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Showing posts with label Afghanistan. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Afghanistan. Show all posts

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Hot Shots: Slippery Slopes Edition

More Fruits of Our Iraq Invasion: Among other things, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the Senate Intelligence Committee  Tuesday that Al-Qa’ida in Iraq’s “Syria-based network, the Nusrah Front, is one of the best organized and most capable of the Sunni terrorist groups," Clapper added in his prepared remarks that "Since the 2011 withdrawal of US forces, AQI has conducted nearly monthly, simultaneous, coordinated country-wide attacks against government, security, and Shia civilian targets.” The BBC reports, meanwhile, that the “militant umbrella group that includes al-Qaeda in Iraq has said it was behind the killing of 48 Syrian soldiers and nine Iraqi guards in Iraq last week.”  Considering its long term consequences, the 2003 invasion of Iraq is beginning to make the Vietnam War look like a foreign policy hiccup.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Must-see: “Least Among Saints”

Name one happy movie about war veterans.

Time’s up.

From “The Best Years of Our Lives” in 1946 to the Vietnam War’s “Coming Home” and “Born on the 4th of July,”  veterans have been portrayed as troubled, bitter, dangerous and unconscionably scorned.

And often, of course, they are. Politicians love sending young men into battle, but they largely forget about them when they come home broken.

That’s much the case in "Least Among Saints," Martin Papazian’s engrossing portrayal of Anthony, a sensitive Afghanistan war vet haunted by memories of accidentally killing an Afghan family in their car at a Marine roadblock.

With a difference.

Monday, February 27, 2012

"Act of Valor": A War Movie Liberals Can Like

Oh, sure, it’s a shoot ‘em up, bang-bang-bang flick that will have your head throbbing after the first half hour, maybe less.

And in its cleaned-up version of counterterror raids, it’s closer to Spiderman than “Saving Private Ryan,” whose unforgettably morbid first 20 minutes, depicting the 1944 Allied invasion of Normandy, gave new meaning to the word “realistic.”

But even though “Act of Valor” is essentially a sanitary recruiting film for the Navy SEALs, adolescent through and through, it’s one that liberals should think about liking.

Why? Because, in a world teetering on another catastrophic war, “Act of Valor” depicts the kind of small-ball play that--in combination with other “smart power” techniques--remains the only sensible option to the kind of big-theater, air-strikes and ground-war conflict so beloved by armchair generals and other chickenhawks.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Departed CIA Station Chief's Name Exposed -- Ho Hum (corrected)

The name of the CIA’s former station chief in Kabul surfaced on Monday.


Gregory Vogel’s name, even his face, has been an open secret for years among people who really count, which is to say, his allies and enemies alike in Afghanistan.

On the allies side of the ledger are scores of U.S. and foreign reporters who have been on the intelligence beat and/or covering the Afghanistan war since 2001, when Vogel first landed in Kabul.

Indeed, he's a legend among Afghan officials for saving President Karzai’s life. He’s on his second tour did two tours as station chief.

More to the point, a score more Afghan military, police and intelligence figures know knew Vogel on sight. That includes the Taliban's spies.

Why, the CIA’s cover in Kabul is so thin that, when gunfire broke out at downtown building last September, the news bulletins fairly screamed, “CIA Station in Kabul Under Attack.”

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

With 1,700 Prisoners, Bagram Dwarfs GTMO as Endless Lockup for Suspects Held on Secret Evidence

“Some 1,700 detainees at the Bagram U.S. Air Base in Afghanistan are being held without charges or a trial, primarily on the basis of secret evidence that they never get to see or challenge,”  the Nieman Watchdog Journalism Project is reporting.

“A still-classified 2009 Marine Corps general's report concluded that many, probably a majority, were wrongly held then. But it was virtually impossible then and now for innocent detainees to prove they are not allied with insurgents,” writes former Washington Post reporter John Hanrahan. 

“The system of dealing with Bagram prisoners through detainee review boards (DRB), although improved upon since President Obama took office, violates universal standards on detention in that it ‘does not provide detainees the minimum level of due process required by international law,’ according to a human rights organization’s recent report,” Hanrahan continues.

“Thus far, the report, issued May 10 by New York- and Washington, D.C.-based non-profit organization Human Rights First (HRF), has been ignored by almost all the mainstream print and broadcast news media.”

Read his full report.

Monday, May 30, 2011

For the fallen: Day is Done

Originally known as "Butterfield's Lullaby," for the Union general who composed the mournful lyrics and melody of "Taps," the bleak and lovely tune is instantly and universally recognized for its austere, moving beauty.

I offer it, first, to the memory of my fallen brothers in Vietnam, but also to the men and women of the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, Coast Guard, State Department and Central Intelligence Agency who are shouldering the burden for the rest of us everywhere, today.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Gen. McChrystal Is No MacArthur

A half century ago President Harry Truman tamed a rebellious -- and hugely popular -- Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who wanted to dramatically expand the war in Korea by attacking China.
President Obama faces a similar challenge today from his commander in Afghanistan, Gen। Stanley McChrystal, who wants to send tens of thousands more American troops to his war.
Read more here. (Huffington Post, Oct. 7, 2009)

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Iran’s Top Terrorist Emerges From the Shadows

Brigadier Gen. Qassem Suleimani, head of Iran’s supersecret overseas intelligence and sabotage service, is beginning to show a little more ankle, but he remains pretty much an enigma among Iran experts in Washington — including U.S. intelligence agencies, some say.

CQ Politics (04/11/2008)