Tuesday, May 03, 2011

WIKILEAKS Julian Assange & Mission Accomplished Time To Leave Afghanistan Amanda terkel

The state calls its own violence law, but that of the individual crime.
~Max Stirner

So long as governments set the example of killing their enemies, private citizens will occasionally kill theirs.
~Elbert Hubbard

He who loves the bristle of bayonets only sees in the glitter what beforehand he feels in his heart. It is avarice and hatred; it is that quivering lip, that cold, hating eye, which built magazines and powder-houses.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him.
~Martin Luther King, Jr.

He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby become a monster.
~Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

There is a difference between celebrating the death of one's enemies such as in the case of Osama Bin Laden  by going into the streets and chanting USA USA or a newspaper ie the Toronto Sun in bold lettering on the front page proclaiming that Osama "Rot In Hell"  as being a bit over the top as contrasted with mere acceptance that finally this mass murderer has been captured or killed.

It is as others have observed comparable to those who see the video of Saddam being hanged as a humorous and entertaining video or watch US or UK troops killing innocent iraqis or Afghans or killing a wounded combatant writhing on the ground  (such people are not much different than those Muslim extremists who are entertained by watching videos of  people especially weaterners such as jounalists being beheaded or having their throats cut) .

if anything the Media Staged Trial of Saddam followed by hislynching was an all time low point for the new government in Iraq and all those who participated in his sham trial in which he had little opportunity to defend himself.

America should be ashamed with the part it played in this Kangaroo Court . That trial and his execution showed the world that America and its allies and their puppet regime in Iraq  lacked respect for the legal process and even the notion of the rule of law in a free society. That whole scandalous series of events has become more propaganda for extremists individuals such as Osama bin laden and groups such as Al Qaeda.
. Saddam's execution was much more like a lynching than the carrying out of a legal judgement. It proved to America's critics that the USA 's commitment to the rule of law and the legal process is rather slip-shod or merely another empty bit of posing.

 These events which should be remembered are in fact events that those in power including Obama are unwilling to deal with in an honest and forthright manner.

 The Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld regime did not want in the case of Saddam to have his day in court because there were some secrets they wanted kept secret.Such as the US backing of Saddam's brutal regime for over a decade during which time the US ignored the torturing. disappearing ,killing and raping and massacring thousands of innocent Iraqi citizens.

 There will be those who will ask similar questions over the killing of Bin Laden could it have been avoided was the USA concerned that Bin Laden would be too much trouble if kept alive let alone given some sort of trial such as by the International Criminal Court in LaHague.
Once again did the USA or its allies fear that Bin Laden might reveal some at least embarrassing information to the public ie that he and Al Qaeda had received money and weapons and other support by groups or individuals in various countries such as Pakistan, Saudi Arabia etc.

At the end of the Second World War the allies didn't simply put the Nazi war criminals and the military commanders before firing squads first they were if possible put before a court of law out of which besides learning a great deal of information on how the Nazi German state had slid into becoming one of the most brutal nation states ever in which the murder of millions became almost commonplace.

In Nazi Germany it took a large proportion of the citizenry and the military and a massive unquestioning bureaucracy which did as they were told few of whom dared ask any questions out of fear for their own lives or merely because they didn't want to lose a plum government job and so the Nazi War Machine and its accompanying killing machine was able to carry on its business with little in the way of resistance.

Mission Accomplished: Is It Finally Time To Leave Afghanistan? By Amanda Terkel, HuffingtonPost, May 2, 2011

                       " With that mission accomplished -- 10 years later and under a different president -- some now say           "The single biggest reason we went into Afghanistan was to get Osama bin Laden," said Rep. Barney Frank (D-            Mass.)  at a Center for American Progress event Monday morning.

As has been said before America's response to 9/11 was to launch its war machine against Afghanistan to capture Bin Laden and take down the Taliban but this was a ham-fisted approach when the better approach would have been to use existing intelligence and policing agencies to track down and capture Osama Bin Laden and to dismantle Al Qaeda network.

As President Bush's advisors told him the problem with Afghanistan was that there were few military or non-military targets to hit and so they were determined to go to war with a country with more targets where they could show off America's awesome new weapons and thus the war in Iraq against the enfeebled Saddam regime and against a country that was in a shambles after a decade of draconian sanctions accompanied by weekly aerial attacks and two major wars.

The USA taking a page from the Tyrant's Manual argued that all of the Iraqi people were to be punished because they were to blame for Saddam's actions because they had not ousted him from power. According to the Geneva Conventions and related International laws and agreements collective guilt and punishment is not a persuasive argument and is considered a war crime .

After ten years of hunting for Bin Laden in the end it was a matter of intelligence and using a surgical strike to get Bin Laden.

If anything the launching of the war in Afghanistan was just what Bin Laden had hoped for so he and his sympathizers could trap and keep American troops bogged down in Afghanistan as the Mujahideen had done to the massive Soviet Army in the 1980s.

So in the end America played the game in just the way that Bin Laden wanted them to.

What should be stated again and again is that the use of torture , assassinations , renditions, the death of at least a half a million Iraqis and Afghans was unnecessary.

Beyond retaliation , Kathy Kelly at HuffPost,May 3, 2011

This morning, a reporter called to talk about the news that the U.S. has killed Osama bin Laden. Referring to throngs of young people celebrating outside the White House, the reporter asked what Voices would say if we had a chance to speak with those young people.

We'd want to tell them about a group of people who, in November of 2001, walked from Washington, D.C. to New York City carrying a banner that said, "Our Grief is not a Cry for War." Several of the walkers were people who had lost their loved ones in the attacks on 9/11. When the walk ended, they formed a group called "Families for Peaceful Tomorrows" to continually represent the belief that our security is not founded in violence and revenge.

Often, during that walk, participants were asked what we'd suggest as an alternative to invading Afghanistan. One response was that the U.S. and other countries could enact a criminal investigation and rely on police work and intelligence to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack. As it turns out, the U.S. discovered where Osama bin Laden was through those means and not through warfare. How have the past ten years of aerial bombardments, night raids, death squads, assassinations and drone attacks in Afghanistan benefited the U.S. people? Did the carnage and bloodshed bring the U.S. closer to discovering the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden? Have we defeated terrorism or created greater, deeper hatred toward the U.S.?

One response was that the U.S. and other countries could enact a criminal investigation and rely on police work and intelligence to apprehend the perpetrators of the attack. As it turns out, the U.S. discovered where Osama bin Laden was through those means and not through warfare. How have the past ten years of aerial bombardments, night raids, death squads, assassinations and drone attacks in Afghanistan benefited the U.S. people? Did the carnage and bloodshed bring the U.S. closer to discovering the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden? Have we defeated terrorism or created greater, deeper hatred toward the U.S.?

In the past, President Obama has said that "we stand on the shoulders of giants like Dr. King, yet our future progress will depend on how we prepare our next generation of leaders" (Jan. 18, 2010). In a historic speech, "Beyond Vietnam -- A Time to Break Silence", King said: "We can no longer afford to worship the god of hate or bow before the altar of retaliation. The oceans of history are made turbulent by the ever-rising tides of hate. And history is cluttered with the wreckage of nations and individuals that pursued this self-defeating path of hate."

In that same speech, King called for a neighborliness that goes beyond one's tribe, race, class, and nation. We think of that call in light of experiences of a 2010 Voices delegation that visited a rural village in the central highlands of Afghanistan. They sat with women who were close in age to the young people who were celebrating outside of the White House last night. Asked if they had ever heard of a time when a large passenger plane had crashed into a tall building in the United States, the young women were puzzled. They had never heard of 9/11.

They live in a country where 850 children die every day, a country which the UN has termed the worst country in the world into which a child can be born, where the average life expectancy is 42 years of age. The UN says that 7.4 million Afghans live with hunger and fear of starvation, while millions more rely on food help, and one in five children die before the age of five. Each week, the U.S. taxpayers spend two billion dollars to continue the war in Afghanistan.

Matt Daloisio, who co-coordinates the Witness Against Torture Campaign, sounded a note that we find far more authentic than triumphal celebration.

"10 years," Matt wrote. "Over 6000 US Soldiers killed. Trillions of Dollars wasted. Hundreds of thousands of civilians killed. Tens of thousands imprisoned. Torture as part of foreign policy. And we are supposed to celebrate the murder of one person? I am not excited. I am not happy. I remain profoundly sad."

and so  it goes,

that  the case for withdrawal is stronger, and President Obama has the political cover to push for a more robust pullout.

"If Osama bin Laden was still alive, that would have given some people an argument, 'Oh you can't get out of Afghanistan for reputational reasons.' ... Having killed Osama bin Laden deprives people who wanted to stay in Afghanistan for other reasons of the argument that we would be leaving in defeat," he added.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-N.Y.) told The Huffington Post in an interview on Monday that once the euphoria of the U.S. success in Pakistan wears off, the country needs to start reconsidering its Afghanistan policy.
"We accomplished what we had to do in Afghanistan a long time ago," Nadler said. "We ought to stop wasting our troops and our money and our lives and get out. And this just shows that should al Qaeda establish a base there, we can go in and take it out as we just did in Pakistan. It just shows how superfluous everything we're doing in Afghanistan is. Pakistan is more dangerous, and look what we did."

Nadler added that while some intelligence and surveillance presence is needed to remain in Afghanistan, the "130,000 troops or so humping though the boondocks looking to pacify a village and then re-pacify it -- that didn't help."
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) also said the fact that U.S. intelligence were able to find bin Laden's location and the mission was carried out with just a small number of Navy SEALs shows that a large ground war isn't what's needed.
"I think it demonstrates that intelligence, both human and electronic, is paramount," Chaffetz told The Huffington Post. "We need the very best electronic and human intelligence, and when we have actionable intelligence, we need to strike. For me, that means you don't necessarily need 100,000 people on the ground in Afghanistan."
The call for withdrawal came up quickly on Sunday night, when 9/11 first responder and firefighter Kenny Sprecht went on CNN and said, "I mean, we're in a quagmire, for lack of a better term, in Afghanistan. I hope to God that tonight is one large step to maybe wrapping up operations in Afghanistan."
The fact that bin Laden was found "deep in the heart of Pakistan" -- and not Afghanistan -- was highlighted by Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who put out a statement criticizing U.S.-led combat operations in his country.
"Once again I call on NATO to say that the war on terror is not in Afghanistan," said Karzai in a statement. "Osama was not in Afghanistan: they found him in Pakistan. The war on terror is not in Afghan villages, the war on terror is not in the houses of innocent Afghans, the war on terror is not in the bombardment and killing of Afghan children and women, but in the safe havens of terrorism outside Afghanistan."
Although almost every federal lawmaker -- and many state and local ones as well -- rushed to put out a statement praising the death of bin Laden, very few put it in the larger context of the war in Afghanistan. Several Hill aides said their bosses were waiting to see how the news played out before taking a more forceful stance.

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