Pervez Musharraf: Pakistan 'Treated Unequally' In War On Terror / Pervez Musharraf Says Pakistan Receives Small Amount of U.S. Aid Compared To Afghanistan, Iraq
(NSI News Source Info) CNN - January 23, 2009: Pakistan's former president said his country is being treated "unequally" to other countries, despite being a staunch ally of the United States in its war on terror. Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says Pakistan receives small amount of U.S. aid compared to Afghanistan, Iraq.Former Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf says anti-American sentiment in Pakistan is high.
"Pakistan is being treated so unequally while we are the ones who are in the lead role fighting the global war on terror," said Pervez Musharraf, interviewed by CNN's Wolf Blitzer for "The Situation Room."
"This is what hurts Pakistan. It hurts the leadership. Indeed, it hurts the government. It hurts the people of Pakistan," said Musharraf, speaking from Dallas, Texas, during a book tour in the United States.
The interview took place amid reports Friday of U.S. drones striking militant targets in Pakistan just days after the start of the Obama administration -- which has made combating al Qaeda and Taliban militants in the Pakistan tribal region near Afghanistan its most immediate national security priority.
Musharraf also addressed a statement he made about the $10 billion in assistance from the United States that Pakistan has received, calling it a "pittance for a country which is in the lead role to fight terrorism."
He emphasized his gratitude to the United States for the funding, but said the amount is low compared to billions spent in Afghanistan and "maybe over a trillion dollars" in Iraq.
"Please don't think that this $10 billion was such a great amount that we ought to be eternally grateful while we know that we deserve much more and we should have got much more and we must get much more if we are to fight the global war on terror," he said.
Musharraf stressed that Pakistan was "in the lead role fighting a war for you for 10 years, between '79 and '89," a reference to Pakistan's alliance with the United States and the Afghan mujahedeen rebels during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.
Musharraf emphasized that for 42 years, up until 1989, Pakistan had been a "strategic partner" of the United States.
But many Pakistanis felt abandoned by the United States after the Russians pulled out of Afghanistan. Musharraf said the 1989 "peace dividend" went to Europe -- East Europe.
Pakistan was "left alone" from 1989 to 2001, and during that period, the militant Taliban movement took control of Afghanistan.
"What did Pakistan get out of fighting for 10 years with you? Nothing, sir," he said, explaining why public opinion in Pakistan has been "so much against the United States."
Musharraf said public opinion in his country is strongly against strikes by U.S. drones against militants in the Pakistani tribal region.
While al Qaeda and the Taliban must be confronted, he said, "public opinion is certainly against the methodology being adopted."
Musharraf, once Pakistan's army chief, resigned under intense political pressure in August as the ruling coalition began taking steps to impeach him. He swept to power in 1999 in a bloodless coup.
Asked why al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, who is thought to be somewhere in the border region, hasn't been found, he replied:
"I would like to ask the United States why he hasn't been found. They have their intelligence. There are -- you have more intelligence capability. I would like to ask the United States, why Mullah Omar has not been found, who is the leader of all of the Taliban in Afghanistan?"
India: Murky Competition for $2Billion Howitzer Order May End Soon… Or Not
(NSI News Source Info) January 23, 2009: India’s $2 billion purchase of about 400 new 155mm self-propelled howitzers is intended to supplement India’s dwindling artillery stocks, while out-ranging and out-shooting Pakistan’s self-propelled M109 155mm guns.
It seems simple enough, and BAE Systems Bofors has been competing against systems from Israel’s Soltam and Denel of South Africa.
Haubits 77 (Field Howitzer 77 or FH77), sometimes referred to as Haubits 77A (FH 77A), is a Swedish 155 mm howitzer. It was developed and manufactured by Bofors.
Unfortunately, the competition has mostly served as a cautionary tale, a years-long affair filled with legal drama, accusations of corruption, and more than one re-start. Meanwhile, India’s stock of operational 155mm howitzers has dwindled to around 200. In 2007, a new RFP was issued, and the competition was expanded. Is there an end in sight? Or a potential winner?
*Contracts and Key Events
US-India Defense and Strategic Affairs reported on the competition in 2004, and noted that this was expected to be one of the first large defense procurement decisions made by India’s new United Progressive Alliance government. The question now is whether a decision can be made within that government’s term(s) of office. The Rascal Light Self-Propelled Howitzer is a lightweight mobile artillery system developed by Soltam Ltd, Israel.
