Archive for the 'Anti-War' Category

Ghostwriting my own thoughts

Jul 13, 2011 in Anti-War, Barack Obama, Disappointing Dems, Foreign Policy, Middle East, Pakistan, Politics

I usually get on here, to post some perspectives on my homeland Pakistan and what’s going on in that region and Afghanistan. I have been away for a while, so many readers probably don’t remember me or know who I am.

There has been too much going on for me to catch up with what I wanted to write about. Then I stumbled upon this post in Salon.com

Not only does this writer hit on every topic I was going to write about, but h/she tackles every point I was going to make.

Just some bullet points:

1) I thought I was the only one thinking, why the fuck are we invading Libya? Didn’t we just elect Obama to get us the fuck out of Iraq and Afghanistan? Aren’t we trillions of dollars in debt because of those wars, why repeat Iraq pt Deux?

2) The whole African crisis, which is in part due to our meddling and misguided interventions or lack thereof (see Rwanda and Somalia)

3) Finally someone who understands a topic close to my heart. The Afghan crisis….the Durand line, and the fact that like the Africans, people are fighting on tribal lines to protect the lands of their tribes from foreign invaders. They have done that since Alexander the Great, through to the Victorian British Empire, to the Soviet war machine. O-fucking-Bama, do you think you are greater than Alexander, or the Imperial warriors of the past? Get the fuck out.

Please read the Salon article, it hits the nail on the head, gingerly and then caresses it.
–AA

Bring the war home.

Jan 02, 2010 in Anti-War, Culture

Terrific documentary on The Weather Underground:

-mg

Happy thinking is the trick.

Dec 11, 2009 in Anti-War, Barack Obama

After all, you lost $20K at the casino because you were being negative, a potential cooler.

In three years, minimal differences will be made, and Afghanistan will remain Afghanistan, and Iraq will condense into three segregated nation-states that will guarantee antagonism for decades to come. Note to Iraqis: the fact that I know you’re going to fuck up doesn’t excuse you fucking up.

Obama had a simple option before him: scale back the troops in Afghanistan to skeleton forces and hit Al Queda leadership with predator drones. He had already started this pattern, which still killed too many innocents but had hit some extremely high value targets.

Figures compiled by the Pakistani authorities show that a total of 701 people, including 14 al-Qaeda leaders, have been killed since January 2006 in 60 American predator attacks targeting the tribal areas of Pakistan. Two strikes carried out in 2006 had killed 98 civilians while three attacks conducted in 2007 had slain 66 Pakistanis, yet none of the wanted al-Qaeda or Taliban leaders could be hit by the Americans right on target. However, of the 50 drone attacks carried out between January 29, 2008 and April 8, 2009, 10 hit their targets and killed 14 wanted al-Qaeda operatives. Most of these attacks were carried out on the basis of intelligence believed to have been provided by the Pakistani and Afghan tribesmen who had been spying for the US-led allied forces stationed in Afghanistan.

The remaining 50 drone attacks went wrong due to faulty intelligence information, killing hundreds of innocent civilians, including women and children. The number of the Pakistani civilians killed in those 50 attacks stood at 537, in which 385 people lost their lives in 2008 and 152 people were slain in the first 99 days of 2009 (between January 1 and April 8).

Of the 50 drone attacks, targeting the Pakistani tribal areas since January 2008, 36 were carried out in 2008 and 14 were conducted in the first 99 days of 2009. Of the 14 attacks targeting Pakistan in 2009, three were carried out in January, killing 30 people, two in February killing 55 people, five in March killing 36 people and four were conducted in the first nine days of April, killing 31 people.

Of the 14 strikes carried out in the first 99 days of April 2009, only one proved successful, killing two most wanted senior al-Qaeda leaders – Osama al Kini and Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan. Both had lost their lives in a New Year’s Day drone strike carried out in the South Waziristan region on January 1, 2009.

Really, we get news on a high value target and we can’t throw a small light force of a thousand troops at them? We have to drop bombs?

It’s a course of action that is hardly swayed by the political events in Afghanistan. Our aim is rather amazing: Bin Laden was in Afghanistan, and we attacked Iraq. Now bin Laden is in Pakistan, and we’re surging in Afghanistan. Where’s the gritty realistic foreign policy vision here again?

This surge is ultimately about the views of the Beltway press, who are taking baby steps towards weaning themselves off that intoxicating Cheney-fear. If Obama left now, they’d go straight for the neocon view and the Republicans would be granted free press everywhere to run the “Weak on Terror!” election run of 2002.

Cynical thinking is at play here. No questioning the military industrial complex axioms that end and begin our dialogues on foreign policy. No citation of Dwight Eisenhower. No attempt at the plethora of alternative approaches to a foreign policy vision. Oh, I’m sure Obama’s Socratic dialogues in the Oval Office were filled with stimulating back and forth arguments over policy. In the end, the ruling elites that dominate Obama’s inner circle agreed on realpolitik.

The casino lures one through its doors with the evergreen promise of instant wealth. Bin Laden’s head calls to us from the mountains of Pakistan, and if Obama secured it, it would be the ultimate jackpot (or completely meaningless in the long run). But as in the desert the longer we stay the more sure we are to lose. Sometimes the casino proves that instant wealth is possible, and we see the occasional, temporary winner showered with attention. It’s possible that the weather in Afghanistan could be milder in three years. It’s possible that Obama draws down troops to international applause.

If he’s running in 2012 as the man who ended both of Bush’s wars, politically it doesn’t matter one damn bit that Obama spends most of his first term at war. It’s three freebie years. He’s not fighting the war, he’s ending it slowly! The way elections move today, he can remove most troops from the Middle East in March 2012 and be enshrined as the world’s greatest peacemaker and finally worthy of the Nobel Prize he received.

