What is the Best Path Forward for U.S. Foreign Policy Regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Posted by DipNote Bloggers
January 30, 2009
Man Watches Sunset on Outskirts of Islamabad

President Obama and Secretary Clinton named Ambassador Richard Holbrooke to serve as Special Representative to Afghanistan and Pakistan, two very different countries intertwined by geography and ethnicity. Ambassador Holbrooke will help coordinate foreign assistance to the region and work closely with partners on an integrated approach to address the situation in Afghanistan. In remarks, Ambassador Holbrooke said, “[W]e should underscore that we fully respect the fact that Pakistan has its own history, its own traditions, and it is far more than the turbulent, dangerous tribal areas on its western border.”

What is the best path forward for U.S. foreign policy regarding Afghanistan and Pakistan?

Comments

Comments

Sean
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 30, 2009

Sean in Washington, DC writes:

Increased VOA broadcasts in English and local languages.

Skip
|
Washington, USA
January 30, 2009

Skip in Washington writes:

Ensure that we are building relationships across the governmental organizations and with the political parties within each country and less so on the individual country heads. Both Karzai and Zardari appear to be weak leaders. We want to be supporters of their states not just these individual statesmen.

Syrian P.
|
Syria
January 30, 2009

SNP in Syria writes:

The best path forward will be to leave these poor Sovereign countries alone and helps them restore some normal icy to before you came in to the neighborhood. You see, it is hopeless, you can air lift bombs to drop on innocent women and children, you can airlift your young men to kill under the cover of War on Terror, but you can not air lift crude oil out of the Caspian basin, you got to pipe it for hundreds of miles at great investment expense and notoriously hostile land, and here is your VULNERABILITY that is also the IMPOSSIBLITY of the whole scam. What you going to do, kill everyone that has $5 to buy a hand grenade and threaten billions of Dollars in investments (poppy cash) in the pipeline.

Daniel C.
|
New Jersey, USA
January 30, 2009

Daniel in New Jersey writes:

I would very much like to see Sec. Clinton, Sec. Chu, Sec. Vilsack, and the DEA work with the Karzai govt. in converting poppy fields to biofuel crops.

Kevin
|
Ohio, USA
January 30, 2009

Kevin in Ohio writes:

Anything that can be done to increase development and real alternatives to poppy fields so that families can make a living.

I also think we need to build as many relationships as possible with tribal leaders and other local leaders while also maintaining regular communication with the heads of state.

Bottom line, we need to shift away from "war on terror" and replace with "war on poverty."

Klint
|
District Of Columbia, USA
January 30, 2009

Klint in Washington writes:

Reward and share to the world positive actions, especially done by both countries.

Highlight problems that are occurring that need to be worked on.

Admit and work to fairly correct errors that we might make through official actions.

Let the world know of disruptive negative actions that are discovered and are ignored by official behind the scenes diplomatic attempts to change. Each maybe their own country but we all have to deal with the consequences of either inaction or continued negative inhumane actions that are not dealt with.

Ron
|
New York, USA
January 30, 2009

Ron in New York writes:

Afghanistan and Pakistan: Opportunities for Security, Stability, and Development.

Afghanistan must replace its Opium-based political and economic system with other commodities (agriculture, mining, etc.) Pakistan must stop taking advantage of illicit commodities taken from Afghanistan. The negative symbiosis must be broken by military means and local policing. Security forces will be needed to establish a corruption-free environment; particularly in the Helmand Province, Panshjir and other border regions. With clearly expressed political will, and transparent dealings, these countries will begin to benefit mutually from regional prosperity, and rely less on military and nuclear hegemony.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
January 31, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

I want to make a comparison between two known people in the world.

Saddam Hussain (evil doer) and Mother Theresa (Wonderful Saint)

We all know that Saddam was evil. He acted like a dictator and behaved like a Mofia Boss. He mistreated his people on many accounts. He ruled with an iron fist. His sons took on his legacy and acted just like the father.

Mother Theresa had a heart of gold. Generations on earth she helped people. She gave her life to God and he guided her to know where she was needed the most. A saint which sacraficed her own personal wellbeing to ensure she could assist others.

The difference between these two known people comes down to simple programming. They both are unique and yet both will be in history. One was programmed by Islam and the wrong people he surrounded himself with but only to conduct evil acts. The other was programmed within Christian values, warm, kind, passionate, loving and giving along with praying.

