Archive for January, 2006

Shocked, Shocked

I’m sure it took a lot of work to convince NBA players on a road trip to NY that they should go on a bender:
“In another accusation sure to draw major attention, Browne Sanders claims Thomas worked with concierges at hotels frequented by visiting teams to encourage out-of-town players to go to certain bars and strip clubs and get drunk the night before a day game.”

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Something has baffled me during the coverage of the missile attack that hit no one of consequence…why just a missile?
As far as I can gather from the news coverage, large sections of what is nominally Pakistan near the border with Afghanistan are effectively outside of any central authority – something they have in common with Afghanistan, I suppose.  So you get these articles talking about Osama & Co. running around in this generally lawless region.
I’m not entirely sure why Osama would hang out in a cave when he could chill in Karachi and probably get much better take-out, or go to Indonesia or Florida or some place the air is more pleasant and missile strikes less likely.  But let’s assume for argument’s sake that this is where intelligence has him.
Why wouldn’t you just send a massive force – say, the Tenth Mountain Division – running through the Pakistani hills?  If the place has been abandoned by the Pakistani army, it’s not as if we would provoke a war with the standing army of Pakistan; any resistance would either come from random warlords or the Taliban themselves.  Plus, that many boots on the ground would make it awfully compelling for someone hiding out in a cave on dialysis to move to escape capture, or to talk on the phone to change his supply situation, or generally do something to get on our radar.  Deny early reports that we are involved, and when footage comes on Al Jazeera insist that’s file footage from Afghanistan.  If ordnanace gets left behind say the guys got lost up in the hills.  This isn’t the Dukes of Hazzard; why stop chasing at the county line?
Launching a missile was almost certain not to work.  Launching a missile and giving Pakistan advance warning (check out the quote from Evan Bayh) was completely certain not to work; I doubt strongly there is a Pakistani official senior enough to be worth calling who wouldn’t immediately get word to Al Qaeda of what was incoming.  Even if everything about the plan had worked – the dinner happened on time, the guests showed up, no one stepped out to use an outhouse – you’re still left with one small missile in the sky.  These aren’t ICBMs; when you see pictures from Serbia or Iraq, you notice that many buildings survive being hit.  Throw in a bit of error, even with GPS, and the missile might not even have done the job if the intel had been accurate.  If you really thought you had caught the guy why wouldn’t you send everyone you could rustle together?

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