Tag Archives: Bush

A must watch documentary – Losing Iraq & the rise of ISIS

Losing Iraq

The last American troops left Iraq In December 2011, their mission accomplished. Yet the sound of the car bomb remains a frequent visitor to the streets of Baghdad. So what sort of legacy did the allied forces leave behind and how did things go so badly wrong?

This special report examines the unfolding chaos in Iraq and how the US is in danger of being pulled back into the conflict. Drawing on interviews with policy makers and military leaders, Michael Kirk’s film traces the events of the last decade in this deeply troubled land. What has become apparent since the 2003 invasion is that there was no coherent plan for the future of the country after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. The elections of 2005 led to the establishment of a democratically elected government, but sectarian divisions within the country remained as Sunni and Shiite
groups battled for supremacy – indeed, 2006 saw Iraq teetering on the brink of civil war. Matters came to a head this year as ISIS militants seized control of huge swathes of territory, their declared aim being to establish an Islamic caliphate stretching across parts of Iraq and Syria. Government forces seem powerless to resist their advance, which threatens to redraw the political map of the Middle East. As the country continues to fragment, the film asks what the future holds for this former cradle of civilisation.

Courtesy: PBS America
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/losing-iraq/

New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

By MICHELE DUNNE and SHUJA NAWAZ

ONE year after the revolution that ousted President Hosni Mubarak, the Egyptian military is closing down civil society organizations and trying to manipulate the constitution-writing process to serve its narrow interests. Meanwhile, in Pakistan, where the military has also held sway for more than half the country’s existence – for much of that time, with America’s blessing – a new civil-military crisis is brewing.

For the United States, the parallels are clear and painful. Egypt and Pakistan are populous Muslim-majority nations in conflict-ridden regions, and both have long been allies and recipients of extensive military and economic aid.

Historically, American aid tapers off in Pakistan whenever civilians come to power. And in Egypt, Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama both resisted pressure from Congress to cut aid to Mr. Mubarak despite his repression of peaceful dissidents.

It is no wonder that both Egyptians and Pakistanis express more anger than appreciation toward the United States. They have seen Washington turn a blind eye to human-rights abuses and antidemocratic practices because of a desire to pursue regional objectives – Israeli security in the case of Egypt, and fighting Al Qaeda in the case of Pakistan.

The question now is whether the United States will, a year after the Egyptian revolution, stand by and allow the Pakistani model of military dominance and a hobbled civilian government to be replicated on the Nile.

Pakistan and Egypt each have powerful intelligence and internal security agencies that have acquired extra-legal powers they will not relinquish easily. Pakistan’s history of fomenting insurgencies in neighboring countries has caused serious problems for the United States. And Egypt’s internal security forces have been accused of involvement in domestic terrorist attacks and sectarian violence. (However, Washington has long seen Egypt’s military as a stabilizing force that keeps the peace with Israel.)

The danger is that in the future, without accountability to elected civilian authorities, the Egyptian military and security services will seek to increase their power by manipulating Islamic extremist organizations in volatile and strategically sensitive areas like the Sinai Peninsula.

Despite the security forces’ constant meddling in politics, Pakistan at least has a Constitution that establishes civilian supremacy over the military. Alarmingly, Egypt’s army is seeking even greater influence than what Pakistan’s top brass now enjoys: an explicit political role, and freedom from civilian oversight enshrined in law.

Continue reading New York Times – Can Egypt Avoid Pakistan’s Fate?

Panetta Sets End to Afghan Combat Role for U.S. in 2013

By ELISABETH BUMILLER

BRUSSELS — In a major milestone toward ending a decade of war in Afghanistan, Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta said on Wednesday that American forces would step back from a combat role there as early as mid-2013, more than a year before all American troops are scheduled to come home.

Mr. Panetta cast the decision as an orderly step in a withdrawal process long planned by the United States and its allies, but his comments were the first time that the United States had put a date on stepping back from its central role in the war. The defense secretary’s words reflected the Obama administration’s eagerness to bring to a close the second of two grinding ground wars it inherited from the Bush administration.

Promising the end of the American combat mission in Afghanistan next year would also give Mr. Obama a certain applause line in his re-election stump speech this year. ….

Read more » The New York Times

The True Cost of 9/11 – Trillions and trillions wasted on wars, a fiscal catastrophe, a weaker America.

– By Joseph E. Stiglitz

The Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks by al-Qaida were meant to harm the United States, and they did, but in ways that Osama Bin Laden probably never imagined. President George W. Bush’s response to the attacks compromised America’s basic principles, undermined its economy, and weakened its security.

Indeed, when Linda Bilmes and I calculated America’s war costs three years ago, the conservative tally was $3 trillion to $5 trillion. Since then, the costs have mounted further. With almost 50 percent of returning troops eligible to receive some level of disability payment, and more than 600,000 treated so far in veterans’ medical facilities, we now estimate that future disability payments and health care costs will total $600 billion to $900 billion. The social costs, reflected in veteran suicides (which have topped 18 per day in recent years) and family breakups, are incalculable.

Even if Bush could be forgiven for taking America, and much of the rest of the world, to war on false pretenses, and for misrepresenting the cost of the venture, there is no excuse for how he chose to finance it. His was the first war in history paid for entirely on credit. As America went into battle, with deficits already soaring from his 2001 tax cut, Bush decided to plunge ahead with yet another round of tax “relief” for the wealthy.

Today, America is focused on unemployment and the deficit. Both threats to America’s future can, in no small measure, be traced to the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Increased defense spending, together with the Bush tax cuts, is a key reason why America went from a fiscal surplus of 2 percent of GDP when Bush was elected to its parlous deficit and debt position today. Direct government spending on those wars so far amounts to roughly $2 trillion—$17,000 for every U.S. household—with bills yet to be received increasing this amount by more than 50 percent. ….

Read more → slate

Noam Chomsky: My Reaction to Osama bin Laden’s Death

We might ask ourselves how we would be reacting if Iraqi commandos landed at George W. Bush’s compound, assassinated him, and dumped his body in the Atlantic.

By Noam Chomsky

It’s increasingly clear that the operation was a planned assassination, multiply violating elementary norms of international law. There appears to have been no attempt to apprehend the unarmed victim, as presumably could have been done by 80 commandos facing virtually no opposition—except, they claim, from his wife, who lunged towards them. In societies that profess some respect for law, suspects are apprehended and brought to fair trial. I stress “suspects.” In April 2002, the head of the FBI, Robert Mueller, informed the press that after the most intensive investigation in history, the FBI could say no more than that it “believed” that the plot was hatched in Afghanistan, though implemented in the UAE and Germany. What they only believed in April 2002, they obviously didn’t know 8 months earlier, when Washington dismissed tentative offers by the Taliban (how serious, we do not know, because they were instantly dismissed) to extradite bin Laden if they were presented with evidence—which, as we soon learned, Washington didn’t have. Thus Obama was simply lying when he said, in his White House statement, that “we quickly learned that the 9/11 attacks were carried out by al Qaeda.” …

