The WikiLeaks Documentary: Our thanks to War in Context for sending this out via email. View their site here.
Archive for the ‘Central Asia’ Category
We, at Out of Central Asia Now, have been bringing you opinions from writers from throughout the world. All of the stories were used by us to show we Must End These Wars Now. Today, we bring you from CNN, the following story in full. It is time for our White Ribbons with black letters to be worn on our clothes to show that we want the war(s) over NOW. Read on please.
Withdraw U.S. troops from Afghanistan By Amitai Etzioni, Special to CNN October 12, 2010 10:11 a.m. EDT
Editor’s note: Amitai Etzioni is a sociologist and professor of international relations at George Washington University and the author of several books, including “Security First” and “New Common Ground.” He was a senior adviser to the Carter administration and has taught at Columbia and Harvard universities and the University of California, Berkeley.
(CNN) — Before I explain why I believe the time has come to start a stop-the-war movement, I should say that I am not one of those intellectuals who has never worried about the fate of their loved ones or gotten his own boots dirty.
My son completed a five-year stint in the U.S. 1st Armored Division. As an Israeli commando, I saw a lot of fighting during Israel’s war for independence. My unit started fighting with 1,100 members; when the fighting stopped, 700 were dead and buried or wounded. And we killed all too many on the other side.
I abhor war and believe we should fight only when there is a clear and present danger, when all other means for resolving a conflict have been truly exhausted and to protect the innocent. Those are the three criteria of a just war. The war in Afghanistan used to meet these criteria. It no longer does.
We invaded Afghanistan to stop it from serving as a base for terrorists of the kind who attacked us on 9/11. This goal has been accomplished.
Fewer than 100 members of al Qaeda are in Afghanistan. There are many more in Yemen and Somalia, which we are not planning to invade.
Video: Karzai: Relations with Obama good
Video: Karzai: Osama bin Laden not here
Video: Failed rescue attempt probe The Taliban has no designs on us, beyond making us leave. After that, the people of Afghanistan can duke it out over which kind of regime they want. If the majority of the Afghan people don’t want the Taliban to rule, they should fight for their rights, as they have shown they can when they defeated the Taliban in 2002 with limited help from us.
Some claim that we must keep fighting to secure human rights, especially women’s rights, and a democratic regime in Afghanistan. However, nothing indicates that we can accomplish in this godforsaken 12th-century country what we did in Germany and Japan after World War II.
The metrics that the U.S. Army keeps inventing to show progress are pitiful. Having committed 100,000 troops and a similar number of “private” contractors against rag-tag, poorly equipped, illiterate locals, we captured a few scores of square miles, opened a few markets and a local government or two. But large and growing areas of Afghanistan are under Taliban control. We should neither die nor kill for an illusion.
Sometimes, a minor news item highlights a much greater issue.
A recent report from an embedded reporter for GlobalPost shows a 19-year-old American soldier getting shot in the head — his helmet saved him from death — as his unit traveled through Kunar Province in late August. They were surveying polling sites for the upcoming elections. Also, a homemade bomb, called an IED, damaged and set afire the lead vehicle of this small convoy and severely wounded its driver.
It seemed absurd to risk lives of Americans, our allies or Afghans to support faux elections.
In many parts of the country, ballot stations could not be opened. In others, massive fraud took place. Adding insult to injury, we congratulated the Afghan government on holding “successful” elections. That way, we did not have to admit to the world and each other that whatever the Karzai government is — one of the most corrupt governments in the world, a foundation of a new narcostate — democracy it ain’t, by a long shot.
How much our entanglement in Afghanistan is turning into a sad farce became all too clear when President Obama flew to Kabul to tell Karzai that he ought to stop corruption.
When, in response, Karzai started negotiating a peace deal with the Taliban, the White House rolled out the red carpet for Karzai and announced that from now on, the U.S. will focus on low-level corruption. Moreover, it turns out that major sources of corruption are our corporations and the CIA.
It’s time to bring our troops home.
To encourage our president and Congress to withdraw the troops, let’s fasten to our lapels white ribbons (for peace) with black letters (mourning those who died) that read “Bring them home.” The time has come to organize teach-ins and antiwar groups. Instead of another march on Washington, let there be rallies across America. Bring the troops home.
The opinions in this commentary are solely those of Amitai Etzioni.
