Archive for the ‘Afghanistan’ Category

Obama’s “It’s Our Fault” Approach Echoed By Hillary Clinton; But Facts Indicate Taliban Used “Human Shields”

May 9, 2009

Earlier this week, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton joined others in taking the blame for, well, lots of things, when she said it was the fault of the United States that “innocent” people of Afghanistan were killed in the fighting due to U.S. action.

I thought, “Hillary is starting to sound like Congressman John Murtha, making judgements while a long way from the battlefield.  Judgements that the U.S. is always the one at fault.”

That’s the way President Barack Obama sounded on his last two overseas trips too: it is all America’s fault.

After Mrs Clinton said she and the U.S. “deeply, deeply” regretted the deaths, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai thanked Clinton for “showing concern and regret” and added that “we hope we can work together to completely reduce civilian casualties in the struggle against terrorism.”
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Ralph Peters wrote in the New York Post this last week that “Lying about civilian casualties is the one sure way to impede or even halt US (or Israeli) operations, to force such tight restrictions on our troops that they can’t win.”

He also said, “Few journalists bother to investigate. If the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah or Hamas says it, it must be so. In Media Wonderland, terrorists never lie. Now everysuccessful strike on a Taliban target generates the instant claim that the dead were all civilians.  And it isn’t just the media who back the Taliban. The Obama administration — a case study in instant foreign-policy ineptitude — signs up, too.  The U.S. coalition blamed Taliban militants Saturdayfor causing what Afghan officials say are dozens of civilian deaths during a prolonged battle that included American airstrikes. The U.S. said an unspecified number of civilians died but did not take responsibility for any deaths.”

Read all of Peters:
Self Defeating U.S. War Strategy

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KABUL – The U.S. coalition blamed Taliban militants Saturdayfor causing what Afghan officials say are dozens of civilian deaths during a prolonged battle that included American airstrikes. The U.S. said an unspecified number of civilians died but did not take responsibility for any deaths.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry declined to endorse the U.S. report, saying its own investigation would be completed soon.

Afghan officials have estimated up to 147 people died in the battle in the western province of Farah on Monday, but a U.S. spokeswoman called that number exaggerated. The U.S. report did not offer an estimate of the number killed in the battle.

The preliminary report said Taliban fighters herded Afghan villagers into houses to use as human shields while they fired on coalition forces in two villages in Farah. The report said that U.S. forces had responded to a call for help from Afghan forces and that militants attacked the troops from several locations.

The U.S. coalition blamed Taliban militants Saturdayfor causing what Afghan officials say are dozens of civilian deaths during a prolonged battle that included American airstrikes. The U.S. said an unspecified number of civilians died but did not take responsibility for any deaths.

Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry declined to endorse the U.S. report, saying its own investigation would be completed soon.

Afghan officials have estimated up to 147 people died in the battle in the western province of Farah on Monday, but a U.S. spokeswoman called that number exaggerated. The U.S. report did not offer an estimate of the number killed in the battle.

The preliminary report said Taliban fighters herded Afghan villagers into houses to use as human shields while they fired on coalition forces in two villages in Farah. The report said that U.S. forces had responded to a call for help from Afghan forces and that militants attacked the troops from several locations.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090509/ap_
on_re_as/as_afghanistan;_ylt=AlbNEENLtD
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US almost doubles military aid to Pakistan

May 8, 2009

The United States has earmarked $700 million in its budget for the next fiscal year for training and equipment to improve Pakistan’s counterinsurgency capability.

By Anwar Iqbal
Dawn Newspaper, Pakistan

This is a major increase from the $400 million set aside for this purpose in the current fiscal year which expires on Sept. 30.

This marks the first time since 2003 that the Afghan war funding surpassed the outlay for Iraq. The Pentagon is seeking $130 billion in war funds for 2010, including $65 billion for Afghanistan and $61 billion for Iraq. For 2009, the Pentagon had request $87 billion for Iraq and $47 billion for Afghanistan.

The move demonstrates a shift in US priorities as the Obama administration increases its focus on fighting the militants it holds responsible for planning and executing the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.

The proposed fund for Afghanistan covers the deployment of 21,000 additional US troops this year, raising the total to 68,000. More funds would be required if President Obama decides to meet the request of US commanders for 10,000 more troops next year.

The Pentagon’s $534 billion base budget is $21 billion, or four per cent, larger than last year’s. It includes key initiatives to reshape the US military to fight insurgencies across the world.

Major spending increases include $2 billion on intelligence and reconnaissance, $500 million to field and maintain helicopters, and funds to add 2,400 personnel to Special Operations Forces in 2010 as well as aircraft to support them. More will be spent on some modern weapons systems, with an increase in the purchase of littoral combat ships and the ‘fifth generation’ F-35 fighter jets.

The 2010 Pentagon eliminates $8.8 billion in weapons programmes that were in the 2009 budget. It would halt the programme for the F-22 fighter jet after 187 are manufactured.

Other major cuts include ending the $13 billion presidential helicopter programme, which has more than doubled in cost; the $19 billion transformational satellite programme; and the Air Force combat search-and-rescue helicopter programme, as well as cutting $1.2 billion from missile defence.

http://hotair.com/archives/20
09/05/08/pakistan-goes-to-war/

In Pakistan: Some Hope; But Much To Doubt

Self Defeating U.S. War Strategy

May 8, 2009

THE most effective weapon terrorists have found to wield against us isn’t the headline-grabbing suicide bomber or even the deadly roadside bomb, the IED.

Such weapons can harm us, but they can’t stop us. Terror’s super-weapon is the lie.

Lying about civilian casualties is the one sure way to impede or even halt US (or Israeli) operations, to force such tight restrictions on our troops that they can’t win.

The casualty con’s so effective as both propaganda and tactic that terrorists everywhere have adopted the technique. It’s been so successful that our enemies long ago transitioned to the next phase: creating civilian casualties and blaming us.

It works. The media love the charge. Our troops and pilots are always guilty — even if proven innocent. Because so many on the left want us to be guilty.

Few journalists bother to investigate. If the Taliban, al Qaeda, Hezbollah or Hamas says it, it must be so. In Media Wonderland, terrorists never lie. Now every successful strike on a Taliban target generates the instant claim that the dead were all civilians.

And it isn’t just the media who back the Taliban. The Obama administration — a case study in instant foreign-policy ineptitude — signs up, too.

This week, Taliban terrorists publicly beheaded three civilians in Afghanistan’s Farah province, then herded women and children into compounds from which they fought government forces and US advisers.

With a vicious ground battle under way, the Talibs knew attack aircraft would appear. According to military sources, they set up the target. And, just in case, they slaughtered those women and children with grenades before any aircraft appeared. The entire massacre was a planned media event.

By Ralph Peters
The New York Post

Read the rest:
http://www.nypost.com/seven/05082009/
postopinion/opedcolumnists/the_casu
alty_con_168138.htm

Obama scrambles against militant threat in Afghanistan, Pakistan

May 6, 2009

The fuse that could ignite an explosion of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan is burning so fast that the Obama administration is scrambling to keep pace.

As Pakistan’s army finally opened a belated offensive against the advance of extremist Taliban fighters, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his key security ministers huddled Wednesday with their Afghan and U.S. counterparts in all-day meetings in Washington.

By Steven R. Hurst
Associated Press

Afghan President Hamid Karzai started the day on a solemn note, acknowledging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s expressions of regret for the deaths of dozens of Afghan civilians killed during Monday’s battle between U.S. forces and the Taliban.

President Barack Obama demanded the meetings as part of his complex, costly and far-reaching strategy for Afghanistan that now links success there with stability in neighboring Pakistan.

It’s a huge undertaking in distant lands where fiercely independent people have a long history of outlasting foreign militaries and refusing to change their ways. The Washington sessions represent an early test of whether a U.S. president at the start of the 21st century has sufficient leverage and power to succeed where great empires have failed.

The fuse that could ignite an explosion of Islamic militancy in Afghanistan and Pakistan is burning so fast that the Obama administration is scrambling to keep pace.

As Pakistan’s army finally opened a belated offensive against the advance of extremist Taliban fighters, Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and his key security ministers huddled Wednesday with their Afghan and U.S. counterparts in all-day meetings in Washington.

