Bringing a water pistol to a knife fight: Part 1
Gates Says U.S. Lacks Policy to Curb Iran’s Nuclear Drive
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document.
Several officials said the highly classified analysis, written in January to President Obama’s national security adviser, Gen. James L. Jones, came in the midst of an intensifying effort inside the Pentagon, the White House and the intelligence agencies to develop new options for Mr. Obama. They include a set of military alternatives, still under development, to be considered should diplomacy and sanctions fail to force Iran to change course.
Officials familiar with the memo’s contents would describe only portions dealing with strategy and policy, and not sections that apparently dealt with secret operations against Iran, or how to deal with Persian Gulf allies.
Really, it’s jaw-dropping that, at this stage, Gates must sound the alarm, reminding everyone that nothing they’ve done so far has or is likely to work. Indeed, it’s hard to see how what the Obami are presently doing won’t impair those military options. After all, Obama is giving the Iranians cover to move ahead with their nuclear program while the UN dithers over negotiations about ineffective sanctions. The problem, we must conclude, is Obama, himself, who seems blissfully unaware of his own inadequate and misguided efforts. (”Some officials said his memo should be viewed in that light: as a warning to a relatively new president that the United States was not adequately prepared. He wrote the memo after Iran had let pass a 2009 deadline set by Mr. Obama to respond to his offers of diplomatic engagement.”)
The Obami seemed unprepared for the failure of engagement last year and are only now working on a sanctions effort; Gates’ memo suggests we are now no more prepared for what is in all likelihood the outcome of the next round of dithering: an Iranian regime undeterred from pursuing its nuclear ambitions.
As always with stories like this, one wonders about the motives of the Times’s sources. Why would anonymous officials leak word of a highly classified memorandum suggesting that the administration has no policy beyond what has proved to be empty talk? These apparently well-informed officials must think that we have something to worry about.
Or, you might look at the issue from the Obami point of view, “who, me worry?”
Bringing a water pistol to a knife fight: Part 2
If the water pistol doesn’t work, then make them laugh:
Fight Al-Qaeda with satire, ridicule: researchers
Satire and ridicule can help win the fight against Al-Qaeda by stripping it of its glamour and mystique, a team of researchers argue in a report released in London and in comments to AFP.
Beating the Islamist movement is as much about winning the battle of ideas and undermining Al-Qaeda’s counter-culture cachet as it is about conventional anti-terrorism operations, said the report.
“Terrorism must be defeated through the deliberate ‘toxification’ of the al-Qaeda brand; not by making it seem dangerous, but by exposing it as dumb,” Jamie Bartlett, one of the report’s authors, told AFP.
“Al-Qaeda has to be ridiculed as the equivalent of a middle-aged dad at a school disco: enthusiastic, incompetent and excruciatingly uncool.”
How’s this for a start? Hey Bin Laden Your Brother Married a Goat!
Somehow I can’t believe that broadcasting “Your Brother Married a Goat” to every cave on the Afghanistan/Pakistan border will win us the war on terror. First of all who knows, maybe Bin Laden’s brother has a thing for four-legged creatures. More important is that once you forget the nice “peace, love and granola,” feelings, history has taught us that Islamists respect just one thing, Raw Power. Sticks and stones may not worm, but American Munitions are a better substitute than satire.
It’s bad enough when you have incompetents making foreign policy decisions; what’s even worse is to have unprepared incompetents who lack basic street smarts.