* Airstrikes in Afghanistan * Back to Square One in Iraq?

For Immediate Release

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* Airstrikes in Afghanistan * Back to Square One in Iraq?

WASHINGTON - BEAU GROSSCUP
AP reports today: "A NATO airstrike killed at least 27 Afghan civilians, officials said Monday, in the third coalition strike this month to kill noncombatants and draw a sharp rebuke from Afghanistan's government about endangering civilians."

Author of the book Strategic Terror: The Politics and Ethics of Aerial Bombardment, Grosscup is professor of international relations at California State University in Chico.

He said today: "U.S. counter-insurgency experts readily acknowledge that NATO's use of 'airborne weapons' that continue to kill Afghan civilians only undermines the ultimate goal of 'winning hearts and minds' essential to defeating the Taliban and bolstering the Karzai government. The hope is that mild criticism from President Karzi and the usual 'accidents will happen,' the 'fog of war,' and the enemy's 'human shield tactics' will hold the Afghans' trust in NATO’s 'noble cause.'"

RAED JARRAR
Today, McClatchy reports on escalating violence in Iraq, including several killings in the last day and two katusha rockets hitting the Green Zone.

Jarrar is an Iraqi-born political analyst who just came back from a visit to Iraq. He is a senior fellow with Peace Action.

Jarrar said today: "Violence in Iraq is escalating; a local news report claims that dozens of dead bodies were found on Iraqi streets in the last day, bringing back memories from the 2005-2006 Iraqi civil conflict when dozens of assassinated and tortured bodies were found on Baghdad's streets every day.

"The Iraqi National Dialogue Front's calling for boycotting the upcoming Iraqi elections comes after Dr. Saleh Al-Mutlaq and others in the bloc were banned by a governmental commission linked to Ahmad Al-Chalabi.

"The ban has also triggered a war of words between the U.S. and Chalabi when senior Pentagon officials accused him of being an Iranian agent. Many Iraqis believe the current political and security unrest is linked to the ongoing U.S.-Iranian confrontation regarding Iran's nuclear program.

"The next few months will witness the first real test to the Obama administration's withdrawal plan from Iraq. If the U.S. fails to implement the agreed upon time-based withdrawal, that will take the U.S.-Iraqi relationship back to square one and lead to even more violence and deterioration."

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