Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Radical Hobson Twins

It’s been apparent for some time now that the only thing the Democrats and their mouthpiece media care about is getting Democrats elected. It became nauseatingly apparent during the Bush administration when they celebrated every fallen American soldier in Iraq with moments of silent laughter at the end of daily newscasts. Clearly, they wanted to show the war lost to make Bush (and Republicans) look bad. The economy too was reported to be worse than it was. Revisions upward never received due attention.

The strategy is now being continued. Clearly, every Republican idea for saving the economy, social security and Medicare is demonized by the Left - this, while these same people refuse to propose any remedies of their own. What seems obvious to most of us is that if nothing is done, these programs will default. By opposing every fix, Democrats are inviting bankruptcy on a national scale. Their answer is always ‘tax the rich’ which continues to have a certain popular appeal – never mind that, by raising taxes ever higher, talent and capital will flee off-shore, accelerating our march to fiscal Armageddon – never mind that our nation is already broke, and being kept afloat by smoke on mirrors and by every infinity we can find to define.

The thinking among Democrats continues to be that the end-all is simply to keep getting elected as to afford them a chance to continue feasting at the public troth. Most are unable to see beyond their elections. They don’t understand that, once in office, their job should just be beginning: to represent the people(’s will) and protect our nation.

Republicans - perennial losers - stand green with envy and awe of what the Dems are consistently able to do in their own behalf. Like hungry beggars, they slaver over the crumbs that the Dems leave out for the ones most likely to whore themselves out to traitorous causes.

Senators and Congressmen who get up and grandstand about cutting foreign aid and assistance to the poor are doing so simply to divert attention from their own excesses. The gravy train keeps rolling – certainly not for the genuine poor (who will always be exactly where they are, and who will always be poor; but) – to feather their own political nests.

Don’t look to fancy constructs of conspiracy. Don’t look to various ‘isms’ to explain it. Simply put, we are eating our own. NY-26 has introduced yet another arrow into the Democrat Party quiver. Democrats have discovered that the tea party now is their best friend. By injecting some fake, phony ‘tea party’ member into any election mix, their reservation at the beggar’s banquet is virtually guaranteed.

Reminds of all those so-called ‘democracy’ movements in the Middle East that are being hijacked by the MB. It looks like we’re down to choosing between identical Hobson twins.

Between radical ideology and radical greed, which one would you choose? For my money, I’d be content just to stay home and read about it in the paper the next morning.



The daring commando style raid into a Pakistani naval base at Karachi on May 22 by terrorists of the Pakistani Taliban has highlighted once again the poor state of physical security at sensitive infrastructure in Pakistan and the undetected infiltration by extremist elements into the Pakistani Armed Forces.

Since the Pakistani Taliban came into existence in July 2007, it has organized a number of such raids into the establishments of the armed forces including into the General Headquarters, the sanctum sanctorum of the Pakistan Army in Rawalpindi. The success of these raids was made possible by the suspected help of insiders, who collaborated with the terrorists, and by the poor state of physical security.

The fact that such raids continue to take place and that the security forces and the intelligence agencies continue to be taken by surprise would add to the concerns of the international community regarding the state of physical security in Pakistan’s nuclear establishments and the dangers of the presence inside them of sympathisers who might collaborate with organizations such as Al Qaeda and the Lashkar-e-Toiba (LET) in facilitating an act of terrorism involving the use of nuclear material seized from such establishments.

There are three possible dangers needing attention. The first is terrorists and their sympathizers wittingly or unwittingly causing radioactive leakages by raiding such establishments and damaging the production process. The second is the terrorists getting hold of easy-to-use nuclear material such as dirty bombs from ill-guarded establishments. The third is the leakage of the technology to terrorists from sympathetic scientists.

To prevent such dangers one requires an effective process for the continuous identification and weeding out of suspicious elements from nuclear establishments, a capability for the collection of human and technical intelligence regarding planned raids into such establishments and a physical security system with multi-layer security that could prevent attacks effectively even in the absence of preventive intelligence.

Repeated physical security breaches in sensitive infrastructure in Pakistan are due not only to poor preventive intelligence, but also to a single-layer security which was not able to stand up to a determined attempt to breach the security.

