Can the politicians be trusted in the matters of the national security?

Discussion in 'Pakistan' started by Ray, Jan 29, 2012.

  1. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Can the politicians be trusted in the matters of the national security?

    Nearly everyone, who is keen to prove his credentials as a liberal, is working overtime in pointing fingers at the invisible forces, commonly called the Establishment, for anything going wrong anywhere. Establishment-bashing is nearly as old as the Establishment itself. But the Establishment, as a villain is the most misused phrase these days. The term was coined by the British journalist Henry Fairlie, who in September 1955 in the London magazine The Spectator defined that network of prominent, well-connected people as “the Establishment”, explaining: “By the ‘Establishment’, I do not only mean the centers of official power—though they are certainly part of it—but rather the whole matrix of official and social relations within which power is exercised. The exercise of power in Britain (more specifically, in England) cannot be understood unless it is recognized that it is exercised socially.”

    With the passage of time, the term assumed different connotation. Now it is referred to as an invisible arm of the State which takes upon itself the responsibility of the first line of defense against foreign encroachment upon its sovereignty. It includes military, intelligence agencies, bureaucracy, media and the civil society which work their way through the complexities of the political process. This is a voice-less, face-less institution which has to bear the brunt of harsh criticism but it has no mechanism to counter true or false allegations leveled against it. The bitterest critics of the Establishment are politicians, most of them opportunists and even small-time thugs, thrown up as leaders through questionable process of electoral exercise.

    Pakistan is not the only case in point when it comes to Establishment-bashing. Intelligence agencies all over the world receive a lot of flak for senseless decisions taken by the political leaders in matters concerning national security. Whenever there is a misadventure, the buck is passed on to the Establishment for intelligence failure. The case in point is not Pakistan alone where a well-focused campaign has been launched to malign and criticize the security establishment. Even, the CIA gets criticism for the bad decisions taken by the politicians.

    Foreign Policy, in a recent article has quoted instances where the CIA had to face criticism for reckless political decisions while as a matter of fact these decisions were taken by the administration totally ignoring the intelligence advice. Americans often get the sense that their leaders’ hands are guided abroad by their all-knowing spying apparatus. After all, the United States spends about $80 billion on intelligence each year, which provides a flood of important guidance every week on matters ranging from hunting terrorists to countering China’s growing military capabilities. This analysis informs policymakers’ day-to-day decision-making and sometimes gets them to look more closely at problems, such as the rising threat from al Qaeda in the late 1990s, than they otherwise would.

    According to the analysis, however, whether going to war or broadly rethinking U.S. strategy in the Arab world, intelligence is not the decisive factor on major foreign-policy decisions. The influences that really matter are the ones that leaders bring with them into office: their own strategic sense or lack of it, the lessons they have drawn from history or personal experience, the imperatives of domestic politics, and their own neuroses. A memo or briefing emanating from some unfamiliar corner of the bureaucracy hardly stands a chance.

    President Richard Nixon‘s historic opening to China was shaped by his brooding in the political wilderness about great-power strategy and his place in it. The Obama administration’s recent drumbeating about Iran is largely a function of domestic politics. Advice from Langley, for better or worse, had little to do with any of this.

    Intelligence may have figured prominently in Bush’s selling of the invasion of Iraq, but it played almost no role in the decision itself. If the intelligence community’s assessments pointed to any course of action, it was avoiding a war, not launching one. When U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell went before the United Nations in February 2003 to make the case for an invasion of Iraq, he argued, “Saddam Hussein and his regime are concealing their efforts to produce more weapons of mass destruction,” an observation he said was “based on solid intelligence.” But in a candid interview four months later, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz acknowledged that weapons of mass destruction were simply ”the one issue that everyone could agree on.”

