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Author: TriSec    Date: 08/13/2013 10:12:50

Good morning.

Today is our 4,328th day in Afghanistan.

We'll start this morning as we always do; with the latest casualty figures from our ongoing war, courtesy of Antiwar.com:

US Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 2,254
Other Military Deaths - Afghanistan: 1,100

We find this morning's cost of war passing through:

$ 1, 463, 854, 250, 000 .00


We are slowly but surely heading towards an exit in Afghanistan. Whether or not that happens in a year or so as planned, or somehow drags on is yet to be seen. But if we look in the rear-view mirror at Iraq, we can readily see what may happen in Afghanistan as soon as we leave. Nevertheless, there is an effort being made to train the Afghanis to take over after we leave. But it's not clear if it's going to work.


COMBAT OUTPOST SABARI, KHOST PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN — An Afghan soldier had spotted the tiny wire in the road, bringing the convoy of Humvees to a halt.

Soldiers trailed the wire to a 30-pound explosive device, where a second bomb had been rigged to blow up whoever came to help the victims of the first. That’s when they saw the young man running across the field off the road.

After he was caught and identified as an insurgent by a fingerprint check and retinal scan, the Afghan soldiers beat him, first with rifles and then with switches, as the Americans looked on disapprovingly.

“It’s their fight now,” said Lt. Alex Graves, leader of the platoon that was patrolling with the Afghans.

Graves did not witness the beating of the suspect, but he sees the differences in the Afghan way of doing things.

“They’re never gonna do it to the American standard, but to an Afghan standard,” he said.

The U.S-led coalition of military forces has spent years training the Afghan soldiers and police in professional conduct so they earn the respect and full support of the Afghan people. But some here worry that the Afghans, who in June took over security from the coalition, may drop some of those standards once the coalition removes most of its combat troops in 2014.

That could alienate the public and give the Taliban the opening back into the hearts of the people that they’ve been denied for the 11 years that the Americans have been here fighting.

“There is a lot of discipline and training with the Afghan National Army, but, of course, the starting level is so low that I am not sure the majority of the soldiers understand the rights of a prisoner,” said Yama Torabi, executive director of Integrity Watch Afghanistan.


We'll have to see how this turns out...it may take more than we were counting on before everything is settled for good. But even as we leave, we will be leaving behind our legacy, some of which is not pleasant. Abu Ghraib is a name that will long be associated with our mis-steps in Iraq, but did you know that a similar place exists in Afghanistan? It's so little-known that it's hard to say what might be going on behind those walls....but something will need to be done about it before we leave.


KABUL — Of all the challenges the United States faces as it winds down the Afghanistan war, the most difficult might be closing the prison nicknamed “The Second Guantanamo.”

The United States holds 67 non-Afghan prisoners there, including some described as hardened al-Qaida operatives seized from around the world in the months after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. More than a decade later, they’re still kept in the shadowy facility at Bagram air base outside Kabul.

Closing the facility presents many of the same problems the Obama administration has encountered in its attempt to close down the Guantanamo Bay detention center in Cuba. Some U.S. officials argue that Bagram’s resolution is even more complicated — and more urgent. The U.S. government transferred the prison’s Afghan inmates to local authorities this year. But figuring out what to do with the foreign prisoners is proving to be an even bigger hurdle to shutting the American jail.

“Is there a plan? No. Is there a desire to close the facility? Yes,” Gen. Joseph F. Dunford Jr., the top U.S. general in Afghanistan, said in an interview.

With the United States’ nearly 12-year fight in Afghanistan due to end next year, the State Department and the Pentagon have been unable to come up with a strategy for the trial or repatriation of men from more than a dozen countries held at Bagram. Meanwhile, the population in the prison is growing because of the apprehension of foreign fighters in joint U.S.-Afghan Special Forces operations. The newest detainee was sent to Bagram last month.

None of the prisoners have been formally tried. Many have been cleared for release by informal military review boards, but most of those were never freed.

Because the detention center is on Afghan soil, U.S. forces are technically obliged to shutter it when their combat role here formally ends in December 2014. But some U.S. officials and politicians say that would pose an enormous security risk.

The best solution, they say, is to keep the facility open under U.S. oversight, possibly for decades. It is not at all clear, though, that the Afghans will permit that.


And we're going to have to leave it at that this morning. I've got more, but the stories are so vastly different from these two, that I don't think even I could pull off one of my patented "radical transitions" today.

56 comments (Latest Comment: 08/14/2013 00:48:15 by TriSec)
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Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 13:11:21
Good morning!



Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 13:16:20
Morning

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 13:18:04
Hmmm....
I think they were annoyed that I was younger than they expected, and I was annoyed they had arrived too early, which complicated the initial verification. As soon as we were behind close doors, however, I think everyone was reassured by the obsessive attention to precaution and bona fides. I was particularly impressed by Glenn’s ability to operate without sleep for days at a time.




Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 13:21:51
Quote by Raine:
Hmmm....
I think they were annoyed that I was younger than they expected, and I was annoyed they had arrived too early, which complicated the initial verification. As soon as we were behind close doors, however, I think everyone was reassured by the obsessive attention to precaution and bona fides. I was particularly impressed by Glenn’s ability to operate without sleep for days at a time.




you know for someone who keeps saying the story's not about him, he certainly flaps his lips about himself a lot


Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 13:43:27
No, no, let me stop everything I'm doing for your boss and mine to focus on your little photo issue that I got from the wineries own website. Let me just drop everything to take a bottle shot when my photography skills are beyond suck.




Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 13:58:08
Mornin' all..

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 13:58:39
Quote by wickedpam:
No, no, let me stop everything I'm doing for your boss and mine to focus on your little photo issue that I got from the wineries own website. Let me just drop everything to take a bottle shot when my photography skills are beyond suck.





Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 14:04:58
http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/files/2013/08/luckovich-081313.jpg


Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 14:25:14
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
No, no, let me stop everything I'm doing for your boss and mine to focus on your little photo issue that I got from the wineries own website. Let me just drop everything to take a bottle shot when my photography skills are beyond suck.






I have certain manager issues :/ Love all my other managers, just these 2 get under my skin.

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 14:30:34
I hope things are going as well as they can for Liv this morning. Today is his hearing.

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 14:33:53
Watch the video carefully -- I swear he gave chuck the finger...

Comment by TriSec on 08/13/2013 14:35:22
I have news.

Tragedy has struck the extended Pack 250 family, per the note I just received from our Committee Chairman...


I am also in a place of re-examining my schedule and time commitments for the year. Just two weeks ago our friends (and very close friend of my 6 year old son James, incoming Tiger) lost their only child, 6 year old son, in a tragic drowning accident (at a supervised day camp, unthinkable happened). They are part of our school family and good friends. This loss has been devastating to our family. And I am doing what I can to make room in my life for these precious friends who need strong support.


Apropo to our discussion yesterday - I'm truly at a loss here. I have just called an ad-hoc session of the executive committee to see what kind of support our Scout family can offer. "A Scout is Helpful", after all...



Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 14:35:28
Quote by Raine:
I hope things are going as well as they can for Liv this morning. Today is his hearing.



Hope everything works out okay.

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 14:42:56
Quote by TriSec:
I have news.

Tragedy has struck the extended Pack 250 family, per the note I just received from our Committee Chairman...


I am also in a place of re-examining my schedule and time commitments for the year. Just two weeks ago our friends (and very close friend of my 6 year old son James, incoming Tiger) lost their only child, 6 year old son, in a tragic drowning accident (at a supervised day camp, unthinkable happened). They are part of our school family and good friends. This loss has been devastating to our family. And I am doing what I can to make room in my life for these precious friends who need strong support.


Apropo to our discussion yesterday - I'm truly at a loss here. I have just called an ad-hoc session of the executive committee to see what kind of support our Scout family can offer. "A Scout is Helpful", after all...

Oh, no. Oh Tri.


Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 15:01:55
Thanks OBAMA...




Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 15:18:09
Oh, this is cool. This is the Russian Embassy in Stockholm..


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https://fbcdn-sphotos-a-a.akamaihd.net/hphotos-ak-ash4/1003749_724329420929847_1703363703_n.jpg


Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 15:24:38
Quote by Raine:
Thanks OBAMA...









That was random

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 15:28:41
Quote by wickedpam:




That was random
It's full of win. The look on those girls faces...


Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 15:34:41

Where is Mondo? he needs to see this! (I'm still laughing)

Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 15:47:24
Quote by Raine:

Where is Mondo? he needs to see this! (I'm still laughing)



Come to think of it, where is Mondo?

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 16:09:55
He's on the BoF -- I hope he wasn't blocked out of Das Blog.

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 16:13:23


http://static.someecards.com/someecards/images/feed_assets/520a47c2579f2.png


Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 16:13:45
Quote by Raine:
He's on the BoF -- I hope he wasn't blocked out of Das Blog.


oh noes! He hasn't gone all Little Match Girl has he?


Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 16:16:05
Quote by Raine:


http://static.someecards.com/someecards/images/feed_assets/520a47c2579f2.png




Classic

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 16:17:53
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
He's on the BoF -- I hope he wasn't blocked out of Das Blog.


oh noes! He hasn't gone all Little Match Girl has he?
Probably more Squirrell! than Match girl...


Comment by TriSec on 08/13/2013 16:24:32
The feds might not have "death panels", but apparently hospitals do.

What do either of these things have to do with medical need?



Comment by TriSec on 08/13/2013 16:41:56
So, the Marines are retiring the venerable old CH-46 helos that ferry the press corps around with the president.

If I were in the media, I'd be worried....the replacement is the Osprey.

Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 16:42:51
Quote by Raine:
Quote by wickedpam:
Quote by Raine:
He's on the BoF -- I hope he wasn't blocked out of Das Blog.


oh noes! He hasn't gone all Little Match Girl has he?
Probably more Squirrell! than Match girl...



XD

Comment by TriSec on 08/13/2013 18:04:16
Scoop about today?

Dude, if you're still into electronic music, you need to drop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and get over to the Chillcast with Anji Bee and download episode #371.

It absolutely kicks ass.



Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 18:04:50
Quote by Raine:


http://static.someecards.com/someecards/images/feed_assets/520a47c2579f2.png



Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 18:06:50
Quote by TriSec:
Scoop about today?

Dude, if you're still into electronic music, you need to drop what you're doing RIGHT NOW and get over to the Chillcast with Anji Bee and download episode #371.

It absolutely kicks ass.


Oooh hmmm.. I shall check it out.

Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 18:09:24
Speaking of Whitey.. I just heard something kinda messed up and I need to confirm.

If he dies while his conviction is still in the appeals process, it's automatically nullified?

Comment by trojanrabbit on 08/13/2013 18:21:49
Ken Lay's conviction was vacated because he "died" before sentencing.



Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 18:37:55
Just found another AWESOME place for lunch.... They have the bast clam chowder I have ever had -- and believe me that is saying ALOT. They call it Galway Clam chowder and it's similar to NE Clam chowder yet a little lighter (more like a bisque) with a few more veggies.

I fell in love.

Comment by TriSec on 08/13/2013 18:50:55
Quote by Raine:
Just found another AWESOME place for lunch.... They have the bast clam chowder I have ever had -- and believe me that is saying ALOT. They call it Galway Clam chowder and it's similar to NE Clam chowder yet a little lighter (more like a bisque) with a few more veggies.

I fell in love.



Oh, fine....BLASPHEMER!!!

Vegetables in clam chowder. What's next, tomatoes??? grumble, grunt, "manhattanisnotchowder" *spits*.



Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 18:55:17
Quote by TriSec:
Quote by Raine:
Just found another AWESOME place for lunch.... They have the bast clam chowder I have ever had -- and believe me that is saying ALOT. They call it Galway Clam chowder and it's similar to NE Clam chowder yet a little lighter (more like a bisque) with a few more veggies.

I fell in love.



Oh, fine....BLASPHEMER!!!

Vegetables in clam chowder. What's next, tomatoes??? grumble, grunt, "manhattanisnotchowder" *spits*.




You must miss out on an awful lot of good food with that 'tude.

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 18:57:50
New England clam chowder
Manhattan clam chowder
Rhode Island clam chowder
New Jersey clam chowder
Delaware clam chowder
Hatteras clam chowder
Minorcan clam chowder


and so on....

Comment by BobR on 08/13/2013 18:58:13
Quote by Raine:
Quote by TriSec:
Quote by Raine:
Just found another AWESOME place for lunch.... They have the bast clam chowder I have ever had -- and believe me that is saying ALOT. They call it Galway Clam chowder and it's similar to NE Clam chowder yet a little lighter (more like a bisque) with a few more veggies.

I fell in love.



Oh, fine....BLASPHEMER!!!

Vegetables in clam chowder. What's next, tomatoes??? grumble, grunt, "manhattanisnotchowder" *spits*.



You must miss out on an awful lot of good food with that 'tude.

Raine mentioned it was reminiscent of she-crab soup. It probably had some sherry in it,

Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 18:59:06
Quote by TriSec:
Quote by Raine:
Just found another AWESOME place for lunch.... They have the bast clam chowder I have ever had -- and believe me that is saying ALOT. They call it Galway Clam chowder and it's similar to NE Clam chowder yet a little lighter (more like a bisque) with a few more veggies.

I fell in love.

Oh, fine....BLASPHEMER!!!

Vegetables in clam chowder. What's next, tomatoes??? grumble, grunt, "manhattanisnotchowder" *spits*.

I actually don't mind some nugs of corn or the occasional carrot chunk in my chowdah.. but yeah save the tomatoes for italian gravy!

Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 18:59:39
BTW.. Rhody chowdah is good stuff!

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:00:00
Quote by Raine:
New England clam chowder
Manhattan clam chowder
Rhode Island clam chowder
New Jersey clam chowder
Delaware clam chowder
Hatteras clam chowder
Minorcan clam chowder


and so on....
Long Island Clam chowder...


Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:05:54
Quote by Raine:
http://blogs.ajc.com/mike-luckovich/files/2013/08/luckovich-081313.jpg
Perhaps Luckovich should have used the *other* Pat.
“Putin is trying to re-establish the Orthodox Church as the moral compass of the nation it had been for 1,000 years before Russia fell captive to the atheistic and pagan ideology of Marxism,” Buchanan wrote in conservative news site Townhall, citing recent statements by Putin in a July 2013 meeting with church leaders.

“In many of the world’s regions, especially in the Middle East and in North Africa inter-confessional tensions are mounting, and the rights of religious minorities are infringed, including Christians and Orthodox Christians,” Putin said at the meeting, prompting Buchanan to criticize President Barack Obama’s August 6 remarks rebuking of Russia’s law banning “homosexual propaganda.”


“Has Obama ever spoken out so forcefully for international action to save Christians?” Buchanan wrote. “Has the New York Times ever exhibited a fraction of the concern for persecuted Christians it daily exhibits for harassed homosexuals?”




Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:15:09
I have to say, I'm really not at all sympathetic to Paula Deen. She will always be wealthier than all of us combined. She'll be just fine.

Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:26:29
Scoop, cam you give me the definition of what you mentioned a few weeks ago: Outrage tourist?

Comment by wickedpam on 08/13/2013 19:45:12
OMG! This recording Randi is playing really is on the crazy train!

Comment by Scoopster on 08/13/2013 19:50:00
Quote by Raine:
Scoop, can you give me the definition of what you mentioned a few weeks ago: Outrage tourist?

*rummages through the IRC chat logs* Aha! This should help.
{@zosi} someone on Hacker News (one of the few sane people...) coined the phrase "outrage tourist" and I think that perfectly describes the demographic that Greenwald and several others are targeting nowadays - people who are angry at the state of things, and just itching for more excuses to rage, and Greenwald delivers. over and over, he posts articles that are designed to just make your blood boil if you're on his ideological side, which is the exact same thing that conservative talk show hosts do.
{sc00p} the funny part is i (we) are on his 'ideological side' and we know all he's doing is the same HYPEbolic bullshit that Fox News does
{@zosi} I've listened to more of their (Rush & Hannity's) shows than I care to admit - and if you listen critically, it's really easy to see a pattern. they know before the show starts what they want to get people worked up about. they hype it up, they provide some fuel for the fire in the form of monologue, then they start taking carefully-screened callers to either pick apart and destroy (if they're opposition) or sympathize with the occasional caller thrown in for pure affirmation
{@zosi} "You're so right Rush, this is exactly what the liberals are doing to destroy this great country, we can't let them!", etc.. the only difference is that Greenwald uses his blog and Twitter instead of a radio show and phone bank. and yeah, I don't even really disagree with a lot of the points he brings up... I have never supported the Patriot Act. I would prefer it if the government was at least slightly more transparent. I don't like the lack of oversight on a lot of intel/anti-terrorism programs. I also don't like it when demagogue on my side makes it impossible to have rational conversations with the other side


Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:54:50
Quote by wickedpam:
OMG! This recording Randi is playing really is on the crazy train!
Oh I missed it! (was watering Linda's flower garden)




Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:55:58
Quote by Scoopster:
Quote by Raine:
Scoop, can you give me the definition of what you mentioned a few weeks ago: Outrage tourist?

*rummages through the IRC chat logs* Aha! This should help.
{@zosi} someone on Hacker News (one of the few sane people...) coined the phrase "outrage tourist" and I think that perfectly describes the demographic that Greenwald and several others are targeting nowadays - people who are angry at the state of things, and just itching for more excuses to rage, and Greenwald delivers. over and over, he posts articles that are designed to just make your blood boil if you're on his ideological side, which is the exact same thing that conservative talk show hosts do.
{sc00p} the funny part is i (we) are on his 'ideological side' and we know all he's doing is the same HYPEbolic bullshit that Fox News does
{@zosi} I've listened to more of their (Rush & Hannity's) shows than I care to admit - and if you listen critically, it's really easy to see a pattern. they know before the show starts what they want to get people worked up about. they hype it up, they provide some fuel for the fire in the form of monologue, then they start taking carefully-screened callers to either pick apart and destroy (if they're opposition) or sympathize with the occasional caller thrown in for pure affirmation
{@zosi} "You're so right Rush, this is exactly what the liberals are doing to destroy this great country, we can't let them!", etc.. the only difference is that Greenwald uses his blog and Twitter instead of a radio show and phone bank. and yeah, I don't even really disagree with a lot of the points he brings up... I have never supported the Patriot Act. I would prefer it if the government was at least slightly more transparent. I don't like the lack of oversight on a lot of intel/anti-terrorism programs. I also don't like it when demagogue on my side makes it impossible to have rational conversations with the other side

This really needs to be submitted to Urban Dictionary.

Thanks, Scoop. I may use it over on DU .


Comment by Raine on 08/13/2013 19:59:24
Oh, and ne more thing Scoop -- I completely agree with what you and zosi were saying.

I think in the end, this is the VERY problem that we are having. Seriously -- submit it to Urban dictionary.