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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Afghanistan Withdrawal: Sundays With the Military Industrial Complex – FAIR

Posted by M. C. on October 24, 2021

Twenty of the 22 unique featured guests from the United States had ties to the military/industrial complex.

https://fair.org/home/afghanistan-withdrawal-sundays-with-the-military-industrial-complex/

Julie Hollar

As US troops finally made their exit from Afghanistan after 20 years of occupation, the Sunday shows—which have always aimed to set Washington agendas—were filled with guests who had direct ties to the military/industrial complex.

FAIR analyzed three weeks of ABC‘s This Week, CBS‘s Face the Nation, CNN‘s State of the Union, Fox News Sunday and NBC‘s Meet the Press during the Afghanistan withdrawal (8/15/21, 8/22/21, 8/29/21). We recorded 36 featured guest appearances and 33 roundtable participant appearances. Those who appeared on more than one show were counted every time they appeared; there were 24 unique featured guests and 32 unique panelists.

Of the 24 unique featured guests, only two were not from the US: Roya Rahmani, the former ambassador to the US from Afghanistan, and Yasmeen Hassan, the Pakistani director of the NGO Equality Now. The two were interviewed jointly in one CNN segment (8/29/21)—the only segment in the study to center on the situation of Afghan women.

MIC ties

HR McMaster, Meet the Press

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster (Meet the Press, 8/29/21): “We surrendered to a jihadist organization and assumed that there would be no consequences for that.”

Twenty of the 22 unique featured guests from the United States had ties to the military/industrial complex. These MIC associates accounted for 28 of US guests’ 34 appearances. They included 13 appearances by elected officials who are recipients of military industry PAC money, 12 appearances by current or former government officials who serve or have served as consultants or advisors to the military industry, and eight appearances by former members of the military. (Some guests had multiple ties.)

The two exceptions were National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan, who appeared five times, and career diplomat and former ambassador to Afghanistan Ryan Crocker (CBS, 8/22/21). Even these exceptions didn’t stray far from the MIC orbit: Crocker was cozy enough to the military to be named an honorary Marine in 2012, and Sullivan was a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, a somewhat misleadingly named think tank that regularly takes five- and six-figure donations from various tentacles of the military/industrial complex.

No elected officials without military/industrial complex ties were invited on to discuss the situation in Afghanistan in the three weeks studied. Nor were any scholars, activists or civil society leaders aside from Hassan.

See the rest here

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The Answer to Veteran Suicide Isn’t a Gun Lock – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on September 21, 2021

Service members returning home are being confronted with reports of American atrocities and war crimes; actions that they may have been party to. For some, the guilt of being responsible for creating terror abroad when they believed themselves to be in a war to end terror is overwhelming.

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/09/no_author/the-answer-to-suicide-isnt-a-gun-lock/

By Alan Mosley

While enjoying some Saturday afternoon college football, I was treated to about a dozen reruns of a commercial produced by the Department of Veteran Affairs. Let me paint the scene for you:

A lone figure rests upon his pickup truck beside a lone oak upon a ridge in an otherwise rolling green prairie. The sky is a canvas of orange and purple as the sun sets on a peaceful day in the foothills of rural America. Suddenly, the imagery fades to a small silver case: a gun case for a pistol. Notably unloaded, the hands of the otherwise off-screen figure emerge to affix a lock to his sidearm, as even the case and separated magazine wasn’t enough to keep this soldier safe.

But safe from what? The voice over then chimes in:

“A simple lock puts space between the thought and the trigger. Learn how securing your firearms can prevent suicide.”

Look, I get it. The message they’re trying to convey is most suicides are an act of impulse. A veteran’s life may be saved if a little patience and deliberation is introduced into the equation. But it’s really hard to receive this advert as anything but a hollow gesture when the prescription provided by the VA is a gun lock without an ounce of reflection on the root cause of the crisis.

According to estimates, a little over 7,000 soldiers have died during military operations since the start of the “War on Terror” following the attacks of September 11. Meanwhile, suicides among both active duty and veterans of those conflicts have exploded to over 30,000, or more than four times those lost in combat. While these numbers are sobering, and possibly even erring on the conservative side, the real focus should be on what is driving the dilemma and how best to put an end to it. With the War on Terror now exceeding two decades, experts’ reasoning for the cause of the veteran suicide epidemic has evolved just as the wars themselves have evolved over those 20+ years. The most avid participants in regime apologism blame the diminishing public support for the terror wars for the rise in veteran mental health issues. While it’s true that Americans’ appetites for forever war is reaching all-time lows, as evidenced by the support for withdrawal from Afghanistan no matter how mismanaged, this explanation lacks an ounce of self-awareness for how long and costly the wars have been. Others have put forth that a rash of sexual assaults among personnel and a culture of “toxic masculinity” has led to increased mental health issues among service members. Nearly 1 in 4 servicewomen have reported cases of sexual assault, an embarrassment and a disgrace to the institution. The “boys club” may be to blame in equal parts for betraying its sisters in arms and convincing its brothers that they are weak to feel ill at ease. However, the weakest and most deceitful reason suggested may be that veterans are at severe risk of suicide because of their access to firearms. The rate of suicidal persons electing to turn to a firearm to commit the act has been used as fodder by gun prohibition advocates to attack the 2nd Amendment. This tactic not only belies an agenda totally divorced from concern for military veterans, it also implies veterans are among the least qualified to possess firearms for personal use rather than among the most qualified.

