— Insurgents beheaded 17 civilians in a Taliban-controlled area of southern Afghanistan, apparently because they attended a dance party that flouted the extreme brand of Islam embraced by the militants, officials said Monday.
The killings, in a district where U.S. Marines have battled the Taliban for years, were a reminder of how much power the insurgent group still wields in the south — particularly as international forces draw down and hand areas over to Afghan forces.
The victims were part of a large group that had gathered late Sunday in Helmand province’s Musa Qala district for a celebration involving music and dancing, said district government chief Neyamatullah Khan. He said the Taliban slaughtered them to show their disapproval of the event.
All of the bodies were decapitated but it was not clear if they had been shot first, said provincial government spokesman Daoud Ahmadi.
Information was only trickling out slowly because the area where the killings occurred is largely Taliban controlled, Khan said. The Taliban spokesman for southern Afghanistan could not be reached for comment.
Many Afghans and international observers have expressed worries that the Taliban’s brutal interpretation of Islamic justice will return as international forces withdraw. Under the Taliban, who ruled the country from 1996 to 2001, all music and film was banned as un-Islamic, and women were barred from leaving their homes without a male family member as an escort.
Helmand is one of the areas seeing the largest reduction in U.S. troops, as the force increase ordered up by President Barack Obama departs. The U.S. started drawing down forces from a peak of nearly 103,000 last year, and plans to have decreased to 68,000 troops in country by October.
One of the most worrying trends to accompany the drawdown has been a surge in attacks by Afghan forces against their international allies, and another shooting came on Monday morning, though it appeared to be accidental.
Two American soldiers were shot and killed by one of their Afghan colleagues in the east, military officials said, bringing to 12 the number of international troops — all Americans — to die at the hands of their local allies this month.
But Afghan officials said Monday’s attack in Laghman province was a separate case from the rash of recent insider attacks on international forces, because it appeared to have been unintentional.
The incident unfolded when a group of U.S. and Afghan soldiers came under attack, said Noman Hatefi, a spokesman for the Afghan army corps in eastern Afghanistan. When the troops returned fire and ran to take up fighting positions, an Afghan soldier fell and accidentally discharged his weapon, killing two American soldiers with the stray bullets, he said.
“He didn’t do this intentionally. But then the commander of the (Afghan) unit started shouting at him, ‘What did you do? You killed two NATO soldiers!’ And so he threw down his weapon and started to run,” Hatefi added. The U.S. troops had already called in air support to help with the insurgent attack and the aircraft fired on the escaping soldier from above, killing him, Hatefi said.
NATO spokesman Lt. Col. Hagen Messer of Germany confirmed that two international soldiers were killed by an Afghan soldier in Laghman province, but declined to give further comment.
Insider attacks have been a problem for the U.S.-led military coalition for years, but it has exploded recently into a crisis. There have been at least 33 such attacks so far this year, killing 42 coalition members, mostly Americans. Last year there were 21 attacks, killing 35; and in 2010 there were 11 attacks with 20 deaths.
The chief spokesman for NATO forces in the country said coalition forces were not pulling back from collaborating with the Afghans because of the attacks.
“We are not going to reduce the close relationship with our Afghan partners,” Brig. Gen. Gunter Katz told reporters in the capital.
Taliban spokesman Zabiullah Mujahid said that he could not confirm any link between the attacker in Monday’s shooting and the insurgency. In previous insider attacks, the Taliban have quickly claimed responsibility and named the assailants. Mujahid did not comment on the other attacks in the south, which is watched over by a different Taliban spokesman.
Meanwhile, Helmand officials reported that 10 Afghan soldiers were killed in an attack on a checkpoint in the south, and five were either kidnapped or joined their assailants.
Ahmadi, the provincial spokesman, said insurgents attacked the checkpoint in Washir district Sunday evening. Another four soldiers were wounded he said. The Afghan Defense Ministry said the checkpoint was attacked by more than 100 insurgents.
Ahmadi said the five missing soldiers left with the insurgents but it was unclear if they were kidnapped or went voluntarily.
Khan reported from Kandahar, Afghanistan. Associated Press writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez contributed to this report in Kabul.
US secretly releasing Taliban fighters, report says
The US has been secretly releasing captured Taliban fighters from a detention center in Afghanistan in a bid to strengthen its hand in peace talks with the insurgent group, the Washington Post reported Monday.
The “strategic release” program of high-level detainees is designed to give the US a bargaining chip in some areas of Afghanistan where international forces struggle to exercise control, the report said.
Under the risky program, the hardened fighters must promise to give up violence and are threatened with further punishment, but there is nothing to stop them resuming attacks against Afghan and American troops.
“Everyone agrees they are guilty of what they have done and should remain in detention. Everyone agrees that these are bad guys. But the benefits outweigh the risks,” a US official told the Post.
In a visit to Afghanistan last week, President Barack Obama confirmed that the US was pursuing peace talks with the Taliban.
“We have made it clear that they [the Taliban] can be a part of this future if they break with Al Qaeda, renounce violence, and abide by Afghan laws. Many members of the Taliban — from foot soldiers to leaders — have indicated an interest in reconciliation. A path to peace is now set before them,” Obama said.
A stumbling block in the US-Taliban peace talks has been the US refusal to approve the transfer of five Taliban detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Qatar, which the Taliban says is necessary for negotiations to proceed.
The clock is ticking also on the US handover of security control to the Afghans.
At the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago, the US coalition will set a goal for Afghan forces to take the lead in combat operations across the country next year.
During his short visit, Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai signed a partnership deal that charts a 10-year relationship between the US and Afghanistan once the majority of American and foreign forces pull out of the country in 2014.
Obama’s Watch: 39 Months, 69 Percent of Afghan War Casualties
By Edwin Mora
– Although President Obama has only served 39 months in office, 69 percent of the U.S. military fatalities in the more then 10-year-old war in Afghanistan have occurred on his watch.
Through April 30, the Defense Department had reported that 1,844 U.S. military personnel have been killed in and around Afghanistan while deployed in Operation Enduring Freedom, which was launched in October 2001 after al Qaeda terrorists attacked the World Trade Towers and the Pentagon.
According to CNSNews.com’s comprehensive database on Afghan war casualties, at least 1,275 of the 1,844 U.S. troops killed in Operation Enduring Freedom have been killed since Jan. 20, 2009, when Barack Obama was inaugurated as president.
In the more than 10 years the U.S. military has been fighting in Afghanistan, each of the three deadliest years have been during Obama’s presidency. The deadliest year was 2010, when 497 U.S. service personnel gave their lives in Afghanistan. The second deadliest year was 2011, when 399 U.S. service personnel gave their lives in Afghanistan. And the third deadliest year was 2009, when 303 U.S. service personnel gave their lives in Afghanistan.
Month-by-Month U.S. Casualties in Afghan
In recent years, some U.S. casualties in Afghanistan have come at the hands of the Afghan forces that the U.S. military is seeking to train so that they can defend their own country. Since 2007, when the Pentagon began tracking these killings, 54 U.S. soldiers have been killed by Afghan troops.
On March 22, Gen. John Allen, the top commander in Afghanistan, testified in Congress that as of that point 52 U.S. service personnel in Afghanistan had been killed by Afghan forces. Of those 52, Gen. Allen said, six had taken place this year alone.
Since Gen. Allen’s testimony, two more U.S. casualties at the hands of Afghan forces have come to light.
On March 16, the Associated Press reported that the Pentagon failed to identify a U.S. soldier killed by Afghan forces in February. On May 1, the Associated Press reported that on April 25 a U.S. Army special forces soldier had been killed by Afghan forces.
CNSNews.com’s detailed count of U.S. military fatalities in Afghanistan is derived from official casualty reports issued by the Department of Defense (DOD), augmented by information taken from ISAF and media accounts.
The database includes all U.S. military personnel who died or were fatally injured in and around Afghanistan while supporting military efforts in Operation Enduring Freedom, which covers multiple countries.
CNSNews.com’s total count of U.S. fatalities in and around Afghanistan includes 12 U.S. troops who died in Pakistan and three who died in the Arabian Sea while supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
An American soldier dies every day and a half, on average, in Iraq or Afghanistan. Veterans kill themselves at a rate of one every 80 minutes. More than 6,500 veteran suicides are logged every year — more than the total number of soldiers killed in Afghanistan and Iraq combined since those wars began.
These unnoticed killing fields are places like New Middletown, Ohio, where Cheryl DeBow raised two sons, Michael and Ryan Yurchison, and saw them depart for Iraq. Michael, then 22, signed up soon after the 9/11 attacks.
“I can’t just sit back and do nothing,” he told his mom. Two years later, Ryan followed his beloved older brother to the Army.
When Michael was discharged, DeBow picked him up at the airport — and was staggered. “When he got off the plane and I picked him up, it was like he was an empty shell,” she told me. “His body was shaking.” Michael began drinking and abusing drugs, his mother says, and he terrified her by buying the same kind of gun he had carried in Iraq. “He said he slept with his gun over there, and he needed it here,” she recalls.
Then Ryan returned home in 2007, and he too began to show signs of severe strain. He couldn’t sleep, abused drugs and alcohol, and suffered extreme jitters.
