The Gypsy's Caravan

Thursday, December 29, 2005

The Seven Times Seven Meme

Hubby's at a game tonite, so I don't have to make dinner, or do anything! So here I am assembling the Meme.

Seven Things To Do Before I Die

I have to steal the first one from Old White Lady

1. Outlive George Bush and piss on his grave!
2. retire and live well, despite the coming bad times.
3. become a good photographer
4. develop a pottery shop out of my hobby
5. learn a little bit about web development
6. Witness the development of a real (spinning) space habitat
7. ...and yes, win the powerball, so maybe I could live in a real space hab!

Seven Things I Cannot Do

1. remember people's names (CRS syndrome*)
2. remember things I'm supposed to do (need a PDA -> there, I've admitted it, finally!)
3. sleep soundly with anyone else in the room.
4. I cannot lie well (so don't ask me if you don't want to hear it.)
5. sit in full lotus pose
6. join the military (past the cutoff age)
7. abide people in positions of responsibility taking advantage of their power to either enrich themselves at the expense of other people, or to abuse other people without penalty

Seven Things That Attract Me to...Blogging

1. Finding the active "salon" of intelligent people exchanging ideas and growing together in peace and goodwill and friendship
2. getting comments
3. being able to speak my mind, without having to worry about weather the people I'm speaking to are wingnuts
4. getting comments
5. seeing other people's pictures
6. getting comments
7. showing my pictures to everyone

Seven Things I Say Most Often

1. Hi Sweetheart
2. Dang!
3. I love you...
4. Where's the ^%#_*$#% WORKSHEET???
5. The Bastards!
6. When will you be able to pay invoice #....
7. We sent that check last week...

Seven Books That I Love

This is a hard one! (so many books, so little time)...OK, I can't do it by individual books, so I'm doing my favorite authors by genre:

1. Political: Starhawk, Sy Hersch
2. Anything to do with King Arthur - I've read every one that I've found so far.
3. Sci Fi: Asimov, Andre Norton, McCaffery, CJ Cherryh, The Darkover lady (what's her name? heh heh)
4. Mystery: PD James, Lilian Jackson Braun, JD Robb
5. Horror: Anne Rice
6. Fantasy: Tolkien (of course) Gayle Greeno, Fritz Leiber, Zelazny

Seven Movies That I would Watch Over and Over Again, If I ever watched movies... or, If I ever get a DVD player.

1. Fried Green Tomatos
2. On Golden Pond
3. The Star Wars Movies
4. Buckaroo Banzai
5. The Matrix movies
6. Sean Connery in that movie about the warriors who live forever and will fight down thru time until there is only one left......
(I know, he dies - he's still sexier than the star(be still, my beating heart))
7. Redford in his absolute best film ever: Jeremiah Johnson

Right now, every one I can think of has been tagged for this meme, so I'm going to put my thinking cap on and make up a new meme - coming soon.

*Can't Remember Sh*t Syndrome - the worst part of getting old!

Monday, December 26, 2005

post Christmas Dragon Blogging

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Agitprop's plan to get On O'Reilly's Sh*t List

O'Reilly Wants Cab Drivers Shot Dead! Go and read from the source!(click the title) ...and the explanation is here

My Personal (mild) Obsession

My obsession with naked trees came when I moved back to Connecticut after a living almost 20 years in southern California.

There the trees that loose their leaves in the "winter" are, in the first place, few and far between, and in the second place, they just look dead. They don't get the touch of frost to bring out the color in the leaves, so they don't put on any show in the fall.

The leaves turn yellow for a day or so, then crispy brown and fall. They make a mess, and look dead for half the year, so are not very popular.

When I returned to the land of the six month winter, the deciduous trees are everywhere - they were here before we came, and unless we ruin everything around us, they will be here when we leave for greener pastures.

And their branches make intricate, beautiful patterns against the sky. They lean over the roads, turning them into arched and vaulted corridors of mystery and delight.

In summer, they shade us from the hot and blinding sun, and in winter they shed their solar cells, and allow the weakened sun to reach all the secret places.

*click the pic for a larger view. (and if you ever want a full, non-compressed version of any of my pics, let me know, I'll be glad to email a copy to you.)

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Open Letter: Gov Jodi Rell

Dear Gov Rell,

Thank you for supporting and signing on to the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) the other day. I really appreciate the efforts of the state governments, after the Bush administration has not only dropped the ball, he's thrown it down a well (an oil well).


ANWR's Safe for Now

*click the title for the rest of the story

WASHINGTON (AFP) - After strenuous late-night wrangling, the US Senate approved a 453-billion-dollar military spending bill that contains an explicit ban of torture and new funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

But its approval late Wednesday by a 93-0 vote became possible only after senators agreed to rid the measure of a provision that would have allowed oil companies to drill in a wildlife preserve in northeastern Alaska.

The measure endured tortuous negotiations during which Democrats managed to keep a united front in opposing the drilling provision championed by Republican Alaska Senator Ted Stevens and backed by top Republicans and the White House.

The drilling language was doomed earlier in the day when Republicans fell four votes short of the 60 needed to break a filibuster of the measure by Democratic senators, who threatened an extended debate to prevent a vote.

Two senators, Lincoln Chafee of Rhode Island and Mike DeWine of Ohio, defected from the Republican camp and sided with Democrats on that issue.

Thank goodness the Democrats have found their spine, and kudos to the defectors! It's high time the Congress of the United States starts working for the common good, instead of butting heads and pandering to the Seat Warmer in Chief.

Critics have charged that drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Reserve would damage the pristine environment without significantly contributing to solving US energy woes.

"This was wrong," an irate Stevens shouted on the Senate floor, arguing the decision had robbed the government of an important source of revenue. "I am going to go to every one of your states, and I am going to tell them what you've done."

And there's Alaska's Ted Stevens shouting and making ridiculous statements, again. He's been trying to get permission from the american people for 40 years to tear up that preserve, and I'm sure he's not going to stop trying now.

Dawn and Dusk

The moisture coming off the water clings to the twigs and the dawn light picks out a frosty tracery.

...and the sunset was gorgeous.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

This Surprised me, coming from the Christian Science Monitor

*click the title to go to the article.

ANWR Facts:

Opening the refuge would do little to meet our energy needs and nothing to reduce prices.

Not one drop would come from the refuge for 10 years. At its peak, drilling would cut our reliance on imports by only 4 percentage points and the price of gas by just one penny.

Others claim it can't hurt. They're wrong: It would hurt badly. Oil companies drilling on the neighboring North Slope have caused, on average, 504 spills annually since 1996. They have released almost 2 million gallons of toxic substances, most commonly diesel, crude and hydraulic oil. Just one spill can significantly damage this fragile ecosystem.

504 spills annually since 1996: that's 4,536 spills on the north slope already. The Exxon Valdez spill hasn't even been fully cleaned up either!

The Congress has stuck the ANWR drilling proposal into the military budget bill, and sent it on to the Senate. I find it a pleasant surprise that a publication that I assumed to be conservative (read: hard right) would take this principled stand on the facts. It's a great article, laying out the truth in a manner simple enough that even the Oval Office Seat Warmer could understand it, if he wanted to learn something new.

Our Trickle Down Society

*click the title to go to the article.

As a father of four sons who have all been heavily involved with athletics, I was very disturbed by a recent survey conducted by the Citizenship Through Sports Alliance, a national coalition of sports organizations that includes the
NCAA and three of the four major professional leagues. The survey found that parents and coaches have lost sight of children's best interests and place excessive emphasis on winning instead of sportsmanship, character development and plain old fun.

The only thing "trickling down" from our leaders is this power grubbing "win at all cost" mentality. Character and ethics, and even fun are old hat. The only thing to be admired in our brave new world is raw, naked power, and the person who brings in the win!

PA Judge banishes Intelligent Design

*click the title for the whole story.

In his ruling, [U.S. District Judge]Jones said that while intelligent design, or ID, arguments "may be true, a proposition on which the court takes no position, ID is not science." Among other things, the judge said intelligent design "violates the centuries-old ground rules of science by invoking and permitting supernatural causation"; it relies on "flawed and illogical" arguments; and its attacks on evolution "have been refuted by the scientific community."

"The students, parents, and teachers of the Dover Area School District deserved better than to be dragged into this legal maelstrom, with its resulting utter waste of monetary and personal resources," he wrote.

The judge also said: "It is ironic that several of these individuals, who so staunchly and proudly touted their religious convictions in public, would time and again lie to cover their tracks and disguise the real purpose behind the ID Policy."

