So just when I thought it was safe to do a Wingnut Web, I got an email alert from Resistnet about a new thread claiming that Breitbart was telling the NAACP to “go to Hell” or something. Knowing the pack of racist crapeaters at Resistnet can’t resist (pun!) a chance to rant about how “Blacks are the Real Racists!” or “All Blacks are welfare queens!” (almost immediately followed by “Why won’t more blacks join us???”) I clicked. And lo and behold, we got some racism going on! First we’ll have a few random posts that were lying around stinking up my hard drive, and then it’s on to Resistnet’s Cross Burning Party Election ’10!
Kill Whitey and/or Asiany! Also Obama has no white in him, I heard it on the internet!
It’s the sad story of a self-hating Latino. And he’s a Militia dude!
Wake up Amer.What are we SHEEPLE ?
A settlement of $42 million over has been reached with the State Department who they’re currently still contracting with, not an actual court. It almost certainly includes provisions about “admitting to no wrongdoing” so this is really just a whitewash. The fines were for “export violations” including:
- Illegal weapons exports to Afghanistan.
- Making unauthorized proposals to train troops in Sudan.
- Providing sniper training for Taiwanese police/paramilitaries.
The first is an actual export violation, the others could be if you count them as “services” but that’s kind of a ridiculous way to treat the situation in Sudan in particular. The story cited anonymous sources and it’s all probably classified so I don’t expect any documents to be released.
On the same day, the NYT has an Op-Ed about how Afghan women will be maimed at a faster rate if foreign contractors are banned.
UNDER orders from President Hamid Karzai, over the next four months Afghanistan will be phasing out almost all foreign private security companies, a move meant to bring the country’s vast security apparatus under tighter government control.
It’s a laudable goal. But it also means that foreign aid workers, government officials and companies will have to rely instead for security on the Afghan National Police and the Afghan National Army — arguably two of the most corrupt and incompetent organizations in the country. Without a more effective replacement for foreign security companies, Mr. Karzai’s order could make the situation in Afghanistan significantly worse.
There is a new push to dramatically expand the size of the Afghan Army and police, as the military operations now under way in southern Afghanistan is marked by a conspicuous absence of Afghans in the fight.
The Helmand offensive points to the need for more Afghans in the battlefield. There are roughly 4,000 US Marines operating in the Helmand region, but only about 650 Afghan soldiers fighting alongside them. There are also 6,500 British troops in the province.
“I’m not going to sugarcoat it,” said Brig. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commander of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade running the operation there, in a briefing with reporters earlier this month. “The fact of the matter is, we don’t have enough Afghan forces, and I’d like more.”
There are in fact a total of 5,000 Afghan soldiers in Helmand, and more are said to be on the way, but officials haven’t explained why they’re not involved in the new offensive. The rest of the Afghan army is posted around the country, with many in the north, where violence is reasonably low.
Putting an “Afghan face” on military operations is more than window dressing.
“Building a larger – yet still professional – ANA [Afghan National Army] will be one of the pillars of a successful counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan,” says Carter Malkasian, an analyst with CNA, a think tank in Washington. “The ANA are cheap, good at gathering information, and respected by the population. The more well-trained, well-advised Afghan soldiers, the better.”
Which is to say none, really. Keeping in mind the bankruptcy of the “safe haven” argument, let’s see what government officials and the press have to say about changes after McChrystal’s embarrassing exit.
A debate over the administration’s war strategy is already underway, as Democratic and Republicans lawmakers clashed Sunday over whether Obama should rethink his pledge now that a new commander will oversee the war.”I’m against a timetable,” Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”
Warning that a timetable emboldens the enemy to wait for Americans to depart, he added, “A high-ranking Taliban prisoner said, ‘You’ve got the watches and we’ve got the time.’ ”
But Sen. Carl Levin (D-Mich.), the committee chairman, said a timetable is crucial to show “urgency to the Afghan government that they must take responsibility … for their own security.”
“The only way you get things done is by setting dates,” Levin said on CBS’ “Face the Nation.”
The dispute over the start of the U.S. withdrawal is likely to be a prominent issue Tuesday when Petraeus faces senators in a hearing on his confirmation. Petraeus, now head of all U.S. forces in the Middle East, was chosen for the top post in Afghanistan after the removal of Army Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal for comments critical of civilian leaders in a magazine article.
And as a bonus:
CIA Director Leon Panetta, appearing on ABC News’s “This Week” on Sunday, said the agency had awarded Xe Services LLC — the company formerly known as Blackwater — a contract to protect its installations in Afghanistan. The contract, reported by the Washington Post to be worth $100 million, is in addition to a separate contract Xe has with the State Department to protect U.S. officials in the country.
Blackwater was involved by a series of controversial incidents, including a deadly shootout in Baghdad in 2007 that claimed the lives of Iraqi civilians and became a political liability for the U.S. government.
Extending the corporate safety net: ARPA-e
Recognizing the need to reevaluate the way the United States spurs innovation, the National Academies released a 2006 report, “Rising Above the Gathering Storm”, that included the recommendation to establish an Advanced Research Projects Agency—Energy (ARPA-E) within the Department of Energy (DOE). The America COMPETES Act (PDF 39 KB), signed into law in August of 2007, codified many of the recommendations in the National Academies report. Authorized but without an initial budget, ARPA-E received $400 million funding in April 2009 through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). ARPA-E is modeled after the successful Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the agency responsible for technological innovations such as the Internet and the stealth technology found in the F117A and other modern fighter aircraft. Specifically, ARPA-E was established and charged with the following objectives:
- To bring a freshness, excitement, and sense of mission to energy research that will attract many of the U.S.’s best and brightest minds—those of experienced scientists and engineers, and, especially, those of students and young researchers, including persons in the entrepreneurial world;
- To focus on creative “out-of-the-box” transformational energy research that industry by itself cannot or will not support due to its high risk but where success would provide dramatic benefits for the nation;
- To utilize an ARPA-like organization that is flat, nimble, and sparse, capable of sustaining for long periods of time those projects whose promise remains real, while phasing out programs that do not prove to be as promising as anticipated; and
- To create a new tool to bridge the gap between basic energy research and development/industrial innovation.
Would refraining from giving patents funded by public research to private corporations just this once really be that hard? I know it’s the standard for how we do things in the U.S., but getting this technology out there is kind of important.
It looks like while Blackwater is being sold, Mr. Prince is running off to the United Arab Emirates:
Sources close to Blackwater and its secretive owner Erik Prince claim that the embattled head of the world’s most infamous mercenary firm is planning to move to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The Middle Eastern nation, a major hub for the US war industry, has no extradition treaty with the United States. In April, five of Prince’s top deputies were hit with a fifteen-count indictment by a federal grand jury on conspiracy, weapons and obstruction of justice charges. Among those indicted were Prince’s longtime number-two man, former Blackwater president Gary Jackson, former vice presidents William Matthews and Ana Bundy and Prince’s former legal counsel Andrew Howell.
Have fun with the corrupt Islamic monarchs!