Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad invited President Bush to speak at an Iranian university if the American leader ever traveled to the Islamic Republic, state-run television reported Friday. Personally, I don’t think they could provide ample security. Even if they did, I wouldn’t want Bush speaking to the future of this world.
And so it has gone for six years. American intelligence officials interviewed by NEWSWEEK ruefully agree that the hunt to find bin Laden has been more a game of chance than good or “actionable” intelligence. Since bin Laden slipped away from Tora Bora in December 2001, U.S. intelligence has never had better than a 50-50 certainty about his location…
Has anyone else been wondering what happened to Bush’s campaign to start a “new way forward in Iraq”? When this “plan” came out, it was all we heard every single leader saying. The study group on Iraq was supposed to be the best (newest) plan that we could possibly put into action…so why don’t we hear about it anymore? (more…)
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It is not a secret that our reliance on gas/oil/petroleum (what have you) is putting us in the hands of countries in the Middle East. This chart demonstrates our consumption compared to the rest of the world…it’s pretty remarkable. Yes, I am aware of the different factors (such as size), but this is kind of rediculous. No matter, we will continue down this path until we (or some other country) develops an alternative fuel source (since petroleum is a non-renewable resource that we are running out of fast).
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It’s a curious thing that, over the past 10 – 12 days, the news from Iraq refers to the combatants there as “al-Qaeda” fighters. When did that happen?
Until a few days ago, the combatants in Iraq were “insurgents” or they were referred to as “Sunni” or “Shia” fighters in the Iraq Civil War. Suddenly, without evidence, without proof, without any semblance of fact, the US military command is referring to these combatants as “al-Qaeda”.
Welcome to the latest in Iraq propaganda.
That the Bush administration, and specifically its military commanders, decided to begin using the term “Al Qaeda” to designate “anyone and everyone we fight against or kill in Iraq” is obvious. All of a sudden, every time one of the top military commanders describes our latest operations or quantifies how many we killed, the enemy is referred to, almost exclusively now, as “Al Qaeda.”
But what is even more notable is that the establishment press has followed right along, just as enthusiastically. I don’t think the New York Times has published a story about Iraq in the last two weeks without stating that we are killing “Al Qaeda fighters,” capturing “Al Qaeda leaders,” and every new operation is against “Al Qaeda.”
The Times — typically in the form of the gullible and always-government-trusting “reporting” of Michael Gordon, though not only — makes this claim over and over, as prominently as possible, often without the slightest questioning, qualification, or doubt. If your only news about Iraq came from The New York Times, you would think that the war in Iraq is now indistinguishable from the initial stage of the war in Afghanistan — that we are there fighting against the people who hijacked those planes and flew them into our buildings: “Al Qaeda.”
What is so amazing about this new rhetorical development — not only from our military, but also from our “journalists” — is that, for years, it was too shameless and false even for the Bush administration to use. Even at the height of their propaganda offensives about the war, the furthest Bush officials were willing to go was to use the generic term “terrorists” for everyone we are fighting in Iraq, as in: “we cannot surrender to the terrorists by withdrawing” and “we must stay on the offensive against terrorists.”
But after his 2004 re-election was secure, even the President acknowledged that “Al Qaeda” was the smallest component of the “enemies” we are fighting in Iraq:
A clear strategy begins with a clear understanding of the enemy we face. The enemy in Iraq is a combination of rejectionists, Saddamists and terrorists. The rejectionists are by far the largest group. These are ordinary Iraqis, mostly Sunni Arabs, who miss the privileged status they had under the regime of Saddam Hussein — and they reject an Iraq in which they are no longer the dominant group. . . .
The second group that makes up the enemy in Iraq is smaller, but more determined. It contains former regime loyalists who held positions of power under Saddam Hussein — people who still harbor dreams of returning to power. These hard-core Saddamists are trying to foment anti-democratic sentiment amongst the larger Sunni community. . . .
The third group is the smallest, but the most lethal: the terrorists affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda.
And note that even for the “smallest” group among those we are fighting in Iraq, the president described them not as “Al Qaeda,” but as those “affiliated with or inspired by al Qaeda.” Claiming that our enemy in Iraq was comprised primarily or largely of “Al Qaeda” was too patently false even for the President to invoke in defense of his war.
