The bottom line is clear: Our vital interests in Afghanistan are limited and military victory is not the key to achieving them. On the contrary, waging a lengthy counterinsurgency war in Afghanistan may well do more to aid Taliban recruiting than to dismantle the group, help spread conflict further into Pakistan, unify radical groups that might otherwise be quarreling amongst themselves, threaten the long-term health of the U.S. economy, and prevent the U.S. government from turning its full attention to other pressing problems. -- Afghanistan Study Group

Sunday, August 30, 2009

News of the Day for Sunday, August 30, 2009

An Army carry team lifts a transfer case containing the remains of Sgt. Earl Werner, 38, of Mondovi, Wisc., at Dover Air Force Base, Del., Sunday, Aug. 30, 2009. According to the Department of Defense, Werner, died Aug. 28, in Rashid, Iraq, of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his vehicle with an explosively formed penetrator. (AP Photo/Kevin Wolf) Yes, the Iraqis have it a lot worse, but here in the U.S. we seem to have completely forgotten that this is still going on. So lest we forget. -- C

Reported Security Incidents


Bomb attack on a police patrol in eastern Baghdad misses target, kills 1 civilian and injures 4.

Second bomb attack on a patrol in southern Baghdad injures 3 people. This story says the victims were all civilians, but if it's the same attack reported by Reuters, one of the injured was a police officer.

Reuters also reports a mortar round landed in Kamaliya, killing 1 person and injuring 5. Again, is this the incident reported as a "bomb attack on a police patrol" by Aswat al-Iraq, or a separate attack? It's often difficult to sort these things out.


Iraqi soldier injured in attack on a checkpoint.

Policeman wounded in a gun battle in western Mosul.

Sinjar (west of Mosul)

Six killed, 26 injured in car bomb attack. This is a predominantly Yazidi community. The Yazidi have been the victims of numerous such atrocities.


Three policemen, including a lieutenant, injured in bomb attack.

Other News of the Day

A senior Interior Ministry official tells AFP that two people involved in the Aug. 19 attacks on government buildings that killed 95 people had recently been released from U.S. custody. However, some details of his story, notably where the bombs were assembled, do not match earlier claims by Iraqi officials. The U.S. says the attacks are still under investigation. In any event, for anyone who remains confused on this issue, the Iraqi government continues to blame Baathists, not Iran. -- C)

Folk hero Muntadhar al-Zeidi (that's true, it's not a commentary), who threw his shoes at George W. Bush, will be released early. "Al-Zeidi's shoes were a suitable farewell for Bush's deeds in Iraq," Sunni lawmaker Dhafir al-Ani said in welcoming the early release. "Al-Zeidi's act expressed the real will and feelings of the Iraqi people. His anger against Bush was the result of the suffering of his countrymen." The release is scheduled for Sept. 14.

Attorneys for Iraqi families suing Blackwater security tell the court that founder Erik Prince is personally responsible for murder.

Turkey, Iraq and Syria to discuss water resources in Ankara on Sept. 3. This is a brief story, but it's a very big issue. Despite changes in Saddam-era policies by the Iraqis, there is no longer enough water reaching the south to maintain the marshlands, and Iraqi agriculture is constrained as well.

VA says the law does not allow it to pay benefits to a Marine injured by smallpox vaccination. Cpl. Josef Lopez suffered a rare adverse reaction. Note: Smallpox has been eradicated from the earth, except for samples stored in 2 secure laboratories, one in the U.S. and one in Russia. The only reason troops were given these vaccinations in the first place is because of the Bush administration's lies about Saddam's non-existent biological weapons program. Just one more evil consequence of one of history's most malevolent deceits. -- C

Afghanistan Update

Two separate bomb attacks in Kandahar. One kills 3 police, another kills 3 civilians. A total of 10 are injured.

Khost provincial police chief Abdul Qayum Baqizoy claims joint Afghan-NATO forces killed 35 Taliban in a remote area near Pakistan.

Meanwhile, also according to DPA, 2 children killed and 4 people wounded by a roadside bomb in Kunduz City. A Taliban spokesman claims responsibility for the attack, but says the victims were police officers.

Karzai's lead widens as vote counting continues, creeps toward the 50% mark that would enable him to avoid a runoff.

However, allegations of fraud continue to multiply, now there are 567 deemed "serious" by the Electoral Complaints Commission.

Quotes of the Day

As the session begins, the detainee stands naked, except for a hood covering his head. Guards shackle his arms and legs, then slip a small collar around his neck. The collar will be used later; according to CIA guidelines for interrogations, it will serve as a handle for slamming the detainee's head against a wall. . . . According to the agency's interrogation plan, the nude, hooded detainee would be placed against the wall and shackled. Then the questioning would begin.

"The interrogators remove the [detainee's] hood and explain the situation to him, tell him that the interrogators will do what it takes to get important information," the document states.

If there was no response, the interrogator would use an "insult slap" to immediately "correct the detainee or provide a consequence to a detainee's response." If there was still no response, the interrogator could use an "abdominal slap" or grab the captive by his face, the memo states.

Each failure would be met with increasingly harsher tactics. After slamming a detainee's head against the plywood barrier multiple times, the interrogator could douse him with water; deprive him of toilet facilities and force him to wear a soiled diaper; or make him stand or kneel for long periods while shackled in a painful position. The captive could also be forced into a wooden box for up to 18 hours at a stretch.

Washington Post reporters Joby Warrick, Peter Finn and Julie Tate, describing a recently released CIA memo.

This government does not torture people

George W. Bush