Sheldon Richman|Jun. 8, 2014 8:00 am
We live in angry times. For evidence, turn on any news program. An awful lot of people, led by right-wing politicians and radio and TV entertainers, are angry at President Obama for trading five Taliban officials, who have been held for years without charge in Guantánamo, for an American soldier, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, who apparently walked away from his post after having a change of heart about the War in Afghanistan. The Right is apoplectic.
To make matters worse for the right wing, Obama had the nerve to embrace the soldier’s parents—on the grounds of the White House no less—who themselves are under suspicion by the Right. Bergdahl’s father, after all, wears an ominously bushy beard (is the Calvinist really a Muslim?), and spoke to his son in Pashto, the language of his son’s captors. Worse yet, he was so desperate to rescue his son that he tweeted to a Taliban spokesman, “I am still working to free all Guantánamo prisoners. God will repay for the death of every Afghan child, ameen.” (The tweet was later deleted.)
Before his disappearance, then-PFC Bergdahl emailed disparaging remarks about the U.S. military and America itself after he saw a U.S. Army truck run over an Afghan child.
These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.… We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks.… We make fun of them in front of their faces, and laugh at them for not understanding we are insulting them.… I am sorry for everything. The horror that is america [sic] is disgusting.
In response to this email, his father wrote, “In matters of life and death, and especially at war, it is never safe to ignore ones’ [sic] conscience. Ethics demands obedience to our conscience. It is best to also have a systematic oral defense of what our conscience demands. Stand with like minded men when possible.”
For the right wing, the Bergdahl matter confirmed every fear they ever had about Obama. This is where apodictic certainty born of nationalism and interventionism inevitably leads. If you believe in American exceptionalism and indispensability, you’ll believe anything.
Obama’s defenders were on no firmer ground, defending actions for which they had condemned George W. Bush, such as issuing signing statements announcing that the president would ignore parts of bills he signed into law. Obama’s boosters would never have tolerated Bush flouting a requirement that he give Congress 30 days notice of some action (which Obama was supposed to have done before releasing Guantánamo prisoners). As usual, in politics the important thing is not what is done, but who does it. Republicans live by this standard too, of course.
The president’s fans defended his POW deal (which I have no problem with), on the grounds that the War in Afghanistan is winding down and this is what happens with prisoners when wars end. Winding down? There will be 9,800 troops through next year, and the last troops won’t leave before 2016. Without irony, Sam Stein of the pro-Obama Huffington Post said on MSNBC that the “war will be over in a matter of years.” That must be great comfort to the troops and their loved ones.
Those who back Obama still can’t bring themselves to say that the War in Afghanistan was stupid and that Obama’s 2009 surge—which accelerated the casualties—was stupidity squared.
My head says that I should sit back and watch with satisfaction this fight between conservatives and progressives. Both sides share the same flawed premises, so let them go at it until they fall down from exhaustion.
But my gut tells me that this fight will get even uglier than it already is, and its consequences bode ill for the future, because no one in the mainstream is willing to question the deepest premises of American foreign policy and its inevitable disastrous consequences. In the larger scheme, the Bergdahl exchange is a sideshow.
Mainstream U.S. foreign policy, whether the Wilsonian neoconservative “humanitarian” interventionism or its so-called realist variant, produced the conditions that made Americans the targets of terrorists. It then dictated the response—Bush’s “War on Terror”—which made things even worse. If things don’t change, we have strong reasons to fear for the future. Al-Qaeda and its offshoots are not on the run. They have gained ground, from Iraq westward to Syria and Lebanon, southward to Yemen, across northern Africa, and again southward to Mali and Nigeria, where Boko Haram conducts its reign of terror. And let’s not forget Somalia’s al-Shabaab in the Horn of Africa to the east.
Obama boasts that bin Laden is dead. But in practical terms, what does that mean? Not very much, writes Patrick Cockburn, who has reported from the Middle East for years:
Unsurprisingly, governments prefer the fantasy picture of al-Qa’ida because it enables them to claim a series of victories by killing its better-known members and allies. Often, those eliminated are given quasi-military ranks, such as “head of operations,” to enhance the significance of their demise. The culmination of this most publicised but largely irrelevant aspect of the “war on terror” was the killing of Bin Laden in Abbottabad in Pakistan in 2011. This enabled President Obama to grandstand before the American public as the man who had presided over the hunting down of al-Qa’ida’s leader. In practice, his death had no impact on al-Qa’ida-type jihadi groups, whose greatest expansion has been since 2011.
The resurgence of these jihadis is most striking on the ground in Iraq and Syria, but is evident in Afghanistan, Libya, Somalia and, in recent months, Lebanon and Egypt. In Iraq, it was a final humiliation for the US, after losing 4,500 soldiers, that al-Qa’ida’s black flag should once again fly in Fallujah, captured with much self-congratulatory rhetoric by US Marines in 2004. Aside from Fallujah, Isis, the premier jihadi movement in the country, has rapidly expanded its influence in all parts of Sunni Iraq in the past three years.
America is not winning the War on Terror. It was unwinnable from the start, primarily because its origins and nature were viewed through a distorting nationalist and imperialist ideology and thus were badly misunderstood. As a result, the U.S. government has killed countless innocent Muslims, seen the lives of thousands of young Americans snuffed out or ruined, and squandered obscene sums of money.
And what’s to show for it? A growing and spreading movement of extremists who want revenge against Americans. Thanks very much, ruling elite.
While reasonable people wouldn’t call that success, bin Laden might have. Even in 2004, he pointed to “evidence of the success of the bleed-until-bankruptcy plan.” That is, he had succeeded in drawing the United States deeper into the Muslim world, especially Afghanistan (the bane of earlier empires), because that was right where he wanted America. Iraq was icing on the cake, compliments of Bush, since it gave Arab jihadis a place to fight Americans and learn their trade, which they could later use in Libya and Syria—strangely, with American assistance.
Jeff Huber, a retired naval flight officer, realized this several years ago:
Dead or alive, Osama bin Laden is the greatest strategist in the history of human conflict. With no navy or air force or anything that resembles a formal army, he’s managed to whip the world’s mightiest nation like a rented camel. Our economy is shot, the best-trained, best-equipped military in history has been proven impotent, and our moral standing in the world has gone through the sub-basement.
Michael Scheuer, once head of the CIA’s bin Laden unit, said much the same thing in 2004: “I think it is fair to conclude that the United States of America remains bin Laden’s only indispensable ally.” (He wrote that in his book Imperial Hubris: Why the West is Losing the War on Terror.)
The conventional wisdom is that terrorists struck on 9/11 (and earlier), while we were minding our own business. Since, according to this story, it was unprovoked aggression against our freedom and affluence, the only proper response (we were told), was overwhelming force to eradicate the terrorists. But since that response only aggravated the unacknowledged cause, the result has been the opposite of what was promised.
The conventional wisdom is wrong. “Bin Laden has been precise in telling America the reasons he is waging war on us,” Scheuer wrote. “None of the reasons have anything to do with our freedom, liberty, and democracy, but have everything to do with U.S. policies and actions in the Muslim world.” He was referring to U.S. support for corrupt oil-rich kings and dictators and the enabling of Israel’s injustices against the Palestinians.
When you understand what Scheuer and others have been saying, you realize that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and the drone murders and covert actions in so many other countries are self-defeating for the American people, though not for those who profit from war in terms of power and lucre.
The policymakers didn’t go into Afghanistan to win—no one could have been that delusional so soon after the Soviet defeat. They went in to show the American empire’s power and resolve, and to reestablish political and economic dominance in that part of the world. They failed on all counts.
Things will look no better in 2016, so they might as well leave now and save the lives that will otherwise be lost.
This article originally appeared at the Future of Freedom Foundation.
WHAT SCHEUER HAD TO SAY IN 2008:
WHAT SCHEUER HAD TO SAY IN 2008:
Deuce has gone native.ReplyDelete
His girl must wear a head scarf, and he a white robe.
She walks three steps behind him,
She has no clit.
The truth is the Arabs and other moslems are an extreme danger to human freedom and dignity, for men and women both, but particularly women.
In all of the mid-east it is only in Israel where women's right are fully recognized.
Even in India, a Hindu nation, the women still struggle, though the old ways are dying slowly, the old ways that Joseph Campbell spoke about----and I know this well from my conversations with my Hindu Niece.
"I can finally be free, Uncle Bob, I can finally be ME" she said in a recent email.
"Thank you so much, I couldn't have done it without you."
That made my heart SING.
And the last part of her middle name in Singh, which means brave like a tiger.
"If I went back to India I'd just be his slave."Delete
Makes me cry when I think about it.
Being my Niece she doesn't have to do that.
I am her American Uncle.Delete
I was surprised to find from her that being such I have a veto over her choice of marital mates. This seems an odd way to me, with my Western Ways, but I have accepted the responsibility and aim to take it seriously.
He best not even have a little dirt under his toenails. !!!!!
She will never marry Rufus, nor rat, nor Deuce.Delete
Maybe Quirk....with a hundred page pre-nuptial..........and an iron clad divorce clause....and money up front.....ReplyDelete
Some more of the true costs of the Neocon occupation of Washington:ReplyDelete
Islamic fundamentalists have opened new fronts in their battle to establish an Islamic state across Iraq and Syria as they launch attacks in cities which were previously under the control of the Baghdad government.
A multi-pronged assault across central and northern Iraq in the past four days shows that the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis) has taken over from the al-Qa’ida organisation founded by Osama bin Laden as the most powerful and effective extreme jihadi group in the world.
Isis now controls or can operate with impunity in a great stretch of territory in western Iraq and eastern Syria, making it militarily the most successful jihadi movement ever.
Led since 2010 by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, also known as Abu Dua, it has proved itself even more violent and sectarian than what US officials call the “core” al-Qa’ida, led by Ayman al-Zawahiri, who is based in Pakistan. Isis is highly fanatical, killing Shia Muslims and Christians whenever possible, as well as militarily efficient and under tight direction by top leaders.
In Iraq in the past four days, it has fought its way into the northern capital of Mosul, sent a column of its fighters into the central city of Samarra and taken over Iraq’s largest university at Ramadi, in the west of the country. In addition, it launched devastating bombings targeting Shia civilians in Baghdad that killed at least 52 people.
The creation of a sort of proto-Caliphate by extreme jihadis in northern Syria and Iraq is provoking fears in surrounding countries such as Jordan, Saudi Arabia and Turkey that they will become targets of battle-hardened Sunni fighters.
:-))) Well, I am off on another day of misleading the public and ruling the world.ReplyDelete
:) I am sure you will do it in fine fashion.ReplyDelete
More fruit from the treeReplyDelete
LAHORE, Pakistan – The Taliban claimed responsibility for a brazen siege on Karachi's Jinnah International Airport overnight Monday that left dozens dead, saying the attack was in retaliation for drone strikes on villages in Pakistan's troubled northwest border region.
The militant group vowed to continue their campaign.
"This is just the beginning," Shahidullah Shahid, spokesman for the Tehreek-i-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) told the Express Tribune, a Pakistani daily.
The attack began late overnight Monday after 10 men armed with machine guns, grenades and rocket launchers stormed the busy airport at a terminal for cargo and VIP passengers, known as the old airport, military officials said. Some of the attackers were wearing suicide vests, with at least one blowing himself up as law enforcement approached.
Some of the attackers, all of whom were killed by special army commandos, had been disguised as airport security personnel, said Rizwan Akhtar, the chief of Pakistan's elite paramilitary Rangers. At least 10 members of the security forces were also killed, as was a flight engineer for the country's state airline, Pakistan International Airlines. The Associated Press reported that 28 people died in the rampage including the 10 attackers.
15 minutes ago - Google+
The pair who fatally shot two Las Vegas police officers and one civilian before taking their own lives Sunday are believed to be a married couple who possessed white supremacist paraphernalia and spoke of targeting police officers.
Sheree Burns told the Las Vegas Sun that she was eating at the restaurant, seated just behind the two officers.
A man came up to one of the officers and shot him in the head, Burns said. She said she ducked under her table but peeked up and saw the other officer being shot.
The suspects then grabbed the officers' weapons and ammunition and stormed out of the pizzeria, Assistant Sheriff Kevin McMahill told KVVU Fox 5. The Review-Journal reported that the pair covered the officers with a cloth that featured the Gadsden flag, which features a coiled snake with the words "Don't Tread on Me." Both officers were pronounced dead at University Medical Center.
The White Supremacist Revolution is beginning ... Bob has gone missing.
I played this for him מצעד צה"ל בבאר שבע and he left the house saying ..." I've got to go to Vegas to see my old girl friend!"Delete
Hope he's okay, he's been acting stranger than normal lately.
The Reality Of The United States Government.
They don't hate US because of our freedom, they hate us because of our actions in their countries
Icelanders Overthrow Government and Rewrite Constitution After Banking Fraud-No Word From US Media
Can you imagine participating in a protest outside the White House and forcing the entire U.S. government to resign? Can you imagine a group of randomly chosen private citizens rewriting the U.S. constitution to include measures banning corporate fraud? It seems incomprehensible in the U.S., but Icelanders did just that. Icelanders forced their entire government to resign after a banking fraud scandal, overthrowing the ruling party and creating a citizen’s group tasked with writing a new constitution that offered a solution to prevent corporate greed from destroying the country.
The constitution of Iceland was scrapped and is being rewritten by private citizens; using a crowd-sourcing technique via social media channels such as Facebook and Twitter. These events have been going on since 2008, yet there’s been no word from the U.S. mainstream media about any of them. In fact, all of the events that unfolded were recorded by international journalists, overseas news bureaus, citizen journalists and bloggers.
This has created current accusations of an intentional cover up of the story by mainstream U.S. news sources.
To understand the enormity of what happened in Iceland, it’s best to draw parallels between the initial banking fraud that caused Iceland’s economy to collapse and the banking fraud in the U.S. that caused the mortgage crisis six years ago.
In Iceland, unscrupulous bankers had inflated the value of Iceland’s banks internationally which in turn caused the “bubble” to eventually burst in 2008 and saw most of Iceland’s banks going bankrupt.
A similar situation happened in the U.S. just one year before the collapse in Iceland, with the mortgage crisis of 2007. Mortgage lenders in the U.S. knowingly lent money to prospective homeowners who could not afford to purchase a home.
This, in turn, led to falsely inflated home values and a vicious cycle of too much lending. Just as in Iceland, the bubble burst and many U.S. banks were about to declare bankruptcy.
In Iceland, the citizens took to the streets by the thousands, banging pots and pans in what is known as the “pots and pans revolution,” leading to the arrest and prosecution of many unscrupulous bankers responsible for the economic collapse. Icelandic citizens also refused to pay for the sins of the bankers and rejected any measures of taxation to bail them out. In the U.S., the government bailed out the banks and arrested no one.
The pots and pans revolution in Iceland was not covered by mainstream U.S. media. In fact, any information about this revolution is found only on international newspapers, blogs and online documentaries, not on mainstream front-page articles as would be expected from news organizations covering a story of this magnitude.
The New York Times published a small handful of piecemeal stories, blogs and opinion pieces, but mostly glossed over the main narrative by saying the 2008 financial collapse in Iceland caused “mayhem far beyond the country’s borders” rather than pointing out that Icelanders took to the streets with pots and pans and forced their entire government to resign.
Read more at http://guardianlv.com/2013/12/icelanders-overthrow-government-and-rewrite-constitution-after-banking-fraud-no-word-from-us-media/#UGXJjff46AUQtlx6.99
Karachi Airport attacked; Indian weapons recovered from the terrorists
. 4 terrorists have been killed and one suicide bomber blew himself up at the custom clearence gate. The weapons that were been recovered had Indian label on it. Operation by the police and rangers is still being carried out.
The officials say a brazen five-hour attack by militants on the international airport in Karachi left 18 people dead but police managed to regain control of the terminal. Rizwan Akhtar, the paramilitary Rangers chief, said all 10 terrorists who attacked the Jinnah International Airport have been killed.Delete
allenSun Jun 08, 11:36:00 PM EDT
Governments do what they do for what are perfectly rational reasons that relates to self-interest. What is to be pitied is that governments no longer hang and/or burn morons who presume to criticize what they do not understand. In retrospect, the 1st Amendment might have been overly liberal. ...
Two points to make, allen begins with the assumption that the 'government' is independednt of the people, that the government has the right and authority to pursue the self-interest of the GOVERNMENT, rather than the best interests of the people.
then allen continues his ideological rant,unerringly reminiscent of his favorite fascist, Adolph Hitler
The reorganization of our press has truly been a success -
We've eliminated that conception of political freedom which holds that everybody has the right to say whatever comes into his head
In allen's mind the Government is independent of the people and the Government should control the information available to the people.
Not in this lifetime.
Allen has never expressed any such nonsense about Adolph Hitler.ReplyDelete
I don't know, Deuce; it seems to me that this:Delete
"What is to be pitied is that governments no longer hang and/or burn morons who presume to criticize what they do not understand."
comes about as close to channeling the late Corporal as anything that I've read, recently.
hmm, it seems that our cop-killers out in LV are fresh off of a tour at the Cliven Ranch.Delete
Cliven Bundy RanchDelete
The quote Rufus made, that comes from ...Delete
allenSun Jun 08, 11:36:00 PM EDT
"What is to be pitied is that governments no longer hang and/or burn morons who presume to criticize what they do not understand."
allen's "Inner Hitler" is showing itself.Delete
Recall what he said about the destruction of "Western Civilization"
An idle comment tossed off on a blog is hardly sufficient cause to accuse someone of being Hitler reincarnate.
On the other hand, the suggestion that the first amendment might be too liberal is clearly ridiculous.. The only ones who worry about what others say (other than your yelling fire in a crowded theater type examples) are the insecure, the intolerant, or the corrupt.
Quote Hrr Hitler which was done, then compare it to the quote from Heir allen, they are remarkably similar.Delete
He wishes to "...hang and/or burn morons who presume to criticize ... "
To burn those that presume to criticize!
If that is not Hitleresque, what would be?
To hang (KILL) people the Government , or allen, decides are mentally deficient, why would that be described as Hitleresque?
Is that not EXACTLY what Hitler and the NAZI did?
Even the NAZI did not hang or burn the mentally defienct, as allen wishes to doDelete
the National Socialists-Nazis-took control of Germany. On July 14, 1933, the new government issued its "Law for the Prevention of Progeny with Hereditary Diseases." This law was far more directive than the Weimar government's plan. People with so-called hereditary illnesses had to be sterilized, even if they objected. And the list of persons classified as hereditarily ill included those suffering from "congenital feeble-mindedness, schizophrenia, manic depression, hereditary epilepsy, Huntington's chorea, hereditary blindness, hereditary deafness, and serious physical deformities."
In their first three years the ‘health courts’ ruled on almost 225,000 patients, ordering compulsory sterilisation for around 90 per cent. Sterilisation orders were handed down so rapidly that state hospitals did not have the operating theatres or staff to keep up. The vast majority of sterilised patients were suffering from mental illness or deformity. Of the patients sterilised in 1934, 53 per cent were intellectually disabled or ‘feeble-minded’, 25 per cent schizophrenics and 14 per cent epileptics -Delete
See more at: http://alphahistory.com/nazigermany/nazi-eugenics/#sthash.cXVybV72.dpuf
Notice that allen and the other proto-fascists continually diagnosis criticism of their positions as some form of 'mental illness.
Idiocy, feeble mindedness, Asperger syndrome or some other type of 'disease'.
They are laying the groundwork of tyranny.
They are afraid of words and thoughts;ReplyDelete
words spoken abroad, thoughts stirring at home
— all the more powerful because forbidden — terrify them.
“Silent acquiescence in the face of tyranny is no better than outright agreement.”
The White Supremacist meet-up at the Bundy Ranch has taken its first two victims Two White cops.ReplyDelete
Ignorant assholes with guns.
Way to go, team.
No comment from Sean Hannity, or Rush Limbaugh, yet.Delete
This comment has been removed by the author.Delete
They were a couple sick loners, VA man.Delete