Two British newspapers, the Daily Telegraph and the Guardian, quoted in their August 12 editions statements made by Iraqi Lieutenant General Babakir Zebari, who at a defense conference in Baghdad the previous day called on the United States to leave troops in Iraq beyond next year’s planned withdrawal. "If I were asked about the withdrawal, I would say to politicians: the U.S. army must stay until the Iraqi army is fully ready in 2020,” said Zebari.
The New York Times reported on August 11 that U.S. military officials are building a case to reduce the planned withdrawal of some troops from Afghanistan, scheduled to begin next July. The article explained that the case is geared toward countering pressure being exerted on President Obama from within his own party to proceed quickly with the process of winding down the war.
A USA Today/Gallup poll released last week found that public support for President Obama’s Afghanistan war policy declined from 48 percent in February to 36 percent. USA Today attributed the 12-percent decline to “a rising U.S. death toll and the unauthorized release of classified military documents.”
President Barack Obama announced “America’s combat mission in Iraq would end” in an August 2 address to the Disabled American Veterans, but the details of the announcement have revealed that American soldiers will continue to fight and die in Iraq for at least another 18 months, if not longer.
The federal government loves corporate whistleblowers; they get paraded before congressional committees and treated as selfless heroes out to protect the little guy from big, bad business. Let someone blow the whistle on the government, however, and Uncle Sam’s long knives come out.
“A U.S. audit has found that the Pentagon cannot account for over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraq reconstruction money, spotlighting Iraqi complaints that there is little to show for the massive funds pumped into their cash-strapped, war-ravaged nation,” reports the Associated Press.
Is there any conflict in the world too remote or too irrelevant to U.S. national security for Washington not to interfere in it somehow? Has Congress ever passed a bill ostensibly targeted at one problem that was not laden with paybacks to various special interests that were entirely irrelevant to the problem at hand? The answer to both appears to be no.
Eight U.S. troops have been killed in Afghanistan during a 24-hour period running from July 13-14. A NATO statement cited by AP and the New York Times said that the first attack came on the night of July 13, as a suicide bomber drove his car into the outer perimeter of the Afghan Civil Order Police headquarters in Kandahar, and was followed minutes later by attackers armed with rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns.
Federal officials charged the alleged source for the April Wikileaks video that exposed U.S. helicopter gunners committing war crimes in Baghdad in 2007, Pfc. Bradley Manning, with a variety of charges July 5. The New York Times reported that Manning has also been “charged with downloading more than 150,000 highly classified diplomatic cables that could, if made public, reveal the inner workings of American embassies around the world, the military here announced on Tuesday.”
President Obama renewed his call for a “Civilian Expeditionary Workforce” to supplement the efforts of soldiers in U.S. war-zones in Iraq and Afghanistan in a June 30, 2010 town meeting in Racine, Wisconsin. “So the military goes in there, they clear out everything, they’re making everything secure — and now the question is, all right, can we get the civilians to come in to work with the local governments to improve the situation. And a lot of times, that civilian side of it has been under-resourced.”
Michael Kinsley famously defined a gaffe as “when a politician inadvertently tells the truth.” That being the case, Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele’s comment that the war in Afghanistan is unwinnable definitely qualifies as a gaffe.