Daily Archive: 08/05/2012

Aug 05 2012

Fiat Lux: Banishing Alienation Through Lights and Loud Noise by Northsylvania

Alienation can be considered part of the process of capitalist exploitation, but it can also mean feeling cut off and isolated from the surrounding world.  Alienation in the Marxist sense means that capitalist production separates the worker from the object or service he produces, leading him to separate the effect of his own labour from the products he uses that are made by others. At the same time, he becomes no more than a product or object himself.

Thus the more the worker by his labor appropriates the external world, sensuous nature, the more he deprives himself of the means of life in two respects: first, in that the sensuous external world more and more ceases to be an object belonging to his labor – to be his labor’s means of life; and, second, in that it more and more ceases to be a means of life in the immediate sense, means for the physical subsistence of the worker.                                              

In both respects, therefore, the worker becomes a servant of his object, first, in that he receives an object of labor, i.e., in that he receives work, and, secondly, in that he receives means of subsistence. This enables him to exist, first as a worker; and second, as a physical subject. The height of this servitude is that it is only as a worker that he can maintain himself as a physical subject and that it is only as a physical subject that he is a worker. (emphasis his)

This separation can often lead to alienation in the sense that I use it here: the feeling of being cut off from society, which leads to feelings so deadened that the outside word seems unreal. This is a common feature of depression, a disease, and dis-ease is an appropriate description, so common that it is considered the fourth leading cause of disability worldwide.

    Communism, cooperative working associations, and unions were meant to address not only the economic injustice of capitalist working conditions, but also the loss of identity that comes with the lack of control over circumstances in working life. Justina  expresses this aspect in her diary on Venezuelan workers’ cooperatives:                                                                                                                                            

The key to overcoming capitalism’s human devastation and systemic greed is to be found in joining together with other members of one’s community or work place and acting to transform our economy and thus our society into one that places human needs and aspirations at the top of our priorities.

Aug 05 2012

Curiosity

So tonight at 1:30 am-ish the new Mars Rover, Curiosity, will, if all things go as planned, land gently on the surface near Gale Crater close to the Martian equator.

If I sound a little tentative it’s because there’s a lot that could go badly.

For one thing this whole separate rocket descender concept is a little complicated.  The idea is that you don’t need the motors and fuel once you’re on the ground so you’re better off ditching them.  I think that stringing your mission critical cargo beneath another chunk of untested junk that could go spectacularly, amusingly, and expensively wrong is a mite…

ambitious.

But hey, I’m not a rocket scientist.

As I write NASA has already forgone their last course correction and is debating a final update to the data that the computers will use.  The rover has to land independent of radio control because light is slow and on a round trip to Mars takes just a little under half an hour.  If you’ve ever gamed over a sucky connection or are a high frequency trader you know what I’m talking about.

But people aren’t talking about that very real problem and are instead focused on the “Seven Minutes of Terror” that uses conventional atmospheric braking and includes a radio blackout from the plasma which will only be 50% or less (one way) of the regular everyday lag.

No one has a really good record at landing intact probes on Mars, though the United States has the best.  This is why last time out we sent both Opportunity AND Spirit in the expectation something would probably fail.

Instead they were both incredibly successful, far exceeding their designed objectives.

This time we have only 1 lander and it’s the size of an SUV, not a Golf Cart.  The mission is not to find life, but to determine if conditions on Mars could have supported the development of life.  I consider this a pretty settled question, but you can never know too much and actual results often lead to unexpected discoveries.

We will probably not know tonight, or even for the next week, whether things have gone as planned.  If the lander is even partly functional we can get some data, if not it would be 8 months to get there if we launched tomorrow.

However once down and functional Curiosity should prove much more capable than its predecessors.  It has nuclear power for one thing so we’ll be a lot less dependent on favorable storms.

And if you are a Deficit Hawk who likes to pretend money matters I invite you to compare the $2.5 Billion for the Curiosity program to the $23.7 Trillion we gave to the Banksters.  Even a non-rocket scientist can use a calculator to figure out that’s just barely over .0001%.

