September 02, 2006
They Can't Even Do A Symbolic Event Right
Planning error delays U.S.-Iraq military handoverCould you imagine if we let this administration be in charge of, say, FEMA? Oh, wait...A much-anticipated ceremony to transfer operational command from U.S-led forces to Iraq's new army was postponed on Saturday at the last minute amid confusion, a U.S. military spokesman said, citing poor planning.
The event had been hailed by the U.S. military as a big step toward Iraq taking responsibility for security, key to any eventual withdrawal of U.S. forces. U.S. commanders, with 140,000 troops on the ground, would still have a big say.
"There was an error in planning between us and the Iraqi defense minister over the ceremony. This all boils down to a bureaucratic thing," said Lieutenant Colonel Barry Johnson. He said the ceremony had been rescheduled for Sunday.
Johnson played down suggestions the glitch reflected logistic and communication problems between the two forces. Iraq's Defense Ministry had no immediate comment.
Well, at least Afghanistan has been a rousing success...if you're a heroin dealer, that is:
Opium cultivation in Afghanistan is spiraling out of control, rising 59 percent this year to produce a record 6,100 tons — nearly a third more than the world's drug users consume, the U.N. said Saturday.Yet another "heckuva job" courtesy of The Stupids...
Antonio Maria Costa, the U.N. anti-drug chief, said the results from his agency's annual survey of Afghanistan's poppy crop were "very alarming."
"This year's harvest will be around 6,100 tons of opium — a staggering 92 percent of total world supply. It exceeds global consumption by 30 percent," Costa told reporters in Kabul after presenting the survey to President Hamid Karzai. Opium is the raw material of heroin...
Costa warned that the south of the country was "displaying the ominous hallmarks of incipient collapse, with large-scale drug cultivation and trafficking, insurgency and terrorism, crime and corruption."
The bulk of the increase was recorded in lawless Helmand province, where cultivation rose 162 percent and accounted for 42 percent of the Afghan crop. The province is facing an upsurge in attacks by Taliban-led militants fighting NATO forces...
Western officials say militants are implicated in the drug trade, encouraging poppy cultivation and using the proceeds to help fund their insurgency. However, government officials and police, particularly at provincial and district levels, also are deeply involved.
The top U.S. anti-narcotics official in Afghanistan also warned that the illicit trade in opium and heroin threatened the country's fledgling democracy, instituted after the ouster of the hard-line Taliban regime nearly five years ago by U.S.-led forces.