Jun 30, 2011

Clusterfuck Grim

That Afghan clusterfuck is getting grim. (Just talking about the political stuff, Karzai's openly daring us to GTFO, knowing full well that he would be dead within a week.

That is if he stayed - which he wouldn't.

This means that he knows we ain't going nowhere.

General Dostum is a non-starter. (A worse war criminal than even the U.S. can get away w/ backing. And our boy, Abdullah, is from the wrong tribe.)


(I do love tweakin' the gurlz & boyz. Muzt be eazily amuzed.)


So now, -- just how the Devil tastes this particular flavo[u]r of the Victorian? Artifact? [sic, recte artefact] ;)

Trying to sound reasonable (but fails due to avoidable errors)

Kinda ignoring some basics here, but what can we expect (government-defined reality and all).

See The Heimat Formulation in XXXXXXXXXXXX and Influence Operations [S/NF]

And while we're checked in here at the shack of ill repute, a tribute: Robert Morris, Pioneer in Computer Security, Dies at 78

His son's case was all over the media, I'm sure y'all recall.

Jun 29, 2011

Indicators List For Instability Auteurs

Thought we'd spring a truncated 101 indicators list as aid to plebs wanting to establish a makeshift baseline for tracking events & developments in NatSec investment properties. This framework could be applied more universally than just to today's problem areas. Remember it's only child's play so have fun with it while always brushing any and all worries aside.

-Quality of leadership/organizational capabilities
-Responsiveness to popular demands
-Ability to deliver basic goods and services
-Internal security capabilities
-Effectiveness of civil/criminal justice systems
-Breadth and depth of political corruption
-Human rights violations
-Weakness of civil society
-Pervasiveness of transnational criminal organizations
-External support for government
-Ethnic/religious discontent
-Military discontent with civilian government
-Popular demonstrations/strikes/riots
-Insurgent/seperatist/terrorist group activity
-External support for opposition
-Threat of conflict with or in neighboring state
-Weakness of domestic economy/unemployment/inflation
-Degree of income disparity
-Capital flight
-Decreased access to foreign funds
-Reduced trade openess
-Extent of environmental degradation
-Food/energy shortages
-Ability to respond to natural disasters
-Contested elections
-Unpopular changes in food/energy prices
-Sudden imposition of unpopular policies
-Coup plotting
-Government mismanagement of natural disaster or national emergency
-Death of key figure

Tripple WTF -- The Khost CIA Bombing

WaPo's Joby Warrick has written a new book about the Khost CIA bombing.
Taking after the uninformed media nomenclature about the incident, he has named his book "The Triple Agent."

Certain CI folks have to be amused at his (and the other media parrots') credulity.

There is no such thing as a triple agent

Jun 28, 2011

Counterinsurgency Scorecard: New RAND study on Afghanistan

The failure to disrupt the insurgents' tangible support needs was identified as a biggie. The lack of "good governance" and legitimacy of Karzai government are also bothersome to RAND.

Oh, and about that "scorecard", Afghanistan is given a 3.5, which is lower than the lowest-scoring COIN win [a 5], but higher than the highest-scoring loss [a 0].

So there you have it.

Counterinsurgency Scorecard: Afghanistan in Early 2011 Relative to the Insurgencies of the Past 30 Years [27-page PDF]

The previously published RAND monograph, Victory Has a Thousand Fathers: Sources of Success in Counterinsurgency, used detailed case studies of the 30 insurgencies worldwide begun and completed between 1978 and 2008 to analyze correlates of success in counterinsurgency (COIN). A core finding was that a case's score on a scorecard of 15 equally weighted good and 12 equally weighted bad COIN factors and practices perfectly predicted the outcome of those 30 insurgencies. That is, the balance of good and bad factors and practices correlated with either a COIN win (insurgency loss) or a COIN loss (insurgency win) in the overall case. Using the scorecard approach as its foundation, a RAND project sought to extend the findings to the case of Afghanistan in early 2011. The effort involved an expert elicitation, or Delphi, exercise in which experts were asked to make "worst-case" assessments of the factors to complete the scorecard for ongoing operations in Afghanistan. The consensus results revealed that early 2011 Afghanistan scores in the middle of the historical record in terms of COIN wins and losses: Its score was lower than that in the lowest-scoring historical COIN win but higher than that in the highest-scoring COIN loss. This suggests an uncertain outcome in Afghanistan, but the findings may help provide additional guidance as operations continue.

Jun 24, 2011

Cambodia's Curse

From this coming Sunday's NYT Book Review: Cambodia's Curse: The Modern History of a Troubled Land

A study by the Cambodian psychiatrist Muny Sothara found PTSD "in 47 percent of the population"; another study, of Cambodian refugees in Massachusetts, found that 60 percent of PTSD victims there suffered from sleep paralysis, a half-conscious state of catatonia.


Social scientists are finding that PTSD is being passed from one generation to the next. Has this become Cambodia's curse?

