December 22, 2005
A Bit Too Rummy
When the new conservative German minister of defense, Jung, made is first visit to the U.S. last week, expectations were high.
Germany has some 2,400 soldiers in Afghanistan. That number had been announced to rise to 3,000 and to probably increase further.
Turns out Rumsfeld was a bit too rummy to achieve that. According to a press leak (in German), his first question to Jung was not if, but when Germany would lift its defense spending to 2% of GDP. That would be some 87% above today's level and would have zero political support.
When Jung mentioned the general German position on torture, Rumsfeld lectured him about his domestic U.S. law interpretation on that issue.
All in all - it did not go as smooth as expected and despite some friendly press-talk after that meeting, Jung seems to be pissed.
Today, on visit in Kabul, he announced the German troops numbers in Afghanistan to remain steady and to move most of those troops out of Kabul and into the peaceful and scenic northern region around Kunduz.
The U.S. strategy to sneak its troops out of Afghanistan and to leave the problem with NATO is now endangered.
Maybe the the poodle will pick up the mess and handle it as successful as the opium eradication program.
Posted by b on December 22, 2005 at 01:17 PM | Permalink
One of the greatest tragedies, in my mind, of the War on Terror, after the human cost of course is the subversion of the nonaggressive constitutions of Germany and Japan. It's as if in the process of "bringing democracy" to Iraq and Afghanistan, the US is seeking to destroy the time they got it right, 60 years ago.
Demanding that Germany raise their defense spending to an arbitrary GDP % is absurd and obscene. Who ARE these people?
Posted by: Rowan | Dec 22, 2005 3:04:07 PM | 1
Europe will have to choose. Beween supporting the US with defense spending (massive), cannon fodder, internal fascistic moves, imprisonment without cause, and so on - general subservience - and opposition, which is very very dangerous.
Understandably, so far, it has sat on the fence, and moved both against (eg. demos, the French surrender monkeys) and for (troops, lies to its people, covert support, etc.) It has also continued buoying up the US financially, so as not to disturb the status quo. Basically, it either does not see the problems looming, or is pretending they are invisible, which for the moment amounts to the same thing. At the same time, they confusedly believe that they are moving forwards to more power - see the break up, impoverishmnent and theft of ressources in parts of the ex Soviet block, in cahoots with the US. Germany was a main player in that story, and obviously relished getting troops out on the ground for the first time since WW2.
Well that is one reading. Not pretty.
(No particular dig towards Germany -Denmark and Holland ...others..)
Posted by: Noisette | Dec 22, 2005 3:11:42 PM | 2
Anti-Globalisation sentiment, ‘leftist’ political parties, and other opinion streams saw to it that the Referendum on the EU bit the dust.
The long term effects are moot. On the one hand, some say that the EU is digging its own grave - of vital importance was to be united under any conditions - Polish plumbers and the like could wait, they are not the most pressing issue. (I belonged to this camp.)
On the other hand, there is hope that fractionalisation and a sort of retrun to nationalistic sentiment (largely protectionist and xenophobic) will give backbone to resistors.
Lastly, some say all this is a storm in a teacup, and the future of the EU depends on its elected leaders and ‘the economy.’ Ha.
Posted by: Noisette | Dec 22, 2005 3:24:05 PM | 3
@Noisette - I think Europe's way is somewhere in the middle.
It will always be attached to the US in one way (Britain) or another (Poland) but it will also act according to the geography and its energy needs, which will call for a "defense" of Siberia. The next big thing on the world agendas and the fight of the century.
The EU will never be a clearcut moral case. The EU is not a nation, not supposed to be and not even an attempt to be. It is a way to avoid wars of which the continent had plenty with no real results but lots of deads and other losses.
I hope we can keep it that way. A few thousand German troops in Afghanistan will make a difference in one war-lords realm but not for the country and they shouldn´t either.
Raising the German expenditure for "defense" would result in an uproar by its neighbors - starting with Poland which would immediately request more US support.
Rumsfeld does not even have a bit of understanding of history demanding such a rise.