    The intelligence community was raising no alarms about the subject when the Bush administration came into office; indeed, the 2001 edition of the community’s comprehensive statement on worldwide threats did not even mention the possibility of Iraqi nuclear weapons or any stockpiles of chemical or biological weapons. The administration did not request the (ultimately flawed) October 2002 intelligence estimate on Iraqi unconventional weapons programs that was central to the official case for invasion — Democrats in Congress did, and only six senators and a handful of representatives bothered to look at it before voting on the war, according to staff members who kept custody of the copies. Neither Bush nor Condoleezza Rice, then his national security advisor, read the entire estimate at the time, and in any case the public relations rollout of the war was already under way before the document was written.

    As against the common perception about the intelligence assessment, Langley had concluded that Saddam was unlikely to use any weapons of mass destruction against the United States or give them to terrorists — unless the United States invaded Iraq and tried to overthrow his regime. The intelligence community did not believe, as the president claimed, that the Iraqi regime was an ally of al Qaeda, and it correctly foresaw any attempt to establish democracy in a post-Saddam Iraq as a hard, messy slog.

    In a separate prewar assessment, the intelligence community judged that trying to build a new political system in Iraq would be “long, difficult and probably turbulent,” adding that any post-Saddam authority would face a “deeply divided society with a significant chance that domestic groups would engage in violent conflict with each other unless an occupying force prevented them from doing so.” Mentions of Iraqis welcoming U.S. soldiers with flowers, or the war paying for itself, were notably absent. Needless to say, none of that made any difference to the White House.

    The CIA predicted both the outbreak and the outcome of the 1967 Six-Day War between Israel and neighboring Arab states but top-notch intelligence couldn’t help Johnson prevent the war, which produced the basic contours of today’s intractable Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

    Although, U.S. intelligence failed to foresee the 1979 Iranian revolution, but it was policymakers’ inattention to Iran and sharp disagreements within President Jimmy Carter’s administration, not bad intelligence, that kept the United States from making tough decisions before the shah’s regime was at death’s door.

    Like any terrorist attack, Sept. 11, 2001, was by definition a tactical intelligence failure. But though intelligence officials missed the attack, they didn’t miss the threat. Years before 9/11, the intelligence community, especially the CIA, devoted unusually intense attention and effort to understanding Osama bin Laden’s organization. The CIA created a special bin Laden-focused unit in early 1996, when al Qaeda was just beginning to take shape as the anti-American, transnational terrorist group we now know. President Bill Clinton stated in 1998 that “terrorism is at the top of the American agenda.” He also launched a covert-action program against al Qaeda that included developing plans to capture bin Laden, even before the 1998 bombings of U.S. embassies in Africa. When Clinton’s national security officials handed over duties to their Bush administration successors, they emphasized the threat that would materialize on 9/11. If more was not done in advance of 9/11 to counter the threat, it was because rallying public support for anything like a war in Afghanistan or costly, cumbersome security measures at home would have been politically impossible before terrorists struck the United States.

    The most authoritative evidence of the intelligence community’s pre-9/11 understanding of the subject is that same February 2001 worldwide threat statement that never mentioned Iraqi nukes or stockpiles of unconventional weapons. Instead it identified terrorism, and al Qaeda in particular, as the No. 1 threat to U.S. security — ahead of weapons proliferation, the rise of China, and everything else.

    The members of the infamous Establishment provide continuity for pursuit of national policy objectives. They are trained, educated and experienced in their respective fields. The virtues of integrity, professionalism and honesty imbibed throughout their careers are the strong points of their role and reasons of their effectiveness. They have no personal interests and no constituency to please at the cost of national interest. Contrary to that, the politicians who do not like the Establishment and use it as scapegoat for all their failures, are driven by self-interest and cannot look beyond their tenure in elected office. The matters of national interest and national security are as alien to them as the virtues of selflessness. Though they claim to be the guardians of national interest, given their capacity, can they be trusted with matters of national security and national security?

    Can the politicians be trusted in matters of national security? « The Passive Voices
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Unlike the US, where being a liberal is not viewed well, in Asia, being a liberal is a good thing.

    Politicians have to balance many different and often controversial viewpoints, the Establishment does not have to. The politicians have to balance the internal politics so that they remain credible to the electorate, and at the same time, have to be sensitive to external opinion that can affect the credibility of policies of the Govt.

