“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."

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

The American commander in Afghanistan now believes that United States troops did not follow their own rules in calling in the airstrike that decimated a Doctors Without Borders hospital when no American and Afghan troops were in extreme danger, according to officials with direct knowledge of the general’s thinking.

Under the Rules of Engagement (ROE) in effect in Afghanistan, Afghans are explicitly prohibited from calling in air strikes. A U.S. Joint Terminal Air Controller (JTAC) must be present on the ground. In this case, the Afghans called in GPS coordinates for the Medicin Sans Frontiers hospital which were registered with the U.S. command in Afghanistan as a hospital. Campbell authorized the strike in the absence of a JTAC and direct violation of the standing ROE order.

They now have changed their story four times!

"Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had requested US air cover after being engaged in a “tenacious fight” to retake the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. But, modifying the account he gave at a press conference on Monday, Campbell said those Afghan forces had not directly communicated with the US pilots of an AC-130 gunship overhead.

“Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday morning.” 


  1. The American commander in Afghanistan now believes that United States troops did not follow their own rules in calling in the airstrike that decimated a Doctors Without Borders hospital when no American and Afghan troops were in extreme danger, according to officials with direct knowledge of the general’s thinking.

    Under the rules, airstrikes are authorized to kill terrorists, protect American troops and help Afghans who request support in battles — like those in Kunduz, recently taken over by the Taliban — that can change the military landscape. The idea is to give troops leeway but keep Americans out of daily, open-ended combat.

    The Special Operations Forces did not meet any of the criteria, the commander, Gen. John F. Campbell, has said in private discussions, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.

    The Special Operations Forces also apparently did not have “eyes on” — that is, were unable to positively identify — the area to be attacked to confirm it was a legitimate target before calling in the strike, the officials said.


      Regardless of what mistake may have been made, General Campbell told a Senate committee on Tuesday that the strike was ultimately the result of “a U.S. decision made within the U.S. chain of command.” He took responsibility for the sustained bombardment of the medical facility, which he said took place in response to an Afghan call for help.



      “Obviously, the investigation is still underway, but Campbell’s thinking now is that the Americans on the ground did not follow the rules of engagement fully,” said one of three American officials, all of whom emphasized that no final conclusions had been reached and that the inquiry could yield different reasons for what transpired.

      If the American troops did not follow the rules, it is not clear why, or how far up the chain of command the decision to allow the strike was made. Nor is it clear if any of the Afghan or American troops involved in the strike knew that they were unleashing a sustained air attack on a hospital.

      General Campbell’s public remarks and what he has said privately, based on reports from his investigating officer, Brig. Gen. Richard Kim, suggest a chain of mistakes likely led to the attack on the hospital.

      In his testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, General Campbell offered few new details about the attack, which lasted for more than a half-hour and killed 22 patients and hospital staff members in northern Afghanistan on Saturday.

      He said a fuller accounting of what took place would come out through an investigation now underway.

      But he hinted at his concerns when he told senators that “to prevent any future incidences of this nature, I’ve directed the entire force to undergo in-depth training in order to review all of our operational authorities and rules of engagement.”

      After days of shifting and at times ambiguous American statements about the airstrike, which Doctors Without Borders has likened to a war crime, the general was as direct on Tuesday as any official has been to date.

      “A hospital was mistakenly struck,” he said.

      The general said the military had received a request for air support from Afghan troops fighting to retake Kunduz from the Taliban.

      “Even though the Afghans request that support,” he said, “it still has to go through a rigorous U.S. procedure.”

      Yet General Campbell offered little clarity about how that procedure failed or what events led up to the strike.


      The bombing in Kunduz and the faltering attempt by Afghan forces to recapture the city have renewed questions about the shape and scope of the American mission in Afghanistan. Most of the roughly 10,000 troops now there are focused on training and advising Afghan troops, and the White House placed broad limits on when and where the United States could use force after the American combat mission ended last year.

      At the same time, it has given General Campbell wide discretion to do what he deems necessary to aid Afghan troops. For the most part, that has meant using air power.

      But the fighting in Kunduz over the past 10 days has illustrated the limits of air power. It has also offered a reminder of the danger airstrikes pose to civilians, who have repeatedly been killed by American aerial bombardments since the outset of the war 14 years ago.

      American officials have said they were reluctant to use air power to stop the Taliban from seizing Kunduz on Sept. 28 because they feared the possibility of civilian casualties.


      But with forces struggling to retake the city, American troops responded to a call for help on Saturday by dispatching an AC-130 gunship, a powerful and precise attack aircraft that is typically used to support raids and other counterterrorism operations by Special Operations Forces.

      General Campbell said on Tuesday that the gunship had been in communication with American advisers on the ground in Kunduz. But he did not say if anyone involved in the strike realized a hospital was being targeted or if they were reliant on Afghan forces to identify the building to be hit.

      “There were not American forward air controllers on the ground?” asked Senator John McCain, an Arizona Republican who heads the Armed Services Committee.

      “Sir, we had a Special Operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” General Campbell replied without elaborating.

      Before the general’s testimony, Doctors Without Borders put out a statement reiterating its allegations that the destruction of the hospital amounted to a war crime, and repeating its call for an independent investigation.

      “This attack cannot be brushed aside as a mere mistake or an inevitable consequence of war,” Dr. Joanne Liu, the president of Doctors Without Borders International, said in the statement.

      The bulk of the questions directed at General Campbell on Tuesday centered on plans to continue the withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan in the coming year.


      The recent gains by the Taliban appear to have restarted a debate within the Obama administration about whether to move forward with plans to cut by about half the current American force. The Pentagon, along with some senior officials within the administration, is pushing to maintain as large a force in Afghanistan for as long as possible, arguing that the Afghan Army and police are still in need of American assistance.

