The latest skill required in the war on terror? direct messaging

The Los Angeles times has a terrifyingfascinating reconstruction of a US airstrike that killed 23 (or 16 if you believe the US military) afghan civilians on 21 february 2010. The reconstruction focusses on the role played by the pilot and camera operator of a predator drone that observed three ‘suspicious’ vehicles whose passengers had the misfortune crossing paths with a team of US special operators early on February the 21st. The article documents how the drone operators (in Nevada), the the…

Restrepo

Just finished watching the award winning war documentary restrepo. hard not to be impressed with this documentary (gives a whole new meaning to embedded journalism) and hard not to feel empathy with the soldiers who served more than a year at the end of the world (or as they themselves refer to it, ‘the valley of death’) Aside from the firefights and the portraits of the (extremely young) soldiers restrepo perfectly illustrates the futility of the US-led war in Afghanistan. the whole film shows…

Kabul tourist guide

The city of Kabul (and Afghanistan in general) is still pretty high on my list of places i want to visit. Unfortunately, the closest place to Kabul that i got to so far is Delhi. Fortunately, however, there is the fabulous internet where Safi Airways ‘the international airline of Afghanistan’ is publishing PDF versions of it’s fabulous in-flight magazine. Browsing through the three available issues only reinforces my desire to go and visit the place. As far as the standards of such publications…

'Terrorist' watch list... (weekend reading list)

So the Atlantic has another well written article (‘The Things He Carried‘ by Jeffrey Goldberg) that shows the absurdity of the security theater that we endure at the airports (note that the situation in europe is a bit different, as they do check your boarding pass against ID at the boarding gate), which among other things illustrates that no-fly lists are a rather dumb instrument if you want to catch Terrorists. So if the ‘terrorists’ are not on the no-fly watch list, where are they then? Conve…

Welcome to Afghanistan...

I have had my own share of mobile phone operators loosing it a bit when it comes to geography, but yesterdays fuck up by Monica’s provider is equally noteworthy: Yes that reads, ‘have a pleasant stay in Afghanistan’ which is especially noteworthy as she got that message when we were leaving the basement of the American Book Center in central Amsterdam.…

Good news

Good news coming from the mysterious world of online banking. According to my bank (Rabobank in the Netherlands) it is again safe enough to transfer money to Afghanistan. Don't really know what they were worrying about before? Me giving osama a little bit of pocket money? Or them war lords hijacking my transactions? In any case this is an important step towards fully computerized opium ordering……