Posts filed under 'Afghanistan'

The One Topic On Which Pat Buchanan Is Good

The money quote:

How have Americans benefited from all this war? How have the Chinese suffered these 20 years by not having been in on the action?

Excellent questions, for which I have yet to hear answers.

February 29th, 2012 at 07:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Foreign Policy,Iraq,Republicans,War

Close But Not Quite, Part 2

Gawker commenter Olaf:

This whole mess is like a really bad 80’s teen movie.

Pakistan and India hate each other — they’re like two high school cheerleader frenemy types.
Pakistan is messing around with Afghanistan because it wants a buffer against India — so Afghanistan is kind of like the hapless geek-boy who gets manipulated by all of the girls. The USA is the popular but dumb-as-rocks jock who need geek-boy Afghanistan’s help to get passing grades. In order to do so, the USA is courting Pakistan like she’s the only pretty girl in town. Which is dumb, because Pakistan is all, like, “whatevs.” What the USA *should* be doing is playing Pakistan against India. Like, the USA should be all “What’s that Pakistan? You won’t put out? And you won’t stop messing with Afghanistan? OK then, I’m not taking you out to Prom [i.e. spending millions on your military], and you know what, maybe I’ll ask India out to the Prom instead! And maybe India and I will totally make out under the bleachers — what do you think about that?”

We do that, and I guarantee you Pakistan will come around real quick. That stupid manipulative cheerleader bitch.

The US is popular??? No, the US is more like the sneering sadistic asshole dumb-as-rocks jock who beats up on nerds just because he can.  And possibly to compensate for feelings of personal inadequacy and/or trouble at home.

6 comments September 29th, 2011 at 11:31am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Foreign Policy

Simple Answers To Simple Questions

Was it worth it?


June 29th, 2011 at 07:59am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Economy,Iraq,War


As I predicted, Republicans are hailing the death of Osama bin Laden as a great victory forGeorge W. Bush.  Only.  Also.

Because, after all, without Dubya’s decision to use military force against terrorism, we never would have killed bin Laden… with a small strike force in a heavily-fortified compound in a military town in a country we didn’t invade.

And without Dubya’s decision to use torture against detainees, we never would have found him… after torture didn’t work.

So if the right wants to give Dubya credit for killing bin Laden three years after he left office, does this mean that they’re finally ready to give him credit for the deficit and economic slump too?

May 3rd, 2011 at 08:03am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Economy,Iraq,Obama,Palin,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism,Torture,Unemployment,Wankers,War


Man, it must be driving conservatives crazy that their favorite scary monster has finally been slain… by a Democrat.  Now they have to explain that he was never really a big deal in the first place, and how killing him will only make terrorism worse, but that it also totally vindicates George W. Bush.

I’d throw in a show-me-the-death-certificate joke, but pretty much everyone else in the country had the exact same thought…

1 comment May 2nd, 2011 at 07:56am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Obama,Politics,Republicans,Terrorism

False Equivalency Of The Day

Floyd Abrams, comparing the WikiLeaks cables to the Pentagon Papers:

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg decided to make available to the New York Times (and then to other newspapers) 43 volumes of the Pentagon Papers, the top- secret study prepared for the Department of Defense examining how and why the United States had become embroiled in the Vietnam conflict. But he made another critical decision as well. That was to keep confidential the remaining four volumes of the study describing the diplomatic efforts of the United States to resolve the war.

Not at all coincidentally, those were the volumes that the government most feared would be disclosed. In a secret brief filed with the Supreme Court, the U.S. government described the diplomatic volumes as including information about negotiations secretly conducted on its behalf by foreign nations including Canada, Poland, Italy and Norway. Included as well, according to the government, were “derogatory comments about the perfidiousness of specific persons involved, and statements which might be offensive to nations or governments.”

The diplomatic volumes were not published, even in part, for another dozen years. Mr. Ellsberg later explained his decision to keep them secret, according to Sanford Ungar’s 1972 book “The Papers & The Papers,” by saying, “I didn’t want to get in the way of the diplomacy.”

Julian Assange sure does. Can anyone doubt that he would have made those four volumes public on WikiLeaks regardless of their sensitivity? Or that he would have paid not even the slightest heed to the possibility that they might seriously compromise efforts to bring a speedier end to the war?