Anyhow, I do think the EU is too big and the inclusion of 10 east european countries was a mistake. We now need a core group under a different label to grow a new layer.
Posted by: b | Dec 22, 2005 4:15:11 PM | 5
Lol Rummy is not having a good Xmas. Things are just too untidy. The great Birdflu bubble has burst with reports that not only does the drug appear to kill untidy subjects like children it doesn't work. Worse the virus is developing resistance to it already.
The Taiwanese appear to think that keeping their population alive is more important than paying royalties.
There is no doubt that this Afghanistan thing is becoming intractable. Things have been so desperate that even NZ has been put under pressure to offer up troops. NZ Forces have been in Bamiyan province since the whole post 911 hysteria began. The government agreed to the special forces deployment probably as part of the 'blooding' program that countries run for special forces. That is so that even countries who don't have any conflicts happening always have some troops who are combat hardened. There have been some shockers over the years, the most contraversial for NZ being NZ SAS soldiers committing murder of suspected IRA soldiers in the Irish Republic during the 80's.
The NZ govt tried to wriggle out by saying that the soldiers were actually members of the British Army at the time. Almost true but they were put under pressure not to let the soldiers back into the NZ army when their period of transfer was up. Didn't play well with the NZ SAS a large proportion of whom in proper Imperial fashion are maori.
So since then NZ has only 'lent' SAS forces as long as no one talks about it. Unfortunately that wasn't the case in Afghanistan as the US military press office eager for good news in light of the bad news from Iraq kept leaking stories about operations the Kiwi forces had taken part in.
That was the proverbial bride's nightie (it went off in a flash) so the SAS were replaced by engineers whose were tasked with rebuilding rather than fighting. They were meant to be in Iraq. There was no show of any rebuilding getting done there when Rummy went to the NZ govt who were getting into election fighting mode, with a request that the engineers for Iraq either swap their hammers and saws for guns or be replaced with someone who would it kind of backfired. They were sent to replace the SAS in Afghanistan and all talk of Iraq was off the table.
I feel obligated to stress that this decision was made because of the impending election and the certain knowledge that if it became neccessary for the US stories of the NZ activities would be leaked no matter what stage the NZ electoral cycle was at. This was no great ethical decision by our leaderene.
The next effort was the great heroin furphy. NZers have always had a rather strong obssession with the fruit of the poppy. In doubt connected to the rigid Presbyterianism so many have been subjected to in their youth -they can feel a need to loosen up a little.
So the story was put about that an increased Kiwi presence was required in Afghanistan to fight the war on drugs, not the war on terra.
It almost got up until some 'know-it-all' with too much time on their hands and a few media contacts pointed out that in fact kiwi smackos disliked middle eastern hammer n tack. It wasn't very strong, often was just raw morphine and was frequently full of impurities including Anthrax.
Kiwi IDU's (injecting drug users) preferred the higher quality and more available SE Asian white powder. This affection had first surfaced during the Vietnam war and which brought up another issue. That was if there wasn't much weak, poisonous and impure smack around NZ now there certainly would be after a bunch of young Kiwi blokes were sent over to immerse themselves in the business.
It seems to me that this whole war on terror thing is moving into the endgame it is OVER. Except of course innocent civilians are still dying. From the viewpoint of using this meme to control populations it is history though.
This is supported by the news that the US has been meeting secretly with what until recently they had been calling "Ba'athist dead enders".
With typical lack of insight into other people BushCo seems surprised that this agreement to meet didn't lead to the much promised but never witnessed sight of Iraqis throwing flowers at US soldiers or even a quiet thank-you for releasing 24 senior Ba'athists imprisoned for nearly three years without an iota of evidence of wong-doing. No instead the ingrates wanted to complain about former US friends the United Iraqi Alliance, who are also good friends of Iran.
The sunnis joined in complaint with secular parties, in particular oldest former US friend, Ayad Allawi, one time Iraqi Prime Minister, and seemed to expect that just because they allowed the election to be carried out unimpeded by the resistance, that the election should be fair and not like this:
"In Baghdad in particular, parties accused the police of supporting the main Shia list, the United Iraqi Alliance, the largest component in the present government. When preliminary results for Baghdad gave the Shia list - a coalition of several religious parties - 58% of the vote, the opposition claimed this proved their suspicions were justified. Nationally, the Shia list is likely to retain most of the 140 seats it has in the current parliament."....
