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[Jun 21, 2021] The War On Afghanistan Is Lost But The U.S. Still Tries To Keep A Foot In Its Door

Jun 21, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

Jen , Jun 21 2021 20:17 utc | 17

Those Uyghur jihadists stuck in Idlib province in Syria and in refugee camps in Turkey are bound to get a warm welcome from the Taliban when Ankara finally ships them off to Kabul as part of this proposed "security force" to protect the airport so the CIA can continue to ship out its heroin.

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:28 utc | 20

The US MSM is ablaze with "Taliban against Afghan forces" headlines, conveniently forgetting that the Taliban are Afghan forces too, in fact they preceded the current "Afghan forces" in government until the US intervention.
So why do their guys always beat our guys? Because their guys fight for their country and our guys fight for us.
Max , Jun 21 2021 20:33 utc | 21
@ ToivoS, why did the U$A withdraw from Vietnam? There was conscription in the U$A, thereby the rich were at risk. Also, the U$A was being constrained by money creation due to the gold standard. Both of these issues have been addressed.

Name a nation that the U$A has WITHDRAWN its military after occupying it, other than Vietnam. Aren't we still in Germany, Japan, South Korea, ...?

It ain't over 'til it's over.

How much DEBT has the Afghanistan conflict created so far? In trillions? Who got that money?

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:34 utc | 22
@ CJC #10
re: . . . Turkey to retain control of airport after NATO withdraws
It's more than NATO.
The US-Taliban agreement:
The United States is committed to withdraw from Afghanistan all military forces of the United States, its allies, and Coalition partners, including all non-diplomatic civilian personnel, private security contractors, trainers, advisors, and supporting services personnel within fourteen (14) months following announcement of this agreement. . . here
Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:39 utc | 24

@ Max
re: . . . why did the U$A withdraw from Vietnam?
The US had no choice because the conscription-based US Army was broken, with troops refusing to obey orders and fragging their superiors etc. . .So Washington pulled out the troops and ended the draft.

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 20:49 utc | 25

The US "experts" who are crying about a possible, or inevitable, return to Talban government haven't read the agreement.
The US-Taliban Agreement of Feb 29, 2020 called for all foreign forces to leave Afghanistan by May 2021, and recognized that the outcome would be a return to a Taliban government. For example one agreement condition, II-5:: "The Taliban will not provide visas, passports, travel permits, or other legal documents to those who pose a threat to the security of the United States and its allies to enter Afghanistan." . . here

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 22:23 utc | 35

re: Why is the US in Afghanistan?
Decades ago Washington had its own "Silk Road" strategy, to move into the -Stans in Central Asia after the uSSR breakup. There was a large interest in Kazakhstan up north, as well as the other -Stands including Afghanistan. It was of course a road to nowhere but as we know the creeps in Washington ain't too bright. There were no seaports to accommodate this road, for one thing. There were some other considerations, like an energy pipeline, but it was all just going nowhere until 9-11 came along, giving the US to do what it does worst, employ its military.

Don Bacon , Jun 21 2021 22:33 utc | 36

@ Abe 32
re: This simplistic "views" are as inaccurate as insulting.
You need to get out more.
. . .from Fragging: Why U.S. Soldiers Assaulted Their Officers in Vietnam

During its long withdrawal from South Vietnam, the U.S. military experienced a serious crisis in morale. Chronic indiscipline, illegal drug use, and racial militancy all contributed to trouble within the ranks. But most chilling of all was the advent of a new phenomenon: large numbers of young enlisted men turning their weapons on their superiors. The practice was known as "fragging," a reference to the fragmentation hand grenades often used in these assaults. . . here
Canadian Cents , Jun 21 2021 23:03 utc | 40

Glad to hear that Pakistan's Prime Minister Imran Khan is not letting the US use Pakistan as a base for its continued machinations, in spite of heavy US pressure, and that Pakistan as a whole was saying #AbsolutelyNot. Kudos Pakistan.

According to M. K. Bhadrakumar:

"Washington is now considering the hiring of Pentagon contractors (mercenaries) to secure Kabul airport. But that will be a hugely controversial step with grave consequences, as apparent from Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan's brusque rejection of the very idea of American military presence on Pakistani soil in relation to the Afghan situation."

MKB also places all this into the context of "the US' grand project to create rings of instability in [Russia and China's] adjacent regions -- Ukraine, Belarus, Moldavia, Hong Kong, Myanmar, Afghanistan."

https://www.indianpunchline.com/fizz-is-gone-from-biden-putin-summit/

Biswapriya Purkayast , Jun 21 2021 23:27 utc | 41

*Mi 9 or Mi 17 helicopters. There is no Mi 19.

You forget the ISIS group that magically appeared in Afghanistan a few years ago. The same group that immediately attacked the Taliban, forcing the Taliban to dedicate its best forces to countering the threat instead of fighting the puppet child sex slaver Quisling warlord regime. What's more likely than continuing the occupation in the name of "fighting ISIS"? Just like Iraq was reinvaded and reoccupied in the name of "fighting ISIS" and continues to be occupied to this day?

[May 16, 2021] Liz Cheney Lied About Her Role In Spreading The Discredited CIA -Russian Bounty- Story - ZeroHedge

May 16, 2021 | www.zerohedge.com

Liz Cheney Lied About Her Role In Spreading The Discredited CIA "Russian Bounty" Story BY TYLER DURDEN SUNDAY, MAY 16, 2021 - 11:30 AM

Authored by Glenn Greenwald via greenwald.substack.com ,

In an interview with Fox News ' Bret Baier this week, Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) denied that she spread the discredited CIA "Russian bounty" story. That CIA tale, claiming Russia was paying Taliban fighters to kill U.S. troops in Afghanistan, was cooked up by the CIA and then published by The New York Times on June 27 of last year, right as former President Trump announced his plans to withdraw troops from Afghanistan. The Times story, citing anonymous intelligence officials, was then continually invoked by pro-war Republicans and Democrats -- led by Cheney -- to justify their blocking of that troop withdrawal. The story was discredited when the U.S. intelligence community admitted last month that it had only "low to moderate confidence" that any of this even happened.

Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) speaks to members of the media after she was removed of her leadership role as Conference Chair, following a Republican House caucus meeting at the U.S. Capitol on on May 12, 2021 in Washington, DC (Photo by Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images)

When Baier asked Cheney about her role in spreading this debunked CIA story, Cheney blatantly lied to him, claiming "if you go back and look at what I said -- every single thing I said : I said if those stories are true , we need to know why the President and Vice President were not briefed on them." After Baier pressed her on the fact that she vested this story with credibility, Cheney insisted a second time that she never endorsed the claim but merely spoke conditionally, always using the "if these reports are true" formulation. Watch Cheney deny her role in spreading that story.

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Fd6u_p0K9aE

Liz Cheney, as she so often does, blatantly lied. That she merely spoke of the Russian bounty story in the conditional -- " every single thing I said: I said if those stories are true" -- is completely and demonstrably false. Indeed, other than Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) , there are few if any members of Congress who did more to spread this Russian bounty story as proven truth, all in order to block troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. In so doing, she borrowed from a pro-war playbook pioneered by her dad, to whom she owes her career: the former Vice President would leak CIA claims to The New York Times to justify war, then go on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, as he did on September 8, 2002 , and cite those New York Times reports as though they were independent confirmation of his views coming from that paper rather than from him:

MR. RUSSERT: What, specifically, has [Saddam] obtained that you believe would enhance his nuclear development program? ..

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Now, in the case of a nuclear weapon, that means either plutonium or highly enriched uranium. And what we've seen recently that has raised our level of concern to the current state of unrest, if you will, if I can put it in those terms, is that he now is trying, through his illicit procurement network, to acquire the equipment he needs to be able to enrich uranium to make the bombs.

MR. RUSSERT: Aluminum tubes.

VICE PRES. CHENEY: Specifically aluminum tubes. There's a story in The New York Times this morning this is -- I don't -- and I want to attribute The Times . I don't want to talk about, obviously, specific intelligence sources, but it's now public that, in fact, [Saddam] has been seeking to acquire, and we have been able to intercept and prevent him from acquiring through this particular channel, the kinds of tubes that are necessary to build a centrifuge. And the centrifuge is required to take low-grade uranium and enhance it into highly enriched uranium, which is what you have to have in order to build a bomb.

So having CIA stories leak to the press that fuel the pro-war case, then having pro-war politicians cite those to justify their pro-war position, is a Cheney Family speciality.

On July 1, the House Armed Services Committee, of which Rep. Cheney is a member, debated amendments to the National Defense Authorization Act, the bill that authorized $740.5 billion in military spending. One of Cheney's top priorities was to align with the Committee's pro-war Democrats, funded by weapons manufacturers, to block Trump's plan to withdraw all U.S. troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2020 and to withdraw roughly 1/3 of the 34,000 U.S. troops in Germany.

To justify her opposition, Cheney -- contrary to what she repeatedly insisted to Baier -- cited the CIA's Russian bounty story without skepticism . In a joint statement with Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-TX), ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, that Cheney published on her website on June 27 -- the same day that The New York Times published its first story about the CIA tale -- Cheney pronounced herself "concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces." There was nothing conditional about the statement: they were preparing to block troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and cited this story as proof that "Russia does not wish us well in Afghanistan."

After today's briefing with senior White House officials, we remain concerned about Russian activity in Afghanistan, including reports that they have targeted U.S. forces. It has been clear for some time that Russia does not wish us well in Afghanistan. We believe it is important to vigorously pursue any information related to Russia or any other country targeting our forces. Congress has no more important obligation than providing for the security of our nation and ensuring our forces have the resources they need.

An even more definitive use of this Russia bounty story came when Cheney held a press conference to explain her opposition to Trump's plans to withdraw troops. In this statement, she proclaimed that she "remains concerned about Russian activities in Afghanistan." She then explicitly threatened Russia over the CIA's "bounty" story, warning them that "any targeting of U.S. forces by Russians, by anyone else, will face a very swift and deadly response." She then gloated about the U.S. bombing of Russia-linked troops in Syria in 2018 using what she called "overwhelming and lethal force," and warned that this would happen again if they target U.S. forces in Afghanistan:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/_NUXZog_Vf0

Does this sound even remotely like what Cheney claimed to Baier? She denied having played a key role in spreading the Russia bounty story because, as she put it, " every single thing I said, I said: if those stories are true." She also told him that she never referred to that CIA claim except by saying: "if these reports are true." That is false.

The issue is not merely that Cheney lied: that would hardly be news. It is that the entire media narrative about Cheney's removal from her House leadership role is a fraud. Her attacks on Trump and her party leadership were not confined to criticisms of the role played by the former president in contesting the validity of the 2020 election outcome or inciting the January 6 Capitol riot -- because Liz Cheney is such a stalwart defender of the need for truth and adherence to the rule of law in politics.

Cheney played the key role in forming an alliance with pro-war Democrats on the House Armed Services Committee to repeatedly defeat the bipartisan anti-war minority [led by Ro Khanna (D-CA), Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) and Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL)] to prevent any meaningful changes promised by Trump during the 2016 campaign to put an end to the U.S. posture of Endless War. As I reported about the House Armed Services Committee hearing last July, the CIA tale was repeatedly cited by Cheney and her allies to justify ongoing U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.

Cheney is motivated by power, not ethics. In 2016, Trump ran -- and won -- by explicitly inveighing against the Bush/Cheney foreign policy of endless war, militarism and imperialism that Liz Cheney, above all else, still vehemently supports. What she is attempting to do is reclaim the Republican Party and deliver it back to the neocons and warmongers who dominated it under her father's reign. She is waging an ideological battle, not an ethical one, for control of the Republican Party.

That will be a debate for Republican voters to resolve. In the meantime, Liz Cheney cannot be allowed to distance herself from the CIA's fairy tale about Russians in Afghanistan. Along with pro-war Democrats, she used this conveniently leaked CIA story repeatedly to block troop withdrawal from Afghanistan. And just as her father taught her to do -- by example if not expressly -- she is now lying to distance herself from a pro-war CIA script that she, in fact, explicitly promoted.


For those who have not seen it, I produced a one-hour video report last July on how and why the House Armed Services Committee succeeded in enacting virtually every pro-war amendment they considered and how this was accomplished through an alliance between Liz Cheney and her neocon GOP allies on the one hand, and pro-war, Raytheon-funded Democrats on the other:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/ejqYrzEX14E https://youtu.be/ejqYrzEX14E
play_arrow 1


rosalinda 8 hours ago

Circular politics, who knew? Happens all the time. 'Leak' a story to a paper that for sure will publish it, and quote that very same story to push whatever it is you, or more precisely, your backers, want. Nobody wants war, why is the US spending almost $1T on defense? Nobody else is spending that kind of money, the MIC is able to force down whatever it wants on the compliant press, and gullible public

Demologos 7 hours ago

Liz Cheney is carrying daddy's water. This is why there should have been war crimes trials for the fake wars promoted by the neocons for the benefit of the Wall Street/London/MIC complex. If Daddy Darth had swung from a rope we wouldn't be dealing with the current mess.

You can blame the fake news media for the lack of consequences. When they want to, they can take a thimble full of bad behavior and turn it into an Olympic size pool of condemnation and character assassination. They were given an Olympic size pool of outright lies and corruption related to the illegal wars and didn't see anything that offended their sense of human decency and justice. But a thug dies in the street and the fake news machine turns him into the national martyr for systemic racism.

vic and blood PREMIUM 7 hours ago remove link

Look at how many RINOs are swamp creatures who establish residency in lower population states, where campaign cash goes further.

**** Cheney was a swamp creature and fake Wyoming person, just like Liz Cheney.

Pernicious Gold Phallusy 7 hours ago

McCain did that in the 1970s. Abandoned his wheelchair-bound wife and his kids, then married a rich drug addict in a new State.

pndr4495 7 hours ago

As I have repeated many times here on ZH, a politician is not seriously concerned about representing the constituents. The politician is busy with reprenting his/her own interests, especially the financial interest.

vic and blood PREMIUM 7 hours ago remove link

Liz Cheney is a perfect example of how little the neocons differ from the neolibs. They are the same thing with different cynical marketing strategies.

HAL9000rev1 7 hours ago (Edited)

The roots of neocon philosophy is Trotskyism. Neocons are left/right agnostic, they latch on to which ever political party in power.

perpetual war/perpetual revolution is thier stratagy

freedommusic 8 hours ago (Edited)

Language was invented so people can lie.

Politics was invented so people can make a career out of lying.

Paul Bunyan 8 hours ago remove link

Language was invented to communicate, but yes, people take advantage.

Pretty Like an Ugly Girl 7 hours ago

I confess that in 2001, and until about 2008, I was part of the crowd that bought the whole ******* line. Then with Obama I fell for the ******** that it's better to vote for the lesser of two evils.

Then I started watching the countless documentaries on 911 that show the official 911 report is a bigger concoction of horse**** than the Warren Report. Here's the definitive documentary, for any searchers out there: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8DOnAn_PX6M

The thing about Cheney back in the day is that he seemed like the most credible/reasonable man in government. I remember after he debated Joe Lieberman how everybody wished they were both at the tops of their tickets.

Bottom line is we believe what aligns with what we want to believe, and they know it, and they took down the towers knowing the majority of the US would be willing to go to war with the entire world if need be.

Folks who think the covid scam or the stolen election was the beginning of the breakdown haven't been paying attention. The people haven't been in control of their country for a long, long time, if ever.

Ms No PREMIUM 7 hours ago

There are anti-human mimicks born, psychopaths, that literally have to study human emotion, learn it and parrot it. That's why when one watches you, especially at first encounter, it's so intense.

They are analyzing your every facial crease and body language trying to decode the human and what it all means. When they lie they will sometimes pause to do this to see if it's fully taking. They often can't tell if what they are saying is too absurd, they wait for you to show them. They develop this skill over time.

What's even creepier, is that since they don't use empathy capacity and other human tendencies, that brain capacity becomes devoted to their predatory nature, analyzing, imitating and being phony. So they are damn near preternatural at it. They know your weaknesses and needs immediately.

In addition to their dead, intense analyzing stare, they don't recognize that their stare is too intense and that they often get too close. Like if this fatty had halitosis for example, she would always just be at least a little too close to you. They don't understand what it is about people that wants space They don't have that feeling either. When you squirm and try to get away, they won't notice or care, unless they are doing it on purpose to intimidate. They can also lie with ease, because they don't have any of those things that makes people moral. They are simply annoyances to them. It pisses them off that they have to pretend to care.

wellwaddyaknow 7 hours ago

So in other words, the CIA makes sht up, floats it out there in the direction of dumb gullible compromised power hungry members of congress, and then wait to see who picks it up and smells it.

[May 03, 2021] US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

May 03, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

Hoarsewhisperer #10

Ditto. I am sure the CIA will be grinding the generals as we speak. Even the letter in Politico could well be one of their strategies. I posted a piece in the open thread yesterday from The HILL that was pure propaganda.

USA is not alone in losing guerrilla warfare.

Watch for Biden announcing a 'shake up' of the military command in the next few weeks/months.

The US military 2021 retreat from Kabul will result in a slaughter in the USA.

I see the Pentagon pulling the plug on the opium income for the CIA. Now THAT is the real war. So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction. That added cost to the CIA will not be taken lightly.

arby , Apr 28 2021 22:53 utc | 31

Posted by: uncle tungsten | Apr 28 2021 22:44 utc | 29

"So the CIA now has to pay its mercenary army to defend the harvest and extraction."

Seems to me it is the taxpayer that is paying for defending the fields.

US/NATO Troops Patrolling Opium Poppy Fields in Afghanistan

[May 03, 2021] Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise.

May 03, 2021 | www.unz.com

Katrinka , says: April 30, 2021 at 11:36 am GMT • 15.8 hours ago

@KenH

Biden is privatising the war in Afghanistan. 18,000 private contractors will stay behind to maintain a landing area for U.S. aircraft should the need arise. According to war monger Lynn Cheney the "troops will never leave". The U.S. National Guard has been fighting undeclared wars all over the ME for twenty years and legislation is being proposed at the state level to end the abuse. I personally know one man who has done three tours in Iraq as a National Guardsman.

I totally agree with your comments concerning the U.S. government here at home. It is Bolshevism 2.0.

[Apr 19, 2021] McEnany torches liberal media's 'heinous' coverage of Russia bounty story - YouTube

Apr 19, 2021 | www.youtube.com


Rickey Johnson , 2 days ago

They investigated Trump with no evidence when Biden had evidence against him but would not be investigated

Captain_ Shredder , 1 day ago

"All I want to say is that they don't really care about us" - Michael Jackson

Abdul Jabars , 1 day ago

Apologize will come flowing thru today..... You're out of your mind if you think any of them will apologize for this cause they knew what they were doing

FactsNotFeelings , 1 day ago

i got to say i love how when Kayley isn't talking, she has that very intense look on her face of listening and paying attention of what others are saying that is so dang cute. Got to love the most beast press secretary of all times! Im glad to see her on fox semi regularly now.

Guru of Love , 1 day ago

She can't get enough of fighting the gall because there is so much of it. It's vexing. Good for her.

Alabama Mothman , 2 days ago

There is literally NO agency in our government that supports the American People.

Mark H , 22 hours ago

Anything they can say to deflect from their incompetence and lies, lies upon lies to deflect from the lies. Wow, it makes my head hurt.

Malone Mantooth , 1 day ago

When are "news" companies going to start being held accountable? They are the number one agitators of the U.S right now.

Greg Marchegiani , 1 day ago

Kaley is articulated and concise, on point, because what she says is the product of her own intellect, not a script well studied (Psaki). That the core of the difference in my opinion.

[Mar 01, 2021] Withdrawing troops from Afghanistan may not be what Talibal wants

Nov 12, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
jinn , Nov 12 2020 23:34 utc | 81

The Afghans (including the Taliban) do not want the US to leave their country. The flow of US$ into the country (including the flow of heroin$) is what the Afghans have lived on for many decades. Its not like the Afghans don't have control of their own country. They have complete control of all the parts of the country that they want to control. They are perfectly happy to allow Americans to control small parts of the country as long as the $$$ keep flowing into the whole country.

The US power elite may have figured out that just like every other power that has ever tried to occupy Afghanistan that it is a black hole that sucks the life out of the power trying to conq


Haassaan , Nov 13 2020 0:16 utc | 86

@76 Tom
Interesting! Been too busy for reviewing the new military appointees until I read your post. It looks like this is a last ditch attempt by Trump to get troops out of Afghanistan and Syria...

Tom , Nov 13 2020 0:20 utc | 87

"withdrawing troops from Afghanistan may well be exactly what TPTB want."

Posted by: jinn | Nov 12 2020 23:34 utc | 81

Well, they have had, what 19 years years to do that and now that President Trump makes another push for it, all hell breaks loose from the forever war team, you know that team of Democrats and RINO's who are now vying for a spot on Biden's team of psychopaths for war. The we came, we saw and aren't leaving team.

Haassaan , Nov 13 2020 0:32 utc | 89

@81 Jinn

"withdrawing troops from Afghanistan may well be exactly what TPTB want."

Anything is possible, but given the pushback that is taking place (quietly of course, lest the masses get awoken) that is seriously doubtful.

Afghanistan can be likened to one of the central squares on a chessboard...control of central squares is vital as it reduces the mobility of your opponent and lays ground for offensive action.

China has a border with Afghanistan, as does Iran...were Afghanistan to free itself from USA occupation, it would make a great conduit for the BRI.

That is without getting into Afghanistan's role in opium trade and the related black budget, nor its wealth in rare minerals. One might say for the Hegemon to remain the Hegemon it needs to control Afghanistan.

The problem for the hegemon is Afghanistan is expensive to hold on to...and this is without Russia, Iran or China putting any effort in to chase US troops out via arming and training proxies...that could be done quickly, and I am guessing the groundwork is already in place.

jinn , Nov 13 2020 0:46 utc | 91

Well, they have had, what 19 years years to do that
_________________________________________

Well sure but you need to remember the story of why we were there in the first place.
They can't just dump all the BS that they have been feeding us for nineteen years and say "never mind" like Roseanne Roseannadanna.

As for the warmongers who support attacking Libya, Iraq, Syria, etc that was done to send a message to any country that does not want to knuckle under to the $$$ hegemony and thinks about trying to escape it.
That messaging does not apply to the Afghan war. That war sends the exact opposite message.

[Jan 02, 2021] Pull My Finger- - (Afghan Edition)

Notable quotes:
"... Moon of Alabama ..."
Jan 02, 2021 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Jan 1 2021 8:16 utc | 7

June 26 2020, New York Times

Russia Secretly Offered Afghan Militants Bounties to Kill U.S. Troops, Intelligence Says

August 17 2020, CNN

US intelligence indicates Iran paid bounties to Taliban for targeting American troops in Afghanistan

December 31 2020, Axios

Scoop: Trump administration declassifies unconfirmed intel on Chinese bounties

January 1 2021, Moon of Alabama

Sources: To Keep Troops In Afghanistan U.S. Intel Paid Militants Bounties To Kill Them

Date corrected :-)


Another factless headline in today's NYT:

Microsoft Says Russian Hackers Viewed Some of Its Source Code

Microsoft said no such thing.

Nowhere in Microsoft's blogpost on the issue is there mention of 'Russian', 'Russia' or some other attribution.

Arch Bungle , Jan 1 2021 9:05 utc | 9

Posted by: Antonym | Jan 1 2021 6:13 utc | 1


CHINESE SPY NETWORK EXPOSED IN AFGHANISTAN

I've already exposed pajwhok news as a European-created front organisation.

Repeating the same endless propaganda every few days just makes you look like a mindless digital drone.

[Dec 29, 2020] The CIA Is Running Death Squads in Afghanistan

Dec 29, 2020 | outline.com

The war in Afghanistan, now in its 19th year, is the longest and most intractable of America's forever wars. There are now American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan who were born after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the ostensible casus belli . The American public has long ago grown tired of the war. A YouGov poll conducted in July of 2020 showed that 46 percent of Americans strongly supported withdrawing troops from Afghanistan, with another 30 percent saying they "somewhat" approved of troop withdrawal.

But this 76 percent majority is deceptive. Given the fact that America has a volunteer army and American casualties in Afghanistan remain sporadic, this is not an issue that the public is passionate about. An inchoate dissatisfaction is compatible either with disengagement or just a lack of interest. Conversely, those in the national security establishment who do passionately support the war are able to thwart political leaders who want a drawdown. Under both Barack Obama and Donald Trump, presidential efforts to disengage from Afghanistan and the larger Middle East were met with resistance from a foreign policy elite that sees any withdrawal as a humiliating defeat.

Trump tried to resolve the contradiction between his desire to remove troops and the foreign policy elite's commitment to the Afghan war by loosening the rules of war . The thinking of the Trump administration was that by unleashing the military and intelligence agencies, it could subdue the Taliban -- thus preparing the way for a drawdown of troops. Special priority was given to CIA-run covert operations using Afghan paramilitaries, with the belief that this would lead to a more sustainable war that didn't require American soldiers to participate in fighting.

A report in The Intercept , written by reporter Andrew Quilty, documents the horrifying consequences of this policy: Afghan paramilitary units, known as 01 and 02, have acted as death squads, launching raids against civilians that have turned into massacres. Many of these raids have attacked religious schools, the famous madrassas, leading to the death of children as young as 8 years old.

According to Quilty, "Residents from four districts in Wardak -- Nerkh, Chak, Sayedabad, and Daymirdad -- spoke of a string of massacres, executions, mutilation, forced disappearances, attacks on medical facilities, and airstrikes targeting structures known to house civilians. The victims, according to these residents, were rarely Taliban. Yet the Afghan unit and its American masters have never been publicly held accountable by either the Afghan or U.S. governments."

These raids all involve Afghan paramilitaries who are outside the control of the Afghan government and working in conjunction with American handlers who provide high-tech aid and direction, Quilty reports.

The units' American CIA advisers go by pseudonyms or call signs rather than names.They not only train Afghan unit members, but also choose their targets, which the Americans call "jackpots"; issue detailed pre-mission briefings; and accompany Afghan paramilitaries on the ground during raids. The Afghans and Americans are ferried to remote villages at night by American helicopters, and American assault aircraft hover overhead while they conduct their raids, providing lethal firepower that is sometimes directed at health clinics, madrassa dormitories, or civilian homes.

Despite providing detailed accounts of American-led war crimes, The Intercept 's report has been met with near-silence from the American media. Jake Tapper of CNN retweeted the article , but otherwise there is little indication that the American media cares.

As Intercept reporter Ryan Grim notes , "It's been two days since this story was published, and the mainstream media has been largely silent on it. Imagine if the media treated the My Lai massacre this way." (In fact, the mainstream press sat on whistleblower Ron Ridenhour's warnings about My Lai for a year before Seymour Hersh and the scruffy Dispatch News Service finally broke the silence.)

Grim also suggested that the Biden administration might want to bring justice to the perpetrators of these alleged war crimes. "One of the most outspoken proponents of bringing a fine legal eye to war has been Avril Haines, who will be Joe Biden's Director of National Intelligence," Grim observes. "She'll have the authority and the ability to discover who in the CIA was involved in these operations, and bring them to justice."

This is a forlorn hope given the Obama administration's failure to go after war crimes committed by the CIA under George W. Bush. Further, Biden himself is ambiguous on Afghanistan in a way that calls to mind Trump himself.

As Quincy Institute president Andrew Bacevich noted in The Nation earlier this month, Biden "wants to have it both ways" on the Afghan war. Biden will occasionally say, "These 'forever wars' have to end," but he will also say that America needs to keep a contingent of forces in Afghanistan. As Bacevich observes, "Biden proposes to declare that the longest war in US history has ended, while simultaneously underwriting its perpetuation." Biden's support for a light military footprint could very easily lead him to the same position as Trump: using covert CIA operations to maintain American power in Afghanistan with minimal use of uniformed troops. This is a recipe for more massacres.

The Nation

Writing in The Washington Post last month, veteran Afghanistan analyst Carter Malkasian made a compelling case that the United States is facing a "stark choice" between "complete withdrawal by May or keeping 2,500 troops in place indefinitely to conduct counterterrorism operations and to try to prevent the collapse of the Afghan government. There's no doubt that withdrawal will spell the end of the Afghan government that the United States has supported for 19 years."

Malkasian makes clear that the counterterrorism operations would merely be an exercise of staving off defeat, with no prospect of an end to the war. Given the enormous moral costs of this counterterrorism, unflinchingly described by The Intercept , the argument for complete withdrawal becomes stronger.

It's likely that Biden will continue the policy of previous presidents of kicking the can down the road by using covert CIA operators to fend off defeat. But Americans should have no illusions: That means perpetuation of horrific war crimes in a conflict that cannot be won.

[Sep 23, 2020] Never Forget- Smoking Gun Intel Memo From 1990s Warned Of Frankenstein The CIA Created

Notable quotes:
"... knew and bluntly acknowledged ..."
"... War on The Rocks ..."
"... The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV ..."
Sep 23, 2020 | www.blacklistednews.com
SOURCE: ZEROHEDGE

As Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 which saw almost 3,000 innocents killed in the worst terror attack in United States history, it might also be worth contemplating the horrific wars and foreign quagmires unleashed during the subsequent 'war on terror'.

Bush's so-called Global War on Terror targeted 'rogue states' like Saddam's Iraq, but also consistently had a focus on uprooting and destroying al-Qaeda and other armed Islamist terror organizations (this led to the falsehood that Baathist Saddam and AQ were in cahoots). But the idea that Washington from the start saw al-Qaeda and its affiliates as some kind of eternal enemy is largely a myth.

Recall that the US covertly supported the Afghan mujahideen and other international jihadists throughout the 1980's Afghan-Soviet War, the very campaign in which hardened al-Qaeda terrorists got their start. In 1999 The Guardian in a rare moment of honest mainstream journalism warned of the Frankenstein the CIA created -- among their ranks a terror mastermind named Osama bin Laden .

But it was all the way back in 1993 that a then classified intelligence memo warned that the very fighters the CIA previously trained would soon turn their weapons on the US and its allies. The 'secret' document was declassified in 2009, but has remained largely obscure in mainstream media reporting, despite being the first to contain a bombshell admission.

A terrorism analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research named Gina Bennett wrote in the 1993 memo "The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous," that --

"support network that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to supplement the Afghan mujahidin" in the war against the Soviets, "is now contributing experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups worldwide."

The concluding section contains the most revelatory statements, again remembering these words were written nearly a decade before the 9/11 attacks :

US support of the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not necessarily protect US interests from attack.

...Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims' wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the world, could surprise the US with violence in unexpected locales.

There it is in black and white print: the United States government knew and bluntly acknowledged that the very militants it armed and trained to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars would eventually turn that very training and those very weapons back on the American people .

And this was not at all a "small" or insignificant group, instead as The Guardian wrote a mere two years before 9/11 :

American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992, 12,500 foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up .

But don't think for a moment that there was ever a "lesson learned" by Washington.

Instead the CIA and other US agencies repeated the 1980s policy of arming jihadists to overthrow US enemy regimes in places like Libya and Syria even long after the "lesson" of 9/11. As War on The Rocks recounted :

Despite the passage of time, the issues Ms. Bennett raised in her 1993 work continue to be relevant today. This fact is a sign of the persistence of the problem of Sunni jihadism and the "wandering mujahidin." Today, of course, the problem isn't Afghanistan but Syria. While the war there is far from over, there is already widespread nervousness, particularly in Europe, about what will happen when the foreign fighters return from that conflict.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304385396692914177&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.blacklistednews.com%2Farticle%2F77999%2Fnever-forget-smoking-gun-intel-memo-from-1990s-warned-of-frankenstein-the-cia.html&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px

On 9/11 we should never forget the innocent lives lost, but we should also never forget the Frankenstein of jihad the CIA created .

* * *

The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV

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[Sep 12, 2020] Never Forget- Smoking Gun Intel Memo From 1990s Warned Of 'Frankenstein The CIA Created' - Zero Hedge

Sep 12, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

As Americans pause to remember the tragic events of September 11, 2001 which saw almost 3,000 innocents killed in the worst terror attack in United States history, it might also be worth contemplating the horrific wars and foreign quagmires unleashed during the subsequent 'war on terror'.

Bush's so-called Global War on Terror targeted 'rogue states' like Saddam's Iraq, but also consistently had a focus on uprooting and destroying al-Qaeda and other armed Islamist terror organizations (this led to the falsehood that Baathist Saddam and AQ were in cahoots). But the idea that Washington from the start saw al-Qaeda and its affiliates as some kind of eternal enemy is largely a myth.

Recall that the US covertly supported the Afghan mujahideen and other international jihadists throughout the 1980's Afghan-Soviet War, the very campaign in which hardened al-Qaeda terrorists got their start. In 1999 The Guardian in a rare moment of honest mainstream journalism warned of the Frankenstein the CIA created -- among their ranks a terror mastermind named Osama bin Laden .

1998 CNN still of Osama bin Laden, right, along with Egyptian jihadist Ayman al-Zawahiri in Afghanistan, CNN/Getty Images

But it was all the way back in 1993 that a then classified intelligence memo warned that the very fighters the CIA previously trained would soon turn their weapons on the US and its allies. The 'secret' document was declassified in 2009, but has remained largely obscure in mainstream media reporting, despite being the first to contain a bombshell admission.

A terrorism analyst at the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research named Gina Bennett wrote in the 1993 memo "The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous," that --

"support network that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to supplement the Afghan mujahidin" in the war against the Soviets, "is now contributing experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups worldwide."

UNCLASSIFIED

SECRET/NOFORWNOCONTRACT/ORCON

RELEASED IN FULL

United States Department of State
Bureau of Intelligence and Research

WEEKEND EDITION

21-22 August 1993

UNITED STATES DEPARTMENT OF STATE
REVIEW AUTHORITY: FRANK II PEREZ
DATEj'CASK ID: 23 NOV 2007 200605437

The Wandering Mujahidin: Armed and Dangerous

During the war in Afghanistan, eager Arab
youths volunteered en masse to fight a historic "jihad"
against the Soviet •'infidel." The support network
that funneled money, supplies, and manpower to sup-
plement the Afghan mujahidin is now contributing
experienced fighters to militant Islamic groups world-
wide. Veterans of the Afghan jihad are being inte-

... ... ...

dump hundreds more devout fighters into the net-
work. exacerbating the problems of governments that
are accepting the wandering mujahidin.

* * *

When the Boys Come Home

The concluding section contains the most revelatory statements, again remembering these words were written nearly a decade before the 9/11 attacks :

US support of the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not necessarily protect US interests from attack.

...Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims' wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the world, could surprise the US with violence in unexpected locales.

https://lockerdome.com/lad/13084989113709670?pubid=ld-dfp-ad-13084989113709670-0&pubo=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com&rid=www.zerohedge.com&width=890

ue until wc throw India out," apparently is well armed
and operating about 80 miles southeast of Srinagar.

Mujahidin in Every Corner

Beyond the Middle East and South Asia, small
numbers of Afghan war veterans are taking up causes
from Somalia to the Philippines. Mujahidin connections
to the larger network heighten the chances that even
an ad hoc group could carry out destructive insurgent
attacks. Veterans joining small opposition groups can
contribute significantly to their capabilities; therefore,
some militant groups are actively recruiting returning
veterans, as in the Philippines where the radical Mus-
lim Abu Sayyaf Group (ASG) reportedly is using muja-
hidin members' connections to the network to bolster
funding and broker arms deals. The ASG is believed
to have carried out the May bombings of Manila's
light rail system.

Focus on the United States

The alleged involvement of veterans of the Af-
ghan war in the World Trade Center bombing and the
plots against New York targets arc a bold example of
what tactics some fop^r mujahidin are willing in use
in their ongoing jihad (see box, p. 3). US support of
the mujahidin during the Afghan war will not neces-
sarily protect US interests from attack.

The growing perception by Muslims that the US
follows a double standard with regard to Islamic issues --
particularly in Iraq, Bosnia, Algeria, and the Isracli-
occupicd territories -- heightens the possibility that
Americans will become the targets of radical Muslims'
wrath. Afghan war veterans, scattered throughout the
world, could surprise the US with violence in unex-
pected locales.

(Gina BennoB. INfVTNA)

There it is in black and white print: the United States government knew and bluntly acknowledged that the very militants it armed and trained to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars would eventually turn that very training and those very weapons back on the American people .

And this was not at all a "small" or insignificant group, instead as The Guardian wrote a mere two years before 9/11 :

American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992, 12,500 foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up .

But don't think for a moment that there was ever a "lesson learned" by Washington.

Frankenstein the CIA created

So he found a different theatre for his holy war and achieved a different sort
of martyrdom. Three years ago, he was convicted of planning a series of
massive explosions in Manhattan and sentenced to 35 years in prison.

Hampton-el was described by prosecutors as a skilled bomb-maker. It was
hardly surprising. In Afghanistan he fought with the Hezb-i-Islami group of
mujahideen, whose training and weaponry were mainly supplied by the CIA.

He was not alone. American officials estimate that, from 1985 to 1992,12,500

foreigners were trained in bomb-making, sabotage and urban guerrilla

warfare in Afghan camps the CIA helped to set up.

Instead the CIA and other US agencies repeated the 1980s policy of arming jihadists to overthrow US enemy regimes in places like Libya and Syria even long after the "lesson" of 9/11. As War on The Rocks recounted :

Despite the passage of time, the issues Ms. Bennett raised in her 1993 work continue to be relevant today. This fact is a sign of the persistence of the problem of Sunni jihadism and the "wandering mujahidin." Today, of course, the problem isn't Afghanistan but Syria. While the war there is far from over, there is already widespread nervousness, particularly in Europe, about what will happen when the foreign fighters return from that conflict.

https://platform.twitter.com/embed/index.html?dnt=false&embedId=twitter-widget-0&frame=false&hideCard=false&hideThread=false&id=1304385396692914177&lang=en&origin=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.zerohedge.com%2Fgeopolitical%2Fnever-forget-1993-smoking-gun-intel-memo-warned-frankenstein-cia-created&siteScreenName=zerohedge&theme=light&widgetsVersion=219d021%3A1598982042171&width=550px NEVER MISS THE NEWS THAT MATTERS MOST

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Receive a daily recap featuring a curated list of must-read stories.

On 9/11 we should never forget the innocent lives lost, but we should also never forget the Frankenstein of jihad the CIA created .

* * *

The U.S. State Dept.'s own numbers at the height of the war in Syria: access the full report at STATE.GOV

19 June 2015, From US Department of
State, Country Report on Terrorism 2014:
"The rate of foreign terrorist fighter travel to Syria
[during 2014]- totaling more than 16,000 foreign
terrorist ficjhters from more than 90 countries as
of late December - exceeded the rate of foreign
terrorist fighters who traveled to Afghanistan and
Pakistan, Iraq, Yemen, or Somalia at any point in
the last 20 years"

me name=

[Sep 11, 2020] MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality -- RT Op-ed

Notable quotes:
"... By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. ..."
"... "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," ..."
"... "despicable comments" ..."
"... "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me." ..."
"... "right and authority" ..."
"... "when it's required for national security and a last resort." ..."
"... "pattern of public statements ..."
"... Like this story? Share it with a friend! ..."
Sep 11, 2020 | www.rt.com

MSM's attempts to spin Trump's attacks on senseless wars as disrespect for military at large are a dismal distortion of reality 11 Sep, 2020 12:06 Get short URL © Getty Images / David Dee Delgado 29 Follow RT on RT

By Tony Cox , a US journalist who has written or edited for Bloomberg and several major daily newspapers. The New York Times and CNN are desperate to paint Donald Trump as an enemy of the military, due to his desire not to get involved in pointless wars. But this is simply not true, and Trump has the backing of many soldiers.

Someone should tell the New York Times, CNN and other mainstream media outlets that soldiers don't actually like getting killed or maimed for no good reason. Nor do they like generals and presidents who spill their blood in vain.

Alas, ignorance of these obvious truths probably isn't the issue. This is likely just another case of the biggest names in news pretending to not get the point so they can take the rest of us along for a ride in their confidence game of alternative reality.

The latest example is the New York Times spinning President Donald Trump's critique this week of Pentagon leadership and the military industrial complex as disrespect for the military at large. "Trump has lost the right and authority to be commander in chief," the Times quoted retired US Marines General Anthony Zinni as saying. Zinni cited Trump's alleged "despicable comments" about the nation's war dead – reported last week by The Atlantic , citing anonymous sources – as one of the reasons Trump "must go."

ALSO ON RT.COM After Trump helps crush ISIS, end Korea nuke tests and avoid new wars, Republican haters warn he 'imperiled America's security'

Never mind that Trump and all on-the-record administration sources denied The Atlantic's report. The Times couldn't resist when the pieces seemed to fit so well together for the military's latest propaganda campaign against Trump. First the president disses the troops, calling them "losers" and "suckers," then he has the temerity to say Pentagon leaders want to fight wars to keep defense contractors happy.

Except the pieces don't fit. The many people who occupy so-called boots on the ground don't have the same interests as the few people who send them to war. In fact, combat troops are given reason to hate the generals who send them to die when there's not a legitimate national security reason for the war they're fighting. And the US has fought a long line of wars that didn't serve the nation's national security interests. Even when a war is justified, the interests of top brass and front-line soldiers often clash.

Remember that great 1967 war movie, ' The Dirty Dozen' ? A group of 12 soldiers who were condemned to long prison sentences or execution in military prison for their crimes were sent on a 1944 suicide mission to kill high-ranking German officers at a heavily defended chateau far behind enemy lines. After succeeding in the mission and escaping the Germans, the lone surviving convict, played by tough-guy actor Charles Bronson, told the mission leader, "Killing generals could get to be a habit with me."

ALSO ON RT.COM NATO cannot survive a second Trump term

So no, New York Times, speaking out against ill-advised wars does not equal bashing the military. And sorry, General Zinni, but generals, defense contractors and their media mouthpieces don't get to decide who has the "right and authority" to be commander in chief. The voters decided that already, and they expressed clearly that they don't want senseless and endless wars and foreign interventions.

The Times cited General James McConville, the Army's chief of staff, as saying Pentagon leaders would only recommend sending troops to combat "when it's required for national security and a last resort." And no, it wasn't a comedy skit. What's the last US war or combat intervention that measured up to that standard? Let's just say the late Bronson, who died in 2003 at the age of 81, was a young man the last time that happened.

CNN tried a similar ploy on Sunday, while trying to sell the "losers" and "suckers" story in an interview with US Veterans Affairs Secretary Robert Wilkie. Host Dana Bash said the allegations fit a "pattern of public statements " by the president because Trump called US Senator John McCain a "loser" in 2015 and said McCain shouldn't be considered a hero for being captured in the Vietnam War. She repeatedly suggested to Wilkie, who didn't take the bait, that Trump's attacks on McCain, who died in 2018, showed disrespect for the troops.

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Apparently, this follows the same line of propagandist thought which told us that saying there are rapists among the illegal aliens entering the US from Mexico – which is undeniably true – equals saying all Mexicans are rapists. In CNN land, a bad word about McCain is a bad word about all soldiers.

McCain was a warmonger who didn't mind getting US troops killed or backing terrorist groups in Syria. If he had his way , many more GIs would be dead or disabled, because the intervention in Syria would have been escalated and the US might be at war with Iran. Soldiers wouldn't want their lives wasted in such conflicts.

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All wars are hard on the people who have to fight them, but senseless wars are spirit-crushing. An average of about 17 veterans commit suicide each day in the US, according to Veterans Administration data . Veterans account for 11 percent of the US adult population but more than 18 percent of suicides.

The media's deceiving technique of trying to pretend that ruling-class chieftains and front-line grunts are in the same boat reflects a broader campaign of top-down revolution against populism. The military is just one of several pro-Trump segments of the population that must be turned against the president. Other pro-Trump segments, such as police , are demonized and attacked.

Trump has managed to keep the US out of new wars and has drawn down deployments to Iraq, Syria and Afghanistan – despite Pentagon opposition. His rival, Democrat presidential nominee Joe Biden, can be expected to rev up the war machine if he takes charge. His foreign policy adviser, Antony Blinken, lamented in a May interview with CBS News that Trump had given up US "leverage" in Syria.

Trump also has turned around the VA hospital system, ending decades of neglect that left many veterans to die on waiting lists.

Like past campaigns to oust Trump, the notion that he's not sufficiently devoted to the troops might be a tough sell. No matter how good their words may sound, the people who promote endless wars without clear objectives aren't true supporters of the rank and file.

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[Aug 15, 2020] After Trump Called It A Hoax, Pompeo Warns Russians Against Offering Bounties To Kill US Troops -

Aug 15, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

After Trump Called It A Hoax, Pompeo Warns Russians Against Offering Bounties To Kill US Troops


by Tyler Durden Fri, 08/14/2020 - 21:00 Twitter Facebook Reddit Email Print

The late June 'Russian bounties in Afghanistan' story lasted no longer than a mere week given that some of the very publications pushing it were forced to walk it back based on not only key claims not bearing out, but a slew of top intel officials and Pentagon generals saying it was baseless.

And then like many other 'Russiagate'-inspired narratives (in this case Trump was accused of essentially 'looking the other way' while Russians supposedly paid the Taliban to kill US troops), it was memory-holed.

But this apparently hasn't stopped the State Department or the Pentagon from using it as leverage while talking to the Russians. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo warned his counterpart, Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, that "there will be an enormous price to pay" if the Kremlin did indeed pay Afghan fighters to attack Americans or other Westerners .

Pompeo revealed the warning in an interview with Radio Free Europe on Wednesday :

"That's what I shared with Foreign Minister [Sergey] Lavrov," Pompeo said. "I know our military has talked to their senior leaders as well. We won't brook that; we won't tolerate that."

Russia has of course, denied involvement in any such operation, which many analysts have pointed out would carry major risk of stoking military conflict with the United States but with little positive gain in the region.

Pompeo also said in the interview : "We will do everything we need to do to protect and defend every American soldier and, for that matter, every soldier from the Czech Republic or any other country that's part of the Resolute Support Mission to make sure that they're safe."

Importantly, it marks the first time any US official has broached the Russian bounties story with a Kremlin officials .

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about:blank

about:blank

me title=

But again, it's somewhat strange given the US administration (and multiple US intelligence agencies ) has repeatedly denied that it has any merit. Trump has gone so far as to all it a "hoax". Thus Pompeo's message to the Russians appears a pure tactic for achieving leverage.

Or alternately, it could be that Pompeo is just plain undermining Trump on this one. Unitended Consequences , 5 minutes ago

Pompeo is a Deep State mole.

David Wooten , just now

There is still a big disconnect between Trump and the 'Trump' administration.

chunga , 3 minutes ago

US has Pompeo. Russia has Lavrov.

[Aug 09, 2020] No Evidence Of Foreign Interference In U.S. Elections, U.S. Intelligence Says

Aug 09, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Richard Steven Hack , Aug 9 2020 2:28 utc | 52

"Nowadays that seems to be their main purpose."

That's always been the purpose of intelligence agencies - in every nation throughout history.

Government agencies work for their own benefit, without exception. And the leaders of government always work the same way, regardless of the actual "national interests" or "public interest".

The problem is that everyone believes the fantasy that somehow they can "elect" leaders and government workers who don't do this. But all elections are manipulated by the political elites themselves to insure that no one gets into power who might the remotest notion of upsetting the profitable apply cart. And if any movement arose that sought to prevent the manipulation of elections - say, a "third party" or some movement to de-fund parties by elites - that movement itself would be deflected or undermined or taken over.

It's a circus and you all are the circus animals. Get used to it.


J W , Aug 9 2020 2:07 utc | 51

Posted by: JC | Aug 9 2020 0:45 utc | 47

I don't know where the idea that China wants Biden to win came from. The consensus I get from reading actual PRC media in native Chinese is certainly the opposite: They are 100% sure the Cold War 2.0 is going to escalate either way, so they will rather have Trump's outward incompetence than another Obama-like knife-behind-the-smile schemer.

Paul , Aug 9 2020 0:58 utc | 48

It is the rulers themselves and those who rule the rulers, who are fearful of losing control of the levers of power. I recall the British in Egypt boasting: 'we don't rule Egypt, we rule the rulers.'

It is not the accumulation of power for its own sake that is the intoxicating elixir of the ruling elite. It is furthering their objectives, both open and hidden.

To understand their primary objectives one should ask: just what is the single most bi partisan policy objective of US presidents, since Woodrow Wilson, with a few minor differences of opinion and emphasis from Eisenhower and Kennedy? Just what was the first priority item on the agenda at both the 1919 Paris 'Peace' Conference and the first United Nations meetings at Lake Success?

It was amending the title deeds of Palestine and attempting to confer some kind of quasi legitimacy on the new title deed holders.

The rulers are very afraid the future of the Zionist project is slipping away from their control. So in their rabid and delusional minds anything goes from now on in the furtherance of that self inflicted nightmare and the elimination of anyone or any country that inhibits that objective. Watch out.

[Jul 19, 2020] Russia Bounty Story Falls Flat: opportunist Democrats and foreign policy insiders drive 'hysteria.' by Reese Erlic

Notable quotes:
"... While cozying up to Putin on a personal level, Trump has actually taken a harder line against Russia than his predecessors, to the detriment of people in both countries. The President canceled two arms treaties, imposed sanctions on Moscow, and sent Javelin missiles to Ukraine. ..."
"... Defense industries make billions from government contracts. Former military officers and State Department officials rake in six-figure incomes sitting on corporate boards. Aspiring secretaries of state and defense strut their stuff at think tank conferences and, until the pandemic, at alcohol-fueled, black tie events in Washington. ..."
"... "There's an entire infrastructure influencing policy," says Hoh, who had an inside seat during his years with the government. ..."
"... And that's what the current Russia-Taliban scandal is all about: An unreliable Afghan report is blown into a national controversy in hopes of forcing the White House to cancel the Afghan troop withdrawal. Demonizing Russia (along with China and Iran) also justifies revamping the US nuclear arsenal and building advanced fighter jets that can't fly . ..."
Jul 18, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

On June 26, in a major front page story, The New York Times wrote that Russia paid a bounty to the Taliban to kill US soldiers in Afghanistan last year. The story quickly unraveled.

While the military is investigating the allegations, Mark Miley, chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says there's no proof that Russian payments led to any US deaths. The National Security Agency says it found no communications intelligence supporting the bounty claim.

Marine Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., head of the US Central Command, says he's not convinced that American troops died as a result of Russian bounties.

"I just didn't find that there was a causative link there," he tells The Washington Post .

Sina Toossi, senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council, tells me the controversy reveals an internecine battle within the foreign policy establishment. "Many in the national security establishment in Washington are searching for reasons to keep US troops in Afghanistan," Toossi says. "This story plays into those broader debates."

Troop withdrawal?

Faced with no end to its unpopular war in Afghanistan, the Trump Administration negotiated an agreement with the Taliban in February. Washington agreed to gradually pull out troops, and the Taliban promised not to attack US personnel.

The Taliban and Afghan government are supposed to hold peace talks and release prisoners of war. The US troop withdrawal won't be completed until May 2021, giving the administration in power the ability to renege on the deal.

Nevertheless, powerful members of the Afghan intelligence elite and some in the US national security establishment strongly object to the agreement and want to keep US troops in the country permanently.

Matthew Hoh, who worked for the State Department in Afghanistan and is now a senior fellow with the Center for International Policy , tells me that the reports of Russian bounties likely originated with the Afghanistan intelligence agency.

"The mention of Russia was a key word," says Hoh. CIA officials fast-tracked the Afghan reports. They argued that Russia's interference, and Trump's failure to respond, only emboldens the Russians.

Originally, the Times claimed $500,000 in Russian bounty money was seized at the home of a Taliban operative named Rahmatullah Azizi. He turned out to be an Afghan drug smuggler who had previously worked as a contractor for Washington.

The Times later admitted that investigators "could not say for sure that it was bounty money."

Hoh says the alleged bounties make no sense politically or militarily. Last year, he says, "The Taliban didn't need any incentives to kill Americans." And this year, it has stopped all attacks on US forces as part of the February agreement.

But leading Democrats ignore the unraveling of the story in a rush to attack the White House from the right. Joe Biden reached deep into his Cold War tool box to blast Trump.

"Not only has he failed to sanction or impose any kind of consequences on Russia for this egregious violation of international law, Donald Trump has continued his embarrassing campaign of deference and debasing himself before Vladimir Putin," Biden told a town hall meeting.

Demonizing Russia

While cozying up to Putin on a personal level, Trump has actually taken a harder line against Russia than his predecessors, to the detriment of people in both countries. The President canceled two arms treaties, imposed sanctions on Moscow, and sent Javelin missiles to Ukraine.

Both high-ranking Republicans and Democrats benefit politically by creating an evil Russian enemy, according to Vladimir Pozner, Putin critic and host of a popular Russian TV interview program.

The bounty accusation "keeps the myth alive of Putin and Russia being a vicious, cold-blooded enemy of the US," Pozner tells me.

Some call it the foreign policy establishment; others say the national security state or simply the Deep State. A group of officials in the Pentagon, State Department, intelligence agencies and war industries have played an outsized role in foreign policy for decades. And it's not out of the goodness of their hearts.

Defense industries make billions from government contracts. Former military officers and State Department officials rake in six-figure incomes sitting on corporate boards. Aspiring secretaries of state and defense strut their stuff at think tank conferences and, until the pandemic, at alcohol-fueled, black tie events in Washington.

"There's an entire infrastructure influencing policy," says Hoh, who had an inside seat during his years with the government.

The Deep State is not monolithic, he cautions. "You won't find a backroom with guys smoking cigars. But there is a notion of US primacy and a bent towards military intervention."

And that's what the current Russia-Taliban scandal is all about: An unreliable Afghan report is blown into a national controversy in hopes of forcing the White House to cancel the Afghan troop withdrawal. Demonizing Russia (along with China and Iran) also justifies revamping the US nuclear arsenal and building advanced fighter jets that can't fly .

"It's Russia hysteria," says Hoh.

Afghans suffer

While the Washington elite wage internal trench warfare, the people of Afghanistan suffer. More than 100,000 Afghans have died because of the war, with 10,000 casualties each year, according to the United Nations . The Pentagon reports 2,219 US soldiers died and 20,093 were wounded in the Afghan war.

A lesser imperialist power, Russia has its own interests in Afghanistan. It has taken advantage of the US decline in the region to expand influence in Syria and Libya.

According to Pozner, Russia doesn't favor a Taliban government in Afghanistan. The Kremlin considers the Taliban a dangerous terrorist organization. But if the Taliban comes to power, Pozner says, "Russia would like to have stable relations with them. You have to take things as they are and build as good a relationship as possible."

Neither Russia nor any other outside power has the means or desire to control Afghanistan. At best, they hope for a stable neighbor, not one trying to spread extremism in the region.

That's been the stated US goal for years. Ironically, it can't be achieved until US troops withdraw.

Reese Erlich's nationally distributed column, Foreign Correspondent, appears every two weeks. Follow him on Twitter , @ReeseErlich; friend him on Facebook ; and visit his webpage .

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[Jul 19, 2020] What the MSM cliche According to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter actually means

Highly recommended!
Yet another evil rumor designed to poison relations with Russia. This time from Yahoo
Jul 19, 2020 | www.zerohedge.com

JLee2027 , 1 hour ago

according to former U.S. officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

So, it's made up garbage.

[Jul 16, 2020] How the Media Mangled the 'Russian Invasion' of the Trump Administration by Ted Galen Carpenter

Jul 14, 2020 | nationalinterest.org

The willingness of the press to circulate any account that puts Russia in a bad light has not diminished with the collapse of the Russia-Trump collusion narrative.

hroughout the Trump years, various reporters have presented to great fanfare one dubious, thinly sourced story after another about Moscow's supposedly nefarious plots against the United States. The unsupported allegations about an illegal collusion between Donald Trump's 2016 campaign and the Russian government spawned a host of subsidiary charges that proved to be bogus . Yet, prominent news outlets, including the New York Times , the Washington Pos t, CNN, and MSNBC ran stories featuring such shaky accusations as if they were gospel.

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The willingness of the press to circulate any account that puts Russia in a bad light has not diminished with the collapse of the Russia-Trump collusion narrative. The latest incident began when the New York Times published a front-page article on June 28, based on an anonymous source within the intelligence community, that Moscow had put a bounty on the lives of American soldiers stationed in Afghanistan. The predictable, furious reaction throughout the media and the general public followed. When the White House insisted that the intelligence agencies had never informed either the president or vice president of such reports, most press reactions were scornful.

As with so many other inflammatory news accounts dealing with Russia , serious doubts about the accuracy of this one developed almost immediately. Just days later, an unnamed intelligence official told CBS reporter Catherine Herridge that the information about the alleged bounties was uncorroborated . The source also revealed to Herridge that the National Security Agency (NSA) concluded that the intelligence collection report "does not match well-established and verifiable Taliban and Haqqani practices" and lacked "sufficient reporting to corroborate any links." The report had reached "low levels" at the National Security Council, but it did not travel farther up the chain of command. The Pentagon, which apparently had originated the bounty allegations and tried to sell the intelligence agencies on the theory, soon retreated and issued its own statement about the "unconfirmed" nature of the information.

There was a growing sense of dιjΰ vu, as though the episode was the second coming of the infamous, uncorroborated Steele dossier that caused the Obama administration to launch its 2016 collusion investigation. A number of conservative and antiwar outlets highlighted the multiplying doubts. They had somewhat contrasting motives for doing so. Most conservative critics believed that it was yet another attempt by a hostile media to discredit President Trump for partisan reasons. Antiwar types suspected that it was an attempt by both the Pentagon and the top echelons of some intelligence agencies to use the media to generate more animosity toward Russia and thwart the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, a process that was still in its early stages following Washington's February 29, 2020, peace accord with the Taliban.

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The bounty stories certainly had that effect. Congressional hawks in both parties immediately called for a delay in further withdrawals while the allegations were investigated. They also made yet more "Trump is Putin's puppet" assertions. Nancy Pelosi could not resist hurling another smear with that theme. "With him, all roads lead to Putin," Pelosi said. "I don't know what the Russians have on the president, politically, personally, or financially."

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Despite the growing cloud of uncertainty about the source or accuracy of the bounty allegation, several high-profile journalists treated it as though it was incontrovertible. A typically blatant, hostile spin was evident in a New York Times article by Michael Crowley and Eric Schmitt. The principal "evidence" that they cited for the intelligence report was the earlier story in their own newspaper. An admission that there were divisions within the intelligence agencies about the report, the authors buried far down in their article.

High-level intelligence personnel giving the president verbal briefings did not deem the bounty report sufficiently credible, much less alarming, to bring it to his attention. Former intelligence official Ray McGovern reached a blunt conclusion : "As a preparer and briefer of The President's Daily Brief to Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush, I can attest to the fact that -- based on what has been revealed so far -- the Russian bounty story falls far short of the PDB threshold."

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Barbara Boland, a national security correspondent for the American Conservative and a veteran journalist on intelligence issues, cited some "glaring problems" with the bounty charges. One was that the Times' anonymous source stated that the assessment was based "on interrogations of captured Afghan militants and criminals." Boland noted that John Kiriakou, a former analyst and case officer for the CIA who led the team that captured senior al-Qaeda figure Abu Zubaydah in 2002, termed reliance on coercive interrogations "a red flag." Kiriakou added, "When you capture a prisoner, and you're interrogating him, the prisoner is going to tell you what he thinks you want to hear." Boland reminded readers that under interrogation Khalid Sheik Mohammed made at least 31 confessions, "many of which were completely false."

A second problem Boland saw with the bounty story was identifying a rational purpose for such a Russian initiative since it was apparent to everyone that Trump was intent on pulling U.S. troops out. Moreover, she emphasized, only eight U.S. military personnel were killed during the first six months of 2020, and the New York Times story could not verify that even one fatality resulted from a bounty. If the program existed at all, then it was extraordinarily ineffective.

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Nevertheless, most media accounts breathlessly repeated the charges as if they were proven. In the New York Times , David Sanger and Eric Schmitt asserted that, given the latest incident, "it doesn't require a top-secret clearance and access to the government's most classified information to see that the list of Russian aggressions in recent weeks rivals some of the worst days of the Cold War." Ray McGovern responded to the Sanger-Schmitt article by impolitely reminding his readers about Sanger's dreadful record during the lead-up to the Iraq War of uncritically repeating unverified leaks from intelligence sources and hyping the danger of Saddam Hussein's alleged weapons of mass destruction.

Another prominent journalist who doubled down on the bounty allegations was the Washington Post's Aaron Blake . The headline of his July 1 article read "The only people dismissing the Russia bounties intel: the Taliban, Russia and Trump." Apparently, the NSA's willingness to go public with its doubts, as well as negative assessments of the allegations by several veteran former intelligence officials, did not seem to matter to Blake. As evidence of how "serious" the situation was (despite a perfunctory nod that the intelligence had not yet been confirmed), Blake quoted several of the usual hawks from the president's own party.

