Talking Points for 20th October

Ros and Mark are in San Francisco and currently asleep, but when they do wake up, they’ll be broadcasting tonight’s show from KALW. They have a live studio audience there who are keen to talk about Afghanistan…

Is the war there failing? Do we need a surge in Afghanistan like the one in Iraq?

Last week, in an interview with the BBC Persian service, the Afghan Foreign Minister Fardad Sepanta criticised the British military for suggesting negotiation with the Taliban is the only way and said more soldiers are needed in Afghanistan to fulfil security concerns. A British Army chief agreed.

A British opposition MP is in Afghanistan and worries that the fight against the Taliban is being lost, something the British Foreign Minister felt obliged to deny .

Ros will blog in more detail about it a little later, but please get in touch with your views for the programme.


On a related point, is Iraq doing that well? We’ve talked about this before, but I am always keen to hear from people living there to find out how things are coming along, if at all.

In what would seem a healthy sign of democracy, there is still debate in parliament over whether to approve a deal to allow US forces to stay in Iraq until 2011. After the Blackwater scandals last year, the deal also permits Iraq only limited authority to prosecute troops and US contractors for major crimes. For some this is not enough.

In another seemingly good sign, 50,000 people marched through Baghdad to demand the withdrawal of US troops.

As Bush enters his final months in office, is he being vindicated? Is Iraq doing better and was it all worth it after all?


Should a parent who gave up his child have a say in how the child is then brought up? What rights should parents have when they give up their children?


Colin Powell backs Obama,
Is it all over for John McCain?


29 Responses to “Talking Points for 20th October”

  1. 1 Lubna
    October 20, 2008 at 10:43

    Hi Priya my darling… When you impose very strict security measures on the ground on daily bases, block almost 85% of the main streets, bridges and roads also on daily bases, and have hundreds of military check points along the 15% opened streets, bridges and roads and still you have terrorist attacks targetting innocent Baghdadi civilians, Iraqi government officials and security forces, then you say that life in Baghdad is getting better and that the level of violence is declining, then allow me to say frankly to you that you’re fooling yourself… I’ll post links later Inshallah… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  2. 2 Lubna
    October 20, 2008 at 11:24

    Hi again Priya my darling…
    Iraq: A Dearth of Doctors| Newsweek Iraq War| Newsweek.com
    With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad… PS, to have a look at the latest and most recent violent incidents and terrorist attacks taking place all over Iraq, all you gotta do is to write “Iraq” in the Google News search box…

  3. October 20, 2008 at 11:28

    The fact that thousands of Shias can in fact march and protest about possible Iraq government agreement with US over forces is in itself a demonstration of just how far Iraq has come. When Sadaam was in power the thought of anyone staging a mass protest against his policies would have been unthinkable. Iraq is still a very volatile country but the fact that people can now protest peacefully shows significant progress. There is still a long way to go but increasingly only the Iraqis can choose the destiny of their country. Will they choose sectarian strife as they had previously been doing or will they defend their fledgling democracy. As the US draws down troops we will find out.

  4. 4 Brett
    October 20, 2008 at 11:50

    Is it all over for John McCain?

    Yep 🙂

  5. 5 Dan
    October 20, 2008 at 11:50

    Right now it looks like the Taliban come out of the Pakistani Tribal Areas to create death in Afghanistan then they return across the border into their sanctuary.
    I think that if the Pakistani’s got serious and cleaned out the Trial Areas where the Taliban gather and recruit or that Pakistan allows the US to engage in “Hot Pursuit” to go after Taliban retreating back into the Pakistani Tribal Areas then we could end the situation in Afghanistan in a successful manner.
    However I ask at what point does the Afghan people decide they want no part of the Taliban and take up arms against them too?

  6. 6 Brett
    October 20, 2008 at 11:59

    After the Blackwater scandals last year, the deal also permits Iraq only limited authority to prosecute troops and US contractors for major crimes.

