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Today’s Headlines and Commentary

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Monday, March 12, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Over the weekend, a U.S. soldier killed at least 16 Afghan civilians. The Taliban is vowing revenge, says NPR. President Obama wants all the facts so that he can hold whoever is responsible accountable, reports Politico, and the Afghan parliament in a public statement is demanding a public trial.

Meanwhile, the Washington Post has released the results of a new poll reporting on public opinion on the U.S.’s role in Afghanistan moving forward, as has Gallup on attitudes towards U.S. military power. Senator John McCain was on Fox News Sunday yesterday discussing the impact of the killings on U.S. withdrawal; The Hill reported on his commentary, as well as that of Newt Gingrich, who said yesterday, also on Fox News Sunday, that he doesn’t believe the U.S. efforts in Afghanistan to be “doable.”

More developments in the machinations over transfering high-level Taliban detainees from Guantanamo to Qatar. Afghan officials visited the Guantanamo Bay facility in an effort to secure support of the plan from the detainees, Missy Ryan of Reuters reports. The Pentagon said on Saturday that no decision on the transfer had yet been made. From the Agence France-Presse story:

The United States has not yet made a decision on whether to transfer five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo to Qatar, a Pentagon spokesman said Saturday.

Afghan officials in Kabul had said the detainees agreed to be transferred to Qatar, in a move that would meet a key demand of the hardline Islamists and likely ease the path to peace talks.

A spokesman for Afghan President Hamid Karzai said the government had also dropped its opposition to the transfer, as it seeks to boost reconciliation efforts.

Karzai’s spokesman said the inmates had told a visiting Afghan delegation they were willing to be transferred to the Middle East state, and it was now up to the United States whether they were freed.

CBS News reported on Saturday on the agreement to hand over control of Bagram prison to the Afghan government.

Josh Gerstein writes about former DOJ Director of Public Affairs Matt Miller’s op-ed in the Daily Beast over the weekend defending the Obama administration’s efforts to prosecute government leakers.

Jack appeared on On Point With Tom Ashbrook this morning debating targeted killing with Anthony Romero of the ACLU and discussing his new book.

John Yoo gave his two cents (paywall) over the weekend at the Wall Street Journal on AG Eric Holder’s speech last week.

Hugo Martin at the Los Angeles Times reports on the TSA’s response to a viral video demonstrating how to get certain items around the TSA’s body scanners. The TSA called the video a “crude attempt” to get past its security procedures, and that the body scanners are one of many techniquesin place to detect weapons.

Brendan Sasso at The Hill wrote over the weekend on the ACLU’s warning on Senator McCain’s alternative cybersecurity bill. Ellen Nakashima of the Post reported on Friday on a hypothetical cyberattack posed to fifty senators in an effort to rally support for the Lieberman-Collins-Feinstein bill.

Reuters reported over the weekend that U.S. drone strikes in Yemen killed at least 25 fighters linked to Al Qaeda, and a raid by the Yemeni air force killed another 20. Colum Lynch at the Washington Post covered U.N. special envoy for Yemen Jamal Benomar’s report to the U.N. Security Council on the “alarming” advances by Al Qaeda in Yemen.

Mark Townsend at the Guardian reports on the lawsuit Reprieve has filed against British civilians who may have played a role in the drone strikes that killed over forty people in Pakistan last year.

Lyle Denniston over at SCOTUSblog analyzes D.C. Circuit court opinions on Guantanamo detainee cases.

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