There’s another explanation worth considering, and it was perfectly illustrated right as the American occupation of Afghanistan was coming to a close. In an attempt to straddle the fence between bringing the War in Afghanistan to a long-overdue end while appeasing hawks who consider “withdrawal” to be synonymous with “surrender,” President Biden signed off on a drone strike against an alleged ISIS-K target. The unfortunate victims of said drone missile were not militants, but rather one Zamarai Ahmadi and his children, as even US military officials have openly admitted. Despite this admittance, no disciplinary action is expected as senior officials continue to “stand by the intel leading to the strike.” This is quite a callous and remorseless defense of “the intel” that ultimately concluded that Ahmadi, an aid worker who helped Americans during the occupation, deserved to die for the crime of loading his white sedan with jugs of water for his family. This incident is merely a microcosm of the role Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles (UCAV) have played in the War on Terror. According to a recent report, upwards of 90% of the people killed in drone strikes in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, and Somalia were “not the intended targets.” In other words, nearly 9 out of 10 people executed by the American government were likely innocent civilians. Service members returning home are being confronted with reports of American atrocities and war crimes; actions that they may have been party to. For some, the guilt of being responsible for creating terror abroad when they believed themselves to be in a war to end terror is overwhelming.

It’s certainly a welcome change to acknowledge the suicide epidemic among American service members. But acknowledgement of the problem without any meaningful introspection on the cause signals that the US government is more concerned with its PR problem than with stemming the creation of more psychologically damaged veterans. There may be several reasonable explanations for the trauma American troops are experiencing, but no list is complete without a willingness to confront the damage that US forces have caused, as well as the damage they have received. Regardless of your position on the cause of the crisis, or of America’s foreign policy generally, it is disrespectful and offensive to the nation’s veterans to recommend that their best foot forward against depression is to secure their firearms.

Alan Mosley is a historian, jazz musician, author, and host of It’s Too Late with Alan Mosley. You can find new episodes of It’s Too Late on Odysee, YouTube, iTunes, Spotify, and social media such as Facebook and Twitter by searching for “It’s Too Late with Alan Mosley” or “AlanMosleyTV.”

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‘Afghanistan: A Tragically Stupid War Comes to a Tragic End’ – Ron Paul’s 31 August Column

Posted by M. C. on September 1, 2021

Trump also should share some of the blame currently being showered on Biden. He wanted to get out years ago, but never had the courage to stand up to the also incompetent generals and “experts” he foolishly hired to advise him.

Similarly, many conservatives (especially neoconservatives) are desperate to attack Biden not for how he got out of Afghanistan, but for the fact that he is getting us out of Afghanistan.

That tells you all you need to know about how profitable war is to the warmongers.

https://mailchi.mp/ronpaulinstitute/afghanwar?e=4e0de347c8

Aug 31 – Sunday’s news reports that the Biden Administration mistakenly killed nine members of one Afghan family, including six children, in “retaliation” for last week’s suicide attack which killed 13 US servicemembers, is a sad and sick epitaph on the 20 year Afghanistan war.

Promising to “get tough” on ISIS, which suddenly re-emerged to take responsibility for the suicide attack, the most expensive military and intelligence apparatus on earth appears to have gotten it wrong. Again.

Interventionists love to pretend they care about girls and women in Afghanistan, but it is in reality a desperate attempt to continue the 20-year US occupation. If we leave, they say, girls and women will be discriminated against by the Taliban.

It’s hard to imagine a discrimination worse than being incinerated by a drone strike, but these “collateral damage” attacks over the past 20 years have killed scores of civilians. Just like on Sunday.

That’s the worst part of this whole terrible war: day-after-day for twenty years civilians were killed because of the “noble” effort to re-make Afghanistan in the image of the United States. But the media and the warmongers who call the shots in government – and the “private” military-industrial sector – could not have cared less. Who recalls a single report on how many civilians were just “collateral damage” in the futile US war?

