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General McChrystal’s Rolling Stone Interview A ‘Significant Mistake,’ Gates Says

ANNE GEARAN and JULIE PACE | 06/22/10 12:33 PM | AP – Via Huff Po

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the top U.S. general in Afghanistan made “a significant mistake” and used poor judgment in remarks to a magazine reporter.

Gates says Gen. Stanley McChrystal has apologized to him. Gates also says he has recalled McChrystal to Washington to discuss the matter in person. That’s on top of the White House summons that McChrystal appear there Wednesday.

The Pentagon says McChrystal will hold a separate meeting with Gates.

Gates’ statement says nothing about whether McChrystal should keep his job.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

WASHINGTON (AP) – Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the top U.S. general in Afghanistan made “a significant mistake” and used poor judgment in remarks to a magazine reporter.

Gates says Gen. Stanley McChrystal has apologized to him. Gates also says he has recalled McChrystal to Washington to discuss the matter in person. That’s on top of the White House summons that McChrystal appear there Wednesday.

The Pentagon says McChrystal will hold a separate meeting with Gates.

Gates’ statement says nothing about whether McChrystal should keep his job.

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McChrystal’s Rolling Stone Interview: General’s Team SLAMS Key Obama Officials (SLIDESHOW)

Huff Post- First Posted: 06-22-10 10:18 AM   |   Updated: 06-22-10 11:25 AM

Gen. Stanley McChrystal’s candid Rolling Stone interview prompted the White House to summon McChrystal, the most senior military commander in Afghanistan, to the capital for a standing meeting. McChrystal usually participates via teleconference.

Below are some of the most notable quotes and details from Michael Hasting’s profile of McChrystal, his staff, and the war that the U.S. is fighting in Afghanistan.

>>>PHOTOS HERE<<<

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White House Briefing Video: Live Stream Of Press Briefing With Robert Gibbs

Huffington Post First Posted: 06-22-10 12:54 PM   |   Updated: 06-22-10 12:55 PM

Visit this page for live streaming video whenever Press Secretary Robert Gibbs gives the White House press briefing.

>>>VIDEO HERE<<<

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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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By Dave Lindorff, Couterpunch, Oct 20, 2009

The horrors of the US Agent Orange campaign in Vietnam, about which I wrote on Oct. 15, could ultimately be dwarfed by the horrors of the depleted uranium weapons which the US began using in the 1991 Gulf War (300 tons), and which it used much more extensively, and in more urban, populated areas, in the Iraq War and the now intensifying Afghanistan War.

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Earthquakes Rock Samoa, Indonesia (UPDATES)

KENI LESA and FILI SAGAPOLUTELE | 09/30/09 12:55 PM | AP

APIA, Samoa — Disaster officials rushed food, medicine and a temporary morgue to the Samoas on Wednesday after a powerful earthquake unleashed a tsunami that flattened villages and swept cars and people out to sea. At least 99 people were killed.

Survivors fled the waves for higher ground on the South Pacific islands after the magnitude 8.0 quake struck at 6:48 a.m. local time (1:48 p.m. EDT; 1748 GMT) Tuesday.

Four tsunami waves 15 to 20 feet (4 to 6 meters) high roared ashore on American Samoa about 15 minutes after the quake, reaching up to a mile (1.5 kilometers) inland, Mike Reynolds, superintendent of the National Park of American Samoa, was quoted as saying by a parks service spokeswoman.

Military transports carrying medical personnel, food, water, medicines and other supplies were headed to the stricken islands.

“Right now, we’re focused on bringing in the assistance for people that have been injured, and for the immediate needs of the tens of thousands of survivors down there,” said Federal Emergency Management Agency Administrator Craig Fugate. A Coast Guard C-130 plane loaded with aid and carrying FEMA officials was headed from Hawaii to American Samoa’s capital of Pago Pago, where debris had been cleared from runways to allow for emergency planes to land.

“I cannot tell you exactly what kind of damages we had. We’re getting reports just like everyone else that this is a significant impact,” he said.

New Zealand’s acting Prime Minister Bill English said tents, stretchers, the temporary morgue facilities and a body identification team were sent to Samoa after a “specific request” from local officials, who are “are very concerned about the growing death toll.”

The quake was centered about 120 miles south of the islands of Samoa, which has about 220,000 people, and American Samoa, a U.S. territory of 65,000.

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Asia Hit By Tsunamis, Earthquakes: Send Us Your Photos

Huffington Post
First Posted: 09-30-09 10:03 AM   |   Updated: 09-30-09 12:06 PM

Earthquakes and tsunamis have wreaked havoc on multiple nations in Asia and the South Pacific over the past few days, killing hundreds, causing serious damage and sometimes destroying entire villages.

Go here for the latest info on the disasters. And look at the slideshow below.

Do you have photographs or video of the earthquakes and tsunamis in the South Pacific, Indonesia, Vietnam, Philippines, or elsewhere? Send them to us here. The best ones will be published on the HuffPost.

SLIDE SHOW AND SEND YOUR PHOTOS HERE

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By Philip Giraldi, Campaign For Liberty, Aug 3, 2009

In “Julius Caesar” Shakespeare’s Brutus counsels “There is a tide in the affairs of men, which, taken on the flood, leads on to fortune.” Shakespeare was describing how powerful men seeking yet more power, blinded by hubris, collectively brought about the destruction of the very republic that they claimed to love. Brutus was urging his fellow conspirator Cassius to fight the forces of Anthony and Octavian on the following day at Philippi in the belief that one more battle would end the civil war that had begun with the assassination of Caesar. Brutus concludes his exhortation with a personal note revealing that for all his high mindedness he was not unmindful of the lure of military glory, “omitted, all the voyage of their life is bound in shallows and in miseries.” As has become increasingly clear to many, in “Julius Caesar” Shakespeare could have as easily been writing about contemporary America as the Roman Republic.

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Gareth Porter | Raw Story | Wednesday, July 8, 2009

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Official government documents reveal new side of defense secretary’s legacy

Robert S. McNamara, Secretary of Defense from 1961 to 1967, took many secrets with him when he died Monday at 93. But probably no secret was more sensitive politically than the one that would have changed fundamentally the public perception of his role in Vietnam policy had it been become widely known.

The secret was his deliberate deceit of President Lyndon B. Johnson on Aug. 4, 1964 regarding the alleged attack on US warships in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Documents which have been available for decades in the LBJ Library show clearly that McNamara failed to inform Johnson that the U.S. naval task group commander in the Tonkin Gulf, Captain John J. Herrick, had changed his mind about the alleged North Vietnamese torpedo attack on U.S. warships he had reported earlier that day.

By early afternoon Washington time, Herrick had reported to the Commander in Chief Pacific in Honolulu that “freak weather effects” on the ship’s radar had made such an attack questionable. In fact, Herrick was now saying, in a message sent at 1:27 pm Washington time, that no North Vietnamese patrol boats had actually been sighted. Herrick now proposed a “complete evaluation before any further action taken.”

Full story

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TIM WEINER | NYT | July 7, 2009

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Robert S. McNamara, the forceful and cerebral defense secretary who helped lead the nation into the maelstrom of Vietnam and spent the rest of his life wrestling with the war’s moral consequences, died Monday at his home in Washington. He was 93.

His wife, Diana, said Mr. McNamara died in his sleep at 5:30 a.m., adding that he had been in failing health for some time.

Mr. McNamara was the most influential defense secretary of the 20th century. Serving Presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson from 1961 to 1968, he oversaw hundreds of military missions, thousands of nuclear weapons and billions of dollars in military spending and foreign arms sales. He also enlarged the defense secretary’s role, handling foreign diplomacy and the dispatch of troops to enforce civil rights in the South.

“He’s like a jackhammer,” Johnson said. “No human being can take what he takes. He drives too hard. He is too perfect.”

As early as April 1964, Senator Wayne Morse, Democrat of Oregon, called Vietnam “McNamara’s War.” Mr. McNamara did not object. “I am pleased to be identified with it,” he said, “and do whatever I can to win it.”

Half a million American soldiers went to war on his watch. More than 16,000 died; 42,000 more would fall in the seven years to come.

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Anthony: President John F. Kennedy is often accused of starting the Vietnam War. This is untrue. What Kennedy did was to increase the number of American non-combatant military personnel in Vietnam. Hostilities began after President Johnson claimed that two American destroyers were attacked in the Gulf of Tonkin, by which he gained Congress’s approval for military action. He omitted to mention that the destroyers in question had been spying on North Vietnam and giving information on the positions of military targets to the South Vietnamese. Johnson later said that the blips which the US ships got on their radar and interpreted as enemy boats could have been whales or flying fish. McNamara, in the TV documentary, Fog of War, later admitted, concerning the alleged attack, “It didn’t happen.”

Readers may be interested to read this article, Exit Strategy, by James K. Galbraith, based on White House recordings, in which he shows that in the fall of 1963, on McNamara’s own recommendation, Kennedy did indeed decide to end American involvement in Vietnam. Tragically, Kennedy was assassinated shortly after, and his successor, Lyndon B. Johnson, on the advice of the Wise Men, decided to escalate the war.

What baffles me is that it was on McNamara’s own advice that Kennedy made this decision, but that McNamara nevertheless went along with Johnson’s very different, and disastrous, Vietnam strategy.

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President Nixon pointing to the transcripts of White House tapes in April 1974, after he announced that he would give the material to lawmakers and make them public.

President Nixon pointing to the transcripts of White House tapes in April 1974, after he announced that he would give the material to lawmakers and make them public.

CHARLIE SAVAGE | NYT | June 23, 2009

WASHINGTON — On Jan. 23, 1973, when the Supreme Court struck down laws criminalizing abortion in Roe v. Wade, President Richard M. Nixon made no public statement. But privately, newly released tapes reveal, he expressed ambivalence.

Nixon worried that greater access to abortions would foster “permissiveness,” and said that “it breaks the family.” But he also saw a need for abortion in some cases — like interracial pregnancies, he said.