After multiple firing trials and several years, India’s competition managed to end up without any competitors left standing. All 3 competitors (Bofors FH-77B05, Soltam TIG 2002, Denel G5/2000) failed to meet India’s accuracy specifications in 2003 trials, but all three improved their guns to compete again in 2004. There are reports that Soltam fell out of the race after its barrel burst during field trials, while South Africa’s Denel sidelined in 2004 and then eliminated in 2005, after the Indian government accused the manufacturer of corruption in another defence deal.
That created problems on 2 fronts. Denel’s financial situation was deteriorating, and The Times of India reported that the contract may have been critical to the firm’s financial survival. In hindsight, that concern was valid, but Denel managed to survive the loss. A win certainly would have made a significant difference, and might have allowed Denel to delay its major corporate restructuring and associated strategic rethinking for several years.
Bofors’ FH-77B05:Winner by default?
The other problem involved India’s Ministry of Defence. DID has noted the extreme risk-averse behavior of India’s defense procurement establishment and its effects on contract awards, however, and Defense India notes that when a competition devolves to a single-vendor solution, the practice is often to re-tender.
The resulting dithering was relieved when allegations that Bofors had paid INR 640 million (about $16 million) in bribes to secure the order eliminated the last contender. Bofors Defence AB had been blacklisted by India before, after allegations of kickbacks in a 1987 deal during Rajiv Gandhi’s regime. That scandal had derailed a planned 1,500 gun buy, reducing it to 410 FH-77B howitzers.
Those accused in the Bofors case would eventually have their day in court, however, and win. In April 2007, India re-opened its howitzer competition again, and the passage of time had created a number of changes in the requirements and options.
Meanwhile, the support contract with Bofors for India’s in-service howitzers expired in 2001, and India’s stock is believed to sit at just 200 operational 155/39 caliber guns as of January 2009.
Contracts and Key Events
Bofors Archer System The ARCHER Artillery System is an international project aimed at developing a next-generation self-propelled artillery system for Sweden, Denmark and Norway. The heart of the system is a fully automated 155 mm/L52 gun howitzer and a LEMUR Remote controlled weapon station mounted on a 6x6 Volvo dumper chassis . Aside from this, the system consists of an ammunition resupply vehicle, a support vehicle, BONUS Sensor-fuzed Artillery Shell and the Excalibur guided projectile.
Jan 14/09: An anonymous Army official tells Indian reporters that:
“The procurement process for the towed and light howitzer is proceeding as planned. Bids have been received from all the vendors and trials of the guns are planned in February or March [of 2009].... The trials for self-propelled howitzers are planned in May-June .”
According to the IANS report, the initial contract involves 180 guns, but the eventual contract is to include up to 400 guns, thanks to transfer of technology to build the howitzers in India. Of these, 140 will be light howitzers that will be spread over 7 regiments. They will still be 155/52 caliber, just lighter thanks to advances in metallurgy and design. The remaining 260 guns will be towed and self-propelled variants.
April 4/07: Re-tender is exactly what happened. Sujan Dutta of The Calcutta Telegraph reports that India has reopened its artillery competitions entirely, refloating 2 global RFPs to 12 makers of 155mm/52 calibre self-propelled guns. The Indian Army reportedly proposes to buy 400 systems at the outset: 180 tracked and 220 wheeled.
The first new tender was for wheeled guns, with an RFP floated in early March 2007. The second tender for tracked guns was floated at the end of the month. Expected competitors include BAE Land Systems USA (M109A6 Paladin possible for tracked), BAE Bofors (FH77B towed, Archer wheeled), France’s Nexter (Caesar wheeled), Rheinmetall (Zuzana wheeled from Kerametal in Slovakia, possibly PzH-2000 for tracked), Korea’s Samsung Techwin (K9 for tracked), and Israel’s Soltam (Atmos 2000 for wheeled, Rascal for tracked).
In making its decision to re-float the RFP, the cabinet committee on security reportedly concluded that:
*A single-vendor situation must be avoided;
*South Africa’s Denel had emerged as the single vendor for the tracked version, but they were blacklisted in 2005 on another deal;
*The process delays of 5 years since the first tender have been so great that the field as a whole has advanced since then;
*The standards for the selection of the guns need to be revised; and
*India’s defence procurement policy has been revised in the interim, and the RFP should reflect that.
