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, January 2, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, January 2, 2011

A resident cleans the site of a bomb attack that targeted Christians in Baghdad December 31, 2010. REUTERS/Mohammed Ameen

Reported Security Incidents


Unknown attackers bomb the house of the district prosecutor, Hardan Khalaf Jassem, killing his son and injuring him and 8 family members. According to Aswat al-Iraq, the fatality was actually Jassem's nephew.

Al-Filahat, near Fallujah

One police officer killed and 4 wounded in attack on a checkpoint.


IED attack injures 3 people, including Mal Allah Abbas Ahmed, head of the Sunni endowment for Diyala province. Aswat al-Iraq reports two bombs were placed near the directorate.


Iraqi army says it foiled a suicide bomb plot against the Chairman of Ninevah Provincial Council.


Waad Abdul-Hussein, a lawyer for the Association Defending Iraqi Prisoners (which advocates for political prisoners) is assassinated in a drive-by shooting. Two people are injured. (Hmmm. Now who would want to kill that particular person? -- C)


Police find the body of a man who appeared to have been tortured.

Other News of the Day

For whatever it's worth, based on official news releases, CNN counts 3,605 Iraqis killed in violence in 2010. This total is higher than the 3,479 they counted in 2009, but includes fewer civilians and more security personnel. However, Aswat al-Iraq (here via Ahlul Bayt) reports a higher total, 4,561, with 12,749 wounded, based on a report by an organization called the Iraqi Observatory of Rights & Constitutional Freedoms. By the way, although CNN doesn't mention it, this includes 34 people killed by U.S. forces. (They probably don't count.)

Anonymous CNN staffers discuss the future of Baghdad's Christian community following Thursday's coordinated attacks. As of now, approximately half of the 1.4 million Christians who had been in Iraq are estimated to have left.

Afghanistan Update

A soldier from the 5th Battalion The Royal Regiment of Scotland is killed by an explosion in southern Afghanistan.

Maiwand Safi for the Institute for War and Peace Reporting reports that some Afghan security personnel are are deserting because they fear a Taliban victory in the event of a U.S. withdrawal. (This may be so but it would be a self-fulfilling prophecy, no? And this certainly indicates the state of motivation of Afghan government forces.)

Perhaps they are more worried because 1,292 Afghan police were killed in 2010, according to the Interior Ministry.

Canada is deploying a fleet of new, modern C-130J Hercules cargo planes to Afghanistan. In case you didn't know it, Canada does most of the bulk cargo and troop transport for the ISAF.

Meanwhile, the U.S. will deploy a new surveillance drone called Gorgon, which carries nine video cameras. According to Air Force Maj. Gen. James O. Poss, "Gorgon Stare will be looking at a whole city, so there will be no way for the adversary to know what we're looking at, and we can see everything." (Every breath you take and every move you make, Every bond you break, Every step you take, I'll be watching you.)

Quote of the Day

A letter from Guantánamo, by Adnan Farhan Abdul Latif

To Attorney David Remes who dedicated his efforts to work on my dead case. The case that has been buried by its makers under the wreckage of freedom, justice, and the malicious and cursed politics.

Testimony and Consolation

I offer my dead corpse to the coming Yemeni delegation.

They agreed on the torture and agonies that I went through all those years.

They knew that I am innocent and at the same time ill and that I left my country to seek treatment.

This is also a message to the Yemeni people who bear the responsibility of my death in front of God and the responsibility of all of the other Yemenis inside this prison. This prison is a piece of hell that kills everything, the spirit, the body and kicks away all the symptoms of health from them.

A Testimony of Death

A testimony against injustice and against the propagandists of freedom, justice and equality.

Adnan Farhan Abdulatif while in the throes of death. (Signed thus)