“Pakistan, Failed State #10,”; now Noah’s Flood washes away a generation’s hope for improvement; and the war goes onAugust 18, 2010
Kunwar Iris writes today in Dawn.com an analysis of why nations that could help flood victims are hesitant to do so, and he blames the corrupt government that rules Pakistan. This story is a Must Read to understand the underlying problems of “partnering” with Pakistan by the U.S. to have the Taliban stop fighting. The story follows:
Saving Pakistan from itself By Kunwar Idris
Sunday, 15 Aug, 2010
The response of the political leaders, the government and civil society as a whole to the country’s worst-ever natural disaster has been both delayed and mean. It is a kind of save-Pakistan-from-itself situation.
Even the army that comes to the people’s rescue when the civil administration falters or fails was late this time in coming and its presence was felt much less than in earlier, lesser crises. The world response matches domestic indifference. Only the ‘hated’ American soldiers with their helicopters are there to save lives. Don’t we need to look at our ‘friends’ more closely?
The pledges made are small and much of the money promised would be available after the suffering has taken its toll. Well into the second week of the calamity, the donations received in the prime minister’s relief fund remain a pittance. Among a few large donors is a rags-to-riches politician who only a week earlier had spent, perhaps, an equal sum on a wedding feast at a plush Dubai hotel. Thus he has come to represent the rich of Pakistan as they are known to the world — charitable and vainglorious at the same time.
The rains and floods, the prime minister says, had put the country back by a generation. That sounds like an exaggeration only to forestall the criticism of his government’s extravagance and incompetence. The damage to the infrastructure would surely cost a great deal but repaired — sooner or later. It is the nation that seems to have lost its soul.
Its chosen representatives do not now have a dictator to curse nor can they blame ‘obstructing’ judges. They indulge in harangues but lack the moral strength to inspire a nation in crisis. Helping the people in distress are only the soldiers and some jihadis. The liberal or mainstream parties are nowhere to be seen.
For the failure of the political leadership and civil administration to deal with the day-to-day problems, much less with a crisis of this magnitude, the blame lies not with this or that individual or party but with the politics of vengeance and retribution that has marked the national scene almost for four decades now. There may have been moments of personal triumph here and there but the moral and institutional decline has been continuous and, barring a revolution, looks irreversible.
A quick reckoner of this decline is Bangladesh which is now poised to grow at twice the rate of Pakistan. A more tempting comparison, however, would be with Egypt which has been ruled by more strongmen and longer than Pakistan. In human development and social services starting from the same base in the middle of the last century, the literacy level in Egypt has risen to 85 per cent against ours at 54 and an average Egyptian expects to live eight years longer than a Pakistani. But, more amazingly, 99 per cent of Egyptian homes now have electricity and 97 per cent have piped water supply.In South Asian terms Pakistan shows up poorly and Southeast Asia (is altogether a different story. The old-timers can recall a time when the Koreans came to Pakistan to study our development model. Today an average South Korean is 30 times richer than his Pakistani counterpart.
In Pakistan the failure has been collective but the rot began with the political leadership. It travelled down the line to hit the bureaucracy and then spread across the national spectrum to undermine all other spheres. The causes are numerous and remedies are often recounted but relevant in the current context is the need to curtail government expenditure to save money for the rehabilitation of flood victims and modernisation of the physical infrastructure.
The size of the government calls for a drastic reduction. A smaller size would increase efficiency. One often wonders that if the province of West Pakistan (one unit) could make do with 13 or so ministers and as many secretaries why must each province now have three to four times that number? West Pakistan’s secretariat had just five cars for everybody to share; the number now defies a count.
The chief minister then had but one office room and that too in the main secretariat along with all other ministers and officials. The Punjab chief minister now hardly ever goes to the secretariat. A palace-like structure that Chaudhry Parvez Elahi built for himself is now occupied by an assortment of freeloaders who are a burden on a government that runs on bank overdraft.
Then come cash handouts or subsidies. Rs70bn set aside for payment to the poor selected by parliamentarians under a programme named after Benazir should be diverted to the flood victims. Putting the poor on dole, even if honestly chosen (which appears unlikely considering the political channel of distribution) is a bad idea. The same applies to the sum set aside for Punjab’s two-rupee sasti roti which even the rich can buy.
Though late, the Punjab chief minister has sensibly decided to stop this waste and divert the saved Rs500bn to flood relief. The Sindh government is now contemplating a similar subsidy in wheat flour through the millers for sale in the open market. Given our proven inability to control the market forces, this subsidy is unlikely to reach the poor just as the subsidy on fertiliser, pesticide or other commodities did not. It too will get lost in the long channel of bribe and profit.
