Robots and Pirates in the News (Ninja absent…but they’re Ninjas…so…)

There have been major news stories in the last couple of weeks involving robots and pirates making war.  The ninjas are staying out of the spotlight, but as that is their nature, this shouldn’t be noted as evidence that they aren’t very busy.

First up, the pirates…

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — Pirates who hijacked a crude oil tanker off the coast of Kenya are approaching a Somali port, the U.S. Navy says.

The Sirius Star — a crude “super tanker” flagged in Liberia and owned by the Saudi Arabian-based Saudi Aramco company — was attacked on Saturday more than 450 nautical miles southeast of Mombasa, Kenya.

The crew of 25, including British, Croatian, Polish, Filipino and Saudi nationals, are reported to be safe.

U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet Cmdr. Jane Campbell said the super tanker weighs more than 300,000 metric tons and “is more than three times the size of a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier.”

Oil industry insiders say a tanker of this size can carry up to 2 million barrels of oil, and the ship’s operator, Dubai-based Vela International Marine Ltd, says it is fully laden.

[full story]

That piracy has been on the rise off Africa’s east coast is nothing new.  The general lawlessness of the area contributes to, well, lawlessness, which is an environment in which the pirate thrives.

One of the problems with this piracy issues is that people (governments and private companies) have been giving into pirate ransom demands to release ships and crew.  This then funds the pirates to attack more and bigger ships.  That super tanker mentioned above has over $100,000,000 worth of oil on it, and enough to cause a major environmental problem  (the Exxon Valdex spilled about 10 million barrels, this tanker has about 2 million…but cleanup would be severely problematic, see: pirates).

Not to be outdone, the Robots have also been making news around the world…

Pakistan has summoned the US ambassador in Islamabad to protest at a US missile attack deep inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday that killed five people.

The attack, in Bannu district, killed five local militants, officials say.

Previous drone attacks have been in the strip of territory along the Afghan border known as the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata), a region where huge areas are under the control of militants rather than the central government.

But Bannu is in the North West Frontier Province where the government claims far more control.

“The American ambassador has been called to the Foreign Office to lodge a protest over the missile attack in Bannu,” a foreign ministry official told Reuters news agency.

The US embassy said that ambassador Anne Patterson would relay Pakistan’s concerns to Washington.

[full article]

Some intersting stuff there with the robots.  The U.S. has been using these unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV’s) or “flying robots” to take the fight to the enemy in places where it is quite difficult for leg-bearing humans to wander.

The question of using robots to fights one’s battles (which goes against something of the “warrior spirit”) is going to be an exercise left to the reader, but I can’t help but look at the news stories of the week and have the immediate reaction of…

…aim the robots at the pirates. 

Trust me, you want to get this whole thing resolved before the ninja make an appearance…which they won’t…poeple will just start dying.

With that truth in mind, you can see how the ninjas actually are in effect.  They’ve been a big part of the “Surge” in Iraq.  You don’t hear about exactly what they’ve done, and you won’t for years and years, but they’ve been very, very busy. 

WASHINGTON (CNN) — The dramatic drop in violence in Iraq is due in large part to a secret program the U.S. military has used to kill terrorists, according to a new book by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Bob Woodward.

The program — which Woodward compares to the World War II era Manhattan Project that developed the atomic bomb — must remain secret for now or it would “get people killed,” Woodward said Monday on CNN’s Larry King Live.

“It is a wonderful example of American ingenuity solving a problem in war, as we often have,” Woodward said.

In “The War Within: Secret White House History 2006-2008,” Woodward disclosed the existence of secret operational capabilities developed by the military to locate, target and kill leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq and other insurgent leaders.

National security adviser Stephen Hadley, in a written statement reacting to Woodward’s book, acknowledged the new strategy.

[full story]

And there you have it.

The absolute latest in robot, pirate, and ninja news.

Advertisements

Rick Noriega on FISA

I was just watching some videos for this previous post and I ran into the one below.

That video was posted in June.

This is the story [posted here], from this week.

