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Unintended Consequences in Nuclear Pakistan

Posted on Oct 9, 2009
AP / Emilio Morenatti

By Fred Branfman

(Page 2)

Petraeus, as the military chief of the Af-Pak theater enjoying even greater “influence” than the Joint Chiefs, has already seen his forays into Pakistan drive the Taliban and al-Qaida eastward, vastly increase both their strength and that of homegrown terrorists, create a vast upsurge in popular anti-American feeling, divide the Pakistani military, and destabilize an already unpopular and corrupt Pakistani government. Further destabilizing a nuclear-armed Pakistan already engaged in a cold and sometimes hot war with India could lead to a U.S. foreign policy crisis dwarfing Afghanistan and Iraq combined.

Shawcross’ “Sideshow” provides a cautionary tale of the kind of unintended consequences that going after enemy “sanctuaries” can lead to. President Nixon, after taking office in January 1969, and Henry Kissinger, who directed U.S. policy and bombing in Cambodia, decided to go after North Vietnamese “sanctuaries” in the sparsely populated northeast regions of an otherwise neutral and peaceful Cambodia. They began by unilaterally conducting secret and massive B-52 bombing raids, violating both the U.S. Constitution and the Nuremberg principles. When the bombing raids did not succeed, they invaded Cambodia with U.S. and South Vietnamese forces. When that failed they escalated their bombing, using B-52s against civilian targets in one of the most savage bombing campaigns of civilians in history. They also created and propped up the corrupt and totally incompetent regime of Gen. Lon Nol, who had overthrown Prince Sihanouk, until Nol’s loss to the murderous Khmer Rouge in April 1975.

The “unintended consequences” of the Nixon-Kissinger attempt to destroy North Vietnamese “sanctuaries” in Cambodia included:

—Driving the North Vietnamese westward into Cambodia, weakening and destabilizing the Lon Nol government.


Square, Site wide

—Transforming the Khmer Rouge from a small and ineffectual force numbering no more than a few hundred into a large army capable of defeating the combined forces of U.S. airpower and the Lon Nol army. Had Nixon and Kissinger respected Sihanouk and not bombed and invaded Cambodia, there is little reason to believe that the Khmer Rouge would have taken power.     

—Fostering widespread pogroms and massacres of Vietnamese citizens of Cambodia, poisoning Vietnamese-Cambodian relations even further.

—Murdering, maiming, impoverishing and starving countless Cambodians, even before the Khmer Rouge came to power.

And this occurred in a nation of only 7 million that posed little threat to anyone beyond Vietnam. The Pakistan issue, of course, is far, far more serious.

Interestingly enough, Kissinger—like so many others, including his protégé Richard Holbrooke—appears to have learned nothing from his destruction of Cambodia. Writing in Newsweek on Oct. 3, Kissinger opined that “a sudden reversal of American policy would fundamentally affect domestic stability in Pakistan by freeing the Qaeda forces along the Afghan border for even deeper incursions into Pakistan, threatening domestic chaos.” Of course, the opposite is true in reality. It is the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan that has driven “the Qaeda forces”—and the Taliban—further east into Pakistan, threatening the same kind of “domestic chaos” that Kissinger produced 40 years ago when his bombing drove the North Vietnamese and Khmer Rouge further west into Cambodia.

But Kissinger’s remark about what al-Qaida might do in the event of a U.S. withdrawal is more to the point. He is fatuous in suggesting that an American withdrawal from Pakistan would “free” al-Qaida to move more deeply into Pakistan. Al-Qaida is already making deep inroads into Pakistan beyond the Northwest Frontier Territories and is likely to continue to do so whatever happens in Afghanistan. But if so, this raises a basic question: Why are we fighting in Afghanistan if “Qaeda forces” are unlikely to return there even if the Taliban wins?

It is impossible at this point to predict the precise “unintended consequences” of further U.S. escalation in Pakistan. Experts worry that dissident elements in the Pakistani military might supply one or more of Pakistan’s dozens of nuclear weapons to terrorists; that anti-American terrorist forces could increase as unexpectedly as did the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia; that a further strengthening of al-Qaida could lead to new 9/11s; that the Pakistani government could be weakened from within; and that tensions between Pakistan and India could reach unprecedentedly dangerous level.

