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Obama now set to become another war president
#1
He is good at jaw jaw but he is better at war war:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7967002.stm

US seeks new Afghanistan direction
By Adam Brookes
BBC News, Fort Bragg, North Carolina

[Image: _45602229_marine_getty226b.jpg]

As the planes line up to take off at Fort Bragg, North Carolina, there is an air of calm which belies the level of activity.

The unit based here, the 82nd Combat Aviation Brigade, will deploy to Afghanistan in a few weeks' time. Their helicopters will be loaded onto enormous cargo planes, some onto ships, and transplanted to Kandahar.

The soldiers of the 82nd CAB fly the army's lethal Apache gunships; but they also move casualties out of combat in Blackhawk helicopters and ship ammunition, water and troops in the workhorse Chinook aircraft. They support combat troops, providing fire and mobility. In military argot, they are "enablers".

And their deployment to southern Afghanistan tells us a deal about the conflict: that it is in the south - in Kandahar and Helmand - where the US military sees the greatest insurgent threat, and the greatest need for troops and mobility. The 116 helicopters of the 82nd CAB will, they hope, greatly extend Nato's reach.

Troop build-up

They will be part of a substantial build-up of troops in the south. As part of Nato operations, they will come under the command of a Dutch general. And we found a sense among the 82nd that they are in for a bloody year.

"We're putting the squeeze on the bad guys," said Chief Warrant Officer Bert Shober.

"When we do that they tend to react, and so we will see soldiers injured or worse."

“ As the "Global War on Terror" fades from our lexicon, Mr Obama may set out a unifying idea to replace it ”
The violence in Afghanistan tends to increase through the spring and into the summer as the weather warms and formerly icebound roads become passable. It is CWO Shober's fourth deployment to a combat zone since 2001.

The commanding officer of the unit is Col Paul Bricker. His helicopters, he says, are the "coin of the realm" in Afghanistan, the only way to move fast enough across the rugged terrain.

But he insists it is not capturing terrain in the traditional sense he is interested in.

"The people are the prize," he says. "The people are the decisive terrain."

And much depends on the deployment of these "enablers", US Defence Secretary Robert Gates has said: pilots, medics, engineers, mechanics, linguists, administrators, intelligence officers - all of these, and more, must be found and deployed if the military effort in Afghanistan is to be reinvigorated.

And that is President Obama's aim.

Renewed strategy

President Obama, we are told, has for some days now been reading the review of Afghan strategy that he commissioned earlier this year.

Some version of that document is expected to make its way into a speech on Friday. Expect America's foreign policy "principals" - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, National Security Adviser James Jones and others - to flank Mr Obama as he announces it.

Some of the broad outlines of a renewed strategy for the Afghan war are already clear:

The war will continue. The US will intensify its military effort for some time to come, and it will encourage Nato allies to do the same. The aim: to provide security within which an enhanced civilian and reconstruction effort can take root
There will be an overhaul of the Afghan effort - and a much greater emphasis on coordination and cooperation between countries and agencies
The president will argue that what happens inside Pakistan is central to the Afghan theatre. His strategy will try to draw together Afghanistan policy and Pakistan policy into a coherent whole
Afghan security forces will, one day, take over security operations and allow foreign forces to draw down
Other, non-Nato countries like China and Russia will be asked to support the effort, or at least not oppose it.
But we might expect President Obama to tell us more than just how the US intends to proceed in Afghanistan.

What, after seven years of operations, is the United States trying to achieve, and why?

As the "Global War on Terror" fades from our lexicon, Mr Obama may set out a unifying idea to replace it.

Another surge?

Many in Washington feel that strategy has, for seven years, been catastrophically absent, and each agency of government has blithely continued on its course without any reference to others.

Karin von Hippel at foreign policy think-tank the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) writes: "There has been no clarity as to how much US assistance has been directed at each country, what the overall strategy for each country is, nor what it is for the region as a whole."

One security source said that this will be the moment when Mr Obama "takes ownership" of the war.

Until now he has been able to "hide behind his strategy review". Not any more.

Officers at the Pentagon tell me they expect the total number of US and Nato troops deployed to hit 90,000 by the end of the summer. Not as big a commitment as Iraq, for sure, but still a very substantial commitment.

So is this a "surge"?

Military officers tell me "no". A surge, they say, implies a temporary increase in effort, followed by a winding down, as we have seen in Iraq.

But Mr Obama's vision for Afghanistan implies an increase in commitment to be sustained indefinitely, an important distinction.

