In the airport in Atlanta yesterday, I happened to be standing next to some American soldiers, wearing camouflage, on their way to Afghanistan. They knew the name of the province that they were going to, but they were arguing over what part of the country that province is in. One said the east. One said the south. One said the west. One of them thought that their destination was near Kandahar, but then they started arguing over where Kandahar is located. I hope that they get it all sorted out before the shooting starts. If they don’t know what part of the country that they’re going to, then what are the chances that they speak the local language? (There are 48 different native languages in Afghanistan.) What are the chances that they know anything about Islam? (Which is practiced by more than 99% of all Afghans, language differences notwithstanding.) To little fanfare, President Obama announced last week that he signed an agreement to extend the U.S. military occupation of Afghanistan for twelve more years. No one noted the irony of this, since under our Constitution, President Obama can be President for no more than another 41/2 years. Also under our Constitution, a treaty requires the concurrence of two-thirds of the Senate. (Article II, Section 2, Clause 2). No one in the Obama Administration even took a stab at explaining why this agreement with a foreign power was not being submitted to the Senate for concurrence. But the reason is obvious: the Senate would not concur. Also under our Constitution, you will search in vain for any provision that authorizes a lengthy military occupation of a foreign country. In fact, the Constitution does not authorize a standing army, much less an army standing in Kabul. In the Bizarro world in which we live, we have 27 Attorneys General challenging the constitutionality of 35 million Americans getting health coverage, but no one challenges the constitutionality of an undeclared war (see Article I, Section 8 on that) that has now entered its second decade. Presidential candidates Obama and Clinton obviously were separated by race and gender, but one of the few things that separated them on policy was Clinton’s vote in favor of the war in Iraq, contrasted with Obama’s 2002 statement that the war in Iraq was "dumb." This is what State Senator Barack Obama said, in October 2002, in the Federal Plaza in Chicago: I don’t oppose all wars. What I am opposed to is a dumb war. What I am opposed to is a rash war. What I am opposed to is the cynical attempt by Richard Perle and Paul Wolfowitz and other armchair, weekend warriors in this administration to shove their own ideological agendas down our throats, irrespective of the costs in lives lost and in hardships borne. What I am opposed to is the attempt by political hacks like Karl Rove to distract us from a rise in the uninsured, a rise in the poverty rate, a drop in the median income, to distract us from corporate scandals and a stock market that has just gone through the worst month since the Great Depression. That’s what I’m opposed to. A dumb war. A rash war. A war based not on reason but on passion, not on principle but on politics. Barack Obama was talking about the war in Iraq. But let’s be honest. At this point, after 11 years of pointless, fruitless, endless war, doesn’t all of that apply equally to the war in Afghanistan?
Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’
(Credit: flickr user Luigi Crespo)
Would you like to have dinner with me? It would be just us — and up to three of your friends, if you want — and we can talk about anything…movies, politics, or whether LeBron, Bosh and Wade are going to live up to the hype. (I’m betting yes.)
I’m participating in this auction because the IVAW is, quite simply, one of the most important organizations in our country. Founded in 2004, they now have 61 chapters, all focused on three simple principles: (1) immediate withdrawal of all occupying forces from Iraq; (2) reparations to the Iraq people from their invaders; and (3) full benefits, including physical and mental healthcare, for returning servicemen and women.
IVAW also participates in the nationwide Truth in Recruiting campaign, so that young people can make informed decisions about joining the military. And they organized the 2008 Winter Soldier conference, at which veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan told the unvarnished truth about what we’re doing in our wars — and what our wars are doing to our vets.
We all owe every member of IVAW a debt of thanks. And there’s no better way to help pay that debt than to support Operation Recovery, which is a new campaign to stop the military from sending already-traumatized veterans back into combat zones.
You might think that after all you’ve heard for the past decade about “supporting the troops” that the military wouldn’t push those suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder back to war. But you’d be wrong — the reality is that to the people who started the war, our soldiers are almost as disposable as Iraqis. Please read this to learn more.
And then…well, then hopefully you and I can have dinner. What would you like? I hear the Spaghetti is great just about anywhere…
Mr. Woodward has a distinguished career of peeling back the facade of America and revealing the dirty underwear beneath, Obama’s War, was released on Sept 25, 2010. (I am currently seeking a copy of this book, and may have an audio version available to you soon.) The few reviews that I have read reveal the disintegration of the infrastructure of our government. This destruction of our Constitution has left us with the malaise that is our government today. This has happened over time and in a lot of instances, has been subtle, and in others, not so, IE. 911. Whatever form taken the end result is a imperialist, fascist government with an inner circle controlling most of what is on the national agenda today. As can be seen through a cursory reading of the reviews, it is apparent that the power in the United States today, is not with the President, nor is it with the Congress, these two branches of government have been reduced to a custodial role of maintaining the facade of what once was the Unites States of America. The real power lies with the Military-Industrial Complex whose manipulating arm, the C.I.A. set the events in motion which will best facilitate the wishes of Corporate America. The histories of these events are public record, Viet Nam, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, El Salvador, and Nicaragua. Click here for details.
The C.I.A. has stated there are approximately 100 al Qaeda in Afghanistan, and the United State has sent 100,000 troops to rid Afghanistan of these terrorists! Oh, by the way, that’s not a misprint, one hundred is the number and the reason we are spending billions a day and losing our sons and daughters, it’s for 100 terrorists. Does this seem confusing to you?
OW’s theme? Afghanistan: should we stay — and for how long; or should we go — and how fast?
Woodward books states General David Petraeus saying that Team Obama was “fucking with the wrong guy” when he felt he had been done dirt. Oh, yes, this came after a glass of wine. Makes you wonder what the general really thinks.
In stark terms, this is a story about President Barack Obama (the commander in chief) at loggerheads with his uniform service chiefs (the alleged hired help). Obama’s chief adversaries: Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Petraeus, the onetime Iraq commander now running the show in Afghanistan.
The military brass, according to OW, are a gang of insubordinate subordinates (Surprise! Surprise!), failing to give Obama the exit plan he repeatedly requested. (Maybe the prez wasn’t polite enough? Did he say, “Please”?)
There is no mistake that the military wanted an open-ended engagement in Afghanistan and the White House didn’t – and still doesn’t.
Some highlights: retired Marine General James Jones, the president’s national security advisor, calls Obama’s political team the “campaign set,” the “mafia,” the “politburo,” and — my favorite — the “water bugs” . . . Before naming Hillary Clinton secretary of state, political aide David Axelrod asked Obama was he sure he could trust her . . . “I’m not doing ten years,” Obama told Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Clinton . . . “I’m not doing nation building,” Obama also said in OW. “And I’m not spending a trillion dollars.” (Then why did he give the impression during the presidential campaign that Afghanistan was a “good” war – as opposed to the “bad” war in Iraq?) . . . Two days after Obama was elected, one of the nation’s top spies told the president that the US had developed the capability to react to developments on the ground with greater speed than was widely realized, “They talk, we listen. They move, we observe. Given the opportunity, we react operationally.” . . . US intelligence says Afghan President Hamid Karzai is a diagnosed manic-depressive. (Is it better to have an “ally” on meds as opposed to drugs? I wonder.) . . . The CIA has a secret 3000-member-strong army in Pakistan (I knew about the secret army, but not its exact troop strength.)
The republican machinery had broken down under the weight of imperialism, the central government had become powerless, the provinces had been transformed into independent principalities under the absolute control of their governors, and the army had replaced the constitution as the means of accomplishing political goals. With a weak central government, political corruption had spiraled out of control, and the status quo had been maintained by a corrupt aristocracy, which saw no need to change a system which had made its members rich. Click here for more history of the Roman Republic