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War Without Purpose

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Posted on Jul 20, 2009
U.S. Army / Staff Sgt. Andrew Smith

By Chris Hedges

Al-Qaida could not care less what we do in Afghanistan. We can bomb Afghan villages, hunt the Taliban in Helmand province, build a 100,000-strong client Afghan army, stand by passively as Afghan warlords execute hundreds, maybe thousands, of Taliban prisoners, build huge, elaborate military bases and send drones to drop bombs on Pakistan. It will make no difference. The war will not halt the attacks of Islamic radicals.  Terrorist and insurgent groups are not conventional forces. They do not play by the rules of warfare our commanders have drilled into them in war colleges and service academies. And these underground groups are protean, changing shape and color as they drift from one failed state to the next, plan a terrorist attack and then fade back into the shadows. We are fighting with the wrong tools. We are fighting the wrong people. We are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq.

The cost of the Afghanistan war is rising. Tens of thousands of Afghan civilians have been killed or wounded. July has been the deadliest month in the war for NATO combatants, with at least 50 troops, including 26 Americans, killed. Roadside bomb attacks on coalition forces are swelling the number of wounded and killed. In June, the tally of incidents involving roadside bombs, also called improvised explosive devices (IEDs), hit 736, a record for the fourth straight month; the number had risen from 361 in March to 407 in April and to 465 in May. The decision by President Barack Obama to send 21,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan has increased our presence to 57,000 American troops. The total is expected to rise to at least 68,000 by the end of 2009. It will only mean more death, expanded fighting and greater futility. 

We have stumbled into a confusing mix of armed groups that include criminal gangs, drug traffickers, Pashtun and Tajik militias, kidnapping rings, death squads and mercenaries. We are embroiled in a civil war. The Pashtuns, who make up most of the Taliban and are the traditional rulers of Afghanistan, are battling the Tajiks and Uzbeks, who make up the Northern Alliance, which, with foreign help, won the civil war in 2001. The old Northern Alliance now dominates the corrupt and incompetent government. It is deeply hated. And it will fall with us.

We are losing the war in Afghanistan. When we invaded the country eight years ago the Taliban controlled about 75 percent of Afghanistan. Today its reach has crept back to about half the country. The Taliban runs the poppy trade, which brings in an annual income of about $300 million a year. It brazenly carries out attacks in Kabul, the capital, and foreigners, fearing kidnapping, rarely walk the streets of most Afghan cities. It is life-threatening to go into the countryside, where 80 percent of all Afghanis live, unless escorted by NATO troops. And intrepid reporters can interview Taliban officials in downtown coffee shops in Kabul. Osama bin Laden has, to the amusement of much of the rest of the world, become the Where’s Waldo of the Middle East. Take away the bullets and the bombs and you have a Gilbert and Sullivan farce.

No one seems to be able to articulate why we are in Afghanistan. Is it to hunt down bin Laden and al-Qaida? Is it to consolidate progress? Have we declared war on the Taliban? Are we building democracy? Are we fighting terrorists there so we do not have to fight them here? Are we “liberating” the women of Afghanistan? The absurdity of the questions, used as thought-terminating clichés, exposes the absurdity of the war. The confusion of purpose mirrors the confusion on the ground. We don’t know what we are doing. 

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Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the new commander of U.S. and NATO-led troops in Afghanistan, announced recently that coalition forces must make a “cultural shift” in Afghanistan. He said they should move away from their normal combat orientation and toward protecting civilians. He understands that airstrikes, which have killed hundreds of civilians, are a potent recruiting tool for the Taliban. The goal is lofty but the reality of war defies its implementation. NATO forces will always call in close air support when they are under attack. This is what troops under fire do. They do not have the luxury of canvassing the local population first. They ask questions later. The May 4 aerial attack on Farah province, which killed dozens of civilians, violated standing orders about airstrikes. So did the air assault in Kandahar province last week in which four civilians were killed and 13 were wounded. The NATO strike targeted a village in the Shawalikot district. Wounded villagers at a hospital in the provincial capital told AP that attack helicopters started bombarding their homes at about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. One man said his 3-year-old granddaughter was killed. Combat creates its own rules, and civilians are almost always the losers.


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By garth, November 16, 2010 at 2:10 pm Link to this comment

The war is the purpose. 


All them bucks in the coffers.  What can anyone do that’s better than blowing them up?

I talked with an engineer who used to work at Raytheon, a big Defense contractor, and he told me of his friend who stayed at Raytheon, and for the past 30 some odd years he has been perfecting a part for the Aegis missile system.

“Dad, what did you do during the unending war?”

Well, son, I perfected the doo-dad.”

Now, it seems that the Aegis missile is a key element in encircling China. 

So the question becomes, Why go to war?  The answer is, Why not?

The chickens haven’t come home to roost yet.  With advertising power, they may never. 


And so the party will go on and on only with fewer revellers.

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By 30 Geburtstag, November 16, 2010 at 8:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Sehr interessant und informativen Artikel zu lesen ...

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By DBM, July 29, 2009 at 8:16 pm Link to this comment

re: Anarcissie “defense, attack mitigation, and police work” ... as an appropriate effective way to deal with terrorists. 

Amen.

... but these guys over here want to know if those police would like an F-22 instead of a squad car?  Surely the taxpayers can afford to give them the best.

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By garth, July 29, 2009 at 10:47 am Link to this comment

Juan Coles, Professor at the University of Michigan and blogger at Informed Comment, said that the Pakistani nuclear weapons are dispersed throughout the contry and each site is heavily guarded by Pakistanin troops.  He says the number of Taliban/Al Quaida, or whatever you want to call them, is about 5 or 6 thousand.  In other words, there is vey little chance that this ragtag group could gather the nuclear weapons.  I’d be more worried about the Israeli nuclear weapons at Dimona.
At any rate, this is all fear-mongering bullshit.
The underlying theme is that if we fear all foreigners and put extreme surveilannce techniques on the U.S citizenry, then the unwitting mongrels will go to bed happy and the US juggernaut can feel superior.  By the US juggernaut, I am referring to the government itself, the media, big oil interests, Wall street business and the telecommunications industry.
McChrystal called up a Colombian Special Foreces unit to wreak havoc in Afghanistan.  His cover for mayhem while not reportingh Taliban/Al Quaida dead.  I guess they learned one thing from Vietnam.  That is you can’t rell the public that you wiped out three times the number of citizens and yet they still keep coming. 
The Afghans, although being touted as unlearned and uneducated, the one thing the US military could have ascertained from the FBI’s fight against the mafia is that if crime is all you’ve got to think about, you can get pretty good at it.
Good luck, you Colombian death squads.
I say the Taliban/Al Quaida/Mujahadeen of Afghanistan are freedom fighters.  They are fighting for their freedom from the US Government. They are not fighting for women’s rights.  They simply want this bunch of assholes out of their backyard.  I’d fight too, if that is the only option given.
Back at home, we’ve got the personification of Bo Jangles in Barack Obama, albeit at another art form, oratory instead of dance.  Barack is dancing his way to a “change” in health insurance that will leave the public more disadvantaged than before.  They still block single payer from discussion.
I particularly enjoy the defense of our invasion into Afghanistan on the basis of the reasons provided by ABC/NBC/CBS.  Shows you just what we are dealing with—chosen ignorance.

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By Sodium, July 29, 2009 at 10:01 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: DBM,July 27 at11:52 pm.

DBM,

I have appreciated reading your fine assessment with regards to the Taliban,Afghanistan,Pakistan and India. Thank you.

However,I wish to call your attention to the fact that the probability that the Taliban will come to the aid of Pakistan against India,in a conventional war,is high,for the following reasons:

(1) The Taliban are made up mostly from the Pashtun’s tribes.

(2) The Pashtuns live in both Afghanistan and Pakistan,especially around the borders areas of the two countries.

(3) The Pashtuns make up roughly around 41 percent of the total population of Afghanistan and probably an equal percent in the total population of Pakistan.

(4) I wish I can exclude the religion factor but I cannot,because the Taliban are the Taliban. They are more Muslim Wahabis than the Saudi Wahabis. Pakistan is a Muslim country. India is not,although its Muslims population is at least equal to the total population of Pakistan,if not even more.

Because of the above reasons,I am inclined to believe that Chris Hedges has been correct in his assessment with regards to the Taliban,Pakistan and India. Please review Hedges’ column once more. Thank you.

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By Night-Gaunt, July 29, 2009 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Correct even though it has been shown that such police work is far more effective an murders of innocents happen far less.

For a radiological device just accumulation of discarded medical radiation sources packed with explosives will do. Israel used spent plutonium in warheads in the 1960’s to make their weapons that much nastier. (No mention of clean up though.) Now with the proliferation of DU weapons it is all over the place causing birth defects and all number of illnesses to manifest because people’s marrows are dying and with that their immune systems. What a jolly thing that is for the planners at the Pentagon.

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By Anarcissie, July 29, 2009 at 6:21 am Link to this comment

So, given the history and capabilities of the actors, it seems to me that the way to deal with the threat of dirty bombs and terrorist activities in general is not to carry on conventional war in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but to concentrate on defense, attack mitigation, and police work.  These, however, will not secure an imperial position in central Asia.

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By Sodium, July 28, 2009 at 8:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To All Posters Who Post on this Forum:

Although I am an agnostic,I wish to thank God (if He or She exists) for the fact that the discussion/debate,on this thread,has returned back to the essence of Hedges’ topic.

Most appreciated trend…..

Keep it up,boys and girls,for easier concentration on OBJECTIVITY and certainly for adhering firmly to your own SELF-DISCIPLINE. Meanwhile,have fun and enjoy your exchanges of views,regardless how stupid or intelligent they may end-up to be. Life is short. Ask me because I have come out from the JAW OF DEATH six weeks ago-HEART FAILURE. I do hope that none of you may go through what I and my disabled wife had gone through recently.

I wish every one of you the best of wishes,including the ones I have fundamental disagreements with.

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By Sepharad, July 28, 2009 at 4:31 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie, I’m not a nuclear scientist either, but I think you’re correct in the extreme complexity of making nuclear material, let alone a missile to deliver it accurately. Any tiny thing can go wrong. The nuclear submarine Thresher went down simply because some contractor decided that a cheaper grade of copper wiring would do. I made up (and have not changed) my mind that people and nuclear energy are not a viable match. How perfect can every single person connected to the end manufacture of materials, delivery vehicles, containment etc. be?

As to what Pakistan has to offer that Taliban and Al Quaeda might want, one would have to know exactly what Dr. Khan knew about materials and delivery. One way to gauge it would be how successfully the recipients of his gifts are in their nuclear efforts. Not a lesson anyone is eager to learn, of course. But while I don’t understimate the mental abilities of the Taliban’s and Al Quaeda’s finest, there would be a question of facilities, on which they may be short.

You’re almost certainly right that dirty bombs would be much easier to put together, and while they would be less destructive that a nuclear explosion, wind currents would have much to do with how bad the effect would be.

Also, there’s the fact (as Hedges notes) that Pakistan is much more worried about India than about the Taliban. And that is where U.S. politicians haven’t been terribly helpful yet: just telling Pakistan that we understand their concerns about India isn’t going to cut much ice. It wouldn’t with me. If we can convince the Indians to understand Pakistan’s concerns, and address them, it might help a little bit.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 28, 2009 at 1:00 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie:

You make a good point and I agree: if you wanted to make a “dirty bomb” you wouldn’t need weapon-grade material, merely any old radioactive material, like spent fuel rods, or lots of U238, the kind that were to be buried at Yucca Mountain.

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By Night-Gaunt, July 28, 2009 at 12:56 pm Link to this comment

The USA does get involved in other people’s civil wars like Nicaragua, Viet-Nam and Columbia for examples. I could also add Palestine/Israel too. The generals and congressors tend to side with the right wing despots of their liking. Remember Joseph Savimbi of Angola? He was the man for Israel, USA and S.Africa to overthrow the Communist or Socialist state that was in charge at that time. He was known for his infamies yet wined and dined in the halls of our gov’t because he was “our” man. [Whether really or figuretively, I don’t know.]

I just suspect that since 1980 they have decided such a nation typical of like they supported in so many other countries in the past would be better for them here over a democratic-republic. They seem to me to be very close to getting that.

