Posts Tagged ‘afghanistan’

Absurd… ity

December 28, 2010

No comments required…. I think…

War in Afghanistan: A breeze of change blows in Helmand

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8226342/War-in-Afghanistan-A-breeze-of-change-blows-in-Helmand.html

As British troops spend their 10th Christmas in Afghanistan, Thomas Harding reports on growing signs of success in the fight against the insurgency.

And from the same paper, on the same day though, I grant you, maybe on a different page, we have:

UN charts escalation of violence in Afghanistan

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/afghanistan/8227073/UN-charts-escalation-of-violence-in-Afghanistan.html

An official confirmed that violence had gripped some areas that had once been regarded as stable, at the same time as it emerged that confidential UN maps charted a decline in security from March to October this year.

On various (and more) absurdities… no news here

July 29, 2010

The Washington Post writes about the hundreds (that’s hundreds) various secret agencies that have cropped up since 2001. The problem here are not the agencies but the fact that nobody has overall responsibility for all of them. In turn, this creates two other very serious problems; the first is that with so many agencies operating independently not only is overlap guaranteed but members of these agencies, willingly or not, also obstacolate each other and very likely take each other out. The second problem is that if an agency is secret then its financing must be too. If you have hundreds of secret agencies, then where are the funds going to come from? And here you begin to see why opium production has more than tripled in Afghanistan since we invaded that country…

Anyway. This is even more evidence of the end of the inflationary cycle when government becomes the only and largest actor in the economy and becomes overbearing.

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/top-secret-america/articles/a-hidden-world-growing-beyond-control/

Of course, you will have heard by now that the war in Afghanistan is not going well. If you read this blog, this will not come as a surprise to you. Further evidence that the war is not going well can be gleaned by the reaction of the authorities. After nine years of a war whose aim continues to shift from one goal to another (the original goal was to capture Bin Ladin and … defeat Al Qaeda whatever Al Qaeda may be) now the authorities are more worried about who leaked the documents. So worried in fact they are that they are gearing up for a “robust ” internal investigation. And just to make sure the people don’t find the leaked documents to be anything else than an embarassing revelation, government propaganda assures us these documents don’t highlight anything new and are not that important…. which begs the question why they should have been classified in the first place and why the internal investigation should be “robust”. Maybe some of the investigative robustness could be channelled towards finding Bin Ladin…. ???

Then there is the news that the some inspector has found about $9 Billion missing from an Iraq fund. Of course, in the universe of figures bandied about nowadays in the press and on tv, nine billion barely registers in our minds anymore. Anyway, what is nine billion when already in 2001 some $2Trillion went missing from the pentagon budget? I bet you forgot about that bit of accounting hicup didn’t you?

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2002/01/29/eveningnews/main325985.shtml

But as we all know the search for that 2Trillion really went nowhere because then we had to go after Al Qaeda…

Here are more symptoms of an overbearing and necessarily touchy government that is in great need of strawmen to deflect the attention of the public:

http://www.economist.com/node/16636027

Never in the civilized world have so many been locked up for so little

And so the wheel turns. I’m still traveling so I’ll add to my last posts as and when I have the possibility.

Careful whom you vote for now you hear?

Want more absurdities?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/americas/general-electric-settles-charges-on-iraq-kickback-scheme/article1653099/

General Electric settles charges on Iraq kickback scheme – Company neither admits nor denies charges of shelling out illegal kickbacks; agrees to pay $23.4m settlement

Like a whole swathe of companies, GE has become the behemoth it has due to continued government interference and largesse over the years. As a result, GE, like for example GM, is nothing but a finance company that happens to produce some hardware. But other than these whimsical considerations, what is a $23 million dollars in fines when GE has peddled deals in the hundreds of billion?

Like the recent Goldman Sachs settlement “fine”, entities that benefit from government benevolence and largesse are “punished” by fines that are fractions of amounts they have extorted from society; our society as well as the peoples of other lands like Iraq.

UK Gov saying they want to pull out of Afghanistan…

May 22, 2010

… the key here is the typical and politically expedient use of “as soon as possible”. Though withdrawal would indeed be the reasonable thing to do, if history is any guide, the UK are not about to do anything at all; certainly not pull out of Afghanistan. The West will eventually pull out of Afghanistan once the situation there becomes militarily untenable and the number of casualties amongst Western troops becomes politically untenable at home. Till then, the UK, the EU and the USA will blunder on and, despite occasional attempts at soft intervention, Western strategy will become gradually more lethal, more destructive but more detached thus less accurate inflicting devastating losses on the civilian population and the environment.

The thing is that with everything that is happening at home, the West can ill afford greater numbers of casualties that are necessary if the country is to be “pacified” because pacification can only come about with boots on the ground. And considering Afghanistan’s size and topography, nothing short of a good million troops might do. In the absence of boots on the ground, the West must rely on air power and missiles… hence the tolerance for collateral damage must necessarily increase.