Can anyone tell me which war Assange has delayed the end of?  Was there anything in the diplomatic cables he released that will prolong our occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan?

1 comment December 30th, 2010 at 07:07am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Iraq,Politics,Wankers,War

David Broder Is Morally Bankrupt And Stupid

He actually believes that war with Iran, or at least the serious threat of it, is the best possible way to stimulate our economy.  As David Swanson points out, he’s completely full of it… as usual.

Swanson also reminds us how very much more Europeans get in return for their supposedly crushing tax burden, and how much we’re being hurt by our politicians’ stubborn refusal to even contemplate cutting our massive defense budget instead of Social Security.

November 1st, 2010 at 07:52am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Economy,Iran,Iraq,Media,Unemployment,Wankers,War

Keep On Winning Those Hearts And Minds

Yes, this sounds like just the kind of guy we need running CentCom…

General James Mattis, the current head of the US Joint Forces Command and who previously led troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, had widely been tipped as the next head of Central Command. President Barack Obama must formalise the nomination, which then goes to Congress for approval.

“You know, guys like that ain’t got no manhood left anyway. So it’s a hell of a lot of fun to shoot them.”

Centcom, as it is known, oversees operations in a volatile swathe of the world that covers 20 countries and stretches from Egypt across the Middle East and into south and central Asia.

Robert Gates, the defence secretary, praised the four-star general as “one of the military’s most innovative and iconoclastic thinkers.”

Mr Gates also dismissed concerns about his 2005 comments, saying Mattis had learned his lesson.

Gen Mattis was reprimanded at the time by the Marine Corps for telling a conference in San Diego, California: “It’s fun to shoot some people. I’ll be right up front with you, I like brawling.”

During a discussion panel he said: “You go into Afghanistan, you got guys who slap women around for five years because they didn’t wear a veil.

Fantastic.  So out gays can’t serve in the military at all, but out sociopaths can become four-star generals and be put in charge of two simultaneous wars.

July 9th, 2010 at 11:25am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Iraq,Wankers,War

Obey Obey

This is great framing by Obey:

Talks were under way Tuesday to extricate the administration by coming up with offsets to pay for new education assistance to avert teacher layoffs this fall. At the same time, renewed efforts began to salvage a $24 billion package of state Medicaid assistance, even if it means paring back a proposed 18-month fix of Medicare reimbursements for physicians.

The backdrop in both cases is a Saturday night letter from Obama calling for action on education and Medicaid assistance but giving no direction on how to pay for them — or how to win support in a deficit-conscious Congress. Leaked in advance to the Sunday newspapers, the letter caught party leaders by surprise, and with Obama largely absent from both fights to date, it was widely seen by Democrats as more political showmanship at their expense by the administration.

Clearly annoyed, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) called White House congressional liaison Phil Schiliro to her office Monday, and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Dave Obey served notice that he would withhold action on Obama’s new war funding until the dust clears on domestic spending issues.


Obey has been central to the fight over education aid and, in an interview, drew a direct link between war funding and progress on domestic priorities.

He said he would withhold action on the war funds until there was some resolution on a major economic relief bill extending jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed and popular tax breaks for individuals and businesses.

I love this because holding war funding hostage is a not-so-subtle reminder that the supposed fiscal conservatism that the Republicans and conservadems use as an excuse to block any kind of stimulus or relief is a complete sham that magically evaporates wherever military spending is concerned.  Barney Frank has been doing much the same thing with the deficit commission, agitating and gadflying to remind them that Social Security isn’t the only government entity that spends a whole bunch of money.

Plus Social Security does a lot more good, and is, in fact, already paid for.

June 16th, 2010 at 07:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Democrats,Economy,Obama,Politics

Antiwar Crusader Glenn Beck

If I had to guess at the turning point at which Glenn Beck began to have serious doubts about war and out-of-control military spending, I would bet that it was the inauguration of Barack Obama.  And as soon as we get a Republican warmonger back in the White House, I expect he will suddenly be okay with it again.

3 comments April 20th, 2010 at 11:22am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Iraq,Media,Politics,Republicans,Wankers,War

Beginning To Look Like A Trend…

Obama is allowing himself to be led by the nose by generals who are far to the right of the people who supported and elected him.  Just as he is allowing himself to be led by the nose by corporate shills like Summers and Geithner, and by anti-public option compromisers like Rahm.

