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A ‘Framework’ Seriously Bent

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Posted on Sep 9, 2010

By Eugene Robinson

Just how corrupt is the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan? It should be clear by now that President Hamid Karzai doesn’t want us to know. He’d prefer that we just keep sending our troops and our dollars, and not ask too many questions.

Karzai’s government announced this week that American and allied advisers, dispatched to Kabul to help investigate massive and endemic graft, will no longer be allowed to do any actual investigating. Karzai’s chief of staff told The Washington Post that the government is still determined to eliminate corruption, but intends to do so “within an Afghan framework.”

And what a framework it is. Karzai is evidently upset that foreign advisers helped build a case against one of his high-ranking aides, Mohammad Zia Salehi, who is charged with soliciting a bribe—$10,000 plus a new car—from a money-exchange firm. In return, according to the charges, Salehi was supposed to derail an investigation into allegations that the company, called New Ansari, had illegally shipped $3 billion in cash out of the country. Most of the funds ended up in Dubai, where many of the wealthy Afghan elite have settled.

Salehi was arrested, but Karzai intervened to have him released from jail just seven hours later. Karzai has said that the use of wiretaps to build the case against Salehi was a violation of “human rights principles.” I wonder what other standard investigative techniques don’t fit within the “Afghan framework.”

A serious, sustained probe of high-level Afghan corruption might hit even closer to home for Karzai and his family. His brother, Mahmoud Karzai, is one of the biggest shareholders in Kabul Bank, the nation’s largest financial institution, which almost collapsed this week amid allegations that it was essentially being looted by politically connected insiders. Mahmoud Karzai lives in what the Financial Times describes as a “beachside villa” in Dubai.


Square, Site wide
President Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is the most powerful political figure in the Kandahar region—and also, according to persistent allegations, a major player in Afghanistan’s illegal drug trade. He denies any involvement in the opium business, and Hamid Karzai vouches for him, so that’s that. Nothing to see here, folks. Move along.

NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen, who was in Washington this week to consult with President Obama, told The Washington Post that he has repeatedly urged Afghan officials to crack down on corruption. “All these stories about irregularities and corruption are damaging for public support for our presence in Afghanistan,” he said, displaying his mastery of understatement.

At this point, it’s impossible to avoid the conclusion that U.S. soldiers are fighting and dying to prop up a government willing to tolerate—and, allegedly, eager to profit from—corruption on an epic scale, including vast commerce in illegal drugs. It’s also hard not to conclude that billions of dollars sent to Afghanistan by U.S. taxpayers—intended for worthy projects such as roads and schools—have been stolen by wealthy, well-connected power brokers who spend much of their time luxuriating on the beaches of Dubai.

I’m not naive. Anyone familiar with the history of American foreign policy knows that this isn’t the first time the United States has lavished guns and butter on a corrupt regime. We did it all the time when policymakers believed we needed allies, however unsavory, who would serve as bulwarks against communism. But the way we supported, say, the old Duvalier kleptocracy in Haiti is different from what we’re doing in Afghanistan, where our generosity is not just in dollars but in young American lives. This is more like our embrace of the corrupt government in South Vietnam—and we all know how that turned out.

The Afghan government will never be able to win the nation’s allegiance if officials are seen, with justification, as being more intent on stealing than leading. U.S. and allied officials say that Karzai understands how important it is to end the corruption. The Afghan president’s actions, however, suggest otherwise.

As for Rasmussen’s warning, he’s a little late; public opinion has already turned against the war. But now that we understand how things work, we could make our Afghanistan mission vastly more efficient: Bring the troops home and just send duffel bags full of cash to Kabul, Kandahar and Dubai.
Eugene Robinson’s e-mail address is eugenerobinson(at)
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

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By tedmurphy41, September 15, 2010 at 2:24 am Link to this comment

The longer the US supports this corrupt man, the worse it’s going to get, and the harder it will be to pull out from this quagmire of it’s own making.

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By Druthers, September 14, 2010 at 2:05 am Link to this comment

“Just how corrupt is the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan?”
Perhaps it should read, Just how corrupt is the U.S. and the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan.

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By Lou, September 13, 2010 at 9:58 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

My, my, my, what do we have here, what is everybody including Gino sooo upset about?  Maybe yall didn’t get the memo.  LOL

Good how Americans love distractions, perhaps because they ALWAYS work.  Interesting pontifications going on here, while all are being bamboozled:

Karzai rift prompts U.S. to reevaluate anti-corruption strategy in Afghanistan

Senior Obama administration officials have concluded they need to step back from promoting American-style law enforcement as the main means of fighting corruption in Afghanistan because of the rift it has caused with President Hamid Karzai.

“The current approach is not tenable,” said an administration official who, like others interviewed, agreed to discuss internal deliberations only on the condition of anonymity. “What will we get out of it? We’ll arrest a few mid-level Afghans, but we’ll lose our ability to operate there and achieve our principal goals.”

Nothing to see here kiddies, move right along, excuse Gino Rob, who apparently didn’t get the memo.

“Fake left, go right.”  HA “The current approach is not tenable.” Get it? Translation: “Now go f***k yourselves, the “corruption meme” is alfalfa for the sheep” it makes them think we’re hard on Karzai when we really don’t give a shit.  After all, we’re stealing US taxpayers blind too.”  “Baaaa, baaaaa.”

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By ofersince72, September 12, 2010 at 3:46 pm Link to this comment

You forgot the “nor do you”.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 12, 2010 at 10:02 am Link to this comment

Right Young Go Man

Your previous pseudo intellectual posts: “Go Right Young Man, September 11 at 8:50 am,” and “Go Right Young Man, September 11 at 10:08 am,” ignore the human and financial costs of these wars, while you address current events from a Neocon like geopolitical perspective. Your posts are full of falsehoods and misperceptions. It was this wrong headed geopolitical mindset: that created the problems we face today. It was this wrong headed geopolitical foreign policy perspective and foreign policy actions that empowered those who attacked us on 9/11. It was this wrong headed geopolitical mindset that helped to destroy an evolving more secular government in Afghanistan, created societal chaos and a civil war waged by megalomaniacal war lords, drug lords, and reprobates who rationalized their bestial acts by way of a feudal, archaic, brutal, reactionary, perverse, religious fundamentalism; a fundamentalism that persecuted women and allowed Bacha baz. All of this mayhem and madness occurring - before the rise of the Taliban…

The aforementioned religious fundamentalism and all its perversities endure to this day, and is tolerated or endorsed by a majority of the representatives of the surrogate government which we have established. We find ourselves immersed in a cesspool, or a toxic waste dump that has resulted, to a great extent, from the geopolitical thinking and policies you and your ilk have, and continue to, espouse.

You seek to spin political realities to suit your political objectives. Your contention that the Left has blindly followed Obama’s lead on these events is an absolute falsehood based on a political acuity devoid of intelligence, or simply a disingenuous attempt at political spin. Of the large percentage of Americans who oppose our involvement in these wars, the great preponderance of opposition comes from the Left. People on the Right, such as you, have endorsed, and continue to endorse the madness.

Tell me, if you can, how a “’Global War’ on Islamic terrorism,” as you call it, can be reduced to a single front. Your fabrication of theoretical falsehoods is nothing than more of the aforementioned destructive geopolitical thinking which has caused our current difficulties.

What bothers me most about people of your ilk, is that you demonstrate only an infantile and superficial concern for humanitarian goals, and you couch every argument in terms geopolitical objectives. It is my belief that people like you function from within a spiritual void, which causes in you a guilt based fear and psychic angst that makes you indifferent to human suffering, and causes you to advocate for a perpetuation of historic, destructive, and horrific, human folly.

As has always been the rationale of, you and people of your ilk, from both sides of conflict, to claim that your destructive thinking will advance virtue, and save us from a dangerous world, while the policies you advocate make the world more, and more, dangerous, continuing the folly, while multiplying the atrocities.

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By Leefeller, September 12, 2010 at 2:43 am Link to this comment

Corruption seems to be an American past time, Karzai is just a long list of puppets gone bad. Gone bad means not behaving, sort of like the Ace of spades who pissed off Pappy Bush! 

Seems a long list of puppets the US has installed, propped and polished until shit happens,  sometimes the puppets cut the strings themselves or like what happened Iran, someone else does it for them!

Why otherwise do we have guys like Ollie North doing the Ollie North song and dance routine?

Me thinks our government, the cronies that be in Washington are not getting what they want out of Karzai,..... so what’s new?

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 6:17 pm Link to this comment

ofersince72, - “I have know idea what is going on in Venezuela -sic- but i do know what our government is doing…..”


I understand.

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By moonraven, September 11, 2010 at 5:57 pm Link to this comment


I have lived with my eyes very much open in Mexico for nearly 20 years.

There is nothing revolutionary about the drug cartels.  They are in cahoots with the corrupt Mexican government.

On Wednesday night folks are expected to give the Grito de Independencia—for 200 years of the same oligarchy running the show—despite 2 revoltions and several civil wars.

The Mexican Revolution of 1910 was the first crack out of the box of the 20th century—and it died on the vine as its committed leaders were assassinated by cynical opportunists who imposed what Vargas Llosa called The Perfect Dictatorship (before he moved to the right of Pinochet).

I WISH there was a revolution going on here to overthrow the government.

But there just isn’t.

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 12:47 pm Link to this comment

I have know idea what is going on in Venezuela,
nor do you.

but i do know what our government is doing

cutting off fingers for trophies….....................

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 12:44 pm Link to this comment

I didn’t ask you what you thought of Hugo, don’t care.

You don’t like Castro, you don’t like Ortega.

You probably believe that the coup in Honduras was good

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 12:34 pm Link to this comment


Then I have no doubt that, one way or another, one time or another, that is exactly what you have imagined me claiming.

Will it matter much If I profess you wrong in this instance?


Pro gun-control. Pro Right-to-Choose.  Pro gay-union.  Pro Labor-union.  Pro civil rights. Anti capital punishment.  Anti main-stream corporate media. Anti-war. Anti Palin for president.  And I happen to like Mr. Obama personally.

I can also appreciate the current building of health-care centers within the poorest socioeconomic areas of Venezuela and still believe Hugo Chevez to be a murderous thug destroying what was once a strong and vibrant representative government, an independent judiciary, and a free and open press. - So if you take the time to ask I would clearly say I am no fan of Chavez.

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 12:14 pm Link to this comment


  You, at one post or another professed N O T to be all

those things.

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 11:51 am Link to this comment

ofersince72, - “You are the one that professed to all those things that you are NOT”


Really? That is what you see?  Interesting.

Where have I professed not to be all of the above?

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

You are the one that professed to all those things

that you are NOT><

Are you now saying that you are all of them??

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 10:49 am Link to this comment


You have completely missed the mark. 

I am all of those things.  It would depend on the subject and context of the subject.

Perhaps you could ask a question in stead of professing what others do or not believe in? Would that not be more, well, constructive? - Food for thought.

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 10:35 am Link to this comment

Here are a few things that


has professed NOT to be…....$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

a Democrat, a Republican, a liberal,  a conservative,

an anarchist,  a communist,  an imperialist,

an isolationist.  Are there any more things that you

are NOT??????????????????????$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 10:23 am Link to this comment

Then it is a wonder why the left and right

can’t get along for the right embrasses imperialism

historically,  look at Saudia Arabia, Kuwait, Israel,

Pinochet Chile, Great Briton, and Japan.

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 10:06 am Link to this comment

Anarcissie, - “Don’t confuse the Democrats and ‘the Left’.”


