Although the women of the United States are confined within the narrow circle of domestic life, and their situation is, in some respects, one of extreme dependence, I have nowhere seen woman occupying a loftier position; and if I were asked... in which I have spoken of so many important things done by Americans, to what the singular prosperity and growing strength of that people ought mainly to be attributed, I should reply, To the superiority of their women.

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Book Review: Operation Dark Heart

For my Mother's Day present, I got myself, the controversial book by Lt. Col. Anthony Shaffer, Operation Dark Heart. I went into the Books a Million where my husband said there was nothing there I'd want. He was almost right. Basically, the whole place is full of fluffy non-informative time killing books, magazines, and half of it was a gift shop with games. But they did have one copy of this one, so I picked it up. And I'll tell you what, it was a real page-turner. Lt. Col. Shaffer was brutally honest with himself and I don't know if I would have the courage to put that much of myself out there in print. Just want you to know, it's not some dry military tactic book, but his heart-felt experiences in Afghanistan, with some flashback to his time before 9/11.

Even though this book's manuscript had passed the Army's review process, just as it was to be shipped, the Defense Department came on the scene, saying parts of the book may impact "national security". As you read the book, a gigantic riff between regular Army and the Defense Dept, specifically the Defense Intelligence Agency will become apparent. So as you read the book, you'll encounter lots of blacked out redactions, that only pique the curiosity more. The point this makes, is that this story is one they don't want told, which is why you ought to check it out that much more.

The thrust of Lt. Col. Shaffer's time in Afghanistan is that he was fighting two fronts, one the immediate problem of the Taliban retreating back into Pakistan, and the other within the bureaucracy of the Defense Intelligence Agency. For whatever reason, the biggest roadblock about doing operations along the no-man's land border of Pakistan came from more from the brass, and not from the Pakistanis. Some people make a lot of money on war, just sayin'. Shaffer flashes back to his time working at SOCOM (U.S. Special Operations Command) on Able Danger, an intelligence aggregation project that correctly identified a bunch of the 9/11 hijackers in Jan. 2000. After Gen. Schoomaker retired in October 2000, Shaffer says that the project struggled to survive. There's more drama there with DIA lawyers and beuracracy, and Joint Chief Hugh Shelton said that Able Danger was what they should be doing. However, when Schoomaker's replacement comes in, Able Danger is moved out. After the attacks, a co-worker on Able Danger was able to brief the White House and the matter was supposedly taken care of.

When the 9/11 commission, headed up by Bilderberger Phillip Zelikow, toured Afghanistan, Shaffer was asked to speak to them, as he had experience with intelligence on Al Qaeda. Mr. Zelikow was very exicited and told him to visit his office when he came back to the states. Fast forward, Shaffer comes home and calls Mr. Zelikow's office and tells them they need to run their request for his debriefing through DIA first - channels and all. About a week later, he calls back and is told he isn't needed after all.  Long story short, Shaffer opened up a can that the DIA didn't want opened. They came after him for allegedly misusing $300 as a pretext for ending his career. Yes, the government that is now $15 trillion dollars in debt came after a Bronze Star recipient for pittance. He received his Bronze Star from the Army, but the DIA didn't like this and was making like it wanted to take it away, something they could not do, as they didn't give it.

He's not mentioned in the book, but I thought I would take a look at who was running the DIA at the time (2003), VADM Lowell Jacoby, who is not mentioned in the book. I just wondering who was on top of DIA, which seemed to be an organization acting pretty weird. This is from the DIA's own page:

When Admiral Jacoby was appointed acting Director, DIA in July 2002, DIA was focused on providing defense intelligence support to Operation ENDURING FREEDOM in Afghanistan and the Global War on Terrorism (GWOT) in other regions throughout the world. He was later confirmed by Congress and, in October 2002, formally appointed DIA Director. By that time, DIA was involved in detailed planning for Operation IRAQI FREEDOM that would follow in March 2003.
Admiral Jacoby immediately took steps to transform DIA to improve its ability to provide world-class, sustained, and focused military intelligence support to the warfighter, defense planners, and policymakers. Under Admiral Jacoby’s watch, DIA successfully applied a dynamic, innovative approach to acquire and provide a portfolio of intelligence capabilities of the needed breadth and depth to support military operations in Afghanistan, Iraq and GWOT. During this period, DIA forward-deployed hundreds of military and civilian personnel to conduct high-impact, all-source intelligence operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, and around the world as part of the broader struggle against terrorism. As a result of its superb responsiveness and agility, the Agency enhanced the country’s ability to confront the rapidly evolving security challenges presented by the asymmetric threat of terrorism.

It would seem that Shaffer's account would not be in agreement with theirs. It's also interesting to note that the focus would seemed to have been on Iraq, and not Afghanistan, where they actual terrorists were purported to be. It seemed that putting former "asset" Hussein in his place was more important. I couldn't resist doing a map on Jacoby: Click on the link below.

Take a gander at the RAND Corporation, CFR, Aspen and PNAC all mentioned. Plus you got your small-time bs NGO front group in the bottom right corner. Fairly decent interlock with other corporations - you'll never be on the board of one, by the way. 

Deviating from my review, and onto the carousel of power, one notes that Jacoby is now working for CACI, a company that offers defense and intelligence services back to the government. 

CACI's efforts are applied to five primary objectives
  • Protecting the nation from dangerous people
  • Protecting the nation from dangerous goods
  • Protecting critical infrastructure
  • Building a nimble, effective emergency response system and a culture of 
  • preparedness
  • Strengthening and unifying DHS operations and management
Gee, is that vague enough for you?

Lowell (Jake) Jacoby is Executive Vice President of the National Solutions Group (NSG) of CACI International Inc, a $3.6 billion professional services and information technology (IT) company now celebrating its 50th year in business.
NSG serves the members of the U.S. Intelligence community and fields capabilities that enable information sharing across the national intelligence and homeland communities. The Group has made CACI an industry leader in knowledge management; data discovery, document, and media exploitation; technical and all-source analysis; systems integration and application development; intelligence dissemination and network management, systems engineering, and technical assistance; multimedia productions; and other highly-valued classified activities and services for its customers.
It's customers include the Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security.  Doesn't this seem redundant to anyone but me?

Getting back to our story of Operation Dark Heart, we see that there are two kinds of people serving in our military today. There is the one kind you always assumed was working to keep us safe - the ones that are filled with love of country and are dedicated to their mission. Then there are those who are compartmentalized, and only focused on the "process" that they loose the mission. It doesn't help that these types are often rewarded with positions later on. As I've illustrated in my post on the Joint Chiefs, these people don't walk away from being in the service paupers. They do a psych test on everyone entering the military, and it follows that those who can be lured with material things are going to be the ones getting moved up the system, for they will be the easiest to control. I think Hayek said that the "worst rise to the top" in a totalitarian state. If we lived in a just and fair America, then men like Lt. Col. Shaffer would be running the military, Afghanistan would be cleared out, and the defense budget would be shrunk immediately with sheer competence.

OH, and the funniest bits about Rumsfeld really did put the past ten years into persepective for me. Especially when the author runs into Rumsfeld after a workout at the Pentagon'Athletic Club right after 9/11. Rumsfeld asks why the "highly accessable, unguarded "runner's entrance" to the Club had been closed permanently". Gee maybe because the Pentagon was I dunno, attacked!! The county's in the best of hands. 

I hope they don't come after me for anything I've posted here. I guess I'll know if I hit a nerve and you see one of those DHS/ICE warning where this blog used to be. 

(Also check out the Lowell Declaration here. from a liberal blog, but the points made are good ones.)

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