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Total number of comments: 626 (since 2013-11-28 14:42:39)

Brian

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  • The FBI's Facial Recognition Database Combines Lo-Res Photos With Zero Civil Liberties Considerations
    • is there some kind of opportunity here for a budding entrepreneur ?
      Maybe an appliance / mask that can be donned while on the subway that alters the measurements enough to conceal one's movements ?

  • Top 6 Pulitzer Prize "Traitors" in American Journalism
    • I had regarded Bennett as something of a hero, for other positions he took, unrelated to his gambling addiction.
      I didn't know this about him. He isn't the committed American (Constitutionalist) I thought he was.

  • US Press once again Declines to Call White Terrorism in Kansas, Nevada, White Terrorism
    • some of that has to do not so much with the provision of health services but the provision of abortions.
      textbook terrorism, nonetheless.

    • mind-expanding perspective. Thanks. I didn't know this BLM backstory.
      I had heard the angle about Nevada partisan politics, which may be covered at Kos.

  • Uncle Sam's Eternal Gua-Gulag: US Continues to Imprison Dozens of Yemenis Cleared or Never Charged
    • Two points I’d like to make:

      1. POLITICS OF CLOSURE
      President Obama believes that he is powerless to send Gitmo Detainees elsewhere, wholesale. He will never close the place down.
      In April, 2009, 3 months after his advisor Greg Craig had persuaded Obama to announce closure of Gitmo within 1 year, his Chief of Staff Emmanuel told him not to, or he would not get reelected.
      The calculation is that one of the “Cleared for Release” Prisoners could, after release, commit some sort of crime. If that happened, any politician who didn’t do all he could to keep the guy locked up, even though he is technically functionally innocent, would be punished by voters in the next election.
      If Obama was to approve a mass release or resettlement or repatriation, and if any one of those released did something wrong, then his party would be held accountable and lose elections for one or more cycles. To some politicians, that’s a bigger deal than following the rule of law.
      The Detainees’ best hope for release is for Rand Paul to be elected President. He at least supports the Constitution and the rule of law. Not likely to happen.

      2. GUANTANAMO CZARS at DOD and State already have a plan of action for Closure
      Special Envoys Sloan and Lewis have a plan that will allow the complete closure of the place, if that was what the administration wanted. It’s called the Dat-dazh-deet deradicalization program, in some circles.
      Why not execute it ? See Point #1.
      They are still free to resettle prisoners case-by-case to allies, in exchange for one type of aid or another. Palau, for example, got a $ 200 Million + facility through the IMF in exchange for agreeing to “temporarily resettle” 17 Uighurs (they eventually took in 7.) Bermuda and El Salvador got about half that much per prisoner to take in 4 and 2, respectively.
      It’s thought that Albania takes them in at cost, as did Algeria.
      But there will be no mass transfer.
      .

  • If Jesus had a wife, would it change the GOP War on Women?
    • who discovered that Jesus said nothing about homosexuality or abortion ?
      citation ?
      perhaps you meant that there is no record that you have read showing that he discussed these things.
      I recall reading something about suffering the little children.
      .
      But as for the rest of your screed,
      as a conservative,
      it is hard for me to reconcile claims of many GOP politicians to being Christian adherents with what they actually say and do.
      Under such leadership, USA has veered as far away from God as the people in the Old Testament ever did.

    • thnx 4 posting that.
      I didn't see the point in interjecting facts into this spiral off into partisan demagoguery,
      but after reading your post I see you are right to state this.

  • Torture is from Mars? CIA's Hayden Says Sen. Feinstein Too "Emotional" To Judge CIA Torture
    • Actually, Hayden has a point.

      If that report is accusing him, Tenet, Goss, and all those others who approved and directed the un-American torture programs of doing what they clearly did,
      they should have been given an opportunity to respond to the accusations.
      .
      He seems to be saying that the committee never gave them that chance.

  • Is Rand Paul right that Cheney invaded Iraq for Halliburton Profits?
    • interesting, reading thru the comments.

      Few posting here, including the site owner, seem to understand the differences between "conservative," GOP, "right wing," Tea Party, neo-con or libertarian.

      Me, I'm not smart enuf to pigeon-hole Senator Paul in one of these Kant boxes, but I can see what the authentic conservative take is on vanity wars -- don't start 'em.

      Here, Paul is talking conservative.
      Bashing Cheney is what conservatives would do in this context.
      Bashing Cheney in this way is not a particularly "progressive" or leftist or communist or socialist response; it is a human response.

    • 2 requirements for the job:
      male; and
      catholic.

      don't even have to be an ordained priest, technically.

  • Top 7 Surprising pieces of Good news in Afghanistan Presidential Election
    • .
      I am under the impression that there are tens of thousands of foreign troops in Afghanistan.
      I understand that the country is under foreign occupation.
      If that's accurate,
      much of what you celebrate is just not so.
      .

  • Top 5 Things wrong with US AID Social Media Plot Against Cuba
    • If USAID wants to improve the living conditions in Yemen,
      while vastly improving US national security,
      they ought to take custody of the functionally innocent Yemenis at Guantanamo and repatriate them home.

      If the Pentagon won't turn them over,
      USAID ought to hire a contractor to invade Gitmo and remove them.
      .

    • .
      A main reason for the extravagant funding of the Defense Department is to transfer money from the public purse to what are euphemistically referred to as defense contractors.

      Similarly,
      USAID and Dr. Shah see one of USAID's primary missions to be transferring funds to a dozen "implementing partners" that provide generous post-retirement employment to senior USAID retirees.

      USAID's smaller programs in countries that have not been selected for American occupation are often helpful to the natives.
      But there hasn't been one USAID program in Iraq, Yemen or Afghanistan after we invaded (yes, the US is in Yemen) that benefited locals more than it benefited the contractors.
      .
      And that's OK with the American public, for the most part.
      .

    • I find your faith in the Democratic Party touching.
      Irrational, but quaint.
      It is no better than the GOP.

  • Nancy Pelosi Admits That Congress Is Frightened of The CIA
    • .
      If the Obama Administration is so afraid of Bush's Generals that it took Stan McChrystal openly ridiculing the Prez before anyone would call him to heel,
      and the military is supposed to be under the direct control of the Chain of Command whose pictures are posted up on the wall of the Orderly Room,

      What chance is there that a Donilon or Rice or McDonough is going to call a CIA Director in on the carpet ?
      And without a functioning Congress,
      what chance that career CIA-types are going to care what political appointees tell them to do ?

      Speaking as a minnow,
      I'm taking some comfort that the big fish are getting caught and fried.
      .

  • Has the US lost Iraq to Iran over Arms Deal?
    • uninformed comment:
      looks to me like a negotiating tactic,
      to pressure the US to provide more weapons, faster, at lower cost.
      .

  • What Ukraine Means to the U.S. 1% and to the 99% (Editorial Cartoon)
    • Isn't the top leadership of the Democratic Party also part of the 1% ?
      And the "left-wing media," if there is such a thing ?

      Paul,
      their feelings might be hurt by you leaving them out of the 1%.

