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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Tulsi: A Living Reminder of Iraq’s Liars and Apologists | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on August 5, 2019

Gore Vidal once christened his country the “United States of Amnesia,” explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: “Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before.”

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/tulsi-a-living-reminder-of-iraqs-liars-and-apologists/

By David Masciotra

Estimates of the number of civilians who died during the war in Iraq range from 151,000 to 655,000. An additional 4,491 American military personnel perished in the war. Mozhgan Savabieasfahani, toxicologist at the University of Michigan, has organized several research expeditions to Iraq to measure the contamination and pollution still poisoning the air and water supply from the tons of munitions dropped during the war. It does not require any expertise to assume what the studies confirm: disease is still widespread and birth defects are gruesomely common. Back home, it is difficult to measure just how many struggle with critical injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The gains of war in Iraq remain elusive, especially considering that the justifications for invasion—weapons of mass destruction, Saddam Hussein’s connection to al-Qaeda, the ambition to create a Western-style democracy at gunpoint—remain “murky at best.” That’s a quote from the 9/11 Commission’s conclusion on the so-called evidence linking Iraq to Osama bin Laden’s group, which actually did carry out the worst terrorist attack in American history.

As far as stupid and barbarous decisions are concerned, it is difficult to top the war in Iraq. It is also difficult to match its price tag, which, according to a recent Brown University study, amounts to $1.1 trillion.

Gore Vidal once christened his country the “United States of Amnesia,” explaining that Americans live in a perpetual state of a hangover: “Every morning we wake up having forgotten what happened the night before.”… Read the rest of this entry »

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You Just Do It – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on July 30, 2019

…How about secure American borders, patrol American coasts, guard American shores, watch over American skies, and stand ready to defend the America in the event of a real threat. Isn’t that the real purpose of the U.S. military?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/07/laurence-m-vance/you-just-do-it/

By

After more than seventeen years of war in Afghanistan, most Americans have simply accepted the perpetual war for perpetual peace that the war has become. U.S. soldiers are still dying in Afghanistan, but no one seems to notice—expect perhaps the parents, wife, and three children of Sergeant Major James G. Sartor, who was killed earlier this month in Afghanistan. He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Carson, Colorado. Sartor “joined the Army in 2001 as an infantryman and had deployed numerous times to Iraq and Afghanistan.” He “had received more than two dozen awards and decorations and will posthumously receive a Purple Heart and Bronze Star.”

It seems that conservatives are always making excuses for the imperialistic, militaristic, reckless, belligerent, and meddling U.S. foreign policy that keeps American soldiers in Afghanistan and countless other places around the world.

A case in point is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), who “studies US foreign policy and defense strategy,” and is also “the Henry A. Kissinger Distinguished Professor of Global Affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS).”

Says Hal Brands:

The Democratic Party’s progressive presidential candidates want to end the “forever war” — America’s two-decade struggle against jihadist extremism. The trouble is that they don’t know how.

It is easy enough for the progressives to argue that the US should pull back from the greater Middle East and demilitarize its counterterrorism strategy. Unfortunately, they have less to say about how the US can do so responsibly.

Progressives have not answered the tough question about how America can safely pull back from the war on terror.

The United States can’t just leave Afghanistan because “al-Qaeda and ISIS are still active there, and the US intelligence community has reportedly warned that a complete US withdrawal could lead to a major terrorist attack on American soil within two years.”

The United States can’t just cut off support to the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen because “there is no guarantee that simply terminating that support will make a horrific situation better rather than worse.”

The United States can’t just leave Iraq and Syria. It needs “to keep the American boot on Islamic State’s back and prevent a replay of what happened in 2013-14, when a nearly-defeated al-Qaeda in Iraq morphed into the ISIS juggernaut that rolled across a large swath of the Middle East.”

So, how you end the war in Afghanistan? How do you end the global war on terror? How do you end U.S. involvement in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Africa? How do you pull back from the greater Middle East? How do you remove the U.S. troops out of Italy, Germany, and Japan that have been there since World War II ended in 1945? How do you close the hundreds of U.S. military bases that are all over the world? How do you remove the U.S. troops from South Korea that have been there since the end of the Korean War? How do you bring home the hundreds of thousands of U.S. troops that are outside the borders and territorial waters of the United States?

