conspiracies, although I never rule them out automatically because they have been known to occur; I just take a fair amount of convincing before I buy into that explanation.

Posted by: Scotian on April 5, 2007 at 12:05 AM | PERMALINK

Like "America" noticed: "Its core leadership has been reduced from several thousand to several hundred"

is probably too high by an order of magnitude. But Kevin always uses this rhetorical tic whereby he grants points of the GOP's arguments in order to seem moderate and (he thinks) give his own points more seeming objectivity.

Posted by: luci on April 5, 2007 at 12:10 AM | PERMALINK

As a great military strategist once said, the enemy of your enemy is your friend.

Al is, of course, a moron, but the bad news is that in this circumstance, there are many millions of people who probably agree with him. The desire of the herd to believe and to follow "wise men" is strong. Certainly stronger than the impetus to think, or to do independent research, or to connect the dots between all the previous occasions where following this " great military strategist" has resulted in more problems further down the line.

Posted by: Billy on April 5, 2007 at 12:19 AM | PERMALINK

This is a most delicately engineered contrivance. I've built a house of cards for the ages.

So be careful of what you say. The mildest diplomatic murmur threatens a messy collapse.

I'm not at liberty to elaborate right now.

I promise you'll like the result.

Signed
The Veep

Posted by: skeg on April 5, 2007 at 12:43 AM | PERMALINK

What?

What?

I'm dismayed, liberals. Completely dismayed.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 5, 2007 at 12:47 AM | PERMALINK

"In the years since 9/11, al-Qaeda as a centrally controlled organization has been largely crushed"

Except for al-Qaeda in Iraq, Kevin.

Of course, we don't talk about them, because that's who your pals in Congress want to surrender to.

Posted by: am on April 5, 2007 at 12:58 AM | PERMALINK

there are many millions of people who probably agree with him. The desire of the herd to believe and to follow "wise men" is strong. Certainly stronger than the impetus to think, or to do independent research, or to connect the dots between all the previous occasions where following this " great military strategist" has resulted in more problems further down the line.

You know, I have a sneaky suspicion that the President is not getting good advice these days. Hounding Karl Rove and Alberto Gonzales has weakened America; therefore, lower level staffers who would probably be disregarded are being heard more and more, what with the many obligations Rove and Gonzales have in front of nosy senators and prosecutors.

That lack of sage advice has led us to where we are now, and frankly, I am very dismayed.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 5, 2007 at 1:07 AM | PERMALINK

Nat: "I *loathe* the Iranian government; they're a group of murderous psychopaths whose only purpose in life is to brutalize their compatriots into mental slavery."

As opposed to, say, all those paragons of truth, goodness and virtue in the Bush administration.

And, please -- murderous psychopaths?

The Iranian regime is oppressive, to be sure, and their president is an obvious blowhard and buffoon, not unlike his Venezuelan counterpart Hugo Chavez -- but do you have any concrete evidence that the Iranians are in fact currently governed by "murderous psychopaths"?

You sound as though you're pandering to the wacky righties, as though such ideological extremism has a basis in reality and you're trying to justify your opinion to them. Believe me, they're really not worth the effort.

So, let's take a deep breath, and cool it with the uncompromising political hyperbole.

God help us, but should such superlative descriptions ever become necessary, the public impact of such otherwise strong language will have been unnecessarily mitigated through its previous repetitive usage in cheap and inconsequential rhetoric.

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 5, 2007 at 1:13 AM | PERMALINK

We do a lot of bad things. Very bad. We Americans do a lot of very bad things. Some of us act surprised when others object. Some of us feel proud at the very bad actions and encourage them as policy. Some of us recognize they are not in our best interests and recommend they stop. A few are driven crazy with guilt, distracted from all else, and let their lives deteriorate into an unspectacular melancholia while they incoherently babble on about the injustices done in their name.

Posted by: Brojo on April 5, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Oh good Ford, am. How stupid are you? (That's a rhetorical question. We know the sad, sad answer).

The Sunni-dominated *a-q-I* - which comprises what, 2-5% of the armed resistance in Iraq would be torn to shreds within 30 days of an American pull-out. If you think that group of outsider Sunni's could take over the Shia-majority country of Iraq, you are farther down the hopelessly deluded hole than we thought, and we are pulling up the rope.

