Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
March 13, 2012

Afghanistan Is Not A Land Of Isolated Incidents

Whenever some bad event happens in Afghanistan the officialdom likes to explained it away as an isolated incident

That may be an effective propaganda method for addressing a western public. We can read and write, we have books and we use a formalized frame for time, days, month and year. We can look up the date a certain incident happened and as such isolate it. Having books also allows us forget incidents because, when needed, we can again look them up. We remember birth- and other special days as distinct dates and in that aspect we do have a digitized memory that often makes us miss the context of single events.

Those things are different for a farmer in Helmand. He likely can neither read nor write. He doesn't know the date of his birth. The history he knows is the one he heard from his grandpa during long winter nights in the form of songs, tales and poems. He will add to those what he remembers from his own live when he will -inshalla-  one day tell them to his grandchildren. His is then a cumulative memory.  Single events are remembered by being put into a historic context.

The farmer's tale to his grandson about the British people will include parts of poems he once heard about the first Anglo-Afghan war (1839–1842) mixed with some bits from the Battle of Maiwand during the second Anglo-Afghan war (1878–1880) added to some tales from the attack on Spin Boldak during the third Anglo-Afghan war (1919). To that he will add his own memory of the unsuccessful attempt of the British army to pacify Helmand during 2006 to 2009. There are no isolated incidents in his oral, cumulative history. In the Helmand farmer's mind there is no 'lone' gunman.

The attempts by the officialdom to use the isolated incident excuse, as documented below, are therefore bound to fail in addressing Afghans. They should fail on us too.

The alleged slaying of 16 civilians by a U.S. soldier in southern Afghanistan will not affect plans to turn over security operations to local troops, NATO and member countries said as they called for a quick investigation into the deaths.

NATO spokeswoman Oana Lungescu called for a swift, thorough probe, but said the killings were an "isolated incident" and as such would not affect the alliance's overall plans to turn over security operations to Afghan troops by the end of 2014.
NATO: Afghanistan rampage won't affect timeline - March 12 2012

The U.S. Embassy in Kabul went into lockdown as the violent protests entered a second day over Quran burnings. U.S. Embassy said in its official Twitter feed.
"This is not who we are. These are very, very isolated incident”, General Allen said nervously as he tried in vain to placate reporters who see this as a “big story”...
U.S. Embassy in lock down over Quran burning as Marine guards go on high alert - February 22 2012
Afghanistan’s President Hamid Karzai says the killing of four French soldiers by an Afghan army soldier was an "isolated and individual" action and did not represent the anger of the Afghan people.
Killing of French troops an isolated incident, says Afghan President Karzai - Jan 21, 2012
NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed condolences on Friday for the four French soldiers that were shot and killed by an Afghan solider, but said the attack is an "isolated" incident.

"Such tragic incidents are terrible and grab headlines, but they are isolated," he said in a statement.
NATO chief downplays attack on French troops in Afghanistan - January 20 2012

French Defense Minister Gerard Longuet said the two French soldiers had been deliberately fired on by an Afghan soldier present at their position in the Kapisa valley.
The "isolated incident" would not affect the process of eventually handing over responsibility for security to Afghan forces, the minister said in a statement, adding that his thoughts were with the families of those killed and their fellow service members.
2 French soldiers killed in Afghanistan attack - December 29 2011
An Afghan National Army (ANA) soldier allegedly killed his Australian colleague whilst on guard duty today, May 30, 2011. Another Australian soldier died during a Chinook's hard landing on a resupply mission within hours of the initial incident.
Australians have mentored thousands of Afghans in the past 6 years and whilst this is seemingly an isolated incident, such Afghan sentiment towards mentoring troops is on the rise.
Two More Australian Soldiers Die In Afghanistan - May 30 2011
International Security Assistance Forces confirmed one Afghan civilian was killed by an ISAF servicemember in the Ali Sheng district of Laghman province Sunday.
"We take allegations of civilian casualties very seriously and we will conduct a thorough investigation of this isolated incident," said Maj. Patrick Seiber, Combined Joint Task Force - 101 and Regional Command - East spokesman.
ISAF investigates death in Laghman - September 27 2010
In a possibly isolated incident, ISAF recently attacked a convoy of cars in Takhar, a small province in northeast Afghanistan. They remain adamant that they killed some previously unknown insurgent figure. One of the occupants of those cars, however, was a candidate running parliament — he was injured, and several of his companions were killed.
Half the violence, twice the fraud: The Afghan elections - September 20 2010
KABUL, Afghanistan — A seemingly routine training practice in marksmanship went fatally wrong on Tuesday when an Afghan Army sergeant turned his weapon on an American trainer and a gunfight began. When it was over, the sergeant, two American trainers and an Afghan soldier who had been standing nearby lay dead.
General Patton said that he was uncertain about the motives of the Afghan sergeant, but that the military considered it “an isolated incident.”
Gunfight Kills 2 Americans Who Trained Afghan Army - July 20 2010
The attack came under the cover of darkness at 2.45am, when Gurkhas on duty in the operations room of a British army patrol base in Helmand province were cut down by fire from an Afghan comrade.

As he fled, the renegade Afghan soldier targeted others with a rocket-propelled grenade; one British soldier reportedly died in his sleeping quarters.
But Colonel Richard Kemp, a former commander of British troops in Afghanistan, said it was an isolated incident.
Killings shock troops on joint patrols vital to Afghanistan exit strategy - July 13 2010

An Afghan policeman opened fire on British soldiers in the volatile southern province of Helmand, killing five before fleeing, authorities said Wednesday, raising concerns about discipline within the Afghan forces and possible infiltration by insurgents.
Presidential spokesman Humayun Hamidzada said it was an isolated attack.

"These are incidents that can happen anywhere. The crazy man who has done this has also attacked the Afghan police," he told the AP. "You can't use this isolated incident to say that there is a problem with the police force of Afghanistan. In the U.S., people shoot up people in a shopping mall. There are crazy people everywhere."
Afghan Policeman Kills 5 British Soldiers - November 4 2009

As expected, the U.S. military quickly denied that the video released on Sunday by Al Jazeera is evidence that our troops proselytizing Muslims in Afghanistan, claiming that what was shown in the video was an isolated incident, and that the chaplains’ statements were taken out of context.
Rights Group Uncovers Other Cases Of Military Proselytizing Christianity to Muslims - March 8 2009

Posted by b on March 13, 2012 at 13:27 UTC | Permalink


Cumulative Collective memory

Hard to defeat

Usually if they're REAL serious about winning the conflict, if they've allowed their more psychopathic 'Philosophers' (Bill Kristol fer instance) to publically "think it all through . . .") the PTB choose 'Turn it into a nightmare, so that they will flinch from it's memory',

That's about the only way to defeat "Cumulative Collective memory".

Either complete wipe-out (or an effective demnonstration that you certainly would have no problem ramping it up to 100%) of the civilian population, or else it's an inevitable slow-burn, punctured by 'atrocities', until eventually the occupiers just leave.

Unless, of course your aim is something other than what is generally [publicly] accepted as constituting a definition of 'Winning'. . . . .

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 13:56 utc | 1

Personally I'm inclined to the view that many/'a sizable amount' of these "Cumulative Collective memory"/"isolated incident" events are not quite as 'accidental'/random/'unforeseenly tragic' as we might be lead to believe by those that like to shepard sheep

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 14:00 utc | 2

Alleged Christians(blasphemers) teaching Muslims Christianity is sort of like vegetarian cannibals,(stolen from another site)is it not?Hypocrisy writ huge.
Why do I have a feeling the Muslims follow and know Mr.Jesus a heck of a lot better than Americans who have abandoned his word?

Posted by: dahoit | Mar 13 2012 14:00 utc | 3

Afghanistan is a complex and diverse country. I guess there is not one cumulative memory, but many ...

It also depends very much on how your human brain works if you can isolate incidents or not ... humans everywhere are very diverse in this respect.
I guess, military minds tend to isolate.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 13 2012 14:03 utc | 4

'dahoit' the notion that 'religion' is in any way the primary driver of events in Afghanistan is, or should be, throughly discredited at this stage, in the mind of any questioning individual

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 14:05 utc | 5

"isolated incidents"

Repeated so many times, it morphs into: "I-see-blatant insolence".

Posted by: nobodee | Mar 13 2012 14:06 utc | 6

Syrian army captures Idlib: Last rebel stronghold

Posted by: nikon | Mar 13 2012 14:21 utc | 7

In the open thread, @somebody linked to Craig Murray (former British ambassador to Uzbekistan) talking about Karzai and the heroin trade but it also contained some words on the recent bloodshed:

"Urinating on dead Afghans, burning Korans and a nighttime killing spree are not the problem; they are symptoms of the problem. A vicious occupation by religious antagonists who repeatedly and continually launch massive violence on civilians, with the intent of imposing by force elements of an alien culture while establishing a massively corrupt and despised puppet government."

Source from Somebody:

According to the US propaganda department all acts in the Afghan war are "isolated incidents". It's as if the war itself is made up of a million seperate incidents, none connected to each other and none with any context behind them. Of course this is just what the propaganda departments want us to think because an "isolated incident" is just a fluke occurance and undeserving of study.

The reality is that everything is connected. This last massacre involved a guy who had served 3 tours in Iraq and had just started a fourth in Afghanistan. Obviously the strain of running an Empire is cracking up the US Military, just like Vietnam did, to much hot wars, to much low level conflicts, to much resistance groups appearing in to much places. Troop morale hit the floor years ago in Afghanistan, suicide rates are spiking, now weekly signs are of troop disciple are breaking down (just last week General Allen, the top general in charge of Afghanistan, had to visit troops at the FOB in Nangarhar province to calm the troops after 2 troops were killed in the Koran burning protests, see below).


Source Video of General Allens "pep talk" to the FOB where he begs his troops for "patience":!

Meanwhile Michael Hirsh over at the Atlantic has an good article about "The Disintergration of Obama's Afghan War Strategy".


Posted by: Colm O' Toole | Mar 13 2012 14:48 utc | 8

The west always try to use rethoric to rationalize their assaults on other people. Like waging war against insurgents. If they didn't occupy in the first place, there wouldn't be a need for any counterinsugency, since the insurgents only appear with the counterinsurgency campaign. So, the US can always justify their war, whether it is going after terrorists, stopping the insurgents, stabilizing the country, instituting democracy, winning hearts and minds - that's a good one.
Protecting the civilians from the Taliban, when the taliban only fights the US soldiers that are there to protect the civilians.. Right.. does anyone else see the flaw in that logic?

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 13 2012 14:49 utc | 9

I'm still amazed that any regular reader of this blog would still choose to point to 'religion' as a major driver of this (or indeed almost any similarly presented) conflict.

NorthernIreland/Israel-Palestine/Bosnia/Iraq should have thaught us by now that 'religion' is merely the tool used to cause a fracturing in society. The resultant inevitable 'fracturing' is then the excuse the agressing party uses to justify whatever it has already decided to do anyway.

Painting a conflict as 'religious' only helps to increse the view that it is somehow 'intractible' due mainly to the religious beliefs of the 'enemy', and that therefore 'excessive measures' (only 'temporary' of course . . . just this once, honest) might be required in order to quell this unusual and completely unwarranted disturbance

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 15:21 utc | 10

I always thought we were in Afghanistan becuase it was being used as a training and staging area for attacks on the US and its allies. And that we have to stay there until there is some reasonable guarantee that it will not immediately revert to that state as soon as we leave.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 13 2012 15:23 utc | 11

Well . . . yeah . . . I mean that is definitely the official cover-story in a nutshell, right there. But then there's this - Bounty of Rare Earths Discovered in Afghanistan
Date: 30 September 2011 Time: 07:25 AM ET

truth is they have known all about the likely extent of these Rare-Earth metal deposits in Afghanistan since at least as early as sometime in the mid-1970's.

So why the pretence that they just stumbled accross them in the last couple of years

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 15:32 utc | 12

Hayden said there were three things that have to happen in order to win the war in Afghanistan: "One of those was end the safe haven; second was to increase Afghan government capacity; and the third at the time was to push down the drug trade, which was poisoning everything."

"And most of those three goals have not been met," said Rose.

Now if a general thinks these are strategic goals ... how qualified are the rest of them ...

As presumably the Afghan government controls the drug trade, to increase its capacity could not be called pushing down the drug trade anyway ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 13 2012 15:35 utc | 13

Just to keep flogging a dead horse . . ..

EU Challenges China’s Rare-Earth Export Restrictions at WTO

A.N.D. . . .

Deal Shows China's Sway in Rare-Earth Minerals

Is it a close-enough fit to the definiton of 'Military/Industrial' yet? . . . I think it is.

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 15:51 utc | 14

I only mention it because . . . .

"Notice how a normal human reaction from a Pakistan Military Chief is described as an "outburst" in this BBC Report from 17 March 2011 on the killing of 44 Afghan Civilians:
Pakistan army chief Kayani in US drone outburst

also notice that in a follow-up report on March 18th 2011 4 of the dead are originally described as "suspected militants", as if that makes it alright to kill them:

"One missile was fired at a car carrying suspected militants. Three more missiles were then fired at the moving vehicle, . . . . .

but then 2 sentences later they are now 100% confirmed as definite "militants", citing nameless "local officials":

"At least four militants in the vehicles were killed, local officials said."

So that's settled then as far as the BBC is concerned - the "militants" are to blame, for daring to be being "Militant", even if they were in fact only "suspected militants", or as some might call them, until shown reliable evidence proving otherwise, "completely innocent".

BUT: the most interesting point of note, for me at least, was this one from the original BBC report:

According to the tribesmen, the meeting was being held to discuss a local land dispute over the ownership of chromite deposits in the area. They say that no militants were present at the time.

Posted by: hu bris | Apr 11, 2011 11:22:43 PM | 13

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 16:39 utc | 15

Yes, Afghanistan has a bounty of minerals, but there will be no extrating or exporting them until the nation is stabilized. I think that if we can simply get them to stop exporting terror, that is as much stability as we can realistically hope to bring to the region.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 13 2012 17:22 utc | 16

Then we should stop creating anti-western scentiments by occupying the country,

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 13 2012 17:41 utc | 17

"but there will be no extrating or exporting them until the nation is stabilized."

Tell that to those exploiting a similar situation in the Democratic Republic of Congo - (Knoy for instance ;) They seem to be continuing on with 'business as Usual', conflict or no.

why should afghanistan be different?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 17:47 utc | 18

(Knoy for instance ;) = KONY fer instance

. . .obviously . . . .

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 13 2012 17:48 utc | 19

bravo, the LRB, b. I can't think of another "big name" literary publication that makes any sense anymore. Even the TLS has jumped the shark.

Posted by: yes_but | Mar 13 2012 17:55 utc | 20

ralphieboy, you're out of your depth

there are splinters in the windmills of your mind

you don't have both oars in the water

the wind beneath your wings has ceased to blow

the man from Galilee has dropped your hand

Posted by: yes_but | Mar 13 2012 18:05 utc | 21

"I always thought we were in Afghanistan becuase it was being used as a training and staging area for attacks on the US and its allies. And that we have to stay there until there is some reasonable guarantee that it will not immediately revert to that state as soon as we leave.."

There never was any evidence that Afghanistan was "being used as a training and staging area for attacks on the US" with the exception of the assertions made in the wake of the attack by Saudis on the WTC. The Afghan government requested the US to furnish it with any evidence that Bin Laden (now conveniently silenced) was involved, but the US refused even to discuss the matter.

The excuse was seized to invade Afghanistan and later (on even more spurious grounds) Iraq. As a result hundreds of thousands of people have been killed and the war has only just begun.

The US and its camp followers would do well to leave Afghanistan but it is not within their power to end the war. That will continue-on this point both the US warmongers and shrewd analysts agree. Where there is disagreement is over the question of how it will end.

For what it is worth, since 2001 I have believed that there will be Latin American peacekeeping forces in Cleveland, before the Long War is over.
And I am inclined to believe that they will be greeted with flowers and applause when they arrive.

Posted by: bevin | Mar 13 2012 18:18 utc | 22

actually as far as I remember no Afghan was involved in Bosnia, nor in 9/11, nor in Iraq?

however, Saudis, Libyans, Egyptians ... went to Afghanistan. Is that exporting terror?

it was Hamburg that exported terror, and Saudi Arabia ..., or wait, those planes were entered inside the US, by people who had been training there, so maybe ...

as Nato admits that they do not control the country, how come they do not export terror freely? Maybe because Nato came to them, to make it easy to be shot at?

the whole reasoning was absurd. it gave ample opportunity to steal and plunder for sure ...

Posted by: somebody | Mar 13 2012 18:19 utc | 23

Good god ralphieboy, are you really that stupid? Who briefs you, Dick Cheney?

You do realize that 9/11 was plotted in Germany and the pilots trained in Florida right? I know, let's go destroy Germany and Florida!

And that the perps were mostly Saudi Arabian? Why aren't we bombing the shit out of Saudi Arabia if our goal is to "stop them from exporting terror"?

And how exactly does sending in hundreds of thousands of trigger-happy goons make Afghanistan a less radicalized place anyway?

Posted by: ran | Mar 13 2012 18:33 utc | 24

The US are exporting terror, by bombing Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Yemen, Pakistan, Jordan, Somalia, and terrorizing Iran and Syria with threats to bomb. And that is only on the last 4 years.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 13 2012 18:47 utc | 25

@13 somebody, It's instructive, given the paradoxical nature of statements emanating from the Dept of State, to accept the exact opposite of what they say. Therefore, if we assume US goals in Afghanistan are to produce a safe haven for terrorists, diminish the capacity of the Afghanis to govern themselves and increase the spread of narcotics we will be closer to a picture of reality more amenable to what we can see with our own eyes.

Posted by: yes_but | Mar 13 2012 19:26 utc | 26

@22,24: I agree that Iraq was bullsh*t, but Afghanistan was another matter.

If Bin Laden was hanging out there (whether or not he was directly behind 9/11 is immaterial, he was behind enough other attacks), and the country was too politically dysfunctional to prevent his activities, that was grounds enough, even if all we succeeded in doing was driving him into hiding.

I didn't like it, i just saw it as the lesser of several evils.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 13 2012 19:39 utc | 27

@22,24: I agree that Iraq was bullsh*t, but Afghanistan was another matter.

If Bin Laden was hanging out there (whether or not he was directly behind 9/11 is immaterial, he was behind enough other attacks), and the country was too politically dysfunctional to prevent his activities, that was grounds enough, even if all we succeeded in doing was driving him into hiding.

I didn't like it, i just saw it as the lesser of several evils.

Posted by: ralphieboy | Mar 13 2012 19:39 utc | 28


start from here:

"AMERICANS will certainly have 9/11 in mind when they vote today. But they should keep another date in mind, too — one almost exactly a quarter-century ago: Nov. 4, 1979. A clear path runs to 9/11 from the day of the raid on the U.S. embassy in Tehran and the seizure of American hostages.

The 1979 embassy attack came at a time when the administration of President Jimmy Carter was trying to prop up the new Khomeinist regime in Tehran.

Carter had decided to support Khomeini in the context of the so-called "Green Belt" strategy developed by National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski. That strategy was based on the assumption that the United States and its allies were unable to contain the Soviet Union, then expanding its zone of influence into Africa, the Indian Ocean region and, through left-leaning regimes, in Latin America. To counter that expanding threat, Brzezinski envisaged the creation of a string of Islamic allies that, for religious and political reasons, would prefer the United States against the "godless" Soviet empire.

The second stage in Brzezinski's grand strategy was to incite the Muslim peoples of the Soviet Union to revolt against Moscow and thus frustrate its global schemes.

The Bzrezinski strategy had been partly inspired by Helene Carrere d'Encausse, who, in her book "The Fragmented Empire," predicted the disintegration of the Soviet Union as a result of revolts by Muslim minorities.

When the Islamic revolution started in Iran, the Carter administration saw it as the confirmation of its assumption that only Islamists could muster enough popular support to provide an alternative to both the existing regime and the pro-Soviet leftist movements. "

Posted by: somebody | Mar 13 2012 20:28 utc | 29

ralph, you should try to suspend your willing suspension of disbelief when you quit watching television, or put down that novel, or leave the movie house.

the official 9/11 conspiracy theory is bogus, but the whole PNAC project --benevolent global hegemony-- rests on that one fairytale.

the machinery is in place, was in place on 9/11, to spread and reinforce the official story, and it's just too damn bad that it took so long for some of the media to catch on --for instance, what media in their right minds would have published stories about the dancing israelis?

but the anthrax attacks helped everyone get on the same page, didnt they? ...and the media caught on ever so quick, thank goodness.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 13 2012 20:31 utc | 30

and somebody @29 trots out the obligatory Brzezinski red herring, while ignoring PNAC's published need for a new pearl harbor a year before their new pearl harbor happened.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 13 2012 20:36 utc | 31

here's how it must have happened, from an earlier thread on MoA...

osama was on the internet one day, and stumbled across PNAC's call for a new pearl harbor, and osama sez to himself, "huh! i'll fix those guys' wagons! i will stage a new pearl harbor for them! ...and everyone will think those assholes from PNAC dun it!"

so osama rigged the 2000 election so the signers of the PNAC document, people like cheney, rumsfeld and the usual assortment of likud loons, got installed into positions that would have enabled them to make 9/11 happen, had they been inclined to make 9/11 happen, which they were most definitely NOT ---despite their yearnings for a new pearl harbor as expressed in the PNAC document they signed.....

then osama organized everything, from the training of the pilots to the security at the airports to the standdown at NORAD to oneill's job at the trade center, including bunnypants' month-long absence from dc while the shit was coming down.

osama even dispatched five mossad guys to film the event....

well, you know what they say about the best laid plans of mice and men... little did osama know that the PNAC guys had enough juice to reverse the frameup, and osama found hisself dragging his dialysis machine from pillar to post in an effort to escape the wrath of PNAC.

it's a sad sad thing...

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 13 2012 20:41 utc | 32

If folks remember, the Taliban in Afghanistan offered to turn over Osama to a third party for trial, and GW Bush refused the offer.

Posted by: ben | Mar 13 2012 20:52 utc | 33

Here's the link:

Posted by: ben | Mar 13 2012 20:55 utc | 34

ben, the taliban wanted proof, but bunnypants didnt have any proof, and no proof has surfaced since... but bunnypants started bombing, anyhow, without evidence...

but not to worry... everything's going according to the PNAC plan... at least the attempts dovetail with the PNAC plan, but there's been a few setbacks, and the project will fail in the long run because it's morally bankrupt, and the world doesnt tolerate that kind of bullshit forever.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 13 2012 20:58 utc | 35

Hu Bris, good find. Good reporting. I saw the same thing in the headlines today and immediately made the connection to this post and this apparent predicament.

Posted by: Sultanist | Mar 13 2012 21:03 utc | 36

@ 35: Hope you're right, but, in today's world, at least here in the states, being morally bankrupt is a virtue.

Posted by: ben | Mar 13 2012 21:05 utc | 37

What's really sad is that Obama executed Osama Bin Laden so he couldn't be tried, probably because he believed the US public would riot if they learned the truth behind 9/11.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 13 2012 21:12 utc | 38

ben says, at 37...

" in the states, being morally bankrupt is a virtue."

it will get back to normal... it'll become a matter of necessity... we'll have to cooperate to survive, and we'll have to do something about the mad dogs among us.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 13 2012 21:12 utc | 39

David Cameron has said the public "want an endgame" to the war in Afghanistan as he prepares to hold talks with Barack Obama about the conflict.

The leaders are expected to agree that Afghan forces should take over a lead combat role by mid-2013

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 13 2012 22:23 utc | 40

Cameron must be talking about the Afghan public. It's not like him to listen to the British one.

Posted by: dh | Mar 14 2012 0:26 utc | 41

The American military personnel serving abroad are war criminals. They are not immune from prosecution by the local authorities in Afghanistan. Laws, bills and sanctions made by the United States only apply to the United States citizens within the borders of the United States.

The United States Congress has never declared war in the Middle East, let alone Afghanistan. The invasion of Afghanistan was illegal. September 11th (9/11) in N.Y. was a criminal attack, not a military armed attack by another country on the U.S. The U.S. used its military against the Afghan people to build the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline.

Afghanistan should not only put this killer and other killers like him on trial in their own country, but also put U.S. officials and NATO officials on trail for invading their country illegally in the first place.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 14 2012 1:46 utc | 42

Ralphie boy seems to be unaware that the Taliban offered Bin Laden to us. Mayhaps he should inform himself.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Mar 14 2012 2:37 utc | 43

Ralphie, here's what I don't get....

When Reverend Butler, the head bigot of "The Aryan Nation" set up his compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho, we didn't bomb the shit outta Idaho, invade, and subsequently occupy. I mean, golly, after the shoot-out at Witby Island, it was clear that his followers were terrorists. I mean, shit man, why the fuck did them there Idaho politicians provide sanctuary for a known terrorist group???

Yep, we shoulda bombed the bejesus outta that state. Lord knows, they had it comin'.

Posted by: PissedOffAmerican | Mar 14 2012 3:12 utc | 44

These incidents are "isolated" only in the same way that the symptoms of any pathology can be taken out of context and inspected individually. What needs to be truly "isolated" and addressed is the culture that produces these symptoms and goes on to normalise them into the larger culture (as I tried to point out in the previous Afghanistan outrage thread.)

I find it interesting that the phrase "bad apple" keeps getting used for the past decade or so when attempting to rationalise these things. The complete folk saying is that "One bad apple spoils the bunch," and has historically been used to describe a situation in which a malignancy must be excised before it spreads... NOT to excuse, shrug off, and thereby normalise the occasional aberration.

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 14 2012 6:28 utc | 45

And if you take the long, clinical view of things, it's very possible that being there in the first place is merely another symptom presented by the same cultural pathology which gave rise to all the other "isolated incidents."

For example, "Massacres are the inevitable result of foreign occupation."

Posted by: Monolycus | Mar 14 2012 6:56 utc | 46

anyways, Nato pulling out of Afghanistan will not look good in an election year. that is why the date is set 2014.
beyond that, Nato is of course trying not to leave. fat chance.
"A call for U.S. and Afghan citizens to question the U.S./Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement"

and the Afghan reaction on atrocities like Koran burning is part of that negotiation.
"Afghans urge U.S. exit after killings; US says timetable unchanged"

Civilians will get killed as long as there is war. They happen to live in a war zone.
"Afghan civilian deaths rise for fifth year, says UN
The number of civilians killed and injured in the Afghan conflict has risen for the fifth year in a row, a UN report reveals."

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 7:00 utc | 47

Some guy brought sad into your happy world.
You need love, but you're afraid that if you give in,
someone else will come along
and sock it to ya again.

One bad apple don't spoil the whole bunch, girl.
Oh, give it one more try before you give up on love.

Sorry, Monolycus, couldn't resist, but I agree with you and b on this whole sick story.

Posted by: catlady | Mar 14 2012 7:01 utc | 48

it is all part of this here

"KABUL: Doubts grew on Monday that the United States and Afghanistan could narrow sharp differences in negotiations and reach a long-term strategic partnership deal.

The Strategic Partnership Agreement, which Washington and Kabul have been discussing for over a year, will be the framework for US involvement in Afghanistan beyond 2014, when the last foreign combat troops are due to leave Afghanistan."

And yes, Karzai has been hedging his bets.

puppets are not what they used to

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 7:12 utc | 49

@ Sultanist - thanks for the compliment but truth be told there was no great dectective work involved.

There was a British Survey carrried out by the British Geographical Society back in the 70's. (Curiously the Afghan Geographical Society website appears to be hosted on the British Seographical Society servers - not vital info that, but potentially useful nonetheless)

The type of minerals in question are very in-demand at the moment because modern battery/cell-phone/computing technology requires them - and China has a strangle-hold on their supply, controlling approx 85% of the market/supply

there was also a US survey carried out sometime in the recent past, possibly back in the late 1960's - exact date escapes me just now and tbh I'm too lazy to go get exact proof on this - but after a quick googling I notice it's a lot harder, one year later, to find proof of both of those 1960's/1970's US & British Mineral surveys just now - the first few pages of google were all about the more recent 2010 US survey.

Which kinda helps the PTB obscure the FACT that they knew all about these Rare Earth Mineral Deposits from waaaay back in the 70's.

In fact the BBC also knew about these historical surveys from the 1970's because it was on their website I first found mention of them - so why they are all now pretending that the news about the very valuable, and 'strategic', Afghan Rare-Earth Mineral Deposits is something they just stumbled across in 2009/2010, is a complete mystery

pls keep commenting as often as possible on b's posts. Generally I find what you have to say worth reading.

despite the best efforts of some, the signal to noise ratio here is tolerable, at least ;)

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 7:32 utc | 50

somebody posted a guardian article which eventually lead me to this - (normally I wouldn't click on a Huff-Post link with your's, but here we go anyway) . . . .

"We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat," said McChrystal during a recent video-conference with troops, the Times reported.

Talking Points Memo has obtained a longer transcript of McChrystal's statements, which you can read in full here.

McChrystal spokesman Tadd Sholtis tried to place the general's comments in context in an email to TPM: "The general was urging his forces to exercise courageous restraint (by suggesting that it is unlikely that erratic behavior at a checkpoint constitutes a threat) while also expressing sympathy for the confusing and threatening situations in which both soldiers and Afghans find themselves" Sholtis wrote.

From McChrystal's remarks:

We really ask a lot of our young service people out on the checkpoints because there's danger, they're asked to make very rapid decisions in often very unclear situations. However, to my knowledge, in the nine-plus months I've been here, not a single case where we have engaged in an escalation of force incident and hurt someone has it turned out that the vehicle had a suicide bomb or weapons in it and, in many cases, had families in it. That doesn't mean I'm criticizing the people who are executing. I'm just giving you perspective. We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force.

To me that is the purest definition of "Psychopathic" I have EVER witnessed

"We've shot an amazing number of people and killed a number and, to my knowledge, none has proven to have been a real threat to the force"

'Amazing' eh?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 7:49 utc | 51

BTW: These Rare Earth Minerals are also vital in the construction of 'Green' Tech, especially that utilising magnets, such as Wind Energy, so again, with the German gov't having back in 2000 opened the flood-gates in terms of Green-tech subsidy, demand for these metals/minerals skyrocketed

these few facts, meagre as they are, might also help explain the 'Kony 2012' P.R. campaign we saw recently, given that Kony is probably in the DRC at present, and reportedly has been for at least 6 yrs, and NOT Uganda

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 7:58 utc | 52

the rare earth supply is gonna be a problem, and it will get worse if the US survives long enough to start the transition to electric cars...

the only rational solution to the impending rare earth shortage is to do a regime change in china, install chinese leaders that are willing to enrich themselves as the multinational rare eearth companies tear up the chinese landscape... i mean, that's how it works...

too badafghanistan seems to be a lost cause, for pipelines or anything else, due to so many isolated incidents of atrocities committed by our imperial troopers.

it's ironic that we, in order to thwart chinese access to oil, we also thwart our own efforts to access afghan rare earths....

...but first things first... we have to grab enough oil to maintain the US economy at a level that can support the military that's enforcing our benevolent global hegemony, dont we?

oil is the weak link, and apparently we're willing to sacrifice our access to afghan rare earths to control oil and china's access to oil.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 8:06 utc | 53

@13,15 Hu Bris - I agree - the BBC's use of language is interesting, and I'm sure deliberate. Auntie does not choose words lightly. So, in particular, Hamas operatives are "militants" and the Syrian opposition forces are "activists" for instance. IDF are of course proper soldiers! And anyone that the IDF shoots is by definition a militant.

Posted by: chambers | Mar 14 2012 8:10 utc | 54

here's something we should keep in the back of our heads: despite our chasing the chinese out of their proposed tanker port at gwadar pakistan, despite all the commotion we've caused in afghanistan and pakistan --commotion that's prevented pipeline construction to china and the chinese port at gwadar- chinese oil imports are at a new high.

do we need another "event" that will take the PNAC project to the next level?

if PNAC needed a new pearl harbor to get the project rolling, what kind of event do they need to rejuvenate it?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 8:24 utc | 55

would now be a bad time to quote old Smedley? . . .. .

(Today is a day of 'firsts' . . .I now find myself quoting from 'Wikipedia' of all places . . .FFS )
It contains this summary:

"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."

In another often cited quote from the book Butler says:

I spent 33 years and four months in active military service and during that period I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer, a gangster for capitalism. I helped make Mexico and especially Tampico safe for American oil interests in 1914. I helped make Haiti and Cuba a decent place for the National City Bank boys to collect revenues in. I helped in the raping of half a dozen Central American republics for the benefit of Wall Street. I helped purify Nicaragua for the International Banking House of Brown Brothers in 1902-1912. I brought light to the Dominican Republic for the American sugar interests in 1916. I helped make Honduras right for the American fruit companies in 1903. In China in 1927 I helped see to it that Standard Oil went on its way unmolested. Looking back on it, I might have given Al Capone a few hints. The best he could do was to operate his racket in three districts. I operated on three continents. "

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 8:25 utc | 56

Hu Bris quotes smedley butler @56...

"...I spent most of my time as a high class muscle man for Big Business, for Wall Street and the bankers."

nowadays, smedley would have had to include israel on his list, wouldnt he?

in fact, it's hard to tell how smedley would have prioritized his list... israel might have been right at the top of his list, given israel's apparent control of US media and congress.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 8:35 utc | 57

someone REALLY wants to turn this conversation into "There's Something about Israel . . . "

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 8:47 utc | 58

it's not my fault that israel was such a bad idea in the first place that they've got to threaten to blow up everybody in sight if they dont get their way.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 8:48 utc | 59

BTW: coink-identally there's ample fodder for such shenanigans lurking deep in the DRC

Certainly the DRC helps finance some of the 'settlements'/'colonies'

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 8:50 utc | 60

well, whatever...

caroline glick's got the answer to all our problems...

all we do is keep hammering away at iran's mythical nuke weapons cooperation with north korea...

then, when a little israeli nuke goes on in one of your favorite israeli or american towns, we'll know, instantly, who to blame.

About 23,100 results for glick "israel and the axis of evil"

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 8:57 utc | 61

Dude - in a thread about Afghanistan?

Forgive me for trying to keep the conversation even somewhat, however remotely, on topic

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 9:03 utc | 62

"well, whatever..."


YOu've been trying to drag this around to 'Israel' for the last 10 or 11 posts now . . so I point you where to go if you want to do that . . . . . and you reply "well, whatever..."?


WTF are you? A paid sockpuppet or what?

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 9:05 utc | 63

well, in that logic, the US would have to invade Greenland

never mind the resources the next technological development might need.

back to that "isolated incident" - what did the lone mad soldier say to the guards when he left the camp at night "I am going for a walk?"

who would guard the camp - these people?

and how come those villagers lived that damn close under curfew by Taliban and US army?
"WASHINGTON, Jan. 19, 2012 – Insurgents detonated a vehicle-borne bomb outside an entry control point at Kandahar Airfield in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province today, military officials reported. The attack resulted in the deaths and injuries of a number of civilians, officials said. Currently, officials added, there are no confirmed reports of injuries to International Security Assistance Force troops or Afghan security forces."

ISAF and Afghan security forces are gathering more facts and will release more information as appropriate, officials said, noting that ISAF's immediate concerns are for those killed or injured and their families.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 9:06 utc | 64

the new york times does its bit to contribute to glick's legend making...

About 10,400 results for "new york times" "nuclear forensics" declining

at least we dont have to worry about the main media being on the same page as PNAC when the next PNAC event coccurs...

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 9:08 utc | 65

the point being... in afghanistan, we've tromped so badly on our teeny little imperial dicks that something's got to be done to rejuvenate the PNAC project.

no amount of Hu Bris distractions, from afghan rare earth to smedley butler to troubles in the congo, is gonna change that fact.

so we sit here waiting for the next shoe to drop

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 9:14 utc | 66

retreatingbladestall let's face it, neocons are irrelevant :-))

"it's certainly not going to do our reputation any favours," said retired major-general Lewis MacKenzie. "There are a lot of projects, in a limited area, with the Canadian flag on it, both literally and physically."

But Defence Minister Peter MacKay was hopeful the Afghans will take the long view and recognize the West has been trying to help them.

"I think what is needed most here is perspective," MacKay said Monday in an interview with The Canadian Press.

"Let's not let it wash away all of the very real progress we have seen in that country." It was a "horrific incident, but it shouldn't overshadow everything else."

MacKenzie said that aside from the fallout and the potential impact on a post-2014 security arrangement with the U.S., questions should be raised about how a soldier wandered from a heavily fortified, well guarded outpost with no one noticing or raising the alarm.

"This story just doesn't add up," he said. "Talk about gifts to the Taliban. They just keep handing them propaganda presents."

The burning of copies of the Qur'an, an inadvertent helicopter strafing that killed four people in eastern Afghanistan, along with the 2010 murder of civilians for sport by a U.S. soldiers in Kandahar's Maiwand district have all taken their toll, said MacKenzie.

The Arctic Wolves have had a tough, nearly year-long tour.

The relative calm that characterized the final few months of the Canadian combat deployment evaporated not long after members of the 1st Battalion Royal 22e Regiment battle group returned home in July.

The unidentified soldier accused of the massacre arrived in theatre last December after completing three combat tours in Iraq.

According to the online website, the American unit has sustained at least five deaths, including the suicide of one soldier whose case has been become the focus of a high-profile series of courts martial among his comrades.

The Afghan district governor was also assassinated by the Taliban in a roadside bombing.

In an interview with The Canadian Press last July, the commander of the Arctic Wolves was optimistic, but underscored that building trust was paramount in a region that had long been controlled by the Taliban.

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 9:30 utc | 67

US would have to invade Greenland

at these prices?

I think not

Posted by: Hu Bris | Mar 14 2012 9:33 utc | 68

neocons are not irrelevant when they wrote the foreign policy we're following.

neocons are not irrelevant when they're allied with people who are apparently willing to commit nuke suicide rather than admit their project was a bad idea.

neocons are not irrelevant when the congress, the media, and the deathwish christians support every harebrained neocon idea that comes down the pike.

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 9:36 utc | 69

the neocons have got their "nuclear primacy", which includes the ability to do unanswered nuke first strikes on russia and china, who are apparently the biggest stumbling blocks on israel america's journey to "benevolent global hegemony"...

you got to ask yourself a couple questions... first, how much more benevolent can you get, than to do a nuke first strikes that kill millions of people?

second, what kind of atrocious false flag will the neocons have to commit to provide themselves with a pretext to use their nuclear primacy?

Posted by: retreatingbladestall | Mar 14 2012 9:43 utc | 70

God job President Karzai doesn't seem to be the US puppet I initially feared, he actually have some clue of foreign politics. But in this day and age, good puppets are very hard to come by indeed, with the Internet and all.

Anywho, if the Afghanis take control of their own mineral resources, and maybe push for moving illegal poppy-produce to the legal morphine medical-market, they potentially have a very good incomebase in the years to come. Tighter relations between China and Afghanistan, and Chinese help with developing rare earth minerals, could give some very strong alliances in the east, and probably that would be a wise move by Karzai. And that, I believe will benefit everyone in the long run, except the US resource-instigators. Seems the US warlord-era is drawing to an end.

Now to get those pesky persistent occupiers out.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 14 2012 9:52 utc | 71

Uh-oh, 6.8 earthquake north-japan.. hopefulle that's not a pre-quake, like last year when it hit 8.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 14 2012 10:15 utc | 72

Two quakes actually.

Posted by: ThePaper | Mar 14 2012 14:32 utc | 73

this should be spread

Posted by: somebody | Mar 14 2012 15:48 utc | 74

Re: Substitutes for rare earth metals:

I was looking for an article I read recently which said there are substitutes, but for most manufacturers it's still cheaper to pay increasingly high prices for the rare earth metals than to develop the new technologies to use the much more available substitues(s). At this point I don't remember the name(s) of the replacement(s), but it is something widely available.

Toyota is ahead of the curve and is already moving to using induction based electric motors, instead of the magnetic based which require the light weight rare earth metal. GE is also working on this, especially for generators, per the Bloomberg article. But the article I read, iirc, mentioned another material which could work in many of the applications now requiring rare earth metals.

Bloomberg, 9/28/11, "Rare Earths Fall as Toyota Develops Alternatives: Commodities."

Rare-earth prices are set to extend their decline from records this year as buyers including Toyota Motor Corp. (7203) and General Electric Co. (GE) scale back using the materials in their cars and windmills.

Prices for cerium and lanthanum, the most abundant rare- earth elements, will drop by 50 percent in 12 months, Christopher Ecclestone, an analyst at Hallgarten & Co. in New York, has forecast. Neodymium and praseodymium, metals used in permanent rare-earth magnets, may fall as much as 15 percent, he said.

Makers of electric cars, wind turbines and oil-refining catalysts have sought to reduce use of the metals after China, which supplies more than 90 percent of the market, said in July 2010 that it would cut exports and clamp down on the industry. That boosted prices, encouraging mining companies to develop new prospects and buyers to find alternatives.

“If you think you can keep raising the prices for those materials and still keep your customers, you’re crazy,” Jack Lifton, co-founder of Technology Metals Research, said in a telephone interview. “The principal customer for rare-earth metals is a global automotive industry using rare-earth permanent magnets. That industry will engineer this stuff out.”

Now, I am not an engineer, geologist, etc., so would appreciate more knowledgeable input.

Commodity Edge, March 19-20, 2012, "Toyota Latest Manufacturer to Identify Rare Earth Metal Product Substitutes."

(Hhmmm--I'm being informed my session has expired.... What's with that?)

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 14 2012 16:25 utc | 75

BTW, is it really illegal for a nation to manage the level of sales of a commodity or product which may become extremely rare? Is it really illegal to husband one's resources?

Posted by: jawbone | Mar 14 2012 16:28 utc | 76

There is no need for the US to import rare earths from China when most American tech firms have most of their products manufactured in China and other Asia-Pacific countries. But Japan is a different story. Many Japanese tech firms, especially especially the very high-tech ones, still manufacture their products in Japan. I imagine that the Japanese have kept a stockpile of rare earths for themselves because they have sensed for quite some time that China has been making plans to block shipments of rare earths to them.

This clip reminds us that Japan leads the world in robotics, possessing more than half of the world’s industrial robots used for manufacturing:

So it seems pretty obvious to me that the Chinese want to dethrone Japan as the world’s leader in robotics, and the easiest way for them to do this is by cutting off the very stuff that makes Japanese robots tick -- rare earths.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 14 2012 17:30 utc | 77


I’ve known for quite some time, as many of us have, that pigging out on fossil fuels will eventually leave us energy-less. But it never occurred to me that the same thing could happen to us if we were to pig out on renewable fuels. Then again, I had no idea that so many rare earths and relatively rare metals go into the manufacturing of hybrid cars, wind turbines and solar panels, as they do for digital and wireless equipment. And not only did I not know that these gems from the Earth’s upper crust are projected to become scarce in the not-so distant future, but I also didn’t know that enormous amounts of energy are required to extract them from rock, making them not so green after all.

And since China controls about 95% of the global supply of rare earths and is actively making plans to block all exports of these metals, whatever trace of supply and demand there was in the rare-earth market has gone out the window, putting our high-tech and alternative energy industries at the mercy of the Chinese. So from this I predict that China will face a robot-controlled dystopia, while a Mad Max World is in the cards for the US.

Posted by: Cynthia | Mar 14 2012 18:16 utc | 78

Afghan official: Video shows soldier surrendering

KABUL, Afghanistan (AP) -- The U.S. soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan villagers on a rampage was caught on surveillance video that showed him walking up to his base, laying down his weapon and raising his arms in surrender, according to an Afghan official who viewed the footage.
U.S. authorities showed their Afghan counterparts the video of the surrender to prove that only one perpetrator was involved in Sunday's shootings, the official said.
A member of an Afghan government delegation investigating the killings said Wednesday that the group has concluded they were carried out by more than one soldier. Parliament member Sayeed Ishaq Gilani said the delegation had heard from villagers who said they saw more than 15 troops at the scene.
On Tuesday, the delegation visited the two villages in southern Kandahar province where the shootings took place. Two villagers who lost relatives insisted that at least two soldiers took part in the shootings.
Ahmad Shah Khan, a resident of a nearby village that was not involved in Sunday's shooting, said a soldier from the base had threatened their kids three days before the incident, after an armored vehicle hit a roadside bomb, causing damage but no casualties.

The soldiers arrived in Mokhoyan village - 500 yards (meters) east of the base - with their Afghan army counterparts and made many of the male villagers stand against a wall, said Khan.

"It looked like they were going to shoot us, and I was very afraid," said Khan. "Then a NATO soldier said through his translator that even our children will pay for this. Now they have done it and taken their revenge."

Several Afghan officials, including Kandahar lawmaker Abdul Rahim Ayubi, said people in the two villages that were attacked - Balandi and Alkozai - told them the same story. It's unclear if the soldier that threatened the villagers is the same one accused of carrying out the shooting spree.

Posted by: b | Mar 14 2012 18:26 utc | 79

I'd say enough time has passed for the CIA to have been able to falsify a video.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 14 2012 18:45 utc | 80

That moment when the helicopters depart from Afghanistan is drawing ever closer: Panetta Is Safe After Breach Near His Plane at Afghan Base:

KABUL, Afghanistan — A tense visit to Afghanistan by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta got off to an unscripted start when a stolen truck sped onto a runway ramp at the British military airfield as his plane was landing. Mr. Panetta was unhurt, but Pentagon officials said the Afghan driver emerged from the vehicle in flames.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 14 2012 20:05 utc | 81

Armed Forces Journal by Lt. Col. Dan Davis in which he says that I.S.A.F. leaders — presumably, including yourself — have been misleading the public about the degree of progress that’s been made there. He says that, whereas compared to the rosy scenario that he hears that — he says there’s been a lack of — a lack of success — I think he said a lack of success at virtually every level in Afghanistan.

So finally they all have to concede to the official version, that this war has been futile from the start.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 14 2012 20:59 utc | 82

Didn't waste any time, did they.

Soldier Suspected in Rampage Is Flown Out of Afghanistan

Posted by: Forgetful | Mar 14 2012 21:20 utc | 83

Forgetful @ 83

Indeed, they snuk him out already Wednesday. God forbid that he would be tried in Afghanistan.. If he did the same in the states, he'd probably be executed, but since he only killed 18 muslims, he's out on parole in 8 years in the US.

Posted by: Alexander | Mar 14 2012 22:01 utc | 84

And still they don't reveal the guy's name.

Sneaking him out is consistent with the idea that he's fictional, a new Comrade Ogilvy. If they've disappeared him from Afghanistan, they may eventually disappear him altogether. Which would eliminate the necessity of ever making it clear that he's a real person. So he may not be.

Of course, he may eventually turn out to be real. But until that's clear, I retain my doubts.

Posted by: lysias | Mar 14 2012 22:38 utc | 85

@83 - the guy has taken the fifth and as they will be unable to get the witnesses from Afghanistan to the U.S. the court will set the guy free for lack of proof that he did what he did.

He may get a slap on the wrist for leaving the base though.

Posted by: b | Mar 15 2012 15:40 utc | 86

b @86

I agree that often happens. But this case is already being compared to the case of the Army psychologist who went beserk at Ft Hood and killed those soldiers, about the same number dead. Many are already saying let's compare the punishment they each get; a Muslim killing Americans and an American killing Muslims. Both soldiers, both in uniform, both without openly apparent provocation. It will prove an interesting point: can American courts, civilian or military, dispense equal justice as required under the law?

Personally, I tend to doubt it. But there have been occasions in my life when I have been pleasantly surprised. We'll find the answer in about four or five years, but by then I will have become totally ... forgetful.

Posted by: Forgetful | Mar 16 2012 2:08 utc | 87

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