US makes progress in Afghanistan

I guess now we know what the Bush administration has been smoking…

Afghanistan produced record levels of opium in 2007 for the second straight year, led by a staggering 45 percent increase in the Taliban stronghold of Helmand Province, according to a new United Nations survey to be released Monday.

Comments

  1. 1

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Don’t forget what Afghanistan (or Pakistan, or Wingnutistan) HASN’T produced: Osama, dead or alive.

    “I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority. I am truly not that concerned about him.”
    – George W. Bush, March 13, 2002

  2. 2

    FricknFrack, Seattle spews:

    Hope I’m still on topic, but saw this tonight. Not surprising. Wonder how many bridges or other infrastructure back at home could have been replaced/repaired with all this money tossed into the abyss.

    Iraq corruption whistleblowers face penalties
    Cases show fraud exposers have been vilified, fired, or detained for weeks

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20430153/

    One after another, the men and women who have stepped forward to report corruption in the massive effort to rebuild Iraq have been vilified, fired and demoted.

    Or worse.

    For daring to report illegal arms sales, Navy veteran Donald Vance says he was imprisoned by the American military in a security compound outside Baghdad and subjected to harsh interrogation methods.

  3. 3

    FricknFrack, Seattle spews:

    @ 2 There’s more MUCH more to the article, pretty shocking reading. guess I can’t say “snipped” with the little sideways carrots thingeys on both ends.

  4. 4

    Nindid spews:

    FnF @ 2

    But you see – the money is going to the “right” people… and that is all that matters to these guys. Government exists as a means of redirecting tax dollars to them and their buddies.

    Its not just a matter of greed, but really is a bedrock conservative principle. They don’t believe in government, and they certainly don’t believe that they have any responsibility to the greater community or to anyone else.

    “Conservative government” is only corrupt in the sense that they do things like redirect community funds into their own pockets and use torture techniques on honorable people who expose it.

    In and of itself, it is completely consistent with their principles and you would think that after every Republican administration since Nixon has done this we would start expecting it.

  5. 5

    ArtFart spews:

    4 True. This no longer surprises me at all.

    However, it still continues to disgust me in the extreme.

  6. 6

    Heathen Sinner spews:

    I am Republican – I lie, steal and cheat when I’m not being a family man (fat whore) or a crying hypocrit. Self righteous bastard that I am.

  7. 7

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    #2 ricknFrack, Seattle says:

    Hope I’m still on topic, but saw this tonight. Not surprising. Wonder how many bridges or other infrastructure back at home could have been replaced/repaired with all this money tossed into the abyss.

      
    If the local leaders spent the money repairing the infrastructure instead of new pet projects, probably quite a few.

  8. 8

    spews:

    If the local leaders spent the money repairing the infrastructure instead of new pet projects

    Hmmmm. Yeah. Like Republican Ted Stevens and his bridges to nowhere!

  9. 9

    Daddy Love spews:

    Progress.
    http://www.suntimes.com/news/w.....26.article

    Violence surges in Afghanistan
    BOMBS, GUNFIRE | Attacks at highest level since 2001
    Insurgent violence is running at its highest level since U.S. forces invaded the country in 2001 to oust the Taliban rulers, who had harbored al-Qaida leaders after the Sept. 11 attacks. Most of the violence is concentrated in southern or eastern Afghanistan, where insurgents staged several attacks Saturday, but there have been occasional suicide attacks in Kabul.

    More progress.
    http://in.reuters.com/article/.....4520070826

    Record-breaking opium crop destabilises Afghanistan
    Afghanistan’s poppy harvest is expected to top all records this year as the country spirals deeper into a vicious circle of drugs, corruption and insecurity.

    Afghanistan is locked in a vicious circle in which drug money corrupts government and helps fund the Taliban insurgency. That weakens state control over parts of the country, which in turn leads to more insecurity and more drug production.

    Progress everwhere you look…
    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20...../newsweek/

    Into Thin Air
    He’s still out there. The hunt for bin Laden.

    Why can’t the world’s greatest superpower find a middle-aged, possibly ill, religious fanatic with a medieval mind-set? The short answer, sometimes overlooked, is that good, real-time intelligence about the enemy is hard to come by in any war, and manhunts are almost always difficult, especially if the fugitive can vanish into a remote region with a sympathetic population. (Think how long—five years—it took the FBI to track down Eric Rudolph, the Atlanta Olympic bomber, in the wilds of North Carolina.) That said, the U.S. government has made the job harder than necessary. The Iraq War drained resources from the hunt, and some old bureaucratic bugaboos—turf battles and fear of risk—undermined the effort. The United States can’t just barge into Pakistan without upsetting, and possible dooming, President Pervez Musharraf, who seems to lurch between trying to appease his enemies and riling them with heavy-handed repression.

    Of course, the Chicago Sun-Times, Reuters India, and Newsweek are all left-leaning, so you’d better get back to Fox news.

  10. 10

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    #8 YLB says:

    If the local leaders spent the money repairing the infrastructure instead of new pet projects
    Hmmmm. Yeah. Like Republican Ted Stevens and his bridges to nowhere!

      
    Exactly.
      
    Or the biggest porker of them all-
    “They call me ‘The Pork King,’ they don’t know how much I enjoy it.” – Sen. Robert Byrd
    http://www.cagw.org/site/PageS.....ddroppings

  11. 11

    spews:

    It’s important to keep in mind that the Taliban does not grow the opium or produce and transport the drugs. They make money by providing protection for those who do. In other words, if we licensed the opium farmers to grow for the legal medicines opium is already used for, paid them close enough to what they’d make on the black market, we could start drying up the Taliban’s revenue source.

    But the Bush Administration won’t do that because it’s competition for some of our allies who already grow it legally (India, Australia, Turkey) and because they believe that widespread drug eradication can work.

  12. 12

    Travis Pahl spews:

    I am voting for Ron Paul in the Republican Primary, He is against the war in iraq and war on drugs. Getting out of both would help out those in Afghanistan alot more than Bush and Clintons policies!

    Travis Pahl

  13. 13

    spews:

    @12
    Travis,
    I’m glad you’re doing that. Paul is definitely the best Republican in the race, even if I have some serious problems with some of his positions. And I hope that, like most Paul supporters, that you will pledge to vote for the Democrat in 2008 if Giuliani is the nominee. As someone who opposed the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, along with the war on drugs, and is supportive of the 2nd Amendment, the prospect of Rudy in the White House is truly terrifying.

  14. 14

    spews:

    lee,

    It will depend on who the democrat candidate is. I will not vote for a candidate that ever voted for the war or Patriot act or funding of the war or in any way strongly supported the war or patriot act regardless of what they say now. So most likely I will not be voting democrat.

    Hopefully you and others that agree that Paul is the best republican candidate will vote for him in the Primary. THe primary in washington will determine half the delagates for the GOP but none for the Democrats so unless you really feel like spending your vote on a glorified opinion poll that does not matter, you might as well throw it for a anti war republican. It will keep pressure on whoever the Democrat candidate turns out to be to keep their word on ending the war and patriot act.

    Travis

  15. 15

    Daddy Love spews:

    We should withdraw from Iraq and send a good chunk of the money we save (when we stop pouring it down that bloody black hole) to make good on the American promise NOT to walk out on Afghanistan (which we promptly did) and finally, finally rebuild it.

  16. 16

    Daddy Love spews:

    Hey, I heard there was progress in Afghanistan!

    Afghanistan:
    Women still under attack – a systematic failure to protect

    members. Violence against women and girls in Afghanistan is pervasive; few women are exempt from the reality or threat of violence. Afghan women and girls live with the risk of: abduction and rape by armed individuals; forced marriage; being traded for settling disputes and debts; and face daily discrimination from all segments of society as well as by state officials. Strict societal codes, invoked in the name of tradition and religion, are used as justification for denying women the ability to enjoy their fundamental rights, and have led to the imprisonment of some women, and even to killings. Should they protest by running away, the authorities may imprison them.

    It’s a Bush-built paradise. I’m surprised they haven’t built statues to our president like they did in Iraq. Oh, that’s right…

  17. 18

    Daddy Love spews:

    “Bush” means progress!
    http://observer.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,330196848-119093,00.html
    July 2007

    Britain’s most senior generals have issued a blunt warning to Downing Street that the military campaign in Afghanistan is facing a catastrophic failure, a development that could lead to an Islamist government seizing power in neighbouring Pakistan.
    Amid fears that London and Washington are taking their eye off Afghanistan as they grapple with Iraq, the generals have told Number 10 that the collapse of the government in Afghanistan, headed by Hamid Karzai, would present a grave threat to the security of Britain.

    ‘The situation in Afghanistan is much worse than many people recognise,’ Lord Inge, speaking with the direct authority of the general staff, told lawmakers. ‘We need to face up to that issue, the consequence of strategic failure in Afghanistan and what that would mean for NATO… We need to recognise that the situation – in my view, and I have recently been in Afghanistan – is much, much more serious than people want to recognise.’

  18. 19

    Daddy Love spews:

    But Our Leader is never wrong!

    The signs are troubling. Despite the initial enthusiasm for rebuilding the country, the world seems to have forgotten them. International support has been scarce. Comparisons with recent peacekeeping and nation-building exercises are troubling. As pointed out by the humanitarian organization CARE International, in Rwanda, East Timor, Kosovo, and Bosnia, donors spent an average of $250 per person annually in aid. If that average were applied in Afghanistan, the country would receive $5.5 billion in aid every year for the next four years. Instead, it has received pledges amounting to less than one-fourth of that sum. The Henry L. Stimson Center, a Washington, D.C.-based think-tank, has pointed out that in Kosovo the international community spent twenty-five times more money, on a per capita basis, than it has pledged in Afghanistan. Similarly, in Kosovo the international community committed fifty times more troops per capita than it has in Afghanistan. Comparisons with Iraq, of course, are even worse: while Iraq received U.S.$26 billion in reconstruction aid in 2003, Afghanistan received less than $1 billion.

    This inattention has had a tremendously negative impact. Taliban forces are resurgent and emboldened in their attacks on U.S. troops as well as on the government of President Hamid Karzai and the foreign community supporting him. Warlords, militias, and brigands dominate the entire country, including the city of Kabul. Many women and girls, freed from the Taliban’s rule, have again been forced out of schools and jobs due to insecurity. Poppy cultivation has soared to new highs, providing billions of dollars to the Taliban, warlords, and petty criminals who resist the central government. Foreign states with long, mostly destructive histories of interference in Afghanistan’s affairs—­Pakistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia, India, Uzbekistan, and Russia—are again picking local proxies to push their agendas.

    http://hrw.org/wr2k4/5.htm

    But Human Rights Watch and the UK Guardian are left-leaning, so we will return you to our regulary scheduled programming, the Rush Limbaugh Show!

  19. 20

    spews:

    Lee,

    My first response was lost somehow, if it later shows up sorry for the duplicate message.

    I will not vote for any candidate that ever supported the Iraq war or the Patriot act and it will also be tough for me to support any candidate that ever supported the drug war but will be less harsh on that one so long as they now realize it was wrong.

    Given this criteria, I probably will not be voting for a democrat this election since so few fit my criteria.

    I do hope that you and others that recognize Paul as a great candidate (but perhaps not ideal in your eyes) is still worth your vote in the primary. In Washington the Democrats do not do anything with the primary vote but the republicans use it for half of their delegates so if you want a vote that means something you might as vote republican and you might as well vote for a candidate that will keep the Democrats honest on thier new found dislike for the war in Iraq.

    Travis Pahl

  20. 21

    Daddy Love spews:

    Hey, there’s progress in Iraq, too! AP wire:

    * The overall death toll is down from its peak, but is still about double the rate from last summer.

    * A military spokesman differed, saying fatalities are at their lowest level since June 2006, but “offered no statistics to back his claim.” Yeah, as usual.

    * As nearly everyone predicted, many of the insurgents have simply moved out of Baghdad into other areas: “Initial calculations validate fears that the Baghdad crackdown would push militants into districts north of the capital…. In July, the AP figures show 35 percent of all war-related killings occurred in northern provinces. The figure one year ago was 22 percent.”

    * Residents are fleeing: “The number of displaced Iraqis has more than doubled since the start of the year, from 447,337 on Jan. 1 to 1.14 million on July 31.”

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/20440397/

  21. 22

    Daddy Love spews:

    National Guard troops cheer call for Iraq withdrawal. Speaking to the National Guard Association general conference yesterday, Puerto Rico’s governor said that the Bush administration has “no new strategy and no signs of success” and called for the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. His comments earned him a standing ovation from the more than 4,000 current and former Air and Army National Guard officers.

    Why do our Air and Army National Guard officers hate America?

    Think they’re voting Republican?

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories.....4570.shtml

  22. 23

    spews:

    I am not sure why my posts are not making it, but I’ll try one more time…

    Lee,

    I will vote for the democrat IF they have not voted for the Iraq war or the Patriot act in their past nor supported either.

    So I probably will not end up voting for a democrat if Paul is not nominated. But then I will not be voting for a republican then either.

    I hope you and others vote for Paul in the primary. The D’s do not use the primary to decide any delagates but the Rs are assigning half based on the primary so you should make your vote count and vote in the republican primary.

  23. 24

    spews:

    @23
    Travis,
    I can see all your comments. Not sure why they weren’t making it through. The filter on this site can be flaky.