If the past decade plus didn’t answer that question, after 9/11, as well as the one about our ‘freedoms’, because you didn’t pay attention to what’s done in your names over the decades, maybe these very recent news reports will jog that overwhelming arrogance and total apathy embedded in the minds of this country.
Mar 21 2011
Nov 10 2010
This just came up on McClatchy. Because of the outcome of the November 2, 2010 election, with the new Republican House majority, there is now less pressure on President Obama to stick to his earlier pledge of beginning a troop withdrawal timeline of July 2011 in Afghanistan. This December was supposed to be the month for the big “review” of the ongoing military operations (and the Pentagon budget was supposed to be passed before the pre election campaign break and the lame duck session, and that didn’t happen, either) and now it will be a smaller review – ‘with no major changes in strategy.” Other than those American troop withdrawals will be delayed at least until 2014. Remember when a few weeks ago the military said the Afghan transitional stuff was going better than expected? Wrong narrative when you’re on the international arms sales circuit.
NATO’s spent 19.4 billion on “training” Afghans in the past 7 years. What is the current message for the NATO meeting on Nov 18 in Lisbon ? send more trainers. “No trainers, no transition.”
The only thing McClatchy didn’t mention was that the Taliban and assorted terrorists and homegrown guerrilla combatants traditionally take the winter off in Afghanistan.
And of course, they’re trying to blame Pakistan. You could see this coming a mile down the road. Why would Pakistan wish to interrupt the gravy train of having a foreign country “fighting” your pesky terrorists and selling intelligence to it ? The earlier 2011 date, claims a Pentagon advisor in the story, had Pakistan trying to negotiate a “political settlement instead of military action.”
“This administration now understands that it cannot shift Pakistani approaches to safeguarding its interests in Afghanistan with this date being perceived as a walk-away date,” the adviser said.
And of course, everyone was speaking anonymously. There is now no timeline, nor will Gen. David Petraeus being doing one of his publicity tours, er, testimonies before Congress in December, the way he was all last spring and summer before the latest Afghanistan/Pakistan offensive.
Whoops. Did I say Pakistan.
Sep 27 2010
Here in Arghandab, the inflow of troops has made it possible to begin trying to pacify an area where thick vegetation, irrigation canals and pomegranate orchards provide good cover for Taliban insurgents, according to Col. Joe Krebs, the 2nd Brigade Combat team’s deputy commander.
No sooner had the 1st Battalion of the 22nd Armored Regiment of the United States Army arrived here than five of its soldiers were killed, in a roadside bomb directed at their convoy. The dead included the first army chaplain to be killed in active duty during the Afghan conflict.
While no official casualty totals have been released for the recent operations in the Kandahar districts, a count by iCasualties.org, which tracks coalition deaths, showed 14 American fatalities in Kandahar between Aug. 30 and Sept. 23, the latest date for which details are available. At least six of them were in Arghandab and two in Zhari district. That compares to 10 American personnel lost during that same period in Helmand Province, where the United States Marines have been struggling to suppress the Taliban in and around Marja, scene of the year’s first major offensive, Operation Mustarak, which began Feb. 14.
I couldn’t live with myself if my companies were doing damage to the planet.
– Linda Resnick
Jul 29 2010
This past weekend July 25, saw 3 major on line news publications, the New York Times , The Guardian UK, and Germany’s der Speigel publish the Afghanistan War Logs, 90,000+ documents from wikileaks, which show that the United States and NATO forces have been killing many more civilians in the Afghanistan occupation than has been previously acknowledged. The war of the air vs the ground explosives has also ramped up in neighboring Pakistan, where, since January 2009, according to the BBC, nearly 2,500 people have been killed by either American drone attacks or by Islamic or Pakistani ISI forces- and “extremists” have killed more than 1,700 in Pakistan. There have been more than 2000 Afghan casualties from roadside bombs. Adding up all the numbers and then some, there’s at least 7,000 dead from the war in this border region.
Using a theory I read about elsewhere, if each one of these deceased casualties has at least 6 surviving relatives, parents, siblings, and/or offspring, the United States has just created, with the aid of whatever factions they’re paying in Pakistan, at least 36,000 more angry people whose religious warrior culture teaches them that it’s okay to extract revenge upon the invading enemy.
Jul 26 2010
The Guardian UK, a British publication, says that they asked to see the 90,000+ wikileaks documents of whistleblower Julian Assange on the Afghanistan War, and has created its own stories on them, and has not paid for this. They say they’ve “crawled through it so you can make sense of it,” which means that they must have had it for a while.
As the U.S. Senate strips out $20 billion of domestic funding resources that would have paid for schools, teachers, and college students, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/…
A spokesman for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., wouldn’t comment on whether the House will simply approve the Senate measure and send it on to Obama for his signature.
But the pressure to do so is intense, especially after Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned lawmakers this week that unless the measure is enacted into law before Congress leaves for its August recess, the Pentagon could have to furlough thousands of employees.
…. out of yet another war “supplemental” bill above the regular military funding, and is poised to influx another massive amount of deficit cash into yet another surge into a country we’ve now occupied for 9 years, the timing could not be better.
Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: “These files bring to light what’s been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I’ve investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.
Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way the US and Nato do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians.” The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.
Most of the material, though classified “secret” at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets.
The Guardian’s war logs homepage of links is here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/worl…
Apr 18 2010
An opinion survey of Afghanistan’s Kandahar province funded by the U.S. Army has revealed that 94 percent of respondents support negotiating with the Taliban over military confrontation with the insurgent group and 85 percent regard the Taliban as “our Afghan brothers”.
The survey, conducted by a private U.S. contractor last December, covered Kandahar City and other districts in the province into which Gen. Stanley A. McChrystal is planning to introduce more troops in the biggest operation of the entire war.
“Our Afghan brothers!”
This is the end of the line for the United States in Afghanistan, and if anyone was waiting for handwriting on the wall to announce it, there it is.
Mar 27 2010
Peter Arnett’s report from the town of Ben Tre in Vietnam ran under the innocuous headline “Major Describes Move” in the New York Times on February 8, 1968.
“It became necessary to destroy the town to save it,” a United States major said today. He was talking about the decision by allied commanders to bomb and shell the town regardless of civilian casualties, to rout the Vietcong.
40 years later, in August 2008, the Third Armored Cavalry burned down a village near Balad Ruz, in Diyala, Iraq, “in order to deny safe haven to possible terrorists.”
In March, 2010, the beneficent US Occupation of Afghanistan likewise “saved” the town of Marjah.
And now Barack Obama and Stanley McChrystal are planning the same kind of party for Kandahar!
“The first thing Afghans fear is the coming of more foreign troops, and the second thing they fear is the empowering of the current leadership and administration,” said Shahabuddin Akhunzada, a tribal elder from Kandahar city.
“The Americans, the international community, all the military forces have lost the people’s trust,” he added.
But for the next few weeks or months, until the Americans arrive…
Kandahar is still a living city.