Justice and peace: a balance in the red The best defense is to be offensive
Aug 082008
  • If Colombia sends a contingent of troops to Afghanistan, will it qualify for additional U.S. military aid as a member of the “coalition” fighting there?
  • Bolivia is very tense on the eve of Sunday’s recall election. Protests, some violent, prevented Evo Morales from attending events in four different parts of the country over the past few days. Kathy Ledebur of the Andean Information Network and John Walsh of WOLA have drafted a very helpful memo about the situation. See also “Two Views from Sucre” at Blog from Bolivia, Rory Carroll’s coverage in the Guardian, and insights from Boz and Miguel Centellas.
  • Álvaro Uribe yesterday completed six years as president of Colombia. If he gets a third term, yesterday would be the halfway mark.
  • 20 countries will be participating in the U.S. Southern Command-sponsored PANAMAX military exercise starting Monday in Panama. “The FA PANAMAX 2008 exercise scenario will include sea-based training devoted to maritime interdiction operations, and visit, boarding, search and seizure. Land-based training in El Salvador and Honduras will focus on command and control, stability operations, humanitarian assistance and disaster-relief operations.”
  • Argentina’s Senate took the historic step of abolishing its military justice system. As Clarín puts it, “soldiers and civilians are now equal before the law.”
  • Venezuela is meanwhile buying more Argentine debt – but is charging Buenos Aires a decidedly non-preferential 15 percent interest rate.
  • 1980s Central America hands who remember Nicaragua’s Cardinal Miguel Obando y Bravo as an outspoken critic of the Sandinista regime may be surprised to know that the Cardinal is now under fire from Nicaragua’s Episcopal Conference for being too partisan in his support of Daniel Ortega’s Sandinista Party government.

16 Responses to “Friday links”

  1. jcg Says:

    That’s a good question, but it’s also worth pointing out that there is far more of a real coalition, with official UN backing even, in Afghanistan than there ever was in Iraq. Frankly, that subject aside, I’m more concerned about Colombia spending resources outside when we still need them inside.

    Good to know that military justice is being abolished in Argentina. I wonder how many other nations have done so though. Hopefully more follow eventually.

  2. Camilla Says:

    To me the more interesting question is: What’s it to Bin Laden to know that the Colombians are now going to be Afghanistan, his hellhole corner of the world? Given what Colombia’s army did to FARC, if I were him, I don’t think I’d want the Colombians out looking for me. With their track record, it’s just a matter of time before they find him, rub him out – and get his computer, too. It’s kind of fun to think about.

    But there is little doubt that with the basking glow of the hostage rescue, Colombia wants to expand its presence on the world stage. They have also begun talking about a Haiti mission in addition to training the Spaniards on this Afghanistan one.

    Europe’s army is a joke and America’s so-called allies are pretty well worthless militarily even if they had a will to fight which they don’t. Not so Colombia. Its army is one of the few militarily excellent ones on the planet, one that should command fear and respect, one that is being called on to clean up the miserable mess in Europe and its noncredible fighting forces. Colombia is a star.

  3. Camilla Says:

    If I had to answer Adam’s question in item one – I would consider a couple of statements recently. 1. The recent Miami Herald op-ed by Bob Gates which suggested that the US is looking to ending its military mission as Colombia wraps up its Marxist terrorist war and he seemed to imply that the Colombians agree with him. 2. There was the adamant insistence from JM Santos at the CAP conference to not cut military aid. He may have been influenced by his radical leftist audience or the fact that he didn’t want aid cut right now.

    But is this a bid to get more military aid? Or is it a bid to get free trade? Going off to fight Bush’s wars in general might look counterproductive, given Nancy Pelosi’s opposition to the Iraq war.

    But it is proposing to send men to Afghanistan and Haiti, which is a UN mission. Those are both things that Obama says he likes. Uribe might be trying to suck up to Obama and get on his good side to get free trade. His two recent maneuvers could be based on a calculation that he will win. Just a hypothesis.

  4. Jaime Bustos Says:

    It’s good to educate extremists once in a while: Osama bin-Laden died in December 2001.

    check this out: (2:14)

    Benazir Bhutto: Omar Sheikh Murdered Osama bin-Laden.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UnychOXj9Tg

  5. Randy Paul Says:

    Given what Colombia’s army did to FARC, if I were him, I don’t think I’d want the Colombians out looking for me.

    Given the level of his protection in the tribal areas in Waziristan, (i.e. foreign territory for Colombian troops), I doubt if he has much to worry about.

    On the other hand, given that Bush said less than a year after 9/11 “I truly am not that concerned about him.”, I’m certainly willing to let the Colombians have a crack at him.

  6. Jaime Bustos Says:

    I certainly sympathize with most of Randy’s views. However for those that, as Randy are a tad distraught by disinformation and want to learn a bit more on what is eating up the world’s guts, take your time to watch, who killed John O’neil.

    (Warning, not for everybody, just one actor, very intense … bewildering)

    http://wkjo.com/stream/

  7. Randy Paul Says:

    Sorry Jaime, I’m just not buying it, especially given the fact that the relevant parties (OBL and KSM) have acknowledged the scheme.

  8. El Común Says:

    Europe’s army is a joke and America’s so-called allies are pretty well worthless militarily even if they had a will to fight which they don’t.

    Are you serious? Here are the top 10, in terms of href=http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_military_expenditures>expenditures:

    Country Expenditures (USD) Year
    1 United States 583,283,000,000 2008[2]
    2 France 74,690,470,000 2008-2009 [4]
    3 United Kingdom 68,911,000,000 FY 2008-09[5]
    4 China 59,000,000,000 2008[6]
    5 Japan 48,860,000,000 2008[7]
    6 Germany 45,930,000,000 2008[8]
    7 Russia 45,450,000,000 2008 (est.)
    8 Italy 40,060,000,000 2008 (est.)[citation needed]
    9 Saudi Arabia 31,050,000,000 2008 [9]
    10 South Korea 28,940,000,000 2008 [10]

    Four of the top 10 countries are from western Europe and Russia is number 5. Colombia comes in at #36….way down the list. Frankly, I am not very confident that the Colombians are going to find Bin Laden.

  9. El Común Says:

    Sorry….let’s try this again:

    Europe’s army is a joke and America’s so-called allies are pretty well worthless militarily even if they had a will to fight which they don’t.

    Are you serious? Here are the top 10, in terms of expenditures:

    Country Expenditures (USD) Year
    1 United States 583,283,000,000 2008[2]
    2 France 74,690,470,000 2008-2009 [4]
    3 United Kingdom 68,911,000,000 FY 2008-09[5]
    4 China 59,000,000,000 2008[6]
    5 Japan 48,860,000,000 2008[7]
    6 Germany 45,930,000,000 2008[8]
    7 Russia 45,450,000,000 2008 (est.)
    8 Italy 40,060,000,000 2008 (est.)[citation needed]
    9 Saudi Arabia 31,050,000,000 2008 [9]
    10 South Korea 28,940,000,000 2008 [10]

    Four of the top 10 countries are from western Europe and Russia is number 5. Colombia comes in at #36….way down the list. Frankly, I am not very confident that the Colombians are going to find Bin Laden.

  10. Jaime Bustos Says:

    I am sorry, Randy, he did confirm the scheme indeed,

    here …

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUiNiB2yVCQ

  11. Kyle Says:

    Has anyone actually read most of the news coming out of Colombia about troops going to Afghanistan? It seems most of their work would be de-mining, something which is not new for Colombians. Though it seems they have some work to do at home on this front first before they try to pick up some political capital internationally in Afghanistan.

  12. GS Says:

    Europe’s army is a joke and America’s so-called allies are pretty well worthless militarily even if they had a will to fight which they don’t.

    What a breathtakingly ignorant statement this is.

  13. lfm Says:

    Thanks, Kyle. I was about to point out the same. Of course, Camilla would have never allowed pesky little facts to get in the way of his fantasy. Still, even to long-time followers of this blog Camilla always manages to reach new depths of insanity. If you want to pull off another Operación Jaque in Afghanistan, or to intercept al-Qaeda´s communications before bombing an encampment, you need to speak Urdu which Colombian soldiers don´t. As much as I admire the inventiveness of my countryfellows, I don´t see them doing a good job at blending in with the locals in Waziristan. Colombia is unlikely to make any serious difference in Afghanistan other than what it did in Korea: keep the veneer of “multilateralism” and “international law” from wearing too thin, which is, of course, the intended purpose of the whole thing.

    My feeling is that sending Colombian combat troops to Afghanistan is a political non-starter and that the Administration knows it. That´s why it´s been back-pedalling on this ever so softly and instead talking about technical personnel involved in de-mining, not actual fighting.

    I pretty much doubt that Colombians would take in stride the death of Colombian soldiers in Afghanistan. Afghanistan is slowly but surely loosing its aura of the “good war” (as opposed to the “bad war” in Iraq). It is being increasingly perceived as another mess with no end in sight; should Colombians die in that conflict it is unlikely to be perceived in Colombia as a righteous contribution to whatever.

  14. Camilla Says:

    El Comun: Spending a lot is no guarantee of military prowess. Spain spends more on its military than Colombia does and its soldiers are worthless, wouldn’t fight if terrorists bombed them in their hometown. Too much bother to actually fight and make sacrifices – over in Spain, they have a purely consumer purpose.

    Randy Paul: Given the level of his protection in the tribal areas in Waziristan, (i.e. foreign territory for Colombian troops), I doubt if he has much to worry about.

    Much of the left assured us a Colombian military victory over FARC was impossible, too. They insisted it couldn’t be done, FARC was unbeatable, the price was too high, and so the only alternative was peace negotiations with terrorists, rewarding them with land handovers.

    Well, things are different now. The beauty of the Colombian army is that it consistently surprises us with feats no one ever thought possible. I’ve learned to not discount their capabilities to do anything. I bet Bin Laden doesn’t, either.

    LFM: My own view is that they should not do it, either. They are doing more than their share in the war on terror just through sharing intelligence off the FARC computer. Nancy Pelosi and Obama will not be impressed, so there is no likelihood of sending troops abroad increasing their prospects for free trade. I don’t think they owe any more than the good work they are doing while they’ve got some die-hard FARC animals still to crush.

  15. Randy Paul Says:

    Much of the left assured us a Colombian military victory over FARC was impossible, too. . . .The beauty of the Colombian army is that it consistently surprises us with feats no one ever thought possible. I’ve learned to not discount their capabilities to do anything. I bet Bin Laden doesn’t, either.

    Apples and oranges. The terrain is completely different, they don’t speak the same language, I could go on and on, but I doubt that the Colombian Army could do what so many others couldn’t, especially not thousands of miles from home. Ain’t gonna happen.

  16. MZR Says:

    For centuries, foreign powers have been unable to defeat forces in Afghanistan. The Colombian army really wouldn’t do much better. But, in all honesty, no foreign power would perform much better either. The Russian army failed miserably (which at the time of the invasion, was an extremely strong force). Likewise, the US and British armies are currently failing terribly (both arguably stronger than the Colombian military, with much more experience of overseas conflict). Something tells me that the Colombian military wouldn’t make much difference either. Even with the Colombian army’s appalling human rights record, I doubt the Afghan insurgents would take much notice.

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