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

Thursday, April 8, 2010

War News for Thursday, April 08, 2010

AdelaideNow (AFP) is reporting the deaths of two U.S. soldiers during "combat operations" in an undisclosed location in northern Iraq on presumably on Thursday, April 8th. Five additional soldiers were wounded in the incident.

The British MoD is reporting the death of a British ISAF soldier from small arms fire/gunshot wounds near Showal in the Nad 'Ali district, Helmand province, Afghanistan on Wednesday, April 7th.

Taped US shooting in Iraq not 'isolated incident'

US helicopter killings in Iraq must be independently investigated:

UN official: Iraq to obtain rest of oil-for-food funds by year end:

Taliban release video of captured US soldier:

U.S. now focused on getting rid of Taliban instead of opium crops in Afghanistan:

Afghan supply flights suspended from Kyrgyz base-NATO:

Kyrgyz opposition seizes power, dissolves parliament:

74 killed in Kyrgyz unrest: interim government:

Reported security incidents

#1-2: Two Iraqi policemen have been injured in two separate incidents in the capital Baghdad, a police source said on Thursday.

#1: “During a late hour on Wednesday evening, unknown gunmen attacked a civilian vehicle belonging to an Interior Ministry officer on the highway leading to Shula City, western Baghdad,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#2: In a separate incident, unknown gunmen stabbed an army officer near al-Zawraa Sporting Club in northern Baghdad.

#3: Police forces have defused 11 explosive devices found inside an apartment building in southeastern Baghdad, a local police source said on Thursday. “On Wednesday evening, a force from the Federal Division dismantled 11 explosive devices inside an apartment building in Baghdad’s al-Zafaraaniya area,” the source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. A number of boxes containing C4 explosives were also found inside the recently constructed and uninhabited building, he added.

Diyala Prv:
#1: Three policemen were wounded in Diala on Thursday when their patrol was hit by a roadside bomb.

#1: Police forces found in Basra on Thursday the corpse of a man slaughtered in his car. “His body was stabbed more than once,” a local security source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.

#1: Police forces in northern Iraq’s oil-rich city of Kirkuk have defused an explosive device southwest of the city on Thursday, without causing any damage, according to a source in the Joint U.S. Iraqi Coordination Center in Kirkuk. “The police forces found an explosive device near al-Fatih petrol station, some 10km southwest of Kirkuk, on the main highway connecting Kirkuk with Tikrit , and the Tirkalan district’s police along with the Multi-National Forces (MNF), have managed to defuse it, causing no damage,” he told Aswat Al-Iraq News Agency today.

Ninevah prv:
#1: Unknown gunmen used explosives on Wednesday to sabotage part of the Baghdad – Mosul highway. “The sabotage occurred in al-Hadhar district, south of Mosul city,” a local police source told Aswat al-Iraq news agency. He noted that the gunmen destroyed a bridge within the highway. “The blast left no casualties,” the source said.

Afghanistan: "The Forgotten War"
#1: Afghan police say they've arrested five would-be suicide bombers in Kabul this morning, averting a major attack by the largest suicide team ever apprehended in the Afghan capital. "If this team had made it through it would have been a disaster as we've seen in past instances," Abdul Ghafar, deputy commander of the Afghan National Police crisis unit, said at a news conference where the blindfolded suspects were put on display for journalists. The suspects were driving an SUV into Kabul when they were nabbed by Afghan anti-terrorism police, the Interior Ministry said in a statement. All five were wearing suicide vests, and the vehicle had two extra vests inside as well as a container packed with explosives.

#2: At least 12 militants were killed Thursday in operation by security forces in the northwest of Pakistan, local TV channel reported. The militants were killed in a joint operation by security forces and local lashkar (volunteer force) in Lower Dir areas of North West Frontier Province (NWFP). The security forces also arrested 20 militants during the search operation and recovered huge quantity of arms and ammunition, including 21 hand grenades, nine Kalashnikovs, and eight pistols.

#3: A car blast occurred in downtown area of Pakistani capital Islamabad late Wednesday night, leaving no one hurt but causing panic, police said. The car was stopping at a parking lot at Jinnah Super market in sector F-7, downtown Islamabad, a police officer told Xinhua. It was not immediately known what caused the blast. Police and bomb disposal experts rushed to the blast site and diverted the traffic to alternate route.

#4: Jet fighters killed 13 militants and injured 20 others in northwest Pakistan's Orakzai tribal area in last 24 hours, army officials said Wednesday. The air strikes also destroyed seven militants hideouts, two houses of pro-Taliban elders.


Anonymous said...

