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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

The Ron Paul Institute-Why Can’t We ‘Just March Out’ Of Afghanistan

Posted by M. C. on April 20, 2021

A recent article in the Military Times lays out the massive disaster of the US two-decade war on Afghanistan: more than two trillion dollars spent – much of it going to fund crooked practices in Afghanistan and here at home. And even worse, the Cost of War Project has estimated that a quarter of a million people have been killed in the war.

https://us6.campaign-archive.com/home/?u=a6b3044a9fe8889c822d11c16&id=6e64bb3c73

Why Can’t We ‘Just March Out’ Of Afghanistan

Apr 19 – Last week President Biden announced a “full” US withdrawal from Afghanistan – the longest war in US history – by the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attack on the United States. While this announcement is to be welcomed, the delayed US withdrawal may result in Americans and Afghans dying needlessly for good PR optics back home. We all remember how many Americans died after President Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” stunt in Iraq.

The war has been a disaster from day one. So why wait to end it?

The previous Trump Administration had negotiated an agreement for the US to be out of Afghanistan by the first of May, but in its obsession with tossing out anything associated with Trump, President Biden will continue to keep US troops in harm’s way in this pointless war.

The Taliban have kept their end of the “Doha Agreement” signed under then-President Trump: no Americans have been killed in Afghanistan for more than a year. However, the US side under President Biden will formally violate the Agreement by keeping US troops in-country after May 1st. The Taliban has announced that it will hold the US “liable” for remaining in-country after the agreed-upon departure date. That means more Americans may be killed.

The outcome of the war will not be altered in the slightest by keeping US troops in Afghanistan four additional months. The withdrawal is already announced and no one paying attention expects the corrupt US-backed Kabul government to survive. It is another Saigon moment, proving that the intellectually bankrupt US foreign policy and military established has learned absolutely nothing from history. So if another American is killed, who is going to explain to the grieving family why their loved one had to remain in harm’s way for a good 9/11 photo-op?

A recent article in the Military Times lays out the massive disaster of the US two-decade war on Afghanistan: more than two trillion dollars spent – much of it going to fund crooked practices in Afghanistan and here at home. And even worse, the Cost of War Project has estimated that a quarter of a million people have been killed in the war.

We do applaud President Biden’s decision to ignore the demands of all the neocons who have flocked to support his Administration, but as is most often the case, when it comes to Washington you have to really read the fine print when something sounds too good to be true. In this case, the fine print is that the US will not actually be leaving Afghanistan at all. As a recent article in The Grayzone points out, the Afghan war will continue with US special forces, CIA paramilitaries, and guns-for-hire taking the place of US soldiers. The war is not going to end, it’s just going to be “privatized.”

My philosophy has always been simple: we just marched in, so we can just march out. As we have learned recently, that is exactly what President Trump tried to do in the final days of his presidency, only to get cold feed after his military and national security “experts” told him it was a terrible idea. When the history of the Trump Administration is written, it will sadly be filled with stories of Trumps’ excellent instincts tossed aside by his inability to demand that those working for him follow his orders. It’s tragic.

We need to be completely out of Afghanistan. Yesterday.



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US Criticized For Withdrawing Troops From Afghanistan While Just 50 Years From Victory

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2021

https://babylonbee.com/news/us-criticized-for-withdrawing-troops-from-afghanistan-while-just-50-years-from-victory?fbclid=IwAR3i-mfewuw1vWDTQeGsMR6wKW-Y6PQ3M25UIS9V86oHItycsecEpxKTXkY

U.S.—The U.S. has been criticized for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan when the country is so close to victory, being just another 50 years away from declaring victory in the region.

Commentators, pundits, Democrats, and Republicans alike criticized the proposal to pull troops out in a few months, when if we just stay there for another few decades, victory is all but assured.

“Why are we leaving when victory is on the horizon, just a few decades away?” asked John Bolton. “We’re so close. You can’t give up right when you’re on the finish line, with a utopia in the Middle East being within our reach if we just stay there for another half-century.”

“It just doesn’t make any sense to leave now.”

At publishing time, the nation’s warmongers were relieved as they realized there’s basically zero chance we’re actually leaving Afghanistan this fall.

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The Ron Paul Institute for Peace and Prosperity : Steny Hoyer: Hypocrite of the Decade

Posted by M. C. on April 16, 2021

He even brutally attacked fellow Democrat Member Jim Moran (D-VA) for pointing out the worst kept secret in US history: that AIPAC was instrumental in pushing the US into a war on Iraq that in no way served the US interest but did very much serve Israeli government interests.

http://www.ronpaulinstitute.org/archives/congress-alert/2021/april/14/steny-hoyer-hypocrite-of-the-decade/

Written by Daniel McAdams

If you could mash-up all that is disgusting, evil, hypocritical, and idiotic in the US Congress, the resulting conglomeration would look a lot like House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-MD). His entire career has been spent gorging himself at the trough of the US taxpayer: he’s never had an honest job.

Hoyer is shameless. A fetid product of the bowels of Washington DC – a 20 term (40 year!) Member of Congress who has never met a war he did not want to send poor kids off to fight. He loves war, he loves the Beltway war machine, and his dedication to Israel and to the continued oppression of the Palestinians is limitless. He even brutally attacked fellow Democrat Member Jim Moran (D-VA) for pointing out the worst kept secret in US history: that AIPAC was instrumental in pushing the US into a war on Iraq that in no way served the US interest but did very much serve Israeli government interests.

He was critically responsible for ginning up then-skeptical Democrat Party support for the Iraq war. And when it became clear to anyone with a brain that the Iraq war was, as the late former NSA Director Bill Odom put it, “the greatest strategic disaster in American history,” Hoyer continued to dutifully lead the charge to keep funding that brutal, immoral, anti-American, and counterproductive occupation and continued war on the Iraqi people.

So what’s the latest beef against this supremely corrupt symbol of American decline? His rank hypocrisy.

Steny Hoyer when President Trump announced that he would remove all remaining US troops from the 20 year failed war in Afghanistan:

President Trump, disturbingly but characteristically, did not consult Congress about this action.  The only beneficiaries from such a troop reduction right now will be Russia and Iran, which continue to seek ways to thwart American interests, destabilize our allies, and exploit our weaknesses.  President Trump has just handed them a gift at the expense of our national security and the safety of our men and women in uniform.

Steny Hoyer today when President Biden announced that he would remove all remaining US troops from the 20 year failed war in Afghanistan:

I believe that President Biden is making the right decision to bring all of our personnel home this year. … I thank President Biden for his determination to bring our troops home…

America: do you want to know why we can’t have nice things? The Steny Hoyers of the country who continue to serve up feces and try and convince us it’s delicious chocolate.


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Do We Not Have Enough Enemies? – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on March 20, 2021

Biden also faces a new crisis of his own making. His “compassionate” policy on illegal immigration has been rewarded with scores of thousands of children, teenagers and families crossing our Southern border to be granted temporary residence while their cases await hearings.

With the border disintegrating, one would think the Biden administration would not be looking around for other crises.

Yet, in Tokyo, on the eve of his meeting with the Chinese in Anchorage, Blinken was playing the hawk: “China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law. … We will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/03/patrick-j-buchanan/do-we-not-have-enough-enemies/

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Asked bluntly by ABC’s George Stephanopoulos if he believes Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a killer,” Joe Biden answered, “Uh, I do.”

Biden added that he once told Putin to his face that he had “no soul.”

Biden also indicated that new sanctions would be imposed on Russia for the poisoning of dissident Alexei Navalny and for meddling in the 2020 U.S. election to allegedly help Donald Trump. Russia also faces U.S. sanctions for building the Nord Stream 2 pipeline under the Baltic to deliver natural gas to Germany.

With its president being called a “killer” by the U.S. president, Russia called Ambassador Anatoly Antonov home “for consultations.” In other times, such an exchange would bring the two nations to the brink of war.

What is Biden doing? Do we not have enough enemies? Does he not have enough problems on his plate?

The May 1 deadline for full withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, negotiated a year ago with the Taliban, is just six weeks off. Do we stay and soldier on or depart? No decision has been announced.

If we stay, our forces in Afghanistan could, again, come under fire. If we leave, the Kabul regime could be shaken to its foundation and fall.

Leaving would be an admission that the U.S. failed, and the war is lost.

After the recent U.S.-South Korea military exercises, North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un’s sister issued this threat to the Biden administration:

“We take this opportunity to warn the new U.S. administration trying hard to give off powdered smell in our land (that) if it wants to sleep in peace for the coming four years, it had better refrain from causing a stink at its first step.”

There is talk of new North Korean tests of missiles and nuclear weapons.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in Tokyo this week that the U.S. goal remains “the complete denuclearization of North Korea” But Presidents Bush II, Obama and Trump all failed to achieve that goal.

With national elections in June, the clock is also running on the Tehran regime that negotiated the 2015 nuclear deal. Does Biden intend to sign on again, as he indicated in the campaign he would, or walk away?

Biden also faces a new crisis of his own making. His “compassionate” policy on illegal immigration has been rewarded with scores of thousands of children, teenagers and families crossing our Southern border to be granted temporary residence while their cases await hearings.

With the border disintegrating, one would think the Biden administration would not be looking around for other crises.

Yet, in Tokyo, on the eve of his meeting with the Chinese in Anchorage, Blinken was playing the hawk: “China uses coercion and aggression to systematically erode autonomy in Hong Kong, undercut democracy in Taiwan, abuse human rights in Xinjiang and Tibet, and assert maritime claims in the South China Sea that violate international law. … We will push back if necessary when China uses coercion or aggression to get its way.”

China has enacted a new law that authorizes its coast guard to use force to defend Chinese sovereignty. And among China’s claims to sovereign control are the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, claimed and controlled by Japan.

Blinken has warned the U.S. will fight to keep the Senkakus Japanese.

While in Tokyo, Blinken also denounced the generals’ coup in Myanmar, accusing Myanmar’s army of “attempting to overturn the results of a democratic election and … brutally repressing peaceful protesters.”

Former national security adviser to President Trump John Bolton has listed other areas where China is engaged in “unacceptable behavior.”

“A by-no-means-comprehensive list of Beijing’s transgressions that require U.S. attention would include: meddling, blatant and subtle, with U.S. public opinion; building military bases in the disputed South China Sea; menacing Taiwan, Vietnam and India; increasing strategic nuclear forces and egregious global cyberwarfare; empowering North Korea’s nuclear weapons program; concealing the origins of covid-19; stealing intellectual property and forcing technology transfers; and genocide against Uyghurs and the repression of Hong Kong.”

Perhaps the Anchorage talks can be extended to get all the items on Bolton’s agenda fully addressed.

Again, does not America have enough on her plate already?

Our national debt is now larger than our national economy. COVID-19 has killed half a million of us and is killing 1,000 a day more. We have a broken and bleeding Southern border being overrun with no end in sight.

Politically, our nation is divided as deeply as it was on the eve of the Civil War. We are caught up in a culture war, at the root of which is an irreconcilable conflict over whether America is a good and great country, perhaps the greatest — or a nation of whose history and founding we ought to be eternally ashamed.

If time is on America’s side in our cold wars with Russia, China, North Korea and Iran, is not the wiser policy to maneuver to avoid any new hot wars?

Patrick J. Buchanan is co-founder and editor of The American Conservative. He is also the author of Where the Right Went Wrong, and Churchill, Hitler, and the Unnecessary War. His latest book is Nixon’s White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever See his website.

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Erie Times E-Edition Article-Report: US wasted billions on cars, buildings in Afghanistan

Posted by M. C. on March 3, 2021

Peter Van Buren wrote a book about his experience as a government employee trying to rebuild Iraq.

He was tasked with building a multi-million $ frozen chicken plant in an area where there was no electricity let alone any refrigerators.

The military routinely leaves $millions of equipment behind when abandoning bases. In the ME it often ends up with jihadists.

https://erietimes-pa-app.newsmemory.com/?publink=1c69ad246

Kathy Gannon

ASSOCIATED PRESS

ISLAMABAD – The United States wasted billions of dollars in war-torn Afghanistan on buildings and vehicles that were either abandoned or destroyed, according to a report released Monday by a U.S. government watchdog.

The agency said it reviewed $7.8 billion spent since 2008 on buildings and vehicles. Only $343.2 million worth of buildings and vehicles “were maintained in good condition,” said the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, or SIGAR, which oversees American taxpayer money spent on the protracted conflict.

The report said that just $1.2 billion of the $7.8 billion went to pay for buildings and vehicles that were used as intended.

“The fact that so many capital assets wound up not used, deteriorated or abandoned should have been a major cause of concern for the agencies financing these projects,” John F. Sopko, the special inspector general, said in his report.

The U.S. public is weary of the nearly 20-year-old war and President Joe Biden is reviewing a peace deal his predecessor, Donald Trump, signed with the Taliban a year ago. He must decide whether to withdraw all troops by May 1, as promised in the deal, or stay and possibly prolong the war. Officials say no decision has been made but on Monday, Washington’s peace envoy and the American who brokered the U.S.-Taliban deal, Zalmay Khalilzad, was back in the Afghan capital for a tour of the region.

