jollyroger's picture

    Afghanistan vaults past US on civil liberties and human rights! It comes to this!

    It was bad enough a month or so ago when a conflict roiled Afghan-US relations over the release by our clients of thousands of detainees who had been cleared of any wrongdoing by the local judiciary.

    At the time, the embarassing formulation of the simple precept that due process matters for good reasons, brought me to my knees in shame at my government, and the peace laureate for whose continuation as president I had just recently (if reluctantly) been laboring.

    Already, much earlier in the Obama presidency, his ancestral home of Kenya had achieved a level of citizen redress apparently unimaginable here in the land of the free.

    That was bad enough.

    Now, even as we shudder before the spectacle of high level nominees shucking and jiving around the issue of presidentially sanctioned citizen murder, here is Hamid Karzai, virtually a punchline ("Karzai Talk") for corruption based comedy, stepping up to declare "No mas" to ISAF air strikes being called in by the Afghan army to support their ground troops battling (alleged) Taliban.

    Incineration of the innocent-increasingly isolating ISAF amongst the war lovers of the world.


    The Karzai-speak smells a lot like red herring to me in light of the new UN numbers....

    improvised explosive devices laid by insurgents were responsible for 81% of casualties, with a 9% rise in the number of civilians killed or injured by IEDs....The report cited two particular attacks in northern Afghanistan that targeted government officials but resulted in the additional loss of life and injury of civilian bystanders. By contrast the number of Afghan civilians killed by Nato-led and Afghan security forces dropped by nearly 40%.....

    and then this addition by The Guardian reporter just adds to me trusting my nose on this:

    Elsewhere, some Afghans were less moved by the news that fewer civilians had been killed, and more concerned about the impact of armed groups on security, reflecting another of the report's findings.

    The UN warned about the sanctioned use of local militias and their recruitment to the Afghan Local Police, particularly in the north and north-east of the country. The ALP is a localised militia-based force whose training was suspended by US forces in September owing to a dramatic rise in the number of inside attacks carried out by recruits.

    According to the UN, the use of the ALP "unintentionally contributed to expand and solidify the power of armed groups" in the north.

    "The Americans are paying too much heed to the Afghan Local Police, this what the Soviets did, it didn't work under them and it won't work for the foreign forces," said Wahid Ahmadi, a university student in Takhar city."In the northern provinces, where the government has little control, when there is an operation, no journalist or member of civil society is able to access or witness what happens."

    Pretty convenient to be angrily protesting against and prohibiting something that's not been happening that much anymore.

    I think Karzai is addressing a separate issue from that underlying the cited stats...There was a pullback from airstrikes independently initiated by ISAF forces for some time (albeit grudgingly done under pressure from the Afghan government).


    What is changed here is that afghan ground forces, who used to be charged with making the final decision re:airstrikes are now (so it says) forbidden to call in close air support when already engaged if (as is virtually always the case) there are civilians around.


    We, of course, have re-defined "civilians" to obviate the problem, but apparently the former restauranteur turned head of state, for whatever reasons, does not concur.

    Everyone in this article sounds pleased as punch with the assistance of American airstrikes:

    Note the modesty:

    American officials offered no comment on Mr. Muhammad’s capture, referring questions to the Afghanistan government.

    Bearing in mind that your riposte is somewht inapposite, as we are discussing air strikes called in for close support during firefights as opposed to drone attacks (which allegedly flushed out the miscreant), I will merely note that the "complaining" in Kunar province are unable to voice their dissatisfaction as they are dead.


    That said, you surely must be aware, as an extremely knowledgable observer of the region, that Kunar province has been the site of multiple misdirected drone attacks.

    What I am going after here is you not taking Karzai's statements with lots of salt. The reality I see is little disagreement with U.S./NATO policy. I wouldn't be surprised to find out that what he can complain about for political benefit is cleared with the Pentagon beforehand, to make sure it's all hunky dory.

    I must have failed somewhere to evince my profound contempt for Karzai.  I thought the link to Harry Shearer would have been a piquant hint.


    I was merely adducing his edict as the pivot to an examination of the gap we encounter between our professions of due process and free-fire restraint and our own behaviour.


    That Karzai can find in that gap a niche for his own hypocrisy and self-serving manuever is incidental to my chagrin as an American.

    Oh hahaha, I call BS. 

    Please elucidate.

    I shall JR, but I will do it when I get home from work.

    Good grief, T!  it was meant ironically, hence "it comes to this".

    Do I have to remind you that "human" rights, by certain definitions  of human, do not include women in Afghanistan??

    That's why I have elsewhere proposed blanket asylum to any and all Pashtun women (from both sides of the Durant line)  as something of a penance for our leaving them in the lurch on our exit.