G6 Base, Bleeding? The G6 self-propelled howitzer is a South African artillery piece, developed around the ordnance of the G5 howitzer. It is one of the most powerful self-propelled guns on a wheeled chassis. In addition to the logistical mobility afforded by a wheeled chassis, the G6 is protected against counter battery fire and is able to defend itself in an unsecured area. The chassis is mine-protected. The G6 is produced by the LIW division of DENEL Corporation in South Africa. It entered production in 1987.Jan 16/06: A new scandal is swirling around re-opened allegations of kick-backs involving Bofors, and complicity by the current government in covering them up.
Jan 13/06: The Press Trust of India (PTI) reports that Army Chief General J J Singh has ordered a 4th round of extensive trials for the guns, in which only the Bofors and Soltam guns will be taking part. He said the two contending 155mm/52 caliber guns would be evaluated through summer and winter trials, with the winner inducted by 2007.
Jan 12/06: The Times of India reports that India’s UPA government has floated new global tenders for collaboration in the Nalanda ordnance factory project to manufacture 155mm Bi-Modular Charge Systems (BMCS) for India’s artillery. See this link from BAE’s SWS Defence for a more in-depth look at a particular BMCS solution.
South Africa’s Denel had been picked, but the blacklisting stemming from the anti-material rifles’ deal is having further ripple effects. The winner of this competition will be well positioned for any follow-on orders involving India’s new howitzers.
July 28/05: South African competitor Denel is blacklisted from Indian defense contracts by the Ministry of Defence, as a result of the CBI’s bribery investigation.
June 15/04: Madison Government Affairs, summarizing Defense News:
“The Indian Army will choose among three foreign contenders for a $2 billion purchase of about 400 155mm self-propelled howitzers after field trials in the Rajasthan desert later this month, an Indian Defence Ministry official said. The candidates are the Swedish SWS Defense AB FH77B05 L52, the Israeli Soltam TIG 2002 and the South African Denel G5/2000 gun. All three failed to meet India’s accuracy specifications in last year’s trials; all three improved their guns to compete again this year, said an Indian Army official from the artillery directorate”
Bell-Boeing Win Extra $581M for V-22 Support / Pentagon Contract Announcement
(NSI News Source Info) January 23, 2009: Bell-Boeing Joint Project Office, Amarillo, Texas, is being awarded a cost-plus-incentive fee, indefinite-delivery, requirements contract with an estimated value of $581,446,845 to provide Joint Performance Based Logistics (JPBL) support for the Marine Corps (MV-22), Air Force, and Special Forces Operations Command (CV-22) aircraft during the production and deployment phase of the V-22 Program.
The V-22 Osprey is a multi-mission, military tiltrotor aircraft with both a vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) and short takeoff and landing (STOL) capability. It is designed to perform missions like a conventional helicopter with the long-range, high-speed cruise performance of a turboprop aircraft. The V-22 was developed by Bell Helicopter, which manufactures it in partnership with Boeing Rotorcraft Systems. The initial operators are the United States Marine Corps and Air Force. The FAA classifies the Osprey as a model of powered lift aircraft.
Work will be performed in Ft. Worth, Texas (46.6 percent); Philadelphia, Pa. (41.4 percent); Ft. Walton Beach, Fla. (6.1 percent); Oklahoma City, Okla. (4.3 percent); and St. Louis, Mo. (1.6 percent), and is expected to be completed in November 2013.
Contract funds in the amount of $84,807,065 will not expire at the end of the current fiscal year. This contract was not competitively procured. The Naval Air Systems Command, Patuxent River, Md., is the contracting activity (N00019-09-D-0008).
Boeing Completes Offsets For Canadian CF-18 Upgrade / Boeing Completes Canadian Industrial And Regional Benefits Program For CF-18 Modernization
(NSI News Source Info) OTTAWA - January 23, 2009: The Boeing Company has successfully completed its Industrial and Regional Benefits program for Phase 1 of the CF-18 Fighter Avionics Modernization Program for the Canadian Forces. This achievement, reached one year ahead of schedule, demonstrates the company's continued success in meeting its industrial participation (IP) commitments. Boeing has successfully implemented IP programs totaling more than US$29 billion in more than 35 countries over the past 30 years.
