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Cost of Iraq War Will Surpass Vietnam's By Year's End

Cost of Iraq war will surpass Vietnam's by year's end
If Congress approves the latest funding request, as expected, the Iraq war will have cost about $694 billion, making it the second most expensive conflict in U.S. history behind World War II.
By Julian E. Barnes | LATimes

The amount of U.S. money spent on the Iraq war will surpass the cost of Vietnam by the end of the year, making it the second most expensive military conflict in American history, behind World War II, according to Pentagon figures provided Friday.

If Congress approves the supplemental funding request submitted this week by the Obama administration, the cost of the war will rise by $87 billion for 2009, including a previous supplement approved during the Bush administration.

My Lesson In "ACTION" From The Murder Of Kitty Genovese

by Linda Milazzo

Mid-afternoon on Wednesday, driving along a street in the West San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, I saw this man lying on the parkway of the road. 

.Man on bike down closeup

Congresswoman Blasts Obama's War-Funding Request

[and yes i made that podium sign - DS]

by Carolyn Lochhead

President Obama's new $83.4 billion supplemental war request, which brings the cost of the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq to $1 trillion, drew fire Thursday from anti-war North Bay Rep. Lynn Woolsey.

[Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D- Cali.) in this file photo. Woolsey, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, had said in an earlier interview that she can't support raising troop levels. (File Photo)]Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D- Cali.) in this file photo. Woolsey, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, had said in an earlier interview that she can't support raising troop levels. (File Photo)

Former President George W. Bush disguised the cost of the wars in annual "emergency" supplementals, which then-Sen. Obama criticized. The Obama White House promises that this will be the last one.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said the request is a Bush holdover that is needed to fund the wars this fiscal year, before the Obama budget kicks in.

Until now, anti-war Democrats had been undecided about how to position themselves against the Afghanistan escalation under one of their own.

Woolsey, D-Petaluma, who co-chairs the Progressive Caucus, had said in an earlier interview that she can't support raising troop levels. She came out Thursday with this statement:

"As proposed, this funding will do two things - it will prolong our occupation of Iraq through at least the end of 2011 and it will deepen and expand our military presence in Afghanistan indefinitely.

"I cannot support either of these scenarios. Instead of attempting to find military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts."

 

[But what will she do other than voting No?  Will she whip others to do the same?  Will anyone else join her in such an effort?  Will "grass roots" groups?]

America's Imperial Wars: We Need to See the Sickening Reality

By Dave Lindorff

When I was a 17-year-old kid in my senior year of high school, I didn’t think much about Vietnam. It was 1967, the war was raging, but I didn’t personally know anyone who was over there, Tet hadn’t happened yet. If anything, the excitement of jungle warfare attracted my interest more than anything (I had a .22 cal rifle, and liked to go off in the woods and shoot at things, often, I’ll admit, imagining it was an armed enemy.)

But then I had to do a major project in my humanities program and I chose the Vietnam War. As I started researching this paper, which was supposed to be a multi-media presentation, I ran across a series of photos of civilian victims of American napalm bombing. These victims, often, were women and children—even babies.

Resisting the Afghanistan - Pakistan War

By Jeff Leys

Jeff Leys is Co-Coordinator of Voices for Creative Nonviolence.

Fourteen peace and social justice activists were arrested on April 9 at Creech Air Force Base in Indian Springs, Nevada. The arrests occurred during a 10 day vigil at the gates to Creech–which is home to members of the Air Force who “pilot” the Predator and Reaper drones used in the Afghanistan - Pakistan war.

Participants in the Sacred Peace Walk (organized by Nevada Desert Experience) arrived at Creech in the late afternoon, after walking 14 miles that day en route to the Nevada Test Site. With the vigil’s numbers strengthened by the walkers, participants gathered together to reflect upon the lessons to be learned from the examples of the White Rose student movement in Nazi Germany and Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s work to oust Hitler from power through a coup attempt.

Hoyer Trips Over Self in Rush to Promote Next $83 Billion for Wars

Hoyer Statement on the FY 2009 Supplemental Funding Request

WASHINGTON, DC – House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (MD) released the following statement today on the Fiscal Year 2009 supplemental funding request:

“Today, the Obama Administration sent a Fiscal Year 2009 supplemental funding request to Congress. The supplemental contains funding for ongoing military operations, making a renewed commitment to the stability of Afghanistan and beginning the process of leaving Iraq to its people. Also included are funds for a surge of diplomacy in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq, as well as miscellaneous emergency items. Timely consideration of the supplemental is especially important to our men and women in uniform, who depend on it for the resources they need to do their jobs. Congress looks forward to giving it that consideration in the weeks to come.”

###

A Soldier’s Soul Screams ‘Get Out’

A Soldier’s Soul Screams ‘Get Out’
by Katrina vanden Heuvel | The Nation

Last week, the Congressional Progressive Caucus held its second of six scheduled forums on Afghanistan. It was the first non-classified public forum on Capitol Hill to address the Obama Administration's newly released Afghanistan/Pakistan strategy. Colonel Lawrence Wilkerson (Ret.) -- a Vietnam Veteran and former chief of staff for Secretary Colin Powell -- offered some powerful words of caution.

Pakistan Could Collapse Within Six Months: US Expert

Pakistan could collapse within six months: US expert | Times of India

Pakistan could collapse within six months in the face of the snowballing insurgency, a top expert on guerrilla warfare has said.

The dire prediction was made by David Kilcullen, a former adviser to top US military commander General David Petraeus.

David Kilcullen is the best known practitioner of counter-terrorism and counter-insurgency operations and had advised Gen Petraeus on the counter-insurgency programme in Iraq. Few experts understand the nature of the insurgency in Af-Pak as well and he is now advising Petraeus in Afghanistan.

Petraeus also echoed the same thought when he told a Congressional testimony last week that the insurgency could "take down" Pakistan, which is home to nuclear weapons and al-Qaida.

Wrong on Afghanistan!

Wrong on Afghanistan!
By Bill Fletcher, Jr. | Black Commentator

Sometimes I feel like I am reliving the era of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The era of “guns and butter,” as they called it. At the same time that Johnson was launching his “War on Poverty” he was escalating the US war against the people of Vietnam and Laos, as well as carrying out the criminal invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965). Not only did these interventions (and others!) isolate the USA and set back the efforts of these various countries at self-determination, but they wrecked the US economy, siphoning off badly needed resources.

Returning Home

Media witnessed a Sunday night ceremony for the arrival of a Virginia airman killed in Afghanistan, marking the end of an 18-year ban on news coverage of returning U.S. war dead.

Photos

Ban lifted, media witness solemn return of fallen service member
By Mike Mount | CNN

Two Lonely Acts of Courage

By David Swanson

One member of Congress stood alone 7.5 years ago against the original authorization to attack Afghanistan. And one member of Congress, a different one, stood alone last week against funding a massive escalation of that war.

On September 14th, 2001, Congresswoman Barbara Lee spoke, in tears, on the floor of the House of Representatives. She, alone, would vote No on letting the president decide on going to war in Afghanistan. She, alone, would refuse to authorize the president to use powers the Constitution does not give him, and trust him to use those powers wisely. Here's video.

Democrats and War Escalation

By Norman Solomon

Top Democrats and many prominent supporters -- with vocal agreement, tactical quibbles or total silence -- are assisting the escalation of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan and Pakistan. The predictable results will include much more killing and destruction. Back home, on the political front, the escalation will drive deep wedges into the Democratic Party.

The party has a large anti-war base, and that base will grow wider and stronger among voters as the realities of the Obama war program become more evident. The current backing or acceptance of the escalation from liberal think tanks and some online activist groups will not be able to prevent the growth of opposition among key voting blocs.

Obama's Afghan Escalation In Hindsight . . .

By Kevin Zeese, VotersForPeace.US

Now, in 2012 as President Obama's first term comes to a close it is easy to say – "it should have been obvious."

In hindsight the president and Congress should have known that Afghanistan – the graveyard of Empires – was somewhere the president should have led America out of rather than further into.

Many thought the hubris of the Bush administration was behind the country when Obama was elected in 2008 but Afghanistan demonstrated that American hubris was still with the nation. Despite worn out troops from the lengthy and expensive Iraq war and occupation, despite an economic collapse greater than the United States ever saw, the Democratic president and Congress decided to up the ante in Afghanistan and Pakistan by brining in more troops, expanding the battlefield in Pakistan and emphasizing military rather than diplomatic and reconstruction solutions.

ObamaNation Wants Taliban Talks, Not Military Escalation, in Afghanistan

Americans elected President Obama in part based on his promise to put diplomacy and international cooperation, rather than the use and threat of military force, at the center of his foreign policy. With respect to Afghanistan and Pakistan, while there have been some encouraging signals, in terms of actually implemented policies the folks who voted for Obama are not yet getting the "diplomacy first" that they were promised. Last week the Washington Post reported that 55% of Democrats support negotiations with the Afghan Taliban, and that 56% of Democrats think the U.S. should focus more on economic development in Afghanistan than on defeating the Taliban militarily.

Obama's Neoliberals: Selling His Afghan War One Report at a Time

In its support for the Afghan war, the Center for American Progress is aligning itself with the “experts” who have been wrong about pretty much everything

By Jeremy Scahill

An image from the Center for American Progress report supporting Obama's Afghanistan war.

An image from the CAP report supporting Obama’s Afghanistan war.

Reading the Center for American Progress’ new report supporting President Obama’s escalation of the US war against Afghanistan is a very powerful reminder of how much neoliberals and neocons are alike. This, of course, is not some genius observation, particularly since CAP and the neocons are making it hard to miss, what with their love triangle with the war. Indeed, CAP’s launch event for its report, “Sustainable Security in Afghanistan: Crafting an Effective and Responsible Strategy for the Forgotten Front,” included a leading neocon, Frederick Kagan and was promoted by William Kristol’s new version of the Project for a New American Century, the Foreign Policy Initiative. So, here is part of what we are seeing unfold: Running parallel to the bi-partisan war machine within the official government is a coordinated campaign in the shadow government—the think tanks. Or, as Naomi Klein describes them, the people paid to think by the makers of tanks. CAPs particular role in this campaign appears to be attempting to sell Obama’s war.

Casualties Caused By IEDs in Afghanistan On The Rise

Casualties caused by IEDs in Afghanistan on the rise
By Tom Vanden Brook | USA TODAY

Roadside bombs cause 75% of casualties to coalition forces in Afghanistan, up from 50% two years ago, prompting urgent pleas from commanders there for more armored vehicles to protect troops, according to data and interviews.

The growth in casualties caused by improvised explosive devices (IEDs) worries Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who meets Friday with a task force meant to speed Mine Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) vehicles to war zones, Pentagon press secretary Geoff Morrell said.

"The secretary is concerned that with IED casualties in Afghanistan on the rise and tens of thousands of additional U.S. forces flowing into country that we have enough MRAPs to protect our troops from this increasing threat," Morrell said.

Congress May Be Dead But Somebody Just Found a Pulse in a Court

Judge Rules Some Prisoners at Bagram Have Right of Habeas Corpus
By CHARLIE SAVAGE, NY Times

WASHINGTON — A federal judge ruled on Thursday that some prisoners held by the United States military in Afghanistan have a right to challenge their imprisonment, dealing a blow to government efforts to detain terrorism suspects for extended periods without court oversight.

In a 53-page ruling that rejected a claim of unfettered executive power advanced by both the Bush and Obama administrations, United States District Judge John D. Bates said that three detainees at the United States’ Bagram Air Base had the same legal rights that the Supreme Court last year granted to prisoners held at the American naval base in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

Why Is the Center for American Progress Cavorting with Neocons?

Oh, Right, Because They Are on the Same Team
By Jeremy Scahill, Rebel Reports

Obama’s Favorite Think Tank Buddies Are Hosting a Pro-War Party April 3. They And Their Necon Pals Are Gonna Tell Those Afghans How Good This War Will Be For Them.

The Center for American Progress, which was founded by former Clinton chief of staff John Podesta in 2003, masqueraded as a “progressive,” semi-anti-war organization through the dark years of the Bush administration when it required little political courage to oppose the White House and wars that were portrayed as Bush’s or the Republicans’. While feigning opposition to the Iraq war, CAP refused to confront Democrats over their continued funding of that war. After Obama’s election, Podesta, of course, headed the transition team, which swiftly appointed hawkish Democrats from the Clinton era, kept on Robert Gates and other Republicans, sidelined progressives and in doing so won praise from neocons and other Republicans. Now that “their” guys—big “D” Democrats—are back in power, CAP has assumed its rightful place as a partisan front group for the Democratic Party’s power structure and for selling Obama’s wars to “progressives.”

As John Stauber, head of the Center for Media and Democracy, has
pointed out, CAP “strongly supports Barack Obama’s escalation of the US wars in Afghanistan and Pakistan.” This week, CAP is officially unveiling its manifesto in support of Obama’s aggression against Afghanistan—a report called “Sustainable Security in Afghanistan: Crafting an Effective and Responsible Strategy for the Forgotten Front.” CAP uses the language of Empire—US interests, US national power— in describing its report, saying it is “the product of the Center’s review of U.S interests, goals, and strategy in Afghanistan and the region. Bearing in mind the vital U.S interests in the country and South Asia, the report concludes that the United States must attempt to build a national representative government that is able to
govern, defend, and sustain itself. The report argues that reaching the ultimate objective of a resilient Afghan state will require a comprehensive and long-term approach that uses all elements of U.S national power.”

READ THE REST.

Saving Obama

SAVING OBAMA
By Robert C. Koehler | Huffington Post

“Now, I’d like to speak clearly and candidly to the American people . . .”

I believe him, with a passionate urgency — this new president, swept into office on a surge of hope and anger. I believe him without cynicism. After all, he has a terrifying job to do, a toxic legacy left to mop up. I cut him slack, listen for the sound, in his words, of the turning of the ship of state. How does he plan to engage the future? He’s an intelligent and, I think, courageous leader. And he has a global constituency to back him up. All he has to do is speak to it, clearly and candidly . . .

I was numb to the lies and simplistic rhetoric of George W. Bush. But when Barack Obama tries to fill those incredibly small shoes, to rev up the same constituency of true believers (the constituency that didn’t vote for him) and sell the same war — new! improved! — to the American people, I am not numb. The hope in my heart bursts into flying shrapnel. You’re making a serious mistake, Mr. President.

Obama's Blackwater? Chicago Mercenary Firm Gets Millions for Private "Security" in Israel and Iraq

By Jeremy Scahill, AlterNet

On the campaign trail, Barack Obama's advisers said he "can't rule out [and] won't rule out" using mercenary forces, like Blackwater. Now, it appears that the Obama administration has decided on its hired guns of choice: Triple Canopy, a Chicago company now based in Virginia. It may not have Blackwater's thuggish reputation, but Triple Canopy has its own bloody history in Iraq and a record of hiring mercenaries from countries with atrocious human rights records. What's more, Obama is not just using the company in Iraq, but also as a U.S.-government funded private security force in Israel/Palestine, operating out of Jerusalem.

Wrong on Afghanistan!

By Bill Fletcher, Jr., BlackCommentator.com

Sometimes I feel like I am reliving the era of President Lyndon B. Johnson. The era of “guns and butter,” as they called it. At the same time that Johnson was launching his “War on Poverty” he was escalating the US war against the people of Vietnam and Laos, as well as carrying out the criminal invasion of the Dominican Republic (1965). Not only did these interventions (and others!) isolate the USA and set back the efforts of these various countries at self-determination, but they wrecked the US economy, siphoning off badly needed resources.

Pakistan: "The Most Dangerous Country" - Trailer, Video, Petition, Submission, Updates

Pakistan: "The Most Dangerous Country" (Trailer)

Pakistan is in such a perilous state that Bruce Riedel, a foreign policy expert leading President Obama's Afghanistan review, has called it "the most dangerous country in the world today." Pakistan has nuclear weapons and a government disconnected from the poverty, malnutrition, and lack of healthcare afflicting its people. And though Pakistan remains a U.S. ally, tensions continue to rise as the U.S. considers broadening military strikes within Pakistan's borders. Part two of Rethink Afghanistan focuses on how the Afghanistan crisis affects Pakistan and all of us.

Click "Read more" for 11 min. movie essential for understanding the stakes in Afghanistan, petition, question submissions, and updates.

Neoconservatism: The Return

A new incarnation, a new name – and the same old warmongering

by Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com

While Obama Escalates War in Afghanistan, Iraq Could Blow Up in His Face

By Jeremy Scahill, Huffington Post

Over the past couple of weeks, the Obama administration has clearly attempted to shift the US foreign policy focus from Iraq to Afghanistan, seemingly intent on leaving the public with the impression that Iraq is under control and US withdrawal has been set in full motion; that the end of the "war" is within sight. This fantasy has been reinforced by some so-called anti-war groups, like MoveOn, which have praised Obama's Iraq plan without confronting the cold fact that Obama's vision for the country includes a sustained presence of tens of thousands of US troops, a monstrous US embassy the size of Vatican City and the continued--and likely increased-- use of corporate mercenary forces. Also, consider this fact: by September of this year, Obama will have actually sent more troops into combat than Bush.

READ THE REST.

Obama's Domino Theory

and CommonDreams.org

by Juan Cole

President Barack Obama may or may not be doing the right thing in Afghanistan, but the rationale he gave for it on Friday is almost certainly wrong. Obama has presented us with a 21st century version of the domino theory. The U.S. is not, contrary to what the president said, mainly fighting "al-Qaida" in Afghanistan. In blaming everything on al-Qaida, Obama broke with his pledge of straight talk to the public and fell back on Bush-style boogeymen and implausible conspiracy theories.

Five Years

By Cindy Sheehan

This Saturday on April 04th, my son Casey (and at least 11 other Americans and hundreds of Iraqis) will have been dead for five years. Casey, a humvee mechanic, was killed on 04/04/04 in Sadr City, Baghdad in combat after he had been there for only five days.

Five years have passed in the blink of an eye, and besides missing Casey so much our lives have changed about as dramatically as they could have, as has life of our country.

We just passed the anniversary of the invasion of Iraq with very tepid opposition and President "Change You Can Believe In" is following the path in the Middle East that was blazed by his predecessor, George Bush. Obama’s surge in Afghanistan and on the Afghan/Pakistan border guaran-damn-tees that there will be many more “Caseys” and the people of Afghanistan should not be made subject to more “help” from The Empire.

MoveOn Is Not New to Supporting War

By David Swanson

While General David "Betray Us" Petraeus must be thrilled with his conversion from traitor to saint in the eyes of the pseudo-left and amazed that such things can be accomplished simply by changing the political party of the president, the group that formerly bashed him with an ad in the New York Times and now supports whatever Obama does is not as new to supporting wars as this simple story suggests.

Commentary: Afghanistan and Pakistan's Wilderness of Mirrors

Commentary: Afghanistan and Pakistan's wilderness of mirrors
By Arnaud De Borchgrave | UPI

The ancient Arab proverb "The enemy of my enemy is my friend" does not apply in Pakistan. Knowledge of Raumschach, or space chess, as played on "Star Trek" is more useful. It's a form of 3-D chess where one can lose on several levels.

The geopolitical nexus of Afghanistan-Pakistan-Federally Administered Tribal Areas-India is now seen in the White House as a regional crisis that requires a holistic politico-military approach. But suspicions and disinformation about each other's motives, replete with conspiracy theories, have combined to make Pakistan, the Muslim world's only nuclear power, the most dangerous place on Earth.

President Obama sees the enemy in Afghanistan as the Taliban and al-Qaida. But al-Qaida shelters and the Taliban rests and trains in the mountain fastness of the Hindu Kush in Pakistan's Federally Administered Tribal Areas. And while Pakistan is "a major non-NATO ally," it also assists, through its Inter Services Intelligence agency, the Taliban insurgents fighting the U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

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