Saturday, March 10, 2007

SCREW TED KOPPEL: Our national struggle is just beginning, news on page twenty of the entertainment section

Readers of your friendly neighborhood GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow's blog know that the ocean of terror-bad-and-ruin-coming-to-America news is vast and deep.

In today's Los Angeles Times, reporter Tony Perry, usually covering the Marine Corps in Iraq, writes of Ted Koppel's special, "Our Children's Children's War," set to air Sunday night on the Discovery Channel. (Today on Discovery, "American Sharks" and "Mythbusters: Jaws Special," in which "Jamie wrestles with sharks.")

"In such perilous times, it's good to have [Koppel] on the beat," writes Perry. Ted is so good, the review is on the very last page of the newspaper, below the fold.

Ha-ha, Ted, an editor worked you over!

We don't need no more steen-king endless terror war stories -- of which this is yet another in a grand tradition.

Everyone knows about it Ted! These are not scintillating observations. Wake up, dummy! We're filled to the brim and you're fresh out of ideas, no matter how many of your pals think you're still swell.

Perry writes of the material in Ted's special, all the stuff we've heard, groaned and quaked over before.

It'll be generations before "we face down the threat" and "it is probably just a matter of time before a non-state actor -- read terrorist group -- gets its own nuclear weapon."

Wow! That's the first time your GlobalSecurity.Org Senior Fellow has heard that one.

This week.

Let's see now, there was the cover story on the same subject in the New York Times Sunday magazine two weeks ago. And in the opinion pages, Frank Rich citing the chain-rattling Jakob Marley's Ghost of terror, Michael Scheuer, insisting al Qaeda was bringing the bomb to us as fast as humanly possible.

And don't forget the fifty megabyte animation of an atom bomb exploding near the White House, distributed by McClatchy News last week for "Experts: US unprepared for nuclear attack."

There's no enthusiasm for digging fall-out shelters and stocking dosimeters in the general populace laments Pentagon analyst John Brinkerhoff.

Plus the recent absolutely novel article in the Atlantic Monthly on how terrorists would get a nuclear weapon. And "The Bomb In the Backyard" in Foreign Policy in November.

Jeez, Ted's really onto something.

The military won't be enough to handle the endless war, it is said.

"Our military is quite stretched," says Cofer Black of the now famous mercenary/security contractor known as Blackwater.

Perry doesn't identify Black by name in the preview, perhaps because if people start looking it up they'll find a lot of stuff to suggest Cofer's not a guy you want running an outsourced war on terror for the good of the nation.

The idea here is that Black wants to be part of the neverending struggle. He was in at the beginning of it for the CIA and State Department, apparently didn't get paid quite sufficiently trying to save the nation, and so now he'll get better money doing it privately.

For one, after 9/11, part of the lore on Black is that he ordered Osama bin Laden's head be brought to him in a box. That worked well, Cofer. Did you hear, they're celebrating bin Laden's birthday right now.

And more recently, Black created a stink when his quotes from a Special Forces convention were published in the Army Times.

"[Cofer Black] astonished special operations forces representatives gathered here from around the world with a proposal to use his company as an army for hire for the world's secondary battles," reported the publication in April of last year.

" 'It's an intriguing, good idea from a practical standpoint because we're low-cost and fast...The issue is, who's going to let us play on their team?'"

To read Black's words in the Army Times was to experience some hilarity at the faux nobility of the claims.

"Blackwater spends a lot of time thinking, 'How can we contribute to the common good?'" Black said.

"I just got tired of watching people not really do anything. It's heartbreaking." This, in reference to a wish to send a privatized brigade to the Sudan.

Was Black making a speech hoping to net a nomination for a Nobel Peace Prize?

[Sidebar: In a January edition of the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot, one reads: "Always on the lookout for new markets, Blackwater USA may be close to getting a toehold in one of Africa's most strife-torn spots...The Moyock, N.C.-based private military company is angling for a role training security forces in southern Sudan, where a fragile peace agreement has been threatened recently by sporadic flare-ups of a decades-long civil war. Ezekiel Lol Gatkuoth, head of mission in Washington for southern Sudan's regional government, said he expects Blackwater to begin training the south's security forces within the next few weeks."]

So it is that Cofer Black would seem to be just the person to go to find recommendations on the business value of a hundred years war.

Similar points have been made, but from the negative and critical side, in the documentaries "Why We Fight," "Iraq for Sale" and "Nemesis," a book by Chalmers Johnson.

When war becomes so profitable, it is guaranteed you will have more of it, indicated Johnson in "Why We Fight." The movie has been running in medium heavy rotation on a number of movie channels. Johnson, also ex-CIA, is the logical antidote for the now embarrassingly large number of Cofer Blacks.

Back in February, The Washington Times reported private sector brigades are perhaps not quite enough for Black. Such formations will need their own clandestine intelligence service.

Black, and Rob Richer, another CIA man, "will create a new 'CIA-type' organization to address intelligence needs in the private sector. 'Terror attacks,' 'political instability,' 'avian-flu outbreaks,' and even severe weather events will be on the radar of the company, which the pair names Total Intelligence Solutions.'"

Although this show might indicate it, Ted Koppel is probably not completely washed up.

But work like this, even though it treks to Ethiopia and Afghanistan, should be put down in the strongest terms, taken to the glue factory and rendered for reasons which became clear a couple years ago. The story has been told many times. Get ready for the forever war, shouted ever louder and louder, an excruciating din no one has missed.

The original at the LA Times.

Jargon watch: "The phrase 'hearts and minds' is in disrepute. The new buzz phrase is 'human terrain'..." Perry writes.

In other words, old mutton now reseasoned as lamb because hearts-and-minds gets you laughed at as out of it.

Actually, "human terrain" is still hearts-and-minds, only packaged as a system with corporate-type jargon so someone in the service can call it their unique contribution, a new giftbox of more considerate personnel to take to foreign lands where things are blowing up daily beyond control and reason.

From Military Review's "The Human Terrain System:"

"The core building block of the system will be a five-person human terrain team (HTT) ... The HTT [provides] the commander [with]...civilian social scientists trained and skilled in cultural data research and analysis."

"During the Vietnam war, [a project] was administered to win the 'hearts and minds' of the South Vietnamese people ... In the above photo, a soldier ... is playing with children of An Dien ... a Viet Cong stronghold west of Saigon..."

That worked.

"In the current climate, there is broad agreement among operators ... that many, if not most, of the challenges we face in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted from our failure early on to understand the culture in which [US] forces were working. In other words, we failed to heed the lessons of Vietnam ... and we did not take the steps necessary to deal appropriately with the insurgencies within the context of their unique cultural environments."

"...With the introduction of the Human Terrain System and its human terrain teams, future deploying brigades will get a running start once they enter threater. They will be culturally empowered and able to key on the people and so prosecute counter-insurgency ... not by fire and maneuver but by winning hearts and minds. In turn, the Army, our Nation, and the people of Iraq and Afghanistan will benefit from the fielding of this powerful new instrument for conducting stability operations and reconstruction."

It's hard to think of anyone with common sense and whose pay grade, rank or job description not preclude they keep their mouths shut not laughing at such conceits. And as remarkable as this paper is in its weird and clouded military groupthink, see it here.

If you enjoyed this, you surely won't want to miss Screw Ted Koppel, Pt. 2.


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