Thursday, December 24, 2009
Afghanistan Bomb kills paratrooper
Fayetteville NC Observer December 23, 2009
A Fort Bragg soldier on his second deployment to Afghanistan was killed Friday when his vehicle struck a homemade bomb, the Pentagon said Tuesday.
Sgt. Albert D. Ware, 27, of Chicago, died in the Arghandab River Valley in Kandahar province in southern Afghanistan.
He is the 10th soldier from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team killed since the brigade went to Afghanistan in the summer.
Canadian Soldier Killed In Afghanistan . . . .
Washington Post - 2 hours ago
AP KABUL -- The NATO-led military mission in Afghanistan says a Canadian soldier has been killed in the southern part of the country. ...
Afghanistan: Latest British Casualty Named . . . .
Telegraph.co.uk - 2 hours ago
UK Special forces comrades have paid tribute to Lance Corporal Tommy Brown, the Paratrooper who became Britain's fourth fatality in four days in Afghanistan. ...
NC-Based Marine killed in Afghanistan . . . .
San Jose Mercury News - 1 hour ago
AP CAMP LEJEUNE, NC—The Department of Defense has identified a North Carolina-based Marine from California killed in Afghanistan.
US admits failure in curbing drugs in Afghanistan....
Thu, 24 Dec 2009 Press TV
The US administration has admitted that Washington has failed to curb narcotics production and trafficking in Afghanistan.
The US State Department on Wednesday criticized Washington's 2-billion-dollar plan to combat the drug trade in Afghanistan for poor oversight and lack of strategy.
Afghan police mistakenly kill parliament member . . .
Lo Angeles Times, Dec. 24
The lawmaker and his son are killed in an ambush that had been set to find a wounded insurgent commander in Baghlan province, in Afghanistan's north.
National police hunting for a wounded insurgent commander mistakenly ambushed a vehicle carrying a member of the Afghan parliament, killing him and his son, provincial officials said Wednesday.
President Hamid Karzai ordered an investigation of the incident, which took place overnight in Baghlan province in Afghanistan's north.
Taliban fighters and other insurgents have made significant inroads in the province over the last year. A new NATO supply route runs through the area, making it a magnet for militant strikes.
The lawmaker, Mohammad Yunos Shirnagha, was returning home after a late-night meeting with constituents when the shootout with police erupted, said Gen. Kabir Andarabi, the provincial police chief.
The War At Home . . . .
Baltimore police locate where Fort Bragg soldier was shot
Fayetteville NC Observer
Baltimore police have located the crime scene where a Fort Bragg soldier was fatally shot Sunday night while home on leave from Afghanistan.
Detectives initially were unable to determine exactly where Pfc. Clifford J. Williams, 22, was shot in a sport utility vehicle because of the weekend's huge snowstorm, police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi said Wednesday.
"It's premature to speculate on any type of motive," Guglielmi said.
Police said Williams was shot on the way home from grocery shopping.
Williams' wife was at the crime scene but not in the vehicle as earlier reported, he said.
News reports said investigators believe a single gunman approached the vehicle and shot Williams through the driver's-side window. . . .
Williams went to Afghanistan in April and was scheduled to return to Fort Bragg in April 2010. The deployment was his first.
U.S. steps up special operations mission in Afghanistan
By Julian E. Barnes
December 16, 2009
Reporting from Washington - The U.S. military command has quietly shifted and intensified the mission of clandestine special operations forces in Afghanistan, senior officials said, targeting key figures within the Taliban, rather than almost exclusively hunting Al Qaeda leaders.
As a result of orders from Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, the top U.S. and allied commander in Afghanistan, the special operations teams are focusing more on killing militants, capturing them or, whenever possible, persuading them to turn against the Taliban-led insurgency.
The number of raids carried out by such units as the Army's Delta Force and Navy's SEAL Team Six in Afghanistan has more than quadrupled in recent months. The teams carried out 90 raids in November, U.S. officials said, compared with 20 in May. U.S. special operations forces primarily conduct missions in eastern and southern Afghanistan.
Thursday, December 3, 2009
We held a vigil on December 3 2009 in downtown Fayetteville NC, near For Bragg, to express dissent from the Afghanistan-Pakistan "surge" announced earlier this week.
Turnout peaked at ten, not bad for here, especially since we haven't had one in months. Most peace folks in town have been quiet for awhile, in the wake of last year's election.
But we had a BIG surprise when we lined up and showed our signs: they were POPULAR.
