May 222013
 

A policy has to be judged by its results, and by that standard interventionism is a complete and total failure, as a look at the day’s headlines reveals.

We’ve heard several public officials say Al Qaeda has been effectively dismantled, with its top leadership – including Osama bin Laden – out of commission. But that doesn’t mean our open-ended “war on terrorism” is anywhere near its end – far from it. Wired reports that the Pentagon’s special ops chief, Michael Sheehan, when asked at a congressional hearing how much longer the war will last, answered “ten to twenty years.”

The mightiest army ever assembled on earth went to war with a ragtag bunch of Islamist nutjobs living in a cave somewhere – and it took them 30-plus years, trillions of dollars, and tens of thousands of casualties to defeat them? Is this what historians will write of our Thirty Years War on Terror?

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Apr 242013
 

The United States government has been at war for eleven years. The US military destroyed Iraq, leaving the country and millions of lives in ruins and releasing sectarian blood-letting that had been kept in check by the secular Saddam Hussein government. On any given day in “liberated” Iraq, the death toll is as high as during the height of the US attempted occupation.

In Afghanistan eleven years of US attempted occupation has had no more success than a decade of Soviet occupation. The Afghans are still not worn down despite more than two decades of war with the two superpowers. Like the Soviets, the Americans have managed to kill many women, children, and village elders, but precious few warriors. In place of the Soviet puppet government there is Washington’s puppet government. That is the only change, and Washington’s puppet is no more secure than the Soviet one was.

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Apr 032013
 

As two more Afghan children are liberated (from their lives) by NATO this weekend, a new film examines the effects of endless US aggression

Air strikes in Afghanistan killed 51 Afghan children in 2012, the UN report says. Photograph: Reuters/Ahmad Masood

Yesterday I had the privilege to watch Dirty Wars, an upcoming film directed by Richard Rowley that chronicles the investigations of journalist Jeremy Scahill into America’s global covert war under President Obama and specifically his ever-growing kill lists. I will write comprehensively about this film closer to the date when it and the book by the same name will be released. For now, it will suffice to say that the film is one of the most important I’ve seen in years: gripping and emotionally affecting in the extreme, with remarkable, news-breaking revelations even for those of us who have intensely followed these issues. The film won awards at Sundance and rave reviews in unlikely places such as Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. But for now, I want to focus on just one small aspect of what makes the film so crucial.

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Oct 102012
 

Mitt Romney’s speech at VMI on foreign policy has been widely condemned as vague and lacking in substance, sort of like the man who gave it. But the speech is also full of suggestions and criticisms of the Obama administration that are simply not realistic. The speech is Romney’s “Mission Impossible,” only without the cool theme music and also without a prayer of being actually achievable short of launching a series of 5 wars. I’ve decided that my initial assumption that a businessman of Romney’s experience must know something about the world was dead wrong. Apparently it is possible to sit in cushy big offices in companies like Bain, and to remain completely ignorant of foreign affairs. Romney’s speeches are all just a replaying for us of the prejudices of CEOs when they play golf together and complain vaguely about the Chinese, Russians, Arabs, and so forth. Or, maybe Romney has gotten so many campaign contributions from arms manufacturers that he can’t help see foreign affairs through the lens of new wars he wants to fight.

1. The First War: Return to Iraq

Romney wants to send US troops back into Iraq and complained again about Obama’s “abrupt” withdrawal from that country. I don’t know how many ways there are of saying this, but it was from the beginning absolutely impossible for US troops to remain in Iraq legally. Romney apparently let Dan Senor, Bremer’s Neocon spokesman who came out to lie to us every day in Baghdad, write the following paragraph:

: “In Iraq, the costly gains made by our troops are being eroded by rising violence, a resurgent Al-Qaeda, the weakening of democracy in Baghdad, and the rising influence of Iran. And yet, America’s ability to influence events for the better in Iraq has been undermined by the abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence. The President tried—and failed—to secure a responsible and gradual drawdown that would have better secured our gains.”

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Aug 142012
 

A Message Written in Blood That No One Wants to Hear

Imagine for a moment that almost once a week for the last six months somebody somewhere in this country had burst, well-armed, into a movie theater showing a superhero film and fired into the audience. That would get your attention, wouldn’t it? James Holmes times 21?  It would dominate the news.  We would certainly be consulting experts, trying to make sense of the pattern, groping for explanations. And what if the same thing had also happened almost once every two weeks in 2011? Imagine the shock, imagine the reaction here.

Well, the equivalent has happened in Afghanistan (minus, of course, the superhero movies).  It even has a name: green-on-blue violence. In 2012 — and twice last week — Afghan soldiers, policemen, or security guards, largely in units being trained or mentored by the U.S. or its NATO allies, have turned their guns on those mentors, the people who are funding, supporting, and teaching them, and pulled the trigger. 

It’s already happened at least 21 times in this half-year, resulting in 30 American and European deaths, a 50% jump from 2011, when similar acts occurred at least 21 times with 35 coalition deaths. (The “at least” is there because, in May, the Associated Press reported that, while U.S. and NATO spokespeople were releasing the news of deaths from such acts, green-on-blue incidents that resulted in no fatalities, even if there were wounded, were sometimes not reported at all.)

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May 092012
 

In 1989, when the Soviet Union dismantled, the American people had a grand opportunity, one in which they could have dismantled the massive national-security state apparatus that had come into existence at the end of World War II for the purpose of confronting America’s wartime ally and partner, the Soviet Union. Instead, the U.S. national-security state sought out ways to justify its existence, among which were the drug war and the poking of hornet’s nests in the Middle East.

With the end of the long-term occupation of Iraq and the impending withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, along with the destruction of al-Qaeda, the opportunity to dismantle the national-security state, along with the enormous tax burden it creates and its massive infringements on civil liberties, is presenting itself once again.

So, what are the military and the CIA doing about this? Not surprisingly, they are reverting to the drug war — one of the same rationales they were using in 1989 — to justify their continued existence. According to the New York Times, the U.S. military is now expanding its operations and bringing its Iraq and Afghanistan experiences to bear in Honduras, which has become one more place in Latin America where drug dealers are operating.

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Mar 062012
 

Recently, a resolution was passed in the US Congress to divide Pakistan and carve out an ‘independent Balochistan’. With this, an old neocon dream was revived. This time the so-called globalists and propagandists, masquerading as human right activists, are the cheerleaders. Against this backdrop, Colonel Ralph Peter’s map of the ‘New Middle East’ truncating, balkanising every country – Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan – was reproduced. Despite the fact that it was scorned and reviled even at the time of its earlier exhibition. It seems that the neocons and influential globalists of America desperately want to initiate World War III. Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger’s interview, If you can’t hear the drums of war, you must be deaf, with Alfred Heinz on November 27, 2011, is a clear expression of this desire. – Pakistan News

Dominant Social Theme: The Baloch tribes are badly repressed by Pakistan and need help. They should be freed from the grip of the horrid Punjabis. And by the way, the Balochs would then cooperate with the US and, like a dagger in the heart of Islam, provide the West and NATO with secure bases from which to pursue war against Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran. That’s not the reason to support the Balochs, however. They’re repressed.

Free-Market Analysis: Ever since the Afghan war began to turn against the West, the Anglosphere power elite has been searching for a remedy.

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Jan 112012
 

How Two Wars in the Greater Middle East Revealed the Weakness of the Global Superpower

It was to be the war that would establish empire as an American fact.  It would result in a thousand-year Pax Americana.  It was to be “mission accomplished” all the way.  And then, of course, it wasn’t.  And then, almost nine dismal years later, it was over (sorta).

It was the Iraq War, and we were the uninvited guests who didn’t want to go home.  To the last second, despite President Obama’s repeated promise that all American troops were leaving, despite an agreement the Iraqi government had signed with George W. Bush’s administration in 2008, America’s military commanders continued to lobby and Washington continued to negotiate for 10,000 to 20,000 U.S. troops to remain in-country as advisors and trainers.

Only when the Iraqis simply refused to guarantee those troops immunity from local law did the last Americans begin to cross the border into Kuwait.  It was only then that our top officials began to hail the thing they had never wanted, the end of the American military presence in Iraq, as marking an era of “accomplishment.”  They also began praising their own “decision” to leave as a triumph, and proclaimed that the troops were departing with — as the president put it — “their heads held high.”

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Dec 272011
 

Bets are off on which is the great story of 2011. Is it the Arab Spring(s)? Is it the Arab counter-revolution, unleashed by the House of Saud? Is it the “birth pangs” of the Greater Middle East remixed as serial regime changes? Is it R2P (“responsibility to protect”) legitimizing “humanitarian” bombing? Is it the freeze out of the “reset” between the US and Russia? Is it the death of al-Qaeda? Is it the euro disaster? Is it the US announcing a Pacific century cum New Cold War against China? Is it the build up towards an attack on Iran? (well, this one started with Dubya, Dick and Rummy ages ago …)

Underneath all these interlinked plots – and the accompanying hysteria of Cold War-style headlines – there’s a never-ending thriller floating downstream: Pipelineistan. That’s the chessboard where the half-hidden twin of the Pentagon’s “long war” is played out. Virtually all current geopolitical developments are energy-related. So fasten your seat belts, it’s time to revisit Dr Zbigniew Brzezinski’s “grand chessboard” in Eurasia to find out who’s winning the Pipelineistan wars.

Got tickets to the opera?
Let’s start with Nabucco (the gas opera). Nabucco is above all a key, strategic Western powerplay; how to deliver Caspian Sea gas to Europe. Energy execs call it “opening the Southern Corridor” (of gas). The problem is this Open Sesame will only deliver if supplied by a tsunami of gas from two key “stans” – Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

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Dec 112011
 

America’s wars are remote. They’re remote from us geographically, remote from us emotionally (unless you’re serving in the military or have a close relative or friend who serves), and remote from our major media outlets, which have given us no compelling narrative about them, except that they’re being fought by “America’s heroes” against foreign terrorists and evil-doers. They’re even being fought, in significant part, by remote control — by robotic drones“piloted” by ground-based operators from a secret network of bases located hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from the danger of the battlefield.

Their remoteness, which breeds detachment if not complacency at home, is no accident. Indeed, it’s a product of the fact that Afghanistan and Iraq were wars of choice, not wars of necessity. It’s a product of the fact that we’ve chosen to create a “warrior” or “war fighter” caste in this country, which we send with few concerns and fewer qualms to prosecute Washington’s foreign wars of choice.

The results have been predictable, as in predictably bad. The troops suffer. Iraqi and Afghan innocents suffer even more. And yet we don’t suffer, at least not in ways that are easily noticeable, because of that very remoteness. We’ve chosen — or let others do the choosing — to remove ourselves from all the pain and horror of the wars being waged in our name. And that’s a choice we’ve made at our peril, since a state of permanent remote war has weakened our military, drained our treasury, and eroded our rights and freedoms.

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