Two things are certain at this point, however.

First, the U.S. has even less control over events in Pakistan than it does in Afghanistan. It is the height of hubris, the arrogance of power and sheer folly to continue unleashing forces there which it cannot control.

Second, despite the horror of the Nixon-Kissinger destruction of Cambodia, it did indeed remain a “sideshow.” Today, it is Afghanistan which is the sideshow. Allowing Pakistan to become the main event would constitute the greatest U.S foreign policy error of the post-World War II era, destroy the Obama presidency and lead to the election of an authoritarian Republican president in 2012 who could make us yearn for the days of George W. Bush.

Fred Branfman, the editor of “Voices From the Plain of Jars: Life Under an Air War” (Harper & Row, 1972), exposed the U.S. secret air war in Laos while living there from 1967 to 1971 and went on to develop solar, educational and Information Age initiatives for California Gov. Jerry Brown and national policymakers.

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By Folktruther, October 21, 2009 at 2:56 pm Link to this comment

Oh, sure, KDelphi, Obama can lose the next election, and will, if the economy explodes while he is fighting pointless wars, or the country effectively goes bankrupt while doing it, as Chalmers Johnson has predicted. 

The plutocracy may have put him in to sanitize Bushite poicies with Europe, and now may put pressure on him to adopt politically losing policies.  they are politically and public relations-wise very clever.  Which polishes up demented policies.

Petraeus wants to be president and if the wars go bad he would have a talking point with the american people: it takes a geeneral to Win them.  When the Gops picked Ike in 1952 during the Korean war, he electrified the country by saying that if he won the election, “I will go to Korea.”  He didn’t say what the fuck he wwa going to do there because this was electoral politics, where Faith and HOpe rules. 

the Gops can hire somebody to write something equally electrifying for Petrarus. He has a better chance of finessing the political loonies on the right than a traditonal political hack.

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By KDelphi, October 20, 2009 at 9:07 pm Link to this comment

FT—do you really think that someone can beat Obama in 2012? What makes you think that the GOP would run Gen. Patreus? Why do you think that he would withdraw? Just wondering….

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By Folktruther, October 19, 2009 at 11:18 am Link to this comment

Coco, sometimes noone is exactly in charge, one just inherits military positions that can’t be won but must fight them in order not to lose.  This is what has happened to Obaman.  He has inherited the military insanities of the Bushites and does not have the political strength to liquidate them.

He therefore must fight them pointlessly until he the next election, when the Gops might put up general Petrarus who will have the political strength to withdraw.  And stregthen the US police state to quell dissent by the destitute and protesters of rental slavery.

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By drbhelthi, October 15, 2009 at 10:24 pm Link to this comment

Why should Russia become re-attack a country who defeated them once, already? Profitting - - . How many billion has the Bush family hidden in off-shore and European banks, from their arms sales to the Osama bin Laden family, even in the last seven years after his decease? And which family has also overtaken the poppy-fields of the area? And which zionist family is grappling for more control of oil-fields, everywhere? And which of the NAZI/zionist families are responsible for the misuse of Nicola Teslas principles to “cook” the area above the atmosphere? How much has the HAARP system in Alaska cost us til now?  And how many times more have the subsequently- engenderd, wierd-weather storms in the U.S. and around the world cost us?  Wholesale dumbidity seems to be attached to power-grabbing behavior, perhaps money-guzzling behavior also.

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By coco, October 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm Link to this comment

I would have to agree with V.P. Biden on the future of war in Pakistan. What I can’t bring myself to understand is that Russia and China have this stuff going on so much as in their back yard and the U.S. military is the one shelling out the dough and blood. My question would be just exactly who is in charge of this fiasco and what exactly is the benefit? Or who is making money on this expenditure? Total waste of life, money, and time will be the final outcome. Stupid leaders, stupid religion and stupid people will be the end of America.

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By drbhelthi, October 13, 2009 at 11:52 pm Link to this comment

While fairy-tales and disinformation may distract from the truth, they only distract.
Truth remains factual.

