Posts tagged Afghanistan
Are you sure you still support the war in Afghanistan? How much should we spend to protect ourselves from the perceived threat of terrorism? Nobel Peace Prize winning song and dance man, Barack Obama, recently committed to having troops there until 2025. Is it worth it?
Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury under Ronald Reagan recently wrote a great paper called “The Case of The Missing Terrorists” detailing a profound question: if we are under such a threat, and the TSA has proven to be riddled with security breaches, where are the terrorists?
My opinion, well supported by many facts, is that the terrorist threat is incredibly over-hyped and used as an amazingly effective, cruel and dishonest marketing tool to get the American people to pay for massive spending programs and support our war-hungry government.
Vance is a pretty impressive guy; holding degrees in theology, accounting, economics and history. His busting of “Bush Doctrines” politics is solid, although his speech does get a little “sales pitchy” at times for his book. Can’t blame the guy, hard to make a living as an author.
Driving to Mass this morning I was listening to FOX on the issue of Afghanistan and the killing of U.S. and NATO soldiers by our supposed Afghan allies. FOX had its “terrorism expert” on and he was blathering about how President Obama’s apology for the recent Koran burning was causing more violence in Afghanistan and across the Muslim world. The apology, said the “expert”, was typical of Obama’s weakness, and this weakness is contributing to the rise of Islamist power in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Afghanistan, and other places.
Somehow Obama’s apology for the Koran burning was explained by FOX’s “expert” as an apology for “U.S. policy,” which surprised me as I did not know our policy was to burn Korans.
Anyway, that this sort of truly brain-dead stuff passes for acceptable — or even plausible — analysis on any U.S. network falls into the appalling but not surprising category. The violence in Afghanistan against U.S. and NATO forces, for example, has nothing to do with the repeated apologies of Obama, Bush, Secretary Clinton, etc. for various incidents.
The violence comes from the fact that we and NATO are viewed by the overwhelming number of Afghans as, to quote an old but true phrase, “foreign infidel occupiers.”
Now, there is no doubt that burning Korans alienates Afghans, but it is the icing on the cake of 2,000-plus years of unrelenting, violent Afghan opposition to all occupiers — Greeks, Persians, Mongols, British, or Soviets. FOX’s “expert” said that Washington and NATO should be “partnering with pro-democracy Afghan social groups” to discredit the Taleban and other Afghan mujahedin and thereby reduce violence and spur democracy.
This analysis is truly a howler as those Afghans who are killing Western soldiers are the only social forces that count in Afghanistan, and they are the only ones that have counted since we invaded in 2001. Had we smashed these folks to the edge of extinction and then left in the 18 months following 9/11, all would have been well. But we stayed to build a secular democracy and empower women, and today the world’s greatest power and its allies are acknowledging defeat at the hands of shaggy lads armed with weapons of Korean War vintage.
An internal report on the occupation of Afghanistan, penned by an active-duty military officer and published weeks ago — but not released by the Pentagon — was leaked on Friday by Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, who called the 84-page examination “one of the most significant documents published by an active-duty officer in the past ten years.”
The document, written by Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, explains there has been a 12-year-long cover-up of the reality on the ground in Afghanistan. Davis was the source of a New York Times feature last Sunday, which cited his report but did not release it.
The Pentagon has since launched an investigation of Davis for possible security violations.
Davis reportedly wrote two versions — one classified and one not — and briefed four members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Senior Pentagon officials also have the report, but they’ve decided not to release it. For that reason, the unclassified report was published by Rolling Stone on Friday afternoon.
“As I will explain in the following pages I have personally observed or physically participated in programs for at least the last 15 years in which the Army’s senior leaders have either “stretched the truth” or knowingly deceived the US Congress and American public,” Davis explains in his introduction.
“What I witnessed in my most recently concluded 12 month deployment to Afghanistan has seen that deception reach an intolerable low. I will provide a very brief summary of the open source information that would allow any American citizen to verify these claims. But if the public had access to these classified reports they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes. It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue and thus I will not do so; I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II.”
He essentially concludes that America’s top generals should be placed under oath and questioned about incidents detailed in the report.
The report is available to read here (PDF).
“Why conservatives must adopt Ron Paul’s foreign policy”
Many Republicans love Ron Paul’s limited-government philosophy but have problems with his foreign policy. This is understandable given the state of today’s Republican Party. But what many Republicans probably don’t realize is that Paul’s foreign policy is part of his limited-government philosophy — and it’s a crucially important part. If the American right does not begin to at least consider Paul’s foreign policy, it will continue to forfeit any hope of advancing a substantive conservatism.
As the Founders understood well, it is hard-to-impossible to preserve limited government at home while maintaining big government abroad. History and experience tell us that one always begets the other. This certainly rings true as we spend trillions of dollars on domestic programs that we match with trillions more overseas.
The Founders’ talk of “entangling alliances” requiring “standing armies” was recognition of the inherent dangers of war — and especially permanent war. “Mr. Republican” Sen. Robert Taft would echo similar sentiments a century and a half later in his battles against New Deal liberals. President Dwight Eisenhower’s warning about the “military-industrial complex” reflected the same concerns within a 20th-century, post-WWII context.
Almost alone, Ron Paul today carries on this important Republican tradition. Like every other conservative, Paul believes that America must have a strong national defense — he simply believes we can no longer afford our current irrational offense.
Unfortunately, unlimited Pentagon spending remains the big government too many Republicans still love. During the Reagan era, when we were fighting a global superpower that possessed thousands of nuclear weapons, this made sense. It does not make sense anymore. Today, we are fighting individuals, or collections of individuals, with infinitely less military capabilities and no particular attachments to nation-states.
Ask yourself this: What, exactly, does having thousands of troops stationed in Afghanistan do to prevent some sick individual from trying to blow up his underwear on an airplane? Just as important, ask this: Does having thousands of troops in places like Afghanistan make it less likely — or more likely — that some sick individual will try to blow up his underwear on an airplane? Our own military and CIA intelligence tells us that our overseas wars actually encourage terrorist attacks.
A majority of the members of the U.S. military agree, or as a Pew Research Poll of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans published in October revealed: “About half (51 percent) of post-9/11 veterans say that the use of military force to fight terrorism creates hatred that breeds more terrorism.”
These are basic questions that Americans desperately need to ask. Ron Paul is asking them. The other candidates don’t even consider them questions.
Which brings us to conservatism’s fate. Want to know why Paul is the only GOP presidential candidate who has proposed substantive spending cuts — $1 trillion in the first year? It’s because only Paul addresses Pentagon spending, the largest portion of our budget after entitlements. What the Republican candidates who eschew Paul’s foreign policy are essentially saying is this: We support limited government in theory but in practice it’s simply too dangerous.
Paul continues to make the same argument that former Chairman of the Joints Chief of Staff Mike Mullen has made: that our debt is the greatest threat to our national security. Newt Gingrich, Mitt Romney and the other GOP candidates do not see our debt as a similar threat — if they did, they would be calling for bigger spending cuts.
Comment: After billions of dollars spent and thousands of lives lost, what have we gained? The arab world is a crazy place and our short-term gains are almost always neutralized by long-term costs. We give the country thousands of lives and billions of dollars only to have them turn on us.
The Obama administration should rethink its commitment to the fight in Afghanistan, according to American politicians furious with Afghan president Hamid Karzai for saying his country would back Pakistan in a war with the United States.
Anger over Mr Karzai’s remarks is likely to surface today when US secretary of state Hillary Clinton testifies before the house foreign affairs committee, her first congressional appearance since her trip last week to Afghanistan and Pakistan.
In an interview last weekend, Mr Karzai told a Pakistani TV station: “If fighting starts between Pakistan and the US, we are beside Pakistan. If Pakistan is attacked and the people of Pakistan need Afghanistan’s help, Afghanistan will be there with you.”
He said his government would not allow any nation, including the United States, to dictate its policies.
Those comments drew a sharp rebuke from members of US Congress, including some who have been strong supporters of the decade-plus war in Afghanistan.
Norm Dicks of Washington state, a senior Democrat, said: “Without the assistance of the United States, $468 billion from the United States Treasury and the supreme sacrifice of 1,820 American soldiers who have died during Operation Enduring Freedom, Afghanistan would still be ruled by a gang of Taliban thugs with few individual liberties and no popularly elected leaders.”
Mr Dicks said Mr Karzai’s comments underscore the need for the United States to reconsider its mission and schedule for withdrawing forces from Afghanistan.
The United States has about 98,000 troops in Afghanistan and plans to bring most forces home by 2015.
It intends to withdraw the 33,000 additional troops that president Barack Obama sent to Afghanistan in 2009 by the end of the “fighting season” in 2012, 10,000 of them by the end of this year. About 3,000 of those have already left.
Senator Joe Manchin said: “Now more than ever, president Karzai’s insult to America tells me that it’s time for our country to stop pouring our limited taxpayer dollars and losing precious American lives in a country where we aren’t even welcome – and even worse, where they have the gall to threaten to side against us.”
Republican representative Connie Mack said the US “needs to have a foreign policy – as [former US] president Bush said — you’re either with us or against us”.
American politicians have been critical of Pakistan, demanding it crack down on the Taliban-linked Haqqani network, considered a major threat to American forces.
Admiral Mike Mullen, the former joint chiefs of staff chairman, told Congress last month that the violent Haqqani network “acts as a veritable arm” of Pakistan’s intelligence agency.
While in Pakistan, Ms Clinton bluntly said that if the government in Islamabad is unwilling or unable to take the fight to al-Qaeda and the Haqqani network operating from its border with Afghanistan, the US “would show” it how to eliminate its safe havens.
Politicians are also expected to press Ms Clinton on the Obama administration’s recent decision to pull its ambassador out of Syria temporarily, the withdrawal of US combat troops from Iraq by year’s end, and the Palestinians’ push for statehood at the United Nations over objections from the US and Israel.
Yes, Ron Paul is patiently and powerfully steering the entire Republican party. Even former neo-con errand boys (sorry Beck, I forgive but don’t forget) are now bowing their heads to the wisdom of The Good Doctor.
Herman Cain gets dissed, Ron Paul praised—yippy.
What will the post-Afghanistan world look like? Will America’s reputation abroad be one of weakness or wisdom? Scheuer doesn’t give an easy answers, but at least he asks tough questions.
While Mrs. Clinton, General Petraeus, and Senator Kerry leak information to the media about “accelerating” peace talks with the Taleban, Mullah Omar and his lieutenants are thanking Allah for Islam’s clearly approaching victory in Afghanistan. The Clinton-Petraeus-Kerry disinformation now flowing is simply meant to prepare Americans for a U.S.-led surrender in Afghanistan. We are defeated there, and while Democrats and Republicans may tart up the retreat of the U.S.-NATO coalition as “mission accomplished,” the truth will be that the second superpower was defeated in Afghanistan by mujahedin armed only with faith and weaponry of Korean War vintage.
U.S. officials have told the media that they are talking to Taleban leaders about what “conditions” they want in exchange for joining a Karzai-led Afghan government. They ought to save their time. The Taleban and its allies today want what they have demanded since 12 September 2001: POWER. This is the non-negotiable demand of Mullah Omar, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, Jalaluddin Haqqani, and other Afghan insurgent leaders.
These men know that the Afghan war is a zero-sum game; they either win or they lose. They also know that there will be no post-NATO coalition arrangement that lasts any longer than the departure of the last Western bayonet. The Afghan leaders may give the U.S.-NATO coalition a decent interval to withdrawal — as they did the Red Army — but Karzai and any of his colleagues who stay behind will be tortured, carved up, and then hung from the same lampposts the Afghan communist leader Najibullah and his sidekicks were hung from in the 1990s after Moscow abandoned them.
Currently, the Taleban and its allies are on top of the world. The Obama administration, the British and French governments, and most of the other coalition countries are publicly discussing an accelerated withdrawal. Telling Mullah Omar and his colleagues that you are going to leave is — of course — music to the ears of men whose forte is patience, fatalism, and a killer instinct. And after all, what could be a more heady experience for Allah’s warriors than to hear the leaders of infidelity publicly admit they are licked and about to creep shamefully away, tails appropriately between legs.
While I agree that Bradley Manning’s actions have cast a bad light on much of American politics, added chaos to our diplomacy abroad (although sometimes “American diplomacy” can be used as an oxymoron) and potentially put many lives at risk; his treatment, torture and abuse at American hands is absurd and does little more than satisfy the sadistic tendencies of the individuals inflicting the damage on him.
Last Friday, P.J. Crowley condemned our “enhanced interrogation techniques” and said that the conditions of Pvt. Manning are “ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid.”
CNN reported that he had “abruptly resigned” under “pressure from White House officials because of controversial comments he made last week about the Bradley Manning case.”
Again, Obama’s big shiny smile, smooth dancing and Shakespearean teleprompter skills rest above a cold, forceful and authoritarian outlook on the role of government, the rule of law and the belief in force and power.
Salon’s report continues with the details of Pvt. Manning’s detention: “23-hour-a-day solitary confinement, barring him from exercising in his cell, punitively imposing “suicide watch” restrictions on him against the recommendations of brig psychiatrists, and subjecting him to prolonged, forced nudity designed to humiliate and degrade.”
1) Democrats railed against President Bush after punishing Gen. Eric Shinseki for his critique of Rumsfeld.
2) The same vacuums of introspection went after Bush again when he fired Lawrence Lindsey, one of his economic advisors after his Iraq War cost estimate totaled $100B–much higher than the advertised $50-60B–and still drastically less than $2.4 trillion that Iraq and Afghanistan have combined to cost.
The beacon of honesty, integrity and consistency President Obama himself uttered the immortal words: “I don’t want to have people who just agree with me. I want people who are continually pushing me out of my comfort zone.”
We know Mr. President, we know…
Smart? Stupid? Corrupt? For a guy who’s supposed to be the most educated, most detailed and rocksteady economics brain on the planet he’s got one sour track record!
Our school system promotes laziness via tenure grants after just a few years of work. If I knew I couldn’t get fired after a few years of moderately hard work I’d do exactly what most teachers do. Check the vid for more union busting, liberal nausea-inducing, freedom-loving JUDGE and the libertarian film-maker of “The Cartel,” an expose into the corrupt world of education.
Speaking of poor school systems! This poor ignoramus thinks that guam is a floating island that will “tip over” if we put too many troops on it. Wow…
This is a clip from the very provocative documentary “America: Freedom to Fascism,” an amazing film! If half of it is true, we have a lot of work to do to get this country straight. But at least we know what to do!!!
Great song and video!
God bless Egypt. A tough video to watch. This is the cost and prize of revolution.
Frontline experience details rampant corruption in Afghanistani government, police and military–more reasons why foreign interventions DON’T WORK! Why did your Mom always tell you not to spit into the wind? BLOWBACK!!!