Local Stories, Events
Ref. : Civic Events
Ref. : Arts & Education Events
Ref. : Public Service Notices
Books, Films, Arts & Education
Ref. : Letters to the editor
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?]
Imperial America's End Time
Our nation's insolvency is no concern to Corporations. To avoid higher taxes—caused by what they lobbied for to increase profits—they will just move their headquarters, R&D and manufacturing off-shore.
Monday, 29 November 2010
The economy is being destroyed to favor Wall Street and Pentagon militarists. Obama perpetuates this madness.
Noted analysts on both left and right see America's empire in decline. In his 2009 book, "Global Depression and Regional Wars: The United States, Latin America and the Middle East," James Petras said:
On August 16, Paul Craig Roberts headlined his article, "The Ecstacy of Empire: How Close Is America's Demise," saying:
In his March 18, 2008 article headlined, "The Collapse of America Power," Roberts said:
In his November 16 article headlined, "Ruling on Behalf of Wall Street's 'Super Rich:' The Financial End Time has Arrived," Michael Hudson said:
The economy is being destroyed to favor Wall Street and Pentagon militarists. Obama perpetuates this madness. "The Wurst of Obama: He's Carving the Middle Class into Sausage Filler as a Super-Meal for the Rich," and trashing America in the process.
A recent article remembered Chalmers Johnson, best known for calling America's global wars and imperialism a "suicide option" unless reversed.
In a July 30 article, titled "Three Good Reasons to Liquidate Our Empire," Johnson cited:
His main message: "we must give up our inappropriate reliance on military force as the chief means of attempting to achieve foreign policy objectives." Few empires ever did it voluntarily. Britain did, chosing democracy. The Soviets didn't and fell.
A Grim Pentagon Afghan War Assessment
In its most recent semiannual report, released late November, titled, "Progress toward Security and Stability in Afghanistan ," Pentagon commanders were worried, suggesting that despite 100,000 US forces and 50,000 others (double the force since 2008), conditions are no better, saying;
Notably, however, violence and Afghan deaths have sharply risen as a result of a 300% increase in armed clashes since 2007, and a 70% rise over 2009. Despite the force buildup, "The insurgency has proven resilient with sustained logistics capacity and command and control."
Afghans also acknowledge that security is worse than ever. Moreover, "insurgent safe havens" in Pakistan and Iran threaten to widen the war further. In fact, "(e)fforts to reduce insurgent capacity....have not produced measurable results" despite heightened drone and other attacks.
In addition, out-of-control corruption exacerbates the problem, the report calling it "consistent with the view that (it's) preventing the Afghan government from connecting with the people and remains a key reason for Afghans supporting the insurgency."
Nonetheless, Washington is staying the course, shifting its exit strategy from fixed to transition, the report calling the "US commitment to Afghanistan....continuing, enduring, and long-lasting." In other words, continuity, not winning or losing matters, assuring hundreds of billions more dollars endlessly spent. And not just in Afghanistan/Pakistan.
Another Gloomy War Analysis
On October 14, Anthony Cordesman of the conservative Center for Strategic Studies (CSIS) issued a report titled,"Grand Strategy in the Afghan, Pakistan, and Iraq Wars: The End State Fallacy ," saying;
Conflict continues. Obama's end of combat mission was bogus. Permanent occupation is planned. Iraq can't contain or counter Iran. There's no stable or effective government or political system. Iran's influence in the country may rival or surpass our own. Our pursuit of an "end state fallacy" may lose the war "in grand strategic terms." In other ways, it's already lost. Violence plagues the country daily, little reported in America's media.
An announced end of 2011 exit is planned. Expect that goal to change, while at the same time, Congress shows less willingness to appropriate limitless funding. "We may (also) lose the Iraq War for other reasons - its unstable politics, tenuous security, and Iran's dominance of future Shiite governments." So far, "we have won exactly nothing." A tactical victory looks increasingly pyrrhic.
Moreover, Washington "seems to be in a state of partial denial in dealing with the need for a long term...strategic commitment to the region." Alternatives to strategically failing in Iraq may be found, but it will be hard to "incredibly costly to compensate for (overall) failure in the Gulf."
Afghan/Pak (Afghanistan and Pakistan), however, is "radically different," reflecting a "very uncertain strategic posture." America's interests are "limited" compared to the Gulf. China and Russia are powerful rivals with strategic interests of their own.
What Afghan/Pak/Iraq have in common is there's "no credible end state to the fighting....that can give the US a credible grand strategic victory or stable outcome." Like Iraq and the Gulf, it will be "at least a decade" before stable governments, economies and security structures are possible. Even then, they're unlikely.
Afghanistan's outlook is even more tenuous than Iraq's. Winning in any form requires propping up and financing its government for years, maybe always. The country's had decades of war and instability. Its economy ranks "201st" in terms of per capita income, and poverty and overall need levels are extraordinarily high. At best, it will be well over a decade before Afghanistan makes real progress with sustained US help. Increasingly, however, it looks more like an unwinnable black hole, draining America's resources.
Pakistan complicates matters. Dealing with "Al Qa'ida and the Taliban in the FATA-Baluchistan areas are only the tip of the iceberg." Its government is corrupt and incompetent. Its military and intelligence structure have "strong Islamist elements." Its economy and social structure are crippled and semi-feudal. "Its security is shaped by the threat from India, growing internal religious tensions, and additional problems with Deobandi extremists, and hostile movements in Baluchistan and the Sind."
Pakistan is better off than Afghanistan, but it's also more dependent on US aid. It doesn't signal failure, but it does mean major challenges for the foreseeable future. As with Iraq and Afghanistan, Washington "can only influence - not shape - (its) future." Its present government may not survive. It's unclear whether any amount of US aid will work. It's unknown if America will serve Pakistan's interests if it keeps fighting. It's also uncertain whether its government will "abandon its efforts to manipulate Afghanistan (and) use it against India." It's unclear as well whether its military is willing to fight.
Moreover, its government may fall, and its military only does enough to maintain US aid as long as Pentagon forces remain in the area. Resolving its future and stability will be uncertain until "at least 2020." Maybe much longer or never.
Yet the Obama administration "seems to deliberately avoid projecting the need for a lasting commitment to either Afghanistan (or) Pakistan, and providing anything approaching an estimate of the cost of sustaining the war and dealing with its aftermath." Increasingly, its plan appears ad hoc, shifting commanders instead of addressing policy failures and changing them. Larger force levels and more violence and killing aren't solutions. So far, they've made conditions worse, not better.
Also consider the costs, already unsustainable, with no end of spending in sight. Eventually, Congress will tire of funding them, especially with no tangible successes.
"The US and its allies are pursuing a largely mythical Afghan development plan which lacks core credibility in peacetime, much less in war. There is no development plan for Pakistan. The US is effectively paying an open ended mix of bribes to a country whose economy is now crippled by a catastrophic flood, and whose main security interest is India, not the war the US wants it to fight."
Washington has failed in its planning and execution efforts. However, even if correctly done, the prospects for winning and withdrawing would be "negligible. The challenges are simply too great, and the timelines for credible change are too long....The US cannot afford to allow this situation to continue."
The Iraq/Afghan/Pak wars "raise grand strategic questions about what the US could have accomplished (with a fraction of the money devoted to) build(ing) regional allies" and other productive undertakings. Choosing open-ended wars "for the wrong reasons....is not an experience we should repeat." Moreover, cutting losses and getting out of today's mess is essential, putting greater emphasis on diplomacy than warmaking. "After what soon will be ten years of fighting, it is time we not only learned this, but acted on the lesson."
A Final Comment
America's Iraq/Afghan/Pak wars are unwinnable, highlighted in an earlier Afghanistan article.
No matter. America wages permanent wars for an unwinnable peace. Enemies are fabricated as justification. War profiteers benefit. The public is duped and betrayed. Two earlier articles explained, accessed through the following links:
Moreover, since WW II, all US wars have been illegal, what neither the Pentagon nor CSIS reports addressed. All international laws and treaties, including the UN Charter, automatically become US law under the Constitution's Supremacy Clause, Article VI, Clause 2.
Moreover, the Charter's Chapter VII empowers the Security Council alone to determine the existence of threats to peace, breaching it, or committing an act of aggression, as well as if military or other action is necessary to restore international peace and stability. It lets nations use force solely under two conditions:
In addition, both houses of Congress, not the president, have exclusive power to declare war under the Constitution's Article I, Section 8, Clause 11 - the war powers clause. Nonetheless, that procedure was followed only five times in US history, last used on December 8, 1941 after Japan attacked Pearl Harbor.
In 1973, Congress addressed the issue, passing the War Powers Resolution. It requires the president to get congressional authorization for war or a resolution passed within 60 days of initiating hostilities. Its Section 4(a)(3) also states:
In 1991, Congress gave GHW Bush authorization to attack Iraq (the Gulf War). It didn't authorize GW Bush in 2001 or 2003. Yet he went to war anyway, violating international and US laws. As a result, the Iraq/Afghan/Pak wars are illegal. The president, supportive congressional members, other culpable officials, and military high command are war criminals.
Those issues are out of sight and mind in the Pentagon and CSIS reports, yet they're more important than any others, and may only be belatedly addressed when America's end time arrives.
Listen to Lendman's cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
Mr. Lendman's stories are republished in the Baltimore Chronicle with permission of the author.
Copyright © 2010 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.
Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.
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 November 29, 2010.