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 5, 2007 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

Norman Rogers: "You know, I have a sneaky suspicion that the President is not getting good advice these days."

Gee, Normie, you really think so?

Posted by: Donald from Hawaii on April 5, 2007 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

So in order to destabilize Iran we're funneling money to a Sunni extremist terrorist group affiliated with al-Qaeda? I'm sure that will work out well.

I don't see what could possibly go wrong. There is no way this will ever backfire. Ever.

Posted by: whatever on April 5, 2007 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

We Americans do a lot of very bad things.

Right. And everybody else in the world frolics around in pixie costumes and does nothing but happy fun cool stuff all the live long day.

Posted by: Norman Rogers on April 5, 2007 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

As I've said before, none of this is new (especially the part about the US being a state sponsor of terrorism).

The only questions I have, is why is the MSM covering this story, and why now? It appears that the Bush admin purposefully leaked this to ABC, but I cannot fathom what their purpose is. (Unfortunately, the possibility that the MSM has finally decided to start reporting the news just seems too fantastically absurd.)

Posted by: Disputo on April 5, 2007 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

and it has evolved into something closer to a franchise operation than a single coherent group.

You mean like Subway? Are you saying Subway funds terrorists? I knew it...

Posted by: craigie on April 5, 2007 at 1:24 AM | PERMALINK

And everybody else in the world frolics around in pixie costumes and does nothing but happy fun cool stuff all the live long day.

Why can't I ever get invited to the *cool* parties?

Posted by: Disputo on April 5, 2007 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

"You know, I have a sneaky suspicion that the President is not getting good advice these days."

A puppet without its puppeteers is a sad thing indeed. But in this case, they were kind of shitty puppeteers to begin with..

Posted by: whatever on April 5, 2007 at 1:25 AM | PERMALINK

Right. And everybody else in the world frolics around in pixie costumes and does nothing but happy fun cool stuff all the live long day.

Oh Norman, mon cherie, you have so pegged me.

Posted by: Fifi the buxom French blonde on April 5, 2007 at 1:48 AM | PERMALINK

"...the administration never gave a shit about the War on Terror."

Of course they don't. Its all just a means to their ends. Money, power, control. Its all they know. The rest is jsut rhetoric, a facade and window dressing to make their actions look plausible.

It is they who hate our beloved constitution.
Posted by: Simp on April 4, 2007 at 11:58 PM

I clearly remember Dubya's expression during the "My Pet Goat" readings. Many later thought "Deer in Headlights". I think he was suppressing as best he could something more like the thought: "We've just struck the MOTHER-LOADE!

Posted by: Doc at the Radar Station on April 5, 2007 at 2:40 AM | PERMALINK

We don't like the ruler(s) so we spend money, bring about a coup, change leaders. Somewhere down the pipe "our" leader is so unloveable he gets thrown out and the resulting vacuum draws in somebody antithetical to the US.

Where upon we spend money and bring about a coup, change leaders...!

Don't we ever learn that this is destabilizing. We're too stupid at this game. We don't win, long term.

And it's Amoral!!!!!

Posted by: notthere on April 5, 2007 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

I would go so far as to say "cravenly immoral" myself...

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 5, 2007 at 3:22 AM | PERMALINK

Iran and Pakistan do not border each other. Except for that, and that is not central to the argument, great work. But be precise, folks...

Posted by: john on April 5, 2007 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

Iran and Pakistan do not border each other.

Uh, yes they do. Go take a look at Iran's southeast border and Pakistan's western border. Iran also borders Afghanistan north of Pakistan.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 5, 2007 at 7:22 AM | PERMALINK

But be precise, folks...

Apologizing in advance...

Iranian borders from longest to shortest:

Iraq.......1,458 km
Turkmenistan.992 km
Aghanistan...936 km
Pakistan.....909 km
Turkey.......499 km
Azerbaijan...432 km
Armenia.......35 km

Posted by: snicker-snack on April 5, 2007 at 7:58 AM | PERMALINK

Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s.

Gee, wonder where they got that idea?