The true programming that needs to happen in Afghanistan and Pakistan is bringing a system onboard that allows people to start removing the hate, removing the negatives, removing the very essence of why they want to destroy human lives.

The tree of life - If the roots of the tree are evil it will perish. If the roots are watered, the limbs of the tree receive sunshine and then the nutrients help allow the tree to grow and live. Using this philosphy to examine the situation in the Middle East. If we could teach more people of that culture to find love in the hearts and not hate to mankind. Undo the negative programming that has caused them to act the way they do in the first place. Then reprogram the brain to enjoy life, enjoy peace, enjoy learning, love giving, love thy neighbors, find joy and happiness. What we truly need is like a CD that has all good words, good things and good meanings that can be broadcasted throughout Afghanistan and Pakistan areas where these known terrorist live.

Think about it as a child if your brain was being told daily to hate Americans over and over again. The thought of being brainwashed constantly, and when something tragic happens the first people they blame is Americans. We should retool this situation of how to re-program the people to act more like Mother Theresa than to create more Saddam Hussains.

I think this is very important step towards peace and happiness for the Middle East. It takes 87 good words to replace one bad word used against someone. Which means if there ever was a CD created it should have hundreds of thousands of good words to say then maybe the message would be clear to the people they can live in peace, find love and be happy with one another on earth!

Godbless!!!

Edite
|
Canada
January 31, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

America should never forget that Afghan men, women and children are also children of God and being a Christian-Judeo founded country, America and other countries have an obligation to protect and help provide freedom from harm and all the other freedoms that we so much take for granted.

All efforts to eradicate the Taliban and remants of Al Quaeda require an insurgency of the type that took place in Iraq. Use America's mighty power for good and wipe these trouble-makers off the face of the earth. They are a scourge in Afghanistan and around the world. The war on terror has not ended and as such, requires more viligance, more logistical weaponry infallible intelligence, and an unfailing will to do the job right. Will is going to determine how well Afghan is dealt with and as such requires more countries to help with all of them scripted on the same page.This is a never-ending war if will does not supercede action. New ways of dealing with and protecting the military from road bomb explosives is vital. That atrocious exercise by the Taliban needs to be neutralized by new weaponry to spot their location, on the ground or in the air. Locating Usama bin laden would be a real coup and it would put a damper on their plans for a time. Making sure that persons associated with Al Quaeda who are presently at Gitmo should never be released to regroup themselves in any country. It is a firm belief of mine that their will to do us great harm is much greater than our collective will to rid the earth of them. A shock and awe campaign that is truly that, might be a great help in getting them running from their caves.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
January 31, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

Military action will only end up in a negative response and form a collective of the Pashtoons, which are some 40 million people spread out throughout Pakistan and Afghanistan.
For once I am saying: military action will not solve this problem. It will make it worse unless you can be specific.

The truth to this is in the tale: The Al-Qaida and Taliban was very small prior to this conflict, which is why we did not put more troops into the area. The more we bomb and move into the areas, the larger their support grows on a daily basis.

I understand that much is simply propaganda, but it is working. America is being beaten by propaganda and where is our response: More action in the military arena, which only gives creditability to the Taliban. We have never been good at propaganda and perhaps it is time we learned to peacefully counter and try to win the people, tribe by tribe, within the Pashtoons rather than seem to force the people. People react to what they see and hear first -- we need better first communications with these people as we will always be outsiders by ethnic background to begin with.

Our ideology of military action taking precedence over ethnic collectiveness has been very much at fault for much of the failures occurred within the Iraq war.

The biggest problem is one I hate: Politics and Policies within the governments of both countries -- the only solutions we will have is in aiding in establishing a solvent government within these countries and support them.

In Pakistan, as I understand, they have a long standing agreement to leave the Pashtoons alone and do not mandate borders with them. They consider themselves their own country and did not disturb anyone until threatened. The Pashtoons do not recognize the borders and will not be mandated to do so. This is important where identity of ethnic culture goes and what have we done about any of that aspect? They could care less about who is in power for the most part, some 40 million people of many tribes could care less as long as they are left alone. Imagine that.

THAT IS THE PROBLEM: We don't understand them at all as we cannot relate to that ideology. We need to face the truth, we do not understand something for a change, no matter how smart our guys are, we are dealing with an diffferent type of semi educated primitive culture more than you may realize. It is not Iraq at all. The people are not animals, they are not Oxford graduates, though more than you realize may be; but, they are not ignorant people and they want to be left alone. We will be perturbing 40 million people, even though we are trying to do the right thing and they will not change in a month, year or even years. You cannot force modern age civility on people who don't want it and 40 thousand troops will not be able to quell the adults within some 40 million people. To them America looks like Hamas does to the Israelis. Think about it... and how do we change that outlook -- not by force. We need to centralize on the political aspect of the few, not try to engage the many.

