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Member since: Sun Aug 17, 2003, 11:39 PM
Number of posts: 79,708

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A good look at any future military involvement in Afghanistan

...for the people insisting that our military 'do something' about terrorist violence in Afghanistan.

All In with Chris Hayes @allinwithchris 6m
"All of them have names:" Chris Hayes on the 10 civilians killed in Kabul drone strike. https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/-all-of-them-have-names-hayes-on-10-civilians-killed-in-kabul-drone-strike-121212997890

...this is the full extent of how our military has dealt with security issues in Afghanistan for over a decade since they pulled back from patrolling roads and raiding homes with special forces.

When people show pictures of Afghans subjected to Taliban violence or other oppression and insist the U.S. is somehow responsible for protecting civilians there, remember our military forces are a blunt instrument, not a 'precision' tool with 'smart' bombs that can intervene in civil conflict in other nations like characters in a video game.

Can we come to an understanding about what the devastating power of our military is actually good for? Killing Afghans in defense of Afghans has always been our least responsible role there.

Since no one bothered to respond to this calamity yet, I'll keep going...

In May of 2009, after nearly a week of denials and counter accusations, an anonymous U.S. military official admitted their airstrikes in Afghanistan killed at least 50 civilians. Despite that conclusion, local authorities still insisted as many as 140 innocent civilians had died.

Initially, the U.S. military gave their standard denial that civilians were killed, as they have in all of the instances where civilians had been killed by the collateral effects of U.S. airstrikes (deliberately targeted, only to find later 'faulty intelligence' led them astray.

Later, when local police and other Afghan officials protested and produced bodies of the women and children who had been caught in the way of the deliberate bombing, Pentagon officials immediately strained to find some way to blame the Taliban- claiming they killed the civilians.

The airstrikes which destroyed a community of homes was preceded by a fierce firefight between Afghan/coalition forces and Taliban combatants who had gotten the better of the skirmish, managed to destroy some vehicles, and had killed a number of soldiers, including one American.

The Independent: "Airstrikes were neither pinpoint nor brief: "A claim by American officials, was repeated by Defence Sec Gates that Taliban might have killed people with grenades because they didn't pay an opium tax is not supported by any eyewitnesses... US admits it did conduct an air strike at the time & place, but it's becoming clear, going by the account of survivors, the air raid was not a brief attack by several aircraft acting on mistaken intel, but a sustained bombardment in which 3 villages were pounded to pieces."

After reports from the Red Cross and others confirmed that civilians had been slaughtered in the three villages - Gerani, Gangabad and Koujaha - which sustained the brunt of the hours of bombardments, Gates & Sec Clinton in a statement with Karzai did indeed express 'regret.'

Subordinates at Pentagon didn't wait however, to float to the press what they said were "loosely sourced" rumors suggesting combatants had taken time during the hours of bombings to stage killings of villagers in the Taliban stronghold to make it appear a result of US airstrikes.

However, other reports show that civilians took refuge in the homes after news of the 12hr battle. "We know those killed included an Afghan Red Crescent volunteer and 13 family members who'd been sheltering from fighting in a bombed home." ICRC's head of delegation in Kabul said.

Riots broke out that Thursday after the bodies of more than a dozen of newly discovered civilians killed were brought by protesters to Farah City, with angry Afghans throwing stones at police__ who, in return, opened fire on the crowd, wounding several.


WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States will not end air strikes in Afghanistan as demanded by President Hamid Karzai after two villages were hit by U.S. warplanes last week, White House National Security Advisor James Jones said on Sunday.

...and so it goes.

Stirring Up The Dust At Ground Zero

...an essay/article I wrote on September 10, 2006. I wanted to write something new for the remembrance , but, this seems to cover my thoughts every year.

"I will show you fear in a handful of dust." -- T.S. Eliot

Is there anything more repugnant than hearing bin-Laden's taunting words so close to the anniversary of the 9-11 attacks? I don't mean the latest video he sent Bush to amp up the president's fear and smear campaign. I'm not thinking of the grainy shots of bin-Laden greeting his accomplices out in the open air of his mountain refuge.

Bush has been practicing his new protection scheme this past week with a series of speeches in which, as the explainer-in-chief, he's been methodical and zealous in his elevation of Osama bin-Laden; carefully reciting the most offensive and threatening of the terrorist's statements and dispatches.

Beginning in the second in his series of speeches, Bush chose the moment right after he had remarked on the "flood of painful memories" and the "horror of watching planes fly into the World Trade Center", to amplify bin-Laden's gloating remarks that the attack was "an unparalleled and magnificent feat of valor, unmatched by any in humankind."