But now, support for the war is at an all-time low and war supporters are truly desperate to find a way to stay in Iraq. So the administration has thrown any remnants of rhetorical caution to the wind, overtly calling everyone we are fighting “Al Qaeda.” (story from bsalert.com)
I guess this just goes to show that the problems in the Middle East aren’t anything new to this generation. Click the play button below to see the cool animation of the different empires that existed in this region of the world over the course of history. I am amazed at the size of some of these empires; I often find myself wondering what life would be like to live during, say, the Roman Empire… or the Mongol Empire. Anyway, enough chatter, click the image below:
FORWARD OPERATING BASE THUNDER, Afghanistan The story of a 6-year-old Afghan boy who says he thwarted an effort by Taliban militants to trick him into being a suicide bomber provoked tears and anger at a meeting of tribal leaders. The account from Juma Gul, a dirt-caked child who collects scrap metal for money, left American soldiers dumbfounded that a youngster could be sent on such a mission. Afghan troops crowded around the boy to call him a hero.
Though the Taliban dismissed the story as propaganda, at a time when U.S. and NATO forces are under increasing criticism over civilian casualties, both Afghan tribal elders and U.S. military officers said they were convinced by his dramatic account.
Juma said that sometime last month Taliban fighters forced him to wear a vest they said would spray out flowers when he touched a button. He said they told him that when he saw American soldiers, “throw your body at them.”
The militants cornered Juma in a Taliban-controlled district in southern Afghanistan’s Ghazni province. Their target was an impoverished youngster being raised by an older sister—but also one who proved too street-smart for their plan.
“When they first put the vest on my body I didn’t know what to think, but then I felt the bomb,” Juma told The Associated Press as he ate lamb and rice after being introduced to the elders at this joint U.S.- Afghan base in Ghazni. “After I figured out it was a bomb, I went to the Afghan soldiers for help.”
While Juma’s story could not be independently verified, local government leaders backed his account and the U.S. and NATO military missions said they believed his story. Abdul Rahim Deciwal, the chief administrator for Juma’s village of Athul, brought the boy and an older brother, Dad Gul, to a weekend meeting between Afghan elders and U.S. Army Col. Martin P. Schweitzer. Schweitzer called the Taliban’s attempt “a cowardly act.”
As Deciwal told Juma’s story, 20 Afghan elders repeatedly clicked their tongues in sadness and disapproval. When the boy and his brother were brought in, several of the turban-wearing men welled up, wiping their eyes with handkerchiefs.
“If anybody has a heart, then how can you control yourself (before) these kids?” Deciwal said in broken English.
Wallets quickly opened, and the boys were handed $60 in American and Afghan currency—a good chunk of money in a country where teachers and police earn $70 a month. Afghan officials described the boys as extremely poor, and Juma said he is being raised by his sister because his father works in a bakery in Pakistan and his mother lives and does domestic work in another village.
“I think the boy is intelligent,” Deciwal said. “When he comes from the enemy he found a checkpoint of the ANA (Afghan National Army), and he asked the ANA: ‘Hey, can you help me? Somebody gave me this jacket and I don’t know what’s inside but maybe something bad.’”
Lt. Col. George Graff, a father of five who attended the meeting, also teared up.
“Relating to them as a father and trying to fathom somebody using one of my children for that kind of a purpose, jeez, it just tore me up,” said Graff, a National Guard soldier from St. George, Utah. “The depths that these people will go to get what they want, which is power for themselves—it’s just disgusting.”
A Taliban spokesman, Qari Yousef Ahmadi, denied the militant group uses child fighters, saying it has hundreds of adults ready for suicide missions. “We don’t need to use a child,” Ahmadi told the AP by satellite phone. “It’s against Islamic law, it’s against humanitarian law. This is just propaganda against the Taliban.”
However, a gory Taliban video that surfaced in April showed militants instructing a boy of about 12 as he beheaded an alleged traitor with a large knife. U.N. officials condemned the act as a war crime. Fidgety but smiling during all the attention, Juma told the AP that he had been scared when he was surrounded by Taliban fighters. He cupped his hands together to show the size of the bomb, then ran his hands along his waist to show where it was on his body.
A fan of soccer, Juma said his favorite subject in school is Pashto, his native language, but he also showed off a little English, shyly counting “1, 2, 3″ before breaking out in an oversize smile.
Raised in a country where birthdays are not always carefully tracked, Juma said he is 4. But he looks older and Afghan officials said he is about 6. His brother appears to be a year or so older.
Their village lies in Ghazni province’s Andar district, a Taliban stronghold targeted this month in a joint Afghan-U.S. operation. The region remains dangerous and Afghan elders worry for Juma’s safety. Maj. John Thomas, a spokesman for NATO’s International Security Assistance Force, said he was “a bit skeptical” about Juma’s story at first, “but everything I’ve heard makes me more and more comfortable.”
Thomas said the case would force soldiers to think twice before assuming children are safe.
“This is one incident. We hope it doesn’t repeat itself. But it gives us reason to pause, to be extra careful,” he said. “We want to publicize this as much as we can to the Afghan people so that they can protect their children from these killers.”
Col. Sayed Waqef Shah, a religious and cultural affairs officer for the Afghan army, wiped away tears after seeing Juma. “Whenever I see this kind of action from the Taliban, if I am able to arrest them, I’ll kill them on the spot,” he said.
Haji Niaz Mohammad, one of the elders at the gathering, said he hoped “God makes the Afghan government strong” so it can defeat the Taliban.
“They are the enemy of Muslims and the enemy of the children,” he said, shaking his fists in anger.
(Story and picture from breitbart.com)
As we have seen for a while now, it appears that the best way to get someone to understand and adopt your religion in the middle east is to just kill them.
According to Islamic militant Abu Dujana, strategies such as the ever so popular car bomb will be used against Westerners in Indonesia. In fact, “all Westerners are legitimate targets”, says Dujana.
I am still trying to wrap my head around the logical (or illogical) thought process that leads one to believe that the best way to ‘honor’ religion is by killing someone just because of geological location and societal ideals – very shallow thinking indeed. However, despite his twisted thinking, Dujana did say something that is very true. In an interview with CNN, he told the reporter: “If they [Bush and Blair] refuse to let Muslims rule, we’ll continue doing what we are doing”.
This statement is absolutely, 100% true. Essentially, if we keep trying to set up a Western government in that part of the world, there will always be vicious attacks with complete disregard to life and humanity. In other words, there must be an alternative to the government we are attempting to set up in that region. Our attempts now are like trying to push a square block through a circular hole – it just won’t work. If they keep doing what they are doing, then we (the U.S.) will have to keep doing what we are doing…fighting in Iraq.
But what does Dujana mean by letting “the Muslims rule”? It’s not like we are putting government officials that are only Christian or Jewish power. Well, although there are Muslims in power, Dujana is referring to secularization (the separation of state and religion). The Qur’an was written for a governmental purpose as much as a religious one (see the free report on the side-bar for an explanation of this).
It is satisfying that we have caught Dujana (who faces the death sentence if convicted of his crimes against humanity), but I wonder if we have learned to block out what these people are saying. Let’s try to understand where the hate and violence is stemming from instead of putting up our blinders and naively going about our usual routine.
(picture from cnn.com)
It seems that our foes in Iran are out trying to fish for more publicity – this time in the form of the Australian Navy. I am willing to bet that if this type of thing keeps up, it may be the beginning factors to open conflict with the Islamic country (especially if U.S. Seamen are captured).
Iranian naval forces in the Gulf tried to capture an Australian Navy boarding team but were vigorously repelled, the BBC has learned. The incident took place before Iran successfully seized 15 British sailors and Marines in March.
The lessons from the earlier attempt do not appear to have been applied in time by British maritime patrols. The 15 Britons were searching a cargo boat in the Gulf when they were captured over a boundary dispute.
‘Having none of it’
When Iranian Revolutionary Guards captured the British sailors and Royal Marines in March, it was not exactly their first attempt. It turns out that Iranian forces made an earlier concerted attempt to seize a boarding party from the Royal Australian Navy.
The Australians, though, to quote one military source, “were having none of it”.
The BBC has been told the Australians re-boarded the vessel they had just searched, aimed their machine guns at the approaching Iranians and warned them to back off, using what was said to be “highly colourful language”.
The Iranians withdrew, and the Australians were reportedly lifted off the ship by one of their own helicopters.
The circumstances for the Britons in March were slightly different in that they were caught so much by surprise that, had they attempted to repel the Iranians with their limited firepower, they would doubtless have taken very heavy casualties.
But military sources say that what is of concern is that the Royal Navy did not appear to have taken sufficient account of the lessons of the Australian encounter.
In an oblique reference to the threat from Iran, Britain’s First Sea Lord, Admiral Sir Jonathon Band, has recently admitted there was a need for greater strategic awareness in the northern Gulf.
This is the crap that scares me. If the Bush administration is thinking that military action is reasonable in Iran, they are seriously mistaken. Let’s focus on solving the Iraq problem first. Perhaps you disagree. If so, please post your thoughts on why we should go to war (attack) Iran…seeing how this option is “on the table”.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President George W. Bush reiterated on Tuesday that all options were on the table in dealing with Iran’s nuclear challenge.
At the start of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Bush was asked if military action remained an option for dealing with Iran.
“My position has not changed. All options are on the table. I would hope that we could solve this diplomatically,” he replied.
Bush said it was important that Iran faced “consequences” such as sanctions and other economic measures for defying the international community over its nuclear program. “There’s a price to be paid,” Bush said.
The United States accuses Iran of seeking to build atomic bombs, a charge Tehran denies.