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Afghanistan

Interesting segment today with Chris Arend, who has been consistently in support of U.S. military involvement in both iraq and Afghanistan. Chris was my guest tonight to discuss this mass leaking of government documents about Afghanistan by a single U.S. soldier–90,000 documents to be precise.

Chris suggested that the story was a minor blip on the country’s radar screen and would fade away by the end of the week. He thought the soldier responsible had mental problems and was facing a long prison term. Chris also thought the media would play up the idea of “grim” and exploit the negative. He seems to be correct.

There are now almost 1200 American soldiers who have died in Afghanistan. the release of the documents appears at a bad time for Obama, still reeling from the controversy with General McChrystal. The documents point to a sea of problems with our involvement in Afghanistan.

The key question becomes how much longer Americans are willing to support this war? How far are they willing to go? Can President Obama lay out the goals and execute the plan? After all, this is no longer “Bush’s War.” Obama is Commander-in-Chief and is directly responsible for what is happening.

I suspect we’ll be hearing a lot on this story in the weeks to come. It reveals things about Afghanistan that some of us were afraid of being true. Now we know they are.

I continue to support our involvement in Afghanistan and have since 2001. However, I have to wonder about the actual progress being made.

Program Notes:

Cong. Lois Capps moved back her appearance on the show from Monday to Tuesday.

On Wednesday, we’ll be playing a “Best of Dave” so Mardi and i can hop the bus to Chumash Casino. Looking forward to a day with KVEC listeners.

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  1. richinpaso
    July 27, 2010 at 2:44 pm

    That 92,000 documents from the Afghan theater show up on a website designed by a diaper stain to undermine the US war efforts in Afghanistan is not surprising. Afterall, they are just following the lead of the NYT (all the US secrets that ae fit to print). The contents of the documents are not surprising. It is common knowledge that Pakistan has been choosing the path of least assistance when it comes to helping the US over there. What is surprising is that the ISI is actually collaborating with the Taliban. Well, actually, now that I think about it, it isn’t. It is also common knowledge that Iran provided EFPs to the shia insurgents in Iraq. This is no different. It is also well-known that when the Pakistanis talk about going after insurgents in the tribal areas, they are ONLY going after those that attack Pakistan. The Taliban in Waziristan are left unmolsted by the Pakistani army. None of this should surprise anyone.

    That said, this is absolutely Obama’s War. He had his chance to end the US involvement… or at least take the George Will “special forces and drones” approach. Seeing that Obama was boxed in by his own words during the campaign that Afghanistan was the “just war”, he had to try to pull off his own surge in Afghanistan. Just as the death toll went up in Iraq, so to the death toll rises in Afghanistan. Additionally, it was only learned recently that there a billions of dollars worth of iron and lithium there, otherwise only opium and fanatics would be the chief products of that country.

    But even as Obama fires McChrystal (right move, btw), Obama talks of withdraw from Afghanistan. Question: with all the shit talking from Democrats and Obama about how Bush “took his eye off the ball” and he didn’t get bin Laden, how can Obama withdraw US forces, NOT get bin Laden and say that Obama’s handling of the war was anything but an abject failure and a waste of more of our children on that battlefield? Will you liberals that talked smack about Bush going cheap in Afghanistan admit that he was right to do so?

    Fact is that Afghanistan is not worth this. Their chief products are bhirkas and drugs. There is no strategic importance to Afghanistan other than not allowing it to be a terrorist safehaven. Afghanistan grinds armies up… it killed Alexander, outlasted the British and exhausted and bled to death the Soviet Union. Bush should have used the “mission accomplished” banner on Afghanistan. He crushed the al Qaida elements there, dislodged the Taliban for giving AQ safehave, and prevented any more attacks from originating from there. So he didn’t get bin Laden. Well, neither has Obama and he is on his third commander in less than 2 years. Where Iraq has not only a long tradition of civil society going back to the very first one, Afghanistan just discovered something other than tribal living four or five years ago. Afghanistan is only 30 minutes more enlightened than the Burmese or the Somalis when it comes to civil society. Not throwing stones, just stating my opinion of that country.

    But again, there is nothing surprising here. The news isn’t news to anyone who has spoken with a veteran of Afghanistan for more than 5 minutes. That this administration thinks they can get anything more than a protracted stalemate there is surprising.

  2. californiawiseguy
    July 27, 2010 at 4:36 pm

    I don’t know enough about the Afghanistan situation to make up my mind about U.S. involvement. But I do find the comments from RichinPaso to be typically disgusting and heartless, as he suggests that the U.S. role in Afghanistan should be based primarily on what commercial products could be exploited there, while disregarding the plight of the people.

    This sick attitude typifies so much of what is wrong with the U.S., where too often selfishness and short term profits are deemed more important than people.

    In the case of Rich’s comments, the obvious xenophobia make it even worse.

    • richinpaso
      July 27, 2010 at 10:34 pm

      This is national defense strategy not Meals on Wheels or some other welfare program. What are we doing in Afghanistan that furthers the US national defense strategy? How does helping a people that have never known a central government or even held a national identity help the US? Our military is not a social welfare distributor. And furthermore, if the plight of the people in Afghanistan is so dire, then why aren’t we going to Zimbabwe where women are raped for talking about voting for the opposition party, to intimidate family members into not voting. Zimbabwe, where inflation is 5000% because Mugabe is pillaging his country.

      So how is the Sudan doing these days? Has the genocide, as Colin Powell called it, stopped there? No starvation going on? The janjaweed is playing nicely with others? Well I would assume so since “you liberals” have stopped clammoring for US military involvment there.

      There is always a place that is worse than the one the US is in so please, stop with the sactimony because “you liberals” are always quick to ignore any place that doesn’t serve the narrative of the day.

