On June 7 of this year, our ongoing war in Afghanistan surpassed the Vietnam War as the longest war in American history. In his December 1, 2009 speech at West Point, President Obama followed the pattern set by several predecessors and employed the deceptive tactic of presenting false alternatives. He deftly and swiftly discounted terminating U.S. efforts in what was then already an eight-year-old war. He dwelt instead on what were, to him, the only alternatives worthy of consideration. Should the United States send tens of thousands more troops to Afghanistan? Or should the current force level be maintained? Of course, we know he has opted for sending an additional 30,000 troops.
Who is Prisoner X? That is the question being asked in Israel following the brief publication of a story about a mysterious prisoner by Ynetnews, the news website published by Yedioth Ahronoth, the nation’s leading Hebrew-language newspaper.
Ethnic violence is rocking Kyrgyzstan. Uzbek citizens of the central Asian nation are alleging atrocities committed against them by Kyrgyz gangs roaming those parts of their nation in which ethnic Uzbeks form a significant part of the nation. The death toll so far stands at 117 killed with many more homes burned and Uzbeks injured. This is particularly curious because Uzbekistan has almost five times as many people as Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan has twice the land area as Kyrgyzstan.
The New York Times on June 14 quoted a statement from General David Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command (USCENTCOM) that there could be as much as $1 trillion in mineral deposits in Afghanistan, including significant deposits of lithium, an alkaline metal with numerous industrial applications, including lithium batteries.
AP reported statements from NATO leaders on June 11 declaring that the alliance had “regained the initiative” in the Afghan war, along with promises that the gains could result in a handover of security responsibilities to Afghan authorities by the end of 2010.