Posted by: Gregory on April 5, 2007 at 8:02 AM | PERMALINK

To the extent that the Taliban and other groups with al Qaeda sympathies are more likely to support the government (if not actually be in the government) of Pakistan, and since the parties in the region on the receiving end of Balochistani agitation have every reason lie, I would need a better understanding of what these sources were, and I think that we should not have the knee-jerk reaction to every cry of al Qaeda.

That being said, I do not think it a good idea for the US to go about clandestinely funding rebel groups of unknown intent (especially if they're fighting Pakistani forces who are also receiving US money).

Posted by: jhm on April 5, 2007 at 8:21 AM | PERMALINK

Iran and Pakistan do not border each other. Except for that, and that is not central to the argument, great work. But be precise, folks...

What, precisely, about this board makes you think for two seconds you could get away with saying something so patently, well, stupid?

You are obviously on the internets, why don't you check with Google Maps before you hang your bare ass out in the breeze like that?

Posted by: Blue Girl, Red State (aka G.C.) on April 5, 2007 at 8:38 AM | PERMALINK

Hersh reported on US instigated support for Sunni groups supposedly preparing to fight hizbullah in Lebanon. (I suspect groups like this make peace with hizbullah before they make peace with the west, so only if hizbullah (thus Iran?) is completely gone is the outcome of this any good to the US)

Think of the widely reported support for Fatah against Hamas what you want, but neocons consider this support for a terrorist group. ABC reports on similar support for Pakistani groups in Iran.

Not yet mentioned is a Mother Jones article on support for Kurdish PKK allied groups. (Brad Pitt and the girl guerrillas)

So far missing in action from the list:
MeK, Saddams anti Iranian terrorists. Does anyone really know what happened to them?

Iraqi militias. I doubt that if the CIA wants someone death it will always send noisy US troops that everyone will see coming from miles away into harms way if a call to the right militia will do.

Chechen groups. The US has troops in Georgia to keep them from coming there (And doesn't Russia support some Georgian separatist after the US funded a revolution there or something?) The US also looks the other way while Russia fights a really really nasty war in Chechnya. But the texts from the "comitee for peace in the Caucasus", a neocon who is who, spend a lot of time blaming Russia for things like the Beslan school siege, before admitting, yes, the "rebels" are bad people to, but look at the situation Russia put them in. (It must be a blessing if you can forget images like that.)

Groups fighting over Kashmir and bombing stuff in India. With all those billions in weapons and cash going to Pakistan I would be surprised if none of it went trough Pakistani intelligence to these groups and the Taliban. It may not be intentional but people trying to figure out why trains blow up need this on their list of US charity projects. The same goes for Indonesian intelligence, though their support for bombers is said to be strictly to get more GWOT-dollars.

> Not surprising at all. We funded the mujaheddeen
> in Afghanistan in the 1980s, against the Soviets.
Have you seen Rambo 3? Seriously every American should rewatch Rambo 3

But now that we are talking history, lets not forget the Bosnian Muslims. Some quotes: "This [weapons smuggle] was arranged by the clandestine agencies of the US, Turkey and Iran, together with a range of radical Islamist groups, including Afghan mojahedin and the pro-Iranian Hizbullah. Wiebes reveals that the British intelligence services obtained documents early on in the Bosnian war proving that Iran was making direct deliveries.

Arms purchased by Iran and Turkey with the financial backing of Saudi Arabia made their way by night from the Middle East. Initially aircraft from Iran Air were used, but as the volume increased they were joined by a mysterious fleet of black C-130 Hercules aircraft. The report stresses that the US was "very closely involved" in the airlift. Mojahedin fighters were also flown in, but they were reserved as shock troops for especially hazardous operations. "

You can get the English translation of the full Srebrenica report online. The covert actions are detailed in appendix II. It is a great look at a modern war by historians with access instead of journalist with sources always looking for western emotional or political angles. (Put it on your reading list)

There were also cold war era fascist groups (Long, thorough PDF) in Italy which framed/infiltrated/instigated communist groups. Something, coincidentally, Michael Ledeen denies having anything to do with. His SISMI friends confessed though. (Yes, those would be the Niger forgery players)

Final “fun” fact: Ledeen used to say the soviet union was behind all the terrorism in the world.... Now he blames Iran. ;-(

> Of the big network TV outlets, ABC has consistently been the most pro-Bush.
> If they're saying this is true...
I would consider ABC close to the CIA. In fact, I am surprised they have “Pakistani tribal” sources, unless ABC got their accounts through the CIA. A CIA which may want as little to do with this (Cheney?) policy as possible. You certainly wouldn't expect ABC to have many Pakistani sources from their reporting on the current protest and political unrest in Pakistan. (European newspapers have lots of juice stuff, like a quote from former ISI chief Hamid Gul during one of the protest: “As a soldier he [Musharaf] was good, but he shouldn`t have involved himself in politics”, “What government arrests its own [militant] citizens and sells them to Bush?”)

