|—||A September 1873 telegram from Samuel Levy, the mayor Shreveport, Louisiana to U.S. Senator J.R. West of that same state as yellow fever swept through his city. For the full story and an eye-opening analysis of public health and panic from the 19th century to today, check out “A Brief History of Panic” — NYTimes.com|
This “new drone base in northwest Africa would join a constellation of small airstrips in recent years on the continent, including in Ethiopia, for surveillance missions flown by drones or turboprop planes designed to look like civilian aircraft,” writes Eric Schmitt in today’s New York Times. He continues: “If the base is approved, the most likely location for it would be in, a largely desert nation on the eastern border of Mali. The American military’s Africa Command, or Africom, is also discussing options for the base with other countries in the region, including Burkina Faso, officials said.”
Ideally, the 66,000 American troops would already be leaving, and all of them would be out as soon as safely possible; by our estimate, that would be the end of this year. The war that started after Sept. 11, 2001, would be over and securing the country would be up to Afghanistan’s 350,000-member security force, including the army and police, which the United States has spent $39 billion to train and equip over a decade.
But there is a conflict between the ideal and the political reality. Mr. Obama has yet to decide how fast he will withdraw the remaining troops, and the longer he delays, the more he enables military commanders who inevitably want to keep the maximum number of troops in Afghanistan for the maximum amount of time.
|—||JOSHUA LANDIS, director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, on a speech in which President Bashar al-Assad of Syria defended a crackdown and sought to rally supporters.|
John Kiriakou is the first CIA officer to go to prison for America’s War on Terror torture program. But John Kiriakou didn’t torture anyone. His crime? He told members of the press about the CIA’s torture program.
|—||Francis X. Clines, ‘Canners’ Work Overtime to Earn 5 Cents a Pop - NYTimes.com|
Wars? What wars? The New York Times reports that, in examining end-of-the-year lists of 2012’s top news stories, the Pew Research Center found that “the public’s interest in news stories showed such a low level of interest that the overseas conflicts didn’t make the organization’s list of the year’s top 15 stories.”
A vitally important piece by the New York Times’ intrepid C.J. Chivers on the effects of cluster munitions on civilians in the small Syrian town of Marea.
I’ve personally witnessed the effects cluster munitions have on the human body and talked to parents who have lost children to them. One word describes both: devastating.
Thankfully, as Chivers writes, “use of cluster munitions is banned by much of the world.” But “much” isn’t all. He further notes that “Syria, like the United States, is not party to that international convention.”
Read the full article at: “Syria Uses Cluster Bombs to Attack as Many Civilians as Possible” - NYTimes.com
They Just Couldn’t Stay Away
Today, the New York Times reported this little gem in a front-page piece: “Syrian War’s Spillover Threatens a Fragile Iraq”: “At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.”
If you recall, U.S. troops departed Iraq in late 2011. Now, less than a year later, they’re back! This, of course, is no great shock given that — as I reported last year — U.S. Special Operations Forces are deployed in about 120 countries per year, but it’s definitely worth more ink than it was given.
When the call comes for him to fire a missile and kill a militant — and only, Colonel Brenton said, when the women and children are not around — the hair on the back of his neck stands up, just as it did when he used to line up targets in his F-16 fighter jet.
Afterward, just like the old days, he compartmentalizes. “I feel no emotional attachment to the enemy,” he said. “I have a duty, and I execute the duty.”