Mr. Trump- Afghanistan Is Your War Now – The New York Times

“Yet, when it comes to the actual life-and-death responsibilities of the commander in chief — overseeing America’s vast war machine and sending men and women into conflict — Mr. Trump seems more like the delegator in chief. The latest evidence was his decision this week to give Defense Secretary Jim Mattis the authority to determine troop levels in Afghanistan, which could lead to an increase of as many as 5,000 troops, if proposals favored by Mr. Mattis and his generals go forward.

Mr. Mattis has acknowledged to Congress that the United States-led coalition is “not winning” in Afghanistan. It is not at all clear that adding 5,000 more troops — a roughly 50 percent increase over the current troop level of 9,800 — can make a difference, especially when the administration has yet to confront the basic problem of ensuring public safety and the larger political and economic issues that must be part of a comprehensive strategy to resolve the conflict.

What such a decision would do is reverse the drawdown President Barack Obama put in place and set a new policy of expanding involvement in a war that has already dragged on for 16 years, cost thousands of American and Afghan lives and consumed billions of dollars.”

It is a sad day indeed, when the comments are stronger and clearer than the editorial. Here are two comments I support:

Eric G

USA 4 hours ago

As an Afghan Vet, its nice to see someone actually talking critically about the war. The question? Why now? Years ago, while we were slogging it out under rosey predictions, it became clear that our leaders had concluded that Afghanistan was a lost effort and our Soldiers, my fellow Soldiers, were dying either for officers to punch their ‘combat ticket’, or in operations that were almost theatrical, deeply focused on killing, and then total abandonment once the initial attack stopped. Our hands were tied in the face of endemic corruption, local force exploitation and often severe criminality, that rapidly (and very clearly) undermined our strategic efforts – there is no way to build a better state than the Taliban by empowering people even more rapacious and greedy. All of this has been greeted by silence, and even the Times doesn’t seem to want to offer badly needed advice – cut our losses and get out. The War, and everything in Afghanistan, has been badly bungled for years. There is no fixing it, there is only delaying the return of the Taliban (and every power in the region is reaching out to the Taliban in acknowledgment of their expected ascension). The writing is on the wall, and has been for some time. The best policy on Afghanistan is an easy one: end it.

Bruce Rozenblit

is a trusted commenter Kansas City, MO 5 hours ago

We can’t win in Afghanistan because there is nothing there to win. There is no military solution. Afghanistan is far too rural and spread out to police to the point that the Taliban can be subdued. The political and social infrastructure is not in place carry out such policing. Afghanistan is an open ended conflict. That is, the Taliban have no time table. They aren’t on a schedule. Their cause is holy and they are perfectly happy to keep fighting as many decades into the future as necessary.

The only way to stop the Taliban is for the locals to not want to be Taliban, not support the Taliban, and shut off all corruption that aids the Taliban. We, as a nation, cannot affect any of this.

It’s time to let the Afghans determine their own destiny. We cannot and far too many have died trying.

The Politics of Bangladesh’s Genocide Debate, by David Bergman – The New York Times

“DHAKA, Bangladesh — In 1971, Bengali nationalists and the people of what was then called East Pakistan waged a war of independence against the Pakistani Army. The conflict culminated in the birth of a new nation, Bangladesh. The war, which lasted nine months, was a brutal one: Depending on the source, some 300,000 to three million people were killed, and millions were displaced.There is no question that there were many atrocities, including rape, deportation and massacres of civilians, carried out by the Pakistani Army, aided at times by pro-Pakistani militias. Some of these included members of the student wing of Jamaat-e-Islami, an Islamist party that remains a powerful force in Bangladesh today. There is an academic consensus that this campaign of violence, particularly against the Hindu population, was a genocide.”

Source: The Politics of Bangladesh’s Genocide Debate – The New York Times

Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman – by Alissa Rubin, The New York Times

“KABUL, Afghanistan — Farkhunda had one chance to escape the mob that wanted to kill her. Two Afghan police officers pulled her onto the roof of a low shed, above the angry crowd.From Our AdvertisersBut then the enraged men below her picked up poles and planks of wood, and hit at her until she lost her grip and tumbled down.Her face bloodied, she struggled to stand. Holding her hands to her hair, she looked horrified to find that her attackers had yanked off her black hijab as she fell. The mob closed in, kicking and jumping on her slight frame.Continue reading the main storyRelated Coverage Kabul residents at the riverbank Friday where a woman’s body was set afire after she was stoned and beaten to death the day before. A Day After a Killing, Afghans React in Horror, but Some Show ApprovalMARCH 20, 2015 Afghan women protested outside the Supreme Court in Kabul on Tuesday, demanding justice for a woman named Farkhunda who was beaten to death last week after being falsely accused of blasphemy. Open Source: Afghan Protesters Demand Justice for Woman Killed by MobMARCH 24, 2015 Rika, whose stepmother poured acid on her face when she was a girl, in her room in the Women for Afghan Women shelter in Kabul. A Thin Line of Defense Against ‘Honor Killings’MARCH 2, 2015 Police training in Kabul. The hiring of policewomen has been a priority for Western funding organizations. Afghan Policewomen Struggle Against CultureMARCH 1, 2015The tormented final hours of Farkhunda Malikzada, a 27-year-old aspiring student of Islam who was accused of burning a Quran in a Muslim shrine, shocked Afghans across the country. That is because many of her killers filmed one another beating her and posted clips of her broken body on social media. Hundreds of other men watched, holding their phones aloft to try to get a glimpse of the violence, but never making a move to intervene. Those standing by included several police officers.”

Source: Flawed Justice After a Mob Killed an Afghan Woman – The New York Times

Activist Targeting Modi’s Government Becomes Government’s Target – The New York Times

“MUMBAI — One of India’s best-known human rights activists, Teesta Setalvad, was brewing her morning tea on July 14 when she got a telephone call from her security guard.

“C.B.I. is at the gate, ma’am,” the guard said, referring to the Central Bureau of Investigation, the federal police.

Before long, 16 agents were searching her family’s compound on the shore of the Arabian Sea in Juhu, an upscale suburb of Mumbai. They searched all day, then all night, poring over Ms. Setalvad’s diaries, opening her jewelry boxes, digging through the linen closet. Not even the bedroom drawers of Ms. Setalvad’s daughter escaped scrutiny. The agents finally called it quits at sunrise, leaving with a haul of 3,179 documents.”

via Activist Targeting Modi’s Government Becomes Government’s Target – The New York Times.

Bill O’Reilly: Benjamin Netanyahu the antithesis of Barack Obama

This writer finally registered at the New Haven Register website, to leave a comment on Bill O’Reilly’s Op-Ed piece Benjamin Netanyahu the antithesis of Barack Obama, published March 7, 2015. Here is the gist of my comment: This piece on Netanyahu is actually one of the best things Bill O’Reilly has written in a long time, even though it is still demagogic in several places. defines demagogue as:  “a leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.”

            There are numerous problems with O’Reilly’s analysis. Let’s start with the fact that President Obama has not refused to tell the public what he wants or is thinking over Iran. It is not wise to print such falsehoods, and it is sad that people get away with it, unchallenged by the press. The New Haven Register will lose discerning customers by supporting such ideologically biased and unscrupulous writers.

            O’Reilly also wrote, “Iran is led by some of the world’s most dangerous villains.”  He makes such grandiose statements without supporting them. It has recently been written in the New York Times that it is the troops of Iran, with US air support, that are enabling the Iraqi Army to push back ISIS. There is an old saying, that the enemy of my enemy is my friend. Back in the 1950’s, the US helped overthrow a democratically elected leader in Iran to put the Shah in power,  just to give one example of greater complexity regarding villainy. From Wikipedia, “In 1951 Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister. He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the US had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War.[92]  After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and Sultanistic. Arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition.”   American exceptional interest in oil apparently was greater than our exceptional interest in democratic procedures in Iran.

            Today, a nuclear pact with Iran to keep it from making a nuclear bomb, would make the region safer, because a war with Iran over such issues would guarantee that they develop nuclear weapons, and then so would the rest of the neighborhood want and develop nuclear weapons. Then there could be hell to pay. A nuclear arms race in the middle east would make the United States and the world less secure. It is absurd to suggest that Obama has been hiding such thinking. There have been numerous speeches, statements and articles.

            O’Reilly rants and raves at President Obama, while ignoring that Netanyahu is building illegal settlements on Palestinian lands, making peace with the Palestinians impossible, and galvanizing the Arab world, helping ISIS recruit, and hurting US interests.  These missing points are examples of how O’Reilly simplifies complicated issues, reducing them to a series of chest beatings, and unsupported claims. He leaves out critical parts of the puzzle.

            O’Reilly scores points when he criticizes Netanyahu, and Senator Mitch McConnell, but doesn’t mention that Netanyahu and the Republican congress insulted President Obama and the American people by presenting Netanyahu to address congress to speak against our own President, and our country’s foreign policy, without notifying the State Department or requesting permission, which protocol demanded. It is the President’s right by the constitution to run U.S. foreign policy.

            It is a pity that the New Haven Register supports the rants of such ideologues as Bill O’Reilly. The Register should be helping their readers discern fact from fiction. It is confusing as to why they support or even put up with the demagoguery displayed in this latest O’Reilly op-ed.



Are massacres often connected to increases in population? Anecdotal evidence abounds.

This horrible story makes no sense. I immediately wondered, is this murder and mayhem  due also to the explosion of the population. Sure enough, from the NY Times comments,:

LB in Florida
“Pakistan is a failed state. The corrupt, inept government made a deal with the devil when it got into bed with the Taliban many years ago. Now the chickens have come home to roost. Couple that with incredible rates of population growth–188 million people, up from 75 million only 40 years ago. No jobs, no hope, religious extremism….hiding bin Laden a mile from the “West Point” of Pakistan….what do you expect from a disaster?”
120 Recommended

In one of Pakistan’s bloodiest attacks in recent years, scores of people were killed after Taliban gunmen stormed a school in the northwestern city of Peshawar, officials said, and hundreds of students remained trapped inside.|By Salman Masood