Archive for the ‘A War Based on Lies’ Category

U.S.: No Military Involvement in Iraq!

June 16, 2014

Under no circumstances should the U.S. involve itself militarily in Iraq. Our intervention caused the mess there, and further U.S. military intervention would only exacerbate it.

If international intervention is required to bring peace, let Russia do it. Russia (as the Soviet Union) was Iraq’s patron in the 1980s, before the U.S. launched its two wars. That might even divert Russian attention and resources from Ukraine, which would be a good thing.

If Russia declines to intervene, then maybe the United Nations should. And if the U.N. cannot or will not, then maybe it is time to let the Middle East sort out its problems on its own.

Anything but direct U.S. military intervention.

Feb 11, 2014: Fight Back Against Mass Surveillance

February 9, 2014

Day We Fight Back . org

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Questions and Answers about the Afghanistan War

April 21, 2012

How long have we been fighting in Afghanistan? The war has ground on for over ten years now. Longer than WWI and WWII combined.

When will it end? According to the Obama administration, we will start withdrawing troops in September of 2012 and end our combat involvement there by 2014. However, few Americans believe that, least of all senior military officials, who argue that US and NATO troops should remain until Afghanistan is stable. Never mind that Afghanistan never has been stable and is unlikely to become so in this century.

How is it going? If you ask the US military command, it is challenging, but we are gradually winning the war against the enemy. Never mind that the number of US and NATO troops killed in the first three months of 2012 is about equal to the number killed in the first three years of the war, 2001-2003.

Who is the enemy? Al Qaeda, of course, ever since they attacked us on 9/11/2001. Never mind that Al Qaeda has had no significant presence in Afghanistan since 2001.

Who are we are fighting, then? A subsitute enemy: the Taliban. Never mind that the Taliban did not attack us, know almost nothing about the world outside of their country, and therefore pose no international threat.

But didn’t the Taliban harbor the Al Qaeda terrorists who attacked us? Perhaps, but it is customary in Afghanistan to feed and harbor anyone who comes to your door. Also, the people who planned and carried out the 9/11 attacks lived in Saudi Arabia, Germany, Canada, Florida, and Massachusetts. After the attacks, Pakistan harbored Osama bin Laden and his clan for many years. So those locations also harbored the terrorists, yet we haven’t gone to war with them.

OK, but the Taliban regime was hell for Afghan women, wasn’t it? Maybe Western intervention can help bring about a better life for women there. Yes, it was. But again, regimes all over the world repress women, and the US hasn’t invaded them.

Does the Afghan government want us to stay? No. They want us out, ASAP. In late 2010, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said that the US military strategy in Afghanistan is counterproductive. Last Thursday, after a series of incidents in which US troops pissed on Taliban corpses, shot and killed unarmed Afghan women and children while they were sleeping, and posed with Taliban body parts, Karzai said that he wants Western forces to speed-up their departure. Bottom line: we aren’t there because the Afghans want us there.

So why are we still there? Countries north of Afghanistan — Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikstan — have oil reserves. The US wants access to that oil. Obtaining secure access will require pipelines running south, through Afghanistan. The alternative pipeline routes go east, to China, or north, to Russia. The US doesn’t like those alternatives. Therefore, US neo-conservatives (and neo-liberals) consider Afghanistan a strategic piece of territory to control.

What can we do to help bring an end to the Afghanistan war? Join the Campaign for New Priorities, and donate to help the Campaign publish advertisements. Write or call your congressional representatives, Senators, President Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and ask them. Get their phone numbers and addresses via Google.

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Truth, Lies and Afghanistan

February 7, 2012

The Armed Forces Journal recently published an article by Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis that assesses the state of the war in Afghanistan. Lt. Col. Davis wrote two versions of his assessment: a classified version for security-cleared personnel only, and a shorter unclassified version. The unclassified article is amazingly candid. Here are excerpts from the unclassified article.

By Lt. Col. Daniel L. Davis, Armed Forces Journal, 07 February 2012

I spent last year in Afghanistan, visiting and talking with U.S. troops and their Afghan partners. … I covered more than 9,000 miles and talked, traveled and patrolled with troops in Kandahar, Kunar, Ghazni, Khost, Paktika, Kunduz, Balkh, Nangarhar and other provinces.

What I saw bore no resemblance to rosy official statements by U.S. military leaders about conditions on the ground.

I witnessed the absence of success on virtually every level.

I saw the incredible difficulties any military force would have to pacify even a single area of any of those provinces; I heard many stories of how insurgents controlled virtually every piece of land beyond eyeshot of a U.S. or International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) base.

I saw little to no evidence the local governments were able to provide for the basic needs of the people. Some of the Afghan civilians I talked with said the people didn’t want to be connected to a predatory or incapable local government.

I observed Afghan Security forces collude with the insurgency.

Much of what I saw during my deployment, let alone read or wrote in official reports, I can’t talk about; the information remains classified. But I can say that such reports – mine and others’ – serve to illuminate the gulf between conditions on the ground and official statements of progress.

In August, I went on a dismounted patrol with troops in the Panjwai district of Kandahar province. … One of the unit’s senior officers rhetorically asked me, “How do I look these men in the eye and ask them to go out day after day on these missions? What’s harder: How do I look [my soldier’s] wife in the eye when I get back and tell her that her husband died for something meaningful? How do I do that?”

On Sept. 11, the 10th anniversary of the infamous attack on the U.S., I visited [a] unit in Kunar province, this one near the town of Asmar. I talked with the local official who served as the cultural adviser to the U.S. commander. Here’s how the conversation went:

Davis: “Here you have many units of the Afghan National Security Forces [ANSF]. Will they be able to hold out against the Taliban when U.S. troops leave this area?”

Adviser: “No. They are definitely not capable. Already all across this region [many elements of] the security forces have made deals with the Taliban. [The ANSF] won’t shoot at the Taliban, and the Taliban won’t shoot them.

In all of the places I visited, the tactical situation was bad to abysmal. If the events I have described – and many, many more I could mention – had been in the first year of war, or even the third or fourth, one might be willing to believe that Afghanistan was just a hard fight, and we should stick it out. Yet these incidents all happened in the 10th year of war.

I’m hardly the only one who has noted the discrepancy between official statements and the truth on the ground.

If Americans were able to compare the public statements many of our leaders have made with classified data, this credibility gulf would be immediately observable. Naturally, I am not authorized to divulge classified material to the public. But I am legally able to share it with members of Congress. I have accordingly provided a much fuller accounting in a classified report to several members of Congress, both Democrats and Republicans, senators and House members.

When it comes to deciding what matters are worth plunging our nation into war and which are not, our senior leaders owe it to the nation and to the uniformed members to be candid – graphically, if necessary – in telling them what’s at stake and how expensive potential success is likely to be. U.S. citizens and their elected representatives can decide if the risk to blood and treasure is worth it.

Likewise when having to decide whether to continue a war, alter its aims or to close off a campaign that cannot be won at an acceptable price, our senior leaders have an obligation to tell Congress and American people the unvarnished truth and let the people decide what course of action to choose. That is the very essence of civilian control of the military. The American people deserve better than what they’ve gotten from their senior uniformed leaders over the last number of years. Simply telling the truth would be a good start.

[Read entire article at Reader-Supported News]

[Read entire article at Armed Forces Journal]

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US Ends Iraq War… Again… Really?

October 23, 2011

Last Friday, Oct 21, President Obama declared the Iraq War “over”. He said “the rest of our troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year.” He and US defense officials wanted to leave a few thousand soldiers there as trainers, but Iraq would not grant them immunity from prosecution, so Obama decided to withdraw all US troops. That’s the good news.