Just once I’d like to see Obama stand up to all the Republicans and near-Republicans who are advising him, and actually do something that he was elected to do, but I know that’s a pipe dream.  He listens to them not because he’s a weak and gullible naif (although that could be true as well), but because he’s one of them and they’re telling him exactly what he wants to hear.

December 8th, 2009 at 07:11am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Corruption/Cronyism,Economy,Obama,Politics

Wait, Which Country Was He Talking About Again?

Dubya gets right to the heart of the problem in his farewell address:

The battles waged by our troops are part of a broader struggle between two dramatically different systems. Under one, a small band of fanatics demands total obedience to an oppressive ideology, condemns women to subservience, and marks unbelievers for murder. The other system is based on the conviction that freedom is the universal gift of Almighty God, and that liberty and justice light the path to peace.

I think he might be exaggerating a little bit about conservatives marking unbelievers for murder, but otherwise I think he’s spot on.

January 16th, 2009 at 09:45pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Constitution,Corruption/Cronyism,Iraq,Racism,Religion,Republicans,Sexism,Teh Gay,War

It’s On.

Holy crap.

Looks like Israel has decided to invade Gaza to try to take out Hamas once and for all, and too bad for anyone else who happens to be living there.  I guess they were inspired by how well our invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq went, and how effective they were at neutralizing terrorism.  Because if there’s one thing we’ve proven, it’s that nothing succeeds like unchecked brutality, right?

Israel has fallen into a trap similar to the one the Bush administration fell into with al Qaeda: elevating their enemies into an existential threat.  Of course, in Israel’s case, Hamas is a democratically-elected government which actually showed some willingness to negotiate.  They are not al Qaeda, and they are not the second coming of Nazi Germany.

But if they weren’t implacable enemies of Israel before, I’m pretty sure they are now – and unlike al Qaeda and the U.S., they’re right next door. Violence will only beget more violence, and death will only beget more death.

Today is a sad and tragic day for Palestine, but the future will be sad and tragic for both Palestine and Israel.

3 comments January 3rd, 2009 at 02:15pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Iraq,Terrorism,War

American Foreign Policy In A Nutshell

They may be corrupt, brutal bastards, but they’re OUR corrupt, brutal bastards.

Anyone think Obama plans to change that?

(h/t Christy)

1 comment December 14th, 2008 at 01:12pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Foreign Policy

Tell Me Why We Invaded Afghanistan Again?

We didn’t capture or kill bin Laden.  We didn’t destroy al Qaeda.  Oh, but at least we liberated the country from the Taliban, established democracy, and ended the oppression of women!  Eh, not so much…

The collapse of Afghanistan is closer than the world believes. Kandahar is in Taliban hands – all but a square mile at the centre of the city – and the first Taliban checkpoints are scarcely 15 miles from Kabul. Hamid Karzai’s deeply corrupted government is almost as powerless as the Iraqi cabinet in Baghdad’s “Green Zone”; lorry drivers in the country now carry business permits issued by the Taliban which operate their own courts in remote areas of the country.

The Red Cross has already warned that humanitarian operations are being drastically curtailed in ever larger areas of Afghanistan; more than 4,000 people, at least a third of them civilians, have been killed in the past 11 months, along with scores of Nato troops and about 30 aid workers. Both the Taliban and Mr Karzai’s government are executing their prisoners in ever greater numbers. The Afghan authorities hanged five men this month for murder, kidnap or rape – one prisoner, a distant relative of Mr Karzai, predictably had his sentence commuted – and more than 100 others are now on Kabul’s death row.

This is not the democratic, peaceful, resurgent, “gender-sensitive” Afghanistan that the world promised to create after the overthrow of the Taliban in 2001. Outside the capital and the far north of the country, almost every woman wears the all-enshrouding burkha, while fighters are now joining the Taliban’s ranks from Kashmir, Uzbekistan, Chechnya and even Turkey….


