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Corporatism and Fascism


Corporatism and Fascism

U.S., NATO War In Afghanistan: Antecedents And Precedents

U.S., NATO War In Afghanistan: Antecedents And Precedents
Rick Rozoff | Stop NATO | Blog site

The U.S. (and Britain) began bombing the Afghan capital of Kabul on October 7, 2001 with Tomahawk cruise missiles launched from warships and submarines and bombs dropped from warplanes and shortly thereafter American special forces began ground operations, a task that has been conducted since by regular Army and Marine units. The bombing and the ground combat operations continue more than eight years later and both will be intensified to record levels in short order.

The combined U.S. and NATO forces would represent a staggering number, in excess of 150,000 soldiers. By way of comparison, as of September of this year there were approximately 120,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and only a small handful of other nations' personnel, those assigned to the NATO Training Mission - Iraq, remaining with them.

"Secretary Gates has made clear that the conflicts we're in should be at the very forefront of our agenda. He wants to make sure we're not giving up capabilities needed now for those needed for some unknown future conflict. He wants to make sure the Pentagon is truly on war footing....For the first time in decades, the political and economic stars are aligned for a fundamental overhaul of the way the Pentagon does business."

Over the past ten years citizens of the United States and other Western nations, and unfortunately most of the world, have become accustomed to Washington and its military allies in Europe and those appointed as armed outposts on the periphery of the "Euro-Atlantic community" engaging in armed aggression around the world.

Wars against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq and lower profile military operations and surrogate campaigns in nations as diverse as Colombia, Yemen, the Philippines, Ivory Coast, Somalia, Chad, the Central African Republic, South Ossetia and elsewhere have become an unquestioned prerogative of the U.S. and its NATO partners. So much so that many have forgotten to consider how comparable actions have been or might be viewed if a non-Western nation attempted them.

As Obama Sends More Troops, Giant Shadow Army Of Contractors Set To Grow In Afghanistan

As Obama Sends More Troops, Giant Shadow Army Of Contractors Set To Grow In Afghanistan
by Justin Elliott | Common Dreams

With President Obama addressing the nation tonight about a new escalation in Afghanistan, a perennially underexamined topic is once again receiving short shrift: the huge force of contractors, which as of June outnumbered the size of the U.S. troop presence itself, is likely to swell.

The Administration seemingly hasn't addressed the issue, and the word "contractor" doesn't appear much in media coverage -- for example, in the Times and Post stories on the escalation today.

But David Berteau, a senior adviser at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, tells TPM that as Obama increases troop levels to at least 100,000, "there will definitely be an increase in the number of contractors."

The contractors -- the majority of whom are Afghan nationals, according to a Congressional study -- do the work that makes the war possible, like serving food, driving trucks, constructing buildings, transporting fuel, and more. Between 7% and 16% of the total are Blackwater-style private security contractors, according to various estimates.

While contractors allow the U.S. to fight wars with fewer American troops -- which may be good or bad, depending on who you ask -- they also present serious transparency and security concerns. That includes goodwill-draining episodes like the May shooting of two Afghan civilians in Kabul by contractors working for Xe, formerly Blackwater. Experts are also concerned about an attack by enemies who might slip through security as a contractor at an American facility.

It's impossible to say how much taxpayer money is going to private contracts because various government entities either don't know, or don't agree on, just how many contractors are currently in Afghanistan. Read more.

The Campaign Cash Behind the Afghanistan Escalation

The Campaign Cash Behind the Afghanistan Escalation
by Sue Sturgis | Common Dreams

...a recent Gallup poll found that 60% of Democrats want the president to begin reducing troop levels in Afghanistan.

But while the president may be showing disloyalty to his political base, he's remaining faithful to the defense industry interests that so generously funded his campaign.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics' OpenSecrets.org database, the top recipient of defense industry money in the 2008 election cycle was Barack Obama, whose haul of $1,029,997 far surpassed Republican contender Sen. John McCain's $696,948.

