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Friday, March 04, 2005

Time to March Forth...unfinished business 

Today is a day that is also a command. Let's march forth from the illegal war in Iraq, the unfinished war in Afghanistan, and work on peace. The ignominy of wounding the released Italian hostage and killing her negotiator may well cost the "Coalition of the Shilling" Italy, and likely the rest of the EU after that. The coalition's "control" over Iraq, always a question, is now teetering toward chaos. The US is clearly losing the war, and it doesn't look like there will be a semblance of a handoff before the troops have to pull out (excepting a draft, which should bring down the presidency).

The whole mideast "policy" is spiraling downward. We see that even the war in Afghanistan is in danger of being lost. The Taliban probably control, effectively, more territory than U.S. troops, and the trends aren't looking good:

After the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan, Taliban fighters launched attacks on U.S. and governmental forces in groups of 10 to 15 men. Now the Taliban attack in groups ranging from 100 to 150 men.

New Taliban leaders have appeared in Pakistani media, including military spokesmen and foreign relations officials.


The Taliban have launched a bimonthly newsletter called Masone, or "Appearance," and distribute leaflets at night, in the same fashion that the mujahideen communicated with the Afghan public during the Soviet invasion.

Taliban leadership have gathered 600 signatures from Afghan religious scholars on a statement calling for jihad against American forces and distributed in northern provinces. The importance of religion in Muslim society and in Afghanistan gives the petition weight.

"W" had better think about getting back to War 1 (Afghanistan). With enough concentration he might, just might, win that one. Iraq is already lost.

Winning even in Afghanistan will be extortionately expensive. The Taliban use Honda motorcycles where US troops use F-16s:

Huwaidi writes that Taliban forces have little trouble capturing Afghan cities. They have not, however, been able to maintain control of these cities upon the arrival of U.S. air power. Yet that fact does not conflict with the Taliban's overall strategy, Huwaidi says, which is to get the Americans involved in a costly war of attrition.

Not to worry. We can always borrow more money. We can always watch the dollar plummet further. That way no Americans will travel overseas, and so be even more gullible to the lies their government is telling them. It's a nice little plan, except for that one tricky part about LOSING THE WAR.

-Vulf

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Allard the Allosaurus revisited 

Turns out (see TheBite, 17 Jan 2005) Wayne Allard's comment "And, a majority of Alaskans, including the native Eskimo town of Kaktovik located in the Arctic Plain, welcome environmentally responsible investment and the jobs and other benefits that will result from this exploration." was a bit presumptive--they don't want him drilling, after all:

ANCHORAGE (Reuters) - Citing threats to caribou, geese and other wildlife, Alaska Native leaders have called for the Bush administration to scrap its plan to allow oil drilling in an Arctic area long protected from development. The North Slope Borough, the local government for the mostly Inupiat Eskimo district along Alaska's Arctic coastline, and the Association of Village Council Presidents, representing Yupik Eskimos from southwestern Alaska, are criticizing the administration's plan to open up the Teshekpuk Lake area to oil development.

The lake and its surroundings, part of the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska, are slated to be leased for oil exploration under a plan issued in January by the Bureau of Land Management.
Though the area has been off-limits to development for decades because of its wildlife values, bureau officials concluded that the high oil potential there warrants changing a policy that dates back to the Reagan administration.


The plan would immediately open 350,000 to 400,000 acres adjoining the lake to exploration and allow future exploration on the 211,000 acres of the lake itself. The area holds a potential 1.4 billion barrels of oil, the bureau has estimated. Interior Secretary Gale Norton will make the final decision on the proposal, Jody Weil, spokeswoman for the Bureau of Land Management, said. A 30-day public review period on the plan ended this week.

But the Inupiat and Yupik leaders say the area is too sensitive to open to oil drilling there.
A 29-page letter sent on Friday to Norton from North Slope Borough Mayor George Ahmaogak criticized the government's plan as lacking scientific merit and offering only vague promises about environmental protection. "What's the rush here? There are plenty of areas open to leasing in NPR-A right now and plenty of leased areas that haven't been explored," Ahmaogak said in a news release issued with the letter.


That, and it might never be profitable. Let's put our money into alternative fuel, shall we?

-Vulf

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