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Posts Tagged ‘Afghanistan war’

Respect candidate takes seat from Labour with 10,140 majority, claiming ‘the most sensational victory in British political history’

Patrick Wintour, political editor | The Guardian | Friday 30 March 2012

 

George Galloway, right, is greeted by a supporter as he arrives to hear the results of the Bradford West byelection. Photograph: Anna Gowthorpe/PA

George Galloway, the leading figure in Respect, has grabbed a remarkable victory in the Bradford West byelection, claiming that “By the grace of God, we have won the most sensational victory in British political history”.

It appeared that the seat’s Muslim community had decamped from Labour en masse to Galloway’s call for an immediate British troop withdrawal from Afghanistan and a fightback against the job crisis.

On a turnout of 50.78%, Labour’s shellshocked candidate Imran Hussein was crushed by a 36.59% swing from Labour to Respect that saw Galloway take the seat with a majority of 10,140.

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by Robert Greenwald and Derrick Crowe, The Huffington Post,  Dec 5, 2010

When asked by USA Today‘s pollsters last week, sixty-eight percent of Americans said we worry that the cost of the Afghanistan War hurts our ability to fix problems here in the U.S. This week, we learned just how right we were about that. Friday’s terrible jobs report shows that a crushing 9.8 percent of us are unemployed. And, millions of us are about to lose our lifeline because Congress refuses to extend unemployment insurance benefits. We’re spending $2 billion per week — per week! — in Afghanistan while millions of people face going hungry during the holidays.

Do our elected officials not get it? We’re drowning out here, and the administration is throwing money that could put Americans back to work at a failed war on the other side of the planet. In fact, that’s where the president was when the jobs report came out this morning — in Afghanistan, talking about “progress” again.

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by Robert Jensen, CommonDreams.org, August 23, 2010

When the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division rolled out of Iraq last week, the colonel commanding the brigade told a reporter that his soldiers were “leaving as heroes.”

While we can understand the pride of professional soldiers and the emotion behind that statement, it’s time for Americans — military and civilian — to face a difficult reality: In seven years of the deceptively named “Operation Iraqi Freedom” and nine years of “Operation Enduring Freedom” in Afghanistan, no member of the U.S. has been a hero.

This is not an attack on soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Military personnel may act heroically in specific situations, showing courage and compassion, but for them to be heroes in the truest sense they must be engaged in a legal and morally justifiable conflict. That is not the case with the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq or Afghanistan, and the social pressure on us to use the language of heroism — or risk being labeled callous or traitors — undermines our ability to evaluate the politics and ethics of wars in a historical framework.

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By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service News

WASHINGTON, Mar 8, 2010 (IPS) – For weeks, the U.S. public followed the biggest offensive of the Afghanistan War against what it was told was a “city of 80,000 people” as well as the logistical hub of the Taliban in that part of Helmand. That idea was a central element in the overall impression built up in February that Marja was a major strategic objective, more important than other district centres in Helmand.

It turns out, however, that the picture of Marja presented by military officials and obediently reported by major news media is one of the clearest and most dramatic pieces of misinformation of the entire war, apparently aimed at hyping the offensive as a historic turning point in the conflict.

Marja is not a city or even a real town, but either a few clusters of farmers’ homes or a large agricultural area covering much of the southern Helmand River Valley.

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Robert Kuttner | HuffPo | December 6, 2009

(Charles Dharapak/AP)

I was pleasantly surprised to be invited to the White House jobs summit last Thursday, where I got to watch President Obama engage with about 130 people off the cuff. And I was reminded, first hand, what drew so many of us to the promise of this remarkable outsider — the decency, the intellect, the idealism, and the evidently progressive impulses. I came away even more bewildered and dismayed at the reality that this president, who could have been such an insurgent at a moment demanding insurgency, has been so utterly captured by the Wall Street elite, the health insurance industry elite, and the military elite.

As a friend said, “I so wanted to be supportive of a great progressive president this time instead of being back in opposition.”

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Whether you like it or not, if you voted for President Obama last year, you are partly responsible for this strategy. That’s not entirely a bad thing depending on your position on the war, but it’s worth repeating that the president never spoke of drawing down our forces in the Af-Pak region during the campaign, nor did he mention such a thing during his first 10 months in office.

So last night’s announcement shouldn’t come as a shocker.

Admittedly, during the campaign, he never specifically said that he would drop 30,000 additional soldiers into the war. And while he never specified the exact “30,000” number, he also never said anything about a July, 2011 date for beginning the withdrawal either. In other words, and unlike the Bushies, he’s making adjustments to his strategy based upon what’s happening on the ground rather than holding himself to a firm “smoke ‘em out” meets “bring ‘em on” endless and unchanging war policy. And, suffice to say, this underscores his considerably non-Bushie penchant for thought, rationality and informed deliberation.

Nevertheless, this thing is painfully confounding.

Yes, I obviously voted for President Obama. Yes, I understand how this strategy is, in fact, a vast departure from the Bush administration’s conduct and strategic planning (insofar as the Bushies “planned” anything — all gut). Yes, I understood the president’s hawkish language about “the good war.”

But I’m very reluctant to support this decision, because history has proved that similar plans have too easily gone horribly awry. Be that as it may, I just don’t see how the president’s solution can be avoided.

The war in Afghanistan is like a terrible form of cancer. No one wants it, but I don’t know how we can avoid dealing with it without facing serious consequences. I don’t want an escalation. I don’t want more casualties. I don’t want more spending when Congress is being miserly on domestic programs. I want the thing to end. I didn’t even want it to start in the first place.

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This Thanksgiving, Hear What New Veterans Are Grateful For

Huffington Post

Paul Rieckhoff– Exec. Director of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Posted: November 25, 2009 06:38 PM

It’s time once again for that seasonal blend of gratitude and that deep longing for the familiar –family, health, pumpkin pie, turkey, and the Detroit Lions getting blown-out on National TV.

Eight years of war have brought tremendous challenges for our military, our veterans and their families. And just a few weeks ago, the military community was tested yet again by the terrible tragedy at Fort Hood.

Despite these obstacles, our men and women in uniform continue to soldier on. And this year, they have more than a few things to give thanks for. In 2009, we’ve seen some big victories for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans. Just last month, advanced funding for VA health care was signed into law. A top priority for leading veterans groups for decades, this reform will transform veterans’ health care forever.

In 2009, we also saw the implementation of the new GI Bill, a historic measure which will send thousands of young men and women in uniform to college. And, we saw the new veterans movement grow and take hold across the country. From the largest Veterans Week celebrations ever to a thriving Community of Veterans, Iraq and Afghanistan veterans are coming together and showing one another that they have each other’s backs.

I know I am thankful for all of the above, but also for the support I’ve seen from people around the country for our veterans. I also think back to my Thanksgiving in Germany at CMCT, and I am grateful that I am not in the mud freezing my butt off. And I think back to my Thanksgiving in Baghdad, and I am grateful that all the men in my platoon came home alive. I am also grateful for those like Milo Ventimiglia who are taking USO trips overseas to see our troops. And, I am grateful for the inspiration of a true American hero, J.R Martinez, and the 60 kids from P.S. 22 who taught us that Rihanna can be a very powerful anthem.

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John Pilger | ZNet, Nov. 7, 2009

Editor’s Note: An important speech/article by a great writer who has stood for  truth and justice that  needs the attention of all of us around the world.

Thank you all for coming tonight, and my thanks to the City of Sydney and especially to the Sydney Peace Foundation for awarding me the Peace Prize. It’s an honour I cherish, because it comes from where I come from.

I am a seventh generation Australian. My great-great grandfather landed not far from here, on November 8th, 1821. He wore leg irons, each weighing four pounds. His name was Francis McCarty. He was an Irishman, convicted of the crime of insurrection and “uttering unlawful oaths”. In October of the same year, an 18 year old girl called Mary Palmer stood in the dock at Middlesex Gaol and was sentenced to be transported to New South Wales for the term of her natural life. Her crime was stealing in order to live. Only the fact that she was pregnant saved her from the gallows. She was my great-great grandmother. She was sent from the ship to the Female Factory at Parramatta, a notorious prison where every third Monday, male convicts were brought for a “courting day” – a rather desperate measure of social engineering. Mary and Francis met that way and were married on October 21st, 1823.

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Biden On Cheney Criticism: “Who Cares?”

The Huffington Post |  Rachel Weiner
First Posted: 10-23-09 05:21 PM   |   Updated: 10-23-09 08:10 PM

Asked about criticism from former Vice President Dick Cheney, current VP Joe Biden had a simple response: “Who cares?”

Actually, he said, “Who cares what — ” and then stopped himself.

“Yeah, yeah, I can see the headline now,” Biden said. “I’m getting better, guys. I’m getting a little better, you know what I mean?”

Cheney said in a speech Wednesday night at the Center for Security Policy that President Obama is “dithering” on Afghanistan “while America’s armed forces are in danger.” He claimed that “signals of indecision out of Washington hurt our allies and embolden our adversaries.”

The vice president did elaborate on one of Cheney’s arguments — that the last administration left Obama with a review of Afghanistan.

“A whole lot has changed in the last year,” he said. “Let’s assume they left us a review that was absolutely correct. Is that review relevant and totally applicable to today in light of the changes that have taken place in the region, in Afghanistan itself? So I think that is sort of irrelevant. Not sort of — I think it’s irrelevant.”

VIDEO & MORE HERE

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by Rick Rozoff
Global Research, September 24, 2009

Over the past week U.S. newspapers and television networks have been abuzz with reports that Washington and its NATO allies are planning an unprecedented increase of troops for the war in Afghanistan, even in addition to the 17,000 new American and several thousand NATO forces that have been committed to the war so far this year.

The number, based on as yet unsubstantiated reports of what U.S. and NATO commander Stanley McChrystal and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Michael Mullen have demanded of the White House, range from 10,000 to 45,000.

Fox News has cited figures as high as 45,000 more American soldiers and ABC News as many as 40,000. On September 15 the Christian Science Monitor wrote of “perhaps as many as 45,000.”

The similarity of the estimates indicate that a number has been agreed upon and America’s obedient media is preparing domestic audiences for the possibility of the largest escalation of foreign armed forces in Afghanistan’s history. Only seven years ago the United States had 5,000 troops in the country, but was scheduled to have 68,000 by December even before the reports of new deployments surfaced.

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