"An appalling irresponsible act." That’s how General James Nattis, fresh at the helm of U.S. Central Command, characterizes the release of the classified Pentagon reports. You may recall that the Pentagon is the same outfit that loaded $24 billion in $100 bills onto shrinkwrapped pallets and loaded the cash onto C-130 transport planes bound for Iraq—guarded by enlisted men who earn $20,000 a year. Not one of those Benjamins has ever heard from since. Which, given that the money was supposed to be paid to corrupt tribal sheikhs, is just as well.
So anyway, when a Pentagon biggie calls someone irresponsible, take them seriously. These guys know from irresponsibility.
The involuntarily declassified material contains some real gems. My current fave—there will, no doubt, be others, for I am fickle and the material is vast—comes from an Aug ‘07 report that explains some of the ways Pakistan uses the billions in U.S. taxdollars.
Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence agency (its equivalent of our CIA), is supposed to help the U.S. arrest and/or kill the Haqqanis (a neo-Taliban-affiliated Islamist organization). That’s why the U.S. pays the ISI. Instead, the ISI pays the Haqqanis. With U.S. money.
Which is why, when you lose your house to foreclosure, the only help you get from Obama is a feigned expression of vague concern.
Anyway, the ISI hires the Haqqanis to carry out interesting projects. For example, Pakistan used your money to hire Haqqani assassins to kill Indian road engineers and workers in Nimruz province. Going rate: $15,000 to $30,000 each. Another deal concerns 1,000 motorcycles which ISI shipped to the Haqqanis for use in suicide bomb attacks in Khost and Logar provinces. Let’s hope they at least had the decency to buy cool, American-made Harleys so that some of our dough makes its way back here.
So, back to the issue of irresponsible behavior. U.S. government, meet kettle.
It has been pointed out that the WikiLeaks documents don’t reveal much that is new. But the Wikileaks leaks are nevertheless a game-changer. They prove that the military sees things the same way we do. So that’s the end of the debate. The war is an atrocity and a mistake. Everyone agrees.
The leaks mark the beginning of the end of one of a stupid country’s countless stupid misadventures. I don’t see what else might have accomplished the same thing so quickly.