Afghanistan

Thou Shalt Not Kill – By Chris Hedges

June 8, 2015

The military in the United States portrays itself as endowed with the highest virtues—honor, duty, self-sacrifice, courage and patriotism. Politicians, entertainers, sports stars, the media, clerics and academics slavishly bow before the military machine, ignoring its colossal pillaging of state resources, the egregious war crimes it has normalized across the globe, its abject service not to democracy or freedom but corporate profit, and the blind, mind-numbing obedience it inculcates among its members. A lone soldier or Marine who rises up inside the system to denounce the hypermasculinity that glorifies violence and war, who exposes the false morality of the military, who refuses to kill in the service of imperial power, unmasks the military for what it is. And he or she, as Chelsea Manning has learned, swiftly pays a very, very heavy price. Spc. Robert Weilbacher as a new Army combat medic stationed in South Korea listened to stories told by combat veterans, many suffering from trauma and depression, about the routine and indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. He was horrified. He had believed the propaganda fed to him over the years. He considered himself a patriot. He had accepted the notion that the U.S. military was

The Taliban in Our Midst – Mikey Weinstein

June 1, 2015

This guest Op-Ed from my dear friend, Military Religious Freedom Foundation (MRFF) [2] Advisory Board member, and former Secretary of State Colin Powell’s Chief of Staff Lawrence Wilkerson [3], comes in light of an unprecedented Christian fundamentalist furor over MRFF’s demands [4] for the U.S Air Force to court-martial [5] Major General Craig Olson. Why did we demand this [6] punishment for Olson?  Because of this senior General’s illegal and unconstitutionally sectarian speech of shocking Christian proselytizing [7] earlier this month at a religious extremist organization’s (“National Day of Prayer Task Force”) internationally televised event held on Capitol Hill. This disingenuous hue and cry surrounds our ongoing fight againstdominionist hegemony [8] within the highest ranks of the U.S. armed forces, long a hotbed of nationalistic Christian supremacist extremism. Sadly, this outrageous scandal has reinforced the fact that many of the worst opponents of the U.S. Constitution [9] are our nation’s highest-ranking military officers themselves… Mikey. Military officers who wear their religion on their sleeve are a danger to our country at any time, but especially after the terrorists attacks of September 11, 2001. Whether it’s US Army Lieutenant General William G. Boykin telling his audience that “My God is bigger than his” in the close aftermath of that tragedy, or the more recent example of US Air Force Major General Craig Olson

Obama on the TPP: Beckoning Us to the Graveyard – JOHN V. WALSH

May 19, 2015

“We have to make sure America writes the rules of the global economy and we should do it today while our economy is in a position of global strength. If we don’t write the rules for trade around the world, guess what, China will. And they’ll write those rules in a way that gives Chinese workers and Chinese businesses the upper hand.” — Barack Obama on the Trans-Pacific Partnership in a Speech at Nike Factory in Oregon, May 8, 2015 Those very few words of Obama’s, his most widely circulated PR effort to garner support for the TPP (Trans Pacific Partnership) and thoroughly representative of the thinking of our imperial elite, are so revealing, so wrong and so dangerous on so many levels that one scarcely knows where to begin. In fact they carry the seeds of our destruction.   And they are focused on China. First, the arrogance and hegemonic intent of the statement is astonishing even though it has become routine for the U.S. elite. What gives the United States, a country of 300 million on the opposite side of the vast Pacific, the right to determine the rules of trade for East Asia, which includes China, a country

American Cops Are More Heavily Armed than Front Line U.S. Combat Soldiers In Active War Zones

May 13, 2015

Rafael Rivera – who served in the U.S. Army for seven years – writes: The police in Ferguson have better armor and weaponry than my men and I did in the middle of a war. And Ferguson isn’t alone — police departments across the US are armed for war. The Hill notes: [Senator] McCaskill pointed out that in some places local police departments are more heavily armed than the National Guard. Business Insider points out: Someone identifying himself as an 82nd Airborne Army veteran, observing the Ferguson police scene, comment[ed] that “We rolled lighter than that in an actual warzone” Constitutional and civil rights lawyer John Whitehead notes that homeland security officers within the U.S. have three times as much ammunition as front-line soldiers in Afghanistan (and possess a type of ammunition that is banned in war zones). Huffington Post reports: Read

The Choice Before Europe – Paul Craig Roberts

May 7, 2015

Washington continues to drive Europe toward one or the other of the two most likely outcomes of the orchestrated conflict with Russia. Either Europe or some European Union member government will break from Washington over the issue of Russian sanctions, thereby forcing the EU off of the path of conflict with Russia, or Europe will be pushed into military conflict with Russia. In June the Russian sanctions expire unless each member government of the EU votes to continue the sanctions. Several governments have spoken against a continuation. For example, the governments of the Czech Republic and Greece have expressed dissatisfaction with the sanctions. US Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged growing opposition to the sanctions among some European governments. Employing the three tools of US foreign policy–threats, bribery, and coercion–he warned Europe to renew the sanctions or there would be retribution. We will see in June if Washington’s threat has quelled the rebellion. Europe has to consider the strength of Washington’s threat of retribution against the cost of a continuing and worsening conflict with Russia. This conflict is not in Europe’s economic or political interest, and the conflict has the risk of breaking out into war that would destroy Europe.

The Fraud of War – Julia Harte

May 6, 2015

U.S. Army Specialist Stephanie Charboneau sat at the center of a complex trucking network in Forward Operating Base Fenty near the Afghanistan-Pakistan border that distributed daily tens of thousands of gallons of what troops called “liquid gold”: the refined petroleum that fueled the international coalition’s vehicles, planes, and generators. A prominent sign in the base read: “The Army Won’t Go If The Fuel Don’t Flow.” But Charboneau, 31, a mother of two from Washington state, felt alienated after a supervisor’s harsh rebuke. Her work was a dreary routine of recording fuel deliveries in a computer and escorting trucks past a gate. But it was soon to take a dark turn into high-value crime. She began an affair with a civilian, Jonathan Hightower, who worked for a Pentagon contractor that distributed fuel from Fenty, and one day in March 2010 he told her about “this thing going on” at other U.S. military bases around Afghanistan, she recalled in a recent telephone interview. Troops were selling the U.S. military’s fuel to Afghan locals on the side, and pocketing the proceeds. When Hightower suggested they start doing the same, Charboneau said, she agreed. Read

The new global arms race – Thomas Gaist

May 5, 2015

Since the 1980s, in an effort to maintain the position of unchallenged global primacy it achieved during and immediately following the dissolution of the Soviet Union, the US ruling elite has spearheaded a global arms race and militarization drive that now threatens to produce a third imperialist world war. After a superficial and short-lived drawdown during the “peace dividend” years of the 1990s, the US military’s expenditures have grown fantastically since the beginning of the 21st century, under the fraudulent banner of the “global war on terrorism.” Between 2000 and 2006 alone, the US Department of Defense budget rose from $300 billion to over $530 billion. As of 2014, official US military expenditures totaled $610 billion, or nearly 35 percent of total military spending globally. Taking into account the US military’s secret “black budget” and the various “contingency” funding packages for wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, the real amount consumed every year by US militarism is closer to $1 trillion. These expenditures are necessary to fulfill the US government’s openly stated commitment to endless and total war. As reaffirmed in the Obama administration’s 2014 National Security Strategy document, the Pentagon is committed to safeguarding America’s status as “the world’s

Let’s Give Up Insanity and Try a Sane Approach in Dealing with the World – Joseph Clifford

May 4, 2015

Since 9/11 the US government has spent more than 1.5 trillion dollars on the War on Terror. Fourteen nations have been bombed or attacked by the US military, and we are no safer today than we were one day prior to 9/11. As a matter of fact, we are probably less safe with the world being torn apart by US bombs and the spreading of anarchy throughout the Middle East, yet the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again with the same results. We have an insane policy of bloodletting and killing, thinking this will make the problem go away, but as any rational person knows the more people you kill the more enemies you create. Every time you kill someone with a drone bomb, you create 10 new enemies. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the onetime commander of all coalition forces in Afghanistan, created the phrase “Insurgent Math” when he rightfully pointed out “for every innocent person you kill, you create 10 new enemies.” Every rational person would probably agree with McChrystal’s assessment, but the US government doesn’t, and we continue to make the same mistakes of killing innocents and thinking we can “kill our way

The New York Times deploys to Nepal – For What Real Purpose? – Bill Van Auken

April 30, 2015

“First comes the missionary, then the soldier,” was an old maxim borne out by the bitter experience of a century of bloody colonial conquest in Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The missionaries are still at it, particularly in lands where souls can be bought most cheaply, but they hardly play the role allotted to them in the 19th century. A more modern version of this same epigram—better suited to the ongoing militarist drive by US imperialism for global domination—might substitute for missionary, “the man from the Times.” From the wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan to the proxy war for regime change in Syria and the fascist-spearheaded coup in Ukraine, theNew York Times has dispatched its correspondents to produce the propaganda—in all of these cases involving fabrications and outright lies—needed by Washington to justify its predatory policies. In Iraq, America’s so-called “newspaper of record” was an invaluable partner of the Bush administration in dragging the American people into a criminal war of aggression that claimed the lives of roughly a million Iraqis, killed nearly 4,500 US troops and left an entire society in a state of devastation. The Times senior correspondent at the time, Judith Miller, used her intimate connections with US

A Psychedelic History of the CIA – JEFFREY ST. CLAIR and ALEXANDER COCKBURN

April 28, 2015

On June 17, 1999 the state of Texas put to death by lethal injection John Stanley Faulder, a Canadian who had been convicted in 1977 of murdering Inez Phillips, an oil heiress. Faulder’s case received more press attention than most executions these days, mainly because the Canadian government tried to intervene on his behalf and urged Texas governor George W. Bush to spare his life. Unmoved by arguments that after his arrest Faulder had been denied his right to consult with officials from the Canadian embassy, Bush sent him to the death chamber. What went entirely unmentioned by the American press was that 37 years ago Stanley Faulder had been the unwitting victim of medical experiments partially funded by the CIA. According to Faulder’s sister, Pat Nicholl, who lives in Jaspar, Alberta, “At 15 Stanley was arrested for stealing a watch and sent to a boys’ home for six months. At 17, another theft got him six months in jail. At 22 he was caught in a stolen car and sent to jail in New Westminster, B.C. for two years. There, he asked for psychiatric help and was put in an experimental drug program which involved doses of LSD”. Faulder
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