  • Kerry on Invading other Countries on a Trumped Up Pretext (Editorial Cartoon)
    • the first US war in Afghanistan,
      October 2001 - January 2003,
      was supposed to be a limited strike to get the guys who plotted the 9/11 attacks.
      At least that was the plausible cover story.

      .

      But yer right about the 2nd US war in Afghanistan,
      circa 2006 - present.
      .

  • A New Crimean War? (Update: Stuff's Getting Real)
    • .
      poor, poor CIA.
      for all the effort expended in Ukraine,
      nary a mention by Dr. Cole.
      .

  • The Real Scientists: CO2 higher than in past 800,000 Years & World is Getting Hot!
    • youse guys and yer tryin' to blame "global warming" on us humans,
      and insinuatin' that this problem started with Dick Chaney,
      that's a losin' strategy.

      Just explain that global warming, though human-caused, is as natural as the seasons.
      It didn't start in the last couple decades, its been goin' on since 1820.

      When you take the finger-pointing and blame out of it,
      and unemotionally describe it as a monster from another planet that doesn't care if its your fault,
      and its gonna kill you and eat you regardless of your political leanings,
      then even rednecks can get behind combatting it.

  • Who Favors Discrimination against Gay Newlyweds? Most Republicans, old People, Southerners, Evangelicals
  • A World Multiply Endangered: Horseman of the Four Apocalypses
    • Um,
      1,000 years ago,
      almost everyone on Earth faced a near-daily prospect of starvation, or getting killed by a disgruntled neighbor.
      What we deal with is far easier.

  • Obama Plans for complete US Withdrawal from Afghanistan in December
    • Another question:
      Is there really such a thing as an "Afghan National Army ?"

      The organization that goes by that name today is almost completely run by folks from the Northern Alliance.

      Pashtuns get to participate at the lowest levels.
      .

  • 4 Darknesses: Internet being Manipulated, Deceived by Western Intel Trolls
    • .
      "Conservatives who mind paying taxes so much don’t seem to mind paying taxes to support psychopaths and sadists who are employed by the government to undermine civil society."

      Where did that come from ?
      I'm conservative.
      I'm a Constitutionalist.
      I don't want this or any other Administration's invisible government, over which there is no real civilian oversight, prying into my affairs, or messing with my reputation.

      But I seem to recall one major party who DOES believe that is a legit role of the federal government to interfere deeply in my life.
      And I don't think anyone would consider that major party to be "conservative."
      .

  • America still has a Torture Problem: 4 Reasons Why
    • Rebecca Gordon,
      I don't want to discourage you.
      Keep up the good work.
      .
      But most Americans I know are OK with torture.
      They believe it was OK for Bush to suspend the Constitution,
      and for Obama to decline to put it back in force.
      .

  • Manufactured Wars, Manufactured Military History
    • well, John,
      I believe there's already a law against the military feeding lies and propaganda to the Congress.
      So,
      The military doesn't do propaganda.
      They do MISO.
      Military Info Support Operations.
      same thing, new name.

    • Page: 6
  • Bill Nye Science Guy to Debate GOP Rep Gohmert on Gravity
    • so, Edmund,
      .
      when the funding dried up,
      and if the funding was keeping the theory of gravity alive,

      did the "law of gravity" get overturned ?
      How come I'm not floating up into the sky with no gravity (or gravitas) to keep me grounded ?

  • Taliban jump Shark, Kidnap alleged Spy Dog (Colbert Report)
    • so, if this Colbert guy is modeled on O'Reilly,
      shouldn't he be speaking in favor of the military more often,
      and criticizing Obama more ?

      ...

      And if he cares about a dog that went through a custody change,
      might he also say something every now and then about an actual soldier who was taken POW almost 5 years ago,
      and then immediately abandoned by his President and Chain of Command ?
      .

      WH spokesperson:
      "The President is doing everything he feels like doing to get Sergeant Bergdahl back home.
      That doesn't include, for example, lifting a pinkie finger, say, or winking,
      lest someone misread his intentions and actually get Bowe recovered."

      Lifting the pinkie is about all it would take for Obama to recover this guy.
      .

  • Race Inequality in America by Graph, from Crime Sentencing to Income
    • .
      so,
      which number am I supposed to be jealous of ?

      "Average household net worth of whites: $110,729."

      OR

      "Total median wealth, white family, 2009: $ 265,000."
      .

  • Saudis and CIA agree to Arm Syrian “Moderates” with Advanced Anti-aircraft and Anti-tank Weapons
  • Brokers of Deceit: Massive US Aid to Israel has Enabled a Colonial Project
    • .
      try this perspective on for size:

      the relationship IS "Patron - Client;"
      the money is "Tribute."
      .
      who's the Patron, and who's the Client ?
      .

  • A $9 Trillion War? Top 10 Reasons Americans will Regret it if GOP Derails Iran Negotiations
    • I think the Congress was more sensitive to the concerns of soldiers and their families back when we had a draft.
      to me, there's less of a "cultural disconnect" between the leaders who want war and those who actually have to fight,
      because the fighters no longer have a voice.
      They are dismissed with, "well, you volunteered for this, didn't you ? You got paid to train, now get paid to fight "
      .

  • Bhutto Zardari: Taliban must be eradicated from Pakistan
    • Pakistan deserves better than these family dynasties.

      Heck, the USA deserves better.

  • Broken Democracy: Republicans poised to take Senate, Americans Reject their Platform
    • Hunter,
      I distinguish between the prohibition of establishing a state religion,
      on the one hand,
      and "separation of church and state,"
      which I don't find in the Constitution or Bill of Rights.
      .

    • .
      from my take,
      elections are also a form of polling.
      Elections putting a GOP majority in office seem to challenge some of your sweeping generalizations about what Americans want and believe.

      If one assumes that most voters are easily misled to vote against their own values, then the Koch brothers thing works. Without it, your point is undermined.

      I believe that folks want to think of themselves as tolerant and loving, and answer your cited polls in ways calculated to allow them to think thus.
      But they are then allowed to vote in private, where concerns about the future can find expression in voting against abandoning traditional values.

      I believe you support homosexual marriage, Dr. Cole, because you don't know what's at issue.
      I cannot fathom why you support killing humans just before they are born.
      You seem so smart on issues in your core competencies.
      .

  • The Cheapening of American Politics: Why did Obama reward O'Reilly with an Interview?
    • .
      Patrolling off the Iranian coast, trolling for an attack, is still one of the top 3 missions for CVN's,
      of which we only have 3 or 4 underway at any given time.
      .

    • .
      I thought O'Reilly bested him on the IRS thing and Secretary Sebelius. Maybe 1 or 2 other points.

      But Obama in evasion mode is just so darn likable, he won overall.

      As a sentient conservative, I wondered what the "Benghazi" thing was all about. This exchange clarified it to be a phony issue.

      Thnx 4 posting this; I wouldn't have sought this interview out without your imprimatur.
      .
      p.s.: new edit feature: Mongo like.
      .

  • Christie, Clapper and other Officials who should be in Jail instead of Snowden
    • I find it completely understandable.

      If the current President holds his predecessor accountable for apparent crimes,
      might his successor not do the same ?