Formulating the Pakistan element of the strategy has been the hardest part, I am told.

The Taleban and other insurgent groups, and al-Qaeda, continue to use Pakistani territory for their bases.

Until these sanctuaries are eliminated, and the recruiting of radicals curtailed, there would seem to be little hope for long-term stability in Afghanistan.

But how can the United States and its allies, like Britain, achieve this?

The US has few levers of power it can manipulate to change the security landscape in Pakistan, say security sources in Washington.

Without the wholehearted commitment of the Pakistani government and military, and a shared view of the problem, implementing a strategy to eliminate radicalism in Pakistan will be very difficult.

"Our best options are limited," says one. "How do we persuade the Pakistanis to own the fight?"
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14
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#2
The Center for American Progress has positioned itself as a "progressive" Washington think tank, especially suited to channel new thinking and expertise into the Obama administration. It therefore is deeply disappointing that CAP has issued a call for a ten-year war in Afghanistan, including an immediate military escalation, just as President Obama prepares to unveil his Afghanistan/Pakistan policies to the American public and NATO this week.
It is likely that Obama will follow most of CAP's strategic advice, assuming the think tank to be the progressive wing of what's possible within the Beltway.
That means a long counter-insurgency war ahead, with everything from massive incarcerations and detention to Predator strikes that amass increasing civilian casualties. CAP begins by calling on the president to meet the request of his commander in Afghanistan for another 15,000 troops in addition to the 17,000 Obama already has committed, which would bring the near-term US total to 70,000. To pay for these additional troops, CAP proposes redirecting $25 billion annually from combat in Iraq to Afghanistan. In addition, CAP favors up to $5 billion annually for diplomatic and economic assistance, also from a redirection of Iraq spending.
Even assuming the economic assistance reaches villages instead of corrupt middlemen, CAP's primary emphasis is a military one, sending larger numbers of American troops on a counterinsurgency mission in southern and eastern Afghanistan, as well as the outskirts of Kabul. Make no mistake, the American mission will be to fight, kill and capture, and, is intended to leave NATO allies in secondary training roles. The CAP proposal seems to flesh out the Obama strategy already described in a New York Times January 28 headline, "Aides Say Obama's Afghan Aims Elevate War Over Development." The CAP report calculates that in FY 2009, "the ration of funding for military forces versus non-military international engagement is 18 to 1."
There is no exit strategy contemplated in the CAP proposal, although the president apparently is been asking for one behind the scenes. Nor is there any projected cap on future escalation The CAP timeline, front-loaded with military force, is as fanciful about Afghanistan/Pakistan as the neo-conservatives were towards Iraq in the Nineties:
  • In the next 18 months, a combat/counterinsurgency push to prevent Afghanistan from being a "safe haven for terrorist and extremist groups with a global reach"; prevent the destabilization of Pakistan by creating "a stable civilian government committed to working toward the elimination of terrorist safe havens" there.
  • In three to five years, create a "viable Afghan economy", curb the poppy trade, promote democracy and human rights, and resolve regional tensions.
  • In ten years, build an Afghan state that can defend itself, and "prepare for full military withdrawal."
As a practical matter, all that is certain is that there will be blood. When the problem is a nail, reach for the hammer. But military occupation, particularly a surge of US troops into the Pashtun region in southern Afghanistan and Pakistan, is the surest way to inflame nationalist resistance and greater support for the Taliban. President Hamid Karzai said last December that "the coalition went around Afghan villages, burst into people's homes and has been committing extraditional killings in our country." A United Nations investigator made the same point in 2008, accusing the CIA and Special Forces "of conducting nighttime raids and killing civilians in Afghanistan with impunity." Pakistan's prime minister said the same years that "if America wants to see itself clean of terrorists, we also want that our villages and towns should not be bombed." As a January 2009 report by the Carnegie Endowment concluded, "the only meaningful way to halt the insurgency's momentum is to start withdrawing troops. The presence of foreign troops is the most important element driving the resurgence of the Taliban."
CAP takes no notice of the torture and detention without human rights protections at Kabul's Bagram prison, now undergoing massive expansion. Obama's team already says his anti-torture executive order does not cover the hundreds detained in Afghanistan, so it is likely that the American forces will launch a massive "preventive incarceration" campaign in the months ahead. CAP's silence on this matter is especially disturbing since the think tank expressed deep concern over the same policies in Iraq.
Many Americans are confused, but it is not necessary to have a West Point or Ivy League degree to understand the heart of the matter. Whether it is the street of LA or the alleys of Kabul, law-and-order always comes first along with promises of jobs and development "later", a later that gradually becomes never. In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the levels of suffering are among the most extreme in the world, and from suffering, from having nothing to live for, comes the will to die for a cause.
United Nations recent development data places Afghanistan 173rd out of 178 countries; Pakistan is 136th. According to such estimates, about sixty percent of children in the Pashtun areas are "moderately" or "severely" stunted. In Afghanistan as a whole, such children will be spared miserable lives because the country has the highest infant mortality rate in the world. No more need be said.
As to the threat from al Qaeda, it is understandable that the president would define himself as an aggressive commander-in-chief. But he must wonder if our killing so many civilians and stunting so many children won't result in yet another generation dying to hate us. He must wonder if he is squandering the good will of the world, including the Muslim world, by sending more Americans to kill and die in a quagmire. He must recognize that he is putting his eight-year presidency on the line.
He must wonder too, as he approaches his meetings in Europe, why NATO is occupying countries so far from its base in the mainly-white Western world. It is hard to avoid the hint that the white man's burden is falling on the shoulders of our first African-American president. The only solution to the Afghanistan/Pakistan quagmires has to be a regional one, as argued forcefully by Tariq Ali in his recent book, as well as by Barnett Rubin and Ahmed Rashid, but NATO is the stranger in the neighborhood. CAP recognizes this critical problem, as does Hillary Clinton who will meet the regional players at the Hague next week. The problem is that NATO, burdened with imperial assumptions, would like China, Russia, and the Central Asian Republics constituting the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, to be satellite parties to the Western occupation of Afghanistan/Pakistan. But the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, while having serious stakes in quelling instability in the region, calls on the US and NATO to go home.
Can the burden be sustained politically and economically for ten years more? Already Canada and the Netherlands have set timelines for withdrawing their forces, assigned now to the most violent regions of southern Afghanistan. Germany may be the next to balk. And with the American economy in shambles, can anyone envision a war whose costs will exceed one trillion dollars a decade from now? Only the neo-conservatives, if Iraq is any example, which makes it tragic that CAP has aligned itself with their strategy of the "long war."