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By Folktruther, October 13, 2009 at 3:09 pm Link to this comment

It’s true, KDelphi, that some may people think the Himilayas a little chilly for banana plantations, but they must be there because why else would the parrots migrate from the fiords of Norway?

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By KDelphi, October 13, 2009 at 9:58 am Link to this comment

wait a minute—are you f*cking with me?

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By KDelphi, October 13, 2009 at 9:56 am Link to this comment

FT—I did not know that. Interesting! Thanks.

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By drbhelthi, October 13, 2009 at 4:32 am Link to this comment

It is time for Americans and Europeans to STOP assisting “Jacob” to steal the birthright of “Essau”.
Also to recognize that modern day “Jacobs” are zionists, who think they are inherently qualified to rule the world. O.K. Let them do it without American and European monies, and also kick their butts out of leadership positions, especially in the US Gov and particularly the fraudulent enterprise, “The Federal Reserve.”  While “we” have permitted them to bankrupt the U.S. and the western world, the “eastern” world has acquired what was once our wealth, instead of permitting the zionists to also bankrupt them! Americans are a perfect example of how naievely stupid a nation can be, and Germany runs a close second, hindered partially by memory of the evil deeds of Hitler and pimps.

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By Crimes of the State Blog, October 12, 2009 at 10:51 am Link to this comment

You assume that breaking up Pakistan is not part of the Zion/US agenda.

In that case what is “intended” is really not for you to claim.  Whether it would be good or bad is another question altogether.  Intent is something which needs much more thought than you have given it.

What was the “intent” in Iraq?

Was it to overthrow Saddam Hussein?

Or was it to break up the once powerful rival to Israel so that it could never oppose Israel again?  It was to be divided into a Kurdish / Sunni / Shiite collection of smaller regional control centers.  These plans were made explicitly clear with maps released.  Other maps showed a complete break up of Arab countries into ethnic tribal regions.  This map was an Israeli produced policy paper. 

“Intent” is a big question.

Is not endless war against weak dispersed “terrorists” the intent of the US establishment and military industrial complex? 

Isn’t a “war that won’t end in our lifetimes” the intent given clarity by Dick Cheney?

Wasn’t the US “defense” (sic) establishment in danger of losing the government teat after the fall of communism?  Weren’t they looking for a new enemy to replace the old cold war paradigm?

And lastly, given abundant evidence that the “Al Qaeda” terrorists were aided and abetted by “allies” and intelligence services—wasn’t the intent a phony, bogus, hyped up enemy to use as a bludgeon on western populations?

9/11 the myth doesn’t hold up to the facts

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By jack, October 12, 2009 at 10:11 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

CIA-issue materiel found on dead Taliban - - theft
and theft alone?

2 things to never forget:

1. “Deception is a state of mind and the mind of the state.” - James Jesus
Angelton - Director of CIA Counter Intelligence (1954-74)

2. “The Central Intelligence Agency owns everyone of any significance in the major
media.” - William Colby - Director of the CIA (1973-76)

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By jackpine savage, October 12, 2009 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Actually, i didn’t need the Taliban defined/explained. I’ve read on it fairly significantly. It was an exercise because i get tired of hearing the word used to mean just about anything a writer/commenter/politician wants it to mean.

One of the key factors is to consider how much US aid was siphoned through the ISI in support of the original Taliban, prompting its victory in the Afghan Civil War.

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By Folktruther, October 12, 2009 at 1:08 am Link to this comment

The taliban, Jackpine, origninated in the banana plantations of the Hindu Kush.  The workers were illiterate and were paid by the number of bananas they picked, and the taliban would gain their support by counting their bananas for them.  Thus the old Harry Belefonte folk lyric:


They were assisted in this process by the migration of parrots from the fiords of Norway.  Since the workers could not read, the taliban used messenger parrots to carry the count, and bananas, across country.  the parrots had a bad sense of dirrection (which is how they got in Afghanistan in the first place) abd would occassionally wind up in the Himalayas.  Disconcerting the climbers to see a parrot in a phantom tree cheving on a banana.

I hope, Jackpine,  that explains the taliban for you. And now for something completely different, a parrot getting the nobel prize for looking forward, not backward.

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By Arindam, October 12, 2009 at 1:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The best solution for all concerned would be to disarm and disintegrate Pakistan.  A Sino-American effort to remove the nuclear arsenal, followed by an Indo-American drive to split the country into pieces would probably do more good than any other course of action.

Of course, that is most unlikely.  Instead, we are likely to see Washington continue to finance a terrorist state, which will continue to unleash violence upon itself and others.  A more ridiculous waste of money is difficult to imagine.

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By Ouroborus, October 11, 2009 at 9:01 pm Link to this comment

The first link after the 2 definitions (of 25 listed)
gives 25 definitions of Taliban. It appears there is
an umbrella definition, so to speak, but due to
various separate factions; the definition will never
be precise. Certainly to be at war with the Taliban
is to be at war with the Pashtuns. One could say it’s
being at war with both Afghanistan and Pakistan or
neither, IMO.

a fundamentalist Islamic militia; in 1995 the Taliban
militia took over Afghanistan and in 1996 took Kabul
and set up an Islamic government; “the ...

The Taliban (?????? ‘, meaning “students”), also
Taleban’‘’, is a pro-Wahhabi Sunni Islamist,
predominately Pashtun fundamentalist religious ...

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By jackpine savage, October 11, 2009 at 8:23 pm Link to this comment

The Durand line issue raises a question: are we at war with the Taliban, in Afghanistan or against the Pashtun?

And i’m still looking for a concrete definition of the Taliban if any patriots out there want to explain it to me.

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By Folktruther, October 11, 2009 at 4:57 pm Link to this comment

There IS NO border there KDelphi, the Durand line is a line on a maap. 25 million Pushtans live on one side, 25 million on the other.  and they go back and forth.  An Afghan war IS a Pakistan war.

Come on, Jack, register.  I promise I won’t insult you gratuitously unless I feel like it.

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By montanawildhack, October 11, 2009 at 4:18 pm Link to this comment

I’m fixen’ to report both haaalo and sophrosyne to the moderators!!!  They are clearly anti-semites…To claim that Israel is behind U.S. policy in the Mid-East is insane…  They are a meak and peace loving people… And they invented god and jesus for christ’s sake…

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By KDelphi, October 11, 2009 at 2:34 pm Link to this comment

jackpinesavage’s link made me gasp! and it rather falls into place….terrifying. Especially Pakistan.

Pakistan/Afghanistan will be the graveyard. The population doesnt reslly “see” a border there and Obama & Co starting calling it Af-Pak, so it wouldnt seem like another Cambodia.

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By jack, October 11, 2009 at 11:03 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

...geo-strategic problems… — the heart of the geo-political strategy as it serves the Global Finance Oligarchy, for whom nation states are mere tools to advance their agenda: Fail all nation states in danger of becoming self-determinant — their greatest threat.

To the Global Finance Oligarchy — the only ones who matter, because the rest of us are “useless eaters,” as betrayed in Henry Kissinger’s infamous memo (before or after his Nobel, anyone know?) — The Global War Of Terror is purposefully endless — not a failure, a stunning success; just as the 9/11 coup was not the biggest intelligence failure all time, but the greatest intelligence success, serving in its heinous magnificence to launch the Global War Of Terror, designed to terrorize virtually everyone into becoming subservient useful fools. The defense industry does turn profits in the billions, but this is essentially their role as well.

The war is on schedule to expand into Pakistan and Africa but at day’s end there is the overarching trump:  Depleted Uranium Poisoning — soon to go global as nano-DU dusts blows world wide -

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By Folktruther, October 11, 2009 at 9:46 am Link to this comment

Holy shit!  A few insurgents in Islamibad seized a MILITARY HEADQUARTERS and took the officers hostage before it was recaptured. Unprecidented.  The Pakistani military is divided between pro and anti US, and the people are strongly against the US military, since they kill them with their drones. 