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As time passed, outnumbered media skeptics of the bounties story nevertheless lobbed increasingly vigorous criticisms of the allegations. Their case for skepticism was warranted. It became clear that even the CIA and other agencies that embraced the charges of bounties ascribed only "medium confidence" to their conclusions. According to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) , there are three levels of confidence, "high," "moderate," and "low." A "moderate" confidence level means "that the information is credibly sourced and plausible but not of sufficient quality or corroborated sufficiently to warrant a higher level of confidence." The NSA (and apparently the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) and possibly other portions of the intelligence community) gave the reports the "low" confidence designation, meaning that "the information's credibility and/or plausibility is questionable, or that the information is too fragmented or poorly corroborated to make solid analytic inferences, or that [there are] significant concerns or problems with the sources."

Antiwar journalist Caitlin Johnstone offered an especially brutal indictment of the media's performance regarding the latest installment of the "Russia is America's mortal enemy" saga. "All parties involved in spreading this malignant psyop are absolutely vile," she wrote, "but a special disdain should be reserved for the media class who have been entrusted by the public with the essential task of creating an informed populace and holding power to account.  How much of an unprincipled whore do you have to be to call yourself a journalist and uncritically parrot the completely unsubstantiated assertions of spooks while protecting their anonymity?"

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The media should not have ignored or blithely dismissed the bounty allegation, but far too many members ran enthusiastically with a story based on extremely thin evidence, questionable sourcing, and equally questionable logic. Once again, they seemed to believe the worst about Russia's behavior and Trump's reaction to it because they had long ago mentally programmed themselves to believe such horror stories without doubt or reservation. The assessment by Alan MacLeod of Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) is devastatingly accurate. With regard to the bounty story, he concluded, "evidence-free claims from nameless spies became fact" in most media accounts. Instead of sober, restrained inquiries from a skeptical, probing press, readers and viewers were treated to yet another installment of over-the-top anti-Russia diatribes. That treatment had the effect, whether intended or unintended, of promoting even more hawkish policies toward Moscow and undermining the already much-delayed withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. It was a biased, unprofessional performance that should do nothing to restore the public's confidence in the media's already tattered credibility.

[Jul 13, 2020] George Washington Tried To Warn Americans About Foreign Policy Today by Doug Bandow

Highly recommended!
This is all about maintaining the US-centered global neoliberal empire. After empires is created the the USA became the salve of imperial interests and in a way stopped existing as an independent country. Everything is thrown on the altar of "full spectrum Dominance". The result is as close to a real political and economic disaster as we can get. Like USSR leadership the US elite realized now that neoliberalism is not sustainable, but can't do anything as all bets were made for the final victory of neoliberalism all over the world, much like Soviets hoped for the victory of communism. That did not happened and although the USA now is in much better position then the USSR in 60th (but with the similar level of deterioration of cognitive abilities of the politicians as the USSR). In this sense COVID-19 was a powerful catalyst of the crush of the US-centered neoliberal empire
Notable quotes:
"... On the other side are the targets of "inveterate antipathies." This also characterizes US Middle East policy. So hated are Iran and Syria that Washington, DC is making every effort to destroy their economies, ruin their people's livelihoods, wreck their hospitals, and starve their population. The respective governments are bad, to be sure, but do not threaten the US Yet, as the nation's first president explained to Americans, "Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy." ..."
"... Consider how close the US has come to foolish, unnecessary wars against both nations. There were manifold demands that the US enter the Syrian civil war, in which Americans have no stake. Short of combat the Obama administration indirectly aided the local affiliate of al-Qaeda, the terrorist group which staged 9/11 and supposedly was America's enemy. Moreover, there was constant pressure on America to attack Iran, targeted by the US since 1953, when the CIA helped replace Tehran's democracy with a brutal tyrant, whose rule was highlighted by corruption, torture, and a nuclear program – which then was taken over by Iran's Islamic revolutionaries, to America's horror. ..."
"... The US now is pushing toward a Cold War redux with Russia, after successive administrations treated Moscow as if it was of no account, lying about plans to expand NATO and acting in other ways that the US would never tolerate. Imagine the Soviet Union helping to overthrow an elected, pro-American government in Mexico City, seeking to redirect all commerce to Soviet allies in South America, and proposing that Mexico join the Warsaw Pact. US policymakers would be threatening war. ..."
"... In different ways many US policies illustrate the problem caused by "passionate attachments" – the almost routine and sometimes substantial sacrifice of US economic and security interests to benefit other governments. For instance, hysteria swept Washington at the president's recent proposal to simply reduce troop levels in Germany, which along with so many other European nations sees little reason to do much to defend itself. There are even those who demand American subservience to the Philippines, a semi-failed state of no significant security importance to the US Saudi Arabia is a rare case where the attachment is mostly cash and lobbyists. In most instances cultural, ethnic, religious, and historical ties provide a firmer foundation for foreign political influence and manipulation. ..."
Jul 13, 2020 | original.antiwar.com

Ben Rhodes, Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, unkindly characterized the foreign policy establishment in Washington, D.C., as "the Blob." Although policymakers sometimes disagree on peripheral subjects, membership requires an absolute commitment to U.S. "leadership," which means a determination to micro-manage the world.

Reliance on persuasion is not enough. Vital is the willingness to bomb, invade, and, if necessary, occupy other nations to impose the Blob's dictates on other peoples. If foreigners die, as they often do, remember the saying about eggs and omelets oft repeated by communism's apologists. "Stuff happens" with the best-intentioned policies.

One might be inclined to forgive Blob members if their misguided activism actually benefited the American people. However, all too often the Blob's policies instead aid other governments and interests. Washington is overrun by the representatives of and lobbyists for other nations, which constantly seek to take control of US policy for their own advantage. The result are foreign interventions in which Americans do the paying and, all too often, the dying for others.

The problem is primarily one of power. Other governments don't spend a lot of time attempting to take over Montenegro's foreign policy because, well, who cares? Exactly what would you do after taking over Fiji's foreign ministry other than enjoy a permanent vacation? Seize control of international relations in Barbados and you might gain a great tax shelter.

Subvert American democracy and manipulate US foreign policy, and you can loot America's treasury, turn the US military into your personal bodyguard, and gain Washington's support for reckless war-mongering. And given the natural inclination of key American policymakers to intervene promiscuously abroad for the most frivolous reasons, it's surprisingly easy for foreign interests to convince Uncle Sam that their causes are somehow "vital" and therefore require America's attention. Indeed, it is usually easier to persuade Americans than foreign peoples in their home countries to back one or another international misadventure.

The culprits are not just autocratic regimes. Friendly democratic governments are equally ready to conspiratorially whisper in Uncle Sam's ear. Even nominally classical liberal officials, who believe in limiting their own governments, argue that Americans are obligated to sacrifice wealth and life for everyone else. The mantra seems to be liberty, prosperity, and peace for all – except those living in the superpower tasked by heaven with protecting everyone else's liberty, prosperity, and peace.

Although the problem has burgeoned in modern times, it is not new. Two centuries ago fans of Greek independence wanted Americans to challenge the Ottoman Empire, a fantastic bit of foolishness. Exactly how to effect an international Balkans rescue was not clear, since the president then commanded no aircraft carriers, air wings, or nuclear-tipped missiles. Still, the issue divided Americans and influenced John Quincy Adams' famous 1821 Independence Day address.

Warned Adams:

"Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions and her prayers be. But she goes not abroad, in search of monsters to destroy. She is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all. She is the champion and vindicator only of her own. She will commend the general cause by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her example. She well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy, and ambition, which assume the colors and usurp the standard of freedom."

"The fundamental maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force . She might become the dictatress of the world. She would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit . [America's] glory is not dominion, but liberty. Her march is the march of the mind. She has a spear and a shield: but the motto upon her shield is, Freedom, Independence, Peace. This has been her Declaration: this has been, as far as her necessary intercourse with the rest of mankind would permit, her practice."

Powerful words, yet Adams was merely following in the footsteps of another great American, George Washington. Obviously, the latter was flawed as a person, general, and president. Nevertheless, his willingness to set a critical precedent by walking away from power left an extraordinary legacy. As did his insistence that the Constitution tasked Congress with deciding when America would go to war. And his warning against turning US policy over to foreign influences.

Concern over obsequious subservience to other governments and interests pervaded his famous 1796 Farewell Address. Applied today, his message indicts most of the policy currently made in the city ironically named after him. He would be appalled by what presidents and Congresses today do, supposedly for America.

Obviously, the US was very different 224 years ago. The new country was fragile, sharing the Western hemisphere with its old colonial master, which still ruled Canada and much of the Caribbean, as well as Spain and France. When later dragged into the maritime fringes of the Napoleonic wars the US could huff and puff but do no more than inconvenience France and Britain. The vastness of the American continent, not overweening national power, again frustrated London when it sought to subjugate its former colonists.

Indeed, when George Washington spoke the disparate states were not yet firmly knit into a nation. Only after the Civil War, when the national government waged four years of brutal combat, which ravaged much of the country and killed upwards of 750,000 people in the name of "union," did people uniformly say the United States "is" rather than "are." However, the transformation was much more than rhetorical. The federal system that originally emerged in the name of individual liberty spawned a high tax centralized government that employed one of the world's largest militaries to kill on a mass scale to enforce the regime's dictates. The modern American "republic" was born. It acted overseas only inconsistently until World War II, after which imperial America was a constant, adding resonance to George Washington's message.

Today Washington, D.C.'s elites have almost uniformly decided that Russia is an enemy, irrespective of American behavior that contributed to Moscow's hostility. And that Ukraine, a country never important for American security, is a de facto military ally, appropriately armed by the US for combat against a nuclear-armed rival. A reelection-minded president seems determined to turn China into a new Cold War adversary, an enemy for all things perhaps for all time. America remains ever entangled in the Middle East, with successive administrations in permanent thrall of Israel and Saudi Arabia, allowing foreign leaders to set US Mideast policy. Indeed, both states have avidly pressed the administration to make their enemy, Iran, America' enemy. The resulting fixation caused the Trump administration to launch economic war against the rest of the world to essentially prevent everyone on earth from having any commercial dealing of any kind with anyone in Tehran.

Under Democrats and Republicans alike the federal government views nations that resist its dictates as adversaries at best, appropriate targets of criticism, always, sanctions, often, and even bombs and invasions, occasionally. No wonder foreign governments lobby hard to be designated as allies, partners, and special relationships. Many of these ties have become essentially permanent, unshakeable even when supposed friends act like enemies and supposed enemies are incapable of hurting America. US foreign policy increasingly has been captured and manipulated for the benefit of other governments and interests.

George Washington recognized the problem even in his day, after revolutionary France sought to win America's support against Great Britain. He warned: "nothing is more essential than that permanent, inveterate antipathies against particular nations, and passionate attachments for others, should be excluded; and that, in place of them, just and amicable feelings towards all should be cultivated. The nation which indulges towards another a habitual hatred or a habitual fondness is in some degree a slave. It is a slave to its animosity or to its affection, either of which is sufficient to lead it astray from its duty and its interest."

Is there a better description of US foreign policy today? Even when a favored nation is clearly, ostentatiously, murderously on the wrong side – consider Saudi Arabia's unprovoked aggression against Yemen – many American policymakers refuse to allow a single word of criticism to escape their lips. The US has indeed become "a slave," as George Washington warned.

The consequences for the US and the world are highly negative. He observed that "likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification."

This is an almost perfect description of the current US approach. American colonists revolted against what they believed had become ever more "foreign" control, yet the US backs Israel's occupation and mistreatment of millions of Palestinians. American policymakers parade the globe spouting the rhetoric of freedom yet subsidize Egypt as it imprisons tens of thousands and oppresses millions of people. Washington decries Chinese aggressiveness, yet provides planes, munitions, and intelligence to aid Riyadh in the slaughter of Yemeni civilians and destruction of Yemeni homes, businesses, and hospitals. In such cases, policymakers have betrayed America "into a participation in the quarrels and wars without adequate inducement or justification."

On the other side are the targets of "inveterate antipathies." This also characterizes US Middle East policy. So hated are Iran and Syria that Washington, DC is making every effort to destroy their economies, ruin their people's livelihoods, wreck their hospitals, and starve their population. The respective governments are bad, to be sure, but do not threaten the US Yet, as the nation's first president explained to Americans, "Antipathy in one nation against another disposes each more readily to offer insult and injury, to lay hold of slight causes of umbrage, and to be haughty and intractable, when accidental or trifling occasions of dispute occur. Hence, frequent collisions, obstinate, envenomed, and bloody contests. The nation, prompted by ill-will and resentment, sometimes impels to war the government, contrary to the best calculations of policy."

Consider how close the US has come to foolish, unnecessary wars against both nations. There were manifold demands that the US enter the Syrian civil war, in which Americans have no stake. Short of combat the Obama administration indirectly aided the local affiliate of al-Qaeda, the terrorist group which staged 9/11 and supposedly was America's enemy. Moreover, there was constant pressure on America to attack Iran, targeted by the US since 1953, when the CIA helped replace Tehran's democracy with a brutal tyrant, whose rule was highlighted by corruption, torture, and a nuclear program – which then was taken over by Iran's Islamic revolutionaries, to America's horror.

Read George Washington and you would think he had gained a supernatural glimpse into today's policy debates. He worried about the result when the national government "adopts through passion what reason would reject; at other times it makes the animosity of the nation subservient to projects of hostility instigated by pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives. The peace often, sometimes perhaps the liberty, of nations has been the victim."

What better describes US policy toward China and Russia? To be sure, these are nasty regimes. Yet that has rarely bothered Uncle Sam's relations with other states. Saudi Arabia, a corrupt and totalitarian theocracy, has been sheltered, protected, and reassured by the US even after invading its poor neighbor. Among Washington's other best friends: Bahrain, Turkey, Egypt, and United Arab Emirates, tyrannies all.

The US now is pushing toward a Cold War redux with Russia, after successive administrations treated Moscow as if it was of no account, lying about plans to expand NATO and acting in other ways that the US would never tolerate. Imagine the Soviet Union helping to overthrow an elected, pro-American government in Mexico City, seeking to redirect all commerce to Soviet allies in South America, and proposing that Mexico join the Warsaw Pact. US policymakers would be threatening war.

Washington, DC also is treating China as a near-enemy, claiming the right to control China along its own borders – essentially attempting to apply America's Monroe Doctrine to Asia. This is something Americans would never allow another nation, especially China, to do to the US Imagine the response if Beijing sent its navy up the East Coast, told the US how to treat Cuba, and constantly talked of the possibility of war. America's consistently hostile, aggressive policy is the result of "projects of pride, ambition, and other sinister and pernicious motives."

This kind of foreign policy also corrupts the American political system. It encourages officials and people to put foreign interests before that of America. As George Washington observed, this mindset: "gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; guiding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation."

For instance, Woodrow Wilson and America's Anglophile establishment backed Great Britain over the interests of the American people, dragging the US into World War I, a mindless imperial slugfest that this nation should have avoided. After the Cold War's end Americans with ties to Central and Eastern Europe pushed to expand NATO to their ancestral homes, which created new defense obligations for America while inflaming Russian hostility. Ethnic Greeks and Turks constantly battle over policy toward their ethnic homelands. Taiwan has developed enduring ties with congressional Republicans, especially, ensuring US government support against Beijing. Many evangelical Christians, especially those who hold a particularly bizarre eschatology (basically, Jews must gather together in their national homeland to be slaughtered before Jesus can return), back Israel in whatever it does to assist the apparently helpless God of creation finish his job. The policies that result from such campaigns inevitably are shaped to benefit foreign interests, not Americans.

Regarding the impact of such a system on the political system George Washington also was prescient: "As avenues to foreign influence in innumerable ways, such attachments are particularly alarming to the truly enlightened and independent patriot. How many opportunities do they afford to tamper with domestic factions, to practice the arts of seduction, to mislead public opinion, to influence or awe the public council. Such an attachment of a small or weak towards a great and powerful nation dooms the former to be the satellite of the latter."

In different ways many US policies illustrate the problem caused by "passionate attachments" – the almost routine and sometimes substantial sacrifice of US economic and security interests to benefit other governments. For instance, hysteria swept Washington at the president's recent proposal to simply reduce troop levels in Germany, which along with so many other European nations sees little reason to do much to defend itself. There are even those who demand American subservience to the Philippines, a semi-failed state of no significant security importance to the US Saudi Arabia is a rare case where the attachment is mostly cash and lobbyists. In most instances cultural, ethnic, religious, and historical ties provide a firmer foundation for foreign political influence and manipulation.

What to do about such a long-standing problem? George Washington was neither naïf nor isolationist. He believed in what passed for globalism in those days: a commercial republic should trade widely. He didn't oppose alliances, for limited purposes and durations. After all, support from France was necessary for the colonies to win independence.

He proposed a practical policy tied to ongoing realities. The authorities should "steer clear of permanent alliances," have with other states "as little political connection as possible," and not "entangle our peace and prosperity in the toils" of other nations' "ambition, rivalship, interest, humor or caprice." Most important, the object of US foreign policy was to serve the interests of the American people. In practice it was a matter of prudence, to be adapted to circumstance and interest. He would not necessarily foreclose defense of Israel, Saudi Arabia, or Germany, but would insist that such proposals reflect a serious analysis of current realities and be decided based on what is best for Americans. He would recognize that what might have been true a few decades ago likely isn't true today. In reality, little of current US foreign policy would have survived his critical review.

George Washington was an eminently practical man who managed to speak through the ages. America's recently disastrous experience of playing officious, obnoxious hegemon highlights his good judgment. The US, he argued, should "observe good faith and justice towards all nations; cultivate peace and harmony with all."

America may still formally be a republic, but its foreign policy long ago became imperial. As John Quincy Adams warned, the US is "no longer the ruler of her own spirit." Americans have learned at great cost that international affairs are too important to be left to the Blob and foreign policy professionals, handed off to international relations scholars, or, worst of all, subcontracted to other nations and their lobbyists. The American people should insist on their nation's return to a true republican foreign policy.

Doug Bandow is a Senior Fellow at the Cato Institute . A former Special Assistant to President Ronald Reagan, he is author of Foreign Follies: America's New Global Empire .

[Jul 13, 2020] Charlie Savage, NYT, CIA Climb Down From Russia Bounties Hoax - Antiwar.com Blog

Jul 13, 2020 | www.antiwar.com

Charlie Savage, NYT, CIA Climb Down From Russia Bounties Hoax

Scott Horton Posted on July 6, 2020

The headline blares that it's a big "administration" conspiracy to play up doubts and play down proofs of the bounties plot, but the text itself reveals that it's the National Intelligence Council that did the new review and that even the CIA , the agency out in front on this story, has only "medium" or "moderate" confidence on the reality of the plot. Meanwhile DoD and NSA both still say they give it low confidence and cannot verify.

You gotta appreciate the desperate spin of the Times reporters and their editors here:

"A memo produced in recent days by the office of the nation's top intelligence official acknowledged that the C.I.A. and top counterterrorism officials have assessed that Russia appears to have offered bounties to kill American and coalition troops in Afghanistan, but emphasized uncertainties and gaps in evidence, according to three officials."

Oh how cynical of the National Intelligence Council to "emphasize" doubts instead of running with wild unverified claims! Their anonymous sources assure us that the memo "was intended to bolster the Trump administration's attempts to justify its inaction" over the alleged Russian interference. But intelligence officials tell the New York Times lots of things .

I buried the lead nearly as badly as they did, but here it is before they go meandering off saying nothing and refusing to acknowledge the importance of the following admission:

"The memo said that the C.I.A. and the National Counterterrorism Center had assessed with medium confidence -- meaning credibly sourced and plausible, but falling short of near certainty -- that a unit of the Russian military intelligence service, known as the G.R.U., offered the bounties, according to two of the officials briefed on its contents.

"But other parts of the intelligence community -- including the National Security Agency, which favors electronic surveillance intelligence -- said they did not have information to support that conclusion at the same level, therefore expressing lower confidence in the conclusion, according to the two officials. A third official familiar with the memo did not describe the precise confidence levels, but also said the C.I.A.'s was higher than other agencies."

So Charlie Savage admits that his whole stupid story is based on a medium -confidence conclusion of the CIA against the views of the NSA and DoD . I wonder if he noticed the same people gave the story to the Wall Street Journal and Washington Post at the same time as an obvious attempt to use their stenography in a plot to prevent Trump from considering an "early" withdrawal from Afghanistan.

And then check out this from Scott Ritter's piece at ConsortiumNews.com:

"'Afghan officials said prizes of as much as $100,000 per killed soldier were offered for American and coalition targets,' the Times reported. And yet, when Rukmini Callimachi, a member of the reporting team breaking the story, appeared on MSNBC to elaborate further, she noted that 'the funds were being sent from Russia regardless of whether the Taliban followed through with killing soldiers or not. There was no report back to the GRU about casualties. The money continued to flow.'

"There is just one problem -- that's not how bounties work."

And they will keep on jerking that rusty old chain.

[Jul 13, 2020] Here's a great must-see 36-minute piece by Abby Martin about the US perpetual occupation of Afghanistan.

Jul 13, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Canadian Cents , Jul 13 2020 0:04 utc | 115

Here's a great must-see 36-minute piece by Abby Martin about the US perpetual occupation of Afghanistan.

It was posted on YouTube on June 26, but I only came across it last night thanks to a Paul Craig Roberts article, and I don't think it's been mentioned here at MoA yet by anyone yet (at least I wasn't able to find any mentions using the MoA search.)

I'm sure many of us have come across many of the points over the years, but she does a great job of reviewing and bringing it all together.

Afghanistan War Exposed: An Imperial Conspiracy
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3LFbOSPfrE

Google/Youtube has of course made the video "age-restricted", though I don't really see why, requiring sign-in and probably greatly reducing its viewership as a result.

This alternate link to the same video doesn't seem to require sign-in:

https://www.youtube.com/embed/C3LFbOSPfrE

[Jul 05, 2020] Afghanistan and the Endless War Caucus by DANIEL LARISON

Looks like Liz Cheney words for Russians. Her action suggest growing alliance between Bush repoblicans and neolibral interventionaistsof the Democratic Party. The alliance directed against Trump.
Notable quotes:
"... As Boland explains, the amendment passed by the committee yesterday sets so many conditions on withdrawal that it makes it all but impossible to satisfy them: ..."
"... The longer that the U.S. stays at war in Afghanistan, the more incentives other states will have to make that continued presence more costly for the U.S. When the knee-jerk reaction in Washington to news of these bounties is to throw up obstacles to withdrawal, that gives other states another incentive to do more of this. ..."
"... Prolonging our involvement in the war amounts to playing into Moscow's hands. For all of their posturing about security and strength, hard-liners routinely support destructive and irrational policies that redound to the advantage of other states. This is still happening with the war in Afghanistan, and if these hard-liners get their way it will continue happening for many years to come. ..."
Jul 03, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The immediate response to a story that U.S. forces were being targeted is to keep fighting a losing conflict.

Barbara Boland reported yesterday on the House Armed Services Committee's vote to impede withdrawal of U.S. from Afghanistan:

The House Armed Services Committee voted Wednesday night to put roadblocks on President Donald Trump's vow to withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan, apparently in response to bombshell report published by The New York Times Friday that alleges Russia paid dollar bounties to the Taliban in Afghanistan to kill U.S troops.

It speaks volumes about Congress' abdication of its responsibilities that one of the few times that most members want to challenge the president over a war is when they think he might bring it to an end. Many of the members that want to block withdrawals from other countries have no problem when the president wants to use U.S. forces illegally and to keep them in other countries without authorization for years at a time. The role of hard-liner Liz Cheney in pushing the measure passed yesterday is a good example of what I mean. The hawkish outrage in Congress is only triggered when the president entertains the possibility of taking troops out of harm's way. When he takes reckless and illegal action that puts them at risk, as he did when he ordered the illegal assassination of Soleimani, the same members that are crying foul today applauded the action. As Boland explains, the amendment passed by the committee yesterday sets so many conditions on withdrawal that it makes it all but impossible to satisfy them:

Crow's amendment adds several layers of policy goals to the U.S. mission in Afghanistan, which has already stretched on for 19 years and cost over a trillion dollars. As made clear in the Afghanistan Papers, most of these policy goals were never the original intention of the mission in Afghanistan, and were haphazardly added after the defeat of al Qaeda. With no clear vision for what achieving these fuzzy goals would look like, the mission stretches on indefinitely, an unarticulated victory unachievable.

The immediate Congressional response to a story that U.S. forces were being targeted is to make it much more difficult to pull them out of a war that cannot be won. Congressional hawks bemoan "micromanaging" presidential decisions and mock the idea of having "535 commanders-in-chief," but when it comes to prolonging pointless wars they are only too happy to meddle and tie the president's hands. When it comes to defending Congress' proper role in matters of war, these members are typically on the other side of the argument. They are content to let the president get us into as many wars as he might want, but they are horrified at the thought that any of those wars might one day be concluded. Yesterday's vote confirmed that there is an endless war caucus in the House, and it is bipartisan.

The original reporting of the bounty story is questionable for the reasons that Boland has pointed out before, but for the sake of argument let's assume that Russia has been offering bounties on U.S. troops in Afghanistan. When the U.S. keeps its troops at war in a country for almost twenty years, it is setting them up as targets for other governments. Just as the U.S. has armed and supported forces hostile to Russia and its clients in Syria, it should not come as a shock when they do to the same elsewhere. If Russia has been doing this, refusing to withdraw U.S. forces ensures that they will continue to have someone that they can target.

The longer that the U.S. stays at war in Afghanistan, the more incentives other states will have to make that continued presence more costly for the U.S. When the knee-jerk reaction in Washington to news of these bounties is to throw up obstacles to withdrawal, that gives other states another incentive to do more of this.

Because the current state of debate about Russia is so toxic and irrational, our political leaders seem incapable of responding carefully to Russian actions. It doesn't seem to occur to the war hawks that Russia might prefer that the U.S. remains preoccupied and tied down in Afghanistan indefinitely.

Prolonging our involvement in the war amounts to playing into Moscow's hands. For all of their posturing about security and strength, hard-liners routinely support destructive and irrational policies that redound to the advantage of other states. This is still happening with the war in Afghanistan, and if these hard-liners get their way it will continue happening for many years to come.

Daniel Larison is a senior editor at TAC , where he also keeps a solo blog . He has been published in the New York Times Book Review , Dallas Morning News , World Politics Review , Politico Magazine , Orthodox Life , Front Porch Republic, The American Scene, and Culture11, and was a columnist for The Week . He holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago, and resides in Lancaster, PA. Follow him on Twitter .

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kouroi a day ago

One needs to mention the democratic deficit in the US. All the members voting yes are representatives, they represent the people in their constituencies, and presumably vote for what the majority in those constituencies would want, or past promises.

Any poll shows that Americans would rather have the troops brought back home, thank you very much. But this is not what their representatives are voting for. Talk about democracy!

Fran Macadam a day ago

For elite war profiteers and the politicians they own, the only war that is lost is one that ends. No lives matter.

chris chuba a day ago

And what's the logic, if you make an accusation against someone you don't like it must be true. Okay well then let's drone strike Putin. If you are going to be Exceptional and consistent, Putin did everything Soleimani did so how can Liz Cotton argue for a different punishment?
1. Killed U.S. troops in a war zone, 2. planning attacks on U.S. troops.

The entire Russian military plans for attacks all the time just like ours does but the Neocons have declared that we are the only ones allowed to do that. Verdict, death penalty for Putin.

kouroi chris chuba a day ago

If you have watched Oliver Stone's interview with Putin, it comes through that in fact there were at least three or four attempts to Putin's life...

William Toffan chris chuba 21 hours ago

Death penalty for Putin = Death Penalty for continental USA.

RBH 15 hours ago

So you can get into a war without Congressional approval, but you can't get out of one without Congressional approval. Gotcha.

Lavinia 10 hours ago • edited

Interesting, well reasoned article as usual from Mr. Larison. However, I have to say that I don't see why Russia would want the US in Afghanistan indefinitely. In primis, they have a strategic partnership with China (even though we've got to see how Russia will behave now when there is the India-China rift), and China has been championing the idea of rebuilding the Silk Road (brilliant idea if you ask me) so in this sense it's more reasonable to assume that they might be aiming to get stability in the region rather than keep it in a state of unrest (as to be strategic partners you need to have some kind of common strategy, or at least not a completely different strategy). In 2018 they (Russia) actually were trying to organise a mediation process which would have the Afghan Gvt. and the Talibans discuss before the US would retire the troops, and it was very significative as they managed to get all the parties sitting around a table for the very first time (even the US participated as an observer).

Secondly, Russia also has pretty decent relations with Iran (at least according to Iranian press, which seems to be realistic as Russia is compliant to the JCPOA, is not aggressive towards them, and they're cooperating in the Astana process for a political solution for Syria, for example), and it wouldn't be so if Russia would pursue a policy which would aim to keep the US in the Middle East indefinitely, as Iran's WHOLE point is that they want the US out of the region, so if Russia would be trying to keep the US in the Middle East indefinitely, that would seriously upset Iran.

Thirdly, Russia is one of the founders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, which now includes most of the states in Central Asia, China, India and Pakistan. The association never made overt statements about their stance on the US's presence in the region; yet they've been hinting that they don't approve of it, which is reasonable, as it is very likely that those countries would all have different plans for the region, which might include some consideration for human and economic development rather than constant and never-ending militarisation (of course Pakistan would be problematic here, as the funds for the Afghan warlords get channeled through Pakistan, which receives a lot of US money, so I don't know how they're managing this issue).

Last but not least, I cannot logically believe that the Talibans, who've been coherent in their message since the late 70's ("we will fight to the death until the invaders are defeated and out of our national soil") would now need to be "convinced" by the Russians to defeat and chase out the invader. This is just NOT believable at all. Afghanistan is called the Graveyard of Empires for a reason, I would argue.

In any case I am pleased to see that at TAC you have been starting debunking the Russia-narrative, as it is very problematic - most media just systematically misrepresents Russia in order to justify aggressive military action (Europe, specifically Northern Europe, is doing this literally CONSTANTLY, I'm so over it, really). The misrepresentation of Russia as an aggressive wannabe-empire is a cornerstone of the pro-war narrative, so it is imperative to get some actual realism into that.

wynn an hour ago • edited

As if the Afghan freedom fighters need additional incentive to eliminate the invaders? In case Amerikans don't know, Afghans, except those on the US payroll, intensely despise Amerika and its 'godless' ways. Amerikans forces have been sadistic, bombing Afghan weddings, funerals, etc.

Even if the Russians are providing bounties to the Afghans, to take out the invaders, don't the Amerikans remember the 80s when Washington (rightfully) supported the mujahedin with funds, arms, Stinger missiles, etc.? Again, the US is on shaky ground because of the neocons.

Afghanistan is known through the ages to be the graveyard of empires. They have done it on their own shedding blood, sweat, and tears. Also, the Afghan resistance have been principled about Amerikans getting out before making deals.

Blood Alcohol wynn an hour ago

Same argument goes for the Iraqi people.

[Jul 03, 2020] Every American Should Watch Abby Martin's Afghanistan War Exposed- An Imperial Conspiracy

Jun 29, 2020 | www.mintpressnews.com

By MintPress News Desk

T he perpetual occupation of Afghanistan has become so normalized that it mostly serves as background noise to most Americans. It's even jokingly referred to as the "Forever War," accepted as just another constant reality. A soldier dies now and again, a couple of dozen civilians get killed in another bombing. It's never enough to stir the population to pressure Washington enough to stop it. And the endless war drags on.

From George W. Bush to Barack Obama, to Donald Trump, every U.S. president has promised to end the war. But their plans to bring the troops home inevitably require first sending more troops to the country. You can't look at all this rhetoric and reality and not conclude that the United States wants to stay in Afghanistan forever. And there is a reason, despite an unresolvable military quagmire, that the Empire won't let go of Afghanistan.

In this latest "Empire Files" documentary, journalist Abby Martin covers reveals the reality of America's Wars in Afghanistan, from the CIA construct of the 1980s through today's senseless stalemate. MintPress brings you documentary in its entirety, published with permission from filmmaker Abby Martin.

[Jun 23, 2020] Preferred pejorative for "intelligence againcy intrusion into MSM space"

Because they seem to creep around Washington, from one administration to the next, forever whispering in the ears of the power players, and more recently, weaving their evil spells directly to millions, as respected members of the MSM
Notable quotes:
"... I advocate for 'scum' as a serviceable moniker of all-around utility for those who do the dirt because it's business and pleasure, all in one. ..."
"... Now that I think of it, " the filth" is British slang for the police. That could work. Cockney rhyming slang is "Sweeney" ("flying squad" = "Sweeny Todd"). That has the right connotations, but it's a little twee. ..."
"... "The Slime" also seems to fit quite nicely. ..."
Jun 23, 2020 | www.nakedcapitalism.com

Daniel Raphael , June 22, 2020 at 5:34 pm

Um irony work not well on screen, methinks and not for the first (or last) time

But as to "intelligence community" pejorative, I think good old-fashioned 'scum' works quite well. Mind you, this is for those who have "proven" themselves by persisting and upping the ante of loathesomeness; I certainly do not mean to include people-in-process who sometimes exit Big Brother's nether fissure to emerge as woken humans.

I'm thinking specifically and especially of John Kiriakou, for whom I had the honor of extending jail support during the time he was incarcerated for "outing" a CIA torturer (who, needless to say, received not even a tap on the wrist).

Keep it simple, pithy, homely, and familiar: I advocate for 'scum' as a serviceable moniker of all-around utility for those who do the dirt because it's business and pleasure, all in one.

Lambert Strether Post author , June 23, 2020 at 3:52 am

> I think good old-fashioned 'scum' works quite well.

Now that I think of it, " the filth" is British slang for the police. That could work. Cockney rhyming slang is "Sweeney" ("flying squad" = "Sweeny Todd"). That has the right connotations, but it's a little twee.

Ignacio , June 23, 2020 at 4:49 am

With my handicapped level of English I got the irony pretty well. It was polite and clever irony.

ewmayer , June 23, 2020 at 3:52 pm

Re. preferred pejorative, I lean toward "IC creep" myself. Because they seem to creep around Washington, from one administration to the next, forever whispering in the ears of the power players, and more recently, weaving their evil spells directly to millions, as respected members of the MSM.

"The Slime" also seems to fit quite nicely.

[May 26, 2020] Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI

May 26, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

karlof1 , May 26 2020 17:41 utc | 1

The New York Times has a 4,000 words long piece about the war on Afghanistan. It tries to explain why the Taliban won the war.

How the Taliban Outlasted a Superpower: Tenacity and Carnage

It is also a remarkable attempt to ignore the factual history:

[The Taliban] have outlasted a superpower through nearly 19 years of grinding war. And dozens of interviews with Taliban officials and fighters in three countries, as well as with Afghan and Western officials, illuminated the melding of old and new approaches and generations that helped them do it.

After 2001, the Taliban reorganized as a decentralized network of fighters and low-level commanders empowered to recruit and find resources locally while the senior leadership remained sheltered in neighboring Pakistan.

That is simply wrong. Between the end of 2001 and 2007 there were no Taliban. The movement had dissolved.

The author later acknowledges that there were no Taliban activity throughout those years. But the narrative is again skewed:

Many Taliban commanders interviewed for this article said that in the initial months after the invasion, they could scarcely even dream of a day they might be able to fight off the U.S. military. But that changed once their leadership regrouped in safe havens provided by Pakistan's military -- even as the Pakistanis were receiving hundreds of millions of dollars in American aid.

From that safety, the Taliban planned a longer war of attrition against U.S. and NATO troops. Starting with more serious territorial assaults in 2007, the insurgents revived and refined an old blueprint the United States had funded against the Soviets in the same mountains and terrain -- but now it was deployed against the American military.

Even before the U.S. invaded Afghanistan the Taliban had recognized that they lacked the capability to run a country. They had managed to make Afghanistan somewhat secure. The warlords who had fought each other after the Soviet draw down were suppressed and the streets were again safe. But there was no development, no real education or health system and no money to create them.

When the U.S. invaded the Taliban dispersed. On December 5 2001 Taliban leader Mullah Omar resigned and went into hiding within Afghanistan. For one day the Taliban defense minister Mullah Obaidullah became the new leader. From the The Secret Life of Mullah Omar by Bette Dam:

The next day, Mullah Obaidullah drove up north to Kandahar's Shah Wali Kot district to meet with Karzai and his supporters. In what has become known as the "Shah Wali Kot Agreement", Mullah Obaidullah and the Taliban agreed to lay down their arms and retire to their homes or join the government. The movement effectively disbanded itself. Karzai agreed, and in a media appearance the next day, he announced that while al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden were the enemies of Afghanistan, the Taliban were sons of the soil and would effectively receive amnesty. For the moment, the war was over.

The Taliban fighters went back to their home villages and families. Most stayed in Afghanistan. Some of the leaders and elder members went back to the tribal regions of Pakistan where their families had been living as refugees since the Soviet invasion in 1979.

The Taliban did not plan a longer war of attrition - at least not between 2001 and 2006. The movement had simply ended to exist.

The big question is then why it came back but the New York Times has little to say about that:

From the start, the insurgents seized on the corruption and abuses of the Afghan government put in place by the United States, and cast themselves as arbiters of justice and Afghan tradition -- a powerful part of their continued appeal with many rural Afghans in particular. With the United States mostly distracted with the war in Iraq, the insurgency widened its ambitions and territory.

No, the 'corruption and abuses of the Afghan government' were not the reason the Taliban were reestablished. It were the abuses of the U.S. occupation that recreated them. The publicly announced amnesty Karzai and Mullah Obaidullah had agreed upon, was ignored by the U.S. commanders and politicians.

The CIA captured random Afghans as 'Taliban' and brutally tortured them - some to death. U.S. Special Forces randomly raided private homes and bombed whole villages to rubble. The brutal warlords, which the Taliban had suppressed, were put back into power. When they wanted to grab a piece of land they told their U.S. handlers that the owner was a 'Taliban'. The U.S. troops would then removed that person one way or the other. The behavior of the occupiers was an affront to every Afghan.

By 2007 Mullah Omar and his helper Jabbar Omari were hiding in Siuray, a district around twenty miles southeast of Qalat. A large U.S. base was nearby. Bette Dam writes of the people's mood:

As the population turned against the government due to its corruption and American atrocities, they began to offer food and clothing to the house-hold for Jabbar Omari and his mysterious friend.

It was the absurd stupidity and brutality with which the U.S. occupied the country that gave Afghans the motive to again fight against an occupier or at least to support such a fight.

At the same time the Pakistani military had come to fear a permanent U.S. presence in its backyard. It connected the retired Taliban elders with its sponsors in the Gulf region and organized the logistics for a new insurgency. The Taliban movement was reestablished with new leadership but under the old name.

The old tribal command networks where again activates and the ranks were filled with newly disgruntled Afghans. From that point on it was only a question of time until the U.S. would have to leave just like the Soviets and Brits had to do before them.

By December 2001 the war against the Taliban had ended. During the following five years the U.S. fought against an imaginary enemy that no longer existed. It was this war on the wider population that by 2007 created a new insurgency that adopted the old name.

A piece that claims to explain why the Taliban have won the war but ignores the crucial period between 2001 and 2007 misses the most important point that made the Taliban victory possible.

The will of the Afghan people to liberate their country from a foreign occupation. Thanks b for doing a good job in restating the record. IMO, the Outlaw US Empire followed the same MO as it did in Korea, Vietnam, and the Philippines well before them all, all of which were based on the White Supremacist Settler credo underlying the culture of the US military that was just called out--again-- in this very powerful NY Times Editorial , and Iraq was no different either. The contrast between the Editorial Board and its Newsroom writers is quite stark when their products are compared--one lies about recent history while the other attempts to educate more fully about the very sordid past of the most revered federal government institution.


Don Bacon , May 26 2020 18:03 utc | 3

Bombing civilians is recruiting more enemies. Also, in this mistaken adventure the US has been stupidly allied with and funding the neighboring country (Pakistan) which is supporting the people (Taliban) who are killing Americans.

General McChrystal's Report to President Obama, Aug 30, 2009:

'Afghanistan's insurgency is clearly supported from Pakistan. . .and are reportedly aided by some elements of Pakistan's ISI [Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence ]. . . .Indian political and economic influence is increasing in Afghanistan, including significant efforts and financial investment. In addition, the current Afghan government is perceived by Islamabad to be pro-Indian. While Indian activities largely benefit the Afghan people, increasing Indian influence in Afghanistan is likely to exacerbate regional tensions and encourage Pakistani countermeasures in Afghanistan or India." . . .Simply put, Pakistan didn't want to be in an Indian sandwich with its mortal enemy on two sides.

President Obama was then in the process of more than tripling the US military strength in Afghanistan, sending 70,000 more troops to that graveyard of empires (UK, Russia). Three months later, December 1, 2009 at West Point, Obama gave a rah-rah speech to cadets including: . . ."Third, we will act with the full recognition that our success in Afghanistan is inextricably linked to our partnership with Pakistan."

LuBa , May 26 2020 19:56 utc | 6
This article wants on purpose link taliban to Pakistan..there is no connection between Talibans and yanks backed Pakistani militias..and there is no pakistani talibans..they want to hide the truth confusing the people but the truth is that the violent and illegal occupation of Afghanistan created a strong resistance in an already strong population.The puppet-method didn't work there and this article is the last (I hope) attempt to give a false narrative of the events.18 years of war for nothing..what the empire has gained from this war?nothing.
arby , May 26 2020 20:03 utc | 7
LuBa--
"what the empire has gained from this war?nothing"

Hmmm, not sure about that. First of all it has kept Russia out of Afghanistan, and somewhere I read that Afghanistan is very central to controlling Eurasia.

I'm pretty sure that attacking Afghanistan was planned before 911 as well, so there must be some reason for that.

Jen , May 26 2020 20:18 utc | 8
The writer of that NYT piece, Mujib Mashal, studied history (presumably the history of Afghanistan and western and southern Asia) at Columbia University - O'Bomber's alma mater, I believe - and in-between working as an NYT intern in Kabul and his current senior correspondent role, worked for a time with Al Jazeera in Doha. One wonders how much effort Mashal and other NYT writers with similar backgrounds put into reordering reality to fit whatever fairy-tale narratives they were taught at Columbia University.

The underlying aim in MM's hit-piece must surely be to set up Pakistan as a target for criticism. Some sort of narrative arc leading to removing Imran Khan as Prime Minister there can't be too far away.

uncle tungsten , May 26 2020 21:02 utc | 10
Michael Hastings was a real journalist. His demolition of McChrystal the goof US war criminal should be read again and again. Vale brave journalist.
vato , May 26 2020 21:44 utc | 13
Soviet invasion? The Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty signed in December 1978 permitted - inter alia - military assistance and advice to the Afghani government if requested. Saying the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan is like saying Russia invaded Syria.
Sakineh Bagoom , May 26 2020 21:46 utc | 14
Opium production is now seven-fold since the arrival of the empire. It is afflicting Afghanistan and neighboring countries with addiction all the while paying for CIA operations.
Mission Accomplished.

Let's not forget the MOAB, we are told was detonated over -- caves?

cirsium , May 26 2020 22:01 utc | 15
@LuBa, May 26
what the empire has gained from this war?nothing.

Millions of dollars earned off-the-books from drug trafficking plus enough product to carry out narco-aggression against Iran, Russia, China and the 'stans is nothing?

bevin , May 26 2020 22:03 utc | 16
Superb.
The relationship with Pakistan has two aspects : the borders between the countries, imposed by the British, make no sense, dividing the Pashtun people artificially. The second is that the US has long used Pakistan as a pawn in the region. This goes back to the foundation of the country in 1948 and malign US influence in Pakistan has been the major factor in the country's problems. It is a reminder that there are no known limits to the hypocrisy of the people running the USA that the links between the Taliban, nurtured under US sponsorship in Pakistan which was used as a secure base beyond Kabul's writ, and Pakistan are attributed to Pakistan's initiative.
Another matter which one supposes that the New York Times neglected to mention is that under US sponsorship since 2001 the Heroin industry, reduced almost to nothing by the Taliban government has ballooned into the proportions we have grown to expect where US influence is established. Besides the corpses of those bombed, tortured and shot to death by the imperialist armies there are millions of victims of the drug trades, ranging from those killed by death squads in the producing countries, and those in, for example Colombia and Honduras, victimised by narco governments to the millions of addicts around the world.
Part of the truth of Afghanistan is that the US and its allies have been protecting the criminal narcotics trade in order to employ its profits for their own evil purposes.
Gerhard , May 26 2020 22:12 utc | 17
Hello!

Please allow to add to b 's very good overview another subject: drug planting, producing and dealing in Afghanistan. The Taliban first were against drugs (religious reasons), but when they saw that the people were exhausted by the Americans and their corrupt Afghan friends, and had no more income, they allowed the farmers to plant opium poppy for the EXPORT. Soon they also realized the profits for themselves (to change into weapons). And so it happened that Afghanistan became a major producer for the world market. It's an open question (at least for me) how much international networks with connections to US-people and US-institutions (like CIA) are involved in this drug dealing business originating in Afghanistan.

arby | 7 wrote:

I'm pretty sure that attacking Afghanistan was planned before 911 as well, so there must be some reason for that.

Interesting question (more see below)! A few days ago I made some research to a parallel problem: was "homeland security" also in the development before 9/11? Parallel to the war against Afghanistan another war was started: against the American people. Under the roof of 'Homeland Security' in the interior; parallel zu 'National Security' as a topic in foreign politics. Bush jun. appointed Tom Ridge within 28 days, did they have some plans before? I found some remarks in Edward LIPTON's book, Homeland Security Office (2002), indicating plannings as early as Dec. 2000 and Jan. 2001. Please also remember that there were anthrax mailings parallel to 9/11. Please remember that Homeland Security Act has some paragraphs about defense against bioweapon attacks and has some paragraphs about vaccine, too. Please remember that early plannings of homeland security had also controlling american people with the help of lockdowns. That trail was followed during the next years in 'hidden' further plannings as You may find them here:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article209776.html

https://www.voltairenet.org/article209808.html

And that all now will be further developed into future as outlined here:

https://www.voltairenet.org/article210000.html

Next interesting question: when did THEY begin to focus on the twin towers? WTC area was public property and administration. Very profitable. Then SIVLERSTEIN bought the WTC7 ground and started to built and rented it, among others, to CIA. And then THEY were looking just out of the window to see the twin towers. And then these very pofitable buildings were privatized - why? And they were insured. That privatization was a very dramatic poker which was won by SILVERSTEIN, too. Why? Some 'renovation' had to be done of course when SILVERSTEIN took over the property. I remember that companies included were overseen by one of the Bush sons (Jebb?), and so on ...

Back to the questions about planning of War against Afghanistan. There should be documents available (foreign policy planning & military planning) because the background primarily was (according to my estimation) geopolitical. But there is a greater framework within which the war against terrorism has to be seen. On the day after 9/11 a document was published for the first time which had been collected under Bush Sen. in the 1980s: 'Report of the Vice President's Task Force on Combatting Terrorism'. It says that terrorism follows overpopulation in undeveloped countries. So we are here within the idea of depopulation, and realizing that we can look on the Bill & Melinda Gates' Charitable Works as a far more human version. For further reading three LINKs are given below.

Concluding, I would like to say: unterstanding and commenting the past doesn't help much. THEY are acting and THEY are planning, day by day. Things only will change if 'we' are planning and acting, too. And if 'we' want a better world our instruments must be better than THEIRs.

Kind regards, Gerhard (Germany)


Regarding DEPOPULATION:

https://www.population-security.org (look also into INTRO)

https://www.thenational.ae/arts-culture/books/book-review-empty-planet-explores-the-world-s-next-biggest-population-threat-1.848236 (opposite perspective but the same thinking; pure academic stuff)
~~~~~~~
The Oxford Handbook of Genocide Studies (hrsg. von Donald Bloxham, A. Dirk Moses)

karlof1 , May 26 2020 22:26 utc | 18
Et Tu @12--

The New York Times occasionally publishes something worthy of reading. One such item I linked to @ 1 above.

DeQuincey , May 27 2020 0:57 utc | 21
vato 13 wrote
Soviet invasion? The Soviet-Afghan Friendship Treaty signed in December 1978 permitted - inter alia - military assistance and advice to the Afghani government if requested. Saying the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan is like saying Russia invaded Syria.

Treaty of friendship, good-neighbourliness and co operation. Signed at Moscow on 5 December 1978

b fix the error in your report please.

Richard Steven Hack , May 27 2020 1:34 utc | 22
Posted by: arby | May 26 2020 20:03 utc | 7 I'm pretty sure that attacking Afghanistan was planned before 911 as well, so there must be some reason for that.

It's called 1) oil pipeline, and 2) heroin for the CIA to finance their "black black" operations. That's not a typo: there are "black budget" operations not identified in the Federal budget - and "black black" operations that are financed outside the Federal budget. No one knows how much that is.

The "official" Black Budget operations are described in a Harvard University document as:


On March 18, 2019 the Office the Director of National Intelligence (DNI), announced its request for the largest sum ever, $62.8 billion, for funding U.S. intelligence operations in Fiscal Year (FY) 2020.1This request spans the classified funding from more than a dozen agencies that make up the National Intelligence Program (NIP).2 The U.S. Government spends these funds on data collection, counterintelligence, and covert action.3 The DNI also requested $21.2 billion for FY 2019 for the Military Intelligence Program (MIP) devoted to intelligence activity in support of U.S. military operations.4 For FY2020, it is likely to request a similar figure, for a total estimated request of approximately $85 billion for the "Black Budget," t he U.S. Government's secret military and intelligence expenditures.

Interesting article here that shows how some of this has been done in Asia, Saudi Arabia, Central America, etc.

CIA Funding: Never Constrained by its Congressional Budget
https://whowhatwhy.org/2014/12/12/cia-funding-never-constrained-congressional-budget/

And from The Intercept - another clear example:

The U.S. Quietly Released Afghanistan's "Biggest Drug Kingpin" From Prison. Did He Cut a Deal?
https://theintercept.com/2018/05/01/haji-juma-khan-afghanistan-drug-trafficking-cia-dea/


Before his arrest, the alleged drug trafficker worked with the CIA and the DEA, received payments from the government, and, at one point, visited Washington and New York on the DEA's dime. ,/BLOCKQUOTE

From the Federation of American Scientists:

A Tangled Web: A History of CIA Complicity in Drug International Trafficking
https://fas.org/irp/congress/1998_cr/980507-l.htm

[Mar 03, 2020] Neoliberals curse

Mar 03, 2020 | caucus99percent.com

It took a rabid nationalist like Donald Trump to end the war in Afghanistan , whereas faithful neoliberal Barack Obama kept the war around because it provided "markets" for weapons corporations.

[Mar 02, 2020] It appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Likklemore , Mar 1 2020 20:58 utc | 30

appears the US-Taliban interim peace arrangement has hit a snag:

Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejects Taliban prisoner release under U.S deal


Afghan President Ashraf Ghani rejected on Sunday a Taliban demand for the release of 5,000 prisoners as a condition for talks with Afghanistan's government and civilians – included in a deal between the United States and the Islamist militants.

"The government of Afghanistan has made no commitment to free 5,000 Taliban prisoners," Ghani told reporters in Kabul, a day after the deal was signed in Qatar to start a political settlement aimed at ending the United States' longest war.[.]

was the Afghan government not a party to the negotiations? Strange!

[Mar 02, 2020] The myth of the mujaheddin victory over the Soviets

It was a stalemate, in which Afghan government held power over central towns and mujahidins over part of provinces. Neither can defeat each other. This stalemate was ruptured by the collapse of the USSR.
Mar 02, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org
Ghost Ship , Mar 1 2020 18:54 utc | 17
Afghanistan
Now that the Americans have been defeated in Afghanistan perhaps they'll go back with a more critical eye to look at what happened in the Afghan-Soviet war against the mujaheddin. The Soviet Union decided to withdraw because it had reached a stalemate but the communist government managed to soldier on for three more years, and it was the collapse of the Soviet Union for financial reasons that resulted in funds being cutoff to the communist government that in turn led to the collapse of the government, so the Soviet Union was not brought down/defeated by the mujaheddin.
Will coronavirus lead to the collapse of the Washington establishment? I don't know if it will but the descendants of the mujaheddin will no doubt claim responsibility for the defeat of the United States if it occurs.
Yet again, Washington demonstrates that it doesn't really understand war.

[Feb 29, 2020] Learning Nothing From the Ghost of Congress Past by Andrew J. Bacevich

The USA is an imperial country. And wars is how empire is sustained and expanded. Bacevich does not even mention this fact.
Notable quotes:
"... While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis. ..."
"... This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become. ..."
"... we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. ..."
"... The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now. ..."
"... Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans. ..."
"... By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money ..."
"... Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The Afghanistan Papers could have been the start of redemption, but it's all been subsumed by impeachment and an uninterested public.

....

While perfunctory congressional hearings may yet occur, a meaningful response -- one that would demand accountability, for example -- is about as likely as a bipartisan resolution to the impeachment crisis.

This implicit willingness to write off a costly, unwinnable, and arguably unnecessary war should itself prompt sober reflection. What we have here is a demonstration of how pervasive and deeply rooted American militarism has become.

Take seriously the speechifying heard on the floor of the House of Representatives in recent days and you'll be reassured that the United States remains a nation of laws, with Democrats and Republicans alike affirming their determination to defend our democracy and preserve the Constitution, even while disagreeing on what that might require at present.

Take seriously the contents of the Afghanistan Papers and you'll reach a different conclusion: we have become a nation given to misusing military power, abusing American soldiers, and averting our gaze from the results. U.S. military expenditures and the Pentagon's array of foreign bases far exceed those of any other nation on the planet. In our willingness to use force, we (along with Israel) lead the pack. Putative adversaries such as China and Russia are models of self-restraint by comparison. And when it comes to cumulative body count, the United States is in a league of its own.

Yet since the end of the Cold War and especially since 9/11, U.S. forces have rarely accomplished the purposes for which they are committed, the Pentagon concealing failure by downsizing its purposes. Afghanistan offers a good example. What began as Operation Enduring Freedom has become in all but name Operation Decent Interval, the aim being to disengage in a manner that will appear responsible, if only for a few years until the bottom falls out.

So the real significance of the Post 's Afghanistan Papers is this: t hey invite Americans to contemplate a particularly vivid example what our misplaced infatuation with military power produces. Sadly, it appears evident that we will refuse the invitation. Don't blame Trump for this particular example of Washington's egregious irresponsibility.

Andrew Bacevich is president of the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft. His new book, The Age of Illusions: How America Squandered Its Cold War Victory , will be published next month.


Sid Finster a day ago
The impeachment hearings were probably the reason the WaPo published when it did. After all, the article tells us little that any semi-sentient observer hasn't known for over a decade now.

Anyway, nobody likes a bipartisan fiasco that cannot be neatly blamed on Team R (or Team D).

John Achterhof Sid Finster 12 hours ago
Just give credit where it is due: the Post's reporting on the Afghanistan Papers is journalism at its very best.
Fayez Abedaziz 21 hours ago
Then, today, we have another American trooper killed in Afghanistan, with many Afghans. Then, we have Trump, jutting his jaw out, as usual, to show how tough he is and...by golly, how tough America is. How patriotic! Damn it! Rah rah. He pardons and receives a war criminal at the white house, one of those Seals that murdered Afghans.

By military standards, there is supposed to be rules of engagement and punishment for outright breaking of such rules. But no, Trump is one ignorant, cold dude and the misery in numerous US invaded nations means nothing to this bum with a title and money. What a joke this nations foreign policy is and the ignorant, don't care American people have become. Like never before. There were years when people actually talked about subjects. Not now, if you mention the weather they cower and look pained. The old days really were better.

One example aside from the above: compare President Kennedy to Trump. What a riot...

polistra24 21 hours ago
Well, these documents are highly unsurprising. Everybody has known the facts for a long time. Everybody also knows that the US "government" will not change its ways. Its sole purpose and mission is to obliterate everything except Israel, and these documents are evidence of massive SUCCESS in its mission, not evidence of failure.
Richard 13 hours ago
When the troops start to mutiny, the war will end.
Marcus 9 hours ago
Were our senior government leaders more familiar with military service, especially as front line soldiers, they might have been less inclined to dawdle in these matters, agree with obfuscated results for political reasons, and waste so much effort.

This is also to say that misleading documents and briefings from the military about progress in Afghanistan, while contemptible, did not cause the strategic failure. Contemporary reports from the press and other agencies indicated the effort was not working out plainly to anyone who wanted to pay attention. Our political leaders chose to ignore the truth for political gain.

A more realistic temperament chastened by experience would have been more inclined to criticize and make corrections, and summon the courage to cut our losses rather than crow ignominiously about "cutting and running." Few such temperaments, it seems at least, make it to the top thee days.

[Feb 14, 2020] On Afghanistan deal from NEO

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

uncle tungsten , Feb 13 2020 3:25 utc | 113

On Afghanistan from NEO
However, according to some reports, the United States and the Taliban have recently managed to define the main terms of a future peace deal:

- The Taliban guarantee that they will not allow international terrorist groups such as al-Qaeda (banned in Russia) to use Afghanistan as a training ground for attacks abroad;

– The US must withdraw its troops from the country. In particular, the terms include the following:
About 5,000 US soldiers are expected to be withdrawn immediately after the peace deal is signed, and the remaining troops will leave the country within the next two years;

– Against the backdrop of an indefinite truce in Afghanistan, the conflicting parties should begin an internal political dialogue.


The Taliban must be naive not to insist on a total cessation to military air assaults and reconnaissance. There is no way the USA will stop bombing Afghanistan into the stone age - because it can AND good live training for its murderous home pilots.


And then the predictable USA treachery and ingredient to walk back the treaty:

The Kabul government, however, is not taking part in those talks at the insistence of the Taliban, which considers the current official government to be a puppet. But the US is in favor of Kabul reaffirming its commitment to the peace terms, because otherwise the last condition of the agreement will not be fulfilled.

[Feb 14, 2020] An unusually well written piece on the US leaving Afghanistan.

Feb 14, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

J Swift , Feb 12 2020 18:05 utc | 38

I guess most of these open threads are going to gravitate to electoral politics--tis the season--but before it gets lost I did want to share what I thought was an unusually well written piece on the US leaving Afghanistan.

The author doesn't just go on a diatribe of criticism of the US, although obviously he feels the US needs to be leaving--the sooner the better, and likely will eventually be leaving whether it wants to or not. But he points out several "tells" related to just how serious the US might be any time it starts talking about leaving, or indeed starts leaving. I would highly recommend reading this article. Really thought provoking.

https://theduran.com/getting-out/

AntiSpin , Feb 12 2020 19:21 utc | 49

@ J Swift | Feb 12 2020 18:05 utc | 38

Thanks much for this link --
https://theduran.com/getting-out/

A very hard-hitting exposé of the US combination of criminality and blundering in Afghanistan, and what seems to be a comprehensive and completely rational plan for getting out of that country under the best possible terms for the people of that country, and for the people of the US.

Not so good for the US military and civilian satraps who are tearing things up, and raking it in.

Tough.

[Jan 28, 2020] Our losses in Afghanistan are negligible

Notable quotes:
"... It would be highly ironic if these American military aircraft were shot down with the (in)famous US Stinger missiles that America gave to Afghan jihadists against the Soviet Union in the 1980s. ..."
"... Uncle Sam has declared War on the World, thinking it is just a bunching bag. Now he is finding out that sometimes punching bags can punch back... ..."
Jan 28, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

c1ue , Jan 27 2020 16:17 utc | 4

If the $1.6 trillion cost of the US military being in Afghanistan is correct, then the loss of 4 helicopters and even the E11 won't significantly increase US overall spend there. $1.6 trillion over 18 years is a tad under $250 million per day

Walter , Jan 27 2020 17:24 utc | 16

...I recall a quotation from that good man, Winston C, who wrote long ago about Afghanistan...{populated by} "poverty-stricken illiterate tribesmen possessed of the finest Martini-Henry Rifles..."

That was over 100 years ago...

Now, it seem, "possessed of the finest surface to air missiles."

Well now, who'd a think...

ak74 , Jan 27 2020 17:37 utc | 20
It would be highly ironic if these American military aircraft were shot down with the (in)famous US Stinger missiles that America gave to Afghan jihadists against the Soviet Union in the 1980s.

Reap what you sow.

Trailer Trash , Jan 27 2020 17:42 utc | 23
Uncle Sam has declared War on the World, thinking it is just a bunching bag. Now he is finding out that sometimes punching bags can punch back...

[Jan 27, 2020] MANPADS represent a large leap in the 'death by 1000 cuts' equation for the US forices in Afghanistan

Jan 27, 2020 | www.moonofalabama.org

Chevrus , Jan 27 2020 17:29 utc | 17

9K38-Igla-M
MANPADS represent a large leap in the 'death by 1000 cuts' equation.

The stinger missile made a huge difference in the battle dynamics when the Soviets were in Afganistan. 2000 Iglas trickled into Afganistan would be a huge headache for occupying forces. No more close air support, very dangerous take-off and landings along with possible higher altitude interceptions.

In regard to the financing of the ongoing operations, war profiteers are happy to continue that ad infinitum. The American war in Viet-Nam was a test run of sorts, how to keep things running for maximum profit and burn. Weapons in and commodities (hmmmm...)out makes for quite a killing.

The sense I get is that the escalation cause by the various air strikes and assassinations was designed as a last ditch effort to keep things escalating lest peace and stability break out. Granted that is a distant horizon, but if Iran and the KSA found some common ground, Syria was mopped up and Lebanon was able to shake off the elements that continually throw spanners in the works USA/isreal interests would definitely be less likely to prosper. Given the pattern of provocation by the USA trying to get Iran to do something extreme in order to justify all out war, the murder of the highly prized generals seems not to have worked as intended. Rather than striking out impulsively, the Resistance appears to have engaged in a broad spectrum highly controlled campaign to do just what it has promised. Expel the USA from the MidEast.

We live in world of countermeasures and gone are the days of total domination by the usual suspects. Anti aircraft missile defense is the current keystone to this balance. As with many things MANPADS are very much a double edged sword, so one must be judicious with sales and distribution. There is nothing stopping them from biting the manufacturer in the arse.

Not long ago such missiles would be easier to trace, but given the amount of exports and knock-offs they could filter into the Afgan theater from anywhere. If there are in fact a quantity of them in play, then the occupiers are going to have a very bad day(s) indeed.


Per/Norway , Jan 27 2020 17:30 utc | 18

"4) Can't understand Yankee justification for hammering Afghanistan, unless it involved stealing sovereign wealth."

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

It is ALL about the cia opium trade,, Afghanistan is the "poppy greenhouse" of the cia and fukus terrorist regimes..

Per/Norway , Jan 27 2020 17:34 utc | 19
"WHAT are the Americans actually bombing?
Let me suggest - nothing, just an opportunity to use up the existing arsenal."

Posted by: Alex_Gorsky | Jan 27 2020 17:14 utc | 12
No, they are bombing homes and trying to genocide the Pashtuns that live on/over a fortune in minerals and whatnot,.-
Try to research how many Pashtun children the united states of terrorist and nato terrorists have raped and killed, ALL just to steal Afghanistans wealth.

A P , Jan 27 2020 18:42 utc | 33
To Ant 10, Per/Norway 18: Afghanistan is a vast source of mineral wealth, and has valuable potential oil/gas pipeline routes. As usual, US/ZATO wants to "protect" these for their pet corporate thieves. That the CIA/Mossad runs the opium industry is just a cash-cow to pay-off the local drug kingpins/warlords.

The Taliban had decimated the opium industry a couple times, but the CIA/Mossad always pushes back in and keeps the country in chaos.

The Taliban are no angels, but at least they eradicate the opium industry. If the US/ZATO and CIA/Mossad got out of Afghanistan, it wouldn't take long for the locals to throw out the Taliban. The locals put up with the Taliban because they are slightly less destructive than the US/ZATO/CIA/Mossad thugs.

Red Ryder , Jan 27 2020 18:49 utc | 34
Ukies got Javelin anti-tank weapons. (though the US controls them or half of them would be sold off).
Then, there was a counter-move. Not in Donbass. Elsewhere.
Taliban have MANPADS.

Soon, the Iraqi PMF will have MANPADS.

It's a weapons war that the US cannot win.

Too many people want the Hegemon out of their country.

We see this weapons war in Africa. Russia and China are there to teach the weapons' use.

You don't need big nukes and aircraft to win a war.

Vietnam won with artillery, sappers and AK-47s.
Houthis are winning with homemade missiles and drones.

Taliban will force out the US. Russia and China will do whatever they can to see that will be the outcome.

DFC , Jan 27 2020 19:16 utc | 39
There must be some Iranian special Quods force operating deep inside Afghanistan using their own SAM, not giving them to the Taliban, who are their longtgerm enemies.

The Iranians will choose how, when and where they are going to kill US soldiers and CIA opertatives with total deniability if required; probably in this plane there were some CIA dudes involved in dirty operations in the ME affecting Iran, now they have reaped what they sown

Montreal , Jan 27 2020 19:20 utc | 40
If I wanted to attack the US I would do it in Afghanistan. Hostile territory, hostile population, impossible lines of communication. If it isn't Taliban, then it probably someone in alliance with them. China? Shares a border with Afghanistan (even if a bit inaccessible). Pakistan? Iraq? Iran? Russia (I doubt it but you never know). There must be so much general ordnance kicking around in the Middle East, most of it supplied or sourced by the US. I'm surprised it hasn't been done before. Certainly, if whoever it is has a regular supply of surface to air missiles, Bhagram, and the US are toast.
Mckinnon , Jan 27 2020 19:27 utc | 41
The afghans canteach the iraqi how to bring down those planes, then the NATO would be a sitting duck in Iraq and the only option to get out alive would be a peacedeal the israeli can not refuse.
karlof1 , Jan 27 2020 19:35 utc | 43
Quixotic 1 @38--

I tend to agree with that thinking. The Outlaw US Empire will need to be ousted from wherever it occupies as with 'Nam, although there's still the question of the Current Oligarchy's domestic viability and ability to retain control over the federal government. What's promising in the latter regard is the very strong pushback aimed at DNC Chair Perez's committee appointments , which is being called Trump's Re-election Campaign Committee for good reasons. However IMO, people need to look beyond Trump and the Duopoly at those pulling the strings. And the easiest way to cut the strings is to elect people without any.

ben , Jan 27 2020 19:41 utc | 44
This ongoing war in Afghanistan has morphed into a live fire training program for the U$ military. Totally illegal and disgusting.

"it's just business, get over it."

Oh, but DJT promised to end it, did he not?

karlof1 , Jan 27 2020 19:48 utc | 45
DFC @39--

Hard to say just what the Iranian-Taliban relationship is at this juncture. Tehran continues to deny supplying them, but it's clear Taliban are the only force capable to defeating the Outlaw US Empire's Terrorist Foreign Legion it imported into the Afghan theatre. Iran's watched the Taliban up close and personal for 24+ years now, so I'd be very surprised if there wasn't at least a strong backchannel com between them. IIRC, Iran okayed Taliban's inclusion in the Moscow talks and has suggested they become a part of any future Afghan government.

Likklemore , Jan 27 2020 20:14 utc | 49
@ 38 Quixotic 1
Guarantee you- "the Empire is not going to cede its position anywhere on the globe. It's not going to leave Syria, it's not going to leave Iraq, and it certainly is not going to leave it's foothold in the underbelly of Eurasia.
Because to do so would mean the end of the Hegemonic project.

I have 1st dibs on that Guarantee
by 2025. Be ready to deliver in gold.

Here is how. Watch KSA and that old 1973 deal to price oil in USD$; follows then ALL countries need USD to buy oil. Fast Forward. KSA wants in on their share of oil to China AND the price will be paid in Yuan. Ask Qatar.

See the historical Timeline of currencies at link.

The USD is losing its appeal because Uncle Sam foolishly weaponized its currency. A review of history: Bullies have a limited life as do Reserve Currencies all things end. And sanctions are wearing thin.

The epitaph reads "US$, aka the greenback, met its demise by sanctions."

DFC , Jan 27 2020 20:41 utc | 51
@ karlof1 | Jan 27 2020 19:48 utc | 45

Well may be the Iranians could supply the Taliban with weapons, or may be they supply them to the Hazara, that are much more close to them and are the real allies in Afghanistan, and it is a way to protect them un a post-US future. So may be the Hazara could become the new Houthies in Afghanistan

DFC , Jan 27 2020 21:33 utc | 61
@ james | Jan 27 2020 21:16 utc | 57

Johan Galtung predicted, in the year 2000, the end of the US Empire in 2020, he also predicted, in the year 1980, the end of the Soviet Empire before the end of that decade, and he nailed.

This is an interview in 2010, but the book with his predictions is much old:

https://www.democracynow.org/2010/6/7/johan_galtung_on_the_fall_of

He said:
"It's an empire against a wall; an empire in despair; an empire, I would say, in its last phase. My prediction in the book that is here, that you mentioned, The Fall of the US Empire–And Then What?, is that it cannot last longer than 'til about 2020. In 1980, I predicted for the Soviet empire that it will crack at its weakest point, the wall of Berlin, within ten years, and it happened in November 1989, and the Soviet empire followed. So my prediction is a similar one for the US empire"

In another interview he said that after the cracks in the Empire and the loss of the Imperial Wealth Pump:

"The most dangerous variable is the definitive end of the American dream, due to domestic hardship. This would lead to the functional breakdown of the establishment and Treaty of the Union, which would be the political end of the North American multi-state entity. At this point, Galtung says, the empire would be split into a confederation of states, more or less powerful, that would seek an independent solution to the external and internal crisis."

https://libya360.wordpress.com/2019/03/18/2020-and-the-end-of-the-american-empire/

occupatio , Jan 27 2020 23:35 utc | 79
Can someone explain to mean what 'ZATO' (as in 'US/ZATO') means on this site?

As for China being a possible source for the anti-aircraft missiles, I doubt it is via the Xinjiang/Afghanistan border and must instead be using established smuggling routes and intermediaries groups.

I've heard it said that the missiles fired by Houthis on the Abqaiq oil facility are based on Iran designs, some of which are in turn copies or reverse-engineered from Chinese designs. If the Afghanistan situation is like that, then the Chinese connection is mediated instead of immediate, such as via Iran. The missiles doesn't even need to be reverse-engineered --- just swap out some parts for generic ones. For various reasons, such as plausible deniability, I doubt that China would directly supply Taliban with such equipment.

bevin , Jan 28 2020 0:08 utc | 84
Native people were classified as militarily apt and militarily inept, and recruitment to
colonial armies was guided by that principle. Arabs were typically classified as inept,
unlike Gurkhas and the Sikh. Persians were not recruited, but they were known to colonial
leaders who had education in classics."
iotr Berman@48
This is Raj History 101 bullshit recycled. Far from being classified as inept- Arabs, particularly Sunni
desert Arabs were very highly regarded by the British for their military prowess. Hence the entrusting to
the current Gulf rulers of the British protectorates handed back in the 1960s.
The Arab Legion in 1948 came out of the war with its reputation intact.
So far as their educational achievements are concerned: it was the Arabs who brought Europe the Renaissance.
Anyone who really believes that Arabs are incapable of developing IEDs is likely to be
part of that unfortunate portion of humanity that holds them to be 'sand niggers' etc. And likely to suffer
the fate of racist fools throughout history.
karlof1 , Jan 28 2020 0:09 utc | 85
psychohistorian @83--

I continue to see Twitter reports, like this one that the Prince of Darkness aka Mike de Andrea was killed in that shootdown. As with the commander at the base Iran attacked in Iraq who is now rumored to have died, the easiest refutation would be for them to appear in public.

Piotr Berman , Jan 28 2020 0:41 utc | 89
2) The Soviet Union never invaded Afghanistan, they were invited in in by then sovereign UN-recognised Gov of Afghan (golly wonder why)

Posted by: Ant. | Jan 27 2020 17:03 utc | 10

Wiki (quite accurate): Meanwhile, increasing friction between the competing factions of the PDPA -- the dominant Khalq and the more moderate Parcham -- resulted (in July–August 1979) in the dismissal of Parchami cabinet members and the arrest of Parchami military officers under the pretext of a Parchami coup.[62]

In September 1979, President Taraki was assassinated in a coup within the PDPA orchestrated by fellow Khalq member Hafizullah Amin, who assumed the presidency. The situation in the country deteriorated under Amin and thousands of people went missing.[63] The Soviet Union was displeased with Amin's government and decided to intervene and invade the country on 27 December 1979, killing Amin that same day.[64]

A Soviet-organized regime, led by Parcham's Babrak Karmal but inclusive of both factions (Parcham and Khalq), filled the vacuum.

------

Perhaps Taraki invited Soviets just as he was beset by assassins, or Amin did it for reasons he never got a chance to explain. Honestly, left to their own devices, PDPA, the Afghan Communists, were making royal mess. In any case, the western supported anti-progress guerilla, fighting horrors like schools for girls, predated Soviet "invasion".

necromancer , Jan 28 2020 0:58 utc | 91
Easiest route for Afghan Taliban to obtain weapons is from Pakistani Taliban, with ISI permission.
Remember Pakistani ISI ran Al-Qaeda back in the day.
It is also forgotten that the Tallys prevent the muj warlords from raping the country's teenagers, of both genders, their favorite sport. Thus they are forgiven for suppressing the poppy farming.
karlof1 , Jan 28 2020 2:16 utc | 93
The Prince of Darkness's death seems to be as confirmed as we might get according to this and its thread :

"The US govt seems to be actively hiding this information from the public, but the Taliban has verified this to the Iranians, who in turn passed the message to the GCC states. There is a gruesome photograph of one of the passengers who died, & he has the same profile as D'Andrea."

And:

"The CIA's Michael D'Andrea, who was in charge of the CIA's anti-Iran operations, was in fact killed yesterday in a plane crash in Afghanistan, which the Iranian-backed Taliban claims to have downed. He was killed alongside 4 other people, including 2 USAF pilots & 2 CIA figures."

Not equivalent in stature to Soleimani but important nonetheless. I'll add a small caveat that this still isn't 100% confirmed.

TEP , Jan 28 2020 2:26 utc | 94
@ S (club) 7 and karlofi 93
Yes I'm hearing Ayatollah Mike was one of the several CIA officers among the dead. BIG loss for US and good retaliatory strike (if true) for Iran. The Dark Prince Mike was indeed head of CIA anti-Iran operations and likely played a big part in the Soleimani assassination. We may never know for sure, but the premature departure of CIA officers is always good for the rest of humankind.
psychedelicatessen , Jan 28 2020 2:35 utc | 95
DFC @ 39

Claims of high ranking CIA officers aboard. I suppose U.S. missiles would have been appropriate. Stock from Obama and Clinton's private arms dealing perhaps?

dltravers , Jan 28 2020 2:49 utc | 98
I have long wondered why the Russians have not paid back the US for their aid to the Afghan guerrilla in the 1980's. The US supplied stinger missiles and other anti-aircraft systems and at one point they were knocking down one Russian aircraft a day. Maybe the Russians smell Western blood on the water and have chosen this as the time to pay them back with select arms deliveries to the Taliban.

It was this loss of aviation support that hastened their departure and it would certainly hasten a US departure. I do not think the US has it in them to ramp it up at this point...

Let us remember...

The Soviet War in Afghanistan, 1979 - 1989

[Jan 04, 2020] Good point Afghanistan. The newly appointed General Ghaani was active in Afghanistan. As he is famimiar with the place, that may well be where he decides to retaliate.

Jan 04, 2020 | thesaker.is

Serbian girl on January 03, 2020 , · at 5:00 pm EST/EDT

Good point Afghanistan. The newly appointed General Ghaani was active in Afghanistan. As he is famimiar with the place, that may well be where he decides to retaliate.

In case the link does not work, Elijah magnier's and Roberto Neccia's tweet.
https://mobile.twitter.com/neccia1/status/1213045008204533760

Str8arrow62 on January 03, 2020 , · at 5:18 pm EST/EDT
The introduction of manpads would be no less significant an impact on the occupying force as it was when the Soviet's were there when the SEE EYE AYE showered the Afghani's with Stingers. It completely changed the modus of the Soviet army once they were introduced. Helicopters became dangerous to be in and could no longer fly near the ground. Good observations though, the assassination of Assad could prove to be magnitudes greater a spark than any of us could imagine. I hope for the sake of, among the many, the Christians he's been protecting from the foreign merc's. that he stays safe. He must keep a low profile and let's hope the S400's will take care of any Predator drones that try to fly the Damascus airspace. ­
C. Khosta y Alzamendi on January 03, 2020 , · at 6:43 pm EST/EDT
It seems US (or perhaps Israel) didn't give you time enough to think about what could be the next move (breaking news from Sputinik, 23:30 GMT): vehicle convoy carrying Iraqi PMF leaders hit by airstrike, 6 dead at least.

https://sputniknews.com/middleeast/202001041077936776-two-car-convoy-north-of-baghdad-under-aerial-attack -- reports/

Chad on January 03, 2020 , · at 3:34 pm EST/EDT
Thanks for posting this. I wonder if Soleimani consciously ( on many human and beyond human levels) wanted to offer the Yanks a "target" (a type of sacrifice, namely himself) that was just too big to ignore, knowing that the stupid enemy would take the bait, and having a secure knowledge that his death would set in motion a chain of events that will (underline will) result in the final terrible fall of the US, and Israel. Stupid American "leaders", right now, they are dancing in idiotic joy, saying foolish words for which we will pay, also knowing what the future holds: the death of countless people, throughout not only the Middle East, but here in the US as well. Yes, I do hate them for what they have unleashed.

Rest In Peace, Soleimani. You very well may achieve far more in death that you attained in your eventful life.

What do we know about Esmail Ghaani?

[Dec 24, 2019] After Blowing $3 Trillion On Lies In Afghanistan, Congress Just Authorized A Trillion More For 2020

Dec 23, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Daisy Luther via The Organic Prepper blog,

It's rare that I read something on the Washington Post that I don't find highly biased, even repugnant. But with their recent article on the Afghanistan Papers, they truly knocked the ball out of the park.

The facts they shared should have every American protesting in the streets.

Trillions of dollars have been spent on a war that the Pentagon knew was unwinnable all along. More than 2300 American soldiers died there and more than 20,000 have been injured. More than 150,000 Afghanis were killed, many of them civilians, including women and children.

And they lied to us constantly.

Congress just proved that the truth doesn't matter, though. A mere 22 hours after the release of this document, the new National Defense Authorization Act that breezed through the House and Senate was signed by the President. That bill authorized $738 billion in military spending for 2020 , actually increasing the budget by $22 billion over previous years.

So, how is your representation in Washington, DC working out for you?

What are the Afghanistan Papers?

The Afghanistan Papers are a brilliant piece of investigative journalism published by the Washington Post and the article is very much worth your time to read. I know, I know – WaPo. But believe me when I tell you this is something all Americans need to see.

This was an article that took three years of legal battles to bring to light. WaPo acquired the documents using the Freedom of Information Act and got more than 2000 pages of insider interviews with "people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials." These documents were originally part of a federal investigation into the "root failures" of the longest conflict in US history – more than 18 years now.

Three presidents, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump, have been involved in this ongoing war. It turns out that officials knew the entire time this war was "unwinnable" yet they kept throwing American lives and American money at it.

Here's an excerpt from WaPo's report. Anything that is underlined is taken verbatim from the papers themselves – you can click on them to read the documents.

In the interviews, more than 400 insiders offered unrestrained criticism of what went wrong in Afghanistan and how the United States became mired in nearly two decades of warfare.

With a bluntness rarely expressed in public, the interviews lay bare pent-up complaints, frustrations and confessions, along with second-guessing and backbiting.

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn't know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: "What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

"If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost," Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. "Who will say this was in vain? " ( source )

The important thing to note about these interviews is that the interviewees never expected their words to become public. They weren't "blowing the whistle." They were answering questions for a federal investigation. So they didn't hold back. These aren't "soundbites." It's what the real witnesses are saying.

The U.S. government has not carried out a comprehensive accounting of how much it has spent on the war in Afghanistan, but the costs are staggering.

Since 2001, the Defense Department, State Department and U.S. Agency for International Development have spent or appropriated between $934 billion and $978 billion, according to an inflation-adjusted estimate calculated by Neta Crawford, a political science professor and co-director of the Costs of War Project at Brown University.

Those figures do not include money spent by other agencies such as the CIA and the Department of Veterans Affairs, which is responsible for medical care for wounded veterans.

"What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?" Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, "After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan." ( source )

The US government deliberately misled the American people.

What's more, if you officials, up to and including three presidents, knew they were throwing money at something that could never be achieved. They did it anyway and they lied to our faces about it.

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul -- and at the White House -- to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. "Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone . ( source )

It's been an epic 18-year-long exercise in CYA. (Cover Your A$$). I don't see how anyone could fail to be outraged by this. And what I've cited here is just the crap icing on the maggot cupcake. It's a festering mess and I urge you, if you really want to know the truth, to read this article on WaPo and click on these links.

How was all this money spent?

A lot of it went to building infrastructure in Afghanistan. It was flagrantly and frivolously used there while we live in a place where people are going bankrupt at best and dying at worst because they can't afford medical care and there are places in our country without clean running water or toilets.

One unnamed executive with the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) guessed that 90 percent of what they spent was overkill: "We lost objectivity. We were given money, told to spend it and we did, without reason."

One unidentified contractor told government interviewers he was expected to dole out $3 million daily for projects in a single Afghan district roughly the size of a U.S. county. He once asked a visiting congressman whether the lawmaker could responsibly spend that kind of money back home: "He said hell no. 'Well, sir, that's what you just obligated us to spend and I'm doing it for communities that live in mud huts with no windows.'  " ( source )

Aren't you angry about this? Don't you feel betrayed as more Americans struggle to pay their bills and eat food and keep a roof over their heads each month?

Who benefits from this?

As usual, follow the money.

The defense industry certainly reaped rewards and it's highly likely a lot of people who had the power to allow it to go on made some "wise investments" that have paid off for them. But for the rest of us, this conflict has done nothing except ensure that our tax dollars are not here improving our infrastructure or helping Americans lead better and more productive lives.

Dr. Ron Paul refers to this as the crime of the century.

It is not only members of the Bush, Obama, and Trump Administrations who are guilty of this massive fraud. Falsely selling the Afghanistan war as a great success was a bipartisan activity on Capitol Hill. In the dozens of hearings I attended in the House International Relations Committee, I do not recall a single "expert" witness called who told us the truth. Instead, both Republican and Democrat-controlled Congresses called a steady stream of neocon war cheerleaders to lie to us about how wonderfully the war was going. Victory was just around the corner, they all promised. Just a few more massive appropriations and we'd be celebrating the end of the war.

Congress and especially Congressional leadership of both parties are all as guilty as the three lying Administrations. They were part of the big lie, falsely presenting to the American people as "expert" witnesses only those bought-and-paid-for Beltway neocon think tankers.

What is even more shocking than the release of this "smoking gun" evidence that the US government wasted two trillion dollars and killed more than three thousand Americans and more than 150,000 Afghans while lying through its teeth about the war is that you could hear a pin drop in the mainstream media about it. Aside from the initial publication in the Washington Post, which has itself been a major cheerleader for the war in Afghanistan, the mainstream media has shown literally no interest in what should be the story of the century. ( source )

And it's most likely that nobody will ever face punishment for this deception. If this is not the very definition of the term "war crimes" I can hardly imagine what is. Dr. Paul continues:

We've wasted at least half a year on the Donald Trump impeachment charade – a conviction desperately in search of a crime. Meanwhile one of the greatest crimes in US history will go unpunished. Not one of the liars in the "Afghanistan Papers" will ever be brought to justice for their crimes. None of the three presidents involved will be brought to trial for these actual high crimes. Rumsfeld and Lute and the others will never have to fear justice. Because both parties are in on it. There is no justice . ( source )

The response? Silence and a budget increase.

The people in government don't care that we know about all this. Sure, it's mildly inconvenient but "whatever."

How do I know this?

Simple. Less than a full day after the story broke, the new NDAA ended up on President Trump's desk and was signed, authorizing an additional 22 billion dollars for next year's defense spending. And all anyone can talk about is, "Oooohhhh Space Force!!!"

Government: "Merry Christmas. We're going to blow through more of your tax money and you won't get a damned thing for it."

I couldn't make this up if I tried. In a notable, must-read op-ed , Darius Shahtahmasebi cited some horrific incidents and concluded:

We can't let this recent publication obscure itself into nothingness. The recent reaction from Congress is a giant middle finger designed to tell you that (a) there will never be anything you can do about it and (b) they simply don't care how you feel. Democracy at its finest from the world's leading propagator of democratic values. ( source )

When is enough going to be enough? Why are we not enraged en masse? Why haven't we recalled these treasonous bastards and taken our country and our budget back?

For a country that is ready to take up arms and waste countless hours "impeaching" Trump over something he said on a phone call, it sure says a lot about those same people ignoring 18 years of treasonous behavior by three separate administrations.

Why isn't the media raising hell over this? Why aren't these lives important? Why isn't sending trillions of our dollars to be frittered away an outrage?

People love to say "America First" and "impeach Trump for treason" and all that jazz. They love to call anti-war people "un-American" and recommend a quick, one-way trip to Somalia if we don't "support our troops." However, I think is far more evidence of supporting our troops to want out of there, not risking their lives based on a castle of lies that further enriches powerful and wealthy people who have nothing to lose.

Most people love to be outraged about frivolous matters. But when a report like this and its following insult are met with resounding silence, it's pretty obvious that hardly anybody is really paying attention.

[Dec 23, 2019] When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable by Daniel R. DePetris

Notable quotes:
"... Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal. ..."
Dec 23, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

When Will the Afghan War Architects Be Held Accountable?

Even after the release of the Afghanistan Papers, our elites are still determined to escape without blame. CERNOBBIO, ITALY - SEPTEMBER 06: Chairman of the KKR Global Institute David Howell Petraeus attends the Ambrosetti International Economic Forum 2019 "Lo scenario dell'Economia e della Finanza" on September 6, 2019 in Cernobbio, Italy. (Photo by Pier Marco Tacca/Getty Images)

Almost two weeks after the Washington Post 's Craig Whitlock published his six-part series on the trials, tribulations, and blunders of Washington's 19-year-long social science experiment in Afghanistan, those involved in the war effort are desperately pointing fingers as to who is to blame. An alternative narrative has emerged among this crop of elite policymakers, military officers, and advisers that while American policy in Afghanistan has been horrible, the people responsible for it really did believe it would all work out in the end. Call it the "we were stupid" defense.

There were no lies or myths propagated by senior U.S. officials, we are told, just honest assessments that later proved to be wrong. Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, who has advised U.S. commanders on Afghanistan war policy, wrote that "no, there has not been a campaign of disinformation, intentional or subliminal." Former defense secretary Jim Mattis, who led CENTCOM during part of the war effort, called the Post 's reporting "not really news" and was mystified that the unpublished interviews from the U.S. special inspector general were generating such shock. Others have faulted the Post for publishing the material to begin with, claiming that public disclosure would scare future witnesses from cooperating and threaten other fact-finding inquiries (the fact that the newspaper was legally permitted to publish the transcripts after winning a court case against the government is apparently irrelevant in the minds of those making this argument).

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

All of these claims and counter-claims should be seen for what they truly are: the flailings of a policymaking class so arrogant and unaccountable that it can't see straight. That they're blaming the outrage engendered by the Afghanistan Papers on anything other than themselves is Exhibit A that our narcissistic policy elite is cocooned in their own reality.

Analysts have been pouring over the Afghanistan interview transcripts for over a week in order to determine how the war went wrong. Some of the main lessons learned have long been evident. The decision to impose a top-down democratic political order on a country that operated on a system of patronage and tribal systems from the bottom-up was bound to be problematic. Throwing tens of billions of dollars of reconstruction assistance into a nation that had no experience managing that kind of money -- or spending it properly -- helped fuel the very nationwide corruption Washington would come to regret. Paying off warlords to fight the Taliban and keep order while pressuring those very same warlords into following the rules was contradictory. The mistakes go on and on and on: as Lieutenant General Douglas Lute said, "We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

One of the most salient findings about this ghastly two-decade-long misadventure surfaced after the Afghanistan Papers were released: the commentariat will stop at nothing to absolve themselves of the slightest responsibility for the disaster they supported. The outright refusal of the pundit class to own up to its errors is as disturbing as it is infuriating. And even when they do acknowledge that errors were committed, they tend to minimize their own role in those mistakes, explaining them away as unfortunate consequences of fixed withdrawal deadlines, inter-agency tussling, Afghanistan's poor foundational state, or the inability of the Afghans to capitalize on the opportunities Washington provided them. Some, such as General David Petraeus , seem to sincerely believe that the U.S. was on the right track and could have made progress if only those pesky civilians in the Beltway hadn't pulled the rug out from under them by announcing a premature withdrawal.

It's always somebody else's fault.

Whether out of arrogance, ego, or fear of not being taken seriously in Washington's foreign policy discussions, the architects of the war refuse to admit even the most obvious mistakes. Instead they duck and weave like a quarterback escaping a full-on defensive rush, attempting yet again to fool the American public.

But the public has nothing to apologize for. It is those who are making excuses who have exercised disastrous judgment on Afghanistan. And they owe the country an apology.

Daniel R. DePetris is a columnist for the Washington Examiner and a contributor to The American Conservative.

[Dec 19, 2019] MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels

Highly recommended!
Dec 19, 2019 | angrybearblog.com

likbez, December 19, 2019 6:58 pm

Afghan war demonstrated that the USA got into the trap, the Catch 22 situation: it can't stop following an expensive and self-destructive positive feedback loop of threat inflation and larger and large expenditures on MIC, because there is no countervailing force for the MIC since WWII ended. Financial oligarchy is aligned with MIC.

This is the same suicidal grip of MIC on the country that was one of the key factors in the collapse of the USSR means that in this key area the USA does not have two party system, It is a Uniparty: a singe War party with two superficially different factions.

Feeding and care MIC is No.1 task for both. Ordinary Americans wellbeing does matter much for either party. New generation of Americans is punished with crushing debt and low paying jobs. They do not care that people over 50 who lost their jobs are essentially thrown out like a garbage.

"41 Million people in the US suffer from hunger and lack of food security"–US Dept. of Agriculture. FDR addressed the needs of this faction of the population when he delivered his One-Third of a Nation speech for his 2nd Inaugural. About four years later, FDR expanded on that issue in his Four Freedoms speech: 1.Freedom of speech; 2.Freedom of worship; 3.Freedom from want; 4.Freedom from fear.

Items 3 and 4 are probably unachievable under neoliberalism. And fear is artificially instilled to unite the nation against the external scapegoat much like in Orwell 1984. Currently this is Russia, later probably will be China. With regular minutes of hate replaced by Rachel Maddow show ;-)

Derailing Tulsi had shown that in the USA any politician, who try to challenge MIC, will be instantly attacked by MIC lapdogs in MSM and neutered in no time.

One interesting tidbit from Fiona Hill testimony is that neocons who dominate the USA foreign policy establishment make their living off threat inflation. They literally are bought by MIC, which indirectly finance Brookings institution, Atlantic Council and similar think tanks. And this isn't cheap cynicism. It is simply a fact. Rephrasing Samuel Johnson's famous quote, we can say, "MIC lobbyism (which often is presented as patriotism) is the last refuge of scoundrels."

[Dec 19, 2019] The Afghanistan Fiasco and the Decline and Fall of the American Military by Philip Giraldi

Dec 17, 2019 | www.strategic-culture.org

The Washington Post, through documents released through the Freedom of Information Act, has published a long investigation into Afghanistan. Journalists have collected over 400 testimonies from American diplomats, NATO generals and other NATO personnel, that show that reports about Afghanistan were falsified to deceive the public about the real situation on the ground.

After the tampering with and falsification of the report of the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW), we are witnessing another event that will certainly discomfit those who have hitherto relied on the official reports of the Pentagon, the US State Department and international organizations like the OPCW for the last word.

There are very deliberate reasons for such disinformation campaigns. In the case of the OPCW, as I wrote some time back, the aim was to paint the Syrian government as the fiend and the al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked "moderate rebels" as the innocent souls, thereby likely justifying a responsibility-to-protect armed intervention by the likes of the US, the UK and France. In such circumstances, the standing and status of the reporting organization (like the OPCW) is commandeered to validate Western propaganda that is duly disseminated through the corporate-controlled mainstream media.

In this particular case, various Western capitals colluded with the OPCW to lay the groundwork for the removal of Assad and his replacement with the al-Nusra Front as well as the very same al-Qaeda- and Daesh-linked armed opposition officially responsible for the 9/11 attacks.

As if the massaging of the OPCW reports were not enough in themselves to provoke international outrage, this dossier serves to give aid and comfort to jihadi groups supported by the Pentagon who are known to be responsible for the worst human-rights abuses, as seen in Syria and Iraq in the last 6 years.

False or carefully manipulated reports paint a picture vastly different from the reality on the ground. The United States has never really declared war on Islamic terrorism, its proclamations of a "War on Terror" notwithstanding. In reality, it has simply used this justification to occupy or destabilize strategically important areas of the world in the interests of maintaining US hegemony, intending in so doing to hobble the energy policies and national security of rival countries like China, Iran and the Russian Federation.

The Post investigation lays bare how the US strategy had failed since its inception, the data doctored to represent a reality very different from that on the ground. The inability of the United States to clean up Afghanistan is blamed by the Post on incorrect military planning and incorrect political choices. While this could certainly be the case, the Post's real purpose in its investigation is to harm Trump, even as it reveals the Pentagon's efforts to continue its regional presence for grand geopolitical goals by hiding inconvenient truths.

The real issue lies in the built-in mendacity of the bureaucratic and military apparatus of the United States. No general has ever gone on TV to say that the US presence in Iraq is needed to support any war against Iran; or that Afghanistan is a great point of entry for the destabilization of Eurasia, because this very heart of the Heartland is crucial to the Sino-Russian transcontinental integration projects like the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the Belt and Road Initiative. In the same vein, the overthrow of the Syrian government would have ensured Israel a greater capacity to expand its interests in the Middle East, as well as to weaken Iran's main regional ally.

The Post investigation lays bare the hypocrisy of the military-industrial complex as well as the prevailing political establishments of Europe and the United States. These parties are not interested in human rights, the wellbeing of civilians or justice in general. Their only goal is to try and maintain their global hegemony indefinitely by preventing any other powers from being able to realize their potential and thereby pose a threat to Atlanticist preeminence.

The war in Iraq was launched to destabilize the Middle East, China's energy-supply basin crucial to fueling her future growth. The war in Syria served the purpose of further dismantling the Middle East to favor Saudi Arabia and Israel, the West's main strategic allies in the Persian Gulf. The war in Afghanistan was to slow down the Eurasian integration of China and Russia. And the war in Ukraine was for the purposes of generating chaos and destruction on Russia's border, with the initial hope of wresting the very strategically area of Crimea from Russia.

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and this has been on full display in recent times. Almost all of Washington's recent strategic objectives have ended up producing results worse than the status quo ante. In Iraq there is the type of strong cooperation between Baghdad and Tehran reminiscent of the time prior to 1979. Through Hezbollah, Iran has strengthened its position in Syria in defense of Damascus. Moscow has found itself playing the role of crucial decider in the Middle East (and soon in North Africa), until only a few years ago the sole prerogative of Washington. Turkey's problems with NATO, coupled with Tel Aviv's open relation with Moscow are both a prime example of Washington's diminishing influence in the region and Moscow's corresponding increase in influence.

The situation in Afghanistan is not very different, with a general recognition that peace is the only option for the region being reflected in the talks between the Afghans, the Taliban, the Russians, Chinese, Indians and Pakistanis. Beijing and Moscow have well known for over a decade the real intent behind Washington's presence in the country, endeavoring to blunt its impact.

The Post investigation only further increases the public's war weariness, the war in Afghanistan now having lasted 18 years, the longest war in US history. Jeff Bezos, the owner of the Post, is a bitter opponent of Trump and wants the president to come clean on the Afghanistan debacle by admitting that the troops cannot be withdrawn. Needless to say, admitting such would not help Trump's strategy for the 2020 election. Trump cannot afford to humiliate the US military, given that it, along with the US dollar, is his main weapon of "diplomacy". Were it to be revealed that some illiterate peasants holed up in caves and armed with AK-47s some 40 years ago are responsible for successfully keeping the most powerful army in history at bay, all of Washington's propaganda, disseminated by a compliant media, will cease to be of any effect. Such a revelation would also humiliate military personnel, an otherwise dependable demographic Trump cannot afford to alienate.

The Washington Post performed a service to the country by shedding light on the disinformation used to sustain endless war. But the Post's intentions are also political, seeking to undermine Trump's electoral chances by damaging Trump's military credentials as well as his standing amongst military personnel. What Washington's elite and the Post do not know, or perhaps prefer to ignore, is that such media investigations directed against political opponents actually end up doing irreparable damage to the political and military prestige of the United States.

In other words, when journalist do their job, the military industrial complex finds it difficult to lie its way through wars and failures, but when a country relies on Hollywood to sustain its make-believe world, as well as on journalists on the CIA payroll, on compliant publishers and on censored news, then any such revelations of forbidden truths threaten to bring the whole facade crashing down.

Philip Giraldi Ph.D., Executive Director of the Council for the National Interest

[Dec 15, 2019] Calling Afghanistan a military failure is a bit like calling 9/11 an intelligence failure

Dec 15, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Paul Damascene , Dec 16 2019 0:29 utc | 17

Shaun @ 2:
Another article by Kit Knightly at the Off-Guardian goes to the heart of the point I see you making:

https://off-guardian.org/2019/12/15/the-afghanistan-papers-deep-state-narrative-management/

It's a bit like calling 9/11 an intelligence failure. First, identify the actual measure of success against which this outcome should really be judged...

An excerpt:

"Here's the real "secret history" of the Afganistan war: It wasn't a failure, it was a success. In every facet, on every front, Afghanistan is exactly what America needed it to be. They dripfeed in the blood of young Americans, they destroy 100,000s of Afghan lives, and they reap the rewards they always intended to reap:
The permanent slow-simmer conflict gives them an excuse to keep thousands of US military personnel in a country which borders Iran, Pakistan AND China. (Not to mention a host of ex-Soviet states).

It keeps military expenditure nice and high, so Congressman, ex-generals and everyone else on the boards of Boeing or Lockheed Martin get great big bonuses every year.

They have sole access to the rare-Earth elements and other vital metals in the Afghan mountains. Lithium, most importantly of all.

They have control of the world's opium industry. A vital cog in the relations of the US intelligence agencies, and organised crime. It's essentially reverse money-laundering – turning tax-payer funds into dark money that can be spent hiring mercenaries, organising assassinations, arranging coups or simply be stolen.

They have access to all the "radicalised" young men they could ever want. A little Jihadi farm, where "terrorists" can be named, trained and sent off to fight proxy wars in Syria, or spread fear and chaos in the West."

[Dec 14, 2019] In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said that he is "not a capitalist. But I also don't want socialism. I don't want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don't want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place

Dec 14, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

angie11 -> ID3119269 , 10 Dec 2019 16:05

"I wish that people would realize that to interfere, in any way shape or form in wars that occur in Islamic States is pissing into the wind.

We simply cannot and do not understand the religious/tribal and feudal component of these societies.

It is better that we just let them go at each other. Sooner or later one despot will end up being top dog - so be it."

Hmm. Do you know the history of colonialism in MENA? I did not think so.

My guess is that your 'knowledge' of Afghanistan and its history is based on your obvious xenophobia aka Islamophobia and lofty Western superiority complex. Don't feel alone, that's what folks use to make themselves feel better and able to sleep at night. Check this out:

"Despite close relations to the Axis powers, Zahir Shah refused to take sides during World War II and Afghanistan remained one of the few countries in the world to remain neutral. In 1944 and 1945, Afghanistan experienced a series of revolts by various tribes.[13] After the end of the Second World War, Zahir Shah recognised the need for the modernisation of Afghanistan and recruited a number of foreign advisers to assist with the process.[14] During this period Afghanistan's first modern university was founded.[14] During his reign a number of potential advances and reforms were derailed as a result of factionalism and political infighting.[15] He also requested financial aid from both the United States and the Soviet Union, and Afghanistan was one of few countries in the world to receive aid from both the Cold War enemies.[16] In a 1969 interview, Zahir Shah said that he is "not a capitalist. But I also don't want socialism. I don't want socialism that would bring about the kind of situation [that exists] in Czechoslovakia. I don't want us to become the servants of Russia or China or the servant of any other place."[17]

Zahir Shah was able to govern on his own during 1963[9] and despite the factionalism and political infighting a new constitution was introduced during 1964 which made Afghanistan a modern democratic state by introducing free elections, a parliament, civil rights, women's rights and universal suffrage.[14]"

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mohammed_Zahir_Shah

[Dec 13, 2019] Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does.

Dec 13, 2019 | discussion.theguardian.com

Richard Thorton , 10 Dec 2019 15:03

Any particular American war has no purpose, but the USA waging it does. The main points of what war does:

1. Transfers wealth from social services to the military industrial complex. Americans don't have education, infrastructure, or healthcare, but they do have a generation of soldiers with PTSD, national debt, worldwide hatred, and an ever increasing sense of exceptionalism.

2. Traps Americans in a cycle of fear and persecution. Americans don't need a bogeyman, but our corporate overlords do, its how they monetize the populace. Find some disparate population of brown people who want self autonomy, send in the CIA to fuck them up, and when they retaliate tell Americans that people who live in a 3rd world land locked country several thousands of miles away are a threat to their very existence and way of life because they don't like God and Walmart.


CourgetteDream , 10 Dec 2019 14:36

Sadly the US uses the MIC to keep a large chunk of its population under control, as well as providing a convenient coverup of the actual numbers of people who are unemployable or would be unemployed if it were'nt for the taxpayer funding humungous spending in the so-called defence sector, which needs a a constant supply of conflict to keep going. The frankly moronic 'thank you for your service' soundbite drives me insane but it shows how much the American public has been brainwashed.
jimbomatic -> Michael Knoth , 10 Dec 2019 14:36
For years my home state of Washington had a New Deal Democrat Senator named Henry Jackson, AKA the Senator from Boeing.
He did good things for the state & was hugely popular here. One reason being that because he brought the Federal pork back home.
IMO the things Gen. Butler wrote about in the 1920s are still the modus operandi of US foreign policy.
Rikyboy , 10 Dec 2019 14:11
If the Afghanistan war ends, the USA will go to war with someone else. You cannot spend so much on military & not be at war. America must have an enemy. And, don’t forget, they always have “God on our side!”
Mauryan , 10 Dec 2019 13:05
The neocons in power during 2001 were hell bent on taking out Saddam Hussein. When 9/11 happened, they were looking for avenues to blame Iraq so that they could launch the war on that nation. Since things could not be put together, and all evidence pointed to Afghanistan, they took a detour in their war plan with a half hearted approach.

In fact Afghanistan was never the problem - It was Pakistan that held Afghanistan on the string and managed all terror related activities. Everything related to 9/11 and beyond pointed directly at Pakistan. Whatever threat Bush and his cronies projected about Iraq was true in the case of Pakistan. The war was lost when they made Pakistan an ally on the war on terror. It is like allying with Al Capone to crack down on the mafia.

Pakistan bilked the gullible American war planners, protected its assets and deflected all the rage on to the barren lands of Afghanistan. They hid all key Al Qaeda operatives and handed off the ones that did not align with their strategic interests to the US, while getting reward for it. War in Iraq happened in a hurry because the Bush family had scores to settle in Iraq. Pressure was lifted on Afghanistan. This is when the war reached a dead end.

The Taliban knew time was on their hands and waited it out. Obama did understand the situation and tried to put Af-Pak together and tightened the grip on Pakistan. He got the troops out of Iraq. Pakistan is almost bankrupt now for its deep investment on terror infrastructure. The US has drained billions of dollars and lives in Afghanistan due to misdirected goals. I am surprised Bush and Cheney have not been sent to jail on lies to launch the Iraq war and botching the real war on terror.

[Dec 13, 2019] The Afghanistan war is more than a $1 trillion mistake. It's a travesty Ben Armbruster Opinion The Guardian

Dec 13, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

he American people have known that the war in Afghanistan was a lost cause for quite some time. According to the Pew Research Center, Americans' views of the war started to go south right around the end of 2011, until eventually a majority started seeing the writing on the wall about two years later.

That's why the Washington Post report this week on the so-called "Afghanistan Papers", detailing how US officials "deliberately mislead the public" on the war's progress, is almost sort of unremarkable. If the piece took away any shred of innocence left from this ghastly enterprise, it's that perhaps some of us thought our leaders, while failing miserably at building a nation thousands of miles away, were at least acting in good faith.

At the same time, the Post report is rage inducing, not just because of the sheer stupidity of American leaders continuing to fight a war they knew they could not win, but also how their unwillingness to take responsibility for a failed policy caused so much death, destruction and heartbreak, particularly among those American families who have admirably dedicated their lives to serving their country, and the countless number of Afghan civilians trapped in a cycle of endless war they have nothing to do with.

Of course, the "Afghanistan Papers" immediately recalled memories of the Pentagon variety leaked to the New York Times nearly a half century ago because they too were government documents outlining how numerous American administrations had lied to the public about Vietnam – another long, costly and unnecessary war with no military solution.

But there's one major difference: the war in Afghanistan doesn't have as direct an impact on the lives of everyday Americans as the Vietnam war did, when the military draft meant that everyone had to deal with the cold war proxy conflict in south-east Asia one way or another . Therefore, it's entirely possible, likely even, that this major and important report from the Post will drift into the wilderness just like the dozens of Trump-era stories that would have, for example , taken down any other US president in "normal times".

But there's one big question the Post report raises but does not address: why? Why did so many people – from government contractors and high-ranking military officers, to state department and National Security Council officials – feel the need to lie about how the war in Afghanistan was going?

The easy answer is that there's a long tradition in Washington, particularly among the foreign policy establishment, that self-reflection, taking responsibility and admitting failure is a big no-no. Heck, you can get convicted of lying to Congress about illegal arms sales, and cover up brutal atrocities and still get a job at the state department . Did you torture anyone? No problem .

While DC's culture of no culpability certainly plays a role in this case, the more compelling answer lies somewhere near the fact that once the American war machine kicks into gear, no amount of facts undermining its very existence is going to get in the way.

Indeed, the United States has so far doled out nearly one trillion dollars for the war in Afghanistan (the true cost of the war will be trillions more ) and everyone's on the take: from defense industry executives, lobbyists and US political campaign coffers to Afghan government officials and poppy farmers to anyone and anything in between.

What's more is that this military-industrial-congressional complex is largely insulated from public accountability, so what's the incentive to change course? The Pentagon's entire budget operates in much the same way: unprecedented amounts in unnecessary appropriations resulting in hundreds of billions of dollars in waste, fraud and abuse. Yet Congress continues to throw more and more money at the defense department every year without ever requiring it to account for how it spends the money. In fact, the war in Afghanistan is small potatoes by comparison.

The bottom line is that the Afghanistan Papers clearly show that a lot of people were killed, injured and subject to years, if not lifetimes, of psychological trauma and financial hardship because a bunch of men – yes, mostly men – in Washington didn't want to admit publicly what they knew privately all along. If we don't start holding these people to account – and it's not just about Afghanistan – the DC foreign policy establishment will continue to act with impunity, meaning that it's probably more likely than not that in 50 years there'll be another batch of "papers" revealing once again that we've failed to learn obvious lessons from the past.

Ben Armbruster is the managing editor of ResponsibleStatecraft.org , the news and analysis publishing platform of the Quincy Institute

[Dec 09, 2019] Our Lying Military, Our Lying Government by Rod Dreher

Dec 09, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Everybody's talking about the FBI report today, but as far as I'm concerned, this long piece in the Washington Post is the real news. Here's how it begins:

The documents include transcripts of interviews with soldiers, diplomats, and others with direct experience in the war effort. Excerpts:

"We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan -- we didn't know what we were doing," Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House's Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: "What are we trying to do here? We didn't have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking."

"If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost," Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. "Who will say this was in vain?"

More:

"What did we get for this $1 trillion effort? Was it worth $1 trillion?" Jeffrey Eggers, a retired Navy SEAL and White House staffer for Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. He added, "After the killing of Osama bin Laden, I said that Osama was probably laughing in his watery grave considering how much we have spent on Afghanistan."

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting.

Look at this:

Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul -- and at the White House -- to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. "Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone."

One more:

As commanders in chief, Bush, Obama and Trump all promised the public the same thing. They would avoid falling into the trap of "nation-building" in Afghanistan.

On that score, the presidents failed miserably. The United States has allocated more than $133 billion to build up Afghanistan -- more than it spent, adjusted for inflation, to revive the whole of Western Europe with the Marshall Plan after World War II.

The Lessons Learned interviews show the grandiose nation-building project was marred from the start.

Read it all.

If you can get through it all, good for you. I got so mad that I had to quit reading not long after the paragraph above. We have lost about 2,000 soldiers in Afghanistan, and sustained about 21,000 casualties of war. (Not to mention all the dead innocent Afghan civilians, and the dead and wounded troops of our NATO allies.) We have spent altogether almost $1 trillion on that country. The Afghan officials stole a fortune from us. We never knew what to do there. And every one of our leaders lied about it. Lied! All those brave American soldiers, dead or maimed for life, for a war that our leaders knew that we could not win, but in defense of which they lied.

It's the Pentagon Papers all over again. You know this, right.

Trump is negotiating now with the Taliban over the possibility of US withdrawal. The story says US officials fought the Post in court over these documents, and have said most recently that publishing them would undermine the administration's negotiating position. I don't care. Tell the truth, for once. Let's cut our losses and go before more Americans die in this lost cause. Poor Afghanistan is going to fall under the tyrannical rule of the mullahs. But if, after 18 years, a trillion dollars, and all those dead and wounded Americans, we couldn't establish a stable and decent Afghan regime, it's not going to happen.

If any of my children want to join the US military, I'm going to go to the mat to talk them out of it. I do not want them, or anybody's sons or daughters, sent overseas to die in hopeless countries in wars that we cannot win, and shouldn't have fought, but kept doing because of bipartisan Establishment foreign policy delusions. To be clear, we should have bombed the hell out of Afghanistan after 9/11. The Taliban government gave shelter to Al Qaeda, and brought retribution upon itself. But the Bush Administration's nation-building insanity was never going to work. Eight years of Obama did not fix this. Nor, so far, has three years of Trump, though maybe he will be the one to stop the bleeding. If he does withdraw, I hope he blasts the hell out of his two predecessors and the military leadership for what they've done here.

I've been writing lately in this space, and in the book I'm working on, about the parallels between late-imperial Russia and our own time and place. And I've been writing about what Hannah Arendt had to say about the origins of totalitarianism. Arendt says that one precursor of totalitarianism is a widespread loss of faith in a society's and a government's institutions. According to a 2019 Gallup poll, the US military is one of the few institutions that enjoys broad confidence. How can anybody possibly believe them after this? How can we believe our Commanders-in-Chief? According to the secret documents, the men in the field have been were their commanders for a long time that this Afghan thing was not working, and wasn't ever going to work. But they kept sending them back in.

Why? Pride? Too full of themselves to admit that it was a failure? As soldier John Kerry turned antiwar activist said back in the 1970s, about Vietnam, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" No more American dying in and for Afghanistan. Bring the troops home. They did not fail. Their superiors did.

How do you convince young people to join an institution whose leadership -- civilian as well as military -- is prepared to sacrifice them for a lost cause, and then lie, and lie, and lie about it? How do you convince mothers and fathers to send their sons and daughters with confidence to that military? How do you convince taxpayers to support throwing more money into the sh*thole that is the Pentagon's budget?

The questions that are going to come up sooner than most of us think, and, in some version, from both the Left and the Right: just what kind of order do we have in America anyway? Why do I owe it my loyalty? What does it mean to be a patriot when you cannot trust the nation's leaders and institutions?

These are the kinds of questions that, depending on how they are answered, can lead to the unraveling, and even the overthrow, of a regime. It has been said that the Soviet defeat in Afghanistan was a prime mover in the ascension of Mikhail Gorbachev and the collapse of the Soviet system. We are not the Soviet Union -- but I wouldn't be so quick to take comfort in that, if I were a political or military leader.

We learned nothing from Vietnam, did we? Not a damn thing. It is beyond infuriating. It is beyond demoralizing. And you know, the only thing more infuriating and more demoralizing than this will be if there are no consequences for it, or if people fall back into partisan positions. The report makes clear that this is a disaster that was launched by a Republican administration, continued under a Democratic administration, and has been overseen by another Republican administration.

One of the reasons Donald Trump is president today, and not some other Republican, is he was the one Republican primary candidate who denounced the wars. If he can't get us out of Afghanistan, what good is he?

UPDATE: I was just thinking about something a military friend told me almost 15 years ago, based on his direct personal knowledge of the situation: that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was lying to the nation about how the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq were going. And if Rumsfeld was lying, so was the administration. My friend was deeply discouraged. Rumsfeld left office in 2006 -- but the habit remained with our leadership.


Sid Finster 29 minutes ago • edited

The only thing that surprised me in the WaPo article was that it was published in the CIA's house organ.

EDIT: I should have added that the squandering of blood and treasure, fighting a pointless war that benefits nobody but the financiers, contractors, arms manufacturers and generals, all while the politicians and generals proclaim that victory is just at hand, we can't turn back now, - all this reminds me of nothing so much as a smaller scale WWI.

Tony55398 13 minutes ago
Trump wants us out of Afghanistan, but Iran is a different story. He's sending more troupes to Saudi Arabia to defend the Saudi's from Iran, how is that disentangling from the ME. I think the Saudi's Wahhabism, basically the same as ISIS practices, is the most dangerous religion in the word today and they are busy exporting it to the rest of the world. I really think Trump is a false prophet, a lying prophet, who serves first himself.
disqus_nocmkvBMwY 10 minutes ago
Didn't vote for Trump - but: He has attempted to stand up to the elite establishment intelligence-military-arms manufacturing complex and start cutting back the forever wars. Everyone attacks him for this--establishment Republicans, Democrats, State Department, Military, Intelligence, Media--everybody. The attacks are immediate and intense. He is almost always forced to pull back. He seems determined to keep trying, but, as is evident, they will do anything it takes to stop him.

[Nov 04, 2019] The Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. Americans retored it

Nov 04, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Stephanie , 03 November 2019 at 09:57 AM

Gosh, the Taliban wiped out poppy production in 2000. The Twin Towers were destroyed in 2001. Bush (son of CIA Bush) invaded Afghanistan to... well, to do what? To defeat the Taliban? Why? To restore poppy production? To find bin Laden? Didn't really do that. After all he was in Pakistan. And what has happened to poppy farming since we invaded? Booming. For 17 years. Those farming families are doing really well under the protection of U.S. troops. Just like the oil families in Syria that are protected by U.S. troops. Now, Trump seems to be throwing a spanner in all this. Of course, "We came, we saw, he died [giggle, giggle]" Clinton would have never committed Trump's crimes. Trump's just a loose cannon.

Angleton, quoting Jesus, said "In my Father's house are many mansions."

I guess we know which mansion Brennan inhabits.


May 20, 2001
The first American narcotics experts to go to Afghanistan under Taliban rule have concluded that the movement's ban on opium-poppy cultivation appears to have wiped out the world's largest crop in less than a year, officials said today.

The American findings confirm earlier reports from the United Nations drug control program that Afghanistan, which supplied about three-quarters of the world's opium and most of the heroin reaching Europe, had ended poppy planting in one season.

But the eradication of poppies has come at a terrible cost to farming families, [A TERRIBLE COST TO FARMING FAMILIES, OH, THOSE POOR FARMING FAMILIES]and experts say it will not be known until the fall planting season begins whether the Taliban can continue to enforce it.

''It appears that the ban has taken effect,'' said Steven Casteel, assistant administrator for intelligence at the Drug Enforcement Administration in Washington.

The findings came in part from a Pakistan-based agent of the administration who was one of the two Americans on the team just returned from eight days in the poppy-growing areas of Afghanistan.

Tue 11 Sep 2001: 9/11

Tue 25 Sep 2001:
In a dramatic and little-noticed reversal of policy, the Taliban have told farmers in Afghanistan that they are free to start planting poppy seeds again if the Americans decide to launch a military attack.
Drug enforcement agencies last night confirmed that they expect to see a massive resumption of opium cultivation inside Afghanistan, previously the world's biggest supplier of heroin, in the next few weeks.

The Taliban virtually eradicated Afghanistan's opium crop last season after an edict by Mullah Mohammad Omar, the Taliban leader.

In July last year he said that growing opium was "un-Islamic" and warned that anyone caught planting seeds would be severely punished.

Taliban soldiers enforced the ruling two summers ago and made thousands of villagers across Afghanistan plough up their fields. Earlier this year UN observers agreed that Afghanistan's opium crop had been completely wiped out.

[Sep 22, 2019] Searching for Kissinger's 'Decent Interval' in Afghanistan

Notable quotes:
"... Yet in spite of all this American sacrifice, the Taliban controls more territory than at any time since 2001. ..."
"... After all, President Trump hasn't even signed off on Khalilzad's draft deal, and even if he does, he could always change his mind. The ability of the Blob to swallow presidents is not to be underestimated -- and Trump is a case in point. For decades, reaching back to his career as a businessman, Trump had been a skeptic of foreign military engagements, and he explicitly campaigned against "endless wars" in 2016. ..."
"... Yet since then, the Blob has been extending pseudopods of keep-the-status-quo cajolery deep within his administration. Trump has thus been persuaded to keep the U.S. engaged, or, if one prefers, quagmired ..."
"... The Taliban are not an invading military force. The struggle as it is has been one of internal forces and players sharing the land and never having been but various communities that fought, lived and negotiated agreements all nearly all of the countries history, unlike Vietnam which has almost entire history had a North/South division. ..."
"... Quit calling the Kabul regime a "client". It's a puppet. The minute US forces leave Afghanistan, the puppet government in Kabul will fall. Don't be surprised if it collapses before the last US transport has its landing gear all the way up. Notwithstanding 2., yes, it's over. Time to pack up and move on. However, Trump can't do that. ..."
"... If Trump had really wanted to leave Afghanistan, the time to do it was when he first entered office. Blame his predecessors and wash his hands of the situation while the political price was at its lowest. But Trump is weak, stupid and easily manipulated. He listened to the generals, and the price of leaving has only risen and will only keep rising. ..."
"... They aren't much good for anything but staging, but Trump wants those Afghan outposts for the war on Iran that his Saudi owners and Israeli masters so crave. ..."
"... All the Democrats should be on the bandwagon for withdrawal yesterday because Trump's October Surprise could be announcing peace in our time and getting the hell out. It is a promise he can actually keep. It is not like he is getting his wall. ..."
"... Trump has become, himself, part of "the Blob." By hiring Pompeo and Bolton to head his foreign policy team he has abandoned any pretense of being an anti-war pro-restraint president. He's gone full neo-con and it's long past time conservatives stop pretending he hasn't. ..."
Sep 22, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Needless to say, the news from Afghanistan is always murky, and the U.S. is far from gone. Still, the BBC headline from September 3 tells us a lot: "Afghanistan war: US-Taliban deal would see 5,400 troops withdraw." U.S. negotiator Zalmay Khalilzad has hammered out an agreement, "in principle," with the Taliban.

He has now shared some of the details with the Afghan government -- which, revealingly, hasn't been involved in the negotiations -- and with the world as well. In other words, the U.S. has been bypassing its Kabul client regime in pursuit of a deal with the Taliban. Obviously, the fact that our Afghan ally has been left out of the negotiations is not a good sign for its relevance -- or its viability.

To be sure, even if those 5,400 American troops leave, another 8,600 would remain, plus an unknown number of contractors and operatives. Yet it's obvious that if the U.S. couldn't pacify Afghanistan with 100,000 troops at the beginning of this decade, it's not going to do much with a tiny fraction thereof. In fact, our current dealings with the Taliban recall our dealings with North Vietnam in the early '70s.

Back then, President Richard Nixon and his national security adviser Henry Kissinger were looking to negotiate with North Vietnam to find a way out. Their hope was for "peace with honor." Yet the appearance of "peace with honor" is not necessarily the same thing as the reality . Behind the scenes, it was grubbier. Nixon and Kissinger understood that the South Vietnamese government was deathly afraid of a U.S. deal with North Vietnam because Saigon understood that any such agreement would leave it in the lurch, unable to defend itself. North Vietnam, after all, was supported by both the Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China. And so Nixon and Kissinger simply pushed South Vietnam out of the loop. Indeed, South Vietnamese fears would have been fully confirmed had they heard Kissinger speaking to Nixon inside the White House in October 1972, as recorded by the notorious secret taping system.

As Kissinger put it, the U.S. should be hoping for a "decent interval" between the American departure and the inevitable fall of the Saigon government. And that's what happened: the Paris Peace Accords were signed on January 27, 1973, and barely more than two years later, on April 30, 1975, Saigon fell. Understandably, millions of South Vietnamese sought to flee the communists, and that, again, is how D.C. -- and the U.S. as a whole -- gained so many new restaurants. All that history is familiar to the policymakers and pundits of today. And so inside the Beltway, the debate over the future of Afghanistan -- more precisely, U.S. involvement in the conflict -- is far from over.

As TAC contributor Doug Bandow noted on August 29, the foreign policy establishment, a.k.a. "the Blob," is perpetually in favor of staying in Afghanistan, because, well, establishments are always perpetually in favor of doing everything that they're doing, perpetually. After all, who wants to admit a mistake? Especially when establishmentarians can snugly oversee the war from their armchairs in a Massachusetts Avenue think-tank? In the meantime, American losses continue to mount. On August 29, another G.I. was killed in Afghanistan; that would be Army Sergeant First Class Dustin B. Ard of Idaho Falls, Idaho. He leaves behind his pregnant wife Mary and daughter Reagan. Ard's death was the 15th this year, bringing the total of American military deaths in Afghanistan to nearly 2,400 .

Yet in spite of all this American sacrifice, the Taliban controls more territory than at any time since 2001. Indeed, the Taliban has proven its ability to strike anywhere, including inside Kabul; just on September 3, suicide bombers struck an international compound, killing at least 19. Tellingly, local Afghans now want the international residents out of their neighborhood, because they know the presence of foreigners is a magnet for Taliban killers -- whom nobody seems able to stop.

We can pause to observe that such popular fatalism dooms a regime. It makes people -- especially those with links to the West -- likely to flee. To be sure, there's no telling exactly when the Kabul government will crumble, as well as how, exactly, it will crumble.

After all, President Trump hasn't even signed off on Khalilzad's draft deal, and even if he does, he could always change his mind. The ability of the Blob to swallow presidents is not to be underestimated -- and Trump is a case in point. For decades, reaching back to his career as a businessman, Trump had been a skeptic of foreign military engagements, and he explicitly campaigned against "endless wars" in 2016.

Yet since then, the Blob has been extending pseudopods of keep-the-status-quo cajolery deep within his administration. Trump has thus been persuaded to keep the U.S. engaged, or, if one prefers, quagmired .

Remarkably, in August 2017, Trump even delivered a primetime speech on Afghanistan in which he pledged "victory." Even if Trump doesn't talk up victory anymore, nobody can say what exactly he will do. Does he want to get credit for extricating the U.S., finally, from an unpopular war?

Or does he not want to see a foreign capital fall on his watch? Whatever the case, it seems evident that the remaining sand is running out of the Afghan hourglass.

In the two years since that go-get-'em speech, Trump has expended zero rhetorical effort in support of the Afghan mission; instead he and his administration have shifted their focus to China. (And yes, there's also that fascination with Iran, although there again, because Trump is Trump, it's hard to know what will come of it. It could be anything from an armed conflict to a Kim Jong-un-ish summit.) In the meantime, the Democrats, too, have moved on. It wasn't that long ago that Barack Obama was referring to Afghanistan as the "good war," while surging American troops; Obama, too, was pseudopod-ed by the Blob. And while the 44th president soon enough realized that the new doctrine of counter-insurgency wasn't working any better than the old doctrine of counter-terrorism, he chose not to get cross-wise with the Blob -- and so American troops stayed. Yet today, nobody in the 2020 Democratic presidential field -- not even Obama alum Joe Biden -- has any enthusiasm for the Afghan mission. So whether it's a re-elected Trump or a newly elected Democrat in the White House in 2021, the U.S. is going to be looking for that fig-leafy "decent interval." It could come in the form of a bilateral agreement, or perhaps an international conference, complete with the promise of U.N. peacekeepers (although unless they're Pakistani or Chinese "peacekeepers," any foreign force will likely wilt in the face of the Taliban, which is nothing if not good at killing). Yes, it's intriguing to note that Afghanistan has trillions of dollars' worth of natural resources waiting to be mined. And so if a stable regime could ever be established in that war-crossed land, great wealth could spring forth. But that's a manifest destiny for someone else, not Uncle Sam. What we're going to get stateside when this misadventure finally comes to an end is a lot of new refugees -- and a lot of new restaurants.

James P. Pinkerton is an author and contributing editor at . He served as a White House policy aide to both Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush.


Peter913 a day ago

IMHO, we should have left Afghanistan years ago. I'll settle for yesterday. To hell with the Rare Earth and our warmongers running/ruining foreign affairs!
Late Jan 2021 21 hours ago
Too late. The "decent interval" ended well over fifteen years ago.

I'm actually surprised that Trump isn't getting us out of there. He's told a lot of lies and broken a lot of promises, but that's one that would have been easy to keep, and he didn't do it. No spine.

EliteCommInc. 10 hours ago
This all depends on one simple factor. The integrity of the Taliban verses the integrity of the communists in North Vietnam.

And trying to hedge a "we lost in Vietnam" slip and slide assail has no more veracity here than it had in 1975.

The Taliban are not an invading military force. The struggle as it is has been one of internal forces and players sharing the land and never having been but various communities that fought, lived and negotiated agreements all nearly all of the countries history, unlike Vietnam which has almost entire history had a North/South division.

We are going to have foreign restaurants regardless, but interventions just invite more of them.

Sid Finster 10 hours ago
Quit calling the Kabul regime a "client". It's a puppet. The minute US forces leave Afghanistan, the puppet government in Kabul will fall. Don't be surprised if it collapses before the last US transport has its landing gear all the way up. Notwithstanding 2., yes, it's over. Time to pack up and move on. However, Trump can't do that.

a. If Trump were to order a withdrawal from Afghanistan, his political opponents would pounce. Expect lots of cries of "Putin puppet", angry denunciations of "Who lost Afghanistan?" and heart-rending images depicting the fates of suffering girls. Not to mention the grisly fates those persons so foolish as to cooperate with the United States.

Let us not kid ourselves - some of these images will in fact be genuine.

Also, Sunni Islamicists will be emboldened. It took some 18 years, but in the end, they sent the Americans home packing.

No matter how you spin it, they won and we lost. Yes, the much hyped and much bloated United States military was unable to defeat some medieval farmers in flip flops, who cannot boast so much as a Piper Cub to their name, much less a drone or a cluster bomb.

If Trump had really wanted to leave Afghanistan, the time to do it was when he first entered office. Blame his predecessors and wash his hands of the situation while the political price was at its lowest. But Trump is weak, stupid and easily manipulated. He listened to the generals, and the price of leaving has only risen and will only keep rising.

b. They aren't much good for anything but staging, but Trump wants those Afghan outposts for the war on Iran that his Saudi owners and Israeli masters so crave.

Of course, eighteen odd years and countless dollars, only to be defeated by peasants without a single fighter jet or drone is not exactly great PR for the folks trying to convince us that they really can win this time, why, Iran will be a walk in the park!

Trump is an imbecile, of course, but he is doing about the only thing he can do in Afghanistan, which is, to try and maintain a semblance of control over major population centers and pretend we're not losing.

Patrick O'Connor 6 hours ago
All the Democrats should be on the bandwagon for withdrawal yesterday because Trump's October Surprise could be announcing peace in our time and getting the hell out. It is a promise he can actually keep. It is not like he is getting his wall.
stevek9 6 hours ago
'Does he want to get credit for extricating the U.S., finally, from an unpopular war? Or does he not want to see a foreign capital fall on his watch?'

Any politician with sense knows that the American public could not care less about the fall of Kabul (what's a kabul?). That's the American people. Campaign contributions from the MIC is a different matter.

Clyde Schechter 6 hours ago
Trump has become, himself, part of "the Blob." By hiring Pompeo and Bolton to head his foreign policy team he has abandoned any pretense of being an anti-war pro-restraint president. He's gone full neo-con and it's long past time conservatives stop pretending he hasn't.
Rossbach 4 hours ago
Who gets to decide how many "refugees" the US will get from Afghanistan? Some of us would gladly forgo all these wonderful new restaurants to protect our communities from yet another "refugee" surge.

[Sep 12, 2019] Where we are now in Afghanistan- Editorial Opinion by PL

This is all false. The goal was establish military bases in former soviet republics to encircle Russia and this goal was achieved. Putin was probably not so wise giving 100% support to Bush invasion, which was a typical false flag invasion.
Taliban was the creation of the USA to fight Soviets, like political Islam in general so any complains are just pure hypocity.
Notable quotes:
"... Afghanistan borders China. For that reason alone, we are never leaving whatever the cost in blood or treasure. The country is a very forward, strategic military base that can be used to launch air attacks on Chinese assets and impede China's Belt and Road initiative. ..."
"... Despite his bluster, Trump is very weak and knows the Taliban is winning and fears they will try to drive us out before the election, ushering in his defeat. Most of his time is spent cowering in his golf resorts, ranting and raving on a tiny little cellphone. ..."
"... The Blob will not allow any of his fears to shake the resolve of the Deep State to make Afghanistan a colony for a thousand years. ..."
"... American's negotiating position in every instances with rival nations is to dictate the terms for surrender regardless of the circumstances on the ground. It's an untenable position and guarantees perpetual war and occupation which is precisely the point. ..."
"... It seems to me that if one parsed reports from the Special Inspector General Afghanistan Reconstruction along with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime's "Afghanistan Opium Survey", any illusions as to what the reasons for the West's intervention in that country were, should dissipate rather speedily. ..."
"... we invaded Afghanistan so that we could steal the foreign aid money that we would give them and could sponsor the opium trade. ..."
"... Gramsci and his like stand vindicated. Capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly. ..."
"... And just a few, of those in the public eye, standing up true and declaring "This emperor has no clothes!" ..."
Sep 12, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

Where we are now in Afghanistan- Editorial Opinion by PL

(Lt. Hamilton VC at Kabul where he commanded Sir Louis Cavangnari's escort)

A year or so after the US intervention in Afghanistan began in 2001 I perceived that there was a danger that US public and government opinion might begin to favor the idea of "nation building" in Afghanistan. From long experience in and study of the area of Islamicate civilization and its history it seemed clear to me that such an effort would be doomed to failure at any price that one should be willing to pay in; expended effort over time, money and blood shed on all sides.

The basic problem with Afghanistan is that there "is no there there." Afghanistan is really a geographical expression rather than a country in the sense understood of the word in the post-Westphalian system of independent states.

Across the Islamicate world from Mauritania to BanglaDesh and beyond to Oceania there is a pronounced tendency to atomization in group perception of identity. Arabs do not identify with Berbers, etc., Tribes and clans within these groups regard all others as rivals and often enemies unless they are needed as temporary allies.

The Islamic religion which holds unity to be an ideal is often thought to be a unifier against the atomizing tendency in these cultures, but in fact there are many, many varieties of Islam, each one believing that it is uniquely favored by God. This often cancels out whatever unifying effect Islam, as religion, can have.

Afghanistan, created as a buffer between imperial Russia and British India, is an extreme case of atomization among the inhabitants of a state which has recognition in the world political system including membership in the UN. In spite of that status , a status that might deceive one into believing that there is such a thing as "the Afghan People,"the population of Afghanistan is actually made up of a number of different ethnic nations; Pushtuns, Hazzara, Tajiks, Uzbeks, Turcomans, Arabs, etc. These different peoples all speak mutually unintelligible languages which often have such extreme separation in dialect that this amounts to uninteligibility as well. Some of these groups are Sunni and others Shia. This is yet another factor in the separation of the segments of the population.

The country has little substantial physical infrastructure. What there is was largely constructed in the 50s and 60s as part of Cold War competition between the USSR and the US. There is very little legal or governmental infrastructure. A commercial company investing its own or borrowed money in Afghanistan is taking a great risk of never being able to recover its investment from the local "pirates." Government is generally predatory in its attitude toward foreign investment funds. I tried to find a safe haven in Afghanistan for some of my company's funds and could find none. Senior Afghan government people would typically respond to questions about legal infrastructure with exhortations to "bring your project, all will be well." Needless to say ...

US intervention in this place was inevitable after 9/11, but what was not necessary or wise were repeated US decisions for a COIN nation building campaign. As this tendency began to be evident I argued for a much more limited goal in which the US would keep about 20K troops in country to maintain a government controlled enclave around Kabul and Bagram. This would enable pursuit of located international terrorist groups through raiding operations from that base area. The basis for this strategy was my conclusion that the US could never "pacify" all of the territory of Afghanistan and that we would "break our teeth" trying.

I pressed this belief in various fora and with various individuals within the Obama Administration even as Obama endlessly contemplated the entreaties of the COINista generals, Petraeus, Mattis, McChrystal etc. for a country wide nation building COIN campaign. The most interesting of these encounters was at an IQ2 debate at NYU in 2009 where I (and teammates) argued that "The US can never win in Afghanistan." My side lost on points but the leader of the other team recently told me that he knows now that we were completely correct. Obama gave in to the generals, and gave them the COIN war that they wanted. I suppose that for "Barry" it was immensely flattering to have them "butter him up."

It is clear now that the COIN strategy has failed miserable and totally. Afghanistan is not one bit more united or modernized than it has ever been. The US has spent a sea of money there and many brave people have perished or been wrecked in chasing the idea of Afghanistan as a Central Asian Switzerland.

Trump has allowed Zalmai Khalilzad to attempt to achieve a negotiated peace with the Taliban, the former salafi takfiri, Pushtun rulers of Afghanistan, in the apparent belief that they could be "talked down out of the tree" just as his business competitors could always be talked down to meet at a "closing" table where his supposed "closing genius' would bring a DEAL.

Unfortunately this belief in his closing talent goes unrewarded in Palestine, Syria, Turkey,Yemen, Iran, China (not yet), North Korea and Afghanistan. IMO his difficulty in finding solutions lies in his entrapment within his own New York City business model, a model in which everything is for sale if the deal is structured skillfully to advantage the stronger party while all the while claiming that the party you are screwing is your friend.

Sadly for The Donald all those "stupid" foreigners do not understand that "everything is for sale." Among them, the Taliban, an army and religio-political movement are notable for a lack of belief in the commercial possibilities of selling out to Donald Trump for a "mess of pottage" or thirty pieces of silver whichever reference you prefer. They want to win, and they want to be seen to have driven the "crusaders" from Afghanistan and in the process to have humiliated the US as the leading infidel state. To that end they lie, prevaricate and await the day when they can crush the puny forces of "modernism" after the American departure. Zalmai Khalilzad is an Afghan pushtun Sunni by birth and rearing. Did he not know that they could not be trusted in dealings with the US? I do not blame the Taliban for being what they are. I blame all the American and NATO fools for believing that they could make the Taliban either go away or become "happy campers." They were never going to do either of those things. We should have known that. Some of us did, but Americans are addicted to all the melting pot, right side of history foolishness so common in "levelled" America,

What should the US do now that the scales have fallen from Trump's eyes and the time of "good faith" negotiation with the Taliban is "dead?" The first thing to do is to fire Khalilzad.

Last night, Col. (ret.) Douglas Macgregor told Tucker Carlson that the US should simply leave, and should have never intervened. IOW we should get the hell out totally and forever. This is a tempting thought. I have wrestled with the attractiveness of the idea but there are certain problems with it.

1. We should not want to give the jihadi movements proof of our feckless defeatability. IMO if we leave suddenly the Afghan government and armed forces will soon collapse. The country will then further disintegrate into a welter of jihadi factions and regional tribal strongmen, the strongest of which will be the Taliban.

2. We have encouraged modernist Afghan men, women and girls to emerge from the shadows. Shall we leave them to their fates under the rule of the jihadis.

3. What about all the translators, base workers and other people who have cast their lots with us. The Taliban and other jihadis will simply kill them as apostates. We abandoned a lot of such people in Iraq. Will we do it again?

On balance I would say Macgregor is right that we must leave. The time for a small remaining presence is past. The forces in the field are too strong for a small force to maintain itself even with massive long range air support. Think of Sir Louis Cavangnari. No, we should leave, but we should leave on a schedule that will enable us to control the timing of our going and to protect the departure of those who wish to leave with us. pl

BTW, SWMBO says that no mutually understood languages = no country.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre_Louis_Napoleon_Cavagnari

Posted at 06:00 PM in Afghanistan , Policy | Permalink


Keith Harbaugh , 10 September 2019 at 12:57 PM
"We should not want to give the jihadi movements proof of our feckless defeatability."

Gee, like admit to reality? My view: Acknowledge the U.S. is not omnipotent, and has very limited ability to influence, let alone, control, other parts of the world other than those to which it has extremely close ties, most especially the Five Eyes and other parts of what was once called Western Civilization.

Aono , 10 September 2019 at 01:11 PM
Col,

I just want to mention that about once a year I dig the IQ2 debate out and watch it again in full. Call it a sanity check I suppose. It is clear that you were trying to be substantive throughout, which was somewhat hampered by the amorphous premise of "success" undergirding the debate question. The other side (Nagle in particular) was trying to "win" the debate by defining success so broadly as to exclude questions over the "how," and they used that as an excuse to dodge your indictment of COIN. But it is very clear who had the right of it, and it is at least somewhat gratifying to hear that same admission was made to you.

Dave Schuler , 10 September 2019 at 02:03 PM
I suspect that we will retain our forces in Afghanistan for the foreseeable future. To understand why you've got to consider the politics rather than the pragmatics.

No president wants to be the one who "lost Afghanistan" (as though it were ours to lose) or, worse yet, be the president who removed forces from a country from which an attack on the U. S. would emanate afterwards or be staged from or planned from.

The greatest likelihood of our removing our forces from Afghanistan would be towards the end of a president's second term, especially if that president were a Democrat and could expect to take less heat from the media. In other words Obama should have removed our forces from Afghanistan and if he wouldn't Trump won't, especially not before being re-elected.

Barbara Ann said in reply to Dave Schuler ... , 10 September 2019 at 05:54 PM
These kind of wars seem to take 3 presidents to end. Trump is this war's Nixon and was elected on a platform which included 'losing' Afghanistan. The media will howl once the Taliban take over, but it will swiftly pass as they realize Americans have no interest in a place where their countrymen are no longer dying.
blue peacock , 10 September 2019 at 02:45 PM
Col. Lang

No matter what the US government does or does not do, wouldn't Afghanistan revert to its natural state as you have described it?

It seems Trump's "negotiated" deal with the Taliban would have been a good approach to getting out but that's now no longer a possibility. Would supporting the Tajiks through Russia and India as a counter-balance to the Taliban work to keep them from completely dominating? Russia and India likely have an interest in preventing jihadis from using Taliban dominated territory to infiltrate. Is it even worth any effort on the part of the US government? It would seem Pakistan and China would continue working to influence events there.

Grazhdanochka , 10 September 2019 at 03:08 PM
My longstanding belief is that Afghanistan to be 'tamed' requires the type of Steel that only existed long ago.

The Modern World has modernized beyond the brutal realities that taming it likely requires, and as such may lose a fraction of the Lives and Treasure as past - but cannot sustain it politically or socially.

The next Question - If Afghanistan is simply a construct, why not forsake most of it and develop the regions of Afghanistan that ARE more amiable and Homogenous?

A lot of the Tadzhiks and Uzbeks (varied Turkmen) I suspect could be far more easily propped up and supported in their own Lands, which back to back with the Central Asian FSU States is a more viable 'Nation Building' Exercise.

What ultimately tamed the 'Wilds'? The Development of strong local States, Force of Arms and ultimately - Demographics. If you will not do it yourself, pick a unified Team and back them in doing it. Ironically the means to inflict harm on occupying Militaries seems to go down as those Armies means to stomach it does also.

The next obvious Question. Is it worth considering (not necessarily for the US and Western States - who will appear as desperate Losers the idea that Afghanistan if allowed to run as strong Armed Islamic State, albeit modernized - might actually one day develop into one more approachable to further modernization?

All just quick Thoughts for me.

The Twisted Genius , 10 September 2019 at 03:28 PM
I agree we should unilaterally withdraw all our forces from Afghanistan. The military can surely plan and carry out a unilateral withdrawal. Just do it. The Taliban are not al Qaeda or the Islamic State. Their desires don't extend beyond the mountains of Afghanistan. Hell, they're fighting IS. Let them do so and don't give them reason to go over to them.

The rub will be all those Afghanis who tied their futures to us. We should resettle them here or somewhere more familiar to them as part of that withdrawal. The chance of that happening under the Trump administration is nil.

CK said in reply to The Twisted Genius ... , 11 September 2019 at 06:57 AM
That is the exact same argument I heard in 72 and again in 75. By early 76 no one cared. There are in every country and in every involvement Quislings and main chancers who find the short term gelt available to be worth the future risk of making the wrong and visible choice. In the case of most of these Afghanis the tie was a slip knot at best.
Ray R , 10 September 2019 at 03:45 PM
A "long, long, time ago" in "a land far away", Najibullah was deposed. Pat, you'll recall that I was then serving as the chair of the Inter-agency Task Force on Afghanistan. Well, we had our regular meeting at which a couple of the folks opined that this was a wonderful development for the country and the folks would now all join hands, dance around the campfire, and sign Kumbaya. To bring the group back to reality, I asked for someone to identify the national sport of Afghanistan. One of the group said that, obviously, it was buzkhasi. So I then asked for someone else to clarify how such a game unfolds and another stalwart did so. This dialogue quickly brought everyone back to reality. For those unfamiliar with the sport, buzkhasi consists of two nominal "teams" on horseback trying to get a headless goat carcass across the opponent's goal line. All goes well at first, but ultimately the teams disintegrate until it's every man for himself in mass mayhem. Thus, IMHO will go Afghanistan.
A. Pols , 10 September 2019 at 04:23 PM
Sadly enough this old quote seems especially true in the case of the "Afghan War" or whatever it is. Our experts' obdurate insistence on pursuing "peace with honor" or some outcome we can get our heads around and feel good about has become a receding horizon...

The only way we could "win" would be by waging a war of extermination with the goal of totally depopulating the entire territory and building an impenetrable barrier around it. But of course that would be a hard sell for a country with a good guy reputation to protect. And then what would we do with the land? After all, we still haven't been able to settle most of Nevada and Wyoming!


"History is an account, mostly false, of events, mostly unimportant, which are brought about by rulers, mostly knaves, and soldiers, mostly fools."

Ambrose Bierce

walrus , 10 September 2019 at 05:19 PM
I said at the beginning of this mess that the one sure thing was that we would end up with chains of Iraqi and afghan restaurants begun by the refugees who had to leave their countries with us when we left. I just hope we have progressed from leaving behind card indexes of our in-country supporters for the Taliban to discover, as allegedly happened in Vietnam.
Barbara Ann , 10 September 2019 at 06:00 PM
I enjoyed the IQ2 debate you reference, particularly your coining of the word "Vermontize". Incredible to think this conversation about an 8 year old war was 10 years ago - and we are still having it. Here is the link for anyone interested:

https://www.intelligencesquaredus.org/debates/america-cannot-and-will-not-succeed-afghanistanpakistan

Valissa , 10 September 2019 at 09:05 PM
I really enjoy these type of situational overview and analysis posts, thanks!

Although I see your point about Trump's crass business approach, let's face it... the military and various US gov't orgs have had any many years to try various approaches to "solving" (cough, cough) Afghanistan. After all the US has been in Afghanistan since 2001. We had been in Afghanistan for 15 years before Trump was elected. After all those years of failure by the Borg I have no problem whatsoever with Trump taking a shot at the situation in his own way. Trump tried a certain tactic and it didn't work. Oh well, but lessons learned. He'll regroup, get more advice and try something else. He's making more of an effort to resolve things than previous presidents, and willing to think outside of the Borg box.

evodevo said in reply to Valissa... , 11 September 2019 at 10:00 AM
No, all Trump was doing was looking for a re-election publicity stunt and a shot at that elusive Nobel like Obama got....he's done this kind of thing for the last 40 years - he isn't going to change his personality now...
BraveNewWorld , 10 September 2019 at 09:07 PM
If the US leaves and I believe it should it doesn't have to mean the end of days. China, Russia, Iran, India and Pakistan have all expressed interest in clearing the area of terrorists. They have all been blocked by the US presence. Preferably the US would work a deal with those players who are far better connected and prepared to clean up the neighbourhood than the US is from the other side of the world. Russia was willing to act as guarantor for the collapsed deal. Work a deal for one or more of them to move in as the US moves out.

My concern is that with all the big players wanting a piece of the pie that it evolves into an even worse proxy war. But China, Pakistan, Russia and Iran are all rowing in more or less the same direction these days and India has bitten off all it can chew in Kashmir so this may be the perfect time. Americans just have to get over that indispensable nation nonsense.

Ya, I know go fuck myself.

Diana C said in reply to turcopolier ... , 11 September 2019 at 10:19 AM
Thank you for thinking of the women and girls....and perhaps their little boys.

I've lived through the abandonment of Vietnam and the influx of refugees from that part of the world, the mess after the Iraq War that included bringing to our country many who had tied their fortunes to us. We can not this time decide to abandon any who have tied their hopes to us after we came in and caused so much turmoil in their country.

I always thought it was hubris on our part to think we could do what the Soviets failed to do.

If we bring these people here, my hope is that we examine how our bringing in Somalis has, in many places, not been a successful effort in regard to integrating them into our society. (Do not many of us, including Nancy Pelosi, regret the bringing in of at least one Somali woman?) We need to prepare for their entry into our country in some way that will not mean just dropping them somewhere and letting them fend for themselves.

I know the government has some sort of protocol for finding them places to live. Often, however, the people seem to be dropped in and left in some ways to depend on themselves "as strangers in a strange land." This should be our last time. Stop the "nation-building" efforts.

I feel that most Americans are welcoming and friendly people, but they often just do not understand how difficult it is for some to adapt to a very different way of life.

RenoDino , 11 September 2019 at 09:33 AM
Afghanistan borders China. For that reason alone, we are never leaving whatever the cost in blood or treasure. The country is a very forward, strategic military base that can be used to launch air attacks on Chinese assets and impede China's Belt and Road initiative.

Despite his bluster, Trump is very weak and knows the Taliban is winning and fears they will try to drive us out before the election, ushering in his defeat. Most of his time is spent cowering in his golf resorts, ranting and raving on a tiny little cellphone.

The Blob will not allow any of his fears to shake the resolve of the Deep State to make Afghanistan a colony for a thousand years.

They have been successful in implanting in the psyche of every American the incorrect notion that the Taliban launched 9/11. That notion alone means there is no support for any truce or treaty with our bete noir.

Morongobill , 11 September 2019 at 09:35 AM
These lines from Rudyard Kipling immediately came to my mind:

"When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
Go, go, go like a soldier,
So-oldier of the Queen!"

We are never going to change Afghanistan so getting out and taking those who supported us is appealing to me.

turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 10:01 AM
RenoDino

It is not a base. It is a sinkhole.

confusedponderer -> turcopolier ... , 11 September 2019 at 11:49 AM
Mr. Lang,
" It is not a base. It is a sinkhole. "

Maybe that's why Mr. Prince wanted Trump to make him the viceroy of Afghanistan.

What a career that would be - a former SEAL lieutenant, then mercenary, promoted to something like a field marshal, bringing fabulous quarter numbers, strategy or something like that, peace and freedom to the place by privatizing the war and fighting it more cost effective for himself .

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2018-08-19/trump-mulling-blackwater-founder-erik-princes-plan-privatize-war-afghanistan

RenoDino said in reply to confusedponderer... , 11 September 2019 at 05:10 PM
It is not a base. It is a sinkhole--A distinction without a difference.

Confusedponderer

Your reference to Mr. Prince was spot on. He understood what the long-term plans for Afghanistan were and still are. A viceroy is the designated ruling representative of a colonial power.

American's negotiating position in every instances with rival nations is to dictate the terms for surrender regardless of the circumstances on the ground. It's an untenable position and guarantees perpetual war and occupation which is precisely the point.

HK Leo Strauss -> confusedponderer... , 11 September 2019 at 10:01 PM
This has been Trump's true failing - not applying his vast business acumen to turn DoD into a profit center.
guidoamm , 11 September 2019 at 11:12 AM
It seems to me that if one parsed reports from the Special Inspector General Afghanistan Reconstruction along with the United Nations Office on Drug and Crime's "Afghanistan Opium Survey", any illusions as to what the reasons for the West's intervention in that country were, should dissipate rather speedily.

History repeats.

turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 11:51 AM
guidoamm

so, your belief is that we invaded Afghanistan so that we could steal the foreign aid money that we would give them and could sponsor the opium trade. Funny! A joke right?

turcopolier , 11 September 2019 at 02:22 PM
ISL

IMO Trump has no clarity of anyhthing in foreign policy. He is just trying to make a deal in accordance with his experience of deal making and is not doing well. It will be interesting to see if he and Trudeau can sell the USMCA to Pelosi. this is clearly a gooddeal. Let's see how hard he pushes for it. With regard to the ME, have reached the conclusion that his basic attitudes are formed in the culture of New York City Jewry. A Christian Brother who had two PH.D.s in STEM and was a New York City guy once told me that I had to understand that everyone in NY City is to some extent Jewish, even the cardinal archbishop.

JM Gavin , 11 September 2019 at 08:45 PM
I spent several years in Afghanistan between 2002 and 2014. I was there, with a front row seat, when the shift to nation-building began. The best days of my life were in Afghanistan, spent amongst the finest men and women from many nations...including Afghanistan. We lost the war a long time ago. By 2006, I could see we were losing. By 2008, I knew it was lost. How many Afghans have hitched their horses to our wagon? More than enough. How many others chose to live as free men and women because we were there? A significant part of the population. They face a reckoning for living that hope out loud, in public.

The Afghan people are amazing, and a lot of them believed in us, and in a future where women could be more than a piece of property. I can see why some would say we should walk away, and, it's hard to argue against that.

I'll carry what we did in Afghanistan to my grave. DOL,

JMG

Jim Ticehurst , 11 September 2019 at 11:18 PM
Colonel ...I agree with your Opinion on this matter of Withdrawal. I have read a Year by Year timeline of The Millions spent. for the Training Of Afghanistan Military and Security Forces and Like in Viet Nam..they will fail. Fail to defend themselves..

Their hearts wont be in it..and like Vietnam..It Just made The Communist North Vietnamese the Third Most Powerful Conventional Weapons stockpile in the World..with all the Equipment we Left behind...The..billions spent to keep our military presence there..

The millions Spent for VA Resources to care for our wounded. Many with traumatic head injuries...The loss of Our People there..Overt and Covert...The loss of Seal Team 6 in the Aftermath of Finally Getting Osama Bin Laden...It will Never End...

There will always be those willing to die for JiHad..Forever..Over a Trillion Dollars..Plus all The Money we sent to Pakistan. Which has been Most of Our Foreign Aid..Its been a Tragic Blunder and there has never been such a thing as "Mission Accomplished"..

This has been the second most Costly War since WWII. ..Bring Them Home.. ...

9/11/2001,,,,9/11/2019.A War of the Politicians..By The Politicians For The Politicians.and the Military..Industrial Complex....and Their Egos..and Bank accounts..Period...Thomas Jefferson Knew This was coming.

Jack , 11 September 2019 at 11:31 PM
Sir

I know nothing about Doug Macgregor but he sounds really sane in this interview with Tucker. If Trump does what he suggests it would be a welcome approach and drive the Borg insane.

Do you know him or have an opinion about him?

https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/status/1171583543832715264?s=21

turcopolier , 12 September 2019 at 07:55 AM
jack

Yes, I know Doug. A fine soldier. AIPAC would rather see me have the job than Doug

Bill Hatch , 12 September 2019 at 08:10 AM
I agreed with sending SOF in to kill AQ being harbored by the Taliban. I said at the time, "Go in, kill the people who need killing & get the hell out."

There is only one thing that can unify Afgan tribes, that's the presence of foreigners. A very long history has resulted in the reference to "the graveyard of empires." I don't believe that the Taliban is a threat to the US outside of Afghanistan. They are a threat to any American in Afghanistan. Nation building in Afghanistan is domed to failure. The only issue is what is to be the fate of the Afghani's who assisted us or bought into the idea of westernization. Our recent history is to abandon these people.

Eventually we will join the list of Afghan invaders from Cyrus, to Alexander, to the Brits. The only question is how we depart & how much more blood & treasure we spend.

JM Gavin said in reply to Bill Hatch... , 12 September 2019 at 09:02 AM
In my experience, nothing can unify Afghan tribes, or even the sub-tribes. There is a saying amongst the Pashtun: "Me against my brothers, my brothers and I against my cousins, my cousins and I against the world." The real Taliban (meaning the political entity, exiled to the east, also known as "The Quetta Shura," have never been able to get "Taliban" factions in Afghanistan to unite against anything. COL Lang is spot-on, there is no collective "Afghan" identity.

Afghanistan is still run by warlords. The vast majority of folks referred to as "Taliban" are really just warlords (and the warlords' minions) wrapping themselves in the Taliban flag, as it suits them now. If the Taliban were to come back to controlling power in Afghanistan, many of the warlords would switch to fighting the Taliban. True territorial gains in Afghanistan are generally made when warlords switch sides. Afghan warlords are the most loyal people money can buy...well, rent, anyway.

DOL,

JMG

English Outsider , 12 September 2019 at 04:06 PM
The IQ2 debate was significant for me personally when I first saw it. The arguments for staying in Afghanistan were set out coherently and for perhaps the first time I caught a glimpse of the immense intellectual effort, in the think tanks and the academies, that goes into justifying the neocon position. That neocon position working through almost by osmosis to the heavyweight newspapers and media outlets, and providing the narrative framework within which the Intelligence Initiatives of this world right down to the little propaganda sites work. Such varied figures as Charles Lister or Peter Tatchell have backup, and how.

It's an intellectual fortress, the whole, and for many of us in the general public it confirms us comfortably in the neocon rationale. It gives us the arguments, and the excuses, and as long as one declines to notice that those arguments and excuses do shift around, we pay our taxes for this or that crazy neocon venture without complaint and often gladly. Gramsci and his like stand vindicated. Capture the academies and the rest of us follow, often willingly.

And just a few, of those in the public eye, standing up true and declaring "This emperor has no clothes!"

Which happened, as I saw several years later when I got to view it, in that IQ2 debate. Around that time I came across Major Stueber's documentary which had rather more than seven minutes to lay out how hopeless it was for Western armies to fight alongside local forces, when those local forces were so hopelessly factional, corrupt, and therefore ineffectual.

And a footnote just recently. I head a Swedish aid worker relating just how impossible it was for him too to function in Afghanistan. Money put through to local groups swallowed up in false invoicing, ghost workers whose salaries went to swell the pay packet of their superiors, slush funds because that was the only way to get things done.

It was never a doable venture, Afghanistan. That was clear to a few in that debate ten years ago and it's clear to more now. I hope it's possible to get out without leaving the urban Westernised Afghans too much at the mercy of the rest.

And perhaps, also reflecting that the Rovean narratives that the academies and think tanks conjure up for us, at such expense and at such effort, all crumble eventually when reality, as it must finally, breaks through.

[Sep 10, 2019] Afghanistan - Graveyard of Dreams - Originally published 28 Jan 2018

Sep 09, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

(In light of yesterday's bombing in Kabul ...)

We have been in Afghanistan for how long? 16 years? It is our longest war. How much progress have we actually made?

1. The government that we have tried so long to nurture controls a shrinking percentage of both territory and population.

2. How much money have we poured into the pockets of crooks of all nationalities? In spite of that the country is severely lacking in physical, social, legal, and business infrastructure.

3. The country's armed forces have been expanded under NATO tutelage to such a size that the small GDP will never be able to pay for them on its own. In spite of that they are unable even to defend their own installations.

4. The country is still racked by tribal, ethnic and jihadi wars. It has always been thus with the exception of a golden age when the last Afghan king ruled in the 50s and 60s. How did he do that? He did it by careful inter-ethnic diplomacy and a minimum effort to "unify" his realm.

5. Attacks on NATO personnel by Afghan soldiers and police continue.

6. The capital, Kabul, is not secured and is regularly attacked.

7. The much vaunted COIN doctrine has failed there as it has failed in so many places in the world.

In spite of this the generals and the COIN nuts persist in trying to reverse Obama's policy of withdrawal from the "country" (a geographical expression really). President Trump, who knows nothing of things military or geo-political is about to begin the process of re-introducing US combat and training forces into this blank space on the map, a space filled with hostile tribesmen and religious fanatics. This blank space was given the dubious status of a state in the international system of states because the Russians and the British wanted to establish a buffer entity between the Tsar's empire and the Raj.

President Trump should be told that there is nothing there of real importance to the US, nothing worth more vast quantities of our money and more rivers of our blood. Let the Afghans, Chinese, Pakistanis, Iranians and Russians deal with the chaos. pl

[Sep 07, 2019] US Army Major (Ret.) We Are Living In The Wreckage Of The War On Terror by Danny Sjursen

Notable quotes:
"... The man was remarkable at one specific thing: pleasing his bosses and single-minded self-promotion. Sure he lacked anything resembling empathy, saw his troops as little more than tools for personal advancement, and his overall personality disturbingly matched the clinical definition of sociopathy. Details, details ..."
Sep 06, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by US Army Major (ret.) Danny Sjursen via AntiWar.com,

It has taken me years to tell these stories. The emotional and moral wounds of the Afghan War have just felt too recent, too raw. After all, I could hardly write a thing down about my Iraq War experience for nearly ten years, when, by accident, I churned out a book on the subject. Now, as the American war in Afghanistan – hopefully – winds to something approaching a close, it's finally time to impart some tales of the madness. In this new, recurring, semi-regular series, the reader won't find many worn out sagas of heroism, brotherhood, and love of country. Not that this author doesn't have such stories, of course. But one can find those sorts of tales in countless books and numerous trite, platitudinal Hollywood yarns.

With that in mind, I propose to tell a number of very different sorts of stories – profiles, so to speak, in absurdity. That's what war is, at root, an exercise in absurdity, and America's hopeless post-9/11 wars are stranger than most. My own 18-year long quest to find some meaning in all the combat, to protect my troops from danger, push back against the madness, and dissent from within the army proved Kafkaesque in the extreme. Consider what follows just a survey of that hopeless journey...

The man was remarkable at one specific thing: pleasing his bosses and single-minded self-promotion. Sure he lacked anything resembling empathy, saw his troops as little more than tools for personal advancement, and his overall personality disturbingly matched the clinical definition of sociopathy. Details, details

Still, you (almost) had to admire his drive, devotion, and dedication to the cause of promotion, of rising through the military ranks. Had he managed to channel that astonishing energy, obsession even, to the pursuit of some good, the world might markedly have improved. Which is, actually, a dirty little secret about the military, especially ground combat units; that it tends to attract (and mold) a disturbing number of proud owners of such personality disorders. The army then positively reinforces such toxic behavior by promoting these sorts of individuals – who excel at mind-melding (brown-nosing, that is) with superiors – at disproportionate rates. Such is life. Only there are real consequences, real soldiers, (to say nothing of local civilians) who suffer under their commanders' tyranny.

Back in 2011-12, the man served as my commander, a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army. As such, he led – and partly controlled the destinies of – some 500 odd soldiers .

Then a lowly captain, I commanded about one-fifth of those men and answered directly to the colonel. I didn't much like the guy; hardly any of his officers did. And he didn't trust my aspirational intellectualism, proclivity to ask "why," or, well, me in general. Still, he mostly found this author an effective middle manager. As such, I was a means to an end for him – that being self-advancement and some positive measurable statistics for his annual officer evaluation report (OER) from his own boss. Nonetheless, it was the army and you sure don't choose your bosses.

So it was, early in my yearlong tour in the scrublands of rural Kandahar province, that the colonel treated me to one his dog-and-pony-show visits. Only this time he had some unhappy news for me. The next day he, and the baker's dozen tag-alongs in his ubiquitous entourage, wanted to walk the few treacherous miles to the most dangerous strongpoint in the entire sub-district. It was occupied, needlessly, by one of my platoons in perpetuity and suffered under constant siege by the local Taliban, too small to contest the area and too big to fly under the radar, this – at one point the most attacked outpost in Afghanistan – base just provided an American flag-toting target. I'd communicated as much to command early on, but to no avail. Can-do US colonels with aspirations for general officer rank hardly ever give up territory to the enemy – even if that's the strategically sound course.

Walking to the platoon strongpoint was dicey on even the best of days. The route between our main outpost and the Alamo-like strongpoint was flooded with Taliban insurgents and provided precious little cover or concealment for out patrols. On my first jaunt to the outpost, I (foolishly, it must be said) walked my unit into an ambush and was thrown over a small rock wall by the blast of a rocket-propelled grenade (RPG) with my apparent name on it. Since then, it was standard for our patrols to the strongpoint to suffer multiple ambushes during the roundtrip rotation. Sometimes our kids got wounded or killed; sometimes they were lucky. Mercifully, at least, my intelligence section – led by my friend and rebranded artillery lieutenant – did their homework and figured out that the chronically lazy local Taliban didn't like to fight at night or wake up early, so patrols to the strongpoint that stepped off before dawn had a fighting chance of avoiding the worst of ambush alley.

I hadn't wanted to take my colonel on a patrol to the outpost. His entourage was needlessly large and, when added to my rotational platoon, presented an unwieldy and inviting target for Taliban ambush. Still I knew better than to argue the point with my disturbingly confident and single-minded colonel. So I hedged. Yes, sir, we can take you along, with one caveat: we have to leave before dawn! I proceeded to explain why, replete with historical stats and examples, we could only (somewhat) safely avoid ambush if we did so.

That's when things went south. The colonel insisted we leave at nine, maybe even ten, in the morning, the absolute peak window for Taliban attack. This prima donna reminded me that he couldn't possibly leave any earlier. He had a "battle rhythm," after all, which included working out in the gym at his large, safe, distant-from-the-roar-of-battle base each morning. How could I expect him to alter that predictable schedule over something as minor as protecting the lives and limbs of his own troopers? He had "to set an example," he reminded me, by letting his soldiers on the base "see him in the gym" each and every morning. Back then, silly me, I was actually surprised by the colonel's absurd refusal; so much so that I pushed back, balked, tried to rationally press my point. To no avail.

What the man said next has haunted me ever since. We would leave no earlier than nine AM, according to his preference. My emotional pleas – begging really – was not only for naught but insulted the colonel. Why? Because, as he imparted to me, for my own growth and development he thought, "Remember: lower caters to higher, Danny!" That, he reminded me, was the way of the military world, the key to success and advancement. The man even thought he was being helpful, advising me on how to achieve the success he'd achieved. My heart sank forever, and never recovered.

The next day he was late. We didn't step off until nearly ten AM. The ambush, a massive mix of RPG and machine gun fire, kicked off – as predicted – within sight of the main base. The rest was history, and certainly could've been worse. On other, less lucky, days it was. But I remember this one profound moment. When the first rocket exploded above us, both the colonel and I dove for limited cover behind a mound of rocks. I was terrified and exasperated. Just then we locked eyes and I gazed into his proverbial soul. The man was incapable of fear. He wasn't scared, or disturbed; he didn't care a bit about what was happening. That revelation was more terrifying than the ongoing ambush and would alter my view of the world irreparably.

Which brings us to some of the discomfiting morals – if such things exist – of this story.

American soldiers fight and die at the whims of career-obsessed officers as much they do so at the behest of king and country. Sometimes its their own leaders – as much as the ostensible "enemy" – that tries to get them killed. The plentiful sociopaths running these wars at the upper and even middle-management levels are often far less concerned with long-term, meaningful "victory" in places like Afghanistan, than in crafting – on the backs of their soldiers sacrifices – the illusion of progress, just enough measurable "success" in their one year tour to warrant a stellar evaluation and, thus, the next promotion. Not all leaders are like this. I, for one, once worked for a man for whom I – and all my peers – would run through walls for, a (then) colonel that loved his hundreds of soldiers like they were his own children. But he was the exception that proved the rule.

The madness, irrationality, and absurdity of my colonel was nothing less than a microcosm of America's entire hopeless adventure in Afghanistan. The war was never rational, winnable, or meaningful. It was from the first, and will end as, an exercise in futility. It was, and is, one grand patrol to my own unnecessary outpost, undertaken at the wrong time and place. It was a collection of sociopaths and imbeciles – both Afghan and American – tilting at windmills and ultimately dying for nothing at all. Yet the young men in the proverbial trenches never flinched, never refused. They did their absurd duty because they were acculturated to the military system, and because they were embarrassed not to.

After all, lower caters to higher


malek , 36 seconds ago link

Sounds like the retired Major never watched "Cross of Iron" directed by Sam Peckinpah

I am Groot , 1 minute ago link

The Major totally failed to mention the Patriot Act and the removal of US Constitutional rights from Americans based on a false flag attack that cold bloodily murdered 3,000 people and cost the taxpayers over 10 trillion dollars.

Pvt Joker , 15 minutes ago link

Sounds just Vietnam.

hoffstetter , 8 minutes ago link

Just to put it in perspective, the US has been in Afghanistan for 18 years and has lost less than 3000 troops and just over 20000 wounded. The US was in Vietnam 20 years and loss nearly 60000 troops and 150000 wounded. This not to diminish the misery of those that served in either war, but not really comparable in scope.

MalteseFalcon , 7 minutes ago link

We accomplished the same in both cases.

ScreaminLib , 18 minutes ago link

You did what you had to do, Major. You were a good shabbos goy for world financial oligarchy but now they don't need you any more so go shoot heroin up your veins or jump off a ******* building, but you dare not even so much as ask for a "thank you" from the financial oligarchy!

[Aug 29, 2019] The US had 8,500 troops in Afghanistan in June 2019

Aug 29, 2019 | off-guardian.org

Antonym

The poorest country in Asia – Afghanistan – has totally collapsed under NATO occupation.

Complete BS! It is the continued Pakistani ISI influence in Afghanistan presently though their Haqqani Taliban network plus ISIS that is terrorizing Afghanistan, including intentional bombings of wedding parties
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nadahan_wedding_bombing & https://www.apnews.com
/b5ceb0cfb33d4d73aaaadf5eee19fe9d

The Pakistani army wants Afghanistan as "strategic depth" in case of a conflict with India.

Tony
Ah! So the US-led invasion, with it's endless stream of weak US-approved 'governments', has had nothing to do with Afghanistan's continued instability then. Got it!!!
Antonym
The US had 8,500 troops in Afghanistan in June 2019, peanuts compared to the Taliban (60,000) or the Pakistani Army (650,000) next door. https://www.nato.int/nato_static_fl2014/assets/pdf/pdf_2019_06/20190625_2019-06-RSM-Placemat.pdf

Pakistan is the only overland supply route available for the US military; roads via Iran and Russia are politically out. All their fuel, ammo and food towards Afghanistan is under Pakistani ISI control from 1978 till now, with the interruption of 2009 – 2015 . https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/NATO_logistics_in_the_Afghan_War#History

mark
Afghanistan has been the victim and playground for Neocon intrigue for years.
A liberal, progressive left wing regime that furthered women's rights and social provision was destroyed by Uncle Sam in its own interests to weaken Russia.
Bin Laden and his splendid chaps were put on the CIA payroll for the purpose.
The result was a long running bloodbath with 28,000 Russian and 1,4 million Afghan dead.
Followed by years of civil war, US invasion and the imposition of a narco warlord puppet government on the country.
Tony
Hasn't Afghanistan gone from having hardly any opium production prior to the US-led invasion, to currently being the source of something like 99% of the world's source for heroin?
mark
The Cocaine Import Agency runs the coke trade out of South America.
Might as well run the heroin trade out of Afghanistan as well.
Martin Usher
Have you considered that the Pakistan of 1980 may not be the same country with the same players as the Pakistan of 2019? Also, when you get a weak/chaotic government then its quite likely that different factions or forces within a country may pursue widely different goals?

[Aug 23, 2019] the CIA army and it's threat to human rights and an obstacle to peace in Afghanistan

Afghan version of death squads...
Notable quotes:
"... Throughout, the militias reportedly have committed serious human rights abuses, including numerous extrajudicial killings of civilians. CIA sponsorship ensures that their operations are clouded in secrecy. There is virtually no public oversight of their activities or accountability for grave human rights abuses. " ..."
Aug 23, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

aye, myself & me , Aug 22 2019 23:05 utc | 48

Been reading an interesting report from Brown University's Watson Institute about "the CIA army and [it's] threat to human rights and an obstacle to peace in Afghanistan."
"Afghan paramilitary forces working with the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) have long been a staple in the US war on terrorism in Afghanistan and the border region with Pakistan. The problems associated with these militias take on new significance given the recent momentum in talks between the US government and the Taliban about the withdrawal of US forces from Afghanistan. Whose interests do the militias represent? How can they be integrated into a peace agreement – if at all? Will their use value for the US in future counterterrorist operations outweigh the case for closing them down in the service of human rights and a sustainable peace?

The militias are at least nominally controlled by their CIA paymaster, but to what extent will the operations of the CIA be monitored and streamlined with overall US policy towards Afghanistan?

The CIA-supported militias are a particularly troublesome version of the regionally based militias in Afghanistan that have developed over the years around local strongmen with external support. The present units originate in the 2001 invasion, when US military forces and the CIA organized Afghan militias to fight Islamist militants. Almost two decades later, the CIA is still running local militias in operations against the Taliban and other Islamist militants.

Throughout, the militias reportedly have committed serious human rights abuses, including numerous extrajudicial killings of civilians. CIA sponsorship ensures that their operations are clouded in secrecy. There is virtually no public oversight of their activities or accountability for grave human rights abuses. "

[My emphasis]

Appears making peace with Afghanistan will be as elusive as any of the other American regime's various 'wars' and invasions.


O , Aug 23 2019 0:12 utc | 55

@aye, myself & me | Aug 22 2019 23:05 utc | 54

"Afghanistan seems doomed to suffer from factionalism long after all NATO/CIA forces are removed as the longstanding goal for the Outlaw US Empire is to deter Eurasian unity, which is why Afghanistan was invaded in the first place." Posted by: karlof1 | Aug 22 2019 23:32 utc | 58

I would say it is more about the drugs and minerals.

During the 1980s, the CIA's secret war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan helped transform the Afghani-Pakistani borderlands into a launchpad for the global heroin trade. "In the tribal area," the US state department reported in 1986, "there is no police force. There are no courts. There is no taxation. No weapon is illegal Hashish and opium are often on display."

By then, the process of guerrilla mobilisation to fight the Soviet occupation was long under way. Instead of forming its own coalition of resistance leaders, the CIA had relied on Pakistan's powerful Inter-Services Intelligence agency (ISI) and its Afghan clients, who soon became key players in the burgeoning cross-border opium traffic. https://www.theguardian.com/news/2018/jan/09/how-the-heroin-trade-explains-the-us-uk-failure-in-afghanistan

Months before 9/11 The Taliban was eradicating the poppy fields and the empire was not going to let that continue to happen. In 2001: Taliban's Ban On Poppy A Success, U.S. Aides Say https://www.nytimes.com/2001/05/20/world/taliban-s-ban-on-poppy-a-success-us-aides-say.html

Ahmed Wali Karzai was a drug trafficker on the CIA payroll who happens to be the half brother of Hamid Karzai the US puppet to lead Afghanistan

The fact that Afghanistan sits on lucrative natural resources was recognized indirectly back in 2010 when the Afghan ministry of mines rolled out a $1b (!) estimate of what the country might have, and The New York Times quoted a source in the US Administration as saying that Afghanistan's list of reserves included copper, gold, cobalt, and even lithium on which the present-day industry is heavily dependent. A Pentagon memo actually described Afghanistan's potential lithium holdings as big enough to make it the "Saudi Arabia of lithium". Somehow, the news flew below the radars of most watchers worldwide.

https://www.globalresearch.ca/the-pentagon-s-map-of-afghanistan-an-eldorado-of-mineral-wealth-and-natural-resources/32265

Uncle Jon , Aug 23 2019 0:34 utc | 58
@Karlof1 58

Afghanistan war was more about TAPI pipeline and securing a friendly government to sign the contracts and then protect UNOCAL´s investment throughout. Also,ENRON at the time had their eyes on this and had bet the farm on it before they folded, among other reasons. That´s why as soon as the Taliban fell out of favor for one reason or another, Hamid Kharzai and Zalmay Khalilzad, UNOCAL agents were placed in charge of the country.

It didn't come to be of course, since the Taliban had other ideas. This was also ensured with a little help from friends in Russia and China. The article below is from 2002 but sheds a lot of light on the actual events of the day.

https://www.counterpunch.org/2002/01/10/bush-enron-unocal-and-the-taliban/

Now the focus has shifted to stopping BRI. But US empire will never lose sight of their original investment, nor the reserves in Caspian.

I agree to a degree that US will continue with their divide and conquer policies long after they pull out. However, if the Taliban who will eventually rule the country can be shown a different way of life by China and Russia which would lead to new roads, hospitals, schools and normal farming as oppose to death an destruction, opium and Tribalism, we might actually see a major change in Afghanistan.

Too optimistic? Perhaps, but the air is ripe.

TAPI might eventually be built, but not for UNOCAL. Have no doubt the Chinese will offer a much sweeter deal all around.

O , Aug 23 2019 0:56 utc | 59
Posted by: Uncle Jon | Aug 23 2019 0:34 utc | 65

Yea I forgot to add the gas pipeline as well to my comment on 62. Every war is about resources.

[Aug 20, 2019] When, If Ever, Can We Lay This Burden Down by Pat Buchanan

Pat lost its touch with reality " Around the world, America is involved in quarrels, clashes and confrontations with almost too many nations to count." That's what empires do. Why he can't understand this simple fact?
Aug 20, 2019 | www.unz.com
Pat Buchanan 800 Words 30 Comments Reply

Friday, President Donald Trump met in New Jersey with his national security advisers and envoy Zalmay Khalilzad, who is negotiating with the Taliban to bring about peace, and a U.S. withdrawal from America's longest war.

U.S. troops have been fighting in Afghanistan since 2001, in a war that has cost 2,400 American lives.

Following the meeting, Trump tweeted, "Many on the opposite sides of this 19 year war, and us, are looking to make a deal -- if possible!"

Some, however, want no deal; they are fighting for absolute power.

Saturday, a wedding in Kabul with a thousand guests was hit by a suicide bomber who, igniting his vest, massacred 63 people and wounded 200 in one of the greatest atrocities of the war. ISIS claimed responsibility.

Monday, 10 bombs exploded in restaurants and public squares in the eastern city of Jalalabad, wounding 66.

Trump is pressing Khalilzad to negotiate drawdowns of U.S. troop levels from the present 14,000, and to bring about a near-term end to U.S. involvement in a war that began after we overthrew the old Taliban regime for giving sanctuary to Osama bin Laden.

Is it too soon to ask: What have we gained from our longest war? Was all the blood and treasure invested worth it? And what does the future hold?

If the Taliban could not be defeated by an Afghan army, built up by the U.S. for a decade and backed by 100,000 U.S. troops in 2010-2011, then are the Taliban likely to give up the struggle when the U.S. is drawing down the last 14,000 troops and heading home?

The Taliban control more of the country than they have at any time since being overthrown in 2001. And time now seems to be on their side.

Why have they persevered, and prevailed in parts of the country?

Motivated by a fanatic faith, tribalism and nationalism, they have shown a willingness to die for a cause that seems more compelling to them than what the U.S.-backed Afghan government has on offer.

They also have the guerrillas' advantage of being able to attack at times and places of their own choosing, without the government's burden of having to defend towns and cities.

Will these Taliban, who have lost many battles but not the war, retire from the field and abide by democratic elections once the Americans go home? Why should they?

The probability: When the Americans depart, the war breaks out anew, and the Taliban ultimately prevail.

And Afghanistan is but one of the clashes and conflicts in which America is engaged.

Severe U.S. sanctions on Venezuela have failed to bring down the Nicholas Maduro regime in Caracas but have contributed to the immiseration of that people, 10% of whom have left the country. Trump now says he is considering a quarantine or blockade to force Maduro out.

Eight years after we helped to overthrow Col. Moammar Gadhafi, Libya is still mired in civil war, with its capital, Tripoli, under siege.

Yemen, among the world's humanitarian disasters, has seen the UAE break with its Saudi interventionist allies, and secessionists split off southern Yemen from the Houthi-dominated north. Yet, still, Congress has been unable to force the Trump administration to end all support of the Saudi war.

Two thousand U.S. troops remain in Syria. The northern unit is deployed between our Syrian Kurd allies and the Turkish army. In the south, they are positioned to prevent Iran and Iranian-backed militias from creating a secure land bridge from Tehran to Baghdad to Damascus to Beirut.

In our confrontation with Iran, we have few allies.

The Brits released the Iranian tanker they seized at Gibraltar, which had been carrying oil to Syria. But when the Americans sought to prevent its departure, a Gibraltar court ruled against the United States.

Iran presents no clear or present danger to U.S. vital interests, but the Saudis and Israelis see Iran as a mortal enemy, and want the U.S. military rid them of the menace.

Hong Kong protesters wave American flags and seek U.S. support of their demands for greater autonomy and freedom in their clash with their Beijing-backed authorities. The Taiwanese want us to support them and sell them the weapons to maintain their independence. The Philippines wants us to take their side in the dispute with China over tiny islets in the South China Sea.

We are still committed to go to war to defend South Korea. And the North has lately test-fired a series of ballistic missiles, none of which could hit the USA, but all of which could hit South Korea.

Around the world, America is involved in quarrels, clashes and confrontations with almost too many nations to count.

In how many of these are U.S. vital interests imperiled? And in how many are we facing potential wars on behalf of other nations, while they hold our coat and egg us on?

Patrick J. Buchanan is the author of "Nixon's White House Wars: The Battles That Made and Broke a President and Divided America Forever."

Copyright 2019 Creators.com.

[Aug 17, 2019] Candidates Must Commit to Immediate US Withdrawal From Afghanistan by Marjorie Cohn

Aug 15, 2019 | truthout.org
In July 30, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported that the Afghan government and international military forces, primarily the United States , caused most of the civilian deaths in Afghanistan during the first six months of 2019. That's more killings than those perpetrated in the same time period by the Taliban and ISIS combined.

Aerial operations were responsible for 519 civilian casualties (356 deaths and 156 injuries), including 150 children (89 deaths and 61 injuries). That constitutes a 39 percent increase in overall civilian casualties from aerial attacks. Eighty-three percent of civilian casualties from aerial operations were carried out by the international forces.

The targeting of civilians amounts to war crimes under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

... ... ...

Team Trump's deadly actions are a continuation of the Bush and Obama administrations' commission of the most heinous crimes in Afghanistan. On April 12, the ICC's Pre-Trial Chamber found a "reasonable basis" to believe that the parties to the Afghan conflict, including the U.S. military and the CIA, committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, most of them occurring between 2005 and 2015. They include "the war crimes of torture and cruel treatment, outrages upon personal dignity, and rape and other forms of sexual violence pursuant to a policy approved by the U.S. authorities."

The chamber, however, refused to open a formal investigation into those crimes, as recommended by ICC prosecutor Fatou Bensouda. In concluding that "an investigation into the situation in Afghanistan at this stage would not serve the interests of justice," the chamber questioned the feasibility of such a probe. An investigation would be "very wide in scope and encompasses a high number of alleged incidents having occurred over a long time period," the chamber wrote. It noted the extreme difficulty in gauging "the prospects of securing meaningful cooperation from relevant authorities for the future" and found "the current circumstances of the situation in Afghanistan are such as to make the prospects for a successful investigation and prosecution extremely limited."

Marjorie Cohn is professor emerita at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, former president of the National Lawyers Guild, deputy secretary general of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers and a member of the advisory board of Veterans for Peace. Her most recent book is Drones and Targeted Killing: Legal, Moral, and Geopolitical Issues.

[Aug 05, 2019] The war in Afghanistan has reached new levels of insanity as a UN report shows US forces are killing more civilians than ISIS and Taliban combined

Aug 05, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com,

The war in Afghanistan has reached new levels of insanity as a UN report shows US forces are killing more civilians than ISIS and Taliban combined.

For the last several decades, the US government has openly funded, supported, and armed various terrorist networks throughout the world to forward an agenda of destabilization and proxy war. It is not a secret, nor a conspiracy theory -- America arms bad guys . The situation has gotten so overtly corrupt that the government admitted in May the Pentagon asked Congress for funding to reimburse terrorists for their transportation and other expenses. Seriously. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. A new report from the United Nations shows the US and its allies in Afghanistan have killed more innocent men, women, and children than the group they claim are the bad guys, the Taliban.

The now 18-year-old quagmire in Afghanistan is raising serious questions and once again, it appears that the civilians are taking the brunt of the hit -- not the ostensible enemy.

According to a report in the NY Times:

In the first six months of the year, the conflict killed nearly 1,400 civilians and wounded about 2,400 more. Afghan forces and their allies caused 52 percent of the civilian deaths compared with 39 percent attributable to militants -- mostly the Taliban, but also the Islamic State. The figures do not total 100 percent because responsibility for some deaths could not be definitively established.

The higher civilian death toll caused by Afghan and American forces comes from their greater reliance on airstrikes, which are particularly deadly for civilians. The United Nations said airstrikes resulted in 363 civilian deaths and 156 civilian injuries.

"While the number of injured decreased, the number of civilians killed more than doubled in comparison to the first six months of 2018, highlighting the lethal character of this tactic," the United Nations report said, referring to airstrikes.

Naturally, the US military calls this report by the UN anti-American propaganda.

"We assess and investigate all credible allegations of noncombatant casualties in this complex environment, whereas others intentionally target public areas, use civilians as human shields and attempt to hide the truth through lies and propaganda," Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for the United States military, said.

The line between the ostensible "good guys" and the "bad guys" has gotten so blurred that the good guys are now openly supporting the bad while simultaneously killing more innocent people than the bad ones. It's a story straight out of The Onion, but in real life.

While the idea of the US government paying to support terrorists or killing more civilians than terrorists may seem like a crazed notion it has become so overt in recent years that legislation was specifically introduced for the sole purpose of banning the the flow of money to terrorist organizations.

However, given the insidious history of the American empire and its creation and fostering of terrorist regimes across the globe, it should come as no surprise that the overwhelming majority of politicians would refuse to sign on to a law that requires them to 'Stop Arming Terrorists.' And, in 2017, that is exactly what happened.

The text of the bill was quite simple and contained no hidden agendas. It merely stated that it prohibits the use of federal agency funds to provide covered assistance to: (1) Al Qaeda, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), or any individual or group that is affiliated with, associated with, cooperating with, or adherents to such groups; or (2) the government of any country that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI) determines has, within the most recent 12 months, provided covered assistance to such a group or individual.

The only thing the bill did was prohibit the US government from giving money and weapons to people who want to murder Americans and who do murder innocent men, women, and children across the globe. It is quite possibly the simplest and most rational bill ever proposed by Congress. Given its rational and humanitarian nature, one would think that representatives would have been lining up to show their support. However, one would be wrong and in the five months after it was proposed, just 13 members of Congress signed on as co-sponsors.

Not only is the United States refusing to stop arming terrorists, but now they are becoming more violent than the terrorists they claim to fight. At what point do the American people wake up to this insanity?

Sadly, it appears that the American people couldn't care less about innocent men women and children being slaughtered with their tax dollars on the other side of the planet. They only seem to pay attention to the area when one of these people -- whose seen their children blown to a fine red mist by a US drone strike -- acts out in a retaliatory way. But instead of understanding that this is blowback caused by US foreign policy, Boobus Americanus thinks these people simply "hate our freedom."

Terrorism is necessary for the state. War, is the health of the state.

Without the constant fear mongering about an enemy who 'hates our freedom', Americans begin questioning things. They challenge the status quo and inevitably desire more freedom. However, when they are told that boogeymen want to kill them, they become immediately complacent and blinded by their fear.

While these boogeymen were once mostly mythical, since 9/11, they have been funded and supported by the US to the point that they now pose a very real threat to innocent people everywhere. As the horrific attacks earlier this year in Sri Lanka illustrate, terrorists are organizing and spreading.

Terrorists groups have been exposed inside the UK as well for having ties to the British government who allowed them to freely travel and train with ISIS-linked groups because those groups were in opposition to Muammar Gaddafi, who the West wanted to snub out.

It's a vicious cycle of creating terrorists, killing innocence, and stoking war. And, unless something radical happens, it shows no signs of ever reversing.

The radical change that is necessary to shift this paradigm back to peace is for people to wake up to the reality that no matter which puppet is in the White House, the status quo remains unchanged.

Trump is proving that he can lie to get into power and his supporters ignore it. If you doubt this fact, look at what Trump did by calling out Saudi Arabia for their role in 9/11 and their support for terror worldwide prior to getting elected. He now supports these terrorists and his constituency couldn't care less.

This madness has to stop. Humanity has to stop being fooled by rhetoric read from teleprompters by puppets doing the bidding of their masters. If Americans aren't shaken out of this stupor by the idea that the US military and its allies are now killing more innocent people than the Taliban and ISIS -- combined -- perhaps


herbivore , 15 minutes ago link

But we love them anyway. They are our heroes, bravely fighting for our freedoms in Afghanistan. Unless we kill the Afghanis over there, they'll come here to kill us. Sure, sometimes our boys kill innocents, but come on, we all know there are no innocent Muslims. Even if they're kids, they'll eventually grow up to be terrorists so better to kill them sooner than later. USA! USA! Woof! Woof!

Blankone , 25 minutes ago link

What kind of person, really, joins the US military today?

It was shown long ago that the Iraq war was based upon lies. Killing civilians, bombing hospitals, air attacks on weddings, stabbing captured and unconscious enemy in the throat (and getting away with it), clearly there is no threat to the US to justify the killing ...

But the actual killers are getting a bit of a surprise. Women are being promoted past them and over them. The PC rules are ruining the boys club and even their language is monitored. The officers don't give a damn other than progressing to full colonel at least, retiring with a nice pension and then working for high pay for the private defense companies. The killers think they will be admired, but they are just tools and may even be pushed out.

ChaoKrungThep , 19 minutes ago link

Yep. No rape fun, no genocide, can't even bayonet a pregnant girl without the CO gettin' pissed. I'm joining the circus.

bismillah , 31 minutes ago link

Interestingly, through all the US bombing and killing, the population of Afghanistan has increased from about 19 million in 2001 to about 37 million today, nearly doubling during the senseless US attacks on their culture and people.

Fantasy Free Economics , 34 minutes ago link

Sometimes much can be learned by asking simple questions. Why? Simple questions most often have answers. Complex questions emerge because folks can't bear to hear the answers to the simple ones. A simple question that would be good to ask now is. Why are we fighting in Afghanistan? http://quillian.net/blog/your-punishment-for-believing-lies/

artistant , 38 minutes ago link

ALL wars are EVIL. Period .

[Aug 01, 2019] In Oct it will be 18 full years in Afghanistan. The US is not a learning organization.

Aug 01, 2019 | economistsview.typepad.com

ilsm -> im1dc... , August 01, 2019 at 04:22 AM

In Oct it will be 18 full years in Afghanistan. The US is not a learning organization.

If you trust the media, you trust the hugely funded propaganda machine that makes Goebbels look stone age primitive.

I am a bit sensitive this week, I am finishing Gloria Emerson's "Winner and Losers" scratching a lot of scars from Vietnam. Not easy reading if you changed your mind once the blither was exposed.

Somewhere over Delong's it was recommended and amazon had a hardcover for $1.56........

Bottomline from Winners and Losers: The blither is reminiscent and much of the news topics the same.

[Jun 18, 2019] The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

Notable quotes:
"... Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts. ..."
"... Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required). ..."
"... Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process? ..."
"... In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International . ..."
"... U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) ..."
"... the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction. ..."
"... Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results. ..."
"... Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. ..."
"... Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year. ..."
"... No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end. ..."
"... A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike. ..."
"... Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. ..."
"... Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. ..."
"... Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." ..."
"... Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense ..."
"... Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. ..."
"... Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute. ..."
"... Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war. ..."
"... all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results. ..."
"... War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf. ..."
Jun 18, 2019 | www.zerohedge.com

Authored by William Astore via TomDispatch.com,

The American Cult of Bombing and Endless War

From Syria to Yemen in the Middle East, Libya to Somalia in Africa, Afghanistan to Pakistan in South Asia, an American aerial curtain has descended across a huge swath of the planet. Its stated purpose: combatting terrorism. Its primary method: constant surveillance and bombing -- and yet more bombing.

Its political benefit: minimizing the number of U.S. "boots on the ground" and so American casualties in the never-ending war on terror, as well as any public outcry about Washington's many conflicts.

Its economic benefit: plenty of high-profit business for weapons makers for whom the president can now declare a national security emergency whenever he likes and so sell their warplanes and munitions to preferred dictatorships in the Middle East (no congressional approval required).

Its reality for various foreign peoples: a steady diet of " Made in USA " bombs and missiles bursting here, there, and everywhere.

Think of all this as a cult of bombing on a global scale. America's wars are increasingly waged from the air, not on the ground, a reality that makes the prospect of ending them ever more daunting. The question is: What's driving this process?

For many of America's decision-makers, air power has clearly become something of an abstraction. After all, except for the 9/11 attacks by those four hijacked commercial airliners, Americans haven't been the target of such strikes since World War II. On Washington's battlefields across the Greater Middle East and northern Africa, air power is always almost literally a one-way affair. There are no enemy air forces or significant air defenses. The skies are the exclusive property of the U.S. Air Force (and allied air forces), which means that we're no longer talking about "war" in the normal sense. No wonder Washington policymakers and military officials see it as our strong suit, our asymmetrical advantage , our way of settling scores with evildoers, real and imagined.

Bombs away!

In a bizarre fashion, you might even say that, in the twenty-first century, the bomb and missile count replaced the Vietnam-era body count as a metric of (false) progress . Using data supplied by the U.S. military, the Council on Foreign Relations estimated that the U.S. dropped at least 26,172 bombs in seven countries in 2016, the bulk of them in Iraq and Syria. Against Raqqa alone, ISIS's "capital," the U.S. and its allies dropped more than 20,000 bombs in 2017, reducing that provincial Syrian city to literal rubble . Combined with artillery fire, the bombing of Raqqa killed more than 1,600 civilians, according to Amnesty International .

Meanwhile, since Donald Trump has become president, after claiming that he would get us out of our various never-ending wars, U.S. bombing has surged, not only against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq but in Afghanistan as well. It has driven up the civilian death toll there even as "friendly" Afghan forces are sometimes mistaken for the enemy and killed , too. Air strikes from Somalia to Yemen have also been on the rise under Trump, while civilian casualties due to U.S. bombing continue to be underreported in the American media and downplayed by the Trump administration.

U.S. air campaigns today, deadly as they are, pale in comparison to past ones like the Tokyo firebombing of 1945, which killed more than 100,000 civilians; the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki later that year (roughly 250,000); the death toll against German civilians in World War II (at least 600,000); or civilians in the Vietnam War. (Estimates vary, but when napalm and the long-term effects of cluster munitions and defoliants like Agent Orange are added to conventional high-explosive bombs, the death toll in Southeast Asia may well have exceeded one million.) Today's air strikes are more limited than in those past campaigns and may be more accurate, but never confuse a 500-pound bomb with a surgeon's scalpel, even rhetorically. When " surgical " is applied to bombing in today's age of lasers, GPS, and other precision-guidance technologies, it only obscures the very real human carnage being produced by all these American-made bombs and missiles.

This country's propensity for believing that its ability to rain hellfire from the sky provides a winning methodology for its wars has proven to be a fantasy of our age. Whether in Korea in the early 1950s, Vietnam in the 1960s, or more recently in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Syria, the U.S. may control the air, but that dominance simply hasn't led to ultimate success. In the case of Afghanistan, weapons like the Mother of All Bombs, or MOAB (the most powerful non-nuclear bomb in the U.S. military's arsenal), have been celebrated as game changers even when they change nothing. (Indeed, the Taliban only continues to grow stronger , as does the branch of the Islamic State in Afghanistan.) As is often the case when it comes to U.S. air power, such destruction leads neither to victory, nor closure of any sort; only to yet more destruction.

Such results are contrary to the rationale for air power that I absorbed in a career spent in the U.S. Air Force. (I retired in 2005.) The fundamental tenets of air power that I learned, which are still taught today, speak of decisiveness. They promise that air power, defined as "flexible and versatile," will have "synergistic effects" with other military operations. When bombing is "concentrated," "persistent," and "executed" properly (meaning not micro-managed by know-nothing politicians), air power should be fundamental to ultimate victory. As we used to insist, putting bombs on target is really what it's all about. End of story -- and of thought.

Given the banality and vacuity of those official Air Force tenets, given the twenty-first-century history of air power gone to hell and back, and based on my own experience teaching such history and strategy in and outside the military, I'd like to offer some air power tenets of my own. These are the ones the Air Force didn't teach me, but that our leaders might consider before launching their next "decisive" air campaign.

Ten Cautionary Tenets About Air Power

1. Just because U.S. warplanes and drones can strike almost anywhere on the globe with relative impunity doesn't mean that they should. Given the history of air power since World War II, ease of access should never be mistaken for efficacious results.

2. Bombing alone will never be the key to victory. If that were true, the U.S. would have easily won in Korea and Vietnam, as well as in Afghanistan and Iraq. American air power pulverized both North Korea and Vietnam (not to speak of neighboring Laos and Cambodia ), yet the Korean War ended in a stalemate and the Vietnam War in defeat. (It tells you the world about such thinking that air power enthusiasts, reconsidering the Vietnam debacle, tend to argue the U.S. should have bombed even more -- lots more .) Despite total air supremacy, the recent Iraq War was a disaster even as the Afghan War staggers on into its 18th catastrophic year.

3. No matter how much it's advertised as "precise," "discriminate," and "measured," bombing (or using missiles like the Tomahawk ) rarely is. The deaths of innocents are guaranteed. Air power and those deaths are joined at the hip, while such killings only generate anger and blowback, thereby prolonging the wars they are meant to end.

Consider, for instance, the "decapitation" strikes launched against Iraqi autocrat Saddam Hussein and his top officials in the opening moments of the Bush administration's invasion of 2003. Despite the hype about that being the beginning of the most precise air campaign in all of history, 50 of those attacks, supposedly based on the best intelligence around, failed to take out Saddam or a single one of his targeted officials. They did, however, cause "dozens" of civilian deaths. Think of it as a monstrous repeat of the precision air attacks launched on Belgrade in 1999 against Slobodan Milosevic and his regime that hit the Chinese embassy instead, killing three journalists.

Here, then, is the question of the day: Why is it that, despite all the "precision" talk about it, air power so regularly proves at best a blunt instrument of destruction? As a start, intelligence is often faulty. Then bombs and missiles, even "smart" ones, do go astray. And even when U.S. forces actually kill high-value targets (HVTs), there are always more HVTs out there. A paradox emerges from almost 18 years of the war on terror: the imprecision of air power only leads to repetitious cycles of violence and, even when air strikes prove precise, there always turn out to be fresh targets, fresh terrorists, fresh insurgents to strike.

4. Using air power to send political messages about resolve or seriousness rarely works. If it did, the U.S. would have swept to victory in Vietnam. In Lyndon Johnson's presidency, for instance, Operation Rolling Thunder (1965-1968), a graduated campaign of bombing, was meant to, but didn't, convince the North Vietnamese to give up their goal of expelling the foreign invaders -- us -- from South Vietnam. Fast-forward to our era and consider recent signals sent to North Korea and Iran by the Trump administration via B-52 bomber deployments, among other military "messages." There's no evidence that either country modified its behavior significantly in the face of the menace of those baby-boomer-era airplanes.

5. Air power is enormously expensive. Spending on aircraft, helicopters, and their munitions accounted for roughly half the cost of the Vietnam War. Similarly, in the present moment, making operational and then maintaining Lockheed Martin's boondoggle of a jet fighter, the F-35, is expected to cost at least $1.45 trillion over its lifetime. The new B-21 stealth bomber will cost more than $100 billion simply to buy. Naval air wings on aircraft carriers cost billions each year to maintain and operate. These days, when the sky's the limit for the Pentagon budget, such costs may be (barely) tolerable. When the money finally begins to run out, however, the military will likely suffer a serious hangover from its wildly extravagant spending on air power.

6. Aerial surveillance (as with drones), while useful, can also be misleading. Command of the high ground is not synonymous with god-like "total situational awareness ." It can instead prove to be a kind of delusion, while war practiced in its spirit often becomes little more than an exercise in destruction. You simply can't negotiate a truce or take prisoners or foster other options when you're high above a potential battlefield and your main recourse is blowing up people and things.

7. Air power is inherently offensive. That means it's more consistent with imperial power projection than with national defense . As such, it fuels imperial ventures, while fostering the kind of " global reach, global power " thinking that has in these years had Air Force generals in its grip.

8. Despite the fantasies of those sending out the planes, air power often lengthens wars rather than shortening them. Consider Vietnam again. In the early 1960s, the Air Force argued that it alone could resolve that conflict at the lowest cost (mainly in American bodies). With enough bombs, napalm, and defoliants, victory was a sure thing and U.S. ground troops a kind of afterthought. (Initially, they were sent in mainly to protect the airfields from which those planes took off.) But bombing solved nothing and then the Army and the Marines decided that, if the Air Force couldn't win, they sure as hell could. The result was escalation and disaster that left in the dust the original vision of a war won quickly and on the cheap due to American air supremacy.

9. Air power, even of the shock-and-awe variety, loses its impact over time. The enemy, lacking it, nonetheless learns to adapt by developing countermeasures -- both active (like missiles) and passive (like camouflage and dispersion), even as those being bombed become more resilient and resolute.

10. Pounding peasants from two miles up is not exactly an ideal way to occupy the moral high ground in war.

The Road to Perdition

If I had to reduce these tenets to a single maxim, it would be this: all the happy talk about the techno-wonders of modern air power obscures its darker facets, especially its ability to lock America into what are effectively one-way wars with dead-end results.

For this reason, precision warfare is truly an oxymoron. War isn't precise. It's nasty, bloody, and murderous. War's inherent nature -- its unpredictability, horrors, and tendency to outlast its original causes and goals -- isn't changed when the bombs and missiles are guided by GPS. Washington's enemies in its war on terror, moreover, have learned to adapt to air power in a grimly Darwinian fashion and have the advantage of fighting on their own turf.

Who doesn't know the old riddle: If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Here's a twenty-first-century air power variant on it: If foreign children die from American bombs but no U.S. media outlets report their deaths, will anyone grieve? Far too often, the answer here in the U.S. is no and so our wars go on into an endless future of global destruction.

In reality, this country might do better to simply ground its many fighter planes, bombers, and drones. Paradoxically, instead of gaining the high ground, they are keeping us on a low road to perdition.


Joiningupthedots , 11 minutes ago link

All off that may be true BUT.......

The myth of Tomahawk has already been dispelled

Countries with reasonable to excellent A2D2 are seriously avoided.

The solution is for Russia to sell equipment and training packages of A2D2 to any country that wants then at BE prices.

Thousands of decoys with spoof emitters and......

Planes take like 3 years to build and pilots take at least 5-6 years to train.

Do the math!

107cicero , 17 minutes ago link

From a marketing/profit perspective , BOMBS are the perfect product.

Insanely expensive, used once.

Rinse and repeat.

Theedrich , 1 hour ago link

In December of 2017, Daniel Ellsberg published a book, "The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner" . Among many other things, he revealed the actual Strangelovian nature of our military establishment. Most enlightening is his revelation that many in the high command of our nuclear triggers do not trust, or even have contempt for, civilian oversight and control of the military. They covertly regard the presidential leadership as naïve and inept, though it would be professional suicide to admit such an attitude openly.

Comes now 𝕿𝖍𝖊 𝕹𝖊𝖜 𝖄𝖔𝖗𝖐 𝕿𝖎𝖒𝖊𝖘 with the revelation that the Pentagon's Cyber Command has attacked Russia's power grid with software "implants" designed to destroy that grid the instant a mouse click is given, thereby possibly initiating global war. Most alarmingly, the details of this secret action were kept from the President, lest he countermand the operation or leak it to the Russians.

So now we have a general staff that is conducting critical international military operations on its own, with no civilian input, permission or hindrances of any kind. A formula for national suicide, executed by a tiny junta of unelected officers who decide to play nuclear Russian roulette.

We seem to be ineluctably and irreversibly trapped in a state of national dementia.

He–Mene Mox Mox , 2 hours ago link

Just remember this: The U.S. had the technological advantage in Viet Nam, and blasted that country, along with Cambodia, and Laos, with 7.5 million tons of bombs, (more than the entire WWII campaign of 2.25 million tons), and the Vietnamese were still able to kick our *** out of the country by 1975.

Uskatex , 2 hours ago link

There is a 11th tenet: air force operations need airports or aircraft carriers, and these are very vulnerable to modern, high precision missiles. If the enemy has plenty of missiles, your fighters and bombers can be impeded to take off and land, or even be destroyed. Modern aircrafts need very sophisticated and working infrastructures to be operational.

In the case of a full war with Iran, I see all hostile bases and airports destroyed or damaged by Iranian, Hezbollah and Syrian missiles. They have tens of thousand of them - it is 30 years they have been accumulating missiles in prevision of a possible forthcoming war.

Groundround , 44 minutes ago link

You are right. Also, there are many nations with subs and probably more countries have acquired nukes than are willing to admit. I strongly suspect Iran already has nukes. If North Korea has them, I see no reason that Iran wouldn't be even further ahead. They have been under threat of US attacks for my entire lifetime. Anyway, I would not put it past some other countries to hit US coastal cities and then deny any knowledge about who did it. There are many capable and many people have been made enemies by our foreign policy. Surely these people have treaties to help each other should be attack. And why would they make these treaties public and antagonize the US military further. I'm sure there are many well kept secrets out there. We must evolve, or the US and Israel could find it is us against the world.

Wantoknow , 3 hours ago link

War is hell. It has always been so. The failure here is that since World War II all US wars have been fatuously political. Actions have not been taken to win but to posture about moral greatness and the ability to force the enemy to deal without destroying his capacity to resist.

How can you say the US lost in Vietnam when the entire country could have been removed from the face of the Earth? Yes the price of such removal would have been very high but it could have been done. Do such considerations mean that if one withdraws one has lost?

The US won the war in the Pacific but it is now considered an excessive use of force that the US used nuclear weapons to conclude the war. Perhaps the US did not use enough force then to successfully conclude the Vietnam war? Perhaps, it failed to field the right kind of force?

The definition of lost is an interesting one. The practical answer is that the US did lose in many places because it was unwilling to pay the price of victory as publicly expressed. Yet it could have won if it paid the price.

So an interesting question for military types is to ask how to lower the price. What kind of weapons would have been needed to quickly sweep the enemy into oblivion in Vietnam let us say, given the limits of the war? Could the war have been won without ground troops and choppers but with half a million computer controlled drones armed with machine guns and grenades flying in swarms close to the ground?

The factories to produce those weapons could have been located in Thailand or Taiwan or Japan and the product shipped to Vietnam. Since only machines would be destroyed and the drones are obviously meant to substitute for ground troops then how about a million or two million of the drones in place of the half a million ground troops? Could the US, with anachronistic technology to be sure, have won the war for a price that would have been acceptable to the US?

The idea here is that one constructs an army, robot or otherwise, than can destroy the enemy it is going to fight at a price which is acceptable. This is actually a form of asymmetric warfare which requires a thorough understanding of the enemy and his capabilities. The US did not enter Vietnam with such an army but with one not meant to serve in Vietnam and whose losses would be deeply resented at home. The price of victory was too high.

But this does not mean that the US cannot win. It only means that the commitment to win in a poorly thought out war must be great enough to pay the price of victory. This may be a stupid thing to do but it does not mean that it cannot be done. One cannot assume that the US will never again show sufficient commitment to win.

wildfry , 5 hours ago link

Victory means you get to write your own ******** version of history.The most devastating civilian bombing campaign in human history is not even mentioned in this article. The US fire bombing of 30 major cities in Korea with the death toll estimated at between 1.2 million and 1.6 million. I bet most US citizens aren't even aware of this atrocity or that the military requested Truman to authorize the use of nuclear warheads which he, thankfully, declined to do.

herbivore , 5 hours ago link

What does the word "victory" mean? It means whatever the rulers want it to mean. In this case, "victory" is synonymous with prolongation and expansion of warmaking around the world. Victory does not mean an end to combat. In fact, victory, in the classic sense, means defeat, at least from the standpoint of those who profit from war. If someone were to come up with a cure for cancer, it would mean a huge defeat for the cancer industry. Millions would lose their jobs. CEO's would lose their fat pay packages. Therefore, we need to be clearheaded about this, and recognize that victory is not what you think it is.

sonoftx , 5 hours ago link

Talked with a guy recently. He is a pilot. He flies planes over Afghanistan. He is a private contractor.

The program began under the Air Force. It then was taken over by the Army. It is now a private contractor.

There are approx 400 pilots in country at a time with 3 rotations. He told me what he gets paid. $200,000 and up.

They go up with a NSA agent running the equipment in back. He state that the dumbass really does not know what the plane is capable of. They collect all video, audio, infrared, and more? (You have to sense when to stop asking questions)

I just wanted to know the logistics of the info gathered.

So, the info is gathered. The NSA officer then gets with the CIA and the State Dept to see what they can release to the end user. The end user is the SOCOM. After it has been through review then the info is released to SOCOM.

So with all of this info on "goatherders" we still cannot pinpoint and defeat the "enemy"? No. Too many avenues of profit and deceit and infighting. It will always be. May justice here and abroad win in the end.

Concentrate on the true enemies. It is not your black, or Jewish, or brown, or Muslim neighbor. It is the owners of the Fed, Dow chemical, the Rockefellers, McDonnel Douglas and on and on and on and on and on and on..............

ardent , 6 hours ago link

The ROAD to perdition passes through APARTHEID Israhell.

"It does not take a genius to figure out that the United States... has no vital interests at stake in places like Syria, Libya, Iran and Iraq. Who is driving the process and benefiting? Israel is clearly the intended beneficiary... " – Philip Giraldi, Former CIA officer.

Boogity , 6 hours ago link

As Dubya famously said they hate us for our freedoms not because we've been dropping bombs on 'em for a couple of decades.

HideTheWeenie , 6 hours ago link

Bombing and war tech looks pretty cool in movies and controlled demonstrations. On reality, it doesn't get you too far. Never has.

Boots on the ground is what wins wars and all the generals know that. So do our enemy combatants.

On the ground, your chances of dying are 5-10% of your chances of getting maimed or permanently disabled, which are pretty high.

Maybe that's why we're letting in all the illegals, so they can fight our next war(s).

[Jun 15, 2019] WATCH US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran

Notable quotes:
"... The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians. The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets. The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | off-guardian.org

WATCH: US economist urges covert violence to provoke war with Iran "I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them might not come up." Admin

https://www.youtube.com/embed/TzSjPDaSNMQ

Many believe war with the Islamic Republic of Iran has been the dream of some hardcore neocons in Washington since at least 2001. Back in 2012 former employee of the IMF and current economist for the World Bank, Patrick Clawson , provided fuel for this belief when he was videoed obliquely advocating using covert violence so that the US president "can get to war with Iran."

In a startlingly frank speech, Clawson makes it clear he believes (and apparently approves) that the US has a history of seeking war for profit, and of using provocations to goad its perceived enemies into starting such wars. Clawson highlights in particular the Confederate attack on Fort Sumter in 1861 , which, he says, was deliberately engineered by president Lincoln in pursuit of an excuse to launch a war on the Southern secessionist states.

In light of the recent alleged attacks on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, timed to coincide with the visit of the Japanese prime minister to Iran, and in light of Secretary of State Capone Pompeo's precipitate and predictable claim the attacks were likely perpetrated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, this is an apposite time to recall this telling little incident.

Below see the transcript of Mr Clawson's remarks

Transcript

"I frankly think that crisis initiation is really tough and it's very hard for me to see how the United States president can get us to war with Iran which leads me to conclude that if in fact compromise is not coming that the traditional way of America gets to war is what would be best for US interests

Some people might think that mr. Roosevelt wanted to get us in to the World War two as David mentioned. You may recall we had to wait for Pearl Harbor.

Some people might think mr. Wilson wanted to get us into World War One. You may recall he had to wait for the Lusitania episode

Some people might think that mr. Johnson wanted to send troops to Vietnam. You may recall they had to wait for the Gulf of Tonkin episode.

We didn't go to war with Spain until the USS Maine exploded, and may I point out that mr. Lincoln did not feel he could call off the federal army until Fort Sumter was attacked which is why he ordered the commander at Fort Sumter to do exactly that thing which the South Carolinians had said would cause an attack.

So if in fact the Iranians aren't going to compromise it would be best if somebody else started the war

But I would just like to suggest that one can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down – someday one of them
might not come up.

Who would know why?

We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure. I'm not advocating that but I'm just suggesting that a it's this is not a either-or proposition of, you know, it's just sanctions has to be has to succeed or other things.


DunGroanin

Always follow the money they made lots instantly from the firework display, it aint rocket science!

https://www.zerohedge.com/news/2019-06-14/senators-switched-key-votes-bill-gulf-arms-ban-hours-after-tanker-attacks

mark
What do you expect from a Zionist Front like WINEP? They've been inciting wars for Israel for decades. "Getting the stupid goys to fight Israel's wars for decades."
Jen
If Patrick Clawson is typical of the kind of economist employed at the IMF and then promoted to a leading position at the World Bank, I dread to think of the calibre of people who also applied for his job in the past and were rejected. His speech is so garbled and full of unconscious slip-ups.
andyoldlabour
The US has convinced itself of its own so called "exceptionalism", where they can say anything out in the open, reveal their greatest desires, their unholy plans. There must be some "good" Americans who can stop this madness, or have they all become inflicted/infected with some hate virus?
Milton
Interesting that this Israeli-First traitor Clawson mentions Lincoln and Ft. Sumter. He finally admits what genuine historians of the Civil War long knew: Lincoln was a warmonger and tyrant, not an emancipator. The Civil war was fought to eliminate true freedom and equality in this country and it has been downhill ever since. The working class and soldier-class in America today are slaves in every sense of the word. Slaves to Zion. No wonder the certified warmonger and racist Lincoln is worshiped equally by Left and Right today, whilst genuine American patriots like Robert E. Lee have their legacy torn down. Lincoln was the proto-Neocon. Tom Dilorenzo summed up the real Lincoln when he wrote in Lincoln Unmasked:

"Imagine that California seceded from the union and an American president responded with the carpet bombing of Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco that destroyed 90 percent of those cities. Such was the case with General Sherman's bombardment of Atlanta; a naval blockade; a blocking off of virtually all trade; the eviction of thousands of residents from their homes (as occurred in Atlanta in 1864); the destruction of most industries and farms; massive looting of private property by a marauding army; and the killing of one out of four males of military age while maiming for life more than double that number. Would such an American president be considered a 'great statesman' or a war criminal? The answer is obvious.

A statesman would have recognized the state's right to secede, as enshrined in the Tenth Amendment, among other places, and then worked diligently to persuade the seceded state that a reunion was in its best interest. Agreat statesman, or even a modest one, would not have impulsively plunged the entire nation into a bloody war.

Lincoln's warmongering belligerence and his invasion of all the Southern states in response to Fort Sumter (where no one was harmed or killed) caused the upper South -- Virginia, North Carolina, Tennessee, and Arkansas -- to secede after originally voting to remain in the Union. He refused to meet with Confederate commissioners to discuss peace and even declined a meeting with Napoleon III of France, who offered to broker a peace agreement. No genuine statesman would have behaved in such a way.

After Fort Sumter, Lincoln thanked naval commander Gustavus Fox for assisting him in manipulating the South Carolinians into firing at Fort Sumter. A great statesman does not manipulate his own people into starting one of the bloodiest wars in human history."

mathias alexand
Here's a man who holds a press conference to announce a secret plan. Only in America.
Gezzah Potts
False flags here, false flags there, false flags everywhere. All too further the aims of the 'masters of the universe'. We know who was responsible for the tanker attacks. Who are the 3 countries absolutely desperate to take Iran down and install a completely pliant puppet regime answerable to Washington, Tel Aviv and to a lesser extent Riyadh. And creatures like Clawson, and all the other vermin can only see $$$$. Thats all they care about. Opening up more markets to further enrich themselves. I echo the other commenters also. The evil men stoop to for greed, power and control. Psychopaths.
harry law
The Foreign Office issued a statement saying: "It is almost certain that a branch of the Iranian military – the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – attacked the two tankers on 13 June. No other state or non-state actor could plausibly have been responsible."
Unbelievable, The UK vassal will use this to as one more reason to evade their responsibilities in implementing the JCPOA.
William HBonney
A Riyadh/Tel Aviv conspiracy. Genius!
Gezzah Potts
Er . just a rough guess Bill going on the belligerent foaming at the mouth by people in those places along with the likes of Bolton and Pompeo. In fact, you can probably go all the way back to about 1980 or so.
mark
I think the real giveaway was when all three rogue states openly stated their intention of doing this 1,000 times over the past 10 years. That was the crucial clue Sherlock Holmes was looking for.
Wilmers31
And who funds the Washington Institute? Last time I looked the International Crisis Group existed thanks to Soros and is usually treated like a serious organisation.

Many Europeans are not in love with the idea of war with Iran, just to achieve obedience to the US. 90 million people is bigger than Germany.

wardropper
These are the shysters, the spivs and the con men of bygone times. They are the ones who lurked at street corners, waiting for someone to come along who was gullible enough to buy the Moon from them.
But, for some reason, they are all in politics today.
Now how could that be?

Only because there are people whom it currently suits to use shysters, spivs and con men in order to create enough chaos for us to want to give up and just let those people have their way.

I agree with Rhys below. There is no more disgusting example of sub-humanity to be found on earth than these warmongers.
To deal with them, however, we will have to realize that their "philosophy", if you can call it that, runs very deep. It didn't just enter their heads last week.
They are reared and trained in it.

It will be a tough battle.

wardropper
I should add that, in bygone times, the police and the law were usually able to deal with the shysters, spivs and con men, since their lack of conscience often gave them away.
The modern version, however, which has moved into politics, was shrewd enough to use a few decades of bribery and threats in order to build around itself a nice little shell, through which the law simply cannot penetrate, except on special occasions, mainly for show.
Rhys Jaggar
There is a big cabal of warmongers who stoke the fuel but never see action. I find those people more disgusting than anyone on earth.

Draft dodgers, academics, 'historians' etc etc.

Ball-less pricks is what I call them .

mark
All fully paid up members of the Bill Clinton Light Infantry.
andyoldlabour
The appeasers would include the US who fully supported Saddam Hussein in his war against Iran, who provided him with chemical weapons and logistical help in using those weapons, which killed around 50,000 Iranian troops and Kurdish civilians.
The same appeasers armed and funded the Taliban (Mujahideen) against the Soviets.
The US are the single largest force for terrorism the World has ever seen.
William HBonney
The easiest, and perhaps best metric by which to judge a country, is 'do people aspire to live there? '.

I see you admire the Soviet Union, but at its dissolution, people were queuing to leave. And yet the US, and the UK, according to you, iniquitous places of tyranny, are oversubscribed. Could it be, that for all your implied erudition, you are merely a bellend?

BigB
Well, even as a pacifist: if that is his sentiment – I hope he has sons or daughters in the military stationed in CENTCOM in Qatar. I bet he hasn't, though.
Rhisiart Gwilym
He should be right there on the frontline himself. That would straighten the disgusting creep's ideas out about the 'usefulness' of deliberately provoking war

[Jun 14, 2019] It has been amusing to watch the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets express their dismay over the rise and spread of fake news.

Notable quotes:
"... "The Times has run neck-and-neck with the Washington Post in stirring up fears of the Russian information war and illicit involvement with Trump. The Times now easily conflates fake news with any criticism of established institutions, as in Mark Scott and Melissa Eddy's 'Europe Combats a New Foe of Political Stability: Fake News,' February 20, 2017. But what is more extraordinary is the uniformity with which the paper's regular columnists accept as a given the CIA's assessment of the Russian hacking and transmission to WikiLeaks, the possibility or likelihood that Trump is a Putin puppet, and the urgent need of a congressional and 'non-partisan' investigation of these claims. This swallowing of a new war-party line has extended widely in the liberal media. Both the Times and Washington Post have lent tacit support to the idea that this 'fake news' threat needs to be curbed, possibly by some form of voluntary media-organized censorship or government intervention that would at least expose the fakery. ..."
"... "The most remarkable media episode in this anti-influence-campaign was the Post's piece by Craig Timberg, 'Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say,' which featured a report by a group of anonymous "experts" entity called PropOrNot that claimed to have identified two hundred websites that, wittingly or not, were 'routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.' While smearing these websites, many of them independent news outlets whose only shared trait was their critical stance toward U.S. foreign policy, the 'experts' refused to identify themselves, allegedly out of fear of being 'targeted by legions of skilled hackers.' As journalist Matt Taibbi wrote, 'You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won't put your name to your claims? Take a hike.' ..."
"... But the Post welcomed and promoted this McCarthyite effort, which might well be a product of Pentagon or CIA information warfare. (And these entities are themselves well-funded and heavily into the propaganda business.) ..."
"... "The success of the war party's campaign to contain or reverse any tendency to ease tensions with Russia was made dramatically clear in the Trump administration's speedy bombing response to the April 4, 2017, Syrian chemical weapons deaths. The Times and other mainstream media editors and journalists greeted this aggressive move with almost uniform enthusiasm, and once again did not require evidence of Assad's guilt beyond their government's claims. The action was damaging to Assad and Russia, but served the rebels well. ..."
Jun 14, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Abe , June 14, 2019 at 15:15

"It has been amusing to watch the New York Times and other mainstream media outlets express their dismay over the rise and spread of 'fake news.' These publications take it as an obvious truth that what they provide is straightforward, unbiased, fact-based reporting. They do offer such news, but they also provide a steady flow of their own varied forms of fake news, often by disseminating false or misleading information supplied to them by the national security state, other branches of government, and sites of corporate power.

"An important form of mainstream media fake news is that which is presented while suppressing information that calls the preferred news into question. [ ]

"The Times has run neck-and-neck with the Washington Post in stirring up fears of the Russian information war and illicit involvement with Trump. The Times now easily conflates fake news with any criticism of established institutions, as in Mark Scott and Melissa Eddy's 'Europe Combats a New Foe of Political Stability: Fake News,' February 20, 2017. But what is more extraordinary is the uniformity with which the paper's regular columnists accept as a given the CIA's assessment of the Russian hacking and transmission to WikiLeaks, the possibility or likelihood that Trump is a Putin puppet, and the urgent need of a congressional and 'non-partisan' investigation of these claims. This swallowing of a new war-party line has extended widely in the liberal media. Both the Times and Washington Post have lent tacit support to the idea that this 'fake news' threat needs to be curbed, possibly by some form of voluntary media-organized censorship or government intervention that would at least expose the fakery.

"The most remarkable media episode in this anti-influence-campaign was the Post's piece by Craig Timberg, 'Russian propaganda effort helped spread 'fake news' during election, experts say,' which featured a report by a group of anonymous "experts" entity called PropOrNot that claimed to have identified two hundred websites that, wittingly or not, were 'routine peddlers of Russian propaganda.' While smearing these websites, many of them independent news outlets whose only shared trait was their critical stance toward U.S. foreign policy, the 'experts' refused to identify themselves, allegedly out of fear of being 'targeted by legions of skilled hackers.' As journalist Matt Taibbi wrote, 'You want to blacklist hundreds of people, but you won't put your name to your claims? Take a hike.'

But the Post welcomed and promoted this McCarthyite effort, which might well be a product of Pentagon or CIA information warfare. (And these entities are themselves well-funded and heavily into the propaganda business.)

"On December 23, 2016, President Obama signed the Portman-Murphy Countering Disinformation and Propaganda Act, which will supposedly allow the United States to more effectively combat foreign (namely Russian and Chinese) propaganda and disinformation. It will encourage more government counter-propaganda efforts, and provide funding to non-government entities to help in this enterprise. It is clearly a follow-on to the claims of Russian hacking and propaganda, and shares the spirit of the listing of two hundred tools of Moscow featured in the Washington Post. (Perhaps PropOrNot will qualify for a subsidy and be able to enlarge its list.)

Liberals have been quiet on this new threat to freedom of speech, undoubtedly influenced by their fears of Russian-based fake news and propaganda. But they may yet take notice, even if belatedly, when Trump or one of his successors puts it to work on their own notions of fake news and propaganda.

"The success of the war party's campaign to contain or reverse any tendency to ease tensions with Russia was made dramatically clear in the Trump administration's speedy bombing response to the April 4, 2017, Syrian chemical weapons deaths. The Times and other mainstream media editors and journalists greeted this aggressive move with almost uniform enthusiasm, and once again did not require evidence of Assad's guilt beyond their government's claims. The action was damaging to Assad and Russia, but served the rebels well.

"But the mainstream media never ask cui bono? in cases like this. In 2013, a similar charge against Assad, which brought the United States to the brink of a full-scale bombing war in Syria, turned out to be a false flag operation, and some authorities believe the current case is equally problematic. Nevertheless, Trump moved quickly (and illegally), dealing a blow to any further rapprochement between the United States and Russia. The CIA, the Pentagon, leading Democrats, and the rest of the war party had won an important skirmish in the struggle over permanent war."

Fake News on Russia and Other Official Enemies: The New York Times, 1917–2017

By Edward S. Herman

https://monthlyreview.org/2017/07/01/fake-news-on-russia-and-other-official-enemies/

[May 14, 2019] Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War. The Role of Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski - Global ResearchGlobal Research - Ce

May 14, 2019 | www.globalresearch.ca

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War. The Role of Osama bin Laden and Zbigniew Brzezinski Part II By Janelle Velina Global Research, May 08, 2019 Region: Asia Theme: History , Intelligence , US NATO War Agenda In-depth Report: AFGHANISTAN

Read Part I from the link below.

Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War

By Janelle Velina , April 30, 2019

Below is the second half and conclusion of "Afghanistan, the Forgotten Proxy War". While the previous sections examined the economic roots of imperialism, as well as the historical context of the Cold War within which to situate the Mujahideen, the following explores the anatomy of proxy warfare and media disinformation campaigns which were at the heart of destabilizing Afghanistan. These were also a large part of why there was little to no opposition to the Mujahideen from the Western 'left', whose continued dysfunctionality cannot be talked about without discussing Zbigniew Brzezinski. We also take a look at what led to the Soviet Union's demise and how that significantly affected the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and many other parts of the world. The United States has been at war in Afghanistan for four decades now, and it will reach its 40th year on July 3, 2019. The original "moderate rebel"

One of the key players in the anti-Soviet, U.S.-led regime change project against Afghanistan was Osama bin Laden , a Saudi-born millionaire who came from a wealthy, powerful family that owns a Saudi construction company and has had close ties to the Saudi royal family. Before becoming known as America's "boogeyman", Osama bin Laden was put in charge of fundraising for the Mujahideen insurgents, creating numerous charities and foundations in the process and working in coordination with Saudi intelligence (who acted as liaisons between the fighters and the CIA). Journalist Robert Fisk even gave bin Laden a glowing review, calling him a " peace warrior " and a philanthropist in a 1993 report for the Independent . Bin Laden also provided recruitment for the Mujahideen and is believed to have also received security training from the CIA. And in 1989, the same year that Soviet troops withdrew, he founded the terrorist organization Al Qaeda with a number of fighters he had recruited to the Mujahideen. Although the PDPA had already been overthrown, and the Soviet Union was dissolved, he still maintained his relationship with the CIA and NATO, working with them from the mid-to-late 1990s to provide support for the secessionist Bosnian paramilitaries and the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the destruction and dismantling of Yugoslavia.

The United States would eventually turn Bin Laden into a scapegoat after the 2001 terrorist attacks, while still maintaining ties to his family and providing arms, training, and funding to Al Qaeda and its affiliates (rebranded as "moderate rebels" by the Western media) in its more recent regime change project against Syria, which started in 2011. The Mujahideen not only gave birth to Al Qaeda, but it would set a precedent for the United States' regime-change operations in later years against the anti-imperialist governments of Libya and Syria.

Reagan entertains Mujahideen fighters in the White House.

With the end to the cycle of World Wars (for the time being, at least), it has become increasingly common for the United States to use local paramilitaries, terrorist groups, and/or the armed forces of comprador regimes to fight against nations targeted by U.S. capital interests. Why the use of proxy forces? They are, as Whitney Webb describes , "a politically safe tool for projecting the U.S.' geopolitical will abroad." Using proxy warfare as a kind of power projection tool is, first and foremost, cost-effective, since paid local mercenaries or terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda will bear the burden of combat and casualties rather than American troops in places like Libya and Syria. For example, it costs much less to pay local paramilitaries, gangs, crime syndicates, terrorist groups, and other reactionary forces to perform the same military operations as U.S. troops. Additionally, with the advent of nuclear weapons it became much more perilous for global superpowers to come into direct combat with one another -- if the Soviet Union and the United States had done so, there existed the threat of "mutually assured destruction", the strong possibility of instantaneous and catastrophic damage to the populations and the economic and living standards of both sides, something neither side was willing to risk, even if it was U.S. imperialism's ultimate goal to destroy the Soviet Union. And so, the U.S. was willing to use any other means necessary to weaken the Soviet Union and safeguard its profits, which included eliminating the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan even if it had neither the intent nor the means of launching a military offensive on American soil. Meanwhile, the Soviet Union had the means of producing a considerably large supply of modern weapons, including nuclear deterrents, to counter the credible threat posed by the United States. To strike the Soviet Union with nuclear missiles would have been a great challenge for the United States, since it would have resulted in overwhelming retaliation by the Soviet Union. To maneuver this problem, to assure the destruction of the Soviet Union while protecting the U.S. from similar destruction, the CIA relied on more unconventional methods not previously thought of as being part of traditional warfare, such as funding proxy forces while wielding economic and cultural influence over the American domestic sphere and the international scene. Furthermore, proxy warfare enables control of public opinion, thus allowing the U.S. government to escape public scrutiny and questions about legal authorization for war. With opposition from the general public essentially under control, consent for U.S.-led wars does not need to be obtained, especially when the U.S. military is running them from " behind the scenes " and its involvement looks less obvious. Indeed, the protests against the war on Vietnam in the United States and other Western countries saw mass turnouts.

And while the U.S.-led aggression in Vietnam did involve proxy warfare to a lesser degree, it was still mostly fought with American "boots-on-the-ground", much like the 2001 renewed U.S.-led aggression against Afghanistan and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. In contrast, the U.S. assault on Afghanistan that began in 1979 saw little to no protest. The Mujahideen even garnered support from large portions of the Western left who joined the chorus of voices in the Western mainstream media in demonizing the PDPA -- a relentless imperialist propaganda campaign that would be repeated in later years during the U.S. wars on Libya and Syria, with the difference being that social media had not yet gained prominence at the time of the initial assault on Afghanistan. This leads to the next question: why recruit some of the most reactionary social forces abroad, many of whom represent complete backwardness?

In Afghanistan, such forces proved useful in the mission to topple the modernizing government of the PDPA, especially when their anti-modernity aspirations intersected with U.S. foreign policy; these ultra-conservative forces continue to be deployed by the United States today. In fact, the long war on Afghanistan shares many striking similarities with the long war on Syria, with the common theme of U.S. imperialism collaborating with violent Sunni extremists to topple the secular, nationalist and anti-imperialist governments of these two former 'Soviet bloc' countries. And much like the PDPA, the current and long-time government of the Ba'ath Arab Socialist Party in Syria has made many strides towards achieving national liberation and economic development, which have included: taking land from aristocratic families (a majority of whom were Sunni Muslims while Shia Muslims, but especially Alawites, traditionally belonged to the lower classes and were treated as second class citizens in pre-Ba'athist Syria) and redistributing and nationalizing it, making use of Syria's oil and gas reserves to modernize the country and benefit its population, and upholding women's rights as an important part of the Ba'athist pillars.

Some of these aristocratic landlords, just like their Afghan counterparts, would react violently and join the Muslim Brotherhood who, with CIA-backing, carried out acts of terrorism and other atrocities in Hama as they made a failed attempt to topple the government of Hafez al Assad in 1982.

The connection between the two is further solidified by the fact that it was the Mujahideen from which Al Qaeda emerged; both are inspired by Wahhabist ideology, and one of their chief financiers is the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (as well as Israel, a regional imperial power and a key ally of the United States). In either case, these Wahhabi-inspired forces were vehemently opposed to modernization and development, and would much rather keep large sections of the population impoverished, as they sought to replace the PDPA and the Ba'athists with Sunni fundamentalist, anti-Shia, theological autocracies -- Saudi-style regimes, in other words.

These reactionary forces are useful tools in the CIA's anti-communist projects and destabilization campaigns against independent nationalist governments, considering that the groups' anti-modernity stance is a motivating factor in their efforts to sabotage economic development, which is conducive to ensuring a favourable climate for U.S. capital interests. It also helps that these groups already saw the nationalist governments of the PDPA and the Syrian Ba'ath party as their 'archenemy', and would thus fight them to the death and resort to acts of terrorism against the respective civilian populations.

Zbigniew Brzezinski stated in a 1998 interview with Le Nouvel Observateur in response to the following question:

Q: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

[Brzezinski]: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

Once again, he makes it clear that the religious extremism of the Mujahideen fighters was not an issue for Washington because the real political value lay in eliminating the PDPA and putting an end to Soviet influence in the Greater Middle East, which would give the U.S. the opportunity to easily access and steal the country's wealth. And in order to justify the U.S. imperialist intervention in Afghanistan, as well as to obscure the true nature of the Mujahideen fighters, the intervention needed to be accompanied by a rigorous mass media campaign. The Reagan administration -- knowing full well that American mainstream media has international influence -- continued the war that the Carter administration started and saw it as an opportunity to "step up" its domestic propaganda war, considering that the American general public was still largely critical of the Vietnam War at the time.

As part of the aggressive imperialist propaganda campaign, anyone who dared to publicly criticize the Mujahideen was subjected to character assassination and was pejoratively labelled a "Stalinist" or a "Soviet apologist", which are akin to labels such as "Russian agent" or "Assadist" being used as insults today against those who speak out against the U.S.-backed terrorism in Syria. There were also careful rebranding strategies made specifically for Osama bin Laden and the Mujahideen mercenaries, who were hailed as "revolutionary freedom fighters" and given a romantic, exoticized "holy warrior" makeover in Western media; hence the title of this section. The Mujahideen mercenaries were even given a dedication title card at the end of the Hollywood movie Rambo III which read, "This film is dedicated to the brave Mujahideen fighters of Afghanistan"; the film itself added to the constructed romantic image as it portrayed the Mujahideen fighters as heroes, while the Soviet Union and the PDPA were portrayed as the cartoonish villains. The Rambo film franchise is well known for its depiction of the Vietnamese as "savages" and as the aggressors in the U.S. war on Vietnam, which is a blatant reversal of the truth .

The Hollywood blockbuster franchise would be used to make the Mujahideen more palatable to Western audiences, as this unabashed, blatantly anti-Soviet propaganda for U.S. imperialism attracted millions of viewers with one of the largest movie marketing campaigns of the time. Although formulaic, the films are easily consumable because they appeal to emotion and, as Michael Parenti states in Dirty Truths , "The entertainment industry does not merely give the people what they want: it is busy shaping those wants," (p. 111). Rambo III may not have been critically acclaimed , but it was still the second most commercially successful film in the Rambo series, grossing a total of $189,015,611 at the box office . Producing war propaganda films is nothing new and has been a long staple of the Hollywood industry, which serves capitalist and imperialist interests. But, since the blockbuster movie is one of the most widely available and distributed forms of media, repackaging the Mujahideen into a popular film franchise was easily one of the best ways (albeit cynical) to justify the war, maintaining the American constructed narrative and reinforcing the demonization campaign against Soviet Russia and the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan. Now, outside of the cinema, CBS News went as far as to air fake battle footage meant to help perpetuate the myth that the Mujahideen mercenaries were "freedom fighters"; American journalists Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould, although decidedly biased against the Soviet Union and its allies, documented this ruse in which the news channel participated. In terms of proxy warfare, these were just some of the ways used to distract from the fact that it was a U.S.-led war.

The dedication title card as it originally appeared at the end of the film Rambo III.

In Afghanistan, proxy forces provided a convenient cover because they drew attention away from the fact that U.S. imperialism was the root cause of the conflict. The insurgents also helped to demonize the targets of U.S. foreign policy, the PDPA and the Soviet Union, all the while doing the majority of the physical combat in place of the American military. In general, drawing attention away from the fact that it has been the United States "pulling the strings" all along, using proxy forces helps Washington to maintain plausible deniability in regard to its relationship with such groups. If any one of these insurgents becomes a liability, as what had happened with the Taliban, they can just as easily be disposed of and replaced by more competent patsies, while U.S. foreign policy goes unquestioned. Criminal gangs and paramilitary forces are thus ideal and convenient tools for U.S. foreign policy. With the rule of warlords and the instability (namely damage to infrastructure, de-industrialization, and societal collapse) that followed after the toppling of the PDPA, Afghanistan's standard of living dropped rapidly, leading to forced mass migrations and making the country all the more vulnerable to a more direct U.S. military intervention -- which eventually did happen in 2001.

Zbigniew Brzezinski: godfather of colour revolutions and proxy wars, architect of the Mujahideen

The late Brzezinski was a key figure in U.S. foreign policy and a highly influential figure in the Council on Foreign Relations. Although the Polish-American diplomat and political scientist was no longer the National Security Advisor under Ronald Reagan's presidency, he still continued to play a prominent role in enforcing U.S. foreign policy goals in upholding Washington's global monopoly. The liberal Cold War ideologue's signature strategy consisted of using the CIA to destabilize and force regime-change onto countries whose governments actively resisted against Washington. Such is the legacy of Brzezinski, whose strategy of funding the most reactionary anti-government forces to foment chaos and instability while promoting them as "freedom fighters" is now a longstanding staple of U.S. imperialism.

How were the aggressive propaganda campaigns which promoted the Mujahideen mercenaries as "freedom fighters" able to garner support for the aggression against the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan from so many on the Western left who had previously opposed the war on Vietnam? It was the through the CIA's use of 'soft-power' schemes, because leftist opinion also needed to be controlled and manipulated in the process of carrying out U.S. foreign and public policy. Brzezinski mastered the art of targeting intelligentsia and impressionable young people in order to make them supportive of U.S. foreign policy, misleading a significant number of people into supporting U.S.-led wars.

The CIA invested money into programs that used university campus, anti-Soviet "radical leftist activists" and academics (as well as artists and writers) to help spread imperialist propaganda dressed up in vaguely "leftist"-sounding language and given a more "hip", "humanitarian", "social justice", "free thinker" appeal. Western, but especially American, academia has since continued to teach the post-modernist "oppression theory" or "privilege theory" to students, which is anti-Marxist and anti-scientific at its core. More importantly, this post-modernist infiltration was meant to distract from class struggle, to help divert any form of solidarity away from anti-imperialist struggles, and to foster virulent animosity towards the Soviet Union among students and anyone with 'leftist' leanings. Hence the phenomenon of identity politics that continues to plague the Western left today, whose strength was effectively neutered by the 1970s. Not only that, but as Gowans mentions in his book, Patriots, Traitors and Empires: The Story of Korea's Struggle for Freedom :

"U.S. universities recruit talented individuals from abroad, instill in them the U.S. imperialist ideology and values, and equip them with academic credentials which conduce to their landing important political positions at home. In this way, U.S. imperial goals indirectly structure the political decision-making of other countries." (pp. 52-53)

And so we have agencies and think-tanks such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) which has scholarly appeal and actively interferes in elections abroad -- namely, in countries that are targets of U.S. foreign policy. Founded in 1983 by Reagan and directed by the CIA, the agency also assists in mobilizing coups and paid "dissidents" in U.S.-led regime change projects, such as the 2002 failed attempt against Hugo Chavez in Venezuela, as well as helping to create aggressive media campaigns that demonize targeted nations. Another instance of this "soft power" tactic of mobilizing U.S.-backed "dissidents" in targeted nations are the number of Sunni Islamic fundamentalist madrassas (schools) sponsored by the CIA and set up by Wahhabi missionaries from Saudi Arabia in Afghanistan -- which started to appear in increasing numbers during the 1980s, reaching over 39,000 during the decade. Afghanistan's public education institutions were largely secular prior to the fall of Kabul in 1992; these madrassas were the direct, ideological and intellectual antitheses to the existing institutions of education. The madrassas acted as centres for cult-like brainwashing and were essentially CIA covert psychological operations (psy-ops) intended to inspire divisiveness and demobilize younger generations of Afghans in the face of imperial onslaught so that they would not unite with the wider PDPA-led nationalist resistance to imperialism.

The NED's founding members were comprised of Cold War ideologues which included Brzezinski himself, as well as Trotskyists who provided an endless supply of slurs against the Soviet Union. It was chiefly under this agency, and with direction provided by Brzezinski, that America produced artists, "activists", academics, and writers who presented themselves as "radical leftists" and slandered the Soviet Union and countries that were aligned with it -- which was all part of the process of toppling them and subjugating them to U.S. free market fundamentalism. With Brzezinski having mastered the art of encouraging postmodernism and identity politics among the Western left in order to weaken it, the United States not only had military and economic might on its side but also highly sophisticated ideological instruments to help give it the upper hand in propaganda wars.

These "soft power" schemes are highly effective in masking the brutality of U.S. imperialism, as well as concealing the exploitation of impoverished nations. Marketing the Mujahideen mercenaries as "peace warriors" while demonizing the PDPA and referring to the Soviet assistance as an "invasion" or "aggression" marked the beginning of the regular use of "humanitarian" pretexts for imperialist interventions. The Cold War era onslaught against Afghanistan can thus be seen as the template for the NATO-led regime change projects against Yugoslavia, Libya, and Syria, which not only involved the use of U.S.-backed proxy forces but also "humanitarian" pretexts being presented in the aggressive propaganda campaigns against the targeted countries. It was not until 2002, however, that then-American UN representative Samantha Powers, as well as several U.S.-allied representatives, would push the United Nations to officially adopt the "Responsibility to Protect" (R2P) doctrine into the Charter -- which was in direct contradiction to the law that recognizes the violation of a nation's sovereignty as a crime. The R2P doctrine was born out of the illegal 78-day NATO air-bombing of Yugoslavia from March 24 to June 10, 1999. And although plans to dismantle Yugoslavia go as far back as 1984, it was not until much of the 1990s that NATO would begin openly intervening -- with more naked aggression -- starting with the funding and support for secessionist paramilitary forces in Bosnia between 1994-1995. It then sealed the 1999 destruction of Yugoslavia with with the balkanization of the Serbian province of Kosovo . In addition to the use of terrorist and paramilitary groups as proxy forces which received CIA-training and funding, another key feature of this "humanitarian" intervention was the ongoing demonization campaigns against the Serbs, who were at the centre of a vicious Western media propaganda war. Some of the most egregious parts of these demonization campaigns -- which were tantamount to slander and libel -- were the claims that the Serbs were " committing genocide " against ethnic Albanians. The NATO bombing campaign was illegal since it was given no UN Security Council approval or support.

Once again, Brzezinski was not the National Security Advisor during the U.S.-led campaign against Yugoslavia. However, he still continued to wield influence as a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a private organization and Wall Street think tank. The Council on Foreign Relations is intertwined with highly influential NGOs who are essentially propaganda mouthpieces for U.S. foreign policy, such as Human Rights Watch, which has fabricated stories of atrocities allegedly committed by countries targeted by U.S. imperialism. Clearly, unmitigated U.S. imperial aggression did not end with the destruction of the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, nor with the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The post-Cold War years were a continuation of U.S. imperialism's scramble for more spheres of influence and global domination; it was also a scramble for what was left of the former 'Soviet bloc' and Warsaw Pact. The dismantling of Yugoslavia was, figuratively speaking, the 'final nail in the coffin' of whatever 'Soviet influence' was left in Eastern Europe.

The demise of the Soviet Union and the "Afghan trap" question

Image on the right: Left to right: former Afghan President Babrak Karmal, and former Soviet leader Leonid Brezhnev. Karmal took office at around the same time (December 1979) the PDPA requested that Moscow intervene to assist the besieged Afghanistan.

The sabotage and subsequent dissolution of the Soviet Union meant that only one global hegemon remained, and that was the United States. Up until 1989, the Soviet Union had been the barrier that was keeping the United States from launching a more robust military intervention in Afghanistan, as well as in Central and West Asia. While pulling out did not immediately cause the defeat of Kabul as the PDPA government forces continued to struggle for another three years, Mikhail Gorbachev's decision to withdraw Soviet troops arguably had a detrimental impact on Afghanistan for many years to come. Although there was no Soviet military assistance in the last three years of Najibullah's presidency, Afghanistan continued to receive aid from the USSR, and some Soviet military advisers (however limited in their capacity) still remained; despite the extreme difficulties, and combined with the nation's still-relatively high morale, this did at least help to keep the government from being overthrown immediately. This defied U.S. expectations as the CIA and the George H.W. Bush administration had believed that the government of Najibullah would fall as soon as Soviet troops were withdrawn. But what really hurt the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan's army was when the Soviet Union was dismantled in 1991; almost as soon as the dissolution happened and Boris Yeltsin (with U.S. backing) took over as Russia's president, the aid stopped coming and the government forces became unable to hold out for much longer. The U.S. aggression was left unchecked, and to this day Afghanistan has not seen geopolitical stability and has since been a largely impoverished 'failed state', serving as a training ground for terrorist groups such as ISIS and Al Qaeda. It continues to be an anarchic battleground between rival warlords which include the ousted Taliban and the U.S. puppet government that replaced them.

But, as was already mentioned above, the "Afghan trap" did not, in and of itself, cause the dismantling of the Soviet Union. In that same interview with Le Nouvel Observateur , Brzezinski had this to say in response to the question about setting the "trap":

Q: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

[Brzezinski]: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Likewise with Cuba and Syria, the USSR had a well-established alliance with the Democratic Republic of Afghanistan, one of mutual aid and partnership. Answering Kabul's explicit request for assistance was a deliberate and conscious choice made by Moscow, and it just so happened that the majority of Afghans welcomed it. For any errors that Leonid Brezhnev, the General Secretary at the time, may have made (which do deserve a fair amount of criticism, but are not the focus of this article), the 1979 decision to intervene on behalf of Afghanistan against U.S. imperialism was not one of them. It is true that both the Soviet and the U.S. interventions were military interventions, but the key difference is that the U.S. was backing reactionary forces for the purposes of establishing colonial domination and was in clear violation of Afghan sovereignty. Consider, too, that Afghanistan had only deposed of its king in 1973, just six years before the conflict began. The country may have moved quickly to industrialize and modernize, but it wasn't much time to fully develop its military defenses by 1979.

Image below: Mikhail Gorbachev accepts the Nobel Peace Prize from George H.W. Bush on October 15, 1990. Many Russians saw this gesture as a betrayal, while the West celebrated it, because he was being awarded for his capitulation to U.S. imperialism in foreign and economic policy.

United States War Crimes. A Historical Review

Other than that, perhaps it would be more accurate to say that the Soviet Union imploded due to an accumulating number of factors: namely, the gradual steps that U.S. foreign policy had taken over the years to cripple the Soviet economy, especially after the deaths of Brezhnev and Yuri Andropov. How Gorbachev responded during the U.S.-led onslaught against Afghanistan certainly helped to exacerbate the conditions that led to the dissolution. After the deaths of Brezhnev and Andropov, the Soviet Union's economy became disorganized and was being liberalized during much of the 1980s. Not only that, but the Reagan administration escalated the arms race, which intensified after they had scrapped the 'detente' that was previously made in the mid-1970s. Even prior to Reagan's hardline, bombastic rhetoric and escalation against the USSR, the Soviet Union was already beginning to show signs of strain from the arms race during the late-1970s. However, in spite of the economic strains, during the height of the war the organized joint operations between the Soviet army and the Afghan army saw a significant amount of success in pushing back against the Mujahideen with many of the jihadist leaders either being killed or fleeing to Pakistan. Therefore, it is erroneous to say that intervening in Afghanistan on behalf of the Afghan people "did the Soviet Union in."

In a misguided and ultimately failed attempt to spur economic growth rates, Gorbachev moved to end the Cold War by withdrawing military support from allies and pledging cooperation with the United States who promised "peace". When he embraced Neoliberalism and allowed for the USSR to be opened to the U.S.-dominated world capitalist economy, the Soviet economy imploded and the effects were felt by its allies. It was a capitulation to U.S. imperialism, in other words; and it led to disastrous results not only in Afghanistan, but in several other countries as well. These include: the destruction of Yugoslavia, both wars on Iraq, and the 2011 NATO invasion of Libya. Also, Warsaw Pact members in Eastern Europe were no longer able to effectively fight back against U.S.-backed colour revolutions; some of them would eventually be absorbed as NATO members, such as Czechoslovakia which was dissolved and divided into two states: the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Without Soviet Russia to keep it in check, the United States was able to launch an unrestrained series of aggressions for nearly two decades. Because of his decision to withdraw from the arms race altogether, in a vain attempt to transform the Soviet Union into a social democracy akin to those of the Nordic countries, Gorbachev had deprived the Russian army of combat effectiveness by making significant cuts to its defense budget, which is partly why they were forced to evacuate. Not only that, but these diplomatic and military concessions with the United States gave them no benefit in return, hence the economic crisis in Russia during the Yeltsin years. Suffice to say, the Gorbachev-Yeltsin years are not remembered fondly in Russia and many regard Gorbachev as a traitor and Western agent who helped to bring the Soviet Union to its collapse. In more recent years, efforts are being made to assess the actions taken by Gorbachev with regards to Afghanistan; this includes going against and revising the resolution put forth by him which suggested that the USSR intervention was "shameful".

In short, Afghanistan did not cause the Soviet Union's demise even if it required large military spending. More accurately: it was Gorbachev's impulsive decision to quickly discard the planned economy in favour of a market economy in order to appease the United States, who made the false promise that NATO would not expand eastward. If there was a real "trap", it was this and Gorbachev played right into the hands of U.S. imperialism; and so, the Soviet Union received its devastating blow from the United States in the end -- not from a small, minor nation such as Afghanistan which continues to suffer the most from the effects of these past events. For many years, but especially since the end of WWII, the United States made ceaseless efforts to undermine the USSR, adding stress upon stress onto its economy, in addition to the psychological warfare waged through the anti-Soviet propaganda and military threats against it and its allies. Despite any advances made in the past, the Soviet Union's economy was still not as large as that of the United States. And so, in order to keep pace with NATO, the Soviet Union did not have much of a choice but to spend a large percentage of its GDP on its military and on helping to defend its allies, which included national liberation movements in the Third World, because of the very real and significant threat that U.S. imperialism posed. If it had not spent any money militarily, its demise would most likely have happened much sooner. But eventually, these mounting efforts by U.S. imperialism created a circumstance where its leadership under Gorbachev made a lapse in judgment, reacting impulsively and carelessly rather than acting with resilience in spite of the onslaught.

It should also be taken into account that WWII had a profound impact on Soviet leadership -- from Joseph Stalin to Gorbachev -- because even though the Red Army was victorious in defeating the Nazis, the widespread destruction had still placed the Soviet economy under an incredible amount of stress and it needed time to recover. Meanwhile, the convenient geographical location of the United States kept it from suffering the same casualties and infrastructural damage seen across Europe and Asia as a result of the Second World War, which enabled its economy to recover much faster and gave it enough time to eventually develop the U.S. Dollar as the international currency and assert dominance over the world economy. Plus, the U.S. had accumulated two-thirds of the world's gold reserves by 1944 to help back the Dollar; and even if it lost a large amount of the gold, it would still be able to maintain Dollar supremacy by developing the fiat system to back the currency. Because of the destruction seen during WWII, it is understandable that the Soviet Union wanted to avoid another world war, which is why it also made several attempts at achieving some kind of diplomacy with the United States (before Gorbachev outright capitulated). At the same time, it also understood that maintaining its military defenses was important because of the threat of a nuclear war from the United States, which would be much more catastrophic than the Nazis' military assaults against the Soviet Union since Hitler did not have a nuclear arsenal. This was part of a feat that U.S. imperialism was able to accomplish that ultimately overshadowed British, French, German, and Japanese imperialism, which Brzezinski reveals in his book, The Grand Chessboard: American Primacy and its Geostrategic Imperatives : an unparalleled military establishment that, by far, had the most effective global reach which allowed the U.S. to "project forces over long distances", helping it to assert its global domination and impose its "political will". And what makes the American Empire distinct from the Japanese Empire, British Empire, and other European empires is that one of the bases for its ideology is the socially constructed international hierarchy of nations, and not races as was the case with the other aforementioned empires. This constructed international hierarchy of nations is more effective because it means not only greater expansionism, but also the greater ability to exercise global primacy and supremacy. More specific to Central Asia and the Middle East, the Wahhabist and Salafist groups propped up by the CIA were always intended to nurture sectarianism and discord in order to counter a mass, broad-based united front of nations against imperialism -- an example of divide-and-conquer, which is an age-old tradition of empire, except this time with Neoliberal characteristics.

Therefore, the Mujahideen against Afghanistan should not be thought of simply as "the Afghan trap", but rather as the U.S. subjugation and plundering of West and Central Asia and an important milestone (albeit a cynical one) in shaping its foreign policy with regards to the region for many years to come. If one thing has remained a constant in U.S. foreign policy towards West and Central Asia, it is its strategic partnership with the oil autocracy of Saudi Arabia, which acts as the United States' steward in safeguarding the profits of American petroleum corporations and actively assists Western powers in crushing secular Arab and Central Asian nationalist resistance against imperialism. The Saudi monarchy would again be called on by the U.S. government in 2011 in Syria to assist in the repeated formula of funding and arming so-called "moderate rebels" in the efforts to destabilize the country. Once again, the ultimate goal in this more recent imperial venture is to contain Russia.

Cold War 2.0? American Supremacy marches on

The present-day anti-Russia hysteria is reminiscent of the anti-Soviet propaganda of the Cold War era; while anti-communism is not the central theme today, one thing remains the same: the fact that the U.S. Empire is (once again) facing a formidable challenge to its position in the world. After the Yeltsin years were over, and under Vladimir Putin, Russia's economy eventually recovered and moved towards a more dirigiste economy; and on top of that, it moved away from the NATO fold, which triggered the old antagonistic relationship with the United States. Russia has also decided to follow the global trend of taking the step towards reducing reliance on the U.S. dollar , which is no doubt a source of annoyance to the U.S. capitalist class. It seems that a third world war in the near future is becoming more likely as the U.S. inches closer to a direct military confrontation against Russia and, more recently, China. History does appear to be repeating itself. When the government of Bashar al Assad called on Moscow for assistance in fighting against the NATO-backed terrorists, it certainly was reminiscent of when the PDPA had done the same many years before. Thus far, the Syrian Arab Republic has continued to withstand the destabilization efforts carried out by the Al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist groups and Kurdish militias at the behest of the United States, and has not collapsed as Libya, Yugoslavia, and Afghanistan did.

But what often gets overlooked is the repeated Brzezinskist formula of funding highly reactionary forces and promoting them as "revolutionaries" to Western audiences in order to fight governments that defy the global dictatorship of the United States and refuse to allow the West to exploit their natural resources and labour power. As Karl Marx once said , "Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past." Such a phenomenon is no accident or a mere mistake. The geopolitical instability that followed after the overthrow of the PDPA ensures that no sound, united, and formidable opposition against U.S. imperialism will emerge for an indefinite number of years; and it seems that Libya, where the Brzezinskist-style of regime change also saw success and which is now a hotbed for the slave trade, is on the same path as Afghanistan. This is all a part of what Lenin calls moribund capitalism when he discussed the economic essence of imperialism; and by that, he meant that imperialism carries the contradictions of capitalism to the extreme limit . American global monopoly had grown out of U.S. foreign policy, and it should go without saying that the American Empire cannot tolerate losing its Dollar Supremacy, especially when the global rate of profit is falling. And if too many nations reject U.S. efforts to infiltrate their markets and force foreign finance capital exports onto their economies in order to gain a monopoly over the resources, as well as to exploit the labour of their working people, it would surely spell a sharp decline in American Dollar hegemony. The fact that the United States was willing to go as far as to back mercenaries to attack the former Democratic Republic of Afghanistan and fight the Soviet Union, as well as to spend billions of dollars on a highly elaborate but effective propaganda campaign, shows a sign of desperation of the American Empire in maintaining its global hegemony.

Since the end of World War II the United States has been, and is by and large still, the overwhelming world-dominating power. It is true that the American Empire is in decline, in light of increasing trends towards "de-Dollarization," as well as the rise of China and Russia which pose as challenges to U.S. interests. Naturally, Washington will desperately try to cling on to its number one position in the world by accelerating the growth of its global monopolies -- whether it is through placing wholly unnecessary tariffs against competitors such as China, or threatening to completely cut Venezuelan and Iranian oil out of the global market -- even if it means an increasing drive towards World War III. The current global economic order which Washington elites have been instrumental in shaping over the past several decades reflects the interests of the global capitalist class to such an extent that the working class is threatened with yet another world war despite the unimaginable carnage witnessed during the first two.

When we look back at these historical events to help make sense of the present, we see how powerful mass media can be and how it is used as a tool of U.S. foreign policy to manipulate and control public opinion. Foreign policy is about the economic relationships between countries. Key to understanding how U.S. imperialism functions is in its foreign policy and how it carries it out -- which adds up to plundering from relatively small or poorer nations more than a share of wealth and resources that can be normally produced in common commercial exchanges, forcing them to be indebted; and if any of them resist, then they will almost certainly be subjected to military threats.

With the great wealth that allowed it to build a military that can "project forces over long distances," the United States is in a unique position in history, to say the least. However, as we have seen above, the now four decade-long war on Afghanistan was not only fought on a military front considering the psy-ops and the propaganda involved. If anything, the Soviet Union lost on the propaganda front in the end.

From Afghanistan we learn not only of the origins of Al Qaeda, to which the boom in the opioid-addiction epidemic has ties, or why today we have the phenomenon of an anti-Russia Western "left" that parrots imperialist propaganda and seems very eager to see that piece of Cold War history repeat itself in Syria. We also learn that we cannot de-link the events of the 2001 direct U.S. military intervention in Afghanistan and what followed from those of 1979; Afghanistan's colonial-feudal past, its break from that with the 1978 Saur Revolution, and the U.S.-led Mujahideen are all as much of a part of its history (and the Greater Middle East, by extension) as the events of 2001. It cannot be stressed enough that it is those historical conditions, particularly as they relate to U.S. foreign policy, that helped to shape the ongoing conflict today.

Obviously, we cannot undo the past. It is not in the interests of the working class anywhere, in the Global South or in the Global North, to see a third world war happen, as such a war would have catastrophic consequences for everyone -- in fact, it could potentially destroy all of humanity. Building a new and revitalized anti-war movement in the imperialist nations is a given, but it also requires a more sophisticated understanding of U.S. foreign policy. Without historical context, Western mass media will continue to go unchallenged, weaning audiences on a steady diet of "moderate rebels" propaganda and effectively silencing the victims of imperialism. It is necessary to unite workers across the whole world according to their shared interests in order to effectively fight and defeat imperialism and to establish a just, egalitarian, and sustainable world under socialism. Teaching the working class everywhere the real history of such conflicts as the one in Afghanistan is an important part of developing the revolutionary consciousness necessary to build a strong global revolutionary movement against imperialism.

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Originally published by LLCO.org on March 30, 2019. For the full-length article and bibliography, click here .

Janelle Velina is a Toronto-based political analyst, writer, and an editor and frequent contributor for New-Power.org and LLCO.org . She also has a blog at geopoliticaloutlook.blogspot.com .

All images in this article are from the author; featured image: Brzezinski visits Osama bin Laden and other Mujahideen fighters during training. The original source of this article is Global Research Copyright © Janelle Velina , Global Research, 2019

[Apr 24, 2019] The Colossal Failure in Afghanistan

Apr 18, 2019 | viableopposition.blogspot.com

The Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction or SIGAR just released the third edition of its High-Risk List to the 116th Congress of the United States and the Secretaries of both State and Defense. In this report, SIGAR identifies the most serious threats to the American government's $132 billion reconstruction efforts in Afghanistan. This information is of particular interest and importance given that negotiations are currently underway to end the United States' involvement in Afghanistan, involvement that began on October 7, 2001, making this the longest military engagement in American history.
The report opens with this rather sobering summary of the past, present and future in Afghanistan:
" The $132 billion appropriated since 2002 for Afghanistan's reconstruction has been used to train and equip Afghan security forces, strengthen government institutions, promote the rule of law, protect women's rights, improve health and education, and stimulate economic development, among other objectives.
Yet the gains from our nation's investment in Afghanistan's reconstruction face multiple threats: continued insecurity, endemic corruption, weak Afghan institutions, the insidious impact of the narcotics trade, and inadequate coordination and oversight by donors.
While an equitable and sustainable peace agreement in Afghanistan could end much of the violence that presents the greatest threat to the reconstruction effort, a peace agreement may bring its own set of challenges to sustaining the gains that the United States, its Coalition partners, and the Afghan government have achieved over that time ." (my bold)
Here is a listing of the eight current high risk areas:
1.) Widespread Insecurity - whether a peace plan is put into place or not, Afghanistan is likely to continue to experience multiple violent extremist organizations. The Afghan National Defense and Security Forces require annual funding of between $4 billion and $5 billion to remain viable.
2.) Underdeveloped Civil Policing Capability - The United States has spent more effort reconstructing the Afghan National Army than on the Afghan National Police meaning that there is no strategy for a competent civil police force backed by rule of law. Sustaining a national police force will require significant foreign funding.
3.) Endemic Corruption - Corruption is endemic and forms a significant threat to the Afghan government. This means that reconstruction programs will continue to be subverted and are likely to fail. Here is a graphic from Transparency International showing where Afghanistan lies on the global spectrum when it comes to corruption:

Afghanistan has the world's 9th lowest corruption score as shown on this list:

4.) Sluggish Economic Growth - Afghanistan's legal economy is sluggish and there are numerous barriers to further economic growth.
5.) Illicit Narcotics Trade - Afghanistan remains the world's largest producer of opium poppies and had the two highest years of cultivation in 2017 and 2018. Funds from the illicit drug trade fund the Taliban, corrupt members of the Afghan government, military and police and also employ 600,000 Afghanis.
6.) Threats to Women's Rights - More than $1 billion has been spent since 2002 to advance the status of women in Afghanistan but gains made so far are fragile, particularly in rural areas, and are likely to be unprotected should the Taliban be part of a peace settlement.
7.) Challenge of Reintegration - The social, economic and political reintegration of tens of thousands of former fighters back into Afghan society will be difficult, particularly in light of the nation's weak economy and political uncertainty and distrust.
8.) Restricted Oversight - If a peace settlement includes reductions in foreign personnel providing oversight on foreign funded programs, problems in the nation will only increase thanks to high levels of corruption.
Let's look at some examples of where U.S. tax dollars have been spent in Afghanistan. Since 2001, an estimated $780 billion has been appropriated for Afghanistan including war funding, diplomatic and consular programs, military and embassy construction projects etcetera. Of this $738 billion or 95 percent of the total was obligated by the Department of Defense. Reconstruction costs make up 15 percent of total U.S. funds obligated for Afghanistan since 2001 and are broken down as follows:
1.) Security - $83.1 billion (63 percent of the total) to build up Afghan military and police. In fiscal 2019, 82 percent of the funds appropriated for Afghanistan reconstruction were spent on assisting the security sector. The "success" of this program can be put into perspective with this map showing the areas of Afghanistan that are under control of the Taliban, the original target of Operation Enduring Freedom:

2.) Governance and Economic Development - $33.9 billion (26 percent of the total). In fiscal 2018, only 12 percent of the funds appropriated for Afghanistan reconstruction were spent on improving the nation's economy.
3.) Counternarcotics Programs - $8.9 billion (7 percent of the total).
The remaining 4 percent of reconstruction funds have been spent to support civilian operations, humanitarian initiatives and in combating society-wide corruption.
Let's close by looking at a few quotes from the report that show just how dire the situation in Afghanistan still is nearly 18 years after Operation Enduring Freedom began and how unlikely a peace settlement is likely to change the situation on the ground:
1.) Failure to successfully reintegrate an estimated 60,000 Taliban fighters and their families, and other illegal armed groups, could undermine the successful implementation of any peace agreement.
2.) The opium trade plays a significant role in the Afghan economy and it is difficult to see how a peace accord between the Afghan government and the insurgency would translate into the collapse or contraction of the illicit drug trade. The country requires a growing economy or favorable economic conditions to provide farmers and former insurgents with legitimate employment and a reliable income to replace opium poppy cultivation. The Afghan government also needs to pursue major drug traffickers, which it has not done consistently or successfully. According to the Department of Justice, "certain influential people are above the law."
3.) Effective policing will require a force that gives citizens the presumption of innocence rather than anticipating and taking preemptive offensive operations against perceived threats. U.S. agencies, such as the Justice Department, currently lack the personnel numbers and para-military strength to accompany Afghan National Police trainees into high-threat districts.
4.) In a post-settlement environment, depending on the terms of an agreement, there may also be the challenge of integrating former Taliban fighters into the national security forces and society. These issues could become more acute should international financial and military support decline sharply before, during, or after peace talks between the Afghan government and the Taliban.
Let's close this sobering view of Afghanistan's future with an excerpt from the prepared remarks given by the the Special Inspector General for Afghanistan Reconstruction, John F. Sopko that accompanied the release of the report:
" If the U.S. reduces its presence in Afghanistan but feels compelled to provide significant financial support for reconstruction, there may be little choice but to provide a greater proportion of funding as on-budget assistance. But if that road is taken, assistance should be conditioned on an independent finding that adequate monitoring mechanisms and internal controls for the Afghan ministry or multilateral trust fund in question are in place.
If those conditions are lacking and assistance is provided anyway, we may as well set the cash ablaze on the streets of Kabul for all the good it will do.
I urge Congress to not just think about how much money should be given, but also to think about how that money will be provided and monitored. If the need for oversight is ignored or sidelined, both the American taxpayer and the Afghan people will suffer, even with a successful peace agreement." (my bold)
At the very least, it appears that 18 years of war has accomplished almost nothing when it comes to meaningful and permanent changes in Afghanistan despite the spending of hundreds of billions of hard-earned taxpayers' dollars.

[Apr 19, 2019] The USA> creation of political Islam and supporting islamist fighters in Afhanistan created preconditions for the 9/11

So the USA helped to re-install medieval treatment of woman in Afghanistan and then called it progress toward human rights...
Notable quotes:
"... But, yes, 'somebody did something'. You don't need a conspiracy theory, because a conspiracy is a secret agreement to commit a crime, and this crime is right out in the open. Millions of people killed for fun and profit. Not that there weren't other conspiracies as well. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Behind the Omar Outrage Suppressed History of 9-11 By Max Blumenthal

Trump's demagogic ploy with the freshman lawmaker raises the more serious question of who and what led to the "Day of Planes," writes Max Blumenthal.

... ... ...

To effectively puncture Trump's demagogic ploys, the discussion of 9/11 must move beyond a superficial defense of Omar and into an exploration of a critical history that has been suppressed. This history begins at least 20 years before the attacks occurred, when "some people did something." Many of those people served at the highest levels of U.S. government, and the things they did led to the establishment of Al Qaeda as an international network – and ultimately, to 9/11 itself.

Taliban 'Unimportant'

Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly. They put heavy weapons in the hands of Islamist warlords such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, dispatched Salafi clerics such as "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman to the battlefield, and printed millions of dollars worth of textbooks for Afghan children that contained math equations encouraging them to commit acts of violent martyrdom against Soviet soldiers. They did anything they could to wreak havoc on the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

These people were so hellbent on smashing the Soviet Union that they made common cause with the Islamist dictatorship of Pakistan's Zia-ul-Haq and the House of Saud. With direct assistance from the intelligence services of these U.S. allies, Osama bin Laden, the scion of Saudi wealth, set up his Services Bureau on the Afghan border as a waystation for foreign Islamist fighters.

These people even channeled funding to bin Laden so he could build training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border for the so-called freedom fighters of the mujahideen. And they kept watch over a ratline that shepherded young Muslim men from the West to the front lines of the Afghan proxy war, using them as cannon fodder for a cold-blooded, imperial operation marketed by the Wahhabi clergy in Saudi Arabia as a holy obligation.

These people were in the CIA, USAID, and the National Security Council. Others, with names like Charlie Wilson, Jesse Helms, Jack Murtha, and Joe Biden, held seats on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

When they finally got what they wanted, dislodging a secular government that had provided Afghan women with unprecedented access to education, their proxies plunged Afghanistan into a war of the warlords that saw half of Kabul turned to rubble, paving the way for the rise of the Taliban. And these people remained totally unrepentant about the monster they had created.

"Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski, the former NSC director who sold President Jimmy Carter on the Afghan proxy war. "So yes, compared to the Soviet Union, and to its collapse, the Taliban were unimportant."

To some in Washington, the Taliban were a historical footnote. To others, they were allies of convenience. As a top State Department diplomat commented to journalist Ahmed Rashid in February 1997, "The Taliban will probably develop like Saudi Arabia. There be [the Saudi-owned oil company] Aramco, pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that."

CIA Cover-ups and Blowback

Back in the U.S., some people fueled the blowback from the Afghan proxy war. The Blind Sheikh was given a special entry visa by the CIA as payback for the services he provided in Afghanistan, allowing him to take over the al-Kifah Center in New York City, which had functioned as the de facto U.S. arm of Al Qaeda's Services Bureau. Under his watch and with help from bin Laden, some people and lots of aid were shuttled to the front lines of U.S. proxy wars in Bosnia and Chechnya while the Clinton administration generally looked the other way.

Though the Blind Sheikh was eventually convicted in a terror plot contrived by a paid informant for the FBI, some people in federal law enforcement had been reluctant to indict him. "There was a whole issue about [Abdel-Rahman] being given a visa to come into this country and what the circumstances were around that," one of his defense lawyers, Abdeed Jabara told me. "The issue related to how much the government was involved with the jihadist enterprise when it suited their purposes in Afghanistan and whether or not they were afraid there would be exposure of that. Because there's no question that the jihadists were using the Americans and the Americans were using the jihadists. There's a symbiotic relationship."

During the 1995 trial of members of the Blind Sheikh's New York-based cell, another defense lawyer, Roger Stavis, referred to his clients before the jury as "Team America," emphasizing the role they had played as proxy fighters for the U.S. in Afghanistan. When Stavis attempted to summon to the witness stand a jihadist operative named Ali Abdelsauod Mohammed who had trained his clients in firearms and combat, some people ordered Mohammed to refuse his subpoena. Those people, according to journalist Peter Lance, were federal prosecutors Andrew McCarthy and Patrick Fitzgerald.

The government lawyers were apparently fretting that Mohammed would be exposed as an active asset of both the CIA and FBI, and as a former Army sergeant who had spirited training manuals out of Fort Bragg while stationed there during the 1980s. So Mohammed remained a free man, helping Al Qaeda plan attacks on American consular facilities in Tanzania and Kenya while the "Day of the Planes" plot began to take form.

In early 2000, some people gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to prepare the most daring Al Qaeda operation to date. Two figures at the meeting, Saudi citizens named Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, were on their way to the United States. While in Kuala Lumpur, the duo's hotel room was broken into by CIA agents, their passports were photographed, and their communications were recorded. And yet the pair of Al Qaeda operatives was able to travel together with multiple-entry visas on a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles. That's because for some reason, some people from the CIA failed to notify any people at the FBI about the terror summit that had just taken place. The "Day of Planes" plot was moving forward without a kink.

In Los Angeles, some people met Hazmi and Midhar at the airport, provided the two non-English speakers with a personal caretaker and rented them apartments, where neighbors said they were routinely visited each night by unknown figures in expensive cars with darkened windows. Those people were Saudi Arabian intelligence agents named Omar Bayoumi and Khaled al-Thumairy.

Crawford , Texas

It was not until August 2001 that Midhar was placed on a terrorist watch list. That month, some people met at a ranch in Crawford, Texas, and reviewed a classified document headlined, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the US." The bulletin was a page-and-a-half long, with detailed intelligence on the "Day of Planes" plot provided by Ali Mohammed, the Al Qaeda-FBI-CIA triple agent now registered as "John Doe" and disappeared somewhere in the federal prison system. Those people reviewed the document for a few minutes before their boss, President George W. Bush, moved on to other matters.

According to The Washington Post , Bush exhibited an "expansive mood" that day, taking in a round of golf. "We are going to be struck soon, many Americans are going to die, and it could be in the U.S.," CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black warned days later. Bush did not meet with his cabinet heads again to discuss terrorism until Sept. 4.

A week later, on Sept. 11, some people did something.

They hijacked four civilian airliners and changed the course of American history with little more than box cutter blades in their hands. Fifteen of those 19 people, including Hazmi and Midhar, were citizens of Saudi Arabia. They were products of a Wahhabi school system and a politically stultifying society that had thrived under the protection of a special relationship with the U.S. Indeed, the U.S. had showered theocratic allies like Saudi Arabia with aid and weapons while threatening secular Arab states that resisted its hegemony with sanctions and invasion. The Saudis were the favorite Muslims of America's national security elite not because they were moderate, which they absolutely were not, but because they were useful.

In the days after 9/11, the FBI organized several flights to evacuate prominent Saudi families from the U.S., including relatives of Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, Islamophobia erupted across the country, with even mainstream personalities such as TV news anchor Dan Rather taking to the airwaves to claim without evidence that Arab-Americans had celebrated the 9/11 attacks.

Unable to find a single operational Al Qaeda cell in the country, the FBI turned to an army of paid snitches to haul in mentally unstable Muslims, dupes and idlers like the Lackawanna 6 in manufactured plots. Desperate for a high-profile bust to reinforce the "war on terror" narrative, the bureau hounded Palestinian Muslim activists and persecuted prominent Islamic charities like the Holy Land Foundation, sending its directors to prison for decades for the crime of sending aid to NGOs in the occupied Gaza Strip.

As America's national security state cracked down on Muslim civil society at home, it turned to fanatical Islamist proxies abroad to bring down secular and politically independent Arab states. In Libya, the U.S. and UK helped arm the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a longtime affiliate of Al Qaeda, using it as a proxy to depose and murder Muammar Gaddafi. As that country transformed from a stable, prosperous state into an Afghanistan-style playground for rival militias, including a chapter of the Islamic State, the Obama administration moved to do the same to Damascus.

In Syria, the CIA armed an outfit of supposedly "moderate rebels" called the Free Syrian Army that turned out to be nothing more than a political front and weapons farm for an array of extremist insurgent factions including Al Qaeda's local affiliate and the Islamic State. The latter two groups were, of course, products of the sectarian chaos of Iraq, which had been ruled by a secular government until the U.S. came knocking after 9/11.

The blowback from Iraq, Libya and Syria arrived in the form of the worst refugee crises the world has experienced since World War II. And then came the bloodiest terror attack to hit the UK in history – in Manchester. There, the son of a Libyan Islamic Fighting Group member, who traveled to Libya and Syria on an MI6 ratline, slaughtered concert-goers with a nail bomb.

Cataclysmic social disruptions like these were like steroids for right-wing Islamophobes, electrifying Trump's victorious 2016 presidential campaign, a wing of the Brexit "Leave" campaign in the UK, and far-right parties across Europe. But as I explain in "The Management of Savagery," these terrifying trends were byproducts of decisions undertaken by national security elites more closely aligned with the political center – figures who today attempt to position themselves as leaders of the anti-Trump resistance.

Which people did which things to drag us into the political nightmare we're living through? For those willing to cut through the campaign season bluster, Ilhan Omar's comments dare us to name names.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling " Republican Gomorrah ," " Goliath ," " The Fifty One Day War " and " The Management of Savagery ," published in March 2019 by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including " Killing Gaza " and " Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie ." Blumenthal founded the Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America's state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions. 36 comments for "Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of 9/11"


Jeff Harrison , April 19, 2019 at 11:24

The US doesn't seem to have the ability to see ourselves as others see us. This explains why we don't understand why other countries/peoples react badly towards us. This will get worse as we move into a more imperialistic mode. We continue to use the anachronistic phrase "leader of the free world" all the while missing out on the fact that the rest of the world has, in essence, become free and they, for the most part, don't want us leading them.

bill haymes , April 19, 2019 at 05:20

everyone who has not examined ALL THE EVIDENCE of 9/11 WITH AN OPEN MIND is imo simply whistling in the wind

Anarcissie , April 19, 2019 at 11:12

I suppose, then, that that would mean going back to the earliest days of the 20th century, when the British leadership, considering that its future navy, a main pillar of its empire, would have to be fueled with oil instead of coal, and that there was a lot of oil in the Middle East, began its imperial projects there, which of course involved wars, police, spies, economic blackmail, and other tools of empire. The US seized or wangled or inherited the imperial system from the British and thus acquired the associated regional, ethnic, and religious hostilities as well. Since the Arabs and other Muslims were weak compared with the Great Powers, resistance meant terrorism and guerrilla warfare on one side and massive intervention and the support of local strongmen, Mafia bosses, dictators, and so on on the other.

After 9/11. mentioning this important fact became 'justifying bin Laden' or 'spitting on the graves of the dead' so you couldn't talk about it.

But, yes, 'somebody did something'. You don't need a conspiracy theory, because a conspiracy is a secret agreement to commit a crime, and this crime is right out in the open. Millions of people killed for fun and profit. Not that there weren't other conspiracies as well.

Abe , April 18, 2019 at 23:23

Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of the pro-Israel Lobby

Max Blumenthal's article and his 2019 book, The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (2019), is an impressive exercise in burying the leads.

Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel."

frank scott , April 18, 2019 at 22:55

i really like her and support her but if she just had the good sense to have simply said "some people did something terrible" none of the present chapter of "islamophobia" would be acted out..no matter how much we think we know about the real truth(?) what happened that day did not blow up the white house, congress or the ruling class of america but nearly three thousand pretty ordinary folks yes, just like what "we" do repeatedly, but nevertheless, and considering the overwhelming mind fuck that went on with replaying the tragedy on tv for days so that millions across the nation were put in shock, we need to be just a little more considerate and possibly understanding both about how many people might feel and how some people might use any opportunity to perform this second rate islamophobia, which is a tiny fractional form of the original monstrous behavior that has destroyed nations, governments and millions of people in the islamic world..that is islamophobia, not the reactionary crap that passes for it which should be as understandable – under the circumstances – as terrorism!

Zhu , April 18, 2019 at 22:32

It should have been obvious that our government had made enemies around the world & that some would attempt revenge some day. Instead, we all thought that what we did to other people could never happen to us.

Joe Tedesky , April 18, 2019 at 21:41

This is a must read for the skeptics who doubt any questioning of the official 9/11 Commission Report. This investigative reporting by Max Blumenthal is another good reason to read the Consortium.

hetro , April 18, 2019 at 17:18

Max Blumenthal's emphasis on "somebody did something" in echo to Ilhan Omar's comments, plus his emphasis on what has been "suppressed," will hopefully lead on to further disclosures of what took place for the 9/11 event.

Anyone who watches the Omar video will see she is mainly emphasizing a disgraceful demonizing of Muslims in general. Additionally, what has brought on all the hatred to her, she did not speak with the "quasi-theological understanding" that demands the official narrative, with hushed tones, while speaking of the event:

Max Blumenthal above:

". . . by reinforcing the quasi-theological understanding of 9/11 that leaves anti-Muslim narratives unchallenged. "The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence," insisted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

It would be a fine thing for CN, despite Mr. Parry's former reservations, to open up enquiry into further discussion of what has been "suppressed"–or at the very least to the very serious questions that have not yet been answered on that horrible day.

OlyaPola , April 18, 2019 at 14:17

"Trump's demagogic ploy with the freshman lawmaker raises the more serious question of who and what led to the "Day of Planes," writes Max Blumenthal."

All processes of suppression tend to spread that which is being suppresed facilitating de-suppression of much that is being suppressed leaving a residual.

Framing and access to sources may continue the lack of perception of this residual and hence facilitate misrepresentation through ommission.

"Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly."

Restriction of frame is a tool of obfuscation and choice of point of initiation a tool of misrepresentation.

During the early 1970's due to internal factors primarily but not wholly in the period of 1964 to 1970, the Politburo of the Soviet Union agreed detente on the bases of spheres of influence with the United States of America facilitating the creation of a greater assay of and reliance upon the US dollar fiat currency, further butressed by commodity arrangements including but not restricted to the petro-dollar, in part to underpin the United States of America economic recovery including recovering their control over their perceived threats within their sphere of influence, particularly but not exclusively Japan.

In reaction/attempt at circumvention in 1973 Mitsui-Mitsubishi representing the zaibatsu sought to jointly develop the Trans-Siberian railway, the port of Nahodka and other industrial options including in Japan primarily in Northern Honshu and in Hokkaido with the Soviet Union but this project was terminated by the Politburo, the reason given being potential threats from China after confrontation including on the Amur and the need to build BAM (Baikal-Amur Railway) to the north of the Trans-Siberian Railway – the projects rejected were ancestor of the present OBOR project with differing participants re-explored from 1993 onwards.

These opportunities and trajectories in the 1970's were explained to the Politburo in the 1970's but rejected by the Politburo.

The Soviet Union was invited into Afghanistan by the Afghani government and hence never "invaded" Afghanistan.

The Politburo accepted the invitation of the Afghani government despite the advice of those practiced in strategic evaluation – the illusion that the Politburo was practiced in strategic evaluation endured in an ideological half-life post August 1968 but increasingly was ignored in practice.

During the 1970's there was an oscillating aspect of contrariness and attempt to regain perceived control in many of the decision of the Politburo led by the man who loved medals and awards Mr. Brezhnev.

Consequently the Politburo and the Soviet Union was complicit in facilitating opportunities for " Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly."

However the targets of these operations were not restricted to the Soviet Union but included as part of an ongoing "strategy" "to underpin the United States of America economic recovery/maintainence including recovering/maintaining their control over their perceived threats within their sphere of influence, particularly but not exclusively Japan." and the location of these efforts were chosen the middle of Central Asia in reaction to experiences in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Israel post 1973.

The above are necessarily thumbnails in confirmation and extension of the not widely perceived causation/facilitation/ history/trajectories/time horizons which may aid perception, as may testing the hypotheses that Ms. Omar is being attacked for challenging myth irrespective of which myth she attempts to challenge.

[Apr 19, 2019] US creation of political Islam and supporting islamist fighters in Afhanistan created preconditions for the 9/11

Notable quotes:
"... But, yes, 'somebody did something'. You don't need a conspiracy theory, because a conspiracy is a secret agreement to commit a crime, and this crime is right out in the open. Millions of people killed for fun and profit. Not that there weren't other conspiracies as well. ..."
Apr 18, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Behind the Omar Outrage Suppressed History of 9-11 By Max Blumenthal

Trump's demagogic ploy with the freshman lawmaker raises the more serious question of who and what led to the "Day of Planes," writes Max Blumenthal.

... ... ...

To effectively puncture Trump's demagogic ploys, the discussion of 9/11 must move beyond a superficial defense of Omar and into an exploration of a critical history that has been suppressed. This history begins at least 20 years before the attacks occurred, when "some people did something." Many of those people served at the highest levels of U.S. government, and the things they did led to the establishment of Al Qaeda as an international network – and ultimately, to 9/11 itself.

Taliban 'Unimportant'

Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly. They put heavy weapons in the hands of Islamist warlords such as Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, dispatched Salafi clerics such as "Blind Sheikh" Omar Abdel Rahman to the battlefield, and printed millions of dollars worth of textbooks for Afghan children that contained math equations encouraging them to commit acts of violent martyrdom against Soviet soldiers. They did anything they could to wreak havoc on the Soviet-backed government in Kabul.

These people were so hellbent on smashing the Soviet Union that they made common cause with the Islamist dictatorship of Pakistan's Zia-ul-Haq and the House of Saud. With direct assistance from the intelligence services of these U.S. allies, Osama bin Laden, the scion of Saudi wealth, set up his Services Bureau on the Afghan border as a waystation for foreign Islamist fighters.

These people even channeled funding to bin Laden so he could build training camps along the Afghan-Pakistan border for the so-called freedom fighters of the mujahideen. And they kept watch over a ratline that shepherded young Muslim men from the West to the front lines of the Afghan proxy war, using them as cannon fodder for a cold-blooded, imperial operation marketed by the Wahhabi clergy in Saudi Arabia as a holy obligation.

These people were in the CIA, USAID, and the National Security Council. Others, with names like Charlie Wilson, Jesse Helms, Jack Murtha, and Joe Biden, held seats on both sides of the aisle in Congress.

When they finally got what they wanted, dislodging a secular government that had provided Afghan women with unprecedented access to education, their proxies plunged Afghanistan into a war of the warlords that saw half of Kabul turned to rubble, paving the way for the rise of the Taliban. And these people remained totally unrepentant about the monster they had created.

"Can you imagine what the world would be like today if there was still a Soviet Union?" remarked Zbigniew Bzezinski, the former NSC director who sold President Jimmy Carter on the Afghan proxy war. "So yes, compared to the Soviet Union, and to its collapse, the Taliban were unimportant."

To some in Washington, the Taliban were a historical footnote. To others, they were allies of convenience. As a top State Department diplomat commented to journalist Ahmed Rashid in February 1997, "The Taliban will probably develop like Saudi Arabia. There be [the Saudi-owned oil company] Aramco, pipelines, an emir, no parliament and lots of Sharia law. We can live with that."

CIA Cover-ups and Blowback

Back in the U.S., some people fueled the blowback from the Afghan proxy war. The Blind Sheikh was given a special entry visa by the CIA as payback for the services he provided in Afghanistan, allowing him to take over the al-Kifah Center in New York City, which had functioned as the de facto U.S. arm of Al Qaeda's Services Bureau. Under his watch and with help from bin Laden, some people and lots of aid were shuttled to the front lines of U.S. proxy wars in Bosnia and Chechnya while the Clinton administration generally looked the other way.

Though the Blind Sheikh was eventually convicted in a terror plot contrived by a paid informant for the FBI, some people in federal law enforcement had been reluctant to indict him. "There was a whole issue about [Abdel-Rahman] being given a visa to come into this country and what the circumstances were around that," one of his defense lawyers, Abdeed Jabara told me. "The issue related to how much the government was involved with the jihadist enterprise when it suited their purposes in Afghanistan and whether or not they were afraid there would be exposure of that. Because there's no question that the jihadists were using the Americans and the Americans were using the jihadists. There's a symbiotic relationship."

During the 1995 trial of members of the Blind Sheikh's New York-based cell, another defense lawyer, Roger Stavis, referred to his clients before the jury as "Team America," emphasizing the role they had played as proxy fighters for the U.S. in Afghanistan. When Stavis attempted to summon to the witness stand a jihadist operative named Ali Abdelsauod Mohammed who had trained his clients in firearms and combat, some people ordered Mohammed to refuse his subpoena. Those people, according to journalist Peter Lance, were federal prosecutors Andrew McCarthy and Patrick Fitzgerald.

The government lawyers were apparently fretting that Mohammed would be exposed as an active asset of both the CIA and FBI, and as a former Army sergeant who had spirited training manuals out of Fort Bragg while stationed there during the 1980s. So Mohammed remained a free man, helping Al Qaeda plan attacks on American consular facilities in Tanzania and Kenya while the "Day of the Planes" plot began to take form.

In early 2000, some people gathered in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to prepare the most daring Al Qaeda operation to date. Two figures at the meeting, Saudi citizens named Nawaf al-Hazmi and Khalid al-Midhar, were on their way to the United States. While in Kuala Lumpur, the duo's hotel room was broken into by CIA agents, their passports were photographed, and their communications were recorded. And yet the pair of Al Qaeda operatives was able to travel together with multiple-entry visas on a direct flight from Kuala Lumpur to Los Angeles. That's because for some reason, some people from the CIA failed to notify any people at the FBI about the terror summit that had just taken place. The "Day of Planes" plot was moving forward without a kink.

In Los Angeles, some people met Hazmi and Midhar at the airport, provided the two non-English speakers with a personal caretaker and rented them apartments, where neighbors said they were routinely visited each night by unknown figures in expensive cars with darkened windows. Those people were Saudi Arabian intelligence agents named Omar Bayoumi and Khaled al-Thumairy.

Crawford , Texas

It was not until August 2001 that Midhar was placed on a terrorist watch list. That month, some people met at a ranch in Crawford, Texas, and reviewed a classified document headlined, "Bin Laden Determined to Strike Inside the US." The bulletin was a page-and-a-half long, with detailed intelligence on the "Day of Planes" plot provided by Ali Mohammed, the Al Qaeda-FBI-CIA triple agent now registered as "John Doe" and disappeared somewhere in the federal prison system. Those people reviewed the document for a few minutes before their boss, President George W. Bush, moved on to other matters.

According to The Washington Post , Bush exhibited an "expansive mood" that day, taking in a round of golf. "We are going to be struck soon, many Americans are going to die, and it could be in the U.S.," CIA counterterrorism chief Cofer Black warned days later. Bush did not meet with his cabinet heads again to discuss terrorism until Sept. 4.

A week later, on Sept. 11, some people did something.

They hijacked four civilian airliners and changed the course of American history with little more than box cutter blades in their hands. Fifteen of those 19 people, including Hazmi and Midhar, were citizens of Saudi Arabia. They were products of a Wahhabi school system and a politically stultifying society that had thrived under the protection of a special relationship with the U.S. Indeed, the U.S. had showered theocratic allies like Saudi Arabia with aid and weapons while threatening secular Arab states that resisted its hegemony with sanctions and invasion. The Saudis were the favorite Muslims of America's national security elite not because they were moderate, which they absolutely were not, but because they were useful.

In the days after 9/11, the FBI organized several flights to evacuate prominent Saudi families from the U.S., including relatives of Osama bin Laden. Meanwhile, Islamophobia erupted across the country, with even mainstream personalities such as TV news anchor Dan Rather taking to the airwaves to claim without evidence that Arab-Americans had celebrated the 9/11 attacks.

Unable to find a single operational Al Qaeda cell in the country, the FBI turned to an army of paid snitches to haul in mentally unstable Muslims, dupes and idlers like the Lackawanna 6 in manufactured plots. Desperate for a high-profile bust to reinforce the "war on terror" narrative, the bureau hounded Palestinian Muslim activists and persecuted prominent Islamic charities like the Holy Land Foundation, sending its directors to prison for decades for the crime of sending aid to NGOs in the occupied Gaza Strip.

As America's national security state cracked down on Muslim civil society at home, it turned to fanatical Islamist proxies abroad to bring down secular and politically independent Arab states. In Libya, the U.S. and UK helped arm the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group, a longtime affiliate of Al Qaeda, using it as a proxy to depose and murder Muammar Gaddafi. As that country transformed from a stable, prosperous state into an Afghanistan-style playground for rival militias, including a chapter of the Islamic State, the Obama administration moved to do the same to Damascus.

In Syria, the CIA armed an outfit of supposedly "moderate rebels" called the Free Syrian Army that turned out to be nothing more than a political front and weapons farm for an array of extremist insurgent factions including Al Qaeda's local affiliate and the Islamic State. The latter two groups were, of course, products of the sectarian chaos of Iraq, which had been ruled by a secular government until the U.S. came knocking after 9/11.

The blowback from Iraq, Libya and Syria arrived in the form of the worst refugee crises the world has experienced since World War II. And then came the bloodiest terror attack to hit the UK in history – in Manchester. There, the son of a Libyan Islamic Fighting Group member, who traveled to Libya and Syria on an MI6 ratline, slaughtered concert-goers with a nail bomb.

Cataclysmic social disruptions like these were like steroids for right-wing Islamophobes, electrifying Trump's victorious 2016 presidential campaign, a wing of the Brexit "Leave" campaign in the UK, and far-right parties across Europe. But as I explain in "The Management of Savagery," these terrifying trends were byproducts of decisions undertaken by national security elites more closely aligned with the political center – figures who today attempt to position themselves as leaders of the anti-Trump resistance.

Which people did which things to drag us into the political nightmare we're living through? For those willing to cut through the campaign season bluster, Ilhan Omar's comments dare us to name names.

Max Blumenthal is an award-winning journalist and the author of books including best-selling " Republican Gomorrah ," " Goliath ," " The Fifty One Day War " and " The Management of Savagery ," published in March 2019 by Verso. He has also produced numerous print articles for an array of publications, many video reports and several documentaries including " Killing Gaza " and " Je Ne Suis Pas Charlie ." Blumenthal founded the Grayzone in 2015 to shine a journalistic light on America's state of perpetual war and its dangerous domestic repercussions. 36 comments for "Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of 9/11"


Jeff Harrison , April 19, 2019 at 11:24

The US doesn't seem to have the ability to see ourselves as others see us. This explains why we don't understand why other countries/peoples react badly towards us. This will get worse as we move into a more imperialistic mode. We continue to use the anachronistic phrase "leader of the free world" all the while missing out on the fact that the rest of the world has, in essence, become free and they, for the most part, don't want us leading them.

bill haymes , April 19, 2019 at 05:20

everyone who has not examined ALL THE EVIDENCE of 9/11 WITH AN OPEN MIND is imo simply whistling in the wind

Anarcissie , April 19, 2019 at 11:12

I suppose, then, that that would mean going back to the earliest days of the 20th century, when the British leadership, considering that its future navy, a main pillar of its empire, would have to be fueled with oil instead of coal, and that there was a lot of oil in the Middle East, began its imperial projects there, which of course involved wars, police, spies, economic blackmail, and other tools of empire. The US seized or wangled or inherited the imperial system from the British and thus acquired the associated regional, ethnic, and religious hostilities as well. Since the Arabs and other Muslims were weak compared with the Great Powers, resistance meant terrorism and guerrilla warfare on one side and massive intervention and the support of local strongmen, Mafia bosses, dictators, and so on on the other.

After 9/11. mentioning this important fact became 'justifying bin Laden' or 'spitting on the graves of the dead' so you couldn't talk about it.

But, yes, 'somebody did something'. You don't need a conspiracy theory, because a conspiracy is a secret agreement to commit a crime, and this crime is right out in the open. Millions of people killed for fun and profit. Not that there weren't other conspiracies as well.

Abe , April 18, 2019 at 23:23

Behind the Omar Outrage: Suppressed History of the pro-Israel Lobby

Max Blumenthal's article and his 2019 book, The Management of Savagery: How America's National Security State Fueled the Rise of Al Qaeda, ISIS, and Donald Trump (2019), is an impressive exercise in burying the leads.

Blumenthal does chronicle a decades-long panoply of active measures by numerous pro-Israel Lobby figures, groups and think tanks. Yet he fails to explicitly recognize the connection between pro-Israel Lobby efforts and the covert operations and overt invasions of America's national security state.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks was more explicit. Assange named the "country that has interfered in U.S. elections, has endangered Americans living or working overseas and has corrupted America's legislative and executive branches. It has exploited that corruption to initiate legislation favorable to itself, has promoted unnecessary and unwinnable wars and has stolen American technology and military secrets. Its ready access to the mainstream media to spread its own propaganda provides it with cover for its actions and it accomplishes all that and more through the agency of a powerful and well-funded domestic lobby [ ] That country is, of course, Israel."

frank scott , April 18, 2019 at 22:55

i really like her and support her but if she just had the good sense to have simply said "some people did something terrible" none of the present chapter of "islamophobia" would be acted out..no matter how much we think we know about the real truth(?) what happened that day did not blow up the white house, congress or the ruling class of america but nearly three thousand pretty ordinary folks yes, just like what "we" do repeatedly, but nevertheless, and considering the overwhelming mind fuck that went on with replaying the tragedy on tv for days so that millions across the nation were put in shock, we need to be just a little more considerate and possibly understanding both about how many people might feel and how some people might use any opportunity to perform this second rate islamophobia, which is a tiny fractional form of the original monstrous behavior that has destroyed nations, governments and millions of people in the islamic world..that is islamophobia, not the reactionary crap that passes for it which should be as understandable – under the circumstances – as terrorism!

Zhu , April 18, 2019 at 22:32

It should have been obvious that our government had made enemies around the world & that some would attempt revenge some day. Instead, we all thought that what we did to other people could never happen to us.

Joe Tedesky , April 18, 2019 at 21:41

This is a must read for the skeptics who doubt any questioning of the official 9/11 Commission Report. This investigative reporting by Max Blumenthal is another good reason to read the Consortium.

hetro , April 18, 2019 at 17:18

Max Blumenthal's emphasis on "somebody did something" in echo to Ilhan Omar's comments, plus his emphasis on what has been "suppressed," will hopefully lead on to further disclosures of what took place for the 9/11 event.

Anyone who watches the Omar video will see she is mainly emphasizing a disgraceful demonizing of Muslims in general. Additionally, what has brought on all the hatred to her, she did not speak with the "quasi-theological understanding" that demands the official narrative, with hushed tones, while speaking of the event:

Max Blumenthal above:

". . . by reinforcing the quasi-theological understanding of 9/11 that leaves anti-Muslim narratives unchallenged. "The memory of 9/11 is sacred ground, and any discussion of it must be done with reverence," insisted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi."

It would be a fine thing for CN, despite Mr. Parry's former reservations, to open up enquiry into further discussion of what has been "suppressed"–or at the very least to the very serious questions that have not yet been answered on that horrible day.

OlyaPola , April 18, 2019 at 14:17

"Trump's demagogic ploy with the freshman lawmaker raises the more serious question of who and what led to the "Day of Planes," writes Max Blumenthal."

All processes of suppression tend to spread that which is being suppresed facilitating de-suppression of much that is being suppressed leaving a residual.

Framing and access to sources may continue the lack of perception of this residual and hence facilitate misrepresentation through ommission.

"Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly."

Restriction of frame is a tool of obfuscation and choice of point of initiation a tool of misrepresentation.

During the early 1970's due to internal factors primarily but not wholly in the period of 1964 to 1970, the Politburo of the Soviet Union agreed detente on the bases of spheres of influence with the United States of America facilitating the creation of a greater assay of and reliance upon the US dollar fiat currency, further butressed by commodity arrangements including but not restricted to the petro-dollar, in part to underpin the United States of America economic recovery including recovering their control over their perceived threats within their sphere of influence, particularly but not exclusively Japan.

In reaction/attempt at circumvention in 1973 Mitsui-Mitsubishi representing the zaibatsu sought to jointly develop the Trans-Siberian railway, the port of Nahodka and other industrial options including in Japan primarily in Northern Honshu and in Hokkaido with the Soviet Union but this project was terminated by the Politburo, the reason given being potential threats from China after confrontation including on the Amur and the need to build BAM (Baikal-Amur Railway) to the north of the Trans-Siberian Railway – the projects rejected were ancestor of the present OBOR project with differing participants re-explored from 1993 onwards.

These opportunities and trajectories in the 1970's were explained to the Politburo in the 1970's but rejected by the Politburo.

The Soviet Union was invited into Afghanistan by the Afghani government and hence never "invaded" Afghanistan.

The Politburo accepted the invitation of the Afghani government despite the advice of those practiced in strategic evaluation – the illusion that the Politburo was practiced in strategic evaluation endured in an ideological half-life post August 1968 but increasingly was ignored in practice.

During the 1970's there was an oscillating aspect of contrariness and attempt to regain perceived control in many of the decision of the Politburo led by the man who loved medals and awards Mr. Brezhnev.

Consequently the Politburo and the Soviet Union was complicit in facilitating opportunities for " Back in 1979, some people initiated a multi-billion-dollar covert operation to trap the Red Army in Afghanistan and bleed the Soviet Union at its soft underbelly."

However the targets of these operations were not restricted to the Soviet Union but included as part of an ongoing "strategy" "to underpin the United States of America economic recovery/maintainence including recovering/maintaining their control over their perceived threats within their sphere of influence, particularly but not exclusively Japan." and the location of these efforts were chosen the middle of Central Asia in reaction to experiences in Vietnam, Saudi Arabia and Israel post 1973.

The above are necessarily thumbnails in confirmation and extension of the not widely perceived causation/facilitation/ history/trajectories/time horizons which may aid perception, as may testing the hypotheses that Ms. Omar is being attacked for challenging myth irrespective of which myth she attempts to challenge.

[Apr 15, 2019] I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military

Highly recommended!
Apr 15, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

Adam E, says: April 14, 2019 at 8:50 am

Just a cynical take, but implying that there are lessons to be learned from previous or present wars that should keep us from engaging in future wars presumes that the goal is to, where possible, actually avoid war.

It also suggests a convenient, simplistic narrative that the military/DOD is incompetent and stupid, and unable to learn from previous engagements.

I wonder if the Middle East is nothing more than a live-fire laboratory for the military; if it seems as though there is no plan, no objective, no victory for these engagements, maybe that is because the only objectives and victory are to provide practical war training for our troops, test equipment and tactics, keep defense contractors employed and the Pentagon's budget inflated, and to project power and provide a convenient excuse for proximity to our 'real' enemies.

Draping these actions under a pretense of spreading 'peace and democracy' is just a pretense and, as we can see by our track record, has nothing to do with actual victory. "Victory", depending on who you ask, is measured in years of engagement and dollars spent, period.

And because it is primarily taking place in the far away and poorly understood Middle East, it is never going to be enough of an issue with voters for politicians to have to seriously contend with.

WJ , says: April 14, 2019 at 9:13 am
This person is a crybaby. At 49 he went to a war that most rational people knew already, was an immoral, illegal waste of people, time and money. But now he wants to whine about PTSD. I have the same opinion about most soldiers who fought there also. Nobody made them volunteer for that junk war so quit whining when things get a little hard

[Mar 11, 2019] Anyone remember Mullah Omar

Notable quotes:
"... That 93% of all personnel that are employed by the CIA are paper pushers in Langley and just 7% are in the field, of which I read sometime ago, has a ring of truth to me. ..."
Mar 11, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

David , Mar 10, 2019 2:18:10 PM | link

Anyone remember Mullah Omar, the deceased leader of the Taliban? The U.S. military and intelligence services claimed over and over again that he was hiding in Pakistan. Bette Dam finds (pdf) that he wasn't:
After 2001, Mullah Omar never stepped foot in Pakistan, instead opting to hide in his native land -- and for eight years, lived just a few miles from a major U.S. Forward Operating Base that housed thousands of soldiers.

In late 2001, after the U.S. invasion, Mullah Omar resigned as leader of the Taliban and the movement officially surrendered to Hamid Karzai who promised them reconciliation. The U.S. did not like that and launched a vengeful campaign against all former Taliban member. Eighteen years later the U.S. is suing for peace.

Mullah Omar lived quietly, meditated and studied religious text. Allah remarked on his death:

On April 23, 2013, Mullah Omar passed away. That day, Jabbar Omari told me, the hot, dry lands of southern Afghanistan experienced something he'd never seen before: a hail storm. I assumed it was hagiographic bluster, but later I found a U.S. army publication referring to that day: "More than 80 Task Force Falcon helicopters were damaged when a sudden unprecedented hailstorm hit Kandahar Airfield April 23, where nearly half of the brigade's helicopters were parked."
The fact that Mullah Omar's death was suppressed for two years even from high-level official sources, indicates to me that the theory bin Laden died in 2001 is very plausible. We even have a similar progression of statements regarding their respective health, doubts of whether they were alive at the respective time, etc.

Of course, both terror leaders were kept "alive" for geopolitical reasons. Once ISIS (and later Russia/China) took over as a serious threat in the corporate media narrative, they no longer had to cling to those old phantoms.

Jose Garcia , Mar 10, 2019 2:38:46 PM | link

The story on Omar is astonishing, but to me not surprising. If the US spends billions on finding one guy, and at the end of the day, he is literally just down the road, it shows how incompetent and useless our intelligence gathering has become.

That 93% of all personnel that are employed by the CIA are paper pushers in Langley and just 7% are in the field, of which I read sometime ago, has a ring of truth to me.

Stupidity has a firm grip on our rulers, and they are getting, not only us but many others, killed for absolutely no reason. And the dunces called the American voter, keep re-electing them. It leaves me breathless.

[Mar 07, 2019] Sens. Paul and Udall Introduce Legislation to End War in Afghanistan

Mar 07, 2019 | paul.senate.gov

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE :
March 5, 2019
Contact: Press@paul.senate.gov, 202-224-4343
news_pressoffice@tomudall.senate.gov, 202-228-6870

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee members Rand Paul (R-KY) and Tom Udall (D-NM) introduced the 2019 American Forces Going Home After Noble (AFGHAN) Service Act to end America's longest war, honor the volunteers who bravely serve our nation by providing bonuses to those who have deployed in support of the Global War on Terrorism, and redirect the savings from ending nation-building in Afghanistan to America's needs at home.

Though American troops achieved what they were sent to carry out in October 2001, the mission shift to nation-building has kept our forces in Afghanistan over 17 years later. Over 2,300 military members have sacrificed their lives in the war, with another 20,000 wounded in action. In addition, the Afghanistan war has cost the United States $2 trillion, with the war currently costing over $51 billion a year.

"Endless war weakens our national security, robs this and future generations through skyrocketing debt, and creates more enemies to threaten us. For over 17 years, our soldiers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them in Afghanistan. It is time to declare the victory we achieved long ago, bring them home, and put America's needs first," said Sen. Paul .

"Soon, U.S. service members will begin deploying to Afghanistan to fight in a war that began before they were born. As we face this watershed moment, it's past time to change our approach to the longest war in our country's history," said Sen. Udall . "Our armed forces in Afghanistan, including many from New Mexico, have served with exceptional valor and effectiveness in the face of extraordinary challenges. After expelling the Taliban from power and dismantling Al Qaeda's base of power in Afghanistan, they enabled a new Afghan government to be formed while also eliminating Osama Bin Laden. But it is Congress that has failed to conduct the proper oversight of this nearly 18-year war. Now, we must step up, and listen to the American people -- who rightly question the wisdom of such endless wars. This bipartisan resolution would bring our troops home at long last, while implementing a framework for reconciliation."

The 2019 AFGHAN Service Act

• Declares victory in Afghanistan. The masterminds of the 9/11 attack are no longer capable of carrying out such an attack from Afghanistan. Osama bin Laden was killed in 2011, and Al Qaeda has been all but eliminated from Afghanistan.

• Pays, within one year, a $2,500 bonus to all members of the military who have served in the Global War on Terrorism. Since 2001, more than 3,002,635 men and women have deployed overseas in support of this effort. This would be a one-time cost of approximately $7 billion and an immediate savings of over 83% when compared to the current yearly costs. The $51 billion a year can be redirected to domestic priorities.


• Additionally, there is precedent for service bonuses going back to the Revolutionary War.


• Sets guidelines for withdrawal. Within 45 days, a plan will be formulated for an orderly withdrawal and turnover of facilities to the Afghan Government, while also setting a framework for political reconciliation to be implemented by Afghans in accordance with the Afghan Constitution. Within a year, all U.S. forces will be withdrawn from Afghanistan.


• At the completion of withdrawal, the 2001 AUMF will be repealed.


You can read the entire 2019 AFGHAN Service Act below:

[Mar 02, 2019] According to recently declassified documents of the White House, CIA and State Department as reported by Tim Weiner for The Washington Post, the CIA was aiding Afghan jihadists before the Soviets invaded in 1979

Mar 02, 2019 | consortiumnews.com

Brian James , February 21, 2019 at 5:03 pm

Never believe the CIA. Ever! January 26, 2019 CIA Was Aiding Jihadists Before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan

According to recently declassified documents of the White House, CIA and State Department as reported by Tim Weiner for The Washington Post, the CIA was aiding Afghan jihadists before the Soviets invaded in 1979. The then American President Jimmy Carter signed the CIA directive to arm the Afghan jihadists in July 1979, whereas the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December the same year.

Author Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan's security agencies which nurtured the Afghan so-called "mujahideen" (freedom fighters) on the behest of Washington.

https://www.veteranstoday.com/2019/01/26/cia-was-aid

tina , February 21, 2019 at 10:01 pm

what you say is true and correct. Fast forward to 2019. I never thought I would have to believe those "authorities" or organizations to stop our own president. How far down the rabbit hole we are. Keep it up . I should mention that consortium news was one of the sites that was hit by a barrage of not true things. Do you remember KIllary Shillary, world war 3 on this website? That is when I stopped. No defence of Ms Clinton, but the attacks were relentless. I do believe consortium news was hijacked by some really partisan people.

OlyaPola , February 22, 2019 at 3:12 am

"Before Soviets Invaded Afghanistan"

The Soviet forces were invited to Afghanistan by the Afghani Government – they never invaded Afghanistan or Syria.

[Feb 09, 2019] New York Times admission of Afghanistan fiasco provokes human rights imperialist backlash by Bill Van Auken

Notable quotes:
"... Now the Times acknowledges: "The price tag, which includes the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased spending on veterans' care, will reach $5.9 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2019, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University. Since nearly all of that money has been borrowed, the total cost with interest will be substantially higher More than 2.7 million Americans have fought in the war since 2001. Nearly 7,000 service members-and nearly 8,000 private contractors-have been killed. More than 53,700 people returned home bearing physical wounds, and numberless more carry psychological injuries. More than one million Americans who served in a theater of the war on terror receive some level of disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs." ..."
"... Kagan has a great deal invested in the Afghanistan war. He and his wife Kimberly served as civilian advisers to top generals who directed the war and elaborated the failed strategies of counterinsurgency (COIN). He has been a vociferous supporter of every US war and every escalation, arguing most recently for the US military to confront Russian- and Iranian-backed forces in Syria. ..."
"... A leading figure in the Democratic Party, Smeal is no Jane-come-lately to the filthy campaign to promote the war in Afghanistan as a "humanitarian" exercise in promoting the rights of women ..."
"... Aside from costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghan women, the US war has left women, like the entire population, under worse conditions than when it began. Two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school, 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate, and 70-80 percent face forced marriage, many before the age of 16. ..."
"... The attempt by the likes of Smeal and leading elements within the Democratic Party to cloak the bloodbath in Afghanistan as a crusade to "liberate" women and promote "democracy" is itself a criminal act. ..."
"... Afghanistan is a shitshow due to elite meddling. This editorial was nothing more than virtue-signaling to those that still hate war. But the anti-war movement is effectively dead anyway. There are anti-war people, but no anti-war movement. That's the crowd that the New York Times was appealing to. This is a stunt; nothing more. ..."
"... It was USA imperialism (under Carter and Brzezinski) which first had made Afghanistan a hell for women, but colonial feminists do not care for the facts. ..."
"... That is very true. "Death by a thousand cuts" was Brzezinski's scheme to destroy the Soviet Union in Central Asia. A few years ago, he was interviewed by a journalist from PRC who asked if he had any regrets with all the destruction and death it caused. Brzezinski said, "None". ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | wsws.org

An editorial published by the New York Times on February 4 titled "End the War in Afghanistan" has provoked a backlash from prominent supporters of the decades-long US "war on terrorism" and the fraud of "humanitarian intervention."

The Times editorial was a damning self-indictment by the US political establishment's newspaper of record, which has supported every US act of military aggression, from the invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001, to the invasion of Iraq in March 2003 and the US wars for regime change in Libya and Syria beginning in 2011.

The editorial presents the "war on terror" as an unmitigated fiasco, dating it from September 14, 2001, when "Congress wrote what would prove to be one of the largest blank checks in the country's history," i.e., the Authorization for Use of Military Force against Al Qaeda and its affiliates, which is still invoked to legitimize US interventions from Syria to Somalia, Yemen and, of course, Afghanistan.

On the day that this "blank check" was written, the Times published a column titled "No Middle Ground," which stated "the Bush administration today gave the nations of the world a stark choice: stand with us against terrorism, deny safe havens to terrorists or face the certain prospect of death and destruction. The marble halls of Washington resounded with talk of war."

It continued, "The nation is rallying around its young, largely untried leader-as his rising approval ratings and the proliferation of flags across the country vividly demonstrate "

This war propaganda was sustained by the Times, which sold the invasion of Afghanistan as retribution for 9/11 and then promoted the illegal and unprovoked war against Iraq by legitimizing and embellishing the lies about "weapons of mass destruction."

With the first deployment of US ground troops in Afghanistan, the Times editorialized on October 20, 2001: "Now the nation's soldiers are going into battle in a distant and treacherous land, facing a determined and resourceful enemy. As they go, they should know that the nation supports their cause and yearns for their success."

Now the Times acknowledges: "The price tag, which includes the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and increased spending on veterans' care, will reach $5.9 trillion by the end of fiscal year 2019, according to the Costs of War project at Brown University. Since nearly all of that money has been borrowed, the total cost with interest will be substantially higher More than 2.7 million Americans have fought in the war since 2001. Nearly 7,000 service members-and nearly 8,000 private contractors-have been killed. More than 53,700 people returned home bearing physical wounds, and numberless more carry psychological injuries. More than one million Americans who served in a theater of the war on terror receive some level of disability compensation from the Department of Veterans Affairs."

The massive loss of life, destruction of social infrastructure and vast human suffering inflicted by these wars on civilian populations are at best an afterthought for the Times. Conservative estimates place the number killed by the US war in Afghanistan at 175,000. With the number of indirect fatalities caused by the war, the toll likely rises to a million. In Iraq, the death toll was even higher.

What does the Times conclude from this bloody record? "The failure of American leaders-civilians and generals through three administrations, from the Pentagon to the State Department to Congress and the White House-to develop and pursue a strategy to end the war ought to be studied for generations. Likewise, all Americans-the news media included-need to be prepared to examine the national credulity or passivity that's led to the longest conflict in modern American history."

What a cowardly and cynical evasion! Three administrations, those of Bush, Obama and Trump, have committed war crimes over the course of more than 17 years, including launching wars of aggression-the principal charge leveled against the Nazis at Nuremberg-the slaughter of civilians and torture. These crimes should not be "studied for generations," but punished.

As for the attempt to lump the news media together with "all Americans" as being guilty of "credulity" and "passivity," this is a slander against the American people and a deliberate cover-up of the crimes carried out by the corporate media, with the Times at their head, in disseminating outright lies and war propaganda. The Times editors should be "prepared to examine" the fact that journalistic agents of the Nazi regime who carried out a similar function in Germany were tried and punished at Nuremberg.

The Times editorial supporting a US withdrawal reflects the conclusions being drawn by increasing sections of the ruling establishment, including the Trump administration, which has opened up negotiations with the Taliban. It is bound up with the shift in strategy by US imperialism and the Pentagon toward the preparation for "great power" confrontations with nuclear-armed Russia and China.

The Times ' call for an Afghanistan withdrawal has provoked a heated rebuke by defenders of the "war on terrorism" and "humanitarian intervention," who have denounced the newspaper for defeatism. Such a withdrawal, a letter published by the Times on February 8 argued, would "accelerate and expand the war," "allow another extremist-terrorist phenomenon to emerge," and "result in the deaths and abuse of thousands of women."

The signatories of the letter include Frederick Kagan, David Sedney and Eleanor Smeal.

Kagan has a great deal invested in the Afghanistan war. He and his wife Kimberly served as civilian advisers to top generals who directed the war and elaborated the failed strategies of counterinsurgency (COIN). He has been a vociferous supporter of every US war and every escalation, arguing most recently for the US military to confront Russian- and Iranian-backed forces in Syria.

Likewise Sedney, a former deputy assistant secretary of defense responsible for Afghanistan, Pakistan and Central Asia, now working at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS). Married to a top lobbyist for Chevron who worked extensively in Central Asia, he has his own interests in the continuation of US military operations in the region.

Smeal is the president of the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMD) and a former president of the National Organization for Women (NOW), who is widely described as one of "the major leaders of the modern-day American feminist movement."

A leading figure in the Democratic Party, Smeal is no Jane-come-lately to the filthy campaign to promote the war in Afghanistan as a "humanitarian" exercise in promoting the rights of women. In 2001, Smeal and her FMD circulated a petition thanking the Bush administration for its commitment to promoting the rights of women in Afghanistan. After the bombing began on October 7, she declared, "We have real momentum now in the drive to restore the rights of women." A few days later, she and representatives of other feminist organizations showed up at the White House to solidarize themselves with the US war.

Urging on the conquest of Afghanistan, she wrote, "I should hope our government doesn't retreat. We'll help rip those burqas off, I hope. This is a unique time in history. If you're going to end terrorism, you've got to end the ideology of gender apartheid."

Aside from costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of Afghan women, the US war has left women, like the entire population, under worse conditions than when it began. Two-thirds of Afghan girls do not attend school, 87 percent of Afghan women are illiterate, and 70-80 percent face forced marriage, many before the age of 16.

Recent reports suggest that the maternal death rate may be higher than it was before the war began, surpassed only by South Sudan. While USAID has poured some $280 million into its Promote program, supposedly to advance the conditions of Afghan women, it has done nothing but line the pockets of corrupt officials of the US-backed puppet regime in Kabul.

The attempt by the likes of Smeal and leading elements within the Democratic Party to cloak the bloodbath in Afghanistan as a crusade to "liberate" women and promote "democracy" is itself a criminal act.

On October 9, two days after Washington launched its now 17-year-long war on Afghanistan and amid a furor of jingoistic and militarist propaganda from the US government and the corporate media, the World Socialist Web Site editorial board posted a column titled "Why we oppose the war in Afghanistan." It rejected the claim that this was a "war for justice and the security of the American people against terrorism" and insisted that "the present action by the United States is an imperialist war" in which Washington aimed to "establish a new political framework within which it will exert hegemonic control" over not only Afghanistan, but over the broader region of Central Asia, "home to the second largest deposit of proven reserves of petroleum and natural gas in the world."

The WSWS stated at the time: "Despite a relentless media campaign to whip up chauvinism and militarism, the mood of the American people is not one of gung-ho support for the war. At most, it is a passive acceptance that war is the only means to fight terrorism, a mood that owes a great deal to the efforts of a thoroughly dishonest media which serves as an arm of the state. Beneath the reluctant endorsement of military action is a profound sense of unease and skepticism. Tens of millions sense that nothing good can come of this latest eruption of American militarism.

"The United States stands at a turning point. The government admits it has embarked on a war of indefinite scale and duration. What is taking place is the militarization of American society under conditions of a deepening social crisis.

"The war will profoundly affect the conditions of the American and international working class. Imperialism threatens mankind at the beginning of the twenty-first century with a repetition on a more horrific scale of the tragedies of the twentieth. More than ever, imperialism and its depredations raise the necessity for the international unity of the working class and the struggle for socialism."

These warnings and this perspective have been borne out entirely by the criminal and tragic events of the last 17 years, even as the likes of the New York Times find themselves compelled to admit the bankruptcy of their entire record on Afghanistan, and their erstwhile "liberal" allies struggle to salvage some shred of the filthy banner of "human rights imperialism."


Charlotte Ruse • 12 hours ago

"The failure of American leaders -- civilians and generals through three administrations, from the Pentagon to the State Department to Congress and the White House -- to develop and pursue a strategy to end the war ought to be studied for generations. Likewise, all Americans -- the news media included -- need to be prepared to examine the national credulity or passivity that's led to the longest conflict in modern American history."

What the New York Times should propose is a Nuremberg-style trial for the war criminals responsible for the genocide of millions, the devastation of of the Middle East and Africa, and the looting of the US Treasury by war profiteers and the political duopoly.

If these criminals are NOT held accountable for their actions NOTHING will be learned and the violence, death and destruction will continue.

"The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law, acted as Head of State or responsible government official, does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."

Serenity Charlotte Ruse • 3 hours ago
Gore Vidal rightly named America as the United States of Amnesia. They NEVER learn from their own history and they are never told about what their terrorist government does in their name.
Pete LaPlace • 13 hours ago
Eleanor Smeal's comment about "ripping off those burqas" in Afghanistan reminds me of Louisiana congressman John Cooksey's post-9/11 suggestion that police should pull over and question anyone with ''a diaper on his head''. Both use religious intolerance to increase the power of the state.
solerso • 15 hours ago
"A leading figure in the Democratic Party, Smeal is no Jane-come-lately to the filthy campaign to promote the war in Afghanistan as a "humanitarian" exercise in promoting the rights of women."

wouldn't it be more correctly "Janey comes lately" ..as in "Johnny come lately"..?

The completely insane fraud of waging imperialist war for "women rights" has been , unfortunately, extensively documented..the US occupation has strengthened not weakened the Taliban

"The WSWS stated at the time: "Despite a relentless media campaign to whip up chauvinism and militarism, the mood of the American people is not one of gung-ho support for the war. "

Not really in agreement with this statement although, everything has changed in almost 20 years.....

ben franklin [pre death] solerso • 2 hours ago
There are always elements that are gung ho for war. And I'll agree that the number was abnormally high for Afghanistan. But I do think the majority still reluctantly agreed to the war as a necessary measure to fight "terrorism" as the more-than-likely-to-be-a-false-flag 9/11 event was very fresh in everyone's mind.
Master Oroko • 16 hours ago
Afghanistan is a shitshow due to elite meddling. This editorial was nothing more than virtue-signaling to those that still hate war. But the anti-war movement is effectively dead anyway. There are anti-war people, but no anti-war movement. That's the crowd that the New York Times was appealing to. This is a stunt; nothing more.

What's more interesting is that the liberal elites will probably do their best to continue on with the war. But either way, the USA will likely lose. In fact, it's already lost the war. The Taliban have won this one. That the elitists can't see that shows just how far gone they are.

Carolyn Zaremba Master Oroko • an hour ago
The British failed in Afghanistan, too, remember.
лидия • 20 hours ago
Prof Bomb Libya Cole started his career of "progressive" imperialist by backing USA aggression against Afghanistan.
лидия • 20 hours ago
It was USA imperialism (under Carter and Brzezinski) which first had made Afghanistan a hell for women, but colonial feminists do not care for the facts.
konnections лидия • 3 hours ago
That is very true. "Death by a thousand cuts" was Brzezinski's scheme to destroy the Soviet Union in Central Asia. A few years ago, he was interviewed by a journalist from PRC who asked if he had any regrets with all the destruction and death it caused. Brzezinski said, "None".
Robert Montgomery лидия • 9 hours ago
Exactly. I believe the current term is "post-colonial feminists." Kinda takes the edge off the "colonialism."
Charlotte Ruse лидия • 9 hours ago
Good point!!

[Feb 09, 2019] NYT neoliberal presstitutes ignore Afghan war and concentrate of rumors about Trump

"I take it as a given that President Trump is an incompetent nitwit, precisely as his critics charge. Yet his oft-repeated characterization of those wars as profoundly misguided has more than a little merit." As many have said, Trump is the symptom, not the disease.
Notable quotes:
"... Still, I find myself wondering: If a proposed troop drawdown in Afghanistan qualifies as a "mistake," as O'Hanlon contends, then what term best describes a war that has cost something like a trillion dollars, killed and maimed tens of thousands, and produced a protracted stalemate? ..."
"... Disaster? Debacle? Catastrophe? Humiliation? ..."
"... And, if recent press reports prove true, with U.S. government officials accepting Taliban promises of good behavior as a basis for calling it quits, then this longest war in our history will not have provided much of a return on investment. Given the disparity between the U.S. aims announced back in 2001 and the results actually achieved, defeat might be an apt characterization. ..."
Feb 09, 2019 | www.unz.com

From: Lost in TrumpWorld by Andrew J. Bacevich

I don't wish to imply that political leaders and media outlets ignore our wars altogether. That would be unfair. Yet in TrumpWorld, while the president's performance in office receives intensive and persistent coverage day in, day out, the attention given to America's wars has been sparse and perfunctory, when not positively bizarre.

As a case in point, consider the op-ed that recently appeared in the New York Times (just as actual peace talks between the U.S. and the Taliban seemed to be progressing ), making the case for prolonging the U.S. war in Afghanistan, while chiding President Trump for considering a reduction in the number of U.S. troops currently stationed there. Any such move, warned Michael O'Hanlon of the Brookings Institution, would be a "mistake" of the first order.

The ongoing Afghan War dates from a time when some of today's recruits were still in diapers. Yet O'Hanlon counsels patience: a bit more time and things just might work out. This is more or less comparable to those who suggested back in the 1950s that African Americans might show a bit more patience in their struggle for equality: Hey, what's the rush?

I don't pretend to know what persuaded the editors of the Times that O'Hanlon's call to make America's longest war even longer qualifies as something readers of the nation's most influential newspaper just now need to ponder. Yet I do know this: the dearth of critical attention to the costs and consequences of our various post-9/11 wars is nothing short of shameful, a charge to which politicians and journalists alike should plead equally guilty.

I take it as a given that President Trump is an incompetent nitwit, precisely as his critics charge. Yet his oft-repeated characterization of those wars as profoundly misguided has more than a little merit. Even more striking than Trump's critique is the fact that so few members of the national security establishment are willing to examine it seriously. As a consequence, the wars persist, devoid of purpose.

Still, I find myself wondering: If a proposed troop drawdown in Afghanistan qualifies as a "mistake," as O'Hanlon contends, then what term best describes a war that has cost something like a trillion dollars, killed and maimed tens of thousands, and produced a protracted stalemate?

Disaster? Debacle? Catastrophe? Humiliation?

And, if recent press reports prove true, with U.S. government officials accepting Taliban promises of good behavior as a basis for calling it quits, then this longest war in our history will not have provided much of a return on investment. Given the disparity between the U.S. aims announced back in 2001 and the results actually achieved, defeat might be an apt characterization.

Yet the fault is not Trump's. The fault belongs to those who have allowed their immersion in the dank precincts of TrumpWorld to preclude serious reexamination of misguided and reckless policies that predate the president by at least 15 years.


fnn , says: February 5, 2019 at 8:05 pm GMT

You have to compare Trump with the alternative. The D's /progs make war on free speech, attack the presumption of innocence, want essentially uncontrolled mass immigration and relentlessly push in the direction of war with Russia. Add their cynical Russiagate hoax-witch hunt for further illustration
of the danger they present. As many have said, Trump is the symptom, not the disease.
Cassander , says: February 7, 2019 at 2:46 am GMT
"I take it as a given that President Trump is an incompetent nitwit, precisely as his critics charge. Yet his oft-repeated characterization of those wars as profoundly misguided has more than a little merit."

I'm with Bacevich on the insanity of Endless War, but I question why he has to denigrate Trump in his lead in. The cynical side of me believes that Bacevich thinks he has to be a Trump-hater if he is to be listened to.

Hey Andrew sir Democracy is messy. But DJT is on your team and the MSM/Liberal progs/Neocons aren't. Worth reflecting on

Al Moanee , says: February 7, 2019 at 3:31 am GMT
@fnn "As many have said, Trump is the symptom, not the disease"

Actually, Trump is the microbe not the virus. He's the opportunistic microbe that attaches itself to a sick and diseased body-politic. As to symptoms, they are borne by society at-large and now manifest themselves in the majority of Americans who one way or the other are "Lost in TrumpWorld"

[Feb 05, 2019] CIA Was Aiding Afghan Jihadists Before the Soviet Invasion - Antiwar.com Original

Feb 05, 2019 | original.antiwar.com

CIA Was Aiding Afghan Jihadists Before the Soviet Invasion

by Nauman Sadiq Posted on February 05, 2019 February 1, 2019 Originally, there were four parties involved in the Afghan conflict which are mainly responsible for the debacle in the Af-Pak region. Firstly, the former Soviet Union which invaded Afghanistan in December 1979. Secondly, Pakistan's security agencies which nurtured the Afghan jihadists on the behest of Washington.

Thirdly, Saudi Arabia and the rest of oil-rich Gulf states which generously funded the jihadists to promote their Wahhabi-Salafi ideology. And last but not the least, the Western capitals which funded, provided weapons and internationally legitimized the erstwhile "freedom fighters" to use them against a competing ideology, global communism, which posed a threat to the Western corporate interests all over the world.

Regarding the objectives of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in December 1979, the then American envoy to Kabul, Adolph "Spike" Dubs, was assassinated on Feb. 14, 1979, the same day that Iranian revolutionaries stormed the US embassy in Tehran.

According to recently declassified documents of the White House, CIA and State Department, as reported by Tim Weiner for The Washington Post , the CIA was aiding Afghan jihadists before the Soviets invaded in 1979.

President Jimmy Carter signed the CIA directive to arm the Afghan jihadists in July 1979, whereas the former Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December the same year. That the CIA was arming the Afghan jihadists six months before the Soviets invaded Afghanistan has been proven by the State Department's declassified documents; fact of the matter, however, is that the nexus between the CIA, Pakistan's security agencies and the Gulf states to train and arm the Afghan jihadists against the former Soviet Union was formed several years before the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

Historically, Pakistan's military first used the Islamists of Jamaat-e-Islami during the Bangladesh war of liberation in the late 1960s against the Bangladeshi nationalist Mukti Bahini liberation movement of Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rahman – the father of current prime minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina Wajed, and the founder of Bangladesh, which was then a province of Pakistan and known as East Pakistan before the independence of Bangladesh in 1971.

Jamaat-e-Islami is a far-right Islamist movement in Pakistan, India and Bangladesh – analogous to the Muslim Brotherhood political party in Egypt and Turkey – several of whose leaders have recently been hanged by the Bangladeshi nationalist government of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wajed for committing massacres of Bangladeshi civilians on behalf of Pakistan's military during the late 1960s.

Then, during the 1970s, Pakistan's then-Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto began aiding the Afghan Islamists against Sardar Daud's government, who had toppled his first cousin King Zahir Shah in a palace coup in 1973 and had proclaimed himself the president of Afghanistan.

Sardar Daud was a Pashtun nationalist and laid claim to Pakistan's northwestern Pashtun-majority province. Pakistan's security establishment was wary of his irredentist claims and used Islamists to weaken his rule in Afghanistan. He was eventually assassinated in 1978 as a result of the Saur Revolution led by the Afghan communists.

Pakistan's support to the Islamists with the Saudi petrodollars and Washington's blessings, however, kindled the fires of Islamic insurgencies in the entire region comprising Afghanistan, Pakistan and the Soviet Central Asian States.

The former Soviet Union was wary that its forty-million Muslims were susceptible to radicalism, because Islamic radicalism was infiltrating across the border into the Central Asian States from Afghanistan. Therefore, the Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan in December 1979 in support of the Afghan communists to forestall the likelihood of Islamic insurgencies spreading to the Central Asian States bordering Afghanistan.

Even the American President Donald Trump recently admitted : "The reason Russia invaded Afghanistan was because terrorists were going into Russia; they were right to be there." Incidentally, Trump also implied the reason why Soviet Union collapsed was due to the economic burden of the Soviet-Afghan War, as he was making a point about the withdrawal of American forces from Syria and Afghanistan.

Notwithstanding, in the Soviet-Afghan War between the capitalist and communist blocs, Saudi Arabia and the rest of Gulf's petro-monarchies took the side of the capitalist bloc because the former Soviet Union and Central Asian states produce more energy and consume less. Thus, the Soviet-led bloc was a net exporter of energy whereas the Western capitalist bloc was a net importer.

It suited the economic interests of the oil-rich Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries to maintain and strengthen a supplier-consumer relationship with the Western capitalist bloc. Now, the BRICS countries are equally hungry for the Middle East's energy, but it's a recent development. During the Cold War, an alliance with the industrialized Western nations suited the economic interests of the Gulf countries.

Regarding the motives of the belligerents involved, the Americans wanted to take revenge for their defeat at the hands of communists in Vietnam, the Gulf countries had forged close economic ties with the Western bloc and Pakistan was dependent on the Western military aid, hence it didn't have a choice but to toe Washington's policy in Afghanistan.

In the end, the Soviet-Afghan War proved to be a "bear trap" and the former Soviet Union was eventually defeated and was subsequently dissolved in December 1991. It did not collapse because of the Afghan Jihad but that was an important factor contributing to the dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Regardless, more than twenty years before the declassification of the State Department documents as mentioned in the aforementioned Washington Post report, in the 1998 interview to the alternative news outlet The CounterPunch Magazine , former National Security Advisor to President Jimmy Carter, Zbigniew Brzezinski, confessed that the president signed the directive to provide secret aid to the Afghan jihadists in July 1979, whereas the Soviet Army invaded Afghanistan six months later in December 1979.

Here is a poignant excerpt from the interview: The interviewer puts the question: "And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic jihadists, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?" Brzezinski replies: "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War?"

Despite the crass insensitivity, one must give credit to Zbigniew Brzezinski that at least he had the courage to speak the unembellished truth. It's worth noting, however, that the aforementioned interview was recorded in 1998. After the 9/11 terror attack, no Western policymaker can now dare to be as blunt and forthright as Brzezinski.

Nauman Sadiq is an Islamabad-based attorney, columnist and geopolitical analyst focused on the politics of Af-Pak and Middle East regions, neocolonialism and petro-imperialism.

Read more by Nauman Sadiq

[Jan 22, 2019] The US managed the overthrow of the Afghanistan government seventeen years ago, then creating a puppet government with a feckless army to fight the Afghan resistance while assassinating many of the Afghan leaders who fought to regain their country, and now the US is ready to "address legitimate concerns" of all Afghan sides?

Jan 22, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org

Don Bacon , Jan 21, 2019 8:21:20 PM | link

ISLAMABAD -- U.S. peace envoy Zalmay Khalilzad said on Saturday that Washington was ready to "address legitimate concerns" of all Afghan sides in order to restore peace in Afghanistan. Since being appointed in September, Khalilzad has met with all sides, including the Taliban, Afghan officials and Pakistan's political and military leadership in efforts aimed at finding a negotiated end to America's longest war in neighboring Afghanistan.//

The US managed the overthrow of the Afghanistan government seventeen years ago, then creating a puppet government with a feckless army to fight the Afghan resistance while assassinating many of the Afghan leaders who fought to regain their country, and now the US is ready to "address legitimate concerns" of all Afghan sides?

Well the Afghan officials are US puppets, so rule them out of legitimate concerns (as the Taliban has done). Pakistan? They fully support the Taliban's return to government, so that's a "legitimate concern" as is the Taliban's return to power.

Anything less ain't gonna work, that's obvious. Khalilzad was appointed in September to achieve results in six months, which is soon. So get with it, Zalmay. Get the US troops out of there as the Taliban demands in your "peace" talks.

Zachary Smith , Jan 21, 2019 9:15:51 PM | link

[T]he units have also operated unconstrained by battlefield rules designed to protect civilians, conducting night raids, torture and killings with near impunity, in a covert campaign that some Afghan and American officials say is undermining the wider American effort to strengthen Afghan institutions.

The "special forces" and the people trained by them don't follow rules. This has been going on for a long time.

FREE OF OVERSIGHT, U.S. MILITARY TRAINS FOREIGN TROOPS By Dana Priest July 12, 1998

The Clinton administration has enforced a near-total ban on the supply and sale of U.S. military equipment and training for the Colombian military because of its deep involvement in drug-related corruption and its record of killing politicians, human rights activists and civilians living in areas controlled by guerrilla groups.

The piece goes on to say that Special Forces were immune from this ban on training a foreign military to kill politicians, human rights activists and civilians" . It names dozens of nations where this was happening.

Of course not all US Special Forces are wild and lawless. Unfortunately the ones who do behave are at risk of being killed themselves.

Green Beret killed by strangulation reportedly turned down illegal money from Navy SEALs

The Green Beret was murdered because he was NOT dishonest.

The Pentagon is belatedly cracking down. Or at least pretending to.

Pentagon ready to 'admit problem' of rampant Special Forces crimes – report

Whenever you have a combination of lousy leadership and "Special Forces", there is going to be a problem. Australia has recently made the news in that regard.

The Abuse Scandal Rocking Australia's Special Operations Forces

Individually, each claim is staggering: apparent execution of detainees; reported use of so-called drop weapons, planted to cover up unlawful killings; confirmed reports of commandos flying a Nazi flag on a combat patrol; alleged "blooding" of rookies, initiation rites in which newcomers were pressured to execute unarmed men. In one particularly sadistic case, a prosthetic limb was allegedly pilfered from the corpse of a dead Afghan, only to be repatriated and repurposed as a novelty binge-drinking implement.

At some point a Special Forces person is going to shrug and say "so what?" He or she knows they can double or triple their pay with Blackwater-type mercenary forces. So except for taking minimal precautions against going on trial, they can do as they please.

Don Bacon , Jan 21, 2019 9:16:09 PM | link
The base attack took place in Maidan Wardak Province, where US Special Forces troops were evicted five years ago for atrocities.

In 2013 President Hamid Karzai demanded the withdrawal of all U.S. Special Operations Forces (SOF) from Wardak province after charges that U.S. special forces stationed in Wardak province engaged in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.

A Memorandum of Understanding signed May 12, 2012 between the U.S. military and the Afghan Defence Ministry was trumpeted by the Obama administration as giving the Afghan government control over such operations.

But a little-noticed provision of the agreement defined the "special operations" covered by the agreement as those operations that are "approved by the Afghan Operational Coordination Group (OCG) and conducted by Afghan Forces with support from U.S. Forces in accordance with Afghan laws."

That meant that the SOF was still free to carry out other raids without consultation with the Afghan government, until Karzai threw them out. But not the CIA.

Glenn Brown , Jan 21, 2019 9:27:10 PM | link
@ 30 Pft

The idea that the US isn't REALLY trying to win wars strikes me as more of a rationalization of failure than a real explanation. The US is an economically declining power that is trying to use its military dominance to maintain, and ideally increase its power. So wouldn't it be in the US's best interests if Afghanistan or Iraq (for example) were completely controlled by US controlled puppet governments, and US controlled corporations were making huge profits by exploiting those countries mineral and human resources? Wouldn't that be far more profitable than the mere creation of chaos?
Part of the reason I tend to find your ideas less than plausible, Pft, is that you always seem to vastly exaggerate the competence and power of the US or transnational elites you suspect are controlling everything. So I don't think the US's wars are either "fake" or "forever". Instead they are failures. And they can't last forever, because the corrupt system that generates them needs some successes, and soon, in order to continue to survive.

[Jan 21, 2019] Chaos is very profitable for extracting resources and supplying and controlling the world narcotic business

By walking out of the JCPOA and sanctioning Iran, the Trump administration gave Iran's mullahs every reason to subvert US on the ground.
Creation by CIA of "Afghan death squads" like in LA might not work as intended
Jan 21, 2019 | www.moonofalabama.org
ADKC , Jan 21, 2019 2:57:44 PM | link
< large U.S. surges.>

The Soviet war in Afghanistan lasted nine years. But it was largely successful in building a stable government and the Soviets left a mostly competent Afghan military behind. Three years later Russia ended its financial support for the Afghan government. Only that gave the guerrilla the chance to destroy the state.

After 18 years in Afghanistan the U.S. military seems still unable to create and train competent local forces.

The $8 billion spent on the Afghan airforce have resulted in a mostly incapable force that depends on U.S. contractors to keep its birds flying. This was the result of unreasonable decisions:

Aviation experts have criticized a decision to phase out the old workhorses of the Afghan forces -- Russian-made Mi-17 helicopters -- for American-made UH-60 Black Hawks.

Mr. Michel, the retired general, said the Mi-17 was "the perfect helicopter" for Afghanistan because it can carry more troops and supplies than the Black Hawk and is less complicated to fly.

"Let's be candid," he said of the switch. "That was largely done for political reasons."

The U.S. military built an Afghan force in its own image:

American trainers have built an Afghan Army that relies heavily on air power that the air force might not be able to provide for years, said John F. Sopko, the special inspector general for Afghan reconstruction.

Why the U.S. military, which since Vietnam proved inept at fighting local guerrilla, believed that its ways of fighting suits an Afghan force is inexplicable. If the Taliban manage to win without an airforce why should the Afghan military need one?

The only 'effective' Afghan units are the CIA controlled brigades which are known for the very worst atrocities on the civilian population:

As Mr. Khan was driven away for questioning, he watched his home go up in flames. Within were the bodies of two of his brothers and of his sister-in-law Khanzari, who was shot three times in the head. Villagers who rushed to the home found the burned body of her 3-year-old daughter, Marina, in a corner of a torched bedroom.

The men who raided the family's home that March night, in the district of Nader Shah Kot, were members of an Afghan strike force trained and overseen by the Central Intelligence Agency in a parallel mission to the United States military's, but with looser rules of engagement.

... ... ...

that the two most effective and ruthless forces, in Khost and Nangarhar Provinces, are still sponsored mainly by the C.I.A.

This conflict between militarized CIA proxy forces and forces trained by the U.S. military played out in every recent war the U.S. waged. In Iraq CIA sponsored Shia units clashed with Pentagon sponsored Sunni militia. In Syria this CIA trained 'rebels' ended up shooting at U.S. military trained 'rebels' and vice versa. In Afghanistan the rogue force under CIA control is some 3.000 to 10,000 strong. It large alienates the same population the Afghan military tries to protect.

Unity of command is an important condition for successful military campaigns. As the military works in one direction while the CIA pulls in another one, the campaign in Afghanistan continues to fail.

A similar split can be seen in Afghanistan's political field. The CIA is notorious for bribing Afghan politicians, while the military launches anti-corruption campaigns. The political system installed by such competing forces is unsustainable.

The last Afghan election with the top candidates being the Pashto Ashraf Ghani and the Tajik Abdullah Abdullah, was marred in irregularities. The uncertain outcome led the U.S. to fudge the results by making Ghani president and Abudullah his 'chief executive'. Both are now again competing against each other in the elections that are to be held later this year. They will be as irregular as all elections in Afghanistan are. The disputed outcome might well lead to new clashes between ethnic groups.

This upcoming conflict will further weaken the Afghan state. Why hasn't anything be done to prevent it?

@1 @3

While appearing weak, incompetent and clueless the US implements chaos exactly as intended. It works in Congo, it works in Libya, it works in South America and it works in Afghanistan. Chaos is very profitable for extracting resources and supplying and controlling the world narcotic business.


Eugene , Jan 21, 2019 3:00:07 PM | link

uncle tungsten , Jan 21, 2019 3:02:50 PM | link
The USA goal is an incompetent state, a permanent war and the destruction of any stable Afghan government that could make relations with neighboring states. Permanent conflict prevents unity and transnational trade through the region. Same goes for the Baluchistan rebels in the south.

Isolate Iran is all and no strategic care or thinking about anything else.

The USA will fight until the last Afghani civilian is killed.

[Dec 16, 2018] One of the CIA's main allies in carrying out this policy, recruiting tens of thousands of Islamist fighters worldwide to go and fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was a young Saudi billionaire, Osama bin Laden, the future leader of Al Qaeda. Hensman endorses the US policy in Afghanistan, while remaining silent on the CIA-Al Qaeda alliance, and presents it as part of a liberation struggle against Soviet imperialism.

Notable quotes:
"... From the Shadows ..."
Dec 16, 2018 | www.wsws.org

After the Soviet-backed People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA) took power in 1978, the Pentagon began arming the Islamist opposition to the PDPA. US officials, reeling from their defeat in Vietnam, devised a policy of "sucking the Soviets into a Vietnamese quagmire" in Afghanistan, as CIA official Robert Gates wrote in his 1996 memoir From the Shadows . When the Kremlin invaded Afghanistan in December 1979, in a reactionary attempt to strengthen the PDPA regime in Kabul and stabilize the PDPA's relations with the Afghan rural elites, Washington used Afghanistan as a battleground to bleed the Soviet army.

One of the CIA's main allies in carrying out this policy, recruiting tens of thousands of Islamist fighters worldwide to go and fight the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, was a young Saudi billionaire, Osama bin Laden, the future leader of Al Qaeda. Hensman endorses the US policy in Afghanistan, while remaining silent on the CIA-Al Qaeda alliance, and presents it as part of a liberation struggle against Soviet imperialism.

She writes, "A PDPA coup in 1978 faced tribal revolts that developed into a full-scale uprising by December 1979, when the Russians invaded and occupied Afghanistan. The military campaign that followed resembled the US campaign in Vietnam in its brutality to civilians The war had reached a stalemate in the mid-1980s when Reagan, who was already supporting the mujahideen, agreed to supply them with Stinger anti-aircraft missiles. These weapons turned the tide against the Russians..."

Hensman's defense of the US role in the Soviet-Afghan war, and her silence on CIA-backed Islamist terror networks, are reactionary. She hides the bloody character of the CIA-backed Islamist proxy wars, both in 1979–1992 in Afghanistan and in 1979–1982 in Syria. It is the descendants of these same forces, who are fighting today's Syrian war, that Hensman hails as a "democratic revolution."

nurmina day ago

And then there's Brzezinski, with his murderous legacy that contains a curious thread linking the Mujahideen "freedom fighters" to 9/11. As was written in the recently republished article on the Bush family fortune and the Holocaust, "the only constant is the defense of the power and privilege of the ruling oligarchy by whatever means are required."
---
Brzezinski acknowledged in an interview with the French news magazine Le Nouvel Observateur in January 1998 that he initiated a policy in which the CIA covertly began arming the mujahedeen in July 1978 -- six months before Soviet troops intervened in Afghanistan -- with the explicit aim of dragging the Soviet Union into a debilitating war.

Asked, given the catastrophe unleashed upon Afghanistan and the subsequent growth of Islamist terrorist groups like Al Qaeda, whether he regretted the policy he championed in Afghanistan, Brzezinski replied:

"Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter: We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire."

Asked specifically whether he regretted the CIA's collaboration with and arming of Islamist extremists, including Al Qaeda, in fomenting the war in Afghanistan, Brzezinski responded contemptuously: "What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?"

Kind of a funny aside: to find the Z-bigz quote I wanted, I put "Brzezinski on Afghanistan" into duckduckgo, and the wsws obituary was third from the top.

[Nov 30, 2018] America Is Headed For Military Defeat in Afghanistan

Notable quotes:
"... other year of the war ..."
"... Enough Afghans either support the Taliban or hate the occupation, and managed, through assorted conventional and unconventional operations, to fight on the ground. And "on the ground" is all that really matters. This war may well have been ill-advised and unwinnable from the start. ..."
"... There's no shame in defeat. But there is shame, and perfidy, in avoiding or covering up the truth. It's what the whole military-political establishment did after Vietnam, and, I fear, it's what they're doing again. ..."
Nov 30, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com

about:blank

America Is Headed For Military Defeat in Afghanistan It is time to acknowledge this is more than political. We can lose on the battlefield, and it's happening right now. By Danny Sjursen November 30, 2018

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Marines with Bravo Company, 1st Battalion, 7th Marine Regiment, sprint across a field to load onto a CH-53E Super Stallion helicopter during a mission in Helmand province, Afghanistan, July 4, 2014. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Joseph Scanlan / released) There's a prevailing maxim, both inside the armed forces and around the Beltway, that goes something like this: "The U.S. can never be militarily defeated in any war," certainly not by some third world country. Heck, I used to believe that myself. That's why, in regard to Afghanistan, we've been told that while America could lose the war due to political factors (such as the lack of grit among "soft" liberals or defeatists), the military could never and will never lose on the battlefield.

That entire maxim is about to be turned on its head. Get ready, because we're about to lose this war militarily.

Consider this: the U.S. military has advised, assisted, battled, and bombed in Afghanistan for 17-plus years. Ground troop levels have fluctuated from lows of some 10,000 to upwards of 100,000 servicemen and women. None of that has achieved more than a tie, a bloody stalemate. Now, in the 18th year of this conflict, the Kabul-Washington coalition's military is outright losing.

Let's begin with the broader measures. The Taliban controls or contests more districts -- some 44 percent -- than at any time since the 2001 invasion. Total combatant and civilian casualties are forecasted to top 20,000 this year -- another dreadful broken record. What's more, Afghan military casualties are frankly unsustainable: the Taliban are killing more than the government can recruit. The death rates are staggering, numbering 5,500 fatalities in 2015, 6,700 in 2016, and an estimate (the number is newly classified) of "about 10,000" in 2017. Well, some might ask, what about American airpower -- can't that help stem the Taliban tide? Hardly. In 2018, as security deteriorated and the Taliban made substantial gains, the U.S. actually dropped more bombs than in any other year of the war . It appears that nothing stands in the way of impending military defeat.

Then there are the very recent events on the ground -- and these are telling. Insider attacks in which Afghan "allies" turn their guns on American advisors are back on the rise, most recently in an attack that wounded a U.S. Army general and threatened the top U.S. commander in the country. And while troop numbers are way down from the high in 2011, American troops deaths are rising. Over the Thanksgiving season alone, a U.S. Army Ranger was killed in a friendly fire incident and three other troopers died in a roadside bomb attack. And in what was perhaps only a (still disturbing) case of misunderstood optics, the top U.S. commander, General Miller, was filmed carrying his own M4 rifle around Afghanistan. That's a long way from the days when then-General Petraeus (well protected by soldiers, of course) walked around the markets of Baghdad in a soft cap and without body armor.

More importantly, the Afghan army and police are getting hammered in larger and larger attacks and taking unsustainable casualties. Some 26 Afghan security forces were killed on Thanksgiving, 22 policemen died in an attack on Sunday, and on Tuesday 30 civilians were killed in Helmand province. And these were only the high-profile attacks, dwarfed by the countless other countrywide incidents. All this proves that no matter how hard the U.S. military worked, or how many years it committed to building an Afghan army in its own image, and no matter how much air and logistical support that army received, the Afghan Security Forces cannot win. The sooner Washington accepts this truth over the more comforting lie, the fewer of our adulated American soldiers will have to die. Who is honestly ready to be the last to die for a mistake, or at least a hopeless cause?

Now, admittedly, this author is asking for trouble -- and fierce rebuttals -- from both peers and superiors still serving on active duty. And that's understandable. The old maxim of military invincibility soothes these men, mollifies their sense of personal loss, whether of personal friends or years away from home, in wars to which they've now dedicated their entire adult lives. Questioning whether there even is a military solution in Afghanistan, or, more specifically, predicting a military defeat, serves only to upend their mental framework surrounding the war.

Still, sober strategy and basic honesty demands a true assessment of the military situation in America's longest war. The Pentagon loves metrics, data, and stats. Well, as demonstrated daily on the ground in Afghanistan, all the security (read: military) metrics point towards impending defeat. At best, the Afghan army, with ample U.S. advisory detachments and air support, can hold on to the northernmost and westernmost provinces of the country, while a Taliban coalition overruns the south and east. This will be messy, ugly, and discomfiting for military and civilian leaders alike. But unless Washington is prepared to redeploy 100,000 soldiers to Afghanistan (again) -- and still only manage a tie, by the way -- it is also all but inevitable.

America's Disastrous Occupation of Afghanistan Turns 17 The War in Afghanistan is Enabling Pedophilia

The United States military did all it was asked during more than 17 years of warfare in Afghanistan. It raided, it bombed, it built, it surged, it advised, it everything. Still, none of that was sufficient. Enough Afghans either support the Taliban or hate the occupation, and managed, through assorted conventional and unconventional operations, to fight on the ground. And "on the ground" is all that really matters. This war may well have been ill-advised and unwinnable from the start.

There's no shame in defeat. But there is shame, and perfidy, in avoiding or covering up the truth. It's what the whole military-political establishment did after Vietnam, and, I fear, it's what they're doing again.

Danny Sjursen is a U.S. Army officer and a regular contributor to Unz. He served combat tours with reconnaissance units in Iraq and Afghanistan and later taught history at his alma mater, West Point. He is the author of a memoir and critical analysis of the Iraq War, Ghostriders of Baghdad: Soldiers, Civilians, and the Myth of the Surge . Follow him on Twitter @SkepticalVet .

Note: The views expressed in this article are those of the author, expressed in an unofficial capacity, and do not reflect the official policy or position of the Department of the Army, Department of Defense, or the U.S. government.

[Nov 04, 2018] The U.S. Cannot Win Militarily In Afghanistan, Says Top Commander In Shocking Interview

Nov 04, 2018 | www.zerohedge.com

Historians of the now seventeen-year old U.S. war in Afghanistan will take note of this past week when the newly-appointed American general in charge of US and NATO operations in the country made a bombshell, historic admission. He conceded that the United States cannot win in Afghanistan .

Speaking to NBC News last week, Gen. Austin Scott Miller made his first public statements after taking charge of American operations, and shocked with his frank assessment that that the Afghan war cannot be won militarily and peace will only be achieved through direct engagement and negotiations with the Taliban -- the very terror group which US forces sought to defeat when it first invaded in 2001.

"This is not going to be won militarily," Gen. Miller said. "This is going to a political solution."

Gen. Austin Scott Miller, the U.S. commander of resolute support, via EPA/NBC

Miller explained to NBC :

My assessment is the Taliban also realizes they cannot win militarily. So if you realize you can't win militarily at some point, fighting is just, people start asking why. So you do not necessarily wait us out, but I think now is the time to start working through the political piece of this conflict.

He gave the interview from the Resolute Support headquarters building in Kabul. "We are more in an offensive mindset and don't wait for the Taliban to come and hit [us]," he said. "So that was an adjustment that we made early on. We needed to because of the amount of casualties that were being absorbed."

Starting last summer it was revealed that US State Department officials began meeting with Taliban leaders in Qatar to discuss local and regional ceasefires and an end to the war . It was reported at the time that the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited; however, there doesn't appear to have been any significant fruit out of the talks as the Taliban now controls more territory than ever before in recent years .

Such controversial and shaky negotiations come as in total the United States has spent well over $840 billion fighting the Taliban insurgency while also paying for relief and reconstruction in a seventeen-year long war that has become more expensive, in current dollars, than the Marshall Plan , which was the reconstruction effort to rebuild Europe after World War II.

Even the New York Times recently chronicled the flat out deception of official Pentagon statements vs. the reality in terms of the massive spending that has gone into the now-approaching two decade long "endless war" which began in the immediate aftermath of 9/11.

Via NYT report

As of September of this year the situation was as bleak as it's ever been after over a decade-and-a-half of America's longest running war, per the NYT's numbers :

But since 2017, the Taliban have held more Afghan territory than at any time since the American invasion . In just one week last month, the insurgents killed 200 Afghan police officers and soldiers, overrunning two major Afghan bases and the city of Ghazni.

The American military says the Afghan government effectively "controls or influences" 56 percent of the country. But that assessment relies on statistical sleight of hand . In many districts, the Afghan government controls only the district headquarters and military barracks, while the Taliban control the rest .

For this reason Gen. Miller spoke to NBC of an optimal "political outcome" instead of "winning" -- the latter being a term rarely if ever used by Pentagon and officials and congressional leaders over the past years.

Miller told NBC : "I naturally feel compelled to try to set the conditions for a political outcome. So, pressure from that standpoint, yes. I don't want everyone to think this is forever."

And ending on a bleak note in terms of the "save face" and "cut and run" nature of the U.S. future engagement in Afghanistan, Gen. Miller concluded, "This is my last assignment as a soldier in Afghanistan. I don't think they'll send me back here in another grade. When I leave this time I'd like to see peace and some level of unity as we go forward."

Interestingly, the top US and NATO commander can now only speak in remotely hopeful terms of "some level of unity" -- perhaps just enough to make a swift exit at least. Tags War Conflict Politics

play_arrow Reply Report

God is The Son , 3 minutes ago link

There not going to come out as say, where here because we want BOMB IRAN a few years down the track and maintain US Military deployment for Israel's long-term interests. Israel are suspected of committing 9/11 attacks, if you think about it long term policy of expansion, getting ride of its surrounding threats it's all makes sense. scraficing 3000 americans for Israel's longterm policy's seems to be the pill they were willing to swallow.

R19 , 5 minutes ago link

We spent a lot of money, killed people, and protected and served the **** out of a lot. That is the win that the elite are looking for.

God is The Son , 6 minutes ago link

Prorably remain there because of Zionist Influence in order to get IRAN sooner or later.

veritas semper vinces , 10 minutes ago link

US already lost the war there too.

The Talibans control the country.

US is trying to shift the blame on Russia, as the Talibans went to Moscow for peace talks.

And with Pakistan aligning with Russia/China and Iran ( Pakistan being the main supply route for the US army in Afghanistan), the US army is practically f*cked.

So, this is a face saving movement.

cheoll , 14 minutes ago link

Israhell wants the US bogged down in the Middle East

in order to destroy it, so Apartheid Israhell can become

the regional superpower .

veritas semper vinces , 21 minutes ago link

I just published a caricature of top US generals, including Mattis.

A lot of work , but worth it.

next : Soros, Adelson, Rockefeller and Rothschild.

This is going to take 3-4 days.


https://veritassempervincitscaricaturesdrawings.wordpress.com/

Bricker , 22 minutes ago link

This aint going over well with Trump. not W-W-W-winning?

Tirion , 33 minutes ago link

Good to know that Trump is not prepared to continue to protect Deep State opium production at the taxpayers' expense. I hope he's planning to withdraw US armed forces from all foreign soil.

JuliaS , 26 minutes ago link

Based on what? What did he stop? Which wars did he pull out out of?

Military was a huge contributor to his votes. He's not going to lift a finger. He would have started by pardoning Snowden, or closing Gitmo - something Obama lied about when making campaign promises. Where, here is your chance, Donald. Do at least one single thing that shows you as anything other that a MIC puppet. Just one thing! Anything!

Bombing Syria? Yep. Blind eye to Saudi crimes in Yemen? Yep. Dancing to Zionist demands? Yep.

Trade wars? Oh sure, those things never lead to military conflict either!

Push , 31 minutes ago link

The only reason we were in Afghanistan in the first place was to protect the heroin trade from acquisition by the Taliban. It's time to pull out and let the British protect their poppy fields if they want em that badly.

Push , 28 minutes ago link

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AUATfLDiwVA

Push , 19 minutes ago link

Notice that Rivera says the Marines just had a visit from Prince Charles. If you want to know more about why we have so much heroin in America now and who benefits.. read Dope Inc.

navy62802 , 42 minutes ago link

Stunning NeoCon victory ... almost 20 years later. This is why I am frightened that John Bolton still has a voice in government.

algol_dog , 47 minutes ago link

It's not about winning. It's about perpetuating a never ending need for defensive tax dollars.

Tirion , 21 minutes ago link

Not tax dollars, Deep State dollars from the sale of opium to fund black projects.

[Oct 27, 2018] Trump Came This Close to Getting Afghanistan Right by Daniel L. Davis

Trump may have his own views, but he has no own foreign policy. He is a neocon's marionette.
Notable quotes:
"... Instead Bush, and later Obama, transitioned the military mission -- without consultation from Congress -- into a nation-building effort that was doomed from the start. Candidate Donald Trump spoke of a different approach to the Middle East and railed against nation-building abroad. His instincts on Afghanistan have been consistent and correct from very early on. Had it not been for the relentless pressure of several key officials, the war might already have come to end. ..."
"... Woodward wrote ..."
"... Trump defers to the Pentagon because he doesn't really care. He says he wants to get out of Afghanistan (and I support that) but getting out isn't going to make him any money, or get him any votes. So why bother with it, especially when he can lie to his base and tell them we are already out, and they'll believe him? ..."
"... Trump is the kind of person who likes to "talk the talk" but when comes right down to it, he going to sadly, "walk the walk" that the Washington establishment tells him to walk. ..."
"... The treasonous MIC and those top generals do not care about the nation and ordinary Americans. They care only about their profits, careers and their own egos. ..."
"... There is no war they don't like – Middle East, checked, Ukraine, yes, South China Sea, sure, Korea, definitely. It is so sad that Trump turns out to be such a weak and impotent president, contrary to what the supporters claim. ..."
Oct 25, 2018 | www.theamericanconservative.com
In a routine dating back to 2004, U.S. officials regularly claim that the latest strategy in Afghanistan is working -- or as General David Petraeus said in 2012 , the war had "turned a corner." It hadn't and it still hasn't. In fact, evidence overwhelmingly affirms that the newest "new" strategy will be no more effective than those that came before it. It is time to stop losing U.S. lives while pretending that victory is just around the corner. It is time to end the war in Afghanistan.

Last week, one of the most brazen insider attacks of the war took place in Kandahar when one of the Afghanistan governor's bodyguards turned rogue, killing three high-profile Afghan leaders and wounding the senior U.S. field commander, Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley. Miraculously, the new commander, General Scott Miller, escaped harm. But in 2018, eight Americans have been killed in Afghanistan, bringing the American death toll to 2,351 .

On October 7, 2001, President George W. Bush addressed the nation as combat operations in Afghanistan began. He emphasized that the American "mission is defined. The objectives are clear. [Our] goal is just." Those objectives, he explained , were "targeted actions" that were "designed to disrupt the use of Afghanistan as a terrorist base of operations and to attack the military capability of the Taliban regime."

By the summer of 2002, those objectives were fully met as the Taliban organization was wholly destroyed and al-Qaeda severely degraded. As of 2009, there were reportedly as few as 100 stragglers scattered impotently throughout Afghanistan. The military mission should therefore have ended and combat forces redeployed.

Instead Bush, and later Obama, transitioned the military mission -- without consultation from Congress -- into a nation-building effort that was doomed from the start. Candidate Donald Trump spoke of a different approach to the Middle East and railed against nation-building abroad. His instincts on Afghanistan have been consistent and correct from very early on. Had it not been for the relentless pressure of several key officials, the war might already have come to end.

After a December 2015 insider attack, Trump tweeted : "A suicide bomber has just killed U.S. troops in Afghanistan. When will our leaders get tough and smart. We are being led to slaughter!" According to Bob Woodward's book Fear , Trump brought that same passion against the futility of the Afghan war into the White House.

Woodward wrote that at an August 2017 meeting on Afghanistan, Trump told his generals that the war had been "a disaster," and chided them for "wanting to add even more troops to something I don't believe in."

Woodward claims that Trump then told the top brass, "I was against this from the beginning. He folded his arms. 'I want to get out,' the president said. 'And you're telling me the answer is to get deeper in.'" Under pressure -- from the likes of Secretary of Defense James Mattis and Senator Lindsey Graham -- Trump eventually gave in.

America's Disastrous Occupation of Afghanistan Turns 17 Time to Talk to the Taliban

Events have since proven that Trump would have done the country a favor by resisting that pressure and sticking to his instincts to end the war. The violence keeps up at a record pace, civilian casualties continue to set all-time highs , and Afghan troops struggle mightily with battle losses. The president was right in August 2017 and his instincts remain solid today.

The longer Trump continues to defer to the establishment thinking that produced 17 consecutive years of military failure, the longer that failure will afflict us, the more casualties we will suffer unnecessarily, and the more money we will pour down the drain.

It is time for Trump to remember that it is futile to try to win the unwinnable and finally end America's longest war.

Daniel L. Davis is a senior fellow for Defense Priorities and a former Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army who retired in 2015 after 21 years, including four combat deployments, two of which were in Afghanistan.


One Guy October 25, 2018 at 2:35 pm

Trump defers to the Pentagon because he doesn't really care. He says he wants to get out of Afghanistan (and I support that) but getting out isn't going to make him any money, or get him any votes. So why bother with it, especially when he can lie to his base and tell them we are already out, and they'll believe him?
Fred Bowman , says: October 25, 2018 at 3:10 pm
Trump is the kind of person who likes to "talk the talk" but when comes right down to it, he going to sadly, "walk the walk" that the Washington establishment tells him to walk.
david , says: October 25, 2018 at 3:45 pm
The treasonous MIC and those top generals do not care about the nation and ordinary Americans. They care only about their profits, careers and their own egos.

There is no war they don't like – Middle East, checked, Ukraine, yes, South China Sea, sure, Korea, definitely. It is so sad that Trump turns out to be such a weak and impotent president, contrary to what the supporters claim.

SDS , says: October 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm
I think a lot of us could have tolerated the asinine antics if he had stuck to his campaign positions on this and other things . God; what might have been .
One Guy , says: October 25, 2018 at 4:13 pm