Sadly these children killed on Sunday, two of them reportedly just two years old, have been the ones forced to pay the price for a failed and bloody US foreign policy.

Yes, the whole exit from Afghanistan has been a debacle. Biden, but especially his military planners and incompetent advisors, deserves much of what has been piled onto him this past week or so about this incompetence.

Maybe if Biden’s Secretary of Defense and Joint Chiefs’ Chairman had spent a bit more time planning the Afghan exit and a lot less time obsessing on how to turn the US military into a laboratory for cultural Marxism, we might have actually had a workable plan.

We know that actual experts like Col. Douglas Macgregor did have a plan to get out that would have spared innocent lives. But because this decorated US Army veteran was “tainted” by his service in the previous administration – service that was solely focused on how to get out of Afghanistan safely – he would not be consulted by the Pentagon’s “woke” top military brass.

Trump also should share some of the blame currently being showered on Biden. He wanted to get out years ago, but never had the courage to stand up to the also incompetent generals and “experts” he foolishly hired to advise him.

Similarly, many conservatives (especially neoconservatives) are desperate to attack Biden not for how he got out of Afghanistan, but for the fact that he is getting us out of Afghanistan.

That tells you all you need to know about how profitable war is to the warmongers.

I’ve always said, “we just marched in, we can just march out,” and I stand by that view. Yes, you can “just march out” of these idiotic interventions…but you do need a map!



Read more great articles on the Ron Paul Institute website.
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Copyright © 2021 by Ron Paul 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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The System Is Rigged For Endless War: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix – by Caitlin Johnstone – Caitlin’s Newsletter

Posted by M. C. on August 26, 2021

I still can’t find words to describe how insane it is that all the “experts” who spent twenty years being wrong about Afghanistan remain esteemed and wealthy while those who spent that time being right about Afghanistan remain marginalized and regarded as fringe kooks.

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-system-is-rigged-for-endless

Caitlin Johnstone

I still can’t find words to describe how insane it is that all the “experts” who spent twenty years being wrong about Afghanistan remain esteemed and wealthy while those who spent that time being right about Afghanistan remain marginalized and regarded as fringe kooks.

Nobody gets “credit” for ending the Afghanistan occupation. Everyone involved in keeping it going for twenty years gets blame. That’s it. You don’t get a trophy for not murdering more people.

But it’s not surprising that the Afghanistan war took twenty years to end. If anything, the way the deck is stacked in favor of perpetual war, it’s surprising it happened that fast. 

Military members who support imperialism get promoted. Those who get to the top go on to work for war profiteers. The war profiteers fund think tanks which promote more wars. The mass media report “news” stories citing those think tanks. These stories manufacture consent for more wars.

The war industry reinforces itself. Those who get to the top of the war machine move on to the private sector and spend their time lobbying for more wars which create more eventual Pentagon officials who go on to lobby for more wars. Peace should be easy. This is why it’s not.

It’s horrifying when you realize how much of the behavior of the most powerful military in history is driven by the simple fact that weapons manufacturers don’t make money if those weapons aren’t being used. The most powerful government on earth is stuck in a self-exacerbating feedback loop where the behaviors of the war machine are dictated by the war industry, and people wonder why it’s so hard to end wars. With a cycle this vicious, you can only end the wars by ending the empire.

This is what you get when mass-scale human behavior is driven by profit. As long as war is profitable, you guarantee that more wars will happen. As long as ecocide is profitable, more ecocide will happen. As long as corruption is profitable, more corruption will happen. Meanwhile, peace is not profitable. Demilitarization is not profitable. Nuclear disarmament is not profitable. Getting plastic out of the oceans is not profitable. Leaving trees standing is not profitable. Leaving oil in the ground is not profitable. Freedom is not profitable.

The religion of profit drives all human behavior. And it’s a death cult that will end us all if we don’t end it first.

Some people seem to think it’s only justifiable to end a military occupation if you can continue to control everything that happens in that nation after your military occupation ends. This is the same as believing it’s never okay to end a military occupation under any circumstances.

The mainstream media always cheerlead a US president’s foreign policy when it involves mass murder on an unthinkable scale and always criticize a US president when he tries to stop doing this. That’s all you really need to know about the trustworthiness of the mainstream media.

Nick is a Fred Hampton Leftist 🥋 @SocialistMMASupport for withdrawing from Afghanistan has dropped 20 points since April Goddamn corporate media propaganda is powerful afAugust 19th 2021306 Retweets2,142 Likes

Corporate media is mind control at mass scale. People who identify as smart, independent thinkers have their minds altered by it every day, and they believe they came to those opinions on their own. Until this problem is addressed, none of our other major problems are going away.

