Here’s an interview from 10/18 with Jack Shroder, a geologist and geographer who mapped most of Afghanistan back in the seventies. He’s the guy who recognized the rocks that were in the background of one of Osama bin Laden’s videos. In the interview, he explains that many caves in Afghanistan are used to channel water out of the mountains for irrigation — that could prove to be a problem if we plan on bombing Osama bin Laden or other people out of caves when the time comes.
The Economist assesses the progress of the war in Afghanistan and in the United States:
blockquote> So things can still go wrong for Mr Bush. One large difficulty concerns the very ideals for which America is fighting: freedom, justice and the rule of law. The struggle against the kind of terrorism of which al-Qaeda has shown itself capable
Congratulations to Fog Creek software for shipping CityDesk (on schedule)!
Yesterday, President Bush spoke at the US Attorneys conference. When he talked about the military tribunals that he authorized, the attorneys applauded:
I have also reserved the option of trial by military commission for foreign terrorists who wage war against our country. Non-citizens, non-U.S. citizens who plan and/or commit mass murder are more than criminal suspects. They are unlawful combatants who seek to destroy our country and our way of life. And if I determine that it is in the national security interest of our great land to try by military commission those who make war on America, then we will do so. (Applause.)
This disturbs me deeply for two reasons. The first is that the US Attorneys should know better than anyone that replacing our criminal justice system with secret military tribunals held with ambiguous evidentiary rules and standards of proof paves the road to Hell. The second is that the US Attorneys would probably be charged with prosecuting the terrorists if they were tried in normal federal courts. If these guys are genuinely enthusiastic about the military tribunals, then that means that they’re eager to be passed over for the prosecutional opportunity of a lifetime. I thought these guys were supposed to be ambitious or something.
Two legal challenges to the DMCA went down in flames yesterday. That’s very disheartening news. I feel like the judges don’t really understand the issues involved, but that could just be because they don’t agree with me.
BBC has a Q&A on the progress of Afghan talks currently being held in Bonn.
On my planet, BadTrans is the worst email worm ever. I say that because it’s the only one I’ve ever received personally, and I’ve gotten several copies of it. I expunged most of them when I was reading my email in mutt, but I also downloaded a few in Mozilla. It was actually quite exciting to see my anti-virus software do something for a change, I haven’t been responsible for infecting a computer with a virus since I was in college and used software that a friend gave me (the virus back then was JerusalemB).
Steven den Beste asks whether John Ashcroft is going to get tough on terrorism or not. He’s referring to terrorism perpetrated by Americans against abortion clinic workers.
Two Red Cross workers gathering the bodies of the prisoners killed in the fortress at Mazar-i-Sharif were shot by Taliban fighters who were hiding out in the bunkers under the complex. If our response to the uprising was overkill, how is it that there are still armed Taliban hiding out in the fortress taking pot shots at anyone who wanders too close? One thing I’ve learned in this war is that if the Northern Alliance says something is under control, it’s not really completely under control.