HAVE A NICE WAR!
OBAMA OUTSOURCES AFGHANISTAN
JUST IN CASE AFGHANIZATION DOESN'T WORK
Anti-War, Anti-Bush Candidate Follows Bush Iraq Strategies & Tactics In Expanding Afghan War
So. It's come to this. This mellow Hawaii dude, this Harvard man, this community organizer, this brother from the South Side of Chicago, with the African-Muslim name and the fiery black Christian preacher, this guy who promised to "end the war within eighteen months," this "socialist' is turning out to be pretty much Bush. He's not going to rule out or prosecute torture. He's going to cover it up. He's not going to close Gitmo and bring about fair & speedy trials in civilian courts inside the US. He's pulled some troops out of Iraqi cities, but not out of Iraq. He's going to redesignate them as "non-combat," not redeploy them. So.
Obama has expanded the war in Afghanistan into Pakistan, against their will. We're losing people there now, and in Afghanistan, where there's a troop buildup and a major offensive going on. It's not going well. How do we know that? For one thing, there's a new "Phoenix Program" under the command of Dick Cheney's personal global & domestic assassin, General McChrystal. Can Cointelpro be far behind? Plus, we're starting to hear the kind of bullsh*t we used to hear from Defense Secretaries like Melvin Laird and Robert McNamara about "winning hearts & minds" and "Vietnamization," i.e. turning the war over to the locals. That was a disaster in Vietnam. We got our asses kicked out of there when it failed.
But wait, there's more! Now we have private security firms to clandestinely fight our battles, a corporate nightmare Mussolini never even had. Instead of paying our loyal, honor-bound, UCMJ & Geneva/Hague-conventions regulated regular & reserve military troops to fight our battles, getting their asses shot off for chump change, and coming home in widely telecast flag-draped coffins, we're hiring disposable, unaccountable, outside-the-law and very expensive mercenaries, most of them US ex-military, whose deaths will never make the front pages of our national propaganda sheets and infotainment broadcasts.
In other words, we're digging in for the long haul. We're ass-covering in advance. We're doing everything we can to minimize political collateral damage, keeping a low low low low profile, hoping everybody forgets about all the wars. Yeah, there's three now: Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and maybe Iran or even Georgia, soon. Biden was over there dicking with the Rooskies just last week. Why? War is good business, even a cold war, comrade. For both sides. It gives them unlimited money and power, and lots of toys that go "BOOM!!!" Every world leader's ultimate wet-dream.
So, yes, your son will die. Your daughter will be raped and mutilated. Your country will go on just as it always has, slaughtering strangers for no apparent reason in countries you can't find on a map. Why? Try looking on a world oil & gas reserves map. Yes, you will find Iraq & Afghanistan there. And you will find oil & gas transhipment lines and ports in Pakistan & Georgia. And you will find Iran, well, sorta in the way.
So, even though Obama is a coal man, he's now working for Big Oil overseas. Is this what you voted for? It's what you got. Put a stop to it now, before Vietnamization takes hold, or get ready for official & unofficial body bags and helicopters frantically picking State Department officials off an embassy roof. And toss that homeless girl a quarter, willya? She's a Vet.
"Afghanistan 'agrees Taliban deal' "
Why not let the Americans build a highway? Bechtel can always use the money! And that new road will come in handy when the Taliban takes over again.
' Foreign Secretary David Miliband announced the shift of emphasis in the UK's Afghanistan strategy in a speech to Nato. He stressed the Afghan government must do more to talk to moderate members of the Taliban as part of a broader political process. Violence in Afghanistan has escalated in recent months as UK and US forces launched a full-scale offensive against Taliban militants in the south of the country. Presidential spokesman Siamak Hirawi told the BBC the agreement in Badghis also stipulated that the Taliban would allow the reconstruction of the main highway. If the Taliban confirm they have agreed to the terms of the ceasefire and if the deal is repeated in other provinces, then it could mark a significant new stage in the conflict, correspondents say. But it would not be the first time the Afghan government has tried to engage the Taliban. In October 2008, President Hamid Karzai's brother confirmed a BBC report that he had met former members of the Taliban in Saudi Arabia as part of a first step towards peace talks. '
"U.S.: No more enemy body counts in Afghanistan"
We have met the enemy, and he is us.
' "Indicating the number of insurgents killed has little relevance to impacting the lives of Afghans. In fact, if that were the only purpose and metric, you would likely only extend the time it takes to bring about an end to the insurgency," Smith said in an e-mail to CNN responding to a query about the change. The issue of publishing enemy body counts has been extremely sensitive to the U.S. military since the Vietnam War when the military regularly published large enemy body counts but seemed to be failing overall to make progress in the war. '
"US military deaths in Afghanistan region at 677"
Start the deathclock again.
' As of Sunday, July 26, 2009, at least 677 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Uzbekistan as a result of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to the Defense Department. The department last updated its figures Friday at 10 a.m. EDT. '
"Marines push militants out of Taliban region"
Or, they got away Scot-free. Whatever sounds better!
' U.S. Marines trapped Taliban fighters in a residential compound and persuaded the insurgents to allow women and children to leave. The troops then moved in — only to discover that the militants had slipped out, dressed in women's burqa robes. The fighters, who may owe their lives to the new U.S. commander's emphasis on limiting civilian casualties, were among hundreds of militants who have fled the offensive the Marines launched last week in southern Helmand province. Marine officers say keeping the Taliban from returning so the Afghan government can establish a stable presence will be a bigger challenge. "We have dislocated them while still protecting the people," said Col. Eric Mellinger, the operations officer for the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Brigade. "Now the key is to prevent militants from coming back in, and the way to do that is to earn their (Afghan villagers') trust so that they don't allow them to come back in." '
THE CHRISTIAN SCIENCE MONITOR
"US push to put an Afghan face on Helmand offensive"
Painting the puppets' strings black makes them ALMOST invisible to the audience.
' There is a new push to dramatically expand the size of the Afghan Army and police, as the military operations now under way in southern Afghanistan is marked by a conspicuous absence of Afghans in the fight. The US's new Afghanistan strategy focuses on protecting the local population, reducing civilian casualties, and establishing security in Helmand, where the Taliban and other extremist groups have operated with relative impunity. But the military operation in the south that began July 1 has few Afghan soldiers, according to US commanders in the field. The Helmand offensive points to the need for more Afghans in the battlefield. There are roughly 4,000 US Marines operating in the Helmand region, but only about 650 Afghan soldiers fighting alongside them. There are also 6,500 British troops in the province. "I'm not going to sugarcoat it," said Brig. Gen. Lawrence Nicholson, commander of the Marine Expeditionary Brigade running the operation there, in a briefing with reporters earlier this month. "The fact of the matter is, we don't have enough Afghan forces, and I'd like more." There are in fact a total of 5,000 Afghan soldiers in Helmand, and more are said to be on the way, but officials haven't explained why they're not involved in the new offensive. The rest of the Afghan army is posted around the country, with many in the north, where violence is reasonably low. '
"US eyes private guards for bases in Afghanistan"
"Xe"? That's a Hessian name, isn't it?
' U.S. military authorities in Afghanistan may hire a private contractor to provide around-the-clock security at dozens of bases and protect vehicle convoys moving throughout the country. But the use of private contractors in Iraq has been highly contentious. Since a September 2007 shooting of Iraqi civilians in Baghdad by guards employed by Blackwater (now Xe Services), critics have urged U.S. officials to maintain much tighter controls over hired guards. The Washington Post reported Saturday that the Army published a notice July 10 informing interested contractors it was contemplating a contract for "theater-wide" armed security. "The contract would provide for a variety of security services, to include the static security of compounds on which U.S. and coalition forces reside, and for the protection of mission essential convoys in and around forward operating bases located throughout Afghanistan," the notice states. '
"Private Security Companies May Surge Into Afghanistan"
Mercenaries by any other name are still mercenaries.
' The ones whom McChrystal hires surely will. But what about the firms hired to protect the new State Department personnel on their way to Afghanistan? State Department security contractors like Blackwater Xe, Triple Canopy and DynCorp have been tied to more population-alienating abuses than the ones who work for the Defense Department. And McChrystal and his boss, Gen. David Petraeus — who dealt with the complications posed by buck-wild State Department security contractors in Iraq — won’t have control over them. The next Worldwide Personnel Protective Services contract, awarded to firms pledging to protect U.S. diplomats, will be a test of Petraeus’s oft-cited new “wingman” partnership with Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, the State Department’s special envoy for Afghanistan and Pakistan. And this doesn’t say anything about security firms hired by private corporations doing business in Afghanistan. How to coordinate them into McChrystal’s battle plan? '
THE WASHINGTON POST
"U.S. General Sees Afghan Army, Police Insufficient"
Them damn dirty hippies is losin' us the war, AGAIN!
