Mercury Rising 鳯女

Politics, life, and other things that matter

Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan’

Sun Rises In East. GOP Lies About Bowe Bergdahl.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on June 3, 2014

When the Republicans scream that they were caught totally by surprise by the prisoner exchange that in all likelihood marks the windng down of the US war on Afghanistan, they are of course lying.

For one thing, GOP strategists were shopping around interviews with cherry-picked members of Bergdahl’s unit even as Obama was in the Rose Garden with Bergdahl’s parents heralding the exchange as the return of America’s last POW.

For another, House and Senate Republicans had known about the negotiations to free America’s last POW since January of 2012.

For yet another, the GOP strategists probably didn’t vet the military histories of the persons they’re shoving in front of every microphone they can find, as it turns out that the unit in question was a problem unit, and a badly led one, well before it reached Afghanistan:

The discipline problems that had plagued Bowe’s unit back home only got worse when immersed in the fog of war. From the start, everything seemed to go wrong. In April, Lt. Fancey was removed from his post for clashing with a superior officer. He was replaced by Sgt. 1st Class Larry Hein, who had never held such a command – a move that left the remote outpost with no officers. According to four soldiers in the battalion, the removal of Fancey was quickly followed by a collapse in unit morale and an almost complete breakdown of authority.

The unruly situation was captured by Sean Smith, a British documentary filmmaker with The Guardian who spent a month embedded with Bowe’s unit. His footage shows a bunch of soldiers who no longer give a shit: breaking even the most basic rules of combat, like wearing baseball caps on patrol instead of helmets. In footage from a raid on a family compound, an old Afghan woman screams at the unit, “Look at these cruel people!” One soldier bitches about what he sees as the cowardice of the Afghan villagers he is supposed to be protecting: “They say like, the Taliban comes down and aggravated­ their town and harasses them… Why don’t you kill those motherfuckers? All of you have AKs. If someone is going into my hometown, I know my town wouldn’t stand for that shit. I’d be like, ‘Fuck you, you’re dead.’” Another soldier laments, “These people just want to be left alone.” A third agrees: “They got dicked with by the Russians for 17 years, and now we’re here.”

(Crossposted to MyFDL.)

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US Media Buries UN Report On Syrian Rebels And Sarin Use

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 8, 2013

In the mad rush by Bill Keller and all the neocons and their fellow travelers to drink the blood of the Assad government and Shock-Doctrinize Syria, the US media is largely ignoring the statements made by UN official Carla Del Ponte about the US-backed Syrian rebels and their possible use of sarin nerve gas:

“Our investigators have been in neighbouring countries interviewing victims, doctors and field hospitals and, according to their report of last week which I have seen, there are strong, concrete suspicions but not yet incontrovertible proof of the use of sarin gas, from the way the victims were treated,” Ms Del Ponte said in an interview broadcast on Swiss-Italian television on Sunday.

“This was used on the part of the opposition, the rebels, not by the government authorities,” she added.

Ms Del Ponte said the inquiry has yet to see any direct evidence suggesting that government forces have used chemical weapons, but said further investigation was required before this possibility could be ruled out.

Now remember, use of chemicals like sarin was supposed to be the “red line” that, when crossed by Assad et al, would trigger Vietnam IV, aka the invasion and occupation of Syria on behalf of the multinationals on whose behalf the neocon warmongers are working. (Anyone who doesn’t think that these wars have all been about handing out the properties of sovereign nations as booty to multinational corporate and other business interests needs to look at what happened to all the state-run enterprises in Iraq under Saddam. They’ve all been or are being privatized — under heavy protest from Iraqi workers — and they all provide far less in the way of services now than they did as state-run enterprises under Saddam.)

This is why the US and even Del Ponte’s bosses at the UN have rushed to pooh-pooh her statements — and why the chances are good that if you’re an American, you didn’t even know about her statements until you read this blog post of mine. The same neocon-worshipping media forces that backed invading Iraq, Afghanistan, and Iran, now back invading Syria, and they don’t want any inconvenient truths standing in their way.

By the way: The US dumped 77 million liters (8800 tons) of Agent Orange on Vietnam from 1961 to 1971. So when will someone invade us as a punishment?

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How Bad Is The GOP? Crazy John McCain’s Now The Voice Of Reason WRT Foreign Policy.

Posted by Phoenix Woman on May 2, 2012

So President Obama goes to Afghanistan on a long-planned trip to put the finishing touches on the US’ withdrawal plans, and what do most Republicans do?

