Posts Tagged ‘Joshua Partow’

The risk of uttering a scintilla of truth: Gen. Allen fires Maj. Gen. Fuller in Afghanistan

Saturday, November 5th, 2011

The top American commander in Afghanistan fired one of his senior officers Friday for comments made about Afghan President Hamid Karzai.

At a conference in the U.S., Maj. Gen. Peter Fuller, faced with a question about Karzai’s recent statement that Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in a war with the United States, responded to Politico as follows,

“Why don’t you just poke me in the eye with a needle! You’ve got to be kidding me . . . I’m sorry, we just gave you $11.6 billion and now you’re telling me, ‘I don’t really care’?” Fuller also referred to Karzai as “erratic”.
–See “U.S. general is fired for Karzai comments.” Washington Post, Nov. 4, 2011

For the Politico interview, see Tim Mak, “U.S. general: Afghan leaders ‘isolated from reality'”, Politico, November 3, 2011.

Under current Marine discipline in Afghanistan, the slightest statement reflecting a kernel of truth now appears to be a firing offense. One can imagine the answer Gen. Allen might have given to the question. The following statement regarding Maj. Gen. Fuller’s dismissal offers a clue:

“These unfortunate comments are neither indicative of our current solid relationship with the government of Afghanistan, its leadership, or our joint commitment to prevail here in Afghanistan,” said Marine Gen. John R. Allen, who oversees U.S. and NATO forces in the country. “The Afghan people are an honorable people, and comments such as these will not keep us from accomplishing our most critical and shared mission — bringing about a stable, peaceful and prosperous Afghanistan,” he added.

–Joshua Partlow and Greg Jaffe, “U.S. general fired for criticizing Hamid Karzai,” Washington Post, November 5, 2011

The idea is simple: stricter thought control among the U.S. officer corps, and lockstep unity pushing the party line when speaking to the press.

At last the United States seems to have hit on a decisive strategy for defeating the Taliban!

The Trenchant Observer

Comments are invited.

CIA Payments Undercut U.S. Efforts to Strengthen Governance in Afghanistan

Thursday, September 2nd, 2010

The truth behind the incoherence in American policy in Afghanistan is beginning to come out.

The CIA has been paying many top Afghan officials for information and favor for many years, according to reports in the New York Times on Thursday and The Washington Post on Friday.

Dexter Filkins and Mark Mazzetti, “Karzai Aide in Corruption Inquiry Is Tied to C.I.A.,” New York Times, August 25, 2010.

Greg Miller and Joshua Partlow, “CIA making secret payments to members of Karzai administration,” August 27, 2010.

While it is not unusual for intelligence agencies to pay informants, the revelations suggest that in Afghanistan such payments have been and are being made to many high-ranking Afghan officials.

This strategy has not worked. These revelations are astounding.

In Afghanistan, as elsewhere, good governance is not possible without law. As the part of the U.S. government that believes in law (the uniformed military, the State Department, the Justice Department) battles the part of the U.S. government that does not believe in law (the CIA, other agencies that do not operate within a framework of respect for law), we are in a stalemate.

This battle is being carried out through the different parts of the U.S. government and the Afghan actors they control or influence. The result is incoherence.

The most telling sentence from the New York Times article is the following: “Mr. Karzai denies any monetary relationship with the C.I.A. and any links to the drug trade.(emphasis added)”

With the government under his control, of course, Karzai would hardly need “a monetary relationship” with the CIA.

Could one element of Karzai’s relationship with the United States perhaps be characterized as “a Noriega-style relationship” with the CIA? It is a possibility worth considering.

Sooner or later, U.S. policymakers are going to notice the elephant in the room, and start taking necessary action. Let’s hope they do so in time.

The Trenchant Observer

Comments are invited.