Afghan Women Report Starvation in Kabul

With no photographs or videocameras allowed due to strict security measures, RAWA representative "Soya" of one of the leading women's humanitarian organizations in Afghanistan told a Boston audience that even within a thousand feet of the presidential palace in Kabul, children are starving.  This is the taboo topic for the media, because it reveals the big lie behind media coverage of the insurgency, the idea that it is based on anything but economic desperation.  There is 40% unemployment, the Taliban pays $8 a day, and it's the only job in town.  People hate the Taliban.  They cut off heads and hands.  But when your kids are starving you take what work is available.  

Now that Obama has won the Nobel Peace Prize, we might reflect on who else has won that prize: George C. Marshall
, author of the Marshall Plan which saved Europeans from starvation after World War II, and prevented some Western European nations from falling into the hands of communist militants and parties which were making rapid gains amid the economic chaos.  

At large events "Soya" speaks behind sunglasses and a scarf up to her nose, to protect her identity.  Both her parents were killed by the Taliban, as was her predecessor in her job, which is coordinator for this group which builds orphanages, wells, schools for girls, housing, and clinics across Afghanistan.  She arguably could win the title of Bravest Woman in the World.  All five-feet-one of her.  She works where your enemies mean business when they tell you to stop, yet she continues the work because the children must be fed.

At an anti-war rally the next day Soya thanked some of the soldiers on the stage who are war resisters, refusing to deploy to Afghanistan, for "refusing to kill our children and our people." It was an amazing moment.  I had the privilege of meeting her up close after her speech, out of disguise, and can report in passing that she is a stunningly beautiful woman.

The idea that it is impossible to get help to these people on the ground because of Afghan corruption is overblown and used as an excuse to ignore the problem, since if you solved the problem a large number of Taliban who fight for the wage would lay down their arms and stop fighting, which is not profitable for the military-industrial complex which Eisenhower warned about.  Soya said don't give us bombs to eat, give us food and a way to rebuild.  Robert Greenwald is circulating a petition calling for a civilian solution to stability.  This is the film-maker who blew the lid off war profiteering in "Iraq for Sale."

There is a solution. Get money to the poorest people in a way which "tunnels" through the corruption, so that they don't have to depend on the Taliban for the $8 a day they pay for insurgent work, and they will turn on the Taliban themselves. The Taliban is hated by most of the population as it ruled only by fear, not any popular consent.

We identified one functional ministry of the Karzai government which has done the work of building more than 25,000 community development councils (CDCs) which work with the villages and the elders on work projects which benefit the communities, not corrupt contractors like Halliburton or Louis Berger Group, or corrupt Afghan warlords. Details are in our White Paper "Stabilizing Afghanistan Through a Cash-for-Work Initiative."

It was humbling and inspiring to be standing next to this tiny woman who faces sudden death in her country on a daily basis because she will not stop what she is doing.  Her message to the American people was: No troop escalation.  Troops out.  Please don't bomb us, help us, the children are starving.  For her speaking tour dates go HERE.  With the support of many American women's organizations, she'll be in Los Angeles this Wednesday, and soon New York, San Francisco, and Providence.


 "There is a low percentage of the total Taliban force who we  would call ideologically driven. We refer to them as Tier 1 people who  believe their ideology, that what they're doing is right. The vast  majority of Taliban fighters are essentially economically  disadvantaged young men." --Col. Tom Collins, PBS Frontline, April 2, 2007,



"War is a racket. It always has been. It is possibly the oldest, easily the most profitable, surely the most vicious. It is the only one international in scope. It is the only one in which the profits are reckoned in dollars and the losses in lives. A racket is best described, I believe, as something that is not what it seems to the majority of the people. Only a small 'inside' group knows what it is about. It is conducted for the benefit of the very few, at the expense of the very many. Out of war a few people make huge fortunes."-Major General Smedley Butler, USMC (double Medal of Honor) 1935

Starvation in Afghanistan

Contact congress

Watch new film "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns" (26 minutes)

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Help Air "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns", Filmed in Kabul

VIEW IT HERE (26 minutes)

Obama's announcement that it will be weeks before he decides on Afghanistan  opens a window for war opponents to build public opinion against the war and troop escalation.  It's as if Obama understands that time is the enemy of the escalation, as Americans across the spectrum ask more and more questions.  A widened war will be disastrous for jobs in the American economy,  as capital is diverted to the war machine.  An Afghan Marshall Plan for stability would cost 1/10 of the cost of military operations, and build security, not insecurity.  

We call hunger and unemployment the underside of the insurgency, but in fact it is the elephant in the room.  The politicians know this, but pretend to be blind and hard-of-hearing, since war is more profitable for a few in the short-run than peace.

The documentary "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns" was created to educate the public on why this war has no military solution, in order to cause a collapse of the "floor" of polled support and to force the politicians to abandon escalation plans.  

As we have seen from the continuing Iraq debacle, they don't care what a small number of activists alone think.  But the combination of a "surge" in opposition and a drop in public support for the war could be the knock-out blow for the escalation, then on to withdrawal of troops.

The film is available for free broadcast and distribution at Pegmedia.org, a site for broadcast professionals to download free, high-quality, independently-produced content in a format ready to burn onto DVD.  Dozens of public access TV stations are now airing it.  Please keep this number growing, see how below.