      The Republicans on the committee left little doubt that they believe the administration’s withdrawal plan would leave the Afghans dangerously exposed to their enemies. General Campbell was clear that he, too, would prefer to keep as many troops in Afghanistan for as long as possible.

      But he was circumspect about numbers and specific plans, perhaps well aware that a number of his predecessors had angered the White House by too publicly pushing for more resources.

    6. 14 years and our rulers and masters need how many more troops, how much more money, and how many more years to do what exactly?

  2. Care to guess who built that hospital?

  3. We must stay as long as it takes.

    It is the war we MUST win.

    It is the IMPORTANT war.

    It is the NECESSARY war.

    Commander - in - Chief Obama

    How long were we in Japan ?

    The jihadis always use hospitals, old folks homes, mosques, shopping markets etc as cover when possible.

    See: Gaza

    I think they are due some criticism.

    We can leave completely. Obama is perfectly capable of doing that.

    Then the entire country becomes a perfectly safe haven again for plots against the western world.

    Choices, choices.......

    1. .

      You remind me of another here with you high regard for the capabilities of anything US; in your case, a few thousand US troops scattered around the country a series of 'Lily Pad' bases.

      While we still had 100,000 troops there, the Taliban returned and fought us to a standstill. Now ISIS is there along with a number of other militant groups.

      And your favorite fairy tale, "We have to do it for the women", as if, 5 or 10 thousand troops, scattered among the lily pads isolated from the most of Afghan society will be more than a fart in the wind in trying to change thousands of years of culture in a society not that far out of the spear throwing stage.

      Whatever troops we leave behind will quickly become targets.



  4. The first good question asked about the US mess in the Middle East came from Putin:

    ”Do you realize now what you’ve done?”

    1. Yes. We realize Obama has given Pooty the entry he longed for......

      Rubio, Fiorina, Hillary.......all calling for 'no fly zones' and 'safe zones' in Syria. There are others too though I am not listing them because on a couple I am uncertain if I have the names right at this time.

      Uncle Bob thinks in this instance it's a case of better never than late.

      I do hope the Russians take a beating. They richly deserve it.

      Assad deserves a beating.

      So does ISIS.

      So does Ash, for that matter, as I have said many times. A good non life threatening mild mugging...but very scary....a mild and scary beating to break through the uber liberal stupor.....

      Tomorrow is a labor day for me.

      Gute Nacht !

      or is it

      Guten Nacht ?

      Cheers !

    2. .

      Rubio, Fiorina, Hillary.......all calling for 'no fly zones' and 'safe zones' in Syria. There are others too though I am not listing them because on a couple I am uncertain if I have the names right at this time.

      Uncle Bob thinks in this instance it's a case of better never than late.

      So Rubio, Hillary, Fiorina, et al now and you before them, are/were advising declaring war against the Assad government?

      There would be no other reason for a no-fly zone. The Syrian government was/is the only force there other than the Coalition that was doing any flying.


    3. .

      You are also willingly accepting an Islamist government, the very people you spend you days here whining about. What about the women? What about the Christians? You may not have noticed but they are on the other side.

      And don't talk to me of ..."well, if we had only done something quicker". Bullshit. Early on, it was a popular revolution and may have been 'moderate'. However, as soon as they started to arm up, things changed. The FSA, the 'moderates' we were supporting have always been made up of disgruntled Syrian military and various militant groups; and at a minimum they have been coordinating with groups like al Nusra that have been disignated terrorists by the US, you know the same guys big John McCain likes to have his picture taken with.



    A lot of good people are asking a lot of good questions these days, and this is an excellent thing. On the foreign policy side, it happens the best of these questions are posed by non-Americans, for the simple reason most Americans are not ready to think clearly about our moment and how we have come to it. We do not ask because we cannot answer.

    My three favorite questions of late, it also happens, have to do with Syria. And let there be no doubt: It is all over for the Obama administration, the Pentagon, the spooks and all others still pretending there is a “moderate opposition” that will carry the day in the many-sided Syrian conflict. Washington has slipped its grip. Others are in charge now, and as they pursue a solution to this crisis the only choice open to the U.S. is whether or not to join in the effort. It will be interesting to see which alternative the White House and the State Department choose.

    “I cannot help asking those who have caused the situation, Do you realize now what you’ve done?” This is the first good question.

    Vladimir Putin posed it in his speech to the U.N. General Assembly 10 days ago. Sensibly, the Russian president added, “But I am afraid no one is going to answer that.” To offer modest assistance, Mr. Putin, the U.S. leadership knows exactly what it has done, and this is why you are correct: Your query will go without reply.

    The second and third good questions came from Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran’s foreign minister. For my money Zarif is among the ablest diplomats now on the scene. He addressed the U.S. on the Syria crisis during a conference in New York on Monday, and he asked, “Why are you there? Who gave you the right to be there?”

    Wow, wow and wow.

    I love these questions. The subtext in the three of them together is that the Obama administration’s failure in Syria is now complete. Washington is no longer in charge. If there is a better example of language as power, I cannot think of what it is.


      Putin forces us to consider the Syria crisis as history. This is the equivalent of dropping a neutron bomb on our nation’s capital: All the Greek facades are intact, but the narrative incessantly spun behind them is dead. Read Putin’s U.N. speech here. Read a few others and you recognize that the Russian leader has long understood history’s potency, especially when deployed against the messes resulting from America’s imperial adventures.

      As to Zarif’s line of inquiry, both parts are of interest. To ask why the U.S. is in Syria is to brush aside all the customary bunkum about Washington’s humane outrage over the Assad regime’s brutalities. Underneath we find an obsession with “regime change” in Damascus so as to convert Syria from outlier to another Middle Eastern client. Left to the U.S., Assad’s successor, as in the case of al-Sisi in Egypt, would be welcome to all the brutalities he may find necessary. Almost certainly he would enjoy an arms package similar to Egypt’s now-restored $5 billion annually—most of which is now deployed against Egyptians.

      “Who gave you the right to be there?” What a simple, pithy question. I have not heard any American other than people such as Noam Chomsky ever consider such a thing. Throughout Washington’s long effort to arm anti-Assad militias on the ground and more recently to drop bombs on Syrian soil—roughly 4,000 sorties to date—the illegality of U.S. policy simply never comes up.

      Zarif thus forces two bitter truths upon us. One, we have been breaking the law from the first. We may not have anything to say about this, as we have not to date, but the silence will be conspicuous from here on out, given that others are now prepared openly to challenge the U.S. on the point. Two, whatever one may think of the Assad government, those now committed to backing it as part of their strategy to defeat radical Islamists in Syria do so in accordance with international law. Like it or not, this counts.

      Speaking strictly for myself, I like the idea of a global community that proceeds lawfully. It tends to reduce the incidence of disorder and anarchy created by such entities as the Islamic State and the Pentagon.

    2. ...
      It is now several weeks since Russia let it be known that it would reinforce its long-standing support of Bashar al-Assad with new military commitments. First came the materiél. Bombing runs began a week ago. On Monday, a senior military official in Moscow announced that Russian troops are to join the fight against the Islamic State.

      We are always encouraged to find anything Putin does devious and the outcome of hidden motives and some obscure agenda having to do with his pouting ambition to be seen as a first-rank world leader. From the government-supervised New York Times on down, this is what you read in the newspapers and hear on the radio and television broadcasts. I urge readers to pay no attention to this stuff. It is all about Washington’s agenda to obscure.

      Russia’s favored strategy in Syria has long been very clear. It is a question of distinguishing the primary and secondary contradictions, as the Marxists say. The Assad regime is to be kept in place so as to preserve those political institutions still functioning as the basis of a reconstructed national government. Once the threat of Islamic terror is defeated, a political transition into a post-Assad reconstruction can be negotiated.

      For a time it appeared that Washington was prepared to buy into this set of expedients. This impression derived from the very frequent contacts between John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, with whom the American secretary of state has often worked closely.

      Then came the fateful encounter between Obama and Putin at the U.N. Obama spoke first, Putin afterward. Then the two met privately.

      A few days ago a source in Moscow with good lines into Kremlin thinking wrote a long note on the Obama-Putin encounter in New York. Here is some of what this source said:

      The meeting with Obama in New York did not go well. It was extremely contentious, and Obama did not engage. Putin made the case that the important first priority had to be to eliminate Daesh [the Islamic State], and that after more than a year of the U.S. campaign there has been no significant success. Indeed, the contrary is the case.

      Putin’s point was that air power alone will not succeed, and that now the only real boots on the ground are the Kurds and the armies of Syria and its supporters—Hezbollah and some Iranians, but the Iranians troops involved in the struggle with Daesh are operating mostly in Iraq.

      Putin proposed creating a coalition, the equivalent of the anti-Hitler alliance, to focus on Daesh, and then focusing in Round 2 on the transition of Syria into a form of decentralized federation of highly autonomous regions—Kurdish, Sunni, Alawite-Christian and a few others—which all work together now.

      Putin had been led to believe through the Lavrov /Kerry channel… that there would be a broader agreement to work together. So he was surprised that Obama did not seize the opportunity to engage the battle in a coordinated way…. In the end they agreed only on coordination between the two militaries to avoid running into each other.

      Putin left New York with the view that it is now much more important to support the government in Syria than he had thought before he went, because he came convinced that the U.S., left to its present course, is going to create another Libya, this time in Syria. Israel has a similar view, as does Egypt, Iran, and, increasingly, countries in Europe. With Daesh already so deeply implanted, this would lead to vast crisis—military, political, economic, humanitarian—that would spread across all of the Middle East, into the Caucasus and across North Africa, with millions of refugees….


      Putin left New York with the view that it is now much more important to support the government in Syria than he had thought before he went, because he came convinced that the U.S., left to its present course, is going to create another Libya, this time in Syria. Israel has a similar view, as does Egypt, Iran, and, increasingly, countries in Europe. With Daesh already so deeply implanted, this would lead to vast crisis—military, political, economic, humanitarian—that would spread across all of the Middle East, into the Caucasus and across North Africa, with millions of refugees….

    4. MORE

      There are four things to say about this account straight off the top. One, the subtext is that Putin reached the point in New York when he effectively threw up his hands and said, “I’m fed up.” Two, Obama went into that meeting more or less befuddled as to what to say. In a word, he was outclassed.

      Three, the strategy Putin presented to Obama is clear, logical, lawful and has a good chance of working. In other words, it is everything the Obama administration’s is not, Kerry’s efforts to work with Lavrov notwithstanding.

      Four and most important, the history books may well conclude that the U.N. on Sept. 27 was the very place and the very day the U.S. ceded the initiative to Russia on the Syria crisis. This is my read as of now, although in circumstances this kinetic it is too perilous to anticipate what may come next.

      The American press has been slightly berserk subsequent to the U.N. encounter, putting more spin on the new Russian policy than a gyroscope has in space. Putin is weak and desperate, he is making Syria more violent, Russian jets are bombing CIA-backed “moderates” and not ISIS, this is Russia’s second Afghanistan, nothing can work so long as Assad remains in power.

      “Putin stupidly went into Syria looking for a cheap sugar high to show his people that Russia is still a world power,” Tom Friedman, a standout in this line, wrote in the Times last week. “Watch him become public enemy No. 1 in the Sunni Muslim world. ‘Yo, Vladimir, how’s that working for you?’”

      I read all this with a mirror: It is nothing more than a reflection of how far below its knees the Obama administration’s pants have just fallen. Who went stupidly into Syria, Tom? Yo, Tom, your lump-them-together prejudices are showing: Most of “the Sunni Muslim world” is as appalled by the Islamic State as the non-Sunni Muslim world.

    5. What a weird sensation it is to agree with Charles Krauthammer, one of the Washington’s Post’s too-numerous right-wing opinion-page writers. It is like traveling in a strange, badly run country where something always seems about to go wrong.

      “If it had the wit, the Obama administration would be not angered, but appropriately humiliated,” Krauthammer wrote in last Thursday’s paper. “President Obama has, once again, been totally outmaneuvered by Vladimir Putin.”

      It is a lot better than Tom Friedman’s driveling defense of the president. Somewhere, at least, a spade is still a spade. But with this observation the common ground with Krauthammer begins and ends. Obama has got it radically wrong in Syria—and indeed across the Middle East—but not in the ways we are encouraged to think. Where lie the errors, then?


      The first and biggest of them is his willingness to inherit the vision bequeathed by 117 years of American ambition abroad.

      In the American imperium it is all about us, always. Syria is not Syria, a land of 23 million people (before the exodus we prompted) just as Egypt as it aspired to democracy during the Arab Spring was not Egypt. These are squares on the geopolitical game board. In the Syria case, Russia has a strategy that is prima facie rational and right, but we must object because it is Russia’s. Certainly we cannot join Moscow to make common cause.

      Putin and Zarif and others now posing questions are telling Washington something it will have to hear if it is to get off the destructive course of American foreign policy: This is not about you, as many things in the world are not. This is about a political, social and cultural crisis that requires the disinterested attention of those capable of contributing to a solution.

      Think about the united front Putin proposes and Obama declines to join. It is already in motion, in case you did not notice. Moscow, Tehran, Baghdad and Damascus are all now committed to cooperating—not least by way of intelligence sharing, which is a big one—in the fight to subdue the Islamic State.

      But isn’t it true that Russia is bombing targets other than the Islamic State, some of which are rebel groups the CIA has backed? Possibly, although I have not taken the Pentagon’s word for anything since 1966 or so. In my read Russian jets are probably hitting those groups most immediately threatening Damascus—no surprise, given the stated mission is to keep Assad in the presidential palace until the fighting stops. Why, in any case, should Russia discriminate between one rebel group and another, when “moderate opposition” is nothing but a fantasy out of the Reaganists’ old “freedom fighter” narrative?

      But isn’t Putin about to reclaim influence in the Middle East that the Soviet Union lost long ago? This may be, but sometimes a cigar is just a cigar: Putin sees the Syria crisis spinning out of control and wants it resolved before it spreads just as the Kremlin now fears. In my read, reclaimed influence in the region will be a follow-on consequence. To the extent it materializes, we will have to get used to calling it multipolarity. If you think the record of American primacy in the Middle East is something worth preserving at the exorbitant cost it exacts, please use the comment box and enlighten all of us.

      Obama’s second big mistake has to do with his response to the problem of American exceptionalism. One had a sense late during his first term and into his second that he understood it was time to lance this boil on the American consciousness, but in the breach he seems to have demurred.

      The result has been his commitment to keep American troops out of conflict zones but to maintain the posture by way of Air Force bombers and supposedly surgical drone attacks. He thus altered only method, not purpose, the desired outcome—as, again, he inherited it. Not only has it failed to achieve any result in Syria; the grotesque bombing of a Médicins sans Frontière hospital in Kanduz, Afghanistan, last weekend reveals the strategy to be a bust on any kind of life-saving, humanitarian grounds, as well.

  6. .

    The Lily Pad Strategy

    President Obama is seriously weighing a proposal to keep as many as 5,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan beyond 2016, according to senior U.S. officials, a move that would end his plans to bring U.S. troops home before he leaves office.

    The proposal presented in August by Army Gen. Martin E. Dempsey, then-chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, would focus the remaining American force primarily on counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State, al-Qaeda and other direct threats to the United States.

    Obama has made no final decision on the plan, which was developed before the Taliban captured Kunduz in September; it was the first major city to fall to the Taliban since the war began in 2001.

    One has to ask what exactly have we accomplished in Afghanistan in 14 years?

    - In 2 months, we defeated the Taliban and drove them into Pakistan. In 14 years, we allowed them back in and are still fighting them.

    - In two months, we drove OBL out of his save haven. In 14 years, we took him out. In Pakistan. The effect on al Queda? Negligible.

    Keeping the troops longer in their isolated 'Lily Pads' will simply make them targets for our enemies there.


    What will we accomplish by keeping a small force there scattered around in 'Lily Pads'?

    1. How can anyone in their right mind and with any intellectual honesty support any of this?


      There is no having your cake and eating it, in short.

      We are now going to get earfuls as to how the answer in Syria now is to make greater military commitments, all on our own—Obama’s sin being his gingerly thinking. It is upside down. A good president—and this is why one finds it hard to line up behind Hillary—needs to take on America’s intentions as well as its tactics.

      In my read, Russia and Iran have just popped open the door to a solution in Syria. All the pieces are in place but one: Washington’s capacity to acknowledge the strategic failure now so evident and to see beyond the narrowest definition of where its interests lie.

      This brings us to the paradox embedded in those questions Putin and Zarif and a few others now pose: American primacy is no longer in America’s interest. Get your mind around this and you have arrived in the 21st century.

      Patrick Smith is Salon’s foreign affairs columnist. A longtime correspondent abroad, chiefly for the International Herald Tribune and The New Yorker, he is also an essayist, critic and editor. His most recent books are “Time No Longer: Americans After the American Century” (Yale, 2013) and Somebody Else’s Century: East and West in a Post-Western World (Pantheon, 2010). Follow him @thefloutist. His web site is

    3. .

      For the most part, the guy is right. However, he falls short when he accuses the US of trying to obscure, read lie, about its policies and the true reasons for its actions while implying that Putin would never stoop to such things.

      Or, at least, that was the way I read it.



      Washington (CNN) Russia and the embattled Syrian regime launched coordinated attacks on Islamist factions in numerous towns in Hama and Idlib provinces in western Syria on Wednesday, with Syrian shelling being conducted in apparent concert with Russian airstrikes, according to an opposition observatory.

      If the report is correct, it would mark a new level of cooperation between Russia and the Syrian government, and offer fresh evidence that Russia’s primary goal is propping up the Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad rather than fighting regional terrorism.

      But, even as its warplanes conducted fresh strikes, Russia said it was willing to cooperate with the United States in carrying out attacks in Syria.

      Russia's Deputy Defense Minister Anatoly Antonov said Wednesday his country was prepared to take information and intelligence obtained by the U.S-led coalition against ISIS, and called on all sides to share targeting reconnaissance.

      A ministry spokesman, quoted by Russia's TASS news agency, said the ministry responded to a request by the Pentagon. It then "swiftly considered" the U.S. proposals to coordinate.

      "We just need to specify some technical details that will be discussed today by representatives of the Russian Defense Ministry and the Pentagon at the expert level," Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov told TASS.

      Meanwhile, the Russian assault in Syria continued unabated.

      Russian warplanes conducted heavy air strikes on Islamist factions Wednesday, accompanied by shelling from government forces, according to the UK-based anti-Assad Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

      The head and primary force of the observatory said there were no ISIS position in the areas targeted -- and that fierce clashes were taking place on the ground between regime forces and their allies and armed Islamist rebel factions, including the Ahrar al-Sham and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Nusra Front.

      Wednesday’s clashes are the fiercest in the last month, the observatory said.

      What is worse, creating a holocaust of human suffering to fulfill the Neocon crusade of regime change in Syria or taking action to kill the terrorists of every persuasion to stop it? What business is it of ours to change regimes? What right do we have to pay and supply terrorists? Who are we?

  7. IT GETS EVEN WORSE - I shit you not!

    KABUL, Afghanistan — A day after Afghan security officials described making major progress in retaking the northern city of Kunduz from Taliban forces, the insurgents on Tuesday once again seem to have seized the upper hand. The Taliban’s white flag was once again hanging on the flagpole over Chowk Square, and half of the city was reported to be under Taliban control.

    The insurgents continued to fight pitched street battles against Afghan forces, according to residents and some security officials, and the Taliban were pressing into service armored Humvees and pickup trucks they had seized from the troops.

    The reports from Kunduz contradicted testimony by the American military commander, Gen. John F. Campbell, before the Senate Armed Services Committee in Washington on Tuesday. He told the panel that most of the city had been retaken from the Taliban, and that the continued fighting had been relegated to isolated pockets in the city as the insurgents “for the most part melted away, left the city.”

    Public assessments issued by Afghan leaders on Tuesday mostly lined up with General Campbell’s portrayal. “The enemy was pushed out of the city yesterday, the Afghan security forces, especially the Afghan National Army, recaptured the city yesterday,” said Lt. Gen. Afzal Aman, director of operations for the Afghan Ministry of Defense.

    But the accounts of many Kunduz residents on Tuesday greatly differed, as did details from senior Afghan military officers who spoke off the record because they did not want to publicly contradict government spokesmen who were also claiming improvement in the city.


  8. .

    Hillary's got balls. I'll give her that.

    Clinton Sends Copies of Latest Book to GOP Rivals

    Democratic presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton sent a copy of her book "Hard Choices" to her GOP rivals, a campaign aide confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday. The move was meant as a snarky retort to criticism lobbed at her during the second Republican presidential debate. The former secretary of state was targeted repeatedly during the debate, especially by Carly Fiorina, who quipped, "If you want to stump a Democrat, ask them to name an accomplishment of Hillary Clinton."

    A balsy move given the criticism she has received; however, I guess she assumes she is going to be attacked on here tenure at State anyway so the best defense is a good offense.


  9. .

    The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

    The TPP has been negotiated and now has to be ratified and signed by the parties involved. Obama will have a fight in Congress but expects to get it ratified. IMO, the problems with the treaty are many. One of the biggest one is how it will affect American jobs.

    One indication of the problems with free trade is illustrated by our neighbor to the north. Canada is also a member of TPP and its actions speak volumes. They are planning to budget $1 billion over 10 years to help their auto industry adjust to the results of TPP. They have already done the same thing for their dairy industry with other actions to follow. The problem, of course, is with what do you do after 10 years.

    We have seen the results with NAFTA. However, with TPP, the problems go way beyond trade and seem to be designed merely with multinational corporations' interest in mind.



  10. GOOD

    Doctors Without Borders announced Wednesday they want to form an independent international fact-finding commission to investigate the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in Afghanistan for possible war crimes charges.

    The charity, known also as Medecins Sans Frontieres, said the commission would gather facts and evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan. After that, the charity would decide whether to bring criminal chargs for loss of life and damage, it announced in Geneva.

    “If we let this go, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries at war,” MSF International President Joanne Liu told a news briefing in Geneva. She said there was no commitment yet to an independent investigation.


    US special operations forces – not their Afghan allies – called in the deadly airstrike on the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, the US commander has conceded.

    Shortly before General John Campbell, the commander of the US and Nato war in Afghanistan, testified to a Senate panel, the president of Doctors Without Borders – also known as Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) – said the US and Afghanistan had made an “admission of a war crime”.

    Shifting the US account of the Saturday morning airstrike for the fourth time in as many days, Campbell reiterated that Afghan forces had requested US air cover after being engaged in a “tenacious fight” to retake the northern city of Kunduz from the Taliban. But, modifying the account he gave at a press conference on Monday, Campbell said those Afghan forces had not directly communicated with the US pilots of an AC-130 gunship overhead.

    “Even though the Afghans request that support, it still has to go through a rigorous US procedure to enable fires to go on the ground. We had a special operations unit that was in close vicinity that was talking to the aircraft that delivered those fires,” Campbell told the Senate armed services committee on Tuesday morning.

    Analysis MSF hospital airstrike: who are the victims?
    Among up to 20 people killed in US strike that hit Médecins Sans Frontières hospital in Afghanistan are young doctors and patients
    Read more
    The airstrike on the hospital is among the worst and most visible cases of civilian deaths caused by US forces during the 14-year Afghanistan war that Barack Obama has declared all but over. It killed 12 MSF staff and 10 patients, who had sought medical treatment after the Taliban overran Kunduz last weekend. Three children died in the airstrike that came in multiple waves and burned patients alive in their beds.

    On Tuesday, MSF denounced Campbell’s press conference as an attempt to shift blame to the Afghans.

    “The US military remains responsible for the targets it hits, even though it is part of a coalition,” said its director general, Christopher Stokes.

    1. Why would anyone believe anything that the US Government or the Pentagon says? Would you believe, Dick Cheney, Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton, Ted Cruz, John McCain, George Bush, Bill Clinton, Lyndon Johnson, or any Pentagon spokesman ?

      They all are or were members of the ruling class US Government, in power and good standing.

    2. At least you've through a few Democrats into your shit list this improvement....

      On the hospital, basically I agree with galopn2 below.

    3. .

      That's because you are a fucking moron.


  12. Fuck Doctors w/o Borders. All they were doing was operating a field hospital for the Taliban. You join an Army at War, and you run a risk of getting your ass shot off. They joined, they got their asses shot off. Life goes on.

    1. Bull shit. Look at any US military vehicle or location used for medical purposes. It has a red cross on it. That is not a siting assistant. It is to notify an adversary the purpose of that vehicle.The US built that hospital. The US wrote the rules of engagement.
      The US is a signatory to the Geneva Convention and every member of the the US Military is governed by the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

      The Geneva Conventions of 1949

      Some of the most important LOAC rules come from the Geneva Conventions of 1949. The Geneva Conventions consist of four separate international treaties. These treaties aim to protect combatants and noncombatants from unnecessary suffering who may become wounded, sick, shipwrecked, or POWs during hostilities. They also seek to protect civilians and private property. The four treaties govern the treatment of wounded and sick forces, POWs, and civilians during war or armed conflict.

      Military Targets

      The LOAC governs the conduct of aerial warfare. The principle of military necessity limits aerial attacks to lawful military targets. Military targets are those that by their own nature, location, purpose, or use make an effective contribution to an enemy’s military capability and whose total or partial destruction, capture, or neutralization in the circumstances existing at the time of an attack enhance legitimate military objectives.

      We either follow the laws that we wrote and swore to or we are gangsters.

    2. Only a moron would find that amusing, as in the post below this.

      Idaho BobWed Oct 07, 10:40:00 AM EDT

    3. .

      No doubt if a wounded Taliban fighter showed up at an MSF hospital they would treat him. That is what doctors do.

      After being harassed by alleged government forces in July,

      Civilians who are wounded in the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan often turn to trauma hospitals run by non-government organizations such as Doctors Without Borders and the Italian group Emergency. These hospitals usually refuse entry to those with weapons, and provide treatment to people from both sides of the conflict. “We never take sides,” Janssens said. “Our doctors treat all people according to their medical needs.”

      As the conflict between Afghan security forces and local insurgent groups drags on, the medical aid offered by these organizations has become increasingly critical. Last year, over 10,000 civilian casualties from the conflict were recorded, the highest since 2007 when the United Nations began keeping records in Afghanistan. The number is expected to continue rising as the fighting between security troops and insurgents grows fiercer.

      The organization also said that this was the first armed intrusion at its Kunduz facility since it opened four years ago. "However, we have always managed to resolve problems through dialogue," the group reportedly said. "Up until now, we have been able to ensure a safe, neutral space, in which staff can provide medical care to our patients. We're therefore extremely concerned by such a violent intrusion into the hospital."

      The organization has been operating in Afghanistan for 30 years, although it withdrew for a five-year period over security concerns after five staff members were shot to death in the country in 2004.

      Recently, several attacks against aid workers have been reported in the country. Last month, 9 aid workers from Czech-based organization People in Need were killed in an attack in northern Afghanistan, which came just weeks after 14 people, mostly foreigners, were killed in a Taliban attack on a Kabul guesthouse frequented by aid workers...

      the Afghan people can use all the help they can get.


    4. Fuck the fucking frogs, and fuck the fucking afghanis. They were fucking around in a war zone, and they got shot. They should have stayed home, or gone somewhere where people weren't fighting.

      Yeah, our guys messed up, and blowed up a hospital. Sorry, but when the frogs start whining about "war crimes," they can blow me and the horse I rode in on.

    5. .

      What more can you say folks?


    6. I'd add that Quirk is a fucking moron.

  13. :):):):):):)

    World Middle East

    Iraqi Shiite Politicians Call for Russian Airstrikes on Islamic State
    An escalation by Moscow would heighten tensions with U.S.
    By Matt Bradley and
    Ghassan Adnan
    Updated Oct. 6, 2015 7:56 p.m. ET

    BAGHDAD—Iraqi Shiite lawmakers and militia leaders are urging Russia to launch airstrikes on Islamic State militants in their country, an escalation that would heighten tensions with Washington and increase risks of a clash between the two powers.................

