“Soft despotism is a term coined by Alexis de Tocqueville describing the state into which a country overrun by "a network of small complicated rules" might degrade. Soft despotism is different from despotism (also called 'hard despotism') in the sense that it is not obvious to the people."
Sunday, July 19, 2009
US soldier captured by Taliban speaks
The video is not a continuous recording. It appears to stop and start during the questioning.
He still had his head.ReplyDelete
He is not starving, another good sign.
Let's all hope for the best, for that young soldier.
CNN - 13 minutes agoReplyDelete
KABUL, Afghanistan (CNN) -- A helicopter crashed during takeoff from Kandahar airfield in southern Afghanistan on Sunday, killing 16 people, NATO said.
It seems a dangerous place, AfpakistanReplyDelete
guardian.co.uk - 1 hour ago.ReplyDelete
John Hutton said Britain needs more support from the other Allied forces in Afghanistan. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images The political row over government support for troop numbers and military spending in Afghanistan escalated today as the ...
Logistics issues buried CIA assassination teams.ReplyDelete
According to current and former U.S. intelligence officials, the CIA spent seven years trying to assemble teams capable of killing the world's most wanted terrorists but could never find a formula that worked.
The struggles came during a period in which the agency had been given unprecedented authorities and resources, and a cause -- responding to the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks -- with broad public support.
In particular, officials said, ambitions for the program expanded to include creating teams that were composed not only of CIA personnel but counterparts from other countries, presumably Pakistan; and to be capable not just of killing high-value targets but also executing raids and other operations to gather intelligence that might lead to elusive al-Qaida leaders Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri.ReplyDelete
Former officials said support for the program persisted in recent years largely because it could compensate for a crucial shortcoming of the ongoing campaign of Predator strikes. The drones had emerged as a potent weapon against al-Qaida in Pakistan but had failed to bring the agency closer to bin Laden.
"The bottom line is that you've still got No. 1 and No. 2 out there," one former high-ranking U.S. intelligence official said. "If all you do is blow stuff up and burn stuff up, you never get information that could lead you to the prize."
We took some wrong turns in Afghanistan, but it's too early for despair. - By Christopher Hitchens -ReplyDelete
LRB · Rory Stewart The Irresistible Illusion
Stewart recommends reducing troop numbers down to 20,000.