Peace = War = Collateral Damage; Poverty and Ruin in Afghanistan; Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari’s Days Numbered?

“Collateral Damage”, the death of the innocents must stop. Is this all now being done to get the 100 al Quaeda members located somewhere in Afghanistan or in Pakistan? How are they even identified? The budget for the “wars” in Afghanistan and Iraq, and yes, Pakistan is over 100 Billion USD. That is One Billion dollars for each al Quaeda member left in the area. This is not believable. A fantasy.

This video from Al shows a village in Afghanistan where soldiers came in the night and attacked a home with “militants” in it. Twelve family members were killed. The soldiers took four bodies away. The villagers are very upset at President Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize while “innocent” villagers are murdered. What would you think if this was your town and your neighbors home? The war must end as too many innocent civilians are killed in the name of Peace. President Obama, lead us to Peace, bring our troops home and stop the killing.

Poverty and Ruin in Afghanistan
‘There hasn’t been two seconds of intelligent discussion about living standards in Afghanistan’

ASK THIS | December 03, 2009 By John Hanrahan
The poverty in Afghanistan is almost beyond imagining. Thirty Afghans die from TB every day; life expectancy is 43 years; per capita income is $426; only 13% have access to sanitary drinking water; fewer than one in four are literate; access to electricity is among the lowest in the world. Conditions for women are brutal. If Obama plans to address these issues, he’s pretty much keeping it secret, points out world poverty expert Jeffrey Sachs. But without addressing them, can stepped-up American military involvement succeed? Or is it bound to fail?

Afghan Women beg outside a mosque in Kabul, AP File Photo

Columbia University economist Jeffrey D. Sachs, one of the foremost experts on extreme poverty in underdeveloped nations, says it is past time for the United States to end its war in Afghanistan, the world’s fifth poorest nation. In an interview with Nieman Watchdog in November, Sachs said the United States should reverse its priorities and fund major sustainable development programs, which would not only help reduce Afghanistan’s overwhelming poverty but would be a surer way to help achieve greater U.S. security.

As Sachs wrote last May in The Guardian newspaper of London, U.S. foreign policy “has failed in recent years mainly because the U.S. has relied on military force to address problems that demand development assistance and diplomacy. Young men become fighters in places such as Sudan, Somalia, Pakistan and Afghanistan because they lack gainful employment. Extreme ideologies influence people when they can’t feed their families, and when lack of access to family planning leads to an unwanted population explosion.”

This applies particularly to Afghanistan and the neighboring provinces of Pakistan, which “are impoverished regions, with vast unemployment, bulging youth populations, prolonged droughts, widespread hunger and pervasive economic deprivation. It is easy for the Taliban and al-Qaida to mobilize fighters under such conditions.” With improved economic conditions, a major recruiting tool for the Taliban and al-Qaida – as well as extremists’ threats to the United States – would be substantially weakened.

Sachs was interviewed by Nieman Watchdog two weeks before President Obama’s speech Dec. 1 announcing a 30,000 troop increase in Afghanistan. Sachs noted that while the United States was already spending $60 billion a year for military operations in Afghanistan, it was spending only “$2 billion tops” for sustainable development programs there. The addition of 30,000 troops adds another $30 billion a year to the war’s costs, making the ratio of war spending to development even more imbalanced.

Those figures, Sachs said, “must be turned around” in order for the United States to have any positive impact on the people of Afghanistan in the long run. However, Sachs said he had seen little to indicate that the Obama administration had any alternative strategy for specific development programs – such as investments in health, education, jobs, water, sanitation and irrigation – in Afghanistan and nearby Pakistan, where al-Qaida is actually based.
…As Sachs told Nieman Watchdog, the United States bears a major responsibility for the misery that has afflicted Afghanistan since the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1979. In response to the Soviet invasion, the U.S. government through the Central Intelligence Agency secretly provided significant weapon and monetary support for the mujahedeen fighters who opposed – and defeated – the Soviets, who pulled their troops out of the country in 1989. That war killed more than one million Afghans, while another 5 million became refugees in other countries. As one account put it, that war left Afghanistan “with severe political, economic, and ecological problems…Economic production was drastically curtailed, and much of the land laid waste.”

