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Becoming What We Seek to Destroy

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Posted on May 10, 2009
Gates and soldiers
AP photo / Jason Reed, pool

U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, left, takes part in a re-enlistment ceremony for eight U.S. troops during his visit to Forward Operating Base Airborne in Wardak Province, Afghanistan, last week.

By Chris Hedges

The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in a village in the western province of Farah, illustrates the futility of the Afghan war. We are not delivering democracy or liberation or development. We are delivering massive, sophisticated forms of industrial slaughter. And because we have employed the blunt and horrible instrument of war in a land we know little about and are incapable of reading, we embody the barbarism we claim to be seeking to defeat.

We are morally no different from the psychopaths within the Taliban, who Afghans remember we empowered, funded and armed during the 10-year war with the Soviet Union. Acid thrown into a girl’s face or beheadings? Death delivered from the air or fields of shiny cluster bombs? This is the language of war. It is what we speak. It is what those we fight speak.

Afghan survivors carted some two dozen corpses from their villages to the provincial capital in trucks this week to publicly denounce the carnage. Some 2,000 angry Afghans in the streets of the capital chanted “Death to America!” But the grief, fear and finally rage of the bereaved do not touch those who use high-minded virtues to justify slaughter. The death of innocents, they assure us, is the tragic cost of war. It is regrettable, but it happens. It is the price that must be paid. And so, guided by a president who once again has no experience of war and defers to the bull-necked generals and militarists whose careers, power and profits depend on expanded war, we are transformed into monsters. 

There will soon be 21,000 additional U.S. soldiers and Marines in Afghanistan in time for the expected surge in summer fighting. There will be more clashes, more airstrikes, more deaths and more despair and anger from those forced to bury their parents, sisters, brothers and children. The grim report of the killings in the airstrike, issued by the International Committee of the Red Cross, which stated that bombs hit civilian houses and noted that an ICRC counterpart in the Red Crescent was among the dead, will become familiar reading in the weeks and months ahead. 

We are the best recruiting weapon the Taliban possesses. We have enabled it to rise from the ashes seven years ago to openly control over half the country and carry out daylight attacks in the capital Kabul. And the war we wage is being exported like a virus to Pakistan in the form of drones that bomb Pakistani villages and increased clashes between the inept Pakistani military and a restive internal insurgency. 

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I spoke in New York City a few days ago with Dr. Juliette Fournot, who lived with her parents in Afghanistan as a teenager, speaks Dari and led teams of French doctors and nurses from Médecins Sans Frontières, or Doctors Without Borders, into Afghanistan during the war with the Soviets. She participated in the opening of clandestine cross-border medical operations missions between 1980 and 1982 and became head of the French humanitarian mission in Afghanistan in 1983. Dr. Fournot established logistical bases in Peshawar and Quetta and organized the dozen cross-border and clandestine permanent missions in the resistance-held areas of Herat, Mazar-i-Sharif, Badakhshan, Paktia, Ghazni and Hazaradjat, through which more than 500 international aid workers rotated.

She is one of the featured characters in a remarkable book called “The Photographer,” produced by photojournalist Didier Lefèvre and graphic novelist Emmanuel Guibert. The book tells the story of a three-month mission in 1986 into Afghanistan led by Dr. Fournot. It is an unflinching look at the cost of war, what bombs, shells and bullets do to human souls and bodies. It exposes, in a way the rhetoric of our politicians and generals do not, the blind destructive fury of war. The French humanitarian group withdrew from Afghanistan in July 2004 after five of its aid workers were assassinated in a clearly marked vehicle. 

“The American ground troops are midterm in a history that started roughly in 1984 and 1985 when the State Department decided to assist the Mujahedeen, the resistance fighters, through various programs and military aid. USAID, the humanitarian arm serving political and military purposes, was the seed for having a different kind of interaction with the Afghans,” she told me. “The Afghans were very grateful to receive arms and military equipment from the Americans.”

“But the way USAID distributed its humanitarian assistance was very debatable,” she went on. “It still puzzles me. They gave most of it to the Islamic groups such as the Hezb-e Islami of [Gulbuddin] Hekmatyar. And I think it is possibly because they were more interested in the future stability of Pakistan rather than saving Afghanistan. Afghanistan was probably a good ground to hit and drain the blood from the Soviet Union. I did not see a plan to rebuild or bring peace to Afghanistan. It seemed that Afghanistan was a tool to weaken the Soviet Union. It was mostly left to the Pakistani intelligence services to decide what would be best and how to do it and how by doing so they could strengthen themselves.”

The Pakistanis, Dr. Fournot said, developed a close relationship with Saudi Arabia. The Saudis, like the Americans, flooded the country with money and also exported conservative and often radical Wahhabi clerics. The Americans, aware of the relationship with the Saudis as well as Pakistan’s secret program to build nuclear weapons, looked the other way. Washington sowed, unwittingly, the seeds of destruction in Afghanistan and Pakistan. It trained, armed and empowered the militants who now kill them. 


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By NovemberDog, December 16, 2009 at 5:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The population has been teabagged and obamatroned, either thinking the opposition is
made up of hillbilly racists or believing that we need to give obama a chance because
of what he’s been handed by Bush. The public talks about these things without realizing
their conversations are being chosen by the msm. Sad and and seemingly
unstoppable…

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By KDelphi, May 18, 2009 at 2:03 pm Link to this comment

http://www.marxist.com/bolshevism.htm

Night Guant—No, I didnt and do not know if that is true. I was asking for jackpine’s experience, since he was there, and, commenting onthe medias tendency to idolize the west and demonize Russia. I was not defending Stalin, and, there are other points of view about what happened there (see above)


This thread is getting so long, my browser doesnt want to post…thanks Sepharad….
Night Guant—I’ll give this quote a shot, but, who knows…

Bolshevism - The Road to Revolution
By Alan Woods
Monday, 18 July 2005

There have been many books and potted histories of Russia, either written from an anti-Bolshevik perspective, or its Stalinist mirror image, which paint a false account of the rise of Bolshevism. For them, Bolshevism is either an historical “accident” or “tragedy”. Or it is portrayed erroneously as the work of one great man (Lenin) who marched single-minded towards the October Revolution. Alan Woods, in rejecting these “theses”, reveals the real evolution of Bolshevism as a living struggle to apply the methods of Marxism to the peculiarities of Russia. Using a wealth of primary sources, Alan Woods uncovers the fascinating growth and development of Bolshevism in pre-revolutionary Russia.

Check it out, if you like.

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 18, 2009 at 12:25 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi, the Bolshiveks wiped out the Menshavecks & any others who were rivals like the White Russians didn’t you know? The Reds over threw the democratic-socialist president Krensky, not the Czar. The so-called ‘communism’ that replaced it was just a different form of totalitarianism with bogus trappings of socialism and Marx/Engles tropes to hide its true meaning. One of oriental despotism of ultimate power over all their subjects.

On Altnet is a report on Obama’s new choice to oversee operations in Afghanistan is a well trained DELTA force psychopath in the arts of war and terror, General Stanley McCrystal who ran the Special Operations Teams (SOT) within the Special Mission Units and directed the ‘direct action forces’ that dealt with terrorizing and torture over propaganda ops in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and maybe Iran. He was approved by Cheney & Rumsfeld before and now by Obama.

Are we the Mirror Universe Trek empire yet? Has Saron won? Then the Dark Side of the Force rules?

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By Sepharad, May 17, 2009 at 11:12 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi—Those books do pile up. There are always things I HAVE to read or WANT to read and Amazon makes them so affordable ... Has gotten so bad I am usually reading four or five books at a time, because at different times feel like reading different stuff. You know; heavy-going-dense political or historically narrow books, or biographies, or fiction and even that runs the gamut from dense to page-turner. Everytime I read a book review section it reminds me of some author I’ve wanted to read more of. My husband, looking at the pile of book-marked books next to the bed, tells me that is a very chaotic system. He, on the other hand, is very disciplined and starts reading a book and finishes it, no matter how thick or time-consuming, before he opens another.


Yes, I wish jackpine would write about what he did, learned, saw in Russia.

JACKPINE: HEAR THAT? KDELPHIA & I WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT YOUR ADVENTURES AND OBSERVATIONS IN RUSSIA.

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By KDelphi, May 15, 2009 at 2:27 pm Link to this comment

Sepharad—Thanks, I will look into those. I am biased too ; )

Folktruther’s recommendation is only $1.49 on ebay, I will look up the ones you recommend. gawd, I’m going to have so many books to read lying here!!@ IF my credit card will go thru…

seriously, I will look this stuff up. I wish jackpine would publish something about his time in Russia, dont you?

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By Sepharad, May 14, 2009 at 10:19 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi—re your comment to jackpine re propaganda WWII show demonizing Stalin, surprising as it may be one of the best overall TV production re WWII was PBS’s production of Herman Wouk’s books “Winds of War” and “War and Remembrance.” True, you have to put up with a few stars—e.g. Robert Mitchum—but there is zero demonization of Stalin and the Russians. Their role from beginning to end is given a great deal of attention, and detail. I’ve read books about that war but most pretty much gloss over the Russian role before, during and after (except of course the excellent history “Ivan’s War”). The downside of this very long series is the potboiler personal plots, but even they bring out elements that are real—Wouk had to do something to bring all the threads together and keep people reading. (I’m biased: was raised by parents who were great admirers of what the Bolsheviks, Menshaviks and Communists achieved (though like other totalitarian regimes the experiment soured). If you are interested in Russia pre-WWII, you will LOVE reading Isaac Babel’s complete story collection. He was a great writer who enlisted in and wrote about the exploits of the Red Cavalry.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 14, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

Until the evil and criminal traitors are brought before the bar of justice and tried and found guilty we can never rest easy. President Obama isn’t helping but in fact maintaining the infamy that has gotten so blatant. This includes more soldiers in Afghanistan, this during a depression too. What is he thinking? Or more precisely who is giving him the orders?

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By Hammersmith, May 14, 2009 at 2:08 pm Link to this comment

You are ALREADY what you seek to destroy and have been some time.  YOU created Al Qaeda and the Taliban as well as he 9-11 hijackers by you actions and policies.  You delude yourselves if you think otherwise.

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By KDelphi, May 14, 2009 at 10:37 am Link to this comment

jackpines savage—werent you there when the “Berlin Wall” was torn down by citizens? I’ve always been interested in that…

There’s a “usual propaganda” show on pbs right now, called “WW II”, with the usual claptrap about Churchill, FDR and “demon Stalin”. (I am not defending Stalin—I just hoped for a little more educational show)I thought everyone had already memorized how evil Soviets inteintions were and how noble the uS’s was…isnt the truth that, neither party wanted to fight the Cold War on their own ground? Could be wrong about that…

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By Folktruther, May 14, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Jackpine, you might be interested in one of the books i’m reading THE RISE AND FOLL OF THE GREAT POWERS by a Yale history professor Paul Kennedy.  Unfortunately it’s a large book full of voluminous statistics but gives the background to the Soviet coutnerrevolution well before it happened, being published in 1987.  It’s almost a prediction of it.

This by way of a request for anything useful you know of or run across on the actual transformation.  I never found anything on the whole eposode that explained it satisfactorily in detail.

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By KDelphi, May 14, 2009 at 10:15 am Link to this comment

foggyjonmes—Only small children and dimwits insist that every sentence be limited to literal meaning. They cannot help it, I guess you cannot help it, either. What a shame

What a childish, terse reply! IF you are open to anyone else’s interpretation…

I was saying that, everyone “acts surpsirsed and ourtagead"when Obama escalates the war, doesnt give us decent health care, sells us out fot he banks, sells out labor unions, when IN FACT—he told you that he was going to do that! He always SAYS what he is going to do, but, people like to pretend that “he wants us to push him” or “he REALLY means..” and, then when they are wrong, they want to “give him a chance”—-some things cannot be undone, like dead kids.Obama us not as hard to “read” as most—he will tell you—JUST LISTEN to him!!

You just have to learn not to take things personally..you see, I dont know you, ok?? So it it neither here nor there to me. Gawd…

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By Crimes of the State Blog, May 14, 2009 at 9:27 am Link to this comment

“Marshall, May 11 at 9:09 pm #

So I ask in all seriousness to those that believe Bush administration is guilty of war crimes for civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - is Obama now guilty of same, or does he get a pass?”

I don’t believe you are “serious” at all, and are not asking your question “in all seriousness.”

If you were, you’d simply check the various laws of war, and understand what “war crimes” are, independent of personalities or nationhood.

You would then be hard pressed to find any US president who has not committed war crimes.  They are standard operating procedure for the imperial overlortds.

Some of us think that’s a bad thing, by the way.  It has something to do with “morality,” another artsy esoteric concept you might want to look up if you get around to it someday.  (Not holding my bfeath.  Carry on.)

http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/

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By Night-Gaunt, May 14, 2009 at 8:38 am Link to this comment

“The implication here being that the US and its intentions are equivalent to the soviets at the time, which just isn’t true.  It’s the left’s tired “U.S. as brutal empire” characterization (though liberals are squirming now that it’s their guy in the oval office.”Marshall

What is “tired” about the reports of cluster, napalm and other munitions used killing people all the same no matter what banner it is under? Brutality is done by our country too even if you wish to ignore it. As to “intentions” is irrelevant to the outcome which is the same. Mass death, destruction and tyranny by a foreign power.  As for “our guy” in office, that too is a sham. On close inspection Obama isn’t a liberal that I can find. Just another stealth candidate in a rigged system.

“Chris - there is no negotiation with the Taliban.  This has been tried numerous times within Afghanistan already and I really don’t understand how leaving them alone again would result in an outcome different from 9/11?  I suppose we should open negotiations with Al Qaeda as well?  This is a bankrupt line of thinking - negotiation only works when it is in the interest of both parties to find a peaceful solution.  This is just not the case in Afghanistan.”Marshall

Why not negotiate? The Taliban use to run Afghanistan with our blessing! [After tossing out the Northern Alliance, the “other Taliban.”] You did know that didn’t you? Before the USA, again, put the Northern Alliance back into power after turning on the Taliban. [Remember “1984” and how Ingsoc switched who was the ally and who was the enemy?] The concept that “we don’t talk to terrorists” leaves only one thing, war and destruction. Is that a good way of doing things Marshall? Afghanistan isn’t even a country! Just a collection of fiefdoms under a national flag but with no central governing body. Kharzi barely runs Kabul. Why are we still in Afghanistan? The Al-Quida is in Pakistan. But then the Taliban was put on our perpetual enemies list so that must be the reason. Otherwise what they need is food and peace not warfare.

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 14, 2009 at 5:54 am Link to this comment

Watch the short video below to learn about a little discussed topic that exposes another dimension to the ugliness of the American military establishment!

http://therealnews.com/t/index.php?option=com_seyret&Itemid=91&task=videodirectlink&id=1412

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By jackpine savage, May 14, 2009 at 5:06 am Link to this comment

Actually, Marshall, our intentions are far worse than the Soviet intentions were.  They never did want to be in Afghanistan (clearly evidenced by archival releases in both the US and Russia).  Moreover, they made several overtures to leave very early on.

They, in fact, were supporting a not very communist regime that was continuing the modernization of Afghanistan.

We were acting covertly in Afghanistan at least six months before the Soviets arrived, and our plan all along was to destabilize the moderate regime and pull the Soviets into a war that they didn’t want.

You can read all about it if you want.  The players have been pretty open about their intentions and actions.

And the context of 9/11 is bullshit.  The full plan of Afghan regime change was on the books before 9/11.  In fact, the time line was even exactly the same.

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By ardee, May 14, 2009 at 3:23 am Link to this comment

For Marshall, May 14 at 5:57 am #

This post of yours is little more than demonising a group in order to justify atrocities against them. “Their atrocities are unacceptable, ours are unavoidable” you claim with a fanatical logic that places you squarely in the same room as those you detest.

Would you offer that because a fanatical group firebombs a Planned Parenthood site foreign troops should invade our nation? Of course that is a wildly over the top comparison, but it meets your own criteria rather neatly as well.

You dismiss withdrawal and negotiation as having been done before, perhaps you might point to such negotiations, I seem to recall none. Further, the Taliban is a local problem for the Afghani people and not a reason to slaughter hundreds even thousands of innocents as we do. That group has no international ambitions, only a religious motivation within the borders of Pashtunistan.

“If they can convince you of absurdities they can coerce you into atrocities.” Voltaire

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By Marshall, May 14, 2009 at 2:57 am Link to this comment

“We are morally no different from the psychopaths within the Taliban, who Afghans remember we empowered, funded and armed during the 10-year war with the Soviet Union. Acid thrown into a girl’s face or beheadings? Death delivered from the air or fields of shiny cluster bombs? “

For someone who’s spent as much time around conflict as Hedges has, I find this relativist drivel surprising.  Taliban psychopaths invent the most hideous methods to purposely target civilians and seek to perpetuate this violence as a societal norm.  To equate the morality of our intentions there (and considering the context of 9/11) with those of the Taliban is absolute nonsense, but it’s usually emblematic of the self-flagellating far left or the naive moralization of a college student.

“But within two years, the ugly face of Soviet domination had unmasked the flowery rhetoric.”

The implication here being that the US and its intentions are equivalent to the soviets at the time, which just isn’t true.  It’s the left’s tired “U.S. as brutal empire” characterization (though liberals are squirming now that it’s their guy in the oval office).

“We can withdraw and open negotiations with the Taliban or continue to expand the war until we are driven out.”

Chris - there is no negotiation with the Taliban.  This has been tried numerous times within Afghanistan already and I really don’t understand how leaving them alone again would result in an outcome different from 9/11?  I suppose we should open negotiations with Al Qaeda as well?  This is a bankrupt line of thinking - negotiation only works when it is in the interest of both parties to find a peaceful solution.  This is just not the case in Afghanistan.

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By Outraged, May 14, 2009 at 1:19 am Link to this comment

The title of this article was, “Becoming What We Seek to Destroy”.

One could interpret this many ways or in several contexts.  Mr. Hedges, does put it in one context, one I agree with.  However, conceptually…. how we deal with each other UNDERMINES the precise premise Mr. Hedges exposes.

All of us, AS AMERICANS do have a stake in the overall outcome of our lives, each other, and the world given our obnoxious “footprint” in this arena.  What can you EASILY do… specifically, to undermine war, abuse, or unquestioning allegiance?

Very obviously, it is easily undermined by realizing that we can live peaceably (we don’t HAVE to agree on EVERY single topic of which we’ve had the propensity to indulge).

Consider the simple measures you can take, say “hi” to your neighbors, treat co-workers or underlings with respect, appreciate intelligence or training that you may not possess (listen), consider the power we have as a group, be willing to hear others out.  All these easily UNDERMINE the vicious and fictitious separating of the populous.

Acknowledge that, it is a TACTIC and BASIC war mongering platitude, to…. “vilify the enemy”, make “enemies” everywhere, incite FEAR, endorse factions among the populous, CREATE factions among the populous, incite distrust.

All of which are specious.  Certainly (here on the ground) there are those of which we need to be leery.  We know this.  It isn’t NEW, it’s old.  When we “talk politics” of course, the facts become blurred, some lie, some don’t and the ones that lie claim to “out” truth-tellers.  A precarious situation.

All the more reason to STICK TOGETHER, get the facts, be discerning, and consider alternatives.  This is where our strengh lies, you KNOW it, I KNOW it, the problem is…. they know it too.  Be smart.  Think twice.  Stick together, this is wherein the power lies, they know this too…. THINK, THINK, think…..

Do not be misled.  Hang tough.

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By ardee, May 13, 2009 at 3:42 pm Link to this comment

felicity, May 13 at 4:09 pm #


I repeat:  Following a bombing in Afghanistan that killed 4,000 Afghans, Taliban leaders offered Bush to turn over Bin Laden to a neutral nation. Bush refused, arguing that the offer was “insincere.”

.....Well, not exactly. The bombing to which you refer induced a SECOND offer to give up Osama, and the death toll was about 200…

http://www.prisonplanet.com/articles/june2004/060604giveuposama.htm

United States and Taliban officials met secretly in Frankfurt almost a year before the September 11 attacks to discuss terms for the Afghans to hand over Osama bin Laden, according to a German television documentary.

No agreement was reached and no further negotiations took place before the suicide hijackings in 2001, which bin Laden subsequently hailed in a videotape as the work of his Al Qaeda network.

ZDF television quoted Kabir Mohabbat, an Afghan-American businessman, as saying he tried to broker a deal between the Americans and the purist Islamic Taliban rulers of Afghanistan, who were sheltering bin Laden.

He quoted Taliban foreign minister Mullah Wakil Ahmed Mutawakil as saying: “You can have him whenever the Americans are ready. Name us a country and we will extradite him”.

A German member of the European Parliament, Elmar Brok, confirmed that he had helped Mr Mohabbat in 1999 to establish initial contact with the Americans.

“I was told [by Mohabbat] that the Taliban had certain ideas about handing over bin Laden, not to the United States but to a third country or to the Court of Justice in The Hague,” Mr Brok said.

and

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/bush-rejects-taliban-offer-to-surrender-bin-laden-631436.html


Bush rejects Taliban offer to surrender bin Laden

Second week of bombing begins;
Media visits village hit by missile

By Andrew Buncombe in Washington

Monday, 15 October 2001

 

After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush.

After a week of debilitating strikes at targets across Afghanistan, the Taliban repeated an offer to hand over Osama bin Laden, only to be rejected by President Bush.

The offer yesterday from Haji Abdul Kabir, the Taliban’s deputy prime minister, to surrender Mr bin Laden if America would halt its bombing and provide evidence against the Saudi-born dissident was not new but it suggested the Taliban are increasingly weary of the air strikes, which have crippled much of their military and communications assets.

The move came as the Taliban granted foreign journalists unprecedented access to the interior for the first time. Reporters were escorted to the village of Karam in southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban said up to 200 civilians were killed in an American bombardment last Wednesday.

The reporters saw clear evidence that many civilians had been killed in the attack, though they could not confirm the number of deaths. “I ask America not to kill us,” pleaded Hussain Khan, who said he had lost four children in the raid. In the rubble of one house, the remains of an arm stuck out from beneath a pile of bricks. A leg had been uncovered near by.

Another old man said: “We are poor people, don’t hit us. We have nothing to do with Osama bin Laden. We are innocent people.” Washington has not commented on the bombardment.

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By KDelphi, May 13, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones—I dont have a clue as to what you are talking about.

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By Marshall, May 13, 2009 at 3:08 pm Link to this comment

“And the chief of staff who stated to congress that several hundred thouseand troops would be necessary was fired!  What would you call that?”

...a mistake on your part.  General Shinseki was not fired - he retired on schedule.

From Wikipedia: “Contrary to Democratic candidate John Kerry’s claim, in the first debate of the 2004 presidential election, Shinseki was not “retired” for his testimony before Congress. His official term as Chief of the Army ended four months later and he retired as scheduled.[21]”

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By KDelphi, May 13, 2009 at 2:40 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones—why dont you guys stop trying to “read” Pres. Obama and just listen to his words…he wants to escalate the invasion of Af-Pak.

There is no “hidden progressive agneda”. He merely means what he says, and, more importantly, what he DOES.

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By Folktruther, May 13, 2009 at 2:32 pm Link to this comment

Night-Guant, it’s true that the Obama-Bushites have been astonishingly clever in perception management and technically implementing political tactics.  But the policies are not only shortsighted, as Anarecissie pointed out, they lack elmentary sense.

consider Rumsfield, for example, a pharmiceudical CEO, going to war with his military gizmos without providing an occupation force to relieve the invasion!  That’s crazy.  And the chief of staff who stated to congress that several hundred thouseand troops would be necessary was fired!  What would you call that?  I agree that incompetence may be too weak a word, but I can’t think of a better one.  We are currently being ruled by polices put in place by corrupt and incompetant psychopaths.

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By dano1950, May 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

I’m considering running for president..Hell I couldn’t do no worse than the last six have.
I would run as an independent , calling my party the “Screw-You’s” AND I promise you—I would get support from both sides of the coin.
  My first orders as President would be to bring home EVERY soldier from foreign soil that is in battle. Our savings there alone would balance the budget within three years.
  2. We will not war with any nation that does not attack us first.Be warned however, if we know who attacks us- your nation will glow brightly for a long time..If you don’t approve—Screw You!
  3. Allow anyone 50-62 old years an early retirement with a one time payment of one million dollars. This would create millions of available jobs in our work force.
  4. Those who take early retirement and the million must do three things..
    Buy a home and pay cash for it, buy a new car and pay cash for it, or pay off all exsisting mortgages on their present home.
    Housing and banking markets would benefit, and unemployment would be in the low single digits again..Auto makers would rejoice!
  5. I would ‘annex’ the island of Cuba- making it a state and removing the Communist party. If anyone didn’t like it—Screw-You! 
  6. Our involvement in any allie’s troubles would be limited to ‘farming out’ the Somalia pirates and Mexican drug cartel to do actual battle on foreign soil. Pay them to fight, since that seems what they’re good at..
If you don’t approve- again Screw You!
  7.I would legalize pot and cocaine, but tax them heavily as cigarettes and booze. We would have a surplus in our budget before the end of my first term. If you don’t approve—Screw You! Leave the U.S. and see how you do elsewhere.. I would most likely be re-elected for a second term.
 
  I have loads of these idea’s that makes TOO much sense..if I’ve given you a laugh, tell me..
  If I’ve made you mad—Screw You! 

  My e-mail is .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).. I HOPE someone gets this on a network somewhere..This is the kind of change America needs to make.

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By KDelphi, May 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm Link to this comment

Anyone who watched the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee Hearing today, with Whitehouse halfway out the door, and, Lindsey Graham AUGH!! and still keep down their lunch, much by crazy.

http://www.propublica.org/article/mark-danner-and-propublicas-dafna-linzer-talk-torture-513

Just hope you dont get on the list, I guess…how cowardly is THIS??!!!

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By felicity, May 13, 2009 at 1:09 pm Link to this comment

Yes, I’m sounding like a Johnny-one-note, but I continue to believe that ending - forget that an insurrection is not endable - was not (and perhaps is still not) our goal in Afghanistan.

I repeat:  Following a bombing in Afghanistan that killed 4,000 Afghans, Taliban leaders offered Bush to turn over Bin Laden to a neutral nation. Bush refused, arguing that the offer was “insincere.”

Would Obama have displayed the same idiocy?  I think it’s too early to ‘read’ Obama, which rather puts me in Louise’s corner.

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By truedigger3, May 13, 2009 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment

foggyjones wrote:
“Obama? The jury is still out”
___________________________________________________

foggyjones,

Keep dreaming and having “hope”!!.
I am not sure what will it take to convince you and your ilk, e.g. Louise, cryena et el ... that you have been had and that Obama is nothing but Bush III and rolling on the same tracks Bush II was rolling on. Are you in a trance.??!!

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By Night-Gaunt, May 13, 2009 at 11:44 am Link to this comment

“If some political leader is persuing policies against the interests of the American people and people of the world, you don’t want them smart.  You want your enemies to be stupid.  Obama is rebranding and promoting Bushite policies, the policies of corrupt and incompetent psychopaths.”FolkTruther

I don’t see where the “incompetent” comes in here. Seems to me they have been quite competent in their endeavors so far. Very successful in their true missions to bring down the republic (it is still failing) and spread a militarist foreign policy globally. Just because it doesn’t jibe with their pronouncements with the outcomes which is to be expected.

Why bring down the republic? Why to put up an empire in its place of course.  Yes I agree with you FolkTruther we do want our enemies stupid and short sighted. Unfortunately our enemies are smart, long sighted and highly motivated to get their way. Organized and funded to a high degree and dedicated to replacing our secular republic with a corporate theocratic regime as home grown as the Klu Klux Klan but from the think tanks and captains of industry of our country going back at least 80 years.

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By rockinrobin, May 13, 2009 at 10:25 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Target and harm for PERSONAL BENEFIT & GAIN is exploitation; it is a CRIME, yet our Gov claims “this is the way “democracy” works: pattern of Pentagon & politicians since WW1, when Woodrow Wilson lamented “we are no longer the land of the free, nor even of majority vote, but under the rules and dictates of a handful of dominant men”;
All Gov’s lie: this is what Governements do; this is a criminally run Gov, who is NOT a “force for good” as Don Rumsfeld, Kissinger, and others fabricated from false reports: and the “I hate war” speech by Roosevelt was FICTION as well: Stimson, Sec of War, recorded his conversation with Pres the Fri PRIOR TO the bombing at Pearl Harbor, when he said “hope they don’t hit us to hard” on MONDAY: DELIBERATELY provoked & fed Japan the info to ATTACK the COUNTRY he was PRES of; Its THERE folks: and much much much more.
Day of Deception lists FAR MORE Congressional information; Rumsfeld, of course, was behind the torture far more depraved than than Nazi’s were; as our “politicians” bribing heads of nations to “cooperate” with them claim: have all the money you want, do whatever you want, however you want and NEVER BE BROUGHT TO JUSTICE: after all, we have gotten away with this in the USA for decades. We have the “culture” to do it with.
Pentagon & Politicians working hand n hand with Corps: as one politician stated: the Gov is simply a tool for businesses to tell it what to do; FASCISM;
Hitler’s agenda for world dominion using Corps in every nation starting of course here in the USA;
They have cleverly thru the MISUSE of laws, ignoring others, rewriting more and “backdating” them: “FREE TRADE” is quite simply the MONOPOLY of these Criminal Corps (criminalized by the USA GOV) going from nation to nation to nation: the OPPOSITE of FAIR TRADE which benefits the PEOPLE and the ENVIRONMENT.
Using WHITE PHOSPOROUS which is like Agent Orange, and DIMES which are nuclear weapons to KILL KILL KILL, cuz it makes TRILLIONS of DOLLARS for them folks: so “politicians” and “elected officials” can spend like Hillary C did $100m on living large & in charge, while during Pres campaign; and claiming “broke”, having vets return to being called 9 times a day demanding repayment of bonus cuz unable to fulfill contract when they are minus eyes, arms, and legs. Extremely PROFITABLE since they own GREAT STOCK in Monsanto, Dow, & PHARMA, which is owned 93 per cent by ROCKEFELLER.
Just like USA is the country no other nation will buy anything from due to the CHEMICALS used in everything : news flash folks: it is NOT CHINA; THIS is the FALSE manipulation of the MEDIA called PERCEPTION MANAGEMENT by this CRIMANAL RUN POLITICAL AGENDA in the USA; it is NOT a 2 party system & never has been! the AGENDA is the SAME and was set up YEARS ago; and the JUDICIAL system goes right along with it; they are more criminal than anyone appearing before them; they CALL to find out “how to rule”; they are NOT going to stop folks: $100m a month living large & in charge? this is SOP for them;

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By Folktruther, May 13, 2009 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

Beerdoctor is right, there is no such thing as a smart war.  I don’t understand the constant reference to Obama being smart.  What fucking difference does that make?  He can persue insane policies intelligently rather than stupidly, or could I suppose if he were experienced in foreign affairs. 

And explain them intelligently and articulately with a really sincere expression and a nice smile.  So what?  Craziness is still craziness, oppression is still oppression, violence is still violence and death is still death.

If some political leader is persuing policies against the interests of the American people and people of the world, you don’t want them smart.  You want your enemies to be stupid.  Obama is rebranding and promoting Bushite policies, the policies of corrupt and incompetant psychopaths. 

He is therefore an enemy of the American people, although he is neither corrupt, incompetant or a psychopath.  THE POLICIES ARE. Invading Pakistan may well be WORSE than Bush invading Iraq, what the US military calls a ‘pre-emptive counterattack.’  That he can delude or intimidate the people intelligently to acquiese to such an extension of an endless War is not an asset of the American people, it is a prelude to disaster for us and our children.

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By Kwagmyre, May 13, 2009 at 9:45 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

As soon as I heard Obama utter the worn out phrase “The American people” probably at the inaugural address(but most recently in press conferences), I knew we’d be in trouble.  After all,
this was Bush’s own monotonous mantra to convince us we had to launch war on Iraq and Afghanistan for the security of the “American people.”

I would hate to think then that Obama’s emerged as just another misguided zealot following the footsteps of his THOROUGHLY misguided predecessor.

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By irfan, May 13, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The exponential rise in bombing continued in 2008. In the two months of June and July 2008 alone, the United States dropped nearly 600,000 pounds of bombs in Afghanistan – roughly equivalent to the total tonnage dropped in all of 2006 – according to statistics collected by Marc Gerlasco of Human Rights Watch.
U.S. air strikes have generated a rapidly rising rate of civilian casualties, creating a political climate marked by increased anger toward the U.S. and NATO military presence, according to many Afghan and foreign observers.
The worst case of civilian casualties was the killing by a C-130 gunship of as many as 95 civilians, including 50 children and 19 women, according to local tribal elders and Afghan government officials, in the village of Azizabad in Herat province Aug. 22. The air attack came after U.S. Special Forces had gotten intelligence that a Taliban commander was in Azizabad and had been unable to suppress it.
That incident followed two different air strikes in eastern Afghanistan in early July, in which 69 civilians were killed, including 47 people walking to a wedding party, according to Afghan officials.
Barno’s successors have justified the vastly increased use of air strikes as necessary because of the small number of ground combat troops available in Afghanistan. In May 2007, a U.S. military official told Carlotta Gall of the New York Times, “[W]ithout air, we’d need hundreds of thousands of troops.”
Whenever you cause civilian casualties, you are killing members of a tribe and spreading a widening circle of revenge-seeking.
The unreliability of human intelligence on Taliban targets was underlined by the killing of 95 civilians in Azizabad. Carlotta Gall of the New York Times reported that tribal elders who had buried the dead said the U.S. had gotten its intelligence on the target from a tribesman who had killed a rival tribal leader in Azizabad eight months earlier. Most of the civilians killed had traveled to Azizabad for a memorial ceremony to honor the dead tribal leader, according to Gall’s story.
The tribal elders, as well as Afghan police and intelligence agency, said that not a single Taliban had been killed in the air strike.
Barno pointed out that even if local leaders had been killed in air strikes, it might not have significantly reduced the Taliban’s capabilities. The Taliban organization was “like a starfish, not like a spider “Even if you killed the leadership – except for the very top guys – they would be quickly replaced.”

According to John Burns, writing in Sunday’s New York Times, senior U.S. and British officers in Kabul briefed reporters on a new directive from the top U.S. commander, Gen. David McKiernan, to field commanders applying the more restrictive NATO policy on air strikes previously to U.S. forces under his command. The NATO policy imposes tighter conditions on air strikes but does not rule out either pre-targeted or tactical combat air strikes.
The U.S. and British officers acknowledged that the directive would not apply to American Special Operations forces in Afghanistan, which are not under McKiernan’s command. As Carlotta Gall reported in May 2003 on an earlier incident in the same district, many of the worst cases of civilian deaths from pre-targeted strikes involved Special Operations forces.
Even as the briefing on the new directive was taking place, according to Burns, yet another U.S. air strike, this time in Helmand Province, killed larger numbers of civilians. The air strike destroyed three houses, killing between 25 and 30 civilians, mostly women and children, according to Afghan accounts reported by Burns. The NATO command confirmed the strike and said it would investigate.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 13, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Nietzsche warned that you must know your enemy for you run the risk of becoming just like them.