Or is impunity the curse? In the aftermath of Pol Pot's death in 1998, the United Nations partnered with Cambodia's judges to try the surviving leaders of the Khmer Rouge. Brinkley explains the logic of the costly proceedings. "If nothing else, Ieng Sary fed the state's omnipresent culture of impunity," he writes of one Khmer Rouge leader. "If he, with the blood of two million people on his hands, faced no penalty, no censure, no retribution, how hard was it to accept the killing of a journalist here, a trade-union official there?"


The United States did not directly foist the Khmer Rouge on Cambodia. But Brink­ley describes how Lon Nol, who was friendly to Washington, overthrew Prince Sihanouk in a 1970 coup, and how the prince, in frustration, implored Cambodians to join the Khmer Rouge.

Brinkley disputes any further American complicity, even though the United States continued a secret carpet bombing campaign until 1973. But two scholars, Taylor Owen and Ben Kiernan, have seized on data on the bombing released by President Bill Clinton; beginning under Lyndon Johnson, the United States dropped more bombs on Cambodia than the Allies dropped in all of World War II. Brinkley seems to dismiss the argument that the extensive bombing, with its tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of civilian deaths, might have added urgency to Sihanouk's plea to join the Khmer Rouge. Yet Owen and Kiernan report that former C.I.A. and Khmer Rouge officers affirmed the American bombing helped the Khmer Rouge win support.

Jun 17, 2011

Counterfactual Friday -- How Hitler Could Have Won

Keep the enemy penned in and ruthlessly finish them off before they make sanctuary to fight another day. Avoid vast, unrealistic aims that get you inextricably enmeshed...whoops, there we go again -- ranting like imbeciles about checkables, and this shamelessly off of somebody's splendidly studied counterfactual history  .

From this coming Sunday's NYT Book Review:

How did the Wehrmacht, the best fighting force, lose World War II?
The title of the book, “The Storm of War,” conceals an answer to Roberts’s central question about the reasons for the German defeat. The notion of war as a storm summons up the Nazi idea of a blitzkrieg, a lightning victory that would somehow resolve all of the political and economic problems of the German state.
Roberts, the author of several books of English history, maintains the tension in his narrative by suggesting that if the war had been a purely military rather than a political contest, fought without errors on the German side, then the Germans might have won. If one considers the categories of martial endeavor from bottom to top, from the bunker to Berlin, one can see what he means. The Germans enjoyed advantages in weaponry, engagement, tactics and sometimes strategy. But at the moments when strategy was linked to politics, the German advantage was lost. Hitler’s war aims were vast, unrealistic and inextricably enmeshed in an ideology that celebrated destruction, above all of Jews and other racial enemies, but also of Germans when they failed to win. The quick successes in Poland in 1939 and France in 1940 convinced many of the generals that Hitler was indeed a genius.
Throughout the book, Roberts notes errors that, if avoided, might have helped the Germans to win battles and perhaps even the war itself. Hitler, he says, should have begun the war three years later than he did, in 1942 rather than 1939. He should not have allowed the British to escape at Dunkirk as France fell.

Jun 11, 2011

Black Market Narrative Breaking Down?

Concerned over the growing pattern of Afghan soldiers and police officers attacking their coalition counterparts, the American military is sending 80 counterintelligence agents to Afghanistan to help stem the threat of Taliban infiltration in the Afghan National Security Forces, military officials said Friday. 


Since March 2009, at least 57 people, including 32 American troops, have been killed in at least 19 attacks in which Afghan service members have turned their weapons on coalition forces. Another 64 were wounded. The totals do not include the attackers, many of whom were killed in shootouts or in suicide blasts. 

(Wha? Thought it was just a matter of black mkt uniforms. Narrative breaking down?)

The attacks have continued despite efforts to improve screening of recruits and crack down on the illegal sales of police and army uniforms. 

Whether the infiltration is widespread, the claims are hard to contest, and serve to shake popular confidence in the growing army and police forces. 

Adding to that distrust is the problem of Afghan soldiers and police officers — and impostors dressed like them — attacking military installations and government compounds. 

(Whew, thats better.  Gotta have that rigor in messaging.)

Jun 4, 2011

Hess This, Hess That

My [self-redacted] referral for security violation was from DIA Col [self re-dacted] (once commander of Spandau prison, knew Hess), dead now - would have been interested in this.
Hess's flight to Britain almost exactly 70 years ago has remained one of the great mysteries of World War II to this day. What compelled the F├╝hrer's right-hand man to risk his life on a spring day when 500 German bombers were carrying out their heaviest attack yet on London? Why did he offer peace to Great Britain at a time when it was the Wehrmacht's last fighting enemy and Hitler was preparing to attack the Soviet Union?
Until now, historians had assumed that Hitler's deputy was acting on his own. "Hess acted without Hitler's knowledge, but in the deep (if confused) belief that he was carrying out his wishes," British author Ian Kershaw wrote in his 2008 book, "Hitler: A Biography". But now a previously unpublished document is casting Hess's notorious one-way trip in a new light: A 28-page, handwritten report that historian Matthias Uhl of the German Historical Institute Moscow discovered in the State Archive of the Russian Federation.