Monday, October 10, 2016

War Without End: Things To Know As Afghanistan Invasion Turns 15

What must be known and remembered is who started this illegal, immoral war and who must be held responsible for it: Bush, Cheney, Obama and their criminal administrations  


U.S. troops invaded Afghanistan on October 7, 2001, less than a month after the 9/11 terror attacks in New York and Washington. What seemed like a quick victory over the Taliban regime turned into a bloody, endless guerrilla war that continues to this day.

President George W. Bush’s administration accused Osama Bin Laden’s Al-Qaeda network of the hijacking of civilian airliners that struck the twin towers of the World Trade Center and the Pentagon. The White House believed that Bin Laden was in Afghanistan and demanded that the Taliban turn him over. Taliban leader Mullah Omar asked for evidence. What he got was war.

With the help of US jets and troops, warlords from the Northern Alliance pushed the Taliban out of major cities and took the capital, Kabul, by mid-November. 

A new government was established, under US-backed President Hamid Karzai. NATO allies lent legitimacy to the US effort, sending troops to support the “reconstruction” of Afghanistan.

At first, the US operation was dubbed “Infinite Justice.” That was quickly changed to “Enduring Freedom,”over fears of offending religious sentiments of the Afghans. The second name proved ominous, however: Washington and its allies have been unable to extricate themselves from Afghanistan ever since.

The Way Things Are

Though President George W. Bush started the war in Afghanistan, it was his successor, Barack Obama, who presided over the Iraq-style “surge” intended to end it. Fifteen years after the invasion, there are fewer than 9,000 US troops in Afghanistan, down from the 100,000 peak in 2011. They are part of “Operation Freedom’s Sentinel,” and the Pentagon insists they are there in a solely “advise and assist” role to the Afghan military, rather than fighting the Taliban or Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL). Just this week, however, Staff Sergeant Adam S. Thomas, 31, was killed in Nangarhar Province, reportedly by an improvised bomb. He was the third US soldier killed in Afghanistan in 2016.

Architects of the Afghan war: Rumsfeld, Bush, Cheney

Since 2002, the US has spent more than $60 billion to train and equip Afghan security forces, according to Reuters. On Thursday, however, the Pentagon revealed that a number of Afghans who came to the US to train have deserted. Since the program began in January 2015, 44 Afghans have gone absent without leave, eight of them in September 2016 alone, Pentagon spokesman Adam Stump told Reuters.

Opium cultivation, banned under the strict Taliban interpretation of Islam, has made a roaring comeback during the war. A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimated the extent of opium cultivation in Afghanistan at more than 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres). Final figures may yet exceed the 2014 record of 224,000 hectares.

"Eradication has been close to zero," UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov reported to the international donors’ conference in Vienna, Austria on Thursday.

How did it come to this?

Though the 2001 invasion managed to overthrow the Taliban government, the US failed to capture or kill Bin Laden – the alleged mastermind behind 9/11 – until 10 years later. For a month, US troops combed the “black caves” of Tora Bora, on the border with Pakistan, where Bin Laden was believed to be hiding.

Bush's "nation building"
Despite Bush’s campaign promise to end “nation-building” missions, American and NATO soldiers soon found themselves in a classic counter-insurgency campaign, conducting patrols from firebases in Afghan countryside and launching offensives against the ever-elusive Taliban and Al-Qaeda insurgents. US commanders in Afghanistan kept asking for more troops, but almost all of Washington’s strength was tied down in Iraq, after the 2003 invasion followed a similar course of events, from quick victory to quagmire. Through a combination of a “surge” in troop numbers and payoffs to local leaders, the US managed to neutralize most of the insurgency in Iraq. 

Upon his election, Obama implemented a similar program in Afghanistan.

In May 2011, a Navy SEAL team raided a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan, and killed Osama Bin Laden, according to the US government. This accomplished the war’s primary objective, albeit nearly a decade later. With Bin Laden’s reported demise, Obama announced a gradual withdrawal from Afghanistan by the end of 2016. Combat operations were officially declared over in December 2014.

Someone forgot to tell the Taliban, however. In May 2015, a US drone strike in Pakistan killed the group’s leader, Mohammad Mansour.

The useless, terminally irrelevant Kerry
“It is time for Afghans to stop fighting and to start building a real future together,” Secretary of State John Kerry said at the time, urging the Taliban to negotiate with the Afghan government of President Ashraf Ghani. The former finance minister during Karzai’s first term, Ghani was elected in 2014 after a controversial runoff against Abdullah Abdullah.

Instead, the Taliban appointed Mullah Haibatullah Akhundzada as their new leader and launched a new offensive. In September 2015, the group captured Kunduz, a major city in the north near the border with Tajikistan. 

They were pushed out after two weeks of heavy fighting, in the course of which US planes destroyed a hospital run by Doctors Without Borders (Medecins Sans Frontieres, MSF).

