Tuesday, February 4, 2014


OMNI NEWSLETTER ON AFGHANISTAN AND PAKISTAN #21,  Feb. 4, 2013. Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace  (#8 April 15, 2011; #9 June 10, 2011; #10 July 3, 2011; #11 July 13, 2011;  #12 Sept. 5, 2011; #13 Oct. 2, 2011; #14 Oct. 15, 2011; #15 Feb. 14, 2012 ; #16 April 27, 2012; #17 May 3, 2012; #18 Oct. 20, 2012; #19 Jan. 14, 2013; #20 August 17, 2013)

Most recent related newsletters:
US Imperialism Westward Pacific/E. Asia
MLKJr. Day (anti-war)
War OF Terror
Pentagon Watch

Here is the link to all the newsletters archived in the OMNI web site.

http://www.omnicenter.org/newsletter-archive/ For views and information not found in the mainstream media   For a knowledge-based peace, justice, and ecology movement and an informed citizenry as the foundation for change.  Here is the link to the Index:  http://www.omnicenter.org/omni-newsletter-general-index/

Instead of Defense Department, War Department
Instead of War on Terror, War OF Terror, War to Dominate World
Instead of Taliban, Pashtun/Afghan Resistance to Occupation

Nos. 15, 16, 17 at end.

Contents of #18, Oct. 20, 2012
Films, Help Local Afghan Initiatives
Film, Rethink Afghanistan
Hayden, US Defeat
From Hell and Back Again New Documentary
New Book: Little America
Martin, Protests Against NATO and the War
Lendmann, Military Dissent

Contents of #19  Jan. 14, 2013
HAW, Petition: End the War
Questions for Kerry
More Realities of Afghanistan (see preceding newsletters)
Silverstein, Why Foreign Aid Has Not Reached Afghanistan
US Killing Innocents      
       Trial of Sgt. Bales
        Killing Children
Collapse of Kabul:  Aikins, Kabul to Deconstruct
Dick, 1) Taliban Realities, 2) Troops Out, Rescue the Victims
2 Books on the Taliban by Antonio Giustozzi
    Neo-Taliban Insurgency 2003-2007 (2007)
     Decoding the Neo-Taliban (2009)
 2 Books by Linschoten and Kuehn
    Myth of Taliban/Al-Qaeda
    Poetry of the Taliban
New Children’s Book:
   The Sky of Afghanistan, Child’s Dreams of Peace

Contents of #20 August 17, 2013  What Is the “Taliban”?
Long History of Pashtun Resistance, Violent and Nonviolent
Dick:: Afghanistan’s History of Resistance
Bala, Pashtun Nonviolence
Arab Nonviolence
Gregory-Barnes, Soviet-Afghan War, 1979-89
Persecution of Women in Afghanistan
Corruption in Afghanistan—and US
Ahmed, War on Terror = War on Tribal Islam
Rising and Faiez (AP), Taliban Penetrate to Center of Kabul
Chandrasekaran (WP), “Afghan War’s Whitest Elephant”
Afghanistan’s Guantanamo:  Bagram
Hoh,  Bring All Troops Home
Rashid, Pakistan on the Brink (of chaos)

Contents #21 
FCNL, End Endless War, Take Action
Abdullah (CredoAction), End the War, Take Action
Scheer, 3 Decades of Disaster
Drury, Sexual Wounds
Ann Jones, Wounded Soldiers
Kathy Kelly, Displaced Afghans
Nir Rosen, How We Lost the War
Engelhardt, the Longest War?
Some Success, Opium Production in Afghanistan Under US Occupation

Kelly, Future War Over Afghans’ Mineral Resources?

Dear Dick Bennett,
You can help end the endless war. Please join my colleagues Elizabeth Beavers and Jim Cason for a lively conference call tomorrow night at 8 p.m. to learn more about FCNL’s work and what you can do in your community.
The American people and our Congress are asking hard questions about the idea and practice of “permanent war” that has shaped U.S. policy since 9/11. In the past months, the Senate has rejected new sanctions that would undermine Iran diplomacy, Congress has refused to endorse military action in Syria, and the Pentagon budget has been cut.
But the law that provides the legal underpinnings for drone strikes, detentions at Guantanamo Bay, government surveillance, and the war Afghanistan remains on the books. Unless Congress acts, this sweeping law – the Authorization for the Use of Military Force (AUMF) – will continue to be used to justify a U.S. policy based on permanent war.
FCNL is working diligently alongside others here in Washington to convince Congress to repeal this law and bring this dark chapter of our country’s history to a close. But to achieve the ambitious goal of repealing this law, we need your help.
Here’s what you can do now:
1. Join FCNL’s call tomorrow night
Please RSVP to foreignpolicy@fcnl.org if you plan to join the call. Then on February 5 at 8 p.m., call 1-213-342-3000 and enter access code 86511.
2. Write your representative now
Ask her or him to cosponsor legislation that would repeal the Authorization for the Use of Military Force. Rep Adam Schiff’s bill, H.R. 2324, has bipartisan support and would end the Authorization on December 31, 2014.
We see an excellent opportunity to repeal the AUMF and end the authority Congress created for endless war. Last year, 185 representatives—just 33 shy of the number needed for a bill to pass—voted to repeal the AUMF. With your help, this year we can and will persuade 33 additional members of the House to support this legislation when it comes to a vote again this summer.
Diane Randall
P.S. There are even more opportunities coming up for you to advocate to repeal this law. Find out how you can be a part of our Presidents Day week of action in February and ourSpring Lobby Weekend in March.

End the forever war
The email below is from Nafisa Abdullah, a CREDO activist, physician, and mother who was born in Kabul, but now lives in Los Angeles. Nafisa started a petition on CREDO Mobilize, where activists can launch their own campaigns for progressive change. Will you help Nafisa pressure Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the U.S. House Committee on Foreign Affairs, to support the Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act by signing her petition and sharing it with your friends and family?

Dear Dick,
While the world's focus is on the unfolding crisis in Syria, just days ago the commander of NATO ground forces in Afghanistan told media that currently there are still no plans in place for complete withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan. Without a hard deadline in place, it's clear that if we don't push for an immediate withdrawal, the war in Afghanistan could continue indefinitely.
Every day the war in Afghanistan continues, more innocent children are killed or injured and more patients with injuries unrelated to the war must be turned away from local hospitals. That's why I started my own campaign on CREDO Mobilize, which allows activists to start their own petitions. My petition, which is to Rep. Ed Royce, chairman of the Committee on Foreign Affairs, says:
Support the Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act (H.R. 200) introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee and ensure that funds used by the armed forces in Afghanistan are used only for the safe and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. military personnel and Department of Defense contractor personnel in Afghanistan.

Innocent Afghan civilians and children continue to be killed and injured because of continuing military operations. We can’t afford to lose more lives!
I was born in Kabul, but now live in the US. I have worked in Afghanistan as a doctor with an organization called EMERGENCY that runs three surgical centers and 34 clinics throughout Afghanistan which have treated over 3.7 million people since 1999. For 10 years, our Surgical Center for Civilian Victims of War in Kabul treated anyone who arrived. But for the past two years the admission criteria have been restricted to war-related injuries, due to the continued increase in civilian injuries.
The Responsible End to the War in Afghanistan Act (H.R. 200), introduced by Rep. Barbara Lee, could help save the lives of millions and allow us to improve the health of many more. This bill would accelerate the timetable for ending the war in Afghanistan by requiring funds allocated to the armed forces in Afghanistan to be used only for the safe and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. military personnel and Department of Defense contractor personnel in Afghanistan.
While the bill has already gained 40 cosponsors, it has stalled in the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, which Rep. Ed Royce chairs. Rep. Royce could help bring the bill to the House floor, but so far he has refused, putting the lives of more Afghan children at risk and preventing others from receiving care. But if enough people like you join me and sign my petition, we can make sure Rep. Royce understands the true cost of letting the war continue.
Thousands of children have been treated at the hospital in Kabul since it opened in March of 2001. For the cost of one day of war in Afghanistan, EMERGENCY could build 10 high-standard, free-of-charge hospitals and cover all expenses for three years.
The ongoing bloodshed in Afghanistan is evidence that a political solution is not feasible for that war-ravaged nation as long as American troops remain as an occupation force. If we accelerate the timetable to end the war in Afghanistan, we can improve the lives of millions who would finally have the opportunity to live without war.
Thank you for your support.
Nafisa Abdullah
Sign the petition ►

CREDO Mobilize helps activists like you make progressive change and fight regressive policies by creating online petitions. Click here to start a petition today.

FOCUS: Robert Scheer.  “The Super Bowl of War: Three Decades of Failure in Afghanistan.”  
Robert Scheer, Truthdig, Reader Response News, Feb. 4, 2014 
Scheer writes: "... you would have to be drunk on Bud not to notice that the three decades since the United States first meddled in Afghanistan have been an unequivocal disaster and that those who did not survive - NATO combatants and far larger number of Afghan natives - died in vain." 

Signature Wound
by Bob Drury.   Rodale Inc (e-book)
01 January, 2012, Reviewed by Charmaine Chan

Signature Wound is not a typical anti-war book, but it will serve as a deterrent to anyone considering a career that will take them to battlegrounds that employ improvised explosive devices (IEDs). That includes Iraq, where IEDs have blown up convoys, and Afghanistan, where, as Bob Drury reveals, they are used to take out foot patrols (few Afghan roads are wide enough for military vehicles). In this harrowing Kindle Single the author talks to American soldiers who have sacrificed their mobility and masculinity for their country. 'Depending on the size of the mine, all or part of your 'package' might be blown off,' Drury writes, adding that flying detritus can cause infection leading to full or partial penis amputations. Al-Qaeda and the Taliban apparently favour mines that grievously injure rather than kill because taking out four men - one victim and three who aid him - is more effective than a single slaying. About the only part of the book offering any optimism is that which describes the 'ballistic underwear' being developed for American soldiers.


They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars—The Untold Story by Ann Jones.  Haymarket, 2013.
·                                 Globalization & Imperialism
Ann Jones shines a much-needed light on the dead, wounded, mutilated, brain-damaged, drug-addicted, suicidal, homicidal casualties of our distant wars, taking us on a stunning journey from the devastating moment an American soldier is first wounded in rural Afghanistan to the return home. Beautifully written by an empathetic and critical reporter who knows the price of war.
About the author
Ann Jones is a journalist, photographer, and the author of eight books of nonfiction, including Women Who Kill, Next Time She’ll Be DeadKabul in Winter, and War Is Not Over When It’s Over. She has reported on the impact of war in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa, and embedded with American forces in Afghanistan. She regularly writes for The Nation andTomDispatch.com.
“Read this unsparing, scathingly direct, and gut-wrenching account — the war Washington doesn’t want you to see. Then see if you still believe that Americans ‘support the troops.’”
—Andrew J. Bacevich, author of Breach of Trust: How Americans Failed Their Soldiers and Their Country
“An indispensable book about America’s current wars and the multiple ways they continue to wound not only the soldiers but their families and indeed the country itself. Jones writes with passion and clarity about the tragedies other reporters avoid and evade.”
—Marilyn Young, author of The Vietnam Wars, 1945–1990
"For a decade, Jones, through her firsthand reporting of war and life on the ground in Afghanistan, has given us more of the reality of that conflict than any dozen of her well-connected colleagues in the established media, attuned as they have been to the cant and spin pouring out of official mouths. Now, she has turned her shrewd, wise, compassionate, reality-bound eye to some of the bitterest facts of all: the almost unimaginable suffering of the American soldiers wounded and otherwise impaired in the conflict. The result is a harrowing and compelling tale that is hard to bear but must be borne if we are understand the disaster this country unleashed in Afghanistan." —Jonathan Schell author of The Unconquerable World
“This is a painful odyssey. Ann Jones’s superb writing makes it possible to take it in without sugar coating.… Read this book. You will be a wiser and better citizen.” —Jonathan Shay, MD, PhD, author of Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming
"Ann Jones' new book, They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return from America's Wars -- The Untold Story, is devastating, and almost incomprehensibly so when one considers that virtually all of the death and destruction in U.S. wars is on the other side. Statistically, what happens to U.S. troops is almost nothing. In human terms, it's overwhelming. Know a young person considering joining the military? Give them this book. Know a person not working to end war? Give them this book." —David Swanson, ww
Ann Jones' new book recounts the horrible deaths and wounds of our soldiers in Afghanistan, soldiers deluded by Pentagon US war culture to go kill abroad, soldiers too poor to go to college and avoid the killing, soldiers indoctrinated pro-military by their military parents of which there are now millions.  I am more tolerant of those warriors, so many of them victims, after reading this book.  –Dick

Ann Jones, A Trail of Tears 
TomDispatch , RSN, Nov. 14, 2013
Jones writes: "In 2010, I began to follow U.S. soldiers down a long trail of waste and sorrow that led from the battle spaces of Afghanistan to the emergency room of the trauma hospital at Bagram Air Base." 
READ MORE   http://readersupportednews.org/opinion2/266-32/20428-a-trail-of-tears

The Afghan War is officially winding down.  American casualties, generally from towns and suburbs you’ve never heard of unless you were born there, are still coming in.  Though far fewer American troops are in the field with Afghan forces, devastating“insider attacks” in which a soldier or policeman turns his gun on his American allies, trainers, or mentors still periodically occur.  Civilian casualties continue to rise.  “Surgically precise” U.S. air and drone strikes still mysteriously kill Afghan civilians.  And as U.S. combat troops withdraw, Afghan-on-Afghan fighting is actually increasing, with the U.S.-trained army taking almost Vietnam-level, possibly unsustainable casualties (100 or more dead a week), while the police are similarly hit hard. 

Meanwhile, as
 TomDispatch regular Ann Jones points out, our second longest war has already played Houdini, doing a remarkable disappearing job in "the homeland."  Almost 12 years after it began, no one here, it seems, is considering how to assess American “success” on that distant battlefield.  But were we to do so, what possible gauge might we use?  Here’s a suggestion: how about opium production?  In 1979, the year America’s first Afghan war (against the Soviets) began, that country was producing just250 tons of opium; by the early years of the post-9/11 American occupation of the country, that figure had hit 3,400 tons.  Between 2006 and the present, it’s ranged from a 2007 high of 8,200 tons to a low of just under 5,000 tons.  Officials of Russia’s Federal Drug Control Service now claim that 40,000 tons of illicit opiates have been stockpiled in Afghanistan, mostly to be marketed abroad.  As of 2012, it was the world’s leading supplier of opium, with 74% of the global market, a figure that was expected to hit 90% as U.S. combat troops leave (and foreign aid flees).  In other words, success in an endless war in that country has meant creating the world’s first true narco-state.  It's a record to consider.  Not for nothing, it seems, were all those billons of dollars expended, not without accomplishments do we leave (if we are actually leaving). 

Ann Jones, who spent years in Afghanistan working with Afghan women and wrote a striking book, Kabul in Winter, based on her experiences, considers the Afghan end game and what to make of it.  In 2010-2011, she put on her combat boots and headed back to that country, embedding with U.S. troops.  Then, having previously focused on the toll the war had taken on Afghan civilians, she decided to see for herself, up close and personal, what that war’s cost was for American soldiers.  The result, I believe, is a signal achievement and one of the best pieces of reportage from that war.   Books: They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars -- the Untold Story.  Believe me, it’s groundbreaking, it’s br  MORE Ceathtaking, and I’m proud that, in conjunction with Haymarket Books, we will be publishing it this November 7th. 

Nothing like her account exists. Of it, Jonathan Schell,
 no strangerto the costs of war, wrote: “For a decade, the independent journalist Ann Jones has, through her firsthand reporting of war and life on the ground in Afghanistan, given us more of the reality of that conflict than any dozen of her well-connected colleagues in the established media, attuned as they have been to the cant and spin pouring out of official mouths. Now, she has turned her shrewd, wise, compassionate, reality-bound eye to some of the bitterest facts of all: the almost unimaginable suffering of the American soldiers wounded and otherwise impaired in the conflict. The result is a harrowing and compelling tale that is hard to bear but must be borne if we are to understand the rolling disaster this country unleashed in Afghanistan more than a decade ago.” Tom
The Forgotten War 
12 Years in Afghanistan Down the Memory Hole 
 Ann Jones
Will the U.S. still be meddling in Afghanistan 30 years from now?  If history is any guide, the answer is yes.  And if history is any guide, three decades from now most Americans will have only the haziest idea why.
Since the 1950s, the U.S. has been trying to mold that remote land to its own desires, first through an aid “war” in the midst of the Cold War with the Soviet Union; then, starting as the 1970s ended, an increasingly bitter and brutally hot proxy war with the Soviets meant to pay them back for supporting America’s enemies during the war in Vietnam.  One bad war leads to another.
From then until the early 1990s, Washington put weapons in the hands of Islamic fundamentalist extremists of all sorts -- thought to be natural, devoutly religious allies in the war against “godless communism” -- gloated over the Red Army’s defeat and the surprising implosion of the Soviet empire, and then experienced its own catastrophic blowback from Afghanistan on September 11, 2001.  After 50 years of scheming behind the scenes, the U.S. put boots on the ground in 2001 and now, 12 years later, is still fighting there -- against some Afghans on behalf of other Afghans whiletraining Afghan troops to take over and fight their countrymen, and others, on their own.
Through it all, the U.S. has always claimed to have the best interests of Afghans at heart -- waving at various opportune moments the bright flags of modernization, democracy,education, or the rights of women. Yet today, how many Afghans would choose to roll back the clock to 1950, before the Americans ever dropped in?  After 12 years of direct combat, after 35 years of arming and funding one faction or another, after 60 years of trying to remake Afghanistan to serve American aims, what has it all meant?  If we ever knew, we’ve forgotten. Weary of official reports of progress, Americans tuned out long ago.
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The Investigative Fund


Kathy Kelly.  “Afghan Street Children Beg for Change.” 
Voices for Creative Nonviolence, Reader Supported News,  Dec. 31, 2013 .
"Kabul, Afghanistan is 'home' to hundreds of thousands of children who have no home. Many of them live in squalid refugee camps with families that have been displaced by violence and war." 


1.                             how we lost the war we won: rolling stone's 2008 journey into taliban ...
Jan 31, 2011 - How We Lost the War We Won: Rolling Stone's 2008 Journey Into Taliban-Controlled Afghanistan. A portrait of the ... Photograph by Nir Rosen.
2.                             "How We Lost the War We Won: A Journey into Taliban-Controlled ...
Oct 15, 2008
Investigative journalist Nir Rosen has just returned from Afghanistan, where he embedded with the Taliban and ...

[Note to TomDispatch Readers: News about the first original Dispatch Book, Ann Jones's They Were Soldiers: How the Wounded Return From America’s Wars -- The Untold Story, continues to spread!  The Nation magazine has just published a particularly moving excerpt from it: "The Colonel, the Soldier, and the Caregiver: How the War Changed Charlie."  The book itself is a remarkable act of witness and a unique accounting of the true costs of war, up close and personal.  I urge you to pick up a copy.  And while we’re at it, on our return from Thanksgiving, we’re bringing back our good friend “Colonel Manners” to offer another TomDispatch-style satiric take on Washington and war. Tom]
The American Way of Manners 
Col. Manners Answers Your Questions on the Etiquette of War, Nuclear Threats, and Surveillance 
By Colonel Manners (with a helping hand from Tom Engelhardt)

[Editor’s Note: Many publications have advice columnists, but none has our old friend Colonel Manners (ret.), whose experience in military and surveillance matters is evident from his impressive CV (unfortunately, a classified document).  His assignment: to answer questions from Americans puzzled by the abstruse intricacies of the American way of war and by the etiquette, manners, and language of the arcane national security world of Washington. Here is a sampling of his recent correspondence.]
Dear Col. Manners,
I’m a 17-year-old high school student with an interest in American records.  After college, I’m hoping to land a job with Guinness World Records.  So here’s my question: I notice that news reports regularly refer to the Afghan War as the “longest in American history.”  How is that possible?  The war began in October 2001 and it’s now December 2013.  Counting on my fingers, I get 12 years.  The Vietnam War began in 1961 and didn’t end until 1975 (with those famous images of helicopters going over the side of an aircraft carrier).  That’s 14 years by my count.  I’m proud of American records of every sort, but this doesn’t seem like one.  What am I doing wrong?
Proud in Toledo
Dear Proud,
You have a lot to be proud of and, as far as I can tell, you have just the right number of fingers.  It’s true that, historically, we’ve been numero uno among record-breaking countries.  Still, sometimes we get a little overeager.  This is one of those cases.  Clearly, those claiming the much desired “longest” title for Afghanistan are cheating by counting the Vietnam War as starting in 1964 with Congress’s Gulf of Tonkin resolution, or 1965 when the first official U.S. combat troops entered that country, not in 1961, when significant numbers of armed “advisors” initially arrived.
But don’t lose hope!  Let me offer you some future numbers to be proud of.  After all, at this moment the Obama administration is negotiating to keep 8,000-15,000 of our troops in Afghanistan as trainers and to hunt al-Qaeda until 2024 (“or beyond,” as some reports say).  If, despite the machinations of that country’s emotionally unhinged president, they succeed... well, you can do the math yourself.  That’s a 23-year war, so put it in the American record books -- and by a long shot.
But don’t stop there.  After all, the U.S. fought the Soviets in a fierce proxy war in Afghanistan from 1979 to 1989.  I don’t know Guinness World Records rules, but if that decade is admissible, you’ve just left the 30-year war of the Vietnamese against the French and the Americans in the trash heap of modern records, and the European Thirty Years’ War of the seventeenth century in the dust.  I won’t claim that somewhere there hasn’t been a longer war, but this would still be one for the global record books.  And keep in mind that all of this has taken place in the landlocked backlands of the planet, a place most Americans couldn’t have located on a map before 1979.  
Or let me put it this way and be a proud grandpa while I’m at it: my granddaughter Edna was born in October 2001.  Before 2024, if all goes well, she could have at least three tours of duty in Afghanistan!  So I say: 2024 or bust!
Yours in American Pride,
Col. Manners

Drug War? American Troops Are Protecting Afghan Opium. U.S. Occupation Leads to All-Time High Heroin Production

Global Research, December 22, 2013
Region: Asia
In-depth Report: AFGHANISTAN
  168  42 

It is well-documented that the U.S. government has – at least at some times in some parts of the world – protected drug operations.
rom a friend]: Here is just one of many articles about this topic. This is horrendous!  MORE

I just wrote the question something like this:  What is the connection between Us and opium in afganistan

Kathy Kelly.   “War and Enlightenment in Afghanistan.” 
Common Dreams, Reader Supported News, Nov. 20, 2013. 
Kelly writes: "Many Afghans wonder how they will fare caught between Western nations ruling the skies above their heads and the mineral resources which those nations are so uncontestably eager to bring out of darkness and into the light." 

Contents of #15
Taliban Peace Talks
Rolling Stone:  McChrystal, Petraeus
Rolling Stone:  Full Report
Chomsky: World Militarism
Voices for Creative Nonviolence:  Women and Children
PBS Film: We Take Our Stand
Merkley Afghan Withdrawal Amendment Passes Senate
Cortright, Ending Obama’s War
Pakistan After NATO Attack
Protest New Military Budget
Afghans Hungry This Winter
US Torture (3)
To End War Free 5 Prisoners
IED Soldiers’ Deaths

Contents of #16 April 27, 2012
Oppose NATO, Occupation, Warriors, War-Mongers in Chicago
Afghan Women
WAND, Rangina Hamidi
Sheehan, Afghans for Peace for Women
Robert Bales
   Stephenson, US Soldier Kills Civilians
   Hedges, Murder in War
   Shea, Support These Troops?
The War and Afghans
US Labor Against the War

Contents of #17 May 3, 2012
Letter to Representatives
Troops Out, Peace Process In
Since bin Laden Killed, 381 US Soldiers Killed
Peace Action Actions vs Obama’s Occupation Plans
Obama’s Speech and Agreement in Afghanistan
Media Benjamin, Anti-Drone Summit: Pakistan
Assassination of bin Laden


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