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Archive for the ‘WAR’ Category

(TERRORISM) READ: US Strike Kills al-Qaeda Hotel Bomber in Somalia…

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293452-6-20090915065530Also wanted in 1998 US embassy attacks

(Newser Summary) – An American helicopter strike killed a long-sought terrorist in Southern Somalia yesterday, the New York Times reports. Saleh Ali Saleh Nabhan, an al-Qaeda leader operating out of Kenya, was suspected in the 2002 attack on a Kenyan resort as well as the attacks on US embassies in Kenya and Tanzania in 1998. He was riding in a truck with leaders of Shabab, a Somali Islamist extremist group, when the US copters struck.

A senior Shabab commander tells the AP the group will seek revenge on the US. Shabab is fighting to overthrow Somalia’s teetering government, and intelligence officials say it’s drawing closer to al-Qaeda. But the main target of the strike was Nabhan. When special operations forces saw he’d moved away from civilians, they pounced. “We have been watching him for a long, long, time,” said a military official.

Kevin Spak

Sources: New York Times, Associated Press

Written by dnnnewshound

September 15, 2009 at 5:14 pm

Posted in Al Qaeda, Terrorism, WAR

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(WORLD) Chávez in Russia for Military Spending Spree…

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www.hacer.org__hugo_chavez_0609-730118Venezuela recognizes breakaway republics ahead of arms deal talks

(Newser Summary) – Hugo Chávez arrived in Moscow today, where the Venezuelan president is reportedly ready for an arms “shopping spree.” Chávez is ready to buy at least 100 tanks for $500 million, reports the Times of London, and a Kremlin aide said Venezuela may get loans for helicopters, submarines, and other military hardware. Chávez began his charm offensive today by recognizing as sovereign states South Ossetia and Abkhazia, the two pro-Russian republics at the heart of last year’s war with Georgia.

Since 2005 Venezuela has signed $4.4 billion in arms contracts with Russia. Last year Moscow gave a $1 billion loan to buy military equipment to the Latin American nation, which the Russians call a “counterweight to US influence.” Chávez is holding talks today with Dmitry Medvedev and Vladimir Putin in the latest phase of his European tour; earlier he made a surprise visit to the Venice Film Festival.

Jason Farago

Sources: Times (UK), Reuters

Written by dnnnewshound

September 10, 2009 at 9:23 am

Posted in Arms Race, Military

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(OUTRAGEOUS) READ: Iraq Militias Kill Gays With Impunity…

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Government’s unwillingness to protect gays points to a bleak future for all Iraqis

(Newser Summary) – Iraq’s militias have switched from slaughtering rivals to killing men they suspect of being homosexuals, and the Iraqi government is turning a blind eye, Rasha Moumneh writes in Foreign Policy. Gay men have been kidnapped, tortured, and murdered in rising numbers since the start of this year, but not a single arrest has been made. One UN worker estimates that the body count is well into the hundreds.

Survivors say the Mahdi Army militia is behind most of the attacks, as it tries to reinvent itself as a guardian of morality instead of a foe of the US. The government’s indifference to the murders has ominous echoes of the attacks on gays that preceded a wider campaign of violence in Robert Mugabe’s Zimbabwe, Moumneh writes. If Iraq can’t do more to protect all of its citizens, the militias will continue seeking out new victims and a wider surge of killings will follow.

Rob Quinn

Source: Foreign Policy

Written by dnnnewshound

September 10, 2009 at 9:06 am

Posted in Anti-Gay, Culture, Terrorism

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(WAR) Lone Tipster Triggered Afghan Air Strike Decision…

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markfollman.files.wordpress.com__a-stan-air-strike(Newser Summary) – A single eye witness was responsible for much of the intelligence guiding the decision to bomb two fuel tankers surrounded by more than 100 Afghanis, including civilians, reports the Washington Post. Dropping the 500-pound bombs based on the word of a single source appears to violate recent directives aimed at limiting civilian casualties in Afghanistan, according to observers.

Thermal imaging from airborne surveillance confirmed the basic information, but not whether people around the trucks were insurgents or civilians. At least two dozen civilians were incinerated when the bombs were dropped—others were wounded. Some had come for free fuel or just to gawk at the trucks stuck in the mud. Others had been forced by Taliban soldiers to help free the trucks.

Mat Probasco

Source: Washington Post

Written by dnnnewshound

September 6, 2009 at 10:07 am

Posted in Military, WAR

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(MILITARY) Pentagon Steps Up Hunt for Missing WWII Soldiers…

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Source: Newser

www.genproj.com__pentagon_logo(Newser Summary) – After years of searching for missing US soldiers in the jungles of Southeast Asia, the military’s POW/MIA Accounting Command has intensified the hunt for the 74,000 WWII troops still unaccounted for, reports the New York Times. Searching for the nearly-65-year-old remains is a race against time, however, as historians and eye witnesses die.

Some $55 million of the Pentagon’s annual half trillion dollars budget goes into the search for US soldiers, which identifies more than 70 of the missing each year. At that rate, however, it will take 500 years to find all of the 35,000 of those classified as potentially “recoverable.” Many thousands of the total 84,000 Americans missing from all the nation’s previous wars were lost at sea.

Mat Probasco

Source: New York Times

 

 

Written by dnnnewshound

September 6, 2009 at 9:56 am

Posted in Military

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(OUTRAGEOUS) VA won’t pay benefits to Marine injured by vaccine …

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Source: TVnewsLies.org

It wasn’t a bullet or roadside bomb that felled Lance Cpl. Josef Lopez three years ago after nine days in Iraq.

It was an injection into his arm before his unit left the states.

The then 20-year-old Marine from Springfield, Mo., suffered a rare adverse reaction to the smallpox vaccine. While the vaccine isn’t mandatory, the military strongly encourages troops to take it.

However, it left Lopez in a coma, unable for a time to breathe on his own and paralyzed for weeks. Now he can walk, but with a limp. He has to wear a urine bag constantly, has short-term memory loss and must swallow 15 pills daily to control leg spasms and other ailments.

And even though his medical problems wouldn’t have occurred if he hadn’t been deployed, Lopez doesn’t qualify for a special government benefit of as much as $100,000 for troops who suffer traumatic injuries.

The hangup? His injuries were caused by the vaccine.

More…

Written by dnnnewshound

September 5, 2009 at 8:22 pm

(WAR) UK Army Too Broke To Recruit More Troops…

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Source: Times Online

www.timesonline.co.uk_Afghanistan_British_Troops_610067aThe army is being forced to cap its growth because recruitment is “unaffordable”, a leaked Ministry of Defence document has disclosed.

The briefing note — entitled Controlling Growth in Army Strength — is the first admission by defence officials that they do not have enough money to expand and provide further support to overstretched forces in Afghanistan.

Senior army figures believe troop shortages are responsible for the growing number of British casualties in Helmand.

Yet the Ministry of Defence concedes in the memo that increasing the size of the army beyond its full strength of 102,000 is too READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 5, 2009 at 8:06 pm

Posted in Military, WAR

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(WAR) Read: Obama’s Meaningless War…

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Source: TruthDig

warBy Robert Scheer

True, he doesn’t seem a bit like Lyndon Johnson, but the way he’s headed on Afghanistan, Barack Obama is threatened with a quagmire that could bog down his presidency. LBJ also had a progressive agenda in mind, beginning with his war on poverty, but it was soon overwhelmed by the cost and divisiveness engendered by a meaningless, and seemingly endless, war in Vietnam.

Meaningless is the right term for the Afghanistan war, too, because our bloody attempt to conquer this foreign land has nothing to do with its stated purpose of enhancing our national security. Just as the government of Vietnam was never a puppet of Communist China or the Soviet Union, the Taliban is not a surrogate for al-Qaida. Involved in both instances was an American intrusion into a civil war whose passions and parameters we never fully grasped and could not control militarily.

The Vietnamese Communists were not an extension of an inevitably hostile, unified international communist enemy, as evidenced by the fact that Communist Vietnam and Communist China are both our close trading partners today. Nor should the Taliban be considered simply an extension of a Mideast-based al-Qaida movement, whose operatives the U.S. recruited in the first place to go to Afghanistan to fight the Soviets.

Those recruits included Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attack, and financier Osama bin Laden, who met in Afghanistan as part of a force that Ronald Reagan glorified as “freedom fighters.” As blowback from that bizarre, mismanaged CIA intervention, the Taliban came to power and formed a temporary alliance with the better-financed foreign Arab fighters still on the scene.

There is no serious evidence that the Taliban instigated the 9/11 attacks or even knew about them in advance. Taliban members were not agents of al-Qaida; on the contrary, the only three governments that financed and diplomatically recognized the Taliban—Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Pakistan—all were targets of bin Laden’s  group. READ MORE

Written by dnnnewshound

September 4, 2009 at 9:08 pm

Posted in Military, Obama, President, WAR

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(WORLD) READ: Travel Back to Normal in Koreas…

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PD*26952233(Newser Summary) – Travel between North and South Korea returned to normal today, eight months after Pyongyang clamped down on imports from the South. It’s the latest sign of warming ties between the two Koreas, following a recent deal on reuniting separating families and the fight high-level diplomatic talks in two years. Negotiations last month between North Korea and South Korean automaker Hyundai led to the changes, reports CNN.

 

Jason Farago

Source: CNN

 

 

Written by dnnnewshound

September 1, 2009 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Asia, WAR

(WAR) READ: McChrystal: US Is Failing in Afghanistan…

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www.newser.com_Stanley McChrystal, the US general in charge of turning..._288587-6-20090831060818(Newser Summary) – The US military’s strategy in Afghanistan is failing, Gen. Stanley McChrystal will tell commanders in Washington today. A copy of the US commander’s remarks leaked to the BBC compares the military to a bull charging at a matador—losing strength with each individual cut. McChrystal’s report says Afghans are suffering a crisis of confidence, since their lives have not improved since 2001.

The long-awaited report says that Afghan military forces will not be ready to take the lead in peacekeeping for at least three years, and training police will take even longer. McChrystal also says the US should engage more with Taliban insurgents, estimating a 60% reduction in violence if they were found jobs. The report stops short of asking for more troops, but increased troop levels are implied—and may be made explicit in a second report to come.

Jason Farago

Sources: BBC, Reuters

 

 

Written by dnnnewshound

August 31, 2009 at 3:33 pm

(WAR) READ: American Commander: US on the Road out of Iraq

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Source: ABC (ABC?! I know I’m getting desperate!  But it’s a good read hehe, Original credit goes to AP)

US WarThe U.S. military is packing up to leave Iraq in what has been deemed the largest movement of manpower and equipment in modern military history — shipping out more than 1.5 million pieces of equipment from tanks to antennas along with a force the size of a small city.

The massive operation already under way a year ahead of the Aug. 31, 2010 deadline to remove all U.S. combat troops from Iraq shows the U.S. military has picked up the pace of a planned exit from Iraq that could cost billions.

The goal is to withdraw tens of thousands of troops and about 60 percent of equipment out of Iraq by the end of next March, Brig. Gen. Heidi Brown, a deputy commander charged with overseeing the withdrawal, told The Associated Press in one of the first detailed accounts of how the U.S. military plans to leave Iraq.

Convoys carrying everything from armored trucks to radios have been rolling near daily through southern Iraq to Kuwait and the western desert to Jordan since President Barack Obama announced the deadline to remove combat troops, leaving up to 50,000 troops under a U.S.-Iraqi security agreement until the end of 2011.

First out, Brown said, will be the early withdrawal of an Army combat brigade of about 5,000. Defense Secretary Robert Gates has said a brigade would leave by the end of the year, months ahead of schedule, if violence in Iraq did not escalate beyond current levels.

That will be followed by the Marine Corps, which has already shipped out about half of its 22,000 troops and more than 50 percent of its equipment since May.

“In about six months or less, they will be gone,” she said. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 30, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Posted in Military, Terrorism, WAR

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(READ): Gordon Brown hints at Afghan withdrawal…

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Source: Times Online

www.timesonline.co.uk_Gordon Brown_News_607228a_000GORDON BROWN yesterday prepared the ground for a pre-election announcement of troop withdrawals from Afghanistan next year.

During a lightning visit to the front line in Helmand province, the prime minister announced plans to double a training programme for the Afghan army to reduce its reliance on British and American troops.

“Stepping that up means the Afghans themselves take responsibility for their own affairs,” Brown said.

He also hinted that there could be a temporary increase in UK troops to support and mentor local forces, with government sources suggesting that Taliban fighters could even be granted an “amnesty” in the effort to bring the conflict to a close.

The announcement will be interpreted by opposition politicians as an attempt to lay the groundwork for a highprofile commitment next year to begin withdrawing troops from Afghanistan.

Although there is little sign that the war is being won, with this month’s democratic elections blighted by low turn-out and claims of corruption, Brown is under intense pressure to enter the general election campaign in a position to say the mission in Afghanistan is reaching its conclusion.

During yesterday’s trip, he did not specifically refer to an exit strategy or timetable for withdrawal, but moves to train more local forces would pave the way for British troops to be sent home.

It follows a bloody summer during which the number of British service personnel killed in Afghanistan has risen to 208, prompting mounting public hostility to the conflict. Recent opinion polls suggest that two in three British voters believe that UK forces should withdraw from the region. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 29, 2009 at 9:38 pm

Posted in Military, Terrorism, WAR

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(READ): Lockerbie bomber ‘set free for oil’…

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Source: Times Online

llockerbie bomberThe British government decided it was “in the overwhelming interests of the United Kingdom” to make Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, eligible for return to Libya, leaked ministerial letters reveal.

Gordon Brown’s government made the decision after discussions between Libya and BP over a multi-million-pound oil exploration deal had hit difficulties. These were resolved soon afterwards.

The letters were sent two years ago by Jack Straw, the justice secretary, to Kenny MacAskill, his counterpart in Scotland, who has been widely criticised for taking the formal decision to permit Megrahi’s release.

The correspondence makes it plain that the key decision to include Megrahi in a deal with Libya to allow prisoners to return home was, in fact, taken in London for British national interests.

Edward Davey, the Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman, said: “This is the strongest evidence yet that the British government has been involved for a long time in talks over al-Megrahi in which commercial considerations have been central to their thinking.”

Two letters dated five months apart show that Straw initially intended to exclude Megrahi from a prisoner transfer agreement with Colonel Muammar Gadaffi, under which British and Libyan prisoners could serve out their sentences in their home country.

In a letter dated July 26, 2007, Straw said he favoured an option to leave out Megrahi by stipulating that any prisoners convicted before a specified date would not be considered for transfer.

Downing Street had also said Megrahi would not be included under the agreement.

Straw then switched his position as Libya used its deal with BP as a bargaining chip to insist the Lockerbie bomber was included.

The exploration deal for oil and gas, potentially worth up to £15 billion, was announced in May 2007. Six months later the agreement was still waiting to be ratified. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 29, 2009 at 9:21 pm

Posted in Terrorism

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(READ): US Wants 20,000 More Troops to Fight Taliban…

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US WarSource: Common Dreams

British and American soldiers to shoulder brunt of surge’s next phase
by Kim Sangupta

The commander of Nato forces in Afghanistan will ask for 20,000 more international troops as part of his new strategic plan for the alliance’s war against a resurgent Taliban, The Independent has learned.

British troops in Helmand province recently. Last month was the deadliest for UK forces since the Falklands war. (Photo: The Independent).The demand from General Stanley McChrystal will almost certainly lead to more British soldiers being sent to the increasingly treacherous battlegrounds of Helmand, the Taliban heartland, despite growing opposition to the war.

General McChrystal, tasked with turning the tide in the battle against the insurgency on the ground, has given a presentation of his draft report to senior Afghan government figures in which he also proposes raising the size of the Afghan army and police force. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 29, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Posted in Terrorism, WAR

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(READ): Ohio soldier made 2 calls to mom telling of abuse (before committing suicide)…

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Source: AP/Democratic Underground

fat military manWILLARD, Ohio — The mother of a soldier whose suicide in Iraq led to cruelty charges against four men says her son made two final phone calls to tell her of abuses he was suffering in his platoon.

Kathe Wilhelm has told The Associated Press that her son, Pvt. Keiffer Wilhelm, called her the day before he died and said he was being forced to run for miles with rocks in his pockets that smashed against his knees.

She says he also said his belongings were disappearing and he had no one to turn to for help.

Wilhelm grew up in Ohio. He had been in Iraq with a new unit for 10 days when he killed himself Aug. 4.

Four soldiers have been charged with cruelty and maltreatment of subordinates.

Read more: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hr8D_…

Written by dnnnewshound

August 29, 2009 at 2:34 pm

Posted in Military

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(READ): Brown pledges extra troop support…

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Source: BBC

gordon brownGordon Brown has promised more support for UK troops in Afghanistan, during a surprise visit to the country.

Speaking from Helmand province, he pledged greater protection for troops from roadside bombs, which hours earlier claimed another British life.

His plans, which include the training of another 50,000 Afghan soldiers, came in the wake of criticism that UK forces are under-resourced.

The Conservatives said he was “woefully slow” in properly equipping soldiers.

As the prime minister was flying home from Afghanistan, the Ministry of Defence announced the death of the 208th UK soldier to have died in Afghanistan since 2001.

A Royal Marine was killed on foot patrol in Helmand early on Saturday morning.

