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Cambodia Déjà Vu: the Invasion of Pakistan

Posted on May 13, 2009

By William Pfaff

Last September, during the American presidential campaign, I wrote a column declaring that the United States had again invaded Cambodia, only this time “Cambodia” was Pakistan. President George W. Bush had ordered U.S. ground attacks on the Taliban inside Pakistan’s Tribal Territories, without Pakistan’s authorization.

That was also when Barack Obama’s foreign policy campaign platform was promising withdrawal from Iraq and military emphasis on Afghanistan and Pakistan, location of the “real” problem in the great war on terror.

A younger generation than mine, including senior military officers (not to speak of Barack Obama), may not know exactly why the United States and the South Vietnamese army invaded Cambodia in 1970, and what the result was. The invasion was a failure, and the result a humanitarian catastrophe.

Washington, frustrated in its war against the Communist Viet Cong in South Vietnam, which eventually included bombing on a scale greater than the bombing of Germany in the Second World War, decided it could solve its problem by an invasion to cut the Communist supply routes inside neutral Cambodia (which it nonetheless was also bombing: dropping 540,000 tons of explosive on Cambodia over four years).

The invasion accomplished nothing except further destruction in Cambodia. It destroyed the U.S.-supported military government in Cambodia and empowered the native Cambodian Communist resistance, known as the Khmer Rouge, which eventually, in order to create a utopian society, killed some 2 million of its fellow Cambodians.

The later head of the Genocide Studies Program at Yale wrote of the bombing: “The emergent Communist party ... profited greatly ... (using) the widespread devastation and massacre of civilians (to justify) its brutal, radical policies.”

Three years after the invasion, the Viet Cong, with its North Vietnamese allies, forced American forces to retreat from Vietnam, and by 1975 ruled the country. In Cambodia, the genocide had begun.

The invasion was occasion for Richard Nixon to declare that the U.S. was not “a second-rate power” nor “a pitiful helpless giant” standing by while “the forces of totalitarianism and anarchy ... threaten free nations and free institutions throughout the world.”

How long ago it seems—39 years! And here we are again.

The United States, despite its plan to deploy nearly 70,000 troops this year in Afghanistan, finds itself and its NATO allies in danger of defeat by the Taliban guerrillas.

U.S. bombing, with remote-controlled “drones,” of the Pakistani Tribal Territories, where the Taliban take refuge among their Pathan tribal kinsmen, has killed many people but has had no decisive effect on the fighting in Afghanistan.

American bombing inside Afghanistan is protested by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who says the airstrikes are fast turning the Afghans against the U.S., which risks “losing the moral battle” against the Taliban. Gen. James L. Jones, U.S. national security adviser, says, “We can’t fight with one hand tied behind our back.”

Karzai says, “How can you expect a people who keep losing their children to remain friendly?” Jones says of Karzai, “I think he understands that we have to have a full complement of our offensive military power when we need it.”

The former Pakistani military government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf was unwilling to send the Pakistan army into the Tribal Territories to attack the Taliban and al-Qaida.

He is now ousted, and the civilian government led by President Asif Ali Zardari, put under immense pressure by Washington, and frightened by the success of the Taliban in operations outside the Tribal Region, has agreed to the ground offensive now going on, in which Pakistani commanders are accompanied by U.S liaison officers and air controllers.

U.S. command in “Af-Pak” now has been transferred, in obvious urgency, to former Joint Special Operations commander Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal.

Will a Special Forces officer think that guerrillas—with refuge in an inaccessible and unconquered region, amid a tri-national ethnic population of some 40 million fellow Pathans—can be beaten by guided bombs or Special Forces raids? Or that an unenthusiastic Pakistani army will do the job? Or 70,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, when the Taliban can always refuse battle and pull back into the mountains?

Moreover, what is supposed to be accomplished by this war against the Taliban, which threatens to leave Afghanistan in ruins, and to tear Pakistan apart? Do the Taliban threaten the United States? Most of them could not find the United States on a map.

What have they ever done to the United States? What if the United States would just go away and leave the Pakistanis, Afghans and Pathans to settle this among themselves?

