Tag Archives: Afghanistan

A New Snowden? Whistleblower Leaks Trove of Documents on Drones & Obama’s Assassination Program

Democracy Now! 10/15/15

Newly leaked government documents have provided an unprecedented window into the secret U.S. drone assassination program across the globe. In “The Drone Papers,” The Intercept reveals drone strikes have resulted from unreliable intelligence, stemming in large part from electronic communications data, or “signals intelligence,” that officials acknowledge is insufficient. The documents also undermine government claims that the drone strikes have been precise. In Afghanistan, strikes on 35 direct targets killed at least 219 other people. Among other revelations, they also suggest the strikes have hurt intelligence gathering and that unknown male victims have been labeled as “enemies killed in action” unless evidence later proves otherwise….

continue reading, including interview with Jeremy Scahill and links, at Democracy Now!

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Filed under Afghanistan, War

“What did thousands of dead Americans get us?” Before granting war powers, let’s see where the last two got us

by Robert Hennelly, Salon.com Feb 22, 2015

As we plan another war, it’s time to ask: Just what kind of real-world results has our war machine produced so far?

President Obama’s new National Security Strategy and his move to extend his war powers to fight ISIL reflect the challenge of keeping alive the image of the United States as a guarantor of global stability as failed states proliferate and refugee populations swell.

While the administration projects the air of “no drama” inner serenity, the 24-7 news cycle streams video of a rising tide of bloody sectarian violence on the march from Africa, through the Mideast and into Eastern Europe. Last week the president’s proposed budget tipped his hand, in that even though he says he has brought home over 90 percent of the ground troops from the Iraq-Afghanistan theater, there was no peace dividend in the proposed FY2016 spending plan.

The president’s freshly minted National Security Strategy is first and foremost self-congratulatory and disconnected from reality. It reads like what could be the introduction to a sequel to the president’s “The Audacity of Hope,” which he could title “I Did My Best Under the Circumstances.”

“Globally, we have moved beyond the large ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that defined so much of American foreign policy over the past decade. Compared to the nearly 180,000 troops we had in Iraq and Afghanistan when I took office we now have fewer than 15,000 deployed in those countries,” the president writes. “We possess a military whose might, technology and geostrategic reach is unrivaled in human history.”

And so, the inference is those ground wars are over because, well, we say they are. Yet now, as the Times reports, the president has a new and improved kind of war he’s selling. Now might be the time to pause and ask just what kind of practical real-world results has our unparalleled military machine produced so far?

All the Beltway reporting about the prospects of new war powers for the president focus on the parlor politics of whether he can get it through Congress, not on the efficacy of his strategy. Funny, how we insist on results-based assessments on everything else but lose all reason when we hear the battle bugles blare…

continue reading at Salon.com

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Filed under Peace, Security, Terrorism, War

Militarists mire America deeper in Afghan war

by Jim Hightower, 12/2/14

Only a few months ago President Obama announced the good news that our combat role in Afghanistan – the longest war in American history – would finally end by January 1.

But put away the champagne, for a flock of screeching war hawks brought heavy political pressure on Obama to reverse himself. So our troops will stay in that war-ravaged, corrupt, bankrupted, ethnically-divided country for at least another year or two. Amazingly, the hawks’ argument was that Obama should not rush the timeline for training Afghan security forces to defend their own country.

Rush? Hello: IT’S BEEN 13 YEARS! “Operation Enduring Freedom,” as this mess of a military mission was named, should be renamed “Operation Endless War.” …

continue reading at Jim Hightower

see also, by Jim Hightower, “Egged on by the Hawks of Doom, Obama sinks America into a misguided war with the Islamic State, Nov. 2014

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Filed under Afghanistan, Peace, Right Wing, Security, Terrorism, US President, War

“Invade and Occupy” — McCain and Graham

by Nathaniel Smith, Politics: A View from West Chester

Washington, Feb. 5, 2014

In a bold new proposal to break the deadlocks in Afghanistan and Iraq, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) proposed that the United States invade and occupy those countries.

“Those governments are engaged in antagonistic behavior not only toward the United States but also toward their own citizens,” McCain said. “They are dividing their people through unacceptable partisan strife that sets factions against each other with no regard for their national welfare. They are even holding talks with those who oppose them.”

“Presidents Maliki and Karzai have been acting as if he wants to ruin their economies, demoralize citizens, and turn their countries over to our enemies,” the 2008 presidential candidate added. “For the sake of the Afghan and Iraqi people, we need to send a substantial military force, chase out those unworthy leaders, and install friendly regimes. We must show the people of the Middle East how we in our country maintain a responsive government that fully and openly responds to the needs of the people.”

“Our national interest and ultimately our access to our oil in the Middle East are at stake,” stated McCain’s long-time ally Senator Lindsay Graham (R-SC). “Karzai absolutely refused to do as we said when John and I talked with him last month, and Maliki is just as bad.”

“Let’s see about sending some troops to straighten out Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iran while we’re at it,” Graham added. “If our ships and planes are carrying troops and materiel that way anyhow,” he explained, “It will be cheaper to just take over all those trouble-makers at the same time and stay the course.”

Former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates concurred. “The Afghans, Iraqis, and their neighbors will welcome us with open arms,” he said while on a tour to promote his recent book. “It will be a cakewalk.”

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Filed under Afghanistan, Iraq, Mid East other / S Asia, Nathaniel Smith, Satire, US Senate