Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]

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Offline Dig

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For peple who think that war overseas has no affect on war at home, look at the people/organizations that control both.

Part IV and V of this explains the elites' FALSE FLAG PLANS!

The author is mentioning it for predictive program conditioning, BUT HOW DOES HE KNOW?

The author acts like this is just a normal and natural phenomenon.

There is nothing normal and natural about terrorism, it is planned, calculated, and controlled by the masters of war!

TYhis is the first article I have seen that tries to blame a "natural environment" using so much truth in the first half to explain who we should be blaming before a hypothetical attack happens.

There is no doubt that this is a target, but by whom? Who would gain by such an action?

GOLDMAN SACHS

FEDERAL RESERVE

QUEEN ELIZABETH II

QUEEN BEATRIX

ROCKEFELLER

ROTHSCHILD



Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down
http://pubrecord.org/special-to-the-public-record/6171/af-pak-racket-obama-illusion-comes/
By David DeGraw
The Public Record
Dec 3rd, 2009


I. Troop Deployments
II. The Militarized Economy
III. Masters of War
IV. Psyops: Wag the Dog and Shake the Mohammed
V. U.S. Insurgency: Violent, Strategic Dislocation Within U.S.



The economic elite have escalated their attack on the U.S. public by surging military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

As Obama announced plans for escalating the war effort, it has become clear that the Obama Illusion has taken yet another horrifying turn. Before explaining how the Af-Pak surge is a direct attack on the US public, let’s peer through the illusion and look at the reality of the situation.

Now that the much despised George W. Bush is out of the way and a more popular figurehead is doing PR for Dick Cheney’s right-hand military leader Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is leading his second AF-Pak surge now, and with long time Bush family confidant Robert Gates still running the Defense Department, the masters of war have never had it so good.

Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate, has proven to be a perfect decoy for the military industrial complex. Consider all the opposition and bad press Bush received when he announced the surge in Iraq.

Then consider this:


I: TROOP DEPLOYMENTS

The Bush surge in Iraq deployed an extra 28,000 US troops. Under Obama, back in March, a surge in Afghanistan, that also further escalated operations inside Pakistan, deployed an extra 21,000 troops. However, in an unannounced and underreported move, Obama added 13,000 more troops to that surge to bring the total to 34,000 troops. Obama actually outdid Bush’s surge by 6000 troops and brought the overall number of US troops in Afghanistan to 68,000, double the number there when Bush left office.

Where opposition was fierce to Bush’s surge, barely any opposition was expressed during Obama’s surge. Part of the reason for so little political and public backlash was the cleverly orchestrated psychological operation to announce the beginning of US troop withdrawal from Iraq. While the drawdown in Iraq has been greatly exaggerated in the US mainstream media, as of October, Obama still had 124,000 troops deployed in Iraq (not counting private military contractors).

When Obama casts the illusion of a 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan, one just needs look at the reality of the situation with the over-hyped withdrawal in Iraq.

Now, with Obama’s latest surge announcement he will again be adding a minimum of another 30,000 US soldiers. This means that Obama has now led a bigger surge than Bush… on two separate occasions within the past nine months of his new administration.

Obama has now escalated deployments in the Af-Pak region to 98,000 US troops. So in Af-Pak and Iraq, he will now have a total of 222,000 US troops deployed, 36,000 more than Bush ever had – 186,000 was Bush’s highest total.

PRIVATE MILITARY AND NATO DEPLOYMENTS

The amount of private military contractors deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan is rarely reported on in the US mainstream press, but a Congressional Research Service investigation into this revealed that a record high 69% active duty soldiers are in fact private mercenaries.

Although the administration is yet to disclose how many private mercenaries will be deployed in the latest surge, it is believed that the 69% ratio will remain in tact.

The Pentagon released a report showing that Obama already had a total of 242,657 private contractors in action, as of June 30th. 119,706 of them in Iraq, 73,968 in Afghanistan, with 50,061 active in “other US CENTCOM locations.”

Back in June, Jeremy Scahill reported on these findings: “According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of ‘Private Security Contractors’ working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan….”

Plus, we must mention, the immense dangers of having private military contractors as 69% of our fighting force. For those of you unaware, private military contractors are hired from all over the world. Any former soldier, from any country, is welcome to come and fight for a salary – a salary that is often significantly more than what we pay our own US soldiers.

These mercenaries have a vested interest in prolonging the war, for as long as there is a war, they have a well paying job. So it is easy to infer that a significant percentage of these contractors will not have the US soldiers, or US taxpayers, best interests at heart.

Obama continues to feed this out of control private army by pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into shady and scandalous companies like Blackwater, who recently changed their name to Xe Services, because they destroyed their reputation by committing numerous war crimes in Iraq. A recent investigation by Jeremy Scahill revealed the extent to which Blackwater is involved in covert operations inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. In some cases, Blackwater is not working for the US, but were hired by covert elements inside Pakistan. When it comes to private contractors, the fog of war grows ominous, exactly who is fighting for whom is unclear. The crucial factor is who paid them the most that particular day.

The US military can give them $1000 today, and an enemy can give them $1000 tomorrow, when you have people who fight for a payday and not for a country, you get chaos. This leads to a breakdown in the chain of command, effectively turning a military operation into a covert intelligence operation, where you’re never really sure if the person you are fighting with is on your side or not.

A federal investigation by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, revealed in June: “More than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Contractor employees outnumber U.S. troops in the region. While contractors provide vital services, the Commission believes their use has also entailed billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse due to inadequate planning, poor contract drafting, limited competition, understaffed oversight functions, and other problems.”

Before this latest surge, there were over 123,000 US and NATO troops in the Af-Pak region, and 200,000 Afghan security forces, supporting the US effort. According to US intelligence sources the total number of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the region was estimated to only be about 25,000, giving the US led forces a minimum of a 12 to 1 troop advantage.

When you add in estimated private soldiers, you get an approximate minimum of a 17 to 1 advantage.

Although Obama opened his war speech by mentioning al-Qaida as the main justification for this war, consider this AP report: “national security adviser James Jones said last weekend that the al-Qaida presence has diminished, and he does not ‘foresee the return of the Taliban’ to power. He said that according to the maximum estimate, al-Qaida has fewer than 100 fighters operating in Afghanistan without any bases or ability to launch attacks on the West.”

Does it seriously take a surge of hundreds of thousands of troops to contain what amounts to “less than 100″ al-Qaida members?

Any serious war strategist will tell you that the most effective way to combat the remains of the al-Qaida network, is through an intelligence operation, and statistics prove that escalating more troops into the region will only fuel further acts of terrorism.

DRONE DEPLOYMENTS

Speaking of fueling hatred toward the US, other than a huge troop increase, there has also been a sharp increase in the use of unmanned drones. The New Yorker reports: “According to a just completed study by the New America Foundation, the number of drone strikes has risen dramatically since Obama became President. During his first nine and a half months in office, he has authorized as many C.I.A. aerial attacks in Pakistan as George W. Bush did in his final three years in office.”

The unmanned drones have caused major controversy due to the high number of civilian causalities they cause. However, as the study stated, the Obama Administration continues to increasingly rely upon them.

So summing up these statistics, we have the most fierce and technologically advanced military force in history, vastly outnumbering what amounts to be a ragtag army of peasant farmers with guns, and our best option is supposed to be an increase in troop levels?

Obviously, something doesn’t add up.

After thinking about all of this, you begin to see through the smokescreen of what this war is said to be about and get a glimpse of some of the sinister forces at play here.

OVER EXTENDED TROOPS

With the rise in deployments, the US military is stretched to a breaking point. Obama is “deploying practically every available US Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve.”

As this war enters its 9th year, many soldiers are forced into deploying on their 3rd or 4th combat tours, and morale is fading fast.

The past year has seen a dramatic increase in US soldier deaths, with the number of wounded drastically rising as well. 928 US soldiers have died in Afghanistan thus far, with last month being the deadliest month since the start.

AP reports that “nearly four times as many troops were injured in October as a year ago. Amputations, burns, brain injuries and shrapnel wounds proliferate in Afghanistan, due mostly to crude, increasingly potent improvised bombs targeting U.S. forces…. Since 2007, more than 70,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury — more than 20,000 of them this year…”

US soldier suicides are also on the rise. In 2008, 197 army soldiers committed suicide. Thus far in 2009, there have been 211 army suicides.

McClatchy recently reported: “An Army task force has found that a growing number of soldiers serving in Afghanistan are suffering from some kind of mental stress and is urging the military to double the number of mental health professionals deployed there. The study, conducted by the Army Mental Health Advisory Team, found that soldiers’ morale in Afghanistan is ’significantly lower’ than it was in 2005 and 2007 studies…”

As wounded soldiers return from Afghanistan and Iraq, they are finding a healthcare system that is increasingly more difficult and costly to get care from. In fact, 2,266 US veterans died in 2008 due to lack of healthcare, and “researchers also found that, in 2008, 1,461,615 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 lacked insurance.”

Despite all of this, in another devastating example of how the economy is unraveling US society, military enlistment levels have reached a high. In a report by the Washington Post headlined: “A Historic Success In Military Recruiting” they reveal:

“For the first time in more than 35 years, the U.S. military has met all of its annual recruiting goals, as hundreds of thousands of young people have enlisted despite the near-certainty that they will go to war.

The Pentagon… said the economic downturn and rising joblessness, as well as bonuses and other factors, had led more qualified youths to enlist. The military has not seen such across-the-board successes since the all-volunteer force was established.…

‘We delivered beyond anything the framers of the all-volunteer force would have anticipated,’ Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said at a Pentagon news conference.

Overall, the Defense Department brought in 168,900 active-duty troops, or 103 percent of the goal for the fiscal year….”

What we are witnessing here with such high enlistment levels during this economic crisis has many parallels to Germany in the 1930’s. Just like the United States now, the German economy in the 1930’s was devastated by an economic crisis brought on by Wall Street. With rising unemployment and poverty, German men turned to the military for income and health benefits that their family severely needed. With over 25 million US citizens unemployed and underemployed, over 50 million with no healthcare, and over 50 million living in poverty, military service is now a last resort for a growing number of desperate Americans as well. The record-breaking enlistment numbers are expected to continue to rise as the economy continues to decline.

“Such a perfect democracy constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to be judged by its enemies rather than by its results.”
– Guy DeBord, Comments On the Society of the Spectacle, 1988



II: THE MILITARIZED ECONOMY

The amount of money necessary to keep the US military machine growing has reached astonishing levels. Considering the increasing amount of troops and contractors, the White House estimates that it spends one million dollars per soldier, per year in Afghanistan, “not including the added expense of training and maintaining a security force.”

According to these calculations, 30,000 troops for this latest surge will add an additional $30 billion to the annual budget, just in troop related costs. Also consider the price of moving fuel around, AFP reports: “Moving soldiers and supplies across the rugged Afghan landscape costs more than in Iraq, with the military consuming 83 liters or 22 gallons of fuel per soldier per day.” The Hill adds: “Pentagon officials have told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee a gallon of fuel costs the military about $400 by the time it arrives in the remote locations in Afghanistan where U.S. troops operate.”

Other than in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have an unprecedented number of military bases spread throughout the world. Officially there are “900 military facilities in 46 countries and territories (the unofficial figure is far greater). The US military owns or rents 795,000 acres of land, with 26,000 buildings and structures, valued at $146bn. The bases bristle with an inventory of weapons whose worth is measured in the trillions and whose killing power could wipe out all life on earth several times over. The official figures exclude the huge build-up of troops and structures in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, as well as secret or unacknowledged facilities in Israel, Kuwait, the Philippines and many other places. In just three years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, £2bn was spent on military construction.”

There was public outcry when Bush drastically raised an already bloated military budget to record highs. But in comes the admired anti-war candidate Obama, in the middle of a severe economic crisis, and what happens? Obama drastically increased Bush’s record budget to $651 billion in 2009. Yes, during a severe economic crisis, Obama actually increased Bush’s budget. US military spending is higher than the rest of the world combined. The 2010 budget, which doesn’t account for war-related spending yet, is already set to grow to $680 billion.

However, these budget numbers are deceiving because the Obama Administration has been getting better at hiding extra spending in other budget items. The actual total 2009 budget was over $1 trillion.

And much like the staggering giveaway to the economic elite in the Wall Street banker bailout, no one is really sure where a significant percentage of this money is actually going. On September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld announced that $2.3 trillion in military spending was unaccounted for. As CBS News reported: “$2.3 trillion – that’s $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America.”

At that time, Pentagon auditors admitted that they couldn’t account for a staggering 25% of all military spending. And the budget has exploded since then, with fewer people accounting for where this money is going.

Once again, just like the $23.7 trillion that went into propping up the Wall Street elite – which totals $80,000 for every American – you have trillions more in taxpayer money vanishing and very few regulating and accounting for it.

Other than this staggering loss of taxpayer money, any serious economist will tell you “that military spending increases unemployment and decreases economic growth.”

Economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, in their book “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” report that military spending on the war in Iraq has created over a trillion dollars in loses to the US economy.

On top of all the looting of taxpayer money that is occurring, “several powerful House committee chairmen have proposed a surtax on Americans to pay the future military costs.”

With the country already operating at a record $12 trillion deficit, members of congress don’t know how we can afford increasing an already huge war expenditure.

WEAPONS SALES

In this struggling economy, weapon sales have become one of America’s most booming businesses. US weapon sales have hit a record level under the Obama administration. Foreign Policy In Focus reports:

“In fiscal year 2008, the foreign military sales program sold $36 billion in weapons and defense articles, an increase of more than 50% over 2007. Sales for the first half of 2009 reached $27 billion, and could top out at $40 billion by the end of the year. In contrast, through the early 2000s, arms sales averaged between $8-13 billion per year….

But last year, the United States sold arms or military services to well over 100 nations….

… the majority of U.S. arms sales to the developing world went to countries that our own State Department defined as undemocratic regimes and/or major human rights abusers. And over two-thirds of the world’s active conflicts involved weapons that had been supplied by the United States.”

Selling all these weapons, especially during the biggest global financial crisis, will lead to one thing… terrorism.

Given these statistics, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear how US taxpayer dollars are still funding the Taliban. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban government was funded by the US taxpayer. In fact, the Taliban still receives a significant portion of their funding courtesy of the US taxpayer. As The Nation recently reported: “It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. ‘It’s a big part of their income,’ one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents.”

As former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.”

With the war in Afghanistan now entering it’s 9th year, senior military commanders and a growing number of experts have come to the conclusion that this war is unwinnable and will fuel terrorism.

However, they all seem to be missing the point, before explaining this in more detail, let me start by referring you to a quote from a journalist who had firsthand experience operating inside a militaristic empire:

“The war is not supposed to be winnable, it is supposed to be continuous… all for the hierarchy of society… The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent… it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War… is now a purely internal affair.” — George Orwell



III: MASTERS OF WAR

“Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know,
I can see through your mask…”

Many of the weapons manufactures and private military contractors are seen as the primary war profiteers. For an example of grotesque war profiteering, let’s look at Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton. In a report headlined: “U.S. War Privatization Results in Billions Lost in Fraud, Waste and Abuse,” Jeremy Scahill reports on KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary.

“KBR has been paid nearly $32 billion since 2001. In May, April Stephenson, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, testified that KBR was linked to ‘the vast majority’ of war-zone fraud cases and a majority of the $13 billion in ‘questioned’ or ‘unsupported’ costs. According to Agency, it sent the inspector general ‘a total of 32 cases of suspected overbilling, bribery and other violations since 2004.

According to the Associated Press, which obtained an early copy of the commission’s report, ‘billions of dollars’ of the total paid to KBR ‘ended up wasted due to poorly defined work orders, inadequate oversight and contractor inefficiencies.’

KBR is at the center of a lethal scandal involving the electrocution deaths of more than a dozen US soldiers, allegedly as a result of faulty electrical work done by the company. The DoD paid KBR more than $80 million in bonuses for the very work that resulted in the electrocution deaths.”

With numerous scandals over KBR operations, Halliburton ended it’s relationship with the company. However, “Halliburton reported $4 billion in operating profits in 2008, while KBR recently said its first quarter revenues in 2009 were up 27%, for a total of $3.2 billion. Its sales in 2008 were up 33%, and according to the Financial Times, the company had $1 billion in cash, no debt, and was looking for acquisitions.”

Beyond these blatant examples of war profiteering, there are more insidious forces at play that most people don’t see. These war profiteering companies are funded by the same banks that have destroyed the US economy.

Consider this example concerning Alliant Techsystems and Textron, two manufactures of cluster bombs, the controversial civilian killing WMDs. The Guardian reported:

“The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world’s biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them…

Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made £3.19bn profit in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to Alliant Techsystems and Textron…

Last December 90 countries, including the UK, committed themselves to banning cluster bombs by next year. But the US was not one of them. So far 23 countries have ratified the convention.”

Before going into further detail on how these banks make a lion’s share of war profits, let’s look back at the origins of these wars.

GEO-STRATEGIC OIL OPERATIONS

With all due respect to people who have been force-fed Pentagon propaganda by the US mainstream media, any serious observer of the Iraq and Af-Pak wars knows that these are geo-strategic conflicts based on controlling the world’s oil supply. Anyone in the “news” media who tells you otherwise is either unaware of what is actually going on, or is a well-paid propagandist working for the very people who profit off of them.

ORIGINS OF THE IRAQ OCCUPATION: CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE

As an AlterNet report put it: “In January 2000, 10 days into President George W. Bush’s first term, representatives of the largest oil and energy companies joined the new administration to form the Cheney Energy Task Force.”

Secret Task Force documents that were dated March 2001, which were obtained by Judical Watch in 2003 after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, contained “a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects…” They also had:

“… a series of lists titled ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts‘ naming more than 60 companies from some 30 countries with contracts in various stages of negotiation.

None of contracts were with American nor major British companies, and none could take effect while the U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iraq remained in place. Three countries held the largest contracts: China, Russia and France — all members of the Security Council and all in a position to advocate for the end of sanctions.

Were Saddam to remain in power and the sanctions to be removed, these contracts would take effect, and the U.S. and its closest ally would be shut out of Iraq’s great oil bonanza.”

Project Censored highlighted a Judicial Watch report that stated: “Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September 11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, ‘These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public.’”

ORIGINS OF THE AFGHANISTAN OCCUPATION: “STRATEGY OF THE SILK ROUTE”

Up until 9/11, oil companies, with the help of the Bush administration, were desperately trying to work out a deal with the Taliban to build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. One of the world’s richest oil fields is on the eastern shore of the Caspian sea just north of Afghanistan. The Caspian oil reserves are of top strategic importance in the quest to control the earth’s remaining oil supply. The US government developed a policy called “The Strategy of the Silk Route.”

The policy was designed to lock out Russia, China and Iran from the oil in this region. This called for U.S. corporations to construct an oil pipeline running through Afghanistan. Since the mid 1990s, a consortium of U.S. companies led by Unocal have been pursing this goal. A feasibility study of the Central Asian pipeline project was performed by Enron. Their study concluded that as long as the country was split among fighting warlords the pipeline could not be built. Stability was necessary for the $4.5 billion project and the U.S. believed that the Taliban would impose the necessary order. The U.S. State Department and Pakistan’s ISI, impressed by the Taliban movement to cut a pipeline deal, agreed to funnel arms and funding to the Taliban in their war for control of Afghanistan.

“Until 1999 U.S. taxpayers paid the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official.”

The U.S., Saudi and Pakistan intelligence alliance that created the terrorist financing bank BCCI reunited to facilitate the rise of the Taliban. BCCI was a US intelligence bank, which served as the financing arm for the creation of the al-Qaida network. BCCI was involved in many covert operations throughout the 80’s. They played a pivotal role in arming Saddam in Iraq, creating the Iran hostage crisis, even selling drugs through Manuel Noriega and other top drug dealers. BCCI gave nuclear weapons to Pakistan, which led to North Korea and Iran obtaining pivotal nuclear secrets as well. BCCI was also a driving force behind the Savings and Loan scandals that were a precursor to our current economic crisis.

Focusing on the creation of the Taliban, let’s read an excerpt from a 2003 book, “ Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks,” by Loretta Napoleoni:

“The alliance between American capitalism and Islamist fundamentalism is not limited to the creation of the Taliban; it also produced business ventures designed to extract favours from the new regime. To strengthen its bargaining power with the newly formed Islamist state, Unocal joined the Saudi Delta Oil Corporation to create a consortium called CentGas. Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mahfouz and al-Amoudi families [pivotal BCCI players], Saudi clans which have strong links with Osama bin Laden’s family…. Mahfouz has been sponsoring charitable institutions used as fronts for bin Laden’s associates through the National Commercial Bank, which his family controls….

Naturally, as soon as George W. Bush was elected president, Unocal and [UK’s] BP-Amoco… started once again to lobby the administration, among whom were several of their former employees. Unocal knew that Bush was ready to back them and resumed the consortium negotiations. In January 2001, it began discussions with the Taliban, backed by members of the Bush administration among whom was Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who had previously worked as a lobbyist for Unocal. The Taliban, for their part, employed as their PR officer in the US Laila Helms, niece of Richard Helms, former director of the CIA and former US ambassador to Iran. In March 2001, Helms succeeded in bringing Rahmatullah Hashami, Mullah Omar’s adviser, to Washington…. As late as August 2001, meetings were held in Pakistan to discuss the pipeline business….

While negotiations were underway, the US was secretly making plans to invade Afghanistan. The Bush administration and its oil sponsors were losing patience with the Taliban; they wanted to get the Central Asian gas pipeline going as soon as possible. The ‘strategy of the Silk Route’ had been resumed….

Paradoxically, 11 September provided Washington with a casus belli to invade Afghanistan and establish a pro American government in the country. When, a few weeks after the attack, the leaders of the two Pakistani Islamist parties negotiated with Mullah Omar and bin Laden for the latter’s extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for the 11 September attacks, the US refused the offer….

In November 2001… Hamid Karzai was elected [Afghanistan’s] prime minister… Yet very few people remember that during the 1990’s Karzai was involved in negotiations with the Taliban regime for the construction of a Central Asian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan. At that time he was a top adviser and lobbyist for Unocal… during the anti-Soviet jihad, Karzai was a member of the Mujahedin. In the early 1990’s, thanks to his excellent contacts with the ISI, he moved to the US where he cooperated with the CIA and the ISI in supporting the Taliban’s political adventure.”

So it is not all that surprising to see recent reports revealing that Hamid Karzai’s drug kingpin brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is also on the CIA payroll.

With this, a new Senate investigation just revealed evidence that Donald Rumsfeld made a conscious strategic decision to let Bin Laden escape. AFP reports:

“Osama bin Laden was within the grasp of US forces in late 2001 and could have been caught if then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld hadn’t rejected calls for reinforcements, a hard-hitting US Senate report says….

It points the finger directly at Rumsfeld for turning down requests for reinforcements as Bin Laden was trapped in caves and tunnels in a mountainous section of eastern Afghanistan known as Tora Bora.
‘The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the marine corps and the army, was kept on the sidelines,’ the report said.”

So now that we see how these wars are driven by oil, let’s look at how the oil industry is benefiting from them. Since the invasion, the industry has experienced record profits across the board, setting new profit records quarter after quarter, year after year, as these wars rage on.

IRAQI OIL DEALS

With Exxon and Shell just signing new oil contracts in Iraq, it’s obvious why there are still over 100,000 troops in Iraq. In a Daily Mirror report headlined, “Oil Billions and Weapons of Mass Deception In Iraq,” they report on the new oil deals:

“Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell won the development rights of a massive oil field — West Qurna near Basra in Iraq’s south. The two oil giants hope to boost daily production from the current 300,000 barrels to 2.3 million barrels a day at West Qurna, which the ousted and hanged Iraqi President Saddam Hussein wanted to give to a Russian oil company.

Last month, British Petroleum (BP) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) won a contract to develop another oil field. The invitation to China to join the plunder of Iraq is probably a payoff by the US so that this Asian economic powerhouse and rising military power would not rock the pirates’ boat.”

