10 February 2011

Missing the Point is Catching On

There seems to be an epidemic of people saying stupid things over the past few days.

Mexican officials are upset that a US official characterized their drug wars as an 'insurgency'.

The Mexican government on Wednesday condemned comments by a top U.S. Defense Department official characterizing the drug gang violence here as a "form of insurgency" — remarks the official later apologized for and retracted.
Mexico's Foreign Secretary Patricia Espinosa regretted that "outdated visions" on drug trafficking continue to be used and urged U.S. officials to refrain from commenting on issues they are not fully informed about.
"These unfortunate incidents should show that officials need to refrain from making statements, from giving opinions without having all the facts," Espinosa said.
Westphal made his initial remarks Monday at the Hinkley Institute of Politics Forum. In a statement Tuesday he said that in response to a question, he "mistakenly characterized the challenge posed by drug cartels to Mexico as 'a form of insurgency.'"

So Mexico has a problem with that term, eh?
Let's see what Dictionary.com says....
in�sur�gen�cy   [in-sur-juhn-see]
–noun, plural, -cies for 4.
1. the state or condition of being insurgent.
2. insurrection against an existing government, usually one's own, by a group not recognized as having the status of a belligerent.
3. rebellion within a group, as by members against leaders.
4. insurgence.

So the drug cartels subverting the judiciary, killing the police, and buying off politicians somehow isn't "insurrection against an existing government, usually one's own, by a group not recognized as having the status of a belligerent"? I mean really, if that's not - especially on the scale it is in Mexico - then what is?

Then there's the idiot patrol over at NDI. DNI James Clapper claims that al Qaeda is their top threat and they're catching a lot of criticism over 'missing' the signs of Arab revolts...

Amid criticism that intelligence services missed the signs of Arab revolt in Tunisia and Egypt, the nation's top intelligence official will tell Congress that the threat from al-Qaida and its affiliates remains his No. 1 priority, U.S. officials said.
In testimony scheduled Thursday before the House Intelligence Committee, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper will stress that counterterrorism to keep Americans safe is the focus of the intelligence community, according to one of those officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss matters of intelligence.
Clapper is expected to defend how the intelligence community tracked the revolts that have swept through two major American allies in the Arab world, toppling the leader of Tunisia and threatening the regime in Egypt, the officials said.
Lawmakers have questioned whether the focus on al-Qaida and its militant offshoots has weakened the intelligence community's attention toward other parts of the world.

This is sounding an awful lot like the first week of September, 2001, when the US intelligence directorate was alternately focused on China, Iraq, and the Balkans, and completely ignoring the existence of a bunch of camel jockeys in tents in Afghanistan.

By: Brant

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