The WikiLeaks Video and Terrorist Blowback

Jacob Hornberger
Campaign For Liberty
April 8, 2010

I can’t improve on Glenn Greenwald’s analysis of the WikiLeaks video depicting the slaughter of Iraqi citizens. See here and here and here.

However, there is one part of the WikiLeaks video that I wish to address — the reaction of the helicopter pilots upon learning that there were two children who were shot and injured during the melee. Their reaction, in fact, perfectly exemplifies the mindset that has long characterized U.S. officials, including those in the Pentagon.

When the pilots discovered that they had shot the two Iraqi kids, here was their exchange:

“Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle.”

“That’s right.”

No remorse, no anguish, no regret, no concern. Just callous indifference to the possibility that the lives of two innocent children might have just been snuffed out.

What will be the reaction of the relatives of those two Iraqi children, who lost their father in the attack? Surely, even the most ardent pro-war advocates would not deny the obvious: the relatives will be filled with anger and rage.

Welcome to the world of U.S. foreign policy and terrorist blowback.

In fact, this most recent episode in Iraq is a minor déjà vu of what took place during the Persian Gulf War and the 11-year period following it. During that war, the Pentagon conducted a secret study that concluded that if Iraq’s water and sewage facilities were destroyed, this would help spread infectious illnesses among the Iraqi people.

So, the order was given: Drop the bombs on those facilities.

Then, to ensure that the facilities couldn’t be repaired, the U.S. government induced the UN to impose one of the most brutal systems of sanctions in history on Iraq.

Anonymous said...

The Pentagon proved to be right, with the deadly consequences of drinking the polluted water falling most heavily on Iraqi children. Year after year, tens of thousands of Iraqi children were dying. Two high UN officials even resigned their posts in protest to what they termed “genocide.”

What was the reaction of U.S. officials to those deaths? It was the same reaction expressed by those pilots in the WikiLeaks video: callous indifference. U.S. Ambassador to the UN Madeleine Albright reflected the mindset of U.S. officials when she told “Sixty Minutes” (and the people of the Middle East) that the deaths of half-a-million Iraqi children from the sanctions were “worth it.”

It is impossible to measure the depth of anger and rage that spread not just in Iraq but also the Middle East over the deaths of the Iraqi children, year after year, and over the mindset of callous indifference that characterized U.S. officials. When Ramzi Yousef was sentenced for the 1993 terrorist attack on the WTC, he angrily cited the sanctions and the deaths of the Iraqi children as one of the things that drove him to commit his terrorist attack.

That WTC attack in 1993 was followed by the attack on the USS Cole, the attack on the U.S. Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania, and, of course, the 9/11 attacks.

We all know what U.S. officials said: Oh, it’s not because of what the U.S. government has done to people in Iraq and the Middle East, including the sanctions and our indifference to the deaths of the Iraqi children, the Persian Gulf intervention, the unconditional financial and military support to the Israeli government, or the intentional stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands. People in the Middle East don’t care about all that. They just hate us for our freedom and values.

Mark my words: they’ll say the same thing if relatives of those two Iraqi children — or the children themselves — end up retaliating for what was done to the children’s father and other victims of the most recent slaughter.

Finally, let us never forget: Neither the Iraqi people nor the Iraqi government participated in the 9/11 attacks or ever attacked the United States. That makes the U.S. government the unlawful aggressor, invader, attacker, and occupier in this conflict, which means that U.S. soldiers have no right, moral or legal, to be killing anyone in Iraq, including those Iraqis who are simply trying to rid their country of an illegal aggressor, invader, attacker, and occupier.

Anonymous said...


We all know what U.S. officials said: Oh, it’s not because of what the U.S. government has done to people in Iraq and the Middle East, including the sanctions and our indifference to the deaths of the Iraqi children, the Persian Gulf intervention, the unconditional financial and military support to the Israeli government, or the intentional stationing of U.S. troops on Islamic holy lands. People in the Middle East don’t care about all that. They just hate us for our freedom and values.

Cervantes said...

I would prefer it if people log in. You don't need to use your real world identity but I would like commenters to have a consistent identity here.

Cervantes said...

(It also makes it easier for me to quickly sort out the legitimate comments from the potted meat product.)

thewiz said...

The fallacy with your argument is that the US, western nations and their interests have been under attack by radical Islamists long before 9/11 and long before the '91 Persian Gulf war. This has been going on for decades, some say centuries.

OBL hated the US long before we stationed troops in SA. He even bragged that he wouldn't take US aid in the '80s when fighting the Soviets in A'stan. And he and his father got very wealthy working with the Saudi royal family that he now hates so much. Funny how he didn't hate the when they were making him rich.

And the US established the oil-for-food program so that the people of Iraq could get the food and medical supplies they needed. It was the UN, the French, and Saddam that corrupted it so much that the people of Iraq suffered greatly. Why didn't these heroes of the people attack the UN or Saddam's power base? Because there is much more to radicalism than geopolitics.

This is a clash of civilizations, a clash of cultures that far surpasses recent geopolitics. It is about a society that is rooted in an ancient system and is resisting modernity with all it can.

Islam is more than a religion; it is a way of life. It controls every aspect of life including clothing, food, music, work, education, personal relationships and the subjugation of women. It is a male-dominated society that sees it position of power and privilege threatened by the encroachment of western values and freedoms. Centuries of male dominance are being slowly erased and they are losing their power.

Imagine that you are a strict fundamentalist and you see your daughters walking around in tight jeans, tank tops, and wearing makeup. Imagine how they react when they see movies, music videos, and advertisements awash with sexual scenes. How must they feel when homosexuality, adultery, drug abuse, and more is flashed across their society.

Add in the cities they see economic encroachment of the west with corporate development. Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Mickey Ds, and many more symbols of the west are planted throughout the ME.

Their ancient, controlled society is slowly losing its power. Our very freedoms to live life as we please is becoming a threat to their hierarchy because it is greatly influencing their young people that do not want to live in a controlled society. The youth of the ME strongly desire the same freedoms we experience every day and that desire is a threat to the ruling class there. And that is why they hate us for our freedoms.

Cervantes said...

You seem to be describing the Catholic Church.

thewiz said...


This is not to say that geopolitics is irrelevant. Much of the problems date back to the post-WWI era when the borders of many countries were redrawn based more on old colonial holdings rather than on historic, ethnic, tribal, and cultural basis. These jumbled borders made it almost impossible to hold a country together without a strongman ruler.

Kurdish areas were divided into Turkey, Syria, Iran, and Iraq leading to constant strife and rebellion. It necessitated strong rulers and oppression of peoples. And the Kurdish unrest is just one example.

Then along came the Cold War. It became necessary for the west to support some dictators to stop the encroachment of the Soviet quest for world domination. Would the world or the ME have been better off if we had just allowed the Soviet Union to establish puppet regimes in the ME as they had in East Europe? I think not.

What we have now is an unholy alliance between the dictators and the clerics of the ME. The dictators allow the clerics to fan the hatred of the west because it keeps the anger of their people directed outward. It allows them to oppress and suppress their people in order to retain power. And the clerics maintain their power and status, continuing their stranglehold on the lives of the people, controlling every aspect of their lives.

It is this unholy alliance, this unwritten complicity, that is so threatened by democracy and freedom.


Cervantes said...

Engaging the Muslim World. By Juan Cole. Palgrave MacMillan. 2009.

As Cole writes in his introduction of the "terrorism experts" who have become a fixture on cable TV, their message is that "Muslims are a menace to the West unless they are subdued and dominated." With the United States squandering its blood and treasure in military occupations of two Muslim countries, and the public preoccupied with the threat, however exaggerated, of Islamic terrorism, our political discourse and public policy have become ensnared in a narrative of conflict which is consuming our attention and draining our capacity to solve our many other urgent problems.

The first chapter is about the real issue that underlies U.S. and Western policies toward the Middle East, which is, of course, that black goo under the sand. It is fair to say that the issues which dominate our discourse about the Muslim world are mostly just distraction, framing and spin. The United States would have little interest in the region, and certainly no occupying armies, if not for our insatiable demand for petroleum and the geologic accident that puts most of the earth's irreplaceable supply in Islamic lands.

The second chapter initiates a major project of the book, which is to distinguish the many strands of ideology and political activism in the various Islamic cultural and national domains. One of the greatest sins of American punditry is the conflation of the very small and nearly feckless factions within Islam that directly threaten violence against the U.S. or U.S. interests with any and every form of religious, ideological or national assertiveness within the vast tapestry of Islam.

We may have no personal sympathy for the social doctrines of Islamic fundamentalists, but the vast majority of them are nonviolent and have not the slightest inclination to associate with terrorists. Muslim religious radicalism certainly has political manifestations (as does Christian fundamentalism in the United States), but it is obviously mostly directed at the governments of its own adherents and is not inherently any particular business of the United States. Cole's narrative essentially constructs a complicated Venn diagram, with circles representing various strains of religious ideology; secular political ideology; identity politics based on nationality, ethnicity, religiosity; and strategic and tactical alternatives. Somewhere in this vast fabric of overlapping and interlocking circles is a tiny area of intersection where religious and nationalist fervor, carefully nurtured grievance, and moral depravity produce a violent cult that sets out to kill innocent people, including Americans.

