War Fatigue

Obama and Company are gearing up for an explanation tour of our goals in the Middle East... that we are there to keep Al Qaeda out, to stop the Taliban from returning to Afghanistan, and to WIN (whatever that means).

Trying to build a Democratic state in a Medieval mess is just not working out. Keeping the corrupt Karzai government afloat is a form of creeping suicide for our troops, which we have expanded in Afghanistan as we have cut them in Iraq.

There's more...

Nick Kristof Hits on Afghan Exit Strategy, Cost Same as 246 Soldiers

Not only is your tax money funding the Taliban to an extent which is perhaps even greater than the opium trade; not only is the Pakistani military helping Afghan insurgents attack American troops (again most likely with part of that $1 billion a year we give them); not only is the $50 billion Congress just borrowed to keep the war going making us even poorer; the kicker is it could all be done and won for a teeny tiny fraction of the cost.  In a remarkably subversive piece of journalism for the NYT, Nicholas Kristof lets the cat out of the bag: this military spending is all one big, huge waste.  We could be borrowing that money from China for other things. Today he writes:

Mr. [Greg] Mortenson lamented to me that for the cost of just 246 soldiers posted for one year, America could pay for a higher education plan for all Afghanistan. That would help build an Afghan economy, civil society and future — all for one-quarter of 1 percent of our military spending in Afghanistan this year.

The most important point Kristof makes is that the "development follows security" mantra is all wrong.  This if anything is one of the military's central justification for being there.  The problem is, it's ass-backwards.

Hawks retort that it’s impossible to run schools in Afghanistan unless there are American troops to protect them. But that’s incorrect.  CARE, a humanitarian organization, operates 300 schools in Afghanistan, and not one has been burned by the Taliban. Greg Mortenson, of "Three Cups of Tea" fame, has overseen the building of 145 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan and operates dozens more in tents or rented buildings — and he says that not one has been destroyed by the Taliban either.

The gray pages of the New York Times kicks the reason d'etre of the Military Industrial Complex in Afghanistan all to hell:

Aid groups show that it is quite possible to run schools so long as there is respectful consultation with tribal elders and buy-in from them. And my hunch is that CARE and Mr. Mortenson are doing more to bring peace to Afghanistan than Mr. Obama’s surge of troops.

The roll call of the House vote yesterday to approve the administration's request for $50 billion more in war funding is HERE (a "yea" is in favor of more funds for the war.)  Campaign contributions to congressmen from defense corporations are HERE.  And is HERE is how you contact your congressmen to let them know what you think.  If I'm going to borrow money from China (I'd rather not) it would be to go back to school.

 

 

Nick Kristof Hits on Afghan Exit Strategy, Cost Same as 246 Soldiers

Not only is your tax money funding the Taliban to an extent which is perhaps even greater than the opium trade; not only is the Pakistani military helping Afghan insurgents attack American troops (again most likely with part of that $1 billion a year we give them); not only is the $50 billion Congress just borrowed to keep the war going making us even poorer; the kicker is it could all be done and won for a teeny tiny fraction of the cost.  In a remarkably subversive piece of journalism for the NYT, Nicholas Kristof lets the cat out of the bag: this military spending is all one big, huge waste.  We could be borrowing that money from China for other things. Today he writes:

Mr. [Greg] Mortenson lamented to me that for the cost of just 246 soldiers posted for one year, America could pay for a higher education plan for all Afghanistan. That would help build an Afghan economy, civil society and future — all for one-quarter of 1 percent of our military spending in Afghanistan this year.

The most important point Kristof makes is that the "development follows security" mantra is all wrong.  This if anything is one of the military's central justification for being there.  The problem is, it's ass-backwards.

Hawks retort that it’s impossible to run schools in Afghanistan unless there are American troops to protect them. But that’s incorrect.  CARE, a humanitarian organization, operates 300 schools in Afghanistan, and not one has been burned by the Taliban. Greg Mortenson, of "Three Cups of Tea" fame, has overseen the building of 145 schools in Afghanistan and Pakistan and operates dozens more in tents or rented buildings — and he says that not one has been destroyed by the Taliban either.

The gray pages of the New York Times kicks the reason d'etre of the Military Industrial Complex in Afghanistan all to hell:

Aid groups show that it is quite possible to run schools so long as there is respectful consultation with tribal elders and buy-in from them. And my hunch is that CARE and Mr. Mortenson are doing more to bring peace to Afghanistan than Mr. Obama’s surge of troops.

The roll call of the House vote yesterday to approve the administration's request for $50 billion more in war funding is HERE (a "yea" is in favor of more funds for the war.)  Campaign contributions to congressmen from defense corporations are HERE.  And is HERE is how you contact your congressmen to let them know what you think.  If I'm going to borrow money from China (I'd rather not) it would be to go back to school.

 

 

WHO Voted to Fund the Taliban?

