Archive for the Afghan quagmire Category

‘U.S. Bombs Somehow Keep Falling in the Places Where Obama “Ended Two Wars”’ by Glenn Greenwald [The Intercept]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Black propaganda, Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, NATO invasion, Obama, Pentagon, US imperialism, USA on October 4, 2015 by Zuo Shou / 左手

September 30, 2015

“We’ve ended two wars.” — Barack Obama, July 21, 2015, at a DSCC fundraiser held at a “private residence”…

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“US frustration as its hegemony declines” – Syrian election underlines limits of US global dominance [People’s Daily]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Iraq, Obama, Pentagon, Russia, Syria, U.K., US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA on June 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

June 5, 2014

Note: Assad won the June 2014 Syrian election, which the following article pre-dated. — Zuo Shou

The Syrian authorities opted to hold a presidential election on June 3. Bashar al-Assad is one of the three candidates. The international media generally assume that there is no doubt that Bashar al-Assad will win re-election. In spite of public discontent with the current situation and a desire for change, the essence of the Syria crisis is that foreign forces have tried to interfere in Syria’s internal affairs, provoking a civil war in an attempt to overthrow the Syrian government.

The US President Barack Obama announced on August: “The rule of Bashar al-Assad has lost its legitimacy and he must step down.” However, far from falling, Bashar al-Assad has secured another three years in power, for many reasons. Most importantly, the United States has made no direct military strikes against Syria. Why did the U.S. military decide not to wield the big stick this time?

Boogged down by its wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the peak of the United States hegemony is past. The U.S. economy crashed during the 2008 financial crisis, triggering further domestic issues. Coupled with the rise of the emerging economies, it is an indisputable fact that the dominance of the U.S.A. is in decline. Increasingly powerless to halt this decline, the United States is at a loss. Through his implementation of the “Asia-Pacific rebalancing strategy” in 2011, Obama adjusted his Middle East policy by reducing investment in the Middle East, slowing down the implementation of the “new interventionism” and seeking shelter in stability.

A war in Syria is now contrary to its global strategy, and it would leave the U.S. facing too many associated difficulties. In August 2013, the West contrived the Syrian ‘chemical weapons’ crisis. The United States schemed with the United Kingdom to threaten Syria, declaring its intention to carry out a limited military strike. But 59% of Americans were opposed to aiding the Syrian opposition.

The UK Parliament forced their government to abandon its war plans. Obama had to accept a Russian proposal to turn over control of Syria’s chemical weapons in exchange for peace as an “acceptable” conclusion to the crisis.

Mr. Qian Wenrong, a reputable Chinese scholar, points out that after World War II and the Cold War, the United States has always been ready to make war, and has always been able to assemble a group of willing helpers. As a result, the U.S. suffers from the illusion that it can do whatever it wants. This time round, Obama’s compromises on the Syrian “Chemcal Weapons crisis” testify to the declining strength of the United States. The U.S. is weaker than before. The prime of U.S. hegemony has passed, and is perhaps fated to disappear for ever.

Some commentators suggest that Bashar al-Assad’s participation in the 2014 presidential election will become an excuse for the U.S. to use military force.

However, the U.S. response to date has been firstly to claim that the elections are not legitimate and the U.S. will not accept the results, secondly to grant diplomatic status to the Syrian anti-government organization office in the U.S.A., and thirdly to provide $27 million in aid to the Syrian opposition.

The United States and its allies may have plans for further actions, but so far there is no sign of any military strike against Syria. On May 28 Obama delivered a speech at West Point in which he stated that as far as Syria is concerned, while military action is not a solution, the United States will support the opposition against the authorities. The speech suggests that the option of direct military intervention has been ruled out. A political solution to the Syrian crisis repressents the international consensus. But Western countries, led by the U.S., and some of the countries of the Middle East, still insist on supporting the Syrian opposition and on demanding that Bashar al-Assad should step down as a prerequisite to any talks. Only a political solution will resolve this impasse .

As long as the U.S. continues to support the opposition, it will be difficult to end the Syrian civil war; as long as the United States does not launch direct military strikes, Bashar al-Assad’s regime will not be overthrown.

Efforts are still being made to find a political solution to the crisis, but if neither side is willing to change its attitude, any such efforts will be in vain. The Syrian crisis could drag on. The crisis has not evolved in the way that the U.S wished. Not only has Bashar al-Assad refused to step down, he will be re-elected as a president. His continuance in power is a frustrating reminder to the U.S. of its declining hegemony.

The article is edited and translated from《美国的无奈, source: Jiefang Daily, author: An Huihou. The author is formerly Chinese Ambassador to Algeria, Tunisia and Palestine, Lebanon and Egypt and is now a distinguished research fellow at the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS).

(Editor:Gao Yinan、Yao Chun)

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US media campaign targets released Afghan war POW Bowe Bergdahl [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Media smear campaign, NATO invasion, Obama, Pentagon, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on June 13, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Patrick Martin
4 June 2014

In the 72 hours since he was released by the Taliban in exchange for five prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay, Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl has come under increasingly vitriolic attack from right-wing US political circles and the media, which have denounced him as a deserter and traitor. There have been calls for him to be tried and even shot.

His father, Bob Bergdahl, has likewise been vilified for his efforts to obtain his son’s release, which included learning Pashto and Dari, the main languages of Afghanistan, communicating via the Internet with the Taliban, and growing a long and uncut beard to mark the time his son was held captive.

Media outlets from CNN to NBC and the other major broadcasters have repeatedly run interviews with soldiers who served with Bergdahl accusing him of deserting his post. Some of them have placed the blame on Bergdahl for the death of six US troops who, they claim, were killed during a six-month intensive search for the missing soldier.

The media has also made a great deal of recent Twitter posts from Bob Bergdahl expressing sympathy for Afghans killed in the war and their families and calling for the release of all detainees being held at Guantanamo.

Prior to his disappearance, Bowe Bergdahl made clear in letters to his family and discussions with fellow soldiers his revulsion over the US war in Afghanistan and his sympathy for the Afghan people. There is little doubt that the primary factor behind the vitriol against the Bergdahls is their antiwar sentiment and the fear in ruling class circles that it will further fuel already broad popular opposition to the war in Afghanistan and the general warmongering policy of the Obama administration…

…According to the New York Times, Bergdahl “left behind a note in his tent saying he had become disillusioned with the Army, did not support the American mission in Afghanistan and was leaving to start a new life…”

…Rolling Stone magazine reported in 2012, based on an interview with Bergdahl’s parents, that three days before he disappeared he sent them an e-mail that said, “I am ashamed to even be American,” and “The horror that is America is disgusting.”

“I am sorry for everything here,” Sergeant Bergdahl wrote. “These people need help, yet what they get is the most conceited country in the world telling them that they are nothing and that they are stupid, that they have no idea how to live.”

He described seeing an Afghan child run over by a US military vehicle. “We don’t even care when we hear each other talk about running their children down in the dirt streets with our armored trucks,” he wrote…

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“Afghanistan: Atrocity after atrocity, lie after lie” – Karzai’s ‘orders’ repeatedly ignored [Liberation News]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Iran, Karzai puppet regime corruption, NATO, NATO invasion, Pakistan, Pentagon, Sweden, Torture, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on March 9, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Richard Becker
March 4, 2013

On March 1, a U.S./NATO helicopter gunship killed two Afghan brothers, seven and eight years of age, as they tended cattle in Uruzgan province. According to reports from residents, the boys were listening to a radio, which the helicopter crew interpreted as “radio signals” from Afghan resistance fighters.

The latest killing comes amidst a series of atrocities against civilians that has further enflamed opposition to the ongoing occupation.

On. Feb. 24, Hamid Karzai, the U.S.-installed “president” of Afghanistan, announced that he was demanding the withdrawal of all U.S. Special Forces troops from Wardak province within two weeks. Wardak is a key strategic region and an area of active resistance to the U.S./NATO occupation.

Will NATO commanders pay any more attention to Karzai’s latest “order” than the many earlier ones that NATO forces ignored and Karzai quietly dropped? Not likely.

What prompted Karzai’s latest proclamation was explained in a statement from his office, which read in part: “After a thorough discussion, it became clear that armed individuals named as US special force[s] stationed in Wardak province engage in harassing, annoying, torturing and even murdering innocent people.

“A recent example in the province is an incident in which nine people were disappeared in an operation by this suspicious force and in a separate incident a student was taken away at night from his home, whose tortured body with throat cut was found two days later under a bridge.”

While U.S. commanders predictably denied the accusations, the level of popular anger in Wardak was made clear by street protests and threats by civilian groups to join the armed resistance if U.S. forces were not withdrawn.

On Feb. 26, 500 people marched in protest of the killings. “If the situation remains like this, this province will collapse very soon,” protester Haji Abdul Qadim told the Reuters news service. “People will join the insurgency very soon because of the abuses of these forces.”

In another recent incident brought to international attention on Feb. 26, a Swedish organization that operates health clinics in Afghanistan said that U.S. military forces occupied and damaged one of their clinics in Wardak on Feb. 11.

The Swedish Committee for Afghanistan said in a statement: “Foreign soldiers entered the health facility by force, tied up and blindfolded the guard on duty, and occupied the facility.”

Andreas Stefansson, director of SCA, said that it was the second time one of SCA’s clinics had been occupied by NATO troops. The previous occupation lasted three days. Stefansson said that NATO has promised that such an occupation would not happen again.

“What we are seeking is that they actually live up to what they say,” Stefansson said. (Reuters, Feb. 26)

On Feb. 13, 10 people, including women and children, were killed in a NATO air strike in Kunar province. On June 6, 2012, 18 civilians were killed in a strike in Logar province. The grisly list of “accidental” killings stretches back a decade.

– A ‘president’ in name only –

These atrocities and the daily abuses that inevitably accompany imperialist occupation are the source of burning anger among the Afghan people. In the eyes of the population, Karzai shares blame with the occupiers for these outrages. Thus, Karzai’s repeated “orders” forbidding Afghan army units from calling in U.S./NATO air support and for U.S. troops to withdraw from Wardak and stop the hated “night raids” on people’s homes.

But his proclamations continue to be disregarded by the occupation forces, exposing the actual power relationship in the country. In reality, the lowest level U.S. commander has greater military authority than does the “president” of the country.

Further illuminating both this relationship and the U.S. intention to maintain a dominant role in Afghanistan was a Feb. 3 joint interview with then-Secretary of Defense Leon E. Panetta and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin Dempsey. Panetta and Dempsey reaffirmed that the United States would sustain a “strategic partnership” with Afghanistan, citing a decision by the NATO heads of state during a 2012 summit meeting in Chicago to maintain a long-term presence in the country despite a drawdown in the number of U.S. ground troops in the country.

“We’re committing to an enduring presence,” Mr. Panetta said on Feb. 3.

“Strategic partnership” and “enduring presence” are more Washington weasel words for continuing colonial domination over Afghanistan.

On Feb. 26, it was revealed that claims of resistance attacks inside the country declining by 7 percent in 2012 were just one more Pentagon lie. The 7 percent figure was posted on the International Security Assistance Force (the official name of the U.S./NATO force in Afghanistan) website in January, to bolster the administration’s “positive track” line about the war.

When the Associated Press made inquiries about the statistics, NATO officials in Kabul immediately backtracked, stated that they had “erred,” and admitted that in fact, there was no decline at all.

– Costs of war –

Eleven and a half years of U.S./NATO war and occupation have been a disaster for all but a tiny sliver of the Afghan population.

Despite tens of billions of dollars in U.S.-funded “reconstruction aid,” Afghanistan remains one of the very poorest countries on the face of the Earth. The total U.S. budget for the Afghanistan war is over $640 billion and counting. (Center for Strategic and International Studies)

While U.S. and other NATO-country contractors, and elements of the Afghan elite, have become incredibly rich from this “aid,” the Afghan government presently spends a miniscule $46 per year on health care per person. (

Afghanistan ranks as the worst country in the world for infant mortality, with a shocking 122 infant deaths per 1,000 live births. (CIA World Factbook 2013) By way of comparison, the infant mortality rate is 6 per 1,000 in the U.S. and 4.8 per 1,000 in Cuba. Life expectancy is just 49 years. Afghanistan is listed as 172nd out of 187 countries in the Human Development Index, with the average adult having 3.3 years of schooling.

In addition to the tens of thousands killed and hundreds of thousands wounded in the war, more than 2.7 million Afghans remain external refugees, most in Pakistan and Iran, and 425,000 are internally displaced. (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees 2012

No amount of lying Pentagon propaganda can hide the reality that the war has been an unmitigated disaster for the Afghan people and for the thousands of dead and tens of thousands of maimed troops sent to kill and die there in the interests of empire.

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Obama’s 2nd inauguration – On Dr. MLK Jr.’s Observed B-day, Obama is the anti-MLK [Sweet & Sour Socialism Compilation]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Africa, Anti-USA protest, Bourgeois parliamentary democracy, Capitalism crisis early 21st century, Corporate Media Critique, Economic crisis & decline, Fascism, George W. Bush, Iraq, Israel, NATO invasion, Nobel Peace Prize, Obama, Pentagon, Sanctions as weapon of war, US drone strikes, US imperialism, USA, War crimes on January 22, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“…Obama has not ignored King’s anti-war legacy. On the contrary, the president has gone out of his way to distort and belittle it…” – Norman Solomon

“King: I Have a Dream. Obama: I Have a Drone.” by Norman Solomon, January 16, 2013 []
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“MLK’s vehement condemnations of US militarism are more relevant than ever” by Glenn Greenwald, 21 January 2013 [Guardian]
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“Obama’s 2nd inauguration” (Obama as Jeckyll & Hyde) by Barry Grey and David North, 21 January 2013 [World Socialist Website]
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“Barack Obama versus Martin Luther King Jr.” by Tony Cartalucci, 21 January 2013 [Land Destroyer /]
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“Obama Inauguration Day: Ho Hum. Who is Celebrating?” by Danny Schecter, 21 January 2013 []
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“Obama Inauguration Day: Two Nobel Peace Laureates, “Drones Apart”. Martin Luther King: “From Every Mountainside, Let Freedom Ring.”” by Felicity Arbuthnot, 21 January 2013 []
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“Lupe Fiasco kicked off US inaugural stage while performing anti-war song ” by Andre Damon, 22 January 2013 [World Socialist Website]
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“Betraying the Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King” by Andrew Hughes, 18 January 2009 (Reprinted 22 January 2013) []
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Compiled by Zuo Shou

Is the Afghan Surge Really Over? [FAIR]

Posted in Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, Media cover-up, Obama, Pentagon, USA on September 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Posted on 09/21/2012 by Peter Hart

Misleading media reports today are announcing the end of the U.S. troop surge in Afghanistan [presumably based on Obama White House propaganda].

USA Today: [“Obama’s surge in Afghanistan ends”]

And the Washington Post: [“Final surge troops leave Afghanistan”]

There are many more along the same lines.

It’s important to understand that the troop reductions are only part of the total troop surge that happened under Obama.

As FAIR noted last year (Media Advisory, 6/23/11) there were two major increases in the number of U.S. troops in 2009:

When Obama took office in 2009, the U.S. had about 34,000 troops in Afghanistan. Obama has initiated two major troop increases in Afghanistan: about 20,000 additional troops were announced in February 2009, followed by the December 2009 announcement that an another 33,000 would be deployed as well; other smaller increases have brought the total to 100,000.

The surge that is “ending” today refers to the 33,000 that were sent in December. But the troops that were sent in the earlier Obama surge are still there. As the USA Today article notes, there are still 68,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, roughly double the number that were in the country when Obama took office.

These headlines might give the impression that the Afghan War is winding down. Based on the troop levels alone, that would be highly misleading.

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America As Self-Appointed Avenging Angel: A Self-Made Illusion []

Posted in 9/11, Afghan quagmire, Afghanistan, Anti-Arab / Antisemitism, Anti-communism, Anti-Islam hysteria, DPR Korea, Iraq, Islamophobia, NATO invasion, Nukes, Pakistan, Palestine, U.K., US "War on Terror", US drone strikes, US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam on September 26, 2012 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Roedad Khan [The News International {Pakistan}]

Sept. 19, 2012

Alexis De Tocqueville once said: “I know of no country in which there is so little independence of mind and real freedom of discussion as in America”. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, in his acceptance speech, did not say a word about the war in Afghanistan, as if it were a non-event, although the US still has about 90,000 troops in that country and over 2,000 Americans have died fighting a totally unjustified war.

There is clearly a conspiracy of silence about this totally unnecessary and unwinnable war. That neither Republicans nor Democrats see the war in Afghanistan as a fit subject for debate, is salt in the wound. Both seem to have adopted a collective amnesia about the war and the untold misery and havoc it has wrought.

Robert McNamara, the secretary of defence [sic] for Presidents Kennedy and Johnson, helped lead America into Vietnam. McNamara believed that the fight against communism in Asia was worth sacrificing American lives, and yet he eventually came to believe that America had stumbled into a war – in which it had lost over 58,000 men and women – that was, in fact, unnecessary and unwinnable. The lessons of Vietnam were forgotten.

Iraq, a secular, socialist state, was not involved in 9/11, had no links with the Al-Qaeda. Baghdad presented no clear and present danger to its neighbours, and none to the US or Britain. The truth is that what was at stake was not an imminent military or terrorist threat but the economic imperatives of US growth. Iraq has 112 billion barrels of proven resources, or roughly 11 percent of the world’s proven supply. That is more oil than the resources of Europe and South America put together, and more than Africa and the Asia-Pacific region combined. That oil has global strategic, political and economic significance. The temptation to grab it must have been irresistible.

North Korea has admitted it has nuclear capability but it is not invaded as Iraq was. If Saddam didn’t have oil, he could torture his citizens to his heart’s content. Other leaders in the Islamic world do it everyday with the blessings of the United States. Opposition to the war in the US is growing, although the primary cause for this opposition is that the cost of the war is too great and unacceptable to the American people. It is deplorable, but nonetheless, true, that what has changed public opinion in the US and its domestic political picture, is not the efforts of its intellectuals but rather the Afghans resistance which simply will not yield to American force.

The rationale for Obama’s war in Afghanistan is phony. American soldiers fighting in Afghanistan know it. No wonder army morale is dropping. How long is it going to take for America to recognise that the war in Afghanistan is a fiasco – tragic, deeply dehumanising and ultimately unwinnable? One thing is clear, peace and stability will never resume as long as aggression continues and American soldiers remain on Afghan soil. Instead of enacting a charade, America should…get out. America has dug itself into a deep, deep hole. Playing the world’s policeman is not the answer to the catastrophe in New York. Playing the world’s policeman is what led to it.

Anti-American sentiment, now at its highest, has metastasised into violent demonstrations all over the Islamic world… The US government has warned its citizens against travelling to Afghanistan because of the fear of being kidnapped or killed. Democracy in Afghanistan is a self-made illusion. It is a Western-imposed farce that will be swept away if America and its allies stop propping it up with their bayonets.

The Islamic world contains the world’s greatest concentration of un-elected monarchs, military dictators, and usurpers, all supported by America. None would survive without American help. Where, then, is the symbol of hope in a Muslim world ruled by US-protected and coddled, corrupt despots? We in Pakistan have suffered four military coups, all supported by the US. The result is what we have now: moving from misery to poverty and a corrupt president sitting on top of a sham democracy.

Obama has placed America on the wrong side of history. Today US foreign policy finds itself at the bottom of a slippery slope. It has assumed many of the very features of the ‘rogue nations’ against which it has rhetorically and sometimes literally done battle over the years. The legitimacy of US action in Afghanistan has vanished. Its war on terrorism has no support in the Islamic world and is fast becoming unpopular in the rest of the world. There is an old Russian saying: Once you let your feet get caught in a quagmire, your whole body will be sucked in. Today the United States seems trapped in a bad story, with no way to change the script.

Today the United States is at war in Afghanistan and our tribal area. However you title or define it, it is war, a war it cannot win. Today nationalism is among the most potent phenomena of political life in this part of the world. In the past, nationalism had succeeded in disrupting the British, French, Dutch, Portuguese, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires. If the United States persists in waging this totally unnecessary and unjustified war, it would suffer a similar fate. If America wants to make headway against Muslim rage, it will have to relieve the suffering of the Palestinian people. It will have to vacate its aggression in Afghanistan and withdraw its support of tyrannies in the Muslim world.

John Quincy Adam’s caution to America not to go abroad to slay dragons they do not understand in the name of spreading democracy or securing American interests has been thrown to the winds. Neither Washington, nor Madison nor Jefferson saw America as the world’s avenging angel. The lesson of history is that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes.

In a memorandum addressed to the Chairman Science Board, Paul Wolfowitz, then deputy secretary of defense, wrote: “Our military expedition to Afghanistan and Iraq are unlikely to be the last such excursion in the global war on terrorism. We may need to support an ally under attack by terrorists determined to replace the legitimate government; we may need to effect change in the governance of a country that is blatantly sustaining support for terrorism; or we may need to assist an ally who is unable to govern areas of his own country – where terrorists may recruit, train and plan without interference by the legitimate government”! It is scary.

Today the United States is once again in an expansionist mood. Iraq was but a “breakfast”. Afghanistan is “picnic lunch”. Where will Americans dine? The United States has strong teeth but a weak stomach. No wonder, it has digestive problems with Afghanistan. Be that as it may, America seems intent on using the September 11 attacks to impose what is called a ‘civilisation of fear’. Both Iran and Pakistan are now in gun sights. Obama has made it abundantly clear that American special forces in Afghanistan will strike into Pakistan, if Pakistan fell into the “wrong hands”. America is already at war with Pakistan in Waziristan. American drone attacks are a clear violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty and are perceived quite literally as an act of war.

“The single greatest threat to (Pakistan)”, Obama said recently, “comes from Al-Qaeda and their extremist allies”. This is not true. All our major problems stem from the American occupation of Afghanistan and its frequent intrusions into our tribal territory. It has turned our tribal area into a protracted ulcer, a quagmire – a place where Pakistan is spending blood and treasure to protect American interests.

The writer is a former federal secretary. Edited by Rick Rozoff, Stop NATO

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