Afghan president offers Taliban a place in government for peace deal
President Hamid Karzai offered Saturday to meet personally with Taliban leader Mullah Omar for peace talks and give the militants a high position in a government ministry as a way to end the rising insurgency in Afghanistan.
Karzai earlier this month renewed a call for talks with the Taliban, and a spokesman for the militant group initially said the fighters might be open to negotiations.
But spokesman Qari Yousef Ahmadi later said foreign troops must first leave the country — a demand Karzai said Saturday he would not meet.
“It should be very clear until all our roads are paved, until we have good electricity and good water, and also until we have a better Afghan national army and national police, I don’t want any foreigners to leave Afghanistan,” he said.
Peggy Noonan is one of those people who is always interesting to listen to. And she always seems to have something wise and useful to say. Maybe it was all those years with Dan Rather and Ronald Reagan.
Americans should not fear talking–and listening–to those whose views we loathe.
You don’t want to judge Christ by Christians, someone once said. He is perfect, they are not.
In a similar way you don’t want to judge capitalism by capitalists, or the legitimacy of democracy by the Democrats, or the vitality of our republic by the Republicans. You have to take the thing pure and in itself, while allowing for the flaws and waywardness of its practitioners.
I say this because here in America we have reached a funny pass. People are doing and saying odd things as if they don’t know the meaning of the thing they say they stand for. In particular I mean we used to be proud of whom we allowed to speak, and now are leaning toward defining ourselves by whom we don’t speak to and will not allow to speak. This is not progress.
U.S. adopts a new citizenship exam
The federal government yesterday introduced a new U.S. citizenship civics exam designed to force would-be citizens to go beyond memorizing historical facts and instead grasp the fundamental meaning of being an American.
Gone are questions about the number of states in the union or what country the U.S. fought in the Revolutionary War. In their place are questions about why the colonists went to war with Britain or what powers are held exclusively by the federal government.
How come “national service” proponents never talk about drafting the old? asks Ilya Somin.
One of the most interesting (and in my view sinister) aspects of proposals for mandatory “national service” is that they virtually always target only the young, usually 18- to 21-year-olds. This might be understandable if the proposals were limited to military service. But most current proposals (including those by Rep. Charles Rangel, Sen. John McCain, Bill Buckley, the Democratic Leadership Council and Rep. Rahm Emanuel), incorporate civilian service as well. When it comes to office work and light menial labor, there are many elderly and middle-aged people who can do the job just as well as 18-21 year olds can, if not better.
Indeed, the moral case for conscripting the elderly for civilian service is arguably stronger than that for drafting the young. Many elderly people are healthy enough to perform nonstrenuous forms of “national service.”
US Congress denounces Iranian president, votes to tighten sanctions.
We couldn’t have done it without you.
See you again next year.
We’ll leave the light on for you.
Recommended reading: Other People’s Politics
Enough is enough.
Or ought to be.
Can I get an amen?
“The only way Iraq is going to work is if we concede that it is not likely to work the way we wanted it to.”
So say Sen. Joseph Biden, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and Leslie Gelb, president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.
They advocate breaking Iraq into a federation consisting of three parts: a Kurdish north, a Sunni center and a Shiite south.
Sometimes it works.
Sometimes it turns out to be Germany or Korea, or Ireland, or Cyprus or Yugoslavia.
Who gets to pull border guard duty?
Read more ->It’s Time for Iraq the Nation to Go
Have you ever spent time in a community or culture where haggling is central to most transactions?
Until recently, this man was the central government of Iraq.
Nobody haggled with him.
But some of the old ways could continue in the outlying communities and provinces.
So, as governmental structures are being rebuilt, or where necessary, reinvented, it might not be a surprise to see more progress in those outlying communities and provinces than in Baghdad.
As seems to be the case.
Sometimes when you travel, something comes up that causes you to stay over longer that you originally planned. When you pack you try to consider all contingencies.
There’s a rumor going around about that special visitor coming in from Iran to New York City. If he brings in extra luggage, so the unconfirmed rumor goes, maybe he’s prudently prepared for the possibility of a stay extended beyond that initially announced.
He is surely wired into what’s going on in and around Iran and Syria and among their various friends out there, what their plans are, and what the estimated repercussions arising from those plans might be.
Maybe he wants to be sure there’s something “there” to go back to, when its time to return.
But that rumor is not credible. There’s lots of shopping places in NY; somebody in his delegation will have a credit card.
So, anybody getting pictures of that luggage?
It looks like a quiet, peaceful place. But it’s not.
Two lesbian couples who were denied permission to use a church group’s seaside pavilion for civil-union ceremonies have persuaded New Jersey officials to punish the group through revocation of its tax-exempt status.
The Ocean Grove Camp Meeting Association owns the boardwalk pavilion that is a popular spot for weddings.
A spokesman for the gay-activist group Garden State Equality said the state didn’t go far enough, and may ask a court to revoke the tax exemption for all of the boardwalk and land, which the Methodist group has owned since 1870, according to The Associated Press.
Brian Raum, senior legal counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, said it’s the same problem posed by the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) now being considered in Congress. It would grant special protections to homosexuals in the workplace.
Read more here and here.
The Washington Post report was interesting:
Security Took ‘Turn for Worse’ In Southern Iraq, Report Says
Security is deteriorating in southern Iraq as rival Shiite militias vying for power have stepped up their attacks after moving out of Baghdad to avoid U.S.-led military operations, according to the latest quarterly Pentagon report on Iraq released yesterday. . . .
(continue reading ->)
But what quarterly Pentagon report? Where?
Here is what it looks like.
and you can find it, as a PDF file (65 pages), over on the Defense Department web site.
If the only trials you have seen were in movies or TV shows, the pace of this trial may surprise you.
The indictment was submitted in 2004. Closing arguments resume today.
Quoting from ADL:
The trial of the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development (HLF), a charity long suspected of supporting terrorists by funneling money to Hamas, and seven of its officials, has opened at a federal court in Dallas, Texas. The 42-count indictment, submitted by the U.S. Justice Department in 2004, accuses HLF and its top leaders of a conspiracy to provide aid to a terrorist organization and the families of suicide terrorists. The indictment also charges that HLF provided more than $12.4 million to individuals and organizations linked to Hamas between 1995 and 2001. The group raised a total of $57 million since its incorporation in 1992 but only reported $36.2 million to the IRS, according to the indictment. Two of the defendants were not present at the opening of the trial and are considered fugitives.
Read about the defendants ->.
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