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Why is it that after 13 years of Operation Enduring Freedom, more than 4000 Afghans have set themselves on fire in 2014, and another 4000 have tried to poison themselves?

You recall some principles drilled into your training, that if necessary, you ought to “shoot everything that moves.”

You get irritated because a few boisterous-looking teenage boys appear too defiant, standing in front of women in burqas and girls who are crying quietly.

You hear some shuffles in the next room, and you instinctively pull the trigger.

After Vowing to End Combat Mission in Afghanistan, Obama Secretly Extends America’s Longest War

_Aired on 11/24/14 on Democracy Now. Transcript from democracynow.org.

…I think it is import for people in the United States, just to try and imagine if people break into your home while helicopters are hovering overhead and suddenly the women in the household are locked up and the men are subjected to brutality, and maybe a crossfire does break out, maybe there are Taliban people that are going to attack while the forces are there and civilians are killed, and you can’t get them to the hospital, and this utter nightmare is taking place. Your home is being torn apart. Some people are going to be taken away and disappeared for months and months under interrogation and possible torture…

Obama Extends War in Afghanistan

News agencies reported this morning that weeks ago President Obama signed an order, kept secret until now, to authorize continuation of the Afghan war for at least another year. The order authorizes U.S. airstrikes “to support Afghan military operations in the country” and U.S. ground troops to continue normal operations, which is to say, to “occasionally accompany Afghan troops” on operations against the Taliban.

Redefining “Imminent”

In February 2013, a U.S. Department of Justice White Paper, “Lawfulness of a Lethal Operation Directed Against a U.S. Citizen Who Is a Senior Operational Leader of Al-Qa’ida or an Associated Force,” was leaked by NBC News. This paper sheds some light on the legal justification for drone assassinations and explains the new and more flexible definition of the word “imminent.” “First,” it declares, “the condition that an operational leader present an ‘imminent’ threat of violent attack against the United States does not require the United States to have clear evidence that a specific attack on U.S. persons and interests will take place in the immediate future.”

How Is a Prison Like a War?

By David Swanson

The similarities between mass incarceration and mass murder have been haunting me for a while, and I now find myself inspired by Maya Schenwar’s excellent new book Locked Down, Locked Out: Why Prison Doesn’t Work and How We Can Do Better. This is one of three books everyone should read right away. The others are The New Jim Crow and Burning Down the House, the former with a focus on racism in incarceration, the latter with a focus on the incarceration of youth. Schenwar’s is an overview of incarceration in all its absurd and unfathomable evil — as well as being a spotlight leading away from this brutal institution.

Afghan Malnutrition - The Search for Solutions

by IRIN, humanitarian news and analysis, a service of the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs

JALALABAD, 11 November 2014 (IRIN) - Abdullah’s wails of pain are punctuated only by his rasping cough. His arms bound to his body, he is five months old but weighs just 3.2kg, lighter than some newborns. In the next bed, three-month old Shukoria looks withered and worn, her face wrinkled and pained.

Both are suffering from malnutrition, which affects more than 40 percent of Afghan children, killing thousands every year and leaving millions with permanent disabilities.

Left in the Dark: International Military Operations in Afghanistan

Reproduced from Amnesty International

Thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed since 2001 by international forces, and thousands more have been injured. This report examines the record of accountability for civilian deaths caused by international military operations in the five-year period from 2009 to 2013. In particular, it focuses on the performance of the US government in investigating possible war crimes and in prosecuting those suspected of criminal responsibility for such crimes. Its overall finding is that the record is poor.

Full Report

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