The military went on tv to attack the president, a corrupt billionaire, and to oppose the customary US attempt to bribe him.  The insurgants taking the militry headquarters came from the various groupings all over Pakistan, so they are strongly united across ethnic boundaries against the US.

And the US is intervening in Pakistan to support a corrupt president as it has in Afghanistan?  I think the American power structure has taken leave of its senses and is ideologically insane.  We are being ruled by incompetent homocidal maniacs.  Obama has inherited an obviously losing military situation and he does not have the strength or courage to terminate it.

The other wars the US is conducting are nothing compared to intervening in Pakistan, which has 6 times the population of Afghanistan or Iraq.  It has a much greater population than Vietnam did at the time, and the bombing of villages, weddings and funerals arouses the fear and rage of the population.

The simple truth of the matter is that the US is extremely good at marketing the political fantasies of the mainstream truth to the American population, since they are endorsed by both the Cons and Progs.  But it cannot formualate policies to resolve the geo-strategic problems it has inherited.  It is caught in a quagmire of lose-lose situations, whcih Obama with his Inspiring rhetoric, is leading us deeper. 

And the American population is disoriented, fearful and deluded, and cannot exert sufficient threat to the power structure to influence the power decisons.

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By melpol, October 11, 2009 at 6:16 am Link to this comment

Offering the Pakistani leaders a lifetime U.S. pension in exchange for their nuclear
bombs will make the region safer. Lets also give the ferocious tribesmen enough
opium to quiet their nervousness. The infidels and heathens should be allowed to
emigrate to New York City.

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By Dave24, October 11, 2009 at 2:15 am Link to this comment

The president controls the mission, and the generals make requests to ensure the
success of the mission. 

So the issue isn’t more troops or less troops—the issue isn’t that the generals
beat the war drum.  The issue is the policy set forth by the Administration.

More resources will always help our troops, so there’s nothing shocking that
high-ranking officials ask for more of everything.  What’s shocking is that the
United States moves from one quagmire to another to defeat an enemy that isn’t
killable: the enemy is an ideology.  Memes.

Moreover, while Obama “inherited” this war, should he choose to continue it,
ownership going forward will be shared with the previous administration.  No
more separation from Bush.

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By Bill, October 10, 2009 at 6:53 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Given the circumstances we have in Afghanistan war, the Obama push for Pakistani army to take on militants is the only reasonable choice. This can split militants into several groups with some of whom we can negotiate to establish more or less stable government in Afghanistan which will be responsible for maintaining peaceful development in the country and be strong enough to not let Al Qaida to set base there. The collateral risk of destabilizing Pakistan is overstated. The most probable scenario will be just one more military dictator which is nothing out of ordinary for Pakistan. The are no powerful players in the neighborhood which will be interested in Pakistan falling into chaos.

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By Brian, October 10, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

So it is emerging, that McMeth’s enthusiasm in going after sheep herders in Afghanistan is tied to his boss’ possible run for Military Dictator in 2012…perish the thought.  The conspirators of the crimes of 9/11 are still getting their way, in the quick transformation of the United States from a shade of Democratic Republic, to a Fascist State.  And there are still Progressives out there that explain away the smokiest gun on 9/11 of them all, WTC7.  Actually, most still do not even know what WTC7 is/was.  Talk about cognitive dissonance, and/or lack of curiosity!

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By jack, October 10, 2009 at 9:28 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I opened with “better come up with something quick” - seems it’s been done -
more deathly intense insurgent violence in the last few days - none in any
mainstream media dare to look into any of this as possible black ops

- extensive new info. is coming out on the extent of the long-term black ops in
the middle east - - at Brad Blog is linked the
audio from his hosting of the Mike Malloy Show where Sibel Edmunds talks at length about what
she learned while working as an interpreter for the FBI

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By Brojo, October 10, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The killing fields of the Twenty-first Century will be in Pakistan if Holbrooke’s and the generals’ plans are executed.

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By bogi666, October 10, 2009 at 7:46 am Link to this comment

Ivan Hentschal, great observations, thanks. Another military coup for Pakistan I presume.