  • US Economic Policy in Afghanistan Doomed it: From Dogmatic Privatization to Neglect of Rural Sector
    • .
      As part of a predominantly Afghan-American Team, I helped put together a bid for the "Stability in Key Areas - Herat" program in 2011.
      We planned to put over 2,000 locals to work, in the line of work each of them already knew.

      The job went to one of the USAID's top 10 Contractors (those 10 get about 85% of all USAID money,) who employed around 80 American Expats and about 80 locals, mostly as their security guards,

      USAID lacked clarity on who was supposed to benefit from those development dollars.
      .

    • .
      I think the #1 thing we learned about "development assistance" in the Afghan War is that CERP (Commander's Emergency Response Program) is of no net benefit to the locals.
      That was another Petraeus scam.
      It empowered US Commanders to leverage bribes as a combat force multiplier.
      Who is surprised that US military units cannot leverage bribes to locals effectively ?

      And yet the US Congress wanted to put even more money into that bottomless pit.
      .

  • Dovish SOTU: Obama will Veto AIPAC Iran Sanctions, Pledges Afghanistan Wind-Down
    • elsewhere [http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2014/01/28/obama-s-new-guantanamo-deadline-unlikely.html]
      I read that the only new foreign policy position staked out was the promise to close Gitmo in a year.

      "In Tuesday’s State of the Union, President Obama again called for the closing of America’s prison at Guantanamo Bay, adding a new deadline—the end of 2014, when most U.S. troops will leave Afghanistan."
      .

    • having a little trouble wrapping my mind around the concept of "government rebels," though.

    • Pashtun militias resisting Taliban encroachment sounds like a good thing to me.

  • The Real Irony of Rep. Harman being interrupted on NSA Spying by Bieber Bulletin
    • .
      anyone who favors the surveillance state is suspect, in my view.
      Suspected of having been got to, corrupted, bribery, blackmailed, whatever.
      They don't believe in what America stands for, so let's reelect them.
      .
      .

  • Top Ten Ways GOP could avoid "War on Women" Label
    • Doesn't abortion kill a lot more girls than boys ?
      Although that is not why I oppose abortion, isn't fighting abortion a way to defend females ?

  • Perennial US Rush to War: Syrian Chem issue was too Foggy to Justify Bombing
    • as a fellow crackpot,
      what I notice most is that Dr. Cole sometimes allows posts that disagree completely with him.
      You don't find that at his competitors' sites,
      sites like "Long War Journal" and "Best Defense."

    • Joe,
      in order to gin up a Mercenary army in 2010, using Eric Prince to conduct recruiting and training among Salafist Jihadis from outside Syria,
      the Obama Administration prob'ly had to at least be considering this covert means of overthrowing al-Assad in 2009.
      Give him some credit for his warmongering soul.

  • Syria Conference Roiled by Shouting Matches, Insults
    • might it help to have the actual belligerent parties identified as such at the conference ?

      On one side, clearly, is the al-Assad government.

      But the forces arrayed against them include parties heretofor unmentioned. Not the least being the purported honest broker who is setting the ground rules for the conference.

      If the idea is to get the two warring sides to talk to each other, where are Tamir Pardo and John Brennan ?

  • US Intel Officials keep Talking about Killing Snowden, then say "trust us with your data"
    • .
      OK. here's the thing:
      NSA is scooping up every blessed electronic communication on the planet.
      Including those “anonymous” posts casually talking about killing my buddy Ed.

      Here's a test for those elected officials who either are in charge (Obama) or overseeing (Rogers) the NSA:
      Show me the money.
      Who, by DNA sequence, wrote those treasonous remarks ?
      Certainly Clapper and Alexander already have collected this info.
      Let's see them on next Sunday morning's gab news shows, and ask them to gab about who those anti-constitutional fascists are, and how they chose to spend more time with their families.

      The President probably doesn't know who these folks are.
      His direct reports directly report nothing to him until the issue hits the top 10 on Google News.
      But by now both Feinstein and Rogers know who they are. Let's see them face the nation and 'splain how they are exercising proper oversight.

      And if the NSA says they don't now who posted those comments, then what's the use of spending $6 Billion a year if they can't even answer such a simple question ?
      .

  • America Black Ops Wars in 134 Countries
    • Nick is just plain wrong about the "pivot to Asia" not amounting to much yet.

      The best "open sources" on this subject are the ones affiliated with the MICC, where folks brag about things that appear inconsistent with our values and Constitution.

      Nick,
      how 'bout askin' yer DOD contact how many Combat Infantryman Badges, Combat Action Badges, and Ruptured Ducks were awarded, exclusive of Afghanistan, in 2013.
      You won't get that answer, but if you did, you'd be shocked.

    • Bill,
      you are right, most of those engagements are "Partnership" exercises.
      But you are wrong when you allege such engagements are innocuous. They bolster whoever is in power.
      "Look, the US military has my back. Don't mess with me."

  • Take Control of your Internet Privacy
    • thnx 4 the warning, Jack.
      But I think Eric Schmidt could prob'ly do a better job of running my life than I have so far.

      Have at it, Eric.

  • Gatesgate: Why Obama was right to Distrust his Generals on Afghanistan
    • can I retract the comment ?

    • RD Sultan,
      thank you for the thoughtful reply.

      I'll pass on the homework you propose. I'm not working Afghan issues right now.
      But when I was, most recently contributing to the SecDef's 2009 Global Strategic Assessment, I used data at he website of the Naval Postgraduate School.
      Did you do what you suggested I do ? What were the results ?

      One quote from earlier in the occupation, circa 2008, a PRT Leader (DOS) had it that the PRT preferred that the ANA and ANP forces in his Pashtun area couldn't speak Pashtun, because it reduced conflicts with the locals. I know, anecdotal.

      .....

      "Are you of the opinion that all Pashtuns are Taliban members?"
      Certainly not. In fact, the Pashtun Afghan-Americans I know are embarrassed to be represented by the Taliban.
      But it's a little like the French Resistance in WW II.
      If the local resistance leader is a tyrant, or a sex abuser, but is effective in hurting the Nazis, he stays in place. Better to have evil people fight Satan on your behalf than to have nobody fight to protect your family.

      Thnx for the link to the report that says that Pashtoons are about 43% of the officers in the ANA, 42% of the NCO's, and 38% of the enlisted soldiers, and that the Pashtun proportion of the population is between about 37 to 53%.
      This is malarkey.
      Sorry. "Military Information Support Operations," what used to be called propaganda.
      Around the same time this report was published, news reports had the percentages of Pashtuns in the officer ranks near Zero, and in the CONSCRIPTED enlisted ranks just over 5%.

      NYT doeesn't let me read articles without paying, so I can't check those stories.

      But responding to the articles without reading them,
      Question #1:
      It makes no sense to me that the Northern Alliance would want to restructure the government to reduce the power of the current centralized power structure in favor of a federal system, since I say that the Northern Alliance (plus a thin slice of the Popalzai Durrani Pashtun tribe) is running that central government.
      Your link on who the Provincial Governors are underscores that point.

      Question #2:
      I can't think of any ruling entity willing to give up territory, revanchism and irridentism being as powerful as coveting someone else's land.

