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"Does Gates accuse us Brits and US NATO allies of incompetence because we refuse to bomb Afghanistan to kingdom just like what the CIA proposed to do to Pakistan and what Bush wants to do to Iran?"

Actually, quite the opposite. He accuses his allies of relying to much on heavy artilley and aerial bombing and says they "were trained for the Fulda Gap", meaning the area in Germany were the Soviets were expected to attack.

But it gets funnier. Since his comments, I have seen Canadian news papers saying that Gates has since said that he didn't mean Canada, but NATO in general. Also British papers saying that Gates called Britain to say this doesn't apply to Britain but to NATO in general, while the Dutch papers say the American ambassador claims the comments were taken out of context ( the LA Times denies this).

But in the end I don't really see the problem. If the Americans want to do all the work in Afghanistan, I doubt any of the other countries would object...

by GreatZamfir on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 05:49:29 AM EST
Is there anyone in Washington who isn't showing evidence of disordered thinking?

The Romans could at least blame the lead in their water pipes. What's Washington's excuse?

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:23:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Mercury?

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:39:40 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Arsenic in drinking water? MTBE?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 10:54:23 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Snowdrifts of cocaine?
by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:07:48 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Or inhaling petrol?
by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:20:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The US has a long history of shooting itself in the foot.

Whatever it is, I am in favour of providing more of the same.

aspiring to genteel poverty

by edwin (eeeeeeee222222rrrrreeeeeaaaaadddddd@@@@yyyyaaaaaaa) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:23:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I wish I could remember where I saw an article about ppml of cocaine in Maryland rivers. It is some quite astounding figure.

But the real reason I suggest, is that anyone within the Beltway who is constantly in the public eye, is also under continuous legal medication. Uppers, downers, sleepers, and circadian rhythm adjusters. That of course also applies to media people like O'Reilly.

They are not allowed to have an off day. Talk about the hypocritic oath. The real drivers of Amerika are your friendly physician and the wonderful healers of Bethesda.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 03:48:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I mean, imagine if an unmedicated Colman was President. Banging his head against the lectern in the WH press room, being grumpy in the weekly address to the nation? The mind boggles....

You can't be me, I'm taken
by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 04:10:56 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Sven Triloqvist:
I mean, imagine if an unmedicated Colman was President.

For some reason I find myself liking this idea.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:17:07 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Bodily fluids...

do not know where, do not know when...

it aint a sunny day?

A pleasure

I therefore claim to show, not how men think in myths, but how myths operate in men's minds without their being aware of the fact. Levi-Strauss, Claude

by kcurie on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 01:17:49 PM EST
[ Parent ]
No, but why the  surprise?  Is there anyone in the Bush administration or more than a few heads in Congress who haven't been labeled as idiots here for years?

I can swear there ain't no heaven but I pray there ain't no hell. _ Blood Sweat & Tears
by Gringo (stargazing camel at aoldotcom) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:29:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Even if they want to "do all the work in Afghanistan", I doubt very much they will succeed unless they bomb it to stone age.

What I see is that there can be no short cuts or quick military fixes if the US wants to follow their doctrine of bringing democracy to Afghanistan.

Realistically, the war against the Taleban will not be over soon.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 10:49:16 AM EST
[ Parent ]
For the third time in 30 years?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 10:53:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru,

In the post, I said: The US makes a statement which is outrageous and draws flack from all over, then they try to retract. What does this tell us?

(1) The US meant it so they want to distance themselves from their allies and undermine NATO. Question is why?

Initially, one could say Gates is merely nitpicking over a war policy that the he knows is a result of his predecessor's ineptitude and over Bush's impatience over the Iran issue.

But much as this might sound spooky, the truth could very well be (and I do believe there's a reasonable truth in this) that Gates is putting pressure on NATO allies PUBLICLY in the hope of deflecting the issue stemming from US preparations (political and military) for a potentially bigger war that Bush has in mind: IRAN.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 11:20:41 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As the US goes increasingly insane, I believe NATO will be strained to the breaking point. My favourite historical analogy is the Delian League.

The thing is, NATO is the only remaining international organisation that the US contributed to set up and that the Bushistas haven't tried to undermine. Whether by design or by chance they are completely destroying the international system.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo

by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 11:24:36 AM EST
[ Parent ]
It's probably worth visiting Ms Herring's site again.

I can't imagine anyone growing up in an environment like that having much of a clue about the real world.

Bush et al seem to have become symptoms of inbred aristocratic decadence - literally blind to the sufferings of the little people, and unaccustomed to not getting their way.

I think at some point of the rest of the world is going to turn its back on the US and leave it to its self-absorbed and delusional mutterings.

by ThatBritGuy (thatbritguy (at) googlemail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:01:47 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Absolutely spot on Migeru!

But this one is now past tense in the absolute: "NATO is the only remaining international organisation that the US contributed to set up and that the Bushistas haven't tried to undermine."

MacNeill undermined everything that's been done by NATO in Afghanistan from day 1 of his command takeover. Gates's absurd poturing is to hone US point.

The US made a 10 billion dollar pledge to Afghanistan: the US has pledged $10 billion to Afghanistan, a pledge, by the way, that still has to be realized and transformed into a real dollar macoy as follows: $8 billion of that pledge going into "security" operations and $2 billion to infrastructure building.

And now, the accusation... what next?

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 12:26:01 PM EST
[ Parent ]
NATO already is completely subservient to US needs. It does not limit the US in any way while severely reducing the Europeans' ability for independent action.

Examples:

The Council of Europe's report on secret prisons found that the US used the NATO framework to transport its prisoners across Europe.

The European Battlegroups would need NATO resources to deploy.

The US can build its missile defense system without consulting its NATO allies.

by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 03:24:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It is not NATO that hinders the ability of Europeans to act indepedently, but the political determination of Europeans not to act independently.

Specifically:

  • national governments have denied knowing anything about the CIA flights and prisons, and have not complained to the US for violating their laws or international treaties such as the Chicago Convention on Civil Aviation. National parliaments have not carried out investigations. The European Parliament doesn't have subpoena powers, while national parliaments do. However, in parliamentary systems the government generally controls the majority faction in the parliament.
  • The EU battlegroups require NATO resources to be deployed because they have been designed not to duplicate existing NATO structures, again by political determination of EU member states involved in the CFSP.
  • The EU can build its missile defence system without consulting NATO because it can do it through bilateral agreements. NATO member states have made a political decision not to complain too loudly. In addition, Jan de Joop Scheffer doesn't oppose the missile shield. When Merkel started making noises against it last year, he came out defending the need for it to deal with threats from rogue states, and after a NATO meeting at which no member state voiced any objections, Germany fell into line.
  • Galileo: the European Council was more than willing to kill Galileo and satisfied with depending for civilian navigation on the US' GPS which is under military control. This is again a political decision at the level of national governments.

See my signature.

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 03:55:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Important points.

And why I want Finland to stay the frick out of it.

You can't be me, I'm taken

by Sven Triloqvist on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 04:13:13 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:22:51 PM EST
[ Parent ]
and Austria
by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:35:54 PM EST
[ Parent ]
And France !

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 09:00:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Linca,

I doubt France would want to leave NATO in that they hold a most advantageous position vis a vis the rest, US included, i.e., France holds a "joker", she is an "insider" but a very independent one.

If you like, they've got it extremely good both ways so why leave? (Actually, this is one of the bones of contention by US delegation -- France has the vote, the "veto" power in NATO but is independent to do as she pleases when she feels like it. Pretty great position to be in, don't you think?

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 09:11:18 PM EST
[ Parent ]
It's more that I am against France joining the less independent inner group, which Sarkozy is hoping to do.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 07:39:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Linca,

Re: "joining the less independent inner group, which Sarkozy is hoping to do."

Care to expound? Thanks.

by The3rdColumn on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 11:34:46 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sarkozy has aired to idea of joining the NATO operational command or some similar instution, i.e. giving up the "one foot in, one foot out" status of France.

Un roi sans divertissement est un homme plein de misères
by linca (antonin POINT lucas AROBASE gmail.com) on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 12:31:52 PM EST
[ Parent ]
linca,

I heard about that. Know for a fact that some delegates were 'ecstatic' about it, ie, US delegates, but there's huge scepticism here that he would push through with the idea.

by The3rdColumn on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 12:36:40 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Linca,
Sarkozy has manifested the desire of integrating France to NATO's operational command, while still keeping its independence with regard to U.S. command.
In my view, this is quite a contradictory statement and I can hardly see how it could be implemented in practice: the U.S. are not ready to grant such flexibility and I doubt other member states will dutifully embrace the move...
Ed.
by Eddie on Sun Jan 20th, 2008 at 01:06:00 AM EST
[ Parent ]
I'm for Russia joining.
by vladimir on Fri Jan 18th, 2008 at 07:01:52 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Of course the Europeans could act independently given the political will. But acting independently would entail duplicating NATO capabilities. What I'm arguing is that NATO exclusively serves US interests. It can only serve Washington or do nothing. That is the reason Bush hasn't tried to eviscerate it yet.
by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 06:34:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Generic,

I'm not too sure about NATO serving US interests exclusively. It might appear that way but reality on the ground is something else, militarily and politically.

We do know that decision is made through concesus, i.e., if one of the members doesn' toe the line, a motion is defeated, US or no US.  

The US knows this, eg., when NATO decides to fund a reasearch program (something that happened recently), America backed it up to the hilt but Germany backed out so the project was killed. It's true that the US is often frustrated at the manner some of their motions are often defeated with a simple nay from one member nation but that's the nature of NATO.

But from there to say that NATO member nation troops committed to Afghanistan are inexperienced is taking a bit too far; Gates' whining has the opposite effect on  US allies NATO for that.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:17:21 PM EST
[ Parent ]


The US knows this, eg., when NATO decides to fund a reasearch program (something that happened recently), America backed it up to the hilt but Germany backed out so the project was killed. It's true that the US is often frustrated at the manner some of their motions are often defeated with a simple nay from one member nation but that's the nature of NATO.

That's why I said that NATO can serve Washington or do nothing. If the US can't get NATO to cooperate it can act alone. The reverse isn't true.

I think Gates sees the occupation of Afghanistan struggling and wants to shift blame for domestic consumption.

by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:41:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
In the absolute, the US CAN act alone but will that be judicious? An example: Irag.

Another one is Afghanistan. America had to backtrack on their initial Afghanistan policy of going it alone and went back to the UN. Prior to UN decision or sometime in 2004 (no longer sure of the year), US was lobbying massively with NATO member nations to agree for them to back up their UN proposal that NATO be deployed in Afghanistan. They couldn't take on Afghanistan all on their own as they did not foresee the difficulties they would be encountering in Iraq.

In the end NATO was deployed to Afghanistan backed by a UN mandate to do so.

Would be terribly unjudicious for the US to act unilaterally. Roughly put, just won't work anymore or not unless they use their nukes.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:54:20 PM EST
[ Parent ]
"What I'm arguing is that NATO exclusively serves US interests. " -- Generic

Heh! Many Americans won't believe you; most believe that America is doing NATO member nations great favour or that America is providing the needed shield to protect them.

I would say the reverse is true, i.e., that NATO provides that missile shield or protection umbrella to prevent a full scale attack on America by some "rogue nations."

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:35:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I would say the reverse is true, i.e., that NATO provides that missile shield or protection umbrella to prevent a full scale attack on America by some "rogue nations."

I don't think NATO is primarily a military asset for the US. After 911 the US did not come to NATO for soldiers. It came to NATO for it's secret prison program.
by generic on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:15:02 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If you say so...
by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:20:58 PM EST
[ Parent ]
I see Migeru knows a great deal about what goes on in EU and in NATO.

Everything that Migeru outlined is true.

If I may however clarify re European Battlegroups (BGs): apart from the fact that a political decision was arrived at, i.e., to prevent duplicating NATO efforts, a recent report commissionned by the European Parliament asserts that a majority of the BGs are ill-equipped and ill-prepared to take on the wide range of missions for which they are
intended. This is the main reason why I think that for the time being Europe has no credible BGs along the lines of a simile NATO.

Anyway, it is unlikely that we will be having full-scale European Defence BGs for the reason Migeru advanced above -- just too much on the budget front for member nations.

All in all, must say I absolutely agree with Migeru: "It is not NATO that hinders the ability of Europeans to act indepedently, but the political determination of Europeans not to act independently."

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:28:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Is it just a budgetary issue? In other words: Are Europeans military freeriders?

We have met the enemy, and he is us — Pogo
by Carrie (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:34:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Migeru, I just accessed link, thanks!

Absolute rubbish that Europeans are military freeriders.

All defence acquisitions made by NATO or in defence research expenditures, EVERY SINGLE MEMBER OF NATO has to put up defence money into the NATO kitty.

It is completely wrong to believe that the US on its own finances NATO military expenditures. Absolute rubbish! I repeat, every single member nation of NATO subsidizes every NATO project, militarily and politically!

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:05:57 PM EST
[ Parent ]
If it is true that the US is paying then I expect a tax rebate coming soon when  the US pays for the UK governments contribution to Afghanistan.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:10:33 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Not true that the US is paying for UK's participation in Afghanistan. Do read my previous comment mate.

If ever, I think US will need to raise its taxation policy just to beef up their war requirements particularly if Bush makes good his promise to do something about the Iran problem before he leaves office. Now, that will be seriously 'taxing!'

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:20:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
missed the smily face from the end of that comment.

Any idiot can face a crisis - it's day to day living that wears you out.
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:23:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Re: "Actually, quite the opposite. He accuses his allies of relying to much on heavy artilley and aerial bombing and says they "were trained for the Fulda Gap", meaning the area in Germany were the Soviets were expected to attack."

Sounds to me Gates is confused -- perhaps, he should re-examine his facts and determine who is who among NATO nation troops relying on massive air strikes. He will be surprised to learn that US Operation Freedom forces are rather gung ho with air strikes and dropping one-tonne bombs on largely civilian targets.

by The3rdColumn on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 07:59:14 PM EST
[ Parent ]
by ceebs (ceebs (at) eurotrib (dot) com) on Thu Jan 17th, 2008 at 08:05:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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