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By bogi666, October 10, 2009 at 7:15 am Link to this comment

Henry Kissenger is America’s insult to the world, his policies have killed millions of people,he’s never been right about anything. Just why does anyone listen to him. I canceled Newsweek because of the insane article they published by him. As for Patreus, he’s the architect in a military coup to take over the USA. He’s been politicking for two years now based on his Iraq “surge” which is the Pentagon paying protection money to the Iraq opposition. It’s against policy for the military to engage in politics while on duty and in uniform. This country is ripe for a military takeover, the Pentagon is already the government inside the government. President Obushama’s first act as President was to report to the Pentagon. Patreus, McChrystal and Gates should all be fired. The only thing Pateus has/is doing is to undue the things he did wrong in Iraq and posturing for a military dictatorship government. The military was emboldened by their coup in Florida in 2000, a bloodless coup, by the rigging of the military absentee ballots there. Unfortunately, the Democrats are probably incapable or unwilling to prevent the forth coming military government.

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By saeed shiekh, October 10, 2009 at 4:38 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I am a living citizen in Pakistan who has eye witnessed homes being bombarded and the skies filled with terror as these unknown drones come out of and take on a roll of thier own. I have buried some loved ones for meanings that I still try to find. The main issue is that the social and political system is corrupt to its core. Take out the veneers of guilt and give the constitution a true name. Do not allow murders to run the show and see beneath the dirt. There are Pakistanis who can drive this flagship. Question is that cant the think tanks of America see through the horse shit of the governments and know that they are all selfish men? All of the senior government officers have green cards and children staying there in States. why would they care? Save Pakistan. Save teh system.

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By haaaalo, October 9, 2009 at 3:56 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The situation has nothing to do with American interests.  Of course, the suffering in Iraq has been of no concern to the neocons—it is all in the cause of Israel.  Israel wants to neutralize Pakistan’s nuclear weapons anyway it can—break up Pakistan, reduce the central government to impotence and thus requiring western takeover of the nukes, etc.

Our military is serving Israel’s paranoid, vicious interests, not America’s.

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By melpol, October 9, 2009 at 3:25 pm Link to this comment

After receiving the peace prize he cannot now send 40 thousand troops to kill
dissidents in Afghanistan. He will be forced to use the remaining troops as
security guards for Mosques and schools.

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By Folktruther, October 9, 2009 at 1:18 pm Link to this comment

I am not a fan of most truthdig pieces but they really deserve credit for printing this one.  the American people, having knowledge of either history or geography, have no idea of geo-strategy, and tend to throw up their hands and support American Authority.  In this case it is even more disastrous than Iraq.

Pakistan is a country of 180 million people, 6 times that of Iraq or Afghanistan.  With nuclear weapons.  With a war dispute with India.  On the Chinese border. Whose people hate the US power system.  And whose country the US already has three or more bases.

It would be hard to think up a more complete recipe for disaster. It is geo-strategically insane for the US to escalate the war in Pakistan.  But that is the most likely surprise-free scenario. 

Obama has inherited this war from the Bushites and it would necessary to exert strength agianst the militarists to withdraw.  And Obama does not have that strength.  He is a public relations figure whose task is to bloviate Inspiring rhetoric to justify the wishes and whims of the US plutocracy.

And the only foreign policy experience he has is in Pakistan.  After he graduated from Columbia, he spent a year at a CIA front which sent him to Pakistan for a few weeks.  this qualifies him as being an Expert by political standards, and Experts do not relinguish the subjects of their expertise easily.

The writer said it all in a nutshell.  The Afghan tail is now wagging the Pakistan dog.  Looking forward, not backward, we can only Hope and fear.

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By thebeerdoctor, October 9, 2009 at 1:12 pm Link to this comment

Please allow me to a parAphrase a bit of KDelphi’s wisdom here, via the late John Lennon: “you better get yourself together darling and join the human race.”

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By KDelphi, October 9, 2009 at 12:11 pm Link to this comment

oldhippie01—your insistence that every crtiticism of Obama is based on race defaces the argument and makes you a joke. “warmongers”?? you old Dems really need to take a look at your party…it sucks.
Nixon/Kissinger, Obama/Clinton = Nobel. That is the connection. Except there is no draft and Pakistan has nukes.