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By Anarcissie, July 28, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment

Well, what I have read about the technology of nuclear explosives is that it is necessary to bring a critical mass together in a very, very small time-frame in order to get a decent explosion.  The timing is difficult to calculate because it depends on the purity, density, temperature, and shape of the explosive.  If the timing is off, instead of a respectable explosion you will get a meltdown.  This would certainly be messy, but it would be nowhere near as destructive as a nuclear detonation.  It would be more effective to grind up the uranium or plutonium explosive and use conventional explosives to distribute it (a “dirty bomb”).  But if you’re going to do that, you could use other, cheaper radioactive materials.

Note, though, that I haven’t tried building a nuclear device in my garage.  I’m just going by what I’ve read.  But the fact that government agents have waxed theatrical about high-school students’ nuclear bomb plans shouldn’t impress us too much, although it makes for a great story.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 28, 2009 at 5:22 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie:

You are wrong, I believe.

The technology to build a fission weapon is so simple that a high school student as his senior thesis wrote how to do it—with the assumption that weapons-grade material was available.  He was immediately contacted by foreign powers and the Military snatched it up and classified it.  This was 10 or 15 years ago.

Dirty bombs are, IMHO, a dumb fantasy.  If you can get the fissionable material, that’s the HARD part.  Lots of people can build a bomb if they have access to THAT.

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By Anarcissie, July 28, 2009 at 4:23 am Link to this comment

Sepharad: ’... Considering that Pakistan has nuclear tech, do you really think it’s too much of a stretch that Al Quaeda or Taliban might get it? ...’

It depends what you mean by “nuclear technology”.  Nuclear explosives are large, complicated, technologically advanced devices which can’t be easily maintained or used from caves in remote areas of central Asia, except in the movies.  So are the large, accurate long-range missiles necessary to deliver such devices.

A more plausible use of nuclear materials would be the construction of “dirty bombs”, devices which spray radioactive materials over an area which then becomes dangerous and unusable.  But Pakistan is not the only place where such materials might be acquired by al-Qaeda or anyone else.

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By DBM, July 27, 2009 at 8:52 pm Link to this comment

Sodium,

You invite comment on your well thought through observations so here is my “2 cents”:

Fact One - “we will lose in Afghanistan”:
The history of occupation seems to be on the side of those who have no where else to go.  Although they inevitably suffer greatly they eventually prevail.  Examples that come to mind quickly include Vietnam, Algeria and British India.  Of course, Afghanistan itself is a prime example at numerous stages in their history (v. the English, the Russians, etc.) ... and to your second point - Yes, this has been a wide-ranging discussion to say the least!!

Fact Two - “why the involvement in a civil war?”:
As has been pointed out in this thread, there are many reasons ... none of them worth a damn.

Fact Three - “The Taliban is a bulwark against India for Pakistan”:
I can think of a number of reasons that the Pakistanis would support the Taliban but this bit of Hedges logic escapes me.  For no other reason than that the Taliban (and Afghanistan) are to the west of Pakistan while Kashmir and the Indian border are to the east.  If anyone wants to explain that thinking I’ll be most interested.

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By Sodium, July 27, 2009 at 7:26 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Re: Night-Gaunt,July27 at12:41 pm.

Night-Gaunt,

Yes,you are correct as you just change the “d” in your Pashdun to “t” and add “s” to the corrected Pashtun for the plural,to become exactly as Chris Hedges spelled out in his superb column “War Without Purpose”. I apologize for my spelling mistakes.My problem in spelling is in typing: I type with ONE FINGER. I have never learned how to type. All of my working years I had secreteries doing the typing for me until I hit retirement. In addition,I seldom edit what I type before e-mailing because I cannot stay behind the computer for too long because of my concern about my disabled wife. I only can do so when I am certain that my wife of 43 years is comfortably secured in her bed sleeping or at my son’s house spending some times with our grandchildren. As you may have noticed I post only from time to time and only if I feel can constructively post for the benefit of the common good or some times to expose deception and hidden lies. Otherwise,I refrain from posting and will be content in reading Hedges,Scheer,Fisk and reviewing Al-Jazeera and other foreign and more dependable newspapers/journals through the internet,as time and my family circumstances allow me to just do so.

Thank you,Night Gaunt,for calling my attention to my spelling mistakes. And I must admit that you are one of the very few I seek reading their posts because I find common sense and sometimes I learn from them and in addition I find no pretentiousness in them.

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By DBM, July 27, 2009 at 5:48 pm Link to this comment

ITW - re Iraqi use of poison gas in the Iran/Iraq war:

My apologies, I had thought it common knowledge that poison gas was used in this conflict rather than just in the now well publicised gassing of Kurdish Iraqis. (Well publicised only after Saddam ceased to be “our man” in the middle east.)

A very good source of information on this conflict (and the history that has led to most of the current conflicts in the Middle East) is Robert Fisk’s excellent “The Great War for Civilisation: The Conquest of the Middle East”.  This is a thoroughly referenced 1300 page tome but don’t be scared off.  Each chapter is a self-contained account of a particular episode in Middle East history written from both Fisk’s personal experience and a recounting of historical antecedents.  I highly recommend it for anyone wanting to comment on anything in the Middle East (lest you go off half-cocked).  Fisk has a unique personal viewpoint based on decades of living in and reporting on the region.

http://www.amazon.com/Great-War-Civilisation-Conquest-Middle/dp/1400041511

As regards the Iraq/Iran War, Fisk recounts numerous incredibly deadly tactics in this no-holds-barred conflict.  Not only extensive use of poison gas in numerous battles (see especially the battles for Fao—an island in the Arabian Gulf) but also things like the electrocution of entire battlefields in marshland.

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By Sepharad, July 27, 2009 at 5:02 pm Link to this comment

Tony, just saw your July 25 note. What I said most certainly was not not saying the same as Bush/Cheney’s “don’t wait for the mushroom cloud.” Considering that Pakistan has nuclear tech, do you really think it’s too much of a stretch that Al Quaeda or Taliban might get it? (Seems less likely than when I wrote that, as Pakistan seems to be getting a handle on its own security.) I understand you are more worried by our own national security agencies than you are by Al Quaeda or Taliban with nuclear technology. Both are legitimate worries; no need to posit “either” “or”. In any case, the U.S. already HAS a nuclear weapon but wouldn’t you agree that Obama is highly unlikely to use it?

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By Sepharad, July 27, 2009 at 4:33 pm Link to this comment

Our journey to smile, by “center of activity” I wanted to emphasize that the people who plan, finance, train, recruit and otherwise enable or do themselves carry out “terrorist attacks” are not in just one country and in the case of Al Quaeda, led by bin Laden, who is a Saudi, and many of the followers, including trainers and recruiters, are Saudis and/or other Arabs—usually base themselves in any country where they can find safe havens either through cooperation or by forcing themselves on others. Many, unfortunately, are in parts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. I’m heartened by the new commander, General McCrystal, stating unequivocally, that the success of finding the actual terrorists is only possible if the primary MISSION of American soldiers is to first protect the innocent population—not further endanger them—while hunting the terrorists themselves.

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By garth, July 27, 2009 at 3:58 pm Link to this comment

“If they got too close, we’d light them up.”  So said a US soldier about his treatment of Iraqis during his tour of duty.  This soldier is now on trial as an accomplice to murder in a Colorado court and faces ten years in prison. Is this a sign of the war that we have fought over there and now we are bringing it home?
War without purpose seems journalistic. The purpose is the war.  I have come to realize that there is no endgame.  The war, the economic dread, the reliance on the news media to inform us is all part of a way of life.  We have been fractionalized and atomized to the point where even if there were a march on Washington or a revolution, it wouldn’t be reported and most US citizens wouldn’t know.
Israel still want us to join in a an attack on Iran.  Hillary says that the President of Honduras’s attempt to re-enter his country is reckless.
The US Government, is reckless.  She’s got bigger balls than Bill.
Bernanke on PBS with Lehrer, Republican Congessman and Senators on the C-SPAN and the Sunday News.  Even in Boston a lowly talk show wannabe, Dan Rea, harps about how a government health plan would put a congressman between him and his doctor.
Diinformation and downright lies.  But the dead keep coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan.
Their purpose has been achieved.  We are living it.
we aere the frogs in pan of water being brought to a boils slowly. 
There used to be something the we could, wasn’t there?

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By bluejeanne, July 27, 2009 at 2:05 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

YET ANOTHER COVER-UP BY THE BUSH-CHEYNEY ADMINISTRATION


Check out the information recently released by the investigation and discovery of Physicians for Human Rights ( Dr. Jenifer Leading and Nathaniel Raymond as revealed on NPR’s “Fresh Air” (Terry Gross))
July 23, 2009 regarding a mass grave in Dasht-e-Leili Afghanistan. 

A U.S. and Northern Alliance transport of possibly 1000’s of smothered (Taliban) prisoners.

THE FIRST CASUALTY OF war IS THE TRUTH

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By Folktruther, July 27, 2009 at 1:39 pm Link to this comment

Good for you, Tony.  You may not think so good, but your political heart is sometines in the right place.

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By Tony Wicher, July 27, 2009 at 11:07 am Link to this comment

I just donated $100 to NYCCan. This is the moment of truth. If we can’t get this on the ballot it’s time for the people NYC to toss all their public officials into the East River.

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By Tony Wicher, July 27, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

A CALL TO ACTION – FORWARD WIDELY

http://www.NYCCAN.org

July 27, 2009

9/11 FAMILIES, FIRST RESPONDERS AND SURVIVORS TO TAKE NEW YORK CITY TO COURT OVER NYC CAN PETITION

SEVENTY THOUSAND New Yorkers signed the NYC CAN petition, raising their voices in support of NYC CAN’s demand for accountability. They have chosen to place the decision to create a new 9/11 investigation – a REAL 9/11 investigation – exactly where it belongs: before the voters of New York City this November. The voices of SEVENTY THOUSAND Americans who believe in democracy and believe that government exists to serve the people – and not the other way around – have been GAGGED by ONE so-called “PUBLIC SERVANT” – The New York City Clerk – who denied the petition and the voice of the people.

Welcome to America. Democracy denied.

Did you REALLY expect those in halls of power to honor the WILL OF THE PEOPLE? Did you expect this demand for accountability to go uncontested by those who have forgotten the very meaning of the word? Perhaps this obstruction of democracy would go unchallenged in THEIR America. Not in OUR America.

9/11 family members, first responders and survivors expected nothing less than business as usual and ARE NOT HAVING IT. They are preparing to take the City of New York to court to challenge the wrongful denial of our right to decide on the creation of a new 9/11 investigation.

Friends, your determination and generosity have brought us to this crucial moment. TRUTH IS AT THE CROSSROADS, DEMOCRACY UNDER FIRE AND THE DEFINING MOMENT IN THE QUEST FOR ACCOUNTABILITY IS UPON US. This is YOUR movement and nothing may bring you closer to attaining truth than NYC CAN. Stand in the light and demand ANSWERS, not in the shadows of those who would deny you such answers.

THE BIG NEWS: the most experienced election lawyer in New York City stands ready to represent the 9/11 families, first responders and survivors in court in an HISTORIC FIGHT FOR DEMOCRACY AND TRUTH. BUT WE DESPERATELY NEED YOUR FINANCIAL SUPPORT TO MAKE IT HAPPEN. This is your chance – your ONE chance – to stand with the 9/11 families, first responders and survivors, and demand accountability. THIS IS WHAT WE HAVE WORKED FOR, AND WHAT WE CAN ACHIEVE IF WE STAND TOGETHER NOW.

Donate over $25 and we’ll mail you a free NYC CAN button. Donate over $50 and you will receive a free NYC CAN button and a well-made NYC CAN t-shirt.

ACT RIGHT NOW. Go to – http://nyccan.org/donate.php – and donate whatever you can to bring the quest for answers to the biggest stage it has ever had: THE NEW YORK CITY BALLOT. 
http://www.NYCCAN.org

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By Night-Gaunt, July 27, 2009 at 9:41 am Link to this comment

Sodium just one minor correction for clarity, you mean “Pashdun” not “Bushdun” am I correct?

It has shown that the imperial actions of the USA has increased the likelyhood of nuclear weapons proliferation by showing, in how N. Korea vs Iraq, on what it can do for a country. Diplomacy for N.Korea and invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan. Pakistan is slightly different. We shall see how much longer the Pakistani people will tolerate their gov’t tolerating USA attacks in Wazieristan before the USA finds itself with a new front in the GWOT/OCO.

