Afghanistan; Operation Enduring Freedom Continues

President Barack Obama West Point Speech

During the 2008 Presidential Campaign then-candidate Barack Obama promised the mother a fallen American soldier to not only end the war in Iraq, but the war in Afghanistan as well. I am of the mind that now-president Barack Obama has not forgotten that promise. Many of my fellow Democrats are feeling disenfranchised by the recent official announcement of the decision to increase planned combat-troop levels to 30,000+ in Afghanistan I believe many in the party are taking a dangerously narrow view of militaristic policy.

I’ll simply cut the chase: you break a nation, you bought a nation.

The consequences of immediate withdrawal, in my view, far outweighs the alternative. Should we abandon this nation at this critical stage, after invading and attempting to remove the native opium crops, would be a tragic mistake that would incur even greater wrath upon the U.S. than this “end-game” measure of increased combat-troop involvement. We must not be blinded by political partisanship nor by strong personal feelings against war, that I personally share in this decision to prolong the war. This troop “surge” is accompanied with a clear strategy for withdrawal as well as some long since needed pressure upon the Karzai government in the form of this planned 2011 draw-down / transition of security responsibilities.

President Obama rebuked me in my comparison of Afghanistan and Vietnam. I agree with his statements that it is a “false reading of history,” upon review. But I disagree that what we are fighting in Afghanistan as being “not a popular insurgency.” The radical Taliban and their al-Qaeda allies are indeed a “popular insurgency” in some regions, while not in others. Afghanistan is a highly complex power structure and in every way different from the recent conflict in Iraq or the situation during the Vietnam War, but this is all the more reason to set attainable goals and prepare an exit strategy. We cannot allow ourselves to fall into the trap of counter-insurgency fighting endlessly in the Southern Provinces. We must shift to a counter-terrorism methods in Afghanistan and in order to this it is indeed true that “space” is required, bought with combat-troops of course. The ultimate goal being to seek a similar situation to what exists of involvement in Iraq as of today; a complete withdrawal of all combat-troops.

The sooner it is seen that no nation can “win,” or “lose,” in Afghanistan the sooner we can conduct sound policies in regards to our involvement therein. This is not the no-man’s-land that some make it out to be, much can be achieved with hard work, but we also should not delude ourselves into thinking we can remain troop committed indefinitely to a nation with practically no central government and huge population that is 80% illiterate.

Our humanitarian and intelligence-gathering operations must be secured for the time being and the politically unpopular troop surge is a means to this end. This is a changing in the “face” of this war and I personally hope that we can meet this 2011 time line for beginning combat-troop withdrawal and more importantly that is not simply an arbitrary line in the sand.

I urge people on the left against rush to judgments all is for naught in Afghanistan by value of the nation’s long history of failed attempts at conquering it. This new strategy is not “conquest” but rather supporting existing efforts and expanding upon the model of political solutions with regional leaders. An opportunity will be created in the next two years for Afghanistan to stabilize, but in the end the stand against terrorist tactics must come of the people. That much is out of our hands, it is true.

From GlobalSecurity.org:

Along with protecting local Afghans and reducing violence, new efforts are focused on cutting off the funding of the Taliban and other Afghan insurgents. US Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan Richard Holbrooke spoke of a new thinking on the issue during a June 2009 visit to Pakistan. Holbrooke said the long-held notion that Afghanistan’s illicit opium trade is the main source of funding for the insurgency is simply not true. And, he says US policy is going to reflect that reality. “If the drugs ended tomorrow, it would not have a major effect on the Taliban source of funding,” said Holbrooke. “And, that’s one of the reasons the United States is going to downgrade crop eradication as part of its policies in Afghanistan. We’re going to upgrade interdiction. We’re going to upgrade our efforts to go after the main drug traffickers. But we want to focus on where the money really comes from.”

According to PBS & independent news media this is indeed true, but mainly because the Taliban has moved toward kidnapping, extortion and money-laundering as opposed to opium-running.

I do not support actions that only needlessly escalate war, but this change in strategy is likely the only course of action that will bring our major operations inside Afghanistan to a timely close. The president spoke of “muddling through” in reference to the former policy and I would say the same of those promoting this policy of rapid withdrawal. It appears to me that many in my party and that I agree with on a host of other issues propose “muddling through” the careful process of timely and permanent withdrawal from these costly foreign incursions brought about under the George W. Bush Presidency.

