Posted: March 1, 2014 Filed under: History, Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, White House | Tags: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Cold War, Iraq, Middle East, Mitt Romney, RUSSIA, United States
During the third presidential debate, President Barack Obama accused then GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for 1980′s foreign policy thinking…
OBAMA: Governor Romney, I’m glad that you recognize that Al Qaida is a threat, because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia, not Al Qaida; you said Russia, in the 1980s, they’re now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because, you know, the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.
But Governor, when it comes to our foreign policy, you seem to want to import the foreign policies of the 1980s, just like the social policies of the 1950s and the economic policies of the 1920s.
You say that you’re not interested in duplicating what happened in Iraq. But just a few weeks ago, you said you think we should have more troops in Iraq right now. And the — the challenge we have — I know you haven’t been in a position to actually execute foreign policy — but every time you’ve offered an opinion, you’ve been wrong. You said we should have gone into Iraq, despite that fact that there were no weapons of mass destruction.
You said that we should still have troops in Iraq to this day. You indicated that we shouldn’t be passing nuclear treaties with Russia despite the fact that 71 senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted for it. You said that, first, we should not have a timeline in Afghanistan. Then you said we should. Now you say maybe or it depends, which means not only were you wrong, but you were also confusing in sending mixed messages both to our troops and our allies.
OBAMA: So, what — what we need to do with respect to the Middle East is strong, steady leadership, not wrong and reckless leadership that is all over the map. And unfortunately, that’s the kind of opinions that you’ve offered throughout this campaign, and it is not a recipe for American strength, or keeping America safe over the long haul.
SCHIEFFER: I’m going to add a couple of minutes here to give you a chance to respond.
ROMNEY: Well, of course I don’t concur with what the president said about my own record and the things that I’ve said. They don’t happen to be accurate. But — but I can say this, that we’re talking about the Middle East and how to help the Middle East reject the kind of terrorism we’re seeing, and the rising tide of tumult and — and confusion. And — and attacking me is not an agenda. Attacking me is not talking about how we’re going to deal with the challenges that exist in the Middle East, and take advantage of the opportunity there, and stem the tide of this violence.
But I’ll respond to a couple of things that you mentioned. First of all, Russia I indicated is a geopolitical foe. Not…
ROMNEY: Excuse me. It’s a geopolitical foe, and I said in the same — in the same paragraph I said, and Iran is the greatest national security threat we face. Russia does continue to battle us in the U.N. time and time again. I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia, or Mr. Putin. And I’m certainly not going to say to him, I’ll give you more flexibility after the election. After the election, he’ll get more backbone. Number two, with regards to Iraq, you and I agreed I believe that there should be a status of forces agreement.
Kerry Picket - The Conversation
Posted: February 24, 2014 Filed under: Diplomacy, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, Chuck Hagel, Cold War, Pentagon, United States, United States Army, USS George Washington, Weimar Republic, World War II
For The Diplomat, Ankit Panda writes:
The biggest news from the Pentagon this week is Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel’s new budget plan, which is designed to refit U.S. armed forces in a manner suitable for emerging threats. Informing Hagel’s thinking on the budget is the looming drawdown from the United States’ longest ground war ever – Afghanistan. Consequently, the proposed budget would see the U.S. Army reduced in size to pre-World War II levels…
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Posted: February 20, 2014 Filed under: Global, Humor, Mediasphere | Tags: Afghanistan, Agence France-Presse, Barack Obama, Erectile dysfunction, Pakistan, Peshawar, Viagra, Viagra coupon
It could be worse. At least it’s not John Boehner in the ad. From NRO‘s Andrew Johnson:
“Apparently a symbol of power and virility, Barack Obama is the unwitting face of contraband Viagra sold in this market in Peshawar,” according to a report fromAgence France-Presse. The president is featured on a number of different forms of the drug.
Even though Pakistan has banned the erectile-dysfunction medication, the agency reports some forms are smuggled into the country from neighboring Afghanistan. Watch the entire Agence France-Press report below:
National Review Online
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Posted: February 4, 2014 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Science & Technology, U.S. News | Tags: Afghanistan, Canned tire inflator, Food and Drug Administration, Oregon, Popular Science, Sponge, United States Army, Wound
An Oregon startup has developed a pocket-size device that uses tiny sponges to stop bleeding fast
Rose Pastore reports: When a soldier is shot on the battlefield, the emergency treatment can seem as brutal as the injury itself. A medic must pack gauze directly into the wound cavity, sometimes as deep as 5 inches into the body, to stop bleeding from an artery. It’s an agonizing process that doesn’t always work–if bleeding hasn’t stopped after three minutes of applying direct pressure, the medic must pull out all the gauze and start over again. It’s so painful, “you take the guy’s gun away first,” says former U.S. Army Special Operations medic John Steinbaugh.