      Question #3:
      so, was he replaced with someone else from the Northern Alliance ?

      RD,
      it is my opinion that, rather than fighting to defeat the closest thing the Pashtuns have to a force protecting their values and daughters, we should have tried to build up and legitimize an alternative Pashtun force. My Pashtun acquaintances mostly agree.

    • It really ticked me off when Bush and Cheney culled through the Army's Generals and elevated a handful based on their personal loyalty to Bush/ Cheney.

      Here we are, in 2012 or so,
      almost 4 years after Obama became Commander in Chief,
      and Bush's Generals are sill in charge of the Army.

    • Powell's 5 minutes of heroism under fire in Vietnam go a long way toward excusing his perfidy on WMD's.
      None of the others you mention had any combat experience (though Petraeus wore a combat action badge.)

    • And MacArthur was actively going around the Prez to the Congress and the heads of allied nations.

    • Leeper,
      "end of story ?"
      You might make some connection between the antecedent and the predicate.
      Or not.

    • RD Sultan,

      intentionally or not, you raise an important question about what has taken place in Afghanistan.
      You allege that there is some sort of “counter-insurgency” taking place,
      but first there has to be an insurgency.
      The fight of local Taliban Afghans against the Northern Alliance / Afghan National whatever is not an insurgency, it is a “resistance.”
      And the ethnicities of the Northern Alliance are not the rightful masters of the Pashtun hillbillies. They are entitled to those same inalienable rights that are found in our Declaration of Independence.

      The US military is not fighting to help the legit government of Afghanistan exert control and authority. We are propping up the puppet we installed, and helping one side in the ongoing civil war, which I shorthand as the “Northern Alliance,” crush and subjugate Pashtuns under their boot heels.

      Note what Juan said about a Hazara General taking charge in Helmand. Most of the appointed officials in all 468 Districts, including Pashtun Districts, DON’t EVEN SPEAK PASHTUN fluently.
      They are foreigners to the locals they are bossing around.
      .

    • I urge everyone interested in this subject to look at the actual text of what is incorrectly being called a "2008 SOFA Agreement."
      It is no such thing.

      It is a surrender agreement, with Iraq dictating the terms, unconditionally except for one thing:
      Bush asked for, and got, a 3-year delay on troop withdrawal, so that the American public would not figure out who lost that war.
      .

  • The Politics of War Casualty Counts, from the "GWOT" to Syria
    • The LANCET study of Iraq War casualties suggested that US information operations had badly undercounted the impact of the war on civilians.
      The US military could have responded with a peer-reviewed study of their own. Or challenged the methodology.
      But they didn't.
      Instead, they attacked the researchers personally.

  • Iraq: Government assault as Sunni Extremists Take al-Anbar City Quarters
    • Hadn't seen this before writing the above post:
      link to bloomberg.com
      So,
      yes, those are American drones and American Hellfire missiles.
      Obviousman

    • OK.
      just watched the video.
      It is labeled as "Iraqi forces" bombing "Anbar militants."

      *** First, is it a crime to be a "militant ?"
      In this case, doesn't "militant" translate to "protestor ?"

      *** Second, where's the uproar over al-Maliki bombing his own people,
      to match the outrage over al-Assad bombing his own people ?

      *** Third, this video is indistinguishable from the video Chelsea Manning leaked to Assange, "Collateral Murder."
      6 seconds in, the underside of the aircraft is visible. Me, I can't tell if it's a drone or a helicopter. But if that's a spinning propeller at the right edge of the frame, I don't think it's either. From what I've read, the Iraqi Air Force is very limited in their air capabilities. That aircraft may not be Iraqi. Or, if Iraqi, it might be flown by someone who isn't.
      And look at those "Heads Up Display" markings. They're in English.

      *** Fourth, the explosion at 25 seconds, that doesn't look like a gravity bomb to me. I would guess that was either a J-DAM or a Hellfire missile. I'd be surprised if we sold either one to such a close ally of Iran.
      .

  • A Delegation of Congressional Christian Zionists to Israel
    • Jeffrey,
      I would benefit from reading for myself
      in the Gospel of John
      how he hates Jews.
      Please give me chapter and verse.

      I think he respected, even loved, Jesus, a Jew.

  • Locusts & Climate Change Plague Yemen on top of al-Qaeda, Drones, Huthis (Video of the Day)
    • I think of Yemen as needing more water for agriculture,
      since so much of Yemen's water goes into growing Qhat, the leafy bush they chew as a narcotic.
      Counterintutive that more water is a problem.
      Folks have learned to protect against locusts elsewhere.

  • Snowden's Christmas Message on Privacy: Does NSA threaten 9th, 14th Amendments, 'Inviolate Personality'?
    • I foresee some sort of system of anonymous drop-boxes and PO boxes developing across the country,
      and a return to handwritten letters routed through this system.
      Collecting the massive amount of electronic data that is now ruffling so many feathers is a cake walk,
      compared to having to steam open a million letters a day,
      scan the contents,
      and then put them into the database.
      .

  • Benjamin Netanyahu's 'Jewish' Christmas Message Gaffe
    • If I understand correctly,
      this message was recorded before it was broadcast.
      The PM was able to do as many "takes" as he wanted,
      and what was released was EXACTLY what he wanted to say.

      Now, I don't speak Hebrew,
      so I don't know what he said,
      but at least I know it was no "accident."

  • The Iraqization of Egypt: Two Large Bombs Rock Security Bldg in Mansoura, kill 14, wound 130
    • This conspiracy nut believes the discussion misses the mark if MOSSAD and the CIA are left out.

    • I don't mean this as a criticism, but to help:
      "cachet" is spelled with a "t" on the end.
      From context, I know you didn't mean "cache."

  • From Tahrir to New Orleans: Hope has not Failed, it has only Begun
  • NSA bribed Encryption Companies to Install Back Doors: Was the Law Broken? Did Obama Know?
    • .
      It doesn't matter to me if Prez Obama knew about this.

      What matters to me is whether the following list of senior government officials who got fired for snooping on me, and then lying about it, grows longer.
      1. _________

      Feel free to add names to the list.
      I just can't think of any.
      .

  • How Peter O'Toole Saved the Arabs (According to David Lean)
  • US Drones Kill 15 in Yemen Wedding Convoy, mistaking them for al-Qaeda
    • I salute Medea & Code Pink for getting those hearings convened in DC,
      but it is not having any effect.

      If someone reading this could afford to contribute $20 million,
      she could set up IN YEMEN a US Commission on Civilian Losses to US Drones.
      This Commission would open offices in the 8 districts where most of the drone bombings occur, staffed by locals, where victims and their families could report who has been killed or injured.
      This is the way to quantify the magnitude of this war against Yemeni civilians.

      The US government has already rejected commissioning and funding such an effort.

  • Sec. Hagel threatens to cut $1.6 bn Pakistan aid b/c Drone Protests Blocking NATO Convoys
    • Bill,
      I can always benefit from reading more.
      Thnx 4 the suggested titles.

