Hardly A Fair Trade

Seriously, how could we be sure whether or not we killed the exact Taliban responsible for last Saturday’s deadly attack? If we knew who and where these barbaric cretins were, we probably wouldn’t have lost the Chinook in the first place.

U.S. kills Taliban insurgents who downed SEALs’ helicopter

The retribution wasn’t long in coming.

An American airstrike killed the Taliban insurgents whose attack caused a helicopter crash that killed 22 Navy SEALs and eight other U.S. service members, military officials in Kabul and Washington said Wednesday.

However, Marine Gen. John R. Allen, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, told reporters at the Pentagon that the main Taliban leader in the area remained at large. He did not identify that insurgent commander, the hunt for whom set in motion the events that led to the crash of the CH-47 Chinook helicopter on Saturday.

. . .

Special operations forces tracked down a group of “less than 10″ insurgents and called in an airstrike from an F-16 fighter jet, Allen said. NATO’s International Security Assistance Force in Kabul said the strike took place early Tuesday in the Chak district of Wardak province, close to the area where the Chinook helicopter was shot down.

See also:
U.S. Says It Killed Taliban Who Hit Copter
U.S. forces kill Taliban fighters who downed helicopter
Copter attackers found, killed in strike
US-Led Forces Kill Taliban Militants Behind Helicopter Attack
Strike kills insurgents who downed helicopter in Afghanistan, top commander says
Taliban helicopter shooter killed by United States
Military killed Taliban who downed US helicopter

There’s so many questions yet to be answered regarding this incident, including which CH-47 variant was shot down, why were so many SEALs crammed onto a single helicopter, and why was SEAL Team Six being used on what’s variously, so far been described as a rescue mission, a reinforcement, or an independent, follow on raid?

/this “we got the Taliban that killed our SEALs” makes for a heartwarming tale of revenge but, given how many times this story has already changed, I remain skeptically waiting for the real truth to unfold, if it ever does come out

Whitewashing The Jihad

So, the Park Police find Yonathan Melaku lurking near the Pentagon and he tells them that he’s carrying explosives. When they search Melaku’s car, the police find written material sympathetic to al Qaeda. What little tidbit of information is missing from almost every mainstream media news account? The fact that Yonathan Melaku is a Muslim is systematically omitted. Why might that be?

Losing His Religion

There was a terror scare at the Pentagon this morning. As CBS News reports, it started when the U.S. Park Police “came upon” 22-year-old Yonathan Melaku wandering around Arlington National Cemetery, which was closed. “The Park Police then launched a search for a vehicle, which was found near the Pentagon.”

A search of the car turned up “no suspicious items,” but Melaku told the cops “that he was carrying explosive materials.” They checked his backpack and “found what appeared to be an unknown quantity of ammonium nitrate,” a chemical “that is widely used in fertilizers and can be used in explosives with the correct concentration.”

We learn from the CBS story that Melaku is a lance corporal in the Marine Reserves. The Associated Press adds that he is a naturalized American citizen, originally from Ethiopia. CBS also reports that “Melaku was carrying a notebook that contained the phrases ‘al Qaeda,’ ‘Taliban rules’ and ‘Mujahid defeated croatian forces’ when he was detained,” but “that the suspect is not thought to have been involved in a terrorist act or plot.”

All of which raises an obvious question–but one that goes unanswered in the reports from CBS and AP, as well as others from ABC News and the Washington Post. We could only find one news organization that had the answer: Fox News Channel, which reports that Maliku is Muslim.

See also:
Suspect in Custody for ‘Suspicious’ Backpack Is Marine Corps Reservist
Marine Identified as Suspect in Pentagon Terror Scare
Pentagon Bomb Scare: Is the Suspect a Lone-Wolf Terrorist?
Marine reservist held in suspicious materials investigation near Pentagon; no explosives found
Yonathan Melaku: Suspect in Pentagon scare
Suspect in Pentagon scare is in Marine Reserve
Marine reservist detained near Pentagon; materials in pack non-explosive
Pentagon ‘bomb plot’ man held
Police Arrest Marine Reservist in Pentagon Bomb Scare
Pentagon Bomb Scare Suspect a Marine Reservist
Pentagon Bomb Scare Suspect, Yonathan Melaku’s, Franconia Home Searched
Police Detain ‘Suspicious’ Man, Search Vehicle Near Pentagon
Marines reservist held in incident near Pentagon

Al Qaeda is a Muslim terrorist organization dedicated to the destruction of Western civilization. Virtually all terrorism worldwide is carried out by Muslims. Yonathan Melaku is found near the Pentagon, carrying “explosives” and written material referencing al Qaeda, and yet every single news organization, save one, blatantly ignores the fact that Melaku is a Muslim. How is that fact not relevant to the strory?

If Melaku had been a Christian, you can bet your ass that it would be first paragraph, front page news. When does news journalism become agenda driven, politically correct propaganda and deliberately biased misinformation? Perhaps the bigger question is why the news organizations engage in this deception by omission, what drives it, is it coordinated and, if so, by who or what and on what level and for what purpose?

/willfully ignoring and whitewashing the very real existential threat of Islamic terrorism does not make it go away, it only makes it harder for us to defend ourselves

Where In The World Is Mohammed Omar?

Is Mullah Omar dead, alive, kidnapped by Western Intelligence, the ISI? No one seems to know, yet, or they’re not telling.

Afghanistan confirms of Taliban leader Mullah Omar’s disappearance

Afghanistan’s intelligence services on Monday confirmed that the one-eyed Taliban leader Mullah Omar, with a US$10 million bounty on his head, had disappeared from his Quetta hideout in Pakistan.

“We can confirm about the disappearance of Omar five days ago from his Pakistani hideout,” said Mashal, spokesman for the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

However, the NDS spokesman did not confirm a previous claim of an Afghan intelligence source of Omar’s assasination by Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency.

Taliban, meanwhile, brushed off rumors of their leader’s death or disappearance.

See also:
Mullah Omar: Dead or alive?
Mullah Omar dead? Widespread sources skeptical
Afghanistan: Is Mullah Omar dead?
Mullah Omar killed?
Mullah Omar dead???
FO says it can’t confirm killing of Mulla Omar
Taliban spokesman denies leader has been killed
Leader still alive: Taliban
Chief missing, Taliban say he’s fine
Taliban denies reports of Mullah Omar’s death
Mullah Omar ‘disappears’ from Pak hideout: Afghan official
Intel agency claims Taliban chief has disappeared
Taliban chief has disappeared in Pakistan
Mullah Omar left Pakistani hideout: Afghan intelligence
KABUL: TALIBAN LEADER MULLAH OMAR NOT SEEN IN TWO DAYS
Mullah Omar mystery: Afghan official says ISI took him
Mullah Mohammad Omar: profile of the one-eyed Taliban leader
Mohammed Omar

Obviously, capturing Mohammed Omar alive and holding him in Western custody would be the ideal state of affairs here. Shot dead or blown to smithereens would be the second best outcome, although some concrete proof of death would be nice to have. And who’s going to believe the Taliban that he’s still alive and free without proof of life? In any case, every day Omar stays missing is a good day for civilized people everywhere. If Mullah Omar disappears into thin air and there’s no one around that knows where he is, is he still the Taliban leader?

/I wonder how long you have to be missing in Pakistan before you’re declared legally dead?

Springtime For Taliban

Here we go again.

Taliban declares ‘spring offensive’

The Taliban has announced the launch of a spring offensive against foreign troops in Afghanistan as well as Afghan security forces and government officials.

Saturday’s declaration comes a day after high-ranking US military officers predicted such a move from the group.

Dubbed the “Badar” offensive, the fresh onslaught “will target foreign forces, high-ranking officials of President Hamid Karzai’s government, members of the cabinet and lawmakers, as well as the heads of foreign and local companies working for the NATO-led coalition,” the Taliban said in a statement.

See also:
Taliban warns of spring offensive
Afghanistan: Taliban announce spring offensive
Taliban declares start to spring offensive in Afghanistan
Afghan Taliban: Surge to Begin Sunday
Taliban militants declare new offensive
Taliban announce spring offensive in Afghanistan
Taliban announce beginning of its ‘spring offensive’
NATO dismisses Taliban offensive as propaganda
Afghan Taliban declare start to spring offensive
Taliban declare start of spring offensive
Taliban announce beginning of spring offensive; NATO downplays it

Let’s hope that our troops have rules of engagement that allow them to actually engage and kill the enemy or at least be allowed to carry loaded weapons to defend themselves.

/what a hellhole, is it still even worth being there?

With Friends Like Pakistan

Who needs enemies?

Pakistan wants to cut CIA drone strikes, personnel

The Pakistani government would like the CIA’s aggressive drone campaign “suspended” and only resumed under “new rules” and “formalized terms,” according to a Pakistani military official familiar with discussions between the two nations.

Only then, in the instances where there was “compelling evidence” that a militant “high value target” had been located and that the operation was jointly coordinated between Pakistan and the United States, would the Pakistani government sanction a drone strike in the future, the official said.

See also:
Pakistan threatens to impose new restrictions on CIA activities
Pakistan Tells U.S. to Halt Drones
Cut CIA ops, halt drone raids: Pak to US
In growing rift, Pakistan demands end to U.S. drone attacks
Can Pakistan force US to back off special ops and drone attacks?
U.S. Missiles Strike in Northern Pakistan as Relations Sour Over CIA Role
Pakistan, US tussle over drone attacks strategy
US-Pak ties facing biggest crisis since 9/11
US kills 6 suspected militants despite Pakistan’s demand for end to drone attacks
US concern over Pakistan-based militants’ ‘expansion’
Pakistani premier slams US strikes
Despite US-Pakistan Tensions Aired at CIA HQ, CIA Drone Strike Will Continue, Officials Say
CIA vows to tell more about its agents in Pakistan
Pakistan and Afghanistan: A New Strategy?
Is Pakistan Our Ally?
Should U.S. Cut All Aid to Pakistan?

The vast majority of our Taliban problem emanates from sanctuaries in Northern Pakistan. Not only does the Pakistani government do nothing worthwhile to stop or control the Taliban menace based on their soil, it’s a certainty that significant elements of the Pakistani government and intelligence services are infiltrated by and give support and succor to the Taliban.

Not allowed to operate overt ground forces inside Pakistan, U.S. drone strikes and covert CIA activity are the only tactics that are even somewhat effective at eliminating Taliban leaders and operatives. Forcing the CIA to curtail the drone strikes or give advance notice of the strikes to Pakistan, thus almost surely tipping off the Taliban, would be another crippling blow to our already faltering efforts in Afghanistan, nonsensical as they might be.

/if Obama has any balls, he’ll tell the Pakistanis to [expletive deleted] off, keep the covert CIA drone program operating as is and, if Pakistan keeps bitching about it, threaten them with the sledgehammer of cutting off U.S. aid

100 Too Many

How awesome is it that a country with a weak, unstable central government, teetering on the brink of falling into the hands of radical Islamists, has 100 nuclear warheads, and keeps building more?

At 100, Pak ahead in N-arsenal

How many nuclear weapons does Pakistan need to feel secure? Not enough. Islamabad has doubled its nuclear weapons to more than 100 in the last few years, overtaking India’s tally in the process, and is adding more bombs to its arsenal, according to new estimates by proliferation gurus.

Four years ago, Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal was estimated to contain between 30 to 60 weapons, about the same as India’s. Since then, the country has rapidly accelerated its program. Current estimates by western nuclear pundits cited in the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists and other journals put the number between 100 and 110 — and growing.

See also:
Pakistan doubles its nuclear arsenal
Pakistani Nuke Stockpile Tops 100, Experts Say
Pakistan has 100 nuclear weapons, doubled its arsenal: Post
Report Says Pakistan’s Nuclear Arsenal Tops 100
At 110, Pak N-stock shoots past India’s: Report
‘Rapidly expanding’ Pak arsenal now possesses over 100 deployed nuke weapons: Expert
Pak has 110 N-weapons to edge ahead of India: US Report
Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal tops 100: report
Pakistan Doubles Its Nuclear Arsenal
Don’t worry, India’s deterrence is robust: Pokhran II scientist

Do we really need this headache too? These yahoos can’t even control a significant chunk of their own territory, what the [expletive deleted] do they need 100 nuclear warheads for? God help us all if even one of these warheads falls into the hands of the Taliban or al Qaeda with the proper arming codes. And if the Islamists eventually manage to topple the unpopular, current secular government, they’ll probably have all the arming codes.

/I’d be extremely surprised if the United States didn’t have contingency plans to seize or spike these warheads if the Pakistani government were to fall to Islamic terrorists, however, every additional warhead they produce makes that task that much more difficult

So, How’s That Surge Working Out?

It seems that it’s not going particularly well, according to the U.N..

Afghan Security Deteriorates

Internal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year’s fighting season, countering the Obama administration’s optimistic assessments of military progress since the surge of additional American forces began a year ago.