Let’s look back over the years since the start of the War on Terror, here’s a 2005 MSNBC report:

“By just about any measure, the past three years have produced one of the biggest cash gushers in the oil industry’s history. Since January of 2002, the price of crude has tripled, leaving oil producers awash in profits. During that period, the top 10 major public oil companies have sold some $1.5 trillion worth of crude, pocketing profits of more than $125 billion.

“This is the mother of all booms,” said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit. “They have so much profit, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. They don’t know what to do with it.

So an oil field that was profitable with oil selling for $20 a barrel is much more profitable with oil trading around $60…. Since January 2002, stocks of major oil companies have gained 88 percent; during that period the Standard and Poor’s 500 index has gained less than half as much.

Oil producers have also given investors a raise by gradually increasing the dividends paid out to shareholders.”

Here’s a 2007 Public Citizen report summing up oil company wartime profits:

“Since George Bush became President in 2001, the top five oil companies in the United States have recorded profits of $464 billion through the first quarter of 2007:

ExxonMobil: $158.5 billion
Shell: $108.5 billion
BP: $89.2 billion
ChevronTexaco: $60.9 billion
ConocoPhillips: $46.9 billion”

In Febuary 2008, CNN reported:

“Exxon shatters profit records

Oil giant makes corporate history by booking $11.7 billion in quarterly profit; earns $1,300 a second in 2007.

Exxon Mobil made history on Friday by reporting the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company, boosted in large part by soaring crude prices.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said fourth-quarter net income rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 per share. The company earned $10.25 billion, or $1.76 per share, in the year-ago period.

The profit topped Exxon’s previous quarterly record of $10.7 billion, set in the fourth quarter of 2005, which also was an all-time high for a U.S. corporation.”

In January 2009, during a severe economic crisis, the Washington Post reported:

“Exxon Mobil finished a roller-coaster year in the oil markets with an all-time record $45.2 billion in profits…

The world’s most far-flung oil giant broke its own record for corporate profits in a year that saw oil prices climb to $147 a barrel in July… Exxon Mobil still beat analysts’ expectations by registering $7.82 billion in profits, or $1.55 a share, for the final quarter of the year. Exxon Mobil and Chevron’s revenue combined for 2008 exceeded the gross domestic product of all but 16 of the world’s nations, according to Bloomberg.

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil firm… posted a $26.3 billion profit for the year.”

Once again, beyond these blatant examples of war profiteering, there are more insidious forces at play that most people don’t see. When you take a closer look at the oil profits, you see the true driver and ultimate beneficiary of these profits are none other than the same people who benefited the most from the stock market collapse and the ensuing $23.7 trillion taxpayer “bailout.”

As the Washington Post reported, the huge oil profit margins were the result of the soaring price of a barrel of oil, reaching “$147 a barrel in July.”

The InterContinental Exchange (ICE)

In 2000, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and several oil companies “founded the InterContinental Exchange (ICE)…. ICE is an online commodities and futures marketplace. It is outside the US and operates free from the constraints of US laws. The exchange was set up to facilitate ‘dark pool’ trading in the commodities markets.”

A Congressional investigation into this exchange found that these companies were fraudulently inflating the price of oil by executing “round-trip” trades where one company would sell shares in oil to another company who would then sell the shares right back. This would drive the price of oil to however high they wanted it to go to. “No commodity ever changes hands. But when done on an exchange, these transactions send a price signal to the market and they artificially boost revenue for the company. This is nothing more than a massive fraud, pure and simple.”

So when oil was selling at $147 a barrel, the actual worth was most likely closer to half that price. Phil’s Stock World summed up the situation:

“How widespread are ’round-trip’ trades? The Congressional Research Service looked at trading patterns in the energy sector and this is what they reported: This pattern of trading suggests a market environment in which a significant volume of fictitious trading could have taken place. Yet since most of the trading is unregulated by the Government, we have only a slim idea of the illusion being perpetrated in the energy sector.

DMS Energy, when investigated by Congress, admitted that 80 percent of its trades in 2001 were ’round-trip’ trades. That means 80 percent of all of their trades that year were bogus trades where no commodity changed hands, and yet the balance sheets reflect added revenue…

…the InterContinental Exchange; that is, the online, nonregulated, nonaudited, nonoversight for manipulation and fraud entity run by banks in this country….

Under investigation, a lawyer for J.P. Morgan Chase admitted the bank engineered a series of ’round-trip’ trades with Enron….

ICE… turned commodity trading into a speculative casino game where pricing was notional and contracts could be sold by people who never produced a thing, to people who didn’t need the things that were not produced. And in just 5 years after commencing operations, Goldman Sachs and their partners managed to TRIPLE the price of commodities.

Goldman Sachs Commodity Index funds accounted for $60Bn out of $100Bn of all formula-managed funds in 2007 and investors in the GSCI lost 15% in 2006 while Goldman had a record year. John Dizard, of the Financial Times calls this process ‘date rape’ by Goldman Sachs…

It is not surprising that a commodity scam would be the cornerstone of Goldman Sach’s strategy. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, rose to the top through Goldman’s commodity trading arm J Aron, starting his career at J Aron before Goldman Sachs bought them over 25 years ago. With his colleague Gary Cohn, Blankfein oversaw the key energy trading portfolio. According to Chris Cook: ‘It appears clear that BP and Goldman Sachs have been working collaboratively – at least at a strategic level – for maybe 15 years now. Their trading strategy has evolved over time as the global market has developed and become ever more financialised. Moreover, they have been well placed to steer the development of the key global energy market trading platform, and the legal and regulatory framework within which it operates….

Before ICE, the average American family spent 7% of their income on food and fuel. Last year, that number topped 20%. That’s 13% of the incomes of every man, woman and child in the United States of America, over $1Tn EVERY SINGLE YEAR, stolen through market manipulation. On a global scale, that number is over $4Tn per year – 80 Madoffs! Why is there no outrage, why are there no investigations. Well the answer is the same – $4Tn per year buys you a lot of political clout, it pays to have politicians all over the world look the other way while GS and their merry men rob from the poor and give to the rich on such a vast scale that it’s hard to grasp the damage they have done and continue to do to the global economy.”

The congressional investigation into ICE concluded that they couldn’t do anything about it because the exchange was set up offshore.

How convenient!

So here we can see, that behind almost all of our societal problems and suffering, you have this small elite group profiting on destruction and misery at record highs.

When Gold Sachs CEO Llyod Blankfien says that he is doing “God’s work,” one has to wonder, who is the God he is praying to?

Famed two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient US Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler accurately summed up the situation when he said: “I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism…. The general public shoulders the bill. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones, Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.”

WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO…

In the global economy, the economic elite don’t need the US public anymore. When you see Obama taking trips to meet with the leader of China, and having his first official White House State Dinner in honor of the Prime Minster of India, you should know that the elite have moved on. There are billions of people in just these two countries that they believe can do all the work we do for much less pay. It is a race to the bottom, and we are considered obsolete to technocratic leaders who think it is better to hire cheaper workers in foreign lands.

As the US continues to collapse, the technocrats have already moved on to the next country to rape and pillage. The economic elite don’t have a home country, to them the entire globe is theirs, and the majority of the US can collapse into poverty for all they care, and that’s exactly what they want to happen.

The US working class is the biggest threat to them and they want us eliminated.

As the IMF would say, there has been a structural adjustment program in place, and the US working class is obsolete.

When you understand this, you can understand how the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are wars against the US public. Wars that weaken and drain the US working class of vital resources and social safety nets.

In the overall picture, the technocratic elite see everyone as a number on a spreadsheet. To them you are what your economic net worth says you are. Considering this perspective, most in the US public have much more in common with an Afghanistan farmer than the billionaires on Wall Street. And the billionaires have put us in the same category as those in Afghanistan. To them it really doesn’t matter if it’s an American life ended or an Afghani life ended in the war, as long as the profits keep coming in… they can care less.

Common sense and statistics demonstrate that the more troops you send into war, the higher the causality count will be, and the more costs will rise, leading, of course, to higher profits.

So as the Obama illusion and the motives behind this war become exposed, and the massive theft by the economic elite becomes known to a critical mass, the elite are ramping up their psychological operations on the US public by turning up their mainstream media distraction machine.



IV. PSYOPS: WAG THE DOG AND SHAKE THE MOHAMMED

With the healthcare debate losing steam, and the people starting to understand that the final bill will do little to create much needed change, and as “health care reform” is exposed as another gift to insurance company executives, and as unemployment rates remain high, the Economic Death Squad vitally needs some new distractions.

Never mind the criminals on Wall Street: It’s time to… Wag the Dog and Shake the Mohammed

By Wag the Dog, I am of course referring to the old political trick of distracting public consciousness away from a crisis by starting, or in this case drastically escalating, a war.

Don’t worry about the $23.7 trillion of public wealth that was given to Wall Street as a reward for destroying the economy, we are at war and it’s time for you to support our troops.

Ah, yes, another racket to pile up more of the economic poor.

Barack W. Obama, once again, bows to… the elite… and serves up yet another gift by sending more US citizens to the Af-Pak region.

50 million US citizens are already living in dire straights, so what’s the big deal if you just throw another 220,000 US lives onto the fire, not to mention the millions of Afghani, Pakistani and Iraqi lives.

But a war in a distant land just isn’t enough, is it?

American public opinion has long been saturated in the distraction of war, and given the severity of the economic crisis, the elite policy makers figured another surge in Eurasia just wouldn’t be enough of a distraction.

So the psychological operations PR department has decided to also Shake the Muhammad. Yes, bring the 9/11 “mastermind,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, back to the scene of the crime and create a New York media frenzy. Now that’s a distraction!

Not only will it cause a media frenzy, it will also reaffirm public opinion in the war effort… win, win!

I don’t know about you, but as someone who grew up a New Yorker and spent the last five years of my life living three blocks from Ground Zero, I have to say, take your psychological operations to a different location.

You are going to have the “9/11 mastermind” in a courtroom right around the corner from the biggest terrorists of all… Wall Street.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Llyod Blankfien, Jamie Dimon and John Mack are all going to be in one place, at the same time! We will have the “9/11 mastermind,” Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley all in the same zip code… HELLO!

Can you say here comes the next Timothy McVeigh?

Yes, the USA… is an insane asylum! So just Wag the Dog and Shake the Mohammed.




V. U.S. Insurgency: Violent, Strategic Dislocation Within U.S.

Will there be a violent insurgency within the US?

As a growing number of American lives are directly negatively impacted, media propaganda operations will lose their ability to confuse and distract. Studies of societal breakdowns prove that having such a large population experiencing severe and prolonged economic decline will result in violent outbrakes.

Other than the 50 million US civilians living in dire straights, what will happen as thousands of bitter soldiers and US intelligence agents — who have given their lives to these wars, only to return home to find an economy in ruins and a healthcare system that has thrown them overboard — begin to make these connections and understand that a small group of men on Wall Street are at the root of their suffering?

Well, some former military and intelligence agents, including a growing number of current serving members, have already made this connection, and they are organizing, training and strategizing tactical operations. They are factions inside a quickly growing – heavily armed – militia movement that now numbers over 200 active cells, within the US.

The mainstream press gives some passing attention to the fringe factions that make threats against Obama, but the more experienced soldiers understand that he is just a figurehead and they have connected all these dots and have come to the conclusion that this war is actually a war to create profits for the economic elite at the expense of the US public.

Llyod Blankfein, Jamie Dimon and John Mack can arm themselves and hire all the security they can get, but will it actually keep them safe when you have a population of millions living in dire straights as a direct result of their actions? At this point, even their own security members may be conspiring against them.

The Obama illusion is fading fast. Every time you see through it, you get a glimpse of them. The Economic Death Squad is exposed under the bright light of inspection and investigation.

Take a look at many of the major problems facing us today, as a country and as a species, and then you will understand that these problems exist because the economic elite are profiting off of them.

Obama is just their mask, an illusion to pacify the masses. The economic crisis and the wars have now shattered this illusion – it has come crashing down… upon us.

It has become clear that an opinion has emerged among a growing segment of the United States population: If the government will keep pouring money into banks and war, and won’t stop the theft of US taxpayer money by holding accountable those responsible for it, WE MUST.

And the question that arises after that: Can it be done non-violently?

I certainly hope it can.

However, this growing segment of the population uses strong rhetoric and is prepared to take up arms.

With over 200 active militia cells, who are equipped with weapons, training and strategizing, the government must take swift action to rein in the economic elite. Otherwise, we are heading to war, not in a distant foreign land, within the US.

The economic elite are well aware of the threat of a violent uprising within US borders. US Army documents have revealed that strategic plans are already formed for this situation. Chris Hedges explains:

“The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a ‘violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,’ which could be provoked by ‘unforeseen economic collapse,’ ‘purposeful domestic resistance,’ ‘pervasive public health emergencies’ or ‘loss of functioning political and legal order.’ The ‘widespread civil violence,’ the document said, ‘would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’

‘An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,’ it went on.

‘… this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance,’ the document read.

In plain English… this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government being run out of the Department of Defense. They are considering it. So should you.”

We could have a situation where the government deploys private soldiers, mostly foreign nationals, on US soil to fight against US citizens. Blackwater and DynCorp already had active duty soldiers deployed within the US when Hurricane Katrina hit.

In New Orleans, they were essentially a foreign occupying force.

LOSS OF FAITH IN POLITICAL PROCESS

In response to the report, “The Critical Unraveling of US Society,” readers primarily critiqued the part in which we call on readers to engage their representatives.

An irate majority of the responses have consistently stated that they have repeatedly contacted their representative through multiple forms of communication, and no action was taken. A growing segment of the US population has now lost all faith in our government and they are on the verge of taking violent action.

Personally, I believe that non-violent action is a much more strategic and effective move. We are 99% of the population, and the enemy is less than 1%. We are a sleeping giant; they are a small group of clueless greed-addicted people who desperately cling to the Administration, Treasury, Fed and a few other firms like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

If we can take action on a mass non-violent scale, the rule of law and economic justice can be obtained. In our nation’s history, the stakes have never been higher. If we cannot organize a mass movement to non-violently oppose outright theft, then violence will ultimately tear our nation apart.

The question on my mind: Can we swiftly mobilize such a heavily propagandized population to take mass non-violent action?

A growing population does not believe we can do so, and is on the verge of launching a heavily armed insurgency.

So in the months ahead, while they are Wagging the Dog and Shaking the Mohammed, the US public vitally needs to understand that the stakes have never been higher.

And the clock is ticking . . .
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline Satyagraha

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Bump. Excellent article!
And  the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, 
Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren,  ye have done it unto me.

Matthew 25:40

Offline Dig

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There are at least 5 points of predictive programming/conditioning, here is one:

"Well, some former military and intelligence agents, including a growing number of current serving members, have already made this connection, and they are organizing, training and strategizing tactical operations. They are factions inside a quickly growing – heavily armed – militia movement that now numbers over 200 active cells, within the US."

THERE IS NOT ONE "ACTIVE CELL" THAT IS NOT OWNED, CONTROLLED, DOMINATED BY NETWORK CENTRIC SURVEILLANCE AND FULL SPECTRUM DOMINANCE OPERATIONS!

All of these "active cells" are part of a program called "initiate civil war"

This author has an incredible grast on what makes a fertile environment for a new Hitler/McVeigh/Hussein/Castro/etc. BUT HAS NO CLUE HOW SUCH PEOPLE ACTUALLY RISE AND ARE CONTROLLED!

Just take this example of a person that has been released from prison with 100 lbs of untraceable military grade C4!

http://forum.prisonplanet.com/index.php?topic=142646.0
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline bigron

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GREAT STUFF !

THANKS SANE

Offline larsonstdoc

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  There is deception everywhere.  Fake Wall Street numbers, fake troop numbers, fake troops.  Thanks for the article.  There are great talking points as I try to wake up friends and family. They won't believe me until something really big happens.
I'M A DEPLORABLE KNUCKLEHEAD THAT SUPPORTS PRESIDENT TRUMP.  MAY GOD BLESS HIM AND KEEP HIM SAFE.

Offline Dig

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  There is deception everywhere.  Fake Wall Street numbers, fake troop numbers, fake troops.  Thanks for the article.  There are great talking points as I try to wake up friends and family. They won't believe me until something really big happens.

they better believe you before something big happens.

Bush/Harriman/Rockefeller are the ones who are planning the next 9/11 and there is no reason for this.

anyone still thinking that "I was just following orders" is an excuse needs to understand hiroshima, nagasaki, and dresden.  "just following orders" is what the pharaohs use to keep DOPE, INC. gaining market share. It is a lie, war is a racket, smedley butler exposed this almost 100 years ago, the only ones who gain are the banksters forcing higher debt.
All eyes are opened, or opening, to the rights of man. The general spread of the light of science has already laid open to every view the palpable truth, that the mass of mankind has not been born with saddles on their backs, nor a favored few booted and spurred, ready to ride them legitimately

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #6 on: December 05, 2009, 09:03:11 AM »
O=W

Posted By William S. Lind On December 4, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

"O=W" is a bumper sticker beginning to show up on liberals’ cars. After the president’s speech Tuesday night at West Point, I suspect it will spread rapidly.

For eight years, conservatives endured the agony of watching President George W. Bush attach the label "conservative" to a host of policies that were anti-conservative: Wilsonian wars, American empire, vast budget and trade deficits, increased entitlements, and the subordination of America’s interests to those of foreign powers. Now the shoe is on the other foot, and liberals are bidden to hold their tongues as President Obama makes Bush’s wars his own. The usual Washington sellout is in gear.

It should not come as a surprise. America is now a one-party state. The one party is the Establishment party, which is also the war party. Unless you are willing to cheer permanent war for permanent peace, you cannot be a member of the Establishment.

What can we say militarily about Obama’s surge? Understand that in Afghanistan, 30,000 troops is a drop in the bucket. The size of the country, the wide extent of Taliban and other anti-occupier action, and the largely mountainous nature of the terrain make Afghanistan a troop sponge. A serious effort would require 300,000 more troops, not 30,000.

Obama’s surge only makes strategic sense if it is intended to strengthen our position politically as a preliminary to negotiating with the Taliban. By holding a few areas in the Taliban’s heartland, we might make such negotiations worthwhile for Mullah Omar. The deal would be a coalition government including the Taliban, to last until we withdrew, coupled with a promise not to invite al-Qaeda back. Is that the White House’s intention? I can only say that I have seen no evidence of it.

On the operational level, we are adopting a fortress strategy: Festung Kandahar. The Taliban’s operational countermove is obvious: take the rest of the Pashtun areas, isolate us in our fortresses, then work to sever the supply lines running to the fortresses, including Kabul. The Taliban is already attempting to do this; our concentration should make it all the easier.

Tactically, the Taliban will withdraw from areas where we concentrate rather than trying to defend them: "When the enemy advances, we retreat." Then, they will penetrate those areas with small raids, ambushes, IED-placing parties, and suicide bombers: "When the enemy halts, we harass." We will face a war of the flea inside our fortresses.

If we add all this up, we see that militarily it makes no sense. Of course, that is true of any military option in the Afghan war. We are fighting the Pashtun, and in the end, the Pashtun always win Afghan wars. "This time is different" is, as always, the battle cry of Folly.

So what lies behind President Obama’s decision? Domestic political considerations, of course. He has done what politicians always do when faced with difficult choices: he has kicked the can down the road to a specific date, July 2011. That is when the president promises we will begin a withdrawal from Afghanistan. The date is meaningless beyond its political meaning, i.e., at that point Obama will again be faced with the same decision he just punted. With a presidential election looming, he will punt again. Meanwhile, the war’s price, in money and casualties, will have risen, making it even harder to walk away from sunk costs.

The real choice Obama faced was not how many troops to send. We do not have enough troops to commit a militarily meaningful number. The real choice was to get out now or get out later. His duty as chief executive, the state of America’s treasury (empty), concern for the well-being of our troops and their families, and the hopelessness of the situation all dictated he get out now. By punting the decision, he showed America and the world what he is made of. Dec. 1, 2009, was the date the Obama presidency failed.

Read more by William S. Lind
Last Exit Before Quagmire – September 22nd, 2009
The Silence of the Sheep – August 4th, 2009
One Step Forward,
One Step Back – July 7th, 2009
Going Nowhere Fast in Afghanistan – June 29th, 2009
The Iran Crisis and 4th Generation Warfare – June 22nd, 2009

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Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #7 on: December 05, 2009, 09:05:55 AM »
Neocons Get Warm and Fuzzy Over ‘War President’

Posted By Eli Clifton On December 4, 2009 @ 11:00 pm

U.S. President Barack Obama’s plan for a 30,000-troop surge and a troop withdrawal timeline beginning in 18 months has caught criticism from both Democrat and Republican lawmakers.

But a small group of hawkish foreign policy experts – who have lobbied the White House since August to escalate U.S. involvement in Afghanistan – are christening Obama the new "War President."

The response to Obama’s Tuesday night speech at West Point has largely been less than enthusiastic, with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle finding plenty in the administration’s Afghanistan plan that fails to live up to their expectations. Republicans have hammered the White House on Obama’s decision to begin a drawdown of U.S. forces in 18 months, while Democrats largely expressed ambivalence or dismay over the administration’s willingness to commit 30,000 more soldiers to a war seen by many as unwinnable and costly at a time when the U.S. economy is barely in recovery from the global financial crisis.

The White House’s rollout of the 30,000 troop surge did little to convince an already skeptical Congress, but foreign policy hawks who have accused the president of "dithering" in making a decision on Afghanistan are praising the administration’s willingness to make the "tough" commitment to escalate the U.S. commitment in the war in Afghanistan.

Indeed, their approval of the White House’s decision to commit 30,000 troops is the culmination of a campaign led by the newly formed Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI).

FPI held its first event in March, titled "Afghanistan: Planning for Success," and a second event in September – "Advancing and Defending Democracy" – which focused on counterinsurgency in combating the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

The newly formed group is headed up by the Weekly Standard’s editor Bill Kristol; foreign policy adviser to the McCain presidential campaign Robert Kagan; and former policy adviser in the George W. Bush administration Dan Senor.

Kagan and Kristol were also co-founders and directors of the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), a number of whose 1997 charter members, including the elder Cheney, former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld, and their two top aides, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby and Paul Wolfowitz, respectively, played key roles in promoting the 2003 invasion of Iraq and Bush’s other first-term policies when the hawks exercised their greatest influence.

The core leadership of FPI has waged their campaign in countless editorials and columns published in the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and the Weekly Standard.

These articles have often been highly critical, at times suggesting that Obama’s unwillingness to give Gen. Stanley McChrystal the 20,000 to 40,000 troops requested in his September report to Defense Secretary Robert Gates amounted to "dithering" and projected U.S. weakness to the Taliban, al-Qaeda, and U.S. allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Senor described himself as "pleasantly surprised" and "quite encouraged by the president’s decision" in a Republican National Committee sponsored conference call.

"It seems to me that Obama deserves even more credit for courage than Bush did, for he has risked much more. By the time Bush decided to support the surge in Iraq in early 2007, his presidency was over and discredited, brought down in large part by his own disastrous decision not to send the right number of troops in 2003, 2004, 2005, or 2006," wrote Kagan in the Washington Post on Wednesday.

"Obama has had to make this decision with most of his presidency still ahead of him. Bush had nothing to lose. Obama could lose everything," Kagan concluded.

The theme of heralding Obama as a stoic decision-maker in the face of an administration and Congress that seek to "manage American decline" – as Kagan wrote – was also echoed by Bill Kristol in the Washington Post on Wednesday.

"By mid-2010, Obama will have more than doubled the number of American troops in Afghanistan since he became president; he will have empowered his general, Stanley McChrystal, to fight the war pretty much as he thinks necessary to in order to win; and he will have retroactively, as it were, acknowledged that he and his party were wrong about the Iraq surge in 2007 – after all, the rationale for this surge is identical to Bush’s, and the hope is for a similar success. He will also have embraced the use of military force as a key instrument of national power," wrote Kristol.

The heralding of Obama as "A War President" – which was the title of Kristol’s article in the Washington Post – is a striking change of tone from some of the same pundits who were vociferously attacking the administration for every major policy initiative as recently as last week.

"Just what is Barack Obama as president making of our American destiny? The answer, increasingly obvious, is… a hash. It’s worse than most of us expected. His dithering on Afghanistan is deplorable, his appeasing of Iran disgraceful, his trying to heap new burdens on a struggling economy destructive. Add to this his sending Khalid Sheikh Mohammed for a circus-like court trial," wrote Kristol in the Nov. 23 edition of the Weekly Standard.

"The next three years are going to be long and difficult ones for our economy, our military, and our country," he wrote.

The hawkish Wall Street Journal editorial board – which on Sept. 10 suggested that Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize because he sees the U.S. "as weaker than it was and the rest of the planet as stronger," and on Sept. 18 described the administration’s decision to scrap a missile defense agreement with Poland and the Czech Republic as following "Mr. Obama’s trend of courting adversaries while smacking allies" – also exhibited a noticeable change in tone in praising the White House’s decision to surge troop levels.

"We support Mr. Obama’s decision, and this national effort, notwithstanding our concerns about the determination of the president and his party to see it through. Now that he’s committed, so is the country, and one of our abiding principles is that nations should never start (much less escalate) wars they don’t intend to win," said the Journal’s editorial board on Wednesday.

The board’s qualified endorsement of the White House’s war plan seems to reflect both the Republican concerns that Obama may use the 18-month deadline as an excuse to withdraw from Afghanistan before the Taliban and al-Qaeda are defeated and foreign policy hawks – such as those at FPI – who are pleased with the administration’s decision to commit more fully to the war in Afghanistan.

Hawks, such as Kagan and Kristol, may have to argue in 18 months for an extension of the withdrawal deadline but in similarly worded statements they both expressed confidence that this would not be a problem.

"If we and our Afghan allied partners are succeeding [by July 2011], the timing [of the withdrawal] may make sense. If we aren’t it won’t. It will not be any easier for Obama to embrace defeat in 18 months than it is today," wrote Kagan in the Washington Post in response to concerns about the timeline for withdrawal.

"[T]he July 2011 date also buys Obama time. It enables him to push off pressure to begin withdrawing, or to rethink the basic strategy, for 18 months. We’ve come pretty far from all the talk about off ramps at three or six-month intervals in 2010 that we were hearing just a little while ago," Kristol wrote on the Weekly Standard’s blog on Tuesday.

For hawks like Kristol, Kagan, and Senor who have been calling for a surge in U.S. troop levels in Afghanistan since August, Obama’s announcement on Tuesday night was a high-point in their campaign of op-eds, columns, and conferences, to push the Obama White House in the direction of an escalation in Afghanistan.

Kristol concluded his blog post on a confident note.

"In a way, Obama is now saying: We’re surging and fighting for the next 18 months; see you in July 2011. That’s about as good as we’re going to get."


(Inter Press Service)

Read more by Eli Clifton
Obama’s Afghan Plan Has Something for Everyone… to Hate – December 2nd, 2009
Hawkish ‘Israel Lobby’ More Bark Than Bite? – December 1st, 2009
Settlements ‘Moratorium’ Still Short of Freeze – November 25th, 2009
New York Mets Urged to Cut Ties with Israeli Group – November 14th, 2009
Rights Groups Condemn Bid to Quash Goldstone Report – October 30th, 2009

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Offline Triadtropz

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #8 on: December 05, 2009, 09:12:42 AM »
Obamas so slick, he is more hawkish than gw bush. yet he still comes off as our beloved leader..the sheep know he can do no wrong. he needs 30,000+ troops to beat 100 alqueda fighters. he's a murderer and they are going to the stan to kill anyone who gets in their way.
one man with courage makes a majority..TJ

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2009, 09:26:30 AM »
From The Times
December 5, 2009
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/Afghanistan/article6945447.ece

Bob Ainsworth: 'UK can’t back Obama pledge on Afghan pullout'


by Rachel Sylvester, Alice Thomson and Francis Elliott



Tensions between Britain and America over the war in Afghanistan erupted into the open yesterday as the Defence Secretary questioned President Obama’s decision to put a date on the start of US troop withdrawals.

In an interview with The Times, Bob Ainsworth said that the Government would not follow Washington’s promise to start pulling out in 2011. “You can’t put a time on it. You’ve got to look at conditions,” he said.

He accepted that the public would not tolerate the war “going on for ever”, but insisted there was no deadline for withdrawal. “Nobody is talking about a drawdown, we are talking about bringing more in there . . . but we are talking about transition.” He said that it would be wrong to set a date for the start of troop reductions.

His comments reflect dismay at the highest level in the British Armed Forces about Mr Obama’s suggestion this week that US troop withdrawals would start by mid-2011. Britain expects to have substantial forces on the ground in Afghanistan for at least five or six more years.

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, also voiced disquiet over “artificial timetables”.

Speaking on a visit to Afghanistan, he said: “We all want to make progress and bring British troops home as soon as we can but any timetable has got to be based on success and results and we must not give people false hope.

“I think it is very important not to send mixed messages. Instead, let’s say we’re here to train up the Afghan National Army and police and as soon as the job is done we can bring our troops home. But don’t let’s set artificial timetables.”

The Defence Secretary also hit back at suggestions that the Americans rescued the British in Iraq. He said: “I get really quite annoyed when I read that the Americans came and saved us in Basra . . . the Americans didn’t save us in Basra, we were working with the Iraqis in Basra and it was the Iraqis that came down into Basra, encouraged by us.”

Even if some parts of Afghanistan were handed over to local forces next year, he refused to say whether that meant some British soldiers could come home. “I think there’ll still be a job to be done for some time in other parts of the country . . . You’ve got to provide as many troops as you can to meet the needs of the mission.”

Mr Obama announced a surge of 30,000 US reinforcements on Tuesday. “These additional American and international troops will allow us to accelerate handing over responsibility to Afghan forces, and allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011,” he said.

Military commanders have warned the Americans that naming a date could be a hostage to fortune and make it harder to beat the Taleban. There are fears that talk of a withdrawal timetable will diminish the impact of the long-awaited “surge”.

Mr Ainsworth said that he understood Mr Obama’s determination to bring American troops home as soon as possible. “Of course he wants to drive the process: why wouldn’t he? The Prime Minister wants to drive the process and we want to drive the process. People will not tolerate this mission going on for ever. It doesn’t need to go on for ever, we need to make progress.”

However, he added: “I think the American commitment to Afghanistan will go on well beyond 2011 . . . I don’t think the Americans are talking about anything like a pullout.” That’s just not right, [Mr Obama] is talking about a huge surge.”

Mr Ainsworth also delivered a rebuff to Harriet Harman, insisting that Labour’s deputy leader was wrong to suggest that the war was all about bringing equal opportunities to Afghanistan. “If people are going to school, it is a sign that we have control of the country. But we aren’t doing it to try to send girls to school.”

There is growing tension between Britain and America over the strategy in Afghanistan. Mr Ainsworth said that the command structure in Helmand after the surge had still not been decided.

Once the new wave of troops arrive, there will be 21,000 Americans and only 9,500 Britons. “How we configure command structures is something that we will have to sort out ... It’s about whether or not a single command is going to be big enough for the numbers of coalition forces there are going to be.”

He also raised concerns about US proposals to appoint a high representative to keep an eye on President Karzai and tackle corruption. “Whatever we do we’ve got to do it with agreement. If this is about building Afghan capacity, We’ve got to bring the Afghans with us,” Mr Ainsworth said.

US Marines launched an offensive yesterday near the town of Now Zad, in Helmand, alongside Afghan troops. No British Forces were involved in the operation called “Cobra’s Anger”.


Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #10 on: December 07, 2009, 05:55:26 AM »
The Great Game: U.S., NATO War In Afghanistan

Fifty or more countries in a single war theater



By Rick Rozoff
 
Global Research, December 5, 2009
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16422
Stop NATO 


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."


Afghanistan: Historical Precedents and Antecedents

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.

Thirty years ago this December 24 the first Soviet troops entered Afghanistan to assist a neighboring nation's government to combat an armed insurgency based in Pakistan and surreptitiously (later quite openly) supported by the United States.

In the waning days of that year, 1979, and in the early ones of the following Soviet troop strength grew to some 50,000 soldiers.

Great Game

It is worth noting in this regard that in 1839 Britain invaded Afghanistan with 21,000 of its own and Indian colonial troops and in 1878 with twice that number to counter Russian influence in the country in what came to be called the Great Game.

On January 23, 1980 U.S. President James Earl (Jimmy) Carter stated in his last State of the Union Address that "The implications of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan could pose the most serious threat to the peace since the Second World War."

When the Soviet Union began withdrawing its forces from the nation - the first half from May 15 to August 16, 1988 and the last from November 15, 1988 to February 15, 1989 - their peak number had been slightly over 100,000.

On December 1 of 2009 U.S. President Barack Obama announced that he was deploying 30,000 new troops to Afghanistan in addition to the 68,000 already there and two days later "Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Congress...that the surge force of 30,000 going to Afghanistan will grow to at least 33,000 when support troops are included." [1]

That is, over 100,000 troops. Along with private military and security contractors whose number is even larger.

Soviet troops were in Afghanistan barely over nine years. American troops are now involved in the ninth year of combat operations in the country and in less than four weeks will be engaged in their tenth calendar year of war there.

On November 25 White House spokesman Robert Gibbs assured the people of his nation that "We are in year nine of our efforts in Afghanistan. We are not going to be there another eight or nine years." [2] The implication is that the U.S. may wage a war in Afghanistan that could last until 2017. For sixteen years.

The longest war in American history prior to the current one was that in Vietnam. U.S. military advisers were present in the country from the late 1950s onward and covert operations were carried on in the early 1960s, but only in the year after the contrived Gulf of Tonkin incident - 1965 - did the Pentagon begin major combat operations in the south and regular bombing raids in the north. The last American combat unit left South Vietnam in 1972, seven years later.

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.

Since late last summer the U.S. and its NATO allies have launched regular drone missile and attack helicopter assaults inside Pakistan. Had the Soviets attempted to do likewise thirty years ago - when their own borders were threatened - Washington's response might well have triggered a third world war.

The USSR did not deploy troops from any of its fellow Warsaw Pact nations in Afghanistan during the 1980s. In a historical irony that warrants more commentary that it has received - none - every one of those nations now has forces serving under NATO and killing and dying in the Afghan war theater: Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Romania, Slovakia and the former German Democratic Republic (subsumed under a united Federal Republic, which has almost 4,500 soldiers stationed there).     

They are among troops from close to 50 nations serving or soon to serve under NATO command on the Afghanistan-Pakistan war front, which include the following from the Alliance and several of its partnership programs:

NATO members:

Albania
Belgium
Britain
Bulgaria
Canada
Croatia
The Czech Republic
Denmark
Estonia
France
Germany
Greece
Hungary
Iceland
Italy
Latvia
Lithuania
Luxembourg
The Netherlands
Norway
Poland
Portugal
Romania
Slovakia
Slovenia
Spain
Turkey
The United States (35,000 troops with as many more on the way)

Partnership for Peace/Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC):

Armenia
Austria
Azerbaijan
Bosnia
Finland
Georgia
Ireland
Macedonia
Montenegro
Sweden
Switzerland (withdrawn last year)
Ukraine

Contact Countries:

Australia
Japan (naval forces)
New Zealand
South Korea

Adriatic Charter (overlaps with the Partnership for Peace):
Albania
Bosnia
Croatia
Macedonia
Montenegro

Istanbul Cooperation Initiative:

United Arab Emirates

Trilateral Afghanistan-Pakistan-NATO Military Commission:
Afghanistan
Pakistan

Miscellaneous:

Colombia
Mongolia
Singapore

The above roster includes seven of fifteen former Soviet republics (another development worthy of consideration), with Moldova after this year's "Twitter Revolution" and Kazakhstan, where in September the U.S. ambassador pressured the government for troops, candidates for deployments under Partnership for Peace obligations. (Both had earlier sent troops to Iraq.) Their participation would lead to 60% of former Soviet states having troops committed to NATO in Afghanistan. With Moldova added, every European nation (excluding microstates like Andorra, Liechtenstein, Monaco, San Marino and Vatican City) except for Belarus, Cyprus, Malta, Russia and Serbia will have military forces serving under NATO in Afghanistan.

Never in the history of world warfare have military contingents from so many nations - fifty or more - served in one war theater. In a single nation. Troops from five continents, Oceania and the Middle East. [3]

Even the putative coalition of the willing stitched together by the U.S. and Britain after the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003 and until troops were pulled for redeployment to Afghanistan only consisted of forces from thirty one nations: The U.S., Britain, Albania, Armenia, Australia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, El Salvador, Estonia, Georgia, Hungary, Japan, Italy, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Moldova, Mongolia, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, South Korea, Spain, Thailand and Ukraine. Twenty two of those thirty one contributors were former Soviet bloc (Albania remotely) nations or former Yugoslav republics that had recently (1999) joined NATO or were being prepared for integration into or in other manners with the bloc.

The world's last three major wars - those in and against Yugoslavia, Afghanistan and Iraq - have been used as testing and training grounds for the expansion of global NATO.

The consolidation of an international rapid response (strike) force and occupation army under NATO control was further advanced this week with Obama's troop surge speech on the 1st and follow-up efforts by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen to recruit more allied troops at the recently concluded meeting of NATO (and allied) foreign ministers.

On December 4 "NATO's top official said...that at least 25 countries will send a total of about 7,000 additional forces to Afghanistan next year 'with more to come,' as U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sought to bolster allied resolve." [4] In attendance at the NATO meeting in Brussels were also an unspecified number of foreign ministers of non-NATO nations providing troops for the Afghan war, top military commander of all U.S. and NATO forces General Stanley McChrystal and Afghan Foreign Minister Rangeen Dadfar Spanta.

7,000 more NATO troops with "more to come" would, added to some 42,000 non-U.S. soldiers currently serving with NATO and 35,000 U.S. forces doing the same, mean at least 85,000 troops under NATO command even without the 33,000 new U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan. The bloc's largest foreign deployment before this was to Kosovo in 1999 when at its peak the Alliance-led Kosovo Force (KFOR) consisted of 50,000 troops from 39 nations. [5]

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.

Among NATO member states Italian Defense Minister Ignazio La Russa recently announced an increase of 1,000 troops, bringing the nation's total to almost 4,500, 50% more than had previously been stationed in Iraq.

Poland will send another 600-700 troops which, added to those already in Afghanistan, will constitute the largest aggregate Polish military deployment abroad in the post-Cold War era and the highest number of troops ever deployed outside Europe in the nation's history.

Britain will provide another 500 troops, with its total rising to close to 10,000.

Bulgarian Defense Minister Nikolay Mladenov said last week that "there is a strong possibility that the country will increase its military contingent in Afghanistan." [6] To indicate the nature of the commitments new NATO member states shoulder when they join the Alliance and what their priority then becomes, three days earlier Mladenov, speaking of budgetary constraints placed on the armed forces because of the current financial crisis, affirmed that "We may cut down some other items of the army budget, but there will always be enough money for missions abroad." [7]

Washington has also pressured Croatia, which became a full member of the bloc this past April, to supply more troops and Prime Minister Jadranka Kosor hastened to pledge that "Croatia, being a NATO member, would fulfill its obligations." [8]

The Czech republic's defense minister, Martin Bartak, spoke after the Obama troop surge speech earlier this week and threatened the Czech parliament by stating "it will have to be explained to allies why the Czech Republic does not want to take part in the reinforcements while Slovakia and Britain, for instance, will reinforce their contingents...." [9]

Slovakia has announced that it will more than double its forces in Afghanistan.

The German parliament has just renewed for another year the deployment of the nation's almost 4,500 troops in Afghanistan, the maximum allowed by the Bundestag, although discussions are being held to increase that number to 7,000 after a conference on Afghanistan in London on January 28. German armed forces in the country are engaged in their nation's first ground combat operations since World War II.

A news report on December 3 said that U.S. ambassador to Turkey James Jeffrey was pressuring Ankara to provide a "specific number" of troops and to be ""more flexible" [10] in how they will be deployed, meaning that Turkey must drop so-called combat caveats and engage in active fighting along with its NATO allies.

After meeting with U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden on December 4, Hungarian Prime Minister Gyorgy Gordon Bajnai vowed to send 200 more soldiers to the South Asian war zone, an increase of 60% as Hungary currently has 360 there. 

Regarding NATO partner states, U.S. Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Celeste Wallander was in Armenia to secure that nation's first military deployment to Afghanistan, the handiwork of NATO's first Special Representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia Robert Simmons [11], who has also gained a doubling of troops from neighboring Azerbaijan and a pledge of as many as 1,000 Georgian troops by next year.

During a press conference at NATO headquarters on the first day of the Alliance's recent Afghan war council, December 3, the bloc's chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen expressed gratitude to the United Arab Emirates for dispatching troops to Afghanistan and "hosting...the alliance's International Conference on NATO-UAE Relations and the Way Forward in the Istanbul Cooperation Initiative last October." [12]

The Istanbul Cooperation Initiative was launched at the NATO summit in Turkey in 2004 to upgrade military partnerships with members of the Mediterranean Dialogue (Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Mauritania, Morocco and Tunisia) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates). [13]
 
A U.S. military news agency published an article on December 3 that discussed the Quadrennial Defense Review currently being deliberated on at the Pentagon.

Deputy Defense Secretary William J. Lynn III, who before assuming that post was Vice President of Government Operations and Strategy for Raytheon, was quoted as boasting that "The Quadrennial Defense Review...will be unlike any other: the first to be driven by current wartime requirements, to balance conventional and nonconventional capabilities, and to embrace a 'whole of government' approach to national security....This is a landmark QDR."

Lynn also said that "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." [14]

The more than eight-year war in Afghanistan is not going to end in 2011, Obama's asseverations notwithstanding, nor will it be the last of its kind. It will continue to engulf neighboring Pakistan with the threat of also spilling over into Central Asia and Iran.

The crisis confronting the world is not only the war in South Asia: It is war itself. More particularly, the recklessness of the self-proclaimed sole superpower and the military bloc it heads in arrogating to themselves the exclusive right to threaten nations around the world with military aggression.

If that policy is not brought to an end by the real international community - the more than six-sevenths of humanity outside the greater Euro-Atlantic world (as it deems itself) - Afghanistan will not be this century's last war front but its first and prototypical one. Portents are of even worse to come.

Notes

1) New York Daily News, December 4, 2009
2) New York Times, November 26, 2009
3) Afghan War: NATO Builds History’s First Global Army
   Stop NATO, August 9, 2009
   http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/afghan-war-nato-builds-historys-first-global-army
4) Associated Press, December 4, 2009
5) U.S., NATO Poised For Most Massive War In Afghanistan’s History
   Stop NATO, September 24, 2009
   http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/09/24/u-s-nato-poised-for-most-massive-war-in-afghanistans-history
6) Sofia News Agency, November 26, 2009
7) Standart News, November 23, 2009
8) Xinhua News Agency, December 3, 2009
9) Czech News Agency, December 2, 2009
10) PanArmenian.net, December 3, 2009
11) Mr. Simmons’ Mission: NATO Bases From Balkans To Chinese Border
    Stop NATO, March 4, 2009
    http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/27/mr-simmons-mission-nato-bases-from-balkans-to-chinese-border
12) Emirates News Agency, December 3, 2009
13) NATO In Persian Gulf: From Third World War To Istanbul
    Stop NATO, February 6, 2009
    http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2009/08/26/nato-in-persian-gulf-from-third-world-war-to-istanbul
14) American Forces Press Service, December 3, 2009


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Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2009, 06:55:23 AM »
Obama's War Whoop: "Let the bloodbath begin!"


by Mike Whitney

http://www.uruknet.de/index.php?p=m60826&hd=&size=1&l=e

December 6, 2009

Barack Obama is not the type of guy who agonizes over sending soldiers into battle. This isn't Lyndon Johnson, after all, who paced the Oval Office night after night, quaffing Bushmill's and dreading the next troop deployment to Saigon. Obama is more in the George Bush "What-me-worry" mold. He has no problem clowning around with the same cadets he'll ship off to the Afghan killing fields just weeks later. No worries. Maybe, that's why this week's speech at West Point was such a bust; it lacked the empathy that one expects from a leader who's sending his fellow countrymen into war. Yes, there was plenty of the usual rhetorical fanfare, but nothing that vaguely resembled genuine concern or--dare we say--compassion. That's just not part of Obama's repertoire.

Part of the problem has to do with the fact that Obama always looks like he just stepped out of the White House sauna after an invigorating workout at the gym. He seems a little too spunky and carefree for someone who's supposed to be overseeing two wars at the same time. When people's kids are in harm's way, they want to see it etched-deeply into the president's face. It should resonate in his voice and guide his behavior. This is apparently lost on the Hollywood set-designers who run the White House public relations team. They're still stuck in the "Reagan is God" mode, where every president is expected to be ebullient, energetic, and resolute; an odd-mix of Winston Churchill and Lance Armstrong.

Obama also has a glaring truth-in-advertising problem. He's just not who he pretends to be. He was sold as an avatar of change but, as soon as he was sworn in, he proceeded to reinforce the most regressive policies of the Bush administration. With typical callousness, he has run roughshod over his liberal base who mistook his sweeping proclamations as a sincere commitment to progressive politics. Boy, were they duped. No change, no way.

Tuesday's recitation at West Point is a perfect illustration of Obama as cardboard figurehead rallying the public for more gratuitous carnage in the Afghan meat-grinder. While earnest-looking cadets gazed on in stunned silence, Obama went through his usual ruminations, pretending that the platitudes flashing on the monitor before him were his most heartfelt convictions. The problem is, Obama's heartfelt convictions are as rare as the elusive ivory-billed woodpecker, a fact that crestfallen liberals are just now starting to grasp.

"It is easy to forget that when this war began, we were united, bound together by the fresh memory of a horrific attack, and by the determination to defend our homeland and the values we hold dear," Obama thundered. "I refuse to accept the notion that we cannot summon that unity again. I believe with every fiber of my being that we – as Americans – can still come together behind a common purpose."

Talk about audacity! Here's Obama channeling George Bush to his captive audience, invoking the same stale imagery, the same demagoguery, the same flawed logic as his reviled predecessor. Is it any wonder why the far-right loonies at the Wall Street Journal and the Weekly Standard are now gushing over our new War President?

Obama's speech was laced with Bushisms: America is the victim...America never asked for this war...America only invaded to spread democracy and liberate the tormented Afghan people... Anything America does can be justified by 9-11.

"9-11, 9-11, 9-11." Oh, and did I mention, "9-11."

So what exactly is the difference between George Bush and Barack Obama?

3 inches and maybe 20 lbs, beyond that, not a thing. They're carbon copies.

Obama will now deploy 30,000 troops to the Afghan hellhole while activating Gen Stanley "death squad" McChrystal's savage counterinsurgency operation which will integrate psyops, special forces, NGOs, psychologists, media, anthropologists, humanitarian agencies, public relations, reconstruction, robotic drones, and conventional forces to assert control over the South and the tribal areas of Pakistan, to quash the indigenous resistance, and to pacify the restive and increasingly pessimistic population. Sounds great, eh? The Pentagon's plan to overpower, occupy and subjugate Afghanistan while grinding its people beneath the iron-heel of Yankee militarism, will be dramatically intensified under the guidance of America's charismatic and warmongering Commander-in-chief, Barack Obama.

Let the bloodbath begin!




 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #12 on: December 07, 2009, 07:13:31 AM »
Weekend Edition
December 4-6, 2009
http://www.counterpunch.org/cockburn12042009.html

CounterPunch Diary

War Cries From a Defeated Man


By ALEXANDER COCKBURN

Ritual trumphalism about America’s righteous mission in the closing sentences of his speech did not dispel the distinct impression during  President Obama’s  33-minute address to cadets at West Point Tuesday night that we were listening to  a man defeated by the challenge of justifying the dispatch of 3o,000 more troops to Afghanistan.  Contrary to the hackneyed  references to his “soaring rhetoric”,  the speech was earth-bound and mechanically delivered.

Obama didn’t make the case and he pleased few. The liberals seethed as they heard him say that it is “in our vital national interest” to send 30,000 more troops to a mission they regard as doomed from the getgo.
The cheers of the right at the news of the deployment died in their throats as they heard his next line, “After 18 months, our troops will begin to come home.”