      But as a teenager with the All American Division, I made dozens of practice parachute jumps into Drop Zones with names like "Sicily," "Salerno," "Anzio" and "Normandy." I already have some fleeting acquaintance with the screw-ups of the major airborne and Ranger operations in WW II, and their successes.
      The US Army carried the day in the Pacific in WW II.
      But the reason our forces mostly fought old German men and young German boys from Normandy to Bastogne to the Ruhr Valley is because the Soviet Army carried the day in Europe, as far as sacrificing men. 20 million, I've heard.
      That's not unlike the Pakistanis carrying the brunt of the war against al-Qaeda.

      The Pakistanis would not sustain that level of combat losses, but for the money the Pentagon sends to their senior officers.
      It may or may not be a sound investment, and may or may not strengthen US security, but there's no question but that we get a lot of literal bang for those bucks.
      It's naive to think of the money as a bribe.
      It is payment for services rendered.
      .

    • From a Pakistani perspective,
      the US military's share of the load to fight al-Qaeda and Taleban is right about where it was in WW II in fighting Hitler.
      The Russian Army defeated Hitler; we joined the fight in the "mop-up" stage.
      Similarly,
      10 to 20 times as many Pakistani soldiers are killed fighting these adversaries as Americans.
      They wouldn't have this burden if we weren't trying to colonize Afghanistan and subjugate Pashtuns under Northern Alliance control.

      .....

      On another note,
      the terrain near Torkham Gate allows a hundred demonstrators to block US supply trucks.
      There is no such canalization in the South,
      at the Chaman border crossing.

    • M,
      it's Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

    • as Bill implies,
      many Americans support the drone strikes.
      Many of my neighbors certainly do.
      These are folks who are often characterized as grasping to God, guns and fear of Gays, or as low-information voters.
      whatever.
      They do not like seeing the American Empire shrink, particularly since it was expanding just 8 years ago.
      .
      I often encounter neighbors or folks in my very conservative community who truly fear the imposition of Sharia Law in Colorado Springs.
      There is a war for hearts and minds right here in River City,
      and it's not clear who's winning.

  • Dear Pres. Obama: Dissent isn't Possible in a Surveillance State
    • where it says "abrogation,"
      read that as "abdication."

    • Prez Obama could empty out the Gitmo prison in a matter weeks,
      if he wanted it emptied out.
      -
      For the 82 or so who have been cleared for release,
      it is simply a matter of signing a letter in which he takes personal responsibility,
      if any of them "return" to the fight.
      -
      I've read the applicable sections of the 2013 NDAA several times. Obama could even legally bring KSM to US soil, if he was willing to spend the political capital and take the consequences. He's not.

      He is running the Rahm Emmanuel play on Gitmo. He will keep running that play until the clock expires. It's smart politics. It's an abrogation of leadership, and a rejection of constitutional law.
      .

  • Can Mandela's Truth and Reconciliation Heal the Middle East?
    • -
      The Sunni-Shi'a Divide was not a negative consequence of the US invasion, it was an objective. Mission Accomplished.

      ... Secretary Clinton rejected a proposal to constitute a "US Commission on Civilian Losses in Iraq."
      At cost of $20 Million, it was simply intended to let the Iraqi victims of violence from 1979 to 2006 to report, and have an independent agency capture, information on the deaths, injuries and property destruction sustained.
      The idea was to record the names of those who had suffered.
      To give those fallen the dignity of having their names recorded in a book.

      Ambassador Satterfield objected that the Iraqis would blame everything on US Mercenaries and uniformed military personnel, and then go to an international tribunal to seek reparations.
      And of course there was that huge expense, $20 Million.

      If the American public believes in Truth and Reconciliation,
      our leaders do not.
      -

  • The Mandela Problem of the AWM Wing of the GOP
    • I assume I've attended many more Tea Party and quasi-Tea Party gatherings than most who comment here,
      If you think these meetings are all-male, or even all-Caucasian, I think you know not whereof you condemn.

  • Interview with Jeremy Scahill Questions "War on Terror"
    • John,
      when you blame the "right wing,"
      do you intend to include right-wingers like Obama ?
      He IS President, you know.

  • Trashing the Law against warrantless GPS tracking: NSA nabs 5 Billion Phone location Records a Day
    • First,
      thank you Dr. Cole for using RT as a source.
      I have used them as a source on aspects of how the Syrian proxy war (not a revolution) got started, and I think some folks questioed the reliability of that source. It ain't Pravda, or Izvestia.

      Second,
      I'd bet a craft beer that Jim Clapper doesn't get tracked, or have his cell phone tapped. How'z he do it ?

      Third,
      is this the "bombshell" that Rogers and Feinstein went on TV 3 days ago to insulate themselves against ?
      Recall without laughing that THEY are our oversight.
      Except they don't want to bother those very busy and very important folks spying on the public, to make it possible to conduct meaningful oversight .
      .

  • Top 10 Ways the US is the Most Corrupt Country in the World
    • Seems some low-hanging frut was missed.

      TARP, bailouts of GM and banks, Affordable Care Act, ARRA were as corrupt as some stuff that made the list.

  • Can even Colbert make us laugh at America's tragic growing Wealth Divide?
  • Feinstein & Rogers justify NSA Spying with Syrian Rebels (Voted to Arm Syrian Rebels)
    • As of the time I post this,
      nobody commenting here has brought up the reason for this TV appearance.

      Congressman Rogers made the key point about 3/4 of the way through the segment Dr. Cole posted.
      Essentially, he said (paraphrased):

      "Look, if we actually did our oversight job,
      then it would take those analysts who would have to brief us
      away from the much more important work of
      tracking terrorists and protecting us.
      Thousands of hours would have to be spent preparing "dog and pony show" briefings,
      just so that we could understand what these agencies are up to.

      "In other words,
      we two Intel Committee heads,
      who are the American people's principle defense
      against abuse by an out-of-control Intelligence Community,
      believe it would be a waste of precious time of the scarce intel analysts
      to have to provide us 'Oversight folks' with enough information to be able to conduct informed, meaningful oversight."
      .
      .
      .
      You can agree or disagree with them on whether that's a good reason for not providing real oversight.
      But first, when they give their excuses, listen to them.
      How about a little sympathy ?
      It's hard, being a Member of Congress.

  • Photo of the Day: Palestinian Bedouin outside Jerusalem, 1930
    • Driving East from Jarushalaam 10 years ago, I was surprised to see Bedu camps within 300 meters of the main highway.
      Incongruent with my stereotype of the desert nomad.

  • Annual Informed Comment Fundraiser
    • I really like the headlines section,
      which hints what folks overseas are talking about.

      Eventually, you will form a consortium of like-minded blogs, each specializing in a geographic region or political topic,
      and will supplant NYT as the blog of record.
      And to think, I was there, back in 2013, to see it first take off.
      Just want to ask that none of the members of your consortium EVER report on the the latest on the Kardashians.

    • 2 typos:
      I think
      “I have several projects at Informed Comment for which I’d like to those who can to support.”
      Would read better if amended to
      I have several projects at Informed Comment for which I’d like to ask those who can to support.”

      I think
      “…photo gallery of my visit to the Iraqi National Muslim …”
      Would read better as
      “…photo gallery of my visit to the Iraqi National Museum …”

  • Karzai, Pakistan Protests against US Drone Strikes may force US out
    • Dr. Cole,
      I understand if you don’t post this. 2 darn long.

      Bill,
      I don't pay for NYT access, so I only get to view something like 20 pages a month. Ditto for WaPo. I don't want to go back to the Times site and hunt around for the right article, so I can then post a link,
      but in the last day I read in an article at that site that all participants were selected to attend by Karzai.
      That's all it said in this regard.
      But every government job in Afghanistan, right down to the dogcatcher in each of the 468 or so Districts, is appointed by Karzai or his staff. I don't think they have dogcatchers; that's just a figure of speech.
      It's my understanding that everyone who attended the Council serves in a government position to which Karzai appointed them.
      I assume that the Loya Jergah was open to any official of a certain "rank" in some level of government, from District thru Provincial to National.
      I think that's how it was constituted.

      I worked 2 years ago with several Afghan-Americans to get US government support for an experiment in economic development they called "Business Jergah to Business Jergah." If you recognize the monicker, then you know who I collaborated with.
      In that context, Qasim was going to open participation in the Afghan end of the Council-to-Council up to pretty much anyone who wanted to play, and had something to bring to the table.
      I think the Jergah/Jirga concept is a lot more open and flexible than the Arab Shura consultative council, which is dominated by representatives of the top authorities.
      Anyways,
      you said the Loya Jirga, was an "assembly of some 2,000 Afghan leaders and elders from all over Afghanistan."
      Correct, as far as it goes.
      But the "Afghan National Government" is a Northern Alliance project, not an all-Afghan project. Pashtuns are mostly excluded.
      I am not current on this stuff, but 2 years ago most of the Provincial Governors in Pashtun areas didn't even speak Pashtun. I assume that if a Tadjik is appointed Governor, he’s going to have mostly Tadjiks filling out the rest of the government positions.
      Now, Provinces and Districts have Consultative Councils made up of authentic, indigenous tribal elders, but those folks aren't official government officials. If only 2,500 attended the big national Loya Jirga, that only leaves room for 4 or 5 per District, at most. Maybe some Pashtun Elders were there. I assume there was a smattering, just like the so-called "Afghan National Army" has about 5% Pashtun soldiers.
      But I assume that the business of the Loya Jirga was conducted in Dari, because Pashto is a foreign language to most officials of the Afghan Government, at all levels.

      I “believe in” the Durand Line, because without it there will be less stability. The Pakistan government “believes in” it. The Northern Alliance-based Afghan Government “believes in” it. But for a lot of good reasons many Pashtuns do not respect it as their “national” border. Heck, it cuts right through the middle of Pashtun lands.
      If you suspend judgment for the rest of this post, and allow that the Durand Line is not the border, then Pashtuns are the clear majority in Afghanistan. The word “Afghan” originally referred just to Pashtuns.
      But the Loya Jergah was conducted in a foreign language, and included only a smattering of ethnic Pashtuns.

      Who knows if I’m even 25% right ?
      But if I AM 25% right,
      Then that Loya Jergah was not the representative assembly you seem to think it was.
      It was yet another attempt by the foreign occupation force to deny the Pashtuns any self-governance.
      Seemingly because we cannot distinguish “Pashtun” from “Taliban.”
      God bless you, brother.

    • Bill,
      I think you'd be fascinated to learn who got invited to participate in that Loya Jirga, and how.
      I think you'd find it interesting to learn how they all got to the venue, where they stayed, and who paid for it.

      If you think 2,500 Karzai appointees are representative of the will of the Afghan people,
      especially the Pashtun people,
      well, I respectfully disagree.

      I also disagree with the imputed, "nobody has suffered from our occupation."
      .

    • -
      speaking as a (former) US infantryman,
      how could our Army maintain an occupation
      (even if we called it something else)
      without that "extraterritoriality" clause ?

      I'm out there pushing local civilians around,
      which is what a foreign occupation force does,
      and the locals can bring me up on charges ?
      How would that work ?
      How COULD that work ?

      Respect the Army for what it is - a killing machine.
      If you don't want American soldiers killing, raping, looting, pillaging,
      don't send us overseas.
      'Cause that's what we do in "war."
      Sending us to do "stabilization" or "nation-building" is delusional. Only locals can do those things.
      I have proof.
      -

    • Joe,
      I think you might have the timeline wrong.
      The Iraq SOFA was signed by Ambassador Ryan Crocker,
      on behalf of GW Bush, on 18 November 2008,
      10 days after Obama won the popular vote,
      but well before the Electoral College even met.

      Obama was powerless to impact the "SOFA,"
      which I refer to as a "surrender agreement,"
      because in it Bush agreed to every al-Maliki demand,
      including complete withdrawal.

      Perhaps you are referring to a half-hearted effort to re-negotiate the SOFA on terms more favorable to defense contractors ? IIRC, that's what happened on Obama's watch,
      after the surrender agreement was executed,
      but before the withdrawal date agreed to by Prez Bush.

      Bush got the withdrawal date pushed back 3 years
      to confuse people about who "lost" the war,
      and who surrendered,
      and it appears to have worked.
      .

    • -
      I expect the US military already has well-developed plans for both scenarios, and several in between the extremes.

      Mostly people on military headquaters staffs sit around with nothing to do. Staffs are sized to handle crises, and when not in crisis mode, they have plenty of time to figure out what to do in case, for example, the Torkham Gate is slammed shut.

      The threat on the table seems to be:
      "Either bow to our demands right now, or we just might start planning for the scenario where we pull out completely."
      But they've already done what they threaten to do, and in great detail.
      This is silly.

      For withdrawal of all troops by December 2014, most can be done on existing contracts.
      The few contracts that need to be awarded or modified, depending on whether we leave a large (7,000 to 15,000) force behind or not, can wait until July.
      .

    • -
      Karzai, a Durrani Popalzai Pashtun leader with tribal leadership credentials, is leading a side that is mostly the old Northern Alliance.

      Traditional Pashtun tribal leaders for the most part have been cooperating with the brutal foreign occupation as a way to protect their people,
      and the foreigners have paid them handsomely for that.

      Americans I know who are Pashtun hate that Taleban are the main political power standing up for Pashtun rights.

      Maybe the secular Khan can provide some needed leadership for the victims of the US occupation.
      -

    • these TPI could start to block US military traffic in the other direction (retrograding equipment for the withdrawal) and really gum things up.

      Trucks headed into A'stan that are turned back at Peshawar can simply go to a parking lot and wait.
      Trucks coming up the pass who are turned back at Torkham Gate will completely clog the road. Nothing will get through.

      What the Pakistani government doesn't have the will to stop,
      a cricket player could stop - terrorist drone strikes.

      Maybe the Air Force folks in Las Vegas will try to drone him.

  • Pope Francis: Why are Deaths of the Homeless not a Headline but a 2-point Dow Jones rise is? (Germanos)
    • -
      as a member of the cult of the Roman Rite,
      I am heartened to see an implicit recognition that THIS Pope is the Pope of all, Christians and non-Christians.
      That is new.

      As YOUR Pope,
      you don't have to obey him,
      or blindly accept his pronouncements.

