LastDayWatchers while watching the failures mount up
"We can’t afford the economic or reputational damage of continuing to fight this costly and unending conflict. Besides, we have lost any element of negotiating power by already announcing that we are leaving soon, clearly admitting that Washington has lost its appetite for the costs required to build Afghanistan into a country with a chance to stand on its own—much less something one could describe as modern, free and democratic."
Consider the sums we are spending today and the toll on our troops and equipment."
Rise of kidnapping by terror groups is urgent threat, says US
"Islamist militants are increasingly funding themselves through kidnapping, with al-Qaida's north African wing likely to have brought in tens of millions of dollars in ransoms in the past few years, a US treasury official has said.
The US estimated that militant groups including al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (Aqim) received $120m (£75m) in ransoms over the past decade, said David Cohen, undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence."
And the birth pain continues to contract
Undersea 6.2 magnitude quake strikes off northeast Japan
"The quake was centered 96 km (60 miles) east-northeast off Miyako at a depth of 9.7 km (6.0 miles).
A 6.2 magnitude earthquake struck off the northeastern coast of Japan on Tuesday, the U.S. Geological Survey reported."
Here is a 4 star read
"The parallels between the following passage and the Bush Administration's behavior during the Iraq War are impossible to miss:
A recurrent and increasingly important factor in the decisionmaking process was the banishment of real expertise. Here the underlying cause was the "closed politics" of policy-making as issues become hot: the more sensitive the issue, and the higher it rises in the bureaucracy, the more completely the experts are excluded while the harassed senior generalists take over (that is, the Secretaries, Undersecretaries, and Presidential Assistants).
The frantic skimming of briefing papers in the back seats of limousines is no substitute for the presence of specialists; furthermore, in times of crisis such papers are deemed "too sensitive" even for review by the specialists. Another underlying cause of this banishment, as Vietnam became more critical, was the replacement of the experts, who were generally and increasingly pessimistic, by men described as "can-do guys," loyal and energetic fixers unsoured by expertise."