On Sept.11 he'll travel to New York's 'Ground Zero' looking for a pile of rubble and a bullhorn to elevate himself and talk down to us from some lofty perch. Bush is desperate to revive and re-animate the demoted specter he had called his "prime suspect" in 2001.

"I want justice," Bush had said then. "There's an old poster out West… I recall, that said, 'Wanted, Dead or Alive.'

Six months after the attacks, however, he simply turned away from his 'hunt' and acted as if he didn't care anymore about catching him. Our forces had Bin-Laden cornered at Tora Bora, and then, he was allowed to escape into the mountains. "I don't know where he is," Bush replied when asked why the terrorist hadn't been caught. "I-I'll repeat what I said, Bush sputtered, "I am truly not that concerned about him."

It's five years from the date of the attacks, and Bush has finally found cause for concern. His party is poised to lose their majority in the House and, possibly, in the Senate. Voter opposition to Bush's occupation in Iraq has pulled his republicans down in the polls and threatens to take away the power that enabled him commit the troops to Iraq and keep them there. The specter of Osama bin-Laden is the only wedge Bush has to rally his dwindling base and convince voters that his party should be allowed to continue to lord over the authority they squandered in the five years since the attacks.

It's strange to hear Bush bring up bin-Laden. Bush has barely mentioned the terrorist since he claimed to be unconcerned about his whereabouts. In fact, the Senate went ahead and unanimously passed a Democratic amendment this week which restored the Pentagon's bin-Laden unit charged with finding the terrorist that Bush just up and closed without offering an alternative strategy or effort.

In Bush's updated, 'National Strategy for Combating Terrorism' that he references in his speeches, Osama bin-Laden is mentioned only once, in a reference to his 'privileged upbringing'. Dredging up all of the offensive rhetoric from bin-Laden now is designed to re-inflate those emotions that were so raw right after the horror unfolded; that uncertainty and anxiety which made Americans fold in the face of his consolidation of power.

Bush's own initial reaction to the terrorist attacks on 9-11 was a mix of paranoia and bluster as he cast the fight as a defense of 'freedom' that he said the attackers wanted to 'destroy'. "They hate our freedoms - our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other," he declared in an address to a joint session of Congress.

In his statement at the signing of the "anti-terrorism," Patriot Act, in October 2001, six weeks after the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center, President Bush claimed that the measure would counter the threat of enemies that "recognize no barrier of morality and have no conscience." He sought to assure that the measure "upheld and respected the civil liberties guaranteed by our Constitution." He ends his statement with a pledge to enforce the law with "all of the urgency of a nation at war."

However, the President neglected to tell us which war he was referring to. The anti-terrorism measure was cobbled together in a few short months to take political advantage of the urge in Congress for a legislative response to the terrorist attacks, despite the president's claim that the bill was "carefully drafted and considered." It was a direct assault on the liberty, privacy, and free expression of all Americans.

From that document came a flood of legislative 'remedies' that would take advantage of the administration's blanket excuse of 'national security' that they and their minions in Congress draped over every stalled piece of legislation that could be remotely tied to their 'war on terror'. But, their transparent politicking with their new anti-terror tools had nothing at all to do with catching the perpetrators they said were responsible for the 9-11 attacks. Their hunt became eclipsed by the violence their Iraq diversion had produced. Iraq became a terror magnet, just as Bush had planned. Instead of just "fighting them over there", our occupation had the effect of producing more individuals with a grudge who would do our troops, our interests, and our allies harm.

No amount of saber-rattling at Iran, showdowns with North Korea, or escalation of troops in Iraq to further prop up the crumbling Maliki regime can substitute for bringing bin-Laden to justice. Five years on the loose has made the terrorist into an inspiration for others who have been provoked by the mindless collateral killings by the U.S. in Bush's dual Mideast occupations. Yet, Bush has decided to elevate bin-Laden even more in his speeches and remembrances leading up to the 9-11 commemorations.

In Bush's radio address for Sunday, he speaks of a 'solemn occasion' and proceeds to muddy it up with more of bin-Laden's taunts. The president advances the terrorist's call for a Caliphate as he bids us to "hear the words" of the terrorist. "Osama bin Laden has called the 9/11 attacks, "A great step toward the unity of Muslims and establishing the righteous Caliphate," Bush tells us. "Al Qaeda and its allies reject any possibility of coexistence with those they call "infidels."

Hear the words of Osama bin Laden," Bush says about his partner. In their respective protection schemes, both use the extreme violent reactions of the other to justify their self-appointed roles as saviors and protectors of their followers. Both are counting on their words to elicit fear among their minions and their foes alike, but, Bush is playing bin-Laden's surrogate in this latest promotion; elevating the terrorist to a political equal, looking to give bin-Laden's words a place in our commemorations; hoping Americans will focus on the barbarity and zeal of the attacker rather than his own inability to suppress and capture him.