The McDonnell Douglas CF-18 Hornet (CF-188) is a Canadian Forces aircraft, based on the American F/A-18 Hornet. In 1991, Canada committed 26 CF-18s to the Gulf War on Operatio Friction. (The US portion of the Gulf War was called Desert Shield/Desert Storm.) The CF-18s were based in Doha, Qatar. During the Gulf War, Canadian pilots flew 5,700+ hours, including 2,700 combat air patrol missions. These aircraft were taken from Canada's airbase in Germany, CFB Baden-Soellingen (now a civilian airport). In the beginning the CF-18s began sweep and escort combat missions to support ground-attack strikes by Allied air forces. However, during the 100-hour Allied ground invasion in late February, CF-18s also flew 56 bombing sorties, mainly dropping 500 lb (230 kg) conventional ("dumb") bombs on Iraqi artillery positions, supply dumps, and marshaling areas behind the lines. At the time the Canadian Hornets were unable to deploy precision guided munitions (PGMs).
"The completion of the CF-18 Phase 1 Industrial and Regional Benefits program continues our long-standing commitment to investing in the regions where we do business," Gwen Kopsie, director of Industrial Participation for Boeing Integrated Defense Systems, said Jan. 21 in Ottawa. "This accomplishment further reinforces our focus on developing partnerships and issuing contracts that will result in long-term, high-value jobs for Canadians while further establishing Boeing as an enduring partner to Canadian industry."
With the completion of the CF-18 Phase 1 Industrial and Regional Benefits program, valued at nearly US$378 million, Boeing now has three active IP programs in Canada, each coordinated by Industry Canada. The IP program for Phase 2 of CF-18 Fighter Avionics Modernization, valued at nearly US$138 million, is on track for completion in May 2011.
The company also has two IP programs tied to the Canadian government's 2007 order for four C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, which have delivered and are already supporting Canadian Forces' military and humanitarian missions. As part of the C-17 acquisition and in-service support contracts, Boeing agreed to match the purchase price of the four aircraft and a 20-year maintenance and support contract with dollar-for-dollar investments, valued at US$1.5 billion, back into the Canadian economy.
Boeing has been a major contributor to the Canadian economy since 1919, generating approximately US$1 billion in business annually. The company employs highly skilled workers in Winnipeg, Richmond (British Columbia), Montreal, and Ottawa in support of both its commercial and its defense/space business units. Canada also is home to Boeing's third-largest international supplier base, including more than 200 suppliers in every region of the country.
A unit of The Boeing Company, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is one of the world's largest space and defense businesses specializing in innovative and capabilities-driven customer solutions, and the world's largest and most versatile manufacturer of military aircraft. Headquartered in St. Louis, Boeing Integrated Defense Systems is a $32.1 billion business with 71,000 employees worldwide.
Croatia Orders 42 More Patria AMV Armored Vehicles / Patria Received Additional Vehicle Order From The Croatian Ministry of Defence
(NSI News Source Info) January 23, 2009: The Croatian Ministry of Defence has on 22 January 2009 informed that they have extended the vehicle deal by additional 42 Patria AMV vehicles for the Croatian Army.
Patria and Duro Dakovic Special Vehicles as consortium partners and the Croatian Ministry of Defence signed the agreement covering 84 Patria AMV 8x8 vehicles including an option for additional vehicles already in October 2007.
Croatia has exercised an option for additional 42 Patria AMV armored vehicles; it already has ordered 84. (Patria photo)
Patria AMV 8x8 - with well over 1200 vehicles contracted and several hundreds of them delivered - is the choice of the Polish, Finnish, Slovenian, South African, Croatian and United Arab Emirates’ armies.
Patria is a defence and aerospace group with international operations delivering its customers competitive solutions based on own specialist know-how and partnerships. Patria is owned by the State of Finland and the European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company EADS N.V.
India Vows to Boost Defenses Against “Inimical” Neighbors / India Vows Boost of Defenses
(NSI News Source Info) New Delhi - January 23, 2009: The defense and foreign ministers of India are speaking about boosting the country's military capabilities and the need for the international community to crack down on states not doing enough to fight terrorism within their own borders.
India defense minister, A.K. Antony, is calling for the country's military to be modernized, arguing it is operating at less than 30 per cent of the capability the nation requires. Antony says this needs to be done as quickly as possible because India is surrounded by "inimical elements. The Block I version of the BrahMos supersonic missile, seen here in its land-based version, is a significant addition to India’s military capabilities. The Block II version being developed missed its first firing test on Jan. 21.
The defense minister made the remarks Wednesday in the state of Goa during the commissioning of a new coast guard patrol vessel.