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By Tony Wicher, July 27, 2009 at 9:29 am Link to this comment

ITW,

The human race may or may not destroy itself with a nuclear holocaust before it develops international institutions strong enough to prevent nuclear war. It’s a horse race.

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By Anarcissie, July 27, 2009 at 6:13 am Link to this comment

As to the use of poison gas by Iraq, a brief Google search on “use of poison gas in iran-iraq war” came up with the following:

http://www.iranchamber.com/history/articles/chemical_warfare_iran_iraq_war.php
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_warfare#Iran.E2.80.93Iraq_War
http://www.brucekelly.com/saddam-hussein-iran.html

Of course I have not personally verified any of these or the other reports cited by Google, but they seem independent enough to merit at least provisional credence.  Note as well that the attacks on the Kurds were related to the same war.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 27, 2009 at 4:42 am Link to this comment

DBM:

You’ll have to document that Iraq used poison gas on Iran.  I’ve never heard of that.

However, you don’t have to document that Iraq used poison gas internally on the Kurds—that’s a well known crime. I believe Saddam used old-fashioned “Mustard Gas”, a blistering agent that ghastly irritates the lung lining, leading the victim to choke to death, in searing agony.  Thousands of Kurds died this way.

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By Sodium, July 27, 2009 at 3:10 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Subject: The Beautiful Mind of Chris Hedges and the Facts of Wars on the Ground.

There is no question in my mind that Chris Hedges is a MASTER in his profession as a journalist and writer.

Last year,commenting on his column entitled “The Hedonists of Power”,I have outlined,on June 26,2008,at 12:26 am,five powerful tools Hedges uses to produce such brilliantly structured articles/columns for his readers to comment on. It may be helpful reciting those powerful tools again for emphasis:

(1) Power of Elequence.
(2) Power of Honesty.
(3) Power of the High Moral Ground.
(4) Power of Knowledge(profoundly broad,indeed).
(5) Power of the Mind(a beautiful mind).

It seems to me that is why I am fond of his writings and I try not to miss anything he writes,whether I agree with his writings or not.

Since his current column at hand is mainly about the wars I detest,I have found it incumbent upon me to STUDY( not read ) his article with all the objectivity I can muster. Hence,I have found the following facts troubling:

Fact One:
=========
Hedges has made it very clear that “we are fighting the wrong people” in Afghanistan and “we are on the wrong side of history. And we will be defeated in Afghanistan as we will be in Iraq.”

My Comments:
============
Hedges critical and bold statements,I have quoted above,demand at once further exploration in order to test their credible or incredible finalities by his readers or anyone else who can contribute something to the “further exploration”. Hedges offers us a plate full of Afghani/Pakistani food for thought.And yet some of the posters deviated so terribly from the topic at hand to Darfur,Sudan,Israel and even to the blood diamond in Seri Leon. Why? It is either due to being enslaved to some ideological belief at best,or to a total intellectual emptiness and bankruptcy at worst. I no longer read topic-deviated posts.

Fact Two:
=========
Hedges calls our attention to the fact that there is a civil war going on in Afghanistan/Pakistan amongst powerful tribes/clans,namely the Bushtuns,Tajiks and Unzbaks.

My comments:
============
What in the world we are doing in a civil war? A referee? Please do not waste your time to tell me why,because I do know why.

Fact Three:
===========
Perhaps,the most intriguing comments in Hedges’ column are the following:

“It was the Pakistani military that created the Talaban….The Talaban,in Pakistani eyes,is not only an effective weapon to defeat foreign invaders,whether the Russian or American,but is a bulwark against India. Muslims radicals in Kabul are never going to build an alliance with India against Pakistan. And India,not Afghanistan,is Pakistan primary concern.”

My Comments:
============
The above quote certainly deserves much much more dwelling,because it is the REAL CORE of Hedges’ column and more so since Pakistan and India are part of the Nuclear Club. It is too dangerous,if the U.S.fails to construct its foreign policy for that part of the world on that VERY CORE I have just finished emphasizing. I do hope President Obama or his advisors read this particular Hedges’s column. He sums the facts on the ground so well for all of us to debate with a degree of candor and sense of honesty,as I have attempted to do here.

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By elisalouisa, July 26, 2009 at 9:51 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:

As to my last post I quoted from an article in “Latest - The Middle East Media Research Institute” Inquiry and Analysis - No. 422 February 14, 2008 titled Darfur and the Middle East Media: The Anatomy of Another Conspiracy.

elisa

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By DBM, July 26, 2009 at 8:54 pm Link to this comment

“Despite the use of poison gas in WWI, it was not used by ANY of the major actors in WWII, though they ALL had the technology.  The USA, until fairly recently had a stockpile of such weapons, like the WetEye missile.  Supposedly they are all gone….”

Maybe they were all given to that American ally Saddam Hussein during the Iraq/Iran war in the 1980’s.  There was plenty of poison gas used in that one, but no-one seemed to mind as long as the users were on “our side”.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 26, 2009 at 7:51 pm Link to this comment

Tony Wicher, July 26 at 7:59 pm #

Re Inherit The Wind, July 26 at 5:26 pm #

You can’t keep scientific secrets that long.

  ———————— 212;————-

ITW,

It’s not a matter of scientific secrets but of sufficiently advanced manufacturing capability. You can look up how to make a nuclear bomb on the Internet. But it does present a lot of engineering challenges.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-To-Make-An-Atomi c-Bomb-53392.shtml
************************************************

Yet how many nations EASILY have that capability who do not yet have nukes?  If India and Pakistan could develop it, think on who else could:

In Europe, Germany EASILY has both the technical skill and the resources, as does Japan, Taiwan, and probably South Korea.  One can safely assume that Canada, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, Spain, Italy, and probably Turkey could all, rather rapidly develop fission weapons. Venezuela with its oil and Bolivia with its lithium have financial resources, as do the Saudis to develop The Bomb.

And how many former Soviet republics like Belarus and Ukraine STILL have the technology, even if they returned the weapons to Russia?

Of course, I’m not talking about the technology to create a weapon once you have fissionable material—that’s pretty elementary.  I’m talking, as you are, about the ability to create a sufficient mass of fissionable material for a weapon.

IOW, the ability to create a bomb (ie, amass the U-238 or Plutonium) is already very widespread beyond the 8 or more nations who have weapons (8, if all the soviet republics turned over their devices to Russia.)

Yet deterrence can be an effective weapon. Despite the use of poison gas in WWI, it was not used by ANY of the major actors in WWII, though they ALL had the technology.  The USA, until fairly recently had a stockpile of such weapons, like the WetEye missile.  Supposedly they are all gone….

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By Folktruther, July 26, 2009 at 7:41 pm Link to this comment

Thank you very much, Elisa.  The US can’t get a country that will accept its African MIlitary Command, which now has to be based in Stuttgart Germany.  so if they can separate Darfur, they can not only get the oil, but strategic control of the region.  It would be a base for Western imperialism, not merely American empirialism, which Israel is involved in because of Zionists in all European countires.  that is why the US is making such a huge effort here.

they tried the same thing in Nigeria years ago, separating the Ibo province that had oil from the rest of the country, but the imperialist effort failed.  But the US is succeeding in some areas of the UN, the World Court issuing arrest warrants for Bashir.

I’ll relay this stuff to the Provost of the college that my daughter is attending, to try to detach her and the university, from the propaganda effort.  However she was trained in literature and doesn’t seem much interested and knowlegeable about politics.

Still, somebody there must be.

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By elisalouisa, July 26, 2009 at 6:39 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther:

You might find the following of interest as to Darfur.

In a July 25, 2007 interview with the Saudi daily ‘Okaz, Sudan Defense Minister Abdul Rahim Muhammad Hussein Al-Naqb replied, when asked about “the infiltration of Jewish organizations in Darfur,” that “over 24 Jewish organizations” were behind the international outrage about Darfur “through their control of the media and their influence over American and British circles…” [4]
The secretary-general of Sudan’s ruling National Congress Party (NCP), Ibrahim Ahmad Omar, told the Egyptian Al-AhramWeekly in an interview published in the February 22-28, 2007 edition that “the West wants to see Darfur divided. This is the scheme adopted by Western foreign policy.” He added, “The Americans cannot accept the fact that Sudan has large and very much unexploited oil reserves while it is not bowing to the will of Washington. They know that they cannot get this government to succumb to their wishes.”
On the Zionists’ “schemes” in Darfur, Omar commented: “Once Sudan is divided, Israel would get rid of this big Arab/Muslim country that is still calling it an enemy, and would have instead smaller entities [to contend with],” adding that Israel would be able to conduct relations with most of them. He continued: “The fact of the matter is that Sudanese public radio is still calling Israel the enemy.” According to Omar, “this is a good reason why the Israelis and Zionist groups all over the world, especially in the U.S., are dedicating much attention to the issue of Darfur when it is not the only humanitarian crisis in the world…”

A November 28, 2007 article titled “Israel in Darfur and National Arab Security,” by Ahmad Hussein Al-Shimi, posted on the Sudanese Media Center website, enumerated Israel and U.S. conspiracies in Darfur, on issues ranging from supporting insurgents in Sudan to geography and oil. He depicted Darfur as “a great arena for settling conflicts and disputes between Arabs and Israel…”
He added: “Israeli/American interest and plans interlink in Darfur, to establish an independent state in western Sudan… besides establishing a technologically advanced military base under common American-British-Israeli observance, the purpose of which is to control security status and political interactions in Egypt, Sudan, Libya, African states, and the Red Sea. It also aims at protecting [the] oil pipeline that the U.S. is conducting negotiations to build, which shall be extending from Iraq, [via the] Gulf states, to the Red Sea, [and] then to Darfur province through Libya and Morocco, to the Atlantic Ocean… with coordination between U.S. intelligence and the Israeli Mossad. And Darfur insurgents aiming on destabilizing the province and creating chaos and terror within its ranks, also aims at obtaining international sympathy for deploying international forces in the province, to become a jumping point to get full control over the African Horn, which tallies with its strategy and control on the new oil basin there… [1]t is clear that what is taking place on the ground uncovers Israeli/American intentions to support, first, separating the province from Sudan, and, later, to fragment Sudan and other African states, to give an overall deadly blow to the Arab national security…”

elisa

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By Tony Wicher, July 26, 2009 at 4:59 pm Link to this comment

Re Inherit The Wind, July 26 at 5:26 pm #

You can’t keep scientific secrets that long.

  —————————————-

ITW,

It’s not a matter of scientific secrets but of sufficiently advanced manufacturing capability. You can look up how to make a nuclear bomb on the Internet. But it does present a lot of engineering challenges.

http://news.softpedia.com/news/How-To-Make-An-Atomic-Bomb-53392.shtml

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By Inherit The Wind, July 26, 2009 at 2:26 pm Link to this comment

The frightening thing is that nuclear proliferation is unavoidable. 

It’s not really much of a secret any more of how to build a fission weapon, 64 years after the first 2 were actually used in war (I won’t say combat because I don’t believe Hiroshima or Nagasaki were legitimate military targets).

It’s not much more of a secret of how to build a fusion weapon, either.  Tom Clancy laid out most of it in “Sum of All Fears”, and the rest has been readily available for decades—after all, we tested our first fusion weapon, what? 50 years ago or more?

You can’t keep scientific secrets that long.

So sooner or later more nations and even non-nations will get them.  Then, the odds of one of these groups having a Cheney or McNamara pushing their use on the battlefield AND convincing that group’s leader to use it goes up and up and up.

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By Anarcissie, July 26, 2009 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

The acquisition of nuclear weapons by more and more states, and by non-state actors such as terrorist groups, is very good for the security business.  More danger, more cops, more surveillance cameras, more investigations, more secret lists, more repression.

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By Our Journey to Smile, July 26, 2009 at 12:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dear Sepharad and all,?
?“As that this enemy is stateless, the center of its activity and direction is a reasonable ?target”?

I know your heart that desires peace, so it’s relevant to wonder about:?

Who is/are the ‘enemies’ of peace??

