Tag Archives: Taliban

‘The Notion that we are in Afghanistan to Make our Country Safer is Bullshit’

Rethink Afghanistan

Afghanistan + More Troops = Catastrophe

Here’s Why Obama Is “Gravely Concerned” About Pakistan

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 3): Cost of War

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 4): Civilian Casualties

Rethink Afghanistan (Part 5): Women of Afghanistan

Rethink Afghanistan: (Part 6) Security

Soldiers Speak Out While Obama Escalates War on Afghanistan

Veterans to Congress: Rethink Afghanistan Now

Military Escalation: Obama okays $130 b for Afghanistan, Iraq wars

President Barack Obama Wednesday signed the fiscal 2010 National Defence Authorization Act during a ceremony at the White House.

Obama hailed the act, which contains $680.2 billion in military budget authority, as transformational legislation that targets wasteful defence spending.

The authorization act contains $130 billion to fund overseas contingency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan and it also provides $6.7 billion for thousands of all-terrain, mine-resistant, ambush-protected vehicles now arriving in Afghanistan.

The president was accompanied by Vice President Joe Biden, congressional leaders and other senior officials, including Defence Secretary Robert M. Gates and Navy Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

“There’s still more waste we need to cut; there’s still more fights that we need to win,” Obama said, noting he and Gates will continue to seek out unnecessary defence spending.

Obama said he has ended unnecessary no-bid defence contracts and signed bipartisan legislation to reform defence procurement practices so weapons systems’ costs do not spin out of control. “Even as we have made critical investments in equipment and weapons our troops do need, we’re eliminating tens of billions of dollars in waste we don’t need,” Obama said.
….
“As commander in chief, I will always do whatever it takes to keep the American people safe to defend this nation,” Obama said. “That’s why this bill provides for the best military in the history of the world.”
….
Money also is budgeted to fund programs that address “real and growing threats,” Obama said. Such systems, he said, include the F-35 Lightning II joint strike fighter, the littoral combat ship, and more helicopters and reconnaissance support for deployed U.S. forces.

Obama praised Gates and Mullen for their hard work in developing the 2010 defence budget. “I want to thank, publicly, Bob Gates for his service to our nation,” he said, and he added that Mullen has “provided wise counsel and stood with us in our efforts to initiate reform.”

Decorated Marine Resigns in Protest Over War in Afghanistan

U.S. Official: Afghanistan Not Worth It

A former Marine turned diplomat resigns in protest over the war in Afghanistan.

U.S. official resigns over Afghan war

When Matthew Hoh joined the Foreign Service early this year, he was exactly the kind of smart civil-military hybrid the administration was looking for to help expand its development efforts in Afghanistan.

A former Marine Corps captain with combat experience in Iraq, Hoh had also served in uniform at the Pentagon, and as a civilian in Iraq and at the State Department. By July, he was the senior U.S. civilian in Zabul province, a Taliban hotbed.

But last month, in a move that has sent ripples all the way to the White House, Hoh, 36, became the first U.S. official known to resign in protest over the Afghan war, which he had come to believe simply fueled the insurgency.

“I have lost understanding of and confidence in the strategic purposes of the United States’ presence in Afghanistan,” he wrote Sept. 10 in a four-page letter to the department’s head of personnel. “I have doubts and reservations about our current strategy and planned future strategy, but my resignation is based not upon how we are pursuing this war, but why and to what end.”

The reaction to Hoh’s letter was immediate. Senior U.S. officials, concerned that they would lose an outstanding officer and perhaps gain a prominent critic, appealed to him to stay.

U.S. Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry brought him to Kabul and offered him a job on his senior embassy staff. Hoh declined. From there, he was flown home for a face-to-face meeting with Richard C. Holbrooke, the administration’s special representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan.

“We took his letter very seriously, because he was a good officer,” Holbrooke said in an interview. “We all thought that given how serious his letter was, how much commitment there was, and his prior track record, we should pay close attention to him.”