I do believe in getting better intelligence and making strikes which result in direct elimination of leadership and threats within Afghanistan and Pakistan; but, we need programs which are first line communication to win the people. If we accept that we have failed in that attempt and simply go on with broad based military action, they will collect and even with loss, will revert after we leave. It will be like the Romans and Hebrews of old. We will pay dearly in lives, no matter how many Maccabees we have on our side.

We need to win the respect of the many and gain control for the few ...and where are we on that score?

Daniel C.
|
New Jersey, USA
February 1, 2009

Daniel in New Jersey writes:

We should help them learn to ski, snowboard, and iceskate, so that they could start a new industry and create jobs.

beau
|
Kansas, USA
February 1, 2009

Beau in Kansas writes:

The U.S. Foreign Policy for these two countries should be formed around the following framework: Prudence, Feasibility, Transparency and Legitimacy.

(1) Understand the American people's logical desire to end military and financial commitment to Afghanistan and Pakistan. Notwithstanding a legitimate need to fund a very limited amount of covert operations.

(2) Establish clear, legitimate and feasible strategic goals that shape U.S. interests in the region. Make those goals clear to the world, including U.S. citizens. Where ambiguity exists, public doubt fills the void. To accomplish this we must understand the foreign policy and interests of Iran, Russia, (the Stans), China and India, in regards to Afghanistan and Pakistan. This includes Afghanistan's desire to become more involved with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

(3) For military involvement in particular, operations should be NATO led and NATO funded under a unified command, with increased participation from partner nations, sanctioned by the UN This will facilitate unity of effort and legitimacy. Develop and publish a NATO clear and achievable end state to military operations.

(4) For financial assistance to these nations, be open and honest to the world and the people of the U.S. on what we are funding and why.

(5) Understand and attempt to support the strategic goals regional countries where possible.

(6) Put a regional face on security, economic, and political goals for the region.

(7) Continually seek solutions to regional security and governance issues through the U.N., NATO and other interested parties.

(8) Information dominance is our key to success. We must be better communicators of truth than we are now. We should increased information operations focused at regional partners and others. And last but most important, we must continually provide the American people with the pure unprocessed truth and all the ugliness and beauty that it includes, explaining how that truth shapes our policy.

This answer is based on necessary assumptions about the U.S. Strategic Security goals in the region. Assumption (1) The U.S. is in Afghanistan to deny Al Qaeda and the Taliban sanctuary, (2) The U.S. does not wish to remain militarily committed to Afghanistan, (3) the government of Afghanistan wants the U.S. to conduct foreign internal defense.

Afghanistan and Pakistan belong to the people of those two countries. These two countries share an immutable tribal connection. That means for either to succeed, they must cooperate across the spectrum of governance.

Wendy
|
California, USA
February 1, 2009

Wendy in California writes:

I'm convinced that we should do whatever we can to low-key both Afghanistan and Pakistan. First, bluntly, we can't afford another decade of hopeless war. Does anyone not hopped up on chest-thumping warmongering really believe that we can "win" a war in terrain like Afghanistan? The Soviets were not chumps in the war department.

Declare victory and get out. Move to special ops to seek out Mr. Bin Laden and otherwise just keep the Taliban from completely taking over.

I think we gotta be ruthlessly honest with ourselves about the plausible goals there. How little can we do to keep Afghanistan from final implosion? I fear putting more troops in there is mad. A creeping escalation like, dare I say it, the dreaded Vietnam.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
February 1, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