I guess if your goal is important enough, it's ok to violate a direct order from God.*

The newly elected school board will remove intelligent design from the science curriculum and put it where it belongs, in an elective social studies class.


Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The man who Inhabits the Our White House

"I can fully understand why members of Congress are expressing concerns about civil liberties," the president said. "I want to make sure the American people understand, however, that we have an obligation to protect you, and we're doing that, and at the same time, protecting your civil liberties."

HOW is that? Have you locked our civil liberties up in a safe somewhere, because you've taken them away from us...

Monday, December 19, 2005

Alien Invasion!!!

This should clear up any confusion engendered by the full moon pictures..


Dragon Blogging

House Opens Way for Oil Drilling in Artic

Not only is drilling in ANWR back on the table, in their last session before the Holiday break, Congress went through with their cuts to services to the poor and to students; and cuts to medicaid.
Read it here

Republicans originally put the savings at $41.6 billion, but that figure was later reduced to $39.7 billion with restoration of Medicare payments for oxygen patients, a late concession to lawmakers with interests in the durable medical equipment industry.

Look closely at that last paragraph. They were going to cut services to patients who need oxygen to survive, but they didn't do it because? ... They were concerned about their constituents who make medical equipment.

Talk about cold.

"There is something especially outrageous about the willingness of the majority party leadership to allow the Defense Department bill, in a time of war, to be held hostage to totally unrelated special interest items," Obey said.

GOP conservatives, disturbed that their party has overseen a surge in government spending and massive federal deficits, applauded a provision in the defense bill that would cut all discretionary federal programs, except those affecting veterans, by 1 percent in fiscal 2006, producing savings of $8.5 billion.

They also hoped to take home news of the $40 billion deficit-cutting bill, which will hardly make a dent in the nation's $8 trillion debt but would be the first time since 1997 that Congress has reined in the growth in spending on federal benefits programs.
~ emphasis mine

Seems to me, with a 3 trillion surplus under Clinton, we didn't need to "rein in the growth in spending" on our people, our citizen infrastructure(students), our poor and elderly, our sick and debilitated citizens.

Mr Bush said in his latest speech: "To retreat before victory would be an act of recklessness and dishonor and I will not allow it."

I say, starting a war on people who were not threatening us is reckless and irresponsible.

Emptying our treasury and driving us into deep debt is reckless and irresponsible.

Leaving our borders and ports open and accessible to anyone who wishes us harm is reckless and irresponsible.

Hobbling our schools with unfunded mandates is not only irresponsible, it will blight our children's and our country's future.

Dividing the country, in time of war(of choice), along political, racial, class, and sexual orientation lines is HIGHLY Irresponsible.

Washington needs a wake up call. When politicians who are elected to look after our interests are more interested in money grubbing, power grubbing, and having their name engraved on the bill that makes their career, it becomes time to clean house. It's time to kick them all out on their asses. There are very few in congress or the senate who are there for the strengthening of our country: look at what they do! They passed that defense spending bill 308-106, even with all the poison pills embedded in it, and Murtha says they will ask for another 100 billion for the war next year!

And Mr Bush, I say to you, Starting a war to rape a country of it's oil is DISHONORABLE.

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

The full moon

I don't know what the turquoise spot is, but the white blob is the full moon. ;)

Monday, December 12, 2005


I was getting in my car this morning, and the sunrise was just so pretty, I had to take some pics.

I ended up stopping on the road...

.. and this field was generating fog, and was such an eerie sight, I must have taken 10 pics.

Click on the pictures for a larger size.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Merry Christmas!

Whew! Took all day to get this big boy set up.

Friday, December 09, 2005

If America Left Iraq

The Atlantic Monthly has an article entitled If America Left Iraq
The case for cutting and running, by Nir Rosen.

It outlines all the current conditions in Iraq that are lining up to affect the time and logistics of our withdrawl of troops. He makes an excellent argument for getting out asap.

At some point—whether sooner or later—U.S. troops will leave Iraq. I have spent much of the occupation reporting from Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul, Fallujah, and elsewhere in the country, and I can tell you that a growing majority of Iraqis would like it to be sooner. As the occupation wears on, more and more Iraqis chafe at its failure to provide stability or even electricity, and they have grown to hate the explosions, gunfire, and constant war, and also the daily annoyances: having to wait hours in traffic because the Americans have closed off half the city; having to sit in that traffic behind a U.S. military vehicle pointing its weapons at them; having to endure constant searches and arrests. Before the January 30 elections this year the Association of Muslim Scholars—Iraq's most important Sunni Arab body, and one closely tied to the indigenous majority of the insurgency—called for a commitment to a timely U.S. withdrawal as a condition for its participation in the vote. (In exchange the association promised to rein in the resistance.) It's not just Sunnis who have demanded a withdrawal: the Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is immensely popular among the young and the poor, has made a similar demand. So has the mainstream leader of the Shiites' Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, who made his first call for U.S. withdrawal as early as April 23, 2003.

If the people the U.S. military is ostensibly protecting want it to go, why do the soldiers stay? The most common answer is that it would be irresponsible for the United States to depart before some measure of peace has been assured. The American presence, this argument goes, is the only thing keeping Iraq from an all-out civil war that could take millions of lives and would profoundly destabilize the region. But is that really the case? Let's consider the key questions surrounding the prospect of an imminent American withdrawal.

Would the withdrawal of U.S. troops ignite a civil war between Sunnis and Shiites?

No. That civil war is already under way—in large part because of the American presence. The longer the United States stays, the more it fuels Sunni hostility toward Shiite "collaborators." Were America not in Iraq, Sunni leaders could negotiate and participate without fear that they themselves would be branded traitors and collaborators by their constituents. Sunni leaders have said this in official public statements; leaders of the resistance have told me the same thing in private. The Iraqi government, which is currently dominated by Shiites, would lose its quisling stigma. Iraq's security forces, also primarily Shiite, would no longer be working on behalf of foreign infidels against fellow Iraqis, but would be able to function independently and recruit Sunnis to a truly national force. The mere announcement of an intended U.S. withdrawal would allow Sunnis to come to the table and participate in defining the new Iraq.

I'm tempted to post the whole thing here, but somehow I don't think Atlantic Monthly would appreciate that. Go and read, It's a worthy article, written by someone who's been there. It makes a lot of sense, and speaks to some conversations that have been going on here.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Dragon Blogging

Kinda reminds me of The Fat Lady Sings' blog. (do go over there right now, she has the most hilarious post on chili that you've ever seen)

Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow!

It snowed early this week, and as they were predicting more snow the next day, I didn't run out with my camera. Their prediction fell flat - no snow, and the wind was fierce, whipping the snow around. In fact, I've been online every morning, and it's getting harder to get to work on time!

So, I'm posting pics from last year's perfect snowstorm - you know the kind, the snow is light and fluffy, with huge flakes just floating down, sticking to everything.

I find the leafless branches fascinating, and from October to May, I have a hard time concentrating on where I'm driving, the branches reminding me of systems, of chaos, of rivers and civilizations, of connections and of the net itself. I have so many photos of branches - against the sky, layered with other branches, scratching the window, touching the roof.

They say we're going to get dumped on tomorrow, starting at lunch time. I may go home early - I really hate driving in the stuff!

The Perfect Snowstorm....

It took 22 days for an autoreply?

We appreciate hearing your views and welcome your suggestions.
Due to the large volume of e-mail received, the White House is
unable to respond to every message, and therefore this response
is an autoreply.

Thank you again for taking the time to write.

If they had actually read it , they probably would not be thanking me so politely.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Murtha Responds to Bush's Plan

The Stakeholder has the full transcript and video of Rep Murtha's response to Bush's Plan for Iraq here.

And from Think Progress, one of the reporter's questions has a big reveal:

MURTHA: Twenty years it’s going to take to settle this thing. The American people is not going to put up with it; can’t afford it. We have spent $277 billion. That’s what’s been appropriated for this operation. We have $50 billion sitting on the table right now in our supplemental, or bridge fund we call it, in the Appropriations Committee. They’re going to ask for another $100 billion next year.

QUESTION: Can we come back to the $100 billion? You said that you expect the military to ask for $100 billion. Where are you getting that figure?

MURTHA: Where I get all my figures: the military.

Murtha has reason to know. He’s the ranking member of the House Defense Appropriations Subcommittee. The total cost of the Iraq war is quickly approaching the cost of Vietnam, which lasted 8 years.

Very interesting...

What ABOUT Iraq?

The Green Knight has a neat list of rebuttals for the most prevalent arguments for staying in Iraq: 10 Questions .

Very useful this month, if you have conservative relatives.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Is Bushco Missing the Commies??

