Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Haqqani network is not a designated terrorist group?

Counter-intuitive to say the least. But that's the gist of this piece at Foreign Affairs

Sanka Freeze dried version:

1. Even though the Haqs meet the three necessary conditions of being a group that has earned that designation (they're foreign, they use terrorism and they kill Americans) Sec State Clinton has up until now elected not to add them to the list, even though there is bipartisan pressure to do so.

2. The reasons for this reticence are pragmatic:

a. there is a long legal process that must be undertaken, so, why bother?

b. financial sanctions can be heaped upon them via executive order instead. So, why bother.

c. they don't have people here in the States, nor supporters, and no assets, so it wouldn't hit them particularly hard. So, why bother?

Why bother? Why, Besides giving official voice to a moral condemnation of use of terror, and official voice to those Americans killed, who cannot now speak? The balance of the piece gives further pragmatism in reply to this question:

d. The Haqs extort money from Afghan construction firms that the U.S. backs. So, ultimately, the money they use to kill Americans can be traced back to the USG. So, to avoid embarrassment apparently, we should not place them on the list.

e. They ain't goin' away, and will be involved in Afghan politics when we leave, so we'd better treat them with kid gloves, because they'll be involved in the peace settlement. Presumably, they'll be less civil negotiation partners if we've had the temerity to tick them off.

f. They have ties to our erstwhile friends the Paks, who also will be involved in a post U.S. Afghanistan. And we do not want to add the Paks to the list of state sponsors of terror (even though they are) because we are resigned to having to work with our erstwhile friends in fashioning post departure Afghanistan. Apparently, in order to do so, we have to turn a blind eye toward their anti-American activities.

So, in short, pragmatic considerations indicate we would not have much impact on things by adding this foreign terror group who kill Americans to the officially sanctioned list of such groups, so why bother?

The piece finishes with a suggestions as to a way forward in dealing with this group:

Designating the Haqqani network could have its benefits. For one, it would bring further U.S. attention to a network that is attacking and killing U.S. citizens. That would be a gratifying symbolic step. Unfortunately, however, the real policy impact of listing the network as an FTO would be too little, too late. Because of the Haqqani network's form and revenue sources, such designation would have minimal practical effect. The organization's robust criminal enterprises would be hard to touch, especially as the United States withdraws from Afghanistan. If the United States is really out for impact, it should remember the old 1979 state sponsors of terrorism list. Indeed, to get serious about terrorist sanctions, the country should reexamine its financial ties to Pakistan.

Precisely. Moral clarity demands that we not only add the Haqs to the USG list of officially sanctioned terror groups, but it also demands that we add Pakistan to the state sponsor list. Don't merely 're-examine'. Cut 'em off. Getting mired in the strategic/pragmatic weeds muddies the perceptions of moral demands.

OTR Christmas from "Suspense": A Korean Christmas Carol, 12-20-59

An episode from the series "Suspense", particularly apropos today. Air date: December 20, 1959. CBS. "Korean Christmas Carol". the story of a strange G. I., his A. W. O. L. bag, and an act of courage during a Christmas day battle. The audio quality is not so hot, but the story is great.

Listen HERE

A Collection of Phil Harris/Alice Faye Christmas Shows 1947 - 1953

1947-12-14 - Presents For Fitch Stockholders

1947-12-21 - Annual Christmas Show

1948-12-19 - Jack Benny as Santa(2)

1948-12-26 - The Christmas Present

1949-12-11 - A Dishwasher Or A Mink For Christmas

1949-12-18 - Getting a Christmas Tree in the Mountains

1952-12-21 - Alice Volunteers to Play Santa Claus

1953-12-25 - Hosting French Refugee Kids for Christmas