“He was so anxious, he couldn’t stand to sit next to you and hear you breathe,” DeBow remembers. A talented filmmaker, Ryan turned the lens on himself to record heartbreaking video of his own sleeplessness, his own irrational behavior — even his own mock suicide.
One reason for veteran suicides (and crimes, which get far more attention) may be post-traumatic stress disorder, along with a related condition, traumatic brain injury. Ryan suffered a concussion in an explosion in Iraq, and Michael finally had traumatic brain injury diagnosed two months ago.
Estimates of post-traumatic stress disorder and traumatic brain injury vary widely, but a ballpark figure is that the problems afflict at least one in five veterans from Afghanistan and Iraq. One study found that by their third or fourth tours in Iraq or Afghanistan, more than one-quarter of soldiers had such mental health problems.
Preliminary figures suggest that being a veteran now roughly doubles one’s risk of suicide. For young men ages 17 to 24, being a veteran almost quadruples the risk of suicide, according to a study in The American Journal of Public Health.
Michael and Ryan, like so many other veterans, sought help from the Department of Veterans Affairs. Eric Shinseki, the secretary of veterans affairs, declined to speak to me, but the most common view among those I interviewed was that the V.A. has improved but still doesn’t do nearly enough about the suicide problem.
“It’s an epidemic that is not being addressed fully,” said Bob Filner, a Democratic congressman from San Diego and the senior Democrat on the House Veterans Affairs Committee. “We could be doing so much more.”
To its credit, the V.A. has established a suicide hotline and appointed suicide-prevention coordinators. It is also chipping away at a warrior culture in which mental health concerns are considered sissy. Still, veterans routinely slip through the cracks. Last year, the United States Court of Appeals in San Francisco excoriated the V.A. for “unchecked incompetence” in dealing with veterans’ mental health.
Patrick Bellon, head of Veterans for Common Sense, which filed the suit in that case, says the V.A. has genuinely improved but is still struggling. “There are going to be one million new veterans in the next five years,” he said. “They’re already having trouble coping with the population they have now, so I don’t know what they’re going to do.”
Last month, the V.A.’s own inspector general reported on a 26-year-old veteran who was found wandering naked through traffic in California. The police tried to get care for him, but a V.A. hospital reportedly said it couldn’t accept him until morning. The young man didn’t go in, and after a series of other missed opportunities to get treatment, he stepped in front of a train and killed himself.
Likewise, neither Michael nor Ryan received much help from V.A. hospitals. In early 2010, Ryan began to talk more about suicide, and DeBow rushed him to emergency rooms and pleaded with the V.A. for help. She says she was told that an inpatient treatment program had a six-month waiting list. (The V.A. says it has no record of a request for hospitalization for Ryan.)
“Ryan was hurting, saying he was going to end it all, stuff like that,” recalls his best friend, Steve Schaeffer, who served with him in Iraq and says he has likewise struggled with the V.A. to get mental health services. “Getting an appointment is like pulling teeth,” he said. “You get an appointment in six weeks when you need it today.”
While Ryan was waiting for a spot in the addiction program, in May 2010, he died of a drug overdose. It was listed as an accidental death, but family and friends are convinced it was suicide.
The heartbreak of Ryan’s death added to his brother’s despair, but DeBow says Michael is now making slow progress. “He is able to get out of bed most mornings,” she told me. “That is a huge improvement.” Michael asked not to be interviewed: he wants to look forward, not back.
As for DeBow, every day is a struggle. She sent two strong, healthy men to serve her country, and now her family has been hollowed in ways that aren’t as tidy, as honored, or as easy to explain as when the battle wounds are physical. I wanted to make sure that her family would be comfortable with the spotlight this article would bring, so I asked her why she was speaking out.
“When Ryan joined the Army, he was willing to sacrifice his life for his country,” she said. “And he did, just in a different way, without the glory. He would want it this way.”
“My home has been a nightmare,” DeBow added through tears, recounting how three of Ryan’s friends in the military have killed themselves since their return. “You hear my story, but it’s happening everywhere.”
We refurbish tanks after time in combat, but don’t much help men and women exorcise the demons of war. Presidents commit troops to distant battlefields, but don’t commit enough dollars to veterans’ services afterward. We enlist soldiers to protect us, but when they come home we don’t protect them.
“Things need to change,” DeBow said, and her voice broke as she added: “These are guys who went through so much. If anybody deserves help, it’s them.”
‘Several drunk troops behind bloodbath, laughed on shooting-spree, burned corpses’
Gruesome new details are surfacing after 16 Afghan villagers including nine children were shot in their houses by at least one US serviceman. Witnesses to the atrocity now say that several drunken American soldiers were involved.
Neighbors at the village where the killings took place said they were awoken past midnight by crackling gunfire:
“They were all drunk and shooting all over the place,” Reuters cites Agha Lala, a villager in Kandahar’s Panjwayi district.
Lala’s neighbor Haji Samad lost all of his 11 relatives in the rampage, including children and grandchildren. He claims Marines “poured chemicals over their dead bodies and burned them.”
Twenty-year-old Jan Agha says the gunfire “shook him out of bed.” He was in the epicenter of the horrible shooting, witnessing his father shot as the latter peered out of a window to see what was going on.
“The Americans stayed in our house for a while. I was very scared,” the young man told reporters.
Lying on a floor, Agha says, he pretended to be dead.
He added that his brother was shot in his head and chest. His sister was killed as well. “My mother was shot in her eye and her face. She was unrecognizable,” he said.
The Afghan parliament said the incident was barbaric and demanded justice. Both NATO and US officials condemned the violence, promising a swift investigation.
US ‘fundamental strategy’ in Afghanistan won’t change – Pentagon
The Pentagon’s chief spokesman, George Little, said on Monday that there was “every indication” that the perpetrator, whose name he refused to disclose, had not been accompanied by any other soldiers. He also said that the mass killing would not change the “basic war strategy” in Afghanistan.
“Despite what some are saying, we’re not changing our fundamental strategy,” Little said.
Also on Monday NATO reacted to the massacre of Afghan villagers, with spokeswoman Oana Lungescu saying the shooting was an “isolated incident.” She emphasized it would not affect the timeline of the previously discussed withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan by the end of 2014.
Earlier a preliminary official report said the unnamed culprit, identified as a member of the US army staff, had acted alone and is now in custody after turning himself in at an American base.
US troops in Afghanistan have been put on high alert as the Taliban has issued a threat vowing “to take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr.”
The statement published on the group’s website said that the US is “arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenseless Afghans.”
Afghan officials, fearing possible violent demonstrations, have deployed extra police and troops in and around Kandahar.
The incident was one of the worst of its kind since the US-led invasion of Afghanistan in 2001. It comes just weeks after copies of the Koran were burned at a US military base, provoking mass riots in Afghanistan.
Slaying of 16 Afghan civilians ‘absolutely tragic and heartbreaking’ – Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama has said during an interview with Denver TV Station KCNC that the killing of 16 Afghan civilians by a US soldier was “absolutely tragic and heartbreaking” but also noted that he was “proud generally” of what US troops had accomplished in Afghanistan while working under strenuous conditions.
In another interview, this time with Orlando-based WFTV, the president reiterated his stance in favor of a pullout from Afghanistan by the end of 2014. He said the incident “does signal the importance of us transitioning in accordance with my plans that Afghans are taking more of the initiative in security.”
Asked whether the incident could be compared to the infamous 1968 My Lai Massacre, in which US troops murdered up to 500 civilians in South Vietnam, Obama responded by saying it was not comparable. “It appeared you had a lone gunman who acted on his own,” he noted.
US defense secretary Leon Panetta said that the death penalty was a possible punishment against the soldier who perpetrated the massacre. He noted that officials will use the military justice system to try the soldier and that the shootings must not derail the military mission in Afghanistan.
In the meantime, Reuters quoted an anonymous US official who said that the accused soldier had been treated for traumatic brain injury after being in a vehicle that rolled over in Iraq in 2010.
White House Won’t Say What Will Happen to Troops Who Burnt Korans
By Fred Lucas
(CNSNews.com) – In the face of Afghan President Hamid Karzai;s call for the U.S. troops who burned Korans to be tried and punished, the White House won’t say what will happen to those troops.
A reporter asked White House Press Secretary Jay Carney at Thursday’s briefing what would be done with them.
“I think there is an investigation into that,” Carney responded. “You surely understand that I would not make any statements about the disposition of that investigation or how it should turn out.”
The Korans were mistakenly burnt on Bagram Air Force Base.
Obama spoke with Karzai earlier Thursday, Carney said.
As CNSNews.com reported, three days after Obama issued an apology to Karzai for the burning of the Muslim holy book, Karzai responded on Afghan TV that the soldiers should be tried.
In late February, Karzai, according to a BBC translation of his remarks, told the Afghan people, “We call on the US government to bring the perpetrators of the act to justice and put them on trial and punish them.”
At the same time Karzai was demanding the prosecution and punishment of U.S. troops involved in the Koran-burning incident, he conceded that the U.S. government had indicated that the Koran burning “was not deliberate.”
“We all know that regrettably some days ago an American soldier burnt our Holy Koran,” Karzai said, according to the BBC translation. “We condemn this vicious act in the strongest terms. The government and the people, scholars, tribal dignitaries, spiritual figures of Afghanistan, the educated people of our country all share the people’s feelings… Our people’s sensitiveness is right and is laudable.
