Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Losing Afghanistan & The War On Terror & The US Supplies Terrorists with Weapons

Let's begin with the Presidential Candidates debate. Obama did well McCain not so much. McCain seemed wooden most of the time and refused to look at Obama. Why was that. Contempt or fear ? Afraid that Obama knows what he's talking about while McCain has flip-flopped so much he's not sure of anything. Ah well Saint Palin he hopes might just save him.

By the way what does McCain mean by Country First what his country club or his houses in the country. He's not in favor of a decent Healthcare plan for all Americans. He doesn't like to spend money even on healthcare for Iraq War Veterans.
For a veteran he doesn't seem to grasp how poor healthcare is for veterans. Does he care about those tens of thousands of homeless vets that are living under bridges. No he just goes on & on about his war record and that he was a POW and becuse he was tortured he now wants to torture Detainees though he like Bush & Cheney & Rice think its not really torture . When Americans hang a detainee from the ceiling or stack up their naked bodies its just a prank a bit of high spirits Cheney & Rice say . Yes America Your officials Your troops & CIA etc. are still torturing people . Maybe its because those detainees are what Palin would call WITCHES.

And some how McCain supporters claim that because McCain was a POW we are not permitted to criticize his views and policies or question his integrity when he flip-flops. He hated the Religious Right but now that he needs them he loves the Religious Right.

John McCain's Lack of Eye Contact: A Sign of Contempt
Added: September 26, 2008
MSNBC's Chris Matthews and Washington Post's Eugene Robinson discuss why McCain never looked at Obama during the debate.

Veterans Grade Debate - McCain D, Obama B
With such different opinions on the Iraq war, one candidate did not receive a good grade from veterans -- and the answer might surprise. Rachel Maddow is joined by Iraq war vet John Soltz.

Added: September 23, 2008
Why Is There Always Money For Wall Street And War And Not For Healthcare?

Anyway while all eyes were on Sarah Palin and the Wall Street Bail-out Joshua Holland writes that the Pentagon and the US War Machine demands feeding & gets whatever it wants & the economic crisis be damned. But what's another trillion dollars . So some corporations are still going to continue to make out like bandits. But that's the American way.

With All Eyes on the Bailout, House Passes Trillion-Dollar Defense Bill By Joshua Holland at AlterNet Sept. 26, 2008

It's 'empire spending,' not 'defense spending.'

and as for the WAR ON TERROR:

Seven Years After the Start of the So-Called "War on Terror," Terror Attacks Are Up By M.A. Muqtedar Khan/Sept. 26,2008 at AlterNet.org

It is seven years since that terrible day of September 11, 2001 when terrorists killed 3,000 Americans, triggering a massive global response by the United States. As President Bush's term comes to an end, it is time to assess the prudence of his policies.
According to the State Department and the National Counterterrorism Center, in 2001 there were 531 total terrorist attacks resulting in 3,295 deaths. Three years later in 2004, the number jumped 651 incidents or terrorism, killing 1,907 people. Last year, in 2007, the number of terrorist attacks more than doubled to 14,499 incidents and 22,666 deaths.
President Bush's "Global War on Terrorism" neither eliminated nor reduced global terrorism. Instead it caused an exponential rise in the number of incidences and number of victims. This surge in terrorism is a direct response to the U.S. invasion of Iraq.
The two strategies of the Bush administration -- pre-emptive warfare and the treatment of terrorism as an act of war rather than as a crime -- have both been discredited. A survey of a bipartisan panel of terrorism experts conducted by Foreign Policy magazine found that 70 percent believed the United States was losing the so-called "War on Terror".
and further:
...A recent Rand Corporation study of 648 former terrorist groups has concluded that over 43 percent ended any terrorist activity after they were included in the political process, only 7 percent were destroyed by use of military force and 40 percent were eliminated through policing and criminal prosecution. This report shows how the very idea of "war" in the "war on terror" is fundamentally wrong.
The dominant discourse on terrorism has sought to blame terrorism, especially suicide bombings, on Islam to detract from scrutiny of political realities. University of Chicago Professor Robert Pape, the author of Dying to Kill: The Strategic Logic of Suicide Terrorism, studied over 462 cases of suicide terrorism between 1980 and 2003 and concluded that there was no connection between Islam and suicide terrorism. The overwhelming cause, he found, was occupation by foreign military forces: another fundamental fact that the Bush strategy has systematically ignored.
Take Iraq, for example. Islam has existed there for 1,400 years and in spite of Saddam Hussein's oppressive regime it spawned no suicide terrorism. It started only after U.S. occupation and the attacks are receding now as occupation is replaced by self-governance.
A majority of victims of terrorism according to the National Counterterrorism Center are Muslims (50-70 percent). This fact alone undermines a fundamental assumption of the "War on Terror," that the current crisis is a clash of civilizations between Islam and the West.

also see on Iraq:
Americans Think Iraq Is 'Improving' But in Its Best Hospitals, Not Even the Elevators Work By Arkind Hamed and Dahr Jamail, IPS News/ Sept.26/2008
What Makes Obama and McCain Think They Can "Win" Afghanistan?
By Robert Fisk, Independent UK Sept. 22/2008

