Tag Archives: Afganistan

Obama all in: has ‘Delivered The Orders’ On Afghanistan

posted by GeoT
“Not Open Ended…” (9 years later)


President Barack Obama has issued orders for the implementation of his Afghanistan strategy to military officials and cabinet members, spokesman Robert Gibbs said on Monday.

“The Commander in Chief delivered the orders,” said Gibbs, adding that the calls went out from the Oval Office between 5 and 6 p.m on Sunday afternoon, communicating his strategy to allied world leaders. Obama is slated to meet with roughly 30 select members of Congress to discuss his plans on Tuesday. And the president is set to meet on Monday with Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, in addition to hosting phone conversations with French President Nicholas Sarkozy, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

Obama’s strategy is believed to include an escalation of approximately 30,000 troops in the nine-year-long war. Gibbs added that in Obama’s Tuesday night speech detailing the Afghanistan strategy to the American public, the president will stress that America’s commitment to the war is not open-ended.

source:


Briefing by Press Secretary Robert Gibbs

LiveStream: The White House

November 30, 2009 1:00 PM EST
November 30, 2009 1:15 PM EST

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An Open Letter To President Obama From Michael Moore

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new “war president”? If you go to West Point tomorrow night ( and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do — destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they’ve always heard is true — that all politicians are alike.

read more: www.michaelmoore.com

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This is not the way we should be doing things in America…

Posted by Audiegrl

Colin Powell and Tom Brokaw on Meet the Press 10/19/08Watching the horrific events at Fort Hood unfold yesterday, it saddens me to admit that one of the first things that came to my mind, once the shooter was identified, was “oh no, what is the right-wing going to do with this?” Today, after seeing some fair and some not so fair coverage of the Fort Hood Massacre, it reminded me of what General Colin Powell said on Meet the Press in October of last year. When asked by host, Tom Brokaw whether he was prepared to announce whether he was endorsing John McCain or Barack Obama, Powell answered with a very long explanation on how he came to the decision to endorse Barack Obama for president and how he felt about the recent actions of the GOP. Towards the end of his answer, he said something that needs to be said again and again, regarding some of the countries reaction to the events at Fort Hood.

I’m also troubled by, not what Senator McCain says, but what members of the party say. And it is permitted to be said such things as, “Well, you know that Mr. Obama is a Muslim.” Well, the correct answer is, he is not a Muslim, he’s a Christian. He’s always been a Christian. But the really right answer is, what if he is? Is there something wrong with being a Muslim in this country? The answer’s no, that’s not America. Is there something wrong with some seven-year-old Muslim-American kid believing that he or she could be president? Yet, I have heard senior members of my own party drop the suggestion, “He’s a Muslim and he might be associated terrorists.” This is not the way we should be doing it in America.

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan's mother at his grave in Arlington Cemetary

I feel strongly about this particular point because of a picture I saw in a magazine. It was a photo essay about troops who are serving in Iraq and Afghanistan. And one picture at the tail end of this photo essay was of a mother in Arlington Cemetery, and she had her head on the headstone of her son’s grave. And as the picture focused in, you could see the writing on the headstone. And it gave his awards–Purple Heart, Bronze Star–showed that he died in Iraq, gave his date of birth, date of death. He was 20 years old. And then, at the very top of the headstone, it didn’t have a Christian cross, it didn’t have the Star of David, it had crescent and a star of the Islamic faith. And his name was Kareem Rashad Sultan Khan, and he was an American. He was born in New Jersey. He was 14 years old at the time of 9/11, and he waited until he can go serve his country, and he gave his life. Now, we have got to stop polarizing ourself in this way. And John McCain is as nondiscriminatory as anyone I know. But I’m troubled about the fact that, within the party, we have these kinds of expressions.~~Colin Powell

His words were important last year, but even more so relevant today. The following are two a thoughtful pieces written by Kamran Pasha and Jon Soltz.