Traffic was busy around the traffic circle where we gather, and the cheers, thumbs up, smiling honks and waving peace Vs overwhelmingly outnumbered the few thumbs down from passersby. Even a couple carloads of GIs in uniform joined in the acclaim.
The conclusion? It looks like there is VERY LITTLE enthusiasm for this "surge," even among the troops here.
To be sure, soldiers at Ft. Bragg will follow orders; that's what they do. But could this lack of enthusiasm result in an uptick of GI resistance??
Stand by for updates . . .
Monday, October 5, 2009
Much of it still rings eerily true compared to what's being pressed on Obama today. So I prepared this humble update, which is offered herewith.
Beneath it are some stanzas of Kipling, which show his prescience, even 120 years, and several versions of political correctness later.
If this doggerel speaks to you, please pass it on, link to it, spread it around!
The New Person’s Burden, 2009
(with apologies to Kipling)
No more the White Man’s Burden,
That phrase won’t fly today.
It has to be re-packaged
If we’re to make it play.
Let’s speak of “the Imperative,”
And “nation-building” too,
A bow to Nine-Eleven
Should help to push it through.
Be sure to mention brand-new schools,
Young girls who shed the veil;
The sacred war for “hearts and minds’ --
How could we let that fail?
The Afghans, they can’t help themselves,
Else they’d be done by now.
But Bagram and Guantanamo,
Will help to show them how.
So take up Obama’s burden,
Send our best of every hue
To a fruitless war in a distant land --
Say they died for me and you.
The drone strikes here, the rockets there,
The Rangers’ slashing blade;
The bodies in a village square
Mark progress that we’ve made.
What if it takes a score of years
A flood of casualties?
At tunnel’s end a light will show
Our exit strategies.
We’re sure to win this Afghan war,
Our generals know it well.
But what’s the toll, the price-tag there?
On that, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
So fie on the poppy-growing warlord,
The scheming Taliban.
Where England stumbled, Russia failed–
We’ll triumph: Yes, we can.
-- By Chuck Fager
[As read on the Mike Malloy radio show on October 5, 2009. Thanks, Mike!
One correction: Mike Malloy described me as a Vietnam Veteran;
I am not. But I say YES to the troops who served there, as I also say NO to that war.]
- - - - - - - - - -
The White Man’s Burden, 1899
Take up the White Man's burden--
Send forth the best ye breed--
Go bind your sons to exile
To serve your captives' need;
To wait in heavy harness,
On fluttered folk and wild--
Your new-caught, sullen peoples,
Half-devil and half-child.
Take up the White Man's burden--
The savage wars of peace--
Fill full the mouth of Famine
And bid the sickness cease;
And when your goal is nearest
The end for others sought,
Watch sloth and heathen Folly
Bring all your hopes to nought.
Take up the White Man's burden--
And reap his old reward:
The blame of those ye better,
The hate of those ye guard--
The cry of hosts ye humour
(Ah, slowly!) toward the light:--
"Why brought he us from bondage,
Our loved Egyptian night?"
Take up the White Man's burden--
Ye dare not stoop to less--
Nor call too loud on Freedom
To cloke your weariness;
By all ye cry or whisper,
By all ye leave or do,
The silent, sullen peoples
Shall weigh your gods and you.
Monday, July 13, 2009
. . .such an approach -- targeting low-level interrogators while shielding high-level policy-makers from prosecution -- would be "something close to the worst of both worlds." That's true not only because it would replicate the disgraceful whitewashing of the Abu Ghraib prosecutions. It would do that, but even worse, it would bolster the principal instrument of executive lawlessness -- the Beltway orthodoxy that any time a President can find a low-level DOJ functionary to authorize what he wants to do, then it is, by definition, "legal" and he's immune from prosecution when he does it, no matter how blatantly criminal it is.
. . . just as was true for the Abu Ghraib abuses, many of the worst instances of detainee abuse cannot be extricated from -- but rather are directly attributable to -- the torture policies authorized at the highest levels of the government. To target low-level interrogators while shielding high-level policy makers would further bolster America's two-tiered system of justice, in which ordinary Americans are subjected to merciless punishment while the most powerful elites are vested with virtual immunity from the consequences of their lawbreaking. . . .
Prosecuting only obscure "rogue" interrogators while immunizing powerful, high-level officials would not be an act of courage but of cowardice. It would not strengthen the rule of law but would pervert it further. And rather than deter future lawbreaking, it would signal -- yet again -- that our most powerful political officials are free to break the law with impunity.