FILM DESCRIPTION: "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns" (filmed in Kabul)

"In the midst of the superheated debate over the course of the war in Afghanistan, two independent film-makers, one an American, the other an Afghan citizen, release this provocative look at the underside of an insurgency. In a country with 40% unemployment, they talk to those whose voices have been missing: ordinary Afghans.  See and hear them up close in the squares where they gather by the thousands looking for work, and struggle to feed their families. Ranked as the fourth poorest nation in the world, many have never even heard of 9/11, nor the Twin Towers.   But someone is always hiring at a good daily wage: the Taliban.  The documentary reveals that a civilian solution to stability would cost but a small fraction of the present occupation.   Troops in Afghanistan are counterproductive. Help for Afghans is not.  (26 minutes)"

Email the below to your nearby public access TV station managers, which you can look up here:
Your public access TV station

CUT AND PASTE THE BELOW INTO AN EMAIL TO THE STATION MANAGERS.  THEY CAN DO THE REST.  ONCE YOU HAVE RUN DATES AND AIR TIMES, SEND AN ANNOUNCEMENT TO YOUR LOCAL NEWSPAPER TO PUBLICIZE.  ADD WATER. STIR.  DONE.  YOU HAVE HELPED STOP A WAR.
-------------------------------
Hi,
I would like to request that you broadcast the timely community-produced documentary, "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns" which was filmed in Kabul this summer (26 minutes.)  It is easily downloadable at Pegmedia.org , the site for public access TV managers to find quality, community-produced content (free, in mpeg2 format ready to burn to DVD.)   Please contact me with the run-times and dates if you can run this as a community service.

Thank you!
(YOUR NAME)
Community Television Fan

FILM CONTENT DESCRIPTION: "Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not
Guns" (filmed in Kabul)

"In the midst of the superheated debate over the course of the war in Afghanistan, two independent film-makers, one an American, the other an Afghan citizen, release this provocative look at the underside of an insurgency. In a country with 40% unemployment, they talk to those whose voices have been missing: ordinary Afghans.  See and hear them up close in the squares where they gather by the thousands looking for work, and struggle to feed their families. Ranked as the fourth poorest nation in the world, many have never even heard of 9/11, nor the Twin Towers.   But someone is always hiring at a good daily wage: the Taliban.  The documentary reveals that an civilian solution to stability would cost but a small fraction of the present occupation.   Troops in Afghanistan are counterproductive. Help for Afghans is not.  (26 minutes)"

LINK TO PEGMEDIA DOWNLOAD PAGE FOR STATION MANAGERS (MPEG2 file)
"Afghan Marshall Plan: Winning With Jobs Not Guns":
http://pegmedia.org/index.php?q=msvr/showal l/253/detail

LINK TO DOCUMENTARY FOR ONLINE VIEWING BEFORE DOWNLOADING (compressed MP4)
www.ralphlopezworld.com/pbs.mp4

MORE BACKGROUND LINKS ON SUBJECT:

LINK TO BOSTON GLOBE/BALTIMORE SUN OP-ED "We Can Win With Jobs Not
Guns in Afghanistan"
http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/oped/bal-op.afghanistan16aug16,0,4671831.story

LINK TO "An Exit Strategy for Afghanistan" by Ralph Lopez
http://jobsforafghans.org/exitstrategy.html

LINK TO FILM WEBSITE:
http://jobsforafghans.org

LINK TO PRINTABLE PUBLICITY POSTER (FOR COMMUNITY LIBRARY BULLETIN BOARDS ETC.)
http://jobsforafghans.org/poster.pdf

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Talk Radio's Middle Class Champion: A Podcast Interview With Thom Hartmann

The diary below was originally posted in my blog, the Intrepid Liberal Journal on Saturday, September 23rd when the interview took place.



Thom Hartmann is a dynamic voice for the aggrieved middle class. After one commercial break on a recent broadcast, the national radio host proudly declared,


"Welcome back to the Thom Hartman show where our talking points come from Jefferson and Madison, not some right wing think tank."


He then asks, "Will the next election be hacked?" as he promotes Bobby Kennedy, Jr.'s article in Rolling Stone magazine that examines fraudulent vote counting to the benefit of Republican candidates.


Talkers Magazine noted,


"There's a buzz growing around nationally syndicated talk show host Thom Hartmann, whose nationally syndicated daily program is drawing high marks by those who are on the lookout for talk radio's `Great Liberal Hope.'"

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Watching Patton

front-paged at Booman Tribune]

Last night I watched Patton (1970) for, I don't know, the sixth time?  In any case, it was the first time I'd watched the movie since George W. Bush became President.  For those of you that don't know, the movie chronicles the exploits of General George Patton during World War Two.  The story is told largely through the eyes of the G.I.s general, Omar Bradley.  Bradley is alternately admiring of Patton's virtuosity and disgusted by his willingness to sacrifice men to his quest for glory.  I've known men that served under Patton, and they were equally ambivalent.  They hated the man, but serving under him was their proudest achievement.  Even in a war where the cause is indisputably just, war is a moral quagmire.

Patton spoke as a man that knew our cause was just.

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Diaries

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