Where is ‘the center of its activity’?
?
I had posted the stale, old fact that NONE of the 9/11 hijackers were Afghans. Perhaps ?the predominant nationality in that hijacker list should indicate a possible ‘center of ?activity’? Or if Afg was their ‘safe haven’, we should wonder if that was where they were ??‘trained’ in ‘precision jet flying into high rise towers’??

Or if Afg was truly a porous, stateless, mountainous ‘center of activity’ of ‘AQ safe ?havens’, we should wonder how every possible ‘safe haven’ could be ‘dismantled’ ?without destroying every hill, valley, cave and corner and turning every mud hut inside ?out, so that Afg could be forever declared an ‘unsafe haven for AQ-labeled allies’.?

Or if people are bent on a tit for tat vengeful war in the name of protection or defense or ?national security, isn’t it also a military strategy to retreat and then bombard Afghanistan ?again in the event that the Taliban, whom almost all Afghans hate, should miraculously ?manage, against these hardened, seasoned Afghan ‘mujahideen’ warlords, to seize power ?yet again??

Thanks and much peace!?
Hakim in Afghanistan

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By Folktruther, July 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm Link to this comment

Elisalouisa, I looked up the article you mentioned   “SAVE DARFUR; ZIONIST CONSPIRACY? by Ned Goldstein and it is quite true that zionist organizations were in the leadership of rank and file organizing.  Including zionist McCarthyites like Horriwitz and Dershowitz.

But I don’t understand why.  What is the power connection between Sudan and Israel?  They wouldn’t spend all that money and effort just as a diversion from Zionist racism and ethnic cleansing.

My daughter suggested that maybe they are just agents of the US and Israel would share in the oil proceeds if they overthrew the regime.  Possibly.  It appears more complicated than that.

However, there is no denying the intensity of the effort of the Western powers.  Megan, the other co-writer with Dennis Burke, has written another book about another tribesman who is now break dancing in Britain.  He was a child soldier, being given a gun when he was 8.  The militaries raid the refugee camps for them and then use them as cannon fodder, not even feeding them.  The horrors involve rape, cannabolism, torture and no doubt others. 

He was a member of the US and perhaps Israeli funded Army and there are thousands of other chld soldiers, probably on both sides.  The civil war extends to before the oil was discovered, and the US has always been involved.  Clinton bombed a pharmisudical factory there, Noam Chomsky claiming it costs hundreds of thousands of lives do to lack of drugs for maleria, etc.

It was only when Oil was discovered and began to flow through Cheveron’s pipeline that the US declared that there was a genicide.  The US policy is to use small minorities as soldiers and terrorists to destablize regimes, as is now occurring in Iran, China and else where no doubt.  China is cooperating with African organizations to try to calm the situation, which is probably why the US wants to intoduce Nato troops.

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By Folktruther, July 25, 2009 at 12:22 pm Link to this comment

The threat of the US invading small countries INCREASES the desire for nuclear weapons by them to defend themselves from invasion.  North Korea, as Michael Parenti has argued, has not been invaded and won’t be because they possess them. the US obviously wants to increase nuclear weapons for its allies, including murderous allies like Israel, and prevent everyone else from having them.

All the planners of other countries know this, which increases their need for the nuclear option.  Countries like Japan can make nuclear weapons in a month if they need them, and will. 

US aggression under the guise of Defense, barbarism under the guise of Civilization, despotism under the guise of Democracy, and lawlessness undeer the guise of Law and Order, is a danger to the whole world.  And, as Anarcissie commented in realtion to nuclear weapons, it deceit in justifying it is getting more more fantastic.

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By Anarcissie, July 25, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

The theory that the present re-invasion of Afghanistan and Pakistan are to prevent Al-Qaeda (assuming it exists as a coherent organization) or the Taliban from acquiring nuclear weapons strikes me as even more fantastic than the idea that the purpose is to save Afghan womanhood from Muslim fanaticism.  One might want to ask at some point how a poor country like Pakistan acquired nuclear weapons in the first place, but never mind.

Obviously, setting armies to tramp all over the Middle East and South Asia is not likely to lead to a situation where dangerous nuclear materials can be found, isolated, and dealt with, any more than it led to a situation where Osama bin Laden (if he is still alive, and if he was of any importance in the first place) could be arrested.

Every sort of noble purpose is attributed to murder, terror and slavery, but the fact is these things are done because people desire power; the noble purposes come after as an excuse to those whom the actual deeds revolt.

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By Tony Wicher, July 25, 2009 at 11:28 am Link to this comment

New York City coalition calls for opening a new investigation into 9/11:

http://www.opednews.com/articles/Coalition-calling-for-a-ne-by-Press-Release-090716-898.html

FBI whistleblower Colleen Rowley backs new investigation:

http://rawstory.com/blog/2009/07/ex-fbi-agent-why-i-support-a-new-911-investigation/

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By Night-Gaunt, July 25, 2009 at 11:01 am Link to this comment

Somalians use a clan system, not any other kind so the “war lords” were the clan leaders. The USA didn’t care, they had their own agenda on that.

The USA is destablize Pakistan even as we speak so if the Taliban (they call themselves “mujahadeen”) and are creatures created by Pakistan’s ISI to keep Afghanistan stable. The USA messed that up and we see the outcomes unfolding. Al-Queda (The Base) came out of the USA creating them from the mujahadeen (holy warriors) fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan in the 1980’s. The CIA chose the most fanatic thinking they would fight better than the more civilized ones. International criticism failed to sway them, or the other Afghanis. They harbored the same feelings against any foreign body in their countries including the USA which fueled their formation and attacks on us. Blowback again right up the ass. British, Russian, & USA or anyone else would get the same response.

The history of the region especially when the USA overthrew the democracy in Iran started this blowback ball rolling to today. That is why Iran is still getting treated as an enemy bent on world conquest even though it hasn’t invaded another country in over 150 years. Enjoy the reason for empire—-enemies both foreign and domestic.

If they don’t exist then they must create them. A paraphrase from Joseph Goebbels.

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By Tony Wicher, July 24, 2009 at 11:33 pm Link to this comment

By Sepharad, July 25 at 2:02 am #

“But we (and I hope we have allies in this) do have to make sure Taliban/Al Quaeda do not score a nuclear weapon. Now THAT is a horse race.”

    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Sepharad,

You sound just like Bush/Cheney saying we can’t afford to wait until the smoking gun becomes a mushroom cloud.

What we need to do first is investigate our own national security agencies and root out the corruption. We don’t know whom we can trust. How can we do anything military when our security services are riddled with gangsters? Obama says his inclination is to be forward-looking, but I say he better turn around and look before someone stabs him in the back.

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By Sepharad, July 24, 2009 at 11:02 pm Link to this comment

M Henri Day, Sorry for my slightly uncivil response to your first post. You didn’t call Obama either warmonger or patsy. He is a man of considerable intelligence; how limited his vision is we have yet to see. He may stil believe that audacious hope, will and intellect can overcome circumstance and the reality of inertia. (Having just seen his health plan put off till Congress resumes, after he went over their heads to the people to insist on it, he may have learned something that may make hiim more effective next time.)

What he wants to achieve in Afghanistan, rational but perhaps not doable, is to weaken whatever elements of the Taliban that are supporting and concealing Al Quaeda leaders and disrupt the training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan. As that this enemy is stateless, the center of its activity and direction is a reasonable target. More, actually most, important is the danger that the Taliban and Al Quaeda will acquire nuclear technology of even a nuclear weapon from Pakistan. It may be that America and the Europeans (even China and Russia to a lesser extent) are so worried about Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapon because the situation might frighten Sunni extremists armed with a nuke of their own, courtesy Pakistan, who out of fear may decide to use it on Iran, causing an exchange that could be catstrophic in itself and trigger many more. 

Oil, still needed by all Western countries absent a major conversion to other energy souces, has fueled the not-go-great game for a very long time. I don’t believe that the U.S. or any other Western power is in any part of Central Asia/Middle East to bring democracy or help women achieve equality. But the women who are demanding it, encouraged by the presence of foreign troops from lands where women do have a much better position in society, deserve whatever help we can give them (as long as it is not “help” that will endanger their lives once we’ve left). It’s also ludicrous for us to attempt to “bring democracy” to countries that have no institutions in place to protect minority rights. Those issues were lumped into the rationale for being in someone else’s country because they make it easier to “sell” a war.

Some felt it moral to go into Iraq, mainly because after the first Gulf war, we encouraged the Kurds and Shi’ia to rise up against Saddam, they did, and were massacred for their pains when we left. Other arguments were made by Arab scholar Fouad Ajami (author of “The Dream Palace of the Arabs” and “The Foreigner’s Gift”), who stated in many articles and forums that Western intervention was the only way to shock the Arab countries into modernizing their societies, many of which he deemed infecctual. Much of what he said has been reflected in several reports by numerous Arab secular scholars under UN auspices describing the reasons that Arab societies are lagging so far behind the rest of the world, and offered many recommendations to specific problems.

I’ve read some of those reports, and there seems to be little correlation with their recommendations and the thought and functioning of current Arab society.

Whatever the case, we are far too involved with the Moslem societies and in truth probably cannot change them except by example.

As for empire, America has many bases, but not highly populated colonial cities filled with Americans, as was the case with English and European colonies in the 17th-early 21st century. We are an empire in one regard, but not by standard historic managers. In any case, globalist economies and too many smart Americans stealing money on a large scale have hamstrung America’s ability to take care of itself, let alone pursue colonial ventures. But we (and I hope we have allies in this) do have to make sure Taliban/Al Quaeda do not score a nuclear weapon. Now THAT is a horse race.

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By garth, July 24, 2009 at 4:25 pm Link to this comment

Omop,

Your post is greatly appreciated. It shows the lock-step approach of the U.S Foreign Service or whoevever is making the decision as to when and where the US Govt. acts in world affairs. 
We are in what is becoming a downward spiral.  We have reached the end of the US capitalists’ wet dream: low wages, high productivity, which, in turn, to their dismay have been accompanied by high debt an low employment.  We are at the end of the road.  It’s like wringing out a piece of wet clothing. You twist and you twist, but you know that there is no more to give.
All I can say, is what an old Italian woman said to a childhood friend after he ran an errand for her, “AMF, Adios muther fucker.”

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By omop, July 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

A partial listing of wars with some sort of purpose.

Korea and Vietnam Wars not included (1953-1970s)

First Gulf War - 1991
A multi-national force of 34 countries, led by the United States, invades Iraq over Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait.

Though widely viewed as a just war, this was another war by the United States against a former ally that the US propped up and supported, including overlooking Saddam Hussein’s ordering of the gassing of his own people.  While the war’s stated goals were just, US history vis-a-vis Iraq raises questions about her culpability.

Operation Restore Hope, 1992 -1993

The US led a UN sanctioned effort to relieve the humanitarian crisis in Somalia. Somalia had collapsed into anarchy with local warlords splintering the country into warring factions. Operation Restore Hope was an attempt to open supply lines to bring humanitarian aid to starving Somalis.

Iraqi “No Fly” Zones, 1992-2003

US, along with the UK and France, establish “no fly” zones in northern and southern Iraq. UN Security Council Resolution 688 is cited as legal justification for these zones, but there is authorization…

UN Protection Force, 1993

President Clinton sent 350 US troops to support stability in Macedonia, formerly part of Yugoslavia.

Bosnia, 1993-2004

US participation in Operation Joint Endeavour was part of a NATO sponsored peacekeeping force in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This military intervention is widely regarded as both just and successful.

Though the war ended in 1995, NATO did not officially end its stabilization force until 2004 (pdf). US participation began under President Bill Clinton and continued under President George W. Bush.

Entry in Haiti, 1994-1997

n 1994, a planned US invasion of Haiti became a peaceful entry after former President Carter convinced dictator Raoul Cédras to step down peacefully. Despite US presence in Haiti for several years, widespread corruption remained.

Airstrikes in Afghanistan and Sudan, 1998
.
In a move widely supported by both Republicans and Democrats, President Clinton orders air strikes against Aghanistan and Sudan in an attempt to destroy facilities allegedly owned by Osama bin Laden. This was in response to the bombing of two US embassies, by terrorists believed to be affiliated with bin Laden.

Air Strikes against Iraq, 1998

President Clinton orders air strikes against Iraq after Saddam Hussein refuses to cooperate with weapons inspectors.


NATO Bombing of Yugoslavia, 1999

The US participated in Operation Allied Force, a campaign to halt war in the the now nonexistent Federal Rebublic of Yugoslavia. Though military targets were primarily selected, civilian targets were also chosen.

Largely designed to protect Albanians from Serbs, many Albanians found themselves homeless refugees, driven out of their villages by Serbs in the ensuing chaos.

Afghanistan War, 2001 to Present

In response to the 9/11 attack on US soil, the US and UK invaded Afghanistan to capture Osama bin Laden, remove the Taliban government which supported him, and uproot al-Qaeda.

Due in large part to the horror of the 9/11 attack, this war was widely supported, even amongst countries who traditionally opposed the US. Though initially successful, this was has dragged on longer than expected. It is widely believed this is due to the US invasion of Iraq having spread its military resources too thin and alienating many erstwhile supporters.

Some believe that the US directly supported the Taliban during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, but though some Mujahideen eventually joined the Taliban, they were distinct. Many Mujahideen died fighting the Taliban, who were largely trained and funded by Pakistan.

Iraq War, 2003 - Present

In 2003, the US led a multi-national invasion of Iraq. There is much dispute as to the reasons for the invasion, but the original justifications for the war—weapons of mass destruction, cooperation with al-Qaeda and a link to 9/11—have long been disproved.

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By Tony Wicher, July 24, 2009 at 3:06 pm Link to this comment

Re garth, July 24 at 2:50 pm #
A case in point:
At 10:00am on September 11, 2001, the U.S. Government had a list, a list mind you, of the 19 Arab conspirators who attacked the WTC.

  x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Yeah, amazing work, wasn’t it? Especially amazing, since the original flight manifests for all four of the flights, which should presumably have those nineteen names on them, have never been produced to this day. All we have seen is lists of the passengers killed which do not include any of the hijackers. The real manifests are a “state secret”. That would be another place to start investigating. What happened to those damn manifests and where the hell are they now? Those supposed 19 hijackers had to buy tickets didn’t they? Where is the actual paperwork? Where are the records of all this? All kept secret, not available to the public. People just let the wool be pulled over their eyes so easily.

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By garth, July 24, 2009 at 3:04 pm Link to this comment

Without getting into detalis and arguments about the devastation of the WTC, I posit one latest fact: “I have just one fact from which such an investigation should proceed: a high-tech form of thermite called nano-thermite has been discovered in the dust of the World Trade Center.”

Thermite was suggested by Dr. Stephen Jones of Brigham Young University (Ph.D Vanderbilt 1978, according to Wiki, I think he got his PhD from Stanford). 
To spell it out, thermite is used in demolition.  Demolition means planning and preparation.  There is a record of the weeks prior to 9/11 when the towers were closed and only open to some strange crews.  Does any of this mean anything at all?
Are you all dopes?

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By Tony Wicher, July 24, 2009 at 2:49 pm Link to this comment

By garth, July 24 at 2:50 pm #

My suggestion: avoid the obvious attacks on anti conspiracy theory and view everything that happened since 9/11 as still under investigation.  In other words, no conclusions can be drawn from the disinformation that is being bandied about.

    x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

garth,

It would be wonderful if everything that happened under the Bush administration beginning with 9/11 were under investigation. That’s all the 9/11 truth movement is asking for. The Bush administration has demonstrated to everyone’s satisfaction its utter corruption and lack of any credibility whatsoever. They lied about everything else, so why is it such a stretch for most people to believe they lied about 9/11 too? Doesn’t common sense tell us that “investigations” that took place under the auspices of the Bush administration, such as the 9/11 Commission report the NIST report on the collapse of the buildings should be suspect? Indeed, they are just full of holes.

I have just one fact from which such an investigation should proceed: a high-tech form of thermite called nano-thermite has been discovered in the dust of the World Trade Center. The paper at the following link establishes this as a fact - not speculation, not theory but fact. Samples of the dust are available and these experiments can be repeated by any qualified person with the proper equipment. How did this nano-thermite get there? An honest investigation can determine this. Let’s start from this established fact and proceed from there.

http://www.bentham-open.org/pages/content.php?TOCPJ/2009/00000002/00000001/7TOCPJ.SGM

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By garth, July 24, 2009 at 1:56 pm Link to this comment

uneluctable

Pronunciation: \i-?ne-v?-t?-b?l\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin inevitabilis, from in- + evitabilis evitable
Date: 14th century
: incapable of being avoided or evaded <an inevitable outcome

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By Interested Observer, July 24, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

folktruther, you put forth some fascinating allegations. Please back them up.  What caused you to believe that intelligence agents had a hand in writing the book?

“It was written (very well) by American sources, not excluding intelligence agents.  It was a very moving account used to help develop sentiment for US military imperalism in Sudan, to contorl their oil as is being done now in Iraq, being attempted in Iran, and the basis for the Afpak war.”

And please don’t reply with “if I told ya, I’d have to kill ya.”  Unless of course you’re really Austin Powers.

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By garth, July 24, 2009 at 11:50 am Link to this comment

A case in point:
At 10:00am on September 11, 2001, the U.S. Government had a list, a list mind you, of the 19 Arab conspirators who attacked the WTC.

A few years later at Blacksburg, WV, an unknowned gunman killed umpteen students on the VT campus.  At first reports, the gunamn was a Chinese emigre who recently arrived in San Francisco.  The next day, more that 24 hours after the shootings, he was finally identified.
Mohammed Atta’s passport miraculously withstood the the crash and ensuing explosion and fell approximately 1000 ft. to the ground below where it was picked up by who knows who.
My suggestion: avoid the obvious attacks on anti conspiracy theory and view everything that happened since 9/11 as still under investigation.  In other words, no conclusions can be drawn from the disinformation that is being bandied about.

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By David, July 24, 2009 at 10:57 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I suspect the reason for the US continuing the ineluctable war in Afghanistan and Pakistan is to prevent the Taliban or al Quaeda from obtaining a nuclear bomb from Pakistan. If that is the case, what is a better option?

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By Leefeller, July 24, 2009 at 7:54 am Link to this comment

Observed concepts on how our country is and maintains itself are worthy of reflection. People of our nation are not one in idea or opinion, for they are manipulated by various means and of course distractions.

In regards to Obama, the honeymoon may be loosing it’s charm for the many who supported his promoted illusion of hope and change. Benefactors who pull the strings do what they want and do not care what the people seek, we saw this the last eight years, with Chaney saying “so”.

So, it shall be war, purpose or reason be damned.

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By Anarcissie, July 24, 2009 at 5:58 am Link to this comment

Sepharad:

’... Obama is not a warmonger. ...’

One can say this only relatively.  The state is war, and a person can become a state leader only if he or she is willing to perform the military and police actions which maintain its existence and power.  In addition, the logic of the state requires us to expect that large, powerful states will pursue hegemonic and imperial ambitions, and this is exactly what we observe in history and in current events, including the actions of the United States.  Obama has fully signed on to the American version of these ambitions; if he had not, he would never have been allowed to become president, but would have been consigned like Richardson, Kucinich, Gravel and Paul to moneyless derision, if indeed he managed to rise to national attention at all.  Leaders of great powers do, of course, speak of peace constantly, but by this they mean the peace which will occur when others submit to their will and the will of the groups or classes whom they represent.  Obama may be less aggressive and more rational than Bush, but he is not and cannot be substantially different in his intentions, which come with the territory.  In fact, he may be able to do worse things than Bush could, since he has been so sanctified by those who call themselves liberals and progressives.

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By M Henri Day, July 24, 2009 at 4:33 am Link to this comment

Sepharad, please note that I have not referred to Mr Obama as a «warmonger» (Bush/Cheney were, of course) ; I think he is well aware that most people in the United States do not desire the state of endless war in which that country finds itself and, clever as he is, he adapts his propaganda for the wars he needs to maintain its empire. Nor would I call him a «patsy» ; on the contrary, all evidence would seem to indicate that he is not merely clever, but an intelligent man, albeit of limited vision. But again, that evidence indicates that he is not up to the historical task before him, i e, dismantling the US empire in as peaceful a fashion as possible, thus saving the world from bloodshed on a scale which risks making previous orgies of destruction look like a tea party. If you do not believe that there exists a US empire, which is failing and requires dismantling, then you will not, of course, agree with the conclusions I draw. But as Mark Twain said, it is differences of opinion that make horse races - and wars as well, it would seem….

Henri

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By diamond, July 24, 2009 at 1:45 am Link to this comment

Yes, ourjourneytosmile, isn’t it strange that almost all the alleged hijackers were Saudis. Last time I checked Saudi Arabia was one of the United States’ ALLIES. And not one of the hijackers was from Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Iran or,gee, Gaza. The whole story stinks, and the fish stinks from the head down. Don’t be surprised if they go on telling these lies. They have no choice but to repeat them, the alternative is to tell the truth and they will do anything to avoid that. What they don’t seem to realize is that most people already know the war on terror is pretty much a gigantic lie from beginning to end.

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By DBM, July 24, 2009 at 12:07 am Link to this comment

I do think the point needs to be made that the oil is in South Sudan which I believe is a separate region from Darfur.  There is also a “civil war” going on in South Sudan which is arguably about oil but is separate from the Darfur conflict.

I didn’t know about the Darfur water ... an interesting twist.

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By Folktruther, July 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm Link to this comment

Dennis Burke maintains that it is the mistaken idea that the civil war is about oil which prevents the US from forcing an end to the killing.  The world also has the same mistaken idea about Iraq, despite US officals constantly denying that the war is about oil.  Informed opinion also notes Iran’s oil reserves and a pipeline through Afghanistan negoitiated by Unicol.  And now people think the same thing about Sudan.  People are just so suspicious of what American officals, Zionists related truthers say!

And now Africans and Muslims are so sispicious of US troups that no African country will allow the US military Command to be based in their country.  To force the end of the killing the way the US has done in Iraq, in the Afghan war, and the US funded terroist groups operating in Iran.

According to Engdahl, the US acting through surrogate allies in Chad and neighboring states has trained and armed the Sudan Peoples’ Liberation army, headed until his death in 2005 by John Garang, trained at the US Special Forces school at Fort Bening, Georgia.  By pouring arms into the region the US has fueled the conflict that led to tens of thousands dying and millions uprooted from their homes.  As in Iraq.  There are a number of other militias and armies as well to swell the carnage.

In 2006, congress called for Nato troops in Dafur, the same year they funded the 4 hundred million ro destrablilize Iran.  A month later Bush called for additional Nato forces.

Chevron spent 1.2 billion locating and testing reserves in south Sudan, but was driven out by attacks on them.  Condelessa Rice’s Chevron is stil in neighboring Chad, however, and has built a pipeline to the Atlantic ocean.  the president of Chad, Deby, of the same ethnic group as Daoud, is an American puppet who has been feeding arms into Darfur.

The “Darfur Genicide” campaign began in 2003 as the Chad-Camaroon pipleline oil began to flow.  The US now has a base in Chad to go after Darfur oil.  but the problem is that people do not want to kill and die for Chevron, and so the US needs to build a case of legitimacy for invading.  That is where Dennis Burke comes in.  And the Zionists of course.

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By Sepharad, July 23, 2009 at 8:33 pm Link to this comment

elisalouisa—as if Israel didn’t have enough on its plate? There is a new book I haven’t yet seen, reviewed in last Sunday’s NYTimes, written by two scholars, who discuss Moslem-on-Moslem hostilities and one of their conclusions is that if the Israel-Palestine conflict disappears there will be no perceptible suspension Islamic wars. I have not read it yet, but the history of the region provides much evidence to support such a conclusion. And Dennis Burke has just provided more.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 23, 2009 at 7:39 pm Link to this comment

FT:

You are now so delusion you’ve become a new kind of holocaust denier: Denying that the Darfur Holocaust is happening because it just doesn’t fit your pre-conceived world view that ALL Arab leaders are angels, unless they are allies with the USA (then they are devils).

You are now using the same arguments and methods that the denier of the OTHER Holocaust use, including attacking your critics.

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By Paracelsus, July 23, 2009 at 7:06 pm Link to this comment

Reference Blood Diamonds

http://www.sierraexpressmedia.com/articles2/id794.html

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By Paracelsus, July 23, 2009 at 7:03 pm Link to this comment

@ Folktruther

I am reminded of the complaints of the Hearst media in the 1890’s over the Spanish tyranny in PR, Cuba, and the Philippines. The Spanish yoke may have been rough and brutal, but the American occupancy was no improvement. Americam small arms were revolutionized by the need of the US Army to kill off masses of Philipine insurrectos
. The government 1911 semiautomatic was the end product. I don’t what sincere help can be given to the Christian Animist Sudanese. Who is benevolent enough and powerful enough to do it with disinterest? Too bad there is not an organization of African states that could handle the refugees.

I had heard of a story where De Beers was funding armies to confiscate the diamonds of mines who were unaffiliated with either De Beers or any military organizations.

</i>The (UNSC) fought hard and imposed a ban on all direct or indirect sales of diamonds from Sierra Leone not officially certified by the democratic government. Despite the request of the United Nations to all countries and business entities, De Beers took this opportunity to become the single source buyer, and then continued to buy “blood diamonds” from the rebels/insurgents. Worst of all, most of these diamonds were looted by rebels from the government and defenseless people. As a matter of fact, knowingly accepting or buying looted items alone, in itself is a crime and a violation of law of nations. With no regard for the U.N. and the people of Sierra Leone, De Beers continued operating in the illegal diamond business. They dealt with the insurgent group because they get those diamonds from the rebels at a very cheap price and then make a huge profit to enrich the company. De Beers did not use legal means to get the diamonds. It can be clearly shown how they aided and abetted the insurgents and smugglers to cripple the country’s wealth (economy), and at the same time exposed its people (citizens) to possible human rights abuses and violations. De Beers directly or indirectly engaged in funding insurgents and smugglers to destroy nations.<i>

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By elisalouisa, July 23, 2009 at 6:22 pm Link to this comment

According to an article in the Infoshop News titled “Save Darfur: Zionist Conspiracy?” Date Oct. 5 2006

“The Sudanese government has, unsurprisingly, stressed the participation of Zionist and Jewish groups in the Save Darfur movement—and flatly accused Israel of being behind the insurgency in Darfur.
As early as Dec. 21, 2004, Republic of Sudan Radio reported that Sudanese Interior Minister Ahmad Harun, flanked by two other government ministers, ‘accused the Zionist entity of supplying the rebels with weapons in the framework of Israel’s plan that targets Arab nations.”

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By Sepharad, July 23, 2009 at 6:15 pm Link to this comment

Dennis Burke, thanks for perhaps the most useful summary of Darfur’s complicated genocide and the underlying factors. I didn’t there there was underground water there, but it doesn’t surprise me (as there is a similar jockeying for underground wells and water in Israel and the occupied West Bank). And to desert lands, water is more important than oil. It’s also struck me as somewhere between ironic and tragic that the Saudis were looking for water when they found petroleum. I always wonder what an alternative history there might have been if the Saudis had found water but no oil. More agreeable, I imagine.

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By Sepharad, July 23, 2009 at 6:00 pm Link to this comment

M Henri Day—Obama is not a warmonger. He is not a patsy for more clever warmongers. He is not perfect but he is certainly the best President we have had for a long time. He’s stumbled but not fallen, still trying to control the outrageous financial meltdown that is ruining our country. He’s working hard and skillfully to push Congress into establishing the health plan all Americans deserve and need, not what we have or what the medical/insurance/pharmaceutical world thinks is possible. He’s taking his case to the people to move the fearful legislators. According to a NYTimes columnist, Obama’s chief of staff, Rahm Emmanuel, lost the little cool he has and threatened to bite the legs of key legislators if they left without taking care of business. (I hope he does, and that someone gets a video of it).

When the world ends it will be somewhere between a bang and a whimper, unless planet Jupiter’s massive gravity ceases to deflect wayward comets, asteroids and other existence-ending potentials. Elliot was implying that whimpering, of the “do I dare to eat a peach” sort, was worse than a brave, assertive “bang.” W.H. Auden’s poetry was about war; Elliot’s “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” seems to be attacking the deadliness of too-tentative living, or such is my subjective interpretation.

Given the warring mess in the oil-relevant and Moslem parts of the world that Obama inherited from not just Bush but also from the muddled-up slicing and dicing by the British and French empires in their glory days—which for la belle France only ended in 1967, when the Algerians finally said “Enough!”—to pout and bark at him for not gathering up the tatters and putting the broken parts back together again quickly enough is absolutely, outrageously, unfair.

I did not vote for him in the primaries, but I did in the Presidential election, and I’m not sorry I did. Most days. Like most Americans, I hate what is happening to our country, I hate the greed and the indifference and grandiose globalistic schemes that have left so many of our people homeless, jobless, hopeless while Goldman/Sach and JPMorgan bounce back and complain that they can’t recruit enough “talent” for $700,000 a year. I hate that our soldiers and foreign civilians are dying in wars for oil and against Islamists and the fact that we probably will never be able to change the way conservative as well as extreme Islamic society treats its women. It’s not our business, not our culture, but most of us do not deny that what we see of the lives of women is deeply disturbing. And for me, unlike most other posters, I love Israel yet hate to see what she does sometimes in her own defense. I can’t imagine a world in which an Israel does not exist, never again. But the Palestinians are suffering too, sometimes at the hands of the Israelis and sometimes at the hands of their leaders, always because they too need a homeland. I’m heartened at Obama’s strong insistence that Israel freeze settlements and move on toward the second state. I’m heartened that Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad said (July 4, at the Aspen Institute) that in the second state, Palestine, Jews would be welcome to live with all the rights that the Israeli Arabs have. To me, that is a hand reaching out to Israel that leaves the Netanyahus and other hawks looking foolish, and strengthens the majority of Israelis’ desire for peace because it also speaks to their security, by invoking the same rights as the Arabs in Israel have. (It should also short-circuit Avigdor Lieberman’s idiotic attemps to debase the Arab Israelis.)

When I’m angry enough, I’m as criticial of Obama as you are. Sometimes maybe more. If he fails to do what he is trying to do in so many areas, then there is no one who can move this country back on its proper course, and we are in worse trouble than it seems now.

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By Dennis Burke, July 23, 2009 at 5:31 pm Link to this comment

It is my understanding that most the oil in Sudan is in the south, with maybe a small amount in south Darfur (there are three Darfur regions). North Darfur, which is the focus of The Translator by Daoud Hari, seems to have little or no oil under its sands. It probably does have, however, a great underwater sea of fresh water, which can be pumped up to create a new agricultural area for Africa.  Sudanese President Bashir has, according to Sudanese and Egyptian press stories, struck one or more agreements with Egypt to allow Egyptians to immigrate into North Darfur for that purpose.  The people already living there, however, have a complex and well established system of land ownership that gets in the way of that idea.  The indigenous people of Darfur would love to pump that water and become Africa’s new farmers, but there is another agenda in play, which is the displacement of non-Arab people with Arab people.  When the native Darfuri’s, angry at these developments, struck militarily against Bashir’s troops, Bashir was handed the immediate pretext for the present genocide, which is what it is. The continued propagation of the mistaken idea that it is about oil, has, in fact, probably caused the US to hold back in forcing an end to the killing—for the fear of seeming to be “doing another Iraq.”  As Doud says, it is not a simple genocide, it is a complicated genocide.

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By Folktruther, July 23, 2009 at 5:00 pm Link to this comment

Paracelsus- An excellent and honest investigative journalist F. William Engdahl, wrote an article for Asia Times May 25 2007 called DARFUR;FORGET GEMOCIDE, THERE’S OIL It’s available on the Internet.  It’s first paragraph states in part:

“The present concern of the current Washington administration over Darfur in southern Sudan is not, if we look closely, gemuime comcerm over genocide against the peoples in that poorest of poor part of a forsaken section of Africa.

No “its the oil, stupid.”

The account details Washington’s machniations in Sudan and neighbor Chad, similar to those of Iraq, Iran, the Afpak war, all against Muslim regimes to control their oil.

The campaign, which includes George Cloony, is largely carried on by Zionists, as you will note in the sleaze against me by Sepharad and Inherit.  The political thrust of the book THE TRANSLATOR is to legitimate the notion of a genocide conducted by Sudan, the “Dafur Genicide” taking it’s place with “Iraq Weapons of Mass Destruction” and the “Iran Stolen Election” to justify US military intervention.

The book was formated to be taught in universities and other learned bureaucracies, with a list of study questions in the back, along with an American imperialist version of events in Sudan-Chad, and the UN UNIVERSAL DECLARATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS.

It is a very clever piece of imperialist propaganda, widely and well reviewed in the media, such as the Wahington Post.  The writers end the memoirs with the sentence:
 
“...it has no meaning to take risks for news stories unless the people who read them will act.”

the clear implication is that the US government should intervene in Sudan to “stop the Genicide.”

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By Paracelsus, July 23, 2009 at 4:21 pm Link to this comment

@ Folktruther

There is a horrendous civil war cause partially by the US funding and arming rebel groups which helped kill up to three hundred thousand people, and much other bloody havoc as well.

Can you cite a source to support your statement?

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By M Henri Day, July 23, 2009 at 4:09 pm Link to this comment

Of course the war in Afghanistan has a purpose, just as the 1000-odd US military bases ‘round the world have a purpose, and just as the teradollars spent annually on war materiel have a purpose - but not, of course, the feel-good purpose that the corporate media, not only in the United States but here in Europe as well, attempt to induce people to believe motivate US actions : liberating women, bringing peace, prosperity, and democracy to the benighted, etc, etc. Mr Obama had a chance to play a historic role and extricate a bankrupt United States from its Empire ; instead he has chosen to pursue the foreign policy of his predecessor (who continued that of his predecessor who continued ... all the way back to Harry S Truman) and, despite the collapse of the US economy, continue to play the latest, Pipelinestan, version of the Great Game for the control of the Eurasian continent. Thomas Stearns Eliot predicted that the world would end «not with a bang but a whimper» ; Mr Obama, it would seem, is determined to prove him wrong….

Henri

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By Sepharad, July 23, 2009 at 3:16 pm Link to this comment

Folktruther, did it ever occur to you that Daoud Hari told the truth, and that Ms. McKenna, a member of the human rights community helped Mr. Hari get his story out by collaborating with Mr. Burke (employed by Random House—not the White House, not Langley, not Thames House but RANDOM HOUSE, a long-established publishing house)? Publishing houses all have editors and writers prepared to help authors with text. There are also such things as ghostwriters, who help people who know a lot about a subject but need help with organizing and with most of the writing. 

Mr. Burke said he and Ms. McKenna were “amused” by your comment which did not mean that they liked it, but that your conclusions were so absurd it was funny. In return you pull a pompous “j’accuse” on Mr. Burke, accusing him of “being a party to imposing imperialism.”  You say this is a brilliant account by a tribesman, then in the next breath that it’s propaganda. Mr. Burke is lucky you didn’t bring your little guillotine, and you will be lucky if he and his publisher are gracious enough to write you off as a nutter instead of you for libelous statements. Those of us regularly on TD are used to your habit of resorting to name-calling, but saner people in the real world might take umbrage, and rightly so.

Mr. Burke—the TD site owes you an apology. For better or worse, the site doesn’t censor anyone, not even cracked-brain self-righteous people like Folktruther.

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By Tony Wicher, July 23, 2009 at 1:32 pm Link to this comment

Re garth, July 23 at 3:17 pm #
“I agree with Hedges’s sentiments, however, there is a purpose to this war.  It is to continue the Washington-City of London hegemony.  If you will note, foreign policy decsions of the US have wavered little since the Second World War.  Military decisions to back tyrants and dictators still remain.
This ploy is to complete the conguest of the world. Sound crazy?”

x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x x

Well maybe a little, but not that much. The military-industrial complex that was created to win WW II stayed in place along with the standing army. The U.S. has really been on a permanent war footing ever since. The military industrial complex benefits economically from war and ever seeks to increase its power and geostrategic reach.  Its agenda overrides the U.S. Constitution. Democracy has been reduced to a farce.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 23, 2009 at 1:11 pm Link to this comment

Let me repeat that the UN sent a commission in 2004 which declared that there is no genicide in Iran, the US being one of the only countries that maintains thast there is, in order to justify Nato or US troops in Sudan.  There is a horrendous civil war cause partially by the US funding and arming rebel groups which helped kill up to three hundred thousand people, and much other bloody havoc as well.
****************************************

So…there’s no genocide in Iran (duh!) and which would be why we’d justify NATO or US troops in Sudan…...