As you get to know me here you’ll understand how I always mean what I write and write what I mean.  When I write of democrats, I mean democrats.  The same goes for my view of “progressives” and/or liberals.

You may have a different view of these divergent groups which, largely, make up the, so-called, Left.


The Left in the United States has not historically been opposed to imperialism, per se.  Far from it.  The Left is adamantly opposed to U.S. imperialism.  Imperialism is not only embraced, but applauded in in many places.  Venezuela would be a good example. Chavez is on the correct side.

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By Anarcissie, September 11, 2010 at 8:09 am Link to this comment

GRYM—Don’t confuse the Democrats and ‘the Left’.  The Left, insofar as there is one in the U.S., has generally been opposed to imperialism and the wars which it entails.  The Democrats throughout the 20th century were major advocates and perpetrators of imperialism, far more so that the Republicans, who were often isolationists or non-interventionists.  Republican interest in imperialism did not come to the fore until the Reagan era; one might say Reagan Democrat-ified the Republican Party not only by espousing imperial adventures but by promoting deficit spending and continuing, one might say completing, the ‘Southern Strategy’.  Mr. O’s adventures in Afghanistan and Pakistan (promised before the election) are only a regular and predictable continuation of his party’s belief that the U.S. should rule the world—for its own good, of course.

Terrorism being a common result of imperialism (see the British experience), one can hardly call this a ‘war on terror’.

The result of the invasion and occupation of Iraq has been to split the country up into hostile factions some of whom are associated with Iran and others with Saudi Arabia.  It is hard to see this as any kind of victory in any dimension.

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 8:07 am Link to this comment

Let me tell you a little about drug cartels,  the

last thing they want is a lot of publicity, especially

about their “in fighting”.  And even more especially

they don’t want international publicity.  When they have

their “in fights”  they go for the jugler, that is the

main man, with some collatoral damage.

The great Al Pacino film <forget the title> was FICTION

from Hollywood.

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 7:24 am Link to this comment

The Southern Border is pretty well sealed up now

and they have predetor drones also monitoring the border,

so the Mexicans can’t come up here to get food anymore.

So of course, being hungry, they are taking matters into

their own hands and attempting to overthrow a very

corrupt government…...When the citizens of the the

United States’ bellies become empty and hungry like

their Southern neighbors,  Americans will have no other

resort but to try the same….$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 7:19 am Link to this comment

Only the U.S. government could have a

revolution going on right in their back yard…...

and label it a drug cartel fight…......and it is

their own populace , here in the U.S. that has the

drug problem….$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment



My thoughts exactly.

In an 2005 Gallup poll 72% of democrats believed the Bush administration took it’s collective eyes off the “necessary” and “legal” battle in Afghanistan. - “Where 9/11 was plotted and directed from” was the mantra. 

And don’t forget another useful mantra. The common heard narrative on how the entire world supported the “rightful” attack on Afghanistan but, it was said, that global goodwill had been “wasted” and “squandered” by the Bush administration.

Today that is no longer the case.  Today we’re to believe, on moral grounds no less, that the liberal position has always been against the fight in Afghanistan.

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By ofersince72, September 11, 2010 at 6:24 am Link to this comment


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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 6:08 am Link to this comment

It is worth remembering that when the United States invaded Afghanistan on October 6, 2001, many on the left forecast immediate doom. The craggy peaks of the Hindu Kush were too high. The weather was too icy. With Ahmad Shah Massoud’s assassination by al-Qaeda, the Northern Alliance would surely not fight effectively. The same fate that had defeated both past British and Russian imperial occupiers lay in wait for us. New York Times writer R. W. Apple summed up such liberal unease—shortly before the rout of the Taliban—when he declared the first weeks of war in Afghanistan had already produced a hopeless Vietnam-like debacle.

Then came the liberal mantra declaring that the unilateral, preemptive conflict in Iraq was not only unnecessary and lost, but, worse still, had siphoned off critical resources from the politically correct multilateral and legally justified war against the Taliban, who had, after all, helped to cause the September 11 terrorist attacks. Anti-war liberal Democrats had discovered the magic bullet: they could retain their national security credentials and avoid appearing soft on terrorism by lamenting that by being bogged down in Iraq we had become too complacent in Afghanistan. Or, as then presidential candidate Barack Obama framed the issue in a debate with John McCain, “We took our eye off Afghanistan. We took our eye off the folks who perpetrated 9/11.” The Democrats strange and twisted journey from supporting the war effort in Iraq, to wanting it immediately ended, while wishing for more fighting in Afghanistan—a war some on the left had once declared impossible to win in October 2001—was now complete.

Such an odyssey was again reflected in self-described anti-war and then senatorial candidate Barack Obama’s July 27, 2004, comment on Iraq: “There’s not that much difference between my position and George Bush’s position at this stage.” But later, on January 31, 2007, as a soon-to-be presidential candidate, and with news from the front now far worse and George Bush’s poll ratings diving, Obama scorned the surge, which he claimed had “not worked,” and pledged that all U.S. combat forces should be out of Iraq by March 31, 2008. He hammered that message throughout the summer and autumn of 2007: “The best way to protect our security and to pressure Iraq’s leaders to resolve their civil war is to immediately begin to remove our combat troops. Not in six months or one year—now.”

Such a move would probably have led to an American defeat and Iraqi genocide, as the country would have been effectively trisected into a Kurdish breakaway republic at war with Turkey, an Iranian rump protectorate of Shiites to the south, and a radical Sunni client state of Saudi Arabia—all in perennial terrorist wars with one another, fueled by religious hatred and Iraqi oil.

