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, December 11, 2011

News of the Day for Sunday, December 11, 2011

Reported Security Incidents


Three women and one man are killed in a home invasion.


Two construction workers killed in armed assault on their company's headquarters.


Eleven people injured in double bomb attack near a fuel station.


Two civilians are injured in a bombing. That's all the info I can glean from the Kurdish site of Aswat al-Iraq; their English site is still (mysteriously) down, so only headlines are available.

Other News of the Day

Iraq and Iran exchange the remains of dead from the 1980s war. You remember, the one in which the U.S. supported Iraq, including satellite intelligence and protection of Iraqi oil exports, and Donald Rumsfeld presented Saddam Hussein a gold handled cane.

PM al-Maliki heads to the U.S. to discuss the future of Iraqi-U.S. relations.

AP offers a retrospective on the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq. Excerpt:

In the beginning, it all looked simple: topple Saddam Hussein, destroy his purported weapons of mass destruction and lay the foundation for a pro-Western government in the heart of the Arab world.

Nearly 4,500 American and more than 100,000 Iraqi lives later, the objective now is simply to get out _ and leave behind a country where democracy has at least a chance, where Iran does not dominate and where conditions may not be good but "good enough." Even those modest goals may prove too ambitious after American forces leave and Iraq begins to chart its own course.

David Enders reports for McClatchy that millions of Iraqis are still internally displaced. More than half a million are squatters, who receive no government assistance.

Liz Sly of WaPo discusses the problem I mentioned last week -- that the conflict in Syria is exacerbated sectarian tensions in Iraq. The Shiite-dominated government is solicitous of the Assad regime, over the objections of Sunni Arabs.

Afghanistan Update

Karzai says the death toll from last week's attacks on Ashura ceremonies now stands at 80.

Australia is planning to accelerate the withdrawal of its forces from Afghanistan, aiming to be gone by 2013, a year ahead of the previous schedule.

Meanwhile, the U.S. ambassador is talking about possibly staying after 2014 after all. (Coalition of the stupid?)

Karzai says foreigners are contributing to corruption in Afghanistan. (I can think of a solution for that.


dancewater said...

Civilian killings created insurmountable hurdle to extended U.S. troop presence in Iraq

In the accounting of what was won and lost in America’s Iraq war, this sleepy farming town deep in the western desert will rank as a place where almost everything was lost.

It was here, on Nov. 19, 2005, that a group of Marines went on a shooting spree in which 24 Iraqi civilians were killed. Their patrol had been hit by a roadside bomb and one of their comrades was dead. They ordered five men out of a taxi and gunned them down. Then they went into three nearby homes and shot 19 people, including 11 women and children.


Only the Anizi family still lives in the squat, dun-colored home in which four male relatives were gunned down in a back bedroom by two Marines. A third kept watch in a nearby room over the brothers’ elderly father, their wives and Khaled, then age 14, the son of one of the men.

Khaled tried to read the names on the Marines’ uniforms when they entered the house, “but they were covered with blood,” he said. “Their hands and vests were soaked in blood. They only wanted revenge. When they came, I could see tears in their eyes. When they left, they were laughing.”

“They are barbarians,” added Yusuf, Khaled’s uncle, the only surviving brother of the victims, who was away at the time.

After the killings were exposed by Time magazine in 2006, the attitude of the U.S. military changed, Yusuf said. The FBI came to investigate. The family received condolence payments of $2,000 for each of the four men. They were promised that those responsible would be brought to justice.

But then the attention faded. Yusuf heard through news reports that most of the charges brought against the Marines had been dropped. The U.S. military left its base in Haditha nearly two years ago, and local officials can’t remember the last time Americans visited the town. They wouldn’t be welcome if they did.

“We wish they never had come,” Yusuf, for whom the withdrawal brings no consolation, no sense of closure said. “The injustice is a bigger crime than the crime itself,” he said. “And now we know for sure justice will never be done.”

dancewater said...

There was never any chance of justice being done. no chance at all. The American people, the American politicians and the American military never gave a shit.

And the only reason the atrocity in this case is known, is because of extensive documentation by Iraqi journalists. This is only one case of tens of thousands where the US troops acted like total barbarians in Iraq. And they are acting the same way in other locations too.

dancewater said...

Huge Numbers of Iraqis still adrift within the country

As many as 2 million Iraqis — nearly 6 percent of the country's estimated more than 31 million population — are thought to have been forced from the cities and towns where they once lived and are housed in circumstances that feel temporary and makeshift.

More than 500,000 of those are "squatters in slum areas with no assistance or legal right to the properties they occupy," according to Refugees International, a Washington-based advocacy group. Most can't go home: Either their homes have been destroyed or hostile ethnic and sectarian groups now control their neighborhoods.

Those who are displaced internally say the Iraqi government has done little or nothing to help them, and in some cases has even prevented them from returning to their homes.