Archive for War on Afghanistan

Congress Set to Waste 57 Percent of Our Taxes

Congress will debate and vote on a bill — the so-called “Defense Appropriations Act” — that will make us less safe by dumping over $600 billion into preparations for war.  Combined with military spending in other departments, this is 57% of all federal discretionary spending.

Included in the bill is $88 billion for continued war right now in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Pretending those wars are over doesn’t stop the flow of funds — which are needed for such domestic human needs as education, healthcare, and clean energy.

Moving our representatives toward decent spending priorities is a long-term project.  But should they pass this bill, we can at least force them to begin some military cuts.  We can insist that they keep the bipartisan ban on military sponsorships of NASCAR and other sporting events — and vote for budget-cutting amendments being proposed by Rep. Barbara Lee.

You’ll remember that Barbara Lee was the only member of Congress who voted against the Sept 14, 2001, blank check to George Bush for endless military adventure known as the “2001 Authorization to Use Military Force.”

Please forward to everyone you know this recent comment from Rep. John Lewis, the legendary civil rights activist:

“War is obsolete. It cannot be used as a tool of our foreign policy. It’s barbaric. … If I had to do it all over again, I would have voted with Barbara Lee. It was raw courage on her part. So, because of that, I don’t vote for funding for war. I vote against preparation for the military. I will never again go down that road.”

Tell your Representative to support good amendments but reject the full bill.

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U.S. Troops Murdered in Drone Attack

(David S. Cloud and David Zucchino, Los Angeles Times, November 5, 2011)
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On the evening of April 5, a pilot settled into a leather captain’s chair at Creech Air Force Base in southern Nevada and took the controls of a Predator drone flying over one of the most violent areas of southwestern Afghanistan. Minutes later, his radio crackled. . . . A firefight had broken out. Taliban insurgents had ambushed about two dozen Marines patrolling a bitterly contested road. . . . “Hey now, wait. Standby on these,” the pilot cautioned. “They could be animals in the field.” Seconds later, tiny white flashes appeared by the figures — the heat signature of gunfire. “There they are,” he said, now sure he was looking at the enemy. . . . At an Air National Guard base in Terre Haute, Ind., an intelligence analyst whose job it was to monitor the video to help prevent mistakes on the mission also observed the muzzle flashes — but noticed that they were firing away from the embattled Marines. . . . Marines at Patrol Base Alcatraz, 12 miles from the firefight, watched their screens too, as they kept in contact with both the drone crew and the platoon members, who had set out from the base just an hour earlier. It would be their decision whether to call in a missile strike. . . . Thirty-one seconds after the pilot reported muzzle flashes, the Marines at Alcatraz ordered that the Predator be prepared to strike if the shooters could be confirmed as hostile. At 8:49 a.m., 29 minutes after the ambush began, they authorized the pilot to fire. . . . In minutes, two Americans would be dead. . . . » Continue reading “U.S. Troops Murdered in Drone Attack”

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Did Obama lie or just change his mind?

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US military build-up in Kandahar will bolster Taliban, warns security monitor

(Jon Boone, The Guardian, 18 July 2010)
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The US military build-up in Kandahar is likely to further strengthen the hold of the Taliban over the vital southern Afghanistan city, a highly respected security organisation said today in a bleak report warning of record Taliban violence and rising civilian deaths across the country. . . . The report by the Afghanistan NGO Security Office, which monitors trends in violence on behalf of aid organisations, said Nato‘s counter-insurgency strategy was not showing any signs of succeeding amid rising violence, the unchecked establishment of local militias and a huge increase in attacks on private development workers across the country. . . . It revealed that June marked a record for Taliban attacks – up 51% on the previous year to 1,319 operations. » Continue reading “US military build-up in Kandahar will bolster Taliban, warns security monitor”

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The U.S. is Trapped in Afghanistan

(Joshua Holland, AlterNet, June 30, 2010)
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The United States is stalled in a hopeless conflict in Afghanistan in large part because its foreign policy establishment, aided by an often-vacuous media, has come to believe its own spin about General David Petraeus’ “success” turning around the occupation in Iraq. The fact that Iraq remains a shattered country with an active insurgency seven years after the United States invaded . . . That the Iraq surge was a success is almost a universally held belief, despite ample evidence to the contrary. That belief lends unearned weight to Petraeus’ counter-insurgency doctrine, known as COIN. . . .  » Continue reading “The U.S. is Trapped in Afghanistan”

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Experts Admit: America’s War on Afghanistan War is Futile

(Gareth Porter, IPS News, June 13, 2010)
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On Thursday, McChrystal’s message that his strategy will weaken the Taliban in its heartland took its worst beating thus far, when he admitted that the planned offensive in Kandahar City and surrounding districts is being delayed until September at the earliest, because it does not have the support of the Kandahar population and leadership. . . . Equally damaging to the credibility of McChrystal’s strategy was the Washington Post report published Thursday documenting in depth the failure of February’s offensive in Marja. . . . The basic theme underlined in both stories – that the Afghan population in the Taliban heartland is not cooperating with U.S. and NATO forces – is likely to be repeated over and over again in media coverage in the coming months. . » Continue reading “Experts Admit: America’s War on Afghanistan War is Futile”

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What Have we Bought for $1 Trillion?

(Rep. Jan Schakowsky, Congresswoman from Illinois, May 28, 2010)
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This month, we mark the seventh anniversary of President Bush’s declaration of “mission accomplished” in Iraq, yet five American soldiers have been killed there in May alone. Iraqis went to the polls nearly three months ago, but the political system remains so fractured that no party has been able to piece together a coalition. There are some indications that sectarian violence is again on the rise. . . . The only clear winner of the Iraq war is Iran. Their mortal enemy, Saddam Hussein, was taken out and fellow Shiites are in charge. Iran has been emboldened to the point of threatening the stability of the region and the world with its growing nuclear capability. . . . And then there’s Afghanistan, which, after nearly a decade of war, represents the longest continuous U.S. military engagement ever. Even the non-partisan Congressional Research Service recently declared the situation in Afghanistan as a “deteriorating security situation and no comprehensive political outcome yet in sight.” And the U.S. military just suffered its 1,000th casualty in Afghanistan on Friday. . . . So the real question is: What have we bought for $1 trillion? Are we safer?

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US Troops Carrying Out ‘Battlefield Executions’ In Afghanistan

(Huffington Post, 05-13-10)
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Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh says that US forces in Afghanistan are carrying out what he referred to as “battlefield executions” of prisoners. . . . “One of the great tragedies of my country is that Mr. Obama is looking the other way, because equally horrible things are happening to prisoners, to those we capture in Afghanistan,” Hersh said . . » Continue reading “US Troops Carrying Out ‘Battlefield Executions’ In Afghanistan”

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Pentagon Doubts Grow On McChrystal War Plan

(Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, May 10, 2010)
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Although Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal’s plan for wresting the Afghan provinces of Helmand and Kandahar from the Taliban is still in its early stages of implementation, there are already signs that setbacks and obstacles it has encountered have raised serious doubts among top military officials in Washington about whether the plan is going to work. . . . Scepticism about McChrystal’s ambitious aims was implicit in the way the Pentagon report on the war issued Apr. 26 assessed the progress of the campaign in Marja. Now, it has been given even more pointed expression by an unnamed “senior military official” quoted in a column in the Washington Post Sunday by David Ignatius. . . . The senior military officer criticised McChrystal’s announcement in February that he had “a government in a box, ready to roll in” for the Marja campaign, for having created “an expectation of rapidity and efficiency that doesn’t exist now”, according to Ignatius. . . . The same military official is also quoted as pointing out that parts of Helmand that were supposed to have been cleared by the offensive in February and March are in fact still under Taliban control and that Afghan government performance in the wake of the offensive had been disappointing, according to Ignatius. . . . The outlook at the Pentagon and the White House on the nascent Kandahar offensive is also pessimistic . . . The key finding is that the Taliban have “reinfiltrated the cleared areas” of Helmand and “dissuaded locals from meeting with the Afghan government” by executing some who had initially collaborated. . . . The overall negative tone of the analysis of what happened in Helmand appears to reflect a decision by Pentagon officials to withhold its vote of confidence in the McChrystal war plan. . . . McChrystal’s staff has made no secret of their hope to convince the U.S. public that his strategy is making such progress in Helmand and Kandahar that it should be extended past mid-2011, when President Obama has said he would begin a U.S. military withdrawal and transition to Afghan responsibility for security. . . . After interviewing members of McChrystal’s team in Kabul, pro-war journalist Robert Kaplan wrote in the April issue of Atlantic magazine, “The very prospect of some success by July 2011 increases the likelihood that U.S. forces will be in Afghanistan in substantial numbers for years.”

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General McChrystal Admits U.S. War Crimes

(Rory O’Connor, MediaChannel.org, March 31, 2010,)
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“We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” –General Stanley A. McChrystal

An astonishing open admission of possible US war crimes by Obama’s man on the ground in Kabul, senior American and NATO commander in Afghanistan General Stanley A. McChrystal, was reported by Richard A. Oppel Jr. in the New York Times… and then promptly ignored by the rest of the mainstream media. . . . “We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat,” McChrystal said during a recent video-conference to answer questions from troops in the field about civilian casualties. . . . According to the military’s own figures, American and NATO troops firing from passing convoys and military checkpoints have killed 30 Afghans and wounded 80 others since last summer, but as McChrystal noted, none of the victims proved to be a danger to the troops. . . . As noted by blogger Allison Kilkenny – one media observer who wrote about McChystal’s statement — what the general admitted to may be a war crime: “Military brass and the warmongering elite usually skirt war crimes accusations by saying the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations aren’t conventional warfare. That is to say, the US is not at war with an official army, so anyone picked up on the battlefield (which is the entire world in the War on Terror) isn’t a POW. They’re an enemy combatant who does not have access to the protections afforded to enemy soldiers under the Geneva Convention. . . . This is a tricky way to circumvent accountability, but even this clever interpretation of international law can’t cover the stink of McChrystal’s admission. The US is occupying Afghanistan, and while there, they are killing innocent civilians, says the highest ranking military official in the country.

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