Taliban insurgents and the Afghan government have been holding onagain- off-again talks in the Gulf Arab state of Qatar but a deal that could bring peace to Afghanistan after 40 years of relentless war seems far off.

After Kabul, Khalilzad will travel to Qatar’s capital of Doha and neighboring countries, including Pakistan, to push anew for progress in the Doha talks and a cease-fire to end the relentless violence.

Analyst Bill Roggio of the Long War Journal said the findings by SIGAR are not surprising. The reasons for the financial losses include Taliban attacks, corruption and “throwing money at the problem without considering the implications,” he said. “It is one thing to build a clinic and school, it is another to operate, maintain, and in many cases defend this infrastructure from Taliban attacks,” said Roggio. “Additionally, the West has wildly underestimated the impact of Afghan corruption and in many cases incompetence. It was always a recipe for failure.”

U.S. agencies responsible for construction didn’t even ask the Afghans if they wanted or needed the buildings they ordered built, or if they had the technical ability to keep them running, Sopko said in his report.

The waste occurred in violation of “multiple laws stating that U.S. agencies should not construct or procure capital assets until they can show that the benefiting country has the financial and technical resources and capability to use and maintain those assets effectively,” he said.

Torek Farhadi, a former adviser to the Afghan government, said a “donorknows- best” mentality often prevailed and it routinely meant little to no consultation with the Afghan government on projects.

He said a lack of coordination among the many international donors aided the wastefulness. For example, he said schools were on occasion built alongside other newly constructed schools financed by other donors. The construction went ahead because once the decision was made – contract awarded and money allocated – the school was built regardless of the need, said Farhadi.

A SIGAR report says about $1.2 billion of buildings and vehicles, out of $7.8 billion spent since 2008, were used as intended. RAHMAT GUL/AP, FILE

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Peering Into a Forever-War Crystal Ball – Antiwar.com Original

Posted by M. C. on January 22, 2021

The war in Afghanistan is hopeless and has long been failing by every one of the US military’s own measurable metrics, so much so that the Pentagon and the Kabul government classified them all as secret information a few years back.  

It hardly requires clairvoyance to offer such guesswork.  That’s because Biden basically is who he says he is and who he’s always been, and the man’s simply never been transformational.  One need look no further than his long and generally interventionist past record or the nature of his current national-security picks to know that the safe money is on more of the same.

https://original.antiwar.com/?p=2012341875

by Maj. Danny Sjursen, USA (ret.)

Originally posted at TomDispatch.

More than 19 years ago, the U.S. launched the air war that would become the ground invasion and “liberation” of Afghanistan. More than 17 years ago, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld declared “major combat” over in that country with just 8,000 US troops still stationed there. Approximately nine years after that, at the end of an Obama-era “surge,” US troop levels would reach around 100,000 (not counting contingents of NATO allies, as well as private contractors, CIA agents, and those involved in the American air war in that country). Today, those troop levels are finally down to 2,500 (plus, of course, those private contractors and that air power, which actually ramped up significantly in the Trump years). That, in other words, is how Donald Trump “ended” the American war in Afghanistan. Those remaining troops are supposed to be gone by May 1, 2021, but don’t count on it in the Biden era, since our new president (who, as vice president, had indeed been against the Obama-era troop surge) is seemingly committed to keeping some kind of “counterterror” force in that country.

In any case, 19-plus years after Washington put everything it had into Afghanistan except nuclear weapons (something Donald Trump threatened to do at one point), the Taliban is the very opposite of defeated. As the PBS NewsHour described the situation in an on-screen note introducing a recent report on developments there: “The Taliban is stronger in Afghanistan than at any point since 2001, occupying one-fifth of the country with around 60,000 full-time fighters.”

Isn’t it strange when you think about it that, other than some antiwar efforts by veterans of those conflicts, Americans have been so little concerned with nearly two decades of constant military failure across the globe for which we’ve squandered trillions of taxpayer dollars? Worst of all, those “forever wars” show every sign of continuing in the Biden years and possibly beyond, as former Army officer and TomDispatch regular Danny Sjursen, author most recently of Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War, explains so vividly (and painfully) today. Sjursen, who has in the past been all too accurate in his expectations about American war-making, offers a little crystal-ball look at what all of us might expect in the next four years from the country that just won’t stop fighting and a citizenry that seems as if it could care less. ~ Tom


The Future of War, American-StyleBy Maj. Danny Sjursen (ret.)