Regardless of progress on the ground the generals will always ask for more troops and the person we charged with the responsibility over such matters has decided that the 30,000 troops in Afghanistan for the elections is going to stay and more will be deployed in months to come. Provided agencies like the UN are included more directly in solution-seeking and the model of focusing on political solutions as opposed to only military solutions to bring an end to the conflict there is no reason to scoff at the 2011 deadline for strategy review.

This was a mishandled war left by the previous president and one does not clean up a rotten pile of eggs by screaming at it; you get a shovel.

My heart still cries out: “Come home, America!”

But this is very similar to my views on the aftermath of the U.S.-Iraq Invasion: rapid withdrawal has serious consequences not to be ignored but it is equally important to note that keeping the pressure on our representatives to set clear goals and bring the U.S. involvement to an eventual close as quickly as humanly possible is the responsibility of citizens that fund these conflicts.

To leave now is folly.

This was a predictable “middle-option” and under the current circumstances I believe it was the best possible choice available to the president and the true value of this decision is yet to be seen.

Post 9/11

In October 2001, in response to the Taliban regime’s protection of al Qaeda terrorists who attacked the United States, coalition forces forcibly removed the regime from Afghanistan.

Since the Taliban’s ouster in late 2001, remnants of the regime have sheltered in remote reaches of Afghanistan’s mountains, mainly in the south. While they stood little chance of retaking power while the US-led coalition remains in Afghanistan, rogue Taliban members appeared to be regrouping.

Evidence mounted by early 2003 in the southern regions of Afghanistan that the Taliban was reorganizing and has found an ally in rebel commander Gulbuddin Hekmatyar, labeled a terrorist and hunted by US troops,” the Associated Press reported in early April. The evidence included the discovery by coalition forces of around 60 Taliban fighters holed up near the village of Sikai Lashki, 25 miles north of the southeastern village of Spinboldak. Further indication came from the killings in southern Afghanistan of a Red Cross worker and, separately, of two U.S. troops in an ambush, as well as allegations that Taliban leaders had found safe havens in private homes in neighboring Pakistan’s Quetta province.

While no reliable estimates existed of the number of Taliban fighters in southern Afghanistan, the Associated Press said in late March that it is believed that “many” Taliban are holed up in the southern mountains.

While a multinational force helped keep the peace in Kabul and surrounding areas, contributing countries have declined to extend the force’s mandate to other parts of the country. Remnants of the Taliban and rogue warlords sometimes threatened, robbed, attacked, and occasionally killed local villagers, political opponents, and prisoners.

This is what I spoke of before on this blog.

Our target was al-Qaeda and we should have handled the matter as a militaristic police force instead of “forcibly removing” this Taliban regime in 2001. This is the very nature of the trap of nation-building and these recent changes in war policy are a reflection of the situation as it is now and how to combat the elements are indeed a threat to national security while avoiding the pitfalls of unilateral nation-building. This is a policy that will hopefully provide enough security to focus on counter-terrorism efforts along with regional stabilization so that our exit from the region does not serve to only further destabilize a volatile situation.

Come Home, America


Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. knew well of what he spoke when he addressed a meeting of Clergy and Laity Concerned at Riverside Church in New York City on April 4  (1967) in regards to the Vietnam Conflict:

“Come home, America.”

In Harper’s Magazine, Andrew J. Bacevich made the connection between Dr. King’s words and the current war in Afghanistan. I wholeheartedly agree, and would press further this point by taking a look at the heading-titles from the speech itself:

1. “The Importance of Vietnam [Afghanistan]

I believe it well past the point in terms of the expenditure of American Treasure to the nation of Afghanistan to set a clear withdrawal strategy, and then hold to it.

2. “Strange Liberators

We are not the nation to spread liberty and justice for all across the Mid-East. Whatever preconceptions one may have, the fact remains that stabilization efforts that operate outside U.S. Military influence remain intact while U.S. facilities are destroyed and rebuilt in a constant cycle within Afghanistan.

3. “This Madness Must Cease

We cannot afford to throw lives and money into a nation with no clear estimation on how long it will take to achieve this lofty goal of a “terrorist safe-bed” being prevented from being formed. The bottom line is we are pointlessly infrastructure-building and policing Afghanistan, and this madness must cease. Sooner rather than later.

4. “Protesting The War

At this stage, in November of 2009, I do not believe there is a valid anti-war protest platform to take. President Obama is weighing the decisions carefully. However, should his decision-to-come be something to nature of huge troop increases with no time line for withdrawal I believe the voice of the people should be known in the streets.

