We’ve flooded more troops and more money into Afghanistan to the point that we’re spending 2 billion a week on what Obama has called the “good war.” Yet, the Taliban are stronger there today than they were before the troop surge. This is a classic example of how interventionism breeds opposition. We went to Afghanistan in 2001 to dismantle Al Qaeda. Now, its 11 years later and the Afghan war has mutated into a misguided nation building project that has costed the American people a fortune and thousands of lives and that the Afghanis don’t want. This is an un-winnable war, and its time for us to leave.
The world is used to bad news and always has been, but now and then there occurs something so brutal, so outside the normal limits of what used to be called man’s inhumanity to man, that you have to look away. Then you force yourself to look and see and only one thought is possible:This must stop now. You wonder, how can we do it? And your mind says, immediately: Whatever it takes. – Peggy Noonan, former speechwriter and Special Assistant to Ronald Reagan, in response to the killing of four Americans in the Iraqi city of Fallujah.
According to RT.com, the findings of Afghan investigators and the accounts of eyewitnesses directly contradict the U.S. military’s report that a single shooter acted alone in the massacre in Kandahar that killed 16 Afghans including 9 children. I hope that this isn’t true; the official report that a mentally ill soldier on his fourth tour of duty acted alone, of his own volition, is terrible enough. However, if this was a concerted effort by a group of at least 15 US soldiers then this is much worse:
An Afghan parliamentary investigation team has implicated up to 20 US troops in the massacre of 16 civilians in Kandahar early on Sunday morning. It contradicts NATO’s account that insists one rogue soldier was behind the slaughter.
The team of Afghan lawmakers has spent two days collating reports from witnesses, survivors and inhabitants of the villages where the tragedy took place.
“We are convinced that one soldier cannot kill so many people in two villages within one hour at the same time, and the 16 civilians, most of them children and women, have been killed by the two groups,” investigator Hamizai Lali told Afghan News.
Lali also said their investigations led them to believe 15 to 20 US soldiers had been involved in the killings. He appealed to the international community to ensure that the responsible parties were brought to justice, stressing the Afghan parliament would not rest until the killers were prosecuted.
“If the international community does not play its role in punishing the perpetrators, the Wolesi Jirga [parliament] would declare foreign troops as occupying forces,” he said.
The head of the Afghan parliamentary investigation, Sayed Ishaq Gillani, told the BBC that witnesses report seeing helicopters dropping chaff during the attack, a measure used to hide targets from ground attack.
Gillani added that locals suspect the massacre was revenge for attacks carried out last week on US forces that left several injured.
In response to the massacre Afghan PM Hamid Karzai called for US troops to quit Afghan villages and confine themselves to their military bases across the country. Furthermore, the Taliban announced that talks with US forces would be suspended.
Meanwhile the US military has detained one soldier in connection with the massacre and transferred him to Kuwait amid outcry for a public trial in Afghanistan. Currently, the soldier is being flown to Kansas base, AFP reported.
US authorities are currently conducting an investigation into the motives behind the attack, but maintain that the soldier’s trial must be dealt with by the US legal system.
The Taliban’s official statement in response to the massacre reads in part:
A large number from amongst the victims are innocent children, women and the elderly, martyred by the American barbarians who mercilessly robbed them of their precious lives and drenched their hands with their innocent blood.
The American terrorists want to come up with an excuse for the perpetrator of this inhumane crime by claiming that this immoral culprit was mentally ill.
If the perpetrators of this massacre were in fact mentally ill then this testifies to yet another moral transgression by the American military because they are arming lunatics in Afghanistan who turn their weapons against the defenceless Afghans without giving a second thought.
The words of the Taliban could be Peggy Noonan’s. You’d think, as the victims of this latest massacre were not trained, uniformed combat troops but innocent civilians, mostly children, whose corpses were burned, that the Peggy Noonans of America would similarly speak out for justice. Its a sad narrative on the state of America when those most outspoken against such atrocities is the Taliban.