      Looks like there are plenty of people who’s plight Obama is ignoring to continue to fight in Afghanistan.

  3. goodhelp
    July 27, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    Is this anything comparable to the Pentagon Papers? If so, why hasn’t any news organization gone after this “smoking gun” and reported it? The lapdog mainstream media continues to dig its own grave of irrelevancy.

    What’s surprising is that there is so little public outrage to this war. At 8 years and counting, longer than the so-called war in Vietnam, where I served. Now, it’s our “Vietnamistan.” Too many American family men and women have died over there for–what, exactly?

    Rich, for you to call a US soldier a “diaper stain” is beneath contempt. You could say, “I may not agree with the documents you released to the public, but I defend your right to free speech,” or something.

    Do your comments always need to mention “you liberals” in your statements? I’d never know which side of the fence you’re on if you didn’t! –G

    • richinpaso
      July 27, 2010 at 10:22 pm

      No, I was the calling the founder of Wiki-Leaks a diaper stain. The kid in the Army that released the documents to the Wiki-Leaks website is not the diaper stain. Its called “reading for comprehension” and it is still at a premium on this blog no matter who is carrying it. Try it again.

      • goodhelp
        July 31, 2010 at 8:15 pm

        Rich, it’s actually called “writing for comprehension,” and it is still at a premium on this blog. Agreed.

        Am I to understand in your world, “news” would bear little resemblance to fact-based journalism? Serving your right to know is often not pretty work, but it’s necessary.

        Only an informed public can take action to improve the public welfare. Perhaps you might “try it again.” –G

  4. July 27, 2010 at 4:39 pm

    What is going to be interesting is to see how this plays out in the House of Representatives. They’re about to debate a war funding bill and I’m sure there will be those using the controversy to try and pressure the Obama administration.

  5. tomnodoubt
    July 27, 2010 at 5:41 pm

    The point that I find irresponsible about those papers is the fact that they listed names of supporters of our army’s fight. That puts these people at extreme risk and that is terrible.

  6. marilyninslo
    July 27, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    I support the document leaks by Julian Assange. The problem with Afghanistan is not the leaks, but the lack of men and women of principle who did not stand up and put a stop to the the travesty that was the slaughter in Iraq and Afghanistan. Everyone knows by now that we went into the Middle East under false pretenses. But it seems that is small change compared to the uproar when the truth comes out. It is too little to late now to lament.

    I listened to the press release by Assange in London. When accused of compromising “national security” he stated that all the released documents were older that 7 months and did not contain anything that would jeopardize current missions. I agree with him, a man of principle and honor, that it is not the messenger that is at fault. The criminals who started this war are still profiting from it. Where were the army generals, the intelligence community leaders, the religious establishments, men of moral character who held sway in the United States when their nation really needed them to stand up for honesty and truth? Where were they when the slaughter of civilians and our military was being planned long before 9-11 and after? Corporate profits has become intertwined with the need for continuous conflict. It is going to be difficult to stop these wars unless there is a draft and people start paying through their teeth for this war and other military ventures.

    As far as Bin Laden is concerned, I believed he is a non-issue. He never was the issue. The intervention in the Middle East was to get a foot in the door for economic and control reasons. I strongly doubt that the multinational corporations are going to let go of that region. Corporations are in bed with the military and, as such, the military has forfeited much of its duties to the American people and has become the instrument of corporate greed. Therefore, the issue of national security is just a front. There are men and women who are working hard to protect the security of this nation, but they are not the ones running the show.

    So, yes, whether this leak is a “minor blip” or not, it is important that it happened thanks to the effort of the true courageous people who are risking much because of their conscience.

    Remember the soldier who leaked the pictures of the prisoner abuses at Abu Ghraib? He is still in protective custody because of the threats against his life. THAT is how we treat people of conscience. We smear their good name and threaten them and their families with death, while we excuse the murderers and international bandits who are profiting from this war.

    So, yes, way to go soldier and way to go Assange!

  7. marilyninslo
    July 28, 2010 at 12:30 am

    I am glad that we have whistle blowers who choose to expose criminal activity within government and corporations. The people need to have oversight over those who govern them, especially in matters that require tremendous carnage and sacrifice.

    It is through the efforts of such people that injustices have been corrected. Assange is not stupid. He stated his intent: this was the only way he thought this senseless war might stop. If we are lucky, he may succeed where others have failed.

    I saw the video footage of the massacre that took place a few years ago in Baghdad when a dozen civilians were slaughtered because the military did not take adequate precautions to check their identity. The burden lies with the one who has the upper hand, and the military had the upper hand that day with all their high tech equipment and long-range and invisible fire power. They continued to shoot wounded civilians and those trying to help them. If those are the kinds of classified documents that bother so many people, so what? What is so classified about murder? Or is it that the victims are not American? I don’t blame the soldiers. I blame the arrogance that continues to drive this war. One reason is we still think this war is winnable. Everyone knows it is not winnable. It is just a game we play to prove we are still IT. Why should innocent people continue to die just because we can’t get our house in order? There are far better and less destructive ways to show how “real” we are as Americans.

    One has to have a grasp of what it is to be a human being possessed of good moral character and the drive to do what is right no matter who the victim is. Such a fact does not mean one is “un-American” or is not a “real” American. Civilized and mature human beings by definition are those who take care of their business and fight for their rights without trampling on the rights of others in the process. Real Americans do not lie and bulldoze their way through anything in life under the guise of national security or a never-ending war that was proven to be bogus. Many a “classified” documents was leaked in the past that proved to be useful for the greater good and that proved criminal activity.

    I share Assange’s belief: where is the outrage at the slaughter that continues to this day unabated and away from the media? The problem is our silence, and that is from a human being who happens to be an American.

  8. californiawiseguy
    July 28, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    Let the truth prevail. And it will. The days of secrecy are coming to an end and those who depend upon lies, subterfuge and deception will fail. The world is evolving in positive ways. We have entered the era of truth. More truths will emerge and those who can’t handle the truth will suffer.

    Some people have a hard time accepting that our world and humanity is changing rapidly in fundamental ways. Some call it a paradigm shift. Those who stubbornly try to cling on to old, outmoded concepts and habits will suffer and cause others to suffer.

    The flow of evolution is toward unity. Those who promote division swim against the flow of evolution and waste time and energy in efforts that will ultimately fail. Our nation suffers because of so much wasted energy. It is one of the sources of our deficit, morally and financially.

  9. philochs
    July 29, 2010 at 3:24 am

    The United States aren’t on the wrong side of this issue, we are the wrong side.

    Bush’s lies got us into this mess and Obama continuing the same for profit can not be tolerated. How many more thousands of innocent people need to die before the American people put an end to this madness. How many more American soldiers must die needlessly, for what, more profit for the economic elite?

    No excuse for the continued slaughter of innocent men, women and CHILDREN. None.

    Just America doing what it does best, bringing death and destruction around the world for corporate greed and profit. Time to reinstate the draft with no exemptions, unless some rich kids start dying not much will be done.

  10. philochs
    July 29, 2010 at 3:28 am

    In a sane world Julian Assange would receive the Nobel Peace Prize and the press would be covering this on the front page for weeks on end, in the corporatocracy which is the US, not so much. This is as Nobel a cause as releasing the Pentagon Papers was. Until people come to terms with how brutal, thuggish, and abhorrent American empire has been and continues to be, not much will change.

  11. richinpaso
    July 29, 2010 at 12:20 pm

    The only reason you all are able to so easily rail against the eeeevvvviiiillll (pinky to chin) American empire is that you live in the freest, most open, most tolerant, most prosperous, most secure nation human kind has ever known. All of these boons, that all of you so blythly slap in the face with your il-informed words, are provide by the men and women of our armed forces, law enforcement and rescue personnel.

    I don’t see any of you whining about conditions in the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, Iran or Tibet. I hear only stoney silence for the plight of women anywhere in the Muslim or 3rd world that mutilates the genitles of women or forces them into second-class status. Nor do I see writings about any other place where people do not live free, where women are raped, suppressed and abused as a matter of NATIONAL policy, where children are forced into conflict as victims or soldiers or both. All of you decrying the supposed carnage that the United States is bringing about against the true enemies of freedom and prosperity, when innocent blood is ACCIDENTALLY spilled, do a disservice to the men and women that secure our freedoms from attack.

    The coddled, spoiled nature of these comments here confirm for me that these writers have no idea what they are really talking about. They talk in abstract and judge from afar. How comfortable their homes must be where their fancy computers sit to pass judgement on honorable men and women doing the bidding of THEIR elected officials. Shame on you all that throw stones at good people trying to better the lives of truly less fortunate while ignoring the sad states of people living under the lash of oppression every day. Shame on you for extolling treason as a virtue and for lauding those that would seek to harm to OUR citizens in harm’s way. Shame on you indeed.

    • goodhelp
      July 31, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      Rich, take a “chill pill” and get a grip.

      You haven’t heard from “any of you” (us) about all these topics you mention? Then you haven’t been reading The Nation, Mother Jones, the Common Dreams website and so many more.

      If you were truly interested in the alternative about these humanitarian and political disasters in the third world, you’d learn something you don’t already “know.” You might even realize how impossible the “job” assigned to so many US soldiers who were trained to fight a war, not pacify a population.

      Shame on you for becoming the judge and jury–determining what is treason–without the necessary understanding of the facts involved. Our Congress–some of whom you voted for–sent our men and women into harm’s way and a meatgrinder.

      Shame on you for not acting to end this atrocious foreign policy and bring our troops home.

      Or have you been pushing for just this outcome and I’ve somehow missed it in the transition to this new blog? –regards, G

  12. philochs
    July 30, 2010 at 1:06 am

    “The only reason you all are able to so easily rail against the eeeevvvviiiillll (pinky to chin) American empire is that you live in the freest, most open, most tolerant, most prosperous, most secure nation human kind has ever known.” richinpaso

    “Freest” (sic) not even close. 21st in freedom of the press.

    “Most open” Wiretapping?

    “Most tolerant” tell that to the people locked up without charges in Guantanamo.

    “Most prosperous” If you are one of the 1% whose wealth has quadrupled in the last decade while the middle/working class has seen their earnings decline 20%. The US is the most unequal industrialized nation in the world with the greatest disparity of income…period.

    “Most secure” Secure from what. The US spends more on its military than the rest of the world….COMBINED.

    It is people such as yourself who are either hopelessly naive, ignorant, blindly obedient, or just plain stupid which allows the US to wreck havoc, destruction and terror upon the rest of the world in order to make the world safe for corporate enrichment and expansion. Learn some history, then reply.

  13. philochs
    July 30, 2010 at 3:20 am

    ‘The cost of war’

    Over 4,400 American soldiers have died in Iraq and close to 1200 in Afghanistan.

    Over 1.3 MILLION innocent civilians have died in the Middle East so far.

    Instead of my usual rants, I’ll just lay the facts out for you. Draw your own conclusions.

    1. Halliburton Corporation-has earned $30 billion since Iraq Invasion — cross reference — “Dick Cheney.”

    2. Lockheed Martin Corp — $19 billion in ONE YEAR — cross reference “Lynne Cheney” and “Haley Barbour.”

    3. Boeing Corp. — $19 billion per year. Cross reference “Donald Rumsfeld” and “Darlene Dryun.”

    4. General Dynamics — $10.6 billion/year — cross reference “Colin Powell,” “Gordon England.”

    5. New Bridge Strategies — billions/year — cross-reference “Joe Allbaugh,” “Neil Bush.”

    6. Chevron — $4 billion/QUARTER — cross-reference “Condoleezza Rice.”

    7. Shell Oil — $6 billion/quarter — cross reference “Gale Norton.”

    8. Unocal — $204 billion/year — cross reference “Zalmay Khalizad.”

    There used to be a law against war profiteering — now it seems to be part of the career ladder to the White House.

