Monthly Archives: June 2011

The Unanswered Question in Afghanistan Is, Why?

by: Jim Hightower, Truthout, 6/29/11

Hamid Karzai, president of Afghanistan, captured during the opening remarks at the Annual Meeting 2008 of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2008. (Photo: Annette Boutellier / World Economic Forum)

America’s long, long war in Afghanistan has drained more than 1,500 precious lives and a trillion dollars from our country. But, finally, this enormous outlay paid off this year with the capture and killing of that al-Qaida demon, Osama bin Laden, who attacked America and was the reason our military went into Afghanistan.

Oh, wait — Osama wasn’t in Afghanistan, was he? He was comfortably ensconced in an urban compound in Pakistan, whose leaders are supposedly our allies in the bloody Afghan War. And it wasn’t the war effort that got bin Laden, it was old-time spy work, culminating in a raid involving a small team of Navy Seals, a dog and two helicopters.

So why have two presidents and a decade of Congress dumped so many lives and so much money into a country that poses no threat to us? Afghanistan is an impoverished, anarchic, largely illiterate land that’s split into ancient tribal factions and innumerable fiefdoms controlled by rival warlords. They have no desire or ability to attack us, some 8,000 miles away.

The only reason we’re given for being in Afghanistan is that we must keep the al-Qaida terrorists network from establishing bases there. But — like bin Laden — al-Qaida left this country years ago and now operates transnationally in Pakistan, Yemen, Uzbekistan and elsewhere, including England and Germany.

Yet, we’re told we must continue to pour American lives, dollars and reputation into Afghanistan. But … why? To create a central, democratically elected government with a 300,000-member army and police force, we’re told. But why? To stabilize the country, they say. But, why? To keep al-Qaida out, they repeat, closing the endless loop on a Kafkaesque rationale….

continue reading at Truthout

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Thought for the day: corporations v. democracy

“Corporations do not want democracy, they want profits.”

From the trailer for the movie The Last Mountain, at 1:40.

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U.S. tax money being squandered on war

letter, Daily Local News, 6/22/11

I approve Rep. Joe Pitts’ “yea” votes on House Resolutions 51 and 292, which direct the President to remove U.S. armed forces from Libya and states that the President shall not deploy U.S. armed forces on the ground in Libya.

Already we have spent almost a billion dollars on the Libyan military operations.

I hope that our Congress demands that we bring all our troops home from both Iraq and Afghanistan. We are destroying those two countries while we neglect our own poverty-stricken citizens and our rapidly deteriorating infrastructure which the American Society of Civil Engineers gives an overall unsatisfactory grade of “D” and they estimate would cost $2.2 trillion to repair — a sum we have squandered already on our wars in those two countries.

The money per year that it takes to support our troops in Afghanistan would give 2 million American jobs in the U.S. at $50,000 a year each, and that would give a real good boost to our own ailing economy.

Daniel Riehl

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Israel and the Roots of Disaster

by John Grant, This Can’t Be Happening, 06/24/2011 – 21:34 —

Two veteran friends of mine will be on one of the ships planning to leave Athens next week to challenge the Israeli sea blockade of Gaza. The Israeli government, after attacking a previous flotilla in May 2010 and killing nine people, has said it will use violence if necessary to prevent the ships from entering what any reasonable person by now should agree are Palestinian waters.

This confrontation should not be necessary. The Israeli military occupation over Palestinian life should have been eased and sovereign rights established for Palestinians long ago. The crisis of Palestinian status has reached the level of a disaster, and like the creation of Israel itself it is more than a Jewish problem: It is a world problem.

The flotilla as an act of civil disobedience is occurring at a time Israel/Palestine peace talks are dead in the water and the fledgling coalition of Fatah and Hamas is planning in September to seek recognition of Palestine as a sovereign state from the UN General Assembly, the very same body that recognized Israel in 1947. The US doesn’t want this to happen because, if the past is a guide, it will feel it has to reject the Palestinian request. Since the US is only one of many equal votes in the General Assembly — versus the Security Council where its veto rules — a US vote supporting Israeli intransigence will do nothing but be galling for much of the world.

Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin NetanyahuIsraeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, left, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

At a time when people in the Middle East and North Africa are in the streets seeking new governing relationships and United States citizens of both parties are becoming fed up with foreign wars, the Israeli government of Benjamin Netanyahu and Avigdor Lieberman is acting like a dangerous, petulant child covering its eyes to make the real world go away.

Why does this matter? Why should ordinary Americans care about this?…

continue reading at This Can’t Be Happening

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