The savings in these and other subsidies and a heavy cut in spendings by a mélange of political coalitions that have no policy or direction should make up somewhat for the lack of local and foreign donations. The saddest of all thoughts however is that the donors are being cagey or wary not because they do not realise the gravity and scale of the problem. It is Pakistan’s reputation for corruption and mismanagement that holds them back. And there we are stuck. (You can write to Kunwar:firstname.lastname@example.org)
Noam Chomsky’s Presentation at the National Peace Conference highlighted here; Live: Watch the United National Peace Conference in New York, over 400 registered to attend. Let your voice be heard Now.July 19, 2010
Watch Noam Chomsky’ recorded presentation at the National Peace Conference below:
Watch other presenters at the National Peace Conference at this You Tube site, click here. The story below has been posted last week for your information, and is included again to further understand the Peace Conference’s goals.
BULLETIN: This weekend (July 23-25) Click here: check http://MediaSanctuary.tv for live and recorded video coverage of the National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now! taking place at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Albany, NY. The live video stream begins on Friday night at 7 PM (ET) .
The following information came from the United National Peace Conference organizers via email. This is the latest status of the upcoming gathering in New York July 23 -25. Attend if you can.
- Greetings to Peace and Social Justice Activists:Registrations for this weekend’s national peace conference are soaring with the total now well over 400. There is still room for you at the conference and still time to register! See the program below and the attached Saturday lunch and Saturday night programs, as well as the latest list of workshops.This will be an historic conference and one that you will not want to miss. Register online at www.nationalpeaceconference.org or write UNAC2010@aol.com for more information or call 518-227-6947.
In unity and peace,
Secretary, National Peace Conference
The following was posted at Out of Central Asia Now on and is being reprinted here for your convenience:
CONTACT:Unity United National Peace Conference July 23 – 25, 2010, Albany, NY…Unac2010@aol.com or UNAC at P.O. Box 21675, Cleve.,OH 44121 518-227-6947 http://www.nationalpeaceconference.org
- Casting aside any intention that Washington plans to end its occupation and war against Afghanistan in 2011 or anytime in the foreseeable future, Gen. David Petraeus declared “We are in this to win. That is our clear objective.” Commenting on the General’s statement, New York Tines reporter Dexter Filkins wrote, “Almost every phase of the war [in Afghanistan] is going badly. In June, 102 American and NATO troops lost their lives, more than in any month since the war began. The major offensive in Kandahar , the most important city in the Taliban heartland, has been slowed because of worries over the lack of local support. The Afghan government and army show few signs of being able, or even willing, to take over.. In the United states, public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans have turned against the war.” (7/5/10)The most important question facing the antiwar and social justice movements is: What do we do now?If ever there was a time for these movements to join together to plan united protest actions, this is it. Hundreds of movement activists have already registered for the National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now to be held in Albany, New York on July 23-25.and many more have expressed plans to attend. PLEASE JOIN US! Register online at http://www.nationalpeaceconference.org
In peace and unity,
Jerry Gordon, Secretary, National Peace Conference
“We are losing our Nation to Lies about the Necessity of War”, Congress Member Dennis Kucinich; “…A Dysfunctional — and broke–System of Government…”; A CALL TO ACTION: RESPONDING TO PETRAEUS’S CALL FOR AN ENDLESS WARJuly 8, 2010
Published: July 6, 2010 at 8:02 AM (Read full story here)
By ARNAUD DE BORCHGRAVE, UPI Editor at Large, July 6 (UPI) — No better proof of a dysfunctional — and broke — system of government than the U.S. Congress passing additional funding for the Afghan war — $300 billion thus far — while simultaneously denying the unemployed an extension of benefits — and then taking a 10-day Independence Day vacation.
With the jobless hovering just less than 10 percent of a 158 million-strong U.S. labor force, including 1.3 million who didn’t get their benefits reinstated and an additional 200,000 a week who have been without a job for at least six months and stand to lose their benefits each week until Congress acts, some 15 million Americans are out of work.
One million Americans dropped out of the job market over the past two months as they gave up a fruitless search for work. They lack the skills needed for a high-tech economy. And companies have slashed payrolls as automation helps them get along with fewer employees. The ranks of the unemployed who no longer receive any compensation are climbing to 10 million.
