At the Danger Room, Spencer Ackerman writes, Petraeus? Commando Raids Killed Lots of Taliban. So?:
Ten dead or captured militants a day. That?s how many insurgents U.S. special operators nailed during David Petraeus? year-long command of the Afghanistan war, which officially ended Monday. About the only thing those commandos didn?t do is stabilize Afghanistan.
In the past year-plus in Afghanistan, elite commandos conducted a staggering 2,832 raids, resulting in the deaths or captures of 3,775 insurgents, Kimberly Dozier of the Associated Press reports. Petraeus? predecessor, Gen. Stanley McChrystal, a former Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) chief, oversaw about the same number of raids, but with only 2,381 insurgents neutralized.
To put it in context: that?s more than six raids a day, every day, for two years. Or maybe at night: McChrystal?s JSOC successor, Vice. Adm. William McRaven told Congress more than half of them, 1700 in a year, occur in the dark. No wonder JSOC was able to kill bin Laden. It had a lot of practice.
Why the jump in kills and captures? The most obvious explanation is the spike in spy planes, drones, blimps and other intelligence assets that began filling the Afghan skies during McChrystal?s tenure and ensconced themselves there under Petraeus. [...]
Petraeus has boasted about the numbers of neutralized insurgents to anyone who?ll listen, and foreshadowed it since he arrived in Afghanistan by pointing to an increased raiding tempo. But the absolute most that can be said is that it appears for now to have stopped the growth of the insurgency, not made Afghanistan safer for its citizens.
At Daily Kos on this date in 2009:
Last week marked the sixty-fourth anniversary of one of the most controversial achievements of the human race: the birth of the atomic bomb. Regardless of your personal feelings about the effect of nuclear weaponry on the outcome of the Second World War, it is impossible to argue otherwise: once the nuclear genie was out of the bottle, the world was a completely different place.
One of the most fascinating symbols of the nuclear age is the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists' "Doomsday Clock", which:... conveys how close humanity is to catastrophic destruction--the figurative midnight--and monitors the means humankind could use to obliterate itself. First and foremost, these include nuclear weapons, but they also encompass climate-changing technologies and new developments in the life sciences that could inflict irrevocable harm.
It was first used on the magazine's cover in 1947; the timeline is a qualitative indicator of our potential to destroy ourselves, and how various leaders have influenced that over the years.