The Coming Nuclear Attack on the US – III

February 21, 2010

Al Qaeda wants to get its hands on Pakistan’s nuclear weapons.

(Note that my reference to al Qaeda is somewhat generic, in the same way we refer to organized crime as ‘the Mafia.’ Whether the perpetrator is al Qaeda or some parallel or spinoff gang really doesn’t matter. If al Qaeda isn’t the ultimate perpetrator it will be something that looks just like it.)

As I pointed out yesterday, the biggest problem anyone faces in building a nuke is acquiring enough weapons-grade nuclear fuel to build a bomb. Building the bomb itself is relatively easy. Yes, you can do it in a cave.

When it comes to building a nuclear weapon, the only real advantage a technologically-advanced society has (outside of fuel production itself) is in higher destruction per unit of fuel and, probably, a physically lighter and smaller device.

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former CIA official, has detailed al Qaeda’s 20-year quest to acquire nuclear fuel. al Qaeda are infinitely patient, believing in the aphorism, “the Americans have the watches but we have the time.”

When asked why al Qaeda has apparently done little visible mayhem in the United States most government experts will cite our heightened law enforcement and surveillance techniques.

The real reason is that al Qaeda has not yet been able to come up with something more devastating, more horrifying, than the 9/11 attacks. 9/11 is a tough act to follow. Bringing down 2 100-story buildings and killing 3000 isn’t easy to repeat. Airliner hijacking is pretty much out. That was a trick that worked once, but won’t work again. (Well, not even once, really. Don’t forget that the last of the four hijacked planes failed in its mission when the passengers discovered, via cell phone, what had happened to the other three planes. The passengers managed to cause enough chaos on United Flight 93 so that it crashed into a field in Pennsylvania, rather than its likely target, the Capitol or the White House).

al Qaeda is known to have experimented with a variety of WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) including chemical and biological agents. There is credible evidence that they learned what Western nations have known all along—managing chemical and biological weapons on a large scale is difficult at best. If you want guaranteed results, the only WMD worth considering is a nuke.

And, for a nuke you need weapons-grade fuel. And, what’s the best source of weapons-grade fuel? Why right next door to Afghanistan—in Pakistan. That’s the reason there’s so much commotion along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border right now. All the Islamic radicals can smell the prize that awaits them in a destabilized Pakistan: weapons-grade nuclear fuel.

Once you’ve got the fuel, building the bomb is easy; smuggling it in to the United States is only slightly more difficult.

Once the bomb is in the United States, what will they do with it? It depends on the quality of the weapon.

According to the New York Times, “al Qaeda seems focused on the nuclear option. Its stated goal is to kill four million Americans.” If they can acquire or build a state-of-the-art nuke, their best chance for this kind of kill would be to detonate the device in the middle of Manhattan—about the only place in the US where the population is sufficiently concentrated so that a single nuke can achieve this kind of result.

But, if they are unable to build a bomb that has a reasonable prospect of this kind of death toll, their best alternative is Washington. Because of its much lower population density, 4 million deaths are unlikely but the destruction of virtually every physical symbol of the American government would be assured. A smaller-than-Hiroshima device would take out every memorable building and monument in the capitol.

Neither of the above scenarios would likely destroy our country or our government but either would likely light the fuse to World War III.

I make no guesses as to what WWIII might look like.

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The Coming Nuclear Attack on the US – II

February 20, 2010

Yesterday I made (or, more correctly, parroted) a prediction that I’d rather not have made at all: Within the lifetimes of most of the readers of this column, a nuclear weapon will be detonated somewhere in the United States.

First, a brief on nuclear weapons. They aren’t that hard to understand and they aren’t that hard to build. For most wannabe nuclear powers, the problem is getting enough ‘fuel,’ or weapons-grade radioactive material. Refining, or enriching, nuclear fuel to a concentration sufficient to produce an effective weapon is not easy. It requires considerable time, knowledge, and sophisticated equipment. The only reason there are so few nuclear powers in the world today is the difficulty in obtaining enough enriched fuel to cobble together a bomb.

