Wednesday, 26 January 2011
Monday, 10 January 2011
In the wake of the attack on Rep. Gifford should we call it terrorism & is this the end of lone-wolf terrorism?
Now we have a mess that needs to be cleared up and due to the 'now media' we should ask if any terrorist attack takes place in isolation by so-called lone wolves? Propaganda, indoctrination, training, support, etc. are all facilitated by others via the internet, and I expect the FBI are combing through all of Loughner's computers to assemble a full picture of his web-footprint. With careful analysis, some good may come from this.
According to evidence presented by law enforcement officials in court, Jared Lee Loughner planned the assassination of Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords (D-Arizona) well in advance
It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume that the Tucson shooter shared other causes and grievances of the right-extremist milieu—predominantly directed against the “unpatriotic” liberal and moderate enemies that do share their extreme ideas. For that, he did not have to attend actual meetings of so-called patriot or militia groups or even know any of those movements’ activists.
“The ubiquitous nature of the Internet means that not only threats but also hate speech and other inciteful speech is much more readily available to individuals than quite clearly it was 8 or 10 or 15 years ago.”
Was the attack, then, the insane act of a mad young man?
As far as I am concerned, the premeditated attack that killed six persons and wounding a dozen others was an act of terrorism by definition. Terrorism means after all the deliberate, politically motivated targeting of civilians or non-combatants.
Strange, that the chattering class has far less of a problem calling similar acts of violence inside the United States “terrorism,” when the perpetrators are identified as Muslim Americans.
But starting with the election of President Obama, the emergence of the Birther movement, the revitalization of the extremist patriot and militia movement, the threatening nature of the Tea Party advent during 2009 town hall meetings at the heights of the health care reform debate, and peaking again during last year’s bitter election campaign, right-wingers have been particularly extreme in the rhetoric of hate and division.
Although one would hope that Sarah Palin did not want to encourage real life attacks on the targets she pinpointed during the campaign, the fact is that she publicized a graphic that displayed gunsight-style crosshair targets on the districts of 20 Democrat politicians that supported Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, among them Representative Giffords. The idea was to “take out” those opposition candidates—in the next election. But placing the “hit list” side by side with Palin’s gun-blazing "Don't retreat, reload” phrase, this stuff could be understood quite differently.
What happened in Tucson the other day should be a wake-up call for extremists of all colors and, more important, for the majority that tends to remain at the sidelines of political discourse.
It does not bode well that right-wingers have already began to push back against critics of their demagoguery and hate speech—and, of course, on their ridiculous interpretation of the right to bear arms based on the second amendment.
Read more at www.reflectivepundit.comBy now it the time for real American values to prevail.
Monday, 3 January 2011
From the AfPak Channel at Foreign Policy magazine, some numbers on casualties in Afghanistan and links to a further 3 reports on the Afghan war. It all makes for sobering reading at the start of 2011, combined with what is looking like the collapse of the Pakistani government and the tentative position of the Afghan government this could end up being another interesting year in the region.
More than 700 international troops were killed in Afghanistan in 2010, 498 of them Americans (LAT, Pajhwok).
Nearly 1,300 Afghan policemen were killed last year, a decrease of
seven percent over 2009, and civilian casualties went up 20 percent in
the first ten months of 2010 over the same period in 2009 (Reuters, Tolo, Pajhwok, Post).
On Christmas, top U.S. and NATO commander Gen. David Petraeus visited
troops in Kabul, Kunduz, Farah, and Helmand, where the Journal reports
that British troops are gaining confidence in Afghan security forces,
often seen as feckless (AP, WSJ).
Pajhwok reports that Taliban fighters, Afghan officials, and
international forces have agreed on a cease-fire in Sangin district in
And Afghan ethnic minorities express frustration with their
under-representation at the officer ranks, which are dominated by
Pashtuns and Tajiks, in Afghanistan's security forces (AFP).
TheRead more at afpak.foreignpolicy.com
Post has three reports on the Afghan war: one profiling the U.S.
military hospital in Kandahar, which treats soldiers, civilians, and
insurgents alike (Post);
a second noting that the U.S. Army's official history of the battle of
Wanat -- a July 2008 clash in Kunar that sparked four investigations --
"largely absolves top commanders of the deaths of nine U.S. soldiers and
instead blames the confusing and unpredictable nature of war" (Post);
and a third looking at the U.S. presence in the Pech Valley, where the
focus is on fighting such that "Afghan officials can figure out a way to
coexist with a committed and ideological resistance" (Post).