By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
When a series of 12 bombings rocked Mumbai in March 1993 -- blasts that killed over 250 people and left more than 700 others injured -- one member of India's Bomb Detection and Disposal Squad (BDDS) was heralded as savior, a golden lab called Zanjeer. And now, two decades later, Zanjeer's photo and his story are making the Internet rounds once again, this time in memorandum.
Zanjeer's first find during those fateful days came on March 15, when he gave his signature three-bark alert on a bomb-laden scooter parked on Dhanji Street, a mere "stone's throw away" from BDDS headquarters. In the days that followed he reportedly saved thousands more lives by finding explosives in "unclaimed suitcases" discovered at the Siddhivinayak temple and then again a few days later at the Zaveri Bazaar. All in all, Zanjeer helped members of the BDDS find, as reported by Reuters, "more than 3,329 kgs of the explosive RDX, 600 detonators, 249 hand grenades and 6406 rounds of live ammunition."
Zanjeer, named after a 1973 Hindi action film about a lone honest cop who perseveres in a world overrun by corruption, was trained in Pune and joined the officers of India's BDDS in 1992 at just one years old. The much beloved and lauded dog went on to have an illustrious and astoundingly productive eight-year career, during which he was credited with uncovering: "11 military bombs, 57 country-made bombs, 175 petrol bombs, and 600 detonators." These finds coming after the March bombings in 1993.
When Zanjeer died of bone cancer (other reports say lung failure) in November of 2000, his fellow officers gave him full honors during a ceremony and memorial service -- as seen in this photo as a senior official places flowers over Zanjeer's body. And while the world is remembering this dog 20 years later, citizens of Mumbai are said to have commemorated the anniversary of Zanjeer's death yearly.
According to Zanjeer's obituary, "The cops grew so dependent on Zanjeer that there were occasions when they would bring only Zanjeer and no equipment." The chief of BDDS during Zanjeer's tenure, Nandkumar Choughule, said that the dog was "god sent" and that when men were not able to track down the explosives, it was Zanjeer who found them.
By Richard Fontaine
Best Defense directorate of long-term grand strategy
Secretary of State Clinton's swing through India points again to the tremendous potential of an Indo-American strategic partnership over the long term. But it also demonstrates how tough some of the challenges will remain over the next couple of years.
Secretary Clinton is in India at the helm of a large, high-level government delegation for the second annual Strategic Dialogue. The first round, held in Washington last year, started to pull the bilateral relationship out of its previous doldrums and set the stage for President Obama's successful visit to India last fall. This round is aimed at sustaining last year's progress and implementing the many commitments both sides took on.
That's tough to do. Many of the big policy changes on the American side have already been made -- the United States has supported Indian access to civilian nuclear technology, a change that required amending domestic law and international agreements; it modified its export controls so that India has greater access to American technology; it now supports India's membership in the four international nonproliferation regimes; and the president endorsed Indian permanent membership on the UN Security Council. There is always more to do, to be sure, but these are serious moves.
On the Indian side, most of the expected policy changes are stuck, largely due to domestic politics. The civil nuclear deal is not operational because of a flawed liability law. Key defense agreements remain incomplete. India has granted little in the way of market access, despite repeated American hectoring. And the United States bemoaned the fact that the two American companies bidding on a major fighter jet program were knocked out of the competition.
This may be the most significant national security news of the day, even bigger than the Japanese meltdowns, but you won't see it in the Early Bird or most other defense-related news discussions.
News vaults over the horizon that China has surpassed the United States in manufacturing volume, ending a 110-year long run by the Americans. My initial thought was to remember that I read a few years ago that Great Britain effectively lost World War I when it was overtaken in goods production in the late 19th century by both Germany and the United States. (I am travelling and so can't look at my World War I shelf to see where I read that -- I want to say Corelli Barnett's The Swordbearers, but that doesn't seem right.)
I asked my CNAS colleague Abe Denmark, who is both very smart and is in China right now, what to think of this, and he wasn't as worried. I hope to have more from him on this tomorrow.
