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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Graveyard of Empires – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 21, 2021

America’s war party is trying to find ways to keep the conflict going by raising phony alarms about girl’s schooling, translators and woman’s rights.  But we hear nothing at all from these pro-war hypocrites about the murder, rape and dowry killing of thousands of women in India each year.  How many misinformed Americans know that Taliban was a religious movement formed to stop the rape of Afghan women and brigandage during the bitter 1990’s civil war?  I was there and saw it.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/07/eric-margolis/graveyard-of-empires/

By Eric S. Margolis

The US-led war in Afghanistan looks to be ending, and not a day too soon.  America’s father, Benjamin Franklin, wisely wrote: ‘No good war; no bad peace.’

Yet for 20 years, the United States waged all-out war against this small, remote, impoverished state whose only weapons were old AK47 rifles and the boundless courage of its fierce people. 

In my first book about Afghanistan, ‘War at the Top of the World,’ written after being in the field with the anti-Soviet ‘mujahidin’ warriors, I called them ‘the bravest men on earth.’  Now, some 21 years later, I repeat this title.

For the past two decades, the Afghan nationalist mujahidin have faced the full might of the US empire: waves of B-1 and B-52 heavy bombers; fleets of killer drones, constant air strikes from US airbases in Afghanistan, Central Asia and the Gulf; 300,000 US-financed Afghan mercenary troops; up to 120,000 US and NATO troops and other US-paid mercenaries;  the brutal Communist-run Afghan secret police, regular government police, Tajik, Hazara and Uzbek militias, hit squads sent by the US and Britain, plus famine and disease.  Use of torture by western forces was rampant.

All this to defend the US-installed Afghan puppet governments whose main business was protecting the nation’s growing opium trade which made Afghanistan the world’s largest exporter of opium/morphine that was processed into heroin.  Another proud moment for Washington which, in the 1970’s had been up to its ears in Indochina’s opium trade, and later in Central America’s cocaine business. 

Afghanistan was a war of lies, sustained by the powerful US and British media.  President George W. Bush, a man of deep ignorance, launched this war to cover being caught sleeping by the 9/11 attacks.  Bush blamed Osama bin Laden, former US ally, and Afghanistan’s Taliban government for 9/11, though the Afghans were likely not involved with it. 

The only proof of bin Laden’s involvement was a number of fake videos that I believe were made by Afghanistan’s Communist-run intelligence service or its former KGB bosses.  When I pointed out these videos were fakes, CNN blacklisted me from further broadcasting.  So too did Canada’s CBC TV and the Sun chain after I warned Canadian troops were being sent to Afghanistan under false pretenses.

Officially, the US lost 31,376 dead and seriously wounded in Afghanistan; Canada lost 158 dead; Britain 456 dead; the Afghans god knows how many.  Estimates range from, 100,000 to one million.  Two million Afghans reportedly died during the decade-long Soviet occupation.  Almost anything that moved was bombed.

The known cost for this useless war was 2 trillion US dollars, plus hundreds of millions in secret payments to hire ‘volunteers’ from US allies to fight in Afghanistan.  This was almost all borrowed money hidden in the US federal debt.

What next?  The US is trying to find a way to stay engaged in Afghanistan via air attacks from its bases in the Gulf and possibly new ones in Central Asia.  The world’s premier military power simply cannot endure the humiliation of defeat in Afghanistan, particularly so by a bunch of Muslim mountain warriors.  All those US and British ‘experts’ who championed the Afghan war are now hiding their faces, as they did after the Iraq debacle.

America’s war party is trying to find ways to keep the conflict going by raising phony alarms about girl’s schooling, translators and woman’s rights.  But we hear nothing at all from these pro-war hypocrites about the murder, rape and dowry killing of thousands of women in India each year.  How many misinformed Americans know that Taliban was a religious movement formed to stop the rape of Afghan women and brigandage during the bitter 1990’s civil war?  I was there and saw it.

What next? As US power wanes, CIA will try to bolster separatist movements among Afghanistan’s Tajik and Uzbek minorities.  Iran will arm and finance the Shia Hazara minority.  Still Communist dominated Tajikistan and Uzbekistan will support their ethnic brethren in Afghanistan.  Most important, India will intensify intrigues in Afghanistan where its powerful intelligence agency, RAW, is increasingly active.

Meanwhile Pakistan quietly supports Taliban which, like a quarter of Pakistanis, is of Pashtun ethnicity.  China for once does not know what to do in Afghanistan: it wants to block expansion of Indian influence in the subcontinent but deeply fears militant Islam and its rising influence in Chinese-ruled Xinjiang, formerly Turkistan.  

So, Americans may have not seen the last of Afghanistan, one of the greatest follies of US foreign policy.  To paraphrase the great Talleyrand, the US war in Afghanistan ‘was worse than a crime, it was a mistake.’

Eric S. Margolis [send him mail] is the author of War at the Top of the World and the new book, American Raj: Liberation or Domination?: Resolving the Conflict Between the West and the Muslim World. See his website.

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‘We Just Marched Out’ – US Abandons Afghan Base At Night

Posted by M. C. on July 7, 2021

US troops abandoned Bagram Air Base – a symbol of the US occupation of Afghanistan – in the dead of night. Reportedly the Afghan commander did not know until morning that he was in charge. Good move? Neocons not happy. Also today – soldiers unhappy about mandatory jab and…were US sailors forced to participate in “Pride” hike?

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : It’s Saigon in Afghanistan

Posted by M. C. on July 6, 2021

The US is estimated to have spent nearly 100 billion dollars training the Afghan army and police force. The real number is likely several times higher. For all that money and 20 years of training, the Afghan army cannot do its job. That’s either quite a statement about the quality of the training, the quality of the Afghan army, or some combination of the two.

Whatever the case, I am sure I am not the only American wondering whether we can get a refund. The product is clearly faulty.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/july/05/it-s-saigon-in-afghanistan/

Written by Ron Paul

The end of the 20-year US war on Afghanistan was predictable: no one has conquered Afghanistan, and Washington was as foolish as Moscow in the 1970s for trying. Now, US troops are rushing out of the country as fast as they can, having just evacuated the symbol of the US occupation of Afghanistan, Bagram Air Base.

While perhaps not as dramatic as the “Fall of Saigon” in 1975, where US military helicopters scrambled to evacuate personnel from the roof of the US Embassy, the lesson remains the same and remains unlearned: attempting to occupy, control, and remake a foreign country into Washington’s image of the United States will never work. This is true no matter how much money is spent and how many lives are snuffed out.

In Afghanistan, no sooner are US troops vacating an area than Taliban fighters swoop in and take over. The Afghan army seems to be more or less melting away. This weekend the Taliban took control of a key district in the Kandahar Province, as Afghan soldiers disappeared after some fighting.

The US is estimated to have spent nearly 100 billion dollars training the Afghan army and police force. The real number is likely several times higher. For all that money and 20 years of training, the Afghan army cannot do its job. That’s either quite a statement about the quality of the training, the quality of the Afghan army, or some combination of the two.

Whatever the case, I am sure I am not the only American wondering whether we can get a refund. The product is clearly faulty.

Speaking of money wasted, in April, Brown University’s Cost of War Project calculated the total cost of the Afghanistan war at more than two trillion dollars. That means millions of Americans have been made poorer for a predictably failed project. It also means that thousands of the well-connected contractors and companies that lurk around the US Capitol Beltway pushing war have become much, much richer.

That’s US foreign policy in a nutshell: taking money from middle-class Americans and transferring it to the elites of the US military and foreign policy establishment. It’s welfare for the rich.

Meanwhile, the Costs of War Project also estimated that the war took more than a quarter of a million lives.

The Biden Administration may believe it is saving face by installing a military command of nearly 1,000 troops inside the US Embassy in Kabul, but this is foolish and dangerous. Such a move establishes the US Embassy as a legitimate military target rather than a diplomatic outpost. Has anyone at the Pentagon or the State Department thought this through?

Plans to occupy the airport in Kabul are also unlikely to work. Does anyone think that, having come this far, an emboldened and victorious Taliban are going to sit by as US or allied military occupy the Kabul airport?

Trillions of dollars wasted and millions either killed or displaced from their homes. For nothing. The lessons of Afghanistan are simple: bring all US troops home, defend the United States as necessary, and leave the rest of the world to its own business. We’ve tried it the other way and it clearly doesn’t work.


Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.
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America Still Loves the Warfare State | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on May 29, 2021

Farcically enough, once Biden was safely installed in office, the US intelligence community began to walk back allegations regarding the bounty program by noting that there was not sufficient evidence from US military intelligence to corroborate its existence. Whether or not Biden’s withdrawal was motivated by politics is up for speculation.

Beyond the partisan implications of the Afghan withdrawal, we have to wonder whether the previous Trump administration squandered a genuine opportunity to break from the liberal hegemonic order that the US government has presided over since the end of World War II.

https://mises.org/wire/america-still-loves-warfare-state

José Niño

The Biden administration’s announcement in mid-April to withdraw American troops looks like a positive first step in the right direction in ending America’s longest military conflict to date. Undoubtedly, questions remain about the sincerity of such a withdrawal, and whether there will still be a residual military presence left over under the cloak of “counterterrorism” or some type of arrangement with private defense contractors to maintain order in the graveyard of empires.