But anti-war candidate Obama protected himself against charges that he was ignoring the danger posed by Islamic terrorists by making even bolder promises that he would send another 7,000 troops to Afghanistan and invade Pakistan, if need be, in hot pursuit of al-Qaeda. It appeared that Obama, and others who supported his new bellicose calls, was not really against the idea of either surging troops or crossing national borders to hunt down insurgents per se; they were just opposed to doing all that in the politically incorrect Iraq theater, but for doing it in the properly sanctioned Afghanistan war. So President Bush was to be condemned not just for having been too warlike in Iraq, but now also for not being warlike enough in Afghanistan.

In fact, there are a number of historical and practical reasons to doubt both the sincerity and the logic of past liberal calls for escalation in Afghanistan—especially since it uncharacteristically committed the left to a renewed and difficult struggle against the Taliban that they now likewise disown.

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By Big B, September 11, 2010 at 5:49 am Link to this comment

Keep repeating that the grass is blue and the sky is green GRYM, and clack your heels together, the Wizard may just send you home.

The faux news crowd needs to remember that the genius of Goebbles was that he often sandwiched his lies in between two truths.

It is a shame, Americans have become so used to eating bullshit that they never ask for anything more, they just ask more salt and another napkin.

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By Go Right Young Man, September 11, 2010 at 4:50 am Link to this comment

Just as Iraq was our second theater in the war on terror, so it was for al Qaeda and generic jihadists as well. They diverted thousands into Anbar Province and Baghdad proper rather than into Afghanistan; and while for a period they gained traction, ultimately they lost thousands in combat or through defection. That fact may have weakened their efforts in Afghanistan rather than strengthened them; and after their material and psychological defeat in Iraq they have returned their attention to the single front in Afghanistan. In other words, they took their eye off the ball in Afghanistan and focused on Iraq, but lost both materially and psychologically, and now, like us, are refocusing on the single front.

As allied forces were far more able to inflict casualties (given the terrain, geopolitics, and nature of the fighting) in Iraq than in Afghanistan, and that resulted in both more damage to terrorism in general, and a greater sense of deterrence than was true of the fighting alone in Afghanistan/Pakistan. When bin Laden and Zawahiri announced that Iraq was the major front in the terrorist war on the U.S., they raised the stakes, and were in essence inviting terrorists to go there rather than to Waziristan. Note we hear no more from either one of them about winning in Iraq, the central front in Iraq, the need to join jihad in Iraq, etc. Now, it is all Afghanistan again.

Polls in the Middle East are now quite different from the radical Islam’s glory days following 9/11 when al Qaeda and bin Laden were iconic; the latter’s ratings have nosedived along with the tactic of suicide bombing. Rather than seeing the spike in violence in Afghanistan as a sign of a lost theater, it may well be that the Islamists are now increasingly unpopular, down to one front, and waging their all on a last big effort to demoralize us. Both in conventional wars and in insurgencies (as we saw in 2007 in Iraq) sometimes the fiercest fighting is near the end rather than the beginning of the war, as a final offensive is seen as a last gambit. All this means that we should meet the challenge, support the president, and deal with the Taliban and its al-Qaeda allies as we did in 2007 to the terrorists in Iraq, despite the wide differences in culture and conditions on the ground in the respective countries.

If there really is such a thing as a global war on radical Islamic terrorism, and bin Laden is to be taken at his word that both Afghanistan and Iraq have at times been alternately central fronts in that war, then it would be a tragedy that after fighting a two-front war, and winning one, we, rather than the losing enemy, would become demoralized by our success, and they emboldened by their defeat.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 10, 2010 at 10:39 pm Link to this comment


Thank you for the validation. We disagree, but I have a great deal of respect for you’re humanity, and I believe that your motives are pure.

I’m hoping that you, and the electorate, will “Come around,” before the damage is done.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 10, 2010 at 9:10 pm Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man

You attempt to spin like a Fox News commentator. It was the Sunni Awakening, which was driven by cash payments to insurrectionists, and an agreement with war lord Muqtada al-Sadr that brought relative stability to Iraq, not the “Surge.”

I’m really tired of telling you the facts of life. So you tell me: How many people have died because of George W. Bush’s war? How many people have been displaced by the war? How much human suffering has occurred? How much money has been stolen and squandered? How many expensive projects have been financed, but not completed? How much electricity is accessible to the people of Iraq? How sanitary is life for the people of Iraq? Has the incidence of birth defects and mutation increased in Iraq? Why does Iraq not have a legitimate government six months after the last election?  And on, and on, and on…

When you come up with the answers to these questions; see if you can put a positive spin on them.

George W. and his coterie of advisors are war criminals, and now Obama is a war criminal by proxy, as are you, and all who support this continuing insanity.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 10, 2010 at 8:20 pm Link to this comment


This from Wikipedia regarding Wayne Madsen:

“Wayne Madsen’ (born April 25, 1954) is a controversial Washington, D.C.-based investigative journalist, author and columnist who has been described by critics as a conspiracy theorist and conspiracy minded blogger.”

Madsen is a “Truther,” and a “Birther.” Madsen believes that CNN is a Mossad front group. Madsen believes the H1N1 virus was created by the CIA, Wikileaks is a CIA front group, and on and on…

Madsen has credentials that include the Navy and NSA. Both of these organizations considered him to be whack-job. He received sub-par evaluations from both organizations, and he says of himself, “[I was the] “most senior lieutentant in the Navy.”  At the time of his resignation he blamed his lack of advance on a powerful group of pedophiles hidden in the top of the U.S. Navy ranks.

January 21, 2009

Obama Overturns Bush Order on Presidential Records

“Washington — In one of his first official acts as president, Barack Obama has overturned a controversial executive order in which former President George W. Bush limited public access to presidential records.”

Executive order 13489 accomplished this task. It preserved some aspects of protecting confidentiality of Presidential business for a serving President.  Executive order 13489 does not apply to “Personal Records” as you and Madsen have claimed.

Madsen has also convinced you that Barack Obama and his family are CIA assets, that his citizenship was arranged after being born in Kenya, and that he visited Pakistan as a CIA agent. No documentation of any sort, only accusations. The only authentic documentation regarding these issues is Barack Obama’s verified authentic birth certificate and the record of his birth announcement having been published in the local news paper in Hawaii.

Orley Taits, who is the most famous of “Birthers” had her case thrown out of court, and she was threatened with contempt if she brought suit again. Interviewed by the media she demands that only her voice be heard. She begins with a false premise and builds upon it. When questioned by the interviewer, She shrieks, “LET ME TALK,” “LET ME TALK.” She’s a total nut case.

Here’s another accusation for you. You are gullible beyond belief, and your hatred of Obama has caused you to become irrational. Accusations are easy, aren’t they?

Among other things, Madsen claims Obama never attended Columbia University, in spite of testimony from his college roommate and his address listed in the Columbia University Student Directory and the Commencement program for 1983 listing him as a graduate in Political Science.

I personally believe the CIA is a dangerous and nefarious organization, but the degree of conspiracy put forth by Madsen, and you, strikes me as being unfounded and extreme to the point of absurdity.

When you say, “The best is yet to come,” what are you talking about? Are you gleefully looking forward to more neurotic B.S. coming from Madsen, and his ilk. Show me some real evidence and not just unsupported allegations from a demonstrable whacko.

Hopefully, I haven’t been too insulting, I’m hoping that you will “Come around” to reality sometime soon.

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By ofersince72, September 10, 2010 at 8:07 pm Link to this comment

Tropicgirl…I also suscribe to your thoughts about
JD…while I have disagreements with JD , I do have
much respect for him….and yes…he will have to come
around, everyone will.  It might take another year, maybe.
The MSMs will not be able to cover their charade much

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By Anarcissie, September 10, 2010 at 7:12 pm Link to this comment

Actually, I believe Bush bought off the military opposition in Iraq with those pallet-loads of $100 bills you’ve heard about and promised to leave them alone, in other words proposed a truce with the various warring parties to which most of them agreed.  This move didn’t completely undo the damage by any means but it did make it possible to move the troops out of the cities and to some extent out of Iraq without seeming to have been defeated.  Whether this sort of thing will work in Afghanistan seems doubtful, but I suppose it’s possible.

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By Go Right Young Man, September 10, 2010 at 3:44 pm Link to this comment

The U.S. President has clearly entererd the murky zone in Afghanistan that George W. Bush went through in 2006 in Iraq. The public had turned against the Iraq war effort. Political opponents who once voiced “let me at ‘em” enthusiasm about the war had long ago bailed. “Wise men” frowned, cleared their throat and declared Iraq lost in op-ed opinions. The base was jittery and saw the war was losing Republicans influence and power. And then Bush did the lonely thing by placing his all with Petraeus, the surge, and keeping our commitment to those Iraqis who had risked their lives for the common goal of consensual government.

Obama now finds himself with those same bad and worse choices. The good war he once championed as a candidate on the stump has turned bad among his supporters. No one is talking about finally having our eye back on the ball. He has so polarized moderates, independents, and conservatives that it is apparently hard for him to reach out to them for support on the war, though on the war they are not the vocal opponents that the Left proved to be with Bush. Pundits now talk of the preferable “more rubble/less trouble” punitive route of bombs, Predators, and incursions rather than the messy, unpopular, 9-year effort at saving Afghanistan from al Qaeda, the Taliban, and Islamic medievalism in order to prevent a repeat of 9/11. Most agree that surging in Afghanistan, as was true in Iraq, could spike casualties rather than reduce them for several months to come. could also take out another New York Times-subsidized ad about the purported perfidy of General Petraeus, with sneers that his testimony requires a suspension of disbelief. And so on.


The president’s challenge is largely political — he must endure anger from his base and will not have a majority of the public with him, at least initially. So far Obama has bucked the polls in pushing several issues, but never when simultaneously at odds with his core supporters.

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By Lou, September 10, 2010 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Another thing.  The “theme” ringing through this piece, “Gee whiz, look at how corrupt Afghanistan is,” is the same trope used time and time again to JUSTIFY imperial adventures and overreach.

It’s just a remixed version of, “we’ll stand down when they can stand up.”  Well, wtf.  Let me chop off you legs, break your arms, poison your lymphatic system, blind you and rape you for good measure, so “you can stand up.”  What a racist crock of shit.  (Yes, I know you’re Black, so am I, but it’s still racist, American Exceptionalism is rooted in racism).

In short, this is not a “left” critique of the Afghan War disaster, it’s a “War Party” critique.  The trope is:  “If only these poor, ignorant bastards, whose country we’ve destroyed and poisoned with depleted uranium, could get their shit together.

No, I repeat, no one is more corrupt than the War Party and War Profiteers.  As one of my fellow posters said, “who’s running the drug rings now, didn’t poppy production EXPLODE after the US escalated it’s presence?  Nobody but a fringe group will walk in lockstep with American Exceptionalism tropes.

Btw, if Karzai is corrupt, big deal, wtf are you going to do about it? It was your boy Obama who whitewashed the voter fraud so he could accelerate implementation of his “surge” (read escalation) policy.  To bad, so sad, huh? So aside from the whining, are you proposing a coup or having Karzai assassinated?  We’ve seen that play book rolled out also.

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By tropicgirl, September 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

I really think JD will come around eventually. He must be in a lot of anguish with
all the people he admires now discovered tools of the CIA and the filthy world
government. Alas, many of us used to think well of the UN, or the idea of it. How
wrong we were.

A lot of people are in a lot of pain because of O-Stupid. But pain gives way to
truth. It has to. The very fact that people are blogging about stuff is a good thing,
I think. Have patience. The best is yet to come.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 10, 2010 at 11:26 am Link to this comment

By Go Right Young Man, September 10 at 10:14 am Link to this comment

“Typical, bigoted, elitist hypocrisy, Mr. Robinson.”