@ Joe in Tennessee -- I read your article and agree ever since the British landed in America we have been faced with tribes with the Native Indians. The Middle East has many tribes. In the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia its broken down to 5 major areas. Riyadh being the Capitol, Khamis in the South, Tabuk in the North, Dahran in the East and Taif in the west. What people may not realize is that there are 90 plus tribes and dialogues differences in that country. An Arab in Khamis speaks and writes Arabic but his accent is different from Riyadh. Just like in the United States someone born from Texas speaks different from Louisana. There is one other element people may not realize, (The Bedouin) who lives away from the cities or towns on their own. They disagree with the laws and cultures of society. They refuse to be a part of what happens in the city so they live out in the desert to protest against it. Remember the history about Usama Bin laden how he spent 40 days in the desert to survive? This is almost classic from the story of Moses. In the Arab world Usama bin laden is Moses. That’s the reason why we have had no luck finding the man. Would the Jews have given Up Moses, think about? Around the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in the deserts, you have many Bedouin camps. Just like when the United States went into Afghanistan and found all the training camps used by Usama Bin laden. What I learned being in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was that if you found yourself lost and the Bedouins found you, two things would happen. One you had tea with the Bedouins or if you did not appeal to their warm gesture, you could of been killed. This is for real. Yet in the United States, we keep thinking like Joe mentioned having special degrees and trying to out-think the enemy. When they continue to run circles around us in the Middle East.

I also agree that Afghanistan and Pakistan is NOT Iraq. However, we still have to find a method of communications that works for everyone to bring peace to that part of the world.

Walk a hundred miles in my footsteps and you will see a vision that is unlike the United States. In the desert you have no cactus trees, brown sand and some parts of Arabia is red sand. Camels and scorpions are present. What do people of Arabia do for fun? They take their family to the desert for a picnic. Compare that to what we do for fun in the United States? Some say living in the desert of Arabia is like being next to God because there is nothing there. The heat is like an oven during the summer periods and at night cools off.

The Arabs fear that we will dominate their culture. They fear that our western ways will change the existing style or beliefs they have been accustomed and known for thousands of years. They are not scared but live in fear knowing we are in their backyard. As long as we maintain a presence in the Middle East there will always be turmoil for our people around the world. Remember when Usama bin laden made his first statements, it was about the time when the United States had moved into the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Big contracts were awarded at that time along with Usama Bin Laden felt threatned because of Mecca. He didn't want the west to be near the very holy mosque that the Saudis treasure.

Another big problem is United States and Japan are the leaders in techno gadgets. I still remember growing up with just a phone at the home. Then all of sudden we have PDA's, Cell Phones and God only knows all the other toys that continue coming out. The Arabs continue using the Lunar cycle as a means of time. Going to the Middle East is almost like dropping back to the 14th Century but with a twist. You have modern day advancements living in a state of a Monarchy. The Royal Family rule the people. Islam is the true dictator in the Middle East. Everything is done by this belief and culture. It's quite possible that one of the oldest churches in the world is located in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia but because of the beliefs and customs they will not allow for Christians to practice in that country. You cannot bring a bible King James to the KSA. You cannot practice your own religious beliefs in a public square. You would be arrested. Again, we take a lot things for granted in the United States. In Arabia if your caught with drugs, after being captured swift Justice happens within 3 days you would be "Beheaded" if you stole in that part of the world after the third time you right hand is cutoff. This is to show the people of your punishment and prevent you from being able to conduct future businesses in that country. Since Arabs also shake hands in agreement.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
February 1, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

Adventure Story When Travelled and Worked in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia 1996 - 1999

This story takes place after the Kobart towers incident in the Kingdom. I can remember taking the long trip from Los Angeles, CA to Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia back in 1996. You make a lot of assumptions thinking everything will be coordinated and work out fine until you arrive in the Kingdom. I was hired by Hughes Aircraft - Systems Support Engineer to work on the Peace Shield Project. People who may not know what this system is "Advance Air Defense Shield" the United States had a contract with the Saudis.

Once getting through customs at the airport and finally getting your luggage after its been gone through with a fine comb. You head to the front of the airport and once again assuming that someone knew you were arriving and were going to have your name on a piece of paper holding it up to ensure your properly picked up. This did not happen. I found myself in a very particular situation. I went up to a taxi driver asked if he spoke English. He did speak some English but it was just enough to get me in his cab. Be little did I know this was funnier than any movie. I was trying to give him directions in English to a compound in Riyadh and the Arab driver was spouting off Arab words. Almost like a scene from "Dumb and dumber" then we head off downtown Riyadh. He was wearing his Arab attire, tunnel vision, drove down a four-lane highway speeding and not even staying his own lane. After about an hour of driving, he found a gas station opened and a translator was there that could translate my directions from English to Arabic on my true destination. This is roughly about 3:30 in the morning. About 15 minutes later we arrived at the right compound. He takes all my luggage out of his taxi and takes off out of the area real quick. Once I see his taxi drive off in a hurry, then about 10 seconds later I was surrounded by Saudi (Red Cappers) which was the Saudi Military Force all pointing Machine guns right at me! Have you have ever seen a white man turn glow white? That was me, I had all my papers and identification. I explained and asked if this was the right compound, few minutes later they agreed, they thought I was arriving next week. Then they lowered the weapons and showed me to the place where I would be staying.

You can believe that Security was at the highest point after the Kobart Towers incident. The second time I had run into a situation like this was when arriving at Al Kharj Prince Sultan Air Force Base. Get this it wasn't Saudis it was the United States Air Force. I entered the base but didn't have good directions to where I would stay. So I did like most people would do is stop at a gate and ask for directions. I pull up to this one gate and all of sudden about 15 Americans with armed weapons surrounded my vehicle. Here we go again...white man turning glow white again... I immediately identified myself as being an American Contractor and explained I had been a U.S. Navy Veteran here on Assignment. Once I showed my papers and identification wow they lowered the weapons. Once they knew who I was and had my paperwork everything was okay. Then they even asked If I wanted a personal escort to my location. After my heart was beating about 300 beats per second, I said no thanks just point me in the right direction.

I hope people can relate to this story who has been in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. This was a true story. I of course have many more stories to share...

Edite
|
Canada
February 2, 2009

Edite in Canada writes:

Foreign policy in Pakistan is an entirely different ball of wax.And, any policy that can be put into a nutshell, should be.The mercurial politicians that rule in Pakistan do not really know which side of the fence they fancy.Until that issue is firmly resolved,lower- level diplomatic attention is the route to travel and when America is assured of Pakistani loyalties and unwavering actions to rid themselves of Talibani and Al Quaeda influences, then and only then should higher-level discussions take place. Knowing that America is not only fighting a war on terror and that is what it is, but is also suffering from financial troubles where America is in hock to numerous insidious countries does not exactly bode well for foreign policy initiatives that would benefit America and those they choose to engage in diplomatic liaisons.Rome was definitely not built in a day and American foreign policy initiatives could take as long to accomplish. With so many exceedingly diverse countries, languages , customs, religions, cultures, outlooks,and power struggles, hope for change in course will be a very difficult hill to climb. Perhaps it would be better to call it a mountain to climb, which would be more truthful. Any diplomatic adventure always has at its core a quid pro quo. Deciphering which countries are more inclined to a Western bent would be easier to deal with. Others may mount a Potemkin Village illusion to entice America and Western countries into situations that ultimately will not bode well for us is something that needs to be taken very seriously and examined with a fine toothed comb, preferably under a scientific microscope that delves deep into the issues at hand. The assassination of would-be Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto should never have happened but for a grave miscalculation by Western intelligence. A colossal error.

John
|
Greece
February 2, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Donald in Virginia -- I liked your story so much that my only problem is about the title!
"300 beats per second" or "White man turning glow white"?

Dear Donald, if you have more other stories to share, I personally think that it's a very interesting idea to write another book, this time on this platform and of course, later, on printed paper. What I mean is:

let's create:

You will post the stories here ...after all, our priority is DipNote(ing)- and then you will publish the book that will promote both our favorite Blog and the book?

How is this sounds?

I think fantastic!

The first and most intellectual Blog in the world that created a real book made and written by the real bloggers!

And, if you want some more "inspiration" ...maybe my thought is crazy -- I would co-write with Tara. http://blogs.state.gov/index.php/search/results/4f1d9f336ea3de4ce96fa379...

So,
Tara Foley & Donald in VA
"300 beats per glow white"

I think this is the title!

Best Regards Donald!!!

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
February 2, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

2 Feb 09

State Department Dipnote Blog request? I would like to know if I can continue with the story on this website and as John Mentioned a book online as it's being written for an audience of bloggers and allow for promotion that would help the State Department offer readers something cool to read.

@ John in Greece -- I would need permission from the State Department to continue my story. I would be glad to share all the different and unique things that happened over there. I most likely would have write in short paragraphs. If it's okay with the Dipnote Authority on this website? I'm in for writing a new book.

I thought it might be useful especially when people are trying to understand other experiences and cultures.

Thanks John.

DipNote Bloggers write:

@ Donald in Virginia -- As long as your comments are consistent with DipNote's comment policy, we are fine with that.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 2, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

I will tell you what NOT to do because, despite Mr. Obama's recent authorization to continue this practice, it is dangerous.

While I see no problem at all with "extrarordinary rendition" of terror suspects in a war zone, such as Afghanistan, there are big legal problems with CIA operations in western countries such as France and Italy. The CIA is violating their national laws by violating extradition treaties. "Rendition" is basically an illegal extradition.