Some of the people inside the other circles constitute a problem for their local governments, legitimately or illegitimately. For example, Cole tells the story of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood. Although the Brotherhood is still routinely depicted as a terrorist movement in the United States, in fact it gave up violence a long time ago and is now a peaceful political party. The problem of the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan is not the simplistic story of religious fanatics threatening the civil order, as it is ordinarily portrayed in the United States. The Taliban movement draws strength from Pashtun nationalism; from economic distress and inequality; and from the corruption and fecklessness of existing governments.

However unattractive Taliban rule may appear to Christian or secular Americans, the only reason the Taliban are in conflict with the United States is because we have chosen to confront them. It is true that the confrontation originated with Mullah Omar's decision to harbor Al Qaeda, which in turn imported hostility to the United States into Afghanistan, a hostility which ultimately originated in the U.S. military presence in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf and its alliance with the Saudi monarchy. The offensive U.S. presence, in turn, was entirely motivated by our addiction to petroleum. . . .

dancewater said...

They hate Russia for their freedom and democracy too. Too bad those "bad apples" in the Muslim religion did not seek to impose their "clash of civilizations" when the Cold War was going on - they could have had a two-fer!!!!!!


I hold thewiz 100% responsible for the murders in the video released this week. The US military were just doing what they were told to do by evil idiots like him. thewiz, on the other hand, is swimming in innocent blood.

dancewater said...

swimming, swimming, in oceans of innocent babies' blood......

thewiz said...

I am to surmise that the post with the Juan Cole story line is a rebuttal to my posts. I'm not really sure as Cole's piece is so poorly contrived and inaccurate that it is difficult to see its relevance here. But let me address it as so;

The post starts right off on the crazy train by stating As Cole writes in his introduction of the "terrorism experts" who have become a fixture on cable TV, their message is that "Muslims are a menace to the West unless they are subdued and dominated."

I know of no so-called expert that made anything close to such a statement. And neither have I. I was discussing radical Islam. As a matter of history, the US has come to aid of Muslims in various military actions quite often in recent history.

We aided the Muslim Mujihadeen in A'stan throughout the '80s to repel the Soviet invaders. The US sent troops into Somalia as peacekeepers to stop the war-induced famine. Again, the US sent troops to stop the ethnic cleansing of Muslims by Christian Serbs. That was followed a couple of years later by another military action to protect Muslim Kosovars from Serb Christians. And we put together a huge coalition to oust Saddam from Kuwait, another Muslim nation. So the mantra that the US is hell bent on subjugating the Muslim world is lunacy.

Next; One of the greatest sins of American punditry is the conflation of the very small and nearly feckless factions within Islam that directly threaten violence against the U.S. or U.S. interests with any and every form of religious, ideological or national assertiveness within the vast tapestry of Islam.

I agree that it is a small percentage of Muslims that are radicalized. But a small percentage can do great harm. Less than 10% of the Afghan people ever supported the Taliban but yet the Taliban were able to rule the country. A small percentage of Iraqis wanted the secular warfare and violence there but that small group did great damage.

Who knows, maybe only 1% of the Muslim world can be considered radical. However 1% of 1.5 billion is fifteen million radicals, enough to do serious harm. Even one tenth of one percent would hardly constitute a tiny area of intersection where religious and nationalist fervor, carefully nurtured grievance, and moral depravity produce a violent cult that sets out to kill innocent people, including Americans. Feckless?? Are you serious?

thewiz said...

Oh, and I keep hearing how OBL justified his 9/11 attacks because we had troops stationed in Saudi Arabia. May I ask why we had troops there??


What could it be???

Oh yeah, I remember now. . . it was to protect the Saudis from Sodamn InSane after he invaded Kuwait and massed troops on the border with SA.

So, Saddam invaded Kuwait, we stationed troops in SA to stop his further advancement, OBL then used that troop deployment to justify 9/11, but you claim that Saddam and 9/11 are totally unrelated???? Amazing.

Our actions to stop that madman from taking control of the entire ME leads directly to 9/11 yet we are not justified for removing him from power.

Cervantes said...

Yo, doofus, you are engaging in the noxious argumentative technique called "premise shifting." The assignment was to comment on the idiotic meme "they hate us for our freedom." The response is that al Qaeda has various grievances related to specific historical circumstances, including the former presence of U.S. troops in Saudi Arabia. You respond that they had no right to be aggrieved by that and the troops were there appropriately.

So what? That was not the question. They do not "hate us for our freedom." Whether they should hate us, or whether they are sensible or respectable people, is a separate issue.

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