You just do it…

But how can such a mammoth task can be undertaken? You just do it. Yes, you do it orderly and safely, but you just do it. You start putting U.S. troops on planes and ships and you bring them home. That’s how you do it.

And just what should these U.S. troops do once they come home?

How about secure American borders, patrol American coasts, guard American shores, watch over American skies, and stand ready to defend the America in the event of a real threat. Isn’t that the real purpose of the U.S. military? If so, then why do conservatives who clamor for a “strong national defense” object to this?

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What Was It All for For: Vets Have Finally Turned on America’s Endless Wars – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on July 15, 2019

So consider this a plea to Congress, to the corporate media establishment, and to all of you: when even traditionally more conservative and martial military veterans raise the antiwar alarm – listen!

https://original.antiwar.com/danny_sjursen/2019/07/14/what-was-it-all-for-for-vets-have-finally-turned-on-americas-endless-wars/

It is undoubtedly my favorite part of every wedding. That awkward, but strangely forthright moment when the preacher asks the crowd for any objections to the couple’s marriage. No one ever objects, of course, but it’s still a raw, if tense, moment. I just love it.

I suppose we had that ubiquitous ritual in mind back in 2007 when Keith – a close buddy and fellow officer – and I crafted our own plan of objection. The setting was Baghdad, Iraq, at the start of the “surge” and the climax of the bloody civil war the U.S. invasion had unleashed. Just twenty three years old and only eighteen months out of the academy, my clique of officers had already decided the war was a mess, shouldn’t have been fought, and couldn’t be won.

Me and Keith, though, were undoubtedly the most radical. We both just hated how our squadron’s colonel would hijack the memorial ceremonies held for dead troopers – including three of my own – and use the occasion of his inescapable speech to encourage we mourners to use the latest death as a reason to “rededicate ourselves to the mission and the people of Iraq.” The whole thing was as repulsive as it was repetitive.

So it was that after a particularly depressing ceremony, perhaps our squadron’s tenth or so, that we hatched our little defiant scheme. If (or when) one of us was killed, the other promised – and this was a time and place where promises are sacred – to object, stand up, and announce to the colonel and the crowd that we’d listen to no such bullshit at this particular ceremony, not this time. “Danny didn’t believe in this absurd mission for a minute, he wouldn’t want his death to rededicate us to anything,” Keith would have said! Luckily it never came to that. We both survived, Keith left the army soon after, and I, well, toiled along until something snapped and I chose the road of public dissent. Still, I believe either of us would have actually done it – even if it did mean the end of our respective careers. That’s called brotherhood…and love.

I got to thinking on that when I read a story this week which was both disturbing, refreshing, and sickening all at the same time. A major opinion poll’s results were released which demonstrated that fully two-thirds of post 9/11 veterans now think the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan “weren’t worth fighting.” That’s a remarkable, and distressing, statistic and one that should give America’s president, legislators, media, and people as a whole, serious pause. Not that it will, mind you, but it should! It’s doubtful that US military combat vets – who are more rural, southern, and conservative than the population at large – have ever so incontrovertibly turned on a war, at least since the very end of Vietnam.

On one level I felt a sense of vindication for my longtime antiwar stances when I read about the study – in the Military Times no less. But that was just ego. Within minutes I was sad, inconsolably and completely melancholy. Because if, as a “filibuster-proof” majority of my fellow veterans (and maybe even our otherwise unhinged president) believes, the Iraq and Afghan wars weren’t worth the sacrifice, then consider the unsettling implications. It would mean, for starters, that the US flushed nearly $5.9 trillion in hard-earned taxpayer cash down the toilet. It means that 7,000 American soldiers and upwards of 244,000 foreign civilians needn’t have lost their ever precious lives. Hundreds of thousands more might not have been injured or maimed. 21 million people wouldn’t have become refugees. The world, so to speak, could’ve been a safer, better place.

Those ever-so-logical conclusions should dismay even the most apathetic American. They should make us all rather sad, but, more importantly, should inform future decisions about the use of military force, the role of America in the world, and just how much foreign policy power to turn over to presidents. Because if we, collectively, don’t learn from our country’s eighteen year, tragic saga, then this republic is, without exaggeration, finished, once and for all. Benjamin Franklin, that confounding Founding Father, wasn’t sure the American people could be trusted to “keep” the republic he and other elites formed. It’d be a devastating catastrophe to prove him right, especially in this time of rising right-wing, strongman populism in the Western world.

So consider this a plea to Congress, to the corporate media establishment, and to all of you: when even traditionally more conservative and martial military veterans raise the antiwar alarm – listen! And next time the American war drums beat, and they undoubtedly will, consider this article encouragement to do what Keith and I promised way back when. Object! Refuse to fight the next ill-advised and unethical war. Remember: to do so demonstrates brotherhood and love. Love of each other and love of country…

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Tomgram: Michael Klare, It’s Always the Oil | TomDispatch

Posted by M. C. on July 12, 2019

http://www.tomdispatch.com/post/176584/tomgram%3A_michael_klare%2C_it%27s_always_the_oil/#more

Michael Klare

What more did you need to know once Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that a suicide bombing in Kabul, Afghanistan, claimed by the Taliban, was Iranian-inspired or plotted, one “in a series of attacks instigated by the Islamic Republic of Iran and its surrogates against American and allied interests”? In other words, behind the Sunni extremist insurgents the U.S. has been fighting in Afghanistan since October 2001 lurks the regime of the Shiite fundamentalists in Tehran that many in Washington have been eager to fight since at least the spring of 2003 (when, coincidentally enough, the Bush administration was insisting that Saddam Hussein’s Iraqi regime had significant ties to al-Qaeda).

It couldn’t have made more sense once you thought about it. I don’t mean Pompeo’s claim itself, which was little short of idiotic, but what lurked behind it.  I mean the knowledge that, only a week after the 9/11 attacks, Congress had passed an authorization for the use of military force, or AUMF, that allowed the president (and any future president, as it turned out) “to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001, or harbored such organizations or persons.”

In other words, almost 18 years later, as Pompeo knows, if you can link any country or group you’re eager to go to war with to al-Qaeda, no matter how confected the connection, you can promptly claim authorization to do your damnedest to them. How convenient, then, should you be in the mood to make war on Iran, if that country just happens to be responsible for terror attacks linked to the Taliban (which once did harbor al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden). Why, you wouldn’t even need to ask Congress for permission to pursue your war of choice. And keep in mind that, recently, Congress — or a crew of corrupted, degraded Republican senators — simply couldn’t muster the votes or the will to deny President Trump the power to make war on Iran without its approval.

Let me hasten to add that the supposed link to al-Qaeda isn’t the only thing the Trump administration has conjured up to ensure that it will be free to do whatever it pleases when it comes to Iran. It’s found various other inventive ways to justify future military actions there without congressional approval. Pompeo and crew have, in that sense, been clever indeed. As TomDispatch regular Michael Klare, author of the upcoming book All Hell Breaking Loose: The Pentagon’s Perspective on Climate Change, points out today, there’s only one word largely missing from their discussions of the increasingly edgy situation in the Persian Gulf, the most obvious word of all. But read him yourself if you want to understand just how, when it comes to Iran and that missing word — to steal a phrase from the late, great Jonathan Schell — the fate of the Earth is at stake. Tom

The Missing Three-Letter Word in the Iran Crisis
Oil’s Enduring Sway in U.S. Policy in the Middle East
By Michael T. Klare

It’s always the oil. While President Trump was hobnobbing with Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at the G-20 summit in Japan, brushing off a recent U.N. report about the prince’s role in the murder of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was in Asia and the Middle East, pleading with foreign leaders to support “Sentinel.” The aim of that administration plan: to protect shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf. Both Trump and Pompeo insisted that their efforts were driven by concern over Iranian misbehavior in the region and the need to ensure the safety of maritime commerce. Neither, however, mentioned one inconvenient three-letter word — O-I-L — that lay behind their Iranian maneuvering (as it has impelled every other American incursion in the Middle East since World War II)….