Iraq has been pacified enough to leave a security force of over 50,000 with four major bases, many smaller ones, and the largest embassy in the world—ever as a garrison and launch point. Such is the plan of PNAC to control the region of oil and strategic positioning by the USA “hyper power” in its quest to dominate.

To even have a chance of “winning” in Afghanistan (whatever that entails) would mean use of new weapons, less boots on the ground and a plan for proxy administration. Right now Afghanistan is a collection of fiefdoms under the banner of a nation-state. Food and medicine are much better tools than QM-1 “Predators” to make friends instead of just allies. We need to stop being the Global Storm Trooper and be a Florence Nighingale instead.

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By rolmike, May 13, 2009 at 7:09 am Link to this comment

Below a couple of links to other material about Af-Pak, which in German would be the abbreviation for Pack of Apes. It appears from the piece in The Independent that the US satrap in Kabul is in business with all those feared “war lords”. What’s that make Obama but the Superwarlord of the World. Septimus Severus Obama. “Corrupt corrupt” the US papers scream always just before the bombing escalates as in the case of Belgrad and the Yugoslav infrasctructure being bombed to smitheerens… By that way of thinking the finanicio-politico elite in D.C. /NY axis deserved the Neutron bomb.

 
Pepe Escobar, Pipelineistan Goes Af-Pak

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/175071/pepe_escobar_pipelineistan_goes_af_pak

The Mistake of Afghanizing Pakistan
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2009/05/12-9


http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/asia/the-warlords-casting-a-shadow-over-afghanistan-1682660.html

At the time of the terrorist attacks on the US in 2001, warlords including General Dostum and General Fahim were fighting for their lives or were in exile. But within hours of 9/11, the US was looking for local allies to provide the ground troops which, backed by US airpower, advisers and money, would overthrow the Taliban in Kabul.


   
http://www.wsws.org/articles/2009/may2009/pers-m11.shtml

Speaking to Pakistani business leaders, Chinese ambassador Luo Zhaohui pointedly voiced concern about the growth of “outside influence” in the region. He singled out the US in particular, saying that China was worried about US policies and the presence of a large number of foreign troops in neighbouring Afghanistan. While reiterating China’s support for “the fight against terror,” Luo declared that US strategies needed some “corrective measures”. He added, “These are issues of serious concern for China.”
Luo’s unusually blunt remarks came just one day after US President Obama spoke to his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao. While a number of issues were discussed, the escalating war in Pakistan was clearly high on the agenda. This first publicised phone call between the two men came as Obama met with the Afghan and Pakistani presidents over US strategy in the two countries. While Hu reportedly offered his cooperation, Luo’s comments express Chin a underlying fears over growing US influence in South Asia.-


————

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By Purple Girl, May 13, 2009 at 5:12 am Link to this comment

‘you Step foot into a War, you can not control it and it sucks you in’.
Exactly why we should have never allowed ANY Covert operations in the A’80’ Afghani/Russian War to begin with.These Unautorized militry ventures (and private Group’s playing benefactors) undermines our Democratic process. Any and All involved with waging this Covert War against the Russians on Afghani soil should be prosecuted for having sidestepped Our Right to ahve a say and control over OUR Gov’t involvement and actions. Their Dabbling in that conflict was a direct precipitator to the Attacks of 9/11. They not only helped hand the Country over to insurgent Terrorist, allowing them to oppress the people and reorgnaize their economy around Poppy prodcution (not food), but gave Bin Laden and his other UAE native sons the College Campus to indoctrinate more radical extremeist.So instead of Bombing Their Homelands,the Breeding Ground of this ideology, they could use this poor nation and it’s people as a hide out and human shields. That’s makes those in the US who were involved not only traitors to US and our system of Laws- but they committed a Crime against the Afghani people and the World- A crime against Humanity. They Gave AQ a Headquarters to operate their global terror network!
So do we once again perform the Selfish act of ‘coitus interruptus’ on the Afghani’s or do we see it through and finish the job? Frankly We should have never put boots down in Afghanistan to begin with in ‘01. But the reasoning had more to do with getting the Oil Royals and Corps foot in the Door into other oil Rich countries that refused to play ball.So Dump Afghanistan again to run heading into Iraq, Then start talking shit about Iran.Blood For Oil- another Crime against Humanity which should find the Oil Royals and their lap Dog Western oil Corps facing the International court.
Although a great Supporter of Pres Obama, agree we are screwed in our forced committement in Afghanistan caused by interference decades ago, I can not understand WHY he is willing to send Detainees back to Saudi Arabia the very hot bed of primordial Ooze which gave birth to them and their terrorist ideas in the first place.These SOB’s are buying them homes and cars and paying for their weddings and giving them Fabulous jobs- to do what be able to finance their next attack soemwhere around the World?
If we really wanted to get those who created the environement of Terroism- we should have bombed the shit out of the UAE palaces- Freeing US from their strangle hold and their people from their greedy and oppressive Regimes.

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By thebeerdoctor, May 13, 2009 at 4:22 am Link to this comment

An attempt to wrestle with with some nonsense.
How does using unmanned drones in Pakistan on civilians, who just so happened to be inconveniently found between their alleged targets, how does that help prevent the ENTIRE region from plunging into a nuclear war?
Folktruther nails it down. It is “perception management” at work here, that covers the pretense of negotiations. At perfect example of this was how the assault of Gaza came to a halt, just before the Obama Inauguration.
The war on Afghanistan was wrong from the start, and all the proud flag waving calls for revenge blood letting, does not change this fact. No, President Obama there is no such thing as a “right war”. That comment alone reveals the truth about all of your alleged empathy, and your refusal to accept your responsibility as a world citizen, by engaging in the non-solutions of military violence, in which others pay the ultimate price. The so-called fight for freedom becomes an insane cruel joke, when you consider how many lose their liberty on a daily basis because of this misguided notion.
But it should not be surprising to anyone who becomes even remotely aware that the government does not care about them.
“I am opposed to have the eagle put its talons on any other land.”
MARK TWAIN

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By Marshall, May 13, 2009 at 12:23 am Link to this comment

“the difference is that Obama stepped into a war in progress and seems to be weaning us from Iraq, at the behest of the Iraqi’s themselves of course.”

But his timetable for withdrawal is exactly the same as Bush’s (so by that logic Bush was weaning us from it as well), but more importantly he’s not actually withdrawing since he’s leaving 1/3rd of the troops there.  Obama the campaigner promised full withdrawal within 16 mos..  This is a BIG difference.

“By the by, Obama did campaign on bringing the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, honest he did.”

Yes - he did.  But Bush has been vilified as a war criminal partly due to his Afghanistan policy - not starting the war, which had broad support, but continuing it.  Obama is further escalating it (and the civilian casualties) - as promised - but seems to deflect the “war criminal” criticisms for some reason. 

Add to these Obama’s continuation of rendition, warrantless surveillance, enemy combatant designation, military commissions,  and support for 3-party talks with NK (all contrary to campaign-obama) and I think honest people would admit that this is a double standard.

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By blogdog, May 12, 2009 at 9:25 pm Link to this comment

Sunday on Meet The Press

MR. GREGORY: Where is Osama bin Laden?

MR. ZARDARI: You all have been there for eight years, you tell me.  You lost him in Tora Bora, I didn’t.  I was in prison.  In fact, my wife warned America about Osama bin Laden in ‘89.  She rung up senior Bush and asked, asked of him, “Are you destabilizing my government?” Because he paid the then opposition $10 million to do—overthrow the first woman elected in Islamic country.  So we knew that he was your operator.  And…

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By jackpine savage, May 12, 2009 at 9:19 pm Link to this comment

Louise,

Seriously.  Half of that post didn’t make sense and the other half displayed a tenuous grasp of history.  You’re welcome to your opinion that Obama will save us all and do the right thing in the end; hopefully you’re right.  But the facts do not add up so far, and nothing in them points in the right direction.

Do you know anything of Gen McChrystal?  I’m going to guess no, because i’d like to believe that you aren’t so disingenuous.

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By Night-Gaunt, May 12, 2009 at 8:46 pm Link to this comment

Well, Foggyjones, Louise & JTE what you are experiencing is an artificial example of cognitive dissonance. Where the objectives said do not support the actions taken. What you find when what you are told isn’t the true operational plan that is being done. Don’t you see that Obama was the other choice we were given by a cabal that is intent on eventually taking us back to before the New Deal, Trust Busting and even the Constitution itself? A plan first tried in 1934 but failed (without punishment) then a long time in the making and had been implemented out front in 1980 and has been ongoing ever since. A death for the republic of a thousand cuts and moves to the fascist right more and more. We can still have a Great Depression which I believe is what they want to get their Shock on us. While we are reeling they will come in to help us back to civilization. Their fascist theocratic kind that most everyone will jump to. [Better than starving and getting raped and maybe eaten if things fall really far.]

President Obama isn’t fixing the economic problems nor dismantling the police-state apparatus still ready to go when needed.

We aren’t safe just yet. If we can guide Obama back to the republic it could save us or just delay the inevitable if the Dominionists aren’t stopped dead in their tracks. The clock is still ticking on us.

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By Louise, May 12, 2009 at 7:37 pm Link to this comment