Meanwhile here in the capital, New Delhi, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee is calling for action by the international community against countries which sponsor terrorism or allow their soil to be used to carry out such acts. He tied the need for such resolve to the Mumbai terror attack in late November, which India blames on Pakistani elements.
"It is high time for the international community to recognize that such recalcitrant states must be brought to discipline by resorting to various international mechanisms," said Mukherjee.
New Delhi has been increasingly frustrated over what it sees as a lack of concrete movement by Islamabad to neutralize and bring to justice those responsible for the siege of Mumbai, in which more than 170 people died.
The Indian foreign minister also acknowledges disagreement with London over a recent statement by British Foreign Secretary David Milliband. London's top diplomat linked the regional terror problem to the unresolved Kashmir territorial issue between India and Pakistan. Milliband observed, in a British newspaper article, the Kashmir dispute gives terrorist in the region "one of their main calls to arms."
Indian media have reacted furiously to the comment. The Asian Age newspaper calls it "an appeasement of terrorism" while the Hindu newspaper says the remark plays into the hands of those who justify violent extremism.
India and Pakistan have fought two wars over Kashmir since the violent partition of the subcontinent following the end of British rule in 1947. The banned Pakistani jihadist group India blames for the Mumbai terror attack, Lashkar-e-Taiba, has carried out numerous attacks on Indian soil as part of its quest to oust India from Jammu and Kashmir.
The Aimless War: Why Are We in Afghanistan?By Joe Klein
(NSI News Source Info) January 23, 2009: "Things have gotten a bit hairy," admitted British Lieut. Colonel Graeme Armour as we sat in a dusty, bunkered NATO fortress just outside the city of Lashkar Gah in Helmand province, a deadly piece of turf along Afghanistan's southern border with Pakistan. A day earlier, two Danish soldiers had been killed and two Brits seriously wounded by roadside bombs. The casualties were coming almost daily now.
And then there were the daily frustrations of Armour's job: training Afghan police officers. Almost all the recruits were illiterate. "They've had no experience at learning," Armour said. "You sit them in a room and try to teach them about police procedures — they start gabbing and knocking about. You talk to them about the rights of women, and they just laugh." A week earlier, five Afghan police officers trained by Armour were murdered in their beds while defending a nearby checkpoint — possibly by other police officers. Their weapons and ammunition were stolen. "We're not sure of the motivation," Armour said. "They may have gone to join the Taliban or sold the guns in the market."
US Army soliders from 1-506 Infantry Division set out on a patrol on November 28, 2008 in Paktika province, situated along the Afghan-Pakistan border. About 200 Taliban fighters attacked on November 27 a large logistics convoy in Afghanistan, sparking fighting that killed 12 Afghan police and soldiers. They attacked the convoy of more than 70 vehicles on Thursday as it was transporting winter supplies to police and soldiers in the western province of Badghis.
The war in Afghanistan — the war that President-elect Barack Obama pledged to fight and win — has become an aimless absurdity. It began with a specific target. Afghanistan was where Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda lived, harbored by the Islamic extremist Taliban government. But the enemy escaped into Pakistan, and for the past seven years, Afghanistan has been a slow bleed against an array of mostly indigenous narco-jihadi-tribal guerrilla forces that we continue to call the "Taliban." These ragtag bands are funded by opium profits and led by assorted religious extremists and druglords, many of whom have safe havens in Pakistan.
In some ways, Helmand province — which I visited with the German general Egon Ramms, commander of NATO's Allied Joint Force Command — is a perfect metaphor for the broader war. The soldiers from NATO's International Security Assistance Force are doing what they can against difficult odds. The language and tactics of counter-insurgency warfare are universal here: secure the population, help them build their communities. There are occasional victories: the Taliban leader of Musa Qala, in northern Helmand, switched sides and has become an effective local governor. But the incremental successes are reversible — schools are burned by the Taliban, police officers are murdered — because of a monstrous structural problem that defines the current struggle in Afghanistan.