Read more : Guernica

Al-Qaeda Leader Abu-Yazid’s interview

Al-Qa’ida Leader Abu-Yazid Interviewed by Pakistan’s Geo News TV Mustafa Ahmed Muhammad Uthman Abu al-Yazid http://triceratops.brynmawr.edu/dspace/bitstream/handle/10066/4641/MAY2008072… in Afghanistan Corrected version: replacing entire text; Text of interview with Al-Qa’ida leader Mustafa Abu-Yazid a.k.a. Shaykh Sa’id by senior Geo News TV correspondent Najeeb Ahmed at “unknown” location in Afghanistan; taken from the regularly scheduled “Today with Kamran Khan” program; date not given. July 22, 2008 (Correspondent Najeeb Ahmed) I seek refuge in God from Devil the cursed. In the name of God, the most merciful, the most beneficent. The central Al-Qa’ida leader is giving an exclusive interview to Geo at an unknown location. First of all, let me introduce you to Shaykh Sa’id. His full name is Mustafa Abu-Yazid. He is commonly known by the name of Shaykh Sa’id. He belongs to Egypt’s eastern province. (words as heard) He was born in 1955. He has two wives and 14 children. Previously, he was affiliated with the (? Egyptian Jihad party). He was arrested in Anwar al-Sadat murder case in Egypt in 1981. He was released in 1982. In 1988, he joined the Afghan jihad and also in 1988 played role in the formation of Al-Qa’ida. In Al-Qa’ida, he handled the responsibilities of monitory and administrative affairs and public relations and served as an advisory council member. At present, he is the amir (commander) of Khorasan and Afghanistan under Mullah Omar. … The language of the program is urdu (Hindi).

Courtesy: Geo TV (Aaj Kamran Khan Ke Saath) – You Tube

adopted from facebook

Bin Laden’s death, Pakistan’s counter punch to the United States – by Shiraz Paracha

After losing the 2004 presidential elections US senator John Kerry said that one video message of Osama Bin Laden cost him the Presidency. Days before the 2004 elections Bin Laden in a video message had urged the US public not to elect President George W. Bush again. The message had quite the opposite but desired effect as President Bush was re-elected with a big margin of votes.

Osama Bin Laden’s appearance just before the 2004 elections was a shrewd and calculated move where the Pakistan military helped Bush to retain the Presidency for the second time. Bin Laden was never a dangerous and formidable enemy as the Americans led the world to believe. Actually, the myth around Bin Laden’s power, influence and reach was carefully orchestrated by the U.S.

Bin Laden wasn’t a military commander or a guerrilla nor was he a religious or spiritual leader. He was also not a politician. He was a rich businessman and a friend of a former head of the Saudi intelligence agency who introduced him to the CIA in the 1980s. The CIA was looking for sponsors for its proxy war against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan. Bin Laden provided money and the CIA and the Pakistani ISI helped in planning that war.

At the end of the Cold War, Bin Laden was one of the characters that fulfilled needs of the world’s biggest imperialist power which was pursuing its strategic interest in the beginning of the 21st century using new tactics and means. Bin Laden was a tool, a puppet and an actor whose strings were in many hands. It is an old trick of imperialist powers to exaggerate threats and create fear among the public about real and perceived enemies.

Presenting threats out of proportion and enemies bigger than actually they are, Western militaries and secret services play mind games with their own public and the media are partners in the military mind games or psychological operations. During the Cold War, the U.S and its allies presented the Soviet Union as an evil power that was a threat to ‘civilization’. After the Cold War the focus was on personalities such as the Serbian leader Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein or Osama Bin Laden. All of them were presented as evil figures who wanted to destroy the West.

Probably retired Lieutenant General Mahmood Ahmed of the Pakistan Army and the then head of the CIA knew more about who was responsible for the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and Washington but in the post 9/11 America, Al-Qaeda was presented as the culprit and the biggest threat. Every Western TV network ran the same footage of alleged Al-Qaeda training camps at unknown locations where some people were taking ‘military training’ in a childish way. The training footage was a joke but it worked well in the charged atmosphere after the 9/11 incidents in the U.S. …

Read more : http://criticalppp.com/archives/47741

US Afghan war review — Dr Mohammad Taqi

The word victory has never featured in Mr Obama’s speeches in the Afghan context and is unlikely to pop up now. We will hear a lot from him about the build-hold-clear-stabilise-handover process and the long term US ‘commitment’, but there will be hardly any reference to nation-building or even sustained counterinsurgency

US president Barack Obama will announce his annual review of the Afghan war today (December 16, 2010). A successful legal challenge to Mr Obama’s healthcare plan and hectic congressional activity to extend the Bush-era income tax cuts had pushed this review off the US media radar, but the death of the Special Representative Richard Holbrooke has managed to put it back in the news-cycle, at least for the time being. What was expected to be a low key affair will still remain a whimper but more questions are being asked about the shape of the things to come as a larger-than-life member of Mr Obama’s Pak-Afghan team made his exit from the diplomatic and world stage.

The Washington Post has reported that Mr Holbrooke’s last words, spoken to his surgeon, were: “You have got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” Incidentally, Mr Holbrooke’s surgeon happened to be a King Edward Medical College-educated Pakistani. Of course, neither the surgeon nor the common Pakistanis have much to do with the war in Afghanistan but given the Pakistani establishment’s massive involvement in favour of the Taliban, Mr Holbrooke’s last words seem almost surreal.

Mr Holbrooke, however, was not the only one calling for ending the war in Afghanistan. On the eve of the Afghan war review, a 25-member group of experts on Afghanistan, which includes respected names like Ahmed Rashid and Professor Antonio Giustozzi, has published an open letter to Mr Obama, calling on him to authorise a formal negotiation with the Afghan Taliban and seek a political settlement. However, buried in the text of the 1,030-word long plea to talk to the Taliban is the key sentence: “With Pakistan’s active support for the Taliban, it is not realistic to bet on a military solution.” …

Read more : Daily Times

Afghanistan: NATO’s mission impossible – by Shiraz Paracha

…. But in 1991, all that ended abruptly with the smooth and peaceful split of the Soviet Union. The West painted the Soviet demise as its victory. But in fact, it was the biggest shock for the huge Western military and propaganda machine.

The Cold War mindset was not ready to accept the new change. The mysterious attacks in the United States on September 11, 2001 and the subsequent ‘war on terror’ filled the enemy vacuum for the Cold War warriors, but it did not help an organization like NATO that was created on the concept of traditional warfare.

In the post-1945 era, despite their technological superiority and military and economic power, Western countries did not fight directly against powerful states. Proxy wars were the West’s preferred method throughout the Cold War period.

Nevertheless, in the 1990s, the West opted for military interventions and regime changes. Western countries acted as a pack of wolves and attacked small and weak states. The strategy provided an opportunity to lightweights such as Bush and Blair to imitate Churchill and Roosevelt and appear strong and victorious.

But the US defeat in Iraq and the NATO’s failed mission in Afghanistan have proven that military occupations and interventions are counterproductive and expose weaknesses of occupiers and aggressors.

Today, NATO is disillusioned and disoriented. It is demanding from its member states to allocate at least two percent of their GDPs to defense budgets. In a desperate effort to keep its large and bureaucratic structures and huge budget, NATO has been adding vague, unrealistic and ambiguous aims and objectives to its mission. It has committed blunders like Afghanistan but its commanders did not seem to have learned any lessons.

Regardless of the Lisbon rhetoric, not all NATO member states can afford ever increasing military budgets to counter open-ended threats and fight unspecified enemies. Weakening European economies need trade and investment rather than wars. They rely on energy but the energy sources are out of Europe. Skilled labor and markets are beyond the geographical sphere of the most NATO states. And most NATO countries certainly do not have the will and capacity for missions impossible, like the one in Afghanistan.

To read full article : Criticalppp

Boots for Bush

by Aziz Narejo, USA

The writer can be reached at: anarejo@yahoo.com

Hatred causes more hatred. Violence leads to more violence. Praising anyone who acts out of anger, contempt or hatred in a violent way is akin to supporting acts of violence and hatred. There are peaceful and non-violent ways to protest injustices and unscrupulous policies. I don’t know if one should be surprised at the response of some people at the recent Iraqi incident. I think it betrays whatever is actually wrong with the world today.