Wednesday, December 30, 2020

WAR WATCH WEDNESDAYS (WWW)


 

#2.  WAR WATCH WEDNESDAYS (WWW)

December 30, 2020

Two Books on US Nuclear Weapons

Scott Ritter.  SCORPION KING: America's Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons.

Scott Ritter.  SCORPION KING: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump.  Clarity P, 2020.

Publisher’s Description.   Scorpion King: America’s Suicidal Embrace of Nuclear Weapons from FDR to Trump is a history of America’s corrosive affair with nuclear weapons, and the failed efforts to curb this radioactive ardor through arms control. The book’s title refers to the allusion by Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the American atomic bomb, to dueling scorpions when discussing the deadly nuclear rivalry between the US and Soviet Union, and signals the dangers inherent in the resumption of the perilous US drive for nuclear supremacy.

Providing a vivid and gripping A-Z history of America’s deceptive use of arms control as a means of actually furthering its quest for nuclear dominance, Ritter sheds light on a contradictory US agenda little understood by the lay reader, while providing sufficient detail and context to engage the specialist.

The Trump administration has pulled out of one landmark arms control treaty, the 1987 Intermediate Nuclear Forces treaty, and is threatening to let another, the 2010 New START treaty, expire. The terrifying Cuban missile crisis of 1962 demonstrated the apocalyptic folly of nuclear arsenals operating without limitation, and led to reciprocal constraints that moderated the nuclear ambitions of both the US and Soviet Union Those constraints, for the most part, no longer exist. The next missile crisis could prove terminal for humanity.

“A comprehensive and illuminating account of America’s paralyzing infatuation with nuclear weapons.  This expanded edition of Scott Ritter’s 2010 book drives home the point made in the original:  The ominous threat of Doomsday persists, with U.S. policymakers unable to extricate themselves from the reckless pact with the devil made by their predecessors more than a half-century ago.”

Originally published as Dangerous Ground.

 

FROM MAD TO MADNESS: Inside Pentagon Nuclear War Planning BY Diana Johnstone, Paul H. Johnstone  DATE OF PUB?

This deathbed memoir by Dr. Paul H. Johnstone, former senior analyst in the Strategic Weapons Evaluation Group (WSEG) in the Pentagon and a co-author of The Pentagon Papers, provides an authoritative analysis of the implications of nuclear war that remain insurmountable today. Indeed, such research has been kept largely secret, with the intention “not to alarm the public” about what was being cooked up.

“From MAD to Madness could not be more timely reading. In it, a former senior Pentagon analyst from the last Cold War comes back from the past to warn us of the disaster we are courting in the new Cold War. We should heed his warning.”
— Ron Paul, M.D.Former Member of Congress (R-TX)

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Publisher’s SYNOPSIS
This deathbed memoir by Dr. Paul H. Johnstone, former senior analyst in the Strategic Weapons Evaluation Group (WSEG) in the Pentagon and a co-author of The Pentagon Papers, provides an authoritative analysis of the implications of nuclear war that remain insurmountable today. Indeed, such research has been kept largely secret, with the intention “not to alarm the public” about what was being cooked up.

This is the story of how U.S. strategic planners in the 1950s and 1960s worked their way to the conclusion that nuclear war was unthinkable. It drives home these key understandings:

  • That whichever way you look at it — and this book shows the many ways analysts tried to skirt the problem — nuclear war means mutual destruction
  • That Pentagon planners could accept the possibility of totally destroying another nation, while taking massive destructive losses ourselves, and still conclude that “we would prevail”.
  • That the supposedly “scientific answers” provided to a wide range of unanswerable questions are of highly dubious standing.
  • That official spheres neglect anything near a comparable effort to understand the “enemy” point of view, rather than to annihilate him, or to use such understanding to make peace.

Dr. Johnstone’s memoirs of twenty years in the Pentagon tell that story succinctly, coolly and objectively. He largely lets the facts speak for themselves, while commenting on the influence of the Cold War spirit of the times and its influence on decision-makers.

Johnstone writes: “Theorizing about nuclear war was a sort of virtuoso exercise in creating an imaginary world wherein all statements must be consistent with each other, but nothing need be consistent with reality because there was no reality to be checked against.”

While remaining highly secret – so much so that Dr. Johnstone himself was denied access to what he had written – these studies had a major impact on official policy. They contributed to a shift from the notion that the United States could inflict “massive retaliation” on its Soviet enemy to recognition that a nuclear exchange would bring about Mutual Assured Destruction (MAD).

The alarming truth today is that these lessons seem to have been forgotten in Washington, just as United States policy has become as hostile to Russia as it was toward the Soviet Union during the Cold War. U.S. foreign policy is pursuing hostile encirclement of two major nuclear powers, Russia and China. Without public debate, apparently without much of any public interest, the United States is preparing to allocate a trillion dollars over the next thirty years to modernize its entire nuclear arsenal. It is as if all that was once understood about the danger of nuclear war has been forgotten.