And because no frontier is final without Tiberius-

Here are some places you can stream the video commentary-

Aug 05 2012

Rant of the Week: Jon Stewart

Fast Feud Nation – Chik-fil-A Appreciation Day

Thousands turn out to support the First Amendment rights of Chik-fil-A president and gay marriage opponent Dan Cathy by contracting Type II diabetes

Aug 05 2012

Know the Person by the Friends They Keep

There are a lot of people who support health and safety regulations will be heartened by this man’s departure from the Obama Administration:

White House regulatory czar Cass Sunstein, an intellectual mentor to President Obama whose skeptical approach to rule-making frustated the president’s liberal allies, announced Friday he was leaving his post.

Sunstein will depart by the end of the month, officials said. He is returning to the job he left, a professorship at Harvard Law School. In addition, Sunstein will head a new Harvard program on “behavioral economics and public policy.” [..]

Sunstein heads a relatively obscure agency, the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, which acts as a gatekeeper for new federal regulations.

In Washington’s wonkier circles, he also has become a symbol of a central contradiction of Obama’s White House. In seeking bipartisan common ground, the administration has often embraced policies that disappointed its friends – without disarming its enemies.

Among those who won’t miss Cass is  Rena Steinzor of the Center for Progressive Reform

Cass Sunstein brought impressive credentials and a personal relationship with the President to his job as Administrator of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs. But in the final analysis, Sunstein has continued the Bush Administration’s tradition of using the office to block needed health and safety protections disliked by big business and political contributors. Worse, the narrative that Sunstein helped craft about the impact of regulations on American life – that regulatory safeguards are fundamentally suspect – was discordant with the rest of the President’s agenda and the arguments he makes for his reelection.

Some of the regulations that Sunstein blocked would have reduced the level of ozone in the air, improved work place safety and protected children who live and work on farms He also reduced federal inspectors in poultry plants because of insustry complaints that it would slow down production.

While as Dan Froomkin at Huffington Post notes, Sunstein received some “warm praise”:

White House Office of Management and Budget director Jeffrey Zients credited him with helping design “numerous rules that are, among other things, saving lives on the highways by making vehicles safer and reducing distracted driving; dramatically increasing the fuel economy of the nation’s cars and trucks; protecting public health by reducing air pollution; making our food supply safer; and protecting against discrimination on the basis of disability and sexual orientation.”

But that is a modest record in the context of the wholesale deregulation during the Bush/Cheney era and the unprecedented regulatory failures of the recent past: financial crisis; the BP oil spill; the Upper Big Branch mine explosion; a bevy of food– and toy-related health scares and the imminent dangers of climate change.

But it is those who will miss him, that speak the loudest about why true progressives should rejoice at his departure:

John Graham, who ran OIRA in George W. Bush’s first term, said Sunstein was an able administrator.

“He was a strong force for creative policy solutions in a political environment that was highly polarized,” Graham said in an e-mailed statement.

Sunstein also was hailed by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the nation’s largest business lobbying group, and the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based group of business executives.

“The Chamber has enjoyed a good working relationship with Cass Sunstein and we wish him well in his return to Harvard Law,” Bruce Josten, the Chamber’s executive vice president for government affairs, said in an e-mailed statement.

“Cass Sunstein will be missed,” said John Engler, the former Michigan Republican governor who is Business Roundtable president. “Cass accepted the input of business, sought balance and understood that regulations do have costs. We hope his replacement will strike the same tone.”

And this praise that just speaks volumes

“Cass Sunstein appeared to recognize the harm overly burdensome regulations inflict on economic growth and job creation – although he was not able to stop the tsunami of regulations enacted by the Obama administration,” Representative Darrell Issa of California, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, said in a statement.

No one should expect President Obama will appoint someone who would be more transparent or, for that matter, less big business friendly. Nor should anyone believe that Sunstein will fade away into the academia at Harvard. There is this loathsome possibility:

Sunstein has long been rumored as a potential choice of Obama for a Supreme Court vacancy, if one were to open.

 

If you don’t think that Sunstein on the Supreme Court would be a bad idea, then read about his view of the First Amendment and free speech

Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. A recent example is the belief, widespread in some parts of the world, that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined. Such theories typically spread as a result of identifiable cognitive blunders, operating in conjunction with informational and reputational influences. A distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.  [..]