While Obama has stated that he wants to stay in Afghanistan until at least 2014, Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai has explicitly stated that “Afghanistan is ready to take overall security responsibility.” The people of Afghanistan are sick of us. They are sick of the over-a-decade occupation of their homeland by foreign troops, of abuses by our military like the desecration of the bodies of dead soldiers and inappropriate Koran burning, and they’re sick of Afghan civilians being murdered – especially the most recent massacre of 16 Afghans by a US soldier. President Karzai stated, “Our demand is that this process should be executed sharply and the responsibility should be handed over to to Afghans” by no later than 2013 and that international forces should “be withdrawn from villages and relocated in their bases.”
And the Afghan people are not the only ones that are sick of it. Americans are sick of perpetual war too. Osama Bin Laden is dead and it is time for us to go. Ron Paul has been saying this for years and, finally, others are slowly inching towards his point of view.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill.—Republican presidential candidate Ron Paul says that recent shifts by some of his rivals on the Afghanistan war are a sign that he’s “winning the fight” with his signature hands-off foreign policy.
Paul won standing ovations from some 4,600 people on Wednesday night at a University of Illinois rally–his largest turnout ever–for his calls to “bring our troops home!” He also told the crowd, made up mostly of college students, that “the other candidates on our side are saying we need to fight more wars.”
Asked by CBS News/National Journal about recent comments by Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum that the United States should review its commitment in Afghanistan and possibly back off, Paul replied, “It’s about time.”
“But they’re what we call chicken hawks. And they talk a lot, they push the wars, they themselves haven’t gone, and they don’t serve, and yet they … promote the wars,” he said of his rivals, who talk often of taking military action against Iran to keep it from getting a nuclear weapon.
“Sure, the politics are changing, and that’s great. We’re changing people’s minds. The American people are sick and tired of it,” Paul said. “And like I mentioned in my speech, I spent five years trying to prevent the war in Iraq. So if they want to come on board now, fine and dandy. That means we’re winning the fight.”
Paul got chuckles from the gaggle of journalists and close supporters backstage when one reporter asked how he plans to bring home the troops. “By ship,” he said.
A new Gallup Poll shows half of Americans back a faster pullout of troops from Afghanistan than President Obama’s timetable of completing a withdrawal by the end of 2014.
In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together. – Dwight D. Eisenhower
The United States has been in Afghanistan for more than 10 years. And President Obama insists we will remain in Afghanistan until the end of 2014. CNN’s Jack Cafferty asks: why?
Of course, this is what Ron Paul has been saying for years now. Lets end our wars, brings our troops home to safety, and rely on diplomacy, free trade, cultural exchange and a strong national defense at home, not military adventurism, in our foreign relations.
Unfortunately, the Republican party is already chafing at the bit for the next foreign war, this time with Iran, and the Democratic party, which was so outspoken against unjust war and the handing out of unconstitutional war powers have fallen eerily silent since their own boy has taken office. Suddenly expansion of executive powers at the expense of our rights in the name of fighting terrorism isn’t such a big deal, apparently. Finally though, others are stepping up to the plate, heralding Ron Paul’s message and are getting some media attention. However, they remain a minority in the media’s spotlight and a rarity among our politicians.
While politicians in Washington may already be beating the drums of war, however, I stand with Ron Paul in defense of Catholic Just War Doctrine. Only then can we hope for any semblance of peace, prosperity and liberty – for ourselves and for all of those abroad who are affected by our decisions.
I wrote a couple of days ago about how US military forces in Afghanistan burned copies of the Koran and the Afghan protests that ensued. In response to the protests and the subsequent deaths of two US soldiers Gingrich stated that it is Afghanistan who must apologize to the United States. However, while the killings of the two US soldiers is tragic and in no way justified, I think that it is quite clear that the Afghan people are the real victims here.
As I’ve already pointed out, we are in a war of aggression against Afghanistan. We invaded their country, we have occupied their lands for years and we have committed numerous abuses at the expense of the Afghan people. This is about more than just book burning. At least two Afghans have been killed as protests that have rocked the country have now passed their sixth day. Clashes between law enforcement and rioters have already left more than 30 people dead and hundreds injured according to Russia Today. Afghanistan has put up with over-aggressive American ultranationalism for a long, long time and their outrage is boiling over. Leaders on both sides have petitioned for an end to the violence but the sad reality is that the Afghan people can never know peace until we end our military occupation of their homeland.
The following is an excerpt from an article in Russia Today regarding protests in Afghanistan directed at the US:
Thousands of protesters in Afghanistan rallied against the US this week after discovering that Americans had charred and purged copies of the Koran. President Obama was quick to extend an apology, but some of the GOP want things the other way around.
“I wish to express my deep regret for the reported incident,” Obama wrote this week to Afghan President Hamid Karzai.“I extend to you and the Afghan people my sincere apologies.”
Gingrich responded to the president’s attempt to qualm anti-American sentiment by insisting that Obama is in the wrong for trying to make peace with people whose religion has been ridiculed by US troops. American officials are calling the Koran incident inadvertent, and, nonetheless, Gingrich says there is no point in the president saying he’s sorry.
“There seems to be nothing that radical Islamists can do to get Barack Obama’s attention in a negative way and he is consistently apologizing to people who do not deserve the apology of the president of the United States period,”Gingrich told supporters during a campaign stop Thursday in Washington State.
“This destructive double standard whereby the United States and its democratic allies refuse to hold accountable leaders who tolerate systematic violence and oppression in their borders must come to an end,” Gingrich added in a statement.
Administration spokesman Jay Carney told reporters early Thursday that Obama’s apology was “wholly appropriate, given the sensitivities to this issue, the understandable sensitivities.”
“His [Obama’s] primary concern as Commander-in-Chief is the safety of American men and women in Afghanistan, of our military and civilian personnel there,” said Carney. “And it was absolutely the right thing to do.”
Gingrich said hours later that things should be reversed, in his opinion. “It is Hamid Karzai who owes the American people an apology, not the other way around,” said the speaker.
“And, candidly, if Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, doesn’t feel like apologizing then we should say good bye and good luck, we don’t need to be here risking our lives and wasting our money on somebody who doesn’t care,”he added.
You’re right Mister Gingrich, what was Obama thinking? We spent billions of dollars on the war in Afghanistan, investing a decade of our precious time invading their country and we are the ones who have to live with the burden of killing tens of thousands of the Afghani people and desecrating their dead bodies. They should be apologizing to us. I mean, what were we supposed to do not invade their country and kill their people? If they can’t understand our glorious reasons necessitating our continual war against their country then they don’t deserve us.
All sarcasm aside, however, Gingrich is actually right on two counts here:
1. The United States’ foreign policy is indeed plagued by double standard. We impose sanctions and threaten military aggression against Iran because we think that maybe they could have nuclear weapons in the future – yet we have the largest nuclear arsenal in the world, with no move made towards disarmament, we remain the only country to have ever used a nuke with a nuclear program with even less transparency than Iran’s and we’ve been involved in two wars of aggression in the last decade while Iran has engaged in . . . zero. We spout on and on about how much we love democracy, how we want to bring it to the rest of the unenlightened world, and about how our wars abroad will spread democracy but we give foreign aid to dictators around the world – in fact, we give more foreign aid to Israel’s enemies than we do to our ally, Israel. We talk about how our national defense is under constant threat yet we have the single most aggressive foreign policy in the world resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of foreign civilians.
2. We do not need to be in Afghanistan risking our lives and wasting our money. Because it is a waste: in both of our country’s time, resources and human lives. We need to bring our troops home out of harm’s way and let the Afghani people run their own country.
My only question, though, is this: If our military is “inadvertently” burning Korans are they inadvertently burning Bibles as well? Maybe we should demand that Afghanistan apologize for our military’s hypothetical Bible burning as well.
Apparently, not only is it okay for America to be the policemen of the world, but we have a responsibility to to do so. We, “must keep an eye on the entire world.” White man’s burden, anyone?
President Obama decides that its okay for wealthy corporations to contribute to his campaign when merely 16 months ago he called the very same super PACs a “threat to Democrats” and a “threat to democracy.”
Santorum says that as president he would demand Iran “open your facilities, you begin to dismantle this nuclear program, or we will dismantle it for you.” Even though Iran has a far more transparent nuclear program than the United States and we retain the right to our own massive nuclear arsenal. Gingrich and Romney both complain that China is “cheating” in order to bolster their economy. Romney wants to take measures that could lead to sanctions against America’s biggest importer – never mind that China would almost certainly considered such measures an act of war.