First – in Afghanistan:
Obama Addresses Rise of Civilian Casualties in Afghanistan
President Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai met at the White House Wednesday. Karzai is on his first trip to Washington since President Obama expanded the war in Afghanistan by ordering the deployment of 30,000 more troops. During a press conference, President Obama addressed the rising number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan.
President Obama: “When there is a civilian casualty, that is not just a political problem for me. I am ultimately accountable, just as General McChrystal is accountable, for somebody who is not on the battlefield who got killed. And that is something that I have to carry with me and that anybody who’s involved in a military operation has to carry with them. And so we do not take that lightly. We have an interest in reducing civilian casualties not because it’s a problem for President Karzai; we have an interest in reducing civilian casualties because I don’t want civilians killed.”
President Obama did not detail how he or General. McChrystal are held accountable when US forces kill Afghan civilians. The number of civilians killed by US forces have spiked in recent years. In February, US and Afghan gunmen killed two pregnant mothers, a teenage girl and two local officials in a botched nighttime raid. US forces then tried to cover up the killings by claiming that the three women had been discovered bound and gagged, apparently killed execution style. Earlier this week, the New York Times revealed that the number of Afghan civilians shot by US and NATO convoys at military checkpoints has recently jumped. At least twenty-eight Afghans have been killed and forty-three wounded in convoy and checkpoint shootings this year.
The above story is from Democracy Now. See the full story
Then in Iraq:
Withdrawal of US Combat Troops from Iraq Delayed
The Guardian newspaper reports the White House is likely to delay the withdrawal of the first large phase of combat troops from Iraq for at least a month after escalating bloodshed and political instability in the country. The US commander, General Ray Odierno, had originally expected to give the order within sixty days of the general election held in Iraq on March 7. In a message to Congress yesterday, President Obama said the situation in Iraq continues to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security and foreign policy of the United States.
For link, see above.
Finally, remembering that among other things, Neptune rules oil, we must also consider the biggest environmental disaster ever associated with the oil industry, the Gulf Oil Spill of 2010. Of course this spill began earlier, with the explosion in April, and it is instructive to examine the transits for this date. But on the May 13th New Moon, the following story did also surface:
Report: Owner of Oil Rig Seeks to Limit Liability to $27MFor a really good description of the factors that caused the disaster – see the 60 minutes story.
The Dow Jones Newswire is reporting that Transocean, the owner and operator of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that exploded and sank last month, is seeking to limit its liability to just under $27 million. The world’s biggest offshore driller is filing the request in the US District Court in Houston under a century-and-a-half-old law originally aimed at helping US ship owners compete with foreign-flagged vessels. Transocean’s rig was being leased by BP at the time of the April 20th explosion that killed eleven workers and caused the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile, evidence emerged Wednesday that the oil well failed a pressure test hours before the drilling rig exploded. Pressure tests are conducted to ensure the integrity of cement poured into the well to keep out natural gas. Congressman Henry Waxman discussed the test findings at a congressional hearing Wednesday.
Henry Waxman: "The anomalies in the pressure testing present a significant question that should be thoroughly investigated. Just hours before the explosion, tests on the well returned results that signaled a possible well failure and the influx of gas up the wall. Yet it appears that the companies did not suspend well operations, and now eleven workers are dead and the Gulf Coast region faces catastrophic environmental damages. We need to know if that’s the case and why it was the case."
Finally here are the relevant transits for the spill and ongoing leak – which took place at 11 PM on Tuesday, April 20th. Ironically the scope of the disaster only began to be discovered two days later - on the 40th anniversary of Earth Day. Here are the details of the U.S. transits. U.S. Neptune was indeed strongly constellated, with transiting Jupiter opposed and also exactly contra-parallel. Meanwhile the Moon was exactly sextile U.S. Neptune at the time of the accident, and semi-sextile Mars. The Moon in Cancer was also conjunct U.S. Mercury representing the media, while transiting Venus was sextile. The Sun, newly entered into Venus-ruled Taurus as befits Earth Day two days later, aspected the U.S. Sun, Venus and Midheaven. Neptune on U.S. Moon continued to indicate that confusion and deception were in the air. The U.S. public has been continuously misinformed by the BP oil company, regarding both the scope of the spill and its causes. Interestingly, the Moon also closely aspected U.S. Moon, representing the public, exact within 30 minutes of the time of the accident. The transiting Moon was also square U.S. Chiron, an indication of the painful nature of this incident, which continues to spew oil into the gulf waters at the time of this writing, with no end in sight. An important part of the United States fishing industry is located in the gulf. The transits to U.S. Mercury emphasize that the accident sends an important message. In this case one message is about the effects of greed, since the evidence is beginning to mount that safety regulations were ignored in an effort to make the well begin to produce faster in view of delays that had been experienced. BP was supposedly losing many millions a day over the delay in bringing in the well.
In the current month, the New Moon conjuncts U.S. Mars, once more bringing the military into the picture as well as further issues of deception. The transits that are most critical at the time of the New Moon are transiting Saturn in trine to U.S Pluto, Uranus and Jupiter in opposition to U.S. Midheaven as Pluto squares it, and Pluto’s opposition to U.S. Jupiter and Venus, the Midheaven ruler. Neptune continues to conjunct U.S. Moon, representing the public. Altogether these transits indicate a rough ride for the U.S government, possibly in connection with military operations, as the events of this climactic year continue to unfold.