II. Governmental Responses

What can government do about conspiracy theories? Among the things it can do, what should it do? We can readily imagine a series of possible responses. (1) Government might ban conspiracy theorizing. (2) Government might impose some kind of tax, financial or otherwise, on those who disseminate such theories. (3) Government might itself engage in counterspeech, marshaling arguments to discredit conspiracy theories. (4) Government might formally hire credible private parties to engage in counterspeech. (5) Government might engage in informal communication with such parties, encouraging them to help. Each instrument has a distinctive set of potential effects, or costs and benefits, and each will have a place under imaginable conditions. However, our main policy idea is that government should engage in cognitive infiltration of the groups that produce conspiracy theories, which involves a mix of (3), (4) and (5).

Remember when global warming was considered a “conspiracy theory”? How about that silly conspiracy theory that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11?

Aug 05 2012

Punting the Pundits: Sunday Preview Edition

Punting the Punditsis an Open Thread. It is a selection of editorials and opinions from around the news medium and the internet blogs. The intent is to provide a forum for your reactions and opinions, not just to the opinions presented, but to what ever you find important.

Thanks to ek hornbeck, click on the link and you can access all the past “Punting the Pundits”.

Follow us on Twitter @StarsHollowGzt

The Sunday Talking Heads:

Up with Chris Hayes: Up with Chris Hayes is postponed for coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

This Week with George Stephanopolis: This Sunday’s guests are Democratic National Committee chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-Fla., and Republican National Committee chair Reince Priebus.

The roundtable will debate the latest jobs report and all the week’s politics, with ABC News’ George Will, ABC News senior political correspondent Jonathan Karl, conservative commentator Ann Coulter, former Obama White House environmental adviser Van Jones, and former Counselor to the Treasury Secretary and Lead Auto Adviser Steven Rattner.

Face the Nation with Bob Schieffer: Joining Mr. Schieffer will be TIME Magazine‘s Michael Crowley, Bloomberg‘s Julianna Goldman, CBS News Political Correspondent Jan Crawford and CBS News Congressional Correspondent Nancy Cordes.

The Chris Matthews Show: This Chris Matthews Show is postponed for coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

Meet the Press with David Gregory: Meet the Press is postponed for coverage of the 2012 Summer Olympics.

State of the Union with Candy Crowley: This Sunday Ms. Crowley’s guests are Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC); Obama Campaign Senior Adviser Robert Gibbs; BET Founder Bob Johnson; former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina; CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash; and Peter Baker of the New York Times.

Aug 05 2012

On This Day In History August 5

This is your morning Open Thread. Pour your favorite beverage and review the past and comment on the future.

Find the past “On This Day in History” here.

Click on images to enlarge

August 5 is the 217th day of the year (218th in leap years) in the Gregorian calendar. There are 148 days remaining until the end of the year.

On this day in 1957, American Bandstand goes national

Television, rock and roll and teenagers. In the late 1950s, when television and rock and roll were new and when the biggest generation in American history was just about to enter its teens, it took a bit of originality to see the potential power in this now-obvious combination. The man who saw that potential more clearly than any other was a 26-year-old native of upstate New York named Dick Clark, who transformed himself and a local Philadelphia television program into two of the most culturally significant forces of the early rock-and-roll era. His iconic show, American Bandstand, began broadcasting nationally on this day in 1957, beaming images of clean-cut, average teenagers dancing to the not-so-clean-cut Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On” to 67 ABC affiliates across the nation.

The show that evolved into American Bandstand began on Philadephia’s WFIL-TV in 1952, a few years before the popular ascension of rock and roll. Hosted by local radio personality Bob Horn, the original Bandstand nevertheless established much of the basic format of its later incarnation. In the first year after Dick Clark took over as host in the summer of 1956, Bandstand remained a popular local hit, but it took Clark’s ambition to help it break out. When the ABC television network polled its affiliates in 1957 for suggestions to fill its 3:30 p.m. time slot, Clark pushed hard for Bandstand, which network executives picked up and scheduled for an August 5, 1957 premiere.

Aug 05 2012

Nuns on a Bus

I’ve always wanted to use that title.

Maybe I can get Samuel L. Jackson to play the Pope.

