When Afghan parliament member Obaidullah Helali went to visit his constituents in the village of Garani last month, they confronted him with clubs and stones.
It was three days after a U.S. airstrike killed dozens of civilians in the remote settlement in the western province of Farah. Enraged villagers threatened to beat Helali and other officials and asked why the Afghan government couldn’t protect them — not from the Taliban, but from the U.S. military.
“If the Americans don’t stop these kind of accidents, the people will never believe the government will keep them safe,” Helali said.
But experiences such as the fateful May 4 airstrike show that halting civilian deaths will not be easy. Fighter pilots and air controllers at the main U.S. air base here, near Kabul, the Afghan capital, say that even the most comprehensive safeguards can fail under the stress and confusion of combat against an enemy that they say often uses civilians as human shields.
The mounting death toll of Afghan civilians from U.S. airstrikes has unleashed a tide of resentment and fury that threatens to undermine the American counterinsurgency effort. From President Obama to the new U.S. commander in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal, American officials have made the reduction of civilian deaths a top priority as they revamp their strategy.
This isn’t that hard guys. Look, is it worth the killing of civilians to kill a couple of bad guys? Does it really change the whole course of the war if those couple of bad guys are NOT killed at that moment in time? Or does it change the whole course of the war if civilians are killed at that moment in time? Which one is more likely?
Let me spell it out clearly. IT IS MORE LIKELY THAT KILLING CIVILIANS changes the course of the war than if you succeed and kill those couple of bad guys. Let them live. Let them get away. It is not worth the risk of killing civilians. Not if you want to win the overall war. It really isn’t that hard. But America is under such a stupid mentality that they MUST kill all bad guys as soon as they are visible, or even if they are shooting at you. YOU DON’T HAVE TO KILL THEM. Let them live. If you happened to succeed in killing them, but you also kill a bunch of close by civilians, YOU LOST.
Guess who wins in that scenario. THE BAD GUYS.
In his first public response to days of protests, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, sternly warned opponents Friday to stay off the streets and denied opposition claims that last week’s disputed election was rigged, praising the ballot as an “epic moment that became a historic moment.”
In a somber and lengthy sermon at Friday prayers in Tehran, he called directly for an end to the protests by hundreds of thousands of Iranians demanding a new election.
“Street challenge is not acceptable,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “This is challenging democracy after the elections.” He said opposition leaders would be “held responsible for chaos” if they did not end the protests.
His remarks seemed to deepen the confrontation between Iran’s rulers and supporters of the main opposition candidate, Mir Hussein Moussavi, who have accused the authorities of rigging the vote.
Ayatollah Khamenei urged dissenters to pursue their complaints about the June 12 election only through legal channels, insisting that the turnout — officially put at 85 percent — showed the ballot to be a reflection of the national will.
Speaking in front of an audience of thousands that included President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he endorsed the president’s policies and insisted that the margin of victory — 11 million votes — accorded to Mr. Ahmadinejad in the official tally was so big that it could not have been falsified. “How can 11 million votes be replaced or changed?” he said.
Seriously? Dude! How can 11 million votes be replaced or changed? Do you really think we’re that stupid? You must be a conservative…oh yeah… you are. Anyways, the Supreme Leader has lost it. He’s in a worse bubble than George Bush was in.
However, the situation is vastly different in Iran. He could really crack down on the Iranians in a very violent, bloody way. But then how would that look? How many Iranians would appreciate that? What Khamenei realizes is that HE is in trouble, not just Ahmadinejad. This is the only course of action he can take, because to support Musavi would mean he would lose the support of the Revolutionary Guard, who back Ahmadinejad. He knows he is toast except by staying close to Ahmadinejad.
The question now for the Iranians who support Musavi is, how badly do they want Ahmadinejad out? Are they willing to take on his patron, the Supreme Leader?
Short: When you really need them, they’ll not be there for you.
No shit, really? Com’on, they would never…er…uh…
The National Security Agency is facing renewed scrutiny over the extent of its domestic surveillance program, with critics in Congress saying its recent intercepts of the private telephone calls and e-mail messages of Americans are broader than previously acknowledged, current and former officials said.
The agency’s monitoring of domestic e-mail messages, in particular, has posed longstanding legal and logistical difficulties, the officials said.
Since April, when it was disclosed that the intercepts of some private communications of Americans went beyond legal limits in late 2008 and early 2009, several Congressional committees have been investigating. Those inquiries have led to concerns in Congress about the agency’s ability to collect and read domestic e-mail messages of Americans on a widespread basis, officials said. Supporting that conclusion is the account of a former N.S.A. analyst who, in a series of interviews, described being trained in 2005 for a program in which the agency routinely examined large volumes of Americans’ e-mail messages without court warrants. Two intelligence officials confirmed that the program was still in operation.
No fucking way, a spy organization with little oversight abuses its powers and spies on regular Americans.
The Hill writes, “In recent weeks, GOP leaders and rank-and-file members have offered stinging rebukes of the Democratic control in Washington in terms that Democrats say have gone over the line. Last week, House Minority Whip Eric Cantor said Obama’s handling of the faltering U.S. auto industry is ‘almost like looking at Putin’s Russia.’
That came as Rep. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) was drawing heat from Democrats for saying that he told Chinese leaders that ‘the budget numbers that the U.S. has put forward should not be believed’ and that Congress would spend more than what is contained in the budget.”
Just asking, but hasn’t this been one of the GOP’s biggest problems since Obama became president? Republicans have legitimate things to criticize, but their rhetoric has sometimes been way too hot — and has gotten in the way of the party’s message.
And here’s another stupid remark: “A prominent South Carolina Republican killed his Facebook page Sunday after being caught likening the First Lady to an escaped gorilla. Commenting on a report posted to Facebook about a gorilla escape at a zoo in Columbia, S.C., Friday, longtime GOP activist Rusty DePass wrote, ‘I’m sure it’s just one of Michelle’s ancestors — probably harmless.’ Busted by South Carolina political blogger Will Folks, DePass told WIS-TV in Columbia, ‘I am as sorry as I can be if I offended anyone. The comment was clearly in jest.’ Then he added, ‘The comment was hers, not mine,’ claiming Michelle Obama made a recent remark about humans descending from apes. The Daily News could find no such comment.”
Blaming Obama on the stolen election in Iran? Seriously stupid.
whether intentional or not, they are destroying our cause. stop killing civilians!
This may not look very good from a Western perspective, at least based on the slant we wish to view Iran, but this is actually a great step forward either way, whether Ahmadinejad wins or not. Iran just doesn’t have the same position of strength it had while George Bush was president in America.
And here are a bunch from Talking Points Memo’s slide show of the election season in Iran
It would seem the women are the key electoral group in tomorrow’s election.
Fucking stupid conservatives.
This time at the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.
Isn’t it fascinating that eight years of George W. Bush running this country and nary a single incident, or high profile incident, of a right wing terrorist trying to kill other Americans, but get a Democrat in office, and we’re back to how it was in the 90s, with violence here and there. Don’t be surprised, America, if right wing terrorists don’t eventually do another Oklahoma City bombing.
The Glenn Becks of the world need to tread cautiously with their vile language. They probably don’t realize how much it is enflaming hate among the extreme on the right.
Now, if I am insulting the rest of the conservative world based on the words of the pundits who speak for the rest of the conservative world, then so be it. If you guys don’t want these idiots to represent you, then FIRE THEM! Otherwise they speak for YOU!
They are not afraid of 17 Uighurs living in their little country, which cannot be said of the most powerful country in the world. When did we become so cowardly?
We simply cannot afford it anymore. A war of choice, costing us over $1 TRILLION dollars. What a fucking waste of American resources, both financial and human.
And people wonder why Islamists resort to terrorism to make their point. It works. You terrorize people and they will back off what they do. Abortion opponents use terrorism because they know nothing else works.
They are talking about boycotting an American company just to try and make Obama’s plans at saving said company fail so that America’s current president fails, so that America fails.
This is Rush Limbaugh and Hugh Hewitt. One is the current de facto leader of the Republican party with millions of followers on the radio, and the other is an even more extreme radio host, on par with Glenn Beck.
As noted in Media Matters, their employer is a successful corporation with unionized workers.
Differences Between Versions of the Book of Mormon, in which I lay out the differences between the original version and the current version of the Book of Mormon and whether or not there is any real concern or meaning to it all.