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, September 19, 2010

News of the Day for Sunday, September 19, 2010

An Iraqi soldier secures the scene of a suicide car bomb targeting a crowded commercial area near an AsiaCell store, seen in the background, one of Iraq's biggest mobile phone providers in Baghdad, Iraq, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2010. Two car bombs exploded during the morning rush hour killing and wounding scores of people, police said.
(AP Photo)

Reported Security Incidents


Car Bomb in a commercial district in Mansour kills at least 10, injures 10. The explosion apparently occurred near an AsiaCell store, a popular mobile phone provider. CNN says 58 people were injured in this explosion.

A second car bomb in Kadhimiya kills at least 19 and injures 53. Some reports say there were two bombs at this location, (while reported casualty totals in both bombings vary wildly. Typically, the reports with the highest casualty totals have later information, and are more accurate, so those are the ones I highlight.)

Three mortar shells land in the Green Zone. No word on damage or casualties. KUNA says they were Katyushas, and that one landed near the U.S. embassy.

A mortar shell also lands on the Babel Hotel, injuring 3 civilians.

Saleh Ali Hamad al-Ulwani, the tribal chief of al-Bu Ulwan clan, is killed by a sticky bomb in Abu Ghraib. One of his bodyguards is severely injured.

An IED in the market near al-Nahda garage in central Baghdad injures 3 people and causes severe damage to nearby stores.

A senior intelligence officer is severely injured by a sticky bomb in Salhiya, central Baghdad.

Other News of the Day

Kelly McEvers of NPR visits the village of Jubail, where earlier this week a raid by U.S. and Iraqi forces killed 7 people. (Don't worry, it wasn't a "combat" mission. And indeed, it doesn't sound much like combat to me.) Excerpt:

A boy pours guests small cups of Arabic coffee inside the funeral tent. Then Mahmoud Hassan, 43, walks reporters toward a house and shows them where he was sleeping when the raid began. "I was covered with a blanket, and they shot [at] me. They thought that I was dead," Hassan says. "Then immediately they got inside this room ... and started shooting. And I was there, watching them."

Hassan points to a smear of blood on the wall and an even thicker pool of blood on the floor. This is where he says his 70-year-old brother and three nephews were killed. "There was one small kid, he was in the fifth [grade]," Hassan continues. "They shot his father in front of him. Then they shot him dead also."

Hassan says both Iraqi and American soldiers did the shooting. "Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes!" shouts the otherwise reserved Hassan, when asked if he's sure that Americans took part. "The Americans were all over this house."

Afghanistan Update

Two British soldiers killed by an explosion while on a "ground domination" patrol [sic] in Lashkar Gah.

Voter turnout is said to be light amid insurgent violence and threats. The Interior Ministry reports 33 bomb explosions and 63 rocket attacks, which they dismiss as "insignificant." The overall take by Elisabeth Bumiller and Rod Nordland of the NYT is more pessimistic:

Many polling centers were largely empty for most of the day, in sharp contrast to presidential elections a year ago, when voters waited in long lines. And where there was voting, there were numerous reports of fraud, from vote buying to ballot stuffing. . . .

But the Free and Fair Elections Foundation, the independent Afghan monitoring organization, cited “widespread irregularities. Insecurity and violence shaped the voting process in large swaths of the country,” the group said in a statement late Saturday.

The full extent of any fraud may not be known for some time, if ever. The election, in which 2,500 candidates ran for 249 seats, was monitored by fewer than half the number of international observers than those who observed in last year’s balloting, and they were confined to provincial capitals because of safety concerns.

Six children are reported killed by a rocket attack in Kunduz, according to the government. However, according to other reports the children were actually playing with an unexploded rocket.

U.S. soldier killed Sept. 17 by an RPG attack in Kandahar is identified as Spc. Deangelo Snow, of Saginaw, Mich., assigned to the 526th Brigade Support Battalion, 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division.

Charges are filed in the case of 5 U.S. soldiers accused of killing Iraqi civilians for sport. "According to statements given to investigators, members of the unit - 3rd Platoon, Bravo Company, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment - began talking about forming a "kill team" in December, shortly after the arrival of a new member, Staff Sgt. Calvin R. Gibbs, 25, of Billings, Mont. Gibbs, whom some defendants have described as the ringleader, confided to his new mates that it had been easy for him to get away with "stuff" when he served in Iraq in 2004, according to the statements."

Quote of the Day

It seems to me that only jingoistic blindness can account for the belief that it is "obscene" to compare the American architects and enablers of the attack on Iraq and the worldwide torture regime (among other crimes) to "killers and terrorists." The former are the latter, by definition.

Glenn Greenwald. (Warning: Annoying popup.)


dancewater said...

"Since combat operations in Iraq were declared over, U.S. troops have engaged in at least two other fierce firefights. One was earlier this month during a multiple suicide bombing attempt on a joint base in Baghdad. The second was last week, during a raid on insurgents in a palm grove in Diyala province that involved U.S. planes dropping two 500-pound bombs."

above came from the NPR article..... it is obscene what Obama is doing there.

Anonymous said...

International Aid Convoy to Gaza
Days One & Two: 18-19 September 2010

After many months of preparations and fundraising, on Saturday the Viva Palestina convoy set off from Luton in England on the long haul to Gaza.

Roger Fowler, our Kiwi Team captain, was nominated by Viva Palestina as coordinator of one section of the convoy.

“Our convoy of 50 vehicles is a lot bigger than it sounds,” noted Hone Fowler, another of the six Kiwi volunteers taking part.

Many more vehicles will be swelling the column en route to Gaza, although final numbers look likely to be much lower than planned due to a major diversion of resources to the Pakistan disaster.

After a 10-hour drive, the convoy arrived in Bagnolet, a left-wing commune in the eastern suburbs of Paris.

“All day, local people were turning up with vehicles full of clothes, medicines, cooking equipment, food etc as gifts for the people of Gaza,” reports Hone. “It’s very heart-warming.”

Cervantes said...

Anonymous should learn how to embed hypertext links. Also would prefer if people sign in -- for reasons of which you may or may not be aware commenters from New Zealand raise a bit of a red flag around here.

The subject is somewhat off topic but it's okay.