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October 10, 2015
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Empire of Illusion

Empire of Illusion

By Chris Hedges

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Tag: Afghanistan

Why Bombing a Hospital Is a War Crime

To call the U.S. bombing of the Doctors Without Borders hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan, a war crime and to demand reparations, healing and a public rethinking of the aims of this war is perhaps the most effective way we have to address war itself, to stand up to its powerful perpetrators and to put a halt to their uncontrolled behavior.

Posted on Oct 9, 2015 READ MORE

Doctors Without Borders

Posted on Oct 8, 2015 READ MORE

Why the U.S. Owns the Rise of Islamic State and the Syria Disaster

Over the past three decades, U.S. covert operations and wars have entered repeatedly and powerfully into the chain of causality leading to Islamic State’s present power.

Posted on Oct 8, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: U.S. Commander in Afghanistan Says Kunduz Hospital Was ‘Mistakenly Struck’

This just in from Capitol Hill: Gen. John Campbell, America’s head military honcho in Afghanistan, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday that a Doctors Without Borders-affiliated hospital in Kunduz was “mistakenly struck” in Saturday’s air attack.

Posted on Oct 6, 2015 READ MORE

What the Classroom Didn’t Teach Me About the American Empire

The idea that the United States was an empire did not occur to me until after I finished my work as a bombardier with the Eighth Air Force in the Second World War and came home.

Posted on Oct 5, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Government’s Bid to Train Overseas Security Forces Has Basically Been a Wash

When asking an expert how the U.S. government’s very expensive and time-consuming push to train security forces in other countries has fared, the last thing that government would want to hear is this kind of description: “Our track record at building security forces over the past 15 years is miserable.”

Posted on Oct 4, 2015 READ MORE

Airstrike Hits Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Afghanistan, Killing at Least 19 People

A hospital run by Doctors Without Borders in Kunduz, Afghanistan, was badly damaged Saturday in what appears to have been a U.S. airstrike. At least 19 people were killed, including 12 hospital staff members, and dozens were wounded. Reportedly among the dead was the Afghan head of the hospital, Abdul Sattar.

Posted on Oct 3, 2015 READ MORE

The Final Collapse of Bush’s Nation-Building: Kunduz Falls to Taliban

On Monday, the Taliban swept into the provincial capital of Kunduz, taking it in half a day from a large and well-equipped Afghan National Army force.

Posted on Sep 30, 2015 READ MORE

Murder, Mayhem and Rape in Afghanistan: Made in the U.S.A.

Central to our policy in Afghanistan—a country ravaged and warped by the longest war the U.S. has ever waged—is keeping the warlords as our friends. Americans are ordered to look the other way when these drug-dealing criminals sexually abuse small boys.

Posted on Sep 24, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Military Turned Blind Eye Toward Wealthy Afghans’ Child Rape Practices

Outrage has ensued over revelations that U.S. military personnel ignored the rape of boys occurring among Afghanistan’s elite while American troops were stationed there.

Posted on Sep 22, 2015 READ MORE

Former CIA Agent Trying to Reveal How the U.S. Runs Afghanistan’s Opium Trade Is in Jail

A retired CIA analyst claims the U.S. government is trying to frame him in order to quiet his tell-all book on drug smuggling in Afghanistan; Ronald Reagan’s offspring send Donald Trump a message; meanwhile, a Los Angeles man wakes up from a coma speaking ancient Hebrew. These discoveries and more after the jump.

Posted on Sep 17, 2015 READ MORE

The Story of ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Filmmakers and the CIA Just Got Creepier

The Oscar-winning film “Zero Dark Thirty” became a prestigious awards vehicle for its co-creators, journalist-turned-screenwriter Mark Boal and director Kathryn Bigelow. It also became a source of controversy—and all the more so after this latest news.

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 READ MORE

Taxpayers Fund Yet Another Unneeded Building in Afghanistan

The U.S. military shelled out millions before deciding the project was unnecessary, bringing the total for unused buildings spotted by the inspector general for Afghanistan to nearly $42 million.

Posted on Sep 9, 2015 READ MORE

Midcentury U.S. Germ Warfare ‘Cover-Up’ Underscores Official Duplicitousness

In the face of ongoing public ignorance of research that appears to show that the U.S. military dropped fleas with bubonic plague on North Korea and China six decades ago, author and journalist David Swanson sees an urgent need to oppose U.S. militarism.

Posted on Sep 7, 2015 READ MORE

The Real Enemy Is Within

If you are not dedicated to the destruction of empire and the dismantling of American militarism, then you cannot count yourself as a member of the left. It is not a side issue. It is the issue.