' U.S. commanders in southern Afghanistan told National Security Adviser James L. Jones late last month that additional Afghan forces are needed. But Jones made clear to them that Obama wants to give the nonmilitary elements of his strategy the time and resources to progress before considering new troop requests. If Obama approves a request for more training resources, he will probably have to contend with sharp questions from Congress about whether his new strategy is working as intended. Many of his constituents on the left would like to see the Afghan war ended rather than expanded. But McChrystal's "argument, and ultimately the argument of the Defense Department," will be that "if you only have one or two years to change the opinion of the people" of Afghanistan then "let's get on with it," one defense official said. McChrystal now has what the official called a "halo effect," similar to that of Gen. David H. Petraeus when he arrived in Iraq in early 2007 to preside over a major troop expansion and change in strategy that ultimately succeeded in turning the tide of that war. '
"Crooked Afghan police challenge Marines"
Kinda brings back memories of ARVN.
' Afghan villagers had complained to the U.S. Marines for days: The police are the problem, not the Taliban. They steal from villagers and beat them. Days later, the Marines learned firsthand what the villagers meant. As about 150 Marines and Afghan soldiers approached the police headquarters in the Helmand River town of Aynak, the police fired four gunshots at the combined force. No larger fight broke out, but once inside the headquarters the Marines found a raggedy force in a decrepit mud-brick compound that the police used as an open-pit toilet. The meeting was tense. Some police were smoking pot. Others loaded their guns in a threatening manner near the Marines. '
"Helmand's long and difficult road "
Kinda reminds us of the Ky Government. Right down to the heroin.
' The current focus on Helmand by 9,000 British and now an extra 10,000 US troops is because the province remains one of the Taliban's strongholds and the producer of more than half of the country's opium crop. The US and UK appear to have dropped the original policy of trying to eradicate the poppy crop before providing alternative livelihoods for Helmand farmers, a policy which had alienated potential allies. The US and British forces want to stabilise Helmand in time for next month's Afghan presidential elections. The levels of corruption within the Afghan government, its ineffectual reach in many provinces and the lack of a real justice system, or yet an effective police force, have all made it harder to convince the Afghan people that they are much better off now. There is now a gritty realism dawning in the campaign, and the public acknowledgement of just how difficult all this will be in the world's fourth-poorest country, which has been torn and scarred by war for the past three decades. '
"Britain urges new Afghan govt to defeat Taliban"
Politics is war by other means. See also: "Winning hearts & minds."
' British Foreign Secretary David Miliband warned Afghan leaders Monday that their next government must do more to defeat the insurgency and drive a wedge between the Taliban and its backers. Miliband called on the incoming government to weed out hard-line insurgents from those Afghans involved in fighting for money, because they they have no job or who are being coerced. "We will not force the Taliban to surrender just through force of arms and overwhelming might," he said. The government with the help of the international community could do so, he said, by "dividing the different groups, by convincing the Afghans that we will not desert them to Taliban retribution, and by building legitimate governance." "We need to help the Afghan government exploit the opportunity, with a more coherent effort to fragment the various elements of the insurgency, and turn those who can be reconciled to live within the Afghan constitution." '
"Report: Too few officials knew of surveillance"
I got yer COINTELPRO right heah, -ssh-le!
' The report, compiled by five inspectors general, refers to "unprecedented collection activities" by U.S. intelligence agencies under an executive order signed by Bush after the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks. Just what those activities involved remains classified, but the IGs pointedly say that any continued use of the secret programs must be "carefully monitored." Most of the intelligence leads generated under what was known as the "President's Surveillance Program" did not have any connection to terrorism, the report said. But FBI agents told the authors that the "mere possibility of the leads producing useful information made investigating the leads worthwhile." '
A little history.
' COINTELPRO (an acronym for Counter Intelligence Program) was a series of covert, and often illegal, projects conducted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) aimed at investigating and disrupting dissident political organizations within the United States. The FBI used covert operations from its inception, however formal COINTELPRO operations took place between 1956 and 1971. The FBI motivation at the time was "protecting national security, preventing violence, and maintaining the existing social and political order. According to FBI records, 85% of COINTELPRO resources were expended on infiltrating, disrupting, marginalizing, and/or subverting groups suspected of being subversive, such as communist and socialist organizations; the women's rights movement; people suspected of building a "coalition of militant black nationalist groups" ranging from the Black Panther Party and Republic of New Afrika to "those in the non-violent civil rights movement" such as Martin Luther King, Jr. and others associated with the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the Congress of Racial Equality, and other civil rights groups; a broad range of organizations labelled "New Left", including Students for a Democratic Society, the National Lawyers Guild, the Weathermen, almost all groups protesting the Vietnam War, and even individual student demonstrators with no group affiliation; and nationalist groups such as those "seeking independence for Puerto Rico." The other 15% of COINTELPRO resources were expended to marginalize and subvert "white hate groups," including the Ku Klux Klan and National States' Rights Party. The directives governing COINTELPRO were issued by FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover, who ordered FBI agents to "expose, disrupt, misdirect, discredit, or otherwise neutralize" the activities of these movements and their leaders." '
A little more history
' The Phoenix Program (Vietnamese: Chiến dịch Phượng Hoàng, a word related to fenghuang, the Chinese phoenix) was a military, intelligence, and internal security program designed by the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and coordinated and executed by Republic of Vietnam's (South Vietnam) security apparatus and US Special Operations Forces such as the Navy SEALs, United States Army Special Forces and MACV-SOG (now Special Operations Group in the CIA's Special Activities Division) during the Vietnam War. The Program was in operation between 1967 and 1972, and similar efforts existed both before and after that period. The Program was designed to identify and "neutralize" (via infiltration, capture, terrorism, or assassination) the civilian infrastructure supporting the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam (NLF or Viet Cong) insurgency. The Phoenix Program is sometimes seen as an "assassination campaign," and has been criticized as an example of human-rights atrocities alleged to have been committed by the CIA or other allied organizations, including U.S. Military Intelligence. There was eventually a series of U.S. Congressional hearings. Consequently, the military command in Vietnam issued a directive that reiterated that it had based the anti-VCI campaign on South Vietnamese law, that the program was in compliance with the laws of land warfare, and that U.S. personnel had the responsibility to report breaches of the law. Supporters argue that the primary intent was to capture, not to kill, in order to gain further information. However, decentralized operations in an uncertain, ambiguous environment did lead to abuses. In many instances, rival Vietnamese would report their enemies as "VC" in order to get U.S. troops to kill them (Myra MacPherson, Long Time Passing, New York: Signet, 1984, p. 625.) In many cases, Phung Hoang chiefs were incompetent bureaucrats who used their positions to enrich themselves. Phoenix tried to address this problem by establishing monthly neutralization quotas, but these often led to fabrications or, worse, false arrests. In some cases, district officials accepted bribes from the NLF to release certain suspects. '
"The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia"
A short history of government-sponsored drug trafficking.
' The Politics of Heroin in Southeast Asia is a major, nonfiction book on heroin trafficking—specifically in Southeast Asia from before World War II up to (and including) the Vietnam War. Published in 1972, the book was the product of eighteen months of research and at least one trip to Laos by Alfred W. McCoy who was the principal author and who wrote Politics of Heroin while seeking a PhD in Southeast Asian history at Yale University. Cathleen B. Read, co-author and graduate student[where?], also spent time there during the war. Its most groundbreaking feature was its documentation of CIA complicity and aid to the Southeast Asian opium/heroin trade; along with McCoy's Congressional testimony, its initially controversial thesis has gained a degree of mainstream acceptance. The central idea is that at the time, the vast majority of heroin produced was produced in the Golden Triangle, from which: "It is transported in the planes, vehicles, and other conveyances supplied by the United States. The profit from the trade has been going into the pockets of some of our best friends in Southeast Asia. The charge concludes with the statement that the traffic is being carried on with the indifference if not the closed-eye compliance of some American officials and there is no likelihood of its being shut down in the foreseeable future." Air America in particular was used for this transport. Further, this heroin supply is responsible for the parlous state of the Army in Vietnam: "By mid 1971 Army medical officers were estimating that about 10 to 15 per cent... of the lower ranking enlisted men serving in Vietnam were heroin users." Having interviewed Maurice Belleux, former head of the French SDECE intelligence agency, Mc Coy also uncovered parts of the French Connection scheme, as the French military agency had financed all of its covert operations, during the Indochina War, from its control of the Indochina drug trade. '
SAN JOSE MERCURY NEWS
"U.S. military increases attacks on Afghan drugs"
' U.S. Marines and Afghan forces have found and destroyed hundreds of tons of poppy seeds, opium and heroin in southern Afghanistan this month in raids that a top American official said show the new U.S. counter narcotics strategy in Afghanistan is working. U.S. and NATO troops are attacking drug warehouses in Afghanistan for the first time this year, a new strategy to counter the country's booming opium poppy and heroin trade. NATO defense ministers approved the targeted drug raids late last year, saying the link between Taliban insurgents and drug barons was clear. U.N. officials say Taliban fighters reap hundreds of millions of dollars from the drug trade each year, profits used to fund the insurgency. '
MORE POSTS ON THE AFGHAN WAR & PRIVATIZATION OF THE MILITARY
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