On his fourth visit to the country this year, the prime minister said that getting another 50,000 Afghan troops trained by November 2010 would enable them to “take more responsibility for their own affairs”. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 29, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Posted in Politics, WAR

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(READ): Pentagon Grades Reporters’ War Coverage…

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Source: Stars and Stripes/Newser

us military(Newser Summary) – With a view to trying to influence coverage of the war in Afghanistan, the Pentagon is grading journalists’ work, the Stars and Stripes reports. The military newspaper says it has documents that counter official denials of the practice, with coverage rated as “positive,” “neutral,” or “negative.” The documents also contain advice on how to “neutralize” reporters seen to have a less-than-positive slant.

The Pentagon has farmed out the analysis of reporters from some of America’s top newspapers to a controversial Washington public-relations firm; the Rendon Group denies it keeps a “ranking of reporters.” Fumes one servicemember: “It’s troubling that the military is contracting a private PR firm, paid with US taxpayer dollars, to profile individual reporters. It shows utter contempt for the Constitution, which we in the service pledge our lives to defend.”

W. McCahill

Written by dnnnewshound

August 28, 2009 at 10:05 am

Posted in Blogs, Military, WAR

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(WATCH): Israelis restrict Palestinians’ water supply…

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Source: The Real News Network (trnn.com)

World Bank report: Israelis have access to four times as much water as Palestinians due to restrictions

After World Bank issues report, commissioned by the Palestinian Authority on the condition of water accessibility in the West Bank, Israel claims the reports authors are biased. To understand the conditions on the ground, how they’ve been addressed, and whether the so-called peace process succeeded in addressing them, The Real News speaks to LifeSource Project, a non-profit organization focusing solely on the issue of water. Susan Koppelman and Taysir Arabasi tell The Real News’ Lia Tarachansky the Mountain Aquifer, the biggest supply of fresh underground water is pumped by Israel even though it lies almost entirely in the West Bank. They also speak about restrictions on Palestinians to dig water wells, and their dependence on the Israeli national water corporation, Mekorot.

Written by dnnnewshound

August 26, 2009 at 12:49 pm

(READ): Hakimullah Mehsud: Ruthless New Pakistan Taliban Leader Named…

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Source: The Huffington Post

MAKEEN, Pakistan — Pakistani Taliban fighters are committed to helping the fight in Afghanistan and consider Barack Obama their “No 1 enemy,” a top commander said amid uncertainty Sunday about whether a new leader has been appointed to head the movement.

Waliur Rehman made the remarks in an interview with the Associated Press at a time of intense speculation over the next leader of the al-Qaida-allied group. A CIA missile strike on Aug. 5 is believed to have killed former chief Baitullah Meshsud. Rehman, a cousin of Baitullah, is seen as a strong candidate for the post.

Speaking Saturday – before aides to another Taliban commander said a second contender, Hakimullah Meshud, had been appointed the next chief – Rehman said Baitullah had given him full control over the network and that a new leader “would be chosen within five days.”

He did not refer to the claim that Hakimullah had become the leader – an omission that will add to doubts about whether that appointment had been agreed by all the top Taliban members. It will also likely be taken as a further sign the movement and its up to 25,000 fighters remain split over the succession.

Rehman met the AP in a forest near Makeen village in the heart of the semiautonomous lands close to the Afghan border where al-Qaida and the Taliban hold sway. Looking healthy and dressed in clean, ironed clothes, he was accompanied by five armed guards. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 23, 2009 at 12:03 pm

Posted in WAR

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(READ): Could Afghanistan Become Obama’s Vietnam? …

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vietnamSource:  NYTimes.com

WASHINGTON — President Obama had not even taken office before supporters were etching his likeness onto Mount Rushmore as another Abraham Lincoln or the second coming of Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Yet what if they got the wrong predecessor? What if Mr. Obama is fated to be another Lyndon B. Johnson instead?

To be sure, such historical analogies are overly simplistic and fatally flawed, if only because each presidency is distinct in its own way. But the L.B.J. model — a president who aspired to reshape America at home while fighting a losing war abroad — is one that haunts Mr. Obama’s White House as it seeks to salvage Afghanistan while enacting an expansive domestic program.

In this summer of discontent for Mr. Obama, as the heady early days give way to the grinding battle for elusive goals, he looks ahead to an uncertain future not only for his legislative agenda but for what has indisputably become his war. Last week’s elections in Afghanistan played out at the same time as the debate over health care heated up in Washington, producing one of those split-screen moments that could not help but remind some of Mr. Johnson’s struggles to build a Great Society while fighting in Vietnam.

“The analogy of Lyndon Johnson suggests itself very profoundly,” said David M. Kennedy, the Stanford University historian. Mr. Obama, he said, must avoid letting Afghanistan shadow his presidency as Vietnam did Mr. Johnson’s. “He needs to worry about the outcome of that intervention and policy and how it could spill over into everything else he wants to accomplish.”

By several accounts, that risk weighs on Mr. Obama these days. Mr. Kennedy was among a group of historians who had dinner with Mr. Obama at the White House earlier this summer where the president expressed concern that Afghanistan could yet hijack his presidency. Although Mr. Kennedy said he could not discuss the off-the-record conversation, others in the room said Mr. Obama acknowledged the L.B.J. risk.

“He said he has a problem,” said one person who attended that dinner at the end of June, insisting on anonymity to share private discussions. “This is not just something he can turn his back on and walk away from. But it’s an issue he understands could be a danger to his administration.”

Another person there was Robert Caro, the L.B.J. biographer who was struck that Mr. Johnson made some of his most fateful decisions about Vietnam in the same dining room. “All I could think of when I was sitting there and this subject came up was the setting,” he said. “You had such an awareness of how things can go wrong.” Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 22, 2009 at 9:36 pm

Posted in Blogs, Bush, Obama, President, WAR

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READ: Richardson Hails Warmer Signals From North Korea…

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PD*26952233Source: Newser.com

(Newser Summary) – The tentative thaw continues in North Korea relations. On the heels of Bill Clinton’s trip, Bill Richardson hosted two high-ranking officials from the North today at the governor’s mansion in New Mexico and declared that Pyongyang is sending a “positive vibration” about detente. “What I sense was, one, the temperature has really cooled down in the relationship,” Richardson told MSNBC. “I think the Clinton visit has helped a lot.”

Richardson said the diplomats suggested that the North is open to renewing direct talks with the US on its nuclear weapons, but Pyongyang does not want to return to the six-party roundtable that includes South Korea. “The North Koreans clearly feel they are owed something, that they released the two Americans that they want something in return,” said Richardson, who has visited the country in the past as an informal envoy.

John Johnson

Written by dnnnewshound

August 20, 2009 at 10:00 am

Posted in WAR, World

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READ: Israeli Settlements Quietly Halted: No New Housing Permits Granted…

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israeli tankSource: The Huffington Post

(Editor’s note: I really should include The Huffington Post more, they are truely great at what they do!)

JERUSALEM — Israel has quietly moved to halt new housing projects in the West Bank, while outwardly rebuffing U.S. pressure to stop construction in its settlements, Israeli government officials, peace activists and settlers said Tuesday.

It isn’t the full settlement freeze the Obama administration has been demanding, but it indicates that Israel is seeking a compromise in what has become a rare public disagreement with the U.S., its most important ally.

The government has issued no new construction permits for months, the officials, activists and settlers said, a rare agreement among elements that are usually bitter enemies – evidence that this is a new policy aimed at defusing the settlement squabble. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 18, 2009 at 2:37 pm

Posted in WAR, World

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READ: Mexico Cartels Go From Drugs to Full-Scale Mafias…

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drugwarSource: ABC News

Shopkeepers in this pine-covered mountain region easily recite the list of “protection” fees they pay to La Familia drug cartel to stay in business: 100 pesos a month for a stall in a street market, 30,000 pesos for an auto dealership or construction-supply firm.

First offense for nonpayment: a severe beating. Those who keep ignoring the fees — or try to charge their own — may pay with their lives.

“Every day you can see the people they have beaten up being taken to the IMSS,” said auto mechanic Jesus Hernandez, motioning to the government-run hospital a few doors from his repair shop.

Mexican drug cartels have morphed into full-scale mafias, running extortion and protection rackets and trafficking everything from people to pirated DVDs. As once-lucrative cocaine profits have fallen and U.S. and Mexican authorities crack down on all drug trafficking to the U.S., gangs are branching into new ventures — some easier and more profitable than drugs.

The expansion has major implications as President Felipe Calderon continues his 2 1/2-year-old drug war, which has killed more than 11,000 people and turned formerly tranquil rural towns such as Ciudad Hidalgo into major battlefronts. Read More

Written by dnnnewshound

August 16, 2009 at 10:50 am

Posted in Drugs, WAR, World

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