Aug 05 2012

Six In The Morning

On Sunday

As Syrian War Roils, Sectarian Unrest Seeps Into Turkey

 

By JEFFREY GETTLEMAN

ANTAKYA, Turkey – At 1 a.m. last Sunday, in the farming town of Surgu, about six hours away from here, a mob formed at the Evli family’s door.

The ill will had been brewing for days, ever since the Evli family chased away a drummer who had been trying to rouse people to a predawn Ramadan feast. The Evlis are Alawite, a historically persecuted minority sect of Islam, and also the sect of Syria’s embattled leaders, and many Alawites do not follow Islamic traditions like fasting for Ramadan.

The mob began to hurl insults. Then rocks.

“Death to Alawites!” they shouted. “We’re going to burn you all down!”

Then someone fired a gun.




Sunday’s Headlines:

China rebukes US diplomat for sending ‘wrong signal’ on South China Sea

Syria’s ancient treasures pulverised

Malawi’s one-woman revolution

Putin’s Russia in the dock during Pussy Riot trial

In Brazil’s backlands, decades-old feud continues to claim lives

Aug 05 2012

XXX Olympiad- Day 12

I saw these while looking for some offbeat coverage-

Competitive Armchair Olympics

Produced by CHRISTOPH NIEMANN and JON HUANG, The New York Times

Today is looking like a rather light day in terms of variety.  Lots of medals being handed out, which means lots of sports we will no longer see, Swimming and Rowing for instance.  No more Tennis or Greco-Roman Wrestling or Badminton after today either

We have Women’s Boxing for the first time.  USA is expected to dominate, but that did the men no good.  I’ll probably watch some of the Water Polo and Handball while it’s still around.  The Equestrian feature is Team Jumping.  Rafalca won’t finish competing until Thursday (people ask).

My schedules are carefully transcribed but often do not match the broadcast.  I blame NBC.

Broadcast Schedule

Time Network Sport Competitors
6 am NBC Women’s Marathon (Medal) all
6:30 am Vs. Badminton (Men’s Doubles Bronze) (Medal) MLY v KOR
7 am Vs. Tennis (Mixed Doubles Final) (Medal) all
7 am MS Tennis (Men’s Singles Bronze) (Medal) all
8:30 am Vs. Women’s Volleyball CHN v KOR
8:30 am CNBC Women’s Boxing (Fly, Light, and Middleweight) elimination
9 am NBC Tennis (Men’s Singles Final) Federer v Murray
9 am MS Table Tennis (Men’s Team Quarterfinals) all
9:30 am MS Women’s Water Polo (Quarterfinals) all
10 am Vs. Synchronized Swimming (Duet) all
11:30 am NBC Women’s Basketball USA v CHN
11:30 am Vs. Shooting (Men’s Pistol Final) (Medal) all
noon Vs. Tennis (Mixed Doubles Final) (Medal) all
noon MS Wrestling (Greco-Roman) all
1 pm MS Women’s Beach Volleyball (Quarterfinal)
1:30 pm NBC Equestrian (Team Jumping Final Round 1) all
2 pm NBC Women’s Water Polo USA v ITA
2 pm Vs. Women’s Water Polo MNE v RUS
2 pm MS Men’s Field Hockey GBR v AUS
3 pm NBC Women’s Volleyball USA v TUR
3:30 pm Vs. Women’s Weightlifting (Medal) all
3:30 pm MS Women’s water Polo (Quarterfinals)
3:30 pm CNBC Boxing (Bantam and Heavyweight Quarterfinals)
4 pm MS Wrestling (Greco-Roman Finals) (Medal) all
4:30 pm NBC Cycling (Women’s Track Finals) (Medal) all
4:30 pm Vs. Women’s Volleyball ITA v RUS
5 pm NBC Women’s Beach Volleyball (Quarterfinal) USA v CZE
5 pm MS Women’s Handball DEN v FRA
6 pm Vs. Women’s Beach Volleyball (Quarterfinal) BRA v GER
7 pm NBC Prime Time (Track & Field (Men’s 100m), Gymnastics (Individual Apparatus Finals), Diving (Women’s Springboard Final), Women’s Beach Volleyball) (Medal) all
12:30 am NBC Late Night (Badminton Men’s Singles Final, Track & Field (Men’s High Jump Qualifying, Hammer Throw and Steeplechase Finals) (Medals) all
1:30 am NBC Prime Time repeat
3 am CNBC Boxing repeat
4 am Vs. Men’s Basketball AUS v RUS
5:30 am Vs. Women’s Field Hockey USA v RSA

All this is sourced through the NBC Olympics broadcast schedule.  Competition starts again at 6 am tomorrow.  

