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Thread: War of Terror

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    Default War of Terror

    A War for Empire

    Afghanistan: Not a Good War Gone Bad

    By LARRY EVEREST

    For the people of Azizabad, a small village in western Afghanistan, the dark early morning hours of August 22, 2008 suddenly turned into a nightmare of devastation and death. As villagers slept, U.S. forces attacked—first with guns, then air strikes. By the next morning, according to UN investigators, over 90 people had been massacred, including 60 children and 15 women.

    The U.S. military initially claimed they had hit a "legitimate" Taliban target, that only 5 to 7 civilians were killed—so-called "collateral damage"—and the other 30 to 35 dead were Taliban militants. These were lies.

    Journalists who traveled to the village reported: "At the battle scene, shell craters dotted the courtyards and shrapnel had gouged holes in the walls. Rooms had collapsed and mud bricks and torn clothing lay in uneven mounds where people had been digging. In two places blood was splattered on a ceiling and a wall....The smell of bodies lingered in one compound, causing villagers to start digging with spades. They found the body of a baby, caked in dust, in the corner of a bombed-out room." Survivors "described repeated strikes on houses where dozens of children were sleeping, grandparents and uncles and aunts huddled inside with them." (New York Times, September 8, 2008)

    "Does this look like it fits a Taliban fighter?" one resident told NPR (August 27, 2008), holding up a tiny shoe and a woman’s torn veil.

    This was the third major massacre of Afghan civilians by U.S.-NATO forces this summer alone. Since 2005, between 2,700 and 3,200 civilians are estimated to have been killed by U.S and NATO forces, whose attacks and bombing raids are escalating. And all this is just the latest example of the enormous suffering the U.S.-NATO war on Afghanistan has inflicted since it was launched seven years ago on October 7, 2001.


    The U.S. military has since been forced to back off of its initial claims about Azizabad, and is supposedly conducting an "investigation." But one thing the U.S. rulers—and Bush, McCain and Obama—have not backed off of is the biggest lie of all: That the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan is a legitimate war of self-defense launched in response to the attacks of September 11, 2001 and that the central goal is preventing future attacks on the U.S. And now there are calls, including from Barack Obama, to send thousands of more troops to Afghanistan.

    More @ http://counterpunch.com/everest10172008.html

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    Seven Years in Afghanistan: From "War on Terror" to "War of Terror"

    By GARY LEUPP

    October 7, 2008. Seven years ago today the U.S. began the assault on Afghanistan that toppled the Taliban regime and produced the present mess. Abetted by U.S. bombing and commando operations, the Northern Alliance took Kabul on November 13, 2001. This was the initial U.S. response to 9-11, an assault on the U.S. by Saudi Islamist fanatics based in Afghanistan. The al-Qaeda attacks killed 3000 people. By March 2002 the U.S. bombing had produced that many Afghan civilian fatalities. This was just the beginning.

    The invasion produced little change in the daily life of the average Afghan. Fanatical Sunni leaders who’d had a genuine social base and had been able to control 95 per cent of the country with minimal outside help were driven back to their villages. They were replaced by other fanatical Sunni leaders---those who had toppled the “leftist” government in 1993, then been overthrown themselves by the Taliban in 1996. These Northern Alliance forces had been nurtured in the duration by India, Russia and Iran as their idea of the better bet among competing Islamist fundamentalists.

    But in the seven years since, this collection of tribal-based warlords has been unable to stabilize Afghanistan---even though they’re propped up by tens of thousands of foreign troops who’re told that they’re there to fight terrorism and help create “democracy.” Indeed, its hold on power becomes more tenuous every year, while a resurgent Taliban with no foreign government’s support exacts an ever heavier price from the foreigners and their local allies.

    According to the United Nations, 1,445 civilians were killed in the war from January through August this year---a rise of 39 per cent over 2007. At least 577 of these deaths were due to the actions of pro-government forces. Deaths from air strikes have tripled since 2006. “Mistakes by the US and Nato have dramatically decreased public support for the Afghan government and the presence of international forces providing security to Afghans,” declares Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. Francesc Vendrell, a Spanish diplomat with eight years’ experience in Afghanistan, recently noted that civilian deaths at the hands of foreign forces have created “a great deal of antipathy” and the situation in the country is the worst it’s been since 2001. Members of the Afghan Parliament have staged a one-day walkout to protest the civilian casualties.

    Puppet president Hamid Karzai has also protested the strikes and their “collateral damage” in the last two years in fairly strong language. But hand-picked for his post by U.S. envoy Zalmay Khalilzad in the Loya Jirga of June 2002, he is commonly known as the mere “mayor of Kabul.” Why should the U.S. pay any attention to his protests? His authority hardly extends beyond the city limits, and even Kabul has become insecure. Elsewhere warlords hold sway in virtually independent ethnic baronies, issuing their own laws and printing their own currency, filling their coffers with the proceeds of opium and human trafficking---activities the Taliban had effectively banned.

    More @ http://counterpunch.com/leupp10072008.html

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    The Surge and the Stench of "Victory"

    When is a Holocaust Not a Holocaust?

    By WILLIAM BLUM
    When is a holocaust not a holocaust?

    When the perpetrators call it a victory.

    Although the "surge" has failed as policy, it appears to be succeeding as propaganda. It seems to be the only thing that supporters of the war have to point to, and so they point, and they point, and they point. Allow me to point out that while there has been a reduction in violence in Iraq -- now down to a level that virtually any other society in the world would find horrible and intolerable, including Iraqi society before the US invasion and occupation -- we must keep in mind that thanks to this lovely little war more than half the population of Iraq is either dead, crippled, traumatized, confined in overflowing American and Iraqi prisons, internally displaced, or in foreign exile.

    Thus, the number of people available for being killers or victims is markedly reduced. Moreover, extensive ethnic cleansing has taken place in the country (another good indication of progress, n'est-ce pas?). Sunnis and Shiites are now living more in their own special enclaves than before, none of those stinking mixed communities with their unholy mixed marriages, so violence of the sectarian type has also gone down; and the powerful movement of Shiite leader Muqtada al-Sadr has had a cease-fire in effect for many months, unconnected to the surge. On top of all this, US soldiers, in the face of numerous "improvised explosive devices" on the roads, have been venturing out a lot less (for fear of things like ... well, dying), so the violence against our noble lads is also down. Remember that insurgent attacks on American forces is how the Iraqi violence all began in the first place.

    Just imagine -- If the entire Iraqi population over the age of 10 is killed, disabled, imprisoned or forced into exile there will probably be no violence at all. Now that would really be victory.

    No American should be allowed to forget that Iraqi society has been destroyed. The people of that unhappy land have lost everything -- their homes, their schools, their neighborhoods, their mosques, their jobs, their careers, their professionals, their health care, their legal system, their women's rights, their religious tolerance, their security, their past, their present, their future, their lives. But they do have their surge.

    William Blum is the author of Killing Hope: U.S. Military and CIA Interventions Since World War II, Rogue State: a guide to the World's Only Super Power. and West-Bloc Dissident: a Cold War Political Memoir.

    http://counterpunch.com/blum10032008.html

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    U.S. Raids on Pakistan

    Violations of Sovereignty

    By BRIAN CLOUGHLEY
    Henry Kissinger was no amateur when it came to illegally bombing and invading countries that he and the evil President Nixon considered did not meet American requirements of unconditional servility, but even he must be intrigued about the latest antics of Washington’s finest. The vice president of the United States, a charmless and despotic bully, and his president, he of the close-set eyeballs and pretensions to dignity, recently excelled themselves in self-delusion concerning their unlawful invasion of Iraq and their fury with nations whose governments fail to toe the Washington line.

    In their latest spasm of bizarre fantasy both Bush and Cheney condemned Russia for its military reply to Georgia's merciless rocketing of South Ossetia and the killing of scores of its citizens. There is no doubt that Russia had been waiting for an opportunity to teach Georgia a lesson for its treatment of Russian-origin inhabitants of the enclave, and when the US-educated, US-supported Georgian president, Mikheil Saakashvili, was so stupid as to send in troops following his slaughter of civilians, the Russians gave them a hiding. In spite of all the training they received over the past five years from US instructors, and the generous amounts of equipment they acquired, they fled the Russian advance. But Washington intends to have Georgia continue as a US-supporting military base area along Russia’s border, and in order to emphasize its anti-Russian stance Washington arranged for NATO to hold a high level meeting in Georgia last week (which, it was claimed, was planned “a=2 0long time ago.”).

    As usual, rather than trying to engage Russia through diplomacy, Washington chose confrontation. And this is where the funny bit is, because Cheney declared that “We believe in the right of men and women to live without the threat of tyranny, economic blackmail or military invasion or intimidation.”