“How are we supposed to get everyone vaccinated if we don’t make it mandatory?”

Uhh, you don’t? You don’t begin with the assumption that the existence of a nasty coronavirus justifies forcing or coercing everyone to inject themselves with a brand new drug they don’t trust?

I mean, compelling people to take an injection that they are actually afraid of is a huge deal. Can we not at least agree on that? Can we not at least agree that forcing someone to receive an injection they fear would be so serious that you’d better have an amazingly bulletproof argument for doing it? I think so. And I don’t think such an argument exists at this time.

It’s important to follow and be followed by people you disagree with. You’ll see a lot of crap, but you’ll also keep yourself from falling into a self-validating echo chamber and eventually finding yourself saying something like unvaccinated people should be denied medical care.

Expecting a communism-oriented country to look like a utopia in the midst of a global imperialist war against communism is like expecting a family to look like a Norman Rockwell painting while they are being chased by wolves. 

Saying communism doesn’t work because nations who try to espouse it don’t look like thriving utopias while they’re being relentlessly assaulted is like saying a new invention doesn’t work because a band of armed thugs kept shooting and stomping on it during the demonstration.

Poverty is the result of an abusive system and telling the poor to “Get a job” or “Get a better job” has always enabled that abuse. Now that small businesses are being killed by that same abusive system, many who used to enable its abuses by saying this are becoming its victims.

Blaming poverty on the poor in a system that’s literally built on the premise of a permanent underclass has always been insane, but if you’re making good money and lack empathy it’s easy to think they’re just lazy. Only when such people are screwed by the same system do they see.

________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here

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OMG Afghanistan Is Invading Afghanistan: Notes From The Edge Of The Narrative Matrix – by Caitlin Johnstone – Caitlin’s Newsletter

Posted by M. C. on August 25, 2021

The military-industrial complex was inevitable. You cannot maintain a global order without the constant threat and application of mass military violence to hold it in place. It was inevitable that an industry would not only arise to meet that demand, but begin using the wealth it generates to manufacture support for more war.

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/omg-afghanistan-is-invading-afghanistan

Caitlin Johnstone

During the Trump years the media wept for the poor kids in cages and ignored all the bombs he was dropping. Now the media ignore the kids in cages and weep for the poor neglected bombs.

The US empire will literally invade a country so it can spend decades using the people who live there as target practice for its expensive new military technologies and then tell you to worry about motherfucking Cuba.

Sure is a crazy coincidence how government foreign policy decisions that would advance humanitarian interests always happen to align perfectly with government foreign policy decisions that would be extremely profitable for weapons manufacturers.

Love how everyone suddenly started babbling about China taking America’s place in Afghanistan. Like Beijing’s been watching all the world powers smashing their heads against military interventionism in Afghanistan and thinking “Yeah that looks awesome, we should definitely try that.”

Bush era war criminals are louder than ever right now because they’ve lost the argument. The Afghan “government” proved to be an illusion, proving they spent 20 years lying to us about what they’d been doing there, so now they’re trying to salvage their reputations and legacies.

I can’t believe there are still highly influential people saying we need to keep raining military explosives on the Islamic world to make Muslims less extremist.

Everyone’s freaking out that Afghanistan is invading Afghanistan.

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ @caitozDropping US-sponsored military explosives on one of the most densely populated areas on earth. Muhammad Smiry @MuhammadSmiryGaza under attack this night https://t.co/bXsaWQ7FayAugust 22nd 2021255 Retweets457 Likes

The Biden administration is perpetuating and advancing all of Trump’s policies better and more efficiently than Trump himself and it’s hilarious that MAGA people still oppose him just because Candace Owens told them he’s a communist.

The fact that Joe Biden’s mind has declined sharply in recent years is significant not because it means the US president can’t lead the country, but because it shows no US president ever leads the country. Republicans keep highlighting the fact that the sitting president’s brain doesn’t work to suggest that a Republican president would be more competent, but of course that’s not true. You’d just be swapping an impotent puppet with dementia for an impotent puppet without dementia.

The most powerful government in the world is run not by its elected officials but by a loose nationless alliance of plutocrats and government agency insiders who Americans never get to vote for. This has been obvious for a long time and gets more obvious by the day.

The debate over Covid policies has split anti-imperialists, socialists, Assange supporters etc in a way that’s mighty convenient for the powerful. We could probably all be more open-minded, keep watching and learning, and not expect everyone to agree with us about everything.

Just as a general rule it’s probably wise to avoid “If you’re not for us than you’re against us” doctrines. I tend to back away slowly from anyone I see getting that way, and that impulse has always proved a healthy one. Mature adults can agree where they agree and disagree where they disagree and not have that be a major issue.