    Viet Nam escalated after the false flag at the Gulf of Tonkin resulting in over 60,000 dead Americans and over 5 MILLION dead innocent civilians from South Viet Nam, North Viet Nam, Laos and Cambodia.

    Iraq occupation based on the Bush/Cheney lies after 9/11.

    Afghanistan as an exaggerated response to 9/11 where seizing Osama Bin Laden has never been the goal. We’ve all been had.

  14. philochs
    July 30, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Lost Billions in Iraq
    Posted by lauraflanders on @ 3:54 pm
    Article printed from speakeasy: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy
    URL to article: http://blogs.alternet.org/speakeasy/2010/07/29/lost-billions-in-iraq/

    “If public schools or Medicare providers were held to the same standards as military contractors, they’d never have to beg for cash. Need money? Sure! — Congress would say — what’s a few missing billions of tax dollars?

    Congress agreed to pump an extra $33 billion into Afghanistan this week, even as a new report revealed that almost nine billion earmarked for the nation’s other occupation — Iraq — simply, it seems, went missing.

    The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction says $8.7 billion earmarked for Iraq reconstruction has gone. Precisely where, no one can tell him.

    Not one percent or five percent, but a full 96 percent of the special fund created from the sale of Iraqi oil and gas—and frozen Saddam Hussein-era assets — is missing according to the BBC. The Pentagon is “unable to fully account for” it.

    And they’re blaming a lack of accounting, oversight, and who knows what — probably some secretaries. Powerful politicians have a habit of blaming their secretaries.

    It’s not the first time billions have disappeared—in 2005, the Coalition Provisional Authority faced a criminal investigation over its management of an $8.8 billion fund. This isn’t the same $9 billion. It’s a different one. In that case, eight US officials were convicted of bribery, fraud and money-laundering.

    It’s not the same $9 billion but it is the the same old story. How many strikes and the Pentagon’s pals are out? There’s a very different law for shop-lifters.

    Officials are now, as they always do, mouthing words like “undetected loss” and “significant archival retrieval efforts.” I’d say — no more talk of deficits or cash crunches or tax — until the lost cash is accounted for. Can’t afford to support the troops you’ve deployed? Bring them home then.”

    By all means cut spending on education, health care and extending unemployment insurance.

  15. richinpaso
    July 30, 2010 at 7:47 am

    No the only person stupid and ignorant about history is you. Secure from what? How about everyone else in the world… except Mexico. That Clinton appointed judge feels that Mexicans, by virtue of their proximity to the US, are free to come and go into the US as they please and fabricated her rationale for that belief out of whole cloth.

    Gitmo, wiretapping and other abuses are obviously BIPARTISAN abuses since Obama has furthered each and every one. The evils you rail about have only WORSENED under this president.

  16. richinpaso
    July 30, 2010 at 7:50 am

    As for your ravings about the US having the largest income disparity in the world. Despite all of the economic troubles and chaos that has occurred lately, I would much rather be poor in the US than poor anywhere else in the world. My deadbeat renter told me in an email that she was going to come up with the $3000 in rent she owes me… on her Blackberry. Obama is going to bankrupt this nation giving away things like nationlized healthcare “benefits. We have obese “poor” people that can now go almost three years living off of the income inequity of the rich and middle class. These unemployed people, mostly caused by the economic chaos of Obama’s march to take over or control as much of what’s left of the private sector as possible, can’t get jobs because businesses are scared to death of Obama. But because of the government largess laddled out like slopping hogs at the trough, we have the richest poor people in the world… period. And $787 billion later and we have more not less unemployment in the US.

    There is going to be another round of “hope and change” this November. The American people will be hoping they can get rid of enough Democrats in congress before they change anything else. 10% unemployment as predicted by this White House will only hasten Nancy and Harry’s departure from their leadership positions.

  17. marilyninslo
    July 30, 2010 at 8:11 am

    “All of these boons, that all of you so blythly slap in the face with your il-informed words, are provide by the men and women of our armed forces, law enforcement and rescue personnel.”

    —–What boons are you talking about? What has this got to do with the killing of innocent people and the killing of our soldiers so corporations can make more profit? Are you justifying the slaughter of thousands and millions so our law enforcement personnel can have better weapons? Many people I knew in my work in the health profession supported this war because it generated more work for them. That is so sick. I knew men and women who wanted the war to continue so they can get jobs contracting with the military. That is ultra sick.

    “I don’t see any of you whining about conditions in the Congo, Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Burma, North Korea, Iran or Tibet.”

    —– Well you won’t on this thread because we are talking about the Wikileaks story, not the countries you mentioned above. But we do talk about them, except not with you. Also, since we live in the United States, it is natural to be involved in things that matter to our people. If I were a Burmese living in Burma I would be doing the same thing I am doing here.

    “I hear only stoney silence for the plight of women anywhere in the Muslim or 3rd world that mutilates the genitles of women or forces them into second-class status.”

    —–The reason you are hearing silence is because you are not listening. Also, Muslims do not mutilate the genitals of women. It is a custom of some African nations. The UN has been trying hard for decades to eradicate it through educational campaigns. Try to prove it is a Muslim custom. Read some historical and anthropological journals before you even touch that topic.

    “Nor do I see writings about any other place where people do not live free, where women are raped, suppressed and abused as a matter of NATIONAL policy, where children are forced into conflict as victims or soldiers or both.”

    —-There is so much injustice all over the world, you could fill every cave, library, house, and hall of fame or shame on the planet with the horror stories. So, are you saying because there is injustice across the globe we should shut up and let our own transgressions slide by? What kind of reasoning is that? It is up to Americans to change our own behavior. Let the Koreans change their behavior.
    What do you mean when you say women are raped as NATIONAL POLICY? Are you serious? Whose national policy? You know that war is the biggest oppressor of women all over the world and you know that rape is about power and rape is rampant all over the world, including in the “civilized” world. Rape is not a national policy; it is a cultural paradigm that is intertwined with war and violence. War is the domain of men. Men exercise their control over women through rape. They also use rape as a tool to achieve political ends. Women who live in violent cultures and in war will never be safe. So, Afghan, Iraqi, and US women soldiers will not be safe in a war zone. Let’s not even go to the issue of American women and rape in the military.

    “All of you decrying the supposed carnage that the United States is bringing about against the true enemies of freedom and prosperity, when innocent blood is ACCIDENTALLY spilled, do a disservice to the men and women that secure our freedoms from attack.”

    –There is no “supposed” carnage. It is actual carnage. Have you visited the Middle East lately? Please do not insult our intelligence: “ACCIDENTAL” spilling of blood? There is no such thing. As a SOLDIER, you KNOW, if you have an ounce of decency and honesty in your bones, that every time you fire a weapon of mass carnage like a machine gun, or use air bombardment, or shoot at people who look like little blips on a radar and you cannot tell whether they are a man, woman, child, armed, or unarmed, and you CHOOSE to fire, that is collateral damage, not accidental. Collateral damage is always anticipated, especially on urban missions. Unfortunately, International Law allows a certain degree of “collateral damage” as long as civilians are not deliberately targeted. However, when you have asymmetrical warfare like you have in the Middle East right now, moral problems arise and those are currently being debated by legal experts. The problem with modern warfare is that it is easy to make those mistakes and be sloppy because you do not see your victims at close range and they do not exist as human beings but as targets on a screen. Knowing the asymmetry of this war, it is immoral and criminal to justify its continuation and every effort should be made to put an end to it.

    This is not an existential fight for us. It pure Clausewitzian dogma of war as politics by other, a dogma that sacrifices human beings for state and political (and now corporate).

    So, tell me: do you consider the Abu Ghraib abuses abuses as “national policy?” After all, they were authorized by Rumsfeld!

  18. richinpaso
    July 30, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    Abu Ghraib was nothing to do with national policy of the United States. It did have everything to do with a Brigadier General that lost control of her prison and the soldiers that ran her prison. She didn’t know what her soldiers were doing and to whom.

    The ruling party in Zimbabwe, Mugabe’s party, use rape as an intimidation tactic to suppress voting for the opposition party. People within the Mugabe government support this. By the way, Somalia, a muslim dominated nation, mutilates the genitals of young girls. So, please, don’t try to draw a geographical distinction between Africans and Arabs to mask the fact that they are ALL Muslim.

  19. philochs
    July 30, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    This thread is about Afghanistan and the Wiki leaks story. All of the side issues which you use in a vain attempt to divert the discussion away from the horrors which the US inflicts on the rest of the world are discussed regularly elsewhere.

    With all due respect rip, you have to be one of the least informed people I have come across in a very long time.

    You are a prime example of the right wing authoritarian who, once they are shown facts only become more entrenched in their mistaken beliefs. Your childhood fantasy of America simply does not exist. Hopefully some day it will.

    Obama has plenty of responsibility for things going awry, even given that he inherited a disaster after 8 yrs. of Bush/Cheney. Most of his faults are in following conservative Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush policies. That you have a simplistic knee jerk blind reaction because he is “Obama” and are locked in step with the sickness of ideology. I’m not a democrat so I don’t really care.

  20. philochs
    July 30, 2010 at 5:59 pm

    In a more sane and just world, the soldier who released the 92,000 pages of documents would be given the Congressional Medal Of Honor instead of being thrown in jail. But this administration like previous administrations is above all else, subservient to power and choose to prosecute whistle blowers rather than reward them.

    Even these 92,000 pages reveal but a minor component of the US complicity in war crimes and may actually be used to cover up even greater crimes. Sibel Edmonds has done great work in revealing the crimes of empire and yet her story and even the Wiki leaks story have perished from the gaze of the MSM. Out of sight, out of mind.

    • marilyninslo
      July 31, 2010 at 5:01 pm

      Absolutely, in a sane world. This world is insane. The personal attacks on Assange have begun by questioning his motives and psychological state. Also, I think there is a concerted effort to ignore or minimize the importance of the information that was leaked. That is becoming the tactic of those in power to counteract the inevitable access of information in the 21st century. They clutter the information highways with so much junk and so many hints that it plays on the minds who are too disturbed to deal with the real issues (most of the American public). They really never argue about the veracity of the information or the morality of the conduct. I know quite a number of people who are disturbed by the current war in the Middle East that they refuse to even talk about it with friends and they will not take any action. That is not a good sign. That is a victim stance.

      Assange gave a good interview a few days ago. It has a lot of information and well worth watching.

      Sometimes when things get really bleak, it would help to remember that this world is still worth it because of people like the soldier Manning and Assange.

  21. californiawiseguy
    July 31, 2010 at 3:05 pm

    I agree with philochs and Marilyn, and also join the chorus of critics who don’t have enough words to fully elaborate why the comments of RichinPaso are so continually misguided, selfish, ill-informed, mean-spirited, destructive and just plain disgusting. It is regressive attitudes like his that account for the majority of problems the United States suffers from. Fortunately more and more people are recognizing this.

