It might be instructive to ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush's compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic (after proper burial rites, of course). Uncontroversially, he is not a “suspect” but the “decider” who gave the orders to invade Iraq -- that is, to commit the “supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole” (quoting the Nuremberg Tribunal) for which Nazi criminals were hanged: in Iraq, the hundreds of thousands of deaths, millions of refugees, destruction of much of the country and the national heritage, and the murderous sectarian conflict that has now spread to the rest of the region. Equally uncontroversially, these crimes vastly exceed anything attributed to bin Laden.
There is Much More to Say
by Noam Chomsky.
Eric Prince (Wiki
), the controversial and secretive founder and owner of Xe, formerly known as Blackwater International, rarely gives public speeches. When he does he attempts to ban journalists from attending, and forbids recording or videotaping of his remarks. The Nation
magazine has obtained an audio recording from May 5th in which Prince speaks to a select gathering in his hometown of Holland, Michigan
. [more inside]
That afternoon, American signals operators picked up bin Laden speaking to his followers. Fury kept a careful log of these communications in his notebook, which he would type up at the end of every day and pass up his chain of command. “The time is now,” bin Laden said. “Arm your women and children against the infidel!” Following several hours of high-intensity bombing, the Al Qaeda leader spoke again. Fury paraphrases: “Our prayers have not been answered. Times are dire. We didn’t receive support from the apostate nations who call themselves our Muslim brothers.” Bin Laden apologized to his men for having involved them in the fight and gave them permission to surrender.
What is the logical consequence of noting the fact that the terrorist groups that make a difference on planet Earth—such as Hamas and Hezbollah, the PLO, Colombia's FARC—are extensions of, respectively, Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, and Venezuela? It is the negation of the U.S. government's favorite axiom. It means that when George W. Bush spoke, and when Barack Obama speaks, of America being "at war" against "extremism" or "extremists" they are either being stupid or acting stupid to avoid dealing with the nasty fact that many governments wage indirect warfare.
International relations professor Angelo M. Codevilla argues that Osama bin Laden is not quite influential, not quite relevant, and probably dead
. (multipage version)
With election season in the US, it's probably hard to get a less than Gung-ho picture of the war in Afghanistan, but this Spiegel Online article
paints a dark picture. "Pessimism about the situation has never been so high." High level NATO commanders are using phrases like "Doomed to Fail," "We are trapped," "repeating the same mistakes as the Soviets", military victory "neither feasible nor supportable," "downward spiral." For some it is so dark the only beacon of light would be peace talks with the Taliban. [more inside]
is a simple and impossibly cute manga illustrating the background and development of conflict in Central Asia. In which we learn that "Afuganisu-tan gets picked on a lot and has bad luck." Also, "Meriken is a superhero fanatic and has a tendency to think her version of justice is right for everyone." [more inside]
The military judge presiding over child solider Omar Khadr
's case has been replaced
. Khadr's lawyer claims the judge, Colonel Peter Brownback, was fired because he “threatened to suspend proceedings in the case of Omar Khadr if prosecutors continued to withhold key evidence from Omar's lawyers.” Defence officials claim Brownback was planning to retire.
Although Khadr was only 15 when he was captured, and is the only Western citizen still being held at Guantanamo Bay, Canada's Conservative government has refused to seek extradition or repatriation for him.
D.C. Circuit: Military Tribunals Just Fine, Thanks.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit unanimously rejected an appeal by an Afghan who is being detained by the military to the tribunals established by the President's Court order in 2001. The decision
reversed a federal trial court ruling that the tribunals violated the Geneva Convention.
Bob Parson's may have (somewhat) changed his tune
when it comes to inhumane treatment of prisoners, but there are still plenty of ways to show
for the little terrorist resort
that could (toture people)
Transferring the problem does not transfer the moral responsibility.
According to Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark, Afghanistan is the hub of a global network of detention centres, the frontline in America's 'war on terror', where arrest can be random and allegations of torture commonplace. I
leave it up to each reader to judge for themselves, but if they are right can the world afford to turn a blind eye?
While the proverbial road to hell is paved with good intentions, the internal government memos collected in this publication demonstrate that the path to the purgatory that is Guantanamo Bay, or Abu Ghraib, has been paved with decidedly bad intentions. The policies that resulted in rampant abuse of detainees first in Afghanistan, then at Guantanamo Bay, and later in Iraq, were product of three pernicious purposes designed to facilitate the unilateral and unfettered detention, interrogation, abuse, judgment, and punishment of prisoners: (1) the desire to place the detainees beyond the reach of any court or law; (2) the desire to abrogate the Geneva Convention with respect to the treatment of persons seized in the context of armed hostilities; and (3) the desire to absolve those implementing the policies of any liability for war crimes under U.S. and international law.
Regarding the Torture Papers
, which detail Torture's Paper Trail
, and, then there's Hungry for Air
: Learning The Language Of Torture, and, of course, there's ( more inside)
Does America Torture?
"The men's death certificates, made public earlier this week, showed that one captive...died from 'blunt force injuries to lower extremities complicating coronary artery disease' while another ...from [a] blood clot in the lung that was exacerbated by a 'blunt force injury'." What steps are we taking in our "war on terror"? What if other countries decide to treat our civilians as "enemy combatants"? Is the Pax Americana so important that we must resort to torture, or, as is most often the case, giving up prisoners to countries that are known torturers?
Violence and Repression in Western Afghanistan.
"A man who was severely beaten by Ismail Khan's forces described to Human Rights Watch the effect of the repression: 'At any time I feel that I am in danger. When I leave my house, I do not know if I will return. I do not know whether something will happen to me, if there will be some car crash, or that I will be hit in the back of the head.' Another witness talked about how his community's hopes after the hated Taliban regime was ended have been deflated: 'What has changed in Afghanistan? All our hopes are crushed. We are completely disappointed. Look-all the same warlords are in power as before. Fundamentalism has come into power, and every day they strengthen their power.'
The light of liberation and liberty descends upon Afghanistan.
"They were acting like bin Laden was hiding behind every door. That just wasn’t the way to be acting with civilians."
According to this Newsweek article, some members of U.S. Special Forces seem to think the military's recent operations to track down Al Qaeda went a bit awry.
This puts Guantanamo in perspective.
I'm waiting to hear the outcry from Europe and the human rights organizations. Somehow, I doubt I'll hear much.
Nine US soldiers killed, forty wounded in this mountain
Surprise, surprise. Our enemies can still shoot up convoys and shoot down helicopters. (Many of them did the same thing to the Soviets.) Why are we sending our troops to the front in rented pickup trucks
and 4-wheel drive vehicles? What ever happened to the Bradley
? Don't they know that helicopters
make great targets... especially when your enemy has Stingers
? Why rush back into ground combat against a larger-than-expected enemy force anyways?
o/` "All we are saying... is give bombs a chance!"
Not to complain about the ever-expanding war on terror, but...
Afganistan just might become a little stickier than our leaders had hoped. A recent raid on regrouping troops went not too well, with a combined force of Afgan and U.S. troops beating a quick retreat. Is the U.S. miring itself in not one but several Vietnam's?
They just wont let it lie.
What posses these people to keep fighting against overwhelming odds.I can see what they are against but for the life of me I cannot see what they are for.Couple of points near the bottom of the piece are interesting.IHave I been asleep or has the killing of innocents on 23 January been underreported.Does the fact that small raids have led to arrest interrogation and subsequent release
answer my own question?
I am perplexed,are there any good guys?
US planes rain dollars on Afghanistan
Brings a whole new dimension to the term "throwing away taxpayers' money". What kind of logic does the US govt put behind a stunt like this?
Chef says bin Laden fled to Iran.
"Osama had three offers of escape," he tells the Christian Science Monitor. "One from Iraq, one from Iran, and another from some mafia types.... We received a lot of Iranian currency, and the commanders distributed it to the soldiers," he says, adding that he received 700,000 rials ($1,400) for his own personal use." He also says that bin Laden prefers quail for dinner.
How the U.S. Killed the Wrong Soldiers
I read the original report of this attack and discounted the possiblity that it was a major screw up but it looks like it was. The same story from Knight Ridder
This propaganda leaflet
is apparently being dropped in afghanistan by the American Military (taken from this msnbc story about the first american soldier to die from hostile fire
). Regardless of your opinion about propaganda, this seems rather sloppy. If the purpose of propaganda is to convince people of something, wouldn't you want to say it in a language they understand? Is the American military getting lazy / sloppy / over-confident? It looks like the propaganda leaflets from Desert storm
(1991), Desert Fox
(1998), and the bombing of Kosovo
were at least in the local languages. (Who knew there was a quarterly magazine
dedicated to aerial leaflet propaganda?)
"It's not propaganda, it's the truth"
Rumsfeld declared. OK, but leaflets with radio broadcasts
, and Information Programs
, is this the best we can do? How about some Daffy Goes to War
, even some inspirational Soviet
communist posters, as we do battle on the psyops
While the cat's away the mice will play. When the cat is driven out by the Northern Alliance the mice will shave off their beards and watch TV.
Afghan People Agree With Retaliation Against Taliban
"Most Afghans support the bombardment of Afghanistan by allies because they hope that it will end the Taliban regime."
From a piece in the NYTimes today, Home Front Is Minefield for President
: "The lesson we're learning," one administration official said today, "is that you can bomb the wrong place in Afghanistan and not take much heat for it. But don't mess up at the post office."
Leave it to the White House to come away with exactly the wrong interpretation. But the facts are there, too -- most Americans are more concerned about the (relatively slight) risk of getting Anthrax than the rather significant risk that, if we screw up in Afghanistan, we might lose the current coalition against terrorism, Bin Laden, and any hope for "homeland security" for a long time to come....
