S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Regular Contributors Round-up: From Iraq to Afghanistan to the USA

Mid-East/Wars -- "More than meets the eye." Today's post is a digest of interesting news items for which I want to give a Hat Tip. Regular contributors of links to these story leads are "betmo*" and Jon#, who are my keys to collaboration at S/SW. Other items come from several e-mail newsletters that come to my in-box daily. (Image: "Make War No More," from

From Iraq: Since the beginning of the year, a new Status of Forces agreement has been in place. The agreement puts the Iraqis much more in charge of their own country's involvement with their U.S. military occupiers. So it is not surprising that Reuters reports: "U.S.-installed Iraqi ex-PM says Bush utter failure#" (1/3/09). Nor has it necessarily been an advantage for Iraqis to come to the U.S. This is from ProPublica: "Quick Picks: Iraqi Refugees in the U.S." (1/7/09). In many ways the Iraq war was the result of powerful forces working inside the Bush administration from the beginning -- neocons and their fellow travelers, Cheney and Rumsfeld. More on this from Think Progress: "Perle Washes His Hands Of Iraq: I Was Not An ‘Architect Of That War,’ Neocons Had No Influence*" (1/8/09). ThinkProgress: "Army War College toned down its Iraq war criticism under pressure from Rumsfeld*" (1/7/09).

From Afghanistan: If President-elect Obama has his way the focus of military efforts in the Middle East will shift focus from Iraq to Afghanistan. Here is an example of what could be coming. Reuters: "U.S. eyes "surge" of over 20,000 for Afghanistan" (11/22/08). Time Magazine analyzes: "How the Taliban Hopes to Choke U.S. Afghanistan Mission#" (12/9/08). And the U.S. might even be able to be smarter about how to proceed in Afghanistan. This is a great story, for example, about bringing in National Guardsmen who know how to farm in to work with the Afghans: Wikio/Sgt Stryker posts: "Farmers Guard in Afghanistan +Cyberspace Defense by DoD" (November 2008). And finally this useful background item comes from BBC News: "Afghanistan's turbulent history" (11/21/08).

From the Middle East Region: This is a recent embarrassment to the DoD from ThinkProgress: "Army mistakenly sent letters to family members of fallen soldiers addressing them as ‘John Doe.’*" See also The Raw Story# (1/7/09). The actual Iraq+Afghanistan casualty numbers, Jon wondered? There were 4222 military deaths so far in Iraq. In Afghanistan the casualty figures for the U.S. military have gone up every year since 2001. To date 637 Americans have died there and 416 members of the military of other countries fighting with us, for a total of 1053 deaths. The loss of life has been terrible, but we have also run up vast amounts of debt that our children and grandchildren will have to pay for, says Think Progress: "Report criticizes Bush administration for borrowing to fund wars in Iraq and Afghanistan#" (12/26/08).

From the USA: The Democratic Strategist asks the big question: "How Should Obama Confront Terror?" (11/28/08). True to form we learn that the Republicans still think they have all the answers. See The Raw Story: "Kissinger: Obama's 'task' is to help create a 'new world order'*" (1/6/09). Bioterrorism appears to be of growing concern, according to ProPublica: "ProPublica In-Depth: Has Bioterrorism Effort Increased Risk of Attack?" ProPublica: "Biodefence Program Poses Its Own Risks" (12/5/08). From the ubiquitous military/industrial complex, TruthOut reports: "United States Re-emerges as Leading Arms Supplier to the Developing World*" (12/30/08). Common Dreams reveals more: "Urban Tool in Recruiting by the Army: An Arcade*" (1/5/09). I conclude with this very good news story about an emerging gaming movement that aims to teach non-violent methods for conflict resolution. It was found at AfterDowningStreet: "Why are all video games violent?*" (1/5/09).

From Iraq to Afghanistan to back home in the USA, Internet, print and electronic media give us the stories of war. Right now Gaza is "on fire" as the big story, but conflict is happening elsewhere and cannot be forgotten. My contributors are seeing to it that we get the latest news, for which we all should be grateful. . . for information is power.

View my current slide show about the Bush years -- "Millennium" -- at the bottom of this column.

(Cross-posted at The Reaction.)

My “creativity and dreaming” post today is at Making Good Mondays.

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betmo said...

i am sorry to see the biggest word on your wordle picture is war. the whole thing makes me so weary. the single biggest reason that these 'people' like cheney and rumsfeld went into power and then into war- profit. they are greedy for power and wealth and now they have it. i wish i could hear news that they had been held accountable by someone- anyone.

Carol Gee said...

Sorry, my friend. It looks that way because "war" is the most predominant word in my "Make War No More" poem.
I agree with your main point about a lack of accountability. That fact of life will make it difficult for many of us to get to peace within ourselves. Me included.
Thanks for your comment and all your wonderful links! They made our protest post possible.