  22. richinpaso
    August 1, 2010 at 1:06 am

    Here is where we disagree: all of you that support Manning and Assange think you are supporting people speaking out about the innoent loss of life in Afghanistan and even bandy about words like “war crimes”. OUR military in Afghanistan are quick to talk to reports MOMENTS after the event happens and say that “no, no, this was a case of collateral damage.” After all, OUR militay does not purposefully target civilians the way we used to during… well, all other wars prior to 1982.

    On the Today show earlier this week, Assange was on talking about his release of the 92,000 documents. When asked about all of the names of Afghani informants that were named in the documents and are now by Taliban admission targeted for death, he said that they tried to black out Afghani civilian names and those that were missed are “collateral damage”. These Afghanis are austensibly patriots just trying to help their nation stay out of the oppressive grip of the Taliban (you know they executed children for flying kites and men who shaved their beards). Now they are being targeted by Taliban for execution and Assange is okay with that. Assange has declared war on the US presence in Afghanistan and if a few Afghani ‘collaborators’ die in the process so be it.

    This is a man that the extreme left wing on this blog… and just about ANYWHERE… want to pin a medal on. Assange will have EXACTLY the same amount of innocent blood on his hands as the ENTIRE US military because Assange is doing this for the EXPRESSED purpose of putting these people, ours and theirs, in harm’s way. What is truly appalling is that people here see Assange as a hero when he is really a murderer by other means. More liberal hypocrasy.

    No, Jurisdoctor, I don’t care how many Muslims come here, America will never embrace that corrupt cult masscarading as a religion. I would like to think you are being sarcastic, but it is hard to tell in printed words.

  23. bobfromslo
    August 1, 2010 at 1:23 am

    Rich: I have avoided commenting so far because I did not want to “pile on” with everyone else that is faulting your responses; I did happen to hear part of an interview with Assange on the radio today though that gave me pause. He stated that he sent over a copy of all the documents he was going to release prior to releasing them to the White House and asked them for help in protecting the Afghans that could be targeted due to the release of the documents, but the Obama Administration chose not to respond; with that information, do you still feel that Assange is as bad as you have attempted to paint him?
    You have made several comments about how bad it is and how bad it will be for the women and girls in Afghanistan once the US military leaves, and you have also mentioned several other areas (many in Africa) that have similar lethal situations for females, and you have asked if we as a country shouldn’t do “something” about the atrocities being committed; I happen to agree with you, but I am curious- what exactly would you have our country do? Does every situation like these require a military response, or is there another way? If we as a country were to decide that we should intervene in these oppressive countries, should we go through the United Nations? If we decide that a military response is the best option, should we find a way to fund these operations now, instead of attempting to put them on the national credit card like Bush did with Afghanistan and Iraq? I know that you are a thoughtful person, and I certainly respect your military experience as giving you a deeper understanding of how our military works (or sometimes doesn’t-thought not the fault of the “troops on the ground”); so if you have a solution for solving the issues of how certain countries “terrorize” their own populations by continually killing and raping women and children, of forcing young boys to pick up weapons or be killed, I would really like to read how you would propose to end, or at least reduce those terrible things from happening. Thanks.

    • marilyninslo
      August 1, 2010 at 8:07 pm

      Bob,

      I think the female argument has been used multiple times to fudge the issues. As I said, there are many who are benefiting from this war, financially, ideologically, as well as professionally.

      One CORE issue of this war is its necessity and outcome. Is it achieving the goals it was supposedly supposed to achieve starting 9 years ago? Are we seeing any evidence on the ground of that? Looking at the issue of women alone, the record is dismal.

      Another core issue is the conduct of this war. The leaks prove that civilians have borne the brunt of casualties and that the regard for civilian lives has been minimal at best, except when it makes us look bad; that is, it is ok to kill civilians unless people find out about it. The proof for that are the types of arguments presented by many who oppose the leaks. Regard for Afghan life is so minimal in fact that a number of patrols routinely shoot passing cars with their children occupants out of fear of suicide bombers. The published documents also show a number of killing incidents for revenge or punishment, strictly forbidden under international law or any civilized law.

      There is also no mention of the fact that Assange was contacted by the Guardian of London to talk him into giving them the documents so they could publish some of them. Their main investigative reporter stated that he spent 6 hours with Assange trying to talk him into it. Assange agreed on the condition that 3 papers release the documents simultaneously: The Guardian of London, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel of Germany. Both the New York times and Der Spiegel met with or talked to representatives of the government before the publication of the material. All publications, including Wikilieaks agreed to redact or erase any names or places that might jeopardize the lives of Coalition Forces and others.

      The benefit of the documents is in their ability to portray how the war is conducted, uncensored and from the view of the people on the ground.

  24. richinpaso
    August 1, 2010 at 5:44 am

    Assange released those documents with the exressed purpose of undermining our efforts in Afghanistan (meaning OUR fellow countrymen that are fighting and dying over there in greater and greater numbers). I have read some accounts on the internet of what Bob speaks and it does give me pause: our government is conspiring with anti-american diaper stains against our own efforts in Afghanistan. This, if true, makes the US government, who will try Manning for treason, conplicit in treason. Now we are forced to take Assange’s word that he contacted the White House and that they chose not to respond to him. All of this is so far unfounded and Assange is less than credible. He put a doctored video on his website showing a Reuters news team getting whacked in Iraq. What the REAL video shows is that the newsteam was imbedded with the insurgents who were well armed and preparing an IED against our Soldiers. To paraphase a saying “enter the jungle; enter the food chain”.That was a case of a newsteam being at the wrong place at the wrong time while cavorting with the wrong people and they got blown up for it. I have no sympathy for them and they shouldn’t have gone there with those people.