No mature American, seasoned in the ineradicable graft flourishing down the decades in every major American city, believes a pledge that corruption will be banished from Afghanistan in a year and a half, or that Karzai has any credibility as the wielder of the cleansing broom.

Each proposition of Obama’s rationale collapses at the first prod, starting with the comparison with the conclusion of America’s mission in Iraq. It’s taken as axiomatic in Washington that the “surge” in Iraq worked – that the extra troops demanded of President Bush by General Petraeus turned the tide.

But what truly turned the tide in Iraq was the victory of the Shi’a in Baghdad and other major cities in their bloody civil war with the Sunni, the majority of whose fighters then saw they had alternative but to forge an alliance with the hated occupiers and garland the tanks they had been trying to blow up only weeks earlier.

Prime Minister Maliki has at his disposal a large and seemingly loyal army and extensive trained militia and police force to sustain  and guard the Iraqi state. The Afghan army is rag-tag, barely trained, mostly illiterate and rife with desertion – disproportionately manned and commanded by Tajiks whom the Pashtuns despise. The police depend for their living on bribes. As Professor Juan Cole points out, “the entire province of Qunduz north of the capital only has 800 police for a population of nearly a million. In contrast, the similarly-sized San Francisco has over 2,000 police officers and rather fewer armed militants.”

Core to Obama’s argument for intervention is the claim he made at West Point that the fundamental objective of  destroying  Al Qaida can only be achieved by destroying their hosts, the Taliban and that this enterprise requires more troops. But there is evidence that across the recent months of infighting over America’s options, Obama and his White House national security advisers themselves had no confidence in this proposition.
In the struggle between the White House and General McChrystal, the Pentagon and its Defense Secretary Robert Gates (a holdover from the Bush years)  Obama’s security adviser Gen. James  Jones mooted to Bob Woodward of the  Washington Post the question of why al Qaeda would want to move out of its present sanctuary in Pakistan to the uncertainties of Afghanistan.

McChrystal promptly struck back in his London speech to the Institute of Strategic Studies: “When  the Taliban has success, "that provides sanctuary from which al Qaeda can operate transnationally."

Days later the New York Times reported that "senior administration officials" were saying privately that Obama's national security team was now "arguing that the Taliban in Afghanistan do not pose a direct threat to the United States.”

Detailing this semi-covert struggle, the Washington-based national security analyst argued here on the CounterPunch site last Wednesday  that Obama was boxed in by an alliance of Gates and Secretary of State Clinton plus McChrystal and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the  Joint Chiefs of Staff,  in “a textbook demonstration of how the national security apparatus ensures that its policy preference on issues of military force prevail in the White House.”

Though Porter makes a decent case, this is giving too much comfort to those disconsolate but ever hopeful liberals arguing that there really is a “good Obama” battling away against the darker forces. In a larger time-frame, if anyone boxed himself in on Afghanistan it was Obama who spent a lot of the campaign last year seeking to deflect McCain’s charges that he was a quitter on Iraq, by proclaiming that America’s true battlefield lay in Afghanistan.

There were other unusual down-key notes in the speech. Obama is probably the first president of the United States to declare flatly that “we can't simply afford to ignore the price of these wars…That's why our troop commitment in Afghanistan cannot be open- ended: because the nation that I'm most interested in building is our own.”

Contrast that to the budgetary bravado of President Kennedy proclaiming in his inaugural address in 1961 that “we shall pay any price, bear any burden … in order to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”

In the wake of the speech – particularly after polls showing that it had failed to increase prowar sentiment -  the Democrats were glum, well aware that they will be saddled with an unpopular war  through the 2010 midterm elections and that Obama will unhesitatingly turn to Republicans in Congress to get the necessary vote for the money to finance the widening war. From the left came pledges to revive the antiwar movement, dormant these past two years.

There are hurt cries from prominent pwogs such as Tom Hayden who now vows he will strip the  Obama sticker off his car. Maybe so.  Our sense here at CounterPunch is that Lady Macbeth would get those damned spots off her hands far quicker that American progressives will purge themselves of Obamaphilia.

At least the American political landscape is offering some pleasing spectacles.  On Wednesday came tidings of a right-left alliance in Congress, challenging the reappointment of Ben Bernanke for a second term as chairman of the Federal Reserve, a slap in the face not only for Bernanke but for Obama.

In demanding a hold on Bernanke’s reappointment, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont said, “The American people overwhelmingly voted last year for a change in our national priorities to put the interests of ordinary people ahead of the greed of Wall Street and the wealthy few. What the American people did not bargain for was another four years for one of the key architects of the Bush economy.”

The president could scarcely exult publicly at one piece of good news, since it comes at the expense of the lives of four police officers, in Tacoma, Washington, shot dead by Maurice Clemmons, an apparent madman who had a very  lengthy prison sentence commuted nine years ago  by Mike Huckabee when the latter was governor of Arkansas.

Huckabee’s pardons were estimable and prompted praise from CounterPunch’s editors last year as unique exhibitions of courage in the grotesque penal climate in America today. To his credit Huckabee  is standing by his reason for pardoning Clemmons– that a ninety-plus year sentence had been a grotesque sentence to give a teenager. But the prospects of him winning the Republican nomination in 2012 have now shriveled, sparing Obama a witty and resourceful opponent.

Obama is no doubt  more comfortable with the thought that his opponent might conceivably be Sarah Palin, the woman who is the progressives’   alibi for not having to focus on  their  pathetic illusions about Obama.  He didn’t deceive them on the campaign trail, if they’d been ready to listen closely. He pledged a war in Afghanistan and now he’s cashing that promise. He didn’t fool them. They fooled themselves, a far more culpable offense.


Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #13 on: December 07, 2009, 07:29:06 AM »
Jones: Bin Laden still spends time in Afghanistan

Obama security adviser: Bin Laden shifts between border regions in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Staff
AP News
http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/12/06/jones-bin-laden-still-spends-time-in-afghanistan-4/

Dec 06, 2009 13:04 EST

National security adviser James Jones said Sunday that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden still spends some time inside Afghanistan. Most recent U.S. estimates have placed bin Laden inside Pakistan. But Jones, a retired general, said the best estimate is that bin Laden "is somewhere in North Waziristan, sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border."

Jones described it as "very, very rough, mountainous area. Generally ungoverned and we're going to have to get after that to make sure that this very, very important symbol of what al-Qaida stands for is either, once again, on the run or captured or killed."

Earlier, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. hasn't had any good intelligence for years on bin Laden's whereabouts. He said he couldn't confirm reports that bin Laden had been seen recently in Afghanistan.

"If, as we suspect, he is in North Waziristan, it is an area that the Pakistani government has not had a presence in, in quite some time," Gates said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was important to kill or capture bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders, "but certainly you can make enormous progress absent that."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said people in the region have told him bin Laden "moves back and forth." He said the hunt for bin Laden has prevented him from establishing bases for training and equipping terrorists, adding, "Don't think al-Qaida could not flourish without him if we give them a safe haven."

Jones appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," Gates and Clinton were on ABC's "This Week," NBC's "Meet the Press" and CBs' "Face the Nation." McCain was on NBC.

Source: AP News


Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2009, 07:33:39 AM »
Preaching peace, flexing muscle

America's 'surge' may only expand, intensify and prolong the Afghan conflict

By ERIC MARGOLIS

Last Updated: 6th December 2009, 4:56am
http://www.torontosun.com/comment/columnists/eric_margolis/2009/12/06/12055341-sun.html

NEW YORK -- There were no surprises in President Barack Obama's historic speech at West Point last Tuesday.

Obama faced the choice between guns (Afghanistan) or butter (his national health plan). The Nobel Peace Prize winner chose guns.

As expected, Obama will rush 30,000 new troops into the Afghan quagmire and arm-twist reluctant allies to contribute more token forces. Confusingly, Obama promised some of the 100,000 U.S. garrison will begin withdrawing in 2011.

The president insisted his objective remains destroying al-Qaida. But al-Qaida barely exists in Afghanistan. Only a handful remain in Pakistan. His real target may be Pakistan.

Obama's plan mirrors the Bush administration's Iraq "surge" that candidate Obama sharply criticized. The Soviets also tried the same surge tactic during their Afghan occupation.

Tragically, the "anti-war president" missed another major opportunity to end the Afghan War through negotiations.

Anyone who understands Afghanistan's deep complexities knows that Obama's surge won't win the eight-year war. Afghanistan's Pashtun tribal majority will continue to resist western occupation.

The additional U.S. troops will be used to protect the main cities and roads connecting them -- again, mirroring Soviet strategy in the 1980s. U.S. Marines will crush rebellious Kandahar the way Iraq's Fallujah was laid waste.

At best, it will be an exercise in managing failure.

Americans are turning against the war. Congress is fretting over its mounting costs: $300 billion US for 2009 in a $1.4-trillion deficit year. This war is being waged on borrowed money. Democrats are rightly calling for a special war tax on all Americans rather than continuing to hide the war's huge expenses on the national credit card. Canada should do the same.

It costs $1 million US to keep each American soldier in Afghanistan. Renting Pakistan's assistance will cost $3 billion per year. Thousands of U.S. troops will remain stuck in Iraq. Obama vowed to fight al-Qaida in Africa and Asia. No wonder many angry Democrats are calling him "George Bush's third term."

The most positive interpretation of Obama's "surge" is that it is a face-saving exercise to cover America's retreat from the Afghan morass. An Afghan army will be cobbled together (the Soviets did the same), the Karzai government will be somehow sanitized and victory will be declared in 2011. This will hopefully allow substantial U.S. troop reductions before the next mid-term and presidential elections - if all goes well.

But things are not going well in Pakistan, without whose co-operation, bases and supply routes the U.S. cannot wage war in Afghanistan. The U.S.-backed Pakistani government of Asif Ali Zardari is awash with corruption charges, condemned as a puppet regime and may soon be ousted by Pakistan's military.

Most Pakistanis support the Taliban, see the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan as driven by lust for oil and increasingly fear the U.S. intends to tear their unstable nation apart in order to seize its nuclear arsenal.

Obama's advisers have convinced him an early U.S. withdrawal from Afghanistan will provoke chaos in Pakistan. They don't understand that it is the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan that is destabilizing Pakistan and creating ever more anti-western extremism.

What Obama should really have been concerned about was Osama bin Laden's vow to break America's domination of the Muslim world by luring it into a final battle in Pakistan, a nation of 175 million.

The longer U.S. forces wage war in Afghanistan, the more the conflict will spread into Pakistan, where 15% of its people and 25% of its military are Pashtuns who sympathize with their beleaguered fellow Taliban Pashtuns in Afghanistan.

A grimmer view is that Obama has become a captive of the military-industrial complex, Wall Street and Washington's rabid neocons who seek permanent war against the Muslim world. Obama's "surge" may only expand, intensify and prolong the Afghan conflict.

In the end, there will be a negotiated peace that includes Taliban. But how many Americans, allies and Afghans must die before it comes?

ERIC.MARGOLIS@SUNMEDIA.CA

Offline trailhound

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #15 on: December 07, 2009, 07:40:49 AM »
Jones: Bin Laden still spends time in Afghanistan

Obama security adviser: Bin Laden shifts between border regions in Afghanistan, Pakistan

Staff
AP News
http://wire.antiwar.com/2009/12/06/jones-bin-laden-still-spends-time-in-afghanistan-4/

Dec 06, 2009 13:04 EST

National security adviser James Jones said Sunday that al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden still spends some time inside Afghanistan. Most recent U.S. estimates have placed bin Laden inside Pakistan. But Jones, a retired general, said the best estimate is that bin Laden "is somewhere in North Waziristan, sometimes on the Pakistani side of the border, sometimes on the Afghan side of the border."

Jones described it as "very, very rough, mountainous area. Generally ungoverned and we're going to have to get after that to make sure that this very, very important symbol of what al-Qaida stands for is either, once again, on the run or captured or killed."

Earlier, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the U.S. hasn't had any good intelligence for years on bin Laden's whereabouts. He said he couldn't confirm reports that bin Laden had been seen recently in Afghanistan.

"If, as we suspect, he is in North Waziristan, it is an area that the Pakistani government has not had a presence in, in quite some time," Gates said.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said it was important to kill or capture bin Laden and other al-Qaida leaders, "but certainly you can make enormous progress absent that."

Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., said people in the region have told him bin Laden "moves back and forth." He said the hunt for bin Laden has prevented him from establishing bases for training and equipping terrorists, adding, "Don't think al-Qaida could not flourish without him if we give them a safe haven."

Jones appeared on CNN's "State of the Union," Gates and Clinton were on ABC's "This Week," NBC's "Meet the Press" and CBs' "Face the Nation." McCain was on NBC.

Source: AP News



 I wonder when BinLaden will go to venezuela or iran :P

"Do not let your hatred of a people incite you to aggression." Qur'an 5:2
At the heart of that Western freedom and democracy is the belief that the individual man, the child of God, is the touchstone of value..." -RFK

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #16 on: December 07, 2009, 08:21:27 AM »
Sunday, December 06, 2009
17:26 Mecca time, 14:26 GMT
 http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/2009/12/200912691617401228.html
 
FOCUS: OPINION  
 
Framing Obama's Afghanistan mess  
 
 By Steve Clemons


Obama has announced that the US will deploy 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan [GALLO/GETTY]

On June 18, 2009, the administration of Barack Obama, the US president, was required by law under the Goldwater-Nichols revisions to the National Security Act of 1947 to issue its 'national security strategy' within 150 days of coming into office.
 
Many administrations miss the deadline but most have taken the creation and promulgation of the president's foreign policy framework very seriously and eventually get this report out.
 
But the bottom line about the new team is that there has not been much time to launch a refined and peer-reviewed 'national security strategy' out of the starting chute.

The absence of a presidential plan means that it is very hard to discern in the Obama administration's moves whether there is a broad strategic course into which the president's Afghanistan decisions fit - or whether his plans are a function of inertia and ad hoc responses to crises in the AfPak region.

Least bad route


Mullen, Clinton and Gates testify on Obama's Afghanistan strategy [GALLO/GETTY]

The evening before Obama gave his address at the US military academy at West Point on 'The way forward in Afghanistan and Pakistan', a senior White House official told me that the US president had no good choices to make in Afghanistan and would instead try to sculpt an approach that was the least bad.

Obama would attempt to manoeuvre the US into a position of greater leverage over the government of Hamid Karzai, the Afghan president, and to fast-track capacity building in the Afghan army and police forces, said the official, who added that since coming to office, Obama has tripled US forces in Afghanistan.

However, as the official told me: "The top third of these [additional forces] are available for just 18 months."

Since Obama's speech, Michael Mullen, the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, Hillary Clinton, the secretary of state, and Robert Gates, the defence secretary, have been spreading quick sand around the president's statement on an 18 month time frame and his plan to begin drawing down this surge of forces in July 2011.
 
To add to the confusion over whether the July 2011 date is really hard or really soft, I received a communication from another senior White House official on the national security team on the day of Obama's speech. I was emailed a note to the effect of:
 
"[The president's policy] sets a clear, narrow and achievable goal for Afghanistan: deny al-Qaeda sanctuary, disrupt the Taliban so it cannot topple the government and accelerate transition to Afghan responsibility for their own security and governance. It is not nation building, it is not open ended. The strategy calls for a commitment of additional resources up front. But it also tells American people how and when this ends [emphasis added]."

Stumbling into policy

The president's political quandary is as clear as day - what is not so clear is the strategic course.
 
On the one hand, Obama has a good sense of the scepticism of the US progressive left and the realist right that these force deployments into Afghanistan feel more like stumbling into a policy rather than scripting one that bridges realistic AfPak objectives, resources, and national will. These interests wanted to hear language about an exit game plan and drawdown after a long, frustrating, eight-year slog.
 
On the other hand, there are many in America's 'strategic class' who have reconstructed the Vietnam rationale that a US drawdown would be seen as a failed test of US resolve to squelch its foes in a power-defining war. They believe that to pull out would embolden enemies and reify key doubts among allies about the US' global power.
 
Adding to the challenge, one of the reasons why Taliban interests have gained such momentum over the last year - signing up thousands of village chiefs in to the growing Taliban zone of influence - is that many Afghan citizens believe that the US military will leave in the near term.

The key priorities of these local political leaders are the protection of key trade routes and basic physical security.

With US staying power in doubt and the Taliban willing to provide these two public goods in exchange for other 'costs' (i.e. a religious order that strips women of any modern rights), the Taliban has real momentum. Even Obama recognises this and stated that it must be knocked back.

Proxy war
 
On yet another dimension, Pakistan's security forces, which helped fund and build the Afghan Taliban as their own proxy in Afghanistan, also believe that the US will depart, leaving Afghanistan vulnerable to incursions by India.

While the Pakistan military and intelligence arms are purging their country of the 'Pakistan Taliban' to a significant degree, Pakistan cannot be counted on as an ally in the battle against the 'Afghan Taliban' as long as it fears India meddling in Afghanistan.
 
Can a dependable India-Pakistan rapprochement be achieved in an 18 month window, to coincide with the force surge, with the aim of changing the dynamics of Pakistani support for US enemies in Afghanistan?
 
Working to achieve a world-altering agreement between India and Pakistan - including the resolution of the Kashmir dispute and engagement in a set of confidence and trust building initiatives that would finally squeeze out their proxy war in Afghanistan - is a strategically impressive goal.

Some observers, like the Pulitzer Prize winning South Asia expert Steve Coll, think that this is not only doable but important enough to justify a well-resourced US commitment to the kind of stability Obama outlined.
 
Count me as highly sceptical.

In the near term, to roll back the growing momentum of subscribers to Taliban authority, the US needed to convince both Afghans and Pakistanis that it was going to dig deep and long into an AfPak stabilisation strategy.

Strategic confusion

 
The extra 30,000 will bring the total number of US troops there to 100,000 [GALLO/GETTY]

Obama's speech, which pleased observers like me for narrowing our AfPak national security objectives and talked squarely about needing to frame an off-ramp to this dangerously addictive conflict, nonetheless has confused American civil society, the US military, and our allies in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The speech's earnestness was clear - a desire to end the conflict and then get out - but it did very little to bring to a close the US' structural, strategic confusion.
 
The US president did tell those on the ground in AfPak that the US was not only staying but pumping up its capacity to do more - but then framed the near term departure of these same forces.
 
This make-everyone-happy (but ultimately unhappy) approach to national security decision making is why I believe a drawdown to Biden-suggested levels of both mission and troop levels was a healthier course for the country. 
 
We may have some in the administration who can frame the challenges and suggest prescriptions, but fundamentally the key voices of US national security policy continue to issue an inchoate frame for understanding how the US will succeed in Afghanistan in such a way that it can ever withdraw - not only from an internal Afghan civil war but from an ongoing dangerously suspicious dance between Pakistan and India.
 
Before being drafted back into service by Obama, Jim Jones, the national security advisor, was a co-chair of a non-governmental group called 'The Project on National Security Reform'. This group, led by Jim Locher, a Goldwater-Nichols expert on national security decision making processes, advocates for a restructured decision making machine around the US president - one that will require legislative fixes to broaden both the participants and structure of national security strategies.
 
This may sound like a bureaucrat's fantasy about bureaucratising responses to conflicts, but it is important to stand up a process that takes a broad look at all of the US' national security goals and resources and synthesises them in a way to prevent a group in government hijacking control of the operation.

For too long now, this very deliberative national security strategy review process on Afghanistan, which lasted more than three months, looked too dominated by military interests - reinforced optically by Obama's decision to present his strategy at West Point rather than from the Oval Office, which was more appropriate for a decision of this magnitude.

Getting serious
 
Jones, his deputy Tom Donilon and Denis McDonough, the national security council chief of staff, are believers in taking the time to think through all scenarios and generating a strategy grounded in realities as they are - rather than as others would like them to be.

But to convince serious observers that we have moved from the ad hoc and politically shaped to well-informed strategic judgment calls, much more needs to be done and seen in Obama's policies.
 
This speech basically kicked the bucket on Afghanistan down the road another year -much like Obama did last March.
 
It is time to get serious about the geopolitical downsides of the Afghanistan war, not to mention a financial commitment greater than the annual cost of US healthcare reform, and to begin dealing with our national security concerns in the AfPak region through other means and in a way that fits a newly developed national security strategy that affirms the perception of the US' global leadership.
 
Steve Clemons publishes the popular political blog, The Washington Note, and directs the American Strategy Programme at the centrist think tank, New America Foundation.

 
 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2009, 09:27:37 AM »
Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down

                                         

By David DeGraw
 
Global Research, December 5, 2009
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=16410
Amped Status - 2009-12-02


The economic elite have escalated their attack on the U.S. public by surging military operations in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

 

As Obama announced plans for escalating the war effort, it has become clear that the Obama Illusion has taken yet another horrifying turn. Before explaining how the Af-Pak surge is a direct attack on the US public, let’s peer through the illusion and look at the reality of the situation.

Now that the much despised George W. Bush is out of the way and a more popular figurehead is doing PR for Dick Cheney’s right-hand military leader Gen. Stanley McChrystal, who is leading his second AF-Pak surge now, and with long time Bush family confidant Robert Gates still running the Defense Department, the masters of war have never had it so good.

Barack Obama, the anti-war candidate, has proven to be a perfect decoy for the military industrial complex. Consider all the opposition and bad press Bush received when he announced the surge in Iraq. Then consider this:

I: TROOP DEPLOYMENTS

The Bush surge in Iraq deployed an extra 28,000 US troops. Under Obama, back in March, a surge in Afghanistan, that also further escalated operations inside Pakistan, deployed an extra 21,000 troops. However, in an unannounced and underreported move, Obama added 13,000 more troops to that surge to bring the total to 34,000 troops. Obama actually outdid Bush’s surge by 6000 troops and brought the overall number of US troops in Afghanistan to 68,000, double the number there when Bush left office.

Where opposition was fierce to Bush’s surge, barely any opposition was expressed during Obama’s surge. Part of the reason for so little political and public backlash was the cleverly orchestrated psychological operation to announce the beginning of US troop withdrawal from Iraq. While the drawdown in Iraq has been greatly exaggerated in the US mainstream media, as of October, Obama still had 124,000 troops deployed in Iraq (not counting private military contractors).

When Obama casts the illusion of a 2011 withdrawal from Afghanistan, one just needs look at the reality of the situation with the over-hyped withdrawal in Iraq.

Now, with Obama’s latest surge announcement he will again be adding a minimum of another 30,000 US soldiers. This means that Obama has now led a bigger surge than Bush… on two separate occasions within the past nine months of his new administration.

Obama has now escalated deployments in the Af-Pak region to 98,000 US troops. So in Af-Pak and Iraq, he will now have a total of 222,000 US troops deployed, 36,000 more than Bush ever had - 186,000 was Bush’s highest total.

PRIVATE MILITARY AND NATO DEPLOYMENTS

The amount of private military contractors deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan is rarely reported on in the US mainstream press, but a Congressional Research Service investigation into this revealed that a record high 69% active duty soldiers are in fact private mercenaries.

Although the administration is yet to disclose how many private mercenaries will be deployed in the latest surge, it is believed that the 69% ratio will remain in tact.

The Pentagon released a report showing that Obama already had  a total of 242,657 private contractors in action, as of June 30th. 119,706 of them in Iraq, 73,968 in Afghanistan, with 50,061 active in “other US CENTCOM locations.”

Back in June, Jeremy Scahill reported on these findings: “According to new statistics released by the Pentagon, with Barack Obama as commander in chief, there has been a 23% increase in the number of ‘Private Security Contractors’ working for the Department of Defense in Iraq in the second quarter of 2009 and a 29% increase in Afghanistan….”

Plus, we must mention, the immense dangers of having private military contractors as 69% of our fighting force. For those of you unaware, private military contractors are hired from all over the world. Any former soldier, from any country, is welcome to come and fight for a salary - a salary that is often significantly more than what we pay our own US soldiers.

These mercenaries have a vested interest in prolonging the war, for as long as there is a war, they have a well paying job. So it is easy to infer that a significant percentage of these contractors will not have the US soldiers, or US taxpayers, best interests at heart.

Obama continues to feed this out of control private army by pouring billions of taxpayer dollars into shady and scandalous companies like Blackwater, who recently changed their name to Xe Services, because they destroyed their reputation by committing numerous war crimes in Iraq. A recent investigation by Jeremy Scahill revealed the extent to which Blackwater is involved in covert operations inside Afghanistan and Pakistan. In some cases, Blackwater is not working for the US, but were hired by covert elements inside Pakistan. When it comes to private contractors, the fog of war grows ominous, exactly who is fighting for whom is unclear. The crucial factor is who paid them the most that particular day.

The US military can give them $1000 today, and an enemy can give them $1000 tomorrow, when you have people who fight for a payday and not for a country, you get chaos. This leads to a breakdown in the chain of command, effectively turning a military operation into a covert intelligence operation, where you’re never really sure if the person you are fighting with is on your side or not.

A federal investigation by the Commission on Wartime Contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, revealed in June: “More than 240,000 contractor employees, about 80 percent of them foreign nationals, are working in Iraq and Afghanistan to support operations and projects of the U.S. military, the Department of State, and the U.S. Agency for International Development. Contractor employees outnumber U.S. troops in the region. While contractors provide vital services, the Commission believes their use has also entailed billions of dollars lost to waste, fraud, and abuse due to inadequate planning, poor contract drafting, limited competition, understaffed oversight functions, and other problems.”

Before this latest surge, there were over 123,000 US and NATO troops in the Af-Pak region, and 200,000 Afghan security forces, supporting the US effort. According to US intelligence sources the total number of Taliban and al-Qaida fighters in the region was estimated to only be about 25,000, giving the US led forces a minimum of a 12 to 1 troop advantage.

When you add in estimated private soldiers, you get an approximate minimum of a 17 to 1 advantage.

Although Obama opened his war speech by mentioning al-Qaida as the main justification for this war, consider this AP report: “national security adviser James Jones said last weekend that the al-Qaida presence has diminished, and he does not ‘foresee the return of the Taliban’ to power. He said that according to the maximum estimate, al-Qaida has fewer than 100 fighters operating in Afghanistan without any bases or ability to launch attacks on the West.”

Does it seriously take a surge of hundreds of thousands of troops to contain what amounts to “less than 100″ al-Qaida members?

Any serious war strategist will tell you that the most effective way to combat the remains of the al-Qaida network, is through an intelligence operation, and statistics prove that escalating more troops into the region will only fuel further acts of terrorism.

DRONE DEPLOYMENTS

Speaking of fueling hatred toward the US, other than a huge troop increase, there has also been a sharp increase in the use of unmanned drones. The New Yorker reports: “According to a just completed study by the New America Foundation, the number of drone strikes has risen dramatically since Obama became President. During his first nine and a half months in office, he has authorized as many C.I.A. aerial attacks in Pakistan as George W. Bush did in his final three years in office.”

The unmanned drones have caused major controversy due to the high number of civilian causalities they cause. However, as the study stated, the Obama Administration continues to increasingly rely upon them.

So summing up these statistics, we have the most fierce and technologically advanced military force in history, vastly outnumbering what amounts to be a ragtag army of peasant farmers with guns, and our best option is supposed to be an increase in troop levels?

Obviously, something doesn’t add up.

After thinking about all of this, you begin to see through the smokescreen of what this war is said to be about and get a glimpse of some of the sinister forces at play here.

OVER EXTENDED TROOPS

With the rise in deployments, the US military is stretched to a breaking point. Obama is “deploying practically every available US Army brigade to war, leaving few units in reserve.”

As this war enters its 9th year, many soldiers are forced into deploying on their 3rd or 4th combat tours, and morale is fading fast.

The past year has seen a dramatic increase in US soldier deaths, with the number of wounded drastically rising as well. 928 US soldiers have died in Afghanistan thus far, with last month being the deadliest month since the start.

AP reports that “nearly four times as many troops were injured in October as a year ago. Amputations, burns, brain injuries and shrapnel wounds proliferate in Afghanistan, due mostly to crude, increasingly potent improvised bombs targeting U.S. forces…. Since 2007, more than 70,000 service members have been diagnosed with traumatic brain injury — more than 20,000 of them this year…”

US soldier suicides are also on the rise. In 2008, 197 army soldiers committed suicide. Thus far in 2009, there have been 211 army suicides.

McClatchy recently reported: “An Army task force has found that a growing number of soldiers serving in Afghanistan are suffering from some kind of mental stress and is urging the military to double the number of mental health professionals deployed there. The study, conducted by the Army Mental Health Advisory Team, found that soldiers’ morale in Afghanistan is ’significantly lower’ than it was in 2005 and 2007 studies…”

As wounded soldiers return from Afghanistan and Iraq, they are finding a healthcare system that is increasingly more difficult and costly to get care from. In fact, 2,266 US veterans died in 2008 due to lack of healthcare, and “researchers also found that, in 2008, 1,461,615 veterans between the ages of 18 and 64 lacked insurance.”

Despite all of this, in another devastating example of how the economy is unraveling US society, military enlistment levels have reached a high. In a report by the Washington Post headlined: “A Historic Success In Military Recruiting” they reveal:

“For the first time in more than 35 years, the U.S. military has met all of its annual recruiting goals, as hundreds of thousands of young people have enlisted despite the near-certainty that they will go to war.

The Pentagon… said the economic downturn and rising joblessness, as well as bonuses and other factors, had led more qualified youths to enlist. The military has not seen such across-the-board successes since the all-volunteer force was established.…

‘We delivered beyond anything the framers of the all-volunteer force would have anticipated,’ Bill Carr, deputy undersecretary of defense for military personnel policy, said at a Pentagon news conference.

Overall, the Defense Department brought in 168,900 active-duty troops, or 103 percent of the goal for the fiscal year….”

What we are witnessing here with such high enlistment levels during this economic crisis has many parallels to Germany in the 1930’s. Just like the United States now, the German economy in the 1930’s was devastated by an economic crisis brought on by Wall Street. With rising unemployment and poverty, German men turned to the military for income and health benefits that their family severely needed. With over 25 million US citizens unemployed and underemployed, over 50 million with no healthcare, and over 50 million living in poverty, military service is now a last resort for a growing number of desperate Americans as well. The record-breaking enlistment numbers are expected to continue to rise as the economy continues to decline.

“Such a perfect democracy constructs its own inconceivable foe, terrorism. Its wish is to be judged by its enemies rather than by its results.”
– Guy DeBord, Comments On the Society of the Spectacle, 1988



II: THE MILITARIZED ECONOMY

The amount of money necessary to keep the US military machine growing has reached astonishing levels. Considering the increasing amount of troops and contractors, the White House estimates that it spends one million dollars per soldier, per year in Afghanistan, “not including the added expense of training and maintaining a security force.”

According to these calculations, 30,000 troops for this latest surge will add an additional $30 billion to the annual budget, just in troop related costs. Also consider the price of moving fuel around, AFP reports: “Moving soldiers and supplies across the rugged Afghan landscape costs more than in Iraq, with the military consuming 83 liters or 22 gallons of fuel per soldier per day.” The Hill adds: “Pentagon officials have told the House Appropriations Defense Subcommittee a gallon of fuel costs the military about $400 by the time it arrives in the remote locations in Afghanistan where U.S. troops operate.”

Other than in Iraq and Afghanistan, you have an unprecedented number of military bases spread throughout the world. Officially there are “900 military facilities in 46 countries and territories (the unofficial figure is far greater). The US military owns or rents 795,000 acres of land, with 26,000 buildings and structures, valued at $146bn. The bases bristle with an inventory of weapons whose worth is measured in the trillions and whose killing power could wipe out all life on earth several times over. The official figures exclude the huge build-up of troops and structures in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade, as well as secret or unacknowledged facilities in Israel, Kuwait, the Philippines and many other places. In just three years of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, £2bn was spent on military construction.”

There was public outcry when Bush drastically raised an already bloated military budget to record highs. But in comes the admired anti-war candidate Obama, in the middle of a severe economic crisis, and what happens? Obama drastically increased Bush’s record budget to $651 billion in 2009. Yes, during a severe economic crisis, Obama actually increased Bush’s budget. US military spending is higher than the rest of the world combined. The 2010 budget, which doesn’t account for war-related spending yet, is already set to grow to $680 billion.

However, these budget numbers are deceiving because the Obama Administration has been getting better at hiding extra spending in other budget items. The actual total 2009 budget was over $1 trillion.

And much like the staggering giveaway to the economic elite in the Wall Street banker bailout, no one is really sure where a significant percentage of this money is actually going. On September 10, 2001, Donald Rumsfeld announced that $2.3 trillion in military spending was unaccounted for. As CBS News reported: “$2.3 trillion - that’s $8,000 for every man, woman and child in America.”

At that time, Pentagon auditors admitted that they couldn’t account for a staggering 25% of all military spending. And the budget has exploded since then, with fewer people accounting for where this money is going.

Once again, just like the $23.7 trillion that went into propping up the Wall Street elite - which totals $80,000 for every American - you have trillions more in taxpayer money vanishing and very few regulating and accounting for it.

Other than this staggering loss of taxpayer money, any serious economist will tell you “that military spending increases unemployment and decreases economic growth.”

Economists Joseph E. Stiglitz and Linda J. Bilmes, in their book “The Three Trillion Dollar War,” report that military spending on the war in Iraq has created over a trillion dollars in loses to the US economy.

On top of all the looting of taxpayer money that is occurring, “several powerful House committee chairmen have proposed a surtax on Americans to pay the future military costs.”

With the country already operating at a record $12 trillion deficit, members of congress don’t know how we can afford increasing an already huge war expenditure.

WEAPONS SALES

In this struggling economy, weapon sales have become one of America’s most booming businesses. US weapon sales have hit a record level under the Obama administration. Foreign Policy In Focus reports:

“In fiscal year 2008, the foreign military sales program sold $36 billion in weapons and defense articles, an increase of more than 50% over 2007. Sales for the first half of 2009 reached $27 billion, and could top out at $40 billion by the end of the year. In contrast, through the early 2000s, arms sales averaged between $8-13 billion per year….

But last year, the United States sold arms or military services to well over 100 nations….

… the majority of U.S. arms sales to the developing world went to countries that our own State Department defined as undemocratic regimes and/or major human rights abusers. And over two-thirds of the world’s active conflicts involved weapons that had been supplied by the United States.”

Selling all these weapons, especially during the biggest global financial crisis, will lead to one thing… terrorism.

Given these statistics, it shouldn’t be a surprise to hear how US taxpayer dollars are still funding the Taliban. Prior to the 9/11 attacks, the Taliban government was funded by the US taxpayer. In fact, the Taliban still receives a significant portion of their funding courtesy of the US taxpayer. As The Nation recently reported: “It is an accepted fact of the military logistics operation in Afghanistan that the US government funds the very forces American troops are fighting. And it is a deadly irony, because these funds add up to a huge amount of money for the Taliban. ‘It’s a big part of their income,’ one of the top Afghan government security officials told The Nation in an interview. In fact, US military officials in Kabul estimate that a minimum of 10 percent of the Pentagon’s logistics contracts–hundreds of millions of dollars–consists of payments to insurgents.”

As former CIA Station Chief John Stockwell explained: “Enemies are necessary for the wheels of the US military machine to turn.”

With the war in Afghanistan now entering it’s 9th year, senior military commanders and a growing number of experts have come to the conclusion that this war is unwinnable and will fuel terrorism.

However, they all seem to be missing the point, before explaining this in more detail, let me start by referring you to a quote from a journalist who had firsthand experience operating inside a militaristic empire:

“The war is not supposed to be winnable, it is supposed to be continuous… all for the hierarchy of society… The essential act of war is destruction, not necessarily of human lives, but of the products of human labor. War is a way of shattering to pieces, or pouring into the stratosphere, or sinking in the depths of the sea, materials which might otherwise be used to make the masses too comfortable, and hence, in the long run, too intelligent… it helps to preserve the special mental atmosphere that a hierarchical society needs. War… is now a purely internal affair.” — George Orwell

III: MASTERS OF WAR

“Come you masters of war
You that build all the guns
You that build the death planes
You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know,
I can see through your mask…”

Many of the weapons manufactures and private military contractors are seen as the primary war profiteers. For an example of grotesque war profiteering, let’s look at Dick Cheney’s former company Halliburton. In a report headlined: “U.S. War Privatization Results in Billions Lost in Fraud, Waste and Abuse,” Jeremy Scahill reports on KBR, a Halliburton subsidiary.

“KBR has been paid nearly $32 billion since 2001. In May, April Stephenson, director of the Defense Contract Audit Agency, testified that KBR was linked to ‘the vast majority’ of war-zone fraud cases and a majority of the $13 billion in ‘questioned’ or ‘unsupported’ costs. According to Agency, it sent the inspector general ‘a total of 32 cases of suspected overbilling, bribery and other violations since 2004.

According to the Associated Press, which obtained an early copy of the commission’s report, ‘billions of dollars’ of the total paid to KBR ‘ended up wasted due to poorly defined work orders, inadequate oversight and contractor inefficiencies.’

KBR is at the center of a lethal scandal involving the electrocution deaths of more than a dozen US soldiers, allegedly as a result of faulty electrical work done by the company. The DoD paid KBR more than $80 million in bonuses for the very work that resulted in the electrocution deaths.”

With numerous scandals over KBR operations, Halliburton ended it’s relationship with the company. However, “Halliburton reported $4 billion in operating profits in 2008, while KBR recently said its first quarter revenues in 2009 were up 27%, for a total of $3.2 billion. Its sales in 2008 were up 33%, and according to the Financial Times, the company had $1 billion in cash, no debt, and was looking for acquisitions.”

Beyond these blatant examples of war profiteering, there are more insidious forces at play that most people don’t see. These war profiteering companies are funded by the same banks that have destroyed the US economy.

Consider this example concerning Alliant Techsystems and Textron, two manufactures of cluster bombs, the controversial civilian killing WMDs. The Guardian reported:

“The deadly trade in cluster bombs is funded by the world’s biggest banks who have loaned or arranged finance worth $20bn to firms producing the controversial weapons, despite growing international efforts to ban them…

Goldman Sachs, the US bank which made £3.19bn profit in just three months, earned $588.82m for bank services and lent $250m to Alliant Techsystems and Textron…

Last December 90 countries, including the UK, committed themselves to banning cluster bombs by next year. But the US was not one of them. So far 23 countries have ratified the convention.”

Before going into further detail on how these banks make a lion’s share of war profits, let’s look back at the origins of these wars.

GEO-STRATEGIC OIL OPERATIONS

With all due respect to people who have been force-fed Pentagon propaganda by the US mainstream media, any serious observer of the Iraq and Af-Pak wars knows that these are geo-strategic conflicts based on controlling the world’s oil supply. Anyone in the “news” media who tells you otherwise is either unaware of what is actually going on, or is a well-paid propagandist working for the very people who profit off of them.

ORIGINS OF THE IRAQ OCCUPATION: CHENEY ENERGY TASK FORCE

As an AlterNet report put it: “In January 2000, 10 days into President George W. Bush’s first term, representatives of the largest oil and energy companies joined the new administration to form the Cheney Energy Task Force.”

Secret Task Force documents that were dated March 2001, which were obtained by Judical Watch in 2003 after a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit, contained “a map of Iraqi oilfields, pipelines, refineries and terminals, as well as two charts detailing Iraqi oil and gas projects…” They also had:

“… a series of lists titled ‘Foreign Suitors for Iraqi Oilfield Contracts‘ naming more than 60 companies from some 30 countries with contracts in various stages of negotiation.

None of contracts were with American nor major British companies, and none could take effect while the U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iraq remained in place. Three countries held the largest contracts: China, Russia and France — all members of the Security Council and all in a position to advocate for the end of sanctions.

Were Saddam to remain in power and the sanctions to be removed, these contracts would take effect, and the U.S. and its closest ally would be shut out of Iraq’s great oil bonanza.”

Project Censored highlighted a Judicial Watch report that stated: “Documented plans of occupation and exploitation predating September 11 confirm heightened suspicion that U.S. policy is driven by the dictates of the energy industry. According to Judicial Watch President, Tom Fitton, ‘These documents show the importance of the Energy Task Force and why its operations should be open to the public.’”

ORIGINS OF THE AFGHANISTAN OCCUPATION: “STRATEGY OF THE SILK ROUTE”

Up until 9/11, oil companies, with the help of the Bush administration, were desperately trying to work out a deal with the Taliban to build an oil pipeline through Afghanistan. One of the world’s richest oil fields is on the eastern shore of the Caspian sea just north of Afghanistan. The Caspian oil reserves are of top strategic importance in the quest to control the earth’s remaining oil supply. The US government developed a policy called “The Strategy of the Silk Route.”

The policy was designed to lock out Russia, China and Iran from the oil in this region. This called for U.S. corporations to construct an oil pipeline running through Afghanistan. Since the mid 1990s, a consortium of U.S. companies led by Unocal have been pursing this goal. A feasibility study of the Central Asian pipeline project was performed by Enron. Their study concluded that as long as the country was split among fighting warlords the pipeline could not be built. Stability was necessary for the $4.5 billion project and the U.S. believed that the Taliban would impose the necessary order. The U.S. State Department and Pakistan’s ISI, impressed by the Taliban movement to cut a pipeline deal, agreed to funnel arms and funding to the Taliban in their war for control of Afghanistan.

“Until 1999 U.S. taxpayers paid the entire annual salary of every single Taliban government official.”

The U.S., Saudi and Pakistan intelligence alliance that created the terrorist financing bank BCCI reunited to facilitate the rise of the Taliban. BCCI was a US intelligence bank, which served as the financing arm for the creation of the al-Qaida network. BCCI was involved in many covert operations throughout the 80’s. They played a pivotal role in arming Saddam in Iraq, creating the Iran hostage crisis, even selling drugs through Manuel Noriega and other top drug dealers. BCCI gave nuclear weapons to Pakistan, which led to North Korea and Iran obtaining pivotal nuclear secrets as well. BCCI was also a driving force behind the Savings and Loan scandals that were a precursor to our current economic crisis.

Focusing on the creation of the Taliban, let’s read an excerpt from a 2003 book, “ Modern Jihad: Tracing the Dollars Behind the Terror Networks,” by Loretta Napoleoni:

“The alliance between American capitalism and Islamist fundamentalism is not limited to the creation of the Taliban; it also produced business ventures designed to extract favours from the new regime. To strengthen its bargaining power with the newly formed Islamist state, Unocal joined the Saudi Delta Oil Corporation to create a consortium called CentGas. Delta Oil is owned by the bin Mahfouz and al-Amoudi families [pivotal BCCI players], Saudi clans which have strong links with Osama bin Laden’s family…. Mahfouz has been sponsoring charitable institutions used as fronts for bin Laden’s associates through the National Commercial Bank, which his family controls….

Naturally, as soon as George W. Bush was elected president, Unocal and [UK’s] BP-Amoco… started once again to lobby the administration, among whom were several of their former employees. Unocal knew that Bush was ready to back them and resumed the consortium negotiations. In January 2001, it began discussions with the Taliban, backed by members of the Bush administration among whom was Under Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who had previously worked as a lobbyist for Unocal. The Taliban, for their part, employed as their PR officer in the US Laila Helms, niece of Richard Helms, former director of the CIA and former US ambassador to Iran. In March 2001, Helms succeeded in bringing Rahmatullah Hashami, Mullah Omar’s adviser, to Washington…. As late as August 2001, meetings were held in Pakistan to discuss the pipeline business….

While negotiations were underway, the US was secretly making plans to invade Afghanistan. The Bush administration and its oil sponsors were losing patience with the Taliban; they wanted to get the Central Asian gas pipeline going as soon as possible. The ‘strategy of the Silk Route’ had been resumed….

Paradoxically, 11 September provided Washington with a casus belli to invade Afghanistan and establish a pro American government in the country. When, a few weeks after the attack, the leaders of the two Pakistani Islamist parties negotiated with Mullah Omar and bin Laden for the latter’s extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for the 11 September attacks, the US refused the offer….

In November 2001… Hamid Karzai was elected [Afghanistan’s] prime minister… Yet very few people remember that during the 1990’s Karzai was involved in negotiations with the Taliban regime for the construction of a Central Asian gas pipeline from Turkmenistan through western Afghanistan to Pakistan. At that time he was a top adviser and lobbyist for Unocal… during the anti-Soviet jihad, Karzai was a member of the Mujahedin. In the early 1990’s, thanks to his excellent contacts with the ISI, he moved to the US where he cooperated with the CIA and the ISI in supporting the Taliban’s political adventure.”

So it is not all that surprising to see recent reports revealing that Hamid Karzai’s drug kingpin brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, is also on the CIA payroll.

With this, a new Senate investigation just revealed evidence that Donald Rumsfeld made a conscious strategic decision to let Bin Laden escape. AFP reports:

“Osama bin Laden was within the grasp of US forces in late 2001 and could have been caught if then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld hadn’t rejected calls for reinforcements, a hard-hitting US Senate report says….

It points the finger directly at Rumsfeld for turning down requests for reinforcements as Bin Laden was trapped in caves and tunnels in a mountainous section of eastern Afghanistan known as Tora Bora.

‘The vast array of American military power, from sniper teams to the most mobile divisions of the marine corps and the army, was kept on the sidelines,’ the report said.”

So now that we see how these wars are driven by oil, let’s look at how the oil industry is benefiting from them. Since the invasion, the industry has experienced record profits across the board, setting new profit records quarter after quarter, year after year, as these wars rage on.

IRAQI OIL DEALS

With Exxon and Shell just signing new oil contracts in Iraq, it’s obvious why there are still over 100,000 troops in Iraq. In a Daily Mirror report headlined, “Oil Billions and Weapons of Mass Deception In Iraq,” they report on the new oil deals:

“Exxon-Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell won the development rights of a massive oil field — West Qurna near Basra in Iraq’s south. The two oil giants hope to boost daily production from the current 300,000 barrels to 2.3 million barrels a day at West Qurna, which the ousted and hanged Iraqi President Saddam Hussein wanted to give to a Russian oil company.

Last month, British Petroleum (BP) and the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) won a contract to develop another oil field. The invitation to China to join the plunder of Iraq is probably a payoff by the US so that this Asian economic powerhouse and rising military power would not rock the pirates’ boat.”

Let’s look back over the years since the start of the War on Terror, here’s a 2005 MSNBC report:

“By just about any measure, the past three years have produced one of the biggest cash gushers in the oil industry’s history. Since January of 2002, the price of crude has tripled, leaving oil producers awash in profits. During that period, the top 10 major public oil companies have sold some $1.5 trillion worth of crude, pocketing profits of more than $125 billion.

“This is the mother of all booms,” said Oppenheimer & Co. oil analyst Fadel Gheit. “They have so much profit, it’s almost an embarrassment of riches. They don’t know what to do with it.

So an oil field that was profitable with oil selling for $20 a barrel is much more profitable with oil trading around $60…. Since January 2002, stocks of major oil companies have gained 88 percent; during that period the Standard and Poor’s 500 index has gained less than half as much.

Oil producers have also given investors a raise by gradually increasing the dividends paid out to shareholders.”

Here’s a 2007 Public Citizen report summing up oil company wartime profits:

“Since George Bush became President in 2001, the top five oil companies in the United States have recorded profits of $464 billion through the first quarter of 2007:

ExxonMobil: $158.5 billion
Shell: $108.5 billion
BP: $89.2 billion
ChevronTexaco: $60.9 billion
ConocoPhillips: $46.9 billion”

In Febuary 2008, CNN reported:

“Exxon shatters profit records

Oil giant makes corporate history by booking $11.7 billion in quarterly profit; earns $1,300 a second in 2007.

Exxon Mobil made history on Friday by reporting the highest quarterly and annual profits ever for a U.S. company, boosted in large part by soaring crude prices.

Exxon, the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, said fourth-quarter net income rose 14% to $11.66 billion, or $2.13 per share. The company earned $10.25 billion, or $1.76 per share, in the year-ago period.

The profit topped Exxon’s previous quarterly record of $10.7 billion, set in the fourth quarter of 2005, which also was an all-time high for a U.S. corporation.”

In January 2009, during a severe economic crisis, the Washington Post reported:

“Exxon Mobil finished a roller-coaster year in the oil markets with an all-time record $45.2 billion in profits…

The world’s most far-flung oil giant broke its own record for corporate profits in a year that saw oil prices climb to $147 a barrel in July… Exxon Mobil still beat analysts’ expectations by registering $7.82 billion in profits, or $1.55 a share, for the final quarter of the year. Exxon Mobil and Chevron’s revenue combined for 2008 exceeded the gross domestic product of all but 16 of the world’s nations, according to Bloomberg.

Royal Dutch Shell, Europe’s largest oil firm… posted a $26.3 billion profit for the year.”

Once again, beyond these blatant examples of war profiteering, there are more insidious forces at play that most people don’t see. When you take a closer look at the oil profits, you see the true driver and ultimate beneficiary of these profits are none other than the same people who benefited the most from the stock market collapse and the ensuing $23.7 trillion taxpayer “bailout.”

As the Washington Post reported, the huge oil profit margins were the result of the soaring price of a barrel of oil, reaching “$147 a barrel in July.”

The InterContinental Exchange (ICE)

In 2000, Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and several oil companies “founded the InterContinental Exchange (ICE)…. ICE is an online commodities and futures marketplace. It is outside the US and operates free from the constraints of US laws. The exchange was set up to facilitate ‘dark pool’ trading in the commodities markets.”

A Congressional investigation into this exchange found that these companies were fraudulently inflating the price of oil by executing “round-trip” trades where one company would sell shares in oil to another company who would then sell the shares right back. This would drive the price of oil to however high they wanted it to go to. “No commodity ever changes hands. But when done on an exchange, these transactions send a price signal to the market and they artificially boost revenue for the company. This is nothing more than a massive fraud, pure and simple.”

So when oil was selling at $147 a barrel, the actual worth was most likely closer to half that price. Phil’s Stock World summed up the situation:

“How widespread are ’round-trip’ trades? The Congressional Research Service looked at trading patterns in the energy sector and this is what they reported: This pattern of trading suggests a market environment in which a significant volume of fictitious trading could have taken place. Yet since most of the trading is unregulated by the Government, we have only a slim idea of the illusion being perpetrated in the energy sector.

DMS Energy, when investigated by Congress, admitted that 80 percent of its trades in 2001 were ’round-trip’ trades. That means 80 percent of all of their trades that year were bogus trades where no commodity changed hands, and yet the balance sheets reflect added revenue…

…the InterContinental Exchange; that is, the online, nonregulated, nonaudited, nonoversight for manipulation and fraud entity run by banks in this country….

Under investigation, a lawyer for J.P. Morgan Chase admitted the bank engineered a series of ’round-trip’ trades with Enron….

ICE… turned commodity trading into a speculative casino game where pricing was notional and contracts could be sold by people who never produced a thing, to people who didn’t need the things that were not produced. And in just 5 years after commencing operations, Goldman Sachs and their partners managed to TRIPLE the price of commodities.

Goldman Sachs Commodity Index funds accounted for $60Bn out of $100Bn of all formula-managed funds in 2007 and investors in the GSCI lost 15% in 2006 while Goldman had a record year. John Dizard, of the Financial Times calls this process ‘date rape’ by Goldman Sachs…

It is not surprising that a commodity scam would be the cornerstone of Goldman Sach’s strategy. CEO Lloyd Blankfein, rose to the top through Goldman’s commodity trading arm J Aron, starting his career at J Aron before Goldman Sachs bought them over 25 years ago. With his colleague Gary Cohn, Blankfein oversaw the key energy trading portfolio. According to Chris Cook: ‘It appears clear that BP and Goldman Sachs have been working collaboratively – at least at a strategic level - for maybe 15 years now. Their trading strategy has evolved over time as the global market has developed and become ever more financialised. Moreover, they have been well placed to steer the development of the key global energy market trading platform, and the legal and regulatory framework within which it operates….

Before ICE, the average American family spent 7% of their income on food and fuel. Last year, that number topped 20%. That’s 13% of the incomes of every man, woman and child in the United States of America, over $1Tn EVERY SINGLE YEAR, stolen through market manipulation. On a global scale, that number is over $4Tn per year - 80 Madoffs! Why is there no outrage, why are there no investigations. Well the answer is the same - $4Tn per year buys you a lot of political clout, it pays to have politicians all over the world look the other way while GS and their merry men rob from the poor and give to the rich on such a vast scale that it’s hard to grasp the damage they have done and continue to do to the global economy.”

The congressional investigation into ICE concluded that they couldn’t do anything about it because the exchange was set up offshore.

How convenient!

So here we can see, that behind almost all of our societal problems and suffering, you have this small elite group profiting on destruction and misery at record highs.

When Gold Sachs CEO Llyod Blankfien says that he is doing “God’s work,” one has to wonder, who is the God he is praying to?

Famed two-time Congressional Medal of Honor recipient US Brigadier General Smedley D. Butler accurately summed up the situation when he said: “I spent 33 years in the Marines, most of my time being a high-class muscle man for big business, for Wall Street and the bankers. In short, I was a racketeer for Capitalism…. The general public shoulders the bill. This bill renders a horrible accounting. Newly placed gravestones, Mangled bodies. Shattered minds. Broken hearts and homes. Economic instability. Back-breaking taxation for generations and generations.”

WHAT IT ALL COMES DOWN TO…

In the global economy, the economic elite don’t need the US public anymore. When you see Obama taking trips to meet with the leader of China, and having his first official White House State Dinner in honor of the Prime Minster of India, you should know that the elite have moved on. There are billions of people in just these two countries that they believe can do all the work we do for much less pay. It is a race to the bottom, and we are considered obsolete to technocratic leaders who think it is better to hire cheaper workers in foreign lands.

As the US continues to collapse, the technocrats have already moved on to the next country to rape and pillage. The economic elite don’t have a home country, to them the entire globe is theirs, and the majority of the US can collapse into poverty for all they care, and that’s exactly what they want to happen.

The US working class is the biggest threat to them and they want us eliminated.

As the IMF would say, there has been a structural adjustment program in place, and the US working class is obsolete.

When you understand this, you can understand how the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan are wars against the US public. Wars that weaken and drain the US working class of vital resources and social safety nets.

In the overall picture, the technocratic elite see everyone as a number on a spreadsheet. To them you are what your economic net worth says you are. Considering this perspective, most in the US public have much more in common with an Afghanistan farmer than the billionaires on Wall Street. And the billionaires have put us in the same category as those in Afghanistan. To them it really doesn’t matter if it’s an American life ended or an Afghani life ended in the war, as long as the profits keep coming in… they can care less.

Common sense and statistics demonstrate that the more troops you send into war, the higher the causality count will be, and the more costs will rise, leading, of course, to higher profits.

So as the Obama illusion and the motives behind this war become exposed, and the massive theft by the economic elite becomes known to a critical mass, the elite are ramping up their psychological operations on the US public by turning up their mainstream media distraction machine.

PSYOPS: WAG THE DOG AND SHAKE THE MOHAMMED

With the healthcare debate losing steam, and the people starting to understand that the final bill will do little to create much needed change, and as “health care reform” is exposed as another gift to insurance company executives, and as unemployment rates remain high, the Economic Death Squad vitally needs some new distractions.

Never mind the criminals on Wall Street: It’s time to… Wag the Dog and Shake the Mohammed

By Wag the Dog, I am of course referring to the old political trick of distracting public consciousness away from a crisis by starting, or in this case drastically escalating, a war.

Don’t worry about the $23.7 trillion of public wealth that was given to Wall Street as a reward for destroying the economy, we are at war and it’s time for you to support our troops.

Ah, yes, another racket to pile up more of the economic poor.

Barack W. Obama, once again, bows to… the elite… and serves up yet another gift by sending more US citizens to the Af-Pak region.

50 million US citizens are already living in dire straights, so what’s the big deal if you just throw another 220,000 US lives onto the fire, not to mention the millions of Afghani, Pakistani and Iraqi lives.

But a war in a distant land just isn’t enough, is it?

American public opinion has long been saturated in the distraction of war, and given the severity of the economic crisis, the elite policy makers figured another surge in Eurasia just wouldn’t be enough of a distraction.

So the psychological operations PR department has decided to also Shake the Muhammad. Yes, bring the 9/11 “mastermind,” Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, back to the scene of the crime and create a New York media frenzy. Now that’s a distraction!

Not only will it cause a media frenzy, it will also reaffirm public opinion in the war effort… win, win!

I don’t know about you, but as someone who grew up a New Yorker and spent the last five years of my life living three blocks from Ground Zero, I have to say, take your psychological operations to a different location.

You are going to have the “9/11 mastermind” in a courtroom right around the corner from the biggest terrorists of all… Wall Street.

Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, Llyod Blankfien, Jamie Dimon and John Mack are all going to be in one place, at the same time! We will have the “9/11 mastermind,” Goldman Sachs, JP Morgan and Morgan Stanley all in the same zip code… HELLO!

Can you say here comes the next Timothy McVeigh?

Yes, the USA… is an insane asylum! So just Wag the Dog and Shake the Mohammed.

U.S. Insurgency: Violent, Strategic Dislocation Within U.S.

Will there be a violent insurgency within the US?

As a growing number of American lives are directly negatively impacted, media propaganda operations will lose their ability to confuse and distract. Studies of societal breakdowns prove that having such a large population experiencing severe and prolonged economic decline will result in violent outbrakes.

Other than the 50 million US civilians living in dire straights, what will happen as thousands of bitter soldiers and US intelligence agents — who have given their lives to these wars, only to return home to find an economy in ruins and a healthcare system that has thrown them overboard — begin to make these connections and understand that a small group of men on Wall Street are at the root of their suffering?

Well, some former military and intelligence agents, including a growing number of current serving members, have already made this connection, and they are organizing, training and strategizing tactical operations. They are factions inside a quickly growing - heavily armed - militia movement that now numbers over 200 active cells, within the US.

The mainstream press gives some passing attention to the fringe factions that make threats against Obama, but the more experienced soldiers understand that he is just a figurehead and they have connected all these dots and have come to the conclusion that this war is actually a war to create profits for the economic elite at the expense of the US public.

Llyod Blankfein, Jamie Dimon and John Mack can arm themselves and hire all the security they can get, but will it actually keep them safe when you have a population of millions living in dire straights as a direct result of their actions? At this point, even their own security members may be conspiring against them.

The Obama illusion is fading fast. Every time you see through it, you get a glimpse of them. The Economic Death Squad is exposed under the bright light of inspection and investigation.

Take a look at many of the major problems facing us today, as a country and as a species, and then you will understand that these problems exist because the economic elite are profiting off of them.

Obama is just their mask, an illusion to pacify the masses. The economic crisis and the wars have now shattered this illusion - it has come crashing down… upon us.

It has become clear that an opinion has emerged among a growing segment of the United States population: If the government will keep pouring money into banks and war, and won’t stop the theft of US taxpayer money by holding accountable those responsible for it, WE MUST.

And the question that arises after that: Can it be done non-violently?

I certainly hope it can.

However, this growing segment of the population uses strong rhetoric and is prepared to take up arms.

With over 200 active militia cells, who are equipped with weapons, training and strategizing, the government must take swift action to rein in the economic elite. Otherwise, we are heading to war, not in a distant foreign land, within the US.

The economic elite are well aware of the threat of a violent uprising within US borders. US Army documents have revealed that strategic plans are already formed for this situation. Chris Hedges explains:

“The military must be prepared, the document warned, for a ‘violent, strategic dislocation inside the United States,’ which could be provoked by ‘unforeseen economic collapse,’ ‘purposeful domestic resistance,’ ‘pervasive public health emergencies’ or ‘loss of functioning political and legal order.’ The ‘widespread civil violence,’ the document said, ‘would force the defense establishment to reorient priorities in extremis to defend basic domestic order and human security.’

‘An American government and defense establishment lulled into complacency by a long-secure domestic order would be forced to rapidly divest some or most external security commitments in order to address rapidly expanding human insecurity at home,’ it went on.

‘… this might include use of military force against hostile groups inside the United States. Further, DoD [the Department of Defense] would be, by necessity, an essential enabling hub for the continuity of political authority in a multi-state or nationwide civil conflict or disturbance,’ the document read.

In plain English… this translates into the imposition of martial law and a de facto government being run out of the Department of Defense. They are considering it. So should you.”

We could have a situation where the government deploys private soldiers, mostly foreign nationals, on US soil to fight against US citizens. Blackwater and DynCorp already had active duty soldiers deployed within the US when Hurricane Katrina hit.

In New Orleans, they were essentially a foreign occupying force.

LOSS OF FAITH IN POLITICAL PROCESS

In response to the report, “The Critical Unraveling of US Society,” readers primarily critiqued the part in which we call on readers to engage their representatives.

An irate majority of the responses have consistently stated that they have repeatedly contacted their representative through multiple forms of communication, and no action was taken. A growing segment of the US population has now lost all faith in our government and they are on the verge of taking violent action.

Personally, I believe that non-violent action is a much more strategic and effective move. We are 99% of the population, and the enemy is less than 1%. We are a sleeping giant; they are a small group of clueless greed-addicted people who desperately cling to the Administration, Treasury, Fed and a few other firms like Goldman Sachs and JP Morgan.

If we can take action on a mass non-violent scale, the rule of law and economic justice can be obtained. In our nation’s history, the stakes have never been higher. If we cannot organize a mass movement to non-violently oppose outright theft, then violence will ultimately tear our nation apart.

The question on my mind: Can we swiftly mobilize such a heavily propagandized population to take mass non-violent action?

A growing population does not believe we can do so, and is on the verge of launching a heavily armed insurgency.

So in the months ahead, while they are Wagging the Dog and Shaking the Mohammed, the US public vitally needs to understand that the stakes have never been higher.

And the clock is ticking . . .
 

Offline sternzy

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2009, 09:10:22 PM »
"A growing population does not believe we can do so, and is on the verge of launching a heavily armed insurgency."

I wonder what organization they are referring to, I haven't heard anything like that myself. Or is the article referring to individuals that are "Mad as Hell", and not going to take it anymore?

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #19 on: December 08, 2009, 06:24:49 AM »
The Shame and Folly of Obama's Afghan War

By Dave Lindorff

http://www.uruknet.de/index.php?p=m60837&hd=&size=1&l=e

December 7, 2009

There are so many things wrong with Obama’s "New and Improved" Afghanistan War that it’s hard to know where to begin, but I guess the place to start is with his premise.

If America needs to be fighting in Afghanistan because Al Qaeda planned and launched the 9-11 attacks from there back in 2001, as the president claimed in his lackluster address to the cadets at West Point last week, then we would have to assume either that Al Qaeda is still there, or that if we were not there fighting, that Al Qaeda would be back to plan more attacks.

Well, we know Al Qaeda is not there, because US intelligence reports that there are "fewer than 100" Al Qaeda operatives in Afghanistan at most at this point, and probably a good deal fewer. Maybe even zero. Al Qaeda has long since moved on to Pakistan and thence to other countries far removed from Afghanistan (even Defense Secretary Robert Gates, after speculating that Osama bin Laden "might be" hopping back and forth across the border with Pakistan like a kid doing a double-dare game, concedes that in truth no one in the US has any idea where bin Laden is, or whether he is even in South Asia). But would Al Qaeda come back if the Taliban, ousted back in 2001 by US Special Forces, were to return to power in Kabul? Not likely. As the New York Times reported in last Sunday’s paper, the Afghan Taliban have convincingly broken with Al Qaeda, because of the latter organization’s targeting of the Pakistani government, which has long had a supportive relationship with the Afghan Taliban. Besides, the Taliban in Afghanistan have a clear goal of ruling Afghanistan, and the US has already demonstrated both that it can live and work with a Taliban government, as it was doing before the 9-11 attacks, and that it will punish the Taliban if they allow Al Qaeda a free hand inside their country. So the odds of a re-established Taliban regime in Afghanistan inviting Al Qaeda to move back in and set up shop are somewhere around zero.

Ergo, whatever he may say, the current Christmas ramp-up in the war announced by Obama has nothing to do with 9-11, nothing to do with combating terrorism, and nothing to do with protecting American security.

What about the bogie-man of a so-called "failed state"? Obama said a failed state in Afghanistan could mean a return of Al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations.

The problem with this second argument is that Afghanistan already is a failed state, if the definition of a failed state is one in which there is no effective central government. For that matter, Afghanistan has been a failed state since the overthrow of Mohammed Najibullah, the Communist leader who had the country largely unified and who was instituting reforms like protecting the rights of women, building roads, etc. (the very things the US says it wants to do), until he was driven out of power and ultimately hung by forces, including the Taliban) organized and armed by the CIA. Actually, the truth is that Afghanistan has always been something less than a real nation, with different ethic groups occupying different regions of the country largely operating like autonomous little countries. To expect such a situation to somehow coalesce into something resembling a European nation-state is simply ludicrous. In fact, the only commonality uniting the various ethnic groups within Afghanistan actually is religion—they’re nearly all Islamic—which suggests that the Taliban, for all their medieval fundamentalism, may have a significant edge in the nation-building game.

Moving on to strategy, Obama talks about effectively doubling the number of US and NATO forces fighting in the country (the term "fighting" is used loosely because many of the European forces are barred by their governments from actually engaging in combat), with the goal being, reportedly, to protect the cities from Taliban attacks (and good luck with that!) and giving the current government in Kabul time to build up a 400,000-man army that supposedly would take over the job of security.

Hmmmm. If you protect the cities, by definition you leave the countryside around the cities unprotected, right? But you cannot do that in a country that is largely rural, so the US will inevitably resort to search-and-destroy run-outs into the countryside, and of course air attacks by bombers and remote-controlled drones, in a doomed effort to keep the Taliban at bay. But such actions, as America leaned when it tried the same policy in Vietnam, inevitably mean massive and disproportionate civilian casualties—the so-called "collateral damage" of war. And civilian casualties are not the way an army wins "hearts and minds." In fact, a high rate of civilian casualties means the destroying of hearts, minds, limbs, families, houses, etc., and the concomitant creation of blood enemies. So we start out by making more enemies outside the city gates.

Meanwhile, we are unlikely to make the cities safe either because it’s damnably easy for bombers to slip in and pop one off in a crowded bazaar or school or office building, as the Taliban have already repeatedly demonstrated.

But even assuming the best of luck with protecting a handful of Afghan cities, the idea of creating a functioning army of 400,000, as Obama and his generals have called for, and upon which Obama bases his promise to "start bringing home" troops in July 2011, is surely a pipe-dream (literally really, given that the current army is already awash in opium addicts). The Afghan Army at present numbers 90,000, but it is rife with corruption and, moreover, is largely composed of Tajiks, the dominant ethnic group in northern Afghanistan, who are widely despised by the Pashtun, who are concentrated in the south and east of the country, and other minority groups. The idea that a Tajik or Tajik-led army could succeed in the south and east, where the Taliban are strongest, is fanciful at best and tragic at worst. Furthermore, most of those in the current military, if they aren’t drug addicts, are either corrupt, or just temporary workers, staying in as long as there is a paycheck and no fighting, but quick to go AWOL when they have enough cash, or when a mission is ordered that involves real fighting. There is close to no chance that a true national army capable of securing most of the sprawling land of Afghanistan under central government control could be created. As hard as it’s been for the US military occupation force in Iraq to train and field an Iraqi army, at least the US there has been working with a trained officer corps inherited from Saddam Hussein, and with a core of soldiers who had already served, and with new recruits who are literate, and who have a some desire to rebuild a national government. Afghanistan has none of those things.

And about that July 2011 "deadline" for starting to bring home US troops from Afghanistan. This was nothing but a PR feint for Obama’s liberal supporters—a fig leaf to get them on board his war express. In fact, by late last week, White House and Pentagon officials were all back-pedaling and explaining that July 2011 was just the date that the first handful of US troops would "start coming home." In fact, if that even really does happen, it turns out that under Obama’s new war plan for Afghanistan, US troops will be deep in the swamp of Afghan battle for years after 2011—a clear acknowledgement that the plan for training an Afghan army to take over from the US is also just so much talk.

One can speculate about why Obama is so clearly sabotaging his presidency with this doomed crusade in Afghanistan. Some speculate that he was sandbagged by his generals, and certainly Gen. Stanley McChrystal crossed the line into improper politicking and insubordination to his commander-in-chief when he went public to lobby for the addition of more than 40,000 additional troops. But Obama could have survived that treachery had he wanted to, by playing Harry Truman and sacking McChrystal for insubordination. There are those who say it is all about wanting to build a pipeline for transporting oil to the Indian Ocean and bypassing Russia. But that begs the question of how such a pipeline, if it were built, could ever be kept secure from sabotage, running as it would have to, through both Afghanistan and Pakistan (besides, back in 2001 the US was once negotiating with the Taliban government to get permission for Unocal to build such a line, which would have made some sense if there was no war going on). It could also be that this war is all about providing an argument for ever higher spending on the military at a time when there is really no good justification for it in a nation that already spends more on arms and troops than all the rest of the world combined. But really, the military has demonstrated its ability to keep on winning increased appropriations even when wars are winding down and threat levels are reduced. That, after all, is what the fake "war on terror" has been all about—keeping the American public frightened and willing to keep throwing money at the Pentagon. No, to me the best argument for this new war campaign may be simply that, like presidents Johnson and Nixon before him, Obama doesn’t want to be tagged as the president who lost a war.

And for that, we can expect to see thousands of young Americans die, and tens or hundreds of thousands of Afghanis die.

To make matters worse, once more Americans start coming home in a parade of flag-draped coffins, the war for Obama, and for whoever succeeds him after his own failed tenure as president, will be self-promoting and effectively permanent. As we saw in the case of the Indochina War, those dead soldiers and Marines will become a fearsome impediment to any effort to end this longest of wars, and a grisly justification for continuing to send more young people after them to be chewed up and killed. For what president, beginning with Obama, will have the political and personal courage to say that those who died in Afghanistan died in vain?




 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #20 on: December 08, 2009, 07:22:28 AM »
Who’s In Charge: The President or the Generals?

Increasingly Assertive Generals Throw Chain of Command Into Doubt


by Jason Ditz, December 07, 2009
http://news.antiwar.com/2009/12/07/senate-dems-fear-generals-undermining-july-2011-target/

With President Barack Obama’s July 2011 timetable for beginning the pullout from Afghanistan already thrown into serious doubt less than a week after being announced, top Congressional Democrats are expressing growing disquiet over the increasing willingness of top generals to publicly question the president.


Gen. Stanley McChrystal


“It concerns me when I see my president, the commander in chief, having to debate with generals,” noted Sen. Inouye (D-HI). Indeed, much of the criticism from the Republican opposition in the Senate is stemming from President Obama not going along with the very public demands of Gen. Stanley McChrystal for an even larger escalation.

So when Gen. McChrystal comes to testify before Congress later this week, scrutiny will be given not just to the status of the war (pretty much universally negative) but also to the general’s reaction to not being given everything he wanted by the president, and a sense of what remains of the chain of command.

And even though President Obama didn’t follow the general’s recommendations to a tee, it was a retired general, Ambassador Karl Eikenberry, whose public criticism of McChrystal’s plans made much of the difference (to the consternation of McChrystal). It must be questioned how much of the Obama escalation plan is President Obama’s at all.

On the other hand it may be overstating the situation to blame the generals for undermining the July 2011 date as it was the president’s Secretaries of State and Defense who were the first and loudest voices insisting that the date didn’t really mean anything.

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Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #21 on: December 08, 2009, 08:02:29 AM »
Afghanistan:

John McCain says Barack Obama's 2011 departure date threatening war effort


President Barack Obama's attempt to clarify his July 2011 deadline for a US departure from Afghanistan has resulted in more confusion and will dilute Pakistan's commitment to fighting the Taliban, Senator John McCain has told The Daily Telegraph.
 
By Alex Spillius in Washington
Published: 8:00PM GMT 06 Dec 2009


Senator John McCain said the mixed signals on the withdrawal of US forces could damage Pakistan's commitment to the war Photo: REUTERS

Sen McCain, who has led criticism in Washington over the President's most controversial element said that senior administration officials had only contradicted each other when trying to explain how the timeline for the beginning of a US troop withdrawal would work in practice.

"Since the President made his speech we have not had further clarification, in fact we have had further contradiction," he said.

  "On the one hand we see the Secretary of Defence and the Secretary of State say it's just a flexible date, then the president's spokesperson says it's chiselled in stone and he has the chisel. There's a real contradiction there."

The muddled messages, after three months of deliberations and nine top level White House meetings, has left many in Washington's foreign policy community aghast.

Mr Obama said that the 30,000 additional US troops, combined with extra Nato forces -now likely to number 7,000 – will "allow us to begin the transfer of our forces out of Afghanistan in July of 2011".

He stipulated that the pace and timing of withdrawal was dependent on conditions on the ground, but the following day, under intense questioning from Mr McCain at a Congressional hearing, Robert Gates, the Secretary of Defence, said the initial pullout date itself would be reviewed in December 2010.

Gen James Jones, the national security adviser, then said the drawdown was "somewhat conditions-based", reflecting the White House's hope that the timeline issue will fade away as security improves.

Whatever the explanation, doubters have argued that setting any sort of date with any degree of certainty will create an indelible expectation of a US departure in Afghanistan and Pakistan, where the level of co-operation and commitment will determine the success or failure of the mission.

Sen McCain was concerned that the Pakistanis in particular may be caused to weaken their support for the plan, and keep their options with the Taliban.

"The most important point being missed here is what will be the commitment of the Pakistani military who we all now is very much divided right now?

"What does it say to a general that works for Kiyani [the Pakistan army chief] in the ISI [the security agency] who is now saying 'they [Americans] may well be out of the neighbourhood again and we have to stay in the neighbourhood so we have to accommodate."

Sen McCain, a foreign policy veteran whose opinion carries great weight in Washington, recalled that after the CIA had helped the Afghan resistance repel the Russian occupiers in 1989, Washington abandoned Afghanistan completely. It accelerated the country's spiral into a civil war which led to the advent of the Taliban under the ISI's tutelage.

The defeated candidate in last year's presidential election, Sen McCain said he believed the Mr Obama's strategy could work. "I want to help him succeed. I don't want us to fail," he said.

But experience with the successful surge in Iraq, where no exit date was put in place, showed that "to set the date before you achieve success is dramatically lessening the chances for success". He hoped in vain that the president would change his language and talk of July 2011 as a flexible date.

He said the sceptical public opinion in Britain towards the war made him all the more grateful for the "sacrifices of the British people".

"It is something I will be forever grateful for, and I know Americans are too," said the senator.



Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #22 on: December 08, 2009, 08:24:14 AM »
Sartre Meets Afghanistan: Obama's "No Exit" Strategy

by Arianna Huffington
Posted: December 7, 2009 10:17 PM
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/arianna-huffington/sartre-meets-afghanistan_b_383529.html



To take some of the sting out of his decision to send an additional 30,000 troops to Afghanistan, President Obama laid out an exit strategy by setting a date -- July 2011 -- on which troops will begin withdrawing. The president, through Robert Gibbs, described the date as "locked in," "etched in stone," and having "no flexibility. Troops will start coming home in July, 2011. Period."

Sounds pretty definite.

But just four days later, members of Obama's cabinet were directly contradicting their boss.

Here was Hillary Clinton on NBC's Meet the Press:

We're not talking about an exit strategy or a drop dead deadline. What we're talking about is an assessment that in [July] 2011, we can begin a transition.

And here was Secretary of Defense Robert Gates on the same program:

We're not talking about an abrupt withdrawal. We're talking about something that will take place over a period of time... Because we will have 100,000 troops there. And they are not leaving in July of 2011.
Has an absolute ("Troops will start coming home in July 2011. Period.") ever morphed faster into something as ambiguous, amorphous, and conditional ("an assessment")? Is this the famous "team of rivals" concept we heard so much about in action?

And just in case the lack of clarity wasn't clear, there was Gates again, this time on ABC's This Week:

I don't consider this an exit strategy. And I try to avoid using that term. I think this is a transition.
So even claiming to have an exit strategy is apparently off limits. What we've had over the weekend was the rollout of "Operation Vague Transition That Might, Or More Likely Might Not, Actually Happen in 2011... Or Over Time."

But on Monday Gibbs acted as if Clinton and Gates hadn't actually said what they said. When asked at a briefing with reporters whether U.S. troops could start coming home before July, 2011, Gibbs responded, "It could happen earlier, sure... It won't happen later."

Feeling dizzy yet?

What came through loud and clear from Obama's announcement and the subsequent multiple walkbacks of the notion that we might ever leave Afghanistan -- followed by Gibbs' steadfast certainty that we will on or before July, 2011 -- is that this White House has a serious credibility crisis.

Do they think rebuilding a war-torn tribal nation is going to be possible when they can't even successfully announce a policy to rebuild a war-torn tribal nation? They need an exit strategy for their rollout of an exit strategy.

The optimistic view of Obama's decision to take his time in responding to General McChrystal's request for more troops was that the cerebral president was trying to -- as he promised during the campaign in relation to Iraq -- rethink the mindset that led us into war. After eight years of the war in Afghanistan, with almost every year being more deadly than the last, the American people have certainly changed the way they think about it. In the latest CNN/ORC poll, 51 percent of Americans said they oppose this war.

Despite that consensus, the media continue to frame Afghanistan -- as they do everything else -- in terms of Right vs. Left. And, viewing the president's decision through this prism, they applaud him for "going against his base" and "distancing himself from the Left."

How deeply entrenched is this mindset? So entrenched that even someone as smart and knowledgeable as the New Yorker's Jane Mayer fell back on it during our appearance on MSNBC's Morning Joe. "It's very easy to criticize" Obama's exit plan, she said, adding, "this is true for the Right or the Left." She then briefly channeled Dick Cheney, who she has written so brilliantly about in the past, warning that "if New York is taken out again," Obama will get the blame!

Actually, over the past eight years it's been much easier to cheerlead than to criticize. It's hard to look back at those years and their two wars and conclude that the problem is that we've had too much criticism. Shouldn't decisions that require enormous costs -- in blood as well as resources -- be met with ferocious questioning by the media? Articles sent to academic journals get more rigorous vetting these days than do decisions to escalate wars.

Just look at the inside story of Obama's decision, very positively spun in Sunday's New York Times by Peter Baker. The White House's decision-making process, we are told, was "intense, methodical, rigorous, earnest."

Reading the piece reminded me of the sensation I got when I read Bob Woodward's hagiographic Bush at War: impressed by the level of detail an all-access-pass can get you, but distressed by the utter lack of perspective or independent analysis of the events being described.

I kept thinking of Joan Didion's scathing description of Woodward's reporting as marked by "a scrupulous passivity, an agreement to cover the story not as it is occurring but as it is presented, which is to say as it is manufactured."

Last week, Baker expressed concern that including new media outlets like HuffPost and Talking Points Memo in the White House press pool rotation could lead to the insertion of ideology into the reporting on the quotidian details of the president's day.

Perhaps he should spend less time worrying about that and more time worrying that his own reportorial "scrupulous passivity" so easily leads to the insertion of the administration's desired spin into the reporting on momentous decisions of war and peace.

Notwithstanding Baker's stenography or Mayer's embrace of the Right/Left mindset, the truth is that opposition to the war has far transcended Right vs. Left. George Will, who in August called for withdrawal from Afghanistan, and who is far from a lefty, recently said that Obama's plan was a replay of "the Bush program, which is, as he used to say, as the Iraqis stand up, we will stand down." For Obama it's "as the Afghans stand up, we'll stand down."

Richard Haass, who was Director of Policy Planning at the State Department for George Bush, was also critical. "Wars are always easier to get into than out of, and this is unlikely to be the exception to that," said Haass on This Week. "But I think it would have to be the triumph of hope over experience to think that if and when we draw down and we go back, say, to pre-surge levels that any improvements will endure."

This is why Haass' piece in the latest Newsweek is entitled "No Exit." For Haass, "the strategist with the most to say about the current U.S. foreign-policy predicament may be Jean-Paul Sartre." Given that we're trying to nation-build -- without, of course, calling it nation-building -- in a nation that has proven impervious to nation-building, perhaps Kafka would have even more to say.

Tom Friedman, also nobody's lefty, captured the Kafka-esque quality of our ill-defined mission:

"To put it succinctly," he wrote in the New York Times on Sunday, "this only has a chance to work if Karzai becomes a new man, if Pakistan becomes a new country and if we actually succeed at something the president says we won't be doing at all: nation-building in Afghanistan. Yikes!"

Judging from his speech at West Point, Obama apparently thought that if he just explained his plan in an impassive, matter-of-fact way, reality would bend itself to his crisp, orderly tone. But Afghanistan is the antithesis of orderly.

Want proof? Check out this Pentagon schematic of the U.S.'s counter-insurgency strategy that NBC's Richard Engel dug up. Warning: it's NSFS (Not Safe for Sanity)

Writing on HuffPost, David Bromwich posited that Obama "is almost convinced of the omnipotence of words. When once he has persuaded himself of a thing -- that it is true, or that it is plausible and might become true -- the words that embody his conviction have for him the quality of deeds already done."

Does that sound familiar? Not only is Obama continuing Bush's war, he's continuing his method of Magical Thinking: the idea that simply saying something is true is the same as its being true. We're getting more eloquent words this time, to be sure, but the same tragic result: endless wars of choice.

Gates and Clinton now claim that July, 2011 isn't really an actual exit date. Sadly, I believe them. Obama isn't distancing himself from "the Left" with his decision to escalate this deepening disaster. He's distancing himself from the national interests of the country.

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Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #23 on: December 08, 2009, 09:11:13 AM »
Afghan army will need aid for 15-20 years: Karzai

Tuesday, 08 Dec, 2009
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/09-afghan-army-will-need-aid-for-15-20-years-karzai--szh-05


‘For 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources,’ said Afghan President Hamid Karzai during a joint press conference with (unseen) US Defence Secretary Robert Gates at the Presidential Palace in Kabul. —Photo by AFP World


 KABUL: President Hamid Karzai said Tuesday that Afghanistan lacked the resources to fund its security forces for the next 15 to 20 years, appealing for foreign aid to stand up the police and army.

‘For 15 to 20 years, Afghanistan will not be able to sustain a force of that nature and capability with its own resources,’ Karzai told a joint news conference with visiting US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

He spoke following talks with Gates on how Washington intends to implement a sweeping new war strategy that will send 30,000 extra American troops to fight the Taliban, in a bid to start withdrawing US forces from July 2011.

The projected US drawdown of forces has sparked concern in Afghanistan and neighbouring Pakistan at a time when the Taliban-led insurgency is at its deadliest since the 2001 US-led invasion ousted their regime in Kabul.

‘We hope that the international community and the United States, as our first ally, will help Afghanistan reach the ability to sustain a force,’ the Afghan president told the news conference.

‘Afghanistan is looking forward to taking over responsibility in terms of paying for its forces and delivering to its forces with its own resources, but that will not be for another 15 years.’

‘That doesn’t mean we will not be taking responsibilities financially for 15 years. We will keep on adding to it as we are already doing now,’ he added.

Karzai, who was sworn in three weeks ago for another five years in power following a deeply controversial August election steeped in fraud, reiterated his goal to take over security in the war-torn country during his mandate.

‘We are working hard as we have now taken responsibilities in Kabul to provide security, in such critical areas of the country in another two years and hopefully with a maximum effort to add on the whole of the country... in five years time,’ the Afghan president said. —AFP




Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #24 on: December 08, 2009, 03:37:58 PM »
Adm Mike Mullen: US is losing war in Afghanistan


By Alex Spillius in Washington

http://www.uruknet.de/index.php?p=m60856&hd=&size=1&l=e


America's highest-ranking military officer admitted that US forces were currently losing the war in Afghanistan and said they had 18 to 24 months to turn around the Taliban's momentum.


December 8, 2009

"This is the most dangerous time I've seen growing up the last four decades in uniform," Adm Mike Mullen told audiences of soldiers and marines, some of whom are weeks away from flying to conflict.

"We are not winning, which means we are losing and as we are losing, the message traffic out there to [insurgency] recruits keeps getting better and better and more keep coming."

Telling soldiers that he expected to be a tough fight and rising casualties in 2010, he said: "I don't want to be in any way unclear about that. This is what happened in Iraq during the surge and as tragic as it is, to turn this thing around, it will be a part of this surge, as well."

Adm Mullen said the July 2011 date to begin withdrawing US forces is not an end or withdrawal date.

"In the long run, it is not going to be about killing Taliban," he told the marines at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. "In the long run, it's going to be because the Afghan people want them out."



 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #25 on: December 09, 2009, 06:35:22 AM »
Obama and the Same Old Bush Lies, for the Same Reasons

By Peter Chamberlin

                                               
 

December 8, 2009
http://www.uruknet.de/index.php?p=m60878&hd=&size=1&l=e

The war in Afghanistan is being escalated on false pretenses.  There is zero chance to "win" the war with the "new" (which is the same old failed) strategy and everybody involved with it knows it.   When Obama and McChrystal use the words "win" and "victory," they are not using the same dictionary used by the rest of the human race.  "Victory" to them, means that the greater undefined mission can continue, not come to an end.

Afghanistan, like Iraq, will never see the withdrawal of American/NATO forces; that’s why all the giant super-bases are needed in both countries.  That also applies to the massive super-embassy being built in Islamabad.  "Victory" is not winning, but is the point in the war when large numbers of troops fighting this war can be safely transferred to the next war.  This is what we are seeing in the so-called withdrawal from Iraq and will probably see in the anticipated withdrawal from Afghanistan in 2011.  There will never be a real American withdrawal from any of these countries, unless it is forced upon them by the people.

Just like Iraq, Afghanistan has been drawn-out until the start of the next war in Pakistan.  This is done with the fraudulent war strategy of training replacement armies to fight the enemies which America’s superior forces could not defeat.  Switching missions from an offensive war to a training mission merely gives the adversary time to reinforce.  All the generals and strategists are aware of this; it is simply a part of the plan.  The plan has nothing to do with defeating anyone, except maybe for eventually defeating the Russians.  We might also fight for the sake of denying energy resources to our greater adversaries, the Chinese.

The "war on terror" is in reality, a war on mediocrity.  We are waging this war in order to maintain our position as "Number One" boss of the world.  Our leaders have determined that we cannot accept any other nation becoming our equal, meaning that they would have to share the power that they have accumulated unto themselves.  The infamous document from the "neocon" Project for a New American Century, which clearly delineates this triumphal American ideology, is not an expression of a radical minority, but rather, a summation of the single American ideology which is common to both political parties.  There are two neoconservative parties in America, masquerading as opposites.

The escalation in southern Afghanistan is embraced by both parties, as American and NATO forces move against local Taliban, hoping to push all the fighters into Balochistan, or back into South Waziristan.  The entire war effort has consisted of herding the militants wherever central command planned to go next.  This is the reason that many of the posts along the Durand Line were closed before Pakistan moved into S. Waziristan.  Who ever heard of military planners opening the back door before coming in the front?  How can one pincer by itself perform a pincer movement?

As long as the American people are willing to wage war without defined missions, our so-called leaders will be able to play these dangerous games.  One would think that the ever loyal American veterans would grow tired of watching their comrades and their own children die for wars based on nothing but lies.  The dishonor they bring upon all servicemen, by not speaking-up for their own, will haunt them until the day they die.  Soldiers who are martyred in the liberation of countries are rightly honored, but who will honor those who have given their lives in wars fought to enslave mankind?

The American people were enlisted in this war under the pretense of fighting against a malignant evil, only to see this war hijacked in the service of other causes.  The fight against terrorists has become a war against nuclear proliferation, a war for Israel’s security, a war for oil, a war for any reason they dream-up.

What has become of the moral sense of the people of the United States?  Has life for us become so hard and uncertain that we will support any effort to merely keep things from getting worse, even if that means turning every country, especially our own,  into a police state?  We surrender our rights to choose our own destinies when we submit to the extortion that to do otherwise will make things get a lot worse.  Isn’t this the same threat that Prince Bandar allegedly made to the British Crown over ending pay-offs–that failing to comply with his demands would mean that the terror against Britain would get a lot worse?

If we don’t support Obama and McChrystal’s surge, then what will happen?  They tell us that if we don’t let them have their way, then the terror in Afghanistan and Pakistan will only grow worse.  I say that is a total lie.  If they do escalate the Special Forces and Predator strikes into Pakistan, launching a powerful counter-insurgency campaign, then I guarantee that everywhere will become like Peshawar is today.  Peshawar is bombed daily, because the armies of militants were driven to the city’s doorstep.

Apparently these assholes haven’t figured-out the formula for this war yet—the more innocent people you kill, the more young men will volunteer to fight against the Americans to avenge them.  The anti-American terrorism that makes the whole world suffer is not a spontaneous phenomenon; it is a reaction against what we have been doing in that part of the world for a lot longer than this current war has been raging.  They fight because we kill their friends and relatives, simple as that.

America’s military leaders act as if they make policy for the politicians, instead of the other way around.  They make their plans and tell us that we must stick to them; else our "American way of life" will perish from the face of this earth.  Well, maybe that wouldn’t be such a bad thing, after all.  They don’t bother to own-up to the facts about our precious way of life, even though everything around us screams-out about the utter wrongness of our ways.

The continuing global economic collapse has been precipitated by American greed and profit-takers upsetting the balance of the international economic system.  The low-level world war we see before us is a direct result of the many unnecessary low-level wars we have started, trying to preserve our inflated status.  One day soon, the world will hold American leaders accountable for what they have done to the world in their greed.  But in the end, it will be the American people, who will pay the price for the havoc that has been unleashed, in addition to the hundreds of millions globally who live in our chosen war zones.   In the end, America as we know it will cease to exist within the global American empire, or in the catastrophic chaos that will result from failure of the empire.  Either way, the America of our youth is no more.

It will only be through our own uprising and chaining these criminal psychopaths who run and ruin our Nation that the world will be spared what is barreling down the road at us.  The war in Afghanistan is but an act of very desperate men.

peterchamberlin@naharnet.com



 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #26 on: December 09, 2009, 06:44:59 AM »
South Asia
Dec 10, 2009 
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/South_Asia/KL10Df04.html 
 
The day the general made a misstep


By Mark Perry

President Barack Obama's national address last Tuesday not only detailed the United States' strategy on Afghanistan, it laid bare his new administration's strengths and weaknesses - and confirmed the growing suspicion that, eight years after September 11, 2001, meeting America's global challenges with a military response remains the default position of the Washington policymaking establishment.

"Don't underestimate the impact that eight years of the [George W] Bush administration has had in Washington," a senior State Department official explained this last summer. "The Bush people set out the language of the war on terrorism, invented the vocabulary, defined the terms. People talk about the importance of 'doing' diplomacy, but no one really knows what that means or how tough it can really be."

At least initially, this assessment seemed contradicted by the administration's flurry of diplomatic activity. Its first months were taken up by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's globetrotting, special envoy George Mitchell's high-profile Jerusalem meetings, AfPak specialist Richard Holbrooke's repeated initiatives with Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari - and Obama's decision to engage Iran in direct talks about its nuclear program.

Suddenly, surprisingly, the military seemed relegated to playing a minor role in Washington: Bush's hero David Petraeus, the US commander for the greater Middle East, was no longer in the headlines, the war in Iraq seemed well in hand and Defense Secretary Robert Gates was nowhere to be seen.

All of this changed in May, when a series of well-timed Taliban offensives led to a spike in US casualties and Gates decided to replace the US Afghan commander, David McKiernan, with Lieutenant General Stanley McChrystal. The change did not come as a surprise to Pentagon officers, who had watched Petraeus and McKiernan struggle through a difficult relationship: "The two couldn't be in the same room together," a McKiernan aide says. "We knew there'd be a fist fight if we left them alone." The disagreement was personal: McKiernan resented answering to an officer whom he had once commanded and viewed as politically ambitious.

But the relationship was also scarred by a subtle disagreement over how to meet the Taliban challenge. Both McKiernan and Petraeus agreed that the Taliban posed a security challenge to the Afghan government, but McKiernan focused first on development - on building what he called "human capital". Petraeus disagreed: you can't build "human capital" without security, he argued, and the security situation in the country was deteriorating. Then too, Petraeus thought, what was needed in Afghanistan was an officer who could respond creatively to what Petraeus believed was turning into an asymmetric fight - and McKiernan was an officer with a deep background in running conventional wars.

McChrystal, a former Green Beret and a celebrated special operations commander, was the answer. Petraeus recommended a change to Gates, and Gates agreed. Within days of his May 11 appointment, McChrystal showed up in the Afghan capital, Kabul, with a team of counter-insurgency experts who commandeered McKiernan's headquarters and fanned out throughout the country.

McChrystal's teams were told to identify the problem and find a solution. "They absolutely flooded the zone," a US development officer says. "There must have been hundreds of them. They were in every province, every village, talking to everyone. There were 10 of them for every one of us." Not surprisingly, within weeks of their deployment, McChrystal's team leaders had concluded that the US was facing was an escalating insurgency that could only be checked with an increase in US troops. In-country State Department officials rolled their eyes: "What a shock. If you deploy a gang squad, they're going to find a gang," a senior State Department official says with a tinge of bitterness. "They were looking for an insurgency and they found one."

"From the minute that McChrystal showed up in Kabul, he drove the debate," a White House official confirms. "You'll notice - from May on it was no longer a question of whether we should follow a military strategy or deploy additional troops. It was always, 'should we do 20,000 or 30,000 or 40,000, or even 80,000'? We weren't searching for the right strategy; we were searching for the right number."

A senior State Department official, watching McChrystal from her State Department perch in Washington, remembers the frustration among the department's top policymakers: "We kept saying 'we need to open up to the other side, like we did in Iraq with the Anbar insurgency,' and the military kept saying, 'well this isn't Iraq.' And so we'd answer: 'fine, so if Afghanistan isn't Iraq, then why do you keep talking about a surge?' And we never got an answer."

The State Department's frustration extended into the embassy in Kabul, where the US ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, was having his own problems with McChrystal. The appointment of Eikenberry in March of 2009 had been greeted with skepticism in the State Department because of his background as a West Pointer, a retired lieutenant general and a US security coordinator in the country. But if anyone would be sympathetic to McChrystal, it was now thought, it would be Eikenberry.

But that's not what happened: Eikenberry won friends among professional diplomats for his easygoing manner and quick understanding of their problems - and for his open irritation at McChrystal's imperious manner. "McChrystal came in and he just thought he was some kind of Roman proconsul, a [Douglas] MacArthur," an Eikenberry colleague notes. "He was going to run the whole thing. He didn't need to consult with the State Department or civilians, let alone the ambassador. This was not only the military's show, it was his show."

But McChrystal was not only able to "flood the zone" in Afghanistan, he was able to do so in Washington. As the director of the Joint Staff, a position he held just prior to arriving in Kabul, McChrystal established the Pakistan-Afghanistan Coordinating Cell (PACC), a 70-person military-civilian operations group housed in the Pentagon's National Command Center, one of the most secure offices in the world. "This isn't a place you just wander in and out of," a senior Pentagon official says. The "PACC" bypassed the normal command structure - and the State Department. It reported to McChrystal, who rotated its officers in and out of Kabul every three to four months.

The PACC is "a stovepipe operation", this senior Pentagon official notes. "It's beautiful. It's headed up by McChrystal acolytes, former special operations officers who view him [McChrystal] as their patron. So they follow his lead. And there is no requirement for them to share any of the information they get from Kabul with the State Department or anyone else - let alone with Eikenberry. This is McChrystal's game. The PACC people in Washington pass information to McChrystal without going through any channels and they take the best information from Kabul and they brief [JCS chairman Admiral Mike] Mullen - and he briefs the president. So during the run-up to the Afghanistan decision, the military always looked current. They had the best information. Everyone else looked like a bunch of amateurs. Eikenberry was out of the loop. He had no chop [influence] on any of it. They just ran circles around him."