The Wall Street Journal was able to view two confidential “residual risk accessibility” maps, one compiled by the U.N. at the annual fighting season’s start in March 2010 and another at its tail end in October. The maps, used by U.N. personnel to gauge the dangers of travel and running programs, divide the country’s districts into four categories: very high risk, high risk, medium risk and low risk.

In the October map, just as in March’s, nearly all of southern Afghanistan—the focus of the coalition’s military offensives—remained painted the red of “very high risk,” with no noted improvements. At the same time, the green belt of “low risk” districts in northern, central and western Afghanistan shriveled.

The U.N.’s October map upgraded to “high risk” 16 previously more secure districts in Badghis, Sar-e-Pul, Balkh, Parwan, Baghlan, Samangan, Faryab, Laghman and Takhar provinces; only two previously “high risk” districts, one in Kunduz and one in Herat province, received a safer rating.

See also:
Revealed: The classified maps that show Afghanistan is becoming more dangerous… with number of high risk areas spreading
Reports Offer Conflicting Takes on Afghan Security
UN charts escalation of violence in Afghanistan
U.N. maps indicate that security in Afghanistan has eroded since troop surge
Violence in Afghanistan rising not falling
UN maps show security worsening in Afghanistan: report
U.N. maps belie claims of Afghan progress
UN map reveals ‘no noted improvements’ in Afghan security

Today we can be proud that there are fewer areas under Taliban control and more Afghans have a chance to build a more hopeful future,” Mr. Obama told American troops during a visit to the Bagram Air Field northeast of Kabul earlier this month.

Well, it’s obvious that someone is lying here. The Taliban can’t control more and less territory at the same time.

/but, between Obama and the U.N., I’m not sure who to believe

Defilade, What Defilade?

Finally, here’s a real magic bullet, not something concocted out of Arlen Specter’s imagination.

GIs testing ‘smart’ weapons that leave nowhere to hide

The combat zone just got a little more high-tech as soldiers in Afghanistan began testing and training on five prototype weapons that fire smart bullets.

Army officials are calling the XM25 Counter Defilade Targeting Engagement System revolutionary since it is the first time soldiers will have a smart weapon in their hands. Smart weapons have some form of a processing unit that allows them to be self-guided or, in this case, have self-adjusting sights and programmable rounds.

The XM25 — which is not much bigger than a standard service rifle — fires 25 mm rounds that can be programmed to explode on impact, in front of or behind an object. The weapon allows soldiers to kill enemies hiding behind walls or other cover by firing above, or to the side, of the wall from up to 700 meters away.

“We call it a game changer,” said Lt. Col. Christopher Lehner, the project manager for the XM25 with Program Executive Office Soldier. “From the dawn of direct-fire weapons, soldiers have always been taught if you’re getting shot at or something is being thrown at you, get behind cover, whether it is your shield or a wall. We are essentially taking cover away from the enemy forever with this.”

See also:
‘Nowhere to Hide': U.S. Army Testing New ‘Smart’ Weapons in Afghanistan
‘Smart weapon’ rifle debuts on Afghanistan’s battlefields
XM-25 Goes To War
U.S. ground soldiers to test ‘smart’ rifle
U.S. army’s XM-25 soon be seen combating in Afghanistan
XM25 Airburst Weapons System
XM25 grenade launcher / air bursting assault weapon (USA)
XM25 Individual Airburst Weapon System

Afghanistan would seem to be the perfect place to test this new weapons system. I wonder how the Taliban feel about being the lab rats?

/don’t bother to duck, you’ll just die hunched over

Iran Plays Cash For Karzai

Could Hamid Karzai be any more corrupt? Iran arms the Taliban against Coalition forces and the Afghan army.

Karzai: We receive cash from Iran

Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, has said that his office receives cash in bags from Iran.

The Afghan leader said on Monday that this method of aid distribution is transparent and helps cover government expenses. He also said that the US makes similar cash payments.

The comments came after a report on Sunday that Karzai’s chief of staff, Omar Dawoodzai, receives covert bagfuls of money – possibly as much as $6 million in a single payment – sent by neighbouring Iran in a bid to secure influence.

Karzai said the money was used for palace expenses, salaries and for “people outside,” but gave no further details.

The New York Times, citing an unnamed Afghan official, said that millions of dollars in cash channelled from Iran are used to pay Afghan parliamentarians, tribal elders and Taliban commanders.