The Pakistanis claim that such breaches are unlikely in the case of nuclear establishments where, according to them, there is a multi-layer security and there is a constant vetting of the personnel to detect attempts at infiltration. Moreover, according to them, their nuclear arsenal is not kept in a ready-to-use form in one place, but in dismantled parts in a number of places. Thus, to be able to get at a nuclear weapon, the terrorists should be able to raid successfully at more than one place simultaneously, which would be difficult.

The serious failures of intelligence and security at Abbottabad where Osama bin Laden had been living undetected for over five years underlined the dangers of totally depending on Pakistani verbal assurances with regard to security against any kind of terrorism. Unadmitted incompetence and complicity at different levels with terrorists reduce the value and dependability of such Pakistani assurances.

The rest of the world would be as much affected as Pakistan by any breach of the physical security of Pakistan’s nuclear establishments. It is, therefore, important that the international community should not remain satisfied with Pakistan’s oral assurances alone. There has to be a close and continuous interaction between the intelligence and security agencies of Pakistan and those of the U.S. and other NATO countries for ensuring that the security of nuclear establishments in Pakistan cannot be breached.

This means the association of the agencies of these countries in the planning and implementation of security measures in the nuclear establishments. It is believed that U.S. experts in nuclear security already play a discreet, but important role in this matter. Is their role adequate to ensure that what happened in the Karachi naval base cannot happen in a nuclear establishment?

Only the U.S., which is more knowledgeable than any other country in matters relating to nuclear security in Pakistan, will be in a position to answer this question. India, which has an adversarial relationship with Pakistan, cannot expect to play a role in this matter. But through close interaction with the U.S. agencies, it should be able to reassure itself that whatever needs to be done is being done by the U.S. with the co-operation of Pakistan.

India can play a useful role in helping the U.S. in this matter by strengthening its capability for the collection of human and technical intelligence regarding likely threats to Pakistan’s nuclear establishments and arsenal and sharing it with the U.S.

There is little scope for a stand-alone Indian role with regard to the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal, but discreet co-operation between India and the U.S. can add value to the efforts being made by the U.S.

(Bahukutumbi Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi)

Rubber Duckie Congress Down The Drain

Note that POTUS never seems to stick around when big things happen. This week saw Benjamin Netanyahu - our only reliable ally ‘east of Greece and West of India’ - come to Washington. Why? Because something is not right in Washington – and all Israel knows it.

We saw two leaders side by side – only one of which is actually a leader in the traditional sense. The other showed himself as a ‘leader’ in name only. The difference between the two men was obvious for all to see. Some stated publicly that our president stood out as an utter embarrassment. While Mr. Netanyahu was still in Washington, Obama fled to Europe - the latest hotbed of anti-Semitism – looking for LTC. Good for him! As the saying goes, ‘If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.’

What’s wrong in Washington is not that Obama is not an effective leader; or, as some have suggested, that ‘he leads from behind’. What’s wrong in Washington is that Obama sides with the Palestinians. Many in Congress – even Democrats – have already spoken out, saying they disagree with Obama’s approach. In Europe he will not likely encounter that particular sentiment. Note: While the Palestinians speak openly about what they intend for Israel, our president speaks merely in broad, platitudinous arcs that can be interpreted anyway you want; but his actions are unmistakable. Netanyahu has figured it out. That’s why he is in Washington. Israel is in trouble and Washington won’t help. It’s not even help the Israeli PM is pleading for. All he wants is for America to stop making it worse.

Unfortunately, foreign policy is something that falls totally under the purview of the president. Congress does not have much if anything to say about what the president does. Everyone now seems to accept the president’s contention that he is not subject to the war powers act as pertains to Libya, for example. And on a whole host of other issues, Congress has already been edged out of its traditional ‘checks and balances’ mandate as proscribed by the Constitution.

So, what Netanyahu says to Congress is just talk. Congress has stood idly by while this president has turned it into a rubber duckie stamp; and, along with it, the people have lost their franchise as well. What is never said or even whispered has now become true: The United States of America has become a dictatorship: one vote, one man, one time.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Cat's Meow

We have lost the language. We no longer listen to each other, we only speak. As such, we do not hear what anyone else is saying. It’s become a problem worldwide. Arab hatred for Jews is based on a lie. The idea of ‘global warming’ was based on a lie. Democrats painting Republicans as racist is a convenient lie, as is the current campaign against ‘the rich’.