The “racism” charge is growing tiresome.

The Taliban (which is not Al Qaeda) is already ‘in charge”—ask the generals. Obama decided on McChrystal, against much advice, so let him now deal with his decision.

So, now that your kids wont be drafted you old hippies want to escalate or continue into Pakistan? Or what? Obama has increased the number of mercenaries in Af-Pak, has not “closed GITMO”, has nOT “pulled out of Iraq”, has not reversed any Bush policies about spying on our own citizens nor reversed extraordinary rendition, has raised the military budget…what would he have to do, nuke Pakistan?

You guys are just begging for a repeat of 1994.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, October 9, 2009 at 11:21 am Link to this comment

The article seems to be claiming that to continue fighting the Taliban will have the
effect of pushing them deeper into Pakistan, destabilizing the gov’t there, and
eventually leading to Taliban rule in a nuclear state. We should therefor surrender
Afghanistan to the Taliban in the hopes that they will be appeased and leave
Pakistan alone.

I don’t know what this assumption is based upon. It seems just as likely, that
allowing the Taliban a home base in Kabul to re-establish their heinous brand of
Islamic totalitarianism might prove even more dangerous, by allowing them to
spread their medieval ideology under the banner of a “legitimate” state.

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By prole, October 9, 2009 at 11:20 am Link to this comment

Perhaps “unintended consequences” apply to journalists as well, but somehow it’s hard to completely forgive Branfman’s assertion that it’s “a policy that could make even the Nixon-Kissinger destruction of Cambodia seem like a pleasant memory.” Perhaps he’s only trying to turn a clever phrase, or maybe it’s only an unintended consequence of wanting to sound the alarm bell about Obama’s impending disaster in Afghanistan/Pakistan, but no matter how awful that turns out to be – and it promises to be every bit as calamitous as Branfman fears – nothing but nothing can ever for one minute make the Nixon-Kissinger destruction of Cambodia seem like a pleasant memory. There is no need or justification for any kind of moral relativism here, regardless of how much further unintended – and more often, as in Indochina, intended(!) harm the U.S. continues to do in the world, there will never, ever be anything “pleasant” about the the devastation of Cambodia by Dr. Strangelove and co. It was in no way “pleasant” then and it’s not the least bit more “pleasant” (to very much understate it) in “memory”. It was a nightmare when it happened and it will always be a nightmare. Political gamesmanship in the domestic sphere is ridiculously trivial compared to the trauma of those who experienced it. Whether or not, “Allowing Pakistan to become the main event would constitute the greatest U.S foreign policy error of the post-World War II era, destroy the Obama presidency and lead to the election of an authoritarian Republican president in 2012” – far more significantly, it would be a humanitarian catastrophe in it’s own right, regardless of how it compares to raw figures to Cambodia which will always have it’s own unanswered historical claims. And as odious as Obama is, he could never “make us yearn for the days of George W. Bush.” A pox on both of their houses! These kinds of figures of speech are as misguided as the policies they seek to execrate.

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By sophrosyne, October 9, 2009 at 11:15 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

An authoritarian President Petraeus under the direction of a vicious, violent Israel is truly a nightmare.

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By oldhippie01, October 9, 2009 at 11:11 am Link to this comment

I read the article above, both pages and didn’t see any reference to a “Peace Prize” at all.All i read was a bunch of political BS tying Afghanistan to Cambodia.
As to the point of whether of not a “Peace Prize” was deserved, I thought the President made it clear in his speech this morning that he also had some questions about that and he certainly didn’t ask for it, so we are left to guess and I have expressed my GUESS…......

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By Commune115, October 9, 2009 at 10:53 am Link to this comment

oldhippie01, my comment had nothing to do with Obama’s racial identity, but read the above article and tell me if that is deserving a peace prize. Let’s be adults now, get serious.

