Kabul by Morning, Up From Jalalabad

In the aftermath of the murders in Afghanistan, which became the site of a Taliban attack when government officials visited, the official line is that they will not affect the withdrawal strategy, and the unofficial line is that factions in the White House are pushing for an earlier withdrawal. Obama and Cameron are meeting in DC on Wednesday to reaffirm the 2013 pullout. The Guardian has an overview of civilian casualties, which are up 8% from last year.

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135 replies
  1. 1
    ant says:

    why are we still there?

  2. 2
    Schlemizel says:

    Only the glib response from the Sec Def. Admittedly I can’t remember them all & none before McNamara but do you have to be a POS to be Sec Def or does it come with the job?

  3. 3
    Raven says:

    I’ve seen a couple of reports that the trooper suffered a TBI in Iraq. Someone needs their ass hung out to dry for him being in the position to do what he did.

  4. 4
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    “Glib” is exactly the right word.

    I hoped for something better from Panetta. “Yeah, well, isn’t the first time, won’t be the last time, whatchagonna do?” Paraphrasing but not by much. If his words make me scarlet with rage, I can’t even fathom how an Afghan citizen would react.

    Well, actually, I think I can — and that scares me.

  5. 5
    amk says:

    On BBC, one afghan correspondent made a good point how the US government is not reaching out to the local affected and rightly outraged community and how they shut the leadership shut themselves up inside their base and in DC.

  6. 6
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Raven:

    Agreed. But even if he didn’t, he was still (or so I have heard) on his fourth deployment — three in Iraq and this one in Afghanistan. How does anyone, even the best-trained and best-adjusted, stay sane with multiple tours in war zones?

  7. 7
    Cassidy says:

    “Yeah, well, isn’t the first time, won’t be the last time, whatchagonna do?”

    It may sound glib, but this is an unfortunate side effect to long term warfare. Atrocities will happen.

  8. 8
    amk says:

    Can’t edit the comment. Site needs some attention, cole.

  9. 9
    Schlemizel says:

    @SiubhanDuinne:
    he said EXACTLY “isn’t the first time, won’t be the last time”

    but remember – they hate us for our freedom . . . like the freedom to randomly invade their countries, torture and kill without consequences and then glibly shrug and say EH?

    This is well beyond being a tone deaf bastard, straying well into Rumsfeld territory of assholishness. He was never my favorite functionary but was he always an asshole?

  10. 10
    Cassidy says:

    @amk: Holy shit. He mentioned weeks ago that a site rebuild would be taking place. Would you all stop fucking whining because you don’t get a precious button here or there!? Did you pop some money in the tip jar to help with the site rebuild? Fucking entitled people, I swear.

  11. 11
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cassidy:
    True & it is ALWAYS ignored BEFORE when we want to get our war on. But it was completely inappropriate to say it that way at this point in time.

    When he should have been expressing concern for the dead, regret for the incident, anger over the breakdown in military discipline – any of a dozen better responses – he chose instead to minimize the humanity of the civilian population of a country we invaded (rightly or wrongly) and still occupy by force of arms.

  12. 12
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Cassidy:

    Do we really need the Secretary of Defence saying these words to the world media?

  13. 13
    amk says:

    @Cassidy: A feedback is not fucking whining, you douche. What “donating” to site has got anything to do with it ?

    Idjit.

  14. 14
    Cassidy says:

    But it was completely inappropriate to say it that way at this point in time.

    Who’s that for, though? No amount of hand wringing will placate the Afghans. Fuck, they’ll riot over just about anything, not to imply they shouldn’t be angry over this one, but the perpetual anger machine wears kinda thin at some point.

  15. 15
    Punchy says:

    And soon comes a major terrorist attack to avenge the deaths of the Afghanis and general imperialism of the US. And the circle of terrorism comes round full-circle…

  16. 16
    aimai says:

    The job of the secdef is not to instruct the world in our immense Cynicism and Indifference Storage Advantage. It would be to channel, for the President and the American people, the appropriate amount of (fake? cynical? self serving?) regrets. The assumption he probably made is that the sole important audience is an American one, not an international one. Jeebus christ on talking points but the whole point of diplomacy is to “lie in state.” No one wants to know what the Sec Def thinks or feels really.

    aimai

  17. 17
    Cassidy says:

    @amk: You’re whining. And, a site rebuild is going on and some people here donated to help defray the costs for our host.

    Site needs some attention, cole.

    1) Ignorant because a rebuild is going on.
    2) Whiny and condescending. You weren’t giving feedback.

    Whiny entitled shit.

  18. 18
    PurpleGirl says:

    @Raven: On the news this morning, he’s in Afghanistan after THREE tours in Iraq and he suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury on the third tour.

    Panetta: Why was he on another tour of duty?

  19. 19
    amk says:

    @Cassidy: LOL. The CD burns.

  20. 20
    handsmile says:

    Juan Cole’s “Informed Comment” is one of my book-marked websites for shrewd and well-sourced analysis on these subjects.

    http://www.juancole.com/

    An excerpt from his post today on the Kandahar atrocity:

    It should be remembered that frequency and duration of deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan were substantially increased by then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. As a result of the Bush administration’s frenetic pursuit of multiple wars abroad, the small professional military of the US was put under enormous strain. Deployments were increased from a year to 18 months, and multiple deployments became common. Because of the prevalence of roadside bombs as an insurgent weapon of choice, brain injuries in Iraq and Afghanistan sky-rocketed. The murky military occupations of countries where young US troops had little local knowledge produced paranoia and widespread Islamophobia, sometimes reinforced by evangelical hatemongering among the troops. British officers who served with Americans in Iraq were shocked and appalled at the sheer racism they often encountered among their US colleagues, complaining that Americans viewed locals as Untermenschen, a lesser race as the Nazis would have put it. Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome often went untreated….
    ()
    The rogue staff sergeant snapped and did a horrible thing. But it is too soon to conclude that he was acting alone or that there wasn’t a vendetta between US troops at his forward operating base near Qandahar and the villagers he attacked. And it is way too soon for Panetta to put it all on him, and to decline to reconsider how the US deals with the horrible toll that war takes on those Americans sent to fight it.

    Also, a later post notes that the war criminal Dick Cheney has cancelled a speaking engagement in Toronto because of personal security concerns. Cole suggests a collection be taken up to send him to speak in Baghdad. I’m in.

  21. 21
    Cassidy says:

    @amk: LOL. The whiny entitled shit burns.

  22. 22
    Cassidy says:

    @aimai: I get what you guys are saying and you’re right. I can also see an exasperated SecDef who knows that nothing he says will be placating so it’s easier to get it done without mincing words.

  23. 23
    Gypsy Howell says:

    Why were we ever there?

    And as for this:

    No amount of hand wringing will placate the Afghans. Fuck, they’ll riot over just about anything, not to imply they shouldn’t be angry over this one, but the perpetual anger machine wears kinda thin at some point.

    No amount of hand wringing will placate the Americans. Fuck, they’ll go to war over just about anything, not to imply they shouldn’t be angry over 9/11, but the perpetual anger machine wears kinda thin at some point.

    FTFY

  24. 24
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    Whiny entitled shit.

    LOL. The CD burns.

    LOL. The whiny entitled shit burns

    I love the smell of a good tickle fight in the morning.

  25. 25
    amk says:

    @handsmile:

    British officers who served with Americans in Iraq were shocked and appalled at the sheer racism they often encountered among their US colleagues, complaining that Americans viewed locals as Untermenschen, a lesser race as the Nazis would have put it.

    Evangelization of the military along with the usual US exceptionalism arrogance taking its toll. You don’t see the other troops of ISAF making news in such a horrendous way.

  26. 26
    wilfred says:

    How about a rational, national public debate on what the best interests of the United States really are and should be?

    We could start by asking what the point was of the SURGE and whether it succeeded or failed?

    We are already talking to the Taliban and the population hates us for good reason.

  27. 27
    MattF says:

    @handsmile: Not actually OT: Note Cole’s current post on Evil Dick Cheney deeming Toronto ‘too dangerous’ to visit.

  28. 28
    peach flavored shampoo says:

    complaining that Americans viewed locals as Untermenschen, a lesser race as the Nazis would have put it.

    And when Rush Limbaugh is on the radio every f*cking day on Armed Forces Radio, this should be expected.

  29. 29
    Kirbster says:

    Sec. Panetta’s statement was just a little too close to Donald Rumsfeld’s dismissive “Shit happens” for me, even if it wasn’t meant that way.

  30. 30
    MattF says:

    Anyone else think of “Heart of Darkness” when they heard of the massacre? “Exterminate all the brutes.”

  31. 31
    RP says:

    “isn’t the first time, won’t be the last time”

    I don’t know…this seems refreshingly honest to me. I don’t interpret it as “who cares?,” but rather “this is the inenvitable result of endless war.”

  32. 32
    aimai says:

    @Cassidy:

    Oh for christ’s sake–what fucking prima donnas these guys are. One of the things I really admire about President Obama is that the man has taken more shit from people for just breathing–and he never lets us see him sweat. He never mistakes his personal situation for anything other than…personal. If the Secretary of Defense doesn’t know that no one cares how difficult his job is, or that he can get pissy before his morning coffee, he should be fired and they should hire someone with some god damned backbone and training in delivering his lines in a monotone.

    aimai

  33. 33
    Cassidy says:

    @Gypsy Howell: You didn’t fix anything. The two aren’t mutually exclusive. You’re right about Americans. For liberals their wasn’t enough sack cloth and flagellation, for conservatives he dared to recognize that brown people are people…I can see the SecDef saying “fuck it”, no one will be happy. And the Afghans still riot because someone ate a grill cheese sandwich that might have had the image of Mohammed.

    Evangelization of the military

    That’s entirely wrong. It has nothing to do with religion or even conservatism. It’s a very common facet of occupational warfare that the occupiers view the local populace as part of the enemy. “You can’t tell them apart”, “why won’t you tell us who the bad guys are”, etc…it wears thin after a while. At it’s core, it’s a survival mechanism.

  34. 34
    Cassidy says:

    @aimai: I don’t think it’s prima donna behavior to recognize that there is no right thing to say here, so you might as well keep it KISS.

  35. 35
    Rosalita says:

    …Kabul, I’ll be there…

    sorry, just couldn’t not finish the lyric.

  36. 36
    Bootlegger says:

    Did I miss anything?

    The Balloon Juice NCAA pools, with something for everyone:

    Ladies.

    Gentlemen.

    Oddfellows.

  37. 37
    Cassidy says:

    @peach flavored shampoo: Was still drinking my coffee. I’m a bit grouchy in the mornings.

  38. 38
    Schlemizel says:

    @Cassidy:
    There may not be a right thing to say but “shit happens” is sure as hell the wrong thing to say. It was wrong when Rummy said it & it is still wrong.

    We know shit happens. The time to recognize that is before you howl for blood. Once we are in country & trying to win “hearts and minds” when shit happens you better be “very concerned” you better “want to get to the bottom of this, see that justice is done & look for ways to prevent it from happening again” and you better let the little brown ones know that so they are less likely to think you only see them as the little brown ones.

    Yes they already think we are giant assholes but why confirm their suspicions? Why not give the undecideds a reason to not go against us? Shit happens sounds like we don’t care and we won’t mind when it happens again and again and again. Sincerity is important if you don’t have it fake it.

  39. 39
    gypsy howell says:

    @Cassidy:

    And the Afghans still riot because someone ate a grill cheese sandwich that might have had the image of Mohammed.

    Gosh, I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that they’ve been invaded, bombed, droned, occupied and murdered by our military for the last 10 years.

  40. 40
    Chris says:

    @Cassidy:

    That’s entirely wrong. It has nothing to do with religion or even conservatism. It’s a very common facet of occupational warfare that the occupiers view the local populace as part of the enemy. “You can’t tell them apart”, “why won’t you tell us who the bad guys are”, etc…it wears thin after a while. At it’s core, it’s a survival mechanism.