    Good grief Rog... why would I post those links? I know what your title says, but my point is that there is no way that I can trust what "judges" rule in Afghanistan, and anyone who does is foolish... OH Snap! What???


    “No one is ever charged with anything so it’s difficult to know what they’re being held for” at Parwan, where prisoners “are not afforded even the minimal protections that the people at Guantanamo have,” said Heather Barr, a researcher in Kabul for Human Rights Watch, an independent advocacy group.
    Barr said she had attended sessions of the Detention Review Boards set up by the U.S. to determine the status of the prisoners, but the boards have never led to specific charges against prisoners.
    “We know of only one case that has gone to trial,” Barr said, and that case involved a prisoner, Abdul Sabor, who was captured by the French and handed over to the Afghans. Sabor, who allegedly killed five French troops in an insider attack last January, has been sentenced to death and his case is now under appeals in the Afghan courts, Barr said.
    Barr said the U.S. was “trying to bully the Afghans into setting up an administrative detention system” for high value prisoners that would allow them to be held indefinitely without the risk of a trial that might set them free.
    “The Afghan government has said it’s not going to do administrative detention, it’s unconstitutional under Afghan law,” Barr said.
    From the first cited article.  Bear in mind that many detainees languish still at Gitmo despite having been cleared by OUR judges for recently died while awaiting release...

    Dude... you just can't convince me, first of all, while Guantanamo isn't my first choice, I definitely wanted those people prosecuted here on our soil, but Republicans are too chickenshit for any of that, but you are now mixing apples with oranges.

    I simply do not believe the justice system in Afghanistan is unbiased, (they aren't) I don't believe their rulings are trustworthy, I know factually bribery is a way of life there, so as to your blog, I simply believe that the judge you've mentioned is as crooked and unjust as their entire system is and that is proven by the way they treat women.

    You trust them if you like, but as usual... you are wrong. surprise


    In  Blackstone's formulation (also known asBlackstone's ratio or theBlackstone ratio) is the principle:

    "better that ten guilty persons escape than that one innocent suffer",


    Other commentators have echoed the principle;Benjamin Franklin stated it as, "it is better 100 guilty Persons should escape than that one innocent Person should suffer".[7]


    More authoritarian personalities are supposed to have taken the opposite view;Bismarck is believed to have stated that "it is better that ten innocent men suffer than one guilty man escape;"[1] and Pol Pot[8] made similar remarks.


    I take it that we may subscribe you to the Bismarck/Pol Pot principle. I prefer to ally myself with Blackstone and Franklin.

    No you don't, you like to invoke the names of reasonable people in the past who were smart and pretend they would support your logic, just like every Republican out there. It's typical of ideologues to employ tactics that distract from the issue at hand, and means you are unable to actually defend your argument.

    Our system is working Roger, because we all know that an American court dinged the US Government for confining Manning to solitary confinement, I think he called it unnecessary. That means our system is working, the Afghani system of "justice" has no such track record and that is supported by how it treats women.  The person who is supporting the Pol Pot theory of governance is you buddy, not me. You trust them implicitly because you have an ax to grind.

    You trust them implicitly


    Not at all.  But I choose to call the close ones in favor of release, whereas we have institutionalized a system of preventive administrative detention where the detention is swallowing up the prevention.


    BTW, since you brought him up, just how much good has it done Manning to have the judge enunciate her disapproval of the conditions of his incarceration?  I believe she has indicated an intention to take 180 days or so off the 20 years the government is seeking to rob him of.  Big fucking deal.

    Baloney, you have an ax to grind because of the baby jesus Bradley Manning. But we know for a fact that the government did confine him to solitary confinement, and we also know how wrong that was and is, and that a judge reprimanded the government over it. I don't really believe in solitary confinement for anyone. But he isn't a saint either Rog, he was a screwed up kid who had no business in the position he was in. He may or may not have done damage to the nation, but all that will come out and we will all know about it, unlike Afghani's, who hear nothing but propaganda, are deliberately taught that illiteracy is the way to go, and they are taught to hate everyone, but the particularly hold women in contempt. And that hell hole we refer to as Afghanistan does not have a court system that can compare to ours, fairness isn't even a doctrine for them, but bribery holds the key to a good ruling, unless of course you are a woman. People can't speak out against the government in Afghanistan, they can't speak out against their tribal leaders and women can't speak. They not only aren't a fair representation of what justice is, that system is the opposite of what  is justice! Comparing our court system to theirs as though any part of theirs is better is unbelievably naive and proves my point that you have a prior ax to grind.

    That prior ax is Vietnam, and I am here to say this, while your generation has every right to be angry with that what happened to you and others, there is little comparison to our current situation and on top of that, get over it, it shades everything, I look at John McCain it shades his entire being because to this day he is trying to prove that was a just war, and it was not.  So you old guys fall along two sides of the coin, you either want to prove how righteous that was, or you want to say the US Government is evil because of that and that proves it is evil now. And you are still pissed about it, and I get that, but God Damn it, it doesn't shade what is going on today. Give me a break. You see everything in that light, it has ruined your ability to reason with what is our current situation. And I am not saying that the President is doing everything right, but I am saying our system is so much better than that system, (that being Afghanistan) and "system" is a term I use loosely when it comes to government systems in Afghanistan, and when you use it to make the claim that some Afghani judge is searching for 'justice' I laugh my ass off, it's clownish at best. And then of course because you can't stop with the Republican BS, you resort to making the claim I support the Pol Pot system of justice, I want to say, Get Bent dipshit, WTF? In now way does the American System of justice represent anything Pol Pot ever did, and that makes you such and asshole for typing those words, it also makes you an epic troll.  I am super pissed about that my friend.

    Unlike you, I know what being raised in a dysfunctional 3rd world dictatorship is like, I lived it, I know what it is like to never be able to say anything against a current government, if you did their court system would railroad you to  Camp Aguinaldo for a little re-education. In fact as my brother and I grew older we were sent to boarding school, just so we would be safe from that kind of Draconian style system of government. Don't ever compare the American system to the medieval tribal lands of Afghanistan, or any third world country, where there is no justice without bribery and there is never justice for women because if you do I am going to be  on that, refuting it, like a fly on honey or white on rice.

    Okay, now I must prepared to refute your nonsense on my facebook page..  Then it is a work week and Comicon weekend... so.. we will have to put off our arguments until after the fun of the weekend!


    Talk at you soon!

    TMac, your voice of reason and the reason you come here to argue.

    I failed to make myself clear.

    My objection is not that Afghan courts manifest superior administration of justice.  It is that individuals in the instant context are denied access to the courts at all.  That is the gravamen of administrative detention.

       According to the Boston Globe, the United Nations says that coalition forces killed 83 civilians in the first half of 2012. It won't comfort the families of the victims, but that is a remarkably low number.

    To  paraphrase Stalin, it doesn't matter who kills, it matter who counts the bodies...In a wider context, and carefully disaggregating drone strikes from close air support, the "signature strike" regime which is responsible for some     98% of the drone strikes (rather obviating the debate over the  kill list, or "personality strikes"--nice sobriquet, btw.) causes more or less constant and ubiquitous panic amongst the population who need only look up to come to the instant fear that they or their loved ones will somehow trigger a video game player in Nebraska into obliterating them and any one standing close by.,


    It's a recipe for society wide ptsd.

       Can a country experience war without ptsd?

    Yes and no.  We manage to limit it to our "volunteer" armed services.

    The signature strikes are reported to be engendering the hypervigilence that marks (and perhaps creates) ptsd in the entire population.


      But bombing and battle always results in ptsd. That's one reason to be antiwar, but it doesn't necessarily win the case for pacifism.

      I should say it results in ptsd for some people.

    Meanwhile NerObama fiddles his way through escalation to wider war, NOW In Niger.  BarBarack World WAR Si, Se Puede!

      I don't know; having a few guys in Niger to conduct surveillance hardly means we're at war there. All we're doing in Mali is refuel French planes.

    Karzai Has Nothing but Praise for U.S. Upon Bagram Prison Transfer
    By Rold Nordland, Michael R. Gordon and Alissa J. Rubin, New York Times, March 25/26, 2013

    BAGRAM, Afghanistan — Within hours of the American military’s formally transferring all but a “small number” of the Afghan prisoners at the Bagram Prison to the Afghan government, President Hamid Karzai held a friendly news conference with Secretary of State John Kerry on Monday that stood in stark contrast to his recent acrimonious tone toward the United States.
    The apparent rapprochement, which the Americans worked hard to achieve, was a product in part of policy turnarounds on detention and on the deployment of Special Operations forces in a crucial province.

    In both cases, the Americans appeared to choose long-term influence in Afghanistan over holding firm on thorny issues. On detention, American officials had long feared that the Afghans might release dangerous Taliban prisoners. But the Obama administration has made a priority of reaching an agreement on an American military presence here after 2014 that will allow the United States to keep tabs on Iran and Pakistan and contain extremists in Pakistan’s ungoverned tribal areas.

    None of the tension that marked Mr. Karzai’s recent meeting with Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel was on display Monday evening. [.....]

    Not that I believe he is any more sincere now than he was then, but:

    Karzai says media misinterpreted comments on U.S. and Taliban
    By Tom Cohen and Jason Hanna, CNN, March 26, 2013

    I haven't watched the video there, but in the screenshot for it, they look like the best of buds:

    Karzai is saying " so, her name is Roxanne...tell her I sent you, I'll get 20%",

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