News and Analysis (12/23-24/06)

An anonymous Pentagon official says that Gen. George W. “Casey told [Defense Secretary Robert] Gates in Iraq that an infusion of U.S. forces would not help him politically with the Iraqi government and could impede reconciliation efforts”:

·        Gates Gives Bush Evaluation of Iraq War (Washington Post)

Israeli PM’s offer of “flexibility and generosity” at the approach of Eid-al-adhha marks a change from his earlier position that none of the political prisoners held by Israel would be freed unless the one Israeli soldier held by Hamas is freed first:

·        Olmert Suggests Early Palestinian Prisoner Release (Reuters)

The Iranian reaction to U.N. sanctions was predictable; so, were the movers of the sanctions naïve or were they seeking to accelerate the showdown?

·        Iran to Expand Enrichment in Defiance of Sanctions (AFP)

Iranian U.N. ambassador says the Security Council’s attempt to restrict Iran’s nuclear energy program while ignoring Israel’s nuclear weapons “proves its bias against Iran.”

·        U.N. Approves Iran Sanctions: Iran Vows to Continue Efforts to Enrich Uranium (Washington Post)

The Muslim country in which “two women have alternated as prime minister for the last 15 years” looks to continue the pattern:

·        Hasina to Contest Bangladesh Election (Reuters)

Sistani opposes attempts to escalate the isolation of al-Sadr which, to date, have been a disaster:

·        Key Iraqi Cleric Rejects U.S. Bid For Moderate Political Bloc (Washington Post)

Ethiopia justifies bloodshed by its invasion force as “self-defense”:

·        Ethiopia Attacks Somalia Islamic Council (Newsday / AP)

In a country that boasts a commitment to the shari`ah, this human rights advocate wants to prove that “nobody is above the law,” not even its “religious police”:

·        Saudi Lawyer Takes On Religious Court System: Rights Cases Used To Press for Change (Washington Post)

One Response to “News and Analysis (12/23-24/06)”

  1. Ken Larson says:

    There are good points in your article. I would like to supplement them with some information:

    I am a 2 tour Vietnam Veteran who recently retired after 36 years of working in the Defense Industrial Complex on many of the weapons systems being used by our forces as we speak.

    If you are interested in a view of the inside of the Pentagon procurement process from Vietnam to Iraq please check the posting at my blog entitled, “Odyssey of Armaments”

    http://www.rosecoveredglasses.blogspot.com

    The Pentagon is a giant, incredibly complex establishment, budgeted in excess of $500B per year. The Rumsfelds, the Administrations and the Congressmen come and go but the real machinery of policy and procurement keeps grinding away, presenting the politicos who arrive with detail and alternatives slanted to perpetuate itself.

    How can any newcomer, be he a President, a Congressman or even the new Sec. Def.Mr. Gates, understand such complexity, particularly if heretofore he has not had the clearance to get the full details?

    Answer- he can’t. Therefore he accepts the alternatives provided by the career establishment that never goes away and he hopes he makes the right choices. Or he is influenced by a lobbyist or two representing companies in his district or special interest groups.

    From a practical standpoint, policy and war decisions are made far below the levels of the talking heads who take the heat or the credit for the results.

    This situation is unfortunate but it is absolute fact. Take it from one who has been to war and worked in the establishment.

    This giant policy making and war machine will eventually come apart and have to be put back together to operate smaller, leaner and on less fuel. But that won’t happen until it hits a brick wall at high speed.

    We will then have to run a Volkswagen instead of a Caddy and get along somehow. We better start practicing now and get off our high horse. Our golden aura in the world is beginning to dull from arrogance.

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