If a treaty exists for extradition, it must be followed or the U.S. will be unable to complain when French or Italian secret services decide to kidnap U.S. citizens in America. If we break the treaty, we buy the consequences.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
February 2, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

2 Feb 09

I just wanted to say thanks again John in Greece.

The way to catch Usama Bin Laden is not with 21th Century technology. You have to examine his past experiences and know his capabilities. The Bedouin is technically a survivor in his own world. Anyone that can survive the desert heat and live in the desert for years has already proven his abilities. We continue thinking there is ONE Usama Bin Laden when in fact the man has had a family of many kids which are grown today. How many of his kids or teenagers live in other Arab countries? We all know from the newscast one of his sons live in Egypt. How quaint since the right hand man of Usama bin laden is Egyptian.

Everyone says he lives in a cave or in a hole? I find this very untrue. Usama bin laden has had help to evade our people, the true question is by whom? We also think he's attached to some medical equipment to prevent him from moving around. If this was remotely true a hospital or the manufacture of these type of equipments would of reported something and yet nothing.

I believe the United States Government should be applying pressure to the Saudi Government and get to the truth once and for all about where Mr. Usama bin laden is located? After all he is one their people. If someone went missing in Canada you ask a Canadian what happened? If Usama bin laden is in Pakistan, then some people in high places need to start fessing up to how he can still be operating, when there is an agreement with the country of Pakistan and the United States?

Here is one known fact that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has always helped Pakistan. Why does the Kingdom do this? Think about this for a moment, they can hire cheap labor from Pakistan people to build and work in the Kingdom. The workforce in Arabia is NOT Arabians. It's foreigners like Pakistan, Indians from India, Philipinoes all work for a price which is just around poverty levels. However, they can still make more money in Kingdom than back in their own countries. I remember seeing a connex long time ago designed to house people. How very sad that people who work abroad have to live in such living conditions. What they do is convert a connex which is normally used to haul goods in and deliver via tractor tractor, or what some might call a trailer from a tractor trailer. They install beds and an air conditioner inside it. Then they can house many people inside it. Instant Housing!

The other part about Saudi Arabia that comes to mind is all the check-points across the country. You must have travel orders when driving around the Kingdom. If you don't have the right papers you will get arrested. However, the interesting part about this is, Saudi Arabia has many open parts of the desert, so people can avoid the checkpoints by driving in the open deserts without even seeing one Checkpoint. Which really makes the whole Checkpoint security strategy for the Saudis kinda bogus.

John
|
Greece
February 2, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Z it's not THE CIA, but CIA! [however, anyway] Except if you mean NSA!

IRONY: I've also heard all these conspiracy scenarios! Interesting Fiction! I see you love "literature"! The worst and latest I've heard is that NSA and NASA -which are the same company except an A- already put bombs in space in order to have the upper hand when people, after some million years, will go there. And they are the only Service -- besides CIA -- that have this future space bomb-map. END OF IRONY.

And now back to earth -- Let's begin with the elementary: https://www.cia.gov/kids-page/k-5th-grade/index.html

It's been 4 decades in my life hearing that CIA is "responsible" for everything bad in the world, but nobody of these guys in VA have done nothing at all to help the U.S. and the Globe.

Here is the path of this anti-American propaganda:
Traffic Jam = blame CIA
Bad Economy = blame CIA
Extinction of the Asian elephants = blame CIA
My car is not fast enough = blame CIA
My girl dates another guy = blame CIA
I don't want to wash the dishes = blame CIA

And now back to logic without the humorous part:
Do you remember a guy -- among many others everywhere -- who was recently assassinated in London by today's "KGB mafia"? What I mean is that your stance is pretty "interesting". Instead of analyzing the intel stance of countries that are trying to hurt America, you criticize -- CIA???

Ok! I am not a CIA anyway, and the worst is that this Service, although the best "company" in the world, has no PR at all. It wouldn"t be logical to have such a department -- at least as I put it.

Nevertheless, your stance is a little bit strange. Of course, probably you know better than me as long as I am not an American citizen -- you are!

Zharkov
|
United States
February 3, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

I think you are wrong about the CIA having no PR -- they do have "spokespersons" who occasionally make public statements on their behalf, one of whom is usually the president himself. Indeed, the CIA has been reported to have paid journalists to write stories favorable to U.S. operations, such as "enhanced interrogation" (formerly known as torture), and other topics.