Driftglass has a nice, snarky piece about the underlying message of the powers that be, here

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Blame the Victim

I usually end a blogging session with a dragon, but this is just so over the top, I had to post on it. From Shakespere's Sister , and The Green Knight comes a tale of completely shameless patriarchy. If you cannot decide whether the girl was raped, let the perps go, and book the victim. (wait a moment while I puke)

Update: The Fat Lady Sings has a post on this, and she has the link to the person responsible. Drop by over there if you can send him an email.

Sunday Dragon Blogging

Pics from before the Snow

Our woodpecker trunk. They say you should leave these out on your property for the woodpeckers, but I wonder if it doesn't attract them, so they can hammer on our house.

I took these all around the house, just the day before the snow.

My sweetie loves to sit on the deck and listen to the tree frogs singing in the spring.

Even as the forest buttons up before the cold arrives, the hardy mosses and tiny tender plants keep on chugging along.

Time for clean elections

We all know that the elections have been being hacked for the last five years. The republicans cannot hold onto their power without cheating.

On February 3, 2005, Rep. Rush Holt reintroduced the Voter Confidence and Increased Accessibility Act (HR 550), a bill designed to restore confidence in the outcomes of elections and in our electoral process generally.

Paper Trail: The measure would require all voting machines to produce an actual paper record that voters can view to check the accuracy of their votes and that election officials can use to verify votes in the event of a computer malfunction, hacking, or other irregularity. Experts often refer to this paper record as a “voter-verified paper trail.” Please ask your congressman to support this bill.

Time for LIEberman to Face Reality

In a recent article War Stance Isolates Lieberman DAVID LIGHTMAN of the Hartford Courant points out that

"If we do not act," the senator said in April 1991, "if we neglect our duty to humanity, we would, as Dwight Eisenhower once said in speaking about a failure to confront evil in the world, `outrage our own conscience. In the eyes of those who suffer injustice, we would become partners with their oppressors.'"

I say that we have not become partners with Saddam Hussain, we have become what we accused Saddam Hussain of being. Though our assertions about him were false, the truth is that the United States has become the country that has the most WMD's in the world, and instead of drawing down that capacity, this administration is looking to expand it. We are now the torturers, we are now the ones that use unspeakably horrible chemical weapons on civilians. We are living in an era of increasing limits on our civil rights, and increasing power plays by the most fanatic religious elements in our society.

... when Walter Cronkite addressed his CBS audience at the end of his Feb. 27, 1968, broadcast. An anti-war movement was gaining strength and volume at home, and the North Vietnamese had swept into the streets of Saigon with the shocking Tet offensive. Mr. Cronkite himself was just home from a trip to Vietnam.

“To say that we are mired in stalemate seems the only realistic, yet unsatisfactory, conclusion,” Mr. Cronkite said. “It is increasingly clear to this reporter that the only rational way out then will be to negotiate, not as victors, but as an honorable people who lived up to their pledge to defend democracy, and did the best they could.”

The question we've been hearing from the Iraq war apologists is: Would you rather have Saddam Hussain in power?

My answer is this: The Iraqi people are not better off than before the war. They have traded occasional outrages for daily outrages. They have traded Saddams torture chambers for American and Shiite torture chambers. They have traded intermittant electricity with even more intermittant electricity, and their schools and hospitals have been bombed, they cannot even walk on their streets without fearing death.

We are not doing as good a job as Saddam Hussain in supplying security, electricity, food, water, schooling, or medical services.
We are not doing as good a job as Saddam Hussain in the delicate tightrope walk that mideast politics have always been.

And, if you think that "fighting them over there, so we do not have to fight them over here" is a viable exercise, please consider that the Sunnis and Shiites have been fighting each other for some 500 years or more, and they hate each other no less for it. Unlike the average american joe who cannot remember what happened 6 months ago, these people hold grudges forever. They haven't even begun to vent their fury against us. And, every day we give them more reason to hate us.

This is our plan???

Friday, December 02, 2005


Today Rush Limbaugh took some time out to ridicule our Democratic Party Senators and Congressmen who served in Vietnam and are now calling for the President to submit a plan to the nation laying out how we will get our troops out of the country that we invaded and then broke. Personally, it made me want to puke, hearing that yellow bellied, drug addicted ass wipe slandering a set of principled war heroes.