“There are times when an abortion is necessary. I know that. When you have a black and a white,” he told an aide, before adding, “Or a rape.”

Read more…

Highlights from newly released recordings of former President Richard M. Nixon by secret microphones in the Oval Office in 1973. Editors’ Note: Contains language that may be offensive.

Discussing Israel’s shooting of a Libyan plane and domestic religious tension, with the Rev. Billy Graham.

On negotiations for peace in Vietnam

On vindication in Vietnam

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By Dave Lindorff | Counterpunch, May 11, 2009

We’re been here before, many times.

The US causes massive civilian deaths through its indiscriminate use of heavy air power, and then tries to claim it’s the enemy’s fault for “hiding” among the civilians and “using them as shields.”

In Vietnam, where the US was fighting against a local revolutionary movement that was seeking to overthrow the puppet regime backed by America, American planes routinely bombed and napalmed villages, claiming that the Viet Cong were hiding amongst the peasants. Women, old men and children would die in droves—several million of them by the time that war was over–and we’d be told it was all the fault of the Communists, who, we were told, had no regard for innocent life.

In Iraq, we took a city of 300,000, Fallujah, and effectively leveled it. Anyone who died there was presumed to be an insurgent, though the truth was, the Marines encircling the city before the onslaught only allowed fleeing women, girls and male children who were under the age 12 to flee, sending older boys and men seeking to get out back into the city to meet their fate.

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Possibly related posts: (automatically generated)

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Obama Could Issue an Executive Order to End the Wars Tomorrow (Yes, It’s That Simple)

By Nora Eisenberg, AlterNet. Posted January 29, 2009.

In a wide-ranging interview, veteran Paul Sullivan discusses Bush, Obama and the legacies of the Gulf War.

Paul Sullivan is a veteran of the 1991 Gulf War, serving in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq as a Cavalry Scout with the Army’s 1st Armored Division.

As executive director of the National Gulf War Resource Center from 1997 to 2000, he advocated for the passage of the Persian Gulf Veterans Act of 1998, which expanded health care and disability benefits for Gulf War veterans. From 2000 to 2006, he was Veterans Affairs project manager, leading a team that produced reports related to the Gulf War, Iraq war and Afghanistan war.

Sullivan is a life member of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Disabled American Veterans and is presently the executive director of Veterans for Common Sense, a Washington nonprofit organization focusing on issues related to national security, veterans’ rights and benefits and civil liberties.

Two days after the inauguration, Paul spoke with me about a number of topics, including: the lies, drugs and poisons involved in the Gulf War and its current sequels; the suicide epidemic among Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans; the rash of homicides around military bases; the need for a truth commission; skewed research on Gulf War illness at VA; signs of conspiracy and subterfuge; the legacies of Bush 41 and Bush 43; the first days of Barack Obama; and his hopes for Michelle Obama as a true friend of veterans and veterans’ families.

Nora Eisenberg: You’ve been involved with veterans’ issues and rights for close to two decades — as a veteran and advocate for veterans. Why have you devoted your life to this?

Paul Sullivan: The military taught us a valuable lesson during war: never leave a fallen comrade behind. We are now applying that essential lesson for use outside the war zone: We must never leave a fellow veteran behind.

Most people don’t know that under a little-noticed 1991 law, the Gulf War began on Aug. 2, 1990, and it continues through today. The devastation that began with the bombing of Iraq on Jan. 17, 1991, continues through today. … Out of 700,000 Gulf War veterans, 290,000 filed disability claims against VA. VA also reports that 250,000 Gulf War veterans sought medical care at VA hospitals.

Friends of mine completed suicide after the Gulf War because VA delayed or denied assistance. A few friends suffered without answers from Lou Gehrig’s disease, also known as ALS, for years before dying early, often after fighting VA.

The Gulf War continues as the new Iraq and Afghanistan wars. VA reports an additional 330,000 Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans have already filed disability claims against VA, and 400,000 have already been treated at VA hospitals. That’s a grand total of 620,000 disability claims and 650,000 veteran patients.

We continue fighting for veterans because they need it, and because we are successful. Our 2007 lawsuit forced VA to establish a toll-free suicide-prevention hot line. In the first 15 months, the hot line received 85,000 calls and performed more than 2,100 rescues of suicidal veterans.

We fought for and secured $1.8 billion in emergency funding in 2007 that VA used to hire thousands of new doctors and claims processors. VCS testified repeatedly about the need to reform VA’s broken claims system, and Congress acted by passing an overhaul bill in late 2008. Yet much more work needs to be done in 2009 and beyond.

The time has come to bring common sense to our U.S. government — we must end the wars, bring our troops home with a responsible plan, provide medical care and benefits to our veterans, begin repairing our Constitution and our international reputation, and create a truth commission that will present the facts about the causes, conduct and consequences of the war to the American public. Then we can learn from our mistakes and move forward.

Now that President Bush has been peaceably removed from office, President Obama need only sign an executive order to end the wars (see Title 38, United States Code, Section 101, Paragraph 33). Congress also has the authority under the Constitution to end the war. Yes, it is that simple.

MORE HERE

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