Jasper Johns - Flag - 1954-55

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"Events in Afghanistan are having a major impact on its eastern neighbour, Pakistan."
Hmmmm. Bombing the hell out of a piss-poor Islamic country isn't one of the recommended methods.
Bombing Afghanistan like "trying to eradicate cancer cells with a blow torch".
"Many governments who signed up to the United States' war against terrorism prompted by the events of September 11 are now urging caution. Some are still supportive of forthright action, others are calling for restraint while a few are now openly hostile to any continuance of military action."

Hey, you're either with us or you're with the terrorists.
"Amid a growing realisation that the lightning attack by US airborne troops into Afghanistan captured on grainy video this month was little more than a public relations exercise, there is also increasing concern and frustration in Washington about the way the military campaign is going. 'The Americans are very desperate about what to do next,' another well-placed defence source told the Guardian."
"Could Afghanistan become another Vietnam? Is the United States facing another stalemate on the other side of the world? Premature the questions may be, three weeks after the fighting began. Unreasonable they are not, given the scars scoured into the national psyche by defeat in Southeast Asia."
"In the short term, they (members of Congress) are concerned that cooperation with Uzbekistan lends legitimacy to the republic's restrictions on faith, as well as a judicial system that tries people in secret and security forces that torture suspects and maintain inhumane jails. In the long term, there are concerns that supporting a government that simultaneously represses democratic rights and the practice of Islam might spread unease in the larger Muslim world."
"The United States Army general who is commanding the war against the Taliban met with the Uzbek president to cement cooperation between the two nations."
"The dropping of bombs in Afghanistan may sound like the ticking of a time bomb in next-door Pakistan."
"The Bush Administration's hunt for Osama bin Laden and his Al Qaeda network has evolved into a regional crisis that has put Pakistan's nuclear arsenal at risk, exacerbated the instability of the government of General Pervez Musharraf, and raised the possibility of a nuclear conflict between Pakistan and India. These unintended consequences of the President's decision to mount air and ground attacks on the Taliban government in Afghanistan have created a serious rift between our government's intelligence and diplomatic experts on South Asia and the decision-makers of the Bush Administration."

Potential fallout from The Dumb War.
"Pressure on the United States to radically curtail the war in Afghanistan grew yesterday as Pakistan's president, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, asked for a bombing pause during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan that begins next month. Britain's defense secretary said a pause is under serious consideration."
"Jordan's King Abdullah II warned on Sunday that an attack on an Arab country as part of the US-led campaign against terrorism would amount to a "great catastrophe."
"The rebels, armed with rocket launchers, Kalashnikov assault rifles, handmade guns and swords, took over most government offices in Chilas about 350 km northeast of Peshawar on Sunday."
"The collection of documents, computer disks and other material seized during a nighttime raid by Special Forces in southern Afghanistan 10 days ago failed to produce the intelligence bonanza that the Pentagon had sought, military and government officials said today."
"Afghanistan's former king, now being promoted by Washington as the linchpin of a post-Taliban government, was an ineffectual ditherer on the throne, according to contemporary dispatches from US diplomats, who did nothing to discourage the 1973 coup which toppled him."
"British public support for the war against the Taliban has dropped by 12 points in the past fortnight and a majority now believe there should be a pause in the bombing to allow aid convoys into Afghanistan. The sharp drop in support revealed by today's Guardian/ICM poll confirms Tony Blair's fears that the reality of modern warfare and reports of mounting civilian casualties have already led to a wobble in British support."
"With civilian casualties in Afghanistan mounting and the Islamic holy month of Ramadan fast approaching, the critical Muslim core of the US-led coalition against terrorism is growing increasingly alarmed about supporting what they see as open-ended carnage in a fellow-Islamic state. Among those most concerned are bin Laden's No. 1 target, the king and ruling princes of Saudi Arabia."
"So far, the US military campaign in Afghanistan - while broader than past US antiterrorist strikes such as the August 1998 cruise-missile attack near Kabul and other cities - has done little directly to weaken the power of the shadowy, loosely organized terrorist group, experts say."
"Embarrassingly, the bombs' yellow casing means that from a distance they are hard to distinguish from the emergency food parcels wrapped in yellow plastic that US planes have been dropping over the last few weeks."

But American radio broadcasts are not being heard.
"A senior Pakistani minister has asked the US to review its three-week-long military campaign in Afghanistan as it has failed to achieve the objective of destroying the Taliban and Osama bin Laden's Al-Qaida network."
"U.S. attacks on Kabul killed at least 13 civilians Sunday, witnesses said, one day after U.S. missiles rocketed hamlets along the front line north of here, killing and maiming villagers."
"The Bush administration has belatedly deployed its forces for a propaganda war to win over the Arab public. But the campaign, intended to convince doubters that the American attacks on Afghanistan are justified and its Middle East policy is evenhanded, has so far proved ineffectual."
"In buses and trucks, pickups and vans, more than 5,000 people rolled out of a northeastern Pakistan village on Saturday morning, bound for the Afghan frontier and vowing to fight a holy war against the US."
"At least 50,000 protesters massed here on Friday, burning the US flag and effigies of President George W. Bush, in the biggest anti-US protest since the bombing of Afghanistan began almost three weeks ago."
Musharraf says: "The military action should be brought to an end as soon as possible, and there should be a simultaneous, immediate political dispensation to fill the void. We need to crystalize a political strategy." Sounds great, except it runs completely contrary to the Bush administration's plans.
'"I think it's pretty clear that things are not going very well at all over there,' said one top Senate aide. 'We're bombing the hell out of them. And every time we hit a bus or a hospital, it destroys our position there. The Taliban are getting stronger, if anything. We're no closer to finding bin Laden. The allies are getting nervous."'
One more bomb ought to completely destroy the facility.

"One of the blasts (from the latest attack on Kabul) struck a compound of the International Committee of the Red Cross, according to security guard Abdul Shakour. He said warehouses used to store humanitarian supplies were damaged and stocks of rice, beans, blankets and oil were on fire. The compound was hit during an attack Oct. 16. Following the attack, bright orange flames roared through the ICRC warehouse as the ICRC's Afghan staff stood and watched helplessly."
"Q: Do you need to get bin Laden to succeed, or is driving him out good enough?

A: My attitude is that if he were gone tomorrow, the same problem would exist. He's got a whole bunch of lieutenants who have been trained and they've got bank accounts all over some 50 or 60 countries. Would you want to stop him? Sure. Do we want to stop the rest of his lieutenants? You bet. But I don't get up in the morning and say that is the end; the goal and the endpoint of this thing. I think that would be a big mistake. Furthermore, the al-Qa'eda is just one of the networks."

and he deals a blow to the Eradication of Evil:

"... if we do a terrific job arresting people all across the globe, interrogating them, jailing them finding out what they know. And, if we do a wonderful job of blocking bank accounts and drying up their funds. And if we systematically go around this world and find terrorists and see that they stop terrorizing. And if we make it very unpleasant for the countries that are actively harboring and facilitating and financing and maybe even just tolerating terrorists in their country, terrorism will be reduced. Will it go away completely? No."

and also says he's not sure "whether we'll be successful" in getting bin Laden.
After an ass-whipping by W., Rumsfeld says, "I think we're going to get him."
Doctors Without Borders on the air drops of food: "This is not a humanitarian operation. It is part of a military campaign designed to gather international approval of the attacks. Dropping a few cases of drugs and food in the middle of the night during air raids, without knowing who is going to collect them, is virtually useless - and may even be dangerous."
"The United States is continuing its propaganda assault on Afghanistan. However, it seems not many people on the ground have actually heard the transmissions."
"Pakistani authorities say they are reinforcing security along the northern frontier with Afghanistan in an attempt to stop thousands of armed men crossing into Afghanistan to fight for the Taleban."
"Among the challenges now becoming more obvious:
  • The appearance that the US is losing the battle for hearts and minds, as almost daily reports of bombing errors and civilian casualties mount.
  • The complexities of finding political stability in a post-Taliban Afghanistan.
  • The approach of the region's brutal winter and the Muslim holy days of Ramadan."
It's time to bomb Pakistan.
"The Taliban's popularity grows as the bombing continues. 'My God, it is terrible, the Taliban's support is increasing by the day,' said Maudir Bakht, a political scientist at Quetta's university. 'Before the bombing they were disliked by a majority of Pakistanis but now there is a level of moral and humanitarian support which may start turning military.'"
"After two weeks of air raids against Afghanistan there are no signs of collapse by the Taliban regime, yet there are indications that the bombs and missiles have opened festering feuds in Pakistan and harmed U.S. credibility."
"Two weeks into the U.S. bombing campaign, residents of Afghanistan’s capital of Kabul are weary with war, their lives shattered by relentless American airstrikes and a growing number of civilian casualties. Residents interviewed lash out at the United States for bombing a country already ravaged by two decades of war."
Wha? Bombing the enemy actually emboldens their resolve? Shocking.
"General Musharraf's resistance to prolonged bombing, voiced almost as soon as it started on Oct. 7, conflicts with the stated intentions of the Bush administration, which has said strikes will continue as long as necessary to achieve the objectives of capturing or killing Osama bin Laden and others in Al Qaeda, his militant network."
Northern Alliance = Taliban Lite. Now with 5% fewer summary executions, and 10% less mass rape!
"From their front-row seats at the world's strange new war, some Pakistanis fear the United States may be headed into a clash of cultures it cannot win, with fallout no one can predict."
Winning hearts and minds 'round the world.
"American and British airstrikes on alleged Taliban targets will hardly eliminate Islamic extremism or terrorism on Afghan soil. If anything, they may be proving counterproductive. Not only are the attacks inflicting rising civilian casualties, but they are also inciting a potential new onslaught of anti-Western militants - many angered by what they see as an attack against Islam - in other parts of the Muslim world."
"'You can go and kill every one of their terrorists and hang [Osama] bin Laden in front of the White House and you still haven't solved the problem -- and you've probably created hundreds of new terrorists," said retired Col. Richard Dunn, a former chief of the Army's internal think tank. "So you could win tactically, and lose strategically.'"
"Crying children, women covered head-to-toe in veils and dust, hobbling old men and a few younger ones swathed in bandages -- all joined in an exodus from Afghanistan that humanitarian officials said represented only a tiny fraction of the number who might flee in coming weeks if fighting intensifies and hunger grows sharper and more widespread."