Archive for January, 2009

More War, More Death, Oh Boy!

January 18, 2009

In two days we get a shiny new president to kick around. And he is all ready for it, so let’s get to work.

Our military is gearing up for a “surge” in Afghanistan. President-elect Obama said during the debates he wants more war there, and it looks like he is living up to his rhetoric:

A naval brigade is being diverted to Afghanistan to help prepare for the extra U.S. troops that will be sent to that country, a Pentagon spokesman announced Friday….

… Their change in orders was announced just days before President-elect Barack Obama takes office, and one month after Defense Secretary Robert Gates signed a deployment order to move an additional 3,000 troops to Afghanistan.

Military officials say those troops will be part of a combat aviation brigade, bringing helicopters to the region, and will go in late spring or early summer.

There are currently more than 30,000 U.S. troops in Afghanistan, but the U.S. commander there has requested more.

Gen. David McKiernan has requested at least 20,000 more troops be sent to fight resurgent Taliban forces, and Obama has said he would like to see more troops rotated into Afghanistan.

Hooray for the Afghan people. I’m sure this is what they want right about now, more war. Peace is for losers anyway. And let us not forget that Obama has stated he wants to increase the size of the military as a whole, which means a larger budget to support all those new troops, not to mention all their new equipment.

Of course his hands are tied even if he wanted to reduce the military budget, which I don’t think he does. Those bombs are made by middle class Americans, read jobs. Increasing the military would make more jobs or at least keep a lot of people employed.

Look at his response to the Gaza massacre, nothing. Will that change after Tuesday? Don’t hold your breath. Obama openly supported the destruction of Lebanon in 2006 on his campaign website. For those who see him as an anti-war president, your in for a shock.

I wrote not that long ago that I supported Obama because I thought he would make better decisions regarding the military. So far I am not impressed. I guess we will have to wait and see what happens after he is sworn in to truly know where Obama stands on military aggression. Campaign rhetoric is one thing, hat he does from here on out is what really matters.

If he has any sense he will get our troops out of the business of nation building. We are not very good at it:

Whatever the truth of the matter, in the long run, it’s not soldiers but services that count — electricity, water, food, health care, justice, and jobs. Had the U.S. delivered the promised services on time, while employing Afghans to rebuild their own country according to their own priorities and under the supervision of their own government — a mini-Marshall Plan — they would now be in charge of their own defense. The forces on the other side, which we loosely call the Taliban, would also have lost much of their grounds for complaint.

Instead, the Bush administration perpetrated a scam. It used the system it set up to dispense reconstruction aid to both the countries it “liberated,” Afghanistan and Iraq, to transfer American taxpayer dollars from the national treasury directly into the pockets of private war profiteers. Think of Halliburton, Bechtel, and Blackwater in Iraq; Louis Berger Group, Bearing Point, and DynCorp International in Afghanistan. They’re all in it together. So far, the Bush administration has bamboozled Americans about its shady aid program. Nobody talks about it. Yet the aid scam, which would be a scandal if it weren’t so profitable for so many, explains far more than does troop strength about why, today, we are on the verge of watching the whole Afghan enterprise go belly up.

What’s worse, there’s no reason to expect that things will change significantly on Barack Obama’s watch. During the election campaign, he called repeatedly for more troops for “the right war” in Afghanistan (while pledging to draw-down U.S. forces in Iraq), but he has yet to say a significant word about the reconstruction mission. While many aid workers in that country remain full of good intentions, the delivery systems for and uses of U.S. aid have been so thoroughly corrupted that we can only expect more of the same — unless Obama cleans house fast. But given the monumental problems on his plate, how likely is that?



January 17, 2009

Well, another year, another massacre perpetrated by Israel. What a surprise. I guess they felt the need to commit genocide to pay tribute to our out going Dear Leader. One last orgy of death to send the Bush administration off in style. Kind of fitting actually.

And it really works out well for the Israelis because this assault will stir up years of radicalism driven by the need for revenge amongst the Palestinians. Since our president-elect has already declared his unwavering support of the nation of Israel and all its crimes, we can be fairly sure the blood letting will continue with vigor.

Oh sure, there will be peace summits, some good photo ops and a determined looking Hillary stating this and that. But let’s be honest with ourselves, as long as the US continues to turn a blind eye to what is going on nothing will ever change.

Then again I guess it’s hard to say anything with forces in Iraq and Afghanistan chewing their way through the locals. Or for that matter considering how well we’ve handled our relationship with the Native Americans I suppose we shouldn’t point fingers.

More on this from the American Conservative:

…The actual purpose is connected to Israel’s long-term vision of how it intends to live with millions of Palestinians in its midst. It is part of a broader strategic goal: the creation of a “Greater Israel.” Specifically, Israel’s leaders remain determined to control all of what used to be known as Mandate Palestine, which includes Gaza and the West Bank. The Palestinians would have limited autonomy in a handful of disconnected and economically crippled enclaves, one of which is Gaza. Israel would control the borders around them, movement between them, the air above and the water below them.

The key to achieving this is to inflict massive pain on the Palestinians so that they come to accept the fact that they are a defeated people and that Israel will be largely responsible for controlling their future. This strategy, which was first articulated by Ze’ev Jabotinsky in the 1920s and has heavily influenced Israeli policy since 1948, is commonly referred to as the “Iron Wall.”

What has been happening in Gaza is fully consistent with this strategy.

Andrew Wyeth 1917-2009

January 17, 2009

Wyeth was one of my favorite painters. I caught an exhibit of his work at the Philadelphia Museum of Art a couple of years ago. He truly was a national treasure.