Monthly Archives: July 2009

Lynn Woolsey on the Iraq and Afghanistan wars

“I cannot support either of these scenarios. Instead of finding military solutions to the problems we face in Iraq and Afghanistan, President Obama must fundamentally change the mission in both countries to focus on promoting reconciliation, economic development, humanitarian aid, and regional diplomatic efforts.”

Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) n response to Obama’s request for $83 billion in supplemental funds for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (source).

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Filed under Afghanistan, Iraq

On U.S. Tour, Dr. Mads Gilbert Gives Eyewitness Account of Gaza Massacre

Washington Report on Middle East Affairs, July 2009, pages 11, 25

Special Report
By Jane Adas

THE WHINING buzz of drones overhead provides a constant background to the sound of bombs exploding intermittently every few seconds—muffled in the distance, sharper if nearer. Hearing this is unnerving, even if it is for only a few tape-recorded minutes. Photos of medical staff tending too many wounded patients in the emergency room of Gaza’s Shifa Hospital augment the tension. The tape recording was made and the photos taken by Dr. Mads Gilbert, a Norwegian anesthesiologist specializing in emergency medicine. He and his compatriot Dr. Erik Fosse volunteered their services in Gaza’s main hospital during Operation Cast Lead. They, the medical workers and patients in Shifa Hospital, and the million and a half residents of Gaza heard the drones and bombs night and day, around the clock, for 22 days.

Gilbert and Fosse were participating in the Norwegian tradition of government-funded medical solidarity teams sent to help out in conflict zones such as Afghanistan, Cambodia and Kurdistan. Continue reading

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Filed under Palestine & Israel

Shifting from a boiling cauldron to a classic quagmire

  by John Grant

It seems the Afghans are tougher guerrillas than the Iraqi insurgents. Given the relative histories of the two places, this should not come as a big surprise.

Iraq is a nation that before we “saved it” was a nation and a people in some areas of life approaching first world status — that is, despite how we have acted toward it, a culture of smart and capable people in an ethnic cauldron kept under a lid by the Sunni gangster Saddam Hussein, who of course followed in the footsteps of the British who first set up what became Saddam’s minority Sunni gangster state.

Led by a Texan moron and a Wyoming fascist, we stumbled in, tore the place up and blew the lid off the boiling cauldron. We then installed a new Shiite lid on the cauldron that amounts to the ally of our worst enemy, Iran. 

So now that we are close to declaring “victory” in Iraq, we can move on to “save” Afghanistan, which is more like Vietnam than Iraq ever was — a classic case of a wealthy and powerful western army fighting a poor, locally-rooted insurgency trying to throw the western army out. The Taliban have no interest in attacking New York.

Our new president has appointed a ruthless and efficient specialist in managing hunter/killer teams to manage the escalating war in Afghanistan. General Stanley McChrystal has now moved an army into Helmand Province, an area known for its poppy crop, and as one might expect in a classic guerrilla war like this, the guerrilla element did not stand up like the redcoats and meet them. It hung back and lay in wait, listening and learning about the western army as it digs in, waiting to pick and choose its targets on its terms.

In the meantime, the US is operating a well-publicized civil affairs campaign, passing out soccer balls, doing public medicine, encouraging alternative crops than poppies, and that sort of thing, while General McChrystal’s highly-un-publicized and secret hi-tech hunter/killer teams locate and neutralize those who won’t play ball (the “irreconcilables”) in a campaign what amounts to an updated Phoenix Program with improved “metrics” and  better lethal tools. 

The AP story “Soldiers in Colorado slayings tell of Iraq horrors” (7/26/09) addresses the soldiers returning from these brutal, de-humanizing wars who just can’t seem to shut down when they get home. For a brilliant artistic glimpse into the addiction that war can be for some, go see the new film The Hurt Locker about a redneck sergeant who is a fearless ace at defusing IED bombs in Iraq. The scene of his alienation in a grocery store aisle back home is profound.  

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Filed under Afghanistan, Iraq, Peace, Security, Terrorism, War

CEO pay

ceo-pay_265x181’nuff said?

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Filed under Economy, Labor, Tax