5. “The People Are Important

The people of Afghanistan are who are important in this issue. The constant fighting takes more and more innocent lives every day. Without a time line and an attainable mission statement, the continued occupation of Afghanistan is nothing but a quagmire. A quagmire that not only costs American lives, but the lives of those caught in the crossfire.

If truly we seek to build up nations that have systemic problems that may effect our national security agenda then as Bacevich reminded us the nation of Mexico would be of primary interest to those in Washington D.C.

The U.S. could take part in other “humanitarian invasions” under these same circumstances.

The entire concept that we can “fix” another nation with increased troops and increased involvement is absurd.

Andrew J. Bacevich:

Fixing Afghanistan is both unnecessary and impossible. Rather, we should be erecting and maintaining a robust defense.

I find it rare to find people willing to make the pro-defensive military argument. I applaud Bacevich for this recent article in Harper’s. Worthy of your attention, to be sure.

New York’s 23rd is a Victory for Democrats

New_York_District_23_109th_US_Congress

For one-hundred and twenty years The State of New York’s 23rd Congressional District has been maintained by The Republican Party.

This has come to an end.

The voters have rejected Conservative-Republican ideals, once again.

This in no small part due to their infamous venom spilling forth unto their own kind in their quest of hatred of all who do not met their standards of ideological purity.

They have destroyed themselves in this district and they will continue with this pattern of crypto-fascist politics to destroy their chances of being taken seriously by any thinking person in the United States.

Some blowhards are crowing about minor Republican victories in races projected for their position to win in the first place.

The fact remains that the NY 23rd was uncertain up until this point.

Then the Conservative Party candidate, Hoffman, could not gather enough votes. He flopped with the voters, just as I had thought he would.

Just as we saw beforehand, America is ready for a change for the tired politics of conservatism.

Be is from the Republican side or the Conservative side, does not matter. People are sick of an ideology that empowers Wall Street at the expense of Main Street, and in the same breath of speaking of war & conflicts they seek to weaken & spread lies about the U.S. Government.

LiberalViewer, October 27th 2009

LiberalViewer on YouTube has touched what I feel is a very important issue facing us today in the U.S.

 

LIBERALVIEWER: Do you agree that the bias at Fox News is quantitatively and qualitatively different from any bias at the other major media outlets?

It’s absolutely different, in every way. The truth of it all, as I see it, is that Fox News just took the model of far right-wing radio and applied it to television broadcasting.

LIBERALVIEWER: Do you think the evidence of political organizing cited by Rachel Maddow is the best evidence Fox News is different or are the combative interview style applied only to one side, the parroting of Republican talking points, and the pattern of partisan distortion of the facts I showed better evidence that Fox News is different?

 

I feel that if 14 members of the GOP truly did write Rodger Ailes hand-written letters about having Glenn Beck retract his comments about race in regards to President Obama and this was ignored for ideological or perhaps commercial interests in place of the common good of the nation by Fox CEO Rodger Ailes himself then that is the best evidence out there. But if that’s a bogus news-story then your analysis without a doubt trumps that of any found on the major networks.

I thought about it and I’m completely against this “boycott Fox” nonsense. I want them to highly reform their television-side and don’t give a hoot about the radio-waves.

If they would just have some level of integrity in the television broadcasting they produce my qualms with them would cease.

I like the “old days” as I call them when Alan Colmes was actually on TV dispelling some of the nonsense. Now he is only really on the radio.

I find it interesting that they uninterested in reviving just the concept of the “CON vs. LIB” television show in a prime-time slot. Little by little all my ability to defend what they are doing as “news” just fades away. I see it as a situation where they are just very big, they have a partial media-monopoly, so they have plenty of room to hire everyone in the world.

I view all radio as morning-zoo, madhouse, boiler-plate, funhouse ride antics. Something happens though with the make-up and the lights and the cameras of television, or at least I think that is what is really going on ‘behind the curtains’ of this issue.

Fox News is more or less playing the role of a criminal while MSNBC operates as a cop.

I would describe the whole situation as: ridiculous.

Fox “Not-a-news-agency” News is Banned From White House Porch

Obama on FOX-thumb-340x229(Chicago Tribune: Swamp Politics)

Is it a good idea to single out just one outlet in the manner that The Obama White House recently has in the case of removing Fox Broadcasting from the press pool?


At first, I was in favor of the move to ignore the Fox Broadcasting Company by Barack Obama.

His efforts to clear his name on the website “Fight The Smears” stem almost entirely from Fox. He has every right to defend himself from these smear-merchants and radical right-wing propagandist supporters.