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ @caitozAugust 22nd 2021267 Retweets1,834 Likes

“Don’t blame the troops, a lot of them saw the military as their only path out of poverty.”

Ah so we come back once again to the problem being capitalism.

Rob the rich because you are poor and they’ll give you a prison sentence. Put on a uniform and go kill impoverished people overseas because you are poor and they’ll give you a medal.

War profiteering is what you get when you mix capitalism with a globe-spanning power structure that works to maintain unipolar domination at all cost. The war industry surfs on the empire like dolphins on the wake of a freight ship, except in this case the dolphins also help steer and accelerate the ship. 

The military-industrial complex was inevitable. You cannot maintain a global order without the constant threat and application of mass military violence to hold it in place. It was inevitable that an industry would not only arise to meet that demand, but begin using the wealth it generates to manufacture support for more war.

Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ @caitozExplain to me how this definition does not make the US military the worst terrorist organization on earth. August 23rd 2021159 Retweets609 Likes

All the worst things in the world happened because some humans took some dumb thought in their heads a little too seriously. War, torture, genocide, slavery, exploitation, oppression, ecocide, it’s all because of a human tendency to imbue the noises between our ears with the power of belief. 

Some primates evolved the capacity for abstract thought a while back and the giant brains relative to the size of the birth canal meant we have to spend our formative days helpless and surrounded by giants, which is very scary and inherently traumatic. As we grow we start taking our thoughts very seriously as we try to obtain safety and security in the midst of this cacophony, and then ego happens as a result of this.

So really all this drama is ultimately just a species that’s in an awkward transition phase where it hasn’t yet developed a mature relationship with its newly evolved brain matter. I bet the ancestors of birds looked really awkward for a while at first too, before they could fly. Flight in our case would look like a mature relationship with our big brains where thought exists as a mere tool that we can use when it’s useful and set down when it’s not, rather than as a compulsive force which dominates our experience due to our conditioned habit of giving it belief.

And of course it’s very possible that we kill ourselves off before we make it out of this transition phase; it’s happened to many other species before us. But either way this is temporary. Either way any belief that this brief chapter in our story is illustrative of “human nature” is silly.

________________________

My work is entirely reader-supported, so if you enjoyed this piece please consider sharing it around, following me on FacebookTwitterSoundcloud or YouTube, or throwing some money into my tip jar on Ko-fiPatreon or Paypal. If you want to read more you can buy my books. The best way to make sure you see the stuff I publish is to subscribe to the mailing list for at my website or on Substack, which will get you an email notification for everything I publish. Everyone, racist platforms excluded, has my permission to republish, use or translate any part of this work (or anything else I’ve written) in any way they like free of charge. For more info on who I am, where I stand, and what I’m trying to do with this platform, click here

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Fauci: ‘I Respect People’s Freedom But…’

Posted by M. C. on August 24, 2021

In the wake of yesterday’s FDA approval of the Pfizer shot, Biden’s Covid advisor Anthony Fauci has blasted back onto the television screens, screeching that while he likes freedom there are times we must give up freedom…and take the shot! Meanwhile Biden is demanding that the private sector turn into the shot police and install mandates on their workers and customers. As Afghanistan unravels, is this dramatic ramping up of authoritarianism at home meant to be a distraction?

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Quantifying The “Staggering Costs” Of US Military Equipment Left Behind In Afghanistan | ZeroHedge

Posted by M. C. on August 24, 2021

You get your people and your stuff out first. Shouldn’t be that tough for a superpower.

https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/quantifying-staggering-costs-us-military-equipment-left-behind-afghanistan

Tyler Durden's Photoby Tyler Durden

Authored by Adam Andrzejewski via Forbes.com,

The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion.

Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn’t an easy task. In the fog of war – or withdrawal – Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine.

Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites.

#1. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of U.S. provided military gear in Afghanistan (August 2017): reposted report (dead link: report).

#2. Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) audit of $174 million in lost ScanEagle drones (July 2020): reposted report (dead link: report).

U.S. taxpayers paid for these audits and the U.S.-provided equipment and should be able to follow the money.

After publication, the GAO spokesman responded to our request for comment, “the State Department requested we temporarily remove and review reports on Afghanistan to protect recipients of US assistance that may be identified through our reports and thus subject to retribution.” However, these reports only have numbers and no recipient information.

Furthermore, unless noted, when estimating “acquisition value,” our source is the Department Logistics Agency (DLA) and their comprehensive databases of military equipment.

The U.S. provided an estimated $83 billion worth of training and equipment to Afghan security forces since 2001. This year, alone, the U.S. military aid to Afghan forces was $3 billion.

Putting price tags on American military equipment still in Afghanistan isn’t an easy task. In the fog of war – or withdrawal – Afghanistan has always been a black box with little sunshine.

Not helping transparency, the Biden Administration is now hiding key audits on Afghan military equipment. This week, our auditors at OpenTheBooks.com reposted two key reports on the U.S. war chest of military gear in Afghanistan that had disappeared from federal websites.

#1. Government Accountability Office (GAO) audit of U.S. provided military gear in Afghanistan (August 2017): reposted report (dead link: report).

#2. Special Inspector General For Afghanistan Reconstruction (SIGAR) audit of $174 million in lost ScanEagle drones (July 2020): reposted report (dead link: report).

U.S. taxpayers paid for these audits and the U.S.-provided equipment and should be able to follow the money.

After publication, the GAO spokesman responded to our request for comment, “the State Department requested we temporarily remove and review reports on Afghanistan to protect recipients of US assistance that may be identified through our reports and thus subject to retribution.” However, these reports only have numbers and no recipient information.

Furthermore, unless noted, when estimating “acquisition value,” our source is the Department Logistics Agency (DLA) and their comprehensive databases of military equipment.

See the rest here

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Despair in the Empire of Graveyards – LewRockwell

Posted by M. C. on August 22, 2021

https://www.lewrockwell.com/2021/08/fred-reed/despair-in-the-empire-of-graveyards/

Fred Reed

Forty-six years ago in a previous comedy I was in Saigon, recently having been evacuated from Phnom Penh in an Air America—CIA—Caribou carrying, in addition to me, several ARVN junior officers and perhaps a dozen BUFEs (Big Ugly Fucking Elephants, the ceramic pachyderms much beloved of GIs). America had already embarked on its currently standard policy of forcing small countries into wars and then leaving them in the lurch. In Cambodia this led to the reign of Pol Pot, the ghastly torture operation at Toul Sleng, and a million or so dead. In the unending fight for democracy, casualties are inevitable.

At the time Saigon was tense because Ban Me Thuot had fallen and the NVA roared down Route One toward Saigon. To anyone with the brains of a doorknob, the American adventure in Vietnam was coming to an end, but the embassy was studiedly unconcerned. Embassies do not have the brains of a doorknob, but are keenly aware of public relations. Acknowledging the inescapable is not their way. As usual, Washington would rather lie than breathe, and did. As in Cambodia, so in Nam, and so later in Afghanistan.

Apparently a genius at State realized that a lot of gringo expats lived in Nam—the number six thousand comes to mind, but may be wrong—and that six thousand hostages taken when Saigon fell would be bad PR. So the embassy in Kabul—Saigon, I meant to say, Saigon—quietly announced that expats could fly out on military aircraft from Ton Son Nhut. They didn’t, or at least many didn’t. The NVA continued its rush toward Saigon.

The expats didn’t fly out because they had Vietnamese wives and families and were not going to leave them, period. These wives may not have had the trappings of pieces of paper and stamps and maybe snippets of ribbon. These things do not seem important in Asian war zones. But the expats regarded them as wives. Period. The family went, or nobody did. Period.

The embassy didn’t understand this because embassies are staffed by people from Princeton with names like Derek who wear pink shirts and don’t know where they are. The ambassador is usually a political appointee being rewarded for campaign contributions and probably doesn’t speak the language as few gringos spikka da Pushto or Vietnamese or Farsi or Khmer. For example, nobody at all in the embassy in Cambodia spoke Khmer. The rank and file of State are better suited to a high-end Rotarian barbecue than a Third World city teeming with strange people in funny clothes eating God knows what horrible things in winding frightening alleys. And so the State people could not understand why an American would marry one “of them,” as in the embassy I once heard a gringa put it. It was a good question. Why would a man marry a pretty, sleek, smart, self-reliant woman who wanted family and children? It was a great mystery.

The Taliban—NVA, I mean–NVA kept coming closer. A PR disaster loomed.

Meanwhile the PR apparatus insisted that the sky wasn’t really falling even as it did and no, no, no the US had not gotten its sit-down royally kicked by a ratpack of rice-propelled paddy maggots, as GIs described the opposition. Many in government seemed to believe this. This was an early instance, to be repeated in another part of Asia, of inventing a fairyland world and then trying to move into it.

Finally State faced reality, a novel concept. It allowed quietly that expats and their families could fly out, military. It was getting late, but better than nothing.

The comedic value of this goat rope grew, becoming more amusing by the hour. I was trying to get a young Vietnamese woman out as she had worked for the embassy and we suspected things might not go well with her under the NVA. Call her Linda. Linda and I took the bus to Tan Son Nhut. The Viet gate guards gave her a hard time, envying her for getting out while they could not, but we got in. I was going to tell the State people that we were married but that while I was in Can Tho, by then in VC hands, see, the marriage papers had slipped from my carrying case. This was obvious bullshit, but I guessed that if I made a huge issue of it they would bend rather than get in a megillah with a reporter, no matter how unimportant.

We found ourselves in a long line of expats with their families leading to the door of a Quonset hut, inside of which a State official was checking papers. Some of the expats had around them what appeared to be small villages of in-laws, brothers of wives, sisters, everything but the family dog. An official with a bull horn told us to write down all their names and the relationships on clipboards being passed around. Tran Thi Tuyet Lan, sister, for example.

Then a genius at the embassy or Foggy Bottom realized that something resembling a third of Viet Nam was about to come out, listed as in-laws. Policy changed, at least in Washington which was as usual blankly ignorant of reality on the ground. At Tan Son Nhut this meant telling men that they had to leave parts of their families behind, which they weren’t going to do. This would not look good above the fold in the Washington Post. Dozens of Americans taken captive because the State Department would not let their families out.” All was confusion because the US had spent years telling itself that the disaster couldn’t happen. What to do?

See the rest here

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The Oligarchic Empire Is Actually Simple And Easy To Understand – by Caitlin Johnstone – Caitlin’s Newsletter

Posted by M. C. on August 21, 2021

Yeah, don’t you worry your pretty little heads about war. It will just confuse you, because it’s far too complicated to understand. These important matters should be left to men like John Bolton, who are consistently wrong about every foreign policy issue.

https://caitlinjohnstone.substack.com/p/the-oligarchic-empire-is-actually

Caitlin Johnstone

If you’re like me and spend entirely too much time on Political Twitter you may have recently observed a bunch of people saying you shouldn’t post your opinion about the Afghanistan situation unless you’re an expert who has studied the nation’s dynamics in depth. Like an empire invading a nation and murdering a bunch of people for decades is some super complicated and esoteric matter that you need a PhD to have an opinion about.

You see fairly simple abuses framed as highly complicated issues all the time by people who defend those abuses. War. Israeli apartheid. My abusive ex used to go around telling people what happened between us was more complicated than I was making it sound. 

Before he became Trump’s National Security Advisor in 2018 John Bolton faced a contentious interview on Fox News where he was criticized for his role in Bush’s invasion of Iraq, and he responded that “the point I think you need to understand is, life is complicated in the Middle East. When you say ‘the overthrow of Saddam Hussein was a mistake,’ it’s simplistic.”

Bolton is now among the “experts” on Afghanistan doing mainstream media tours on CNN and NPR explaining to the public that the decision to end the 20-year military occupation was a mistake.https://www.youtube-nocookie.com/embed/NPFc9YN7LIE?start=323&rel=0&autoplay=0&showinfo=0&enablejsapi=0

Yeah, don’t you worry your pretty little heads about war. It will just confuse you, because it’s far too complicated to understand. These important matters should be left to men like John Bolton, who are consistently wrong about every foreign policy issue.

This carefully promoted idea serves only the powerful, and entirely too many people buy into it. You’ll even see dedicated leftists shying away from commentary on western imperialism in favor of domestic policy because they don’t feel confident talking about something they’ve been trained to believe is very difficult and complex.

Which is silly, because war is actually the easiest aspect of the oligarchic empire to understand. Murdering people with military explosives for power and profit is plainly wrong. You don’t need to be an Ivy League university graduate to understand this, and given the track record of Ivy League university graduates on this matter it’s probably better if you are not. A globe-spanning power structure loosely centralized around the United States orchestrates murder at mass scale to ensure perpetual domination of the planet. It really is that simple.

Now, you can spend the rest of your life studying the details of precisely how this is the case, but they’re just that: details about how this dynamic is taking place. You can learn all about the various ways the oligarchic empire advances its geostrategic agendas using wars, proxy conflicts, coups, sanctions, special ops, cold war brinkmanship and the so-called “war on terror”, but you will only be discovering further details about this simple overarching truth.Nathan Bernhardt @jonbernhardtthe politico reporters snapping off tweets about how “if you haven’t really studied afghanistan, please, you don’t have to tweet about it” are the exact same people who will sell you the next warAugust 17th 2021440 Retweets3,094 Likes

And the same is true of the other aspects of the status quo power structure: they’re meant to look complicated, but what you actually need to know about them to orient yourself in our world is fairly simple. 

The systems of capitalism are very complex by design, and a tremendous amount of thievery happens in those mysterious knowledge gaps on financial and economic matters where only the cleverest manipulators understand what’s going on. But the basics of our problem are quite simple: money rewards and uplifts sociopathy. The more willing you are to do whatever it takes to become wealthy, the wealthier you will be. Those who rise to the top are those who are sufficiently lacking in human empathy to step on whoever they need to step on to get ahead.