Competitions designated by (Medal) will award winners that day.  ‘all’ means not specified.  Sometimes NBC especially does mashups and doesn’t include event or competitor information.  Elimination means no round robin, one and done.

These schedules are a place for you to make sure you don’t miss a sport you like and share your observations.  Have fun today!

Williams Coasts to Gold, and a Career Golden Slam

By CHRISTOPHER CLAREY, The New York Times

Published: August 4, 2012

She became only the second woman to complete a career Golden Slam – a gold medal, plus wins in all four Grand Slam tournaments. The feat was first achieved by Steffi Graf in 1988 after she swept all four major titles that year. Williams can add the gold medal to her 14 Grand Slam singles championships, the most of any active woman.



She and Venus Williams won their doubles semifinal later in the day over Maria Kirilenko and Nadia Petrova of Russia and will face Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka of the Czech Republic in Sunday’s doubles final.

‘Blade Runner’ Oscar Pistorius has an edge, all right – his spirit

By Bill Plaschke, Los Angeles Times

August 4, 2012, 4:30 p.m.

Of course, it will continue to spark the most amazing of debates, springing from the power he seems to derive from his prosthetics. Does a runner with no legs actually have an advantage over a runner with two legs? Pistorius is no threat for a medal here, but some worry these legs are walking the sport into a tricky tug of science over skill.

Five years ago, studies conducted by track’s international governing body showed Pistorius expended less energy than an able-bodied runner and banned him from official competitions. He responded by remaining in the Paralympics, where he won titles and still competes today. However, a year later, that decision was overruled by the Court of Arbitration for Sport, and Pistorius was given another chance. When he met the Olympic standard qualifying time this year, South Africa added him to the team, much to the dismay of some.

New Zealand Field Hockey Eliminates U.S.

By LAWRIE MIFFLIN, The New York Times

August 4, 2012, 1:30 pm

The Americans had had high hopes of at least contending for a medal here, based on an improving offense, a notably rugged defense and one of the world’s best goalkeepers in Amy Tran-Swensen.

Oddly for this squad, it was defense that let it down, as New Zealand scored all of its goals from penalty corners. Of course, credit where credit’s due: the New Zealanders created all those corners in the first place, with skillful attack play that too often left American defenders kicking or stumbling on the ball.

Signs of encouragement for the Americans came in the way they improved their own attack, scoring two goals, and the way they kept up with the fleet New Zealanders, especially Anita Punt, and kept them from breaking away too often. Katie O’Donnell scored from open play for the United States, and the defender Claire Laubach scored on a penalty corner.

London Olympics: Changes coming as boxing endures another scandal

By Kevin Baxter, Los Angeles Times

August 5, 2012

Go down five times in one round in professional boxing and your fight will be stopped. Go down five times in one round in the Olympics, and you go on to the quarterfinals.



(B)oxing, once among the most popular and exciting of Olympic sports, has once again become mired in a controversy over scoring. The Shimizu decision was eventually overturned, with the Japanese fighter being reinstated and Ishanguly Meretnyyazov of Turkmenistan, who refereed the bout, being sent home.

A similar fate could await Denmark’s Lars Brovil, who refereed the bout U.S. welterweight Errol Spence was ruled to have lost Friday. After reviewing tape of the fight, officials with the AIBA, amateur boxing’s international governing body, overturned that decision too, ruling that Brovil failed to acknowledge eight holding fouls by Spence’s opponent, India’s Krishan Vikas, in the final round alone.

Koreans declare ping pong cordiale in London 2012 round of wiff-waff war

Marina Hyde, The Guardian

Saturday 4 August 2012

Of course, like every parlour game from tiddlywinks to consequences, table tennis always feels marginally more aggressive than bare-knuckle fighting, particularly if played with friends or relatives at Christmas. Banned substances include human growth hormone and Irish cream liqueur.