President Obama says the war will not be won by military means but by a “surge” of civilian development experts, reconstruction leaders and democracy teachers, just as Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently told Congress that the U.S. is training. Will this “surge” get there in time? My own feeling is that President Obama is in over his head; and that American military command, not knowing what else to do, is reverting to Vietnam, which most of its members were too young to experience.

Visit William Pfaff’s Web site at

© 2009 Tribune Media Services Inc.


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By BlueBerry Pick'n, May 17, 2009 at 1:28 pm Link to this comment

Given that Canadians help ‘support the pipeline’ in Afghanistan occupation (for some time, with little appreciation for it or of it!)

& we ALSO have American Predator drone missions buzzing our Border with the USA…

I have to say… Canadians had better smarten up.
Obama wasn’t elected for ‘UN-Americans’... or even for Americans, much less Canadians.

The Security & Prosperity Partnership doesn’t have YOU considered anything but a *resource* or an obstacle to the resources they want.

Or we’ll soon find ourselves ‘annexed’ for resources like water, hydro or TarSands oil…

“for our best protections from ourselves… AERIALLY administered FREEDOMS that we help bring to other sovereign nations & peoples… “

by the very corporate structures that keep us in Afghanistan…


perspective, people.


The Jeff Farias Show: streams FREE & LIVE Mon-Fri, 6-9pmEDT

FREE podcast
“We, two, form a Multitude” ~ Ovid.

Violence can only be concealed by a Lie, & the Lie can only be maintained by Violence.” ... “Any man, who has once proclaimed Violence as his Method, is inevitably forced to take the Lie as his Principle” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn.

Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.” - Voltaire

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By Anarcissie, May 16, 2009 at 7:44 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—in regard to the the government not taking control of what they bought: at this point I think they’re just playing around, to see if maybe they can fiddle things back to where they were before the crash, without too much trouble.  It doesn’t matter a whole lot whether the government explicitly takes control; the government and the top corporate echelons are made up of the same sort of people anyway.  When and if it becomes plain that this is not going to work, then we will see some other kind of operation, like the nationalization I mentioned.

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By Folktruther, May 16, 2009 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment

Thanks for the link, KDelphi.  It is not uncommon to use a different ethnic group as violence providers for a population.  Singapore, for example, has used Nepal mercenaries, traditionally used by Brits, gurkas, to set up a neoliberal police state (where you MUST buy a house; it is taken out of your pay.)

The Roman Emperors used Germans as a Guard so they would have no compunctions about killing Romans.

But the US has traditionally been so racist that they would probably tend to use White men.  I think that is what was used aagainst the population in New Orleans.  The media concocted some story about the residents firing on planes and they brought in Blackwater.  But maybe under the new Freedom and Democracy under Obama, we cao be shot by an equal oppertunity employer.

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By KDelphi, May 16, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to this comment


Pres. Obama’s use of Free Enterprise mercenaires:

“...On the campaign trail, Barack Obama’s advisers said he “can’t rule out [and] won’t rule out” using mercenary forces, like Blackwater. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater’s thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What’s more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem…”

(coming to a city near you…)’s_blackwater_chicago_mercenary_firm_gets_millions_for_private_"security"_in_israel_and_iraq_/

(Jeremy Scahill, author of “Blackwater”)

Anar—“Or, the government can just take a controlling position by buying shares.”

They have “bought the shares” (well, we have) but, demand no “controlling position”! Worst of both worlds! True nationalizatiom would probably be a real mess in people like Geithner’s hands, but, we bought the cow—-we just arent allowed to milk it…

Neoliberal Fascism…that is what you get when you try to make Capitalismfreedomanddemocracy a form of social contract, or a form of govt, consented to by “those that matter”.

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By A Khokar, May 16, 2009 at 9:24 am Link to this comment

Drone Attacks and Taliban in Pakistan

  With every drone attack; it gives a new life to the US stratagem thus generating an auto signal that Al-Qaeda lives and propup the pretext that US is fighting the War against Terrorism for real and a reason to carry out savage killing of defenceless. Other than drones attack is a Tehrik e Taliban in Pakistan( now on run in Swatt area to escape Pak army cleansing operation), a copycat, anti-Pakistan elements raised by CIA and supported by Indian RAW to destabilise Pakistan in order to show that Pakistan is vulnerable and that menace of terrorism is spreading.

Drone is a face saving gimmick and an enabler to justify the deceptive US strategy to fight a war on foreign land. Just imagine without drones attacks or US supporting of TTP actions in side Pakistan; US war will become innert and isolated within the bounds of God forsaken Place called—- Afghanistan and there will be no more a cry for the spread of menace of terrorism beyond Afghanistan or a fanning of a hype by western media in order to genrate fear at home of Terrorism———heading for America as well as Europe.

This US deceptive menace of drones and TTP gives out:

• Every drone attacks show that Al-Qaeda is live and kicking.
• Every TTP action in Pakistan shows that menace of Terrorism is spreading and it is on march toward gaining the control of nuclear head quarter of Pakistan thus endangering the security of the region as well as of world.

Drones attacks will only stop when Pakistan is also able to develop the technology of target homing devices and establish the bases for flying of drones sent after—- say; Baitullah Massod of TTP and his cohorts in their hot Pursuit, killing few of them on Afghani soil which may include US out posts also.

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By Folktruther, May 16, 2009 at 8:13 am Link to this comment

Anaarcissie- the difference between US fascism and, say, the German model, is who has the dominant power, the government or the corporations.  The German industrialists put Hitler in power but, once established, he dominated the corporate leaders.  Obama, on the other hand, is the servant of the corporate leaders.  They hold the power, as can be seen by their stealing from the treasury in plain sight.

The US power system is different in that respect from classcial fascism. Also occurring since that time TV and modern advertising techniques that expanded Hitler’s political theater to monstrous and effective proportions to systematically delude the population.  You don’t have to shoot or imprison dissidents so much if they are so marginalized that they cannot communicate with the population.  Neoliberal fascism is a post modern fascism, where you can keep people enslaved by convincing them they are living in Freedom and Democracy.

So far, it appears to be a very effective system.  Obama can continue Bushite policies and the population doesn’t appear to notice it.  But for how long, I wonder. Not long I should think, given the economic dislocation that is in progress.  In which case the power structure can cause another Terrorist incident, declare martial law, and bring back the Gops.  Back to a Unitary President and a more traditional fascism, retaining the liberal institutions and rhetoric as cover.

the question is how to fight such scenarios when the power structure is systematically depowerizing the population.  I think this has to be a long historical strategy.

It is necessary, I think, to de-Educate the population, to subvert the power delusions they are indoctrinated with and believe in emotionally that legitimates oppressive power.  It is necessary to restore the distrust of the American people in their religious, imtellectual and political leaders.  This will subvert the Western tradition, which has legitmated capitalist Democracy the past few centuries.  And concealed and disguised the imperialist predations of the White Man.  This would transform our historical wprldview of reality, especially political and social reality.

This can only be done by a revolution in social science and allied political and social theory conceptually similar to the scientific revolutions in the natural sciences.  As in the marxist social theory of the 20th century, the world’s dominant social theory, the social theory of the 21st century can be a world historical theory formulated from the perspective of the earthperson population.  The American people will therefore have the assistence of the other people of the world in fighting their oppressive power system. 

This was dramatized most effectively on 15 Febuary 2003 when perhaps 30 million people from countries of every inhabited continent demonstrated in concerted action against the US invasion of Iraq.  If world opinion can be strengthened to oppose the oppression of power, the American people will have world allies to oppose US imperialism, and domestic oppression as well.  As the Palestinians do now in the world boycott of Israel.  This will then allow new social forms to arise, including a version of coops that might prove a new form of economic life.

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By Anarcissie, May 16, 2009 at 7:01 am Link to this comment

Folktruther—Nationalization has already been going on.  Corporations are already state entities.  It is perfectly feasible for the government to create a corporation out of nothing, and have it absorb a failing industry, mostly by purchase of bad assets.  Or, the government can just take a controlling position by buying shares.  We are beginning to see this wherever traditional capitalism fails.  The government, meaning the executive, controls the corporations, the former owners of the businesses retire to the Cayman Islands, and working-class suckers pay the bill.  This isn’t seen for what it is partly because it’s obfuscated, but partly because so many people deludedly believe that nationalization and government control equal socialism.

