Posts filed under ‘Wars’
Wow, this is an amazing story (I’ve shortened it a lot; go to the original for all the gory details). It’s essentially the back story to Pakistan and North Korea having nuclear bombs and Iran having a “nuclear program.”
Richard Barlow was driving his 13-year-old motorhome through a mountain state’s blizzard the week before Thanksgiving when news broke of the Iran nuclear deal.
Bad memories flooded his mind, not that they’re ever far away. For more than 25 years, ever since he testified behind closed doors on Capitol Hill that the CIA had “scores” of “absolutely reliable” reports on Pakistan’s clandestine efforts to obtain nuclear bomb technology – technology it later gave to Iran – his life has been tumbling through one trapdoor after another.
Barlow’s testimony in 1987 shocked several panel members of the House Foreign Affairs subcommittee, in part because Army General David Einsel, assigned to the CIA as a top intelligence official, had just told the committee that – despite the recent arrest of a Pakistani caught red-handed buying prohibited nuclear materials – the evidence that Islamabad was pursuing a bomb was inconclusive. The hearing erupted in shouts when Barlow told them differently. “They went through the roof,” he recalled from the road this week. By the time he got back to CIA headquarters, “the phones were ringing off the hook.”
Top Reagan administration officials were in “a panic,” he said, because Pakistan was the crucial player in the CIA operation funneling weapons to Islamic “holy warriors” fighting the Soviet Red Army next door in Afghanistan. If it became known that Pakistan was secretly building a bomb, a law passed by Congress would require a cut-off of military aid.
Obsessed with communism, the administration made a choice: It would turn a blind eye to Pakistan’s nuclear program in order to defeat the Soviets in Afghanistan.
And that meant Barlow, 33 at the time, had to be destroyed.
“If they had busted those [Pakistani] networks,” [Barlow] said last week, “Iran would have no nuclear program, North Korea wouldn’t have a uranium bomb, and Pakistan wouldn’t have over a hundred nuclear weapons they are driving around in vans to hide from us.”
Thanks for the memories Ronnie.
Not surprising but devastating to Egyptians (and their families) who work in the tourism industry:
Tourist Arrivals Drop 69.7% in September
The latest tourism report issued by the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS) showed that the rates of tourists visiting Egypt declined by 69.7% in September.
The statistical report indicated that the total number of tourists totalled 301,150, with the main drop attributed to the decline in the percentage of Europeans tourists visiting Egypt. The number of European tourists decreased from 421,539 in August, comprising 74.7% of the total number tourists, to 159,752 in September, which is only 53%.
The number of Arab tourists also dropped from 101,925 to 99,294 from August to September, while American tourists decreased from 17,887 to 12,031 during the same period.
In September 2012, the total number of tourists in Egypt reached 975,259.
Per Wikipedia: Tourism is one of the most important sectors in Egypt’s economy. More than 12.8 million tourists visited Egypt in 2008, providing revenues of nearly $11 billion. The sector employs about 12% of Egypt’s workforce.”
I think Tony Rohr is a “working class hero” in the purest sense. I hope he’s had a flood of job offers since walking away from Pizza Hut and I hope some of them are attractive enough to make him turn down this disingenuous, kiss ass offer obviously generated by public pressure:
Indiana Pizza Hut Manager Offered Job Back After Firing for Refusal to Open on Thanksgiving
Pizza Hut has offered to rehire the manager of a northern Indiana restaurant who was fired over his refusal to open up on Thanksgiving Day.
Pizza Hut’s corporate office issued a statement Wednesday saying it respects an employee’s right to not work on the holiday and that the store owner has agreed to reinstate [Tony] Rohr.
“This was clearly an unfortunate situation, and we are very upset by what has transpired in Elkhart,” the company statement said. “While the choice as to whether a restaurant should be open or closed on a holiday is handled at the local level by our independent franchisees, we feel strongly that this situation could have been avoided.”
Rohr said he hasn’t decided yet whether to accept the job offer.
You mean to tell me we’ve spent how many lives and how many bazillion dollars in Afghanistan and the most optimistic thing its president has to say lo these many years on is that they won’t stone people to death anymore?
This is progress?
Stoning Will Not be Brought Back, Says Afghan President — Hamid Karzai’s government backs away from reintroduction of brutal punishment after outcry
Afghanistan’s government has backed away from a proposal to reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery after the leak of a draft law stirred up a storm of international condemnation.
