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Source: New York Times
Taliban Mount Major Assault in Afghanistan
By AZAM AHMED and TAIMOOR SHAHJUNE 27, 2014
KABUL, Afghanistan — In one of the most significant coordinated assaults on the government in years, the Taliban have attacked police outposts and government facilities across several districts in northern Helmand Province, sending police and military officials scrambling to shore up defenses and heralding a troubling new chapter as coalition forces prepare to depart.
The attacks have focused on the district of Sangin, historically an insurgent stronghold and one of the deadliest districts in the country for the American and British forces who fought for years to secure it. The Taliban have mounted simultaneous attempts to conquer territory in the neighboring districts of Now Zad, Musa Qala and Kajaki. In the past week, more than 100 members of the Afghan forces and 50 civilians have been killed or wounded in fierce fighting, according to early estimates from local officials.
With a deepening political crisis in Kabul already casting the presidential election and long-term political stability into doubt, the Taliban offensive presents a new worst-case situation for Western officials: an aggressive insurgent push that is seizing territory even before American troops have completed their withdrawal from Afghanistan.
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Already, areas once heavily patrolled by American forces have grown more violent as the Afghan military and the police struggle to feed, fuel and equip themselves. The lackluster performance of the Afghan Army so far in Helmand has also evoked comparisons with Iraq, raising questions about whether the American-trained force can stand in the way of a Taliban resurgence.
Read more: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/06/28/world/asia/taliban-mount-major-assault-in-afghanistan.html?emc=edit_th_20140628&nl=todaysheadlines&nlid=68388605&_r=0
Posted by Hissyspit | Sat Jun 28, 2014, 08:21 AM (5 replies)
How the Iraq War Launched the Modern Era of Political BS
Factual divides over whether Iraq had WMD, and whether Saddam was working with Osama, set the stage for today's battles over reality.
—By Chris Mooney | Wed Jun. 25, 2014 6:00 AM EDT
That queasy sensation of déjà vu you're experiencing is understandable. With Iraq back in the news, and Paul Wolfowitz and Bill Kristol on TV sounding off about the situation, there's every reason to worry that a new wave of misinformation is on the way.
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The role of Fox News. In a pioneering study that laid the groundwork for much future work, the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland used a series of post-Iraq War polls (conducted from June through September in 2003) to analyze the the preponderance of false beliefs about the war. The study first defined three clear falsehoods: (1) real evidence linking Iraq and Al Qaeda had been uncovered; (2) WMD had been discovered in Iraq following the US invasion; and (3) global public opinion was in favor of the US invasion. Then, it examined the likelihood of holding such incorrect beliefs based upon a person's political party affiliation and habits of news consumption.
Sure enough, Fox viewers led the way in embracing these false assertions, with 80 percent of them believing at least one of the three. Seventy-one percent of CBS viewers also held one of these three false beliefs. For consumers of NPR and PBS, only 23 percent believed one or more of these pro-war myths. Notably, Republicans and supporters of George W. Bush had a much higher level of belief in these falsehoods. So what caused these misperceptions to exist? Republican ideological allegiance likely led to an initial belief in these misrepresentations, but then Fox watching bolstered these views. For Democrats, too, watching Fox worsened their misperceptions.
Authoritarianism and Iraq War myths. In 2006, two political scientists, Marc Hetherington and Jonathan Weiler, conducted a survey to examine the political beliefs of a subset of the US population that they termed "authoritarians." Part a political identity and part a psychological profile, an authoritarian, as they put it, is a right-wing person whose style of thinking is characterized by black-and-white reasoning. He or she supports tough responses to crime and backs aggressive and muscular national security stances. These are precisely the people who would have been pro-war because they accepted the Bush administration's claims that invading Iraq would make the United States safer.