The supposed logic escapes me.

Now, somehow we are arming the “rebels” in Darfur who are responsible for killing 300,000.

FT, are you on drugs?  The Janjaweed has been the super-murderers in this war, not the rebels.  The Janjaweed are sponsered by the Sudanese government and has been giving them Chinese and Russian weapons.

Now, in FT’s twisted world, the victims in Darfur are committing genocide….Must be because Bush/Cheney wanted to interfere in….Iran.

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By Folktruther, July 23, 2009 at 12:59 pm Link to this comment

Dennis Burke, I am glad you enjoyed my comment on the book you helped write, THE TRANSLATOR ostensibly by Daoud Hari.  Let me repeat it.  It was written (very well) by American sources, not excluding intelligence agents.  It was a very moving account used to help develop sentiment for US military imperalism in Sudan, to contorl their oil as is being done now in Iraq, being attempted in Iran, and the basis for the Afpak war.

Let me repeat that the UN sent a commission in 2004 which declared that there is no genicide in Iran, the US being one of the only countries that maintains thast there is, in order to justify Nato or US troops in Sudan.  There is a horrendous civil war cause partially by the US funding and arming rebel groups which helped kill up to three hundred thousand people, and much other bloody havoc as well.

This is done under US Human Rights, just as the Iraq invasion was done to counter its Weapons of Mass Destrution, and the current US terrorists interventions in Iran is motivated by the Iran Stolen Election. 

I accuse you, Dennis Burke, of being a party to imposing US military imperialism, perverting your artristy in doing so.

The book, while a brilliant account of a very sweet tribesman, is a cheap propaganda trick as well. You could not have been wholly innocent of it, although Daoud’s involvement is understandable.

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By garth, July 23, 2009 at 12:17 pm Link to this comment

I agree with Hedges’s sentiments, however, there is a purpose to this war.  It is to continue the Washington-City of London hegemony.  If you will note, foreign policy decsions of the US have wavered little since the Second World War.  Military decisions to back tyrants and dictators still remain.
This ploy is to complete the conguest of the world.  Sound crazy?  Sure it does until you take a look at what this government has done in the past 60 years.
We are not talking about war in the sense of “human beings; we are talking about war as strategy to maintain the economic powers of the world.
This madness, I would venture a theory, dates back to the U.S. Civil War, which was to prepare an army for the conquest of the western native Americans, a force to be reckoned with.
The disinformation and misinformation a la our news media is nothing but propanda, and it is about to run to its course.  No more sane assessments only crazy “news”.
When average citizens call C-SPAN and complain in an informed manner that they are sick of war, I think it is the beginning of the end to this murder of innocent civilians to benefit the few.

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By Leefeller, July 23, 2009 at 12:00 pm Link to this comment

For what it is worth, Hedges usually does focus attention on the wrongs in society and government, I do not believe Hedges is America bashing.  My annoyance with Hedges stems from how he writes some of his articles, sometimes they most certainly come down sounding like a sermon. In my case I usually agree with his premise, just not his approach and way of explaining it.

Politically I may agree with Hedges most of the time,  and most of the articles on TD seem to question authority, more Americans should be aware of what is being done in the peoples names, unfortunately for most Americans being aware does not seem the case.

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By Druthers, July 23, 2009 at 11:25 am Link to this comment

“it would be nice to see something different come from his pen.”

Indeed it would and if the situation were not so dire and the slope we are sliding down not so strewn with the bodies of the families that we are killing or that are being killed in our name he surely would write other articles.
The press is not the only protected profession in the Constitution for nothing.  It used to be considered the fourth estate, there to point out the misconduct of our government and inform citizens, not to make us feel good. 
I don’t like Limbaugh, or Hannity or O’Reilly.. I never listen to them. 
Journalists like Chris Hedges, Sy Hersch, Tom Englehart, Dahr Jamail and a few others are doing the work journalists do…Informing us in the midst of a world filled with propaganda and advertisement. Wave your flag but remember it stands for the Constitution, not for a government, a party or the military.

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By dantinak, July 23, 2009 at 10:26 am Link to this comment

Druthers,

Using Hedges logic (and yours) has any country ever “Won” a war?  He paints a no win picture.  The American Civil War, freed the slaves, but spawned a quieter (until the 1960’s) civil war in this nation.  WWI spawned WWII.  etc etc. 

“War is not a game” that is a neat little phrase, but what do you do when there is someone trying to kill you or your family?  Is everything that happens some greater American or global conspiracy? 

It just gets old the America slamming.  When I see Hedges name I know it will be the same old thing.  I am the reader, so maybe Chris should consider this.  In your world you like what he says and you don’t mind reading the same thing over and over.  I tire of this.  He is a great writer, it would be nice to see something different come from his pen.

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By Tony Wicher, July 23, 2009 at 9:23 am Link to this comment

Hedges is basically right in that this country is run by a military-industrial complex that values war for its own sake. War keeps the military budget big and keeps them in the saddle. It’s just like the Marines say: “Killing is my business, and business is good”.

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By Druthers, July 23, 2009 at 9:10 am Link to this comment

dantinak,

War is not a game that is played for fun.  Chris Hedges points out the abberation of the policies that our governmlent inflicts on us and on the world.
Our money is pumped into a huge military budget, into bailing out corrupt bankers and financial markets.  Private interests are declared “American Interests” and demand military bases world-wide while our cities, schools and population are deprived of tax paid funds that should rightly be theirs.
Read what you like but do not project your habits onto the rest of us.  I greatly appreciate Chris Hedges articles and journalistic integrity that is sadly lacking in todays media.

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By dantinak, July 23, 2009 at 8:47 am Link to this comment

Chris Hedges rants on the same “America is Wrong” topic so often that most people don’t even read his artilces anymore.  I know I almost didn’t.  I saw the headline, saw who wrote it and thought,“oh there he goes again slamming America, because he can”.  But I thought I would read it so I could comment with knowledge to his article.

Using Hedges rational America will never win, and never won, any war.  WWI, WWII etc there were still people we were fighting after every conflict we have been in.  If you subscribe to his thinking there never will be a time when you can say we won that one.  We didn’t win WWII because the soviet union became our enemy afterward.  His thinking is a no win situation for any country.

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By Dennis Burke, July 23, 2009 at 8:14 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

One of the comments mentioned the book The Translator, by Daoud Hari, and suggested that it was “actually written by American sources, intelligence agents not excluded,” which brings a laugh to a Ms. McKenna and myself. She, as a friend of Daoud’s from the human rights community, and myself, sent by Random House, sat with Daoud for many days to listen to his Darfur story and write it up in chapters. The book and the stories are heartbreakingly his. Ms. McKenna and I had no other agenda but to listen and write.  The Washington Post wrote that it might be “the best little book of the year, or of any year.”  That praise belongs to Mr. Hari and his remarkable bravery and grace.

Dennis M. Burke

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By Night-Gaunt, July 23, 2009 at 7:10 am Link to this comment

Civil wars can also be genocidal too Inherit The Wind and what is going in Darfur was just that. Including raping the women to ensure that Arabic type babies would be born as the next generation not the blacks who live there. A genocide includes eliminating the local culture, not just killing them.

The fanatics in Israel are just waiting for the time to kill and remove, en mass all Palestinians who are considered enemy aliens in their own land. [The Zionists use the historical-religious reasons to pre-own the land to perpetuity as their riazon de etre to do so.

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By Anarcissie, July 23, 2009 at 6:57 am Link to this comment

DBM:
‘I agree, Just War Theory is highly fraught.  I struggle with what to do about genuine military belligerence.  My suggestion for an active and well supported U.N. is the best I can come up with.

Are you aware of a better option?’

I don’t see Just War theory as fraught, but empty.  It’s an attempt by some intellectuals to jury-rig a justification for the evils which their powerful masters are going to do anyway.

The U.N. is not an option for me.  As an organization of states, it seems likely to partake of all the evils which the state represents.  In any case, the very little political power I have does not give me the option of choosing for or against the U.N.  About all I can do is propagandize against the state I find myself involved in, in an attempt to destroy its ideology and thus sabotage its constant drive toward war and empire, and to try to organize non-coercive alternatives to state institutions.  I’m afraid I can’t report much progress.  But, in any case, the American ruling class appears to be destroying its own system, so these issues may be academic.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 23, 2009 at 4:31 am Link to this comment

FT:

You are a victim of one of the worst practices in our age: constantly re-defining clear-cut emotion-laden terms to fit your political stance.

So…Israeli excesses in Gaza are “Genocide” where hundreds or even thousands are killed by Isreal’s careless and excessive response to Hamas’ attacks on Israel.

But the slaughter of hundreds of thousands of un-armed or badly armed non-Arab Africans in Darfur by the Sudanese-sponsered Janjaweed is “Civil war”, not “genocide”

This is DESPITE the fact that “genocide” is generally defined as the deliberate attempt to eradicate a people.  Israel is NOT out to eradicate the Palestinians, whatever the actions, even if they DO qualify as war crimes. Sudan IS explicitly out to eradicate the non-Arabs and non-Moslems of Darfur. 

Note that should be obvious: The death toll in Darfur is at least 100 times greater than in Gaza.  That’s one-HUNDRED times greater.  But since it’s an Arab country trying to wipe out a non-Arab minority, it’s not “genocide” but rather “civil war”.

Yet, despite this typical FT Orwellian newspeak, somehow I’m “muddled”.

So, I’m back to my original assertion: To “The Contingent” it’s only a war crime or genocide if it’s an action committed by Israel against the Palestinians.  If it’s an action by the Sudanese government against the Darfurians, or by the Somalis against their own people or their neighbors, it’s “civil war”.

Yet again, “The Contingent” shows its fundamental anti-semitism that is at the root of its hypocrisy.

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By Our Journey to Smile, July 23, 2009 at 2:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

VP Joe Biden just reiterated to BBC the Obama admin’s rationale for the Afghan war : “This is the place from which the attacks of 9/11 and all those attacks in Europe from al-Qaeda ?have flowed - from Afghanistan and Pakistan?”

The 19 hijackers of 9/11 and their nationalities are listed below. ?

?1.Mohamed Atta al Sayed ?  Egyptian
?2.Waleed al-Shehri     Saudi Arabian
?3.Wail al-Shehri     Saudi Arabian
?4.Abdulaziz al-Omari ?      Saudi Arabian
?5.Satam al-Suqami ?        Saudi Arabian
?6.Marwan al-Shehhi ?      United Arab Emirates
?7.Fayez Banihammad ?      United Arab Emirates
?8.Mohand al-Shehri ?      Saudi Arabian
?9.Hamza al-Ghamdi ?      Saudi Arabian
?10.Ahmed al-Ghamdi ?      Saudi Arabian
?11.Hani Hanjour ?      Saudi Arabian
?12.Khalid al-Mihdhar ?      Saudi Arabian
?13.Majed Moqed ?        Saudi Arabian
?14.Nawaf al-Hazmi ?      Saudi Arabian
?15.Salem al-Hazmi ?      Saudi Arabian
?16.Ziad Jarrah ?        Lebanese
?17.Ahmed al-Haznawi     Saudi Arabian
?18.Ahmed al-Nami ?      Saudi Arabian
?19.Saeed al-Ghamdi     Saudi Arabian

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By DBM, July 22, 2009 at 11:34 pm Link to this comment

Paracelsus,

This discussion might be a non sequitur here but Israel probably has more fundamental problems even than that.  If the U.S. economy collapses they will have trouble but they have amassed enough arms to overmatch their neighbours for many years to come. 

Whether they’d be game to take on Iran is a moot (and very worrying) point.  I hope not.

However, it would seem that demographics are Israel’s worst and most credible enemy.  With Muslim Arab populations growing faster than the Jewish population in Israel and the occupied territories it seems they have only three options:

*  Get out of the occupied territories and consolidate in Israel proper.
*  Absorb the occupied territories and grant citizenship to the whole population (guaranteeing a non-Jewish majority in the next few decades)
*  Maintain the current set-up of military domination of Palestinians without granting them citizenship rights.

The latter appears to be the plan for the short, medium and (for all that can be seen)the long term.  In the long term, then, they are committing to be the jailers of a population larger than themselves.  This is not a stable scenario.

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By DBM, July 22, 2009 at 11:22 pm Link to this comment

The U.N. certainly has its problems.  Weaker nations are strong-armed.  There was pretty credible evidence that the U.S. spied on Security Council members in the lead-up to the Iraq War vote (but it would be impractical to move the U.N. meetings around to different countries).

However, despite the relatively large amounts of aid money passing through the organisation its history on the corruption front is remarkably good.  The Oil-for-Food scandal was a huge beat-up that suited the then pre-eminent Neocon U.N.-bashers well.  There were very few actual U.N. officials involved.  In fact, if the bribes Saddam and his cronies received had been traced back through the front organisations and foreign subsidiaries to the decision makers I personally suspect you’d find a number of U.S. political contributors and insiders were in the thick of it.

No, I think the problem with the U.N. is not that it is corrupt, nor that it needs lots of money thrown at it.  What it needs is political support and recognition among the powerful nations that it is in their long term interests to hear the viewpoints of the less powerful directly in an open forum.

IMHO, the reason the U.N. upsets some Americans so much is that their world view is not supported by many of the participants and their views are by definition “wrong” or “lies”.  The PNAC, Drudge and their ilk were never too keen on listening.

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By Paracelsus, July 22, 2009 at 11:16 pm Link to this comment

In the near future I feel that Israel will be in danger of destroying itself. The event that will set this off is the financial collapse of the United States this fall. The dollar will not be able to buy as much gasoline as it once did. We could see a quadrupling in fuel prices as the dollar devalues. I see it possible that there will be bank holidays in Sept and Oct. Israel will be pressured to attack Iran in an effort to support the Anglo-American empire. I don’t think Israel is ready for the surprise the Iranians have in store. It is possible that there will be a large counter attack that will destroy Israel. I hope I am wrong.

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By Sepharad, July 22, 2009 at 10:57 pm Link to this comment

DBM, your list of conflicts and the preventable and faulty assumptions is informative and very welcome. You should save it to add to as we (i.e. nations) go on making new mistakes, as there seems to be several patterns to the blunders, not just unilateralism.

I don’t know if throwing money at the UN would make much difference. It is probably not as useless as it seems sometimes, but seems as incapable of keeping corruption from creeping in as your average country. Still, it provides a forum where people can exchange ideas, but there is too much lobbying going on of member nations. The most hopeful thing I can honestly say about the UN is that it once attracted an exceptionally dedicated and talented man, Sergio de Vella.

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By Sepharad, July 22, 2009 at 10:43 pm Link to this comment

Anarcissie—On further reflection, maybe you ARE right. Maybe anti-imperialism and non-intervention are the only way to behave as a country, pragmatically speaking. The UN is hopeless, and as Inherit points out any intervention is doomed unless supported by enough countries with adequate resources and clout to keep each other honest so the intervention does not become a land/resource-grab.

We and others did do pretty well in the Balkans, in terms of saving at least some lives that would otherwise have been lost, and it’s hard to convince myself that someone or some combination of someones should not have stepped in when the UN evicted all the foreigners and left the Tutsis of Rwanda to the genocide. But there was an ongoing context to that genocide, the Hutus had been discriminated against, the Tutsi-Hutu conflict is still playing itself out ... so maybe there are some points when outsiders have to look away. That really goes against my feelings, but I understand the reasoning.

One of the most powerful and affecting books I’ve ever read was written by Rian Malan, descendant of a famous Boer military family. During the period of apartheid and through its end, he was able to step outside of his own history to write about the parallel history of the Zulu, and immerse himself in their culture and beliefs. (Can’t recall the name of the book, just the content.)

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By DBM, July 22, 2009 at 10:12 pm Link to this comment

Hmmm ... I thought anyone who enjoyed a good ad hominem attack in the place of discussion had to tune in to Hannity ... looks like it can be found right here at TD!

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By Sepharad, July 22, 2009 at 9:57 pm Link to this comment

Narcissie, part 2—Re “widespread assumption of godlike objectivity”, it’s not something that can be taken for granted because journalists are not gods, or unfeeling or without their own opinions, but it has to be tried for, every time you investigate and write a story, or there really is no point to reporting at all. It’s become much harder to impress young reporters with this because since the ‘60s, something when it sprang up, a “new journalism” or “advocacy journalism” took hold. Geraldo Rivera was the first and was extremely popular. Some followed it for fun, some for ideology, but it was still hard to get out of a decent journalism school without a sense of the objective buzzing around your head every time you approached something important. Some of us combined our straight journalism with occasional contributions to what some referred to as the underground press, so you could get your opinions out of your system, fight the good fight and go back to the better fight of just trying to get the damned story right. (It was easier for me because I was an investigative journalist.) I won’t say I didn’t enjoy writing underground press stuff—when I did it felt liberating, theatrical, and fun. But advocacy is not the same thing as journalism. 

I’ve never been a foreign correspondent, but knew a number of them quite well, most of whom were in war zones, and they were not the kind of people who would screw around with the truth. They also got pretty burned out and had to take breaks, go back to where no one was shooting. A paper like the NYTimes has enough money to keep three or four in a general area, not counting stringers who are native to the area. Everyone loves to hate the Times, but if you follow stories in the news and news analysis columbs closely, you’ll see that the stuff on the editorial page sometimes takes a different slant than the news columns. That’s OK, even healthy. Publishers and advertisers usually have strong opinions but it’s bad if the news stories are affected by that. It happens in many papers, usually not the best ones.

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By Folktruther, July 22, 2009 at 8:43 pm Link to this comment

Your last post, Inherit, is muddled in your usual way, and I wouldn’t normally respond to it, but yesteday I had a long discussion with the provost of my daurgher’s college about Sudan.  She assigned a book proportedly written by a sweet Darfur man called Daoud Hari entitled THE TRANSLATOR.  And he came out to talk to the university studences about the book.

The book was actually written by American sources, intelligence agents not excluded, and was an implicit argument for intervention in the ‘Dafur Genicide.”  The UN sent a commission out to Sudan in 2004, which determined there was mass carnage but it was a civil war, not genocide.  Not incidentially, there is a lot of oil in Dafur, which China is developing after Chevron was kicked out.  The US is therefore funding and arming rebel groups to get Chevron back in.

I objected to the book on political grounds, considering it a propaganda tract.  However it was very well written and artistically and spiritually very moving, and the professor had been trained in literature rather than politics.  She argued on esthetic grounds, and there she was right.  But my wife and I couldn’t persuade her aboaut the politics about which, she was either very naive, or very sophisticated and we were naive.

Whatever the case, they are Educating their students in supporting US military imperialism, but in a more sophisticated way than you do.  And therefore in a more dangerous way.  Since it is a major university in the US, it is apparent that military imperialism is not limited to just the mass media.  And these students are still unformed politically.

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By Inherit The Wind, July 22, 2009 at 7:47 pm Link to this comment

Seph,
FT doesn’t give a rat’s ass what’s happening in Sudan or Somalia.  Those injustices aren’t being inflicted by Israel or the USA, so they don’t matter. They are not real.

The ONLY people suffering (in FT’s warped mind) are the Palestinian victims of Israel and, maybe the Afghani victims of American forces.

See, FT is like Zircon: It’s only a war crime if Israel or the USA does it. If someone else does it, it’s either “freedom fighting” or “none of our business”.

I actually think unilateral intervention is pretty much a worthless enterprise.  There are a few exceptions but none have cropped up in last century that I know of.

HOWEVER, Multilateral intervention may frequently be necessary.  Compare the coalitions of the First Gulf War, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan to the coalitions of Somalia and the 2nd Gulf War.  What do you see?  In one, the US is the first among equals. This IS significant because it means the US must act in concert with powerful allies or they will withdraw.

In the second, the US is everything and the others (See “Coalition of the Willing”) is nothing but a token effort.  If we have England, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Canada, etc. joining in, we have multilateral intervention.

But if, other than Britain, we are counting on Grenada, Latvia, Andorra and Lichtenstein, then it’s all bullshit—it’s unilateral and bound to fail.

FT has these brain-farts from time to time when he just isn’t hitting on all cylinders and the mental power just ain’t there…What can I say?

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By DBM, July 22, 2009 at 7:16 pm Link to this comment

I agree, Just War Theory is highly fraught.  I struggle with what to do about genuine military belligerence.  My suggestion for an active and well supported U.N. is the best I can come up with.

Are you aware of a better option?

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Anarcissie's avatar

By Anarcissie, July 22, 2009 at 7:07 pm Link to this comment

Just War theory depends on at least two very dubious axioms.  One is that one can tell in advance how a war will turn out.  The other is that evils can always be put in the balance and weighed against one another.  Both of these, I think, derive from ruling-class notions of lesser persons as things or tools, to be used and measured and disposed of by their betters, and history as a kind of machine which they, the ruling class, know how to manipulate with assurance.  I see no reason to believe in either of the axioms.

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By KDelphi, July 22, 2009 at 6:59 pm Link to this comment

I have to agree with Anarcissie on this one, although I wouldnt have sometime ago.


Everywhere the US goes, so goes McDonald’s it seems.

Id rather live in a grass hut and die of (what is for whatever my country is) old age than to get hit by a drone and have my kids grow up working at a US factory for 6 cents an hour.

Its like the person who forces you to accept a “gift” with “conditions” (there always are) and then getting angry when youre not grateful.

If people want to help out the poor, there are plenty of them here, and you should be fighting for justice, not charity….the US is just not “
the example” that we like to think it is.

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By DBM, July 22, 2009 at 6:42 pm Link to this comment

An interesting few posts there on the justification for “intervention” which is a subset, I suppose, of Just War theory ...

The statement was made that there had been no “causus belli” since WWII.  While I am - as anyone who follows my posts would know - an avowed pacifist, I disagree with that.  The invasions of South Korea and Kuwait come to mind at least and there have been numerous cases where no-one intervened but could have.

I think there are a few important lessons from these conflicts:

* Both Korea and Kuwait were invaded following arguably poor dimplomatic miscommunications.  Diplomacy needs to be focused on preventing international conflict without exception.
* The encouragement and support of Iraq’s invasion of Iran backfired miserably both in the huge suffering wrought by that war and by leading Hussein to believe that invading his neighbours would be supported by “the international community” (mainly the U.S.).
* The response to both Korea and Kuwait was multi-lateral and at least couched in a U.N. mandate.  This provided both legitimacy and should have served as a warning that the international community has teeth.
* The Korean War would have been a “success” if the International forces (yes, mostly American) had stopped at ejecting North Korean forces rather than invading North Korea.  The Gulf War was a “success” because the International forces (yes, mostly American) did stop at the Iraqi border.
* Using the wars as an excuse to seek more in return has back-fired badly.  The Korean conflict could have been avoided and North Korea might be a very different state if North Korea had not been invaded.  The Iraqi War (pursuing objectives beyond containing Iraqi aggression in Kuwait) has been an unmitigated disaster.
* Going alone as in Vietnam and Iraq does not appear to be sustainable despite the colossal U.S. military budget ...
* Strangely, invasions in places where there is little to be gained economically or in geo-political power don’t seem very popular!  No intervention in Rwanda or the Congo for instance.

The justification of war is obviously fraught when there are so many who profit from other’s suffering.  It seems that no nation-state is capable of limiting itself ... the U.S. is only the current prime example.  I would posit that rather than denigrate the U.N. for its ineffectiveness, it should be massively supported and all governments shamed and pressured by their own people if they do not adhere to U.N. decisions.

I think there needs to be a focus on preventing war and on nullifying any gains from waging war.  The U.N. (imperfect though it may be) is critical in this. There has to be an international forum to allow diplomacy and provide a vehicle for an international response to violent nations.

Another post in this thread proposed saving the money the U.S. spends on the U.N. and using it for either domestic or international poverty reduction.  I am not completely familiar with the numbers but I suggest that one or two F-22’s would exceed the entire U.S. contribution to the U.N. in any given year.  Perhaps that is a better trade-off!

Now, why is the U.N. so ineffective?  The main reason is the unwillingness of powerful nations to give up any power.  The primary violator is the most powerful nation (the U.S.A.).  Somehow Americans seem to be ignorant of their own country’s default on treaties and obligations but keen as anything to punish others for similar actions ... especially, it seems, when there are other gains to be made (like say oil!).

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