    A case in point is the US involvement in Afghanistan or Iraq. The US should have realised that it would not be a cakewalk in Afghanistan, given the history of the British being unable to ‘lesson’ Afghanistan and then the Soviet fiasco there. So, wouldn’t it have been ideal to stay clear? That maybe so, but then who would assuage the US domestic groundswell that was baying for the blood of those who perpetuated 9/11? Therefore, balance has to undertaken by the politicians even when it does not auger well to pursue a line of action that does not appear to be the ideal!

    It is true that the ‘Establishment’ has to take the flak being faceless and voiceless, but that is the badge of all their tribe. It is not that the Establishment is forsaken. The people are aware of the issues, at least, the media and those who matter in shaping public opinion. That is why powerful politicians like Rumsfeld met his ignoble fate.

    Intelligence, did not guide Bush’s policy since it was claimed that the US lacked human intelligence. If indeed that is correct, it indicates that there was a gross error committed by the CIA, because human intelligence cannot ever be replaced by the most sophisticated of technologies alone! If weapons of mass destruction were simply ”the one issue that everyone could agree on”, then how was it that the WMDs were never found or even ready to be launched with 45 minutes period as claimed by Blair? It is not that Bush and Condoleezza Rice did not find time to read the CIA report, since that would be callous and even dereliction of duty, especially since the desire to attack Iraq was amongst them cast in stone! It is surprising to note that there was a prewar CIA assessment that predicted a long and savage after war scenario. In other words, given the chaos that followed in Iraq after the invasion, the prewar CIA assessment indicates that Bush was a total fool and unfit to have been the President! The fact that he won the second time, proves that either there was no such assessment, or the US public are dumb and do not see the writing on the wall!


    It is true that the political process that throws up these politicians is flawed whereby the representatives are not ideal, but then that is the flaw of the democratic process. There being none better a system than democracy, one has no other options.

    Pakistan, on the other hand, is the only country that is supreme over the established democratically elected Govt. No policy decision can be taken without the Army clearing the same. Even the Osama episode where the ISI and the Army undoubtedly hid and protected Osama, has not touched the Army and the ISI adversely. The uproar in Pakistan over the incident was that the Army and the ISI failed to save Osama and what was worse, as per the Pakistani popular sentiment, was that the Army and the ISI was caught napping when the US brazenly violated the Pakistani airspace and cocked a snook at the Pakistani military!

    If CIA could predict the outbreak of the Six Day War between Israel and the Arabs, what prevented the US from preventing the War? Could it be because of the domestic political requirement? In Israel, an economic recession had drained consumer confidence. Large-scale immigration of Mizrahim (Middle Eastern and Asian Jews) had created a class divide and sparked worry about Israel's future as a progressive, Western democracy. The atmosphere of the entire country was one of malaise and anxiety over the future of the Zionist project. Nasser demanded the removal of the peacekeeper and Israel seized the opportunity.

    Nothing unites a nation as War. Americans don’t have to go far to realise it. The Iraq invasion had all on board of all political hues!
     
  4. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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  6. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    In India, With Indian Politicians, The answer is NO..


    1962..
     
  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    India does not have the power hungry ethos that afflicts the Pak Army!

    But Pakistan with such a serious Identity crisis and such insecurity can only hope that some organisation that can kick them in their pants is their sole saviour!
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2012
  8. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    What 1962, No man since 1947 till now u cant trust them. big noooooooooooooooooo
     
  9. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    Was this ugly piece of shit defense minister of India?? if yes then, bera garg ho gaya India ka


    [​IMG]
     
    Godless-Kafir likes this.
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Why him alone?

    Others were washed in the Ganges?
     
  11. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    He is not alone, I suggested him, other members suggest something else. Saro ka mene theka liya ha kya ?
     
  12. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

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    Wrong..

    I liked the Iron Man.. :D

    So does Lal Bahadur Shastri..



    Only few who care and that`s why we still exist..
     
  13. Blackwater

    Blackwater Veteran Member Veteran Member

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    to name a few????


    iron man???? who????

    lal bahadur shastri got heart attack in tashkent ??why can u explain
     

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