After a dozen years Kabul is safe for franchises and you can get dinner and a movie in the green zone. Wear your helmet and lock and load.
“The youngest U.S. soldiers were ten years old when we invaded Afghanistan right after 9/11 and most likely only have the vaguest idea what all has preceded their arrival in-country.”
War in Afghanistan Won (by Cherry Berry Yogurt and Ace Hardware Peter Van Buren
via Bob Higgins.
[Editor’s note: Since the 9/11 attacks on US soil, in Iraq and in Afghanistan, torture has often been the first choice when questioning terror suspects. That sad fact hasn’t changed under a new administration, just kept better hidden. It makes no difference whether we are administering torture ourselves or farming out the task to other brutal regimes through euphemistically named programs like “extraordinary rendition” or simply turning our heads while the Iraqis do the job, we are complicit in war crimes and crimes against humanity.
In the video below The Real News pries the lid back a bit and allows a glimpse into the savage and brutal world of state sanctioned torture. Bob Higgins]
Released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse by Iraqi authorities
How the newly released US military files reveal an instruction to ignore detainee abuse and torture by Iraqi authorities; what that meant on the ground; and just how far up the chain of command the order went.
I’ve long felt that politically ambitious generals are a serious danger to the republic and a dire threat to liberty. For that reason all generals, the entire military, must be kept under firm civilian control. Their duty is to fight when and where and only when and where the civilian leadership, elected by the people, directs them to fight.
Dwight Eisenhower might have said the same thing and, in fact, implied it with this warning in his farewell address upon leaving the White House in 1961:
“In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Dwight Eisenhower Farewell Address 17 January 1961
When generals begin to call press conferences and make statements about diplomatic or defense policy or to disagree publicly with the National Command Authority they need to be slapped to attention and quickly retired and replaced. Harry Truman recognized the importance of this central principle of our democracy when he cashiered Douglas MacArthur. (more…)
I read a piece last night by Jason Linkins at Huff Post in which he describes the experience of CNN correspondent Michael Ware and Ware’s difficulty in dealing with the memory of the death of a presumably innocent young Iraqi shot execution style by US troops in 2007.
Mr Ware tells of the alleged incident he says he witnessed and filmed in 2007 when working for US news giant CNN, but claims the network decided the footage was too graphic to go to air.
He alleges that a teenager in a remote Iraqi village run by the militant Islamist group, al-Qaeda was carrying a weapon to protect himself.
“(The boy) approached the house we were in and the (US) soldiers who were watching our backs, one of them put a bullet right in the back of his head. Unfortunately it didn’t kill him,” he tells Australian Story.
“We all spent the next 20 minutes listening to his tortured breath as he died.” (more…)
Illustration: Kollwitz, The Propeller
Having shown over the last seven months, since taking control of the legislative branch that they are at least equal to the Republicans when it comes to avarice, the Democrats set out this past weekend to demonstrate that, when it comes to cowardice, to blatant, unmitigated, ass covering politics they are every bit a match for Republicans.
Who impeaches the Congress? What in our Constitution protects the citizens of this country from a completely rogue government? When all three branches have abrogated their constitutional obligations, who will stand up for, who will represent the people of the United States?
Where must we search, to whom do we go for protection from the power of the wealthy corporate classes who are stealing our wealth, our livelihoods, and our future, who are spitting on our laws and our history as they sacrifice our Children and Grandchildren on the profane altar of their greed, in their eternal wars for profit and power?
Where is the opposition? Where do we go for redress of grievances when every institution of government is in the hands of the enemies of the people?
After suffering through five long years of watching a rogue executive blow it’s nose on the American Constitution and wipe it’s feet on our laws and bill of rights, it was with some relief and a glimmer of hope that I watched the election results last November as the Democratic party was returned to control of the legislative branch of the federal government. The pendulum is returning to the center I told myself, surely it will soon move to the left and show benefits to the working people of this country again.
Twice a week I have a physical therapy session at the Dayton VA Hospital. I had a heart attack last March 15, (beware the ides?) in October they referred me to cardio pulmonary therapy to build me up for whatever years may lie ahead. They have done an excellent job and I am pleased with my future prospects.
I have been treated at the Dayton VA several times over the years, have volunteered there performing Veteran’s memorial services as part of an honor guard, and three years ago said good bye to my father who died in the VA hospice at the age of 80.
My experiences with VA medical care have been almost entirely positive. The medical staff has been competent caring and willing to communicate with me. My physical therapist (Kinesiologist) whom I refer to as Ms Torquemada has enabled me to return to a relatively normal life and I love her for it. The hospice ward is amazing, they treated my Dad with the dignity and respect he deserved in his final days on this planet and were equally wonderful with my family. The people in the ER and Cardiac Intensive Care wards saved my life which fact may leave me with some bias on the issue at hand.
I have personally witnessed the operations of this facility during the current federal administration as well as during the Clinton years and I have seen a noticeable decline in the state of the physical plant and the attitudes of some employees during the Cheney/Bush era.
What once was a well funded and squeaky clean facility has deteriorated noticeably and budget cutting has caused serious staffing problems. I believe that this decline is due to the penny pinching policies of the knuckle heads who are passing themselves off as our government.
The blame for conditions at Walter Reed and other problems throughout the veterans health system must be placed firmly at the feet of those who set the policies. For the last six years those feet have belonged to George Bush, Dick Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld. To lay the blame on anyone below the the level of policy maker and budget controllers would be wrong.