You are hereAfghanistan
By Dave Lindorff
In ways little and huge, it is clear that we live in a nation, a culture and a society that is terminally ill.
The latest outrage -- the likely execution of a Mexican convicted in Texas of the brutal slaying of a 16-year-old girl in blatant violation of a universally adopted international treaty that requires that as a foreigner he be able to notify his home country’s consulate of his case -- is evidence of this sickness, which appears to have both physical and mental aspects.
As a journalist I have traveled widely in the world, often in police states like China or Laos, and I have always trusted in the fact that if I ran afoul of those police, at least I could count on the fact that the authorities would be legally bound to notify my embassy, so that I could get international attention and, hopefully, legal assistance.
Not going to add much to this except the first thoughts I've had since this was breaking across the pond.
What the hell has the FOX been doing here?
And now with this coming out:
What was that constant cheer leader and their minions, still, of these present long running invasions and occupations, as well as Huge supporters of the policies ordered and carried out by the previous administration, doing in relation to our soldiers families if they had no regard for the British families of the Fallen?!
Makes sense as we condemn them constantly for what is now very public the same practices against humanity we're ordering done as we joined them, and the others who do and some we used, in the toilet as to crimes against humanity while still condemning! We even use those issues as justified excuses to invade, destroy and occupy countries!
07 July 2011 - Iran will certainly put the 26 US officials on trial in absentia and will pursue their cases at international circles: MP
Iran to file lawsuits against 26 US nationals who committed crimes against humanity, FNA quoted Iranian parliament’s National and Foreign Policy Commission Seyyed Ali Aqazqdeh as saying.
Soldiers of 1st Squadron 61st Cavalry 101st Airborne Division listen to Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates while he visits Field Operating Base in Connolly, Afghanistan, December 7, 2010. (Photo: Air Force Master Sgt. Jerry Morrison / DoD)
A few days after Barack Obama's December 2009 announcement of 33,000 more troops being sent to Afghanistan, in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee, Defense Secretary Robert Gates advanced the official justification for escalation: the Afghan Taliban would not abandon its ties with al-Qaeda unless forced to do so by US military force and the realization that "they're likely to lose."
Gates claimed to see an "unholy alliance" of the Afghan Taliban, al-Qaeda and the Pakistani Taliban emerging during 2009. Unless the United States succeeded in weakening the Taliban in Afghanistan, al-Qaeda would have safe haven in Afghanistan, just as they had before the 9/11 attacks, according to Gates.
Even in comparison with the usual lies that justify wars, this one was a whopper. Gates was deliberately ignoring the serious political split that had become apparent in 2008 between Mullah Omar, the spiritual and political leader of the Taliban, and the leadership of al-Qaeda over fundamental issues of strategy and ideology.
After the July 2007 Pakistani military assault on the militants occupying the Red Mosque in Islamabad, al-Qaeda had openly backed Pakistani militants in their declaration of war against the Pakistani military and the Pervez Musharraf regime. Omar, who needed Pakistani support against the US-NATO forces, began urging Pakistani militants to shun violence against the Pakistani security apparatus, but the newly established militant organization Tehrik-e-Taliban paid no attention to him, as recounted by the recently murdered Pakistani journalist Sayed Saleem Shahzad in a book published just days before his death.
Shahzad's book reveals, In fact, that one of al-Qaeda's aims in setting up the new organization was to try to draw Afghan Taliban away from Omar's influence. Soon after that al-Qaeda move, he sent a trusted adviser, Tayyeb Agha, to a meeting in Saudi Arabia with a delegation of Afghan parliamentarians convened by Saudi King Abdullah in September 2008. That meeting alarmed al-Qaeda leaders, who did not want any move toward peace in Afghanistan, according to Shahzad's account based on many interviews with al-Qaeda strategists over the past several years.
By Kevin Zeese
A new anti-war movement that can really challenge U.S. militarism is being born. People from across the political spectrum joined together opposing U.S. war and empire. In a letter organized by, Come Home America, they cite a combination of events that present a “historic opportunity to redirect U.S. foreign policy down the pathways of peace, liberty, justice, respect for community, obedience to the rule of law and fiscal responsibility.”
For too long Americans who oppose wars have felt powerless to stop the war machine. Not since the early part of the 20th Century has there been a strong anti-war movement that Americans from across the political spectrum could participate in. The Come Home America letter shows the beginning of such a broad-based movement.
America’s wars are forcing Afghans and Iraqis to flee their homes in greater numbers. According to a recent U.N. High Commission for Refugees study, nearly one half of the world’s refugees are from Afghanistan and Iraq, 3.05 million and 1.68 million, respectively. But neither the United States nor much of the developed world bears the burden of the 10.55 million refugees under the UNHCR’s purview globally. Instead, Pakistan, Iran, and Syria serve as the top host countries. The Economist has charted the numbers:
July 5, 2011, Washington, DC
More than one hundred national and grassroots organization have signed on to a letter to the Congressional Progressive Caucus (CPC) calling for a vote against the FY 2012 Defense Appropriations bill, slated to come before the House this week. The letter raises grave concerns that the bill not only allocates $648.7 billion for continued operations of the Pentagon, but $118 billion to continue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Noting that the Obama Administration seems determined to continue the war in Afghanistan, the letter also urged CPC members to back an anticipated Lee/Woolsey/Nadler amendment to limit funding for Afghanistan to the rapid and safe withdrawal of all US troops from that country.
This week, the violence continued in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, with targets ranging from security checkpoints to a minibus carrying a family of refugees. Several stories mentioned the use of unmanned drones in both Afghanistan and Pakistan, which is expected to increase as a substitute for troops being withdrawn from the region as part of the drawdown. Despite Obama’s assertions to the contrary, many in the US and elsewhere see the war in Afghanistan as unsuccessful. This is evident in many of this week’s opinion pieces, as well as articles detailing people’s reactions to the war.
Thank you for reading.
Violence in Afghanistan
Roadside bomb kills 11 Afghan family members
The Afghanistan War. War itself is inherently immoral, but especially so when the fight is not between two state-sponsored militaries, but rather between a military superpower and a third-world country with 70% of its populace living in rural areas without electricity or running water and whose citizens do not even know why they are being attacked. It has been illegal from the outset in that it was waged against a sovereign country which was no threat to us, ignoring international law, and without adequate Congressional approval. And by the DoD’s own admission, it has not been effective. In fact, many experts believe that it has been counterproductive; that by killing thousands of people and destroying property and infrastructure we are creating enemies. We are propping up a government which is as corrupt as a crime syndicate, and labeling anyone who opposes us an “insurgent,” and therefore justifying their deaths.
By Gareth Porter*
WASHINGTON, Jul 3, 2011 (IPS) - Data on attacks by armed opposition forces and U.S. combat casualties since the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan was completed last summer provide clear evidence that the surge and the increase in targeted killings by Special Operations Forces have failed to break the momentum of the Taliban.
The Taliban and allied insurgent organisations launched 54 percent more attacks and killed or wounded 56 percent more U.S. troops over the nine months from last October through May than in the comparable period a year earlier, according to data collected by the U.S. Department of Defence and by the highly-respected Afghanistan NGO Safety Office (ANSO).
The nearly 1,571 attacks in May recorded by ANSO, which exceeded the previous monthly peak total of 1,541 attacks in September 2010, was achieved four months earlier in the fighting season than the previous peak.
The number of attacks in June was two percent less than in May, according to the latest ANSO report published on the organisation's website Sunday.
July 1, 2011 - A U.S. military veteran of Iraq and Guantánamo on Friday spurned a government offer of pre-trial probation and instead faced the prospect of the Fourth of July in a Miami lockup while awaiting a federal passport fraud trial later this month.
Navy Reserves Petty Officer 2nd Class Elisha Leo Dawkins, 26, has been confined to the downtown federal detention center since soon after he returned from the Guantánamo detention center earlier this year.
There he served as a Navy photographer, chronicling the lives of war-on-terror captives, apparently unaware that the U.S. immigration service had targeted him for deportation to his mother’s native Bahamas when he was 8 years old.
As a spate of news reports and a congressional committee warn that depression "looms" in Afghanistan, my question is: how do you tell the difference? Is a "depression" in Afghanistan when 90% of the children are clinically malnourished instead of fifty percent like it is now, or when unemployment among young men is at 80% instead of the present 40-50 percent? Or when only 10 percent of the country has access to clean drinking water instead of the only 20 percent who do today?
A 'Patriotic' U.S. company ripping off the Army and the American Tax Payers, and military procurement officers allowing it to happen, knowing many will go to work for these defense contractors after their service, especially with two long occupations still ongoing, say it ain't so!
Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, captured during the opening remarks at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2008. (Photo: Annette Boutellier / World Economic Forum)
America's long, long war in Afghanistan has drained more than 1,500 precious lives and a trillion dollars from our country. But, finally, this enormous outlay paid off this year with the capture and killing of that al-Qaida demon, Osama bin Laden, who attacked America and was the reason our military went into Afghanistan.
Oh, wait -- Osama wasn't in Afghanistan, was he? He was comfortably ensconced in an urban compound in Pakistan, whose leaders are supposedly our allies in the bloody Afghan War. And it wasn't the war effort that got bin Laden, it was old-time spy work, culminating in a raid involving a small team of Navy Seals, a dog and two helicopters.
BY LINDSAY DOUGLAS, The Daily Iowan
Organizers in Iowa City are frustrated at President Obama’s war record and are organizing caucus delegates to push for a quicker end to the war in Afghanistan.
With the group Health Care Not Warfare, University of Iowa history Professor Jeff Cox is spearheading that movement by recruiting volunteers to act as precinct coordinators who will attend 2012 Iowa caucuses and persuade uncommitted delegates to stand up for national health-care insurance and peace in Afghanistan.
Cox said he is not particularly committed to anyone but said Obama has been promising to get troops out of Afghanistan since he’s been in office, and it hasn’t happened.
“One more death is one unnecessary death,” said Cox.
By Dave Lindorff
The United States Military is spending $20.2 billion a year for air-conditioning the troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Read that again please: $20.2 billion just to provide air-conditioning for our troops in these two desert countries.
How much is $20.2 billion?
Well, I live in Pennsylvania, where the eighth-largest school district in the country, here in Philadelphia, is about to lose 1300 of its 11,000 teachers--that’s 12% of the teaching staff in an already overcrowded school system, because the state’s Republican governor and legislature want to cut some $500 million in education funding from the state’s $27-billion budget. That military air-conditioning bill could not only restore those teachers by closing the $400 million budget deficit facing the Philadelphia School District. It could almost fund the entire budget of the state! In fact, it could probably fund the school budget deficit in almost all the school districts in the nation.
This week, Obama’s troop drawdown announcement continued to spark debate around the world. Even though many people see the drawdown as a sign that the war is starting to wind down, the threat of violence in Afghanistan and Pakistan remains, with violent attacks continuing in both countries. Meanwhile, public antiwar sentiment continued to grow in the US and elsewhere. The idea of an end to the war also coincided with some media stories about the effect of the war on US veterans. This week’s AWW also contains links to some interesting (and hopefully useful) interactive online maps and charts relating to the war in Afghanistan.
Thank you for reading.
Hospital blast unprecedented in Afghan war
60 people were killed and 120 wounded in a car bombing at a hospital in Logar Province, Afghanistan. The Taliban denied involvement in the attack.
Open for Questions: Live Chat on the Way Forward in Afghanistan
The White House Office of Public Engagement invites you to participate in a live chat on Tuesday, June 28th, at 4:00 PM EST with Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications, and Brian Deese, Deputy Director of the National Economic Council, on President Obama’s plan for implementing his strategy to draw down troops in Afghanistan and our plan to focus on investments here at home.
This week, President Obama addressed the nation from the East Room of the White House about the way forward in Afghanistan and his plan to remove 10,000 American troops from Afghanistan by the end of this year, and a total of 33,000 by next summer. President Obama also discussed the importance of focusing on nation building here at home, unleashing innovation that creates new jobs and industry, while living within our means, and investing in America’s greatest resource - our people.
Here's how you can participate:
Courtesy of The Stop The War Coalition
Hey, Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Yesterday I got a letter from my friend fighting in Afghanistan
And this is what he had to say
"Tell all my friends that I'll be coming home soon
My time'll be up some time in June"
"Don't forget", he said, "To tell my sweet Mary
Her golden lips are sweet as cherry"
And it came from, Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Afghanistan, Afghanistan, Afghanistan
It was just the next day his mother got an email
It was addressed from Afghanistan
Now Mistress Brown, she lives in the USA
And this is what they wrote and said
She said "Don't be alarmed", she told her the email said
'But Mistress Brown, your son is dead'
And it came from Afghanistan, Afghanistan
Afghanistan, Afghanistan, hey, Afghanistan
Somebody please stop that war now
In Iraq, in Jerusalem, in Libya, in Syria
In Pakistan, in Sudan
People got to stop the war
People got to stop the war
I remember Vietnam, I remember Vietnam
I remember Vietnam, I remember Vietnam
Somebody stop the war, stop the war, stop the war
This is a special edition of the Afghanistan War Weekly, focusing entirely on articles and reactions related to Obama’s announced troop withdrawal plan. Many supporters of the drawdown see it as the first step in ending the war in Afghanistan. Some are opposed to any troop withdrawal at all, citing security concerns and favoring General Petraeus’ proposed plans. However, many of those critical of it point out that it does not go far enough. Most peace groups tend to fall into the latter category; many of them have issued statements, some of which are included in this edition of the AWW.
Thank you for reading.
Obama's plan 'unacceptable,' says McGovern
[This is actually good -- or would be if there was a chance of follow through from Webb or Congress. --DS]
Washington, DC—Senator Jim Webb (D-VA) today warned against committing the United States to long-term security agreements with Afghanistan without the full participation of the Congress. During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Senator Webb raised concerns about ongoing negotiations between the Karzai government and the Obama Administration.
In 2008, as the Bush Administration negotiated a Status of Forces Agreement and a Strategic Framework Agreement with Iraq, Senator Webb introduced legislation to require Congressional approval of any agreement that contained a security commitment or defense arrangement with Iraq. The Iraqi Parliament was required to approve those agreements before they went into effect, but the U.S. Congress did not.
Good evening. Nearly 10 years ago, America suffered the worst attack on our shores since Pearl Harbor. This mass murder was planned by Osama bin Laden and his al Qaeda network in Afghanistan, and signaled a new threat to our security -- one in which the targets were no longer soldiers on a battlefield, but innocent men, women and children going about their daily lives.
From Press TV
David Swanson, American author and antiwar activist, says the U.S. president and Congress do not represent the American public on matters of war and military spending.
"We have two thirds of the country opposing the wars. We have a majority wanting wars ended right away… we have a majority wanting to move money from the military to where it's needed," Swanson, the author of "War Is A Lie," told Press TV's U.S. Desk on Wednesday.
He said various problems with U.S. "communication system" and "electoral system" as well as "the incredible influence that the military machine and its profiteers have over Congress-members," further disenfranchise the American public.
Beyond the "motives" of U.S. politicians for wars, which is to "control the oil, and control the territory, and station bases and weapons, and look tough on elections and please the media talking heads," Swanson said "there is a great deal of money to be made in these wars."
By Aamir Latif, Global Post
PESHAWAR, Pakistan — Some of the U.S. weapons bound for U.S. and Afghan troops in Afghanistan are being stolen, landing instead in the hands of those they are meant to be used against, and fueling militant groups in both Pakistan and Afghanistan, Pakistani officials say.
These weapons — which are typically snatched from Afghan troops during raids or sold by them to the Pakistani Taliban after they defect, are easily available in black markets in Pakistan's tribal regions.
Perhaps not surprisingly, this week’s headlines have been dominated by stories relating to President Obama’s upcoming announcement on Wednesday of a troop drawdown in Afghanistan. Also of interest this week was the focus on the financial cost of the war, including the antiwar resolution passed by the US Conference of Mayors in Baltimore. Additional stories focused on the physical and psychological cost of war, and the increasing numbers of Americans across the political spectrum who are growing impatient with the war.
Thank you for reading. I welcome your feedback.
Obama Troop Withdrawal Announcement
Gates: War fatigue a factor in Obama's Afghanistan troop withdrawal plans
Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that President Obama will take US opposition to the war into consideration when announcing the troop drawdown on Wednesday.