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Tag: Afghanistan


© 2001 Reese Erlich

Opinions Walter Cronkite Never Aired

In the fall of 2002, Walter Cronkite agreed to be interviewed about the pending U.S. invasion of Iraq. That interview was never published. Looking back at the transcript seven years later, Walter’s views proved quite prescient. Here’s some of what he told me.

Posted on Jul 20, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
AP / Matt Dunham

Brown Holds His Ground as Troops Die

Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown defended his government’s policy in Afghanistan after eight British soldiers were killed over the weekend. In the past two weeks, 15 U.K. servicemen have died, making the total death toll for British military personnel in Afghanistan greater than the Iraq toll, 179. As a result, Brown and his ministers have been under increasing criticism by the MPs.

Posted on Jul 13, 2009 READ MORE


Kabul blast
AP photo

Explosives-Laden Truck Detonates, Kills 25 in Afghanistan

An overturned truck filled with timber and, it turned out, explosives blew up early Thursday morning in Logar province, Afghanistan, killing 25 people. Thirteen of the victims were children on their way to school, according to the Associated Press.

Posted on Jul 9, 2009 READ MORE


British Defense Minister
daylife.com

Real Talk on Afghanistan

At a time when many think of the current war in Afghanistan as something that can be fixed by a surge in troop levels, Britain’s new defense secretary drops some incredibly real talk to explain to the U.K. public that “more lives will be lost” and “the situation ... is not yet decided.”

Posted on Jul 8, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Hadi Mizban

So This Is What Victory Looks Like?

It is wishful thinking to believe that the Iraqi military will be able to hold the ruins of Iraqi society together without major U.S. intervention. The United States has assumed the role of Saddam’s Special Republican Guard, waiting to be called in to crush any sign of rebellion or insurrection. It’s a lose-lose situation with only one way out.

Posted on Jul 7, 2009 READ MORE


King

Rep. Peter King Slams Media’s MJ Mania, Intensifies Mania in So Doing

Any salient points that hard-boiled Long Island Congressman Peter King made about the media’s Michael Jackson fixation were, for one, overshadowed by his descriptions of Jackson as a “low-life” and a “pedophile,” and also apparently lost on certain mainstream media outlets.

Posted on Jul 6, 2009 READ MORE


The Battle Over the Burqa

Since President Barack Obama in his recent Cairo speech made a tut-tutting remark about countries that restricted wearing religious garb in school, the controversy over the Muslim burqa has resumed in Europe.

Posted on Jul 2, 2009 READ MORE


It’s Obama’s War Now

The U.S. military has launched the first major offensive of Barack Obama’s new Afghanistan strategy, sending thousands of troops to Helmand province under the moniker Operation Strike of the Sword.

Posted on Jul 1, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Troops Leave Iraqi Cities, but Unsettled Issues Remain

Now that American troops are withdrawing from the cities of Iraq, the calculation must begin as to whether the loss of some half-million to million lives and the ruin of the infrastructure and social structure of Baghdad and much of the rest of the Iraqi nation have served some good purpose.

Posted on Jun 30, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
YouTube / Al Jazeera

U.S., Britain Part Company in the Poppy Fields

The U.S. has decided to stop funding poppy field eradication in Afghanistan, declaring the policy a failure and a waste of money. Since 2003, opium production has gone up 40-fold in Afghanistan, making it the producer of 90 percent of the world’s heroin. But Britain, backed by the Afghan government, will continue destroying poppy fields as a way to stem the drug trade.

Posted on Jun 29, 2009 READ MORE


Turning Soldiers Into Crusaders

“Fault Lines” has this disturbing look at efforts to transform American soldiers into “government-paid missionaries,” as one Christian fundamentalist group put it. Featuring Truthdig’s Chris Hedges.