Looking back, it was rather amusing all the stops the corporate press pulled out to derail former president Donald Trump’s previous attempts to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The Russian bounty program took the cake as the most significant news story used to thwart Trump’s sensible withdrawal proposal in Afghanistan. On that occasion, the media started spreading stories about Russian military intelligence paying militants connected to the Taliban bounties for killing Americans and allied armed forces in the Afghan conflict. In its predictable salvo against the Trump administration, the corporate press made a major stink about this program throughout the 2020 elections, adding another chapter to the ridiculous anti-Russia saga.

Farcically enough, once Biden was safely installed in office, the US intelligence community began to walk back allegations regarding the bounty program by noting that there was not sufficient evidence from US military intelligence to corroborate its existence. Whether or not Biden’s withdrawal was motivated by politics is up for speculation.

Beyond the partisan implications of the Afghan withdrawal, we have to wonder whether the previous Trump administration squandered a genuine opportunity to break from the liberal hegemonic order that the US government has presided over since the end of World War II.

Naïve as some observers were about the Trump administration functioning as a wrecking ball to this international order, myself included, many underestimated the level of institutional inertia present in the foreign policy bureaucracy along with the constant media propaganda designed to foment tensions with whatever country the ruling class deems to be an adversary.

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The Tightening of the NATO Noose — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on May 20, 2021

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/18/the-tightening-of-the-nato-noose/

Brian Cloughley

NATO’s military noose round Russia’s borders is being tightened in order to force Moscow to react to surging provocation, Brian Cloughley writes.

One of the most recent developments on the NATO front line was a meeting of the so-called ‘Bucharest Nine’ which the analytical agency Stratfor states “is a group of NATO’s easternmost members, including Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia. Most of these countries share strategic interests on issues such as deterring potential Russian aggression, keeping close cooperation with the United States, diversifying their sources of energy, and developing joint infrastructure projects.” The purpose of the video get-together, attended by President Biden and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, was, according to the US-NATO military alliance “to take the agenda forward” in its mission “to consolidate views on issues of interest in the Alliance for the participating nations, and to support joint security projects.”

In other words, the purpose of the Bucharest Nine is to help NATO exert even further pressure on Russia’s western border regions, as part of the US-NATO confrontation that is being ramped up while the US and its NATO allies retreat from Afghanistan where they have been defeated in a war that has humiliated the world’s most expensive and sophisticated military machines. They’ve been beaten into the ground by a bunch of raggy-baggy militants who don’t have any strike aircraft or drones or tanks or artillery. The Taliban have no intention of permitting democracy in Afghanistan, when they eventually take over, after NATO’s retreat, and the country will be plunged into a maelstrom of theocratic bigotry and barbarity.

NATO followed the US into Afghanistan in August 2003 with the mission “to enable the Afghan authorities and build the capacity of the Afghan national security forces to provide effective security, so as to ensure that Afghanistan would never again be a safe haven for terrorists.” It declares that the war and the transition to a training role in 2015, have represented “NATO’s longest and most challenging mission to date: at its height, the force was more than 130,000 strong with troops from 50 NATO and partner nations.” And they still got whipped by a few thousand militants who objected to the presence of foreign forces in their country.

So it’s back to Europe for US-NATO, having had a fun-war on Libya in 2011 when it blasted the country in the name of peace. This fandango of savagery was named “Unified Protector” but all it protected was the profits of Western arms manufacturers. After seven months of bombing and rocketing the country, involving 9,600 airstrikes, the then NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen went to Tripoli and declared he was “proud of the part the Organization and its partners played in helping the country and the region.” But as we know only too well, the country is in chaos.

As I wrote six years ago, two prominent figures involved in the US-NATO war on Libya were Ivo Daalder, the US Representative on the NATO Council from 2009 to 2013, and Admiral James G (‘Zorba’) Stavridis, the US Supreme Allied Commander Europe (the military commander of NATO) in the same period. As they ended their war, on October 31, 2011, these two ninnies had a piece published in the New York Times in which they made the absurd claim that “As Operation Unified Protector comes to a close, the alliance and its partners can look back at an extraordinary job, well done. Most of all, they can see in the gratitude of the Libyan people that the use of limited force — precisely applied — can affect real, positive political change.”

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© 2010 – 2021 | Strategic Culture Foundation | Republishing is welcomed with reference to Strategic Culture online journal www.strategic-culture.org.