    If Assange is right and Obama’sadministration knew this was going to happen and did nothing, then how far up does it go? Is this why there are no documents from after December 2009, when the new strategy was announced? Is this an effort by this administration to continue to “blame Bush” and letting the Wikileaks douchebag do their dirty work for them? If anyone in the administration knew this was going down, the blood of Afghanis working with our men and women is on their hands. This IS treason by our government against our military that they kept in Afghanistan and decided to send more over there not less. Someone will get thrown under the bus for this.

    • marilyninslo
      August 1, 2010 at 8:30 pm

      The issue here is not that there were one or two insurgents in the crowd; that has not been proven. People in front of the screen mistook the cameras for guns. Then there is the issue of shooting at wounded civilians and those trying to help them.

      This argument that it is the fault of innocent people for being killed because they “choose” to be there is heartless at best and criminal at worst. Baghdad is a heavily populated city. Civilians are not mind readers and do not have the luxury to anticipate when and where the invaders are going to shoot, from the security of their satellites and helicopters.

      I also hear you saying that you are accusing this administration of planning this leak because of political motives related to Bush. Even if that were true, it is IRRELEVANT to the important human situation in war. The information remains correct whether many agree with it or not. Civilian murders continue unabated without a hint of outrage from the power establishment and the brass. Military casualties continue as well. Had this information been released during the Bush years, we would still have heard some argument to the fact that it was anti-Bush.
      Yes, Bush and his cronies are to blame for starting this war and this administration continues that policy. That is why the American people, through their political representatives, need to say something. The media has failed in its job to tell the truth, so have the politicians. There is evidence that this is changing. It is also up to individual people to do it and that is the way it will be in the future.

      You may call Assange a “douchebag” and some other person a “diaper stain” but that is an indication of contempt for human beings who challenge the status quo. It is all about power and control and not what is right, isn’t it? When you call people names like that, people stop listening or do not take you seriously.

      What are YOU going to do to stop the war and bring your buddies home unharmed?

  25. richinpaso
    August 2, 2010 at 10:20 am

    No, the fact is that the fotage was doctored, the Reuters crew was imbedded with the insurgents, they (the crew) were mistaken as insurgents because they were with insurgents. You have to be a conspiracy nut to stretch it that a camera was mistaken for a gun. They look nothing alike in and of themselves. But when it is the M.O. of insurgents to film their handy-work, the get mistaken as an insurgent film crew.

    The media is doing exactly what they need to keep the “its Bush’s fault” narrative going. They are a wholely owned part of the liberal machine in America. The JournoList scandal (or should be scandal) proves that. The media have a common story that they want to put out and they are obviously from the emails not afraid of collaborating on it. Sarah Palin is an idiot; Micheal Steele should resign; Reverend Wright story must go away. All of these are common themes and stories in the media. The media fails to tell the truth every day they repeat the “400,000 jobs saved or created” lie without asking the administration to quantify that number agains the $800 billion spent on the so-called stimulus package. Our media in America is rotten and corrupt to the core. Joseph Goebbles would be proud.

    I said before the Afghan surge policy was announced that I thought George Will was right and that Special Operations forces and drones to strike at the al Qaida elements was the way to prosecute this police action against al Qaida. President Obama decided that trying to build a nation-state where none has ever existed was the way to prosecute the war. I said this on Dave’s old blog. So Bush is slammed for “taking his eye off the ball” and not getting bin Laden. Obama has his eyes fixed on the ball but more troops are dying and we are no where close to getting bin Laden. Not only that, but Obama is preparing our forces to leave next year whether we have them or not. We have to send supplies through the Kyber Pass through Pakistan, the same nation that has its ISI training the Taliban to fight us. If Obama is as eloquent as you all say, then he would be able to explain to the American people why NOT sending a surge force was the right way to go. But that ship has sailed, McChrystal has been fired and we are in the process of playing “Petreaus Surge II: the Battle for Afghanistan” as a sequel to the Iraq surge.

    I’m surprised by all this liberal grousing. Honestly, this is exactly what you all voted for in 2008. Didn’t you know this about your candidate?

  26. bobfromslo
    August 2, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Rich: You are so unintentionally funny when you make statements like “They are a wholly owned part of the liberal machine in America.” The sad sad state of our media in this country is not due to them being “part of the liberal machine” since there is no such animal; no the fault lies with the fact that our “media” has been allowed to be consolidated into the hands of six major corporate conglomerations that only have the directive of protecting the issues of those corporations, period. How come when 30 or 50 Tea Party participants show up for a rally, the “media” is all over their rally, but when 15,000 progressives show up for a convention, not one media outlet even bothers to show up?
    As for my liberal grousing; I knew going in that Barack Obama was not going to be a true “liberal” when he got elected, but I voted for him anyway, simply because I did not want us to engaged in World War III if John McCain had been elected. President Obama has been a national Rorschach test; liberals don’t think he is liberal enough, conservatives think he is the most liberal ever (definitely not true), and the media will play up any angle that gets them exposure, but for the most part, Obama has kept most of his campaign promises (the glaring exception is not closing Gitmo).
    Rich, have you considered answering my earlier question about what you would like to see the US government do about the abuses of women and children around the world? Do you think it is a good idea for us to invade some of the more egregious states in Africa?

  27. richinpaso
    August 3, 2010 at 10:36 pm

    I will answer you in due course, but not right now.

    Patience, Grasshopper.

  28. jurisdoctor78
    August 4, 2010 at 4:27 am

    LOL@Grasshopper. I remember that show. Loved it.