    If this should happen, perhaps The Extended Rufus Prediction of an ISIS free Iraq by the time Obozo leaves office will come to pass.

    The Rooskies will not be so polite as the US Air Force has been to date.

    I was saying the other day the Russians might be using our airfields in Iraq one of these fine days.........

  14. Shower, coffee, dress, off to work, in that order.....

    Have a great day !

    Cheers !

    1. Ben Carson walks into lion's den, tames lionesses......

      October 7, 2015
      Ben Carson disarms the lib ladies of The View
      By Thomas Lifson

      Ben Carson, out promoting his new book and making numerous TV appearances, ventured into hostile territory on the ABC daytime chatfest The View. With his mild manner, calm voice, and earnest demeanor, in my opinion he disarmed the liberals there. They threw abortion, birth control, evolution, and other progressive bogeymen at him, and he parried these thrusts with charm.

      Rather than describe what happened, I will embed four excerpts below. Judge for yourself.

      I could be wrong, but I suspect that the good doctor picked up quite a few more supporters, and opened even more minds among the viewership with his appearance yesterday................


      Go Ben !

  15. .

    Fuck Doctors w/o Borders.

    What the hell don't you get about the Geneva Conventions and intentionally bombing hospitals? Anybody's hospital. It's like bombing a Red Cross or Red Crescent or any other humanitarian hospital. And you are so certain it was a Taliban field hospital, was it also one when Afghan forces controlled the area around Kunduz?


    1. .

      I see Deuce put up a more comprehensive answer above.


  16. .

    Saw an ad being put up by supporters of Joe Biden.

    Does anyone else feel a little uncomfortable with them using the tragic deaths of his son and previously of his wife and daughter in a political ad?


    1. You always lag behind your better Bobbo who already mentioned this horse shit by Biden etal.

  17. I'll leave the politics of whether we should "be there," for others to hash out,

    but anyone that believes that our guys would purposefully fire on an operating hospital can kiss my rusty, red ex-Marine ass.

  18. .

    As far as I know, no one here has accused the US of, by design, attacking an hospital. What they have been accused of is being involved in another FUBAR incident in Afghanistan.

    The US may be having problems getting their story straight but even they are not trying to blame the victims.


    1. It was an accident, that's all I've really said.

      Mistakes happen a lot in war, and in everyday life.

      Perhaps you ought to apply this lesson to the Liberty incident.

  19. Russia Is Bombing Ambulances in Syria

    On the same day the U.S. struck a hospital in Afghanistan, Putin’s pilots struck medical facilities and vehicles nowhere near ISIS.
    Dr. Ammar Martini has a simple question he would like answered: “Why are the Russians bombing my hospitals and ambulances?”

    One of the cofounders of Orient Humanitarian Relief, a nonprofit that provides medical treatment and educational services in northern and central Syria, Martini was recounting to The Daily Beast how Russian airstrikes in the Idlib countryside Saturday destroyed a part of his emergency ambulance center. “They destroyed four or five of our vehicles,” he said. “These attacks were specifically targeting Orient.”

    Below is a video Oubai Shahbandar, a former Pentagon officials turned Orient employee, shared with The Daily Beast, showing the charred vehicles. “If the Russians think ambulances are legitimate terrorist targets,” Shahbandar emailed, “imagine what they’re going to do to the rest of Syria.”


  20. The frogs are throwing around "war crimes" bullshit, and no one here has defended our guys a whit. Well, fuck that.

    1. I don’t blame some tech sergeant following orders, I blame the politicians that have them there and the commanding officers. The general says he is responsible. I take him at his word. Then let him take the consequences.

    2. I am defending out guys.

      Accidents happen, things go wrong, mistakes are made.....and the military, thankfully, has a tendency to want to defend themselves.

  21. Did America bomb a hospital on purpose?

    Loaded question.

    Better question, did the taliban use the hospital as a military base and the hospital as human shields?


    Was the group operating the hospital sympathetic to the cause of the taliban?


    Doctors Without Borders Condemns Israel, Ignores Hamas War Crimes

    As an internationally recognized humanitarian organization, Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders, aka MSF) is viewed by many as apolitical, solely concerned with improving the well-being of people in need. In truth, MSF has strayed far from its goal of providing emergency medical aid, and it has violated its own pledge to observe “neutrality and impartiality.” Instead, it is taking advantage of its reputation to engage in anti-Israel political warfare.

    Those that embrace Islam do not live under the west's rules..

    get used to it.

    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

    2. No, the country that will need to get used to Islam is Israel. I give them 20 years.

    3. Deuce you and your funny predictions...

      A new and improved islam is in Israel, the majority of Arabs that are moslems IN ISRAEL are different than the rest of the world.

      Now my fair weather enemy, it is you and the world that is getting use to the traditional islam that seek to slaughter or enslave you all...



      Have you noticed, aside from some small exceptions, the vast majority of Israeli moslems are peaceful? No fleeing, no head chopping, no clit snipping...

      The world will thank israel once again (in due time) for moderating Islam.

      Get your thankyou's ready..

    4. Deuce best rapidly get used to Islam.

      He has invited 4 million Syrians into our country.

      Yet to hear him concerning the Syrian Christians, however.

      Pooty is doing a better job of showing concern for the Syrian Christians -

      Russia Declares ‘Holy War’ on Islamic State
      While Obama sides with Christian-murdering “freedom fighters.”
      October 7, 2015
      Raymond Ibrahim

      Raymond Ibrahim is a Shillman Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center

      The Orthodox Christian Church, which is reclaiming its traditional role in post-Soviet Russia, has just described its government’s fight against the Islamic State and other jihadi groups in Syria as a “holy war.”

      According to Vsevolod Chaplin, head of the Church’s Public Affairs Department,

      The fight with terrorism is a holy battle and today our country is perhaps the most active force in the world fighting it. The Russian Federation has made a responsible decision on the use of armed forces to defend the People of Syria from the sorrows caused by the arbitrariness of terrorists. Christians are suffering in the region with the kidnapping of clerics and the destruction of churches. Muslims are suffering no less.

      This is not a pretext to justify intervention in Syria. For years, Russia’s Orthodox leaders have been voicing their concern for persecuted Christians. Back in February 2012, the Russian church described to Vladimir Putin the horrific treatment Christians are experiencing around the world, especially under Islam:

      The head of External Church Relations, Metropolitan Illarion, said that every five minutes one Christian was dying for his or her faith in some part of the world, specifying that he was talking about such countries as Iraq, Egypt, Pakistan and India. The cleric asked Putin to make the protection of Christians one of the foreign policy directions in future.

      “This is how it will be, have no doubt,” Putin answered.

      Compare and contrast Putin’s terse response with U.S. President Obama, who denies the connection between Islamic teachings and violence; whose policies habitually empower Christian-persecuting Islamists; who prevents Christian representatives from testifying against their tormentors; and who even throws escaped Christian refugees back to the lions, while accepting tens of thousands of Muslim migrants......

      If an American Presidential election came down to Pooty v Obama I'd be hard pressed as for whom to vote for.....

  22. DAMASCUS, Syria — Russian warships in the Caspian Sea fired cruise missiles Wednesday as Syrian government troops launched a ground offensive in central Syria in the first major combined air-and-ground assault since Moscow began its military campaign in the country last week.

    The missiles flew nearly 1,500 kilometers (930 miles) over Iran and Iraq and struck Raqqa and Aleppo provinces in the north and Idlib province in the northwest, Russian officials said. The Islamic State group has strongholds in Raqqa and Aleppo, while the al-Qaida-linked Nusra Front has a strong presence in Idlib.

    U.S. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Russia was continuing to strike targets other than Islamic State militants, adding that he was concerned about the Syrian ground offensive backed by Moscow's airpower.

    The latest developments came a week after Russia began airstrikes in Syria, its longtime ally, on Sept. 30, and added a new dimension to the complex war that has torn apart the Mideast country since 2011.

    Activists and rebels say the targets have included Western-backed fighters and other groups opposed to President Bashar Assad.

    A Syrian official and activists said government troops pushed into areas in the central province of Hama and south of Idlib in the boldest multipronged attack on rebel-held areas, benefiting from the Russian air cover. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to the media.

    Moscow has mainly targeted central and northwestern Syria, strategic regions that are the gateway to Assad's strongholds in Damascus, and along the Mediterranean coast where Russia has a naval base.

    1. How many civilians has russia killed in 4 days?

      Ah, no one cares...

      It's not the IDF..

  23. Medecins Sans Frontieres on Wednesday demanded an independent international commission to investigate the deadly U.S. bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, and President Barack Obama apologized to the medical charity.

    MSF, or Doctors Without Borders, which deems the attack a war crime, urged Obama to consent to a humanitarian commission established under the Geneva Conventions, even though neither the United States nor Afghanistan were signatories to the commission.

    The group said that the inquiry would gather facts and evidence from the United States, NATO and Afghanistan, as well as testimony from MSF staff and patients who survived Saturday's attack.

    Only then would MSF consider whether to bring criminal charges for loss of life and partial destruction of its trauma hospital, which has left tens of thousands of Afghans without access to health care, it said.

    "If we let this go, as if was a non-event, we are basically giving a blank check to any countries who are at war," MSF International President Joanne Liu told a news briefing in Geneva. "If we don't safeguard that medical space for us to do our activities, then it is impossible to work in other contexts like Syria, South Sudan, like Yemen."

    Obama telephoned Liu to apologize and express his condolences for the attack that killed 22 people, including 12 MSF staff, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said on Wednesday.

    Asked whether Obama offered some explanation to Liu, Earnest said no. "He merely offered his heartfelt apology" and a commitment to find out what went wrong, Earnest said.

    He said Obama told Liu that a U.S. investigation would "provide a transparent, thorough and objective accounting of the facts and circumstances of the incident. And that, if necessary, the president would implement changes to make tragedies like this one less likely to occur in the future."

    In New York, Jason Cone, executive director of MSF in the United States, called for the International Humanitarian Fact-Finding Commission (IHFFC) to be activated for the first time since its 1991 creation under the Geneva Conventions.

  24. It's quite entertaining watching those that hate israel predict it's untimely demise...

    Who would have predicted (besides me) 9 years ago that today Libya, Sudan, Morocco, Algeria, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Iran, Egypt, Hamas, The PA and all sorts of other Islamic knuckleheads would be imploding?

    Going broke, slaughtering each other, fleeing in mass hoards across the globe... Drowning in boats by the scores to escape their very "homelands" that they scream will be theirs forever...

    Yeah, Rat used to say Israel would be destroyed in 10 years... Deuce's prediction not much better....


    Newsflash for all of you....

    Israel is not going anywhere.

    Even as Obama has thrown it under the "bus" it will survive.

    Now America? Not sure how it will fair in the short term with all those "reformations" that obama has wrought....

    Maybe it will become the new Amerika?

  25. In a recent poll 51% of American Muslims said they wished to institute sharia law in the USA. And I think the actual number is higher than that, as many practice taqiyya......

    Yup, just what we need is 4 million more Muslims of the Syrian variety....


    1. Saudis to Behead 28 Muslims for Holy Mecca Stampede........Drudge

      Don'tcha just love 'em ?

      We need more Muslims for diversity's sake, or something.....