Home / Bush Is Playing Afghanistan Like A Bad Chess Game… And Losing

Bush Is Playing Afghanistan Like A Bad Chess Game… And Losing

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As the big red word above this article states, this is my opinion.

Five years ago, I was one of the proud Americans who bought and proudly plastered “Stars and Stripes” bumper stickers on my car windows, windshield and bumper.

Five years ago, I was one of the Americans swollen with pride who gave a “thumbs up” to every redneck pick-up truck that had a U.S. flag graphic in its back window.

Five years ago I bought a large “casket flag” from the local VFW and flew it from my penthouse’s balcony.

Five years ago, I was one of the bigheaded Americans who cheered President Bush at the announcement that we were invading Afghanistan in order to route the Taliban and to capture and punish Osama Bin Laden. I loved that “Mission Accomplished” banner on the aircraft carrier and bought it hook line and sinker.

Five years later I feel like a fool, as do many other proud Americans, because the man who financed, authorized and gladly took credit for the destruction of thousands of lives in what’s known as 9/11 is still nowhere to be found—though he gleefully taunts us constantly from his hiding place(s).

While President Bush uselessly distracted our attention and finite military resources to Iraq, the Taliban Militia regrouped, refinanced and rearmed in Pakistan. The “Students of Islamic Knowledge” have recently roared back across the Afghan border into power and are reported to hold influence over two thirds of Afghanistan again. The Taliban’s militia has become so cocky, that they openly display their numbers and weapons on U.S. evening news broadcasts.

Nearly Five years later, the Afghan people have good reason to turn away from the U.S. and re-embrace the Taliban; after all, what have we really accomplished in the region?

Five years after 9/11 and many of President Bush’s grand promises, 53 percent of Afghans live on less than the equivalent of a dollar a day. Despite squandering $12 Billion in foreign aid so far, Afghan jobs are nearly impossible to find and there’s no discernable rise in their standard of living. The Afghan economy is still the sixth poorest in the world. Seventy-five percent of the Afghan people have unsafe drinking water.

Afghanistan’s Helmand province still produces a third of the world's heroin, despite the administration’s flaccid “war on drugs.” Poppy fields that could’ve been destroyed with only a few incendiary bombs while we were/are there and had/have the chance, are still producing addictive misery for the American People… why?

Because the focus on Bin Laden and Afghanistan was shifted to Iraq and despite the presence of thousands of U.S. troops “and their allies,” the border security between Afghanistan and Pakistan is as much of a joke as it is nonexistent. Because of that lack of protection, larger and larger groups of rested and well-trained Taliban fighters are reentering the country and making their existence known. They are also reasserting their strict religious dominance of the region using their superior knowledge of the terrain, beheadings, roadside bombings and the suicide tactics taught to them by Bin Laden’s Al Qaeda.

Despite our celebrated “defeat” of the Taliban, why are they still such an influence in Afghanistan? Why are their fighters growing more and more bold against our forces?

It seems to escape Mr. Bush that Pakistan hasn’t arrested a single Taliban official since 2001. Pakistan knows that sooner or later, like the Soviet Union before it, the U.S. is going to pull out of Afghanistan. If Pakistan eventually decides to go to war with India, it’s likely that they’ll need Afghanistan as a geographically strategic ally, which wouldn’t happen if the U.S. is still in charge.

Now that the November elections are drawing near, President Bush is again telling the American People to “Stay the Course”. Bush knows the only way to get the American people’s support is to wave the flag in our faces, all the while using fear tactics to secure our backing to shore-up his sagging poll numbers.

To not rally around the president during wartime is to be considered treasonous and unpatriotic, but the American People have gotten used to the status quo and numb to the number of daily deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Are we at war; or just in a useless military action that in the end will have as much future effect on Iraq as we did on modern-day Vietnam? Are we bound to repeat our mistake in the lives needlessly sacrificed then as now?

Now when President Bush starts waving the flag, most of us see it for what it is—political posturing. The man has used the word “evil” so often that it no longer has the effect it once had. He’s turned it into an opinion, rather than a specific description. To rally God to his breast is now seen as self-righteous political self-promotion instead of true Christian concern, aimed only at the core voters he’s taking for granted to keep a Republican majority in congress.

If the fear of Osama Bin Laden doesn’t work and has been over used, then go back to the fear of God and try to convince the American People that he’s the spokesman for the almighty. To question or be in opposition to George Bush is to oppose God?

The Republican Party has found itself in a desperate attempt to distract the American People from the obvious fact that Congress has achieved nearly nothing of any value to the people it supposedly serves!  Well… in all fairness they have given us “Freedom Fries”, trickledown economics that doesn’t really “trickle down”, immediate tax cuts for the rich, eventual tax cuts for the lower middle class and poor, and an attempt at controlling the American People in a political “Taliban-style” coup by the Religious Right… oh and let's not forget billions of dollars worth of business in no-bid contracts to Cheney’s Halliburton.

In my opinion it’s time for the American People to realize that the “evildoers” Bush keeps screaming about are really the Republican “pork-barrel, bridge to nowhere, rubber-stampers” that are in office right now! You know: the very ones that we allowed church-bus loads of pre-programmed voters to elect to congress. That would be their choice of pre-programmed and oblivious (to the common man's needs) Republicans to "represent" us because we ourselves were and still are, too lazy to go to the polls?

In my opinion, it’s time we got off our complacent asses and boot them out of their jobs before it’s too late.

The Republican Party has succeeded in making “liberal” a bad word. The Religious Right of this country is absolutely counting on us common folk to stay complacent so that they can continue to win elections.  It’s time to show them who the real majority in this country are.

Now if we can get the Democrats to grow some balls and make “Born-again Christian” a bad word, and realize that the vast majority of Americans don’t care that much about whether they’ve been “saved” or not, this country might actually get somewhere.

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About Jet Gardner

I like collecting books, music, movies, chess sets and friends
  • Thanks Dave, despite my eye trouble, this is one that I couldn’t keep in any longer. It may teke me a little longer to fulfil my standing policy of responding to every comment here, because they are all important to me, but I promise I’ll try my best.

    Carus deus, quis have ego commissio?

  • Maurice


    are you running as an independent?

    I will get off my complacent ass and vote for you!

  • No Maurice, I’m not… But thanks for the compliment. Jet

  • It is to laugh… could you see me as a political candidate?

  • Nancy

    Actually, yes and no: I could see you trying, but I think you’re too honest and you’d get eaten alive by the rest of the congressmaggots. In any event, I’m glad to see someone has the balls to point out (again and again) that King Dubya has no clothes.

  • “Bush Is Playing Afghanistan Like A Bad Chess Game… And Losing”

    The only part of this post I would even remotely argue against is the title – it implies that Bush is actually actively bothering to play the chess game….the reality is that he left them room, got a sandwich, watched a football game, wandered downstairs to poke his head in, took a shower, went to bed and is fast asleep, the game utterly forgotten.

    Afghanistan has been the criminally forgotten child of the Bush administration yet arguably if you are trying to reduce the potential for the next 9/11, Afghanistan is the text-book example of where you need to be. if it settles back into a failed state, unpoliced and unregulated the next crop of terrorists will be well sown.

