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OBAMA’S OUTRAGE December 26, 2010

Posted by wmmbb in South West Asia.
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President Obama is just the person for outrage. It seems part of the presidential posture.

Juan Cole provides some background context for a suicide bombing at a food aid distribution centre in Khar, Pakistan, close to the border of Afghanistan.

ABC News Online reports:

US president Barack Obama has condemned the “outrageous terrorist attack” in north-western Pakistan in which a suicide bomber killed dozens of people at a World Food Program project.

The burka-wearing bomber, who some officials said was a woman, killed at least 40 people and wounded 100 as many of them queued for food being distributed by the United Nations food agency in Khar, the main town of lawless Bajaur tribal district.

“I strongly condemn the outrageous terrorist attack in Khar, Pakistan,” Mr Obama said from Hawaii, where he was spending Christmas with his family.

“Killing innocent civilians outside a World Food Program distribution point is an affront to the people of Pakistan, and to all humanity.”

Khar was once a stronghold of Taliban militants, who have carried out several bombings and suicide attacks in the area, which is near the Afghanistan border.

A soldier wounded in the attack has described the moment the bomber struck.

“She was a lady who came out from the ladies’ gathering. She had been there since the morning. One of our soldiers was not allowing her to enter,” he said.

“She hurled a hand grenade, causing a small blast. People started running. She screamed and after that she blew herself up. She was wearing a grey burka.”

Most of the victims belonged to the local Salarzai tribe which supported military action against the militants and formed a militia to force them from Bajaur.

“The United States stands with the people of Pakistan in this difficult time, and will strongly support Pakistan’s efforts to ensure greater peace, security and justice for its people,” Mr Obama said in his brief statement.

I applaud the President’s condemnation. However, this man and his administration, perhaps guided by Petraeus and others at the Pentagon, have intensified the barbarous nature of the illegal war and occupation by aerial bombing, drone murders and other methods resulting in the unnecessary deaths of people of Afghanistan, both combatant and noncombatant, with the long term detriment to their society.

In this particular instance, it is difficult to know and understand what would cause a person, male or female, to do such a thing, but doubtless there are reasons. And then there are those who do set out on a violent course of action, with consequences for many more people, in a calculated way factored around political expediency, material benefit, a sense of immunity and disregard for human suffering.

ELSEWHERE:

At The New York Review of Books, Ahmed Rashid delineates “The way out of Afghanistan”. A likely predictions that the identified participants in the great game will do their deals, and the people of Afghanistan will be left with consequences of the decades of war and violence.

Expect the Bundeswehr to have left “the armed conflict” behind by next year, as Frank-Walter Steinmeier, the leader of SPD, insists on that condition consistent with the public opinion polls in Germany, as reported by Deutsche Wella. Are the diplomatic staff at the US embassies and consulates in the same position to apply pressure as before the release of emails by Wikileaks? They will try, but it may now be more difficult for them to operate as before, now the communication environment has changed.

Gareth Porter describes the brutal tactics of US in Khandahar in conversation with Scott Horton on AntiWar.com.

Robert Grenier, former CIA, concludes his three-part series of the necessary changes of US policy in Afghanistan at Al Jazeera.

The Huffington Post reports for the third straight years President Obama is judged according to the USA Today- Gallop Poll to be “the most admired man in America”. 22% of respondents identified the president.

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