But when North Korea and South Korea are thrashing it out between the unforgiving lights of the ExCel, even a home counties family row can look amicable. I didn’t fork out a tenner for the headset providing expert commentary for any bemused spectators. But I’d like to think the ping-pong equivalent of Mark Lawrenson was glossing it with observations like: “Yeah, there’s a little bit of niggle here …”



Still, for all the ping pong cordiale, it wouldn’t do to totally downplay the Olympics’ association with overt and covert international strife. Do recall that the North Korean military rocket launched back in April to commemorate the birth of Kim Il-sung was blown up mid-air, with suggestions being that the humiliation was the work of a virus spawned by the United States cyberwarfare programme. The codename of that programme? Why, “Olympic Games”, of course.

London 2012: Kim Collins axed from 100m by St Kitts for meeting wife

Owen Gibson, The Guardian

Saturday 4 August 2012

Lane four stood empty during the final heat of the men’s 100m in the Olympic Stadium on Saturday after the former world champion Kim Collins was dropped by St Kitts and Nevis for spending the night in a hotel with his wife.



Earlier Collins had posted a message on Twitter, reading: “My fans. I won’t lie. Won’t be running later tonight.” Another message read: “Even men in prison get their wives to visit.”

The 2003 100m world champion, who is 36, carried his country’s flag at the Olympic opening ceremony just over a week ago. In detailing his punishment the team statement described him as “a national hero”.

And they say romance is dead.

A Valued Adjunct to the U.S. Sailing Team

By BARRY BEARAK, The New York Times

Published: August 4, 2012

Doug Charko is the meteorologist for the United States sailing team, which is no easy job here on the rainy and sunny, cloudy and clear, windy and still southwest coast of England.



In one of his forecasts for the sailing team, he said the port could “serve up a dog’s breakfast” of swirling wind “with big shifts and deep holes.” By that, he meant it was a good idea to expect anything and everything.

“Days like these, with the winds so variable, kind of take the pressure off me,” he said, letting a smile be his umbrella on an intermittently rainy day. “Instead of aiming with a dart, I’m firing a shotgun.”

The sailing team has 16 athletes, 9 coaches, 3 physiotherapists, a psychologist, a rules expert and Charko. In the 2000 and 2004 Olympics, he worked for the Brazilians. In 2008, the Canadians. Meteorologists are now a standard part of the world’s better sailing teams.

Aug 05 2012

There’s Something About Wardak

(Cross-posted from here.)

On Sunday, gunmen assassinated Mohammad Ismael Wafa, the governor of Chak district, Maidan Wardak province. This follows a month of heavy fighting in Wardak, much of it in the Jalrez valley. Clearly the war there has heated up.

Wardak districts

  • On Tuesday July 3, in Sayedabad district, an Afghan soldier opened fire on American soldiers manning a roadside checkpoint, wounding five.
  • On Sunday July 8, in Jalrez district, a large roadside bomb penetrated an armored vehicle and killed six US MPs.
  • On Sunday July 22, in Jalrez district, insurgents killed five Afghan security guards who worked for a NATO base.
  • On Tuesday July 24, heavy fighting was reported in Jalrez district. The Wardak governor reported 15 militants killed.
  • On Wednesday August 1, in Jalrez district, insurgents killed four Afghan security guards who worked for a NATO base.

Other major war events in Wardak, from within the last year, include:

  • Last August, in Chak district, insurgents shot down a helicopter carrying a SEAL Team 6 troop, killing all on board.
  • Last September, in Sayedabad, insurgents used a large truck bomb against the U.S. base there, killing 5 Afghans and wounding 77 Americans.
  • Last October, in Chak district, joint U.S./Afghan forces conducted a night raid on the house of extended family members of a former senator for Wardak. The Senator’s nephew was killed in the raid, along with two adult daughters.

  • Last February, in Jalrez district, the U.S. handed over one of our two bases to Afghan forces.

The media portrays Wardak as involved in a two-sided affair, a war between the Taliban and U.S./Afghan security forces. But there’s something about Wardak. Things there are often not as they seem.