Meanwhile, in other Asia-as-number-one news, I see that India has become the world's largest weapons importer, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
By J. Dana Stuster
Best Defense bureau of nuclear warfare
George Perkovich, director of the Nuclear Policy Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, confessed to his audience, "Those who really know what's going on in Pakistan's nuclear complex aren't talking about it, and those who are talking, including myself, don't really know what's going on in Pakistan's nuclear complex."
He also said that when he was contacted for the event, he told Richard Weitz (full disclosure: Richard Weitz is a non-resident senior fellow at Center for a New American Security, where Tom is a senior fellow and I intern) he didn't think it should happen at all, saying "When Americans, especially, talk about nuclear issues and concerns, in particular about the security of nuclear weapons and fissile materials in Pakistan, that gets heard in many ways in Pakistan and almost all of them are not helpful." The discussion, he said, feeds a narrative in Pakistan, veracity aside, that the United States is only interested in self-preservation, its efforts are far from philanthropic, that it is anti-Muslim, playing favorites with India, and leading a concerted effort to denuclearize Pakistan, possibly with Israeli or Indian aid.
The discussion continued, despite the caveats.
Personally, I wish the general worried a bit more about the damage done to America by the government's embrace of torture as a policy under President Bush.
By Amanda Pfabe
Best Defense All American roving correspondent
Retired Air Force Gen. Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, spoke the other day at Johns Hopkins University's Rethinking Seminar about six security concerns that would keep him up at night were he still in the government. All six, he said, have a degree of imminence to them:
No. 1: Proliferation (specifically concerning Iran)
Hayden noted that answering questions pertaining to Iranian nuclear capabilities is easier to do than articulating how the Iranian government makes decisions. No one seems to know who or what influences policy. The confusion and mixed messages coming from Tehran surrounding the detention of the three American hikers, two of whom are still being held in Iran, in 2009 underscores the fact that Iran is a fully functioning society with a fully dysfunctional government.
His scary bottom line: Iran's quest to obtain nuclear weapons is a means to deterring the United States. Attempts to affect their nuclear capability, such as Stuxnet, will simply make them more committed to that quest.
No. 2: China
Hayden was quick to explain that China is not necessarily an enemy, as there are "logical non-heroic policies available to both sides" that can prevent conflicts. However, China's recent international behavior, such as the Chinese fishing boat's collision with Japanese coast guard vessels, can be described as triumphal and akin to that of a teenager whose strength has outstripped his judgment, experience, and wisdom. Several structural problems, including its uneven distribution of wealth, gender imbalance, and environmental disasters, promise to cause growing pains for China as it continues its ascent. Moreover, the legitimacy of the Communist Party governance is based on an unsustainable ten percent GDP growth per year.
Meanwhile, Reidar Visser (as usual) produces the best analysis I've seen of the state of Iraqi politics. He notes that the way the deal works out, the Sadrists are in line to pick up the governorship of several provinces.
JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images
Good for him. This strikes me as the right move strategically. China will be miffed, but that is OK. The message is sent that we will work with our rivals but support our allies. "It is my firm belief," the president said, "that the relationship between the United States and India -- bound by our shared interests and values -- will be one of the defining partnerships of the 21st century."
Also, it shows that while the U.S. is trying to bolster the rotten regime in Pakistan, we understand where our long-term interests lie. He should get some credit for not being an idiot about on this.
Now, let's see if the Krauthammers of the world give him credit when it is due, even by their harsh lights.
Globally speaking, it will be interesting to see how the United Nations changes if China, Japan and India all have permanent seats at the adults' table. It also probably is time to kick out France and Britain and instead give the EU one seat, which would make the permanent members:
That means 3.5 members of the council would be Asian.
By Rebecca Frankel
Best Defense Chief Canine Correspondent
Working security detail for the president has its perks -- these dogs will be traveling in style, staying in 5-star hotels where they can receive the kind of proper care they need, including special diet food sent ahead from home and a temperature-regulated environment to help the dogs adjust to a new climate.
Some of these reports of the dog detail traveling with the president -- like others alleging that the cost of Obama's trip is a $200 million per day expense -- seem a little sketchy.