US soldiers situated along the Afghan-Pakistan border. (Story: Joe Klein, Photo: David Furst / AFP / Getty)
The British troops in Helmand are fighting with both hands tied behind their backs. They cannot go after the leadership of the Taliban — still led by the reclusive Mullah Omar — which operates openly in the Pakistani city of Quetta, just across the border. They also can't go after the drug trade that funds the insurgency, in part because some of the proceeds are also skimmed by the friends, officials and perhaps family members of the stupendously corrupt government of Afghan President Hamid Karzai. Helmand province is mostly desert, but it produces half the world's opium supply along a narrow strip of irrigated land that straddles the Helmand River. The drug trade — Afghanistan provides more than 90% of the world's opium — permeates everything. A former governor, Sher Mohammed Akhundzada, was caught with nine tons of opium, enough to force him out of office, but not enough to put him in jail, since he enjoys — according to U.S. military sources — a close relationship with the Karzai government. Indeed, Akhundzada and Karzai's brother Ahmed Wali — who operates in Kandahar, the next province over — are considered the shadow rulers of the region (along with Mullah Omar). "You should understand," a British commander said, "the fight here isn't really about religion. It's about money."
Another thing you should understand: thousands of U.S. troops are expected to be deployed to Helmand and Kandahar provinces next spring. They will be fighting under the same limitations as the British, Canadian, Danish and Dutch forces currently holding the fort, which means they will be spinning their wheels. And that raises a long-term question crucial to the success of the Obama Administration: What are we doing in Afghanistan? What is the mission?
We know what the mission used to be — to kill or capture Osama bin Laden and destroy his al-Qaeda command. But once bin Laden slipped away, the mission morphed into a vast, messy nation — building effort to support the allegedly democratic Karzai government. There was a certain logic to that. The Taliban and al-Qaeda can't base themselves in Afghanistan if something resembling a stable, secure nation-state exists there. But the mission was also historically implausible: Afghanistan has never had a strong central government. It has been governed for thousands of years by local and regional tribal coalitions. The tribes have often been at one another's throats — a good part of the current "Taliban" uprising is nothing more than standard tribal rivalries juiced by Western arms and opium profits — except when foreigners have invaded the area, in which case the Afghans have united and slowly humiliated conquerors from Alexander the Great to the Soviets.
The current Western presence is the most benign intrusion in Afghan history, and the rationale of building stability remains a logical one — but this war has become something of a sideshow in South Asia. The far more serious problem is Pakistan, a flimsy state with illogical borders, nuclear weapons and a mortal religious enmity toward India, its neighbor to the south. Pakistan is where bin Laden now lives, if he lives. The Bush Administration chose to coddle Pakistan's military leadership, which promised to help in the fight against al-Qaeda — but it hasn't helped much, although there are signs that the fragile new government of President Asif Ali Zardari may be more cooperative. Still, the Pakistani intelligence service helped create the Taliban and other Islamic extremist groups — including the terrorists who attacked Mumbai — as a way of keeping India at bay, and Pakistan continues to protect the Afghan Taliban in Quetta. In his initial statements, Obama has seemed more sophisticated about Afghanistan than Bush. In an interview with me in late October, Obama said Afghanistan should be seen as part of a regional problem, and he suggested that he might dispatch a special envoy, perhaps Bill Clinton, to work on the Indo-Afghan-Pakistani dilemma. Clinton seems a less likely prospect since his wife was named Secretary of State. The current speculation is that Richard Holbrooke may be selected for the job, which would be a very good idea.
Holbrooke is a great negotiator, but he's also a great intimidator, and the first step toward resolving the war in Afghanistan is to lay down the law in both Islamabad and Kabul. The message should be the same in both cases: The unsupervised splurge of American aid is over. The Pakistanis will have to stop giving tacit support and protection to terrorists, especially the Afghan Taliban. The Karzai government will have to end its corruption and close down the drug trade. There are plenty of other reforms necessary — the international humanitarian effort is a shabby, self-righteous mess; some of our NATO allies aren't carrying their share of the military burden — but the war will remain a bloody stalemate at best as long as jihadis come across the border from Pakistan and the drug trade flourishes.
I flew by helicopter from Helmand to the enormous NATO base outside Kandahar to learn that three Canadian soldiers had been killed that morning in an ambush. I stood in a small, bare concrete plaza as the Canadian flag was raised, then lowered to half-staff. Next the Danish flag and finally the NATO flag were raised and left to rest at half-staff. A small group of soldiers from assorted countries stood at attention and saluted as the flags rose and fell. There were no American flags this day, but there soon will be.
Before he sends another U.S. soldier off to die or be maimed in Afghanistan, President-elect Obama needs to deliver the blunt message to the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan that we will no longer tolerate their complicity in the deaths of Americans and our allies, a slaughter that began on the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, and continues to this day. Obama will soon own this aimless war if he does not somehow change that dynamic.