So, Monday, in his 9-11 commemoration tour, Bush will return to Ground Zero, looking for rubble and a bull horn to elevate his made-up role as protector-in-chief. But, the residents there have gone on with their lives, removed the debris, and paved over the hallowed ground for politicians to come and preach, and for others, to pray.

All that is left in that city of the tragedy of September 11 are survivors and memories; and dust; the scattered remains from those pernicious, poisonous mountains of dust that exploded from the towers as they fell. The dust of the humanity of innocents and terrorists alike co-mingled with the debris, hovering for an eternity before it fell down upon the city; memories and the past inextricably mingled in the miasmic haze.

Bush can do nothing this September 11 except stir up settled dust from that hallowed ground; stirring up resentments and recriminations, deliberately soiling his immaculate cloak. He will not be there to unify our nation, as it had come together on its own right after the attacks. He's coming to Ground Zero with bin-Laden's specter on his sleeve, looking for a political lift out of his swaggering militarism. He will be looking to widen the divide that he's been nurturing since he ascended to power between those who have resisted his imperious grab for false authority in the wake of the violence, and those who still believe that he's protecting them with his blustering militarism and assaults on our own civil liberties.

However, there is no pile of rubble and humanity left in New York, or anywhere else, that Bush can stand on and bullhorn his way back into the nation's confidence. some of the disturbed dust has revealed a shameful, reckless indifference to catching bin-Laden, as those individuals in the top echelons of our government who were responsible for directing our nation's defenses ignored the myriad of reports coming from the agents in the field.

His 'War on Terrorism' has been nothing more than a scam unleashed against the liberties of blameless Americans, and his collateral military campaigns have had a unifying effect among those combatants in Iraq and Afghanistan who would resist his swaggering imperialism and consolidation of power.

Bush spoke of "vigilance" at the end of his radio address. "With vigilance, determination and courage, we will defeat the enemies of freedom," he says, "and we will leave behind a more peaceful world for our children and our grandchildren. That's an amazing contradiction to his own strident use of our nation's military to overthrow and occupy two sovereign nations in his term. It's a load of hubris from Bush, who has pledged to continue the occupation of Iraq "as long as he's president", and has bequeathed the disaster to "future presidents.'"

Abraham Lincoln spoke of our responsibility to vigilance at Edwardsville, Illinois in September 11, 1858:

"What constitutes the bulwark of our own liberty and independence? It is not our frowning battlements, our bristling sea coasts, the guns of our war steamers, or the strength of our gallant and disciplined army. These are not our reliance against a resumption of tyranny in our fair land. All of them may be turned against our liberties, without making us stronger or weaker for the struggle. Our reliance is in the love of liberty which God has planted in our bosoms. Our defense is in the preservation of the spirit which prizes liberty as the heritage of all men, in all lands, every where. Destroy this spirit, and you have planted the seeds of despotism around your own doors. Familiarize yourselves with the chains of bondage, and you are preparing your own limbs to wear them. Accustomed to trample on the rights of those around you, you have lost the genius of your own independence, and become the fit subjects of the first cunning tyrant who rises."

We must resolve ourselves to vigilance against Bush's campaign to divide Americans into those who support his terror policies that he regards as patriots; and those who resist his imperious assaults on our civil liberties, diversion of forces and resources to Iraq, and his failure to catch the perpetrators defined in the very authorization that he claims gives him the power to ignore our nation's laws and our Constitution, that he portrays as traitors.

Come, November we must hasten the return of our democracy to our hands. No amount of fear-mongering from Bush and his murderous specter should be allowed to stand in the way. Bush should not be allowed to dictate our future to us, using the voice of this terrorist's violence.

Allowing China a Dominant Role in Afghanistan's Future

Reuters @Reuters 6m
Biden says he is sure China will try to work out arrangement with Taliban http://reut.rs/2YrUXQK


WASHINGTON, Sept 7 (Reuters) - U.S. President Joe Biden said on Tuesday he was certain China would try to work out an arrangement with the Taliban after the Islamic insurgents seized power in Afghanistan on Aug. 15.

"Asked if he was worried that China would fund the group, which is sanctioned under U.S. law, Biden told reporters, "China has a real problem with the Taliban. So they're going to try to work out some arrangement with the Taliban, I'm sure. As does Pakistan, as does Russia, as does Iran. They're all trying to figure out what do they do now."


Pres. Biden's acknowledgment of China's role in Afghanistan, however oblique, brought to mind my obscure 2009 essay on China assuming more responsibility for future and livelihoods of Afghans, given they share economic and security concerns and opportunities, mostly benefiting China today.

It was a longshot appeal then, maybe not so much now the U.S. military has relinquished control. It may prove prescient....