But according to an English-language website based in India, a source inside the Mumbai travel agency arranging transportation for Obama's service detail told reporters that the preparations for Obama's sniffing dogs have been in the works for months when prior to the trip, the U.S. consulate "asked for more than 10 customised cars for dogs during the president's visit" to apparently "move with the president's convoy. …"
The cars, apparently, had to be specially outfitted: "For the comfort of the dogs, the back seats in the cars were removed and the interiors were refurbished to ensure they [sic] were no sharp edges." The source added, "Never before, have we seen such VIP treatment for animals."
PRAKASH SINGH/AFP/Getty Images
Counterterrorism without counterinsurgency is alluring -- it seems cheaper and easier -- but it is usually pretty meaningless and in fact can be very counterproductive. People who advocate just doing counterterror generally don't understand that. This is one of the best explanations I've read of why the short, easy way just doesn't work, from a friend who can't be identified, but who is in a position to understand this.
If you work at the White House, please read this slowly.
By Mr. XYZ
Best Defense terrorism columnist
To avoid killing the wrong people, you need intelligence. Good intelligence demands you have very close contact with, and cooperation from, the very constituency the Terrorists are seeking to mobilize. These folks won't cooperate unless they have security of person and property AND believe you won't abandon them after the next presidential election. That means that you can't CT without COIN.
Oh you can try. Clinton made a sport of it -- firing several hundred million dollars worth of cruise missiles into the deserts of North Africa, the Middle East and South Asia. Predictably, fire weapons and fire weapons alone not only did not compel the enemy to surrender, it caused them to multiply.
No serious student of strategic aerial bombardment I know of still believes that bombing a civilian population -- short of nuclear weapons -- will do anything more (or less) than awaken a sleeping giant -- Pearl Harbor and 9/11 are perfect examples, but so too are the largely failed terror-bombing campaigns of the Luftwaffe of Britain (1940-41 and ‘44-45) and the British reply to Germany (1942-1945).
The reason terror bombing does not work, is it causes predictable outrage in the survivors. Even if you use precision weapons -- no, especially if you use precision weapons -- killing anyone in my family will make of me an implacable enemy. I say this because if you use precision weapons you purportedly have the ability to avoid killing the wrong people and yet you killed one of mine. Hence, you MEANT to kill my relative. And now, I will have to return the favor -- especially if I am from a Shame Culture.
Used alone, navies and air forces cannot, therefore, win against insurgents. Why? Because they are fire weapons -- and fire weapons alone can never compel the enemy to surrender. The enemy may choose to surrender -- as happened in Serbia in 1999 and Japan in 1945, but the decision is left to the enemy. True decision in war comes from shock forces -- Marines/ infantry. Once shock forces go into action the enemy must repel the attack or leave. If they can't leave or defeat the attack they must surrender.
If you're going to employ shock forces, you are now going to be in and among the population. If you are going to have a population that is at least neutral, if not supporting you, then you will need to understand their language, culture, and aspirations, and help to provide for their needs. You must also be prepared for a long and costly war, in both money and casualties.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images
There's a rollout with a bunch of diplomatic bigshots tomorrow at the Newseum. Register here.
My gut feeling is that U.S. officials are beginning to give up on getting serious anti-Taliban help from the government of Pakistan. My guess is that there won't be any official change stated, but more actions that Pakistani officials haven't been consulted about. Also, if the ISI really is interfering with peace talks with the Taliban, I'd expect to see a rollup of ISI agents in Afghanistan. This would be done quietly, if possible, so the public signs would be reactions such as the kidnapping of Indian officials in Afghanistan, or bombing the Indian embassy again.
Shorting Pakistan is kind of a no-brainer: In the long one, which is the better ally to have, India or Pakistan?
India's home secretary says flatly that the Pakistani government controlled and ran the Mumbai attacks that killed 166 people in November 2008.
So does this mean the two countries are at war?
Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
I didn't think this 2008 Indian movie was very good, yet I found it quite watchable. Remember Charles Bronson in Death Wish fulfilling the fantasy of revenge against street criminals of the 1960s and 1970s? Sure you do:
Paul Kersey: Any chance of catching these men?
Lt. Briggs: There's a chance, sure.
Paul Kersey: Just a chance?
Lt. Briggs: I'd be less than honest if I gave you more hope, Mr. Kersey. In the city, that's the way it is
This is a Bollywood fantasy of hitting back at al Qaeda, ISI and their buddies. So Netflix it, but just keep in mind that it is an illuminating cultural artifact, not a lasting work of art.
And thanks to the commenter who recommended it many months ago.
If the Taliban took over Afghanistan, would al Qaeda again have a safe haven? I think so. The time to drive a wedge betwixt the two was back in 2002-2003, after the American invasion, when both groups had fled Afghanistan in disarray, and were licking their wounds and reproaching each other as they hid in Pakistani frontier villages.
That thought is provoked by an article in today's New York Times and by a series of interesting interviews with Taliban members recently carried by Newsweek. After the U.S. arrived, notes one Talibaner interviewed:
The Arabs were disappointed the Taliban hadn't stood and fought. They told me they had wanted to fight to the death. They were clearly not as distressed as the Afghans. This was understandable. The Arabs felt they had lost a battle. But the Afghans were much more devastated-they had lost a country."
The groups began rebuilding, the same Talibani recalls, by using raids and even funerals as recruiting and fund-raising tools. After one cross-border raid against an American outpost, he recalled:
We carried the stiff and bloodied bodies of our martyrs back to Wana. Thousands of locals attended their funerals. ... As the news traveled, a lot of former Taliban began returning to Wana to join us.
Another Taliban member says they benefited from American violence and the abuses of the Kabul government:
The Afghan Taliban were weak and disorganized. But slowly the situation began to change. American operations that harassed villagers, bombings that killed civilians, and Karzai's corrupt police were alienating villagers and turning them in our favor. Soon we didn't have to hide so much on our raids. We came openly. When they saw us, villagers started preparing green tea and food for us. The tables were turning. Karzai's police and officials mostly hid in their district compounds like prisoners.
As the old John Hiatt song laments, this is the way we make a broken heart. Or rather, this is the way we allowed a medieval bunch of Afghan hillbillies to re-group while we distracted ourselves with an unnecessary war in Iraq.
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
Yesterday's Washington Post has a terrific interview by Carlos Lozada, the Mario Vargas Lllosa of newspaper editors, with David Kilcullen, the Crocodile Dundee of counterinsurgency.
Most importantly, Kilcullen thinks Pakistan is near collapse:
Pakistan is 173 million people, 100 nuclear weapons, an army bigger than the U.S. Army, and al-Qaeda headquarters sitting right there in the two-thirds of the country that the government doesn't control. The Pakistani military and police and intelligence service don't follow the civilian government; they are essentially a rogue state within a state. We're now reaching the point where within one to six months we could see the collapse of the Pakistani state..."
(In a related story, over the weekend, Pakistani and Indian forces in Kashmir shot at each other -- I think the phrase "exchanged fire" sounds too polite.)
Kilcullen also warns that the Iraq war is far from concluded:
I'd say we have another three to five years of substantial engagement in Iraq."
Kilcullen, a colleague of mine at CNAS, the hottest little think tank in town, has a new book out that should be in the rucksack of everyone heading to Afghanistan. He will be speaking at a CNAS event on April 1st, but please note that registration is required.
I wouldn't be surprised to see India conduct air strikes sometime in the next few months against suspected terrorist camps in Pakistan, especially if Pakistani officials continue to play ostrich on the Mumbai/Bombay attacks.
Indian officials certainly are talking like born-again hawks. "Surgical strikes are definitely feasible," warns Gen. Deepak Kapoor, the chief of the Indian army.
(Hat tip to Nightwatch for flagging this.)
John Moore/Getty Images
There's a new Chinese sheriff off the east coast of Africa, and that is beginning to worry some Indians.
The recent Chinese decision to deploy destroyers against Somali pirates "marks the beginning of a major shift in the Indian Ocean balance of power," editorializes the Indian Express. "Beijing is at once showcasing a blue water navy that it has so assiduously built and signalling a new political will to use military force far beyond its shores. This, in turn, is bound to constrict India's own freedom of naval action in the Indian Ocean."
You want to see how great powers operate? Watch this one. China is making a statement, and it is being heard. I suspect the United States has many more options at its fingertips. The question is whether it cares to raise any. If we weren't tied down so much in Iraq, we'd have more freedom of maneuver to deal with situations like this.
Thomas E. Ricks covered the U.S. military for the Washington Post from 2000 through 2008.