    It is difficult to believe that the man was being serious, but there was no shade of irony in his delivery. He believed what he was saying, while ignoring the fact that the US has manipulated the UN to impose savage sanctions (economic blackmail) on countries that don’t toe the US line. Of even more importance he ignored the fact that only a few days before his pronouncement there had been gross violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty by the US when its troop s crossed Pakistan’s border and killed civilians. The people of North West Frontier Province – the people of Pakistan – suffered “military invasion and intimidation.”

    Last month Bush declared that “We insist that Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity be respected” which might have been a fairly good point to make were it not for the fact that he has no respect for the sovereignty or territorial integrity of any country when criminal violation suits his purpose. The illegal cowboy foray into Pakistan was not denied by Washington; it was merely ignored with that degree of would-be-majestic superiority that is the hallmark of colossal colonial arrogance. Associated Press reported that “a spokesman for the US-led coalition in Afghanistan said it had "no information to give" about the alleged operation, while a spokesman for NATO troops denied any involvement. The US embassy in Islamabad declined to comment.” No surprises there.

    It doesn’t seem to matter to Americans that the blitz conducted by their troops resulted in the deaths of six women and two children, citizens of Pakistan. There has been no indication of regret or sympathy ; not a shred of remorse for killing children. For how long can the non-American world tolerate this sort of barbaric malevolence? In America it doesn’t matter, because ‘Support Our Troops!’ is the American mantra, especially in election year, and if a US citizen doesn’t wave the flag and say that American troops are wonderful, even when killing kids in Pakistan, then they are regarded as unpatriotic, which is a dreadful crime.

    To justify the slaughter the usual highly-placed anonymous US official told20the New York Times that “The situation in the tribal areas is not tolerable. We have to be more assertive. Orders have been issued.”

    You can hear the Hitlerian resonance in this, straight from Cheney and Bush. It has hideous echoes of “My patience is exhausted,” before Fascist Germany invaded its neighbors – and of the justification that “Befehl ist Befehl” : “an order is an order,” as the Gestapo herded terrified women and children into concentration camps and then to gas chambers. (In fact some of the victims in the Guantanamo Bay concentration camp would welcome death by gassing, it being preferable to the vicious torture they are undergoing.) The American attitude, under Bush, is one of intolerance and macho contempt for any who dare to display independence. “We have to be more assertive” is a chilling declaration of what motiva tes the Washington administration. It is unlikely to change, irrespective of who is the next president.

    President Zardari of Pakistan showed considerable courage (even if empty words) last week when he said that “We will not tolerate the violation of our sovereignty and territorial integrity by any power in the name of combating terrorism,” if only because we have learned what happens to presidents and countries who offend the mighty empire. Pakistan has been dumped before by America. It appears that it is important for the moment, but neither sovereignty not diplomacy are of concern to Washington. Pakistan's government had better be very careful.


    Brian Cloughley lives in France. His website is www.briancloughley.com

    http://counterpunch.com/cloughley09262008.html

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    How The "War on Terror" Ripped an Atlanta Family Apart





    I once watched my mother pray for nine hours straight. She did so when we drove five hundred miles to visit my brother, traveling from my home in Michigan to a federal prison in Marion, Illinois.


    My mother was sitting next to me in the front passenger seat. Holding a Quran in her lap, back arched forward, she was melodic. The breeze outside vibrated the gentle sound of her recitation, warming the inside of our car.


    Unfortunately, I kept asking when she was going to finish praying so I could listen to some music.


    My mother—a little agitated—responded in Bangla, “We’re going to see Shifa after a long time. You need to pray that we can see him. It’s a long drive…we need to make sure that we face no problems in our journey and that the prison gives us no trouble."


    Gesturing, she said, “I don’t know how he is doing. What he eats there. I’m not there for him anymore. I can’t call him…bring him food…I can’t hug him. I am praying that he is all right.”




    When we arrived at the prison and entered the visitation room, Shifa was waiting for us. A guard closed the iron door behind us, locking my mother, my sister and me inside. In the small, dimly lit room, there were no windows, no bathrooms, no vending machines. However, two cameras always watched us, studying our bodies and movements.

    Shifa welcomed us from behind a plexiglass barrier––no contact visits are allowed—with the biggest smile stretched across his face and the longest Muslim greeting in Arabic. He wore a khaki uniform, a white skullcap, and glasses. His hair fell down to his ears, and a full beard covered his face. He brightened up the morose room with his poised grin and graceful warmth. My mother was filled with joy to see her son. She was very anxious to talk to him, to hear his voice. She took her seat between my sister and me and picked up the white phone sitting amid three wall phones.




    More @ http://www.atlantamuslim.com/2015/ma...a-family-apart

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    11 Images Exposing Americas Fake War on Terror

    http://awarenessact.com/11-images-ex...war-on-terror/


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    Revealed: Chilcot inquiry was set up ‘to avoid blame’


    Secret cabinet documents show Iraq hearings were set up to stop individuals being held accountable





    The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war was designed to “avoid blame” and reduce the risk that individuals and the government could face legal proceedings, newly released documents reveal.

    The papers show the thinking and advice at “the highest level of government” prior to Gordon Brown’s announcement of an inquiry. They were disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act, after the Cabinet Office lost a two-year battle during which it stated that disclosure threatened to “undermine the inquiry”. They confirm that many officials who took part in the events that the inquiry investigated, including former spy chief Sir John Scarlett, were involved in setting it up.

    And they reveal that Sir (now Lord) Gus O’Donnell, cabinet secretary under Brown, went against Whitehall protocol when he appointed a civil servant with significant involvement in Iraq policy during the period covered by the inquiry to the key role of inquiry secretary.

    The documents, a series of memos by Whitehall officials, cover a four-week period in May and June 2009. They show the officials favoured from the outset a secret inquiry to be conducted by privy counsellors, based on the Franks inquiry into the Falklands war. In a memo to O’Donnell, Cabinet Office official Ben Lyon advised that the format, scope and membership of the inquiry could be designed to “focus on lessons and avoid blame”. He noted that politicians and campaigners, including Plaid Cymru and the SNP, were seeking other types of inquiry with some advocating “a full public inquiry that would place blame on individuals”.

    Chris Lamb, a freedom of information campaigner from Bristol who won an information tribunal ruling in May requiring the Cabinet Office to disclose the papers, told the Observer: “Avoiding blame is civil service code for not holding people accountable.” Despite the inquiry being designed to “avoid blame”, the then foreign secretary, David Miliband, subsequently claimed it could blame “whoever it likes”.

    Lyon noted that former foreign secretary Lord Hurd had suggested a parliamentary inquiry. But Lyon warned that would “attract a daily running commentary”, like the 2003 Hutton inquiry into the death of Iraq weapons inspector David Kelly. In a subsequent note to Brown, O’Donnell repeated the “daily commentary” warning and advised against a full public inquiry for other reasons, including cost, that it would “threaten legal liability for individuals” and, ironically, “take a long time”. “The deliberate lack of transparency and attempts to use price to justify further secrecy is deeply concerning,” said Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.

    Lyon noted that former foreign secretary Lord Hurd had suggested a parliamentary inquiry. But Lyon warned that would “attract a daily running commentary”, like the 2003 Hutton inquiry into the death of Iraq weapons inspector David Kelly. In a subsequent note to Brown, O’Donnell repeated the “daily commentary” warning and advised against a full public inquiry for other reasons, including cost, that it would “threaten legal liability for individuals” and, ironically, “take a long time”. “The deliberate lack of transparency and attempts to use price to justify further secrecy is deeply concerning,” said Lib Dem leader Tim Farron.

    Lamb told the Observer: “This shows the inquiry was hobbled before it even started, with tight restrictions on what it could do that were not fully made public.” In June 2009, Brown announced a secret Privy Council “lessons learned” inquiry, as officials had recommended. However, a public and political backlash forced him to agree to some hearings being held in public.O’Donnell also advised against appointing judges or lawyers who would adopt a “legalistic” focus. He recommended using the inquiry’s terms of reference to prevent it reaching “any conclusion on questions of law or fact, which create circumstances which expose organisations, departments and/or individuals to criminal or civil proceedings or judicial review”. No such instruction to the inquiry was ever made public.

    In another memo to O’Donnell, Lyon advised that the inquiry’s secretariat, though drawn from the civil service “should not have been involved in Iraq policy since 2002”. However, he conceded that appointing staff with “understanding of the nature of the business to be addressed” had advantages. This concession paved the way for appointment of Margaret Aldred, a Whitehall official who had chaired the Iraq senior officials group during the period Chilcot was investigating, as the inquiry’s secretary.

    Many others who helped design the inquiry had also been closely involved in the issues it would investigate. They included current cabinet secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood, who was Tony Blair’s parliamentary private secretary until 2003, and Scarlett, former chairman of the joint intelligence committee who had become chief of MI6 in spite of his central role in producing the notorious dossier on Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction.

    https://www.theguardian.com/uk-news/...P=share_btn_tw

    Comments:

    The war criminals play games to avoid being held accountable for their atrocities. They escape justice here but there will be no escape on Judgement Day


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    From Myanmar to Aleppo, the ‘War on Terror’ has become a convenient excuse for genocide

    Posted by CAGE on
    In Myanmar, the government has attempted to exploit the rhetoric of the War on Terror to garner international support for their heinous operations against the Rohingya. The Rohingya community has been denied citizenship, stripped of their homes, and brutally raped, tortured and killed in what Human Rights Watch has declared as “ethnic cleansing” by the Buddhist nationalist-influenced security forces of the government. The Burmese leader and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi has been complicit in the suffering of the Rohingya through her willful silence. Suu Kyi has even attempted to play down the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya and during an interview with the BBC’s Mishal Husain she said “No one told me I was going to be interviewed by a Muslim”.

    The suffering of the Rohingya extends beyond the modern political context, however, in its efforts to polish its image, the Myanmar government has co-opted the manifesto of the War on Terror, to continue its acts of barbarity against the Rohingya.


    US builds ties with Burmese government and military

    In May this year, US officials announced they would be gradually re-engaging with the country’s military, “with the aim of broadening cooperation” including ‘counter-terrorism’. However when pressed on the Rohingya issue, Deputy Secretary of State Patrick Murphy, said it was “problematic”. “It’s a lot to ask of a new government,” he said apologetically, of the need to solve what is a catastrophic human problem.


    Recently in a low key email, Obama announced the lifting of sanctions against Myanmar, saying, unbelievably, that the government there had made “substantial progress in improving human rights”.
    A western precedent

    Such responses in the face of impending genocide are unlikely to change under the Islamophobic administration of Donald Trump. In fact, it is likely that Burma, in its institutional racism and state sponsored hate and genocide against a persecuted minority, will enjoy even more open support, while those drawing attention to the plight of the Rohingya may be cast as “extremist” or “terrorist sympathisers”.


    Killing in the name of counter-terrorism such as that which is occurring in Myanmar and Aleppo, is a stark warning that the abuses sanctioned by western nations under the War on Terror have set dangerous precedents and have enabled some of the world’s’ most reprehensible regimes to commit genocide with impunity.


    Support our campaign empowering communities impacted by the War on Terror

    https://cage.ngo/article/from-myanma...-for-genocide/

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    58% of Terrorist Americans Admit They Openly Support Terrorism to Achieve Goals

    by Justin King - June 23, 2015



    Imagine the rage if a poll conducted in the Middle East suggested that 58% of Arabs supported the World Trade Center attacks. There would be calls for blood and to rain fire down on every square inch of the Middle East. More hyperbole from hawkish American officials would lead to yet another invasion.

    However, Americans had no problem stating they openly support the US drone strike program in countries that the nation is not even at war with. 58% of Americans openly stated they support the US drone program in Yemen, Pakistan, and Somalia. There may be some hesitation to accept a parallel between targets of the American drone program and the attacks of 9/11. The drone program targets those that finance the military operations of insurgents, those that manufacture the products necessary for insurgents to fight, and the command and control facilities of the insurgent groups. These are all legitimate military targets. By that same token, striking the financial nerve center of the United States and the building the houses the Department of Defense would be legitimate military targets. The next obvious objection is that the drone program doesn’t kill thousands of civilians. Yes, it does.

    In Pakistan, one of the countries mentioned in the poll, there were 41 men marked for death by the US drone program. 1147 people were killed in pursuit of those 41 men. During the long-running drone program, the body count climbed as did the number of missions that failed to kill their target. Ayman Zawahiri has been targeted at least twice. He’s still alive by all reports. 105 people were killed in the two attempts on his life. 76 of those were children. If someone detonated a bomb in a playground to kill a US General and killed 76 kids instead, they would be terrorists.

    Qari Hussain was targeted by drones six times. In the process, the United States accepted 128 people as collateral damage. 13 were children. Baitullah Mehsud was targeted seven times before he was killed. 164 people were killed.

    The fear Americans feel every time they hear of a school shooting in their hometown is the same level of fear people living under drones feel every day. Mothers don’t want to send their children outside because a car driving by might be blown up by a drone if American intelligence falsely believes there is a boogeyman in it. The kids can’t go play soccer; a bad guy might be meeting in the field with a contact to hand off some money. Or maybe it’s just a guy giving a shopping list to his assistant who happens to look like a terrorist. Either way, the children will end up scattered around the field like confetti by a Hellfire missile.

    80% of Americans in the same poll said they were at least somewhat concerned that the drone strikes endanger civilians. That means at least 22% of Americans are fully-aware of the kids being blown out of their shoes in an ineffective drone war, but are too callous or too stupid realize the implications of it. Drones create more terrorists. Every civilian the program incinerates creates at least one more terrorist to take his place. When it’s a child and the insurgent propagandists can get their hands on photo of a toddler’s bloody shoe with her foot still in it, it’s a safe bet that the number of terrorists produced by the attack is even higher.

    The average person in Somalia, Yemen, or rural Pakistan spends their days wondering about fresh water or food. If they are well-off they may have lofty plans to learn to read someday. They don’t care about the geopolitical situation, but they are dying over it. Americans will often retort that “It’s just war.” Civilian casualties are part of the process. Civilian casualties happen in war, but they are supposed to be accidental. They shouldn’t be figured into a formula.

    The entire world saw the results of the poll. It was broadcast globally. The fact that Americans do not care about the inestimable number of civilian deaths from drone strikes is now part of the global consciousness. It isn’t hard to believe that the results of this poll were the shove that many would-be insurgents or terrorists needed to take that step into an arms bazaar and buy a weapon. Americans should be patting themselves on the back; they succeeded in creating many new targets for the beloved drone program.

    Americans tend to believe that because we are separated from the rest of the world by two oceans that we are immune from the blowback of our actions. We aren’t. Drone technology is inexpensive. Even the faltering nation of Georgia has developed their own armed drones. How long do you think it will be until some guy is piloting a commercially-available drone in a US city park and flies it into the stands at the little league game before detonating its explosive payload?

    When it happens, remember that you defended the process. “It’s just war,” right? Will it just be collateral damage when it’s an American kids’ severed hand in baseball glove being shown on TV?

    Drones have their place in war, but it isn’t indiscriminately killing civilians hundreds of miles away from a battlefield.


    http://theantimedia.org/poll-58-of-a...achieve-goals/



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    How Many Bombs Did the United States Drop in 2015?





    How Many Bombs Did the United States Drop in 2016?


    2017

    As President Obama enters the final weeks of his presidency, there will be ample assessments of his foreign military approach, which has focused on reducing U.S. ground combat troops (with the notable exception of the Afghanistan surge), supporting local security partners, and authorizing the expansive use of air power. Whether this strategy “works”—i.e. reduces the threat posed by extremists operating from those countries and improves overall security and governance on the ground—is highly contested. Yet, for better or worse, these are the central tenets of the Obama doctrine.


    In President Obama’s last year in office, the United States dropped 26,171 bombs in seven countries. This estimate is undoubtedly low, considering reliable data is only available for airstrikes in Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya, and a single “strike,” according to the Pentagon’s definition, can involve multiple bombs or munitions. In 2016, the United States dropped 3,027 more bombs—and in one more country, Libya—than in 2015.


    Most (24,287) were dropped in Iraq and Syria. This number is based on the percentage of total coalition airstrikes carried out in 2016 by the United States in Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the counter-Islamic State campaign. The Pentagon publishes a running count of bombs dropped by the United States and its partners, and we found data for 2016 using OIR public strike releases and this handy tool.* Using this data, we found that in 2016, the United States conducted about 79 percent (5,904) of the coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria, which together total 7,473. Of the total 30,743 bombs that the coalition dropped, then, the United States dropped 24,287 (79 percent of 30,743).


    To determine how many U.S. bombs were dropped on each Iraq and Syria, we looked at the percentage of total U.S. OIR airstrikes conducted in each country. They were nearly evenly split, with 49.8 percent (or 2,941 airstrikes) carried out in Iraq, and 50.2 percent (or 2,963 airstrikes) in Syria. Therefore, the number of bombs dropped were also nearly the same in the two countries (12,095 in Iraq; 12,192 in Syria). Last year, the United States conducted approximately 67 percent of airstrikes in Iraq in 2016, and 96 percent of those in Syria.



    http://blogs.cfr.org/zenko/2017/01/0...opped-in-2016/


    Comments:

    These are low ball numbers. Pakistan only 3? Just about every day US drone bombs Pakistan and Yemen and Somalia, that's at least 365 for the year.

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    Eye-Opening Graphic: Map of Muslim Countries that the U.S. and Israel Have Bombed

    2011

    Pro-Israel propagandist Jeffrey Goldberg made an inadvertent but profound admission the other day when he said: “[T]he U.S. have been waging a three-decade war for domination of the Middle East.”

    This “three-decade war for domination of the Middle East” becomes apparent when we consider how many Muslim countries the peace-loving United States and her “stalwart ally” Israel have bombed:

    During Bill Clinton’s presidency, the U.S. bombed Iraq, Afghanistan, and Sudan.

    In the time of George Bush, the U.S. bombed Afghanistan, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, and Somalia.

    Under Barack Obama, the U.S. is currently bombing Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, and Libya.
    According to some reports (see here and here), we can add Iran to this ever-expanding list. [Update: An Informed Comment reader named Shannon pointed out that in fact the United States bombed Iran in 1988 during Operating Praying Mantis, an act that “cannot be justified” according to the International Court of Justice.]

    Thanks to American arms and funding, our “stalwart ally” Israel has bombed every single one of its neighbors, including Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, and Egypt. Israel has also bombed Tunisia and Iraq (how many times can Americans and Israelis bomb this country?).

    The total number of Muslim countries that America and Israel have bombed comes to fourteen: Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Iran, Sudan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, and Tunisia.

    Meanwhile, the U.S. has military bases in several countries in the Greater Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, Pakistan, UAE, Yemen, Iraq, Afghanistan, Djibouti, Kyrgyzstan, Somalia, Ethiopia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, and Chad. The U.S. also used to have a base in Eritrea and demanded another one in 2010. [Update: There is a minor error here pointed out to me by Prof. Juan Cole: the U.S. troops stationed in Uzbekistan are using an Uzbek, not American, base. However, this makes little substantive difference: there is still a U.S. military presence in that country, which was my point.]

    Here’s what that looks like on a map of the Greater Middle East:



    I wonder where those silly Muslims come up with the conspiratorial, absolutely irrational idea that the U.S. is waging war against the Muslim world?


    If you haven’t already seen this video, I strongly suggest you watch it:


    With seven active wars in seven different Muslim countries, it is quite an amazing thing that Americans can have the audacity to ask: “why are Muslims so violent and warlike?”

    But, that’s just the tip of the iceberg. The New York Times reports that President Barack Obama “widened” the war, which is now being waged across “two continents” in “roughly a dozen countries — from the deserts of North Africa, to the mountains of Pakistan, to former Soviet republics,” using “robotic drones and commando teams” as well as “contractors” and “local operatives.”

    Even more worrisome, the Washington Post reports that America’s “secret wars” are waged by “Special Operations forces” in “75 countries” (and “that number will likely reach 120”); in other words, the United States will have engaged in military acts in over 60% of the world’s nation-states. After all of this, Americans will turn around and ask: “why are Muslims so violent and warlike?”

    Could it possibly be more obvious that the War on Terror is just a pretext for global domination?

    * * * * *

    Every four years, Americans get the illusion of choice: the choice between Democrat and Republican. In terms of foreign policy, the difference is like the difference between Coke and Pepsi. In the last election, John McCain sang a variation of the famous Beach Boys song “Barbara Ann,” changing the lyrics to “bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!”; meanwhile, Barack Obama hinted at expanding the war to Pakistan. The American voter was given the choice not between war and peace, but between war against Iran or war against Pakistan.

    In the national discourse, there exists a bipartisan consensus on the need for perpetual war: both candidates agreed on the need to expand the War on of Terror and attack more Muslim countries. There was no confusion about whether or not to bomb, invade, and occupy–the question was only where to do this. If the Muslim world were imagined to be a turkey, the question was then only whether to begin munching on the leg first or to start with the breast.

    President Barack Obama may have disagreed with his predecessor’s tactics, but he agreed with the Bush/Cheney world view. Obama may have thought we could move around troops here and there–let’s move some of these troops from Iraq to Afghanistan–but he did not disagree with the basic premise, overall methods, and goals of the Bush/Cheney War on of Terror.

    Interestingly, Obama was considered to be “the peace candidate”; even more absurd of course was that he ended up winning the Noble Peace Prize. While it is true that the Democratic Obama has tended to use less hawkish language, in terms of actions Obama has a worse record than Bush: Obama has expanded the War on of Terror, both in terms of covert and overt wars.

    Why did a “liberal” Democrat (Barack Obama) end up being more warlike than a “hawkish” Republican (George Bush)? There is of course the obvious explanation of war inertia. But aside from this, there must be something deeper, which is apparent if we look at the situation between what were historically the two large parties in Israel.

    Western media (see Time Magazine, for example), portrays the Labor Party as “dovish” and Likud as “hawkish”. Certainly, in terms of rhetoric this is true. But, is it really true? According to experts in the field–such as Prof. Noam Chomsky and Dr. Norman Finkelstein–Labor has had a far worse track record toward Palestinians than the Likud. Labor and Likud play good cop, bad cop toward Palestinians–or rather bad cop, badder cop. But while the two parties disagree on rhetoric and tactics, they share similar overall goals.

    The same is the case with Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats use softer rhetoric, whereas the Republicans continually push the national discourse (the “center”) rightward. But, because a Democratic president must counter the accusation that he is “weak” on matters of “defense” (Orwell: offense is defense), he must be Strong and Tough against Terrorism. Effectively this means that his war policy becomes virtually indistinguishable from that of the political right.

    Furthermore, President Barack Obama has done something that no Republican could do: he has brought bipartisan consensus to the state of perpetual and global war. During the reign of George Bush, prominent liberal progressives criticized his warlike policies. In fact, this was one of the motivating factors behind electing Obama, who would bring “Change.” Yet, when Obama brought more of the same, most liberal progressives fell silent, a hypocrisy that did not go unnoticed by conservatives.

    It took a “liberal” Democrat to expand the War on of Terror and give it bipartisan consensus, just as it took a conservative Republican (Richard Nixon) to make peace with Communist China.

    Under the two-party system, it really does not matter which side wins. A Republican candidate might sound more warlike than a Democrat, but once in office, he softens his position somewhat due to Democratic opposition (even though most of the Democrats won’t vote against war resolutions). Meanwhile, a Democrat president must prove that he is Strong and Tough against Terrorism, so he hardens his position. In the end, Democratic and Republican presidents are moved to the political “center” (which keeps getting pushed ever more to the right), so that the two are virtually indistinguishable from each other. Perhaps Barack Obama was onto something when he said:

    There’s not a liberal America or a conservative America; there’s the United States of America.

    It is true: America’s politicians are united in their endorsement of perpetual and global war.

    The United States has a long history of bipartisan consensus when it comes to waging wars of aggression. In 1846, the country was divided between the hawkish Democratic party led by President James K. Polk and the supposedly dovish Whig party. Polk’s administration saber-rattled against Mexico in order to justify invading and occupying their land. Meanwhile, “[t]he Whig party was presumably against the war,” but “they were not so powerfully against the military action that they would stop it by denying men and money for the operation” (p.153 of Prof. Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States). In fact, the “Whigs joined Democrats in voting overwhelmingly for the war resolution, 174 to 14.” They did so, because “[t]hey did not want to risk the accusation that they were putting American soldiers in peril by depriving them of the materials necessary to fight.” The only dissenters were “a small group of antislavery Whigs, or a ‘little knot of ultraists,’ as one Massachusetts Congressman who voted for the war measure put it.” Perhaps among them was Ron Paul’s great grandfather.

    The measure passed the Congress (174 to 14) and the Senate (40 to 2), “Whigs joining Democrats.” The Whigs “could only harry the administration with a barrage of verbiage while voting for every appropriation which the military campaigns required.” In any case, “the United States would be giving the blessings of liberty and democracy” to the Mexicans. Any of this sound familiar?

    Flash forward to today and we see the establishment left consistently supporting America’s wars of aggression. Even while these avowed liberals criticize right-wingers for warmongering against Iran, they themselves often saber-rattle against Pakistan and even Saudi Arabia. The right thinks we’re doing something great in Iraq and wants to expand the war to Iran (which we may already have done). Meanwhile, the left thinks we were right to bomb Afghanistan and that we should expand the war to Pakistan (which we’ve already done). Neither left or right opposes foreign wars altogether. The difference is only with regard to the names of the countries we bomb, which doesn’t really matter since the truth is that we are bombing all of them now.

    This is because both left and right agree with the Supreme Islamophobic Myth: that Islam (or radical Islam) is the greatest threat to world peace. This inevitably leads to the central tenet of Islamophobia, which is to endorse the Supreme Islamophobic Crime: bombing, invading, and occupying Muslim lands.

    Peace can only be attained when one is disabused of this mother of nationalistic myths. This can only be done by realizing that it is the United States that is the greatest threat to peace in the region (look at the map!). Consider that the U.S. has bombed at least a dozen Muslim countries in recent history, whereas zero Muslim countries have bombed the U.S. If “wars of aggression” constitute “the supreme international crime”–as decided during the Nuremberg Trials–then what does it say about the situation when America has initiated multiple wars of aggression against the Muslim world whereas no single Muslim country has done so against the United States?

    No Muslim country has attacked us because the risks of doing so are far too great; it would mean almost certain destruction. This is why, even though the map of the Middle East in the image above looks like it does, no Muslim country has the audacity to retaliate. Meanwhile, the U.S.–as the world’s only superpower–can attack multiple smaller countries without fear of significant retaliation to the American heartland. Therefore, it only makes sense for people of conscience, especially Americans, to be highly critical of U.S. foreign policy.

    * * * * *

    Something else troubling I’ve noticed about the national discourse is how even those opposed to war (or at least one set of wars) will frame their opposition in financial terms. The primary argument to convince Americans against war seems not to be the fact that war is immoral, that bombing countries and killing so many countless civilians is morally repugnant, but rather that it’s just too costly to do so. It’s our wallets, not our soul, that is at stake.

    Another argument that takes precedence over the moral argument includes the idea that too many of our troops are dying (victim inversion); alternatively, it is argued (rightfully) that such wars increase the likelihood of terrorism against us (another example of victim inversion).

    During the Nuremberg Trials, it was decided that initiating a war of aggression constituted “the supreme international crime”:

    To initiate a war of aggression, therefore, is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole.

    Of what moral character would you consider a Nazi official if he argued against Hitler’s wars on the basis of “it will cost too much German tax payer money” or “it will kill too many German soldiers” or “it may result in retaliation against Germany?” (Refer to Glenn Greenwald’s article on Godwin’s law.)

    Would it not be better to use as one’s central argument against America’s wars that it is morally repugnant to bomb and kill people?

    http://www.loonwatch.com/2011/12/eye...l-have-bombed/

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    Trump’s bigotry – a new phase of the War on Terror


    01.2017

    The coup by Donald Trump is a momentous moment in modern US political history. His alarming statements and tactics did little to dissuade voters from siding with him. He was the radical alternative who appears to have tapped into perceived grievances and disenfranchisement amongst mainly the white American population. There are some grievances it appears that have validity. However, as far as we know the rust belt has never been carpet bombed or invaded by foreign armies causing the destruction of infrastructure or the deaths of thousands of its citizens.

    Minorities were treated as politically expendable commodities, giving credence to racist sentiments and empowering white supremacists views. Trump’s campaign featured showmanship with sporadic emotional outbursts and unapologetic language. The naked racism and misogyny was shocking and deliberate. This is the next leader of the free world and the exemplar model that the uncivilised must aspire to.

    Whilst there are many who assert that it is the military industrial complex and not the President that runs the United States, the office of President carries with it the legitimacy of a democratic elected official. He may provide a cover for the policies of the real power brokers, but on this occasion the façade has been obliterated in spectacular fashion by a billionaire celebrity who epitomises the American dream, from tall buildings, immense riches to the glamour of beauty pageants.

    His election rode on the back of hate against Muslims in particular and will embolden Islamophobes around the world to mirror his ability to tap into the visceral hatred of a civilisation. Other countries have a template to emulate and replicate electoral success with overt discrimination and abuse of Muslims. The War on Terror can only be taken to a higher level in the form of aggressive foreign policy and invasive Countering Violent Extremism (CVE) programmes.

    It is not surprising that Trump won. The War on Terror has strong racist underpinnings (nobody can deny the racial hatred that inspired the torture at Abu Ghraib, or Guantanamo Bay). It seeks to maintain a ‘white’ Western dominance over the world. Trump dovetailed latent white supremacy with the Islamophobia of the War on Terror to produce a rhetoric that appealed to the fearful ‘white’ masses, and he used this hatred to win.

    Joseph P. Overton opined that there was a window of discourse that represents the ideas acceptable to the public. Politicians of the fringes especially, attempt to shift the the discourse to popularise their views and realign the ‘Overton window’. Trump has taken a sledgehammer to this window, through the harnessing of fear and anger amongst white voters, and has completely reshaped the political landscape. The media and so-called think tanks have shaped the public mood in relation to immigration and minorities, which is evidenced by a sharp increase in racial attacks and racist rhetoric. Fox News and others have campaigned relentlessly to poison public discourse on these issues and Trump exploited the fear mongering to win power. He offered simplistic solutions that will unleash a sustained war of terror against those seen as a threat to white supremacy.

    The personification of the US government

    Trump was not born out of a vacuum. The state itself has entrenched structural racism through discriminatory policies towards minorities, especially the most vulnerable groups.

    Successive US administrations have tolerated discrimination against minorities, thorough stop and frisk, alarming rates of incarceration and more recently CVE programmes. All have acted with impunity across the globe, culminating in a Presidential kill list of its own citizens. Obama was successful only in rhetoric and witnessed an increase of racial unease, unprecedented since the civil rights movement in the middle of last century.

    A vote for Trump is therefore not as anti-establishment as is claimed. Trump will no doubt impact the perception of America, one that has been polished by years of Hollywood and slick propaganda, but for victims of its wars, police brutality and islamophobic CVE policies it will undoubtedly be, business as usual.

    His rise to power is a result of the failure to defend the Rule of Law and the complicity of the media, academia and judiciary in allowing injustice at home and abroad.
    And the truth remains that only once we can come to terms with the reality and recognise our roles in what has occurred, can we then begin to remedy it.

    For now, however, the election confirmed the close co-operation that exists between white racists not only in the US but around the world: a co-operation that signifies an unwritten acknowledgement of multiple ‘white’ Hollywood lies: that black people are either comical or criminals, Muslims are a threat that need to be dealt with in any manner possible, Hispanic people should be corralled like cattle, and women are exploitable. This close co-operation has devastating consequences for global unity and societal advancement.

    A call to activism

    There could be increased legislation against Muslims and a definite increase in militarisation at home and abroad.
    The mind-set of the War on Terror will now bring the values of the war home and to others besides Muslims: targets will be Black Lives Matter activists, even more Muslim civil society groups, and environmental activists.

    Such likelihoods are a call to activism and an urgent sign that we must reach out to each other across affiliated organisations and communities. A straight-talking US President should embolden us to talk straight too. Now is the time for civil society to connect with the mainstream. No more dithering – we need clarity, simplicity and honesty above all.

    Organisations like CAGE have continuously highlighted the dangers of an ever expanding military and surveillance system, the development of a dual legal system for Muslims and the disastrous impact of foreign interventions and drone warfare. This is without delving into the graphic details of the CIA torture programme, some of which Trump has said he will bring back. We have highlighted the dangers of these policies to all of society and not just Muslims.

    Now is the moment for all those concerned with justice to stand together in unity and continue to speak out against oppression, discrimination and militarisation. We must continue to seek alternatives rooted in justice for all, and dismantle the system of white supremacy that Trump represents. We must reject hate and embrace tolerance so that we can create a world that is shaped by the values of fairness and justice. Those who have failed to stand now must ask who are the extremists – those who seek accountability through words and dialogue or those who hold the levers to weapons of mass destruction. The time of truth is upon us and we call on all fair-minded folk to reject the politics of fear and be robust in defending the fundamental rights of all.

    https://cage.ngo/article/trumps-bigo...war-on-terror/

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    Trump (son of KKK daddy) opens door to reviving CIA 'black site' prisons

    Feliks Garcia New York
    @feliksjose
    Wednesday 25 January 2017


    President Donald Trump is expected to lift the ban on overseas CIA “black site” prisons, reversing an executive action signed by Barack Obama to shut down such sites.

    Mr Trump will revoke the restrictions put into place by the Obama administration, which had been celebrated by human rights advocates, as he asserts a more openly aggressive approach to dealing with suspected terrorism abroad.

    The draft order, titled “Detention and Interrogation of Enemy Combatants”, would also revoke the International Committee of the Red Cross’ access to wartime detainees.

    The document orders top national security officials to "recommend to the president whether to reinitiate a program of interrogation of high-value alien terrorists to be operated outside the United States and whether such program should include the use of detention facilities operated by the Central Intelligence Agency".

    Mr Trump made it clear that he hopes to bring back waterboarding and a “hell of a lot worse”. But the President claimed that Defence Secretary James Mattis convinced him to tone down his position on torture.

    "Give me a pack of cigarettes and a couple of beers," Mr Trump claimed Mr Mattis said during their November meeting, "and I do better with that than I do with torture."

    In 2007, President George W Bush issued an executive order in response to a Supreme Court decision in the prior year that held CIA interrogators to the Geneva Convention, putting them at risk for war crimes prosecution. Mr Bush's directive defined prisoner abuses that counted as war crimes under international law. It still allowed interrogators to use tactics that were not included in the list.

    President Obama issued an overhaul in the US detention policy that undid much of what the second Bush administration allowed, limiting interrogation techniques to what was listed in the Army Field Manual. Congress approved an action to make that directive a law.

    But news of the order has already inflamed the concern of top Democrats and Republicans in Congress.

    "The president can sign whatever executive orders he likes. But the law is the law," said Republican Sen John McCain. The Arizona senator was held captive during the Vietnam War – for which Mr Trump ridiculed him during the campaign.

    "We are not bringing back torture in the United States of America."

    Human Rights First director Elisa Massimino told the New York Times that the draft order was "flirting with the return to the 'enhanced interrogation programme' and the environment that gave rise to it", despite the fact that former military leaders have denounced torture as "illegal, immoral, and damaging to national security".

    "It would be surprising and extremely troubling if the national security cabinet officials were to acquiesce in an order like that after the assurances that they gave in their confirmation hearings," she added.


    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7545786.html

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    Trump is right: Bushes, Clinton, Obama 'all killers'




    Each of the last former US presidents -- George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama -- has killed more people than Russian President Vladimir Putin “has ever been accused of by any remote measure,” an American journalist and political analyst says.

    Don DeBar made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Monday while commenting on the American mainstream media’s strong reaction after US President Donald Trump refused to endorse Fox News presenter Bill O'Reilly’s allegations against Putin.

    In an interview with Trump on Sunday, O'Reilly described the Russian leader as "a killer."

    Instead of agreeing with the host, President Trump said the US government has "a lot of killers" and is not "so innocent.”

    After O’Reilly said he did not “know of any government leaders that are killers,” Trump turned to the Iraq War.

    “Take a look at what we’ve done too. We’ve made a lot of mistakes,” he said. “I’ve been against the war in Iraq from the beginning.”

    “A lot of mistakes,” he continued, “OK, but a lot of people were killed. So a lot of killers around, believe me.”

    After this, the mainstream media unanimously launched blistering attacks against Trump.

    DeBar said American media outlets are “treating Trump as if he committed treason this morning, as if this is some fantastic idea.”

    He said that President Obama has “a body count in at least tens of thousands if not hundreds of thousands, in Libya alone tens of thousands, in Syria maybe a million [were killed].”

    “You have President Bush [who killed] at least a million Iraqis. You have President Clinton, with Madeleine Albright, with half a million dead Iraqi children from the sanctions.”

    The journalist added that former President George H. W. Bush was responsible for the countless deaths in Iraq during the first Iraq war.

    “All are walking free, no charges.
    Each of them has killed more than Putin has ever been accused of by any remote measure,” he stated.

    And yet Trump’s statement is controversial; not even controversial, it’s being universally condemned. It is beyond propaganda at this time.

    It’s like watching a really bad cartoon on some really bad LHD,” he concluded.


    http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2017/0...on-Obama-Putin

    Comments:
    Such are these war mongering hypocrites who accuse others of what they themselves do. And when told the truth, they go insane.

  15. #15
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    ‘US Republicans & Democrats both addicted to war and militarism’


    When the global military empire takes money from programs that poor people depend on and gives it to rich military contractors - it is a theft and looting of the national budget, says Brian Becker, the National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition.


    Donald Trump's administration has announced that it is seeking to boost military spending by 10 per cent in 2018. The American military budget already exceeds any other country's by far and could be set for a historic boost.


    According to US President Trump, the aim is to "reform" the US military so that it can operate more effectively. Many analysts believe, however, that the proposed boost would hurt other American sectors, not to mention slash already starved public programs. Others suggest the move might even provoke a global arms race.


    RT:
    What do you make of the proposal to give defense spending a historic boost?


    Brian Becker:
    I think that the Republican Party now under the leadership of Donald Trump, but the Democratic Party, too, are addicted to war, they are addicted to militarism, they are addicted to ever-increasing spending for the US military budget. The last time the US was invaded by a foreign power was the War of 1812 - that would be 205 years ago. The US has one thousand military bases in 140 countries all over the world. It is truly a global military empire. It is ridiculous, and it is ludicrous when Donald Trump says “the depleted US military.”


    The amount that he is proposing to increase - $54 billion - is just a little bit less than what Russia spends every year on its military. In other words, this is an unnecessary expenditure increase of an already bloated US military machine. Trump says “we have to start winning wars again”. And the fact of the matter is that the US should stop waging wars that it needs to win but can’t win. Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan - the problem with these wars are not that they weren’t won, the problem is that they were waged in the first place because they were wars of aggression. It is going in the wrong direction.



    RT: Will it come at the expense of other sectors?


    BB: It has to, because the defense budget is part of what is called the “discretionary budget”. Entitlements like Medicare and Social Security – those are exempt from the national budget. When Congress approves a budget every year, that is the discretionary budget. How much will be spent on defense. How much will be spent on education, on housing, on transportation, on the environment. When you increase the discretionary budget, the part of the discretionary budget for the Pentagon, for war by $54 billion - 10 percent - that means the money has to come from housing, from education, from environmental protections. This is kind of our Robin Hood in reverse: taking money from programs that poor people and working class people depend on and giving it to military contractors who are already rich. It is transference of wealth from the bottom to the top. It is a form of theft and looting of the national budget all in the name of making the American military great again. It is already great. The problem is it is too big already. It should be cut; it should be seriously reduced because this kind of military spending incentivizes new wars.



    RT:Could the planned spending hike ignite a global arms race?


    BB: Yes, it will because who are these new high-tech weapon systems going to be directed against? They will be directed against Russia, they will be directed against China. They are going to be directed against emerging powers that somehow provide an obstacle to complete US hegemony in key geostrategic or resource-rich parts of the world. What will Russia and China do in the face of a growing military expenditure, they must take counter-measures. Because of course, Russia feels NATO has expanded to the East. China feels that the US has taken the South China Sea and pretend that it is an American lake. So, yes, this will be a global arms race. Nobody wins that race.

    https://www.rt.com/op-edge/378929-us...democrats-war/

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    Trump’s Use of Navy SEAL’s Wife Highlights All the Key Ingredients of U.S. War Propaganda


    During his Tuesday night address to the U.S. Congress, President Trump paid tribute to Ryan Owens, the Navy SEAL killed in the January commando raid in Yemen that Trump ordered. As he did so, television cameras focused for almost four full minutes on Owens’s grieving wife, Carryn, as she wept and applauded while sitting next to and periodically being touched by Trump’s glamorous daughter Ivanka. The entire chamber stood together in sustained applause, with Trump interjecting scripted, lyrical expressions of support and gratitude for her husband’s sacrifice.


    It was, as intended, an obviously powerful TV moment. Independent of the political intent behind it, any well-functioning human being would feel great empathy watching a grieving spouse mourning and struggling to cope emotionally with the recent, sudden death of her partner. The majestic setting of the U.S. Congress, solemnly presided over by the U.S. president, vested the moment with political gravity.


    Media commentators predictably gushed that this was the moment Trump became “presidential.” Meanwhile, the U.S. media’s most reliable partisan warriors, horrified that the moment might benefit Trump, instantly accused him of exploiting these emotions, and exploiting Carryn Owens herself, for his own political benefit.


    While there is certainly truth in the claim that Trump’s use of the suffering of soldiers and their families is politically opportunistic, even exploitative, this tactic is hardly one Trump pioneered. In fact, it is completely standard for U.S. presidents. Though Trump’s attackers did not mention it, Obama often included tales of the sacrifice, death, and suffering of soliders in his political speeches — including when he devoted four highly emotional minutes in his 2014 State of the Union address to narrating the story of, and paying emotional tribute to, Sgt. Cory Remsburg, who was severely wounded by a roadside bomb in Afghanistan:


    George W. Bush also hauled soldiers wounded in his wars before cameras during his speeches, such as his 2007 State of the Union address, where he paid tribute to Sgt. Tommy Rieman, wounded in Iraq.


    There are reasons presidents routinely use the suffering and deaths of U.S soldiers and their families as political props. The way in which these emotions are exploited powerfully highlights important aspects of war propaganda generally, and specifically how the endless, 15-year-old war on terror is sustained.

    The raid in Yemen that cost Owens his life also killed 30 other people, including “many civilians,” at least nine of whom were children. None of them were mentioned by Trump in last night’s speech, let alone honored with applause and the presence of grieving relatives. That’s because they were Yemenis, not Americans; therefore, their deaths, and lives, must be ignored (the only exception was some fleeting media mention of the 8-year-old daughter of Anwar al-Awlaki, but only because she was a U.S. citizen and because of the irony that Obama killed her 16-year-old American brother with a drone strike).


    This is standard fare in U.S. war propaganda: We fixate on the Americans killed, learning their names and life stories and the plight of their spouses and parents, but steadfastly ignore the innocent people the U.S. government kills, whose numbers are always far greater. There is thus a sprawling, moving monument in the center of Washington, D.C., commemorating the 58,000 U.S. soldiers who died in Vietnam, but not the (at least) 2 million Vietnamese civilians killed by that war.


    Politicians and commentators condemning the Iraq War always mention the 4,000 U.S. soldiers who died but rarely mention the hundreds of thousands (at least) innocent Iraqis killed: They don’t exist, are unmentionable. After a terror attack aimed at Americans, we are deluged with media profiles and photographs of the victims, learning their life aspirations and wallowing in the grief of their families, but we almost never hear anything about any of the innocent victims killed by the United States.


    Senior Chief Ryan Owens is a household name, and his wife, Carryn, is the subject of national admiration and sympathy. But the overwhelming majority of Americans do not know, and will never learn, the name of even a single foreign victim out of the many hundreds of thousands that their country has killed over the last 15 years. This imbalance plays a massive role in how Americans understand themselves, the countries their government invades and bombs, and the Endless War that is being waged.


    None of this is to say that the tribute to Owens and the sympathy for his wife are undeserved. Quite the contrary: When a country, decade after decade, keeps sending a small, largely disadvantaged portion of its citizenry to bear all the costs and risks of the wars it starts — while the nation’s elite and their families are largely immune — the least the immunized elites can do is pay symbolic tribute when they are killed.


    Nor is it to say that this obsessive, exclusive focus on our own side’s victims while ignoring the victims we create is unique to the U.S. Again, the contrary is true. This dynamic is endemic to nationalism, which in turn is grounded in tribalistic human instincts: paying more attention to the deaths of those in our tribe than those we cause other tribes to suffer.


    As I’ve described before, I was in Canada the week that it was targeted with two attacks — including one on the Parliament in Ottawa — and the Canadian media was suffuse for the entire week with images and stories about the two dead Canadian soldiers and their families. Then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper spoke at the funeral of Cpl. Nathan Cirillo, who became a household name for dying in the Parliament attack, even though most Canadians don’t know the names of and can’t tell a single story about even one of the numerous innocent victims killed by their own government over the last 15 years. This is by no means a uniquely American phenomenon.

    But unique or not, this is an incredibly consequential tool of war propaganda. By dramatizing the deaths of Americans while disappearing the country’s victims, this technique ensures that Americans perpetually regard themselves as victims of horrific, savage, tragic violence but never the perpetrators of it. That, in turn, is what keeps Americans supporting endless war: These savages keep killing us, so we have no choice but to fight them.


    More importantly, this process completely dehumanizes the people the U.S. government bombs, attacks, and kills. Because they’re never heard from, because we never learn their names, because we never experience their family’s suffering, all of their human attributes are stripped from them and their deaths are thus meaningless because they’re barely human.


    This dehumanization — the suppression of any humanity on the part of the U.S.’ foreign war victims — is the absolute key to sustaining popular support for war. Nobody knew that better than Gen. William Westmoreland, the U.S. Commander of the Vietnam War, which is why he insisted that “Orientals” do not experience death and suffering the way that Westerners do


    A population will only tolerate the ongoing, continual killing of large numbers of civilians if they believe that the innocent victims do not experience human suffering or, more importantly, if that suffering is hidden from them.


    Just imagine how different Americans’ views of the war on terror might be if they were subjected to heavy grieving rituals from the family members of innocent victims of U.S. bombing similar to the one they witnessed last night from Carryn Owens. There’s a reason the iconic photo of a South Vietnamese police official summarily executing a Vietcong suspect during the 1968 Tet Offensive resonated: Violence and suffering are much more easily tolerated when their visceral reality need not be confronted.


    The ritualistic tribute to dead or wounded U.S. soldiers has other purposes as well: It attempts — not using rational formulas but rather emotional impulses — to transfer the nobility of the slain soldier onto the war itself; after all, how unjust could a war be when such brave and admirable American soldiers are fighting in it?


    And it is also intended that the soldier’s nobility will be transferred to his commander in chief who is so solemnly honoring him. As demonstrated by the skyrocketing post-9/11 approval ratings for George Bush and the endless political usage Obama obtained for killing Osama bin Laden, nothing makes us rally around a president like uplifting war sentiment.


    Van Jones received intense criticism from Democrats for how positively he reacted on CNN to Trump’s tribute to Ryan and Carryn Owens, but Jones was just speaking honestly and with his emotions, as he often does: War makes people instinctively venerate the authority and leadership of the president who is presiding over it. That’s why — as John Jay warned in Federalist 4 — presidents like wars due to all the personal benefits they generate.

    The reaction to last night’s Owens moment was fascinating because the widespread media contempt for Trump clashed with the instinctive veneration of all matters relating to U.S. war; in most cases, the latter triumphed. But more interesting than that is what this ritual reveals about how Americans are taught to think about war and the reasons it is so easy for the political class — no matter the outcome of elections or what polling data tells us or how many people senselessly die — to continue and escalate endless wars. These propaganda rituals are well-tested and very potent.


    https://theintercept.com/2017/03/01/...ar-propaganda/

  17. #17
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    US coalition 'kills hundreds' of Mosul civilians in one week: Report


    #IraqatWar





    Between 250 and 370 civilians killed by US-led air strikes in seven days of fighting, says monitor Airwars


    The US-led coalition fighting the Islamic State may have killed hundreds of civilians in the first week of March in support of Iraqi forces storming western Mosul, according to reports by monitoring group Airwars.


    Using open-source data and witness reports, the group estimated that between 250 and 370 civilians had been killed in 11 incidents in the heavily populated western side of the city since 1 March. Out of the 11 incidents, four were backed by two or more sources saying the coalition was responsible for the strikes, it said.


    Airwars is an independent monitor that uses all available sources, cross-referencing them with the coalition's own official lists of air strikes.


    The Airwars figure strongly contrasts with casualty figures from the US-led coalition, which has counted 21 civilians deaths caused by its bombs since November, and far fewer deaths than Airwars has reported in three years of fighting.


    Iraqi forces captured the eastern side of Mosul in January after 100 days of fighting and launched their attack on the districts that lie west of the Tigris river on 19 February.

    The UN estimated that around 750,000 people were still in the western sector of Mosul when the battle started. About 40,000 civilians have been forced from their homes in the past week, according to the International Organisation for Migration.


    Airwars listed the strikes it said had caused civilians casualties in the push into the west of the city. In one of the deadliest, it estimated between 50 and 80 people were killed in a 1 March attack on a mosque used for shelter by refugee families.


    The deadliest incident in western Mosul to date, however, might have occurred on 5 March.


    As many as 130 civilians were killed during an assault on a government compound in the Dawassa district, with several local sources reporting the involvement of US Apache helicopters. Both coalition and Iraqi forces, however, were cited by different outlets as being responsible.


    Images reportedly taken after the attack show the level of destruction in the district.


    On the same day, four more people were killed and 14 were injured after unattributed air strikes near Shaaren market.


    The chain of responsibility was less clear for several of the other incidents, but the tally of casualties was not.


    A day later, on 6 March, between 25 and 33 imprisoned Iraqi policemen have allegedly been killed by coalition strikes on a building used by IS as a prison. Several IS militants were also killed.
    Deadliest week in battle for Mosul

    Airwars said the week-long period had been the deadliest for civilians since the launch of hostilities. Between 254 and 369 civilians were assessed as likely having been killed by US coalition bombs in January, and between 134 and 187 in December.


    The United States Central Command, which has responsibility for military operations in the Middle East, said it took all allegations of possible civilian casualties seriously.


    "The coalition will fully assess this allegation to assess its validity," a spokesman said. "The collation releases a monthly report on all civilian casualty allegations and assessments to be as transparent and forthcoming as possible.


    "Coalition forces comply with the Law of Armed Conflict and take all feasible precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to civilians."


    The US military said on Saturday that a total of 21 civilians were killed between November and January across all Middle East theatres. It maintains that a total of 220 civilians have been unintentionally killed in air strikes against IS in Syria and Iraq since 2014.


    The figure is much lower than the 2,463 total civilian casualties reported by Airwars. The monitoring group said that they work closely with Centcom to investigate any civilian casualty, but the discrepancy is number is due to the inaccurate monitoring system used by the Coalition.


    "This is an air war fought from the skies with proxies on the ground," Airwars said. "The US are not downplaying the number of casualties, but they don't have the monitoring on the ground to assess properly the presence of civilians and the number of casualties."


    The monitoring group is working closely with the countries involved in the airstrikes in the hope of reducing the death toll and improve transparency.


    The British ministry of defence said Royal Air Force planes were involved in the bombing campaign over Mosul. It could not confirm Airwars figures.


    "We have no evidence of civilian casualties resulting from air strikes conducted by the Royal Air Force," said a spokesman.


    The MoD has regular contact with Airwars and tries to cross-reference information with the group.


    Airwars told Middle East Eye that the UK was one of the most transparent members of the coalition and welcomes its cooperation.


    The monitoring group has flagged over 100 incidents involving the RAF, asking them to investigate them.


    "Official data released by the White House showed that at least one civilian was killed on average for every seven airstrikes in Afghanistan," Airwars told MEE.


    Even if it was one out of 10, the odds of zero casualties on over 100 flagged British air strikes are extremely low according to Airwars.


    "We appreciate UK transparency, but it is a dangerous claim to say that there are no civilian casualties in a war. There is no such thing as perfection on the battlefield."
    US killing more than Russia in Syria

    Airwars' report comes weeks after it stated the US-led coalition was killing more civilians than Russia in its campaign in Syria, reporting that coalition attacks killed an estimated 254 non-combatants in January, whereas according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, 48 non-combatants were reported killed in Russian attacks.


    Airwars said it identified 95 separate "civilian casualty events" in January across Iraq and Syria which allegedly involved US coalition air attacks. In the same period, there were 57 alleged Russian attacks in Syria.


    Those figures contrasted to the much higher casualties from Russian strikes (713) - 14 times higher - than US coalition strikes in January 2016.
    The monitor said that the shift was in part due to the end of the siege in Aleppo, where Russian air attacks are believed to have killed thousands of people in months of bombing up to and including December, as Syrian government forces and their allies battled rebels in the city.


    The US, conversely, has stepped up bombing in Syria - targeting the IS stronghold of Raqqa with 21 attacks in one 24-hour period in February, and also bombing members of Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, formerly known as the Nusra Front, in western Syria.

    Coalition v Russia: Alleged civilian casualty events



    Airwars has tracked more than 2,000 reported events in which Russian or Coalition aircraft have allegedly killed civilians. While these raw claims should be treated with caution, they may be help us to understand trends over time. In March to May 2016 for example, alleged Russian incidents fell by 75% - most likely a result of the Syria ceasefire then in place.








    http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/us...rch-1271386570

  18. #18
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    US military attack "killing 56" at Syrian mosque is a war crime

    by CAGE - March 17, 2017

    London - The air strike by United States aircraft which destroyed a mosque in northern Syria, killing at least 56 civilians and injuring at least 100 more, constitutes a war crime.

    According to reports, it was thought that Syria or Russia was originally responsible, but later the United States admitted it had hit the area where the mosque in al-Jina was located. The mosque, they said, was across the road from a location "assessed to be a meeting place for al-Qaeda".

    No evidence has been provided by the CENTCOM to back up these claims, and no information has been provided as to the identities of the individuals who were killed, suggesting that the United States does not even know the names of the dead.

    Ibrahim Mohamoud, spokesperson for CAGE, said:

    "The United States government is expanding its 'War on Terror' in Syria through the use of airstrikes and drones, alongside Russia, Iran and the regime's militias."

    "The ease in which individuals are executed en masse, with very little argument from world leaders, or from the broader international community, has become all too normal in the region."

    "Regardless of whom the target was, such strikes only reinforce the idea that the US military action is furthering the same agenda as Bashar al Assad against the Syrian people."

    https://cage.ngo/press-release/us-mi...s-a-war-crime/

  19. #19
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    US Air strikes on Isis-held Mosul 'leave 230 civilians dead', reports local media

    US Central Command says it is researching reports of extensive loss of civilian life in third such alleged incident in recent weeks

    by Bethan McKernan - 23 March 2017

    Approximately [Over] 230 people are reported to have been killed in what is thought to have been a US-led coalition air strike
    on an Isis-held neighborhood in Mosul.

    A correspondent for Rudaw, a Kurdish news agency operating in northern Iraq, said that 137 people - most believed to be civilians - died when a bomb hit a single building in al-Jadida, in the western side of the city on Thursday. Another 100 were killed nearby.

    "Some of the dead were taking shelter inside the homes," Hevidar Ahmed said from the scene.

    A spokesperson for Central Command, which coordinates US military action in Iraq, told The Independent they were aware of the loss of civilian life as reported by Rudaw and the information had been passed on to the civilian casualty team for "further investigation".

    "[The US-led coalition] takes all reports of civilian casualties very seriously and assesses all incidents as thoroughly as possible. Coalition forces work diligently to be precise in our air strikes and ensure that all strikes comply with the [internationally agreed] Law of Armed Conflict," Captain Timothy Irish said.

    A daily assessment report from Central Command stated that five strikes near Mosul on Thursday had destroyed five Isis units and a sniper team, as well as 11 fighting positions, vehicles and artillery equipment.

    No other fighting force in the country has the capability to launch an aerial attack of the scale reported.

    Iraqi coalition ground forces, backed by a US-led coalition bombing campaign, began the gruelling Operation Inherent Resolve to remove Isis from Mosul in October 2016.

    The jihadi ISIS fighters now hold onto approximately a quarter of the city on the western bank of the River Tigris that cuts through Mosul from north to south.

    An estimated 400,000 Iraqis are trapped in the remaining Isis-held areas, the UN's refugee agency said on Thursday. Those caught up in the fighting face growing food shortages or being hit by crossfire if they try to leave.

    Isis has used civilian homes to shelter fighters and weapons throughout the battle for the city, rigging buildings and streets with explosives to impede Iraqi troops' progress.

    The fighting has come at a heavy price for both Mosul's residents and Iraqi soldiers: thousands of Iraqi civilians have died in the fighting, and a cumulative total of more than 200,000 displaced from their homes.

    At least 6,878 civilians were killed
    in violence mainly inflicted by Isis around the country last year, the United Nations Assistance Mission to Iraq (UNAMI) has said.

    Many Mosul residents report their loved ones have died as a result of "friendly fire" rather than Isis's warfare tactics.

    AirWars, a UK-based non-profit monitoring the effect of anti-Isis air strikes on civilians, said last week that they believed 370 civilians died in US-led coalition bombing in the first week of March alone.

    Over the border in Syria in the last week, the US has been accused of killing civilians in two separate bombing incidents: 33 died in a strike near Raqqa which was supposed to target Isis positions, and more than 50 after a strike hit a mosque in Aleppo province rather than an al-Qaeda meeting point.

    Removing Isis from Mosul, which is Iraq's second largest city, will effectively spell the end of Isis as a land-holding force in the country, driving the remnants of the group back to their de facto capital of Raqqa.

    While losing the city will be a decisive blow, the jihadi ISIS organization is expected to pose a renewed threat in the form of an insurgency war against Iraqi forces.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...-a7646011.html

    comments:

    These are the real terrorists who are killing hundreds of Muslims in their War of Terror. Their western media cries about the few killed in their countries yet hide these murders.

  20. #20
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    US war of terror out of control

    Airstrike monitoring group overwhelmed by U.S.-caused civilian casualties


    A non-profit organization that tracks civilian casualties caused by airstrikes in the Middle East said it has shifted nearly all of its resources to track a surge of claims regarding U.S.-led strikes in Syria and Iraq.


    The group, called Airwars.org, had been tracking deaths caused by both Russian and U.S. airstrikes but said in a statement Friday that it was scaling back its work on “alleged Russian actions in Syria — so as best to focus our limited resources on continuing to properly monitor and assess reported casualties from the U.S. and its allies.


    Airwars director Chris Woods said the organization will “continue to track Russian civilian casualty allegations on a daily basis,” but will suspend its detailed case-by-case assessments for the near future.


    “Almost 1,000 civilian non-combatant deaths have already been alleged from coalition actions across Iraq and Syria in March — a record claim,” Airwars said in a statement. “These reported casualty levels are comparable with some of the worst periods of Russian activity in Syria.”


    In the last week, three mass casualty incidents have been attributed to U.S.-led forces in Iraq and Syria, making March one of the most lethal months for civilians in the the two-year-old war against the Islamic State.


    Last week, U.S. drones targeted what locals deemed a mosque in Aleppo province in a bid to target al-Qaeda leaders. U.S. officials said dozens of terrorists were killed, but those on the ground said at least 47 civilians also died in the strikes. The Pentagon denied that there were any civilian casualties but has launched a formal investigation into the incident.


    On Monday, a conflict monitoring group, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said a strike near Raqqa targeted a school that was serving as a home for multiple families displaced by fighting in the area, killing at least 33. The Pentagon admitted U.S. aircraft were operating in the vicinity but, according to Pentagon spokesman Eric Pahon, the military is having a hard time rectifying the location of the building that was targeted with what was shown as destroyed on social media.


    On Thursday, Iraqi media reported that an airstrike in Mosul killed more than 200 people. The Pentagon is investigating the claims.


    After the fall of Aleppo to Syrian and Russian forces in December and the recent escalation of the U.S.-led campaigns against the Islamic State in Mosul and Raqqa, claims of civilian casualties caused by American-led forces have outstripped those caused by Damascus and the Kremlin, according to Airwars.


    As Syrian forces advance into opposition-held Hama in central Syria, Airwars has recorded roughly 50 civilian casualty events caused by the joint Russian and Syrian air campaign in March.


    Airwars uses varying methods to investigate and confirm civilian casualties, relying on a medley of local news outlets, NGOs, civilian volunteers and social media to determine if casualty reports are fair, weak, contested or disproved. For March, nearly half the alleged strikes are contested, according to Airwars data.


    According to Airwars, more than 2,500 civilians have been killed by the U.S.-led coalition, which has admitted to killing only roughly 220 civilians. In recent months, the Pentagon said it has taken strides to investigate a backlog of claims while starting to release monthly civilian casualty assessments.

    “The decision to temporarily suspend our Russia strike assessments has been a very difficult one to take,” Woods said. “Moscow is still reportedly killing hundreds of civilians in Syria every month. But with Coalition casualty claims escalating so steeply – and with very limited Airwars resources – we believe our key focus at present needs to be on the U.S.-led alliance.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...an-casualties/


 

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