June 15, 2008

Afghanistan Body Count Rises

Once again the powers that be have another war to supply, more money to be made by shedding the blood of pawns. Not a mention of who the new soldiers are and where they will come from. Oh, right, we're recruiting from places Americans never would imagine, like Uganda. See my post of 4/9/08–Uganda: The New Face of US Military? for details on what we’re doing to entice that country’s young men to sign up. And there are plenty of Third World Countries where people are willing to risk death in war to escape death from famine, or tribal wars or juntas. Aren't you sick of it?
May Combat Deaths In Afghanistan
Outnumber Those In Iraq

June 13, 2008
via http://www.uruknet.de/?s1=1&p=44859&s2=14
BRUSSELS, Belgium — It's
a grim gauge of U.S. wars going in opposite directions: American and allied combat deaths in Afghanistan in May passed the monthly toll in Iraq for the first time.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates used the statistical comparison to dramatize his point to NATO defense ministers that they need to do more to get Afghanistan moving in a better direction. He wants more allied combat troops, more trainers and more public commitment.
But the deterioration in Afghanistan suggests a troubling additional possibility: a widening of the war to Pakistan, where the Taliban and al-Qaida have found haven.
By the Pentagon's count, 15 U.S. and two allied troops were killed in action in Iraq last month, a total of 17. In Afghanistan it was 19, including 14 Americans and five coalition troops. One month does not make a trend, but in this case the statistics are so out of whack with perceptions of the two wars that Gates could use them to drive home his point about Afghanistan.
Even when non-combat deaths are included, the overall May toll was greate
r in Afghanistan than in Iraq: a total of 22 in Afghanistan, including 17 Americans, compared with 21 in Iraq, including 19 Americans, according to an Associated Press count.
Gates made a point upon taking his Pentagon post in December 2006, amid great and growing U.S. public doubt about Iraq, that he was deeply concerned about backsliding in the less publicized and less unpopular war in Afghanistan. He seems even more troubled now.
And he appears less patient with the allies, aware that much of the European population is unconvinced by the American argument that al-Qaida in Central Asia _ whether it's Afghanistan, Pakistan or the largely ungoverned areas along their mountainous frontier _ poses a
grave danger to Europe as well as to the United States.
Gates said that when it came his turn to talk at Thursday's defense ministers meeting on Afghanistan he tossed aside the remarks his aides had prepared for him and stated his case as sharply and directly as he could.
NATO has no direct combat role in Iraq. In Afghanistan, several allies are taking a fighting role, but most have shied away, preferring to contribute in other ways such as humanitarian assistance.
The relatively low U.S. death toll in Iraq in May continues a trend of declining violence
against Americans as well as Iraqi civilians, although the situation there remains fragile. If the trend continues _ which is far from a certainty _ then U.S. officials may decide to withdraw more U.S. troops in the second half of the year and perhaps beyond. That would enable the Pentagon to send more troops to Afghanistan _ for combat and for training Afghan forces.
And that's just what the next president may have to do unless things begin turni
ng around in Afghanistan.
United States Defense Secretary Robert Gates speaks during a media conference after a meeting of NATO defense ministers at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Friday June 13, 2008. NATO nations have agreed to broaden their peacekeeping mission in Kosovo to include training for the newly independent nation's security forces. (AP Photo/Virginia Mayo)

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