Will pictures like this
[not graphic, but disturbing] turn popular support against the bombing in Afghanistan? Or will stories like this
bolster support for military action against the Taliban? What story sways you more?
He said the roof of the building was marked with the Red Cross symbol.
Good idea. Maybe they should hire Jakob
, he would tell them that the cross is ineligible and might be thought of as a target.
Bush Refused a Deal that would have turned over Bin Laden?
Does he want a ribbon wrapped around him? Does he want a cherry on top of him? So the Taliban wants to drop him off at a country other than the U.S., is that a bad thing?
I know he doesn't want to negotiate, but they're saying they'll hand him over .. aren't they?
"No glory in Unjust War on the Weak"
Barbara Kingsolver offers a touching response to America's retaliatory acts on Afghanistan. She is famous for her best-selling novels The Posionwood Bible
and The Bean Trees
. Kingsolver starts off very defensive, wary that she will be ridiculed for her "idealist" or "anti-american" opinion, but she then offers some good reasons why. Very moving.
Should the United States embark on a nation building exercise
in Afghanistan a’la post-WWII Germany & Japan? (more questions inside)
Four UN aid workers killed in attacks on Afghanistan
I am surprised this hasn't posted yet. Has ennui settled in already?
Chomsky on MSNBC
talks about recent events! That would be news all by itself. I know that a lot of people on the right disagree with him, but who can argue with what he says here? Also from left field an incisive Q&A about Afghanistan history
and the current situation by Tariq Ali.
Airstrikes have begun in Afghanistan.
Just heard on NBC, but no web links yet... President to address the US at 12.50p EST.
Dack is back,
but not in the blogging sense. Many here at MeFi thought he'd bring his blog back
after it ceased in May. His front page is now a collection of links urging peaceful resolution of the Current Situation. Refresh a few times to see a variety of quotes.
Finally, a creative idea for the "New War." Granted, it wouldn't solve the whole mess, but it might be a step in the right direction. It sure wouldn't make us any new enemies.
"A panel of four Williams College professors urged restraint in the so-called war on terrorism Monday, with one of them calling upon America to bomb Afghanistan not with explosives but with food and medical supplies.
Anthropology professor David Edwards, speaking during a public forum at Chapin Hall, said airlifts similar to those provided to West Berlin by the United States and Britain in 1948 and 1949 could prove a public relations coup and an unexpected blow to terrorist Osama bin Ladin, in a country wracked by starvation, civil war and oppression.
"Bin Laden expects us to strike with military force. It's what he's prepared for. In dealing with terrorism, you have to do the unexpected," said Edwards, an expert on Afghanistan who was joined on the panel by political science professors Marc Lynch, Gary Jacobsohn and James McAllister."
Violent Clashes in Pakistan.
This is bad news. Previous BBC reports
dramatically highlight the folly of having a leader who is not well read enough to recognize the historical connotations of the word "crusade". For background context the Economist has a good article on Pakistan's dilemma
'AMERICA and Britain are producing secret plans to launch a ten-year “war on terrorism”..
' declares this
(otherwise fairly generic) article without citing its sources. Be prepared for the possible oxymoron of a line that is 'the whole focus of the long-term American approach was being driven by Richard Cheney
Oh yeah -- hate to promote Murdoch media but also noteworthy in this mornings edition of the London Times are the revelations that whilst 200 British 'are certain to have perished
', a further 800 are missing
following the disaster and a piece warning of a 'nightmare scenario
' in which Pakistan could lose control of its nuclear weapons
to none other than THE TALIBAN.
An invasion now could be more costly than Vietnam
Another article by the Independents Robert Fisk, this one showing how any infantry in Afghanistan would be a baaad idea - 10 million mines?? Thats more than 1 mine per Afghan, isn't it? The Russians got busy..
Was a US attack on the Taliban been in the works since July?
According to this BBC
article, the US had been planning a "military action", for the end of October, since mid July. The plan was to invade Afghanistan
,oust the Taliban
, and install a moderate government, possibly under former king Zahir Shah
. Are the attacks last week simply going to legitimize this pre-existing plan? Or am I simply being too paranoid?
Well, here we go.
Macau authorities have arrested five Pakistanis of (officially) overstaying their visas. They also may be (again, speaking officially here) robbery suspects. But about halfway down the page, we find this little three-liner:
''According to preliminary investigations, the documents seized [in the arrest] appear to contain instructions to attack American targets in the SAR and Macau in the case of an American attack on Afghanistan,'' the [government] source said.
NY Times: Taliban Plead for Mercy to the Miserable in a Land of Nothing
Perhaps they should have thought of this when they sheltered so many "un-Islamic" murderers such as bin Laden. The perpetrators, co-conspirators, and accomplices of this massacre will receive no quarter from the U.S. whether they are Afghani, Iraqi, Saudi, or even American.