A year later, the Taliban were in Kunduz again, planting their flag in the city’s main square.

Casualties of War

Over 4,000 coalition soldiers and 15,000 Afghan troops have died over the course of the Operation Enduring Freedom. US casualties over those 4,830 days were 2,356 killed and 19,950 wounded. Taliban casualties have been estimated at between 25,000 and 40,000.

Since then, in Operation Freedom’s Sentinel, the US has suffered 24 killed and 124 wounded, according to the Pentagon. NATO allies lost another seven people.

Estimates of civilian deaths have ranged from 31,000 (Watson Institute for International Studies) to as high as 170,000 (“Body Count”, by Physicians for Social Responsibility, Physicians for Global Survival and International Physicians for the Prevention of Nuclear War).

By way of comparison, the Soviet-Afghan war of 1979-89 resulted in 14,000 Soviet deaths, 75-90,000 mujahideen killed, and civilian casualties estimated at between 850,000 and 2 million.

Into Thin Air

At this week’s donor conference in Austria, US and the EU promised $15 billion to fund the Afghan government over the next four years.

The cost of the war in Afghanistan has been estimated at $685.6 billion by the US Congressional research service (CRS). The long-term cost may be as much as $6 trillion, when bringing into account “long-term medical care and disability compensation for service members, veterans and families, military replenishment and social and economic costs,” according to a 2013 estimate by Linda Bilmes of the Harvard Kennedy School of Government.

Billions of dollars earmarked for Afghan “reconstruction” were spent on airplanes that ended up being sold for scrap, $30 million gas stations, and drug interdiction planes that never took off, as documented by the US special inspector general for Afghanistan reconstruction (SIGAR).

Anti-narcotic efforts alone cost over $8.4 billion, without anything to show for it. Afghanistan today produces over 90 percent of the world’s heroin, in greater quantities than before 2001.

When will Americans finally have enough and put an end to it?

Perhaps the greatest irony of the war in Afghanistan is that the US ended up fighting the same people it used to back during the Cold War. In the late 1970s, Washington covertly supported Islamist rebels in order to draw the USSR into a “Vietnam-like quagmire.” After the Soviet retreat in 1989, those rebels – the mujahideen– started fighting among themselves, with the Taliban eventually emerging as the dominant faction.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.

The Dangers From "Humanitarian" Wars

The bogus "humanitarian" war moniker was first legitimised by Karl Rove and then appropriated by the Obama criminals  

By Conn Hallinan

While the mainstream media focuses on losers and winners in the race between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, a largely unreported debate is going on over the future course of U.S. diplomacy. Its outcome will have a profound effect on how Washington projects power — both diplomatic and military — in the coming decade.

The issues at stake are hardly abstract. The United States is currently engaged in active wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Somalia. 

It has deployed troops on the Russian border, played push-and-shove with China in Asia, and greatly extended its military footprint on the African continent. 

It would not be an exaggeration to say — as former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Perry has recently done — that the world is a more dangerous place today than it was during darkest times of the Cold War.

Tracking the outlines of this argument is not easy, in part because the participants are not always forthcoming about what they are proposing, in part because the media oversimplifies the issues.

In its broadest framework, “realists” represented by former National Security Advisor Henry Kissinger, Harvard’s Steven Walt, and University of Chicago’s John Mearsheimer have squared off against “humanitarian interventionists” like current UN Ambassador Samantha Power. Given that Power is a key adviser to the Obama administration on foreign policy and is likely to play a similar role if Clinton is elected, her views carry weight.

In a recent essay in the New York Review of Books, Power asks, “How is a statesman to advance his nation’s interests?” She begins by hijacking the realist position that U.S. diplomacy must reflect “national interests,” arguing that they are indistinguishable from “moral values.” What happens to people in other countries, she argues, is in our “national security.” Power — along with Clinton and former President Bill Clinton — has long been an advocate for “humanitarian intervention,” behind which the United States intervened in the Yugoslav civil war. 

Humanitarian intervention has since been formalized into “responsibility to protect,” or R2P, and was the rationale for overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi in Libya. Hillary Clinton has argued forcibly for applying R2P to Syria by setting up “no-fly zones” to block Syrian and Russian planes from bombing insurgents and the civilians under their control.

But Power is proposing something different than humanitarian intervention. She is suggesting that the United States elevate R2P to the level of national security, which sounds uncomfortably like an argument for U.S. intervention in any place that doesn’t emulate the American system.

Facing Off Against the Kremlin

Most telling is her choice of examples: Russia,China, and Venezuela, all currently in Washington’s crosshairs. Of these, she spends the most time on Moscow and the current crisis in Ukraine, where she accuses the Russians of weakening a “core independent norm” by supporting insurgents in Ukraine’s east, “lopping off part of a neighboring country” by seizing Crimea, and suppressing the news of Russian intervention from its own people. Were the Russian media to report on the situation in Ukraine, she writes, “many Russians might well oppose” the conflict.