As Tengrain at Dependable Renegade shows, they pout:

“The special operators who have every right to “spike the football” are too professional to do so. The White House might follow their lead.”

Donald Rumsfeld

And:

“I think what offends people is that instead of recognizing it as a national triumph and having everybody share in it, that the Obama administration has tried to make it look like the president did everything, including fast-roping out of the helicopter and pulling the trigger.”

John Bolton

Meanwhile, John McCain, astonishingly enough, does what a sensible grown-up would do — he praised Obama for his Afghanistan trip and deal:

“I am pleased that the President has traveled to Afghanistan. This is a significant opportunity for him to hear directly from our military commanders and troops on the ground about the significant progress we are making in this fight.

“It is also important because President Obama and President Karzai will announce the U.S.-Afghanistan Strategic Partnership Agreement, which will define the long-term political, economic, and military commitment between our countries. While I will carefully examine the details of this agreement, I am hopeful that it will send a signal to friends and enemies in the region that the United States is committed to a secure and free Afghanistan.

“I hope the President’s speech tonight will emphasize the degree of our commitment in Afghanistan, rather than the plans for withdrawal. I would urge the President to return from this visit and spend more time speaking directly with the American people about the vital national security interests at stake in Afghanistan and the need for the United States to remain strongly engaged there in the years ahead.”

Now, is it all what I think McCain should have said? No, especially not the last paragraph. Is it designed to push a particular agenda (namely, continuing to stump for an increasingly hated war) that might tie President Obama’s hands were he to follow it? Yup. But McCain, unlike the rest of the GOP, knows that mounting a frontal attack on the foreign policy of the man who did what Bush wouldn’t — get bin Laden — is not exactly a wise move politically. (It’s incredibly crass, for starters.) So instead, he (or whoever wrote this for him) baits the trap with honey and hopes Obama bites on it.

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And The Difference Between Pam Oshry Geller, Dana Loesch, and Stormfront Is…

Posted by Phoenix Woman on January 13, 2012

Not much, as it turns out.

If one were to edit both Pamela Oshry Geller’s and Dana Loesch’s comments and replace all the instances of Islamic references with Jewish references, the result would fit easily on any Stormfront webpage.

Eliminationist, bigoted hate speech is distressingly similar, regardless of its targets. Why does CNN employ someone who spews it? Do they think that Loesch’s bigotry will grab the all-important FOX News demographic?

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Who Ended the Cold War? Russia and East Germany. (Sorry, Reagan Fetishists.)

Posted by Phoenix Woman on February 6, 2011

The Politico, one of the many vectors for creating and maintaining conservative dominance of the media and cultural conversations in the US, has its obligatory puff piece on Mister Death Squadder this morning:

Bently Elliott, Reagan’s top speechwriter in his first term, recalled an interview his old boss gave at the end of his time in the White House.

“He didn’t say he wanted to be remembered as the president who turned around the economy or the president who brought down the Evil Empire,” Elliott recalled. “He said he wanted to be remembered as ‘the president who made the American people believe in themselves again.’”

Except he did neither.

Contrary to conservative myth, Ronald Reagan didn’t do jack to bring down Russia or East Germany; they were falling apart all by themselves. Even the aid given to the mujahideen in Afghanistan — aid that helped sustain them during the long war of attrition that sapped Russia’s strength and was the final blow to the régime — was not essential to the mujahideen’s success; the Saudis, conservative Sunnis similar to the mujahideen, were already funding them quite extensively, as were Pakistan, China, and various other nations and entities, and would have given them even more aid had we not done so.

In fact, not only did Reagan not bring down Russia, it is a well-documented fact that neither he nor his CIA knew what was going to happen until it was already happening. Just as the CIA of today was caught totally off-guard by the lightning-fast spreading of revolutionary fervor in various Middle Eastern dictatorships, they were caught totally off guard by the equally-rapid collapse of the Soviet bloc, as former CIA official Mel Goodman relates:

The collapse of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union created an entirely new international setting and totally surprised U.S. policymakers, the Central Intelligence Agency providing no strategic warning. President George Bush stated that he had no idea that the Berlin Wall was coming down and was surprised by the coup attempt against Mikhail Gorbachev in
1991.[1] His national security adviser, Brent Scowcroft, could not recall receiving any CIA warning about the Soviet demise. President Ronald Reagan’s last national security adviser and Bush’s chairman of the joint chiefs, General Colin Powell, recorded in his memoirs that CIA specialists “could no longer anticipate events much better than a
layman watching television.”[2].