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Tom Hayden was a leader of the student, civil rights, peace and environmental movements of the 1960s. He served 18 years in the California legislature, where he chaired labor, higher education and natural resources committees. He is the author of ten books, including "Street Wars" (New Press, 2004). He is a professor at Occidental College, Los Angeles, and was a visiting fellow at Harvard's Institute of Politics last fall.
"The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways. The point, however, is to change it." Karl Marx

"He would, wouldn't he?" Mandy Rice-Davies. When asked in court whether she knew that Lord Astor had denied having sex with her.

“I think it would be a good idea” Ghandi, when asked about Western Civilisation.
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#3
He's signed his political epitaph. Very disappointing.

Syd Walker's piece on Obama's disastrous decision is pretty good.

http://sydwalker.info/blog/2009/03/28/ob...pigs-test/

He's being pushed into war with Pakistan--by you know who.
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#4
Mark Stapleton Wrote:He's signed his political epitaph. Very disappointing.

Syd Walker's piece on Obama's disastrous decision is pretty good.

http://sydwalker.info/blog/2009/03/28/ob...pigs-test/

He's being pushed into war with Pakistan--by you know who.

I don't even understand why Obama gets the benefit of the doubt. So many writers, like the one in this article, talk like he is merely listening to bad advisors when in fact Obama is part of the machine. He knows exactly what he is doing and who he is doing it for.

As Molly Ivins might say--he's dancing with the guys what brung 'im.
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#5
And by one poll I just looked at 65% of dense Americans still rate him favorably....and see him with rose-colored glasss and tinkerbell waving her wand at him. Between a new war [or an old pointless one put on steroids] and the economic China Syndrome, Obama is toast [and guilty of lying to get into office - but don't they all - don't they all].....but how long will the American Sheeple :girl: take to realize it......as always - not until its too late, I fear. Confusedlug: The Oligarchy were just playing bad-cop / good-cop with us. Now we have the 'good-cop'.....but still fronting for the Gang in the Beltway/Boardroom Hood.
"Let me issue and control a nation's money and I care not who writes the laws. - Mayer Rothschild
"Civil disobedience is not our problem. Our problem is civil obedience! People are obedient in the face of poverty, starvation, stupidity, war, and cruelty. Our problem is that grand thieves are running the country. That's our problem!" - Howard Zinn
"If there is no struggle there is no progress. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and never will" - Frederick Douglass
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#6
Peter Lemkin Wrote:...The Oligarchy were just playing bad-cop / good-cop with us. Now we have the 'good-cop'.....but still fronting for the Gang in the Beltway/Boardroom Hood.

That is a perfect description of the American "two party" system Peter. Nicely said.
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#7
Myra Bronstein Wrote:
Mark Stapleton Wrote:He's signed his political epitaph. Very disappointing.

Syd Walker's piece on Obama's disastrous decision is pretty good.

http://sydwalker.info/blog/2009/03/28/ob...pigs-test/

He's being pushed into war with Pakistan--by you know who.

I don't even understand why Obama gets the benefit of the doubt. So many writers, like the one in this article, talk like he is merely listening to bad advisors when in fact Obama is part of the machine. He knows exactly what he is doing and who he is doing it for.

As Molly Ivins might say--he's dancing with the guys what brung 'im.

mmm......no I disagree, Myra.

Obama inherited more problems than any incoming POTUS in recent memory. He isn't Superman.

Problem is, the system has overwhelmed him. He's tightly bound when it comes to foreign policy. If he wanted to change course, he would face a barrage of opposition from the media, the MIC, the Israel Lobby and most of the Congress. The failed system is the major problem here, not the man who has inherited the poisoned chalice, imo.

I can't see why so many writers give the Zionist Lobby a free pass. By pushing America into expensive, unwinnable wars against invented foes, Israel behaves more like America's worst enemy than a so-called ally. Clearly, Pakistan is next on America's, or should I say Israel's, list.

When will America exorcise this genocidal parasite called Israel and finally determine its own future?

Can anyone here see that Russia, China, Europe and the rest of the world are over it and desperately need both the parasite and its host to show some sanity and stop committing the world to these endless wars against enemies of their own fucking creation?

Far better to focus rage on that rather than on Obama. There'll be weak leaders aplenty until the system changes. A far stronger POTUS once said those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. The psychosis of Zionism is making peaceful revolution impossible in America and elsewhere. Kennedy's words will come back to haunt us all.
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#8
Mark Stapleton Wrote:
Myra Bronstein Wrote:
Mark Stapleton Wrote:He's signed his political epitaph. Very disappointing.

Syd Walker's piece on Obama's disastrous decision is pretty good.

http://sydwalker.info/blog/2009/03/28/ob...pigs-test/

He's being pushed into war with Pakistan--by you know who.

I don't even understand why Obama gets the benefit of the doubt. So many writers, like the one in this article, talk like he is merely listening to bad advisors when in fact Obama is part of the machine. He knows exactly what he is doing and who he is doing it for.

As Molly Ivins might say--he's dancing with the guys what brung 'im.

mmm......no I disagree, Myra.

Obama inherited more problems than any incoming POTUS in recent memory. He isn't Superman.

Problem is, the system has overwhelmed him. He's tightly bound when it comes to foreign policy. If he wanted to change course, he would face a barrage of opposition from the media, the MIC, the Israel Lobby and most of the Congress. The failed system is the major problem here, not the man who has inherited the poisoned chalice, imo.

I can't see why so many writers give the Zionist Lobby a free pass. By pushing America into expensive, unwinnable wars against invented foes, Israel behaves more like America's worst enemy than a so-called ally. Clearly, Pakistan is next on America's, or should I say Israel's, list.

When will America exorcise this genocidal parasite called Israel and finally determine its own future?

Can anyone here see that Russia, China, Europe and the rest of the world are over it and desperately need both the parasite and its host to show some sanity and stop committing the world to these endless wars against enemies of their own fucking creation?

Far better to focus rage on that rather than on Obama. There'll be weak leaders aplenty until the system changes. A far stronger POTUS once said those who make peaceful revolution impossible make violent revolution inevitable. The psychosis of Zionism is making peaceful revolution impossible in America and elsewhere. Kennedy's words will come back to haunt us all.

Mmm......no I disagree with your disagreement, Mark. If Obama is so well-meaning how come his cabinet is filled with the very Wall Street insiders who are behind the discredited policies that created the mess?

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/11/25/n...nd_michael

"... AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to begin right now with Naomi Klein. Your response to these appointments and what they signify? If you could begin with Larry Summers, the former Clinton Treasury Secretary.