Even with this emergency treatment, many soldiers still bleed to death;hemorrhage is a leading cause of death on the battlefield. “Gauze bandages just don’t work for anything serious,” says Steinbaugh, who tended to injured soldiers during more than a dozen deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. When Steinbaugh retired in April 2012 after a head injury, he joined an Oregon-based startup called RevMedx, a small group of veterans, scientists, and engineers who were working on a better way to stop bleeding.
Posted: January 11, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Entertainment, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, George W. Bush, Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10, Marcus Luttrell, Mark Wahlberg, Peter Berg, Taliban, United States Navy SEALs
John Nolte writes: Between documentaries and narrative feature films, Hollywood delivered somewhere close to two dozen box office bombs during the Bush Administration — all of them attacking President George W. Bush and various elements of the War on Terror. Not one of these films was anything other than a critical and commercial humiliation. That, however, didn’t stop Hollywood from making them. The entertainment industry’s anti-American agenda will always trump greed. This weekend, though, with “Lone Survivor,” Hollywood finally as a hit war movie on its hands.
According to Deadline, “Lone Survivor” is expected to top the weekend box office with a take of $33 million to $35 million — which is well above industry expectations and double the expectations of its distributor, Universal.
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Posted: January 7, 2014 Filed under: Mediasphere, Politics, U.S. News, War Room, White House | Tags: Afghanistan, Barack Obama, Bob Woodward, Gates, George W. Bush, Joe Biden, Obama, Robert Gates
Bob Woodward has an item in today’s WaPo that will stir some conversation:
Robert Gates: A look at his career in government: He served as defense secretary under both presidents George W. Bush and Obama, bridging the two administrations and earning a reputation as careful, conservative and consensus-oriented.
Woodward writes: In a new memoir, former defense secretary Robert Gates unleashes harsh judgments about President Obama’s leadership and his commitment to the Afghanistan war, writing that by early 2010 he had concluded the president “doesn’t believe in his own strategy, and doesn’t consider the war to be his. For him, it’s all about getting out.”
Leveling one of the more serious charges that a defense secretary could make against a commander in chief sending forces into combat, Gates asserts that Obama had more than doubts about the course he had charted in Afghanistan. The president was “skeptical if not outright convinced it would fail,” Gates writes in “Duty: Memoirs of a Secretary at War.”
Obama, after months of contentious discussion with Gates and other top advisers, deployed 30,000 more troops in a final push to stabilize Afghanistan before a phased withdrawal beginning in mid-2011. “I never doubted Obama’s support for the troops, only his support for their mission,” Gates writes.
As a candidate, Obama had made plain his opposition to the 2003 Iraq invasion while embracing the Afghanistan war as a necessary response to the 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, requiring even more military resources to succeed. In Gates’s highly emotional account, Obama remains uncomfortable with the inherited wars and distrustful of the military that is providing him options. Their different worldviews produced a rift that, at least for Gates, became personally wounding and impossible to repair.
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Posted: January 1, 2014 Filed under: Art & Culture, Mediasphere, U.S. News | Tags: Afghanistan, Morton Downey, Racial hoax, San Diego Chargers, Thanksgiving, Twitter, University of Notre Dame, Wounded Warrior Project
Mollie Hemingway writes: Trash TV legend Morton Downey, Jr. made a highly questionable claim in 1989 that he was attacked by neo-Nazis in a San Francisco International Airport restroom. He said they shaved his head and painted a backwards swastika on his face. Every year it seems as if these hate crime hoaxes increase. But lies about hate crimes are just one kind of whopper. As we close out 2013, awash in daily social media outrage and as gullible as ever, here are six hoaxes that suckered far too many journalists and others.
The lying lesbian waitress
In mid-November, waitress Dayna Morales sent a picture to Have A Gay Daypurporting to show that customers left her a mean note in place of a tip. The receipt allegedly said: “I’m sorry but I cannot tip because I don’t agree with your lifestyle and how you live your life.” Outraged Americans expressed their shock and horror at the mean note, sharing the picture and associated stories tens of thousands of times. Everyone patted themselves on the back for agreeing that this was hateful homophobic behavior. Thousands of dollars in donations poured in for the former Marine. The only problem is that the story had no basis in fact. The family whose receipt was shown proved that they had actually tipped 20% on their bill. Friends told media outlets that this was just the latest in a string of extraordinary stories told by Morales, who was dishonorably discharged from the military for failing to turn up to drills. She had told friends, reportedly, that she was the only survivor of a bomb blast in Afghanistan. She also reportedly made fantastic claims about incurable brain cancer, sustaining major damage in Hurricane Sandy and being impregnated by her father. At one point Morales claimed she would donate the gifts she received to the Wounded Warrior Project, but the group couldn’t verify if she made any donation.
The dramatic love life of Manti Te’o
Manti Teʻo, linebacker for the San Diego Chargers, played in college for the University of Notre Dame. One of the more interesting stories of the 2012 college football season was Te’o’s excellent leadership on the field after enduring the deaths of his beloved grandmother and beautiful girlfriend. His name was mentioned frequently as a Heisman contender and the deaths were mentioned in all the major media write-ups of his amazing season. In January of this year,Deadspin revealed that the very existence of the girlfriend was a hoax — an online relationship with a man posing as a woman.
Elan Gale’s fake fight on an airplane
On Thanksgiving Day, reality television producer Elan Gale tweeted out an imaginative tale of a very rude woman on a packed airplane. Twitter lost its collective mind over how awful this woman — who was berating a flight attendant, according to the tweets — was. She didn’t exist and Gale later revealed that he’d invented the woman as a way to entertain himself and his followers while on a flight. It being Thanksgiving, journalists went ahead and reported the event as fact without verifying it.
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Posted: November 16, 2013 Filed under: Diplomacy, Global, History, Mediasphere, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, Central Asia, Great Game, Hezbollah, Middle East, Syria, United States, Weekly Standard
The Weekly Standard‘s Ken Jensen writes: The cartoon above is from the Great Game era in Central Asia, when the British and Russians were in a contest for places like Afghanistan and Iran. It’s strongly (perhaps perversely) suggestive given current events.
Could it be that, in withdrawing from the Middle East, the United States believes the Russian bear will sit on the Persian (nuclear-clawed) cat and keep him in order—along with Assad in Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon—so that the (cowardly) lion(s) of the West can stand by and do nothing?
Could this be the realpolitik fantasy that underlies Obama’s “multipolar” Middle East fantasy?
Posted: November 13, 2013 Filed under: Crime & Punishment, Global | Tags: Afghanistan, Balkh, David Loyn, Helmand, Helmand Province, Kabul, United Nations, United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
The report said police had tripled their effectiveness at seizing drugs
Afghan opium cultivation has reached a record level, with more than 200,000 hectares planted with the poppy for the first time, the United Nations says.
The UNODC report said the harvest was 36% up on last year, and if fully realised would outstrip global demand.
Most of the rise was in Helmand province, where British troops are preparing to withdraw.
One of the main reasons the UK sent troops to Helmand was to cut opium production.
David Loyn reports from the village where Afghans have been buried after being executed for trying to smuggle opium into Iran
The head of the UN office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC) in Kabul, Jean-Luc Lemahieu, said that production was likely to rise again next year, amid uncertainty over the withdrawal of most foreign troops and the presidential election.
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Posted: November 5, 2013 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Science & Technology, Space & Aviation, U.S. News, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, General Atomics MQ-1 Predator, Hindu Kush, Iraq, Kunar Province, List of So You Think You Can Dance finalists (U.S. season 5), United States, United States Air Force
He was an experiment, really. One of the first recruits for a new kind of warfare in which men and machines merge. He flew multiple missions, but he never left his computer. He hunted top terrorists, saved lives, but always from afar. He stalked and killed countless people, but could not always tell you precisely what he was hitting. Meet the 21st-century American killing machine. who’s still utterly, terrifyingly human
From the darkness of a box in the Nevada desert, he watched as three men trudged down a dirt road in Afghanistan. The box was kept cold—precisely sixty-eight degrees—and the only light inside came from the glow of monitors. The air smelled spectrally of stale sweat and cigarette smoke. On his console, the image showed the midwinter landscape of eastern Afghanistan’s Kunar Province—a palette of browns and grays, fields cut to stubble, dark forests climbing the rocky foothills of the Hindu Kush. He zoomed the camera in on the suspected insurgents, each dressed in traditional shalwar kameez, long shirts and baggy pants. He knew nothing else about them: not their names, not their thoughts, not the thousand mundane and profound details of their lives. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: November 1, 2013 Filed under: Guns and Gadgets, Robotics, Science & Technology, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, BAE Systems, Brian Dowling, Crete, Iron Man's armor, Navy SEAL, Pentagon, Revision Military, United States Special Operations Command
The U.S. military wants to produce a prototype of an ‘Iron Man suit’ packed with the latest communications gear.
WASHINGTON — David S. Cloud reports: Army Capt. Brian Dowling was leading his Special Forces team through a steep mountain pass in eastern Afghanistan when insurgents ambushed his patrol, leaving two of his soldiers pinned down with life-threatening wounds.
After a furious firefight, the two men were rescued, but that episode in 2006 would change Dowling’s life.
Now employed by a small defense company, he is part of a crash effort by U.S. Special Operations Command to produce a radically new protective suit for elite soldiers to wear into battle — one with bionic limbs, head-to-toe armor, a built-in power supply and live data feeds projected on a see-through display inside the helmet.
They call it — what else? — the “Iron Man suit.”
“We’re taking the Iron Man concept and bringing it closer to reality,” said Dowling, referring to the Marvel Comics character Tony Stark, an industrialist and master engineer who builds a rocket-powered exoskeleton, turning himself into a superhero.
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Posted: October 25, 2013 Filed under: Diplomacy, Economics, History, U.S. News | Tags: Afghanistan, Iran, Middle East, National Review, Nobel Peace Prize, Obama administration, Syria, Victor Davis Hanson
Next year could be a frightening one, in the fashion of 1979–80
Victor Davis Hanson writes: The developing circumstances of our withdrawal from Afghanistan conjure up Vietnam 1975, with all the refugees, reprisals, humiliation, and emboldened enemies on the horizon, though this time there is no coastline for a flotilla of boat people to launch from. The Obama administration is debating no-fly zones over Syria; more likely, it will have the same discussion over Afghanistan soon, once the Taliban drops the diplomatic veneer and comes back into town. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 21, 2013 Filed under: History, War Room | Tags: Afghanistan, Boeing CH-47 Chinook, Osama bin Laden, Rowan Scarborough, Sikorsky UH-60 Black Hawk, Tangi Valley, United States Naval Special Warfare Development Group, Washington Times
Rowan Scarborough reports: Questions haunt the families of Extortion 17, the 2011 helicopter mission in Afghanistan that suffered the most U.S. military deaths in a single day in the war on terrorism.
The investigative file made available to The Washington Times show that the helicopter’s landing zone was not properly vetted for threats nor protected by gunships, while commanders criticized the mission as too rushed and the conventional Chinook chopper as ill-suited for a dangerous troop infiltration.
Every day, Charlie Strange, the father of one of the 30 Americans who died Aug. 6, 2011, in the flash of a rocket-propelled grenade, asks himself whether his son, Michael, was set up by someone inside the Afghan government wanting revenge on Osama bin Laden’s killers — SEAL Team 6.
“Somebody was leaking to the Taliban,” said Mr. Strange, whose son intercepted communications as a Navy cryptologist. “They knew. Somebody tipped them off. There were guys in a tower. Guys on the bush line. They were sitting there, waiting. And they sent our guys right into the middle.”
Doug Hamburger’s son, Patrick, an Army staff sergeant, also perished when the CH-47D Chinook descended to a spot less than 150 yards from where armed Taliban fighters watched from a turret. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted: October 20, 2013 Filed under: War Room | Tags: Afghan National Army, Afghanistan, Eid al-Adha, Hezbi Islami, Humvee, KUNAR, Kunar Province, Reuters, Taliban
Zuliyal, Kunar Province. Kunar, like other provinces along the border with Pakistan, is among the more insecure and volatile parts of Afghanistan.
Mohammad Anwar reports: An Afghan army special forces commander has defected to an insurgent group allied with the Taliban in a Humvee truck packed with his team’s guns and high-tech equipment, officials in the eastern Kunar province said on Sunday.
Monsif Khan, who raided the supplies of his 20-man team in Kunar’s capital Asadabad over the Eid al-Adha religious holiday, is the first special forces commander to switch sides, joining the Hezb-e-Islami organisation.
“He sent some of his comrades on leave and paid others to go out sightseeing, and then escaped with up to 30 guns, night-vision goggles, binoculars and a Humvee,” said Shuja ul-Mulkh Jalala, the governor of Kunar.
Zubair Sediqi, a spokesman for Hezb-e-Islami, confirmed that Khan had joined the group, saying he had brought 15 guns and high-tech equipment. Read the rest of this entry »