But Nancy Pelosi just said the war’s over

U.S. bombardment kills 76 militants in Afghanistan
Five U.S. soldiers injured in battle described as deadliest since 2001

On Tuesday:

Mrs. Pelosi said it is past time that the administration established a policy on determining the fates of the detainees at U.S. Naval Base Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, arguing that most are from Afghanistan and that the conflict there has ended.

“I assume that the war in Afghanistan is over, or is the contention that you have that it continues?” she said to a reporter.

A few moments later, she said: “This isn’t about the duration of the war. The war in Afghanistan is over.” [emphasis mine]

Also on Tuesday:

KABUL, Afghanistan — American aircraft bombarded a rebel hide-out with missiles and bombs, killing up to 76 insurgents in one of the deadliest battles since the Taliban’s ouster more than three years ago, officials said Wednesday.

A dozen Afghan policemen and soldiers also died in fighting Tuesday that left bodies scattered across a southern mountainside and was sure to add to growing anxiety that an Iraq-style conflict is developing here. Five U.S. soldiers were wounded.

“Their camps were decimated. Bodies lay everywhere. Heavy machine guns and AK-47s were scattered alongside blankets, kettles and food,” said Gen. Salim Khan, commander of 400 Afghan policemen who took part in the fighting. “Some of the Taliban were also killed in caves where they were hiding and U.S. helicopters came and pounded them.”

A U.S. spokesman, Lt. Col. Jerry O’Hara, said 49 rebels were killed in the 11-hour battle. But Gen. Ayub Salangi, police chief for Kandahar province, said Afghan forces recovered the bodies of 76 suspected insurgents from the battlefield on the border between Kandahar and Zabul provinces.

Khan said 30 militants were captured, including two district rebel commanders. Eight of the 30 were wounded, he said.

Salangi said the fighting spread to other areas Wednesday and there were unconfirmed reports of more dead elsewhere. Khan said hundreds of insurgents had been in the mountains and many were trying to flee the area.

O’Hara said AC-130 gunships, AH-64 Apache helicopters, A-10 attack planes and Harrier jump jets were still attacking rebels and having a “devastating effect on their forces.”

and

About 360 suspected insurgents have been reported killed since rebel attacks began increasing in March, after snows melted on mountain tracks used by the rebels. In the same time, 29 U.S. troops, 38 Afghan police and soldiers and 125 civilians have been killed.

The bloodshed has raised concerns that the war is widening, rather than winding down. U.S. and Afghan officials have warned that violence could get even worse before the parliamentary elections scheduled for September.

Methinks Nancy has no clue.

Comments

  1. Now I can see why you were concerned about my joining Karl Zinmeister in saying the Iraq War is over. You’re right, in a real sense, it is not. I agree with Zinmeister that a democratic victory in Iraq now is inevitable, but that does depend on a continued U.S. military presence and, yes, more battles. It bothers me, too, that some of our leaders have been too casual with the phrases ‘the war is over’ and ‘after the war.’ The fighting goes on. Yes, missions have been accomplished, but don’t try to tell our soldiers, Marines, sailors and airmen the war is over. And by the way, the Iraq war didn’t begin in March 2003. It began in August 1990. The March 2003 invasion was simply the beginning of the end of the war. When a dictator starts a war, it’s not over until the dictator is gone and a democracy has taken his place.

  2. Frank: Saying things like ‘the war is over’ when there remains much fighting to be done not only leaves you open to gotchas like this, but it will build the wrong impression in many people’s mind about the actual state of affairs. I DO think that the ball is rolling in the right direction in both Iraq and Afghanistan and that it would take some pretty significant developments to derail the march toward democracy. But one of those significant developments could be the early withdrawal of too many US troops because too many people think the ‘war is over’. So while I agree with Zinmeister’s sentiment and his larger meaning, the choice of words is potentially very counter-productive in both a tactical (‘Despite claims that the war’s over, 5 US Marines were killed by a roadside bomb this morning.’) and strategic (‘Why more money? Isn’t the war over?’) sense. More troubling, the tactical sorts of things are likely to, with the incessant media hammering, grow into real strategic problems.

  3. Right. We’re in agreement there. ‘Mission Accomplished.’ ‘The war is over.’ ‘The insurgency is in its death throes.’ Our leaders, especially, have to stay away from those kinds of declarations. But then the news reporters complain when Bush says ‘the war is tough, it’s hard, but we’re making progress.’ That’s exactly all he can say, all he should say until the totalitarians are defeated.