Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Archive for May 13th, 2007

Losing hearts and minds

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Greg Mitchell reports a disturbing policy:

Until recently, the press has rarely covered the U.S. military program that occasionally offers “condolence” payments to Iraqis and Afghans whose loved ones have been killed or injured by our troops. But a number of high-profile incidents involving the killing of noncombatants has drawn some long-overdue, if fleeting, attention to the subject.

On Tuesday, in the latest example, the U.S. military apologized for a not-accidental atrocity near Jalalabad back in March and agreed to make the usual maximum payment — don’t laugh — of about $2000 to survivors for each of the 19 Afghan lives lost.

That’s an improvement in some ways. Last month I titled a column on this subject, “Sorry We Shot Your Kid, Here’s $500,” referring to a documented case in Iraq.

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Written by LeisureGuy

13 May 2007 at 1:53 pm

Bob Woodward and George Tenet

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Neither have worn well, but this article about Woodward’s reaction to Tenet’s book (and Tenet’s counterreaction) is interesting.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 May 2007 at 1:37 pm

What the US brought to Iraq

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Disappearances, but now with a database:

When her heart is heaviest, Sahira Kereem tries to think of the little things her husband did that annoyed her. She remembers times when she suggested they visit her parents, and he just rolled his eyes.

The mental trick rarely brings her comfort. The fact remains that Riyadh Juma Saleh, her husband of nearly 15 years, went missing one day nearly three years ago and Kareem has no idea what became of him.

Over the past four years, as sectarian kidnappings and killings have gripped Iraq and U.S. forces have arrested untold numbers in an effort to pacify the country, tens of thousands of Iraqis have vanished, often in circumstances as baffling as that of Kereem’s husband, a Shiite Muslim father of three.

There’s no accurate count of the missing since the war began. Iraqi human rights groups put the figure at 15,000 or more, while government officials say 40 to 60 people disappeared each day throughout the country for much of last year, a rate equal to at least 14,600 in one year.

What happened to them is a frustrating mystery that compounds Iraq’s overwhelming sense of chaos and anarchy. Are they dead? Were they kidnapped or killed in some mass bombing? Is the Iraqi government or some militia group holding them? Were they taken prisoner by the United States, which is holding 19,000 Iraqis at its two main detention centers, at Camp Cropper and Camp Bucca?

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Written by LeisureGuy

13 May 2007 at 8:19 am

Possible outcomes in Iraq

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McClatchy  Washington Bureau’s Warren Strobel has an interesting analysis:

Now that moderate Republicans have told President Bush that time is running out on his Iraq policy, he’ll have to demonstrate real progress in a matter of months or face choices that range from the highly unpleasant to the nearly unthinkable.

September, only four months away, is increasingly looking like a deadline. By then, it should be known whether Bush’s “surge” strategy of increased U.S. troops in Iraq is having an impact and whether Iraqis have undertaken long-promised changes to ease sectarian warfare. The 2008 U.S. presidential election will be in full cry.

After more than four years of conflict in Iraq, analysts say, there aren’t many options left.

As former U.S. officials Carlos Pascual and Kenneth Pollack, now scholars at the Brookings Institution, wrote recently:

“The four basic options facing this – and the next – administration are victory, stability, withdrawal and containment. Victory, as defined by President Bush, is not currently attainable.”

Here is a look at some of the American options:

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Written by LeisureGuy

13 May 2007 at 8:15 am

No-shave day

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Sigh. It’s hard to go a day without shaving…

In looking at the coming week, I have a new D.R. Harris shaving stick—Marlborough—for Monday, a stack of Mama Bear soaps I want to use, and a discussion on the forums making me think I should do some serious experimentation to learn the difference between the lather from a triple-milled soap (e.g., Truefitt & Hill) and a glycerine soap (e.g., Mama Bear). So I’ll follow the Mama Bear days with some triple-milled days to see whether I can detect a difference.

Ah, shaving: the never-ending exploration.

Written by LeisureGuy

13 May 2007 at 8:12 am

Posted in Daily life, Shaving

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