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America's Lost War

  America's Lost War

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

America's Afghan war is lost and illegal. The Bush administration got no Security Council authorization or congressional declaration of war.

 

For You, a Thousand Times Over

By Kathy Kelly
 
At the start of The Kite Runner, a novel by Khaled Hosseini later adapted for film, a brave and selflessly loyal Afghan boy runs to help his much wealthier friend, singing out his love for him "For you, a thousand times over ..." They have been flying a fighting kite, (these are kites with edges sharp enough to cut the strings of another kite), and the singing boy has gone to fetch an enemy kite they have won.  A dreadful betrayal ensues, its effects exacerbated horribly by the start of the U.S.-Soviet proxy war. Several decades pass before any small sort of atonement can be achieved by the book's protagonist.

We sang that song this weekend.  I was privileged to attend several actions organized by Kansas and Missouri activists, beginning at Fort Leavenworth prison, to which Bradley Manning will likely return after his current ordeal in a New Jersey military courtroom.

Manning faces a life sentence and potentially a death sentence for the crime of informing U.S. voters and people around the world how our troops and our client governments behave when we are not meant to be looking. One partial consequence seems to have been the democracy uprising of the Arab Spring. Later, at Whiteman Air Force Base, we presented an indictment for the international war crimes that are implicit in remote-controlled killing using the kind of aerial drones that are piloted from the base.  As three of our friends walked forwards with the indictment to be arrested by riot-shielded base police, we flew kites to remind ourselves that the blue sky above our heads should not be a source of fear,  and we sang, "For you, a thousand times over, for you, a thousand times over..."  

Quite a day.  I awoke to a clock radio announcing that deadly tornadoes had again ravaged the plains of the Midwest.  Before I could think of the people I knew in their path, the next news item announced Taliban attacks in several locations of Kabul. It was a relief, a few minutes after logging in to my account, to receive a reassuring message from the Afghan Peace Volunteers, in whose apartment in Kabul I’ve several times had the privilege to stay. There were 12 of them together in the house in Kabul, and they were all okay. When I phoned them, my young friend Abdulai answered and told me, in English, "Kathy, there is war in Kabul today.  Many bombs!"  They had been staying in a rear storage room as far from the street as they could, they had adequate food and no need (and no intention!) to go outside, and Bamiyan, the town many of them call home, had had phone service during the morning so they could reassure their families of their safety.  

In Kabul, they’re safe from the drone attacks, which shatter so many families, suspected of any contact with the Taliban, and from the worst excesses of the small-scale local warlords we’ve armed against them.  But no-one is safe in a country ravaged by four continuous decades of war making. 
 
Today we were at Whiteman AFB, singing our kite runner song to pace ourselves and remain calm in the face of a line of advancing soldiers, I imagine all Air Force cadets, which had swallowed the forms of our three brave friends (Brian Terrell, Mark Kenney, and Ron Faust) and was backing us toward a border around the base into which we had crossed.  We had crossed into the base flying kites and bio-degradable balloons all bearing our message calling for an end to drone warfare, to indiscriminate death from above flown like toys, video-game style, through grainy cameras from the safety of bases like this.  
 
We’d prepared a litany of sorts announcing our intention to release ourselves from domination by war and the U.S. war machine, and reading the names of children killed by our country’s war in Afghanistan. The Air Force security, decked out in camouflage-pattern riot gear with shields, helmets, batons, and of course guns, chanted one-two-three-four as they marched deliberately forward, intending of course, to seem as menacing as possible.  From a distance they did, but when they were close enough that we could see their faces, through the riot shields...young, dutiful, far from fearsome.....what to say?  

Some two dozen of us had planned to head back off the base when officially warned, and as this seemed quite official, we were now backing deliberately, slowly away.  I had the mike, and assured them we meant no harm.  They were chanting one-two-three-four so I told them I wished I had their discipline, I had been trying to learn Dari and had only learned the numbers up to ten, but I counted with them yek, do, seh, chahar, and it quickly became clear that, between songs and assurances, there was nothing, simply nothing, for anyone present to fear in this particular face-off, except for the men facing imprisonment for declining to retreat with us.  

Looking through the clear plastic of the shields into these young soldiers’ faces, I couldn’t fail to think of Bradley Manning, outside whose prison (though he has been, and will likely be, in many prisons) we had stood vigil the previous day. Such an act of unbearable, unbelievable courage, repaid so terrifyingly by my government – by the greatest military power my world has ever, and may, perhaps, ever come to know.  For how much of his life, over the past few years, for how many hours has he even seen the sky?  Not discounting the discipline of these young men before me, could I think of a greater hero, making at such great risk such sensible and visionary choices, as Bradley Manning?  I wondered how many decades of suffering lay before him, not merely because of his near-unfathomable courage, but because he was so alone in his courage.  None of us have faced what he is facing, and if more of us had, would his sacrifice have even been needed?

There were other actions this weekend - many people came together in Kansas City, MO, for a well-organized session of community building and planning.  Five people crossed the line and were arrested at a Kansas City factory that manufactures "non-nuclear parts for nuclear weapons" and is the size of 7 football fields!  And the momentum here ensures that there are more actions to come.  We all felt very proud of and moved by the people who committed civil resistance, --and we were grateful for all the many people who helped the weekend activity happen.  Honestly too numerous to name.  

But I’m brought back to that story I read, in which the young boy, so full of service and love, runs off into danger, facing it honorably and with passionate courage, singing “For you, a thousand times over.”  I think of my brave friends organizing for peace and sectarian healing in blast-ravaged Kabul, and I think of Pfc. Manning, and his mad, wise, selfless act of love, and I wonder how many decades it will be, how many thousands of these vigils we will attend, before we can achieve some kind of atonement.


Kathy Kelly (Kathy@vcnv.org) co-coordinates Voices for Creative Nonviolence (www.vcnv.org), a campaign which has worked closely with the Afghan Peace Volunteers (www.ourjournetytosmile.com)

Trolling for Kids: The Empire is Using Hard Times to Help it Recruit More Imperial Troops and Cannon Fodder

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

In the militarist society in which we live in these latter days of American Empire, all soldiers are “noble heroes” who have signed up at “great personal sacrifice” to “defend our freedoms,” and we are all expected to pay homage and a great deal of our hard-earned money to support them, both in their brutal efforts to subjugate people in desperately poor parts of the world, and (when they leave the service, either to take jobs in the private sector or to live out broken lives if they were wounded) as veterans.

 

But let’s be honest about all this.

 

Afghan war whistleblower Daniel Davis: 'I had to speak out – lives are at stake'

"Senior ranking US military leaders have so distorted the truth when communicating with the US Congress and American people in regards to conditions on the ground in Afghanistan that the truth has become unrecognisable."

 

Visit the Guardian for the full story

Oh Yay! Deal Reached to Continue Night Raids in Afghanistan

Why can't people ever reach deals for peace when they can reach deals for things like this?

Text of agreement: PDF.

Even Congress Members Ready to End U.S. Killing in Afghanistan -- Who's Left?

Lynch reverses field on Afghan mission

By Bryan Bender, Boston Globe
  • Representative Stephen Lynch, who has traveled to the Iraqi and Afghan war zones more than almost any other member of Congress,             visited the village of Spin Boldak in Afghanistan in 2010.
Representative Stephen Lynch, who has traveled to the Iraqi and Afghan… (US House of Representatives)

WASHINGTON - During one of Representative Stephen F. Lynch’s early visits to Afghanistan, a crush of angry protesters had to be forced out of the path of his convoy with rifle butts. When his plane approached Iraq in the weeks after the 2003 invasion, enemy mortars were still striking the runway.

The South Boston Democrat, who won his seat in a special election on Sept. 11, 2001, has traveled to the war zones in Iraq and Afghanistan 21 times, more often than almost any other member of Congress.

He has often been the only Democrat in the visiting delegation. The fact-finding missions - often into savaged neighborhoods, his blood type written on his body armor in case of attack - helped make him much more supportive of the decadelong war effort in Afghanistan than his Bay State colleagues.

Not anymore. Lynch, frustrated by a lack of progress, is now breaking with the Obama administrationand calling on the president to speed up American withdrawal from Afghanistan by at least a year.

“I don’t think we are going to get there in 2014,’’ said Lynch, speaking about the administration’s timeline for withdrawal. “The pace of progress is so slow that the law of diminishing returns will apply. I don’t think there will be any added measure of benefit that is worth the sacrifice to stay an extra year.’’

READ THE REST.

obama     obama     obama     obama     obama     obama     obama     obama     obama

Shutting Down a Military Recruiting Office Near Little Kabul: Afghans for Peace Protest US War on Afghanistan

by Stephanie Tang

Friday, March 30, Fremont CA:  Outraged by the March 11 massacre of 17 villagers in Afghanistan’s Kandahar Province, people took to the streets of Fremont, California in a bold anti-war march and direct action that shut down the local Armed Forces Career Center (recruitment office) for the afternoon.

View more photos

Support THESE Troops?

From The American Scholar:

The soldiers around me were barely visible, but I could smell them. They had not washed for days, and a sharp musk of sweat and sleeplessness, tobacco and chemically mummified food, wove through the fields and orchards. It was after midnight, moonless, the stars brilliant but unhelpful. The soldiers wore night-vision goggles, but I did not, so I stumbled after their scent along the remote edge of a fading war, envisioning things I could not see.

Up ahead, in the stream of black shapes, were the American soldiers I had come to fear. They were men who enjoyed demolishing Afghan houses, men who shot dogs in the face. The pair who had embraced like lovers, one tenderly drawing the blade of his knife along the pale, smooth skin of his friend’s throat. There was a guy who’d let the others tie his legs open and mock-rape him, and there were several men who had boasted of plans to murder their ex-wives and former girlfriends.

READ THE REST.

Deal Nearing on Afghan Night Raids

From Wall Street Journal:

The U.S. and Afghanistan are close to signing a landmark agreement that would give Afghans effective control over nighttime raids and clear the way for the two countries to sign a strategic-partnership agreement next month in Chicago, according to officials from both countries.

Under terms of the proposed accord, night operations by special forces would be subject to review by Afghan judges. The deal, which people familiar with it said could be signed later this week, would also give Afghan forces the lead in all the operations. Currently, a majority of night raids are led by Afghans, U.S. officials said.

An Open Letter to Mr. Kofi Annan from the Afghan Peace Volunteers

Re:  An ‘Annan Six Point Peace Plan for Afghanistan’

Dear Mr. Kofi Annan,

Salams from Afghanistan!

The six point peace plan which you have proposed for Syria has a collected calm that is missing in Afghanistan.

We are a grassroots group of ordinary, multi-ethnic Afghans and we’re tired of our world being like it is. We wish for a life of non-violence, the unity of all people, equality, and self-reliance, and we seek non-military solutions for Afghanistan.

But the profoundly greedy and antagonistic governments of today do not practice these values. The ground realities of our daily lives do not match up with any ‘ideal’ that leaders double-speak of, so enough!

We no longer expect anything from any leader except self-interest. We respect them as fellow human beings but we will not submit to their status-quo exploitation of the 99%.

We will not be robbed, then blamed.

We will not be killed, then compensated.

Nowadays, the people of the world are protesting this unequal status quo, because we all wish to live freely, free from the economic and geopolitical wars that cling to us like the stubborn soot of serial arson.

We apologize for ventilating to you, but if you have the chance to visit this ‘terrible war relic of a land’, you will immediately feel in the air the greed and the antagonism that the ‘war against terrorism’ has set alight. We’re not only speaking about the sights, sounds and smells of decay and death. We’re describing the rotting of our souls.

We distrust one another. We’re angry and hurting, and losing hope.

Meanwhile, the leaders strategize and fight behind closed doors, and make a show of negotiating. Their negotiations are ultimately tiring schemes to win through force.

Especially for Afghan mothers, force is the faucet of tears that won’t be turned off.

For U.S. and NATO leaders, we wish we could cup and bring these oceans of tears across the miles to their shores, to reason peaceably with them that however ‘just’, ‘necessary’ and ‘accurate’ they imagine their targeted killings to be, wars do not work, especially not for the people.

Mr Annan, just as you had quickly concluded in Syria, we’ve experienced that further militarization in an already militarized Afghanistan has not only been unhelpful, it has been distastefully unkind.

An‘Annan Six Point Peace Plan for Afghanistan’ would bear immediate relevance for Afghanistan.

In terms of humanitarian needs, Afghanistan ranked 172 out of 187 on the 2011 Human Development Index. 35% live below the poverty line. Unemployment is at 36%. Afghanistan has one of the highest infant and maternal mortality rates in the world.

Regarding security for ordinary Afghans, Afghan civilian deaths rose for the fifth straight year reaching a record level of 3021 in 2011. The ICRC’s Head of delegation, Reto Stocker, said in March 2011, “It is an untenable situation. People tell us that they are caught in the middle of the conflict and they don’t know which way to turn.”

Afghans live so miserably, that last year, 30,000 Afghans took arduous journeys to seek asylum in Europe, the highest rate of Afghans seeking asylum there in the past 10 years.

In terms of the military ‘peace’ strategy, there is such hellish distrust of and hate for the U.S./Afghan military partnership that ‘guardian angels’ are needed to guard U.S. soldiers from ‘rogue’ Afghan soldiers.

The U.S. led ‘peace’ talks with the Taliban and with Hizb-e-Islami have broken down. The U.S. is practically at drone-war with Pakistan.  By establishing long-term military bases and maneuvers in Afghanistan, the U.S. projects military threats to neighboring countries, including Pakistan, Iran, Russia and China, as if that will make the Pakistanis, Iranians, Russians and Chinese happy and peaceful interlocutors.

U.S. or foreign military bases cause rather than prevent September 11s.

And, in terms of global terrorism, where on earth are the Al Qaeda ‘safe havens’? It’s impossible to physically raid and bomb away ‘the vengeful anger behind terrorism’.

‘Terrorists’?

With respect to aspirations for ultimate outcomes in Syria, there appears to be two main alignments:

1. Assad’s government, Russia, China, Iran…

2. Syrian National Council, U.S. and Friends of Syria, Arab League, Al Qaeda…

On which side are the ‘non-terrorists’, and who are the ‘terrorists’? Neither alignment has excluded violence.

In accepting ‘Annan’s Six Point Peace Plan’, Syria's President Bashar al-Assad said that the "terrorism" of foreign-supported fighters must stop as well.

Der Spiegel wrote that “Men who once did battle against American soldiers, and were branded as Al-Qaeda terrorists, are now fighting on the side of Syrian insurgents, whose victory over Assad would be entirely welcomed by the West. Still, the involvement of foreign jihadist fighters makes it more difficult to differentiate between good and evil in the Syrian conflict.” 

On a human level, we’re certain that you share with us the realization that there are no ‘terrorists’, only multiple opponents trying to win through superior ‘terror’.

Alternatives?

In the interest of applying the ‘six-point peace plan’ to Afghanistan, we respectfully suggest two revisions, an italicized addition in Point 1 and a crossed out portion in Point 3.

ANNAN’s six-point peace plan for AFGHANISTAN

1. Afghan-led political process to address the aspirations and concerns of the Afghan people, led by Afghan citizens who have not killed anyone

2. UN-supervised cessation of armed violence in all its forms* by all parties to protect civilians

3. All parties to ensure provision of humanitarian assistance to all areas affected by the fighting.and implement a daily two-hour humanitarian pause.

4. Authorities to intensify the pace and scale of release of arbitrarily detained persons

5. Authorities to ensure freedom of movement throughout the country for journalists

6. Authorities to respect freedom of association and the right to demonstrate peacefully

*in principle, we’re certain that you mean both armed and unarmed violence in all its forms

Thank you, Mr Kofi Annan and team! Thanks for upholding the potential for practical diplomacy, which to us is upholding human dignity.

You’re in such a tough place, with the Arab League pledging $100 million to pay the Syrian opposition and the U.S. sending communications equipment including night goggles, but we trust that you will remain seasoned and firm. The position of non-violence is the strongest place to be, however lonely or hard.

We share and experience the same pain as ordinary Syrians. Having lost two million loved ones over the past 4 decades of the Afghan game, we feel that this game is as deserving of attention as the Syrian game.

Unfortunately, though Afghanistan’s peace and security is made out to be so important for the region and the rest of the world, the U.S. / Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreementis not even being put to a UN Security Council discussion, far less a vote.

A proposal from you or your colleagues would present an urgent and viable alternative to perpetual war in South Asia.

It may provide Afghans the opportunity to begin trusting again.

Sincerely,

The Afghan Peace Volunteers

U.S. Ambassador: First Decade in Afghanistan Was to Kill the Slow and the Stupid, Now Is Time to Kill the Smart People

From The Telegraph:

Mr Crocker, who took up his post in Kabul last year, said al-Qaeda remained a potent threat despite suffering setbacks. “We have killed all the slow and stupid ones. But that means the ones that are left are totally dedicated,” he said.

“We think we’ve won a campaign before our adversaries have even started to fight. They have patience, and they know that we are short on that.”

Protest of Afghanistan Massacre at Military Recruiter’s Station: Fremont

When: Friday, March 30, 2012
Where: Fremont, California
2:30 pm – Rally at Fremont BART station

3:00 PM – March to Armed Forces Recruiting Center

(39194 Paseo Padre Pkwy)

Organizers: Afghans for Peace; Iraq Veterans Against the War (SF Bay Area); United States Afghan community
Endorsers: Courage to Resist, Decolonize Oakland, Education Not Incarceration, Idriss Stelley Foundation, Occupy Oakland, San Jose Peace and Justice Center, World Can't Wait SF Bay

The Afghan community, American war veterans, the Occupy movement and their allies will hold a non-violent, direct action demonstration in Fremont this Friday at the Armed Forces Recruiting Station. This action is in response to this month’s massacre of 17 Afghan civilians in Kandahar Province by U.S. military personnel.

These concerned demonstrators will be protesting against:

  1. The March 11 massacre in Kandahar, along with all other atrocities related to this war.
  2. U.S. military recruitment of poor and marginalized US citizens and residents.
  3. The “U.S./Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement” which would extend the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan into 2024.


Afghans and US war veterans said in a joint statement earlier this week: “We’re outraged--not only about this latest atrocity--but by the drone attacks, the night raids, the “kill teams” murdering for sport and collecting body parts as trophies, the urinating on dead Afghan bodies while filming it, the burning of Qurans... We also need to stand in solidarity with economically disenfranchised youth of color who are targeted by the military recruiters and end up joining the military as their only way out of systematic oppression at home.”

Yeah, Bales Was Such A Rogue...

From the Agonist:

Now flick over to Danger Room where you can read the story of the former Army lieutenant and the serving Army sergeant who thought they were going to work as assassination contractors for the Mexican Zetas gang, but were the subjects part of a DEA sting op. Then there's the ones who say they go to Afghanistan to do fucked up things they can't do at home. Yeah, Bales was utterly unique...

This morning I was talking with Marcy Wheeler on Twitter about the Bales case. She, like me, thinks the received version doesn't quite pass the smell test. I reminded her of the murders of three pregnant women during a 2010 night raid. The US military had at first claimed that the women were stabbed to death by the Taliban but after some great investigative reporting by Jerome Starkey admitted that special forces soldiers had been responsible. Further investigation by Afghan authorities found that a cover-up that had been mounted - that the soldiers involved had dug bullets out of the bodies of the women to hide the true nature of their deaths. No-one was ever prosecuted and despite the military's amazing about-face, follow-up American media reporting was anemic to say the least.

Marcy thinks something similiar happened in Panjwai - but that because such an atrocity would put a serious spanner in the works of the status of forces agreement with Karzai the Obama administration hopes to conclude in the next month, a really serious cover-up is being mounted.

I suspect the night of the murders started with a night raid launched in retaliation for the IED strike earlier in the week, during which at least two men considered to be legitimate targets were killed. But that along with those “legitimate” deaths–perhaps because the male head of family targets were not home during the raid (both Mohammed Wazir and Syed Jaan were out of the village during the attack)–a bunch of women and kids got killed as well.

Such an explanation would explain many of the seeming discrepancies in the story. It would account for the claims that at least 12 men were involved in the raid, used walkie talkies, and had helicopters. It would account for the stories that in a few cases, just one male was killed and women and children were left, as would happen in a night raid “properly” conducted. It would also explain why Bales made two trips off the base–perhaps the first time as part of the raid, and the second time to try to cover up, by burning, the illegal victims that resulted.

And it would explain both why Afghans made assertive requests about SOFA and why DOD is being so touchy right now. The US can’t really stay in Afghanistan if it can’t conduct night raids; otherwise, the local knowledge of Afghans would more than negate the advantage of our superior technology.Yet, this incident happened just after Karzai had already accelerated the prison transfer and was pushing back on night raids.

It is bad enough that an American solider is alleged to have gone a rampage killing 17 civilians. But if he did so as part of a night raid, it will give Afghans precisely the justification they need to prohibit any more night raids.

Marcy's theory fits better with Afghan reports of multiple attackers and with oddities in the US account - like the two miles and apparently a trip back to base between the killings in the two villages, like no-one on the base hearing the gunfire and screaming at 3am from the second village which was only 200 yards away - than the preferred US military account.

In 2011 Iraq told the US that it could not sign a SOFA agreement that allowed US troops immunity under local law, that it was a severe imposition on Iraqi sovereignty that the people would never accept after so many years of atrocities. The Obama administration had to do an about face on its plans for staying in Iraq and the US took a massive hit to its perceived invulnerability to accountability worldwide. Now, Afghans are hesitatant to sign such an agreement over the exact same thing.

Have another invaded nations tell the U.S. to sling it's hook, that those it liberated would prefer civil war to continued U.S. occupation? In an election year? On Obama's watch?

Better to mount a cover-up with a single rogue patsy to blame.

Update Gaius Publius at AmericaBlog has a useful roundup of the state of the mainstream media on Bales and the massacre, as well as noting some new "green on blue" attacks that seem to be as a result of it.

Fragging in Afghanistan?

  Fragging in Afghanistan?

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

If it's happening, it's not reported. Washington wants no mention or suggestion of what plagued Vietnam. More on that below.

 

Writing about the Russian Revolution, Leon Trotsky said:

 

Inviting Afghan/U.S./NATO and global citizens to join the People’s Love and Peace Campaign

On Saturday, about 1000 Israelis marched in Tel Aviv to tell their government, and the world, that a majority of Israeli citizens do not want military action against Iran. Signs read "No to War with Iran," and "Talks, not Bombs.”

The protest followed, though was not endorsed by, an increasingly popular Facebook Love and Peace campaign initiated by an Israeli family, in which Israeli and Iranian citizens are saying to one another, “We love You.” and ‘We don’t want war”.

Recent polls suggest that some 58 per cent of Israeli citizens are against any military strike against Iran. Likewise, though the U.S. led military strategy in Afghanistan threatens to perpetuate with the signing of the dissected U.S. Afghan Strategic Partnership Agreement, 60% of U.S. citizens in a recent Washington Post-ABC News Poll believe that the war is not worth its cost in life and expense.

However, unbeknownst to most U.S. citizens, the Strategic Partnership Agreementwill cost U.S./Afghan soldiers and Afghan civilians ( including in Sgt John Bales-type killing sprees ) more lives and at least 4.1 billion of U.S. taxpayer money annually, with or without the detested night raids or drone operations. Interestingly,4 billion U.S. dollars is the same amount that is being stolen and carried out of Afghanistan through Kabul International Airport annually.

Afghan citizens are very tired of war. They want an end to this U.S. coalition/Afghan government/Taliban war. The war is increasing ‘terrorism’, not reducing ‘terrorism’. The war is inspiring ‘safe havens’ in multiple places everywhere, not removing ‘safe havens’. The war is about Money and Power, interests which are against the ordinary people of Afghanistan and the world.

With this in mind, and with hope for a conversation against war strategies, we, the Afghan Peace Volunteers have beeninspired by the Israel/Iran citizens’ Love and Peace Campaignto begin a Facebook 'Afghanistan Love and Peace Campaign.'

We have very few supporters so far, but we believe that the ‘everyday people’ of Afghanistan and the world are ready to say ‘no’ to the economic and geopolitical wars waged against the 99%.

“We Love You.

No to War.

No to military solutions.”

Why wait silently for further decades of the continued human method of war?

Ordinary citizens, including members of peace groups, have another opportunity to lay aside their differences of opinion for love of the people, like the Egyptians did from Facebook to Tahrir Square saying ‘No to military rule!”

Many 'salams' from Afghanistan,

The Afghan Peace Volunteers

'Afghanistan Love and Peace Campaign'

http://ourjourneytosmile.com

Military Wives Fear Their Husbands Will Massacre Families

From Daily Beast:

It was the thought of Bales sequestered on base, cut off from her friends, and her family in nearby Bellevue, that prompted Lori Volkman, a prosecutor in Washington State and the wife of a Marine reservist, to pen an open letter on her blog. “I can only imagine what you felt as you stared blankly at the officer who arrived without any answers to give,” she wrote. “And when I thought of my own husband and my own children, and how devastating it would be, I sat at my own dinner table with my mother, another military wife, and we cried for you.”

In three days, the post has gotten more than 10,000 hits, Volkman says. Visitors have left more than 150 comments (more than on anything else she has ever posted) and of them, just four are negative. “Kari, be strong and hold on to your beautiful children,” wrote Kimberley. “My family is sending love to yours as it sends those in Afghanistan that lost their loved ones that awful day.” Most, however, address just Bales. “Please remember, you really are not alone,” reads one typical entry. “Many are saying, ‘but for the grace of God, could have been my soldier.’”

Volkman’s is far from the only site where women are voicing such sentiments. Brittany Jaccaud wrote a similar open letter on her blog, His Military Wife. Army wives are posting in the comments sections of news articles, Facebook groups, and in the myriad online support groups that have sprung up for military spouses in recent years. What is expressed on these pages goes beyond simply woman to woman, or wife to wife. It reflects a unique solidarity—the kind that comes only from a shared experience that includes long stretches of single parenting, repeated relocations, and, of course, an almost unspeakable fear of what might happen during the next deployment.

“I sat at my own dinner table with my mother, another military wife, and we cried for you.”

“As military wives, our biggest fear is our husband not coming home,” Jaccaud told The Daily Beast. “We all go through the nightmares of something bad happening. We all go through that worry…. But never in our right minds could we fathom getting this call.”

Still, the news about Bales struck particularly close to home for the 27-year-old mother of three. Until last December, she and her husband—who, like Bales, is a staff sergeant—also were stationed at Lewis-McChord. “I don’t pretend to know what happened, but being a military member married to a staff sergeant, I’ve been there,” she says. “Same rank, same duty station. It’s frightening. It hit home that it could be anybody.”

That refrain—it could be anybody, it could have happened to any of us—shows up so often on blogs and comment pages that you might forget we’re talking about a man who allegedly targeted women and children in a brutal, murderous rampage. “The one thought that keeps coming back to me is there but for the grace of God….” Ellen M wrote beneath Volkman’s open letter. “This could have been anybody’s spouse.”

“Honestly, situations like this worried me just as the fear that he would be killed, captured or injured,” wrote Megan, whose blog says she is the wife of a wounded warrior, beneath a post about the attack on a military-run site called SpouseBuzz. “I feared that he would break and do something to dishonor himself, our family, and our nation.”

This is hardly the first time such fears, awful as they are, have been typed into comment boxes or blog entries by women such as these. More than two years ago, a woman named Julie Anna, whose husband had been in the military for nearly a decade, and also was stationed at Fort Lewis, wrote, “I have seen the wonderful man I met and married change after war and I have literally watched the demons dance around him through it all. The hell we, as a family, have gone through has been the worst nightmare I have ever endured.” Last October, reflecting on the trial of another sergeant accused of killing civilians in Afghanistan, she wrote that she and her husband were both on antidepressants, “as is the rest of the army population….okay maybe not everyone. Just the ones that have been in for several years now, the ones who will actually admit when things are really screwed up.”

Afghanistan Crimes: Absolving Higher-Ups

  Afghanistan Crimes: Absolving Higher-Ups

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Murder anywhere is bad enough. Nuremberg chief prosecutor Robert Jackson called preemptive aggressive war killing "the supreme international crime against peace." 

 

Convicted Nazi war criminals were hanged. American ones keep killing with impunity.

Airlift of Donated Winter Baby Clothes for Afghans Ready to Take-off from Belgium

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

UPDATED: UNPRECEDENTED PRIVATE EFFORT AIRLIFT OF DONATED WINTER BABY CLOTHES FOR AFGHAN CHILDREN ARRIVES

CONTACT:

RALPH LOPEZ
TELEPHONE: 617-412-9438 (USA)
EMAIL: ralphlopez2008@gmail.com

SATURDAY, MARCH 24, 2012

Baby winter clothes and items arrive at sorting facility in Kabul, DHL volunteers.

Why Do We Protest the NATO Summit?

By Buddy Bell

Irish flashback: Sowing the seeds of the Afghan massacre

When I heard the news of the American soldier charged with the slaughter of 16 people in Afghanistan, I instantly flashed back to a ferry trip in the early 1970s from Liverpool to Belfast.

What could the tragedy in Afghanistan have in common with that trip so long ago in a different part of the world? Plenty.

On that ferry was a company of British soldiers headed for duty in Northern Ireland during the three-decade period of violence now called "The Troubles." I have never seen such a depressed group of people, before or since.

Those young soldiers were dreading our arrival in Belfast because they perceived everyone in Northern Ireland to be “hostiles.” It didn’t matter whether the civilians were Nationalists or Loyalists (what the American media portray as “Catholics” vs. “Protestants”). As far as these troops thought, they were all “the enemy.” And indeed, at that time, the soldiers were under guerrilla-style attack from both sides, subject to sniper attacks, and worse. While on the ground in Ireland, they were confined to gated and fortified compounds, except when they were on patrol—and on patrol they were in units of at least 10 or 15 soldiers, dressed in uniform with body armor, and all intensely observing every house, building, vehicle, and person in the area.

READ THE REST.

A Poem in TCBH!: Mars, oh Mars

 

Mars, oh Mars

  how pink you are!

You hang in the east –

  a blushing star,


US Afghan Detainees Sent to Torture Prisons

  US Afghan Detainees Sent to Torture Prisons

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Post-9/11, torture became official US policy. Bush officials mandated it. Obama continues it in US overseas prisons and foreign ones, including in Afghanistan. 

 

General: Shootings may force quicker exit

LEAVENWORTH, Kan., March 19 (UPI) -- The fallout from the killing of 16 Afghans allegedly by a U.S. soldier could lead to U.S. troops leaving Afghanistan sooner, not later, a retired general said.

Meanwhile, the attorney for Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, accused of killing the 16 civilians, prepared to meet his client for the first time Monday, CNN reported.

If U.S. troops can't resume their missions and can't return to villages as Afghan President Hamid Karzai called for, "the United States' mission is changed," Maj. Gen. James A. "Spider" Marks told CNN.

"Ismail's Flight" Cargo of Winter Baby Clothes and Blankets Leaves for Kabul Saturday

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:

RALPH LOPEZ
TELEPHONE: 617-412-9438 (USA)
EMAIL: ralphlopez2008@gmail.com

MARCH 24, 2012

After a deadlier than usual Afghan winter for young children, in which at least 40 children under age 5 have frozen to death, the British Afghan Women's Society is ready to launch an air cargo of warm baby clothes, baby formula, and other items which is the result of an outpouring of sympathy by Britons and people from around the world.  Londoners and others responded overwhelmingly to calls for donations of such items last month, after it was reported in the media that many babies had frozen to death in the exceedingly harsh winter. 

The airlift is scheduled to take-off from Liege Airport in Belgium on Saturday, 24 March. 

British Afghan Women's Society website: http://www.britishafghanwomen.org

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