    This is absolute garbage. We want to ‘teach’ Iraq how to run a legit government, but we put in clauses that allow US corporations to operate in their own country without Iraqi control.
    What is that?
    Those in Blackwater and any other ‘security’ firms, screw that, ANYONE for that matter operating in Iraq need to be held accountable for the things they do in that country. ESPECIALLY for major crimes.
    If you can’t man-up and accept responsibility for the things you do, then you have no reason being involved. I suppose thats the lure though, you don’t HAVE to take on any responsibility for the things you do, you can get away scott-free.
    Blackwater, you, your associates involved in that whole debaucle, and the politicians protecting you are a big lot of pathetic cowards.

  7. 7 Lubna
    October 20, 2008 at 12:05

    Hi again gang ! :-)… As for the proposed draft of the long term Iraqi American security deal, I strongly demand that ALL the items and terms of the deal must be made totally known to the Iraqi public by both the Iraqi government and that Iraqi parliament , and the Iraqi people must have their say about it in a general referendum before making it legally valid… With my love… Yours forever, Lubna in Baghdad…

  8. 8 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 12:28

    The surge in Iraq is only working in that the entire country is effectively under martial law. Remove 150,000 troops and the place will collapse into chaos.

    The same would happen in Afghanistan. Improved infrastructure, economic development and a REAL “hearts and minds” campaign is what’s needed in both countries.

  9. 9 Bob in Queensland
    October 20, 2008 at 12:30

    As an aside, let me just say: Lubna lives there. Read the first comment on this topic. There’s nothing more to say.

  10. 10 Zainab from Iraq
    October 20, 2008 at 12:36

    Hello all,
    Yes we’ve talked about “Iraq is getting better” before.. and i remember that i said yes Iraq is getting better , but very “slowly”, and that it’s not enough casting the insurgents out of one city, but we need to put them down.. cuz as we see now they’re back..

    Again about the Iraqi- american agreement.. I don’t know why is this insisting on signing this deal.. Aren’t we free? If we don’t want to sign it.. it means WE DON’T WANT IT, or is it by force?
    Lubna has suggested that we Iraqi people must say our word about this deal.. and I suggest that the American people have to say their word about this deal too..

  11. 11 Jennifer
    October 20, 2008 at 12:40

    @ Parents giving up their children

    I think there should be certain instances where a parent could still be involved with their child. However, I don’t think that after a parent gives up their rights to a child they should have a say in how a child is brought up. Who approved Madonna’s adoption of David in the first place? It seems to me that maybe her record would have showed some inconsistency?

    Re: Powell backs Obama

    We will have to wait and see how this plays out. Powell’s backing of Obama does not make me re-consider my vote. I want to hear Obama speak about why he chose Biden over HC!!! hahaha That was a smooth choice! Its definitely not over until it’s over. People are still waiting to see what McCain will do. I hope he focuses on experience and all of Obama’s convenient loopholes. I hope he also lets people know he’s not George Bush.

  12. 12 Dan
    October 20, 2008 at 13:10

    Hello Lubna
    If you make those demands here on WHYS are you also making those demands PUBLICLY in Iraq?
    Have you considered becoming part of the Government?
    How do you participated in political life in Iraq?

  13. 13 Dan
    October 20, 2008 at 13:15

    @Zainab from Iraq
    I understand your point but despite all you hear in the media we Americans trust our Government when they negotiate these treaties.
    No referendum is necessary in the United States. To do as you suggest says that we would be transformed into a Direct Democracy. That is not a reality as Direct Democracy is unsustainable but because we are a Representative Republic as per our Constitution.
    While many countries change their Constitution faster than we change our socks I believe that the United States has the oldest functioning Constitution in the world.

  14. 14 Kelsie in Houston
    October 20, 2008 at 13:24

    @Mr Powell’s endorsement:
    It’s not “over” until the electorate ticks the boxes on the day of the election–that is when it’s “over”–trite, perhaps, but true: Mr McCain in particular has the ability to galvanize his base through his and Mrs Palin’s polarizing rhetoric, and there is every reason to believe that record numbers of the population will turn out in many places to vote–Mr McCain’s fortunes may not be Grade AAA, but there’s no compelling reason to totally write him off (polls notwithstanding).

    Nonetheless, Mr Powell’s endorsement is a very troubling development for the McCain ticket; given his military and foreign policy experience, Mr Powell carries a great deal of legitimate weight. Critics of Mr Obama’s inexperience will be put on the back foot somewhat by such a prominent and respected Republican’s endorsement for Senator Obama.