Is it really the overriding ambition of Afghans to have “democracy”? Is a strong federal state possible in Afghanistan? Is the international community ready to take on the warlords and drug barons who are within Mr Karzai’s own government? And – most important of all – is development really about “securing the country”? The tired old American adage that “where the Tarmac ends, the Taliban begins” is untrue. The Taliban are mounting checkpoints on those very same newly-built roads.


“We” are not winning in Afghanistan. Talk of crushing the Taliban seems as bleakly unrealistic as it has ever been. Indeed, when the President of Afghanistan tries to talk to Mullah Omar – one of America’s principal targets in this wretched war – you know the writing is on the wall. And even Mullah Omar didn’t want to talk to Mr Karzai.

So… after our supposed victory, Karzai was effectively nothing more than the mayor of Kabul.  Now, 7 years later… Karzai is effectively nothing more than the mayor of Kabul.  I think the biggest change that we’ve effected in Afghanistan is to make its people hate us.  Bravo.

(h/t Elliott)

3 comments November 28th, 2008 at 07:13am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,War

Greetings From Afghanada

Um… WTF?

Three days after a mostly gaffe-free debate performance, the Alaska governor fumbled during a speech in which she praised U.S. soldiers for “fighting terrorism and protecting us and our democratic values”.

“They are also building schools for the Afghan children so that there is hope and opportunity in our neighboring country of Afghanistan,” she told several hundred supporters at a fundraising event in San Francisco.

Tina Fey will never be able to keep up.

(h/t Lisa Derrick)

October 6th, 2008 at 11:36am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Elections,Foreign Policy,Palin,Quotes,Weirdness

Senior Military Call For Draft Or Withdrawal

…Or, y’know, allowing the Army to collapse:

In testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee yesterday, Army Vice Chief of Staff General Richard Cody sternly rebuked all those who’ve been blowing sunshine and spreading baseless happy talk for five years with regard to the war in Iraq. And he was blunt–blunter than I’ve ever heard him before–about the crisis facing the Army. He even went so far as to hint at the “D-word” in his prepared remarks:

Today’s Army is out of balance. The current demand for our forces in Iraq and Afghanistan exceeds the sustainable supply and limits our ability to provide ready forces for other contingencies . . . Current operational requirements for forces and insufficient time between deployments require a focus on counterinsurgency training and equipping to the detriment of preparedness for the full range of military missions.Given the current theater demand for Army forces, we are unable to provide a sustainable tempo of deployments for our Soldiers and Families. Soldiers, Families, support systems, and equipment are stretched and stressed by the demands of lengthy and repeated deployments, with insufficient recovery time. Equipment used repeatedly in harsh environments is wearing out more rapidly than programmed. Army support systems, designed for the pre-9/11 peacetime Army, are straining under the accumulation of stress from six years at war. Overall, our readiness is being consumed as fast as we build it.

And then he added the kicker:

If unaddressed, this lack of balance poses a significant risk to the All-Volunteer Force and degrades the Army’s ability to make a timely response to other contingencies.

When Cody says “this lack of balance poses a significant risk to the All-Volunteer Force,” he’s really saying we have three options:

1. We can change course now and save everyone a lot of trouble.

2. We can maintain our current course in Iraq and watch the Army disintegrate as it did during and after Vietnam.

3. We can institute the Draft.

The adjective “All-Volunteer” is the key part of the statement. He’s implying that if the force were not all-volunteer, then there would be no “significant risk.” As no sane officer would accept the disintegration of the Army, Cody is saying that if we want to keep up this thing in Iraq, we’re going to have to move toward instituting a draft. It’s that simple.


These comments, however, were neither made in a vacuum, nor are they random. In fact, they follow closely on the heels of comments made by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen last week, when he met with President Bush:

If the current round of fighting subsides and the U.S. withdrawals from Iraq go ahead as planned, Mullen says, he’s exploring the idea of shifting troops to Afghanistan – an effort that he says is vastly under resourced.“So, should we be in a position where more troops are removed from Iraq, the possibility of sending additional troops there – where we need them, clearly – certainly it’s a possibility. But it’s really going to be based on the availability of troops. We don’t have troops. . .sitting on the shelf, ready to go.”

In less than a week now, the Army Vice Chief of Staff and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff have both expressed to Congress and the President that there are simply no more troops available to keep up the current pace of operations. And they’ve both implied that the “All-Volunteer Force” has reached the limits of its capability. I’d call that a pattern. And I’d also call it the first step toward giving the civilian leadership the ultimatum it apparently needs hear.

And Dubya has always made such a big deal out of how he listens to what his generals tell him they need. Of course, that only applies to what he tells them to tell him they need…

2 comments April 2nd, 2008 at 07:28am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Iraq,War

Is Our Generals Learning?

Yet another brilliant idea from Dubya’s military geniuses:

The [completely destroyed by the Taliban] outpost’s defenders belonged to Pakistan’s Frontier Corps, an 85,000-member tribal militia that, according to the latest Pentagon budget, is set to receive up to $75 million in training and equipment this year, the first injection of what could be more than $400 million to be delivered over the next several years. Beyond this, little is known about the plan, the details of which remain classified. As reported by the New York Times, a 40-page secret document called “Plan for Training the Frontier Corps” is currently being circulated at the U.S. Central Command, awaiting final approval by its commander, Admiral William J. Fallon, and other senior defense officials. The use of the Frontier Corps in the fight against Taliban and Al Qaeda fighters in Afghanistan augurs a new approach to dealing with rising Islamic fundamentalism in Pakistan’s tribal region. Like U.S. plans to fund it, the Frontier Corps has largely escaped scrutiny, but there are questions about its allegiances, competence, and suitability to the proposed mission. Support for tribal militias has become a centerpiece of the U.S. strategy in Iraq, one that carries with it inherent risks in terms of inadvertently backing potential enemies in the pursuit of short-term security goals. Supporting the Frontier Corps is similarly dicey.


The idea of arming local tribesmen to fight Al Qaeda has been used to great effect in Iraq, but whether the same approach will work in Pakistan is an open question. “There’s been some talk in FATA about imposing an Anbar-style model in the tribal areas,” said Nicholas Schmidle, an American journalist expelled from Pakistan in January for his reporting on the Taliban, speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations event. “The problem is the senior tribal leaders have all been killed, so if you’re going to consider imposing this model, you really have to face the fact that you’re going to take good Taliban to fight against bad Taliban.“…


…The Frontier Corps—like the Taliban—is comprised largely of Pashtun tribesmen whose politics are likely closer to their would-be adversaries than to America’s. “Look, they’re no more sympathetic toward the United States and our agenda there than any of the other tribal people in that region,” says Weinbaum. Indeed, the notion that the Frontier Corps will become a U.S. ally in the war on terror is thrown into doubt by recent incidents. Take the remarkably brief siege of Fort Sararogha. “We don’t know that there were a great many casualties out of that,” cautions Weinbaum. “And if there weren’t a great many casualties, it suggests that there really wasn’t a lot of heavy fighting. I mean, that probably speaks for itself.” Combine this with “significant numbers of reports of the Frontier Corps providing direct fire support to Taliban offensive operations in the border area,” says Jones, and you get the impression that we’re preparing to provide significant military support “to an organization that is sometimes our friend and sometimes is not.”

Arming a new Taliban to go after our first one – what could possibly go wrong?

1 comment March 6th, 2008 at 09:43pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,War

Least Believable Statement Of The Month

By way of The All-Seeing Eye Of Froomkin, this is some truly epic bullshit right here:

Bush’s decisions on Iraq and Afghanistan could heavily influence his ability to pass on to his successor stable situations in both countries, an objective his advisers describe as one of the president’s paramount goals for his final year in office….




Oh, goodness. It… hurts to breathe.

December 17th, 2007 at 08:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Iraq,Quotes,Republicans,Wankers

An Awful Lot Of Smoke

This sounds very dodgy indeed:

The military first reported that Ciara Durkin, 30, who served in the National Guard, had died “in action,” then revealed that she was killed in a “noncombat” incident that was being investigated.

Her family was told that she had been killed by a single gunshot near a church. They are charging that the military has been dragging its feet in giving them more details. They reject any chance of suicide and suspect friendly fire or murder.

A new twist emerged today in a Boston Globe article: Her family says she had told them to push for an investigation if anything ever happened to her. She was in a finance unit and may have found some improprieties, according to a story in the Patriot-Ledger, which also disclosed that her family had notified the military about her concerns about her safety three weeks ago.

John Kerry has questions:

Yesterday, Sen. John F. Kerry sent off a letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates. He included three direct questions gnawing at the Durkin family:

1.) Why has the Army not responded to the family’s request for an independent autopsy?

2.) Why did the Army fail to contact the family with its (the Army’s) autopsy results? The family was told to expect a phone call between 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. on Oct. 1 that never came.

3.) Why has the Army refused to make Spc. Durkin’s will and paperwork available to her family so they can respect her wishes as they plan her funeral and burial?

It sure sounds like they’re covering something up, or maybe the military is just following their Commander-In-Chief’s lead and being secretive and deceptive even when they don’t need to. Or maybe they just don’t want to comment on an ongoing investigation…

(h/t Paddy)

October 3rd, 2007 at 11:39pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Corruption/Cronyism,Republicans

The Other War

Hey, how’s that democracy thing coming along in that other country that we liberated?

Taliban militants hanged a teenager in southern Afghanistan because he had U.S. money in his pocket, and they stuffed five $1 bills in his mouth as a warning to others not to use dollars, police said Monday. Taliban militants elsewhere killed eight police.

The 15-year-old boy was hanged from a tree on Sunday in Helmand, the most violent province in the country and the world’s No. 1 poppy-growing region.

”The Taliban warned villagers that they would face the same punishment if they were caught with dollars,” said Wali Mohammad, the district police chief in Sangin.


In Sangin on Saturday, the Taliban shot and killed another man who had sought farm assistance and seeds from an international aid program, Mohammad said. The militants accused him of being a spy.

Taliban insurgents in Ghazni province, meanwhile, ambushed a police convoy Sunday, killing eight officers, said Abdul Khaliq Nikmal, spokesman for the provincial governor.


Violence has surged in Afghanistan in recent months. Last week alone violence killed more than 270 dead, including 165 militants killed in two large battles in the south and 30 people killed in a suicide bombing on an army bus in Kabul.

Well, that sure sounds pretty awesome. There must be countries lined up around the blog just begging for us to liberate them.

4 comments October 1st, 2007 at 05:59pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,War

Wanker Of The Day

Oh. My. ___.

Kauzlarich, now a battalion commanding officer at Fort Riley in Kansas… suggested the Tillman family’s unhappiness with the findings of past investigations might be because of the absence of a Christian faith in their lives.

In an interview with, Kauzlarich said: “When you die, I mean, there is supposedly a better life, right? Well, if you are an atheist and you don’t believe in anything, if you die, what is there to go to? Nothing. You are worm dirt. So for their son to die for nothing, and now he is no more – that is pretty hard to get your head around that. So I don’t know how an atheist thinks. I can only imagine that that would be pretty tough.”

Asked by whether the Tillmans’ religious beliefs are a factor in the ongoing investigation, Kauzlarich said, “I think so. There is not a whole lot of trust in the system or faith in the system [by the Tillmans]. So that is my personal opinion, knowing what I know.”

Asked what might finally placate the family, Kauzlarich said, “You know what? I don’t think anything will make them happy, quite honestly. I don’t know. Maybe they want to see somebody’s head on a platter. But will that really make them happy? No, because they can’t bring their son back.”

Kauzlarich, now 40, was the Ranger regiment executive officer in Afghanistan, who played a role in writing the recommendation for Tillman’s posthumous Silver Star. And finally, with his fingerprints already all over many of the hot-button issues, including the question of who ordered the platoon to be split as it dragged a disabled Humvee through the mountains, Kauzlarich conducted the first official Army investigation into Tillman’s death.


“Well, this guy makes disparaging remarks about the fact that we’re not Christians, and the reason that we can’t put Pat to rest is because we’re not Christians,” Mary Tillman, Pat’s mother, said in an interview with Mary Tillman casts the family as spiritual, though she said it does not believe in many of the fundamental aspects of organized religion.
“Oh, it has nothing to do with the fact that this whole thing is shady,” she said sarcastically, “But it is because we are not Christians.”

This is the kind of Republican mindset we’re dealing with. If you’re not Christian, you are incapable of experiencing higher emotions or coping with grief, because you don’t have Teh Jesus to sustain you.