The president, Hamid Karzai, said in an interview that the grim penalty, which became a symbol of Taliban brutality when the group were in power, would not be coming back.
“Karzai’s government,” meaning Karzai at the very least approved it, proposed “reintroduce public stoning as a punishment for adultery.” (I bet 99.9% of the people stoned would be women.) In other words, the guy the Bush administration installed as president there wants stoning to be brought back, but that caused “international condemnation” so he back down?
That means it’ll happen but the government will look away.
Gee. Things are going swimmingly there, huh?
The bomb-bomb-bomb, bomb-bomb-Iraners are having a fit today. If there’s one thing they hate more than making sure Americans have health insurance, it’s taking bombing Iran off the table, even if only temporarily.
My Tweet of the Day:
Anyone who followed the run-up to the Iraq war, here or across the pond, knows that then-British Prime Minister was, as he was called at the time, George W. Bush’s “poodle.” Blair didn’t seem to have a independent thought when it came to that fiasco. He unquestionably supported whatever Bush wanted or did. Men died as a result.
Fast forward to today. Political artists Peter Kennard and Cat Phillipps have staged an exhibit titled Contemporary Art and War at the Imperial War Museum North, in Manchester in the UK:
Photo Op, as their photomontage is called, has become the definitive work of art about the war that started with the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Ten years on from that war’s beginning, this manic digital collage states succinctly what a large number people feel and believe about Blair’s responsibility for the chaos that ensued. It says in a nutshell what protesters claimed at the time and what has become a generally accepted version of history – that Tony Blair was a monster charging into Iraq without scruples. Look, there he is, taking a selfie in front of his handiwork. Such is his notoriety that viewers really can take this as fact.
“Some people do,” acknowledges Kennard. “He’s maniacal enough for people to believe he actually would be happy photographing an oil explosion.”
The collective unconscious accepts this picture as true. This is very bad news for Blair. Any hope that history might vindicate him is fading fast.
Art could not stop the war in Iraq. It can influence how that war is remembered. There’s no use Alastair Campbell putting a grim-looking photo of Blair on the cover of his diaries and writing that it reflects Blair’s seriousness and sincerity as he took Britain to war. The image that stands as popular history is the one of Blair taking his “maniacal selfie” in front of the flames of devastation.
I love this concept. While I know, obviously, that this photoshopped picture of Blair isn’t “true,” it represents what he did and how he was, so bravo to Kennard/Phillipps for giving us this image to memorialize that.
Remember back in 2001 when the Bush administration said we were “only” going into Afghanistan to “dismantle al Qaeda” and get “the people who hate us?” Oh, and that we’d be out of there in six months?
Twelve years on here’s the latest news on that:
US-Afghan Agreement Would Keep Troops in pPace and Funds Flowing, Perhaps Indefinitely
While many Americans have been led to believe the war in Afghanistan will soon be over, a draft of a key US-Afghan security deal obtained by NBC News shows the United States is prepared to maintain military outposts in Afghanistan for many years to come, and pay to support hundreds of thousands of Afghan security forces.
The wide-ranging document, still unsigned by the United States and Afghanistan, has the potential to commit thousands of American troops to Afghanistan and spend billions of US taxpayer dollars.
Osama bin Laden wins. His goal was to spur the United States to bankrupt itself by neglecting its internal needs in favor of military spending.
You might be dead Osama but you read us right. You win. We lose.
Oh, and h/t to Obama for telling us he’d end the war but not quite getting around to it.
Our tax dollars at work.
Geezus. Forget freedom fries. I guess we’re free to call them French fries again because the socialists in France scuttled a peace accord with Iran today and Republicans are so happy they’re orgasmic. I mean, they’re virtually making out with socialists tonight. That’s how big a deal leaving the potential for nuclear war on the table is to them:
Western and Iranian negotiators were putting the finishing touches on a far-reaching nuclear deal. Then, at virtually the last minute, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius joined in the talks. It didn’t take long for the negotiations to unravel — and for Fabius to publicly declare this round of the talks to be over.
It wasn’t the answer U.S., European or Iranian teams had been expecting. One Western official said Paris hadn’t been particularly involved in the painstaking negotiations that had taken place in the run-up to this weekend’s talks in Geneva. “The French were barely involved in this,” one Western diplomat said. “They didn’t get looped in until a few days ago.”
Yet the French response shouldn’t have been a total surprise. The socialist government of French President François Hollande has adopted a muscular foreign policy that has put it to the right of the Obama administration on Libya, Mali, Syria and now Iran. Along the way, it has also become Israel’s primary European ally and — after the U.S. — arguably its closest friend in the world.