To claim the U.S. can achieve now what the British couldn't in the 19th century and the Russians couldn't at the end of the 20th is pure fantasy.
...We, of course, have been peddling this crackpot nonsense for years in southwest Asia. First of all, back in 2001, we won the war in Afghanistan by overthrowing the Taliban. Then we marched off to win the war in Iraq. Now -- with at least one suicide bombing a day and the nation carved up into mutually antagonistic sectarian enclaves -- we have won the war in Iraq and are heading back to re-win the war in Afghanistan where the Taliban, so thoroughly trounced by our chaps seven years ago, have proved their moral and political bankruptcy by recapturing half the country.
It seems an age since Donald "Stuff Happens" Rumsfeld declared, "A government has been put in place (in Afghanistan), and the Islamists are no more the law in Kabul. Of course, from time to time a hand grenade, a mortar explodes -- but in New York and in San Francisco, victims also fall. As for me, I'm full of hope." Oddly, back in the Eighties, I heard exactly the same from a Soviet general at the Bagram airbase in Afghanistan -- yes, the very same Bagram airbase where the CIA lads tortured to death a few of the Afghans who escaped the earlier Russian massacres. Only "terrorist remnants" remained in the Afghan mountains, the jolly Russian general assured us. Afghan troops, along with the limited Soviet "intervention" forces, were restoring peace to democratic Afghanistan.
And now? After the "unimaginable" progress in Iraq -- I am quoting the fantasist who still occupies the White House -- the Americans are going to hip-hop 8,000 soldiers out of Mesopotamia and dump another 4,700 into the hellfire of Afghanistan. Too few, too late, too slow, as one of my French colleagues commented acidly. It would need at least another 10,000 troops to hope to put an end to these Taliban devils who are now equipped with more sophisticated weapons, better trained and increasingly -- sad to say -- tolerated by the local civilian population. For Afghanistan, read Irakistan.
9and things just get worse in Afghanistan as the West deludes itself believing it can murder with impunity and thereby win " the hearts and minds " of the Afghan people:)
...Back in the late 19th century, the Taliban -- yes, the British actually called their black-turbaned enemies "Talibs" -- would cut the throats of captured British soldiers. Now this unhappy tradition is repeated -- and we are surprised! Two of the American soldiers seized when the Taliban stormed into their mountain base on 13 July this year were executed by their captors.
And now it turns out that four of the 10 French troops killed in Afghanistan on August 18th surrendered to the Taliban, and were almost immediately executed. Their interpreter had apparently disappeared shortly before their mission began -- no prizes for what this might mean -- and the two French helicopters which might have helped to save the day were too busy guarding the hopeless and impotent Afghan President Hamid Karzai to intervene on behalf of their own troops. A French soldier described the Taliban with brutal frankness. "They are good soldiers but pitiless enemies."
U.S.-Funded Gun Suppliers Have Created a "Missing" Weapons Disaster By Pratap Chatterjee, IPS News/ Sept. 23, 2008

A million illicit weapons have entered Iraq in the past five years. Now, "missing" guns are fueling conflicts in Iraq and elsewhere.
SAN FRANCISCO, Sep 22 (IPS) -- Clandestine gun suppliers, funded by the U.S. and Iraqi governments, have flooded Iraq with a million weapons since 2003, charges a new Amnesty International investigation.
Because of faulty or non-existent government tracking systems, many of those guns have gone missing, and some have turned up in the hands of insurgents.
Contracts with one of these companies, Taos Industries, account for almost half of the $217 million Baghdad and Washington have officially spent to arm the Iraqi army, police and security forces employed by various Iraqi ministries.
Amnesty's new report, "Blood at the Crossroads: Making the Case for a Global Arms Trade Treaty," shines a light on the catastrophic human rights consequences of the kind of unrestrained arms trading that forms much of Taos's business. The report draws lessons from countries to make recommendations on how to prevent human rights abuses when governments sell or transfer conventional arms to other countries. Research for the report was conducted by TransArms, a U.S.-based nonprofit that tracks global arms transfers.
...Over the last five years since the invasion of Iraq, Taos has received seven of the 47 weapons supply contracts listed by Amnesty, worth $95.1 million out of the $217 million total.
The majority of sales were for Soviet-type infantry weapons. Among the weapons listed in some 35 contract documents reviewed by CorpWatch were requests for assault rifles (AK-47s), M4 Benelli shotguns, portable machine guns (RPK, PKM), sniper rifles, shoulder-fired rocket propelled grenades (RPG-7), UBGL M1 grenade launcher and 9mm pistols (mostly Glocks), and ammunition.
Amnesty investigators have also uncovered documents that suggest that several of Taos's subcontractors were either operating illegally or had been listed by the United Nations for smuggling weapons.
...In May 2005 the Italian newspaper, Corriere della Sera, revealed that Taos had supplied thousands of Italian-made Beretta 92S pistols that were among the weapons seized in Iraq from al Qaeda operatives responsible for killing civilians. The Beretta pistols had been dispatched in July 2004 from Britain to the U.S. military base in Baghdad. An Italian court investigation the next year questioned the shadowy methods used in shipping the guns from Italy to Britain.
Despite the Italian reporting and the publication of the Aerocom contracts in a 2006 Amnesty report ("Dead on Time"), the U.S. government continued to award contracts to Taos as recently as October 2007.

...An October 2006 report by the U.S. Special Inspector General to Iraq calculates that serial numbers were logged for only 2.7 percent of the 370,000 infantry weapons supplied to the Iraqi security forces under U.S. government contracts. In many cases, contractors delivering arms imports did not turn in the obligatory official inspection reports, known as DD-250s, substituting instead "Adequate for Payment" paperwork.
A July 2007 report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office revealed that at least 190,000 weapons were "unaccounted for" in Iraq because of discrepancies between what was authorized for export and what the Multinational Security Transition Command-Iraq (MNSTC-I) recorded for the period between June 2004 and July 2007.
Arms experts say that this was a serious mistake. "It is likely that a large proportion of the hundreds of thousands of small arms and light weapons that have 'gone missing' in Iraq are either in the hands of anti-U.S. insurgents or in other countries, fueling conflicts there," says William Hartung, the director of the Arms and Security Initiative of the New America Foundation

and so it goes,

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