Winter Mountains wallpaper, Some National Security News

Winter Mountains wallpaper

Jeff Huber writes at Pen and Sword, Obama’s Strategic Wasteland

In December 2008, Joe Klein of Time magazine called the war in Afghanistan an “aimless absurdity.” Our new president is onboard with committing 30,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan, despite the fact that the Pentagon isn’t certain what to tell the additional troops to do there or even what kind of troops it wants to send. According to the Washington Post, “the incoming administration does not anticipate that the Iraq-like ‘surge’ of forces will significantly change the direction of a conflict that has steadily deteriorated over the past seven years.”

So why are they executing an Iraq-like “surge” of forces?

No, After You…

One senior U.S. military commander told the Post “We have no strategic plan. We never had one.” He was referring to the Bush administration’s Afghanistan program, but he might as well have been talking about Iraq and Iran and every other tentacle of Bush era foreign policy. The senior commander also said that Obama’s first order of business will be to “explain to the American people what the mission is” in Afghanistan. Obama will be hard pressed to explain what the mission is if he doesn’t have a strategy.

I like Huber’s hockey analogy. To throw troops at the problem knocking the bad guys against the boards year after year isn’t a strategy, its a never ending quagmire. Violent clashes may subside for a while, but you never get the political win and reconciliation you need to have a stable government. One problem wth Democrats is they sometimes over compensate on the use of hard power to win the surreal which party is tougher game. I hope that president Obama doesn’t fall into that trap.

Obama to Shut Guantánamo Site and C.I.A. Prisons – The librul NYT needs to get better headline writers.

And the orders would bring to an end a Central Intelligence Agency program that kept terrorism suspects in secret custody for months or years, a practice that has brought fierce criticism from foreign governments and human rights activists. They will also prohibit the C.I.A. from using coercive interrogation methods, requiring the agency to follow the same rules used by the military in interrogating terrorism suspects, government officials said.

[  ]…The executive order on interrogations is certain to be received with some skepticism at the C.I.A., which for years has maintained that the military’s interrogation rules are insufficient to get information from senior Qaeda figures like Khalid Sheikh Mohammed. The Bush administration asserted that the harsh interrogation methods were instrumental in gaining valuable intelligence on Qaeda operations.

The often repeated and as far as we know false assertion that torture has been an invaluable tool and has yielded intel not obtainable in any other way just will not die. The U.S. military guidelines are not a fresh mint on your pillow, enjoy your stay approach. Those guidelines are plenty tough enough. Continuing to violate them is just a recruiting tool for radical ringleaders.

Intelligence Agencies’ Databases Set to Be Linked After Years of Bureaucratic Snags, System Aims to Ease Communications, Give Spies Access to More Data

Today, an analyst’s query might scan only 5% of the total intelligence data in the U.S. government, said a senior intelligence official. Even when analysts find documents, they sometimes can’t read them without protracted negotiations to gain access. Under the new system, an analyst would likely search about 95% of the data, the official said.

This data sharing can obviously have an up side, but one network admin that I mentioned it to suggested that over centralization can bring its own risks. If various agencies like the NSA, CIA and the FBI go through one or two central data servers it makes it easier for hackers to concentrate on bringing down a smaller number of targets. Just water cooler conversation, but they might have a point.