While he did not share Hoh’s view that the war “wasn’t worth the fight,” Holbrooke said, “I agreed with much of his analysis.” He asked Hoh to join his team in Washington, saying that “if he really wanted to affect policy and help reduce the cost of the war on lives and treasure,” why not be “inside the building, rather than outside, where you can get a lot of attention but you won’t have the same political impact?” Full Story

Obama’s Preventative Detention – Indefinite and without Charge

60 Minutes: Obama Reiterates Promise To Close Guantanamo Bay, End Torture

Administration Won’t Seek New Detention System

The Obama administration has decided not to seek legislation to establish a new system of preventive detention to hold terrorism suspects and will instead rely on a 2001 congressional resolution authorizing military force against al-Qaeda and the Taliban to continue to detain people indefinitely and without charge, according to administration officials.

Leading congressional Democrats and members of the civil rights community had signaled opposition to any new indefinite-detention regime, fearing that it would expand government powers and undermine the rule of law and U.S. legal traditions.

The administration’s decision avoids a potentially rancorous debate that could alienate key allies at a time when President Obama needs congressional and public support to transfer detainees held at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the United States for trial or continued incarceration.

The administration has concluded that its detention powers, as currently accepted by the federal courts, are adequate to the task of holding some Guantanamo Bay detainees indefinitely. And although legal advocacy groups, such as the American Civil Liberties Union, are unhappy with the existing system, they acknowledge that it has enabled some detainees to win their release and limited government power in ways that any new law might not.

“This is very welcome news and very big news,” said Christopher Anders, senior legislative counsel at the ACLU. “Going to Congress with new detention authority legislation would only have made a bad situation worse. It likely would have triggered a chaotic debate that would have been beyond the ability of the White House to control — and would have put U.S. detention policy even further outside the rule of law.” Full Story

Related Story: The Torture and Killing of Innocent Detainees

Message for Obama: Take Troops Out of Afghanistan

Afghan president demands an end to air raids on Taliban amid claims of 130 civilian deaths
US accused of using white phosphorous in raids

Afghan president Hamid Karzai has called for an end to air raids in his country after scores of civilians were killed in the latest attack on the Taliban.

Karzai, who went on U.S. television to make the call has put the death toll at up to 130 people.

If his figure is confirmed, it would be the biggest such case of Western forces killing civilians since they invaded in 2001.

His spokesman said the Afghan leader was ‘very serious’ about his demand.

Afghans are furious about the bombing of two villages in Western Farah province during a drawn-out battle last week, when homes full of civilians were hit.

…Karzai’s warning comes after the U.S. was accused of using white phosphorus bombs during the raids.

Doctors say they found horrific burns on victims of the slaughter a week ago.

They believe they could have been caused by the chemical, which bursts into fierce fire on contact with the air and can stick to flesh and burn deep into it.

Full Story

Air Raid Victim Tells Obama to Leave Afghanistan at Once

Starving Afghan Family Displaced by US Airstrike

Afghan Children Left to Die After US Bombings

Afghan Refugee Describes Horror of US Bombings

See:
Of Poppies and War
Ugly truth about foreign aid in Afghanistan

Of Poppies and War

72623774TH004_Heroin

Afghanistan: U.S. Escalates the Illegal Drug Industry

It is common knowledge that Afghanistan remains the primary source of the world’s supply of opium and heroin. A recent United Nations’ report claims that three quarters of the world’s heroin comes from the provinces of Helmand and Kandahar. But there is also recognition that poppies are grown in almost all of the country’s 34 provinces.

The western media argues that most of the production of illegal drugs is being done by the Taliban or that the Taliban is protecting the farmers. The fact that there are well known drug lords in the government of President Hamid Karzai, and many are members of the parliament, is usually ignored. Yet the Asian press carries photos of “narco palaces” in Kabul and describes the local “narcotecture.” The Afghan population is well aware of the close ties between the drug lords and the government.

Of course this is quite embarrassing to the U.S. government, which put Karzai in office and created the present Afghan constitution and system of government. Thus Hillary Clinton, nominated for Secretary of State, created quite a shock when she referred to Afghanistan as a “narco state” in her testimony before the U.S. Senate.

Forgotten in all this is the key role that the U.S. government played in the development and expansion of the illegal drug industry in Afghanistan. It goes back to the decision made in July 1978 by the administration of Jimmy Carter to give aid and assistance to the radical Islamists in their rebellion against the leftist government of the Peoples Democratic Party of Afghanistan.

The CIA and the Afghan Drug Trade

The U.S. government devoted billions of dollars to the proxy war in Afghanistan. Most of this was funneled through the Pentagon’s infamous Black Budget, secret funds for secret operations. In 1981 this budget was estimated at $9 billion but rose to $36 billion by 1990. The CIA obtained cash to buy weapons and other equipment which was then channeled to the Islamist rebels.

In the Afghan operation the CIA provided cash to the Pakistan government, primarily through its accounts with the Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI), best known for laundering illegal drug money. As John Cooley notes, “The CIA already had a history of using corrupt or criminal banks for its overseas operations.” In the 1980s the CIA and the Pentagon’s Defense Intelligence Agency were using the BCCI for covert operations. First American, in Washington, D.C., was one of the CIA banks of choice, and it had been acquired by BCCI.

BCCI had close links to the Pakistan government. During the Afghan jihad BCCI officials actually took control of the customs house at the port of Karachi where shipments of arms were sent by the CIA to Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence Directorate (ISI). They made cash payments to the ISI, part of which were payoffs, but large sums were also needed to finance the transportation of armaments to the Afghan border and beyond. As Brigadier Mohammad Yousaf reports, much of the CIA aid came in the form of cash. This was used to purchase hundreds of trucks and thousands of horses, mules and camels, in addition to the materials needed to build the training bases for the mujahideen fighters.

The CIA would inform the Pakistan government about the shipments. When the armaments and supplies were landed in Karachi they came under the control of the National Logistics Cell of the Pakistan army and the ISI. They trucked the materials north to the various bases. On the way back the trucks carried opium and heroin for export from Karachi, mainly to the United States. Some of the heroin factories were directly under the control of the ISI, and the whole operation had the support of Pakistan General Fazle Haq, the protector of the industry. President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq had appointed him the military commander of the Northwest Frontier Province. He was also directly involved in the heroin trade and laundering money through the BCCI.

Full Story

Spreading Propaganda and Fear With Lies of Terrorism

The War on Terror is a Hoax
By Paul Craig Roberts

According to US government propaganda, terrorist cells are spread throughout America, making it necessary for the government to spy on all Americans and violate most other constitutional protections. Among President Bush’s last words as he left office was the warning that America would soon be struck again by Muslim terrorists.

If America were infected with terrorists, we would not need the government to tell us. We would know it from events. As there are no events, the US government substitutes warnings in order to keep alive the fear that causes the public to accept pointless wars, the infringement of civil liberty, national ID cards, and inconveniences and harassments when they fly.

The most obvious indication that there are no terrorist cells is that not a single neocon has been assassinated.

I do not approve of assassinations, and am ashamed of my country’s government for engaging in political assassination. The US and Israel have set a very bad example for al Qaeda to follow.

The US deals with al Qaeda and Taliban by assassinating their leaders, and Israel deals with Hamas by assassinating its leaders. It is reasonable to assume that al Qaeda would deal with the instigators and leaders of America’s wars in the Middle East in the same way.

Today every al Qaeda member is aware of the complicity of neoconservatives in the death and devastation inflicted on Muslims in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Gaza. Moreover, neocons are highly visible and are soft targets compared to Hamas and Hezbollah leaders. Neocons have been identified in the media for years, and as everyone knows, multiple listings of their names are available online.
Full Story

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration.