Posts Tagged ‘Pentagon’

What do Obama, Blair and Al Qaida have in common?

September 6, 2013

They all want a  US strike on Syria – each for his own reasons.

Al Qaida has the most to gain by a weakening – rather than an elimination – of Assad’s regime. That would give them time to consolidate their dominance among the opposition groups while ensuring the eventual demise of Assad.

Tony Blair is desperate to show that all attacks by Western interests which help regime-change in the area are justified in themselves. His duplicity about WMD and Iraq will always dominate his place in History and that rankles. He is still looking for the argument which can support his fantasy that the intervention in Iraq – even without any WMD – was a good thing. He has just been interviewed by the BBC and this is to be aired on Monday. The excerpts released so far clearly reveal how utterly self-centred and self-serving he is.

What exactly Obama hopes to accomplish is quite unclear. It could be for intellectual satisfaction for having – recklessly – made his red-line box for himself. It could be to demonstrate his “moral superiority” and by extension that of the US. He (through Kerry) says 1429 people were killed by sarin gas. The French put the number at 281. The British said it was about 350. How will Obama measure success? By the number of fresh bodies on the ground? Score 1 for every Assad soldier killed! An “eye for an eye” or will he need to multply by ten to ensure that his actions are a deterrent? It is the gassing of children that must be addressed he says.  Is it only the manner of their deaths he wants to react to? How many children have died in US drone attacks so far?

Israel will be very satisfied if Syria remains in internal turbulence for as long as possible. Turkey’s Islamists will be very happy to see Assad go. Will Obama be satisfied for having strengthened Al Qaida and other Islamist groups?

Perhaps Obama with his drones and his “limited and targeted strike on Syria” is just one of the wannabe soldier(s who remain enamored of the lure of bloodless machine warfare”.

I think war is deplorable but unfortunately necessary. Human behaviour has not yet evolved to be able to avoid it. But war without any objective and primarily to demonstrate “moral superiority”?

Robert H. Scales, a retired Army major general, is a former commandant of the U.S. Army War College and writes in the Washington Post:

A war the Pentagon doesn’t want

…. After personal exchanges with dozens of active and retired soldiers in recent days, I feel confident that what follows represents the overwhelming opinion of serving professionals who have been intimate witnesses to the unfolding events that will lead the United States into its next war.

They are embarrassed to be associated with the amateurism of the Obama administration’s attempts to craft a plan that makes strategic sense. None of the White House staff has any experience in war or understands it. So far, at least, this path to war violates every principle of war, including the element of surprise, achieving mass and having a clearly defined and obtainable objective.

They are repelled by the hypocrisy of a media blitz that warns against the return of Hitlerism but privately acknowledges that the motive for risking American lives is our “responsibility to protect” the world’s innocents. Prospective U.S. action in Syria is not about threats to American security. 

 The U.S. military’s civilian masters privately are proud that they are motivated by guilt over slaughters in Rwanda, Sudan and Kosovo and not by any systemic threat to our country.

They are outraged by the fact that what may happen is an act of war and a willingness to risk American lives to make up for a slip of the tongue about “red lines.” These acts would be for retribution and to restore the reputation of a president. Our serving professionals make the point that killing more Syrians won’t deter Iranian resolve to confront us. The Iranians have already gotten the message.

Our people lament our loneliness. Our senior soldiers take pride in their past commitments to fight alongside allies and within coalitions that shared our strategic goals. This war, however, will be ours alone.

They are tired of wannabe soldiers who remain enamored of the lure of bloodless machine warfare. …. 

…. Soon the military will salute respectfully and loose the hell of hundreds of cruise missiles in an effort that will, inevitably, kill a few of those we wish to protect. They will do it with all the professionalism and skill we expect from the world’s most proficient military. I wish Kerry would take a moment to look at the images from this week’s hearings before we go to war again.

Read the whole article.

Reward for fraud: $285 billion in Pentagon contracts

February 3, 2011

The Corruption Perception Index produced annually by Transparency International becomes meaningless relative to the scale of fraud and corruption with large contracts in the developed world and which do not seem to be reflected in the CPI.

An AP report carried by reports:

Hundreds of defence companies that defrauded the U.S. military between 2007 and 2009 still received $285 billion in contracts from the Pentagon during the same period, a U.S. senator said Wednesday.

Citing a January report prepared by Pentagon acquisition officials at Sanders request, the senator said the bulk of the contracts, just over $280 billion, went to 211 companies that had civil judgments against them or settled fraud charges of more than $1 million.

During the same period, 30 defence contractors were convicted of criminal fraud, but still were awarded $682 million in new work, according to the Pentagon’s report.

Among the contractors listed in the report is AEY Inc., a Miami, Florida-based company that received a $300 million contract to supply ammunition to Afghan security forces. AEY got the work despite a record of poor performance on other government contracts.

The fraud involved shipment of millions of rounds of banned Chinese-made military ammunition that was repackaged to appear of Albanian origin. After nearly $67 million in payments, the Afghan ammunition contract was terminated in May 2008. The owner of AEY was sentenced to four years in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2009 to a fraud conspiracy charge.

In the report, defence officials listed a series of actions the military has taken to guard against contractor wrongdoing, including the formation of a working group focused on procurement fraud.

I am quite sure that many lobbyists, middlemen, bureaucrats and politicians all received their share of the largesse in these Defence Contracts. The margins available in Defence contracts far exceed those available in other large infrastructure contracts.

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