Afghanistan: Time to Negotiate a Deal?

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afghanistan report.jpgThis morning I am helping The Century Foundation launch its new report, Afghanistan: Negotiating Peace
The National Press Club event can be watched here live. The meeting starts at 9:30 am EST.
Some of the themes of this meeting appear in an oped, “Settling the Afghan War,” by Lakhdar Brahimi and Thomas Pickering that appeared in this morning’s New York Times.
Here is the rundown of the speakers:

Lakhdar Brahimi, Task Force Co-Chair, former United Nations Special Representative for Afghanistan (1997-99, 2001-04)
Thomas Pickering, Task Force Co-Chair; former United States Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs
James Dobbins, Director, International Security and Defense Policy Center, National Security Research Division, RAND; former United States Special Envoy for Afghanistan
Lawrence Korb, Senior Fellow, Center for American Progress; former Assistant Secretary of Defense (1981-85)

The Century Foundation has been working with me in my other hat at Fenton in getting this report out — but whether or not I was part of the team, I feel that this international task force has made a key contribution to thinking through how a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan could be pursued. I know that the White House is taking this effort very seriously.
More soon. After the program.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

31 comments on “Afghanistan: Time to Negotiate a Deal?

  1. Cee says:

    The people in Libya may wish for the old days when this is over
    Norah Owaraga, in 2007, wrote in the African Executive Magazine:

    Reply

  2. DakotabornKansan says:

    The Century Foundation report
    http://tcf.org/publications/2011/3/afghanistan-negotiating-peace
    is reviewed by Afghanistan Analysts Network

    Reply

  3. DonS says:

    OT, but important in the sense of government by corrosion of rights – Turley, Greenwald, and Marcy Wheeler agree: Obama continues his attack on Constitutional rights relating to detention before charge or trial:
    “President Obama has continued his attack on basic constitutional and legal principles with an astonishing new order that allows investigators to not only hold domestic terror suspects for longer periods but to deny them Miranda rights under a strained interpretation of the public safety exception. Obama had attempted to get this change from Congress but was rebuffed. He has now again adopted a tactic of his predecessor and acted unilaterally to trump recognized constitutional rights.
    http://jonathanturley.org/2011/03/24/obama-orders-limits-on-miranda-rights-for-domestic-suspects/
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/03/24/miranda/index.html
    [Marcy Wheeler link in next post . . .]
    So when do we start vilifying Obama as in the category of Bush — no principles; an enemy of democracy?

    Reply

  4. questions says:

    Map of Geiger counter readings across Japan, crowd sourced, h/t Brad DeLong:
    http://japan.failedrobot.com/
    Click on a circle, a pop up gives you time, reading in microsieverts/hour.
    *******
    The workers who were harmed by radiation — 2 of them had on LOW boots in DEEP water. Why they are not better suited up I get the feeling I don’t want to know. Why this is done to people, I get the feeling I don’t want to know. This from somewhere at kos.
    *******
    Kyodo News English has up Tokyo water readings back to normal range, and this:
    “Tokyo Electric Power Co. said Friday it has begun injecting freshwater into the No. 1 and No. 3 reactor cores at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant to enhance cooling efficiency, but highly radioactive water was later found leaking near all four troubled reactor units at the plant.
    A day after three workers were exposed to water containing radioactive materials 10,000 times the normal level at the turbine building connected to the No. 3 reactor building, a water pool with similarly highly concentrated radioactive materials was found in the No. 1 reactor’s turbine building, causing some restoration work to be suspended, it said.
    Pools of water that may have seeped from either the reactor cores or spent fuel pools were also found in the turbine buildings of the No. 2 and No. 4 reactors, measuring up to 1 meter and 80 centimeters deep, respectively, while those near the No. 1 and No. 3 reactors were up to 40 cm and 1.5 meters deep.”
    and from the same article later,
    “Early Friday, concern grew that the high-level radiation leak detected with the workers’ exposure Thursday could indicate possible damage to the No. 3 reactor vessel, but the government’s nuclear safety agency later denied the possibility, saying no data, such as on the pressure level, have suggested the reactor vessel has cracked or been damaged.
    While the high-level radiation is suspected to have come from the reactor, where overheating fuel rods are believed to have partially melted, it remains uncertain how the leak occurred, said Hidehiko Nishiyama, spokesman for the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency.
    He said further verification is needed to find out how the radioactive water reached the underground site where the workers were exposed. Huge volumes of water have been poured into the No. 3 reactor as well as its apparently boiling spent fuel pool since they lost their cooling functions.”
    http://english.kyodonews.jp/news/2011/03/81133.html
    So it’s once again uncertain how bad, if bad, or not anything is. Deep uncertainty abounds.
    The evacuation is being broadened in part because no one can get supplies, and perhaps in part because there’s real worry of a worsening crisis. Again, no one knows.
    ******
    The death toll creeps up. It’s looking closer to 30,000. Very sad.
    ****
    Syria is heating up, firing on crowds, crowds are responding.
    ****
    Qaddafi has some supporters. Did the US misread this fact, or did the US want a jolt for the Spring, or is there still an assumption that pretty soon all that solid support will melt into air. We don’t know this either.
    Iraq and Afgh. turned into ground-level quagmires. I wonder what an air-level quagmire looks like. The humanitarian side, for which I have some sympathy, may become perma-gunning. What a concept.
    I think that the concept of equilibrium should be thought through. If a nation is at equilibrium, even if of a brutal sort, and we add some aerial bombardment, or some ground troops, or some agitators, or whatever, maybe all we’re doing is shifting the equilibrium a bit so that everyone adjusts to the bombs or the troops. And once we’re part of that equilibrium, we become part of the scene and we become inflexible, and we get stuck.
    Undoing the Cold War is expensive. And undoing it by occupying 2 countries’ groundspaces and one country’s airspace is a lot of intervention. And there are a lot more countries that are likely spots for humanitarian disaster coupled with US interests of one sort or another.
    Wow.
    **********
    And the Monkey Cage has up an interesting piece I can’t link to because I’m at the limit….
    It’s on terrorist network financing, informational asymmetry, and why the Detroit bomber needed cheap airfare, but there’s lots of money flowing through. Worth looking for.

    Reply

  5. Don Bacon says:

    for more information on U.S. regional strategy:
    Remarks
    Robert O. Blake, Jr.
    Assistant Secretary, Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs
    Houston, TX
    January 19, 2011
    “We also aim to expand our cooperation and engagement with Central Asia. . . we have three primary objectives in the South and Central Asia region:

    Reply

  6. Don Bacon says:

    The article that DonS linked to is further evidence, as if any were needed, that the U.S. DOES have a job creation policy but NOT in the U.S. It’s in other countries.
    The Afghanistan fiasco is a part of the U.S.’s South/Central Asia — Silk Road policy which includes U.S. corporations moving into that part of the world.
    Reasons?
    *That’s where a good part of the world’s economic growth is
    * cheap labor
    * counter Russia and China
    * increased profits and political contributions
    Purposes of this task force include to convert state-owned commercial enterprises first Iraq, then Afghanistan, to private for-profit enterprises and to open up conquered natural resources including petroleum and mineral deposits to U.S. commercial exploitation. Unfortunately China seems to be doing better at the latter two.
    from the link:
    The exodus has alarmed senior U.S. military officials, including Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who view the group

    Reply

  7. JohnH says:

    Repeat after me: there is no budget crisis. There is plenty of money…for military adventures. Sick, elderly and unemployed Americans need not apply. There is no budget crisis.

    Reply

  8. DonS says:

    Head of cowboy capitalism group under
    DOD is bailing because Congress apparently thought this defense dept task force was too costly and needed to be brought under civilian control and oversight:
    “The exodus has alarmed senior U.S. military officials, including Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, who view the group

    Reply

  9. Matthew says:

    “We are now officially hundreds of millions of dollars in on our Libya adventure. Where the fuck is the money coming from, if not your pocket?’
    American involement in these conflicts serve two purposes: (1) it distracts Americans from our politically insoluable domestic problems; (2) it allows the Empire to interject itself back into the Middle East right when the Arabs have begun to throw off Pax Americana.
    Did you really think that America would allow its Puppet States to collapse without a fight. Egypt was intolerable, but the Egyptian Army is stealthily rolling back the freedom of Tahrir. The Bahrainis are paying for the “impertinence” of the Arab Spring. And Libya is a gift to the Reconstruction Industry.

    Reply

  10. PissedOffAmerican says:

    We are now officially hundreds of millions of dollars in on our Libya adventure. Where the fuck is the money coming from, if not your pocket?
    Did you want this lying mis-represented piece of shit to spend hundreds of millions, probably billions, in Libya??
    Probable core breach on reactor three at Fukushima. Big deals are no big deals? The NRC and the EPA are lying to you. Again, and always.

    Reply

  11. DonS says:

    Thanks for the thoughts Questions. Yes Paul, we are enjoying the sun; temp near 20c in the afternoons. Expect to soak up some local culture, visit markets, and the food and wine for 10 days.
    Libya is not on everyone’s lips, but the couple we stayed with a few night’s ago were definitely skeptical of French involvement.

    Reply

  12. DakotabornKansan says:

    Nancy A. Youssef, McClatchy Newspapers, paints a grim picture of Libya’s rebel-dominated eastern half.

    Reply

  13. Paul Norheim says:

    Provence, DonS? I envy you. Still snowing here.
    “What else?”
    I’d watch the development in Syria in the coming days.

    Reply

  14. questions says:

    DonS,
    Sorry to hear. Half expected to be asked to transfer some money into an account in Nigeria or whatever! Hope you enjoy the rest of your travels.
    Bits-n-pieces — an assistant prosecutor of some sort for the state of Indiana e-mailed the gov of Wisconsin, Walker, during the protests and recommended that he fake an attack on himself, perhaps of the 2nd Amendment variety and then blame the unions. I am not kidding. This ass’t prosecutor is no longer a law officer in the great state of Indiana.
    What is it with these people?
    The PATCO mess strikes again, this time at the ironically named (vomit) Reagan *** National Airport (no airport should ever have THAT name next to it) — a traffic control supervisor on the 4th night in a row of solo duty fell asleep and 2 aircraft had to land w/o tower support. No ground personnel were hurt. But, geeze, could we staff towers better, even when only a couple of late night flights are due in because of noise control? Can we just see that there are public goods that cost money and just fucking spend the money?
    ********
    The Monkey Cage has up a piece on the cost of tenure — really interesting. Tenure is basically free for the school district to offer. No money changes hands. Teachers value it because they fear arbitrary dismissal from prick principals, parents, school boards, and superintendents. It’s free for the school district to offer.
    If it’s free to offer, and teachers love it, then you’re “paying” the teachers something free. Tenure saves money. Without tenure, you have to pay more, not less. Pretty interesting. Makes the anti-teacher bullying look a whole lot more political….
    *****
    Brad DeLong orders us all never to vote for Republicans ever ever again. Newt Gingrich edition, he gives a h/t to Jonathan Bernstein for pointing out someone’s pointing out that Gingrich is Mr. 180 on everything. Which is true. I enjoy referring to things that refer to things that refer to something. The web is a web, after all.
    *****
    Mark Thoma quotes Rebecca Wilder:
    “The government doesn’t need to add jobs, per se, the government needs to figure out how to get corporate America to drop the saving glut and re-invest in the economy.”
    This is akin to my thinking over the past many months that getting money out of the grubby paws of billionaires is THE task.
    And it makes me wonder about the following structure (I love that word)–
    A good investment in infrastructure necessarily has to tie in to other investments in order to be sound. That is, there would seem to be a strong network effect in infrastructure investment.
    Bridges to nowhere are a waste, as are highways that connect uninhabitable stretches with other uninhabitable stretches.
    At the same time that there is this network function to the value of any given infrastructural development, there is a concomitant race to the bottom/prisoners dilemma/competition with no coordination situation among the states, cities, towns, and transit authorities across the country.
    Every political unit wants the money (save for Florida and high speed rail!), and they all jockey to be recipients of development.
    But competitive development fails the network test. It’s not enough to run a project in one place unless it’s tied to all sorts of other projects in that same place.
    To develop a place with sufficient resources to gain economic traction is to favor one political unit over others, and will not be tolerated.
    When corporate actors get involved, they make the problem worse by playing political units off of each other to reduce the amount of investment needed and by doing so, they cut down ever more on the network effects of development.
    The government cannot, in a competitive election system, favor grand development in one political unit over others, so the money gets splintered into absurd little projects like pothole repair or signage.
    And the corporate element reduces its investment to as close to zero as possible.
    Thus, our task is not just a matter of getting the grubby paws of the billionaires off the money, it’s also overcoming the tensions between networking development and the race to the bottom that plague both public and private investment.
    We need to concentrate investment in corridors or localities in ways that help the network effect, while reducing the political race to the bottom/spoils/divide-and-render-useless aspects of public investment on the one hand, and the spend-no-unnecessary-penny-and-bargain-for-tax-breaks-and-play-every-political-unit-off-of-every-other-political-unit aspects of private investment.
    Getting the grubby paws off the grubby billions and getting the money flowing through the system with the goal of maximized flow, rather than political or shareholder value should be the aim.
    ******
    As for Japan’s nukes…. The day’s news seems on the mellow side. Translating from a translation regarding the neutron beams — seems not to worry, seems to indicate subcritical fission of some sort which I think people thought might well be happening anyway, and as long as it’s subcritical, I think it’s not terrible — but again, I’m translating from a simplified explanation and this kind of telephony is not the best way to get the story straight.
    And as for boron spraying, apparently boron can cause some problems that encourage fission — again, I’m a little fuzzy on all of this…..
    *****
    NATO will take over the Libyan conflict. Wonder if this means anything or not.
    If the rural population truly likes Qaddafi, this may not go well….. If it’s more a matter that there needs to be a sizable heap of protesters in order to draw more protesters in order to, ahem, go critical, then this might still work. But if there are loyalists who are truly loyal, we might be looking at Iran redux rather than Egypt redux. It’s hard to know from here.
    And it may be difficult for people in the US to understand why anyone anywhere favors a thug like Qaddafi. Perhaps that’s something our policy people need to think through. Are thugs honestly ever attractive to people such that they genuinely are happy with their thugocracies, or is a thugocracy always living on borrowed time? This question is empirical, and probably needs data, surveys, and statistics.
    ****
    The Wisc. anti-collective bargaining bill is on its way to the state Supreme Court.
    The Mich and Ohio gov’s are not loved.
    Michele Bachmann for pres??????? OMG.
    Rand Paul, too?????????

    Reply

  15. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Japan not the biggest deal in the press?”
    Move along, move along, nothing to see here folks. Its aaaallll under control, TEPCO is on the job in Japan, and the EPA and the NRC have our backs here.
    No big deal, move along, move along.
    I suggest Theater One, it’s featuring our latest war, and all the experts are wieghing in!!! To kill him, or not to kill him, thats the question, eenie meenie, miney moe.
    I’m sure it’ll aaallll work out, with a silver lining.
    Our best minds are workin’ on it, and before we know it we’ll know how much it didn’t cost us, how many non-combatants we didn’t kill, and how long it’ll be before its not over. Oh, and, uh, depending on which side of the aisle you prefer to bray from, who to blame.
    (I’m flabbergasted. I really thought that Bush was gonna be a hard act to follow. Little did I know. I knew this posturing cowardly asshole was gonna be bad, but gads, THIS bad??? I have always maintained that he will crawl out of the Oval Office in disfavor. But I was wrong. He is going to ooze out from underneath the door, emitting some sort of intolerably foul odor, a puddle that the next tenant will have an extremely difficult time not stepping in.)

    Reply

  16. Cee says:

    Seems like Israel provoked the attacks to test out
    a new toy
    Rocket fire increases; IDF may deploy Iron Dome
    next week
    By YAAKOV KATZ
    03/24/2011 22:08
    System designed to defend against rockets at range
    of 4-70 km; some defense officials warn of
    ramifications of deploying system without ability
    to protect all of cities under missile fire.
    As missile fire from the Gaza Strip escalated on
    Thursday, the IDF is preparing for the possible
    deployment of the Iron Dome counter-rocket defense
    system along Israel

    Reply

  17. DonS says:

    Greetings all, arrived at DeGaulle airport Sunday after long weekend. Promptly had wallet, cash, credit cards, etc (but not passport) pickpocketed. So I’m driving around France without a copy of my drivers permit. We tried to stope at a Gendarmerie south of Paris to report/get help. But the French penchant for bureaucracy got the best of us and, in an almost sitcom fashion, we fled. Hysteria ensued for some of us, but we found some lovely people at B & B (she german he french) and ,with the help of her English, at least we got the credit cards cancelled, verified that one debit card (wife’
    s) was a different number, so we cancelled only mine). Drew out a bunch of cash and are carrying on.
    Two day journey to Provence (may send a ‘view from my window’), atop our little medieval hill). Had computer problems, just straightened out tonight. This is first access after 5-6 days out of touch with important events. Only briefly reviewed the posts covering those days.
    Libya? US butting in for a little, mini war divertissement, like we need it? Japan not the biggest deal in the press? Stock markets stabilized? What else?
    Agree with Don B., some very good blogging.
    Seems like very stupid stuff occurring re Libya. And Israel taking some rockets — what a surprise.
    But the weather here is great. No mistral as of yet. I would love to rent a bike but these roads are a bit scary. Haven’t run into Richard Perle. That’s ok.
    I don’t have enough context to even be coherent, much less very awake. (and some dental problems in the offing — sorry for the detail).

    Reply

  18. DakotabornKansan says:
  19. JohnH says:

    After watching a substantial portion of the presentation by Pickering and Brahimi, I had not wonder: why didn’t the State Department do this work? What vested interest does the State Department have in NOT having a negotiated settlement or at least investigating what it would take to have one?
    Unfortunately, it is those vested interests that will cause the Century Foundation’s efforts to fail. So it is critical to understand them now, because they say a lot about what’s wrong with the way America conducts its business abroad.
    Pickering and Brahimi should specifically identify those forces which are intent on maintaining the state of war–generally agreed to be pointless and futile. My guess is that those forces would contain the names of a lot of “defense” contractors, people who would rather bankrupt the country than have peace without their ill-gotten profits.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    1. Warren Metzler,
    Moral of my tale. Don’t negotiate, recognize the Afghans on their own have to determine the path they take toward eventual free enterprise and democracy; instead have meeting with the Taliban and Karzai, tell them to work it out, and give us free passage to leave, and let them determine their own destiny.
    2. Lakhdar Brahimi and Thomas Pickering,
    A peace settlement would require a domestic element

    Reply

  21. JohnH says:

    It all is rather amusing. The US goes into places declaring all these humanitarian goals. Then LOTS of people get killed. You never know how many, because the US, in its humanitarian zeal, doesn’t want you to know that people are actually getging killed. So much for caring about what happens to the people the US is supposed to be there to help!!!
    Once the humanitarian smoke and mirrors disappear, the US is at a loss to articulate its goals, either because it doesn’t know, or because it doesn’t want the American people to know the real agenda.
    Since the US won’t tell us, let’s assume it’s all about oil. You would at least expect some positive results. However, as a result of American efforts, Iraq is producing less oil than it did under Saddam. Iran is producing less than before the US declared it an enemy. And those precious Afghan pipeline projects remain pipe dreams! So much for the US ability to secure its economic self interest or that of its allies! What futility!!!
    The inescapable conclusion is that the world would be better off if the US would just bug off. But there are too many war profits at stake for the US to simply leave well enough alone. But no one is saying that, because it might hurt the ultimate sacred cow–the defense budget.

    Reply

  22. Warren Metzler says:

    Based on my life experiences, I have the following suggestions. Let’s look at Vietnam. There we stuck our noses where we didn’t belong, strong arming the South to not hold the referendum we agreed to years prior, because we didn’t like the idea the Soviets’ ally, Ho Chi Mihn would win, who became the Soviet’s ally because we turned him down after wwii, not being able to “abandon” our good friends the French going back into to again oppress the Vietnamese people.
    Then because our guy in the south Diem was a totally corrupt dictator, up arose a southern rebellion force, Viet Cong, soon co-opted by the north, and together they made steady progress toward taking over the south. So gradually we sent in more and more troops; first “advisors” who supposedly didn’t fight, and later more and more troops; think many “surges”, although they weren’t called that in that time; each one a result of mendacious figure collections by our “highly reliable and honest” military commanders on the ground.
    Sound familiar????!!!!
    Finally we negotiate, another one of Henry Kissinger’s “iron clad” agreements, and then leave. And soon the north runs the whole show.
    BUT, in time they move toward more and more economic freedom, and are making slow but steady progress toward being a democracy (I predict they, China and North Korea follow the Arabs in the near future). And all is eventually well.
    Moral of my tale. Don’t negotiate, recognize the Afghans on their own have to determine the path they take toward eventual free enterprise and democracy; instead have meeting with the Taliban and Karzai, tell them to work it out, and give us free passage to leave, and let them determine their own destiny.

    Reply

  23. Ajaz Haque says:

    Absolutely, it is time to negotiate peace in Afghanistan. This war is not going anywhere and to prolong it further will only heap more misery on Afghan people. God knows they have suffered enough ever since the Soviet invasion of 1979.
    U.S. has tried all its aggressive posturing and go- it-alone dialogue with the Taliban. Nothing has worked so far and there is a stalemate on the ground.
    It is time to for military and political representatives of U.S., Afghanistan and Pakistan to sit together and bring their influence to bear Taliban and warring parties to bring the war to an end.

    Reply

  24. Don Bacon says:

    Talking is good but not under the false pretenses that (1) the U.S. has been successful and (2) the foreign military forces will stay as long as necessary.
    Operating under the false assumptions in the NYTimes oped, there can be no meaningful solution.
    I grabbed this bit from a 2005 article on Iran, where similar unrealistic views apply.
    In the years right after World War II, when the United States was striving to negotiate a deal between the Nationalist government of China and the insurrection, the Communist leader Mao Zedong formulated the strategy known as “fight fight talk talk.” It was a brilliant success.
    The idea was that even as you seek opportunities to make gains on the battlefield, to expand your territory and gain in strength, you keep on negotiating even though you have no interest in a compromise solution and intend to win complete victory. The talk-talk part of the strategy gives mediators the sense that they are doing something useful, while, by holding theoretically to the possibility of a negotiated solution, you deter great- power military intervention in support of your adversary. (end article except)

    Reply

  25. DakotabornKansan says:
  26. JohnH says:

    It looks like America has found another sink hole to throw $billions of “defense” money into–Libya. So maybe the Afghanistan sink hole is no longer needed.
    BTW it will be very interesting to see how the Washington political “leadership” fights three wars during a gov-vomit shutdown. My guess is that, unlike all other programs like Social Security, the military go right on spending regardless of any ability of the gov-vomit to raise money. Just like Obama can start pointless wars without asking anybody.

    Reply

  27. Don Bacon says:

    The surge did not reverse the continuous worsening situation, as Petraeus claimed it did.
    NYTimes
    October 30, 2008
    WASHINGTON

    Reply

  28. Don Bacon says:

    Op-Ed Contributor
    Settling the Afghan War
    By LAKHDAR BRAHIMI and THOMAS R. PICKERING
    Neither side of the conflict can hope to vanquish the other through force.. . .For the insurgents, the prospects for negotiating a share of national power are not likely to improve by waiting until the United States withdraws most combat forces by the end of 2014; on the contrary, the possibility that Americans might find a way to maintain an enduring military presence past 2014 suggests that perhaps the only way they can truly get the Americans out is with a negotiated settlement.
    That’s Petraeus-inspired false optimism.
    General Petraeus’ testimony to Congress
    March 15, 2011
    It is ISAF’s assessment that the momentum achieved by the Taliban in Afghanistan since 2005 has been arrested in much of the country and reversed in a number of important areas. However, while the security progress achieved over the past year is significant, it is also fragile and reversible.
    The truth is quite different.
    Afghan security the worst in a decade: UN
    Feb 24, 2011
    The security situation in Afghanistan has worsened to its lowest point since the toppling of the Taliban a decade ago and attacks on aid workers are at unprecedented levels, a United Nations envoy said.
    Robert Watkins, the outgoing UN deputy special representative of the Secretary General for Afghanistan, says from a humanitarian perspective, security “is on everyone’s minds. . .It is fair to say that security in the country is at its lowest point since the departure of the Talibans,” he said.
    U.N. Maps Out Afghan Security
    DECEMBER 26, 2010
    Internal United Nations maps show a marked deterioration of the security situation in Afghanistan during this year’s fighting season, countering the Obama administration’s optimistic assessments of military progress since the surge of additional American forces began a year ago.
    The Wall Street Journal was able to view two confidential “residual risk accessibility” maps, one compiled by the U.N. at the annual fighting season’s start in March 2010 and another at its tail end in October. The maps, used by U.N. personnel to gauge the dangers of travel and running programs, divide the country’s districts into four categories: very high risk, high risk, medium risk and low risk.
    “The country as a whole is dramatically worse off than a year ago, both in terms of the insurgency’s geographical spread and its rate of attacks,” said Nic Lee, director of the Afghanistan NGO Safety Office. “Vast amounts of the country remain insecure for the unarmed civilians, and more and more areas are becoming inaccessible.”

    Reply

  29. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Watching the news this morning, I see the usual media whores are presenting this morning’s bus explosion in Jerusalem as “shattering” a period of “relative peace”.
    Nary a word about the civilians killed in Gaza yesterday by the IDF, nor were the daily terrorist attacks the settlers are waging against Palestinians mentioned. Missing too from the scripted line of bullshit offered up by CNN was mention of the accelerated pace of evictions and settlement expansion.
    When one notes the complete failure of mainstream media to present facts and accurate analysis, or their efforts to influence public opinion through offering gaping ommissions in their narratives, one is forced to ponder the accuracy of information flow about ALL the issues of the day.
    The various think tanks are no less agenda driven than the corporate media and the whores in DC feeding them their script. When noting the current state the global community finds itself in, it is with no small amazement, and even amusement, that we see these past geniuses of policy, such as the list we see above, resurrected and recycled and paraded before us as experts with a solution.
    I hope Steve is right. But somehow I doubt it. Good ideas seem to be a rarity in Washington DC, with the engineers of bad ideas finding the highest rungs of the political ladder. And if you have composed an impressive enough resume of bad ideas over the course of your political carreer, you can retire to the clamor of think tank recruiters and media scouts beating a path to your front door, seeking one more “expert” to add to their ranks of great thinkers and talk show guests.

    Reply

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