NAOMI KLEIN: Hi, Amy. It’s good to be with you. Well, I have to say it’s a profound disappointment. And it really does represent a very safe choice, but let’s remember that Barack Obama won this election saying that taking the status quo, that staying with the same policies that have been governing the country for the recent past, was actually a very dangerous course. And I think, in many ways, we are paying the price of the—frankly, the intellectual dishonesty of the progressive liberal left during the Bush years, because Obama said again and again during the campaign that the crisis on Wall Street represented the culmination of an ideology of deregulation and laissez-faire, trickle-down economics that had guided the country for the past eight years.

And the truth is, as we all know, Amy, that it wasn’t just eight years during which those policies guided US economic policy. They certainly guided them under Reagan, and they certainly guided them under Clinton. And that’s where Larry Summers comes in, because Larry Summers was the last Treasury Secretary under Clinton. And he, along with Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin, were really the key architects of the policies of deregulation that created the crisis that we are living now. And those key policies, as you know, are the killing of Glass-Steagall that allowed a series of very large bank mergers that created these institutions that are too big and too intermingled to fail, we’re told again and again; the deliberate decision to keep the derivatives out of the reach of financial regulators—that was also a Summers decision; and also allowing the banks to carry these extraordinary levels of debt, thirty-three-to-one in the case of Bear Stearns.

Now, you know, in my book, I—in The Shock Doctrine, I start a chapter with a quote from Larry Summers. The context in which he said this, it was 1992, and it was when he was making World Bank economic policy as it related to Russia in the midst of a financial crisis. What he said, and this is why I quoted him, because it really shows the extent to which he is truly an ideologue, truly a follower of the very ideology—not just a follower, but a propagator of the very ideology that Obama ran his campaign against. And here’s the quote. This is Larry Summers in 1992: “Spread the truth. The laws of economics are like the laws of engineering. One set of laws works everywhere.” And then he laid out those laws a little bit later. He referred to the three “ations,” and those were privatization, stabilization and liberalization. So he has been preaching the doctrine. He is by no means sort of an innocent bystander. He is a dyed-in-the-wool privatizer, free trader.

And he, along with Tim Geithner, his deputy, played key roles during very important economic crises in other countries, in Russia, during the Asian financial crisis, during the Mexican peso crisis. And when these countries were suffering a profound economic crisis created by deregulation, they preached more deregulation, more privatization and—this is key—they preached economic austerity to disastrous results. So I think this is really troubling. And, you know, one thing that Obama said is that Larry Summers set the terms of the debate for this financial crisis, and that, once again, is very worrying, because if Barack Obama thinks that these are the only terms, the parameters of the debate, then they’re very, very narrow.
...
AMY GOODMAN: But let me ask you something, Bob. William Greider had an interesting piece in The Nation. He said, “On Monday, Geithner was busy executing the government’s massive rescue of Citicorp--the very banking behemoth that Geithner and Summers helped to create back in the Clinton years, along with Federal Reserve [chairman] Alan Greenspan and Robert Rubin, Clinton’s economics guru. Now Rubin is himself a Citicorp executive and his bank is now being saved by his old protégé (Geithner) with the taxpayers’ money. […]

“Geithner has been a central player in the deal-making, from Bear Stearns to AIG to Citi. The strategy has not only failed, it has arguably made things worse as savvy market players saw through the contradictions and rushed out to dump more bank stocks.”
And ultimately, Mark Ames, also in The Nation, writes ,“Summers was one of the key architects of our financial crisis--hiring him to fix the economy makes as much sense as appointing Paul Wolfowitz to oversee the Iraq withdrawal.”

Your response, Bob Kuttner?

ROBERT KUTTNER: I basically agree.
...
NAOMI KLEIN: ...
But the key issue—and this is where we need to, I think, concentrate our energies, because it isn’t just—you know, we all want to be optimistic, but I think part of what got us into this situation where we’re seeing these very disappointing appointments has been the fact that we have not been honest about the legacy of the Clinton years. So much misinformation was spread during the election campaign, because it was a nice message to present the ’90s as these wonder years in contrast to the Bush years. And that is exactly what created a situation where you could have a Summers being presented as the wise man instead of going down with Alan Greenspan. You know, when Alan Greenspan’s reputation was raked over the coals, it should have been Rubin and Summers alongside him. And I think we have nobody to blame, really, but ourselves for that failure. So, essentially, that was an electoral strategy, and it was an electoral strategy that relied on intellectual dishonesty.

And now, I think, to continue to make excuses for Obama is a real mistake, because he’s not running for election anymore. He’s already won, so there’s no reason to be pandering in this way."
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#9
I don't get it.
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#10
Mark Stapleton Wrote:I don't get it.

Finally we agree on something. Wink
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