afghanistan

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Juan Cole offers some sobering news this morning which raises significant questions about the viability of the Obama-McChrystal plan for Afghanistan. Here’s his third paragraph:

The past two weeks have seen the situation in Afghanistan deteriorate palpably, raising significant questions about the viability of the Obama-McChrysstal plan for the country. The chain of catastrophes has been reported in piecemeal fashion, but taken together these events are far more ominous than they might appear on the surface.

And here’s his first paragraph:

You probably won’t see it in most US news outlets, but on Monday morning in Kabul and Jalalabad, hundreds of university students demonstrated against US strikes this weekend that allegedly killed a number of civilians. I want to underline the irony that the students in Tehran University are protesting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, while students in these two Afghan cities are calling for Yankees to go home. Nangarhar University in Jalalabad only has a student body of about 3200, so ‘hundreds’ of students protesting there would be a significant proportion of the student body.

Need I say more? Perhaps read the whole article and weep?

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…. the fact that our country is once again falling into a morass if not an abyss, namely Afghanistan. Not that it makes much difference what I say here. My loyal readership has dropped down to a precious few, while most of it, such as it is, comes from people searching for Frank Zappa, Pearl Harbor Day, or other things largely irrelevant to the present moment. How did I ever set up this blog for such an outcome?

Anyway, getting back to Afghanistan, Frank Rich in the NYT today has a block buster of an Op-Ed called “The Missing Link From Killeen to Kabul”. I think this is a must read for everyone, even those searching for Frank Zappa. (By mentioning Frank Zappa here, maybe some in their searching will chance upon this post?)

Here is the number one comment by readership popularity on Frank Rich’s article:

Fort Hood is an example of how religious doctrine can be used as an excuse for mentally unbalanced people to assume the role of the God they claim to worship. It’s not only Muslims who fall in this category, but Christians who blow up Federal buildings and murder abortion doctors. It also applies to ultra-Orthodox Jews who assassinate Israeli prime ministers.

There are hotheads of all types and sizes looking for a holy war. Cooler heads should prevail.

Afghanistan is the latest chapter in America’s attempt to play God in another fashion, by recreating the world in our own image. It’s time to quit wasting our soldiers’ lives and our resources and focus on what it will take to finally bring the U.S. infrastructure, education, and social safety net into the 21st century.

This comment, by Aredee of Madison, WI, is getting 560 reader recommendations with the second most popular getting 367. Practically all of the many comments on Frank’s article are for America getting out of Afghanistan. Check ‘em out, after you read the article.

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Bill Moyers tells it like it is to Bill Mayer. Part 1: Health Care
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Bill Moyers tells it like it is to Bill Mayer. Part 2: Afghanistan
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What a breath of fresh air Bill Moyers is!
Let’s get the hell out of Afghanistan like he says! AlQaida’s not even there any more!

UPDATE: Even George Will says we should get out of Afghanistan!

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As Juan Cole says this morning, there should be “a special place in hell for the Taliban in Qandahar who threw acid on the faces of two schoolgirls in Qandahar.” Aljazeera English reports that the tactic emptied the girl’s school that they attended.
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As Juan points out, while the Aljazeera reporters were working on this story, a blast from a suicide bomber killed 6 and wounded 42. They caught the aftermath of this blast on the film.

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How about some non-US spin on General Petraeus leaving Iraq? Ajazeera is a good place to start. Here’s a video discussed by Juan Cole this morning. Instead of the happy talk of victory that the US media would spin, Juan Cole quotes a more realistic statement by Gen. Petraeus himself:

‘ In a telephone interview with The Associated Press on Sunday, Petraeus said experience in Iraq shows it will take political and economic progress as well as military action to tackle increased violence in Afghanistan. “You don’t kill or capture your way out of an industrial strength insurgency,” he said.’

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Click on the YouTube and watch the heavies! There’s quite a bunch there. Also, what sounds to Juan Cole (and me) like realistic reporting. Worth a three minute watch.

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Juan Cole this morning has an excellent summary of where we are seven years after 9/11. His main point is that the original al-Qaeda is defeated. Usamah Bin Laden’s original voice hasn’t been heard from in four years, and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two man, is alive and kicking but is mainly playing wolf and offers no “genuine accomplishments in recent times save the ability of the top leadership to elude capture!”.

On the other hand, the Taliban in Afghanistan are increasingly strong but “do not pose the threat of international terrorism, though they may give safe harbor to individuals from abroad that do.” The locals in Afghanistan increasingly distrust the US and NATO as this Aljazeera video demonstrates:
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Rather than sending more US troops to Afghanistan, “a fool’s errand”, we should realize that the locals are right and that more Afghan troops are the answer.

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