CONTACT:Unity United National Peace Conference July 23 – 25, 2010, Albany, NY…Unac2010@aol.com or UNAC at P.O. Box 21675, Cleve.,OH 44121 518-227-6947 http://www.nationalpeaceconference.org
Casting aside any intention that Washington plans to end its occupation and war against Afghanistan in 2011 or anytime in the foreseeable future, Gen. David Petraeus declared “We are in this to win. That is our clear objective.” Commenting on the General’s statement, New York Tines reporter Dexter Filkins wrote, “Almost every phase of the war [in Afghanistan] is going badly. In June, 102 American and NATO troops lost their lives, more than in any month since the war began. The major offensive in Kandahar , the most important city in the Taliban heartland, has been slowed because of worries over the lack of local support. The Afghan government and army show few signs of being able, or even willing, to take over.. In the United states, public opinion polls show that a majority of Americans have turned against the war.” (7/5/10)
he most important question facing the antiwar and social justice movements is: What do we do now?
If ever there was a time for these movements to join together to plan united protest actions, this is it. Hundreds of movement activists have already registered for the National Conference to Bring the Troops Home Now to be held in Albany, New York on July 23-25.and many more have expressed plans to attend. PLEASE JOIN US! Register online at http://www.nationalpeaceconference.org
In peace and unity,
Jerry Gordon, Secretary, National Peace Conference
bin Laden Tape Analysis; Pres. Zadari’s First 12 Months; Mitchell meets Netanyahu; Attack Waziristan Next? UPDATE: Quote of the DaySeptember 15, 2009
Today, we’ve picked out four good stories for your viewing. We hope you enjoy this format. There’s so much to read and we are trying to bring you a few topics that are in the news, but reported from a different angle than the normal press stories appearing in your local newspapers.
UPDATE: QUOTE OF THE DAY FROM Muntadhar al-Zeidi, the famed Shoe Thrower:
An unrepentant al-Zeidi explained that his actions were motivated by the U.S. occupation: “I want to ask the American people if an Iraqi occupies America and kills one million Americans, displaced 5 million people and demolished and destroyed America, then what would be the reaction of the American people?”
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First, we start with an analysis of the bin Laden tape by Daveed Gartenstein-Ross posted at Bill Roggio’s The Long War
Gartenstein-Ross states “There are two interesting aspects to the tape. The first is that the tape suggests that peace with al-Qaeda is a relatively simple matter: Americans need only liberate themselves “from fear and the ideological terrorism of neo-conservatives and the Israeli lobby.” AND: Second, it is interesting to note the Westerners whom bin Laden singles out for condemnation, and those whom he cites in support of his arguments. Bin Laden takes pride in his ability to follow news and major publications coming out of the West, and will reference them in his propaganda efforts.
Read the whole analysis here.
Second Story: Zardari’s 12 months in office written by Omer Farooq Khan, at The Times of India outlines the President of Pakistan’s first year in office.
Farooq Khan states “As a civilian president, he enjoys all the powers, accumulated for the office of president, by the former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. But political pundits are saying he has not filled the leadership gap in Pakistan. His close associates claim that, by nature, Zardari is a very stubborn person and is seldom open to a good advice. A handful of men who hold mastery in the game of flattery are a big block for Mr Zardari’s popularity graph, revealed some of the PPP stalwarts to Times of India.”
Read the rest of the story here.
Third Story: US envoy meets Israeli PM [Michell meets Netanyahu]
In today’s Al Jazerra, it is reported that Binyamin Netanyahu, Israel’s prime minister, has met the US special envoy to the Middle East in Jerusalem for talks on restarting stalled peace negotiations.
Netanyahu held talks with George Mitchell on Tuesday, for a meeting that was expected to focus on reaching an agreement on freezing the construction of illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
But in advance of the talks, Netanyahu reaffirmed his position that Israel will not bow to US demands to completely halt the building of settlements.
In remarks to a parliamentary committee on Monday, Netanyahu rejected calls to freeze all settlement construction, but said he would consider a temporary slow-down in the rate of building. Read the rest of the story here
Fourth and final story of the day: “Waziristan or not, that is the question”
Written by Naveen Naqvi is a senior anchor at DawnNews and presents the morning news programme, Breakfast at Dawn, on weekday mornings at 8:05 a.m . She is currently working on a novel and tweets at twitter.com/naveenaqvi. Follow her on twitter.
[Ed note: Her story is based on the question should the Pakistan Military continue on after the Swat Valley attack and go into Waziristan? Is it worth it? Many will turn against the Military, you be the judge, read her story]
Naqvi states, “As I said in the beginning of this peace, there were close to three million displaced as a result of the military offensive in Swat. According to latest reports, about a million have returned, leaving well over a million still in refugee status.