Will that be true? I think subtler accounts of history will observe that there’s no such thing as a freebie war.

-jb

What am I supposed to respond to, anyway?

Dec 04, 2009 in Anti-War, Barack Obama

WEAK WEAK WEAK! “They’ll wait us out!”

This is why we have to let our empire crumble for another three years? Sending blood and money overseas because it’s just so darn scary that Dick “Deficits don’t matter” Cheney might smirk at us and utter some new catchphrase?

Really, is it a big controversy that Obama left the pom poms behind in his speech? Increasingly few people are understanding the logic behind endless war in the Middle East. But the Cheney neocon way is that you must always promise more war. When does the war end? Don’t ask, that’s weakness!

No, it’s intelligence. No matter how militarist the Republican Party becomes, somebody has to represent a wider spectrum of opinion. We are not obligated to obey our generals, who may not even be uniform in their opinion. The interests of all Americans have to be taken into consideration of war.

Yet, despite it all, we still have our Democratic President, the guy who said that even if you disagreed with him, he’d be acting on principle, repeating a Bush speech. ZOMG he said the war would end! Okay. Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t. He’s described an out for himself either way, except that even if he does it on schedule, we’re still out hundreds of billions and a certain number of deaths, with poor odds that it will significantly change Afghanistan, a Darwinian wasteland, at all.

Paying Afghan farmers to grow wheat is the only good idea I’ve heard about the country in a long time. Waging war on farmers in other countries who grow products we don’t like is flatly immoral. The cost of subsidizing crops and strengthening the rural culture by expanding legal trade is a pittance in comparison.

Otherwise, we’re trying to get a series of isolated goat farmers to agree to never sympathize with hitting us back. Don’t they know we lost 3000 people that day eight years ago? Their dead have to be understood in that context. We must fight until they do understand.

It sure would be nice if all the Afghans were real friendly and just said, “OK, USA!” and made us feel better about ourselves while we left. I mean, I like being waved goodbye. Don’t you?

Wouldn’t it be most clever of them to simply smile, wave, and assure us everything is peachy neat-o, and usher us out the door? “Quick, America’s here, everybody knock it off!”

“Everything okay here, kids?”
“Sure thing, Dad.”
“Okay. You two be good now!”
(bedroom door closes)

Endless war only works at justifying itself. It’s a viral infection, designed to survive and reinforce itself. As the afflicted Obama ventures forward in Afghanistan, we enter Zombieland. I guess we’ll see what’s in Columbus when we get there. But it’s gonna be zombies all the way.

-jb

I’m married.

Mar 02, 2009 in Anti-War, Uncategorized

The deed is done!

It was truly an amazing day. Beautiful ceremony, insanely huge and exciting reception…all I heard that night was, “This was the greatest wedding I’ve ever been to…and I’ve been to a lot!” Thanks for that go to my in-laws, two terrific people who filled the room with their loving friends and family. They all treated my family from Iowa like royalty. Gizmos would shatter trying to quantify the love in the reception hall that evening.

Pics will be soon, if I can find any suitable for Dana Pico, but right now I’m returning Mike G to the airport for several hours of sickness and despair. Thanks also go out to our Pakistan correspondent Ali who came down from L.A. to be one of my groomsmen. Lil’ Miss Samari and I send out all our love.

-jb

p.s. Here’s a plug for a DJ who was not only consummately professional, but who played my favorite tunes during cocktail and dinner, and who had the good sense to warn me against playing my stuff during the dancing. The floor was filled all night, the atmosphere was right, and that’s all due to Sir Mick Scrivener, Elite British DJ.

War criticism from a conservative

Jul 16, 2008 in Anti-War, Foreign Policy, Iran, Middle East

Scott Ritter:
* Former Marine captain
* Combat veteran
* Conservative Republican
* Former UN weapons inspector
* And soldier who put his life on the line defending Israel from SCUD missile attacks during Gulf War I

When he pointed out the lies of the Clinton adminstration, Scott Ritter was a media darling.
But when he stood up to the lies about weapons of mass destruction
in Iraq, he was slandered and censored.

You won’t see Scott Ritter on US news television any more,but you will see him on Brasscheck TV.

Here’s his informed message about war with Iran that’s being censored.

Brasscheck TV

-aa

Subversive Thought of the Day

Jun 30, 2008 in Anti-War, Uncategorized, We'll post whatever we goddamned want to

Brecht Poem in Portland
I just came across this image of a street in Portland, Oregon. Of a poem by Bertolt Brecht, a famous German playwright, who was anti-nazi, and blacklisted by McCarthy after he fled to the US, for being a communist.

The text may be hard to see on the image so I will paste it here:

General, your tank
is a powerful vehicle
it smashes down forests
& crushes a hundred men.
but it has one defect:
it needs a driver.

General, your bomber is powerful
it flies faster than a storm
& carries more than an elephant.
but it has one defect:
it needs a mechanic.

General, man is very useful.
He can fly & he can kill.
but he has one defect:
He can think.

And for JB’s pleasure the original German is:

GENERAL, DEIN TANK IST EIN STARKER WAGEN
Er bricht einen Wald nieder und zermahlt hundert Menschen,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er braucht einen Fahrer.

General, dein Bombenflugzeug ist stark,
Es fliegt schneller als ein Sturm und trägt mehr als ein Elefant,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:

Er braucht einen Monteur.

General, der Mensch ist sehr brauchbar,
Er kann fliegen und er kann töten,
Aber er hat einen Fehler:
Er kann denken.

Peace and love to all, and here’s hoping the next president doesn’t continue destroying what’s left of the world.

-Ali