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, April 11, 2010

News of the Day for Sunday, April 11, 2010

Transfer cases containing the remains of Army 1st Sgt. Robert Collins, left, and Army Pfc. William A. Blount sit on a loader Saturday, April 10, 2010 at Dover Air Force Base, Del. According to the Department of Defense, Collins, of Tyrone, Ga., and Blount, of Petal, Miss., died while supporting Operation Iraqi Freedom. (AP Photo/Steve Ruark)

Reported Security Incidents

Adhaim, Diyala Province

Three brothers killed, 1 injured by bomb attack on their car. They were Sahwa members.

In what appears to have been a separate incident, three schoolchildren are killed and one injured, in an unspecified location in Diyala province, also by a roadside bomb. These victims are described as age 8 through 12, and so presumably could not have been Sahwa fighters; and only two of them are said to have been brothers. However, there is some ambiguity as VoI reports 3 brothers killed, 1 injured and "The brothers are students and work with the Sahwa forces in the province." Fog of war.


Federal police officer injured in armed assault on a police vehicle.


Kurdish security officer assassinated, using a weapon equipped with a silencer.

Shurquat, Salah al-Din province

Join U.S./Iraqi patrol kills 1, captures 2, after they are attacked by an IED.

Other News of the Day

In a news conference, members of Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law Alliance claim it has investigated vote fraud and questions 750,000 ballots. Note that neither the Iraqi independent electoral commission, nor outside observers, support any such claim. C

Iran's ambassador to Iraq, Hassan Kazemi Qomi, calls for a national unity government in Iraq. Qomi says the secular Iraqiya alliance, which won the most seats, would have to be included. He also says that Iraqiya representatives are welcome to visit Iran.

Meanwhile, Saudi Foreign Minister Saud al-Faisal denies allegations that Saudi Arabia interfered in the Iraqi election in order to benefit Iraqiya.

And, Turkish officials have been meeting with representatives of various Iraqi factions, in private discussions.

Joe Biden is a fount of sunny optimism about the Iraqi election and the "inclusive coalition government" which is bound to emerge.

In what is by now a familiar story, AP's Sharon Cohen discusses the psychological strain on U.S. military personnel of repeated deployments and the experiences of war. "Nearly 300,000 troops have served three, four or more times. (The vast majority of deployments last more than six months.) For these men and women, life becomes a revolving door of war, home, then back to combat — sometimes within months — as they face the same dangers, same stresses and same agonizing separation from family."

Iraq's (Shiite) VP Adil Abd Al-Mahdi gives an extensive interview. Interestingly, he continues to use the acronym SCIRI. He presents himself as an advocate of democracy and inclusiveness, including granting political rights to former Baathists. He proposes a "condominium" solution for Kirkuk, in which the region is treated as a separate entity with what appears to be joint administration from Baghdad and Irbil. He does not say so but this implies, a fortiori, a quasi-independent Kurdistan, which is already true de facto but not de jure. It seems to present constitutional difficulties. -- C

Afghanistan Update

In what seems a bizarre development, 3 Italian medical workers are held in a plot to kill the governor of Helmand Province. Excerpt:

The nine were held after suicide bomb vests, hand grenades, pistols and explosives were discovered in a hospital storeroom in Lashkar Gah, capital of the southern province of Helmand, a spokesman for the provincial government said. Police had been tipped off about a plot to kill Helmand's governor during a future visit to the hospital, the spokesman said.

A video of the raid shows British troops accompanying Afghan police, soldiers and government officials to the hospital, which is run by the private Italian group Emergency. In a storeroom, boxes are opened containing what appear to be bullets, pistols, hand grenades, and bags of explosives. . . .

[A spokesman for Governor Gulab Mangul said] the plotters planned to carry out a suicide bombing in Lashkar Gah, then wait until the governor came to the hospital to visit the injured. When he did, they planned to attack with grenades, pistols and explosives.

Bus carrying deminers is struck by an IED in Kandahar province, killing 5 and injuring 13. AP also reports an Afghan soldier shot and injured a Polish soldier in Ghazni; and a member of the international security forces killed in Southern Afghanistan, with no further information available.

Parliament demands Karzai fill 11 vacant cabinet posts within 10 days.

Quote of the Day

[Cheney] had absolutely no concern that the vast majority of Guantánamo detainees were innocent ... If hundreds of innocent individuals had to suffer in order to detain a handful of hardcore terrorists, so be it.

Lawrence Wilkerson


dancewater said...

I wonder if Biden knows that he (along with Obama and Gates) was burned in effigy in Iraq last Friday.

And Cheney, like thewiz, does not care about the innocence of other people, or how they may be hurt or killed by their actions. They are sociopaths.

dancewater said...

'As I watch the footage, anger calcifies in my heart'

A novelist and former prisoner of Saddam Hussein's regime gives her reaction to the Wikileaks Iraq video

I know the area where this massacre was committed. It is a crowded working-class area, a place where it is safe for children to play outdoors. It is near where my two aunts and their extended families lived, where I played as a child with my cousins Ali, Khalid, Ferial and Mohammed. Their offspring still live there.

The Reuters photographer we see being killed so casually in the film, Namir Noor-Eldeen, did not live there, but went to cover a story, risking his life at a time when most western journalists were imbedded with the military. Noor-Eldeen was 22 (he must have felt extremely proud to be working for Reuters) and single. His driver Saeed Chmagh, who is also seen being killed, was 40 and married. He left behind a widow and four children, adding to the millions of Iraqi widows and orphans.

Witnesses to the slaughter reported the harrowing details in 2007, but they had to wait for a western whistleblower to hand over a video before anyone listened. Watching the video, my first impression was, I have no impression. But the total numbness gradually grows into a now familiar anger. I listen to the excited voices of death coming from the sky, enjoying the chase and killing. I whisper: do they think they are God?

"Light 'em all up!" one shooter says.

"Ah, yeah, look at those dead bastards. Nice," says another.

"Well, it's their fault bringing their kids into the battle," one says when ground troops discover two children among the wounded.

In their Apache helicopter, with their sophisticated killing machinery, US soldiers seem superhuman. The Iraqis, on the ground, appear only as nameless bastards, Hajjis, sandniggers. They seem subhuman – and stripping them of their humanity makes killing them easy.

As I watch, I feel the anger calcify in my heart alongside the rage I still feel over other Anglo-American massacres: Haditha (which has been compared to the My Lai massacre during the Vietnam war); Ishaqi (where 11 Iraqi civilians were killed in June 2006); Falluja; the rape and killing of A'beer al-Janaby and her family; the British Camp Breadbasket scandal.

We often hear of the traumas US soldiers suffer when they lose one of their ranks, and their eagerness to even the score. We seldom hear from people like the Iraqi widow whose husband was shot, who looked me in the eye last summer, and said: "But we didn't invade their country." Unlike this video, the injustice she feels will not fade with time. It is engraved in the collective memory of people, and will be until justice is done.

dancewater said...

Iraqis protest and show off their skills with English:

more protest pictures under Yahoo News, or will be posted later on my blog Faces of Grief.

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