Iraq Anniversary: 10 Lessons from America's 'Dumb War'
Der Spiegel; Sebastian Fischer
1. It was a "dumb war"
The phrase comes from Barack Obama. In the fall of 2002, then-Illinois state senator Obama told a crowd of people protesting against an impending invasion of Iraq: "I'm not opposed to all wars. I'm opposed to dumb wars." A total of 1.5 million US soldiers served in Iraq. An estimated one-third of them suffer from posttraumatic stress disorder. Over 30,000 of them were injured. And 4,422 died. What was the point? In January 2002, President George W. Bush declared: "The United States of America will not permit the world's most dangerous regimes to threaten us with the world's most destructive weapons." On Feb. 5, 2003, then-Secretary of State Colin Powell sat before the UN Security Council and assured its members (and the world) that: "There can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more." But the dictator's suspected weapons of mass destruction were never found. In his 2006 biography, Powell characterized his UN presentation as a "blot" on his record. Today, many Americans are critical of the war. A poll conducted in early January by YouGov found that 52 percent of American's think the invasion of Iraq was a mistake, while only 31 percent still believe it was the right thing to do.
2. The war damaged America's image
America's invasion of Iraq isolated it in the world. President Bush's policies were viewed with greater skepticism in the West and created new enemies in the Arab world. In summarizing the moral damage the war inflicted on the US, SPIEGEL wrote: "For this war, America has broken international law, defamed allies and made the United Nations an object of derision." The torture scandal from Abu Ghraib, a prison on the western edge of Baghdad, has caused lasting damage to the proud democracy's moral reputation. US soldiers viewed themselves as liberators who uncovered the dictator's violations of human rights. But they were seen as occupiers, as a power that threw the country into chaos and a civil war that cost more than 100,000 Iraqis their lives.
There's the first two.
Photo Credit: AP
Nato announces Afghanistan Wardak agreement
An agreement has been reached between Nato and the Afghan government on the withdrawal of US special forces from Wardak province, alliance officials have announced.
The agreement appears to bring to an end a bitter dispute between the coalition and the Afghan government.
The troops and their Afghan counterparts have been accused of murder and intimidation in the area.
Special forces and local police will now begin a phased withdrawal.
Afghan security forces will then take over on a district-by-district basis.
AROUND THE WORLD
Nation apologises for 'shameful' adoption past
Prime Minister Julia Gillard decried the ''shameful mistakes of the past'' as she delivered a national apology on Thursday to tens of thousands of families torn apart by forced adoptions between the 1950s and 1970s.
Ms Gillard told a large audience gathered in federal Parliament's Great Hall that Australia recognised that the practice of removing babies from mothers deemed unfit to raise a child ''continue to resonate through many, many lives''.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott was heckled loudly by some in the audience who appeared to object to his use of the terms ''birth parents'' and ''adoptive parents''.
One woman yelled out, ''We're not the birth mothers, we're the real mothers.''
The actual words of the apology are later in the article. Also, Australia seems to have a bit of a leadership
crisis right now, possibly.
Photo Credit: Andrew Meares
Will Parliament be third time lucky in passing rape law?
Nagendar Sharma , Hindustan Times
With the Lok Sabha clearing the anti-rape bill and the Rajya Sabha likely to give its nod on Thursday, this will be the Parliament's third attempt in 30 years, to update the definition and punishment for the offence of rape.
It remains to be seen whether the Parliament would be
third time lucky in its effort to provide a widely acceptable definition and an effective deterrent against rape.
The previous two changes made in criminal laws relating to rape were a consequence of public outrage following the December 16 gang rape in the capital.
Criminal laws were amended for the first time in 1983 to widen the definition of rape in the IPC and to provide safeguards for rape victims.
Photo Credit: Alan Gibson
Agriculture a vital link
New Zealand Herald; Audrey Young
The fast-growing relationship between Burma and New Zealand should be seen as a commercial opportunity, Foreign Minister Murray McCully said yesterday shortly after the arrival of Burma's President and former general U Thein Sein.
Making use of New Zealand's agricultural expertise to help develop the poor state is likely to be high on the issues in talks today between the president and Prime Minister John Key.
President Sein Thein arrived with a large ministerial delegation - thought to be about eight ministers, including Foreign Minister U Wanna Maung Lwin.
US, Japan review worst-case plans for island dispute
AFP via Times of India
US and Japanese officers are discussing worst-case contingency plans for retaking disputed islands in the East China Sea if China moves to seize them, US officials said on Wednesday.
Japan's Nikkei newspaper first reported the talks, which prompted a strong reaction from China.
"We have contingency plans and we discuss them with allies," a US official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it was "natural" that the two governments would confer on emergency scenarios given recent tensions.
Xi Jinping looks to boost ties during visit to Moscow
South China Morning Post; Cary Huang
President Xi Jinping will arrive in Moscow tomorrow on his first overseas trip as China's head of state. Russia has been chosen in a bid to further tap into the enormous shared geopolitical and business interests of the two neighbours, which share a complicated past.
First lady Peng Liyuan, a famous folk singer, will accompany her husband on the trip.
It will mark the couple's first public appearance together since Xi took the helm of the Communist Party in November.
Analysts expect Peng will be different from her predecessors by taking a more active role in community services to promote the country's "soft power", as her foreign counterparts often do.
Pakistan wants to see Tapi pipeline built soon: Zardari
AFP via Dawn.com
Pakistan attaches great importance to the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (Tapi) gas pipeline and wants to see the project built as soon as possible, said President Asif Ali Zardari here on Wednesday.
President Zardari was in the Turkmen capital to attend the Nauroz Festival that was also attended by other world leaders.