The bad news is that this isn’t the first time Obama has “ended” the Iraq War. On August 31, 2010, he announced the withdrawal of “the last US combat brigade from Iraq”. That description was highly misleading. About 50,000 US Army troops stayed in Iraq, most of them combat troops. Worse, an even larger number of private military contractors (aka mercenaries) also stayed. US combat casualties, not to mention Iraqi civilian casualties, continued to rise — in fact, the US military death rate spiked in June 2011. Since that first “ending” of the Iraq War, over 50 US troops died in Iraq, bringing the sad toll-to-date to 4479.

And this time? Is Obama’s claim that all US combat troops in Iraq will come home by the end of the year true this time?

Answer: Perhaps more true than before, but there is still some “fine print” he didn’t mention in last Friday’s speech. Supposedly the US State Department will take over operations in Iraq from the Department of Defense. State Department officials have built a large force of military contractors to provide security for American diplomats and US facilities. But the Defense Department will not be totally out of the picture: a small number of US Marines will remain in Iraq to guard the US embassy and two consulates.

In addition to the “fine print” that Obama didn’t mention, there have also been statements from other US and Iraqi officials that contradict Obama’s claim that all US combat troops will be withdrawn. Deputy National Security Adviser Denis McDonough states that the United States will continue to train Iraq’s military. Will the trainers be US military troops, military contractors, or civilians? Qubad Talabani, the Kurdistan regional government representative in Washington and the son of Iraq’s president, said “As part of a new agreement there will be Americans in Iraq training and assisting the Iraqi armed forces. These Americans will not be combat troops but they will be US soldiers.” Huh? Didn’t the deal to leave military trainers in Iraq fall through?

So what is the truth? We will find out.

Until then, I will remain cautiously pessimistic.

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Lee, Jones, 93 House Members Demand Complete, Quick Iraq Withdrawal

July 29, 2011

On July 27, 93 House members led by representatives Barbara Lee and Walter Jones released a letter to President Obama calling for a complete US military withdrawal from Iraq by December 2011, as required by the US-Iraq pact of 2008.

In contrast, senior military and other administration officials have encouraged Iraq to “request” that US troops remain in Iraq indefinitely.

Lee’s letter challenges the president at a key moment: when the US debt-ceiling is being debated. Withdrawing the remaining 47,000 American troops (plus a large number of military contractors) from Iraq would save US taxpayer $50 billion annually.

The Lee-Jones Letter

July 22, 2011

The Honorable Barack Obama
President of the United States
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 20500

Dear Mr. President,

We are writing to urge you to hold to our nation’s Status of Forces Agreement with the government of Iraq that commits our nation to bringing all of our troops and military contractors home at the end of this calendar year.

The American people have made it clear that the war in Iraq must end. By wide and overwhelming margins, Americans approve of your plan to remove all the troops from Iraq by the end of this year.

We are deeply concerned to learn that your Administration is considering plans to keep potentially thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq beyond the end of this year. Extending our presence in Iraq is counterproductive – the Iraqi people do not support our continued occupation. Remaining in Iraq would only further strengthen the perception that we are an occupying force with no intention of leaving Iraq.

Leaving troops and military contractors in Iraq beyond the deadline is not in our nation’s security interests, it is not in our nation’s strategic interests, and it is not in our nation’s economic interests.

Mr. President, we look forward to working with you in maintaining our nation’s Status of Forces Agreement with the government of Iraq and bringing all of our troops and military contractors home at the end of this year.

Sincerely,

Barbara Lee
Member of Congress

Walter B. Jones
Member of Congress

[Read Congr. Barbara Lee’s Press Release]

[See which Members of Congress co-signed the Lee-Jones letter]

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US Monthly Death Rate in Iraq Spikes

July 2, 2011

Last August 31, President Obama announced the withdrawal of “the last US combat brigade from Iraq”. That description of the withdrawal was highly misleading, since about 50,000 US Army troops stayed in Iraq, many of which are combat troops. That number does not count an even larger number of private military contractors (aka mercenaries) who also remain in Iraq.

Nonetheless, the Iraq war more-or-less faded from the news, replaced by reports from the Afghanistan war and, more recently, the US-led NATO attacks on Libya.

But the Iraq war is far from over. As was made clear by a recent Washington Post report, the Iraq war continues to cost US and Iraqi lives, not to mention vast sums of money and the US’s and Iraq’s economic health. According to the report, the US military death toll for June 2011 — fifteen troops — was the highest in two years — since before the so-called withdrawal of “combat troops”. This sad statistic brings the total US death toll in Iraq to 4466, and the total for all coalition forces to 4787 (source iCasualties.org).

The August 2010 “withdrawal of combat troops” was a lie, pure and simple. The Iraq war continues, and will continue to continue until every last US troop, regular or special forces, is out. According to the Obama administration’s stated plan, the remaining US troops are to leave Iraq by the end of 2011. However, neither US military commanders nor Iraqi government officials believe that deadline will be met.

US officials blame Iran for the recent spike in US troop deaths. They say Iranian Revolutionary Guard special forces are training Iraqi Shiite militias to be more effective in striking against coalition troops. If true, this development was entirely predictable eight years ago when the US launched the war. Iran and Iraq had been at war during the 1980s (with skirmishes continuing into the 1990s). The US then attacked and invaded Iraq twice: once in the early 1990s with Operation Desert Storm in response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait, and again in 2003 ostensibly to keep Saddam Hussein from using his “weapons of mass destruction” (which didn’t exist), but actually following a neocon plan to control Iraq’s oil reserves. By attacking Iraq twice, the US weakened it to the point where Iran can now freely exercise its influence among Iraq’s now dominant Shiite population. In short, the US won the Iran/Iraq war for Iran by defeating Iraq and leaving the Shiites in charge.

[SF Chronicle, July 1 2011: US death toll in June in Iraq hits 2-year high]

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Photos from San Francisco Anti-war Rally 3.19.11

March 23, 2011

In San Francisco on March 19 2011, a large anti-war and worker-solidarity rally and march took place. Like the Interfaith Peace Vigil described in the previous post, the main purpose of the rally/march was to protest the continuation of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars/occupations, as well as to show support for workers in San Francisco around the US who are fighting to retain hard-earned collective-bargaining rights. However, in light of the attacks by the US, France, and England on Libya that same day, the rally took on an additional purpose: to protest the launching of a third costly US-led war in the Middle East.

The rally began at noon at United Nations Plaza, in intermittent rainfall. Speakers from several sponsoring organizations spoke over the course of about an hour, then the crowd of 1500 – 2000 people headed down Market Street toward several large hotels where workers’ rights are currently being contested.

Here are some photos from the San Francisco rally. Click on photos to see them larger.

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Photos from San Francisco Interfaith Peace Vigil 3.19.11

March 20, 2011

March 19, 2011, on the eighth anniversary of the start of the US-led Iraq War and the day when the US, France, and Britain launched attacks on Libya, about 200 people representing many different faith-traditions assembled in a light rain at 10:30 am in San Francisco’s Civic Center to express their opposition to the wars.

The vigil was organized by Rev. Israel Alvaran, a Methodist minister and Local 2 labor leader, and endorsed by a large number of churches, synagogues, and other houses of worship throughout SF.

Program

  • Gathering Music: Rick Phillips
  • Welcome: Dolores Perez-Priem, First Unitarian Universalist Society of SF
  • Centering Prayer: Rev. Jana Drakka, the Zenkei Sangha
  • Moment of Remembrance: Natasha Kanhai, Park Presidio United Methodist Church
  • Opening Song: “We Are a Gentle, Angry People”, Rick Phillips
  • An Invitation to Peace and Justice: Biship Otis Charles, Episcopal Church, Diocese of California
  • Passing Greetings of Peace
  • Centering Poem: Emerald O’Leary, City of Refuge, United Church of Christ, SF
  • A Responsive Litany for Peace: Rev. Donna Wood, Park Presidio United Methodist Church
  • Reflections on Peace and Justice: Rev. Jeremiah Kalandae, First Unitarian Universalist Society
  • The Word in Music: Ubi caritas et amor, Dues ibi est (Where charity and love are, God is present.)
  • Prayers for Peace and Justice:
    • Imam Khaled Hamoui, Occidentalists for the vicitims of the City of Hama
    • Peter Gabel, Network for Spiritual Progressives / Tikkun
    • Rev. Norman Fong, Minister, Presbyterian Church-USA
    • Tho Thi Do, St Boniface Roman Catholic Church
  • The Challenge of Peace and Justice: Rev. Fr. Kirk Ullery, Our Lady of Lourdes Roman Catholic Church
  • Closing Song: “Let There Be Peace on Earth”
  • Closing Prayer and Blessing: Rev. Dr. Dorsey Blake, The Church for the Fellowship of All Peoples
  • Sung Response: “Dona NobisPacem” (Grant us peace)

Below are photos from the vigil. Click on photos to see them larger.

Photos from the Anti-War rally and march that was held later the same day will be posted here in a few days.

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Outstanding Book: War is a Lie

January 29, 2011

David Swanson, former Press Secretary for US presidential candidate Dennis Kucinich and author of Daybreak: Undoing the Imperial Presidency and Forming a More Perfect Union, has just published an amazing new book: War is a Lie. The book is so up-to-date that it discusses events that took place in September 2010.

It’s a point-by-point, historically rich, well-researched and well-documented expose’ of the lies that have been used to start and sustain humanity’s wars, including some that are usually considered “good wars” (a term that Swanson considers an oxymoron). The books provides the historical context and stated vs. actual motivation for most of our wars, as well as evaluating the results of wars against the goals.

Book Cover: War is a Lie

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Wars Are Not Fought Against Evil
  3. Wars Are Not Launched in Defense
  4. Wars Are Not Waged Out of Generosity
  5. Wars Are Not Unavoidable
  6. Warriors Are Not Heroes
  7. War Makers Do Not Have Noble Motives
  8. Wars Are Not Prolonged for the Good of Soldiers
  9. Wars Are Not Fought on Battlefields
  10. Wars Are Not Won, and Are Not Ended By Enlarging Them
  11. War News Does Not Come From Disinterested Observers
  12. War Does Not Bring Security and Is Not Sustainable
  13. Wars Are Not Legal
  14. Wars Cannot Be Both Planned and Avoided
  15. War Is Over If You Want It

Some interesting excerpts from the book:

“If WWII was a good war, why did 80 percent of the Americans who … made it into combat choose not to fire their weapons at the enemies? … There is good evidence that this was the norm in the ranks of the Germans, British, French, and so forth, and had been the norm in previous wars as well. The problem … was that about 98 percent of people are very resistant to killing other human beings. You can show them how to use a gun and tell them to go shoot it, but in the moment of combat many of them will aim for the sky, drop in the dirt, assist a buddy with his weapon, or suddenly discover that an important message needs to be conveyed along the line. … They’re horrified of committing murder.” — Chapter 4

“One need not think about … wars solely in terms of winning or losing. If the US were to elect officials and compel them to heed the public’s wishes and retire from foreign military adventures, we would all be better off. Why … must that desired outcome be called ‘losing’?” — Chapter 9

Bottom Line: War is a Lie should be read by everyone in the peace movement, every political analyst, every student of political science, ever Congressional Representative and Senator, everyone in the Obama administration, every non-US leader… oh, the heck with it! This book should be read by everyone who can read. Seriously.

The author’s website for the book, including opportunities for readers to help get it distributed to elected representatives, peace groups, and anti-military-recruitment youth organizations, is: http://warisalie.org.

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