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The Tulsi Effect: Forcing War Onto the Democratic Agenda | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on July 3, 2019

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/the-tulsi-effect-forcing-war-onto-the-democratic-agenda/

By Danny Sjursen

Democrats, liberals, progressives—call them what you will—don’t really do foreign policy. Sure, if cornered, they’ll spout a few choice talking points, and probably find a way to make them all about bashing President Donald Trump—ignoring the uncomfortable fact that their very own Barack Obama led and expanded America’s countless wars for eight long years.

This was ever so apparent in the first two nights of Democratic primary debates this week. Foreign policy hardly registered for these candidates with one noteworthy exception: Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard—herself an (anti-war) combat veteran and army officer.

Now primary debates are more show than substance; this has long been the case. Still, to watch the first night’s Democratic primary debates, it was possible to forget that the United States remains mired in several air and ground wars from West Africa to Central Asia. In a two-hour long debate, with 10 would-be nominees plus the moderators, the word Afghanistan was uttered just nine times—you know, once for every two years American troops have been killing and dying there. Iraq was uttered just twice—both times by Gabbard. Syria, where Americans have died and still fight, was mentioned not once. Yemen, the world’s worst humanitarian disaster, courtesy of a U.S.-supported Saudi terror campaign didn’t get mentioned a single time, either.

Night two was mostly worse! Afghanistan was uttered just three times, and there was no question specifically related to the war. Biden did say, in passing, that he doesn’t think there should be “combat troops” in Afghanistan—but notice the qualifier “combat.” That’s a cop-out that allows him to keep advisers and “support” troops in the country indefinitely. These are the games most Democrats play. And by the way, all those supposedly non-combat troops, well, they can and do get killed too.

Reminding the audience of the recent troop deaths in the country, Maddow asked Ryan, “Why isn’t [the Afghanistan war] over? Why can’t presidents of very different parties and very different temperaments get us out of there? And how could you?” Ryan had a ready, if wholly conventional and obtuse, answer: “The lesson” of these many years of wars is clear, he opined; the United States must stay “engaged,” “completely engaged,” in fact, even if “no one likes” it and it’s “tedious.” I heard this, vomited a bit into my mouth, and thought “spare me!”…

Gabbard pounced, and delivered the finest foreign policy screed of the night. And more power to her. Interrupting Ryan, she poignantly asked:

Is that what you will tell the parents of those two soldiers who were just killed in Afghanistan? Well, we just have to be engaged? As a soldier, I will tell you that answer is unacceptable. We have to bring our troops home from Afghanistan…We have spent so much money. Money that’s coming out of every one of our pockets…We are no better off in Afghanistan today than we were when this war began. This is why it is so important to have a president — commander in chief who knows the cost of war and is ready to do the job on day one.

In a few tight sentences, Gabbard distilled decades’ worth of antiwar critique and summarized what I’ve been writing for years—only I’ve killed many trees composing more than 20,000 words on the topic. The brevity of her terse comment, coupled with her unique platform as a veteran, only added to its power. Bravo, Tulsi, bravo!

Ryan was visibly shaken and felt compelled to retort with a standard series of worn out tropes. And Gabbard was ready for each one, almost as though she’d heard them all before (and probably has). The U.S. military has to stay, Ryan pleaded, because: “if the United States isn’t engaged the Taliban will grow and they will have bigger, bolder terrorist acts.” Gabbard cut him right off. “The Taliban was there long before we came in. They’ll be there long [after] we leave,” she thundered…

Ryan couldn’t possibly open his mind to such complexity, nuance, and, ultimately, realism. He clearly worships at the temple of war inertia; his worldview hostage to the absurd notion that the U.S. military has little choice but to fight everywhere, anywhere, because, well, that’s what it’s always done. Which leads us to what should be an obvious conclusion: Ryan, and all who think like him, should be immediately disqualified by true progressives and libertarians alike. His time has past. Ryan and his ilk have left a scorched region and a shaken American republic for the rest of us…

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Tell Congress: No Endless War in Syria | CREDO Action

 

 

 

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Stopped Clocks: The European Union Gets War With Iran Exactly Right | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on July 2, 2019

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/stopped-clocks-the-european-union-gets-war-with-iran-exactly-right/

By Bill Wirtz

Regular readers of my contributions to this site may have noticed that I am in no way a fan of the European Union. Yet even with the EU, the stopped clock principle applies: they have to be right sometimes. And when Federica Mogherini, high representative of the EU for foreign affairs and security policy, said that everyone should tread carefully when it came to the attack on the oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, she was absolutely correct.