Of course, in the event of a global conflict and in the event the conflict should start or be extended to that part of the world, then increasing boots on the ground won’t really be a problem. But till then, the West will stay the course and only pack it in once the current puppet regime is discredited, overthrown and/or casualties amongst Western troops create a political backlash at home.

Afghanistan 8 years on…

January 28, 2010

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jan/27/only-pressure-withdraw-stop-blood-price

Excerpts (emphasis added):

Eight years ago, Tony Blair’s ­office issued a ­triumphant denunciation of the small minority in the media who had ­challenged the war on terror and the invasion of Afghanistan that launched it. Reported by the Sun as “Blair shames war weasels“, Downing Street named 10 miscreant writers, including several on the Guardian, for suggesting that the war risked a ­Vietnam-style ­occupation, would increase the threat of terrorism and ignore the interests of Afghan women. They had “proved to be wrong”, the spin machine declared: kites were flying, women were throwing off their burkas and the ­Taliban and al-Qaida had been swept from the scene. […] Eight years on, far from being swept from the scene, the Taliban controls much of the country, al-Qaida has spread across the region, the war is ­escalating, thousands of civilians are being killed, corruption is rampant and the position of many women, according to women’s leaders such as the MP Malalai Joya, is actually worse under Nato-warlord rule than under the Taliban. […] Having failed to subdue Afghanistan militarily or achieve any credibility for the US and Nato-installed Hamid Karzai, the London conference is supposed to endorse their plan B. That can be summed up as: talk to the Taliban and buy them off wherever possible. The one-time boasts of destroying the Taliban or capturing its leader, Mullah Omar, alive or dead, are long gone. […] Instead, US defence secretary Robert Gates explained last week that the ­Taliban are part of Afghanistan’s “political fabric. Nato’s commander, General Stanley McChrystal, went further still, floating the possibility of a power-sharing deal with the ultra-conservative Pashtun-based guerrilla force. There is much talk about the New Taliban leaders the occupiers think they can do business with, […]

Echoes of the Ben Tre strategy.

Obama’s alternative universe (Scott Ritter)

January 14, 2010

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/obamas_alternative_universe_20100108/

Excerpts – emphasis added

The “war on terror” into which Obama seems to have thrust himself (the most recent manifestation being Yemen) remains the largest obstacle for any rational resolution of America’s problems in Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Simply put, so long as the United States seeks an enemy that does not exist, it will always be looking for an enemy in its stead. The “war on terror” has the United States combing the world in search of enemies, and because American policymakers are responsive not to the reality that exists in the world today, but rather the perceptions of an American people largely ignorant of the world in which they live, and paralyzed by the fear such ignorance generates, there will always be countries and causes America will anoint as foe. The “war on terror” becomes a self-perpetuating problem for which there is no solution. Worse, it is a problem that ultimately will destroy America, not from any actions undertaken by whatever manifestation of “enemy” America conjures up, but rather from the actions undertaken by America itself. The asymmetrical nature of the “war on terror” allows an individual, or group of individuals, using a thousand dollars worth of explosives and airline tickets to generate a response from America that costs billions of dollars and further erodes the very system of ideals and values that ostensibly define the United States, all the while doing nothing to resolve the original issue. […] Giving a criminal element, whether in the form of al-Qaida or a drug lord, the status of community or nation by waging “war” against it represents a failure to define the problem properly, leading inevitably to solutions that solve nothing. The answer to 9/11 is not war, but rather the “rule of law.” Until this underlying premise is recognized and adopted by U.S. policymakers, the psychosis of war will continue to corrupt American policy, and with it American society. […] Kashmir serves as the principle motivating force for radical Islam in Pakistan today. Long before Pakistan facilitated American support for Afghan freedom fighters, it was providing training and support for Islamic fundamentalists who served the cause of a unified Kashmir under the flag of Pakistan. […] However, similar to what Israel does in handling the issue of Palestine, India has been able to leverage its economic and regional influence in a manner that prevents American policymakers from engaging on the issue of Kashmir. Without such an engagement there can never be a resolution of the problems faced by America in Pakistan today. […] those who can make a difference are operating in an alternative policy universe governed by the self-serving interests of those who use politically induced fear as a mechanism of placating a public oblivious to the fact that they are sleepwalking ever closer to a demise of their own making. For this we have no one to blame but ourselves.

Ed. note: The closing paragraph in fact describes exactly the same issues that are deliberately limiting effective responses to the economic crisis. As this blog tries to point out, politics, economics and social science cannot be separated nor can they be analyzed and acted upon in isolation. Everything goes back to our monetary system. Everything.

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Saudi Arabia (human rights)

October 25, 2009

I needn’t remind any of you that 13 of the identified and/or caught 9/11 hijackers, alleged accomplices and would-be hijackers were Saudi nationals.

The question is why are we fighting a war in Afghanistan?

Can you enumerate even some of the reasons our governments have given us in order to justify sending our troops to Afghanistan? If you can, should you not wonder whether, since we already are astride our high moral horse, we shouldn’t send our troops somewhere else too?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/us_saudi_flogging

If you can’t remember why we are in Afghanistan surely you remember that:

– In 2002, when a school for girls in Saudi Arabia caught fire, the Religious Police decided it was preferable to lock the students inside the burning building condemning them to certain death rather than compromise the honor of the students’ families by allowing them out in public wearing only their night gowns instead of the Muslim attire. We are talking here of the year 2002… not 1502… this is about seven years ago folks….

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/1874471.stm

– There is no freedom of worship in Saudi Arabia. There are no churches, synagogues or temples of any other denomination than Islamic… and there too, only Sunni Islamic worship is allowed.  Considering that Saudi society is only marginally competent and negligibly willing to work, the entire economy is operated by foreign nationals that have to risk severe punishment including lashes, jail time if not outright decapitation, if they so much as attempt to worship their chosen God.

– 2002 was a particularly prolific year in the wondrous land of Saudi Arabia. That same year, some Dr. Umayma Ahmad Al Jalahma published a “scholarly” article in the government’s main propaganda daily Al-Riyadh stating that Jews drink the blood of non Jewish adolescents to celebrate one of their holidays.

http://www.memri.org/bin/articles.cgi?Page=archives&Area=sd&ID=SP35402#_edn1

So, why is it that we are in Afghanistan exactly?

Brutal Law Strips Afghan Women of Rights

April 4, 2009

Afghanistan!

I’m just a common mortal and it’s probably best that I should be. I am not privvy to the machinations of states and politicians as I’m not aware of the schemes that are concocted, hatched and foisted upon the masses as so much pablum. But I know this.

The West’s intervention in Afghanistan (as any intervention of a sovereign state in the affairs of another) is a boondoggle by any other name.

The recorded history of the West’s intervention in Afghanistan should suffice to elicit a degree of doubt in the mind of most politicians as to the necessity and the moral right of sticking our noses where they really don’t belong. But beyond empirical evidence, in the age of Political Correctness when the calls for self determination are strident, here we go trying to subvert what is essentially a social and political framework that we have decided must be brought more in line with ours.

Afghanistan has seen the back of numerous invading armies over the centuries and short of a wholesale nuclear holocaust that would turn the entire region into a glass parking lot, they will see the backs of ours.

Who are we to go tell people what an acceptable social order should or should not be. Who are we to go and try to subvert social practices that have persisted over millenia and that, moreover, are widely accepted by the indigenous population? Who are we to take unilateral “pity” on a people that we have decided are oppressed and not happy?

I can hear you muttering: “slavery… oppression… human rights…”. Here’s the skinny. I’ve seen slavery and oppression and guess what. I’ve witnessed slavery and oppression sanctioned by Western states and “international law” and perpetrated by white Westerners within the context of transnational commercial companies such as international chain hotels; yup! All the big brands you an think of. During my time in recruitment, the thing to do for hotels operating in regions of the world outside the West and outside regulated markets (such as in Dubai for example) was to go on recruitment campaigns in Moldova for example. There, they would recruit buxom blonds for as much as $100 a month for service positions such as waiting. The ugly truth is two fold; on one hand the hotel doing the recruiting would rationalize the “salary” on the grounds that $100 ($100 was the high end of the salary offered, many were recruited for much less) was a fortune in Moldova completely disregarding the fact that these employees would send home at least half of their wages to sustain families and, if they were lucky (or stingy to their families), would have $50 left for shelter and some spending money in Dubai. Some hotel managers will tell you that they provided “accommodation” for these employees. Indeed they may have but you should have seen the living conditions of what could at best be described as dormitories. You tell me folks. What kind of accommodation would you get for $50 a month in Dubai? (This is a rhetorical question). On the other hand, hiring hotels undertaking recruitment trips in Moldova would rely on the services of a local recruitment company. The local recruitment company in turn would not only take money from the hotel commissioning the recruitment, but they would also take money from the candidates applying for a position. The result is that upon arriving in Dubai for work, these employees were already in debt to the tune of several hundred if not thousands Dollars.

Not content with their egregious behavior in terms of human rights, hotels would also confiscate the passports of their employees especially if they are buxom blonds. The rationale for doing that? Hotel owners complain that these girls come to Dubai to get married to rich husbands. Oh really? I say that if these girls were paid honest wages that would allow them to make a decent living, they would not be forced into working for “tips” and very often they would not be forced to marry opportunistic slobs that are otherwise allowed to prey on them.

Don’t talk to me about the oppression of women in Afghanistan. Let’s get our house in order first then we can talk about slavery and oppression in other people’s lands. People that live in glass houses….

Leave the Afghans alone to sort out their society as they see fit.

http://www.alternet.org/reproductivejustice/134818/brutal_law_strips_afghan_women_of_rights_–_where%27s_the_outrage/