The templates are set. There is no escaping. We, on the right, have hardened our templates as well in response to the Left’s aggression. We ourselves have countered with lies. In this climate, how can mere words be anything but partisan? Our alienation from each other goes much deeper than words. It can no longer be solved by simply inventing new words and casting new templates.

Words and templates seem flimsy when seen alongside powerhouse emotion. Palestinians hate Jews. Democrats hate Republicans. Communists hate capitalism. The poor hate the rich. Words are the kindling. Once the fire is started, it can no longer be contained. More kindling will not douse it. We are already into the next phase: power.

As Tom rightly points out, the Left has been meticulously organizing since the 60’s. They’ve done so incrementally, taking tiny steps: at first it was casual Fridays. Now, they also have the power. They control the narrative. All we on the Right can do is counter with kindling. Truth has long since become irrelevant - economic theory, for instance.

The only way out is to ‘reset’ (sorry Hillary!). Something of such significance must happen as to be capable of blowing all previous assumptions away - bringing people back to basics; getting them to actually face each other again, and begin responding to others’ basic needs.

In the past, the only human instrument capable of bringing this about has been war. In war, ideologies are not of much use. All such armchair posturing is subjugated by the need to survive. Soldiers may even encounter situations in which they must depend (in one way or another) on the enemy for their survival. (Note: leaders seldom face this dilemma.) Life hangs in the balance, but at least you’re looking at the whites of someone’s eyes who is not you, and you’re almost bound to find that common thread (good or bad) that defines a human trait.

I hold that when it gets down to brass nuts, men will behave like men – with kindness and good will. It may take something calamitous to get us back to there.

NY-26 is an example of localized political pantomime. We’re seeing lips move, but we’re not actually there. It would be a mistake to characterize these (or any) voters as dumb (or easily led.) There is a reason for why things happen the way they do.

From this distance, it looks like the partisan shtick all over again with a twist: It seems to me that Republicans are even more hated than Democrats. Republicans are hated for being weak and not standing up to Democrats. They’re hated for reaching across the aisle; they’re hated for compromising. They’re hated for getting up and smiling broadly under the TV lights after having just betrayed some important principle, thinking themselves the cat’s meow.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Almodovar: Six Inches

As reported by Jo Piazza of FOX News: “Spanish director Pedro Almodovar's latest thriller, "The Skin I Live In" had filmgoers fleeing the theater Thursday night at its gala premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, due to some aggressively violent and disturbing content.

Something similar happened on ‘The Lou Dobbs (radio talk) Show’ starting yesterday when Dobbs declared most stridently that Benjamin Netanyahu owes Barack Obama an apology for publicly speaking to him in ‘that tone’ during joint statements with the press in attendance. What followed was highly disturbing radio in which both guests and listeners were reduced to incoherence while bludgeoned by Dobbs’ highly combative beat-down style.

I have always been suspicious of Dobbs. There had at one time been talk of Dobbs throwing his hat into the ring. I truly thought he might try it. Though his words seemed tailored to serve this purpose, I felt there was always an undertone of insincerity, limitless arrogance, and touch of dementia.

It is perhaps appropriate to note that in search of ratings, those so engaged will seek ever higher realms of outrage to aspire to in an effort to garner attention in an increasingly crowded field. Almodovar no doubt has proven over and over again that he is a genius director. His latest offering, however, seems to have crossed a line, and I will not be going to see it.

Few have been more consistent in their criticism of Barack Obama’s policies than Dobbs. It has earned him a considerable following among the like-minded, some of whom had switch from brain-dead booster Hannity. To now suddenly turn on his audience, characterizing the Israeli PM as rude and downright ignorant while ignoring Obama’s own avalanche transgressions, is at the very least insensitive.

Most, but the most ardent Jew haters and Marxists, would agree that Obama had it coming. They were relieved that at least someone had finally stood up to this flame-throwing ideologue, even if it took someone from another country to do it. God knows, our own have been tip-toeing around this rogue elephant, lest they be called nasty names.

Which brings to mind the question: Why are so many, on the Republican side, so loath to run for high office, turning our roster of candidates into a virtual revolving door? Obviously, they’ve looked around and seen how others are treated, and reached the conclusion: Who needs it? Moses too was reluctant to lead.

Leadership in this country has been turned into an exercise in self-flagellation – particularly on the Republican side. I suspect that even Gingrich saw it coming and purposely torpedoed himself as to fashion a (not so) graceful way out.

We’ve reached the end of the line as a nation. Not only have our problems become so immense as to defy solution, but the media attacks have become intolerably cruel. No one in their right mind can afford to subject themselves to that – especially people who value their families first and foremost.

Looking at it another way, imagine our candidates as pole-vaulters. In order for Republicans to qualify, they must get over a bar set at 6 meters. Democrats, on the other hand, merely need to clear six inches.

Roger Waters


by B. Raman

The Faisal Base of the Pakistan Air Force (PAF) located about 10 KMs from the Karachi internationl airport is what the PAF calls a Joint User airfield. It is used by the PAF and the air arms of the Pakistan Army and Navy as well as by the VVIP squadron. All air surveillance movements over the sea --- whether by the PAF or by the Army or by the PN--- are controlled from this base.

2. Since 1975, the operating base of the Naval Air Arm, called PNS Mehran, is located inside this airfield. All senior officers of the Naval Air Arm operate from PNS Mehran. The Naval Air Arm at PNS Mehran is headed by Commander Naval Aviation (COMNAV). Under him there are four Heads of Department (HOD) designated as Commander Air (Cdr Air), Commander Air Engineering Department (Cdr AED), Commanding Officer MEHRAN (CO MEH) and Officer Commanding Naval Aviation Training School (OC NATS).

3. The squadrons of the Naval Air Arm are stationed in PNS Mehran. These are the P3C Orion Squadron (28 Sqn), the Atlantic Squadron (29 Sqn), the Fokker Squadron (27 Sqn), the Seaking Squadron (111 Sqn) and the Alouette Squadron (333 Sqn).

4. While the Naval Air Arm was raised primarily to provide maritime surveillance capability against India, it has been playing, in addition, a counter-terrorism role since the U.S. started its Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan in October,2001. This counter-terrorism role consists of air surveillance to prevent any sea-borne intrusions of Al Qaeda and to detect any terrorist plans for attacks on ships bringing supplies for the NATO forces in Afghanistan. The supplies are landed in the Karachi port and then moved by trucks to Afghanistan.

5. While the Pakistani Army and Air Force have no operational role to play in the U.S.-led military operations in the Afghan territory against Al Qaeda and the Neo Taliban, the Pakistani Navy is a member of the U.S.-led international naval force which patrols the seas to the west of Pakistan to prevent any hostile activity which could hamper the operations in Afghan territory. The Combined Task Force (CTF) 150, established at the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, comprises naval forces from France, Germany, Italy, Pakistan, the United Kingdom and the United States. The task force conducts maritime security operations (MSO) in the Gulf of Aden, the Gulf of Oman, the Arabian Sea, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean. The leadership of the Task Force is rotated amongst the participating navies. A Pakistani naval officer has been commanding it off and on when the turn of the Pakistan Navy comes.

6. On November 16,2004,the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced that it had accepted Pakistan’s request to buy seven P-3C Orion aircraft with T-56 turboprop engines, communications equipment, training devices, medical services, support and test equipment, engineering technical services, supply support, operation and maintenance training, documentation, spare/repair parts, publications, personnel training, training equipment, contractor technical and logistics personnel services, and other related support elements. The estimated cost would be $970 million.

7.The DSCA announcement added: "The command-and-control capabilities of these aircraft will improve Pakistan’s ability to restrict the littoral movement of terrorists along Pakistan’s southern border and ensure Pakistan’s overall ability to maintain integrity of their borders. Pakistan intends to use the proposed purchase to develop a long needed fleet of maritime and border surveillance aircraft. The addition of these aircraft will provide Pakistan with search, surveillance, and control capability in support of maritime interdiction operations and increase their ability to support the U.S. Operation Enduring Freedom Operations; anti-ship and anti-submarine warfare capabilities; and a control capability over land against transnational terrorists and narcotics smugglers. The modernization will enhance the capabilities of the Pakistani Navy and support its regional influence and meet its legitimate self-defense needs. Pakistan is capable of absorbing and maintaining these additional aircraft in its inventory.”

8. The first two of these aircraft were delivered in April 2010 and officially inducted into the Naval Air Arm at a function held at PNS Mehran on June 2,2010. Some more of the remaining five have since been inducted, but their number is not known. These planes are generally kept in hangars belonging to the Naval Air Arm and operate from the joint user airfield.

