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No One Hears the Poor

By Kathy Kelly

Here in Kabul, Voices co-coordinator Buddy Bell and I are guests at the home of the Afghan Peace Volunteers, (APV), where we’ve gotten to know four young boys who are being tutored by the Volunteers in the afternoons, having “retired” from their former work as street vendors in exchange for a chance to enter a public school.  Five afternoons a week, Murtaza, Rahim, Hamid and Sajad wheel their antiquated bicycles into the APV “yard.” They quickly shake the hand of each person present and then wash their feet outside the back door before settling into a classroom to study language, math and art, tutored in each subject by a different Volunteer. They've cycled here from school through heavy traffic, which worries their mothers, but the families cannot afford for the boys to take a public bus. 

MEMORIAL DAY 2012: A Lesson Not Yet Learned

 


by WALTER BRASCH


 


Today is Memorial Day, the last day of the three-day weekend. Veterans and community groups will remember those who died in battle and, as they have done for more than a century, will place small flags on graves.


But, for most of America, Memorial Day is a three-day picnic-filled weekend that heralds the start of Summer, just as Labor Day has become a three-day picnic-filled weekend that laments the end of Summer. 


 There will be memorial concerts and parades. The media, shoving aside political and celebrity news, will all have stories. Among those who will be the first to patriotically salute those who died in battle are those who enthusiastically pushed for them to go to war.

US/NATO to Stop Killing Taliban in 2014 as US Stopped Killing Vietcong in 1975

By Jay Janson

This week in Chicago, militarized politicians of wealthy nations pretended to sit in discussion of how much more death they will deal to the poorest nation on earth. In reality, they are powerless to do otherwise. Our real rulers, the elite of the community of private investment banking are whom the public should be focused on. In the meantime those who sign orders for killing in illegal wars will soon be facing prosecution

::::::::


Barack Obama thanks NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen NATO Summit by Chad J. McNeeley/Released)

Chicago, May 2012 - NATO's top military leaders, representing the now centuries old world rule by private investment banking, make a pathetic and pompous photo-op show of a supposedly tactical decision, to give up murdering Afghani citizens in their own country's homes, villages, cities and countryside after 2014.

Lies and Consequences in Our Past 15 Wars

"Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their peoples in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was their object.  This, our Convention understood to be the most oppressive of all Kingly oppressions; and they resolved to so frame the Constitution that no one man should hold the power of bringing this oppression upon us."--Abraham Lincoln

AFGHANISTAN

Prior to 2001, the Taliban was willing to turn Osama bin Laden over to a third country if he was promised a fair trial and no death penalty, and if some evidence of his guilt of crimes were offered.  In 2001, the Taliban warned the United States that bin Laden was planning an attack on American soil.  In July 2001 the United States was known to have plans to take military action against the Taliban by mid-October. 

When the United States attacked Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, the Taliban again offered to negotiate for the handing over of bin Laden. When President George W. Bush refused, the Taliban dropped its demand for evidence of guilt and offered simply to turn bin Laden over to a third country.  Bush rejected this offer and continued bombing.  At a March 13, 2002, press conference, Bush said of bin Laden "I truly am not that concerned about him."[i] When President Barack Obama announced, in May 2011, that he had killed bin Laden, the war didn't even slow down.

Turnabout is Fair Play: Proud to Be an Extortionist!

 

By Yasmeen Ali

Lahore -- US Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and John McCain (R-AZ), the chair and ranking minority member respectively of the Senate Armed Services Committee, say the US must not pay $5000 per truck as demanded by Pakistan, for supplies being shipped through this country to American troops in Afghanistan. McCain went further, calling the Pakistni demand “extortion.”

Afghanistan Good Enough: When All Else Fails, Lower Your Standards

 

By John Grant

 

If all else fails, lower your standards.

 

This has been my philosophy for years. My wife likes to joke it’s how she picked me; instead of prince charming, I’m “prince somewhat-charming.” So you can imagine how delighted I am that the United States of America and its NATO military allies have decided to apply that philosophy to US foreign policy in Afghanistan.

They're calling their version “Afghanistan Good Enough.”

Amnesty International Backs Mass Murder

Has Amnesty Intl. Gone Mad? It Cheers NATO

The Struggle

 

NATO feminism (32K)


War Criminal Albright Leads Amnesty Intl Program to Ask Justice From NATO for Afghan Women

Amnesty Letter to Obama and Karzai
 

"we are deeply concerned that the significant gains made by women and girls in Afghanistan may be threatened as U.S. and allied troops leave the country."

Bizarre List of Signatories, from Madeleine Albright to Yoko Ono

Where is Amnesty International's head? Karzai represenents the other faction of Afghan women despisers, the Warloards who were so disgusting in the early '90's that the Taliban women despisers looked good by comparison. And the US government stands by Karzai 100%.

For a different point of view see what Afghan women in RAWA are saying

Apathy and Inconvenience- Opinions about Protest

By Joshua Brollier

I feel compelled to comment on a few things I have heard in the past week during the lead up to and duration of NATO protests here in Chicago.  Mainly, I feel disheartened by the way the media and consumerism have shaped national opinion and attitude when it comes to these specific anti-NATO demonstrations. Two friends of mine, whom I highly respect in other aspects both personally and professionally, have made comments that seem to echo too much of the hysteria and general misunderstanding as to why people are protesting and what being a participant in a social movement entails.  

No Country for Young Men as Old Men Play for Time: The End in Afghanistan is Totally Predictable

 

By Dave Lindorff

 

John Kerry, back before he was a pompous windsurfing Senate apologist for American empire, back when he wore his hair long and was part of a movement of returned US military veterans speaking out against the continuation of the Vietnam War, famously asked the members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee at a hearing, “How do you ask a man to be the last one to die for a mistake?”

 

That was 1971, and the Vietnam War continued to drag on for two more years, with more Americans dying, and with many more Vietnamese being killed, until finally the last US combat troops were gone. But even then the fighting continued, with the Army of South Vietnam armed and financed by the United States, until April 30, 1975, when the last resistance ended and Vietnam was liberated and reunified and finally at peace.

Ending the Mindset That Gets Us into War

 

MAY 20, 2012, MILITARIZED CHICAGO -- Next month in Baltimore they're going to celebrate the War of 1812.  That's what we do with wars.  We say they're the last resort.  We say they're hell.  We say they're for the purpose of eliminating themselves: we fight wars for peace.  Although we never keep peace for wars.  We claim to wage only wars we have been forced into despite all possible effort to find a better way.  And then we celebrate the wars.  We keep the wars going for their own sake after all the excuses we used to get them started have expired.  The WMDs have not been found.  Osama bin Laden's been killed.  Al Qaeda is gone from the country where we're fighting it.  Nobody's threatening Benghazi anymore.  But the wars must go on!  And then we'll celebrate them.  And we'll celebrate the old ones too, the ones that were fought here, the ones that were in their day not quite so heavily painted as last resorts or humanitarian missions. 

 

Last year Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee persuaded Congress to create an Iraq-Afghanistan Wars holiday.  It's on our calendars now along with Loyalty Day (formerly May Day), Veterans Day (formerly Armistice Day), Memorial Day, Yellow Ribbon Day, Patriots Day, Independence Day, Flag Day, Pearl Harbor Day, and of course September 11th, among many others.  Last week there was an Armed Forces Spouses Appreciation Day.  The military holiday calendar is like the Catholic saints' days now: there's something every day of the year. 

 

But there's no celebration of the times we avoided war. We claim to prefer peace to war, but we don't make heroes of those presidents or Congresses who most avoided war.  In fact, we erase them.  Our history books jump from war to war as if nothing happened in between.  Nobody celebrates 1811, only 1812.  Even the peace movement doesn't celebrate the past decade's prevention, thus far, of a war on Iran.

Lee Opposes National Defense Reauthorization Bill

Lee Calls for Cuts to Bloated Pentagon Budget, Swift Withdrawal from Afghanistan

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) was one of 120 Members of Congress to vote against H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).  Lee offered amendments to the bill which would safely and responsibly bring our troops home from Afghanistan, keep Pentagon spending within the limits of the Budget Control Act, and ensure that a meaningful diplomatic option with Iran is on the table.

Lee introduced an amendment to enforce the terms of the Budget Control Act which was signed into law on August 2, 2011, to avert a government shutdown.  Congress voted to limit Pentagon spending, but the House Republican leadership proposal spends$8 billion more than allowed under the Budget Control Act.  The bi-partisan amendment was not adopted (170-252). 

113 in House Vote to End War on Afghanistan -- How Many Will Vote Against the NDAA?

Lee amendment for swift withdrawal from Afghanistan falls short in House vote

WASHINGTON – Today, Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) introduced an amendment to H.R. 4310, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), that would bring about a responsible and immediate end to the war in Afghanistan. The amendment would end combat operations at the same time it protects troops by requiring that any dollar directed to Afghanistan could only be spent for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.  The amendment did not pass the House (113-303).

“The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “My amendment provided Members of the House the opportunity to stand squarely with the war-weary American people.  I am disappointed that a majority of House Members did not stand with seven out of ten Americans who oppose the war in Afghanistan.”

On Wednesday, Congresswoman Lee was joined by 100 Members of the House, including five Republicans, in sending a letter to President Obama urging an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan n advance of the NATO summit. 

“Our brave troops have done everything that was asked of them,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “With almost two thousand U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan, and many tens of thousands more maimed with injuries both hidden and visible, we must recognize that the boots on the ground strategy in Afghanistan is not working.  After 11 long years of war, I will continue to work to bring the troops home from Afghanistan.”     

###

Today’s House Floor speech: here

Link to letter to President Obama: here

Text of the Lee Amendment:

AMENDMENT TO H.R. 4310, AS REPORTED

OFFERED BY MS. LEE OF CALIFORNIA

At the end of subtitle B of title XII of division A of the bill, add the following:

Sec. 12xx. LIMITATION ON FUNDS FOR OPERATIONS OF THE ARMED FORCES IN AFGHANISTAN.

            (a) IN GENERAL --- Funds made available to carry out this Act for operations of the Armed Forces in Afghanistan shall be obligated an expended only for purpose of providing for the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan.

            (b) RULE OF CONSTRUCTION --- Nothing in this section shall be construed –

(1)   To authorize the use of funds for the continuation of combat operations in Afghanistan while carrying out the safe and orderly withdrawal from Afghanistan of all members of the Armed Forces and Department of Defense contractor personnel who are in Afghanistan; and

(2)   To prohibit or otherwise restrict the use of funds available to any department or agency of the United States to carry out diplomatic efforts or humanitarian, development, or general reconstruction activities in Afghanistan.

If Anyone Was Going to Vote Against War Authorization and Funding It'd Be These 91 Congress Members. Don't Hold Your Breath.

Congresswoman Barbara Lee Urges Congress to End the War in Afghanistan

Lee leads bi-partisan group of 91 Representatives in penning letter to President 

WASHINGTON – Today 91 Members of the House of Representatives, led by Barbara Lee (D-CA), sent a letter to President Obama urging an expedited withdrawal of U.S. military forces from Afghanistan.  Ninety Members of the House of Representatives signed the letter, including four Republicans.  The Congresswoman was joined by a dozen colleagues at a morning press conference. 

“Today, I am announcing that 90 Members of Congress are joining me in requesting that President Obama expedite our troops’ return and speed up the transition to having Afghans in charge of Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan.”

Today, the House of Representatives is scheduled to begin debate on the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which provides war funding, at the same time President Obama prepares for the NATO summit in Chicago.  The bi-partisan group of Members outlined the need to make a change in policy in Afghanistan.

“I believe that it is time for Members of Congress to stand with seven out of ten Americans who oppose the war in Afghanistan,” said Congresswoman Lee.  “There is no military solution in Afghanistan, which is why I am pushing Republican leadership to allow me to offer an amendment to the NDAA that would bring about a responsible and immediate end to the war in Afghanistan.  The amendment would end combat operations while protecting our troops by ensuring that any dollar directed to Afghanistan can only be spent for the safe and orderly withdrawal of U.S. troops and military contractors.”  

Congresswoman Lee was joined by Representatives Walter Jones (R-NC), Ron Paul (R-TX), Jerrold Nadler (D-NY), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Janice Hahn (D-CA), Lynn Woolsey (D-CA), Peter Welch (D-NY), and James McGovern (D-MA).  Congresswoman Lee thanked her colleagues for joining her at the press conference, noting that “the silence on Capitol Hill on this issue has been deafening.” 

 

###

 

Link to press release with photo here.

Copy of letter below:

 

May 16, 2012

 

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20500

 

Dear President Obama:

Earlier this month you visited Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement.  As you stated at Bagram Air Base, “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” The core of al Qaeda has been greatly reduced in size and ability to attack Americans. Our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that we have asked of them. With over 17,000 dead and wounded U.S. servicemen and women, and long term costs estimated at $4 trillion for the past decade of unfunded wars, the overwhelming majority of American people want to bring the war in Afghanistan to an expedited end.

While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control.  We also remind you that any agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.

Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we ask that you announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and security forces and the expedited withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan as quickly as these can be safely and responsibly accomplished.


Sincerely,
Members of Congress

Current Signers (91): Adam Smith, Becerra, Baldwin, Bass, Blumenauer, Boswell, Braley, Campbell, Capps, Castor, Chu, Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, Courtney, Cummings, John Duncan, DeFazio, DeLauro, Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Frank, Garamendi, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hahn, Hanabusa, Alcee Hastings, Heinrich, Hinchey, Holt, Honda, Jackson Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Tim Johnson, Kucinich, Rick Larsen, John Larson, Barbara Lee, Lewis, Loebsack, Lofgren, Lujan, Maloney, Markey, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Michaud, George Miller, Moran, Moore, Chris Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Olver, Pastor, Paul, Pingree, Polis, Quigley, Rangel, Richardson, Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Schakowsky, Schiff, Serrano, Sherman, Sires, Slaughter, Speier, Stark, Mike Thompson, Tierney, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Velazquez, Waters, Watt, Waxman, Welch, Woolsey, Yarmuth.

Here Are 87 Congress Members Claiming to Want Out of Afghanistan: Guess How Many Will Vote for Bill That Funds Staying

Current Co-Signers (86): Adam Smith, Bacerra, Baldwin, Bass, Blumenauer, Boswell, Braley, Capps, Castor, Chu, Cicilline, Yvette Clarke, Clay, Cleaver, Clyburn, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, Courtney, John Duncan, DeFazio, DeLauro, Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Frank, Garamendi, Grijalva, Gutierrez, Hahn, Hanabusa, Alcee Hastings, Heinrich, Hinchey, Holt, Honda, Jackson Jr., Eddie Bernice Johnson, Hank Johnson, Tim Johnson, Kucinich, Rick Larsen, John Larson, Lewis, Loebsack, Lofgren, Lujan, Maloney, McCollum, McDermott, McGovern, Michaud, George Miller, Moran, Moore, Chris Murphy, Nadler, Napolitano, Olver, Pastor, Paul, Pingree, Polis, Rangel, Richardson, Rush, Loretta Sanchez, Schakowsky, Serrano, Sherman, Slaughter, Speier, Stark, Mike Thompson, Tierney, Tonko, Towns, Tsongas, Waters, Watt, Waxman, Welch, Woolsey, Yarmuth.

Lead Signer: Barbara Lee

Members of Congress Urge Expedited Withdrawal from Afghanistan  

Washington, D.C.Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Members of Congress from both political parties will hold a press conference in support of expedited withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST.  As President Obama prepares to address the NATO summit, Members will address the growing opposition among Americans and announce the opening of a letter to be delivered to the President urging expedited withdrawal.  Eighty-seven Members of the House have signed the letter, including 4 Republicans. 

WHO:              U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)

                        U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

                        U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)

                        U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

                        U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)

           

WHAT:             Press Conference

 

WHEN:             Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST

 

WHERE:           HVC-117, Studio B


Members of Congress Urge Expedited Withdrawal from Afghanistan

Washington, D.C.Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Members of Congress from both political parties will hold a press conference in support of expedited withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan on Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST.  As President Obama prepares to address the NATO summit, Members will address the growing opposition among Americans and announce the opening of a letter to be delivered to the President urging expedited withdrawal.  Seventy nine Members of the House have signed the letter, including 4 Republicans. 

 

WHO:              U.S. Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Walter Jones (R-NC)

                        U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch (D-VT)

U.S. Rep. Lynn Woolsey (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. James McGovern (D-MA)

U.S. Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY)

U.S. Rep. Janice Hahn (D-CA)

U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-OH)

U.S. Rep. Timothy V. Johnson (R-IL)

                        U.S. Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)

U.S. Rep. Sam Farr (D-CA)

                        U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY)

                        U.S. Rep. Laura Richardson (D-CA)

 

WHAT:             Press Conference

 

WHEN:             Wednesday, May 16, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. EST

 

WHERE:           HVC-117, Studio B, U.S. Capitol, Washington, D.C.

 

###

 

Copy of the letter, signed by 79 Members of the House including 4 Republicans:

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC  20500

Dear President Obama:

Earlier this month you visited Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement.  As you stated at Bagram Air Base, “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” The core of al Qaeda has been greatly reduced in size and ability to attack Americans. Our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that we have asked of them. With over 17,000 dead and wounded U.S. servicemen and women, and long term costs estimated at $4 trillion for the past decade of unfunded wars, the overwhelming majority of American people want to bring the war in Afghanistan to an expedited end.

While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control.  We also remind you that any agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.

Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we ask that you announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and security forces and the expedited withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan as quickly as these can be safely and responsibly accomplished.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

American officials want to sell you Afghan progress

Originally posted at Bullets and Ballots  and  FireDogLake

By: Philippe Duhart

It seems to be almost a historical inevitably: American military leaders and government officials cannot help themselves when it comes to optimistic statements about “progress” in a war zone. We saw it in Vietnam and in Iraq; and we’re witness to it time and again concerning Afghanistan.

Ambassador Ryan Crocker and General John Allen are currently tasked with selling progress in a shitty situation. The Independent:

Americans Love a Good Killer

 

 

By John Grant

 

The essential American soul is hard, isolate, stoic and a killer.
- D.H. Lawrence

The realist in murder writes of a world in which gangsters can rule nations … where a judge with a cellar full of bootleg liquor can send a man to jail for having a pint in his pocket … where no man can walk down a dark street in safety because law and order are things we talk about but refrain from practicing.
- Raymond Chandler
 
 
American pop culture is certainly not unique in having a love affair with killers. Since the first cave man cracked his neighbor’s head open to control a water hole, eliminating others has been top on the list of problem-solving techniques.

Support For War In Afghanistan Falls To New Low: 27 Percent Support, 8 Percent Strongly

By AP

WASHINGTON -- Support for the war in Afghanistan has reached a new low, with only 27 percent of Americans saying they back the effort and about half of those who oppose the war saying the continued presence of American troops in Afghanistan is doing more harm than good, according to an AP-GfK poll.

In results released Wednesday, 66 percent opposed the war, with 40 percent saying they were "strongly" opposed. A year ago, 37 percent favored the war, and in the spring of 2010, support was at 46 percent. Eight percent strongly supported the war in the new poll.

Majority of Americans reject new US-Afghan security pact: poll

A large majority of Americans disapprove of a new strategic partnership with Afghanistan that will keep US troops on Afghan soil beyond 2014, according to a Monitor/TIPP poll.

By Christian Science Monitor

By a margin of 63 percent disapproval to 33 percent approval, respondents rejected a description of the deal that will include a US troop presence and billions of dollars in monetary support for Afghan forces in the decade after 2014, according to a Monitor/TIPP poll conducted April 27 to May 4.

An Afghan Okinawa

By The Afghan Peace Volunteers

There is no U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014.

We are ordinary Afghans wishing for peace, and we have eyes and ears and feelings of love and despair, so please read on.

The Washington Post, in reporting the recent signing of the "U.S. Afghan Enduring Strategic Partnership Agreement", stated that U.S. trainers and Special Operations troops that remain beyond 2014 will live on Afghan bases.”

NATO Admits Killing Afghan Mother, 5 Children in Air Strike

NATO has admitted it mistakenly killed an Afghan mother and five of her children in an air strike last week. The air strike occurred in Helmand province. The Pentagon claimed responsibility after the killings were revealed by the governor of Helmand. Meanwhile, there are reports that as many as 14 civilians were killed in another incident in northwestern Badghis province. A spokesperson for Afghan President Hamid Karzai expressed dismay Monday over the air strikes, saying they are unacceptable to the Afghan government. In related news, three U.S. soldiers were killed in eastern Afghanistan Monday.

U.S. Soldier In Afghanistan Killed While On Skype With Wife

From the Associated Press

DALLAS — An Army nurse showed no alarm or discomfort before suddenly collapsing during a Skype video chat with his wife, who saw a bullet hole in a closet behind him, his family said Sunday.

Capt. Bruce Kevin Clark’s family released a statement describing what his wife saw in the video feed recording her husband’s death.

“Clark was suddenly knocked forward,” the statement said. “The closet behind him had a bullet hole in it. The other individuals, including a member of the military, who rushed to the home of CPT Clark’s wife also saw the hole and agreed it was a bullet hole.”

The statement says the Skype link remained open for two hours on April 30 as family and friends in the U.S. and Afghanistan tried to get Clark help.

“After two hours and many frantic phone calls by Mrs. Clark, two military personnel arrived in the room and appeared to check his pulse, but provided no details about his condition to his wife,” the statement said.

CNN: Why Are We Still in Vietghanistan?

From CNN:

Editor's note: Scott Camil is president of the Gainesville, Florida, chapter of Veterans for Peace, a veterans' organization that aims to raise awareness about the costs of war. He is a former sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps and served four years in Vietnam; his decorations include two Purple Hearts, a Combat Action Ribbon, two Presidential Unit Citations and Good Conduct Medal.

(CNN) -- As a veteran of combat in Vietnam, I am often asked about current wars. Recently I have been asked about soldiers posing with corpses or urinating on corpses in Afghanistan. The "patriotic" media wants us to understand what it is like to be a soldier in war, not to condone the conduct but to ask "who are we to judge?" They want to know about rules of war: "Are there rules about taking pictures with dead bodies?"

READ THE REST AT CNN

So then Who in the Hell Are We?

 

By Dan De Walt

 

“This is not a reflection of who we are or what we stand for.” 

       -- Jeff Gearhart, Wall-Mart general counsel, on the firm’s Mexico bribery 

 

[Torture] “is not the norm.” 

       -- Mike Pannek, Abu Ghraib prison warden.

 

“This is not who we are.” 

       -- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on the US massacre of 16 Afghan villagers.

 

“This is not who we are.” 

War In Afghanistan for at Least 12 More Years

Tuesday's highly secretive, midnight meeting between US President Obama and Afghan President Karzai was spun by the administration as somehow being about the end of US occupation of Afghanistan. The furtive, hurried, vague agreement signed by a deeply unpopular puppet government isolated inside multi-billion dollar US protection makes both sides look only more desperate for legitimacy.

We've recounted since 2009 the story of the NATO/US "surge" of troops and cash which Obama threw at the people of Afghanistan, leading to a surge in civilian deaths, further assaults on women's rights, more night raids and anger among the people at the occupiers. This agreement extends all that until 2024!

Afghanistan: Permanent Occupation Planned

  Afghanistan: Permanent Occupation Planned

 

by Stephen Lendman

 

Replicating post-WW II occupations is planned. Sixty-seven years after war's end, US troops still occupy Germany, Japan and Korea. They're part of America's growing empire of bases. 

 

Status of forces (SOFA) agreements establish the framework under which US forces operate abroad.

Sign on to Letter to President Obama: Expedite Withdrawal from Afghanistan

From: The Honorable Barbara Lee
Date: 5/2/2012

Dear Colleague,

The American people have overwhelmingly come to the conclusion that our brave men and women in uniform have accomplished all that we have asked of them and it is time to bring them home from Afghanistan.

Members of Congress need to stand with seven out of ten Americans (including 52% of GOP voters) who oppose the war in Afghanistan.

We invite you to sign on to the letter below which closes on May 10, 2012 (ahead of the NATO Summit in Chicago).  The letter calls on the President to expedite our troops’ return and speed up the transition to having Afghans in charge of Afghanistan.

Sincerely,

Barbara Lee                                        Walter Jones

Member of Congress                     Member of Congress

 

Current Co-Signers (49): Adam Smith, Baldwin, Bass, Capps, Chu, Yvette Clarke, Clay, Cohen, Conyers, Costello, John Duncan, Edwards, Ellison, Farr, Filner, Frank, Grijalva, Hahn, Alcee Hastings, Heinrich, Hinchey, Holt, Honda, Jackson Jr., Tim Johnson, Kucinich, Lewis, Lofgren, Maloney, McCollum, McGovern, Michaud, George Miller, Moore, Nadler, Olver, Pingree, Polis, Rangel, Richardson, Loretta Sanchez, Serrano, Slaughter, Stark, Mike Thompson, Tonko, Frederica Wilson, Woolsey, Yarmuth.

May 10, 2012

 

The Honorable Barack Obama

President of the United States

The White House

1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW

Washington, DC  20500

 

Dear President Obama:

 

           Last week you visited Afghanistan to sign a Strategic Partnership Agreement.  As you stated at Bagram Air Base, “this time of war began in Afghanistan, and this is where it will end.” The core of al Qaeda has been greatly reduced in size and ability to attack Americans. Our brave men and women in uniform have done everything that we have asked of them. With over 17,000 dead and wounded U.S. servicemen and women, and long term costs estimated at $4 trillion for the past decade of unfunded wars, the overwhelming majority of American people want to bring the war in Afghanistan to an expedited end.

           While many of us would prefer an immediate full withdrawal from Afghanistan, there is broad, bipartisan consensus in Congress and across America that it is time to accelerate the transition from U.S. to full Afghan control.  We also remind you that any agreement committing U.S. troops to Afghanistan must have congressional approval to be binding.

            Therefore, at the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, we ask that you announce an accelerated transition of security responsibility to the Afghan government and security forces and the expedited withdrawal of our troops from Afghanistan as quickly as these can be safely and responsibly accomplished.

Sincerely,

Members of Congress

"We Did Not Choose This War" and Other Hypocrisies

By Leah Bolger and David Swanson

"We did not choose this war.  This war came to us on 9/11.  We don't go looking for a fight.  But when we see our homeland violated, when we see our fellow citizens killed, then we understand what we have to do." 

These are the words that President Obama used on Tuesday to describe the Afghanistan war, but they would have been more appropriately said by any Afghan citizen.

Coming out of the mouth of the President of the United States, these words are nothing more than nationalistic propaganda — designed to justify an aggressive war of choice launched against a sovereign nation.  Somebody chose this war, and it certainly wasn't the Afghan people — 92% of whom have never even heard of the events of 9/11.

Kucinich: We are Not Exiting Afghanistan. We are Staying.

Strategic Partnership Agreement Commits U.S. to Afghanistan for the Indefinite Future

Washington D.C. (May 2, 2012) – Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH), who has led the call to end the war in Afghanistan, today released the following statement after President Obama announced that the U.S. has signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan.

“Yesterday, the President announced that the U.S. signed a Strategic Partnership Agreement with Afghanistan, committing the United States to the country for a long time to come. The agreement addressed the transition to Afghan-led security forces by 2014. Human and monetary costs to the U.S. will continue to skyrocket.

“According to a recent article in The Atlantic, the U.S. spends an estimated $14,000 per Afghan troop per year. The long-term costs to the U.S. to train the 352,000 Afghan security troops we are counting on to allow the withdrawal of U.S. troops will be over $4 billion per year; or more than $40 billion over the next ten years. The Associated Press recently highlighted a report that raises significant questions regarding International Security Assistance Force claims that there have been Afghan-led military operations, an indicator of progress toward Afghan military self sufficiency, a cornerstone of our strategy.

“It is widely recognized that much of Al-Qaeda’s leadership and presence in Afghanistan has been decimated. Since the death of Osama bin Laden exactly one year ago, we have lost 381 U.S. troops. The President stated that ‘we must give Afghanistan the opportunity to stabilize.’ The assertion that maintaining a long-term presence in the country is the best way to prevent future attacks on the U.S. belies the reality on the ground: that our mere presence is destabilizing. The events of the past few months alone – the Koran burnings, coordinated attacks by the Taliban in Kabul, and the killing of Afghan civilians by a U.S. solider – should be enough of an indication that more time in Afghanistan is not the answer.

“America has been lulled to sleep by the mindboggling elongation of a war seven thousand miles away. The plain fact is we are not exiting Afghanistan, despite the appearances which the White House is trying to create. We are staying.  Have we learned nothing from ten years of quagmire? It is time to bring our troops home safely and responsibly.”

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On Proposal to Fund Military With Cuts to Food Stamps, Kucinich Asks “What Kind of Country Do We Want to Live In?”

 
Food For Hungry Americans or Wars Abroad?

Washington D.C. (May 2, April 2012) -- Congressman Dennis Kucinich (D-OH) today asked Americans to consider what kind of a country they want to live in – a country where our friends and neighbors have enough food to eat or a nation that wages unending warfare. The question comes as recent news reports point to a proposal to cut food assistance for hungry families to fund the Department of Defense.


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“What are our national priorities? This is not an abstract question. What kind of a country do we want to live in?

“We spend about $115 billion a year for the war in Afghanistan alone. By comparison, since the Wall Street financial disaster of 2008, the down economy has resulted in millions of Americans losing their homes to foreclosure. Tens of millions can’t find jobs. Five-point-five million people have not been able to find work in more than 27 weeks.

“Last year alone, nearly 45 million Americans needed help to simply have enough food to eat. For those not qualified through other programs, a family of four would need to survive on less than $29,055 a year in order to be eligible for this assistance. In the United States of America, nearly 1 in 6 Americans needed help just to put food on the table.

“Now, because of two wars fought on our nation’s credit card, the Bush tax cuts and a slow economy, our government is currently operating at a deficit. Economists encourage government to spend more to spur economic growth, but Congress has called for austerity instead. Because of the Budget Control Act passed last summer, we need to cut $1.2 trillion over 10 years beginning in 2013, with half the cuts coming from the Department of Defense.

“Despite the years of massive growth and well-documented inefficiency, many people in Washington think it’s unacceptable to cut the Pentagon’s budget. Instead, they are trying to find other places to make the cuts.

“Where do Washington politicians want to make cuts to protect the war budget? You guessed it: food assistance for hungry Americans.

“This is what it means to consider our national priorities. Do we want to live in a country where our friends and neighbors have enough to eat? Or a country that wages unending wars abroad?”

 

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