The right-wing lobby called “Fox News” (as in the cable pseudo-news) and “Fox News Talk” (as in the radio pseudo-news) is still “not a news organization” in my opinion. But I think this label should include everyone from COMEDY CENTRAL to HLN to CNN to MSNBC, everyone except PBS and C-SPAN.

It’s been televised tabloidism in place of televised journalism for far too long. In my view.

Any White House that would send a clear signal that The Daily Show, The Colbert Report, Countdown, The O’Reilly Factor, and The Glenn Beck Show are all the same thing would be nothing but a benefit in this age of media-hate & mass misinformation.

These programs are not news, they are purely entertainment-television.

Each of these programs has an agenda, as does the network behind each.

There is nothing wrong with doing agenized-news. But it is dishonest and unethical to claim objectivity if you are playing toward a specific political wing, or any specific agenda. This is the greatest offense of the so-called “Fair & Balanced” Fox Broadcasting. As a network they cater to right-wing political agendas and refuse to declare themselves as a format that promotes conservative ideology. In that case I see it as a function of false advertising on behalf of the network.

All these programs, it‘s important to point out, are television-propaganda toward that agenda. Which might be only the agenda to make you laugh.

The broadcasting produced by this political lobby / news agency / entertainment format in only the viewing of it is not dangerous. It is taking these kinds of broadcasts as serious news formats that is problematic in a democratic society.

The informed viewing of propaganda is merely educational. However, to those who refuse to see the difference between opinions and facts the viewing of the propaganda of reckless liars, there is a dangerous situation produced.

Mine is a somewhat complex argument in regards to The News Wars between The Obama White House and Fox Broadcasting Company:

It is a good move that Obama is standing up to bad journalism mixed with bad business practices, but a bad move that he singled out FOX alone when all the news agencies screw something up.

FOX is just the biggest offender of the smears.

I believe radio and satellite should remain untouched by sweeping regulations, but televised broadcasting of race baiting and McCarthyism is just too much tabloidism for me to handle.

This sensationalist-reporting on politics that has been going almost entirely due to FOX NEWS is not exclusive to them, so I think it would be wise to pick out a few other agencies, perhaps CLEARCHANNEL and COMEDY CENTRAL, to also declare as non-news formats.

It is clear to me when a news group is run by an agenda, thus becoming more like a political lobby than a news group, but it is not clear to everyone.

A President who stands for educating the public should seek to educate people on what exactly “bias” is, and hopefully shed some light on the issue.

The specific near-criminal acts of failure to disclose vital information of a story committed by FOX NEWS should be spoken of plainly and openly if not handled more severely. This tactic of isolation is my only qualm with Obama’s approach to dealing with fake news.

If it is the desire of this White House to tackle the specific crimes against society that Fox has committed, then I would hope the case was made in specifics.

It is my personal view that a news group, of any sort, can lose it’s status as “press” if they fail to uphold the journalistic truth as a matter of course.

I believe Obama did not go far enough to fight unethical journalism and false reporting.

But I certainly agree with the point that FOX has become something other than a news agency when they promote bad journalism that is not related to their opinion-makers.

Did Glenn Beck Commit a Murder-Rape in 1990?

glenbeck199(Times photo, 2000: Fraser Hale)

Did radio and television personality Glenn Beck of Fox Broadcasting commit a murder-rape in 1990?

This blog posting exists only to try and help examine the vicious rumor that Glenn Beck raped and murdered a young girl in 1990. I don’t claim to know the truth of this matter. I only claim to know of a rumor floating around saying that Glenn Beck committed a murder-rape, and I believe that this should be discussed. So I, along with others, are going to do our part to get to the bottom of this.

Why does Glenn Beck not address these charges?

Why would Glenn Beck seek arbitration outside of the U.S. courts instead of coming forward to clear up the rumor?

I’m not saying I think he did it. I, in fact, think he is innocent of these serious criminal charges.

I’m saying that we should discuss this seriously as a nation, and a people. We should ask our friends, our boss, and our colleagues.

The Freedom of Speech must be heard over this specific matter. The voice of the people must come to be known throughout the United States on this very serious national issue we all face.

Notice: This post is a parody/satire of a different author. We all assume Glenn Beck did not rape and murder a young girl in 1990, although we also haven’t yet seen any proof that he didn’t. But we think Glenn Beck definitely uses tactics like this to spread lies and misinformation.

Read the last sentence again. That’s the point.

Glenn Beck Revives McCarthyism

Please watch this video for an explanation of what McCarthyism is and how Fox News personality Glenn Beck is leading the charge of it’s revival in the U.S.

glennbeck2