KDelphi,

“Pres. Obama could change course NOW..I speak as one who proptested the “invasion” (“we” were already there) of Afghanistan (with a sister who live s in NYC)—it was pretty lonely, except for those throwing full beers at us…where were you guys?? We waited for days…”
~~~

Well I don’t know about the rest of the furiously typing, but I was screaming against an attack on Afghanistan, having already screamed myself hourse about the coming attack on Iraq, while everyone labled me nuts! I am after all a military mom, and since most folks are TOO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND the last thing in the world the “warriors” want is war, they assumed I would be on the other side screaming, kill ‘em all!

I was given a heads up (by someone in the military) that Bush naming Rumsfeld Secretary of Defense made it almost certain there would be an attack on Iraq. That was long before 9/11, long before Afghanistan, long before we finally got a clue to the truth, aka Bush announcing he was the “war president”. But there were warnings. Bush made no secret about the fact that “when elected” he intended to “get” Saddam, even before he was nominated! Afghanistan was a side note, 9/11 convieniantly blessed Bush with the excuse he needed to start wars!

Not to say that Afghanistan was not a “problem” in the sense they wouldn’t let ENRON and others come in and build an oil pipeline. Folks in DC had been trying for years to come up with an excuse to attack Afghanistan to make that happen! But, aside from the fact that BIG CORPORATE CAPITALISM was having trouble “invading” Afghanistan, their poppy production, the disgusting value system of the Taliban and their threat to us as a nation that needed to be taimed, was relatively small. Thanks to Bush/Cheney and Rumsfeld the invasion of Afghanistan resulted in exploding problems that could have been managed, had the “war president” had enough vision, empathy, or brain matter to stay there and stabalize the country for the majority of the Pashtuns being victimized by the Taliban. Following 9/11, the Taliban OFFERED to find and turn over bin-Laden! They had enough sense to understand it might be a good time to co-operate with the US. Had we had intelligent leaders who knew how to do deplomacy, the whole story could have ended differently. How come Bush said no? Cripes! If we had bin-Laden in our hands, how would Bush/Cheney and Rumsfeld have been able to parlay Afghanistan into an attack on Iraq?

But rehashing doesn’t change where we are, and nobody knows that better than the president, both present and past. Although I’m quite sure the past president will try to make his years of warfare look good while trying to make the present president look bad. And he’ll have no shortage of nay-sayers who will diligently type, day after day trying to convince themselves and any other person short of memory that it all began with the present. How convienient. Almost as convienient as 9/11 was.

But as has been noted, when necessary to meet the ends demanded by troublemakers and greedy corps, we’ve meddled in Afghanistan, as we have Iraq, as we have Iran, as we have Pakistan, as we have almost anywhere else a dart can hit the globe, for almost ever! I suspect given the chance there are those who will blame Obama for that too!

So I’m really pissed! I wish for just one moment everyone would stop throwing darts at Obama long enough to ask, how do we “change course” without plunging the ENTIRE region into a nuclear war? I think that nasty question is something the president wakes up with and goes to bed with. And I think he’s as concerned about it as everyone here claims to be. Since BUSH policy allowed for the expanson of the Taliban until now, they fully threaten Pakistan, we have an expanded threat that didn’t need to happen! Damn that Bush left us in one hell of a mess!

However, I see the change in command in Afghanistan as a clear change in strategy.

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By NJM, May 12, 2009 at 7:34 pm Link to this comment

It’s amazing what’s happening in America right now.  Even when confronted with the facts about what Obama’s doing, 99% of Americans cheerfully exclaim “Well, he’s better than McCain!”, and feel very good about themselves for supporting him.  The pain and suffering of those America is destroying and torturing simply do not matter.  Americans want to feel good NOW; anything that causes even a modicum of discomfort is, de-facto, socially condemned as something akin to heresy.  Not even the blood of millions of people on our hands can shake our determination to feel good now and our refusal to consider the needs and rights of anyone else.

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By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 6:27 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, May 12 at 6:55 pm #

By ardee, May 12 at 3:18 pm #

“As to Obama being a war criminal I would reflect upon that but state that ,so far, nope.”

That’s the part i’m not getting.  If Bush/Cheney are war criminals as a result of perpetuating two wars for profit that have killed many civilians, and Obama continues that policy in Iraq unchanged, while expanding his policy in Afghanistan (against his campaign promises); how does that make him NOT a war criminal?

......In my own opinion, and I am NOT an Obamabot having voted for Nader in three elections now, the difference is that Obama stepped into a war in progress and seems to be weaning us from Iraq, at the behest of the Iraqi’s themselves of course. By the by, Obama did campaign on bringing the war from Iraq to Afghanistan, honest he did.

I believe his escalating the military efforts in Afghanistan and Pakistan are reprehensible and very tragically wrong in that they will increase terrorism rather than abate it. But the guy is sort of stuck with what Bush wrought I fear, and the word is that the military is changing tactics in order to protect the population rather than slaughter it.

Yes I know the headlines are currently filled with the damn drone incidents which make my words ring a bit hollow, but a change of direction does take time, which is not to be interpreted as callousness on my part, nor fatalism either.
................


Also, my understanding is that Obama has renewed the Bush rendition.
.........

Kept not renewed, it never went away. And that is indeed a vote to label him a war criminal too, dammit.

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By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 4:10 pm Link to this comment

Here’s a link to clips from “Out Own Private bin Laden” (my damn browser wont download it…).

http://www.ourownprivatebinladen.com/news1.html

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By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 4:06 pm Link to this comment

This isnt really an “answer”, but, its pretty damn interesting…Milton Beardon on pbs’ Frontline:
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/binladen/interviews/bearden.html

He pretty much states that , we asked the French to throw him out of the Sudan, and, they did. That is how he stopped doing business in Sudan/Saudi Arabia, back and forth.
(on the US bombing of the pharmaceutical factory, under Bill Clinton)

He was with the Central Intelligence Agency from 1964-1994. As its field officer in Afghanistan, he oversaw the CIA’s $3bn covert aid program for Afghan rebels fighting the Soviets. During the 1980’s, he was CIA station chief in the Sudan. He evaluates the Afghan war’s importance to the Muslim world and bin Laden’s role in it. He also questions classifying the Sudan as a ‘terrorist state’ and criticizes America’s retaliatory missile strike in the Sudan against bin Laden.

“Well the reasons given are Sudan is a terrorist state. Osama bin Laden used it as a base of operations…not good enough?

Probably not ... I would ask, rhetorically, give me three examples of what terrorist activities the Sudanese have been engaged in that in any way threatened US interests? I mean, interests in the broad, broad sense. [Osama bin Laden] was resident here. That is absolutely known until we approach the Sudanese off-line in 1995, ‘96 and said get him out. They said okay. They told the Saudis, do you want him? The Saudis said no. Send him anywhere but Somalia, get him out. So off he goes to Afghanistan, which I comment is probably the best move since the Germans put [Ilyich Lenin] in a box cart and sent him to St. Petersburg in 1970


From your visit to the Sudan, and obviously your study of this, what was Osama bin Laden up to [when he was there]?

He probably found it, at that time when he left Afghanistan and after he left Pakistan after the Gulf War period and floated into Sudan, as a reassembled “safe haven,” in quotes, for him. The established links between Saudi industrial concerns and his own father’s company and Sudan were well established. ... It’s not unusual to go across the Red Sea from your home in Saudi Arabia and set up in the Sudan. That has been back and forth, a two-way street for many, many years. In the early years of the Bashir regime, it [would] also [have] been easy to do this because at that time, no visa requirements were on the books for Arab business men that had just come to Sudan. I would say it was a benign atmosphere [when] he came there. And then in 1995, the United States and Saudi Arabia started making very, very specific [demands] to the Sudan saying, “Look, this is not working. bin Laden is a problem to us. Your open visa policy is also a problem for us.” Well, the Sudanese kicked out Osama bin Laden, sent him to Afghanistan and changed the visa [policy]. ...

The US Government is saying that when Osama bin Laden was in the Sudan, they have now been able to link him to everything from the World Trade Center bombing in terms of supporting various people ... to apparently the Riyadh bombing as well as the Khobar bombing. That he was an active terrorist on the ground, in Khartoum, being allowed to operate openly by the government of the Sudan.

... Nothing I have said suggested Osama bin Laden is not a component in international terrorism. What I am saying is that I challenge the fact that Sudan [is] always assumed to be a component in all of the current international terrorism. I think any of those statements that you made should have been trumped at about the time the Sudanese said, “Okay, this is a bad guy, we’ll kick him out.” And they took that step which was very visible, absolutely documentable, and they did it.”......

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By Marshall, May 12, 2009 at 3:55 pm Link to this comment

By ardee, May 12 at 3:18 pm #

“As to Obama being a war criminal I would reflect upon that but state that ,so far, nope.”

That’s the part i’m not getting.  If Bush/Cheney are war criminals as a result of perpetuating two wars for profit that have killed many civilians, and Obama continues that policy in Iraq unchanged, while expanding his policy in Afghanistan (against his campaign promises); how does that make him NOT a war criminal?

Also, my understanding is that Obama has renewed the Bush rendition policy.

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By jackpine savage, May 12, 2009 at 3:23 pm Link to this comment

Sorry, hit submit too early.  I don’t know that we can call Bearden’s statement proof, but he is one of the few people that would be in the position to know.

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By jackpine savage, May 12, 2009 at 3:21 pm Link to this comment

ardee,

I don’t have a link.  I read it on pp 226 of Invisible History: Afghanistan’s Untold Story (Fitzgerald & Gould).

The endnote credits it to an interview of Milton Bearden (former CIA station chief in Pakistan and field officer for Afghanistan between 86 and 89) by Samira Goetschel.  I assume that the interview was from “Our Own Private bin Laden”...a film that i have not seen yet.

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By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 2:41 pm Link to this comment

By jackpine savage, May 12 at 5:18 pm #

A little more background and some bipartisan goodness for Truthdiggers.

From Milton Bearden on Bin Laden ending up in Afghanistan: “We were involved in sending bin Laden to Afghanistan when we told the Sudandes, ‘Kick him out.’ They said, ‘Somalia’? We said no! They said ‘Afghanistan’? We said okay.”

..................

I have tried without success to verify that the US played a role in bin Laden’s return to Afghanistan. Can you point me to a link?

The Clinton administration did indeed look with favor, or at least without disfavor, upon th erise of the Taliban, possibly believing it to be practicing another form of Wahabiism, thus linking it with the Saudis, who knows?

For those interested in more info re: The Taliban:

http://middleeast.about.com/od/afghanistan/ss/me080914a_5.htm

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By jackpine savage, May 12, 2009 at 2:18 pm Link to this comment

A little more background and some bipartisan goodness for Truthdiggers.

From Milton Bearden on Bin Laden ending up in Afghanistan: “We were involved in sending bin Laden to Afghanistan when we told the Sudandes, ‘Kick him out.’ They said, ‘Somalia’? We said no! They said ‘Afghanistan’? We said okay.”

And let’s not forget the Unocal pipeline negotiations that started during the Clinton administration, with an Assistant Secretary of State calling Benizar Bhutto “an extortionist” to her face for refusing to cancel the contract with Bridas and sign one with Unocal.

Steve Coll, “It was unclear during the fall of 1996 whether the United States regarded the Taliban as a friend or foe… The Taliban themselves, worried about rumors that they received support from the CIA and were a pro-American force… U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Madeleine Albright denounced the Taliban decress in Kabul as ‘impossible to justify or defend.’ ...But just three weeks after that Roben Raphel outlined the Taliban’s clams to legitimacy before the U.N. Security Council and pleaded that they not be isolated.”

There’s quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to suggest that with the Pakis and Saudis, the US was quite happy with the Taliban at first.  After all, much of the building of the Taliban had been done by US covert operations and the feeling was that Afghanistan would come to resemble Saudi Arabia in every way…especially being open to helping the US on energy issues.

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By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 1:21 pm Link to this comment

My simple solution (well, not MINE): (my father should NOT have left Denmark…)


World’s Happiest Countries? Social Democracies
by Craig Brown

A new report released by the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (OECD) shows that happiness levels are highest in northern European countries. Denmark, Finland and the Netherlands rated at the top of the list, ranking first, second and third, respectively…...

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By Litl Bludot, May 12, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

This is not hard to figure out.  It’s money.  Money from our taxes to the “government”- which is really a revolving door of corporate cronies- then money from the government to the corporations to pay for war material and all that means, then money from the corporations back to the politician cronies to get them elected. 

War is the top inflationary economic activity.  Without continuous military activity, we would have been in a deflationary spiral long ago.

As it is, war is not enough and now the Fed and Treasury, adjuncts of the crooked bankers, hedge funds,  are frantically printing trillions for their buddies (Obama’s supporters) to cause inflation, thereby decreasing the debt these banks owe to make them look solvent and to further enrich the oligarchs. Plus, part of that printed money goes back to lobbyists in Washington and then to the corporate politicians for rigged elections.