Ultimately, after more vicious internal fighting, the Taliban came to power in 1995, and al-Qaida – made up considerably of mujahedeen fighters and led by Osama bin Laden –established its base in Afghanistan. The United States-led invasion in 2001 ousted the Taliban from power and ultimately drove all but 100 or fewer al-Qaida fighters to the border regions of western Pakistan.

“I believe we [the United States] have had nothing but a devastating effect on Afghanistan since we used it for a proxy war against the Soviet Union,” Sachs told Nieman Watchdog. By supporting the mujahedeen against the Soviets, he said, we helped “create al-Qaida” and destabilized the country further, causing Afghanistan to “end up in rubble” in that earlier destructive war.

President Zardari of Pakistan has charges heard at the Supreme Court. Are his days numbered?

    ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari allegedly gained financial benefits worth billions of dollars when graft cases against him were dropped undera law that has now expired, according to documents submitted by Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.

    The documents provided by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) showed that Zardari had been accused of illegally amassing assets worth USD 1.5 billion and Rs 22 billion, mainly during the period when his slain wife Benazir Bhutto was the Premier in the 1990s. Zardari was charged with amassing assets beyond his means of income and these cases were dropped under the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO), issued by former military ruler Pervez Musharraf two years ago.

    NAB submitted the documents in the apex court after a 17-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry sought details of all beneficiaries of the NRO, which expired on November 28 after the government failed to get it endorsed by Parliament within a deadline set by the apex court. The bench yesterday began hearing challenges to the expired law and the amnesty granted under it to over 8,000 people, including Zardari and several of his close aides. The documents provided by NAB further stated that several corruption cases were registered against Zardari for allegedly causing losses to the public exchequer by misusing his authority during his tenure as a minister in his late wife’s Cabinet.

    The cases included the alleged misuse of authority to grant concessions to shipping companies and a gold importing firm and to purchase tractors for a government-run scheme, according to the documents. These cases involved alleged losses of hundreds of millions of rupees to the public exchequer, the documents stated. All these cases too were dropped under the NRO.

    …Besides Zardari, several of his close aides – including Interior Minister Rehman Malik, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar and senior Pakistan People’s Party leader Jahangir Badr – benefitted from the NRO. Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar rejected allegations that Zardari had amassed assets worth billions of dollars, describing them as “no more than a regurgitation of decade-old unproven politically motivated allegations.” None of the charges levelled against former premier Bhutto and Zardari “could be proved in any court of law despite spending hundreds of millions from the public exchequer and relentless witch-hunting spread over countries and continents,” Babar said. The “absurdity and politically motivated nature of these cases” had already been exposed with the exposure in 2001 of tapes of conversations between prosecutors and the judge conducting the trial against Zardari, he said.

* * *
Call President Obama ALL WEEK LONG. Let’s keep his White House lines busy: Please force Afghanistan and Pakistan to adopt laws to protect women from abuse and give them equal rights under the laws.

Say NO to Escalation in Afghanistan. Sign the petition here. No funds from Congress for the troop escalation. Tell them now.

Take Action Now ! ! Call President Obama: To reach the U.S. Capitol Switchboard: 202-224-3121 or 202-225-3121 Leave a message: “You made the wrong decision. I do not support you on this. I feel betrayed.”

Stop the Assassination Drones:). Call Leon Panetta at (703) 482-0623, CIA headquarters, leave a message: No More Drone Assasination attacks, and don’t attack Quetta. End the War(s) NOW.

[ Go to this link and join Cindy Sheehan and other Peace Activists new group “Peace of the Action” put your name on the line.]

Get your bumpersticker, support Military Famlies Speak Out

You can order bumperstickers at this link.

Today, please tell your member of Congress and U.S. Senators to End the War in Afghanistan, sign this petition. If you live outside the United States, write to your leaders, End the War Now.


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