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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Friday, February 24, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Protests in Afghanistan over the burning of Korans by NATO soldiers saw their deadliest day today with at least 10 casualties, says the New York Times. Guess a presidential apology only goes so far. Meanwhile, the Washington Post informs us that Germany has withdrawn its troops from northern Afghanistan amid the escalating protests.

According to the Times, Pakistani prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani, has “issued a statement calling on the Taliban and ‘all other Afghan groups, including Hizb-e-Islami,’ a pro-Taliban militant group with historical ties to Pakistan,” to participate in reconciliation talks with Kabul. Reuters has more details.

Speaking of the Taliban, last month’s NATO report entitled “State of the Taliban,” prepared by “special operations interrogators” has been obtained by Rod Nordland and Alissa J. Rubin of the Times. They discuss it here, and annotate the full report here.

From the Department of Pakistan Taking Criticism Well: The Times informs us that five U.S. members of Congress who visited Pakistan in order to “offer their wisdom to Pakistani legislators about ways to strengthen democracy, right down to the nitty-gritty of committee oversight and constituent relations” had no idea what they were in for. “Pakistani leaders and the public exploded with seething anger, street protests and claims that the United States wanted to dismember Pakistan.”

BBC reports that an air strike killed four Al-Shabab militants in Somalia.

The AP reports that the Newark, NJ police officials knew about the NYPD’s widespread surveillance of Muslim students.

The Post tells us that Bradley Manning has finally been arraigned. He “declined to enter a plea Thursday to charges he engineered the biggest leak of classified information in U.S. history. . .[and] deferred a choice of whether to be tried by a military jury or judge alone.”

Ben isn’t the only one responding to Mary Dudziak. Scott A. Allen and Kristine A. Huskey of Physicians for Human Rights argue in a Letter to the Editor in the Times that “the United States has an obligation to treat all detainees with a certain standard of care, but when there is no end to the global war against Al Qaeda, indefinite detention is a life sentence without trial, and it can result in lasting physical and mental harm.”

Marc Theissen of AEI asserts in this Post op-ed that the Obama administration’s plea deal with Majid Khan was a bad move.

And if you thought the Obama administration wasn’t thinking outside the box when it comes to Iran’s nukes, consider this promising U.S. policy option that Obama has taken off the table: today’s Moment of Zen.

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