  29. richinpaso
    August 4, 2010 at 12:54 pm

    Okay Bob what you have to understand that my post was not directed at the problems I pointed out or that the solution is within the capability of the United States to solve. I indicated all of these trouble spots around the world to highlight the hypocrasy of those that choose to fixate on the “mote in the eye” of a few dozen innocent Afghanis that are, in the words of Mr. Assange, “collateral damage” and the real, brutal, wholesale privation, starvation and carnage going on in other parts of the world. This beam in the eyes of the hypocrites that can’t see that their concern for the poor folks of Afghanistan has blinded them to the suffering going on elsewhere. Hell, right over the border in Mexico, 28,000 people have been murdered in that country’s drug wars. These are innocent by-standers, cops, lawyers, judges and other public officials that crossed the drug lords. The politically motivated and selective use of outrage and anger is linked only by the presence of the United States and her military. The outrage over the suffering in Sudan only arose as the “if not but for Iraq we could help these people” argument. Where is the calls for military intervention now that Obama is president? Hmmmm? There is a collectivist mentality when it comes to thinking in liberal circles. The narrative was “those billions of wasted dollars in Iraq could have been better spent on X”. That X was Sudan, healthcare, lowering the deficit, or whatever. We are still in Iraq, we are stil in Afghanistan, and we are still spending billions and billions of dollars and 60+ American lives each month. That didn’t stop Obama from blowing up the deficit, spending billions on healthcare, and nearly a trillion on a failed stimulus (Failed because there are more unemployed (10.1%) and the same stagnate GDP (2.4% revised DOWN) as there was in 2007 when the recession started). Now that Obama is in office and Democrats hold the Congress for now, what is the cause that Democrats can rally around, demonize and demogogue? There isn’t one. So tragedies like Zimbabwe, Burma and Sudan get no airtime because it doesn’t forward the narrative.

    I’m sure you were expecting some recipe for “fixing” those problem spots and you were all prepared to jump on me like a hungry tiger on a raw steak. I don’t want the military used to topple rogue regimes that don’t threaten America or our allies.

    As a military man with friends all over the world I harken back to the words of Douglas MacArthur and his farewell speech to West Point: “…the soldier above all other people prays for peace, for he must suffer and bear the deepest wounds and scars of war.”

  30. californiawiseguy
    August 15, 2010 at 7:40 pm

    Rich, you call yourself a “military man”, but you are exactly the kind of person who should never be allowed to represent the United States in any official capacity whatsoever. Your remarks about the Islamic religion are disgusting and destructive to all those who believe in peace. You have posted massive quantities of words on this forum, but nothing good will come of any of it because your motivation is flawed and your attitude is above all else, totally selfish and mean.

    You lard your posts with irrelevant facts to mask your complete lack of wisdom. Look at your life. Are you happy and at peace and comfortable in your own skin? You have been granted so many blessings in this life, but you seem totally ungrateful and fearful and violent, afraid of “the other”. Your personal fear and insecurity makes you completely unsuited for duty. Work on yourself before spreading your infection to others.

  31. sloconservative
    August 16, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    No need to worry at all about Afghanistan. President Bush’s men are on the job again and just like the victory Bush brought us in Iraq his men will bring a victory in Afghanistan. Defense Sec Robert Gates and Brigadier General David Petraeus are on the job again. Obama simply does not have the experience to get the job done, so he sent in Bush’s men.

  32. richinpaso
    August 17, 2010 at 2:48 pm

    Who the hell do you think you are? You don’t know anything about anything, period. You know nothing about me or if I am “comfortable in my own skin” or any of your other psycobabble. You say my comments are “disgusting and destructive”. To whom? My words are that powerful that this podunk blog will be the spark that ignites Muslim extremist anger against America? Sorry to disappoint, but I don’t have that power. Besides, Muslims declared war on America DECADES before I wrote what I wrote. What is “disgusting and destructive” is the way PEOPLE LIKE YOU pander to a group of people bent on our destruction. The “immam” at the heart of this mosque flap in NYC doesn’t think that Hamas and hezbollah aren’t terrorists and thinsk that America had it coming on 9/11. You think my words are “disgusting and destructive”? What about this guy? Huh? Typical liberal bullshit: misdirected anger at all the wrong people. Islam is NOT a religion of peace as it is being practice by a huge swath of people in the world. When a father thinks himself justified to run his teenage daughter down with his truck because she wears makeup and like boys in an “honor” killing, that gets no comment from you. Have you seen the cover of the August 09, 2010 Time Magazine with the photo of the Afghani woman whose nose was literally cut off to spite her face by the Taliban? If you have, you are strangely silent to that “disgusting and destructive” act against that woman.

    You make me sick with you pompous windbag blather. You, those that think like you and your whole liberal ideology are so morally bankrupt I think you are incapable of generating a sincere emotion without putting some psychobabble spin to it. Sure, you’re some blogger tough guy wanting to judge my harmless words, but have no comment on the truly digusting and destructive acts being perpetrated every day by those same people you defend from my words.

    And so you know, I represent YOU every damn day whether you think I should or not.

  33. californiawiseguy
    August 18, 2010 at 7:50 am

    RichinPaso, I view your violent, angry, and misguided attitudes being nearly identical to those of the people who harmed that young woman. It seems the majority of postings you have made on this forum are divisive and spiteful and inflammatory and do more to encourage violence and animosity than they do to prevent those things.

    I can easily imagine you harming a young woman whom you disagree with or who you perceive as a threat.

    You certainly aren’t demonstrating a “live and let live” attitude. Your previous comments advocating torture were very telling.

    By the way, if you truly believe you “represent” me “every damn day”, please, by all means, stop doing so. To me, all you represent is a regressive, angry, fearful, violent, selfish aspect of American society, one that fuels so much division and animosity in our community.

    In all of your many postings, I have never read a single uplifting or optimistic comment. Instead, mostly we get dozens of variations of scapegoating and shirking of personal responsibility for one’s happiness and lot in life. It’s such a dead end.

    Maybe one day, hopefully, you will obtain the courage to broaden your viewpoint.

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