News PM Punch — ‘Zero Option’

November 28, 2013

newsmanA sky full of bright sunshine blended with a mild breeze this afternoon on California’s north coast — even with a slight chill, it’s nice.

And circulating high on the news cycle this PM appears to come from overseas — the crazy skirmish over some islands in the South China Sea continues to advance in scale; the fevered nuts in North Korea might be warming up a nuclear reactor again, and Iraq appears headed toward some kind of historic wave of butchery.

On top of that, supposedly the US bombed a house in Afghanistan while pursuing an insurgent, killing women and children in the process, bringing protests from an already near-rabid Hamid Karzai, and rocking the tedious, horrible American maybe-exit from that war-pillaged country.
From Reuters:

President Hamid Karzai said U.S. forces had bombed a home in southern Afghanistan, killing a small child and wounding two women, and condemned the attack as a sign of disregard for civilian lives, his spokesman said on Thursday.
The strike could not have come at a worse time, as Karzai is engaged in a stand-off with the U.S. government over a bilateral security agreement that will decide whether U.S. troop stay in Afghanistan beyond 2014.
“It shows that U.S. forces have no respect for the decisions of the Loya Jirga and life of civilians in Afghanistan,” said Karzai’s spokesman, Aimal Faizi.
“If such operations continue, there will be no agreement.”

The US has threatened the use of “zero option” like in Iraq next year if Karzai won’t sign. Supposedly, the thingy is a security agreement for Afghanistan after US troops leave in 2014 — about 15,000 were to remain to aid in training and counter-terrorism efforts.
America’s war lately have been real shitty. Afghanistan is this country’s longest war, and mostly for nothing, and it’s time to get out.
Bob Dreyfuss atĀ The Nation on the wisdom of that agreement:

There are crucial questions Obama has failed to address: If the more than 100,000 US troops that occupied Afghanistan after his escalations of 2009 failed to neutralize the Taliban and its allies, how will a far smaller US contingent accomplish that task?
How will the Afghan security forces, which have already absorbed $54 billion in US aid since 2002, gain enough strength with another decade of American cash infusions of up to $6 billion a year?
Perhaps most important: Where is the US diplomatic strategy to secure an accord between the Afghan government, non-Taliban opposition forces and the Taliban itself?

All no.

Meanwhile, half-a-world away, the nut-showing contest for those uninhabited islands south of Japan — known to the Japanese as Senkaku, and to the Chinese as Diaoyu — continued to attract attention.
Via NBC News:

China’s military sent several fighter jets and an early warning aircraft on patrol into disputed air space over the East China Sea on Thursday, the Chinese state news agency Xinhua reported, quoting a spokesman for the People’s Liberation Army Air Force.
The move raises the stakes in a standoff with the United States, Japan and South Korea over the zone.
Japan and South Korea sent their own military aircraft through the air space on Thursday.
Two unarmed American B-52 bombers flew through the area Monday night on what the Pentagon called a training mission.
The Chinese patrol mission was “a defensive measure and in line with international common practices,” said Shen Jinke, a spokesman for China’s air force, in the Xinhua article.

Joe Biden is suppose to visit the region next week, but that really don’t mean a whole lot.

And a half-skip-and-a-jump away, people who know, claim North Korea is cranking up the old atomic mixer again. FromĀ the Guardian this afternoon:

Activity has been observed at a North Korean nuclear site consistent with an effort to restart a reactor, the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Yukiya Amano, has said.

“Activities have been observed at the site that are consistent with an effort to restart the 5MW(e) reactor,” Amano told the IAEA’s 35-nation board.
“However, as the agency has no access to the site, it is not possible for us to conclusively determine whether the reactor has been restarted,” he said, according to a copy of his speech.

When North Korea said it planned to revive the reactor, nuclear experts said it would probably take about half a year to get it up and running, if it had not suffered significant damage from neglect.

Strange a place like North Korea in the nowadays. It’s extraordinary there hasn’t been some hideous nuclear accident already, or a shooting war.

Meanwhile, the deepening nightmare of Iraq. Despite Iraq’s petrodollars slowly bubbling upward, the slaughter has continued and has become the stuff of a horror tale.
This today via antiwar.com:

In Baghdad, eight dumped bodies were discovered, blindfolded and shot in Doura.
Another six shot bodies were found in a Shula canal.
Five family members were shot to death at their home in Hurriya.
Gunmen killed a man waiting at a bus stop in Bayaa; seven more were wounded.
A bomb and mortar fire killed three people in Doura and wounded three others.
A roadside bomb in an industrial area of Talibiya left one dead and four wounded.
Mortars killed at least two more and wounded five across southern neighborhoods.

A total of at least 75 dead from all over, killed either by being shot, or blown apart by bombs — maybe a return to the ethnic-cleansing days of 2006, or worse.
Thank-you, George Jr. and The Dick — you boys gave the Iraqis the ‘zero option’ alright.

And Thanksgiving 2013 draws close to conclusion — into the evening, maybe ‘The American‘ with George Clooney on Netflix.

(Illustration above found here).

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