During the 2008 cycle, the industry contributed a total of $23.7 million to federal candidates -- far more than the $17.4 million it invested during the 2006 cycle or the $18.1 million in the 2004 cycle.

The top five defense industry contributors during the 2008 elections were Lockheed Martin at $2.5 million, Boeing at $2.1 million, Northrop Grumman at $1.8 million, and Raytheon and General Dynamics at $1.7 million each.

And it appears their investment may be paying off: The Associated Press reports that analyst Howard A. Rubel of the global investment bank Jefferies & Co. sent out a client note today stating that the fiscal 2010 Defense Department Budget will likely boost demand for precision munitions, communications gear, helicopters, armor and surveillance systems.

Among the companies whose stock Rubel rated as "Buy"? General Dynamics and Northrop Grumman. Read more.

The War We Can’t Win: Afghanistan & the Limits of American Power

The War We Can’t Win
Afghanistan & the Limits of American Power
Andrew J. Bacevich | Commonweal | August 14, 2009

History deals rudely with the pretensions of those who presume to determine its course. In an American context, this describes the fate of those falling prey to the Wilsonian Conceit. Yet the damage done by that conceit outlives its perpetrators.

From time to time, in some moment of peril or anxiety, a statesman appears on the scene promising to eliminate tyranny, ensure the triumph of liberty, and achieve permanent peace. For a moment, the statesman achieves the status of prophet, one who in his own person seemingly embodies the essence of the American purpose. Then reality intrudes, exposing the promises as costly fantasies. The prophet’s followers abandon him. Mocked and reviled, he is eventually banished—perhaps to some gated community in Dallas.

Yet however brief his ascendancy, the discredited prophet leaves behind a legacy. Most obvious are the problems created and left unresolved, commitments made and left unfulfilled, debts accrued and left unpaid. Less obvious, but for that reason more important, are the changes in perception.

The prophet recasts our image of reality. Long after his departure, remnants of that image linger and retain their capacity to beguile: consider how the Wilsonian vision of the United States as crusader state called upon to redeem the world in World War I has periodically resurfaced despite Woodrow Wilson’s own manifest failure to make good on that expectation. The prophet declaims and departs. Yet traces of his testimony, however at odds with the facts, remain lodged in our consciousness.

So it is today with Afghanistan, the conflict that George W. Bush began, then ignored, and finally bequeathed to his successor. Barack Obama has embraced that conflict as “the war we must win.” Those who celebrated Bush’s militancy back in the intoxicating days when he was promising to rid the world of evil see Obama’s enthusiasm for pressing on in Afghanistan as a vindication of sorts. They are right to do so.

The misguided and mismanaged global war on terror reduced Bush’s presidency to ruin. The candidate whose run for high office derived its energy from an implicit promise to repudiate all that Bush had wrought now seems intent on salvaging something useful from that failed enterprise—even if that means putting his own presidency at risk. When it comes to Afghanistan, Obama may be singing in a different key, but to anyone with an ear for music—especially for military marches—the melody remains intact. Read more.

West Point Speech: Yes We Can...Stop This War!

West Point Speech: Yes We Can...Stop This War!
By Jack A. Smith

Following is the text of the talk given at the Dec. 1 West Point demonstration by Jack A. Smith, editor of the Hudson Valley Activist Newsletter and co-chair of Peace & Social Progress Now.

During the election, at Barack Obama rallies, we frequently heard the multitudes exclaim in unison — Yes We Can! The crowds also spoke of "change we can believe in."

I was suspicious of such slogans because it was never explained what they meant. Yes we can — what? And what was the "change we can believe in"?

Although a great deal was implied by these slogans — not least that Obama would end the wars and bring the troops home — the Democratic candidate never spelled it out.

But now I think we know what both statements mean.

Oh Fa Chrissake...President Barack Obama Delivered The Best Speech George W. Bush Ever Gave In His Life

Oh Fa Chrissake...President Barack Obama delivered the best speech George W. Bush ever gave in his life.
By William Rivers Pitt | Democratic Underground

On Tuesday night, President Barack Obama delivered the best speech George W. Bush ever gave in his life. Mr. Bush, if he was watching, would have recognized virtually every facet of Obama's speech, for it was the Bush administration that hammered out the template used by Mr. Obama to deliver the news that he is doubling down on the war in Afghanistan.

Obama's eloquence was far superior to anything Mr. Bush could have ever hoped to achieve - for the first time in the 21st century, the United States has a president who can pronounce "nuclear" correctly - but at the end of the day, it was the same script all over again.

Mr. Obama's speech contained all the well-worn Bushian touchstones, one above all: sharing a stage with soldiers in uniform - and how heartbreakingly young were the faces in that room; one could hear a pin drop throughout in that roomful of children whose lives will be directly affected by the decision that was announced - as a means of political defense and to augment his martial profile. Mr. Bush pulled this sickening stunt more times than can be counted, and it burned like acid to see another president defile their service by using them as props in a bit of political theater.

It took exactly 130 words for Mr. Obama to invoke the attacks of September 11, which is just about how long it usually took Mr. Bush whenever he unleashed one of his linguistic muggings upon the populace.

Mr. Obama blessed the calamity of Iraq as a success - "We have given Iraqis a chance to shape their future, and we are successfully leaving Iraq to its people," said the president - which was a favorite habit of Mr. Bush, no matter how brazen facts to the contrary happened to be.

Mr. Obama likewise blessed the recent fraud-riddled election in Afghanistan as a positive thing, despite the cancerous effect that farce of a vote has had on the confidence of the Afghan people. In this, the president echoed Mr. Bush once again, as it was often Mr. Bush's practice to fete Iraqi elections that were controlled by Iran and riven with violence as successful steps towards democracy.

Mr. Obama re-introduced the American people to the menace of weapons of mass destruction, a favorite note of Mr. Bush. Obama did not go so far as to say that Afghanistan is in possession of 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and VX nerve agent, 30,000 missiles to deliver the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, and uranium from Niger for use in a robust nuclear weapons program, as Mr. Bush did during another memorable prime-time speech, but the call to dread was there all the same. The threat of "loose nukes" is indeed real enough, but it was a kick in the stomach to see the Bush Handbook on Fear put into play once again. Read more.

Sprint’s 50 Million Customers Have Been Geo-Tracked 8 Million Times–in the Last Year

Sprint’s 50 Million Customers Have Been Geo-Tracked 8 Million Times–in the Last Year
By Emptywheel | FireDogLake

Chris Soghoian caught a remarkable admission at a surveillance conference in October. Sprint’s Manager of Electronic Surveillance revealed that law enforcement has used Sprint’s geotracking function 8 million times in the thirteen months prior to his comment.

Sprint Nextel provided law enforcement agencies with its customers’ (GPS) location information over 8 million times between September 2008 and October 2009. This massive disclosure of sensitive customer information was made possible due to the roll-out by Sprint of a new, special web portal for law enforcement officers.

The evidence documenting this surveillance program comes in the form of an audio recording of Sprint’s Manager of Electronic Surveillance, who described it during a panel discussion at a wiretapping and interception industry conference, held in Washington DC in October of 2009.

[snip]

[M]y major concern is the volume of requests. We have a lot of things that are automated but that’s just scratching the surface. One of the things, like with our GPS tool. We turned it on the web interface for law enforcement about one year ago last month, and we just passed 8 million requests. So there is no way on earth my team could have handled 8 million requests from law enforcement, just for GPS alone. So the tool has just really caught on fire with law enforcement. They also love that it is extremely inexpensive to operate and easy, so, just the sheer volume of requests they anticipate us automating other features, and I just don’t know how we’ll handle the millions and millions of requests that are going to come in.

Now, as he documents in extensive detail, using cell phone location to get the geolocation of someone is just one of a number of uses of legal surveillance techniques that is eluding public reporting. Read more.

Sources: Blackwater's Running A Secret War in Pakistan - So Classified, Even Administration Doesn't Know

Sources: Blackwater's Running A Secret War in Pakistan - So Classified, Even Administration Doesn't Know
By Susie Madrak | Crooks & Liars

There was a definite method to BushCo's madness: Namely, hire subcontractors to evade the laws that prevent the DoD and the CIA from taking part in torture and assassination. From The Nation:

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater's involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so "compartmentalized" that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.

Sure sounds like Cheney's still got his moles deep inside, doesn't it? Read more.

Déjà-Bush?

Déjà-Bush?
By Bob Sommer | Uncommon Hours

You couldn’t escape the déjà-Bush-all-over-again elements of Obama’s speech last night – the military setting, the audience of uniformed cadets all sitting stiffly and attentively as their Commander-in-Chief addressed them on a matter of war. Officers, generals, the Secretary of Defense, the Military Academy at West Point: Who was the real audience?

Unlike Bush, who turned soldiers into props and military bases into stage settings, Obama seemed to have a different purpose in going to West Point, one that may be even more troubling than Bush’s play-soldiering.

“As cadets,” Obama told his live audience, “you volunteered for service during this time of danger. Some of you have fought in Afghanistan. Many will deploy there. As your Commander-in-Chief, I owe you a mission that is clearly defined, and worthy of your service.” [my emphasis]

If the right wing was worried about Obama bowing to a foreign leader (which didn’t trouble me at all), I worry about him bowing to the military. Ever since McCrystal returned from Afghanistan and demanded 40,000 troops, it seemed that the military was the decision-maker in this process. What was McCrystal doing on TV a few weeks back stoking up the public? Michael Moore was right: he should have been fired then.

Maybe eight years of Bush incessantly declaring that “the generals on the ground” would tell him what to do has finally evolved into a kind of unwritten law – a paradigm for military decision-making in the state of endless war that Bush & Co. bequeathed us. And precisely what the Founders wanted to avoid when they made a civilian leader the commander-in-chief of the military. Read more.

Doubletalk on Afghanistan: War is Peace; Escalation is Withdrawal

Doubletalk on Afghanistan: War is Peace; Escalation is Withdrawal
The Peace Movement Is Stepping it Up
By Kevin Zeese | Voters for Peace

If I ever get cancer, I want Barack Obama to tell me I’m dying. He could probably convince someone like me who does not believe in the supernatural that death is life.

He certainly did his best on Tuesday night to convince the American public that war means peace, and escalation means withdrawal.

Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War: “We’re Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire”

Rep. Kucinich on Afghanistan War: “We’re Acting Like a Latter Day Version of the Roman Empire”
By Amy Goodman | Democracy NOW!

As President Obama unveils his plan to escalate the war in Afghanistan, we speak with Ohio Congressmember Dennis Kucinich. “The United States is going deeper and deeper into debt,” says Kucinich. “We have money for Wall Street and money for war but we don’t have money for work…for healthcare. We have to start asking ourselves, ‘Why is it that war is a priority but the basic needs of people in this country are not?’” Read more.

Abolish the Fed and Return Money Creation Power to Congress

Abolish the Fed and Return Money Creation Power to Congress
By Stephen Lendman

In her extraordinary book, "Web of Debt," financial writer Ellen Brown tells "the shocking truth about our money system, (how it) trapped us in debt, and how we can break free." She quotes banker/developer Reed Simpson saying:

"Credible evidence (reveals) a world (banking) power elite intent on gaining absolute control over the planet and its natural resources, including its subservient human (ones)." It's the Bilderberg Group classless society idea of rulers, serfs, and no middle class by controlling the world's money. What Baron MA Rothschild (1818 - 1874) meant by saying:

"Give me control over a nation's currency and I care not who makes its laws." Today it applies globally.

Money is bankers' "lifeblood,....fear (their) weapon." Ill-used, they'll "enslave nations and ensure perpetual wars and bondage." Brown explained all and proposed a solution.

Dick Cheney Slams President Obama For Projecting ‘Weakness’

Dick Cheney slams President Obama for projecting ‘weakness’
By Mike Allen & Jim Vandehei | Politico.com

 

Cheney was asked if he thinks the Bush administration bears any responsibility for the disintegration of Afghanistan because of the attention and resources that were diverted to Iraq. “I basically don’t,” he replied without elaborating....

“One of their top people will be given the opportunity — courtesy of the United States government and the Obama administration — to have a platform from which they can espouse this hateful ideology that they adhere to,” he said. “I think it’s likely to give encouragement — aid and comfort — to the enemy.”...

Cheney said he is increasingly persuaded by the notion that Obama “doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism — the idea that the United States is a special nation, that we are the greatest, freest nation mankind has ever known.”...

Iraq’s going significantly better because of the decisions we made in the Bush administration — the surge and so forth,” the former vice president added.Read more.

McGovern Brothers Issue West Point Candlelight Vigil Speech

West Point Candlelight Vigil for Obama Afghanistan Speech | December 1, 2009
Presentation by Larry McGovern | Westchester County for Peace and Justice

Thank you for inviting me to speak.

My brothers Ray and Joe collaborated with me on this statement.

* * *

In one brief year, President Barack Obama has left a trail of shattered dreams, culminating in his option for more war in Afghanistan.

Shattered dreams are nothing new. Four weeks before he was murdered, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. reminded us that life is full of shattered dreams.

At the same time, he insisted that it is our job to hold those dreams tight to our hearts and do our best, in the time given us, to make real the dream of peace.

Four decades ago, as another war raged in Vietnam, Dan Berrigan explained—explained, not excused—the lack of committed peacemakers. He said:

War Fraud Whistleblowers Under Wraps

War Fraud Whistleblowers Under Wraps
By Dina Rasor | Truthout

Recently, the Congressional Research Service released an amazing statistic – it will cost one million dollars a year to support one soldier for one year in Afghanistan.

This mind-blowing number partly includes the cost of private contractors who have moved into areas of support that have been strictly military in the past. Estimates for the numbers of contractors have been as high as one contractor for every soldier. As President Obama prepares to announce his decision on Afghanistan, the price of this war is also on his mind since he included Peter Orszag, the director of the Office of Management and Budget, in his last war council.

One of the reasons for the high costs of maintaining each soldier is the lack of oversight of private contractor billings over the course of these two wars. The Department of Defense (DOD), and especially the Army, has fought the auditors and the investigators in the military who have attempted to expose fraud, waste, overbillings and other abuses of costs in contractor contracts. The contractors, using contingency contracting, which is similar to the old cost plus contracts, knew that their profits and, more important, their future task orders and contracts would be priced based on what they spend in the beginning of the wars. So the contractor billing meter, especially in labor costs, spun vigorously in the first years of the war with little oversight. When the Defense Contract Audit Agency (DCAA) tried to withhold a small percentage of payment from KBR, the largest contractor, because it believed that the billings were excessive and they wanted to scrub the numbers, the Army pushed past the DCAA and paid KBR the excessive costs. This set the tone to let the contractor billings run wild. Read more.

WTO Still Parties Like It's 1999: World Trade Organization Risks Financial 'China Syndrome'

World Trade Organization Risks Financial 'China Syndrome'
WTO STILL PARTIES LIKE IT'S 1999
on 10th Anniversary of the Battle in Seattle
Bankers' scheme to re-open finance casino worldwide
by Greg Palast for Air America's Ring of Fire

Apparently, one meltdown isn't enough for the World Trade Organization. They meet today in Geneva on the tenth anniversary of the "Battle in Seattle," the first mass protest against globalization.

In a special investigation for Air America's Ring of Fire, [listen to the report here or watch the 9-minute film above, and linked here], I recently gained access to several documents from inside the file cabinets of the WTO, the World Bank and other centers of globalization.

According to one marked "Ensure This Text Is Not Made Publicly Available," the big banks, via official trade negotiators, are secretly demanding that emerging nations, starting with Brazil, open their markets to trading in derivatives, credit default swaps and other exotic—and toxic—financial products.

It's not enough that they have brought the US and Europe to their financial knees. Now banks, under the guise of the WTO's free trade treaty, want to expand the casino to the new big emerging powers with their trillion-greenback reserves. A derivatives crash in those markets could easily trigger a financial China Syndrome—a second meltdown from New York to Beijing to Brasília. Read more.

Govt. Investigation Confirms ABC News Report on Secret CIA Prison

Govt. Investigation Confirms ABC News Report on Secret CIA Prison
Lithuanian Investigators Say State Security Helped Arrange "Black Site" For al-Qaeda Suspects
By Matthew Cole and Marl Schone | ABC News

A Lithuanian government investigation has confirmed an exclusive ABC News report that the CIA operated a secret black site prison in the country, according to a report on Lithuanian television.

According to Lithuania's LNK TV, sources have told investigators that state security was involved in coordinating the construction of the prison, and have also provided the code name of the operation to transport terror detainees to the prison. Arydas Anusauskas, head of the parliamentary committee investigating the prison, did not respond to an ABC News request for comment, but has previously said the results of the probe will be made public Dec. 22.

On Nov. 18, ABC News revealed the location of a secret prison, where harsh interrogation techniques were allegedly used on accused al-Qaeda terrorists, in a converted horseback riding facility 20 kilometers northeast of the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius. Where affluent Lithuanians once rode show horses and sipped coffee at an attached café, the CIA installed a hidden concrete structure where it could hold up to eight "high value detainees" at a time, a current Lithuanian government official and a former CIA official told ABC News. Read more.

More than 25 Organizations Join BORDC’s Coalition Letter on Torture and Transparency

More than 25 Organizations Join BORDC’s Coalition Letter on Torture and Transparency
By Amy E. Ferrer | Bill of Rights Defense Committee

Today, November 24, 2009, a coalition of more than 25 national and regional organizations representing a diverse array of interests wrote to President Barack Obama, calling on him to end continuing secrecy surrounding evidence of torture. Seeking the transparency repeatedly promised by the President, and the accountability for potential crimes required by international law, the coalition urged the administration to reconsider its refusal to disclose evidence of torture.

Specifically, the coalition’s letter requests that President Obama direct the Department of Defense to comply with court orders mandating disclosure of photos documenting detainee abuse, rather than exercise an authority recently granted by Congress to keep them secret. It also “explain[s] why transparency and robust accountability are a strategic national security imperative, and…expose[s] the self-interest of voices counseling against accountability.”

Organizations endorsing the letter represent a wide range of interests, including those of civil liberties supporters, marginalized communities, the peace and justice movement, religious and interfaith communities, medical professionals, and more. Initiated by the Bill of Rights Defense Committee (BORDC), the coalition also includes the Alliance for Justice, American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Center for Constitutional Rights, Coalition for an Ethical Psychology, Code Pink: Women for Peace, Progressive Christians Uniting, Veterans for Peace, and Witness Against Torture. The letter reads, in part: Read more.

Colbert Conservatism and The Military Budget

Colbert conservatism and the military budget
By David Sirota, Syndicated columnist | Seattle Times

Pop quiz: Name the political leader who said the following:

"We must be willing to pull the plug before sinking more dollars into weapons that do not provide what our warriors need."

Now name the leader who said this:

"(W)e cannot track $2.3 trillion in (Pentagon spending) ... We maintain 20 to 25 percent more base infrastructure than we need to support our forces, at an annual waste to taxpayers of some $3 billion to $4 billion ... There are those who will oppose every effort to save taxpayers' money ... Well, fine, if there's to be a struggle, so be it."

I'm willing to bet many self-described "conservatives" guessed Ralph Nader and Dennis Kucinich. I would make that wager based on the enraged response to my recent column about government data showing that our waste-ridden, $600-billion-a-year defense budget will cost about seven times more than the health-care legislation currently before Congress.

In e-mails, letters and Web site comments, right-wingers didn't vent anger at Pentagon profligacy, but at the criticism of Pentagon profligacy — as if brazenly throwing away billions on outdated weapons systems and obsolete military programs is now a "conservative" value.

Notably, the vitriol didn't include contrary numbers disproving the figures I referenced (none exists) — the responses just used Fox News-ish slogans like "the cost of freedom" to deride all criticism of Pentagon spending as unpatriotic ultraliberalism.

Of course, if that's true, then Stephen Colbert's refrain that "reality has a well-known liberal bias" is now less a laugh line than a devastatingly accurate commentary on the deranged terms of America's political discourse. I say that because here are some objective, nonpartisan, nonideological facts: Read more.

Michael Moore Writes An Open Letter to the President: Don't Escalate Afghanistan, The Graveyard of Empires

November 30th, 2009 3:44 AM
An Open Letter to President Obama from Michael Moore

Dear President Obama,

Do you really want to be the new "war president"? If you go to West Point tomorrow night (Tuesday, 8pm) and announce that you are increasing, rather than withdrawing, the troops in Afghanistan, you are the new war president. Pure and simple. And with that you will do the worst possible thing you could do -- destroy the hopes and dreams so many millions have placed in you. With just one speech tomorrow night you will turn a multitude of young people who were the backbone of your campaign into disillusioned cynics. You will teach them what they've always heard is true -- that all politicians are alike. I simply can't believe you're about to do what they say you are going to do. Please say it isn't so.

It is not your job to do what the generals tell you to do. We are a civilian-run government. WE tell the Joint Chiefs what to do, not the other way around. That's the way General Washington insisted it must be. That's what President Truman told General MacArthur when MacArthur wanted to invade China. "You're fired!," said Truman, and that was that. And you should have fired Gen. McChrystal when he went to the press to preempt you, telling the press what YOU had to do. Let me be blunt: We love our kids in the armed services, but we f*#&in' hate these generals, from Westmoreland in Vietnam to, yes, even Colin Powell for lying to the UN with his made-up drawings of WMD (he has since sought redemption).

So now you feel backed into a corner. 30 years ago this past Thursday (Thanksgiving) the Soviet generals had a cool idea -- "Let's invade
Afghanistan!" Well, that turned out to be the final nail in the USSR coffin.

There's a reason they don't call Afghanistan the "Garden State" (though they probably should, seeing how the corrupt President Karzai, whom we back, has his brother in the heroin trade raising poppies). Afghanistan's nickname is the "Graveyard of Empires." If you don't believe it, give the British a call. I'd have you call Genghis Khan but I lost his number. I do have Gorbachev's number though.

More Arrests in America's War on Islam

More Arrests in America's War on Islam
By Stephen Lendman

A November 24 "hatemail" underscores the issue, titled "Muslims in America - violent clashing of cultures, basic incompatibility of Western thought and Muslim theocracy," then quoting Denver radio talk show host Peter Boyles (know.com) saying:

"Not all Muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists are Muslims."

Not Jews, not Christians, not Hindus, not Buddhists, or persons from any of the lesser known religions, just Muslims with no understanding that Islam teaches love, not hate; peace, not violence; charity, not selfishness; and tolerance, not terrorism; or that Islam, Christianity and Judaism have common roots.

Yet according to Pat Robertson, Monday, November 9 on his 700 Club:

"Islam is a violent - I was going to say religion - but it's not a religion. It's a political system. It's a violent political system bent on the overthrow of governments of the world and world domination."

Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan Revealed

Blackwater's Secret War in Pakistan Revealed
An elite division of Blackwater plans targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives in Pakistan. And everyone's denying it.
By Jeremy Scahill | The Nation

At a covert forward operating base run by the US Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) in the Pakistani port city of Karachi, members of an elite division of Blackwater are at the center of a secret program in which they plan targeted assassinations of suspected Taliban and Al Qaeda operatives, "snatch and grabs" of high-value targets and other sensitive action inside and outside Pakistan, an investigation by The Nation has found. The Blackwater operatives also assist in gathering intelligence and help run a secret US military drone bombing campaign that runs parallel to the well-documented CIA predator strikes, according to a well-placed source within the US military intelligence apparatus.

The source, who has worked on covert US military programs for years, including in Afghanistan and Pakistan, has direct knowledge of Blackwater's involvement. He spoke to The Nation on condition of anonymity because the program is classified. The source said that the program is so "compartmentalized" that senior figures within the Obama administration and the US military chain of command may not be aware of its existence.

The White House did not return calls or email messages seeking comment for this story. Capt. John Kirby, the spokesperson for Adm. Michael Mullen, Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told The Nation, "We do not discuss current operations one way or the other, regardless of their nature." A defense official, on background, specifically denied that Blackwater performs work on drone strikes or intelligence for JSOC in Pakistan. "We don't have any contracts to do that work for us. We don't contract that kind of work out, period," the official said. "There has not been, and is not now, contracts between JSOC and that organization for these types of services." The previously unreported program, the military intelligence source said, is distinct from the CIA assassination program that the agency's director, Leon Panetta, announced he had canceled in June 2009. "This is a parallel operation to the CIA," said the source. "They are two separate beasts." The program puts Blackwater at the epicenter of a US military operation within the borders of a nation against which the United States has not declared war--knowledge that could further strain the already tense relations between the United States and Pakistan. Read more.

Obama Never Consider Diplomacy in Afghanistan

OBAMA NEVER CONSIDERED DIPLOMACY IN AFGHANISTAN
By Sherwood Ross

The military-industrial complex will support Obama’s escalation of these wars in order to cash in on those lucrative defense contracts valued at $700 billion a year while good jobs in other sectors of the U.S. economy, starved for investment capital, continue to shrink; while cities continue to decline; while handgun massacres become commonplace in our schools and offices; while homeowners are forced into the streets; while start-ups can’t get loans; and while Wall Street loots the Treasury. In short, Obama is propelling the once great USA toward Third World status.

After initially injecting 21,000 troops into Afghanistan allegedly to stave off imminent defeat, President Obama Tuesday will tell war-weary Americans why he seeks 35,000 more. If he gets them, the U.S. force there will exceed 100,000.

Washington has been pressuring its NATO allies to pour in more fighters even though Europeans don’t want any part of it. The New York Times reported Nov. 25th the U.S. is asking NATO for 10,000 more troops above the 45,000 already in place. That could bring total Allied forces to about 150,000. Toss in 70,000 private contractors and the total force soars to over 200,000. Yes, Afghanistan is shaping up as another Viet Nam.

Obama apparently never seriously considered ending the war diplomatically. Recall his blustering campaign rhetoric about defeating the Taliban; recall the public commitment last December of Defense Secretary Robert Gates to strengthen military bases in Afghanistan. Gates was the Bush official Obama continued in office.

Even as polls show a majority of Americans want U.S. forces out of Afghanistan and that Americans do not believe the war is worth fighting, President Obama---a former editor at the CIA front Business International Corporation in 1983-84---embraces a position in line with the long-held CIA view the U.S. must control the Middle East’s energy resources. It was the CIA that overthrew Iran in 1953 after Tehran nationalized its oil production, depriving British Petroleum of its lucrative swindle. Afghanistan is valued today for the oil and gas pipelines the U.S. wants built there, no matter what other reasons Obama gives.

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