Afghan President Hamid Karzai started the day on a solemn note, acknowledging Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton‘s expressions of regret for the deaths of dozens of Afghan civilians killed during Monday’s battle between U.S. forces and the Taliban.

President Barack Obama demanded the meetings as part of his complex, costly and far-reaching strategy for Afghanistan that now links success there with stability in neighboring Pakistan.

It’s a huge undertaking in distant lands where fiercely independent people have a long history of outlasting foreign militaries and refusing to change their ways. The Washington sessions represent an early test of whether a U.S. president at the start of the 21st century has sufficient leverage and power to succeed where great empires have failed.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090506/ap_on_go_
pr_wh/us_us_afghanistan_pakistan_analysis;_ylt=A
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hbmFseXNpc29iYW0

The Truth Is: Team Obama and The National Media Have To Grow Up Fast

May 6, 2009

O.K. we’ve enjoyed the love fest and the photo ops of the “First 100 Days;” which is about as meaningful as “Cinco de Cuatro” or any Hallmark Moment.

Now there is real work to do and issues to face and some of us have serious doubt that the Obama Administration and the free press are up to the task.

Consider these few challenges on the president’s plate:

Today Barack Obama will meet with the presidents of Afghanistan and Pakistan to convince both that he needs them to play a greater role in fighting off al-Qaeda, the Taliban and other terrorists: even though the word “terrorist” is practically banned inside the Obama government.  Reuters reporter David Alexander wrote that “Obama will warn that al Qaeda and its Talibanallies pose an existential threat and press Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to toughen their response.”

If the threat is existential, no warning from an outsider is required, right?  And if a threat is existential, the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan could better articulate how they planned to save their own skins without so many billions of U.S. dollars from us — not to mention the sweat and blood of our troops.

In the Middle East, the President is pressing Israel to accept a “two-state  solution” with the Palestinians, as a precondition for Washington’s continued dialogue with Iran about its nuclear program.  But Israel has stated clearly that Iran poses an existential threat and it has a plan to deal with that threat.  Israel needs no encouragement on its existential threat from Obama: Obama has to hold them back.

Too many dichotomies.

On taxes and spending, Obama has said we need to spend more and the future will take care of itself.  On one day he is for big business but on most days he is not.  He gave Chrysler to the auto unions and an Italian carmaker of dubious future growth and hatched a plan Monday to raise taxes on American companies widely engaged in the global economic system.

What happened to jobs and growth?

Fortunately even the Democratic Congress is showing signs of waking up.  The “no plan for Gitmo prisoners” request for $600 million plus was rejected by the House Appropriations Committee because there is no plan: just a request for money.

When the President of the United States says “cinco de cuatro” and the Vice President urges people not to travel while flu is in the air, in direct contradiction of the president’s policy, this indicates a certain lack of professionalism and thought at the top of the U.S. government.  These are not small warning signs: they are alarm bells.

When the CDC tells schools to close for two weeks at the first sign a flu and then reverses itself before the two weeks are up: one should wonder what the hell is going on?

And if allies have to be persuaded to save their own nations maybe we shouldn’t spend more or send more troops.

And why is all this going on?  Because the American media is in love with Obama.  Until that love story plays out we’ll continue to travel an uneven and nonsensical path…. Without the needed professionalism and thought.  And without reporters skilled at making reality of the promises: starting with the promise of transparency, professionalism and thought.

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/05/
06/obamas-transparency-policy-do
nt-let-the-sunshine-in/

http://hotair.com/archives/2009/0
5/06/obama-to-force-israel-to-give-up-nukes/

Corruption In Obama Government Plus Loving Media is Taking us Where?

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Obama Is Causing Economic Recovery Delay: And Reshaping the Future Economy Forever?  For Worse?

From Peter Ferrara
The American Spectator

Even though American companies suffer the huge international competitive disadvantage of the second highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world, Obama continues to scorn doing anything about this as taking us “back to the failed ideas of the past.” On Monday, Obama was out promoting still more tax increases on corporate America. He foolishly thinks that imposing taxes on the overseas investments of American companies will force investment back to the USA. But this is just one more whupping stick in Obama’s arsenal that is going to create full scale capital flight from the U.S. before his term is over. Watch as alert, independent thinking executives start to transform American companies with investments overseas into foreign companies with tentative investments in America at least for now.