Mogherini stated: “We are living in crucial and delicate moments, where the most relevant attitude to take—the most responsible attitude to take—is, and we believe should be, maximum restraint, and avoiding any escalation on the military side.”

This month, one of the EU’s top advisors on security questions declared that no military intervention from the European side should take place. This echoes French President Emmanuel Macron saying that France had no place in such interventions, as well as German Chancellor Angela Merkel calling for a peaceful solution to the Iran problem. Seventy-four percent of German opposed a military intervention in Syria last year. In 2002, 71 percent of Germans opposed the war in Iraq, as did 64 percent of the French. During anti-Iraq war protests that took place on February 15, 2003, 100,000 people demonstrated in Brussels, 75,000 in Amsterdam, between 100,000 and 200,000 in Paris, between 300,000 and 500,000 in Berlin, 150,000 in Athens, 60,000 in Budapest, and well over 600,000 people in Rome.

And in the United Kingdom, more than one million showed up to protest in London…

In a January poll, 48 percent of Germans favored a withdrawal of their country’s troops from Afghanistan, with 29 percent opposing it. In 2009, almost two thirds of the French opposed the intervention in Afghanistan. In 2012, all French combat troops were withdrawn under President François Hollande…

Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, who is not known for his efforts to please his European counterparts, is an exception: he says that he is ready to take a “more rigorous” approach towards Iran. Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has even come under fire from Iranian officials after he gave interviews in the United States explaining that he was “happy that Italy has long since relaxed its relations with Iran, a country that wants to wipe out Israel in 2019 has no right to speak.”…

So overall, in Europe, support for the hawks inside the Trump administration looks grim. Without at least a handful of European countries supporting an intervention, the United States would look like it was standing alone on the world stage, and America could once again come under fire for needless aggression. The WMD lies of the early 2000s have set the bar high for interventions based on military intelligence. And Syria has shown that without conclusive evidence, Europe isn’t about to send in the troops.

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Experts Alarmed as Pentagon’s New War-Fight Doctrine Involves Using Nukes – News From Antiwar.com

Posted by M. C. on June 20, 2019

“You can smell it. It smells like death.” – Big Daddy

That rancid odor you detect is fear and desperation.

Not being able to win a war, which is our go-to foreign policy tactic, is embarrassing.  When we invaded Afghanistan we were fighting people that operated out of caves with cell phones and VCRs as their advanced technology. Still there after all those years.

The discussion about invading yet another country that hasn’t attacked US, Iran, raises the question of troop levels required. I have seen 1 million mentioned.

Which brings to mind the draft…

One million troops will be a tough sell. This is the perfect opportunity to try out a low yield nukes (to paraphrase a former president – it depends on your definition of low). I suspect the pentagram thinks nukes will be the only way to “win” in Iran.

This is the Madeline Albright strategy. “What is the point of having it if you can’t use it.”

Low yield nukes could be much more devastating than their big brothers.

Desperate, struggling people often do stupid things.

On the bright side I am much too old for the draft. How about you?

https://news.antiwar.com/2019/06/19/experts-alarmed-as-pentagons-new-war-fight-doctrine-involves-using-nukes/

The Pentagon’s inability to win America’s recent wars in any convincing way may be about to become a much bigger problem than anyone realized, as experts express major concerns about a new policy doctrine adopted by the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

US struggles with conventional warfare, despite massively outspending everyone else, and they are hoping to turn that around by using nuclear weapons in America’s assorted conflicts, seeing nuclear war as creating “conditions for decisive results and the restoration of strategic stability.”

This Nuclear Operations document was published online by the Pentagon briefly last week, but was subsequently removed, Read the rest of this entry »

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Are All the World’s Problems Ours? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on May 10, 2019

Query: How successful was Operation Iraqi Freedom, which cost 4,500 U.S. lives, 40,000 wounded and $1 trillion, if, 15 years after our victory, our secretary of state must, for his own security, sneak into the Iraqi capital?

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2019/05/patrick-j-buchanan/are-all-the-worlds-problems-ours/

By

In 2003, George W. Bush took us to war to liberate Iraq from the despotism of Saddam Hussein and convert that nation into a beacon of freedom and prosperity in the Middle East.

Tuesday, Mike Pompeo flew clandestinely into Baghdad, met with the prime minister and flew out in four hours. The visit was kept secret, to prevent an attack on the Americans or the secretary of state.

Query: How successful was Operation Iraqi Freedom, which cost 4,500 U.S. lives, 40,000 wounded and $1 trillion, if, 15 years after our victory, our secretary of state must, for his own security, sneak into the Iraqi capital?

Topic of discussion between Pompeo and the prime minister:

In the event of a U.S. war with Iran, Iraqis would ensure the protection of the 5,000 U.S. troops in country, from the scores of thousands of Iranian-trained and Iranian-armed Shiite militia…

Wednesday, North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, for the second time in a week, test-fired two missiles, 260 miles, into the Sea of Japan. Purpose: To signal Washington that Kim’s patience is running out.

Kim rejects the U.S. demand that he surrender all nuclear weapons and dismantle the facilities that produce them before any sanctions are lifted. He wants sanctions relief to go hand in hand with disposal of his arsenal. Few believe Kim will surrender all of his nukes or his ability to replicate them.

The clash with Kim comes days after the failed U.S.-backed coup in Caracas, which was followed by Pompeo-Bolton threats of military intervention in Venezuela, a country 100 times the size of Puerto Rico with 10 times the population and a large well-equipped army.

This week also, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joe Dunford told Congress that the U.S. will have to keep counter-terrorism forces in Afghanistan “until there is no insurgency left in the country.”

Which sounds like forever, as in “forever war.”

Before flying to Baghdad, Pompeo was in Finland. There, he warned the eight-nation Arctic Council about Russian aggression in the region, suggested China’s claim to be a “near-Arctic” nation was absurd, and told Canada’s its claim to the Northwest Passage was “illegitimate.”

Our Canadian friends were stunned. “Those waterways are part of the internal waters of Canada,” said the government in Ottawa.

After an exhausting two weeks, one is tempted to ask: How many quarrels, clashes and conflicts can even a superpower manage at one time? And is it not time for the United States, preoccupied with so many crises, to begin asking, “Why is this our problem?”..

If we cannot persuade Pyongyang to give up its nuclear weapons in return for a lifting of sanctions, perhaps we should pull U.S. forces off the peninsula and let China deal with the possible acquisition of their own nuclear weapons by Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

Iran has no nukes or ICBMs. It wants no war with us. It does not threaten us. Why is Iran then our problem to solve rather than a problem for Saudi Arabia, the Gulf States and the Sunni Arabs?

Nor does Russia’s annexation of Crimea threaten us. When Ronald Reagan strolled through Red Square with Mikhail Gorbachev in 1988, all of Ukraine was ruled by Moscow.

The Venezuelan regime of Nicolas Maduro was established decades ago by his mentor, Hugo Chavez. When did that regime become so grave a threat that the U.S. should consider an invasion to remove it?

During the uprising in Caracas, Bolton cited the Monroe Doctrine of 1823. But according to President James Monroe, and Mike Pompeo’s predecessor John Quincy Adams, who wrote the message to Congress, under the Doctrine, while European powers were to keep their hands off our hemisphere — we would reciprocate and stay out of Europe’s quarrels and wars.

Wise folks, those Founding Fathers.

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russia wants war

 

 

 

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US military stops releasing Afghanistan war information

Posted by M. C. on May 1, 2019

Overall, the U.S. has spent $737 billion on the war and lost more than 2,400 military lives, according to the Pentagon.

Code for the real numbers are higher.

https://www.apnews.com/253f6e2504ad4c72aed8a2d0499a673e

WASHINGTON (AP) — Amid a battlefield stalemate in Afghanistan , the U.S. military has stopped releasing information often cited to measure progress in America’s longest war, calling it of little value in fighting the Taliban insurgency.

