Updated: 5/16/2006; 11:19:49 AM.

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daily link  Monday, December 08, 2003

International and Homeland Security: Interesting ongoing roundup of homeland security topics, including stories about sensor and camera networks deployed at airport and city centers, and nanotechnology programs for h.s.  "At secret locations in at least 31 cities, the government has deployed devices that scour the air for deadly agents such as anthrax and smallpox with hopes of sniffing out bioterrorism. But the effort has been viewed with skepticism..   A program manager at Los Alamos National Labs commented, "Some people want to find one little box that will do everything, but we need to focus on a family of technologies." He estimated that 40 percent of an over-all government allocation of $2 billion to $3 billion will fund new detection systems...  A team from the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Oak Ridge, Tennessee has installed the "SensorNet," a system of about 20 sensor packages, around Washington, D.C. at secret locations that include rooftops, cellular phone towers and at street-level that can detect chemical, biological and radioactive agents. The experimental system, which could possibly lead to a national detection system, is scheduled to be operational by August. Other trial sensor networks are in place in Boston subways, San Francisco airport, the port of Miami, and a chemical-sensor system recently went operational on the Washington, D.C. subway"  1:17:32 PM  permalink  

Nation-Building in Iraq: Lessons From the Past: Clarity on what is needed in Iraq and elsewhere for nation building, from James Dobbins.  Formerly staff in both Republican and Democratic administrations, with responsibilities in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Bosnia, Haiti and Somalia, and currently at Rand, his new book lays it out (with commentary from NYT's M. Gordon):  

  • "the Bush administration, he argues, has such disdain for anything associated with former President Bill Clinton that it largely ignored useful lessons from recent United States peacekeeping operations. To the extent it looked to history, the Mr. Bush's administration turned to the American occupation of Germany and Japan more than half a century ago.  It was, Mr. Dobbins says, a costly exercise in "political correctness."  ""Iraq in 2003 looks more like Yugoslavia in 1996 than Germany and Japan in 1945," Mr. Dobbins says. [including multiple ethniciticies, Muslim populations,  weak industrial economy, less-than-total devastation]
  • Mr. Dobbins cites a rough strategic rule of thumb from the Balkans. It takes about 20 peacekeepers for each 1,000 civilians to safeguard the peace. Applying that rule to Iraq would yield a peacekeeping force of more than 450,000 in Iraq.. . Those are the sorts of calculations [used before the war by] former Army chief of staff Eric K. Shinseki
  • "Occupied people look first for security," Mr. Dobbins said. "If you provide security, they will provide cooperation. If you are not providing security, they will remain passive, uncommitted and will allow extremists to circulate in their midst."
  • [At this time] "A provisional government does seem to me to be feasible and almost inevitable," Mr. Dobbins said. "The opportunity to be able to more methodically put in place the prerequisites for a genuine democratic system before you move to Iraqi self-government has been lost."

Three actions are recommended:

  • Set up the provisional government
  • replace Bremer and CPA by an international administration, headed by a new UN high commissioner for Iraq.
  • NATO should take on the peacekeeping mission in Iraq.

"Mr. Dobbins believes it is important to quickly grant the Iraqis more sovereignty by establishing a provisional government, he also argues that a group of unelected Iraqi officials cannot be relied on to continue the trend toward democracy. So oversight is needed. But it needs to be a truly international oversight, he argues, to share the burden for the occupation and give it more legitimacy inside and outside Iraq.  The Bush administration is unlikely to cede control to an international body. One of the administration's objections, Mr. Dobbins reports, is that such a move would enable an international organization, and not the United States, to decide when the nation-building mission was over and when the troops could leave. That could mean that the effort could drag on for years, as it has in the Balkans." But Dobbins says that's inevitable and probably desirable.  Moreover, I wonder if the neocons want keep US bases in Iraq for operations in the region longer than a provisional government and an international body might allow.

  9:14:49 AM  permalink  

Hillary, Hawk: She represents my opinion; I guess I miss the Clinton years. "When Tim Russert on "Meet the Press" gave her the opening to say she had been misled when she voted for the Senate resolution authorizing war, Senator Clinton countered with a hard line: "There was certainly adequate intelligence without it being gilded and exaggerated by the administration to raise questions about chemical and biological programs and a continuing effort to obtain nuclear power." On forgotten Afghanistan, like many hawks, she was critical of the failure of European nations "to fulfill the commitment that NATO made to Afghanistan. I don't think we have enough American troops and we certainly don't have the promised NATO troops."..

Here is a Democrat who has no regrets for voting for the resolution empowering the president to invade Iraq; who insists repeatedly and resolutely that "failure is not an option"; who is ready to send in a substantially greater U.S. force to avert any such policy failure -- and yet whose latest poll ratings show her to be the favorite of 43 percent of Democrats, three times the nomination support given front-runner Howard Dean."

  12:04:31 AM  permalink  


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Last update: 5/16/2006; 11:19:49 AM.