One day, Rice was going on a tour of Europe, one problem: the Washinton post had just front page slapped the white house with a story on CIA torture prisons... in Europe. Just before Rice boards her flight ABC has a story, the intelligence sources wont give any details but the prisoners have been moved from Europe to a country in northern Africa. (Djibouti? Contractor job ads suggest there is a lot of spooks there). Missing from all the details in the TV report, but posted on the ABC website is a list of names of something like 12 really really bad guys. ABC reported something like 17 people got moved. The math behind this was no further investigated. I don`t recall there being any room for say a human rights watch quote in that story about say suspicions of Euroepan governemnt knowing more than they admit. To me ABC is a bunch of CIA stenographers.

Posted by: mnb on April 5, 2007 at 8:54 AM | PERMALINK

And if we can use Al-Qaeda for that purpose, all the better because Al-Qaeda is too weak to significantly harm America.

So, wtf are we in Iraq?

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on April 5, 2007 at 9:34 AM | PERMALINK

Apollo 13: As Hersh said, "...my sources believe much of the money obviously came from Iraq where there is all kinds of piles of loose money, pools of cash that could be used for covert operations

Who says Bush didn't learn anything from Reagan?

Posted by: anandine on April 5, 2007 at 10:08 AM | PERMALINK

Even if their is only a 1% chance of this, we can borrow an idea from Milo Minderbinder and bomb ourselves.
Posted by: alex

Whereas I fairly convinced that Dick Chaney is Milo Minderbinder.

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 5, 2007 at 10:09 AM | PERMALINK

Then there's this:

War On Drugs: your tax dollars fund right-wing terrorists
Joshua Holland - The Gadflyer
[snip]
...Colombia, recipient of about $700 million dollars in U.S. military and economic aid in 2006:
[snip]

Human rights activists have long pointed to ties between the Colombian military and the right-wing paras -- "terrorists," if we were to apply the term with any consistency -- but it's something else to have prosecutors digging into links between the armed groups and elected officials. It's yet more evidence that at least some of the billions in aid we've sent to Colombia -- ostensibly for drug eradication but also to buy Colombian military protection for U.S. -owned oil pipelines -- ends up being controlled by figures with blood on their hands fom Colombia's decades-long civil war.

Our whole policy towards the region is really an epic disaster. In the late 1980s, the U.S. shifted its drug control strategy from interdiction to "source country" drug control. If you gathered together the finest minds and asked them to devise an approach to narcotics that's wrong on so many levels, it's the strategy they'd probably endorse.

What's most remarkable about the program is how closely it resembles the kind of agricultural policy used to support prices for domestic crops. We sponsor coca eradication throughout the Andes, but there's no hope of eliminating the crops entirely. Effectively, our tax dollars are used to wipe out a portion of the supply -- maybe a third, although estimates vary widely -- while, at the same time we skimp on treatment programs at home, meaning the demand remains relatively stable (I say "relatively" because illicit drug use has decreased modestly since the early 1980s). That means less supply for the same demand, and that keeps the price of raw coca leaves artificially inflated in some of the poorest countries in the hemisphere. That means that some of the poorest farmers in the poorest countries in the Americas have more incentive to grow the stuff (as they have for traditional medicinal use for centuries anyway).
.[snip]


Posted by: MsNThrope on April 5, 2007 at 10:12 AM | PERMALINK

Funding the mujadeen in the 80s can be somewhat excused by ignorance and Cold War SOP (that is, a long history of funding dubious groups to "fight Communism").

But funding 'dubious' (i.e., terrorist) groups now doesn't even have those excuses. It's muleheadedness at best; at worst, it's a case of Bush and Cheney liking to deal with organizations that mirror their own lack of basic humanity.