9. The active role played by the Pakistani Navy in support of the NATO operations in Afghanistan has attracted the anger of the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP). On March 4, 2008, two unidentified suicide bombers, operating in tandem, attacked the prestigious Naval War College located in a high security area of Lahore. They were both on motor-cycles. One of them rammed his motor-cycle against the security gate at the rear of the building breaking it open. The other drove through this opening into the parking area and blew himself up. Their target was the naval institution and not any particular individual or individuals inside. They wanted to demonstrate their ability to penetrate the campus and cause damage. Six persons were killed--- one of them a naval officer, three members of the security guards at the gate and the two suicide bombers.

10. On December 2,2009, an alert official of the Pakistani naval intelligence in plain clothes and a naval security guard in uniform deployed outside the building of the Pakistan Navy Headquarters in Islamabad prevented what could have been a major terrorist strike against the Naval Headquarters by an unidentified suicide bomber. Spotting a suspicious-looking individual outside the NHQ, they stopped him and searched him. He turned out to be a suicide bomber wearing a concealed suicide vest. However, they could not prevent him from activating the explosive device in the vest. One person was killed on the spot and another succumbed to his injuries later.

11. Two Pakistani naval personnel--- a commissioned officer of the rank of Sub-Lieutenant and a sailor--- were among four persons killed in two separate but coordinated explosions in Karachi on April 26, 2011. The explosions targeted two buses of the Pakistan Navy which were transporting naval personnel to their places of work. According to available indications, the improvised explosive devices, which struck the buses, had been planted along routes normally taken by the buses and activated through mobile telephones.

12. According to the "Daily Times" of Lahore ( April 27,2011), the Tehrik-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP), as the Pakistani Taliban is known, claimed the responsibility for the blasts, and threatened more attacks on security forces. The claim was made in a telephone call to a foreign news agency by a person who identified himself as Ehsanullah Ehsan, a spokesman of the Taliban. He reportedly said: "Security forces will be targeted in the future as well, because they are killing their own people in Waziristan and elsewhere at the behest of the United States.”

13. Since the raid by the Pakistani military commandos into the Lal Masjid in Islamabad in July,2007, there has been a number of retaliatory attacks by the TTP against the Army, the Air Force, the Special Services Group (SSG), the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI), the para-military forces and the police. It is, however, believed that the attacks on the Navy were connected to its role in providing maritime support to the NATO forces in Afghanistan. The Navy had no role to play in the Lal Masjid raid. The Pakistani authorities have been apprehending a surge in these attacks on the security forces, including the Navy, in retaliation for the raid by U.S. naval commandos into the residence of Osama bin Laden at Abbottabad on May 2,2011, in which OBL was killed.

14. At around 10 PM on the night of May 22, an unidentified group of about 15 terrorists armed with explosives, rocket-propelled grenade launchers and assault weapons was reported to have managed to infiltrate into the PNS Mehran base through a side of the Faisal PAF base where a PAF museum is located and engaged in a fire fight with naval and other security personnel after destroying at least one----according to some other reports two---PC 3 aircraft kept in the hangars. The fire-fight was still going on at 3 AM on the morning of May 23 when last reports came in.

15. It has been reported that the survivors among the attackers have taken some hostages and taken shelter inside a building in the base. According to unconfirmed reports, among the hostages are one or more Chinese military personnel working in the base. It has been further reported that some Americans and Turks were also working in the base. It is not known whether any of them has been taken hostage. At least 11 naval personnel are reported to have died in the fire fight so far. No one has claimed responsibility till now.

16. The daring attack and the inability of the Navy to prevent it are likely to add to the feelings of humiliation in the Pakistani Armed Forces which have been prevalent since the Abbottabad raid. To deflect anger over the security failure at PNS Mehran, attempts could be made to divert suspicion against India. Extra vigilance and extra security would be required along our coast in general and in the Mumbai area in particular. Instructions should be issued to all concerned to avoid any statements and comments which could aggravate the paranoia of the Pakistani Armed Forces and to refrain from exhibiting any sense of glee over the discomfiture of the Pakistani Armed Forces.(23-5-11)

(Bahukutumbi Raman is Additional Secretary (retd), Cabinet Secretariat, Govt. of India, New Delhi, and, presently, Director, Institute for Topical Studies, Chennai, and Associate of the Chennai Centre For China Studies. E-mail: