Afghanistan, the graveyard of empires or just a graveyard with a pipeline running through it?

William Bowles

“The US does not need a final victory over the Talibs. Despite their widely advertized ferocious conflict, the US and the Talibs manage to coexist quite successfully in Afghanistan…”[1]

Come on folks, it’s just good sense, there is no way the Empire can actually win the war in Afghanistan. As I have stated before it’s not about ‘winning’ but occupation. Afghanistan is basically a stepping stone on the way to some place else and leaving an oil pipeline behind with a friendly government in place to protect it. Ah, but the best laid plans of mice and men

And this is why it bears no comparison to the idiotic occupation that the Soviets got sucked into, except for the slaughter of course. But from a strategic and economic perspective, along with Iran, Pakistan and India, Afghanistan commands the entrance to East Asia and there’s gold in them thar hills!

Last Exit From Afghanistan

Gwynne Dyer

The pathetic shambles of the past few months has had relatively little impact on public opinion in Afghanistan, where Karzai's democratic ``legitimacy'' was never much of an issue. His power, such as it is, has always depended on U.S. military support and access to Western aid, not on votes. But the fiasco has had a significant impact on public opinion in the Western countries whose troops are fighting in Afghanistan.

There must be a better way to rig an election. First the Western powers occupying Afghanistan let President Hamid Karzai stay in the job for months after his term actually expired on the grounds that an election in the late summer would be easier to arrange. They finally held the election in August and declared it a shining success: Karzai, Washington's man in Kabul, had been re-elected, even though turnout nationally was only 30 percent. (In the Taliban-dominated south, it was only 5 percent.) ― President Barack Obama, who was already under great pressure to send more U.S. troops to Afghanistan, declared that ``This was an important step forward in the Afghan people's effort to take control of their future.'' And then it all fell apart.

The Internet as You Know It Will Cease to Exist

Arthur Silber

The tune changes, but the dance goes on. We'll have to learn some new steps. That's always the way it works. That is, as we say, life. And that's a very good thing.

Hey, relax. It's not going to be the end of the world -- but as my headline says, in time it may be the end of the internet as you know it. Cory Doctorow claims: "The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad." It says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

Doctorow has pulled out two additional provisions, which are similarly bad. (On the first point above, I'm not at all sure that Doctorow's argument regarding Flickr, YouTube and Blogger necessarily follows from the preceding sentence, although I certainly understand his reasoning. In any case, the provision is still remarkably bad. It's also extremely vague: what precisely does "proactively police" mean and require? Perhaps it's spelled out in the full document. But unquestionably very bad.)

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