Posted by: CaseyL on April 5, 2007 at 10:52 AM | PERMALINK

First of all, I think the person using the handle "America" is right. Unless someone has a link to something very well-sourced, I strongly suspect that "Its core leadership has been reduced from several thousand to several hundred" is either a typo, or fear-mongering right-wing boilerplate. A core leadership of several thousand? That's like saying they have 50 third-in-commands. Oh, wait.

Also, just in case people like Al are serious, isn't this how the Taliban got started in the first place, being funded by us to fight the Soviet Union? But I'm sure that we'll keep these guys under control much better. Right.

And as I was reading the original post, I had a little fun trying to figure out whether the right wingers would deny the truth of the linked articles, or agree that they're happening but argue that they're actually good. It's interesting.

Posted by: Cyrus on April 5, 2007 at 10:57 AM | PERMALINK

Also, just in case people like Al are serious, isn't this how the Taliban got started in the first place, being funded by us to fight the Soviet Union?

Actually, no, at least not specifically in the Taliban's case. The Taliban arose in the early 1990s, a few years after the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan ended in 1989, as a reaction to the warlord rule that the former anti-Soviet guerillas we'd been funding had brought to Afghanistan.

The Taliban (which translates loosely into "the Seminarians") started when an imam at a madrassa gathered his young students and attacked the local warlord in their village who had kidnapped two young boys to rape them. The students overthrew the warlord and hung him from a tank, and then started on a campaign to take over the whole country.

Posted by: Stefan on April 5, 2007 at 11:26 AM | PERMALINK

The Taliban were funded, armed and nurtured by elements of the Pakistani Army.

The Mujahadeen were the fanatics the US funded during the and after the Soviet occupation. They immediately plunged Afghanistan into a civil war as they devolved back into tribal warlord rule.

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 5, 2007 at 11:49 AM | PERMALINK

you are farther down the hopelessly deluded hole than we thought, and we are pulling up the rope...

Rope? Hell, I was getting the shovel and the truckload of dirt for the little bastard - one less dishonest troll.

Posted by: ckelly on April 5, 2007 at 12:00 PM | PERMALINK

Stefan: The Taliban ... started when an imam at a madrassa gathered his young students and attacked the local warlord in their village ...

True if you are talking about the Taliban militia (Students of Islamic Knowledge Movement), which started in 1994. The Taliban as a fundamentalist Islamic group can be traced back to the 8th century in Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and Central Asia, so the US-Soviet proxy war certainly didn't start them off.

Posted by: anandine on April 5, 2007 at 12:03 PM | PERMALINK

Cyrus on April 5, 2007 at 10:57 AM:

...whether the right wingers would deny the truth of the linked articles, or agree that they're happening but argue that they're actually good.

If you look at this article's comments section, you'll see that it's actually both...various unnamed sources are biased or lying, and that we are fighting fire with fire, because we are apparently at war with Iran...and that ABC News is traitorous and irresponsible by reporting this story.

In other words, the usual spin: sources/facts are biased or wrong, the questionable acts are justifed, and the messenger is biased...at which point the right whinger jams his pinkie fingers into his ear and begins shouting, "LA-LA-LA-LA I'M NOT LISTENING"...

Part of what I tried to post at The Blotter's comments section for that article:

It would be interesting to find out where the Iranian exiles providing funding for the Jundullah are getting their money from...Apparently there is no direct funding from the US. Is indirect funding possible?

Posted by: grape_crush on April 5, 2007 at 12:30 PM | PERMALINK

It would be interesting to find out where the Iranian exiles providing funding for the Jundullah are getting their money from...
Posted by: grape_crush

Rodeo Drive?

Posted by: MsNThrope on April 5, 2007 at 12:45 PM | PERMALINK

Stone was not awarded a Pulitzer Prize for International Reporting but Seymour Hersh won one.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on April 5, 2007 at 3:43 PM | PERMALINK

Regarding the central planning of al Qaeda, better corroborate your sources. Check out this BBC report: The Power of Nightmares

OT:
What I want to know is how are civilized people going to protect themselves from barbarians?

To wit: The race toward barbarism

and watch this: Message from the Iraq Resistence

Posted by: NeoLotus on April 5, 2007 at 11:12 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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