By this reasoning, shouldn’t the Christian Right all be urging their kids to enlist? After all, if they get killed, they’re going to A Better Place, so there’s nothing to be worried about, right? And yet, somehow I don’t think the fundies’ kids are signing up in droves to be Holy Warriors For Christ. One might almost think that faith does not actually make it okay when one one of your loved ones dies, or when the military lies to you about it and tries to cover up what happened.

Shorter Christianist Military Wanker: Jesus would have just Gotten Over It.

(Obligatory Disclaimer: I have no problem with Christians in general; my problem is with those false Christians who wield their religion as a club.)

(h/t Atrios)

4 comments April 24th, 2007 at 05:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Religion,Wankers,War

Czard Work

Too funny:

The White House wants to appoint a high-powered czar to oversee the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan with authority to issue directions to the Pentagon, the State Department and other agencies, but it has had trouble finding anyone able and willing to take the job, according to people close to the situation.

At least three retired four-star generals approached by the White House in recent weeks have declined to be considered for the position, the sources said, underscoring the administration’s difficulty in enlisting its top recruits to join the team after five years of warfare that have taxed the United States and its military.

“The very fundamental issue is, they don’t know where the hell they’re going,” said retired Marine Gen. John J. “Jack” Sheehan, a former top NATO commander who was among those rejecting the job. Sheehan said he believes that Vice President Cheney and his hawkish allies remain more powerful within the administration than pragmatists looking for a way out of Iraq. “So rather than go over there, develop an ulcer and eventually leave, I said, ‘No, thanks,’ ” he said.


To fill such a role, the White House is searching for someone with enough stature and confidence to deal directly with heavyweight administration figures such as Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. Besides Sheehan, sources said, the White House or intermediaries have sounded out retired Army Gen. Jack Keane and retired Air Force Gen. Joseph W. Ralston, who also said they are not interested. Ralston declined to comment; Keane confirmed he declined the offer, adding: “It was discussed weeks ago.”

Kurt Campbell, a Clinton administration Pentagon official who heads the Center for a New American Security, said the difficulty in finding someone to take the job shows that Bush has exhausted his ability to sign up top people to help salvage a disastrous war. “Who’s sitting on the bench?” he asked. “Who is there to turn to? And who would want to take the job?”


“There’s the residue of the Cheney view — ‘We’re going to win, al-Qaeda’s there’ — that justifies anything we did,” he said. “And then there’s the pragmatist view — how the hell do we get out of Dodge and survive? Unfortunately, the people with the former view are still in the positions of most influence.” Sheehan said he wrote a note March 27 declining interest.

This is a great example of the Competence Vs. Loyalty Conundrum: Anyone smart enough and competent enough to do the job (which in this case means, “Minimize and contain the inevitable disaster”) is too smart to go along with Dubya’s Eternal Aimless War strategy. They would be the military equivalent of Christie Whitman as EPA Director.

The other interesting thing about this is that it feeds my long-held suspicion that Dubya only likes the perks and privileges of being president, but not the responsibilities. So he’s happy to gad about to various photo ops, collecting trophies and sports jerseys and personalized quasi-military jackets, but he absolutely hates and resents the responsibilities that come with the job. And that only gets worse as the job gets harder and the Congress gets less cooperative.

2 comments April 12th, 2007 at 07:00am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Iraq,Republicans,War

The Uniter

Well, at least someone knows how to reach out…

In a new video posted Thursday on the Internet, an al-Qaida militant who escaped from a U.S. prison in Afghanistan urged Sunni militants in Iraq to join the terror group and claimed the U.S. military’s security plan for Baghdad has failed.

Abu Yahia al-Libi, who broke out of the U.S. prison at Bagram Air Base north of Kabul in 2005, said it was the sacred duty of all mujahedeen, or holy warriors, to “stand steadfast together.”

He called on militant groups known as Ansar al-Sunnah, the Islamic Army in Iraq and the Army of the Mujahedeen to “hurry up and respond to the call of the Quran to become one and … join the Islamic State in Iraq,” an al-Qaida affiliate in the country.

Islamic terrorists are just about the only group that Dubya can unite these days.

March 22nd, 2007 at 10:01pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Iraq,Terrorism,War

Simple Answers To Simple Questions

Christy asks:

[Does] George Bush [define] “winning” as simply riding out both conflicts until he is out of office and no longer has to make the tough decisions?


2 comments March 19th, 2007 at 05:33pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Iraq,War

Christianity Triumphs Again!

Well, here’s some happy news out of Flourishing Liberal Democracy Afghanistan:

An Afghan man who had faced the death penalty for converting from Islam to Christianity has been released from prison after the case was dropped, the justice minister said Tuesday.

The announcement came after the United Nations said Abdul Rahman has appealed for asylum outside Afghanistan and that the world body was working to find a country willing to take him.


Deputy Attorney General Mohammed Eshak Aloko told the AP that prosecutors had issued a letter calling for Rahman’s release because ”he was mentally unfit to stand trial.” He also said he did not know where he was being held.

He said Rahman may be sent overseas for medical treatment.

Well, no wonder he needs asylum! He’s insane!

Hours earlier, hundreds of clerics, students and others chanting ”Death to Christians!” marched through the northern Afghan Mazar-i-Sharif to protest the court’s decision Sunday to dismiss the case.

”Abdul Rahman must be killed. Islam demands it,” said senior Cleric Faiez Mohammed, from the nearby northern city of Kunduz. ”The Christian foreigners occupying Afghanistan are attacking our religion.”

Several Muslim clerics have threatened to incite Afghans to kill Rahman if he is freed, saying that he is clearly guilty of apostasy and deserves to die.

So everything worked out for the best, and all they had to do to avert catastrophe was to equate Christianity with insanity. They’ve come such a long way in such a short time, thanks to the Bush Administration’s deep understanding of foreign cultures, and its wonkish obsession with planning and detail.

3 comments March 28th, 2006 at 12:34am Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Religion

Sunni And Sharia

What with all the great news coming out of Iraq, the equally brilliant success story that is Afghanistan has been largely overlooked. Let’s take a quick peek in and see how that’s going, shall we?

An Afghan man is being tried in a court in the capital, Kabul, for converting from Islam to Christianity.

Abdul Rahman is charged with rejecting Islam and could face the death sentence under Sharia law unless he recants.


Afghanistan’s post-Taleban constitution is based on Sharia law, and prosecutors in the case says this means Abdul Rahman, whose trial began last Thursday, should be put to death.

When he was arrested last month he was found to be carrying a bible and charged with rejecting Islam which is punishable by death in Afghanistan.


Mr Karzai’s office says the president will not intervene in the case.

This has to be uncomfortable for Bush’s religious base (all five of them who are aware of it): They have to either admit that Afghanistan is not quite the enlightened democratic triumph that was advertised, or embrace a government that is willing to execute someone simply for converting to Christianity (kinda puts a damper on proselytization, don’t it?).

My money’s on the latter; they’d rather tell themselves that Rahman’s not a “real” Christian than admit that Afghanistan is not a real democracy, and Bush is not a real president.

Thanks to Bill for the tip!

March 20th, 2006 at 01:56pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Bush,Politics,Puns,Religion,Wankers

You Go, Girl!

NYT has a profile of Iran’s first female race car driver. Apparently a pretty damn good one, too.

“I like competition in everything,” the striking 28-year-old said after parking the car and going for tiramisu in a cafe in North Tehran. “I have to move whatever is movable in the world.”

In March, she moved the nation when she won the national championship. State television refused to show the new champ on the victory dais elevated above the men, but photographers captured the moment. She stood quietly while receiving her medal, as she had promised the race organizers she would, with a scarf over her long black hair and a coat over her racing uniform.

Ms. Seddigh is a lively, energetic symbol of a whole generation of young Iranians who are increasingly testing social boundaries. Seventy percent of Iranians are under 35, and they have gently pushed for, and received, freedoms unimaginable even a few years ago. For women in Tehran, at least, head scarves are often brightly colored and worn loosely over the hair. The obligatory women’s overcoats are now often tight and short.


“I’m not a feminist,” she said. “But why should women be lazy and weak? If you’re determined, you’ve got to push.”

Any female race car drivers in Iraq or Afghanistan? How’re those invasions working out for the women over there? Will there be any female race car drivers in Iran after we invade?

6 comments May 14th, 2005 at 03:27pm Posted by Eli

Entry Filed under: Afghanistan,Coolness,Iran,Iraq,War

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