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Obama falls victim to propaganda
by Eric Margolis via rialator - Edmonton Sun Sunday, Jul 20 2008, 9:45pm
international / peace/war / other press

Before widening war in Afghanistan, there is much to consider

Barack Obama wants to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq and send them to Afghanistan, which he calls the real front on the "war on terror." He also has repeated threats to attack Pakistan "if necessary." One understands Obama's need to sound macho. Rival John McCain has been beating his chest, proclaiming, "I know how to win wars." Polls show Americans trust McCain three to one over Obama as a war leader. Unfortunately, recent U.S. presidents seem to require small military conflicts to prove their political virility.

Fraud and slave
Fraud and slave

But Obama has long called the U.S.-led occupation of Afghanistan a "good war," a view most Americans and Canadians share. They see Afghanistan -- and now Pakistan -- as hotbeds of al-Qaida and Taliban terrorists that must be eradicated.

It is distressing to see Obama succumb to the blitz of war propaganda over Afghanistan and adopt George W. Bush's faux terminology of terrorism. Before Obama urges widening America's war there, he should consider:

- Al-Qaida never numbered more than 300 men. There are hardly any left in Afghanistan. Survivors scattered into Pakistan. Finding them is police and intelligence work, not a job for thousands more western troops.

- U.S. policy towards Afghanistan is driven by energy geopolitics. Pacification of rebellious Pashtun tribesmen is necessary in order to build energy pipelines south from the Caspian Basin. That is the primary strategic mission of U.S. and Canadian troops.

- Taliban fighters are not "terrorists." The Taliban was founded as a fundamentalist Muslim religious movement of Pashtun tribesmen to fight banditry, rape, drugs and Afghan Communists. The Taliban received millions in U.S. aid until four months before 9/11. It had no part in 9/11 and knew nothing about it. The U.S. overthrow of the Taliban resulted in the Communists resuming control over half of Afghanistan. Under U.S. occupation, Afghanistan has become a narco state that supplies over 90% of the world's heroin.

PACIFICATION

- Pashtun tribes comprise half of Afghanistan's population, and 15% of neighbouring Pakistan's people. The western powers are involved in an old-fashioned, colonial-style pacification campaign against the Pashtun Taliban. Imperial Britain, the Soviets, and now the U.S. and its allies all employed the same colonial strategy: Using puppet rulers, local mercenary troops, and lavish bribes to enforce their will. Afghans who resist get bombed.

- Before urging expansion of the Afghan war, Obama should total up the bill for America's military misadventures. As of last January, according to the Pentagon and data revealed under the Freedom of Information Act, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars cost 72,043 American battlefield casualties. Veteran's Administration hospitals have treated 263,909 veterans from these wars and registered over 245,000 disability claims.

No one knows how many Iraqis and Afghans have been killed. The number could be over one million. Just last week over 50 Afghans in a wedding party were killed by a U.S. air strike. But without the constant use of massive air power, including B1 bombers, the U.S. could not maintain its occupation of Iraq or Afghanistan.

- According to a Democratic congressional committee report, the two wars will cost $1.6 trillion by the end of 2008, or $16,500 per U.S. family of four -- not counting the cost of borrowing money to pay for the wars.

BOTH WRONG

Obama and McCain believe Afghan resistance can be crushed by more brute force. They are wrong. More western troops and more bombed villages will mean fiercer Afghan resistance.

The war is now seeping into Pakistan, a nation of 165 million. Obama's threats to attack Pakistan and go after its nuclear arsenal are reckless and extremely dangerous. He appears headed over the same cliff as those would-be "war presidents," Bush and McCain. As the head of NATO recently admitted, political settlement, not bombs, is the only way to end the unnecessary Afghan war.

Is Obama beginning to fall under the influence of the same military-petroleum complex that guided Bush's imperial-minded presidency?

Could Pakistan become a disaster for the Democrats as Iraq was for Republicans?

© 2008 Canoe Inc.

