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Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Afghan war’

US Says They ‘Had To’ Bomb Afghanistan Hospital to Get Taliban – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2019

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/12/15/us-says-they-had-to-bomb-afghanistan-hospital-to-get-taliban/

Pentagon officials are trying to spin the aftermath of Wednesday’s Bagram attack, in which US airstrikes did major damage to an under renovation hospital near the air base. They are now saying they had no choice but to bomb the hospital to get the Taliban.

The attack saw the Taliban use a suicide car bomb to force their way onto the site, and they dug in defensively for a 10 hour battle. Airstrikes were clearly the most convenient way for the US to kill those Taliban, but given the damage inflicted, it may not have been the most ideal for the construction project.

That’s why the Pentagon is now so eager to blame the Taliban for what happened, which is a go-to reaction, but very much beside the point. The Afghanistan Papers reports about failures in US reconstruction in Afghanistan, after all, wasn’t just lacking a scapegoat. The inability to construct sites without getting the unbearable urge to airstrike them is part and parcel to why nothing ever gets built in US-occupied Afghanistan.

Moreover, the problems don’t stop at the destruction of the site. The Pentagon emphasized how valuable to hospital would’ve eventually been to locals, but it was built right on the outskirts of a US military base, which probably wasn’t the most convenient for the locals, and also made the site a particular target for the Taliban to occupy, and one for US forces to airstrike.

The first US response was to further delay the peace process by pausing the Doha talks to protest the attack, and the second response is to blame the Taliban for the damage done. Neither of these is a solution to a problem, and rather reflect why the Afghan War has gone on so long with no progress.

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Tomgram: William Astore, The Pentagon Has Won the War that Matters | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on November 24, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176487/tomgram%3A_william_astore%2C_the_pentagon_has_won_the_war_that_matters/#more

Posted by William Astore at 8:00am, October 25, 2018.

In June, Austin “Scott” Miller, the special-ops general chosen to be the 17th U.S. commander in Afghanistan, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee. Like so many of the generals who had preceded him, he suggested that he saw evidence of “progress” in the Afghan war, even if he refused to “guarantee you a timeline or an end date.” Smart move, general!

As it happens, just over a week ago, he got a dose, up close and personal, of what the Afghan version of “progress” really means. He was visiting key American allies in the southern province of Kandahar when the “insider” attack of all insider attacks occurred. In the sort of event that’s been going on since at least 2010, an ostensible ally, in this case a local member of the Afghan security forces who had evidently joined the Taliban, turned his gun on Kandahar’s chief of police (a crucial powerbroker in the region), the local intelligence chief, and the provincial governor, killing the first two and wounding the third. In the process, he ensured that, with local leadership literally down the tubes, elections in Kandahar would be postponed for at least a week. Three Americans, including a brigadier general, were also wounded in the attack.  (In 2014, an American major general was killed in just such an insider strike.)  In one of the rarest acts for an American commander in memory, General Miller reportedly drew his sidearm as the bullets began to fly, but was himself untouched. Still, it was a striking reminder that, 17 years after the U.S. invaded that country, the Taliban are again riding high and represent the only forces making “progress” or “turning corners” in that country.

In a conflict with no end in sight that is now not only the longest in American history but more than four times as long as World War II, the “finest fighting force that the world has ever known” hasn’t been able to discover a hint of victory anywhere. And that’s something that could be said as well of the rest of its war on terror across the Greater Middle East and ever-expanding regions of Africa. Today, TomDispatch regular retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel William Astore suggests that no great military stays at war for 17 years unless it is, in some sense, victorious. As a result, in his latest post, he explores just where, in our increasingly upside-down American world, evidence of such triumph might be found. Tom

Why American Leaders Persist in Waging Losing Wars
Hint: They’re Winning in Other Ways
By William J. Astore

As America enters the 18th year of its war in Afghanistan and its 16th in Iraq, the war on terror continues in Yemen, Syria, and parts of Africa, including Libya, Niger, and Somalia. Meanwhile, the Trump administration threatens yet more war, this time with Iran. (And given these last years, just how do you imagine that’s likely to turn out?) Honestly, isn’t it time Americans gave a little more thought to why their leaders persist in waging losing wars across significant parts of the planet?  So consider the rest of this piece my attempt to do just that.

Let’s face it: profits and power should be classified as perennial reasons why U.S. leaders persist in waging such conflicts. War may be a racket, as General Smedley Butler claimed long ago, but who cares these days since business is booming? And let’s add to such profits a few other all-American motivations. Start with the fact that, in some curious sense, war is in the American bloodstream. As former New York Times war correspondent Chris Hedges once put it, “War is a force that gives us meaning.” Historically, we Americans are a violent people who have invested much in a self-image of toughness now being displayed across the “global battlespace.” (Hence all the talk in this country not about our soldiers but about our “warriors.”) As the bumper stickers I see regularly where I live say: “God, guns, & guts made America free.” To make the world freer, why not export all three?

The rest here

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Tomgram: William Astore, Military Strength Is Our National Religion | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on August 14, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176596/tomgram%3A_william_astore%2C_military_strength_is_our_national_religion/#more

Posted by William Astore

After almost 18 years of the war (or rather wars) on (or perhaps of) terror, there’s some good news! The Washington Post reports that American troops are finally coming home from Afghanistan! Actually, let me amend that slightly. They will only come home if Taliban and U.S. negotiators complete a deal by September that leads to a countrywide ceasefire (and if the Taliban agrees to certain other conditions as well). In fact, let me amend that one more time: “they” turns out to refer to the withdrawal of just about 5,000 U.S. military personnel, leaving 8,000-9,000 U.S. troops still in place after “peace” breaks out.

For Donald Trump who, years ago, repeatedly demanded that the Afghan War be ended and all American troops brought home, only to agree in mid-2017 to dispatch another 4,000 of them to that land, such a peace pact would just return U.S. troop levels to more or less what they were at that moment two years ago. In the age of Trump, that, I suppose, is the definition of “progress” in America’s never-ending wars. Perhaps you won’t be surprised to also learn that, according to the Post, the U.S. commander in Afghanistan, General Austin Miller, is “open” to such a peace proposal precisely “because he believes it would protect U.S. interests by maintaining a counterterrorism force that can strike the Islamic State and al-Qaeda.” If one were to turn this into a riddle, it might go something like: When is a Trumpian withdrawal hardly a withdrawal at all?

On the other hand, don’t let any of this worry you. The troops may not be coming home, but the wars have been on their way here for a long time. That should have been obvious at least since, in 2014, local police, using equipment off America’s distant battlefields, made such a public splash in responding to protests in Ferguson, Missouri. From thousands of troops sent to the U.S.-Mexican border to the Pentagon spy drones that have long flown over parts of the U.S., further examples of the growing militarization of this country abound. Perhaps the most recent, as reported by the Guardian, is the news that the military is now “conducting wide-area surveillance tests across six Midwest states using experimental high-altitude balloons… Travelling in the stratosphere at altitudes of up to 65,000 feet, the balloons are intended to ‘provide a persistent surveillance system to locate and deter narcotic trafficking and homeland security threats,’ according to a filing made on behalf of the Sierra Nevada Corporation, an aerospace and defense company. The balloons are carrying hi-tech radars designed to simultaneously track many individual vehicles day or night, through any kind of weather.”

As it happens, almost unnoticed, America’s twenty-first-century wars have been coming home in another way as well: in the increasingly worshipful attitudes of so many Americans (especially those in the seats of power in Washington, D.C.) toward the Pentagon and the U.S. military, as vividly described today by retired Air Force lieutenant colonel, historian, and TomDispatch regular William Astore. Tom

In Wars and Weapons We Trust
America’s Militarized Profession of Faith
By William J. Astore

When I was a teenager in the 1970s, I looked to the heavens: to God and Christianity (as arbitrated by the Catholic Church) and to the soaring warbirds of the U.S. military, which I believed kept us safe. To my mind then, they were classic manifestations of American technological superiority over the godless Communists.

With all its scandals, especially when it came to priestly sexual abuse, I lost my faith in the Catholic Church. Indeed, I would later learn that there had been a predatory priest in my own parish when I was young, a grim man who made me uneasy at the time, though back then I couldn’t have told you why. As for those warbirds, like so many Americans, I thrilled to their roar at air shows, but never gave any real thought to the bombs they were dropping in Vietnam and elsewhere, to the lives they were ending, to the destruction they were causing. Nor, at that age, did I ever consider their enormous cost in dollars or just how much Americans collectively sacrificed to have “top cover,” whether of the warplane or godly kind.

There were good and devoted priests in my Catholic diocese. There were good and devoted public servants in the U.S. military. Admittedly, I never seriously considered the priesthood, but I did sign up for the Air Force, surprising myself by serving in it for 20 years. Still, both institutions were then, and remain, deeply flawed. Both seek, in a phrase the Air Force has long used, “global reach, global power.” Both remain hierarchies that regularly promote true believers to positions of authority. Both demand ultimate obedience. Both sweep their sins under the rug. Neither can pass an audit. Both are characterized by secrecy. Both seem remarkably immune to serious efforts at reform. And both, above all, know how to preserve their own power, even as they posture and proselytize about serving a higher one…

“Show me your budget and I will tell you what you value” is a telling phrase linked to Joe Biden. And in those same terms, there’s no question what the American government values most: its military, to the tune of almost $1.5 trillion over the next two years (although the real number may well exceed $2 trillion). Republicans and Democrats agree on little these days, except support for spending on that military, its weaponry, its wars to come, and related national security state outlays…

In that context, I’ve been wondering what kind of “profession of faith” we might have to recite, if there were the equivalent of Mass for what has increasingly become our military church…

* We believe in wars…

* We believe in weaponry, the more expensive the better…

* We believe in weapons of mass destruction. We believe in them so strongly that we’re jealous of anyone nibbling at our near monopoly…

* We believe with missionary zeal in our military and seek to establish our “faith” everywhere. Hence, our global network of perhaps 800 overseas military bases…

* We believe in our college of cardinals, otherwise known as America’s generals and admirals…

* We believe that freedom comes through obedience…

* We believe military spending brings wealth and jobs galore, even when it measurably doesn’t…

* We believe, and our most senior leaders profess to believe, that our military represents the very best of us, that we have the “finest” one in human history.

* We believe in planning for a future marked by endless wars, whether against terrorism or “godless” states like China and Russia, which means our military church must be forever strengthened in the cause of winning ultimate victory.

* Finally, we believe our religion is the one true faith…

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Vietnam-Era Zippos Engraved With Soldier's Personalities

 

 

 

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US Elections: Not a Word About Wars – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on November 14, 2018

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/11/gerald-celente/u-s-elections-not-a-word-about-wars-not-a-peep-about-peace-beware/

By 

…Throughout the election cycle, not one Republican or Democratic candidate presented a campaign platform to end America’s longest, losing Afghan War, nor to end its other illegal and unconstitutional foreign engagements in the Middle East and Africa that’s killing people, destroying nations and intensifying the hatred against We the People.

Indeed, not only was “Peace” a dirty word on the 2018 campaign trail, eight House seats that went to Democratic candidates were won by former members of the military/national security complex… veterans, Central Intelligence Agency and State Department officials. And even the gubernatorial race in solidly Republican Kansas was won by a Democrat who touted her family’s strong military credentials.

Imagine, trillions spent and millions killed in illegal, immoral wars with no end in sight – launched on platforms based on lies from Washington and promoted by the media – and it was NEVER a campaign issue in the 2018 midterm elections. Read the rest of this entry »

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Afghanistan. Graveyard of Empires – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 19, 2018

The United States has inadvertently become one of the world’s leading drug dealers.  This is one of the most shameful legacies of the Afghan War.  But just one.  Watching the world’s greatest power bomb and ravage little Afghanistan, a nation so poor that some of its people can’t afford sandals, is a huge dishonor for Americans.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2018/08/eric-margolis/afghanistan-graveyard-of-empires/

By 

After 17 bloody years, the longest war in US history continues without relent or purpose in Afghanistan.

There, a valiant, fiercely-independent people, the Pashtun (Pathan) mountain tribes, have battled the full might of the US Empire to a stalemate that has so far cost American taxpayers $4 trillion, and 2,371 dead and 20,320 wounded soldiers.  No one knows how many Afghans have died. The number is kept secret…

The whole thing smells of the Vietnam War.  Lessons so painfully learned by America in that conflict have been completely forgotten and the same mistakes repeated.  The lies and happy talk from politicians, generals and media continue apace… Read the rest of this entry »

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THE CRIMES OF SEAL TEAM 6

Posted by M. C. on May 23, 2018

https://theintercept.com/2017/01/10/the-crimes-of-seal-team-6/

Officially known as the Naval Special Warfare Development Group, SEAL Team 6 is today the most celebrated of the U.S. military’s special mission units. But hidden behind the heroic narratives is a darker, more troubling story of “revenge ops,” unjustified killings, mutilations, and other atrocities — a pattern of criminal violence that emerged soon after the Afghan war began and was tolerated and covered up by the command’s leadership. Read the rest of this entry »

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