As is so typical of right-wing idiotic ideologues such as you, you ignore the content of this article, and immediately attack the messenger. How many times now have you called Eugene Robinson a bigot? You deny your bigotry while openly displaying your bigotry.

“Don’t do business with thugs, thieves, or dictators.”

Good advice isn’t it? I’m guessing that you read the article and immediately went on the attack, without reading the comments. If so, I suggest you read the post by FRTothus. Actually the numbers cited by FRTothus are understated. These numbers have been documented and quantified by the United Nations, Human Rights Groups, and authoritative experts from many fields, but you in your idiotic dementia, either choose to ignore them because they contradict your myopic worldview, or you don’t care. You are an ignorant human being who has absolutely no understanding of history and you are incapable of understanding that you have the mentality of a fascist.

Why do I hate you so much? Actually, I don’t hate you, you disgust me, and I’m disgusted by the thinking of you and people like you. You, and people who think like you, are responsible for an incalculable amount of human suffering. Disgust is a word far too inadequate to describe my feelings about people of your sort. It’s you, and people who think like you, who have created, and perpetuate horrors impossible to calculate, contemplating the magnitude of horrors created by people of your sort is like contemplating the universe, the expansive nature of such contemplation boggles the mind. We all live in our own little realities, but there is a greater reality, a reality that encompasses us all, and it is a reality that you choose to ignore. You and people who think like you, have malignant, dangerous, simple little minds. I believe that many people of your sort, are well aware of their individual moral deficiencies, and seek to compensate for their individual moral deficiencies by attempting to enforce an infantile, superficial version of morality on others. 

“How dare the U.S. work against the “sovereign” thugs, thieves or dictators around the world.”

U.S. foreign policy has not at all been concerned with thieves, thugs, and dictators; it has been governed by a misperception of U.S. interests. History is an open book; the facts of history are available to all, but ignored and distorted by people like you.

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By JDmysticDJ, September 10, 2010 at 11:16 am Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man (Cont.)

Your thinking goes something like this:

: You oppose Obama because you are racist who lacks the racial sensitivity to recognize that you are a racist, or more likely, you believe that your racism is justified.

: You oppose social justice because you equate social justice with evil.

: You believe the attempt at “Bridge building” through an all inclusive Community Center, is a threat to perpetuating your message of hatred and religious intolerance.

: You are opposed to the “Stimulus” because it is has refuted your failed economic ideological beliefs.

: You believe that Americans who oppose “Obama Care” are not heartless and stupid people who believe their failed economic policies are more important than alleviating human suffering. You believe that bankrupting the nation by advancing the interests of corporate bloodsuckers, is more important than providing health care to the sick, and saving inconsequential human lives.

“I Just Don’t Know Why Americans Are Opposed To ‘Progressive’ points Of View! -  80%  Of Americans Are Just So Mean To Us!! - Don’t They Know That It’s Us Who Are The Kind, Intelligent, Bridge-Building And Compassionate? “

Your sarcasm over-estimates the percentage of Americans who are opposed to social justice. The real percentage of Americans who oppose social justice is limited to a minority of right-wing dupes, and fascist mentalities such as yours.

“Grrrr” is a comment well representative of your simple minded cartoon-like post.

Its sad, and tragic, that people from your past life experiences have not given you the love you felt entitled to and have pointed out your inadequacies, which has caused you to adapt a false sense of superiority, and a heartless, bestial, philosophy that threatens our world, and all who inhabit it.

Have I overstated my appraisal of you? No, I haven’t. If anything, I’ve understated my appraisal of you. Are you evil? What you believe and espouse is evil. What you need is a genuine, philosophical, humanitarian, spiritual, re-birth.

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By ofersince72, September 10, 2010 at 10:57 am Link to this comment

Tropicgirl took my thunder! ! !

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By Hammond Eggs, September 10, 2010 at 10:32 am Link to this comment

Just how corrupt is the U.S.-backed government in Afghanistan? It should be clear by now that President Hamid Karzai doesn’t want us to know.

And just how corrupt is the government of the United States, Mr. Robinson, led by your guy, Obama?  Clearly, Obama doesn’t want us to know either.

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By Lou, September 10, 2010 at 10:22 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Typical “American Exceptionalism” crap.  Rip apart a country, bomb a nation, kill the population, scam “relief and reconstruction money” off the top and then BLAME THE VICTIM.

The problem is not Afghan corruption,—what do you expect in a non-functioning state—, the problem is US Elite corruption.  Money and greed is the common thread.  I don’t suppose we can get an ACCURATE GAO audit of how much money we’ve actually wasted on fruitless, criminal wars?  I don’t suppose “Exceptional Americans” understand that the “relief and reconstruction” money is pouring into the hands of corrupt, cronied Westerners as much as corrupt Afghans?  Where is the visible infrastructure?  Are we so blinded or ignorant that we don’t understand the US or Western countries that are winning these contracts? 

I’m tired of hearing Democratic and Republican Party apologists blaming the Afghans on corruption when the US is largely responsible for the process and the flow of funds, and the ACCOUNTABILITY.

Typical American Exceptionalism tripe:  “Do as I say, not as I do.”

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By tropicgirl, September 10, 2010 at 10:11 am Link to this comment

Wow. The only one seriously bent here is you, Gene. Every single time I read
you I can’t believe what a vile human being you really are.

Your continued insults to the American people put you pretty close to the
category of the violent man who killed people recently, because Al Gore said
we were bad humans and over-populated the world.

Your rhetoric has become completely sick.

Seriously, if you really care about Afghanistan, which I doubt, you would ask
someone, perhaps Betray-Us, the drug-runner in pajamas, exactly where the
poppies go after harvest? What planes fly them, and to what country do they go
for processing? After processing, who distributes the heroin to the kids and
people in America, Britain and Russia?  Who brings it there, sells it to the
pushers and takes the money. And where does the money go for processing
and laundering? The Afghanistan people certainly did not invite anyone in their
country to do this. Idiot. Moron.