“The US government says that such act was carried out because of ignorance and lack of knowledge,” Karzai said. “This incident happened as a result of the ignorance of the US military officer about our vision about Islam and not recognizing the Koran. It was not deliberate.”
Lottery winner on food stamps even after $1 million jackpot
By Eric Pfeiffer
People love stories about someone winning the lottery and then giving the money away. They’re less likely to feel fondly about Amanda Clayton, who won $1 million in the Michigan State Lottery but is still collecting food stamps.
“I thought that they would cut me off, but since they didn’t, I thought maybe it was OK because I’m not working,” Clayton, 24, told Local 4 news in Detroit.
Back in December, a woman in Washington State fell under scrutiny when it was revealed she was receiving state economic benefits even though she lives in a $1 million waterfront home on Lake Washington.
Clayton, who says she owns two homes and a new car, receives $200 a month in food assistance from the state-issued Michigan Bridge Card, which is meant to benefit lower-income residents in the nation’s eigth most economically depressed state.
Twenty-five percent of Michigan’s residents receive some form of food assistance from the state. The state’s unemployment rate is 9.3 percent, more than a full point above the national average, but has dropped from a 10.4 percent peak in August.
And Clayton isn’t embarrassed about living off the state even though she now finds herself in the nation’s top tax bracket. “I mean I kinda do,” Clayton told Local 4 when asked if she had a “right” to the government welfare.
She certainly doesn’t the fit the mold of other lottery winners we have told you about here at the Sideshow, including the number of repeat winners of the Georgia State Lottery, many of whom chose to donate their initial winnings to charity or family members in need.
Clayton downplayed her wealth, saying she took the $1 million in a lump sump, which meant about half immediately went to taxes. “I feel that it’s OK because I mean, I have no income and I have bills to pay,” she said. “I have two houses.”
Her story has already caught attention locally, where state Republican Rep. Dale Zorn has sponsored a bill preventing individuals like Clayton from taking state financial assistance.
“Public assistance should be given to those who are in need of public assistance, not those who have found riches,” Zorn told Local 4. The bill, which has already passed the state House and has a sister bill in the Senate, would require the state to cross check the names of lottery winners over $1,000 to see if they are also receiving state financial benefits.
While Muslims riot in Afghanistan, murdering soldiers over the accidental burning of Korans – Korans which had been used by terrorists to transmit Islamist messages – it turns out that the U.S. military has routinely burned Bibles in Afghanistan to be more sensitive to Muslims.
As CNN reported back in 2009:
Military personnel threw away, and ultimately burned, confiscated Bibles that were printed in the two most common Afghan languages amid concern they would be used to try to convert Afghans, a Defense Department spokesman said Tuesday. The unsolicited Bibles sent by a church in the United States were confiscated about a year ago at Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan because military rules forbid troops of any religion from proselytizing while deployed there, Lt. Col. Mark Wright said.
So why is it that the United States burns Bibles to cater to Muslims in Afghanistan, but when it burns Korans, we’re supposed to think that we’re insensitive numbskulls? Weren’t we fighting for freedom of religion and speech in Afghanistan? Apparently not. We were just fighting to establish shariah law in our own, special way, according to the Obama Administration.
Officer accuses U.S. military of vast Afghan deception
By Stephen C. Webster
An internal report on the occupation of Afghanistan, penned by an active-duty military officer and published weeks ago — but not released by the Pentagon — was leaked on Friday by Rolling Stone reporter Michael Hastings, who called the 84-page examination “one of the most significant documents published by an active-duty officer in the past ten years.”
The document, written by Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, explains there has been a 12-year-long cover-up of the reality on the ground in Afghanistan. Davis was the source of a New York Times feature last Sunday, which cited his report but did not release it.
The Pentagon has since launched an investigation of Davis for possible security violations.
Davis reportedly wrote two versions — one classified and one not — and briefed four members of Congress, both Republican and Democrat. Senior Pentagon officials also have the report, but they’ve decided not to release it. For that reason, the unclassified report was published by Rolling Stone on Friday afternoon.
“As I will explain in the following pages I have personally observed or physically participated in programs for at least the last 15 years in which the Army’s senior leaders have either “stretched the truth” or knowingly deceived the US Congress and American public,” Davis explains in his introduction.
“What I witnessed in my most recently concluded 12 month deployment to Afghanistan has seen that deception reach an intolerable low. I will provide a very brief summary of the open source information that would allow any American citizen to verify these claims. But if the public had access to these classified reports they would see the dramatic gulf between what is often said in public by our senior leaders and what is actually true behind the scenes. It would be illegal for me to discuss, use, or cite classified material in an open venue and thus I will not do so; I am no WikiLeaks guy Part II.”
He essentially concludes that America’s top generals should be placed under oath and questioned about incidents detailed in the report.
Ever since the troop drawdown plan announced by Obama in December 2010 staring July 2011 and completing in December 2014, I have been mentioning that the senior military leadership of USA and other power centres with vested interests may not stick to the timetable and may extend the stay. A cold war is gong on between Obama administration and Pentagon. Gen David Petraeus disagreed with Obama’s decision to withdraw 33000 US troops from Afghanistan by October 2012 and wanted slower pullout. Pentagon, ISAF leadership, US corporations, defence, security and construction contractors, drug mafia, Karzai regime, Afghan security forces, India and Israel are desirous of extended stay. Their selfish interests clash with political ambitions of Obama’s administration and aspirations of Afghans vying for freedom. The US Generals doesn’t want to return home disgraced and defeated as had happened in Vietnam. They are least concerned about the poor state of US economy, the continuing bloodshed, hazards faced by soldiers in the field and adverse world opinion. They are obsessed with the idea of victory in whatever shape, which they know cannot be achieved within the left over time of three years. Their heavy salaries and drug profits are added attractions to prolong their stay particularly when they reside in safe confines of overly fortified military bases.
The US and NATO generals somehow are misled with the belief that given the time and resources, over a period of time the Taliban now deprived of al-Qaeda’s wholesome support would get exhausted and in not too distant future they would be forced to negotiate on American conditions. They are confident that in next 3-4 years the ANA duly backed by the US airpower and technological support would be able to take on the Taliban more effectively. Above all, they want to create a psychological impact that the US has not been defeated and have no plans to abandon Afghanistan till at least 2024. In their view this message would surely dishearten fence sitters within Taliban to jump the fence and join the ranks of moderates who have given their willingness to the US political settlement plan.
The civil contractors of USA are rolling in money and would like the war to continue for times to come. Large chunk of billions of dollars invested in Afghanistan to equip ANA and to carryout development projects are pocketed by them. The lucrative drug trade in which Afghan feudal lords, CIA and NATO are deeply involved is flourishing has converted Afghanistan into biggest narcotic country of the world. Part of the drug money is utilized to meet heavy war expenditures and covert war expenses. Inept, corrupt and unpopular Karzai regime cannot survive without the physical presence of ISAF and American aid. Karzai whose writ doesn’t extend beyond his palace has agreed to all the clauses of the Afghan-US strategic partnership and has conveyed his willingness to let the US military retain military bases for next ten years. He got his unpopular decision endorsed by Loya Jirga which was boycotted by Taliban Shura.
The Afghan Army and Police are not showing worthwhile signs of improvements in security duties and in discipline matters. Desertion rates as well as cases of ill-discipline are high. They are so far ineffective in Pashtun dominated southern and eastern Afghanistan. Belated efforts made to correct the ethnic imbalance by inducting larger number of Pashtuns in the two organizations have backfired. Kabul administration believes that recent spate of terrorist attacks in Kabul had been made possible by Pashtun soldiers and policemen.
India has got involved in Afghanistan because of its strategic and economic interests. Helped by USA, India has dug its heels firmly and is using Afghan soil to destabilize the Pakistan regions contiguous to Afghanistan through covert means. Having spent $1.5 billion in development projects in Afghanistan, India now wants to extract tens of billions in return for its initial investment by having a lion’s share in mining of all future mineral resources related projects. In order to become the most influential country in Afghanistan and to fill up the power vacuum in the aftermath of the US departure, India is directing all its energies to washout whatever little influence Pakistan has in Afghanistan.
India’s aim is to make western border of Pakistan hostile so that it could put its arch rival in a nut cracker situation by posing a twin threat in any future Indo-Pak war, or be in a position to continue launching two-directional covert war against Pakistan. Once Afghanistan is bagged by India, it will enable it to fulfill its long cherished dream of encircling Pakistan and thus keeping it perpetually in a state of quandary. Indo-Afghan strategic partnership agreement has brought India closer to the realization of its dream. The US is playing a key role in promoting India to become a lead country in Afghanistan and in isolating Pakistan.
Strong foothold of India in Afghanistan will enable it to expand its economic and political influence in Central Asia. It is this long-term objective of India to gain access to Central Asian markets that it managed to dovetail its place in Pak-Afghan trade transit agreement. This underhand deal facilitated by USA will allow Indian goods to be shipped through Pakistan’s land route via Wagah. In order to reduce land locked Afghanistan’s dependence upon Pakistan, India built a road connecting Chahbahar with Daranj in Afghanistan. India also coaxed Karzai to build dams over River Kabul as part of its strategy to coerce and humble Pakistan. It has already constructed dozens of dams over three rivers flowing into Pakistan from occupied Kashmir and plans to build several dozens more dams entirely in violation of Indus Water Treaty to be able to manipulate water flow in accordance with its wicked designs.