  • That a picture I didn’t want stuck in my head Nancy…

  • Thanks Deano… What I’m most concerned about is his not seeing that Pakistan NEEDS the Taliban to be in power if they should decide to go to war with India over Kashmir.

    Pakistan would have no greater ally than bin Laden and the Taliban, but that seems to have genuinely escaped Bush…

    The Bush administration seems to have no clue as to just how fragile, or two-faced Pakistan is.

  • Excellent article Jet ..everything you said is true..I think the only thing you might have left out is Bush was going to rebuild Afghanistan as a model for all Arab countries..I guess the POPPY fields got in his way

  • Thanks Georgio, He can’t grasp that you can’t just change one country in the region without the others going balistic. just look at the middleeast after Israel was reestablished.

    Bush can’t figure out (or doesn’t care) that it’s all or nothing. Afghanistan can’t be changed unless all its neighbors are too.

    People scoff at my Vietnam reference, but it’s none the less true. Look at modern-day Vietnam right now and tell me how we changed it with all the lives we sacrificed… we didn’t.

    Why, because we didn’t change Cambodia etc.

    If we had let North Vietnam invade and conquer South Vietnam back in the 60s without sacrificing a single american life, it’s look exactly the same as it does today.

    I predict the same thing for Iraq.

    In fact, I’ll go one further and say Bush may actually hope he loses Congress so he’ll have someone to point at and blame for his failure in the region.

    Bush knows the most honored presidents were war-time presidents… too bad he had to make up one to suit his purposes…

    Tantum meus sententia

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    Glad and pleasantly surprised to see you back. Re-read you article to yourself. Tell me how you feel – not the pride of authorship, but the feeling that you have been had, cheated, screwed over and lied to.

    Every time I see a picture of one of the monkeys that pretends to be a person attmepting to run this country, that is exactly how I feel. And now millions more of us feel exactly the same.

    You know exactly what it feels like to be an Israeli.

    May your eyes heal soon and may you only enjoy a full recovery.

  • Clavos

    Look at modern-day Vietnam right now and tell me how we changed it with all the lives we sacrificed… we didn’t.

    Well, of course not, Jet. We LOST the war.

    Losers don’t get to change anything.

    Welcome back!

  • Thanks Ruvy, my friend. Be safe

  • clavos…The point is 20 years from now Iraq, like Vietnam will be just like it would’ve been if we hadn’t invaded. Unless we plan to conquer Syria, Lebanon, Iran, Egypt and Saudi Arabia it’s a foregone conclusion.

    Muslims believe that they will only ascend into heaven when the whole world is Moslim in a spectacular holy war in which Christians and Jews have been killed so that their souls can take the place of their own in Hell.

    Until we find a solution to that fact, Islam will regard any christian or jewish occupation of a country in the region as sacrilege and go berserk.

    Thanks Clavos, it’s good to be back, though i’m not fully recovered. In fact I’m late for an open eye appointment right now.


  • “Muslims believe that they will only ascend into heaven when the whole world is Moslim in a spectacular holy war in which Christians and Jews have been killed so that their souls can take the place of their own in Hell.”

    Jet, I’d like to know exactly where you get this? Can you cite some source? Everything I know of Islam does not equate to your above statement, either theologically or historically…

  • Jet,
    Hope you’re feeling better.
    This morning when I turned on the tv for a weather report and local news, The channel which I was watching (Sci Fi) last night had sold some air space to one of those Praise the Lord channels. The 50 yr old guy with dye black hair, Older lady with way too much make up and hair that looked like a bomb had gone off under her scalp, sellin,, NO, giving away little packets of Holy Mystery Water to any one who wanted one.

    There were many in the audience who took one and drank it , proceeded to go up, up to the preacher man who put his miraculous hands on their heads and he cured them, knocking them to the floor, right there in front of my eyes, of lung cancer, ear aches and much, much more. Say ‘Hallelujah’!

    Then people were brought up for testimonials about getting these packets of water, amd completely following the directions and receiving large sums of money, some as much as $6,000. More and more I listened, I was amazed at these people but couldn’t figure out what was in it for the “Church”.
    Then, I got the rub! Free water, drink it, and ‘be sure to ‘follow the instructions to the letter’.
    I could see it now, ‘Drink the water, spin around on one leg for exactly one minute, then send us $100., Your needs will be answered! I could so imagine Bush up there, fervently praying and healing, imagining to be the Saviour.

    I thought, “Who the fuck would buy this kind of shit?” and it hit me. People who are still blindly following Bush into only G-D knows what. Religious zealouts, Far Right wing Extremists.
    Some very scary people, who, if they gain and maintain power for even a short amount of time will launch us into a 21st century version of the Crusades. Remember, these people really believe with all of their hearts that the End Days are upon us. Looking at the natural disasters such as earthquakes, tidal waves, fires burning, middle east wars, the shit hits the fan, litterally lends credence to their argument.

    After all of the empty promises, side show acts, the bumbling, aw-shucks, harmless Gomer Pyle persona, who’s going to lead us into a Religious war where G-D will prevail? Why ‘W’ of course! (G-D told him so one night while he was talking to Ron Reagan)God told him that he will lead the true Christians into a Rapture that will make the European Crusades look like a street corner brawl.
    Right wing Extremists are very scary ‘folks’.

    I am truly sorry for some of the Republicans who are either already in office or will be running in mid-terms as I, and I’m sure many other persons like myself who will normally vote across party lines, voting for the person, not the party
    (I’m talking about true, caring politicians who do their jobs diligently and professionally) who will probably be voted out as Bush has become so despised for the lying, manipulative man he is.

    Democrats will be voting diligently to oust all Republicans to be sure that they will be in position to impeach Bush and his cronies. They, Rumsfeld, Cheney, Rice, have all been complicit from the beginning of his first term.

    These elections will be much more than your average mid-term elections, they will be a direct statement to the Status Quo who Bush has been serving rather than the good people who were swindeled and deceived for his power grab. His agenda from day one was war and nothing would sway him. He used every lie, every deception, every person who gave up life, from 9-11 to the Iraq war to sink us so deep in the mire that only he could save the day. In psychiatric hospitals they have names for his ailments.

  • Devang

    Well, what u have said is known to american people (Atleast who are conscious about it..) and may be people around the world as well.
    Afghanistan has been war ravaged country since last 20 years and Pakistan is not sparing even Afghanistan. Root of the problem is Pakistan and not the Afghanistan.
    If pakistan catches the Bin Laden, Game is over. They will never do it otherwise how would they get billion of dollers from American public. Most terrorist attack has links to Pakistan and still Bush can see the fact… ???

  • Deano #15 Part one of your answer…

    This civilization created one very important, fundamental rule about territory. Any territory that comes under Islamic rule cannot be de-Islamized. Even if at one time or another, the [non-Moslem] enemy takes over the territory that was under Islamic rule, it is considered to be perpetually Islamic. This is why whenever you hear about the Arab/Israeli conflict, you hear: territory, territory, territory. There are other aspects to the conflict, but territory is highly important.

    The Christian civilization has not only been seen as a religious opponent, but as a dam stopping Islam from achieving its final goal for which it was created.

    Islam was created to be the army of God, the army of Allah. Every single Moslem is a soldier in this army. Every single Moslem that dies in fighting for the spread of Islam is a shaheed (martyr) no matter how he dies, because – and this is very important — this is an eternal word between the two civilizations. It’s not a war that stops. This was is there because it was created by Allah. Islam must be the ruler. This is a war that will not end.

    The Agenda of Islam
    Endtime Issues No. 84
    9 May 2002

    Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.
    Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University

  • Deano in answer to your question part two…
    see in bold type

    The Agenda of Islam
    Endtime Issues No. 84
    9 May 2002

    Samuele Bacchiocchi, Ph. D.
    Retired Professor of Theology, Andrews University


    It is highly important to understand how a civilization sees the end of days. In Christianity and in Judaism, we know exactly what is the vision of the end of days.

    In Judaism, it is going to be as in Isaiah — peace between nations, not just one nation, but between all nations. People will not have any more need for weapons and nature will be changed — a beautiful end of days and the kingdom of God on earth.

    Christianity goes as far as Revelation to see a day that Satan himself is obliterated. There are no more powers of evil. That’s the vision.

    I’m speaking now as a historian. I try to understand how Islam sees the end of days. In the end of days, Islam sees a world that is totally Moslem, completely Moslem under the rule of Islam. Complete and final victory. Christians will not exist, because according to many Islamic traditions, the Moslems who are in hell will have to be replaced by somebody and they’ll be replaced by the Christians.

    The Jews will no longer exist, because before the coming of the end of days, there is going to be a war against the Jews where all Jews should be killed. I’m quoting now from the heart of Islamic tradition, from the books that are read by every child in school. The Jews will all be killed. They’ll be running away and they’ll be hiding behind trees and rocks, and on that day Allah will give mouths to the rocks and trees and they will say, “Oh Moslem come here, there is a Jew behind me, kill him.” Without this, the end of days cannot come. This is a fundamental of Islam.

  • Peter J, you’re speaking of course of the wonderful Earnest Angley. I’ll give you another antidote for your collection.

    There used to be a preacher up in Akron named Rex Humbard who opened a church and became wildly successful. He decided to build a resturant on his property, and got caught in one of his own crusades, and the city came down on him because he’d inspired an ordinance in which no establishments were allowed to serve alcohol within a hundred yards of a church.

    To get around this, he built a tower 101 yards tall on which he was going to build his resturant, but ran out of money because of the legal fight when it was established that the base of the resturant’s base was still was too close to his church.

    he abbondonded the project and when I left Akron in ’87 the tower was still there with the crane rusting on the top of it.

    The locals refer to it as “Rex’s erection”

  • Peter J, as to your last paragraph, Bush is COUNTING on the average man who goes to church maybe once a month if that to stay at home and not offset the churchbus loads of pre-programmed republicn church ladies who will elect a net republican congress if we’re complacent about this.

  • Bush knows the most honored presidents were war-time presidents… too bad he had to make up one to suit his purposes…

    Bush is going to go down as the least honored President of all time. We’ve had some losers before, even some fools, but to paraphrase Prince, Nothing Compares 2 W.

  • Devang, I can’t emphisize enough that Bush has a golden opportunity to stop tons of heroin from reaching the US by destroying those huge fields of poppies.

    Why won’t he? because it’d wreck what little economic strength that Afghanistan has, and anger its people against us.it is the most blatantly hypocritical thing that Bush has done (or hasn’t done) to date, and everyone is ignoring the fact.

    I’d love to hear some right-wing fanatic argue the other side of Bush’s inaction in his favor!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Like I said-as a bad chess player, he’s not thinking several moves a head of the game and can’t see that it’s to Pakistan’s long-term advantage to have the Taliban in charge of Afghanistan and not Bush and his “allies”.


  • Watch your comments there Jon, God’s watching! Bush had begun comparing himself to George Washington and Roosevelt in his latest speech today.

  • Sanjay

    The thing is that both the Democrats and Republicans support this charade of alliance and cooperation with Pakistan. Both parties still want to keep Pakistan in tow, in case the US ever needs to go on the offensive against the soft Russian underbelly just above Central Asia. So it’s not just Pakistan looking for strategic depth against India, it’s also the US trying to hedge itself, retaining the Pakistan card against Moscow, even if Pakistan is continuing to be quite pro-Taliban.

  • Sanjay, call me niave but I wasn’t aware the U.S. was preparing for war with Russia?????

  • According to some thinkers, American and British strategists at the highest levels have considered Russia their primary rival in the great game of world domination for at least 200 years now, and perhaps even longer.

    To understand why this is, just read up on the background of the term “geopolitics.”

  • Sorry Victor, but having grown up during the “cold war” I’m more afraid of bin Laden, adn can’t remember the last time I was even concerned about the old Soviet Union.

  • Mohjho

    Nice Jet, let us not be distracted from Afghanistan by administrative complacency.
    Leave it to our leaders to take the opportunity of rebuilding Afghanistan and turn it into a mind numbing tragedy at an unmeasurable cost.
    This is our new legacy. How does it feel?
    Our troops and our taxpayers deserve better.

  • Jet,

    I’m not qualified or knowledgeable enough to argue the finer points of Islamic theology but I will note that in all of the many historical and political works I have read on the subject none have taken the stance you seem to cite in your above comments except for some of the elements inherent in the current radical Islamic movement.

    I will note that I serious doubt you can take what appears to be an extremist and absolutist interpretation within Islam and apply it as covering all of the Islamic world anymore than you can tar all Christianity with the viewpoints of, for example, hard-core evangalist white supremicists.

  • Indeed, Mohjho… Indeed

  • Deano, it was never my intent to paint all moslims that way, only the ones that are making all the trouble.

    However please note this quote from #19…I’m quoting now from the heart of Islamic tradition, from the books that are read by every child in school. The Jews will all be killed.

    They are teaching their children this

  • Dean

    “Five years after 9/11 and many of President Bush’s grand promises, 53 percent of Afghans live on less than the equivalent of a dollar a day. Despite squandering $12 Billion in foreign aid so far, Afghan jobs are nearly impossible to find and there’s no discernable rise in their standard of living. The Afghan economy is still the sixth poorest in the world. Seventy-five percent of the Afghan people have unsafe drinking water.”

    What did you expect?

    Do the Afghans have any lobbyists in Washington?

  • It’s not what I expected, it’s what the Afgnanis expected after being “liberated” from the Taliban.

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem


    I’m quoting the good professor you quoted in comment #19.


    It is highly important to understand how a civilization sees the end of days. In Christianity and in Judaism, we know exactly what is the vision of the end of days.

    In Judaism, it is going to be as in Isaiah — peace between nations, not just one nation, but between all nations. People will not have any more need for weapons and nature will be changed — a beautiful end of days and the kingdom of God on earth.

    Christianity goes as far as Revelation to see a day that Satan himself is obliterated. There are no more powers of evil. That’s the vision.

    I’m speaking now as a historian. I try to understand how Islam sees the end of days. In the end of days, Islam sees a world that is totally Moslem, completely Moslem under the rule of Islam. Complete and final victory. Christians will not exist, because according to many Islamic traditions, the Moslems who are in hell will have to be replaced by somebody and they’ll be replaced by the Christians.

    The Jews will no longer exist, because before the coming of the end of days, there is going to be a war against the Jews where all Jews should be killed. I’m quoting now from the heart of Islamic tradition, from the books that are read by every child in school….

    What I need to know here are the primary sources for the data he cites, particularly the part about the Christians. I’d like to know the primary sources he is quoting, because there are various streams in Islamic thought. Indeed you are right about schoolchildren being taught that there will be a war in which all the Jews will be killed. But I want to make sure I know where the professor draws his so that I can run it by a distinguished Jewish scholar I know and a distinguished Sufi scholar, as well.

    If you can’t provide his primary sources, then please provide a website I can go to.


  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Thanks Jet!

  • Shabbat shalom Ruvy

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    By the way, Jet, read this article at Desicritics and particularly the commentary that follows. All of these things are linked together – from Afghanistan to the Mediterranean.

  • namukoye geoffrey

    I am ugandan, who is still confused about USA and its technologies. they think they are the untouchables when they went to Iraq, i we thought it was all about captureing the big haeded sadam, after geting the nut case in sadam, their stay in iraq still haunts the lives of inocent natives. three years down the road am still wondering hell they are doind in iraq. wont they give us a break??

  • Clavos


    I’ve been looking everywhere several weeks now for Moshe Sharon’s sources, and so far have not found them — He doesn’t footnote any of his paper. The paper itself has been published on dozens of websites without sources, other than Sharon’s name.

    If you find them, will you please publish them here?



  • Ruvy, I’ll check it out when I get back home later today, thanks.

  • #40-Any “Ugandan” with knowledge of American slang and access to a computer and knows how to use one, would speak better English, or at least have better typing skills.

  • Clavos, it’s for the reason that he is quoted by so many that I quote him, as I’m not an authority myself. Sort of like how Billy Graham is sited for his knowledge of the Bible.

    You don’t know for sure… or personally, but you assume the man knows what he’s talking about.

  • Ruvy, I find out anything, I’d be very interested and thanks again for contributing

  • Martin Lav

    Come on Jet, good article and I agree with most of it, but back off the religious slant a little.
    This is over the top, whether it be Christian, Jew or Islam. All of them have their contradictions and I believe some Christians that believe in the Rapture would think they are taken into heaven and earth is left to Satan and all non-Christians. As a Christian, I don’t believe it and I’m sure most don’t, just as I’m sure most Muslims don’t believe in a war with Jews to end all wars. As far as territory is concerned, I would think that since Christians crusaded their land previously and tried to convert them and still do, then I would imagine that’s where this belief is derived.

  • Jet, I’m not asking you to be afraid of the Soviet Union. (In fact I wouldn’t even ask you to be afraid of Osama bin Laden, who doesn’t merit fear, only contempt).

    I’m simply offering you reference information to explain why some people (not me, but some very prominent people) think it’s a good idea for American and British governments to always make contingency plans against the possibility of needing to fight Russia at some point.

    I’m just glad there seem to be a few who also realize it’s a much better idea to try and keep a good relationship with Russia for as long as possible.

  • Martin, we’re not talking about common people here. Normal Moslims wouldn’t think of blowing themselves up in the name of Allah etc.

    We’re talking about men who were “bred” from before birth and taught thereafterward for only one purpose. To kill themselves for greater glory. We’re talking about people who are taught from childhood to intentionally WANT to go to hell and not fear it, because the next generation will slaughter a christian or jew in order to save their souls and assure their place in heaven.

    They’re taught that the only way to heaven is through Hell first, and that it’s the only SURE way to get to heaven.

    We’re talking about children raised as sacrificial lambs with only one purpose in mind. to be used as zealous Kamakazi warriors.

    This is done in the name of religion and to ignore that fact or downplay it is folly my friend.

  • Victor-point take. There are many that miss the old Soviet Union, not as much as an enemy, but as a cherished favorite world-stradegy “chess” opponent.

  • Bliffle

    GWB is such a thoughtless strategist, that if he were a chess player one would imagine he’d be like a beginner who rushes his queen out into the field early, thinking it so powerful that he must employ it immediately, and then succumbs to a pawn and knight attack.

  • True, Bliffle, the problem is he doesn’t care how many pieces he sacrifices so he can smirk up on that podium… after all just before checkmate, he’ll be replaced by another king who will have to take the blame for his carelessness.

  • Sanjay

    Jet in Columbus, I’m saying that US strategic policymakers haven’t really moved on from the Cold War, and are still mired in that mentality. Therefore there’s a tendency not to want to let go of Cold War allies like Pakistan, despite their deep links to jihad, because of a desire to retain them as cards to play against Moscow.

    And yes, the recentness of the Cold War then keeps the old instincts alive to be more confrontational towards Moscow than against the Islamists.

  • And I maintain Sanjay that even I don’t think that Bush is stupid enough to make a move on Russia considering how full his plate is now.

    Waaaay too many people consider Russia an ally of the U.S. right now to let him get away with it.

  • Sanjay, I’d be really interested on what you’re basing your skewed opinions on U.S. Policy from.

  • Clavos

    I think Sanjay has a point, especially about our continued allegiance to Pakistan.

    Among other things, Pakistan is home to the madrassas, which are breeding the new generations of US – hating future islamic terrorists.

    It’s also likely that Pakistan has, and continues, to harbor OBL and his henchmen.

    Sanjay’s explanation for why US seems to behave against its own best interests on this issue is thought – provoking.

  • I meant his skewed opinion of U.S. Policy towards Russia.

  • Clavos, it reminds me of a funny political cartoon I saw once where a man is scratching his head while studying a book closely with a puzzled frown.

    He’s midway down a long table on which is written “U.S. Summit talks”.
    One end of the table is empty, while the opposite end has George Bush and Vladimir Putin scrunched tightly in a fancy chair together shoulder to shoulder.

    The caption reads, “You’re right, there’s nothing in the book that say they have to sit on opposite sides of the table!”

  • Clavos

    Heh, heh. I like that, Jet.

  • Heh heh I though you might Clavos

  • KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) — A suicide bomber sparked a massive blast Friday near the U.S. Embassy in Kabul, tearing apart a military vehicle and killing at least three people, including two U.S.-led coalition soldiers, witnesses said and police said.

    The explosion in the Afghan capital blew a military vehicle into two burning chunks and scattered debris and body parts over a 50-meter (50-yard) radius.

    Ali Shah Paktiawal, criminal director of the Kabul police, told reporters the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber.

    The bodies of two soldiers were lying meters (yards) from the vehicle after the explosion.

    U.S. soldiers and heavily armed American security forces cordoned off the scene, and were searching for evidence of what caused the blast.

    Copyright 2006 The Associated Press

  • Ruvy in Jerusalem

    Clavos, Jet,

    I’ve been looking all over the place for some source material from Dr. Sharon. It appears that since he does most of his writing in Hebrew, that will be the place to find it. There are lots of cites in Hebrew to look at. That will take some time for me to sift out.

    And Jet, just because someone is quoted all over the place doesn’t mean he knows what he is talking about. It means lots of people think he knows what he is talking about. There is a world of difference between the two.

    Shabbat Shalom,

  • Ruvy #61… Let me give you a plausible example. I’ve seen the movie Brokeback Mountain at least 40 times in the theater and DVD enough to do a novelization of what was going on in the character’s heads.

    Except for Annie Proulx the original writer, I’d say I’m an authority, but I have no official credentials to prove it, nor was I involved in the writing of the script or production of the movie.

    Could the same be said of Dr. Sharon?


  • The driver of a car packed with explosives rammed into a U.S. military convoy in downtown Kabul on Friday, killing himself and at least 10 other people, including two American soldiers. Two other American soldiers were among 17 people wounded.

    The car exploded near the U.S. Embassy, tearing a military vehicle into two burning chunks and scattering debris and body parts over a 50-yard radius. The blast shattered windows in surrounding buildings and sent up a huge brown cloud of smoke.

    The attack came days ahead of the fifth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks – and amid the deadliest spate of violence since U.S.-led forces toppled the hard-line Taliban regime for hosting Osama bin Laden. Hundreds on both sides have been killed each month this year.

    A witness, Najibullah Faizi, said he saw a blue Toyota Corolla driven by a young heavyset man speed past another car on the inside lane before ramming one of two U.S. Humvees in a convoy.

    “I fell to the ground after the blast. American soldiers started shooting at another car nearby. There was smoke and flames everywhere,” Faizi, 25, told reporters.

    Eight Afghan civilians were killed and 15 were wounded, Interior Ministry spokesman Yousef Stanezai said. He said the attacker also died.

    Two American soldiers in the vehicle were among the dead and two more were wounded, said U.S. military spokeswoman Lt. Tamara Lawrence.

    Among the victims was an elderly woman who had been sitting with her granddaughter in a small yard outside a Soviet-era apartment building.

    “My mother just went to the park for some fresh air with my daughter when the explosion happened,” said the woman’s son, Farid Wahidi, 40. “Shrapnel hit her in the chest and killed her.”

    An Associated Press reporter at the scene saw the bodies of two coalition soldiers lying yards from the Humvee. U.S. troops stood guard around the bodies, one of which was slumped in the gutter, the other covered by a plastic sheet.

    The explosion Friday took place about 50 yards from Kabul’s landmark Massood Square in Kabul, which abuts the main gate of the heavily fortified U.S. Embassy compound.

    Dozens of U.S. and British soldiers cordoned off the scene as investigators sifted through the wreckage of the charred military vehicle.

    Soldiers retrieved body parts, apparently from the suicide bomber, and were placing them into plastic bags for further investigation.

    Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Matthew Pennington contributed to this report.

  • The real truth of Bush’s lies will be covered on Lou Dobbs on CNN tonight at 7PM Eastern and on the network evening news.

    The Republican Senate has just released a CIA report confirming Bush lied or was stupidly wrong about Weapons of Mass Destruction and about Saddam’s alleged ties to Al Qadea.

  • pleasexcusetheinterruption12

    Wow it seems you have left the opposition speechless, even JOM. Nice going Jet.

  • Thanks PETI… Kinda scary ain’t it, considering what nemisis just resurfaced.

  • PETI-Come to think of it, I appear to have left everyone that way, though unintentionally…

  • Here’s what those Opium Poppy sales are funding folks-Thanks to George Bush’s negligence…

    KABUL, Afghanistan — Taliban militants attacked police headquarters in western Afghanistan on Thursday, raising fears that insurgents fleeing NATO attacks in the south are opening new fronts. Two police and two militants were killed.
    The alliance’s top commander has called for 2,500 extra troops and air support to help continue missions to end the Taliban threat quickly. But NATO members meeting in Brussels on Wednesday failed to commit more forces.
    Poland said it would send at least 900 troops by February _ not immediately as NATO commanders on the ground had hoped, and not in the volatile south where they are most needed. Poland already has 100 troops in Afghanistan.
    Militants in dozens of pickup trucks fired rocket-propelled grenades and surrounded the police compound in Bakwa, a town in Farah province, at 3 a.m., said Maj. Gen. Sayed Agha Saqeb, the provincial police chief.
    Taliban forces held the compound for about one hour before police reinforcements arrived to push the militants out, Saqeb said. Two police and four militants were wounded.
    Intense NATO-led offensives against Taliban forces in the south have forced insurgents to flee north and west into calmer areas like Farah, NATO and Afghan officials say.
    Canadian-led troops launched a major operation in Kandahar province’s Panjwayi district on Sept. 2, killing at least 510 militants over 11 days, NATO said. It was one of the most intense battles since U.S.-led forces ousted the Taliban regime in late 2001.

    Polish Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski said remarks broadcast Thursday that the 900 troops would join 100 Polish soldiers already stationed in the Bagram, in eastern Afghanistan.
    “As of February next year, over 1,000 Polish soldiers are going to be serving in Afghanistan,” Radoslaw Sikorski told journalists Wednesday evening in Washington. “We are going to take part in operations primarily in the eastern part of Afghanistan.”

    A NATO spokesman in Kabul said the 900 extra troops had been expected to arrive in February as part of a routine transfer.
    “We are looking at how this can be sped up,” Maj. Luke Knittig said.

    Thursday’s raid was the second bout of Taliban violence in two days in Farah, and followed a roadside bombing there that wounded four Italian soldiers.
    The early morning clash in Farah province came a day after Taliban insurgents ambushed a police patrol there, leaving four police and four militants dead.

    “In some parts of Farah, we are seeing Taliban coming from Helmand and we are planning to attack them,” Saqeb said Wednesday. “But we need more transportation and telecommunications equipment.”
    NATO spokesman Maj. Toby Jackman said alliance forces were aware insurgents could be fleeing toward Farah.
    “If there is the possibility of some sort of security deterioration in the area we will get onto it very quickly,” he said.
    NATO has about 20,000 forces in Afghanistan, with almost half deployed in the south. Some 1,600 soldiers from a mix of nations operate in Farah.

    The Associated Press
    Thursday, September 14, 2006; 6:37 AM ___
    Associated Press writer Paul Garwood in Kabul contributed to this report.

  • How pathetic is it that Poland has to send help while Bush waits for his Sign from God?…

    Sept. 14 (Bloomberg) — Poland became the first country to answer a plea by the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for troop reinforcements in Afghanistan, saying it will send 950 soldiers to help fight the Taliban.

    “Poland understands NATO will have to be more active in Afghanistan,” Defense Minister Radoslaw Sikorski told reporters in Washington late yesterday. “That is why we decided to increase the size of the force.”

    The troops will arrive in February, bringing the number of Polish soldiers in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force, ISAF, to 1,050.

    Sikorski, who is visiting Washington for talks with U.S. leaders, spoke just after a meeting of NATO commanders failed to produce formal offers for support. The alliance wants a total of 2,000 extra troops to bolster 19,000 soldiers from 37 countries already there, as well as attack helicopters and transport aircraft. NATO ambassadors will meet later today in Mons, Belgium, to discuss the issue.

    U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair and U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have stepped up pressure on NATO nations to send more troops after attacks by rebels loyal to the Taliban regime, which was ousted by a U.S.-led military coalition in 2001, proved more intense than expected.

    Rice Warning

    Afghanistan will “come back to haunt us” unless it becomes a stable democracy, Rice said Sept. 12, warning that the international community will pay if it allows the country to become a failed state where Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaeda network operates unhindered.

    NATO took over operations in Afghanistan’s six southern provinces from the U.S.-led military coalition July 31 and is trying to bring stability and aid reconstruction.

    The Polish mission, which will be the fifth largest in the NATO-led force in Afghanistan, will cost the state budget 300 million zloty ($96 million) next year, Defense Ministry spokesman Leszek Laszczak said by phone.

    Troops will be stationed at the Bagram base, north of Kabul, and “will take care of all necessary tasks, from coordinating with civilian military staff to fighting terrorists,” Laszczak said. Poland also has troops in Iraq.

    ISAF says it has killed more than 500 Taliban rebels since Sept. 2 when it began an offensive in southern Kandahar province, codenamed “Operation Medusa.” Five Canadian soldiers and a member of the U.S. military embedded with Afghan forces have been killed in 13 days of fighting.

    Member states gave “positive indications” at yesterday’s meeting about providing extra troops in the future, NATO spokesman James Appathurai told reporters yesterday, without providing further information.

    A meeting of alliance foreign ministers next week in New York will be followed by a conference of defense ministers in Slovenia the following week, Appathurai said.

  • KABUL, Sept 16 (Reuters) – A blast hit a car on a road just to the south of the Afghan capital on Saturday, killing three Afghan aid workers and wounding one, police said.

    A resurgent Taliban have unleashed a wave of violence across the Afghan south and east this year and attacks have also increased in parts of the country previously considered safe, including Kabul and the west.

    The aid workers’ car was hit by a mine, said senior Kabul police official Alishah Paktiawal.

    “It killed three of them and wounded one. They were from a non-governmental organisation but I don’t know which one,” Paktiawal said.

    There was no immediate claim of responsibility. Paktiawal blamed “enemies of Afghanistan”, a term the government uses to refer to the Taliban and allied militants.

    While NATO forces have in recent weeks mounted a big offensive in the southern province of Kandahar, killing hundreds of militants in the Taliban heartland, violence has flared in other areas.

    Just over a week ago a suicide car-bomber attacked a U.S. military patrol in central Kabul, killing 16 people including two U.S. soldiers.

    Separately, Taliban fighters have seized an area on the main road in the remote southwestern province of Nimroz, where attacks have been rare, the province’s governor said.

    “We want the government to do something as soon as possible, this is a strategic place. This road links Herat and Kandahar,” the governor, Ghulam Dastagir, told Reuters, referring to the main towns in the west and south.

    Militants also attacked and briefly seized a district government headquarters in the neighbouring western province of Farah this week, provincial police said.

    In a separate incident, four Taliban were killed in an attack on a police post in the southern province of Uruzgan on Friday, police said.

    The most intense phase of violence since the Taliban were ousted in 2001 has surprised the government and its Western allies and raised concern about the prospects for a country that had been seen as a success in the war on terrorism.

  • A string of suicide bombings across Afghanistan killed 19 people – including four Canadian soldiers – on Monday and wounded scores of others a day after NATO announced a victory over insurgents in a southern Taliban stronghold.

    A bomber on a motorbike blew himself up in the normally quiet western Herat province, killing 11 and wounding 18, including the province’s deputy police chief, said Sayed Hussein Anwari, Herat’s governor.

    Four Canadian soldiers were killed when their foot patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber on a bicycle in Kafir Band, a village in southern Kandahar province’s Panjwayi district, said Karen Johnstone, a spokeswoman for the Canadian military in Ottawa.

    The attack, which was claimed by the Taliban, happened in the same area where NATO forces said a day earlier they had ended a two-week Canadian-led operation against insurgents that they described as successful mission that had killed at least 510 militants

    The bomb targeting the Canadian soldiers destroyed equipment and shredded the uniforms of the troops. Pools of blood soaked into the dusty road, near the remains of the bomber and a gold-colored military patch from a soldier’s uniform.

    “Some 50 to 60 soldiers were patrolling on the main street when a man on a bicycle stopped and blew himself up near the forces,” said 50-year-old farmer Fazel Mohammed, who lives about 20 yards from the site.

    Maj. Luke Knittig, a NATO spokesman, said the blast killed four NATO soldiers and “wounded a number of others, including civilians.” NATO said in a later statement that 25 Afghan civilians had been wounded, including children.

    An Afghan official said the bomber targeted Canadian troops as they were handing out candy to children and killed and wounded dozens of people. The official spoke on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    But Mohammed and another villager disputed the account, saying few children were in the village at the time of the blast.

    Qari Yousaf Ahmadi, who claims to be a spokesman for Taliban affairs in southern Afghanistan, said the bomber was an Afghan from Kandahar named Mullah Qudrat Ullah.

    Ahmadi, whose exact ties to the militants are not known, told The Associated Press by telephone from an undisclosed location that militants would continue attacking U.S., NATO and other coalition forces.

    Most of Afghanistan’s recent surge in violence has taken place in volatile southern provinces, where some 8,000 NATO forces took military control from the U.S.-led coalition on Aug. 1. NATO commanders say they need another 2,500 troops plus greater air support to crush the Taliban threat more quickly.

    In Kabul, a suicide car bomber killed four Afghan police and wounded another in the eastern suburb of Poli-e-Charki, said Ali Shah Paktiawal, the criminal director of Kabul police. At least 10 civilians were wounded in the blast in a market, said a witness, Baktiar Ahmad.

    Police also clashed with suspected insurgents in neighboring Helmand province Sunday, killing 13 suspected Taliban and wounding four, said Ghulam Nabil Malakheil, the provincial police chief.

    Police recovered the dead militants’ bodies, including that of Mullah Mohammed Akhunzada, a known Taliban commander, Malakheil said. The insurgents took the wounded with them.

    The officers also recovered 12 AK-47 assault rifles, three heavy machine-guns and six rocket-propelled grenades, he said.

    Separately, two police were killed and their vehicle destroyed when they were attacked by a roadside bomb early Sunday in the same district, said Ghulam Muhiddin, the Helmand governor’s spokesman. He blamed the Taliban.

    The violence comes a day after a top NATO general declared an end to Operation Medusa in Panjwayi and neighboring Zhari districts.

    Lt. Gen. David Richards, head of the 20,000 NATO-led force in Afghanistan, described the operation as a “significant success.” Richards said the insurgents had been forced to abandon their positions and reconstruction and development efforts would soon begin in the volatile former Taliban heartland.

    Associated Press writer Fisnik Abrashi in Kabul contributed to this report.

  • Baghdad – At least 22 people were killed and 24 wounded in a suicide bombing in a busy market in Tal Afar in north-west Iraq on Wednesday.

    Police sources told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa that a suicide bomber wearing an explosives belt blew himself up in the heart of the market. The death toll in the attack was expected to rise.

    Many nearby vehicles and shops were damaged in the blast, which comes as the death toll from two explosions in a northern Iraqi town on Tuesday rose to 19, police said.

    At least 19 people were also injured in Tuesday’s attacks in the town of Sharqat. A car packed with explosives was detonated near an Iraqi Army office and later, as people rushed to the scene, a suicide bomber blew himself up.

    Of the 19 dead, six were soldiers and another two policemen, security sources said in the nearby city of Tikrit.

    In Baghdad, a child was killed Wednesday when a car bomb targeting the Samarra home of Sheikh Khaled Feleeh al-Bzay exploded, accompanied by a mortar shell attack, security sources said.

    The attack in the northern Iraqi city’s Sekak district also left 30 people injured.

    In north-eastern Baghdad, a US soldier was killed Wednesday by small-arms fire, the US Army said. Another US soldier was killed in Tikrit Tuesday and two other coalition soldiers wounded when the vehicle they were travelling in was hit by a suicide car bomb, coalition forces said Wednesday.

    Authorities in the northern city of Kirkuk have decided to station Kurdish army units at the outskirts if the city following a string of terrorist attacks, which included the killing Wednesday of a Kurdish official working with the water authority in the city.

    The Peshmerga troops will search all vehicles arriving from the south, an army spokesman said.

    That announcement came as General John Abizaid, the US commander overseeing the war in Iraq said US troop strength in Iraq was likely to remain at about 144,000 through the end of the year.

    ‘This level will probably have to be sustained through the spring,’ he told reporters Tuesday.

    Ahead of November congressional elections in the United States, US President George W Bush’s government had hoped for significant troop reductions during 2006.

    In his Tuesday meeting with reporters at the Pentagon defence headquarters outside Washington, Abizaid said that violence between Shiite and Sunni Muslims, the slow pace of improvements in Iraqi police and security forces, and drawn-out negotiations in early 2006 on a government had contributed to instability and kept US troops busy, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.

    Baghdad, where sectarian massacres have sometimes claimed dozens of lives daily, is the ‘centre of the problem,’ said Abizaid, adding ‘secular tensions, if left unchecked,’ sec could be fatal to Iraq.’

    © 2006 dpa – Deutsche Presse-Agentur

  • U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan are likely to remain steady, at about 21,000, at least until next February, the top U.S. general there said Thursday, echoing earlier comments about forces in Iraq.

    Lt. Gen. Karl Eikenberry told Pentagon reporters that while the Taliban enemy in Afghanistan is not extremely strong, their numbers and influence have grown in some southern sections of the country.

    “Our expectation is that our troop levels in Afghanistan will remain about steady through the point” that the U.S. takes command of the NATO force next February, he said. At that point, Eikenberry said, there will be a reassessment and commanders may make recommendations to defense officials.

    He also expanded on the reasons why U.S. troops did not fire on a group of suspected Taliban leaders gathered for a funeral _ an incident that came to light when a photo of the group was made public. Eikenberry said the military commander believed that innocent citizens, including woman and children from the village there, may have been present.

    “So that commander made a decision based upon our values as a people, based upon our values as a nation, that he would not strike,” said Eikenberry. Earlier military officials had said they considered bombing the group but decided not to after determining it was a funeral.

    Gen. John Abizaid, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East, said this week that it is not likely that U.S. forces in Iraq will be cut back before next spring.

    NATO-led forces took over the southern portion of Afghanistan in July, and later this year they are expected to take over the eastern section _ where U.S. troops are currently in command. U.S. military teams are working to train Afghanistan troops to take over the security of their country.

    Currently, there are roughly 145,000 troops in Iraq.

    Meanwhile, Gen. James L. Jones Jr., commander of the NATO military alliance, told members of Congress that the border with Pakistan “should be a lot quieter” if Taliban-linked militants observe a truce with Pakistan in which they agreed to stop crossing into Afghanistan to launch ambushes.

    Jones, testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said “we should know in a month or so” how well it is working, and said he will go to Pakistan at that point for talks with senior Pakistani officials.

    Eikenberry said the principles of the agreement are good, including plans to relocate some Pakistani military forces to the border.

    Both commanders expressed optimism about Afghanistan’s future, but stressed that the military is not the main solution.

    “The critical task at this stage is strengthening the government of Afghanistan, developing the economy and helping to build Afghan civil society,” said Eikenberry, who said about 76,000 Afghanistan army and police are trained, equipped and engaged in security operations.

    Both also said that success in Afghanistan depends on the country’s ability to bring its escalating drug trafficking problems under control. Officials have said opium production there had jumped 59 percent this year, to a record 6,100 tons of opium _ a full 92 percent of the world’s supply.

    Jones said that as NATO continues its efforts to take over military operations in the south, “I am optimistic where Afghanistan can be in the next few years.”

    Sen. Russ Feingold, D-Wis., criticized the Bush administration as being “badly distracted” by Iraq.

    “There is very little to show for the billions of dollars that have been pumped into many of Afghanistan’s rural provinces,” he said.

    By LOLITA C. BALDOR Associated Press Writer
    © 2006 The Associated Press
    Associated Press Diplomatic Writer Barry Schweid contributed to this report.

  • PARIS (AP) – Officials from several countries are skeptical of a French newspaper report that raises the possibility that Osama bin Laden may have died of typhoid last month in Pakistan.

    A regional newspaper has printed what it describes as a copy of a confidential document from the French DGSE intelligence service. It cites an uncorroborated report from a “usually reliable source” that says Saudi secret services are convinced the al-Qaida leader has died.

    French President Jacques Chirac says that the information is “in no way whatsoever confirmed.”

    A senior official in Afghanistan’s Foreign Ministry says he is “very skeptical of the truthfulness” of the document.

    Meanwhile, a Foreign Ministry spokesman in Pakistan says the information is “speculative,” and that Pakistan, like other countries, is “clueless” about bin Laden.

    A Saudi Interior Ministry official refused comment on the report, while a CIA duty officer said he could not confirm it.

    Two American intelligence sources say there’s no evidence to suggest bin Laden is dead, or dying.

    Photo Copyright Getty Images

    ©2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved

  • Bush is still waiting for his “sign” I see…

    LASHKAR GAH, Afghanistan (Reuters) – Key allies in the war against Afghanistan’s Taliban militants pledged to stay the course on Tuesday as a suicide bomber killed 18 in the south and a blast killed an Italian NATO soldier.

    The Taliban’s intensified campaign against the government and foreign troops supporting it this year has spawned the worst violence since the hardline Islamists were ousted after the September 11 attacks in 2001.

    On Tuesday, the Taliban claimed responsibility for the suicide blast outside the governor’s office in Lashkar Gah, capital of Helmand province. NATO troops were in the area at the time but none was hurt, an official said.

    Most of those killed were civilians, many queuing to do paperwork for a pilgrimage to Mecca.

    Near Kabul, a roadside bomb killed an Italian NATO soldier and seriously wounded two compatriots. The Taliban also claimed that attack.

    U.S. and NATO troops are up against a much more intense insurgency than expected and NATO has called for more troops from member nations.

    Western governments say the mission, in a central battlefield in the war on terrorism, is essential but the violence is raising doubts and calls for troops to come home.

    The sister of the Italian killed on Tuesday said the troops should leave.

    “You can’t let our boys be slaughtered like butcher’s meat,” said Barbara Langella. “It’s not right that other families, other wives, other mothers, fathers and girlfriends, suffer like this again.”

    Italian President Giorgio Napolitano defended the Afghan mission, saying it was “indispensable”. But the attack also stoked debate in the ruling centre-left coalition.

    “There is the financing for the mission until the end of the year, but it’s obvious that we have to seriously look at the issue of how to get out,” Welfare Minister Paolo Ferrero was quoted in Italian media as saying.


    Defence Secretary Des Browne defended the Afghan mission at the annual Labour Party conference in England saying five million children were in school, many new schools, clinics and hospitals had been built and four million refugees were home.

    “This is not a failing mission,” Browne said.

    “We always knew the south would be more difficult … but we have to tackle Helmand and the south — and eventually the east — if we are to secure what we have already achieved in the rest of Afghanistan.”

    British troops have been fighting intense battles with the Taliban in Helmand. More than 30 British soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan this year.

    Among those killed in Tuesday’s blast in Helmand were six policemen and soldiers, officials said.

    “It was a suicide attack on a road in front of the governor’s office,” police official Mohammad Ayoub said in Lashkar Gah.

    Taliban spokesman Qari Mohammad Yousuf said the bomber was from Helmand. A suicide blast in a market in the same town killed 17 people on August 28.

    Another Taliban spokesman claimed responsibility for the blast near Kabul that flipped an Italian armoured personnel carrier, killing the soldier. NATO said five soldiers were wounded.

    Nearly 140 foreign soldiers have been killed in violence or accidents during operations this year, including at least four Italians.

    The United States, which had been hoping to trim its Afghan force, has about 20,000 troops in the country. NATO, waging its biggest ground operation, has a similar number and is seeking more.

    NATO defence ministers will on Thursday examine a proposal that will allow the alliance to rapidly complete its plan to take over command of all peacekeepers in Afghanistan from the U.S. military, NATO officials said in Brussels.

    The Taliban have gained strength from links with the booming drugs trade and the support of militant networks in Pakistan. They are also capitalising on anger over poverty and corruption, analysts say. Most Afghans want foreign troops to stay.

    Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and Afghanistan’s Hamid Karzai have been at odds over Afghan accusations the Taliban are operating from Pakistan.

    The two, major U.S. allies in the war on terrorism, are due to meet President George W. Bush in Washington on Wednesday.

    By Abdul Qodous
    (Additional reporting by Ismail Sameem in KANDAHAR and the ROME, LONDON and BRUSSELS bureaus)

  • KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) — At least 13 people were killed, including women and children, when a suicide bomber detonated explosives strapped to his body in a busy shopping and pedestrian area of Kabul on Saturday morning, police and U.N. officials said.

    Afghan President Hamid Karzai condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”

    The bomb exploded near the pedestrian entrance to the headquarters building of Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry and near several shops, police said.

    The number of known dead was 13 but the death toll could go higher, a U.N. security official said.

    The blast, which happened just before 8 a.m., shattered the glass storefronts and killed several shopkeepers, police said.

    This was the fifth suicide bombing in Kabul during September, officials said.

    Karzai — who called the suicide attack an “alien phenomenon to the Afghans — said such “attackers come from outside Afghanistan and target the most devoted and the poorest Muslim people of the world.”

    He urged the “international community to work with Afghanistan in stopping sanctuaries that raise, train and brainwash young people to become suicide attackers.”

    — Journalist Tom Coghlan contributed to this report

    Copyright 2006 CNN

  • As if the GOP didn’t have enough problems with Dems slamming House Speaker Dennis Hastart (R-Ill.)over ex-Congressman Foley’s e-mail scandal, Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist (R-Tenn.) had to stumble over his own words when he said that perhaps members of the Taliban should be included in Afghanistan’s government as a way to end the violence there.

    Frist’s comments came while on a visit to a military base in Afghanistan with Senator Mel Martinez (R-FL) yesterday. Frist said that due to the extensive number of Taliban in Afghanistan that it was unlikely the war could be won militarily, suggesting that perhaps it would be a good idea to consider inviting them into the government as a way of solving the violence there.

    Sen. Martinez added that negotiating with the Taliban is not “out of the question,” but he quickly said those that would continue to be violent would be attacked.

    On Air Force One flying West to speak at Republican fund raising events and on the military plane carrying Rice to meet with Middle Eastern leaders, moans could be heard while Bush and Rice’s eyes rolled to the roofs of their planes cockpits after hearing about Frist’s tung-stumbling comments.

    Democrats just rolled with laughter and considered Frist’s actions to be typical of republicans. Republicans have been doing more in the last week to damage their chances of elections in November after Woodward’s book came out about the Bush administration followed by Foley’s page perversions for lusting after teenage boys and now Frist.

    One political analyst told AXcess News, “Republicans might as well just stop running altogether if they’re going to continue falling over each others mistakes like this. Democrats are having a field day with it!”

    House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said, “We went to war in Afghanistan five years ago to crush the Taliban for the role it played in the 9/11 attacks. Sen. Frist now suggests that the best way forward in Afghanistan is to coddle the Taliban by welcoming Taliban members into a coalition government, as if 9/11 had never happened.”

    Frist explained his comments to reporters saying, “Approaching counterinsurgency by winning hearts and minds will ultimately be the answer.”

    A spokesperson for Sen. Frist tried damage control after his comments about the Taliban invite to join the Afghan government saying, “While touring Afghanistan, Senator Frist made the observation that Afghan tribesman should be brought into the government or risk losing them to the Taliban.”

    But it was too little too late – and not what Sen. Frist told reporters there. “Frist specifically referred to Taliban being invited into the Afghanistan government – not “tribesmen.

    Frist’s office said in a statement released Tuesday, “Giving the native tribes, often targeted by Taliban recruitment, a voice in the government will promote peace and prosperity in the region. Sen. Frist does not believe Taliban fighters – often foreign fighters who come to Afghanistan to further conflict – should be brought into the reconciliation process.”

    Democrats piled onto Frist’s aid’s statement saying he was trying to “turn around his words” when his intentions were to “cut-and-run” in the war on terror in Afghanistan.

    Democratic National Committee Press Secretary Stacie Paxton said, “President Bush and his Republican Congress have lost all credibility with the American people.”

    By Freddie Mooche
    (AXcess News) Washington –

  • NATO took over command of U.S. troops in Afghanistan today, Bush was too busy doing more important things than to finish the war he started…

    …but of course that’s only my opinion!