Tag: War casualties

Arrrrrghhh !!!

As Lieberman deliberated, the new chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), told HuffPost that the party would consider supporting Lieberman if he returned to the fold.


Joe Lieberman,Senator Joe Lieberman

Joe & George the President

The feeling of ill will is mutual: Lieberman said during the health care debate that one reason he opposed a Medicare buy-in compromise was that progressives were embracing it.

Joe Lieberman and John McCain

Joe & John the Presidential Candidate

March 20, 2003

” What we are doing here is not only in the interest of the safety of the American people. Believe me, Saddam Hussein would have used these weapons against us eventually or given them to terrorists who would have. But what we are doing here, in overthrowing Saddam and removing those weapons of mass destruction and taking them into our control, is good for the security of people all over the world, including the Iraqi people themselves.”


John McCain Joe Lieberman,McCain,Lieberman

Joe and John in Iraq

September 29, 2011.    10 years and 18 days after 9-11 attacks on NYC

” It is time for us to take steps that make clear that if diplomatic and economic strategies continue to fail to change Iran’s nuclear policies, a military strike is not just a remote possibility in the abstract, but a real and credible alternative policy that we and our allies are ready to exercise.

It is time to retire our ambiguous mantra about all options remaining on the table. It is time for our message to our friends and enemies in the region to become clearer: namely, that we will prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapons capability — by peaceful means if we possibly can, but with military force if we absolutely must. A military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities entails risks and costs, but I am convinced that the risks and costs of allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapons capability are much greater.

Some have suggested that we should simply learn to live with a nuclear Iran and pledge to contain it. In my judgment, that would be a grave mistake. As one Arab leader I recently spoke with pointed out, how could anyone count on the United States to go to war to defend them against a nuclear-armed Iran, if we were unwilling to go to war to prevent a nuclear-armed Iran? Having tried and failed to stop Iran’s nuclear breakout, our country would be a poor position to contain its consequences.

I also believe it would be a failure of U.S. leadership if this situation reaches the point where the Israelis decide to attempt a unilateral strike on Iran. If military action must come, the United States is in the strongest position to confront Iran and manage the regional consequences. This is not a responsibility we should outsource. We can and should coordinate with our many allies who share our interest in stopping a nuclear Iran, but we cannot delegate our global responsibilities to them.”



McClatchy: Obama Admin Begins Walkback From Afghan 2011, now “2014”

 This just came up on McClatchy.  Because of the outcome of the November 2, 2010 election, with the new Republican House majority,  there is now less pressure on President Obama to stick to his earlier pledge of beginning a troop withdrawal timeline of July 2011 in Afghanistan. This December was supposed to be the month for the big “review” of the ongoing military operations (and the Pentagon budget was supposed to be passed before the pre election campaign break and the lame duck session, and that didn’t happen, either) and now it will be a smaller review – ‘with no major changes in strategy.”  Other than those American troop withdrawals will be delayed at least until 2014.  Remember when a few weeks ago the military said the Afghan transitional stuff was going better than expected?  Wrong narrative when you’re on the international arms sales circuit.

NATO’s spent 19.4 billion on “training” Afghans in the past 7 years.  What is the current message for the NATO meeting on Nov 18 in Lisbon ?   send more trainers. “No trainers, no transition.”  

The only thing McClatchy didn’t mention was that the Taliban and assorted terrorists and homegrown guerrilla combatants traditionally take the winter off in Afghanistan.

And of course, they’re trying to blame Pakistan.  You could see this coming a mile down the road. Why would Pakistan wish to interrupt the gravy train of having a foreign country “fighting” your pesky terrorists and selling intelligence to it ?  The earlier 2011 date, claims a Pentagon advisor in the story, had Pakistan trying to negotiate a “political settlement instead of military action.”


“This administration now understands that it cannot shift Pakistani approaches to safeguarding its interests in Afghanistan with this date being perceived as a walk-away date,” the adviser said.

And of course, everyone was speaking anonymously.  There is now no timeline, nor will Gen. David Petraeus being doing one of his publicity tours, er, testimonies before Congress in December, the way he was all last spring and summer before the latest Afghanistan/Pakistan offensive.

Whoops. Did I say Pakistan.


Pentagon Lobbyists Begin Campaign Harvest Season For Defense Budget FY 2011


Here in Arghandab, the inflow of troops has made it possible to begin trying to pacify an area where thick vegetation, irrigation canals and pomegranate orchards provide good cover for Taliban insurgents, according to Col. Joe Krebs, the 2nd Brigade Combat team’s deputy commander.

No sooner had the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Armored Regiment of the United States Army arrived here than five of its soldiers were killed, in a roadside bomb directed at their convoy. The dead included the first army chaplain to be killed in active duty during the Afghan conflict.

While no official casualty totals have been released for the recent operations in the Kandahar districts, a count by iCasualties.org, which tracks coalition deaths, showed 14 American fatalities in Kandahar between Aug. 30 and Sept. 23, the latest date for which details are available. At least six of them were in Arghandab and two in Zhari district. That compares to 10 American personnel lost during that same period in Helmand Province, where the United States Marines have been struggling to suppress the Taliban in and around Marja, scene of the year’s first major offensive, Operation Mustarak, which began Feb. 14.

   Pomegranates are an important crop in traditional Mediterranean and southwest Asian culture.  

I couldn’t live with myself if my companies were doing damage to the planet.

  – Linda Resnick

NATO Apologizes for Death of 2 Teen Sports Players, 2 Cousins

The two young teenaged sons of Rahmatullah Rahmat, of Khost, Afghanistan, were coming home from playing volleyball on the spring day in April, when they were killed by NATO forces which mistook them for “insurgents” as they drove towards them.

NATO has apologized for the deaths.


All of the victims were unarmed, and died at the scene after failing to respond to warning shots.

Mr. Rahmat, who is called Rahnatullah Mansour in another story, also has 2 brothers who lost sons in the tragedy.


“Nobody can imagine what is going on in my family”

Mansour said that the victims in Monday’s shooting were his sons Faizullah, 13, and Nasratullah, 17; and nephews Maiwand and Amirullah, both 18. He said all were students except Amirullah, who was a police officer.

NATO originally claimed that 2 of the deceased were insurgents whose fingerprints were in a biometric database, but have backed away from that.


It added that the presence of their fingerprints in the database “has not yet been determined to be relevant to the incident on Monday night,” ISAF said.

“We sincerely regret this tragic loss of life,” it quoted Major General Mike Regner, deputy chief of staff for joint operations, as saying.

Training is supposed to begin soon to help prevent further incidents.

In the southern province of Kandahar, where the next NATO large scale, “terrorist purging” activity is going to go, the situation amongst the civilians is getting grimmer as the time approaches.    The vice mayor of Kandahar, who was known for being a good man who was not corrupt, was recently gunned down in a mosque.    An 18 year old Afghan woman was murdered right outside a U.S.  Development Alternatives International office. Nida Khayani, a woman lawmaker from the north, barely survived an assassination attempt. http://www.undispatch.com/node…


As a result, roads are now shut and the drab march of blast barriers has begun. It is just one sign that things are getting worse. Foreigners cannot walk down the street or stop in the bazaar to gauge the local climate. Meetings invariably take place in private rooms deep inside fortified compounds. Yet for some reason, Kandaharis continue to risk talking to journalists in the knowledge that what they say might get them killed.


Nor is it just the Taliban who are the problem. Criminal syndicates wage their own terror campaign, allegedly killing business rivals, upstarts and those who speak out against them. The deaths of several prominent campaigners, such as the women’s rights advocate Sitara Ackakzai, have been unofficially linked to the mafia rather than the Taliban.

….  “You can’t say anything about these guys. The government is involved with them.”

As NATO gets ready to go in, the real insurgents have been busy planting landmines everywhere.  Since Kandahar is an agricultural province, this helps ruin the ability of farmers to be able to grow crops.

The Canadians have been busy trying to get rid of various military hardware, including landmines, and suffered serious losses to a demining team on April 11th.

This is a statement from their government:


“Canada vehemently condemns the violent attacks that occurred on a team working for the Demining Agency for Afghanistan in Kandahar on April 11th which resulted in the deaths of four deminers and injuring 17 more.

“Deminers play a vital, yet often overlooked role in Afghanistan. They risk life and limb to remove the thousands of landmines that litter this country, making the land available for use once more.

“Deminers, and all NGO workers, put their own lives at risk every day to ensure the safety of Afghanistan’s communities. Their efforts mean that children have a place to play, farmers have fields to sow and Afghans can move more safely across this land.”

“On behalf of all Canadians, I extend our deepest sympathies to those who were injured and condolences to the friends and families of those who were killed in this terrible attack.

There were still an estimated 10 to 20 million landmines in the ground of Afghanistan in the 1990’s.

A sobering history of how 30 years of  war destroyed farming for food and replaced it with farming for poppies for cash can be found here in this March 2010 article by history professor Alfred McCoy of the Univ of Wisconsin at Madison:

The Opium wars in Afghanistan



To understand the Afghan War, one basic point must be grasped: in poor nations with weak state services, agriculture is the foundation for all politics, binding villagers to the government or warlords or rebels.  The ultimate aim of counterinsurgency strategy is always to establish the state’s authority.

“We can’t keep on doing business as usual,” one senior Afghan official said.  (quote from the first WAPO link)

It remains to be seen if somebody working for Gen. McChrystal  can come up with a universal translation of “STOP THE CAR HERE NOW” which makes sense to people who are expecting to get killed if they do stop.