The move fits a trend of less information being released about the war in recent years, often at the insistence of the Afghan government, which had previously stopped the U.S. military from disclosing the number of Afghans killed in battle as well as overall attrition within the Afghan army.

The latest clampdown also aligns with President Donald Trump’s complaint that the U.S. gives away too much war information, although there is no evidence that this had any influence on the latest decision.

A government watchdog agency that monitors the U.S. war effort, now in its 18th year, said in a report to Congress on Wednesday that the U.S. military command in Kabul is no longer producing “district control data,” which shows the number of Afghan districts — and the percentage of their population — controlled by the government compared to the Taliban.

The last time the command released this information, in January, it showed that Afghan government control was stagnant or slipping. It said the share of the population under Afghan government control or influence — a figure that was largely unchanged from May 2017 to July 2018 at about 65 percent — had dropped in October 2018 to 63.5 percent. The government’s control or influence of districts fell nearly 2 percentage points, to 53.8 percent…

The war in Afghanistan is largely forgotten in much of America, as is the enormous, continuing financial cost. This year the Pentagon budget includes $4.9 billion to provide the Afghan army and police with everything from equipment and supplies to salaries and food. That is one piece of a wider array of “reconstruction” assistance the U.S. government has provided since the war began in 2001, totaling $132 billion.

Overall, the U.S. has spent $737 billion on the war and lost more than 2,400 military lives, according to the Pentagon.

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Bin Laden Won – The Future of Freedom Foundation

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2019

https://www.fff.org/explore-freedom/article/bin-laden-won/

by

Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan by Scott Horton (Chicago: The Libertarian Institute, 2017); 317 pages.

According to official U.S. government accounts, the body of Osama bin Laden slid off the deck of the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson into his watery grave in the Indian Ocean sometime on the morning of May 2, 2011. Nearly 10 years after 9/11, the terrorist leader of al-Qaeda responsible for nearly 3,000 murdered Americans was no more, and the rationale for the Afghan War gone with him.

Fast-forward another seven years. On September 2, 2018, Gen. Austin S. Miller assumed control of NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, the 17th commander to inherit the longest military quagmire in the nation’s history. Miller replaced Gen. John W. Nicholson, who led the coalition war effort for 17 months. Upon his departure, Nicholson said, “It is time for this war in Afghanistan to end.”

The opposite, however, is happening.

What’s clear from Miller’s promotion from commander of the Joint Special Operations Command, the military’s most elite killing machines, is that Washington cannot leave well enough alone in this graveyard of empires. Seventeen years of unnecessary bloodshed and atrocity and wasted treasure and corruption in Afghanistan isn’t enough. In June, General Miller told lawmakers that there was no timeline for the end to the war, while the situation on the ground only worsens as the Taliban continues to gain territory at the expense of the U.S.-supported puppet government in Kabul.

As journalist Scott Horton documents in his exhaustive history of the Afghan War, Fool’s Errand: Time to End the War in Afghanistan, the U.S. invasion and occupation of Afghanistan was always a mistake. Upon close scrutiny, Horton shows, every rationale for the war — from destroying al-Qaeda or defeating the Taliban or denying a terrorist safe haven or, even more unbelievable, creating a stable and democratic nation ruled from the capital city of Kabul — falls apart…

In the end, it didn’t matter that the United States finally got its man in neighboring Pakistan. The chants of “USA, USA” outside the White House on May 1, 2011, represented a pyrrhic victory. Bin Laden laid a trap on 9/11, and the U.S. government fell into it. Almost two decades after the towers fell, American soldiers continue to kill and die in vain in Afghanistan while propping up a corrupt regime in Kabul, a toxic combination that only ensures the insurgency never quits. Yet the powers that be continue to fight on, telling the American people that they can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat.

But this is a lie. Bin Laden, as Scott Horton masterfully documents, has already won. And nothing will change that fact, no matter how hard Washington spins various counter-narratives or promotes another commander to finally win the unwinnable in Afghanistan’s graveyard of empires.

Be seeing you

graveyard

 

 

 

 

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