The tensions in the Eikenberry-McChrystal relationship came to be defined by Eikenberry's growing anger that the State Department's views were not getting an adequate hearing, either in Kabul or in Washington. That is: because the military was the sole voice in determining what was wrong in Afghanistan, they would be the sole voice in determining what to do about it. To deal with the first problem - in Kabul - Eikenberry confronted McChrystal after the general had had one of his private, face-to-face meetings with Afghan President Hamid Karzai. "Don't you think I ought to be a part of these meetings?" Eikenberry asked. McChrystal shrugged him off. "I'll keep you informed," he said. Eikenberry was enraged: the American in-country effort was supposed to be a coordinated military-civilian initiative. According to a Pentagon official, the Eikenberry-McChrystal confrontation, which "first took place in July", was repeated again and again. "It got worse and worse."

Eikenberry responded to the second problem - in Washington - by belatedly sending a detailed cable to the president laying out his disagreement with McChrystal's plan. The cable, which arrived in early November, urged the president to adopt "a low-end option" of deploying no more than 15,000 US troops as trainers to the Afghan National Army.

Eikenberry made it clear: America's problems in Afghanistan weren't going to be solve by killing people, but by helping the Afghans build credible governing institutions. The cable made its way through the upper reaches of the Washington policymaking establishment - the deputies committee, the principles committee and the National Security Council (NSC) - until it reached the president's desk. It was reviewed at the White House on Wednesday, November 9 (with Eikenberry present) as one of four options available to the president.

McChrystal was enraged. In mid-August, he and his team had spent weeks with Petraeus and Petraeus' staff in the region preparing to make their case to the president - including six days of intensive meetings in Qatar - for an immediate deployment of 40,000 US troops to Afghanistan to "gain the initiative and reverse insurgent momentum".

The McChrystal recommendation, contained in a 66-page memorandum, became the focus of a series of intensive White House meetings chaired by the NSC director, James Jones, throughout September. The meetings were detailed and exhaustive, what one Central Command (CENTCOM) officer described as "some of the most physically draining sessions I have ever participated in". Now, suddenly, Eikenberry was weighing in. McChrystal felt undercut. "Where had this guy been?" one CENTCOM officer asked. "It was pretty damned late in the day to be giving an opinion. And that's all it was."

American diplomats don't disagree, but defend Eikenberry by pointing out that McChrystal's decision to "flood the zone" was designed to take the impetus for handling the war in Afghanistan out of the hands of the State Department as much as it was out of the hands of the Taliban. Other voices and other views, they believed, had been cut out of the loop - and they had decided to strike back.

"You can only be treated like a bunch of idiots for so long before you get fed up," one State Department employee says. "It was PowerPoint after PowerPoint, all filled with this lingo and it all sounded pretty scientific. But it all amounted to the same thing - who do we kill. Well, it won't work."

State Department officials theorize that Eikenberry might not have weighed in at all had it not been for an inadvertent McChrystal misstep. It was no secret in Washington that Vice President Joe Biden was one of the few officials who questioned McChrystal's call for more troops, but when McChrystal was asked about it he fell on his face.

During a speech in London on October 1, McChrystal described Biden's skepticism as "short-sighted" - an embarrassing and bald abrogation of Gates' oft-stated rule that military officers should keep their mouths shut when it comes to disagreeing with elected civilian officials. The result did not change the military equation, but it had a huge psychological impact: "Stan really doesn't quite get Washington," a colleague says, "and he was a little bit embarrassed. He took a huge gulp. Before London he was on transmit, after that he wasn't."

Coming nearly on the heels of McChrystal's misstep, the Eikenberry "low-end" option made a huge difference, coalescing opposition to McChrystal's call for a high-end flood of more troops and a full-blown counter-insurgency campaign. "McChrystal's gaffe gave Eikenberry his opening and he took it," a well-placed senate staffer says.

Eikenberry's cable exploded like a bomb inside Obama's NSC and reinforced Biden's skepticism over McChrystal's plan and strengthened the voices that believed McChrystal's plan should be ratcheted back and that the US should be provided with an "off ramp" - a way out of the country if the plan didn't work. Eikenberry's meeting with Obama and the NSC team also cast broad doubt on whether what the US faced in Afghanistan was a full-blown insurgency: doubts that persist despite Obama's acceptance of an increase of 30,000 US troops. The voices of doubt have impressive credentials.

James Clad, a former Pentagon deputy assistant secretary of defense for South Asia, is one of the prominent doubters. "It's not clear to me that what we're facing in Afghanistan is a counter-insurgency," he says. "In fact, I'm quite sure it's not. It's more likely that it's a Pashtun civil war. Which means we're applying the wrong fix to the wrong kind of problem."

Clad finds himself agreeing with Graham Fuller, a former Central Intelligence Agency station chief in Kabul, who last week wrote that "the 'objective' situation in Afghanistan remains a mess. We are not now winning hearts and minds in Afghanistan; indeed, we never can, and certainly not at gunpoint". Fuller continued by saying that "most Pashtuns will never accept a US plan for Afghanistan's future, [while] the non-Pashtuns - Tajiks, Uzbeks, Hazaras, etc - naturally welcome any outside support in what is a virtual civil war".

Clad sees the president's announcement as an unworkable compromise between contending Washington factions, each of which has a strongly militarized face. "More troops also mean more targets for a terrain-savvy enemy," he says, "and whatever the impending uptick in violence against the Taliban achieves," he says, "we will need to anchor the result in a regional settlement - one that draws Iran, China, Russia and India into a common purpose: to stop primitive Islamist zealots seizing Kabul once again, which is the Pakistani security establishment's preferred 'default' position. By militarizing the response to 9/11," Clad continues, "we took the view that America 'owns' Afghanistan in perpetuity, a foolish unilateral approach that the president's policy seems to endorse."

Andrew Bacevich, the dean of America's military thinkers, is even more outspoken. Writing in the Los Angeles Times in the immediate aftermath of the Obama decision, Bacevich likened Obama's decision to Bush's anti-terrorism crusade - a damning comparison.

Like Eikenberry - and Clad and Fuller, Bacevich questions whether launching a counter-insurgency campaign in Afghanistan is wise: "The 'surge' engineered by Army General David H Petraeus in Iraq enables proponents of that war to change the subject and to argue that the counter-insurgency techniques employed in Iraq can produce similar results in Afghanistan," Bacevich writes, "disregarding the fact that the two places bear about as much resemblance to one another as North Dakota does to Southern California."

He concludes: "Under the guise of cleaning up Bush's mess, Obama has chosen to continue Bush's policies. No doubt pulling the plug on an ill-advised enterprise involves risk and uncertainty. It also entails acknowledging mistakes. It requires courage. Yet without these things, talk of change will remain so much hot air."

Opponents of Obama's Afghanistan strategy argue that eight years after 9/11, America's response to terrorism (or "extremist violence" - to use the current president's stumbling catch phrase) remains chillingly unsophisticated: kill the enemy. While McChrystal's counter-insurgency plan was largely defanged, it was eventually endorsed by a president whose civilian team is short on military experience (neither Obama nor his secretary of state has ever served in uniform) and whose closest advisors - excepting Biden - were slow to question military assumptions. "We were really behind the curve," a senior State Department diplomat admits.

Critics of Obama might conclude from his recent West Point speech that the military is in charge of the American government - but don't tell the Pentagon. The military got what it wanted, but it emerged from the three-month Afghanistan review process with a keen sense of its limits and a strong feeling that while it might have succeeded in flooding the zone this time, it won't happen again.

Mark Perry is a military and foreign policy analyst living in Arlington, Virginia. His most recent book is Partners in Command, George Marshall and Dwight Eisenhower in War and Peace.

(Copyright 2009 Mark Perry.) 
 
 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #27 on: December 09, 2009, 07:05:23 AM »
Posted on Tue, Dec. 08, 2009
http://www.mcclatchydc.com/251/story/80287.html

McChrystal: Getting bin Laden key to defeating al Qaida

Nancy A. Youssef | McClatchy Newspapers
last updated: December 08, 2009 07:11:36 PM

WASHNGTON — Days after his boss said that there was no new intelligence on the whereabouts of al Qaida leader Osama bin Laden, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan told Congress Tuesday that killing or capturing bin Laden is critical to defeating the terrorist organization.

Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the top Afghanistan commander, said, however, that he could not promise that his new military strategy would lead to bin Laden's capture because when the al Qaida leader moves outside of Afghanistan, chasing after him "is outside my mandate."

McChrystal's comments underscored a key contradiction in President Barack Obama's new Afghanistan strategy: While it dedicates thousands of additional troops to combating the Taliban in Afghanistan, it adds few resources aimed at the policy's stated goal: "disrupting, dismantling and defeating" al Qaida.

"I believe he is an iconic figure at this point whose survival emboldens al Qaida as a franchise organization across the world," McChrystal told the Senate Armed Services committee. "I don't think we can defeat him until he is captured or killed."

In the last week top administration officials have offered conflicting statements about what the United States knows about bin Laden's whereabouts. While McChrystal suggested Tuesday that bin Laden is in neighboring Pakistan, retired Marine Gen. Jim Jones, Obama's national security advisor, said Sunday that bin Laden sometimes crosses the Afghan-Pakistan border.

And over the weekend, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates told ABC's "This Week" that the United States had not had strong intelligence on bin Laden's whereabouts for years.

Bin Laden has eluded U.S. capture since the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, most notably at the battle of Tora Bora in Afghanistan in late 2001. The special operations task force assigned exclusively to find bin Laden was disbanded by 2005.

"If, as we suspect, he is in North Waziristan, it is an area that the Pakistani government has not had a presence in, in quite some time," Gates told ABC.

McChrystal and Karl Eikenberry, the U.S. envoy in Afghanistan, appeared before the House and Senate Armed Services Committees on Tuesday to answer questions about the Obama administration's new Afghanistan strategy, which calls for the deployment of between 30,000-35,000 additional U.S. troops to Afghanistan by next summer. Most of those troops are to be assigned to southern Afghanistan, where the Taliban controls large swaths of the county.

Besides improving security, those forces are expected to train Afghan security forces to take over. McChrystal said that he expects the Afghan security forces — police and army — to expand to 300,000 by July 2011 — when Obama said U.S. troops would begin to withdraw. The total currently is about 188,000, with 96,000 of those belonging to the army.

McChrystal said he had not recommended July 2011 as the date to start the withdrawal. But he said that that date provides the United States enough time to weaken the Taliban's hold and build up the Afghan security forces. He did not say what the United States would do if U.S. forces hadn't made that kind of progress by then.

Eikenberry, who had expressed doubts about the strategy during the administration's three-month deliberation, said Tuesday he supported the strategy.

Military officials believe a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan will provide safe haven to al Qaida and its leadership. McChrystal estimated that between 24,000-27,000 full-time Taliban fighters operate in Afghanistan.

In the past, officials have said that killing bin Laden is not critical to defeating al Qaida, saying that they believe al Qaida's leadership is decentralized and that stabilizing the countries where they operate is a more attainable goal.

On Tuesday, however, McChrystal said that the goals are interlinked. "Rolling back the Taliban is a prerequisite to the ultimate defeat of al Qaida," he said.

There are currently 69,000 U.S. troops and 41,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan. The first of the surge troops are slated to arrive by Christmas.

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #28 on: December 09, 2009, 09:29:29 AM »
More ‘Corruption’ Is Needed in Afghanistan

by Ivan Eland, December 09, 2009

http://original.antiwar.com/eland/2009/12/08/more-corruption-is-needed-in-afghanistan/


One of the reasons why most counterinsurgency campaigns fail is that they’re run by foreign occupiers who don’t know the culture of the invaded country. This usual cultural ignorance, latent for eight years of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, came into sharp focus during the recent election campaign.

The American foreign policy elite blanched at the massive fraud allowing President Hamid Karzai to win a second term handily. The election fraud then led to a thorough examination by the American media of Afghanistan’s corrupt government and questions about whether such a venal government could ever win the hearts and minds of the Afghan people. Of course, the implication was that it couldn’t and that the U.S. war effort, attached to this sinking anchor, would ultimately fail.

Odds are that the U.S. war effort will ultimately fail, not primarily because of a tainted election or a corrupt government – but because the U.S. elite and ordinary Afghans have such different worldviews that they might as well live on different planets.

Two things that Afghans have gotten used to in the last 200 years are wars caused by foreign occupiers and corruption from their own rulers. The impact of the fraudulent election, as an example of the latter, probably has not disillusioned Afghans as much as it has Westerners. That is because in Afghan culture, elections and majority rule don’t have that much legitimacy anyway. People in Afghanistan usually solve their political issues by inviting tribal leaders and warlords to a grand assembly called a loya jirga. Rather than majority rule governing, a consensus is hammered out.

Furthermore, what is considered corrupt in Western countries is just good clean fun in Afghanistan. In the West, to soothe our consciences, our leaders disguise fighting for loot, territory, influence, or national interest in terms of high national principle (peacekeeping, nation-building, spreading democracy, etc.), and then people actually start believing the malarkey. In Afghanistan, fighters who switch sides for money may seem corrupt to the Western eye, but may be more honest with themselves than are Westerners.

Because of this vast cultural divide, the United States should realize that a foreign occupier can never really win hearts and minds in Afghanistan. Afghan factions loyal to the U.S. will only be so until the cash or in-kind payments run out. Thus, the Obama administration needs to realize that it probably can never bring about long-term stability in Afghanistan – which should have been obvious since the Russians, Soviets, and British all failed to do so. The Afghans will somehow have to do that themselves.

However, tactically, the United States could take advantage of Afghan culture to bring about enough short-term stability to wisely and quickly get out of Dodge. In the 20th century, the few successful counterinsurgency campaigns run by an outside power – the Americans in the Philippines after the Spanish-American War at the turn of the last century, the British in Malaya in the 1950s, and the Americans in Iraq – have one thing in common: the insurgency became divided.

The Obama administration is using Iraq as a template for success in Afghanistan without focusing on how the U.S. achieved this qualified success (in Iraq, the U.S. has not withdrawn rapidly and could yet be caught in an ethno-sectarian civil war). The surge of troops in Iraq might have helped – infusing a similar number of troops in 2005 didn’t – but the real reason that violence is down in Iraq is that al-Qaeda’s indiscriminate violence became too great even for Sunnis to endure, and the United States simply paid the Sunni tribes to change sides and fight the group instead of the U.S. military.

In Afghanistan, although the tribal leadership has been weakened by years of war and assassinations, the U.S. could still pay off many Taliban to switch sides. Contrary to conventional wisdom, many Taliban fight for money rather than because of ideological zeal.

Reading between the lines of his recent speech, President Obama seems to be looking for a minimal level of stability in Afghanistan in order to politically sell getting out of Afghanistan. Buying off and dividing the Taliban is the way to do that.

President Obama then needs to rapidly take advantage of any lessening of violence, while using the cover of the temporary troop surge to rapidly withdraw from Afghanistan. Also, he should more rapidly pull out of Iraq in order to avoid being enmeshed in a likely civil war. In sum, being more honest with ourselves about getting bogged down in such unnecessary and ill-advised quagmires is needed. Simply put, we need to pay off some of our opponents and head for the door.


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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #29 on: December 10, 2009, 06:53:23 AM »
Congressional hearings set stage for escalation of Afghanistan war

By Bill Van Auken

http://www.uruknet.de/index.php?p=m60886&hd=&size=1&l=e

WSWS - December 9, 2009

Testimony Tuesday by the senior US military commander and the US ambassador in Afghanistan before the House and Senate armed services committees has set the stage for a dramatic escalation of the war in Afghanistan and its further expansion across the border into Pakistan.

Gen. Stanley McChrystal and the ambassador, Karl Eikenberry, a retired general who previously commanded US forces in Afghanistan, both asserted their agreement with President Barack Obama’s decision—announced at West Point on December 1—to send another 30,000 US troops into the country.

The review process that consumed countless hours of discussion by Obama and his top aides has produced a policy that essentially provides McChrystal with everything he requested and leaves the strategy that he was pursuing in Afghanistan unchanged.

Ambassador Eikenberry, who together with McChrystal repeatedly referred to the two men’s shared military careers, told the House panel, "I can say without equivocation that I fully support this approach," adding that he was "exactly aligned with General McChrystal."

The remark was aimed at distancing himself from a cable he sent from Kabul, which was leaked to the media last month, warning that the deployment of tens of thousands more American troops would not accomplish US objectives, given the corruption and impotence of the Afghan puppet regime of President Hamid Karzai.

In his opening statement, McChrystal repeated the standard justification for the US war, stating that to achieve the "core goal of defeating Al Qaeda and preventing their return to Afghanistan, we must disrupt and degrade the Taliban’s capacity, deny their access to the Afghan population, and strengthen the Afghan Security Forces."

US military and security officials have estimated that there are no more than 100 Al Qaeda members in Afghanistan and have presented no evidence to back the repeated assertions that the organization is operating under the wing of the Taliban.

As for the Taliban itself, the term is used indiscriminately to describe the armed resistance to the US-led occupation that has spread over at least 80 percent of Afghanistan and has been fueled by the killing of civilians in US airstrikes and ground operations.

The real aim of the US escalation, which will increase the number of American soldiers and Marines in the country to over 100,000, is to suppress this resistance through the use of overwhelming force.

The questioning of McChrystal was, with few exceptions, characterized by the habitual obsequiousness of the politicians, Democratic and Republican alike, to the generals who head the US military. Republicans attempted to maneuver McChrystal into making statements critical of President Obama, questioning, in particular, whether he had been shortchanged on the number of troops being sent to Afghanistan. Media reports suggested he had asked for 40,000.

They also focused on Obama’s pledge in his West Point speech that the Afghanistan "surge" would begin to wind down in July 2011, when a gradual withdrawal of US forces would commence. The Republicans demanded to know whether this promise did not undermine the mission and allow the insurgents to wait out the US occupation forces.

McChrystal, who in the run-up to Obama’s decision had pressured the White House to agree to his troop request, using leaked memos and even a public speech in London, did not take the bait.

The general said he was "comfortable" with the number of troops and did "not anticipate the requirement to ask for additional forces." The difference between his request for 40,000 troops and Obama’s decision to send 30,000 will doubtless be erased with the sending of additional "support" troops and the use of private military contractors.

In the Bush administration’s Iraq "surge" an announced deployment of an additional 21,000 troops was surreptitiously increased to nearly 30,000, with the Pentagon sending additional forces in the form of support units. This process has already begun in Afghanistan, with Defense Secretary Robert Gates announcing to a Senate committee last week that he may need to send 3,000 more troops to assist the 30,000 stipulated by Obama.

There are nearly 10,000 private military contractors in Afghanistan, a number that has grown sharply in recent months. In total, the Department of Defense employs over 100,000 contractors in the country to support the US occupation by providing essential services formerly provided by military personnel.

As for Obama’s pledge to begin withdrawing American troops by July 11, McChrystal dismissed it with the contempt it deserves, knowing full well that the White House tacked it on to the escalation proposal in a bid to counter mass popular opposition to the war in the US.

"I don’t view July 2011 as a deadline," McChrystal told the House Armed Services Committee. "At that time, we’ll evaluate the time and scope of a possible drawdown."

Asked whether he had recommended setting a date for withdrawing some of the additional occupation troops, McChrystal acknowledged, "I made no recommendations at all on that." Nor does he see himself bound by Obama’s political gesture.

The Democrats on the two committees, in their overwhelming majority, indicated their support for the war’s escalation. Several of them, however, attempted to shift the focus of the questioning to Pakistan. Representative Rob Andrews, a Democrat from New Jersey, referred to the decision to send additional US troops into Afghanistan as a "bank shot," suggesting that the real target should be Pakistan.

Andrews asked McChrystal whether "force protection" could be invoked to allow the pursuit of insurgents across the border into Pakistan.

The US general allowed that while he would reserve the right of US forces to do whatever is required to defend themselves, he would be "very cautious" about cross-border raids. "The sovereignty of Pakistan is as sacred as the sovereignty as any other country," he proclaimed.

Such sentiments were not in evidence in September 2008, when Special Operations units, then under McChrystal’s direct command, carried out a raid against a Pakistani village. Local officials said that the raid killed 20 people, most of them women and children.

While both McChrystal and Eikenberry dodged questions on Pakistan by insisting that it was not their direct responsibility, it has become increasingly evident that a central feature of the Obama administration’s escalation will be stepped up military operations in that country as well.

The New York Times Tuesday cited US and Pakistani officials as reporting that Washington had warned the Pakistani government "that if it does not act more aggressively, the United States will use considerably more force on the Pakistani side to shut down Taliban attacks on American forces in Afghanistan." The warning came, the Times reported, during a visit last month to Islamabad by Obama’ national security advisor, Gen. James Jones, and the administration’s chief advisor on counterterrorism, John Brennan.

The warning was interpreted by Pakistani officials as a threat to launch new raids by US Special Operations troops across the Afghanistan-Pakistan border and to expand Predator drone missile attacks, including against the city of Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan, where Taliban leaders have reportedly taken refuge.

In his testimony before the House panel Tuesday, McChrystal hinted at the sharp rise in US casualties—as well as the hundreds of billions of dollars in additional spending—that will accompany the Afghanistan "surge." He said, "Success will require steadfast commitment and incur significant costs."

This warning was spelled out more explicitly the day before in an address by Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, who are to be among the first elements deployed in the escalation.

"I don't want to be in any way unclear about that," said Mullen in predicting a sharp increase in the killing and wounding of American troops. "This is what happened in Iraq during the surge and, as tragic as it is, to turn this thing around, it will be a part of this surge, as well."

Mullen also told the Marines: "We are not winning, which means we are losing and as we are losing, the message traffic out there to [Afghan resistance] recruits keeps getting better and better and more keep coming."

Unmentioned by the witnesses, the members of Congress and, of course, the media, is what the escalation will mean in terms of the killing and maiming of Afghan civilians. Behind all of McChrystal’s euphemisms about "degrading" or "rolling back" the Taliban, what is being prepared is the unleashing of massive and sustained violence designed to crush those resisting the US-led occupation as well as those civilians who support or harbor them.





 

Offline bigron

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Re: Af-Pak War Racket: The Obama Illusion Comes Crashing Down [MUST READ]
« Reply #30 on: December 10, 2009, 07:31:14 AM »
Thousands of Afghan students protest against US forces

Hundreds of villagers on Tuesday brought the bodies to
Mehtarlam and placed them in front of the Governor's House.


by Javed Hamim Kakar
http://www.uruknet.de/index.php?p=m60909&hd=&size=1&l=e

 
                               

DARONTA, Dec 9, 2009: Students of Nangarhar University burn a US flag during a protest demonstration against US forces for killing civilians in an operation in neighboring Laghman province. Thousands of protesting students blocked the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway for several hours. (Photo: PAJHWOK/Abdull Moheed Hashimi)


December 9, 2009

KABUL: Thousands of university students protesting against US forces in eastern Nangarhar province blocked the Kabul-Jalalabad Highway for hours on Wednesday.

The demonstration was staged by Nangarhar University students in Daronta district to denounce the US forces' operation in Laghman province, where 15 civilians were allegedly killed.

The operation in the village of Armal on the outskirts of Mehtarlam triggered a violent protest. Hundreds of villagers on Tuesday brought the bodies to Mehtarlam and placed them in front of the Governor's House. One person was killed when ANA soldiers opened fire at the protesters.

Local officials blamed the US Special Forces for conducting the operation, but the NATO-led ISAF insisted only militants were killed in the offensive.

President Hamid Karzai has ordered a thorough probe into the killings and directed the Ministry of Interior to submit a report in this regard.

The Defence Ministry and NATO commander Gen McChrystal have also ordered the constitution of a team of Afghan and foreign forces to jointly investigate the operation.

A student of the Engineering Faculty at the Nangarhar University, Imranullah Kakar, told Pajhwok Afghan News more than 3,000 students participated in the demonstration. The students blocked the Kabul-Jalalabad for hours.

The demonstrators chanted slogans against US President Barack Obama, President Hamid Karzai, US forces, Afghan National Army (ANA) and the National Directorate of Security (NDS).

A student of the Shariah Faculty, Imaduddin Kakar, said the government had failed to stop attacks from US forces on civilian houses. During the protest, a convoy of US forces that wanted to pass the area returned to Jalalabad after 20 minutes of wait.