Read it all:
http://spectator.org/archives/200
9/05/06/is-obama-delaying-economic-rec

Obama Asking Afghanistan, Pakistan to “Buy Into” Existential Threat With American Money

May 6, 2009

U.S. President Barack Obama will urge the leaders of Pakistan and Afghanistan to put aside a history of mistrust and join Washington in an alliance against Islamic extremists at a White House meeting on Wednesday, senior administration officials said.

By David Alexander
Reuters

Offering billions of dollars in U.S. military and civilian aid, Obama will warn that al Qaeda and its Taliban allies pose an existential threat and press Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and Afghan President Hamid Karzai to toughen their response, the officials said.

“He’s going to make the obvious general points that have to be said and carry such enormous weight when they are said by the president of the United States — that these two countries have to work together for their mutual benefit, despite their history, despite the suspicions,” said one official.

The White House gathering, part of Obama’s new strategy for the U.S. war against al Qaeda, could produce specific agreements for cooperation on policing and border issues, the officials said.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090506
/pl_nm/us_afghanistan_pakistan_usa_8

Obama’s Cinco de Mayo is No Joke: Meltdown in Pakistan, Israel Feels Abused, China Harasses U.S. Ship

May 5, 2009

Oh by the way: with all the news of the economy and President Obama’s mantra of education, environment and health care; there is still a lot for the president to do in the arena of foreign affairs.

Today Pakistan said it expected half a million refugees from the Swat Valley where the Taliban has been operating with nearly a free rein.  The Taliban got to within 60 miles of Islamabad, the Pakistan capital, before the Army stepped in.  Now the question is, Can Pakistan’s Army defeat the Taliban and protect the nation’s nuclear weapons?

Meanwhile, diplomats from Israel are blistering at signals from the Obama Administration.

Yesterday, White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said thwarting Iran’s nuclear program is conditional on progress in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Today, Vice President Joe Biden challenged Israel to back a two-state peace agreement with the Palestinians.

“That is not negotiable, that is not a matter of change,” he said, adding that the Obama administration’s desire to engage with Iran would not compromise Israel’s security.

Finally, the Associated Press is reporting that China has apparently harassed another U.S. ship in international waters….

Related:
http://hotair.com/archives/2009/
05/05/pakistan-melting-down-in-swat/

Biden: Israel Has No Choice, Must Back a Two-State Peace Agreement with the Palestinians

Leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel Seek Obama’s Help

China Again Tests U.S., Obama At Sea

The Associated Press on Pakistan:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090505/ap_on_re_as
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Leaders of Pakistan, Afghanistan, Israel Seek Obama’s Help

May 5, 2009

Three leaders from two of the most tumultuous regions in the world are hand-shaking and photo-oping their way through Washington Tuesday, as part of a packed schedule aimed at clearing a path to peace and figuring out how to neutralize the intractable threats facing their countries. 

Israeli President Shimon Peres plans to meet with President Obama and Vice President Biden at the White House this afternoon. 

Afghan President Hamid Karzai will speak on Afghanistan development at the Brookings Institution before getting his picture taken with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and meeting with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Senate GOP Leader Mitch McConnell. 

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari will meet with members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee Tuesday afternoon after the committee holds a hearing on the U.S.-Pakistan relationship. The heads of Afghanistan and Pakistan will meet jointly with Obama Wednesday to discuss the common challenges in their countries. 

Read the rest:
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/200
9/05/05/white-house-hosts-trio-foreign-allies/

The White House of “We Can’t Do A Thing About It”

May 5, 2009

News item No. 1 concerns the testimony of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before the House Foreign Affairs Committee on April 24. “[Deterioration of security in nuclear-armed Pakistan] poses a mortal threat to the security and safety of our country and the world,” she said.

By Tony Blankley
The Washington Times

News Item No. 2: Headline in The Washington Post Page 1, top right, above the fold, May 4: “U.S. Options in Pakistan Limited” News item No. 3: Jackson Diehl’s Washington Post column May 4 : “A senior [Obama administration] official said “it’s not good when your national security interests are dependent on a country over which you have almost no influence.”

In the matter of two weeks, we have gone from the U.S. secretary of state testifying to Congress that a nuclear Pakistan run by Islamist radicals would be a “mortal threat” to America, to, yesterday, the admission by the administration that we have limited options to avoid such a “mortal threat.”

What are we to make of such a development? Does anyone take serious words seriously anymore here in Washington?

I and many others had previously warned of the dangers of a nuclear Talibanistan (which have been obvious and talked about for years). Experts I have talked to in the past week do not believe Mrs. Clinton overstates the case. Nor do I. She is very careful with her words – and they fit the danger.

If Pakistan’s nuclear weapons get into the hands of Taliban or al Qaeda, even unlaunched, they would provide the weapons-grade, fast-fissile material necessary to create a nuclear holocaust here in the United States or elsewhere.

How did it come to be that the government of the most powerful nation in the history of humanity (population 300 million plus, with a gross domestic product of $14 trillion, larger than next three economies – Japan, China and Germany – combined) confesses that its options are limited on a “mortal threat” to our nation?

And what are we going to do about it? I don’t blame the Obama administration – not yet. It inherited our current national military strength. But it has been obvious for years that we are not prepared to deal with a world that refuses to behave as we either predict or prefer. We need to start catching up with the growing contingent threats.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/ne
ws/2009/may/05/without-preparat
ion-or-response/

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/05/
04/close-gitmo-dems-wont-put-mon
ey-where-their-mouths-are/

Second 100 Days: Obama Troubled By Gitmo, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Isreal, China, His Democrat Left….

May 4, 2009

Well, the glorious first 100 days of Barack Obama’s presidency are over and now he faces a plethora of real problems including a Democrat controlled Congress.

Today, the House passed the president’s wartime spending bill — omitting funds meant to relocated terror war prisoners out of the Gitmo military installation.

House leaders also seemed to scold Obama on what they called his “dubious” military plan for Afghanistan and Pakistan and want, in one year, “a hard-nosed realistic evaluation based on the performance standards we’re talking about” to continue military support to Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, President Obama’s Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff expressed concern for the fighting in Pakistan and Afghanistan and said the Chinese military build-up is clearly meant to counter the U.S.

China also says it is reducing purchases of U.S. debt.

Israel is expressing concern that the Obama Administration is not paving the way toward a more peaceful Middle East.

Related:
Obama’s Cinco de Mayo is No Joke: Meltdown in Pakistan, Israel Feels Abused, China Harasses U.S. Ship
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The Jerusalem Post reported today that White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel said thwarting Iran’s nuclear program is conditional on progress in peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians.

Jerusalem Post:
http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite
?cid=1239710862759&pagename=J
Post%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

Former US House Speaker Newt Gingrich has accused the Obama administration of endangering the Jewish state.

Referring to news reports about the administration’s approach to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Gingrich told The Jerusalem Post that the US had been setting itself on a collision course with Israel.

He said: “There’s almost an eagerness to take on the Israeli government to make a point with the Arab world.”

Gingrich, in Israel to present a speech to the American Israel Public Affairs Committee’s annual conference, said President Barack Obama’s Middle East policies had become “dangerous for Israel” and “the clearest adoption of weakness since Jimmy Carter.”

He said the US should be sending the message to Israel that “we are for the survival of Israel” and could not tolerate Iran having nuclear weapons.

Second 100 Days: could be interesting……

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/05
/04/close-gitmo-dems-wont-put-
money-where-their-mouths-are/

Related:
Joint Chiefs chairman: Afghanistan now top priority, Not Iraq
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House Democrats Unveil $94.2 Billion Wartime Spending Bill — Omit Gitmo Prisoner Relocation; Worry Obama’s Long-Range Military Plan

China’s Military Build-Up Meant To Take On U.S., Says Joint Chiefs Chairman

China’s Naval Might: Future Dawning Quickly

What’s China’s Long Term Global Strategy?