Up to 20 US Soldiers may be Involved in Kandahar Shooting – Afghan Probe

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.


Its Time for Us to Go

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.

From the National Journal:

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.

(emphasis mine)


What’s the Point in Staying in Afghanistan?

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.

American Exceptionalism? Or Tyranny in Disguise?

Radio Host Michael Medved cannot explain why other countries like China can be perfectly safe without bases around the world but the United States must have them in order to be safe. He cannot defend the militaristic- interventionist policy and instead tries to sidetrack the discussion by making slanderous attacks on Ron Paul.

America is exceptional but not in the way that Medved demands. We have no basis upon which to demand that other nations compromise their sovereignty to us so that we can be the police force of the world. We have no moral high ground that justifies our wars of aggression because no such justification exists. There exists a world market but it exists despite military interventionism, not because of it. Instead, what is needed in order to maintain the world market is free trade, something that Ron Paul and non-interventionist policies wholeheartedly support.

Contrast that with the numerous sanctions and embargoes, necessitated by Medved’s ideology, which directly inhibit international free trade. Serial war and occupation goes even further, naturally obstructing the free world market to say nothing of the widespread destruction it inflicts – think of Iraq, for example, where hundreds of thousands were killed and over 4 million Iraqis were displaced in what was possibly the largest refugee crisis in history; is this what makes us so invaluable to the world economy? That we remove these seemingly “expendable” players like Iraq from the world market, crippling their economy for decades to come? One might also wonder, if Medved’s assertions were true, why does the world market flounder with all of Europe on the verge of bankruptcy when the United States has hundreds of bases around the world, a decades long history of CIA and military intervention in the Middle East, and spends more on its military than the next 14 highest military-spending countries combined?

America’s exceptionalism is a matter of degree, not kind. So we have the single largest GDP in the world? So we live in a country founded on the ideals of a republic and not on culture? So have the most powerful military in the world? So what. We are no different than our European, African, South American or Asian counterparts. Our Constitution recognizes what Medved does not: that all “persons” and not just U.S. citizens have certain inalienable rights endowed to us, not by the “exceptional” American government, but by our Creator. We have no authority over the other countries of the world and those who claim otherwise are the enemies of liberty. I’m an American but, even more fundamentally, I’m a human being, and I don’t like the taste of tyranny, Medved – even if its the United States of America who is the perpetrator . . . especially if it is the United States of America who is the perpetrator.

These Cronies Must Go

RT.com points out the corruption and hypocrisy of Washington politicians who contradict our own top brass and intelligence agencies on foreign policy in favor of serial warfare benefiting the military-industrial complex all at the expense of the very people they were elected to serve:

Senators Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn), Lindsey Graham (R – SC)  and John McCain (R-AZ) stick together through thick and thin. They are frequently seen side by side, both physically and politically, and the most common speech they seem to  give has to do with the need for more war.

Brian Becker, National Coordinator for the A.N.S.W.E.R Coalition, said, “These three haven’t met a war that they don’t like.”

Together, they led the charge to amp up the effort in Afghanistan.

“We need more troops there, American troops,” said Sen. Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn) at a Senate hearing on Afghanistan in 2009.

“IED attacks by the enemy have gone up by a thousand percent,” said Sen. Graham at the same hearing.

“In the words of Admiral Mullen,” Sen. McCain said, “time is not on our side.”

InAugust, 2009, the three of them met with Libyan President Muammar Gaddafi at a time when it was in the United States’ interests to call him friend.

Less than two years later, they called for him to be replaced.

“If you want Gaddafi to go,” said Sen. McCain, “then one of the steps among many would be to establish a no-fly zone.”

On CNN, Sen. Lieberman made the case for involvement to the American people.

“Will the world stand by and watch a leader like Qadhafi slaughter his own people?” he asked.

Perhaps the most constant target for the three senators is Iran.

“If we use military action against Iran, we should not only go after their nuclear facilities. We should destroy their ability to make conventional war,” said Sen Graham. “They should have no planes that can fly and no ships that can float.”

Even in 2010, Sen. McCain’s sense of urgency with Iran was immense.

“We keep pointing a gun and we haven’t pulled a single trigger and its time we did,” he said.

But two years later, that lack of immediate military action hasn’t resulted in Armageddon, or anything like it.  Still the calls for action expand – now across the globe

“The Iranian nuclear program is a threat to the entire world,” said Sen Lieberman this week in his speech at AIPAC.

And on Monday on the Senate floor, Senator McCain made the case for airstrikes in Syria.

“Foreign military intervention is now the necessary factor to reinforce this option,” he said.  “Assad needs to know that he will not win.”

Babka said it is a nearly identical debate to the ones in the past.

“Once again, almost with Pavlovian response, these guys come and say, well we gotta go to war,” he said

The mood  of the American people may have  shifted to ending the wars but the perpetual lobby for war does have its supporters, among them – defense contractors.

“They’re very popular with the military industrial complex which sees every new adventure, every new invasion, every new occupation, every new major bombing campaign as an investment,” Becker said.

But it’s an investment fewer Americans want their country to make as they have already lived through the consequences of the previous military adventures.

Remember, these are the exact same individuals who gave us the NDAA, SOPA, the PATRIOT Act, Kill Switch and more. Neoconservatives like Lieberman, Graham and McCain leave no room in their despotic ideals for preserving the integrity of our constitution, defending the rights of Americans or respecting the authority entrusted to them. These cronies must go.

The War Against Peace

Christians protect praying Muslims in Cairo

I can’t help but feel that after 9/11 and a decade spent entrenched in the War on Terror that many Americans have become de-sensitized to the infinite value intrinsic to every human life. Too often I find myself arguing with people who are stuck in the mindset that American lives are innately more valuable than other lives and, well, as for the lives of muslims in the Middle East . . . these people treat their pet dog with more respect.

If you or someone you know is suffering from a case of life-is-valuable-only-when-its-convenient syndrome then please go here and re-sensitize yourself to humanity.

On June 23, 2006, Pope Benedict called for ‘serene and peaceful co-existence’ in the Middle East. Referring to Eastern Catholic Churches in the Holy Land, the Pope said

“the serious difficulties it is going through because of profound insecurity, lack of work, innumerable restrictions and consequent growing poverty, are a cause of pain for us all… I invite pastors, faithful, and everyone in positions of responsibility in the civil community, to favour mutual respect between cultures and religions, and to create as soon as possible the conditions for serene and peaceful coexistence throughout the Middle East.”

America has repeatedly ignored the Pope’s frequent messages of peace, however, instead inciting violence in the Middle East at almost every opportunity. If we want to see an end to the conflict in the Middle East we must first treat our Muslim brothers and sisters in Christ with the respect their humanity deserves or we will only push them towards greater and greater acts of retribution against us.

Ultranationalism is plaguing our country at the expense of true patriotism and as a result we have such odious political conglomerates as bigpeace.com which purports that efforts to expand peace throughout the world are purely some leftist ploy to power. Peace is not like government; whereas big government results in such despotisms like corporatism, “big” or widespread peace is precisely what our Christian values demand we pursue. After all, the alternative to peace is war and who can possibly believe that serial war abroad is better than peace? Unfortunately this seems precisely the mindset of bigpeace.com. Rick Santorum unwittingly illustrated the absurdity of this mindset when he likened the Iraq war to fighting the supreme evil of Mordor. Really? Have we stooped so low as to characterize the Middle East in terms of analogies for Hell? Remember, this is the same Iraq war condemned as unjust by two separate popes.

Christian Iranians Praying

The political pundits of Big Peace are so enslaved to ultranationalism that even when common ground is discovered between Muslims and America’s conservative Christians they are quick to spin it as yet another imminent threat to the American way of life. In response to efforts to work with Muslims to stop abortion, Big Peace writer Diana West stated the following:

Making “common cause” with Muslim states to vote down pro-abortion law at the UN becomes dangerous if and when it means constructing a Trojan Horse by which proponents of sharia make their stealthy advance into regions of respectability in the West that would otherwise be closed to them as sworn enemies of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Apparently, maintaining ethnic purity within the United States is more important than the lives of 52 million children. Its no wonder that in a recent statement Pope Benedict XVI said that America is “increasingly hostile to Christianity.” Instead of valuing nationalism above all else we need to return to our Christian values of charity, self-denial, humility and peace, recognize the infinite value in every human life, promote cultural exchange, free trade, a strong diplomatic presence globally, and replace serial warfare abroad with a strong national defense at home. Only then can we expect to see progress in the Middle East and improve our own security – to say nothing of the restoration of the soul of America.