It is abundantly clear that congressmen who vote for more war funding this week, after the issuance of the Tierney report, will be voting to fund the Taliban in no insubstantial amount.  It is estimated that the business previously thought to be the Taliban's biggest source of support, the opium business, brings in around $300 million.  Now the Tierney report from Congress's own Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Warlord, Inc., reveals that the Taliban's take from the U.S. Department of Defense, every penny of it U.S. taxpayer dollars, could be as high as $400 million and certainly no less than $100 million.
 
The Pentagon outdoing the opium business at supporting the Taliban?  Shocking, but true.  

It is beyond doubt now that "protection payments" to insurgents, as the Tierney report calls them, for truck convoys carrying re-supplies for the network of 200 American bases across Afghanistan, are a major if not THE major source of funding for the Taliban.  This week the Congress will vote on whether to continue those payments, whether the vote is cast in those terms or not.  An AP write-up of the Tierney report , as well as a recent CBS newscast, calls the Pentagon funding of the Taliban "unintentional," but that is an incorrect word to use.  Knowledge of the practice goes up the chain of command all the way up to civilian leadership like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who testified to Congress seven months ago, on December 3, 2009:

"You offload a ship in Karachi and by the time whatever it is – you know, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfasts or anti-IED equipment – gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands. And one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money."

The practice cannot be "unintentional."  Reluctant, perhaps.  The bottom line is there is no other way to move the vast quanity of supplies required by a full-blown occupation, around a country the size of Afghanistan, except by 200 - 500 vehicle truck convoys, through the most hostile terrain on Earth.

An American officer in the Tierney report says:

"the heart of the matter is that insurgents are getting paid for safe passage because there are few other ways to bring goods to the combat outposts and forward operating bases where soldiers need them. By definition, many outposts are situated in hostile terrain, in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The [Afghan security companies run by warlords] don't really protect convoys of American military goods here, because they simply can't; they need the Taliban's cooperation."

How hostile?  Says the report:

 

"The terrain is unforgiving: deserts that kick up sandstorms in the summer become flooded and muddy in the spring, and treacherous mountain roads leave no room for error. Summer heat regularly reaches 120 degrees. Mountain weather can change in an instant, bringing snow and freezing rain. In the winter, the single tunnel that connects Kabul to northern Afghanistan is frequently cut off by avalanches."

Welcome to the Graveyard of Empires.

This is the signal we have been waiting for on the war in Afghanistan.  Beyond troop casualties, beyond the society-busting cost, is the Tierney report's ill wind blowing in our faces which tells us: Pssst!  It can't be won!

The anti-war momentum has been growing, with the Senate last week finally stripping out the "liptick on the pig" factor of education and other important funding, so each can be voted on separately, forcing Congress into a clean up-or-down vote on the war.  Pay attention.  Now you will know if your congressman is for the war or against it.

No longer can congressmen claim to be "anti-war" while still voting for war funding "because I had to vote for the education funds," the latest tactic.  Last month a record number of the House voted for an amendment to require a binding exit plan by the end of the year.  

The exit plan is simple: empower the Afghan people against the economic hold of the warlords and the Taliban, who often blur into the same people, by flooding civil society non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the honest ones, with cash and reconstruction assistance in major population centers like Kabul, where security is not a major issue.  There are already orange work-vests on men in ditches, for telecom wire and other infrastucture, all over the city.  They should bloom like flowers, workmen earning a decent wage of $8-$10 a day, very decent for Afghanistan, which keeps them away from the Taliban and warlords.  Neither of the latter are particularly popular, although the Taliban has come to symbolize a national resistance to a foreign occupation which has nearly blown its chance to bring improvements to the lives of ordinary Afghans, who are among the poorest of the poor in the world.  

Even the trillions of dollars in minerals and oil and gas doesn't make sense for an imperial occupation, if one calls it that.  The cost of a long term occupation will easily reach the trillions, as Iraq has already reached $3 trillion according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz.  That simply buying resources at market rate might be cheaper is the fly in the ointment of empire theory.  That is, unless one considers that empire has its own logic, not always necessarily aligned with the interests of the nation from which the empire sprang.  War is profitable to some even as it runs at a loss to others, and like a marathoner whose body is at the last consuming its own muscle.

Congress this week should decline to approve Obama’s request for $33 billion more to continue the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and instead require him to begin preparations for an orderly withdrawal of all but civilian assistance.  Afghanistan can stand on its own given the right kind of job-creating reconstruction programs which address the 40% unemployment rate which is the Taliban’s best friend.  

CONTACT CONGRESS, SAY VOTE NO ON WAR FUNDING.

CONGRESS SWITCHBOARD, 24/7 AFTER-HOURS MESSAGE GIVE THEM YOUR ZIP CODE IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR CONGRESSMAN: 202-224-3121

 

 

WHO Voted to Fund the Taliban?

It is abundantly clear that congressmen who vote for more war funding this week, after the issuance of the Tierney report, will be voting to fund the Taliban in no insubstantial amount.  It is estimated that the business previously thought to be the Taliban's biggest source of support, the opium business, brings in around $300 million.  Now the Tierney report from Congress's own Subcommittee on National Security and Foreign Affairs, Warlord, Inc., reveals that the Taliban's take from the U.S. Department of Defense, every penny of it U.S. taxpayer dollars, could be as high as $400 million and certainly no less than $100 million.
 
The Pentagon outdoing the opium business at supporting the Taliban?  Shocking, but true.  

It is beyond doubt now that "protection payments" to insurgents, as the Tierney report calls them, for truck convoys carrying re-supplies for the network of 200 American bases across Afghanistan, are a major if not THE major source of funding for the Taliban.  This week the Congress will vote on whether to continue those payments, whether the vote is cast in those terms or not.  An AP write-up of the Tierney report , as well as a recent CBS newscast, calls the Pentagon funding of the Taliban "unintentional," but that is an incorrect word to use.  Knowledge of the practice goes up the chain of command all the way up to civilian leadership like Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who testified to Congress seven months ago, on December 3, 2009:

"You offload a ship in Karachi and by the time whatever it is – you know, muffins for our soldiers’ breakfasts or anti-IED equipment – gets to where we’re headed, it goes through a lot of hands. And one of the major sources of funding for the Taliban is the protection money."

The practice cannot be "unintentional."  Reluctant, perhaps.  The bottom line is there is no other way to move the vast quanity of supplies required by a full-blown occupation, around a country the size of Afghanistan, except by 200 - 500 vehicle truck convoys, through the most hostile terrain on Earth.

An American officer in the Tierney report says:

"the heart of the matter is that insurgents are getting paid for safe passage because there are few other ways to bring goods to the combat outposts and forward operating bases where soldiers need them. By definition, many outposts are situated in hostile terrain, in the southern parts of Afghanistan. The [Afghan security companies run by warlords] don't really protect convoys of American military goods here, because they simply can't; they need the Taliban's cooperation."

How hostile?  Says the report:

 

"The terrain is unforgiving: deserts that kick up sandstorms in the summer become flooded and muddy in the spring, and treacherous mountain roads leave no room for error. Summer heat regularly reaches 120 degrees. Mountain weather can change in an instant, bringing snow and freezing rain. In the winter, the single tunnel that connects Kabul to northern Afghanistan is frequently cut off by avalanches."

Welcome to the Graveyard of Empires.

This is the signal we have been waiting for on the war in Afghanistan.  Beyond troop casualties, beyond the society-busting cost, is the Tierney report's ill wind blowing in our faces which tells us: Pssst!  It can't be won!

The anti-war momentum has been growing, with the Senate last week finally stripping out the "liptick on the pig" factor of education and other important funding, so each can be voted on separately, forcing Congress into a clean up-or-down vote on the war.  Pay attention.  Now you will know if your congressman is for the war or against it.

No longer can congressmen claim to be "anti-war" while still voting for war funding "because I had to vote for the education funds," the latest tactic.  Last month a record number of the House voted for an amendment to require a binding exit plan by the end of the year.  

The exit plan is simple: empower the Afghan people against the economic hold of the warlords and the Taliban, who often blur into the same people, by flooding civil society non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the honest ones, with cash and reconstruction assistance in major population centers like Kabul, where security is not a major issue.  There are already orange work-vests on men in ditches, for telecom wire and other infrastucture, all over the city.  They should bloom like flowers, workmen earning a decent wage of $8-$10 a day, very decent for Afghanistan, which keeps them away from the Taliban and warlords.  Neither of the latter are particularly popular, although the Taliban has come to symbolize a national resistance to a foreign occupation which has nearly blown its chance to bring improvements to the lives of ordinary Afghans, who are among the poorest of the poor in the world.  

Even the trillions of dollars in minerals and oil and gas doesn't make sense for an imperial occupation, if one calls it that.  The cost of a long term occupation will easily reach the trillions, as Iraq has already reached $3 trillion according to Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz.  That simply buying resources at market rate might be cheaper is the fly in the ointment of empire theory.  That is, unless one considers that empire has its own logic, not always necessarily aligned with the interests of the nation from which the empire sprang.  War is profitable to some even as it runs at a loss to others, and like a marathoner whose body is at the last consuming its own muscle.

Congress this week should decline to approve Obama’s request for $33 billion more to continue the escalation of the war in Afghanistan, and instead require him to begin preparations for an orderly withdrawal of all but civilian assistance.  Afghanistan can stand on its own given the right kind of job-creating reconstruction programs which address the 40% unemployment rate which is the Taliban’s best friend.  

CONTACT CONGRESS, SAY VOTE NO ON WAR FUNDING.

CONGRESS SWITCHBOARD, 24/7 AFTER-HOURS MESSAGE GIVE THEM YOUR ZIP CODE IF YOU DON'T KNOW YOUR CONGRESSMAN: 202-224-3121

 

 

Diaries

Advertise Blogads