Meanwhile, liberal Robert Dreyfuss notes in The Nation: "The core problem... is that Al Qaeda and its affiliates, its sympathizers, and even self-starting terrorist actors who aren't part of Al Qaeda itself, are a tiny and manageable problem. Yet the apparatus that has been created is designed to meet nothing less than an existential threat. Even at the height of the Cold War ... there was nothing like the post-9/11 behemoth in existence. A thousand smart intelligence analysts, a thousand smart FBI and law enforcement officers, and a few hundred Special Operations military folk are all that's needed to deal with the terrorism threat."
The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.
These are some of the findings of a two-year investigation by The Washington Post that discovered what amounts to an alternative geography of the United States, a Top Secret America hidden from public view and lacking in thorough oversight. After nine years of unprecedented spending and growth, the result is that the system put in place to keep the United States safe is so massive that its effectiveness is impossible to determine.
The investigation's other findings include:
* Some 1,271 government organizations and 1,931 private companies work on programs related to counterterrorism, homeland security and intelligence in about 10,000 locations across the United States.
* An estimated 854,000 people, nearly 11/2 times as many people as live in Washington, D.C., hold top-secret security clearances.
* In Washington and the surrounding area, 33 building complexes for top-secret intelligence work are under construction or have been built since September 2001. Together they occupy the equivalent of almost three Pentagons or 22 U.S. Capitol buildings - about 17 million square feet of space.
* Many security and intelligence agencies do the same work, creating redundancy and waste. For example, 51 federal organizations and military commands, operating in 15 U.S. cities, track the flow of money to and from terrorist networks.
* Analysts who make sense of documents and conversations obtained by foreign and domestic spying share their judgment by publishing 50,000 intelligence reports each year - a volume so large that many are routinely ignored.
These are not academic issues; lack of focus, not lack of resources, was at the heart of the Fort Hood shooting that left 13 dead, as well as the Christmas Day bomb attempt thwarted not by the thousands of analysts employed to find lone terrorists but by an alert airline passenger who saw smoke coming from his seatmate.
Many diseases kill us because our immune system goes mad - some can die of a bee sting for exactly this cause.
That is what Bin Laden has pulled off - a massive over reaction that is draining our lifeblood and destroying our freedoms.
Somali pirates have seized a Saudi-owned supertanker off the coast
of Kenya and are taking it to a Somali port, the U.S. Navy said Monday.
It appeared to be the largest ship ever seized by pirates.
The pirates hijacked the Sirius Star on Saturday about 830 kilometres southeast of Mombasa, Kenya, a navy spokesman said.
The ship was in an area far beyond the Gulf of Aden, where most of
the attacks on shipping have taken place and where some foreign navies
have begun patrols.
The supertanker is a newly commissioned ship owned by the Saudi oil company Aramco is and is currently loaded with crude oil.
The hijacking was among the most brazen in a surge in attacks this
year by well-armed and organized Somali pirates, whose attacks have
increased more than 75 per cent this year. (CBC)
A few motor boats have made the Western warships that are "protecting" the Gulf look stupid. As of course the Taliban and AQ have wrong footed the super powers on land.
In the War Game prior to Desert Storm II - General Van Riper sunk the key elements of the US Fleet in the first few hours of the "game" with motor boats as well. They canceled the game and made sure that conventional attacks only were permitted.
The US Navy is ready to fight the Japanese Imperial Navy but has no capability to defend itself or others from Guerilla Boats. It would not take much for the Iranians to shut the Straits of Hormuz.
The navigable part of the straits is as you can see very very narrow. Very easy to block. You just need the will and the acceptance that no one on the mission will survive. A perfect Jihadist target.
This is a wake up call if anyone in the White House will hear it. The world's oil supply system is not being defended by the most expensive Navy in the world. It is not being defended because the wrong weapons and more importantly the wrong ideas are in control.
At the height of the summer, as talk of invading Iraq built in
Washington like a dark, billowing storm, the US armed forces staged a
rehearsal using over 13,000 troops, countless computers and $250m.
Officially, America won and a rogue state was liberated from an evil
What really happened is quite another story, one that has
set alarm bells ringing throughout America's defence establishment and
raised questions over the US military's readiness for an Iraqi
invasion. In fact, this war game was won by Saddam Hussein, or at least
by the retired marine playing the Iraqi dictator's part, Lieutenant
General Paul Van Riper.
In the first few days of the exercise,
using surprise and unorthodox tactics, the wily 64-year-old Vietnam
veteran sank most of the US expeditionary fleet in the Persian Gulf,
bringing the US assault to a halt.
What happened next will be
familiar to anyone who ever played soldiers in the playground. Faced
with an abrupt and embarrassing end to the most expensive and
sophisticated military exercise in US history, the Pentagon top brass
simply pretended the whole thing had not happened. They ordered their
dead troops back to life and "refloated" the sunken fleet.
instructed the enemy forces to look the other way as their marines
performed amphibious landings. Eventually, Van Riper got so fed up with
all this cheating that he refused to play any more. Instead, he sat on
the sidelines making abrasive remarks until the three-week war game -
grandiosely entitled Millennium Challenge - staggered to a
star-spangled conclusion on August 15, with a US "victory".(The Guardian)
Many are relieved that oil prices are down. What many do not see is how vulnerable we are to having no oil. The Straits could be shut in a day. All it takes is 2 tankers sunk in the channel.
Van Riper proved that we are defenceless against a fleet of motor boats - only one has to get through. They can sink the most powerful ship in the fleet. It's 1900 all over gain when the torpedo and the cheap submarine could sink the most powerful and expensive battleship. It's the batttle of Agincourt again when the peasant archer could kill the main battle tank of the era - the knight.
But there is no money or prestige in coastal defense or in superfast patrol boats. Just as there is no money or glamor in the A10 or in more Special Forces. The Big Boys want and get the big toys that have no place in the conflicts that we wage today.
Some like General Van Riper know what the risk is. But of course the System is in control. As it is in Finance. But as we are seeing in finance as well - the "Boys" are lost and are losing it for all of us.
Time to give the thinkers who have been seeing the truth like General Van Riper a larger say. By the way as an aside, it's pretty special for me to have General Van Riper as a member of the Ning Boyd Conference community