Saturday, November 26, 2011

Winning the (Afghan) Future

How you going win this one? The WaPo reports:

To grasp the severity of Lt. Gen. Michael D. Barbero’s $40-fertilizer-bomb problem, it helps to consider some much bigger numbers.

Barbero heads a U.S. military command, with an annual budget of about $2.8 billion, that was created to stem U.S. casualties from insurgent bombs. In just the past few months, he has shelled out $24 million for a new hand-held ground-penetrating radar, $33 million for mini-surveillance robots and $19 million for bomb-resistant underwear.

The insurgent’s weapon of choice in Afghanistan is at the other end of the price spectrum: a plastic jug filled with ammonium nitrate fertilizer. So far this year, these cheap, hard-to-detect bombs have wounded about 3,200 U.S. soldiers and Marines, up 22 percent from 2010, according to the Pentagon. . .

Note the focus on underwear, as genital injuries are common now.

With Osama bin Laden dead and few al-Qaeda reported left in Afghanistan, for whom and what are the U. S. fighting in Afghanistan?

More Problems in Pak-Ghanistan

It's another uh-oh moment in the Pak-ghanistan region, as Reuters reports.

YAKKAGHUND, Pakistan (Reuters) - NATO helicopters and fighter jets attacked two military outposts in northwest Pakistan on Saturday, killing as many as 28 troops and plunging U.S.-Pakistan relations deeper into crisis. . .
A senior Obama administration official said U.S. officials had contacted their Pakistani counterparts from Islamabad, Kabul and Washington to express "our desire to work together to determine what took place, and our commitment to the U.S.-Pakistan partnership which advances our shared interests, including fighting terrorism in the region."

The NATO-led force in Afghanistan confirmed that NATO aircraft had probably killed Pakistani soldiers in an area close to the Afghan-Pakistani border.

"Close air support was called in, in the development of the tactical situation, and it is what highly likely caused the Pakistan casualties," said General Carsten Jacobson, spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF).

There's one Republican candidate for President who talks about the harm that all the war-fighting the U.S. does overseas can do to the U.S. national interests. This sort of horrifying incident, which either was or was not intentional, has the potential to bring a lot more visits from Chinese and even Russian diplomats to Islamabad.