Behold, your new Emmanuel Goldstein over at cnn.com right now.
"...no one appears to be noticing that Afghanistan -- remember Afghanistan, the poster child for Bush administration success in the global war on terrorism? -- is heading south at an alarming pace.
Mullah Omar's Taliban are on the comeback trail with a vengeance this summer, operating in well-armed and disciplined battalion-size units in the south. Drawing on the experience of the Iraqi insurgents, the Taliban forces are employing more sophisticated improvised explosive devices as well as mines and ambushes against Afghan government forces and foreign military and aid officials.This is happening just a month before U.S. forces are scheduled to begin turning over responsibility for that volatile region to some of our NATO allies.
To be sure, American air strikes have wreaked havoc on the larger Taliban units when they come out to fight. But the collateral damage, the death and destruction visited on nearby civilians, has grown as well.
The developments already have caused the Pentagon to delay or cancel plans to draw down U.S. forces by a brigade, or about 3,000 troops out of the estimated 18,000 now deployed in Afghanistan.
Many villagers in that impoverished region, fed up with waiting for things to get even a little bit better under the U.S.-backed government of President Hamid Karzai, have welcomed the return of the Taliban.
Why is this happening now, almost five years after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, led to our invasion of Afghanistan and the quick overthrow of the fundamentalist Taliban regime? [more]
[Knight Ridder Newspapers | June 15, 2006]
"Do you approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling the situation with Iraq?" - 61 % - Disapprove.
"Do you think the result of the war with Iraq was worth the loss of American life and other costs of attacking Iraq, or not?"- 62% - Not Worth It.
"Looking back, do you think the United States did the right thing in taking military action against Iraq, or should the U.S. have stayed out?" - 51% - Stayed Out.
"How would you say things are going for the U.S. in its efforts to bring stability and order to Iraq? Would you say things are going very well, somewhat well, somewhat badly, or very badly?" - 56% - Somewhat to Very Badly.
"Would you say there is a civil war going on in Iraq among different groups of Iraqis right now, or not?" - 82% - There Is.
As a result of the killing of al-Zarqawi, do you think the threat of terrorism against the United States will increase, decrease, or stay about the same?" - 61% - Same.
Most headlines have been positive - describing Zarqawi's death, the apparent defeat of al Qaeda in Iraq, President Bush's visit, and the new PM's efforts to enhance security.
U.S. counterterrorism officials are concerned about the merger of al Qaeda's central organization and its offshoot in Iraq, even with the death of terror leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, a Senate panel was told Tuesday.
"Eliminating Zarqawi is clearly a major step forward," retired Vice Adm. John Scott Redd, director of the National Counterterrorism Center, said in his testimony. "But both al Qaeda and (al Qaeda in Iraq) will continue on with their deadly work."
...intelligence agencies also are paying close attention to other Sunni Muslim terrorist groups that are inspired by al Qaeda...
[CNN | June 13, 2006]
In an interview in early April, Humam Hamoudi, a leading member of Iraq's largest Shiite religious party, said officials from the U.S. Embassy had raised the prospect of amnesty offers "for those who have not killed innocent Iraqis." The embassy has never confirmed such a proposal.
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