US concern

Bill Burton, a White House spokesman, said world leaders should have “every reason to be concerned about Iran trying to have a negative influence on Afghanistan.”

He added Iran had a responsibility to exert “a positive influence on the formation of a government there, and to ensure that Afghanistan is not a country where terrorists can find safe harbour, or where attacks can be planned on their soil.”

Karzai said he gets money from several “friendly countries” but named only the US and Iran, the latter contributing almost $1 million twice per year. Karzai said he will continue to ask for Iranian money.

“The government of Iran assists (my) office with five or six or seven hundred thousand euros once or twice a year, which is official aid,” Karzai told reporters at a joint news conference in Kabul with visiting Tajik President Imomali Rakhmon.

See also:
Afghan president confirms large cash payments by Iranian officials
Karzai Says Iran, US Give Afghanistan ‘Bags Of Money’
Iran Is Said to Give Top Karzai Aide Cash by the Bagful
Karzai Admits Getting Cash From Iran
Hamid Karzai confirms Iranian cash
Karzai Says Iran Provides `Transparent’ Financial Aid in Euros or Dollars
White House says concerned about Iran’s “negative influence” on Afghanistan
US ‘concerned’ about Iran influence in Afghanistan
US ‘Skeptical’ of Iranian Motives in Cash Payments to Karzai Aides
Karzai’s bags of cash a conundrum for the U.S.
Karzai calls Iran payments to Afghanistan ‘normal’
Afghan President Karzai downplays cash from Iran; calls it ‘normal’
‘Let’s not make this an issue,’ says Karzai
Three Questions About Karzai Accepting Iranian Cash

The situation in Afghanistan gets more farcical by the day. Who the hell is the enemy, everybody?

/I’m getting to the point where I’m starting to think [expletive deleted] it, what’s the point of us even being there anymore?

Here We Go Again, Who’s Got The White Flag?

The Afghan government and the Taliban are holding not so secret secret talks and this time both Mullah Omar and Obama approve. The central question is, who’s trying to surrender to whom? I’ll bet it’s not Mullah Omar.

Mullah Omar backs Taliban talks with Karzai: report

Taliban leader Mullah Omar has, for the first time, backed secret high-level talks with the Afghan government to negotiate an end to the nine-year war, the Washington Post said Wednesday.

“They are very, very serious about finding a way out,” a source close to the talks told the Post, referring to the Taliban.

The Post cited unnamed Afghan and Arab sources as saying the talks were believed to involve representatives authorized by the Quetta Shura, the Afghan Taliban group based in Pakistan, and Omar.

White House voices support for talks with Taliban

President Barack Obama supports recent attempts by the Afghan government to open peace talks with Taliban leaders, but still wants the insurgents to renounce violence and their support of al-Qaida, the White House said Wednesday.

However, press secretary Robert Gibbs said the United States was not taking part in any such talks. “This is about Afghanistan,” he said. “It has to be done by the Afghans.”

See also:
Taliban in talks with Karzai government
Taliban’s high command in secret talks to end war in Afghanistan
Taliban in high-level talks with Karzai govt
Taliban in ‘secret peace talks’ with Karzai
Could a deal with the Taliban end the war in Afghanistan?
Mulla Omar, US back Taliban talks with Karzai
Afghan Taliban leader Mullah Omar ready for peace talks with the US
West losing war in Afghanistan: Mullah Omar
Taliban Leader: Victory Over US-NATO Imminent
U.S. `Supportive’ of Talks Between Taliban, Afghan Government, Gibbs Says
Obama aide: We support Afghan-Taliban talks, but aren’t participating
Afghan, Pakistan Talks Focus on Taliban Joining Peace Process, WSJ Says
Key players in the Afghan peace process
Peace Is Hell

Remember this? “This is not a war of choice. This is a war of necessity”. What a difference a year makes. At this point, it’s painfully obvious that Obama is willing to sacrifice anything, everything, and anybody to lose the war as quickly as possible and throw Afghanistan under the bus, regardless of the future consequences and negative implications for U.S. national security. “I want an exit strategy” . . . “I can’t let this be a war without end, and I can’t lose the whole Democratic Party.”

/it’s inevitably only a matter of time now before we tuck tail and run, Karzai bails with his U.S. taxpayer funded multi-billion dollar golden parachute, and the Taliban are back in Kabul, executing women in soccer stadiums, just like the last ten years never even happened

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