COMMENTS

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The Democrats Are The Real Problem
by Mike Whitney via reed - ICH Monday, Jul 21 2008, 8:09am

[Dick in cheek piece by Whitney. Nevertheless, it is accurate! Ed.]

Obama's candidacy is over; kaput. He's already stated that he has no intention of stopping the war, so he has disqualified himself. That's his prerogative; no one put a gun to his head. His op-ed in Monday's New York Times just removes any lingering doubt about the matter. What Obama proposes is moving the central theater of operation from Iraq to Afghanistan. Big deal. Why is it more acceptable to kill a man who is fighting for his country in Afghanistan than in Iraq?

It's not; which is why Obama must be defeated and the equivocating Democratic Party must be jettisoned altogether. The Democrats are a party of blood just like the Republicans, they're just more discreet about it. That's why people who are serious about ending the war have to support candidates outside the two-party charade. The Democrat/Republican duopoly will not deliver the goods; it's as simple as that. The point is to stop the killing, not to provide blind support for smooth-talking politicos who try to mask their real intentions. Obama made his choice, now he can suffer the consequences.

Nancy Pelosi is a perfect example of what the Democrats are all about. Just look at the way she brushed aside the people who got her elected. They mean nothing to her. In a matter of months, the "San Francisco liberal" has achieved what former-Speaker of the House Hastert could only dream of; she's driven the Congress' public approval ratings into single digits for the first time in history making her the worst speaker of all time. She rubber-stamped the FISA bill, concealed what she knew about the CIA's global torture programs, and vowed to stop any public effort to hold the administration accountable for its war crimes. (No impeachment) She has betrayed her most ardent supporters and singlehandedly transformed an already-emasculated congress into a purely ceremonial body incapable of doing the people's work.

At least Bush never betrayed any of his supporters. Never. Pelosi is worse than Bush, much worse.

And yet, liberals still insist that we should vote the Democratic ticket. In your dreams!

What leftist or progressive is not totally fed-up with the Democrats cagey "bait-and-switch" hypocrisy? Voting the Democratic ticket is not a sign of "hope"; it's a sign of being a schmuck. The Democrats have done nothing to stop the war and will do nothing to stop the war. The Obama candidacy is merely a way to replace one group of genocidal maniacs with another. Who needs a charismatic, flannel-mouth glamor boy to lead us into battle when a senile fogy with "anger management" issues will do just fine.

Voters of conscience should reject that choice altogether. Just as they should reject the "lesser of two evils" theory which does not apply when ordinance is being dumped daily on innocent civilians. It has to stop.

Obama is not an antiwar candidate, that is merely a fiction maintained by his public relations team. In fact, he wants to beef up the military with 65,000 additional ground forces and 27,000 more marines. He's also stated that he will add “two additional combat brigades to Afghanistan” and encourage NATO to make “greater contributions—with fewer restrictions”. In his op-ed he boasted, "As president, I will make the fight against Al Qaeda and the Taliban the top priority that it should be. This is a war that we have to win.”

He also added this ominous warning:

“The greatest threat to that security lies in the tribal regions of Pakistan, where terrorists train and insurgents strike into Afghanistan. We cannot tolerate a terrorist sanctuary, and as president, I won’t. We need a stronger and sustained partnership between Afghanistan, Pakistan and NATO to secure the border, to take out terrorist camps and to crack down on cross-border insurgents. We need more troops, more helicopters, more satellites, more Predator drones in the Afghan border region. And we must make it clear that if Pakistan cannot or will not act, we will take out high-level terrorist targets like bin Laden if we have them in our sights.”

OBAMA, THE CANDIDATE FOR ESCALATION

Obama supporters should take their candidate at his word. What he is proposing is a dramatic escalation and expansion of the war into another sovereign country. How is this consistent with the demands of his base or the millions of Americans who believe that Obama represents real change.

It's time for a reality check; the Democrats are the real problem not the Republicans. If the path to peace requires crushing the Democratic Party and its blood-thirsty candidates; so be it. The main thing is to stop the killing. If Obama won't do it; we'll find someone who will.

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