It’s a neat system.  To the fans of traditional capitalism, the overlords say, “Ain’t nobody here but us capitalists.”  To the deluded part of the Left, they say, “Ain’t nobody here but us socialists.”  There is another word, though, for a polity in which all major corporate entities are under centralized control, class is preserved and solidified, conflicts between classes and groups are suppressed by force, and military adventures bemuse the folk.

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By Folktruther, May 15, 2009 at 8:01 pm Link to this comment

I agree, anarcissie, about the funny money, the collapse of the dollar as a reserve currEncy, and the inevitable slump.  Bit nothing would surprise me more that nationalization.  It’s simply un-American.

The fascism that is developing appears to be a new form, initiated by the US.  It is a NEOLIBERAL FASCISM.  Freedom for the corporations, banks and owners and maagers of them, oppression for the masses.  Maybe even the torture and murder squads will be in the form of Free Enterprise like the prisons. 

And I would guess it would be initiated under the Dems, leaving the Dem cheerleaders to exclaim how bad things would be under the Gops.  They’ll accept that it is necessary to destroy freedom in order to save it.  IT is now obvious that you can get the population to live in slavery, at least for a while, just by telling them they are living in Freedom and Democracy.

As for China,she doesn’t really care as long as she can keep industializing as fast as she has historically.  The US has dissipated all its investiment funds in militarism and consumerism, and even the crazed imperialist megalomaniacs understand that China and Asia is the future. 

What they want, and this was spell out in a book by the Perterson Institute, a think tank for the ruling class, called CHINA’S RISE, is to form a strategic BIG TWO for the time being before the US sinks down the toilet, big power-wise.  And China is happy to go along.  Why not, it eliiminates the possiblity of nuclear war.

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By Anarcissie, May 15, 2009 at 6:25 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther—if the U.S. ruling class isn’t rational, then it won’t be able to recognize that China has become the leading world power.  The “just holding on” scenario works only for rational entities.  The madman is the one with God on his side.

In regard to the economy, I’m not sure how bad things are.  Mr. O seems determined to play out Mr. B’s ruinous games, so I take it these are ruling-class decisions, not matters of personal will or understanding.  I would think, with the libertarian types, that this persistence will lead to an even bigger crash in the not-too-distant future, followed by the nationalization of practically everything.  There is simply nothing backing up all the funny money that is being passed around, so at some point funds will have to be replaced by force.  That won’t be socialism, though, it will be fascism.  What then?  How much stuff does America actually have on the ground?

It is hard for me to believe our great leaders are really doing this, so maybe the r.c. _are_ as crazy as you think.  But then they are unlikely to be resigned to Chinese hegemony.  Or maybe things are not as bad as we think.

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By KDelphi, May 15, 2009 at 1:38 pm Link to this comment

mlb said it so much better than I….

The cultural, geographical, and geopolitical dissimilarities between Pakistan and Cambodia don’t refute Pfaff’s point.  The destabilizing effects of US military intervention spill over into neighboring areas.  That frustrates the US government which then responds by expanding the war/pouring gasoline on the fire.  Pfaff’s parallel is a good one.

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By mlb, May 15, 2009 at 1:33 pm Link to this comment

Predator drones are the most cowardly form of weapon ever devised by man.  The “pilot” sits in safety thousands of miles from the “battlefield”, pressing buttons to kill people, who later turn out to have been mostly defenseless civilians.  If the plane is shot down, the operator doesn’t die, he just sees “Game Over” on his screen and goes to get another Coke.  We then drop a few more (million) coins in the slot, and the game starts again.  Predator drones are so good at killing civilians they should be labeled an indiscriminate weapon, making their use a war crime.

US foreign policy, especially since WW II, has been a series of meddling in the affairs of other nations, subverting and overthrowing their governments.  After the initial appearance of success, the outcome always turns out to be worse than the situation the arrogant nitwits in our government were trying to “fix.”  Won’t it be just grand if Obama’s foray into Pakistan turns out to be the SNAFU to top all others when Pakistan’s nuclear weapons are detonated?

