Monday, February 26, 2007

The Trouble With Amateurs in the Middle East

And let’s face it, the Bush administration is a nest of amateurs with regard to warfare, with regard to diplomacy, and particularly, with regard to dealing with the Arab world. Rank amateurs. Seymour Hersh has another revealing article in the March 5th issue of The New Yorker. It’s called “The Redirection” and it can be downloaded now. The article is 8100 words long and is comprehensive and complicated. It tells everything you ever wanted to know about how the White House has been outsmarted at every turn by all factions in the Arab world, while at the same time the White House believes it has been so very smart and wily. The main problem with the Bush administration is that no one in the Bush administration, or the Pentagon, or the US military has the knowledge or brains to deal with even the lowest of the low functionary in the Middle East, let alone how to deal with a high level mullah, prince, imam, president, prime minister or army commander. Right now, today, our government is supporting the Shiites in Iraq but it believes it’s supporting the Sunnis. We’re spreading money around as though it were stacks of newsprint in order to buy support. But the money is going to the wrong people who are using it to facilitate terrorists who despise the US. We have no idea who our friends are, if we have any, in the Middle East. And we have no idea if the people and causes we are supporting will benefit US goals or if the people will turn around and kill us. And now we’re starting the same covert ops that failed during the Reagan administration’s Iran-Contra scandal. The Bush Administration has publicly pledged Lebanon Prime Minister Fouad Siniora’s government a billion dollars in aid. A senior intelligence official told Hersh, “We are in a program to enhance the Sunni capability to resist Shiite influence, and we’re spreading the money around as much as we can.” But the former official said, “The money always gets in more pockets than you think it will…in this process, we’re financing a lot of bad guys with some serious potential unintended consequences. We don’t have the ability to determine and get pay vouchers signed by the people we don’t like. It’s a very high-risk venture.” In other words, the money is going to Hezbollah and Al Qaeda. In addition, the money is going to Sunni jihadists called Salafis. A former Saudi diplomat told Hersh, “Salafis are sick and hateful, and I’m very much against the idea of flirting with them...they hate the Shiites, but they hate Americans more. If you try to outsmart them, they will outsmart us. It will be ugly.” Saudi’s Prince Bandar is leading the US around by the nose because his family and the Bush family have been in bed together for decades and decades. Bandar is shoveling horseshit about Shiites/Sunnis that goes back, if you can believe it, to a feud that started in the seventh century. Frederic Hof, a retired military officer and an expert on the Middle East, told Hersh, “The Saudis still see the world through the days of the Ottoman Empire, when Sunni Muslims ruled the roost and the Shiites were the lowest class.” Hersh said, “If Bandar was seen as bringing about a shift in U.S. policy in favor of the Sunnis it would greatly enhance his standing within the royal family.” We’ve got a cast of fools in the Bush administration who feel like big-time cloak and dagger undercover operatives. When the truth is, they are behind the times in fuck-your-neighbor maneuvers to the tune of 13 centuries.

1 comment:

Barry Schwartz said...

I'm just listening to reports about reports, but I like where John Negroponte asks for and gets a demotion of sorts, to avoid getting caught in another Iran-Contra affair.