    Here’s a NYTimes article from 2004 that I got from another left-wing blog – about Dutch troops in Iraq, the somewhat different behavior they displayed compared with their American counterparts, and the results. Don’t know if things remained that way all through the occupation, but I thought the article was very much worth the reat at the time.

  41. 41
    Cassidy says:

    @gypsy howell: Maybe. I never said they don’t have a right to be pissed about things, especially this latest one. But when you react the same way whether it’s a massacre or a stubbed toe, it loses it’s meaning. And, as in the case of Panetta, it causes people to take your response as less than serious.

    @Chris: I’ll take a read later when I have more time. I have a friend who is a Dutch Marine so I’m curious.

  42. 42
    Elizabelle says:

    @handsmile:

    Cheney cancelling an engagement in Toronto?

    I am honestly surprised that he even leaves the country.

  43. 43
    Paul in KY says:

    @RP: A very callous comment, IMO. Also stupid, in that the comment will make it to Afganistan.

    Some of our troops may die, because of his flippant comments.

  44. 44
    Cassidy says:

    @Schlemizel: I get you. Like I said, I honestly can see the thought process behind this one. It wasn’t the best response, obviously, but I think we’ve all had that moment.

  45. 45
    Corner Stone says:

    British officers who served with Americans in Iraq were shocked and appalled at the sheer racism they often encountered among their US colleagues, complaining that Americans viewed locals as Untermenschen, a lesser race as the Nazis would have put it

    Not to make light of any atrocity, but I for one am not about to take any shit from the fucking British about how local populations are viewed.

  46. 46
    Elizabelle says:

    @peach flavored shampoo:

    Yeah, that’s a huge reason to get Rush off of Armed Forces radio.

    Didn’t someone mention a soldier, just back from Afgh or Iraq, who listened intensely to Rush? A thread within the past 6-7 days.

  47. 47
    daveNYC says:

    @Cassidy: Even if it was a ‘that momemnt’ moment, he gets paid the big bucks to make sure he doesn’t have a ‘that moment’.

  48. 48
    Corner Stone says:

    And the Afghans still riot because someone ate a grill cheese sandwich that might have had the image of Mohammed.

    Hmmm…maybe the British have a point after all.

  49. 49
    Cassidy says:

    @daveNYC: We’re all human.

  50. 50
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Corner Stone: No, you see, when Brits go overseas they spread _civilization_. Not like those Yanks, whot whot.

  51. 51
    Schlemizel says:

    @daveNYC:
    Yup – I have to believe there are times the President would like to look at a reporter and just flat out say “are you fucking kidding me you fucking moron?” But he knows he can’t so he has to be nice & ask him if he really things a President wants higher gas prices in an election year.

    We all may complain about those folks not being completely open & honest but they have a huge job to do that requires them to be prepared at all times & to be aware that any damn thing they say reaches well beyond the end of the bar where such talk would make sense.

    BTW – just because the sound bite came out this morning does not mean they were camped outside Leon’s bedroom waiting from him to emerge for his morning pea. That could have been yesterday afternoon or evening but thats still no excuse.

  52. 52
    Democratic Nihilist, Keeper Of Party Purity says:

    Just heard the douche from the WSJ on the radio reporting from Kabul. Says that the massacre was no big deal, the Afghans expected to make sacrifices and that everything was business as usual.

    The moderate wingnut DJ was taken aback, referring to it as an “unusual” report. More like wholly fictitious. I was surprised to see that Bush still has some True Believer (R) devotees out there. That one would find them working for the WSJ is to be expected, of course.

  53. 53
    The Very Reverend Crimson Fire of compassion says:

    @Cassidy: Care to elaborate on what exactly constitutes the Afghans’ “stubbed toe”? What trivial bit of nonsense from us have they reacted in this way to? I would love to hear your take on what constitutes “overreaction” in an occupied nation?

  54. 54
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Cassidy:

    Who’s that for, though? No amount of hand wringing will placate the Afghans. Fuck, they’ll riot over just about anything,

    Silly Afghans, rioting over just about anything involving a foreign military occupation of their country. If the situation was reversed, and the US was occupied by a Central Asian and Muslim army which routinely blew up our wedding parties, you can bet that the Americans would be much better behaved and more docile.

  55. 55
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Chris:

    Re that article about the Dutch soldiers, this jumped out at me: “Instead of armored vehicles, the Dutch drive vehicles that leave them exposed to the people around them. To encourage interaction with local residents, they go bare-headed and are forbidden to wear mirror sunglasses.”

    The British practice the same approach: whenever possible, berets instead of helmets, and no mirrored sunglasses. They found that in the long run, they were both far safer and more effective if they appeared to the locals as fellow human beings rather than as armored automatons (which is the American approach). The Americans have made a fetish of “force protection” to the detriment of the overall mission — yes, it’s all well and good that you never want to lose a US soldier, but if your over-all goal is not incurring any US deaths, then why not just stay at home? If, on the other hand, your goal is to get the locals on your side, then you have to reach out and show some vulnerability.

  56. 56
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Cassidy:

    It wasn’t the best response, obviously, but I think we’ve all had that moment.

    We aren’t, however, all the Secretary of Defense of a country engaged in a decade long foreign military occupation after one of our soldiers massacred civilians. If that’s your job, you simply can’t have that moment. The stakes are too high. If you can’t do the job, you should leave it to someone who can.

  57. 57
    Schlemizel says:

    @Rafer Janders:
    The last time my kid was there he & his team drove around in Hilux pickup trucks and often wore local head gear as opposed to helmets & body armor. There job was to make inroads with locals & build relationships. They often ended up putting themselves at extra risk because of this but felt it was required. The locals saw the transformer-like monsters in full battle rattle as other-worldly and inhuman. Apparently the Army has forgotten this lesson from early on.

  58. 58
    Corner Stone says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    after one of our soldiers massacred civilians.

    Including the 9 children allegedly shot in their beds. Kind of hard to swallow a “shit happens” comment from SecDef.

  59. 59
    samara morgan says:

    @ant: because Our Crazy Ex-Girlfriend Israel is already shitting bricks over our ignominous exit from Iraq.
    More american blood for Israel.
    Afghanistan has never been in strategic “American interests”….and COIN already failed.
    tant pis for the next bunch of American soljahs to get turned into halal hamburger for Israel.

    you missed the significance of the 2013 move-up from 2014, mixie.
    The 2013 deadline is because thats when Imran Khan gets american lapdog Zardaris job.
    Khan hates America, he is the guy that led the Arab Spring style sit-in that closed the NATO supply routes last year, and he is currently suing America over droning Pak civilians in the international court.
    He is running on a campaign of hatred for america. we will lose our bases there, and we wont get any permanent bases in A-stan, just like Iraq.
    but if O wins, i predict the withdrawal gets stepped up. this is all kabuki so Our Crazy Ex-Friend Israel doesnt kick off WWIII. Its the only leverage Israel has to deny O a second term. If O wins, Bibi gets bitchslapped to the wall and the Palestinians get a state.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Can you point me to where Panetta’s response is? I didn’t see it in any of the stories that Cole linked to.

  61. 61
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Cassidy:

    But when you react the same way whether it’s a massacre or a stubbed toe, it loses it’s meaning.

    Hmmm…I’m not aware of any rioting over a stubbed toe. Perhaps I missed the news that day? Could you provide a link to this stubbed toe incident? Assuming, of course, that there is one and that you’re not just making shit up to be a deliberately contrarian jerk.

  62. 62
    samara morgan says:

    @Schlemizel: as-salamu alayykum
    does your son ever talk about why we were there for 11 years? In his opinion, what does your son think the mission was?

  63. 63
    samara morgan says:

    Also the shooter was from the same base as the Afghan Kill Squad.
    membah them?

    the longer this goes on, the more atrocities there will be, and they will scale up.
    Nine dead children may be the tipping point to the slippery slope of Operation Frequent Wind Redux (the Fall of Saigon).
    i dont know.

  64. 64
    samara morgan says:

    i kno, sooner was there too, but he seems to have swallowed the COIN load.

  65. 65
    Corner Stone says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    He said this “wasn’t the first and won’t be the last” of this kind of horrible event, adding “I do not believe there is any reason to change our strategy at this time.”

    Panetta, War is Hell

  66. 66
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    I think he’s referring to the Koran incident and the subsequent riots, which a lot of atheist commenters here were saying was ridiculous since it was “just a book” and the Afghans shouldn’t get so upset about it all.

  67. 67
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Ah, of course. Defiling a people’s most precious and revered cultural and religious relic, especially when committed by an invading army, is of course exactly the same as stubbing a toe. Silly of me not to have realized.

    Just like if a Muslim army occupied the South and started burning Bibles. Americans would be pretty accepting of that. We’d never respond with violence.

  68. 68
    Watusie says:

    LOVE the title.
    Only thing that I know, is just that I’ve been had.

  69. 69
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Rafer Janders:

    Defiling a people’s most precious and revered cultural and religious relic, especially when committed by an invading army, is of course exactly the same as stubbing a toe.

    Well, we tried to explain that, but good luck convincing a militant atheist that burning a holy book is anything but the best idea ever or that maybe Afghans reacted badly to it for a reason other than the total irrationality that all believers demonstrate.

    ETA: I should say that I can’t remember if Cassidy himself was one of the people making those arguments, so pre-apologies if I’m remembering wrong and he was not.

  70. 70
    THE says:

    Well I know I’d go berserk if anyone burned “The Origin of Species.”

  71. 71
    RP says:

    He said this “wasn’t the first and won’t be the last” of this kind of horrible event, adding “I do not believe there is any reason to change our strategy at this time.”

    The context makes it a lot worse, so I retract my earlier comment.

  72. 72
    Cassidy says:

    Sorry, had to get dressed for work. Yes, I was referring to the Koran burning. It wasn’t malicious and the response was silly.

  73. 73
    Cassidy says:

    @Mnemosyne: I wasn’t part of that particular conversation, I don’t think; I’m not a “militant” atheist. I understand it’s a holy book. I just don’t see the outrage over an accident. It wasan’t a malicious act and I think reasonable people could have taken a moment to look at it. The Afghans weren’t very reasonable.

  74. 74
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Cassidy:

    Context is everything. We say it’s an accident. The Afgans see it in the contex of a decade-long foreign occupation, and multiple incidents of disrespect such as the recent case of US forces pissing on the bodies of dead Afghan fighters, and, for whatever bizarre reasons peculiar to Afghna psychology which is in no way similar to how any other human beings would feel, don’t quite believe us.

    Let’s put it this way: I’m your next-door neighbor. I frequently shoot up your house. I bomb your daughter’s sweet sixteen birthday party. I kill your uncle, and am photographed desecrating his corpse. Then one day I come by and say hey, by the way, I burned your wedding album when I was taking out some trash — but that one was totally an accident.

    Feel any better?

  75. 75
    Elie says:

    This was a horrible murderous act, undertaken cooly, with planning and night vision glasses. He walked over a mile to the first village and then back a mile to the next village. Then cooly turned himself in. Hardly sounds like a unwinding, decompesated person.

    This was preceded by the incident of GIs urinating on dead Afghani soldiers and carelessly burning Korans — unmindful of the danger US troops are in and the danger they put their own colleagues in? (I question)

    I am not sure what the aich is going on. Some have been casting acusations about the base this guy was affiliated with in WA state. Who knows? Also, is our Army now filled with troops that at the minimum show very little discipline and concern for the safety of their own collegues? Or is there something a bit weirder going on? (to what end, I don’t know.)

  76. 76
    Daaling says:

    Leave it to mistermix to use this for yet another installment of one of his ridiculous dot connecting exercises.
    A soldier with past head trauma went bezerk and killed people. Therefore all war is bad and we should end all war now…..sigh. The stupid it burns.

  77. 77
    Elie says:

    @Cassidy:

    By itself, your rationalization of this act might pass. Connected with the pissing on dead bodies and now this — Hmmm – there is a pattern here, doncha think? And yes, atrocities are committed in each war…usually as part of the “action”. There were no active missions in the Kandahar region a couple of nights ago. This was “premeditated” and cooly planned.

    Aryan Nation anyone?

  78. 78
    Elie says:

    @Daaling:

    I would hardly call this soldier’s behavior, (as currently described), as “going berserk”. It was a planned, controlled and intentional exercise.

    We need to be really careful in investigating this and the other incidents that have been unfolding this year. It is not some story about War is Hell — at least that is not the whole story my gut tells me. There is something more here.

  79. 79
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elie:

    Aryan Nation anyone?

    You’ve said this a couple times now, and included a link to some action involving Tim McVeigh IIRC.
    What evidence do you have to keep repeating this assertion?

  80. 80
    Cassidy says:

    @Rafer Janders: I get what your saying. And by no means am I saying that the Afghans don’t have very legitimate reason to be angry. OTOH, I think context is important also. The burning of the Korans was not a malicious act, yet the response was as equal, if not more aggressive, than the response to this act of murder. Regardless of legitimacy, when you go to 11 over every issue, to include percieved slights and insults, the effectiveness of your feelings starts to dwindle.

    I would hardly call this soldier’s behavior, (as currently described), as “going berserk”. It was a planned, controlled and intentional exercise.

    Should probably be careful here. This could be something as simple as frontal lobe dmaage from the TBI altering his personality. He could be a good guy who snapped after 4 deployments. He could be a raging sociopath before he went overseas. We know nothing about this guy.

  81. 81
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Cassidy – effectiveness of their feelings on what? Certainly, it is not dwindling within Afghanistan, where it matters, right? Your conclusion seems wrong.

  82. 82
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @amk: Actually troops from other nations have been found doing similar shit in places like Somalia, the Balkans, Iraq and elsewhere. It’s just more noticeable with American troops because of the sheer number of American personnel engaged in low-intensity occupation warfare where they live and work next to local populations. If one trooper in a thousand is a psychopath or nutter and you’ve got a hundred thousand of them deployed in places where they have the guns and power of life and death over the locals then you’re going to get this sort of thing happening on a regular basis. Usually it will be something their commanders can hush up as part of an operational report when civilians “get caught in a crossfire” or similar. This one’s modus operandi was so blatant that hushing it up just wasn’t possible.

    The most recent press report I’ve seen of British soldiers going wrong is a case reported in January this year of possible sexual abuse of Afghan children being investigated by the Military Police. The crazies are reported to have recorded what they did and showed it to their squadmates for their approval, shades of Abu Ghraib.

  83. 83
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy: how isit possible that America has been occupying Afghanistan for near 11 years and americans are still impossibly clueless about al-Islam?

    The Koran-burning incident: only a matter of time
    __
    I wasn’t surprised to hear about the Afghan riots around alleged burning of Korans at Bagram. This incident, and the reaction to it, was inevitable, given the politics of Westerners handling that particular book.
    __
    We had a similar issue in Kandahar in late 2008. There had been an attempt to reach out to the Afghan people through the distribution by the military of Pashto-Arabic Korans. Very ornate, beautiful books. But Westerners couldn’t be seen to handle the books, our Afghan advisors felt, so direct gifting was impossible. So we attempted to give them through the Afghan military, where I was an advisor. This was also problematic: the military didn’t like getting Korans from westerners’ hands, either, and they couldn’t really give them out themselves, because they knew their defiling origin. So that was a non-starter. We also started to see returns of holy books previously given, as word spread that the words might somehow have been adulterated or bowdlerized by Westerners. It being, of course, impossible to disprove that particular negative, the whole Koran-gifting thing basically shut down.
    __
    This, though, created another problem: what to do with the books now? Neither holy nor unholy, they could not be disposed of in any rational manner. The Afghans would not take possession under any circumstances, nor would they give them back to our control (because they were, at least somewhat, still the word of God). This proved a very difficult issue to negotiate, and as I recall ended with basically everyone just agreeing to pretend they weren’t there.
    __
    I have no doubt that the supply of burnable copies of the Koran at Bagram airbase ended up there in some similar fashion. This is not a goodwill gesture, it seems, that can ever, ever work. Furthermore, as the Western presence winds down and seacans are emptied and their contents disposed of rather than shipped home, one should expect similar such incidents in future.
    __
    UPDATE: Richard Minniter calls the discrimination of Korans both “novel and sincere.” It’s certainly not the former, and experience suggests the impossibility of convincing Afghans of the latter. The most likely result of any such initiative now would be another sea container full of potentially burnable Korans in Bagram.

    it DOESNT MATTER if our intentions were pure.
    they paved the road to hell anyways.
    we are going to get the same thing out of A-stan that we got out of Iraq.
    A big muslim boot in Americas ass.

  84. 84
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Cassidy – It seems to me that what you are saying makes sense – if you assume that the purpose of the Afghan protests is to somehow “complain” to the United States. It is just that the purpose is different.
    In mass movements, or fights against occupation, the challenge is mobilisation. It happens in democracies too, this same mobilisation fight – you can see Democrats and Republicans angling to bring out their base using different issues.
    Under occupation, it is difficult to fight continuosly. It is no different if you are fighting violently or non-violently. Gandhi understood this very well. One of his own major three fights was against an insignificant Salt Tax. If you look at it just as a tax on salt, it does not make much sense that people would want the British to leave from India “just” for that. But the Salt Tax represented, in some form, the colonial oppression itself.
    The same is the case in Afghanistan. For the Afghans to mobilise and fight with the Americans, they may use different issues, sometimes with long pauses in between. The individual issues are not really important.
    In other words, the Afghans are not complaining to America. They are mobilising to overthrow.

  85. 85
    samara morgan says:

    And every fucking time i try to explain Islam here, i get told i dont know what im talking about, and you hold up Maftoon Khalid, your resident House Muslim as proof.
    well i DO know what im talking about.

    ITS A DIFFERENT FUCKING CULTURE AND WE CANT CHANGE IT. Not in eleven years, not in eleven hundred years.

    A reader writes:
    __
    I’m Pakistani and I’ve lived there for over 15 years. Two simple reasons why this is a very bad idea:
    __
    1. Anything handed out by Americans will rile up suspicion, even the Koran.
    2. Non-Muslims touching the Koran is a massive taboo. Even Muslims aren’t allowed to touch the book or recite it without performing wu’du or ghusl (ablution and cleansing) first. Women aren’t allowed to touch or recite it when menstruating.
    __
    Progressive Muslims disagree with these rules, but that’s clearly not who we’re talking about here.

  86. 86
    Cassidy says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Like it or not, power lies with those who can enforce it. If the Afghans respond the same way to American power, every time, eventually the impact of their reaction will be lost. It gets relegated to “Oh, those crazy afghans are angry again.”. So, once again not mitigating the Afghan’s legitimate complaints, being able to react to events in context vs. the knee jerk “let’s burn an American effigy/ flag” would go a lot further.

  87. 87
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    I don’t have any at all. I think such links, not to that organization specifically, but others like it — should be investigated.

    Don’t you?

  88. 88
    Cassidy says:

    @samara morgan: I have never said that. I have said that your understanding of Arab and Muslim culture is innacurrate and based on generalizations and not consistent with my own observations. Others who have been to the ME have said the same thing. The guy who raised muslim says differently. You, the relatively recent convert, seem to be in the minority. Honestly, you come across like an evangelical.

  89. 89
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Cassidy – Nope. You assume that Afghans give the same legitimacy to American occupation that you yourselves do. They don’t. This would be clear if you looked at several other colonial encounters. Afghanistan is not really unique in this.
    In fact, if what you are saying is correct, you should also apply that to the fight for Civil Rights. Who cared where someone sat in a bus?

  90. 90
    Cassidy says:

    @Cassidy: And crazy. I have said you might be a little off. And that you possibly need to get laid. The last one was inappropriate, though.

  91. 91
    Rafer Janders says:

    @Cassidy:

    The burning of the Korans was not a malicious act, yet the response was as equal, if not more aggressive, than the response to this act of murder. Regardless of legitimacy, when you go to 11 over every issue, to include percieved slights and insults, the effectiveness of your feelings starts to dwindle.

    You know what? We’re in their country. They are not in ours. We’re their guests, in their homes. They therefore get to decide what is and is not an appropriate emotional reaction to our presence and perceived slights. We don’t get to decide.

  92. 92
    Cassidy says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: That’s the problem with an occupation. Who’s more legitimate: the people with the beef or the ones with the guns?

  93. 93
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elie: No, I believe actual legitimate investigation should occur into what actually happened.

  94. 94
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cassidy:

    That’s the problem with an occupation. Who’s more legitimate: the people with the beef or the ones with the guns?

    This is a question in your mind?

  95. 95
    Cassidy says:

    @Corner Stone: I like to think in terms of what really happens vs. fairy tale land.

  96. 96
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Oh, legitimate except to any affiliations that the perpetrators may have that might give a rationale for such behavior? Why is that off the grid for you? I believe that the investigation/s should be legitimate and thorough. You would, I guess, like them to pursue only certain limited areas of inquiry, no?

  97. 97
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elie: We have absolutely no idea what played into this allegedly one person’s decision making. But you’ve made repeated, unsourced, and unverifiable allegations to links/hints of white supremacism or Aryan Nation background and motivations.
    If you have evidence or proof, which I’ve requested and you keep vaguely mumbling about, I’m sure we’d all love to research it and make our own decisions.

  98. 98
    Corner Stone says:

    @Cassidy: As always with you, might makes right. Legitimate rule comes at the end of a gun.

  99. 99
    Cassidy says:

    @Corner Stone: Has nothing to do with me. That tends to be life.

  100. 100
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Thankfully, YOU won’t be in charge of the investigation/s.

    My accusations carry no more weight than your unsourced denials.

    I believe that the whole matter — not just this incident, but the others in recent months, should be the subject of a scrupulous investigation — a legitimate and clean, appropriate, unbiased investigation. In such an instance, I would be satisfied with whatever the investigation finds. Unlike you, I don’t have preconceived notions. Only serious questions. BTW, I don’t think my questions are asked for the first time or the FBI would not have already spent some time looking into the broader issue of White Supremacist prevalence in the US armed forces… I would think most normal folks would like some assurance on where that is — especially before we bring all those now professionally trained killers back in country to our, you know, diverse population. Maybe not you though…

  101. 101
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Cassidy – “It tends to be life” – no, what you are saying is the exact opposite of what has happened in the past 200 years of history. Empirically, your statement is wrong. Assuming you are American, it was not even correct in your own fight against Britain. The men with might were clearly Britain.

  102. 102
    Corner Stone says:

    @Elie:

    than your unsourced denials

    What unsourced denial? You’re making allegations with no basis and I’m asking you to demonstrate some reasonable basis on this matter.

    Unlike you, I don’t have preconceived notions.

    You mean the multiple times now you’ve tried to link this atrocity to white supremacist groups / Aryan Nation involvement? With no basis? Or relevant information?

    I’ve written no preconceived notions on this incident. I’m pretty sure I haven’t theorized about what happened or what caused it in the slightest.

  103. 103
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy: im a revert, not a convert.
    and Maftoon Khalid was WRONG about needing witnesses for the shahada, and his version of Islam is westernized.
    he cant bear to admit that proselytizing the poor and ignorant is forbidden by the Noble Quran.
    a maftoon, as we say.

    dont believe me?
    the empirical data supports my assertions. i quote from islamic scholars and the Generous Quran because im not a mufasir.
    neither is Khalid, yet he never quotes, instead giving a western friendly personal interpretation.
    House Muslim.

  104. 104
    Ben Franklin says:

    I blame Bush.

    His war of choice (Iraq) took our eye off the ball. Now Pakistan is septic, and we have, like, a couple of bucks left to fix Assghanistan.

    Too little, too late.

  105. 105
    samara morgan says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: well, it is empirically obvious that there is a trend of american atrocity.
    or perhaps its just impossible to cover american atrocities up in the age of social media.
    the slope of the curve is positive, and atrocities are occurring with increased frequency.
    who can say why this is happening.
    But four fucking tours of duty?
    incroyable.

    The trouble with some kinds of warfare (and be certain the Tyrant knew this, because it is implicit in his lesson) is that they destroy all moral decency in susceptible types. Warfare of these kinds will dump the destroyed survivors back into an innocent population that is incapable of even imagining what such returned soldiers might do.

    it sounds like his mental baggage (TBI or PSTD or both) made it impossible for him to return to a functional civilian life with his family, so he re-upped for A-stan.
    sad.

  106. 106
    Cassidy says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Millions of people in Africa, South America, and Native Americans might disagree with you.

    @samara morgan: Okay. I’m not Muslim. None of that means anything to me. Not trying to be dismissive, but the majority of my disagreements with you is that your opinions on Muslim and Arab culture don’t jive with my own observations.

  107. 107
    samara morgan says:

    @Ben Franklin: we were never going to “fix” the Graveyard of Empires.
    All we have done there is turn a one time ally (Pakistan) into an implacable enemy.

  108. 108
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy: again, you are not a muslim. and Khalid is a maftoon, that is a muslim “charmed” by western culture. He admits this.
    he is a corrupted source….neither he or i can perform tafsir (quranic exegesis) since we are neither trained scholars or mufassirun.

    i do not know your other sources, but here is quranic law on who can interpret the Miraculous Quran.
    Again, you described the Quran burning as a triviality.
    That is because you cannot relate to a culture different than yours.

  109. 109
    Cassidy says:

    @samara morgan: I never said it was trivial. I said it wasn’t malicious. Huge difference. As far as my observations, they would be from my friends Mohammed, Raziq and Pepe (he still goes by his terp name), as well as the siginificant period of time I spent embedded with the Iraqi Army.

  110. 110
    Ruckus says:

    @Cassidy:
    The burning of the Korans was not a malicious act, yet the response was as equal, if not more aggressive, than the response to this act of murder.

    To you, the act of burning their holy book was not malicious. You aren’t the one that had something that is a very basic part of their life taken. They are. They have the right to feel that the act of burning them was as bad or worse than murder. And why shouldn’t they?
    A number of people have pointed out, mostly nicely, that your attitude is a part of the larger problem. There is no excuse, which you constantly try to assert all the while coming back to the same point. Which may not be the point you were trying to make but the one you keep making, and that is – what is the problem here? The problem is optics matter, substance matters, responses matter. Let alone the larger problem of occupation, empire building and completely idiotic incidents like burning the wrong things and murder in the first place. If your mission is to control the bad guys and gain the hearts and minds of the good folks, this ain’t how you do it, no matter where you are or what people/culture you are among.

  111. 111
    THE says:

    @samara morgan:

    ITS A DIFFERENT FUCKING CULTURE AND WE CANT CHANGE IT. Not in eleven years, not in eleven hundred years.

    See that’s not true. Some cultures are way more adaptable and quick to learn from the encounter with “the other”. Japan for instance learned so quickly from her brief encounter with Commodore Perry and his black ships that she went on to become the first non-Western culture to fully modernize. Mind you this was after a couple of centuries of deliberate seclusion.

    But the point still stands: In an era when the greatest powers are foreign, do you exclude and close out, or do you use the period of interaction to learn what you can? The entire future of your civilization, post-encounter, depends on your answer to this question.

    Much of the difference we see in the “emergent economies” today, is due to the different ways they have responded to the experience of colonialism — Whether they “accept the challenge” of modernization, or whether they primarily seek to return to their own lost past.

    East Asia has accepted the challenge and is rapidly beating us at our own game — Ending 500 years of Western supremacy.

  112. 112
    Cassidy says:

    @Ruckus: It wasn’t malicious. If religion clouds your mind so much that you can’t take a step back and look at something rationally, then you have more issues than just the burning of a book.

  113. 113
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @THE – Modernization is not a challenge caused by colonialism. It would have happened anyway. Western countries faced the challenges of modernization as much as other countries.
    And:

    See that’s not true. Some cultures are way more adaptable and quick to learn from the encounter with “the other”.

    Samara clearly states this:

    ITS A DIFFERENT FUCKING CULTURE AND WE CANT CHANGE IT. Not in eleven years, not in eleven hundred years.

    The operating word here is “WE”. Japan changed by herself, not because Britain or some other country occupied her and took away her resources for a hundred years. Samara is correct in saying YOU can’t change it.
    Also Japan had a national identity already. Most other colonized countries did not have the concept of nation state (including India, where I am from).

  114. 114
    Ramiah Ariya says:

    @Cassidy – I am sorry, but you have neither a clue about colonial occupation nor about life.

  115. 115
    THE says:

    @Ramiah Ariya:
    I think one thing’s for certain. Islam’s next encounter will not be with the West. It will be with a rising China or a rising India.

  116. 116
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy: those might be “progressive” muslims, or maftoons like Khalid, and as i explained, they are not islamic scholars or mufassirun, and they are not likely to be conservative muslims or fundamentalists.
    i do know that they are in the minority, that is, they are not representative of muslims on the average.

    The people in the villages and the Afghan countryside are part of the Pious Middle. They like Islam. And they are rational actors.
    you seem completely incapable of understanding a different religion and culture. probably 90% of Afghan citizens dont know why America is even there.
    but prolly 90% of them know someone that has been killed in the last 11 years.
    who are they going to blame for that?
    do you think they will blame the taliban?

  117. 117
    samara morgan says:

    @THE: and things will be just fine unless China attempts invasion/occupation.
    i dont think that will happen.

  118. 118
    Cassidy says:

    @Ramiah Ariya: Whatever dude. And yes, you are sorry.

  119. 119
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy:

    If religion clouds your mind so much that you can’t take a step back and look at something rationally, then you have more issues than just the burning of a book.

    wallah.
    you are incredibly thick.
    Muslims are rational actors in their culture.

    i might as well be explaining quantum physics to a talking dog…..or flight to a fish.
    ;)

  120. 120
    Ruckus says:

    @Cassidy:
    Once again.
    You don’t have the place to decide for them that it wasn’t malicious. It does not matter if it was or was not malicious on our side. It only matters to them. And our not respecting that is a huge part of the problem.
    And just so you know I am a non believer. I think all religions are cults. But that’s just me. It doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t respect other peoples views on the subject. But in the same vein people should respect my view. And we should respect the view of the people we are occupying. I don’t see a lot of that happening, although I imagine it most likely is on many levels, given that I suspect a majority of our troops are pretty good people. But this game has to be played at an extremely high level by everyone to pull it off and we aren’t doing that.

  121. 121
    THE says:

    @samara morgan: Frankly I don’t know what will happen. One of my main reasons for focusing on my study of East Asia these days is I am looking for clues what to expect. My sense is that China is formidable. I believe she will rule the world for most of this century at least.

    I am hopeful but not yet so convinced about India. So one of my questions is whether we will have one Asian superpower or two. Many things are unfolding now that will decide this.

  122. 122
    Corner Stone says:

    “Ok, so I’ve been fucking your sister and your best friend. But it wasn’t malicious from my viewpoint! I’m sorry you feel angry about it. Now where’s the cheese dip?”

  123. 123
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy: And you were an embed in Iraq? SRSLY?
    if you are representative of american soldiers there no wonder the Iraqis kicked us out.

  124. 124
    samara morgan says:

    cyberabad

  125. 125
    Cassidy says:

    @samara morgan: And it’s statements like this that reaffirm that you know nothing of the arab world. Keep reading your “scholars”, though.

  126. 126
    Cassidy says:

    @Ruckus: This has nothing to do with respecting viewpoints. A mistake was made and that’s it. Shit happens. It’s life. It’s not like some asshat in Florida making a public spectacle of burning a Koran; they had every right to be pissed about that. But if you can’t take a step back and say “okay, this was unfortunate, but it wasn’t meant as a slight”, then you’re belief system is not worthy of respect.

  127. 127
    Cassidy says:

    @Ruckus: This has nothing to do with respecting viewpoints. A mistake was made and that’s it. Shit happens. It’s life. It’s not like some asshat in Florida making a public spectacle of burning a Koran; they had every right to be pissed about that. But if you can’t take a step back and say “okay, this was unfortunate, but it wasn’t meant as a slight”, then you’re belief system is not worthy of respect.

  128. 128
    Cassidy says:

    @samara morgan: It’s comments like this that reaffirm just how little you know about the Arab world. Keep reading your “scholars”, though.

  129. 129
    Ruckus says:

    @Cassidy:
    Shit happens?
    A mistake is forgetting your cell phone, misplacing your car keys, buying the wrong kind of flowers for her birthday.
    Destroying someone’s major religious tome without asking, or murdering innocent people in that country you are occupying is not a mistake, it’s gross incompetence. At the very least. We’ve been there over a decade, you’d think we should have learned something by now. Other than how great we are so that “mistakes” can be brushed off.
    Please don’t try to do any kind of diplomatic service. I could be wrong here but it seems like you might just suck at it.

  130. 130
    Elie says:

    @Corner Stone:

    Lets orient you to time and place:

    This is a blog

    I made a comment or two on my personal thoughts on what might be an issue contributing to this event/s

    I am not responsible for anything but my opinion. You have opinions too… plenty of them. I have read them.

    It is the responsibility of the military and the government to do a thorough, unbiased investigation of what happened and possibly, to the extent that they can, why.

    That is all.

  131. 131
    sohbet says:

    Context is everything. We say it’s an accident. The Afgans see it in the contex of a decade-long foreign occupation, and multiple incidents of disrespect such as the recent case of US forces pissing on the bodies of dead Afghan fighters, and, for whatever bizarre reasons peculiar to Afghna psychology which is in no way similar to how any other human beings would feel, don’t quite believe us.

  132. 132
    samara morgan says:

    @Cassidy: lolwut?
    in the battle for hearts and minds America just got its ass handed to it.
    gross incompetance.
    we got NUTHIN out of Iraq.
    and we are getting NUTHIN out of A-stan.
    except a big muslim boot in Americas ass, largely because of retards like you.

  133. 133
    Nathanael says:

    @Schlemizel: I think you have to be a POS to be Secretary of Defense, yes.

    But back when it was called “Secretary of War”, there were some pretty honest, decent guys there.

    I think the Orwellian name change of the department is associated with the requirement for dishonesty in the head of the department.

    Anyway, every day the US military is in Afghanistan is another day the US hurts itself, and another day of unnecessary killing and maiming. Nothing more. It could have been different, but George W. Bush lost the trust of the Afghan people back in 2002, and it’s been hopeless since then.

  134. 134
    Nathanael says:

    @samara morgan: Good grief. Thanks for that unfortunate quote showint more total incompetence from the US.

    Seriously, the way to do it in the first place was to have the DEVOUT MUSLIMS in the US military produce and hand out the Korans to Afghans — that plan would have worked.

    Oh, what, you say the US military has been taken over by Christian extremists, and you don’t *have* devout Muslim US troops in every unit? Well, maybe you’d better fix that first, before sending the military in?

    Anyway, it’s all far too late now. 11 years of idiotic and untrustworthy behavior from the US means nobody in Afghanistan will trust any representative of the US government for at least 30 years. It means “get out”.

  135. 135
    samara morgan says:

    @Nathanael: my point at Abu Muqama’s for years has been that the US could have used Islam to help shape a democratic Iraq and Afghanistan. Saddam suppressed the shi’ia and brutalized them for years. we could have used the tribal village structure to recruit Iraqi defense forces, helped build miosques and maddrassas, we could have bricolaged the islamic government structures to shape Iraq’s future.
    instead we turned OIF into a war on Islam.
    of course we lost.
    we could have been heroes. instead we are goats.

    the thing to do was apolo. even if you got american muslims to hand out Qurans the Qurans would still be suspect, because american muslims are still westerners.
    the thing to do (besides Obama’s apology) would be to give financial aid to mosques to BUY Qurans.
    but we cant do that because we are trying force secularism down those peoples throats.

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