During his meeting with Turkmen President Dr Gurbanguly M. Berdimuhamedov, Mr Zardari said Turkmenistan could help Pakistan meet its growing energy needs. In return, Pakistan could provide a trade corridor to Turkmenistan - over land and through its ports.
He recalled that he had visited Turkmenistan also in December 2010 to discuss the 1,680-km Tapi pipeline, which would bring 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per day from Turkmenistan's gas fields to Multan and culminate in the Indian town of Fazilka.
This is a new and different pipeline from the China-Iran one, I think.
Photo Credit: Hurriyet Daily News
Turkey urged to seize Islamic banking chance
Hürriyet Daily News
The Turkish Islamic banking sector will triple in 10 years reaching $100 billion by 2023, while the country would have even more potential if it would meet the foreign demand by offering more of a variety of Islamic financial instrument, an Ernst & Young report has said.
Islamic banking, which follows the requirements of Shaira and does not charge interest, has emerged as a prominent system at a time when European banks that have been the backbone of global sector are only slightly recovering from the aftermath of the financial crisis. The Islamic banking sector offers great opportunities for Turkey as well, as the country seeks its share in interest-free banking in light of the value and market presence of Islamic banks, also known as participation banks.
Zim aides, Mtetwa denied bail
SAPA-AFP via Mail & Guardian
Their arrests marred a constitutional referendum last weekend.
"The court denies all the accused persons bail," ruled magistrate Marehwanazvo Gofa after two days of hearings in the capital, Harare.
He said the staffers were facing serious charges including breaching state secrets laws, and so did not qualify for bail.
Beatrice Mtetwa, a prominent human rights lawyer who has represented the opposition and rights activists, was also denied bail after her arrest for allegedly shouting at the police during a raid of the prime minister's communications office on Sunday.
It's ~3 months until elections, & soon-to-be-former ( I hope) Pres. Mugabe attended the Pope's installation Mass.
Venezuelan presidential candidate Capriles pledges "not another drop of oil to Cuba"
Capriles has berated Nicolas Maduro as a weak imitation of the late Hugo Chavez, whose death two weeks ago convulsed the country and triggered the April 14 vote. The opposition also accuses the government of failing to fight crime and control inflation.
"The giveaways to other countries are going to end. Not another drop of oil will go toward financing the government of the Castros," Capriles said, referring to Cuba's present and past leaders, Raul and Fidel Castro.
"Nicolas is the candidate of Raul Castro; I'm the candidate of the Venezuelan people," Capriles said during a speech to university students in the oil-rich state of Zulia.
I sincerely hope there is more to the Venezuelan elections than pro- or anti-Cuba.
Photo Credit: Jon Hrusa/EPA
Malaria vaccine test results disappoint
Guardian; Sarah Boseley
Optimism over the new malaria vaccine being tested in Africa could be set to fall after results suggested its effect could reduce over time and that it disappears fastest in children who are most exposed to malarial mosquito bites.
Scientists point out that they will need to see the full results, from large-scale trials of thousands of children, before they really know how useful the vaccine - developed by GlaxoSmithKline and known only as RTS,S - will be.
But the tests follow a string of disappointing results, which have clearly shown how difficult it is to make a vaccine to protect against the disease, which kills more than 650,000 children, most of them very young, a year.
IMF chief's home searched in corruption probe
French police have carried out a raid on International Monetary Fund head Christine Lagarde's Paris home in connection with a probe into her handling of a high-profile scandal when she was a government minister.
Wednesday's investigation concerns Lagarde's 2007 decision to order a panel of judges to arbitrate in a dispute between disgraced tycoon Bernard Tapie and the bank Credit Lyonnais, which led to Tapie being awarded almost $500m.
Lagarde, who at the time was former president Nicolas Sarkozy's finance minister, has repeatedly denied wrongdoing in the case.
"This search will help uncover the truth, which will contribute to exonerating my client from any criminal wrongdoing," said Yves Repiquet, Lagarde's lawyer.
"Mrs. Lagarde has nothing to hide," he added.
South Korea: Initial investigation shows Chinese address source of cyberattack at 1 company
AP via WaPo
A Chinese Internet address was the source of a cyberattack on one company hit in a massive network shutdown that affected 32,000 computers at six banks and media companies in South Korea, initial findings indicated Thursday.
It's too early to assign blame - Internet addresses can easily be manipulated and the investigation could take weeks - but suspicion for Wednesday's shutdown quickly fell on North Korea, which has threatened Seoul and Washington with attack in recent days because of anger over U.N. sanctions imposed for its Feb. 12 nuclear test.
South Korean regulators said they believe the attacks came from a "single organization," but they've still not finished investigating what happened at the other companies.
Raise your hand if you're surprised!
Suspected Girl Scout cookie thief surrenders to police
Salt Lake Tribune; Jim Dalrymple II
A man suspected of stealing the cash box from Girl Scouts selling cookies in Taylorsville turned himself in Wednesday after four days on the run.
Steven A. Kvenvold, 24, surrendered to police in Taylorsville at about 6 p.m., according to Unified Lt. Justin Hoyal. Kvenvold is suspected of grabbing a cash box from a Girl Scout cookie table Saturday outside a Wal-Mart at 5469 S. Redwood Road (1700 West). Hoyal did not have information on what prompted Kvenvold to give up.
Police say Kvenvold approached the Girl Scouts of Troop 2532 around 4 p.m. and pretended to be interested in buying Thin Mints. Instead he grabbed the cash box and jumped in a car.
Kayla Long, 24, drove that car, police say. Long was arrested earlier this week on unrelated warrants and police learned afterward that she allegedly was involved in the crime. Police have impounded the car allegedly used by the duo during the theft.
Washington Post's Outlook section avoids these words and phrases
4 Amazing Black Women They Don't Tell You About in School
Crossposted in orange.