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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

War News for Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Official: Pakistan sees lull in US drone strikes - The CIA has stopped firing missiles at militants in Pakistan since last month's deadly NATO airstrikes along the Afghan border so as not to "aggravate" already strained ties with Islamabad, the chief of Pakistan's senate defense committee said Tuesday. The 33-day pause is the longest since the program began in 2004, according to the Long War Journal, a website that tracks the strikes.

Iran to expel around 900,000 Afghan refugees

Secret US, Taliban Talks Reach Turning Point

Four rockets fired on US consulate in Kirkuk

Turkish security forces kill 20 PKK members in southeast

Reported security incidents
#1: Afghan security forces and foreign troops killed two insurgents and detained nine during operations in Laghman, Kandahar, Helmand and Ghazni provinces over the past 24 hours, the interior ministry said in a statement.


dancewater said...

Pregnant Afghan woman killed in US-led night raid

Afghan President Hamid Karzai and NATO officials have clashed once again on the issue of nighttime raids by Western forces, this time over an incident that left a pregnant Afghan woman dead.

A spokesman for the NATO force, Brig. Gen. Carsten Jacobson, said Monday that the commander of Western troops in Afghanistan, U.S. Marine Gen. John Allen, had met with Karzai over the weekend to express “deep condolences” over the woman’s death in Paktia province.

The precise circumstances of the raid early Saturday remained unclear.

Afghan officials in Paktia’s provincial capital, Gardez, said the woman was killed when U.S. and Afghan forces surrounded and then entered the home of the provincial head of counter-narcotics operations, an official named Hafizullah. He was arrested along with two of his sons, said Rohullah Samon, a spokesman for the Paktia governor.

The slain woman was Hafizullah’s wife, who was eight months pregnant, Samon said, adding that four other female family members were injured.


They don't give a shit who they kill.

dancewater said...

Arrest Order for Sunni Leader in Iraq opens new rift

A day after the United States withdrew its last combat troops, Iraq faced a dangerous political crisis Monday as the Shiite-dominated government ordered the arrest of the Sunni vice president, accusing him of running a death squad that assassinated police officers and government officials.


The accusations against Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi also underlined fears that Iraq’s leaders may now be using the very institutions America has spent millions of dollars trying to strengthen — the police, the courts, the media — as a cudgel to batter their political enemies and consolidate power.

On Monday night, Mr. Hashimi was in the northern semiautonomous region of Kurdistan, beyond the reach of security forces controlled by Baghdad. It was unclear when — or if — he would return to Baghdad.

dancewater said...

Iraqi Vice President denies ordering killings

As Iraq’s Sunni vice president on Tuesday angrily rebutted the government’s accusations that he had been running death squads, many people in Iraq’s Sunni minority dismissed the charges as politically motivated, underscoring how deeply alienated they have become from the Shiite-led government.


All the Sunnis feel neglected now,” said Kais al-Obaidi, an accountant at a shawarma restaurant in the Sunni neighborhood of Adhamiya. “We feel we are the second level of people now.”

He added: “It’s clear what’s happening here. They are sending a message to the Sunnis — that we control you.”

On Tuesday, Mr. Hashimi vehemently denied the government’s accusations, saying that security forces controlled by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki pressured the guards into false confessions.

In a nationally televised news conference, Mr. Hashimi blamed Mr. Maliki’s government for using the country’s security forces to persecute political opponents, particularly Sunnis.

“The accusations have not been proven, so the accused is innocent until proven guilty,” Mr. Hashimi said at the news conference in Erbil, in the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, where he is beyond the reach of the government’s security forces. “I swear by God I didn’t do this disobedience against Iraqi blood, and I would never do this.”


At the news conference, Mr. Hashimi, a close ally of the Americans, criticized President Obama for having ordered the withdrawal of American combat forces by the end of 2011.

“I’m surprised by the statement of President Obama when he said that the United States had left a democratic Iraq,” he said. “Is that the reality of Iraq? I’m sad. Either the American president is deceived or he is overlooking the facts existing here. Today my house is surrounded with tanks. I’d ask him, what democracy are you talking about, President Obama?”


He was talking about the democracy of death.

dancewater said...

Secrecy defines Obama's drone wars

Since September, at least 60 people have died in 14 reported CIA drone strikes in Pakistan’s tribal regions. The Obama administration has named only one of the dead, hailing the elimination of Janbaz Zadran, a top official in the Haqqani insurgent network, as a counterterrorism victory.

The identities of the rest remain classified, as does the existence of the drone program itself. Because the names of the dead and the threat they were believed to pose are secret, it is impossible for anyone without access to U.S. intelligence to assess whether the deaths were justified.

The administration has said that its covert, targeted killings with remote-controlled aircraft in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and potentially beyond are proper under both domestic and international law. It has said that the targets are chosen under strict criteria, with rigorous internal oversight.

It has parried reports of collateral damage and the alleged killing of innocents by saying that drones, with their surveillance capabilities and precision missiles, result in far fewer mistakes than less sophisticated weapons.

Yet in carrying out hundreds of strikes over three years — resulting in an estimated 1,350 to 2,250 deaths in Pakistan — it has provided virtually no details to support those assertions.


And those assertions are simply a pack of lies.

They did kill two obvious combatants in Afghanistan with drones earlier this year. They saw the flash from their weapons, so there were for sure combatants. They also happened to be US troops.

They don't know who they are killing and they don't give a shit either.

dancewater said...


At A congressional hearing examining the march to war in Iraq, Republican congressman Walter Jones posed "a very simple question" about the administration's manipulation of intelligence: "How could the professionals see what was happening and nobody speak out?"

Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson, Colin Powell's former chief of staff, responded with an equally simple answer: "The vice president."

But the blame for Iraq does not end with Cheney, Bush, or Rumsfeld. Nor is it limited to the intelligence operatives who sat silent as the administration cherry-picked its case for war, or with those, like Colin Powell or Hans Blix, who, in the name of loyalty or statesmanship, did not give full throat to their misgivings. It is also shared by far too many in the Fourth Estate, most notably the New York Times' Judith Miller. But let us not forget that it lies, inescapably, with we the American people, who, in our fear and rage over the catastrophic events of September 11, 2001, allowed ourselves to be suckered into the most audacious bait and switch of all time.


Here were two very big clues that the Bushies were lying:

1. Comments made by Rumsfeld and Powell (and Rice - but not in the article) in February 2001


1. The Bushies said they knew where the WMDs were, BUT THEY REFUSED TO TELL THE UN WEAPONS INSPECTORS.

I cannot believe that so many Americans were so damn dumb.