And those who have made the long journey home have not returned to much at all, as illustrated by this slideshow from The New York Times. The photographs on the website show what is meant by ‘normal life’ in Swat. What you see is distressing to say the least, and very far from being normal.” Read her full story here.
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Sign the CODEPINK END THE AFGHANISTAN WAR: Join the call and sign here–we will deliver your message to Obama, Pelosi & Reid next week!
Remember Kosovo? No not the song, the WAR. Well, here’s what we get when we are all done with the fighting and nationbuilding. From a 2003 Report. We’ve come a long way, Baby.
Multiply this by IRAQ, AFGHANISTAN, and now PAKISTAN, and add whatever else comes up in the future (Iran, North Korea?). It costs real MONEY to keep these bases going.
Camp Bondsteel was constructed by the 94th Engineer Construction Battalion together with the private Kellogg, Brown and Root Corporation (KBR) under the direction of the Army Corps of Engineers. KBR is also the prime contractor for the operation of the camp. The camp is built mainly of wooden, semi permanent SEA (South East Asia) huts and is surrounded by a 8 foot high earthen wall. The camp occupies 955 acres of land. To construct the base two hills were lopped off and the valley between them was filled with the resulting material.Camp Bondsteel is the main base of the United States Army under KFOR command in Kosovo. Located near the town of Uroševac (Ferizaj) in the eastern part of Kosovo, the base serves as the NATO headquarters for KFOR’s Multinational Task Force East (MNTF-E). The base is named after Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient United States Army Staff Sergeant James L. Bondsteel.
David Isenberg, a senior analyst with the Washington-based British American Security Information Council (BASIC), has a wide background in arms control and national security issues writes
“…Part of this redistribution is what author Chalmers Johnson calls “Baseworld”. Johnson writes: “It’s not easy to assess the size or exact value of our empire of bases. Official records on these subjects are misleading, although instructive. According to the Defense Department’s annual ‘Base Structure Report’ for fiscal year 2003, which itemizes foreign and domestic US military real estate, the Pentagon currently owns or rents 702 overseas bases in about 130 countries and has another 6,000 bases in the US and its territories. Pentagon bureaucrats calculate that it would require at least [US]$113.2 billion to replace just the foreign bases – surely far too low a figure, but still larger than the gross domestic product of most countries – and an estimated $592 billion to replace all of them. The military high command deploys to its overseas bases some 253,288 uniformed personnel, plus an equal number of dependents and Department of Defense civilian officials, and employs an additional 44,446 locally hired foreigners. The Pentagon claims that these bases contain 44,870 barracks, hangars, hospitals, and other buildings, which it owns, and that it leases 4,844 more.
“These numbers, although staggeringly large, do not begin to cover all the actual bases that we occupy globally. The 2003 Base Status Report fails to mention, for instance, any garrisons in Kosovo – even though it is the site of the huge Camp Bondsteel, built in 1999 and maintained ever since by Kellogg, Brown & Root. The report similarly omits bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Qatar and Uzbekistan, although the US military has established colossal base structures throughout the so-called arc of instability in the two-and-a-half years since September 11.”
Our Tax Dollars At Work
Today, you can read four stories here. I’m leaving up as the first story, Cindy Sheehan’s Call For Peace at Martha’s Vineyard story of yesterday. Please, don’t forget people are AGAINST THE WAR(s) and want them to END NOW.
Holbrooke and Karazi get Ugly Here, Holbrooke is calling for a second ballot to make it look better as people think this election was rigged. Karazi explodes. Can you imagine if someone comes to the U.S. and says “Redo Al Gore and W.’s election because people think it is rigged. Big trouble here for Karazi.
Third story, just a few days ago, Robert Gates was saying that killing Baitullah Mehsud was a severe blow to the Pakistan Taliban (Make you feel good for a few days? Make you feel like a DRONE strike killing innocent people was worth it?) Bill Roggio reports: Suicide bomber kills 22 border guards at Torkham crossing in Pakistan Hakeemullah Mehsud makes good on hison yesterday’s threat to retaliate for the death of the group’s former leader, Baitullah Mehsud, who was killed in a U.S.airstrike on Aug. 5. Hakeemullah says he will take revenge on the U.S. for the DRONE attack that killed Baitullah Mehsud.
And finally, Remember Pakistani nuclear scientist A Q Khan, the man that showed other nations how to build a bomb? He’s now free from house arrest and can travel anywhere he wants. Our good friends, the Pakistan government, can they be trusted?