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Total number of comments: 14 (since 2013-11-28 15:55:24)


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  • Dear President Obama: Some American Exceptionalism is nothing to be Proud Of (Engelhardt)
    • Jimby,

      I forgot to mention a few things. Here they are:

      I put together a webpage quite some time ago where you can find some info that I think is still relevant in particular:

      link to

      Invisible History by Paul Fitzgerald and Elizabeth Gould is an excellent book. Their blog is here:

      link to

      The documentary Rethink Afghanistan was done some time ago but I think it is still highly relevant. You can watch it for free (or buy it)here:

      link to

      It goes a long way to show the insanity of this war on a desperately poor people. and that it has achieved basically nothing.

      Here in Canada the deplorable treatment of women in Afghanistan was use by the propagandists in their drive for war. If you read what RAWA has to say, or just observe, nothing, basically nothing, has changed for the women of Afghanistan.

      The latest entry on my blog sheds some more light on it:

      link to

      (I just discovered the funny formatting of the quote from RAWA. I should change that but I'm too busy right now.)

      Hope you find my info useful.

    • I don't know why the link to doesn't work. It worked on my machine when I tested it before posting. (I always do.)
      The following link leads to a google search page: Clicking on the top link will send you to the pdf document. Click on "open" or "save":

      link to

    • I think the blindness, stupidity or lack of caring that led to the still unfolding disasters that Tom Engelhardt writes about started before the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan. Tom Engelhardt briefly goes back to 1929 and then Reagan. I'd like to add something started under Carter, who prided himself that the USA never fired a shot at anybody (“We never killed anybody” was one of his phrases IIRC), which puts him into a different light and is also an example of American exceptionalism,

      In an interview with Le Nouvel Observateur, Paris (15-21 January 1998) Zbigniew Brzezinski stated it “was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” The Soviet invasion of Afghanistan happened Dec. 24Th 1979.

      Asked whether he regretted anything Brzezinski answered:

      Regret what? That secret operation was an excellent idea. It had the effect of drawing the Russians into the Afghan trap and you want me to regret it? The day that the Soviets officially crossed the border, I wrote to President Carter. We now have the opportunity of giving to the USSR its Vietnam war. Indeed, for almost 10 years, Moscow had to carry on a war unsupportable by the government, a conflict that brought about the demoralization and finally the breakup of the Soviet empire.

      Question: And neither do you regret having supported the Islamic fundamentalism, having given arms and advice to future terrorists?

      Brzezinski: What is most important to the history of the world? The Taliban or the collapse of the Soviet empire? Some stirred-up Moslems or the liberation of Central Europe and the end of the cold war?

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      The Mujahideen morphed into the Taliban and everybody knows what that ultimately led to.

      The average cost per US soldier in Afghanistan per year (not counting future costs such as the care of veterans) for the period of FY 2005 to FY 2011 (in constant-year FY 2011 dollars) is a staggering $ 1.186 million.

      (p.17 Todd Harrison Center for Strategic and Budgetary Assessments

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      In 20111 there were a little less than 100,000 US troops in Afghanistan meaning the current total cost for soldiers alone is over one billion dollars per year. If the USA was truly exceptional they would offer that amount as development aid to the poor war ravished country. I think even the most hardcore Taliban would stop fighting. Maybe I'm naive, but I think if conditions such as more western-type freedoms were imposed for receiving this kind of money the majority of the population would force the Taliban to accept.

      link to

      Now that would be truly exceptional.

  • Top Five Wind Energy Successes Today
  • Arguing with President Putin
    • Thank you for sharing your knowledge, penetrating analysis and wisdom (I write this even though I am quite a bit older than you).

  • Top Ten things Americans need to Know about Syria if they're going to Threaten to Bomb It
    • "The Baath is a brutal one-party state characterized by a secret police that intensively spies on the population and punishes dissent with arbitrary arrest and torture.'

      Maher Arar quoting an ex-CIA agent tweeted:

      "If u want a serious interrogation, u send a prisoner 2 Jordan. If u want them 2B tortured, u send them 2 Syria"- Bob Baer, ex-CIA agent

  • President Obama's Doubtful Grounds for Military Action against Syria
    • You want to split hairs like a lawyer?

      "Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons ...

      Protocol III on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons prohibits, in all circumstances, making the civilian population as such, individual civilians or civilian objects, the object of attack by any weapon or munition which is primarily designed to set fire to objects or to cause burn injury to persons through the action of flame, heat or a combination thereof, produced by a chemical reaction of a substance delivered on the target. The protocol also prohibits the use of incendiary weapons against military targets near concentration of civilians, which may otherwise be allowed by the principle of proportionality. ..."

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      "produced by a chemical reaction "

      Which incidentally does not explain why the USA is against imposing the chemical weapons convention on the whole of the Middle East.

      Can you guess why?

      Hint: Israel has stocks (which is illegal) chemical weapons. Or I should have said "would be illegal if Israel had signed the 1995 convention.

      But then again, neither has Syria.

      Wouldn't it be real progress if all of the Middle East were free of chemical weapons (not to mention nuclear weapons)?

  • How Putin Saved Obama, Congress and the European Union from Further Embarrassing themselves on Syria
    • That might depend a bit on who the UN soldiers are. If they are US soldiers they might not be greeted with flowers. The link leads to a video posted on Twitter by Brown Moses. It has interviews with a number of rebels and while it is true that the interviews are in relation to an expected US bombing campaign some are less than enthusiastic about foreigners invading their country. (IIRC it was a FSA soldier who that the FSA would fight the Americans.) It is possible that I am making too much out of this but have a look, it's a short and interesting video IMO.

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    • I forgot to ask you if you find extrajudicial killing nauseating.

      Obama is responsible for the murder (that's what extrajudicial killing is in my world) of three US citizens violating, in the process three constitutional rights. (1. Amendment, 5th Amendment, 6th Amendment). About one - Anwar Awlaki he said it "was easy". To justify it he used a lot of lies in a public address.

      link to

      Another, Abdulrahman Awlaki, was an innocent teenager, who was killed together with teenaged Yemeni cousins and friends, who's only crime was to look for his father (who had been assassinated 2 weeks earlier).

      The third one, Samir Khan, published an inflammatory jihadist newsletter and his parents had been assured by the FBI, when they inquired because they were worried, that their son had done nothing against the law.

      And all this from a constitutional law professor.

      That is something I find nauseating.

      And you?

      Constitutional rights do not to be safeguarded for people you agree with. It's those you disagree with who need the protection of their rights.

    • And have a look at how many drone strikes GWB used vs how many were done under Obama.


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    • Obama's successes?

      Maybe 50 dead civilians is an exaggeration but are you seriously calling the killing of women and children - as long as they are not Syrians - a success?

      Is this your idea of success?

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      If so, nauseating indeed.

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    • "(For Spain to defy Germany at this point in time is rather like a deeply indebted gambler being rude to the casino owner)."

      Thank you Prof. Cole for making me laugh in spite of all the grim context. It reminds me of that priceless line in Air America when Mel Gibson's character says: "Well Senator, if you can't laugh about war what can you laugh about?"

      Leaving laughing aside, I think if this (the handing over of the CWs and their destruction) is for real it's a win win. The bloodshed cruise missiles would inevitably cause is avoided AND the world gets rid of some awful weapons. So what if the tyrant survives; some of the rebels don't appear too appealing, especially Jabhat al-Nusra, who went on record vowing to kill more Syrians if they don't conform to their vision of an upright Muslim.

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      I hope it will work out (even though some commentators, or maybe just one commentator (Doran? or something like that) on Twitter is already denouncing it. (Btw he called western intelligence services "the best in the world". Yeah, don't we all remember 2002 - 2003.)

  • When Syria was a US Ally (or at Least Helpful)
    • It wasn't the first time Obama lied.

      He had Anwar al Awlaki - a US citizen - killed without trial violating his rights under the 5th and 6th Amendments, I believe. Then shortly after Anwar al Awlaki was murdered (is there another word for extrajudicial killing?), Obama gave a speech full of lies about Awlaki. I am not saying he was an angel although shortly after 9/11 TV stations frequently came to him to interview a "moderate imam". The war on Islam radicalized him and his writings became ever more inflammatory. However all the terrorist deeds Obama ascribes to him do not seem to have been committed by him.

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      Jeremy Scahill Dirty Wars is a book that everybody should read. I mostly take my information from this book, two episodes on Democracy Now and some miscellaneous reading on the web.

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    • CISIS and the RCMP were complicit in this.

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