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By carl moore, October 9, 2009 at 10:46 am Link to this comment

“As indifferent to non-American human suffering as have been conservatives,
neoconservatives and neo-Stalinists like Dick Cheney,”...(?)
    Twisting truth by alluding to historical figures to support and justify a posit
written by a journalist deprived of historical knowledge and a brain.
    We have to assume Branfman will soon be teaching Russian history in charter

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By Jean Gerard, October 9, 2009 at 10:18 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

All due respects, but it isn’t a case of the intellectuality behind one nuclear finger; it’s the hate and fear and ambition in the minds of six or eight or ten nuclear fingers.  Given this situation, the law of unintended consequences predicts that, sooner or later, if the present situation continues . . . 
  So why not get all these nuclear nations’ big shots together immediately, have some of the scientists who know the effects of nuclear holocaust and some of the Japanese victims of Hiroshima sit down with them and explain the situation to all of them face—the mutual danger to human life and to the planet. Power-point.  Video. 
face-to-face, instantaneous translation. All that good stuff. Get an agreement to decrease, to put a stop to proliferaton, take the status out of the bomb and the money out of war, and above all, save the future of the human race.

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By oldhippie01, October 9, 2009 at 9:04 am Link to this comment

Beer Doctor and C.C.Dillon;
  Upon further deliberation my guess,( and that is all any of us can do) is that it could be a sigh of relief the World feels having the “Warmongers” gone and an intelligent Man with his finger on the “Nuclear Trigger”.........

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By thebeerdoctor, October 9, 2009 at 8:16 am Link to this comment

In this celebrity driven television media world, I have already heard it said that Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize is a “do over” for not swinging the Olympics to Chicago, It sounds absurd, but Entertainment Tonight may have something to say about this…

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By oldhippie01, October 9, 2009 at 5:59 am Link to this comment

My comment was directed at Commune, not you Dillon. I can understand sincere questions, not categorical statements.

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 9, 2009 at 5:52 am Link to this comment


I hope that comment is not directed at me.  In fact, I don’t see any racism in either comment.  Obama’s color has nothing to do with it ... I was commenting on the lack of “peace” in his agenda.  I would have said the exact same thing were he WASP.

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By Howie Bledsoe, October 9, 2009 at 5:43 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Great. Here we go again.  Why is it that anyone who critizises Obama is a racist?  It´s like calling me anti-semitic for disagreeing with Israeli policies in Gaza. Obama is also a lawyer and a politician, which makes him suspect to me, and I am by no means a racist.
I was also very surprised about the Nobel prize, to be honest.

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By Ivan Hentschel, October 9, 2009 at 5:34 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I thought this article was about “unintended consequences” in Pakistan? Maybe we could stick with the subject matter at hand?

If you trust your instincts, I think you will discover that all of the consequences in Pakistan are “intended”. Obamaspeak and Bidentalk would have you believe otherwise, but everything we do, we do to feed the military. Don’t kid yourself.

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By oldhippie01, October 9, 2009 at 5:00 am Link to this comment

I disagree, it is YOU that,( I almost said joke, but there is nothing humorous about Racist Bigots ,such as yourself).

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By C.Curtis.Dillon, October 9, 2009 at 4:52 am Link to this comment

I have to admit that this award seems somewhat odd given the current state of “peace” in America.  The committee said something about how they wanted to encourage the current trends toward peace in the administration.  That too seems odd given we are not making progress in the middle east nor in Afghanistan.  Very strange.  What were they thinking?

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By Sims, October 9, 2009 at 3:35 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

as a norvegian I am full of shame, sorry the Noble price is a joke, and Jagland the leader of the commite is just elected president of the european council or somthing. Idiot

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By Commune115, October 9, 2009 at 2:49 am Link to this comment

The Nobel Peace Prize has been rendered a total joke.

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By jack, October 9, 2009 at 2:46 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Better come up with something creative and quick, otherwise the best bogyman of all time (AKA OBL and his much-dreaded Al Queda) might slip forever into useless obscurity - may not take another false flag the size of 9/11, but expect more suicide bombings and US attacks on so-called Al Queda cells in the direction of Africa, targeted as the theater of expansion for the Global War Of Terror - moreover as ever more DU munitions are funneled to fighters in all these regions, DU poisoning is spreading almost systematically - seems Kissingers’ call for wholesale reduction of “useless eaters,” is a fait accompli.

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