As a result we’ve had many generations of wealthy sociopaths using their fortunes and clout to influence governmental, media, financial and economic systems in a way that advantages them more and more with each passing year. This is why we are ruled by sociopaths who understand that money is power and power is relative, which means the less money everyone else has the more power they get to have over everyone else. They’ve been widening the wealth gap further and further over the years, a trend they seek to continue with the so-called “Great Reset” you’ve been hearing so much about lately.

You can spend the rest of your life learning to follow the money, studying the dynamics of currency, banking and economics, but what you’ll be learning is more and more details about the way the dynamic I just described is taking place. 

Sociopaths rise to the top, the most powerful of whom understand that things like money, governments and the lines drawn between nations are all collective narrative constructs which can be altered in whatever way benefits them and ignored whenever it’s convenient. For this reason controlling the stories the public tell themselves about what’s going on in their world is of paramount importance, which is why so much wealth gets poured into buying up media and media influence in the form of advertising, funding think tanks and NGOs, and buying up politicians with campaign contributions and corporate lobbying.Caitlin Johnstone ⏳ @caitozSociety Is Made Of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix. Life in our society is like the movie The Matrix, except instead of AI keeping us asleep in an illusory world, it’s psychopathic oligarchs. And instead of code, it’s narrative. Society Is Made Of Narrative. Realizing This Is Awakening From The Matrix.In the movie The Matrix, humans are imprisoned in a virtual world by a powerful artificial intelligence system in a dystopian future. What they take to be reality is actually a computer program that has been jacked into their brains to keep them in a comatose state. They live their whole lives in th…caitlinjohnstone.substack.comJuly 13th 2021184 Retweets466 Likes

These powerful sociopaths tend to form loose alliances with each other and with the heads of government agencies as often as possible since it’s always easier to move with power than against it. So what you get is an alliance of depraved oligarchs with no loyalty to any nation using powerful governments as tools to bomb, bully and plunder the rest of the world for their own power and profit, and using mass-scale media psyops to keep the public from rising up and stopping them.

And that’s it, really. So simple it can be summed up in a few paragraphs. Don’t let elitists use the illusion of complexity to cow you out of talking about what’s going on in your world. You can see what’s going on well enough to begin speaking out, and the more you learn the more detailed the picture will become. 

Speak. You are infinitely more qualified to comment on the way power is moving in the world than the people who’ve been consistently wrong about everything throughout their entire careers yet remain widely platformed by the oligarchic media. If John Bolton gets a voice, so do you.

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US Middle East/Afghanistan Meddling Began Way Before 9/11. How Much Of An Improvement Have You Seen?

Posted by M. C. on August 20, 2021

However, it was not the first time that “Iraqgate”–as the scandal of US military and political support for Hussein in the ’80s has been dubbed–has raised its embarrassing head in the corporate media, only to be quickly buried again.

On August 18, 2002, the New York Times carried a front-page story headlined, “Officers say U.S. aided Iraq despite the use of gas”. Quoting anonymous US “senior military officers”, the NYT “revealed” that in the 1980s, the administration of US President Ronald Reagan covertly provided “critical battle planning assistance at a time when American intelligence knew that Iraqi commanders would employ chemical weapons in waging the decisive battles of the Iran-Iraq war”. The story made a brief splash in the international media, then died.

While the August 18 NYT article added new details about the extent of US military collaboration with Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein during Iraq’s 1980-88 war with Iran, it omitted the most outrageous aspect of the scandal: not only did Ronald Reagan’s Washington turn a blind-eye to the Hussein regime’s repeated use of chemical weapons against Iranian soldiers and Iraq’s Kurdish minority, but the US helped Iraq develop its chemical, biological and nuclear weapons programs.

Nor did the NYT dwell on the extreme cynicism and hypocrisy of President George Bush II’s administration’s citing of those same terrible atrocities–which were disregarded at the time by Washington–and those same weapons programs–which no longer exist, having been dismantled and destroyed in the decade following the 1991 Gulf War–to justify a massive new war against the people of Iraq.

A reader of the NYT article (or the tens of thousands of other articles written after the war drive against Iraq began in earnest soon after September 11, 2001) would have looked in vain for the fact that many of the US politicians and ruling class pundits who demanded war against Hussein–in particular, the one of the most bellicose of the Bush administration’s “hawks”, defence secretary Donald Rumsfeld–were up to their ears in Washington’s efforts to cultivate, promote and excuse Hussein in the past.

See the rest here

NORM DIXON writes for Australia’s Green Left Weekly.

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