A Muslim Soldier’s View from Fort Hood

Soldiers praying

Soldiers praying

Kamran Pasha—Major Nidal Malik Hasan is a murderer and has brought great shame upon every American Muslim in the armed forces.

There are currently over 10,000 Muslim soldiers in the U.S. military, men and women who are patriotic and love their country and their fellow service members. Hasan’s evil actions, the murder of his fellow soldiers at Fort Hood, have now brought those honorable soldiers’ loyalties into question.

The Islamophobe community on the Internet is trumpeting how Hasan’s behavior is reflective of the threat Americans face from their Muslim neighbors, and how radical Islamists have infiltrated the ranks of our military. Calls for purging the military, and perhaps even the United States, of its Muslim members have already begun.

Today there are dozens of families mourning the attack on their loved ones by a fellow-in-arms. And there are hundreds of Muslims at Fort Hood who knew Hasan and are stunned that he would betray their country and their community with such cold, calculated ease. Hasan’s rampage has truly shattered many more lives than we can begin to imagine.

I spoke today with a friend who is a Muslim soldier stationed at Fort Hood. He is a 22-year veteran of the U.S. Army and a recent convert to Islam. He agreed to share his perspective with me if I granted him anonymity. So we will call him Richard.

Richard is exactly the kind of soldier we need to protect our country from those that seek to do us harm. A combat veteran who has served in Iraq, Richard became interested in studying Islam initially as a strategic means of understanding his adversary in the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks. But as he began to study the religion’s teachings, he became struck by how different they were from what was being claimed by men like Osama Bin Laden.

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Kamran Pasha is a Hollywood filmmaker and author of “Mother of the Believers”

Many Issues With Tragedy at Ft. Hood — A “Muslim Problem” not One of Them, FOX News

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Grave of Major James Michael Ahearn

Jon Soltz—Yesterday was one of the most tragic days in the military, in the midst of a slew of tragic days as we continue to see casualties in Afghanistan. Innocent soldiers lost their lives, and many more were injured, at the hands of a very troubled Major at Ft. Hood. Our hearts go out to all those who lost their lives, their families, and those wounded.

Like many, I’m angry and confused, as well, at how this could possibly happen. But, until the facts are all known, I won’t jump to conclusions, or cast aspersions at a large group of Americans, like the disgraceful hosts of FOX and Friends.

During an interview with Geraldo Rivera, the FOX and Friends hosts twice implied that this is some kind of Muslim problem. Of course, they didn’t come out and say it outright, they couched it in the form of a question, like FOX News can be so good at. You know, like their teasers, “President Obama. Does He Hate America?”

Brian Kilmeade asked if it’s time to have “special debriefings” or “special screenings” of all Muslims in the military. Because, as he said, “If I’m gonna be deployed in a foxhole, if I’m gonna be deployed in an outpost, I’m gonna want to know that the guy next to me isn’t gonna want to kill me.”

Perhaps sensing that they were not being offensive enough, Gretchen Carlson chimed in, “Could it be that our own military is so politically correct right now…to be careful about treatment of Muslims that they would have allowed this to go by?”

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Jon Stoltz is the Co-Founder of VoteVets.org, served as a Captain in Operation Iraqi Freedom

Related Articles

Muslims Brace for Backlash After Gunman ID’ed

Fort Hood Shooting: Muslim Groups Fear Backlash

Don’t Ask Me About Hasan

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf: Senseless Shootings Violate Islamic Faith

Wajahat Ali: The Fort Hood Tragedy: Fanning the Anti-Muslim Hysteria

Right-Wing Media Respond To Fort Hood Shooting By Attacking Muslims

Fox And Friends” Hosts Worry That Military Needs “Special Debriefings” For Muslims

Allen West, GOP Candidate: Ft. Hood Shows “Terrorists Are Infiltrating Military

WND’s Jerome Corsi Claims Fort Hood Shooter Advised Obama

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The Party’s Not Over

blogpost by Ogenec

All the bloviating about the impact of last Tuesday reminds me of Teddy Riley’s line from “Groove Me“: “The party’s not over.  It. Ain’t. Over. ”  Holla if you know if what I’m talking about.  Anyway, for those of you who missed the cultural reference, what I mean is this: the elections do not necessarily portend doom and gloom in 2010.  But they are harbingers, and we would be unwise to disregard them.

I have always believed that Obama made a serious mistake taking on healthcare as soon as he did.  Don’t get me wrong.  I believe that universal health care is a moral obligation.  It is obscene that the United States, virtually alone among industrialized countries, does not provide health care to all of its citizenry.  So no need to sell me on the necessity of health care reform; I get it.

My point pertains not to necessity, but to politics and governing strategy.  Obama won last fall by stitching together an impressive coalition of progressives, moderates and Democrat-leaning independents.  Each segment of the coalition had interests that did not necessarily coincide with the others’, which I’ll discuss in a bit.  But they were all united in the desire that a Democratic administration could pull us out of the economic chasm into which Bush’s profligacy and supply-side tropes had pushed us.  It’s the economy, stupid.  Always has been.

Given the reality of his mandate, and the fragile ties binding his coalition, I expected Obama to focus like a laser on the economy.  Alas, he has not.  He has taken his eyes of the ball by devoting so much time and energy to the healthcare debate, which has sucked all the oxygen out of the room.    And when he has focused on the economy, his initiatives have in a perverse way played into the caricatures conservatives have painted of him.  So Uncle Sam now owns most of Wall Street.  Uncle Sam owns all of Detroit, except for the one automaker actually making money.  And Uncle Sam is getting ready to involve itself in the business of healthcare.   Each can be justified on the merits.  But, collectively, they scare the bejesus out of moderates and independents.  Hannity, Limbaugh and Beck begin to sound halfway sane when they call Obama a socialist.  Of course he’s not a socialist.  But he sure seems to be dead set on a whole lotta government takeover of private enterprise, however good his intentions might be.

Hence, the results of this past Tuesday’s contests.  When you compare VA and NJ with NY-23, it becomes apparent to me that moderates and independents bolted because of their disquiet over Obama’s spending.  To some extent, they buy the Keynesian argument that the economic crisis is best solved by even more government spending in the short-term.  But there is a limit to their willingness to play along.  So, to my mind, Obama’s initial health-care reforms should have been a bit more modest.  First, he should have asked Congress to pass a simple law proscribing the rescission and “pre-existing condition” practices of insurers.  Then, for the remainder of his term, he should have implemented robust financial reforms and had Congress pass targeted stimulus spending.  More cash for clunkers, and less pork-laden stuff like the stimulus bill.   In his second term, once economy has turned around, he could then turn to reforming health care and other entitlements, which would put the United States on a glide path to long-term solvency and prosperity.  Moderates and independents would give him this mandate, as his first term would have assuaged their fears of fiscal indiscipline.  Voila!  Everybody gets their cookies.

But Obama did not pursue this strategy.  One, I might add, urged by several eminences grise.   Instead, he chose not to “waste a crisis” but to try to resolve all of these problems — healthcare, economy, environment, etc. — at once.  Now that’s he’s embarked upon this path, I think it’s too late to return to my “sequencing” idea.  In the immortal words of Macbeth:

I am in blood stepped in so far that, should I wade no more, returning were as tedious as go o’er.

In other words, he cannot simply drop health care like a hot potato.  He has to see this thing through to completion.  But how?  Everybody is drawing different conclusions from these elections.  Progressives insists that it means Obama has to push harder for their desired reforms, or they won’t show up at the polls.  Moderates and independents insist that they won’t show up if Obama does not tack to the center, post-haste.

