lolwutOriginally Posted by ric27
lolwutOriginally Posted by ric27
"I do not claim that every incident in the history of empire can be explained in directly economic terms. Economic interests are filtered through a political process, policies are implemented by a complex state apparatus, and the whole system generates its own momentum."
Taliban Kill Northern Afghanistan Police Chief, Coalition Troops, in Suicide Blast - WSJ.com
The General's aide was killedAt least one insurgent wearing an Afghan military uniform Saturday infiltrated the Takhar governor's well-protected compound and blew himself up while German and American military commanders were meeting with senior leaders from northern Afghanistan, according to local officials and a Taliban spokesman.
In a really twisted sense, this is a good thing. I'm not encouraging the death of innocent people, but the more Al-Qaeda turn their attention to Muslims and Arabs, the better we look by comparison. Al-Qaeda in Iraq was defeated chiefly because they decided it was a good idea to behead Shi'ites. Perhaps an existential threat will force the Zardari government, which is basically a corrupt front for the military, to reach out and touch someone.
Remember; it was only when a video came out of a girl in the Swat valley being flogged by the Taliban, that the Pakistani army went in and pacified the region, before proceeding into South Waziristan. So go on, Taliban. Keep insulting the master of the house. Let them know who the real enemy is.
Originally Posted by Josie
House Democrats unite on Afghanistan exit - David Rogers - POLITICO.comIt’s more angst than outright anger, but House Democrats are showing real unity for the first time in pressuring President Barack Obama on Afghanistan — with influential moderates now expressing their impatience alongside the anti-war left that drove the early Iraq war debate.
There’s no immediate threat to war funding, but the shift in the president’s party can’t be ignored by the White House going into the 2012 elections.
This was dramatized last week when all but eight Democrats endorsed demands that Obama come up with plans this summer to accelerate the withdrawal of U.S. forces and pursue a negotiated settlement with “all interested parties” in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.
Last July 1 — almost a year ago — [the amendment] had lost badly, with 98 Democrats opposing him. This time, Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland spoke for the revised amendment and was joined by an important set of opinion makers on national security issues and in Democratic leadership circles.
“I saw it as a vote to manifest my growing impatience,” California Rep. Howard Berman, the ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, told POLITICO. “I just don’t know how long, if it’s not working with Pakistan, how we’re ever going to be successful in Afghanistan.”
Inside the Appropriations Committee, both Reps. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) and Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), who oversee the Pentagon and foreign operations bills so important to Obama’s policy, voted in support — after opposing McGovern in the past. In leadership circles, Rep. Rob Andrews of New Jersey and Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn of South Carolina, perhaps Obama’s strongest ally in the House, joined as well.
Record NATO deaths in early Afghan fighting season - Yahoo! NewsMore foreign troops in Afghanistan were killed in April and May this year, the early stages of the fighting season, than in the same months of any year of the decade-long conflict, figures showed.
The death toll for international forces in April and May was 110 -- 51 in April and 59 in May -- according to figures from the independent iCasualties.org website.
The overall figure was up from 85 in the same period last year and represents the highest death toll for April and May since the start of the war in late 2001.
April and May represent the early stages of the Taliban-led insurgency's spring offensive in Afghanistan.
Since they announced the start of the offensive in late April this year, the Taliban and other rebels have launched a string of high-profile attacks including Saturday's killing of the police commander for northern Afghanistan and two German troops.
according to icasualties, 72% of coalition troops killed this year in OBAMA'S WAR are americans
iCasualties: Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom Casualties
Analysis: White House prepares initial Afghan drawdown | ReutersPresident Barack Obama, with Osama bin Laden dead and a fiscal crisis on his hands at home, looks set to announce an initial U.S. troop withdrawal from the costly Afghan war that could be larger than previously expected.
Some current and former officials say Obama could easily announce a pullout of at least 10,000 troops over the next year as the administration seeks to capitalize on gains against the Taliban in the south and the Navy SEAL raid last month that killed the al Qaeda leader in Pakistan.
At the start of this year, with violence raging after nearly a decade of war, a minimal pullout of less than 5,000 troops had been anticipated.
Obama has made no final decision and, as far as is known, has received no formal recommendations from the Pentagon about how many soldiers should be pulled starting in July from the 100,000-strong U.S. force in Afghanistan.
Obama, who sent 30,000 extra troops to Afghanistan after a reassessment of the U.S. war strategy in late 2009, will confer with his inner circle and inform Americans in mid- to late June of how he plans to begin withdrawing U.S. forces. As the West looks to leave, Afghan forces are slated to slowly take over from foreign forces by the end of 2014.
Hostility is mounting in both parties toward the war, which now costs over $110 billion a year. Last week, the House of Representatives narrowly defeated an amendment that would have required Obama to intensify planning for a withdrawal.
1. when the administration ESCALATED obama's war in november, 09, the prez promised a pulldown starting in july of this year
2. it is known that the white house is at odds with the pentagon, the prez preferring a larger withdrawal, the generals in favor of finishing the SURGE obama started
3. either way, it appears there will be some 90000 american soldiers remaining in those remote mountains on the moon
4. are we winning yet?
5. afghanization, anyone?
Top Democrat Norm Dicks becomes war critic - David Rogers - POLITICO.comWith surprising bluntness, the top House Democrat on defense and appropriations is warning that President Barack Obama can’t ignore the growing “war fatigue” in Congress and must consider steps to accelerate a U.S. military withdrawal from Afghanistan. Washington Rep. Norm Dicks, an early and enthusiastic supporter of Obama’s policy, told POLITICO staying in Afghanistan into 2014, as first outlined by the president, will be difficult now given the budget pressures at home and the erratic performance of the chief U.S. partners in the region: Afghan President Hamid Karzai and Pakistan.
“I think it’s like $113 billion on Afghanistan, and there’s Pakistan’s situation, where we know on the border, people are coming across into Afghanistan,” he said. “It’s a serious problem.” Dicks’ comments are important because of his long record of support for Obama and special standing in Congress as the ranking Democrat on both the House Appropriations Committee and its defense panel overseeing the Pentagon budget. On an issue like the war, his opinions then carry weight with a wide range of Democrats.
New 2012 war funding, chiefly for Afghanistan, began moving through Dicks’s subcommittee Wednesday. And the measure is due on the House floor late this month — just as Obama is scheduled to announce his first drawdown of forces July 1.
Within the Democratic Caucus, Dicks doesn’t yet enjoy the same gravitas as his defense predecessor, the late Pennsylvania Rep. John Murtha, a Marine veteran of Vietnam whose combat experience and anti-Iraq-war credentials helped him pull different factions together. But to lose Dicks’ support now would be a serious blow for the White House, and he is an important barometer for the party, given his daily exposure to domestic budget cuts as the top Democrat on appropriations — a post Murtha never held.
It was important last week when Dicks quietly sided with anti-war forces in backing an amendment demanding that Obama come up with plans this summer to accelerate the withdrawal and pursue a negotiated settlement with “all interested parties” in Afghanistan, including the Taliban.
The White House was largely dismissive, but the amendment only narrowly failed, 215-204, and came within a few votes of being an embarrassing rebuke for the administration.
Twenty-six Republicans joined the effort, and for the first time, Democrats appeared to have found some unity in their stance on the war, with only eight voting in opposition. Dicks’ shift was a big part of that picture.
Afghan nation-building programs not sustainable, report says - The Washington PostThe hugely expensive U.S. attempt at nation-building in Afghanistan has had only limited success and may not survive an American withdrawal, according to the findings of a two-year congressional investigation to be released Wednesday.
The report calls on the administration to rethink urgently its assistance programs as President Obama prepares to begin drawing down the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan this summer.
The report, prepared by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s Democratic majority staff, comes as Congress and the American public have grown increasingly restive about the human and economic cost of the decade-long war and reflects growing concerns about Obama’s war strategy even among supporters within his party.
The report describes the use of aid money to stabilize areas the military has cleared of Taliban fighters — a key component of the administration’s counterinsurgency strategy — as a short-term fix that provides politically pleasing results. But it says that the enormous cash flows can overwhelm and distort local culture and economies, and that there is little evidence the positive results are sustainable.
Because oversight is scanty, the report says, the fund encourages corruption. Although the U.S. plan is for the Afghan government to eventually take over this and other programs, it has neither the management capacity nor the funds to do so.
The report also warns that the Afghan economy could slide into a depression with the inevitable decline of the foreign military and development spending that now provides 97 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Can't we just turn Congress off and then turn it back on again?