...."The row is embarrassing US officials. They were clearly disappointed at Mr Allawi's poor result. Now the bitterness over fraud allegations is poisoning the atmosphere for the "broad-based government of national unity" which Zalmay Khalilzad, the US ambassador, said on Tuesday he hoped to see. But they do not want an election rerun since this would ruin the image of a clean new democracy in Iraq they have been anxious to cultivate."
These simple-minded crims who have taken over US institutions are way way out of their depth in dealing with civilisations whose history goes back thousands of years not a mere 230 odd.
It's getting so complicated to spin alla this stuff that a hard working defense secretary doesn't know whether he's Arthur or Martha, who is still an enemy and who is a friend or even whose alive and whose dead. To wit:
"Donald Rumsfeld told journalists en route to Pakistan that Bin Laden could be hiding somewhere on the Afghan-Pakistan border."....
....""I have trouble believing he is able to operate sufficiently to be in a position of major command over a worldwide al-Qaeda operation, but I could be wrong"
this little conundrum will continue to be a thorn in Rummy and co's side. No one appears prepared to follow the administration lead and just not talk about Bin Laden.
They want to know if he's dead which should be a good thing except it makes arguing continuing the GWOT problematic.
Or they want to know why he hasn't been killed or captured yet which is a definiate 'blackeye' but does permit continued handouts to Halliburton, Bechtel and all the other mates.
Hence Rummy being forced to have two bob each way the other day.
OBL isn't dead he's on vacation but Al Quaeda is dead...ish. DeadISH that's the word Rummy has been looking for! We should be able to use it everywhere. "The Iraqi insurgency is deadish so we have prevailed but we need to keep spending money. Someone get on the phone to Websters and make sure that deadish is listed online by C.O.B. What about that Brit faggot at Lincoln? Christian Bailey? About time he earned some of the millions we diverted from Fema to him. Tell him I want deadish in the Oxford Dictionary immediately".
Hmm I wonder if something smelly may in fact be deadish in the water.
Posted by: Debs is dead | Dec 22, 2005 5:32:45 PM | 6
The Dutch are skipping out too:
Dutch Indecision on Troops Hinders NATO's Afghan Mission
One of NATO's most ambitious missions was hanging in the balance today after the Dutch government said it would send up to 1,400 more troops to Afghanistan but then left the final decision to its Parliament, which is deeply divided on the issue.
The prime minister, Jan Peter Balkenende, said the cabinet "decided to further help Afghanistan build a safe and peaceful country," but the announcement left the mission uncertain and some members of NATO angry over whether the Netherlands will, in fact, send additional forces.
The plan to go south, which NATO foreign ministers agreed upon this month in Brussels, entails increasing the number of NATO troops in Afghanistan to 15,000 from 9,000, with Britain, Canada and the Netherlands providing the largest contingents. Britain, while scaling down its forces in Iraq, would send 3,000 troops to the south of Afghanistan and take over the command of this new NATO force.
The timing was intended to dovetail with the withdrawal of 3,000 American soldiers from the 19,000 serving in the operation - which Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld announced Wednesday.
Posted by: b | Dec 22, 2005 11:34:36 PM | 7
The (rightwing) local paper here has a report about the German troop movement from Kabul. There have been four suicide bomb attempts on these during the last month, with one German soldier dead.
Unlike the US forces in Afghansitan, these NATO troops are not on a fighting, but a "peace and stability" mission.
So the troops will be moved out of harms way into North Afghanistan where a friendly, well paided warloard will take care of them.
But you will love this detail:
The paper headlines the story:
Bundeswehr rückt in den Norden vor
German Forces Advance Into The North
That is nearly as good as Goebbel's permanent "Wehrmacht shortening the frontline" all the way from Stalingrad back to Berlin.
Posted by: b | Dec 23, 2005 9:46:54 AM | 8