So shut up Gene, you piece. You care about the American people, and the
people of the world, about as much as Obama. I’ve had it with filth like you.
Sorry, but you just keep getting worse and worse, totally over the top. You have
become simply VILE in your propaganda.

YOU ARE: The Affirmative Action Newt Gingrich for Obama.

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By Anarcissie, September 10, 2010 at 9:52 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind, September 10 at 8:35 am:

We’ve been stupid in Afghanistan.  Some say stupid from Day 1, but I think ALL would agree that when we drained our forces from there to fight that criminal and idiotic war in Iraq, it was stupid beyond belief.

I disagree.  First of all, you need to get rid of the ‘we’.  ‘We’ did not do anything in Afghanistan.  The people who did do things in Afghanistan, the ruling class, the government, the leadership, did them for purposes which may well have been satisfied.  For instance, after the 9/11 disaster, the government had to look like it was doing something and a regular war filled the public-relations need.  Iraq was desirable because of the oil and its central position in the Middle East.

Now the r.c. needs to look like it’s doing something about the detritus left behind in Afghanistan, and may be wanting to work up a new war with Iran, so a lot of huffing and puffing is being put on about this fellow ‘Karzai’ who for all we know may be a movie actor or a robot.  The huffing and puffing is probably considered quite satisfactory by those who have taken care to generate it.  Above all, it obscures the fundamental truth that ‘We’ (note those quotation marks) have no business in Afghanistan and never did, beyond possibly arresting those involved with 9/11 we could catch.  (An opportunity perhaps willing foregone to seize the greater opportunity to have a regular war.) 

Behind all that is an even more fundamental truth:  First the war; then the reasons for the war.  For the r.c., ‘war is the health of the state’, the ultimate good.  Afghanistan is an almost trivial target of opportunity.  ‘Karzai’ is fluff for proggies to get excited about, as if it made any difference.

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By Mountain Bear, September 10, 2010 at 9:14 am Link to this comment

Read the book Ishmael. Makes it real easy to understand
why we are doing what it is we’re doing. Can’t leave
any leavers is what the takers want.

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By balkas, September 10, 2010 at 7:18 am Link to this comment

When ethics and money are in a race, money wins that race by a ratio of one bn to one. And ?all people in power [collumists, also] when in a race for ethics and not for money, s’mhow end the race in confusion-chaos about where the tape is and end it by choosing money for their hard work for us plebians.

Also recall that our pols are serving us; work hard ad have no time to self-serve or serve their secretaries, second mates, soulbros, families. tnx

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By PRGP, September 10, 2010 at 6:53 am Link to this comment

Go Right Young Man has obviously gone right to the fascist, right-wing Kool-Aid.  Dissemble much?  Making up bullshit and then attributing it to someone you want to attack is a fundamental Republican/fascist tool.  Get a life.

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By Go Right Young Man, September 10, 2010 at 6:14 am Link to this comment

Typical, bigoted, elitist hypocrisy, Mr. Robinson.

Don’t do business with thugs, thieves, or dictators.

How dare the U.S. work against the “sovereign” thugs, thieves or dictators around the world.


Eugene Robinson’s thinking goes something like this:

“Americans only oppose Obama because they are racist!”

“Americans oppose socialism because they’re greedy!”

“Americans are opposed to the ground zero mosque because they’re bigots!”

“Americans were against the stimulus because they’re uneducated!”

Americans are against Obamacare because they’re stupid!

“I Just Don’t Know Why Americans Are Opposed To ‘Progressive’ points Of View! -  80%  Of Americans Are Just So Mean To Us!! - Don’t They Know That It’s Us Who Are The Kind, Intelligent, Bridge-Building And Compassionate? “

Grrrr Americans can be so stupid!!!!!! 

- Eugene Robinson

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By Peter Everts, September 10, 2010 at 5:50 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Get out now. Along with every other foreign base for US military.  Concentrate on the US infrastructure and the dismantling of corporatist oligarchy that is destroying our middle class.  Jail CEOs and CFOs who rip off the economy and tax the hell out of offshore companies run by American thieves.

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By Inherit The Wind, September 10, 2010 at 4:35 am Link to this comment

You misunderstand this statement:

“I’m not naive. Anyone familiar with the history of American foreign policy knows that this isn’t the first time the United States has lavished guns and butter on a corrupt regime. We did it all the time when policymakers believed we needed allies, however unsavory, who would serve as bulwarks against communism.”

Robinson in no way is saying that those regimes actually HELPED defend us against “communism”, merely that they were supported with that as justification, which is very true.  From Generalissimo Franco to General Pinochet to Generals Ki and Thieu, we have mistakenly done that around the world.  We justified it, as FDR said about the first Samoza in Nicaragua: “He may be a sonuvabitch but he’s OUR sonuvabitch.”  Now we are doing the same with this crook Karzai who, like his corrupt brethren around the world sees OUR money as the key to his personal billionaire wealth for himself, his family and his friends. 

We’ve been stupid in Afghanistan.  Some say stupid from Day 1, but I think ALL would agree that when we drained our forces from there to fight that criminal and idiotic war in Iraq, it was stupid beyond belief.

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By FRTothus, September 10, 2010 at 4:17 am Link to this comment

“The United States supports right-wing dictatorships
in Latin America, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East
... because these are the rulers who have tied their
personal political destiny to the fortunes of the
American corporations in their countries…
Revolutionary or nationalist leaders have radically
different political constituencies and interests. For
them creating “a good investment climate” for the
United States and developing their own country are
fundamentally conflicting goals. Therefore, the
United States has a strong economic interest in
keeping such men from coming to power or arranging
for their removal if they do.”
(Richard Barnet, Intervention and Revolution)

“Evenhanded use of the “terrorist” label would mean
sometimes affixing it directly on the U.S.
government. During the past decade, from Iraq to
Sudan to Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan, Pentagon
missiles have destroyed the lives of civilians just
as innocent as those who perished on September 11,
2001. If journalists dare not call that “terrorism,”
then maybe the word should be retired from the media
(Norman Solomon)

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By FRTothus, September 10, 2010 at 4:09 am Link to this comment

“Coming to grips with these U.S./CIA activities in
broad numbers and figuring out how many people have
been killed in the jungles of Laos or the hills of
Nicaragua is very difficult. But, adding them up as
best we can, we come up with a figure of six million
people killed-and this is a minimum figure. Included
are: one million killed in the Korean War, two
million killed in the Vietnam War, 800,000 killed in
Indonesia, one million in Cambodia, 20,000 killed in
Angola ... and 22,000 killed in Nicaragua. These
people would not have died if U.S. tax dollars had
not been spent by the CIA to inflame tensions,
finance covert political and military activities and
destabilize societies.
Certainly, there are other local, regional, national
and international factors in many of these
operations, but if the CIA were tried fairly in a
U.S. court, under U.S. law, the principle of
complicity, incitement, riot, and mayhem would
clearly apply. In the United States, if you hire
someone to commit a murder your sentence may be
approximately the same as that of the murderer
Who are these six million people we have killed in
the interest of American national security?
Conservatives tell us, “It’s a dangerous world. Our
enemies have to die so we can be safe and secure.”
Some of them say, “I’m sorry, but that’s the way the
world is. We have to accept this reality and defend
ourselves, to make our nation safe and insure our way
of life.”
Since 1954, however, we have not parachuted teams
into the Soviet Union - our number one enemy - to
destabilize that country… Neither do we run these
violent operations in England, France, Sweden,
Norway, Belgium, or Switzerland. Since the mid-1950s
they have all been conducted in Third World countries
where governments do not have the power to force the
United States to stop its brutal and destabilizing
One might call this the “Third World War.” It is a
war that has been fought by the United States against
the Third World. Others call it the Cold War and
focus on the anti-Communist and anti-Soviet
rationales, but the dead are not Soviets; they are
people of the Third World. It might also be called
the Forty-Year War, like the Thirty-Year and Hundred-
Year Wars in Europe, for this one began when the CIA
was founded in 1947 and continues today. Altogether,
perhaps twenty million people died in the Cold War.
As wars go, it has been the second or third most
destructive of human life in all of history, after
World War I and World War II.
The six million people the CIA has helped to kill are
people of the Mitumba Mountains of the Congo, the
jungles of Southeast Asia, and the hills of northern
Nicaragua. They are people without ICBMs or armies or
navies, incapable of doing physical damage to the
United States the 22,000 killed in Nicaragua, for
example, are not Russians; they are not Cuban
soldiers or advisors; they are not even mostly
Sandinistas. A majority are rag-poor peasants,
including large numbers of women and children.

Communists? Hardly, since the dead Nicaraguans are
predominantly Roman Catholics. Enemies of the United
States? That description doesn’t fit either, because
the thousands of witnesses who have lived in
Nicaraguan villages with the people since 1979
testify that the Nicaraguans are the warmest people
on the face of the earth, that they love people from
the United States, and they simply cannot understand
why our leaders would want to spend $1 billion on a
contra force designed to murder people and wreck the
(John Stockwell)

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By FRTothus, September 10, 2010 at 3:29 am Link to this comment

Eugene says: “I’m not naive. Anyone familiar with the
history of American foreign policy knows that this
isn’t the first time the United States has lavished
guns and butter on a corrupt regime. We did it all
the time when policymakers believed we needed allies,
however unsavory, who would serve as bulwarks against

Sorry, Eugene, but you are terribly naive if you
believe that the US propped up these regimes “as
bulwarks against communism”, and are doubly naive to
think that the US would prop up Karzai if he didn’t
support the drug trade, or wasn’t eager to allow the
US to use Afghanistan as a route for the Caspian oil
and gas.

“Throughout the twentieth century and into the
beginning of the twenty-first, the United States
repeatedly used its military power, and that of its
clandestine services, to overthrow governments that
refused to protect American interests. Each time, it
cloaked its intervention in the rhetoric of national
security and liberation. In most cases, however, it
acted mainly for economic reasons-specifically to
establish, promote and defend the right of Americans
to do business around the world without
(Stephen Kinzer)

“With unfailing consistancy, U.S. intervention has
been on the side of the rich and powerful of various
nations at the expense of the poor and needy. Rather
than strengthening democracies, U.S. leaders have
overthrown numerous democratically elected
governments or other populist regimes in dozens of
countries ... whenever these nations give evidence of
putting the interests of their people ahead of the
interests of multinational corporate interests.”
(Michael Parenti)

“... the United States has given frequent and
enthusiastic support to the overthrow of democracy in
favor of “investor friendly” regimes. The World Bank,
IMF, and private banks have consistently lavished
huge sums on terror regimes, following their
displacement of democratic governments, and a number
of quantitative studies have shown a systematic
positive relationship between U.S. and IMF / World
Bank aid to countries and their violations of human
(Edward S. Herman)

“America’s inability to come to terms with
revolutionary change in the Third World…has created
our biggest international problems in the postwar
era. But the root of the problem is not, as many
Americans persist in believing, the relentless spread
of communism. Rather, it is our own difficulty in
understanding that Third World revolutions are
primarily nationalist, not communist. Nationalism,
not capitalism or communism, is the dominant
political force in the modern world. You might think
that revolutionary nationalism and the desire for
self-determination would be relatively easy for
Americans - the first successful revolutionaries to
win their independence - to understand. But instead
we have been dumbfounded when other peoples have
tried to pursue the goals of our own revolution two
centuries ago.”
(U.S. Senator Frank Church)

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