TAKE ACTION:

Your car is a prominent billboard.  Put the sticker GOING BROKE PAYING FOR WAR on your bumper.  Or any antiwar sticker you like.

 

#1.  WAR WATCH WEDNESDAYS (WWW)

December 23, 2020

2 new books on US wars: Vine and Sorensen

CHRISTIAN SORENSEN.  UNDERSTANDING THE WAR INDUSTRY.  Clarity P, 2020.

Publisher’s description:  The War Industry infests the American economy like a cancer, sapping its strength and distorting its creativity while devouring its treasure.

Stunning in the depth of its research, Understanding the War Industry documents how the war industry commands the other two sides of the military-industrial-congressional triangle. It lays bare the multiple levers enabling the vast and proliferating war industry to wield undue influence, exploiting financial and legal structures, while co-opting Congress, academia and the media. Spiked with insights into how corporate boardrooms view the troops, overseas bases, and warzones, it assiduously delineates how corporations reap enormous profits by providing a myriad of goods and services devoted to making war, which must be rationalized and used if the game is to go on:  advanced weaponry, drones and nukes; invasive information technology; space-based weapons; and special operations—with contracts stuffed with ongoing and proliferating developmental, tertiary and maintenance products for all of it.

DAVID VINE.  The United States of War:  A Global History of America's Endless Conflicts, from Columbus to the Islamic State.   U of California P, 2020.  Pages: 464.
Publisher’s description:  The United States has been fighting wars constantly since invading Afghanistan in 2001. This nonstop warfare is far less exceptional than it might seem: the United States has been at war or has invaded other countries almost every year since independence. In The United States of War, David Vine traces this pattern of bloody conflict from Columbus’s 1494 arrival in Guantanamo Bay through the 250-year expansion of a global US empire. Drawing on historical and firsthand anthropological research in fourteen countries and territoriesThe United States of War demonstrates how US leaders across generations have locked the United States in a self-perpetuating system of permanent war by constructing the world’s largest-ever collection of foreign military bases—a global matrix that has made offensive interventionist wars more likely. Beyond exposing the profit-making desires, political interests, racism, and toxic masculinity underlying the country’s relationship to war and empire, The United States of War shows how the long history of U.S. military expansion shapes our daily lives, from today’s multi-trillion–dollar wars to the pervasiveness of violence and militarism in everyday U.S. life. The book concludes by confronting the catastrophic toll of American wars—which have left millions dead, wounded, and displaced—while offering proposals for how we can end the fighting.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

OMNI: AFGHANISTAN NEWSLETTER #24

 

OMNI

AFGHANISTAN (AND PAKISTAN) NEWSLETTER,  #24, December 27, 2020.

Compiled by Dick Bennett for a Culture of Peace and Justice

(#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; #21, Feb. 4, 2014; #22, Feb. 22, 2015; #23, August 22, 2017)

Contribute to OMNI:  www.omnicenter.org/donate 

 CONTENTS 

The Four Last Years of  US Occupation of Afghanistan: 2017-2020.  REPLACE THE KILLING MACHINE WITH PROTECTING THE VULNERABLE.

TEXTS

2020: 19 Years of US invasion and occupation

Ending the United States’ Longest War.  UPJ United for Peace and Justice.  5-26-20
In February 2020, the United States and the Taliban signed an agreement laying the groundwork for a full withdrawal of all foreign troops from Afghanistan and ending the United States’ longest war. The Friends Committee on National Legislation (FCNL) has issued a new report on a responsible path forward which draws on extensive interviews with experts in diplomacy, crisis response and planning, military affairs, and state-building. Read FCNL’s “Peace in Afghanistan: Ending the War Responsibly.”

 

mronline.org

 

Has America reached its endgame in Afghanistan? Mronline.org (3-30-20).  In an extraordinary statement titled “On the Political Impasse in Afghanistan,” Washington has admitted to the failure of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s mission to Kabul on March 23, which was taken up to heal the political rift among Afghan politicians and to urge them to form an inclusive government so as to implement the […]


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 mronline.org (2-27-20)

 

Is the World about to witness the end of the war in Afghanistan?

Neither the Indian political leadership nor the “deep state” seems to grasp that the geopolitics of the South Asian region is transforming with far-reaching consequences.

Source  share on Twitter Like Is the World about to witness the end of the war in Afghanistan? on Facebook

 

The prospect of peace in Afghanistan is real—and Pakistan is the key player.  Mronline.org (3-5-20)

The U.S.-Taliban peace agreement signed in Doha on February 29 must be put in proper perspective. Indeed, there can’t be two opinions that the curtain is coming down on what U.S. President Donald Trump called the “endless war” in which America squandered away over a trillion dollars and lost thousands of lives with no victory […]

Source  share on Twitter Like The prospect of peace in Afghanistan is real—and Pakistan is the key player on Facebook

 

Afghanistan Papers [signatures needed]

Stephen Miles 2-2-20  WIN WITHOUT WAR

Feb 1, 2020, 11:21 AM (1 day ago)

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The Afghanistan Papers proved that ongoing U.S. war in Afghanistan is built on LIES. Let’s use this momentum to end this endless war. Tell Congress to investigate now »

Dear James,

Last month, a U.S. airstrike in Herat, Afghanistan killed 10 unnamed Afghan civilians, including three children. Of the 7,423 bombs dropped on Afghanistan last year, it’s hard to find any real information about the impacts on the people of Afghanistan beyond these numbers. It’s been hard to find out any truths about the war at all.

That was until the Afghanistan Papers dropped — exposing that senior U.S. officials withheld key pieces of information for the past 18 years, including that the war was unwinnable, failing every single metric.

In other words: the Afghanistan Papers exposed that the U.S. war in Afghanistan has been — and still is today — built entirely on blatant lies. 

We HAVE to use the momentum of the Afghanistan Papers to push as hard as we can to end the endless U.S. war in Afghanistan. This starts with hauling the liars who have been enabling this endless war into Congress to say publicly, under oath, what we now know they admit behind closed doors. It's time for the truth. 

Tell Congress: Investigate the Afghanistan Papers NOW and end endless war!

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“We didn’t know what we were doing” said Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations. 

This is just one line in the Afghanistan Paper’s more than 2,000 pages of previously unpublished notes of interviews with people who played a direct role in the war, from generals and diplomats to aid workers and Afghan officials.

It’s hard to comprehend, James. Because this harrowing reality alongside the facts of the Afghanistan war is sickening. 

18 years of U.S. occupation.
At least 160,000 Afghan and U.S. casualties.
At least $1.8 trillion spent.
A war now fought by U.S. servicemembers who weren’t even born when it began. 
An unwinnable war.

What’s more difficult to understand is why, when the vast majority of the U.S. public, Congress, U.S. presidential candidates all want THIS WAR TO END, it hasn’t ended yet. 

And I’ll tell you. It’s because we haven’t made it end yet. 

So this year, we are going to do everything we can to end it. On every must-pass piece of defense-related legislation, we will push to remove troops and to repeal the 2001 Authorization for Military Force – the law that keeps this war going. We will put ending the war in front of members of Congress. 

That’s why today we are pushing the House and Senate Foreign Affairs, Armed Services, and Intelligence Committees to investigate the Afghanistan Papers, demanding an end to the days when they can lie in public while admitting the truth behind closed doors. Are you with me?

Will you tell the House and Senate Armed Services, Foreign Affairs and Intelligence Committees to investigate the Afghanistan Papers now?

When the Pentagon Papers dropped in 1971, outrage exploded across the country about the lies that kept the Vietnam war going. Today, the Afghanistan Papers barely filled headlines for a week, breaking a murmur only for antiwar and veteran communities. Perhaps it’s because, sadly, people today just expect the government to lie to us. But these lies have deadly consequences, and it’s up to us to demand the truth. It’s on you and me to end the U.S. war and push for peace in Afghanistan. 

Thank you for working for peace,

Stephen, Kate, Tara, and the Win Without War team

© Win Without War Education Fund 2019
1 Thomas Circle NW, Suite 700, Washington, DC 20005
(202) 656-4999 | info@winwithoutwar.org

 

 

2019

The Pentagon Papers Redux

Bob Billig

10:03 AM (8 hours ago)

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I Just Can't Believe We Went Down This Road Again

The Afghanistan Papers have exposed that we truly learned nothing from Vietnam.

By Charles P. Pierce.  Dec 16, 2019.

Everything is so screwed up at this point that it’s hard to find anything about our politics or our government that doesn’t look like it was designed by an unholy hybrid of Edsel Ford and Mr. Natural. Ever since we opened the shebeen, we have had one simple question about the continuing United States military involvement in Afghanistan, in which it has been involved longer than it ever has been involved anywhere else—namely, what exactly are we still doing there?

So, last week, the Washington Post published the equivalent of The Pentagon Papers in which we learn that all or most of our leaders for the past decade and a half don’t know either, but that they were not any more inclined to share that with us than were McNamara, and Abrams, and the rest of those guys back in the 1960s.

“We were devoid of a fundamental understanding of Afghanistan — we didn’t know what we were doing,” Douglas Lute, a three-star Army general who served as the White House’s Afghan war czar during the Bush and Obama administrations, told government interviewers in 2015. He added: “What are we trying to do here? We didn’t have the foggiest notion of what we were undertaking.” “If the American people knew the magnitude of this dysfunction . . . 2,400 lives lost,” Lute added, blaming the deaths of U.S. military personnel on bureaucratic breakdowns among Congress, the Pentagon and the State Department. “Who will say this was in vain?”

Or, as was said by a certain former Democratic candidate for president, how do you ask someone to be the last man to die for a mistake?

This has been a bipartisan cock-up right from jump. None of the three administrations involved in it comes out of this report looking like people you’d trust to wash your car. One trillion bucks and climbing, and what have we learned? Basically, that we haven’t learned anything. It took the Post three years to pry these documents loose (and there’s nothing that Post editor Marty Baron likes better than prying documents loose—just ask the Archdiocese of Boston), and we find that the old Vietnam Syndrome wasn’t kicked very far during our walkover wars in the 1980s and 1990s.

The documents also contradict a long chorus of public statements from U.S. presidents, military commanders and diplomats who assured Americans year after year that they were making progress in Afghanistan and the war was worth fighting. Several of those interviewed described explicit and sustained efforts by the U.S. government to deliberately mislead the public. They said it was common at military headquarters in Kabul — and at the White House — to distort statistics to make it appear the United States was winning the war when that was not the case.

"Every data point was altered to present the best picture possible," Bob Crowley, an Army colonel who served as a senior counterinsurgency adviser to U.S. military commanders in 2013 and 2014, told government interviewers. “Surveys, for instance, were totally unreliable but reinforced that everything we were doing was right and we became a self-licking ice cream cone.” John Sopko, the head of the federal agency that conducted the interviews, acknowledged to The Post that the documents show “the American people have constantly been lied to.”

Frankly, and maybe it’s because I persist in believing that the activism of the 1960s actually accomplished something lasting, I can’t believe that we’ve gone down this road again. Hell, we’ve made hit movies about the Pentagon Papers. That was a watershed. Everybody learned a lesson from those documents, right?

And, of course, the most damning thing about these revelations is that they vanished from the media almost immediately, lost in the din of the barely organized crazy that this administration has brought to Washington. This was a monumental scoop, the result of dogged work by the entire news operation of the Washington Post, and most people know far more about Giuliani’s insane overseas ramblings than know anything about the archived failure and waste present here.

“We don’t invade poor countries to make them rich,” James Dobbins, a former senior U.S. diplomat who served as a special envoy to Afghanistan under Bush and Obama, told government interviewers. “We don’t invade authoritarian countries to make them democratic. We invade violent countries to make them peaceful and we clearly failed in Afghanistan.”

Everything is awful.

 

WOMEN & GIRLS UN Wire 11-21-19

 

Group created to safeguard women's rights in Afghanistan

Adela Raz, Afghanistan's first female ambassador to the United Nations, has created Friends of Afghan Women, a group intended to protect progress made on women's rights. Human rights experts warn that women's rights in the country would be restricted should the Taliban regain power.

Inter Press Service (11/21) 

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AFGHANISTAN

WIN WITHOUT WAR

Dick,  10-7-19

Last month, 32 Afghan pine nut harvesters — sitting around a fire after a day’s labor in the fields — were killed by a U.S. drone strike. [1] 

A few days later: 40+ guests at a wedding party — including 12 children — were killed in a raid by U.S. backed Afghan forces. [2] Last weekend: 5 more civilians were killed in a U.S. airstrike. [3]

These devastating events are far from a one-off: a BBC investigation found an average of 74 men, women, and children were killed every day in Afghanistan in August. [4] The leading cause of death for civilians: airstrikes by U.S. and Afghan government forces.

Eighteen years ago tomorrow, we started the war in Afghanistan — the longest war in modern U.S. history. And this blank check for war, the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force (AUMF), approved by Congress in the days after 9/11, continues to be abused again and again to expand U.S. wars around the world with horrific human consequences. 

But right now — even with impeachment rightly dominating political attention — our team is surging because we’re on the cusp of closing this disastrous chapter. 

Our policy and legislative team is deeply engaged in critical behind-the-scenes negotiations between House & Senate staffers over a must-pass defense bill that includes a House-passed end to endless war — and while it’s not headline-grabbing work, it is extremely consequential.

Can you make a critical $15 donation to help Win Without War end authorization for endless war and STOP this horrific cycle of violence?

The human costs of our endless wars goes far, far further than Afghanistan. 

Just last week, Amnesty International released an investigation into a U.S. drone-strike in Somalia that killed three farmers driving home from work. That attack, like all other U.S. military operations in Somalia — 2,000 miles from Afghanistan — was almost certainly conducted under a dubious claim of authorization from the same 2001 AUMF.

There is NOTHING but death and human suffering to show for this blank check for war. 

And it’s why we are DETERMINED to end the authorization for endless war in the must-pass defense spending bill being negotiated right now. We are in the final stretch of a years-long fight to get this passed — and we need your support to keep it going:

Can you make a critical $15 donation to help Win Without War end authorization for endless war and STOP this horrific cycle of violence?

Eighteen years ago tomorrow, the U.S. invaded Afghanistan. In the almost two decades since the war began, headlines about farmers, weddings, and children being bombed and killed have become so commonplace — they are the background noise in the national consciousness of the United States. But we don’t have to accept endless wars as a reality of our country, and the world. This war isn’t just the way things are. This war is the way things were made. And we can unmake it, together. 

Ending endless war — even though it’s a huge feat — is possible. 

Thank you for working for peace,

Tara, Kate, Stephen, and the Win Without War team

[1] Reuters, "U.S. drone strike kills 30 pine nut farm workers in Afghanistan"
[2] Reuters, "At least 40 civilians at wedding party killed during nearby U.S.-backed Afghan army raid"
[3] Stars and Stripes, "Afghan officials: US airstrike targeting Taliban adds to civilian death toll"
[4] BBC, "Afghanistan war: Tracking the killings in August 2019"

 

Peace is a word that the West has taken from the Afghans.

mronline.org (6-14-19)

The war on Afghanistan has been ugly. Death is one consequence of war—2019 has been the deadliest year for civilians since the United States first began to bomb Afghanistan in 2001. Starvation is another—according to the UN, half of the population will need food assistance over the course of this year.    Source

 

 

[Video] End Endless War

Stephen Miles WIN WITHOUT WAR

Jul 20, 2019, 10:17 AM (1 day ago)

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Dear Dick,

For almost 20 years, the US has been fighting an endless, worldwide, and brutal war.

500,000 people have been killed — almost half of them civilians — in Afghanistan, Iraq, and Pakistan ALONE since Congress handed over a blank-check for war called the “Authorization of Military Force” in 2001, and then doubled down by authorizing the invasion of Iraq in 2002.

Five years ago we made Ending Endless War one of our key campaign demands — and this year we’ve seen it picked up like never before.

So the Win Without War team put together an awesome video featuring some of the most prominent politicians from across the ideological spectrum today adding their support to End Endless War.

 

 Thank you for working for peace, Stephen, Liam, Kate, and the Win Without War team

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2018: 17 Years of US invasion and occupation

Agriculture the "backbone" of Afghan economy: FAO says amid severe drought. 

UN News Centre (11/27) .  UN Wire, 11-28-18

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Tell Congress: End the 17-year U.S. war in Afghanistan NOW

WIN WITHOUT WAR

Amy Frame  10-7-18 

12:19 PM (7 hours ago)

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Seventeen years of U.S. war in Afghanistan is seventeen years too many. Tell Congress: End this war now >>

Dick— seventeen years ago today, the United States went to war in Afghanistan.

This war is still raging. At seventeen years, it’s the longest war in U.S. history. This war has cost countless lives and forced a entire generation of Afghan and American young people to grow up in the shadow of violence. Even the former top U.S. military commander in Afghanistan said that we must end this war. [1]

Today, we demand that our Members of Congress mark the anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan by acting to end this war now.

Here’s what’s different about today than the past seventeen years. This country is about to see a potentially monumental midterm election, that could break the stalemate in Congress that’s blocked efforts to end the war.

For seventeen years, our Members of Congress have been willing to gamble countless American and Afghan lives to avoid simply doing their job and voting on this war. That ends today.

Let’s set a new status quo for the new Congress by demanding an end to the U.S. war in Afghanistan. And let’s make it our baseline for what it means to be a foreign policy leader.

Tell Congress: End the U.S. war in Afghanistan NOW.

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The simple truth is that no amount of warmaking is going to bring peace to a country that has seen four decades of conflict. We know beyond question that this war cannot be resolved with more bullets and bombs. And it’s time to try something different.

Seventeen years of war means that American children not even born with this war started can now enlist to fight in it. Seventeen years of war means that for their entire lives, the young people of Afghanistan have only ever known a time when American bombs were falling on their country. Seventeen years ago, 40% of Afghans feared for their personal safety; today, nearly twice as many do. U.S. war has forced an entire generation of Afghan youth to grow up under fear and violence.

Despite continuous war and dehumanization, the Afghan people are envisioning a future free of conflict. This spring, a multi-generational group of Afghan activists completed a “peace walk” across the country. Afghan girls and women delivered flowers to the Taliban requesting an extension to the ceasefire for Eid al-Fitr [2].

We should be uplifting the demands of Afghan activists fighting for peace against all odds by insisting that our elected leaders use their power to end this war. This is our moment to act.

Tell your Members of Congress now: End the war in Afghanistan and give the Afghan-led peace movement a chance to self-determine their future.

U.S. militarism, following generations of Soviet and British invasions, has exacerbated decades-long cycles of violence in Afghanistan that have killed and hurt far too many. Afghan youth deserve to live free of war and to heal their psyches, bodies, lands, and infrastructure from the scars of war. And American servicemembers deserve not to be asked to die for a war that cannot be won.

Seventeen years is far, far too long for any war, particularly one this futile. Let today mark an end to it.

Thank you for working for peace,

Amy, Mariam, Tara, and the Win Without War team

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[1] New York Times, "‘Time for This War in Afghanistan to End,’ Says Departing U.S. Commander"

[2] Truth Out, "How Afghanistan’s Peace Movement Is Winning Hearts and Minds"

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Friday, October 5th

End this Endless War

Veterans For Peace was is in front of the White House this week demanding an end to the Afghanistan War.

This year marks 17 years since the U.S. has been waging war on Afghanistan.
Members of VFP joined with CodePink and World Beyond War for a demonstration at the White House. 

VFP members also Matt Hoh and Ann Wright joined a panel discussion on #Afghanistan with David Swanson, Liz Remmerswaal, Brian Terrell and Hoor Arifi.  Click here to see video

Check out this recent piece from Advisory Board member David Swanson: 17 Years of Getting Afghanistan Completely Wrong

 

 

Here is a recent article on Afghanistanhttps://okobserver.org/attack-on-afghan-farmers-underscores-high-human-cost-of-u-s-middle-east-policy/

Attack On Afghan Farmers Underscores High Human Cost Of U.S. Middle East Policy

ByOklahoma Observer on March 27, 2018

BY JEREMY KUZMAROV

https://379242.smushcdn.com/359822/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/kuzmarov_jeremy-238x300.jpg?lossy=1&strip=1&webp=1On Saturday, March 17, two days after the 50-year anniversary of the My Lai massacre, Afghan intelligence officers backed up by U.S. helicopters gunned down seven innocent farmers in Nangarhar Province, the same province which the Trump Administration had dropped the Mother Of All Bombs.

Mohamed Israr, whose brother was killed in Manno, one of the villages attacked, told the New York Times that “it was 4 a.m. My two brothers were out to channel the water and we had informed the security post that we would be watering our post. I was upstream and the helicopters came and fired at my brothers. They were killed shovel in hand.”

According to the Times report, the victims ranged in age from 14 to 40 years old and included Atiqullah, aged 20, who had just gotten married three months ago.

The crop the farmers were irrigating was opium, which the authorities have tolerated in spite of an $8 billion American effort to curb the industry.

A few kilometres away in Idyakhel village, five farmers were inside a mosque when security forces barged in and starting firing, witnesses told Al Jazeera.

“The security forces were probably tipped off that there were fighters hiding in the mosque,” said Mohammed, a witness who requested to withhold his last name. He told Al Jazeera that 27 people were arrested in the raid and several people were killed including civilians.

These latest attacks, which some sources reported were overseen by U.S.-NATO advisers, underscored the heavy human cost of America’s long war in Afghanistan.

President Donald Trump has sent more U.S. troops into the country and vowed to bring victory, though what that victory would look like he does not say.

The Taliban have been getting stronger every year, and been able to capitalize on the population’s war weariness and aversion towards foreign occupation.

With bin Laden and Al Qaeda long gone from the country, a main motive for perpetuating the war at this point appears to be accessing Afghanistan’s untapped mineral wealth and preventing it from being exploited by the Chinese.

Speaking to employees of the CIA after his inauguration, Trump said the United States had erred in withdrawing troops from Iraq without holding on to its oil. “The old expression ‘To the victor belong the spoils,’” Trump declared. “You remember?”

In Yemen, where the U.S. has been backing Saudi Arabia’s war against the Houthi, the spoils is access to the Socotra Island which the U.S. covets as a potential site for a military base.

Since 2015, the United States had provided the Saudis with air-to air refueling, intelligence assessments and military advice along with sophisticated weaponry that has been used to target Houthi rebels.

Raytheon Corporation, the major defense contractor, is currently lobbying the State Department and Congress to allow it to sell 60,000 precision guided missiles which in the past were used in air strikes that killed civilians, according to Human Rights Watch.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis has urged Congress that restrictions on military aid would increase civilian casualties and reduce American influence with the Saudis, whom the United States has long relied on for cheap oil [and to trade its oil in U.S. dollars], military bases and as a hedge against Iran.

The media has long been fixated with the abuses of Syrian Prime Minister Bashir al-Assad and destructive consequence of Russian air strikes there; however, American actions in Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan are deserving of equal condemnation and attention.

For too long, we have so dehumanized Arab and Middle Eastern people that few appear to care about those whose lives have been destroyed by errant night raids and bombing strikes and arms supplies.

This is a moral disgrace and also dangerous to our security given the prospect for blowback.

Jeremy Kuzmarov is author of numerous books on U.S. foreign policy including The Russians are Coming, Again: The First Cold War as Tragedy, the Second as Farce [New York: Monthly Review Press, 2018].

2017

Refusing to Learn Bloody Lessons

November 29, 2017  (Also in Peace in Our Times)

https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/29/refusing-to-learn-bloody-lessons/

President Trump’s continued Afghan War pursues the same failed path as the prior 16 years, with the U.S. political/media elites learning no lessons, says former Marine officer Matthew Hoh in an interview with the American Herald Tribune.

Interviewer Mohsen Abdelmoumen: As an expert, how do you see the evolution of the political process in Afghanistan?

Matthew Hoh: Unfortunately, I have not seen any positive evolution or change in the political system or process in Afghanistan since 2009. What we have seen are three national elections that have been ruled to be grossly illegitimate and fraudulent by outside observers, but have been validated and supported by the American government through the presence of tens of thousands of soldiers and the spending of tens of billions of dollars.

We have seen the creation of extra-constitutional positions in the government, such as the Chief Executive Officer position occupied by Abdullah Abdullah, which was done at the behest of the American government. Additionally, bargains and compromises that were brokered by the American government in an attempt to create more a more inclusive government, reduce corruption and heal fractures among the political bloc that once supported Hamid Karzai and the American presence has failed to achieve those things. Corruption is still the dominant feature of the Afghan government, and the political support for the rule of Kabul has deteriorated and splintered by the corruption and the machinations of the Karzai and now Ghani governments.

Most importantly, the political process, by being so corrupt, by seating successive governments that won by fraud and by disenfranchising various political communities, has alienated many, many Afghans, and not just those Pashtuns who ally themselves with the Taliban, from the government in Kabul. This has allowed for greater support for militia commanders and warlords outside of Kabul, as well as the Taliban, and has allowed the war to progress with no real hopes for reconciliation, negotiations or a cease-fire anywhere in the near future. (By supporting and growing a kleptocracy, a system of have and have nots, that system has by its nature and necessity produced more people out of the system than people in the system every year. This causes resentment, grievances and a desire to share in the spoils and gifts of American occupation that leads to greater violence, more political chaos and a dearth of hope for the future).

Can you explain to us what was the disagreement that led you to resign? MORE   https://consortiumnews.com/2017/11/29/refusing-to-learn-bloody-lessons/

You received the Ridenhour Prize for Truth Telling in 2010. What can you tell us about this award?

It was a very great honor. The prizes are awarded in the name of Ron Ridenhour, the soldier who helped alert people to the massacre at My Lai during the Vietnam War. It is and has been very humbling to be included in such a prestigious group of men and women who have followed their consciences, looked past the risk and did what was right.

Matthew Hoh is a Senior Fellow at the Center for International Policy (www.ciponline.org). Matthew formerly directed the Afghanistan Study Group, a collection of foreign and public policy experts and professionals advocating for a change in U.S. strategy in Afghanistan. Matthew has served with the U.S. Marine Corps in Iraq and on U.S. Embassy teams in both Afghanistan and Iraq. [This slightly edited interview is published with Hoh’s permission.]

 

John Kiriakou. Trump Falls for the Afghanistan Trap. 
Reader Supported News, 23 August 2017 

Kiriakou writes: "Donald Trump on Monday evening fell into the same trap that presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama fell into before him. He caved in to his generals, not just to remain in Afghanistan, but to increase the US troop presence by 4,000 soldiers and to waste more billions of US taxpayer dollars." 
READ MORE

 

Trump says more war, we say no!  ANSWER COALITION, 8-25-17

Read more 

On Aug. 21, Donald Trump gave a major speech endorsing the war in Afghanistan and pledging to continue the brutal occupation that has lasted nearly 16 years. While refraining from releasing specific plans, Trump made it clear that he plans to deploy additional U.S. troops to the country and escalate the war. The ANSWER Coalition demands that the United States immediately withdraw all of its troops and contractors from Afghanistan.

 

Afghanistan: America's longest war - CNN.com

www.cnn.com/2017/05/31/middleeast/gallery/war-in-afghanistan/index.html

Sep 19, 2017The war in Afghanistan, code-named Operation Enduring Freedom, lasted for 13 years until being brought to an end in December 2014.

 

U.S. Antiwar Leaders Call for Actions to Oppose the Escalation of the Afghanistan War During the Week of the 16th Anniversary of the Invasion, October 2 – 8, 2017.  Join Us

Endorse the Week of action:  Add Your Action to the List of Actions:
http://notowar.net/post-your-action/  
This source is no longer available.  --D 

October 6, 2017 marks the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan – the longest foreign war in U.S. history.

The Afghan war, which has been a thoroughly bipartisan effort, was originally railed against by Donald Trump when he was running for president. He claimed to be against U.S. troop involvement in Afghanistan. Now he is moving forward with a “secret” plan of escalation that will also include Pakistan.  He says the secrecy is to keep the “enemy” from knowing his plans, but it also keeps the U.S. people from knowing what he is doing in our name and from judging the human costs for the people of Afghanistan, Pakistan and the United States

What we do know is that military escalation has repeatedly failed to bring peace in Afghanistan. It has caused more destruction and more deaths of civilians and soldiers alike and has cost trillions of dollars that could be spent on meeting basic needs here at home while repairing the destruction we have carried out abroad.

Trump also emboldens the war machine here in the US against Black and Brown people and immigrants by fanning white supremacy and xenophobia and continuing the militarization of the police and ICE to incite racially-motivated violence and justify repression, including mass incarceration and mass deportations. US wars of aggression and militarism abroad go hand-in-hand with increased state repression and militarization of the police state here at home.

Trump’s new escalation comes at a time when there is no end in sight to the continuous wars, including drone and mercenary warfare, throughout the region and when he is threatening military action against Venezuela, North Korea, Russia, Iran and other countries.

Therefore, we the undersigned antiwar leaders in the U.S. are calling for non-violent protests in cities across the country during the week of the 16th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. We appeal to all antiwar organizations in the United States and around the world to join us.  [OMNI’S ALLIES]

·         John Amidon, Kateri Peace Conference, VFP

·         Jessica Antonio, BAYAN USA

·         Bahman Azad, US Peace Council

·         Ajamu Baraka, Black Alliance for Peace

·         Medea Benjamin, Code Pink

·         Toby Blome, Code Pink, Bay Area

·         Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition

·         Reece Chanault, US Labor Against the War

·         Bernadette Ellorin – International League of People’s Struggle

·         Sara Flounders, International Action Center

·         Bruce Gagnon, Global Network Against Nuclear Power & Weapons in Space

·         Larry Hamm, People’s Organization for Progress

·         Kathy Kelly, Voices for Creative Nonviolence

·         Margaret Kimberley, Black Agenda Report

·         Ed Kinane, Upstate Drone Action

·         Matthew Hoh – Veterans for Peace

·         Joe Lombardo, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

·         Marilyn Levin, United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC)

·         Judith Bello, Upstate Drone Action

·         Jeff Mackler, Mobilization to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal

·         Alfred Marder, US Peace Council

·         Maggie Martin, About Face: Veterans Against the War (formerly IVAW)

·         Ray McGovern, Former CIA Analyst and Presidential Advisor

·         Michael McPhearson, Veterans For Peace

·         Nick Mottern, Knowdrones.com

·         Malik Mujahid, Muslim Peace Coalition

·         Elsa Rassbach, Code Pink & UNAC, Germany

·         Bob Smith, Brandywine Peace Community

·         David Swanson, World Beyond War

·         Debra Sweet, World Can’t Wait

·          

Now Trump’s War.  Profiting from America's Longest War: Trump Seeks to Exploit Mineral

ttps://www.commondreams.org/.../profiting-americas-longest-war-trump-seeks-explo...

Oct 15, 2017 - While the heads of the state discuss profiting from the mining sector, the US war in Afghanistan is escalating. by. Benjamin Dangl.. 3 Comments. In an effort to justify the continued and expanded presence of US troops in the country, President Trump is seeking a ...

 

 

Benjamin Dangl.  “America's Longest War.”  Z MAGAZINE (DECEMBER 2017).  Trump opens new chapter in America's longest war | PolitiFact

www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/.../trump-opens-new-chapter-americas-longest-war/

Aug 23, 2017 - In his first major policy address, Donald Trump declared he would dramatically alter American strategy in Afghanistan, marking a new chapter in the longest war in U.S. history. Trump laid out his plan in a televised speech Aug. 21 following what he described as a comprehensive policy review that would ...

 

END AFGHANISTAN: US LONGEST WAR  #24

 

 

 

PUT FOLLOWING AT END

Contents Afghanistan and Pakistan Newsletter #23, August 22, 2017

http://jamesrichardbennett.blogspot.com/2017/08/omni-afghanistan-pakistan-newsletter-23.html

 

President Trump’s New Afghan Policy August 21, 2017

“Trump Affirms U.S.’ Role in Afghan Fight” August 22

“Trump Settles on Afghan Strategy Expected to Raise Troop Levels” August 20

 

The Peace Movement Opposes the War and Occupation: Remove US Troops

 

Beware Another Surge

   Danny Sjursen, “Tread Carefully”

 

Veterans for Peace

          VFP Calls for No More War

 

The Nation editorial (2015): Remove the Troops from Endless War

 

WAR CONTINUES

 

Complications of the Occupation and Civil War

(C-Span 8-21-17 offered a panel of specialists who presented highly complex pictures of Afghan and Pakistani relations and their internal relations to ethnic and terror groups.  We’re skimming surfaces here.)

           

Taliban in Afghanistan

  The Guardian: “The War America Can’t Win” (2017)

  New York Times:  Insider Attacks Aid Taliban: “Afghan Police Officer”

 

ISIS in Afghanistan

   PBS Frontline (2015): Rise of ISIS

ISIS vs. Taliban

   C-SPAN 8-21-17  Islamist State in Koresan Province ISKP

 

US in Afghanistan

Gerald Sloan (poem), After Dropping the Biggest Bomb in History

Thurston, Hollywood Distorting Afghanistan

Bacevich, Fiasco Within Fiasco

Gelvin, Trump Follows Saudi Arabia

Film: “War Machine” (2017), Black Comedy

Review of Anand Gopal’s book on the US, Taliban, and Afghans: “the War Through Afghan Eyes” (2015)

Bombing the Doctors Without Borders Hospital in Kunduz 2015

  Medecins Sans Frontierres MSF

  Kathy Kelly, “Danger,” Huffington Post

  Human Rights Watch, “War Crimes Probe”

  Common Dreams v. Pentagon Report

  Koehler, Huffington, US Savagery

UN Report on Civilian Victims from US War

Opium: Taliban’s Not So Secret Weapon

Koehler:  The Savage, Trillion Dollar War Is NOT Over

 

Contents #22

 

END AFGHANISTAN (AND PAKISTAN) NEWSLETTER #24 

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)

Dick's Wars and Warming KPSQ Radio Editorials (#1-48)