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Butting Heads With China and Russia: American Diplomats Are Outclassed — Strategic Culture

Posted by M. C. on May 17, 2021

To cite yet another dangerous example of playing with fire that one is witnessing in Eastern Europe, the simple understanding that for Russia Belarus and Ukraine are frontline states that could pose existential threats to Moscow if they were to move closer to the west and join NATO appears to be lacking. The U.S. prefers to stand the question on its head and claims that the real issue is “spreading democracy,” which it is not.

https://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2021/05/13/butting-heads-with-china-and-russia-american-diplomats-are-outclassed/

Philip Giraldi

United State engagement in complicated overseas quarrels should be limited to areas where genuine vital interests are at stake.

With the exception of the impending departure of U.S. and NATO forces from Afghanistan, if it occurs, the White House seems to prefer to use aggression to deter adversaries rather than finesse. The recent exchanges between Secretary of State Tony Blinken and Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a meeting in Alaska demonstrate how Beijing has a clear view of its interests which Washington seems to lack. Blinken initiated the acrimonious exchange when he cited “deep concerns with actions by China, including in Xinjiang, Hong Kong, Taiwan, cyber attacks on the United States, economic coercion toward our allies. Each of these actions threaten the rules-based order that maintains global stability. That’s why they’re not merely internal matters, and why we feel an obligation to raise these issues here today.” He then threatened “I said that the United States relationship with China will be competitive where it should be, collaborative where it can be, adversarial where it must be” before adding “I’m hearing deep satisfaction that the United States is back, that we’re reengaged with our allies and partners. I’m also hearing deep concern about some of the actions your government is taking.”

The Chinese Foreign Minister responded sharply, rejecting U.S. suggestions that it has a right to interfere in another country’s domestic policies, “I think we thought too well of the United States, we thought that the U.S. side will follow the necessary diplomatic protocols. The United States does not have the qualification to say that it wants to speak to China from a position of strength. We believe that it is important for the United States to change its own image, and to stop advancing its own democracy in the rest of the world.” Yi had a point. Ironically, most of the world believes that the U.S. represents a greater threat to genuine democracy than does either China or Russia.

In another more recent interview Blinken has accused the Chinese of acting “more aggressively abroad” while President Biden has claimed that Beijing has a plan to replace America as the world’s leading economic and military power. U.S. United Nations envoy Linda Thomas-Greenfield has also delivered the same message that Washington is preparing to take no prisoners, pledging to push back against what she called China’s “authoritarian agenda” through the various agencies that make up the UN bureaucracy. Indeed, the United States seems trapped in its own rhetoric, finding itself in the middle of a situation with China and Taiwan where warnings that Beijing is preparing to use force to recover its former province leave Washington with few options to support a de facto ally. Peter Beinart in a recent op-ed observes how the White House has been incrementally increasing its diplomatic ties with Taiwan even as it both declares itself “rock solid” on defending while also maintaining “strategic ambiguity.”

China understands its interests while the U.S. continues to be bewildered by Beijing’s successful building of trade alliances worldwide. Meanwhile Russian President Vladimir Putin, reputedly an excellent chess player, is able to think about genuine issues in three dimensions and is always at least four moves ahead of where Biden and his advisers are at any time. Biden public and video appearances frequently seem to be improvisations as he goes along guided by his teleprompter while Putin is able to explain issues clearly, apparently even in English.

A large part of Biden’s problem vis-à-vis both China and Russia is that he has inherited a U.S. Establishment view of foreign and national security policy options. It is based on three basic principles. First, that America is the only superpower and can either ignore or comfortably overcome the objections of other nations to what it is doing. Second, an all-powerful and fully resourced United States can apply “extreme pressure” to recalcitrant foreign governments and those regimes will eventually submit and comply with Washington’s wishes. And third, America has a widely accepted leadership role of the so-called “free world” which will mean that any decision made in Washington will immediately be endorsed by a large number of other nations, giving legitimacy to U.S. actions worldwide.

What Joe Biden actually thinks is, of course, unknown though he has a history of reflexively supporting an assertive and even belligerent foreign policy during his many years in Congress. Kamala Harris, who many believe will be succeeding Biden before too long, appears to have no definitive views at all beyond the usual Democratic Party cant of spreading “democracy” and being strong on Israel. That suggests that the real shaping of policy is coming from the apparatchik and donor levels in the party, to include the neocon-lite Zionist triumvirate at the State Department consisting of Tony Blinken, Wendy Sherman and Victoria Kagan as well as the upper-level bureaucracies at the Pentagon and intelligence agencies, which all support an assertive and also interventionist foreign policy to keep Americans “safe” while also increasing their budgets annually. Such thinking leaves little room for genuine national interests to surface.