WASHINGTON – The Senate Select Intelligence Committee is looking into allegations from two U.S. military linguists that the government routinely listened in on phone calls of American military and humanitarian aid workers serving overseas.

“These are extremely disturbing allegations,” said Committee Chairman Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., in a statement issued Thursday. “We have requested all relevant information from the Bush administration. Any time there is an allegation regarding abuse of the privacy and civil liberties of Americans it is a very serious matter.”

ABC News first reported the charges Thursday, citing one current and one former military linguist by name. They are contained in the book “The Shadow Factory,” to be published next week.

Rick Noriega was one of the guys they listened to.  His was some of the pillow-talk they recorded and passed around.  He didn’t like it.  Now he’s running for Senate.  Works for me.  Heckuva lot better’n Cornyn who spent 2004 talking about how great the war on Terror (in Iraq) was going, not fighting it in Afghanistan.

BTW, here is Cornyn on voting with Bush to approve warrantless wireless of the communications of American citizens.

Earlier this week,Vince Leibowitz of Capitol Annex
mentioned an article written on Texas Insider in which Senator Cornyn made clear his stand on FISA.

[John Cornyn:]

America’s elected leaders have a duty to keep the American people safe. We know that the ability to obtain the right information at the right time is critically important in our struggle against radical Islamic terrorists….”

Yeah right.

With all due respect, Mr. Cornyn, it is also the duty of our elected leaders to serve the people whom they represent and to protect our Constitutional rights. The warrantless wiretapping of American citizens is not only unconstitutional, it is also a mechanism only a police state would use. We elect Presidents in this great nation thank you. We do not install dictators or crown kings.

[full post]

To be clear, Obama also voted for that dang FISA bill.  Hopefully he’ll flip-flop on that now that we know what it has been used for.  I can understand why he’d vote for it to avoid the “weak vs his Mulin terrist brothers” nutters, but that’s about it.   It needs to be fixed.

Soon.

What You Doing With My Opium, Willis?!

A crop of 7,700 tonnes will produce around 1,100 tonnes of heroin – it basically works on a 7:1 ratio.The mystery is that the global demand for heroin is less than half that. In other words, Afghanistan only needs to produce 3,500 tonnes to satisfy every known heroin user on the planet.

Opium Production

Look at the graph, though.

For the past three years, production has been running at almost twice the level of global demand.The numbers just don’t add up.

There are two credible theories.

via BBC NEWS | The Reporters | Mark Easton’s UK.

Go peep the article for the thoeries.  I’m for the stockpiling one.  When times are good, go like gangbusters(bangers) and extract what you can.  But you don’t want to flood the market with product, as that would hurt prices.  OPEC knows this, so I would expect their neighbors in Afghanistan propably peep it as well.

BTW, Afghanistan is, strangely, the place where the War on Terror and the War on Drugs have become the exact same thing….but only as far as Heroin in concerned.  If we were to focus that Terror war back to Afghanistan (vs. Iraq) and that drug war to Afghanistan (vs. here in the U.S) and then we might be able to actually win them both.

And we would know that we have done so by looking that that graph above, and how it changes in the future.

“No Horse, No Revolution.”

Palin on Afghanistan

In CBS Interview, Palin Calls For Surge In Afghanistan – Horserace.

This is an excerpt from [and reaction to] an interview with Governor Palin from CBS  Spokeshead Katie Couric.  The question was regarding the difference in challenges between Iraq and Afghanistan.  This is a serious answer, allegedly.

Katie Couric: Why is it much more challenging there? Can you explain that?

Sarah Palin: The logistics that we are already suggesting here, not having enough troops in the area right now. The… things like the terrain even in Afghanistan and that border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, where, you know, we believe that– Bin Laden is– is hiding out right now and… and is still such a leader of this terrorist movement.

[Woah…what?  Who is “we”?  Sarah Palin knows where Osama bin laden is?  Awesome.  Please, somebody give her a shotgun and a plane and she can go get ’em. -ed ]

There… there are many more challenges there. So, again, I believe that… a surge in Afghanistan also will lead us to victory there as it has proven to have done in Iraq.