Let me humbly suggest that both are right.  Progressives are the base of the Democratic Party, and always will be.  However, getting progressives on board is a necessary, but not sufficient, condition.  To put a Democratic candidate over the top, he or she must win over independents.  Thus, in VA and NJ, Republicans won by winning over independents.  In NY 23, the moderates and independents went to the Democrat, and he won.  So my takeaway is that neither progressives nor moderates can go it alone: they each need other.

How might progressives and moderates make common cause?  By talking to each other.  Beneath the blood-curdling yells, progressives are actually asking some salient questions, and it behooves moderates to listen closely.  Questions like:

  • Why is the White House AWOL on gay marriage?  It costs little political capital to weigh in, even as most concede these issues are best resolved on a local basis.  And it’s the right thing to do.  The WH has an army of volunteers at its disposal.  Get ’em involved.
  •   Why the fiscal focus on healthcare, when the war efforts aren’t subject to the same scrutiny?
  • Speaking of which, however right or just the war might be, what do we realistically think we can accomplish in Afghanistan?

Similarly, moderates and independents make valid points of their own.  If competition is the rationale for the public option, is it not better — and more consistent with America’s free-market principles — to remove impediments to competition among private insurers, rather than create another government entity?  Or this — are you prepared to live with the consequences of a withdrawal from Afghanistan?  How else would you suggest we fight for the minds and hearts of the local populace, without whose active participation (or apathy) terrorist operations cannot take root?

Other issues abound, on both sides.  It’s no disservice to either to say that.  The disservice is ours, however, if we cannot figure out a way to come together on these issues.  I have always maintained that ideology can often get in the way of solutions.  It’s important that we not become so fixated on particular policy approaches that we forget the larger goal of improving the lot of the American people.  

Let’s keep the party going.

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Afghan Scandal: 8 Guards Fired, 2 Resigned

Posted by Audiegrl
This is the story that MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show has been covering all week. The photos she showed pretty much speak for themselves. Although, I can’t say that I understand the ‘drinking vodka from someone’s butt’ part. I must have missed that lesson in Partying 101.

Another part of the bigger picture is that this embassy is probably the most important to be protected outside of the U.S. Also troubling is the fact that we have more contractors in Afghanistan than we do U.S. soldiers.

So let me get this straight. Republicans are willing to pay for wars and this type of frat house garbage, but when we want to use money to insure our citizens, then all they want to talk about the huge deficit, and how we are making enormous debts to be left to our children and grandchildren.

It is staggering when you think of all the money and lives that have been spent and lost with a war that was unnecessary in the first place. If all of the people who are protesting for or against health care reform (both Repubs and Dems) would have shown that type of commitment and outrage seven years ago….just think what we could have accomplished and how many of our troops would still be alive today.

185 of our brave soldiers returned home today, after finishing their task of building roads and schools in Iraq. Just think of all the work that could have been done with our own crumbling infrastructure during that same amount of time….

Kay Johnson/Huffington Post—Eight security guards at the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan were fired and two resigned following allegations of lewd behavior and sexual misconduct at their living quarters.

The Kabul senior management team of ArmorGroup North America, the private contractor that provides guards for the State Department, was also “being replaced immediately,” an embassy statement said Friday.

The terminated guards, who left Afghanistan on Friday, all appeared in photographs depicting guards and supervisors in various stages of nudity at parties flowing with alcohol, the embassy said. Their names and nationalities were not released.

The scandal surfaced this week when an independent watchdog said the embassy guards were subjected to abuse and hazing by supervisors. The Project on Government Oversight contended the situation had led to a breakdown in morale and leadership that compromised security at the embassy in Kabul, where nearly 1,000 U.S. diplomats, staff and Afghan nationals work.

Cont’d

***UPDATE: Hat tip and thanks go to blogger conflictingreports

Embassy Nude-Photo Company Hit With $30 Million Lawsuit By Two US Marines – Former Employees: “ArmorGroup Lied To State Department To Secure Embassy Contract”

DailyKos diary by actuality: Embassy Nude-Photo Company Hit With $30 Million Lawsuit By Two US Marines

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