Hard as it is to believe in this time of record pandemic deaths, insurrection, and an unprecedented encore impeachment, Joe Biden is now officially at the helm of the US war machine.  He is, in other words, the fourth president to oversee America’s unending and unsuccessful post-9/11 military campaigns.  In terms of active US combat, that’s only happened once before, in the Philippines, America’s second-longest (if often forgotten) overseas combat campaign. 

Yet that conflict was limited to a single Pacific archipelago. Biden inherits a global war – and burgeoning new Cold War – spanning four continents and a military mired in active operations in dozens of countries, combat in some 14 of them, and bombing in at least seven.  That sort of scope has been standard fare for American presidents for almost two decades now.  Still, while this country’s post-9/11 war presidents have more in common than their partisan divisions might suggest, distinctions do matter, especially at a time when the White House almost unilaterally drives foreign policy.

So, what can we expect from commander-in-chief Biden?  In other words, what’s the forecast for US service-members who have invested their lives and limbs in future conflict, as well as for the speculators in the military-industrial complex and anxious foreigners in the countries still engulfed in America’s war on terror who usually stand to lose it all? 

Many Trumpsters, and some libertarians, foresee disaster: that the man who, as a leading senator facilitated and cheered on the disastrous Iraq War, will surely escalate American adventurism abroad.  On the other hand, establishment Democrats and most liberals, who are desperately (and understandably) relieved to see Donald Trump go, find that prediction preposterous.  Clearly, Biden must have learned from past mistakes, changed his tune, and should responsibly bring US wars to a close, even if at a time still to be determined.

In a sense, both may prove right – and in another sense, both wrong.  The guess of this longtime war-watcher (and one-time war fighter) reading the tea leaves: expect Biden to both eschew big new wars and avoid fully ending existing ones.  At the margins (think Iran), he may improve matters some; in certain rather risky areas (Russian relations, for instance), he could worsen them; but in most cases (the rest of the Greater Middle East, Africa, and China), he’s likely to remain squarely on the status-quo spectrum.  And mind you, there’s nothing reassuring about that.

It hardly requires clairvoyance to offer such guesswork.  That’s because Biden basically is who he says he is and who he’s always been, and the man’s simply never been transformational.  One need look no further than his long and generally interventionist past record or the nature of his current national-security picks to know that the safe money is on more of the same.  Whether the issues are war, race, crime, or economics, Uncle Joe has made a career of bending with the prevailing political winds and it’s unlikely this old dog can truly learn any new tricks.  Furthermore, he’s filled his foreign policy squad with Obama-Clinton retreads, a number of whom were architects of – if not the initial Iraq and Afghan debacles – then disasters in Libya, Syria, West Africa, Yemen, and the Afghan surge of 2009.  In other words, Biden is putting the former arsonists in charge of the forever-war fire brigade.

There’s further reason to fear that he may even reject Trump’s “If Obama was for it, I’m against it” brand of war-on-terror policy-making and thereby reverse The Donald’s very late, very modest troop withdrawals in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Somalia.  Yet even if this new old hand of a president evades potentially existential escalation with nuclear Russia or China and offers only an Obama reboot when it comes to persistent low-intensity warfare, what he does will still matter – most of all to the global citizens who are too often its victims.  So, here’s a brief region-by-region flyover tour of what Joe’s squad may have in store for both the world and the American military sent to police that world.

The Middle East: Old Prescriptions for Old Business

It’s increasingly clear that Washington’s legacy wars in the Greater Middle East – Iraq and Afghanistan, in particular – are generally no longer on the public’s radar.  Enter an elected old man who’s charged with handling old business that, at least to most civilians, is old news.  Odds are that Biden’s ancient tricks will amount to safe bets in a region that past US policies essentially destroyed.  Joe is likely to take a middle path in the region between large-scale military intervention of the Bush or Obama kind and more prudent full-scale withdrawal. 

As a result, such wars will probably drag on just below the threshold of American public awareness, while avoiding Pentagon or partisan charges that his version of cutting-and-running endangered US security.  The prospect of “victory” won’t even factor into the equation (after all, Biden’s squad members aren’t stupid), but political survival certainly will.  Here’s what such a Biden-era future might then look like in a few such sub-theaters.

The war in Afghanistan is hopeless and has long been failing by every one of the US military’s own measurable metrics, so much so that the Pentagon and the Kabul government classified them all as secret information a few years back.  Actually dealing with the Taliban and swiftly exiting a disastrous war likely to lead to a disastrous future with Washington’s tail between its legs is, in fact, the only remaining option.  The question is when and how many more Americans will kill or be killed in that “graveyard of empires” before the US accepts the inevitable.  Toward the end of his tenure, Trump signaled a serious, if cynical, intent to so.  And since Trump was by definition a monster and the other team’s monsters can’t even occasionally be right, a coalition of establishment Democrats and Lincoln-esque Republicans (and Pentagon officials) decided that the war must indeed go on.  That culminated in last July’s obscenity in which Congress officially withheld the funds necessary to end it.  As vice president, Biden was better than most in his Afghan War skepticism, but his incoming advisers weren’t, and Joe’s nothing if not politically malleable.  Besides, since Trump didn’t pull enough troops out faintly fast enough or render the withdrawal irreversible over Pentagon objections, expect a trademark Biden hedge here.

Syria has always been a boondoggle, with the justifications for America’s peculiar military presence there constantly shifting from pressuring the regime of Bashar al-Assad, to fighting the Islamic State, to backing the Kurds, to balancing Iran and Russia in the region, to (in Trump’s case) securing that country’s meager oil supplies.  As with so much else, there’s a troubling possibility that, in the Biden years, personnel once again may become destiny.  Many of the new president’s advisers were bullish on Syrian intervention in the Obama years, even wanting to take it further and topple Assad.  Furthermore, when it comes time for them to convince Biden to agree to stay put in Syria, there’s a dangerous existing mix of motives to do just that: the emotive sympathy for the Kurds of known gut-player Joe; his susceptibility to revived Islamic State (ISIS) fear-mongering; and perceptions of a toughness-testing proxy contest with Russia.

When it comes to Iran, expect Biden to be better than the Iran-phobic Trump administration, but to stay shackled “inside the box.”  First of all, despite Joe’s long-expressed desire to reenter the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran that Trump so disastrously pulled out of, doing so may prove harder than he thinks.  After all, why should Tehran trust a political basket case of a negotiating partner prone to significant partisan policy-pendulum swings, especially given the way Washington has waged nearly 70 years of interventions against Iran’s politicians and people?  In addition, Trump left Biden the Trojan horse of Tehran’s hardliners, empowered by dint of The Donald’s pugnacious policies.  If the new president wishes to really undercut Iranian intransigence and fortify the moderates there, he should go big and be transformational – in other words, see Obama’s tension-thawing nuclear deal and raise it with the carrot of full-blown diplomatic and economic normalization. Unfortunately, status-quo Joe has never been a transformational type.

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Danny Sjursen, a TomDispatch regular, is a retired U.S. Army major, contributing editor at Antiwar.com, senior fellow at the Center for International Policy, and director of the Eisenhower Media Network (EMN). He taught history at West Point and served tours in Iraq and Afghanistan. He is the author of Ghost Riders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge and Patriotic Dissent: America in the Age of Endless War. He co-hosts the “Fortress on a Hill” podcast.

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Afghanistan and the CIA Heroin Ratline – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on January 18, 2021

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/01/no_author/afghanistan-and-the-cia-heroin-ratline/

By Pepe Escobar
Sputnik News

The Persian Gulf harbors an array of extremely compromising secrets. Near the top is the Afghan heroin ratline – with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) positioned as the golden node of a transnational, trillion dollar heroin money laundering operation.

In this 21st century Opium War, crops harvested in Afghanistan are essentially feeding the heroin market not only in Russia and Iran but especially in the US. Up to 93% of the world’s opium comes from Afghanistan.

Contrary to predominant Western perception, this is not an Afghan Taliban operation. The key questions — never asked by Atlanticist circles — are who buys the opium harvests; refines them into heroin; controls the export routes; and then sell them for humongous profit compared to what the Taliban have locally imposed in taxes.

The hegemonic narrative rules that Washington bombed Afghanistan in 2001 in “self-defense” after 9/11; installed a “democratic” government; and after 16 years never de facto left because this is a key node in the Global War on Terror (GWOT), against al-Qaeda and the Taliban alike.

Washington spent over $100 billion in Afghan reconstruction. And, allegedly, $8.4 billion in “counternarcotics programs”. Operation Enduring Freedom — along with the “liberation” of Iraq — have cost an astonishing several trillion dollars. And still the heroin ratline, out of occupied Afghanistan, thrives. Cui bono?

Have a SIGAR

An exhaustive Afghanistan Opium Survey details the steady rise of Afghan opium production as well as the sprawl in production areas; “In 2016, opium production had increased by approximately 25 times in relation to its 2001 levels, from 185 tons in 2001 to 4800 tons in 2016.”