Former CIA Director Admiral Stansfield Turner recorded that the agency’s “corporate view missed by a mile” and that it “should not gloss over the enormity of the failure to forcecast the magnitude of the Soviet crisis.”[3]

The memoirs of former Secretary of State George Shultz offer the best evidence of CIA’s failure to track the Soviet decline and the revolutionary impact of Gorbachev’s leadership. Shultz believed that “CIA analysis was distorted by strong views about
policy” and accused CIA director William Casey with providing “bum dope” to the president. He told national security adviser Frank Carlucci in 1987 that, even “when it became evident that the Soviet Union was in fact changing”, the CIA line was
that the changes wouldn’t really make a difference. [4]

Shultz had “no confidence” in the CIA and warned the White House that the agency was “unable to perceive that change was coming in the Soviet Union.”[5].

He accused acting CIA director Robert Gates with trying to “manipulate me” and reminded him that the CIA was “usually wrong” about Moscow and had dismissed Gorbachev as “just talk, just another Soviet attempt to deceive us.”[6]. Shultz,
Turmoil and Triumph, p. p. 864.

CIA’s failure to recognize the weakness of the Soviet Union and the importance of Gorbachev had serious implications for U.S. interests. The Reagan administration unnecessarily increased defense spending, dragged its feet on arms control, and missed opportunities to resolve regional confrontations. The tab for CIA funding and support for Islamic militants in order to drive the Soviets out of Afghanistan now includes the bombing of the World Trade Center in New York and attacks on U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia.

Oh, yes: The brave mujahideen the CIA helped fund? Osama bin Laden was one of them, as were the persons who would go on to become the Taliban rulers of Afghanistan. Ironically enough, Condoleeza Rice, as an alleged specialist on the subject of Soviet Russia, has tried to engage in some classic neocon revisionism by claiming that she and her PNAC buddies knew all along that the Soviet involvement in Afghanistan was what would weaken and eventually bring down the USSR, all the while not recognizing that Osama bin Laden was and is using that very same game plan against us by keeping us bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan. (As Mel Goodman points out, she too was totally taken by surprise by the 9/11 attacks, attacks even the CIA saw coming and about which they had tried in vain to warn Bush and his neocon friends.) And make no mistake, we’re still in deep up to our hips in Iraq, except it’s through the use of “private security firms” (aka privateers or mercenaries) like Blackwater (now Xe), whose troop levels are harder to ascertain than those of the Army, Marines, Air Force or Navy.

Bin Laden knew he could easily provoke the Reagan-Bush PNAC crowd into an armed response to a terrorist attack (as opposed to the far more sensible and effective response by Bill Clinton to an earlier attack on the World Trade Center, a response that actually collared the perpetrators and didn’t inflame the Middle East against us). He knew he could easily lure them into a ruinous two-front war even as Bush’s tax cuts for the rich were wrecking America’s ability to sustain the expense of these wars. It’s almost as if PNAC and the George W. Bush administration were run by Al Qaeda sleeper cell agents, so closely did they follow bin Laden’s plans for their behavior.

(Crossposted at Renaissance Post.

Posted in Bush, BushCo malfeasance, Busheviks, Condolezza Rice, September 11, Silly Republicans, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , | 10 Comments »

Thursday Evening News Roundup

Posted by Phoenix Woman on December 23, 2010

So much for Republican outreach to the Latino community. A group of conservative Hispanic business leaders set up a forum, the first Hispanic Leadership Network conference scheduled for next month in Miami, and promoted it as a way for Republican presidential hopefuls to interact with the community — and virtually all the big names — Romney, Thune, Daniels, Perry — flatly turned them down, with a number of others not bothering to respond even in the negative to the invitation. The only potential candidate to accept the invitation was Tim Pawlenty, who has less of a chance than I do of becoming president — and I have a feeling he probably only agreed to come as a favor to Norm Coleman, who helped organize the thing.

– Remember when a little bit (or even a lot) of snow didn’t faze state and local governments in Minnesota? Nowadays, budgets are so starved after decades of tax cutting that cities have to essentially pray it doesn’t snow.

Check out the video of David House’s interview with Bradley Manning (and wonder at how Manning could be rotting in solitary confinement for seven months on the say-so of the somewhat dodgy Adrian Lamo).

Posted in 'starving the beast', (Rich) Taxpayers League, 2012, abuse of power, big money | Tagged: , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »