February 2004
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
    Mar »

Day February 7, 2004

Tempier 1990 Tourtine (mag)

Opened this at Cafe Campagne with good friends and cassoulet. Incredible nose. Tree bark, brown sugar, sweet nose. Lots of minerals on the palate, deep palate with good acid and length. Some maturity but still plenty of time left. Needs 1+ hour in the decanter to start showing the sweetness of the fruit. Superb, especially with the garlicky sausage in the cassoulet.

So why, exactly, is Pakistan not a “Rogue State” for proliferation of WMD?

Long-time Pakistan watchers were undoubtedly not surprised at the revelations that Pakistani nuclear scientists (including Abdul Khan, the father of that country’s nuclear program) passed designs to Libya, Iran, and North Korea, while maintaining their status as a U.S. ally.  Nor were many of us surprised when Musharraf pardoned Khan, presumably in exchange for Khan covering his superior’s involvement.  That’s par for the course in a country which is alternately run by corrupt military juntas and equally corrupt civilian governments.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve spent some time in the country and have met many friends and wonderful people.  I have no beef with the people of Pakistan. 

What I find amazing, however, is the utter lack of consistency displayed by the Administration considering our hard-line stance towards state supporters of terrorism and proliferators of WMD.  Or did I miss the memo which redefined the global war on terrorism?  Washington’s reaction to Musharraf’s pardon has been “understated.”  In other words, nothing.  We’re happy that Pakistan is taking care of the problem, and apparently we’re satisfied with their response.  Except for David Kay, of course, who seems to be completely unmanageable and speaks his mind constantly.  I love that guy.  We need ten more guys like Kay and Paul O’Neill, willing to speak the truth even if it gets them in hot water.

As Kevin Drum points out today on this same subject, if you believe the Administration’s position that we should go after state supporters of terrorism and those who proliferate the technologies of WMD, then you should be appalled by the Bush Administration’s response to the pardon.  

Naturally, those of us (likely including Kevin Drum) who view the Administration’s “war on terror” as a public relations campaign first, and a national security strategy second, weren’t surprised a bit.  


Bounding the Global War on Terrorism

It’s not just amateurs (like me) that think Bush’s “global war on terrorism” is unfocused and more public relations than national security strategy.  This has been blogged around a bit earlier in the year, but if you haven’t read Dr. Jeffrey Record’s strategy paper from the Strategic Studies Institute, I recommend it highly.  The study deconstructs the global war on terrorism (GWOT) in detail, analyzing the appropriateness of both goals and tactics.  What’s amazing about the paper, of course, is that it’s not from a liberal think tank or an anti-war author.  Dr. Jeffrey Record is a Professor in the Department of Strategy and International Security at the US Air Force’s Air War College, and a Visiting Professor at the Strategic Studies Institute at the Army War College.  The SSI is the “Army’s think tank for the analysis of national security policy and military strategy.” 

Obviously, Dr. Record’s analysis of the GWOT should carry some weight.  

Record’s major premise is that the GWOT (and the National Security Strategy upon which the GWOT is based) conflates a number of distinct types of threats into a single, undifferentiated terrorist threat.  Furthermore, the Administration’s strategy for the GWOT assumes that all types of terrorist threats are equally important, and that nation-states can be dealt with using the same tactics as transnational, territory-less groups such as al-Qaeda.  As a result, the GWOT is accomplishing little, and is both fiscally and militarily unsustainable.  

The paper is exhaustive in its analysis, which I won’t repeat here, but the conclusions are important as we go forward into the third year of America’s unfocused war on “terrorism” in general.  By conflating many different threats into the same public relations campaign, the Administration has created an unrealistic, un-winnable quest.  A specific campaign against al-Qaeda should be the focus of the GWOT along with real advances in homeland security, along with immediate re-engagement of the international community in Iraq and any future efforts.  We should recognize that nation-states (i.e., “rogue” states) are deterrable in ways that free-floating international groups are not, and that in many cases deterrence works perfectly well.  To quote Dr. Record:  “The GWOT as it has so far been defined and conducted is strategically unfocused, promises much more than it can deliver, and threatens to dissipate scarce U.S. military and other means over too many ends.”

It’s too late for the Bush administration to admit they’re wrong and take another path.  Even if Rumsfeld and Wolfowitz could be made to understand the issues, Karl Rove is busy trying to get his man re-elected in November, and admitting that three years and most of a trillion dollars was wasted due to lack of clear thinking would be suicide.  

So I would suggest that Democratic supporters read Dr. Record’s paper as a means of arming ourselves for a discussion concerning the Democratic platform.  Whether it’s Kerry or somebody else, a Democrat in the White House is going to need to start thinking along these lines if their efforts to fix the mistakes of 2001-2004 are going to be more than simply window-dressing.


WA Dem Caucus update 5

OK, after extreme procedural confusion, we’re redistributing votes since only Dean, Kerry, and Undecided got above 15 pct the first time around. I threw my vote to Kerry.

Final tally in our precinct: 11 Dean, 8 Kerry, 9 Kucinich, 5 Edwards. So our precinct is electing 3 delegates, one for each of the top 3 candidates.

We just elected our delegates, and apparently I’m the Kerry delegate from our precinct.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

WA Dem Caucus update 4

OK, our precinct has no chair, so we’re trying to muddle through the rules as best we can.

Dean is doing well in my precinct, as did Kerry and Undecided. Clark didn’t do well … In my precinct, I was the only vote. Now I get to add my support to another candidate. Probably Kerry.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

WA Dem Caucus update 3

Informal show of hands…no more than 15-20 percent in the room have been to a precinct caucus before. Amazing.
Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.