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January 18, 2006
Of International Significance

Row grows on terror-suspect flights

THE British Government appeared to be uncertain about the number of US "rendition" flights through British airspace, according to a leaked document to be published today.

A Foreign Office memo to Downing Street - obtained by the New Statesman magazine - suggests the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) may have operated more flights involving the transfer of terror suspects between countries than the two already confirmed by London.

I don't remembering seeing this in the USofA media. But then, the USofA media's interest in the "extraordinary rendition" scandal seems to have been remarkably short-lived.

US Army raises enlistment age to 40

THE US Army has raised its maximum enlistment age from 35 to 40 years old and is doubling signing up bonuses to a high of $US40,000 ($53,510).

Well, we heard the rumors they were going to. I wonder if they think there's a huge pool of 36-40 year-olds just panting to be sent to Iraq or Afghanistan?

Although Afghanistan might not be a problem soon.


Members of a delegation accompanying US Vice President Dick Cheney to Kabul for the inaugural ceremony of the newly constituted parliament last month would have been the first Americans to report back to Washington that something odd was going on in Afghanistan, that things were not quite like what they had read in their briefs and position papers.


From the US perspective, this may look a moot point since maximum political mileage has been already squeezed out of the "war on terror" in Afghanistan. To an appreciable extent, President George W Bush owes his second term in office to the Afghan war. Karzai's hastily arranged victory in the presidential election, on the eve of the US election, was trumpeted in front of a naive electorate in the US as a foreign policy triumph that made America more secure from "terrorism".

From Washington's point of view, therefore, it may seem that the law of diminishing returns is at work for the Bush administration. The most prudent thing for the US is, understandably, to claim "victory" and to disengage from active military duty in the Hindu Kush. The ground situation in Afghanistan is worsening. The Taliban are undoubtedly spreading their presence. There is no point quibbling over the Taliban's "strength".


The Taliban may not be able to capture power in Kabul, but they are increasingly in a position to create mayhem, and that makes the governance of the country simply impossible. The huge income from drug trafficking has made Afghan resistance "self-financing". The Taliban's tactics are working.

But fortunately for the US, unlike in Iraq, an exit strategy is at hand. The baton is simply being passed on to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. The US is counting on the "New Europeans" who are eager to prove their "Europeanness", and NATO's Anglo-Saxon contingents to come forward for a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

Interesting article. Me, I doubt the USofA will be able to cut-and-run and leave the mess to NATO, but we'll see.

US moves diplomats out of Europe

"America must begin to reposition our diplomatic forces around the world," Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on Wednesday.


The philosophy was an attempt "to seek and support the growth of democratic movements and institutions in every nation and culture, with the ultimate goal of ending tyranny in our world," she said.

Ah. We're going to be "bringing democracy" to some other lucky candidates soon, I see.

"Transformational diplomacy is rooted in partnership, not in paternalism," she said, adding that it was based on "doing things with people, not for them."

Compassionate Conservatism

Transformational Diplomacy

The Rightwing does love their grandiose-sounding phrases, don't they? If this bears the same resemblance to...well, to actual diplomacy that the above bears to either compassion or conservatism, we're all in big trouble.

Posted by AnneZook at 08:01 PM