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Health Care & Environment
11.16 How pesticide bans can prevent tens of thousands of suicides a year [how many thousands more die early from eating pesticide-laced food?]
11.15 The long read: The plastic backlash: what's behind our sudden rage – and will it make a difference? [the world wants to throw-up...]
11.15 Claws out: crab fishermen sue 30 oil firms over climate change [workers are waking-up...]
11.12 This Land is Your Land: The Zinke effect: how the US interior department became a tool of industry [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Trump responds to worst fires in California’s history by threatening to withhold federal aid [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Interior department sued for ‘secretive process’ in at-risk species assessment [behaving ignorantly again...]
11.11 Keystone XL pipeline: judge rules government 'jumped the gun' and orders halt [behaving ignorantly again...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.16 As 'Green New Deal' Demand Grows, Democrats Have Choice: Confront and Defeat Fossil Fuel Industry or Take Credit for 'Doomed' Planet [Two choices: Save life-on-Earth or help Republicans let it die?]
11.15 Democrats Won Big. Can They Go Bold, Too? [it's about suppressing the influence and leadership by Republican-like Democrats who counsel 'íncremental' (no) change, such as Nancy Pelosi, Steny Hoyer, Hillary Clinton, Chuck Shumer and Joe Biden]
11.15 Pentagon Officials Forced to Make Fewer Public Appearances to Avoid Provoking Trump [...by revealing Trump's huuuge ignorance]
11.15 REPUBLICANS USED A BILL ABOUT WOLVES TO AVOID A VOTE ON YEMEN WAR [if there are 'defense industry' profits to be made—including congress-critter insider-trading—and political 'donations' to be had, we mustn't stop killing innocent civilians!]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.16 Amazon’s HQ2 Will Get a Tax Break Designed to Help the Poor [a Republican program that directly helps participating wealthy companies—but only helps workers if and when 'trickle-down' occurs.]
11.16 Trump doesn’t want to punish Saudi Arabia over Khashoggi. His new sanctions prove it. [George W. Bush made a similar immoral decision for the same oily reasons after 9-11, protecting Saudi defense contracts while facilitating the slaughter of poorer Arab "terrorists" in the region.]
11.15 The Earth is in a death spiral. It will take radical action to save us [fossil fuel burning, un-recyclable plastic production/use and methane gas release must cease ASAP.]
International & Futurism
11.15 Cuba to pull doctors out of Brazil after President-elect Bolsonaro comments [terms must be negotiated for fairness to Cuba's health professionals without disruption of healthcare for Brazil's poor]
11.14 'Appalling' Khashoggi audio shocked Saudi intelligence – Erdogan [Exposing a psychopath?]
A Million McVeighs Now: The American-Made Insurgency in Afghanistan
Tuesday, 16 December 2008
Just like every other operation in the so-called "War on Terror", the Afghan war, now in its seventh year, has proven entirely counter-productive to its stated aims.The "Good War" in Afghanistan – the Bush-launched war that Barack Obama tells us we must fight and win – continues to deteriorate before our eyes. Just like every other operation in the so-called "War on Terror" (another Bush-launched campaign that Obama has fully embraced as his own), the Afghan war, now in its seventh year, has proven entirely counter-productive to its stated aims. Instead of stabilizing a volatile region and denying it as a base for violent extremism, it has of course done the opposite. The shock waves of the heavy-handed American-led invasion of Afghanistan – a country that no foreign power has ever conquered and held – have spread across Central Asia, most dangerously into Pakistan.
Afghanistan itself is in a desperate condition, laden with a weak, foreign-installed government dominated by warlords and riddled with corruption. The illegal opium trade, quashed by the Taliban, has now surged to historic levels, and is flooding the streets of Europe and the West with cut-rate heroin – not to mention fuelling an astonishing rise in drug addiction among Afghans, Pakistanis and Iranians. At every turn, the iron hand of American militarism is producing more suffering, more chaos, more corruption, more extremism, more slaughter, both directly and as blowback from people maddened into wanton violence by the relentless stream of atrocities.
And no, to comprehend an origin of violence is not to condone it; but reality compels acknowledgement of the fact that state-terror atrocity breeds "asymmetrical" atrocity in turn. It also teaches by example. The state militarists of empire say: Violence works. Violence is honorable. Violence is the most effective way to accomplish your goals. And you must not blench at killing innocent people in your violent operations. Is it any wonder that others adopt these methods, which are championed and celebrated by our most respected and legitimatized elites? Recall the words of one of America's own home-grown "asymmetricals," Timothy McVeigh, who at his sentencing for the Oklahoma City bombing quoted Justice Louis Brandeis: "Our Government is the potent, the omnipresent teacher. For good or for ill, it teaches the whole people by its example."
McVeigh of course was schooled in death and violence as a soldier in the first Iraq War, where he had been appalled to find himself killing people who wished America no harm, and to see the wholesale slaughter of innocent people in a conflict that need never have been fought. A peaceful settlement of the complex financial and territorial dispute between Iraq and Kuwait had been brokered by the Arab League; but although Iraq accepted the deal, at the last minute, the Kuwaiti royals – long-time business partners of then-President George H.W. Bush – reneged and declared, "We will call in the Americans." Then the regional squabble between Iran and Kuwait was deceitfully turned into a "global threat" by the false claim that Iraq's invading forces were massing on the borders of Saudi Arabia. Pentagon chief Dick Cheney claimed secret satellite imagery showed vast Iraqi armies preparing to swoop down on the Saudi oilfields, the lifeline of the American economy. Bush Family capo James Baker, then Secretary of State, went before Congress and declared that the imminent war was all about saving American jobs. But commercial imagery obtained by a US newspaper at the time showed there were no Iraqi forces on the Saudi border. It was all a knowing lie – as were the claims paraded before Congress that Iraqi soldiers were flinging infants from their incubators in Kuwaiti hospitals. This bearing of false witness had been arranged by a prominent Bush-connected PR firm. The first Iraq War was just as falsely based and pointless as the second.
Unfortunately for the innocents in Oklahoma City, McVeigh too fully absorbed the lessons of the omnipresent teacher, even as he came to reject the teacher's authority. But his greatest crime in the imperial system was not that he killed innocent people in furtherance of political aims, but that he did it free-lance, without the "legitimacy" of a militarist government which slaughters innocent people by the hundreds of thousands in furtherance of its political aims.
Now in Afghanistan, the atrocities of the "legitimate" forces are fueling a prodigious growth in the "illegitimate" insurgency, transforming thousands of people who once opposed the Taliban into fighters under its banner. (Of course, "Taliban" has become a generic term for an array of opponents to the Western presence in Afghanistan). But these atrocities are an inevitable by-product of the very presence of foreign armies, which require "force protection" and close air cover and missile strikes to maintain and protect their operations. This inevitably produces large amounts of "collateral damage" (i.e., dead, maimed, ruined and dispossessed civilians.) The larger the foreign force, the more "force protection" it needs, which produces more atrocities, which fuels more resistance and more extremism. This is virtually a mathematical law. But of course, the very essence of a militarist state is that is feels unbounded by any law – not even the laws of human nature. Thus Washington is now increasing its military presence in Afghanistan, with Obama promising even more.
What will be the results of this policy? Do the math.
The Guardian provides an illuminating look at the fruits of American policy in Afghanistan today. This is what Barack Obama wants to see more of:
Chris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This column is republished here with the permission of the author.
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This story was published on December 16, 2008.
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