“Cogitations from the Home Front”
hat tip: BigEye.com
March 15, 2010
The lid is blowing off a story broadcast by American TV on September 11, 2001. The question now is whether or not owners and managers of America’s mainline media will be able to continue burying facts, questions, controversy, speculations, and conclusions contradicting that day’s professionally crafted narrative. When will the American people be given access to documented facts unearthed over the years since that tragic and exceptional day?
We were told repeatedly, even while the towers in New York were still standing, that a man in a cave in Afghanistan was responsible. We were led to believe that he managed a group of Arab terrorists who flew our commercial airliners on 911. As proof, his picture was repeatedly flashed across major TV networks with the smoking buildings in the background. Today, our own FBI claims they lack any evidence linking that man to 9/11.
We are still repeatedly shown, in newspapers and on TV, photos of 19 “Arab terrorists” supposedly on the planes, with no other proof of their even being there. Poorly produced and obviously faked videos of the big boogyman have been trotted out periodically. Where were they produced? The “flying Arabs” keep turning up alive and well. Who stole, forged, and assumed their identities? Other Arabs? Why?
Last week, Congress debated a resolution directing the President to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan no later than the end of this year. The Constitution gives the power to declare war to the Congress, so it is clearly appropriate for Congress to assert its voice on matters of armed conflict. In recent decades, however, Congress has defaulted on this most critical duty, essentially granting successive presidents the unilateral (and clearly unconstitutional) power to begin and end wars at will. This resolution was not expected to pass; however, the ensuing debate and floor vote served some very important purposes.
First, it was important to finally have an actual floor debate on the merits and demerits of continuing our involvement in the conflict in Afghanistan. Most congressional action regarding Afghanistan has concerned continued funding for the conflict. Thus, members of Congress have cloaked their support for an increasingly unpopular war in terms of financial support of the troops. But last week’s resolution had nothing to do with funding or defunding the war, but rather dealt directly with the wisdom of an open-ended commitment of U.S. troops (and hundreds of billions of tax dollars) in Afghanistan. Members opposing the resolution had to make their case for the ongoing loss of American lives as well as the huge expenditures required for an intractable conflict.
In my opinion, this was an impossible case to make.
We wish a speedy recovery to our least favorite person. CNN had it first. Former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger released from hospital in South Korea. [watch video for the “history” of Mr. Kissinger]
The IDES of March
Real Afghan Fight: How To Negotiate War’s End
Haitians Fear Future of independence
Just in case you were wondering what the IDES are, InfoPlease.com has the answer:
“The soothsayer’s warning to Julius Caesar, “Beware the Ides of March,” has forever imbued that date with a sense of foreboding. But in Roman times the expression “Ides of March” did not necessarily evoke a dark mood—it was simply the standard way of saying “March 15.” Surely such a fanciful expression must signify something more than merely another day of the year? Not so. Even in Shakespeare’s time, sixteen centuries later, audiences attending his play Julius Caesar wouldn’t have blinked twice upon hearing the date called the Ides.”
March 15 is also the 42nd anniversary of the radio station that dubbed me its dissector. Happy Anniversary, WBCN, even as your spirit and substance is now only online. Visit WBCN.com and click on FreeFormBCN: 1968 – 1990 It’s all the music from back in the day, thanks to DJ extraordinaire, Sam Kopper.
Welcome to the Ides, anyway. Daylight savings is here but will we ever get a season of truth? As the seventh anniversary of the war on Iraq approaches—actually it started well before the 1991 campaign—Americans still don’t have much of a clue of why we went there, how we fight there, what the costs and casualties are, and what has really been accomplished.
Here is a shocking statistic that you won’t hear in most western news media: over the past nine years, more US military personnel have taken their own lives than have died in action in either the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. These are official figures from the US Department of Defense, yet somehow they have not been deemed newsworthy to report. Last year alone, more than 330 serving members of the US armed forces committed suicide – more than the 320 killed in Afghanistan and the 150 who fell in Iraq (see wsws.org).
Since 2001, when Washington launched its so-called “war on terror”, there has been a dramatic year-on-year increase in US military suicides, particularly in the army, which has borne the brunt of fighting abroad. Last year saw the highest total number since such records began in 1980. Prior to 2001, the suicide rate in the US military was lower than that for the general US population; now, it is nearly double the national average.
A growing number of these victims have been deployed in Iraq or Afghanistan. What these figures should tell us is that there is something fundamentally deranged about Washington’s “war on terror” – which is probably why western news media prefer to ignore the issue. How damning is it about such military campaigns that the numbers of US soldiers who take their own lives outnumber those killed by enemy combatants.
The wave of “Tea Party” activism and renewed interest in the Constitution in the wake of the 2008 elections has mostly been fueled by a rightfully-deserved fear of the tyranny and reckless disregard for the rule of law that the current administration has displayed. Attend a local Tea Party event and you’ll likely encounter healthy, much-needed discussions on the 10th Amendment rights of the state, the protection of the inherent rights of the individual via the 1st and 2nd Amendments, the unconstitutionality of wasteful federal programs, and even once-fringe talking points such as repealing the 17th Amendment.
Quite often, however, the Constitution is lost on many when the topic of discussion turns to foreign policy and the so-called “War on Terror.” At a recent GOP primary debate that I attended (sponsored by the local Tea Party), several candidates were asked about national security, the role of America’s foreign policy, and what to do about the rising threat of Iran. Despite drooling over their love of the Constitution for the rest of the evening, the candidates didn’t mention the founding document once in their responses to these issues. One of the candidates, in fact, could be quoted as saying “If Israel bombed Iran, I’d slap them on the back and buy them a drink.” Several other candidates pledged their allegiance to defending Israel at all costs. Another candidate responded that the goal of American foreign policy should be to “help nations” and to “pressure nations that do not comply.” All of these statements drew more cheers than boos from the crowd.
From whence springs this disconnect between so-called “constitutionalists” and their eagerness to abandon all mention of the Constitution as it relates to our world empire? Since the GOP establishment takeover of the national Tea Party – seems funny that the rugged individualism that the Tea Party movement represents would even have a national organization, doesn’t it? – it seems that most of the Tea Parties have devolved into throngs of Republican dissenters who only take issue when “the other guy” is the one shredding the Constitution, while using the Amendments, clauses, and Founders’ quotes that support their agenda.
The principle propaganda mouthpiece of the Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations (PMAJO), the Daily Alert (DA), has come out in full support for Israel’s practice of extra-judicial, extra-territorial assassination.
In the face of world-wide governmental condemnation (except from the Zionist-occupied White House and US Congress), the PMAJO slavishly backs any brutal murder committed by the Israeli secret police anywhere in the world and at anytime. The recent assassination of Hamas leader, Mahmoud Mabhouh, in Dubai is a case in point. The PMAJO has defended all of Mossad’s criminal actions leading up to the murder, including extensive identity theft and the stealing or falsification of passports and official documents from several European countries, presumably allied to the Zionist state. Among the Mossad agents who entered Dubai to kill Mabhouh, twelve agents used stolen or forged British passports, three Australian, three French, one German and six Irish. These agents assumed the identity of European citizens in order to commit murder in a sovereign nation.
Once again the PMAJO demonstrate that its first loyalty is to the Israeli secret police, even when they violate the sovereignty of major US allies. No doubt the PMAJO would readily support the Israeli Mossad, even if it were shown to have used U.S. documents to assassinate Mabhouh. In fact, two of the 26 Israeli assassins, carrying fake Irish and fake British passports, are known to have entered the United States after the killing and may still be here.
Future U.S wars in the Third World will involve massive use of drones to police the territory, employ local satrap forces (like those of Karzai’s Afghan Army) and once the territory has been pacified sufficiently, the deployment of “Government Ready-to-Rule (GRR)” kits. The drones provide the critical and the weak link: critical insofar as they represent the ultimate American-style war where only the “Others” (opponents and civilians) die but weak insofar as this type of warfare only works against an opponent without any anti-drone/aircraft capability. In other words, this type of technological warfare can only be carried out upon weak opponents lacking independent industrial capacities (not against China, Russia, and India). This approach represents the culmination of disconnecting the delivery of deadly force – the rain of Hellfire missiles – upon the Others and incurring no human (physical or psychological – PTSD) costs. Or put in other terms, it represents the quintessential American way of “solving” problems with technological short-cuts, a military effort begun in 1942 with the Allied fire-bombing of German cities. The current American war in Afghanistan is a harbinger of what is to come, America’s electronic, troop-less war.
Prophetically the first victims in 2010 of Obama in his Afghan war were a teacher in a government school, Sadiq Noor, and his nine-year old son, Wajid as well as three other persons. Both were killed on Sunday night, January 3, 2010 in a U.S. drone strike involving two missiles fired into the home of Sadiq Noor in the village of Musaki, North Waziristan in Pakistan. During January 2010, a record number of twelve deadly missile strikes were carried out on Pakistan’s tribal areas. Three Al-Qaeda leaders were killed and 123 innocent civilians. During 2009, 44 U.S. drone strikes in Pakistan killed 708 people but only five Al Qaeda or Taliban; that is for each enemy fighter 140 civilian Pakistanis had to die.
Those who pull the gray trigger to fire are located in Nevada, Kandahar, or Pakistan. As Philip Alston points out, “Young military personnel raised on a diet of video games now kill real people remotely using joysticks. Far removed from the human consequences of their actions, how will this generation of fighters value the right to life?” In early 2010, the U.S. Air Force had more drone operators in training than fighter and bomber pilots.
By David Edwards
hat tip: Raw Story
Wednesday, February 24th, 2010
A Code Pink protester claimed a high-ranking Blackwater official threatened his life during a break of a Senate Armed Services hearing focused on the military contractor’s actions in Afghanistan.
Code Pink co-founder Medea Benjamin reported that the threat was made by Johnny Walker, a program manager with one of Blackwater’s subsidiaries. Walker testified at the hearing about the role his company, Paravant, played during its mercenary deployments to the Middle East.
Shortly after the break was announced, Tighe Barry criticized the US military’s use of Blackwater to the court and the CNN camera. As Walker brushed past on his way out of the courtroom, Barry claims Walker said “I’m gonna kill you.”
“This is how they run their business,” Barry said to the camera after Walker left the room. “They are trained murderers. They will threaten you at any moment and they’ll be in our communities soon.”
In honor of Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday, the following are excerpts of his speech given at Riverside Church, New York, N.Y. on April 4, 1967 — exactly one year before his assassination.
I come to this magnificent house of worship tonight because my conscience leaves me no other choice. [There comes a time] when silence is betrayal. The truth of these words is beyond doubt, but the mission to which they call us is a most difficult one. Even when pressed by the demands of inner truth, men do not easily assume the task of opposing their government’s policy, especially in time of war. Nor does the human spirit move without great difficulty against all the apathy of conformist thought within one’s own bosom and in the surrounding world. Moreover, when the issues at hand seem as perplexing as they often do in the case of this dreadful conflict, we are always on the verge of being mesmerized by uncertainty.
Some of us who have already begun to break the silence of the night have found that the calling to speak is often a vocation of agony, but we must speak. We must speak with all the humility that is appropriate to our limited vision, but we must speak. And we must rejoice as well, for surely this is the first time in our nation’s history that a significant number of its religious leaders have chosen to move beyond the prophesying of smooth patriotism to the high grounds of a firm dissent based upon the mandates of conscience and the reading of history. Perhaps a new spirit is rising among us. If it is, let us trace its movements, and pray that our own inner being may be sensitive to its guidance, for we are deeply in need of a new way beyond the darkness that seems so close around us.
The presidential electoral campaign of Barack Obama in 2008, it was thought, “changed the political debate in a party and a country that desperately needed to take a new direction.” Like most preceding presidential winners dating back at least to John F. Kennedy, what moved voters of all descriptions to back Obama was the hope he offered of significant change. Yet within a year Obama has taken decisive steps, not just to continue America’s engagement in Bush’s Afghan War, but significantly to enlarge it into Pakistan. If this was change of a sort, it was a change that few voters desired.
Those of us convinced that a war machine prevails in Washington were not surprised. The situation was similar to the disappointment experienced with Jimmy Carter: Carter was elected in 1976 with a promise to cut the defense budget. Instead, he initiated both an expansion of the defense budget and also an expansion of U.S. influence into the Indian Ocean.
As I wrote in The Road to 9/11, after Carter’s election:
It appeared on the surface that with the blessing of David Rockefeller’s Trilateral Commission, the traditional U.S. search for unilateral domination would be abandoned. But… the 1970s were a period in which a major “intellectual counterrevolution” was mustered, to mobilize conservative opinion with the aid of vast amounts of money… By the time SALT II was signed in 1979, Carter had consented to significant new weapons programs and arms budget increases (reversing his campaign pledge).
I noted further that the complex strategy for reversing Carter’s promises was revived for a new mobilization in the 1990s during the Clinton presidency, in which a commission headed by Donald Rumsfeld was prominent.