    @the global credit crisis:
    A live stream from the BBC of a special program speaking to experts and business figures from around the world–

  15. October 20, 2008 at 13:54

    The Party’s Over, Go Home!
    TEHRAN – Perhaps one of the more positive results of global recession and slump in oil prices is that EU, US and NATO are reconsidering their Afghan and Iraq policies.
    There is no such thing as conquering Afghanistan. It’s a buffer state. Opium, drug lords, warlords, starving population, changing allegiances, impossible terrain! What are you going to do with it? How are you going to resettle 5 million refugees?
    There is no way that Washington will recover its $3 trillion expenditure in battered Iraq. Iraq wants absolute, unadulterated sovereignty. Let them get on with it. It’s a challenge for Iran and the Persian Gulf. How are we going to handle it? Is it going to be all rosy, as one prelate to another. Ask any prelate in Qom what’s for lunch in Najaf and he’ll tell you.

  16. 16 DENNIS@OCC
    October 20, 2008 at 14:17

    Hi Again, Priya:

    Is the war there failing? Maybe—I wish, it could be decided again! To stay or go…

    Do we need a surge in Afghanistan like the one in Iraq? Yes, I think that they needed it a while back here!!!!

    Ros and Mark are in San Francisco and currently asleep, but when they do wake up, they’ll be broadcasting tonight’s show from KALW. They have a live studio audience there who are keen to talk about Afghanistan…

    i hope they are sleeping beatuifully…i hope that the show
    at kalw goes off great….


  17. 17 DENNIS@OCC
    October 20, 2008 at 14:19

    Is Iraq doing better and was it all worth it after all?
    bush will never be vindicated because, he started this war on false pretenses!

    What rights should parents have when they give up their children?
    they gave up ALL of there rights…

    Is it all over for John McCain?
    pretty much, yes it is over for john mccain!


  18. 18 DENNIS@OCC
    October 20, 2008 at 14:21

    I have to agreed with my dear friend Lubna in Baghdad about blocking and restricting the flow of people in Baghdad [Iraq], trouble will always happend!


  19. 19 DENNIS@OCC
    October 20, 2008 at 14:26

    @the global credit crisis:
    i am not able to watch it because, going to the bbc website and its unavailable!!!

    It is not so-much of a financial crisis in one U.K. region:
    [copy information into your browser]


  20. 20 Dan
    October 20, 2008 at 14:50

    Maybe you are on to something.
    If the USA completely pulls out of Iraq (Lubna’s greatest wish) and the country descends in to complete chaos and uncontrolled bombings, and we also pull out of Afghanistan allowing the opium production to explode and also understanding that Iran is the largest consumer of Afghan opium we might have a complete resolution of the entire problem.
    Sooner or later Iraq will be empty with bodies and rubble everywhere. Kuwait can take it over and sell Iraqi oil to us at a discount.
    With a steady supply of opium the Iranians will be completely stoned and we will have no worries about any nuclear program. We can provide fertilizer to Afghanistan to improve the yield of the poppy production thus keeping the Iranian market filled.
    Pakistan is a failed state and sooner or later India will reclaim their property.
    Problem solved!!

  21. October 20, 2008 at 15:51

    Alright, FOX news has lost it’s humor and now just seems a pathetic version of “affair and unbalanced”

    Their abstract view of the truth is anoying. “we didn’t actually say Barack was a terrorist.” We accused im of “palling around” with them and used his middle name wich 75% of americans find odd and only know one other person with that name. Sure. but they didn’t flat out call hime a terrorist. so they are speaking the truth.

  22. 22 Jennifer
    October 20, 2008 at 16:26

    Re: Obama’s victim status on Fox news

    If someone doesn’t like FoxNews; they could always just watch one of the MANY other channels “palling around with Obama”…hahaha! Really! 20 years ago, 10 years ago, 5 years ago, 1 day ago, we are the friends we keep! Even if Obama supposedly disproved that “rumor” who is to say that they will not reconcile or even that they are not undercover buddies to this day? There are questions there and I think they should be brought up.

    What really ticks me off is that Obama is still saying McCain is like Bush. I think we could, if we so chose, do DNA testing to confirm they are not clones, twins, or even related. They are both Republicans. Did they vote the same at times; sure, but that’s the extent of it. It’s like saying all democrats have the same beliefs? Uh, no. I guess that’s why Obama doesn’t want to put his name on anything? He’s afraid of the ramifications of actually having an opinion? Don’t say that because things haven’t been the best for the last few years, that the entire 8 years George Bush was in office have been a nightmare! In my opinion, George Bush and John McCain are two very different individuals!

  23. 23 Pangolin-California
    October 20, 2008 at 16:39

    Iraqi Treaty~ This is a contract between the most failed presidency in US history and their quisling meat-puppets in Iraq. It will have no validity fifteen minutes after the last american tank rolls onto the last ship out of Iraq. The american people trust the Bush administration and congress on Iraq not one bit. The disaster is complete.

    In case anybody hasn’t noticed. Osama Bin Laden hasn’t done a tenth of the damage to the US that we have since done to ourselves.

  24. 24 Kelsie in Houston
    October 20, 2008 at 16:47

    Your excoriation of Mr Obama’s “undercover buddy” betrays a massive amount of paranoia, to say nothing of the fact that your date statistic demonstrates how long in the past this “relationship” is. The Republican Party–aside from Fox News Channel–has largely begun to abandon this argument for what it is: untenable.

    Your note on “DNA” is immaterial: the arguments for the similarities between Mr McCain and Mr Bush are based on their similar ideologies as demonstrated through Mr McCain’s voting records: 90% in favor of Mr Bush’s policies. Your counterargument about Mr Obama being “afraid of the ramifications of actually having an opinion” is farcical: both Mr Obama and Mr McCain alike have their opinions and, in this electoral maelstrom, are “owning up,” so to speak, of having those opinions.

    The Republican Party and its constituency–Republican, right-leaning independent, and whatsoever else–is becoming increasingly desperate, a sign in and of itself of the Republicans’ expectations for the election.

  25. 25 Kelsie in Houston
    October 20, 2008 at 16:48

    In my opinion, George Bush and John McCain are two very different individuals!

    Very well. In my opinion–and that of millions of Americans and citizens in the world at large–there is insufficient difference to support Mr McCain’s claims of either “maverick-ness” or his role as a “reformer.” We’ll see whose is still standing after the election.

  26. 26 Anthony
    October 20, 2008 at 17:03

    An SNL skit that shows how the American People really are. It’s funny yet sad at the same time.

    -Anthony, LA, CA

  27. 27 Pangolin-California
    October 20, 2008 at 17:44

    I was preparing yet another slam on the conservatives when it occurred to me how pointless that was. The leftover neo-conservatives in the world are fading and in the way. What we really need to spend our time discussing is what new ideas for solutions are there that haven’t got enough attention.

    Delivering newly printed cash by the truckload to the same banks that created the mess isn’t going to do it. Bouncing rocks and people in Afghanistan and Iraq with new and pretty patterns of explosives isn’t cutting it either.

    If the current methods aren’t working choose again. Quit fighting the tide with a net.

  28. 28 Dan
    October 20, 2008 at 18:03

    @Pangolin-California October 20, 2008 at 4:39 pm
    Bush cannot be the most failed Presidency. That title belongs exclusively to Jimmy Carter, the Father of Modern Day Islamic Terrorism.

  29. 29 Pangolin-California
    October 20, 2008 at 18:50

    Dan~ Next time you’re at a gas pump dropping $75 into the tank just thank your lucky stars that Ronald Reagan and the Bush family gutted the Carter energy policies that would have kept gas prices down.

    Let’s not mention that those “Islamic Terrorists” were the favorite pets of George H. W. Bush during the Reagan years. Here’s a handy
    Chronology of
    American State Terrorism
    to help you realize that not everyone agrees that the US is the white knight in it’s global meddling.

    I’m not sure why you aren’t blaming the whole terrorist situation of democratic presidents Roosevelt or Kennedy; as long as we are going to go back in years. Personally, I blame all Islamic terrorism on Winston Churchill for flubbing up the division of the former provinces of the Ottoman Empire. At least that has a valid grounding in historical fact.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: