Jasper Johns - Flag - 1954-55

Got feedback?  Send me a note.
This site is taking a few days off. While it's on vacation, may I recommend these:

The best damn warlog that's not published in Minneapolis. Period.
Smart-ass media criticism, and home of Venturawatch.
Reminder: It's ok to be sarcastic again.
Pitch in so David can buy more Jim Beam and keep us all laughing.

"A fresh outbreak of fighting between Northern Alliance factions highlights the continued ineffectiveness of Afghanistan's central government. Warlords who have a stake in the government are only behaving long enough to receive international aid while those outside the government are motivated to cause its collapse."
"Warlords in several Afghan cities have begun arming refugee camps since the arrival of international peacekeepers in Kabul, international aid agencies say."
$48 billion budget increase to be spent developing a weapons system that stops suicide bombers.
"Young Somalis packing ramshackle cinemas to watch bootlegged copies of Black Hawk Down cheer as they see Somali gunmen shooting down American helicopters and killing Rangers."
"The latest reason for the anti-American fervor, which has been building for weeks, is the weeklong bombing of a base near Zhawar, a vast complex of caves and buildings in a dusty ravine along the Pakistani border.

Local commander Samar Gul: 'It (the bombing) was a waste of time and money, for sure.'"
"The US government is blocking an international drive led by Britain to increase aid for the world's poorest countries in the wake of last year's terrorist attacks."
"The Central Intelligence Agency - criticized for its military forays in Vietnam and Central America - has taken a lead role in the war in Afghanistan, running covert paramilitary teams, shooting Hellfire missiles from airborne drones, and acting as the Bush administration's political and financial broker in warlord-controlled regions."
"The Red Cross accused the United States yesterday of violating the Geneva Conventions by releasing photographs of Taliban and al-Qa'ida fighters held at Guantanamo Bay."
"United Nations and U.S. military officials are warning aid groups working in Afghanistan that the country is becoming increasingly dangerous and unstable, even in the capital of Kabul, where a British-led peacekeeping force is working to keep order."
"Signs of internal strains in Afghanistan increased yesterday with reports of fighting between factions of the Northern Alliance and the theft of food aid destined for the drought-hit northern region."
Sima Samar, Afghanistan's Women's Affairs Minister: "I said at least the donations should be equal to the cost of the bombs dropped on Afghanistan."

Speaking from experience, it's a lot more fun to break shit than to pay for the damage.
"The signals are not reassuring for those who believe that the sense of impotence and injustice pervading the region helps explain why the likes of Osama bin Laden can recruit suicide bombers willing to commit mass murder in the name of Islam."
"Thousands of Afghans are deserting their homes in search of food and to escape worsening lawlessness."
"A bomb exploded outside the newly reopened US embassy in Kabul in the first reported attack on the growing international presence in the city, sources told the Guardian last night."
"THE treatment of al-Qaeda suspects at Camp X-Ray in Cuba was threatening last night to provoke the first split between America and Britain since the start of the war against terrorism."
"A U.S.-approved evacuation of Pakistani military officers and intelligence advisers during the siege of Kunduz last November ``slipped out of control'' and a number of Taliban and al Qaeda fighters joined the exodus, according to a report in The New Yorker magazine."
What will those clever psyops guys think of next?
On getting Bin Laden: "Well, it is a very difficult thing to do. It's a big world. There are lots of countries. He's got a lot of money, he's got a lot of people who support him, and I just don't know whether we'll be successful."
Sen. Carl M. Levin (D-Mich.): "The Saudis actually think somehow they are doing us a favor by having us be there helping to defend them."

Hmmm. Perhaps the Saudis don't see our presence as necessary to their defense.
"The international legal community rounded on the United States administration, accusing it of flagrant human rights abuses in its treatment of Taliban and al-Qa'ida prisoners."
"In a menacing sign of growing lawlessness in Afghanistan, two UN lorries carrying 40 tonnes of food aid were hijacked by gunmen while ferrying supplies to some of the 3m people in acute need in the country's north."
"Thousands of former Taleban soldiers are being recruited into a new Afghan army, where they are being armed with Russian AK47 rifles and dressed in uniforms provided by the United States."
"The Philippine senate is to hold public hearings on the legality of plans to deploy more than 600 US troops in the south of the country."
"'The (flag) on my car antenna is looking pretty beat up. I think it might be illegal to display a desecrated flag like that.'"
"Many Pashtun tribal leaders in eastern Afghanistan have balked at cooperating with American Special Operations Forces in the hunt for Al Qaeda and Taliban fighters, weapons caches and intelligence that could prevent future terrorist attacks, military officials said today."
"Several senior officials in Congress and the Pentagon are saying the United States should consider withdrawing military forces from Saudi Arabia because of frustration over what they consider to be the kingdom's tepid support for the war on terrorism and the restrictions it places on U.S. military operations."
"America's response to the September 11 attacks is encouraging its allies to pursue repressive policies which will fuel terrorism rather than defeat it, a leading human rights group warned yesterday."
"As a candidate, George W. Bush criticized President Clinton for overextending the military. Bush promised that, if elected, he would review US commitments around the world, with an eye towards bringing as many troops home as possible. Yet today the US global military presence is perhaps more pervasive than ever before."
"President George W Bush has warned Iraq's leader Saddam Hussein that he must accept United Nations weapons inspectors back into the country or face action from the US."

Here we go.
"Human Rights Groups Urge U.S. to Declare Taliban, Al Qaeda Members POWs."
"While Afghanistan builds a central government in Kabul, most of the nation has fallen under the sway of U.S.-backed warlords such as Gen. Abdurrashid Dostum."
"Forces to be spread around the globe despite concern that military is being stretched thin."
"This time the mission is reconciliation, as victims of 11 September meet civilian victims of the war on terror."

Funny how this story isn't being covered in America.
Training exercise hailed as a success.
"Britain has protested to the US about the treatment of al-Qaeda prisoners and sought assurances that they will be treated in accordance with international norms."
U.S. planning to bomb Arabian Sea.
"With Afghanistan's interim government unable to pay its workers and foreign aid only trickling in, the United Nations made an impassioned plea today to foreign governments, asking them to increase their financial donations."
"Americans who lost members of their families in the 11 September attacks will arrive in Kabul to meet Afghans whose loved ones were killed by US bombs."
"The Taliban may have vanished but the conflict is far from over for many in Afghanistan."
Compares it to the war on drugs. Now there's a success story.
"Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, has won President Bush's backing for a sharp increase in military spending."
"American military chiefs have made a subtle change in Washingtons war aims to help to mask their continued failure to capture Osama bin Laden and his most senior lieutenants."
"U.S. special forces will join the Philippine military in operations against Muslim guerrillas Tuesday, but will limit themselves to advice and will not take part in combat, senior Philippine officials said."
Forget Baghdad. On to Riyadh!
"As Afghanistan's interim government tries desperately to move this demolished country into the category of somewhat functional Third World nation, one problem looms, perhaps above the myriad others: rampant lawlessness."
"With the hunt for Osama bin Laden and his associates bogging down in regional and tribal politics, American officials say they are facing the unsettling prospect that Al Qaeda members are slipping away into Iran."
"Afghanistan's newly appointed chief justice Fazal Hadi has announced he will implement Islamic laws in his country, saying thieves will have their hands cut off and adulterers will be lashed or stoned to death, the Afghan Islamic Press reported Saturday."
"Northern Alliance militia loot and plunder in defiance of new government's deadline to disarm."
"American special forces searching the Tora Bora cave complex in eastern Afghanistan are collecting dismembered fingers and human organ tissue in an attempt to establish whether Osama bin Laden and other al-Qaeda leaders were killed during last year's massive assault on the caves."
"The president of Somalia's transitional government said Friday that his people had been 'terrorized' by a U.S. propaganda campaign portraying the country as a possible haven for Osama bin Laden's followers."
"US planes continued bombing Zhawar town and its surrounding areas in eastern Afghanistan Friday, prompting Pakistanis living close to the border to flee their homes, the Afghan Islamic Press (AIP) reported."
"More and more Pashtun leaders, angered by the mounting civilian casualty toll from U.S. bombing in eastern Afghanistan, are openly criticizing the government of Hamid Karzai for backing the operation."
"As the interim government of Afghanistan strives to establish a system of law and order in Kabul, concerns are growing over a dramatic rise in crime. Less than 10 weeks since the Taleban were forced out of Kabul, reports suggest that robbery and violence is increasingly prevalent."
"Even as the air war in Afghanistan wanes and American-backed forces hunt down pockets of Al Qaeda and Taliban resistance there, the United States is preparing a military presence in Central Asia that could last for years, military officials say."
But we knew that already.
"The resurgence of rival warlords is stopping relief supplies reaching desperate communities in remote northern mountain settlements."
"Pakistan's government has agreed that American troops may cross into the country in pursuit of fugitive al-Qaida and Taliban fighters, the US commander of the war in Afghanistan said yesterday."
"U.S. says it bombed hamlet to kill Talibs. But locals claim military fell victim to misinformation."
"Zalmay Khalilzad, in his fourth day on the job as President Bush's eyes and ears in Afghanistan, also said coalition attacks that kill civilians are unfortunate but that blame must be placed on those who started the conflict."
(Not from The Onion.)
"Three senior ministers in the former Taliban government surrendered, an Afghan spokesman said Tuesday, but they were released almost immediately, apparently before U.S. officials could question them. Among the men let go was the feared Defense Minister Obaidullah Akhund, who worked closely with the al-Qaida terrorist network and was on a list of the 12 Taliban authorities most wanted by the U.S.-led military alliance."
"A military spokesman said US forces were going to stop 'chasing the shadows' of Bin Laden and Mullah Omar, their two top targets in the Afghan war, and focus on wiping out remaining pockets of al-Qaeda resistance while building better intelligence on the elusive leaders."
Uh oh.
"For the United States, the goal is clear: find Osama bin Laden and Taliban leader Mullah Mohammed Omar and end al-Qaeda. But the Afghan allies have other, competing goals, including gaining power for the future and settling old feuds. That is causing uneasiness about who can be trusted, as the United States sends money and weapons to tribal chiefs it needs in the hunt."
"The limitations of American military strategy in Afghanistan were made plain last night when US officials conceded that Osama bin Laden had probably fled to Pakistan and it did not know where the Taliban leader, Mullah Mohammed Omar, is."
"While Musharraf earned widespread appreciation from the international community for allowing his country to be used as a frontline state for the US attacks on the Taliban regime, at home he has emerged as a lonely and insecure ruler highly conscious of the fact that behind the current appearance of stability, a storm is waiting to break."
"Now the Taliban are gone, and the city and the surrounding Nangarhar Province is run once again by warlords and guerrillas, whose rackets have almost instantly turned the place into Afghanistan's version of Shakedown Street, the land where almost everything is corrupt."
"The war on terrorism came no cleaner and Commander Matthew Klee, a spokesman at the US central command in Tampa, Florida, had reassuring news: 'Follow-on reporting indicates that there was no collateral damage.'

Some of the things his follow-on reporters missed: bloodied children's shoes and skirts, bloodied school books, the scalp of a woman with braided grey hair, butter toffees in red wrappers, wedding decorations."
"Professor Herold said his calculations are based only on deaths reported in the mainstream media, so would not include those in remote areas of Afghanistan.

It also omits those killed indirectly, when air strikes cut off their access to hospitals, food or electricity.

Also exempt are bomb victims who later died of their injuries."
W says: "But they're going to continue to learn the terrible lesson that says don't mess with America."
"With no sign of Osama bin Laden in weeks, U.S. and other anti-terrorism coalition officials are beginning to believe the terrorist mastermind has fled Afghanistan for Pakistan, two members of the Senate Intelligence Committee said Sunday."
"Unarmed women and children were chased and killed by American helicopters during an attack on an Afghan village that left 52 dead, the United Nations suggested yesterday, citing an unconfirmed report."
"Continuing reports of civilian casualties in Afghanistan are raising questions about US military tactics and adding to a growing clamour for an end to the bombing.

Evidence of civilian deaths in the village of Niazi Qalaye in Paktia province, struck in the early hours of 29 December, offers a direct challenge to the American military's version of the attack."
Hmmm. Does ... not ... compute.
"The Pentagon, increasingly keen to provide a high-profile 'kill or capture' to show progress in wrapping up the war in Afghanistan, distanced itself yesterday from a chaotic hunt for Mullah Mohammed Omar."
"London has been a centre for Islamic extremists for years but only after September 11 have the activities of the militants been taken seriously."
"Controversy has clouded Mr. Zadran's emergence, with his opponents accusing him of providing information for American airstrikes last month on a convoy of tribal leaders that was traveling to Kabul from Paktia to pay homage to the new government."
"Demands by the Security Council that U.N. members act against global terrorism are being used by some regimes to justify repression of domestic dissent, U.N. officials and independent human rights advocates say."
"To: Abdiqassim Salad Hassan, transitional president of Somalia

From: Transitional Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Somalia

Somalia's most urgent priority at the moment is to get bombed by the Americans. Then maybe somebody will finally start paying attention (and money) to our country."
"As the world watches Afghanistan, the US is quietly embarking on the next phase of its war on terrorism. This low-grade campaign, however, does not involve aerial assaults on the handful of countries identified by the US as harboring terrorist networks."
"With reports that up to 100 villagers in Paktia Province had been killed in airstrikes overnight Saturday, Mr. Karzai said he planned to raise the issue of civilian deaths with American officials today or on Wednesday."