[Awesome.  We won in Iraq.  Again.  Sure, the guy who implemented the Surge [+20,000 troops] (and presided over the Sadr Sit-down [-60,000 insurgents/”terrorists”]) said that talk of “victory” was silly.  But hey, screw it.  We won.

Again. -ed]

And as I say, Katie, that we cannot afford to retreat, to withdraw in Iraq. That’s not gonna get us any better off in Afghanistan either.

[Umm, it’s the same military in both countries.  Moving troops from one country to another is what happens.  It’s not retreat when you just said, a second ago, that we would be movinng troops from a country where we “won”.   And you don’t just magaically create a new “surge” with a military has been under vast strain for the past 5 years.  Some of this was in the news, I think. -ed]

And as our leaders are telling us in our military, we do need to ramp it up in Afghanistan, counting on our friends and allies to assist with us there because these terrorists who hate America, they hate what we stand for with the… the freedoms, the democracy, the… the women’s rights, the tolerance, they hate what it is that we represent and our allies, too, and our friends, what they represent. If we were… were to allow a stronghold to be captured by these terrorists then the world is in even greater peril than it is today. We cannot afford to lose in Afghanistan.

[No, they don’t hate us for our “tolerance”, Mrs. Pray-Em-Straight.  They hate us because we keep accidentally killing their women and children and bombing their weddings.  The Taliban doesn’t do these things.  The Taliban just runs the government in half the country, and outlaws modern/liberal society.  This isn’t a problem that bombing can solve.  “Ramping it up”, whatever that means, doesn’t seem like an adequate strategy prescription.  “Generals, ramp it up!!!” isn’t going to work on a people who have been “conquered” by the best in history, yet have somehow kept living the same lifestyle in some of the roughest terrain on earth…for a few thousand years. -ed]

——-

Watch the video.  The joke has gone on long enough.  And now that McCain has ‘suspended’ his campaign because he is so important to Washington getting stuff done, my guess is that Governor Palin will be front and center of the campaign now.

Right?

Leading the team to victory. 

Where you at, girl?

The World This Week by Wah : September 14, 2008

Here is part 1 (and 1.1)  and 2 of last weeks roundup. Below you will find the links for each story mentioned.

Part 1.1

Part 1.2

Part 2

Read more for story links and details…

Part 1:

Executive Experience in Alaska

Info-Graphic Convention Coverage

Military Industrial Complex Shuts Down Olbermann and Matthews on MSNBC (owned by GE)

Bloons Tower Defense 3

Pot Kills Staph

A bit more on Pakistan

Another Upside of Global Warming

Russia, Georgia, Southpark

Tigh Visits Walter Reed

Game Review : PC : Spore 

Part 1.1:

Water Bears May Be Fruit of All Life

Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?

Part 2:

A Southpark Metaphor For McCain’s Speech

Palin to Right of Republicans on Climate Change

Sarah Palin is to Harriet Miers…

John McCain’s Funny Joke

A Second Theory as to Why John McCain Tapped Sarah Palin

Oh Yeah, and Obama Gave Some Speech

The John McCain “I’m a Victim” Express

A Simple Guide to Biased Reporting (re: Lipstick bullshit and Bonney Kapp)

On Joe Biden : 20 Years Ago

Anderson Cooper : 360 Degrees Of Suck

Lipstick on an Economy

McCain Makes New Pledge to American People

Wall Street Journal Joins News Censorship Game

What Talking About Issue Looks Like (Joe Biden)

“You can actually see Russia from Alaska” – Sarah Palin on her “international experience”

NOTES: A couple quick notes…I have another 20 minute or so of suff. Because of the time limits on YouTube (and Google doesn’t seem to be liking me) I think I’m going to shoot for a 20 minute limit next week. This was more of a proof-of-concept. Let me know what you think. If you absolutely have to see the rest, let me know and I’ll throw it up.   I should also have a much quicker turnaround next week, as my editing skillz just about doubled this last week.

A bit more on Pakistan

Pakistan has reportedly blocked a major fuel supply route for Western forces in Afghanistan in response to a raid by US forces in northwest Pakistan earlier this week, the defence minister said.

US forces attacked suspected fighter groups inside Pakistani territory on Wednesday, killing 20 people including women and children, Pakistani officials said, drawing a furious response from the Pakistani government.

Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar, Pakistan’s defence minister, said on Saturday: “We have told them that we will take action and we have already taken action today.

“We have stopped the supply of oil and this will tell how serious we are,” he told Pakistan’s Dawn Television.

Al Jazeera English – CENTRAL/S. ASIA – Pakistan blocks fuel to US forces.

This confirms that things are getting dicey in South Asia. I don’t think I posted about it, but my normal nom-de-net is “wah”.  So I was a bit struck when Wah, Pakistan got smacked a couple weeks back.

At least 63 people have been killed and dozens injured in twin suicide bombings outside Pakistan’s main munitions factory in the town of Wah, police say.

The attack is the deadliest on a military site in Pakistan’s history.

Police say one man is in custody for the attack, which occurred some 30km (18 miles) north-west of Islamabad.

A spokesman for the Pakistani Taleban said they had carried out the attacks, which he said were a response to army violence in the country’s north-west.

[full story]

This was significant because Wah is where Pakistan, most likely, keeps their nuclear bombs and stuff.

It’s their techology and military center, and their words, to quote Civilization, are “BACKED WITH NUCLEAR WEAPONS!”.

Iraq and Afghanistan War Updates (and of course juicy Palin bits)

Sorry, I’ve been slacking on the war updates. Some big things have happened, so let me dig ’em out of me email and let you know what the hell is going on and, as per, what I think about that.

First up is some good news, direct from al-Anbar province in Iraq.

RAMADI, Iraq, Sept. 1 (Xinhua) — Iraq on Monday took over security control of the western province of Anbar from U.S. troops, a provincial security source said.

In a ceremony held in the provincial government building in the provincial capital city Ramadi under tough security measures, the U.S. military transferred the security file of the Sunni province to Iraqi security forces.

Mowaffaq al-Rubaie, Iraq’s National Security Advisor announced the security transfer, saying “the Anbar province which once was one of the hottest areas in Iraq is celebrating today the transfer of security file.”

Ma’moun al-Alwani, the governor of Anbar and the commander of the U.S. troops in the province signed the agreement of the handover during the televised ceremony.

Anbar would be the 11th of Iraq’s 18 provinces to return to the control of Iraqi security forces. It would also be the first Sunni-dominated province to be handed over by the coalition forces.

Anbar, the country’s largest province, expanding from Baghdad all the way west to the borders with Syria, Jordan and Saudi Arabia, has been relatively calm since more than a year and a half ago after Sunni tribes and anti-U.S. insurgent groups turn up against al-Qaida in Iraq network, cooperating with the U.S. troops and Iraqi security forces.

[full story]

This is good news. We are giving them back their country. That is the only kind of victory we can fully achieve here. I say we go for it. Now is the time to make the decision about who is going to lead us in the “right” direction here.

Let me show you two links, both attached to the above story that illustrate the current divide.

U.S. proposes troops presence to 2015 in Iraq, Talabani

BAGHDAD, Aug. 27 (Xinhua) — Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said that the United States asked Iraq to keep its troops in the war-torn country until 2015, but negotiations set 2011 as a dead line, website of Talabani’s party posted on Wednesday.

“It was an American proposal that its troops to stay in Iraq to2015 while the Iraqi one suggested 2010, then we agreed on the date 2011,” Talabani said in an interview with the al-Hurra television from Washington late on Tuesday.

——

Iraq, U.S. eye troops withdrawal by end of 2011

BAGHDAD, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — Iraq and the U.S. negotiators have reached a draft agreement on a proposed withdrawal timetable and other issues on the U.S. military presence in Iraq beyond 2008, CNN reported Friday.

Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Haj Hamoud, who is also Iraq’s chief negotiator, told the channel that the U.S. troops would completely pull out by the end of 2011.

So the basic issue is that at the end of this year, there is no even-paper-thin, reason for the United States to continue having a military presence in Iraq. They are trying to hammer out such an agreement now. Iraq wants us gone anywhere from now to 2011. Bush wants us there to 2015. McCain wants at least 2013 and maybe 2113. Obama wants now to 2010 (maybe 2011).

I think that makes the choice easy. This war needs to be over. It’s reaching a point where we can hand it back over to the Iraqis we put in power. I think that’s about all we can ask for now. I seriously doubt we want to stay there until the Iraqi commit to fighting the “war on terror” (i.e. Iran and Syria) for us.

Now, this is all assuming (in one branch of future reality) that McCain wins and survives a full term. Say he wins and doesn’t. Then one Sarah Palin takes over. You may have heard of her by now. You may have even seen her speaking to people before. What you probably haven’t seen is her preaching before. Which brings us to Sarah Palin and Iraq. In this case, I’ll let her speak for herself.

Part 1

Part 2

[source and more on Palin’s church here…all part of the vetting process for the American people, it would seem]

The part that freaks me the fuck out, quite frankly, is where she is talking about sending her son off to war. She asks for only one thing (well, after asking them to pray for a $30,000,000,000 pipeline project)

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right also for this country.

That our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That’s what we have to make sure we are praying for. That there is a plan, and that plan is God’s plan.

Oh golly. Let me catch you up a bit here. I know it’s hard to follow what’s going on in the rest of the world while you are busy pumping oil and negotiating pipeline contracts (and raising 5 kids, and going to snowmobile races, and teaching abstinence classes…it’s a full life I know).

The “Plan” you are talking about in regards to Iraq was actually put together by the last Vice-President. That’s what he did. And no, he’s not God. Nor is Bush. And quite frankly, after following the action overseas for the last 7 years quite closely, I’m not sure you want to bring “God’s Plan” into it.

And frankly, Mrs. Palin, if something happens to McCain, it’s going to be your plan. Do you have one? Have you even thought about it, a little bit?

Really though, this kind of stuff freaks me out. There’s another quote out there about how she doesn’t really follow what’s going on. To have someone that doesn’t know (like Bush) surrounded by people with a serious agenda (the Neocons, rallying to McCain) scares the every-living shit out of me.

Now, as to Afghanistan….

“Victory in Afghanistan Is Impossible”

Gèrard Chaliand: No. Victory is impossible in Afghanistan. With the heralded reinforcements, there will be about 80,000 NATO soldiers on the ground. That is insufficient to control the terrain. We’re in a military impasse. In this country, one and a quarter times the size of France with an incomparably more difficult topography, we would have had to send more men and above all to have actively contributed to ameliorating economic conditions in the countryside. Today, we must also try to negotiate. There’s no other way out. The Taliban cannot win the war against NATO, which is just as incapable of eradicating the Taliban.

Outside of Kabul and several big cities, it’s the Taliban who control the local governments, and not foreign soldiers, most usually barricaded inside their little forts. In the south and east of the country, the Taliban – with the support of a large part of the local population – have succeeded in establishing a political infrastructure, parallel hierarchies that are the real power. Now experience shows that when it’s the opponent who exercises that power, the war is lost.

How did we get to that point?

The Taliban filled the vacuum left between 2002 and 2004, when the 15,000 GIs who were there were mainly busy with tracking bin Laden, when the other international forces remained concentrated in Kabul and nothing was done for the peasant populations, especially in the south and east (the Pashtun regions) even though those regions are the keys to the country.

International development aid, directed for the most part towards Kabul, represents less than 10 percent of the donations paid out. The reconstruction teams in the provinces represent fewer than 10,000 men for a population of 20 million rural residents!

Contrary to preconceptions, the Taliban have a better understanding of what is strategically important. They have understood that the conflict’s center of gravity is the sensitivity of Western public opinion – which they must impress by killing NATO – preferably American – soldiers. Our refusal to incur losses is notorious.

So we got that going for us. It turns out that when you stop one war half-way through to start another one that drags on for 10 times longer than you thought it would, that first, easy, half-way-through war comes back bigger and badder than ever. So much so that now we will have to re-fight it.

And most likely do so without the support of Pakistan. I know, I haven’t been writing about that either, but Musharraf is gone. It looks like the assassination of Bhutto is going to lead to Bhutto getting elected (hey, it’s Pakistani politics). Mostly there is disarray there, but a consistent lack of general support for U.S. goals in the region.

Afghanistan is also fucked for us because of stuff like this.

KABUL, Afghanistan — A United Nations human rights team has found “convincing evidence” that 90 civilians — among them 60 children — were killed in airstrikes on a village in western Afghanistan on Friday, according to the United Nations mission in Kabul.

If the assertion proves to be correct, this would almost certainly be the deadliest case of civilian casualties caused by any United States military operation in Afghanistan since 2001.

The United Nations statement adds pressure to the United States military, which maintains that 25 militants and 5 civilians were killed in the airstrikes, but has ordered an investigation after Afghan officials reported the higher civilian death toll.

The United Nations team visited the scene and interviewed survivors and local officials and elders, getting a name, age and gender of each person reported killed. The team reported that 15 people had been wounded in the airstrikes.

I saw some other news reports on this and it looks more like 9 or 10 people got killed. A whole family. Kids, parents, grandparents. The target they wanted wasn’t there. This was a village in sight of the U.S. base in the area. The house had been searched the day before, then the 2,000 lb. bombs. came. And the family disintegrated.

They quoted some of the survivors as saying that the U.S. was worse than the Russians. Worse than the Russian, can you believe it? They quoted the recent burning of Georgia (Atlanta), which they had just heard about, as proof of the “Amrikaans” barbarity.

Bush Leaves Biggest Budget Deficit Ever For Next President

WASHINGTON (CNN) — President Bush’s budget chief blamed the faltering economy and the bipartisan stimulus package for the record $482 billion deficit the White House predicted for the 2009 budget year.

White House projects record deficit for 2009 – CNN.com.

Jim Nussle, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, said the deficit would be about 3.3 percent of the nation’s gross domestic product, the measure of the nation’s total economy.

The fiscal year begins October 1, 2008.

The federal deficit is the difference between what the government spends and what it takes in from taxes and other revenue sources. The government must borrow money to make up the difference.

While the deficit would be a record in absolute dollar terms, Nussle said it would be below the 2004 deficit, 3.6 percent of GDP, and the record deficit of 1983, 6 percent of GDP, when compared with the size of the overall U.S. economy.

Now one needs to remember this is without including the money for Bush’s War or the one in Afghanistan.

For those who can’t say you can blame an economy on one person, you are right.  However, when that one person embodies a political ideology and follows through with that, and it tanks, horribly, you can hold him and it fully responsible.

Read more for why that is…

Continue reading

Some Bad Explosions in Afghanistan

Suicide Car Blast Kills 41 in Afghan Capital – NYTimes.com

KABUL, Afghanistan — A huge blast from a suicide car bomb at the gates of the Indian Embassy on Monday killed 41 people in the deadliest suicide car bombing since the American-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 ousted the Taliban.

Among the victims of the attack, the first in seven years on a regional diplomatic mission in Afghanistan, were at least four Indian citizens: the Indian defense attaché, a political counselor and two other Indian officials. Six Afghan police officers were also killed. Many of the rest appeared to be civilians.

In a statement Monday, President Karzai said the “enemies of peace in Afghanistan” wanted to hurt Kabul’s international relationships, “particularly with India.”

“Such attacks will not hamper Afghanistan’s relations with other nations,” Mr. Karzai said.

A spokesman for the Taliban, Zabiullah Mujahed, denied responsibility. “The suicide bomb attack was not carried out by Taliban, we strongly reject that accusation,” he said by telephone. “We don’t know who carried it out.”

The Taliban frequently disavows knowledge of attacks that cause heavy civilian casualties.

India, meanwhile, is a close ally of Afghanistan. It is building roads and power lines to the tune of $750 million here in what has become India’s biggest bilateral aid program ever.

It has opened consulates in several parts of the country, and promoted initiatives to offer scholarships for Afghan students.

A sad day for many.  It is an unfortunate truth to life that good deed do not body armor make.  The situation is Afghanistan seems to be stagnating, and stagnation in such a place will allow some very bad people to build very deep roots.

And were not doing such a great job at stopping that, either.

The other big bad explosion in Afghanistan this week came from us.

KABUL, Afghanistan — Local officials in eastern Afghanistan said Sunday that an American airstrike killed at least 27 civilians in a wedding party, most of them women and children and including the bride. Officials of the American-led coalition disputed the report, saying that the airstrike killed militants and that there was no evidence of women and children at the scene.

The attack early Sunday in the Deh Bala district of Nangarhar Province was the second in the past three days in which many civilian deaths were reported.

The president of Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai, has ordered an investigation into a helicopter strike on Friday in Nuristan Province in which the provincial governor said 22 civilians had been killed and 7 wounded.

The governor of Deh Bala district, Hamisha Gul, said the airstrike on Sunday came while a group of women and children were walking from the bride’s village, Kamalai, to the groom’s home. Tradition holds that women and children walk with the bride separately from the men.

Mr. Gul said residents had reported finding “so far 27 bodies, including two men, and the others are all women and children.”

He added, “The new bride is among the deaths.”

And so the war continues…

Heroism Knows No Age

FayObserver.com – Current Article Page

Master Sgt. Brendan O’Connor on Wednesday received the Distinguished Service Cross, the Army’s second-highest valor award, for his actions during a 17-hour battle in Afghanistan.

The 47-year-old Special Forces medical sergeant spoke with humor and humility after the medal was pinned on his uniform in a ceremony at Bank Hall on Fort Bragg.

“My word” O’Connor said, reacting to praise by a three-star Army general and a four-star Navy admiral. “My name is Brendan O’Connor, and I didn’t fully approve that message.”

In his self-effacing remarks, O’Connor apologized to his children for missing birthdays and thanked his wife, Margaret, for what she has done in raising their family in his absence.

Great stuff, sir.  Charlie Wilson sends his thanks for helping to clean up the mess.

It Ain’t Iraq That’s the Danger

VOA News – CIA Chief Says Al-Qaida Found Safe Haven in Pakistan  

The head of the US Central Intelligence Agency says al-Qaida has established a safe haven in the tribal areas near the border between Pakistan and Afghanistan, and that it presents a “clear and present danger” to the West. VOA’s Kent Klein reports from Washington.

CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden (File)
CIA Director Lt. Gen. Michael Hayden (File)

The CIA Director, Air Force General Michael Hayden, says if there were another terrorist attack against the United States, it would almost certainly originate from that region.

“What I can tell you about is the situation along the Afghanistan-Pakistan border, which presents a clear and present danger to Afghanistan, to Pakistan, and to the West in general and to the United States in particular,” said Michael Hayden.

General Hayden, interviewed on NBC’s Meet the Press, said al-Qaida has been using the advantage of that safe haven to train operatives who “look Western.”

BTW, “Clear and Present Danger” is a code word for start bombing now, or at least it leaves open that option.   Bush is bot-like in his devotion to his mangling of the Middle East, and McCain doesn’t seem to remember who it was that had the temerity to strike.  It wasn’t Huessein.  And it didn’t come from Iraq.

Also…when did Red Coleman start running the CIA?

General Hayden would neither confirm nor deny a recent US newspaper report that the United States is increasing attacks against al-Qaida suspects in the border region in anticipation that President Musharraf’s power will diminish soon. But he said the United States has not had a better partner in the war against terror than the Pakistani government.

And that is exactly why Musharraf lost the election.  And why it’s going so poorly.   Musharraf’s crackdowns, which the U.S. loves, cost him a lot of popular support.   Musharraf’s support for the U.S., which the U.S. loves, cost him a ton of popular support.  Then the Bhutto bombing solidified the opposition and then you got this.