Posted on Sep 6, 2015 READ MORE

Court Ruling Builds a Barrier Against Challenges to NSA Spying on Americans

Rights advocates say an impossible standard is being imposed for the opponents of the federal government’s mass collection of telephone records.

Posted on Sep 5, 2015 READ MORE

The Great Unraveling

The ideological and physical hold of American imperial power is collapsing. If we do not quickly dismantle the structures of neoliberalism and global capitalism, we will be swept away in the coming upheavals.

Posted on Aug 30, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Reportedly Considered Using Nuclear Weapons Against Afghanistan After 9/11

Michael Steiner, a former political adviser to Germany’s then-Chancellor Gerhard Schroder, told German publication Der Spiegel that the nuclear option was one of the possibilities examined after the terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Posted on Aug 29, 2015 READ MORE

War’s End

Posted on Aug 19, 2015 READ MORE

We Have Failed Afghanistan Again and Again

In the first half of 2015, violence by both the Taliban and the U.S. has risen sharply, and Islamic State has emerged as a new and dangerous player. Once again, ordinary Afghans are the victims.

Posted on Jul 29, 2015 READ MORE

Truthdigger of the Week: Chelsea Manning

Sitting in prison on the Fourth of July for exposing some harsh truths about U.S. war crimes, the whistleblower should actually be honored as a true patriot.

Posted on Jul 3, 2015 READ MORE

Why a U.S. Alliance With al-Qaida Is a Crazy Idea

With U.S. Middle East strategy in tatters, some experts are advocating that the U.S. ally with al-Qaida against Islamic State. Here’s why such a cold-blooded plan is pure folly—and what we should call for instead.

Posted on Jun 30, 2015 READ MORE

Thou Shalt Not Kill

Repulsed by tales of U.S. atrocities told by veterans of the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Spc. Robert Weilbacher applied for and was granted conscientious objector status. Then the Pentagon pulled a fast one, leaving him trapped in a hypermasculine dystopia.

Posted on Jun 7, 2015 READ MORE

AP / Jason Redmond

Reflections on the Vietnam War: The Things a Warrior Knows

This Memorial Day weekend, Truthdig republishes one of Vietnam War veteran Ron Kovic’s reflections on the awful truth about war.

Posted on May 24, 2015 READ MORE

Pat and Kevin Tillman

Courtesy of the Tillman Family

After Pat’s Birthday

This Memorial Day weekend, Truthdig commemorates the legacy of deceased U.S. infantryman Pat Tillman by republishing our most popular piece, “After Pat’s Birthday,” written by his brother, Kevin Tillman (pictured with his arm around Pat).

Posted on May 24, 2015 READ MORE

A ‘Martyr,’ a Murder and the Making of a New Afghanistan

Farkhunda is dead and buried, but the staying power of her story seems to mark the rise of something not seen in Afghanistan for a very long time: the power of people to renounce violence and peacefully reclaim themselves.

Posted on May 13, 2015 READ MORE

Truthdigger of the Week: Columnist William Pfaff

The writer, who died April 30, loved his native U.S. but was saddened by its behavior. Over decades, he consistently called for enlightened policy devoid of fearmongering and misinformation.

Posted on May 9, 2015 READ MORE

Body Counts, Drones and ‘Collateral Damage’ (aka ‘Bug Splat’)

In the twenty-first-century world of drone warfare, one question with two aspects reigns supreme: Who counts? In Washington, the answers are the same.

Posted on May 4, 2015 READ MORE

VIDEO: The Middle East Policy of President Bernie Sanders

When it comes to the Middle East, what could we expect during a Bernie Sanders presidency?

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Finally Admits It Has No Idea Who It Is Assassinating by Drone (Video)

The tragic deaths last January, just now being revealed, of two Western hostages in drone strikes on a relatively empty housing complex in northern Pakistan underlines that the Obama administration is killing people from the air without knowing who they are and is killing significant numbers of innocent civilians.

Posted on Apr 30, 2015 READ MORE

A Century of Women Working for Peace

One hundred years ago, more than 1,000 women gathered here in The Hague during World War I, demanding peace.

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 READ MORE

Assassination as Washington Policy and How It Failed, 1990-2015

The strangest part of the story is that a strategy that achieved the very opposite of its intended goal in the drug wars would later be applied full scale to the war on terror—with exactly the same results.

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 READ MORE

‘Still Death’: a Hard-Hitting Poem About Predator Drones (Audio)

Jill McDonough’s poem drives home the idea that when it comes to the many lives taken in our ongoing drone wars, “On the screen or on the ground, death observed is still death.”

Posted on Apr 29, 2015 READ MORE

Mind-Boggling Conundrums in the Middle East

As we look to the future of the Afghanistan-Pakistan area, it’s important to understand the historic role of American geostrategic shenanigans. A shifting global economic balance and the fortunes of American arms manufacturers are further complicating matters.

Posted on Apr 14, 2015 READ MORE

The Iranian Ascendancy

In a classic tale of unintended consequences, just about every time Washington has committed another blunder in the Middle East, Iran has stepped in to take advantage.

Posted on Apr 13, 2015 READ MORE

For Nader, Defiance Is a Way of Life

Our democracy may be farce, our citizens may be entranced by electronic hallucinations and our ecosystem may be collapsing, but the longtime gadfly, armed with his 50-year-old typewriter, will not give up.

Posted on Apr 12, 2015 READ MORE

Middle East Policy Under Rand Paul

Although Rand Paul has a reputation as a Libertarian non-interventionist, he isn’t actually either one.

Posted on Apr 8, 2015 READ MORE

Creating an Afghan Blackwater

Just as Afghan men had once flocked to the Taliban, in 2001 they threw their weight behind a new power: the government of President Hamid Karzai.

Posted on Apr 6, 2015 READ MORE

The Great Game in Afghanistan: a 21st Century Update

As the chances for peace talks between the government of Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and the unbeaten Taliban brighten, the Obama administration finds itself gradually but unmistakably reduced to the status of bystander.

Posted on Apr 1, 2015 READ MORE

Don’t Make a Bad Situation in the Middle East Worse

As gung-ho “experts” press President Obama to do this, that or the other in the Middle East, keep a simple rule in mind: Whatever the avid interventionists suggest probably won’t work—and surely will have unintended consequences.

Posted on Mar 31, 2015 READ MORE

Boots on the Ground

Posted on Mar 30, 2015 READ MORE

The Costs of War, the Price of Peace

What price would you pay not to kill another human being?

Posted on Mar 25, 2015 READ MORE

Can You Say ‘Blowback’ in Spanish?

The U.S. wars in the Middle East and the so-called war on drugs in North America have resulted in violent consequences felt in our own cities, whether at the finish line of the Boston Marathon or in communities of color across the country.

Posted on Mar 23, 2015 READ MORE

Journalism as Subversion

The journalist P. Sainath has worked for more than 20 years to amplify the voices and lives of the rural poor of India as corporate-controlled media have attempted to erase them from history. (Pictured, an Indian farmer in his damaged field.)

Posted on Mar 22, 2015 READ MORE

Leaving the Killing to Computers

The Washington editor of Harper’s Magazine, Andrew Cockburn, tells Jon Stewart about the increasingly technologically dependent and hands-off process that American officials use to kill militants and, inadvertently, civilians in other countries.

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 READ MORE

U.S. Policy Sows Conflict Across the Middle East and North Africa

The U.N. has warned of “total chaos” in Libya; the U.S.-backed regime in Egypt continues a crackdown on political opponents; and Iraq is coming off its deadliest month in years—all while the rise of the Islamic State continues there and in Syria. “Democracy Now!” surveys the wreckage in these places and others with Vijay Prashad.

Posted on Feb 3, 2015 READ MORE

War Is the New Normal

Back in July 2010, I wrote an article for TomDispatch on the seven reasons why America can’t stop making war. More than four years later, with the war on terror still ongoing, with the mission eternally unaccomplished, here’s a fresh take on the top seven reasons why never-ending war is the new normal in America.

Posted on Feb 2, 2015 READ MORE


U.S. Acknowledges Conviction of Guantanamo Detainee Should Not Stand

The conviction of Australian David Hicks, held for nearly six years, was not legally valid, the chief prosecutor says.

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 READ MORE

Former Air Force Drone Operator Remembers His ‘First Hellfire Shot’

Former Air Force pilot Brandon Bryant, who was part of the U.S. Predator drone program for more than four years, talks about remote warfare and how he came to a stopping point in 2011.

Posted on Jan 21, 2015 READ MORE

AP/Marco Garcia

Letter to a Young Army Ranger (From an Old One)

Rory Fanning, an Army Ranger who served with Pat Tillman and became a conscientious objector, writes this letter to young Americans targeted by Army recruiters. (At right, a recruiter.)

Posted on Jan 13, 2015 READ MORE

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