Another exhaustive report issued by the delightful acronym SIGAR (Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction) even hints — discreetly — at the crucial connection; Operation Enduring Freedom feeding America’s heroin epidemic.

Afghanistan is infested by contractors; numbers vary from 10,000 to tens of thousands. Military and ex-military alike can be reasonably pinpointed as players in the heroin ratline — in many cases for personal profit. But the clincher concerns the financing of US intel black ops that should not by any means come under scrutiny by the US Congress. 

A Gulf-based intel source with vast experience across the Pentagon-designated “arc of instability” tells the story of his interaction with an Australian intel operative who served in Afghanistan; “This was about 2011. He said he gave US Army Intelligence and the CIA reports on the Afghan heroin trade — that US military convoys from the ports of Pakistan were being used to ship the heroin out of Afghanistan — much of it was raw opium — for distribution as their backhaul.

No one answered.

He then cornered the key army intelligence operations and CIA at a meeting and asked why no action was taken. The answer was that the goal of the US was winning the hearts and minds of the population and giving them the poppies to grow won their hearts. He was then warned that if he brought this issue up again he would be returned to Australia in a body bag.”

The source is adamant, “CIA external operations are financed from these profits. The charge that the Taliban was using the heroin trade to finance their operations was a fabrication and a form of misdirection.”

And that brings us to a key motive behind President Trump‘s going against his instincts and accepting a new Afghan surge; “In the tradition of the opium wars of perfidious Albion in the 19th century, in which opium paid for tea and silk from India, and the taxes on these silk and tea imports financed the construction of the mighty British Navy which ruled the seas, the CIA has built itself up into a most powerful agent based on the trillion dollar heroin trade. It is impossible for Trump to overcome it as he has no allies to tap. The military are working together with the CIA, and therefore the officers that surround Trump are worthless.”

None of this deviates from the CIA’s modus operandi.

Past examples abound. The most notorious concerns the Golden Triangle during the Vietnam war, when the CIA imposed a food-for-opium scheme on Hmong tribesmen from Laos — complete with a heroin refinery at the CIA headquarters in northern Laos and the set up of nefarious Air America to export the opium.

The whole story was exposed on Prof. Alfred McCoy’s seminal The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia — which drove Langley nuts.

A contemporary counterpart would be a recent book by Italian journalist Enrico Piovesana detailing the New Opium War in Afghanistan.

The return of Air America

A Pakistani intel source with vast Pashtun/ tribal area contacts delves into even more incendiary territory; “According to our best information the CIA has brought in their al-Qaeda-Daesh proxies into Afghanistan to justify the additional American troops”. That would neatly tie in with Trump being cornered by his generals.

And then, there’s Moscow. Last week, the Russian Foreign Ministry was adamantly denouncing “foreign fighters” transferred by “unknown helicopters” as the perpetrators of a massacre of Hazara Shi’ites in a northern Afghanistan province; “It seems that the command of the NATO forces controlling the Afghan sky stubbornly refuses to notice these incidents.”

It does not get more serious than that; Moscow denouncing sectors of the US-trained Afghan Armed Forces side by side with NATO engaged in covert ops supporting jihadis.  Russian intel has hinted — discreetly — for quite some time that US intel is covertly sponsoring Daesh — a.k.a. “ISIS Khorasan” — in Afghanistan.

Russian intel is very much aware of the Afghan chapter in the New Great Game. Russian citizens are “collateral damage” of the Afghan heroin ratline as much as Americans. The Russian Foreign Ministry is tracking how tons of chemicals are being illegally imported into Afghanistan from, among others, “Italy, France and the Netherlands”, and how the US and NATO are doing absolutely nothing to contain the heroin ratline.

Well, Air America, after all, never died. It just relocated from the jungles of Southeast Asia to the arid crossroads of Central and South Asia.

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How State Legislators Can End Our Endless Wars | The Libertarian Institute

Posted by M. C. on December 16, 2020

Can you see this happening in today’s Pennsylvania?

https://libertarianinstitute.org/articles/how-state-legislators-can-end-our-endless-wars/

by Stewart Jones

While President Trump was negotiating yet another peace agreement this week — this time between Israel and Morocco — his enemies beat the drums of war in their ongoing effort to overthrow the America First foreign policy.

It’s sad that throughout the entirety of Mr. Trump’s presidency, the swamp has worked around the clock to dismantle his efforts toward peace. Even worse, with the passage of the disastrous, $740.5 billion 2021 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), it appears the neocons and pro-war left will soon regain the levers of federal power, plunging America into another four years of stupid, pointless, endless wars abroad.

With America’s armed forces soon to fall under the control of a Congress that will, in all likelihood, do everything they can to keep our troops overseas, it’s time for the states to step up. This is why I will soon be filing the Defend the Guard Act in South Carolina, a bill that would allow the governor to withhold national guard troops from being brought under federal control.

Sen. Rand Paul, Kentucky Republican, was one of the precious few voices of reason in the congressional vote on the NDAA. In his speech before the Senate, he said, “They believe that a president has the power to go to war anywhere anytime, but when a president tries to remove troops, they say ‘Oh no no. What we really want are 535 generals in Congress to tell him he can’t leave a war.’” Rep. Thomas Massie, Kentucky Republican, also took to Twitter to criticize the bill, writing, “This NDAA bill contains specific language to make it harder for the president to bring our troops home from Afghanistan.”

But heroes of liberty like Mr. Paul and Mr. Massie cannot fight this issue alone. Without reinforcements from elected officials across the board and a powerful grassroots movement to end America’s military expeditionalism, our efforts will never amount to anything beyond empty rhetoric.

You can read the rest of this article at The Washington Times.

About Stewart Jones

Stewart Jones is a lifelong resident of Laurens County and a proud 8th generation South Carolinian. He currently serves as Chairman of the Lakelands Republican Liberty Caucus as well as an elected State Republican Liberty Caucus Board Member.

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Scott predicts his own death

Posted by M. C. on December 15, 2020

https://mailchi.mp/3b608bf33fc2/scott-predicts-his-own-death-4154361?e=de2d0eded6

“I’m afraid that that’s how I’m gonna die 30 years from now. I’ll be sitting there arguing why we gotta get out of Afghanistan, and drop dead of a damn heart attack.”

Scott joked with Danny Sjursen in their recent interview:

The joke is in reference to Richard Holbrook, who actually dropped dead of a heart attack while arguing to get out of Afghanistan in front of Hillary Clinton and Jake Sullivan. Listen to the Interview Jake Sullivan is Biden’s new national security advisor. He worked with Clinton on the Libyan war, and he sent a notorious email revealing that the U.S. was fighting on the same side as Al Qaeda in Syria.

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NDAA Seeks To Halt Trump’s Troop Withdrawals From Afghanistan & Germany | Zero Hedge

Posted by M. C. on December 5, 2020

Now you know why the REAL reason Republican war party, CIA, FIB etc turned against Trump.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/ndaa-seeks-halt-trumps-troop-withdrawals-afghanistan-germany

Profile picture for user Tyler Durden

by Tyler Durden Fri, 12/04/2020 – 23:00 TwitterFacebookRedditEmailPrint

Authored by Dave DeCamp via AntiWar.com,

The version of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) agreed to by the House and Senate, known as the compromise version, includes provisions to block President Trump’s planned troop withdrawals in both Afghanistan and Germany.

For Afghanistan, there is language in the bill that would block funding to reduce troop numbers in the country before the Pentagon, State Department, and the director of national intelligence assess how the drawdown would affect US security. The assessment would be required before troop numbers could drop lower than they are when the NDAA becomes law, and again if they drop below 2,000.

Via Zuma Press/Xinhua

President Trump’s current plan is to bring troop numbers in Afghanistan down to 2,500 by January 15th. The US-Taliban peace deal signed in February paved the way for all US and other foreign forces to be out of the country by Spring 2021.

Another troop drawdown President Trump’s Pentagon is planning is a reduction of forces in Germany from about 36,000 troops to 24,000. Congressional aides told The Hill that the compromise version of the NDAA includes language that would block the drawdown.

“There is language that prevents reduction in the number of US forces stationed in Germany below 34,500 until 120 days after the secretary of Defense submits an assessment and planning regarding the implications for allies, costs, military families, deterrence and other key issues,” one of the aides said.

The provisions to block Trump’s withdrawals could add to the controversy that is already surrounding the NDAA. On Tuesday, President Trump said he would veto the spending bill if it did not include an amendment to repeal Section 230 of the 1996 Communications Decency Act.

Section 230 gives tech platforms immunity from liability for content published by third parties. Trump doubled down on his call to include the provision in a tweet on Thursday after some Republican senators voiced their objection to the idea.

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