Death From The Sky

On August 29, a Hellfire missile hit a target that General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, assured us was a “righteous strike” against the bombmaker responsible for the explosion at Kabul International airport that killed 60 Afghans and 13 American military personnel.

The New York Times and the Washington Post tell us that was not the case. They have identified the driver of the targeted white car as Zemari Ahmadi, a worker for the American aid group, Nutrition and Education International. Nine people besides Ahmadi, seven of them children, were killed in the strike. The fact that the two accounts were prepared independently, with different emphasis, suggests that the media accounts are more accurate than what the military has told us.

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Who Are The Blob?

Ending the war in Afghanistan brought out opposition that has been labeled “the Blob.” But who are the Blob?

The commonality among those being labeled the Blob seems to be that they want the war to continue. Many of them deny that but present arguments that a “small” military presence might be maintained. Most argue that the withdrawal was badly done but fail to offer how it might have been done better.

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Making Things Happen

As we try to look past the abysmal reporting on the evacuation from Afghanistan, one of the things that strikes me is the inability or unwillingness of reporters to visualize what is required to make things happen in the real world.

An evacuation takes coordination among an enormous number of entities – getting the right people in the right place at the right time, along with the airplanes and their fuel, which involves other airports, air controllers, logistics people keeping track of where the planes are, and the military personnel helping out – MPs are in almost every photo of those planes full of people, for example. And then there are the State Department people who are checking identities and preparing paperwork to get refugees into the US. I suspect that people from State are also helping to coordinate moving people to the airport from various locations.

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Links – October 27, 2018

The Khashoggi Affair – A summary of Trump interactions with the Saudis and some good questions. Background on Turkey’s role by Graham Fuller and Aaron Stein. It’s time for the US to take a stand against the destructive bond that Donald Trump has with Saudi Arabia. Some of the things that might be done.  What Congress might do.

Why withdrawing from the Intermediate Nuclear Forces Treaty is a bad idea, and a possible alternativeJohn Bolton’s role in the decision. EU statement. Interview with Richard Burt, who negotiated arms control treaties under Ronald Reagan.

Interview with Sig Hecker on recent developments with North Korea.

Mapped: The Absent Ambassadors.

Russia is coming back to Afghanistan.

How much does Russia spend on nuclear weapons?

The Bullying Swagger – from me in Pakistan Politico.

Jeffrey Lewis highlights a problem that I continue to deal with in Trump’s America: There is policy analysis, and then there is how Trump makes decisions.

This is exactly how a nuclear war would kill you. How a nuclear war might start and what it would be like.

The misunderstood roots of international order – and why they matter again.

Joachim Roenneberg has died. He led the mission to blow up Norway’s heavy water plant in 1943, when Germany occupied Norway. That heavy water could have helped the Nazis develop an atomic bomb. BBC. New York Times.

Links – December 6, 2016

On the Donald Trump presidency and its effect on America:  Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie says we need to speak clearly about the dangers. Similarly, Vann R. Newkirk II says we must confront racism.

Evan McMullin ran for president as an independent. Now, on Twitter and in the New York Times, he is warning about Trump’s autocratic tendencies.

The president alone can order a nuclear strike. Alex Wellerstein summarizes the procedure.

The Heritage Foundation recommends that Donald Trump withdraw from all nuclear treaties as president. Steven Pifer tells us why that’s a bad idea.

Meanwhile, in Russia. Putin and pseudoscience.

Fascinating long read on an Estonian dialect spoken in Latvia and the people who have researched it.

Long read on religion, politics, and foreign policy in Iran.

Issues in South Asia for the next president. (photo from here)