Hetherington and Weiler identified authoritarians using a questionnaire about child-rearing styles: authoritarians tend to prefer obedient, well-mannered children over independent, curious children. Then they asked authoritarians and nonauthoritarians two questions, both of which had a clear, factually correct answer: Had WMD been found in Iraq, and did Saddam Hussein have a role in the 9/11 attacks? The results were stark: For nonauthoritarians, only 15 percent of respondents erred on the WMD question, and only 19 percent got the 9/11 question wrong. For authoritarians, though, those numbers rose to 37 percent and 55 percent. On Iraq, authoritarians and nonauthoritarians perceived very different realities.
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Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jun 25, 2014, 05:10 PM (2 replies)
is one evil, lying, hypocritical, sociopathic fucking piece of war criminal human shit.
Just when you thought you'd seen him get to the nastiest, most rotten dregs of the cesspool, he digs even deeper.
Unbelievable even after all these years the new depths to which he crawls.
Ref: Charlie Rose interview on now.
@GregMitch: Cheney on Iraq : "it was not a flawless war but I don't know of one that is."
@GregMitch: Cheney: if Bush didn't invade Iraq it would have been "dereliction of duty." We "did what we had to do."
Yeah. He actually said those things.
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jun 25, 2014, 12:03 AM (27 replies)
Source: Associated Press
JUDGE: NO-FLY LIST VIOLATED CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS
By NIGEL DUARA
— Jun. 24, 2014 3:38 PM EDT
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A federal judge has ruled that the U.S. government violated the rights of 13 people on its no-fly list by depriving them of their constitutional right to travel, and gave them no adequate way to challenge their placement on the list.
It's the nation's first ruling to label the no-fly list redress procedures unconstitutional.
U.S. District Court Judge Anna Brown's decision handed down Tuesday says the procedure offered to people to remove themselves from the list fails to give travelers a meaningful mechanism to challenge their placement.
Thirteen people challenged their placement on the list in 2010, including four military veterans.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/judge-no-fly-list-violated-constitutional-rights
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Jun 24, 2014, 03:49 PM (37 replies)
Source: Associated Press
Witnesses say extremists have abducted 60 more girls and women, 31 boys in northeast Nigeria
June 24, 2014 | Updated: June 24, 2014 1:47am
MAIDUGURI, Nigeria (AP) — Witnesses say extremists have abducted 60 more girls and women, 31 boys in northeast Nigeria.
Read more: http://www.sfchronicle.com/news/world/article/Witnesses-say-extremists-have-abducted-60-more-5574332.php
Boko Haram ‘Kidnaps Another 60 Girls’ from Nigerian Villages
AS the world focuses on the conflict in Iraq, the crisis in Nigeria continues with reports that another 60 girls have been abducted by the terrorist group Boko Haram.
The latest kidnapping is said to have taken place in Kummabza village, according to Nigerian media reports.
Nigeria’s Leadership newspaper reports that more than 60 married women and young girls were kidnapped by insurgents between Thursday and Sunday from villages in the Damboa local government area.
Posted by Hissyspit | Tue Jun 24, 2014, 04:53 AM (14 replies)
@maddow: Rare bipartisan agreement! On something wrong. Argh. Just posted at WaPo: http://t.co/wM7uIUkKcv/s/YRyE
BY RACHEL MADDOW June 22 at 6:56 PM
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In a remarkable confrontation on April 14, 1975...
Sen. Jacob K. Javits (R-N.Y.) told the president, “I will give you large sums for evacuation, but not one nickel for military aid.” Sen. Frank Church (D-Idaho) warned, “This raises the specter of a new war, thousands of American troops holding on in an enclave for a long period.” First-term Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. (D-Del.) said, “I will vote for any amount for getting the Americans out,” but he insisted that money for evacuation and military aid for the South Vietnamese government “are totally different.”
Part of the reason there had been such broad and intense domestic opposition to the war in Vietnam was its sense of strategic futility. We sent hundreds of thousands of Americans into that conflict, backed by the greatest firepower in the world and a willingness to use tactics that shocked our national conscience. But it wasn’t enough, and year after grinding year, it became apparent that nothing was going to be enough.
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Two and a half years after U.S. troops left Iraq, as we have watched Fallujah, Mosul and a swath of additional territory fall to Sunni militants, we are in need of such a debate. That is why it has been maddening to the point of distraction to see the media seek out supposedly expert analysis from people who made bad predictions and false declarations about the Iraq invasion in 2003. Whether they are humbled by their own mistakes or not, it is our civic responsibility to ensure that a history of misstatements and misjudgments has consequences for a person’s credibility in our national discourse.
On Capitol Hill, it’s even worse. After meeting with President Obama last week, congressional leaders emerged in rare bipartisan agreement: All said the president would need no further authorization from Congress for new U.S. military intervention in Iraq. They may agree on that, but they’re wrong: Neither the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force nor the 2002 Iraq war authorization obviously apply in this instance.
Obama is right to insist that he will continue “close consultation” with Congress on Iraq going forward, but Congress and the president are both wrong if they think that that consultation consists of Congress being told and not asked what should happen next. Whether we believe the Founding Fathers were right or not to give the responsibility for war and peace to the clamorous Congress, they did. It is an irresponsible constitutional cop-out to pretend they didn’t.
Posted by Hissyspit | Sun Jun 22, 2014, 07:28 PM (1 replies)
7 Myths about the Radical Sunni Advance in Iraq
By Juan Cole | Jun. 16, 2014 |
Already in the past week and a half, many assertions are becoming commonplace in the inside-the-Beltway echo chamber about Iraq’s current crisis that are poorly grounded in knowledge of the country. Here are some sudden truisms that should be rethought.
1. “The Sunni radicals of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) are popular.” They are not. Opinion polling shows that most Iraqi Sunnis are secular-minded. The ISIS is brutal and fundamentalist. Where the Sunnis have rallied to it, it is because of severe discontents with their situation after the fall of the Baath Party in 2003 with the American invasion. The appearance of video showing ISIS massacring police (most of them Sunnis) in Tikrit will severely detract from such popularity as they enjoyed.
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3. “Iraqi troops were afraid to fight the radical Sunni guerrillas and so ran away.” While the troops did abandon their positions in Mosul and other towns, it isn’t clear why. There are reports that they were ordered to fall back. More important, if this was a popular uprising, then a few thousand troops were facing hundreds of thousands of angry urbanites and were in danger of being overwhelmed. In Afghanistan’s Mazar-i Sharif in 1997 when the Pashtun Taliban took this largely Tajik and Uzbek city, the local populace abided it af few days and then rose up and killed 8,000 Taliban, expelling them from the city. (A year later they returned and bloodily reasserted themselves). Troops cannot always assert themselves against the biopower of urban masses.
4. “The Sunni radicals are poised to move on Baghdad.” While ISIS as a guerrilla group could infiltrate parts of Baghdad and cause trouble, they would face severe difficulty in taking it. Baghdad was roughly 45% Sunni and 55% Shiite in 2003 when Bush invaded. But in the Civil War of 2006-7, the American military disarmed the Sunni groups first, giving Shiite militias a huge advantage. The latter used it to ethnically cleanse the capital of its Sunnis. The usually Sunni districts of the west of the city were depopulated. The mixed districts of the center became almost all Shiite. There simply isn’t much of a Sunni power base left in Baghdad and so that kind of take-over by acclaim would be very difficult to achieve in the capital. As Joshua Landis puts it, ISIS has picked a fight it cannot win.
5. “The US should intervene with air power against ISIS.” The Sunni radicals are not a conventional army. There are no lines for the US to bomb, few convoys or other obvious targets. To the extent that their advance is a series of urban revolts against the government of PM Nouri al-Maliki, the US would end up bombing ordinary city folk. The Sunnis already have resentments about the Bush administration backing for the Shiite parties after 2003, which produced purges of Sunnis from their jobs and massive unemployment in Sunni areas. For the US to be bombing Sunni towns all these years later on behalf of Mr. al-Maliki would be to invite terrorism against the US. ISIS is a bad actor, but it so far hasn’t behaved like an international terrorist group; it has been oriented to achieving strategic and tactical victories in Syria against the Baath government and the Shiite Alawis, and in Iraq against the Shiite Da’wa Party government. But it could easily morph into an anti-American international terrorist network. The US should avoid actions that would push it in that direction. So far the Baath regime in Syria is winning against the Sunni radicals.
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Jun 20, 2014, 05:21 AM (2 replies)
Source: Associated Press
Japan Farmers Seek Aid for Radiation Zone Cattle
By ELAINE KURTENBACH
— Jun. 20, 2014 3:24 AM EDT
TOKYO (AP) — A pair of Japanese farmers whose livelihoods were wrecked by the 2011 nuclear disaster staged a protest Friday at Tokyo's agriculture ministry, scuffling briefly with police as they unsuccessfully tried to unload a bull from a truck.
Masami Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumura have remained at their farms seeking to care for their own and others' abandoned livestock in areas where access has been restricted due to radiation fears since the March 2011 meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant.
The two drove down from Fukushima, bringing the black bull in the back of a truck, to appeal for help with the livestock, some of which have developed unexplained white spots on their hides.
"Stop, stop, stop, stop," shouted a policeman in a blue uniform who climbed into the back of the truck and blocked the farmers from leading the bull onto the pavement in front of the ministry. "It's dangerous. Absolutely not!"
Yoshizawa and Matsumura are among thousands of farmers who lost their livelihoods when their farms, produce and livestock were declared off-limits and unsafe after the nuclear plant spewed radiation into the countryside after it was crippled by a massive earthquake and tsunami.
Read more: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/japan-farmers-seek-aid-radiation-zone-cattle
Japanese farmer Masami Yoshizawa, second right, shows a black bull with speckles to the media as police officers block him from leading the bull off a truck he drove from Fukushima, northeastern Japan, in front of Agriculture Ministry in Tokyo Friday, June 20, 2014. Yoshizawa and fellow farmer Naoto Matsumura whose livelihoods were wrecked by the March 2011 nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant have staged a protest briefly at the ministry to appeal for help with the livestock, some of which have developed unexplained white spots on their hides. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)
Posted by Hissyspit | Fri Jun 20, 2014, 04:35 AM (11 replies)
Source: CBS News
Gerry Goffin, Carole King's ex-husband, dies at 75
Jun 19, 2014 5:05 PM EDT
Lyricist Gerry Goffin, who with his then-wife and songwriting partner Carole King wrote such hits as "Will You Love Me Tomorrow," ''(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," ''Halfway to Paradise" and "The Loco-Motion," died Wednesday at his home in Los Angeles. He was 75.
His wife, Michelle Goffin, confirmed his death.
Goffin, who married King in 1959 while they were in their teens, penned more than 50 top 40 hits, including "Pleasant Valley Sunday" for the Monkees, "Crying in the Rain" by the Everly Brothers, "Some Kind of Wonderful" for the Drifters and "Take Good Care of My Baby" by Bobby Vee. The couple divorced in 1968, but Goffin kept writing hits, including "Savin' All My Love for You" for Whitney Houston.
King said in a statement that Goffin was her "first love" and had a profound impact on her life.
Read more: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gerry-goffin-carole-king-ex-husband-dies-at-75/
Posted by Hissyspit | Thu Jun 19, 2014, 05:07 PM (10 replies)
@ValeriePlame: This is the nice way Joe puts it: "Ambassador Wilson: Dick Cheney’s advice is ‘not worth anything’" http://t.co/dh4y97B0Zw
Posted by Hissyspit | Wed Jun 18, 2014, 08:48 PM (12 replies)