Biden’s Secretary of State Tony Blinken is, for example, the perfect conformist bureaucrat, shaping his own views around established thinking and creating caveats to provide the Democratic Party leadership with some, though limited, options. Witness for example the current White House attitude towards Iran, which is regarded, along with Russia, as a permanent enemy of the United States. President Biden has expressed his interest in renegotiating a non-nuclear proliferation treaty with the Iranians, now being discussed by diplomats without direct contact in Austria. But Blinken undercuts that intention by wrapping the talks in with other issues that are intended to satisfy the Israelis and their friends in Congress that will make progress unlikely if not impossible. They include eliminating Iran’s alleged role as a regional trouble maker and also ending the ballistic missile development programs currently engaged in by the regime. The downside to all of this is that having a multilateral agreement to limit Iranian enhancement of uranium up to a bomb-making level is very much in the U.S. interest, but it appears to be secondary to other politically motivated side discussions which will derail the process.

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Liz Cheney Lied About Her Role in Spreading the Discredited CIA “Russian Bounty” Story – Glenn Greenwald

Posted by M. C. on May 14, 2021

As part of her ideological war to reclaim the GOP for neocons, the now-deposed House leader falsely denied her role in a tale designed to block withdrawal from Afghanistan.

https://greenwald.substack.com/p/liz-cheney-lied-about-her-role-in?token=eyJ1c2VyX2lkIjozMTczNjk0NywicG9zdF9pZCI6MzY0MTE0OTYsIl8iOiJvVC9qbyIsImlhdCI6MTYyMTAxNjA3NCwiZXhwIjoxNjIxMDE5Njc0LCJpc3MiOiJwdWItMTI4NjYyIiwic3ViIjoicG9zdC1yZWFjdGlvbiJ9.5wsC3guou1Z_R8D5oesQpaTP5pMr_svtosbIdTEoJrA

Glenn Greenwald

In an interview on Tuesday with Fox News’ Bret Baier, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) denied that she spread the discredited CIA “Russian bounty” story. That CIA tale, claiming Russia was paying Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was cooked up by the CIA and then published by The New York Times on June 27 of last year, right as former President Trump announced his plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The Times story, citing anonymous intelligence officials, was then continually invoked by pro-war Republicans and Democrats — led by Cheney — to justify their blocking of that troop withdrawal. The story was discredited when the U.S. intelligence community admitted last month that it had only “low to moderate confidence” that any of this even happened.

When Baier asked Cheney about her role in spreading this debunked CIA story, Cheney blatantly lied to him, claiming “if you go back and look at what I said — every single thing I said: I said if those stories are true, we need to know why the President and Vice President were not briefed on them.” After Baier pressed her on the fact that she vested this story with credibility, Cheney insisted a second time that she never endorsed the claim but merely spoke conditionally, always using the “if these reports are true” formulation. Watch Cheney deny her role in spreading that story.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/Fd6u_p0K9aE?rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0&enablejsapi=0

Liz Cheney, as she so often does, blatantly lied. That she merely spoke of the Russian bounty story in the conditional — “every single thing I said: I said if those stories are true” — is completely and demonstrably false. Indeed, other than Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), there are few if any members of Congress who did more to spread this Russian bounty story as proven truth, all in order to block troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In so doing, she borrowed from a pro-war playbook pioneered by her dad, to whom she owes her career: the former Vice President would leak CIA claims to The New York Times to justify war, then go on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, as he did on September 8, 2002, and cite those New York Times reports as though they were independent confirmation of his views coming from that paper rather than from him:

MR. RUSSERT: What, specifically, has [Saddam] obtained that you believe would enhance his nuclear development program? …..

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Now, in the case of a nuclear weapon, that means either plutonium or highly enriched uranium. And what we’ve seen recently that has raised our level of concern to the current state of unrest, if you will, if I can put it in those terms, is that he now is trying, through his illicit procurement network, to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium to make the bombs.

MR. RUSSERT: Aluminum tubes.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Specifically aluminum tubes. There’s a story in The New York Times this morning this is — I don’t — and I want to attribute The Times. I don’t want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but it’s now public that, in fact, [Saddam] has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.

So having CIA stories leak to the press that fuel the pro-war case, then having pro-war politicians cite those to justify their pro-war position, is a Cheney Family speciality.

On July 1, the House Armed Services Committee, of which Rep. Cheney is a member, debated amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that authorized $740.5 billion in military spending. One of Cheney’s top priorities was to align with the Committee’s pro-war Democrats, funded by weapons manufacturers, to block Trump’s plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020 and to withdraw roughly 1/3 of the 34,000 U.S. troops in Germany.

To justify her opposition, Cheney — contrary to what she repeatedly insisted to Baier — cited the CIA’s Russian bounty story without skepticism. In a joint statement with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, that Cheney published on her website on June 27 — the same day that The New York Times published its first story about the CIA tale — Cheney pronounced herself “concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces.” There was nothing conditional about the statement: they were preparing to block troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and cited this story as proof that “Russia does not wish us well in Afghanistan.”