"Power in the 21st century is no longer a zero-sum game; one country's success need not come at the expense of another. And that is why the United States insists we do not seek to contain China's rise. On the contrary, we welcome China as a strong and prosperous and successful member of the community of nations." --President Obama, speaking at town hall meeting in Shanghai, China Nov. 16

ON his recent trip to China, President Obama publicly stressed cooperation between our nations and spoke at length of values and challenges that he said we share, while relegating serious criticisms of China's human rights record and economic concerns to private talks with the leaders there. Quite predictably, discussions of the economic concerns were reportedly muted by the fact of the record and rising U.S. debt that China finances such a great percentage of.

It's also reasonable to assume that the president's discussions of human rights abuses by China were similarly corrupted by the fact of America's spotty and sometimes negligent attention to the often destructive and devastating effects of our militarism waged across the sovereign borders of Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan - the collateral effect of our 'shock and awe' bombings of civilian areas, the overthrow, replacement, and deliberate meddling in the affairs of sovereign governments; and the arbitrary, indefinite, and anti-democratic detentions of the citizenry, often without charges, trial, or counsel.

That spirit and focus from this new American administration on publicly stifling the negative about China and accentuating the positive isn't restricted to just economics or their abysmal lack of respect for their citizens' rights and freedom. The administration has yet to publicly challenge or solicit China to step up to their responsibility to the security of their border nation, Afghanistan.

In a period where China is experiencing unprecedented levels of growth and development - contrasted with America's faltering economy - little has been demanded of Afghanistan's neighbor in both the campaign against terrorism (a concern which China insists they share with the U.S.) and in the financing of the development of Afghanistan's security, an effort which the U.S. has opportunistically dominated.

At first blush, it would make sense that our government would be wary of allowing China - our longtime economic and military rival - to influence and advantage themselves of the Afghan regime our country folk are fighting and dying to preserve in power. It would even stand to reason that, given the posture our State Dept. and military take against what they see as potential threats from China's growing military, to China's refusal to cooperate with the U.S. in voting for U.N. sanctions against Iran, that our government and military would be loath to allow China to advantage themselves of the Afghan land or resources.

Yet, not only is our government acquiescing to China in their economic expansion into the new Afghanistan, our military has been directly protecting China's interests behind the sacrifice of our own nation's defenders.

In 2007, China's bid for copper rights in Afghanistan was accepted by the Karzai regime in a process in which many observers said the ethically-challenged government unfairly favored their influential neighbor. The deal included rights to the construction of a coal-fired electrical power plant and the contract to build Afghanistan's first freight railway. Earlier this year, it was reported that American troops there just happened to set up bases in Afghanistan's Jalrez Valley that they claimed were checkpoints against Taliban activity in the area, but effectively provides protection for China's copper mine.

While it's true, as American officials insist, that protecting China's mining enterprise in Afghanistan is also a defense of the country's most lucrative asset (a presumed benefit for the country's redevelopment), the glaring question is why hasn't the U.S. insisted that China assume the cost and function of that security?

China should be doing more in Afghanistan.

There is a glaring shortage of sustainable industry for Afghans who desperately need work. I'm not a fan of mining, but China's interest there should be leveraged to demand more from them in support of the infrastructure and development of the area for Afghans. I'm not supportive of a long-term U.S. role in defending that infrastructure. That job would seem to better fit folks in the region who should directly benefit from the Chinese projects and others, rather than some potential benefit to America.

The answer to all of that may well be within our nation's obvious rivalry with China and a lingering fear and secret loathing of the emerging giant. It can't be unnoticed by China that every decision our government makes to escalate and deepen our military involvement in the region is indirectly increasing our the debt to them that we've accrued as our military budget is inflated beyond our many other priorities and ability to pay. It may well be that there is a natural reluctance from the administration to demand an Afghanistan tribute from the creditors to that debt.

It would likely pain our defensive government and military establishment to allow China to move troops in and set up defensive bases in Afghanistan's neighboring provinces (like Uzbekistan) to 'fight terror'. But if there is any sincerity at all about preserving and defending the government we've helped install into power and authority, we should acknowledge that regional countries like Pakistan, Russia, China, and even Iran are going develop closer and more meaningful economic and security arrangements with the new regime than the West. It makes sense that we demand they assume responsibility for preserving the state they benefit from.

China should be allowed to do more in Afghanistan.

In March, the Obama administration accepted an invitation to attend a Russian-hosted conference on Afghanistan at which Iran also participated. The State Department sent a senior diplomat to a special conference of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization being held in Moscow to discuss Afghanistan. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization includes Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan as members. Along with Iran, India, Mongolia and Pakistan are observers.

I'm convinced that China, Russia, and their trading partner, Iran, are indispensable to a 'stable' Afghanistan in the future. It was interesting to see the U.S. attend this conference because the SCO is usually acting outside of American interests. I can only conclude from the willingness to engage at this meeting that the U.S. also views these nations as indispensable to Afghanistan's future. That wasn't the case with the last White House which focused on its antipathy toward Iran in distancing themselves from the group. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld questioned Iran's involvement with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, saying that he thought it 'strange' that the SCO had included Iran because of what he said were their 'links to terrorists'.

If this administration is serious about looking for an 'exit' out of Afghanistan, while staying true to their stated concerns for 'stability' and defense of the Afghan government, they will need a regional organization like the SCO to organize Afghanistan's neighbors to provide the finance and the manpower for a cause which will (and should) arguably benefit those nations above and beyond America's own grudging campaign against the remnants and ghosts of the fugitive 9-11 terror suspects.

In that initiative, China should be asked and allowed to assume a more responsible and dominant role in Afghanistan befitting the enormous stake and benefit they will undoubtedly enjoy from the protection our own military forces presume to provide at this point in our eight-year-plus occupation.

Mom's March on Washington Mementos (this day, Aug. 28, 1963)

Collection of Graphic Collages (dog eared, cropped)

Flyer from March on Washington



The insurrection will be televised


ken olin @kenolin1 28m
The insurrection continues to be televised.


The insurrection will be televised
The insurrection will be televised
The insurrection will be brought to you
By Facebook in four parts without commercial interruptions
The insurrection will show you pictures of Trump hugging a flag
And leading a charge by Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham, Marjorie Taylor Greene, Josh Hawley, and Rudy Guliani.
To eat bean soup confiscated from the Capitol commissary
The insurrection will be televised

There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down election-truther terrorists on the instant replay
There will be no pictures of pigs shooting down election-truther terrorists on the instant replay
There will be no pictures of Enrique Tarrio
Being run out of D.C. on a rail with a brand neck scarf
There will be no slow motion or still lifes of Ted Cruz
Strolling through Anacostia in a black-and-yellow anarchy jumpsuit
That he has been saving for just the proper occasion

There will be no highlights on the eleven o'clock news
And no pictures of hairy back anti-maskers
And Lauren Boebert blowing her nose
The theme song will be written by Kid Rock or Carrie Underwood
Sung by Ted Nugent, Gene Simmons, Kanye West
Wayne Newton, or Metallica
The insurrection will be televised

The insurrection will be televised
Will be televised
Will be televised
Will be televised
The insurrection will be a re-run, brothers
The insurrection will be live

__apologies to Gill Scott Heron

Penny thoughts on Afghanistan


...I'm thrilled Pres. Biden has decided to make good on his objections as VP to keeping troops in Afghanistan. He reportedly opposed then-President Obama's 'surge' of forces to defend Kabul, so his decision to withdrawal troops from there is a natural extension of those earlier sentiments.

The President is getting some flack today from predictable quarters, rw harpies cynically warning about political backlash for Democrats (they hope), because the Taliban will predictably take over there.

My personal view is that it's been inevitable, right from the start, that the Taliban would fill any vacuum the U.S. leaves in Afghanistan. The government in Kabul which our troops have propped up with their blood and sacrifice is always going to represent everything the Taliban has been resisting since our initial invasion. Like Saigon became Ho Chi Min City right after American troops left Vietnam, the Taliban isn't going to leave any of that in place after we bug out. No one should be surprised by this.

My criticism is that it made no sense to wait this long - to hunker down around Kabul for an eternity while the Taliban consolidated power; years and years after Pres. Obama made his 'surge' of forces with the dubious intent of putting the Taliban on their heels, to 'give the Afghan government room.'

It was a wrongheaded notion that should be a learning experience for any president thinking about nation-building behind the intimidation of our military. Whatever consequences we experience now (mostly Afghans paying that price) should serve as a huge caution against embarking on such a foolish scheme, but I fear it'll just be used as a cudgel against the man in office who would have made the right choice years ago.

I wrote extensively on Iraq and Afghanistan during the Bush years, and continued writing a bit about Pres. Obama's continuation of those deployments across sovereign borders. For whatever it's worth, here's a look back on one comprehensive essay I wrote at the time of the surge of forces into the country to defend the Afghan capital and it's beleaguered president (Jan-02-09).

What's largely forgotten is that more troops lost their lives in Afghanistan during the Democratic administration, mostly as a result of the surge of forces, than during Bush's terms in office.

I don't make much of a fuss about these things these days, but if I did, it would be uncompromisingly similar to this earlier article. Hope it's an interesting read for folks here, not really meant to be as confrontational as it was for me way back when. Just a looking back post for my journal...

Tweaking the Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan

In the bloodiest year yet for the U.S. and NATO in Afghanistan, 155 American troops and 138 NATO troops were killed in 2008. Those deaths were casualties of the policies of the U.S. dominated NATO which has our troops engaged in missions there ranging from aid and reconstruction; defense of outposts in cities and the border region near Pakistan; patrolling and protecting supply routes; and intercepting and destroying weapons and the combatants who use them in resistance to NATO's nation-building occupation.

The drift of the mission of our forces in Afghanistan, as in Iraq, has been to the desperate defense of the Afghan regime which was installed behind the 'shock and awe' of our invasion following the 9-11 attacks. Like the privileged regime in Iraq which was enabled into influence and authority with votes cast in a dubious election by a minority of citizens under the heavy-hand of their country's invaders, the regime in Kabul relies on their own 'Green Zone' of defense of our military forces as their seat of power to lord over the impoverished country.

It's that opportunistic area of concern surrounding the Afghan regime that the Pentagon has recently designated to receive the bulk of forces which are to be reduced from the Iraqi theater. Some 20,000 to 50,000 troops are to be sent from Iraq to Afghanistan to escalate the occupation of the cities and towns surrounding the Afghan capital and to aid in the desperate defense of the government against the myriads of separate factions which have evolved out of NATO's cynical attempt to dominate the millions of Afghans with their puny, destructive forces.

Some of the forces reduced from the Iraq occupation will undoubtedly be sent to help defend remote outposts which have served as a wavering front-line of defense against invading forces from growing ranks of the disaffected among the exports from the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan who enjoy safe-haven across the border into Pakistan and who have identified themselves with and been inspired by the freedom and impunity of the original 9-11 fugitives who were allowed to escape there.

When the next administration in Washington and Foggy Bottom begin to direct their new assault on whatever they decide is vital to defend in Afghanistan and Iraq, they will be threatening to unleash every instigation of resistance to the presence and activity of the U.S. military on Muslim soil which originated as motivation behind the first bombings the US embassy Africa in 1998 and the USS Cole bombing in Aden in 2000, in addition to the 9-11 attacks.

When those terrorist attacks were perpetrated, there was only isolated resistance and violence directed against U.S. interests and allies in the region. In the bloody aftermath of the Bush administration's provocative invasion of Iraq, terrorist acts of violence have increased and expanded across the globe.

As early as May of 2003, the Brookings Institute found that the invasion of Iraq had "increased the risk of attacks in the United States and Europe by increasing the level of Islamist and anti-American rhetoric, by diverting the attention of political leaders from the central issue of the war on terrorism, and by encouraging the view among the public that the war on terrorism is nearly won."

A Brookings study found that, "The rate of fatal terrorist attacks around the world by jihadist groups, and the number of people killed in those attacks, increased dramatically after the invasion of Iraq. Globally there was a 607 percent rise in the average yearly incidence of attacks (28.3 attacks per year before and 199.8 after) and a 237 percent rise in the fatality rate (from 501 to 1,689 deaths per year). A large part of this rise occurred in Iraq, the scene of almost half the global total of jihadist terrorist attacks. But even excluding Iraq and Afghanistan—the other current jihadist hot spot—there has been a 35 percent rise in the number of attacks, with a 12 percent rise in fatalities. "

Now, at the apex of the results and effects of that resistance to the increased and proliferating U.S. military presence and activity in the region over the years since the Iraq invasion, the Pentagon is poised to stage some sort of sustaining defense in Afghanistan of their own representation of 'democracy' in Kabul against whoever would resist the codifying of Bush's swaggering advance on their territory. The Arab resistance to that advance by NATO forces threatens to be withering and devastating to those U.S.-dominated troops that have been directed to oppose the myriads of factions defending their own piece of their occupied country.

The only lesson that our military invasions have imposed on the region is the one which the authors of the deployments purport to oppose; that of the efficacy of military force and violence as an ultimate avenue to power and authority. In Iraq and Afghanistan, those who support the U.S. military-enabled regimes and seek protection behind our dominating forces are considered 'democratic' and legitimate -- while those who choose to be or find themselves outside of that imposed influence are to be opposed as 'insurgent' or 'radical' in their opposition and defense of their chosen territory against NATO's selfish advance.

In fact, the next opportunity for Afghans to 'vote' on the composition of their imposed authority in Kabul is on the horizon for 2009. The increased occupation is also designed to facilitate that election and to provide the same sort of 'with us or against us' choice that our invading and occupying forces in Iraq offered the citizens there.

The plot which is emerging in this Potemkin defense of democracy in Kabul is one which is already well-know to Afghans. Opposition communities will be occupied and intimidated by our forces while supportive communities will be protected and enabled in the run-up to the balloting. The outcome of the vote will likely resemble whatever minority composition of the Afghan population feels unencumbered by the regime's heavy-hand to cast their ballot in their favor.

The result, however, may well bolster whatever legitimacy the West wants to place on their enabled rule in Kabul, but the effect of the increased military activity will have a predictable effect of aligning the myriads of Afghans who are now being led to oppose one another, to band together in resistance against their country's foreign invaders. That will not serve the strategy that the Pentagon has voiced in the past months of recruiting the tribes in their campaign against those Taliban factions along the Pak-Afghan border which threaten U.S. interests and harbor the original 9-11 suspects.

Whatever the goals of the next administration are in their deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, they have already been corrupted by a mindset which assumes that our ability to seize and hold territory will impress more than it will repel. The next strategy appears to be an attempt to thread the needle of resistance to the U.S. advance on Afghan territory with a promise of 'stability' of their installed regime.

The counter to that bunk is that nothing at all has been done to address the original complaint of Muslims and Arabs in the way of our nation's swaggering advance across their sovereign borders; that the very presence of our military on their soil is an intolerable aggravation to their religion, values and their wishes - as well as a threat to a great deal of their own safety and security.

The devastating effect of our military intervention in the region, which has cost so many lives caught up in the way of the Bush administration's nation-building folly so far, will only deepen with every tweak and correction that intends to 'win' some sort of 'victory' outside of the pursuit of the original 9-11 suspects. No one expected our forces to prop up anti-democratic, corrupt regimes to counter the attacks on our nation and there isn't any great mass of support in America for investing lives and treasure continuing that pursuit.

I hope the next administration remembers the lessons of our interventions so far as they 'write letters to the families of the troops' who lose their lives for their strategies and schemes they've planned in the region for the future.


Michael Harriot on not loving America


Charlie Kirk calls Simone Biles a "selfish sociopath" and a "shame to the country"

"We are raising a generation of weak people like Simone Biles"

— Jason Campbell (@JasonSCampbell) July 27, 2021

___Unlike the un-athletic, uneducated, 27-year-old Kirk, who has never contributed a single thing to the country he loves so much (unless you count the gift of Candace Owens), 24-year-old Biles managed to become the most decorated gymnast in World Championship history. Yet, somehow she is weaker than a grown man who calls himself “Charlie.”

How do I know he loves his country?

Besides the desire to hug the red, white and blue banner, or have unprotected sex with a star-spangled banner, the most obvious way to know if someone loves America is to see if the person has ever professed their love in words. And Kirk, like most flag-fucking America-lovers, said it.

See? I told you.

Of course, anyone who has ever been in a relationship with a fuckboy knows that saying the words “I love you” doesn’t always mean the person actually feels that way. However, there is a second way to display one’s love for America.

Hating Black people.

I’m not saying that everyone who loves America hates Black people. (I wasn’t being facetious. I really don’t know what loving a country means.) But history, news and personal interactions have taught me that most of the people who hate Black people also love America.

Jefferson Davis said “I love the Union and the Constitution” just before he turned traitor to start his own white supremacist nation. Loving America was an excuse for lynching Black people during Reconstruction and after World War I. It was Strom Thurmond’s patriotic duty to sic the FBI on Martin Luther King Jr. because King didn’t love America. The Panthers hated America so much they gave away free breakfast in their community. Black people’s lack of affection for this country inspired COINTELPRO. The last Olympic basketball team lost because LeBron James hates America, according to Jason Whitlock. So does Black Lives Matter. Colin Kaepernick, too. Still, some organizations are not afraid to explain what they stand for:

It stands for America first–first in thought, first in affections, and first in the galaxy of nations. The Stars and Stripes forever above all other and every other kind of government in the world.

That is from a mission statement from the Ku Klux Klan.

It’s clear that hating Black people is equivalent to loving America. You never heard Kirk singing Biles’ athletic praises with national pride before she bowed out of the Olympics. Jason Whitlock, who is a sportswriter and a patriot, somehow never finds anything positive to say about the best basketball player of his generation. Pro-America, free speech crusaders like Candace Owens never lauded Kaepernick for exercising his First Amendment rights. The only thing more consistent than their love of country is their remarkably dependable distaste for anything a Black person does.

I’m sure it’s a coincidence.

It’s also interesting to me that these people’s love for America is never questioned. They hate everyone’s free speech except when they disagree with it. They love democracy except when their party is suppressing votes or trying to overturn elections. They love the Constitution except for impeachment and separation of church and state. The hate violence in the American streets except for the right-wing domestic terrorist lynch mobs. They love the troops, except the ones who study Critical Race Theory. They love cops who keep their country safe...until it’s time to spray cops with bear repellent and beat them with flagpoles.

Maybe I just don’t know how to love America.

read more: https://www.theroot.com/i-do-not-love-america-1847389105

I'm torturing, maiming, and killing cicadas

...and I have to admit I've willingly and wantonly revealed a dark side of my humanity, all in defense of plants, trees, and shrubs. I've long-been a midnight slug killer, known to wipe out entire slug families in a single fall of my 13-size foot.

My cicada hatred has been evident and rising for over a month now, nearly to the day that I foolishly proclaimed the funny-looking emergents to be god's gentle little creatures; guileless and content to just sit and watch their new, confusing world go by.

That was before their colonization of every bush, tree, and plant they could crawl up and sit upon, no matter if it bent, broke, or failed to produce new shoots under their weight. Little black marks on the new black-eyed susan shoots; blackening marks on the roses, phlox, and every plant they clung to; stunted leaves on the slow-emerging, 20-foot Chinese snowball viburnum, tops of the oak-leaf hydrangeas stripped of new growth; tops of the Japanese maple bared; entire branches of the rose-of-sharons dying back, juvenile dogwoods weighted to the ground and yellowing.

But it's the lilac by the house that's the most popular love-shack at the lower levels of the garden. It's right by the lean-to greenhouse I dug into the side of the house, and they will hiss and wail at me as I walk by now. Too much! I have a broom nearby which clears the crag of a bush for about 15 minutes with a few good wacks to the branches.

I just cleared them off again, and there was an immediate uproar from the bank of oak-leaf hydrangeas behind me. I marched right up to the bushes and stood there glaring with my hands on hips, and, by god, they quieted down... until I went inside.

I don't know if this battle is truly necessary, or even feasible, given their numbers, but I'm now a dedicated cicada killer, a particularly vicious and vengeful one with not much mercy left in me. God help her bug-eyed, little creatures, because I can't be counted on anymore.

A well pumped-up red rubber ball

...there used to be a mean game of dodgeball in my elementary school days, every afternoon at the end of classes.

We used a well pumped-up red rubber ball that would maim and otherwise injure the hapless lessers who dared join in the game. I was, in fact, that very hapless lesser for almost every bout of that punishing competition which just seemed to spontaneously evolve one Spring into the greatest thing ever.

Two teams would spread out on the court, dangerously close and opposite each other, and the goal was to avoid being struck by the glowering maniac with the ball, who would invariably aim for your shorted legs to keep you from catching the ball which would eject them and cause the entire team on the other side to retreat in either a futile panic of getting hit and ejected, or an anticipatory crouch, ready to catch a halfhearted throw from someone as inept but determined as myself.

There was that tall and lanky Cahill girl in the cutoffs and the sleeves of her t-shirt rolled up for effect who could absolutely make you cry from the sting of that red-rubber ball delivered like lightening to any part of your body she would aim for with a side-armed throw and a toothy grin as you attempted to turn and run.

That's what I remember about the smell of the chill Spring air that's wafting through my door this evening. Running through the neighborhood afterward, late for home, through the field and up the hill...

Thing is, I really, really want a red-rubber ball. It's just 8 o'clock or so, and I could go buy one right now, but I really have no use at all for a red-rubber ball these days.

There was a time, though, when it was everything.

Got my first Moderna shot today

...my wife has had hers, and my two sons get theirs today. We're all in the same house, and my sons have been masking around us for a year now.

I just realized what a milestone this is for us, for me. I just recalled the day I decided not to panic or despair, but rather prepare my family for battle. I was still working grocery retail and finally got to retire last November. My wife and sons, however, kept working throughout, wife in grocery retail, one son working a UPS store, and the other working handyman jobs all over town. It's been terrifying.

I made us early maskers by bringing home material and asking my wife to make masks for us all. I was the first in my department to come to work masked-up, and an early, insistent advocate of masking with my co-workers and anyone close enough to listen.

I credit that decision with keeping the family safe. It was our most reassuring defense, that and my ever-present reminders and virus updates. We were all true warriors in this fight, prepared for battle each and every time we left home, and with some luck, I'm sure, it looks like we made it through. Scared out of our minds, but the family is almost in safe territory today.

Wanted to shout-out to the volunteers and others at the vaccination site. It was a very smooth process and everyone was extremely friendly and helpful. We're blessed with good people on this planet and I think we should recognize that wherever we find them.

What a crazy year. I don't think we'll ever be the same as before all of this. Maybe that's for the better, but all I can feel when I think about it is sadness. My state's numbers are still hovering in an unacceptably high range, after flirting for months with more hopeful percentages, hospitalizations, and deaths.

My hope and wish is that we all remain vigilant about our saftey, and the safety of others around us, as well. We can win this fight, but the virus is still doing what it does best, taking advantage of our own negligence, indifference, or ignorance. That's going to be my next battle.
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