I occassionally flipped thru the 24- hour news channels this weekend. The only thing they have is the current Israel-Lebanon conflict. It's hard to find anything else if you watch these idiots. It's like the rest of the world, even in the US does not exist. I guess war porn makes good viewing eh?
Barely a mention of the mayhem in Iraq, which continues unabated and is a civil war to many of us. From Robert Dreyfuss at TomPaine.com
Iraq is engaged in a full-fledged civil war. For those remaining defenders of the U.S. occupation of Iraq, who argue that the United States needs to stay put in order to prevent civil war, it’s too late. It’s here, in all of its brutality and ugliness.
The violence is not only engulfing Baghdad—home to approximately one-fifth of Iraq’s population—but Basra, Iraq’s second city and its only port. In the north, there is violence in Kirkuk, in what has been, until now, the relatively unscathed heartland of the Shiite south, as well.
What is unfolding in Iraq is a staggering tragedy. An entire nation is dying, right in front of us. And the worst part of it is: It may be too late to do anything to stop it.
The toll among ordinary Iraqis is immeasurable. Iraqis are dying in ones and twos, in a wave of rampant murders, kidnappings, and assassinations throughout the country. They are dying in fives and tens, through roadside bombs, car bombs, and sectarian violence. And they are dying in large numbers, in scores, as organized armies carry out atrocity after atrocity in brazen, public attacks.Meanwhile an editorial (subscription only) in the NY Times talks about the problems in Afghanistan (reproduced below)
Things are not going well in Afghanistan, the original front in the war on terrorism.
American and NATO casualties are rising in some of the deadliest fighting since 2001. The Taliban are enjoying a resurgence in presence and power, especially in their traditional southern and eastern strongholds. And with civilian casualties mounting and economic reconstruction in many areas stalled by inadequate security, the American-backed government is in danger of losing the battle for Afghan hearts and minds. If this battle is lost, there can be no lasting military success against the Taliban and their Qaeda allies.
There is still a chance to turn things around. The first step must be enhanced security, so that foreign and local civilians can carry out reconstruction projects. That will require a large and long-term foreign military presence, with a large American component. Unfortunately, Washington is headed in a different direction. With the Army overstretched in Iraq and Congressional elections coming up, the Pentagon is moving to prematurely reduce already inadequate American troop strength.
The plan is for European and Canadian NATO forces to step in and provide security for civilian teams in southern and eastern Afghanistan while the remaining Americans concentrate on fighting the Taliban and Al Qaeda. This is a new variant of the Bush administration’s misbegotten theory that Americans should be war-fighters and leave nation-building to others.
There are two big problems with this. First, in violent situations like that in southern Afghanistan, NATO can assure security only if America, its leading member, provides reconnaissance, transport and combat support. Second, the idea that American troops are there not to bring security to Afghans but to hunt down the Taliban — and too bad if Afghan civilians are caught in the cross-fire — is a disastrous approach to counterinsurgency warfare. It has not worked in Iraq and it is not working in Afghanistan.
In the end, international military efforts can only buy time to build an Afghanistan its own people will fight to defend after Western troops leave. In addition to foreign aid, that will require improved performance by the government of President Hamid Karzai, which has been plagued by corruption and hobbled by the alliances it has made with local warlords to extend its authority beyond Kabul.
In particular, the Karzai government has not made much of a dent in Afghanistan’s hugely profitable drug trafficking operations. Corruption and governmental feckless are only partly to blame. This is an area in which Afghanistan’s multiple problems have begun to feed off one another. A lack of credit and security has left farmers few economic alternatives to opium. Drug revenues feed corruption and make the warlords who run many of the trafficking rings more powerful. They, in turn, use their additional money and influence to recruit more fighters and expand into new areas, promoting wider instability.
Building a stable Afghanistan that can stand up to the Taliban once Western soldiers leave is going to take many years, many billions of dollars and more foreign troops for longer than most Western governments are now prepared to contemplate. Yet signs of fatigue with the Afghan mission are already beginning to appear in Western capitals, including Washington. These must be resisted.
Washington made the mistake of premature disengagement once before, after the 1989 Soviet withdrawal. That opened the door to the Taliban, Al Qaeda and Sept. 11. If America now means to be serious about combating international terrorism, it cannot make the same mistake twice.I think there aren't any billions of dollars, the moment the lies-based war of Iraq started the money for Afghanistan was clearly hard to find. The next few months will be interesting. I think the Bush (in denial) strategy on Iraq is clear. Stay the course and hand it off to the next Administration. History will probably judge Dubya as the worst president we have ever had.
And for a change of pace something on a more relaxed note...
Always Coca Cola....
I have to do Opin's tag too, probably tomorrow.