Limbaugh, like Cheney and so many other people wielding power these days, had a deferrment during Vietnam. He got it for having a Cyst on his butt.

In England, during WWI, Emmeline Pankhurst let her suffragette movement idle, in a push to win the war. When conscription was not enough to fill the fast depleted ranks of the military, she went into action. Mrs. Pankhurst toured the country, making recruiting speeches. Her supporters handed the white feather to every young man they encountered wearing civilian dress, and bobbed up at Hyde Park meetings with placards: "Intern Them All".

I think she had a great idea: give them a white feather as a sign of cowardice. I think in the US, YELLOW may be more evocative. I think every time Limbaugh, O'Rielley, or any of the other hate mongers who refused to serve in our military when there was a draft going on, when they slander our decorated veterans, we should inundate them with yellow feathers, as a reminder that they were the ones who turned tail & ran.

Looking for the picture, I found another site that had the same idea as I did


Taliban Truce in District of Afghanistan Sets Off Debate

Prime Minister Tony Blair addressed British troops last week at Camp Bastion in Helmand Province, where they have been in heavy fighting against the Taliban but have withdrawn from one district under an agreement.

Published: December 2, 2006

KABUL, Afghanistan, Nov. 29 — After a series of bruising battles between British troops and Taliban fighters, the Afghan government struck a peace deal with tribal elders in Helmand Province, arranging for a cease-fire and the withdrawal of both sides from one southern district. A month later, the ripples are still being felt in the capital and beyond.

The elders in the Musa Qala district brokered a local peace pact.

The accord, reached with virtually no public consultation and mediated by the local governor, has brought some welcome peace for residents of the district, Musa Qala, and a reprieve for British troops, who had been under siege by the Taliban in a compound there for three months.

But it has sharply divided former government officials, legislators and ordinary Afghans. Some say the agreement points the way forward in bringing peace to war-torn parts of the country. Others warn that it sets a dangerous precedent and represents a capitulation to the Taliban and a potential reversal of five years of American policy to build a strong central government. They say the accord gives up too much power to local leaders, who initiated it and are helping to enforce it.

“The Musa Qala project has sent two messages: one, recognition for the enemy, and two, military defeat,” said Mustafa Qazemi, a member of Afghanistan’s Parliament and a former resistance fighter with the Northern Alliance, which fought the Taliban for seven years.

“This is a model for the destruction of the country,” he said, “and it is just a defeat for NATO, just a defeat.”

As part of the deal, the district has been allowed to choose its own officials and police officers, something one member of Parliament warned would open a Pandora’s box as more districts clamored for the right to do the same.

Some compare the deal to agreements that Pakistan has struck with leaders in its tribal areas along the Afghan border, which have given those territories more autonomy and, critics say, empowered the Taliban who have taken sanctuary there and allowed them to regroup.

“It is the calm before the storm,” one senior Afghan military officer said of the accord.

Even President Hamid Karzai, who sanctioned the deal, has admitted to mixed feelings. “There are some suspicions in society about this,” he said in a recent radio interview with Radio Free Europe.

“I trust everything these elders say,” Mr. Karzai said, but he added that two recent episodes in the area — of killing and intimidation — gave pause and needed investigation.

For their part, foreign military officials and diplomats expressed cautious optimism, saying the accord had at least opened a debate over the virtues of such deals and time is needed to see if it will work. “If it works, and so far it appears to work, it could be a pointer to similar understandings elsewhere,” said one diplomat, who would speak on the topic only if not identified.

The governor of Helmand, Mohammad Daud, brokered the deal and defended it strongly as a vital exercise to unite the Pashtun tribes in the area and strengthen their leaders so they could reject the Taliban militants.

Appointed at the beginning of the year, Mr. Daud has struggled to win over the people and control the lawlessness of his province, which is the largest opium-producing region as well as a Taliban stronghold.

Some 5,000 British soldiers deployed in the province this year as part of an expanding NATO presence have come under repeated attack. Civilians have suffered scores of casualties across the south as NATO troops have often resorted to airstrikes, even on residential areas, to defeat the insurgents.

It was the civilians of Musa Qala who made the first bid for peace, Mr. Daud explained.

“They made a council of elders and came to us saying, ‘We want to make the Taliban leave Musa Qala,’ ” he said in a telephone interview from the provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. “At first we did not accept their request, and we waited to see how strong the elders were.”

But the governor and the British forces soon demanded a cease-fire, and when it held for more than a month, they negotiated a withdrawal of British troops from the district, as well as the Afghan police who had been fighting alongside them. The Taliban then also withdrew.

Eventually the governor agreed on a 15-point accord with the elders, who pledged to support the government and the Afghan flag, keep schools open, allow development and reconstruction, and work to ensure the security and stability of the region. That included trying to limit the arming of people who do not belong to the government, namely the Taliban insurgents.

They drew up a list of local candidates for the posts of district chief and police chief, from which the governor appointed the new officials. They also chose 60 local people to serve as police officers in the district, sending the first 20 to the provincial capital for 20 days of basic training, according to provincial officials.

One energetic supporter of the deal is Abdul Ali Seraj, a nephew of King Amanullah, who ruled in the 1920s, and leader of the Coalition for National Dialogue With the Tribes of Afghanistan, which is working to bring peace through the tribal structures.

“Musa Qala is the way to do it,” Mr. Seraj said. “Sixty days since the agreement, and there has not been a shot fired.”

The agreement has been welcomed by residents of Musa Qala, who said in interviews by telephone or in neighboring Kandahar Province that people were rebuilding their houses and shops and planting winter crops, including the ubiquitous poppy, the source of opium.

The onset of the lucrative poppy planting season may have been one of the incentives behind their desire for peace, diplomats and government officials admitted.

Elders and residents of the area say the accord has brought calm, at least for now. “There is no Taliban authority there,” said Haji Shah Agha, 55, who led 50 members of the Musa Qala elders’ council to Kabul recently to counter criticism that the district was in the hands of the Taliban.

“The Taliban stopped fighting because we convinced them that fighting would not be to our benefit,” he said. “We told the Taliban, ‘Fighting will kill our women and children, and they are your women and children as well.’ ”

What the Taliban gained was the withdrawal of the British forces without having to risk further fighting. Meantime, the Taliban presence remains strong in the province, so much so that road travel to Musa Qala for a foreign journalist is not advised by United Nations security officials. While residents are happy with the peace, they do not deny that the militants who were fighting British forces all summer have neither disbanded nor been disarmed.

According to a local shopkeeper, Haji Bismillah, 40, who owns a pharmacy in the center of Musa Qala, the Taliban have pulled back to their villages and often come into town, but without their weapons.

“The Taliban are not allowed to enter the bazaar with their weapons,” he said in a telephone interview. “If they resist with guns, the tribal elders will disarm them,” he said.

He said the elders had temporarily given the Taliban “some kind of permission to arrest thieves and drug addicts and put them in their own prison,” since the elders did not yet have a police force of their own.

The district’s newly appointed police chief, Haji Malang, said the Taliban and the police had agreed not to encroach on each other’s territory. “They have their place which we cannot enter, and we have our place and they must not come in,” he said in a telephone interview this week.

Some residents said the deal would benefit the Taliban. “This is a very good chance for the Taliban,” said Abdul Bari, 33, a farmer who accompanied a sick relative to a hospital in neighboring Kandahar province.

“The people now view the Taliban as a force, since without the Taliban, the government could not bring peace in the regions.” he said. “It is not sure how this agreement will work, but maybe the Taliban will get more strength and then move against the elders.”

Opponents of the agreement warned that the elders were merely doing the bidding of the Taliban and would never be strong enough to face down Taliban commanders.

“The Taliban reappeared by the power of the gun, and the only way to defeat them is fighting, not dealing,” said Haji Aadil Khan, 47, a former police chief from Gereshk, another district of Helmand.

One event that has alarmed all sides was the killing and beheading of Haji Ahmad Shah, the former chief of a neighboring district, who returned to his home after the agreement was signed. Beheading is a tactic favored by some Taliban groups, and his friends say it is a clear sign that the Taliban are in control of the area. Elders of Musa Qala said that Mr. Shah had personal enemies and that they were behind the killing.

The governor, Mr. Daud, and the elders said a number of the opponents to the agreement were former militia leaders who did not want peace. “The people of Musa Qala took a step for peace with this agreement,” said the chief elder, Haji Shah Agha. “The Taliban are sitting calmly in their houses.”

Another elder, Amini, who uses only one name, said: “For four months we had fighting in Musa Qala and now we have peace. What is wrong with it, if we have peace?”

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