Zharkov
|
United States
February 3, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

"President Obama has promised the American public that his administration will honor the principles of open government, the Constitution, and the Rule of Law," ALIPAC President William Gheen said. "The 'rule of law,' in its most basic form, is the principle that no one is above the law," an ALIPAC statement said. "The principle is intended to be a safeguard against arbitrary governance, whether by a totalitarian leader or by mob rule. Thus, the rule of law is hostile both to dictatorship and to anarchy."

I would add that no nation is above the law it agreed to obey by treaty. So if we want the benefits of our treaties, we should be seen to follow them rather than ignore them.

joe
|
Tennessee, USA
February 3, 2009

Joe in Tennessee writes:

1. QUOTE: We need to win the respect of the many and gain control OF the few ...and where are we on that score? END QUOTE.

a. The few is the Government: Quote from AP 16 hrs ago. L.Jakes: The annual Failed State Index, published by the Fund for Peace, showed worsening governance in Afghanistan between 2006 and 2008. The major problems are in the Governance of Afghanistan, where is military action going to aid in this? We need to teach them to govern properly, which would mean establishing a pragmatic Judicial System first to eliminate the corruption which is the major problem there. More troops does not accomplish this.

b. Winning respect of the many: As Americans, we have a very poor overview of other countries cultures to push political programs ahead; sometimes, aided by misrepresentation of the press. Afghanistan is NOT IRAQ, the cultures are vastly different. Iraq is not IRAN; they are vastly different social/citizen wise. Iran is much more sophisticated when you view the people and not the government. Women are not setting themselves on fire to avoid prearranged marriages in either Iraq or Iran as a small example. There is a vast difference. In Afghanistan you will find a large population base which will fight simply because they have nothing else to do and the herding instinct takes over with attachment to enmeshment of religious philosophy.

Using drones is very impersonal, not as costly, but the overview is one almost Satanic in nature by view of the people there. If you would take the time to read some of the editorials or blogs by people who are affected or by the propaganda issued you will see that perhaps, in this case, the most intelligent method is not justifying and end to the means overall and will result in long lasting detrimental feeling against the United States and our actual goals. I doubt seriously we would view an invisible threat possibility taking any innocent life as anything other than Demonic and evil in nature were it done to us.

We need to impact the people on a personal level that is not cold or mispercieved.

2. General Mullen, who actually fought in Vietnam, finds training of the Afghani troops to be the major problem...he also noted in a speech in Virginia that America needs to be concerned with our problems in Mexico and elsewhere. Centralizing troops and fiscal reality may create a larger problem than the one that exist in Afghanistan.

How about sticking to the question? What does CIA have to do with it? You people watch too many fictional movies and THEY DO MAKE A DIFFERENCE. Turner wanted to break CIA up or re-departmentalize so there was better overlap with Military Intelligence at one time, I realize this but: Little Satins are we; little Satins are we, protecting your liberties?.. Movie magic quotes?..

Go back to the questions please and subjects you may know something about.

John
|
Greece
February 3, 2009

John in Greece writes:

CIA does not have a PR Dept. They have spokesmen, they have a site, they have an "ask a question" desk, but certainly they do not have and they cannot have what we call PR.

Of course sometimes they make statements and publish official reports, but they do not have and they cannot have a communicational plan that promotes the Service image by making the "Company" lovable and understandable. This is not part of the "job description".

Have you ever heard a CIA statement with a PR value like this:

"Hello!, today, WE in CIA provided DEA all the necessary information in order to arrest a great drug gang from Colombia".

Or

"Hi People, after OUR information and actions, local police in Sudan caught a ship full of weapons on their way to a guerilla group!"

No! and you'll never will! (I mean the majority of such cases)

You cannot hear or read such announcements and CIA cannot reveal all these info and promote its successes (protecting their people, ways and sources) that could help their worldwide image. But, they have thousands of such successes per year, which we'll never learn.

That's why I say that they cannot have a PR Dept. and this is unfair, moreover if you consider the fact that they take the image blame on them. I fully respect CIA spokesmen and their important work, but what they do it's not exactly what we'd call in private factor a PR desk, what you describe as PR, since they do not execute a predetermined PR plan. They just help the feedback process with People and Press and not a "make better image scope" with a FORECAST and a PNL. You see, national and worldwide security comes first.

Concerning the President, I never saw a U.S. President acting as CIA spokesman or as a CIA PR executive. I've heard Presidents referring to CIA info or reports, but they do it in order to strengthen our understanding concerning the foreign policy they choose to follow.

After all this is a huge part of CIA mission: Conducting covert action at the direction of the President to preempt threats or achieve US policy objectives.
https://www.cia.gov/about-cia/cia-vision-mission-values/index.html

After your comments, I feel like a PR Dept. now! (LOL!)
But then, who are you? The enemy? (LOL!)
and we are certainly out of subject...

Zharkov
|
United States
February 3, 2009

Zharkov in U.S.A. writes:

What does the CIA have to do with our foreign policy in Pakistan, Joe? When killing Paki suspects, it IS our foreign policy as far as their villages are concerned.

We seem to have three foreign policies, an overt one set by the president and the State Department, and two covert ones set by the president and the CIA and by the President and the Pentagon.

Normally one would expect, as our federal government continues to expand without limits, and each agency assumes more power to operate within its sphere of influence, that even more foreign policies may emerge. We may find one agency helping a village to develop its water supply and the CIA tasked to destroy that village in the quest to suppress terrorists.

I think this is how we managed to supply arms to both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The federal government is becoming so large, and the agencies so independent, that we find the I.R.S. making foreign tax policies, the E.P.A. making foreign trade policies, the Pentagon making foreign military policies, and of course, the CIA making foreign government policies, such as deposing the heads of state in Iran, Chile, South Vietnam, and elsewhere.

The best path would be for the State Department to have one, comprehensive foreign policy but that is impossible now. So what does the CIA have to do with foreign policy in Pakistan...everything! What the CIA does in that country violates international law, and when a law is violated enough times, it is eventually abolished.

Donald
|
Virginia, USA
February 3, 2009

Donald in Virginia writes:

3 Feb 09

Conduct a Middle Eastern Summit in Switzerland.

Invite the Prime Ministers of Egypt, Isreal, Hamas/Palastines/Pakistan and the King of Saudi Arabia all to join in all the Summit. Then allow for 12 witnesses of each country to stand up and give their own ideas how peace can happen. Another words not just the Leaders of the country, but to include the people of the countries to join in on the Summit. Each giving their own testimonies as to what can be done to help bring peace. Each of the 12 people will bring 12 stories that might help bring more light to the situation. The Jews bring 12 witnesses as well. Then setup a mock situation where the United States can show how they can accomplish peace on a stage setting so everyone in the Summit can watch. Put on a play for the all the parties and show them how each of them behave on the news? Everyone from all the different countries can see for themselves firsthand how it looks to the rest of the world what is happening. Like show and tell in school, only done with some Drama and some acting.

John
|
Greece
February 3, 2009

John in Greece writes:

@ Zharkov in U.S.A. -- Joe in TN wrote you some important things, but you do not seem to understand. Let's make it cents!

1. As usually, you have a problem with the President

However, now, you have a few more:

A. a CIA problem
B. a Pentagon problem
C. a State Department problem

Things in life are simple:

The President can make decisions only when he has GOOD INFO from SD, the Pentagon and CIA. Otherwise he would be "blind", because he would not have all the appropriate info (tools) to service the best way.

What is what you do not understand?
The Pentagon provides military info.
SD provides foreign affairs info.
CIA provides intel info.
And, the President combines and evaluates all these info and decides the action.
Plus the Congress.

Do you see any other way for such a huge "project"?

Obviously, you dislike this system and you want to create your own one without the President, CIA, the Pentagon, the Congress and SD.

God bless us, but thanks God: in God we trust!

On the other hand, you are attempting to present your thoughts as "final" and accurate. Who told you that U.S. "supplied arms to both sides in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict". Do you have any proofs for what you are saying? Or is it the usual anti-American propaganda?
I don't buy...
And how do you know what CIA is doing in Pakistan? You write like you know more than the Chief...
However, do you know, or it's just conspiracy and propaganda?

Anyway,
this is probably my last comment on this topic.

Elaine
|
Wisconsin, USA
February 4, 2009

Elaine in Wisconsin writes:

What does Greg Mortensen say?

Ahmad M.
|
Afghanistan
February 4, 2009

Ahmad M. in Afghanistan writes:

With due respect :

Mr.President Barack Obama has to shift U.S. military strategy in Afghanistan, and concentrating more on targeting Taliban and al-Qaida sanctuaries inside Pakistan , also to facilitate reconstruction and rehabilitation in Afghanistan .

Best Regards
Ahmad M.

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