The cultural, geographical, and geopolitical dissimilarities between Pakistan and Cambodia don’t refute Pfaff’s point.  The destabilizing effects of US military intervention spill over into neighboring areas.  That frustrates the US government which then responds by expanding the war/pouring gasoline on the fire.  Pfaff’s parallel is a good one.

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By Folktruther, May 15, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment


1. The aim of the US ruling class is world domintion. 

Not any more.  The latest economic debacle of the West has chatised even the American ruling class to accept its demotion as a Superpower.  As indicated by a number of articles in the Council of Foreign Affairs journal. The idea now is to manage the US deline of world power so as to rrtain as much of it as long as possible.

2.  China is the US’s main rival. 

Not any more.  China, which traditionally has been ‘hiding its light under a barrel’ has now stated it will emerge from the world depression STRONGER THAN THE US.  Which however it still wants a ‘straegic relationship.’  Bascilly it wants to take the US place without any violence or trouble.  And it holds two trillion dollars of US money as a club.

3.  The rational wing of the US ruling class?  I assume you’re joking.  We are being ruled by greed- crazed and imcompetent pschopaths who suffer from that megalomania that Eric Hobsbawm asserts afflicts all imperialsm.

4.  Threatening Russia is a holdover from Bush and before.  True.  Obama’s pollicies are all a holdoever from Bush and before.  It is increasingly obvious that he is a poltical lightweight who is rebranding Bush’s policies with new rhetoric and a nice smile.  He a front man that engages in perception management while pursuing Bush’s policies, now not even with marginal changes.

As for North Americ being a flash in the pan, it has had an imperial run of a half cnetury, a long time by modern standards with history having speeded up so.  As I’ve said before, the Western tradition has been a Gigantic Mistake, legitmating capitalist Democracy and the imperialist predations of the White Man.

Next up, Chinese imperialism, which will be harder to fight because it is more humane and rational than Western imperialism.  Just as western imperialsim was more rational than feudalism. 

In the US and in the West, we must now fight neoliberal fascism, the post modern despotism faciliated by tv and modern advertising techniques, and the monstrous class inequality that induces our ideologial insanity.

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By Novista, May 14, 2009 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

Once, the Taliban did not exist, and then the U.S. created it.

Once, the Taliban condemned the poppy, now they control it.

There’s one easy answer to that aspect of the war on drugs which would provide multiple benefits: the U.S. should BUY the entire crop, which could be processed into legal morphine for medical use.

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By Anarcissie, May 14, 2009 at 5:40 pm Link to this comment


‘Anarcissie- what does expanding the Afghan war to Pakistan have to do with Person Gulf oil?  It may well be a MORE disastrous move than the invasion of Iraq.

What does war exercises in Georgia against Russia have to do with the pipeline that goes through Geogia to Turkey.  Or the first strike missiles in Poleland?  Obama’s threats against Russia, continuing Bush,  are probably the most dangerous adventure he is involved in….’

I say “Persian Gulf oil” speaking very generally.

The aim of the U.S. ruling class is total world domination.  Their main opponent seems to be China, who might be able to enlist Russia, India, Japan, Korea and other important states as allies in a showdown.  Getting a chokehold on most of the world’s energy would help keep the opposition down, or so I imagine the strategists of the ruling class think.  Pepe Escobar writes of a pipeline from Iran through Pakistan to India (and maybe further).  This could be stopped by seizing part of Pakistan.  The U.S. would also then have armed forces on all sides of Iran, its main antagonist in the Middle East.  Obama made it plain, when he was running for president, that he favored some kind of action in Pakistan.  You were, and are, hearing from the more rational wing of the ruling class.

Threatening Russia was, I think, a holdover from a bygone age, the old Drang nach Osten.  If this is being supplanted by a more southernly adventure, perhaps it will be turned over to the Teutonic Knights. 

Curiously, China, the great target, is also the main financial enabler of American imperialism.  Maybe they’re paying tribute and biding their time.  In the long term, North America may turn out to be a flash in the pan.

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By jobart, May 14, 2009 at 2:59 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Not to get TOO far off subject here..but I fee the need to speak about what has IMO made this mess, and all the other messes, we face POSSIBLE. Hello. 9’11. The “fraud” B.S. I’m not a “conspiracy theorist, but simply a “realist”.  Naomi Klien’s “Shock Doctrine” lays a plausible/believable rationalization re: what has transpired since. But, let me pose a question that I use whenever I “get confronted” by those that consider themselves “holier than thou” and the opinions that they feel a need to inflict on us “not so holy”. Can you IMAGINE there is NO GOD?  It makes them uncomfortable but I think that the question is valid in determining if they are “close-minded” or “open-minded”. If you replace in the question with. Can you imagine a situation re:9/11 whereas it “wasn’t” Muslim extremists but the people “in power” that, not only allowed it, but “caused” it? It is very difficult for any “true” American to, even, entertain the thought. But, no more difficult, than a “true believer” to entertain that there may not be a God. What’s the expression?  Oh, yeah.  God & Country. For you out there, I hardily recommend that, if you believe yourselves to be “open-minded” about things to just try “it on” and see how it fits.  But, if you want to try, do so without preconceptions. You know, the “tabula rasa” (blank slate) mode. If you can, thanks. If you can’ should not have an opinion worth the words. Just my POV.

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By Folktruther, May 14, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

Yeah, you could be right, KDelphi; a Gop congress and more Obama next presidential election.  But the Gops put in a Moderate to head the party so the Gop right winderss could mobilize around a fake Moderate.  To continue Obamabush policies.

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By KDelphi, May 14, 2009 at 10:03 am Link to this comment

Also, soldiers were told that they “could go into Cambodia or Laos”, that they were ‘soveriegn nations”, (although some would “wake up “there in the jungle”, after wandering around in the dark, technically, they knew that they “werent supposed to be there”)

Only BOMBS and drones…sound familiar? So airspace is not sovereign? But US and Japan raise holy hell everytime anyone comes near any of our “allies” airspace, but selectively.

What crap this is.

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By KDelphi, May 14, 2009 at 9:59 am Link to this comment

McChrystal was involved in the Tillman frateracide cover up.But, Gates “likes him”, the one who works for Obamobush.

As for Pres. Obama being in over his head, isnt that what military advisors are for? Oh,yes, they are the same ones Bush used, so , Bush results.

Some Vietnam vets I talked to yesterday, said the same thing (“Isnt this ‘like Cambodia’?” “Pretty much” was the general reply)It is “like Cambodia” I think, it that it is just the uS showing its ass again. HOw likely is it that we wil “fix Pakistan”?

I agree with Folktruther and jackpine…
“He is a wash and wear president that the ruling class is going to throw away and go with Gops next time, possibly under threat of martial law.  He is there for the same reason Powell was Sec of State, to legitmate barbaric and bunkrupt policies.  He served his progressive purpose when he was inaugurated, and it is all downhill from here”

Except that, I think, that the ruling classes will “go with GOP” in 2010 (Congress), to “put a check on socialism”, thereby giving Obama more excusese to do nothing , except spend gobs of money killing kids…Pres. Obama will be re-elected, I think, because the GOP will go with Gingrich or there it will be again, “what, do you want GINGRICH?!” and “youve got to stop Gingrich/Cheney/blah, blah, blah)

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By Folktruther, May 14, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie- what does expanding the Afghan war to Pakistan have to do with Person Gulf oil?  It may well be a MORE disastrous move than the invasion of Iraq.

What does war exercises in Georgia against Russia have to do with the pipeline that goes through Geogia to Turkey.  Or the first strike missiles in Poleland?  Obama’s threats against Russia, continuing Bush,  are probably the most dangerous adventure he is involved in.

Obam’s policy is implying that he is changing Bushite policy and then continuing it. How long do you think that no one is going to notice this?  It’s true that the Obama cheerleaders will waive their pompoms, but an increasing number of people are   approaching Jackpine’s view and are against the policies no matter what party promotes them.

And then what is Obama going to do when bombing women and chldren and torturing the men are isntitutionalized in his regime. And the economy is still bad.  Johnson went from great popularity to the destruction of his presidency in four years in a less hopelss position than Obama’s. 

He is a wash and wear president that the ruling class is going to throw away and go with Gops next time, possibly under threat of martial law.  He is there for the same reason Powell was Sec of State, to legitmate barbaric and bunkrupt policies.  He served his progressive purpose when he was inaugurated, and it is all downhill from here.

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By sammy, May 14, 2009 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

Well Welll, isnt this a nice turn out. When the USA & Nato still carries its now so called Phony war on terror in Afghanistan and have killed so many civilians until recently in their bombings, and now support the Pakisthan Army to defeat the Taliban where within a week over a million civilians are now displaced and still trapped and dying due to wait for it Shelling.. I dont hear these countries and the UN Condem this actions.. Even when israel offensive in gaza the then USA president kept quite.. I now firmly belive the west has created a phony war on terror just to go after muslims as i belive they think only Muslims can be Terrorist in the world… Shame on the west To stop the Sri-lankan war on terror… hypocrites…...

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By Irfan, May 14, 2009 at 6:48 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Us is creating more enemies more talbans.

While much of the country’s attention is on other issues, a serious situation is developing in Pakistan that threatens to plunge us into another fruitless and bloody war.

New Us administration is escalating the foreign policy of the previous administrationIn Pakistan that entails the continuation and even escalation of military interventionism just across the border with Afghanistan. The targets are believed to be enclaves of Taliban militants, however, many innocent civilians have been caught in the deadly crossfire, severely damaging our image in the region. Many ordinary Afghanis and Pakistanis that never had cause to take up arms against us are being provided with motivation as family and friends are killed and maimed by our clumsy and indiscriminate bombs. Is it worth it for us to be involved in this way at such a high cost of blood, treasure and goodwill? Is there anything to be gained by this policy?

Usis helping the Taliban and other enemies to actually gain numbers and strength, while driving them down from the mountains in the border regions deeper into Pakistan, where they have been making a menace of themselves. As our bombings follow them, beleaguered villagers have little choice but to leave their homes and join the swelling numbers of refugees or take up arms and join the fight against us
Both the House and Senate have newly introduced bills to triple foreign aid to Pakistan, from $500 million to $1.5 billion, with every indication that the leadership in Pakistan is taking advantage of the situation with the Taliban to milk more aid from the US taxpayer.
Us is inciting the very terrorism and extremism we are trying to stop. Every dollar we send, even if it is for humanitarian purposes, frees up resources to make war and potentially prop up unpopular leaders.

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By photoshock, May 14, 2009 at 6:31 am Link to this comment

I, too have been staunchly set against the policies of war in any fashion. It seems to me that the foreign policy of one president has leaked over to another. We the people cannot and should not allow this travesty to continue.  President Obama, elected on a platform of anti-war and discussion with our enemies, has not only faltered in his promise to end these wars but has escalated a war, which by any definition, cannot be won. 
Historically, the government, any government, which tries to invade Afghanistan and Pakistani tribal areas, is doomed to failure.  These people are not homogeneous, they do not have a single government that they listen to and are not accountable to any form of single governance.  We are now faced with an escalation such as the British and Russians faced, with the loss of face as they left in defeat. 
It is now time for those of the supporters of Barack Obama, who voted for him, because of the promise of bringing our troops home, to rise up and demand that he keep that promise and not escalate an already lost war, while he talks with and engages in a foreign policy that will lead to a lasting peace.

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By everynobody, May 14, 2009 at 6:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

There is something visceral and ugly in that picture of the Predator Drone. Knowing it rains down death with certainty; silently, without warning, victims innocent, but dead none-the-less. Decisions made from cameras projecting images 10,000 miles to automatons operating remotely in Nevada, U.S.A. Insulated, by distance, both literally and culturally, they go home at 5 o’clock to their wives and children oblivious to the utter devastation wreaked upon a people they do not know. War fought like this has no precedent; and it dooms us to a place that would make hell welcome.

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By Anarcissie, May 14, 2009 at 6:06 am Link to this comment

Mr. O is not in “over his head”.  Clearly he must do the will of the ruling class.  And for some reason the ruling class urgently desires that the U.S. prosecute a series of wars in the Middle East.  Although imperialism grows automatically from the idea of the state, in this particular case I think it’s very specifically about the oil.  Hence, making comparisons with the insane adventures in Vietnam and Cambodia may be a case of barking up the wrong tree.  Persian Gulf oil is a serious matter; unlike Vietnam and Cambodia, the exercise can’t be just dumped when the folk grow tired of it.

It is sort of interesting that the Democrats have so far been able to neutralize the peace movement and keep any sort of non-capitalism far off on the margins.  But keeping the leftish types on the plantation is their métier, I suppose.

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By Fadel Abdallah, May 14, 2009 at 5:48 am Link to this comment

WKindly, watch the short video below to learn about a little-discussed topic that exposes another dimension to the ugliness of the American military establishment, which Obama serves now as its Commander-in-Chief, without any signs of reform on the horizon! t&Itemid=91&task=videodirectlink&id=1412

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By jackpine savage, May 14, 2009 at 3:55 am Link to this comment


I’m not a cheerleader for either of the wars, nor have i ever been.  And unlike many, i haven’t switched from discussing how stupid they are.  There are people who visit this site who wrote tens of thousands of words against these wars when Bush was President, but now spend their time rationalizing Obama’s escalation.  I was addressing them.

I turned down a job as a foreign service officer some years ago because i couldn’t be a direct part of our foreign policy.

The same people who used to loudly decry civilian casualties at every opportunity are now thunderously silent when it’s their political hero pulling the trigger.

It’s the same crowd that used to talk about the evils of torture, but now cheer the promotion of a general heavily implicated in such activities.

So no, i’m not signing up for anything…especially voting for Obama in 2012, because i fail to see the emperor’s new clothes.

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By ardee, May 14, 2009 at 2:55 am Link to this comment

jackpine savage, May 13 at 8:20 pm #

So quit with your talking and sign the fuck up.  If you’re not willing to do that then shut the fuck up.

So which branch of the service have you selected?

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By paul bass, May 13, 2009 at 10:08 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)
hmm a war for oil.. never
must be becuase obama really want to grant women equality via super heated shrapnel.

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By Nap, May 13, 2009 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Cambodia Déjà Vu? I beg to defer. Pakistan is not neutral Cambodia but an ally and loyal one. And the Taliban are the byproduct when you take your dog out for a walk, feed for thirty years on ideological dogma (USSR containment), profiteering (weapons and drugs), handy moderate Wahabi motivator with money (Saudi and radical foreigner), costly tactical stop gap measures (no long term strategy or thought out plans) and in the middle of the old staging grounds (Pakistan Afghanistan border). NO you have to clean this up and I don’t know if it is (doable) a generation or two? Or people will trek on it and you will lose their goodwill!

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By Bubba, May 13, 2009 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

“My own feeling is that President Obama is in over his head ...”  Well put.

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By Folktruther, May 13, 2009 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment

I thougt the same as Pfaff and Jackpine, that Obama is in over his head.  All he wants to do is not lose Afpak until the next presidential election, but this may well require many more troops.  Just mass murder of children alone doesn’t seem to do it.

maybe more support by Obama cheerleaders will solve the problem.I think more opposition by the American people will.  That war is lost, and widening it to Pakistan is as big an historical blumder ans the invasion of Iraq.

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By jackpine savage, May 13, 2009 at 4:20 pm Link to this comment

Come all you liberal warriors, the president is in -as Mr. Pfaff rightly asserts- way over his head.  He needs your help.

No, not here on internet comment threads.  You need to enlist.  Without you we are in danger of losing the “good war” to the “terrorists” and “extremists” who “threaten” us.  Don’t worry, you won’t be asked to define any of the terms in quotations.  And you won’t have to torture anyone if you don’t want to…but if you do, the President will defend your honor to the end.

So quit with your talking and sign the fuck up.  If you’re not willing to do that then shut the fuck up.

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