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Health Care & Environment
11.18 Air pollution levels ‘forcing families to move out of cities’ [like from desertification, lack of drinkable water and rising oceans, there will also be pollution-caused immigration until humans fix things]
11.17 Policies of China, Russia and Canada threaten 5C climate change, study finds [Climate catastrophe is increasingly likely without worldwide organization, funding and commitment to winning THE WAR AGAINST GLOBAL WARMING.]
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 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.]
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...]
News Media Matters
US Politics, Policy & 'Culture'
11.19 Last Week Tonight with John Oliver 11/18/2018 (HBO) [29:26 video]
11.19 Trump Says He Was 'Fully Briefed' and Also 'Not Briefed Yet' But Either Way Saudi Crown Prince 'Absolutely' Not Involved Because Trump Knows 'Everything That Went On' Without Listening to Tape of Khashoggi Murder
11.19 'We Need New Leaders, Period': Progressive Newcomers Urge Democrats to Embrace Bold Agenda or Face Primary Challenges [Current Democrat leaders are highly compromised by corporate donations]
11.18 Trump says Pelosi deserves speakership, offers Republican votes [An affirmation of Pelosi's unsuitability]
11.18 Khanna to Pelosi: Don't Just Create Green New Deal Select Committee, Make Ocasio-Cortez Its Chair [Will Pelosi earnestly change, or end her career in disgrace?]
11.18 Chuck Schumer, Feckless Hack [Neoliberal Democrats must go!]
11.18 What the State of the VA Tells Us About Trump’s War on Welfare [Privatizing often results in outright fraud and higher costs by private prisons, privatized health insurance and health care, privatized public schools and online "colleges" like Trump University]
11.17 As Energy for Medicare for All Explodes, Steny Hoyer's Plan Includes Waiting for Trump to Help Make Obamacare Better [Another who is unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.17 'A Staggeringly Bad Idea': Outrage as Pelosi Pushes Tax Rule That Would 'Kneecap the Progressive Agenda' [Unfit to be Democrat leader]
11.14 The Guardian view on Yemen’s misery: the west is complicit [WAR CRIMES]
Economics, Crony Capitalism
11.19 Bankrupt Sears wants to give executives $19 million in bonuses [blatantly immoral and sick to richly reward those who led the company into the bankruptcy]
11.18 Big Pharma Bankrolled Pro-Trump Group As Trump Pushed Pharma Tax Cut [Corruption Central!]
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.]
International & Futurism
11.18 France demands UK climate pledge in return for Brexit trade deal [Excellent!]
11.17 Thousands gather to block London bridges in climate rebellion [We're losing WWIII because the enemy is invisible while we're like frogs slowly cooking. We aren't informed enough to be alarmed, but must get organized and motivated to fight back. We need a War Plan to ruthlessly pursue the fight of our lives!]
Wake Up Obama: Afghanistan is No Threat to America
Monday, 26 January 2009
Instead of another ''surge'' to enlarge our military occupation, if we offered aid to Afghanistan and Pakistan contingent upon their taking serious action to eliminate Al Qaeda, we would quickly see these foreign intruders in both countries driven out.American foreign policy is moving from the absurd to the ludicrous.
Back in 2002, President George Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney managed to snooker the people of the United States, or at least a large number of us, into believing that Iraq, a pathetic Third World country ruled by a corrupt tin-pot dictator, was a grave danger to America, akin to Hitler and Nazi Germany in 1940. We learned how absurd that claim was when two hundred thousand American troops backed by the mightiest air force the world has ever seen, slammed into the country in March, 2003, and the Iraqi military simply folded up, and the Saddam regime along with it.
Now, President Obama appears ready to make an even more absurd claim, namely that the gravest threat facing this nation is posed by the country of Afghanistan. Now I’ll grant that Afghanistan, with a population of 33 million, is at third bigger than Iraq, which had a population of 24 million, at least until the US invasion and occupation led to the death of over a million of Iraqis. But aside from that, Afghanistan, a land-locked nation that lies between Iran and Pakistan, is far weaker and more primitive even than Iraq.
By any measure except population, Afghanistan suffers in comparison to Iraq. It has no air force at all. It barely has an army. Most of its people are illiterate and live in rural areas. Its people are extremely poor—among the poorest in the world. In many ways, Afghanistan is actually less a country than a region populated by a variety of feuding tribes—tribes that have different languages and cultures and even different racial backgrounds.
Do we really believe that this desperately poor and war-torn nation poses an existential threat—or any threat at all—to the US?
Okay, we know that there is a gang of mostly Arab terrorists going by the name of Al Qaeda that is hiding out in eastern Afghanistan, and that its leaders have allied this organization with the Taliban—the ousted rulers of Afghanistan who were pushed out of the capital of Kabul by US forces in 2001 following the 9-11 attacks. But since that relatively easy military incursion, all the US and its 34,000 troops in Afghanistan have managed to accomplish, besides installing a crooked puppet regime in the capital city, has been to create more and more hatred for the US as an occupying power, by killing large numbers of Afghan civilians through brutal raids on villages and by use of overwhelming and inherently indiscriminate airpower and remote-controlled missile-equipped drone aircraft.
Based upon the ludicrous premise that Afghanistan is the biggest military threat facing the US today, our new president, Barack Obama, is preparing to send another 30,000 US troops to that country, effectively doubling the number of American soldiers already there. Inevitably, this will mean more killing and more anger towards America among the local population.
Al Qaeda members, meanwhile, have largely moved away from the battle to Pakistan, a much larger nation to the east of Afghanistan, which raises the question: What the hell are we trying to do in Afghanistan?
Let’s get it straight. No Afghan has ever, to my knowledge, harmed the United States. I’m not sure most Afghanis, if they could scrape together the money to go to the US, would even know where this country is. (Okay, most Americans probably couldn’t tell you where Afghanistan is, either, but at least we have libraries, and computers, which the geographically challenged can turn to in order to locate the place. That’s not true for the people of Afghanistan, who have neither.)
For eight years, America has been attacking and destroying a country that is about as dangerous a threat to America as is Mali, or Haiti, or the Comoros Islands. If Obama follows through and doubles the number of troops fighting over there, it will just make this whole policy twice as stupid.
I’m sorry. I know Al Qaeda is a nasty gang, well funded by sources in Saudi Arabia, and well trained in the fine arts of terrorism by the CIA, which back in the day saw the group as a good proxy for harassing Soviet troops that were occupying Afghanistan. But if eight years of constant war by US troops in Afghanistan has been unable to stop or even seriously undermine Al Qaeda, I cannot understand the logic of doubling down on the bad bet.
If the US wants to defeat Al Qaeda, it needs to enlist the support of the governments of the countries where Al Qaeda is operating, and it needs to eliminate the outside financial support for Al Qaeda. The first prong of this strategy would require convincing the governments of Afghanistan and Pakistan to get serious about driving out Al Qaeda. That should not be difficult. If we stopped killing Afghanis, and if we stopped firing rockets into the sovereign nation of Pakistan, killing innocent Pakistanis in the process, and massively insulting the government of Pakistan, and if we instead offered aid to both countries, contingent upon their taking serious action to eliminate Al Qaeda, we would quickly see these foreign intruders in both countries driven out. As to the second prong, why is the US continuing to treat Saudi Arabia as a valued ally if it continues to allow wealthy Saudis to send financial support to Al Qaeda? Yes Saudi Arabia is a major provider of oil to the US, but the US is the major supplier of arms to the government of Saudi Arabia. It’s easy to see where the US could tighten the screws to end the flow of money to terrorists.
And then there is this: The Vietnam War destroyed the presidencies of Richard Nixon and Lyndon Johnson. The Iraq War destroyed the presidency of George Bush. Obama, if he orders an expansion of the war in Afghanistan, and thus takes ownership of that conflict, will be well on the way to destroying his own presidency.
About the author: Philadelphia journalist Dave Lindorff is a 34-year veteran, an award-winning journalist, a former New York Times contributor, a graduate of the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, a two-time Journalism Fulbright Scholar, and the co-author, with Barbara Olshansky, of a well-regarded book on impeachment, The Case for Impeachment. His work is available at www.thiscantbehappening.net.
Copyright © 2009 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
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Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.This story was published on January 26, 2009.
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