Posted on Jun 26, 2009 READ MORE


Bagram width=
access.gpo.gov

More Ex-Detainees Allege Abuse

More than two dozen former detainees at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan say they were beaten, deprived of sleep and threatened with dogs while under U.S. supervision there between 2002 and 2008. None of the detainees were ever charged, and some got apologies upon release.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Drugs
welt.de

Drugs Are Sick

U.N. drug chief Antonio Maria Costa believes drug use should be treated as an illness and not criminalized. Costa says international law enforcement should shift focus to traffickers rather than users, an intriguing (look at the U.S. prison population) but problematic (look at Mexico’s drug war death toll) strategy.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Dick Cheney
AP photo / Manuel Balce Ceneta

Cheney’s Satanic Verses

Dick Cheney, former vice president, defense secretary and White House chief of staff, has signed a reported $2 million deal with Simon & Schuster to publish his memoirs as a public official in four administrations. Bets are it’ll be a thriller marked with torture, stolen elections, war and, hopefully, no sex.

Posted on Jun 24, 2009 READ MORE


Promises, Promises

Share
Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE    



AP photo / STR

Symbols Are Not Enough to Win This Battle

You don’t overthrow Islamic revolutions with car headlights. And definitely not with candles. Peaceful protest might have served Gandhi well, but the supreme leader’s Iran is not going to worry about a few thousand demonstrators on the streets, even if they do cry “Allahu Akbar” from their rooftops every night.

Posted on Jun 23, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Navy / Lt. j.g. James Dietle

Order to U.S. Troops: No Firefights Near Afghan Villagers

Gen. Stanley McChrystal is rolling out a new order to U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan with the hope of reducing rampant civilian casualties. If soldiers find themselves in a fight near Afghan homes, they are to “remove themselves from the area” as long as they can do so “safely, without any undue danger to the forces,” a military spokesman explained.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Ali Zare

Iran Had a Democracy Before We Took It Away

Iranians do not need or want us to teach them about liberty and representative government. We gave to the Iranian people the corrupt regime of the shah and his savage secret police and the primitive clerics that rose out of the swamp of the dictator’s Iran.

Posted on Jun 22, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr/Foxtongue

Rise in GI Alcohol Abuse Indicated

The number of U.S. soldiers enrolled in alcohol dependency or abuse programs has doubled since 2003, which isn’t surprising considering GIs are deploying on more and longer tours with less down time between. And these stats are probably hiding a bigger problem in consumption, considering that commanders have to be notified if someone is in treatment. So what of those that aren’t seeking help?

Posted on Jun 19, 2009 READ MORE


The War Between Civilizations That Never Was

The West was wrong about this being a war of civilizations, and so were the Muslims. Islamic civilization is experiencing a double crisis, of modernity and of religion. Nothing could be clearer today in Tehran.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE



U.S. Air Force / Senior Airman Erica J. Knight

Congress Funds Wars With Billions to Spare

After the president signs a $106 billion emergency supplemental, the U.S. will have shelled out about $1 trillion in “emergency” funding for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan—not including the Pentagon’s obscene annual budget, exponentially expanding health care costs for wounded troops, and the interest on all that debt. True to form, lawmakers threw in $2.7 billion worth of cargo planes no one asked for.

Posted on Jun 18, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
defenseimagery.mil / Staff Sgt. William Greeson

Violence Up—Way Up—in Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus announced Thursday that violence in Afghanistan has spiked 59 percent in recent months, hitting its highest level since the fall of the Taliban in 2001. American troops in the country now number 56,000 and will increase to 68,000 in the second half of this year. Petraeus said a coming increase in U.S. military activity signals that the trend of rising violence and casualties will continue.

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE


McChrystal
wordpress.com

Hearts and Minds Redux

“Decapitation strategies don’t work.” Those words, uttered by the newly named U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, mark a shift in the military strategy in Afghanistan. Yes, indeed—it seems to have taken the Pentagon eight years to realize that “you’re going to have to convince people, not kill them.”

Posted on Jun 12, 2009 READ MORE


Being Obama Matters

I used to fear that the president was overestimating the power of his personal history as an instrument of foreign policy. Now I wonder if he might have been underestimating.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE



Mr. Fish

Hold Your Applause

We may thrill to Obama’s rhetoric, but very few of the 1.3 billion Muslims in the world are as deluded. They grasp that nothing so far has changed for Muslims in the Middle East under the Obama administration.

Posted on Jun 8, 2009 READ MORE


Obama’s Cairo Speech: Significant, Eloquent—and Perhaps Just the Beginning

Obama’s speech was distinguished by the quality of his previous major speeches, that of speaking as an adult to adults. He promised to say what he thought, and did so on all of the topics he addressed. Correction

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Terrorist Stuff

Share
Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE    


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
uscmc.mil

U.N. Official Seeks More Clarity on Civilian Deaths

U.N. rapporteur Philip Alston called for greater disclosure and accountability for the number of civilian deaths caused by the U.S. in its overseas conflicts. He expressed “strong concern at the continuing problem of preventable civilian casualties” and demanded “real accountability based on credible independent investigations.”

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE


Rush and Newt Are Winning

A media environment that tilts to the right is obscuring what President Obama stands for and closing off political options that should be part of the public discussion.

Posted on Jun 4, 2009 READ MORE



USMC / Lance Cpl. Chad J. Pulliam

Airstrike Rules Broken, Pentagon Finds

U.S. forces in Afghanistan have developed a reputation for bombing first and asking questions later. According to The New York Times, an internal Pentagon investigation confirms that the rules of engagement were not followed properly during airstrikes on May 4, resulting in the deaths of 20 to 140 civilians (depending on whether you take the U.S. or Afghan estimate).

Posted on Jun 3, 2009 READ MORE


Petraeus
USAF / Staff Sgt. Bradley A. Lail

Replace Petraeus

Gen. David Petraeus has proven the rule that past military victories do not guarantee future success. The general has made a mess of Afghanistan and Pakistan, yet he remains dangerously popular.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
thebacon.org

Number of Private Security Contractors Increases

President Obama railed against the reliance on private security contractors in Iraq and Afghanistan during his campaign, but new Pentagon statistics reveal their number has steadily grown since he took office, increasing 23 percent in Iraq and 29 percent in Afghanistan in the second quarter of 2009. “Blackwater” author Jeremy Scahill investigates.

Posted on Jun 2, 2009 READ MORE



AP photo / Khalid Mohammed

War Is Sin

Those who return from war have learned something which is often incomprehensible to those who have stayed home. We are not a virtuous nation. War is neither glorious nor noble. And we carry within us the capacity for evil we ascribe to those we fight.

Posted on Jun 1, 2009 READ MORE


abu graib torture
http://lefteyeonthemedia.wordpress.com/

Pentagon Denies That Prison Photos Depict Rape

The Pentagon has denied claims made by a former U.S. general that the detainee abuse photos President Obama refuses to publish depict scenes of rape and torture. The rebuttal came only hours after Britain’s Daily Telegraph published retired Maj. Gen. Antonio Taguba’s story. “That news organization has completely mischaracterized the images,” Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman told the press Thursday.

Posted on May 28, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT

‘Winter Soldier on the Hill’

Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan spoke to lawmakers on Capitol Hill this month, giving eyewitness accounts of the horrors of war and the real practices of the military. Amy Goodman devoted Monday’s “Democracy Now!” episode to these testimonials for this Memorial Day. Listen to the soldiers’ stories here.

Posted on May 25, 2009 READ MORE


N.Y. Terror Suspects Were ‘Homegrown’

The four men arrested Wednesday night for allegedly planning to bomb two synagogues in the Bronx and gun down military planes were “not connected to another terrorist group,” New York Sen. Charles Schumer said in a statement Thursday.

Posted on May 21, 2009 READ MORE


Paris mosque
enjoyfrance.com

War-Addicted U.S. Afflicted With Imperialist Hangover

There is an important current in conservative U.S. opinion that believes Western Europe to be under something like a siege, or a potential siege, by its large Muslim immigrant population. I should actually say that it’s not just American conservatives, although they write alarmed books about the impending Muslim domination of Europe, and the collapse of European Christianity and identity. They fear the Decline of the West.

Posted on May 19, 2009 READ MORE


Farah injury
AP photo / Abdul Malek

Report: U.S. Marine Unit Killed Hundreds of Afghan Civilians

The Independent reported Saturday that a single group of American troops, the U.S. Marines Corps’ Special Operations Command, otherwise known as MarSOC—a creation of one Donald Rumsfeld—was responsible for “at least three of Afghanistan’s worst civilian casualty incidents” to date.

Posted on May 16, 2009 READ MORE


Obama
AP photo / Charles Dharapak

Obama’s Coalition of the Unwilling

President Barack Obama dramatically changed course twice on May 13 when he announced he would not release photos of American military personnel “abusing” detainees, reversing the Pentagon’s statement on April 26 that it would comply with a court order—with the president’s own prompt and emphatic support for release.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr.com / Kevin Burkett

Mo’ Money, Mo’ War

The U.S. Senate Appropriations Committee on Thursday approved a $91.3 billion supplemental measure to finance the Iraqi and Afghan wars. An additional $80 million has been set aside to support the shutting down of Gitmo, $50 million of which is contingent on the Pentagon coming up with a plan on relocating prisoners. Another $900 million has been allocated to aid Pakistan in its battle against the Taliban.

Posted on May 14, 2009 READ MORE


Predator
blog.wired.com

Cambodia Déjà Vu: the Invasion of Pakistan

Last September, during the American presidential campaign, I wrote a column declaring that the United States had again invaded Cambodia, only this time “Cambodia” was Pakistan. President George W. Bush had ordered U.S. ground attacks on the Taliban inside Pakistan’s Tribal Territories, without Pakistan’s authorization.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Pakistan Conflict Map
news.bbc.co.uk

Taliban Gain Ground, Color on Map

A new map produced by the BBC succinctly demonstrates the weakness of the Pakistan state in combating Taliban militants in the country’s North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The map shows only 38% of Pakistan’s NWFP to be under government control, while the balance of the region experiences either Taliban presence or control.

Posted on May 13, 2009 READ MORE


Gates Orders a Change of Command in Afghanistan

The Pentagon will be replacing the current top American commander in Afghanistan, Gen. David McKiernan, who has served in the position a mere 11 months. The decision comes on the heels of President Obama’s new plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan and marks a clear change in strategy in an increasingly complex war.

Posted on May 11, 2009 READ MORE


Afghan protest
AP photo / Musadeq Sadeq

Civilians Pay the Price of War From Above

Of course there will be an inquiry. And in the meantime, we shall be told that all the dead Afghan civilians were being used as “human shields” by the Taliban and we shall say that we “deeply regret” innocent lives that were lost.

Posted on May 10, 2009 READ MORE


Gates and soldiers
AP photo / Jason Reed, pool

Becoming What We Seek to Destroy

The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war.

Posted on May 10, 2009 READ MORE


Left, Right & Center

‘Left, Right & Center’: Bank Stress, Afghani-Paki-stan; Gay Marriage

Alert the media—banks need money! Who’s stressed, who’s reassured by the government’s test of the banks’ capitalization? Meanwhile, Pakistan is in serious danger, and Afghanistan is hardly a model of an emerging democracy. Their leaders are in Washington; what will America’s role be?

Posted on May 8, 2009 READ MORE


ENTER_ALT_TEXT
Flickr / Aaron Escobar™

Suicide Rates for U.S. Soldiers at Record High

As of the end of 2008, a U.S. soldier was more likely to commit suicide than an American civilian. This trend is now under investigation by the U.S. Army, which must grapple with the extent of inadequate psychological support available to soldiers coming home.

Posted on May 7, 2009 READ MORE


American soldiers
army.mil

Democracy at Gunpoint Guarantees U.S. Defeat

An account from the Taliban side of the Afghanistan war, which was published in The New York Times on May 5, provides devastating evidence of the failure that almost certainly will eventually overtake the United States and NATO.

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE


U.S. Military Investigating Afghan Casualty Claims

Up to 70 civilians were reportedly killed in the Farah province of Afghanistan in a battle between Taliban insurgents and coalition forces on Tuesday, adding friction to already tense relations between the U.S. and Afghan governments.

Posted on May 5, 2009 READ MORE


obama
AP photo / Ron Edmonds

Obama’s Hallmark Moment

President Barack Obama addressed a crowd in Missouri on Wednesday, stating he’s “pleased … but not satisfied” with his first 100 days in office and he’s eager to get beyond this “Hallmark holiday” in order to focus on the challenges that lie ahead.

Posted on Apr 29, 2009 READ MORE


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