However, Scott Horton, one of the top accountability activists, is more hopeful that such a probe would not be as narrow:
One source told me that he would be surprised if Holder “set blinders” on the special prosecutor. Still, the scope of the investigation would clearly be limited to the authorization and use of Bush-era “enhanced interrogation techniques” such as waterboarding, longtime standing, stress positions, and prolonged sleep deprivation. Moreover, President Obama’s assurance to CIA officials who relied on the opinions of government lawyers in implementing these programs, an assurance that Holder himself repeated, would have to be worked in. That suggests that the focus would likely be on the lawyers and policymakers who authorized use of the new techniques.
Yet Horton is also restrained and tentative about the prospects:
Observers caution that even if a special prosecutor is appointed, actual indictments would still be far off. The Bush torture policy was implemented with the advice of lawyers well skilled in the ways of Washington bureaucracy. Any prosecutor would face considerable legal obstacles in bringing charges. A review of the torture memoranda themselves shows that a consuming concern was thwarting the possible bringing of charges by a future prosecutor. Now, perhaps, the defenses they devised may be put to the test.
How is this report going over in the MSM? Here's the blogger Digby on its reception on the major Sunday Beltway pundit show "This Week":
Stephanopoulos reported on This Week that the possible Holder investigation is going to be very narrow and will not pursue policy makers or anyone who took orders directly from the policymakers. He's going after "rogue interrogators" who inflicted more torture than was strictly allowed.
The Village roundtable all gasped in horror anyway because who knows where such an investigation might lead and as Cokie [Roberts] complained, it would mean that the whole town would be mad at each other again and nobody wants that! "Everybody hates each other and the poison gets very thick." She did finally come down on the side of following the ru le of law even though it would make her uncomfortable at cocktail parties, but it was a close thing.
Bob Woodward was very upset at the idea that the government can't keep secrets because "we need them!" Besides, Holder shouldn't be like Janet Reno and just initiate investigations willy nilly. (He seems to think that Reno authorizing independent counsels to investigate her own president for trivial political reasons is the same thing as investigating whether the previous administration tortured prisoners.) They all chuckled at the notion that Holder was really independent and if he is, that means he's a rogue interrogator himself.
George Will thought it was all just a bunch of balderdash because nothing bad ever happened during the Bush administration. Sam Donaldson said that reporters should probably pursue stories and Donna Brazile added that these things were coming out anyway so they might as well be investigated.
They all snorted and giggled and laughed throughout the whole segment about how silly it was to be upset that the CIA lied because well, that's what it does. And they all thought it was a ripping good joke that Cheney kept everything secret because well, everyone knows that's what he does. Hahahahaha.
And then they talked about Michael Jackson. >>
That's a major reason why we have such a depraved and lawless political class.
Monday, March 23, 2009
US officials said earlier this month that Iraq was experiencing its lowest levels of violence since 2003.
But since then there have been several major bombings.
The AP dispatch told of a suicide bombing in Diyala province, which killed 25. earlier, in the Abu Ghraib district, another bombing killed 8. And, AP added--
Another attack in Abu Ghraib on 10 March killed 33 people.
In the same week, more than 30 people died in an attack on a police recruitment centre and another 10 were killed in an explosion at a cattle market in Babel province.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I'm feeling more than a little embarrassed as I write this post. Six years ago tonight, bombs and missiles began crashing down on Baghdad and other targets, in what was arrogantly billed as the "Shock & Awe" opening to the Iraq war.
If the new American team has some new ideas about how to succeed in Afghanistan, now would be the time to lay them out. Nothing that Alexander the Great, Queen Victoria or Leonid Brezhnev tried in their attempts to subdue the quarrelsome Afghan tribes worked, and nothing we’ve tried in the last eight years has, either.
While we're waiting for a new strategy, perhaps we should break out some old Kipling:
"When wounded and left on Afghanistan's plain
"And the women come out to cut up your remains . . . ."
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
Back from the Dark Side: Hello, Johnston County: Torture Accountability Is Coming. Time to Get Ready.
I joined our partners in NC Stop Torture Now Monday night to visit with the Johnston County Commissioners at their monthly meeting. Stop Torture NOW is a terrific group, which all concerned with this issue could well learn from.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
When top officials come to bases like Camp Lejeune, they are usually treated to a rigmarole of miitary ceremony: parades, demonstrations of boom-boom war tools, powwows with base and area notables, and of course, press conferences. It's a drill that may be new to this president, but will soon become familiar, even routine.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Two new items have just been uploaded to our website.