True to its reputation, Israel is silently playing the devil’s role by remaining in the background. While it is persistently stoking up fires of antagonism between ISAF and its opponents, it is also playing its part to divide Afghan Taliban and to destabilize Pakistan. Initially it successfully deflected phenomenon of suicide attacks from its homeland towards Iraq and then further shifted its expertise to Afghanistan. In Badakshan, Mossad has established a large cultural centre where Muslim suicide bombers belonging to various nationalities of the region are indoctrinated and trained. Attacks on mosques, shrines, worship places, funerals and religious scholars/clerics are mostly masterminded by Mossad to denigrate Islam and to accentuate ethnic, sectarian and religious tensions in Pakistan. Besides inflaming sectarian fire, Deobandi-Barelvi divide is also being subtly widened. Special technology in FM Radio in use by Maulana Fazlullah in Swat which couldn’t be jammed by the Army was provided by Israel. Long-range sniper rifles and Uzi sten guns were also provided by Israel to militants in Swat.
Israel is also strengthening Indian armed forces by providing latest state-of-art weapon systems and has become India’s largest arms supplier. The two countries are cooperating in the nuclear field as well. What India cannot procure from USA is being provided by Israel. Both USA and Israel are desirous of making India a counterweight to China. In reality, this is a smokescreen to justify supply of sophisticated arms and nuclear technology to India. India knows that it is no match to China’s military and economic strength and it will be sheer folly to antagonize the sleeping giant and upcoming super power. India’s chief target is Pakistan and its frenzied force modernization program is geared towards humbling Pakistan on the battlefield. While Pakistan is being systematically weakened from within since 2002, India is being armed to teeth to deliver the decisive blow at the opportune time.
The whole thrust of Indo-US-Israeli nexus is directed against Pak Army and ISI, the two pillars which are braving extremely heavy odds doggedly and keeping the adversaries at bay. Different techniques have been applied to cow down the two institutions but all their onslaughts have been thwarted. The underlying aim of discrediting and enfeebling Army and ISI is to gain access to nuclear and missile sites. Propaganda was used as a tool to tarnish the image of the two institutions and to create an impression that Pak nukes were unsafe and liable to fall into wrong hands. For this purpose, extremist threat was overplayed and the Army ridiculed that it is incapable of defeating the militants and protecting the nuclear arsenal. It was a well-conceived effort to frighten the world and to force Pakistan to accept the US proposal of joint security apparatus of nukes, or to hand over the nukes to USA/UN for safe custody, or to open it for inspection by IAEA.
When Pakistan turned down the proposal of joint control and asserted that its multi-layered safety and security system was second to none, the propagandists then took up a new theme asserting that sympathizers of Jihadis working inside the nuclear facilities could steal the nukes and hand them over to the militant groups thus jeopardizing world security. This theme was also applied upon the Army and ISI, alleging that some elements within these organizations were sympathetic towards al-Qaeda and Taliban. Idea was to make the heads of nuclear facilities, Army and ISI carryout pruning. The thrown outs were to be subsequently cultivated by CIA for their own use.
In order to impoverish the economy of the country, the secret arrangement worked out between Washington and democratic government in Islamabad in 2008 was to push back the country into the stranglehold of IMF, make it accept its tough conditions, bleed the state economy, destroy the public sector enterprises through massive corruption and ineptness, create acute energy crisis and bring the country to a stage of a failed state. The underlying idea was to present fait accompli to the people to opt for survival or for nuclear program. Zardari on his maiden visit to Washington as President of Pakistan in September 2008 had asked the so-called Friends-of-Pakistan to provide $100 billion to enable him to solve the problems of Pakistan. On the quiet he had put Pakistan’s program on sale.
A month earlier PM Gilani had issued an executive order placing the ISI under America’s chosen man Rahman Malik. This step was taken on the direction of the US which felt that without cutting the long arm of the ISI, its sinister objectives against nuclear program will be difficult to achieve. Section-S dealing with external operations troubled the adversaries of Pakistan the most. Apart from disbanding S-Section and the one dealing with Kashmir, large-scale weeding out was to be undertaken to shunt out conservative and anti-American elements and replacing them with liberal minded pro-American and pro-Indian officers.
The PPP had carried out such an exercise in its two tenures under Benazir Bhutto. In the first tenure, retired Lt Gen Kalue was made the DG ISI. He was mandated to destroy the file of Murtaza Bhutto and record maintained on anti-state activities of Al-Zulfiqar. The nuclear program was put on hold to allay the US concerns and officers dedicated to Kashmir cause were posted out. Kashmir House signboard in Islamabad was removed when Rajiv visited Pakistan in 1989. In her second stint, the long arm of ISI was truncated.
The current regime was all set to settle the Kashmir dispute on Indian terms by accepting Line of Control as the border. This is evident from Zardari’s statement on the occasion of oath taking ceremony when he was anointed president. He said that the nation will soon hear goods news about Kashmir. He is on record having declared Kashmiri freedom fighters as terrorists. He also tried to compromise Pakistan’s minimum nuclear deterrence by stating that Pakistan will not exercise first strike nuclear option. Despite the passage of 18th Amendment the legislature under Gilani is a dummy and real powers are still in Zardari’s hands with Salman Faruqui, his principal adviser acting as de facto PM. But in the wake of gathering storm around him, Zardari has bunkered himself in Presidency and keeps his chopper ready to fly off.
Gilani’s outbursts against the Army and ISI betrayed his inner anxieties and were at the behest of his master in Presidency who has lost his sleep and is haunted by memogate. Petrified Husain Haqqani, supposedly the key actor in memo scandal is hiding in PM’s House and cursing the DG ISI who took the bold initiative and revealed the country-breaking memo and nailed him. Haqqani’s dream of becoming prime minister or national security adviser has shattered. Scared stiff Wajid Shams is feigning illness to avoid facing Abbottabad judicial commission since he knows his linkage with 2 May fiasco will get established. Ill-reputed Asma Jahangir who committed the blunder of defending the most reviled man under the misplaced hope that she will earn fame is ruing her decision since she is getting badly exposed and noose around his client’s neck is tightening. Shameless Babar Awan in his bid to get in good books of Zardari and to get another prized appointment is using all his tricks to malign Supreme Court but has got soiled himself. Supreme Court is playing its cards dexterously to reach to the bottom of memo case and all eyes are focused on Chief Justice Iftikhar. To conclude I would not hesitate in saying that credit for nailing Haqqani goes to Pasha. Had he not obtained the incriminating material, Haqqani would have still been Ambassador in Washington.
Obama Raises The Military Stakes
Confrontation On The Frontiers Of China And Russia
By James Petras
I See Your Missile Shipment and Raise you an Air Base
After suffering major military and political defeats in bloody ground wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, failing to buttress long-standing clients in Yemen, Egypt and Tunisia and witnessing the disintegration of puppet regimes in Somalia and South Sudan, the Obama regime has learned nothing: Instead he has turned toward greater military confrontation with global powers, namely Russia and China. Obama has adopted a provocative offensive military strategy right on the frontiers of both China and Russia.
After going from defeat to defeat on the periphery of world power and not satisfied with running treasury-busting deficits in pursuit of empire building against economically weak countries, Obama has embraced a policy of encirclement and provocations against China, the world’s second largest economy and the US’s most important creditor, and Russia, the European Union’s principle oil and gas provider and the world’s second most powerful nuclear weapons power.
This paper addresses the Obama regime’s highly irrational and world-threatening escalation of imperial militarism. We examine the global military, economic and domestic political context that gives rise to these policies. We then examine the multiple points of conflict and intervention in which Washington is engaged, from Pakistan, Iran, Libya, Venezuela, Cuba and beyond. We will then analyze the rationale for military escalation against Russia and China as part of a new offensive moving beyond the Arab world (Syria, Libya) and in the face of the declining economic position of the EU and the US in the global economy. We will then outline the strategies of a declining empire, nurtured on perpetual wars, facing global economic decline, domestic discredit and a working population reeling from the long-term, large-scale dismantling of its basic social programs.
The Turn from Militarism in the Periphery to Global Military Confrontation
November 2011 is a moment of great historical import: Obama declared two major policy positions, both having tremendous strategic consequences affecting competing world powers.
Obama pronounced a policy of military encirclement of China based on stationing a maritime and aerial armada facing the Chinese coast an overt policy designed to weaken and disrupt China’s access to raw materials and commercial and financial ties in Asia. Obama’s declaration that Asia is the priority region for US military expansion, base-building and economic alliances was directed against China, challenging Beijing in its own backyard. Obama’s iron fist policy statement, addressed to the Australian Parliament, was crystal clear in defining US imperial goals.
“Our enduring interests in the region [Asia Pacific] demands our enduring presence in this region The United States is a Pacific power and we are here to stay As we end today’s wars [i.e. the defeats and retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan]… I have directed my national security team to make our presence and missions in the Asia Pacific a top priority As a result, reduction in US defense spending will not come at the expense of the Asia Pacific” (CNN.com, Nov. 16, 2011).
The precise nature of what Obama called our “presence and mission” was underlined by the new military agreement with Australia to dispatch warships, warplanes and 2500 marines to the northern most city of Australia (Darwin) directed at China. Secretary of State Clinton has spent the better part of 2011 making highly provocative overtures to Asian countries that have maritime border conflicts with China. Clinton has forcibly injected the US into these disputes, encouraging and exacerbating the demands of Vietnam, Philippines, and Brunei in the South China Sea. Even more seriously, Washington is bolstering its military ties and sales with Japan, Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, as well as increasing the presence of battleships, nuclear submarines and over flights of war planes along China’s coastal waters. In line with the policy of military encirclement and provocation, the Obama-Clinton regime is promoting Asian multi-lateral trade agreements that exclude China and privilege US multi-national corporations, bankers and exporters, dubbed the “Trans-Pacific Partnership”. It currently includes mostly smaller countries, but Obama has hopes of enticing Japan and Canada to join
Obama’s presence at the APEC meeting of East Asian leader and his visit to Indonesia in November 2011 all revolve around efforts to secure US hegemony. Obama-Clinton hope to counter the relative decline of US economic links in the face of the geometrical growth of trade and investment ties between East Asia and China.
A most recent example of Obama-Clinton’s delusional, but destructive, efforts to deliberately disrupt China’s economic ties in Asia, is taking place in Myanmar (Burma). Clinton’s December 2011 visit to Myanmar was preceded by a decision by the Thein Sein regime to suspend a China Power Investment-funded dam project in the north of the country. According to official confidential documents released by WilkiLeaks the “Burmese NGO’s, which organized and led the campaign against the dam, were heavily funded by the US government”(Financial Times, Dec. 2, 2011, p. 2). This and other provocative activity and Clinton’s speeches condemning Chinese “tied aid” pale in comparison with the long-term, large-scale interests which link Myanmar with China. China is Myanmar’s biggest trading partner and investor, including six other dam projects.
Chinese companies are building new highways and rail lines across the country, opening southwestern China up for Burmese products and China is constructing oil pipelines and ports. There is a powerful dynamic of mutual economic interests that will not be disturbed by one dispute (FT, December 2, 2011, p.2). Clinton’s critique of China’s billion-dollar investments in Myanmar’s infrastructure is one of the most bizarre in world history, coming in the aftermath of Washington’s brutal eight-year military presence in Iraq which destroyed $500 billion dollars of Iraqi infrastructure, according to Baghdad official estimates. Only a delusional administration could imagine that rhetorical flourishes, a three day visit and the bankrolling of an NGO is an adequate counter-weight to deep economic ties linking Myanmar to China. The same delusional posture underlies the entire repertoire of policies informing the Obama regime’s efforts to displace China’s predominant role in Asia.
While any one policy adopted by the Obama regime does not, in itself, present an immediate threat to peace, the cumulative impact of all these policy pronouncements and the projections of military power add up to an all out comprehensive effort to isolate, intimidate and degrade China’s rise as a regional and global power. Military encirclement and alliances, exclusion of China in proposed regional economic associations, partisan intervention in regional maritime disputes and positioning technologically advanced warplanes, are all aimed to undermine China’s competitiveness and to compensate for US economic inferiority via closed political and economic networks.
Clearly White House military and economic moves and US Congressional anti-China demagogy are aimed at weakening China’s trading position and forcing its business-minded leaders into privileging US banking and business interests over and above their own enterprises. Pushed to its limits, Obama’s prioritizing a big military push could lead to a catastrophic rupture in US-Chinese economic relations. This would result in dire consequences, especially but not exclusively, on the US economy and particularly its financial system. China holds over $1.5 trillion dollars in US debt, mainly Treasury Notes, and each year purchases from $200 to $300 billion in new issues, a vital source in financing the US deficit.
If Obama provokes a serious threat to China’s security interests and Beijing is forced to respond, it will not be military but economic retaliation: the sell-off of a few hundred billion dollars in T-notes and the curtailment of new purchases of US debt. The US deficit will skyrocket, its credit ratings will descend to ‘junk‘, and the financial system will ‘tremble onto collapse’. Interest rates to attract new buyers of US debt will approach double digits. Chinese exports to the US will suffer and losses will incur due to the devaluation of the T-notes in Chinese hands. China has been diversifying its markets around the world and its huge domestic market could probably absorb most of what China loses abroad in the course of a pull-back from the US market.
While Obama strays across the Pacific to announce his military threats to China and strives to economically isolate China from the rest of Asia, the US economic presence is fast fading in what used to be its “backyard”: Quoting one Financial Times journalist, “China is the only show [in town] for Latin America” (Financial Times, Nov. 23, 2011, p.6). China has displaced the US and the EU as Latin America’s principle trading partner; Beijing has poured billions in new investments and provides low interest loans.
China’s trade with India, Indonesia, Japan, Pakistan and Vietnam is increasing at a far faster rate than that of the US. The US effort to build an imperial-centered security alliance in Asia is based on fragile economic foundations. Even Australia, the anchor and linchpin of the US military thrust in Asia, is heavily dependent on mineral exports to China. Any military interruption would send the Australian economy into a tailspin.
The US economy is in no condition to replace China as a market for Asian or Australian commodity and manufacturing exports. The Asian countries must be acutely aware that there is no future advantage in tying themselves to a declining, highly militarized, empire. Obama and Clinton deceive themselves if they think they can entice Asia into a long-term alliance. The Asian’s are simply using the Obama regime’s friendly overtures as a ‘tactical device’, a negotiating ploy, to leverage better terms in securing maritime and territorial boundaries with China.
Washington is delusional if it believes that it can convince Asia to break long-term large-scale lucrative economic ties to China in order to join an exclusive economic association with such dubious prospects. Any ‘reorientation’ of Asia, from China to the US, would require more than the presence of an American naval and airborne armada pointed at China. It would require the total restructuring of the Asian countries’ economies, class structure and political and military elite. The most powerful economic entrepreneurial groups in Asia have deep and growing ties with China/Hong Kong, especially among the dynamic transnational Chinese business elites in the region. A turn toward Washington entails a massive counter-revolution, which substitutes colonial ‘traders’ (compradors) for established entrepreneurs. A turn to the US would require a dictatorial elite willing to cut strategic trading and investment linkages, displacing millions of workers and professionals. As much as some US-trained Asian military officers , economists and former Wall Street financiers and billionaires might seek to ‘balance’ a US military presence with Chinese economic power, they must realize that ultimately advantage resides in working out an Asian solution.
The age of Asian “comprador capitalists”, willing to sell out national industry and sovereignty in exchange for privileged access to US markets, is ancient history. Whatever the boundless enthusiasm for conspicuous consumerism and Western lifestyles, which Asia and China’s new rich mindlessly celebrate, whatever the embrace of inequalities and savage capitalist exploitation of labor, there is recognition that the past history of US and European dominance precluded the growth and enrichment of an indigenous bourgeoisie and middle class. The speeches and pronouncements of Obama and Clinton reek of nostalgia for a past of neo-colonial overseers and comprador collaborators a mindless delusion. Their attempts at political realism, in finally recognizing Asia as the economic pivot of the present world order, takes a bizarre turn in imagining that military posturing and projections of armed force will reduce China to a marginal player in the region.
Obama’s Escalation of Confrontation with Russia
The Obama regime has launched a major frontal military thrust on Russia’s borders. The US has moved forward missile sites and Air Force bases in Poland, Rumania, Turkey, Spain, Czech Republic and Bulgaria: Patriot PAC-3 anti-aircraft missile complexes in Poland; advanced radar AN/TPY-2 in Turkey; and several missile (SM-3 IA) loaded warships in Spain are among the prominent weapons encircling Russia, most only minutes away from it strategic heartland. Secondly, the Obama regime has mounted an all-out effort to secure and expand US military bases in Central Asia among former Soviet republics. Thirdly, Washington, via NATO, has launched major economic and military operations against Russia’s major trading partners in North Africa and the Middle East. The NATO war against Libya, which ousted the Gadhafi regime, has paralyzed or nullified multi-billion dollar Russian oil and gas investments, arms sales and substituted a NATO puppet for the former Russia-friendly regime.
The UN-NATO economic sanctions and US-Israeli clandestine terrorist activity aimed at Iran has undermined Russia’s lucrative billion-dollar nuclear trade and joint oil ventures. NATO, including Turkey, backed by the Gulf monarchical dictatorships, has implemented harsh sanctions and funded terrorist assaults on Syria, Russia’s last remaining ally in the region and where it has a sole naval facility (Tartus) on the Mediterranean Sea. Russia’s previous collaboration with NATO in weakening its own economic and security position is a product of the monumental misreading of NATO and especially Obama’s imperial policies. Russian President Medvedev and his Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov mistakenly assumed (like Gorbachev and Yeltsin before them) that backing US-NATO policies against Russia’s trading partners would result in some sort of “reciprocity”: US dismantling its offensive “missile shield” on its frontiers and support for Russia’s admission into the World Trade Organization.
Medvedev, following his liberal pro-western illusions, fell into line and backed US-Israeli sanctions against Iran, believing the tales of a “nuclear weapons programs”. Then Lavrov fell for the NATO line of “no fly zones to protect Libyan civilian lives” and voted in favor, only to feebly “protest“, much too late, that NATO was “exceeding its mandate” by bombing Libya into the Middle Ages and installing a pro-NATO puppet regime of rogues and fundamentalists. Finally when the US aimed a cleaver at Russia’s heartland by pushing ahead with an all-out effort to install missile launch sites 5 minutes by air from Moscow while organizing mass and armed assaults on Syria, did the Medvedev-Lavrov duet awake from its stupor and oppose UN sanctions. Medvedev threatened to abandon the nuclear missile reduction treaty (START) and to place medium-range missiles with 5 minute launch-time from Berlin, Paris and London.
Medvedev-Lavrov’s policy of consolidation and co-operation based on Obama’s rhetoric of “resetting relations” invited aggressive empire building: Each capitulation led to a further aggression. As a result, Russia is surrounded by missiles on its western frontier; it has suffered losses among its major trading partners in the Middle East and faces US bases in southwest and Central Asia.
Belatedly Russian officials have moved to replace the delusional Medvedev for the realist Putin, as next President. This shift to a political realist has predictably evoked a wave of hostility toward Putin in all the Western media. Obama’s aggressive policy to isolate Russia by undermining independent regimes has, however, not affected Russia’s status as a nuclear weapons power. It has only heightened tensions in Europe and perhaps ended any future chance of peaceful nuclear weapons reduction or efforts to secure a UN Security Council consensus on issues of peaceful conflict resolution. Washington, under Obama-Clinton, has turned Russia from a pliant client to a major adversary.
Putin looks to deepening and expanding ties with the East, namely China, in the face of threats from the West. The combination of Russian advanced weapons technology and energy resources and Chinese dynamic manufacturing and industrial growth are more than a match for crisis-ridden EU-USA economies wallowing in stagnation.
Obama’s military confrontation toward Russia will greatly prejudice access to Russian raw materials and definitively foreclose any long-term strategic security agreement, which would be useful in lowering the deficit and reviving the US economy.
Between Realism and Delusion: Obama’s Strategic Realignment
Obama’s recognition that the present and future center of political and economic power is moving inexorably to Asia, was a flash of political realism. After a lost decade of pouring hundreds of billions of dollars in military adventures on the margins and periphery of world politics, Washington has finally discovered that is not where the fate of nations, especially Great Powers, will be decided, except in a negative sense of bleeding resources over lost causes. Obama’s new realism and priorities apparently are now focused on Southeast and Northeast Asia, where dynamic economies flourish, markets are growing at a double digit rate, investors are ploughing tens of billions in productive activity and trade is expanding at three times the rate of the US and the EU.
But Obama’s ‘New Realism’ is blighted by entirely delusional assumptions, which undermine any serious effort to realign US policy.
In the first place Obama’s effort to ‘enter‘ into Asia is via a military build-up and not through a sharpening and upgrading of US economic competitiveness. What does the US produce for the Asian countries that will enhance its market share? Apart from arms, airplanes and agriculture, the US has few competitive industries. The US would have to comprehensively re-orient its economy, upgrade skilled labor, and transfer billions from “security” and militarism to applied innovations. But Obama works within the current military-Zionist-financial complex: He knows no other and is incapable of breaking with it.
Secondly, Obama-Clinton operate under the delusion that the US can exclude China or minimize its role in Asia, a policy that is undercut by the huge and growing investment and presence of all the major US multi-national corporations in China , who use it as an export platform to Asia and the rest of the world.
The US military build-up and policy of intimidation will only force China to downgrade its role as creditor financing the US debt, a policy China can pursue because the US market, while still important, is declining, as China expands its presence in its domestic, Asian, Latin American and European markets.
What once appeared to be New Realism is now revealed to be the recycling of Old Delusions: The notion that the US can return to being the supreme Pacific Power it was after World War Two. The US attempts to return to Pacific dominance under Obama-Clinton with a crippled economy, with the overhang of an over-militarized economy, and with major strategic handicaps: Over the past decade the United States foreign policy has been at the beck and call of Israel’s fifth column (the Israel “lobby”). The entire US political class is devoid of common, practical sense and national purpose. They are immersed in troglodyte debates over “indefinite detentions” and “mass immigrant expulsions”. Worse, all are on the payrolls of private corporations who sell in the US and invest in China.
Why would Obama abjure costly wars in the unprofitable periphery and then promote the same military metaphysics at the dynamic center of the world economic universe? Does Barack Obama and his advisers believe he is the Second Coming of Admiral Commodore Perry, whose 19th century warships and blockades forced Asia open to Western trade? Does he believe that military alliances will be the first stage to a subsequent period of privileged economic entry?
Does Obama believe that his regime can blockade China, as Washington did to Japan in the lead up to World War Two? It’s too late. China is much more central to the world economy, too vital even to the financing of the US debt, too bonded up with the Forbes Five Hundred multi-national corporations. To provoke China, to even fantasize about economic “exclusion” to bring down China, is to pursue policies that will totally disrupt the world economy, first and foremost the US economy!
Obama’s ‘crackpot realism‘, his shift from wars in the Muslim world to military confrontation in Asia, has no intrinsic worth and poses extraordinary extrinsic costs. The military methods and economic goals are totally incompatible and beyond the capacity of the US, as it is currently constituted. Washington’s policies will not ‘weaken’ Russia or China, even less intimidate them. Instead it will encourage both to adopt more adversarial positions, making it less likely that they lend a hand to Obama’s sequential wars on behalf of Israel. Already Russia has sent warships to its Syrian port, refused to support an arms embargo against Syria and Iran and (in retrospect) criticized the NATO war against Libya. China and Russia have far too many strategic ties with the world economy to suffer any great losses from a series of US military outposts and “exclusive” alliances. Russia can aim just as many deadly nuclear missiles at the West as the US can mount from its bases in Eastern Europe.
In other words, Obama’s military escalation will not change the nuclear balance of power, but will bring Russia and China into a closer and deeper alliance. Gone are the days of Kissinger-Nixon’s “divide and conquer” strategy pitting US-Chinese trade agreements against Russian arms. Washington has a totally exaggerated significance of the current maritime spats between China and its neighbors. What unites them in economic terms is far more important in the medium and long-run. China’s Asian economic ties will erode any tenuous military links to the US.
Obama’s “crackpot realism”, views the world market through military lenses. Military arrogance toward Asia has led to a rupture with Pakistan, its most compliant client regime in South Asia. NATO deliberately slaughtered 24 Pakistani soldiers and thumbed their nose at the Pakistani generals, while China and Russia condemned the attack and gained influence.
In the end, the military and exclusionary posture to China will fail. Washington will overplay its hand and frighten its business-oriented erstwhile Asian partners, who only want to play-off a US military presence to gain tactical economic advantage. They certainly do not want a new US instigated ‘Cold War’ dividing and weakening the dynamic intra-Asian trade and investment. Obama and his minions will quickly learn that Asia’s current leaders do not have permanent allies – only permanent interests. In the final analysis, China figures prominently in configuring a new Asia-centric world economy. Washington may claim to have a ‘permanent Pacific presence’ but until it demonstrates it can take care of its “basic business at home”, like arranging its own finances and balancing its current account deficits, the US Naval command may end up renting its naval facilities to Asian exporters and shippers, transporting goods for them, and protecting them by pursuing pirates, contrabandists and narco-traffickers. Come to think about it, Obama might reduce the US trade deficit with Asia by renting out the Seventh Fleet to patrol the Straits, instead of wasting US taxpayer money bullying successful Asian economic powers.
James Petras latest book is: “The Arab Revolt and the Imperialist Counterattack”
More U.S. Soldiers Killed Themselves Than Died in Combat in 2010
For the second year in a row, more American soldiers—both enlisted men and women and veterans—committed suicide than were killed in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Excluding accidents and illness, 462 soldiers died in combat, while 468 committed suicide. A difference of six isn’t vast by any means, but the symbolism is significant and troubling. In 2009, there were 381 suicides by military personnel, a number that also exceeded the number of combat deaths.
Earlier this month, military authorities announced that suicides amongst active-duty soldiers had slowed in 2010, while suicides amongst reservists and people in the National Guard had increased. It was proof, they said, that the frequent psychological screenings active-duty personnel receive were working, and that reservists and guardsmen, who are more removed from the military’s medical bureaucracy, simply need to begin undergoing more health checks. This new data, that American soldiers are now more dangerous to themselves than the insurgents, flies right in the face of any suggestion that things are “working.” Even if something’s working, the system is still very, very broken.
One of the problems hindering the military’s attempt to address soldier suicides is that there’s no real rhyme or reason to what kind of soldier is killing himself. While many suicide victims are indeed afflicted with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after facing heavy combat in the Middle East, many more have never even been deployed. Of the 112 guardsmen who committed suicide last year, more than half had never even left American soil.
“If you think you know the one thing that causes people to commit suicide, please let us know,” Army Vice Chief of Staff General Peter Chiarelli told the Army Times, “because we don’t know what it is.”
What Have We Gotten For The Trillion Dollars We Have Spent On Wars In Afghanistan, Iraq And Libya?
Over a trillion U.S. taxpayer dollars have been spent on the \"War on Terror\" and the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Whether you are for the wars or against the wars, it is important for all of us to step back and evaluate what we have really gotten for all of that money. In Libya, we have actually helped al-Qaeda forces that were shooting at U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan take over the country. Now they have announced that they will be imposing strict Sharia law on all of Libya. After 10 years of having our boys shot up in Afghanistan, the Afghan government is so “grateful” that they are publicly saying that they will side with Pakistan in any future war against the United States. In Iraq, Islamic radicals are beheading and murdering dozens and dozens of Christians and the new Iraqi government seemingly can’t wait to push the remaining U.S. soldiers out of the country. We ran up well over a trillion dollars of new debt to “liberate” these countries, but are they really in better shape than they were before these wars? Are we really in better shape than we were before these wars?
Today, the United States military has at least one base in more than half of all the nations on the planet.
Without a doubt, the United States will always need a strong military. But with the national debt soaring to unprecedented heights, is it really wise for us to try to be the police of the entire globe?
We have poured well over a trillion dollars into Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya and we have very little to show for it.
Are Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya safer places than before we went to war with them?
Are Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya producing fewer “terrorists” than before we went to war with them?
Are we safer than before we started all these wars?
Our government has spent well over a trillion dollars and the blood of thousands upon thousands of U.S. soldiers has been spilled and in the final analysis very little has actually been accomplished.
Let’s take a closer look at these conflicts and see exactly what we have gotten for all of the money that we have spent….
In Libya, we have actually helped al-Qaeda take power.
The price tag for the first week of airstrikes on Libya alone was 600 million dollars.
Yes, Gaddafi was a tyrant, but have we invested a lot of time and effort only to watch as an even worse government takes power?
According to The Telegraph, the leader of the Libyan rebels was openly admitting that his “troops” included jihadists that were firing bullets at U.S. forces in Iraq….
Abdel-Hakim al-Hasidi, the Libyan rebel leader, has said jihadists who fought against allied troops in Iraq are on the front lines of the battle against Muammar Gaddafi’s regime.
A recent article by Kurt Nimmo for Infowars.com discussed some of the other ways that al-Qaeda has been active in Libya during the fight against Gaddafi….
Despite Aujali’s assurance, Abdel Hakim Belhadj, the former head of LIFG, was appointed to run a military council in September. He fought with al-Qaeda and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
In February, it was reported that al-Qaeda had set-up an Islamic emirate in Derna, in eastern Libya, headed by a former prisoner at Guantanamo Bay, Abdelkarim al-Hasadi.
Now that they have won, the “rebels” have announced that they will be imposing strict Sharia law all over Libya.
According to a new article posted on The Telegraph, Mustafa Abdul-Jalil, the chairman of NATO’s National Transitional Council, has even announced plans to repeal polygamy laws because they are not compliant with Sharia law….
Mr Abdul-Jalil went further, specifically lifting immediately, by decree, one law from Col. Gaddafi’s era that he said was in conflict with Sharia – that banning polygamy.
Should we be cheering this?
Why would the U.S. government want to spend a single penny helping al-Qaeda take over Libya and set up Sharia law there?
There should not be a single American (conservative or liberal) that supports what has gone down in Libya.
The U.S. military has now been in Afghanistan for 10 years. World War II lasted less than 6 years. The U.S. government has spent over 467 billion dollars on the war in Afghanistan, and thousands upon thousands of our troops have been killed or wounded there.
Even after all this time, a single day of the war in Afghanistan costs more money than it took to build the entire Pentagon.
So are the Afghans grateful that we have sacrificed so much to bring “democracy” to that nation?
Of course not.
Just check out what Afghan President Hamid Karzai said during one recent interview….
“God forbid, If ever there is a war between Pakistan and America, Afghanistan will side with Pakistan”
Did you catch that?
Karzai says that in a future war between Pakistan and the United States, Afghanistan is going to be fighting against us.
But didn’t we bring them freedom?
No, we did not.
Instead, one radical Islamic government replaced another.
Today, there are officially zero Christian churches left in Afghanistan.
The new constitution of Afghanistan says that that Islam is the “religion of the state”.
The new constitution of Afghanistan also states that “no law can be contrary to the beliefs and provisions of the sacred religion of Islam”.
Earlier this year, I wrote about one Afghan man that was actually sentenced to death for converting to Christianity….
In Afghanistan right now, a one-legged Afghan Red Cross worker named Said Musa is sitting in a prison cell awaiting his execution. Musa, a father of six children, was arrested by the Afghan government as he attempted to seek asylum at the German embassy last year. He was sentenced to death by an Afghan court that was established by the new Afghan government that the United States worked so hard to set up. He has been tortured and sexually abused for months. An Afghan judge has told him that he will be hung within a matter of days. So what was his crime? He was a Muslim that has become a Christian. Under Sharia law, that is punishable by death. Is this is the “freedom” that we have sacrificed so many American lives to bring to Afghanistan?
Thankfully he was later released from prison and was able to get out of the country.
However, this just shows that the people of Afghanistan are currently experiencing a level of freedom that is quite comparable to what they experienced under the Taliban.
After all that the United States has done over there, very little positive change has taken place.
Up to now, it is estimated that the U.S. government has spent over 800 billion dollars on the war in Iraq.
Thousands upon thousands of U.S. soldiers lost arms and legs in Iraq.
Thousands of U.S. soldiers will never be coming home at all.
But after all of our efforts, Iraq is still a far less safe place than it was before we invaded.
Christians and other religious minorities once were able to worship in peace, but now they are racing to get out of Iraq as fast as they can.
Well, because Christians and other religious minorities are being brutally targeted by Islamic radicals.
For example, about a year ago more than 80 Iraqi Christians were beheaded on a single day. All that the Christians were trying to do was attend a church service. One four-month-old baby was actually beheaded right in front of her parents.
Iraq is a complete and total disaster zone at this point.
The Iraqi government says that it is willing for U.S. military trainers to stay in the country, but they also say that there will be no more immunity for U.S. soldiers.
We have left the country in far worse shape than we found it, and Iraq is now a bigger breeding ground for terrorists than it ever was before.
You see, the truth is that the populations of these countries will continue to hold a grudge once we leave. They are simply not going to forgive and forget. There are millions of Islamic radicals in these countries that will never, ever, ever forgive the United States. The hatred that they feel for us could be passed down for generations.
We have not brought freedom to the people of Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya. Instead, we have just replaced the tyranny that they were suffering under with new forms of tyranny.
Meanwhile, we continue to spend ourselves into oblivion.
Yes, the U.S. will always need a strong military.
Yes, there are areas where we actually need to spend more on the military. For example, now that Barack Obama has completely gutted our strategic nuclear arsenal, that is one area that we desperately need to attend to.
However, we simply cannot continue to recklessly spend money like we are today. We are in debt up to our eyeballs, and trying to be “the police of the world” is very expensive….
*Before the start of the “War on Terror”, the U.S. national debt was under 6 trillion dollars. Today, it is getting very close to 15 trillion dollars.
*Right now, the U.S. military is in nearly 130 different nations and it has a total of approximately 700 military bases around the world. It takes about 100 billion dollars a year to maintain these bases.
*U.S. military spending is greater than the military spending of China, Russia, Japan, India, and the rest of NATO combined.
*The United States accounts for 46.5% of all military spending on the planet. China is in second place with only 6.6%.
Meanwhile, our national security just continues to deteriorate. Millions of people have illegally poured across our border with Mexico and the federal government is actually suing border states such as Arizona to keep them from trying to stop this.
Our national security priorities are way, way out of whack. We continue to waste money in some of the most bizarre ways imaginable and yet we continue to become less secure with each passing year.
Yes, the United States needs a very, very strong military.
Yes, national security needs to be a very, very high priority.
But what we have been doing over the past decade has not worked. In fact, the Bush/Obama foreign policy has been an abject failure. We have poured hundreds of billions of dollars down the drain and we are less secure today than at any point since World War II.
It is time to admit that Barack Obama and George W. Bush have been fundamentally wrong about these wars. Because of their foolishness, we are less safe today and our allies are less safe today.
Afghanistan is not our friend now. Neither is Iraq. Libya looks like it is going to become an al-Qaeda paradise thanks to us.
There is very little “freedom” in those 3 nations today. Instead, “Islamic law” is being shoved down the throats of the people living in those countries.
So, in the final analysis, what have we really accomplished?
We KNOW the elite monied powers of the World wish to create a “NEW WORLD ORDER” in which they rule over all. In fact, many believe the Biblical prophecy of the Ten Horn Beast to be fulfilled by the NWO alignment. We have every indication that our sovereignty is being threatened and our enemy is domestic. Our once free people are falling into the trap of dicatorship. The trap of exchanging freedom for temporary security. Many of our so-called “leaders” are taking part of the dismantling of the United States including our Dictator-in-Chief. Our Congress warn of endless wars designed only to broaden an empire rather than provide legitimate defense. Even today, Nato is said to be in final preparations for a new war. A war against Syria….Iran….or anyone else who gets in our way. Regardless of the next “enemy” we choose to target the other boys on the street are losing patience. Russia and China have warned America of the consequences of attacking Iran. Will we heed those warnings? Or will we continue to apply regional pressure until they go on the offensive? World events are taking final shape. Albert Pikes predicted Three World Wars are progressing as planned. Regardless, Americans are waking up and beginning to prepare at unprecedented levels. Patriots are learning the skills and stocking up on the supplies required to Survive and Thrive regardless of what crisis occurs. And rest assured, there will be a crisis. Will you be ready?
We will do it with or without you, US tells Pakistan
Armageddon (commonly known as the battle against the anti-Christ) according to the Bible, is the site of a battle during the end times, variously interpreted as either a literal or symbolic location. The term is also used in a generic sense to refer to any end-of-the-world scenario.
According to some Muslim and Christian interpretations, the Messiah will return to earth and defeat the Antichrist, Satan the Devil, in the battle of Armageddon. According to the Muslim belief, it would be Imam Mehdi who would precede Prophet Jesus who would fight the one eyed beast called Dajjal (Anti Christ). Then Satan will be put into the “bottomless pit” or abyss for 1,000 years, known as the Millennial Age. After being released from the abyss, Satan will gather Gog and Magog (peoples of two specific nations) from the four corners of the earth. They will encamp surrounding the “holy ones” and the “beloved city” (this refers to Jerusalem). Fire will come down from God, out of heaven and devour Gog and Magog after the Millennium.
According to the Muslim belief, the forces to battle the one eyed beast would rise from the area of Khurasan that comprises of portion of Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and part of Central Asia. If the anti-Christ forces have assembled in Afghanistan, it’s not a coincidence but well thought out Zionist strategy to take on Pakistan, the nuclear power of the Muslim world so its free to advance other Muslim territories without any fear.
Most historians and scholars believe that the present stretching of the US and NATO Forces far and beyond their legitimate areas of interests, is a sign of final showdown. The placement of US forces in Afghanistan is seen as the final buildup to attack the Muslim lands. This could well become the graveyard of the US troops from where they may never escape death. Presently, the grouping of pro and anti Christ Forces is seen to be taking place. The US and NATO clearly appear to be on the side of the Anti-Christ and siding with the Zionists the real anti-Christ Forces. Zionists are known to be Satan worshipers in their secret hideouts therefore are working to create a godless world and control the entire resources.
Sensing these developments, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin prior to his departure for China, cautioned his generals to prepare for Armageddon. A similar message was also delivered to the Chinese leadership that has the Chinese Forces also on high alert. Apparently in the same context, Putin has resolved all differences with China to forge a clear unity for times ahead.
Sino-Russian alliance is very timely, seeing the hard threatening statements of Hillary Clinton that she fired at Pakistan from Kabul before flying to Islamabad is very alarming. Pakistan has some hard decisions to make.
Commander William Guy Carr, in his book ‘Pawns In The Game’ probably written in 1948 stated that third revolution and third world war are in the offing for which the grouping is taking place. He also stated categorically that the third world war would be against Islam.
Plans for this “Total Global War” or the war against Islam the Americans are preparing to launch were first revealed to China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) by a former Blackwater agent Bryan Underwood who has been apprehended by the US authorities for spying.
If one observes the way the US and NATO are waging their wars in Muslim countries proves William Carr to be correct.
Blackwater, the global contractor for CIA is operating in almost all the target countries, arrest of Raymond Davis in Pakistan did expose the US designs; had he been retained and grilled for some indefinite time, much more would have been revealed. Pakistan is infested with Blackwater, they have made inroads in ethnic political parties more so in Karachi, the port city of Pakistan. Balochistan has also become a hotbed where secessionists forces are being patronized by CIA, MI6, Mossad and RAW. As believed now, the US has also launched biological warfare in Pakistan where dengue is killing people on daily basis.
On reading the situation of the coming US plans for Total Global War, Putin spelt out an alliance to integrate the former Soviet Republics into closer cooperation. He scheduled an emergency trip to China to meet with Hu, and ordered the FSB (Russian Agency) to notify China’s MSS of the arrest and detention of their spy Tun Sheniyun who was captured last year for attempting to steal sensitive information on Russia’s most powerful anti-aircraft system.
Today Libya has fallen, how the Libyans would benefit from it only time would tell but one thing is sure that US and her allies have formed a bridgehead in Africa. Further deployment of the US troops in Africa are taking place, its China encirclement there where China has friends in the Muslim countries. Sudan has been split, and Obama plans to occupy some other countries like Uganda, Somalia, Morocco etc. In Africa, says Obama, the “humanitarian mission” is to assist the government of Uganda defeat the Lord’s resistance Army (LRA), which “has murdered, raped and kidnapped tens of thousands of men, women and children in central Africa”. Incidentally, Africa also happens to be the Chinese success story therefore by taking over Africa, China would also be chocked. Libya was one of the major oil suppliers to China now that hangs in air. Gaddafi was trying to dump dollar for gold that instigated the US to attack her through a cleverly manipulated and orchestrated moves.
After having been deceived in Libya where the US assured both Russia and China that it will not attack but did quite contrary to what was promised. Sensing that US plans to attack Syria, Russia and China were quick to veto the American resolution in the security council that infuriated the US Ambassador Susan Rice who left the session in rage.
Dick Cheney pointed out in his 1990s “defence strategy” plan, America simply wishes to rule the world so that’s forging ahead following the Nixonian doctrine, ‘seize the moment.’
Reported by the EU Times, the “New Great Game” moves being planned by the Americans is to strike fear into both Russia and China that includes:
1.) The deliberate implosion of both the US and EU economies in order to destroy the Global Financial System that has been in place since the ending of World War II
2.) The launching of a massive conventional war by the US and EU on the North American, African and Asian Continents to include the Middle East
3.) During this all-out war the deliberate releasing of bio-warfare agents meant to kill off millions, if not billions, of innocent civilians
4.) At the height of this war the US and its allies will sue for peace and call for a new global order to be established in order to prevent the total destruction of our planet.
Confirming the fears, an unidentified source within the US Department of Defense (DOD) warned that the Obama regime was preparing for a massive “tank-on-tank” war and that US military forces are “expecting something conventional, and big, coming down the pipe relatively soon.”
To how close this war may be the FSB in their report states that it will be “much sooner than later” as the Americans have pre-positioned in Iraq nearly 2,000 of their M1 Abrams main battle tanks, have pre-positioned another 2,000 of them in Afghanistan, and between the Middle East and Asia have, likewise, put into these war theaters tens-of-thousands of other typed armored vehicles. This should be a grave cause of concern for Pakistan.
Being at war, the US can also effect “Full Mobilization” of over 1.5 million American reserve forces which can occur at “at a moment’s notice” for which US needs no Congressional approval to expand their areas of operation is also being examined when America is fully poised to advance in Asia and Middle East.
Now that Hillary Clinton is on her Pakistan visit accompanied by the new CIA Chief, David Petraeus, Chairman US Joint Staff, General Martin Dempsey and Marc Grossman. Keeping the armoured buildup in the region and having an Armour Officer as the new Chairman of Joint Staff, could one say it a coincidence or a planned strategy?
Hillary, as expected that I mentioned in my CNBC News analysis on 19th October, has arrived with a tough warning for Pakistan, saying, “We will do it with or without you.” This has certainly placed Pakistan in a very trying situation. Pakistan has other options to join the third force that is in formation led by Russia and China to counter the US moves in the region. If Pakistan, Iran, Syria and other Muslim states including Saudi Arabia join this alliance, that would certainly deter the US and her allies, if not then every Muslim country would fall one after the other without exception and their assets would be frozen.
Important to note about the American plan for global domination through massive warfare is that it is not really a secret, and as (curiously) revealed on the tenth anniversary of the 11 September attacks upon the United States when the US National Security Archive released a memo written by former US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld in September 2001 wherein he warned “If the war does not significantly change the world’s political map, the US will not achieve its aim.”
To what the “aim” of the United States is as their war against the world has now entered its 10th year, the FSB says, is to prevent “at all costs” the implosion of the US Dollar as the main reserve currency of the present global economic system before the West’s envisioned “New World Order” can be established.
The first threat to the Americans “master plan” for global hegemony came in November 2000 when the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein quit accepting US Dollars for oil and, instead, stated his country would only accept Euros. In less than 10 months an attack on the US was engineered and used that as an excuse to topple Hussein and reestablish the US Dollar as the world’s main reserve currency.
Interesting to note is the failure of Libya’s former leader Gaddafi’s plan to introduce the gold dinar, a single African currency that would serve as an alternative to the US Dollar and allow African nations to share the wealth, but which like Iraq’s Saddam Hussein “plan” brought a swift and brutal invasion by the Americans and their Western allies to keep it from happening.
The only nation that has successfully abandoned the US Dollar is Iran, who since February 2009 abandoned all American currency opting instead to value their oil and gas in Euros. Iran, however, and unlike oil rich Iraq and Libya, has not been attacked due to the Iranians having acquired from Ukraine between 6-10 nuclear armed X-55 missiles (range of 3,000km [2,000 miles]) in 2005. Although the former Ukraine President Viktor Yushchenko denies that the missiles contain their nuclear tips, a statement disputed by the FSB who states they were armed and “ready to fire.”
As a preemption, to counter the planned American blitzkrieg into Central Asia and Pakistan from Afghanistan, Indian Army Chief General VK Singh warned yesterday that thousands of Chinese military forces have now moved into Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir joining an estimated 11,000 more of them believed to have entered that region in the past year.
Before the US ventures into other Muslim lands, the US would want a submissive or a broken and denuclearized Pakistan. In both the scenarios it would mean Pakistan’s death. In such a scenario, Pakistan maybe compelled to go for non conventional weapons; if such a development takes place, India, Israel and the US installations in the region would not be safe. Can the US risk such a situation would only depend on the arrogance and sanity level of the US leadership.