Spending on infrastructure, education, environment, health care would fix our economy and give full employment. Instead of killing humanity and what’s left of nature, we could be living in a civilized country instead of one that has a history of genocide and torture and is now controlled by psychopaths.


Simple solution.  Real public financing of elections.  No more corporate lobbyists, corporate politicians, etc.

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By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 12:18 pm Link to this comment

Marshall, May 12 at 6:53 am #


By ardee, May 12 at 6:29 am #

“I suspect the original question to be a smarmy attempt to point out an hypocracy that doesnt exists.”

Thanks ardee for the response buried in your skepticism about my intentions.  I really am interested in hearing responses from the left, though i don’t understand why you think there’s no hypocrisy on this issue.  Are you aware of many on the left who publicly accuse Obama of being a war criminal now that he’s continued Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan war policies?
........

Skepticism based upon the numerous attempts by neocons ( I am not accusing you) to reframe the debate in exactly those terms you used.

As to Obama being a war criminal I would reflect upon that but state that ,so far, nope. I believe that Bush and Cheney are certainly such, lies that kill, profiteering ( oh boy that Halliburton stock), ordering torture ( now Obama is getting closer to being branded as such unless he ends rendition for the purpose of torture and really soon).

But, while I do not support Obama’s position on this war, I want it ended, he wants it escalated ( damned if I know why, he is supposed to be really smart), or on the bailouts for that matter either I wouldn’t brand him guilty of anything but bad judgment , not quite yet.

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By truedigger3, May 12, 2009 at 11:55 am Link to this comment

“I am firmly convinced that the Islamic world will finally defeat Empire once Indonesia becomes involved.”
____________________________________________________

hippie4ever,

What and who inspired you to write such nonsense.?!!
There is no problem between what you so call “Islamic
World” and Empire . Islam is a religion and not a political state entity. The “Islamic World” is composed of many diverse ethnic, racial, sectarian and different levels of political and economic developments States and groups.
Some of them friendly to “Empire”, some of them are hostile to “Empire” because “Empire” invaded their lands for its resources and strategic location.
There are a lot of christians and Budhists who hate “Empire” too especially in south America
and in Asia because of “Empire”‘s ugly history there.
The majority of the “Islamc World” want “Empire
to leave them alone in peace.
You, by writing such nonsense, you are promoting
the other nonsense which is called “the war on terror”

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By truedigger3, May 12, 2009 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

hippie4ever wrote:
“I am firmly convinced that the Islamic world will finally defeat Empire once Indonesia becomes involved.”
____________________________________________________

hippie4ever,

What and who inspired you to write such nonsense.?!!
There is no problem between what you so call “Islamic
World” and Empire . Islam is a religion and not a political state entity. The “Islamic World” is composed of many diverse ethnic, racial, sectarian and different levels of political and economic developments States and groups.
Some of them friendly to “Empire”, some of them are hostile to “Empire” because “Empire” invaded their lands for its resources and strategic location.
There are a lot of christians and Budhists who hate “Empire” too especially in south America
and in Asia because of “Empire”‘s ugly history there.
The majority of the “Islamc World” want “Empire
to leave them alone in peace.
You, by writing such nonsense, you are promoting
the other nonsense which is called “the war on terror”

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Night-Gaunt's avatar

By Night-Gaunt, May 12, 2009 at 11:29 am Link to this comment

Actually it was Al-Quida (also Pakistan and Saudi Arabia) that the USA unwittingly created from funding, training, arming and directing the Mujahadeen who fought the proxy war in Afghanistan after the USA induced invasion by the Soviets and occupation (1979-1989. [That was done to cripple an already weak empire of the USSR.] It was the Pakistan ISI that organized and funded the Taliban to keep control and stabilize Afghanistan. [There are many religious fanatics in the ISI and military in Pakistan.]

An assessment done that found that in order to have a comparable ratio of troops to citizens and militants in Afghanistan would have to be on the order of 600,000 to even have a chance of being successful. So Obama‘s 21,000+ isn’t noticeable in the greater schema of things there. Look to more violence and use of bombing, directed radiation weapons (microwave and sonic) and maybe chemical an bio-weapons on the sly to ‘win’ battles. Waziristan, in the mountainous north, is already autonomous in Pakistan and the Pashdun’s will more than likely do the same over their own territory regardless of Pakistan or Afghanistan’s wishes.

Obama crossed the line into War Crimes when he continued the authorization of Drone Attacks and troop escalation. What we need to do is withdraw and use diplomacy in its place. Real diplomacy, not the fake kind used in relations with the Palestinians for instance.

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By Folktruther, May 12, 2009 at 10:59 am Link to this comment

Obama has rebranded the Bushite War on Terrorism and expanded the Af war to Pakistan to keep it going unitl after his next presidential election.  The same reason that Johnson expanded the Vietnam war. Otherwise they would lose and be attacked for “losing….” whatever.  As Jackpine notes, the wars started long ago.  And there is no way to win them. So the purpose of all the bloodshed and devastation is to avoid losing them, and avoiding the loss of face with Nato and US allies.

But Prole notes intetersting comments by the Israeli fascist Lieberman that argues that this war is to Israel’s interests as well.  Liberman has switched the Israeli enemy from Iran to Pakistan, Iran’s rival, even further away then Iran.  I wonder why he would do that.

In considering how the US ruling class promotes Israel’s interest, I may have underestimated how Israel promotes the American ruling class interests.  As Night-Guant criticized on another thread, I may have emphasized the tail rather than the dog.  When Lieberman says tht they US accepts Israel’s decisions, what he may mean is that Isreal accepts America’s decisions.

It may be that the Israeli problem is being exacerbated by the US not really wanting a two state solution.  The US may want tension and war between Israel and Islam. Certainly it appears that Obama does, since he is currently rebranding Bush’s Roadmap for Peace.

The current struggle between Obama and Natanyahu is not over a two state solution, but over the pretense of a Peace Process vs outright ethnic cleansing.  It is like so many stuggles of the Dems and Gops, a question of perception management over essentially the same policies.  Since Obama has already approved the Gaza massacre and the starvation blockade, it would seem that he can easily get Netanyahu to be for Peace.  As well as Freedom and Democracy of course.  It may be that the solution to the Israeli problem might be solved most effectively by way of New York.

Paragraphs, prole, paragraphs!

\

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By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

The people of Af-Pak are waiting to see who is going to “win” (they do know that it is not themselves)...I would bet on the Taliban.

Wouldnt you?

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By Gmonst, May 12, 2009 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

Afghanistan is going to bring us down like it brought down the Russians.  I don’t know a lot of the history of the matter, but I know enough that its not a place which is going to be subdued no matter how much money, troops, and drone killing we throw at it.  I am completely at a loss as to what we are trying to accomplish there.  The Taliban is not Al Qaida, no one even talks about Al Qaida anymore, because they don’t really exist anymore.  So what we are left with is immorally trying to subdue a people who in the history of humanity have never been subdued.  We have no right to do any of this. If they really are a threat, I am of the opinion that dropping food into the villages instead of bombs on the villages would be a better way to protect ourselves.  It seems as a country we just can’t get the concept of fermenting good will to make people not want to kill us.  It is hard to hate those who do good to you and easy to hate those that destroy your homes and kill your family.  Its a simple concept that we must figure out or it will be the end of us.  In this time in history, with all the problems being faced.  Throwing away money and natural resources to kill village people in Afghanistan/Pakistan is truly madness.  This is another national shame, from which there will be no happy ending.

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By felicity, May 12, 2009 at 10:08 am Link to this comment

The indigenous peoples of Pakistan and Afghanistan are joining the Taliban, or at least not fighting them.  Bands of thugs, which pretty much defines the Taliban, achieve their ends the greater their numbers. 

Instead of questioning how and why the Taliban is able to increase its numbers, our military, aided and abetted by hapless politicians concentrates on killing them after the fact. This tactic, if one could call it that, knows no end for as many as we kill, there will be others to replace them.

Assuming that stupidity is not the operating mentality of our military, the best conclusion that can be drawn is that the conflict in Afghanistan/Pakistan will continue as planned - in other words there are factions here or elsewhere who have no intention of it reaching a conclusion.

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By KDelphi, May 12, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment

“We are faced with two stark choices. We can withdraw and open negotiations with the Taliban or continue to expand the war until we are driven out. The corrupt and unpopular regimes of Hamid Karzai in Afghanistan and Asif Ali Zardari are impotent allies. The longer they remain tethered to the United States, the weaker they become. And the weaker they become, the louder become the calls for intervention in Pakistan. During the war in Vietnam, we invaded Cambodia to bring stability to the region and cut off rebel sanctuaries and supply routes. This tactic only empowered the Khmer Rouge. We seem poised, in much the same way, to do the same for radical Islamists in Afghanistan and Pakistan.”

Sorry to quote so long, but, its funny, because just yesterday, I was watching BBC with one of my fav Vietnam vets, and, I said, “Pakistan is Cambodia?” and he said, “Almost certainly”.

The truth, in a nutshell..the use of drones in Pakistan will end any “moral authority” that the born-again Air Force thinks that the West possesses.

“The Taliban torture women…!!!” Oh, never mind. We cant say anything now, we have to protect Pelosi, as first female Speaker.

G. Anderson—“After all the bombs are dropped, and bodies are buried, we should ask ourselves what exactly have we done?”

With respect, no, we should have “asked” (screamed) that the minute Pres.  (sen.?) Obama spoke of escalating the “overseas contingency operation” in Afghanistan, and, into Pakistan. (which is not really a “border”, anyway)

freedomlovingamerican-“The dems are far from perfect ...  But compared to the American hating, freedom hating, and liberty hating republicans the dems look like archangels.” Gabriel?? He pretty much scared me shitless in catechism!

Uhm, the Democrats are doing what Hedges describes above. They are in charge now. You can stop campaigning.

Paolo—On this issue, I think that you are spot on, and, good references. (I cant check them out until I leave here, but, I’ve been to the first two…) Tweedledumb and Tweedledumbass..GOP and Dems

Louise, Pres. Obama could change course NOW..I speak as one who proptested the “invasion” (“we” were already there) of Afghanistan (with a sister who live s in NYC)—it was pretty lonely, except for those throwing full beers at us…where were you guys?? We waited for days…

Excellent post, jackpines…thanks.

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By maninwarren, May 12, 2009 at 8:53 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“The death of innocents, they assure us, is the tragic cost of war. It is regrettable, but it happens. It is the price that must be paid. And so, guided by a president who once again has no experience of war and defers to the bull-necked generals and militarists whose careers, power and profits depend on expanded war, we are transformed into monsters. “

This is why Chris Hedges stands head and shoulders above so many pundits and “experts”—he tells the moral truth.

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By Nannie, May 12, 2009 at 8:35 am Link to this comment

By TheHandyman, May 12 at 4:13 am

“Obama, and this was something I knew before he ever became President, is very little different from Bush when it comes to war. Ralph Nader said this months before Obama won the nomination. Obama has done everything Ralph said he would and as he said it he also said that he hoped he was proven wrong but so far Obama has lived up to every lowered expectation I’ve had.”
.....
Best comment so far, I agree totally with Ralph Nader, A GREAT AMERICAN…
Nannie

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By jackpine savage, May 12, 2009 at 8:11 am Link to this comment

No, Bush did not put is in the mess in Afghanistan.  There’s an unbroken line of our mess in Afghanistan going back decades…as early as the mid 50’s.

Bush blew the mess up to outsized proportions, but the mess he was purportedly trying to fix began outright during the Carter administration (with precursors running further back).

And the fact remains that Obama is not cleaning up anything.  He’s expanding it along the same lines (and for God’s sake with a fair sprinkling of the same names) as his predecessors did in the 70’s and 80’s.  He’s even expanding it into Pakistan and all the left trembles that the “Taliban” is just 60 miles from Islamabad…while never bothering to look at a map to find out that those 60 miles are the Hindu Kush, nor looking deeply enough to realize that the Pashtun homeland has historically gone all the way to the Indus.

But never fear the Pakistan Army is on the case, and they won’t be concerned with “collateral damage”.  They’ve pretty well ethnically cleansed regions before on our dime, this is nothing new.  When that destabilizes Pakistan completely, a military coup will take place (read the CENTCOM statements, they’re ready and willing to deal with such a situation) and Obama/Clinton will look pained for the cameras.

Then they’ll trot out their tired “Taliban” label, drop white phosphorus on civilians, and talk about aspirations to freedom and democracy to come with the help of Gulbuddin Hekmyatar…who they won’t, of course, mention by name.  He’ll have become “moderate Taliban” and as such will help our political class reach new heights of saying things that mean either nothing at all or the opposite of what they sound like.

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By hippie4ever, May 12, 2009 at 8:04 am Link to this comment

Ironic that Obama looks to Lincoln and Roosevelt for inspiration, and not Lyndon Johnson, who lost all credibility in Vietnam.

After all the celebrations that “yes we did” the truth remains that we haven’t had significant change in national or foreign policy. Lesbians & gays continue to be second-class citizens, Corporate America continues to rule the roost regarding health care and other issues like alternative energy, torture is not a prosecutable crime, and the POTUS disappoints every person with a moral centre, and with every decision I wonder how he differs from Bush.

Clearly, too, working families are on their own without help from the government that bailed out the rich, crooked bankers. Only the rich may apply for social welfare.

Meanwhile the Crusades continue and Americans ask why? As though there has to be a reason, but some are the central role of the military-industrial complex plays within the political and economic life of Empire; strategic location for oil, shipping, and curtailing the reach of the Russian Empire; the intertwined theocratic-fascist interests of the American Plutocracy. There are others, but these will suffice.

What I know, from my life, is the U.S. will fail in Afganistan, Pakistan, Iraq. It doesn’t matter to the warmongering interests because defeat avoids over-extension of Empire and can become the drumbeat for more military spending, greater social control over citizens, hysteria, in short everything the Ruling Class wants for its agenda, nothing short of world destabilisation to prop up the American Empire, which spans the globe and rules within its current vacuum. It is forceful and extremely weak, as its rulers know well.

I wish we had known the stakes back in the early 1970s, when the republic was dying and the media bleated its message that we were all disallusioned and apathetic, blah blah blah. Had we taken action then, perhaps the Shock Doctrine and Neverending War might have ended. Then again, perhaps we would have had a police state 10 years earlier than when it was ushered in under Reagan.

We must keep the pressure on Obama, mainly because he’s all we’ve got within the political machine well-greased with lobbyist money. It sounds weak and pathetic, and it is, but Americans as a people are not brave or sentient; fat, lazy and stupid would be a charitable description of our national character.

The Cherokee believe it’s a curse for spirit to become trapped inside matter; their epiphany was proven during their Trail of Tears. Now it’s the Americans turn to walk their path along Afganistan, Pakistan, maybe Iran…I am firmly convinced that the Islamic world will finally defeat Empire once Indonesia becomes involved. In any event, it will be external forces that uproot this disease upon the landscape, American imperialism.

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thebeerdoctor's avatar

By thebeerdoctor, May 12, 2009 at 7:43 am Link to this comment

I do not see how adding more troops to Afghanistan, which is what President Obama has ordered, has anything to do with cleaning up George Bush’s mess. The new president’s actions reveal he is expanding the war in Afghanistan, not contracting it. The fact that the new administration continues attacks into Pakistan, and yet refuses to acknowledge the civilian carnage caused by such indiscriminate force, reveals are duplicitous policy is quite similar to that of Israel and their recent attacks on Gaza. Both nations deny that they used white phosphorus on civilians, which is quite obviously, a flat-out lie.

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By Kesey Seven, May 12, 2009 at 7:34 am Link to this comment

Dear Handyman,

The god that he worships does not exist. It was a figment of the imagination of ancient Hebrews. Not to say that no god exists. God is the universe. The laws of the universe are god’s laws. We have been and continue to be violating them wholesale.  War is just one transgression for which everyone on this earth will eventually pay dearly, not in some mythical heaven or hell, but right here on earth where the oil makes the rubber. 

Kesey Seven

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By Louise, May 12, 2009 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Here’s a simple little fact. Bush and company put us in the current mess in Afghanistan. Then he guaranteed the mess would expand and grow beyond the smaller mess he originally created, when he made the deliberate decision to leave his Afghanistan war to Canada and went over and attacked Iraq! Iraq, a defenseless nation that had never in their entire history done anything to us. And here’s the really smelly thing about the whole pile of garbage. The vast MAJORITY of thinking (not) Americans WANTED us to attack Afghanistan. Then they jubilantly CHEERED when the Bush started his war in Iraq! Millions of people sat up night after night so they could watch Bush’s “Shock and Awe” fireworks show!

Amazing how so many of them now sit and grumble because the “fun” turned into chaos! Actually no, it’s not at all amazing. Being an arm-chair warrior is disgustingly predictable. All gung-ho and kill the bastards when it looks good. All “I didn’t do it” when the party turns into death and destruction. Did any of the dim-bulbs who cheered Bush on bother to ask what his plans for the future were? Of course not! But we find the same dim-bulbs demanding Obama clean up Bush’s mess and condemning him because he hasn’t yet! Absolutely no excuse, right? I mean Obama has been president for more than a hundred days already! What’s taking him so long!?

I mean just because he has to clean up the worst financial collapse since the Great Depression, and just because he faces a crumbling infrastructure and millions of people without health care, or a job, and closing schools and closing business and over-flowing prisons and six houses in foreclosure for every ten that aren’t, and every other nation in the so-called free world fighting themselves, or each other, and a handful of dissemblers in the Party of No, and Lord knows what else ... that’s no excuse for not having solved ALL our problems already! Right? OK, it may have taken Bush and Company eight years to bring us to the edge of collapse, but that’s no excuse for Obama and company not having cleaned up their mess in three plus months, right?

Killing for gain is nothing new in this country. How many Native Americans did we slaughter? How many “slaves” and former slaves did we butcher? How many people did we obliviate when we dropped that bomb on Japan? How about all the children and mothers who die every year because they can’t get medical care? Oh, and here’s the one we can all be proud of ... how many people get mangled on our highways every year? Nobody is responsible for any of that, right? Well, we are all responsible ... just as we are ALL responsible for the death and destruction going on now in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. That’s what happens when folks cheer on a dim-bulb who wants to be a “war president”. So step up front and center, and take a bow.

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By jackpine savage, May 12, 2009 at 5:44 am Link to this comment

Our involvement in Afghanistan began long before 1984-85.

Hekmyatar’s mentor at Kabul university was a payrolled CIA asset.  Brzezinski has admitted to covert operations at least six months before the Soviet incursion.  It was always done through Zia’s Pakistan (Zia being American trained).

And we now know that the Soviets made a fair many attempts to get out early (their intelligence analysis called it unwinnable).  They even made diplomatic overtures to the US on the issue.  It was ignored because Team-B wanted to draw them deeper.

And, btw, Brzezinski says he didn’t know…but that’s a lie.  He had already usurped Vance’s authority and was channeling just about every decision through the NSC.

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By Marshall, May 12, 2009 at 3:53 am Link to this comment

By ardee, May 12 at 6:29 am #

“I suspect the original question to be a smarmy attempt to point out an hypocracy that doesnt exists.”

Thanks ardee for the response buried in your skepticism about my intentions.  I really am interested in hearing responses from the left, though i don’t understand why you think there’s no hypocrisy on this issue.  Are you aware of many on the left who publicly accuse Obama of being a war criminal now that he’s continued Bush’s Iraq/Afghanistan war policies?

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By ardee, May 12, 2009 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

Marshall, May 11 at 9:09 pm #

So I ask in all seriousness to those that believe Bush administration is guilty of war crimes for civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - is Obama now guilty of same, or does he get a pass?

........................................

“In all seriousness”, I am doubtful frankly. The suspension of common sense by the ever more radical and out of touch right wing is very well illustrated by a question needing no answer from outside. Ones own conscience should give the obvious response; any leader, regardless of party affiliation or expressed political ideology, that engages or continues to engage in illegal invasion is guilty of crimes.

I suspect the original question to be a smarmy attempt to point out an hypocracy that doesnt exists. Or an attempt to whitewash the crimes of the Cheney administration.

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By GLykins, May 12, 2009 at 1:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The true health of our country rests in our capacity to act in the best interests of the whole world (not just in our own).

As long as we find ourselves in a ‘global’ communication situation, we cannot act as if only we as Americans count.  In spite of our dissembling and Orwellian doublespeak our actions speak for us.  When we decide to grow up we must begin the task of mending and ammending.

Thank goodness we have strong and courageous people like Chris Hedges to remind us of reality.

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By TheHandyman, May 12, 2009 at 1:13 am Link to this comment

As someone who has seen up close and personal the ravages of war as a crewchief on a Huey in Vietnam, I am still amazed that every little war this country has engaged in since WWII the leaders of this country keep talking about the deaths of not only our troops but the civilians of other countries as being “the price that must be paid for Democracy.” These leaders don’t risk their lives. These leaders don’t loose their family and homes. These leaders are about as far removede from this price as one can be and yet the people who are paying the price are never asked if they are willing to pay it?

Obama, and this was something I knew before he ever became President, is very little different from Bush when it comes to war. Ralph Nader said this months before Obama won the nomination. Obama has done everything Ralph said he would and as he said it he also said that he hoped he was proven wrong but so far Obama has lived up to every lowered expectation I’ve had.

I hold christians in low esteem to begin with, but how could a man who professes to have so much faith not know that sending Predator Drones and warplanes to kill 2% of the Taliban while killing 98% civilians was wrong on every level. This 2% figure comes from the last military assessment of the current kill policy in Afghanistan.Where is the GOD that he worships? What about that commandment that said “Thou shalt not kill!”

It is time to withdraw our troops from the 738 military bases we have in the world and try to lead by example and not by force. I don’t think Obama is the man that can do that because he is owned as tightly as any modern President has ever been owned. He may be smart, but he also thinks that being President and having that power is more important than doing the right thing!

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By Bboy57, May 11, 2009 at 9:12 pm Link to this comment

Litl Blu,

No, impeachment is off the table because this admnistration has partaken of the same as the last. Unbelievable. Then they wonder why the twin towers happened, if indeed it was planned on the outside. Blowback.

We are now the hegemonious tyrant on the world stage. Rome II.

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By Bboy57, May 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

Poalo,

We are not Switzerland, we are the U.S. We have allready engaged and basically won two world wars and have been thrust thus so into a position of world leadership and great responsability.

Unfortunately, we have failed in our world standing to act responsably. We have only acted out of self interest and gain (great greed). Basically taking over the reigns of British worldwide imperialism and throwing Britain bones once in a while.

I agree with what you simply have to state about the affairs of neo-cons and libs at this stage of what used to be OUR democracy.

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Paolo's avatar

By Paolo, May 11, 2009 at 8:32 pm Link to this comment

A libertarian view—

It seems that the Democratic Party and Obama are just following in Bush’ footsteps. I am not surprised. Chris Hedges does a good job of pointing this out.

Obama’s foreign policy is being formulated by Neo-Libs, who have smoothly replaced the Neo-Cons of the Bush administration. The NEOCON Project for a New American Century (PNAC) has been replaced with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS), a Neolib carbon copy. See Justin Raimondo’s most recent article at Antiwar.com for more details.

Dems and Reps, Libs and Cons—they’re just two sides of the same coin, folks. Non-intervention in foreign policy is the only sensible approach. It’s kept Switzerland out of wars for 400 years. We should do the same.

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By Litl Bludot, May 11, 2009 at 8:21 pm Link to this comment

Marshall—I think so.  Obama is now guilty of war crimes.  He’s also one of the slickest liars since Reagan, one of his heroes.

Impeachment is now on the table.

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By Sam Clemenz, May 11, 2009 at 8:17 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Isn’t it interesting that Gates has sacked the General in charge of Afghanistan in favour of someone else who toe’s the “Escalation of the war on Terror” line?
Wasn’t it that same General that stated over a year ago that there was no Military Solution possible in Afghanistan? I seem to recall also, that Gates was in agreement with him at the time.

Funny how little things like America’s Ideological interests tend to change when it comes to policy that might slow the war machine profits down in these hard economic times! I gues with a 15 Trillion dollar deficit you have to do things to pay the bill when you’ve sold the farm, and outsourced the economy at home eh?

Where’s Smedley Butler when you need him to slap some reality into American foreign policy linked with the reality of the war profiteers bottom line and their expected profit margins.

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By Kwagmyre, May 11, 2009 at 7:52 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

If the U.S. finds itself stuck in a kwagmyre in Afghanistan(actually Af/Pak to probably be more realistic about it), then Kucinich may finally get the rightful backing and support for President in 2012.

I like Obama but when it comes to genuinely understanding the “facts on the ground” he’s just another “obamanation”(as in abomination).

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By truedigger3, May 11, 2009 at 7:25 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges wrote:
“We are not delivering democracy or liberation or development.”
_____________________________________________________

It seems that Hedges’ only problem is the “How” and
not the Why of the Afghanistan war!!
He agrees to that this a war to fight what he called ” barbarism” and cosequently I assume that he agrees to to the so called the “war on terror”.
If that is the case, then Hedges is either another
very clever duplicitous mouth piece for the war or a very ignorant naive writer. I pick the first choice.!

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By paul bass, May 11, 2009 at 7:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So I ask in all seriousness to those that believe Bush administration is guilty of war crimes for civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - is Obama now guilty of same, or does he get a pass?

absolutely. and don’t forget the congress.

and its not bushes war or obama’s war it is an American war and any one who supported it within the government is a war criminal.

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By MeHere, May 11, 2009 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Chris Hedges always enlightening.

Obama kept his word in regard to Afghanistan.  He surrounded himself with the “right” advisors and they are moving into more rather than less war.  And there are no signs that the health care crisis will be effectively dealt with, or that appropriate regulations will be issued in the financial and banking areas.

No matter how much people disliked the Bush administration, there was no reason to put this bunch in charge.  The time is now for those who care to pay attention and think carefully about what exactly they’ll be supporting the next time they vote.

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By Marshall, May 11, 2009 at 6:09 pm Link to this comment

So I ask in all seriousness to those that believe Bush administration is guilty of war crimes for civilians killed in Iraq and Afghanistan - is Obama now guilty of same, or does he get a pass?

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By freedom loving american, May 11, 2009 at 5:52 pm Link to this comment

The republican ruling class has always been a code word for terrorist.  Republicans always support terrorist and terrorism when it serves their cause.  Simply read the history of any Central or South American country. Then in the past when true American patriots have tried to stand up for the truth, liberty, and freedom our forefathers died for they called them unpatriotic, American hating, communist supports. 

It is so cute to see the MSM aided by the rightwinghatenuts violently attacking the Obama administration when a few months ago they were yelling that anyone not supporting the government should get out.

The dems are far from perfect and we need libertarians, green party, and independents to speak for average Americans.  But compared to the American hating, freedom hating, and liberty hating republicans the dems look like archangels.

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By Sepharad, May 11, 2009 at 4:42 pm Link to this comment

Fadel, share you liking for Rumi (though prefer Hafiz myself). I don’t know that there is anywhere or any way to escape war and hypocrisy these days. What Chris and everyone on this site (including myself) are doing is trying to to analyze things in such a way that having done so we feel WE are cleansed, WE can have washed our hands, or at the very least WE are in some morally comfortable space—but simply living in and accepting the benefits of any society at any time makes us complicit. We may complain and we may protest, but we are no less guilty than those who cheer war on unless we are in the frontlines ourself. All the rest is talk.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, May 11, 2009 at 2:25 pm Link to this comment

Stop this “WE” shit.

Your style and presuppositions are insulting and arrogant. 

1. There is no “we.”

2. American military foreign policy isn’t “becoming” anything other than what it’s been for a century (or more).

I’m not sure why these semantic games go unchallenged, but I’m pretty sick of them.  It blunts and neuters the message.  It waters down the medicine you are apparently (allegedly) trying to administer.

Nearly three million dead Iraqis since 1990.

Hundreds of thousands dead in Central America.

Countless tortured and murdered by US client “dictators.”

Three million Vietnamese civilians.

The untold millions in other conflicts that don’t make the front pages.

And we’re to take it from Chris Hedges that now, today in 2009 US policy is suddenly “becoming” barbaric?

Doesn’t pass even the most rudimentary tests of logic.

The only way the statements make any sense is in a context of overwhelming propaganda where basic historical facts are disregarded wholesale (is Truthdig such a context?).

http://crimesofthestate.blogspot.com/

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By Greetings, May 11, 2009 at 12:54 pm Link to this comment

Each bullet we fired is a vote for the Taliban and the Right and the destruction of humanity.  Yes, the war to date is sunk cost, but we must walk away.  I sometimes think the military is soft because to walk away would be the hardest thing the military could imagine.  We the people must demand a WALK AWAY,  WALK AWAY,  WALK AWAY…….

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By felicity, May 11, 2009 at 11:37 am Link to this comment

Both Zardari of Pakistan and Karzai of Afghanistan are hated by the majorities of the people they rule yet we support their dictatorships even going so far as funding their oppressive governments. 

So we have aligned ourselves with who (and what) are hated and wonder why the natives are joining the Taliban who only have to advertise themselves as revolutionaries committed to ridding the land of corrupt dictators and their enablers (Americans.)

(A perfunctory study of our ‘relationship’ with South and Central America during the last century reminds us that our present ‘relationship’ with Afghanistan and Pakistan is merely American/style business as usual with foreign governments/nations/people who happen to be so unfortunate as to have something we want.)

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By prole, May 11, 2009 at 11:10 am Link to this comment

“Dr. Fournot warned. “Pakistan is a time bomb waiting to explode. You have a huge population, 170 million people. There is nuclear power. Pakistan is much more dangerous than Afghanistan.’” Her anxiety about Pakistan is echoeded in other unsavory quarters as well. Israel’s new Foreign Minister - and “Racist-in-Chief” - Avigdor Lieberman, in a candid Russian newspaper interview last month, made the same point, in warning that Pakistan/Afghanistan now posed a bigger threat than Iran: “Pakistan is nuclear and unstable and Afghanistan is faced with a potential Taliban takeover, and the combination forms a contiguous area of radicalism ruled in the spirit of Osama bin Laden.”  Lieberman made the implications of his threat assessment clear, confidently asserting, “Believe me, America accepts all our decisions.”  So now that the “decision” has been made in the soon-to-be-undivided American capital of Jerusalem, it only remains for AIPAC ‘step-‘n-fetch it’ Obama and Israel’s U.S. lackeys to snap to it and obey their zionazi fuhrers’ implied orders. In case, it all wasn’t clear enough, the master plan of the Semitic master race was spelled out in a little more firey biblical imagery by MK Yaakov Katz, the leader of the National Union party, speaking on Sunday with Arutz-7’s Hebrew newsmagazine: “Pakistan’s capital city of Islamabad is in danger of being taken over by the Moslem Taliban, with Al-Qaeda playing a major role. If they get control of the nuclear weapons there, we know that they will freely bomb their enemies all over the world. They have no god, they fear no one, and they have shown their evil often in the past. Iran, too, is coming close to a nuclear weapon, and has stated its desire to see Israel wiped off the map. I call on our Prime Minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, to take action, just like King David did.” And rising in righteous fury in the tradition of the prophets Katz went on: “Yes, there are many millions of them, but just like King David and his handful of rocks, we must not be afraid. He saw Goliath mocking and scorning Israel and G-d (sic), and he saw the ministers of King Saul’s government allowing it to continue – but with a well-aimed rock to the giant’s forehead, he put an end to the story named Goliath. Today as well, the Moslem extremists mock and scorn and threaten us – the US believes in G-d, and they admire King David and the Psalms he wrote, and their beliefs are being mocked as well. Netanyahu must arise right now, today, this week – the week of Independence Day – and put an end to the Iranian threat. And then, Obama and the American people will arise as well to put an end to the Taliban threats on the world.” Amen!
 
  So there you have it - “The bodies of dozens, perhaps well over a hundred, women, children and men, their corpses blown into bits of human flesh by iron fragmentation bombs dropped by U.S. warplanes in” the name and holy tradition of King David and his descendents. In seeking to destroy, we become like the Israelites.

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By tropicgirl, May 11, 2009 at 10:44 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“psychopaths within the Taliban…”

Still, Chris, I see the language of misrepresentation. Please be careful. Obama, the supposedly “smart” man constantly mixes up the Taliban and Al Queda. Most likely, purposefully, like Bush did. I would not automatically call people psychopaths that are on defense from firebombs, invasion and occupation, from one foreign interest after another.

You report on the weaknesses of our military efforts and their doomed future, but you still do not get to the heart of the issue, why are we there?

It seems what we are left with is the same Bush line, “fighting extremists.” Well.. there are a lot of extremists in the world so that can not be the reason.

Until you in the press start delving a little deeper, the press will repeat, and IS repeating the same mistakes in not taking the Iraq reasoning to task in time to save American lives and many more Iraqi lives.

Can’t you see that its a new excuse for every invasion? Howard Johnson’s 38 flavors’ flavor-of-the-day. Please do us all a favor and dig deeper. We are all counting on you and the rest of the independent press. This war is filthy with bank and WMF influence, Saudi and Israeli influence, drug money and more. This is what we need to find out. For example, how much ARE the banks REALLY making from the sale of opium? Who launders the money? And so on… We have an ignorant, inept, apparently immoral president who is only making things worse. We must expose the truth.

And one last comment… darn right the Pakistani and Afghanistani moderates are confused. They are starting to “get it”. We really don’t care about them. This is another angle that should be pursued and it probably follows the same tactics of Israel in demorilizing and radicalizing an enemy so you can outright kill them. Thats what you get when you trust the west. I hope they learn their lesson this time and so you really can’t blame them for trusting their own people more, no matter how radical. This is a war we must lose.

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By P. T., May 11, 2009 at 9:37 am Link to this comment

The U.S. ruling class becomes especially violent when fearing it might lose a war.

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By Rodger Lemonde, May 11, 2009 at 8:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Proof reading is your guide to quality publication.
Try it sometime.

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By G.Anderson, May 11, 2009 at 8:28 am Link to this comment

After all the bombs are dropped, and bodies are buried, we should ask ourselves what exactly have we done?

What is being done in our name there? Is this truly what we want?

For who and for what are we really doing these things?

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 11, 2009 at 8:10 am Link to this comment

I’d rather be discussing and reflecting on the 13th century great Afghani poet-philosopher, Rumi; the soulful sage who spoke to people’s purified hearts instead of their crooked heads!

I’d rather be reflecting on Rumi’s words that “Every enemy is your medicine, your beneficial alchemy and heart healing” rather than on getting outraged upon keeping reading and hearing about the atrocities and savagery of the twenty-first century American political-military fascists!

But how can I find poetic peace with Rumi when I am boiling with anger, frustration and helplessness at the atrocities committed in my name, with my tax-payer money, while I can’t do anything about it! This is the ultimate tyranny practiced again and over again by our political-military fascist establishment, hiding behind a false facade of so-called democracy! I’d rather be living in Afghanistan of the 13th century rather than in cruel and savage America of the 21st century! I feel I am stuck to my head in the bloody mud of political-military America with no hope of salvation except in a premature death!

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By Paul_GA, May 11, 2009 at 4:43 am Link to this comment

As Walt Kelly had his cartoon hero Pogo say, “We have met the enemy ... and he is us.”

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By coloradokarl, May 11, 2009 at 3:38 am Link to this comment

Who did what or even why is A futile action in hind sight. The only hope is to action something at this moment. Lets start a plan to buy the raw opium from the growers and pay with tractors, water systems and some schools with built in medical clinics. The only hope to stop violence is LOVE…....

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By ardee, May 11, 2009 at 2:44 am Link to this comment

What can one add to the eloquence of Mr. Hedges except to note that slaughter is a peculiar way to win converts.

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By Bobar, May 11, 2009 at 2:31 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

War is always futile.  “Beware of the military complex.” President Eisenhower.

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By diamond, May 11, 2009 at 1:57 am Link to this comment

There are still plenty of people who will tell you that it’s ‘fiction’ that America created the Taliban to usurp and replace an Afghan goverment that wanted a secular state in Afghanistan, equal rights for women, trade unions and land redistribution. They refuse to believe that Ronald Reagan spent up to $20 billion of American taxpayer’s money on arming and funding the people that Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld were later only too happy to call terrorists and use as scapegoats. But however much they want to live in denial, this is in fact what happened and until that is clearly understood there will be no interest in defending the rights of the Afghan people who are being used at the moment to justify America’s bloated military and overfunded intelligence services, as they move troops from Iraq to Afghanistan. There will be experimentation with ‘weapons of mass destruction’, of course, as there is in any war. Until people understand that war is simply legalized murder the situation will continue, at least until someone decides to exercise the nuclear option, which will render all questions on civilian deaths irrelevant.

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