After today’s briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces. It has been clear for some time that Russia does not wish us well in Afghanistan. We believe it is important to vigorously pursue any information related to Russia or any other country targeting our forces. Congress has no more important obligation than providing for the security of our nation and ensuring our forces have the resources they need. 

An even more definitive use of this Russia bounty story came when Cheney held a press conference to explain her opposition to Trump’s plans to withdraw troops. In this statement, she proclaimed that she “remains concerned about Russian activities in Afghanistan.” She then explicitly threatened Russia over the CIA’s “bounty” story, warning them that “any targeting of U.S. forces by Russians, by anyone else, will face a very swift and deadly response.” She then gloated about the U.S. bombing of Russia-linked troops in Syria in 2018 using what she called “overwhelming and lethal force,”

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Will Biden Have Blood on His Hands in Afghanistan? – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on May 12, 2021

Take a look at this article in USA Today. It’s by a quadruple amputee who lost his arms and legs in Afghanistan. He says it’s time to leave. He says, “I don’t need any soldier to honor me by doing the same thing.”

But that’s exactly what Biden is risking by intentionally, knowingly, and deliberately violating an agreement that the U.S. government willingly entered into. 

https://www.fff.org/2021/05/06/will-biden-have-blood-on-his-hands-in-afghanistan/

by Jacob G. Hornberger

President Biden has announced that America’s forever war in Afghanistan is finally coming to an end. He says that U.S. forces will exit the country by next September 11. 

That’s a good thing. And it is long overdue. 

But there is one big problem with Biden’s timetable: It violates an agreement that the U.S. government entered into with the Taliban to exit the country by May 1 of this year.

Under that agreement, the Taliban agreed not to attack U.S. troops prior to their scheduled departure on May 1. With Biden’s decision to deliberately  violate the agreement by unilaterally extending the withdrawal to September 11, he is knowingly placing the lives of the 3,500 American servicemen still in Afghanistan at risk.

In fact, the Taliban has implied as much. According to the Washington Post, a Taliban spokesman declared back in April, “If the agreement is breached and foreign forces fail to exit the country on the specified date, problems will certainly be compounded and those whom failed to comply with the agreement will be held liable.”

What’s the point of extending the departure? Is an extension to September so important that it’s worth risking the lives of American servicemen still in Afghanistan? If some soldiers are killed or maimed because Biden cavalierly decided to violate the agreement, will their sacrifice have been worth it? What about the lives of innocent Afghan civilians caught in a crossfire or in a bomb explosion designed to kill U.S. troops? 

Take a look at this article in USA Today. It’s by a quadruple amputee who lost his arms and legs in Afghanistan. He says it’s time to leave. He says, “I don’t need any soldier to honor me by doing the same thing.”

But that’s exactly what Biden is risking by intentionally, knowingly, and deliberately violating an agreement that the U.S. government willingly entered into. 

Moreover, as Elliot Ackerman, a former Marine and intelligence officer who served five tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, pointed out in an article in the New York Times, 

[R]emoving the 3,500 American troops from Afghanistan is, in military terms, what’s called a “fighting withdrawal,” in which an army leaves the field while still in contact with the enemy. Of all the maneuvers an army can perform (advance, flank, defend, etc.), it is widely accepted that a fighting withdrawal is the most complex and difficult because you are neither attacking nor defending, and so are exceedingly vulnerable.

Unlike the withdrawal from Iraq, in which U.S. troops could drive through the desert into Kuwait as they did in 2011, and unlike the Soviet withdrawal in 1989, in which they could drive across a then-shared border, U.S. troops are currently marooned in Afghanistan, reliant on three principal U.S.-controlled airstrips (Bagram, Jalalabad, Kandahar), making their journey home all the more perilous.

If the Taliban decide to attack U.S. troops from now until September, Biden will have their blood on his hands. He should never have breached the agreement that U.S. officials willingly entered into with their enemy.

This post was written by: Jacob G. Hornberger

Jacob G. Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation. He was born and raised in Laredo, Texas, and received his B.A. in economics from Virginia Military Institute and his law degree from the University of Texas. He was a trial attorney for twelve years in Texas. He also was an adjunct professor at the University of Dallas, where he taught law and economics. In 1987, Mr. Hornberger left the practice of law to become director of programs at the Foundation for Economic Education. He has advanced freedom and free markets on talk-radio stations all across the country as well as on Fox News’ Neil Cavuto and Greta van Susteren shows and he appeared as a regular commentator on Judge Andrew Napolitano’s show Freedom Watch. View these interviews at LewRockwell.com and from Full Context. Send him email.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Will Special Interests Allow America’s ‘Longest War’ to Finally End?

