Stop Me If You’ve Heard This

Sometimes, from diverse news stories, a shaggy dog emerges.

Item one: The recent drone attack that failed to kill al Qaeda’s “number two” guy had the unfortunate side effect of killing 17 other people, including six women and six children. According to Griff Witte and Kamran Khan in the Washington Post:

Tens of thousands of Pakistanis staged an angry anti-American protest near the remote village of Damadola, about 120 miles northwest of Islamabad, where Friday’s attack took place. According to witnesses, the demonstrators shouted, “Death to America!” and “Death to Musharraf!” — referring to Pakistan’s president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf — and the offices of at least one U.S.-backed aid organization were ransacked and set ablaze.

Jason Burke and Imtiaz Gul of the Observer write that relations between the U.S. and our GWOT “ally,” Pakistan, have been stretched to the breaking point.

Tensions between Washington and Islamabad have grown in recent weeks as American troops have stepped up operations against militants. Pakistan has already lodged a protest with the US military six days ago after a reported US airstrike killed eight people in the North Waziristan tribal region, an almost deserted area of mountains 300 miles south of Damadola. In Damadola itself, locals said they had never sheltered any al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders, let alone al-Zawahiri, an instantly recognisable 54-year-old Egyptian-born ex-doctor.

Even if the raid had taken out Ayman Zawahiri, one might still argue that the price of the capture was far too high. “This is war, and unfortunately war results in collateral deaths by mistaken targeting,” say the warbloggers. But let’s take a step back and ask a fundamental question.

Why are we at war? Aren’t we supposed to be fighting to end (or, at least, significantly discourage) terrorism? If our focus on eliminating people on a shopping list of bad guys results in making more bad guys, is this not a tad self-defeating? Like curing someone’s headache by cutting off his head? Are we not missing the big picture here?

Jane Hamsher has more
on what we might call the inconsistency of righties on this issue, but let’s move on to the next story …

An editorial in today’s Los Angeles Times says we’d better pay attention to Afghanistan.

MORE THAN FOUR YEARS AFTER the invasion that overthrew the Taliban, Afghanistan remains a dangerous place. A suicide attack 10 days ago — presumably targeting the U.S. ambassador, who was attending a nearby ceremony — killed 10 people. Days earlier, there was the beheading of a high school principal by suspected Taliban militants who broke into his home and forced his wife and eight children to watch.

The violence followed a year in which nearly 1,600 people were killed in insurgent attacks and suicide bombings. The latter are an especially troubling development because such attacks were previously rare in Afghanistan. Last year’s death toll included more than 80 American soldiers, making the year the bloodiest for U.S. forces there since the invasion.

Yet the U.S. plans to reduce the number of troops stationed in Afghaistan this spring. NATO will take up some of the slack, but one might ask why President Bush is so determined to “finish the job” in Iraq but not in Afghanistan.

But what’s this? Doug Smith and Borzou Daragahi write in the Los Angeles Times that Bush’s “Marshall Plan” for Iraq is fading.

After more than 2 1/2 years of sputtering reconstruction work, the United States’ “Marshall Plan” to rebuild this war-torn country is drawing to a close this year with much of its promise unmet and no plans to extend its funding.

The $18.6 billion approved by Congress in 2003 will be spent by the end of this year, officials here say. Foreign governments have given only a fraction of the billions they pledged two years ago.

With the country still a shambles, U.S. officials are promoting a tough-love vision of reconstruction that puts the burden on the Iraqi people.

“The world is a competitive place,” Tom Delare, economics counselor at the U.S. Embassy, said this month during a news briefing. “You have to convince the investor that it is worth his while to put his money in your community.”

In other words, Halliburton et al. has decided there isn’t enough profit in Iraq reconstruction. The White House insists it remains committed to Iraqi reconstruction. They’re just not going to put any more money and effort into it.

Meanwhile, we’re on the way to a nuclear showdown in Iran.

Now, here’s the punch line: In response to their crumbling Middle East policy, some in the GOP have pulled out all the stops … to smear John Murtha.

Those that can, do. Those that can’t — smear.

8 thoughts on “Stop Me If You’ve Heard This

  1. War and it’s unfortunate casualties…hmm. Ok. My take on this. No, I don’t want the loss of our men and women in uniform. I was once one of them and a lot of them only want a job. The ones who join because they like blowing things up and killing are there too. These are the brave ones who know the possible price when they join on. They shouldn’t sit back safely so air strikes can soften things up. The civilians are the ones who, given the oppurtunity, should be protected at all costs even the life of one of ours. Do away with the double standard of proclaiming all our service mens lives are valuable but then when the argument shifts the other way jump on the “they knew what they were getting into” bandwagon. Or better yet keep war as the very last resort and then follow up to fix the mess you made.

  2. Someday there will be another nation like the US and they will decide it’s OK to kill US civilians and leaders. What say we then?

  3. FIVE CHILDREN! FIVE CHILDREN were killed in Pakistan! And, they call the liberals baby killers. The U.S. attacked a sovereign country that has been Bush’s ally in this misbegotten war on terror. Then, it turns out that the man who was the reason for this attack was not there. More bad intelligence!

    The U.S. looks like a bunch of incompetents with nuclear weapons to boot. Some other leader in the world could make the same decision Bush made about Saddam and decide that this Bush guy is an evil, bad man and must be gotten rid of before he bombs them. Then, following Bush’s precedent of preemptive war, the U.S. is bombed to smithereens because the leader of country X was afraid Bush was going to attack his country.


  4. I noticed in reading captain ed’s blog he uses the word”we” when talking about the movement of our troops.I wonder what he means by we? Does he realize he is not part of the “we”? He speaks as though he walks beside the troops.I wonder how the keyboard shambo would do in actual combat?Can one hold a keyboard,cry for mommy and shit their pants all at the same time?Send captain ed to bagdad and drop him off and lets find out.

    Or perhaps we should send him to Pakistan to tell the people in that village that it is just too damn bad those killed got in the way of bush’s grand worldwide inherent authority to kill who ever the hell he wants.Innocents outside of America just get in the way of bush’s agenda.I wonder if captain ed has the balls to stand in that pakistan village and tell those people loud and proud”This is war and unfortunately war results in collateral deaths by mistaken target.” I will pay for his ticket TODAY.

    Bush’s minions need to remember something:Outside this country bush’s “inherent authority” doesn’t mean shit except destruction for anything it touches.Bush can say at home he is king of the world , but that does not make it so.

    Bush declaring he is King here is one thing, and the same goes for the captain eds who are foolish enough to buy into it.But just as bush is free to declare what he wishes for the affairs of This nation,Gen.Musharraf is also entitled to conduct affairs in his own sovereign nation.

    I wonder what the captain ed’s would think if say China or pakistan thought we had someone they sought in an attack on their nation and they attacked captain eds neighborhood only to find out ,ooops , mistaken target justified by a AUMF that has no connection what so ever to your country,,sorry collateral damage!As long as the other nation attacking has some AUMF somewhere in the world, conducting operations in captain ed’s neighborhood is no problem!If we can do it, why not other nations?

    Captain ed and his friends should do us all a favor and consider this: They are less then half this country.. so 150 million people?That number is but a spec on this earth.They are NOT a vast majority of anything.Bush is not king of the world.To the rest of the world , where people are suffering and dying everyday 911 is but one of those days, many years ago.150 million people do not have say over the whole world.

    Had any nation attacked us and killed innocents as The United States just did in Pakistan, captain ed would be SCREAMING for war,no one here would give a rats ass if Musharraf had a AUMF to use force to look for whatever terrorists he claims endanger his nation before he bombed innocents in captain ed’s neighborhood.

    I am trying to understand the double standard here, because If the captain ed’s of this country think the AUMF gives bush the right to unleash bombs on innocent people in innocent nations then any world leader with a AUMF can attack any city in America and kill innocents as well,, thanks for playing captain ed’s AUMF lotto!

  5. Dear justme,
    The captain uses “We” in the same manner many sports fanatics say “we won the game last night because “we” ran a brillant end play”. Fat half drunken bastards critizing the steroid enhanced athletes whom they could never go head to head against.
    This is something that I should understand as a male, but I missed testerone 101 class that day, and for the life of me I’ll never understand the love of warfare either real or ritual.
    But your rant was excellent!

  6. I didn’t miss testosterone 101.. as a matter of fact.I got an A+. The only reason I did so well was because I had a solid foundation of insecurity in myself. I learned early that it was always..we..I needed something to attach to in order to stand and I found that something in “we”
    .. So when testosterone 101 came around, I was prepared..

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