SDS, you are correct. I've often thought that Trump could have forged a majority coalition by doing things the People really wanted, or at least didn't hate: nominating another Gorsuch, cutting the size of government, appointing competent people, getting out of the Middle East, no tariffs, less racism, getting concession from businesses that benefited from the tax cut, following emoluments rules, etc. etc.
JeffK , says: October 25, 2018 at 4:37 pm
@SDS
October 25, 2018 at 3:48 pm

"I think a lot of us could have tolerated the asinine antics if he had stuck to his campaign positions on this and other things . God; what might have been ."

First, sorry you fell for The Con. I understand. Maybe. Second, the real question is, "What are you going to do about it?". Vote Republican Nov 6? Why would you do that? Hope against all hope? Dementia? Gluttony for punishment? BTW. HRC is not on the ballot this time, and will never be again.

EliteCommInc. , says: October 25, 2018 at 6:49 pm
Unless we intend to invade en mass, and scour the country from one end to the other to defeat any and all opponents, the mission in Afghanistan will remain what it is. "new wine (of sorts) in old wineskins.

If we are going to remake a country -- we had better remake it. I am not sure i have ever said this before but the entire affair

was unnecessary and unwise from the start.

kalendjay , says: October 25, 2018 at 6:52 pm
We hear Pakistan is now desperate for IMF aid. That the One belt One Road initiative there by China has already put the country in the position of having to stand down its creditor, China. Partly with the help of Japanese finance, Iran and India are out to squeeze Islamabad out of world trade.

The Pakis are headed into a new dark age, so don't expect the Russians to bark wildly and chase down this car. With any luck, they and China will revive the Northern Alliance, make a garrison of Kabul, and eventually Xi and Vladi will have their own escalating civil war over control over Central Asia.

I'd say January 2019 is a good time to begin a quick US withdrawal, just as long as we pull out of the IMF and not give another red American cent to the region, save a green zone around Kabul with economically productive areas.

I would argue that although this would seem like an American loss, it will put our Progressive yappers to shame. What human values would they stand up and defend now, among the IndoPak Caravan? Maybe then we'll really focus on our own border and wage the good fight where it is needed -- the Culture War.

Balderdash , says: October 26, 2018 at 3:06 am
Obama had intended to leave. The military insisted on vict'ry and another Surge. He gave them their Surge and their time to do it. They failed, made things worse and prevented Obama from leaving. They're still playing. Trump's just the latest Oval Office 'sucker'.
Sid Finster , says: October 26, 2018 at 10:02 am
One more example of how Trump is weak, stupid, ill-informed and easily manipulated.
Scob , says: October 26, 2018 at 10:50 am
Afghanistan borders Iran, do you really need to say more?

[Oct 19, 2018] For the $TRILLIONS hoovered up by Deep State and their war profiteering minions, we could have put every Afghan male of military age through Harvard Business School.

Oct 19, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

b , Oct 18, 2018 9:28:57 AM | link

The governor General Abdul Raziq, the police chief and the intelligence chief of Kandahar have all been killed today. Bodyguards turned their guns on them. Two U.S. soldiers were wounded. The top U.S. commander in Afghanistan was present but not hurt.

Raziq was a brut, thief, killer, drug baron and the CIA's man in Kandahar.

In 2011 Matthieu Atkins portrait him: Our Man in Kandahar
Abdul Raziq and his men have received millions of dollars' worth of U.S. training and equipment to help in the fight against the Taliban. But is our ally -- long alleged to be involved in corruption and drug smuggling -- also guilty of mass murder?


Anton Worter , Oct 18, 2018 10:05:07 AM | link

b

Been there. Done that. Kandahar is beautiful.

The United States, specifically Cheney and Petraeus and Rodham, imposed the Imperial Executor form of Federalist government upon a people who were a well-organized heirarchical society while William the Conqueror was still head chopping Anglo-Saxons in bear skins.

Cheny wrote the Afghan petroleum and strategic resources laws *in English* at the beginning of the 2001 invasion. The US imposed a new flag, a new pledge of allegiance, a new national song and even a new national currency on the Afghan people, then imposed the first imperial caesar, Karzai.

You break it, you own it!

For the $TRILLIONS hoovered up by Deep State and their war profiteering minions, we could have put every Afghan male of military age through Harvard Business School.

On to Tehran!! Lu,lu,lu,lu,lu!

Anton Worter , Oct 18, 2018 2:36:09 PM | link
12

Cheney, Petraeus and Rodham ALSO created the Federal Republican Guard ANA and ANP, goombahs, renegade hijackers and shakedown artists who, like those same ANA/ANP 'personal guards' mentioned in b's article, assassinated the governor and the others. And umm, yes, I've been on the muzzle end of those ANA/ANP thugs in an attempted kidnapping, so been there, done that.

AFA Russ' defense of William the Conqueror as some 'high point' of a Western Civilization of Red Haired Yettis, they were still head-chopping each other in England while Afghanistan ruled from East Persia to Western India, an advanced civilization far more ancient than Anglo-Saxon bearskin cave dwelling knuckle draggers, at the time.

Of course, now today we have the White Scientocratic Triumphal Exceptionalist Civilization and its Miracle of the Two Planes and Three Towers to prove it, even if Johnny and Jillian can't read, write or do their ciphers.

[Sep 07, 2018] Al Qaeda and the "War on Terrorism" by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Notable quotes:
"... Foreign Affairs, ..."
"... According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, [on] 24 December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. ..."
"... We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire. ..."
"... What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War? ..."
Sep 07, 2018 | www.globalresearch.ca

The alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorists attacks, Saudi-born Osama bin Laden, was recruited during the Soviet-Afghan war, "ironically under the auspices of the CIA, to fight Soviet invaders".(Hugh Davies, "`Informers' point the finger at bin Laden; Washington on alert for suicide bombers." The Daily Telegraph, London, 24 August 1998).

In 1979 the largest covert operation in the history of the CIA was launched in Afghanistan:

"With the active encouragement of the CIA and Pakistan's ISI, who wanted to turn the Afghan Jihad into a global war waged by all Muslim states against the Soviet Union, some 35,000 Muslim radicals from 40 Islamic countries joined Afghanistan's fight between 1982 and 1992. Tens of thousands more came to study in Pakistani madrasahs. Eventually, more than 100,000 foreign Muslim radicals were directly influenced by the Afghan jihad." (Ahmed Rashid, "The Taliban: Exporting Extremism", Foreign Affairs, November-December 1999).

This project of the US intelligence apparatus was conducted with the active support of Pakistan's Inter Services Intelligence (ISI), which was entrusted in channelling covert military aid to the Islamic brigades and financing, in liason with the CIA, the madrassahs and Mujahideen training camps.

U.S. government support to the Mujahideen was presented to world public opinion as a "necessary response" to the 1979 Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in support of the pro-Communist government of Babrak Kamal.

The CIA's military-intelligence operation in Afghanistan, which consisted in creating the "Islamic brigades", was launched prior rather than in response to the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan. In fact, Washington's intent was to deliberately trigger a civil war, which has lasted for more than 25 years. (photo: CIA and ISI agents)

The CIA's role in laying the foundations of Al Qaeda is confirmed in an 1998 interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, who at the time was National Security Adviser to President Jimmy Carter:

Brzezinski: According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, [on] 24 December 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979, that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the President in which I explained to him that in my opinion, this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.

Question: Despite this risk, you were an advocate of this covert action. But perhaps you yourself desired this Soviet entry into war and looked to provoke it?

Brzezinski: It isn't quite that. We didn't push the Russians to intervene, but we knowingly increased the probability that they would.

Question:When the Soviets justified their intervention by asserting that they intended to fight against a secret involvement of the United States in Afghanistan, people didn't believe them. However, there was a basis of truth. You don't regret anything today?

Brzezinski: Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam War. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

Question: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the Cold War? ( "The CIA's Intervention in Afghanistan, Interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's National Security Adviser", Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris, 15-21 January 1998, published in English, Centre for Research on Globalisation, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/BRZ110A.html , 5 October 2001, italics added.)

Consistent with Brzezinski's account, a "Militant Islamic Network" was created by the CIA.

The "Islamic Jihad" (or holy war against the Soviets) became an integral part of the CIA's intelligence ploy. It was supported by the United States and Saudi Arabia, with a significant part of the funding generated from the Golden Crescent drug trade:

"In March 1985, President Reagan signed National Security Decision Directive 166 [which] authorize[d] stepped-up covert military aid to the Mujahideen, and it made clear that the secret Afghan war had a new goal: to defeat Soviet troops in Afghanistan through covert action and encourage a Soviet withdrawal. The new covert U.S. assistance began with a dramatic increase in arms supplies -- a steady rise to 65,000 tons annually by 1987 as well as a "ceaseless stream" of CIA and Pentagon specialists who travelled to the secret headquarters of Pakistan's ISI on the main road near Rawalpindi, Pakistan. There, the CIA specialists met with Pakistani intelligence officers to help plan operations for the Afghan rebels."(Steve Coll, The Washington Post, July 19, 1992.)

[Sep 06, 2018] The US Military is Winning. No, Really, It Is! by Nick Turse

Notable quotes:
"... Nick Turse is the managing editor of ..."
"... a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the ..."
"... His latest book is ..."
"... . He is also the author of the award-winning ..."
"... His website is NickTurse.com. ..."
Sep 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

The Taliban says that in order to end "this long war" the "lone option is to end the occupation of Afghanistan and nothing more."

In June, the 17th American nominated to take command of the war, Lieutenant General Scott Miller, appeared before the Senate Armed Services Committee where Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) grilled him on what he would do differently in order to bring the conflict to a conclusion. "I cannot guarantee you a timeline or an end date," was Miller's confident reply .

Did the senators then send him packing? Hardly. He was, in fact, easily confirmed and starts work this month. Nor is there any chance Congress will use its power of the purse to end the war. The 2019 budget request for U.S. operations in Afghanistan -- topping out at $46.3 billion -- will certainly be approved.

#Winning

All of this seeming futility brings us back to the Vietnam War, Kissinger, and that magic number, 4,000,000,029,057 -- as well as the question of what an American military victory would look like today. It might surprise you, but it turns out that winning wars is still possible and, perhaps even more surprising, the U.S. military seems to be doing just that.

Let me explain.

In Vietnam, that military aimed to " out-guerrilla the guerrilla ." It never did and the United States suffered a crushing defeat. Henry Kissinger -- who presided over the last years of that conflict as national security advisor and then secretary of state -- provided his own concise take on one of the core tenets of asymmetric warfare: "The conventional army loses if it does not win. The guerrilla wins if he does not lose." Perhaps because that eternally well-regarded but hapless statesman articulated it, that formula was bound -- like so much else he touched -- to crash and burn .

In this century, the United States has found a way to turn Kissinger's martial maxim on its head and so rewrite the axioms of armed conflict. This redefinition can be proved by a simple equation:

0 + 1,000,000,000,000 + 17 +17 + 23,744 + 3,000,000,000,000 + 5 + 5,200 + 74 = 4,000,000,029,057

Expressed differently, the United States has not won a major conflict since 1945; has a trillion-dollar national security budget; has had 17 military commanders in the last 17 years in Afghanistan, a country plagued by 23,744 " security incidents " (the most ever recorded) in 2017 alone; has spent around $3 trillion , primarily on that war and the rest of the war on terror, including the ongoing conflict in Iraq, which then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld swore , in 2002, would be over in only "five days or five weeks or five months," but where approximately 5,000 U.S. troops remain today; and yet 74% of the American people still express high confidence in the U.S. military.

Let the math and the implications wash over you for a moment. Such a calculus definitively disproves the notion that "the conventional army loses if it does not win." It also helps answer the question of victory in the war on terror. It turns out that the U.S. military, whose budget and influence in Washington have only grown in these years, now wins simply by not losing -- a multi-trillion-dollar conventional army held to the standards of success once applied only to under-armed, under-funded guerilla groups.

Unlike in the Vietnam War years, three presidents and the Pentagon, unbothered by fiscal constraints, substantive congressional opposition, or a significant antiwar movement, have been effectively pursuing this strategy, which requires nothing more than a steady supply of troops, contractors, and other assorted camp followers; an endless parade of Senate-sanctioned commanders; and an annual outlay of hundreds of billions of dollars. By these standards, Donald Trump's open-ended, timetable-free "Strategy in Afghanistan and South Asia" may prove to be the winningest war plan ever. As he described it:

"From now on, victory will have a clear definition: attacking our enemies, obliterating ISIS, crushing al-Qaeda, preventing the Taliban from taking over Afghanistan, and stopping mass terror attacks against America before they emerge."

Think about that for a moment. Victory's definition begins with "attacking our enemies" and ends with the prevention of possible terror attacks. Let me reiterate: "victory" is defined as "attacking our enemies." Under President Trump's strategy, it seems, every time the U.S. bombs or shells or shoots at a member of one of those 20-plus terror groups in Afghanistan, the U.S. is winning or, perhaps, has won. And this strategy is not specifically Afghan-centric. It can easily be applied to American warzones in the Middle East and Africa -- anywhere, really.

Decades after the end of the Vietnam War, the U.S. military has finally solved the conundrum of how to "out-guerrilla the guerrilla." And it couldn't have been simpler. You just adopt the same definition of victory. As a result, a conventional army -- at least the U.S. military -- now loses only if it stops fighting. So long as unaccountable commanders wage benchmark-free wars without congressional constraint, the United States simply cannot lose. You can't argue with the math. Call it the rule of 4,000,000,029,057.

That calculus and that sum also prove, quite clearly, that America's beleaguered commander-in-chief has gotten a raw deal on his victory parade. With apologies to the American Legion, the U.S. military is now -- under the new rules of warfare -- triumphant and deserves the type of celebration proposed by President Trump. After almost two decades of warfare, the armed forces have lowered the bar for victory to the level of their enemy, the Taliban. What was once the mark of failure for a conventional army is now the benchmark for success. It's a remarkable feat and deserving, at the very least, of furious flag-waving, ticker tape , and all the age-old trappings of victory.

Nick Turse is the managing editor of TomDispatch , a fellow at the Nation Institute, and a contributing writer for the Intercept. His latest book is Next Time They'll Come to Count the Dead: War and Survival in South Sudan . He is also the author of the award-winning Kill Anything That Moves: The Real American War in Vietnam . His website is NickTurse.com.


Sin City Milla , says: September 6, 2018 at 5:23 am GMT

Military conquests are the most ephemeral. Colonisation lasts longer. A mere century or two in the case of Europeans. But even 900 years was not sufficient for Greeks to remove the military n cultural threat posed by the Semites n Iranians of Southwest Asia, from Alexander's conquest in 323 BC till the Muslim "reconquista" of 632 AD. Only demographic "conquest" works in the end. If your women are not out-reproducing their women, then your military will fail spectacularly n quickly, as what had once been your population transforms into theirs. At that point, far from victory parades, you get to see statues to your former heros torn down, n the highest "patriotism" becomes enthusiastically opening the gates to what had once been your people's deadliest enemies.
Haxo Angmark , says: Website September 6, 2018 at 6:41 am GMT
the GWOT has 3 components:

1. keep Israhell on the map.
2. keep oil-producers taking dollars and only dollars for their oil
3. keep the CIA's poppy fields in Afghanistan in full production

on 1: ongoing victory, Israhell is still there
on2: Iraq and Libya back on the petrodollar, Iran pending
on3: ongoing victory, CIA drug ops proceeding normally

in ZOG-ruled 'Murka, every day is a day of new victories.

Anonymous , [317] Disclaimer says: September 6, 2018 at 11:18 am GMT
Mr. Turse is a comic. What a beautiful summary of the situation.
See a group, Imagine a possible threat, if both occur, bingo group =converts to =>terrorist
and each member converts to a subliminal threat. Imagine the psychology that can be applied to that bit of information to produce next day propaganda. Let us not forget the real media that displays the propaganda is owned by just 6 entities; global access to knowledge and real truth is gated and directed by search engine magic these two facts are IMO a real global threat to humanity.

Win by not losing/ In such a scenario increasing numbers in a terror group or increasing numbers of, or broadening the global distribution of terror groups produces more terror fodder. The competent imagination derives its threats from terror fodder ( fodder fits any size imagination).

When ever it is needed, proof of any non self-inflicted terrorism can be conjured from the imagination. As Mr Turse says proof of terrorism can be found in the definition, proof of victory can be found in the attack (as Mr. Turse so adequately expressed), and both are recorded in the history of terrorism, which can be found in the daily media presentations and the MSM annual report "Dollars Spent Chasing Terrorist from the Imagination". a joint publication of the Internationally linked intelligence services and the global college of paranoia producing propaganda.

victory is found in the attack because dollars start to flow; the more dollars the greater the victory.

But how much of this would be possible if the reserve currency were no longer the dollar? What will happen when Russia, China, Iran and others produce a new reserve currency or displace existing reserve currencies by assigning exchange value to the currency of each nation? The issuer of reserve currency measures its money supply by the checks he writes [their checks never bounce], everyone else measures their currency by the amount of the reserve currency they are able to keep in the bank ( to prevent their checks from bouncing].

Justsaying , says: September 6, 2018 at 11:22 am GMT
@Sean Because although Health and Education Keynesianisn would work as well as the Military variant, it also leads to an organised population mobilising for social change. And while wars do end eventually, social spending seems to increase over time without limit. I was almost sold on that explanation to my honest question, until the phrase

wars do end eventually

Would wars "ending eventually", not render the MIC obsolete? Is it not the MIC that thrives on perpetual wars with seemingly endless supplies of cash to fund their wars? Even in periods of relative calm (if ever, since WWII that is), is it not the constant threat of war that keeps the military monstrosity grinding away?

RVBlake , says: September 6, 2018 at 11:45 am GMT
74% of Americans express high confidence in their military? I wonder if 74% of Americans are even aware that we're at war. I read somewhere that U.S. generals now define victory as getting the Taliban to the bargaining table.
Tom Walsh , says: September 6, 2018 at 12:46 pm GMT
"out-guerrilla the guerrilla." was coined by Col. David Hackworth as out "G" ing the G and was shown to work in the Delta. Read his book "About Face" or "Steel my soldiers hearts"
Kjell Holmsten , says: September 6, 2018 at 1:39 pm GMT
Elites, read Bolsheviks or Freemasons win no war, they do not win over diseases, crime, idiot bla, bla. They are making money on them and they always turn to both sides. To the criminal gangsters, to the associations of the sick, to the losers in war, they can win in 20 years, etc. etc. This article is foam, foam. The Elites are trying to do everything and nobody understands anything, so the elite wins – the banker always has his blood money.
Carroll Price , says: September 6, 2018 at 1:42 pm GMT

the United States has not won a major conflict since 1945; has a trillion-dollar national security budget; has had 17 military commanders in the last 17 years in Afghanistan, a country plagued by 23,744 "security incidents" (the most ever recorded) in 2017 alone; has spent around $3 trillion, primarily on that war and the rest of the war on terror, including the ongoing conflict in Iraq, which then-defense secretary Donald Rumsfeld swore, in 2002, would be over in only "five days or five weeks or five months," but where approximately 5,000 U.S. troops remain today; and yet 74% of the American people still express high confidence in the U.S. military.

Let me correct that 1st sentence for you: the United States has not REPEATED THE MISTAKE OF WINNING a major conflict since 1945.

Why? Because as they quickly discovered, WW2 was the best thing that ever happened to the US economy, and that lots more money is made fighting wars than winning one, as proven by the above quoted figures.

Agent76 , says: September 6, 2018 at 2:54 pm GMT
September 17, 2014 US Pursues *134** Wars Around the World

The US is now involved in *134* wars or none, depending on your definition of war.

http://www.thedailybell.com/news-analysis/35654/US-Pursues-134-Wars-Around-the-World/

December 24, 2013 The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases

The US Military has bases in *63* countries. According to Gelman, who examined 2005 official Pentagon data, the US is thought to own a total of *737* bases in foreign lands.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-worldwide-network-of-us-military-bases/5564

ChuckOrloski , says: September 6, 2018 at 2:57 pm GMT
Hi Nick Turse,
Given OBL and Afghanistan Taliban had nothing to do with 9/11 terror attacks, it appears likely that the W. Bush regime launched war upon the Taliban exclusively for geopolitical interests, minerals, i.e., lithium, and construction of natural gas pipelines directed southeast to the subcontinent, India.
Fyi, approximately seven years ago, I saw a U.S. Veterans informational map which identified the Neo-"Grunts" military bases as within close proximity to pipeline construction.
Consequently, for me, I see US military's incessant stay in "the graveyard of Empires" as a stilted profit & loss (P&L) "'victory," but of course there's no (!) dividend for dumb goyim American citizens, but voila, oodles for global energy companies, untouchable Military-Industrial-$ecurity Complex, & killing "Poppy Fields," including Moneychanger pharmaceutical-opioid trade!
In short, the incredible cost for U.S. military's GWOT & advanced targeting of Russia is diabolically placed upon future generations of American taxpayers who, at the moment-of-their birth, are in debt, & the Mom and Pop' "victory" is incarnate in a 'guvmint CHIP card.
ZUSA wars "victory" is in the pockets of P&L-benefactors, and on Sunday afternoons, one can feel the "bern" when fighter jets flyover NFL stadiums!
Thanks for the education, Mr. Turse!
onusians , says: September 6, 2018 at 3:48 pm GMT
@jilles dykstra It did not in the civilised societies of north and western Europe. The nordic " model " is dead , and it has been a bad example to the world . Sweden has 10 million people , Norway 4 , Danmark 6 . These little countries can not be a valid model for anyone .

Like Toynbee said nordics are kind of a failed egoistic subcivilization of the germans , english of russians , with which they never had the courage to integrate . They seem to be happy in their autistic cold world , pretending to be a showroom for the UN perverts .

Thim , says: September 6, 2018 at 5:40 pm GMT
As to Vietnam the author is just clueless. Where was the so called crushing defeat? When we Americans pulled out in 1971 to 1972 the NVA was still stymied and impotent. Our so called allies hated us totally and the feeling was mutual. We actually had no allies in Vietnam except the savage yard tribes. But yes after we pulled out the South collapsed fast as we knew they would. They got exactly what they deserved. But it was a South Vietnamese defeat. By 1975 our armies were long gone. Repeat, there were no American divisions, battallions or platoons to lose. We were gone.

We still do not know exactly what Kissinger got from the Chinese at Paris in 1971-2, but he and Nixon seemed happy enough, and we pulled out and ceded Vietnam. We do know this was the exact time China began to cooperate with us in the Cold War against the Bolsheviks. Specifically, we know the Chinese allowed our B-52′s, loaded with nukes, to overfly, all along the Soviet border, and this continued to 1987, when the game was already up.

[Aug 23, 2018] The War Piece to End All War Pieces Or How to Fight a War of Ultimate Repetitiousness by Tom Engelhardt

Notable quotes:
"... Here, for instance, is what I wrote about our Afghan War in 2008, almost seven years after it began, when the U.S. Air Force took out a bridal party, including the bride herself and at least 26 other women and children en route to an Afghan wedding. And that would be just one of eight U.S. wedding strikes I toted up by the end of 2013 in three countries, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, that killed almost 300 potential revelers. "We have become a nation of wedding crashers," I wrote, "the uninvited guests who arrived under false pretenses, tore up the place, offered nary an apology, and refused to go home." ..."
"... Thought of another way, the U.S. military is now heading into record territory in Afghanistan. In the mid-1970s, the rare American who had heard of that country knew it only as a stop on the hippie trail . If you had then told anyone here that, by 2018, the U.S. would have been at war there for 27 years ( 1979-1989 and 2001-2018), he or she would have laughed in your face. And yet here we are, approaching the mark for one of Europe's longest, most brutal struggles, the Thirty Years' War of the seventeenth century. Imagine that. ..."
"... raison d'κtre ..."
"... Afganistan is the graveyard of poor empires. It's the playground of the rich American empire, a place to test weapons, test men, gain battle experience, get promotions, and generally keep the military-industrial complex in top health. If it didn't exist, we'd have to invent it. ..."
"... As shown in this article there is a very interesting connection between growing wealth inequality in the United States and American wars: https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/how-american-wars-lead-to-increased.html ..."
"... it's not a war; it's an occupation. More cops get killed/wounded in USA proper then military personnel in that "war". 2017, 46 U.S. police officers were killed by felons in the line of duty; 17 military personnel in Afghanistan. ..."
"... Yes , the US military industrial complex is rich and in top health as you say , but what I see is that the health of the US as a whole , physical and mental , is going down in the last 50 years . Maybe the metastasis of the " healthy " military cancer are killing the American host . ..."
Aug 16, 2018 | www.unz.com

Fair warning. Stop reading right now if you want, because I'm going to repeat myself. What choice do I have, since my subject is the Afghan War (America's second Afghan War, no less)? I began writing about that war in October 2001, almost 17 years ago, just after the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. That was how I inadvertently launched the unnamed listserv that would, a year later, become TomDispatch . Given the website's continuing focus on America's forever wars (a phrase I first used in 2010 ), what choice have I had but to write about Afghanistan ever since?

So think of this as the war piece to end all war pieces. And let the repetition begin!

Here, for instance, is what I wrote about our Afghan War in 2008, almost seven years after it began, when the U.S. Air Force took out a bridal party, including the bride herself and at least 26 other women and children en route to an Afghan wedding. And that would be just one of eight U.S. wedding strikes I toted up by the end of 2013 in three countries, Afghanistan, Iraq, and Yemen, that killed almost 300 potential revelers. "We have become a nation of wedding crashers," I wrote, "the uninvited guests who arrived under false pretenses, tore up the place, offered nary an apology, and refused to go home."

Here's what I wrote about Afghanistan in 2009, while considering the metrics of "a war gone to hell": "While Americans argue feverishly and angrily over what kind of money, if any, to put into health care, or decaying infrastructure, or other key places of need, until recently just about no one in the mainstream raised a peep about the fact that, for nearly eight years (not to say much of the last three decades), we've been pouring billions of dollars, American military know-how, and American lives into a black hole in Afghanistan that is, at least in significant part, of our own creation."

Here's what I wrote in 2010, thinking about how "forever war" had entered the bloodstream of the twenty-first-century U.S. military (in a passage in which you'll notice a name that became more familiar in the Trump era): "And let's not leave out the Army's incessant planning for the distant future embodied in a recently published report, 'Operating Concept, 2016-2028,' overseen by Brigadier General H.R. McMaster, a senior adviser to Gen. David Petraeus. It opts to ditch 'Buck Rogers' visions of futuristic war, and instead to imagine counterinsurgency operations, grimly referred to as 'wars of exhaustion,' in one, two, many Afghanistans to the distant horizon."

Here's what I wrote in 2012, when Afghanistan had superseded Vietnam as the longest war in American history: "Washington has gotten itself into a situation on the Eurasian mainland so vexing and perplexing that Vietnam has finally been left in the dust. In fact, if you hadn't noticed -- and weirdly enough no one has -- that former war finally seems to have all but vanished."

Here's what I wrote in 2015, thinking about the American taxpayer dollars that had, in the preceding years, gone into Afghan "roads to nowhere, ghost soldiers, and a $43 million gas station" built in the middle of nowhere, rather than into this country: "Clearly, Washington had gone to war like a drunk on a bender, while the domestic infrastructure began to fray. At $109 billion by 2014, the American reconstruction program in Afghanistan was already, in today's dollars, larger than the Marshall Plan (which helped put all of devastated Western Europe back on its feet after World War II) and still the country was a shambles."

And here's what I wrote last year thinking about the nature of our never-ending war there: "Right now, Washington is whistling past the graveyard. In Afghanistan and Pakistan the question is no longer whether the U.S. is in command, but whether it can get out in time. If not, the Russians, the Chinese, the Iranians, the Indians, who exactly will ride to our rescue? Perhaps it would be more prudent to stop hanging out in graveyards. They are, after all, meant for burials, not resurrections."

And that's just to dip a toe into my writings on America's all-time most never-ending war.

What Happened After History Ended

... ... ...

In reality, when it comes to America's spreading wars , especially the one in Afghanistan, history didn't end at all. It just stumbled onto some graveyard version of a Mφbius strip. In contrast to the past empires that found they ultimately couldn't defeat Afghanistan's insurgent tribal warriors, the U.S. has -- as Bush administration officials suspected at the time -- proven unique. Just not in the way they imagined.

Their dreams couldn't have been more ambitious. As they launched the invasion of Afghanistan, they were already looking past the triumph to come to Saddam Hussein's Iraq and the glories that would follow once his regime had been "decapitated," once U.S. forces, the most technologically advanced ever, were stationed for an eternity in the heart of the oil heartlands of the Greater Middle East. Not that anyone remembers anymore, but Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Douglas Feith, and the rest of that crew of geopolitical dreamers wanted it all.

What they got was no less unique in history: a great power at the seeming height of its strength and glory, with destructive capabilities beyond imagining and a military unmatched on the planet, unable to score a single decisive victory across an increasingly large swath of the planet or impose its will, however brutally, on seemingly far weaker, less well-armed opponents. They could not conquer, subdue, control, pacify, or win the hearts and minds or anything else of enemies who often fought their trillion-dollar foe using weaponry valued at the price of a pizza . Talk about bleeding wounds!

A War of Abysmal Repetition

Thought of another way, the U.S. military is now heading into record territory in Afghanistan. In the mid-1970s, the rare American who had heard of that country knew it only as a stop on the hippie trail . If you had then told anyone here that, by 2018, the U.S. would have been at war there for 27 years ( 1979-1989 and 2001-2018), he or she would have laughed in your face. And yet here we are, approaching the mark for one of Europe's longest, most brutal struggles, the Thirty Years' War of the seventeenth century. Imagine that.

... ... ...

Almost 17 years and, coincidentally enough, 17 U.S. commanders later, think of it as a war of abysmal repetition. Just about everything in the U.S. manual of military tactics has evidently been tried (including dropping "the mother of all bombs," the largest non-nuclear munition in that military's arsenal), often time and again, and nothing has even faintly done the trick -- to which the Pentagon's response is invariably a version of the classic misquoted movie line, "Play it again, Sam."

And yet, amid all that repetition, people are still dying ; Afghans and others are being uprooted and displaced across Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and deep into Africa; wars and terror outfits are spreading. And here's a simple enough fact that's worth repeating: the endless, painfully ignored failure of the U.S. military (and civilian) effort in Afghanistan is where it all began and where it seems never to end.

A Victory for Whom?

Every now and then, there's the odd bit of news that reminds you we don't have to be in a world of repetition. Every now and then, you see something and wonder whether it might not represent a new development, one that possibly could lead out of (or far deeper into) the graveyard of empires.

As a start, though it's been easy to forget in these years, other countries are affected by the ongoing disaster of a war in Afghanistan. Think, for instance, of Pakistan (with a newly elected, somewhat Trumpian president who has been a critic of America's Afghan War and of U.S. drone strikes in his country), Iran, China, and Russia. So here's something I can't remember seeing in the news before: the military intelligence chiefs of those four countries all met recently in Islamabad, the Pakistani capital, officially to discuss the growth of Islamic State-branded insurgents in Afghanistan. But who knows what was really being discussed? And the same applies to the visit of Iran's armed forces chief of staff to Pakistan in July and the return visit of that country's chief of staff to Iran in early August. I can't tell you what's going on, only that these are not the typically repetitive stories of the last 17 years.

And hard as it might be to believe, even when it comes to U.S. policy, there's been the odd headline that might pass for new. Take the recent private, direct talks with the Taliban in Qatar's capital, Doha, initiated by the Trump administration and seemingly ongoing. They might -- or might not -- represent something new , as might President Trump himself, who, as far as anyone can tell, doesn't think that Afghanistan is " the right war ." He has, from time to time, even indicated that he might be in favor of ending the American role, of " getting the hell out of there," as he reportedly told Senator Rand Paul, and that's unique in itself (though he and his advisers seem to be raring to go when it comes to what could be the next Afghanistan: Iran ).

But should the man who would never want to be known as the president who lost the longest war in American history try to follow through on a withdrawal plan, he's likely to have a few problems on his hands. Above all, the Pentagon and the country's field commanders seem to be hooked on America's " infinite " wars. They exhibit not the slightest urge to stop them. The Afghan War and the others that have flowed from it represent both their raison d'κtre and their meal ticket. They represent the only thing the U.S. military knows how to do in this century. And one thing is guaranteed: if they don't agree with the president on a withdrawal strategy, they have the power and ability to make a man who would do anything to avoid marring his own image as a winnner look worse than you could possibly imagine. Despite that military's supposedly apolitical role in this country's affairs, its leaders are uniquely capable of blocking any attempt to end the Afghan War.

And with that in mind, almost 17 years later, don't think that victory is out of the question either. Every day that the U.S. military stays in Afghanistan is indeed a victory for well, not George W. Bush, or Barack Obama, and certainly not Donald Trump, but the now long-dead Osama bin Laden. The calculation couldn't be simpler. Thanks to his " precision" weaponry -- those 19 suicidal hijackers in commercial jets -- the nearly 17 years of wars he's sparked across much of the Muslim world cost a man from one of Saudi Arabia's wealthiest families a mere $400,000 to $500,000 . They've cost American taxpayers, minimally, $5.6 trillion dollars with no end in sight. And every day the Afghan War and the others that have followed from it continue is but another triumphant day for him and his followers.

A sad footnote to this history of extreme repetition: I wish this essay, as its title suggests, were indeed the war piece to end all war pieces. Unfortunately, it's a reasonable bet that, in August 2019, or August 2020, not to speak of August 2021, I'll be repeating all of this yet again.

Tom Engelhardt is a co-founder of the American Empire Project and the author of a history of the Cold War, The End of Victory Culture . He is a fellow of the Nation Institute and runs TomDispatch.com . His sixth and latest book is A Nation Unmade by War (Dispatch Books).


Anonymous , [142] Disclaimer says: August 16, 2018 at 2:54 pm GMT

Afganistan is the graveyard of poor empires. It's the playground of the rich American empire, a place to test weapons, test men, gain battle experience, get promotions, and generally keep the military-industrial complex in top health. If it didn't exist, we'd have to invent it. All very human. If America wasn't doing it, somebody else would.

Life is a killer.

MarkU , says: August 16, 2018 at 3:06 pm GMT

Its all about pipelines, rare-earth elements and drug money for CIA black ops.

15 years of American efforts to suppress opium growing and the heroin trade in that country (at historic lows, by the way, when the U.S. invaded in 2001).

And many record harvests after the US invasion.

' In politics, nothing happens by accident. If it happens, you can bet it was planned that way ' Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Sally Snyder , says: August 16, 2018 at 5:05 pm GMT

As shown in this article there is a very interesting connection between growing wealth inequality in the United States and American wars: https://viableopposition.blogspot.com/2018/07/how-american-wars-lead-to-increased.html

Unless Washington shifts from a program of funding wars by deficit financing to funding wars through direct taxation, wars being fought by the United States will continue to contribute to America's growing income inequality.

mijj , says: August 17, 2018 at 4:14 am GMT

fyi: Forever War was a 1974 Sci-Fi book inspired by the Vietnam war.

Colin Wright , says: Website August 17, 2018 at 9:32 pm GMT

To leave Afghanistan we would have to admit defeat. We don't want to admit defeat. Therefore, we don't leave.

Deschutes , says: August 18, 2018 at 4:53 pm GMT

About the only thing I take away from this insufferably droll, repetitive piece on America at war forever, is how powerless the both the writer and the reader are. All we can do is read these depressing articles which remind us of a war we can do absolutely nothing about. Very shitty and depressing, just like USA!

peterAUS , says: August 19, 2018 at 1:56 am GMT
@Anonymous

Pretty much. Besides, it's not a war; it's an occupation. More cops get killed/wounded in USA proper then military personnel in that "war". 2017, 46 U.S. police officers were killed by felons in the line of duty; 17 military personnel in Afghanistan.

The article's point/issue is simply overblown. That's why people don't pay attention to it.

skrik , says: August 19, 2018 at 7:29 am GMT
@peterAUS

Besides, it's not a war; it's an occupation

BS; it's an alien invasion = Nuremberg-class war crime.

More cops get killed/wounded in USA proper

This looks very much like the "tu quoque" or the appeal to hypocrisy fallacy plus 'oranges vs. apples.' What the good US-burghers do in their own country is entirely their business, and IF it looks like they act like antediluvian neanderthal savages [a direct result of their risible 'education' + night & day TV, perhaps] THEN tough luck for the cops. It probably doesn't help that the US-cops are just as much free with the lead as their oppressed subjects. And don't think that the same sort of savagery won't impact someone near you; a quick glance into abc.net.au/news/justin reveals horrendous 'social situations,' like bodies in barrels, say, or aggravated home invasions, etc., also caused by defective education plus importing 'cheap' labour.

That's why people don't pay attention to it

More BS; the sheeple ignore US/Z aggression everywhere it occurs because the corrupt&venal MSM+PFBCs [= publicly financed broadcasters, like the AusBC] sell the powerless population pups = the sheeple get actively, deliberately brainwashed [cf. Lόgenpresse ]. Apologists for [here terrorist] criminals make themselves accessories = assign themselves guilt and should be punished after being tried & found so guilty.

blackswan , says: August 21, 2018 at 5:02 pm GMT

" The U.S. has spent 25 trillion since the Vietnam War, what do they have to show for it? " Jack Ma Ali Baba
" The genius of our ruling class is that it has kept the majority of people from ever questioning the inequity of a private for profit fraudulent banking system where most people drudge along, paying heavey taxes for which they get nothing in return." Gore Vidal

Biff , says: August 23, 2018 at 4:37 am GMT

Tom, you have to get over tying Osama bin Laden to 9/11. Who organized that event, I do not know, but cave dwelling Arabs it was not.

cui bono does include Osama's ilk, but many others as well, and there HAD to be insiders in the U.S. government to pull it off.

Yukon Tom , says: August 23, 2018 at 5:06 am GMT

(War) "It's something we do all the time because we're good at it. And we're good at it because we're used to it. And we're used to it because we do it all the time." Sergeant Michael Dunne played by Paul Gross in Passchendaele the Movie

I'm not sure, but I don't think we are good at it anymore. But it appears to me that the Russians, Iranians, Syrians and Houthi's are and that really scares us. But it does make a lot of money for some people, careers for others and the MSM loves it for the ratings and avoiding telling the truth.

Realist , says: August 23, 2018 at 8:11 am GMT

Your opening photo is of two of the dumbest son-of-a-bitches to ever hold the office of President of The United States. Indicative of the shit slide this country is on.

The Alarmist , says: August 23, 2018 at 9:07 am GMT

"Afghans and others are being uprooted and displaced across Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and deep into Africa ."

So the strategy is to depopulate the country of its indigenous peoples until "we" outnumber them? Never mind the damage these re-settled folks are doing to Western Europe, not to mention other places.

Winning!

blood drunk , says: August 23, 2018 at 9:16 am GMT
@Anonymous

.generally keep the military-industrial complex in top health

Yes , the US military industrial complex is rich and in top health as you say , but what I see is that the health of the US as a whole , physical and mental , is going down in the last 50 years . Maybe the metastasis of the " healthy " military cancer are killing the American host .

The same happened to most of the empires , got drunk on blood and fell .

[Aug 09, 2018] Why They Fail - The Quintessence Of The Korengal Valley Campaign

Notable quotes:
"... Wall Street Journal ..."
Aug 09, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

A new excerpt from a book by C.J. Chivers, a former U.S. infantry captain and New York Times war correspondent, tells the story of a young man from New York City who joined the U.S. army and was send to the Korengal Valley in Afghanistan. While the man, one Robert Soto, makes it out alive, several of his comrades and many Afghans die during his time in Afghanistan to no avail.

The piece includes remarkably strong words about the strategic (in)abilities of U.S. politicians, high ranking officers and pundits:

On one matter there can be no argument: The policies that sent these men and women abroad, with their emphasis on military action and their visions of reordering nations and cultures, have not succeeded. It is beyond honest dispute that the wars did not achieve what their organizers promised, no matter the party in power or the generals in command. Astonishingly expensive, strategically incoherent, sold by a shifting slate of senior officers and politicians and editorial-page hawks, the wars have continued in varied forms and under different rationales each and every year since passenger jets struck the World Trade Center in 2001. They continue today without an end in sight, reauthorized in Pentagon budgets almost as if distant war is a presumed government action.

That description is right but it does not touche the underlying causes. The story of the attempted U.S. occupation of the Korengal valley, which Civers again describes, has been the theme of several books and movies. It demonstrates the futility of fighting a population that does not welcome occupiers. But most of the authors, including Chivers, get one fact wrong. The war with the people of the Korengal valley was started out of shear stupidity and ignorance.

The main military outpost in the valley was build on a former sawmill. Chivers writes:

On a social level, it could not have been much worse. It was an unforced error of occupation, a set of foreign military bunkers built on the grounds of a sawmill and lumber yard formerly operated by Haji Mateen, a local timber baron. The American foothold put some of the valley's toughest men out of work, the same Afghans who knew the mountain trails. Haji Mateen now commanded many of the valley's fighters, under the banner of the Taliban.

Unfortunately Chivers does not explain why the saw mill was closed. Ten years ago a piece by Elizabeth Rubin touched on this:

As the Afghans tell the story, from the moment the Americans arrived in 2001, the Pech Valley timber lords and warlords had their ear. Early on, they led the Americans to drop bombs on the mansion of their biggest rival -- Haji Matin. The air strikes killed several members of his family, according to local residents, and the Americans arrested others and sent them to the prison at Bagram Air Base. The Pech Valley fighters working alongside the Americans then pillaged the mansion. And that was that. Haji Matin, already deeply religious, became ideological and joined with Abu Ikhlas, a local Arab linked to the foreign jihadis.

Years before October 2004, before regular U.S. soldiers came into the Korengal valley, U.S. special forces combed through the region looking for 'al-Qaeda'. They made friends with a timber baron in Pech valley, a Pashtun of the Safi tribe, who claimed that his main competitor in the (illegal) timber trade who lived in the nearby Korengal river valley was a Taliban and 'al-Qaeda'. That was not true. Haji Matin was a member of a Nuristani tribe that spoke Pashai . These were a distinct people with their own language who were and are traditional hostile to any centralized government (pdf), even to the Taliban's Islamic Emirate.

The U.S. special forces lacked any knowledge of the local society. But even worse was that they lacked the curiosity to research and investigate the social terrain. They simply trusted their new 'friend', the smooth talking Pashtun timber baron, and called in jets to destroy his competitor's sawmill and home. This started a local war of attrition which defeated the U.S. military. In 2010 the U.S. military, having achieved nothing, retreated from Korengal. (The sawmill episode was described in detail in a 2005(?) blog post by a former special force soldier who took part in it. It since seems to have been removed from the web.)

Back to Chivers' otherwise well written piece. He looks at the results two recent (and ongoing) U.S. wars:

The governments of Afghanistan and Iraq, each of which the United States spent hundreds of billions of dollars to build and support, are fragile, brutal and uncertain. The nations they struggle to rule harbor large contingents of irregular fighters and terrorists who have been hardened and made savvy, trained by the experience of fighting the American military machine.
...
Billions of dollars spent creating security partners also deputized pedophiles, torturers and thieves. National police or army units that the Pentagon proclaimed essential to their countries' futures have disbanded. The Islamic State has sponsored or encouraged terrorist attacks across much of the world -- exactly the species of crime the global "war on terror" was supposed to prevent.

The wars fail because they no reasonable strategic aim or achievable purpose. They are planned by incompetent people. The most recent Pentagon ideas for the U.S. war on Afghanistan depend on less restricted bombing rules. Yesterday one predictable and self defeating consequence was again visible:

An American airstrike killed at least a dozen Afghan security forces during intense fighting with the Taliban near the Afghan capital, officials said Tuesday.
...
Shamshad Larawi, a spokesman for the governor, said that American airstrikes had been called in for support, but that because of a misunderstanding, the planes mistakenly targeted an Afghan police outpost.
...
Haji Abdul Satar, a tribal elder from Azra, said he counted 19 dead, among them 17 Afghan police officers and pro-government militia members and two civilians.
...
In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs across Afghanistan, nearly double the number for the same period last year and more than five times the number for the first half of 2016. ... Civilian casualties from aerial bombardments have increased considerably as a result, the United Nations says.

One argument made by the Pentagon generals when they pushed Trump to allow more airstrikes was that these would cripple the Taliban's alleged opium trade and its financial resources. But, as the Wall Street Journal reports , that plan, like all others before it, did not work at all:

Nine months of targeted airstrikes on opium production sites across Afghanistan have failed to put a significant dent in the illegal drug trade that provides the Taliban with hundreds of millions of dollars, according to figures provided by the U.S. military.
...
So far, the air campaign has wiped out about $46 million in Taliban revenue, less than a quarter of the money the U.S. estimates the insurgents get from the illegal drug trade. U.S. military officials estimate the drug trade provides the Taliban with 60% of its revenue.
...
Poppy production hit record highs in Afghanistan last year , where they are the country's largest cash crop, valued at between $1.5 billion and $3 billion.

More than 200 airstrikes on "drug-related targets" have hardly made a dent in the Taliban's war chest. The military war planners again failed.

At the end of the Chivers piece its protagonist, Robert Soto, rightfully vents about the unaccountability of such military 'leaders':

Still he wondered: Was there no accountability for the senior officer class? The war was turning 17, and the services and the Pentagon seemed to have been given passes on all the failures and the drift. Even if the Taliban were to sign a peace deal tomorrow, there would be no rousing sense of victory, no parade. In Iraq, the Islamic State metastasized in the wreckage of the war to spread terror around the world. The human costs were past counting, and the whitewash was both institutional and personal, extended to one general after another, including many of the same officers whose plans and orders had either fizzled or failed to create lasting success, and yet who kept rising . Soto watched some of them as they were revered and celebrated in Washington and by members of the press, even after past plans were discredited and enemies retrenched.

Since World War II, during which the Soviets, not the U.S., defeated the Nazis, the U.S. won no war. The only exception is the turkey shooting of the first Gulf war. But even that war failed in its larger political aim of dethroning Saddam Hussein.

The U.S. population and its 'leaders' simply know too little about the world to prevail in an international military campaign. They lack curiosity. The origin of the Korengal failure is a good example for that.

U.S. wars are rackets , run on the back of lowly soldiers and foreign civil populations. They enriche few at the cost of everyone else.

Wars should not be 'a presumed government action', but the last resort to defend ones country. We should do our utmost to end all of them.


bjd , Aug 8, 2018 4:19:05 PM | 1

There is a fundamental misunderstanding in the lament ringing through in this story.

The policy makers and the generals do not care about Afghanistan, nor about American boys being sent and being killed there.

Any bombs spent means more bombs being ordered and manufactured. The Military-Industrial-Intelligence-Complex thus profits.

Those belonging to that complex do not belong to the same class as those boys in body bags.

In spite of these valuable insights like in this story, everything is going just hunky dory.

Mischi , Aug 8, 2018 4:34:28 PM | 2
you know, it is just as easy to influence a foreign society by making movies (Bollywood in this case) with a certain bent, the one you want people to follow. After a few years of seeing the Taliban as villains, there would be no fresh recruits and mass desertion. But, the weapons manufacturers wouldn't be making their enormous profits. This same effect can be seen in American society, where the movies coming out of Hollywood started becoming very aggressive in tone around the time that Ronald Reagan became president. Movies went from The Deer Hunter to Rambo and Wall Street. Is it any wonder that even the progressive Left in the USA thinks it is ok to attack their political adversaries and that violence is justified? This is the power of movies and the media.
Mark2 , Aug 8, 2018 4:45:09 PM | 3
Thank you 'b' this post as always is a true in depth education !
If you run for president of the United States of America enytime soon you'v got my vote !
karlof1 , Aug 8, 2018 5:09:38 PM | 4
bjd @1 highlights an important truth similar to that exposed by Joseph Heller in Cache-22 and by Hudson's Balance-of-Payments revelation he revealed yet again at this link I posted yesterday . Most know the aggressive war against Afghanistan was already planned and on the schedule prior to 911 and would have occurred regardless since after Serbia the Outlaw US Empire felt it could do and get away with anything. 911 simply provided BushCo with Carte-Blache, but it wasn't enough of a window to fulfill their desired destruction of 7 nations in 5 years for their Zionist Patron.

IMO, as part of its plan to control the Heartland, those running the Outlaw US Empire never had any plan to leave Afghanistan; rather once there, they'd stay and occupy it just as the Empire's done everywhere since WW2. The Empire's very much like a leech; its occupations are parasitic as Hudson demonstrated, and work at the behest of corporate interests as Smedly Butler so eloquently illustrated.

As with Vietnam, the only way to get NATO forces to leave is for Afghanis to force them out with their rifles. Hopefully, they will be assisted by SCO nations and Afghanistan will cease being a broken nation by 2030.

jayc , Aug 8, 2018 5:13:05 PM | 5
The Wall Street Journal article on the Taliban's ties to the local drug trade also the reveals deliberate omission practiced by the MSM, which keeps its readers actively misinformed. Estimating illegal drug revenues contribute as much as $200 million to the Taliban, the article fails to put that in proper context: that figure represents merely 7%-13% of total production receipts (estimated at 1.5 to 3 billion dollars). Most informed persons know exactly who reaps the rewards of more than 80% of the Afghan drug products, and why this much larger effort is not the focus of "targeted airstrikes."
Pft , Aug 8, 2018 5:17:07 PM | 6
1. "The wars fail because they no reasonable strategic aim or achievable purpose........
Since World War II, during which the Soviets, not the U.S., defeated the Nazis, the U.S. won no war. The only exception is the turkey shooting of the first Gulf war."

2 "U.S. wars are rackets, run on the back of lowly soldiers and foreign civil populations. They enriche few at the cost of everyone else"

Your points in 1 ignore the reality expressed by 2. The real strategic aims and purposes are not those provided for public consumption. Winning wars is not the objective, the length and cost of wars is far more important than results. Enriching and empowering the few over the many is the entire point of it all

And lets put an end to "US " responsibility for all evils. Its a shared responsibility. None of this is possible without the cooperation of Uk and its commonwealth nations, EU, Japan and the various international organizations that allow the dollar to be weaponized such as IMF/World Bank and BIS not to mention the various tax havens which support covert operations and looting of assets obtained in these wars (military or economic).

Until the rest of the world is prepared to do something about it they are willing accomplices in all of this.

The global elites are globalists, they dont think in national terms. Its a global elitist cabal at work that is hiding behind the cover of US hegemony.


Ash , Aug 8, 2018 6:01:26 PM | 7
b: "Wars should not be 'a presumed government action', but the last resort to defend ones country. We should do our utmost to end all of them."

Well said, sir.

ben , Aug 8, 2018 6:09:27 PM | 8
karlof1 @ 4 said:"The Empire's very much like a leech; its occupations are parasitic as Hudson demonstrated, and work at the behest of corporate interests as Smedly Butler so eloquently illustrated."

You bet.. The operative words being " work at the behest of corporate interests "

And so it goes around the globe. Question is; How to get this information to the herded bovines the general public has become?

Without a major network to disseminate such info, we're all just spinning our wheels. Oh, but, the therapy is good..

fast freddy , Aug 8, 2018 6:18:02 PM | 9
Very interesting stories - especially re: the timber mill warlord competition.

Defoliants are still used in warfare - especially "by accident". Carpet bombing is still legal. If NATO wanted to wipe out the poppies, it surely could do so.

Pft at 6, reminded me of this zinger:

The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. - The Brzez

Deltaeus , Aug 8, 2018 6:38:00 PM | 10
jayc @5 implies it, and I'll say it more directly: US soldiers guard poppy fields in Afghanistan. I'm also reminded of Alfred C McCoy's famous 1972 work The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FzQUsY6a_Ds
Why the US grows heroin in Afghanistan, from the movie War Machine

Piotr Berman , Aug 8, 2018 6:51:23 PM | 11
The nation state as a fundamental unit of man's organized life has ceased to be the principal creative force: International banks and multinational corporations are acting and planning in terms that are far in advance of the political concepts of the nation-state. - The Brzez

Posted by: fast freddy | Aug 8, 2018 6:18:02 PM | 9

This gem hides a deep truth. One has to replace "creative" and "far in advance", instead, we have power relationships. And those power relationships resemble central planning of the Communist states, concept that is attractive in abstraction, but centralization cannot cope with complexities of societies and economies, in part because the central institutions are inevitably beset by negative selection: people rise due to their adroit infighting skills rather than superior understanding of what those institutions are supposed to control. Ultimately, this proces leads to decay and fall. "Nation states" themselves are not immune to such cycles and are at different stages of the cycle creative-decadent-falling. However, international finance lacks observable "refreshing" mechanisms of nation states.

Kalen , Aug 8, 2018 6:54:16 PM | 12
War as always is financial racket, $trillion stolen, MIC thrives, took over with CIA all prerogatives of power and has million agents in US alone in every institution government and corporate.

I call it success of ruling elite. B war would stop tomorrow if it was unsuccessful read unprofitable for those who wage it. Nazi death camps were most profitable enterprises in third Reich.

Curtis , Aug 8, 2018 7:22:43 PM | 13
For some reason, when the US wars are admitted to be civil wars, no one questions whose side did the US take until it is too late and so very few tune in. Incompetence is the excuse. It reminds me of that adage to not blame on malice that which can be explained by stupidity but stupidity has been used to excuse a lot of malice. It's one reason why "military intelligence" resides at the top of oxymorons along with "congressional ethics" and "humanitarian intervention."

It is amazing to think that the US has been in Afghanistan for 17 years and supposedly knows where the opium and its processors are and yet could not take it out. (The pix of soldiers patrolling poppy fields is rich.) The initial excuse years ago was that the US needed to support the warlords who grew/sold it. What is the excuse now? Incompetence, corruption, laziness?

The US likes the idea of opium products going into Iran and Russia ... who have protested to no avail. A bit of indirect subversion.

Ian , Aug 8, 2018 7:27:07 PM | 14
@13:

The adage is Hanlon's Razor. There should be a joint air operation to bomb those poppy fields.

goldhoarder , Aug 8, 2018 7:33:26 PM | 15
US wars are rackets. They are very successful in that regard. It doesn't matter what people think about them.
fast freddy , Aug 8, 2018 7:50:42 PM | 16
The US likes opium products going into the US. It makes for broken citizens who lack zeal for knowledge, and therefore, comprehension; and the will to organize against the PTB. Importantly, being illegal, opiate use feeds the pigs who own the prison-industrial complex.
par4 , Aug 8, 2018 7:50:56 PM | 17
The Taliban had virtually eradicated opium when they controlled Afghanistan. Try this link or or this one.
fast freddy , Aug 8, 2018 7:55:40 PM | 18
https://www.thenation.com/

article/bushs-faustian-deal-taliban/

In April 2001, 5 months prior to nine elva, $43 million was gifted to the Taliban in Afghanistan for the stated purpose of eradicating opium.


karlof1 , Aug 8, 2018 8:09:38 PM | 19
ben @8--

Given the current, longstanding dynamics within the Outlaw US Empire, I don't see any possibility of the required reforms ever having an opportunity to get enacted. The situation's very similar to Nazi Germany's internal dynamic--the coercive forces of the State and its allies will not allow any diminution of their power. Within the Empire, thousands of Hydra heads would need to be rapidly severed for any revolt to succeed, and that requires a large, easily infiltrated organization to accomplish. Invasion by an allied group of nations invites a nuclear holocaust I can't condone. I think the best the world can do is force the Empire to retreat from its 800+ bases and sequester it behind the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans until it self-destructs or drastically reforms itself--Containment. But for that to work, almost every comprador government would need to be changed and their personages imprisoned, exiled or executed--another close to impossible task. Ideally, the ballot box would work--ideally--but that requires deeply informed voters and highly idealistic, strongly principled, creative, and fearless candidates, along with an honest media.

Yeah, writing can be good therapy. But I'm no more cheery than when I began. Must be time for intoxicants.

b4real , Aug 8, 2018 8:20:04 PM | 20
@6 Pft

"Until the rest of the world is prepared to do something about it..."

What is this 'something' of which you speak?

b4real

vk , Aug 8, 2018 8:26:25 PM | 21
More than 200 airstrikes on "drug-related targets" have hardly made a dent in the Taliban's war chest. The military war planners again failed.

Or did they?

Jen , Aug 8, 2018 9:11:48 PM | 22
Karlofi @ 19:

The world does not need to force the Evil Empire to retreat from its 1,000 (and counting) military bases around the planet.

All the world needs to do is trade with Iran, Venezuela or some other outsider nation. The Evil Empire will be so busy trying to punish everyone who trades with these countries by extending sanctions against the outsiders to their trading partners that the Empire effectively ends up having sanctioned everyone away and it becomes the victim of its sanctioning.

The 1,000+ military bases around the globe are then effectively on their own and the soldiers and administrators inside can either stay there and starve, throw in their lot with the host nation's citizenry or beg to be allowed to return home.

james , Aug 8, 2018 9:22:13 PM | 23
thanks b... as long as the americans support the troops, lol - all will be well apparently... jesus.. meanwhile - the support for the 1% bomb makers and etc continues... maybe it is the mutual fund money that folks are concerned about maintaining..

"In the first six months of this year, United States forces dropped nearly 3,000 bombs across Afghanistan." what is that? about 17 or 18 bombs a day or something? what about the drones? they have to be put to use too... best to get someone who is involved in their own turf war in afgan to give out the targets.. brilliant... usa war planning is mostly destroy and destroy and honour the troops and wave their stupid american flag and that is about it... sorry, but that is what it looks like to me..

Jason , Aug 8, 2018 9:32:50 PM | 24
its not so much they want to end the war on terror or the war on drugs.........they just want to say one thing to cover their asses and do another thing completely..

no matter what there should of been one general who got it right.....but we see it was never about peace .... it was always about war and its profits. anyone who didn't take orders or even had a hint of the right strategy would be Hung like dirty boots to dry.

what is the right strategy? leave. just as other empires did. before you call on your faces

to be even more frank....its not even about the money as that is not as important than having a nation of 300m regurgitate the news that they are there for 17 years to be the police of the world. because USA are the good ones... that they need to buy the biggest trucks which can't even fit in normal parking spaces because they have land mines(I mean ieds...) to avoid and need to haul 5tons of cargo to their construction job all while watching out for terrorists and trump Hillary divisions. is disorienting and it is deliberate. just as having a war last without a reason is deliberate while they entertain the masses with games..

dh , Aug 8, 2018 9:35:25 PM | 25
@23 "...maybe it is the mutual fund money that folks are concerned about maintaining.."

Definitely a big factor james. Unfortunately a lot more than 1% of the US population depends on the MIC for their livliehood.

james , Aug 8, 2018 9:38:08 PM | 26
@23dh... same deal here in canuckle head ville... people remain ignorant of what there money is ''''invested'''' in... could be saudi arabia for all the canucks think... btw - thanks for the laugh on the other thread... you made a couple of good jokes somewhere the past few days! i don't have much free time to comment at the moment..
pogohere , Aug 8, 2018 9:39:10 PM | 27
par4:

McCoy, in "The Politics of Heroin" gives a more complete picture:

In 1996, following four years of civil war among rival resistance factions, the Taliban's victory caused further expansion of opium cultivation. After capturing Kabul in September, the Taliban drove the Uzbek and Tajik warlords into the country's northeast, where they formed the Northern Alliance and clung to some 10 percent of Afghanistan's territory. Over the next three years, a seesaw battle for the Shamali plain north of Kabul raged until the Taliban finally won control in 1999 by destroying the orchards and irrigation in a prime food-producing region, generating over 100,000 refugees and increasing the country's dependence on opium.

Once in power, the Taliban made opium its largest source of taxation. To raise revenues estimated at $20-$25 million in 1997, the Taliban collected a 5 to 10 percent tax in kind on all opium harvested, a share that they then sold to heroin laboratories; a flat tax of $70 per kilogram on heroin refiners; and a transport tax of $250 on every kilogram exported. The head of the regime's anti-drug operations in Kandahar, Abdul Rashid, enforced a rigid ban on hashish "because it is consumed by Afghans, Muslims." But, he explained, "Opium is permissible because it is consumed by kafirs [unbelievers] in the West and not by Muslims or Afghans." A Taliban governor, Mohammed Hassan, added: "Drugs are evil and we would like to substitute poppies with another cash crop, but it's not possible at the moment because we do not have international recognition."

More broadly, the Taliban's policies provided stimulus, both direct and indirect, for a nationwide expansion of opium cultivation. . . Significantly, the regime's ban on the employment and education of women created a vast pool of low-cost labor to sustain an accelerated expansion of opium production. . . . In northern and eastern Afghanistan, women of all ages played " a fundamental role in the cultivation of the opium poppy"---planting, weeding, harvesting, cooking for laborers, and processing by-products such as oil. The Taliban not only taxed and encouraged opium cultivation, they protected and promoted exports to international markets.

In retrospect, however, the Taliban's most important contribution to the illicit traffic was its support for large-scale heroin refining.
. . .
Instead of eradication, the UN's annual opium surveys showed that Taliban rule had doubled Afghanistan's opium production from 2,250 tons in 1996 to 4,600 tons in 1999--equivalent to 75 percent of world illicit production. (508-509)
. . .

War on the Taliban

All this [heroin] traffic across Central Asia depended on high-volume heroin production in politically volatile Afghanistan. In July 2000, as a devastating drought entered its second year and mass starvation spread across Afghanistan, the Taliban's leader Mullah Omar ordered a sudden ban on opium cultivation in a bid for international recognition. (p.517)

dh , Aug 8, 2018 9:53:59 PM | 28
@26 I've been following the Canada/Saudi spat. I guess Justin has his own reasons for what he said but he certainly pissed MBS off.

Doesn't look like Donald wants to mediate. Perhaps Justin will have better luck with Teresa.

Pft , Aug 8, 2018 10:05:34 PM | 29
B4real@20

Dealing with their own elites for a start

james , Aug 8, 2018 10:17:03 PM | 30
@28 dh... usa daily propaganda press briefing had a few things to say - https://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2018/08/285028.htm
folktruther , Aug 8, 2018 10:27:00 PM | 31
B's article assumes that the operative purpose of the US military is to win wars. This isn't the case. The US military largely a business enterprise whose objective is to make money for the plutocracy that largely controls them. That being the case, the Afghanistan war has been a great success. If the US 'won' it, it would cease; if the Taliban conquered, it would cease. In this form of military stagnation it continues, and the money roles in making the ammunition, equipment, etc.

The military budget is largely an institution for transferring the tax money of the population from the people to the plutocracy. Military stagnation serves this purpose better than winning or losing.

Hoarsewhisperer , Aug 8, 2018 10:38:55 PM | 32
If there is one standout factor which makes makes all this profitable mayhem possible then it's the successful campaign by the Elites to persuade the Public that Secrecy is a legitimate variation of Privacy.
It is not.

Impregnable Government Secrecy is ALWAYS a cover for erroneous interpretations of an inconvenient Law - or straight-out cover for criminal activity.
It's preposterous to believe that a government elected by The People has a legitimate right to create schemes which must be kept Secret from The People.
This is especially true in the case of Military/Defense. There wouldn't be a CIC on earth who doesn't have up-to-date and regularly updated info on the hardware and capabilities of every ally and every potential foe. The People have a legitimate right to know what the CIC, and the rest of the world, already knows.

And that's just the most glaring example of the childish deception being perpetrated in the name of Secrecy. If governments were to be stripped of the power to conduct Our affairs in Secret then the scrutiny would oblige them to behave more competently. And we could weed out the drones and nitwits before they did too much damage.

dh , Aug 8, 2018 10:41:21 PM | 33
@30 Right. I notice they avoid mentioning the Badawis who are central to the issue. I guess helping Justin out isn't very high on Donald's list of priorities.
the pair , Aug 8, 2018 11:41:17 PM | 34
i forget who said it and the exact phrasing, but the best explanation i've seen is "why is the US there? it answers itself: to be there".

vast opium money for the deep state vermin.

profits for the bomb makers (you know, the respectable corporate ones as opposed to the quaint do-it-yourselfers).

lithium deposits that probably rival those in bolivia as well as other untapped profitable resources (probably, anyway; i could see oil and gas coming out of those ancient valleys).

it's also an occupation as opposed to a "win and get out" war. these military welfare queens think they can win a staring contest with the descendants of people who bitchslapped every would-be conqueror since alexander the great. ask the russians how well that went for them.

the west supports israel's 70+ years of colonizing palestine (plus the 3 or 4 decades of dumbness before it with balfour and such) and still has troops in south goddamn korea. as long as the tap flows they'll keep drinking that sweet tasty tax welfare.

[Aug 05, 2018] War Is A Racket After 17 Years and Billions Wasted, US Seeks Peace With Taliban by Ron Paul and Daniel McAdams

Jul 31, 2018 | www.antiwar.com
Last week, US State Department officials met with Taliban leaders in Qatar. At the request of the Taliban, the US-backed Afghan government was not invited. The officials discussed ceasefires and an end to the war. Meanwhile, the US inspector general charged with monitoring US spending on Afghanistan reconstruction has reported that since 2008, the US has completely wasted at the least $15.5 billion. He believes that's just the tip of the iceberg, though. Will President Trump do the smart thing and negotiate peace and leave? Tune in to today's Ron Paul Liberty Report:

[Aug 02, 2018]