BAGHDAD — A recent tide of sectarian tensions that erupted into the worst violence seen in Iraq in five years is testing the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, whose ability to contain the crisis could hinge on a conflict raging beyond his control in Syria.
The prospect of a regional power shift driven by the bloody civil war next door, where a mostly Sunni rebel movement is struggling to topple the Shiite-dominated regime, has emboldened Iraq’s Sunni minority to challenge its own Shiite government and amplified fears within Maliki’s administration that Iraq may soon be swept up in a spillover war.
Former President George Bush’s new book, Decision Points, goes on sale today. Kindle, the Nook, ibooks, and other electronic modes began sales after midnight. Those not using electronic books will have to wait until stores like Barnes and Nobel open. Meanwhile, the ex-pres has made the rounds of Hannity, Lauer, and Oprah. The Oprah Show airs this afternoon. I don’t believe he will appear on Jon Stewart.
The former president discusses his youth, his old drinking days, a grizzly fetus in a jar story that supposedly etched his anti abortion stance in stone, 9-11, Katrina, immigration reform, Saddam, torture and the wars. He apparently does not talk about President Obama. He indicated that is how he would have liked to have been treated. He also gives us a glimpse of what his new life is like, in a post-Bush world.
Who plans on reading his book? Are all presidential books dry or will the Bush humor creep into his book? How revealing will the former pres be?
Some folks have said that this book is the beginning of Bush’s vindication. Do most Americans agree with this statement? Has the former pres become less of a lighning rod for criticism? What has been the most unfairly exaggerated criticism of George Bush?
Several weeks ago we put up a thread about a minister in Florida who planned to burn copies of the Quran on 9/11. To date, there seems to be mo change in his misguided plans.
CNN) — The U.S. commander in Afghanistan on Monday criticized a Florida church’s plan to burn copies of the Quran on September 11, warning the demonstration “could cause significant problems” for American troops overseas.
“It could endanger troops and it could endanger the overall effort in Afghanistan,” Gen. David Petraeus said in a statement issued Monday.
The Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, plans to mark the anniversary of al Qaeda’s September 11, 2001, attacks on New York and Washington by burning copies of the Muslim holy book. The church insists the event is “neither an act of love nor of hate,” but a warning against what it calls the threats posed by Islam.
Good for General Petraeus. Its time someone called out this arrogant man. Who better than the commander of all US troops in Afghanistan.
More from CNN:
With about 120,000 U.S. and NATO-led troops still battling al Qaeda and its allies in the Islamic fundamentalist Taliban movement, Petraeus warned that burning Qurans “is precisely the kind of action the Taliban uses and could cause significant problems — not just here, but everywhere in the world we are engaged with the Islamic community.”
And one of his deputies, Lt. Gen. William Caldwell, told CNN’s “The Situation Room” that event “has already stirred up a lot of discussion and concern” among Afghans.
“We very much feel that this can jeopardize the safety of our men and women that are serving over here in the country,” said Caldwell, the head of NATO efforts to train Afghan security forces.
Caldwell said American troops “are over here to defend the rights of American citizens, and we’re not debating the First Amendment rights that people have.” But he added, “What I will tell you is that their very actions will in fact jeopardize the safety of the young men and women who are serving in uniform over here and also undermine the very mission that we’re trying to accomplish.”
“I would hope they would understand that there are second- and third-order effects that will occur that will affect that young man and woman who’s out there on point for America, serving their nation today, because of their actions back in the United States,” he said
The stupidity and arrogance of this minister is almost unspeakable. When the U.S. Commander tells you that you are endangering the troops, you should listen. If even one of our men or women is killed because of this ignoramous, his entire ministry should be held responsible. How sad that Americans would involve themselves with book burning. Sounds Third Reich to me. I would have no problem with the press being ordered to stay away and the minister barred from his bonfire on 9/11, as a matter of national security. The first amendment is not without some limitations.
Meanwhile, we can only hope that our troops will be safe.
From the NY Times:
WASHINGTON — The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.
The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.
An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.
The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.
While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.
“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”
The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.
“This will become the backbone of the Afghan economy,” said Jalil Jumriany, an adviser to the Afghan minister of mines.
We have already know about the Afghanistan lapis lazuli, better known as just lapis. It has become increasingly more costly since the Afghanistan war, mainly because it is harder to get the mineral. Afghan miners go far up into the mountains where the vast lapis deposits are and bring out the rough on mules and human packs. The best lapis in the world comes out of Afghanistan. I got my stash from a friend’s husband who has a good eye for jewelry.
Now what about all this lithium, iron, copper, cobalt, gold, etc? Supposedly trillions of dollars worth. How would a primitive country like Afghanistan ever develop to the point where some of these riches could be mined and distributed world wide? What would keep the Taliban and Al Quada from taking control of the wealth?
It sounds to me like if anything is done with these riches, the Americans out to put on their ugly American hat and simply be the big, bad watch dog. Besides, that war has cost us a small fortune. Pay backs are expensive. Royalties are expensive.
Substitute ‘Obama’ for ‘Bush’ and ‘Afghanistan’ for ‘Iraq’ and it will look like nothing has changed. Even Cindy Sheehan was there and was arrested. As if the far right wasn’t giving President Obama a hard time, now the anti-war protestors are getting in the act.
The protestors all wore bright orange jump suits and pretended to die on the sidewalk, acted out being water-boarded, carried coffins, chanted slogans, and carried pictures of war injured children.
According to the Washington Post:
Several of the demonstrators had T-shirts showing a missile labeled “Obomba” and the question “Is it really OK if Obama does it?”
Besides those wording changes, the only other difference was the spiffy new natural-gas-powered Metrobus that arrived to take those arrested for processing. It said “Special” on the front and, on the side, had a McDonald’s ad with the slogan “Commander-in-Beef.”
If the commander in beef had been watching from a window, he would have had reason for concern. Not the demonstrators themselves: They were Green Party types with some self-proclaimed socialists thrown in, and they had never been enthusiastic Obama supporters to start with. What the president should worry about is whether these activists are indicators of bigger things to come if he sides with his generals and decides to bulk up the U.S. force in Afghanistan
It all sounds like politics as usual. I asked contributor Kelly3406 his opinion on current events in Afghanistan. I hope he doesn’t mind me moving his response to a major post:
Our long-term security requires us to do the counter-insurgency mission proposed by MacChrystal AND the counter-terrorism mission proposed by Biden. This past weekend’s deadly battle in Afghanistan proved that the Taliban can create numerical superiority in the tribal regions where the counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism missions would be waged. This shows that we will need many, many more troops (50K). In the short term, there will be a lot more casualties
If I heard correctly tonight, that is pretty much what the president is going to do.
General Stanley McCrystal has asked for additonal troops in Afghanistan. It was his opinion:
that the U.S. effort in Afghanistan “will likely result in failure” without an urgent infusion of troops has been endorsed by the uniformed leadership. That includes Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the head of U.S. Central Command and architect of the troop “surge” strategy widely seen as helping U.S. forces turn the corner in Iraq.
Meanwhile, President Obama has said that the administration needs time to assess the situation and look again at options and objectives. According to the Washington Post,
Obama’s public remarks on Afghanistan indicate that he has begun to rethink the counterinsurgency strategy he set in motion six months ago, even as his generals have embraced it. The equation on the ground has changed markedly since his March announcement, with attacks by Taliban fighters showing greater sophistication, U.S. casualties rising, and the chances increasing that Afghanistan will be left with an illegitimate government after widespread fraud in recent presidential elections.
Should we risk getting bogged down even further in the war in Afghanistan by sending in more troops? Is it possible to win in Afghanistan? Must we get Bin Lauden to be successful? What would really denote ‘winning?’ Should the Taliban be totally removed?
The Afghanistan government seems corrupt and the elections were questionable. Must the Afghanistan governement be stable? Must the Afghanistan army be able to defend the country before we go? Have there been efforts to make this happen?
The drug situation is still deplorable. The Taliban almost eradicated poppy growing in 2001. Now they do not seem to be quite the intense opponents of the poppy industry as they used to be. This past year was a bumper crop. Much of the world’s opium comes from this area of the world. Can we turn our backs on this cash crop?
Politically speaking, will President Obama lose his liberal support if he continues the war in Afghanistan? Did he make promises about the Afghanistan front or did he mainly speak about the Iraqi war? What does American stand to gain or lose by either action?
The school year will end early for Enterprise Elementary principal Melanie McClure. She has been called up for active duty and will be deployed to Iraq.
Forty-six year old McClure is a lieutenant colonel in the Army Reserves. She was on active duty shortly after 9/11 but, she was deployed locally. McClure told WJLA-Channel 7 news:
“I’m not sure how to prepare for it. I think that’s probably my greatest challenge — prepare emotionally for all that because it is going to be a long haul,”
Students, faculty and parents, and school system administration are sadden to see the popular principal leave. Principal McClure has been at Enterprise for 2 years. A school-wide celebration was held in her honor this week to give her the proper send off. Superintendent Walts and School board member Julie Lucas were in attendance. Dr. Walts reminded students:
[T]hat it was their job to keep learning in anticipation of their principal’s return.
Bumper stickers have been made up in her honor, according to the story posted on the Prince William County School’s website, which read: “My Principal is a Soldier! Hurry back, Mrs. McClure.”
When is enough enough? Does the army need people so badly that they are now scrounging them out of schools? Do people think this might happen to them when they remain in the reserves? The lady is putting on her game face but she must be dying inside. She leaves a husband and 3 kids behind as well as a career while she is in Iraq.