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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!]
Addicted to War: America's Brutal Pipe Dream in Afghanistan
Since Al Qaeda's state-less terrorists are scattered in many countries why are we "surging" for a larger war in Afghanistan?
Originally published in Empire Burlesque on Tuesday, 11 August 2009
Americans are adopting the Soviets' own failed strategy in Afghanistan: death-dealing military "surges" combined with wads of cash thrown blindly into the economic chaos caused by the military action.
Looks like the "Good War" in Afghanistan is morphing even more directly into the "Drug War" that the U.S. government has been waging all over the world -- and especially against its own people -- for almost 40 years now, with all the attendant aggrandizement of authoritarian powers and degradation of civil liberties and human rights.
As The Times reports, and Pentagon brass confirmed, the "continuity government" of the Obama Administration has drawn up yet another "hit list" of people to be arbitrarily assassinated: 50 "drug lords" allegedly associated with the Taliban. No doubt the many drug lords associated with the American-installed Afghan government -- and those cooperating directly with the Western occupation -- are exempt from this dirty laundry list.
Of course, the runaway cultivation of opium in Afghanistan -- which is now flooding not only the West but also vast swathes of Central Asia with cheap heroin -- is a direct result of the American invasion in 2001: an operation ostensibly designed to capture Osama bin Laden, who somehow curiously slipped away from the Americans' curiously porous encirclement, never to be seen again (except of course for a few curiously timed transmission that seemed, curiously enough, to be geared to the domestic political needs of America's militarist factions). Of course, before the invasion, the Taliban had largely -- if ruthlesssly -- eliminated the cultivation of opium in the areas under its control. But the American military -- and its gung-ho CIA operatives ("We're killing people!" as one CIAer exulted to the Boston Globe) -- instead empowered the Northern Alliance: the Russian-backed conglomerate of warlords and druglords who were freely growing opium in their territories.
Now the Afghan insurgents -- themselves a loose conglomeration of factions given the conveniently misleading monolithic moniker of "the Taliban" -- have taken up the opium trade to help finance their operations as well. Meanwhile, poor Afghans are dependent on the opium trade, which fetches prices far above anything else they can grow. After all, their society and economy have been systematically destroyed by 30 years of savage war, kicked off not by the Soviet intervention in 1980 but by a terrorist campaign by religious extremists armed, funded and encouraged by the good Christian administration of Jimmy Carter, whose "national security" honcho, Zbigniew Brzezinski, wanted to draw the Soviets into "their own Vietnam" in support of their client regime in Kabul. Now, as Jason Ditz – an indispensible chronicler of the Terror War in Central Asia – points out, the Americans are adopting the Soviets' own failed strategy in Afghanistan: death-dealing military "surges" combined with wads of cash thrown blindly into the economic chaos caused by the military action.
But you can't "build" a state while you are simultaneously waging war inside it. And you certainly can't build it by killing cucumber farmers, as U.S. forces did the other day. Expect even more of this as the Pentagon gears up its "Drug War" weaponry to eliminate the rivals of its favored criminals – sorry, I mean to wipe out the scourge of Afghanistan's Taliban drug lord devils.
If all of this seems grimly familiar, that's because it is. I've been writing about the merging of the Terror War and the Drug War in Afghanistan since... November 2001, a few scant weeks after the Bush Administration sent the "carpet of bombs" they promised the Taliban – back in June 2001; yes, before "the whole world changed" on 9/11 – if they didn't play ball on the oil pipelines that Western consortiums were looking to lay across Afghanistan. It was obvious even then where we were going, as I noted in the Moscow Times, in that long-ago November:
This note of praise for the Bush pay-offs to the Taliban was not ironic; I heartily approve of the notion of large-scale bribery to achieve foreign policy objectives. It is much better – and in the end, far cheaper to the public purse – than the murderous ravages of war. Alas, the murderous ravages of war are all too often the actual objective of imperial foreign policy; the profits, power and domination that accrue to the warmakers are far more enticing than the non-violent ends that can be achieved by bribery (or even by, god forbid, actual diplomacy: negotiation, compromise, mutual respect, that kind of thing). Or as Cheritto put it so memorably to his fellow robbers in Heat: "You know, for me, the action is the juice."
And so on and on we go. The new head of the army of our Good War ally, Britain, is saying that the mission in Afghanistan "might take as long as 30 or 40 years." By which time there will not be "tomb enough and continent to hide the slain."
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 in the Baltimore Chronicle on August 11, 2009.
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