Building a nuclear weapon is not difficult.  At its simplest it involves nothing more than slamming two pieces of fuel together quickly enough to achieve a ‘critical mass.’ Any graduate nuclear engineer, given sufficient enriched fuel could, with the assistance of a few Igors, put together a device that would achieve critical mass and produce a nuclear explosion. The trade-off comes in size, weight, and yield.

For example, given sufficient quantities of U-235, a builder could put together a relatively simple “gun bomb” like the one that was dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. “Little Boy,” as the device was called, was grossly inefficient. It contained 64 kg of enriched uranium, of which 0.7 kg underwent nuclear fission, and of this mass only 0.6 grams was transformed into energy. In other words, the U-235 that actually underwent transformation weighed less than a paper clip and yet yielded the explosive power of somewhere between 14,000 and 18,000 tons of conventional explosives. The overall weight of “Little Boy” was about 9000 lbs.

Iranian Nuclear Processing Facility

Needless to say, the efficiencies of modern military-grade weapons are much, much better than they were in 1945. The amount of fuel needed for a high-yield weapon could be less than twenty lbs. provided a fairly sophisticated design were used. Even in an unsophisticated IND, twenty or thirty lbs. of fuel could yield a few kilotons of explosive effect, enough to destroy or damage most things within, say, a mile and produce a fallout plume worth worrying about.

The current physics and design of nuclear weapons is widely available. There’s enough on the internet to instruct someone with reasonable technical skills on the construction of at least a crude bomb. If you’re a geek with nothing else to do, spend some time reading up. You’ll find a lot of very smart people have been up late conjuring ideas that would do more damage with less material. There are dozens of great designs out there.

The most important thing to remember is this: given sufficient fuel any motivated group can build an effective nuclear weapon.

Nuclear Gas Centrifuges

So, where to get the fuel? Most of the weapons-grade nuclear fuel is under the lock and key of the major nuclear powers; fuel rods from nuclear reactors don’t count. They represent a potential source of fuel but would have to undergo considerable and difficult-to-conceal enrichment. There is rumored to be a lot of weapons-grade nuclear fuel in the hands of penurious former Soviet nuclear physicists but, so far, this fuel (if it exists) hasn’t shown up in the nuclear black market in large quantities.

The guys to worry about right now are the ones with unstable or ‘rogue’ governments and military-grade nuclear weapons already on hand. Obviously, the top candidates here are Pakistan and North Korea.

North Korea is ‘hungry’ enough (literally) to sell weapons grade nuclear fuel but is unlikely to do so because, if caught providing it to terrorists, they can kiss their asses goodbye. Hardly anyone would shed a tear.

Pakistan, on the other hand, presents the most eminent danger. They have (according to some estimates) 60-100 military-grade deliverable weapons, a strong Islamic tradition, an unstable and only marginally popular government, and they currently are fending off encroachments from Taliban and/or al Qaeda terrorists. A takeover of the Pakistani government by radical Muslim terrorists is a real possibility. And, with the takeover would come access to nuclear weapons. Even if the bombs themselves prove unusable because of well-engineered ‘fail-safe’ interlocks, the fuel can be extracted and re-used. There’s no danger of the bombs going off accidentally.

Tomorrow: a guess at al Qaeda’s nuclear strategy against the United States.


The Coming Nuclear Attack on the US – I

February 19, 2010

An attempted terrorist attack on the United States in the next few years is “a certainty.”

This opinion is held by Leon Panetta, Director of the CIA, Dennis Blair, Director of National Intelligence, and Director of the FBI, Robert Mueller.

Unfortunately, these three agree not only that an attack is a certainty but they also agree that the weapon most likely to be used is a nuclear bomb.

There has been ample speculation about why there have been no major terrorist attacks against the United States since 9/11. Some would like to believe that DHS, TSA, FBI, NSA, CIA, NRO, ATF, ICE and all the other three-letter agencies charged with preserving our safety are doing a crack-up job of stopping terrorism dead in its tracks.

Wiser heads don’t buy this improved enforcement theory for a second. Our borders are as porous as ever. The recent, almost comic, attempt of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, the Underwear Bomber, to bring down a Northwest Airlines flight shows that we’re barely able to deal with the inept and mentally ill.

The most intelligent unclassified speculation to which I have access places al Qaeda at the head of the list of likely suspects looking for the means and opportunity to set off a nuke somewhere on US soil. Al Qaeda heads the list because they seem to have both the money and the credibility to pull off a nuclear attack against a US city. But there are others who could do it as well.

What’s particularly troubling today is that, since 9/11 there have been no significant terrorist attacks in the US. Why not? Using conventional explosives, terrorists have killed hundreds in Spain, Denmark, the Netherlands, and France over the past decade, but we’ve been pretty much left alone

Rolf Mowatt-Larssen, a former C.I.A. official and Director of Intelligence and Counterintelligence at the Department of Energy thinks al Qaeda is biding its time until it can pull off something to “top” the horror of 9/11. About the only thing that would horrify Americans more than the collapse of the Twin Towers would be the detonation of a nuclear weapon, even a small one, within our borders.

In Al Qaeda Weapons of Mass Destruction Threat: Hype or Reality? Mowatt-Larssen details the first 15 years of Al Qaeda’s two-decade-long effort to acquire a nuclear device. There is no question the bastards are working to buy, steal, or build a nuke. And there is little doubt that, once they have it, smuggling it into the US would be easy. Some wags have suggested just hiding it in a bale of marijuana.

If you have the time, download Mowatt-Larssen’s paper. It’s about 30 pages long and covers a range of WMD’s, including nukes. The paper was published in 2010. Curiously, Mowatt-Larssen’s chronology runs only from 1988 through 2003. Nonetheless is it a well-documented summary of al Qaeda’s first fifteen years in the  WMD business.

We have no reason to believe that al Qaeda has ceased its quest for significant WMDs. In fact, the flow of al Qaeda leaders and foot soldiers into Pakistan leads me to believe that they view Pakistan as their best source for nuclear devices. Pakistan has munitions-grade nukes already stockpiled and has been the Third World’s principal source for nuclear design and technology information.

These are not pleasant times. More about the coming nuclear nightmare tomorrow. Sleep well.


When Fertilizer is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will Have Fertilizer

January 22, 2010

I suspect that Mr. Obama is determined to follow in the tradition of American presidents and leave some sort of legacy. Health care is going down the tubes, immigration reform is a guaranteed loser for any Democrat, so now he’s going to try his hand at war making—you know, go macho like Lyndon Johnson and the Bush’s.

Mr. Obama lacks the brains, balls, and knowledge to engage in this high-stakes game. But he’ll do it anyway because in the entire history of this country no president ever has died in combat though many have sent tens of thousands of Americans to early and unnecessary deaths.

Here’s today’s story:

The United States will maintain a civilian presence in Afghanistan and Pakistan for a long time, even after American combat troops leave the region, a State Department report said on Thursday.

“While our combat mission in Afghanistan is not open-ended, we will remain politically, diplomatically and economically engaged in Afghanistan and Pakistan for the long-term to protect our enduring interests in the region,” the report said.

Susan Cornwell
Reuters

Let’s ignore the references to Pakistan for today and concentrate on the Obama administration’s intent to “maintain a civilian presence in Afghanistan.” This so idiotic that I feel compelled to say the same thing about Obama that I said a few days ago about Sarah Palin: He’s apparently written a book or two but I don’t think he’s actually read any.

According to Obama we’re in Afghanistan for two reasons:

  1. To defeat the Taliban and support the ‘legitimate,’ albeit corrupt and incompetent, government of Hamid Karzai.
  2. To deny al Qaeda a safe haven.

Let’s dispense with al Qaeda first. Al Qaeda does not need a safe haven in Afghanistan. They already have bases in Yemen and Somalia and there are hundreds of countries where they can set up shop whenever they like. We know they had a going operation here in the US prior to 9/11. There’s no reason to believe they aren’t operating here now. Twenty bucks says there’s an al Qaeda office in Detroit.  I cannot understand why “denying al Qaeda a base of operations” is a plausible excuse for the presence of American troops in Afghanistan.

Now to Obama’s second point, ‘defeating the Taliban and making Afghanistan “safe for democracy.”’ This is the most naïve scheme imaginable.

Obama is sending more troops to Afghanistan. His plan is magically to exterminate the Taliban in 18 months and bring our boys and girls home.

We’ve had troops in Afghanistan for 8 years and have not succeeded. The Taliban are still there and still functioning and they will be in 18 months  when Field Marshal Obama begins an ordered withdrawal of his forces.

Hamid Karzai - Woud You Buy a Used Car from this Man?

In the Taliban’s place we installed a corrupt and incompetent government that does not have the allegiance or confidence of the people. Within months after the last American combat forces are gone, the present Kabul government will collapse, absconding to the Caribbean with millions of dollars they’ve skimmed off the largess of America.

The Taliban know this and realize they only need lay low until the Yankee Devils are gone.

Over the next 18 months, around 800 young Americans will come home in aluminum boxes. Another 5000 or so will be permanently mutilated. This figure is based on current casualty rates in Afghanistan. I’m hoping I’m way high here—that the Taliban will realize that killing and maiming Americans isn’t the smart thing to do right now. Just be patient.

The Afghans know that the Americans can’t stay forever and that, when the Yanks are gone, the Taliban will be back in charge within months. Ergo, smile at the Americans but don’t piss off the Taliban.

The Taliban actually have learned some important lessons from mistakes they made in the past. They (unlike Obama and Palin) have been reading on guerilla warfare and revolution—Che Guevara, Mao Tse Tung, and Nguyen Ai Quoc (Ho Chi Minh). The Taliban are actually being nice to the locals.

They control Helmand province (that’s in the south if you don’t have your map handy, Mr. Obama). They set up a shadow government in Helmand and have even installed ombudsmen who regularly talk to the natives and ask ‘how are our local Taliban representatives treating you? Are you being treated fairly? Are they helping you solve your problems? Are they threatening you?’ Hell, the Kabul government doesn’t do this.

Karzai’s latest stroke of genius is to ban the possession of ammonium nitrate, an important and inexpensive fertilizer. True, ammonium nitrate also can be used to make explosives. But the Afghans, who are largely agrarian, can no longer possess decent fertilizer, an important element in crop-growing. But not to worry. The Taliban will be able to get the farmers all the ammonium nitrate they need. The Taliban already have better explosives.

Fortunately, opium and marijuana seem to do well without ammonium nitrate. A question for Messrs Karzai and Obama: Now that it’s a felony to possess ammonium nitrate, will Afghan farmers grow more or less dope?

Barack Obama - Would You Buy a Used Car from this Man?

Obama says he’s going to start pulling American troops out in the summer of 2011 and replace them with—wait for it—civilians!!

We have 1000 or so civilians in Afghanistan right now but that number is supposed to increase significantly as the troops begin their departure. The civilians are reasonably safe so long as we have 100,000 troops watching over them but what do you think will be their fate when the troops leave? Rape, torture, kidnapping, ransom, extortion, murder.

Oh, the legitimate government of Afghanistan is going to protect the Americans, but only if they confine themselves to bunkers in Kabul where they will be largely ineffective. And even this will last only until the Taliban take over again.

Do the right thing Barry—get out now. Walk away from Karzai and his den of thieves. Leave behind enough ammonium nitrate so the locals can grow some decent corn.


al Qaeda U

December 27, 2009

On Christmas Day, a man attempted to detonate a bomb on board an aircraft flying from the Netherlands to the United States.  Quick action by the passengers and crew of Northwest flight 253 combined with incompetence on the part of the bomber resulted in a small fire and a few burns, mostly to the bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, but no explosion.

It will come as no shock to you that Mr. Abdulmutallab is a Muslim. Like many of the 9/11 terrorists, he came from a relatively privileged family.  In this case, Mr. Abdulmutallab was one of 16 children of a prominent Nigerian banker.  (One wonders if this “banking” was another of those Nigerian money scams that abound on the internet).

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab

Mr. Abdulmutallab was trained at University College in London where he received a mechanical engineering degree in 2008. He was president of the college’s Islamic Society during 2006 and 2007. He received his terrorist training in Yemen, allegedly from an affiliate of al Qaeda. There is no word as to whether al Qaeda awarded him a degree.  Fortunately, neither of the institutions of higher learning he attended apparently knew much about detonators— a good thing, as Mr. Abdulmutallab was carrying pentaerythritol tetranitrate (PETN), a fairly potent explosive. Had he successfully detonated the PETN, it could have blown a large enough hole in the aircraft to bring it down.

Once again, airport security failed (twice) to prevent a life-threatening  incident. George Carlin once pointed out that airport security was largely a joke, just a charade “to make white people feel safe.” There are plenty of experts in the security business who will tell you Carlin wasn’t joking.

At Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport,  Mr. Abdulmutallab was re-screened by security even though he had already been screened at Lagos, Nigeria. So two aviation security agencies entirely missed Mr. Abdulmutallab’s explosives. On top of that, Mr. Abdulmutallab recently had been added to a US ‘watch list’ after his father had reported him to the US embassy in Nigeria, advising officials there that his son’s words and behavior made his family suspicious of his intentions. The watch list contains about 550,000 names. Apparently it is being used as a door stop at some TSA office. That’s probably the best use for the watch list since boarding an aircraft under a phony name is pathetically easy. This security loophole has been well known for at least ten years. Slate published a good account of how to do it five years ago.

In the days following Mr Abdulmutallab’s failed attempt, airports initiated “tightened” security in which passengers’ carry-on baggage was subjected to visual search in addition to the standard x-ray search. Passengers were also “patted down” to make sure they weren’t wearing explosives. (Mr. Abdulmutallab’s explosives were in his underwear). This response is typical of airport security the world over. The protocols are designed to foil the last bombing or hijacking attempt rather than the next one.

Al Qaeda is known to have facilities in Yemen but my bet is that Mr. Abdulmutallab was ‘trained’ by some impostors who claimed their training was ‘al Qaeda approved.’ The real al Qaeda bunch know enough about detonators so that Mr. Abdulmutallab likely would have succeeded had al Qaeda trained him.

In fact, I’m going to bet that there are phony “al Qaeda” training facilities being set up all around the Middle East and Africa. Hang a couple of Osama’s pictures up next to a shredded American flag and a picture of the collapsing World Trade Center. Charge tuition to aspiring middle-class jihadists. Teach them a few things from the Anarchist’s Cookbook and send them on their way. If they manage to blow something up, great. If they get caught because they were poorly trained, what are they gonna do, sue you?


Barry Goes to War

December 5, 2009

Tuesday night, President Obama delivered a speech at West Point detailing his plans for America’s involvement in Afghanistan.

I wish the president luck, I really do. American lives and fortunes are at stake here. We can’t afford to be wrong, but we are.

During the presidential campaign, Obama said Afghanistan is “a war we have to win.” He did not then, nor has he now, explained why—other than to “deny the insurgents a safe haven.” I guess his idea was to secure every cave in a country the size of Texas with a squad of American infantry.

Early in 2009, he increased the number of American troops in Afghanistan by 30,000. He then dithered away the entire spring, summer, and fall in countless strategy meetings before reaching a decision regarding the next step.

Now we know his plan—throw another 30,000 American troops at the problem, bringing our commitment to around 110,000. Count on our allies to supply another 45,000 or so. (There are about 38,000 non-US troops currently in Afghanistan). These troops will scour the Afghan countryside, neutralizing the Taliban and al-Queda. By the summer of 2011, according to Obama, domestic tranquility will prevail throughout most of Afghanistan. Those few pockets of insurgent resistance will be dealt with handily by enlarged forces of well-trained Afghani soldiers and police. Our men and women will come home and the world will once again be Safe for Democracy.

I fought in a guerrilla war for a year. That doesn’t make me an expert but it does give me a perspective sorely lacking in the conference rooms and legislative chambers of Washington. One achieves a certain focus when he realizes, “Holy shit. These people are really trying to kill me.” In subsequent years, I read widely on guerrilla warfare. That still doesn’t make me an expert but I can spot the bullshit written by poly sci wonks.

And this plan is most definitely a piece of bullshit cooked up by poly sci wonks. Sure, the generals bought into it but only because they weren’t going to get what they wanted in any case. General McChrystal wanted a total force of 400,000. He’ll have half that many. And he certainly wanted whatever troops he got for more than a measly 18 months.

Here’s what’s going to happen. Unless the Taliban and al-Qaeda really are dumber than dirt (a remote, but not impossible hope), they will study the great guerrilla movements of the past and how the leaders of these movements succeeded. They will learn a few simple rules, apply them and, in the long run, prevail.

  1. Obama made a big mistake when he announced the schedule for withdrawal of our troops (summer 2011). All the insurgents have to do is wait for us to leave. There’s an expression in the Taliban that shows they already understand this: “The Americans have the watches, but we have the time.”
  2. Karzai’s Afghan government is among the most corrupt in the world. Do you really think he can train and equip 200,000 police and soldiers over the next 18 months? Most of the money will wind up in the pockets if him and his buddies.
  3. Mao Zedong

    Chairman Mao, one of the masters of guerrilla war saw guerrillas as “fish swimming in the sea of the peasantry. The peasants sustained them, just as the sea sustained the fish.” So he taught his guerrillas to behave correctly in their relations with the peasantry. Right now, the Afghanis see the Taliban as pricks, but if the Taliban can show a kinder, gentler side for a mere 18 months it will look as if the American-led troop insurgence was a smashing success. We’ll go home and then the beheadings can begin again in earnest.

  4. The Taliban will avoid any major confrontations. Over the short term, they will be outgunned and will only succeed in drawing attention to themselves. Better to be vewy, vewy quiet.
  5. The Taliban will stop mining and placing IED’s. Sure, it’s great fun to blow up an American every once in a while but if they can just contain themselves, the infidels will leave, Insha’Allah
  6. The Taliban will disperse their training bases (god knows there are plenty of places to hide clusters of a few dozen men in Afghanistan) and recruit quietly, but firmly as in, “Join up with us when we call, or your whole family dies.”
  7. Like the herpes virus, the Taliban will lie dormant until the meds have worn off, then those nasty blisters will show up again.
  8. Ho Chi Minh

    The Taliban dealt with the Russians for 10 years, they’ve dealt with us for 8. What’s another 18 months? The war in Viet Nam lasted 30 years.

So here’s the forecast. Obama’s new troop surge will fail. The troops will be required to stay longer than summer 2011. American tolerance for the war in Afghanistan, polling right now at 32%, will be down around 20%, representing mostly die-hard Republicans. The troop levels will be sustained into 2012, when the political party conventions are held. The Obama faithful will be totally disgusted (Michael Moore already is) and will stage massive protests over the mess in the Middle East.

Democratic National Convention - Chicago 1968

Memo to the pols in Charlotte, Houston, Phoenix and any other city vying to host the 2012 Democratic Convention: Review the films of Chicago, 1968.


Eight U.S. Soldiers Killed in Afghanistan

October 28, 2009
dead soldiers caskets on plane

Rest in Peace

The title for this article happens to be taken from Monday morning’s news (Tuesday’s American dead numbered 14) but, other than the dates, the headlines could have been written a week ago, a month ago or (take a deep breath) eight years ago. Yes, we’ve been in Afghanistan for eight years and for what?

President Bush asked this same question shortly before he left office and commissioned a “top-to-bottom strategic review” of Afghanistan. The results of this “strategic review” were never made public. Mr. Bush handed them over to Mr. Obama who also has chosen not to make them public.

It’s a safe bet the “strategic review” offered no cause for optimism; otherwise Messrs Bush and Obama would have held press conferences in which Obama might even have entertained a question or two from Fox News.

As a public service, we present below a synopsis of the “strategic review.” While we have no inside sources, we’ll bet the questions and conclusions make at least as much sense as the “strategic review” seen by two presidents.

__________________________________________________

What the Fuck Are We Doing Here?

Mr. President, as you can see from the title of this review, we attempted to capture its essence in a few succinct words. So that you will not look totally stupid in front of the press, we offer some talking points backed up with relevant data:

wtc1

World Trade Center

Revenge – After the 9/11 attacks, we all agreed that we had to get even with somebody. Never mind that all of the people directly responsible were dead; and, never mind that most of them held Saudi Arabian passports—we needed to go after someone who didn’t have a lot of friends, too much oil, or any California real estate. What we needed was a high body count and Afghanistan seemed to fit the bill. We lost about 3000 people on 9/11. We’ve lost nearly another 1000 soldiers (along with a few reporters and aid workers) in Afghanistan since then. So we’re out, say, 4000 total. We’ve managed to kill some al Qaeda and Taliban types and we’ve greased a shitload of civilians. Looks like we’ve knocked off maybe 30,000 towelheads, burqa babes, and kids This is a kill ratio of about 7 to 1. Not as good as Viet Nam, mind you, where 10 to 1 was the gold standard, but not bad all the same.

BIN LADEN

Osama bin Laden

bin Laden – You’d think 6’6” guy with a beard would stick out just about anywhere but an NBA game but we haven’t been able to find him. Hell, we found the ONLY cow in the US with Mad Cow Disease and we can’t find this guy? And what if we do? With the new torture rules, we can’t even make him listen to Neil Diamond. Look, leave him alone. Yeah, he’s an asshole and deserves to have his neck stretched but most of the world’s scoundrels have avoided any real justice. Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and Idi Amin all managed to die relatively peaceful deaths. Killing bin Laden just elevates him to martyrdom. If the rumors are true, he may be dead already of kidney disease. If he’s alive, there’s a $25 million price tag on his head. Do you suppose he sleeps comfortably in his mountain hideaway knowing that all it’s going to take is one guy who decides that $25 million guaranteed today is a better deal than the nebulous promise of 72 virgins at some time in the future. Given today’s markets, you can buy 72 virgins for a hell of a lot less than $25 million and still have plenty left over for the caviar, Cristal, and KY jelly.

alQaedaAO

al Qaeda Area of Operations

al Qaeda Base of Operations This is one of my favorites: ‘We’ve GOT to subjugate Afghanistan; after all, it’s al Qaeda’s base of operations.’ Forty years ago we spent years scouring South Viet Nam for a mythical hideaway called COSVN, the Central Office for South Viet Nam. This was supposed to be the Viet Cong’s equivalent of the Pentagon, the central nervous system of a vast military organism that stretched across southeast Asia. We were too stupid to imagine that any worthy enemy could stand up against us without centralized command and control, sophisticated intelligence gathering and analysis, and a staff of general officers duly graduated from some reputable military academy. We were wrong about COSVN and we’re wrong about al Qaeda. Sure, al Qaeda exists but, if it gets too hot for them in Afghanistan, they’ll just move somewhere else like, say, Pakistan! Hey, they’ve done that already! And Pakistan is falling apart just like Laos and Cambodia did.

What does a Base of Operations take these days? Not much. A good internet connection, a couple thousand acres of terrain for practice and training and a few well-concealed buildings. Don’t forget, most of the 9/11 terrorists did the bulk of their training in the United States while staying at the La Quinta.

Expansion to Pakistan – This morning, while Hillary geared up for a speech in Peshawar, a car bomb killed about 90 civilians and injured over 200. I’d say al Qaeda and the Taliban have already arrived. Contrary to the catty rumors going around in the States, Hillary is not putting on weight; that’s body armour under those pants suits.

Pakistan is a both a joke and a nightmare—a corrupt government, surrounded by Islamic fundamentalists, and at least 100 high-quality nuclear weapons. It’s just a matter of time until one of these human time bombs (an Islamic fundamentalist) gets his hands on one of these nuclear bombs (a plutonium implosion number laced with tritium) and sets it off. Are you ready to invade Pakistan (along with Iran and Israel) to prevent the detonation of a nuclear weapon in the Middle East? If not, then you’d better get the hell out because it’s just a matter of time.

And don’t forget, on September 16 Obama gave these assholes another $7.5 billion to stem the influence of al Qaeda and the Taliban in Pakistan. They took the $7.5 billion and then immediately complained that the money was an attempt to micro-manage Pakistan’s civilian and military affairs.

Sanctuary – Another great joke. ‘Afghanistan provides sanctuary to terrorists bent on doing us harm,’ is something we hear almost every week from some Sunday morning talking head. Christ, these al Qaeda and Taliban guys are hiding in Detroit and St. Louis; they don’t need Afghanistan as a sanctuary. We understand that a couple of these terrorists are pretty pissed. Someone back in Kandahar told them NFL season tickets were like “money in the bank.” Apparently, they invested heavily in Rams and Lions sky boxes.

Bizarre BazaarWinning ‘Hearts and Minds’ – We tried this one in Viet Nam and it didn’t work. It won’t work in Afghanistan or Pakistan, either. Why? It’s not that they don’t like us; hell we’ve got money, cigarettes, good-quality porn, and we’re basically nice guys until you start shooting at us. What’s not to like about us Foreign Devils? For civilians in these countries, the question is not who’s won their ‘hearts and minds.’ The question is who’s in town this week with the guns? Who owns the night; who speaks your language; who knows where you work; who knows where your kids go to school (if they go); who knows the rest of your family; who knows where your sheep or your poppies are? If you piss them off, who’s going to chase you to the end of the earth, just for the pleasure of cutting off your dick? Some American? Hell, no. He’s headed home in 164 days (and counting) and he’s already decided that next time he comes back to this god-forsaken shithole it will be after the women and children.

burqa-clad-muslim-women_246Burqas – OK, OK. This was one of the really great things to come out of this whole Middle East festouche. Burqas. Remember back in the months following 9/11? Everyone was circulating Internet pictures of burqa-clad women. They were great. No one could believe that there were still places in the world where people (men) took this shit seriously. But there are. And the sooner we get out, the sooner the burqas will be back. They’re even doing burqa fashion shows now.

Opium – In 2007, 93% of all the world’s opiates came from Afghanistan. If we leave, there might be a heroin shortage for a while as the Taliban, who would retake Afghanistan, considers opium “un-Islamic.” But not to worry. If the Taliban really stops opium production in Afghanistan (they won’t, when they find out how much money there is in it), someone else will pick up the slack. According to the US Army War College, “[w]ith a farm gate price of approximately $125 per kilogram for dry opium, an Afghan farmer can make 17 times more profit growing opium poppy ($4,622 per hectare), than by growing wheat ($266 per hectare). Opium poppy is also drought resistant, easy to transport and store, and, unlike many crops, requires no refrigeration and does not spoil.” And, processing opium is very labor intensive, giving all those burqa-clad housewives and little kids something to do.

Birth Rates – Afghanistan has the 4th highest birth rate of any country in the world. I won’t bore you with the math except to make this point: If the Taliban manages to recruit 1% of the the male population each year, we’ll have to kill 10,000 Afghanis just to stay even. Got the stomach for this? And remember, at present kill ratios, that’s another 1500 American lives flushed down the cosmic toilet annually.

Oil – At last we get to the real reason we’re in the Afghanistanoil. Everyone knows that Halliburton and all the rest of George Bush’s buddies wanted to get in to Afghanistan so they could get their hands on all that oil. That, of course, is the whole reason we’re in the Middle East, right? Well, sorry to disappoint you, but there’s not a drop of oil in Afghanistan. Not one. If anyone tries to sell you stock in AfghaniPetro, take a pass.