      But as YOUR Pope,
      you have the right to demand that he responds to your concerns.

      See, as Franchesco understands it,
      "Pope" is a position of servitude, not authority.
      -

    • -
      Grumpy,
      you offer an interesting riff on three of the world's great religions: Christianity, Buddhism and what I call "secular humanism."

      This unordained and frequently wrong Catholic priest would say that the center of Jesus's teachings is a focus on the self, not the other. It is this: "you can be forgiven; you have been forgiven. Go and sin no more."
      Christian service rates up there pretty high (Faith without works, &tc., &tc.,) but in no way eclipses the personal apprehension of God and the personal response that apprehension elicits.

      I also represent myself as a student of religions. I believe the central message of Siddhartha Gautama, the Buddha, was to free oneself from the cares of this world, the things of this world. So brilliantly distilled by Bobby McFerrin. Again, look inward for ? salvation ?

      The religion you mostly describe is neither of these, but the major religion in Western Europe and North America today. This religion, in denying God, looks to other people for the correlate to salvation.
      I don't really like the name I used above.
      It also goes by, "I'm a very spiritual person, but organized religions are so full of hypocricy (not to mention silly beliefs like an invisible all-powerful being who never does anything to evince his existence,) so I relate to the Force behind the Universe in my own way."
      Adherents sometimes insist they are "atheists," and I'm sure some fraction are. Others believe that they elevate science to a place that replaces any need for a god.
      Whatever.

      So,
      most of what you wrote isn't about either Christianity or even about Buddhism, but that religion of the anti-religionists.

      I've lectured the observant on the core of Judaism, and it's never ended well, so I redact that part.
      -

  • CIA drone strikes Militant Seminary in Pakistan Proper, Killing 6 (Ross)
  • Tony Blair let the American NSA Spy on Millions of Britons and Store their Private Data
  • US seeks Broad Powers, Immunity for post-2014 Troops in Afghanistan (Lazare)
    • -
      Omega,
      don't worry. It's beeen choreographed and rehearsed.

      There are no loyal, patriotic Aghans invited to the conference, who might throw a wrench in the machinery.
      Only Karzai's posse.
      -

    • -
      well, Joe, if I wanted to "cook" a confab,
      I might invite only folks I like,
      and who support me without question,
      to attend.

      If I had appointed every single government official,
      in every district of every province,
      from Ministers to dog catchers,
      as Karzai has done, backed by US bullets,
      I could present an appearance of diversity.

      Where's the analysis of who is attending in the US press ?
      Couldn't the "Strategic Communications Office" get something written on that topic,
      for the NYT transcriptionists to publish ?

      ____

      I might lubricate decisions with dollars.
      -

    • -
      RD Sultan,
      thanks for that comment.
      It has helped me clarify what I think about the situation.

      I was first struck by your assertion that the Pashtuns are a minority in Afghanistan. The name "Afghan" initially referred specifically to the Pashtuns, I believe.
      In order to divide and conquer the region, the Brits split Afghan country into two parts, taking one for the colony India. That part torn from A'stan (in the minds of the colonial masters) we now call what ? Khyber Paktunkhwa ?
      By that calculus, Pashtuns are indeed a plurality.

      Then you acknowledge the foreign provenance of the border.

      Then you march on to conclusions as if the US-appointed vichy government represents the interests of the Afghan people.
      What about the consent of the governed ?
      What about international mores that prohibit an occupying power imposing a vichy regime ?

      a lot to ponder.

      -----------

      As for the US,
      a brutal foreign occupation power to the Pashtuns,
      and a crucial sponsor to the vichy Northern Alliance
      (don't let the Popalzai pimp at the top fool you,)
      by what natural or other law do our oligarchs get to decide who rules, or governs, the Pashtuns ?

      note that, if the Pashtuns' choice is subjugation under US forces, on the one hand,
      or subjugation under the Tadjiks of the Northern Alliance, on the other,
      forgive those Pashtun bumpkins if they can't see the difference.
      As long as that is the choice the US offer, the Taliban has alraedy won.

      The US can't deny a victory to the folks they handed it to. does not compute.
      -
      .

    • its a question of sovereignty.
      Either A'stan is a nation or it is a colony.
      It can't be both.

  • The Coming Drone Wars: Iran Unveils its own Drone, with a 1200-mile Range
  • 43 Dead, 500 Wounded in Tripoli attack by militia on peaceful Protesters
    • -
      thnx 4 the link.
      It's good for me to check al-Arabiya from time to time, remember how they view the world.

      While I trust their reportage on basic facts like how many died in Tripoli,
      I question everything they say that imputes cause or motive.
      -

  • American Writers are Self-Censoring to Avoid NSA Scrutiny (McCauley)
    • -
      The basic misunderstanding revealed by this report and the underlying survey is exemplified in thinking that monitoring takes place in real time, and that it can be avoided by being careful.
      -

  • Top 10 Ways to Really Honor our Veterans
    • -
      I don't know the fax,
      but my sense is that most of those involuntary separations are for smoking a little grass to forget atrocities they saw or committed.

      My sense, such decisions are made by officers who generally hold soldiers in contempt.
      -

    • -
      Uh, which "military ?"

      To the Prez, the military IS the Generals.

      President Obama could get the only current American POW, Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl, released by simply lifting his little finger.*
      He doesn't do it.
      That's how much he cares about the enlisted and lower ranking soldiers.

      -

      * In September, 2009, the Haqqani Network offered to release Bowe, in exchange for:
      1. Release of 10 to 12 Taliban held at Gitmo;
      2. Release of Dr. Aafia Siddiqui from federal prison in Fort Worth; and
      3. payment of $1,000,000.
      This is less effort for Prez Obama than lifting his little finger.

      In 2011, Bibi Natan-yahu released 1,200 Palestinian prisoners to get Gilad Shalit released.

      In 2013, the Haqqani guys stated that the offer is still valid.

      -

      Note that Bowe is held in Miran Shah, North Waziristan, which Obama has hit with 200 - 400 drone bomb strikes.
      Either he knows where Bowe is, and is careful not to kill him, or not.

      -

    • -
      Also a vet of combat arms - infantry - both as junior NCO and junior officer. Agree with Bob S on the social experimentation / engineering.

      I would not lead a small unit into combat with women or gays. Too dangerous for the unit. Far as I can tell, EVERYONE who advocates this experimentation doesn't understand what happens in combat.
      The stories about women combat soldiers in Israel, Netherlands, &tc., none of them ring true. And they don't involve the sort of operations that American grunts are conducting today in A'stan.

      If this only affects our ability to conduct wars of agression, then its not so bad. But it might also affect our ability to defend ourselves, should the need arise.
      -

      and yes, point # 10 is sound.
      The other 9 are a bit like partisan bickering, misrepresenting what the other half of the one major party stands for.

      -

  • "Off the Charts": Deadliest Storm in History Kills 1200, Displaces Millions in Philippines
    • -
      In November, 1962, Guam was hit by Typhoon Karen, which had gusts to 212 MPH, as measured by an anemometer on the building where my Dad worked.
      The Wiki entry notes that, since then, estimates of the storm's strength have been revised downward, based on what I don't know. The peak gusts are not reported anymore. But Karen might have been stronger that Haiyan.

