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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Could Afghanistan Become Obama’s Vietman? Robert Fisk: For the truth, look to Tehran and Damascus – not Tripoli,

Just as Mr. Johnson believed he had no choice but to fight in Vietnam to contain communism, Mr. Obama last week portrayed Afghanistan as the bulwark against international terrorism. “This is not a war of choice,” he told the Veterans of Foreign Wars at their convention in Phoenix. “This is a war of necessity. Those who attacked America on 9/11 are plotting to do so again. If left unchecked, the Taliban insurgency will mean an even larger safe haven from which Al Qaeda would plot to kill more Americans.”

But while many Americans once shared that view, polls suggest that conviction is fading nearly eight years into the war. The share of Americans who said the war in Afghanistan was worth fighting slipped below 50 percent in a survey released last week by The Washington Post and ABC News. A July poll by the New York Times and CBS News showed that 57 percent of Americans think things are going badly for the United States in Afghanistan, compared with 33 percent who think they are going well. Could Afghanistan Become Obama’s Vietman?

I have read all the interviews which the German police conducted with their suspects. They are devastating. There clearly was a Lebanese connection. And there probably was a Palestinian connection. How can I forget a press conference in Beirut held by the head of the pro-Syrian "Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine" (they were known, then, as the "Lockerbie boys") in which their leader, Ahmed Jibril, suddenly blurted out: "I'm not responsible for the Lockerbie bombing. They are trying to get me with a kangaroo court." Yet there was no court at the time. Only journalists – with MI6 and the CIA contacts – had pointed the finger at Jibril's rogues. It was Iran's revenge, they said, for the shooting down of a perfectly innocent Iranian passenger jet by the captain of the American warship Vincennes a few months earlier. I still happen to believe this is close to the truth. But the moment Syria sent its tanks to defend Saudi Arabia after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, all the MI6 truth-telling turned into a claptrap of nonsense about Col Gaddafi. And Gaddafi, let's face it, was in deep trouble. Libya almost certainly was responsible for the earlier bombing of French UTA flight 772 over Chad in 1989. Why not frame him with Lockerbie too? Robert Fisk: For the truth, look to Tehran and Damascus – not Tripoli

American Muslims, Arabs, South Asians, and Latinos are still waiting for federal officials to respect our civil rights. Shahid Buttar: Smoke and Mirrors By Shahid Buttar

Some references to the Arabs are an attempt at humour. Ezra Pound addressed Lawrence as "My Dear Hadji ben Abt el Bakshish, Prince de Mecque," and Winston Churchill, whose early work on the Sudanese campaign contains plenty of anti-Arab racism, would address Lawrence as "My dear 'Lurens'," because that's how Arabs pronounced Lawrence's name. No one, I hastily add, could ever beat Noel Coward's wonderful opening to a letter to Lawrence when our hero was posing as an anonymous aircraftsman with a mere service number for a name. "Dear 338171," Coward begins. "May I call you 338?" That's almost as good as the Second World War cartoon by Pont of an English gentleman lifting the phone in 1940 and telling the operator: "Get me Messerschmitt 109." Robert Fisk’s World: From the crusaders on, contempt for the Arabs is written in stone

Palestinians are as eager as anyone to see positive economic development for their tormented country. But they know full well that real economic progress awaits their release from Israeli military occupation (West Bank, East Jerusalem) and siege (Gaza Strip). Consider the recent media promotion of the Netanyahu government's view that the occupied West Bank is witnessing rapid economic growth. Israel still strangles the Palestinian economy (Sam Bahour, The Wall Street Journal )

On Friday night's "Real Time With Bill Maher", Maher laid down some new rules. "New Rule: If Mitt Romney, Karl Rove and Sarah Palin all think America has never done anything wrong, we must be doing something wrong," he begins, then adds, "if in your eyes America can do no wrong, you should really look into Lasik surgery." Bill Maher: New Rule: No Shame In Being The Sorry Party (VIDEO)

KABUL — President Hamid Karzai's leading challenger accused him of using the Afghan state to "rig" this week's election and detailed allegations of cheating by government officials in an interview Saturday with The Associated Press. Abdullah Abdullah, once Karzai's foreign minister, said he was in contact with other campaigns to explore the possibility of a coalition candidacy in case none of the 36 candidates won enough votes in last Thursday's ballot to avoid a runoff, probably in October Abdullah: Karzai Rigged Afghan Vote


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