Power presents no evidence for this statement because none exists. Regardless of what one thinks of Moscow’s role in Ukraine, the vast majority of Russians are not only aware of it, but overwhelmingly support President Vladimir Putin on the issue. From the average Russian’s point of view, NATO has been steadily marching eastwards since the end of the Yugoslav war. It is Americans who are deployed in the Baltic and Poland, not Russians gathering on the borders of Canada and Mexico. Russians are a tad sensitive about their borders, given the tens of millions they lost in World War II, something of which Power seems oblivious.

What Power seems incapable of doing is seeing how countries like China and Russia view the United States. That point of view is an essential skill in international diplomacy, because it is how one determines whether or not an opponent poses a serious threat to one’s national security.

Is Russia — as President Obama recently told the U.N. — really “attempting to recover lost glory through force,” or is Moscow reacting to what it perceives as a threat to its own national security? Russia did not intervene in Ukraine until the United States and its NATO allies supported the coup against the President Viktor Yanukovych’s government and ditched an agreement that had been hammered out among the European Union, Moscow, and the United States to peacefully resolve the crisis.

The vile Victoria "Fuck the EU" Nuland with Obama puppet Poroshenko

Power argues that there was no coup, but U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Victoria Nuland and the U.S. Ambassador to the Ukraine, Geoffrey Pyatt were caught on tape talking about how to “mid-wife” the takeover and choose the person they wanted to put in place.

As for “lopping off” Crimea, Power had no problem with the United States and NATO “lopping off” Kosovo from Serbia in the Yugoslav War. In both cases local populations — in Crimea by 96 percent — supported the “takeovers.”

Understanding how other countries see the world does not mean one need agree with them, but there is nothing in Moscow’s actions that suggests that it is trying to re-establish an “empire,” as Obama characterized its behavior in his recent speech to the U.N.

When Hillary Clinton compared Putin to Hitler, she equated Russia with Nazi Germany, which certainly posed an existential threat to our national security. But does anyone think that comparison is valid? In 1939, Germany was the most powerful country in Europe with a massive military. Russia has the 11th largest economy in the world, trailing even France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy and Brazil. Turkey has a larger army.

Putin has put a halt to Obama, Clinton warmongering in Ukraine and Syria

Power’s view of what is good for the Russian people is a case in point. Although one can hardly admire the oligarchy that dominates Russia — and the last election would seem to indicate considerable voter apathy in the country’s urban centers — the “liberals” whom Power is so enamored with were the people who instituted the economic “shock therapy” in the 1990s that impoverished tens of millions of people and brought about a calamitous drop in life expectancy.

That track record is unlikely to get one elected. In any case, Americans are hardly in a position these days to lecture people about the role oligarchic wealth plays in manipulating elections.

View From China

The Chinese are intolerant of internal dissent, but Washington’s argument with Beijing is over sea lanes, not voter rolls.

China is acting the bully in the South China Sea, but it was President Bill Clinton who sparked the current tensions in the region when he deployed two aircraft carrier battle groups in the Taiwan Straits in 1995-96 during a tense standoff between Taipei and the mainland. China did not then — and does not now — have the capacity to invade Taiwan, so Beijing’s threats were not real.

But the aircraft carriers were very real, and they humiliated — and scared — China in its home waters. That incident directly led to China’s current accelerated military spending and its heavy-handed actions in the South China Sea.

Again, there is a long history here. Starting with the Opium Wars of 1839 and 1860, followed by the Sino-Japanese War of 1895 and Tokyo’s invasion of China in World War II, the Chinese have been invaded and humiliated time and again. Beijing believes that the Obama administration designed its “Asia pivot” as to surround China with U.S. allies.

While that might be an over simplification — the Pacific has long been America’s largest market — it is a perfectly rational conclusion to draw from the deployment of U.S. Marines to Australia, the positioning of nuclear-capable forces in Guam and Wake, the siting of anti-ballistic missile systems in South Korea and Japan, and the attempt to tighten military ties with India, Indonesia, and Vietnam.

“If you are a strategic thinker in China, you don’t have to be a paranoid conspiracy theorist to think that the U.S. is trying to bandwagon Asia against China,” says Simon Tay, chair of the Singapore Institute of International Affairs.

In Latin America

As for Venezuela, the U.S. supported the 2002 coup against Hugo Chavez and has led a campaign of hostility against the government ever since. For all its problems, the Chavez government cut poverty rates from 54.5 percent of the population to 32 percent, and extreme poverty from around 20 percent to 8.6 percent. Infant mortality fell from 25 per 1,000 to 13 per 1,000, the same as for Black Americans.

And the concern for the democratic rights of Venezuelans apparently doesn’t extend to the people of Honduras. 

When a military coup overthrew a progressive government in 2009, the United States pressed other Latin American countries to recognize the illegal government that took over in its wake. 

Although opposition forces in Venezuela get tear-gassed and a handful jailed, in Honduras they are murdered by death squads.

Power’s view that the United States stands for virtue instead of simply pursuing its own interests is a uniquely American delusion. “This is an image that Americans have of themselves,” says Jeremy Shapiro, research director of the European Council on Foreign Relations, “but is not shared, even by their allies.”

The “division” between “realists” and R2P is an illusion. Both end up in the same place: confronting our supposed competitors and supporting our allies, regardless of how they treat their people. Although she is quick to call the Russians in Syria “barbarous,” she is conspicuously silent on U.S. support for Saudi Arabia’s air war in Yemen, which has targeted hospitals, markets and civilians.

The argument that another country’s internal politics is a national security issue for the United States elevates R2P to a new level, sets the bar for military intervention a good deal lower than it is today, and lays the groundwork for an interventionist foreign policy that will make the Obama administration look positively pacifist.

It is impossible to separate this debate on foreign policy from the current race for the White House. Clinton has been hawkish on most international issues, and she is not shy about military intervention.

The Obama criminals have conducted a campaign of terror, intimidation and imprisonment against whistleblowers and anyone else who dares question his illegal wars and crimes against humanity

She has also surrounded herself with some of the same people who designed the Iraq war, including founders of the Project for a New American Century. It is rumored that if she wins she will appoint former Defense Department official Michele Flournoy as secretary of defense. Flournoy has called for bombing Assad’s forces in Syria.

On the other hand, Trump has been less than coherent. He has made some reasonable statements about cooperating with the Russians and some distinctly scary ones about China. He says he is opposed to military interventions, although he supported the war in Iraq. He is alarmingly casual about the use of nuclear weapons.

Whoever wins in November will face a world in which Washington can’t call all the shots. As Middle East expert Patrick Cockburn points out, “The U.S. remains a superpower, but is no longer as powerful as it once was.” Although it can overthrow regimes it doesn’t like, “it can’t replace what has been destroyed.”

Power’s framework for diplomacy is a formula for a never-ending cycle of war and instability.

This news bureau contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of environmental, political, human rights, economic, democracy, scientific, and social justice issues, etc.  We believe this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes.



The real truth on 9/11 slowly continues to bleed out

Technical experts are mounting major challenges to official U.S. government accounts of how three World Trade Center skyscrapers collapsed in near-freefall after the 9/11 attacks 15 years ago.

Many researchers are focusing especially on the little-known collapse of



The Geopolitics Of The United States, Part 1: The Inevitable Empire

The Empire and the inevitable fall of the Obama criminal regime

STRATFOR Editor’s Note: This installment on the United States, presented in two parts, is the 16th in a series of STRATFOR monographs on the geopolitics of countries influential in world affairs.

Like nearly all of the peoples of North and South America, most Americans are not originally from the territory that became the United States.



Geopolitics Of The United States Part 2: American Identity And The Threats of Tomorrow

A look back at 2011 predictions for the future in order to put events of today into perspective

 photo capitalism_zpsah78uy5p.jpg
We have already discussed in the first part of this analysis how the American geography dooms whoever controls the territory to being a global power, but there are a number of other outcomes that shape what that power will be like. The first and most critical is the impact of that geography on the American mindset.



By Robert S. Finnegan

This e-mail outlines and confirms the acts of espionage against Indonesia and Indonesians by Akiko Makino and the others involved both in Kobe University and in AI Lab at University of Airlangga, Surabaya; Bahasa Indonesia original follows English translation...



UPDATED 01/07/2015 : New Analysis Challenges Tamiflu Efficacy; Hong Kong Corona Virus Outbreak


 photo TAMIFLU_small_zpssojx6okt.jpg

Obama criminals now resulting to biowarfare in quest to destroy Chinese and ASEAN economy; "novel virus substrain" points directly to a Kawaoka / Fouchier / Ernala-Ginting Kobe lab virus weaponized and genetically altered to specifically target and infect the Asian population: Ribavirin...



 photo WHO02_zpsplmhtlpr.jpg
The 5th Estate has just purchased a library on H5N1 "Novel" virus pandemics, there are dozens of PDF and Exel documents we feel will assist you in saving lives following intentional releases of the H5N1 and now MERS viruses; we will begin by printing those that appear to be extremely relevant here: H5N1 Kobe-Kawaoka-Ernala series continues soon with more "Smoking Gun" e-mails from Teridah Ernala to The 5th Estate . . .



By Robert S. Finnegan

On October 12, 2002 the Indonesian island of Bali experienced a terrorist attack that rocked the world. It was unquestionably well-coordinated and executed, the largest in the country's history.