Posted by M. C. on May 3, 2021

So why did we stay? As neocons like Max Boot tell it, we are still bombing and killing Afghans so that Afghan girls can go to school. It’s a pretty flimsy and cynical explanation. My guess is that if asked, most Afghan girls would prefer to not have their country bombed.

But as always, the devil is in the details. It appears that US special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and the private contractors who have taken an increasing role in fighting Washington’s wars, will remain in-country. Bombing Afghans so that Max Boot and his neocons can pat themselves on the back.

http://ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/featured-articles/2021/may/03/will-special-interests-allow-america-s-longest-war-to-finally-end/?mc_cid=3c6c95b056

Written by Ron Paul

Even if “won,” endless wars like our 20 year assault on Afghanistan would not benefit our actual national interest in the slightest. So why do these wars continue endlessly? Because they are so profitable to powerful and well-connected special interests. In fact, the worst news possible for the Beltway military contractor/think tank complex would be that the United States actually won a war. That would signal the end of the welfare-for-the-rich gravy train.

In contrast to the end of declared wars, like World War II when the entire country rejoiced at the return home of soldiers where they belonged, an end to any of Washington’s global military deployments would result in wailing and gnashing of the teeth among the military-industrial complex which gets rich from other people’s misery and sacrifice.

Would a single American feel less safe if we brought home our thousands of troops currently bombing and shooting at Africans?

As Orwell famously said, “the war is not meant to be won, it is meant to be continuous.” Nowhere is this more true than among those whose living depends on the US military machine constantly bombing people overseas.

How many Americans, if asked, could answer the question, “why have we been bombing Afghanistan for an entire generation?” The Taliban never attacked the United States and Osama bin Laden, who temporarily called Afghanistan his home, is long dead and gone. The longest war in US history has dragged on because…it has just dragged on.

So why did we stay? As neocons like Max Boot tell it, we are still bombing and killing Afghans so that Afghan girls can go to school. It’s a pretty flimsy and cynical explanation. My guess is that if asked, most Afghan girls would prefer to not have their country bombed.

Indeed, war has made the Beltway bomb factories and think tanks rich. As Brown University’s Cost of War Project has detailed, the US has wasted $2.26 trillion dollars on a generation of war on Afghanistan. Much of this money has been spent, according to the US government’s own Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, on useless “nation-building” exercises that have built nothing at all. Gold-plated roads to nowhere. Aircraft that cannot perform their intended functions but that have enriched contractors and lobbyists.

President Biden has announced that the US military would be out of Afghanistan by the 20th anniversary of the attacks of 9/11. But as always, the devil is in the details. It appears that US special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and the private contractors who have taken an increasing role in fighting Washington’s wars, will remain in-country. Bombing Afghans so that Max Boot and his neocons can pat themselves on the back.

But the fact is this: Afghanistan was a disaster for the United States. Only the corrupt benefitted from this 20 year highway robbery. Will we learn a lesson from wasting trillions and killing hundreds of thousands? It is not likely. But there will be an accounting. The piper will be paid. Printing mountains of money to pay the corrupt war profiteers will soon leave the working and middle classes in dire straits. It is up to non-interventionists like us to explain to them exactly who has robbed them of their future.


Copyright © 2021 by RonPaul Institute. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit and a live link are given.

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Patriotism | Mises Wire

Posted by M. C. on April 29, 2021

Some years ago I gave my expression to my own feeling—anti-patriotic feeling, it will doubtless be called—in a somewhat startling way. It was at the time of the second Afghan war, when, in pursuance of what were thought to be “our interests,” we were invading Afghanistan. News had come that some of our troops were in danger. At the Athenæum Club a well-known military man—then a captain but now a general—drew my attention to a telegram containing this news, and read it to me in a manner implying the belief that I should share his anxiety. I astounded him by replying—“When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.”

https://mises.org/wire/patriotism

Herbert Spencer

[Originally printed in Facts and Comments (1902)]

Were anyone to call me dishonest or untruthful he would touch me to the quick. Were he to say that I am unpatriotic, he would leave me unmoved. “What, then, have you no love of country?” That is a question not to be answered in a breath.

The early abolition of serfdom in England, the early growth of relatively-free institutions, and the greater recognition of popular claims after the decay of feudalism had divorced the masses from the soil, were traits of English life which may be looked back upon with pride. When it was decided that any slave who set foot in England became free; when the importation of slaves into the Colonies was stopped; when twenty millions were paid for the emancipation of slaves in the West Indies; and when, however unadvisedly, a fleet was maintained to stop the slave trade; our countrymen did things worthy to be admired. And when England gave a home to political refugees and took up the causes of small states struggling for freedom, it again exhibited noble traits which excite affection. But there are traits, unhappily of late more frequently displayed, which do the reverse. Contemplation of the acts by which England has acquired over eighty possessions—settlements, colonies, protectorates, &c.—does not arouse feelings of satisfaction. The transitions from missionaries to resident agents, then to officials having armed forces, then to punishments of those who resist their rule, ending in so-called “pacification”—these processes of annexation, now gradual and now sudden, as that of the new Indian province and that of Barotziland, which was declared a British colony with no more regard for the wills of the inhabiting people than for those of the inhabiting beasts—do not excite sympathy with their perpetrators. Love of country is not fostered in me on remembering that when, after our Prime Minister had declared that we were bound in honour to the Khedive to reconquer the Soudan, we, after the re-conquest, forthwith began to administer it in the name of the Queen and the Khedive—practically annexing it; nor when, after promising through the mouths of two Colonial Ministers not to interfere in the internal affairs of the Transvaal, we proceeded to insist on certain electoral arrangements, and made resistance the excuse for a desolating war.* Nor does the national character shown by a popular ovation to a leader of filibusters, or by the according of a University honour to an arch-conspirator, or by the uproarious applause with which undergraduates greeted one who sneered at the “unctuous rectitude” of those who opposed his plans of aggression, appear to me lovable. If because my love of country does not survive these and many other adverse experiences I am called unpatriotic—well, I am content to be so called.

To me the cry—“Our country, right or wrong!” seems detestable. By association with love of country the sentiment it expresses gains a certain justification. Do but pull off the cloak, however, and the contained sentiment is seen to be of the lowest. Let us observe the alternative cases.

Suppose our country is in the right—suppose it is resisting invasion. Then the idea and feeling embodied in the cry are righteous. It may be effectively contended that self-defence is not only justified but is a duty. Now suppose, contrariwise, that our country is the aggressor—has taken possession of others’ territory, or is forcing by arms certain commodities on a nation which does not want them, or is backing up some of its agents in “punishing” those who have retaliated. Suppose it is doing something which, by the hypothesis, is admitted to be wrong. What is then the implication of the cry? The right is on the side of those who oppose us; the wrong is on our side. How in that case is to be expressed the so-called patriotic wish? Evidently the words must stand—“Down with the right, up with the wrong!” Now in other relations this combination of aims implies the acme of wickedness. In the minds of past men there existed, and there still exists in many minds, a belief in a personalized principle of evil—a Being going up and down in the world everywhere fighting against the good and helping the bad to triumph. Can there be more briefly expressed the aim of that Being than in the words “Up with the wrong and down with the right”? Do the so-called patriots like the endorsement?

Some years ago I gave my expression to my own feeling—anti-patriotic feeling, it will doubtless be called—in a somewhat startling way. It was at the time of the second Afghan war, when, in pursuance of what were thought to be “our interests,” we were invading Afghanistan. News had come that some of our troops were in danger. At the Athenæum Club a well-known military man—then a captain but now a general—drew my attention to a telegram containing this news, and read it to me in a manner implying the belief that I should share his anxiety. I astounded him by replying—“When men hire themselves out to shoot other men to order, asking nothing about the justice of their cause, I don’t care if they are shot themselves.”

I foresee the exclamation which will be called forth. Such a principle, it will be said, would make an army impossible and a government powerless. It would never do to have each soldier use his judgment about the purpose for which a battle is waged. Military organization would be paralyzed and our country would be a prey to the first invader.

Not so fast, is the reply. For one war an army would remain just as available as now—a war of national defence. In such a war every soldier would be conscious of the justice of his cause. He would not be engaged in dealing death among men about whose doings, good or ill, he knew nothing, but among men who were manifest transgressors against himself and his compatriots. Only aggressive war would be negatived, not defensive war.

Of course it may be said, and said truly, that if there is no aggressive war there can be no defensive war. It is clear, however, that one nation may limit itself to defensive war when other nations do not. So that the principle remains operative.

But those whose cry is—“Our country, right or wrong!” and who would add to our eighty-odd possessions others to be similarly obtained, will contemplate with disgust such a restriction upon military action. To them no folly seems greater than that of practising on Monday the principles they profess on Sunday. Author:

Herbert Spencer

Herbert Spencer was one of the leading 19th-century English radical individualists. He began working as a journalist for the laissez-faire magazine The Economist in the 1850s. Much of the rest of his life was spent working on an all-encompassing theory of human development based upon the ideas of individualism, utilitarian moral theory, social and biological evolution, limited government, and laissez-faire economics.

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