“Thank God for France,” South Carolina Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, a longtime Iran hawk, told CNN. “The French are becoming very good leaders in the Mideast.”
Arizona Republican Sen. John McCain, another hardliner, busted out his own basic knowledge of French to praise the Hollande government in its own language.
“#France had the courage to prevent a bad nuclear agreement with #Iran,” he wrote on Twitter. “Vive la France!”
Woohoo. It’s party time. There’s still a chance John McCain will get his wish: To bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran!
The Ur Rahmans traveled all the way from Pakistan to tell congress about how their innocent grandmother was killed by a U.S. drone and for all intents and purposes, nobody on Capitol Hill gave a shit:
Congressman Alan Grayson held a hearing on the Hill on Tuesday on civilian deaths in US drone strikes. A Pakistani family, the Ur Rahmans, testified on the death by drone of their grandmother while she was tending her garden. Nine-year-old Nabila Ur Rahman was injured in the strike that killed he grandmother. It was a moving event, with the translator tearing up. But only 4 congressmen showed up. Presumably they were too busy taking food out of the mouths of poor children to bother.
The next time I hear a politician ask, “Why do they hate us?” I’ll think of this.
Something to think about:
“Stop taking tap water for granted. Go to your faucet, draw a glass, and drink it. Then remember that nearly a billion people can’t do just that.”
Really, really shortsighted:
The United States is loosening controls over military exports, in a shift that former U.S. officials and human rights advocates say could increase the flow of American-made military parts to the world’s conflicts and make it harder to enforce arms sanctions.
Come tomorrow, thousands of parts of military aircraft, such as propeller blades, brake pads and tires will be able to be sent to almost any country in the world, with minimal oversight – even to some countries subject to U.N. arms embargos. U.S. companies will also face fewer checks than in the past when selling some military aircraft to dozens of countries.
Critics, including some who’ve worked on enforcing arms export laws, say the changes could undermine efforts to prevent arms smuggling to Iran and others.
I can’t wait to see what happens:
Switzerland will hold a vote on whether to introduce a basic income for all adults, in a further sign of growing public activism over pay inequality since the financial crisis.
A grassroots committee is calling for all adults in Switzerland to receive an unconditional income of 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,800) per month from the state, with the aim of providing a financial safety net for the population.
In March, Swiss voters backed some of the world’s strictest controls on executive pay, forcing public companies to give shareholders a binding vote on compensation.
A separate proposal to limit monthly executive pay to no more than what the company’s lowest-paid staff earn in a year, the so-called 1:12 initiative, faces a popular vote on November 24.
Nice. When a country doesn’t spend a gazillion dollars on “defense” they can think about things like this.
Secretary of Agriculture: Why Do We Value Our Rural Farmers? Because They Send Their Kids to the Military!!!
A friend just sent me this mind blowing and sadly discouraging tidbit from mid-August. Does a militaristic mindset permeate the brain of every upper level government official?
Why do we need more farmers? What is the driving force behind USDA policy? In an infuriating epiphany I have yet to metabolize, I found out Wednesday in a private policy-generation meeting with Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McCauliffe.
It was a who’s who of Virginia agriculture: Farm Bureau, Va. Agribusiness Council, Va. Forestry Association, Va. Poultry Federation, Va. Cattlemen’s Ass., deans from Virginia Tech and Virginia State–you get the picture.
But I digress. The big surprise occurred a few minutes into the meeting: US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack walked in.
Are you ready for the shoe to drop? The epiphany? What could the US Secretary of Agriculture, at the highest strategic planning sessions of our land, be challenged by other leaders to change this figure, to get more people in rural America, to encourage farming and help more farms get started? What could be the driving reason to have more farmers? Why does he go to bed at night trying to figure out how to increase farmers? How does the President and other cabinet members view his role as the nation’s farming czar?
What could be the most important contribution that increasing farmers could offer to the nation? Better food? Better soil development? Better care for animals? Better care for plants?
Here’s the bombshell:
Are you ready? Here’s his answer: although rural America only has 16 percent of the population, it gives 40 percent of the personnel to the military. Say what? You mean when it’s all said and done, at the end of the day, the bottom line–you know all the cliches–the whole reason for increasing farms is to provide cannon fodder for American imperial might. He said rural kids grow up with a sense of wanting to give something back, and if we lose that value system, we’ll lose our military might.
So folks, it all boils down to American military muscle. It’s not about food, healing the land, stewarding precious soil and resources; it’s all about making sure we keep a steady stream of youngsters going into the military.
I was left speechless after reading this and I still am. SMDH.
I hope this becomes a worldwide trend:
A leading UK university is ending its £1.2m [$1.9] investment in a defence company that makes components for lethal US drones because it says the business is not “socially responsible”.
The University of Edinburgh has bowed to pressure from students and campaign groups and is withdrawing funding from Ultra Electronics. The company, headquartered at Greenford in Middlesex, makes navigation controls for the US fleet of Predator and Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles.
Armed with Hellfire missiles, they are sent on covert “targeted killing” missions against suspected terrorist cells in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia. But according to the Bureau for Investigative Journalism at City University in London, more than 430 strikes since 2002 have killed at least 428 civilians, of whom 173 were children.
We keep pouring more and more tax dollars into defense spending but according to the defense spenders, all that money isn’t enough. They “need” more.
When do we say: ENOUGH! It ain’t workin’?
My Tweet of the Day:
If we did more stuff like this with the money we spend on bombs we might actually win hearts and minds:
U.S. Army Sgt. 1st Class Keith Bart, a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter crew chief with Charlie Company, 2nd General Support Aviation Battalion, 4th Aviation Regiment, 4th Combat Aviation Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, carries an animal to safety during flood rescue and recovery operations in Boulder, Colo., Sept. 16, 2013. Colorado and Wyoming National Guard units were activated to provide assistance to people affected by massive flooding along Colorado’s Front Range.
Last night Barack Obama told us to watch the videos of people dying in Syria after being gassed by President Assad and he said if the United States doesn’t lead in the area of humanitarianism — as it supposedly always has — who will.
What a bunch of crap.
Show me another country who’s launched significant
humanitarian military actions roughly every 40 months over the last 40 years starting in 1964 with the invasion of Vietnam, veterans of which we’re still caring for and victims of which are still suffering from birth defects from our use of the chemical weapon, Agent Orange.
I’m listening to a “liberal” radio talk show and the people who are calling in are astonished to learn that the United States isn’t the beacon on the big high hill they’ve been led to believe. I mean, they’re as bad as this guy.
Beyond what we did in Vietnam, below is the reality. Oh, and how about we start wars every couple centuries instead of every 40 months for god’s sake:
- 1965-1973: Cambodia. We dropped more bombs on the tiny country than had been used in all of World War II.
- 1965: Dominican Republic. President Johnson sent 22,000 troops to prevent communists from taking over.
- 1983: Grenada. In the comically named Operation Urgent Fury, we invaded the tiny island nation to stop the commies.
- 1986: Libya. After two Americans are among those killed in a terrorist bombing of a disco in Germany, President Reagan ordered the bombing of facilities controlled by Muammar Gaddafi.
- 1989: Panama. In Operation Just Cause, we invaded the country and deposed its leader, Manuel Noriega.
- 1991: Kuwait/Iraq. Operation Desert Storm.
- 1992-1995: Somalia. Operation Restore Hope. Didn’t end well.
- 1994: Haiti. President Clinton sent 20,000 troops to restore the government of Jean-Bertrand Aristide.
- 1995: Bosnia. US and NATO forces intervene in the civil war with a large bombing campaign.
- 1999: Kosovo. We bomb the Serbians to help the Kosovars.
- 2001: Afghanistan. Still going!
- 2003: Iraq.
- 2011: Libya.
- 2013: Syria
This is shocking:
Twelve years after the worst terrorist attack in American history, President Obama yet again extended his predecessor’s Declaration of National Emergency for another year. The declaration, which was originally put into place on September 14, 2001, was renewed on Tuesday.
“The terrorist threat that led to the declaration on September 14, 2001, of a national emergency continues,” wrote President Obama. “For this reason, I have determined that it is necessary to continue in effect after September 14, 2013, the national emergency with respect to the terrorist threat.”
The powers provided to the executive branch by President George W. Bush’s declaration include the ability to “detain enlisted members of the Coast Guard beyond their terms of enlistment,” “order any enlisted member of the Coast Guard on the retired list to active duty” and “increase the number of members of the armed services on active duty beyond the number for which funds have been appropriated,” according to a report [PDF] by the Congressional Research Service.
So disappointing. I was hoping Obama would undo some of the Bush administration’s hysteria.
What’s up is down, what’s down is up:
The decision by the University of Denver to honor former President George W. Bush at a DU fundraiser has been controversial for months. Now, with Bush scheduled to speak at downtown Denver event this evening, a group of concerned students and alumni, among others, are planning a protest and press conference in advance of the get-together, with one organizer expressing fears that the money collected will be used to promote an agenda that flies in the face of the university’s values.
This event is happening just down the road as I post this.
Talk about rewriting history: George W. Bush is being honored as having improved the human condition? Really? Estimates range from 109,032 to 1,033,000 dead in the Iraq war he lied us into.
Per Amazing Maps, this is the current military situation in the Mediterranean:
So, we’re just going to drop a few bombs, huh? Looks to me like we’re pretty darn worried that won’t go so well.
My Tweet of the Day happens to come from me. I couldn’t believe it this morning when I heard Joe Scarborough say this:
Excuse me Joe, but if you’re the country being bombed I’m pretty sure you see that as an act of war.
We’re so arrogant it’s unbelievable.
From the good ol’ Onion:
Don’t do it Obama!
Now that the United States is considering missile strikes on Syria, Iraqi Shiites like Abu Mohaned say they see history repeating itself — even if across a border — and they are prepared to once again take on a familiar adversary. If the United States strikes Syria, Iraqi Shiites will see it as their fight, too, and pour across the border to assist Mr. Assad, many people here said.
“No honorable man will accept what the Americans want to do in Syria,” Abu Mohaned said, reflecting the view of Iraq’s Shiite majority who see any threat to Mr. Assad as an intervention on the side of a Sunni-led, Al Qaeda-aligned rebellion.
This would be Lindsey Graham speaking at the Berkeley Chamber of Commerce Small Business Luncheon on Tuesday:
“Chemical weapons in Syria today means nuclear weapons in the U.S. tomorrow.”
“The reason terrorists killed three thousand Americans during 9/11 is because they haven’t yet come up with a weapon capable of killing three million of us,” he said.
“Our President has to make a case to the U.S. people,” he said. “We need to employ a strategy above and beyond a few missile strikes in Syria in order for this to work.”
“If you talk about Syria and don’t mention Iran you are disconnected from the times in which you live. If Iran believes we don’t care what (Syrian President Bashar al-Assad) does with chemical weapons they will become emboldened and press forward with nuclear weapons.
Do our dear leaders really believe the BS in that last paragraph or do they just think we’re so dumb we do? It seems to me that if we bomb Syria, it will cause Iran to double-down on its efforts to build a nuclear weapon, not back down.
Here’s a photo of John McCain playing poker on his iPhone during John Kerry and Chuck Hagel’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today on bombing Syria, via the Washington Post’s Melina Mara:
I guess the “debate” was just a side show to ol’ John. But no doubt, we’ll see him on the “news” shows a million times in the coming weeks / months because he’s supposedly such a serious person when it comes to war(s).
I think I listened to every hearing and every speech anyone ever gave in the run-up to the invasion of Iraq and I’m telling you, listening to John Kerry and Chuck Hagel “testify” before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this afternoon has been like a dagger to the heart. Are we really going to do this again?
This isn’t child’s play:
I never thought I’d agree with Erick Erickson on anything but this is exactly my fear, i.e., what happens the day after? If we send missiles into Syria to “punish” Assad it’s just that — punishment — but if he retaliates will we see that as punishment for what we did? Hell the f**k no. It’ll be full-blown war:
If the United States wants to help the Syrian people, it might try this instead of bombing them:
Sweden Grants Blanket Asylum to Syrian Refugees
Swedish government announces it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply, because it does not expect violence in Syria will end ‘in the near future’
Sweden on Tuesday became the first European Union country to announce it will give asylum to all Syrian refugees who apply.
“All Syrian asylum seekers who apply for asylum in Sweden will get it,” Annie Hoernblad, the spokeswoman for Sweden’s migration agency, told AFP.
“The agency made this decision now because it believes the violence in Syria will not end in the near future.”
The decision, which will give refugees permanent resident status, is valid until further notice, added Hoernblad.
Per OpenSecrets.org: No wonder congress is silent when it comes to Obama’s plans to bomb Syria. Checkout how much defense contractors have spent on lobbying so far this year. Unbelievable:
This is a screenshot and I know it’s impossible to read. Go here for a larger version.
The top spot? Lockheed Martin at $7,636,496 (in the first eight months of the year!). Total defense/aerospace lobbying in 2013? Are you sitting down? $29,604,490. That would be $29,604,490.