      I also met Typhoon Nancy in 1961, who is reported to have had peak gusts of 213 mph, but not that high where I lived.

      Tropical Cyclone Olivia, which struck Australia in 1996, reportedly had winds measured at 253 mph.
      -

  • US loses UNESCO Voting Rights: How Kow-Towing to Israeli Policy Weakens America
    • -
      ... but it does permit me to donate with a credit card (if I had one.)
      -

    • But the potential is there.
      When the political leadership of Israel has in the past included people who could hear the voice of God,
      Who claims the Palestinians as His own,
      Israel truly advanced US security and values.

      I long for those days.

    • Cuba might rate inclusion on that list, when the focus is on cruelty.

  • Israelis plan new Colonies, Oil Drilling, on Palestinian Land during "Peace Talks"
  • Between a Rock and a Hard Place: Kerry in Cairo
  • CIA Drone Kills Pakistan Taliban Leader on Eve of Peace talks with Islamabad
    • Bill, you win.
      I simply can't keep up.

      "We don't target civilians."

      "Our terrorists are good terrorists."

      "B. attacking US targets does not make them 'terrorists.'
      "C. they are terrorists because they attack us."

      "The Pashtuns as a whole are OK. It's those darn Pashtuns that want to protect their homes and families from our wanton destruction that we must eradicate."

      No mas.
      -

    • -
      Bill,
      do you maybe want to go back and edit that ?

      "We are not bombing Pakistan."

      I don't think I've heard anyone else in the entire world posit that.
      -

    • -
      DMOL,
      not clear to me how the Afghan people would express their "approval" of US military occupation.
      What is the mechanism ?

      R U thinking that the President, installed and propped up by that self-same US military, somehow speaks for the Afghan people ?

      Do you think that the elections conducted under occupation (same occupiers) somehow validated the guy as the representative of the Afghan people, enjoying the consent of the governed ?

      Karzai works for the US military.
      He is in no position to say for the Afghan people whether or not their brutal occupation and subjugation is welcome, or "approved."
      -

    • -
      Second Brian,

      it is reported that emissaries of Nawaz Sharif were scheduled to meet with Mehsud the day after he was killed.
      That timing is part of why the CIA's motives are being called into question.

      the first Brian

    • to be clear,
      there are 2 different folks posting as "Brian."

    • -
      Menachem Begin was one of GB's most wanted terrorists after he was implicated in the bombing at the King David Hotel in 1946.

      He's the former terrorist who signed the Camp David Accords.

      ___________

      Bill,
      if "terrorism" means "adversary of the US," even that breaks down. But if it means what a dictionary says, then you are on thin ice.

      Does the idea of symmetry in war mean anything to you ?
      To me, by flying those drones from Santa Fe Springs, and by having the operators live and play in Las Vegas, we have provided the folks we are fighting with complete justification for burning down or blowing up the Strip.
      Luckily, they lack the ability to attack that way. Or the imagination.
      But if the Taliban was to attack civilians in Las Vegas, we have already provided them with a full justification for such an attack, and it certainly would NOT be terrorism.
      It would be simple retaliation against the very forces that are killing their children.

      We are burning their wives and children to death with weapons that someone wiser than you in this field would consider to be chemical weapons. It's pretty horrific.
      From a DIA study, by way of Human Rights Watch:

      "The [blast] kill mechanism against living targets is unique–and unpleasant.... What kills is the pressure wave, and more importantly, the subsequent rarefaction [vacuum], which ruptures the lungs.... If the fuel deflagrates but does not detonate, victims will be severely burned and will probably also inhale the burning fuel. Since the most common FAE fuels, ethylene oxide and propylene oxide, are highly toxic, undetonated FAE should prove as lethal to personnel caught within the cloud as most chemical agents."
      -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermobaric_weapon#Effect

      There are two main warheads for the Drone-fired HellFire missile, the 114K high-explosive for hard targets and the 114M thermobaric for anti-personnel.

      -
      Bill,
      this is being done in your name.
      And for what ?
      What exactly is our beef with the Pashtun people ?
      That they resist us forcing them into subjugation ?
      Sounds pretty righteous to me.
      We actually have no reason to keep killing Afghan children,
      except to retaliate for them killing our soldiers,
      which they only do because we keep killng their children.

      The Second Afghan War, recognized as such only by folks who can be brutally honest, is a war without a reason.
      It is fought due to inertia.
      Can we stop now ?
      -

    • -
      Bill,
      I've either missed or misunderstood your explications of how bombing a nation we are not at war with is legal.

      But what strikes me as most relevant is that the Afghan Taliban is acting as a legit resistance to brutal foreign occupation when they attack our troops.

      I'm not 100% clear that our second Afghan War, the one that geared up around 2005 to rationalize our large troop presence there (the result of inertia) is legal under any framework.
      It is separate and distinct from the revenge raids of late 2001. Different war.
      This second Afghan War is an attempt to subjugate the Pashtoons under the Northern Alliance, a war crime if ever there was one.
      We appointed our man as their President, fronting an amalgam of Tadjiks, Hazaras and Uzbeks, and insist that the Pashtoons must accept our selection. That's what we've been in Afghanistan for since 2005.
      The UN has something very specific to say about that sort of activity.

      When you say our patently illegal and immoral war of occupation is legal, maybe you conflate it with the first Afghan war, 2001 - ~2003.

      ..............

      Now, this Meshood guy is characterized as "Pakistani Taliban," but that may be one of those distinctions that doesn't matter all that much, since folks in Miran Shan and environs do not accept the foreign imposition of the "Durand Line" border.
      IIRC, them hillbillies use the word "Afghan" to refer to their Pashtoon people, and consider "our Afghans" as interlopers.

      So,
      the prospect of peace negotiations opens up, and we kill the one guy on the Taliban side most inclined to make peace. And not a moment too soon. Islamabad had negotiators enroute.
      Whoever replaces him as leader of the "Pakistani Taliban" will NOT pursue negoiations with the Pakistani government representatives who just traveled to North Waziristan.

      ___________________

      Miran Shah:
      isn't that where the Hakkanis are based ?
      Isn't that where Bowe Bergdahl is being held ?

      I am guessing, but the population of Miran Shah and "suburbs" like this Dandy Darpa Khel is maybe less than 5,000.
      This is where, IIRC, Imran Khan spent millions on electrical power development with small solar projects.
      We've hit this one little town with maybe 200 drone strikes.
      The civilians in that quaint burg are under constant threat from our thermobaric HellFire missiles. Sort of the definition of "terrorism," isn't it ?

      Anyways,
      its obvious to me that we've lost the fight for the hearts and minds of the people of Miran Shah, and maybe all of North Waziristan.
      So, we need to redefine our objectives regarding that town.
      I say, either let's go all Curtis LeMay on them, and drop the pretense of being a civilized nation,
      - OR -
      let's engage them and win them over.
      Of course, we can't do that directly, but we can work through our wonderful allies in Islamabad/Rawalpindi and Kabul.
      To do that, we're gonna have to replace Brennan at CIA with a loyal American.
      -

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